The old "No one wants to play a cleric" dilemma


Advice

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HeHateMe wrote:

One big issue I think, is that some kind of healer really is indispensable to a group, and not even for healing hps. There are many different ways to regain hit points, but a healer is needed for restoration, remove curse, neutralize poison, remove disease, etc., so somebody needs to play that role.

However, unlike every other role in the group, all the healing options look pretty much the same. Cleric, Oracle, Shaman, all fairly similar classes. So if you don't like one of them, chances are you're not going to want to play the others either. Whereas if a player needs to be a skill monkey, there are plenty of options: Rogue, Ninja, Hunter, Ranger, Bard, Slayer, etc. If a player needs to be a melee buiser, again there are plenty of options. Not so with healers.

One thing 4E did very well was create different classes with different feels for the same role. My fave class was the Warlord, which is a healer. I typically despise playing the healer in a group but I LOVED playing a Warlord. Why? Because it felt different. Paizo needs to create a healer that plays differently than the Cleric or Oracle.

That said, I'm not a fan of forcing anyone to play a specific role, just pay an NPC to do it and have the GM play the NPC if nobody wants to be a cleric.

Well, there's also Witch (especially with a healer-friendly patron), Alchemist, Rogues or any skill monkey with UMD (including improved familiars), anyone with Leadership, Druid/Hunters to a degree, Paladins, Warpriest, Razmiran Sorcerers... A lot of these are full casters, a lot of them are divine casters, but not all of them, and there's even a few Martials.

But it's true that magic is the only way to have a true healer. Even rogues with UMD have to heal using magic. Alchemist is probably the closest to "modern medicine" way of healing, it would be nice to have a Combat-Medic type martial class that wasn't divinely inspired and used medicine- though any martial with the Heal skill can *kinda* fill that role.

But overall, by this point, I really don't think Pathfinder is lacking variety in ways to heal as long as you don't expect to remove curses and ability drain with anything less than magic, even if it's magic wands.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
One big issue I think, is that some kind of healer really is indispensable to a group, and not even for healing hps. There are many different ways to regain hit points, but a healer is needed for restoration, remove curse, neutralize poison, remove disease, etc., so somebody needs to play that role.
I think the only reason for that is the addition of the CL check to overcome the affliction. Potions/scrolls of lesser/restoration still work, but for disease and poison you still want someone with a high caster level. For the most part, paladins can handle that. 6th level mercy can remove disease, 9th can take care of curses or poison.

Agreed, and personally I think that CL check is absolute BS. If you're going to burn a 4th lvl spell on removing a condition, it damn well should work 100% of the time.


I wonder if it would be fine for the heal skill could be used to treat various diseases and curses. That way, Cleric restorative spells become like Knock: handy to have, but not the only way to solve the problem.


Ventnor wrote:
I wonder if it would be fine for the heal skill could be used to treat various diseases and curses. That way, Cleric restorative spells become like Knock: handy to have, but not the only way to solve the problem.

Heal CAN be used to treat disease, but curses are right out.

Treat Disease

To treat a disease means to tend to a single diseased character. Every time the diseased character makes a saving throw against disease effects, you make a Heal check. If your Heal check exceeds the DC of the disease, the character receives a +4 competence bonus on his saving throw against the disease.

Action/Time: 10 minutes.

Retry? Varies. Generally speaking, you can’t try a Heal check again without witnessing proof of the original check’s failure.


Jiggy wrote:
I'm really curious to hear what it is you think the post you're referencing says.

That the issue of MMOs needs to be addressed preemptively any time the influence of other games is discussed.


The problem with Curses is that they are, by definition, magical afflictions, and so by definition they require magic to cure. The spell itself is on a lot of spell lists (notably not on the Druid spell list, sadly), and using wands of dispel curse and scrolls of break enchantment you should be able to keep up with most higher level curses. Leadership is an option if the GM allows it. Befriending the highest level magical npc you can find can help too.

Still, usually a party shouldn't be dealing with curses TOO often, unless the campaign revolves around undead and/or necromancers. It's usually a "once every so often" thing. So UMD usually covers it pretty well.


Am I the only person here who has cleric down as their favourite class to play? They have built in roleplay hooks, can fight, can save the party from seemingly inevitable defeat with buffs or healing in the right place, and have the most flexible range of spells in the game.

