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Clerics: What should they do in combat.


Advice

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Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:

I've been playing a cleric from level 1 to 15. I'm an elf with low strength, decent dexterity and charisma. I carry a light crossbow so I can try to contribute without spending resources...

Why not a longbow? You're proficient.


because it would do d8-2 damage i imagine

Osirion

I think the premise "Healing in combat is a less effective action" needs to be caveated with the statement "in a party of 4 players during routine encounters".

The more PCs in the party who are hurt, the better channeling starts to look. Same with buffs however. Healing in combat is a great action if your front line guys is droppping due to poison, several of your party have strong bleeds on them, etc.

It is better to say that healing should be about the third or fourth option after buffing, nuking/meleeing (if you have a decent attack form), using a domain power that is appropriate, unless a party member is dropping.

IMO that is the decision tree of a cleric:

1- Is someone dropping or disabled badly? If yes, fix that.
2- Buff or kill depending on situation and your build.
3- Goto 1.

Of course this is how I play clerics...battle clerics, buff and healbots, may be played differently.


As stated above, Scribe Scroll is a very good feat and other party members should kick in 50 gp so into a scroll kitty regularly so the cleric can scribe. Depends on how much time the group has as well.


My suggestion is similar to those above, but with an emphasis on not focusing to heavily on one action.

  • Control - A control spell, especially one that completely neutralizes one or more enemies is totally worth an action.(This includes a summon monster spell.)

  • Buff - A buff spell, especially one that benefits the whole party, is totally worth an action. (Blessing of Fervor is one of my favorites.)If you can't get the buff spell off by the first or possibly second round of combat, don't bother! Also, if you're spending more than one action buffing, you're probably wasting actions.

  • Blast - Damage! Get you some!

  • Healing - When you can keep a party member in the fight (or alive) rather than on the ground, healing is totally worth an action.

  • Combat - I know you're not interested in being a "Combat Cleric" but you should carry a weapon at all times and be ready to use it on occasion. Stabbing bad guys should be your default action in easy fights, the ones that aren't worth using up spells.


Beckett wrote:
I have a Barbarian player in one of my PFS games that does this, practically to the T. He rushes into each battle shouting in character "Heal Me!!!" as a battle cry.

If this happened in our games, I would respond with "His holy exhaultedness is not a wish-granting genie!"

Later, if the idiot gets himself hurt anyways, I would fake an attempts to heal him, deliberately fail and claim "I guess the holy one doesn't reward recklessness. I hope you learn from this experience."


Healing in combat is important if the game is harder (where a TPK or PC death is possible) and you need to in order to keep a striker in. Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

But if it is a fight where you are going to win automatically, then healing someone doesn't make a difference. You save more spells by ending the fight sooner so that you need fewer total to heal up. Might as well hit.


Cranefist wrote:
Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

Sooooo where do we start?

Well let's just start by saying said battlefield control would likely give him more than one round of full attacks. Whereas your healing will only give him one.


TarkXT wrote:
Cranefist wrote:
Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

Sooooo where do we start?

Well let's just start by saying said battlefield control would likely give him more than one round of full attacks. Whereas your healing will only give him one.

Not if he is going down. Then it is 1 round for healing or 0 for battlefield control.


Cranefist wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Cranefist wrote:
Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

Sooooo where do we start?

Well let's just start by saying said battlefield control would likely give him more than one round of full attacks. Whereas your healing will only give him one.

Not if he is going down. Then it is 1 round for healing or 0 for battlefield control.

Define "going down". By the time it's your turn he's either low on hp or just plain down. The only in between is zero hp.


Cranefist wrote:

Healing in combat is important if the game is harder (where a TPK or PC death is possible) and you need to in order to keep a striker in. Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

But if it is a fight where you are going to win automatically, then healing someone doesn't make a difference. You save more spells by ending the fight sooner so that you need fewer total to heal up. Might as well hit.

I just quoted myself so you could see what I was talking about.


