Cleric Role?

It seems to me that the cleric class is a jack of all trades, but master of none. Have you guys felt that way? 

I have only played first level characters so maybe I still have more to learn at higher levels. But here is what I see.

Ranged Combat: Lance of Faith is a ranged weapon, but unless you are a Lightbringer cleric, you can only cast it three times. A ranged fighter or a Lightbringer cleric would do better. 
 
Melee Combat: You can hit but your bonus to melee is lower than the fighter.

Healing: Most clerics get the Cure Minor Wounds at-will spell. This is only good at 3 hit points or lower. I read this as  this is only good with unconcious characters (although I appreciate the rule that first brings injured characters to 0 before healing them). With a short rest, every character with a healers kit gets a free Cure Light Wounds-like heal. So, everyone is a cleric. 

Spells: No AOE spells. Most buffs require concentration so they can only be cast one at a time. This leaves the character with Lance of Faith. I think that will get old fast. I do think the spell preparation rules for clerics are nice, though. If it is prepared, you can cast it as many times as you have casting slots. 

So, that brings me to my question: What is the role of Clerics? Are they buffers? Melee or ranged combat fighters? Healers?  
While I see where you are coming from, I don't see the harm in giving them a little variety in their spells beyond buffing and healing. What they are doing is varying the cleric with the different domains. Lightbringer clerics are more spell attack focused, but not to the level of Wizards. Whereas the warlike clerics get heavy armor and weapon proficiencies so they focus more on weapon attacks with spells to back hm up. 

In the end they are really just letting people play different types of cleric, which, besides the fighter, is the most varried class archetype in the core four. So they are trying to support several different kinds of clerics rather than just the buff/heal cleric. 
My two copper.
Next, by design, isn't pinning classes as tightly into roles. Based on how the Next cleric is setup and how people typically played clerics prior to 4e, most clerics will probably be a balance of healer and melee or ranged combat. Some will focus more closely on one thing, usually healing with other possibilities based on what the class and spells support.

From the looks of things, clerics are going to need something to boost their firepower at some point. For melee clerics a self buffing only spell, and for ranged some better offensive spells. Right now, the scaling of fighters combat damage makes the cleric too weak doing damage around 5th level or so.

Combat healing is closer to 4e though, where it the primary means of healing people but rather a way to keep them up and healthy during fights. This means that the healing can be less per spell and still be useful, but needs to be quick and easy to use, thus the words of power.

Next, by design, isn't pinning classes as tightly into roles. Based on how the Next cleric is setup and how people typically played clerics prior to 4e, most clerics will probably be a balance of healer and melee or ranged combat.

Are you implying that healing + melee/ranged combat isn't how Clerics played in 4E?

To be honest, considering the outline given bu LordSolas, I don't see the "jack-of-all-trades" in it. It seems pretty darn similar if not identical to what 4E called the Leader, which in all instances was a healer/buffer with some ability at melee and/or ranged combat. I'm sure that it'll be possible to play against type, just as was the case in 4E, but Leader does seem to be the default role here.

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Next, by design, isn't pinning classes as tightly into roles. Based on how the Next cleric is setup and how people typically played clerics prior to 4e, most clerics will probably be a balance of healer and melee or ranged combat.

Are you implying that healing + melee/ranged combat isn't how Clerics played in 4E?

I expect it will be different in that the Next cleric will actually be able to do damage in melee. The 4e clerics where mostly filling time between healing and daily/encounter powers. The Next cleric doesn't have as good of healing, but is setup to be closer to the fighter in damage, at least at low levels. However, the cleric's damage doesn't keep pace with expertise dice right now. So at the higher levels need to be tweaked a bit somehow, and it would be better for the game for them to get a bit higher damage output then be forced into healing as much as 4e clerics are. As far as the relative role in combat, it will still be what 4e called a leader. The 4e leader role is a bit of a misnomer to begin with, as all 4e "Leaders" are actually healers first any anything else second. Because of that, the any cleric anywhere near the normal type is going to fall into the 4e leader role.
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The 4e leader role is a bit of a misnomer to begin with, as all 4e "Leaders" are actually healers first any anything else second.


