Thoughts on The Cleric



The fourth part to my Ten Part Series. Enjoy!

Designing the Cleric

There always has to be a Cleric… it’s a law of the universe somewhere. The problem is that there is ALWAYS a Cleric and Clerics are always the same. I knew I needed to do something about that. As the friends that have played with me all know, I am not entirely too keen on making pantheons of gods and I have never felt that a Cleric (aka divine caster) should be entirely different than an arcane caster. When I was thinking of the Cleric in 2004-2005, my philosophy on life had changed and changed quite handedly. Where previously I had thought of things in clear black and white terms–that we needed to maximize good and minimize the bad; that all things could be quantified–I began to feel that there was a place for everything.

The idea that there is a place for everything led me along traditional boundaries of Good, Neutral, and Evil. I didn’t want to go that direction, so I thought in terms of negative energies, positive energies, and neutral energies. The latter energies were the basis which formed the three Paths a Cleric could follow in life: Abyssal, Ascension, and Balance. A Cleric would follow one of these Paths or follow all of these Paths. They could be associated with a god if that is what they decided, but the true allegiance to which every Cleric swore was to one of the Three Paths. The Path of the Abyss was a dark path of negative energy. An Abyssal Cleric would face much in the way of perils that could easily lead them to become the personification of evil. The Path of Ascension was the quintessential holy man path with eyes on the heavens. The Ascension Cleric likely stood on the side of all that is good and just. The Path of Balance was a place where the Cleric accepted that all good and bad comes in a matter of degrees and as long as you kept to the middle road, you would likely being doing a service to the world. The Balance Cleric was definitely not evil, it could be argued that they are good, but they were meant to be realistic.

I then created a measurement of how far down a particular Path a person was wandering called the Stigmata score and the rest is history. I really could go on with the Cleric, but I will save that for another time! There is quite a bit behind this curtain.

Reactions to the Cleric

I personally have mixed feelings on how the Cleric has been received. On the one hand, there has not been any outcry against it, but on the other hand, there had not been anyone jumping at the chance to be one. I think the Cleric suffers from being in every game since the dawn of RPGs. They are always considered a class that is needed, but no one really wants to play them. I think the Clerics in Unchained Heroes suffer from the baggage from every game before them. If a person has played an RPG before, they always feel they “need” a cleric, but no one wants to be the party healing robot.

With that as my take on the situation, I have to say that the Cleric has provided a surprise for people that have played them in a good way, however it has not gone far enough to shake the rest of the players from feeling the Cleric isn’t the class for them. The stereotypes are a little too great at the moment even though many different Clerics have been played. I have personally played an unorthodox Abyssal Cleric that was “redeemed” and became an Ascension Cleric. We have had a full on Ascension Cleric that healed the dickens out of people and blasted the undead with powerful healing spells. We also had a concept for a Balance Cleric start, but get changed to an Alchemist in the end.

My Abyssal Cleric is still alive and well in a campaign. I like my Abyssal Cleric, but found that in the party we were playing we sorely needed someone to keep everyone alive. Fortunately, I am the type of person that likes to be in a support role and help other people shine, so I made him an Ascension Cleric and my GM was awesome enough to roll it into her campaign.

The pure Ascension Cleric that my wife played was a struggle conceptually for her to get into, but when she finally started healing in battle, she LOVED her and has mentioned that fact every time this comes up. It was a second character that she played just so we could have another body in during combat. She didn’t necessarily get a lot of face time in the rpg sessions, but she definitely made her mark in battle.

Overall, the Cleric suffers from the disease I like to call SOCS (Same Old Cleric Syndrome), but I hope people will get into it more as they see the new and exciting abilities in store for them!

One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    I’ve always like Clerics, going back to 1st edition D&D (armor AND magic AND still pretty good in a fight). They seemed to have a little bit of everything and not have to be pigeon-holed the way fighters (people who fight) and magic-users (even more self-descriptive) were.

    In Chronos I think they are awesome and I’d love to play one again. The three paths give you a huge variety of possible role-playing options, and they have some game-changing attacks and debuffs in addition to having some of the best heals. I think they are one of the best balanced classes and I think you could take one as a solo party and do very well.

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