Is there a huge combat impact disparity between classes?


Advice


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Quick backstory: First time player of a few months. Current group is wizard(wife), cleric(me), fighter, rogue, barbarian, monk. Slowly learning rules and it seems like every combat the two of us playing casters do nothing comparatively. 6th level fighter recently dropped almost 50 damage without even using all of his 6 attacks, he did roll really well. But wizard struggles to deal above 15 even with really good rolls. Seems like all of the martial classes can hit 20+ damage in a round on mediocre to good rolls. Then my buffs/debuts do so little that I have to individually remind each player to account for them or they ignore them.

Am I missing something here or is there just a huge difference in combat impact between spell casters and non?


You are partially correct. Casters start out weaker than marital classes, but eventually get a lot stronger. The other thing is that casters don’t win by doing damage. What most casters excel at is finding other ways to assure the parties victory. This is done through a number of ways. Buffing/Debuffing the party is a good one way. The cleric does this extremely well. Battle field control is another useful tactic and is where the wizard often shines. Look up Treantmonks guide to Wizards for some examples of both.

At lower levels casters have limited number of spells and their spells are not that powerful. At higher levels they have more spells and their spells are a lot more powerful. At 6th level you are just starting to come into your own as a caster. Once you get higher level the situation will be reversed.

Caster also do well out of combat. With the right spells you may be able to completely circumvent encounters or bypass challenges that the Martials have no chance of solving. Pathfinder is a cooperative game. In some cases your character may take a back seat to other, but your time to shine will come.


At level 6? Yeah, there's a big difference. Clerics can be good martials, but they take a bit more work at it than a fighter needs since a fighter is getting a feat every level.

Also, how exactly does a level 6 fighter have 6 attacks? He should only have 2 attacks per turn. Even if he's dual wielding, that's still just 4 attacks.

Grand Lodge

I was wondering the same thing as Heather...6 attacks at level 6 is crazy. Is it some kind of natural attacks build with like claw/claw/bite/gore/tentacle/hoof or something? If not, someone is reading some rules incorrectly someplace...which could definitely lead to a large disparity in power levels.

Other than that...casters definitely get stronger at higher levels...and like Mysterious Stranger said...damage is not where they shine brightest...control, buffing, and de-buffing are where they are most effective.

Low level buff spells suck...but once you get things like Haste, you can massively buff the parties effectiveness.

Same with control spells...stuff like Color Spray is nice filler at low levels...but once you get fun things like Black Tentacles, you can really throw a wrench in the enemies plans.


In addition to everything else that's been said, since you're a cleric, keep in mind: Healing is not something that is super effective in combat. It's very hard to keep up with the damage being dealt. Better to prevent that damage from being done in the first place.


Squishedllama wrote:

Quick backstory: First time player of a few months. Current group is wizard(wife), cleric(me), fighter, rogue, barbarian, monk. Slowly learning rules and it seems like every combat the two of us playing casters do nothing comparatively.

Am I missing something here or is there just a huge difference in combat impact between spell casters and non?

Clerics feel like they ought to be a jack of all trades type, but in practice you have to focus on something (combat, debuffs, healing) or you end up being mediocre at everything. Not that anyone will recommend specialising in healing.

So, can you give us a bit more detail. What sort of cleric are you, what domains/feats do you have, what spells do you usually take? I might be able to suggest some tweaks.

One I have used a lot is to write the buffs on index cards and drop them on the table so people ca see them when they are adding up numbers, or if it’s a single person buff, hand them the card.

As for the wizard, I suggest at least one of Grease, Create Pit and Glitterdust as spells to try and learn if she doesn’t know them already, because battlefield control is where wizards excel.


Thanks for all of the replies this is very helpful.

To respond to a few things - My wife and I have been trying to follow guides to see what is useful but this is our first TTRPG and the sheer volume of rules and how things interact can be overwhelming sometimes. The DM has been great but it’s also very obvious he doesn’t really know casters well so we have been figuring out a lot on our own.

To Heather’s point: Part of my motivation in posting was to see if 6 attacks was possible. All of the players are new to either pathfinder or D&D in general. I wondered if there was some misunderstanding since 6 attacks trivializes anything we fight.

I have built my character around buffing and debuffing which I am fine with. It just irks me that so often anything I do has no impact. I am hoping that will change in the next few levels based on all the responses.

