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5E Sell my Party on a Cleric

War Cleric tossing out +10's to hit to the GWM fighters in the party.

Heck, a 1st level War Cleric (Vuman, GWM) is a better Fighter than the Fighter.

Ride it through to 5th for Revivify and Spirit guardians. Paladin for 6 levels (extra attack, fighting style, divine smite, divine grace, 3 spell casting levels) then back to Cleric.
 

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Volund

Explorer
One selling point for the cleric is that it is a front-loaded class. Other than the 17th level domain feature, a 10th level cleric has all of its class abilities. They have all of their bread and butter abilities like Channel Divinity, Destroy Undead, Divine Strike (or Potent Spellcasting), Divine Intervention, and important spells like Greater Restoration and Raise Dead, Banishment. That means that in most campaigns the cleric gets to play with all of their toys even if they never see tier 3 or 4. Also, in tiers 1 and 2, domain spells give clerics more spells prepared than any other class which means that they have a better chance for having useful magic for a situation even if they don't have big damage spells.

The experience of playing a cleric depends on the role of gods in the campaign. In the DMG the first default core assumption for D&D is "Gods Oversee the World...Gods exert influence over the world by granting divine magic to their followers and sending them signs and portents to guide them. The follower of a god serves as an agent of that god in the world. The agent seeks to further the ideals of that god and defeat its rivals." Playing a cleric is more fun if being an agent of a divine being is important to the campaign, and the player gets occasional portents and minor gifts that reward good role-playing. I think the satisfaction of playing a cleric depends on role-playing relationships and motivations more than other classes. Without them, then they could very well feel generic and boring.

Give a cleric minor magical gifts that reflect their god's favor when they reach certain levels. eg at 2nd level, "Thor is pleased with your bravery in battle, and your warhammer is now blessed. One per day you can use it to strike with the blessing of Thor and add 1d4 to your d20 roll." Nothing game-changing, just enough to let the player know that their god is real and watching them. Eventually they'll find a magic weapon and stop using the blessed warhammer, and the blessing won't pass with the hammer to anyone else, so it's more about the gesture of favor than any lasting upgrade for the character.

Involve the gods in ways that make the cleric more important to the party. A divine messenger gives the cleric a special item to use for a quest the party is undertaking. A raven brings a dried ear of corn to the cleric, and the ear has three kernels remaining. During the quest, once per day the cleric can commune with their god using the ear, and a raven will come. After feeding the raven a kernel, the raven will answer one yes/no question and then depart.

I'm surprised your group values bards over clerics. In the games I play in we almost always have a cleric but bards are among the least-chosen class.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I of the "if they don't like the class don't worry about it" opinion. No needs to be convinced to play the class. If they think paladins fit the concept they want better then that's the choice they should make.

If they want reasons a cleric is worthwhile then domain spells and abilities are a good start. Automatically prepped domain spells give clerics a lot more than other casters.

If they believe paladins fit the role they want better then they might take a look at spell progression. More spells higher levels faster.

Wizards have better spell power but lack the armor, hit points, and healing by default. Bards have strong selection but limited spells known and no prep swapping. Neither can channel divinity.

There are mechanical reasons to play a cleric over any of those classes. But again, don't worry -- let them play what they enjoy. You don't need to force the issue.
 

oriaxx77

Explorer
This is a good point, and I should clarify my position a little better. My group doesn't just see the cleric as "eh not the class I want to play", they see it as "this is a flaw in 5e....its a bad class that is a bad design".

So in some ways showing them the cleric is good is in the same breath saying "this is not a flaw in the game".
I feel you. Cleric is not even an option (for my players). It is like a blank page in the PHB.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
One of the most metal thing I've seen happen was with a 5e cleric of knowledge.

They can gain any skill or tool(?) proficiency with the help of their god. Party is exploring a strange metallic ruin (a crashed space ship). Who gains the "computer" skill proficiency? The cleric... things got a little nuts.
 

So in summary: Paladins got combat strength, Wizards have the spell power, and Bards have the variety, flexibility, and an array of buffs combined with other very nice mechanics. Meanwhile, the cleric has a few winning spells and nothing else to show for it.
And clerics have the spell power of wizards and the variety and flexibility of bards. You might as well ask "why play a wizard?" "why play a bard?".

No party needs a cleric, but it is a perfectly strong class that easily holds its own.

They reason someone should choose a cleric is because they want to role play a cleric.
 


Scott Christian

Adventurer
If no one in your group wants to play a cleric, there's no reason to convince them otherwise. It is unnecessary for every class to get played at some point in every group.
And I would add to this that if (most likely when) their hp keeps reaching zero most combats, and their is no cleric around, that is on them.

