Frontline "aggressive" cleric


Advice


We have a little problem in one of the campaign I currently play: We lost our only frontliner due to a hard critical hit at the worst moment of a battle, and we need to replace it.

However, the player says he's a bit tired of mundane frontliners, and which to play more a magical thing. Basicaly, a cleric focused on spells rather than a weapon, but with a fullplate and a shield.

Problem is: Our DM is quite a severe one, and play every monster using every strategical possibility to the max (cunning placement, ambushes, prepared actions, etc) so every battle is actualy quite hard (we had 8 deaths in the campaign and we are sill not even level 10).... and none of the players at the table have the slightest idea of how to build a such thing efficiently.

Any guidelines from people with some experience with the cleric class?
Archetype/feats/spells suggestions?


I think we have a no-win scenario here, as your description indicates a "killer GM" mentality at play. --If you come up with a stronger character, he will merely escalate to keep his preferred PC death-ratio intact.

Aside from that, we need to know details: New character? Modifying existing characters? Point-buy? Books allowed? 1st-level or parachute in at Nth?

race: human
Str+ 17 (bump 4th)
Dex: 15 (bump 8th, or just leave at 15 and keep advancing Str)
Con: 14
Int: 7
Wis: 14 (use headband upgrades to advance wisdom)
Cha: 10

character traits: Defender of the Society (AC+1), Magical Knack (cleric)
01. Fighter1 [Relic Master], Shield Focus, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative
02 cleric1
03 cleric2 Power Attack

Concept: standard reach-cleric build with better armor, a better weapon (bardiche instead of longspear), Swim proficiency, two more feats (because you don't have to take Heavy Armor Proficiency), and +2 HP.


What alignment is the party?

If you have a Lawful party, particularly a good one I'd recommend a Iomedae worshiping cleric that goes with the Sun and Good (or Redemption) domains.

If you are more chaotic but also on the good side then maybe a Gorum worshiper? Except its a 2 handed weapon so maybe not. If you want to melt face in melee its a good god. Destruction domain is super powerful but it burns your side too. You might want to pair it up with Strength Domain.

If you can get away with being evil that opens up the possibility of using very disposable Undead as the front line. You'll want to do something like be a Damphyre so you can heal yourself at the same time as your undead with negative channeling. Actually I take that back if you start over 8th level you'll gain an ability that lets you absorb negative energy so you might as well be a more normal race so that positive energy doesn't hurt you.

Take the Undead Lord archetype. Since you have to go with only one Domain, Undeath domain, you should make the most of it. Actually worshiping a god might be a negative. Just go with a cleric that worships a philosophy (Undeath). That means no Favored weapons, but it also means you can just blow off other clerics because they aren't the boss of your religion. If you want to do double duty on healing, you could be neutral and take the feats to channel positive at -2 levels.

Generally speaking most of the cleric archetypes take a lot out of the cleric to let them do something else. I feel like you give up too much and you could be a stronger character by just using the standard cleric and using appropriate spells to buff whatever you want to do. But the Undead Lord is kind of special, it makes up for the domain you give up with extra undead, and maximized undead healing.

Silver Crusade

Most of the cleric class features don't support this sword and board playstyle and won't actually help you. At best, you can cast self buffs to approximate a martial character's martial capacity, but those classes actually have features that complements a melee playstyle. So I guess what he effectively gains by doing this is being less effective at his chosen role to have the option to cast higher level spells, which he will also be less good at because he will spread around his stats and probably not have maximised wisdom?

Against a killer GM, I don't see this concept working. He will not be good enough either way. Perhaps a better call here would be to make a warpriest 'tank', since that class can better support the sword and board playstyle with swift action self buffing or healing, bonus feats and fighter specific feats (arsenal chaplain archetype also gives weapon traning).

That said, there are a few things you can do to make a pure cleric with a melee presence:

-Take the animimal subdomain for an animal companion. Take the boon companion feat. Also, there is a cleric archetype that drops one domain to get the other one at 2 levels higher. An animal companion two levels higher than your own can be good.

-Focus on summoning to let them do the fighting for you.

-If he is abosulutely committed to going melee cleric, I'd probably also go reach cleric and getting the feats that allow for a shield in the other hand (shield brace/unhindering shield). If he's sold on the idea of a sword, Nodachi's are the best weapons and game-technically count as polearms for their feat support.

Two domains are probably the most generally useful for a melee cleric: the rage subdomain and the freedom/liberation domain. The prior one gives rage as per the barbarian class feature starting at level 8 and the other one is basically mass freedom of movement for the party also starting at level 8. Get items that prevent becoming fatigued (see any number of barbarian threads on rage cycling) and you can probably switch between 2 handing and casting cleric spells pretty well.

-Kind regards,
Trevor


A bad touch cleric - one who uses touch spells & touch domain powers for offence much of the time - is certainly possible. It's not an option powerful enough to beat a killer GM often though IMO, unlike a well-made paladin or a superstitious barbarian.

If he wants a bad touch cleric anyway what level are you looking at?

Sovereign Court

|With that kind of GM i would try a rage prophet prestige class. Has some magic stuff but good hp pool to survive a killer gm.
Bad touch cleric can work too as avr said but it depends on the GM cause he may just put things that are inmune to his debuffs.


