Legend & Lore: The Problem Of Clerics

Back when we used to play 3rd Edition we had a player that loved to play clerics for reasons other than theoretical abusive use of self-buffing, nightsticks, and Divine Metamagic. I think that he just liked to play--for lack of a better term--the enabler; while everyone else ran around gutting and blowing up monsters, he would just follow them around, applying healing and buffing when necessary. While I understand that he's not the only guy to enjoy that sort of thing (god knows Team Fortress 2 has no shortage of medics), the players I've gamed with prefer to bask in their own glory as opposed to lingering in the shadows of another player.

Is relying on a "healing" class for survival bad? In past editions I would have said yes, because it basically forced one player to be the guy that just spends all of his time casting spells so that other characters can do cool things (as well as a slew of sub-par at best "healers"). Now? Not so much and for this reason I don't think that clerics have a problem anymore: you get to run around and actually kill monsters, often with an action or two left over to keep people on their feet. All in all it's not a bad deal. Don't like the cleric (or divine classes in general)? There's a diverse array of other equally qualified classes out there, so odds are that at least one of them will suit your play style.

Are leaders still necessary? Yes. I've ran players through games sans leader, and things usually went okay, though I did pull punches in particularly nasty boss because their hit points couldn't keep up the pace. Healing items can mitigate this need to a point, but lumping up on potions of healing is temporary at best. I mean, even at first level the odds are that a single healing word will outshine a potion (average of 6.5 extra hit points on top of what you normally get), and those are free. Players simply won't always have the cash or opportunity to stock up, and soon into the heroic tier a measly 10 hit points isn't going to cut it.

In short, 4th Edition made "healers" more accessible and fun. I've never enjoyed playing a cleric before 4E, and I've never had so many players rolling up a leader because they specifically wanted to. To me, that's plenty of steps in the right direction.


  1. Most people I know play Leaders more than anything else. Ive seen games where I have to tell people to not all be leaders, so that I don't have to deal with all the damn buffing and healing. A man can only take so many Artificers.

  2. Best leader ive seen is a shaman, i still have no love for the cleric.

  3. You, sir, are a mad man! Cleric is the god father of all leaders! He is no Warlord, but still epic with his heals. Shamans this their sooo cool with their nature magic and summoning spirit aminals. Pfft.


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