I am still working my way through the episodes of Critical Role. And if you have not yet started watching this show by all means set some time aside to start doing so. In one of the episodes I recently watched the GM made an offhand comment. For those who think that Clerics are boring or useless, this is why you have them in the group. And that got me thinking.
I know I have talked about the virtues of 5th Edition D&D before. And one of the great things about it is that all of the classes are more or less even in ability. But that is not what I was thinking about.
What I was really thinking about is the idea that it is really up to the player to make their character both fun and useful. Sure you could play a Cleric who exists as a glorified medic who stands around doing nothing but healing when necessary. But you could do the same for any class. The rogue who just walks along doing nothing until a trap check or door lock needs to be detected or opened.
So if any class can be one dimensional, or have as many capabilities as they want, what determines if the character is useful? Why the player of course. As the player, you can make a cleric as cool and deep or as shallow and simple as you want.
In my Pathfinder game, one of the Clerics in the party is a Priest of Thor, and the player has done everything he can to make his character match up to Thor. He only wears chain mail and a round shield, wielding only a hammer, and rides a chariot pulled by 2 giant goats. That is considerable flavor. And he rarely, if ever, casts spells or does any healing like a ‘traditional’ cleric. He has made his character very interesting and also quite powerful.
That is not based on any rule book. He has not done anything against the rules, it is all (mostly) within the scope of the game. He just created a concept, and everything he did after that was based on that concept.
So if anyone ever tells you that your character choice is useless, ignore them and stick with what you are doing. You alone know what you want to do with that character, and if you follow my rules for becoming a better player, you can have as much fun and be as useful as any other player in the game.