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The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
« on: May 27, 2008, 07:44:20 PM »
3.5 Cleric Handbook

Table of Contents
  • Post 1: Introduction and Party Role
  • Post 2: Attributes and Races
  • Post 3: Class Features and Alternate Class Features
  • Post 4: Feats and Skills/Skill Tricks
  • Post 5: Spells
  • Post 6: Equipment
  • Post 7: Multiclassing, Dips, and Prestige Classes
  • Post 8: Sample Builds
  • Post 9: Debatable Tactics/Tricks
Clerics are Wisdom based divine casters found in the 3.5 Player's Handbook.  The Cleric class is one of my favorite classes to play, and I always seem to have lots of ideas floating around in my head about different Cleric builds.  Clerics are one of the most versatile classes in the game, and if properly planned can fill almost any role.  So that basically sums up why I am writing this handbook.  Also, Skydragonknight told me I should, and I probably wouldn't have thought of it myself, so props to him.  Also, thanks to Dictum Mortuum for all his wonderful work revolutionizing handbooks.  Feel free to add any ideas/critiques and I'll try to keep this handbook updated; I'm a bit of a completionist, so I'm hoping this guide will stay updated.  I figured now would be the best time to write it, since nothing new for 3.5 will be coming out. :D  Also, as an aside, let's keep it strictly cleric-focused here. I know that goes without saying, but just incase, let's avoid discussion of wizards/archivists/druids/etc unless used in combination for sample builds. :)

Role in a Party
Like I mentioned above, clerics can, in my opinion, fill just about every role you could want. Obviously people have different preferences as to what class is best at what role, but that's neither here nor there.  This is just a rundown of some typical roles and what to focus on.

  • Primary Melee:
    A cleric focused on melee combat needs at least a couple standards. Power Attack is a staple feat for damage output. Strength arguably becomes more important than Wisdom for this build; mainly because your spells will be focusing on buffs and not anything that might require a save.  Divine Power and Righteous Might are two must have spells, as well.  If you can stack nightsticks (see the debatable tactics/tricks below), have an insane Charisma for some reason, or some form of extra feat system, Persist Spell becomes a very viable method of buffing at the beginning of the day.  Great Prestige Class options include the Ordained Champion (Complete Champion) and the Ruby Knight Vindicator (Tome of Battle).  Note: It is okay for melee clerics to lose caster levels due to multiclassing/prestige classes as long as they achieve 9th level spells. Miracle is an amazing buff spell.
  • Primary Ranged:
    A cleric focused on archery needs Zen Archery.  A vital tool in optimization is SAD (Single Attribute Dependency).  Clerics can, unfortunately, already be a bit MAD, and adding Dexterity as a necessity only makes it worse.  For the cost of one feat, clerics can eliminate one aspect of their attribute dependency and should do so.  I am of the opinion that clerics should use the best tools available to them, and that means heavy armor. The only exception to this is stealth based characters (see below).  The Elf Domain is also of use to a cleric, and depending on your DM may or may not require you to be an elf.  Certain viable prestige classes, such as Radiant Servant (Complete Divine) or Seeker of the Misty Isle (Complete Divine) grant you access to martial weapon proficiency, thus negating the need for the sub par War domain.  Also, invest in Raptor Arrows from the Magic Item Compendium.  Especially if you worship Ehlonna.  Finally, a one level dip into Prestige Ranger (Unearthed Arcana) could be useful as long as your DM doesn't rule out that you get Ranger spells.
  • Primary Skillmonkey/Stealth Expert:
    Small creatures and those with Dex bonuses often make the best 'stealthy' type characters.  It is only with a stealth-based cleric that I advise using anything other than the optimal armor granted to you by your class.  Light armor, or mithril medium, is your ideal choice here as long as you can eliminate ACP (Armor Check Penalty). There are plenty of valid choices for this role, as well. The Trickery Domain and the Luck Domain are solid choices.  Spells like Divine Agility are ideal. Always. This build cries out for the Cloistered Cleric ACF (Alternate Class Feature), too.  See Post 3 for more information on the Cloistered Cleric.