Neriathale - The wizard at first was using glitter dust but has dropped it due to the large number of melee characters in the party. She says she found a guide on focusing on summoning monsters and has been taking feats to buff that. Is that a viable path and if so are there other spells she should look at to compliment that? Also is glitter dust and other area affect CC still worth it in this party?


Neriathale wrote:


Clerics feel like they ought to be a jack of all trades type, but in practice you have to focus on something (combat, debuffs, healing) or you end up being mediocre at everything. Not that anyone will recommend specialising in healing.

This is the #1 mistake people make when playing clerics, although it looks like you can be a good jack of all trades, to be successful you MUST specialise.... and with a cleric that takes system mastery.

Hence why I don't recommend cleric as a starter class for newbs. A druid is a better bet for a caster jack of all trades.

And IMO focussing on being a combat cleric or a healbot are the LEAST effective specialisms.


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Another thing to point out is that the wizard and cleric are possibly the 2 hardest classes to play well. They both want the best spells, but have a HUGE list to choose from. They also have to prepare spells in advance, which is complicated to learn and requires player prep - not just character prep.

Glitterdust is a great spell. You could look at investing in the Selective Spell metamagic feat, or a metamagic rod. Or you could try to use positioning (encourage your melee allues to delay actions till after the wizard has gone, They'll enjoy fighting blind enemies).

Summons are the most powerful spells in the game, but require a lot of system knowledge or they can slow down the game a LOT. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginner (although to be honest I wouldn't recommend the wizard or cleric for a beginner anyway, so take that as you will).

Find out how the fighter made 6 attacks in a round. It's possible with Attacks of Opportunity (AoOs) or with Natural Attacks, but it's very unusual at that level.


Heather 540 wrote:

At level 6? Yeah, there's a big difference. Clerics can be good martials, but they take a bit more work at it than a fighter needs since a fighter is getting a feat every level.

Also, how exactly does a level 6 fighter have 6 attacks? He should only have 2 attacks per turn. Even if he's dual wielding, that's still just 4 attacks.

Natural Attack Build?


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Squishedllama wrote:

Quick backstory: First time player of a few months. Current group is wizard(wife), cleric(me), fighter, rogue, barbarian, monk. Slowly learning rules and it seems like every combat the two of us playing casters do nothing comparatively. 6th level fighter recently dropped almost 50 damage without even using all of his 6 attacks, he did roll really well. But wizard struggles to deal above 15 even with really good rolls. Seems like all of the martial classes can hit 20+ damage in a round on mediocre to good rolls. Then my buffs/debuts do so little that I have to individually remind each player to account for them or they ignore them.

Am I missing something here or is there just a huge difference in combat impact between spell casters and non?

You are missing something; certainly your wife is. A Fireball cast by a level 6 Wizard does an average of 21 points of Damage in a 20' Radius Sphere. Lots of Damage over a big area.

Sleep and Color Spray Spells usually end their combats when used right.

Magic Missile at level 6 only does 10.5 on average, but no Attack Roll, no Saving Throw: they just automatically hit, and they can be fired into melee.

As for your character, the Cleric, there are ways to make your character better in combat, but even if you don't have much impact in battle, you sure do have a lot of impact when that battle is over. If you don't get anything else, you are the Medic, and the party needs you.
Wizard and Sorcerer Spells are devastating. She should keep practicing. She probably has some powerful Summons options, too.


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MrCharisma is right about clerics and wizards, but any prepared caster is tough for a newbie to run. Even a druid is going to have problems with spell selection. Divine spell casters are probably worse than arcane spell casters because they get access to their whole list of spells. In theory this is a huge advantage but only if you are familiar enough with you spells to select effective spells. Learning what every spell on your spell list does is an overwhelming task for someone new to the game. Depending on what books are available you may have over a 100 1st level spells available. A lot of the spells are highly specialized so often don’t seem to be that effective until the situation requires them.

Playing an oracle or sorcerer would have probably been a better choice. They have a more limited number of spells available to them, but have a lot more flexibility when casting. This makes choosing your spells known is actually more important but only needs to be done at character creation and when you level up. Most newbies I have seen tend to memorize the same spells all the time anyways so in practice it is really not that limiting. Being able to choose spells on the fly from a smaller list is a lot easier than having figure out what spells you need on a daily basis. See if your GM will let you change your classes to make it easier for you to be more effective.

