Clerics and the Insurmountable Hurdle

Let us just say what has been clear about D&D from the very beginning.

Clerics suck.

No, I don't mean mechanically. I mean thematically. Think about it.

Every other class in the game is proactive. When the Fighter swings their sword and cleaves an enemy in half-- it is the Fighter who swings the sword and cleaves the monster. When a Rogue springs the pitfall trap safely and keeps the party from falling to their certain deaths, it is the Rogue springing that trap. When a Wizard warps the fabric of reality based on a prediscovered recipe, it is that Wizard exercising his will over the very laws and physics of the universe and ripping open portals to other dimensions.

When a Cleric casts a spell.... that means the Cleric has tossed herself before the mercy of one of a million gods inhabiting the world and pleasured that god enough so that he'll care just so slightly enough to exercise that tiny fraction of his attention towards assisting the party.

Every single other class without fail attempts to be its own paragon, works from a set of ideals. The character's time is its own, they are free to do as they please and their ability to exercise their will upon their environment remains intact. The Cleric alone is absolutely nothing but a shallow shell attempting to emulate a legend, although-- far more likely-- rather than emulate the legend, they just spend every second of every day sucking up to and debasing themself before the deity... which, by the way, we can easily surmise is in fact a high level character of any class EXCEPT Cleric. The ability of the Cleric to do much of anything is entirely tied to its ability to continue being a loud enough evangelical kiss ass to this high level NPC that the NPC would feel it worth its while to give it the occassional pat on the head, a situation shared only with the Paladin.

Moreover, what exactly are these high level characters that the Clerics are required to be raving fanboys and fangirls about? Well-- a few of them are in settings that have done quite a bit with them. Maybe massive fans of Forgotten Realms novels know enough about Mystara or Tyr or a few others that they can find interest in playing a raving fangirl of Mystara. But for the most part? You are playing a character who is obsessed with a deity who is described in all of one or two brief paragraphs and assigned a few domains leaving the player to just figure it out on their own. Considering that if one is playing a Cleric as described within the book, these deities are kind of the entirity of the motivation of massive numbers of characters, how did anyone think they could get away with being so lazy about it?

In fact, the Cleric's role is forced to be the member of the group who is inevitably going to end up causing huge friction within the party because while the others are likely to become opportunistic, the Cleric alone is FORCED to follow a strictly dictated set of rules and regulations on their behavior.

Few people have ever enjoyed playing The Cleric. Sure, there are those who enjoy handing out healing spells and buffs, but to play the role as proscribed within the PHB.... few people have ever enjoyed doing that. In fact, to compensate players for playing this rather inactive, thankless role of an pretty much useless bootlicker who can just sort of get an ultra powerful NPC to exercise an insignificant portion of that NPCs abilities upon the situation, a lot of mechanical goodies have been given to the class.

They get the same armor as Fighters and about as many hit points. In fact, choose the right god and they'll get the same weapon selection too. Their spells can do just as much damage as the Wizard's and can be cast while wearing full heavy armor. In fact, they don't even have to choose what spells to use in advance, but can just choose them as they feel like on the fly. But yet-- even after all this, even after making it from a mechanical perspective pretty much easily the most powerful class in the game... one cannot get 25% of the playerbase biting at the bit to play them.

And it should be okay that 25% of the playerbase doesn't want to play a particular class, right? After all, if you don't have a Fighter, a Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, or Ranger can work perfectly fine. Sometimes better! Don't have a Wizard? That's fine-- a Druid or Sorcerer or Psion can do their job just fine.  Don't have a Rogue? Well, perhaps a Ranger or Bard can cover the necessary missing skills.

But the Cleric? A Cleric in your group can easily as much as triple or quadrouple the amount of hit points your group has. Placing them where they are most needed in a single round. They allow you to go without having to forgo having to spend days on a mission. Yes, Paladins, Druids, Bards, and Rangers can toss out an occassional weak healing spell, you can eat up your encumbrance and gold with healing spells, but not nearly enough nor consistent enough to avoid requiring the group to strictly follow the 1-encounter a day model required without a Cleric. Moreover, they are the ONLY solution to the issue of someone falling below minimum hit points and dying-- at least the only solution that involves the character popping right back up again with full equipment and ready to dive into the next battle without missing a beat.

