What's the point of the Cleric?


Really, what's the point of the Cleric as a separate character class? It's pretty much just another Magic-user with better hit-points and combat ability and no armour restrictions.

Even if the DM chooses to play a game in which sects and cults are socially important, there seems no point to me in the Cleric as a separate class. It would be more satisfying by far, in my opinion, to take care of all that religious palaver through roleplaying. If a player desperately wants a fighting spellcaster, there's always the multiclass/dual class Fighter-Magic-user option.


  1. I think the point originally was to provide a counter to the undead, but I think the "turning undead" ability could have been implemented without the need for a new class.

  2. Why might you want to include clerics in your game? The cleric spell lists have a different flavour to the magic-user ones. There's a lot of folklore about priests speaking with, summoning, and laying to rest the dead, healing ills, locating stolen objects, fixing people to one spot, changing the weather, speaking with animals, laying barriers against trolls and evil spirits, and so forth. There is however a paucity of fireballs. I'm reminded particularly of a certain Danish folk tradition in which just about every (Christian!) priest is supposed to also have a varying degree of education in the black arts, giving them magical abilities and especially power over spirits, but for which they engage in a sort of life-long gamble with the devil for their souls. And in more pagan times of course spells and prayers were basically indistinguishable.

    If you want to represent this style of magic in the same game alongside the decidedly non-religious, highly flashy fantasy fiction spells, and you care at all about balancing the two, one way to do so is to give the priestly magic-users more hit points and better combat abilities.

  3. It's pretty much just another magic user except in all the ways it's different, which is far more than the ways it is the same.