Comparing 9th level casters


Advice

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Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


If I look at a given 9/9 caster class and see that they rate 5-8 on Combat, and I've read that that means from "unoptimized" to "optimized" then that's useful info. If I instead read that they rate from 2-8 and that's from "traded everything possible away" to "optimized" then I come away quite a bit less informed. If our ratings all look like 1-8 or 2-10 or such then I don't think we're doing anyone a service. And that's really the only reason to bother pulling something like this together: to be useful. :)

Best,
Owl

Unfortunately, when I read what you write it shows that you just dont get how the ratings work. And please dont say, "Oh I do get it... etc etc"

You dont. You just dont. Stop it.

No offence intended but nobody is putting forward 2-10 ratings for any class, so please don't propagate such nonsense.

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Arkham Joker wrote:

Unfortunately, when I read what you write it shows that you just dont get how the ratings work. And please dont say, "Oh I do get it... etc etc"

You dont. You just dont. Stop it.

No offence intended but nobody is putting forward 2-10 ratings for any class, so please don't propagate such nonsense.

Dude, lighten up. Your aggressive language isn't helping the discussion any.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
I would really like to get proposed scores from anyone who has a perspective/insight we're missing. What have the ratings thus far over or under weighed?

First off, the cleric section is WAY too long for this document and should be moved to a different document. There is value in a categorized comparison of classes (which I think is the aim of this thread), and sticking a guide-to-a-single-class right in the middle of that just makes it hard to read. The cleric section also rates the cleric as 9 or 10 in literally everything, which is clearly an overstatement.

Let's take a topic and compare the ratings in that. The above posts mainly talk about combat ratings, so I'll take next number, which is healing. Factors to consider include (1) cure spells on your list, (2) condition removal spells on your list, (3) channel or similar mass healing, (4) lifelink or similar that doesn't cost a standard action. This is focused on in-combat healing because out-of-combat healing is commonly done with wands and doesn't need a particular class. Out-of-combat condition removal is still very useful though.

Wizard 1-2: seems fair.
Arcanist 1-4: seems fair; it's also 1-2 by default but clear options exist to go higher.
Sorcerer 2-8: I'd say this one should be lower. Lower bound is 1 just like wizard and arcanist. Unicorn isn't great and crossblooded has serious downsides; that said Phoenix bloodline gives very effective mass healing (comparable to channel) but lacks the divine condition removal spells. I'd rate this 1-6 instead of 2-8.
Witch 5-8: I'd rate this lower because witch doesn't have channel or lifelink, say 3-7. Well, technically there's the hex channeler but that's such a costly and ineffective way to get channel that it doesn't really count.
Druid 6-8: spontaneous summoning plus healing summons is a good combo, and druid gets most condition removal spells.
Shaman 7-10: seems fair.
Oracle 8-10: seems fair; maybe move to 9-10 because oracle is really the king of healing.
Cleric X-10: this one should be lower, because clerics don't get life spirit. Channel is very good, but requires investment to use in combat (e.g. Selective Channel feat), so I'd call this 7-8 or maybe 6-9.

HTH! I'll check the buffing section next.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Dude, lighten up. Your aggressive language isn't helping the discussion any.

I was not being aggressive in any way.... dont read into things that aren't there and go all SJW.

Owl has done great work putting the document framework together, but putting out misleading information into the discussion is just wrong and plain confusing/annoying, especially when the actual rationale has been stated so clearly previously.


Kurald Galain wrote:

The cleric section also rates the cleric as 9 or 10 in literally everything, which is clearly an overstatement.

That's because you haven't read the guide and so haven't grasped the complexities of Cleric building vs the other classes.

People ITK on Cleric builds have been saying for years on several forums, that the key to the class is strong specialisation and understanding how all the components fit together.

I am merely the first that has tried to actually put this into a document for the masses. The notion itself has been around for quite a while.


Arkham Joker wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:
Dude, lighten up. Your aggressive language isn't helping the discussion any.

I was not being aggressive in any way.... dont read into things that aren't there and go all SJW.

Owl has done great work putting the document framework together, but putting out misleading information into the discussion is just wrong and plain confusing/annoying, especially when the actual rationale has been stated so clearly previously.

My central point is that a range of "Unoptimized to Optimized" is useful to readers. On the other hand, a range of "Minimum to Maximum" is not particularly useful. While Optimized & Maximum mean pretty much the same thing, Minimum can be far below Unoptimized and honestly I don't think that informs readers in a productive way.

As for the length of your entry, I think that's fine as an interim state. You had talked about turning this into its own guide, and I think that's the right direction to go. Then we can reference that document along with substantially briefer ratings for the cleric proper.

Cheers,
Owl


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Sorcerer: 1 to 4, and the upper end is without severely hosing yourself in other functions, unlike the other arcane casters.

The features you're pointing out, long spear, pretty good buffs are in the 1-4 range early on. But by level 4 or 5 I feel like the sorcerer drops back down to 1-3. So lean toward it being in the same ballpark as the Arcanist & Witch in combat overall. So I lean toward a rating range of 1-3. Does 1-4 make better sense to you overall? I'm open to having missed something you were getting at.

Taking Kurald's feedback into account I think the Cleric & Oracle maybe top out at an 8 rather than 9. (Only updating the spreadsheet for now.)

The key issue with respect to combat (per Lelomenia) is whether the Shaman's 3-6 range is really on the same scale as the Cleric's X-8 and Oracle's 6-8. In the Shamans' favor we have bane, against the Shaman we have the FCB (since it's so good, you'll usually not have taken +1 HP/level).

A very, very brief summary:

Cleric X-8: Glory, Luck, Travel, Liberation, etc domains
Oracle 6-8: Metal mystery
Shaman 3-6: Battle spirit

Do we need to adjust the Shaman to be on the same scale? If we have arcanist, sorc & witch topping out at 3, does that make sense for a shaman that's not optimized for combat too?

Thanks all,
Owl


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Sorcerer: 1 to 4, and the upper end is without severely hosing yourself in other functions, unlike the other arcane casters.