Half the fun of playing a cleric is going "ooh, there's a really obscure spell that will solve just this problem... I'll have three of it memorised then."


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IMO, the problem isn't that healing the party is boring, it's that Clerics, as a class, don't really develop much over time. In a game that is as much about building your character as playing it, Clerics get no bonus feats, make all of their class decisions (all two of them) at first level, and despite being designed with melee in mind, have a horribly limited list of weapon proficiencies (Simple, and maybe one more, assuming you didn't pick a god who favors a simple weapon...which many of them do).

Two different Oracles of Flame might play completely differently, with one breathing fire all over the place and the other one imbuing his weapon with flame and zooming around the battlefield with extra move speed.

Every Witch is potentially different, based on what hexes they choose, what patron spells they get, etc.

Of all of the classes capable of healing, only the Cleric is trapped in the same build from level 1 until retirement. Their only respite are the 1 per 3 levels character feats that everyone else gets. It's an outdated class design that really should have been addressed in Pathfinder Unchained, IMO.


I love playing clerics. You don't have so many build-making decisions (and feat choices are critical), which frees you up to have fun roleplaying and exploring the world.

And spell selection is a major source of choices all by itself, every day. Big spell list, very free to pick and choose among it.

And really great roleplaying opportunities.

Yup, cleric is one of my favorite classes.


Clerics of various deities are all going to be different from one another. Even two clerics from the same deity will act differently. That is more about RP then mechanics. Now granted in some earlier editions of D&D they gave Clerics serious handicaps for worshipping certain deities. One prevented a Cleric from harming another without really granting any additional abilities. Needless to say we didn't play Clerics of that deity. Most of the various books on Clerics, religions and deities all give examples how a cleric is supposed to act. Wish to point out in every example these examples are for non adventuring clerics. In earlier versions of D&D adventuring Clerics would always be outside the church hierarchy even from their starting church. They were expected at some point to create another church. Even then once founded were expected to move on spreading their deities gospel.
Now regarding healing. Yes other classes can serve as a secondary healer. Can, but resemble paramedics not as doctors. A paramedic can treat some injuries but they refer a patient to a doctor for more serious issues. Clerics and Oracles are the doctors and surgeons in this analogy. Continuing with this analogy are all doctors and surgeons the same? No. Should a party walk around an adventure without a dedicated healer, I wouldn't recommend this. Hire a NPC if no one wants to play a healer making him the healbot. A term I hate by the way having played healers in the past and they have in only one exception been that, literally. In a Star Wars campaign I played a medical droid had loads of fun playing it. A well designed healer focuses on healing yes but that is not all he or she can do. I


I'm glad there are some people who actually enjoy playing healers, I sure don't. In my current group we kind of pressured one guy into playing a cleric, which I regretted until it turned out he really enjoyed playing his character. Of course, our group has 3 divine casters, so there really isn't a big healing burden on him. He gets to be a magical jack of all trades instead. Clerics actually do jack of all trades spellcasting very well.


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Just caught this in an email: If the party INSISTS on your playing the healbot, INSIST they pay your share of the pizza!


I love playing clerics too. The issue here is that as a class, it lends itself poorly to just about everything. Before adding in feats, you can be a poor meleer, a poor blaster, a poor stealther, a poor debuffer, a poor summoner etc, all dependent on your domains. If you then add in feats that ALL strengthen your main concept, one of these goes from poor to at least decent. You can get very good at some things, but you have to focus till your eyes bleed to get there. If you do not, there are only two roles you can do well: buffing and healing. Neither requires anything more than the base class provides. In essence, then, a healbot or buffer cleric is where you end up if you do not minmax the class. The onus is on you to prove your character is not a healbot or buffer.


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Poor at everything? Are we talking about the same class? Because I'm looking at a 9th level spellcaster with an amazing list, a ton of versatility and some serious kickass domain options. That's far from poor at everything.


Then look again. Before feats, you are not going to make a cleric that can in any way compete as a blaster, nor a meleer, nor anything else that a dedicated class can do. Add in feats, of course, and this might change. Even more clearly, making your cleric capable in melee effectively shuts down, say, making a good blaster as well, due to MAD considerations.