(I could be wrong) It sounds to me like this group plays for combat, and they don't consider the array of capabilities outside combat as important. But what if you centered the story around the PC who is a cleric? Take a deep dive into the religion. Have the NPC's revolve around the temple or church. Use protagonists that are opposites your cleric. Maybe that could entice, or at least help demonstrate some of the cleric's RP and combat capabilities.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
This is a good point, and I should clarify my position a little better. My group doesn't just see the cleric as "eh not the class I want to play", they see it as "this is a flaw in 5e....its a bad class that is a bad design".

So in some ways showing them the cleric is good is in the same breath saying "this is not a flaw in the game".

I have always loved clerics....back to AD&D.

as to 5e, I only played one to 5th level so far. But with him, I wrecked house. I took tempest domain with heavy armor master. Cast gust of wind while a green dragon was caught in entangle spell and we Gangked him.

otherwise fought with the fighters and added punch with mace and spiritual weapon. Healed at critical times.

I guess I did not know I was supposed to not like him.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Clerics are fine, they just don't have the most exciting leveling curve. They're amazing in Tier 1, and then slowly slow down in the later levels. They're never bad, they just have most of their power in exclusive spells rather than in class features.

Their only real design flaw is in multiclassing, they're probably a bit too inviting as a level 1 dip.
 



ModernApathy

Explorer
In 5E I’ve played 3 clerics, most other classes I’ve only played once

Tiefling Tempest domain
Fire Genasi Arcana domain
Triton War domain

others have touched on War and Tempest, but I just wanted to mention Arcana domain, getting magic missile and a couple of wizard cantrips at level 1 goes a long way in combat.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
In 5E I’ve played 3 clerics, most other classes I’ve only played once

Tiefling Tempest domain
Fire Genasi Arcana domain
Triton War domain

others have touched on War and Tempest, but I just wanted to mention Arcana domain, getting magic missile and a couple of wizard cantrips at level 1 goes a long way in combat.
Arcana domain is cool. I want to play a cleric of Wee Jas with this domain...
 

Arvok

Explorer
I know this probably isn't what you're looking for, but if somebody's playing a wizard or sorcerer with a 13 Wisdom (even better if he has a low Dex score), there's a big upside to taking 1 level of cleric. If you choose War domain you get proficiency with all armor & shields as well as martial weapons. Stack that with 3 more cantrips known and no loss of spell slots due to multi-classing (your highest level spells able to cast is slowed by 1 level, though) and some 1st level cleric spells that upcast very nicely (bless, cure wounds, and inflict wounds come to mind) and your arcane caster is suddenly much more useful.

The fact that clerics take their sub-class at 1st level means it's well worth the 1 level dip for many characters when multi-classing.
 

jgsugden

Legend
While I agree that you don't need a cleric in 5E, I find the notion that they're underpowered laughable. I have played Light, War, Forge, and Trickery for prolonged periods - and all were extremely effective, both in combat and out of it.

The Light Cleric was essentially a blaster/healer combo. He almost always used up all his slots. From a role playing perspective, he was holy wrath, which is always fun.

The War Cleric started at first level, and from 1st to 4th, he was extremely powerful. He had Great Weapon Master as a variant human, and was often taking down the big threats solo with two 20 to 25 amage strikes per round against major foes. From 5th on he fell behind the fighter in the group, but he took on a role as a heavily armored threat and still managed to be effective with upcast spiritual weapons and spirit guardians.

The Forge Cleric walked into combat with ACs in the mid 20s, making him very hard to hit. That gave him ridiculous durability, and a pivot point around which the entire battle raged. Again, spiritual weapon and spirit guardians were 80% of the spells he cast.

Trickery Cleric was in a campaign with far more diplomacy. The DM prefered a good story to a good combat, and the group made great use of my ability to "be in two places at once". In combat, spirit guardians centered arond your illusion while you're safely back from the combat is also a gas. Being able to polymorph allies and enemies was also a favored trick, as was modify memory on potential enemies.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Again, spiritual weapon and spirit guardians were 80% of the spells he cast.

I think this is one of my groups primary complaints. Any build they think of where the cleric is "competent" always involves these spells, so even if you have various domains playing a cleric devolves into casting these spells over and over again.
 

cmad1977

Hero
I’ve seen a Life Cleric, a Nature Cleric, and a War Cleric in play and they’ve all seemed pretty amazing in their own way.
 

I think this is one of my groups primary complaints. Any build they think of where the cleric is "competent" always involves these spells, so even if you have various domains playing a cleric devolves into casting these spells over and over again.
Spirit Guardians and Spiritual Weapons are great spells and it never hurts to try to have them prepared, but so is Hold Person, so is Silence, so is Animate Dead. The cleric has options.

The cleric spell list, throughout all the editions has had some pretty solid spells on it. 5e is no different. A cleric has good action economy by having a nice selection of Bonus Action spells, and Toll the Dead.

If you like to upcast spells, the list has some good options as well. Shield of Faith at 10 minutes is a economical option for a 1st level spell....lasts awhile, but is easily expendable.
The 5e class is a great fit for a player that likes to be adaptable.

The class also pairs well with Dragonmark races.

It is their loss if your players don't want to play it.
 

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