So, various 5e communications have spurred lots of cool discussion on the nature of and distinctions between the Cleric and Paladin, as well as brining up the possibility of a non-fighty Priest class, the possible future of the Avenger, etc. One interesting thing that came out of this was a poll on RPGnet about the 5e Cleric's use of weapons and armor. The results were a huge surprise, at least to me.
What's the 5e cleric look like in your head?
- The cleric should be, at default, an armored guy, usually with a mace. — 20.54%
- The cleric should be, by default, more of a spellcastery class, without the armor. — 36.61%
- The cleric and priest should be represented by two different classes. — 31.25%
- Other — 11.61%
Now, I went for option 2 myself, but I was still shocked to see the largest percentage supporting such a major change to a Big Four class.
I can't speak for everybody else, but my reasoning goes like this: as a major iconic class, the Cleric should (at least in its default configuration) strongly embody its major themes, those things which are unique to it among the Big Four. That means healing, miracle-working, turning, and other divine magic. It does not include wearing armor and wielding weapons effectively. Furthermore, there doesn't seem like a lot of need for a martial Cleric in the same game as the Paladin.
Now, I would be fine with a martial Cleric supplemented by some kind of Priest/Invoker/Lasercleric class, sure. But I don't really want to see a whole flood of divine classes, and I think the primary divine class should be one that's purely about the whole "divine" thing, instead of one that's essentially multiclassing as a Fighter.
Fighty divine casters can just be Clerics with a Warpriest theme.
...But that's my take. How about you?