Fighter Cleric, Should I sword and board or two hand?


We've been playing Age of Ashes and the Advanced Player's handbook just dropped and we can make changes to our characters if desired. I've been playing a Dwarven fighter with the cleric dedication and I am not sure if I want to keep with the axe and shield combo especially since a number of my feats I plan to give over to picking up cleric spells and abilities.

I keep forgetting to raise my shield or I am too busy with other tasks to spend an action to raise it. I am wondering if anyone has any feat suggestions or if I should keep the shield or go two handed.

Primarily I rush into the middle of the monster groups and attack, while moving to provide the rouge good flanking targets.

Current Character:

Race: Dwarf
Ancestry: Elemental Heart
Background: Local Scion (Age of Ashes)
Level 4 Fighter

Str: 18
Dex: 12
Con: 16
Int: 10
Wis: 14
Cha: 8

1: Sudden Charge
2: Cleric Dedication
4: Basic Spellcasting

(I plan to take 12th and 18th for expert and master spellcasting)

Race Feats:
1: Unburdened Iron
5: Dwarven Weapon Familiarity

Background: Specialty Crafting (Blacksmith)
2: Battle Medicine
3: Magical Crafting
4: Heavy Hauler

Full plate
Striking +1 Dwarven War Axe
Heavy Steel Shield
Shield Boss
Clan Dagger
Misc adventuring gear

I like sudden charge because that can get me in the middle of things quickly, our party's cleric has decided to switch over to a ranger so that leaves me with the emergency combat healing as well. I picked up the healing potion and level 1 spells scrolls formula, so I can spend downtime making curative items, but now healer has been added to my role when I planned to self buff instead, that leaves me with less over all actions which means I will most likely forget to raise my shield or just not have enough actions to do so.

Well, remember that the divine list lets you have the Shield cantrip, so you can slot a shield even while using a 2h weapon.

Dubious Scholar wrote:
Well, remember that the divine list lets you have the Shield cantrip, so you can slot a shield even while using a 2h weapon.

That is a great point. It does free up his hands to do 2d12 and if I don't have anything better to do I can add +1 ac. I can only do the shield block once per combat but I rarely used it before so I think this works out nicely. Thanks!

I'm currently playing a sword + shield fighter and hardy ever spend an action to raise my shield. If the enemy rolls high enough, the extra AC is useless, so I rely on Reactive Shield to only Raise my Shield if it does in fact prevent a hit (or downgrades a crit).

It does mean I can't shield block most of the time (before I get Quick Sheid Block at level 8, anyway), but since I'm stuck with a simple heavy steel shield for now, it doesn't really bother me much.

One thing you might want to do is dealying the Basic Spellcasting feat to a later level. At level 4 it's literally one feat for one first level spell. Hardly useful or even noticeable at all. It does depend on how exactly you plan to proceed with your feats, of course, but I've found delaying basic spellcasting to level 6 or 8 to work out better for various characters I was building.

All that being said, if you want to be the "main healer" of the party, Cleric Dedication will probably not turn out too great. Medic and/or Herbalist provide a MUCH larger increase in healing for a significantly smaller investment in feats.

Verdant Wheel

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Have you considered picking up Reactive Shield?

This lets you use all three of your actions on your turn then apply the appropriate Reaction based on how the opposition responds.

Keeping the board and getting reactive shield is probably the way to go. The extra damage from a 2-handed is nice but if your plan is to get in the middle of everything the extra AC and the occasional block is better. And if you’re having trouble getting it raised now then going with a lower bonus spell won’t fix that, though an automatic reaction may.

As for healing I’ve found the medicine skill does a lot of work, more than you’re likely to get out of a few cleric spell slots and with medic and similar archtype options it’s even better. The only downside is that you’ll have to fix the fact that you’re missing a free hand you need for battle medicine. My rogue went double gauntlets for the easy way, but most of my damage isn’t related to the weapon. If they aren’t already you may want to mention to your rogue the healing issue, they really should have the free skills and feats to pick up some of the slack without issue.

If you find a way to keep a free hand while making the rest work then sudden charge can serve a double purpose for getting you in range to help. You can move, move, strike & still battle medic, and possibly then also get a shield up if needed as a reaction.

If it’s not too counter to your concept though, you might consider switching over to cleric as a base with either fighter or one of the martial archtypes as the add in instead. You’ll have enough spell slots to actually provide healing with a little charisma and still self buff if you like. It all comes down to your priorities here, martial first or support first? Neither is wrong.

Lightwire wrote:
The only downside is that you’ll have to fix the fact that you’re missing a free hand you need for battle medicine.

It feels weird on a fighter, but the Bastion Archetype might be worth a second look. It's dedication grants Reactive Shield and Nimble Shield Hand frees up one hand for medicine. Biggest downside would be the required third feat from the archetype before you can get another archetype you might want, like Medic.

For character reasons I would like to keep with cleric archetype or something else that lets him commune with the Dwarven Pantheon. I do have medicine skill, as does a few other characters. I think I will be able to keep with my current plans with the shield spell advice, two handed, then I can use my spell slots for a verity of static buff spells, like bless for level 1. The character who was playing a character had a wand of healing level 1, so I have that now for in combat healing, in addition to potions.

My favorite cleric is Elven cleric with longbow and ranger dedication for hunted shot

Just stick with reactive shield ( instead of charge) and continue with sword and board, using all of your 3 action without worrying about raising the shield ( shield block is overrated, so don't mind it).

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