In short, the whole set up of the game so heavy-handedly enforces the playing of this one particular class and excludes all possible alternatives to it that it is not at all an exaggeration to say it is a REQUIRED class within any group that wishes to accomplish anything ever. Which means that it IS necessary that literally 25% of the players to play this class.

When we consider that
A) This is the most unappealing, least proactive, most dull class in the game
and
B) The game requires 25% of its playerbase play this class allowing for no possibility of alternatives at all.

 We can see that the logical conclusion is
The game requires that a quarter of its player base play themost unappealing, least proactive, most dull class in the game.

Now, some can do it. Some will find a way to play the Cleric character in a way that isn't mind-numbingly hollow and dull. Perhaps by just ignoring how the Cleric is described or what they are about. Just flippantly ignoring the deity all together and thinking of their domains much the same way as Wizards have schools or however.

But, that being said... you know... why exactly is the game so damn invested in making this the ONLY class that cannot receive a functional alternative? They are absolutely gung-ho about packing their game with so many different specific flavors of Fighter that it seems a bit silly to even have a generic version any more, but they are absolutely admanant about keeping this law that when a group sits down at the table someone HAS to play the dull, lifeless toady of some high level NPC that is forced to dictate and enforcing that NPC's desires and morals onto the group lest they end up with no abilities at all?

If that is only appealing to 10% of the playerbase, insisting that 25% of players play that class is simply a recipe for continued failure. And unlike in MMORPGs, in D&D someone can't really profit much off of filing that healer role by being at the head of line to get the adventures with the most treasure.

I think this post says more about the OP and his worldview than it does the cleric.  


I personally find the cleric a very flavorful class.   I admit that they could do more to develop Gods in the world (and I as DM do in my worlds) but it's still not terrible.  What's funny is that 13th Age could have been developed just to prove you wrong.  They decided that everyone needed a "God" because the cleric was having all the fun.   My cleric players often have ideas on how to flesh out minor details about their religious order.  As long as it fits the overall concept I've developed I allow them to be mini-DM for a bit.



     
It's strange, as I think a religious healer was the worse choice possible as the core support archetype, and as I don't like many thing about them on many levels, but I don't agree with almost everything.

And the fact that after 4th edition, there are great chances to not have to be bigots to be a support PC doesn't help.

I would have told my own reasons to not like the cleric class, but I don't want them to be considered under the light of this thread.
It's strange, as I think a religious healer was the worse choice possible as the core support archetype, and as I don't like many thing about them on many levels, but I don't agree with almost everything.

And the fact that after 4th edition, there are great chances to not have to be bigots to be a support PC doesn't help.

I would have told my own reasons to not like the cleric class, but I don't want them to be considered under the light of this thread.




If you have a creative DM, you could devise a God free world and use abstract forces for clerics.   That way they are "force" sensitive and thus in greater control.   You could have the light and the dark and those who haven't decided.   Even in a world with Gods, you could play a cleric that follows a philosophy. 
I think this post says more about the OP and his worldview than it does the cleric.  


     




+1

I love the DDN cleric. 

Danny

I've had some players that fell compeled to play a healer in prior editions, arguing that without one the group will be useless. The same players fell playing the healer like a burden because they didn't want to, but were in their mind forced to by the min-max theorycraft.

I will tell you the only thing I can tell to those players : "It's a fun game. Play whatever character you want to play. There is nothing to win but the pleasure of telling the story of your character and having a good time with your friends."

And btw, IMHO, The DDN cleric is by far the most interesting class for now
It's strange, as I think a religious healer was the worse choice possible as the core support archetype, and as I don't like many thing about them on many levels, but I don't agree with almost everything.

And the fact that after 4th edition, there are great chances to not have to be bigots to be a support PC doesn't help.

I would have told my own reasons to not like the cleric class, but I don't want them to be considered under the light of this thread.




If you have a creative DM, you could devise a God free world and use abstract forces for clerics.   That way they are "force" sensitive and thus in greater control.   You could have the light and the dark and those who haven't decided.   Even in a world with Gods, you could play a cleric that follows a philosophy. 

