Low level Evangelist Cleric - what to do after buffing?


I'll be running a Wrath of the Righteous game soon for my crew and one of our newer players has decided she likes being a supportive character. After some discussion, she chose an evangelist cleric of Desna with the luck domain.

My problem was, I couldn't figure out what to have her do after she finished buffing. Use a crossbow? Is intimidate a good idea? I could use some help coming up with ideas for the rounds where she would otherwise say "I guess I hold my action".

Thanks in advance :)

Silver Crusade

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In that situation I usually move to flank and use the Aid Another action (while fighting defensively). Between soaking up hits, flanking bonus, and aid another it's usually enough to be useful (esp. If there's a rogue in the party.) If she's badly off for AC (chain shirt +4, Dex +?), grab a masterwork buckler for that extra +1.

Probably also a good idea for 2nd lvl, especially for a new player: dip a level into Ftr for the heavy armor and the combat feat. Get some defenses in place and use the feat to kick-start whatever combat role she's going for.

+1 to what Joe M said.
Ranged combat is hard to pull off for non specialized builds because you will often face a -8 to hit from cover and shooting into melee so that's no good option.
If she has feats to spare she could talk to the other players about using teamwork feats. Shield wall or shielded caster come to mind for example.

Because being in melee doesn't mix well with casting she might instead use a reach weapon and threaten from 10ft away.

Aid Another with a longspear.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There isn't much to do during early levels of cleric beside buffing. Even more so with playing an evangelist, she is just a caster cleric. She should consider Sacred Summons at level 9 if she is using the regular list of summon monster. If she takes the feat summon good early, she can take sacred summon earlier and start summoning a bunch of CG creatures as a standard action (2nd level has a Faun and 3rd level has a Lyrakien! for example).

Focusing on summoning is the best thing an Evangelist cleric can do. According to his Strenght, he could use a longspear and use the reach cleric tactic (there is a guide on that) or possibly buy a perl of power and focusing on casting debuffs (needs a high Wisdom for that though). The crossbow is a last resort, though not to be entirely dissmissed, sometimes there is nothing else to do.

He is a new player in a low lvl campaign, I would suggest the reach cleric strategy as long as there is a sufficient point buy (15 pb will probably not cut it as you cannot dump charisma with an evangelist. 20 pb will be much more comfortable. Being a Human is a must as he will need some feats asap, namely Lingering Performance and Combat Reflexes).

Silver Crusade

Don't go summoning. Way too much for a new player to learn & keep track of.

The reach cleric alternative is an interesting one. My inclination would still be Ftr dip and move to flank for the higher defense, but reach is probably the best bet if straight-cleric?

For a 2 level dip, if desired, look at Sacred Shield Paladin (love that Divine Grace!).

Or in a very different direction maybe a couple Bard levels for knowledges (always good for new players) and vers. perf. Oratory (Diplomacy and Sense Motive). As the GM yourself, you might even rule that Bardic Performance combines with Sermonic Performance to make this work more smoothly.

All good options. I still think the Fighter's best for a newbie. But there you go.

The Exchange

Honestly, I say just delay. It's one of the toughest things for a lot of players to deal with, sometimes the best thing for the party is for you to do nothing. Clerics have the same problem that wizards and sorcerers have in low levels, they can't do their "class thing" in every round because they just don't have enough spells yet. Evangelists have the added burden of having to memorize cure spells so every slot is precious.

The flanking/aid suggestion is her best bet for something else to do that helps the group. This suggestion applies to ALL characters regardless of class.

I always recommend against dipping unless it's utterly vital. Especially for casters, you are always going to be saying "oh, I would have that spell now if I hadn't dipped." And the more you dip the longer it takes until you have enough spells/spell slots to be a truly useful cleric.

Debuffs with Nets and Dazzling Display (entangled and an area of effect Intimidate)

I agree with flank and fight defensively. The flank is another boost and if u dont put urself in a really bad spot u should be fine.

I'd say switch to Cayden Cailin for the deity and get the Heroism Subdomain. The go reach-cleric. You'd get Standard summons, heroism auras, and inspire courages... Its quit insane. Plus a long spear for any AoO's.

Wow, a ton of great feedback here. Love these forums! Here's my thoughts on each of the suggested actions, and I could really use some further discussion on them.

