What Should Clerics Be Doing?

  • The DMs have recently gotten into a discussion about what our expectations are for clerics, especially higher level clerics. As one of the most powerful character classes, and one that certainly must behave in certain ways to maintain their power–clerics are held to a number of standards that will obviously vary from deity to deity.

    However, I'm curious what players expect clerics to be doing to demonstrate their obligations to their deities, but also to make the server entertaining and exciting for them (whether as the player of a cleric or a player roleplaying with another's cleric character).

    What do you like to see?

    What has been fun in the past?

    What doesn't seem to work?

    What would you expect from a general cleric character, at the least?

  • Mostly clerics dont roleplay their part. I have met many players who i would not even know they were playing clerics if it were not for when they bless themselves.

    It is true that not every cleric should act the same, but at this time i would welcome the preacher stereotype and less battlepriests.
    I would like seeing a cleric of helm casting spells to adventures and wishing them luck in their travels instead of the 'town guard' with spells(spells which they cast upon themselves) .

  • Most of the clerics I've seen do a pretty good job.

    IMO, clerics shouldn't be 24/7 pushing for conversions. You shouldn't be getting sick of hearing about their diety by the end of the current quest/event.

    I believe there's a time and place for different styles of cleric. I have the "Faiths and Pantheons of Faerun" book, and there are drastically different dogmas of the clerics. Some do their part within the communities, taking specific roles (childbirth, weddings), others are expected to be divine champions of the diety, being at the forefront of battle.

    I'd actually like to see less "buff-bot" clerics and more unique flavors. In a game where experience and levels take a seat behind character and roleplaying, it's a welcome sight to see clerics that have flavor: Lathandarites casting searing light, Chaunteans using more summon creature, evil clerics using bane instead of bless.

    Though, with saying all of this, I personally subscribe to the idea that there is no one way to play a class. Clerics are by far one of the more powerful classes, with the ability to cast spells and wear heavy armor at 1st level, and should be strictly adhering to their dogma. At the same time, though, they shouldn't be considered an "armor wearing wizard."

  • Clerics being as overpowered as they are on this server should have a harder and more grueling time in order to get to a high level. Infact I wouldn't even mind seeing that every cleric over lvl 7 should have to app for offical clergy in order to keep their experience as a cleric relevant.

    Which…in turn actually gives these clerics goals to pursue. Out of any class, I think clerics may be the one that has the best RP opportunities and conflict. These clerics are infact "human" and don't typical represent their god in human form. They are going to have faults, and quirks, things that should be displayed more in their characters other than hulking behemoths of godly pwning.

    If I ever made a cleric, I'd probably do something fun like hold interactive sermons/plays, if I was a battle priest, hold tournaments. Just get people involved in things that would glorify my god, even if those people participating could give a fuck less about him, but it would be fun.

  • The only cleric I feel I played really well was Cold Aerthur, a follower of Shaundakul. I mean, I really tried with this guy, making sending for explorers and the like to meet me outside XXX gate, and we could wander around, and see what we could see. I tried every different wording of this you could imagine, and the only time I got people, was when I threw in ((lvl 1-" at the end of my sending, and people thought we were all going on some new quest for lowbies. When I explained there was no "quest giver" That I meant anyone was welcome, they all packed up and left. Rather ironically, it was that same day that I stumbled upon a DM quest, and had the best explorative experience ever with my char.

    Maybe Shaundakuls just harder to represent, maybe people dont like getting out of the city, or maybe it was just me stuffing up, but it seems that no matter what I tried to get peple involved, unless it included the words ((lvl X-X)) nobody gave a rats ass, which was mildly frustrating, I'll admit.

    My two cents

  • I look at the dogma and then try to do the best I can to live up to what it says with my character. Not once, as far as I can remember, have I blessed someone or shouted his god's name in the heat of battle and I've never held any sermons either. It's just not my cup of tea and I don't think it's something you have to do to play a cleric.

    What I do, since I'm playing a cleric of Helm, is trying to guard the weakest areas of the city and I feel pretty confident in doing just that. Sometimes action speaks louder than words and I think just standing there can make an impression on others.

