6 comments on “What’s Next: Cleric Design Goals

  1. I had similar thoughts, especially regarding spells and “subtlety.” For example, since when has “Flame Strike” been subtle. There are plenty of other examples of explosive cleric spells from D&D’s history.

    I liked the Rogue statement from yesterday (as of this writing), but to me, this kind of misunderstanding of the history of D&D has been endemic throughout the pre-playtest statements. The design team seems to be focusing on one style of play to the exclusion of all others. They really don’t seem that in touch with the community. Of course, with the community going it’s various directions, I’ve also thought the whole mission to be flawed from the beginning.

  2. I loved this article. I agree with lots of its points, but I admit I don’t have a good solution.

    I’m starting to wonder if classes are even a good idea anymore. I know they’re iconic, but is that enough reason to keep them?

    I’m imagining something akin to kits from 2e here. A collection of abilities / skills that anyone could take up. Off the top of my head, something akin to this (and forgive my terminology, I’m trying to get a point across, plus this is impromptu):

    Divine healer
    Medicinal healer
    Healing energy channeler
    Woodsman
    CIty-dweller
    Battle tactics
    Combat intuition

    Each would give relevant abilities and skills. If someone really wanted to play a healbot, they could take all three of the healing “kits” above. Some could even be mutually exclusive if desired.

    • Hi there! I stumbled on your blog while idly wondering where the restriction on clerics not wielding bladed weapons came from (it came from the book Three Hearts and Three Lions if you’re wondering). Why was I reading up on that topic? Actually because I’m doing another playthrough of the greater computer roleplaying game of all time, Baldur’s Gate, and realised that between 2nd edition and third edition, clerics suddenly became allowed to use crossbows, and that felt a little odd.

      I actually think that it makes sense for a cleric to use a crossbow, as I see it as a defensive ranged weapon (shorter range than a bow and requires less training) and better than a sling and bag of stones (although that’s very David & Goliath, and does have religious appeal). There’s also a mod that allows clerics to be able to use a bladed weapon if it suits their deity – There’s one god that has a sword has his symbol. His clerics should damn well be able to use a sword!

      Anyway…

      Have you played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay? Preferably the first edition? They handle clerics very differently and to cut a long story short, they don’t really have them. But what they do have is religious cults.

      Before we go any further, the word cult does have some stigma attached to it, so don’t think of it as a bad thing. Christianity and Bhuddism are both cults of a kind. The point is, your character can become a follower of a particular deity. This might have been something forced onto your character by his or her parents, or because the character feels some afinity towards the god.

      At a very basic level, your character is just a follower. He attends services once a week, lights a candle on holy days, and so on. This isn’t a class, or an add-on. It’s just something the character does.

      In time, the character may (or may not) decide to learn more about their religious following. They spend more time at the respective temple and may decide to become a layperson, assisting with ceremonies and learning the secret signs and appropriate chants.

      At this point, the character might choose to switch their WFRP career to a priest’s apprentice (WFRP uses careers rather than classes, and it’s possible to further your current career or switch to another as the player gains experience). A D&D equivalent might be to say that the character takes a priest level for their next level. They will still be a mage, fighter, or whatever, and not give up anything from their primary class, but they are also and the same time a junior member of the religious order. If they continue, they can gain more levels in priest with their experience.

      The whole point of this is that different priests for different gods are very… different. A priest of Oghma is likely to be a learned mage, who tends to the minor ailments of the scholars, leads his fellows both in quiet prayer and spellcasting on a grand scale. A priest of Loviatar or Bane stalks the battlefields, bringing pain and suffering to the weak, caring little for healing or protection but singing the praises of his deity with every bone of the innocent he breaks and life he snuffs out. Priests worship their gods and pay homage to them in ways that would please their deities, from rowdy war chants before glorious battle to lively folk dancing in the company of family and close friends.

      That’s how you fix clerics.

      C.

    • Hi there! I stumbled on your blog while idly wondering where the restriction on clerics not wielding bladed weapons came from (it came from the book Three Hearts and Three Lions if you’re wondering). Why was I reading up on that topic? Actually because I’m doing another playthrough of the greater computer roleplaying game of all time, Baldur’s Gate, and realised that between 2nd edition and third edition, clerics suddenly became allowed to use crossbows, and that felt a little odd.

      I actually think that it makes sense for a cleric to use a crossbow, as I see it as a defensive ranged weapon (shorter range than a bow and requires less training) and better than a sling and bag of stones (although that’s very David & Goliath, and does have religious appeal). There’s also a mod that allows clerics to be able to use a bladed weapon if it suits their deity – There’s one god that has a sword has his symbol. His clerics should damn well be able to use a sword!

      Anyway…

      Have you played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay? Preferably the first edition? They handle clerics very differently and to cut a long story short, they don’t really have them. But what they do have is religious cults.

      Before we go any further, the word cult does have some stigma attached to it, so don’t think of it as a bad thing. Christianity and Bhuddism are both cults of a kind. The point is, your character can become a follower of a particular deity. This might have been something forced onto your character by his or her parents, or because the character feels some afinity towards the god.

      At a very basic level, your character is just a follower. He attends services once a week, lights a candle on holy days, and so on. This isn’t a class, or an add-on. It’s just something the character does.

      In time, the character may (or may not) decide to learn more about their religious following. They spend more time at the respective temple and may decide to become a layperson, assisting with ceremonies and learning the secret signs and appropriate chants.

      At this point, the character might choose to switch their WFRP career to a priest’s apprentice (WFRP uses careers rather than classes, and it’s possible to further your current career or switch to another as the player gains experience). A D&D equivalent might be to say that the character takes a priest level for their next level. They will still be a mage, fighter, or whatever, and not give up anything from their primary class, but they are also and the same time a junior member of the religious order. If they continue, they can gain more levels in priest with their experience.

      The whole point of this is that different priests for different gods are very… different. A priest of Oghma is likely to be a learned mage, who tends to the minor ailments of the scholars, leads his fellows both in quiet prayer and spellcasting on a grand scale. A priest of Loviatar or Bane stalks the battlefields, bringing pain and suffering to the weak, caring little for healing or protection but singing the praises of his deity with every bone of the innocent he breaks and life he snuffs out. Priests worship their gods and pay homage to them in ways that would please their deities, from rowdy war chants before glorious battle to lively folk dancing in the company of family and close friends.

      That’s how you fix clerics.

      C.

  3. Well what about the people who like being the support only People. And that if every one has there only heals whats they to do. ( I might be the only person who is a support only guy)

    • “Well what about the people who like being the support only People”

      I will point out that I made a distinction between “support” and “healing” in the article. A person who only supports is more sustainable – in both thematic and mechanical senses – that someone who only heals, but both can exist and be viable, assuming that the other players are okay with this.

      Note that this is different from laying exclusive claim to either of these concepts. It’s almost never going to be okay to say, “I’m the healer, so no one else can heal.” This is a very narrow and selfish way of establishing identity and should be avoided.

      “And that if every one has there only heals whats they to do. ( I might be the only person who is a support only guy)”

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but what I think I’m hearing you say is that you don’t enjoy the other aspects of combat, so you focus exclusively on the thing you enjoy. If that’s correct, then you have a hard row to hoe. I think it would probably be best to focus on characterization rather than mechanics and let your choices, both thematic and mechanical, flow from there.

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