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Starting a Cleric

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Cleric
Starting a...

Enhancements
Tactics
Equipment
Spells

Overview[edit]

Clerics are able to fulfill several different roles:

  • Healing - Clerics are considered the primary healing class. While Favored Souls, Bards, and Druids have the ability to be played as a primary healers, clerics have the only enhancement tree dedicated primarily to healing. They have all spells available to them as they level and always have healing spells on hand due to their unique spontaneous casting ability.
  • Damage - Clerics are middle-of the road for damage output. Primary melee classes such as Fighters and Barbarians will deal more physical damage, and arcane casters like Sorcerers can do more damage with offensive spells. But, clerics are able to do both melee and offensive casting effectively. Clerics have a small advantage in this arena in that they have many light and alignment spells, which are not often resisted by enemies and often do not require a heavy emphasis on spell DC's to be effective.
  • Crowd Control - Clerics are not particularly strong in this area, but do gain the command and greater command spells. While focusing on enchantment spells isn't the norm for clerics, it's not unheard of.
  • Damage Mitigation / Support - Clerics receive many spells that can mitigate damage and provide some bonuses to skills and abilities. Some examples include Resist Energy, Protection from Energy, Protection from Evil, Recitation, and Prayer.

Types of Clerics[edit]

There are four common build types for clerics:

  • Battle Cleric - Has sacrificed offensive casting ability in order to be more effective in melee combat. This build is very solo friendly. While not as strong as the more martial classes, clerics can become a very survivable front line class. It's not uncommon to see a cleric multiclass with a fighter or Monk when taking up a martial role.
  • Healbot - Perhaps not the most complimentary of names, but is an apt description of the build. This cleric emphasizes healing and support, sacrificing melee abilities and having moderate spell damage. Nannybot is another common name for this build, due to their tendency to watch the health of their allies and babysit them. Many classes and builds tend to be self-sufficient, but having a healer on hand is never a bad idea and is very friendly to newer players. While generally frowned upon in normal quests and areas, it must be noted that the most difficult quests and raids on high difficulties greatly benefit from having a dedicated healer in the group (sometimes even two), which the cleric boasts as being the most proficient of all classes in this role.
  • Generalist Spellcaster - Clerics have a good selection of offensive spells, although nothing approaching the damage output of a sorcerer or Wizard. Spellcasting clerics usually sacrifice melee capabilities in order to increase their offensive casting ability. High level spells such as Implosion and Energy Drain improve the cleric's offensive casting role and spells like Blade Barrier or Cometfall provide a variety of damage potential. Often "Healbot" build clerics can change to an offensive caster at later levels through enhancement changes and feat exchanges without sacrificing too much of their healing abilities. Clerics also have negative energy spells such as Inflict Light Wounds and Harm. Clerics focusing on negative spells are called Nulls or Null-Clerics, although this type of caster is very uncommon and highly ineffective against the undead.
  • Light Cannon - This type of cleric focuses almost entirely on light spells, such as Searing Light and Divine Punishment. While not having spectacular damage, light cannons are very efficient with their spell points and put out a barrage of constant damage. Light spells are rarely resisted by enemies and tend to be very effective against undead creatures. It's not uncommon for a light cannon cleric to also focus on the Turn Undead ability.

Domains[edit]

Clerics gain access to special Domains, providing them with different and unique spells, abilities, and passive effects that usually define the role or play style they will take. These domains allow clerics to specialize in specific areas, and often follow a theme such as fire, healing, war, sun, or knowledge.