So the imaginative alternative to faith is more faith ?

And please don't insult my DMs, between me and them, we created and used alternative to clerics since 1st edition. Locking healing with faith bothered me since the first time I read the AD&D rules (I started D&D with it).
Seriously, I would never judge people I don't have the begining of an idea about who they are !
I have enjoyed playing a Cleric in v3.5, Pathfinder, 4E, and.....a bit in next. Healing as a Word of Power does wonders IMO but I wish healing was on a different system rather than mixed into my daily spellcasting allotment. The only thing I wish more was to have other classes that heal just as well and have their healing system be separate from their daily spell allotment.
When one looks at "What is the ideal party?" You tend to get

1. A Fighter
2. A Rogue
3. A Cleric
4. A Wizard

You don't really need a Fighter. The vast majority of alternative classes thought up in 1-3rd edition were all "Fighter PLUS extra bonuses". It really isn't necessary.

You don't need a Rogue. Every class has some skills now and while there are a few that are sort of Rogue-specific, they do appear in other classes or there are spells that just do them better.

You don't really need a Wizard. There are otherways of doing damage, there are other classes that duplicate everything meaningful a Wizard can do. They just tend to be a bit more focuses on one aspect or another.

But you cannot have a group without a Cleric. No other class duplicates the very necessary parts of a cleric's role. You HAVE to have someone to give out extra hit points in an expedient fashion and you HAVE to have someone who can bring the dead back into the game. You can't by-pass it or select any other class to fill the role.

Now, if math  is somehow an issue for you... if one out of every 4 characters must have these abilities for the group to be remotely functional and a Cleric is the sole class that has access to these essential abilities, then 25% of the players are REQUIRED to play a cleric.

It stands out as the only class where there are no alternatives-- as opposed to Fighter where there are so many functional alternatives that perform everything a Fighter does that one really never needs to enter your group at all.


When one looks at "What is the ideal party?" You tend to get

1. A Fighter
2. A Rogue
3. A Cleric
4. A Wizard

You don't really need a Fighter. The vast majority of alternative classes thought up in 1-3rd edition were all "Fighter PLUS extra bonuses". It really isn't necessary.

You don't need a Rogue. Every class has some skills now and while there are a few that are sort of Rogue-specific, they do appear in other classes or there are spells that just do them better.

You don't really need a Wizard. There are otherways of doing damage, there are other classes that duplicate everything meaningful a Wizard can do. They just tend to be a bit more focuses on one aspect or another.

But you cannot have a group without a Cleric. No other class duplicates the very necessary parts of a cleric's role. You HAVE to have someone to give out extra hit points in an expedient fashion and you HAVE to have someone who can bring the dead back into the game. You can't by-pass it or select any other class to fill the role.

Now, if math  is somehow an issue for you... if one out of every 4 characters must have these abilities for the group to be remotely functional and a Cleric is the sole class that has access to these essential abilities, then 25% of the players are REQUIRED to play a cleric.

It stands out as the only class where there are no alternatives-- as opposed to Fighter where there are so many functional alternatives that perform everything a Fighter does that one really never needs to enter your group at all. 

I have DMed (or played in) games, of every edition except 3rd, without a Cleric; including D&D Next. There were no major issues from the lack thereof.

I am going to have to agree with Emerikol: this thread is about your personal views and has nothing, really, to do with the D&D Cleric; which, by the way, I have had players thoroughly enjoy in all those editions as well.

Henchmen have long been viable alternatives. 

For those of us who enjoy WoW, consider the air-dropping goblin priests in Azshara.  A tagalong priest who insists on payment for every heal given, but won't take any treasure shares, or experience, or anything else as part of his (in-character) contract.  Plenty of neutral gods (hi, commerce!) would jump at the opportunity...and who (other than some few nobles) does more commerce than adventurers?

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."


So the imaginative alternative to faith is more faith ?



I never really thought of the "force" as faith but even if you do it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine it as non-faith based.  Just have clerical magic be a different form of magic.  There are lots of ways of removing the religious element if that is your wont.   For me that mythological style Gods is one of the funnest parts of D&D.  They are great plot hooks and clerics are often the most engaged roleplay wise.

