Clerics: the flavorless class

62 posts / 0 new
Last post

I`ve read a lot of materials about D&D in this forum, and I kinda noticed that people expect from D&D to give them possibilities to play out their favorite character archetypes. Two-weapon warrior like Drizzt, greatsword fighter like Conan, thief like Garret, archer like Legolas, wizard like Harry Potter or Gandalf. Legendary rogues, legendary fighters, legendary wizards. But what about clerics, the fourth core class? I`ve seen people complain for various reasons that rogues are not roguish enough, wizards are not wizardy enough, fighters are not fightery enough. But I`ve never ever seen a single person complain that a cleric lacked the flavor of his class. What are clerics, just walking bandaids?


Well, they are not. At least, they should not be.


The core idea of clerics, flavor that is supposed to make people choose it instead of some other class (note that I`m talking flavor here, not mechanics), is the idea of DIVINE POWERS. The idea of a faithful servant of his chosen religion, a guy who can heal and raise dead, a guy who can ask the gods for favors, a guy who is likely to get some mission from his church or directly from his god, a guy who must follow a chosen path and try to not stray from it... or change classes. I`d love to play such character. I like the idea of expressing the higher will, the idea of following the path once chosen, the idea of getting a lot of abilities at the price of constraints on how you can use them.


And in addition to all that comes a completely unrelated flavor of a capable melee or ranged warrior. And it doesn`t come with the certain war-oriented deity, no! Clerics who chose a path of HEALING recieve free weapon proficiencies - to balance out their non-offencive magic, I understand. But the balance in capabilities doesn`t have to be a balance in damage dealt, and in fact shouldn`t be. As the result of such approach fighters are totally underpowered, because other classes have useful out-of-combat capabilities (skills for rogues, spells for... all spellcasters), and fighters are left with sheer damage, which is for some weird reason made to be equal or at least comparable with others.


An idea of fighter cleric, who spent his time training to defend his faith rather than studying the details of his faith, is nice. A figher cleric. A fighter/cleric. That`s what multiclassing is supposed to be about: some character who gave up opportunities in his chosen field to become more capable in some other sphere. A fighter/rogue: someone who is both skilled melee warrior and a dextrous trickster. A wizard/fighter: someone who can both swing a sword and cast spells. A wizard/rogue: a guy who uses his brain to both bend reality to his will and influence everyday reality in more mundane and practical ways. A wizard/cleric: someone who tries to both pursue individual power and serve some higher purpose, and is not really effective in both spheres, but is really versatile. A cleric/rogue, a guy who both serves gods and excels at everyday, more mundane tasks, a powerful trickster archetype, by the way. But fighter/cleric? Right now it`s a meaningless multiclass flavor-wise, because clerics are ALREADY fighers. They already combine divine studies with melee training, although it`s not really their speciality.


Why?


When I say legendary priests and clerics, who do you imagine? When I say "a priest archetype", who do you imagine? Note that all the "dark cultists" and such are also, in fact, priests, although NPC priests of the dark and evil powers. What is their typical image?


They are guile, able to decieve others with sly words, using their wisdom and understanding of human nature to reach their ends.


(a really typical archetype of a "servant of evil gods")


They are charismatic, leading not armies, but nations, starting and stopping wars with the power of words.


(of course I`m talking high-level clerics here, but even a village priest is capable of stopping fights and calming quarrels)


They are the keepers of knowledge, learned and wise.


(in Medieval Europe for a long time literacy was equated with religion, schools and later colleges and universities were mostly run by churches and monasteries, libraries were concentrated in monasteries...)


They are personally fragile, either coming off as "heroically fearless" if Good (think missionaries, going off to convert savage tribes and often dying) or "good-for-nothing loudmouths" (think false prophets, trying to ignite conflict, only to be easily taken down by more down-to-earth hero).


Note that in all fiction, in all famous stories, if a cleric is revealed to be a capable combatant, it is a SURPRISE to his enemies and often to his allies. This talkative guy can not only pray to his gods, but also fight? Seriously? o.O Badass clerics are cool, but they are NOT default, as are sword-wielding wizards.




I know that clerics have been like that ever since they first appeared in the game. But a new edition is being made here. Maybe it`s time for some changes?




On a more practical note, I`m not saying that the option of the "traditional" D&D cleric should be removed. After all, when rogues` expertise was broadened, the path of Thief was still avaliable as a possible choice. But there should be options for those who want to play traditional clerics: the leaders, the sages, the mystical prophets.

Oh, wait, this thread should probably have been at Player`s playtest feedback forum... after all, I didn`t have any objections to clerics as DM, I had objections as a player who failed to create a character of rather common and obvious archetype. Maybe mods can fix this.
The cleric character I created to playtest 5e ended up being the first cleric I ever wanted to play, simply because even the very basic background ideas in the packet sparked ideas that I'd never considered before, as "Ugh, who wants to be the healbot god-botherer?"

So rather than being some sort of pious wandering priest, Tova Ironstone is the daughter of a Viking-ish chief murdered by the henchman of a necromancer who attacked Tova's village, and was about to kill her too when Tova begged the Thunder God for help - and got it. Down comes an unexpected lightning bolt, the henchman is knocked off his feet, Tova grabs his maul - and one smashed skull later, an adventurer is born, armed with a maul pulsing with divine proficiency and on a quest to find and kill that frickin' necromancer in the name of the Thunder God. Oh, and she occasionally restores hit points, too.

All that came from nothing more than rolling stats and letting the options suggest a story, so if nothing else 5e did something that no previous edition ever managed and made me think that clerics could be cool.