Race[edit]

Human is a great choice for a new or veteran cleric
  • extra feat at level 1
  • extra +1 skill point at each level
  • +1 to two different ability scores of the player's choice
Aasimar makes a very strong choice for any type of cleric.
  • +2 WIS with the option to gain more wisdom, charisma, and strength in the racial tree.
  • The Aasimar racial ability,Healing Hands, is based off your wisdom, giving even more healing potential.
  • The aasimar racial tree has many bonuses for any type of cleric.
  • Aasimar have special bonds that can help different cleric builds with charisma and strength bonuses.
Deep Gnome (iconic race)
  • Starts with +2 wisdom.
  • Must take a mandatory first level of wizard unless a +1 lesser reincarnation is performed
Warforged or Bladeforged (iconic)
  • +2 CON for more Hit Points
  • Faith-based weapon (Lord of Blades) is greatsword for Warpriest builds.
  • However, warforged receive smaller benefit from healing spells and take a -2 penalty to wisdom (not recommended for spellcasting clerics)
Dwarf
  • +2 CON
  • Warpriest synergy with warhammers, maces, and dwarven axes
Elf
Sun Elf (iconic)
  • Stacking Turn Undead related abilities
  • Light spell power, Sunburst SLA, ability to grant temporary spell points
  • Some racial enhancements partially overlap with class abilities

Race / Build[edit]

  • Generalist build - Typically either Human (for the extra feat and skills), Aasimar (for many cleric-related bonuses), or Dwarf (for the extra spellpoints), with Halfling a somewhat common choice as well.
  • Offensive Caster build - Typically Dwarf (for the extra spellpoints), Human (for the extra feat and extra wisdom), or Aasimar (+2 wisdom and a plethora of divine-themed enhancements and abilities).
  • Battle Cleric Build - Typically Human (for the extra feat) or Dwarf (for the martial enhancements dwarves get), with Warforged occasionally being used. Warforged Warpriest has synergy with greatsword faith weapons (including some nice named greatswords), melee racial enhancements, and the ability to reduce healing penalty to 20% while maintaining full repair value.
  • Healbot Build - Often Human (for the extra feat and skills), Aasimar (racial bonuses to healing), or Halfling (for the dragonmark enhancement) with Dwarf being very common as well.

Abilities[edit]

  • Strength - Useful for the generalist or melee build, often the 2nd or 3rd highest stat on these builds. Strength is rarely needed for the spellcaster or healbot builds, usually set only high enough to prevent becoming burdened with encumbrance. Note that the Tier 5 Warpriest ability Divine Power is an enhancement bonus—the same as most equipment provides—and doesn't stack.
  • Dexterity - Rarely raised on creation for any cleric build. Typically if raised at all, set to a 9 so that a +3 item will give the cleric enough dexterity to fill out the dexterity bonus on a suit of Full plate. It is worth noting that reflex saves are the Achilles Heel of the cleric class, similar to the way that will saves are for Fighters. Getting the highest dexterity possible after character creation helps to mitigate that effect. Remember that the dexterity bonus to reflex saves is not limited by Full Plate armor, as the armor class bonus is.
  • Constitution - Useful for all characters, classes, and builds. Typically the 2nd or 3rd highest stat on all builds. Few builds go below a base of 14 constitution, and for spellcaster clerics it's common to have a 16 or even 18 base, due to most other ability scores being unnecessary.
  • Intelligence - Rarely raised on creation for any cleric build. If raised at all, typically only done to a 9 so that the player can use a +1 tome to get a 10 for skill points. With the changes to spell power from skills (Heal and Spellcraft, particularly), consider an extra 2 points of intelligence to allow some points in these skills for a base of at least 10. It's not uncommon for a spellcasting cleric to get 12 intelligence for the extra skill point.
  • Wisdom - Primary stat for a cleric. Wisdom increases the cleric's maximum spell points and improves their spellcasting ability. The caster and healbot builds will typically max this stat out. The generalist and melee builds will usually stop 1 or 2 points short of maxed in order to have more points available for other stats like strength or dexterity.
  • Charisma - Primarily only useful to the healbot builds, who will use this stat to increase the number of Turn Undead uses they get. These uses are then used to fuel the cleric's Positive Energy Aura and Positive Energy Burst but also for Divine Vitality, Divine Healing, and Divine Cleansing. Charisma also helps with the Haggle and Diplomacy skills. For Warpriests, dumping Charisma and losing Turn Undead uses can be offset by using Ameliorating Strike, a Tier 4 enhancement providing a small, AoE cure affect every couple seconds while attacking. Unlike Radiant Servant affects, this is a cool-down timer attack rather than a fixed number of uses per rest (with the potential for regeneration).

