My only real beef with the cleric class is the weapon restrictions. As a Sword & Sorcery ref, I feel priests in my campaigns should be waving curvy daggers around or slashing broadswords Thulsa Doom style. Remember Rakhir the Red Archer, Elric's priest buddy? That's my kind of cleric! The no-blood, blunt-only thing kind of shoehorns the cleric into a western-european-christian-middle-ages mode. Easy enough to house rule weapon restrictions away, though, and I do.
For my setting purposes, the Christian Middle Ages thing is fine. In the wilderlands I've always borrowed 3.X's idea of you getting a proficiency associated with your god.Still wondering about that 1,500 xp thing. It's easy to house rule also, I was just wondering if there was a reason for it I'm not seeing.
Oh, it also doesn't really work for the Middle Ages either. Bishop Turpin in the Chanson de Roland comes to mind.
The way I see clerics, they are pretty powerful if the DM lets them have a free hand. But being priests, they're really running on someone else's agenda - either the hierarchy of the church or the big guy upstairs. Most DMs allow the cleric to run around doing his own thing, not even having to attend a temple to do the worship thing. I mean, can you imagine the Catholic Church allowing its priests to go around doing what the hell they liked, with no control from the church?Anyway, having a superior priest to whom the cleric reports for orders, punishments for deviation, donating their hard-earned cash to the church with only a small stipend to see them through does put certain restrictions on the class that might go some way to balancing out the benefits that they currently enjoy.
Somebody suggested that clerics level up fast because "healing is boring", i.e., as an incentive to play a class that the game needs but is less appealing. I'm not sure if I buy that.
@ blizackI don't buy that either. Considering Dave Arneson created the class because someone wanted to play it, that seems rather counterintuitive to me.I know that OD&D is more Gygax's work (if we're to believe the Author of Dragons at Dawn), but it still doesn't seem accurate.
I think the xp amounts were pulled out of a proverbial hat based on some suppositions that may or may not have been borne out in extended play, and kind of took on a life of their own through successive editions.As irrational or not as they are, I think they've persisted just because people's desire to play an X type character has usually outweighed their desire to min-max, and because parties classically need all 4 to get by. Even with the two-cleric, mage and thief party (kind of like a two-bass band) you are not meeting the reason most people pick a fighter - to be the class that doesn't have to use special powers.
I wonder then if it would be a terrible idea to switch them around a bit. Say... give the Fighter the Cleric's progression, the M-U the Fighter's, and the Cleric the M-U's.
Clerics have no spell at 1st level in OD&D. And the spells they do get are mostly healing or protective.'Nuff said.
So why do they level up faster than Fighters?
IME Blizack is correct that's it's an incentive. Most people don't want to play the medic. This has been a factor since time immemorial. IIRC it's even referenced in the first chapter of Joel Rosenberg's The Sleeping Dragon.
But the original purpose of the cleric is as an undead fighter (specifically to kill Sir Fang).Just sayin'
Of course; but that's a pretty narrow role, and one which the Cleric rapidly morphed from. In the adventuring team concept, particularly when groups were no longer 8+ players, the Cleric became secondary combatant, primary healer, secondary utility caster. Their magic mostly isn't flashy or smashy; a lot of their most important stuff (like curatives, and Neutralize or Slow Poison) are focused on fixing people. A lot of players just aren't excited by that, to the extent that, going back to the early days (The Sleeping Dragon was published in '83, but I'm sure there's earlier evidence in Dragon letters pages or elsewhere), you had players debating "who has to play the Cleric". I personally like Clerics, and when I've seen the discussion come up on Dragonsfoot a lot of grognards seem to respect and appreciate their capabilities and indeed see them as a very strong class. But it's always been my experience that players are less excited by them, perceiving their role as more supportive. Really like your blog, BTW. The feel of the game world is very cool.
Ok, I can see that. I'd pretty much decided not to change their experience anyway.Glad you like the blog.