Saturday, January 9, 2021

BX House Rule: Manufacturing Holy Water

There has been some discussion in my bi-weekly game group about the possibility of making their own holy water, so I had to do a little research. I've created a B/X house rule for making holy water based on the information in the 1e DMG.

The good news for the cleric is there is a clairvoyant NPC that can send a message for the party to have a stoup made dedicated to the cleric's deity—Morbagallicus. The bad news is the cleric is a couple of levels shy of being able to cast 3rd level spells. 

But, then again, by the time the stoup is finished, the cleric might have gained a couple of levels!

A cleric (or paladin, or similar divine spellcaster) may create holy/unholy water under the following conditions:
  1. They possess or have access to a approriate blessed/cursed vessel (a “stoup”) in which the holy/unholy water will be created.
  2. The character is capable of casting 3rd level cleric spells.
Holy/Unholy Water Receptacles

The stoup/vessel for creating holy water consists of 2 parts:
  1. the font: a finely-crafted repository of wood (with a base, pedestal, chest-like holder, and lid) carved or engraved with the holy/unholy symbols of the deity to which the vessel has been dedicated.
  2. the basin: a metal bowl placed within the font which holds the water to be blessed.
A cleric may only create holy/unholy water in a vessel dedicated to their deity. The amount of water they may create depends on the metal used for the basin.

All fonts and basins are made to order, taking 4-10 (2d4+2) weeks to be designed and constructed. 

Basins in combinations of metal may be available (at DM’s discretion), with costs and capacity adjusted accordingly (e.g., a silver basin chased with gold and set with gold handles).

Generally, the stoup must be housed in a religious structure, and each structure is limited to having a single stoup. 


The ritual for creating holy/unholy water takes 1 hour to perform, and requires the cleric use the following: a purify food and water spell (or reverse), a bless spell (or reverse), and a 3rd level spell slot for the ritual that creates the holy/unholy water. The ritual must be performed uninterrupted, and if the cleric does not have the available spell slots for all three spells, the ritual cannot be completed. The ritual may only be performed once per week, and immediately after the cleric must rest for at least 8 hours.

Portable Stoups (Optional)

The DM may opt to allow the use of portable stoups. The suggested cost and capacity for such stoups is outlined below:

The encumbrance of a portable stoup is a number of coins equal to the font cost for the stoup (e.g., a portable silver stoup has an encumbrance of 200 coins). 

Performing the ritual to make holy water outside a structure dedicated to cleric’s deity (even a structure dedicated to a similar or companion deity) takes the cleric an entire day, during which time they may not undertake any other adventuring or perform any other activities. The standard period of 8 hours is required as normal.


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