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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Class Look: Cleric


The cleric is one of those classes that seems to have a love/hate relationship with players. Everyone wants to have one in the party, but no one typically ever wants to play one. I personally enjoy clerics, though I do dislike how many people think of them as mere heal bots and nothing else. Clerics have a wide range of spells and abilities that can be utilized, well beyond mere healing.





The current table top game that I'm running played with that idea. They all started as level one clerics of various dieties. However, as they leveled, they slowly branched out, one being a combat cleric, one a spell-casting cleric and another as a rogue cleric. Even though they all started as clerics, they actually were able to fill various party roles quite well. Maybe not as powerful as the normal classes, they still managed to do a very good job of it. So with that in mind, we delve into the world of the Cleric!

Race

Most races do well as clerics, since there are so many various deities. Again, it is fun to play with perceptions and go against the norm. A lot of people think of dwarves or humans when it comes to clerics, but a gnome or a half-orc can make a surprising choice for some. As with the other classes, you really can't go wrong. It is fun to play around and come up with an interesting combination.

Multi-classing

Multi-classing with a cleric is more limited then with some of the other classes. Depending on your alignment, there are some classes like the Barbarian or Monk that you wouldn't be able to multi-class into. And depending on what type of cleric you are playing, it will determine what kind of class you would want to cross with. If you want to be more combat oriented, you can go with some fighter or paladin levels to help boost your skills. The special abilities of the paladin certainly work well with the clerics abilities as well.

If you want to go more of a spell-casting route, I would recommend going with levels of wizard. Clerics have the mental discipline to complement the wizard lifestyle of study and learning. Again, depending on your alignment and the type of cleric you are trying to play.

Arch-types

There are a lot of ways to role-play the cleric and stay interesting. The most obvious is of course the believer. You tow the company line, so to speak, and follow your god to the best of your ablities. This is pretty much the most generic of all ways to play a cleric, and that's not what we are here to talk about.

One that is very fun is the Fanatic. I really don't think I need to say more about that...it's a fanatic. You scream and froth at the mouth if any one dares to blaspheme or doubt your gods powers. You are over-confident because you know that the god you follow is not just the strongest, but also you are his divine agent in this world so you are protected. Anyone who doesn't believe in your god you think is a fool and doomed in the after-life. As I've cautioned before, don't use this as an excuse to be a jerk at the gaming table. This is, after all, just a game with friends you should be playing here. Use just enough of it so that the other players get a good idea of your characters opinions and feelings and break it out every once in a while when appropriate.

My god of glam rock hair is the only god, heretic!

Another option is the evangelist. You know your god is awesome and you want everyone else to know about it. You praise his name with every breath, end most sentences with “Praise his name!”. Always draw parallels between your god and something that is happening. Really, the goal with this is that you are always talking about or wanting to tell people about your god. You aren't as bad as the fanatic in the sense that you will tolerate believers or other faiths, however it just boggles your mind because your god is so awesome why would anyone want to believe anything else?

And it's that my god is awesome!
Of course, there are less confrontational options as well. Remember that Dungeons and Dragons is a world of not only multiple religions, but also proof that other gods do exist and are powerful. So the concept of one god being inherently “better” then any other god probably wouldn't be too prevalent other then in areas where one religion is the dominant one.

With that in mind, you go into more role related ideas. You can have the undead hater. You loathe the fact that undead exist and wish to destroy them completely. You concentrate on undead and missions that will ultimately involve destroying them. You cannot bear the sight of them and do everything in your ability to destroy them as quickly as possible. If anyone else in the party uses undead as minions, you will be very vocal about not wanting them around and possibly would take it upon yourself to destroy it. To you, undead are abominations that cannot be tolerated. Conversely, you can also (assuming your religion allows it) go the route of undead domination and control various undead as minions.

Yes he deserved to die, and I hope he burns in hell!

So there you have it, some cleric fun for your game. Remember if people are reticent to play a cleric, be sure to remind them that they don't need to be only healers. There are a lot of different roles that clerics can fill, but they always have that handy ability to pull down healing spells regardless. Good gaming and see you next time for the druid!

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