Shadow Lodge

Jiggy wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
But are they really clerics? You mentioned the final fantasy white mage, but it's no more reasonable to carry white mage expectations over to a cleric than to knight expectations over to a fighter. No one expects chivalry, romance, or cavalry charges from a fighter.

I know it's not reasonable; that's the point. There are some general themes across fantasy gaming as a whole, but each game is different. What I'm saying is that I think the source of the "Hey cleric, heal me!" phenomenon is when people fail to recognize that difference.

Quote:
The misconceptions can't be coming from MMOs.
And I never suggested they were. So why are you bringing that up?

I'm not sure that's true. Pathfinder has changed the Cleric pretty significantly from many other related RPGs. The original idea of the Cleric was that it was a holy warrior type, or even a religious knight. They had power to fight and defend against undead, and also demons and devils. Pathfinder significantly degraded a lot of the holy knight/warrior idea (as well as the mechanics), instead trying to push the emissary and spokesperson angle, while also enforcing the healer/band aid aspect. For example, Channel Energy, particularly Positive Energy tends to be very weak as anything but a party healing ability, even when maxed out. The theory was that the Cleric could utilize that INSTEAD of needing healing spells, but the reality is that it doesn't really matter enough except to supplement aiding using those cure spells (which they can still Spontaneously Cast) and still needing to and being expected to prep the various Status Removal spells, (or purchase wands/scrolls for the party's benefit). In practice, the Cleric still needs/is expected to have healing ready. Not every single person believes this or acts poorly when the Healer doesn't heal them after each hit, but it's not uncommon, either.

When someone builds a Fighter, generally what they have in mind and what is typically expected of them fall pretty closely together. That's not really as true for the Cleric.

The "Hey, Cleric, heal me" phenomenon is one that has existed for a long time, going back to at least 2nd Ed. Pathfinder has also pushed for a lot more classes to be able to utilize some healing options on their own, and even PFS developed it's own little form of "Hey Cleric, heal me" as it's a common trope to be able to purchase a Wand of CLW with 2PP after your first or second game. I can't remember how many times I've heard, at the very start, "I'm going to pass my wand to the Cleric" at the start, if there is a Cleric in the party. Occasionally it's to another character able to use it, (Bard, Ranger, Druid, etc. . .), but the usual assumption is that the Cleric is holding a handful of wands. But, for me at least, the extra healing is not the problem, and I appreciate other players wanting to cover some of their own costs. The issue is in action economy. I generally already have enough healing, but probably will not want to drop what I'm doing to move over to you, grab a wand, and then use it. Especially if I was already in the optimal position I wanted to do other things, or had just started buffing.

Another aspect that Pathfinder went with that affects the Cleric and prepping healing is to make most, if not all the Status Removal spells have significant chance for failure, (and effectively do nothing on a failure), which then means that 1.) they actually need to start prepping more healing spells, and 2.) can not rely on wands and scrolls for many of those spell which will have a set, lower Caster Level.

No other class is really required to be a healer, mechanically speaking. The Paladin being an exception, but generally people see them as better off being active and not supportive. But even a Good Cleric that doesn't prep a single healing spell still has the option, regardless of their actual faith or build, to drop what they are doing and heal, and with the expectation that they will/should/could. Again, not universal, but pretty common.

Neriathale wrote:
Am I the only person here who has cleric down as their favourite class to play? They have built in roleplay hooks, can fight, can save the party from seemingly inevitable defeat with buffs or healing in the right place, and have the most flexible range of spells in the game.

I love Clerics as a concept, but not so much how Pathfinder handled them. They walk too much the line of being a "full caster" and a second line everything else. It's possible to build different ways, but the truth is that they will still often have very similar spells prepped and work very similarly, mechanically speaking anyway. Pathfinder made a big deal early on about changing the Cloak of Cha and Pariapt of Wisdom to the Headband slot, so that specifically Paladins an Sorcerers could use both, but that also means that the Cleric now has to choose between increasing one or both of their most needed mental stats or using one of the only items intended for Clerics (Phylactery of Channeling), which now use the same slot. After around 10th level, there really isn't too much reason to stay straight Cleric, another big Pathfinder design philosophy, except that there are not a lot of worthy alternatives, (prestige classes). From 3E, they still have 7 levels of spells stretched out over 10 levels, but tend to get really poor new shinny's with each new book. I tend to view many Domain abilities as lackluster, if not immediately, they get there very quickly, and with the exception of 4 Domains, the really don't add anything after 8th level beyond potentially 1 spell 1/day. It also doesn't help that most Domain abilities are a Standard Action to use but, last only 1 round, so not effective to use on yourself.