  • Primary Healer:
    This is the standard role that many people who play clerics feel pressured into.  There are two main approaches to this role: dedicated or not.  You can dedicate yourself to the healer role and focus all your spells/feats/PrC choices around healing your allies.  This is generally considered a bad idea.  On the other hand, you can not dedicate yourself to healing and just be damned good at it. There are strong PrC choices that benefit your healing ability without needing dedication to a poor concept.  I'm going to agree with Treantmonk's God threads on this point - The best way to handle damage is to avoid it. Either way, a common misconception is that to perform this role, you need to channel positive energy. That is not the case, as you will see below in the feat section.
  • Primary Buffer:
    Being a buffer is a great role and it's one of my favorite roles to play.  Two major ways to handle this are through either Persist Spell or Quicken Spell.  The first lets you take care of your buffing early in the day and allows you to focus on another role (see secondary roles below), while the latter can keep you busy in combat.  A majority of cleric spells are buff spells, and if you ignore them, you really are losing out.  D&D is a group game, remember that, because if you're the only one having fun, eventually no one will be gaming with you. :(  Having Magic Vestment and Greater Magic Weapon means your party can better spend its resources.  Make sure everyone understands that.
  • Primary Caster:
    What exactly does 'Primary Caster' mean? On one hand it could mean you are a dedicated healer or buffer (see above), but it could also mean something else.  To save space, being a Primary Caster entails not being the party buffer or healer. You can accomplish it a number of ways. You could be a divine conjurer, using Summon Monster and Planar Binding to bring allies to the field.  These spells mesh well with prestige classes like Malconvoker (Complete Scoundrel) and Thaumaturgist (Dungeon Master's Guide).  You could also be an offensive caster, using Compulsions or Illusions to control the battlefield.  You could also be an offensive damage dealer. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your cleric.
  • Secondary Roles:
    D&D is a game of limits. You have limited feats. Limited skill points. Limited hit points. Everything has a limit, and while I agree that you never have enough of them, ;) clerics are not as needy in certain areas. Depending on your primary role, there may be a few feats you require, but all in all, you should have some open feats. These open feats, free spells, etc. allow you to have a secondary role by taking small, but key, portions of a second primary role (see above).  Remember: DON'T BE A ONE TRICK PONY!
  • Theme Roles:
    One of the things that is amazing about clerics is their overall thematic versatility. Through something as simple as their domain choices to the complex prestige class dipping combinations, clerics can vary drastically each time they are played. There are many themes for clerics, and I hope to keep this space reserved for links to thematic threads that at least touch on a cleric's role in that theme.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2009, 03:56:06 PM by AfterCrescent »
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The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
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Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2008, 07:44:27 PM »
  • Str: Strength is an important stat for a cleric focusing on melee combat.  If you plan on going ranged or not being involved in the damage dealing of combat, this stat loses its importance.
  • Dex: As a cleric, you are proficient with heavy armor, which calls for you to wear at least full-plate.  Wearing something sub par is not optimizing.  Now, yes, there are builds that call for Dexterity, but those are few and far between, so in general, dump this one.
  • Con: Constitution gets a blue stat regardless of class. At higher levels, it's really your Constitution that determines hit points. Yes, the hit die plays a role, but a +8 Con is better than getting max hit points with a +0 Con.  You can see the simplicity in that.
  • Int: You get 2+Int skill points. Whooo! /sarcasm.  Intelligence is a dump. (Although Concentration and Spellcraft are worth those two points, so feel free to place a 10 in this score.)
  • Wis: Wisdom is arguably the most important stat for clerics. It determines your spellcasting, and as a full caster, is vital.  There are cleric builds where Wisdom as the second highest stat is viable, and this works for casting where you do not plan on using offensive spells. Even so, it determines bonus spells per day, so it is great to have.
