Roleplaying GamesThe all-purpose forum for general advice or system-independent (or multi-system) discussion. Come discuss adventure plots, gamemastering dilemmas, or player advice here. For ruleset-specific discussions, see the subforums.
Both the Cleric and the Druid are comparable classes: They're both divine casters who's melee prowess can turn even the strongest fighter into a poetry-writing emo. There are also some major differences: a cleric's focus lies on healing, while a druids specialty is summoning bears while becoming a bear and riding a bear. This makes me wonder which one of the two:
-Is stronger in a 1 on 1 fight
-Is stronger in a 1 on 1 fight against monsters
-Is more useful in a party
EDIT: This is, of course, done without stinky, stinky cheese.
Depends. Low to moderate optimization, Druid. High, cleric.
Druids are just kinda powerful out-of-the-box, but unless you're going Planar Shepherd there's nothing that splat-books really add to them since most of their best spells/wildshape forms are in PHB/MM1. Just grab Natural Spell and you're set.
Clerics, on the other hand, not only get some very nice spells from splat books, but they also get nice new domains and more importantly feats that let you optimize the hell out of them (or into them, depending on your alignment).
Clerics are far more useful to the party because they get things earlier the party needs.
Death ward. Restoration. Raise Dead. etc.
Druid will really just be stepping on the melee's toes. They really have no *true* spot in the game.
Eh. They're still fine divine and offensive casters. Druid is the ultimate fifth wheel; he has great offensive casting, great curative casting, great fighting prowess and great skills. The only problem is that instead of being slightly worse than a focused class of each type and just doing lots of things, they end up better than focused classes in many things (of course they're worse casters than Wizards and have somewhat worse (or different; SNAIV - VI Unicorn(s) definitely beat out the first four levels of Cures Cleric gets) curative abilities, but as warriors they shine).
Really, whenever I'm playing a small game and the party is like "Rogue + Warmage" and we're expected to deal with normal challenges, I'm just playing a Druid since that's by far the easiest way I can be:
Wilderness Skill Monkey
all at once. Cleric or Wizard trying the same before the teens needs much more material while Druid really does it all straight out of Core from level 1.
Healing is an easy fallback for Clerics, not their primary asset. They get so many offensive and supportive options with just their main spell list that they could probably stand up to the druid reasonably well with those alone. A huge variety of domains and a positively enormous amount of support Clerics get from splatbook feats basically means that, beyond just casting a combination of the most powerful buffs, support spells, and some really huge battlefield control effects, they can also be built to be awesome at just about anything. Including just becoming a Druid completely. In core it's probably the Druid, since they get lots of nice things the Cleric doesn't. Outside of core, the Druid's abilities are a mere subset of the Cleric's.
Chameleon Base Class [3.5]/[PF]: A versatile, morphic class that mimics one basic party role (warrior, caster, sneak, etc) at a time. If you find yourself getting bored of any class you play too long, the Chameleon is for you!
Warlock Power Sources [3.5]: Making Hellfire Warlock part of the base class and providing other similar options for Warlocks whose powers don't come from devils.
Necromancer (negative energy) cleric has some major advantages in core that the druid can't match.
Once the character gets a few incorporeals (or the ability to make them), they can have some major presence in many combats. Create Undead is almost like leadership at higher levels, though it does require a great deal of investment and planning. Turning an enemy mook into a Vampire under your control and getting them to spawn a small army is a great return on minimal investment.