Cleric help (what to do?)


Advice


A player in my campaign has a cloistered cleric of Erastil, and focused on the healing feats. He was expecting to be a focused healer and be a good buffer. As a healer, he is doing great. But as buffer, he (and I after looking at the spell list trying to help make suggestions) is flailing as a buffer. Maybe my thinking is too rooted in 5E and original Pathfinder, but not seeing hardly any buffs spell levels 1-4. Bless, which has some serious start up time issues for range (as he plays ranged with bow for Erastil). Other then that, we are not seeing alot of options other then some niche party buffing spells that are severely limited to specific creatures or alignment.

Suggestions? Are we to rooted in the 'old ways'? Not seeing anything like prayer, divine favor, ect (even if he could self buff would help...). He was not expecting damage numbers, but he was expecting some decent buffing abilities to sideline with healing...


A lot of the buffing seems to have shifted to the bard (at least among the core book classes). Primal might have some too, but yeah the divine list definitely lost a lot of it's buffing power.

Edit: typo


Kainite101 wrote:

A player in my campaign has a cloistered cleric of Erastil, and focused on the healing feats. He was expecting to be a focused healer and be a good buffer. As a healer, he is doing great. But as buffer, he (and I after looking at the spell list trying to help make suggestions) is flailing as a buffer. Maybe my thinking is too rooted in 5E and original Pathfinder, but not seeing hardly any buffs spell levels 1-4. Bless, which has some serious start up time issues for range (as he plays ranged with bow for Erastil). Other then that, we are not seeing alot of options other then some niche party buffing spells that are severely limited to specific creatures or alignment.

Suggestions? Are we to rooted in the 'old ways'? Not seeing anything like prayer, divine favor, ect (even if he could self buff would help...). He was not expecting damage numbers, but he was expecting some decent buffing abilities to sideline with healing...

Clerics fall apart from martial gameplay by 5th level getting worse as the game goes on. By 9th level, Warpriests come up to parity, but fall back again by 13th level, and don't get any better. Needless to say, if you wanted to play some Battle Cleric type, PF2 isn't the system to do it in.

I mean, Clerics are Healbots now, and Warpriests are traps. You'd have better luck playing a Druid or Bard compared to a Cleric these days if buffing or damaging is to be your forte.

Liberty's Edge

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I mean, since the numerical bonuses that could be piled on from the 3.X era are gone you ARE very much left with more situational type things but that doesn't mean they have a real lack of options at a given spell level.

Here are a few spells for levels 1-4 as you mentioned that's where you're at that our party Cleric has prepared and used.

1: Bless, Disrupting Weapons, Magic Weapon, Spirit Link
2: Comprehend Language, Darkvision (Do NOT underestimate how good this one is), Endure Elements, Resist Energy, Shield Other, Water Walk
3: Heroism, Safe Passage (This one was a true game-changer in at least one session that prevented a TPK), Sanctified Ground, Whirling Scarves
4: Air Walk, Freedom of Movement, Spell Immunity, Vital Beacon

Many of these are indeed situational and there are even others that I didn't list too. The great thing about the Cleric is that you have more slots to play around with versus other Healer type characters since you should rarely if ever need to prepare Heal in your daily slots since you have the Divine Font.

I hope this helps you guys out.


I wouldn't say that the cleric is solely a healbot, but it did lose a lot of the buffer role.

Instead, it heals/blasts with heal/harm, or it debuffs. However, those seem like they rely more heavily on spell DC, which isn't too great for a wapriest.

Fear in particular would be a good spell for the kind of thing you are seeking. It has a 30' range, and it can affect 5 creatures when heightened to 3rd level (so the vast majority of targets in most fights). The -2 to most relevant numbers from frightened 2 is about the same as increasing attack, AC, and saves by 2.


Forbidding ward cantrip is a good start +1 ac and saves for a front liner you cast it on is no joke. Guide cantrip is decent for a one off per cambat.