Maybe part of the issue with clerics is simply the name of the class. You've got Fighter! Wizard! Rogue! ...cleric. It's like Fighter Pilot! Rock Star! Actor! ...vicar.
The cleric character I created to playtest 5e ended up being the first cleric I ever wanted to play, simply because even the very basic background ideas in the packet sparked ideas that I'd never considered before, as "Ugh, who wants to be the healbot god-botherer?"

So rather than being some sort of pious wandering priest, Tova Ironstone is the daughter of a Viking-ish chief murdered by the henchman of a necromancer who attacked Tova's village, and was about to kill her too when Tova begged the Thunder God for help - and got it. Down comes an unexpected lightning bolt, the henchman is knocked off his feet, Tova grabs his maul - and one smashed skull later, an adventurer is born, armed with a maul pulsing with divine proficiency and on a quest to find and kill that frickin' necromancer in the name of the Thunder God. Oh, and she occasionally restores hit points, too.

All that came from nothing more than rolling stats and letting the options suggest a story, so if nothing else 5e did something that no previous edition ever managed and made me think that clerics could be cool.

Maybe part of the issue with clerics is simply the name of the class. You've got Fighter! Wizard! Rogue! ...cleric. It's like Fighter Pilot! Rock Star! Actor! ...vicar.



Nice non-traditional character. But why is a non-traditional character made as a totally traditional core class build? Something to think about, eh?



You`re saying, basically, that the name of the class "cleric" sounds lame. To me, it does not. Probably it should be renamed into "priest" to bring more adventurous fantasy-like flavor. But the class is fine. It is awesome. Xellos from Slayers! Redcloak from Order of the Stick! Those are just off the top of my head, really. High priests as legendary characters are quite common, it`s just that because of the lame presentation D&D players are stuck with "cleric-as-bandaid". That`s the problem, which I described fully in the name of the thread.

I absolutely love playing my Dwarven Lifebringer cleric with Interposing Shield. He feels hearty enough and fits a battle cleric role well.

A Brave Knight of WTF

I absolutely love playing my Dwarven Lifebringer cleric with Interposing Shield. He feels hearty enough and fits a battle cleric role well.



Congratulations to you. I have no doubts that experienced D&D players love their clerics, I don`t think anything is wrong with the particular characters. I think something`s wrong with the class concept.



I`d be really glad if you replied to the actual arguments (about meaningless multiclass, about cleric archetypes) instead of the point I didn`t make: that the characters that can be built with this class are somehow bad. They are good. Just really limited.



To expand on it, I wanted to make a cleric character. I had a particular image of her in my mind, image that I felt was archetypical and obvious: a kind healer, follower of a kind healing/mother-like/nature goddess, who is awesome at helping her friends fight and can use some divine power to crash enemies directly, but isn`t really into this kind of thing, because she spent most of her life, you know, being a CLERIC. Worshipping her goddess, studying lore and so on.


I couldn`t. A healer cleric for some weird reason got a weapon proficiency, basically suggesting that my studious devoted humble girl for some weird reason spent a good portion of her life learning to fight. Why?!

Let`s go another way about it.


Imagine a D&D setting. A world. Forgotten Realms, for example; basically whatever world that doesn`t have PCs be the only high-level characters.


Imagine a high priest of the god. A guy who`s the coolest cleric around. Who has access to the most divine spells. Who is the most direct proponent of the will of their god. A Cleric of all Clerics.


How do you see him? A guy in armor, wielding a mace or a longsword, strong and tough? Or charismatic and learned, clad in robes, wielding a book or a magic staff?

Lilies, sorry for my short post that didn't seem to address your op. I'm on iPhone.

I do think there are lots of options for building clerics with the new package. But I would like ways (through feats or other diety abilities) to do other non-combat or combat support thingies. As the system grows I'm hoping there will be growth in that arena.

A Brave Knight of WTF

Lilies, sorry for my short post that didn't seem to address your op. I'm on iPhone.


No problems) I just thought I`d clarify my original idea a bit, sorry if it seemed agressive, it`s just a way to attract attention to what I`m saying. Here in the internet polite and humble statements get ignored a lot (=



I do think there are lots of options for building clerics with the new package. But I would like ways (through feats or other diety abilities) to do other non-combat or combat support thingies. As the system grows I'm hoping there will be growth in that arena.


I personally would like ways to trade clerics` combat abilities for non-combat or combat-support ones. A wizard by default is not assumed to have spent years of his life training with weapons instead of studying, why does cleric have this as the only option?



I agree that there are lots of options. I liked them, and I totally used them in creation of my homebrew setting. When I saw the Lifebringer option, I was all "Oh! Wandering healing priests, like Rezo from Slayers (only for real)". And then I read the description of mechanics. Proficient with all armor and shields. And I was all "lolwut? o.O why does a freakin` healer, who probably spent all her life in the temple tending to the sick, know how to use armor and shields? oh, maybe she has some mystery in her life, maybe she`s not an ordinary cleric... wait, it`s like that for ALL healing clerics *facepalm*"

The thing is, though, all classes in D&D are designed around combat, whether physical or magical, because no matter which edition you're playing it's the mechanical core of the game: kill monsters, gain XP. Unless you ask the DM if you can trade in class-given weapon and armour proficiencies and other combat-related abilities for healing and utility skills/feats, you're always going to end up with some variation of Battle Priest, because that's what the game is written to produce. 
I see what you mean. The good news is that WoTC is adding more support feats/features to the fighters and rogues. There is hope for clerics. Also when all is said and done I'm sure each DM will do world-building to alter specific class builds. WoTC should eventually publish guidelines for making alterations like the healing cleric pacifist. Cheers.