Eh..probably for the Cleric yeah, and debateable for Bard, but Warlord was waay about buffing and enabling his party with a few healing powers included.
Next, by design, isn't pinning classes as tightly into roles. Based on how the Next cleric is setup and how people typically played clerics prior to 4e, most clerics will probably be a balance of healer and melee or ranged combat.

Are you implying that healing + melee/ranged combat isn't how Clerics played in 4E?

I expect it will be different in that the Next cleric will actually be able to do damage in melee. The 4e clerics where mostly filling time between healing and daily/encounter powers. The Next cleric doesn't have as good of healing, but is setup to be closer to the fighter in damage, at least at low levels. However, the cleric's damage doesn't keep pace with expertise dice right now. So at the higher levels need to be tweaked a bit somehow, and it would be better for the game for them to get a bit higher damage output then be forced into healing as much as 4e clerics are. As far as the relative role in combat, it will still be what 4e called a leader. The 4e leader role is a bit of a misnomer to begin with, as all 4e "Leaders" are actually healers first any anything else second. Because of that, the any cleric anywhere near the normal type is going to fall into the 4e leader role.
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lol...wut?  The cleric is primarily a melee combatant, in all but a few specific builds.  And leaders are enablers and debuffers in addition to healers.
I expect it will be different in that the Next cleric will actually be able to do damage in melee. The 4e clerics where mostly filling time between healing and daily/encounter powers. The Next cleric doesn't have as good of healing, but is setup to be closer to the fighter in damage, at least at low levels. However, the cleric's damage doesn't keep pace with expertise dice right now. So at the higher levels need to be tweaked a bit somehow, and it would be better for the game for them to get a bit higher damage output then be forced into healing as much as 4e clerics are. As far as the relative role in combat, it will still be what 4e called a leader. The 4e leader role is a bit of a misnomer to begin with, as all 4e "Leaders" are actually healers first any anything else second. Because of that, the any cleric anywhere near the normal type is going to fall into the 4e leader role.

The X Word powers boasted by all Leader classes were merely the signature capabilities of the role. -- More of a calling card than a definition.

Danny

I say drop them entirely. Any magic user can get his power through praying to stuff (Clerics), having magical parents (Sorcerer), or studying really hard(Wiazrd). In addition, anyone of any class can also be an official member or priest in a church. 

 The idea that no one can agree on what a cleric's role is sort of what drove me to that idea. Priests of loki might have minor spells but really just are rogues. Priests of Kord are fighters with some minor spells. (in 3.5 terms wizard 1/fighter or rogue 19)

Then we should have a few magic user classes. Healer, buffer, blaster, controller, summoner, whateverer. 

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race, background and specialty will provide alot of variety to the characters style and ability

i'm pretty sure there will be more spells and more deity/class style options later, especially since they have 20+ years of books and forums to source from, this is just the beginning

Krusk's idea is valid too, have people take the Healing specialist for the group healer, make Clerics rare or non existant.

while they want to let clerics have an option AOE, missle weapons, tanking etc, they don't want it to overlap too much into the other classes role, which is where the deity/class style comes in, to balance ability with variety, internally with other clerics and externally with other classes.

Clerics can be Leaders/Controllers, with tactics or knowledge skills, but idea/options guy who is keeping track of the bigger picture. Like the older guy in the A Team 'I love it when a plan comes together'

Key things for D&D - Where is the character from and why do they do what they do? / Recurring NPCs - allies and enemies / Plot, World and Personal Events.

Defining the cleric's role, technically, has always been awkward because it mainly depends on the deity/religion they follow.

What I mean is that not all clerics should be able to heal from the start. Indeed, I have difficulty imagining a cleric of a deity of pain throwing cure wounds spells around the battlefield instead of inflicing pain on his opponents. But I could easily imagine that the pain infliced on his allies could be a vector to use power to amplifiy their combat prowess, drawing energy from the pain they feel from each wound.

I think each mythos/diety/religion calls for a specific role. That is what I have done in previous editions in my campaigns.
For example, a cleric of a deity of fire will have powers to blast and burn enemies from a distance; a cleric of a god of war will fight in melee with a weapon in hand; a cleric of a god of nature will use powers with close relations to plants, animals ans the weather; a cleric of a god of love will have powers to charm and prevent the enemies from fighting, etc....