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I very much disagree that Warpriests fall off at higher levels. They remain a very strong class at any level; yes, you won’t be dealing as much melee damage in combat as a straight martial, but you bring so much to the table. If you’re built well, you can very well foundation the whole party.

But, I digress as this is a cloistered Cleric to be discussed. Forbidding Ward, Bless/Bane, Guidance, Protection are all good starter buffs. You don’t want to go too deep in sustains, though. 2nd is kind of weird because it doesn’t have many buffs but does have some restorative powers; Dispel Magic is generally a pretty safe slot. At third Heightened Disrupting Weapons can be excellent if you know you’re up against undead. Circle of Prot (uncommon) is a pretty reliable AoE AC boost - both of those are touch an ally and then they move in and the spell stays with them so not putting you in the front. Heroism gets put down a lot but I still like it if you’re Bardless - 10 minutes may cover multiple combats, it’s ups quite a few abilities (attack, saves, perception = initiative) and you can typically land it before combat starts. At 4th plus the buffs become more evident with like Air Walk, Freedom of Movement, Death Ward etc

Check your deity bonus spells too some give solid spells like Haste. If he’s ranged he probably wants Bane over Bless (also tip because people tend to miss this - you do not have to sustain Bless or Bane to keep it up).

I should add that until your martials get striking runes, magic weapon is probably the best buff spell


Timeshadow wrote:
Forbidding ward cantrip is a good start +1 ac and saves for a front liner you cast it on is no joke. Guide cantrip is decent for a one off per cambat.

Dunno...playing a heal-centric cleric myself I always found that spells like this totally screw my action economy. May be worthwhile versus a tougher opponent though.

Else I very much prefer Protetction (which is uncommon however), just cast it and be done with it.


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In addition to the suggestion of others, I'll add that Debuffing the enemy is functionally the same as buffing an ally, and Clerics are very good at that.

Fear at level 1, Calm Emotions at level 2, and Agonizing Despair at level 3 are all Common Cleric spells that will make things easier on your allies (easier to hit a Frightened target) and harder on your enemies.


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I've been playing a cloistered cleric in Organized Play for about 7 months, and he's now 8th level, so here's my perspective. I also use a ranged weapon (halfling sling-staff) as my fallback attack, by the way.

Character level 1-3
- Magic weapon is indeed the best-in-class choice. Remember that you can't target weapons that already have a +1 enchantment.
- Bane and bless won't have an effect in most fights, since you'll be away from the frontline. Fear or command are the better choices, in my opinion.

Character level 4-5
- Heightened spirit link on a frontline combatant with a good armor will help spread the damage, allowing your party to last longer. It also remains relevant as you level up, just by heightening it. I would avoid shield other due to its range restrictions.
- Calm emotions has an insane range, an effect even on a successful save, and has a chance to completely disable fights against mooks before they can close in on your party (don't try it against leaders, however, since it's an incapacitation effect).

Character level 6-7
- I tried out heroism, but frankly, I've been underwhelmed by it. On the other hand, safe passage has turned out to be stellar in two instances, so I now memorize it any time I suspect environmental dangers might come into play (overland expedition, abandoned ruins, etc.)
- Heightened fear is amazing, especially the fact that it affects multiple targets that you select. The only downside is that they must be within 30 feet of you when you cast it. I got a wand with it as soon as I could to be sure I always had it available!
- Air walk can give a lot of mobility to your melee attackers (add heightened invisibility and a rogue to create an absolute terror!).
- Stay away from vital beacon; you don't want your allies to waste actions coming to you for healing.


And there lies the problem... We looked at these spells before, and most seem niche use (to us), as in only vs certain enemies, or under certain circumstances, or range issues, or casting time (sanctified ground). Now once you get to 4th level slots, those are more useful, but still not all purpose (nor a buff per say, more utility unless under certain circumstance, therefor closer to niche).

Heroism we plan on getting some extra mileage from by picking up supply of scrolls. Bane we have had issues with as the saving throw (also do they save every round? What about if they leave the area and come back in, new save? Circle of Protection is actually what we using right now (only because we know we are going against known fiend summoner)

I appreciate the time and effort listing them, don't get me wrong. I understand things change from system to system change. But it seems actual buffing went out the window and just making sure I wasn't missing something.