That's nice. That's also not an answer to my question. Exactly what condition does the paladin have to be to be defined as going down.


TarkXT wrote:
That's nice. That's also not an answer to my question. Exactly what condition does the paladin have to be to be defined as going down.

It depends on the situation. Whatever one where the cleric healing him buys him a round of attacks.

If the monster deals 5 damage automatically each round and the striker has 4 hit points, then the cleric buys him a round by healing 2 damage.

If the monster deals 90 damage per round and is attacking a guy with 200 HP, and the paladin is at -10, then the cleric should heal him to get him back in the fight.

If the striker is down and the monsters can't win and will be dead in 3 rounds without the cleric's help or in 2 with it, he should probably just attack.


touch of madness touch of insanity, all hail Azathoth!


(Extended) Murderous Command is a 1st/2nd level spell and will stop at least one enemy from damaging party members entirely.

Healing fixes less than an attack will deal.

It really is that simple


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Roleplaying messageboard traditional use of character snobbery 101:

1. "Oh my gosh, you heal with your cleric...in combat? That's like sooo 1985."
2. "So you actually cast damage spells, with your wizard? 1979 just called."
3. "You actually expect your Paladin to act lawful good? Wow, that's sooooo restrictive."

~ Turns up nose and walks away from people obviously beneath me for not knowing that wizards should not blast and clerics should not heal.


Cranefist wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
That's nice. That's also not an answer to my question. Exactly what condition does the paladin have to be to be defined as going down.

It depends on the situation. Whatever one where the cleric healing him buys him a round of attacks.

If the monster deals 5 damage automatically each round and the striker has 4 hit points, then the cleric buys him a round by healing 2 damage.

If the monster deals 90 damage per round and is attacking a guy with 200 HP, and the paladin is at -10, then the cleric should heal him to get him back in the fight.

If the striker is down and the monsters can't win and will be dead in 3 rounds without the cleric's help or in 2 with it, he should probably just attack.

So let's go through these situations.

1. This is not a bad play. But not a great one. This is an "oops we messed up" play. Why? Mainly because that damage probably could have been prevented. Maybe. I honestly don't know of too many things that deal auto damage just by being near them. Generally speaking though you want to stay back and pepper them at range.

2. This is a horrendous play. Why? Mainly because the paladin is in the negatives. You basically spend your action getting him up to to aroudn 100hp (assuming a Heal which is a big boy spell) so he can get back up, maybe pick up his weapons and possibly move over there to eat 90 damage to the face but not full attack. 0 damage to the monster 90 more damage to the guy he's attacking. Unless he turns around and smacks your paladin for 90 and knocks him down to around ten. Hope you got another heal ready because the monster is killing your paladin next round.

Getting the paladin up isn't the priority here. You are in a defensive situation so mitigating that damage comes first and foremost. Battlefield control will buy you the sort of time yo want to give that paladin not one round (in which that other guy just took 180 damage if he ignored the paladin for a moment but who cares about rogues eh?) but several in order for him to take the time to lay on hands and get buffed back up. You have spells like Wall of Stone and Summon Monster. Why isn't the bad guy being screened by 1d3 bralani? Why aren't 1d4+1 celestial rhinocerous's shoving their bums in his face? If we're at the level where the monster is dealing 90 damage a round and you have a guy with 200hp then you have loads of great options available to you.

3. Probably. But in this scenario that's all anyone is really doing anyway is to conserve resources.

Soooo when is healing a good option? Healing is a good option not in a difficult fight (which is beaten by strategy and luck more often than sheer resource attrition) but rather when you have no other option in any fight. That is, when you have literally prepped spells that are of zero use to you in the current situation. Clerics have a lot of situational spells and even if you do use the open slot trick you can find yourself in a position where you go over your sheet and wonder just what the heck you are supposed to do. Thankfully this is relatively rare but it does happen. The thing is in pathfinder you want the fight to end as quickly as possible and heals rarely make that happen. People can point out corner cases all day typically there is a better option available. If it's untypical, well it's a tool at your disposal like all the others you have.


deuxhero wrote:

(Extended) Murderous Command is a 1st/2nd level spell and will stop at least one enemy from damaging party members entirely.

