Pathfinder melee claric


Advice


Hey, can someone help me with an lv 5 25 point buy character that is a half-orc wielding an orc skull ram?

Grand Lodge

There are lots of ways to go about building that character. What kind of build are you looking for? Do you want to be able to cast spells or just walk up and hit them?

A good option is the Arsenal Chaplain warpriest. With 25 point buy you can easily go Str 16+2 Dex 12 Con 14 int 10 wis 16 Cha 8. Pick up a nice set of full plate and go to town.

For feats, utilize reach tactics. Weapon Focus(orc skull ram) is given for free at level1 warpriest, and you can take combat reflexes as your first feat. At 3rd you can pick up power attack and phalanx fighter. 5th can be furious focus. Using fervor to buff, you can cause some serious damage as a warpriest.


Here's one- unbuffed, but he's got the appropriate spells down.

Thorog Hits-In-Head-With-Head
Male orc cleric of Gorum 5
CN medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +1
Senses Darkvision 60 ft., perception +12

DEFENSE
AC 22 (+10 armor, +1 dex, +1 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 21
hp 51
Fort +9 Ref +4 Will +10

OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 orc ram +8 (1d10+7)
Special Attacks channel positive energy 1/day (3d6, will DC 10 half), ferocious strike 7/day, destructive smite 7/day
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 5th, concentration +9, D 14+spell level)
3rd: rage, channel vigor, deadly juggernaut
2nd: bull's strength, bear's endurance, boiling blood, darkness
1st: divine favor, true strike, cure light wounds (3)
0 (at-will): read magic, detect magic, bleed, mending
Domains Ferocity, Destruction

STATISTICS
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 7
Base Atk +3, CMB +7, CMD 18
Feats Heavy Armor Proficiency, Power Attack, Toughness
Skills perception +12, knowledge (religion) +8
Languages Common, Orc
Gear cloak of resistance +2, +1 orc ram, +1 full plate, headband of inspired wisdom +2, amulet of natural armor +1

Pretty simple. A fully buffed full attack, using all bonuses available to him, will look like this:

+1 orc ram +33/+13 (1d10+16) if my math is correct.


I'm looking for the perfect mix between the two. My dm is allowing me to take Guided Hand and add wisdom to attack and damage but not adding the two-handed 1.5% bonus. Also, we start with 16,000gp.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Deathskull90 wrote:
I'm looking for the perfect mix between the two. My dm is allowing me to take Guided Hand and add wisdom to attack and damage but not adding the two-handed 1.5% bonus. Also, we start with 16,000gp.

With 25 point buy unless I really wanted to focus on Save-or-Lose Spells I'd just go with STR. I'd be perfectly happy with a 16 WIS to start.


Is the orc skull ram your diety's favored weapon?

I don't think even with the favorable house rule that Guided Hand is worth two feats, especially considering that as you'd most likely like to dump Charisma and channel positive energy Channel Smite does nothing for you at all.

I'd probably use a point buy like:

Str 16 (10 points)
Dex 14 (5 points)
Con 14 (5 points)
Int 12 (2 points)
Wis 15 (7 points)
Cha 7 (+4 points)

And then I'd put my half-orc +2 into Str, and my +1 from level up into Wis. But I know many people would play with a lower INT, and I could also see an argument for dropping Dex down to 12.

As far as general advice goes, trade out your Orc Ferocity for Sacred Tatoo. And then get the trait Fate's Favored. Your favorite level one buff spell is Divine Favor. Just try and get luck bonuses to as many things as you can. Feat-wise, I'd take Improved Initiative, Power Attack, and Combat Reflexes, and I'd plan to take Sacred Summons at seven.

Best of luck!


Battle clerics are pretty pointless and really fade away quickly as you level up IMO

Arsenal Chaplain warpriest or something like Sanctified Slayer is your go to.


doc roc wrote:

Battle clerics are pretty pointless and really fade away quickly as you level up IMO

Arsenal Chaplain warpriest or something like Sanctified Slayer is your go to.

I disagree. Battle clerics are amazeballs because they’re powerful martials at the levels where martials dominate the game, and transition smoothly to being powerful casters at the levels where one to niners move and shake the multiverse.

