D&D: The Perfect Cleric – By The Numbers
Is there such a thing as a perfect Cleric? According to the data, there is. Glimpse perfection-by-the-numbers as we find a Cleric for us all.
This week, we’re letting the collective will of D&D players build a Cleric. How you ask? By going back through user data collected from D&D Beyond and applying it liberally to the random generator tables in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. The end result SHOULD BE a procedurally generated Cleric that is a perfect mirror of every D&D player’s* collective decision-making. Where you might pick something based on narrative decisions, we’re letting the cold hard FACTS define this character. Let’s take a look.
via D&D Beyond
First up, we know that Clerics are a particularly popular class. Whether you’re looking at the Single Class version:
…or at characters using Multiclass rules…
…you’ll find that Clerics are one of the most popular options, third only to Fighters and Warlocks. Furthermore, if you look at the breakdown of parties, you’ll find that Clerics are one of the most constant classes no matter how many people you’re playing with. Going through it all, it looks like Clerics appear in more than half of the top party compositions. What does that mean?
Well, aside from the fact that people still think you need a healer in a party, it means that a whole lot of you are out there playing Clerics. Which means we’ve got plenty of data to figure out what the ideal Cleric looks like–again according to cold hard data that is absolutely never wrong, because if there’s one thing popular media has taught us, it’s that computers are never wrong and data can never be misinterpreted for irresponsible or even villainous ends.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at our perfect Cleric.
Going by the numbers, we know that the most popular race is human, so we’ll go with the boring option here, which means either +1 to all stats or +1 to two and picking a bonus feat. Jeremy Crawford is on record saying most people don’t use feats, so we’ll go with that for now. As yet, I don’t think there’s any data on the most popular way people generate stats, so we’ll go with the Standard Array for laziness’ sake (and I feel safe assuming most of us are lazy), which gives us 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 9 to assign wherever we like. That’s the liquid goop to pour into a gross pod that your Cleric will emerge from, Uruk-Hai style.
Clerics pick their subclass, Divine Domains, at level 1. The most popular one by a long shot is Life Cleric, so we’re obviously going with that. Now it’s time to pick some spells. Looking at the most popular Cleric spells we find…
Healing Word is pretty up there–so that’s going on the list. Assuming we put that 16 into Wisdom we can pick 4 spells, and we’ve got them ready to go. Healing Word, Guiding Bolt, Cure Wounds (the Most Popular Spell in D&D) and Shield of Faith. Then our three cantrips are Sacred Flame, Spare the Dying, and Guidance.
Now we get to turn to Xanathar’s Guide and let the dice make some decisions. You can play along at home if you have a copy of the book, just flip to page 61 and look at the section This Is Your Life.
Now we’re going with an average result here because everything evens out in the wash, and that means that our Cleric knows their parents, and was born at home. We have an average of 1d4+1 siblings and are probably the eldest of them. Looking at Family and Friends, the average roll means our Cleric was raised by a single parent. The other parent either was taken away or abandoned their child at some point.
Looking at the home life table, we can see that our perfect Cleric lived an ordinary childhood. You can keep rolling to find out things like why you became a Cleric, with the average result being receiving some kind of divine sign before or after a pilgrimage–but the real fun comes with Life Events where the most average roll is the most boring–working in a job. Even in a fantasy world, you have to make a living, I guess. Average rolls mean we likely won’t get to see the fun stuff, but I want to leave this table of Weird Stuff here just to show you what’s on the menu.
Now that’s more like it. An average result means our Cleric went insane for 1d6 years and recently regained their sanity. With an odd lingering tic we have the most idealized Cleric known to adventuredom.