A Brave Knight of WTF

The thing is, though, all classes in D&D are designed around combat, whether physical or magical, because no matter which edition you're playing it's the mechanical core of the game: kill monsters, gain XP. Unless you ask the DM if you can trade in class-given weapon and armour proficiencies and other combat-related abilities for healing and utility skills/feats, you're always going to end up with some variation of Battle Priest, because that's what the game is written to produce.



I understand that D&D is designed around combat. But it doesn`t have to be exactly this way. Take wizards: they hardly recieve any proficiencies, can`t use armor or shields, and get low hp. That`s because they, fluff-wise, spend their whole life studying and not jogging. Why are clerics more melee-oriented? They have the same lifestyle: study and teach others.

And I`m the DM. I`m one who must allow this trade. Well I could, but I`m new to D&D, I have no idea how to balance this.


I see what you mean. The good news is that WoTC is adding more support feats/features to the fighters and rogues. There is hope for clerics. Also when all is said and done I'm sure each DM will do world-building to alter specific class builds. WoTC should eventually publish guidelines for making alterations like the healing cleric pacifist. Cheers.


Mind that "pacifist cleric" doesn`t somehow mean "a cleric who is against killing" or "a cleric who gave up on their innate combat abilities to heal", just "cleric who was never trained to be a melee warrior".


And I really hope that they are going to add such options. That`s why I wrote here, on the feedback forum - what if someone from WotC sees this and thinks "Wow, that`s a good idea, we should totally do this!"

If you're the DM, then you could try just reskinning a wizard - same lower hit die, same lack of weapons and armour training, only they use clerical spells and cantrips instead of wizardly ones. Since Next is still in the testing stages, you'll get to find out for yourself whether or not it's balanced, and the designers may even be interested in what you find out.
Oh, wait, this thread should probably have been at Player`s playtest feedback forum... after all, I didn`t have any objections to clerics as DM, I had objections as a player who failed to create a character of rather common and obvious archetype. Maybe mods can fix this.



Actually I'm going to move it to  Playtest Packet Discussion since it's not a report of a session you've played.

Thanks!

Monica

Monica

Wizards of the Coast Online Community Coordinator

A friendly dragon.

But I`ve never ever seen a single person complain that a cleric lacked the flavor of his class.



*cough*

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

*cough* 
I think this is the best iteration of the cleric that I've seen. The class simultaneously handles the pacifist healer, the elfish trickster, and the warbringing battlecleric all in one fell swoop with a number of other possibilities. Deity choice matters and influences everything about how to play your character.
I see Thor, especially from the Ultimates, as an iconic "cleric". He is armed, armored, and imbued with divine power. He spreads message of peace in his downtime, while most think he is just insane.
Darth Vader and Paul Atreides can also be seen as iconic cleric.

Oh, wait, this thread should probably have been at Player`s playtest feedback forum... after all, I didn`t have any objections to clerics as DM, I had objections as a player who failed to create a character of rather common and obvious archetype. Maybe mods can fix this.



Actually I'm going to move it to  Playtest Packet Discussion since it's not a report of a session you've played.

Thanks!

Monica


Thank you!


But I`ve never ever seen a single person complain that a cleric lacked the flavor of his class.



*cough*

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


*cough* 



Oh, thanks, I didn`t see that. The same ideas, huh?





I think this is the best iteration of the cleric that I've seen. The class simultaneously handles the pacifist healer, the elfish trickster, and the warbringing battlecleric all in one fell swoop with a number of other possibilities. Deity choice matters and influences everything about how to play your character.


I`m not going to argue with this. Actually, the deity choice was the very thing why I decided to try to make a cleric, before that I wasn`t really interested at all.


But why the hell the Lifebringer cleric recieves the armor and shield proficiency? It makes no sense! I don`t know about the others, I don`t really care about them (except probably Trickster, it`s fun too), but the path I always liked the most was completely screwed.




If you're the DM, then you could try just reskinning a wizard - same lower hit die, same lack of weapons and armour training, only they use clerical spells and cantrips instead of wizardly ones. Since Next is still in the testing stages, you'll get to find out for yourself whether or not it's balanced, and the designers may even be interested in what you find out.



Yeah... since I actually like a lot of things about the cleric class (deity choice, Channel Divinity), and since I understand that clerics were actually given martial abilities as a balancing thing to compensate for lack of spellcasting power compared to wizards, that would in fact be not "reskin" but "creating the whole new class based on three old ones" (three, not two, because I feel that clerics shold recieve Charisma-based powers, at least as an option). Excellent start of a DM career for someone who`s never played the game before. Actually, I`ll probably try this, if only as an exercise, so thanks for idea anyway!


tl;dr - clerics are not "wizards with divine magic instead of arcane", they are a completely different archetype, so it`s gonna be a lot more than just "reskin". But thanks for the idea anyway.

I see Thor, especially from the Ultimates, as an iconic "cleric". He is armed, armored, and imbued with divine power. He spreads message of peace in his downtime, while most think he is just insane.


Wait, was he, even in Ultimates or whatever (I didn`t read), a CLERIC, as in, a humble and obedient servant of the god? I know him as a deity, not a PRIEST of someone else. And it IS a big difference: do you have powers on your own (as a wizard does) or do you get them from a higher power in exchange for loyal service (as a cleric is supposed to).


Anyway, if he was, he could be an iconic battle cleric, yes, but it`s not the only possible archetype.



Darth Vader and Paul Atreides can also be seen as iconic cleric.



Darth Vader? I didn`t read Dune, so I don`t know about Atreides, but Darth Vader, to me, is an epitome of a Blackguard. A former Paladin (even if normal Jedi were supposed to be more clerics, Anakin personally was really more Paladin type), who switched sides and got dark powers instead of light, the powers which are directed to batlle. Even leaving aside the question about which deity he served... okay, he was a follower of a "principle" and "philosophy".