The game has also changed significantly since the Core Book came out, and the Cleric tends to loose more and more each time, as new classes are added, or options for most other classes to do the Cleric's other jobs better and/or easier. The Cleric essentially makes all the significant choices at level 1. Generally speaking, they lack a lot of options to boost their casting, and Metamagic is not nearly as useful to their spell list as it is to most other casters, (Heighten, Extend, and possibly Quicken or Reach being possible notable exceptions). Many of their spells are either a little to open to DM interpretation (or just Fiat) or are all or nothing.


Sissyl wrote:
Then look again. Before feats, you are not going to make a cleric that can in any way compete as a blaster, nor a meleer, nor anything else that a dedicated class can do. Add in feats, of course, and this might change. Even more clearly, making your cleric capable in melee effectively shuts down, say, making a good blaster as well, due to MAD considerations.

Well, before feats most classes aren't very good at things that require feats, so I don't really consider that a knock against clerics and blasting in general is kind of hard to pull off because it's such a bad idea and it's not like wizard and sorcerer blasters aren't investing heavily into improving their blasting either.

That still leaves you solid at healing, buffing and summoning with minimal feat expenditure. Or at least, no more feat expenditure than anyone else. Then you can build toward a more melee or backline sort of build beyond that to improve other areas. Even then unless you're doing something particularly weird neither cleric is going to be particularly bad at other things either.


Don't give me summoning. Without the Augment Summoning, Sacred Summons and Superior Summoning feats, and preferably also another feat for more summoning options, you spend an entire round (of the three expected ones), risking interruption, to summon a critter a number of levels below yours. Without devoting all your feats to it, what it lets you do is drench the battlefield in wastes of time. Celestial Eagles are only relevant for a very short stint.

Shadow Lodge

That's not really true, though. Using Blasting as just an example here, Sorcerers have a lot less issue bumping those DCs, being able to afford for instance just boosting Cha, Dex, and probably some Con. A Blaster Sorcerer can also easily take a Bloodline that adds extra damage to all their blasts, gets a free, limited version of Elemental Spell added in at no cost, DOES get a few Bonus Feats.

The rest of the Class itself works pretty well with itself towards making Blasting pretty effective if you want a Blaster Sorcerer, and most of the other choices involved, like what spells known you want to go with can either boost this even more or be instead used to cover other bases. A Blaster Sorcerer can still take things like Mage Armor, Color Spray, Charm Person, or whatever without really hurting their otherwise Blaster Build.

Clerics, though, really need to focus a lot, starting at level 1, towards being just okay at being a Martial Cleric, a Caster Cleric, or a Channeler Cleric. Even if they don't focus on one of these too much, they can still do the others, true, but will quickly fall more and more behind, because they normally fall behind even when they do focus on one of those things over the others. And it's a very MAD class, (in my opinion, to be effective at all it should be to fulfill it's basic roles, it's the single most MAD class there is).


Interesting. Never seen such adamant insistence that the cleric is a bad class before. Most seem to lump it in as one of the best, albeit boring. But seems like there's a consensus here the class is garbage. Hm.

Sissyl wrote:
Don't give me summoning. Without the Augment Summoning, Sacred Summons and Superior Summoning feats, and preferably also another feat for more summoning options, you spend an entire round (of the three expected ones), risking interruption, to summon a critter a number of levels below yours. Without devoting all your feats to it, what it lets you do is drench the battlefield in wastes of time. Celestial Eagles are only relevant for a very short stint.

1-3 feats is not all of your feats. At least not in any game of Pathfinder I've played. So you spend two feats on summoning and one feat on martial combat. Maybe two. That still leaves you plenty of feats for other stuff.