*Use a crossbow: This is the option I originally discussed with the player, but after reading all of your advice I think this would be a poor idea for her to try. The complication of figuring out 'cover' and 'being in melee' penalties would be cumbersome, especially considering 3 of the 6 players in my game are melee bashers, and it'd take several levels of feats to make this a viable option. Other ideas presented are much better than this so far.

*Flank+Aid Another, possibly with longspear: This sounds like pretty darn solid advice. Even with her low strength she has a reasonable shot of adding something to the mix that'd help someone else, and at least she would be rolling dice and feeling involved. Liking this idea quite a bit, even though I'm not sure if it'd be very functional at higher levels, but by then she should have enough spells I suppose.

*Summoning: I would definitely do this with any future evangelist clerics I make, but for this newer player I think managing a summons would be quite complicated for her. With six players at the table we're trying to keep each turn under 1 minute to finish and I think summoning would prevent her from managing that task, though it is very solid advice for an experienced player.

*Go ahead and delay: I'm concerned this would make her feel detached and useless as a party member. She seems to be the type of player that would like to do *something* on their turn, even if it's just something minor. Eventually, spells can take over this role, but for these early pre-mythic levels I'd like her to have at least something minor she can do.

*Multiclassing into Fighter: This seems like it'd be great for the first six levels, and then she'd really start regretting it later. With WotR being a game that has several of the books focusing on high level combat, I'm not sure I'd want to tell her to focus on the early levels as a priority. That loss of a caster level would really hurt later on.

*Debuff with Nets and Dazzling Display: This seems like an excellent idea, but I'm having trouble putting all the pieces together. How do you make an evangelist who can do this? How do you get net proficiency and dazzling display at the lower levels? Is the net worthwhile with a low strength and no proficiency?

*Cayden Cailin vs Desna: She has really enjoyed the butterfly/adventure focus on Desna, and it's more for roleplay reasons that she chose Desna. I can see how Cayden Cailin would be a great choice, but we actually have a battle cleric who already has the Heroism domain to add some of the benefits you've spoken of. I'm also hoping the 1st level luck domain power could be used to help fill up her "what do I do?" turns with as well.

My gratitude goes out to everyone who has posted so far. Having so many more choices to present her with makes me feel much better about her character's low level playability. Thank you!

With light armor and no shield I wouldn't want my support caster getting into melee too much(although holding a long spear for an attack of op once in a while is pretty good.)

Really though, I don't think this player will have an issue with things to do. She has a standard action for Bardic Performance, Bit of Luck probably 7 times a day (at least once per combat), plus spells. At low levels guidance and virtue orisons at still useful if there is nothing better.

Basically she has a couple rounds of obvious things, and then likely with a party that size if the combat isn't over she will be wanting to heal someone.

She seems to dig the idea of being a support character, the best way to do that is spells and increasing her Bardic Performance, so I would absolutely not dip something else.

You don't have to worry about flanking and aiding later on. By level 3 u have channeling and other effects that give plenty of choices. Depending on the specifics of deity and such u can have serious boosts to the group on top of evangelist boosts. Protection is good for positive and negative for example but there are a lot possibilities.

By level 5 or 7 u will be able to preach, channel as move, and cast in same round. An evangelist has a lot of actions once u get to level 3.

Btw if she can weasel her way into being able to negative channel luck it would be Awesome. A -1 or more to practically all rolls from ur opponents is nothing to sneer at.

*Debuff with Nets and Dazzling Display: This seems like an excellent idea, but I'm having trouble putting all the pieces together. How do you make an evangelist who can do this? How do you get net proficiency and dazzling display at the lower levels? Is the net worthwhile with a low strength and no proficiency?

Probably the easiest way to get proficency would be to be a half-elf with the trait that gives them an exotic weapon. I think there are other ways to get it (one of the half-orc traits?) You could also dip into bard.

Note that it's a thrown weapon so the attack is dex based and it's against touch AC. Though the range increment isn't great.

Here is how I think I would do it though - start as a level 1 human or half elf fighter. Pick up a whip with human exta feat or half elf alternate racial trait. This will start you with 10 HP rather then 8, heavy armor and any martial weapon she desires. Level 1 feats start with Weapon focus + Dazzling Display. Proceed with Cleric levels for the rest of career.