Anyway, as I`ve already said, even if he can be seen as a variation of this class (seriously, I really think that flavor is covered with Paladin), this certainly should not be the ONLY avaliable option.

I think I understand the misunderstanding. A cleric does NOT have to worship any deity. A cleric practices a belief and champion it. The religions of the given setting happen to form and organize many of such beliefs. Many defined and stat deities in DND are clerics themselves..
Nevertheless, the current cleric class does utilize deities as concepts for customization options.
I think I understand the misunderstanding. A cleric does NOT have to worship any deity. A cleric practices a belief and champion it. The religions of the given setting happen to form and organize many of such beliefs. Many defined and stat deities in DND are clerics themselves..

So... what? He can champion any belief, how does that invalidate the option of a traditional cleric? Like I already said, imagine a high priest of the religion in a high-level setting. Is he some other class than cleric? Is he an experienced warrior?


And what exact principle does Thor pursue? He`s Chaotic, as far as I understand the traditional version of his character.



Nevertheless, the current cleric class does utilize deities as concepts for customization options.



Well, it`s clearly just an "aspect", basically a domain, not a deity. The domains seem to be chosen a bit randomly, as one of my players noted, but it can be less of an issue if they just make more of them in the development process (for example, my other player wanted to worship a god of night. guess what, no such option presented).


If they make more, you`ll probably be able to pick one and tie it to your belief, whatever it is.



By the way, interesting question: is a philosopher a cleric? It may be a bit far-fetched, but if they include it as a clearly defined option, it`ll be really cool.

there is a Sensate or a Xaositect. I don't know a whole lot about them, but the are prestige classes in 3.X and themes in 4e. Its been awhile since I read the dragon article, but they seem like they fit philosophy cleric.

Also, Eberron had The Path of Light which was a philosophy and religion that had no diety they worshipped. It is kind of like "The Force" because the worshippers believe that the universes positive energy manifestation itself.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
I can see your point on the weapon proficiency.  With regards to armor, you can view this as a means of providing greater protection to yourself in order to remain alive longer and easier in order to heal your companions.

That being said, everything in D&D can be modified at your own table.  If you feel a lifegiver cleric should be limited to no armor, do so.  You just have to give them something as a replacement to make up for the lack of armor (a reskinned Mage Armor as suggested before).  

I've been playing D&D since 1st edition, back when practically every cleric/priest was exactly the same regardless of god or faith.  Since 2nd edition, I love the direction priests/clerics have moved in becoming more distinct based on deity and alignment.  The 2e books Complete Priest's Handbook, Faiths and Avatars, Powers and Pantheons and Demihuman Deities are still some of my favorites.  You bring up an incredibly important point.  D&D takes place in worlds with magic, but more importantly worlds with gods that are active and likely to intercede.  Priests/clerics should be very powerful characters as they are agents of their respective gods.  I find them now to have individual flavor.  

I think what you are running into is you don't agree 100% with the vision put forth as the Lifegiver cleric.  And that happens.  So, modify to your vision.  Just be careful to not take away too much survivability or they won't be giving too much life back upon the battlefield.  I view "healer" clerics like battlefield/combat medics.  Sure, they are skilled in the arts of healing, but they can also fight.  That doesn't mean there aren't clerics who only heal in temples and aren't trained in combat, but those who go out adventuring likely spent some time to learn about combat in order to survive to carry out their god's will and heal their companions.

Just my 2 or 3 cents. 
I do see high priests in some setting been the traditional DnD cleric before their establishing their creeds or sects. In dangerous worlds filled with monsters, such clerics have survived tests of faith and tests of body. In other settings, the high priest can be a level 20 commoner whom never left the safety of holy ground.
That being said, everything in D&D can be modified at your own table.  If you feel a lifegiver cleric should be limited to no armor, do so.  You just have to give them something as a replacement to make up for the lack of armor (a reskinned Mage Armor as suggested before).


Still not really sure what OP is on about (doesn't like that clerics can fight? in D&D?), but this is basically all that needs to be said. Swap armor for Mage Armor and martial weapon proficiencies for... I dunno... a bonus expert feat or something. There's a pacifist cleric for you.
When Clerics effectively have 19 dead levels other than spells, THEN you can call it flavorless. Sincerely, wizard players. 
snip

While clerics as warrior-priests are a time honored staple of Dungeons and Dragons...and are therefore, for reasons ranging from playstyle to sentimentality, loved by many...you are correct that they don't fit wide swaths of real world and legendary Priestly figures...the solution, introduced in 2E, were Specialty Priests of the Divine figures. And I agree completely that, as a build option for divine classes, it would be most welcome by many players who just don't see their village healer and counselor...or their scholarly monk...or their priestess of the goddess of love...wearing chainmail and bashing heads...

Given the design goals of 5E the aggregate of all past PHB classes should be present in the 5E PHB: Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue, Assassin, Monk, Fighter, Warlord, Paladin, Cleric/Priest, Psion, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard/Mage/Illusionist, Bard, and Druid. Add in one or two Gish/variants and call it perfect.

I'm sorry but isn't there another cleric build that doesn't have armor and melee capabity?  WotC specifically said that they want to include both armored and robed varieties of cleric.
I would also like to disagree with the comment of "no flavor". I have been a D&D player since the launch of 3rd ed and I have to say, this is probably the best iteration of the Cleric I have seen. The archetypal options for the gods instead of specifics I love since you can skin them for your world (though that probably won't stay) and the eight options all feel like products of different beliefs.

When I pulled out the playtest packet for the first time and gave it a  read through, a NE Cleric of the Reaper was the first thing I rolled up. This build, in particular, just feels right. You have a necromancer of a dark god (or in our world, the dark spirits) and he plays like a burgeoning Sauron. Love it.

