Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

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Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Blackrazor »

Are they simply a means to keep characters alive longer?
Do the gods really care that much? Should they?
Do they add more problems than they solve?
What are your thoughts, experiences. What games have handled clerics and healing expectionally well, by addition or omission.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by cjoepar »

I guess it depends on how much time you want to spend on character creation. The character creation process is fun, but I tend to think the focus should be on the adventure and I think it detracts from the session if you have to stop to create new characters more than once or twice in an evening.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by tovokas »

Magical healing makes it possible to have extended adventures. My experience with systems that take a more natural approach is that it's gritty fun for the first couple sessions, but it quickly gets aggravating as you constantly need to interrupt the flow of the adventure with extended rests, etc.

Gametime is limited, so over the long haul I'm pretty suspicious of rules that would discourage daring-do.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Disemvowel »

No, no we don't. Many OSR games are tossing out the Cleric and making Cure X a mage spell. Why not? I don't use clerics in my fantasy games, they don't exist. They are not vital and break all sorts of suspension of disbelief.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Ravenheart87 »

I like clerics and allow clerics. But then again, I also allow in my campaigns paladins, rangers, ninjas, battle wizards, technicians, lizardmen, humanoids, etc.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Gameogre »

I like clerics but I'm the only one out of almost everyone I have ever played with. They guys always force one member to play healer unless I add options like it Crawl #1 that make it not so necessary.

I do like games like Dragon Age that roll all magic into one thing so mages ect can heal. You still end up needing someone to heal though,its just it doesn't seem to rough when they can cast fireball in between heals :shock: .
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by GnomeBoy »

Disemvowel wrote:I don't use clerics in my fantasy games, they ... are not vital and break all sorts of suspension of disbelief.
Interesting.

I'm unsure what suspension of disbelief Clerics break that 1000 other things don't, though.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Disemvowel »

GnomeBoy wrote:
Disemvowel wrote:I don't use clerics in my fantasy games, they ... are not vital and break all sorts of suspension of disbelief.
Interesting.

I'm unsure what suspension of disbelief Clerics break that 1000 other things don't, though.

Easy. Look at gaming in general, not just DCC. Start with memorizing spells, failing to cast randomly chosen spells, religion in an RPG in general, ethos of each faith and how a cleric plays, etc. They fray the edges of the fantasy.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by tovokas »

I think one of the advantages of fantasy is that it covers a pretty broad range of personalities. Certainly there are styles where clerics don't fit, and if you want your campaign to have such a feel, by all means implement some interesting way to handle healing that doesn't involve the gods or a specific class of healers.

But I'm not sure I understand how clerics are somehow particularly challenging on the 'suspension of disbelief' scale. Dealing with higher powers is a staple of all sorts of fiction, and healing is one of the realities of running a campaign where folks roll dice and get damaged. Yes, you don't see much healing in the 'perfect fiction' of books or movies where the action is precisely controlled and nothing is random. But to avoid such 'gaming tropes' in actual gameplay would require a group that really digs a more diceless/interactive storytelling style game, and DCC likely wouldn't be the best choice for that in the first place.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by smathis »

TATG doesn't have magical healing. People can use that (without Transylvania) to play in a setting where the gods don't intervene to heal up somebody. The Polymath class could serve as a kind of "Cleric" that did not have healing abilities.

From all reports, the lack of healing magic makes TATG no less survivable. And the rule hacks to remove healing magic are pretty straightforward, although they took (well) years to get right.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Coleston the Cavalier »

I won't fuss with you for not gaming with clerics. But I would rather someone not tell me the right way to game either.

Play what and how you want. :)
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by ThickSkullAdv »

I actually like the idea of recognizable Gods & Demons in my campaign, and clerics (and chaotic cultists) can play a lot into this. I've created 2 new pantheons (think greek gods and hawaiin gods) that play heavily into the action of the writing. Now mind you, the action of the writing vs. the actions of the player's are two different things... but I'm putting them in there anyway ;)

Bottom line: I've always liked Clerics, and like Paladins even more. I'm tweaking the Paladin that was published in Crawl a bit for my campaign (making him more a "crusader") and then allowing that to be a usable character by the players in my group.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by finarvyn »

I have a player who loves to be a cleric character, so that part of me likes to have them in my game. On the other hand, the cleric doesn't feel very "Appendix N" to me so it really changes the feel of the campaign.

Rather than having a cleric treated like a medic, I've tinkered a little with using "healing surges" a la D&D 4E. This removes some of the need for the cleric.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by smathis »

finarvyn wrote:I have a player who loves to be a cleric character, so that part of me likes to have them in my game. On the other hand, the cleric doesn't feel very "Appendix N" to me so it really changes the feel of the campaign.