Healing fixes less than an attack will deal.

It really is that simple

Unless he rolls a 20 on his will save


TheRonin wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

(Extended) Murderous Command is a 1st/2nd level spell and will stop at least one enemy from damaging party members entirely.

Healing fixes less than an attack will deal.

It really is that simple

Unless he rolls a 20 on his will save

Or he could roll a 1. Both are just as likely.


And the dumb muscle you want to use it on has no chance of doing so.


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Sloanzilla wrote:

Roleplaying messageboard traditional use of character snobbery 101:

1. "Oh my gosh, you heal with your cleric...in combat? That's like sooo 1985."
2. "So you actually cast damage spells, with your wizard? 1979 just called."
3. "You actually expect your Paladin to act lawful good? Wow, that's sooooo restrictive."

~ Turns up nose and walks away from people obviously beneath me for not knowing that wizards should not blast and clerics should not heal.

This is actually a great post which illustrates one of the problems with all dnd derivative systems.

What, exactly, is a class really SUPPOSED to be doing?

Wizards are actually fairly straightforward. They're supposed to cast spells and most spellcasting, unless it's a set of really badly picked spells, will help. After all, even a beginner can see that ok magic missile deals damage I'll use that.

On the other hand, it's tougher to see whether or not mage armour is good in practice. Ok it's +4 AC... But at the cost of one spell slot... But magic missile is xd4+y damage...

The cleric is especially suffering from that because
1: It can actually use weapons.
2: It can heal
3: It has no direct damage magic
4: It has buffs

Buffs are HARD to evaluate. How good IS really a particular buff. It takes gameplay experience to figure out.

The cleric can use weapons, so one might think it's a combat class. Is it?

Few of the spells are direct damage, meaning that the class has spells that require gameplay experience to know which are good and bad. Buffs, again.

As for point two, the cleric has healing. Healing is straightforward. You know EXACTLY what you get from it. You get HP back. That's a tangible benefit. As such, it will be attractive for anyone who doesn't know exactly how to play a cleric.

I'm playing a wizard in a current campaign and my character is fairly effective. Why? Because I know what I'm doing, generally. There's been a few situations when I haven't been able to do anything but they were because I had the wrong spells and got into an encounter with something that couldn't be dealt with using my current spells.

We also have a witch that is less effective. Why? Because the player doesn't know exactly what to do. Doesn't know which spells are effective. Generally, he relies on the slumber hex which doesn't work against a lot of enemies.

We also had a cleric (who died). The cleric spent most of his time healing, because his melee was ineffective and the player didn't know which spells were useful.


TarkXT wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

(Extended) Murderous Command is a 1st/2nd level spell and will stop at least one enemy from damaging party members entirely.

Healing fixes less than an attack will deal.

It really is that simple

Unless he rolls a 20 on his will save
Or he could roll a 1. Both are just as likely.

Meanwhile we know healing the hypothetical Paladin will work for at least one round.


TheRonin wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

(Extended) Murderous Command is a 1st/2nd level spell and will stop at least one enemy from damaging party members entirely.

Healing fixes less than an attack will deal.

It really is that simple

Unless he rolls a 20 on his will save
Or he could roll a 1. Both are just as likely.
Meanwhile we know healing the hypothetical Paladin will work for at least one round.

And if the hypothetical Paladin can kill the monster in the next round but the cleric can't then healing may be a good choice but 50% of the time the Paladin isn't going to kill the monster next round and the monster will slowly rip the Paladin apart while the cleric throws spells down the drain. Or you can just let the Paladin go unconscious and get him up after combat or after that monster is beaten.

