Cleric Class Preview

Monday, April 23, 2018

Clerics are the first spellcasters to get a preview, so you might want to look at the blog about spells before you proceed! We have a lot to say about this class, so let's cut to the chase!

Cleric Features

Clerics' key ability score is Wisdom. This means that they get an ability boost to Wisdom at 1st level, increasing their Wisdom score by 2. They also use this key ability to determine the DC of their spells. Like other things in the Playtest, spells are also affected by your proficiency. Clerics are trained in divine spells, so they add 10 + their level + their Wisdom modifier for their spell DC. They use this same proficiency for touch attacks of their spells and for spell rolls.

At 1st level, clerics get several class features, including their deity and domain, anathema, channel energy, and of course, divine spellcasting (which we'll talk more about in a bit). Your deity has a major impact on your character, and you'll see a lot of similarities to Pathfinder First Edition, such as being trained in your deity's favored weapon and getting access to one of their domains. (Come back on Friday for a ton of detail about those parts of your character!) Your choice of domain gives you a unique domain power. Powers are a special type of spell that come only from your class, and are cast with Spell Points—think of things from Pathfinder First Edition like domain powers or a wizard's school powers. Powers are stronger than cantrips, but not as strong as your best spells. A cleric's initial power costs 1 Spell Point to cast. She gets a starting pool of Spell Points equal to her Wisdom, and can increase this by taking feats later on. If she gets other ways to cast powers of a different type, she combines all her Spell Points into one pool.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

A cleric's deity also imposes some restrictions on her, collectively called anathema, representing acts that go against her deity's will and teachings or violate their alignment requirements. Though we give some examples of anathemic acts for the various gods and goddesses—like how it's anathema for a cleric of Sarenrae, goddess of honesty, to cast a spell that would help her lie better—we wanted to leave this broad enough that the GM and player can make the final say in how these work in their games. Many other classes that follow similar restrictions have their own anathema. Care to guess which ones those might be?

As you go up in level, you'll increase your proficiency rank with divine spells to expert at 12th level, master at 16th level, and legendary at 19th level.

Divine Spellcasting

Of course, the cleric's main feature is her divine spellcasting! At 1st level, you can cast two 1st-level spells each day, which you prepare from the selections on the divine spell list. Every time you gain an even level, you get one more spell slot per day of your highest level of spells (so at 2nd level, a cleric has three 1st-level spells per day). At every odd level, you get access to a new level of spells. You'll always be able to cast two or three spells of your highest level and three spells of every lower level, plus your cantrips and powers. Like your other spells, your 9th-level spells cap out at three spells, so at 19th level you become legendary in spellcasting instead. So what about your 10th-level spells? We'll talk about those in a future blog!

We made your number of spells more straightforward by eliminating Pathfinder First Edition's bonus spells granted for having a high ability score. Your Wisdom still matters greatly for your spell DC and other things important to clerics, but giving it slightly less weight makes it more practical now for you to play a cleric of Gorum who focuses on Strength and uses spells that don't involve your spell DC or that have decent effects even if your enemy succeeds at its save.

Now, it's not quite true to say those are all the spells you get. Remember channel energy from earlier? This feature lets you cast heal or harm an additional number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier! Moreover, these spells are heightened to the highest level of spell you cast, so as soon as you hit 3rd level, all those heal or harm spells become 2nd-level spells. This replaces the Pathfinder First Edition cleric's spontaneous healing, which required her to sacrifice her prepared spells to make room for a heal spell. Now, you can use your channel energy to cast these extra heal spells, and if you think you'll need more healing than this provides, you can always prepare more heal spells using your normal spell slots (in fact, this can be a good use of some of your lower-level slots as you go up in level). Your choice of deity determines which spell you can cast with channel energy. Pharasma lets you cast heal, Rovagug makes you cast harm, and someone like Abadar or Lamashtu lets you choose your path at 1st level.

Cleric Feats

As we've mentioned before, we always wanted Pathfinder Second Edition to provide all classes with a sizeable number of options for customization. The cleric was one of the classes that had the most to gain, since a cleric got a bunch of class features at 1st level, then crickets for the rest of her career. The cleric's new class feats give her all sorts of new flexibility, so let's look at some of those!

