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5E How is the Cleric in Actual Play?

Raunalyn

Explorer
Hussar, I think we've seen Revivify cast once? Maybe twice? in the years we've gamed together. Hell, it's rare that we have a death in our campaigns, period. I think 4 deaths total in the years I've been running 5e. One was a Minotaur Bard in my Dragonlance game, a War Cleric in Hoard of the Dragon Queen, a dwarf Fighter in Tomb of Annihilation, and a Warforged Fighter who was blasted by a disintegrate ray from a beholder zombie in Dungeon of the Mad Mage.

5e characters are a lot more resilient than pre-4e characters. I am seriously considering going more hardcore in the next campaign.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
5e characters are a lot more resilient than pre-4e characters. I am seriously considering going more hardcore in the next campaign.
5e characters really are hard to keep down. And Revivify basically puts the player-penalty for an unlucky death to be the same player penalty as being knocked out until the end of a combat. In-character penalty is higher - 3rd level slot, 300gp of diamonds, but that's not (usually) an unreachable issue.

I enjoy when the DM is tough - gives more of a sense of accomplishment. When a DM does 2-3 encounters per day without really pushing hard on any of them there is no fear of death, it robs the encounter of tension. I still enjoy working towards character and campaign goals, good RP, developing relationships with NPCs, figuring out plots and the like - it can still be an enjoyable campaign with regularly easy battles. But with combat taking up so much clock time in a session, rolling dice for a foregone conclusion is time that could be spent in a more exciting way.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
5e characters are a lot more resilient than pre-4e characters. I am seriously considering going more hardcore in the next campaign.
Back during the playtest we played death saves differently (Can't remember if it was the actual rule or if we just read it incorrectly at the time).

The mechanic was the same, but the 3 failed saves and your dead didn't reset until after a long rest (as opposed to as soon as your at positive HP).

Players were a lot more concerned about going down!
 

jgsugden

Explorer
I'm thinking each time you go down to 0 hp exhaustion level.
In my game - I use a Matt Mercer variant for a challeng to bring someone back. However, it often involved negotiating with the powers that gained control of the soul at the instant of death.

Once you've died, you're also Deathtouched. Deathtouched individuals, like people that have died in Harry Potter, are impacted by the supernatural world differently. They have penalties in certain situations to resist certain 'calls of the grave'. Certain things require you to be pure, and Deathtouched are not pure for these purposes.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yep outside a couple of builds cleric damage is a bit meh and is mostly built around biva damage with 2 spells.

Boring class depending on domain. Guidance, bless, Spiritual weapon/guardians almost anything else is suboptimal.
To be fair, in the Storm Kings Thunder campaign, Command really was a go to spell. The ability to grant advantage to everyone while completely shutting down an opponent for a round is a big deal. Upcast it can really dominate an encounter.
 

Hussar

Legend
Hussar, I think we've seen Revivify cast once? Maybe twice? in the years we've gamed together. Hell, it's rare that we have a death in our campaigns, period. I think 4 deaths total in the years I've been running 5e. One was a Minotaur Bard in my Dragonlance game, a War Cleric in Hoard of the Dragon Queen, a dwarf Fighter in Tomb of Annihilation, and a Warforged Fighter who was blasted by a disintegrate ray from a beholder zombie in Dungeon of the Mad Mage.

5e characters are a lot more resilient than pre-4e characters. I am seriously considering going more hardcore in the next campaign.
Heh. I wasn’t even in two of those campaigns.
 

Ogre Mage

Explorer
Clerics are a great class and the wide variety of domains allows you to fill many different roles. I personally prefer caster support clerics, especially with the light domain, which gives access to spells clerics do not normally get. Also, Toll the Dead and guidance are great cantrips. Bless is a superb buff spell which will remain relevant throughout your career. Others have already mentioned how great spirit guardians is. I especially like it on my light cleric as enemies will have a hard time hitting you to potentially disrupt it because of warding flare. Having both fireball AND spirit guardians makes you powerful at range or up close.
 
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jgsugden

Explorer
Light clerics probably the best domain it's very good.
Check out Order domain. It is very, very solid as well. However, trickery is the domain I prefer as there are few limitations on your illusory double.... and a great spell selection, there.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
To be fair, in the Storm Kings Thunder campaign, Command really was a go to spell. The ability to grant advantage to everyone while completely shutting down an opponent for a round is a big deal. Upcast it can really dominate an encounter.
Command is a decent spell in most campaigns. Language dependency is the only thing keeping it toned down.
 

Hussar

Legend
Heh, I actually walked around casting Tongues fairly often SPECIFICALLY for that. For some bizarre reason, we just never seemed to have enough down time in Storm Kings Thunder for me to learn Giant. Grrr.... :p Did make it funny though.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
In my game - I use a Matt Mercer variant for a challeng to bring someone back. However, it often involved negotiating with the powers that gained control of the soul at the instant of death.

Once you've died, you're also Deathtouched. Deathtouched individuals, like people that have died in Harry Potter, are impacted by the supernatural world differently. They have penalties in certain situations to resist certain 'calls of the grave'. Certain things require you to be pure, and Deathtouched are not pure for these purposes.
I feel some character choices are more likely to die than others, such a a front-line fighter vs. an archer fighter. So if Deathtouched is solely negative (which I'm not sure), this seems like a permanent debuff and I'd play a robust yet ranged character.