The features you're pointing out, long spear, pretty good buffs are in the 1-4 range early on. But by level 4 or 5 I feel like the sorcerer drops back down to 1-3. So lean toward it being in the same ballpark as the Arcanist & Witch in combat overall. So I lean toward a rating range of 1-3. Does 1-4 make better sense to you overall? I'm open to having missed something you were getting at.

{. . .}

I should have also mentioned in my previous post about Bloodlines that give a bit of later oomph to the Sorcerer, after the Longspear effectiveness has dropped off. Ghoul comes most readily to mind, but looking around in Iluzry's Sorcerer guide you can find a couple of others. And the self-defense buffs stay good much longer, and you can still keep doing them longer than the other 9/9 casters, so you're not quite in the same boat, which is why I think 1 notch higher than the others (except for Wizard, which is 1 notch lower than the others) is fair.


Kurald Galain wrote:

Let's take a topic and compare the ratings in that. The above posts mainly talk about combat ratings, so I'll take next number, which is healing. Factors to consider include (1) cure spells on your list, (2) condition removal spells on your list, (3) channel or similar mass healing, (4) lifelink or similar that doesn't cost a standard action. This is focused on in-combat healing because out-of-combat healing is commonly done with wands and doesn't need a particular class. Out-of-combat condition removal is still very useful though.

Wizard 1-2: seems fair.
Arcanist 1-4: seems fair; it's also 1-2 by default but clear options exist to go higher.
Sorcerer 2-8: I'd say this one should be lower. Lower bound is 1 just like wizard and arcanist. Unicorn isn't great and crossblooded has serious downsides; that said Phoenix bloodline gives very effective mass healing (comparable to channel) but lacks the divine condition removal spells. I'd rate this 1-6 instead of 2-8.

I compromised with 1-7 (again only on the spreadsheet for now). Any response Iluzry?

Kurald Galain wrote:
Witch 5-8: I'd rate this lower because witch doesn't have channel or lifelink, say 3-7. Well, technically there's the hex channeler but that's such a costly and ineffective way to get channel that it doesn't really count.

Agreed, hex channeler is bad. The base state is just the spell list with cure & condition removal. Upper end would add the healing hex (sort of mass healing) & healing patron. If an unoptimized druid comes in at 6, I lean toward 4-7 for the witch. Thoughts?

Kurald Galain wrote:

Druid 6-8: spontaneous summoning plus healing summons is a good combo, and druid gets most condition removal spells.

Shaman 7-10: seems fair.
Oracle 8-10: seems fair; maybe move to 9-10 because oracle is really the king of healing.

I might go the other way with Oracle, 7-10. The Life mystery is what really pushes the Oracle up to 10, without it she's merely good. So maybe I'll compromise and leave it where it is.

Kurald Galain wrote:
Cleric X-10: this one should be lower, because clerics don't get life spirit. Channel is very good, but requires investment to use in combat (e.g. Selective Channel feat), so I'd call this 7-8 or maybe 6-9.

I think the Cleric still comes in at a clear 10 because she is a prepared caster with access to the full list. That gives her ready access to the more obscure/circumstantial condition removal spells that an Oracle would lack (or at least find a scroll for).


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


Taking Kurald's feedback into account I think the Cleric & Oracle maybe top out at an 8 rather than 9. (Only updating the spreadsheet for now.)

No thats ridiculous, Cleric is a clear 9... easy as you like. And in fact has several advantages at the top end over a Druid. I could see how an Oracle topped out at an 8 though.

Like I said before, when it comes to the Cleric, my guide is the gospel. It is up to other people to find clear fault in my analysis, not to rely on vague opinions from people who clearly haven't read it and/or can't be assed to put a structured counter down.

Absent an accurate counter to any of my analysis, the ratings I put in to the guide are the ones to be used in the document... end of story.

If you can't follow this rule and keep to it 100%, then delete my entire contribution from the document immediately. I will simply carry on separately and post my finished article in the "Guide to the Guides", and you can put whatever comments/ratings you like in your document.


Arkham Joker wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


Taking Kurald's feedback into account I think the Cleric & Oracle maybe top out at an 8 rather than 9. (Only updating the spreadsheet for now.)

No thats ridiculous, Cleric is a clear 9... easy as you like. And in fact has several advantages at the top end over a Druid. I could see how an Oracle topped out at an 8 though.

Like I said before, when it comes to the Cleric, my guide is the gospel. It is up to other people to find clear fault in my analysis, not to rely on vague opinions from people who clearly haven't read it and/or can't be assed to put a structured counter down.

Absent an accurate counter to any of my analysis, the ratings I put in to the guide are the ones to be used in the document... end of story.

If you can't follow this rule and keep to it 100%, then delete my entire contribution from the document immediately. I will simply carry on separately and post my finished article in the "Guide to the Guides", and you can put whatever comments/ratings you like in your document.

The goal here is to pull together many peoples' ratings, to get varied perspectives & insight. Now the more someone has played, thought about, and written about (i.e. extra thinking about) a class the more value they bring to it. But no one gets an ultimate trump, certainly to include me.

There are a couple of confounding issues in combat. 1. We need to try to separate the combat chassis plus abilities from the buffing category, and 2. we want to separate the druid's animal companion from combat. But in both cases that's muddy, because of course buffing yourself is a core part of combat, as is a druid's animal companion (since taking a cleric domain is a clear minority choice). So again, it's muddy.

On this particular topic I think it's easy to look closely at an optimal combat cleric, without considering optimal choices for other classes.

What does that druid look like? Maybe a beast-shaped cat with pounce/rake. Maybe a goliath druid that keeps all their gear while wild-shaped, has massive reach and a ridiculous vital strike. Maybe a nature fang archer with the slayer's studied target/talents/sneak-attack.

So I guess I encourage you to talk about those comparisons at the upper end.

That's the point of going back through the ratings categories to consider these classes in comparison with one another.

Cheers

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Arkham Joker wrote:
If you can't follow this rule and keep to it 100%, then delete my entire contribution from the document immediately.

