D&D 5E Playing non-healer clerics

Because I am building and playing my character. This is player agency.

It is not up to the party what I play or how I play (with the exception of session 0 exclusions and such).
That's not the question I asked.

The question I asked was, why do you need the letters "C L E R I C" at the top of your sheet in order to play what you want to play? Why does having that string of letters make such a difference, when literally everything else is up for you to decide?

Because it is ME playing that and that is how I want to play that character.

To be honest when I want to play a character who is going to melee tank every single fight, I will usually play a Wizard. Bladesinger subclass, Blade cantrips, Protection from Evil and Good, Haste, Blur and use my high level slots for contingency and upcast false life. I will use very few offensive spells, when I do that. If you think we need a Wizard to throw around control spells or fireballs then you can play one.

That is how I like to melee, why should I be foreced into a Fighter, Barbarian or Paladin box to play a melee tank who wades into the thick of melee when the Wizard mechanics are more fun to me when playing that type of character?
You shouldn't! There should be a class designed for that function. That's what I'm saying. There should be a class that does what you are asking for right out of the box. Having things like Eldritch Knights and Bladesinger Wizards and Hexblades and the like is nice, as they allow dabbling, "drifting" one concept into another. But "someone who genuinely melds magic and melee into a single, cohesive whole, which lets them wade into danger and shrug it off" is in itself a worthy concept. That's why it got an actual class in previous editions: because it was thematically and mechanically interesting enough to be its own distinct thing, worthy of getting mechanics to make that specific choice entertaining and engaging in and of itself, not as a byproduct of some other thing.

Player agency, that is why.
Again, I do not understand how this is even remotely relevant to the question. The letters "F I G H T E R" and "C L E R I C" have nothing whatsoever to do with your agency. They don't change the mechanics, which are set by the game (unless agreed to be changed.) They don't change the thematics, which you have always been free to describe as you like. They don't change the dynamics, because those are set by the nature of D&D being a TTRPG: rolling dice, adding and subtracting numbers, style-specific stuff like "solving logistical challenges" or "improvisational acting (possibly with funny voices)," etc. They don't change the aesthetics of play (per the MDA model), because you can abnegate or be competitive or whatever else regardless of what letters are written across the top of your sheet.

Why are the letters "C L E R I C" so important to your agency when they seem to have nothing to do with it?

I should be allowed to play a character like
No one is saying you shouldn't. I'm asking why that character ABSOLUTELY MUST have the letters "C L E R I C" written on it, and not something else which is actually designed to serve the interests you have well and fully, rather than being an ultra-generic grab-bag (being "everything to everyone" as I said above.)

I want to play a character and I should not be forced into a role because of my class.
So, just to get this completely clear:
Having something you're merely good at is FORCING you to do it. Is that what you are saying?

My character should not have a specific job just because of what is written on the top of my character sheet.
Why not? Why does having the letters "C L E R I C" mean so goddamned much? Why do those letters take away your agency, when abandoning your attachment to them would enhance your ability to choose a class actually designed to do what you want to do?

I also disagree with the idea that every class is everything.
It sure as hell seems like it. Fighters have to be able to perform LITERALLY ANYTHING combat: strength or dexterity or charisma (because it's allegedly the Warlord now) or even further afield, and for the very slightly more liberally minded they need to have some magic too so they don't fall behind. Wizards (and other casters) must be able to do literally actually everything (except maybe healing, that's the one thing Wizards generally don't get to touch)--because you want them to be tanks and Suraya wants them to be infiltrators and Jorge wants them to be charismatic manipulators and Pat wants them to be investigators and you'd better gorram believe that every single one of them DEMANDS that they get the letters "W I Z A R D" at the top of their character sheet or it's destroyed their agency.

Everyone has to be able to do everything always because if you--God forbid!--actually design a class to be genuinely good at something, well, now you've FORBIDDEN players from ever considering anything else, even though the way to consider doing something else is to play a class that's designed to do that or, if you want to do both, build up to doing more than what you started with.
 