Also, the Arcanist build and the Lightbringer build are specifically the kind of cleric you are talking about. They do not get armor and weapon proficiencies and are powerful priestly characters, their faith and spells really coming to the forefront, so it's already included in the game to play that aspect of the cleric.

Death Comes For All

I would also like to disagree with the comment of "no flavor". I have been a D&D player since the launch of 3rd ed and I have to say, this is probably the best iteration of the Cleric I have seen. The archetypal options for the gods instead of specifics I love since you can skin them for your world (though that probably won't stay) and the eight options all feel like products of different beliefs.

When I pulled out the playtest packet for the first time and gave it a  read through, a NE Cleric of the Reaper was the first thing I rolled up. This build, in particular, just feels right. You have a necromancer of a dark god (or in our world, the dark spirits) and he plays like a burgeoning Sauron. Love it.

Also, the Arcanist build and the Lightbringer build are specifically the kind of cleric you are talking about. They do not get armor and weapon proficiencies and are powerful priestly characters, their faith and spells really coming to the forefront, so it's already included in the game to play that aspect of the cleric.



I think, perhaps because you found what you wanted in the playtest packet already, you aren't quite seeing the point.

As it stands there are 6 Divine archetypes with clerics (including the Healer build) and 2 with specialty priests. Question: Would having cleric AND specialty priest options for all 8 of the Divine archetypes be detrimental to the overall game experience?



Given the design goals of 5E the aggregate of all past PHB classes should be present in the 5E PHB: Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue, Assassin, Monk, Fighter, Warlord, Paladin, Cleric/Priest, Psion, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard/Mage/Illusionist, Bard, and Druid. Add in one or two Gish/variants and call it perfect.

And while I'm thinking about it...Kudos on the Arcanist priestly build...simple, straightforward and thematically spot on...I think I may actually like it better than Dweomerkeepers...and as a long time lover of Mystra, that's saying something.

Given the design goals of 5E the aggregate of all past PHB classes should be present in the 5E PHB: Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue, Assassin, Monk, Fighter, Warlord, Paladin, Cleric/Priest, Psion, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard/Mage/Illusionist, Bard, and Druid. Add in one or two Gish/variants and call it perfect.

The eight archtypes provide a strong core for the class to expand on. Many of the aspects do have martial demands, while some do not. Introducing more deity choices later may be a better solution.

One major concern seems to be the martial cleric/healer Lifebringer. Traditionally, DND has very few ranged heal spell. Most have been touch spells. This means the lifebringer cleric has to get into the mix to serve its purpose. This may not be true anymore. The cure spells in the playtest do have range. This may encourage some adjustments.

Where I have issue with the Cleric is that I want weapon/armor options to a be a separate option from deity choice. keeping them attached makes sense for some deity choices but it's kinda a cop out with others, it's not just the Lifebringer that should have other options for equipment/fighting style 

If I make a Trickster Cleric, maybe I want them to more like an illusionist/spy who dresses incognito and doesn't have a weapon, or maybe I want them to be more like a temple raider who's equipped much like a rogue.

If I make a Warbringer Cleric, maybe I want them to be a tactical commando type in light armor directing his allies, or maybe more of a warmage type that casts spells to change the tide of battle from afar.

If I make a Stormcaller Cleric, maybe I want them to be like a viking spirit warrior dressed in hides and wielding a spear, or maybe more of a bare chested tribal ragemage type.

If I make a Reaper Cleric, maybe I want them to be a stealthy avenger/assassin type or a frail sickly necromancer type.


Hello there, I'm new to the post and I have to say I'm a little flabbergasted with the OP and the issue here.  I didn't quite know how to respond but I'm going to try.  I have to agree with Theotherdruid in that the arcanist and the lifegiver are probably the type of cleric one might look for if you wanted to heal more or have a wider arrange of non violent but not useless powers.  So lifegiver clerics have prof. with all armour.....??  If you don't want to wear armour, don't wear amour.  But first you might want to ask your group how they feel about having to protect the wizard AND the cleric so they can get their spells off.  The text for clerics says they are servants of the gods...every servant ever was trained on how to serve their master correctly.  I read and re-read the lifegiver idea and no where did it say he/she/it was pacifist or non violent, just more concerned with making people whole and well.  And why wouldn't you want to wear armour?  It's pratical.  And simple weapons are just that, simple.  I've never used a mace but if you gave me one I'm pretty sure I could figure out what end of the weapon I would try to hit some one with.  In the OP when iconic classes were being listed only one person was listed from the actual word and systems of D&D, all the other characters were created in different books or movies with no limitations on the authors imagination so it's harder to make characters and classes in this game be as cool or influential or powerful in D&D where there are set limits....but that's were we, the players, come in.  It sounds like a cool roleplaying oppurtunity, a monkish cleric who has studied healing and holy scripture who is suddenly thrust into an adventuring life but it's just that, roleplaying.  So I dunno, I hope I don't sound ranty but wizards and D&D can't be expected to cover every conceivable concept for every character type that was, is or may be.  That's why we, the players, are here.  : )
I know that I probably have not been playing as long as many other people, but I personally like the D&D Next direction taken with the cleric.  I know the cleric is not like a fighter or wizard, capable of slaughtering armies of enemies without any problems, but when I play my Lightbringer cleric, I feel like I have my own special powers that make the cleric class stand out to me.  Sure, I cannot go around stopping time or bring down 3 orcs with a swing of a halberd, but without the cleric, how long will that fighter or wizard last?  The cleric can be a more martial leader of his or her faith, be a priestly figure whose rays of light bring down the undead and channeled energies boost the life force of the cleric's allies, or even a necromancer or wizardly being.


