View Full Version : Change Cleric's Holy Aura spell to act like an aura

07-01-2010, 01:59 PM
Note: This post uses the word "Cleric" although it mostly applies to Favored Soul in the same way.

In U5 the Cleric's Holy Aura spell was changed from a self-only stacking saving throw buff into a saving buff that applies to all nearby allies. I suggest it be changed back into a self-only buff, but with the addition of a short pulse that gives nearby teammates a saving boost as long as they remain in range. (The mechanic would be similar to a Paladin's aura, except of course stacking differently and not a passively active)

If Holy Aura functions like an aura that moves with the caster, then it will be more beneficial for Clerics who stay close to their allies and help attack monsters, instead of sitting back and waiting to heal/buff someone. By rewarding actions which are more exciting, the game becomes more fun.

There are two questions that can be asked here about the results of changing a class feature:
1. Does does having that class in the party contribute to success of the quest?
2. Does adding the feature make the class more fun to play?

My primary concern today is the Healbot vs Battlecleric choice faced by Cleric players. A Cleric's main job is healing, but that doesn't take up nearly 100% of your time in combat. The Cleric player must decide what to do in the time when he's not casting heals: either stand there waiting, or attack the enemy in melee. The game would be more fun if he can attack the enemy, and that is the intentional design of D&D 3.x edition (such as why the Divine Power spell was created). So it's a preferable game design if attacking in melee can often be the correct choice, or at least not a stupid mistake.

Whether making attacks is justifiable is a cost-benefit analysis comparing the damage the Cleric's weapons cause (fairly low) to the risk of him being badly damaged, or even killed. Factors which increase the Cleric's damage or survivability compared to his teammates make going on the attack a relatively better choice, while reducing survivability makes it more likely that he should stay out of battle for safety's sake.

In Module 6 when Holy Aura was added it was self-only, so it increased Cleric survivability directly. When conditions seemed dangerous you could spend spellpoints for temporarily improved saving throws. This meant Clerics became more survivable and powerful, which in turn strengthened the parties of which they were members. The ability to raise your own saves made it more defensible for the Cleric player to join in attacking a pit fiend or giant lich because the chances of dying and failing your team were reduced.

In Update 5 the Holy Aura spell was buffed to apply to all nearby allies, which obviously does increase the power of the Cleric class and parties which include a Cleric. But what may not be obvious is that it's a proxy nerf to the survivability of Clerics, because every other player is getting increased saves except them. This puts Clerics at relatively higher risk of being damaged, and tilts the scale more towards the "healbot" end of what is the correct behavior in combat. So paradoxically, strengthening a class feature made the class less fun to play because the bonuses from the buff are given to other players. The rest of the party becomes more able to survive dangerous situations, so the Cleric himself is less able to safely go with them.

I understand that reverting back to the purely self-only behavior is not an option. But changing it to a beneficial aura that follows with the caster will help make the choice to play "battlecleric" and attack enemies in melee a little more justified. It will no longer be possible to provide the Holy Aura save bonus by just remembering to refresh it every two minutes; you'd also have to be staying close to the other players, which means generally being in range of the same AOE spells that are threatening them. Therefore the entertaining playstyle of the Cleric helping to fight is rewarded, and standing back as a healbot is discouraged.

07-02-2010, 04:26 PM

07-02-2010, 04:40 PM
Are you saying that Clerics no longer benefit themselves from casting Holy aura? I read that 3 times and thats what it sound slike and I gotta say I dont think that true. I still see the buff onmyscreen when I cast it.. I guess I may have not doublechecked my character sheet though....

ANyway, I like the spell the way it is now... I dont see how it being a self radiating aura would change anyones mind about being a "Battle Cleric" if DIvine Power doesnt doit for you, Holy Aura sure aint.

We already got another incentive to be in the mix with Radiant servant AUra anyway.....

Whether or not to be a "Battle Cleric" has very little to do with what spells a cleric can cast. It start ins the chair in front of the keyboard.

Not to mention some folks do indeed enjoy being a healbot. you would take the spell away from the just because they choose to stay out of harms way?