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aco175

Legend
Maybe 6.0 will have a bunch of grab bag options as you advance and you get to pick one of everything from each list. A classless system to make characters. Might be fine, but a lot of people already said this is not what they think D&D is and other systems tried it.

5e has made it easier to play with whatever you want and the system is easy enough to have 4-5 whatevers go through a dungeon and be generally fine. I think most posters said they do some healing as the cleric even though they want to explore the other parts of the class and pull away from earlier editions view of the class.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Why do we need every class to be everything to everyone? More importantly, why do we need every class to be everything to everyone right away? If you can always build toward being really good at archery as a Fighter, even if it's not what you start off being good at or maybe even ignoring what you started out being good at...is that enough? If it isn't, why?
I think there's a valid approach in fantasy gaming to using "class" as a descriptor for the aesthetic skin, the part that encompasses the narrative effect rather than the mechanic. So a "cleric" is a character that uses divine power in some manner, and then the rules let one build the cleric into a ranged blaster, or a healer, or a melee tank if desired.

It's contra the 4e approach of using class as the mechanical wrapper, and then encouraging reskinning (while still having a front-facing strong narrative), but it isn't an incoherent approach.
 

I think there's a valid approach in fantasy gaming to using "class" as a descriptor for the aesthetic skin, the part that encompasses the narrative effect rather than the mechanic. So a "cleric" is a character that uses divine power in some manner, and then the rules let one build the cleric into a ranged blaster, or a healer, or a melee tank if desired.

It's contra the 4e approach of using class as the mechanical wrapper, and then encouraging reskinning (while still having a front-facing strong narrative), but it isn't an incoherent approach.
Okay, but that's incompatible with saying that Fighters shouldn't use magic, that Wizards don't heal, or that Rogues can't be tanks (or whatever else one prefers.) If this is the lens we're supposed to use, it seems like blatantly trying to have one's cake and eat it too. You can have whatever mechanical package you want, as long as you don't want one of the many forbidden packages.
 

ECMO3

Hero
That's not the question I asked.

The question I asked was, why do you need the letters "C L E R I C" at the top of your sheet in order to play what you want to play? Why does having that string of letters make such a difference, when literally everything else is up for you to decide?

Oh, that is easy. there is no other class with the mechanics necessary to do what I want in that regard. A Paladin holy warrior can not keep up using cantrips and thunder/lighting effects and that is what I wanted to do (with one of those characters anyway). A wizard probably could have kept up mechanically and I could have added the thematic elements to make her a holy warrior, but that would be even more off-brand than a Cleric.



You shouldn't! There should be a class designed for that function. That's what I'm saying

I disagree completly, I should play the class I want to play. And the Wizard is designed to melee or it would not have those spell and subclass options. And if you choose the right spells it not only can melee occasionally, it can can tank as well or better than just about any other class. The Wizard class IS designed to do that. That is why spells like shield and blur exist.

Classes are designed to do everything you can do with them. Rangers are designed to be faces because you can build the best face possible using a Ranger, Wizards are designed to be in melee because you can build one of the best melee characters using those mechanics. Fighters are designed to be casters because you can build a fighter that is a decent caster (in tier 1/tier 2)

On the other hand Sorcerers are not designed to be in melee and Barbarians are not designed to cast spells because you can't build examples that do that well. The mechanics are not there.

Having things like Eldritch Knights and Bladesinger Wizards and Hexblades and the like is nice, as they allow dabbling, "drifting" one concept into another. But "someone who genuinely melds magic and melee into a single, cohesive whole, which lets them wade into danger and shrug it off" is in itself a worthy concept. That's why it got an actual class in previous editions: because it was thematically and mechanically interesting enough to be its own distinct thing, worthy of getting mechanics to make that specific choice entertaining and engaging in and of itself, not as a byproduct of some other thing..

