I've seen a lot of discussion about the Cleric on some of the boards and blogs I visit over the past few weeks. Like at least a few others, I am now wondering if the Cleric class is really needed for old school style or swords & sorcery style games.
After thinking about this a bit, I have tentatively decided to get rid of clerics in my upcoming For Gold & Glory Microlite20 variant. The various cure spells will disappear. Alchemists and herbalists will make potions that can be bought that duplicate their effects to some extent. Other clerical spells will be merged into the arcane lists.
Turn undead as an ability will be gone, but any holy symbol presented by a strongly devout follower of the symbol's deity will cause most undead to hesitate at bit. Magical item holy symbols will have the old clerical turn undead ability as a magic power.
Some other changes I had previously decided to make in the FG&G will probably make the healing without clerics work better. Hit Points (normally) fully recover after a night's rest. A character is not actually injured beyond the "cuts and scrapes and sprains" level until he takes "Body Point" (BP) damage. BP damage is taken after you run out of HP (or when you suffer a critical hit). Body Points recover 1 (or perhaps STR bonus) per day of full rest. While one has BP damage, one only recovers 50% of lost hit points per night of rest, suffers a -1 for every two points of BP damage taken to all "action-type" rolls, and has to a make a roll each day of more than light activity or you lose another BP.
I'm interested in hearing what people think of this idea.