At 1st level, you might pick Communal healing so when you cast heal to tend to a creature other than yourself, you regain some Hit Points too, or you might take Turn Undead, which forces undead that critically fail their saves against your heal spells to flee from you. (This works great with the 3-action version of heal!) You could also pick Expanded Domain to explore your deity's domains further, gaining the initial power from a different domain than the first one you chose. You can select this feat twice, letting you delve into a maximum of three domains!

At higher levels, you gain new cleric feats at every even level, except levels 12 and 16, when you increase your spell DCs instead. At 4th level, you might pick up Advanced Domain to gain the advanced power from one of your domains. At 8th level, if you channel positive energy, you could take the Channeled Succor feat so you can cast remove curse, remove disease, remove paralysis, or restoration with your channeled energy spells instead of just heal.

Let's take a look at a category of feats clerics have plenty of: metamagic! You can activate a metamagic feat when you cast a spell. This increases the number of actions required to cast the spell and modifies the spell in some way. At 1st level, for example, you could select Reach Spell to let you add a Somatic Casting action to a spell and increase its range by 30 feet (or to make a touch spell into a ranged touch spell with a 30-foot range). This is a metamagic feat lots of spellcasters can take, but the cleric gets some others that are more specific to her as well. Command Undead, a 4th-level feat, lets you change the effects of any harm spell you cast to instead take control of an undead creature. Heroic Recovery, an 8th-level feat, adds a powerful buff to heal spells: you can target one creature at range using 3 actions (the 2-action version of heal, plus another action to activate the metamagic) to heal them for a solid number of hit points and also give them a bonus to attack and damage rolls and a 5-foot increase to its speed for 1 round. And if you use a lot of metamagic, the 20th-level cleric feat Metamagic Channeler is a great choice—it lets you apply a metamagic feat to a harm or heal spell without adding an action to its casting!

So what are your favorite parts of the new cleric? Any builds you're itching to try out? How about concepts you made in Pathfinder First Edition you'd like to take another shot at?

Logan Bonner
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Clerics Kyra Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Set wrote:
Pagan priest wrote:
I miss the versatility of the 2nd ed specialty priests. War priest, inquisitor and cleric cover part of it, but I would like to see the possibility for someone with less armor & combat capability and more skill & special power type abilities.

Ditto, although the specialty priests that did exist were not particularly balanced with each other, let alone other classes (ooh, this one lets you multi-class with wizard, as a human, and cast your wizard spells in plate armor! And this other one lets you tell if someone is lying and has way less spells and armor than a standard cleric...).

There's a part of me that wants totally on-theme clerics for each deity, and another part of me that shudders at the notion, particularly for a setting with more than a half-dozen or so gods (or mostly just one for each alignment, like Dragonlance or the Scarred Lands).

Since most settings have dozens, if not hundreds of gods, including entirely new pantheons of gods with oft-overlapping areas of concern for different races and regions and cultures, you'd pretty much have to create dozens of different sub-classes of 'cleric,' with some very different warrior-clerics for gods like Iomedae and Gorum and some also quite different types of cloth-caster 'white mages' for gods like Shelyn and Nethys, and all sorts of stuff in between.

These are good reasons this needs actually leverage the modular class system from the very beginning, so that in the CRB, they only have to deal with the core deities. This then provides a ton of flavorful options via new deities or ethos to fill splatbooks for years through the pf2e cycle.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
doc roc wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:

"Cleric boring" About 411,000 results

"Cleric fun" About 1,760,000 results

And how many of the "Cleric fun" results are to do with something like...

'Why aren't clerics fun to play?'

'How I would make clerics more fun to play'

'Is it just me or are clerics not much fun?'

'I've tried playing a cleric and its just not any fun.'

The proof is in the pudding....

People have been talking about re-doing the cleric for years, some of the most popular 3PP have been cleric related and Paizo themselves admit they made a bland chassis in the first place.

The evidence is out there.

And how many of the cleric boring are "clerics aren't boring now" or "the cleric is fun, not like the old edition version that was boring".

doc roc wrote:
The proof is in the pudding....