I like Bladesingers and Eldritch Kinghts better than any Gish from a previous addition but Bladesingers can do a lot more than dabble. A Bladesinger optimized for melee is a better tank than just about any other build in the game and a lot better than GISH subclasses in previous editions were. When I build a bladesinger it is not because I want to dabble and drift, it is because I want to drop into the middle of the enemy line and suck up every single attack they throw against me.

You can build bladesinger differently. You can build them to be casters with some better defenses, you can build them to dabble and drift or to combine offensive spells with melee. But that is not what I like to do with them.

An Eldritch Knight is a full on fighter, you can build him into a Gish type if you want, but it has the mechanics to be a full martial.

There should be a class that does what you are asking for right out of the box.

There is .... and it is the one I am choosing.

Wizard does melee exactly like I want

Cleric does holy Warrior exactly like I want

Paladin does frightening controller exactly like I want

Other classes don't do what I wanted as well for those three example characters.

Again, I do not understand how this is even remotely relevant to the question. The letters "F I G H T E R" and "C L E R I C" have nothing whatsoever to do with your agency.
Oh absolutely they do. What I write on the top of my character sheet is all about agency. It is how I choose to build my character.

This is like saying putting "Female" or "Tamra" on my character sheet is not agency as I could make a character with "Male" and "Bob" written on the top instead.


They don't change the mechanics, which are set by the game (unless agreed to be changed.)
They do change the mechanics. Writing Cleric on top of your character sheet changes the mechanics of that character. If you had fighter written on top of it would have different mechanics. It changes your class.


Why are the letters "C L E R I C" so important to your agency when they seem to have nothing to do with it?

The same reason the name, gender and deity are important!

No one is saying you shouldn't. I'm asking why that character ABSOLUTELY MUST have the letters "C L E R I C" written on it, and not something else which is actually designed to serve the interests you have well and fully, rather than being an ultra-generic grab-bag (being "everything to everyone" as I said above.)

If there was a class that served those interests better I would have chosen it. That I chose a class for a specific character by definition means the mechanics of that class suit what I want to do better than any other class (or at least I think they do when I make that choice).

Why not? Why does having the letters "C L E R I C" mean so goddamned much? Why do those letters take away your agency, when abandoning your attachment to them would enhance your ability to choose a class actually designed to do what you want to do?

If I am playing a Cleric it is because the Cleric class is designed to do what I want to do better than any other class. Otherwise I would not be playing it.

It sure as hell seems like it. Fighters have to be able to perform LITERALLY ANYTHING combat: strength or dexterity or charisma (because it's allegedly the Warlord now) or even further afield,
No they don't. I even said above I disagree with the idea that fighters must do melee.

Wizards (and other casters) must be able to do literally actually everything

Not true. As I mentioned above Sorcerers can not be made into effective melee characters. Druids can't either except at very low levels or very high levels and only then by shapeshifting. Bards and Warlocks make poor tanks and mediocre melee characters at best unless multiclassed with something else.

If you really want to tank and do it well you are going to need to play a Paladin, Fighter, Ranger, Barbarian, Cleric or Wizard.

(except maybe healing) that's the one thing Wizards generally don't get to touch)--because you want them to be tanks and Suraya wants them to be infiltrators and Jorge wants them to be charismatic manipulators and Pat wants them to be investigators and you'd better gorram believe that every single one of them DEMANDS that they get the letters "W I Z A R D" at the top of their character sheet or it's destroyed their agency.

The mechanics allow Wizards to do all those things (well all those things except investigators). Those things are part of what the class is "designed to do". If the mechanics were different they would not be as good at those things.

Also a wizard, or any full caster, can be a decent healer if you pick up Magic Initiate with goodberry and the Gift of the Metallic Dragon feats. That will give you a free casting of Cure Wounds and the ability to use your spells slots for it as well as creating a ton of goodberrys with any leftover slots. That is not as good as some other classes can be, but with full caster slots it is passable.


Everyone has to be able to do everything always because if you--God forbid!--actually design a class to be genuinely good at something, well, now you've FORBIDDEN players from ever considering anything else, even though the way to consider doing something else is to play a class that's designed to do that or, if you want to do both, build up to doing more than what you started with.