Another part of your frustration is probably due to your expectations. Spell casters when properly played tend to act as force multipliers. Instead of winning the battle they make the rest of the party more effective. This is especially true with the cleric. Often it seems like your character is not doing much because his contributions are being overlooked. When the fighter hits only because of the bless you cast earlier everyone gives credit to the fighter not the cleric, but in reality your spell was the reason the fighter succeeded. Spells like bless, prayer and blessing of fervor are the bread and butter of a cleric. Prayer is probably one of the most overlooked spells of the game, and blessing of fervor is so useful it is almost considered a must have spell. Communal spells are also another overlooked spell.

Probably the hardest thing about playing a spell caster is learning when not to cast a spell. Wasting your spells on encounters where they are not needed means that you don’t have them when you really need them. This is particularly true with your more powerful spells. Don’t waste a spell when it is not needed just because you want to do something. Learning to assess the situation and choose the most appropriate spell is one of the most difficult things to learn. But once you have learned how to do this your effectiveness as a player will improve dramatically.

When choosing your spells look for those spells that can be used in multiple ways rather than a limited scope. Avoid highly specialized spells unless you know they are going to be useful. Spear of Purity is great for when you are facing evil outsiders, but a lot less useful when non-evil monsters or NPC’s. Dispel Magic on the other hand can be used to counter any spell so is almost always worth choosing.


Squishedllama wrote:

Quick backstory: First time player of a few months. Current group is wizard(wife), cleric(me), fighter, rogue, barbarian, monk. Slowly learning rules and it seems like every combat the two of us playing casters do nothing comparatively. 6th level fighter recently dropped almost 50 damage without even using all of his 6 attacks, he did roll really well. But wizard struggles to deal above 15 even with really good rolls. Seems like all of the martial classes can hit 20+ damage in a round on mediocre to good rolls. Then my buffs/debuts do so little that I have to individually remind each player to account for them or they ignore them.

Am I missing something here or is there just a huge difference in combat impact between spell casters and non?

D&D has LFQW (Linear Fighters, Quadratic Wizards) where fighters generally start stronger than wizards and end up weaker. At level 6, the wizard is only just starting to strut their stuff.

Of course, that's the "baseline". Are you doing multiple encounters per day? That favors wizards over fighters. What point buy did you use? (Or did you make the mistake of rolling stats?) Is the wizard using save-or-suffer spells, or direct damage? Did the wizard pick good spells (you get two learned "free" per level, even if you never find scrolls or spellbooks and there are no magic shops). Does the wizard know how to target weaker save DCs? Is the GM following the guidelines for treasure?

Is the GM even following the rules? A 6th-level fighter only gets two attacks, unless they've got Cleave, Combat Reflexes, or something. Even then, getting 6 attacks in one round is more than a little impressive.

There's a learning curve. My first high level wizard, back in 2e, died almost immediately because I didn't know to use defensive spells. Ha ha.

A level 6 Fireball deals 6d6 damage, or an average of 21 damage, to multiple opponents. Of course said wizard might prefer to use save-or-suffer spells instead. Those get better at higher level, but Hold Person is pretty decent already. One more level and you will get Confusion, a spell that can force opponents to fight each other, dealing possibly more than 50 damage and and they're not attacking your guys anymore.


If you want to be decent at healing, make sure you have the Healing domain (though I like the Restoration subdomain even better for status removals). +50% to your cure spells at level 6 is nice. Also, you'll need a good Wisdom for bonus spells, and a good Charisma for channeling. Live with 10 Strength, Dex, and Intelligence. Get a headband of Wisdom for more spells, or Charisma for more channels, or Phylactery of Positive Channeling for increased channel dice. Add in a Ring of Protected Life to up your channel radius and Selective Channel feat deselection of opponents. Get a Rod of Reach too: very handy to be able to cast Heal or Breath of Life when you don't have the movement to get to the character hit by the Disintegrate or critted by a times 4 weapon in the hands of a large or huge creature.

For buffs, Bless, Guidance, Prayer, Protection from Evil can all be decent in the right places. Good Hope (for Milani worshipers) is awesome for a level 3 spell, as it affects To Hit, Damage, saves, skills, and ability checks. Blessing of Fervor is awesome for a level 4 spell. At early levels (or to save spell slots), use a Domain power (e.g. Touch of Good, Inspiring Word, Inspiring Command) and then move into flanking can also be good, or just doing Aid Another while also setting up flanking can be helpful. +4 to hit is nothing to sneeze at for an ally up against a tough AC monster, especially if it's the rogue who now also gets sneak damage from your flank. A longspear lets you do it from reach even.