  • Cha: Charisma powers your social skills, which you most likely won't have ranks for... It also powers your turn attempts which help in combat against undead... OR... Power Divine Metamagic (see the feat section). If you are for some reason avoiding Divine Metamagic, feel free to dump Charisma.
[spoiler]Many thanks to AZNsupermarket for making and maintaining the Master Player Race List Version 2.0.  For simplicity sake, I've organized the races into four sections below. If a race is not on here, it's because it was too "meh" to mention. There're no pros or cons for it.
Note: I never play with multi-class penalties. If you do, make sure to take that into account, although you most likely won't multiclass much, if at all, as a cleric.

The Bad:

These are races that make terrible, terrible, horrible, makes me want to gouge out your eyes if you play them, choices for a cleric.  Hopefully you can see why.
  • ElanXPH - Ugh. Just a cha penalty? While the psionic aspect is nice, unless you're going for a psionic theurge-type character, Elan's are bad choices.  And even then, they're sub par.  Nothing really outstanding about them.  Their racial abilities just don't have the power they should.
  • ElvesVarious - They are terrible clerics. Almost all either grant a bonus to Dex, penalty to Con, or both. Just bad choices.  For archery builds, they are okay, because of the Elf Domain, but Spell Compendium makes no requirement about being an elf to take the domain, so choose a better race and just revere elves or something.  And even if you choose elf, please, please, don't take one that has a con hit (Minus the ONE exception below).
  • FaunD&Dg - Terrible. Seriously. And favored class bard? No.
  • GoblinsVarious - No. Too much emphasis on Dex and even then they're still bad.  They may seem like a decent stealth-type choice, but they're not. It's a trap. Even the best goblin subrace is a bad choice.
  • HadozeeStorm - While I find the image of this race amusing, their stats make terrible clerics.  They have nothing going for them and a lot going against them.
  • OrcsVarious - Wis and Cha penalties? No.  Check out the Desert Half Orc if you must be orc-ishly inclined.
The Good:

These are solid choices for a cleric.  They have their strengths without being so good that people scream "br0k3n."  In your average game, these make good choices.
  • DarfellanStorm - Bonus to melee combat stat and a penalty to a dump stat? Sign me up. The swim speed helps when wearing heavy armor.  A good choice in an aquatic campaign. (If anyone has ever played one in an aquatic campaign, I'd like to know how that panned out :))
  • DusklingMoI - A solid choice with the stat mods. Being a fey means immunity to charm person, etc.  Plus this opens up all kinds of goodies with Incarnum.  I'm not Incarnum-savvy yet, so you'll have to go have a chat with Sinfire Titan and his wonderful Incarnum Handbook.
  • DwarvesVarious -  In general, these are solid choices. The Con bonus helps while the Cha hurts those using DMM (although this penalty is minor).  Being able to move at full speed in heavy armor is nice, although the slow speed doesn't say too much.  The following dwarves do not suffer a Cha penalty and make overall better dwarf choices: Desert, Dream, Gold, Korobokuru.
  • Star ElfUE - In general, like I said above, elves are terrible. That being said, in certain situations a star elf can be useful. In a game where you need every point of Cha possible for Divine metamagic, the +2 Cha of the star elf can outweigh the Con hit.  This is situational though.
  • GnomesVarious - +2 Con/-2 Str makes for a good balancing cleric.  The con is nice and for a number of cleric builds, the str penalty is not essential. Don't take a gnome without a con bonus, though. These hardy fellows are nice.
  • Half-human ElfDMG - Nice proficiencies without the elf con penalty makes for a solid choice.  The other half-elf subraces are average at best, terrible at worst.
  • Strongheart HalfingFRCS - Makes an excellent stealth based cleric with its Dex bonus and a small penalty to Str. Plus it comes free with a bonus feat. And bonus feats are amazing.
  • Desert Half OrcUA - No one needs Int anyways.  While half-orcs take massive mental penalties traditionally, this one is fairly well balanced.  If you want to go the orc-route, this is one of the best ways.