But, the advice I can give in this thread is limited. I don’t really know how the OP envisions their character, so I can’t offer better ways to get there. I can just take what I’ve been told and offer better ways to do that. All I know is that they want a half-orc with a “perfect mix” of sword and sorcery.


It's not that you can't build a cleric to do well as a "fighter". It's that past a certain level, it will almost always be even more effective for it to cast spells every round, which would make your investment in combat a waste of resources.

The warpriest has slowed spell progression and the ability to fight and cast in the same round, so it makes a little more sense for what you want.


MelkLador wrote:
It's not that you can't build a cleric to do well as a "fighter". It's that past a certain level, it will almost always be even more effective for it to cast spells every round, which would make your investment in combat a waste of resources.

The orc skull ram is a reach weapon. Investment in your attacks of opportunity is never wasted.


Reach might depend on your DM. Most of mine have NPCs go out of their way to not provoke one.


In which case you're a) zoning, and b) casting spells free of harassment. That's a win in my book.

In depth breakdown of a reach cleric's advantages compared to other styles of cleric:

Brewer's Guide to Reach Clerics wrote:


Comparisons to a Two-Handed Cleric

How does a Reach Cleric (we'll name her Alice) compare with a Two-Handed Weapon Cleric (we'll name him Bob) - how do they look when contrasted with one another?
Actually, they're pretty darned close, as it turns out.

Advantages of Bob on Paper:
He's either got higher Strength or higher Constitution by +1 (possibly both.) Bob can dump dex, which means lets him spend a few more points on the other physical stats. He's got a higher To-Hit rate. This is partly because his strength is higher, and partly because Bob's more likely to take martial feats - he's likely to take feats like Weapon Focus over Sacred Summons.

Advantages of Alice on Paper:
She's got a higher AC - while Bob might even dump Dexterity, she's got it at 14.
She's capable of more attacks through Attacks of Opportunity. She has a higher Initiative. Even if Bob takes Improved Initiative, he's still got a lower Dex score. She's more likely to have spellcaster feats that Bob hasn't taken.

An Actual Battle, Level 10 Characters
Let's say either Alice or Bob is in a battle alongside a Sword and Board Fighter, an Archer Ranger, and a Wizard. They're up against six Salamanders, but two of the Salamanders are wielding crossbows. Initiative is rolled, and we'll say that Alice and Bob both do well and get to go before the salamanders.

Round 1 – Heroes' Turn
Alice and Bob would both probably do the same thing on round 1: cast a spell. Maybe a Wall of Stone if they're feeling nervous, a Summon Monster, or just a self-buff spell if they want to get aggressive.

Round 1 – Salamanders' Turn
However, things start to go differently when the enemies attack. Alice gets attacks of opportunities against any Salamander that approaches - and with melee foes, she'll probably get all three possible.

Round 2 – Heroes' Turn
On the second turn, Bob would probably full attack before 5-foot stepping away (being nice and letting the archer or wizard get decent shots at the enemy.) Alice, though? She'd use Acrobatics to get into a favorable position - ideally one that would require the Salamanders to once again approach her. Chances are, the acrobatics will go without a hitch - even if she fails the acrobatics check against one of them, they still have to hit her on the attack of opportunity; worst case, if she's unlucky she gets hit by an attack. After she arrives, she casts a second spell.

Round 2 – Salamanders' Turn
On the Salamanders turn, they 5-foot step in against Bob and do full attacks. Against Alice, they can charge her, but they'll only get one attack each (and provide Alice with more attacks of opportunity.)

Battle Summary So Far
After two rounds, Alice is clearly out-performing Bob: she's done more damage thanks to her attacks of opportunities, taken less damage, and even had the opportunity to cast a second spell. However, the final portion of the battle goes to Bob. When the melee salamanders die, it's time to take out the two ranged combatants. Alice doesn't do as much damage as Bob when she does regular attacks, nor does she hit quite as reliably. Granted, this difference is only +1 or +2, but that's still worth considering. Without the attacks of opportunity, Alice isn't quite as good as Bob at cleaning up the ranged foes.

What's the Trade Off?
Basically, the Reach Cleric is better at handling throngs and is better at spellcasting (even if they have the same Wisdom score.) When Alice was outnumbered, her damage output went up to impressive amounts. And during battle, finding the opportunity to cast spells wasn't a problem.