And I recommend having index cards of the common buff spells and powers that you use, to hand out to the other players. When someone would have missed an attack otherwise, but you have Prayer and Good Hope up to make them connect, just remember that you're providing all the damage of that swing, in addition to the +3 damage that the spells directly provide. It's even more important when they would have been incapacitated or severely wounded by some status effect potentially inflicted on them, but the +3 to saves prevented your party mates' failure.

For other spells, status removal (Lesser Restoration and Remove Blindness/Deafness/Paralysis/Poison) and defeating undead are really helpful at the right time (Ghost Touch, Death Ward). Resist Energy and Protection From Energy [communal] are also handy depending on the opponents.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Heather 540 wrote:

At level 6? Yeah, there's a big difference. Clerics can be good martials, but they take a bit more work at it than a fighter needs since a fighter is getting a feat every level.

Also, how exactly does a level 6 fighter have 6 attacks? He should only have 2 attacks per turn. Even if he's dual wielding, that's still just 4 attacks.

Natural Attack Build?

Probably at least partially. Toothy half-orc + Two-Weapon Fighting + Improved Two-Weapon Fighting + haste = six attacks at level 6. I'm sure there are other ways.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To the martials vs. spellcasters as damage-dealers argument: Martial characters can do more total damage against a small number of foes (one to three, generally), while spellcasters can do more total damage against larger groups (four or more, generally).

It pretty much depends on what sort of fights you get into more often.


MrCharisma wrote:
Another thing to point out is that the wizard and cleric are possibly the 2 hardest classes to play well. They both want the best spells, but have a HUGE list to choose from. They also have to prepare spells in advance, which is complicated to learn and requires player prep - not just character prep.

Yes I agree - however, I would go further to say that a cleric is harder to play than wizard due to:

Interplay of the spells and abilities between the 2 given domains which can vary widely in strength

The impact of race which I believe is more significant than the effect on the wizard and the direction it can go.
With the cleric - dwarf, human, half-elf, half-orc, aasimar and samsaran are all completely viable but will have a differing impact on the type of cleric it produces.

The fact that out of all the classes, clerics lose relatively little by PrCing.

The impact of the deity chosen in terms of bonus spells for clerics which can again make a significant impact on the impact of the cleric. There are some real hidden gems out there..... a good example is Shizuru which as a cleric now enables you to spam Colour Spray and become a very effective battlefield controller at low levels, alongside whatever else you are doing.

But how many people have the time to sift through all the deity bonuses?

Grand Lodge

Squishedllama wrote:
To Heather’s point: Part of my motivation in posting was to see if 6 attacks was possible. All of the players are new to either pathfinder or D&D in general. I wondered if there was some misunderstanding since 6 attacks trivializes anything we fight.

At level 6, an average fighter should have 2 attacks per round. The first hit should be at a +6 to hit base, adding any bonuses from Strength (or Dex if they are a finesse fighter), magic weapon bonuses, and buffs. The second attack should be at a +1 base, + bonuses.

If they are using two weapons, and have the appropriate feats and weapons they could be getting up to 4 attacks per round, with reduced bonuses. If they are using a light weapon in their off hand they would be at a +4 / -1 with their main hand weapon, and a +4 / -1 in their off hand (adjusted by above mentioned bonuses).

If you have buffed them with Haste, they would get 1 extra attack, and get a +1 to hit bonus on all of their attacks.

The only way to legitimately get 6 attacks a round at level 6 is to play a natural attacks based build, which requires multi-classing into 2-3 classes (usually), and get a few very specific magic items (Helm of the Mammoth Lords, Tentacle Cloak, etc) I am not aware of any way to do this as a fighter, unless your GM allowed them to play as some sort of monster race which gets a ton of natural attacks.


Slyme wrote:
The only way to legitimately get 6 attacks a round at level 6 is to play a natural attacks based build ...

There are some ways. A TWF Thrown Weapon build could get an extra attack from Rapid shot. If they have the Hurtful or Cleaving Finish feats (or something similar) they could get extra attacks sometimes. Or if they're somehow triggering AoOs this could artificially inflate their attack routine.

Regardless it's unusual, and since Squishedllama said it's a new group it seems more likely that someone made a mistake.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
MrCharisma is right about clerics and wizards, but any prepared caster is tough for a newbie to run.

I'm of the opposite opinion. A fighter might be the easiest kind of character to run in any single gaming session, but they are the hardest to build from levels 1-20. Clerics and Wizards are the easiest to play.

