Warpriest


Rules Discussion


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OK, I feel like I can roll with over-all premise of proficiency discrepancy vs real martial classes, but it seems like it still doesn't come together for me.

1) Key stat: Why not also allow choice of STR or DEX?
2) That plays into Crit Specialization, which mentions using Spell DC, which can help if proficiency higher, but seems like should be able to use STR/DEX?
3) Crit Specialization being fixed to Deity Weapon feels limiting, I mean that's exactly what Cloistered have (at significantly later level, sure, but it ends up the same).
4) I feel some way to gain Weapon Group like Fighter, also opening up CritSpec for it makes sense.
5) Anybody can get Trained Martial, so why not progress this to at least Expert? (as do Ancestral Weapon Expertise also Ancestral Cunning for Specialization) It's OK to have Deity Weapon as option via Deadly Simplicity but I don't think that should be strictly necessary, different weapon for different situations is normal but Warpriests end up just as locked to Deity weapon as Cloistered Cleric.
4) Also I wonder why no Armor Specialization? It seems overly narrow to limit Armor Spec to Fighter/Champion, it seems really reasonable for War Priests to get this.
(if anything, broadening relevance of ArmorSpec seems like good thing, since it gives nuanced relevance to armor types, not just best AC for DEX, with Med/Heavy seemingly identical re: Fortification))

I mean, I feel this is mostly stuff around the edges that isn't compatible with over-all approach taken, which I'm sure some could complain about, but I don't actually want to because I think the over-all balance and distinction between base classes works well. But in the long run it seems like Warpriest deserves a bit more, that acknowledges different build approach (after all Rogue Racket allow changing Key Stat, etc).

Cloistered itself seems easy enough to add Armor proficiency for almost as good AC (only 1 difference between Trained Heavy and Expert Medium), and it's weird Warpriest can't even get Expert Martial weapon proficiency (other than Deity Weapon) given even Human Unconventional Weaponry Expertise or other Ancestral Weapon Expertise does that even for a Cloistered Cleric (also with Cunning/WeaponSpec option). Really, Warpriests would strongly want to take those Ancestral Weapon options but they get no better benefit than Cloistered, so what's the point? That isn't even needed for a Cloistered Cleric with strong Deity weapon, who can grab (General) Heavy Armor Training and end up pretty much similar in combat but better in casting. Similar for Champion MC, which leaves Cloistered just 1 General Feat (Martial Weapon Trained) from being the same in combat as Warpriest but better at spells (and they can even skip General Martial if they are happy with Deity and/or Ancestral Weapon Expertise/Cunning).

Maybe more Doctrine specific Feats could help the situation, but I feel like core rules should be working a bit better in Warpriest's favor.

...Convince me I'm wrong :-)


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War Priest is in an odd niche.
For being one proficiency behind in spellcasting, you pick up lots of training in martial abilities.

First Impression: It's actually a great trade, and I figured a "must have" if you want to go to war, ya know?

Second Impression: Ah, crap, you don't continue to progress in your martial prowess like a martial class, nor do you get a special trick like Rage, Hunter's Edge, etc. Might as well be a Cloistered Cleric w/ MCD Champion & Ancestry Weaponry.

It seems, Quandary, you are at this stage. I had been too until I started writing up a guide for gishes.

Third Impression: It takes a lot of investment (and sometimes system mastery) for other full casters to get Expert Proficiency in armor AND weapons, and a War Priest gets both at decent levels. You're online from level one w/ any Ancestry, have lots of feats you're free to spend, and there's a large choice of deity weapons.
And you're still a full caster!
So while I can agree a Str or Dex option would be thematic, I think that would tilt the balance too far above combat Bards & caster-based gishes, maybe even the actual martials.

It's a darn strong class, and now I feel obliged to go make some.
Cheers


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To me it seems like "warpriest" is just misleading people with his name.

He really is the "old cleric".

