Who Wants to Play the Cleric?

Not it!

In all seriousness, my experience with clerics can be briefly summed up as, "I never played one before 4th Edition." Ironically, it was the first character I actually played as part of a two-man delve, run by a person that had never ran D&D before, and it was a shitload of fun. Being able to smash and blast things while giving my ally bonuses (but still be able to heal), was so much better than standing behind the fighter and keeping him propped up and letting him get all the glory; people in my games just never got as excited about rolling 8 hit points of healing as they did over critting for 29 damage (or instantly slaying a dragon with a single spell and botched saving throw).

On another note, apparently writing free articles talking about D&D's history--something he specifies in vain each time at the top of the column--is garnering Mearls forum hostility. That's not surprising as doing pretty much anything makes you fair game for internet rage, and while I can understand that you might not find them interesting remember that you are also not paying for it (nor is it eating up pages out of the admittedly leaner-looking Dragon or spartan Dungeon). What I find only slightly surprising is the claims that Mearls is going somewhere with this that we don't want to go, perhaps with a 5th Edition that will play more like 3rd and/or lack a cleric class--this is sadly a refreshing change of point-of-view from past columns where he allegedly attacked 4th Edition.

Personally I'm taking these columns as a D&D enthusiastic just, you know, talking about the game--even if it's about gaming history that some of us experienced first hand (most of my running time was in 3rd Edition, so I got the end of this particular lesson). Yeah he's a WotC employee, but that doesn't mean that he can't post shit on the site that doesn't have some sort of ulterior motive.


  1. Hm, I enthusiastically played clerics throughout 2nd and 3rd editions. You got to wear the best armor, had a bevy of defensive spells, and still had a decent attack bonus. It always seemed like a solid choice to me. The 4e cleric, especially the "laser-cleric" variety, aren't as interesting to me. I did play a dwarf "hammer-cleric" a couple years back, but I was widely criticized by my friends for using a "sup-optimal" build.

    I'm fairly certain that Mearls could say just about anything right now, and he'd take flack from angry nerds. There's a small, vocal minority of D&D fans that are so invested that they'll try to read things into his articles that just aren't there. I think these folks just need to calm down and relax.

  2. I tended to eschew clerics in earlier editions as well, preferring to go a psionic or druidic route if I was going to bring healing to a party. I generally avoided spellcasting altogether in 3e, though, because it seemed like the purview of people who were really into the various Meta- feats, and that was simply not a layer of math I was interested in adding to the game!

    When they unveiled 4e leaders, I was instantly enamored. It was exciting to be a mobile buff platform, dishing out advantages to your allies and penalties to your foes. I went for Warlord first, though, since it had the additional novelty of being a non-divine approach to clericing. I also didn't find the support for Str clerics in the first run of 4e products to be sufficient.

    I'm curious, though: do you -still- roll cleric? The struggle 4e is presenting for me these days is that as much as I want to be enthusiastic about leaders, when I actually sit down and try to roll one up I find most of the powers leaving me cold. Part of it may be a backlash to having seen the proliferation of lazy warlords, and wanting to get out there and be more active with my character to compensate; I'm not sure.

    I also agree with your analysis of Mearls' "remember when" articles. It's nice to have a bit of a retrospective, and be reminded of how things used to play out back when a lucky dagger damage roll deprived the party of its mage. I was going to propose that there might be less vitriol if the actual -game- content coming out of Insider felt more robust, because despite Mearls' articles being free I imagine there's a perception that it's content on the website, and could therefore be content with crunchy bits.

    Then you went on to remind me that this is the internet, and people will grouse about anything.

  3. ive seen clerics in 4e once! One of my players used it and by the second session he said "fuck it" and retired his character for a ranger. His claim was that he felt he wasn't being supportive enough and he sucked balls. He was a Str Cleric.


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