  • HellbredFC2 - Either incarnation is decent. A bonus to at least one good stat, and the side racial qualities are decent too.  They make for interesting roles.
  • HumanPHB - A bonus feat is always nice. The skill point isn't essential, but it is helpful, especially in certain Cloistered Cleric builds.
  • IllumianRoD - There are some nifty tricks that you can pull with sigils using an Illumian. Of note is an alternate DMM ability and a method to add Wis to damage (good for archery builds) two times per day.
  • NeanderthalsFrost - Solid melee cleric race. Bonuses to all the right places without harming anything essential.
  • ShifterMM3/ECS - Besides the hit to Cha, this race is not bad.  There's even a type that gets a Wis bonus while shifting.  Key things that make this race decent are its immunity to save v. bunny and access to the Transformation Domain.
  • SkarnMoI For all the same reasons as the Duskling, minus the fey thing.  It all depends on what your cup of tea is.
  • SpellscaleRotD - This is the star elf for a non-setting specific game.  That and it has the dragonblood subtype which can be beneficial. Just beware Hide From Dragons. That spell will seriously hurt.
  • WarforgedMM3/ECS - Although they do have penalties to two important stats (Wis/Cha) they come with a bonus to Con.  Warforged make decent melee oriented clerics, especially since they come with their own natural weapons and spells like magic vestment can be cast on their unique armor. Toss in that huge list of immunities they get and it's not a bad haul.
The Optimized:

These are better than average and, while not game breaking, might be called out for being too good. In an optimized game, you should choose one of these races.
  • ChangelingMM3/ECS - Not only does their ability to change appearance mesh well with stealth clerics, but the shapechanger subtype allows one to select the Transformation Domain, allowing all kinds of Polymorphing shenanigans. They're a step up from shifters.  On top of that, they can qualify for Able Learner.
  • Whisper GnomeRoS - I know what you're thinking. How can a Cha penalty race be optimal when I am so pro Divine metamagic?  Whisper Gnomes make ideal stealth-based clerics. They are incredibly powerful and some believe that they should even be LA+1 races.  The Con and Dex bonus highly outweigh the loss of 1 turn attempt in these builds.  They make for great segways into Shadowcraft Mage (Races of Stone).
  • KoboldMM/RotD - Choose your subrace if you don't like the standard. Make sure to grab the web enhancements. This little race needs one feat to get +3 to all Mental stats, along with no penalties for aging.  Way to do what a 20th level monk does with 1 feat. o.O
  • Lesser AasimarPGtF - +2 Wis & Cha with no penalties? Sign me up. Most DMs may veto this because all you are really trading away is proficiencies...  A great choice, though.
The Crazy:

These races, while they make good clerics, are not to be used in your average game...
  • Anthropomorphic AnimalsSav - Minimum +4 Wisdom makes for a good cleric. Anthropomorphic makes for a crazy cleric.  This is ignoring the fact that a large number of DMs are hesitant to allow Savage Species.
  • BuommanPlH - Wis bonus and extraplanar.  Good combination, but they can't speak.  This race is only viable at higher levels when you have some means of telepathic communication.  Odd, but fun.
  • JermlaineMM2 - A whopping +6 Wis and tiny size makes you an excellent primary caster type.  Stealthiness is a go here as well. The down side is your hideousness makes Divine Metamagic hate you too. :wink
  • NeraphimPlH - A LA+0 Outsider?! Yeah, I said it.  Outsider type = win 9 out of 10 times.  Not suitable for every game.
First off, there's no Master List for races with a level adjustment, so I'm using CrystalKeep for reference.  If I miss a race and you think it should be here, comment.
Secondly, Races with level adjustments are generally a bad idea when playing a caster type. There are very few that are worth playing in a normal game. However, if your game allows level adjustment buy-off, you may want to consider a race with a level adjustment.
  • SharakimRoD - This race makes a terrible cleric. The bonuses are mediocre at best, but there is nothing worth a level adjustment on this race. Add in light sensitivity and you're actually better off playing a goblin.  Steer clear of this one.
