Why Is Cleric Sometimes the Last Choice in D&D-Style Games? - RPG Crossing
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  #1  
Old Nov 20th, 2022, 08:36 PM
LordOfLemuria LordOfLemuria is offline
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Why Is Cleric Sometimes the Last Choice in D&D-Style Games?

In BFRPG, D&D and several games with the Cleric class, it seems like it's a game of straws to see who gets to be the Cleric for some groups. But the cleric gets: best armor, second best HP, second best weapons, second best caster, second best XP, only person who can heal and cast cleric specific spells.

Frankly, a party of four specialized clerics might be more functionally divergent than many other combinations of classes. Silence is just as effective as Move Silently, Cure Poison is often better than Find Traps, etc. For XP, clerics get the best saves in several categories and decent saves overall.

If you made me pick which class' abilities I had to choose in a real D&D scenario, I would definitely pick the guy with full plate, a frickin' mace (way better than a sword, don't kid yourself), the ability to heal himself and other people, and able to resist half of the things in the world better than anyone almost anyone else. What's the downside? It's a level uncapped human fighter-mage.

Seriously, I'm going to run a game of "Oops, All Clerics" and I guarantee you we'll live longer and kill more Chaos than 50% of D&D class combos. Oh, and did I mention, undead are scared of you? The most annoying and common monster type wants to run from you, and it costs you nothing to try. Sometimes, you'll just blast them to dust on accident. I hate shadows.

I know in later editions there may be kits and hordes of new classes that do better than the cleric, but from its earliest inception to about 2e Cleric has always been an extremely well-rounded class with almost no real weaknesses, especially considering how lax most DMs are on religious requirements.

Why no more clerics?

Last edited by LordOfLemuria; Nov 20th, 2022 at 08:38 PM.
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Old Nov 20th, 2022, 09:36 PM
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I've never found it to be the last choice - it's usually one of the front runners.
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Old Nov 20th, 2022, 09:56 PM
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As somebody who plays a cleric in a game with two clerics I disagree with this stance.
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Old Nov 20th, 2022, 11:59 PM
LordOfLemuria LordOfLemuria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raylorne View Post
As somebody who plays a cleric in a game with two clerics I disagree with this stance.
Yeah, but a lot of people seem to find the cleric boring (I guess religion and mythology aren't interesting to them?), and even the power gamers seem to overlook that it's almost indisputably 'the most bonuses per XP' of all the classes. I've always loved playing clerics (though I prefer the Elven Fighter/Mage, because humans are ugly), and I know players who do, but I've been to and seen several games where it seemed like everyone was avoiding getting 'stuck' with the class and viewed it as nothing but a healbot. Which is crazy to me, Cleric with his Wisdom, religious position and spells is a great choice to be the center of the party and its leader. I guess a lot of games also eschew party leaders and hierarchy, but it helps avoid dithering and confusion in games, and is just socially realistic. I'll gladly be the cleric if no one else wants to be, but I never understood the attitude that I was 'taking one for the team' by doing so. The cleric is very useful from a gameplay and roleplay perspective.

Last edited by LordOfLemuria; Nov 21st, 2022 at 12:00 AM.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 04:38 AM
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Well for me it's because they are limited to blunt weapons in most D&D . I never liked limiting my chs like that. As to me being in a fantasy means be what you want and use what you want do mostly what you want. Not get limited by race or what your class is allowed to use.

Playing Storm ( a dragonborn cleric) who uses a great sword is definitely different. Leaves cleric as a possibility in 5e just have to get used to the type/class.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 06:22 AM
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I would have to disagree with the premise, unless there's data (not anecdotal) about the lack of cleric love/playing time.

In 3.5 and pathfinder, the cleric is a tier 1 class, which attracts power gamers. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of handbooks on optimizing them, almost as many as for wizards. They are routinely spoken of on many gaming boards as one of the big two, or certainly, one of the big three classes... Wizard, Cleric, Druid (and a druid is a cleric with shapechange).

Pathfinder has brought a ton more versatility and options to the class. The chasis doesn't get as many bells and whistles as others, but it has a solid, powerful base, and the spell list alone sets you into a place where you can mix/match, and make almost anything.

Is it the Vanilla ice cream of classes? An argument could be made for that. But vanilla is the starting flavor for a whole lot of combinations, and one of the most favorite flavors chosen. Plain, boring, perhaps, but steady and you can mix something into it, and it only enhances the idea and flavor.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2022, 05:28 AM
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I see a wizard rarely. I have as yet out side of rpgx played with anyone playing a druid. Most people want paladin fighters and rogues maybe that's just my limited exp.but I've never herd of cleric wizard and druid as big 3.


Course I've only played dnd, battle hammer, vision quest, and hero quest before joining rpgx.
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Last edited by BlackDragon0; Nov 22nd, 2022 at 05:30 AM.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2022, 10:43 AM
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I've never encountered the problem of no one wanting to play a Cleric. Way more common than "there's no Cleric" is the "I'm upset because the Cleric isn't playing like I want them to" or "I want to play D&D and you just want me to spend every round healing you" problems.

All of these problems can quickly and easily be solved by playing better RPGs than D&D and its d20 spawn.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2022, 06:04 PM
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@Blackdragon0 - the big three notion of DnD 3.5e/PF 1e is that at really high level (17 and up) those particular casters have reality bending super powerful spells, while fighters just get a couple extra attacks with a melee weapon.