This is a cooperative thread, so I don't understand why you are so aggressive to anyone who disagrees with you. Chances are good that anyone else contributing here has at least as much play experience as you do. Once again: dude, lighten up.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
My central point is that a range of "Unoptimized to Optimized" is useful to readers. On the other hand, a range of "Minimum to Maximum" is not particularly useful.

I completely agree.

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
Taking Kurald's feedback into account I think the Cleric & Oracle maybe top out at an 8 rather than 9. (Only updating the spreadsheet for now.)

That's fair, cleric and oracle are clearly no match for the druid when it comes to combat.

Regarding the shaman, bane in every combat at level 8 is very good. I'm inclined to move him to 3-8 or 4-8 based on that, considering he can also poach the best buff spells from the cleric (via FCB) if he doesn't have them already.

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
Agreed, hex channeler is bad. The base state is just the spell list with cure & condition removal. Upper end would add the healing hex (sort of mass healing) & healing patron. If an unoptimized druid comes in at 6, I lean toward 4-7 for the witch. Thoughts?

Agreed.

Kurald Galain wrote:
I think the Cleric still comes in at a clear 10 because she is a prepared caster with access to the full list. That gives her ready access to the more obscure/circumstantial condition removal spells that an Oracle would lack (or at least find a scroll for).

For condition removal, I'm leaning the other way: as a prepared caster, you're probably not going to prepare (say) Lesser Restoration or Remove Disease every day, because usually you don't know in advance that it will come up. Whereas if you're spontaneous, you can just learn the spell once (low-level Pages of Spell Knowledge are cheap) and you'll have it available at all times. That means that in most cases, the cleric can cure you tomorrow whereas the oracle can cure you right now. This is similar to how Feather Fall is rarely prepared by wizards, but very good to learn for a sorcerer.

Aside from that: action economy is what wins combats. Any healing that doesn't cost a standard action (such as Lay on Hands and/or Life Link) is a big power boost, and this is why oracle tops cleric in terms of healing.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Let's see what's next: buffing.

Arcanist 7-10: this is probably the best buffer in the game, with the best spell list combined with effective archetypes. It'll be hard for other classes to top that.
Sorcerer 7-9: looks good.
Wizard 8-9: I'd say this should be 7-9, same as the sorcerer.
Witch 4-8: weaker spells but protective/soothsayer, fair enough.
Shaman 6-8: looks good, same reason as the witch.
Druid 5-7: I suggest sticking with the first rating because usually you aren't buffing animals. That said, druid is certainly solid here. I'd go with 6-8: the 6 to match the shaman, and the 8 druid has a lot of 10-minute-per-level buffs (e.g. Feather Step, Barkskin, Slipstream, Stoneskin, Life Bubble earlier than others). It's very effective to load up the party on long-lasting buffs so you don't need to spend combat actions on them, and "Barkskin for the whole party" brings a whole new baseline to a mid-to-high level party.
Oracle 6-10: I get the 6 but I don't see where the 10 comes from; overall the wizard list is much better than what the oracle gets (and succor mystery seems mostly about healing and debuffing). I'd rate this 5-7, because the shaman gets Protective/Soothsayer and the oracle doesn't seem to have an ability to match that.
Cleric 10: yeah, that's not right. This is one of the places where it clearly shows that the cleric list is well below the wizard list. The cleric has a ton of buff spells, but all the best ones are just not there (e.g. Enlarge, Barkskin, Haste, Stoneskin), and quantity of spells is just no substitute for quality. I'd rate this 5-7, same as the oracle.

So overall, while no caster is bad at buffing, there's just no substitute for the sheer power of the wizard list. HTH.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Regarding the shaman, bane in every combat at level 8 is very good. I'm inclined to move him to 3-8 or 4-8 based on that, considering he can also poach the best buff spells from the cleric (via FCB) if he doesn't have them already.

Counterpoint (per UnArcane) since the shaman's FCB is so very good, a cleric or oracle will often have an additional +1 HP/level. And that of course weakens them in a combat role.

Does that nudge them down?


Kurald Galain wrote:

Let's see what's next: buffing.

Arcanist 7-10: this is probably the best buffer in the game, with the best spell list combined with effective archetypes. It'll be hard for other classes to top that.

Is the brown-fur transmuter so good that everyone else should top out at an 8?

Kurald Galain wrote:

Sorcerer 7-9: looks good.

Wizard 8-9: I'd say this should be 7-9, same as the sorcerer.

Fair.

Kurald Galain wrote:

Witch 4-8: weaker spells but protective/soothsayer, fair enough.

Shaman 6-8: looks good, same reason as the witch.
Druid 5-7: I suggest sticking with the first rating because usually you aren't buffing animals. That said, druid is certainly solid here. I'd go with 6-8: the 6 to match the shaman, and the 8 druid has a lot of 10-minute-per-level buffs (e.g. Feather Step, Barkskin, Slipstream, Stoneskin, Life Bubble earlier than others). It's very effective to load up the party on long-lasting buffs so you don't need to spend combat actions on them, and "Barkskin for the whole party" brings a whole new baseline to a mid-to-high level party.

As good as barkskin is, at 10 minutes/level it doesn't last long enough to wholly replace an amulet of natural armor. And once the party is investing in amulets (as most parties do) the spell's value decreases, since they don't stack.

Kurald Galain wrote:
Oracle 6-10: I get the 6 but I don't see where the 10 comes from; overall the wizard list is much better than what the oracle gets (and succor mystery seems mostly about healing and debuffing). I'd rate this 5-7, because the shaman gets Protective/Soothsayer and the oracle doesn't seem to have an ability to match that.

Give the build in Bell, Book & Candle a quick look. It's surprisingly good. Agreed it's over-rated at 10. 5-8 or 6-8 maybe?

Kurald Galain wrote:
Cleric 10: yeah, that's not right. This is one of the places where it clearly shows that the cleric list is well below the wizard list. The cleric has a ton of buff spells, but all the best ones are just not there (e.g. Enlarge, Barkskin, Haste, Stoneskin), and quantity of spells is just no substitute for quality. I'd rate this 5-7, same as the oracle.

The Varisian Pilgrim cleric with e.g. Luck domain/Good Fortune & Trickery domain/copycat abilities handed out to the whole party is where the cleric tops out.