  • SkulkRoD - Penalties to everything you need and bonuses to dumps. Let's throw on racial HD that are sub par and give it some abilities that clerics wearing heavy armor can't use. Pass.
  • Forestkith GoblinMM3 - I'm not sure which is worse, this race or a skulk. I think the skulk, but this is close.  You want to be a tree while everyone else adventures?  Thought so.
  • BugbearMM - Overall a poor choice. While the stat mods are nice, the three racial HD are heavily detrimental. Bugbears get nothing solid out of these HD either. Don't play one.
  • LizardfolkMM - Much like the bugbear, a poor choice. Racial HD is not nice, because it cannot be bought off. The natural armor is a boon, though. And natural weapons are decent, too, but they don't outweigh the negatives.
  • GnollsMM - See the past two entries. Just choose something else.
  • Fire MephlingPlH - Same Mods as the Air Mephling but without a fly speed. There's no reason to play this race.
  • HobgoblinMM - Nothing stellar here. I'm tempted to argue that they shouldn't even be LA+1 races.  There's no reason not to play them, but there are much better choices. With buy-off these are the epitome of average.
  • Air mephlingPlH - A decent choice. The fly speed, while low, is helpful.  The stats are decent, and being extraplanar can have its advantages.
  • Earth mephlingPlH - Better than the air mephling. While a burrow speed may not be as great as a fly, it's still nice to have and the stats are better for clerics.
  • Water mephlingPlH - This is the Darfellan of LA+1. A good choice for an aquatic campaign, without a doubt.
  • Frost DwarfPlH & DuergerMM - Both of these dwarf subraces make decent cleric choices for the same reasons. If you don't need Cha (either because you aren't using DMM or have other methods of getting turn attempts), they are good choices. The bonuses they get are helpful to combat-oriented cleric, and are worth the 3,000XP you'd pay to buy-off the level adjustment.
  • CatfolkRotW - They make decent clerics and great stealth clerics. In a point buy, you can dump dex at 8 and still come out with a decent AC, never needing Dex increasing items. Plus a boon to Cha is nice. The speed makes a great combo with stealth and archery clerics.
  • Poisondusk LizardfolkMM3 - A LA+1 race with poison use? Even with the small hit to Cha, these are good choices. They make excellent cleric-assassin types. Decent natural armor and weapons too. There's nothing wrong with this race, and with buy-off, these little guys are awesome.
  • Half-giantXPH - Giant type has its advantages. No penalties to mental stats, and the only hit is to dex. Powerful build, too. Overall a good choice.  Mixes well with certain builds.
  • Chaos GnomeRoS - Amazing race. Good stat bonuses and the granted ability of the luck domain & chaos domain?  Sign me up.  These little guys are almost worth it even without buy-off.
  • UldraFrost - Con & Wis boost. 120' Darkvision. Can make weapons do cold damage. Fey. What's not to love? Good stuff all around.
  • GoliathRoS - Melee clerics unite. If level adjustment buy-off is not allowed, you can use strongarm bracers to counter powerful build weapon holding, but in general, the goliath is superior.  Good bonuses & not humanoid means a lot. Spells like enlarge person may not affect you, but good old righteous might does.  Very nice option.
  • AasimarMM/RoD - You have all the good things that made lesser aasimars great but now you are an outsider. This is win.
  • ZenythriMM2 - Much like the aasimar but overall better stats for your cleric type. You lose the daylight ability, but gain true strike... hrm... tough choice ;)
First off, there's no Master List for races with a level adjustment, so I'm using CrystalKeep for reference.  If I miss a race and you think it should be here, comment.
Secondly, Races with level adjustments are generally a bad idea when playing a caster type. There are very few that are worth playing in a normal game. However, if your game allows level adjustment buy-off, you may want to consider a race with a level adjustment.
  • GloamingUnd - They are outsiders, but other than that, not worth it. There are better LA +1 outsiders when compared to this.  Just say no to Gloams!