Shadow Lodge

I wouldn't say it's a bad or even weak class. I would say it's been left behind for a while, and that since the APG came out, it really has not had a single Class Feature, including spells, that no one else could do, if not do better. I mean, even in the Core Book, Druids can take Domains, Wizards can get variations on Channel Energy, and the vast majority of their Spell List is shared with many other classes.

Also, don't forget Spell Focus Conjuration, a prereq for Augment Summoning, that really doesn't help you out much.


DM Beckett wrote:
I wouldn't say it's a bad or even weak class. I would say it's been left behind for a while, and that since the APG came out, it really has not had a single Class Feature, including spells, that no one else could do, if not do better. I mean, even in the Core Book, Druids can take Domains, Wizards can get variations on Channel Energy, and the vast majority of their Spell List is shared with many other classes.

I suspect the reasoning behind a lot of the nerfs the cleric received in Pathfinder (loss of heavy armor, rewrite of divine power etc) was heavily based on the fact that in 3.5 it was one of the most powerful classes in the game. Hell, some friends of mine did an all-cleric party and utterly steamrolled all opposition.

That said, even in 3.5 the class design was heavily front loaded, to the point where you were almost always better off ditching the cleric class for full-spellcasting PrCs as soon as possible, because there simply weren't any class features worth a damn after the first level or two. Huge props to Paizo for addressing that somewhat by including domain powers and channel energy progression that are significantly more worthwhile. Not amazing, but something to at least pay attention to (unlike Turn Undead).

Getting to the point: I have to agree. Since the release of the APG I simply haven't seen (or had myself) much interest in the cleric class, as most players I've gamed with would rather take the paladin or inquisitor - particularly the latter, as the class abilities and extra skill points usually more than offset for the weaker casting.


It is NOT a bad class, merely extremely feat starved. If you do focus massively, you can make a very good character. And summoning requires at least three feats, plus the Spell Focus (conjuration) feat tax. That means you get it up and running at seventh level, fifth as a human. After that, sure, you rock as a summoner, and you could spend further feats on other things.


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What was that about feat taxes?


Cool. It gives up medium armor, shields and one domain, though, and doesn't get any of the feats until 4th. I am not quite certain it is worth it.


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Sissyl wrote:
Cool. It gives up medium armor and one domain, plus spontaneous healing, though, and doesn't get any of the feats until 4th. I am not quite certain it is worth it.

Actually it says nothing about losing spontaneous healing. You can burn a spell for the summon monster or a cure spell.

Shadow Lodge

It's pretty good, all in all, mainly for the 4+Int Skill points, ability to speak with all Summoned creatures, and Bonus Feats.

Summoning really doesn't even come online until around 4th level anyway due to duration, so for low level play, this makes a decent Reach Cleric, or just general Buffer.

Now, all that being said, the Herald Caller is generally held to be the best Archetype for Clerics, (not a lot of competition really) by a pretty large stretch, just for the Skill Points and basic utility options.


Feat starved? With one exception, the fighter every class is feat starved depending on what you are trying to do. I pick two which seem almost mandatory, Combat Casting and Selective Channel. After those two feats it's about what I want from my character. If I'm a healer then my feats go towards making me a better one. If I channel I pick feats for that purpose, etc, etc.
I have played most classes introduced. In every case I have ended up taking feats that I hadn't planned on picking for them. Character's like in any well done story change adapt and grow. My Cleric at first level rarely looks and feels the same at higher levels. This is true for almost any class.
Clerics like most classes are expected to do one thing in most cases. This isn't the class but people's perception of them. They expect a Rogue to be a greedy backstabbing coward. A Wizard an old man weak in body powerful in mind. Fighters to be walking muscled men. I have rarely played any class that people expected of me.


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I was forced to play a cleric in a Kingmaker Campaign as we were short of healing possibilities in the group (No UMD, only CRB), so I've chosen a melee cleric of Falayna, with power attack, selective channel and WF Longsword, with Ferocity and Liberation Domain, I act as the second fighter in a low-optimization group, I even take craft Wpn and Armor to add a out of combat real use (I upgrade the equipment of the other members), so even if it was a pain for me to play the cleric, the build I've choose make me other thing that only the HealBot of the group, I'm now one of the most important member of it as all depends on me... I don't think it is a weak class, but a weak build can influence the way you play...

