I'm building my first character for the Core campaign in PFS, and I'm stuck trying to decide between a Druid, an archer Cleric (Erastil, Community & Animal domains), or a bad touch Cleric (Pharasma, Death & Repose domains, negative energy channeling).
To briefly outline what I'm looking for:
A character that can buff the party for combat
A character that can heal the party outside of combat
A character that can kick a moderate to high degree of ass in combat
I think all 3 options could be fairly strong in combat. I don't want to steal / hog the spotlight, but I do want a capable character.
My initial thought for race is half-elf with skill focus (perception), and the Grand Lodge or Scarab Sages faction trait to get perception as a class skill if I go Cleric.
Feedback on your experiences either playing as or with similar characters, as well as the viability of the two Cleric options in Core would be most welcome.
I am currently playing a Druid in core, level 5 and capable of all that you mention. Strength primary, enough wisdom to cast his spells, half orc for darkvision and the greataxe proficiency at the start. Most of his spells are utility or buffs with a little direct damage for swarms. I went with the animal companion as having another warm body on the table is generally helpful.
|The Lion Cleric|
Well, I may be biased, but a reach cleric is, IMO, the best backbone a party could have in core. You need a total of two feats, Power Attack and Combat Reflexes. Following the suggestion of andreww, simply using a longspear instead of a greataxe.
Brewer's guide to reach clerics is something incredibly awesome, I'd suggest giving it a look.
Druid will be one of the better ways to go. If you want to make a archery divine caster. You can take a animal companion that can trip or grapple to keep them off of you. To minimize the need for Point Blank Master. As for clustered shots. There are many ways to get around DR with archery. Just carrying the right kind of am is the ammunition is the best way.
Cleric can do this as well. However the druid has more going for it as far as I can tell.
I would do something like this. To make a range druid.
Feat's: Martial Weapon Proficiency: Long Bow, Point Blank Shot
3: Precise Shot
5: Rapid Shot
7: Improved Initiative
9: Many Shot
11: Improved Critical: Long Bow
Animal Companion: This is more to keep them from getting to you then to attack with.
Starting Statistics: Size Medium; Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.; AC +2 natural armor; Attack bite (1d3); Ability Scores Str 15, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2; Special Attacks grab; Special Qualities low-light vision, scent.
Bad Touch clerics in CORE PFS suffer from a few issues. You have to pump CHA as some GMs won't allow you to do any HP damage to other players at all and you need to exclude as many as possible (this is an expect table variation thing, because I know when I GM, I let players do it as long as everyone is made aware of the risk and the players agree to the risk). You can sort of get around that issue with Channel Smite, but then you run the risk of it having no effect because you missed the melee attack. You also want to have as strong a save as possible because you want to make your uses count. So you're tied to at least 2 or 3 feat choices (Improved Channel, Selective Channel, &/or Channel Smite). Clerics don't get bonus feats so you're looking at a heavy investment. And then there's what happens when you run into a scenario that is heavy with Undead. There's a few feats that further help Channeling, but they aren't CORE, which really further complicates matters.
All three are possible, but I think the archer cleric would be most difficult in core. Some of the things that routinely go into those builds, just aren't available.
Bad Touch clerics in CORE PFS suffer from a few issues. You have to pump CHA as some GMs won't allow you to do any HP damage to other players at all and you need to exclude as many as possible ...
.As far as I know, 'bad touch cleric' is usually used to refer to a cleric that specializes in the touch range spells (some of which are exceptionally nasty) rather than negative energy channeling.
Yeah I guess I did heavily focus on the negative channeling part of the post. There's also no reach spell available so that's a strike against it imo. Also, most of those nasty spells have saves so you're going to want to have a good WIS score as well as decent STR (to land attacks) and CON (to survive being in melee range with a d8 class) and CHA if you want to be Channeling. Honestly, sounds like you're going to spread pretty thin on a lot of character build resources and short a number of the equipment outside of CORE that helps bridge these gaps.
Things that help with the touch spells.
I have seen someone use a wand of spectal hand with a few ranks in UMD.
I believe you can take weapon focus for a +1 to those attacks (not sure it's really worth it though).
Usually, the high level powerful creatures that you really want to land the touch spell usually have a pretty lousy touch AC anyway. So it isn't too difficult. But I wouldn't dump str.