 

When one looks at "What is the ideal party?" You tend to get

1. A Fighter
2. A Rogue
3. A Cleric
4. A Wizard

You don't really need a Fighter. The vast majority of alternative classes thought up in 1-3rd edition were all "Fighter PLUS extra bonuses". It really isn't necessary.

You don't need a Rogue. Every class has some skills now and while there are a few that are sort of Rogue-specific, they do appear in other classes or there are spells that just do them better.

You don't really need a Wizard. There are otherways of doing damage, there are other classes that duplicate everything meaningful a Wizard can do. They just tend to be a bit more focuses on one aspect or another.

But you cannot have a group without a Cleric. No other class duplicates the very necessary parts of a cleric's role. You HAVE to have someone to give out extra hit points in an expedient fashion and you HAVE to have someone who can bring the dead back into the game. You can't by-pass it or select any other class to fill the role.

Now, if math  is somehow an issue for you... if one out of every 4 characters must have these abilities for the group to be remotely functional and a Cleric is the sole class that has access to these essential abilities, then 25% of the players are REQUIRED to play a cleric.

It stands out as the only class where there are no alternatives-- as opposed to Fighter where there are so many functional alternatives that perform everything a Fighter does that one really never needs to enter your group at all. 




This is patently false. You do not need a healer is D&D. In fact clerics in D&D are generally doing their party a disfavor by healing them when they could be blowing things up instead. Spending your action and spell slot to heal 1d8+5 is not a winning concept. I would go so far as to say that if you are healing in combat you are doing it wrong.

Well I think the OP is way over the top, but I don't neccesarily disagree with him. I agree more with Monsieur_Moustache on this. I really just don't want the baggage that comes with being a cleric (the alternative of druid is worst). I really like playing leaders and did it almost exclusively in 4e because there were alternatives that were not faith based. I like the way the cleric is designed right now; I just don't like that there isn't a alternative that isn't centered around faith.

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Oh ye of little faith...

 


Oh ye of little faith...

 


When your play healer in multiple campaigns role playing a religious character starts to get aggravating when your healing a party full of nihilist.

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On the other hand...OP has a point.

Although I can isolate this issue as progressive playstyling, I can also see how there is a rational that targets the Cleric as a tool instead of a character concept. 

At this point I am less inclined to find ways to remove the chore from clerics than to find a way for other classes to have access to the Heal/Buff crutch.  The idea is to make these abilities into options instead of hurdles.

I tend to think of divine powers working mysteriously anyways so I am open to Bards, Clerics, Rangers, Paladins, and even Warlocks having access to those options.  Druids too, however, they operate off of a different source.

I am creating a class module that gives options to have a standard cleric and a cleric that 75% of the players will love... 

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When your play healer in multiple campaigns role playing a religious character starts to get aggravating when your healing a party full of nihilist.

So don't.
The class mechanics in are not functionally dependent on roleplaying a religion.


This is patently false. You do not need a healer is D&D. In fact clerics in D&D are generally doing their party a disfavor by healing them when they could be blowing things up instead. Spending your action and spell slot to heal 1d8+5 is not a winning concept. I would go so far as to say that if you are healing in combat you are doing it wrong.



If an ally would have gone down and staid down and you bring them back in to the fight.. you are now responsible for everything they might accomplish during the fight thereafter, in additon to anything else you might do during the subequent rounds. Two healing spells which enable two allies each to fight 4 more rounds a piece would be incredibly efficient wouldnt it. There are definitely ways to balance it.
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If my memory serves, in D&D 2nd edition Lankhmar setting there were no clerics who cast spells, just black wizards (who used wizard spell lists) and white wizards (who used clerical spell lists.)

It wouldn't be too hard to adapt that system to any game. Everybody who casts a spell is a wizard of some kind, nobody has to think about deities.


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Cleric:  If you could bend the ear of a god what would you ask for?

Wizard:  If you could bend reality to your will, what would you do?  

All D&D classes should be able to ask questions like these and find a cool answer.