Dark Archive

PK the Dragon wrote:
The problem with Curses is that they are, by definition, magical afflictions, and so by definition they require magic to cure.

An occult Heal skill unlock that 're-aligns chakras' or whatever could be whipped up to handle purging curses or other magical afflictions that could be seen as latching on to someone's aura.


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DM Beckett wrote:

It's pretty good, all in all, mainly for the 4+Int Skill points, ability to speak with all Summoned creatures, and Bonus Feats.

Summoning really doesn't even come online until around 4th level anyway due to duration, so for low level play, this makes a decent Reach Cleric, or just general Buffer.

Now, all that being said, the Herald Caller is generally held to be the best Archetype for Clerics, (not a lot of competition really) by a pretty large stretch, just for the Skill Points and basic utility options.

Hey, I think the Evangelist is up there as really great archetype for clerics.


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Hence why I enjoyed 2nd Ed spheres as the main way clerics were able to get spell selection. A nice 3.5/Pathfinder cleric redesign might be to reset the spell list into spheres that also grant domain powers, and the cleric gains a variety of spheres as they go up in level, thus having a sense of growth equal to some of the later class designs, and not just as a 9 level protect/buff/heal/limited blaster/divination based divine caster. Different deities and ideals grant different spheres as they used to, rather then just two domains. You also then can reinforce your roleplaying choices with sound mechanics, which fulfills both sides of playing the game. The other divine classes have a variety of better flavor related abilities related to their design, which is why the cleric can sometimes get sour in comparison to druids turning into elementals, oracles throwing down storms of angry ancestral spirits, paladins getting pokemounts, inquisitors calling down judgements on the unworthy, hunters raising up animals with fiery breath (ala primordial hunter archetype with eidolon evolutions), and so on.

Another idea is to use third party divine spell sources, such as 1001 spells or the 3.5 divine line of magics, etc, to widen your choice of magic. Tie certain ones to the basis of faith or ideas on what drives your cleric, and then they get a unique set of abilities ala spell access (which is really the main feature of the class) that other classes don't have.


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Most of the groups I play in have at least one or two people with a modicum of system mastery -- which means that, instead of people "refusing" to play a cleric, I more often see people very eager to play what is arguably the most powerful and versatile class in the entire game. In my houserules, I massively buffed the martial classes and nerfed the cleric -- and I STILL have no shortage of them.


DM Beckett wrote:

It's pretty good, all in all, mainly for the 4+Int Skill points, ability to speak with all Summoned creatures, and Bonus Feats.

Summoning really doesn't even come online until around 4th level anyway due to duration, so for low level play, this makes a decent Reach Cleric, or just general Buffer.

Now, all that being said, the Herald Caller is generally held to be the best Archetype for Clerics, (not a lot of competition really) by a pretty large stretch, just for the Skill Points and basic utility options.

It is very good and provides a good template for how a cleric archetype should be designed... the thing that most impresses me is its ability to make channeling useful!

Grand Lodge

If nothing else, this thread got me looking into alternatives to the cleric for dealing with afflictions. A chiurgeon alchemist or internal alchemist could make for a very fun character patterned off of Hoenheim. All the removal spells, ready with just a minute of prep.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
If nothing else, this thread got me looking into alternatives to the cleric for dealing with afflictions. A chiurgeon alchemist or internal alchemist could make for a very fun character patterned off of Hoenheim. All the removal spells, ready with just a minute of prep.

Half elf oracles can do it from level 6 and don't even need to know the spells. Just paragon surge/expanded arcana. It is tricky if you need to do it for more than one type of affliction in a day but many of them (diseases and curses in particular) don't need immediate treatment.

Grand Lodge

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F@~+ paragon surge.


I thought Paragon Surge got nerf slapped into next week!?


Harleequin wrote:
I thought Paragon Surge got nerf slapped into next week!?

Not really, they limited it to making these same choices each time it was cast in a single day. It still gives you access to your entire spell list for a level 3 spell slot.


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I have a bunch of cleric ideas I want to play - probably more than any other class

I'm the opposite of the other guy, as an atheist I find it fascinating to play a divine servant in a fantasy world that has noticable connections to its deities.

Sovereign Court

HyperMissingno wrote:
What was that about feat taxes?

