Poking Around the Starter Set Cleric

As I did recently with the Starter Set Fighter, I decided to take the newly previewed Starter Set Cleric and see how closely I could recreate it using the final playtest packet rules.

Something’s up with racial stat bonuses. With the Fighter I kind of ignored this element, as I had no reliable point of comparison. But now that we have two pre-gens, and assuming that the stat array from the final playtst packet is in play, we get this:

[table id=1 /]

Well, first of all: nothing higher than a 16? Clearly there were no power gamers on the design team.

Second, assuming the standard stat array from the playtest, it looks as though humans get … +1 to five stats? And hill dwarves get +1 to a couple, maybe? I will admit that I cheated a bit here and followed the discussion thread on this over at ENWorld, and to save some time I’ll note that the most likely explanation is that the standard array has been bumped down to 15/14/13/12/10/08, making the chart look like this:

[table id=2 /]

And there we have it, neat as can be, humans continue to get a +1 to every stat and Hill Dwarves get a +2/+1. Now, where these bonuses appear to manifest baffles me. In the last playtest packet a Hill Dwarf would have gotten +1 to CON and STR, whereas this fellow apparently got a +1 to WIS and a +2 to CON.  Perhaps they’ve done away with subracial bump specifics and just given all demihumans +2 to a characteristic stat and +1 to any other of their choosing? That would suit me just fine.

Dwarves are otherwise unchanged. That +1 hp per level is still there for hill dwarves, and this cleric is still sporting dwarven proficiencies, dwarven resilience, and Stonecutting as a racial skill. They also still move 25 ft. per round, though it’s possible that the “no penalty for wearing heavy armor” has been removed from them since, as the Noble Fighter hinted, heavy armor speed penalties may be gone altogether.

There’s that +2 Proficiency bonus again, with the bump to +3 at 5th level. I’m beginning to think that the bonus may be universal. At some level I could see it being something where a +2 Proficiency is given to, say, characters with Martial prowess but not to spellcasters; but then, why wouldn’t spellcasters not merit a +2 to their skills and INT saving throws? No, this seems like something standard. Given what we know about bounded accuracy as a core concept, this must mean that combat and DC math has been tweaked across the board.

Prepared spells have been improved. My cleric is able to prepare “a number of cleric spells equal to 1+  your cleric level” each day, plus domain spells. This character gets to prepare a number of spells equal to their level plus WIS modifier, plus domain spells. Prepared spells continue to be level agnostic — they could prep a single 1st level spell and eight 3rd level spells if they so chose (though that would probably not be wise). At 5th level that’s fifteen possible spells per day. Nice versatility!

Boom heal is still there, though they wisely (for the Starter Set) expressed it in terms of concrete numbers rather than math.

Turn Undead is different. First, CR is back as a factor in destroying as opposed to hit points. Second, Destroy Undead as an additional effect is separated out into its own ability at 4th level, implying that a 3rd level cleric couldn’t destroy even an undead mosquito with 1 hp and a 1/8 CR.

Did the Soldier Background swap out Survival for Medicine? It would be the easiest way to explain the lack of Survival and gaining of Medicine amongst his skill set, considering his Cleric skill is certainly Religion. Logically, I can see a soldier picking up some field dressing skills (Medicine) being a sensible swap for that background.

All in all, I like this Cleric. I would play this cleric, or at least one built using this set of Cleric class rules. They seem flexible and interesting, definitely combat capable and definitely not shoehorned into the party medic role.

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