The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

Frequently a Cleric


Reading The Middle Age DM’s article Essentially a Cleric was a reminder to me of how I frequently got shoehorned in to playing a cleric in games played pre-2000.

Now make no mistake, I have nothing against clerics, I rather like all the classes (well, almost all, but that’s another article). But, it was not by choice I played them so often, it was by virtue of everyone recognizing the necessity and nobody else wanting to play them.

There is a part of me that has never understood the aversion many players have to being clerics; they have never been a weak class, and they are essential to a D&D party. While one could argue that at no level are clerics the most powerful class, the same could be said of theives and rangers who have no shortage of fans.

While I have seen the odd incident over the years where one player has ripped into another (the player of the cleric) for not fullfilling his duties (and the result was a party death), this has been rare enough in my experience that I don’t think it has colored many people’s opinions of the class. As important as the cleric is, I don’t think it comes with any more pressure than any other class.

So if its not an issue of the relative power of the class, or the weight of its mantle, then what could it be? Well, I am going to suggest that the real problem most people have with clerics is that they just can’t imagine themselves in the role. Who hasn’t imagined themselves as a warrior, wizard or rogue after watching a fantasy movie? But the cleric isn’t really a fantasy archtype. The cleric is a historical position (knights templar) with a fantastical element tacked on (and an unfortunate name).

I think it really comes down to when players need to make a new character, the last thing many of them imagine is a guy who’s contribution is to heal the other heroes (especially if they think of the other heroes as the REAL heroes). In their eye they are swinging a sword, casting a fireball, or sneaking in the shadow; the cleric gets cast aside because nobody sees themself as Friar Tuck.

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October 1, 2010 - Posted by | Dungeons and Dragons, RPGs | ,

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