So while an unoptimized cleric has less to bring than a wizard, I think the top end is comparable. 6-9?

I added a "Buff Spells" tab to the spreadsheet with spells I culled from googling "pathfinder best buff spells" and pulling together the results. While that's far from definitive, it's not driven by whatever I happen to think of. Please call out key spells that I'm missing. Likewise, please call out spells I listed that really don't merit inclusion.

The sheet


Looking at spells available to the witch I downgraded her "unoptimized" score to 3.

1st -- enlarge person, unbreakable heart
2nd -- ironskin, communal mount
3rd -- fly, free spirit, heroism
4th -- shadowform

And then 4 patrons complement this out, with 2 of those among the best choices (and hence can be partially considered along with a witch that has not been optimized for buffing).


Kurald Galain wrote:


Cleric 10: yeah, that's not right. This is one of the places where it clearly shows that the cleric list is well below the wizard list. The cleric has a ton of buff spells, but all the best ones are just not there (e.g. Enlarge, Barkskin, Haste, Stoneskin), and quantity of spells is just no substitute for quality. I'd rate this 5-7, same as the oracle.

So overall, while no caster is bad at buffing, there's just no substitute for the sheer power of the wizard list. HTH.

You have no idea what you're talking about and haven't read my guide, so its no surprise that youre talking gibberish

The Max/Top score is fully optimised and a Cleric has all manner of ways of accessing additional buffing spells

An optimised Buffing Cleric is above the Wizard not below it!!

Varisian Pilgrim, Samsaran race, Dreamed Secrets, deity specific spells.. etc

A Samsaran Asmodean Cleric makes a phenomonal buffer, being able to in effect permanently hand out a huge range of spells to any party member as well as receiving a scaling bonus to D20 rolls themselves!

All manner of ways to expand options... an optimised Cleric can gain access to virtually any spell in the game. On top of being able to heal (a form of buffing).

And I would easily put it equal to the Arcanist since 'Share Transmutation (Su)' is only gained at 9th level


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Arkham Joker wrote:
Kurald Galain wrote:


Cleric 10: yeah, that's not right. This is one of the places where it clearly shows that the cleric list is well below the wizard list. The cleric has a ton of buff spells, but all the best ones are just not there (e.g. Enlarge, Barkskin, Haste, Stoneskin), and quantity of spells is just no substitute for quality. I'd rate this 5-7, same as the oracle.

So overall, while no caster is bad at buffing, there's just no substitute for the sheer power of the wizard list. HTH.

You have no idea what you're talking about and haven't read my guide, so its no surprise that youre talking gibberish

The Max/Top score is fully optimised and a Cleric has all manner of ways of accessing additional buffing spells

An optimised Buffing Cleric is above the Wizard not below it!!

Varisian Pilgrim, Samsaran race, Dreamed Secrets, deity specific spells.. etc

A Samsaran Asmodean Cleric makes a phenomonal buffer, being able to in effect permanently hand out a huge range of spells to any party member as well as receiving a scaling bonus to D20 rolls themselves!

All manner of ways to expand options... an optimised Cleric can gain access to virtually any spell in the game. On top of being able to heal (a form of buffing).

And I would easily put it equal to the Arcanist since 'Share Transmutation (Su)' is only gained at 9th level

I appreciate your passion, but please treat folks' opinions with legitimacy whether you agree or disagree.

- A Varisian Pilgrim has some pretty great buffs
- Samsaran/Mystic Past Life applies to every class
- Dreamed Secrets isn't necessarily available widely, since it require Lovecraft's gods
- Asmodeus is even less widely available since the vast majority of campaigns aren't set up for evil characters. Are those contract spells available to worshippers of any neutral or good gods?

Cheers


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


I appreciate your passion, but please treat folks' opinions with legitimacy whether you agree or disagree.

- A Varisian Pilgrim has some pretty great buffs
- Samsaran/Mystic Past Life applies to every class
- Dreamed Secrets isn't necessarily available widely, since it require Lovecraft's gods
- Asmodeus is even less widely available since the vast majority of campaigns aren't set up for evil characters. Are those contract spells available to worshippers of any neutral or good gods?

Cheers

You dont have to be evil to worship Asmodeus.

Although MPL is available to any class, the Cleric makes better gains from it than most others and certainly vs the Arcanist.

The fact that GOO/OG worship is required for Dreamed Secrets is completely irrelevant since that is the entire point of optimising!! You pick the optimal choices..... fairly simple really.

Share Transmutation (Su)' is only gained at 9th level which significantly reduces it worth.


With regard to the (by default bad) Hex Channeler archetype, you could make this good if you get it for rider effects and don't worry about the damage healed or dealt (which is just too expensive in Hexes sacrificed -- your Channel DC is full progression even if you don't sacrifice any more Hexes to boost the damage.

This moves it out of the realm of Healing (except for the tiny bit that it starts at) and puts it in the realm of battlefield control (Turn or Command Undead) or bad status removal, buffing, and debuffing (Variant Channeling).

Turn or Command Undead is the easiest to get, and work the same as the Power Over Undead ability of a Necromancer Wizard (including making the number of damage dice completely irrelevant), except that the Necromancer Wizard gets one of these feats as a bonus feat (so doesn't have to invest any feat slots to get this). Still, it might be worthwhile for a Gravewalker Witch (which is not too shabby as a Necromancer) or for a Witch who is going to be up against a lot of Undead.

Variant Channeling is harder to get, because it has the text "A character who has the channel energy ability from a class other than cleric may use these variant channeling rules if the class's abilities are tied to serving a deity." This rules out most Witches, but a Witch with a Unique Patron that is tied to a deity could qualify. I left out riders like Command Animals/Plants, because those would also require you to either dip in Cleric (delaying your Witch progression) or go VMC Cleric, which is generally (always?) bad.

And I just noticed: Since the Unique Patrons give you a bonus Hex at 1st level, you qualify for the Extra Hex feat even if you have taken archetypes that replace all of your low-level Hexes, or even all Hexes altogether. Rules As Written, this would also work for Havocker(*) or White-Haired Witch(**) as well as for combinations like Gravewalker + Hex Channeler, or Herb Witch + Hedge Witch.