    I expect clerics to actively push their faith forward in one way or another. This could be by leading by example, holding sermons, funerals and so and it could be something different. But remember to give the clerics a break too, not everything they do needs to have something to do with their gods. They are humans too, they need to enjoy themselves and do something different from time to time, even if their main focus definitely should be on their gods. In my opinion they don't even have to follow every single part of the dogma, there may be exceptions and some may focus on only one or two things.

    What doesn't seem to work for clerics, in my opinion, is doing too many things are have nothing to do with their gods. Or only pursuing some sort of ultimate goal that is connected to the dogma, but with subgoals that have nothing to do with it. I think clerics generally need to be a bit more consistent.

  • What do you like to see?

    A character that at least tries to know some of the dogma involved with the god.Dosent have to try and convert everyone but always tries to show why his god is the best and pushes himself forward with this in mind.
    Also id like to high level clerics not just being reduced to raising/crafting machines and demanding somthing from adventurers for there services like prayers to there god for such actions things like that.

    What has been fun in the past?

    Was a priest of kossuth a few years ago that held trials of flame made a big thing of it and and was always ready to talk about his god and to show his might to.

    What doesn't seem to work?

    Preachers that just preach no one wants to sit through a serom for 2 hours in RL much less on a computer game.

    What would you expect from a general cleric character, at the least?

    To play a priest not a selfbuffing fighter.To reward characters with blessings and praise for doing things there god would approve of.
    Im not saying don't buff yourself but actions that would please the god in question are rewarded.

  • I don't know what I would expect out of a cleric, but I'll use my own experience as an example:

    Clerics as was stated before have a role in plugging their deity. They are also their own person as well, so a good balance between more clergical work and a personal life is prefferable.

    I played a cleric of Selune, Alora. From the get go, my goal was to be official clergy. I did this by examining what roles Selunites play. Midwives, fortune tellers, mother figures. Obviously some of these I couldn't do, but it is to some degree open to interpretation. Alora sold healing wands and was a healer and nurthurer. She never sold a wand without saying where it came from. She was a counciler, talking to anyone who needed an ear or advise. Even those of evil intent, it was her duty to try to console them. She held sermons every now and then and when I held sermons my goal was not to be cryptic or preach something vague. I took the dogma's teachings and did my best to apply them to IG situations so different characters could connect with Selune at certain times in their life (That was honestly hard to do).

    Eventually I wanted a temple/insane assylum and run my opperations from there, but I think perhaps you catch my drift.

    Play a role in an interpretation of the dogma and always seek to further your faiths goals (Whether that be clergy goals or dogma goals).

  • Personally I would like to see more fire and brimstone preaching and conversions, or at least a muttered prayer before healing someone. However, given the range of deities and priests there are often valid IC reasons why some priests don't / can't do this.
    I'd expect all priests to be aware of their deities dogma and attempt to work towards their religion's goals. Ultimately it's the DMs judgments whether priests are doing this appropriately.
    I like the idea that priests should be encouraged to become part of their respective churches (especially the lawful ones). I'd even go along with B-Rock's suggestion of making this mandatory (although the DMs might not like all the added applications). The only problem might be that some clergies do not seem to be established in Arabel.

  • I like to see clerics function as representatives of their god, in a way that others can see, and make it known theire doing it. One responder mentions , that as a Helmite, they patrolled the weaker parts of the city. Great, but make sure that people know you're doing it as part of helms duty.

    I also like to see people make reference to their god in little ways. It doesnt have to be sermons, it can simply be working statements to support dogma into all the little daily interactions.

    I like to see clerics that have their own twist on the Gods sphere.
    for instance, the typical Tempus cleric is all about personal kickassness.
    I decided to do something different and made one whose focus was keeping troops fighting, yes, it could (and often did) frontline and lead, but preferred to be in rank 2, watching everyone, healing as soon as they hit "injured".

    What doesn't seem to work… is clerics, as someone said, that you wouldnt know they were a cleric if it wasnt for them casting in plate, or maybe a teeny toss out of "My God will aid me."

