The Healer. The Self-Righteous Man. The Seeker of Knowledge. The Leader of Men. All have a holy calling. All live a life of service. All walk a different path to enlightenment and divinity.
Becoming a priest is not a decision to be made lightly. It means a lifetime of commitment, of servitude to a singular path. Often, there are strict rules pertaining to all aspects of life: clothing, food, assigned or proscribed weapons, and other strict rules of behavior. Why would anyone willingly place themselves into a life of servitude and rules?
The answer to that is: it depends on the point of view of the person entering into the priesthood.
This is a person drawn to the priesthood out of the need and desire to help others and the environment. They fully give over to the caregiver's nature and wish to heal those around them. As children, they were the ones who were constantly bringing home strays to care for and heal. They also most often seek out those deities who most represent the concepts they are drawn to. These people are most drawn to deities like Mishakal, Habbakuk and Chislev.
The Self-Righteous Man
This is the person drawn into the priesthood out of a strong sense of right and wrong, based on their upbringing and experiences. This is the priest who seeks the "right" way to do things, in order to be able to spread the gospel to the ignorant. Often harsh in his judgment, the Self-Righteous Man is the most unforgiving when laws and rules are broken. in the view of this type of priest, laws and rules are there for a reason. To break them is to disrespect those who put them in place. These people are most drawn to deities like Kiri-Jolith, Majere and Sargonnas.
The Seeker of Knowledge
This is the person who always asked "Why?" as a child. To them, every day brings new lessons and new knowledge to savor. These are the priests who sit in contemplation, have vigorous philosophical discussions, travel far to experience all that their deity wishes to show them. They enter into the priesthood to serve their need, to have their questions answered, and to serve the one who inspired the questions in the first place. They seem themselves each as a part of the deity's grand plan. They are the ones to enlighten the masses, though their means vary widely. This type of person is most drawn to deities such as Branchala, Zivilyn and Hiddukel.
The Leader of Men
This is the type of person who is always there to stop a fight or to protect those weaker than themselves. This person is drawn into the priesthood out of a sense of willing duty to their fellow man. They are the priests who take an active role in the community, serving it to the best of their ability as they serve their chosen deity. These priests often gain rank within their respective orders to the merit of their actions. These people are most drawn to deities such as Gilean, Shinare and Mishakal.
Gods and goddess rarely act directly to recruit individuals into their churches. Therefore, upon making the decision to enter the priesthood, it is far more common for a new devotee to approach a temple or monastery him or herself. There, they learn the religion's tenets from the elders of the faith. This path is typically open to people of all ages, and some have come to it under the most unusual of circumstances.
Initiation requirements and rituals may differ markedly from one faith to another, just as does their presence in the communities of Krynn. One certainly would not expect a temple of Morgion, the God of Pestilence, to be widely accepted in any town, whereas a temple of Mishakal the Goddess of Healing and Protection, would be quite welcome. In contrast, those who worship Branchala, the God of Music and Bards, have an extremely loose-knit community and, more often than not, enlist their followers at the festive celebrations where they perform.
Switching Allegiance (Changing Gods)
When a cleric, druid, or anyone else capable of casting divine spells commits himself to a deity, it is usually for life. The devotion required of a person so he can receive and cast divine spells is not something that can be approached lightly. It often takes years of study and commitment, or an extraordinary occurrence, before a cleric reaches the point that his deity will grant him spells. Once he does reach this point, it takes incredible circumstances for him to turn his back on his chosen god to follow the path of another deity.
Switching allegiance to another deity is a serious undertaking, even more so than a wizard of High Sorcery changing Orders. Unlike the Orders of High Sorcery, clerics are not committed to just the precepts of good, evil, or neutrality. Clerics are also committed to the interest of their patron deity, be it nature, commerce, disease, or some other realm. So, in switching allegiances, a cleric forsakes the interests of his former deity and embraces the interests of his new one.
The player of a cleric wanting to switch allegiances should consult with an Imm on the consequences and options available if this choice is ever under consideration. The Imm should recognize and point out any occasions of a character acting in a manner contrary to the interests of his patron deity – actions that might make a change necessary, whether desired or not. Ultimately, it should be the will of the player character that decides the matter, though a cleric deliberately played as if he followed another god's interest will eventually have to face the consequences.
It is also possible for a cleric to slowly drift away from his patron deity in such a way that he slowly loses the powers granted to him. Whatever the reason, if cleric begins acting in ways that are frowned on or prohibited by his patron deity, the god will begin to withhold spells, supernatural and spell-like abilities, and any extraordinary abilities that stem from godly benefit. If this happens, the cleric must atone for his actions, renounce his allegiance to the god, or continue on in a kind of false service.
However it happens, once a new allegiance is declared, the cleric instantly assumes the class features of a cleric of the new god. It is not uncommon in the orders of evil to be sought out for death by the followers of the renounced faith.
Medallions of Faith
When a supplicant becomes accepted as a cleric by his patron deity, he is given a medallion of faith, which serves as an outward sign of the cleric's commitment and faith. The silver medallion bears the signs of the cleric's god. Without the medallion, the cleric is unable to pray for, or evoke, spells of higher than 3rd level.