For too long I have sat by while players treat the Cleric like a second rate class. Often relegated to party healer or last minute NPC add on to balance the party (I once played with a group who had an NPC Cleric with them that they actually name Healomatix – the outrage, I didn’t last long with those fools). For anyone who wants a challenging and full gaming experience, consider the mighty Cleric and here are the reasons why:
1. Diversity of Role Playing Options and Challenges
No other class offers the diversity of play that a Cleric does. No other class offers the range and depth of the Cleric, from the highest ideals of love and mercy to the deepest depravity, evil, and sadism. The Cleric offers players the ability to explore the full range of the human condition. Whereas most classes shove you in a rigid box and some classes (bards) offer a diversity of skills and abilities the Cleric offers a full set of abilities, strong spell casting, and depth of background possibilities that allow for true role-playing. 3rd level choices? Who needs those when the Cleric gets them at 1st level – right from 1st level you are developing your character so when you get to level 10 the other party members only have 7 levels of character development along their chosen class specialization.
2. Can Fill Any Role on the Party
The playability of the Cleric offers gamers a unique opportunity to explore all of the other playable classes while still retaining the strong spellcasting required to bolster the whole party. For example, you could play a Cleric devoted to the gods of war, wading in to battle chanting blessings to your comrades and fallen foes alike, your holy water sprinkler casting blood and radiant energy in equal measures. Or you could worship the earth gods, using your skills to track enemies and your bow to down them. Why not worship the god of trickery where you might find your character in a tavern weaving tall tales to distract the bard while you clean up in a game of dice, then moving to the main stage to play a tune that befriends the bar keep. I once had a player who had a Cleric of the goddess of luck who used his spells and natural talent to infiltrate keeps and steal the goods, equally talented at opening locks as a true thief. In my favourite setting, the Forgotten Realms, the Clerics of Mystra gain access to sorcerous spells and stand shoulder to shoulder in their robes, wielding their staves of power, with archmages. In fact, no wizard or sorcerer can deal out the breadth of spells that a Cleric can; equal parts life and death, with a wider choice of utility spells to be readied and employed. Finally, why not a Cleric who worships the darker powers and uses their deity’s blessings to curse their foes and call down fiery death on them, or twist their minds to force them to do your bidding?
3. Fighting Ability
While others may purport the fighting strength of other non-warrior classes, no other class comes as close to the warrior as the Cleric. Clad in steel, swinging sword and shield, a Cleric can be placed in the front line permanently, none of this, “for short times” stuff – the Cleric can BE the tank – if built and played properly. Oh yeah, and undead, let me just turn those to dust for you.
So while the bards are singing their jaunty tunes and hiding in the background until a Tavern presents itself the Cleric employs their wisdom (arguably the most important stat), combat strength, and diverse spell casting abilities to every situation. Truly the leaders amongst all other PCs, the Cleric is the virtuoso of the group, although usually underrated.
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you joined a party and said, “damnit, there’s no Bard! We’re in Trouble.”
Bryan is a long time gamer, husband, and probably some other stuff too. When he’s not playing bard-slaying Clerics (who doesn’t enjoy beating a Bard to death with their own lute), he enjoys camping and surviving in the wilderness with nothing but his wits, a hardy axe, and some rope. Bryan is also an advocate for table top role-playing of all kinds and firmly believes that the exploration of the human condition, creativity, quick thinking, and socialization that they provide has made him a better person. Everybody should give this a try – regardless of what class you choose to play. Unless you choose a Bard, them I’ma smash you.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.