To me, the cleric can be like a fighter, a rogue, a wizard, or a supporting figure.  The spotlight may not be on the cleric, but that does not mean the cleric is not important to the constitution of a group.  Sometimes, it is the unsung heroes who really are the ones worth telling tales about because without them, we cannot tell tales about the legendary wizard or that barbarian who slew 2 blue dragons in the same battle.  D&D Next has definitely brought the cleric into an age that keeps me playing the class.  
Hello there, I'm new to the post and I have to say I'm a little flabbergasted with the OP and the issue here.  I didn't quite know how to respond but I'm going to try.  I have to agree with Theotherdruid in that the arcanist and the lifegiver are probably the type of cleric one might look for if you wanted to heal more or have a wider arrange of non violent but not useless powers.  So lifegiver clerics have prof. with all armour.....??  If you don't want to wear armour, don't wear amour.  But first you might want to ask your group how they feel about having to protect the wizard AND the cleric so they can get their spells off.  The text for clerics says they are servants of the gods...every servant ever was trained on how to serve their master correctly.  I read and re-read the lifegiver idea and no where did it say he/she/it was pacifist or non violent, just more concerned with making people whole and well.  And why wouldn't you want to wear armour?  It's pratical.  And simple weapons are just that, simple.  I've never used a mace but if you gave me one I'm pretty sure I could figure out what end of the weapon I would try to hit some one with.


I think we are a little off point here; nobody is saying that they feel they're being forced to play a character in a way they don't want to or that the cleric archetypes in the current playtest are wrong, we would just like to have the class be more flexible to accommodate additional archetypes.

In the OP when iconic classes were being listed only one person was listed from the actual word and systems of D&D, all the other characters were created in different books or movies with no limitations on the authors imagination so it's harder to make characters and classes in this game be as cool or influential or powerful in D&D where there are set limits.


All we are saying is that it would feel more rewarding to us if it was easier.



I would also like to disagree with the comment of "no flavor". I have been a D&D player since the launch of 3rd ed and I have to say, this is probably the best iteration of the Cleric I have seen. The archetypal options for the gods instead of specifics I love since you can skin them for your world (though that probably won't stay) and the eight options all feel like products of different beliefs.

When I pulled out the playtest packet for the first time and gave it a  read through, a NE Cleric of the Reaper was the first thing I rolled up. This build, in particular, just feels right. You have a necromancer of a dark god (or in our world, the dark spirits) and he plays like a burgeoning Sauron. Love it.

Also, the Arcanist build and the Lightbringer build are specifically the kind of cleric you are talking about. They do not get armor and weapon proficiencies and are powerful priestly characters, their faith and spells really coming to the forefront, so it's already included in the game to play that aspect of the cleric.



I think, perhaps because you found what you wanted in the playtest packet already, you aren't quite seeing the point.

As it stands there are 6 Divine archetypes with clerics (including the Healer build) and 2 with specialty priests. Question: Would having cleric AND specialty priest options for all 8 of the Divine archetypes be detrimental to the overall game experience?







I'm sorry, I did leave out that I have never played a Cleric and our main gaming group never had one. I play Wizards and Druids, with one notable Monk. The way the Cleric works mechanically makes it feel like it's own class now, instead of just "Fighter who can heal".  It was because of the title of this thread that I felt compelled to comment, because I'm pretty sure a lot of people feel that Cleric is actually done right in this playtest.

Death Comes For All

I'm sorry, I did leave out that I have never played a Cleric and our main gaming group never had one. I play Wizards and Druids, with one notable Monk. The way the Cleric works mechanically makes it feel like it's own class now, instead of just "Fighter who can heal".  It was because of the title of this thread that I felt compelled to comment, because I'm pretty sure a lot of people feel that Cleric is actually done right in this playtest.



I'm glad you are having your first experience with playing a cleric and that its a good one What the author of this thread seemed to be saying, and what a number of others feel, is that you should absolutely get to keep playing your cleric, but that we'd like WoTC to *also* provide a rule set for people to play priests of the 6 of 8 Divine archetypes that currently only have the cleric option...in fact a full 8 of 8 for *both* cleric and priest would be ideal...can it be homebrewed around? Sure, if a DM is willing...but there is a reason people bother with rule books for RPGs at all...and it is just preferable for there to be - at the very least - a little box on the side of the cleric page, explaining how to shift a cleric to priest and vice versa,  "by the book." Fewer arguments, less  frustration, more fun playing.





Given the design goals of 5E the aggregate of all past PHB classes should be present in the 5E PHB: Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue, Assassin, Monk, Fighter, Warlord, Paladin, Cleric/Priest, Psion, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard/Mage/Illusionist, Bard, and Druid. Add in one or two Gish/variants and call it perfect.

First, to everyone. I`m not making the point that Cleric is flavorless and I never intended to. I just wanted the thread name to be attracting attention and flammable. Hope you can forgive me for this minor deception... honestly, everyone who bothered to read the OP, not just the thread name, ATTENTIVELY (not like it`s usually done in the internets) should not have any problems understanding what I wanted to say (= as proven by many people already (=



I can see your point on the weapon proficiency.  With regards to armor, you can view this as a means of providing greater protection to yourself in order to remain alive longer and easier in order to heal your companions.

That being said, everything in D&D can be modified at your own table.  If you feel a lifegiver cleric should be limited to no armor, do so.  You just have to give them something as a replacement to make up for the lack of armor (a reskinned Mage Armor as suggested before).  

I've been playing D&D since 1st edition, back when practically every cleric/priest was exactly the same regardless of god or faith.  Since 2nd edition, I love the direction priests/clerics have moved in becoming more distinct based on deity and alignment.  The 2e books Complete Priest's Handbook, Faiths and Avatars, Powers and Pantheons and Demihuman Deities are still some of my favorites.  You bring up an incredibly important point.  D&D takes place in worlds with magic, but more importantly worlds with gods that are active and likely to intercede.  Priests/clerics should be very powerful characters as they are agents of their respective gods.  I find them now to have individual flavor.  