  • (Taken about ten minutes after the sending. I've been standing there while I've written all of this, not a face yet.)

    At least the NPCs care.

    My point is, clerics can try to preach all they like, and nobody seems to interact any more.
    I've taken to giving displays of power in the streets to win over converts. Someone walks by bleeding to death, I give them a Cure Critical and a brief speech about how it wasn't their proper time to die yet. All I ever get in return is "thanks" and I never see that character again.
    I've stopped trying to speak about Mr. Black Hound on quests, because nobody in the party ever seems to care. Half the time, a cleric can mention s/he's able to heal, and people won't even ask how. It'll just be, "oh good, we have a buffbot" - or the roleplaying equivalent of the statement.

    So, all this said, I believe that the best thing a cleric can do is act and live by his deity's dogma. Don't just know a bit of it and shout "PRAISE TEMPUS" when you use Turn Undead - live by Tempus. Someone steps on your toes, challenge them to a duel. They lose, tell them to get out of your way.
    You're an Ilmateri? Don't be afraid to take damage and die if you're fighting. If the party goes out temporarily to a Sleep or Cloud of Bewilderment or whatever, and your epic cleric Will save protected you from it, don't let the party get beaten on.
    Jergalite? Everyone has their time to die. Why bother delaying it by healing them?

    Plenty of clerics don't even mention their deity, yes.
    But plenty of people ignore the ones that do.

  • The actual RP necessities are easy to spot, even easier when not performed. the roles of any cleric are to:

    1. spread dogmatic knowledge
    2. increase faith & belief that their particular god has real power
    3. increase in personal faith by living the dogma

    'battlepriest' is too often used to describe someone who buffs party members, runs around in full plate, with minimal mention of 1, 2 or 3.

    priests are divine representatives in a polytheistic world. if they are not supporting faith and growth of power of their god, IMO they should loose their powers.

  • But there is a misconception that all clerics should be out in the streets preaching about thier god and performing miracles.

    Each Cleric of a specific faith is expected to act a diffrent way.

    For example a Priest of Malar would do ceremonial hunts to honour the Hunt, instead of preaching about Malar in the streets.

    Some clerics take diffrent roles as well. Priests of Nobanion are often judges and mediators for example

  • Which is why I mention "interactive" sermons. No one wants to sit or stand around listening to you talk and crap in a video game. Its why auctions got the axe. But regardless, its true most of the server would rather sit in the market instead…so...shrugs

  • What do you like to see?

    Cap'em at Six and make em work for the rest. You'll see less buff-bots and a general drop in Cleric population too, I'd think.. ?

    What has been fun in the past?

    I've only met a few fun clerics, and they are usually the ones who would push things forward. Lead their own and display the characteristics of what a Cleric of X would do. Examples recently would be Kwalu and say, Rolliander Deephollow. Both follow the dogma of their respective Gods to a point where it is believable. Watch them, IMO.

    What doesn't seem to work?

    Constant sermons; Depending on the God, I believe something dynamic would do well. For instance, Deloril had a nice Shaundakyl cleric going on with calls to explore and such, paying people for maps and what have you. People would and have do these things, its just player participation is low. I think folks should remember this is indeed a polytheistic world and getting on the good side of certain Gods should be of some priority to them. Its also just fun to join in. ^_^

    What would you expect from a general cleric character, at the least?

    Plenty of clerics don't even mention their deity, yes.
    But plenty of people ignore the ones that do.

  • First thing you gota do is make your god interesting. The one thing I noticed
    about playing Nomak is the best way for people to follow your god, is to
    show that it is an interesting god to follow. Hell, some people would just go
    to his camp to "Learn" about the Thunderbeast. Clerics in my opinion should
    be the healers and guides to actual heroes. The Shaman is the wise elder
    who guides his barbarian hordes to battle.


  • Remember that not all cleric's are going to want to share their faith. If there not blurting it out there is usually a reason for it. Dont push them just because they dont say 'Praise be to shar' Every time they cast a spell. Cleric's are played fairly well from what I've seen and I only hope I can do the same with my one. some cleric's are leaders others are merely devout followers of thier chosen god.