As a melee cleric, Divine Focus will be your go-to 1st level spell for the entirety of your career. +1 luck bonus to attack and damage for 1 minute, bumping up to +2 at 6th level and +3 at 9th level.

You should go with the Fate's Favored trait for another +1 to all luck bonuses.

A 9th level cleric casting Divine Favor with Fate's Favored will have an easy +4 to attack and damage castable for basically every battle in a day. And since they're Luck bonuses, which are comparatively rare, it will stack with all of the more common attack/damage bonuses you'll have from other sources.

The Fate's Favored trait will not only boost Divine Favor, but the Prayer and Deadly Juggernaut spells as well. (Deadly Juggernaut is especially handy when fighting mobs of lower-level mooks.) And there are a few items that grant Luck bonuses as well. Plus, if you go with a Half-Orc with the Sacred Tattoo alternate racial trait, it will give you +2 luck bonus to your saves as well.

Half-Orc also has the added benefit of granting you racial proficiency with the Greataxe and Falchion (or Flail and Dire Flail proficiency with an alternate racial trait), which is handy if you can't find a deity with a combination of the domains you want plus a decent favored melee weapon.

Half-Orc Fate's Favored Melee Cleric FTW.


Warpriests are fun, they can cast spells and fight all in the same round. They also make good front line tanks.

Something a bit different - Have seen some fairly good Oracle and Druid tanks. Would have to get someone else advice on those.

Really different, play a Abjuration/Transmutation Tank Wizard. Issue with this is you have to really know what you're doing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What the rest of your party has, and how you work together will change what will be effective and what won't.

A reach build with sacred summons focused on throwing out multiple weaker monsters to slow up advancing enemy as well as hitting those who make it forward with attacks of opportunity could work well if you have good ranged damage options in the party. Growth subdomain could be a good choice with this, giving swift action enlarge could enhance this as well. Divine Strategist is also something to think about, giving a bonus it init and surprise round actions.


I'd avoid rage; you'll be well south of the barbarian's gargantuan pile of hitpoints yet saddled with their dumped AC (-4 versus the build provided above) enabling monsters to land their poorer iteratives.

You can't summon the angelic hordes if you're constantly burning actions to heal yourself...if you can even do that while raging (the Rage domain doesn't say you can cast spells while raging).

Grand Lodge

Don't be a "good" or "lawful" cleric- be an evil/chaotic Cleric and take the Demon Subdomain ability- free ability to boost your attack and damage bonus equal to half your level.

and Negative Energy channeling, bad touch spells, debuffing spells, and you can even try summons.


Consider Reach Spell for a Bad Touch Cleric. You can perform Touch spells as Close range spells for only +1 spell slot.

Also, are Psionics allowed in your campaign? If so, consider the Soulthief Vitalist in lieu of a Bad Touch Cleric. They are extremely survivable, have some of the best buffing in the game, and triage heal the group through their collective. Your Killer DM will have a rough time with a Soulthief Vitalist as your frontliner.


Ryze Kuja wrote:
Your Killer DM will have a rough time with a Soulthief Vitalist as your frontliner.

No he won't. He'll just up the ante.


If you do go with a cleric with the War and Rage domains, there's a feat called Mad Magic that allows you to cast spells while raging. A few levels of barbarian will help boost your melee, but you'll be behind on casting. Of course, any multiclassed caster has that problem.


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Slim Jim wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
Your Killer DM will have a rough time with a Soulthief Vitalist as your frontliner.
No he won't. He'll just up the ante.

Oh please, stop with this "killer DM" thing. There is nothing like that.

Our DM just use the encounters at the fullest of what each one allow, and we discover he's truly talented at that... he however never modified any encounter to make it harder than the recommandation wrote in the adventure path, nor set any disavantageous homerule for us.

He's truly playing the campaign by the book.


Moonheart wrote:
Oh please, stop with this "killer DM" thing. There is nothing like that.

Your OP included: "Our DM is quite a severe one, and play every monster using every strategical possibility to the max...." --That implies he's ignoring the limited intelligence of many opponents. Or, at least, it looked that way to me. Zombies, for example, are brainless; they run straight toward you, without any tactics whatsoever, and break off only if some other target becomes closer.


Slim Jim wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
Your Killer DM will have a rough time with a Soulthief Vitalist as your frontliner.
No he won't. He'll just up the ante.

I've got a Soulthief Vitalist currently hulksmashing through my campaign. The only thing that works on her is Death spells, but now they have resurrection so that's just a speedbump :P


Level 1 : fighter
Level 2+ evangalsit cleric.
Almost full bard boosting, almost full caster.
All in martial weapons, heavy armor and power attacks.
Domain can be :
1. Heroism for heroism spell
2. Trade for fly and d-door
3. Animal for companion

Can also go guided hand a d focus all in wis and con,so less mad.


666bender wrote:

Level 1 : fighter

Level 2+ evangalsit cleric.
Almost full bard boosting, almost full caster.
All in martial weapons, heavy armor and power attacks.
Domain can be :
1. Heroism for heroism spell
2. Trade for fly and d-door
3. Animal for companion

That will get even better soon.

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