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Best Cleric Build?


Advice

Shadow Lodge

I've seen a lot of different builds, but none of them for clerics. Can anybody direct me to a good place to find one, or does anybody have any suggestions on how to build one? I'm thinking about a cleric who min/maxes towards the best healing he can possibly get. Healing is the objective here.

Cheliax

Broken Zenith wrote:
I've seen a lot of different builds, but none of them for clerics. Can anybody direct me to a good place to find one, or does anybody have any suggestions on how to build one? I'm thinking about a cleric who min/maxes towards the best healing he can possibly get. Healing is the objective here.

Technically i think life oracle can out heal a cleric.

personally i would recommend picking up eldritch heritage (arcane) to obtain a familiar so you can heal at range once it can deliver touch spells. Improved familiar to get a silvansee (the outsider cat with LAy on hands equal to a pally of your level)

Andoran

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The Guide to the Guides includes several separate Cleric guides.

That said, for the very best Healer possible, Life Oracle is definitely the way to go (and at least one Oracle Guide is available there, too).


Broken Zenith wrote:
I've seen a lot of different builds, but none of them for clerics. Can anybody direct me to a good place to find one, or does anybody have any suggestions on how to build one? I'm thinking about a cleric who min/maxes towards the best healing he can possibly get. Healing is the objective here.

Healing domain is very nice. There's an archetype and feat out there iirc that you might like.

But it does depend on what strengths of the cleric that you want over say the oracle. They are different creatures, so see which is better to your liking.

-James


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Most optimized healer? A bit of an oxymoron there...

But yes, Life Oracle is where you need to be.


Cheapy wrote:

Most optimized healer? A bit of an oxymoron there...

But yes, Life Oracle is where you need to be.

The life oracle succeeds as the most efficient healer in the game because they have a lot of options that allow to heal in ways other than a standard action. This means that they can spend their time keeping allies alive while also acting spending standard actions to cast useful spells.

They play very similarly to a sorcerer, so it's a matter of preference. Clerics are good enough when it comes to healing, but they don't get many tricks that make healing in combat a decent option.

Andoran

Sean FitzSimon wrote:
Clerics are good enough when it comes to healing, but they don't get many tricks that make healing in combat a decent option.

Though, in fairness, I'd argue they're better out-of-combat long-term healers than most Life Oracles simply by virtue of having complete access to all the condition-removal stuff automatically.


Yeah, it's important to note that "a cleric who min/maxes towards the best healing he can possibly get" is NOT even in the same time zone as "best cleric build". It's not even a "good cleric build". Being able to heal is very important for a cleric, but sacrificing the ability to do other things well in order to get more healing rapidly becomes very inefficient, and lowers the average value of your actions quite a bit. Unless you are playing in a VERY large party, a character who plans to spend most of their combat actions healing is not an especially effective character. (Standard disclaimer: I'm not saying someone is EL WRONGO if they want to play a character that's focused as much as possible on healing, just that such a character will not be as effective at helping the party overcome standard game challenges as most.)

Clerics can do a variety of things well or semi-well, but even if you want to focus on healing, your character will tend to be far more effective if you have a reliably useful combat action, typically an offensive one. Any healing you do in combat that doesn't save someone from going down is a wasted action; you might as well have been dazed that round. For most clerics, that means having an okay melee attack. That doesn't mean that you need to have 20 Str at level 1 and spend all your feats on improving your melee attack, but most clerics want a reasonable strength score. (There are some options that let your run entirely off Wisdom, but they require 3.5 material.) You can also try running as a cleric that mostly casts spells in combat, but that doesn't become a real option until a little later on, simply because you'll lack the spells/day to make it work until then. If you want to cast mostly offensive spells, you want your wisdom as high as possible; if you can manage to get by casting mostly support or no-save spells in combat with offensive spells as more of a backup, then your wisdom can be a little lower.

The good news is that because the game has relatively few options that enhance healing, even if you waste character resources taking ALL of them, you'll still have space left over to take options that will actually make your character more effective.

Note that I'm -not- just dogging on healing in general, or saying that the only good kind of character is one that does jifinity damage; I'm speaking from the standpoint that in practice, combat healing is actually a pretty situational option - great (in fact all but vital) to have, but very often effectively useless in any given round. What this means is that you want to be at least competant at some other combat role so that you have something to do on the rounds (which is most rounds) where combat healing would be a waste.


Most people in the min/maxing circles has agreed that optimizing healing takes only two components:

A) The ability and funds to purchase a wand of cure light wounds
B) The ability to use the want (ranks in use magic device or cure light wounds on your spell list)

Basically the reasoning is that spending actions in combat to heal is not considered the best use of actions (unless it is a clutch heal to keep someone in the action). Action economy is a big deal in min/maxing.