  • I have honestly lost direction with my Kossuthan, Kalashti the Firesoul. She really doesn't preach, but speaks of the Firelord constantly. She gives blessings in his name and expects a contribution to the church. She is highly devoted and drives Kossuth's dogma wherever she goes.

    Yet, I really fail in actually accomplishing anything worthwhile with her. She's more like a freaky, flamey eyed wierdo who constantly gets glares and questions wherever she goes.

    I am finding it hard to bring the awesome with her as I feel she should be raining fire from the heavens and burning demons all the time. Instead, she's become a circus side show.

    In my opinion, clerics should be leading the way and guiding the people for good or evil. All I see are armored buff-bots and/or wand salesmen. And, most folks never give a cleric any chance to RP their faith. Most simply argue with a cleric's dogma as being wrong, righteous, or evil in some way.

  • Thus far, I'm getting a few good suggestions and ideas out of this discussion.

    Let me sum up what I personally have liked at least so far.

    Master Nystagmus Wrote:

    1. Spread dogmatic knowledge.

    2. Increase faith & belief that their particular god has real power.

    3. Increase in personal faith by living the dogma.

    These are the general things a cleric should be doing.

    I'd break these down to specific ways to consider how any specific cleric can do these things through their dogma by perhaps considering these points:

    First and Foremost, really know your deity's dogma if you expect to roleplay a good cleric. Then consider how you can do the following within the dictates of that deity's dogma. This should by no means be exhaustive, its just a list I've come up with from the conversation thus far–so I'm sure we can add more ideas!

    1. Spread dogmatic knowledge.

    Consider writing your character's interpretation of his faith, or his response to another character's interpretation of the faith. Consider the doctrinal debates and discussions of real world religions. How does a LE Helmite justify his view of Helm compared to a LG one?

    Consider ways to make sermons more than standing and preaching. What can your character do to make "interactive sermons" as B-rock suggested? Malarites would do hunts, Helmites vigils or patrols, priests of Tymora may lead people into dangerous locations like the EW Cemetery, Cormyrian Mountain Bear Hunting, or exploring the Underdark all the while telling stories about famous adventurers.

    1. Increase faith & belief that their particular god has real power.

    Several people raised the fact people don't view a cleric's power as anything more than "buff bot", so don't encourage that. Ask people to pray to your god before you buff them on a quest, don't heal someone who is laying dying if they've insulted your god or refused to pray before the quest (assuming it won't violate your god's dogma).

    Ensure people know who your deity is. At least mention them during quests or discussions.

    Consider what big projects your god would want you to work on, and work toward them. Oghman priests should seek to write books on history and lore, priests of Mystra should monitor magical artifacts of great power and their locations and bearers, priests of Velsharoon should seek the path to becoming a lich.

    Keep in mind the difficulty of portraying some gods in CoA. DMs aren't likely to want to build refugee camps, hospitals, orphanages (many goodly gods may want this-we want to focus on playing adventurers), we aren't looking to pay attention to weather patterns and how they affect harvests and crops, there aren't going to be many tsunamis or deep undersea explorations.

    Seek out lay worshipers and do ensure they get funerals when they die or that you demonstrate some care, concern, or at least tyrannical interest in their lives. Banites may even seek to regiment the faithful, enforcing dress codes, personal relationships, and celebrating every death as one more soldier in Bane's army.

    1. Increase in personal faith by living the dogma.

    Don't pick spells based on what seems mechanically best, but rather consider spells that fit the flavor of your deity as drklameth suggested. Priests of Lathander should have lots of light spells, priests of Shar should consider Darkness over Bull's Strength once in awhile. Domain spells are something clerics should often have prepared as part of living the dogma of the deity.

  • @Mr.Moloch:

    First and Foremost, really know your deity's dogma if you expect to roleplay a good cleric.

    Best way for this is to use this site: http://www.nj-pbem.com/data/Gods/Gods.htm

    It's way better than the CoA or EfU websites for knowledge about Gods and their followers, going from holy days to how the clerics should dress.

    I learned that Rolliander should technically be bald from this site.

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