Best cleric caster build....

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I was having a few vodkas with my fellow gamers the other night, we were taking about pure casters in PF and we got chatting..... what would be the optimal starting point for a cleric caster?

Here's my vote:

Samsaran Ecclesitheurge cleric of Mhar

Samsaran = great race for a pure caster (+2 WIS +2 INT... but yes -2 CON)
Wall of Ashes = amazing on-tap debuff
Tunnel Runner = amazing self buffs anytime you are underground
1st level domain powers (combined) = effectively on-tap range attack that will function well at levels 1-4.

Mystic past life = Choose Adept - invisibility, mirror image, web, lightning bolt, polymorph, stoneskin

Ash & Caves = useful spells that cover some weak points in the cleric spell list. The only deity as far as I'm aware that can grant you both.

Access to Dreamed Secrets = 2 Wiz spells/day of anything you fancy

Anyone beat it?

Most days, I prefer the herald caller for being more of a caster. I’m big into summoning. But that is a pretty good ecclesitheurge build you got there.

A wide range of spells is only one part of being a great spellcaster. Another part is being as effective as possible with what you've got.

Suppose we start with an human cleric of Sivanah. +2 Wis, naturally. The spell resistance of outsiders won't be a major issue, your FCB gives +1 to beat it each level until 5th. After that you enter the veiled illusionist PrC and start stealing illusion spells off the sorc/wiz list, and building up to other powers like rerolling failed SR checks and eventually what amounts to free persistent spell on illusions which stacks with normal persistent spell.

Magic/Rites (permanency! at 20% off!) and Trickery/Deception (mirror image) seem like reasonable domains for a pure spellcaster. To keep both we won't be taking an archetype.

You'll want to build up to spell perfection if the game might last so long. This requires 3 metamagic feats which might be persistent spell, quicken spell, and solid shadows if you steal appropriate illusions off the sorc/wiz list.

I like the callous casting betrayal/teamwork feat if you can get anyone to cooperate with you in the party. If you can't, get a familiar via the eldritch heritage or familiar bond feats and have it take the valet archetype. Make sure the spell targeting it isn't lethal of course, but clerics and illusion spells include plenty of debuffs.

Very little knowledge of clerics but do know anything that can stack CL is very very strong in conjunction with holy word, plus nice for plenty of other stuff too.

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What makes for a great caster is not needing to devote your own spells to make up for your character's weaknesses. Anyone that feels they need 3 buffs on them to be ready for combat isn't.

To eliminate as many weaknesses as possible, I think its a good idea not to give up any of the clerics ability to use armor. While you can argue that light armor is superior for a cleric (at least in the low levels) because they need full movement to deliver touch spells, going unarmored seems bad because they need to deliver touch spells, to front line fighters.

Sure you can use spells and items to deliver these spells at range, but that means you are pumping resources into avoiding melee combat. If your adventuring day ends after 2 encounters this is fine, but I believe every character should strive to be more efficient than that.

Also clerics are 3/4 BAB. It isn't always going to be a good idea for them to wade into melee combat, but if the opponent doesn't have a very impressive AC doing some melee will help spread out the damage and save some spells for when you actually need them. Trying to make your channel a bit more efficient by volunteering for some damage is a legitimate tactic.

And the best caster build will depend on the rest of your party. In the correct campaign an Undead Lord can be the best build. Especially in a party that has a lot of members that heal from negative energy.

Silver Crusade

Suggestion 1: Wear medium mithral armor which counts as Light Armor in every way. A PC with the Armor Expert trait can wear Mithril Breastplate that counts as Light Armor with zero ACP. You don't even need Medium Armor proficiency, as the ACP penalty is zero. Or skip the trait and just take the penalties, especially if you intend to be physically incompetent. Most Pathfinder full casters are physical incompetents in need of protection.

Suggestion 2: Maybe don't be physically incompetent. You can be physically competent (thus martially competent) and still very good at spell casting. As Meirril says above, full casters want to eliminate weaknesses. If you are physically incompetent then you are a defensive burden who requires protection. That's a weakness that drags down your entire team. For a small build investment (14 Strength, no feats, carry a longspear in two hands) you become a Protector instead of one who needs protection. Your eclesiotheurge can shoot fireballs into foes and sometimes dare the survivors to come get you, instead of fearing them! That's enough Strength that your passive reach screen will provide more defensive value than a shield to you and your allies. While you won't be taking on any bosses in melee, your reach screen will passively mitigate quite a bit of incoming damage. Sometimes foes will avoid you, sometimes you'll trip them at reach, and sometimes you'll kill incoming foes before they attack. You'll even have the option of buffing yourself, with a few low level spells, into a melee Holy Terror. Fully buffed at 3rd level, with just 14 strength, your melee attacks are +8 to hit for average 16+ hp. It's a nice back-pocket trick. Your melee action occurs during the GM's turn, which is why it doesn't interfere with your spell casting.

Suggestion 3: Whichever prepared full caster type you choose, be sure to leave an Open Spell Slot at every spell level. With 15 minute advance warning you can prepare any spell you can access. This nearly eliminates the need to prepare utility spells. Furthermore, if you don't use an Open Spell Slot during the day you can prepare and cast long duration spells, like Endure Elements or Goodberry, just before resting, effectively getting them the next day for free.

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