For the record he isn't trying to be a blaster at all. We just thought that there was more buffing spells available when we started P2 last year...


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If you want to play a battle priest with an emphasis on battle, you are better off going fighter with priest MC.

The cleric class has some very specific niche builds:

1. Holy damage dealer doing positive and alignment damage better than any class. This type of damage is best in an undead or fiend heavy campaign.

2. Alpha Strike war priest with god granting true strike using Channel Smite with a heavy weapon. Heavy focus on building up strength.

3. Healer. Strong healer focus on healing and situational buffs that are adding +1 or so here or there. Do not expect any spell the power of bless in 5E, which is more like a 7 to 9th level spell in 5E than a 1st level spell. That kind of imbalanced whackiness is non-existent in PF2.

4. Dark priest negative energy damage dealer.

Those are the four builds that the cleric chassis can build into effective builds.


With Bane, every creature in the radius not yet affected saves again when you sustain the spell. It doesn’t happen automatically.

Also if you are Cloistered you probably shouldn’t focus on buff spells. You’re going for high Wis high DCs. There are some good spells out there.

Calm Emotions is excellent. You can take a group of mooks right out of the fight.

All that said, Divine Font is your best advantage as a Cleric. No one can consistently combat heal like you can. If that’s not what you’re in for you should probably look elsewhere.


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As Krispy implied, debuffing is the new buffing. Paizo didn't want plain ol' numbers races for combat (party because that makes the power curve harder to measure between classes re: higher levels).
Similarly, de-debuffing makes for good buffing too. Many divine spells can counteract the penalties monsters impose, and those should often be heightened because they involve Counteract Checks. Getting past hurdles seems the best use of faux buffs, if you have any available. And I wouldn't underestimate Resist Energy given how common persistent damage is in PF2.

The most common infliction is hit point damage which makes Heal the best de-debuffer IMO. I find it hard to swap out Heal for much of anything (except maybe AoEs in some groups) unless expecting a specific condition. And I'd be satisfied if I ended the day w/ spare Heals. "Oh no, I didn't get to cast my last Heal" means your day's gone great.

Heroism seems the only old-school-style buff, at 10 minutes. Yet that's deceptive since so many PF2 groups are balanced around having a 10-minute+ lull to recharge Focus Points, Treat Wounds, and Repair shields. So yeah, I'd say buffing as a primary role doesn't exist in PF2, with even Bards needing more to do than that. It'd burn out your spells swiftly and for minor benefits.

Sovereign Court

KrispyXIV wrote:

In addition to the suggestion of others, I'll add that Debuffing the enemy is functionally the same as buffing an ally, and Clerics are very good at that.

Fear at level 1, Calm Emotions at level 2, and Agonizing Despair at level 3 are all Common Cleric spells that will make things easier on your allies (easier to hit a Frightened target) and harder on your enemies.

I've also been very impressed by Divine Smite. It's an area blast that shouldn't hurt your party (none of you are evil, right?). Any enemies that fail their save are Sickened which isn't bad, any that critfail are Sickened 2 and Slowed 1 until they get rid of the Sickened.

I like throwing it on a crowd of enemies because often enough, some of the mooks critfail and are basically neutered (sickened 2 and slowed 1 makes mooks really weak).


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Ascalaphus wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:

In addition to the suggestion of others, I'll add that Debuffing the enemy is functionally the same as buffing an ally, and Clerics are very good at that.

Fear at level 1, Calm Emotions at level 2, and Agonizing Despair at level 3 are all Common Cleric spells that will make things easier on your allies (easier to hit a Frightened target) and harder on your enemies.

I've also been very impressed by Divine Smite. It's an area blast that shouldn't hurt your party (none of you are evil, right?). Any enemies that fail their save are Sickened which isn't bad, any that critfail are Sickened 2 and Slowed 1 until they get rid of the Sickened.