Writing the cleric off as little more than a 'walking band-aid' is a disservice I think.  All classes have hurdles (no doubt) but they can be overcame.  All have potential I think.  It depends primarily on the player.  I mean a fighter swings a sword, over and over, and over.  That's boring, or it can be.  Don't fall for that, have some fun I say.  The game is what we make it.
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Dragonnette is right.


Here are some healer ideas (I dislike calling them leaders because leader <> healer in my language)
1.  Psionic cellular rejuvination.
2.  White Magic - open up the healing domain to wizards but require they give up several other schools to get it.
3.  Black Magic - instead of healing you suck hit points from enemies which you can then distribute to your allies in the next ten minutes.
4.  Herbalist - non combat feat.  You make magical poultices that heal between battles.  No in battle healing on this one though.
5.  Alchemist - skill.  You can make X potions with a shelf life of 24 hours that are usable once per day by each PC in the group.   The nature of the chemicals only allow for the effect to work once per day.
6.  Separate out the essential cleric only spells and put them in their own schools.  Then have wizards pick some finite set.

And in the realm of clerics...
1.  The cleric is the white magic wizard as Dragonnette said. 
2.  The cleric is devoted to some buddha like ideals that have nothing to do with a God or faith.
3.  Actually try making each of your Gods a really flavorful entity with lots of special options and maybe you'll get more clerics wanting to play.

 
When your play healer in multiple campaigns role playing a religious character starts to get aggravating when your healing a party full of nihilist.

So don't.
The class mechanics in are not functionally dependent on roleplaying a religion.



I've seen at least three well-done clerics who were fun for their players at my table.  One was a planescape game where the Cleric drew power from being a devotee of his Faction -- the Athar.  That was a trip.  At least once I've done an essentially secular healer type, but I went with Archivist rather than Cleric for that.  Still, technically a divine class.

Even if you keep to Clerics and gods, I've seen people get a lot more out of the class when they realize that not every deity is St. "Preach, Convert, Smite" Cuthbert.  Of the other really memorable clerics, one was devoted to Evening Glory the Neutral goddess of Chaos, Goodness, Love and... undeath (I am not making this up: 3.5 Libris Mortis.  Alignment: Neutral.  Domains Offered: Chaos, Good, Charm, at least according to the table.  Theme: Love and beauty should be eternal... even if it takes becoming undead to preserve them), who's about as far from your standard puritanical preacher as you can get.

Mechanically, I also disagree with the OP: In the long history of D&D, a cleric is doing his job quite poorly if he decides his job is "Walking box of bandaids".   Furthermore, a healer has NEVER been necessary to play D&D -- or at least it wasn't in 1-3, I can't speak for the need for a healer in 4th or lack thereof.  Having some healing capability in a party is always a plus, of course -- but a 3.5 Bard could provide enough to get the "Safety net against really tight spots", and that's not even getting into exploits like the rogue with Use Magic Device and a Wand of Cure Light Wounds.  With 0 healing capibility (or a couple potions on the fighter only) you do have to make some different choices about how to approach combat and encounters, since your HP are a daily or longer resource.  But lacking heals doesn't warp a party any more than lacking  the ability to soak attacks a fighter has (high armor and HP), or lacking the ranged/AoE firepower magic-types bring to the table (Fliers and Crowds become far more troublesome)

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I would happily love to play a cleric.  It's probably right behind rogue for me.

One thing that bugs me a little in D&D cosmology is the certainty of the existence of gods.

This makes roleplaying religion in the story so not-interesting. 

Whenever I play a campaign that is not inserted in the D&D cosmology (outerplanes, D&D gods, etc) I tend to treat religion as it is in the real world, a matter of belief.

As for clerics, in those cases, I consider they believe their magic is a reward from the gods for their devotion. Whether this is true or not it's left for each character's belief. In that case clerics have to learn their spells from other clerics or scriptures, so it's not automatically granted by a deity, therefore also allowing for a non-godly explanation for them to wield it.
When your play healer in multiple campaigns role playing a religious character starts to get aggravating when your healing a party full of nihilist.

So don't.
The class mechanics in are not functionally dependent on roleplaying a religion.



