Why Clerics (Still) Suck


There are some jobs that are just terrible. Cleaning industrial septic tanks. Being that kid with the drum at the front line of those old army battles. Even working on a porno set, which one would think is the best employment in the world, has at least one position that downright sucks (pardon the pun). Seriously, would you want to be the guy that has to mop up/towel down/hose off the actors and set afterward? Depending on the genre of movie being filmed, you may have some seriously screwed up stuff to deal with.

Know what’s even worse than all of those things? Being the cleric for an adventuring party.

It used to be worse. Through third edition, clerics were treated like a walking first aid kit. You were one of those little boxes with a red cross on them like in Wolfenstein or Doom, but with sexy legs that stick out of the bottom (that’s how I always pictured clerics, anyway). Your job was to cast healing spells, and if you ran out of healing spells you got out of the way while everyone else did the dirty work. It’s not like you could attack effectively anyway. Blunt weapons? Really? I play D&D because I want to use a big ass sword. Or throw fireballs and shit. Or at least stab people in the kidneys with a dagger.

Clerics are like the Aquaman of D&D. Except at least he gets to use a pointy weapon.

Fourth edition turned your healing spells into “minor” actions, so you could attack AND heal during the same turn. Halleluiah! Finally, the gods had taken pity on their dutiful servants and made them fun to play. You could actually get involved in battle, instead of just hanging back and throwing magical band-aids around. If I wanted to spend my life supporting others I would have been a brassiere. It would have been far more enjoyable.

But the evil, sneaky designers snuck a huge, greasy wrench into the gears of the game to totally nerf clerics. What is so terrible, you ask? All those stupid, hard-to-track, confusing and book-keeping heavy status effects and afflictions, that's what! Suddenly, if clerics want to be useful they can’t just worry about healing hit points anymore. Now they have to heal ongoing damage, stun and daze effects, vulnerabilities, and god only knows what else. And guess what? Using your healing skill to attempt to remove these effects counts as your standard action, so you end up losing your attack anyway.

Wizards of the Coast Head Office: "Make the cleric suckier or I swear to God I will murder your children."

You may be wondering what brought on this rant. Well, at a recent D&D Encounters event our group of 6 adventurers (including 2 clerics, one of which was played by yours truly) faced off against a black dragon. It was a brutal, drawn-out affair that required the clerics to spend every turn healing and trying to remove the aforementioned hateful status effects. At the end of the night the dragon lay defeated and the clerics were dead, both of us having spent all of our time and resources keeping everyone else alive. I don’t think either of us even hit the stupid monster. So while the rest of the party rode off with the experience points, the treasure and the glory, our bodies were left to rot in a dark damp hole, and not the good kind.

I’m never playing a cleric again. From now on I’m just hiring cleric henchmen. That way they’re doubly expendable.

I take no responsibility for this. I typed “kill the hireling” into Google Images and this was the first picture that popped up.

Has anyone had a good experience playing a cleric? Or have another class that just pisses you off? Please feel free to share. I hate to be whiny all alone.

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