Yes, the proof that you have an opinion and dismiss any different opinion. You proposed a test, the result isn't what you want, and now try to belittle it as the result is not what you want.

That is not how you "debate", it is the way of shouting "I am right" when someone try to discuss with you.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Weather Report wrote:
I was just thinking, reading all this, we still don't know how or if 4/9, 6/9 what-have-you, will be in PF2,, looks like the Paladin is not going any such route.

1) Alchemists don't have spell slots;

2) Paladins don't seem to have spell slots.

Both have spell points to fuels specific spells or abilities.

I think with will have classes with 10 levels of spell slots and classes with spell abilities fueled by Spell points, but no class with 4 or 6 levels of regular spells.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Bard should be interesting since they are the likely casters of the mysterious fourth list. Will they reach 9th-level spells in PF2 ?


Diego Rossi wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
I was just thinking, reading all this, we still don't know how or if 4/9, 6/9 what-have-you, will be in PF2,, looks like the Paladin is not going any such route.

1) Alchemists don't have spell slots;

2) Paladins don't seem to have spell slots.

Both have spell points to fuels specific spells or abilities.

I think with will have classes with 10 levels of spell slots and classes with spell abilities fueled by Spell points, but no class with 4 or 6 levels of regular spells.

Alchemist uses resonance- we haven’t seen any spell point abilities for them yet.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
I was just thinking, reading all this, we still don't know how or if 4/9, 6/9 what-have-you, will be in PF2,, looks like the Paladin is not going any such route.

1) Alchemists don't have spell slots;

2) Paladins don't seem to have spell slots.

Both have spell points to fuels specific spells or abilities.

I think with will have classes with 10 levels of spell slots and classes with spell abilities fueled by Spell points, but no class with 4 or 6 levels of regular spells.

Alchemist uses resonance- we haven’t seen any spell point abilities for them yet.

I see Resonance as functionally equivalent to Spell points, only with a different name to avoid stacking them together. If I am not mistaken Spell points from different classes are added together and can be used for all the abilities that use Spell points.


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Diego Rossi wrote:


Yes, the proof that you have an opinion and dismiss any different opinion. You proposed a test, the result isn't what you want, and now try to belittle it as the result is not what you want.
That is not how you "debate", it is the way of shouting "I am right" when someone try to discuss with you.

The problem is that facts are facts...

Paizo themselves admitted that their design of the PF1 cleric was poor/uninspiring/bland.... that one fact is in itself all the proof required, since it also confirms what large portions of the PF community have been saying for years, and provides evidence as to why 3PP 'alternative cleric' options have been amongst the most requested and popular.

I am not "shouting" anything... merely stating facts. That you might not like them is irrelevant. And yes in debates, most often there is a side with the more convincing argument.

If you choose to believe that all is well with PF cleric then I wish you the best of luck. :)


QuidEst wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
I was just thinking, reading all this, we still don't know how or if 4/9, 6/9 what-have-you, will be in PF2,, looks like the Paladin is not going any such route.

1) Alchemists don't have spell slots;

2) Paladins don't seem to have spell slots.

Both have spell points to fuels specific spells or abilities.

I think with will have classes with 10 levels of spell slots and classes with spell abilities fueled by Spell points, but no class with 4 or 6 levels of regular spells.

Alchemist uses resonance- we haven’t seen any spell point abilities for them yet.

So, it seems spell points are the new SLAs. That's cool, interested to see if the Ranger gets spell points. They could also be available in archetypes, so you could get your ki-blasting, elemental spell-slinging monk.

Scarab Sages

I‘m still most curious about whether reliable Clerical blasting is going to be a thing, at least for some domains, or whether all Clerics have to have weapon training.


Catharsis wrote:
I‘m still most curious about whether reliable Clerical blasting is going to be a thing, at least for some domains, or whether all Clerics have to have weapon training.

Sarenrae grants Fireball, and I'm betting Rovagug and 50% of Nethys will lean heavily into evocation. Using a domain for blasting will probably be weaker than using spells (since domain powers are weaker than your highest level spells, but stronger than cantrips), but since each power you get increases your pool, you can probably make a large blasting reserve with it.

