"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

B/X King of the Ring: Clerics vs Fighters

In the comments to the post: Does the B/X Fighter need to be Buffed? K-Slacker mentions how he doesn't like that at times the Cleric surpasses the Fighter in fighting ability. Now, I've never really examined this in detail before. I put the following tables in the comments section to that post but I wanted to pull them into a post of their own.

Table 1: Cleric vs Fighter THAC0
XP..…CLevel..….CTHAC0……Flevel……..FTHAC0
0………….1………………19………………1……………….19
1500……..2………………19………………1……………...19
3000……..3………………19………………2……………...19
6000……..4………………19………………3……………...19
12000…….5……………..17………………4……………...17
25000…….6……………..17………………5……………...17
50000…….7……………..17………………6……………...17
100000…..8……………..17………………7……………...14
200000…..9……………..14………………8……………...14
300000….10…………….14……………….9……………..14
400000….11…………….14……………..10……………..12
500000….12…………….14……………..11……………..12
600000….13…………….12……………..12……………..12
700000….14…………….12……………..12……………..12

Table 2: Cleric vs Fighter Average Hit Points
XP..…CLevel..….CAvgHP……Flevel……..FAvgHP
0………….1………………3.5…..………1……………….4.5
1500……..2………………7………………1………………4.5
3000……..3………………10.5……………2………….…9
6000……..4………………14………………3………………13.5
12000…….5……………..17.5……………4………………18
25000…….6……………..21………………5………………22.5
50000…….7……………..24.5……………6………………27
100000…..8……………..28………………7………………31.5
200000…..9……………..31.5……………8………………36
300000….10…………….35……………….9……………..40.5
400000….11…………….38.5…………..10……………..45
500000….12…………….42……………..11……………..49.5
600000….13…………….45.5…………..12……………..54
700000….14…………….49……………..12……………..54

So yes, from a hit point perspective the Cleric does intermittently surpass Fighters at low (from 1,500 to 12,000) experience point levels. However, I don't think the discrepancy is enough to tip the scales too far in the Clerics favour as the discrepancy only lasts for a short time.

Also, if the optional variable damage system is used, the damage output of the fighter will likely be higher as they will likely have a weapon that will do at least 1d8 damage and they might have a strength based damage bonus. Also fighters will likely have any magic swords that are found.

13 comments:

  1. The real problem is that clerics are close enough that when you factor in spells and turning, the fighter's small edge in melee looks pretty pathetic by comparison.

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  2. I've never really felt that way when I've played a fighter. If your lucky, the fighter will have a strength bonus and at later levels a kick-ass magic sword. Now it isn't a small edge but maybe a +15% chance to hit and a significant damage boost compared to a cleric. Now of course a cleric can have a strength bonus as well if you are lucky enough but the magic sword is pretty much the fighters schtick.

    Does a sword +1, flames on command outweigh the clerics ability to turn undead or cast Create Water, Cure Serious Wounds, Neutralize Poison, Protection from Evil (10' rad.), Speak with Plants or Stick to Snakes (all 4th level spells for which a cleric needs to be 6th level)? To me it does. Most of those spells are very situational/support in nature which doesn't appeal to me. In fact, most cleric spells don't help a whole lot in combat, except for those that help the fighter fight better - the cure spells, bless, etc.

    Now admittedly my perspective on fighters might be skewed due to the fact that I often house rule in a "binding wounds" rule. This rule allows all classes to somewhat replenish their hit points but this really benefits fighters as hit points are their main focus of resource management.

    Different strokes… I'm not a huge fan of clerics :)

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  3. The default Fighter also doesn't have the built-in RP restrictions and additional responsibilities that Clerics do in many campaigns. You can do damned near anything with a Fighter, but a Cleric may have specific cult strictures and duties. Whether that's "worth it" is a judgment call.

    Turning is *huge* in B/X, though.

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  4. "You can do damned near anything with a Fighter, but a Cleric may have specific cult strictures and duties."

    Depends on the campaign, I guess. "By the book", there's no mention of other strictures, duties, being subject to getting ordered around by church bosses, etc. On paper, they're as "free" as any other adventurer.

    And one could just as easily restrict other classes in such a way (making thief and magic-user guilds exert tight controls over practitioners of those arts, forcing fighters to belong to highly regimented military orders, etc).

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  5. I'd like to second what P_Armstrong said: When you compare a small edge in straight melee to the variety of spells a cleric has available, it looks mighty shabby.

    I'm not sure a magic sword or two and a couple +s towards fighting is really worth several slots worth of Cure spells. Or turning, for that matter.

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  6. Depends on the campaign, I guess. "By the book", there's no mention of other strictures, duties, being subject to getting ordered around by church bosses, etc. On paper, they're as "free" as any other adventurer.

    Actually, the writeup for clerics on page X7 does have such limitations;

    "…, it is very important for clerics to be faithful to the beliefs of their religion and alignment. Should a cleric behave in a manner that is not pleasing to his or her deity, the deity may become angered and punish the offender. This punishment could take many forms…"

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  7. Turning is *huge* in B/X, though.
    I agree but it does depend on the adventure or DM. No undead in an adventure and turning becomes pretty useless. Once again, it's pretty situational.

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  8. I usually have clerics advance as fighters. At level one, the cleric is a fighter with slightly fewer hit points on average turning ability. At level 2-3, he's still got fewer hit points, but can cast a spell. At level 4, the fighter gets his first "jump" in attack bonus and saves, while the cleric has has to wait a level. I honestly think the cleric had a lower xp table to entice folks to play them - my group doesn't need that enticement.

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  9. "Actually, the writeup for clerics on page X7 does have such limitations"

    Page B12 suggests that the DM consider giving a "punishment or penalty" for *all* poor alignment play. There may be more specific suggestions for clerics in the Expert book, but the basic concept applies to everybody.

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  10. Are we assuming that all weapons do d6 damage here? Because I think that clerics being limited to weapons that do d6 while fighters can opt for d10 weapons counts for a little.

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  11. Hey Jayson,
    I agree with the variable weapon damage. The last paragraph of my post covers this aspect.

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  12. Dagnabbit, so it do. It clearly evaporated from my head. It seemed like it was getting a smidge overlooked in the comments discussion.

    Ultimately I don't see the problem with Fighters either. Even if they've no special abilities to fall back on, they're a good, sturdy, "no-frills" adventuring class.

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  13. In our games, one player always opts to play a cleric but it's kind-of-a short-straw deal for some reason. I guess my players don't bother analysing the rules and most would rather by Conan than The Vicar of Dibley.

    However, using one of the Target 20 options floating around the web could redress the balance.

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