If the mechanics support a certain style of play in a fashion that is effective then by definition the class is designed to do that.

You do generally have to build up to it though. I mentioned that Wizard is one of the best melee classes in the game, but this really does not get there until 6th level. On that journey you will be poor at 1st level, good twice a day at 2nd level. At 5th level you will get to awesome 3 times a day and passable for the rest of the day. At 6th level you will finally get to where you are top flight with enough slots to last you a day and bladesinger extra attack which makes you good all day long and awesome in 3 fights.

Meanwhile a Fighter optimized to tank has been great since level 1 and even at level 6 is still pretty close to a Bladesinger optimized for melee.
 
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Clint_L

Hero
I NEVER and I mean NEVER consider what other people at the table are playing. Some of the players in groups I played with do and will pick something for balance or to complement the other characters, and that is ok, but that is not something I do when choosing a class.
I almost never get to play - I'm virtually always the DM. So on the rare occasions that I do get to play I am pathetically grateful and offer to play whatever the party needs. I honestly don't care, anyway; every class can be fun.
 

Mad_Jack

Hero
If you're relying on any of my clerics to save you, you're already dead.

I used to play a lot of war clerics whose religion basically stated that only those who'd survived the battle were worthy of their healing.
And then there was the cleric of a death god who instantly cured the typical party tendency to make stupid choices because they "knew" that the cleric would heal them by announcing that anyone who fell unconscious on the battlefield due to going to 0 HP would be given a coup de grace to hasten their glorious ascension into his god's presence. :p
 

Oh, that is easy. there is no other class with the mechanics necessary to do what I want in that regard.
And this is why I am saying there is a problem with the current design...

A Paladin holy warrior can not keep up using cantrips and thunder/lighting effects
I hate to say "um, actually" but...you actually can do that using Tasha's. Paladin can choose to get a cantrip (or two?) as a fighting style option. And there are a few (not many, but a few) Paladin spells that do thunder and/or lightning effects.

I disagree completly, I should play the class I want to play.
Even when it is not as good? Because that's my whole point here. You are settling for what you can get. An actual class, legitimately designed to do the thing you want, would be a better fit...by definition. Because it would literally be designed to do what you are wanting to do! That's very specifically what the Swordmage class was for.

And the Wizard is designed to melee
No, it isn't. It has a subclass that can fake it a few times a day. Very big difference.

Classes are designed to do everything you can do with them.
This statement is either trivial (because of course a class is designed to do what you can do with it... that's literally what being "designed" means) or contradicts your previous assertion that you don't want every class to be everything to everyone.

I like Bladesingers and Eldritch Kinghts better than any Gish from a previous addition and Bladesingers can do a lot more than dabble. A Bladesinger optimized for melee is a better tank than just about any other build in the game and a lot better than GISH subclasses in previous editions were. When I build a bladesinger it is not because I want to dabble and drift, it is because I want to drop into the middle of the enemy line and suck up every attack they throw against me.

An Eldritch Knight is a full on fighter, you can build him into a Gish type if you want, but it has the mechanics to be a full martial.
Okay.

Now imagine a class, built from the ground up, which gives you both of those things. Because that's what I am talking about. It can be done; it has been done.

There is .... and it is the one I am choosing.

Wizard does melee exactly like I want

Cleric does holy Warrior exactly like I want

Paladin does frightening controller exactly like I want

Other classes don't do what I want out of the box as well for those three example characters.
And I am asserting that you are still settling because we have seen that it is possible to do better.

Oh absolutely they do. What I write on the top of my character sheet is all about agency. It is how I choose to build my character.
So the letters "C L E R I C" actually have mechanics inside them? Which letter contains channel divinity? Which one contains the spell list? If I went back in time and replaced every instance of the letters "C L E R I C" with, say, "P R I E S T," then all of the mechanics would be completely erased and you would never have found the joy you've found in playing it?