On average DMs don't try to finish downed enemies because it doesn't make sense from the creature's perspective to spend time fighting a downed foe while the living ones try to cut you up, but if your DM does then you rethink your priorities.


TheRonin wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

(Extended) Murderous Command is a 1st/2nd level spell and will stop at least one enemy from damaging party members entirely.

Healing fixes less than an attack will deal.

It really is that simple

Unless he rolls a 20 on his will save
Or he could roll a 1. Both are just as likely.
Meanwhile we know healing the hypothetical Paladin will work for at least one round.

No, no we don't. Because he's hypothetical.

In any of those above situations we never discussed things like initiative order, positioning, who else is in the group, and all the little important things that one needs to know when making ingame decisions in combat.

Will healing the paladin put you in danger? What feats do you have? What domains? What other spells you have at your disposal? Do you have an animal companion? Planar ally? Summons? Undead minions? Do you have another divine spellcaster in the party? Is the paladin out of lay on hands? For that matter why didn't he use lay on hands? What is the monster? Have you identified it? Who's he attacking now? The fighter? The rogue? The wizards maternal grandmother? AM BARBARIAN (god rest that poor monsters soul)? For that matter what's the wizard doing? Is he down? Hey maybe he's got a spell he can cast as soon as he gets up that will stop this incoming damage? Hey why is the paladin down again? Is it even worth bringing him up? Is he suffering from other conditions? Is there better terrain to retreat to? Where am I? Who are these people? Why does there mother dress them funny?

The trouble I have with corner cases, straw men, hypothetical situations, and scenarios built from hearsay is that they rarely reflect an actual in-game situation. Sometimes you get a story of a clutch play of an actual game where a cleric's heal saved the day. That's great and it proves that healing can still be an effective tool in a cleric's arsenal. But it's not the first tool to pick up, nor even the second. It's usually the last resort, when anything you do will be a worse choice and given the sheer versatility at a cleric's disposal it's often hard not to find a better option.


Cranefist wrote:
Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

What, exactly, do you think "battlefield control" means?


Quote:
3: It has no direct damage magic

No, simply no.

The CRB has at least one direct damage spell at every level for clerics (every cure spell is also an inflict spell) although early levels are mostly touch based. At higher levels spells like destruction give clerics ranged direct damage spells as strong as any a wizard has. Throw in UM and the APG, and clerics have direct damage range spells at every spell level.


cnetarian wrote:
Quote:
3: It has no direct damage magic

No, simply no.

The CRB has at least one direct damage spell at every level for clerics (every cure spell is also an inflict spell) although early levels are mostly touch based. At higher levels spells like destruction give clerics ranged direct damage spells as strong as any a wizard has. Throw in UM and the APG, and clerics have direct damage range spells at every spell level.

I didn't see anything ranged for damage at 1st level but otherwise I agree with you.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
demontroll wrote:


If your GM is tough (APL+5) you are going to need to be able to heal, or people are going to die.

I've always found it odd when people say that healing is only essential in really dangerous encounters. If healing is a weak, sub-optimal choice in an APL+1 encounter, surely it's still weak in harder battles?

In an easy fight there is no chance of anyone dying form hp loss, so just wait until the end of the fight to heal.

In a difficult fight, characters will die from hp loss unless they are healed during the fight. If the characters were not facing imminent death, than by definition, that was not a difficult fight. Crowd control and buffs are still needed, but at some point a character will need a heal in this round or they will be dead in the next round.

Clerics are good at healing; I don't understand why people are so opposed to using healing when it is needed (player character facing imminent death from hp loss).


One aspect of why healing is risky, I haven't seen mentioned here (explicitly).

Most enemies ignore downed PCs, to focus on those still active. So do most PCs, actually. Healing someone to just enough HP to stand up may invite attacks that kill the PC.

For example, a paladin at -3hp is ignored by an enemy, but one just healed to 15HP who just stood up gets full-attacked by a monster who doesn't want to allow him a full attack sequence.