He has some armor proficiency to stand in the front line, medium martial prowess, he's competent at his spells but not the caster you expect to nuke things down, more about support and buffs and heals. He can swing his weapon when he can, and if he buffs himself he becomes quite potent, but without buffs active he's not really your first choice for "martial". He still gets full 10th level casting like a normal cleric and etc

If you want a frontliner healer, he's your guy.

Cloistered is more like divine wizard rather than the traditional shield+mace/morningstar cleric we all come to love and hate.


OK, thanks for the take, but I still don't see it. :-(

Cloistered get the same proficiency in Deity Weapon to start with and at late levels, leaving Domain(Class):Shield Block(General) swap.
Martial Trained is one General Feat, but either will want to be using Expert Weapons either Deity or by other means.
Warpriest doesn't get "medium martial prowess" they get Trained Martial, when even Wizards get Expert in their weapons.
Getting Expert in all Martial is not up to par with martial classes, those all get Master at level 13 (non-Fighter).
So it's hardly like granting full Expert Martial is anything but reasonable expectation, it still lags martials by at least 1.

Warpriest gains Weapon Specialization at exact same level as Cloistered for exact same damage bonus.
Warpriest only gains Deity Weapon Crit Specialization effect which Cloistered Cleric also does,
so Warpriests are stuck buying Unconvetinal/Ancestral Weapon Expertise and Crit Spec on exact same terms as Cloistered.

Warpriests eventually can get minor bonus in Med Armor VS Trained Heavy, but this doesn't feel significant, it still lags Ruffian Rogues.
With either Warpriest or Cloistered taking Champion Dedication on same terms, what is Warpriest advantage or distinction?
If we're supposed to concieve of Warpriest as simply "average Cleric" vs "caster Cleric" and not extra martial-ly, it still falls flat,
it's too easy to to bring Cloistered up to same armor par via Champion MC, both getting Expert in only Deity Weapon,
Trained Martial is 1 General Feat, but both would need same Ancestry etc Feats to get Expert in non-Deity weapons.

I just don't see why not do something with Armor Specialization? The mechanic feels underutilized, only relevant for Fighters/Champions.
I don't expect parity with martial proficiencies, but staying 1 behind the baseline (Expert:Master) seems reasonable,
and besides better Weapon Spec damage vs Cloistered, why not broader Martial Crit Specialization at least via chosen Weapon Groups?
That would start to make them feel distinguished with clear benefit from 1-20,
not just negated by Cloistered taking Champion Dedication and same Weapon Expertise Feats the Warpriest probably wants too.
Something like 1/2 level access to Fighter Feats would make sense, although I guess these types of things can be added piecemeal as Barb/Champ get certain Fighter Feats.

It really just feels like anybody is better off with Cloistered Champion Dedication and General Martial Training or even skipping Martial
to go for Unconventional/Ancestral Weaponry that Warpriest would also want to get even Expert in anything outside of Deity weapon.


Really frontloaded and decent class. You get Expert weapon early and expert armor... At an acceptable time. This class seems to be extremely good until they get to like lv12+ and then the math would say they start to drop. One would expert Master weapon at like 15 but nope, it just falls behind. What you gotta do at the higher levels is cast Heroism on yourself to "fix your math" and make sure to have good equips asap, then they can still hang in the frontlines, even if it's more work.


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Yeah, it works fine at low levels, but really falls of the board at mid-high levels.
I don't want to demand too much, because obviously unique Feats and Focus powers etc in APG can help them alot,
but it's hard when the chassis isn't even trying to excel in it's niche, even ignoring the Proficiency stuff,
it just drops the ball with stuff like no CritSpec beyond Deity Weapon, same WeaponSpec damage, no ArmorSpec.

Without that, I feel like I can outdo it at it's own schtick with Cloister+ChampionMC,
even Trained Heavy Armor which can be grabbed quickly with Humans only falls behind by 1AC at 13th level.


