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5E How is the Cleric in Actual Play?

Stalker0

Adventurer
My group is pretty meh to the cleric. They think the bard is amazing, the druid is solid, the wizard is awesome.

But the cleric...on paper it just doesn't seem that strong. On of my players tried out a cleric at 6th level for a few sessions and then promptly changed to a wizard, and has never looked back.

I'll admit that looking at the cleric's 2nd and 3rd level spell list I've never been particularly impressed. So for those who have played clerics for a while in game, what's your actual experience?
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Odd, in our group clerics and wizards are great, druids are good, and we think bards suck. :)

One of my characters was a cleric and I enjoyed it a lot. He was a dwarf and I played him as almost a sort of holy warrior, choosing the War Domain. He was good in fights, with decent HP and a great AC, offered support via healing and buffs, and I enjoyed him. I remember at mid-levels when I could destroy undead, the party was surrounded and I blew a bunch away in a single turning. Everybody loved it!

Overall, I rate the cleric a firm 8 out of 10 and one of my top four classes to play. I suppose actual play experience will depend on what your game is like and such. What domain was the player using and how were they playing their cleric before switching to wizard?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Define "strong" and what you want to get out of a character. The player in my current campaign is having a blast (literally) with a tempest cleric. My war cleric was a lot of fun. In my wife's campaign the life cleric did an amazing job of healing.

Everybody has their own personal taste of course, but the domain can make a pretty big difference in what the PC feels like in play. A cleric may not be for everyone, but no class is.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
In my experience, clerics are great at healing, but other aspects of the rules mean that magical healing is unnecessary. As such, clerics aren't that useful.
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
Depends what players want out of their characters. Melee? Not a cleric. Ranged? Not a cleric. Jack of all trades? Not a cleric.

Healer? Now that's a cleric. Does your party need one? Nope, just like they don't need a wizard, a fighter, barbarian or any other class. It just means they have to play according to what they do have.

I've played characters that are fun, you just have to be wanting to play a cleric in order to enjoy playing a cleric.
 

Azzy

Explorer
I've seen two clerics being played since we adopted 5e. One was a Life cleric, and one was a Forge cleric—each by different players in different campaigns. Both players loved the class. So, it may be just a matter of player preference.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
It depends on the domain and it requires a decent amount of system mastery. They kind of suck in melee except for a few exceptions.


Something like the Light cleric is very good and can buff via aid. Life is good at healing. For melee you really need feats.

melee clerics basically have to use spirit guardians once they reach the right levels. They also suffer from MAD using the default array. nature clerics are basically the best ones in melee without feas and with feats are still very competitive and the heavy armor ones kind of need to take heavy armor master. So there are feat taxes more or less.

Still good at support via guidance and healing/bless. if you have PCs with the -5/+10 feats and a non melee cleric blessing them is a very good option.
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
I love playing a 5e cleric. Especially the Life Domain. I very much enjoy playing the Healer, support role. It's just about picking a class that matches your expectations.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Well, when i play a cleric (in 5e or PF) I never survive more than 3 sessions.
Not because clerics are bad, but due to random crits etc.

Of the 5 or 6 not-me 5e clerics I've played with/DM'd for?
All but one worked fine.
It didn't work because the player was just a bad cleric player. If someone else had been helm in it....
All were fine RP wise.
 

aco175

Explorer
If there is a lot of fighting in your group, a life cleric cannot be beat. One player in my group had a light cleric he liked, especially when he got fireball. My tempest cleric was fun to play, but may not have been the best build. I guess it depends on how you play them.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
The player pool in our Eberron campaign has 3 clerics (two light, one war). Given half a chance, I play a cleric when I'm in someone else's game. I'm a fan. You can hold your own, often have neat domain tricks, and a selection of spells for any job (not just healing).