Wow that's sick. I'm so making a cleric with this archetype now...

I'll add this to it, too... :) :) :)

The Guardian Spirit concept is just so freaggin cool...

Sovereign Court

Sissyl wrote:
Cool. It gives up medium armor, shields and one domain, though, and doesn't get any of the feats until 4th. I am not quite certain it is worth it.

you're kidding, right? everyone that's tried to melee up a cleric in my group has somehow fallen short one way or the other; it's not easy to do well...

...but THAT kind of cleric, is almost a sure bet if you ask me.

Sovereign Court

Chess Pwn wrote:
DM Beckett wrote:

It's pretty good, all in all, mainly for the 4+Int Skill points, ability to speak with all Summoned creatures, and Bonus Feats.

Summoning really doesn't even come online until around 4th level anyway due to duration, so for low level play, this makes a decent Reach Cleric, or just general Buffer.

Now, all that being said, the Herald Caller is generally held to be the best Archetype for Clerics, (not a lot of competition really) by a pretty large stretch, just for the Skill Points and basic utility options.

Hey, I think the Evangelist is up there as really great archetype for clerics.

You *do* lose a spellcasting level, but yes, you more than make up for it with the coolness factor and thematics (obedience/boons) that are specific to your god.

Edit: for clerics Exalted may be a bit better than Evangelist in most cases.


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PDK: Evangelist as in cleric archetype, not the prestige class.

Sovereign Court

born_of_fire wrote:
PDK: Evangelist as in cleric archetype, not the prestige class.

Yeah, this one is cool, but I don't like it that much... giving away spontaneous cures and lowering the channel is too high a price.


andreww wrote:
Harleequin wrote:
I thought Paragon Surge got nerf slapped into next week!?
Not really, they limited it to making these same choices each time it was cast in a single day. It still gives you access to your entire spell list for a level 3 spell slot.

You also can't use it to pull off of other lists like you used to be able to.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
born_of_fire wrote:
PDK: Evangelist as in cleric archetype, not the prestige class.
Yeah, this one is cool, but I don't like it that much... giving away spontaneous cures and lowering the channel is too high a price.

Agreed. Herald Caller is much better that way. The full power channels are needed in my group. I'm currently playing one with the feather domain so I have an AC too which is just icing on the cake.


born_of_fire wrote:


Agreed. Herald Caller is much better that way. The full power channels are needed in my group. I'm currently playing one with the feather domain so I have an AC too which is just icing on the cake.

Thats the hidden beauty of the archetype.... even if you dont invest any more feats at all in summoning buffs, its still a very good summoner archetype. This means that you have enough room to sub-specialise as well eg)Feather domain for AC, feats to boost DC or Craft Items... etc


I like clerics thematically. However, I don't think they benefited from the change between 3.5 and Pathfinder. As more and more classes and options become available, that has become more apparent to me (also, wizard I believe suffers a from similar issues, but that's a different story).

Firstly, let's look at what is generally expected of a cleric and how well they perform in those rolls. But before that, let me make a statement - in combat healing is for chumps. I you aren't casting (or whatever) something that will either heal a bunch (like a heal spell) or fix an issue that could be life or death (remove paralysis for example, depending on the situation). While some may argue this is incorrect, the best "healing" involves quickly decimating your enemies and patching up afterwards - healing in combat slows that down. I've seen this time and time again in the APs I've been a part of, either as a player or a DM. Someone with the ability to use a wand of CLW, even if by UMD, gets the job done. I won't discount other healer builds, specifically the oradin, but we're focused on the cleric here.

With that being said, when we think of cleric (or at least when my group thinks about cleric), we harken back to the glory days, like in 3.0 when they were indestructible monsters. Spells were a bit more powerful then, and clerics could use that, combined with domains, items, and later on feats centered on turning their turn undead power into something useful to smash face. There's a certain expectation of that now, but cleric as it stands can't do that anymore.

The issue is twofold - firstly, while most core classes were boosted and continue to be boosted in Pathfinder, cleric has been left behind (and it's not the only class - see wizard, and even rogue despite the "unchained" variant). Secondly, with the general toning down of magic and apparent increased focus on martial combat makes maximizing a cleric problematic.