So in-combat healing is DIFFICULT to do in ways that don't put the subject in greater danger than being ignored.

---

Anyway, this thread is nicely thought-provoking. It's giving me the itch to play a God-Cleric.


demontroll wrote:


Clerics are good at healing; I don't understand why people are so opposed to using healing when it is needed (player character facing imminent death from hp loss).

Because when people say it's needed it often turns out it's not.

Sometimes it is because you literally have nothing else.


cnetarian wrote:
Quote:
3: It has no direct damage magic

No, simply no.

The CRB has at least one direct damage spell at every level for clerics (every cure spell is also an inflict spell) although early levels are mostly touch based. At higher levels spells like destruction give clerics ranged direct damage spells as strong as any a wizard has. Throw in UM and the APG, and clerics have direct damage range spells at every spell level.

That was a mistake from my side.

What I meant is that they have less obvious direct damage spells.


Query?
Clerics: What should they do in combat?

Answer.....
Fight!


Healing is rarely the optimal task in combat (most of the time healing doesn't scale with the actual damage taken at any given value of CR). Same with why direct damage spells don't really scale correctly. The truth of the matter is that changes to the bestiary between 2e and 3.x resulted in big increases to monster HP and damage but spells were generally not scaled to the new threshholds.

Thus healing rarely can keep pace with the incoming damage from monster DPR. Even heal spell when it finally shows up kinda struggles with high CR DPR.

Now if channels were swift action then it might be a different story but in many cases just swinging your mace is a better action for a cleric than healing a friend. Exceptions obviously exist, it's obviously better to have a conscious fighting ally than a unconscious or dead one and it's generally a good thing to heal dying allies rather than pay for raise dead and restorations but in most cases it's better to save healing for post combat when you pull out the wand of CLW.

As for what the cleric should be doing it should be whatever makes the rest of the team better. Buffs are great, flanking is good, control is good, blast is generally suboptimal but decent at times, healing can be good if you have a bunch of people to heal (clerics supporting a bunch of men at arms with area channels is generally a solid strategy).


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Ascalaphus wrote:

One aspect of why healing is risky, I haven't seen mentioned here (explicitly).

Most enemies ignore downed PCs, to focus on those still active. So do most PCs, actually. Healing someone to just enough HP to stand up may invite attacks that kill the PC.

That's certainly a good reason not to wait until a PC is downed before healing him.


hogarth wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

One aspect of why healing is risky, I haven't seen mentioned here (explicitly).

Most enemies ignore downed PCs, to focus on those still active. So do most PCs, actually. Healing someone to just enough HP to stand up may invite attacks that kill the PC.

That's certainly a good reason not to wait until a PC is downed before healing him.

You might not have a choice in the matter. The bad guy can critically hit with his large sized greataxe. You cannot.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My clerics generally have a main focus, with healing as a tertiary focus. If I'm sure my heals will do more help than hitting the enemy, I'll probably heal the ally who is at low HP (<25%). If the monsters damage potential is much higher than my heals, I usually won't. Factors like if I think the monster will keep on attacking the downed ally also change my actions.

I don't find just healing to be exciting for my clerics, so I try to do other things.


If you are really good at figuring out average Damage in your head you can theoretically figure out the likelihood that a given monster's average attack run is going to drop you to negatives and it might be worthwhile to keep the party tank above that level but that's not necessarily something easy to do on the fly for most people so you kinda have to guess at it. Most people are either going to be too conservative a heal when it's not a good use of a healing spell or heal when it's likely too late anyway. Things like crits make that much more difficult to assess as a character can be generally safe from average DPR from a monster but a critical hit or 2 can take you from safe to dead very quickly.


hogarth wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

One aspect of why healing is risky, I haven't seen mentioned here (explicitly).

Most enemies ignore downed PCs, to focus on those still active. So do most PCs, actually. Healing someone to just enough HP to stand up may invite attacks that kill the PC.