I think what you are running into is you don't agree 100% with the vision put forth as the Lifegiver cleric.  And that happens.  So, modify to your vision.  Just be careful to not take away too much survivability or they won't be giving too much life back upon the battlefield.  I view "healer" clerics like battlefield/combat medics.  Sure, they are skilled in the arts of healing, but they can also fight.  That doesn't mean there aren't clerics who only heal in temples and aren't trained in combat, but those who go out adventuring likely spent some time to learn about combat in order to survive to carry out their god's will and heal their companions.


Just my 2 or 3 cents. 



I don`t say I want the Lifebringer be limited to no armor, that would be really stupid idea. I say I want OPTIONS. I don`t have much of an issue with more HP than rogue has... toughness can be granted by gods without character having to do anything for this. But handwaving armor and shield proficiency like that is... more difficult.


I love how the cleric class has been changed to support different flavors. I just think it hasn`t been changed enough, and I think that this forum during the playtest is the right site to post my opinion.


And "those who go out adventuring likely spent some time to learn about combat in order to survive to carry out their god's will and heal their companions" is just an assuption, no better than "every rogue is a member of thieves guild". "I wanna go kill some monsters and loot some stuff" is not the only possible reason for going out adventuring, and probably one of the most boring. I like stories about heroes who just kinda get thrown into the battle, forced to protect what they love with what they already have, and especially those who would never have thought of the life of adventuring before the start of the campaign.


And there are different ways to fight. Wizards and rogues have fewer hp, wizards don`t get armor and shield proficiencies, yet no one says they aren`t balanced for combat. That`s the problem, you can`t just throw out armor proficiency and pretend it was never there, it would make cleric weaker than other classes.




I do see high priests in some setting been the traditional DnD cleric before their establishing their creeds or sects. In dangerous worlds filled with monsters, such clerics have survived tests of faith and tests of body. In other settings, the high priest can be a level 20 commoner whom never left the safety of holy ground.


Hm. That`s possible too, but I don`t like the idea of high priests being just charlatans in the world of fully functioning magic and proactive gods, with real clerics running around, no matter how peaceful and monsterless the setting (you realize that human is the most dangerous monster and politics is deadlier than adventuring, don`t you?). There must be some middle ground between "used to be a PC" and "has no divine powers at all", don`t you think?



That being said, everything in D&D can be modified at your own table.  If you feel a lifegiver cleric should be limited to no armor, do so.  You just have to give them something as a replacement to make up for the lack of armor (a reskinned Mage Armor as suggested before).



Still not really sure what OP is on about (doesn't like that clerics can fight? in D&D?), but this is basically all that needs to be said. Swap armor for Mage Armor and martial weapon proficiencies for... I dunno... a bonus expert feat or something. There's a pacifist cleric for you.



A Mage Armor? What for? Do all wizards have it as a necessity? No, they stay out of fight and blast from the range. Cure spells have been imped, they are now ranged and can be cast as swift actions. Cleric can just join the wizard on the nearby hill.


Bonus expert feat or something... yeah, that`s what I`m looking for!




When Clerics effectively have 19 dead levels other than spells, THEN you can call it flavorless. Sincerely, wizard players. 


Don`t they already? *go check the rules* Oh, they have 18. Oh, sorry, wrong packet. Oh, they have 17. But given that in neither packet they are given any choice... yes, they do.


I hope this isn`t the new WotC policy, but rather just a matter of the playtest, where they want to test the basic ideas before expanding on them.



snip

While clerics as warrior-priests are a time honored staple of Dungeons and Dragons...and are therefore, for reasons ranging from playstyle to sentimentality, loved by many...you are correct that they don't fit wide swaths of real world and legendary Priestly figures...the solution, introduced in 2E, were Specialty Priests of the Divine figures. And I agree completely that, as a build option for divine classes, it would be most welcome by many players who just don't see their village healer and counselor...or their scholarly monk...or their priestess of the goddess of love...wearing chainmail and bashing heads...




This.


And I don`t say the old clerics be ruled out of the game. Sentimentality, playstyle, whatever - the more options the better. I`ll feel like more roleplaying when my pacifist cleric is that way not because it`s the default mechanics of the class, but because I chose it. Hope the others do as well.




I'm sorry but isn't there another cleric build that doesn't have armor and melee capabity?  WotC specifically said that they want to include both armored and robed varieties of cleric.


They are Arcanists and Lightbringers, not healers. I have a specific image in mind, which isn`t really original, and it isn`t any of these.




I would also like to disagree with the comment of "no flavor".


So would I. It was just a PR trick, never mind.


I have been a D&D player since the launch of 3rd ed and I have to say, this is probably the best iteration of the Cleric I have seen. The archetypal options for the gods instead of specifics I love since you can skin them for your world (though that probably won't stay) and the eight options all feel like products of different beliefs. 


I totally agree. Before that, I wouldn`t even look at the Cleric class. Now it feels almost right... almost.


And I totally used the archetypes in creating a pantheon for my homebrew setting. They really helped, before that I didn`t know where to start, and with them I first defined them mechanically (four domains for a husband/wife pair which is worshipped as a whole) and then fluffed as I wanted them to be.



When I pulled out the playtest packet for the first time and gave it a  read through, a NE Cleric of the Reaper was the first thing I rolled up. This build, in particular, just feels right. You have a necromancer of a dark god (or in our world, the dark spirits) and he plays like a burgeoning Sauron. Love it.