(*)Not sure if this could make this archetype actually good -- even with the bonus Hex, you are going to be awfully short of feats, Hexes, or both.

(**)Still bad unless you can figure out some way to stay alive while still being able to engage in combat, AND figure out some way to actually hit stuff, and even then, even with the bonus Hex, you are going to be awfully short of feats, Hexes, or both. Maybe some such method exists, but it escapes me for now.


Arkham Joker wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


I appreciate your passion, but please treat folks' opinions with legitimacy whether you agree or disagree.

- A Varisian Pilgrim has some pretty great buffs
- Samsaran/Mystic Past Life applies to every class
- Dreamed Secrets isn't necessarily available widely, since it require Lovecraft's gods
- Asmodeus is even less widely available since the vast majority of campaigns aren't set up for evil characters. Are those contract spells available to worshippers of any neutral or good gods?

Cheers

You dont have to be evil to worship Asmodeus.

Although MPL is available to any class, the Cleric makes better gains from it than most others and certainly vs the Arcanist.

The fact that GOO/OG worship is required for Dreamed Secrets is completely irrelevant since that is the entire point of optimising!! You pick the optimal choices..... fairly simple really.

Share Transmutation (Su)' is only gained at 9th level which significantly reduces it worth.

it’s not irrelevant even when those deities are allowed; you cite Deity specific spells, Dreamed Secrets, Asmodeus worship, and Varisian Pilgrim as key options for optimizing Cleric for buffing,

But if you have any deity specific buff spells, you can’t get Dreamed Secrets, and if you have Dreamed Secrets, you can’t worship Asmodeus, and if you worship Asmodeus, Varisian Pilgrim isn’t a good option.

The guide does a good job of citing many different useful options, but the problem cleric has is that you only get one deity. And once you pick one, 99% of those options go away.

Anyway, the other big issue is that Cleric gaining access to some of the arcane list’s better spells doesn’t make the Cleric better than the arcane caster, it makes her worse by a smaller margin.


Lelomenia wrote:


But if you have any deity specific buff spells, you can’t get Dreamed Secrets, and if you have Dreamed Secrets, you can’t worship Asmodeus, and if you worship Asmodeus, Varisian Pilgrim isn’t a good option.

You're missing the point (like many others) - I never said that all of these options can be used at the same time did I?

ANSWER - No

Merely that the Cleric has several options at improving its already very good buffing ability that function in different ways. A basic Cleric is superior to a basic arcane caster in several ways at buffing without even considering optimisation.


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


Taking Kurald's feedback into account I think the Cleric & Oracle maybe top out at an 8 rather than 9. (Only updating the spreadsheet for now.)

The goal here is to pull together many peoples' ratings, to get varied perspectives & insight. Now the more someone has played, thought about, and written about (i.e. extra thinking about) a class the more value they bring to it. But no one gets an ultimate trump, certainly to include me.

There are a couple of confounding issues in combat. 1. We need to try to separate the combat chassis plus abilities from the buffing category, and 2. we want to separate the druid's animal companion from combat. But in both cases that's muddy, because of course buffing yourself is a core part of combat, as is a druid's animal companion (since taking a cleric domain is a clear minority choice). So again, it's muddy.

On this particular topic I think it's easy to look closely at an optimal combat cleric, without considering optimal choices for other classes.

What does that druid look like? Maybe a beast-shaped cat with...

I want to go our separate ways - as the author of my document, you no longer have my permission to use it in ANY part of your guide or reference it in any part of your guide. I will be uploading it as a completely separate entity to the main class guides website/document. Please remove my Cleric section immediately.

Sadly, we are just too different in approach to ratings. My guide is based on my logical, structured approach, not your vague/imprecise one, so I have no interest in trying somehow to meld it with your document... apples and oranges I'm afraid.

You say you "don't have a trump" but you clearly have been using one!

You have decided to ignore the significant overlap between the roles and this is a clear mistake IMO as the overlap unquestionably exists. My document does not ignore the overlap when it formulates ratings.

You have decided to use an optimised/un-optimised rating approach - a very vague concept. Why would anyone have any interest in the building of a PC to function in a role unoptimised? How is that useful?!

My MINIMUM/MAXIMUM approach is more logical and useful IMO and since we have differing view points, I have no wish to link my document to yours.

You are taking advice from other posters who clearly haven't (or aren't capable) engaged with my superb multi-faceted document, and applying that advice too hastily.

Building any PC for any role should require a multi-faceted approach - my document embraces this, but you clearly have other ideas for your document, which is of course fine.

I wish you all the best with your document and thanks for the work that you have put in.

Delete my contribution immediately.


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Arkham Joker wrote:

I want to go our separate ways - as the author of my document, you no longer have my permission to use it in ANY part of your guide or reference it in any part of your guide. I will be uploading it as a completely separate entity to the main class guides website/document. Please remove my Cleric section immediately.

Sadly, we are just too different in approach to ratings. My guide is based on my logical, structured approach, not your vague/imprecise one, so I have no interest in trying somehow to meld it with your document... apples and oranges I'm afraid.

You say you "don't have a trump" but you clearly have been using one!

You have decided to ignore the significant overlap between the roles and this is a clear mistake IMO as the overlap unquestionably exists. My document does not ignore the overlap when it formulates ratings.

You have decided to use an optimised/un-optimised rating approach - a very vague concept. Why would anyone have any interest in the building of a PC to function in a role unoptimised? How is that useful?!

My MINIMUM/MAXIMUM approach is more logical and useful IMO and since we have differing view points, I have no wish to link my document to yours.

You are taking advice from other posters who clearly haven't (or aren't capable) engaged with my superb multi-faceted document, and applying that advice too hastily.

Building any PC for any role should require a multi-faceted approach - my document embraces this, but you clearly have other ideas for your document, which is of course fine.

I wish you all the best with your document and thanks for the work that you have put in.

Delete my contribution immediately.

The work is yours, always has been. Would you like me to move it to another doc and share that with you?