I like throwing it on a crowd of enemies because often enough, some of the mooks critfail and are basically neutered (sickened 2 and slowed 1 makes mooks really weak).

Sadly, I chose to align myself with a CN Deity, and most enemies in the campaign are tending toward CE making Divine Wrath less than useful for me :(

OTOH, my GM agreed that Spiritual Anamnesis was particularly fitting for my character/deity focus, so I'm getting access to that and will never be lacking for a good debuff to cast after 7th, so...


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coriolis wrote:

Character level 1-3

- Magic weapon is indeed the best-in-class choice. Remember that you can't target weapons that already have a +1 enchantment.

This said, if a gm is reading this and isn't running pfs. Allow it to work on magical weapons, it doesn't change balance expectations but it does stop people from needing to carry two weapons for a weird restriction (keep in mind it doesn't stack, so they would still only have a +1 striking weapon)

I would be leery about homebrewing heightend effects due to economic impacts. But If I were to, it would be 5th and 8th for +2 and +3 respectively.


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Keep in mind focus spells as well, Family Domain has 2 nice ones to start, then your player can take a domain he likes from another God with Syncretism.

Moon for exemple has a very good buff for advanced domain spell.


Kendaan wrote:

Keep in mind focus spells as well, Family Domain has 2 nice ones to start, then your player can take a domain he likes from another God with Syncretism.

Moon for exemple has a very good buff for advanced domain spell.

Was not aware of this feat. Thank you.


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Just glancing at the Divine Spell list, I see lots of good spell choices here. Again, debuff is better than a buff because a debuff makes your whole group better while a buff only effects one target (usually).

Avoiding ones already mentioned,

Level 1: Sanctuary is a good protection spell, Ray of Enfeeblement (while a double dipper spell attack and save) it gives enfeebled 1 on a success, Thoughtful gift teleports a useful item to any ally w/in 120 feet.

Level 2: Blood Vendetta is a reaction spell and 2d6 persistant bleed is no joke. Just keep that one in the hopper for when a creature strikes you. Faerie Fire has a great range and 10 ft burst.

Level 3: Blindness (incapacitate). Whirling Scarves is great, granting concealment and then a debuff if they fail, it's even better against ranged attacks.

All of these spells, while better on some situations than others, are ones you should be able to cast every day.


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One thing that gets me is, he's a cloistered cleric, and he's using a bow.

I mean, cloistered cleric is all about casting in my opinion. Having a decent bow can help in niche situations, but he should want to cast, cast and cast more.

If he were a warpriest I could totally see him going around gishing archer/cleric, sure, but cloistered? Get closer to your allies and use that bless spell.

Btw my impression isn't that "warpriests are traps"... don't have a player with one though, so I may be wrong (although I hope not, it would suck if they were so terrible). They're still full casters, they shouldn't compete with fighters in strike accuracy.


Roswynn wrote:

One thing that gets me is, he's a cloistered cleric, and he's using a bow.

I mean, cloistered cleric is all about casting in my opinion. Having a decent bow can help in niche situations, but he should want to cast, cast and cast more.

If he were a warpriest I could totally see him going around gishing archer/cleric, sure, but cloistered? Get closer to your allies and use that bless spell.

Btw my impression isn't that "warpriests are traps"... don't have a player with one though, so I may be wrong (although I hope not, it would suck if they were so terrible). They're still full casters, they shouldn't compete with fighters in strike accuracy.

Using a bow is a perfectly fine third action for a cleric that gets free proficiency in it, and its appropriate for the character as described.

I'd not reccomend it as a primary combat tactic, but its a perfectly fine thing to use once or twice a combat when you've not got much else to do, in addition to your spell for the turn.

I actually prefer a bow on a Cloistered cleric vs a warpriest, as you arent "wasting" the warpriests armor proficiency and shield block by using a bow from the back field.


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Roswynn wrote:
Btw my impression isn't that "warpriests are traps"... don't have a player with one though, so I may be wrong (although I hope not, it would suck if they were so terrible). They're still full casters, they shouldn't compete with fighters in strike accuracy.