Rather than having a cleric treated like a medic, I've tinkered a little with using "healing surges" a la D&D 4E. This removes some of the need for the cleric.
@finarvyn: Why not use the Injury Die and quicker healing in the TATG Beta? I've simplified the mechanics a great deal and they'll be out with a new revision likely by the end of this month. Better than Healing Surges, IMO. But not all that different. I started with an approximation of Healing Surges. The TATG mechanics evolved out of playtesting through those explorations. The final revision does away with the die and feels a lot more White Box (albeit through the lens of a slightly modern system). If you want a quick and dirty distillation of the rules, just let players take one point of Stamina damage to regain 1d4+Level hit points. The problem with Healing Surges is that they're an isolated currency. Much like Stamina begins to limit how many times a character "comes back from the dead" in DCC, it makes sense to tie Healing Surges back into the game somehow. I'll throw in that I also like how Carcosa handles hit points, hit dice and such (although not so much the human sacrifices).

@OP: I have no problem having clerics or not having clerics in a game. I don't find them terribly out of whack with Appendix N. For Sword & Sorcery and Low Magic, I find them a bit of a stretch. A lot depends on what a group wants to play. If they want to play more traditional D&D, I will. If they're wanting to play Conan, I won't use Clerics. But I'll generally go to TATG for low magic DCC. TATG doesn't have magical healing. But it has classes that can turn undead. Essentially, the work with TATG's classes involved going all the way back (mentally) to Wizard, Cleric and Fighting Man, ditching the Cleric and re-imagining D&D through the lens of different types of Fighting Men. Basically there's a proto-Cleric, around a half-dozen Fighting Men and then a Wizard (presented in the last book). As with most things, I started out biting off more than I could comfortably chew. So rewrites have been refinements on the original idea to make them simpler and more fun to play.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Tortog »

Coleston the Cavalier wrote:I won't fuss with you for not gaming with clerics. But I would rather someone not tell me the right way to game either.

Play what and how you want. :)
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I've played in games that didn't have clerics and never really noticed their absence except in the games where there was NO healing magic. The games w/o anything but natural healing weren't any less fun or exciting than any other game... just different. Mostly because the players tend to stop taking chances and they spend their time searching for every last shred of information before making a decision, etc. Always going for the safe approach if they can get away with it. Just my experience of it, not a judgment. :D

The way I handle clerics and deities is to assign them rolls in the campaign society based upon the deity's ethos. So clerics of Elyr the Weeping Healer run the hospital/temples, clerics of Thormyr the Watchmen see to the domestic policing needs, Gorhan the Valiant stands vigil at the city walls and on battlefields protecting society from the ravages of a world gone mad, etc. In the wild places where the tribal unit is still the dominant social structure then it is the wandering Druid, or Tribal Shaman, or even the occasional Cultist or Hedge Wizard who sees to most of these needs. In my games, miners would rather start a riot than enter a mine that hasn't been regularly blessed against cave-in's and such by a cleric of Daenthar the Earth Lord, and father of the Dwarves.

If players don't want to play clerics then fine; they end up spending a lot of their precious treasure in tithes to the temples for the steady stream of healing potions they will need to keep adventuring. If someone at the table likes playing Clerics, then great! I remind them that the Clerics of Elyr are the only ones required to heal anyone (including the enemy if they are living creatures) free of charge. This last part is why you rarely see clerics of Elyr out on campaign. Other clerics are required to perform their normal duties as best they can while they are wandering the world, but if healing isn't one of the aspects of a particular deity, then they cannot heal with laying of hands. The clerics of Nimlurun and Narrimunath the evil twin gods of the rats from DCC#35 that I used in my beta campaign game are a good example. Neither of these clerics could heal because one deity is the Lord of disease & vermin: and the other is the Lord of Filth & Pollution. The touch from one could invoke diseases, and the touch of the other inflicted poison; they couldn't even heal their own followers... the rat gods are completely unconcerned. They have kind of a 'survival of the fittest' mentality.

I leave it up to the players how they want to do things. :mrgreen:
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by finarvyn »

smathis wrote:
finarvyn wrote:Rather than having a cleric treated like a medic, I've tinkered a little with using "healing surges" a la D&D 4E. This removes some of the need for the cleric.
@finarvyn: Why not use the Injury Die and quicker healing in the TATG Beta? I've simplified the mechanics a great deal and they'll be out with a new revision likely by the end of this month. Better than Healing Surges, IMO. But not all that different.
A great point. I had forgotten about that rule. :oops:
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by GnomeBoy »

Disemvowel wrote:...Look at gaming in general, not just DCC...
That takes in one-and-3/4rs tons of games. If I am to understand what you mean, you'll need to be more specific.

Disemvowel wrote:...and how a cleric plays...
Is this what options this class generally has? Or how players play them? YMMV from my mileage. So again, you'll need to be more specific for me to understand where you're coming from.

So "Easy" it ain't.


And if you're talking about the "healbot" style of playing/nature of a cleric, I'll need to point out that my experience pre-dates that phenomenon, so I'm starting from a different understanding of what a cleric class is, versus people that feel "cleric equals healer, and nothing much more". My friends and I didn't play that way circa '78-'80 (my formative RPG years), so it's just not in the archetype of "cleric" for me.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by JRR »

I have played dozens of clerics over the years. I have never, EVER, played a healer. I prefer command instead of cure light wounds, sticks to snakes over cure serious wounds, and flame strike over cure critical wounds. Maybe I'll heal you if we have some down time, but being your pocket bandaid ain't my job.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Raven_Crowking »

My experience is that the disapproval rules in DCC make clerics a bit hesitant to act as healbots. YMMV.