My goal here is to pull together varying perspectives to get the best overall comparison. That means I'm going to listen to everyone and take their views into account, generally aiming for a middle ground that (hopefully) builds on more experience than any one of us brings.

I look forward to reading your guide. Because it covers so much ground, I'd really enjoy seeing a few builds that pull together deity/domain/race/etc to highlight what can be achieved in various roles.

(n.b. I am leaving your contribution where it is *briefly* until you let me know whether you'd like it shared in a separate document for you. to work from. Once I hear that I'll gladly remove it.)

I'll only add that you've probably been pricklier than you needed to be. I suspect this all could have been resolved more fruitfully if you'd replied with sketches of what makes a cleric stronger/weaker in a given role (as you did with the varisian pilgrim & buffing, which was really insightful), and dialed down the confrontation. We're all playing a game because we enjoy it, because that's how we want to spend some of our free time.

My genuine best,
Owl

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

since the shaman's FCB is so very good, a cleric or oracle will often have an additional +1 HP/level. And that of course weakens them in a combat role.

Does that nudge them down?

I'm leaning towards "no" because (for a cleric at least) I tend to spend my FCB on a skill point. And, well, that the Shaman's FCB is so good doesn't speak well for the Shaman's spell list.

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
Is the brown-fur transmuter so good that everyone else should top out at an 8?

I'm ok with 9 for the others, because most buffs don't improve your ability scores.

Quote:
As good as barkskin is, at 10 minutes/level it doesn't last long enough to wholly replace an amulet of natural armor. And once the party is investing in amulets (as most parties do) the spell's value decreases, since they don't stack.

Barkskin gives a +5 at level 12; I'd say the average party doesn't have +5 amulets until level 16 (if that), so the spell stays relevant very long. And that's hardly the only 10m/l buff druids get.

Quote:
Give the build in Bell, Book & Candle a quick look.

It's a long guide; which build in particular do you mean?

Quote:
The Varisian Pilgrim cleric with e.g. Luck domain/Good Fortune & Trickery domain/copycat abilities handed out to the whole party is where the cleric tops out.

I don't think that's a 9 because good fortune is once or twice per day only, and because these domains don't help you in getting better buff spells.

A buffing cleric is better served with domains that add buff spells (from, say, the wizard list); and that's just another way of saying that wizards are clearly better buffers than clerics.

Quote:
I added a "Buff Spells" tab to the spreadsheet with spells I culled from googling "pathfinder best buff spells" and pulling together the results.

That's a good idea!

I would add Spider Climb as a good movement buff, Displacement as one of the best defense buffs (that isn't self-only), Mage Armor (because it's great on animal companions and monks), and Greater Invis.
The one thing that I'd say doesn't belong is Bull's Strength, because any str-based character is going to buy a strength belt as his first pick (around level 4) and that doesn't stack; and maybe Death ward because how situational it is (given its short duration, it's effectively an emergency self-buff).

Oh, we still have a ? for clerics in combat; it should be 6-8, same as the oracle.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

UnArcaneElection wrote:
With regard to the (by default bad) Hex Channeler archetype, you could make this good if you get it for rider effects

Agreed: hex channeler is not a healer, but is a... well, the other things you wrote. That said, I don't think that BFC that only works on undead is worth the investment in most campaigns.

Quote:
a Witch with a Unique Patron that is tied to a deity could qualify.

Yes, but the description of unique patron seems to rule out most of the good variant channel abilities (because unfortunately, most of the variant channel abilities are not very good).

Quote:
(*)Not sure if this could make this archetype actually good -- even with the bonus Hex, you are going to be awfully short of feats, Hexes, or both.

Even with this trick, havocker is still a bad blaster and a poor archetype in general.

Lelomenia wrote:
the problem cleric has is that you only get one deity. And once you pick one, 99% of those options go away.

Indeed.

Quote:
Anyway, the other big issue is that Cleric gaining access to some of the arcane list’s better spells doesn’t make the Cleric better than the arcane caster, it makes her worse by a smaller margin.

Also that. The fact that Mythic Past Life is better for clerics directly means that the cleric spell list is worse than the other lists.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Since I mentioned Blaster above (regarding the havocker), let's look at that category next.

First off, the sorcerer has crossblooded, blood havoc, flumefire, FCB damage boost, and an archetype that natively boosts caster level; overall this makes it so ridiculously better at blasting than anyone else that my first intuition puts the other classes at 6 or below. Except if they have good added features of course.
What compounds this is that a baseline Fireball (1d6 per level) is mediocre compared to damage dealt by melee characters, so just being able to cast Fireball (or similar) should not give a class a high score by itself. Again, except if they have good added features.

Sorcerer 5-10; yes, they are the king of blasting for a reason. Let's say 6-10 to be consistent with the other arcanes.
Arcanist 6-8, seems fair.
Wizard 7-9; I'd go with 6-8 because I don't think it really tops the Arcanist in this regard.
Oracle 3-8; this mainly depends on the Rimemage build, which is good but not an 8 rank by itself. I note that Freezing Spells adds to control but not to damage, that the build lacks good blasting spells before Cone of Cold, and that it largely depends on Spell Perfection (which is both out of reach of most campaigns, and available to all blasters). I'd make this 3-6 instead.
Druid 5-7; the rating mentions that druids get "way more ouchie stuff" but doesn't explain what that means. In my experience druids have a lot of blasting spells, the problem is that they aren't very good (e.g. Call Lightning certainly sounds awesome, but it deals a measly 3d6 damage). I'd rate this 4-5, but please let me know if I'm overlooking some ouchie stuff.
Cleric 9; clerics are overall bad at blasting, because they have neither the good spells on their list nor any class features that help; the Theologian archetype is your best bet but it doesn't really add any feats that you need. I'd rate this 3-4.
Shaman 4-7; seems reasonable but let's say 3-7 to be consistent with the other divines.
Witch 3-7; seems fair.

HTH!


Kurald Galain wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

since the shaman's FCB is so very good, a cleric or oracle will often have an additional +1 HP/level. And that of course weakens them in a combat role.

Does that nudge them down?