Scarab Sages

Those are limited resources, though. For a true weaponless Cleric, you‘d need an attack cantrip. Would be cool if there were some on the Cleric list (Searing Light?), or perhaps if one of the spells granted by the deity was an attack cantrip.


Set wrote:
Pagan priest wrote:
I miss the versatility of the 2nd ed specialty priests. War priest, inquisitor and cleric cover part of it, but I would like to see the possibility for someone with less armor & combat capability and more skill & special power type abilities.

Ditto, although the specialty priests that did exist were not particularly balanced with each other, let alone other classes (ooh, this one lets you multi-class with wizard, as a human, and cast your wizard spells in plate armor! And this other one lets you tell if someone is lying and has way less spells and armor than a standard cleric...).

There's a part of me that wants totally on-theme clerics for each deity, and another part of me that shudders at the notion, particularly for a setting with more than a half-dozen or so gods (or mostly just one for each alignment, like Dragonlance or the Scarred Lands).

Since most settings have dozens, if not hundreds of gods, including entirely new pantheons of gods with oft-overlapping areas of concern for different races and regions and cultures, you'd pretty much have to create dozens of different sub-classes of 'cleric,' with some very different warrior-clerics for gods like Iomedae and Gorum and some also quite different types of cloth-caster 'white mages' for gods like Shelyn and Nethys, and all sorts of stuff in between.

Yeah, balance was always a problem. Of course, in a rational setting, not all of the specialty clerics would need to be balanced as an adventuring class. Some Gods would expect Their clerics to stay at home taking care of the worshipers and not gallivanting all over the countryside, kicking down doors just to slay the monster and take its treasure. Murderhobos need not apply.

Forgotten Realms had two books with information on the deities from that setting. Every pantheon in the world, and if I remember correctly, every God from every pantheon, each with their own write-up, and a specialty cleric for each. It can be done, it is just a question of being worth the trouble.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Weather Report wrote:
So, it seems spell points are the new SLAs. That's cool, interested to see if the Ranger gets spell points. They could also be available in archetypes, so you could get your ki-blasting, elemental spell-slinging monk.

Almost, but not quite. Spell-like and Supernatural abilities basically don't exist anymore, so no more consulting that never-to-be-sufficiently cursed chart to find out, "Can I cast it in a house? Can I cast it on a mouse? Can I cast it while being threatened by a mouse in a house?" They're all just spells, and work the same way. Some, powers, just take spell-points instead of slots.

But yes I think all of the things you mentioned will be powers. And I think Rangers will only have powers instead of spellslots, since as you said that's apparently how paladins will work. I'm curious if Mediums and Bloodragers will eventually get the same treatment, but that's a ways away.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

We actually don't know that Supernatural stuff doesn't exist. In fact, I'd expect some things to very much still have a (Su) tag (though it may be restricted to things that work very differently from spells, like auras and other ongoing effects), it's too useful for things that are definitely not spells but still shouldn't work in an antimagic field.

Spell-like abilities are definitively gone, though.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, that's a fair point. I can dream though.

Bright, sparkly dreams of that chart burning forever.


There's gonna be some kind of tag line for "This isn't a spell".

At least for monsters. As an example, I can't see Sandman's Sleep Aura being a Spell that it needs to cast while In combat now.

That's more for over in the Monster topic though.


MerlinCross wrote:

There's gonna be some kind of tag line for "This isn't a spell".

At least for monsters. As an example, I can't see Sandman's Sleep Aura being a Spell that it needs to cast while In combat now.

That's more for over in the Monster topic though.

We know the Paladin's Detect Evil is a passive sense...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
So, it seems spell points are the new SLAs. That's cool, interested to see if the Ranger gets spell points. They could also be available in archetypes, so you could get your ki-blasting, elemental spell-slinging monk.

Almost, but not quite. Spell-like and Supernatural abilities basically don't exist anymore, so no more consulting that never-to-be-sufficiently cursed chart to find out, "Can I cast it in a house? Can I cast it on a mouse? Can I cast it while being threatened by a mouse in a house?" They're all just spells, and work the same way. Some, powers, just take spell-points instead of slots.

