Lesson #16: .lst - Domains (Part 2, Advanced Topics)

By Eric C Smith (Maredudd) and Andrew McDougall (Tir Gwaith)

File(s) Covered: *_domains.lst

LST Standard : 6.0.0

Tags used:


This is a continuation of the material presented in LST File Class #15, Domain Basics . In this lesson I will go over a handful of global tags needed to implement the domain powers as described in our sample domains. As with the previous lesson on domains, I will be using several domains as examples. Four drawn from the Revised Standard Reference Document (R/SRD) and one I have made up for this class in order to more completely demonstrate a few specific global tags. The domains we'll look from the RSRD are Animal , Law , Trickery and War , as well as the new domain of 'Poetry'. Our new domain is presented below in the standard RSRD format so you can follow along.

Example Domain

Poetry Domain

Granted Powers: You add all Perform skills to your cleric class skills and automatically gain the ability to Scribe Scrolls at 3rd level. You cast mind-affecting spells at +1 caster level, and are graced by Great Intelligence every four levels to a maximum of 20th level. If you have a charisma score of 12 or greater you may use Ventriloquism once a day as a spell-like ability.

Poetry Domain Spells

  1. Hypnotism : Fascinates 2d4 HD of creatures.
  2. Suggestion : Compels subject to follow stated course of action.
  3. Geas (Lesser) : Commands subject of 7 HD or less.
  4. Modify Memory : Changes 5 minutes of subject’s memories.
  5. Song of Discord : Forces targets to attack each other.
  6. Irresistible Dance : Forces subject to dance.
  7. Hold Person, Mass : As hold person, but all within 30 ft.
  8. Charm Monster, Mass : As charm monster, but all within 30 ft.
  9. Hold Monster, Mass : As hold monster, but all within 30 ft.

NOTE: The Poetry Domain is a little overdone, but I wanted to demonstrate a number of global tags. I would not recommend using the Poetry Domain in your campaign, unless of course you believe the pen is mightier than the sword . . .

Granted Powers

Before we begin we must first identify which 'Granted Powers' need to be implemented. Our source for these powers is the text following the DESC tag. Looking at the Poetry domain listed above, we get the following powers:

Add all Perform skills to your cleric class skills.
You may automatically Scribe Scrolls at 3rd level.
You cast mind-affecting spells at +1 caster level.
Graced by Great Intelligence every four levels to a maximum of 20th level.
May use Ventriloquism once a day as a spell-like ability (If you have a charisma score of 12 or greater)

Without further adieu, lets jump right into the lesson.

NOTE: The general conventions used within this class can be found on the LST File Class Style Guide .


This tag is used to add skills to the cleric's list of class skills. The new class skills may include a single skill or may be a pipe (|) delimited list of skills to be added. An example of this is the Trickery domain which adds the three skills of Bluff , Disguise , and Hide to the Cleric's list of class skills. The first example below gives the form of this tag.

The skills being added may also be designated by TYPE , taking the form of TYPE.<skill type> . Our new domain is a good example of this as the domain adds all Perform type skills to the Cleric's class skills list. See the example below to see the tag in action.


Trickery <tab> . . . <tab> CSKILL:Bluff|Disguise|Hide

Poetry <tab> . . . <tab> CSKILL:TYPE.Perform


This tag grants a bonus to the character's caster level. This bonus is dependent upon specific qualifying parameters, which are identified within the tag itself. The tag only requires two arguments, the qualifying tag and the number of levels the caster level is increased, with a third optional argument in the form of a PRExxx tag. The general form this tag and its argument take as follows:

BONUS:CASTERLEVEL|<qualifying tag>|<level bonus>|PRExxx

There are several different types of qualifying tags, including the class name, a spell DESCRIPTOR , a DOMAIN , a RACE , a SCHOOL , a SPELL , a SUBSCHOOL , and a TYPE . Each of these tags, except for the class name, take the form of <TAG>.text , with the text being appropriate for the tag, i.e. RACE.Elf% , SCHOOL.Abjuration , TYPE.Arcane , etc. The class name is a simple text entry giving the name of the appropriate class, i.e. Cleric . Looking at the Domain of Law in the RSRD, the rsrd_domains.lst file, we find, that a divine spell caster with this domain receives a bonus when casting lawful based spells. The specific spell descriptor of 'Lawful' is used in this tag taking the form: DESCRIPTOR.Lawful . Examining the list of granted powers for the Domain of Poetry above, we see a divine spell caster with this domain receives a bonus when casting 'Mind-Affecting' spells. The qualifying tag for the bonus takes the following form: DESCRIPTOR.Mind-Affecting .

The second argument in our tag is the level bonus. This is a number, variable, or formula that represent the number of levels that is added to the divine casters level for the purposes of determining the effects, DC, etc. In both the domain of Law and the domain of Poetry , the bonus level is '1'.

Finally, this tag can take PRExxx tags, with the most common tag being the PRERULE tag which checks the state of rule as set in PCGen's 'House Rule' preferences. The rule must be defined in the rules.lst file in the 'system/gameModes' folder within PCGen. The particular rule we are interested in for the BONUS: CASTERLEVEL tag applies Casterlevel Bonuses from Domains to all Spells and is referenced by the VAR:SYS_DOMAIN tag, as defined in the rules.lst file.

