Friday, March 19, 2010

Clerics: Are They Too Powerful?

I remember a time, not so long ago, when no one wanted to be the party Cleric. I've written about them before in my hard hitting expose "Clerics: First Aid Kit or Second Line Fighter", and since then I've been doing quite a bit of gaming. I've noticed that no one has a problem being the cleric anymore. In fact, two of the last four adventures I've gone through had multiple clerics. That got me thinking: Are clerics TOO powerful now??

Let's take a closer look at what a cleric can do (speaking from a Pathfinder perspective):
  1. Solid hit points at d8 per level
  2. Use all simple weapons plus a Deity's favored weapon
  3. Use light and medium armor and shields with no spell failure
  4. Channel energy in a 30' radius to heal or harm undead 3+ Wis Mod per day
  5. A good number of spells per day
  6. Bonus Domain Spell per day
  7. Domain Powers
  8. Spontaneous Casting so they don't have to memorize heal spells
They are nearly as good a caster as a wizard with a wide variety of spells AND they can use nearly as good armor and weapons as a fighter. Maybe not so much the weapons, but a good and effective variety. I would go so far as to say they are better fighters than rogues are.
Now add all that up and I'm starting to think they are a little OVER powered. It seems our favorite little first aid kit has grown up and is playing with the big boys now. Did the game designers go too overboard to make the cleric a more desired character class and instead create a monster?

I'm not so sure a character class should be that strong in martial abilities and still be able to cast nearly as many spells as a wizard. Conversely, I'm not so sure someone with that many spells should be that good of a fighter. But maybe that's just me.


  1. Yes, the cleric is overpowered in pathfinder and was in D&D 3.x

    They really are the most versatile character in the games with broad access to magic and fighting ability.

    I say crank them back to the good old days when 1st level clerics didn't even have a spell to cast. Not a calamity at all if one keeps channel energy and the granted powers to keep them significant in pathfinder games.

  2. I think it is because: 1) Almost no one liked playing clerics in the earlier edition, they were made 'mechanical sweet' to entice people to play them. and 2) Clerics should have more social and roleplaying restrictions then are usually encountered by other PCs (apart for paladins) but that rarely comes up.

    In any case, I still rarely see cleric played even if they are 'all that and a bag of chips'.

  3. Clerics are certainly playable in Pathfinder, but I don't get the sense that they are too powerful. Usually someone in our group will play a cleric, but nobody is fighting over it. Rogues and paladins seem to be the real uberclasses now.

  4. Too powerful for what?

    Balance is a pointless pipedream. Play the character not the system.

  5. I agree with the point of the poster.
    I've often considered swapping the xp table for cleric and fighter in older editions of the game.


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