Tank / Healer for RotRL


Advice


Hello nice people of Paizo's Messageboards, today I will ask you for your help in building my new character for a Rise of the Runelords campaign I am currently part of.

In our last session my character died. He was a cleric of Desna focused on buff and healing, but not very good at it. He has been turned into a shadow, and almost killed his former party members.

Well, good riddance to Zacarias Teskarova the harrowing cleric, and welcome to my new character, which at the moment is more or less just an idea and a stats block.

My party asked me if I could play an tanky sort of character which could also heal when his teammates get too injured. Therefor the two most obvious choices were another, better built cleric, or a warpriest. For now I've prepared a warpriest, but I'm open to other options.

So, for some guidelines for the character creation:

  • We're using 20 point buy for abilities;
  • I'm starting at level 3;
  • I'm starting with 3000gp worth of equipment;
  • I won't multiclass in any class, not even 1-2 level dips, I don't like it;
  • We're using only official Paizo material, so no 3PPs.

This is the character I've built:

Davor
Male half-orc (mystic) warpriest of Iomedae 3 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide 60)
LG Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 19 (+7 armor, +1 Dex, +2 shield)
hp 27 (3d8+9)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +7
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
Melee +1 longsword +7 (1d8+7/19-20) or
. . heavy shield bash +5 (1d4+6)
Ranged mwk longbow +4 (1d8/×3)
Special Attacks blessings 4/day (Good: holy strike, War: war mind), fervor 3/day (1d6), sacred weapon (1d6, +0, 0)
Warpriest Spells Prepared (CL 3rd; concentration +5)
. . 1st—bless, divine favor, protection from evil, shield of faith
. . 0 (at will)—create water, light, mending, resistance
--------------------
Statistics
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Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Diehard, Endurance, Improved Shield Bash, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Traits fate's favored, reactionary, seeker
Skills Acrobatics -7 (-11 to jump), Diplomacy +4, Perception +7, Sense Motive +6
Languages Common, Orc
SQ headstrong, orc blood
Other Gear banded mail, heavy steel shield, +1 longsword, arrows (80), mwk longbow, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, flint and steel, hemp rope (50 ft.), holy text[UE], mess kit[UE], pot, soap, spell component pouch, torch (10), trail rations (5), waterskin, wooden holy symbol of Iomedae, 20 gp
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Special Abilities
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Blessings (4/day) (Su) Pool of power used to activate Blessing abilities.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white only).
Diehard You are stable and can choose how to act when at negative Hp.
Endurance +4 to a variety of fort saves, skill and ability checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Fervor (1d6, 3/day) (Su) Standard action, touch channels positive/negative energy to heal or harm. Swift to cast spell on self.
Headstrong Must attempt to correct things that contradict your alignment, or shaken for 1h
Improved Shield Bash You still get your shield bonus while using Shield Bash.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Power Attack -1/+2 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Sacred Weapon (Su) As a swift action, grant weapon enhancement bonus or certain powers.

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Can you please help me with some advice on better builds for the kind of character I want to play?

Thank you for your time.


In combat healing basically doesn't work until you get the heal spell, which is a 6th level spell.

It doesn't hurt to have some capacity to heal someone who is about to go unconscious, but this should hopefully be a rarity.

Tanking is also something that doesn't really exist. It's a concept from MMOs that means artificially having more "threat" than the characters dealing damage so that they attack you instead of the squishy members. This simply doesn't exist as a mechanic in Pathfinder except for few particular spells and abilities that still don't actually work that well.

That being said...a Warpriest has a d8 HD (which is okay), access to heavy armor, the ability to heal and buff himself with fervor, the ability to cast healing spells, the ability to channel energy. So while the role of tank doesn't exist, and the idea of being a dedicated healer is a bad one the character will be capable of healing when necessary and will have good survivability while still being capable of dealing decent damage (mostly thanks to Fervor->Divine Favor/Power and Fate's Favored).

That said...you have some problems with your build, at least in my opinion.

You're showing that you are going to be using a shield for bashing but you can't take any of the TWF fighting feats. If you make a shield bash and attack with your sword your main hand will take a -6 penalty to attack with your main hand and a -10 penalty to attack with your off-hand (because you aren't wielding a light weapon in either). This is a horrible plan.