The reason why I say this is that the bulwark of a Cleric's power is a huge list of spells he can pick and choose from then completely change his mind about the next in-game day. Wizards have to pick spells to learn, then pick spells to memorize, but they have almost as much flexibility as Clerics.

The bulwark of a Fighter's power is a small group of Feats they choose once and don't get to change their minds about later. They have to plan out everything several levels in advance hoping that things they choose at level 3 synergize effectively with things they choose at level 8, and the GM doesn't suddenly change his mind about. Most GMs don't respect the fact that a character build is elaborate, labor intensive, and creative.


You'll find that if casters do their part in making sure the others are prepared later on, the disparity isn't really that bad. Casters will have more options but martials will be very definitive in their outcomes.

You don't have much to worry about. Early levels just kept the casters alive later levels they can solve a lot of issues quickly.

On paper and in guides theres more disparity than actual play because guides arent written with a full team in mind.


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There is a huge combat impact disparity between the classes, but it's not in the direction you think. Wizards and other spellcasters are better at combat than basic Fighters.

Think about it, all a Fighter can do is move up to an enemy and then attack vs their AC. Spellcasters can attack AC, Touch AC, Fort save, Reflex save, and Will save. There are even spells like Magic Missile and Acid Fog that just deal automatic damage regardless of save or AC.

Moreover, casters can generally do all of this from range, as opposed to the Fighter who has to get up close and personal (if they even can, when enemies start flying), thus exposing themselves to counterattack. The there's the fact that casters can target swarms and groups of enemies without a drop in effectiveness, while the Fighter can't do anything other than attack a single opponent without a massive drop in effectiveness.

Your problem stems entirely from a lack of system mastery. Also, your Fighter is either massively over-optimized or, much more likely, is misunderstanding the rules. Either way keep at it and with enough system mastery you can outdamage even this crazy Fighter build, if you really wanted to. Just know that if you do so, you've completely invalidated the Fighter's entire role and purpose in your party.

Which is sort of another point - damage isn't really all that important. An opponent at 1% health is just as effective as an opponent at 100% health. So debuffing the opponent is generally the better way to go, and that's something only spellcasters can do.

Just another in the long line of reasons why caster martial disparity favors the Wizard and not the Fighter.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
MrCharisma is right about clerics and wizards, but any prepared caster is tough for a newbie to run.

I'm of the opposite opinion. A fighter might be the easiest kind of character to run in any single gaming session, but they are the hardest to build from levels 1-20. Clerics and Wizards are the easiest to play.

The reason why I say this is that the bulwark of a Cleric's power is a huge list of spells he can pick and choose from then completely change his mind about the next in-game day. Wizards have to pick spells to learn, then pick spells to memorize, but they have almost as much flexibility as Clerics.

The bulwark of a Fighter's power is a small group of Feats they choose once and don't get to change their minds about later. They have to plan out everything several levels in advance hoping that things they choose at level 3 synergize effectively with things they choose at level 8, and the GM doesn't suddenly change his mind about. Most GMs don't respect the fact that a character build is elaborate, labor intensive, and creative.

I agree with both of you. Full prepared casters and the Fighter are some of the hardest classes to play/build well. They all have extremely powerful options if played well, but playing them well requires system mastery that few newer players will have.

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Kaouse wrote:
There is a huge combat impact disparity between the classes, but it's not in the direction you think. Wizards and other spellcasters are better at combat than basic Fighters.

While you're not wrong per se, you're missing some of the nuances. Casters get more and more powerful as they level up - at a rate that vastly outstrips purely martial characters - but they don't begin the game more powerful. There isn't much that can stand up to a well built barbarian at level 1.

While casters get more and more options in the form of spells (and class powers for 4/9 and 6/9 casters) martial classes start out with more options than "UG, HIT MONSTER".

My go-to strategy for the first book of Iron Gods was to stand in front of the party and fight defensively ... with a Bloodrager. It meant that there were times when I didn't Bloodrage for an entire adventuring day, but if I can tank the hits for the party while taking little-to-no damage then I've accomplished as much as Glitterdust or Black Tentacles. When the party was hit by a confusion spell I saved and I was able to grapple the Gunslinger before he killed the bard. When we were hit by another confusion spell I disarmed the party with AoOs while fighting the boss (effectively a free action mass hold person on the entire confused party). Even something as simple as standing in a doorway can drastically effect the outcome of a combat.