I hope, from my facetious tone, you understand how ridiculous this sounds. The English letters "C L E R I C" are not the mechanics. They are just a label. That label could be anything. It is the mechanics that matter, and the mechanics could actually be a better fit, or at the very least, you can agree that the fact that the class labelled "C L E R I C" (note how I keep presenting it this way) could have been given any other label because it is fictitious. It could have been labelled "T E M P L A R" or "P R I E S T" or "V I C A R" and would otherwise be, in both mechanical and thematic significance, exactly 100% the same. The letters written at the top of the sheet are literally just a label and not one iota more.

This is like saying putting "Female" or "Tamra" on my character sheet is not agency as I could make a character with "Male" and "Bob" written on the top instead.
It is absolutely, positively NOT like that and I am frankly insulted that you would say so. "Female" is not fictitious. Nor are the actual names that belong to people. These things are both part of who a person is. "C L E R I C" isn't, because they're not always called that, and yet the theme and even at times mechanics remain. (Consider PF2e renaming "P A L A D I N" to "C H A M P I O N." Change of label, but the mechanics remained.) The label is not where your agency lies; it lies in choosing the mechanics. So what happens if you dislike the label of something, but you can see, point blank, without doubt, that the mechanics to which that label has been applied are ideal for your interests? Will you surrender and accept something inferior simply because a handful of letters are not to your liking when everything else is?

They do change the mechanics. Writing Cleric on top of your character sheet changes the mechanics of that character than if you had fighter written on top of it. It changes your class.
Nope. Because you could write any other label you wanted, or indeed no label at all, and yet still use those mechanics. The mechanics of Channel Divinity and Domains and the like are not, in any way, inherently linked to having the letters "C L E R I C" written across the top of your sheet. It is simply a convention. No different from whether one labels the hit points in a video game with green or red color: both conventions exist (and some straddle the line, with green being high HP and slowly descending to red at low HP.) The convention is not the mechanics. The map is not the territory.


The same reason the name, gender and deity are important!
I have already addressed name and gender above. A D&D deity is, like class, fictitious. Do you seriously mean to say that if Bahamut were instead called Abzu, but literally 100% unchanged otherwise, you would never be able to accept worship of Abzu?

Are we really going to say that worshiping Hesperus is heretical while worshiping Phosphorus is holy? They're the same thing! The label is not the deity, and both the label and the deity are fictitious. Even when one uses a deity inspired by one from a real-world religion, the depiction is necessarily fictitious.

If there was a class that served those interests better I would have chosen it.
And that's my point. We can design better. At least one prior edition has. It was the Swordmage, and it was excellent at exactly the things you ask for (and more! It had all sorts of cool tricks up its sleeves.)

That I chose a class for a specific character by definition means the mechanics of that class
But do the letters "C L E R I C" do that? Or is it the mechanics which, coincidentally, happen to have that label? If they had a different label, would you refuse them solely because the label was different?

No they don't. I even said above I disagree with the idea that fighters must do melee.
Ah, but many fans require it. Therefore every Fighter must have that, and ranged, and charisma, etc., etc.

Not true.
You carved out so many exceptions and caveats, I rest my case. Every caster can do nearly everything pretty well--and many can do it, by your own admission, better than the classes actually designed to do it! That's a huge problem. It makes the classes actually designed to do it suck!
The mechanics allow Wizards to do all those things (well all those things except investigators).
Investigation is an Int skill, and Divinations are powerful investigative tools. I'm not sure what would prevent a Wizard from doing it. And you now seem to be agreeing that Wizards (and to a lesser extent other casters) are empowered to be everything to everyone like I said...?


Those things are part of what the class is "designed to do". If the mechanics were different they would not be as good at those things.
Yes! And I am saying this design is bad for several reasons! You are either repeating a truism (things are designed to be what they are designed to be) or an irrelevancy (it could have been designed differently but it wasn't and we never ever should think about how it could be designed.)


A wizard can be a decent healer if you pick up magic initiate with goodberry and the Gift of the Metallic Dragon Feat.
And if we apply the same standard to, I dunno, 4e characters...suddenly these alleged straightjacket roles are not even remotely limiting!