I am not telling you this to say there is something wrong with your plan to make a healer, there isn't... well, there isn't as long as you find that fun to play... many people don't. Just that many people find that in most cases, killing the creature faster so it does less damage to your is a better (preventative) healing method.

Still, the cleric is fantastic. You will find a ton of advice in those guides regarding the cleric and how good they can be. But it will steer you away from healing.

Again, play the character you have fun playing. If that is an in-combat healer, then by all means that is what you should be playing. Just understand why you are not finding a lot of help optimizing it.

Like the others have mentioned, a life oracle is a great way to go if you ARE wanting to go all crazy on in-combat healing.

Sean Mahoney

Osirion

I add my vote for the life Oracle. I've played one and they can out heal anybody. I was sure to take Craft Wand and carry a few CLW wands with me at all times, too. Taking the life mystery gives you access to all of the restoration spells to remove nasty conditions that you might normally need a cleric for.

All that aside, I also second the motion that preventing damage is better than healing it. Clerics can do plenty of cool things in combat to help the party, so don't be one-sided. Oracles have other options, too, just not as many as clerics. It's the same distinction that exists between sorcerers and wizards.


Check out Tarks guide:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h6-_4HvPvV-Tt7I67Gi_oPhgHmeDVA5SBl-WrJS gf5s/edit?hl=en&pli=1#

I would suggest looking at the Support Cleric options, as others have previously stated: a healing focused cleric is a wasted cleric!


As someone who has spent some time playing clerics, I suggest not neglecting the melee aspect of your character. Particularly at lower levels, once you've cast a couple spells and burned the rest on heals, you're going to regret not contributing to battles.

My current cleric has much better mental stats than physical, and while I love role-playing him and being a skill monkey of sorts, at 2nd level there is a point in combat where I am little more than a flanking partner.

How you implement this advice is a matter of preference.


Whether playing a cleric or playing a life oracle the feat quick channel is a good choice for an extra burst of healing while maintaining other actions. Additionally, the metamagic feat: reach spell can help with both healing spells and debuffing spells in either case. Combined with a Rod of Persistent Spell and your debuffs get to be quite nasty.

Improving your effectiveness in combat can be achieved a number of ways. Self buffing spells (such as bull's strength, bear's endurance, divine favor/power). With a long spear you can stand behind the front rank and do some decent cleric damage.

Even if you opt to not do damage in a round you can help those that do via aid another. Armed with a long spear and aid another you can increase someone's accuracy or defense. While not necessarily optimized there are also feats that improve the aid another action.

An allying weapon (APG page 286) can boost another player's effective attack/damage as well. But you will need to co-ordinate this with them since it does not stack.

- Gauss


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Do note that if you go the longspear route, if you're attacking through your ally, you take an effective -4 to hit.


Correct, however that has less effect for aid another. - Gauss

Andoran

The best cleric build depends a lot on what level that cleric is going to occupy.

The best level 1 cleric build will have decent strength and decent charisma to be able to dish out damage and channel a few extra times. I'd say that Strength is an important attribute for clerics all the way up until you start getting 4th-5th level spells, because clerics tend to spend a round or two dropping some buffs (prayer, bless) and then you don't have much to do except swing a weapon unless something bad happens to the party.

Past about level 8-9, I think wisdom becomes more important. Not only do you need it to cast higher-level spells, but the cleric gets better offensive spellcasting options in spells like Blindness/Deafness, Slay Living, Flame Strike, Blade Barrier, Dismissal, Holy Word, etc.

But low level? Strength 16, with wisdom and charisma as secondaries, heavy armor proficiency and full plate with a good weapon from your diety and probably the domains that let you rage. High level? Spellcasting spellcasting spellcasting, probably with some rods or metamagic feats to make that better. Plus, staves with the more situational spells or the ones you cast all the time (Staff of Courage, Staff of Souls, Staff of Journeys) are dirt cheap because they calculated the prices wrong in the APG.

Shadow Lodge

Wow! All very interesting stuff, thanks guys! I will take a look at life Oracle and I'll try to round out the Cleric! Anybody have a build I can work off of?

Lantern Lodge

Most important job for a healer - SURVIVE

----------
Domains
For a Survivable healer Cleric - I suggest picking up the Life and Liberation/Travel Domains.

Life Domain - At lv 6, 50% more heals from cure spells. With this you can even really pour in the healing.
The lv 1 power is weak, but don't go thinking you can go and grab that Restoration subdomain. Unless you are starting at level 1, and is in for a slow climb... Heal domain gives Breath of Life as a bonus 5th level spell.
Breath of Life is a MUST HAVE for any cleric serious about saving the party, cos dying is not fun.

