I’ve never played a cleric. Of all the character classes in D&D, the cleric is the one that has never interested me at all. Unfortunately, none of my friends ever wanted to play a cleric, so we never had the benefit of turning the undead, healing spells, etc. In D&D, the cleric is really a good thing to have around, but to us at least the most uninteresting class.
One of my friends has created a campaign set in a world decimated by magic gone wild — in the process of rebuilding the ecosystem. I won’t go into the details of his world, the details of the world’s background and the house rules make this perhaps the only game in which I’ve ever thought a cleric might be interesting to play. I love the pollution/climate change metaphor, and playing a cleric on the mission of helping bring the world back to health offers some possibilities.
I’m still not sure I would play a cleric over my preferred Magic User/Illusionist class, but it wouldn’t suck.
I think it’s a matter of coming up with a compelling character background, image, and motivations. A person who, rather than being a temple dwelling cleric or typical druid, is an environmental fanatic who draws his power directly from the Creative Force of the planet/universe, might be kind of cool. He/she would view magic with great suspicion, as it once destroyed the world, would protect “natural” forms of life rather than kill, and destroy defilers of the planet with great fervor. But still not a druid. Instead – something unique. Chaotic Good in alignment, but dark in demeanor. The kind of guy who would withhold the healing spell if the person in need just killed an animal.
That might be interesting.
Edit: the one problem. Cleric spells really suck.