If the mechanics support a certain style of play in a fashion that is effective then by definition the class is designed to do that.
Only in the most trivial sense. You act like this statement is more than a vacuous truth. It is not. It also says absolutely nothing about whether the class is good at what it was designed for. 3e's Monk was designed for a handful of things and was objectively awful at doing most of them.
 

Yes, and I would never suggest any of those things.
Except you are! Repeatedly! Because you are tying "does x set of things" to the specific label already assigned. "C L E R I C" is somehow metaphysically bound to being one and only one set of mechanics and nothing else ever. "F I G H T E R" is another set, except one that is hyperlimited and mostly bad at doing what it was intended to do, especially compared to (you guessed it!) spellcasters who decide to do those things. Want to be an archer? Too bad, cantrips are just better, doubly so if you play Warlock. Want to be a charismatic leader of men? Sorry, that's Bard, and you will never be even half as good as they are. Tank? Nah bro, play Wizard if you want to tank, they're even better than Barbarian, which was already objectively better than Fighter. Physical offense? Skip Fighter, play Paladin or Cleric, depending on whether you want it simple or complex. Etc., etc. Instead of every class actually being designed so it is clearly good at something, has a space where it stands out, we get classes where a dozen things must all be implemented under nearly every label and, guess what, some caster or other win the race every time.
 


I have seen a lot of posts that talk about Clerics being healers and I have played at a few tables (not many) where players expected Clerics to be healers.

Personally, my PCs are never really healers per se. I will pick up healing word and aid for bringing back downed party members during combat in a pinch, and I will keep revify on hand as long as the party pitches in for the diamond. But I am not going to top you up between combats because that is generally not the character I like to play and I am generally not spending my spell slots on your healing. That is what your gold is for - to spend on potions for this.

It is totally cool if that is the cleric you want to play, but I really don't like the trope/stereotype that seems to exist saying that is the only way to play a Cleric or that you are not a team player if you don't play a Cleric as a healer. I am just wondering how common or uncommon it is, how Clerics are played at your tables and what other players expect.

Its not 'spending slots on YOUR healing' any more than the Fighter is 'wasting' his Action Surge killing a monster before it kills you.

It's a teamwork game, where the players help each other to achieve a common goal. Healing and buffing your allies is part of the role of the Cleric (other classes as well, but it's the Clerics main schtick).

Healing the Fighter benefits the party as a whole (of which, you're a member) to achieve a common goal of the lot of you, just like buffing him with Bless does.

I guess you can play it where it's every man or woman for himself, but that's not the sort of game I would find partiuclarly compelling to play in. Even my Evil campaigns I've played in featured teamwork (undermined by the occasional bit of backstabbing of course!).
 

but I really don't like the trope/stereotype that seems to exist saying that is the only way to play a Cleric or that you are not a team player if you don't play a Cleric as a healer.
I'd have some choice profanities for anyone who told me I wasnt a team player and I have to play a healing cleric. I miss the 2E cleric sphere mechanic. IIRC if you played a cleric/specialty priest of a specific deity there were some spheres you could not take, and in some cases you didnt even have access to healing magic as I dont recall them being in a universal sphere. the (3) 2E FR deity books were a good examples of this if you played a specialty priest.
 

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
I don’t see why a devoted cleric of a while slew of gods would ever heal at all. Maybe a holy word now and then to get a tool/minion/follower to be back into the fight, but healing word seems more like an adrenaline shot in that case than capital-H healing.

How much healing would a cleric of Ares do? Zeus?
 

Oofta

Legend
Its not 'spending slots on YOUR healing' any more than the Fighter is 'wasting' his Action Surge killing a monster before it kills you.

It's a teamwork game, where the players help each other to achieve a common goal. Healing and buffing your allies is part of the role of the Cleric (other classes as well, but it's the Clerics main schtick).

Healing the Fighter benefits the party as a whole (of which, you're a member) to achieve a common goal of the lot of you, just like buffing him with Bless does.