The trade-off is against large foes and enemies that don't want to get in close. In those situations, the Two-Handed Weapon Cleric is better.

Why the tradeoff is worth it.
The places where Bob is better, he's not better by much; the places where Alice is better, she's better by a mile. Alice is just a shade short of functioning as well as Bob in straight-forward fighting - she's possibly missing a point or two of strength, and possibly missing a feat or two. Other than that, she's capable of simply Power Attacking away the same as Bob. But the places where Alice shines - getting spellcasting while doing damage, handling multiple attackers - Bob simply can't do at all.

Comparison to a Caster Cleric
This time, Alice will be compared against a Caster Cleric named Charlie. Charlie doesn't do many martial actions in combat. He's pumped his Wisdom up to 24, and the rest of his stats are concerned with survival, not dealing damage. While he has a weapon, he'd much rather stick to the back and cast his spells.

Advantages of Charlie on Paper:
The DC to resist his spells is +3 or so higher. He gets a handful of extra spells each day. He can prepare a wider variety of spells (since he's not dissuaded from Save-Or-Suck spells) He has more feats dedicated to improving his spells.

Advantages of Alice on Paper:
She can do combat damage. She serves as a protector of the party, not someone who needs protecting. She's better at casting her spells in dangerous situations.

An Actual Battle, Level 10 Characters
Let's create the same battle - 6 Salamanders, two that use crossbows.

Round 1 – Heroes' Turn
Charlie's going to cast a spell. Probably Wall of Stone or something similar.

Round 1 – Salamanders' Turn
The Salamanders charge. Charlie is staying out of the way.

Round 2 – Heroes' Turn
Charlie casts another spell. Maybe a Summon Monster through Sacred Summons.

Round 2 – Salamanders' Turn
More Salamander aggression – which hopefully Charlie is managing to stay away from.

Battle Summary So Far
Charlie has cast spells just as fast as Alice, though he hasn't done any additional damage. Towards the end of battle, Charlie and Alice go into completely different roles. Charlie is more passive, because if the battle is already won, it's time to start looking to conserve resources. If the choice comes down to letting the fighter take 8 points of damage before finishing off the last foe, or using a third level spell to incapacitate the enemy, it's better to just let the fighter deal the killing blow and use a first level spell to heal him afterwards. Alice, on the other hand, simply hunts down the enemies and attacks them.

What's the Trade Off?
In the first two rounds? The trade goes entirely to Alice's favor. She casts just as many spells, but also deals about around 150 points of damage in 5 attacks. Later in the battle? Charlie's battle will take longer to finish; while Alice and Charlie are both casting spells, Alice is doing damage alongside those spells and is far more help in a fight that's winding down. Now, having a battle take longer isn't necessarily a problem. It does, however, mean that it's more likely that Charlie will be spending an extra spell or two; maybe he has to throw out one additional control spell while the other characters finish killing things off, maybe he has to throw out an additional cure spell to fix some additional points of damage.

After the battle? This is where Charlie gets his due. He's coming out of the battle with more spells for subsequent fights - after all, he started out with more. Alice is less able to fight multiple fights with full intensity before running out of spells (though, in fairness, with enough fights, Charlie breaks down entirely.)

Why the tradeoff is worth it.
This might be a bit harder to put a finger on at first. Does Charlie require more spells per fight? Probably... but are those additional spells per fight more or less than the bonus spells he gets for having a high wisdom?

An easier way of looking at it is this: What would Charlie have to do, spellcasting-wise, to replicate what Alice does? She did 150 points of damage in two rounds, while still casting each round. You could say that's a fireball worth of damage... but it's more like a quickened fireball, since she still got to do her usual spellcasting. So I'd say the tradeoff is worth it, simply because the additional spells-per-day don't overcome that level of bonus damage.

Summary
In the end, a Reach Cleric is a cross between a Two-Handed Weapon Cleric and a Caster Cleric. It keeps almost all of the Two-Handed Weapon Cleric's offensive potential (and surpasses it in a lot of situations) while keeping its standard actions free for spellcasting.


Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
In which case you're a) zoning, and b) casting spells free of harassment.

C. Not benefitting from your combat feats.


d. All of the above.