I've seen at least three well-done clerics who were fun for their players at my table.  One was a planescape game where the Cleric drew power from being a devotee of his Faction -- the Athar.  That was a trip.  At least once I've done an essentially secular healer type, but I went with Archivist rather than Cleric for that.  Still, technically a divine class.

Which are natural benefits of an inclusive model based on chinese-menu mechanics and suggested flavor.

Tell the player what he could be, not what he must be.


One thing that bugs me a little in D&D cosmology is the certainty of the existence of gods.

This makes roleplaying religion in the story so not-interesting. 

Whenever I play a campaign that is not inserted in the D&D cosmology (outerplanes, D&D gods, etc) I tend to treat religion as it is in the real world, a matter of belief.

As for clerics, in those cases, I consider they believe their magic is a reward from the gods for their devotion. Whether this is true or not it's left for each character's belief. In that case clerics have to learn their spells from other clerics or scriptures, so it's not automatically granted by a deity, therefore also allowing for a non-godly explanation for them to wield it.



While powerful beings exist in my D&D campaigns, their claim to divinity is entirely disputable and there are groups in my world that do exactly that.  D&D Gods are far more Greek Mythology than many modern religions where God is proclaimed to be omniscient and all powerful.  

I have though said that the ability to contain clerical power and use it at high levels is not a matter of increased divine blessing or at least not entirely.   Part of religious training to developing the mind to hold spells offered by a diety.   Thats why common men don't just have spells popping in their heads when the diety deems it useful.   It's also why every cleric isn't 18th level.   It takes work and discipline to be able to contain the divine power of an 18th level cleric.   Thus the higher a cleric gets the more valuable he becomes to the diety and the more that cleric can push back. (a little).


 
How I like to deal with the "fanboy" aspect of cleric you mentioned is through subtle alterations. For instance, BECMI didn't actually have deities, it had Immortals. They are functionally equivalent (and even include the gods of Greek myth, for instance), but they were all originally mortals, and the concept is more that they have followers than worshippers.

I take it a step further and say that it isn't really the deity/immortal a priest is necessarily devoted to, but rather the same principles that the immortal espouses. Think of it like a great martial arts master who founded a style of martial arts that your character really feels a draw to. You can revere him for what he's done and learn to do the same sorts of things, while still operating as an individual through your own power.

In this perspective, gaining your divine powers is more of a matter of learning how to use them than having them directly granted to you. Sure, you learn them as part of an organized religion devoted to the same principles, and if you stray from them you will lose access to the religious heirarchy, and your powers might even change, but you don't lose your clerical abilities.

You align yourself with a set of principles, that a particular being just happens to be a great example of, and therefore you choose to learn and associate yourself with those who follow his/her/its teachings.

Whenever I play a campaign that is not inserted in the D&D cosmology (outerplanes, D&D gods, etc) I tend to treat religion as it is in the real world, a matter of belief.

As for clerics, in those cases, I consider they believe their magic is a reward from the gods for their devotion. Whether this is true or not it's left for each character's belief. In that case clerics have to learn their spells from other clerics or scriptures, so it's not automatically granted by a deity, therefore also allowing for a non-godly explanation for them to wield it.

I think Eberron did it that way, maybe? In most games I've played, the DM has always made it clear that divine magic is powered by belief in it - you have to believe in it strongly enough for that to manifest as actual magic.

(Of course, that sets up a positive feedback loop, where the more you can do means the more you believe you can do; which actually explains a cleric gaining new spell levels much more logically than a wizard does, since most wizards gain their levels only after leaving the library.)

The actual gods, if they even exist, just put a face on the concept. It's easier to show devotion to a god of healing/sun/fire than it is to worship such concepts in the abstract, even if the reason you choose to worship that god is because you believe so strongly in what that god represents.
The metagame is not the game.
I think Eberron did it that way, maybe? In most games I've played, the DM has always made it clear that divine magic is powered by belief in it - you have to believe in it strongly enough for that to manifest as actual magic.

(Of course, that sets up a positive feedback loop, where the more you can do means the more you believe you can do; which actually explains a cleric gaining new spell levels much more logically than a wizard does, since most wizards gain their levels only after leaving the library.)

