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As far as I know, many D&D spells were inspired by popular fantasy tropes, like priests' blessings and healing hands or wizards' fireballs and lightnings. However, the Create Water spell seems to stand out, in that it seems less archetypally associated with its class (clerics/priests) than the others.

It is neither a rainmaking ritual, nor a divination ability that helps to find water. It is an ability to make water appear out of nothing, and it's clerical for some reason. I can't remember any fantasy book or movie where clerics actually do that (aside from the ones being inspired by D&D).

Does the idea of priests/clerics having a water-creation ability exist in any earlier source, or is it an original D&D invention, like the Cleric class itself?

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closed as too broad by NautArch, KRyan, Rubiksmoose, Wibbs, Oblivious Sage Jul 16 '18 at 14:44

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locked by SevenSidedDie Jul 16 '18 at 16:04

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Numbers, Chapter 20, Verses 1 to 11

20 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

It doesn't quite match the "bare hands" of the D&D spell, but its a good example of a clerical miracle.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jul 16 '18 at 20:01
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According to the answer to the question you linked, the cleric D&D class is a mashup of lots of different historical ideas and myths. So, since a cleric has never actually existed, there cannot be a historical precedent for anything about them.

Other answers here have given examples of water creation through divine power and that's the closest you could possibly get in my opinion.

The effect of the create water spell is to produce drinkable water to satisfy the needs of a small group of people, so it seems very much in line with the cleric-as-priest/healer to me.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ James, welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour and visit the help center to see how an SE Q&A site is different from a discussion forum. The question has tripped over a recent RPG.SE Meta debate about what to do with designer intent questions; there is also some argument that the question is opinion based. ("Opinion based" is a close reason on all SE sites). If you can provide a sourced answer to the question, good. Commenting in an answer, which is what this answer looks like, is more of a discussion forum response than an SE site response, and will likely be closed. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 16 '18 at 15:53

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