That's certainly a good reason not to wait until a PC is downed before healing him.

Well, like I said, it's difficult to judge right when and how to heal. But it's definitely a good reason not to heal downed PCs just enough to stand up and get struck down again; either heal them enough to make them solid, or just Stabilize them at a distance.

---

Anyway, battlefield control was mentioned. I'm curious about that;

a) what are the differences between wizard and cleric battlefield control?

b) what are the most important clerical battlefield control spells/techniques, particularly at levels 1-8?


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Cranefist wrote:
Healing in combat is important if the game is harder (where a TPK or PC death is possible) and you need to in order to keep a striker in. Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

I think Cranefist bolded the wrong part of his first statement, so I quoted him again with the key phrase in bold.

If a paladin (or other primary striker) can be granted a full round of attacks with a single spell, then I'd probably do it. If a paladin (or other primary striker) can't be granted a full round of attacks, I probably wouldn't waste my time healing them in combat. In fact, I think this might be the perfect test-case for what it takes to make combat-healing worth while, one full round of attacks from a primary attacker.


Blueluck wrote:
Cranefist wrote:
Healing in combat is important if the game is harder (where a TPK or PC death is possible) and you need to in order to keep a striker in. Almost nothing a cleric is going to do against the BBEG is going to be as useful during a round as giving the Paladin another round of full attacks - so if the choice is cast battlefield control or swing your mace... or picking the Paladin up, picking the paladin up is by far the most useful.

I think Cranefist bolded the wrong part of his first statement, so I quoted him again with the key phrase in bold.

If a paladin (or other primary striker) can be granted a full round of attacks with a single spell, then I'd probably do it. If a paladin (or other primary striker) can't be granted a full round of attacks, I probably wouldn't waste my time healing them in combat. In fact, I think this might be the perfect test-case for what it takes to make combat-healing worth while, one full round of attacks from a primary attacker.

Aye, the balance point is where a spell will result in more party combat potential (damage dealt) than attacking will. In terms of helping the hypothetical paladin survive a cleric usually has a better option than healing, stunning paralyzing commanding fearing etc. the attacker of the hypothetical paladin will also let the hypothetical paladin get off a full round of attacks. I won't say combat healing is never the best choice, just that very rarely will a well prepared cleric not have a better choice than healing.


Ascalaphus wrote:


Anyway, battlefield control was mentioned. I'm curious about that;

a) what are the differences between wizard and cleric battlefield control?

b) what are the most important clerical battlefield control spells/techniques, particularly at levels 1-8?

a) wizards do their control more by reshaping the battlefield, clerics do it more by changing what the combatants do

b) 1 2 3 4 (&variants) 5 6 are some spells that I use, other players no doubt have others. Almost forgot the classic all purpose command


One thing I've noticed in PFS is how many melee types charge into combat. Against enemies with multiple attack. That their 1 attack won't be able to kill.

+2 is nice to hit with, but the -2 sucks when your enemy has better offensive potential. Please walk in fighting defensively next time. Saves a party member the effort of healing you in combat (which means the BDF stole the other player's turn for a single lousy attack) or later (with a wand that the BDF rudely didn't provide).

Once you are in full melee mode, giving all you got in full attacks, only use feats/abilities that lower AC if you have a good shot at dropping the enemy. Taking hits you don't have to is depleting party resources. Be intelligent about your attack patterns. 5 foot stepping away from enemies is polite when you have ranged PCs in the party, try to step in a direction that isn't blocking the fire lanes. -4 to -8 to attack is not fun and harms the party DPR.

Tanking isn't a party role in PF. Do not think that the cleric must heal the tank or any other such "holy trinity" bs.

The role of melee combat in PF is to keep pressure on the enemy. Being in melee restricts actions in combat greatly. In terms of damage though, its much harder to keep up DPR with melee combat because of required movement and lack of pounce (most classes can't really get it). Being in melee also increases the chances of getting hurt, often outside of timely friendly assistance.