Unnamed Hero
Half-orc warpriest of Iomedae 3 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide 60)
LG Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 19 (+9 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 24 (3d8+6)
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +8
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
Melee scimitar +7 (1d6+6/18-20)
Special Attacks blessings 4/day (Good: holy strike, War: war mind), fervor 3/day (1d6), sacred weapon (1d6, +0, 0)
Warpriest Spells Prepared (CL 3rd; concentration +5)
1st—divine favor
0 (at will)—create water, detect magic, light, read magic
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +6; CMD 17
Feats Diehard, Endurance, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Traits fate's favored, reactionary
Skills Acrobatics -5 (-9 to jump), Intimidate +1; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ orc blood
Combat Gear wand of cure light wounds (50 charges); Other Gear full plate, light steel quickdraw shield[APG], scimitar, 150 gp
--------------------
Tracked Resources
--------------------
Blessings (4/day) (Su) - 0/4
Fervor (1d6, 3/day) (Su) - 0/3
Wand of cure light wounds (50 charges) - 0/50
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
Blessings (4/day) (Su) Pool of power used to activate Blessing abilities.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white only).
Diehard You are stable and can choose how to act when at negative Hp.
Endurance +4 to a variety of fort saves, skill and ability checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Fervor (1d6, 3/day) (Su) Standard action, touch channels positive/negative energy to heal or harm. Swift to cast spell on self.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Power Attack -1/+2 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Sacred Weapon (Su) As a swift action, grant weapon enhancement bonus or certain powers.

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at http://www.wolflair.com
Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Inc.®, and are used under license.


I would like to mention I personally think Diehard and Endurance are wastes of feats. You possess enough ability to heal yourself that you have no reason to be knocked unconscious unless an enemy is overwhelmingly more powerful than yourself.

I'm not sure what you would like to do most with your character, but I personally don't think Diehard or Endurance are good uses of your feats.

While you worship Iomedae, the longsword is a worse weapon in comparison to the scimitar that I equipped the character with, in the longrun. The extra crit range is going to be much more useful than the damage dice (which warpriest will overwrite). I understand that it is Iomedae's favored weapon but really you should use a two-handed weapon. However I compromised for you and am using a 1-handed weapon in two-hands (for the extra damage from strength and power attack) and also gave the character a quickdraw shield so that if you thought it was absolutely necessary you could choose not use the scimitar two-handed and equip the shield for the extra AC.

It's also worth trading Orc Ferocity for Sacred Tattoo, for the save bonus.


Thanks @Claxon for your advices, they helped me flesh out my character a bit more :)


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Inquisitor-all the way!

Scarab Sages

I run a Heavy Armor Cleric of Caiden Cailean (spelling?) with domains Travel and Love - with the concept of a hard to hit Combat Medic.

Feel free to check on him by clicking on my name, to see what he's like at 11+ level... but at low level (2nd-3rd) he went with Tower Shield and Full Plate armor. With the Dex of 12, this got him an AC of 24 at early 3rd level, and just went up from there.

Love domain means that some attacks... never happen.

and Dwarf means armor never effects movement.

Travel domain and the Domain spell of Longstrider gives a movement speed of 40' thru most any terrain...

etc.


If healing is anywhere in your job description warpriest isn't really satisfactory. They have delayed access to all the condition removers and don't get heal until level 16 instead of level 11. And RotRL is the AP where the condition removers actually come up. There's even a chance to contract mummy rot.

Those shadows are a good example of why clerics are the best healers and practically the only adequate healers. Had you survived you, being level 3, could have prepared some lesser restorations and fixed the damage. As a 3rd level warpriest you couldn't. Everyone would have had to deal with the strength damage until you either leveled up or made it back to an NPC cleric. They're not the only monster with a CR equal to the level at which a cleric gets the spell to reverse their effects.

So building a better cleric is the best bet. Your warpriest stat array looks about right. I'd dump charisma to 7 to afford a little more dexterity if going for a reach combat reflexes build, which is generally considered the gold standard currently. Otherwise you really just need power attack and heavy armor proficiency, and starting at level 3 you don't have to choose between them. Oh, and you should never under any circumstances have 8 int on a 2+int class. There's a 1 skill point minimum so a -2 or even lower modifier is no worse than a -1 modifier. Take it up to 10 (you only strictly need 13 base wisdom if you expect to use headbands) or drop it to 7 for, in your stat array, charisma. It's an extra use of channel which is better than the nothing those two buy points get you in int. Or swap int and cha as Claxon suggests if you're not going for a reach build and are taking heavy armor proficiency.


Claxon wrote:

In combat healing basically doesn't work until you get the heal spell, which is a 6th level spell.