I guess you can play it where it's every man or woman for himself, but that's not the sort of game I would find partiuclarly compelling to play in. Even my Evil campaigns I've played in featured teamwork (undermined by the occasional bit of backstabbing of course!).

My cleric would get somebody back up if they went down, but especially at lower levels you simply can't keep up with the damage output of monsters. It had nothing to do with not contributing to the team, it was just a different way of doing it.

If I'm not being a team player (and I've been in games with "lone wolves" who are not) then we can have a discussion. If I'm not contributing to the team in the way you personally recommend? Sorry, you don't get to tell me how to run my PC.
 

aco175

Legend
How much healing would a cleric of Ares do? Zeus?
Might be how one looks at the role. A cleric of Ares, while likely a warrior who fights in the front line, may also believe that keeping his side of the fight in the fight is more important than him fighting. If he can keep 10 soldiers fighting, then the force multiple is greater than just himself and maybe a bonus action heal to bring someone back.

Can he be just a fighting man that waits until after the battle to see if anyone still remains alive before granting them some healing to keep them alive? Sure, that is another way to play him and it might work fine. Trying to discern the objectives of the gods is like trying to have a discussion on alignment.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Its not 'spending slots on YOUR healing' any more than the Fighter is 'wasting' his Action Surge killing a monster before it kills you.

It's a teamwork game, where the players help each other to achieve a common goal. Healing and buffing your allies is part of the role of the Cleric (other classes as well, but it's the Clerics main schtick).

Healing the Fighter benefits the party as a whole (of which, you're a member) to achieve a common goal of the lot of you, just like buffing him with Bless does.

I guess you can play it where it's every man or woman for himself, but that's not the sort of game I would find partiuclarly compelling to play in. Even my Evil campaigns I've played in featured teamwork (undermined by the occasional bit of backstabbing of course!).

While certainly there are the sorts of players who come up with roleplaying justifications for not helping party members (or stealing from them) it does not require a selfish attitude to realize that, for example, in many cases doing 3d10 damage helps the entire party more than doing 1d8+3 healing.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
Might be how one looks at the role. A cleric of Ares, while likely a warrior who fights in the front line, may also believe that keeping his side of the fight in the fight is more important than him fighting. If he can keep 10 soldiers fighting, then the force multiple is greater than just himself and maybe a bonus action heal to bring someone back.

Can he be just a fighting man that waits until after the battle to see if anyone still remains alive before granting them some healing to keep them alive? Sure, that is another way to play him and it might work fine. Trying to discern the objectives of the gods is like trying to have a discussion on alignment.
I think what this highlights is there are several ways to play a cleric. And if we are talking about alignment, might there be some
Clerics who only heal themselves?

That characters should contribute to the survival of the party is to me without question for 99% of games. How they do it has some variability, particularly in 5e.

I only take issue with overly prescriptive and universal recommendations (not directed at you) Who heals? When do we heal? Under what circumstances?

I come from AD&D 1e and know how that went for our group. That said, with hit die and short rests…and many sources of damage mitigation and temporary hitpoints…I think we have more latitude.

Our parties also deal huge damage at times and we get through some fights unscathed. We have focused on overwhelming the enemy quickly in a lot of cases.

We have also had a few titanic battles which left us beat up without the time to rest. Healing has a role at times but it’s not as paramount as it was in other editions of the game
 

Clint_L

Hero
Agree with the above. Cleric is still probably the closest thing 5e has to an indispensable class because they provide that safety net. Combat and the action economy of 5e are such that healing is much more effectively used reactively rather than proactively. So clerics are designed to be as effective as any other class at doing proactive things, like dealing damage and controlling the battlefield, yet also excel at reactive healing when needed. They can kick butt and pick up another character who goes down.

This is why clerics are almost universally considered an S tier class in 5e.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
A cleric who refuses to cast Cure Wounds on principle is like a wizard who refuses to cast Fireball on principle.

It's your privilege. Don't expect me to be impressed.
 

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