There is essentially one good warpriest build, and that is the greatsword Gorumite warpriest.

Warpriests are very front-loaded in their benefits. By my reckoning, it is roughly around 11th level wherein they start to drop off.


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Quandary wrote:

Yeah, it works fine at low levels, but really falls of the board at mid-high levels.

I don't want to demand too much, because obviously unique Feats and Focus powers etc in APG can help them alot,
but it's hard when the chassis isn't even trying to excel in it's niche, even ignoring the Proficiency stuff,
it just drops the ball with stuff like no CritSpec beyond Deity Weapon, same WeaponSpec damage, no ArmorSpec.

Without that, I feel like I can outdo it at it's own schtick with Cloister+ChampionMC,
even Trained Heavy Armor which can be grabbed quickly with Humans only falls behind by 1AC at 13th level.

by mid high levels you have enough spells to reliably be ALWAYS buffed in combat though, so it evens out.

That was the case with old clerics as well.

Early on, they were good enough with their armor and weapons, later on they needed buffs but they also had buffs.

There is a distinct difference in starting with medium armor and getting expert weapon/armor early on in how you play as compared to Cloistered who needs to invest if he wants to catch up.

Cloistered gets delayed proficiency in both weapon and armor, so if you want to patch both holes, you need quite a bit of investment unlike Warpriest that can use the same investment to either increase his damage, or to increase his support.


Multiclassing Champion isn't as easy as you seem to think. You're talking about some serious stat creep. You need a 14 Cha and Str to multiclass Champion. That's doable from level 1 with the expected 18 Wis, as long as you're willing to sacrifice your level 2 class feat.

But now your armor is giving you a penalty if you want heavy (16+ Str to avoid the Speed and Armor Check hit). A character who wants to melee doesn't want a speed penalty of -10 feet/action. You are also limited to being a cleric of a good deity as we only have the rules for good champions.

You can buff Str as you level, but would you rather put that increase into Dex or Str? Dex gets you Reflex save and armor class. Str gets a cloistered cleric more melee damage and less armor penalties. Only you're a cloistered cleric and want to hang back and nuke/heal. You're not supposed to be taking the hits. Better Reflex is probably the better bet.

Honestly warpriest is something you're doing because you think it'll be fun to play. Cloistered is where the munchkins will go. Skip the armor and its costs, penalties, feat taxes, bulk, etc. Put the extra stat mod into Cha and get more heals. Con might be better as well. Reading the bestiary, equal level monsters will usually hit so having a super high AC to get ahead of the curve is chasing the carrot. Just accept the damage and kill them before they kill you.


Anybody want to defend why Sorcerors get Simple Weapon Expertise at 11, but Warpriests never do? (neither do Cloistered)
That just really makes me feel they screwed up here, and let some stuff fall thru the cracks.


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Aservan wrote:

Multiclassing Champion isn't as easy as you seem to think. You're talking about some serious stat creep. You need a 14 Cha and Str to multiclass Champion. That's doable from level 1 with the expected 18 Wis, as long as you're willing to sacrifice your level 2 class feat.

But now your armor is giving you a penalty if you want heavy (16+ Str to avoid the Speed and Armor Check hit). A character who wants to melee doesn't want a speed penalty of -10 feet/action. You are also limited to being a cleric of a good deity as we only have the rules for good champions.

You can buff Str as you level, but would you rather put that increase into Dex or Str? Dex gets you Reflex save and armor class. Str gets a cloistered cleric more melee damage and less armor penalties. Only you're a cloistered cleric and want to hang back and nuke/heal. You're not supposed to be taking the hits. Better Reflex is probably the better bet.

Honestly warpriest is something you're doing because you think it'll be fun to play. Cloistered is where the munchkins will go. Skip the armor and its costs, penalties, feat taxes, bulk, etc. Put the extra stat mod into Cha and get more heals. Con might be better as well. Reading the bestiary, equal level monsters will usually hit so having a super high AC to get ahead of the curve is chasing the carrot. Just accept the damage and kill them before they kill you.