Healing is, of course, desired by the players, and some healing does indeed go on. And, sometimes, when the cleric then needs to add a follower later due to disapproval, that PC becomes a new follower. Sooner or later, though, everyone follows one cleric or another's god. Then, suddenly, following means something when the cleric needs help to meet the needs of some new disapproval.

Of course, when I started gaming (Holmes Basic, then AD&D 1e), no one had to tell us that the gods took themselves seriously. Video games were in their infancy Back In The Day (TM) and didn't influence our tabletop games all that much. Plus, in AD&D, the cleric didn't always control what spells he was allowed to have.

I like active gods in my fantasy games. I like the DCC cleric as written. That doesn't preclude some form of PC resilience, though....
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by oncelor »

We've played our DCC mythic Northumbrian campaign through fifth level so far. The party has two clerics: a nun in an order devoted to St Oswald, and a pagan cleric devoted to the jötunn. The party also has my home-brewed paladin who gets to lay-on-hands each day until it fails.

On the one hand, it does seem as though the party has access to quite a bit of healing. Outright character death has been infrequent since there is usually someone on hand to heal a fallen comrade within the time after death allotted by the DCC rules, though several of the frequent-diers now have very low stamina scores indeed. Excepting the funnel, I haven't experienced DCC as being particularly lethal; my last Pathfinder campaign had decidedly higher character mortality at 1st-5th level, and my Labyrinth Lord campaign has a much, much higher mortality rate. On the other hand, the clerics have a record of divine disapproval effects as long as my arm: the nun currently has four quests to heal-the-crippled stacked up and is currently casting all lay-on-hands at a -4 penalty, and she is also about 30 XP behind the rest of the characters because of repeatedly incurring the "temporarily disowned by his deity" result. The party also owes St Oswald one fully-stocked stone church. So the copious healing has come at quite a cost.

So mechanically the healing hasn't been too bad, but I guess on the whole I do prefer it when characters are a little more afraid to be wounded and healing is not so readily available as it's been in DCC. But this might just be because the party has three healers in it. Still, I have been contemplating a rule like "a cleric who fails lay-on-hands three times cannot use it again until the next day."
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Gameogre »

All I know is the guys I play with die WITH a full time healer all the time. After years and years of playing...they still charge down stairs after already setting off traps in the last room. They charge in and attack almost everything that moves and often just risj it all on VERY difficult but avoidable fights.

I really think I should just make them play superhero games or games with EPIC resources to stay alive,sigh.

I don't though. I just kill them and wait for new rolled up characters.

Also: I am sooo dang tired of playing npc healers. I stopped for a long time but then we never finished ANY adventures.

Friggin familly.

Certainly all of them are not like that...just most.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by GnomeBoy »

JRR wrote:I have played dozens of clerics over the years. I have never, EVER, played a healer. I prefer command instead of cure light wounds, sticks to snakes over cure serious wounds, and flame strike over cure critical wounds. Maybe I'll heal you if we have some down time, but being your pocket bandaid ain't my job.
This fits my recollections and preference. Yeah, a cleric might have a little healing in their back pocket for you in a pinch -- but don't count on it. They never used to "heal the party back to full" but might -- might -- boost someone a bit if they were down to just 1 or 2 hp so they could survive the exiting the dungeon process by being careful.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by TheNobleDrake »

I don't have anything against the Cleric class, nor do I oppose magical healing... however, my favorite of systems handles damage and healing in such a way that First Aid and resting allow for ample feeling of resilience (i.e. you can typically throw on some bandages after a fight and keep going, then rest for a day or two after a few fights have battered you and be pretty much fine), with magical healing being handy if you can get it but very minor in comparison.

...and clerics in that game usually can't prepare the same spell more than once so the number of healing spells stays much lower than in systems like D&D where you can prepare nothing but healing and super-charge the party's HP totals for the day.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by Skyscraper »

cjoepar wrote:I guess it depends on how much time you want to spend on character creation. The character creation process is fun, but I tend to think the focus should be on the adventure and I think it detracts from the session if you have to stop to create new characters more than once or twice in an evening.
Hold on, you create 1-2 characters every session?
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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.
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Re: Do we really need clerics and magic healing?

Post by cjoepar »

Skyscraper wrote:
cjoepar wrote:I guess it depends on how much time you want to spend on character creation. The character creation process is fun, but I tend to think the focus should be on the adventure and I think it detracts from the session if you have to stop to create new characters more than once or twice in an evening.
Hold on, you create 1-2 characters every session?
Well, not every session. But it's happened that often a few times where characters have died off and rather than have someone sit around and watch, I always have them get together 4 more 0 level characters and bring them into the story at the first opportunity. If I ruled out clerics, the party wouldn't last long, and I doubt if anyone would ever get to 2nd level.
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