Sunday, June 3, 2012

No Playtest- But the Sun Still Shines

Our D&D Next Playtest was cancelled today. Something came up for my older brother, so we weren't able to get our game in. I had decided to try out the cleric. The human cleric of Pelor included in the materials reminds me a little of something else. In many ways he resembles characters from other editions. For his casting abilities he doesn't memorize his spells the way vanacian clerics do. Instead he has a pool of three spells which he can cast two in a given setting. Knowing the game as well as I do, it seems you still might want to hang on to these daily abilities for the recovery generated by cure light wounds. It is still a touch range spell and cures 1d8 hit points plus your magical ability modifier. The cleric has a +4 Wisdom bonus (5-12pts). His other two first level spells include Searing Light (+6 ranged attack, 4d6+4 dmg) and Spiritual Hammer. To me, it is the second ability that seems awesome if I was going to drop one in combat. You can make an attack with Spiritual Hammer as part of your regular attacks for the next nine rounds after casting the spell. I'm just a little timid to try to use the Cleric of Pelor in a series of short encounters as a blaster though. He probably more potent that the wizard as a straight DPS type class at first level. His at-will attack, the orison Radiant Lance, is a +6 ranged attack which causes 1d8+4 radiant damage. Is the party going to need him as the main healer though. It probably all depends on how you manage your resources and the play style of the player running the battle cleric.

I'm not trying to get carried away with power gaming, but at first glance when I started digging into this character I remember thing- wait, this cleric has zero melee skills. What is he going to do? With all the talk of quadratic wizards and linear fighters floating around the D&D Next forums, all of the talk seems to revolve around the fighter being boring to play. So yeah, he gets a move action and an attack. Big deal right, his attacks are pretty dangerous and he is also going to be up in the thick of things. The Cleric of Pelor is more of a ranged character attempting to stay back and drop Radiant Lance on his opponents until he needs to move up and heal someone. He is the only player in the entire group who can get a character back from unconsciouness without a spell by administering a healing potion. But he seems even more boring to play than the fighter. Turn one, cast Radiant Lance- turn two, cast radiant lance- turn three, cast radiant lance- etc. I should admit though D&D isn't just about combat, so there you go. Most of his stats are good. He has a +2 bouns to initative, a good armor class, a decent speed, and the highest charisma in the party. But the thing about the cleric of Pelor that really shines is the Herbalism feat granted by the Healer theme. Bear with me here.

You convince the party that we need to take on those monstrous creatures at the Caves of Chaos. That shouldn't be too hard because quite honestly we don't have much else to do at the moment, and like I said you have the best the charisma in the group. Unfortunately, the dwarf cleric is the only person in the group with any coin at all and he has is 10gp so he isn't going to be much help. The first foray into the dungeon the plan is to let everyone know- hey, I can make healing potions. The idea is after you get enough to build a few potions, loop back out of the dungeon and crank out some potions. That way you can free yourself up from wasting your spell slots on Cure Light Wounds and instead focus on damage. If you are lucky enough to get to second level this guy becomes a true damage dealer.

We can assume by 2nd level the party will have aquired enough gold to have a few potions built up. You now have three daily spells (Shield of Faith is kinda blah), spam Spiritual Hammer turn one and Radiant Lance away right- that will take you through three combats of damage bliss. But you get this really cool new thing at second level, instead of Turn Undead you can also Channel Radiance. Turn Undead is awesome, and I really like the fact it is sustainable- but above all having an additonal four attack spells just made this guy dangerous. This thing explodes out from you in a 20ft radius sphere causing 1d8+4 damage to everything (Con saving throw DC14 for half). Now I know you your friends might get a little mad if they get caught in the blast- but that is why they were suppose to give you money for healing pots. When you consider the all have around 20 hit points at 2nd level and the monsters don't this is how you blow up a room full of 40 kobolds. How many kobolds can you fit in a 20ft radius circle? Even on a successful save they are toast. Just get everyone to follow you toward the melee because if they can swarm you after you set yourself off it is possible to get killed by the remaining attackers. I'd rather heal my party after the fight than spend too long on a dangerous fight against a horde of little monsters.

Third level is more lovely goodness. You get an extra first level spell again (ooh, four fights swinging Spiritual Hammer while spamming Radiant Lance), the ability to survive even better as Channel Radiance machine (25hp now), and two new abilities which completely change the situation. First off remember how hard we've been working to get the party to give us their cash. By third level we have perfected the brew. Every healing potion guarentees the players a full-on 8hp. So that is how you sell it, 25gp equals 8hp. I wouldn't even charge them a dime for healer's kit uses spent out of combat, but now every short rest guarentees them a full recovery on their hit points. Fighter sacks a hit dice- bam! 12 hit points back. Pretty cool. The other sweet thing is the new spell. I am not trying to brag, but if you thought the wizard was quadratic- let me introduce to brillance of the sun. I've got four fights I can use Spiritual Hammer every single round as an at will with my Radiant Lance. I have four chances to burst in the flash of sunlight using my 20ft radius AoE that is centered on me. But now at 3rd level, I can unleash a globe of searing heat and radiance at a range. Sunburst explodes in a 10ft radius sphere within 50ft. The attack causes blindness and 2d8+4 damage. They get a save against the blindness and for half damage, but once again it is a Con save DC 14. The best and brightest effect of sunburst though is if they start their turn in the area of effect- they take an automatic 2d8+4 damage. So for the poor bastards caught in your path they are guarenteed 9pts of damage (average on a successful save 19.5).

Let me end all of this too by pointing out that if the boring fighters in your party start complaining they aren't causing enough damage, if your companions want to cry about having to fork over their hard earned cash because you refuse to heal them with Cure Light Wounds, or if your DM discovers that you ability to constantly create healing potions is getting out of hand I would recomend you don't cast Sunburst. You can also drop a Silence spell at 2nd level that deafens all those within a 20ft radius. You can either cast it on the gaming table where it will last for 10 minutes or on yourself for the next 10 rounds of combat.

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