As the game goes on these options will be out-shone by the spells available to the wizard, cleric and other casters, but martials definitely have more options than they're given credit for.

The term most often used is "Linear Martials, Quadratic Casters". Imagine Martials are worth 5 points* per level, while casters start at 1 point* and double every level. At level 1 and 2 a martial is 5 times the power of a caster. Levels 3 through 5 the casters are catching up. Then at level 6 they're basically even (32 vs 30). From then on the casters increase in power at a much faster rate and leave the martials in the dust. The exact scale of this power difference is extremely variable, depending on Race/Class/Archetype/Adventure-Path/etc, but most importantly depending on the system mastery and skill of the player.

*(These specific numbers were chosen completely arbitrarily, don't read too much into them. The idea is that the power increase multiplues differently meaning different classes will be more powerful at different levels. There is no "Best" class in Pathfinder.)


I have a suggestion for those worried about the relative lack of power of casters at low levels. Try playing a witch.

A witch without any archetypes would have 4 hexes by level 6, more if they take extra hex.

Hexes that are for offense typically can be used against a target once a day, which means they don't run out. Their drawbacks are they only affect one target and have only a 30' range.

What I do is use hexes when I can and save spells for the things hexes can't do.

On the fighter with 6 attacks, I agree with others. This player is either playing an optimised build when everyone else is inexperienced or else doing things he can't. That is why he seems much more powerful.

Grand Lodge

It's a matter of different roles and contributions, it's not really possible to judge only on the level of these. If I'm playing a fighter, I'm not very shiny. But I'll easily slot over trying to cover the spellcasters : not everybody can cover for themselves, or I'll try to be a pest to the opposite ones so to distract them.

I can easily outshine non-spellcasters if I play one but I'll see an opponent who will be able to pierce through defences no matter what. It's a necessary dichotomy : if someone feels the need to shine or to do more, than can lead to a mentality problem.


There is a big difference between being harder to play, and being harder to build. A cleric is absurdly easy to build. Your only real choices are deciding on your stats, choosing your domains and picking a couple of feats. Combat casting is probably the go to feat so unless you are human you don’t have to worry about that. A fighter on the other hand has to figure out what type of combat he wants to specialize and plan out his feats. Chances are at first level he will not have everything he need yet, cannot make mistakes or he will not be able to pick the right feats at later levels.

Once they are built the fighter is usually quite simple to play. He may need to use some tactics to maximize his combat style but other than that has no real choices. He does not need to be familiar with feats he does not have because he cannot use them. All he needs is a general understanding of combat and how to use his own fighting style. A cleric on the other hand may have a 100+ 1st level spells available that he needs to be familiar with. He also needs to have a general idea of what the day is going to hold so he can choose the best spells. Many of the spells are incredibly situational so memorizing them at the wrong time means the cleric is relegated to playing a healbot. Now the number of spells is going to depend on the sources available, but even the core book has a decent number of spell. Trying to understand a dozens of spells in addition to learning the basic rules of the game is a lot for a new player.


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Another thing to remember is the disparity between casters. A wizard, generic without any specialization, has hundreds of spells that can replicate things several other classes can do. An elf wizard with a high Dex at level 1 for example could use Mage Armor for 1 hour/day, grab a longbow, and fill in as the party's Ranged DPR person for that hour. During that time said wizard could increase their own accuracy with a number of spells, give themselves or even the entire party Concealment, or even increase the damage dice of the longbow they're carrying.

Divine spells are, in general, a lot more specific. They force enemies to act a certain way, they heal and revitalize the caster and their allies, or they deliver a buff to the caster's side or a de-buff to the foes. You don't have utilities like opening doors, locking things, creating murderous walls of pure color and so forth.

To everyone's point about the options avail to casters vs martials just remember: a martial has TACTICS, not unique options. While a wizard wouldn't be an OPTIMAL choice to hold a doorway, they COULD choose that tactic for a round thus they have the same abilities as a martial, they just aren't as good at it. The martial however can't choose to spend their round porting in a trio of Celestial Dogs from a somewhat safe 30' distance from the front lines like a wizard could.

Think of it less as who does more damage and more as: what am I doing to contribute to the end of combat? A single, well-placed Glitterdust spell from the wizard effectively ends combat; Blinded is that big of a debuff. The cleric, while not being AS immediately useful, can employ a number of tactics to contribute to the end of combat.