Spiritual Weapon plus Spirit Guardians. Can't go wrong. My favorite cleric is a light cleric named Wanda Curelight. She kicks ass.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I played a Dragonborn tempest cleric all the way through HotDQ campaign up to level 15. I was probably the second most combat effective in the whole group, and I was a frontline tank. Don’t underestimate the ability to maximize and push targets with your abilities as a tempest cleric. Between spirit guardians and maximizing thunder/lightning spells, I was wrecking havoc.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But the cleric...on paper it just doesn't seem that strong.
What do you mean by "strong"? What is it you want to get out of it? Straight damage output? Then maybe it isn't your class.

I'm having great fun with a cleric right now, but (though I am a War cleric) I'm not worried about how many points of damage I do, or how many things I personally kill I care about *getting the job of violence done*. And at that, the character is excellent.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
I think the Cleric is the best designed 5e class, and as a result I've played more clerics than anything else this edition.

The feel of the Domains are all very distinct, and the one I have tried all play well. You don't need to act as a healer, but you have that ability cornered if you want it. You'll never be the greatest damage dealer, but you can be consistent and reliable.

Unlike other classes, there's a flexibility, so you can make a strong, capable cleric with Strength, Dex, or Wisdom as your main attribute.

Level 2 spells I've had good use with include Spiritual Weapon and Blindness, and at Level 3 Spirit Guardians is your friend. (Inflict Wounds at level 1 has come in handy often as well).

My only substantial complaint about Clerics, and this does affect play, is that your attack cantrips are all saves rather that rolls to hit. This is great for avoiding cover, but you miss out on the 20-sided die in your hand, which (for me) is a big thing. The Arcane Domain got around it by letting you use 2 wizard cantrips with your wisdom.

Hope this helps.
 

Li Shenron

Adventurer
No character class sucks in 5e, and even though I haven't played the game at high level yet, I have never seen an issue with the Cleric specifically.

Rather than "healer", I would call the Cleric a "support" character. Every Cleric has spells since the start which help others' attacks and defenses, as well as out-of-combat tasks. Of course the Cleric can fight too, magically (with cantrips) or using weapons, and it's quite decent even tho it again feels more like a support compared to the most combat-oriented characters.

I can understand that some gamers do not like seeing themselves as "support". But then what? Other players don't like being a fighting-type or a spellcaster, where's the problem? When we started our D&D family game, one of my kids immediately wanted to be "the character who is always there to help her friends" when I described the Cleric, and the 5e version of it does its job quite well.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I haven't played many high level characters but the 6th level life cleric seemed quite powerful. I spiritual weapon granted me a second attack and spirit guardians helped carve up the enemies that I was close to. It was pretty mean. I don't think I needed to use my channel divinity much but that was going to be my main heal with cure wounds as back up.

I was a high elf cleric in light armour using dexterity rather than a heavy armour cleric which seemed to work well.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
In the games I have played in and ran, clerics have been great. They are not every9ne's cup of tea but no class is.

Mechanically the class performs well and the domains enable a wide array of variations.

But its biggest strength in my experience (and biggest weakness) is in its direct built-in ties to the setting through its religion. It's one of if not the biggest "comes with baggage by dint of class" and is married " for better or worse (hopefully better)" to what typically is a big deal in the campaign.

For the games I run and most all the games I have played in, it was definitely a big deal and mostly for better (a little for worse when appropriare) but I can see in some games that could be seen as not a big deal or even a detriment.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
They're fine.

Rd 1: Spirit Guardians.
Rd 2: Spiritual Weapon and a melee attack.

Assuming a one handed weapon, each round you're still dealing 5d8 + wis + dex/str to one target (about 30), and 3d8 (about 14) to other targets in your radius. That is a solid little 'bread and butter' combo using 2 slots. Given the duration of Spirit Guardians, you can often already have it cast before combat.

There was a Trickery Cleric X / Hexblade 1 that used to wade into battle with Armor of Agathys upcast with a higher level slot, Spirit Guardians and Spiritual Weapon. He was considered overpowered by the DM as he did everything for the party - he was the Face of the group, did fairly high damage for the party, and had a bunch of spell slots left over for fun extras. He did not do a lot of healing, but did provide it in key stiuations.

There are a lot of ways to do clerics - and they're all pretty solid and fun.
 

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