Clerics used to be able to, and quite well, mix the martial and spellcasting options of the class. Nowadays, trying to accomplish that is a foolhardy task. Your stats will be spread too thin, and you have to spend far too long buffing in a vain attempt to be the equal of a martial character, and your spells suffer from not having a maximized spellcasting stat. These issues present themselves even if you do focus on one aspect over the other - a martial focused cleric spends too much time buffing, and a spellcasting focused cleric... well, the cleric spell list is decent, but you have to be creative. In my opinion, the spellcasting focused cleric is the way to go. If you want to play a martial cleric, play a paladin or a warpriest. Warpriest was definitely the final nail in the coffin for a martial cleric. The first was taking away heavy armor proficiency.

But I haven't even talked about healing! So Pathfinder gives us channeling, which at first I was like wow, free healing! I can use spells on other things and not heal! Well, maybe. First off, it's based off charisma - the biggest failure of the ability. The second biggest, needing a feat to not heal everyone in range. Suddenly, paladins become better at channeling since they typically have higher charismas, it just costs a bit more for them. Warpriest? They get to use their wisdom... why not cleric?!? In any case, in combat healing kills action economy - you should be trying to out damage your opponents, killing them faster - not trying to out heal their ability to damage. That's a losing battle, because healing is limited, swinging an axe is not.

To continue to the next point about healing - your choice of channeling/spontaneously casting healing magic is alignment based. This means evil clerics are horrible healers. Why? Is that really necessary? Look at oracle (another class that seriously makes the cleric look like only a slightly better option than adept) which gets to choose. Just choose, no alignment involved.

Other things about cleric just make it a joke. It's bad enough with things mentioned above, but let's talk about the theme of the class. Tell me, does 2 skill points a level sound right? It's generally accepted that clerics go through some form of training - seminary school if you will. That means study, yet they get less skill points than an oracle, who just sort of gets their power. Though wizards may also fall into this category, they at least have a high intelligence score to compensate for it (not that it makes it right by any means). Clerics already have an issue with stats being spread too thin, and intelligence is easily the stat of least importance. Really, 4 skill points per level would be fair. That way, they could have things like spellcraft and knowledge (religion) at levels that are meaningful, with a few points to spare for other things depending on the individual. Like, how does a cleric proselytize without skills? I mean, you could focus on like one aspect with 2 skill points per level, but that's lame.

Then there are the issues I have with prepared spellcasters vs spontaneous casters. That may be a bit more of a personal issue, but I do believe that prepared casters just lack the magical endurance you need for having more than one fight in a day. I don't like the idea of "oh, I cast that spell so that was the only one today, sorry guys", especially when it fails somehow. No amount of foreknowledge and preparing the perfect spells for a situation will beat spamming good, general use spells. Burst of Radiance is a good example of a nice, spammable cleric spell.

All of this makes me sad. I like what clerics represent, and what they could be. You want to know why no one wants to play the cleric? It's because the class needs an overhaul. You want to know why nobody wants to play a healer, as I suspect that's the real question? Because unless you're an oradin and have the action economy to fight while healing, you're better off dropping the monsters and healing when it's over.

#incombathealingisforchumps


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Most of the groups I play in have at least one or two people with a modicum of system mastery -- which means that, instead of people "refusing" to play a cleric, I more often see people very eager to play what is arguably the most powerful and versatile class in the entire game. In my houserules, I massively buffed the martial classes and nerfed the cleric -- and I STILL have no shortage of them.

I wouldn't really put the Cleric anywhere near the "most versatile" class categories. It is powerful sure, but virtually all it's "versatility" comes from it's spell list, which is actually not as versatile as the Sorcerer/Wizard list. It suffers hard on skills, largely unimpressive domain abilities (aside from the handful of good ones), a boring channel that scales poorly and demands feat investment if you want to use it as anything more then a faster, but lower usage wand of cure light wounds.

Clerics are powerful. Odd level progression, full 9th level casting guarantee that. But boring. There's extremely limited reasons to not play a Shaman instead who are actually the most versatile class*. So unless you really want that domain ability, or really want good fort, and are willing to sacrifice literally *all* the versatility for it, just play a Shaman. As someone who loved the 3.5 cleric, that's what I'm doing.

*Assuming just base classes.

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