At level 1 for example there's the Bless spell. This essentially adds 5% to the DPR for all the other martial types in the party; the more friends you've got in melee, the more you've actually contributed. By 3rd level you've got a way to add +4 to a single martial type's main attack stat; that's a +10% boost to their specific DPR.

At 6th level you have options like setting up a 10' radius of Prot vs Evil from yourself using a Domain spell, giving yourself a +4 on Ranged attacks for 6 rounds, or you could just simply impale a single evil creature with a javelin dealing 1d6 damage that stays in them for an extra round for more damage unless they burn their Move action to remove it; so impaled the creature is debuffed and glows like a torch, even if they turn invisible.

No, a level 6 cleric, even one who is optimized for melee, holding a magic weapon, wearing a Belt of Strength and having already cast Divine Favor on themselves, will be as much of a damage dealer as a fighter of the same level, but they could certainly hold their own in combat. Said Cleric 6 with a +1 spear, a Belt of Strength +2, a starting strength of 15 boosted at level 4 to 16, and having the Divine Favor spell running on themselves has the following attack: +1 Spear +11 (1d8 +6). By level 6 the cleric will have 3 feats; 4 if they are human. With Weapon Focus: Spear and Power Attack added from those feats, the cleric's attack drops down to +10 but they are now attacking for 1d8 +12.

The average monster at CR 6 has 70 HP, so if you're purely looking at ending a fight by damage and the average party has 4 members, that means that Pathfinder's rules expect the typical level 6 PC to put up 1/4th of 70 HP, or 17.5 damage in order to consider themselves a contributing member of ending the fight. 1d8 +12 averages to 16.5 damage; you're only 1 point off the average you're shooting for.

Take that build, PLUS all the other things a Cleric 6 can do like cast other spells, heal folks, Channel Energy, cast Domain spells and use Domain powers and the cleric is a spectacular contributor in combat and out!


@OP

You're playing a Cleric and a Wizard, and both of these classes are considered "Tier 1" classes. There's 6 total tiers, and this is an unofficial "player's gauge" in how effective a class really is, with 1 being the strongest and 6 being the weakest. Martials are typically within the 3 to 5 Tier range, while full casters like yourselves are typically in the 1-2 Tier range, and like I said, Cleric and Wizard are both Tier 1 Classes, so you're playing the arguably most powerful classes in the game. And you're absolutely correct in your assessment that Wizards and Clerics seem to be out-performed by martials at low levels, but that's only because you don't have your entire toolbox yet. Tier 1 classes, like Wizards and Clerics, end up having so much influence that they're near-game breaking, they can create demiplanes, travel to different dimensions, teleport people en masse, even Wish or ask for Miracles that can reshape reality as you know it. They have an answer for every situation that either solves the problem outright or greatly mitigate the difficulty of a particular situation.

So here's my advice: knowledge is power. Do your research. Have your wife read as many spell descriptions as she can and figure out which ones sound fun to use, and then start making SCROLLS and also add these spells to her spellbook. Have multiple spellbooks too, because she'll run out of pages quick when she is level 10+. You should also read as many spell descriptions as possible as a Cleric, because you don't need to worry about a spellbook, you get your entire list of spells and you can choose whichever ones you want every single day. So the more you know about the spells you can pick the better, because you can make highly-educated guesses about what spells you should prepare each day, and if you prepare a spell that you didn't need, trash it and spontaneously cast a Cure spell.

In the early levels, like lvls 1 thru 7, you're going to be playing a lot of support for your group: battlefield control, buffing/debuffing, etc. Lvls 8-13 is the Mid-game, and this is where you start to shine because your feat choices should really becoming online in a major way, and you have most of your toolbox by this point. You have a host of spells for every occasion and the feats to take them up a notch when you need to. Levels 14 thru 20 is your ascension-- no martial class can compete with you at these levels, at all, and it's not even close. Got a big scary lvl 20 barbarian with a +5 Keen Mighty Cleaving Flaming Burst Great Axe with a permanent Fly enchantment who's going to try to use your face like a golf ball? Greater Dispel his permanent Fly enchantment and Gate him to the plane of water and Scry to watch him drown, and then Wish for his body to come back, revive him, and Gate him back to the plane of water to drown again, just to show him how benevolent you are because you chose not to Disintegrate him to ash or petrify him with Heightened Flesh to Stone and put him in your Statue Garden on your own Demiplane to sit there and rot forever. Your build should have already been mostly established by level 12-13, and these 14-20 levels are the icing on the cake that makes you near-godly.