Not to derail this thread, but I agree Warpriests aren't traps. Just because a choice is non-optimal doesn't make it bad.


Kelseus wrote:
Roswynn wrote:
Btw my impression isn't that "warpriests are traps"... don't have a player with one though, so I may be wrong (although I hope not, it would suck if they were so terrible). They're still full casters, they shouldn't compete with fighters in strike accuracy.
Not to derail this thread, but I agree Warpriests aren't traps. Just because a choice is non-optimal doesn't make it bad.

I think that the addition of Archetype Dedications in the APG retroactively validated the existence of Warpriests, in my personal opinion.

Sentinel and Bastion, in particular, make it possible to build a Warpriest can can confidently stand on the front lines without dieing horribly at a distinctly lower cost of entry than a Cloistered Cleric pays to follow the same path.


KrispyXIV wrote:

I think that the addition of Archetype Dedications in the APG retroactively validated the existence of Warpriests, in my personal opinion.

Sentinel and Bastion, in particular, make it possible to build a Warpriest can can confidently stand on the front lines without dieing horribly at a distinctly lower cost of entry than a Cloistered Cleric pays to follow the same path.

My biggest discomfort as a WP is not standing in melee, or missing spell to hit or spell DC, it is having a reduced counteract modifier, where large parts of the divine list are about counteracting effects. Fortunately CCs dont have this problem.

Also as a "reaction caster" like the decribed party healer I absolutely despise sustain or metamagic feats as those in combination with spells sometimes feel like skipping turns.


Ubertron_X wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:

I think that the addition of Archetype Dedications in the APG retroactively validated the existence of Warpriests, in my personal opinion.

Sentinel and Bastion, in particular, make it possible to build a Warpriest can can confidently stand on the front lines without dieing horribly at a distinctly lower cost of entry than a Cloistered Cleric pays to follow the same path.

My biggest discomfort as a WP is not standing in melee, or missing spell to hit or spell DC, it is having a reduced counteract modifier, where large parts of the divine list are about counteracting effects. Fortunately CCs dont have this problem.

Also as a "reaction caster" like the decribed party healer I absolutely despise sustain or metamagic feats as those in combination with spells sometimes feel like skipping turns.

Yeah, I'll keep hopes for a Counteract fix for Warpriests in my hopes of SoM.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Clerics fall apart from martial gameplay by 5th level getting worse as the game goes on. By 9th level, Warpriests come up to parity, but fall back again by 13th level, and don't get any better. Needless to say, if you wanted to play some Battle Cleric type, PF2 isn't the system to do it in.

I mean, Clerics are Healbots now, and Warpriests are traps. You'd have better luck playing a Druid or Bard compared to a Cleric these days if buffing or damaging is to be your forte.

This is 100% incorrect please ignore this guy. He is way overexagerating. Warpriest are only "worse" at level 15 and even then better Fortitude saves arent useless.

The whole having -2 makes a class worthless is just frustrating.

I haven't looked at the divine spell list super thoroughly but PF2E is a very flexible game, you definitely cant buff like in PF1, buffs were ridiculous in that game.

There are a lot of support/buffs/healing options. Based on your party comp some spells might be better than others. There are plenty of good spells. Just casting heroism is great if no one else if giving status buffs.


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RPGnoremac wrote:


This is 100% incorrect please ignore this guy. He is way overexagerating. Warpriest are only "worse" at level 15 and even then better Fortitude saves arent useless.

The whole having -2 makes a class worthless is just frustrating.

I haven't looked at the divine spell list super thoroughly but PF2E is a very flexible game, you definitely cant buff like in PF1, buffs were ridiculous in that game.

There are a lot of support/buffs/healing options. Based on your party comp some spells might be better than others. There are plenty of good spells. Just casting heroism is great if no one else if giving status buffs.

Yes but then you end up with a poor martial character with reasonable support magic. Its a far cry from what it was in PF1, which was far too strong.

You are much better off playing a Champion, or a Fighter with some divine multiclass spells(+items), than playing a War Priest.