Silver Crusade

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Magda is a PFS 9th level Evangelist Reach Cleric with the Luck Domain. It's an easy play style to learn, and there's always something to do. It's a strong Tier I build. Her battle actions at 1st level were typically like this:

Combat Actions for a low level Evangelest Reach Cleric with the Luck Domain:

If there is any hint of imminent danger, she should already have some buffs going. It's rarely worthwhile to self-buff once combat has begun, except for Inspire Courage.

Roll Initiative

Round One:
Standard Action - Start Inspire Courage - Her martial allies love this
Move action - move to a place where she protects squishy team members and supports the front line. E.g. Foes must give up an AoO if they try to approach a squishy PC, or if they try to flank the front line. This forces foes to choose between bad options.
Swift Action - none

[hopefully get some AoOs - she probably averaged about one AoO per combat round for levels 1 - 9. Damage output is a bit less than a Barbarian of the same level, or a lot less if she is not buffed]

Round Two:
Free action - maintain Inspire Courage, throwing in supportive tactical chit-chat as desired.
Standard action - Cast a spell, use Bit of Luck on an ally, or just attack with reach.
Move Action - Move to a place where she continues to protect the squishies, and also supports the front line.

[Get more AoOs]

Round Three: repeat round two
Special Cases:

1. Ranged foes that won't come close

Use Bit of Luck on an archer ally. She gives up her Standard Action to roughly double the archer's striking power. Far more effective than using her own sub-standard missile attack. This can also help an allied caster to e.g. penetrate Spell Resistance.

2. Against Spell casters

Beat them up with your martial power.

3. Party healing needed

Not a special case. Heal for her Standard Action and position herself to protect her allies and get AoOs. In practice, the battlefield control she exerts with the threat of AoOs prevents far more damage than she could ever heal in combat. Prepare one or two solid healing spells for emergency combat use, and hope never to need them. Healing should be done out of combat whenever possible.

4. Uncertain what to do, but the enemy will be on you next round

Use Bit of Luck on herself, then move to protect allies. Since Bit of Luck takes a Standard Action you normally can't use to buff your own attacks. A reach cleric, though, can buff herself with Bit of Luck, then do something risky (e.g. use Acrobatics to avoid an AoO), then set up to get AoOs. Since Bit of Luck does not end until the start of your next turn, it does apply to your own AoOs.

5. Someone will soon have to make an important Saving Throw

Give that person Bit of Luck. If everyone is threatened, give it to the healer.

Some helpful tricks for an Evangelist Reach Cleric with the Luck Domain

1. Better Armor Class
If she takes the starting trait Armor Expert she can eventually wear non-magical Mithril Breastplate armor (4,000 GP, equivalent to a +2 Chain Shirt) with no penalties. She lacks Medium Armor Proficiency, so she takes the Armor Check Penalty of Mithil Breastplate. This penalty, adjusted for Armor Expert, is zero.

2. Better Luck
She will get enormous benefit from the thematically-appropriate trait Fate's Favored..

3. Clericzilla
If she piles on the right buffs she can become Clericzilla. Fully buffed at 5th level, with just a 14 Strength, she can get multiple attacks at +11 to hit for 1d8+16 damage, using only non-magical simple weapons (longspear). For damage that's +3 from natural STR, +3 from Power Attack, +3 from Bull's Strength, +2 from Weapon of Awe, +1 from Magic Weapon, +2 from Divine Favor (with Fate's Favored), and +2 from Inspire Courage. She can only do this for a few minutes each day, and must time it right. Done well, Clericzilla can nearly match an optimized polearm Fighter.

4. Her best buff at all levels is sometimes Enlarge Person. Don't use it in tight spaces. If facing Large opponents then, whenever possible, have an ally cast Enlarge Person on her before the Large foes approach. This lets her play the reach game versus Large opponents. Enlarge Person gives her a 50' diameter doughnut-shaped zone of control and 20' reach. She will probably lose one AoO when enlarged, from Dexterity loss, so use sparingly.

5. Open spell slots are her friend. An Evangelist must prepare Cure spells. With 15 minutes rest an Open spell slot can be prepared as a Cure spell, or any other spell. She has access to the entire Cleric spell list. This is how she leverages that access.

Suggested prepared spells at 1st Level:
Truestrike (D), Cure Light Wounds and Open Slot. Prepare Divine Favor (with Fate's Favorite) in the open slot if she senses a fight coming, change to whatever is needed in daily use, otherwise prepare and cast Endure Elements just before sleeping.

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