Yet I would worry that the combats would lack tension because the DM wants death to be more meaningful, and therefore likely rarer. With how long combat takes compared to other mechanical activities, I really want the majority of combats to be drag-out, real possibility of loss. Lots of tension, and real risk so good rewards. But with how the dice bounce, that level of threat will kill characters occasionally when a poor decision or two combine with some bad die luck. A DM who avoids that risk will have less exciting attrition combats. Combats with other goals will still be as good, but it seems like the majority of combat encounters are attrition to wear down your resources.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
My friend loves his Tempest cleric who has a wand of lightning. Maximized lightning bolts are crazy. Maximized lightning bolts that are up cast are encounter ending. I play a nature cleric in one of my home games and really enjoy it. He's a Firbolg and since the adventure is beast heavy (lots of outdoor adventures) he has been very useful.

Picking the right domain to fit the setting and group is the biggest consideration. A light cleric casting fireballs in Avernus might not have as fun a time as say an arcane cleric that has abilities versus fiends, celestial, and elementals.

Overall they bring support to the group and can be good both in and out of combat as well as both buffing their allies or hindering their enemies. If a round goes by and you can't find anything useful to do you're playing it wrong. If being king dps is the goal look elsewhere, but as I mentioned earlier it doesn't mean your damage is nonexistent either.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Tempest clerics don't get lightning bolt so if you're upcasting and maximising them......

Wands of lightning bolt are also very good.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
So for those who have played clerics for a while in game, what's your actual experience?
Maximize your Concentration check, put up Spirit Guardians, walk around Dodging all day long. Profit.

Congratulations! You have single-handedly proved WotC's claim "you can still use hordes of lower-leveled critters" claim wrong.

I tried to throw about seventy gnolls against a party containing a Cleric, some with javelins, some with melee weapons (this was in the Underdark). They died by the score. The cleric did have to make a number of Concentration saves. The others acted in various unmemorable ways. Then the Cleric won the game. The End.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Maximize your Concentration check, put up Spirit Guardians, walk around Dodging all day long. Profit.

Congratulations! You have single-handedly proved WotC's claim "you can still use hordes of lower-leveled critters" claim wrong.

I tried to throw about seventy gnolls against a party containing a Cleric, some with javelins, some with melee weapons (this was in the Underdark). They died by the score. The cleric did have to make a number of Concentration saves. The others acted in various unmemorable ways. Then the Cleric won the game. The End.
To quote a certain comic " you can't fix stupid."

Running 6-8 Int gnolls as mindless enough thst scores rush into deadly ongoing AoE is about as convincing a case study as lemmings running off a cliff.

That said, the DMG tells you to ignore (For difficuk
Lty) monsters whose challenge rsting is significantly lower than the avg CR of the party unless you think they can conttibute significantly.

If a GM thinks low tier-1 CR 1/2 jobs played (apparently) suicidally could significantly contribute against CR5+ troupe, well, hey... there have a learning opportunity for some rookie gm who may have not read the DMG.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
To quote a certain comic " you can't fix stupid."

Running 6-8 Int gnolls as mindless enough thst scores rush into deadly ongoing AoE is about as convincing a case study as lemmings running off a cliff.

That said, the DMG tells you to ignore (For difficuk
Lty) monsters whose challenge rsting is significantly lower than the avg CR of the party unless you think they can conttibute significantly.

If a GM thinks low tier-1 CR 1/2 jobs played (apparently) suicidally could significantly contribute against CR5+ troupe, well, hey... there have a learning opportunity for some rookie gm who may have not read the DMG.
Ah yes, the old but not good "but their INT!" chestnut.

The fact remains, Spirit Guardians single-handedly shuts down the "bounded accuracy means Orcs remain relevant" argument.

And since Clerics are the ones that get it, I felt it relevant to the thread's topic
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Ah yes, the old but not good "but their INT!" chestnut.

The fact remains, Spirit Guardians single-handedly shuts down the "bounded accuracy means Orcs remain relevant" argument.

And since Clerics are the ones that get it, I felt it relevant to the thread's topic
Huh?

Not sure why you feel the need to defend the relevancy of you posting it here. Did anyone challenge or question that?

Your faith that your conclusion or opinion is "fact" is interesting but hardly compelling. Just because suicidal creatures arexstopped by short radius ongoing AoEs doesnt make any claim about mobs untrue, unless one assumes "no matter how stupidly played" was a part of it. By that logic, a cliff could "prove it untrue" if one simply assumes the gnolls (or is it now orcs from your in-game action?) if its between the PCs snd them so the gnorcs charge off the cliff to their doom.

But hey, any GM can change stat blocks, lower creatures zintan or just ignore whatever traits or rules they want to prove a point (to themselves at least.)

But, again, they even went into the challenges and big disparity in CR thing in the DMG, so, really, whatever partial lacking context straw position you are seeking to slay has really been covered in print. A bunch of gnolls (baseline models - not assuming leaders and casters and other such) would only be counted for difficulty if the GM saw in the situation and circumstance that they were going to be significant.

Outside of that, they would be more like mobile scenery - terrain issues you have to deal with. No more relevant to bounded accuracy than a river. For 5th level PCs they serve as an example of how the PCs have advanced beyond certain threats. Water Breathing and/or Flying removes the River challenge if it's simple just like Spirit Guardians can remove the hoard of the mindless gnorcs on parade.

Really, it sounds more like dome ehite room theory foisted into a session for whatever purpose the GM had in mind. Cannot say I have ever seen a GM run it that way, or even close, in actual play with creatures smarter than (or even as smart as ) common animals (range from 2-5 typically.)

But hey, if thats all the "proof" you need, that's informative so thanks.
 

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