Tanking is also something that doesn't really exist. It's a concept from MMOs that means artificially having more "threat" than the characters dealing damage so that they attack you instead of the squishy members. This simply doesn't exist as a mechanic in Pathfinder except for few particular spells and abilities that still don't actually work that well.

That being said...a Warpriest has a d8 HD (which is okay), access to heavy armor, the ability to heal and buff himself with fervor, the ability to cast healing spells, the ability to channel energy....

That said...you have some problems with your build, at least in my opinion.

You're showing that you are going to be using a shield for bashing but you can't take any of the TWF fighting feats. If you make a shield bash and attack with your sword your main hand will take a -6 penalty to attack with your main hand and a -10 penalty to attack with your off-hand (because you aren't wielding a light weapon in either). This is a horrible plan.

Sigh, this old fallacy again? Yes, Healing in combat works just fine in PF.

"Tanking" as a concept originated in OD&D, long before the first MMO was out.

In a narrow dungeon corridor it still works. Not to mention, most monsters will attack the first guy they get to.

A warpreist suffers from being a very complicated class, IMHO.

But you are very correct about the shield bashing.


Claxon wrote:

I would like to mention I personally think Diehard and Endurance are wastes of feats. You possess enough ability to heal yourself that you have no reason to be knocked unconscious unless an enemy is overwhelmingly more powerful than yourself.

While you worship Iomedae, the longsword is a worse weapon in comparison to the scimitar that I equipped the character with, in the longrun. The extra crit range is going to be much more useful than the damage dice (which warpriest will overwrite). I understand that it is Iomedae's favored weapon but really you should use a two-handed weapon.

It's also worth trading Orc Ferocity for Sacred Tattoo, for the save bonus.

Yeah, it's fine if you get it for free, or for non spellcasters.

Using a longsword is just good roleplaying and not nerfing the character at all. Why ignore flavor for such a tiny edge?

Sacred tattoo is fabulous.


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If you want a tank and are considering diehard and endurance (not optimal), then you could just be a Cleric and take reactive healing.

Grand Lodge

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Claxon wrote:
I would like to mention I personally think Diehard and Endurance are wastes of feats.

Unless your a Spell Eater Bloodrager going for Fast Healer that is.

Honestly I recommend a Hospitaler Paladin over a Warpriest.
But that is just me.


Another choice is a Hospitaler paladin.

Aasimar Paladin

Str 14 >5
Dx12>2
Con 14> 5
Int12> 2
wis 12+2=14> 2
Cha 14+2= 16>5

(and add one pt to either Dx, Int or wis to make them 13 )

MW Iron Longsword
Plate
wand of CLW, partially charged
Heavy shield

Celestial Crusader as a racial option?

Traits:

Valashmai Veteran
You have traveled to the Valashmai Jungle on numerous occasions, and your prowess in traversing the jungle wilderness makes you a formidable guide and explorer.

Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception checks, and a +1 trait bonus on Survival checks in jungle terrain. One of these skills becomes a class skill for you. (Perception!!)

Purity of Faith (Iomedae)

Feats:Selective Channeling
Extra Lay on hands. (remember lay on hands is a swift action on yourself!)

Other options:
Celestial Servant (makes your mount a celestial)
Heavenly Radiance

Later, you get to buy Angel Wings as a feat, Very nice.


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You can build a life oracle to be a great healer and tank. You grab aggro by transferring all of the damage to you anyway. You are basically required to grab fey foundling though, which I hate. For stats, you max charisma and constitution because nothing else will be necessary.

Strongly consider adding the spirit guide archetype for a ridiculous number of channels at level 7. Also, having double life link is pretty nice.

It's not a horrible idea to add a few levels of paladin to this build, but not really necessary in my opinion.


Sounds to me like an Oradin would be the perfect fit here!

Check out the guide on Giant in the Playground for some ideas.

Grand Lodge

Gulthor wrote:

Sounds to me like an Oradin would be the perfect fit here!

Check out the guide on Giant in the Playground for some ideas.

Except he Absolutely does not want to cross class


Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Gulthor wrote:

Sounds to me like an Oradin would be the perfect fit here!

Check out the guide on Giant in the Playground for some ideas.

Except he Absolutely does not want to cross class

Whoops, missed that. Whelp, ignore me, then.


DrDeth wrote:

Another choice is a Hospitaler paladin.

Feats:Selective Channeling
Extra Lay on hands. (remember lay on hands is a swift action on yourself!)

