Why play the Cleric?

When it comes to choosing a Character Class, why be the Cleric? After all, the Fighter fights better (hence the name, I guess. Clever that), the Wizard has blastier spells and even the Paladin offers more in-your-face action than the humble man (or woman) of the cloth.

The difference isn’t so much in the game mechanics and what the Cleric is by the rules, but in what the Cleric is.

A Cleric isn’t a job or fighting technique; it’s a calling, something your character feels compelled or born to pursue rather than a simple career choice. Clerics also have a rank and place in the world, and are usually treated with respect (at least in the places where they follow a deity worshipped by the common man). Of all the members of a typical adventuring party, the Cleric is the one most likely to be called “sir” (or madam if female. Or an elf) by commoner and nobleman alike.

Clerics have gravitas. Some of them do, at least. Best not talk about the other lot.

While there are cultures that respect martial prowess, arcane ability (and even your talent for sneaking around), none of the other classes hold the same global respect and recognition.

That’s worth more than any amount of healing spells.

Why play the Cleric?

Wind the parishioners into a frenzy before storming the crypt with a pitchfork wielding mob at your beck and call.

Then you’ll know why.

9 Comments on “Why play the Cleric?”

  1. A cleric if used like you describe can be played with depth. A Played a Frier Monk ( took) which was fun but yet they arw used bybother players as the combat medic. This for some who like the cleric is no the way they want their characters to be remembered. Give them a great personal influence in the games not just to keep the fighters fighting.

  2. In 3.x D&D, of all the classes, clerics have the greatest potential for customization and versatility thanks to Domains. To a lesser extent, the same can be said of 2e clerics with Spheres. I’ve never *reluctantly* played the cleric – it has always been one of my favorite classes!

    1. This. In a world with a pantheon of gods, the cleric is the class that comes with the most customization right out of the box. The only thing that generally keeps me from playing a Cleric is that I don’t care for prepared casters but that’s why the Oracle in Pathfinder is perhaps my favorite class.

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