The actual gods, if they even exist, just put a face on the concept. It's easier to show devotion to a god of healing/sun/fire than it is to worship such concepts in the abstract, even if the reason you choose to worship that god is because you believe so strongly in what that god represents.



Yes, that's how Eberron did it.  If there were gods, they were distant and their existence could not be proven; as such, atheism and/or apathy was not unheard of and wouldn't be considered 'crazy'.  You could, in fact, gain divine powers from fervent belief in anything; by Word of Keith Baker, the setting's creator, if you believed strongly enough in your shoe, you could become a Cleric (or Paladin) of Your Shoe.
The Shoe is a false belief! Follow the Gourd!
Well the problems with playing a cleric in older editions is that 50% of you spell slots is tied up in healing if your the only priest in the party.
Meaning you had less spell slots/ options less to express the character and his faith.
Becouse you had to spend so much recourced in healing even as priest of for example a war god.

Becouse of this 4th edition made 2 important changes to healing.

1) the healing and spell recource where split. so you could use your powers to fully express your character concept.
Implemeinting this in 5th would probebly mean that chanel divinity would become the priests main source of healing.
Freeing up his spell slots ffor other things.

2) in most cases healing became somthing you could do at the sides besides the use of your main powers.
5th is trying to implement this with certain spells.
 
Well the problems with playing a cleric in older editions is that 50% of you spell slots is tied up in healing if your the only priest in the party.
Meaning you had less spell slots/ options less to express the character and his faith.
Becouse you had to spend so much recourced in healing even as priest of for example a war god.

Becouse of this 4th edition made 2 important changes to healing.

1) the healing and spell recource where split. so you could use your powers to fully express your character concept.
Implemeinting this in 5th would probebly mean that chanel divinity would become the priests main source of healing.
Freeing up his spell slots ffor other things.

2) in most cases healing became somthing you could do at the sides besides the use of your main powers.
5th is trying to implement this with certain spells.
 



Yeah, I think 4E hit the spot with healers.
The return of the heal or play clerics is not quite pronounced in DDN, but since you can only attack with a weapon and heal, it's pretty much the same as saying heal + do a little damage or play.

I don't really understand why healing has to be relegated to this when it's just as simple to let the magic mending be a class feature, not consuming spell slots, and let the cleric be a class of its own on its turn. The whole swift action turnaround and this is not making sense since for the paladin for instance, healing is a class feature and not a spell.

What 4E did good was that once healing was codified as a class feature, you could give a similar feature to any class you wanted to be healers, without having them to be actual spell casters at all.

If you don't want to be a servant of a god (or at least a higher power of some kind) then the cleric class is probaly not for you.  Neither is the Paladin, Druid, and possible the Ranger (iffy on this one).
If you don't want to be a servant of a god (or at least a higher power of some kind) then the cleric class is probaly not for you.

Again, class descriptions should tell the player what he could be, not what he must be.
If you are not happy with the fluff of a class, then change it (with DMs permission of course; I have found most DMs are easy with this). However, removing the default fluff from the class (or race for that matter) isn't helpful for new players. The default fluff gives new players the standard description of the classes (and again, races) that veteran players are familiar with. I would advise a section in the DMG about altering fluff to meet the groups needs, however.


Oh ye of little faith...

 


When your play healer in multiple campaigns role playing a religious character starts to get aggravating when your healing a party full of nihilist.

Very faithful people can be anticlerical and despise religions.
Very faithful people can believe that relying on the power of their gods is a deviant way to worship.

Healer should have been the default flavor free support class from the start. Cleric as default was the worst choice possible.
One feat or backstory is enough to turn a healer into a servant of god. The cleric is built around the idea of faith and characterize itself by its god's portfolios.
I have been working on a campaign where the cleric is just a type of wizard.  They worship the "word".  And they view spell books as being the written word.  And magic is all about true names.  The verbal component of spells are true names, words of power, and incantations.  In addition to the normal material components some components may be a good alignment.  Just something I am toying with.
They are imaginary gods. Being worshipped by imaginary people. In an imaginary world. While the actual people sit around the table with pencils and pizza.

And people actually have a problem with this?