Cleric is an interesting class to look at. Whereas with a Paladin there is a built in assumption that you are going to be good, with a cleric, you can be a cleric of an evil deity. However, with a cleric, you do have to always be connected to a deity. But what if you don’t want to and you still want to have the cleric powers, in D&D, that really isn’t a thing.
According to D&D lore, a clerics power comes from being a devout follower of a deity. The character itself doesn’t have magical ability in the same way that a sorcerer, bard, or wizard would where their power is in themselves to some extent. The deity bestows the power upon the character. This actually works pretty well for a player who wants to play a cleric for a little bit or wants to change out characters every so often. They can actually still play the same character, but if they go with a more martial cleric, they can be a cleric for a little while, lose their faith, and become a fighter.
The cleric in a party generally has one important duty. They generally aren’t going to be your most damage focused and combat focused character, but they have their role in combat as the healer. That’s often the role that a cleric gets stuck into though, and sometimes you don’t want to play your cleric that way. You can be an effective combat character if you want, or you can focus more on being scholarly or on you can be a missionary and focus on charisma based traits.
Mechanically speaking, you are a spell casting class. You are going to want to do well at it and put most of your stats into that. Depending on your Cleric domain it’s also possible that you are going to want to focus on constitution and strength in order to be able to do damage and wade in and tank it in combat, especially in a party with a number of spell casters.
Why would a Cleric join a party?
Well, if you are a missionary, then you’d probably want to have some people protect you as you go along the road, or it might be that you travel with a party in order to give last rites and heal the wounded as a charity. There’s plenty of opportunity to want to find a holy artifact or text that has been lost a long time, and you’re helping them out with what they want to do so that they’ll help you out in the future.
What are some backstories that you could use for a Cleric?
Growing up as party of a cult you’ve spent your life hearing about this evil deity who you’re trying to bring back. It had always been a pretty unimportant part of your life until the deity chose you to be their mouth piece and to look for their resting place. Now you’ve had to get help from other adventurers to aid you in your travels to proselytize and to help you when you’ve figured out where the deities resting place may be.
She was too young to see the tragedy that befell her village, but unfortunately, you don’t get to decide how old you are when your parents, your family, your friends, and your village all burn to the ground. It was shocking that she even survived. Sitting there in the ashes for who knows how long she saw a person coming to her dressed in black. It told her that it wasn’t her time yet, that she would live, and that the person could help her. She now travels around finding lost souls who have for one reason or another been trapped here on the mortal coil and giving them the rest that they deserve but there is an abomination in the land who is bringing back the dead against their wills, and she cannot face it alone.
Growing up in the temple is a wonderful and the deity of love should be known by all. I am a priest and my calling is to spread the love. Who wouldn’t want to feel more loved in their life? I am not one to pick up a sword and road is dangerous. I believe that my deity will save me, but I’m also know that they do not want me to be a fool. I’ve been set to the far reaches of the world, and I will need help to make it there.
When it rains, the crops grow. That’s how it’s always been in my home village and that is the way it should always be. But something has happened, my prayers to my deity seem to be going unheard and the crops are dying, the animals are dying, and I do not know what to do. There has to be some force at work, there has to be some reason for this tribulation, but I am a woman of the cloth and I do not know how to investigate or fight. I am going to need to find assistance before all the crops die and the coffers of the church are too empty to be able to hire good help.
Would you play one of those back stories? What type of cleric have you played before?