18 WIS on a warpriest? No way man. Gotta keep that stat pretty low! STR and CHA are going to do a lot more for a "normal" melee-oriented warpriest than WIS. Stick to buffs and cure spells and your spell DC is irrelevant. They can easily meet the multiclass requirements, but do agree MCing Champion it's not for every Warpriest.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Aservan wrote:

Multiclassing Champion isn't as easy as you seem to think. You're talking about some serious stat creep. You need a 14 Cha and Str to multiclass Champion. That's doable from level 1 with the expected 18 Wis, as long as you're willing to sacrifice your level 2 class feat.

But now your armor is giving you a penalty if you want heavy (16+ Str to avoid the Speed and Armor Check hit). A character who wants to melee doesn't want a speed penalty of -10 feet/action. You are also limited to being a cleric of a good deity as we only have the rules for good champions.

You can buff Str as you level, but would you rather put that increase into Dex or Str? Dex gets you Reflex save and armor class. Str gets a cloistered cleric more melee damage and less armor penalties. Only you're a cloistered cleric and want to hang back and nuke/heal. You're not supposed to be taking the hits. Better Reflex is probably the better bet.

Honestly warpriest is something you're doing because you think it'll be fun to play. Cloistered is where the munchkins will go. Skip the armor and its costs, penalties, feat taxes, bulk, etc. Put the extra stat mod into Cha and get more heals. Con might be better as well. Reading the bestiary, equal level monsters will usually hit so having a super high AC to get ahead of the curve is chasing the carrot. Just accept the damage and kill them before they kill you.

18 WIS on a warpriest? No way man. Gotta keep that stat pretty low! STR and CHA are going to do a lot more for a "normal" melee-oriented warpriest than WIS. Stick to buffs and cure spells and your spell DC is irrelevant. They can easily meet the multiclass requirements, but do agree MCing Champion it's not for every Warpriest.

Warpriest doesn't need Wisdom. It's not a limiter for its spells in any way. There's no more stat requirement of 10 + Spell Level. Wisdom is useful if you're going to use offensive spells, but as it's been said in this thread that's not the Warpriest's jam.

Instead, I'd argue that 14 Cha and 14 Str in order to get into Champion is EXACTLY what the Warpriest wants. With Channel Smite, the Warpriest wants ever more Charisma to power Healing Font. Without Channel Smite, you'll likely be acting as a frontline healer (as Shroud said). That still requires Healing Font to be your main mechanic.

That leaves us with a stat line something like...
Class Wis
Background Cha, Str
Ancestry Cha, Str (as Human)
Level 1 Cha, Str, Con, Dex

12 Wis. BUT... you get back 16 Str, 16 Charisma, 12 Con, and 12 Dex. Your AC should be on par with other tank-y types. Your to-hit at level 1 is only 1 point lower. That's corrected at level 5.

And that to-hit dip is somewhat fixed by Heroism, which is on the Divine list. +1 at 3rd, +2 at 6th, +3 at 9th. Sucks to waste your 9th level spells that way, but it is what it is.

Alternatively, you could opt to not try to hit with a 2nd attack... see: Channel Smite.


IMHO especially in MC Champion Heavy Armor build, WIS > DEX in priorities, just for Perception/Init and WIS vs REF,
especially considering Heavy Plate grants pseudo 16 DEX for Damage Reflex Saves, but YMMV.

Anyhow, that does touch upon issue of Cleric forcing Key Stat (and Class bonus to Stat) to be WIS.
That alone forces heavier WIS investment in Warpriest build, even if it's your last priority.
Technically it could be possible to detache Class bonus stat from Key Stat for Class DC purposes,
but I think it would just be more reasonable to allow choice of WIS or CHA, which is relevant for all Cleric doctrines.
(allowing to start with 18 CHA for "Channel Cleric" focus, or Warpriest focusing on 16's in STR/CON/CHA etc)

That still wouldn't allow starting 18 STR or DEX, but would allow re-allocating for higher CON or higher mixed STR/DEX
which is actually important for any Warpriest wanting to go primary Ranged Weapon (+STR damage, Bulk, etc)

I mean, the class' own magic uses both WIS and CHA so it doesn't seem a stretch to allow specifying either as key/bonus stat.