I'm leaning towards "no" because (for a cleric at least) I tend to spend my FCB on a skill point. And, well, that the Shaman's FCB is so good doesn't speak well for the Shaman's spell list.

I meant that a melee-focused cleric or oracle will likely take the +1 HP, while an equivalent shaman would likely still go for the +1 spell FCB. Any caster would, that's just a remarkable FCB.

Kurald Galain wrote:


Barkskin gives a +5 at level 12; I'd say the average party doesn't have +5 amulets until level 16 (if that), so the spell stays relevant very long. And that's hardly the only 10m/l buff druids get.

Agreed.

Kurald Galain wrote:
Quote:
Give the build in Bell, Book & Candle a quick look.
It's a long guide; which build in particular do you mean?

I meant that if you looked in the comparison document under Oracle/Combat I reference a build in Bell, Book & Candle named "The Blade". Wasn't the obvious? No. I suppose you're right.

Kurald Galain wrote:
Quote:
The Varisian Pilgrim cleric with e.g. Luck domain/Good Fortune & Trickery domain/copycat abilities handed out to the whole party is where the cleric tops out.

I don't think that's a 9 because good fortune is once or twice per day only, and because these domains don't help you in getting better buff spells.

A buffing cleric is better served with domains that add buff spells (from, say, the wizard list); and that's just another way of saying that wizards are clearly better buffers than clerics.

The key is that Varisian Pilgrim has Caravan Bond, allowing her party (wis bonus+1 members) to use her domain abilities. So if Luck/Good Fortune allows the cleric to reroll a d20 1/day, now the whole party can. Or Trickery/copycat allows the cleric (and hence now the whole party) to use mirror image 3+wis/day.

Kurald Galain wrote:
Quote:
I added a "Buff Spells" tab to the spreadsheet with spells I culled from googling "pathfinder best buff spells" and pulling together the results.

That's a good idea!

I would add Spider Climb as a good movement buff, Displacement as one of the best defense buffs (that isn't self-only), Mage Armor (because it's great on...

I added/removed a few spells.


AoN wrote:
Caravan Bond (Su): At 1st level, by leading a group prayer for 1 minute, a Varisian pilgrim can select a number of traveling companions equal to her cleric level + her Wisdom bonus. She may use her domain-granted powers on any of these traveling companions as if they were her. She can use these abilities on her traveling companions at a range of up to 30 feet, even if the ability normally requires her touch.

varisian pilgrim doesn’t grant your companions your abilities (and assumptively additional uses that would come with that).

You can spend uses that normally only target you on others. Which is nice with the right ability, but And Copycat isn’t Mirror Image; you only get 1 duplicate, vs. an average of 3.5 to 8ish depending on CL for a casting of Mirror Image. Good Fortune goes from being one reroll per day for you to one total for your group.

On the Blaster topic, Shaman is particularly bad. Basically, if a spell appears on at least two of the oracle/druid/witch lists, shaman gets it, but at the higher level. Flame Strike at 5th (druids get it at 4th), Harm at 7th (clerics get it at 6th), firestorm at 8th (druids get at 7th), but no lightning bolt (witch 3rd), explosion of rot (druid 4th), or hellfire ray (cleric 6th). And almost no shaman class features for blasting. I would rate them below cleric, probably for both unoptimized and optimized.


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I added a "blasting" tab to the spreadsheet for quick reference.

Accounting for comments from Kurald & Leolomania, I feel like we have a few tiers:

poor spells 2
good spells 5
good spells with metamagic feats 6-7
good spells with metamagic feats & class abilities/features 8-10

So then:

Arcanist: good spells (5 unoptimized), with metamagic, aeromancer & potent magic (8 or 9 optimized)

Cleric: fair spells (3), theologian with ash domain & metamagic 6

Druid: fair spells (4), storm druid with lightning domain & spontaneous blasting (7)

Oracle: fair spells (3), winter mystery with metamagic (rimemage) (7)

Shaman: poor spells, but wandering spirit (4th level) bumps this to good spells so (4?), with metamagic (6?)

Sorcerer: good spells, spontaneous casting (6), with orc bloodline, metamagic, etc (10)

Witch: fair spells (3), invoker & elements patron OR winter witch (7)

Wizard: good spells (5), exploiter wizard with metamagic & extra feats (8 or 9)


Lelomenia wrote:

varisian pilgrim doesn’t grant your companions your abilities (and assumptively additional uses that would come with that).

You can spend uses that normally only target you on others. Which is nice with the right ability, but And Copycat isn’t Mirror Image; you only get 1 duplicate, vs. an average of 3.5 to 8ish depending on CL for a casting of Mirror Image. Good Fortune goes from being one reroll per day for you to one total for your group.

On the Blaster topic, Shaman is particularly bad. Basically, if a spell appears on at least two of the oracle/druid/witch lists, shaman gets it, but at the higher level. Flame Strike at 5th (druids get it at 4th), Harm at 7th (clerics get it at 6th), firestorm at 8th (druids get at 7th), but no lightning bolt (witch 3rd), explosion of rot (druid 4th), or hellfire ray (cleric 6th). And almost no shaman class features for blasting. I would rate them below cleric, probably for both unoptimized and optimized.

Agreed on all 3 points. And thanks for clearing up my mis-reading of Varisian Pilgrim.

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I'd say "good spells" for wizard/arcanist should be worth at least 6, possibly 7.

Consider that a baseline wizard can prepare all the Magic Missiles, Scorching Rays, Fireballs, Dragon Breaths, Cones of Cold, and other spells that he wants. Basically, multiple options for good blasting spells at every spell level.
Whereas the optimized can do all the Lightning Bolts and Chain Lightnings he wants, and that's it; his lightning rod empower ability is once or twice per day only; and Lightning Bolt is weaker than Fireball because you usually can't get more than two enemies in a line effect.
And the optimized cleric can do all the Fireballs he wants, and gets Disintegrate as 7th-level very late in the game, and again that's it. The Theologian's free feat doesn't really help (because it doesn't give e.g. Empower or Piercing Spell).
The Rimemage relies mostly on its solid feat selection, but any other caster can take the exact same feats; and its only good blasting spell is Cone of Cold (which is 5th level for arcane casters, but 6th here).