-
Liberation domain give you Freedom of Movement as an "instant, as you need it" power for a number of times a day equal to your cleric level.
This means that big troll/monster is not going to find it easy to grapple and EAT You.
If you are grappled, stuck, facing DT or inside a monster's tummy, you are not going to be able to save anyone...

At lv 8 you get an aura the suppress the confused, grappled, frightened, panicked, paralyzed, pinned, or shaken conditions. Meaning as long as you stay up your allies won't be having much trouble.

-
Travel domain main benefits are the +10 feet to speed, ability to ignore DT (weaker form of Liberation's) and the ability to TELEPORT at lv 8.
Again this allows you to survive and maybe even reach party members that need more healing.

----------
Feats
- Selective channeling
- Quick Channel
These 2 helps you pour out the healing. Swift action channel + a cure/mass cure spell can bring your party back to its feat asap.
- Extra Channels

- Sacred Summons!
Why heal, when you can prevent the damage in the first place?
Sacred Summons is one of the few ways for a non-summoner(class) to summon as a standard action. Lantern Archons, for example, are good when summon and then boosted with Heroism subdomain's Aura of Heroism, for some very serious fire-power.

- Improve Initiative
Starting first with a buff or getting out of the way of a spell/grab/attack is very important.

Metamagics Feats (!)
Grab Rods. You don't have the number of feats that wizards have to invest in metamagics and don't need special combinations of metamagics.

Rod of Reach - Grab these when you can. With these you can get that heal or cure spell on your party members without needing to be next to them. Combine this with your 50% extra from cure spells (healing domain) you can almost heal like your in a MMORPG.

Rod of Metamagic, Extend - For getting those 10mins/level buff up to a few hours.

----------
Ability spread
Most important to least.

Wis>Cha>Con>Dex>Str>Int (before Racial)
Wis - For spells. You DO NOT need as much Wis as you do not need to boost the DC of your spells, but you will still want to grab as much bonus spells-per-day as you can get.(14-16)
Cha - For all your Channels (12-16)
Con - Very Important for any Cleric. Your the party healer, you need to live to save others. The more HP the better. (12-16)
Dex - For Initiative and armor(10-14)
Str&Int - Don't drop then below 10. You still need to wear armor and you have as little skill points as it is... (10-12)

-----------

On Healing Domain Cleric Vs Life Oracle

Healing Hit Points - Overall, they can heal HP just about the same. Life Oracles have a head start, but at lv 6 and higher, Clerics can pull off just as much healing.

Flexibility - Clerics trumps Life Oracles when it comes to spell selection. Be it a new spell from a new book, or the need for a specific spell, Clerics gets ALL their spells.
You can prepare a bunch for restoration spells today and swap it for Blade barriers, Flamestrikes, and Spiritual weapons tomorrow.

Restoration spells - Clerics get all these without need to make space for them.
Ability score damage is a very serious matter!

Gets higher levels spells faster - This makes up for the less spells per day.

-----------
Overall, Clerics are very simple to build, pick your domains, buy your ability scores and grab your feats. No extra powers to pick, you get your domain powers as they come and your channels are increased via leveling and uses feats/ability score for extra uses.

Hope this helps.

Shadow Lodge

It helps incredibly! Thank you!


I can't think of any deity that has both the Travel and Healing domains, but Milani has Healing and Liberation, and is a pretty cool minor goddess. If you're gonna stick with a cleric, she'd be a good choice for you if you want the domains Secane suggested.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have a halfling cleric with only a 9 strength. have a handy haversack and mithril armor. have the travel and earth domains. worshiping Abadar. I use the lite crossbow and my 6 acid arrows when I am not healing.

you can also buy a wand of murderous command and use it to devastating effect.


Name Violation wrote:

Technically i think life oracle can out heal a cleric.

personally i would recommend picking up eldritch heritage (arcane) to obtain a familiar so you can heal at range once it can deliver touch spells. Improved familiar to get a silvansee (the outsider cat with LAy on hands equal to a pally of your level)

According to what I saw, the Silvanshee can only use Lay on hands 1/day as a 2nd Lvl Paladin, not as a Paladin of your level. Where are you seeing otherwise?


Kelik wrote:
Name Violation wrote:

Technically i think life oracle can out heal a cleric.

personally i would recommend picking up eldritch heritage (arcane) to obtain a familiar so you can heal at range once it can deliver touch spells. Improved familiar to get a silvansee (the outsider cat with LAy on hands equal to a pally of your level)

According to what I saw, the Silvanshee can only use Lay on hands 1/day as a 2nd Lvl Paladin, not as a Paladin of your level. Where are you seeing otherwise?

My group had a similar confusion about an arbiter familiar's make whole spell-like ability

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