Feats[edit]

The following feats might be considered:

  • Empower Healing Spell - Taken by most clerics.
  • Empower Spell - Typically only taken by Offensive Casters, but may also be seen on some Generalist builds
  • Enlarge - Not a common feat, but may be useful for Offensive Casters, some Healbots, or solo players.
  • Extend Spell - Taken by virtually all clerics at low level, its usefulness declines in later levels
  • Extra Turning - Taken by some Healbots for more Turn Undead and Divine Vitality uses
  • Improved Critical - May be taken by some Generalist or Melee builds.
  • Improved Mental Toughness - Can be taken by all clerics for extra spell points
  • Maximize Spell - Typically only taken by Offensive Casters, but not uncommon to be seen on some Healbot clerics as well.
  • Mental Toughness - Can be taken for all clerics for extra spell points
  • Martial Weapon Proficiency - Might be taken by some Generalist or Melee battle clerics, but more common is for them to take one level of fighter
  • Power Attack - May be taken by some Generalist or Melee builds.
  • Quicken - Typically taken by all builds. This feat is recommended for solo players or cleric with low concentration. Often taken at later levels.
  • Spell Focus - Used by Offensive Casters, usually Evocation focus (to bolster spells like Consume (formerly Implosion)).
  • Spell Penetration - This feat becomes more useful at later levels when most monsters gain spell resistance. This is more common for the offensive caster build.

Enhancements[edit]

Clerics have three enhancement trees. Each tree focuses on a specific aspect of the class:

Radiant Servant

  • Primary healing tree focused on maximizing healing potential and augmenting the cleric with protection against diseases.
  • This tree has several abilities that use turn undead to fuel them such as divine cleansing, divine healing, divine vitality, purge dark magics, positive energy aura, and positive energy burst. The radiant servant tree also boosts the amount of turn undead uses you can have and regenerating turn undead uses, as well as increasing the power to turn or even outright destroy undead creatures.

Divine Disciple

  • Primary spellcasting tree focused on maximizing damage output through the use of light and negative energy spells.
  • Clerics can pick between two paths: Emissary of Light of Emissary of Darkness.
  • Emissary of Light focuses on light and alignment spells and is by far the most common path. You gain several spell-like abilities that mimic spells such as Nimbus of Light.
  • Emissary of Darkness focuses on negative energy and a few debuffing spells. This path is very uncommon due to the general low damage of negative energy spells as well as being almost completely ineffective against most undead creatures.
  • If a cleric stays pure and does not multiclass, a divine disciple can learn both the darkness and light spells in the cores at the bottom of the tree.

Warpriest

  • Primary tree use by battle clerics, focusing on martial and melee abilities. This enhancement tree is also shared with the favored soul class.
  • Clerics can learn the haste and blur spells via the core enhancements at the bottom of the tree.
  • All clerics have a Deity they worship. The warpriest tree gives enhancement bonuses to the favored weapon of the cleric's chosen deity. This does not restrict the cleric from using other weapons, but only the favored weapons will gain the bonuses. Note that clerics do not automatically gain martial weapon proficiencies, and it is common to multiclass with a fighter to gain them or take the related martial proficiency feat.

Racial Enhancements that are often seen on clerics include:

  • Human Adaptability - to Increase one or two stat points. Could be used by any build.
  • Halfling House Jorasco Dragonmark - to allow healing without use of spellpoints. Typically on healbots, battle clerics or solo players only. The dragonmark can add an additional +3 Heal skill as well as a non-SP means to reduce negative levels.
  • Dwarven martial enhancements - May be used by battle cleric builds focusing on axe and hammer weapon types.

Sample Builds[edit]

Generalist (28-Point)[edit]

RACE: Human

STATS: STR 15, DEX 9, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 11

SKILLS:

FEATS:

EXPLANATIONS

Human for the extra skill and feat.

A 15 STR will allow you to get up into the low to mid 20's with good gear, allowing you to hit most things you swing at and do some decent damage.