When you do eventually get to higher level spells there are a lot of good offensive Divine spells, you will really miss the spell casting DC, and want to be the Cloistered Cleric.

You end up being bad in combat and bad in spells. For sure it is not super terrible. It does work as a buffer. But it is just not a good option. The -2 matters.


Gortle wrote:

Yes but then you end up with a poor martial character with reasonable support magic. Its a far cry from what it was in PF1, which was far too strong.

You are much better off playing a Champion, or a Fighter with some divine multiclass spells(+items), than playing a War Priest.

When you do eventually get to higher level spells there are a lot of good offensive Divine spells, you will really miss the spell casting DC, and want to be the Cloistered Cleric.

You end up being bad in combat and bad in spells. For sure it is not super terrible. It does work as a buffer. But it is just not a good option. The -2 matters.

PF2E is great because of the wide variety of choices. Your examples don't make any since.

How is a Champion or Fighter anything like a Warpriest? You get WAY more spells and can heal for absurd amounts of the day. If you just want to hit things then Fighter/Champion is of course better.

For the most part I believe Warpriest try to take as many buffs/heals as possible so they won't care about the proficiency difference. Yes cloistered cleric at level 15+ is probably a better choice but before that they are both quite viable.


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Warpriests from my experience aren't horrible but they are definitely worse then fighters/champions/barbarians if your trying to compete on the front lines. They can however do things that those classes likely can't do as well like Demoralize (fighters and barbarians will usually tank charisma), and other things which those classes definitely cannot do like Castdown, and Channel Smite. Channel Smite vs a Boss will do some serious damage and can easily rival the most powerful barbarian in the game in terms of alpha strikage for the limited number of times you can use it per day. The Warpriest has some very solid third actions, whether it be Demoralize, Shield cantrip (cuz you'll be wielding a two hander no doubt), Harm, True Strike (followed by a Channel Smite vs a Boss). I agree if you have a Barbarian in your group, it's best to not use Heroism on yourself, it's best to cast it on him or the Fighter. But stick to your strengths, prone the enemy with Castdown, Demoralize them when they are on the ground forcing them to basically stand up, and when they try to get up either your Barbarian or Fighter will get a free AOO. The WP makes an excellent support frontliner IMO alongside either a Fighter or Barbarian. Its easy enough to get a coveted Reaction too for your WP just by MCing into something.


RPGnoremac wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Clerics fall apart from martial gameplay by 5th level getting worse as the game goes on. By 9th level, Warpriests come up to parity, but fall back again by 13th level, and don't get any better. Needless to say, if you wanted to play some Battle Cleric type, PF2 isn't the system to do it in.

I mean, Clerics are Healbots now, and Warpriests are traps. You'd have better luck playing a Druid or Bard compared to a Cleric these days if buffing or damaging is to be your forte.

This is 100% incorrect please ignore this guy. He is way overexagerating. Warpriest are only "worse" at level 15 and even then better Fortitude saves arent useless.

The whole having -2 makes a class worthless is just frustrating.

I haven't looked at the divine spell list super thoroughly but PF2E is a very flexible game, you definitely cant buff like in PF1, buffs were ridiculous in that game.

There are a lot of support/buffs/healing options. Based on your party comp some spells might be better than others. There are plenty of good spells. Just casting heroism is great if no one else if giving status buffs.

If by exaggerating, you mean following the math, then sure. But really, blame the math. The fact that a -2 makes such a big difference in effectiveness is the result of how tight the math is. Plus, you're assuming the endgame at 20th level. The levels where they aren't up to par with other classes at certain things have made a difference in actual play.

Bards don't need to burn spell slots or focus points for their buffs, which are better than the Cleric's in every way. They are the buff bot class, not the Cleric. Paizo changed those expectations, not me. Don't kill or attack the messenger just because he's right.


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Could we stick to the actual topic? Why bloat this forum post with what was never asked for or about. Take the argument to it's own proper posting so no one has to slog thru a page about what was never part of the actual posted topic to review answers for the actual topic. Thank you...

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