Taking all of this together, the BONUS:CASTERLEVEL tag for our two sample domains take the form shown below.





The PRExxx tags are global tags that apply specific prerequisites to the character before granting the selected domain and its granted powers and spells. You may include as many of these tags as you like and each of them will be applied to the domain as a whole. If the character does not meet ALL PRExxx tags, the domain cannot be selected. Unfortunately, there are too many PRExxx tags to go over in this class so I will restrict my coverage to the most likely tag. That is the PREALIGN tag.

The PREALIGN tag applies an alignment requirement to the cleric. The form this tag takes is:

PREALIGN:<alignment list> .

The alignment list is a comma-delimited list of alignment abbreviations as follows: Lawful Good= NG , Lawful Neutral= LN , Lawful Evil= LE , Neutral Good= NG , True Neutral= TN , Neutral Evil= NE , Chaotic Good= CG , Chaotic Neutral= CN , and Chaotic Evil= CE . An additional identifier is Deity , representing the alignment of the characters deity.

Note: The alignments have been assigned specific numbers, which can also be used. The numbers are: 0=LG, 1=LN, 2=LE, 3=NG, 4=TN, 5=NE, 6=CG, 7=CN, 8=CE, and 10=Deities alignment. These values can be used instead of the abbreviations

An example of this usage can be seen below for the domain of Law. As there are no restrictions to be applied, either for alignment or by any other cr criteria, for the domain of Poetry , we will not be including a PRExxx tag in our Poetry domain line.

As a final note, this tag provides prerequisites that are separate from the prerequisites used in conjunction with the DOMAINS tag.


Law <tab> . . . <tab> PREALIGN:LG,LN,LE


This tag grants the cleric spell-like abilities. This tag has a number of arguments that we will explain below but first, the general form of this tag and its many arguments are as follows:

SPELLS:<spellbook>|TIMES=<number or formula>|CASTERLEVEL=<number
of formula>|<spell name>,<spell DC>|<PRExxx tag>

The first argument in the SPELLS tag is the name of the spellbook that the spell-like ability will be displayed in within PCGen and on the character sheet. This may include any name you can imagine, though the several examples of this tag in the RSRD use either 'Innate' or the name of the domain granting the ability as can be seen in the Animal domain example given below. It is very important though that the spellbook name NOT be the same as any Class names, i.e. 'Cleric', 'Sorcerer', etc. Using an existing class name will cause PCGen to throw an exception and it will not function properly. For our purposes, the spell book entered is the domain name and takes the form of <domain name> Domain . For the poetry domain we would enter Poetry Domain .

The TIMES tag is an optional tag that identifies the number of times a day the spell-like ability may be used. If it's not included in the domain line, PCGen will default to 1 time per day. You may enter a specific value, a variable, or a formula in this tag. It is important to note that within the domain file the SPELLS tag is not associated with any specific class, therefore, the variable CL will not work. (For more information about formulas within PCGen, see the Math Operators and Formulas section in the PCGen Documentation.) A special value that may be entered is the value '-1', which will cause an output on the character sheet of 'At Will'. Both the Animal and Poetry domains grant spell-like abilities that are usable once per day so both domain entries will include the TIMES=1 tag.

CASTERLEVEL is an optional tag that sets the level at which the spell-like ability is cast. As with the TIMES tag, you may enter any value, variable, or formula as desired. If it is not included, PCGen will default to 1. Only one CASTERLEVEL tag is allowed in each SPELLS tag entry. For the Animal and Poetry domains, we base the caster level on the total level of the character, including the PC, NPC, and Monster levels but not including any level adjustments, so we will be using the TL variable as the basis for the caster level. Unfortunately, there may be circumstances where the total level is reduced to zero or below, i.e. with the application of a template that applies negative levels. In this case, we still want the spell-like ability to function, even if at a minimum level. Therefore, we will use the max() formula tag. The entry for the casterlevel for both of our example domains becomes CASTERLEVEL=max(TL,1) , setting the caster level of the spell-like ability to the character's total level with a minimum level of 1.

Besides the spell book, the <spell name> is the only other mandatory argument for the SPELLS tag as it provides, as the tag implies, the name of the spell being granted as a spell-like ability. This spell must exist in the loaded datasets and must appear exactly as it does in the first position on the spell line in the spell file. The optional <spell DC> value may be a number, variable, or formula. I will establish the DC for the Poetry domain as 12+WIS , meaning a base score of twelve (12) plus the wisdom modifier. The RSRD gives the DC value for the Animal domain as 11+WIS , being a base score of eleven (11) plus the wisdom modifier.

