Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Clearing Clerical Cobwebs From My Mind - and Asking Mike Mearls Some Rhetorical Questions

I'm still scratching my head over Mike Mearls' latest column talking about clerics. There were a lot of great comments from the readers of this blog, and I really appreciate all of them.

Of course, now I've got some questions for Mike:

WTF do you care about how other RPGs define the cleric class or role?

Dungeons & Dragons was the first RPG, as I said earlier it is the precedent that other class based RPGs tend to follow. Look at every fantasy based MMORPG - their clerics look like D&D clerics, from the armor and shield to the mace and hammer. Boom, buff and healing spells. Hell, D&D invented the cleric class, so why look further than the class's own history to define it in DnD 5e?

(D&D has influenced MMORPGs more than they have influenced D&D - and yes, I include 4e in that statement)

Why are you looking at modern fantasy fiction for inspiration on the cleric class?

Think about it - a spell casting cleric only entered the realms of fantasy fiction after D&D introduced the class to millions of gamers (warrior priests existed before, but spell casting warrior priests I believe is relatively new)

Heck, most fiction that has a cleric as a character is probably published by WotC or is derivative in nature and is using the D&D cleric for inspiration. Why use a shadow of your own concept for inspiration? How lame is that?

Maybe I'm confused, but Mike says "D&D is fairly unique in that the divine caster wears armor and totes a weapon". I'm not going to address the armor aspect of this statement, because I do not know which games Mike is referring to, but EVERY class in D&D "totes a weapon". Heck, in every fantasy RPG I've every played or read, even wizards get access to a dagger or staff. Since when are clerics supposed to go unarmed?

Mike, every time you post, you fill it with contradictions. I see the future of 5e with less clarity each week, which shouldn't be. If the future of 5e is still this cloudy, maybe it shouldn't have been announced until the picture was a bit more defined.


  1. I think you made a really important point in your last post on this latest bit of ignorant rambling from Mike Mearls - clerics have healing magic, but they also have command and hold person and sticks to snakes and friggin' meteor swarm and gate.

    The insistance that clerics are healbots reflects a shallow understanding of D&D, and that's a problem I notice with Mike Mearls over and over and over in his writing. He has a paper-thin understanding of D&D, and it shows up time and time again.

  2. @Black Vulmea - you must be mistaken. Mike said: "Divine Magic is Subtle and Indirect".

    Mike must be right. Right?

    Flame strike must now be directed as indirect fire. Roll a d8 for scatter direction, and a d6 for scatter distance ;)

  3. This is what people keep missing...there is NO system...watch the recent video at Youtube of MM at Pax East (I believe)talking about how much of the game is completed and he says 'maybe 15%'. Do the math.

    This whole experience has nothing to do with the system. It has to do with keeping people talking about and interested in D&D so that other conversations don't happen about other systems.

    They don't have a system. This 'open play test' is not open. Send out the beta, get the feedback, tweak, repeat. That is an open play test

    I am fully convinced that they are putting together hacks of all the editions to see what is most likely to succeed when a FrankenGame is sure to fail.

    Track one person-Tracy Hurley aka Sarah Darkmagic. She is on record as being a big fan of 4e, has little experience with older editions of the game and says everything would be better if we could dump the 70's and 80's context of D&D. She comes out of the playtest giving it a thumbs up. Now what does that mean? Because in my book that says the game is slanted toward the new editions and old schoolers would have no interest in it.

    Then you have old schoolers coming out of their NDA sessions saying the same thing. Different group, different version.

    They both can't be right. I have been attacking this same issue from both sides for three years now and the conclusion is there is no way to make a D&D edition that will satisfy both sides...how many 'deal breakers' have we seen already? Save vs Death. Skills and Feats, Saving Throws in general...the list is massive. Put it in, lose one group. Pull it out, lose the other group.

    WotC split the base and you can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.


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