@LordofLemuria - have you had a chance to read the classes as presented in the DnD 5e Players' Handbook? I'm wondering how you would feel about clerics in that edition in comparison to other editions. I say they still hold up well.

@orcbane- being a cleric in a large group with a couple of combat minded players can be decidedly unfun. You know you've got options for offense and unusual, potentially exciting, spell options but the munchkins are expecting Cure X Wounds every round. 5e eases that a bit with short and long rest rules.

Last edited by zevonian; Nov 22nd, 2022 at 06:07 PM.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2022, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zevonian View Post
@Blackdragon0 - the big three notion of DnD 3.5e/PF 1e is that at really high level (17 and up) those particular casters have reality bending super powerful spells, while fighters just get a couple extra attacks with a melee weapon. .

The only time I've seen an above lv 3 ch is when built at higher lvs . I've never even gotten to play a ch past lv 2 from lv 1. So that's way beyond my experience.
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Old Nov 27th, 2022, 04:43 PM
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I don't play 5e enough to comment on whether people play clerics or not. I really want no part of the 'heal all the time, always have spells, background ability allows me to ignore intelligent planning' features of the game, and so I don't try. My favorite version of the cleric doesn't get a spell at first level, and my favorite version of the Fighter literally has no abilities, just a better to-hit chart and hit-dice.

Given how I war-game my D&D, I really wouldn't make a character without considering class mechanics, because only if he has a useful squad role do I want to play it. But clerics are great if you want to play up the religious angle, being the moral center of the party, etc. Certainly more to go on than 'Thief' who is, prima facie, just a criminal who should probably be hung.

I usually play a Fighter/Magic-User Elf because it's my favorite type of fantasy character (Elric) as well as the most versatile starting character (detect secret doors, use all weapons and armor, cast spells) but it's also similar to a Cleric, just XP expensive.
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Old Nov 29th, 2022, 07:11 AM
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Yea, I think it's mostly that people don't want to be locked-in to the "dedicated healer" role, which isn't as cool as slaying a dragon typically.

In 5e, one of the most-fun characters I've played was a Light Cleric, which is just allabout blasting. Pew pew pew. Their channel divinity can take out a small army - I remember doing a total of ~210 radiant damage on a single turn with it (12 damage times 20-someodd targets, where about half of them saved and weren't instantly vaporized?)
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inuvash255 View Post
Yea, I think it's mostly that people don't want to be locked-in to the "dedicated healer" role, which isn't as cool as slaying a dragon typically.
Maybe this is because I primarily play pre-2e D&D, but I never experienced the Cleric that way. Yes, I understand he's the only person with healing spells, and would be expected to perform that role when able. But I didn't even have a spell at first level to heal anyone. And for the first five levels I'd run out of spells pretty easily if things got hot, and so would the Magic-user, and we'd take frequent breaks and trips back to town for logistical reasons, anyway.

And a lot of the spells I got weren't available to the Magic-user, and were actually far more useful than the healing spells a lot of times. Because our objective was not to charge into melee and slay as many people as possible: it was to steal money, complete missions and if we had to fight, to kill them as quickly and unfairly as possible. A lot of times a well-timed Cleric spell would contribute far more than a few extra hit-points to an injured character.

Also, we expected to die, occasionally, at any level, so trying too hard to keep characters alive when the fight was going bad may be less productive than using your spells to nuke the enemy with holy smite.

I have never played a game of D&D where the Cleric (especially if I was the cleric) was spending most of his time healing. He was wearing plate armor and bashing faces in, nearly as effectively as the Fighter.

If the players are just getting into fights and depending on 1d6+1 HP a round later, instead of using spells as the fantastic trump cards and tricks they can be, I'd say they need to work more on their tactics and coordination. It make me wonder if they've even read the Cleric's spell list.

Turn Undead saved the day about 100x more frequently than some piddly healing spell did.

Also, the Cleric and the Magic-user both have hands and brains and players who can create cunning strategies to implement with those hands. If all they're looking at is the powers listed on the character sheet they're grossly underestimating the versatility of a roleplaying game character. Good ideas have won more fights for me than sorcery or swords. Anything such a person could do, you can try!

Last edited by LordOfLemuria; Dec 2nd, 2022 at 05:33 PM.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2022, 06:07 PM
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I think there are three things that push people away from playing clerics:

First, they have -- at least at times -- had a reputation as mere hit point dispensers, and most people, most of the time, don't want to play that. Although in Pathfinder, there are some pretty interesting options that expand on that, like the Paladin / Oracle of Life builds... for certain definition of "cleric", I suppose.

Second, in the 3.5 / Pathfinder era, they had a well-deserved reputation for being... let's say "aggressively balanced". They're a Tier 1 class on any sort of tier list for a reason. A lot of GMs discourage characters that can solve everyone's problems on their own because that can degrade the experience for the other players. And a lot of players don't want to do that to their friends, or be perceived as powergaming in general.

Finally, I think the whole idea of "cleric" is unappealing to a lot of people in RP-heavy games. People often play characters in which they can see something of themselves. Clerics are dedicated -- both in their magic and their life -- to a deity, and the deities in some of these settings can be very strange indeed. Not everyone wants their roleplaying experience to center around an abiding faith in a peculiar and unfamiliar god or goddess.
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Old Dec 4th, 2022, 08:45 AM
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From my 5e experience, it's mostly because everyone's more interested in playing other things which are very similar to a cleric. A cleric's just not as mechanically interesting to a lot of people as something like a Divine Soul Sorcerer.
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