Keeping with the theme going in The Cleric as Prophet and Saint, namely that Clerics are miracle workers, rather than simple priests, I figured I would come up with some plausible backgrounds for Cleric characters in Shatterworld. These can be randomly rolled for a new character, be chosen by the player, or used as inspiration for a player to come up with his/her own background. These backgrounds would work for Paladins as well.
1) The character exhibited remarkable gifts from an early age. Wounded birds would take to flight, people were strangely obedient to the child, and the child would handle snakes and other poisonous creatures without fear. The frightened parents took the child to be raised in a monastery, where the monks to a keen interest in the child. He was taught to defend himself, and when he reached adulthood, was sent forth into the world. The monastery that raised him is his only true sanctuary, but even there many monks are envious or distrustful of him.
2) The character was a man who led a life of sin. His descent into darkness was spiraling out of control. He begged the gods for repentance, promising obedience and to serve the gods. In an instant he was transformed (perhaps even physically), and gained the power of the Cleric. He is a loner, not trusted by any of the established priesthood. He travels throughout the land righting wrongs in repentance of his past deeds.
3) The character joined the priesthood, and became a respected and important member of the local community. In this position of power, he was witness to the corruption which ran deep within his church. He revealed the corruption to the people, and the Bishop was overthrown and replaced by a devout man. As a reward, the gods granted the powers of the Cleric, and sent him to go forth and purge the churches of corruption.
4) The character is the son of one of the highest members of the church. Once he began to exhibit the powers of the Cleric, his father became concerned for him, knowing that many within the church would fear him. He sent his son out into the world, and there are many allies of his father throughout the land that offer their counsel and protection, as well as seek his service.
5) When the character began to exhibit the powers of the Cleric, he was sent to or joined a small elite order of priests known for their gifts of healing and power. They are a powerful order, protected by the highest levels within the church, and command respect wherever they go. Unfortunately, some within the group abuse such authority.
6) The character is a true innocent, pure of heart. He doesn't even realize he gets his powers from the gods. He simply acts out of his innate goodness, and accepts his powers as being perfectly natural. He is not aligned with any church.