Specifically, how would you sum up the differences between clerics and wizards in one sentence?
I'm starting a campaign and a couple of people there have never played before. Usually to simplify character creation I'll have them first pick from a category, then choose a class from within the category. So:
Warriors: Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, Barbarians
Mages: Wizards, Sorcerers
Priests: Clerics, Druids
Rogues: Rogues (duh), Bards, Monks (arguably is better suited for Warrior, but whatever).
The problem is, if someone asks "What's the difference between a Cleric and a Wizard?" I have no idea how to answer that question concisely and in a way that makes sense to someone who's not super familiar with the game rules.
I mean, at first I thought of putting it in MMO terms and saying "Wizards are DPS-oriented while Clerics are more buffers and healbots," but that's a little misleading. Cleric spells still pack a punch, while Wizards have got some of the best buffs and debuffs around. In fact, it's entirely possible to build a Cleric that's mostly offensive in his magic, or a Wizard that hasn't got a single damage-dealing spell, and succeed.
Then I thought about the differences between where and how they get their spells, but is that really going to mean all that much to a first time player?
Really what it comes down to is that they're casters who draw from totally different spell lists. That's maybe the best answer I've got right now :/
Something along these lines?