I just came across this little tidbit:
Old Geezer wrote:
Ahem. I was there.
In CHAINMAIL there were wizards that functioned as artillery.
Then there was Dave Arneson's first miniatures/roleplaying campaign. Some players were 'good guys' and some players were 'bad guys' and Dave was the referee.
One of the 'bad guys' wanted to play a Vampire. He was extremely smart and capable, and as he got more and more experience he got tougher and tougher.
This was the early 70s, so the model for 'vampire' was Christopher Lee in Hammer films. No deep folklore shit.
Well, after a time, nobody could touch Sir Fang. Yes, that was his name.
To fix the threatened end of the game they came up with a character that was, at first, a 'vampire hunter'. Peter Cushing in the same films.
As the rough specs were drawn up, comments about the need for healing and for curing disease came up.
Ta da, the "priest" was born. Changed later to 'cleric'.
The bit about edged weapons was from Gary's reading the old stories about Archbishop Turpin, who wielded a mace because he didn't want to shed blood ("who lives by the sword dies by the sword").
In other words, it came about the same way that 90% of the D&D rules came about :
WE MADE UP SOME SHIT THAT WE THOUGHT WOULD BE FUN.