The last argument to discuss is the global PRExxx tag. These are used to set prerequisites for the spell-like ability such as alignment requirements or minimum stat requirements. If a SPELLS tag requires multiple PRExxx statements they are included as a pipe (|) delimited list at the end of the SPELLS tag. Some of the PRExxx statements have pipe (|) delimiting in them, in which case you simply put that PRExxx statement in a separate SPELLS tag by itself. The Speak with Animals ability granted by the Animal domain does not carry a prerequisite so you will not find a PRExxx tag attached to the SPELLS tag. The Poetry domain, on the other hand, does require a minimum wisdom before the Ventriloquism ability is granted. This prerequisite is coded using the PRESTAT tag which takes two arguments; 1) the number of stats which must qualify, one in our case, and 2) the stat and its value, identified by the stat abbreviation defined in the statsandchecks.lst file and a numeric value representing the minimum stat value. Our PRESTAT tag takes this form: PRESTAT:1,WIS=12

Ok, so we've gone over all the arguments allowed in the SPELLS tag. The only thing left to do is put them al together so we can see the final tag, and this we have done below.


Animal <tab> . . . <tab>
SPELLS:Animal Domain|TIMES=1|CASTERLEVEL=max(TL,1)|Speak with Animals,11+WIS

Poetry <tab> . . . <tab>
SPELLS:Poetry Domain|TIMES=1|CASTERLEVEL=max(TL,1)|Ventriloquism,12+WIS|PRESTAT:1,WIS=12


The VFEAT tag grants a feat, or a list of feats, to a character, even if the character would not normally meet the requirements for that feat. The tag takes a pipe-delimited list and can be as long as desired, but must contain at least one feat. The feats included in the feat list must exist and you should NOT use the feats OUPUTNAME , if one exists for the feat you are granting. Also keep in mind that some feats have a CHOOSE built into them, such as Weapon Focus , while most don't. Weapon Focus , when applied, calls a chooser to allow the player to choose which weapon the focus will apply to. Let us assume the character selects the Longsword , which will be displayed as Weapon Focus(Longsword) . This causes some confusion when it comes to listing a feat with a parenthetical element, i.e. Armor Proficiency (Heavy) , which is a unique feat with no CHOOSE command, and the afore mentioned Weapon Focus(Longsword) . PCGen differentiates between these two cases by the inclusion, or exclusion, of a space between the 'open' parentheses and the preceding alpha-character. For a feat with a built in CHOOSE command, there is NO intervening space while a unique feat with a parenthetical element has an intervening space.

As stated before, the VFEAT tag applies a feat irrespective of the prerequisites for that feat, but the VFEAT tag also allows the application of new prerequisites through the use of the PRExxx tag. The new prerequisite will be applied to all feats listed in the VFEAT tag. This could cause a problem if you wanted to apply two feats, each with their own prerequisites, but fortunately, not only can we include as many feats in the VFEAT tag as we need, we can also include as many VFEAT tags in the domain line as we need, each with its own PRExxx tag. If you browse through the PRExxx section of the global tag documentation, you will find many tags that can be used when applying virtual feats, but I will be going over only one of them here. That is the PRELEVEL tag.

The PRELEVEL tag establishes a prerequisite for a character to have a minimum number of levels. Its form is simple, having as a single argument the minimum level required. The tag takes the following form: PRELEVEL:<minimum level>

With all of this in mind, the form the VFEAT tag takes in this file, with our selected PRExxx tag, is as follows:

VFEAT:<feat list>|PRELEVEL:<minimum level>

For the Poetry domain, we are applying two feats: the Scribe Scolls feat, which is granted a third level, and the Great Intelligence feat, which normally requires that the character have at least 21 levels. Additionally, we will apply the Great Intelligence feat several times, specifically when the character is at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th levels. Fortunately, the Great Intelligence feat is stackable so our application of the feat five times as the character advances from 1st to 20th level can be accommodated by simply including five VFEAT tags, each with an appropriate PRELEVEL tag, five time. See our example below for the final VFEAT tag entries.


Poetry <tab> . . . <tab>
VFEAT:Scribe Scrolls|PRELEVEL:3 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:4 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:8 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:12 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:16 <tab>
VFEAT:Greater Intelligence|PRELEVEL:20

Conclusion: The Domain File Entries

My domain entry for the Domain of Poetry, adding the tags discussed above to those discussed in lesson 14, now looks like this (all on a single line.):

Poetry <tab>
CSKILL:TYPE.Perform <tab>
SPELLS:Poetry Domain|TIMES=1|CASTERLEVEL=max(TL,1)|Ventriloquism,12+WIS|PRESTAT:1,WIS=12 <tab>
SOURCEPAGE:SpellListI.rtf <tab>
VFEAT:Scribe Scrolls|PRELEVEL:3 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:4 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:8 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:12 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:16 <tab>
VFEAT:Great Intelligence|PRELEVEL:20 <tab>
DESC:You are graced by Great Intelligence and gain the ability
to Scribe Scrolls at 3rd level. You may use Ventriloquism once a day as a
spell-like ability and add all Perform skills to your cleric
class skills. You cast mind-affectng spells at +1 caster level. <tab>
Poetry=3|Geas (Lesser)|
Poetry=4|Modify Memory|
Poetry=5|Song of Discord|
Poetry=6|Irresistible Dance|
Poetry=7|Hold Person (Mass)|
Poetry=8|Charm Monster (Mass)|
Poetry=9|Hold Monster (Mass)

And that's everything you need to know to add new, full feature, domains to your campaign.