Yeah that's why every barbarian should just kill the wizard in session 1 before they become colossal dicks.


Cavall wrote:

Yeah that's why every barbarian should just kill the wizard in session 1 before they become colossal dicks.

The Barbarian is required only insofar as to get the Wizard to level 8 lols :D


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Mysterious Stranger wrote:

There is a big difference between being harder to play, and being harder to build. A cleric is absurdly easy to build. Your only real choices are deciding on your stats, choosing your domains and picking a couple of feats.

Yes and no.... a cleric is only easy to build if you're going down the 'jack of all trades' path (which is the absolute worst path since you end up being mediocre/sub-par at everything).

In reality what type of cleric you want to be is what determines your build and you have to think about this very carefully because you're not for example, a fighter with a million feats with which to play around with and change your mind.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
doc roc wrote:
In reality what type of cleric you want to be is what determines your build and you have to think about this very carefully because you're not for example, a fighter with a million feats with which to play around with and change your mind.

No, you're just a full caster with some 2k diferrent first party spells at your disposal, which, unlike the fighter, you're not locked into and can swap out when you change your mind.


Ah, this kind of thread. After being so often at the boards, it reached level 20+ and now reincarnates quickly after each death.

Sarcasm aside, I want bring up one thing: As a fighter player, you don't need to have everything figured out at level 1. The class can exchange some bonus feats, after all, and there is retraining - which is likely more powerful for martials than for prepared full casters. There is little point in exchanging spells if you can just add more (wizard) or have everything available anyway (cleric).

Ok, can't resist, another thing: Too much success can backfire. While there are GMs with attitudes like "let these full casters thrive, I can handle it" (especially here at the boards) or the passive version "well, such are DnD games", there are other GMs which will limit a full caster, especially an arcane one. And they probably will not do it with sense of proportion. It's way more relaxed to choose freely between some options than to have nearly unlimited options [i]in theory[i], but always risk the next clash / limitation in practice.

I am one of these limiting GMs. My wizard player wasn't happy with it (losing half of the "God Wizard" options), I am not happy with it either (players should have as much freedom as possible), but at the end it saved the campaign. We are at level 17 and nobody feels the urge to quit.


Gorbacz wrote:


No, you're just a full caster with some 2k diferrent first party spells at your disposal, which, unlike the fighter, you're not locked into and can swap out when you change your mind.

Nope...not really

Lets say you build your cleric from the start to be say a summoning specialist with a secondary reach capability..... the 'Reach Herald Caller' seems to be a type that I've seen mentioned a lot.

You choose your race (prob human to get the bonus feat) and choose a deity that offers a good domain to enhance your role. Your feats are going to be invested in improving your summoning and things like Combat Reflexes to enhance your reach fighting. Your ability points aren't going to be heavily WIS based and will instead focus more on adding some STR and DEX.

Lets say you hit 6th level and have regrets and want to be more of a caster cleric...... tough s!$* too late, there's no way to turn things around as all your important choices have been made.The fact that the cleric has lots of spells to choose from isn't relevant since any spells that are DC dependent won't be a great choice since the initial stat and feat distribution wasn't focussed that way. Also your domain choice both in type and number is sub-optimal too... making the problem even worse.

The fighter on the other hand, irrespective of archetype or build is 90% of the time going to be geared towards DPR. The build differences are on average less meaningful. The fighter has a s*~+ load of feats to steer himself more successfully in a new direction if he so wishes.

Things like this also illustrate why I never recommend a class like Alchemist to a newb since you have to think hard and know what you're doing to get the most from it. Once decisions are made at the beginning, its very awkward to change them around later.


I wouldn't recommend alchemy to a newborn due to literally everything being named after a skill that already exists to really complicate things.


As a cleric, you get Bless and Prayer. Both are great buffs. Prayer even helps as a debuff. If your players are not adding in the +1s these spells give, it is their bad.

You already have the wizard's greatest buff spell: Haste. But he doesn't get too many per day. Next level, you get Blessing of Fervor, which is the cleric's version of Haste. [It overlaps a lot, so does not help much if Haste is already going.]

Generally, you should only cast a single spell or two before wading into combat. More spells waste much of their potential because the enemy does not last as long.

Also, another thing any forget is leaving slots open. This lets you meditate/pray after combat to fill the slots with the spells needed for condition removal. Way better than waiting overnight.

I play a reach cleric, where my attacks are often AoOs as others move about me, leaving my turn for casting spells. Check the guide for more details.

/cevah

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