Other options:
Celestial Servant (makes your mount a celestial)
Heavenly Radiance

Oops, take Celestial Servant @3rd, and Selective Channeling @ 5th.

Grand Lodge

Might Add Shaman is a great class as well.

I prefer caster version to melee version. Hexes are an unlimited resource and Slumber wrecks this AP.


Melkiador wrote:

You can build a life oracle to be a great healer and tank. You grab aggro by transferring all of the damage to you anyway. You are basically required to grab fey foundling though, which I hate. For stats, you max charisma and constitution because nothing else will be necessary.

Strongly consider adding the spirit guide archetype for a ridiculous number of channels at level 7. Also, having double life link is pretty nice.

It's not a horrible idea to add a few levels of paladin to this build, but not really necessary in my opinion.

There's a Varisian Trait which gives you half of Fey Foundling. 1PT extra.

Sandpoint Faithful
Source Varisia, Birthplace of Legends pg. 28
Category Campaign
Requirement(s) Rise of the Runelords
As a faithful adherent of Abadar, Desna, Erastil, Gozreh, Sarenrae, or Shelyn, you’ve come to the Swallowtail Festival to celebrate the consecration of Sandpoint Cathedral. You gain a silver holy symbol of your chosen deity, and so long as you worship that deity and openly wear his or her symbol, you regain +1 additional hit point every time you receive magical healing.

To add perception, you also could take:
Underbridge Dweller (Magnimar)
Varisia, Birthplace of Legends
You were raised in the Shadow district of Magnimar beneath the Irespan, a veiled place the light of the sun touches for only 3 hours per day. Your well-founded suspicions grant you a +2 trait bonus on Perception checks in dim light, and Perception is always a class skill for you.


That trait isn't much better than blessed touch, though I guess you could take both. Still, they don't really compare to fey foundling, because fey foundling increases with the number of dice rolled in the healing effect. For example, turning a 3d6 channel into a 3d6+6 channel is meaningful, even better at 3d6+8 if you take the feat and both traits.


Melkiador wrote:
That trait isn't much better than blessed touch, though I guess you could take both. Still, they don't really compare to fey foundling, because fey foundling increases with the number of dice rolled in the healing effect. For example, turning a 3d6 channel into a 3d6+6 channel is meaningful, even better at 3d6+8 if you take the feat and both traits.

Except you say you hate Fey Foundling.

And it's a trait, not a feat, so it shouldnt be as good.


I hate fey foundling because it is so good while having such specific flavor. But in this case the trait is only half as good for very low levels. It very quickly becomes much weaker than fey foundling.


A quick build I made on my phone:

Spirit guide life oracle.
For stats you want cha>con>>dex>str>int>wis
My choices for 20pb would be this:
STR: 10 DEX: 12 CON: 16 INT: 10 WIS: 8 CHA: 16

Race: human; gnome can be good too but takes longer to come online.

Traits: sandpoint faithful, blessed touch

Curse: lame

1st level: Feats: fey foundling, selective channel. Revelation: channel.
3rd: feat: quick channel. Hex: life link
5th: feat: reactive healing.
7th: feat: reach spell. Second set of channels

Equipment: cestus, heavy shield and breastplate. Add magic to taste. Though you will want to focus on your main stats and defenses. This build doesn't care much about weapon based offense.


Oracle falls afoul of the delayed spell access and spells known bottleneck on the non-HP healing that's actually important. Giving the same terrible sorcerer spells known on a list designed with the assumption that every caster knows all of the spells was a horrible idea and the oracle is unfit for purpose.


If you want to learn all of the needed status removal spells as an oracle you can, and usually only at one character level later than a cleric. But if your build is too tight, you could try getting by with just buying some scrolls for the status removal.


Melkiador wrote:
If you want to learn all of the needed status removal spells as an oracle you can, and usually only at one character level later than a cleric. But if your build is too tight, you could try getting by with just buying some scrolls for the status removal.

If you're worried about learning status removal spells you simply buy scrolls and a mnemonic vestment (or multiple). Every spontaneous caster I've played always ends up with a mnemonic vestment and big scroll selection.

As for delayed access to spell via Warpriest....I personally think it's fine. I played through Rise of the Runelords as an Inquisitor and we did not have a cleric or oracle in the party, I was the main source of status removal aside from our wizard using break enchantment, etc.

It worked just fine, sometimes I did have to actually burn a scroll to clear enough status conditions on multiple party members but it worked fine.

Play what you want to play, and don't let other party members dictate your decisions for you.

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