Each cleric is different. We've always been stuck with the "cleric is the healer" definition and that is far from being accurate when you look at official settings like Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Dragonlance, Greyhawk etc...
Even in a fully customzied setting I would except two clercis of two different religions/deities to have different kind of powers and abilities.

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lol...wut?  The cleric is primarily a melee combatant, in all but a few specific builds.  And leaders are enablers and debuffers in addition to healers.

There is a difference between fighting in melee and actually being effective. In the 4e party's I've DMed and played in, after a few levels the cleric was just a blocker and flanking buddy. The clerics max damage is usually less then the strikers minimum damage, and the strikers have better attack bonuses. For most leaders the other abilities are either minor or rarely used daily powers. Some warlord builds can be effective buffers and attack granters, but they are still heavy on the healing.

I think each mythos/diety/religion calls for a specific role. That is what I have done in previous editions in my campaigns. For example, a cleric of a deity of fire will have powers to blast and burn enemies from a distance; a cleric of a god of war will fight in melee with a weapon in hand; a cleric of a god of nature will use powers with close relations to plants, animals ans the weather; a cleric of a god of love will have powers to charm and prevent the enemies from fighting, etc....

That makes a lot of sense in abstract, but mechanically it doesn't work. Going that way turns every type of cleric into it's own class, with it's own set of balance and scaling problems, which is simply too big and too complex. In addition, it is too world specific, as different campaign worlds not only have different sets of gods but entirely different ways of organizing them.

I am of the firm opinion that priest concepts that stray far from the core cleric concept should be implemented via different classes. Specifically, non-healing priests shouldn't be clerics, as I think healing is core to the cleric class.

Trying to cram every possible priest concept into the cleric class overloads the class and makes it impossible to balance, even the looser balance they stipulate for Next. (The skills and powers clerics from 2e could be be the most broken or the most useless classes in the game, depending on how well or badly they were built.)
There is a difference between fighting in melee and actually being effective. In the 4e party's I've DMed and played in, after a few levels the cleric was just a blocker and flanking buddy. The clerics max damage is usually less then the strikers minimum damage, and the strikers have better attack bonuses.


Hmm, in my experience, I've always found the damage of "Leaders" to be comparable to the damage from Defenders and Controllers (assuming they aren't always able to hit a ton of enemies every time with AoE effects). I mean, sure, they do less damage than a striker, but every class does less damage than a striker (generally speaking), which is the point of the striker in the first place.

I think each mythos/diety/religion calls for a specific role. That is what I have done in previous editions in my campaigns. For example, a cleric of a deity of fire will have powers to blast and burn enemies from a distance; etc....


That makes a lot of sense in abstract, but mechanically it doesn't work. Going that way turns every type of cleric into it's own class, with it's own set of balance and scaling problems, which is simply too big and too complex. In addition, it is too world specific, as different campaign worlds not only have different sets of gods but entirely different ways of organizing them.


Ddoesn't it already happen? Wouldn't a cleric that worships a diety of nature resemble a Druid? Wouldn't a cleric that worships a diety of war resemble a Paladin? Wouldn't a cleric that worships a diety of death resemble a Necromancer? I am beginning to lean far more into the idea that clerics as a class should be done away with and folded into other classes. You could easily create some new "wizard traditions" to handle healing clerics, you could expand the Paladin spell casting abilities to pick up some slack from the absence of the cleric, things like that.
Ddoesn't it already happen? Wouldn't a cleric that worships a diety of nature resemble a Druid? Wouldn't a cleric that worships a diety of war resemble a Paladin? Wouldn't a cleric that worships a diety of death resemble a Necromancer? I am beginning to lean far more into the idea that clerics as a class should be done away with and folded into other classes. You could easily create some new "wizard traditions" to handle healing clerics, you could expand the Paladin spell casting abilities to pick up some slack from the absence of the cleric, things like that.

More or less. It is just a compromise that has to be drawn somewhere. There isn't enough space for every cleric concept to get it's own class, and not enough time to test and balance all of the combinations. That doesn't stop the ones that are distinct and popular enough from getting their own class.

I am of the firm opinion that priest concepts that stray far from the core cleric concept should be implemented via different classes. Specifically, non-healing priests shouldn't be clerics, as I think healing is core to the cleric class.

Yes, the core cleric is the quintessential 'hospitaler'.

Danny

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