A 16 WIS will allow you to hit a wisdom of 30 with level raises, enhancements, and good gear.

A 14 CON will let you get your HPs up over 200.

9 DEX to fill out full plate armor, 8 INT since not needed, and a 11 CHA for some Turn Undead uses.

The feats are spread between Healing (Empower Healing Spell), Offensive Casting (Empower Spell), Support (Extend Spell) and (Quicken Spell), and Melee (Improved Critical).

The enhancements are mostly focused towards healing and support, focusing more on Radiant Servant and Warpriest.

Healbot (28-Point)[edit]

RACE: Human

STATS: STR 10, DEX 8, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 18, CHA 12

SKILLS

FEATS:

EXPLANATIONS

Human for the extra feat and skill points.

The only real stats needed on this build are wisdom for spellpoints, a little bit of charisma for Turn Undead uses, and a little bit more of CON for hit points.

The feats are all focused on getting more spell points, improving healing, extending buffs, and increasing the number of Turn Undead uses.

The enhancements will focus primarily on the radiant servant tree, providing ample amounts of healing and efficient use of your turn undead uses.

Cleaving War Priest (28-Point)[edit]

RACE: Human

STATS: Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 8

SKILLS:

FEATS:

With a second level of fighter, any of the following:

EXPLANATIONS: This build starts off at level one as a fighter for the martial weapons proficiencies and the extra feat. Optionally at level 13 another fighter level can be taken to make room for another feat such as Quicken Spell, Great Cleave, Stunning Blow, Extend Spell, or Empower Healing Spell.

This build is focused mostly on healing and swinging a two handed weapon such as a greatsword or maul. It excels at low level combat allowing one to solo most quests. Although the build will eventually get every cleric spell, offensive spells are somewhat inefficient compared to the awesomeness of healing. Keep a summoned monster up for distraction and additional damage. Use buffs sparingly before tough fights as its typically more efficient to heal. Note that empower healing will OVERHEAL most characters and thus is not listed as a primary feat. Damage output of this build is expected to be fairly decent but with a plenty of self healing.

Extra stat points can be put into strength for additional damage/to-hit or into wisdom for extra spell points. Although you may want to put one point into con for additional health.

Human for the extra feat and skill points.

FINAL LEVEL 20 STATS

1 ftr/19 cle: Str 20, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 20, Cha 8, Health 304, Spell Points 1565

or Str 18, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 22, Cha 8, Health 304, Spell Points 1593

or with 2 levels of fighter you can begin with minimum dex and pump that point into con so you end up with:

Str 22, Dex 8, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 20, Cha 8, Health 306, Spell Points 1465

Stats do not include equipment or enchantment bonuses.

Light Cannon (28-Point)[edit]

RACE: Human

STATS: STR 10, DEX 8, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 10

SKILLS:

FEATS:

EXPLANATIONS

Human for the extra skill points and extra feat.

The ability scores are the same as a healbot except 2 points have been deducted from charisma and placed into intelligence for 1 additional skill point per level. This extra skill point is used on the spellcraft skill, which will boost your light/alignment, fire, and force spellpower. All level-up ability bonuses should be placed into wisdom to maximize spell points and spell DC's.

The feats focus on maximizing spell damage through the use of metamagics like Empower Spell and Maximize Spell. Heighten Spell and Spell Focus feats will reduce the likelihood of enemies saving against your spells. It's also important to know that no cleric should ever be without the Heal and Mass Heal spells.

Your spells should focus on damage. Spells like Flame Strike, Blade Barrier, Divine Punishment, and Cometfall are good to have. Your primary concern, however, will be light damage, which will mostly come from spell-like abilities you gain from your enhancements.

As to enhancements, you should focus on the Divine Disciple tree (the emissary of light path) with spare points in Radiant Servant for healing and survivability. The disciple tree will give you several useful spell-like abilities which you should be casting constantly on enemies in a pretty laser show of white and yellow beams (thus the name 'light cannon'). In higher levels you will acquire useful spells like Sun Bolt and Sunburst.