So that means that optimized druid, optimized cleric, and optimized oracle are all below baseline wizard. At least the invoker witch gets a solid damage boost, which keeps her in the competition.


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Kurald Galain wrote:

I'd say "good spells" for wizard/arcanist should be worth at least 6, possibly 7.

Consider that a baseline wizard can prepare all the Magic Missiles, Scorching Rays, Fireballs, Dragon Breaths, Cones of Cold, and other spells that he wants. Basically, multiple options for good blasting spells at every spell level.
Whereas the optimized can do all the Lightning Bolts and Chain Lightnings he wants, and that's it; his lightning rod empower ability is once or twice per day only; and Lightning Bolt is weaker than Fireball because you usually can't get more than two enemies in a line effect.
And the optimized cleric can do all the Fireballs he wants, and gets Disintegrate as 7th-level very late in the game, and again that's it. The Theologian's free feat doesn't really help (because it doesn't give e.g. Empower or Piercing Spell).
The Rimemage relies mostly on its solid feat selection, but any other caster can take the exact same feats; and its only good blasting spell is Cone of Cold (which is 5th level for arcane casters, but 6th here).

So that means that optimized druid, optimized cleric, and optimized oracle are all below baseline wizard. At least the invoker witch gets a solid damage boost, which keeps her in the competition.

There are two key questions:

1. How good is a class with few good blasting spells (fireball, maybe not much else) and great metamagic (some combination of: dazing, empowered, piercing, maximized, selective, intensified) vs a class with great blasting spells?

Let's take the cleric, who doesn't have any class abilities that enhance her blasting, beyond theologian's "domain spells in non-domain slots", and the fire domain. She gets intensified fireball for free (only matters from level 11+, when many campaigns are winding down or even already done).

- magical lineage (fireball)
- 3rd: piercing fireball
- 4th: empowered fireball
- 5th: dazing fireball or empowered/piercing fireball

Now that might be a bit monotonous, but it's effective. I'd give that a bit of an edge over a wizard who was focusing on illusions or enchantments, and didn't have any metamagic that was relevant to blasting. My key question at that point is, "Why are you planing a cleric if what you really want is to cast fireball?" But let's leave that aside.

Question 2: Do any class abilities or archetypes improve your blasting?

Cleric: Not really

Druid: Pretty decent really, the main downfall is that fireball has a better area effect
- lightning domain: +50% electricity blast 1/day at 8th, 2/day at 12th, etc.
- storm druid: spontaneous domain casting

Oracle: Rimemage adds no blasting bonuses
- Freezing spells: debuff
- Ice armor: buff
- Servant of winter: summoning, aka critters
- Blizzard: battlefield control

Shaman: Flame spirit adds not blasting bonuses

So taking your comments and all the above into account...

Arcanist: 6-8 or 6-9
Cleric: 3-6
Druid: 4-7
Oracle: 3-6 (unless we want to bump that to 7 because the build has blasting plus control)
Shaman: 4-6 (wandering spirit improves the unoptimized rating)
Sorcerer: 7-10
Witch: 3-7
Wizard: 6-8 or 6-9


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

{. . .}

Let's take the cleric, who doesn't have any class abilities that enhance her blasting, beyond theologian's "domain spells in non-domain slots", and the fire domain. She gets intensified fireball for free (only matters from level 11+, when many campaigns are winding down or even already done).

- magical lineage (fireball)
- 3rd: piercing fireball
- 4th: empowered fireball
- 5th: dazing fireball or empowered/piercing fireball

Now that might be a bit monotonous, {. . .}

. . . Which is actually a problem if you come up against significant enemies that shrug off Fire, and while ways do exist of getting around this, it puts you even more behind classes that have decent support for multiple damaging "elements" out of the box.


Northern Spotted Owl wrote:


The work is yours, always has been. Would you like me to move it to another doc and share that with you?

Yes please that would be much appreciated - my remaining work is almost complete and so it would be good to have it available to add to.

Northern Spotted Owl wrote:
I'll only add that you've probably been pricklier than you needed to be. I suspect this all could have been resolved more fruitfully if you'd replied with sketches of what makes a cleric stronger/weaker in a given role (as you did with the varisian pilgrim & buffing, which was really insightful), and dialed down the confrontation.

Unfortunately, this highlights the exact problem - my guide is FULL of build ideas and different approaches for the different roles.

I am not here to spoon feed people like a bunch of elementary kids exactly how every single build functions from level 1-20 and what all the various parameters are..... the ENTIRE point of the guide is to show that building Clerics is only for the experienced due to the numerous variables and options. I don't do hand holding for people over the age of 9!

"I'll open the door, but it is you that must step through."

Building a Wizard is child's play in comparison.

I unapologetically have zero time for people that can't be assed to read and critically engage with the process.

Cheers Owl


Arkham Joker wrote:

Yes please that would be much appreciated - my remaining work is almost complete and so it would be good to have it available to add to.

Check your PMs Arkham.


I have a general question on the "critters" category: How do we want to handle undead? On the one hand, controlling undead is clearly a powerful effect, but on the other hand most campaigns don't work with evil characters.

So how do we want to rate undead builds? Do they get an asterisk?

E.g. a witch might come in with

Critters: 6-8 (9*) Where the 9* refers to the Gravewalker archetype.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Northern Spotted Owl wrote:

{. . .}

Let's take the cleric, who doesn't have any class abilities that enhance her blasting, beyond theologian's "domain spells in non-domain slots", and the fire domain. She gets intensified fireball for free (only matters from level 11+, when many campaigns are winding down or even already done).

- magical lineage (fireball)
- 3rd: piercing fireball
- 4th: empowered fireball
- 5th: dazing fireball or empowered/piercing fireball

Now that might be a bit monotonous, {. . .}

. . . Which is actually a problem if you come up against significant enemies that shrug off Fire, and while ways do exist of getting around this, it puts you even more behind classes that have decent support for multiple damaging "elements" out of the box.

That's a fair point. Do you think that nudges a cleric down from the 3-6 range I suggested above, or do you think it's still reasonable?

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