Glad it worked for you. It`s hit-of-miss, you see.



Also, the Arcanist build and the Lightbringer build are specifically the kind of cleric you are talking about.
They do not get armor and weapon proficiencies and are powerful priestly characters, their faith and spells really coming to the forefront, so it's already included in the game to play that aspect of the cleric.


No they are not. They are not HEALERS. Other than that, you are kinda right. But it`s the most important.




Where I have issue with the Cleric is that I want weapon/armor options to a be a separate option from deity choice. keeping them attached makes sense for some deity choices but it's kinda a cop out with others, it's not just the Lifebringer that should have other options for equipment/fighting style 

If I make a Trickster Cleric, maybe I want them to more like an illusionist/spy who dresses incognito and doesn't have a weapon, or maybe I want them to be more like a temple raider who's equipped much like a rogue.

If I make a Warbringer Cleric, maybe I want them to be a tactical commando type in light armor directing his allies, or maybe more of a warmage type that casts spells to change the tide of battle from afar.

If I make a Stormcaller Cleric, maybe I want them to be like a viking spirit warrior dressed in hides and wielding a spear, or maybe more of a bare chested tribal ragemage type.

If I make a Reaper Cleric, maybe I want them to be a stealthy avenger/assassin type or a frail sickly necromancer type.





This. I agree with this so much.




Hello there, I'm new to the post and I have to say I'm a little flabbergasted with the OP and the issue here.  I didn't quite know how to respond but I'm going to try.  I have to agree with Theotherdruid in that the arcanist and the lifegiver are probably the type of cleric one might look for if you wanted to heal more or have a wider arrange of non violent but not useless powers. So lifegiver clerics have prof. with all armour.....??  If you don't want to wear armour, don't wear amour.  But first you might want to ask your group how they feel about having to protect the wizard AND the cleric so they can get their spells off. 


Well... if I just ditch armor and pretend it was never even there, I will have nerfed my cleric so much that my party could feel offended. But I want to get different options instead, such that my group would look at my build and say "Screw armor! We`ll totally dig these powers instead of it, go straight ahead and play your pacifist". That`s the point.



The text for clerics says they are servants of the gods...every servant ever was trained on how to serve their master correctly.


There are different ways to serve. One servant is a cook, another is a guard, the third is a butler. Why the hell don`t I get choice?


  I read and re-read the lifegiver idea and no where did it say he/she/it was pacifist or non violent, just more concerned with making people whole and well.


Nowhere. It wasn`t even my idea. People can ignore possibitily to train in melee combat for reasons other than pacifism - like, you know, wizards do.


  And why wouldn't you want to wear armour?  It's pratical.


It`s not that I don`t want to wear armor. It`s that I don`t want to spend precious years of my life learning to wear it, I just kinda have other priorities.


  And simple weapons are just that, simple.  I've never used a mace but if you gave me one I'm pretty sure I could figure out what end of the weapon I would try to hit some one with. 


I see your point. Actually I don`t have problems with default simple weapon proficiency, I can see why everyone has it for a virtue of not being a brain-dead moron.


In the OP when iconic classes were being listed only one person was listed from the actual word and systems of D&D, all the other characters were created in different books or movies with no limitations on the authors imagination so it's harder to make characters and classes in this game be as cool or influential or powerful in D&D where there are set limits....but that's were we, the players, come in.  It sounds like a cool roleplaying oppurtunity, a monkish cleric who has studied healing and holy scripture who is suddenly thrust into an adventuring life but it's just that, roleplaying.  So I dunno, I hope I don't sound ranty but wizards and D&D can't be expected to cover every conceivable concept for every character type that was, is or may be.  That's why we, the players, are here.  : )


I actually hesitated about including Drizzt and Redcloak into my examples, since they are essentially D&D characters and could blur my point. Guess that`s what happened.


You see, the fiction is primary. It came first. Well, actually the myths came first, but whatever, it`s not the point, they can be included in the same cathegory.


So, heroic archetypes come first. Then people try to emulate them with roleplaying. Then comes D&D and offers rules for that. In that order, not the other way round.


And yeah, the rules don`t need to describe any character concept possible, that really is the job of the players. The job of the rules it to provide us with instruments to do that. Don`t forget that combat is not just "also" roleplaying, it`s the main part of the roleplaying, one where character gets fleshed out. If someone finishes off all his enemies whether or not they surrender or plead for mercy, and then in the non-combat interactions is all nice and kind, he`s still a sick cruel person without a concept of morality.


And if I have a choice of whether scrap my character concept by adding a majorly contradicting part, nerf a character by ignoring part of his powers or make a houserule to fix it, the RAW are not doing their job. Simple as that. 


I know that I probably have not been playing as long as many other people, but I personally like the D&D Next direction taken with the cleric.  I know the cleric is not like a fighter or wizard, capable of slaughtering armies of enemies without any problems, but when I play my Lightbringer cleric, I feel like I have my own special powers that make the cleric class stand out to me.  Sure, I cannot go around stopping time or bring down 3 orcs with a swing of a halberd, but without the cleric, how long will that fighter or wizard last?  The cleric can be a more martial leader of his or her faith, be a priestly figure whose rays of light bring down the undead and channeled energies boost the life force of the cleric's allies, or even a necromancer or wizardly being.


To me, the cleric can be like a fighter, a rogue, a wizard, or a supporting figure.  The spotlight may not be on the cleric, but that does not mean the cleric is not important to the constitution of a group.  Sometimes, it is the unsung heroes who really are the ones worth telling tales about because without them, we cannot tell tales about the legendary wizard or that barbarian who slew 2 blue dragons in the same battle.  D&D Next has definitely brought the cleric into an age that keeps me playing the class.  



This. So much this.