funny thing, if you play a character who has the ability to learn healing as an option, people will expect you to fill the burden of healing their pathetic selves. and while i agree that actually having a brain and being involved with the fight can reduce damage taken by a drastic amount, as can actually using social skills like bluff or disguise, because yeah, being a convincing actor IC can save a groups life. nobody really remembers the time the cleric raised the fighter so he could inflict the finishing blow. and combat crits happen so often with some characters they lose importance. but everybody will remember when you critted that bluff or disguise check to impersonate one of the evil overlord's sergeants or the time the bard critically redeemed the femme fatale assassin after seducing her for information and promising her a new life.
in fact, let me give you a story on how i pulled a fast one on a group based on a loophole in their wording. i was around 8th or 9th grade, we were playing a 2e retroclone that had feats similar to 3.0s feat system and different spheres actually had different granted powers.
we were 14, we played RPGs during drama class. i was Told, "Ilina, we need you to play a cleric." and well, i heard the word "Cleric" and well, i had a cleric i had been sitting on using for 2 months, a cleric who worshipped an archfae matron called the "Maelstrom Maiden". to explain clerics of this particular goddess, she was a Sylph Pirate Queen with a heavy focus on her hatred of Slavery and was a darker and more violent inclination of Chaotic Good, where she violently freed slaves and punished slavers with terrorist tactics from history that where a thousand times worse than the way they treated their slaves. in fact, the cleric was shanghaied into a pirate crew against her will and rescued by the maelstrom maiden's storm of steel
it was 2003, 3.5 wasn't out yet that i knew of, and there were still pockets of people modifying 2e. because 3.0 didn't have enough bloat to be considered playable and people always went for the exotic builds. i played a Sylph, basically a Storm Nymph, who happened to be a Cleric Dedicated to the Maelstrom Maiden, and well, she had a few Dervish Style Nonweapon proficiencies that made her a badass nimble blade dancing twin scimitar wielding badass. yes, i had major access to storm spells, war spells, and minor access to divination spells, water spells and air spells. no access to the healing sphere at all. and as you can put it, all the granted training my goddess provided, was focused on kicking ass with a pair of swords. i lost most armor and shield proficiencies but gained a scaling parry bonus that compensated the loss or armor. because it was a new retro clone with real armor classes and base attack bonuses. rather than that lousy Thaco system.
i dominated combat in the name of the maelstrom maiden, freed many captives, never took prisoners, and well, punished slave traders and slave masters. and well, i released various sealed extraplanar beings, both angelic and demonic. because nothing should be in a cage and even destroyed pens to free livestock.
i had a large amount more experience than the party, because of the unique rewards in XP that were offered for following my Matron's Tenets. and well, the group kept bitching that i wouldn't heal them and that i was a cleric, and well, i had to let them know "you said you wanted a cleric and you got one. if you wanted a walking first aid kit, you should have specified that you wanted a walking first aid kit."
"but Ilina, you aren't even a cleric, you are a wannabe bladesinger with 2 blades." and i responded to them, "a cleric follows the tenets of their teachings, they aren't there to provide you with free healing because you just recklessly solve everything with brute force. learn to stop dumping charisma and start spending some proficiencies on acting or even diplomacy"
but sometimes, you can't stop reckless idiots that want to simply kill things, especially when you outshine them at the very thing they wanted to do, just to prove that clerics are still very effective on the front lines if you worshipped the correct god. and well, followers of the maelstrom maiden didn't have the stupid restriction on edged weapons, and even got a bunch of proficiencies referring to blade dancing, dual wielding, and piracy for free. they didn't get to wear most forms of armor though. they had a similar AC mechanism to Monks.
when that group asked for a cleric, they should have specified they wanted a walking first aid kit and not a real cleric. because when i play a cleric, i generally default to some kind of front line cleric because clerics actually have a lot of front line capability, quite a lot more than monks and rogues have.
but yeppies, i want to hear all your opinions on my pulling a fast one on this group and playing a character i had ready for 2 months i didn't get a chance to touch until that moment. again, yet another group of grognards that banned me from playing clerics, because i play pro active front line combatants that make the reactive healers feel insignifficant.