Two feats (combat reflexes and power attack) for effective infinite AC? I call that a win. (And also poor tactics on the GM's part.)


Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
Two feats (combat reflexes and power attack) for effective infinite AC? I call that a win. (And also poor tactics on the GM's part.)

I never said you shouldn’t give your cleric a reach weapon. You really don’t even need combat reflexes most days. The point was that investing in being good at fighting with a cleric is ultimately a waste of a build. As it will take up a large amount of your build, but be a small amount of your combat actions.


If someone takes a bunch of combat options, then doesn't use them, then it's waste because they choose to waste them.

Anyway, since this is a 25-point build at level 5, I wouldn't even bother with Guided Hand. Especially since Orcs get a +4 Strength and -2 Wisdom, just stick with a Strength build.

Str: 15 (19 with racial) [7 points]
Dex: 12 [2 points]
Con: 14 [5 points]
Int: 7 (5 with racial) [+4 points]
Wis: 16 (14 with racial) [10 points]
Cha: 14 (12 with racial) [5 points]
Level 4 Ability bonus into Str for 20

Feats: Power Attack, Improved Channel, Versatile Channel (worship a neutral god)


Melkiador wrote:
Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
Two feats (combat reflexes and power attack) for effective infinite AC? I call that a win. (And also poor tactics on the GM's part.)
I never said you shouldn’t give your cleric a reach weapon. You really don’t even need combat reflexes most days. The point was that investing in being good at fighting with a cleric is ultimately a waste of a build. As it will take up a large amount of your build, but be a small amount of your combat actions.

Last AP I ran a player made a heavy flail wielding evangelist cleric of Groetus that used his destruction domain powers to good effect. He would hit for 75-150 damage a round and provide group buffs to hit, damage and auto confirm crits (for opponents too).

While it wasn't as good as a dedicated melee build, this was a fully functional caster. The main drawback was the 2 rounds of buffing the character needed every combat. But if it had been a casting cleric, it would of still been 2 rounds of buffing and then using spell resources instead of synergizing his melee attacks with his domain powers.

If you plan on doing 3-4 combats per day, you don't need to pace yourself as a full caster. If you plan on finishing a full dungeon you should come up with something to do besides cast spells but still be combat effective. Melee for a 3/4 BAB class doesn't require a huge amount of investment to be functional.


Melkiador wrote:
Reach might depend on your DM. Most of mine have NPCs go out of their way to not provoke one.

That can be its own advantage. That means that the DM is wasting turns running circles just to try to get at squishies. Wise use of this means that your DM will either get frustrated and face you, or they are strung along by the nose.

...of course, the other advantage of reach is that you can full attack at 20' away if you have lunge. A quickened divine favor, and you are ready to go anytime. Lunge also helps with AoO positioning, even if you attack first.

Really, as long as you are hitting things in regular standard/full attacks, the only investment that gets 'wasted' in a basic reach build is combat reflexes. And you mostly just grab that so that the DM can't do cute things with surprise rounds or throwing a single fodder enemy to distract you and eat up your sole AoO.

Slightly more waste if you go for a trip build. But... anyone building for high level will feel that such an investment is often wasted, even when you get AoOs...

Grand Lodge

Strictly speaking of the cleric class, I would say Crusader. Losing one domain and spell slots is a sore, but it gives extra feats (a more martial character really needs these), and the character would still get access to full spell progress. Battle Oracle would be a nice alternate, but saves are a notch lower


Meirril wrote:

But if it had been a casting cleric, it would of still been 2 rounds of buffing and then using spell resources instead of synergizing his melee attacks with his domain powers.

No it wouldn't.... a pure caster cleric does MAYBE self 1 buff pre-combat and sometimes none at all.

IMO there are only 2 types of cleric worth playing

1) Summon focused

2) Caster focused.... this splits into 2 sub-categories

a) Tank caster - very doable, especially with a race like Dwarf. Heavy armour, shield + excellent saves. Doesn't attempt to hit anything with a physical weapon. Casts and soaks up attacks. Often involves a domain like Liberation or Trickery, to make you very difficult to engage in melee.

b) Cloth caster - much harder to pull off but still possible with the right cheese.... and IMO it does definitely require cheese!

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