But yes I think all of the things you mentioned will be powers. And I think Rangers will only have powers instead of spellslots, since as you said that's apparently how paladins will work. I'm curious if Mediums and Bloodragers will eventually get the same treatment, but that's a ways away.

Right on, yeah, like 5th Ed, a spell is a spell is a spell, being innate or due to caster levels. So slots and points are two different sources to fuel spells; and maybe another source that we have not seen yet (monsters might use, rather than slots or points).


HWalsh wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

There's gonna be some kind of tag line for "This isn't a spell".

At least for monsters. As an example, I can't see Sandman's Sleep Aura being a Spell that it needs to cast while In combat now.

That's more for over in the Monster topic though.

We know the Paladin's Detect Evil is a passive sense...

Good point! I imagine there will be a category for magic that doesn’t follow spell rules.

Scarab Sages

5 people marked this as a favorite.
wanderer82 wrote:

Please, get rid of the 3rd edition "Clerics cast with Wisdom, but their other abilities are Charisma-based" insanity. EVERY other casting class, arcane or divine, uses only 1 stat for both spells and abilities. When you updated the paladin for pathfinder, you consolidated its abilities and spells both under Charisma. When you created the warpriest as a cleric/paladin/fighter hybrid, you gave it both spells and powers under Wisdom (even though you cloned paladin abilties for it). so WHY are you making the 2nd edition clerics need both Wisdom and Charisma!?!?!?!?!?!?

End the insanity and hate against clerics and allow them to focus on things besides healing... please.

Actually, I'd rather make all classes MAD rather than SAD. SAD classes is one of the reasons characters end up so broken and beat the CR curve easily.

Sovereign Court

Hey sorry if this got asked already or is somewhere else but are the cleric buff spells (or buff spells in general) going away?

I'm looking a the spells in Starfinder and it seems to be a bit lacking in the kinds of magics where one makes their fellows perform better. I know this isn't Starfinder but I thought of that today and I'm kind of worried now.


Morgen wrote:

Hey sorry if this got asked already or is somewhere else but are the cleric buff spells (or buff spells in general) going away?

I'm looking a the spells in Starfinder and it seems to be a bit lacking in the kinds of magics where one makes their fellows perform better. I know this isn't Starfinder but I thought of that today and I'm kind of worried now.

What type of buff spells are you thinking of? At the Delve tables at Paizocon I played a Cleric who had two buff spells. One was a Cantrip about buffing your ally against a certain enemy. The other was the good old Bless spell. +1 to attacks for everyone around you but you need to spend an action per round to keep it up...

Liberty's Edge

Morgen wrote:
Hey sorry if this got asked already or is somewhere else but are the cleric buff spells (or buff spells in general) going away?

They are not. Bless still exists as a 1st level spell and provides the entire party +1 to hit as it always did.

However, it does cost one action every turn to maintain. So they may be becoming less stackable if that's common. That restriction does not necessarily mean they're less powerful, since a +1 is much more powerful in PF2 than in PF1.

While not a Cleric spell, we do also know that Haste exists and provides an extra action that can only be used to Stride or Strike (ie: move or attack). So yeah, all evidence is that buffs exist.

EDIT: Ninja'd. Ah, well, at least I mentioned Haste.


Morgen wrote:

Hey sorry if this got asked already or is somewhere else but are the cleric buff spells (or buff spells in general) going away?

I'm looking a the spells in Starfinder and it seems to be a bit lacking in the kinds of magics where one makes their fellows perform better. I know this isn't Starfinder but I thought of that today and I'm kind of worried now.

I have heard from playtesters that bless is in the game but requires concentration (one action per round) to maintain. I must assume that there are other buffs still in the game.


Wow. I ninja'd Excaliburproxy and DMW... that's a first.


Haha. Well, at least Morgen can be confident in the veracity of the information or at least know that seems to be the prevailing belief from those following the playtest.

Sovereign Court

Good to hear. I was really worried after playing Starfinder for a while. It would have been a shame to see those spells go away. They're like 80% of the spells I usually see used.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Thanks for all the lively discussion so far in this thread. At this time we've decided to close up the blog discussion thread. If you have comments, questions or other things you want to post that do not fit into any currently open threads, you are welcome to start a new thread. Thanks!

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