If the martial characters can remember some of the above, the cleric won't need to heal so often.

This includes the APL +5 encouters too. If you are fighting something so hardcore that it melee drops your paladin in 1-2 rounds WHY IS HE IN MELEE?!?! APL +5 is "run away" mode if its a heavy damage monster. Keep moving and prevent full attacks at all costs. The margin for error is very small in encounters like this, but healing makes that margin even smaller through spending actions that don't advance the encounter.


Clerics have very little in the way of battlefield control. Plenty of target control and debuffs, but most of the things cnetarian listed don't count. BFC spells need to stick around and a one-shot "will negates" doesn't cut it.

Obscuring Mist is really the only first level example. Silence and Darkness are all I see at level 2, maybe Consecrate/Desecrate. There are a few more at higher levels, Blade Barrier and Wall of Stone stand out. Summon Monster spells are also a kind of battlefield control and you get one at each level.

Domains offer a bunch more, especially elementalish domains that give you wiz/sorc and druid spells like Entangle and Create Pit.


Take Boat wrote:


Domains offer a bunch more, especially elementalish domains that give you wiz/sorc and druid spells like Entangle and Create Pit.

There are also some solid examples among the actual domain powers.


Spamming summons is often a decent method of exerting battlefield control as a handful of summoned monsters can eat up a big chunk of the battlefield and limit the number of monsters that interact with the front line fighters.


notabot wrote:
Eh, at the levels where a heal spell gives you 100+ HP back, the enemy can apply 100+ back at you. In the calculus of combat that means a heal spell is often "skip your turn to negate/reduce the effectiveness of your enemies last turn".

I'd like to point out that if you have the numbers on the opponent, this is a perfectly valid option. If you're four people you've got 4 standards per round, if you're up against a single opponent spending one standard to take out half a standard is good.

That's why Daze is the best combat cantrip.


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Take Boat wrote:

Clerics have very little in the way of battlefield control. Plenty of target control and debuffs, but most of the things cnetarian listed don't count. BFC spells need to stick around and a one-shot "will negates" doesn't cut it.

Obscuring Mist is really the only first level example. Silence and Darkness are all I see at level 2, maybe Consecrate/Desecrate. There are a few more at higher levels, Blade Barrier and Wall of Stone stand out. Summon Monster spells are also a kind of battlefield control and you get one at each level.

Domains offer a bunch more, especially elementalish domains that give you wiz/sorc and druid spells like Entangle and Create Pit.

Silly me, I thought battlefield control was about controlling what happened on the battlefield, not controlling the physical battlefield itself. Yes at lower levels clerics have little in the way of battlefield control spells, instead they have spells which control the actions of opponents. Since the point of controlling the physical characteristics of the battlefield is to control opponents' actions (by limiting where they can act) it is just a different technique to obtain the same result.


5th level cleric spells: Fickle Winds, (Un)Holy Ice, Insect Plague, Undeath Ward, Wall of Stone. Also, clerics are decent-to-good summoners and summoning is often effective battlefield control.

Shadow Lodge

Cheapy wrote:

My clerics generally have a main focus, with healing as a tertiary focus. If I'm sure my heals will do more help than hitting the enemy, I'll probably heal the ally who is at low HP (<25%). If the monsters damage potential is much higher than my heals, I usually won't. Factors like if I think the monster will keep on attacking the downed ally also change my actions.

I don't find just healing to be exciting for my clerics, so I try to do other things.

and see im different with my clerics. my favorite cleric is a towershield spec healer. he is a pacifist but focuses on healing then buffing/debuffing he contributes more then enough even with his focus on healing.

but let the people who post on these bords tell you that being healing focused is a bad choice, like their word is law.

all in all what you do in combat is what you do in combat, the beauty of clerics is the fact that they can do it all if you build them for it.


About the Chain of Perdition: does it also make attacks of opportunity?

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