Quandary wrote:

Anybody want to defend why Sorcerors get Simple Weapon Expertise at 11, but Warpriests never do? (neither do Cloistered)

That just really makes me feel they screwed up here, and let some stuff fall thru the cracks.

I think the intent is for warpriests to wield their deity's weapon. Considering they are still full casters, I'm not sure it's a big problem.


lordcirth wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Anybody want to defend why Sorcerors get Simple Weapon Expertise at 11, but Warpriests never do? (neither do Cloistered)

That just really makes me feel they screwed up here, and let some stuff fall thru the cracks.
I think the intent is for warpriests to wield their deity's weapon. Considering they are still full casters, I'm not sure it's a big problem.

Well, I even consider the addition of martial weapons at level 3 a big and glaring let-down. Apart from being somewhat stylish, what true benefit does it bring to your Warpriest?

Bow instead of crossbow, yeah?
You can use a martial weapon between levels 3 and 7 instead of your favorite weapon, yeah?

This doctrine feature simply is a big waste as a normal warpriest will most of the time not even notice having received it.


The cleric's focus on its deity's weapon is a bit ridiculous. Not only do even wizards get more expert weapons than a warpriest, but at least one feat that's basically made to be used for a frontline warpriest only works with the favorite weapon: Replenishment of War.

Basically, a warpriest loses most things that makes him special if he's not using the right weapon. That means you'll almost never see warpriests of certain deities (like Abadar, Desna and Calistria), simply because their only weapon if choice is bad.


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In terms of raw feats the Warpriest definitely pulls ahead here, it gets a lot compared to the CC.

But the Warpriest's proficiency progression is really awkward.

For me the big issue with the Warpriest is it doesn't actually get better at weapons than the cloistered cleric. Both of them cap out with Expert with their deity's weapon, the Warpriest just gets it a few levels earlier.

That means from levels 1-6 and 11-20 the two of them are basically just as good at swinging their weapon of choice than the other and a dex focused martial cloistered cleric wouldn't feel all that different from a similarly built warpriest for most of a campaign.

So instead of the Warpriest being about martial combat, its 'real' unique feature is getting better fort saves, which is nice but feels a little weird.

Ultimately I still think the Warpriest is a good doctrine, but less because the Warpriest succeeds at its own fantasy and more because it's easy to ignore the proficiency issue with the way the divine spell list is structured. It ends up being the case that unless I really want to focus on divine attacks/debuffs, Warpriest is arguably a much more alluring default option, even if I don't want to swing a weapon at all.

Personally I think Paizo should have put more features in each doctrine to differentiate them more.


ChibiNyan wrote:

18 WIS on a warpriest? No way man. Gotta keep that stat pretty low! STR and CHA are going to do a lot more for a "normal" melee-oriented warpriest than WIS. Stick to buffs and cure spells and your spell DC is irrelevant. They can easily meet the multiclass requirements, but do agree MCing Champion it's not for every Warpriest.

I'm pretty sure Aservan was talking about cloistered cleric there. It's not easy, useful or a guarantee that a closeted cleric will want/have 14 Str at level 2 for MCD champion. Folks keep talking about how easy it is to replicate warpriest's benefits as a cc, but are not taking into account the stat costs.

To start with a 14 Str as a CC, you'll either have to forgo 18 in WIS, 16 in CHA, or take extra ability flaws in DEX and INT. All that so you can have an armor check penalty and a speed penalty until level 5 when you can increase STR to 16.

It's it doable, sure. Is it worth while, eh...maybe?

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