  • GrimlockMM - The only thing it has going for it is Blindsight. But when you realize that creatures now can have Darkstalker, you realize this race blows more chunks than it did back in core.
  • SlythUnd - A wisdom boost and immunity to save v bunny is cool, but not worth the +2.  Better choices exist (Changeling, for example)
  • NycterMM3 - The paralyze effect is kind of cool, but the racial HD and lower-moderate stats mean that it just isn't worth it in the long haul.
  • GithyankiMM/XPH - Bad choice overall. And I don't just mean for clerics. These things are not worth their LA.
  • DrowMM - The average +2.  The spell resistance is racial, which is nice, and it scales without a max.  However it still has basic elf traits, so while a decent choice, it's not amazing.
  • GithzeraiMM - These things make decent clerics. Monster Manual has them with +4 AC as long as they are conscious. With buyoff, take one, go unarmored, grab the saint template, toss on a monk's belt... You can see where this is going. Good choice.
  • Half-OgreRoD - Large size means you are huge with righteous might. Good physical boons without a wis drop. Overall a nice melee cleric race choice.
  • DomovoiFrost - +6 to Wis and Cha? Small Size? This screams primary caster. While not the greatest due to racial HD, it's a decent choice with buy-off.
  • LumiMM3 - My favorite monstrous race. Ever!  2 Racial HD is not bad when they're amazing Outsider HD. Add in good stat bonuses, a bonus feat, and lots of immunities. LOTS OF IMMUNITIES!  This race is so worth it.

Many thanks to Tigurius for making and maintaining the Master Player Template List.  Templates, in general, make poor choices for casters due to the level adjustment. A few are worth it. A few more are worth it with level adjustment buy-off. And most are worth it if for some reason your alternative is to take racial HD. LA can be bought off, HD cannot.

LA +0
  • Primordial GiantSoX - This template is terrible for a cleric. It's a classic example of a TRAP! The Cha boost seems nice, but no. You lose Str & Con. Not to mention you already have a LA from being a giant (I know of no LA+0 giant race). If you were pulling a half-giant warlock/eldritch disciple build this might be worthwhile, but that's not an optimal build, so why do it in the first place?
  • NecropolitanLM - Another really bad choice. Your HD goes from d8 to d12, and average increase of +2 HP/level which means if you have a +3 Con, you're better off alive. Not to mention you technically lose a level when you become one. Just not worth your time.
  • Amphibious CreatureStorm - Nothing special here. Not terrible, but not good. If you are playing a sea-faring campaign, this template could be a lot more useful to you.
  • DragonbornRotD - On one hand you have a bonus to Con and a penalty o a dump stat. On the other hand, you're roped into playing a good aligned character.  If that's what you want, then by all means, this is a great template to use. Just remember to only place it on a race with worthwhile stat mods, because you lose just about everything else.  Do take a moment to check out the tricks section :)
LA +1
  • Mineral WarriorUnd - Penalties to casting stats are not good. DR 8/adamantine is nice, but actually not that hard to overcome.  Maybe one in fifteen cleric builds will find this beneficial. It's better to just stay away from it.
  • ChameleonUnd - Nothing special about this one. The climb speed is decent. The skill boosts make it an okay template for stealth based cleric.
  • Blooded OneUE - You get physical bonuses and Combat Reflexes for free. What's not to like?
  • DarkToM - Hide in Plain Sight rocks. Sure you can get it via an item, but this template is still good, especially for stealth clerics
  • DraconicRotD - Bonuses to 3 good stats. Natural weapons. The dragonblood subtype is a boon and burden at the same time. It is still a good choice for its cost.
  • FeralSav - This thing is crazy good.  Boosts all the right things and hits all the useless ones. Not to mention the abilities that scale with your HD. With buy-off, this is amazing, and it's pretty good even without.
LA +2
  • LycanthropeMM - Way, way too many racial HD.  There are very few animals that would allow you to reach 9th level spells, and that's assuming you use afflicted lycanthropy, which is craptastic compared to natural lycanthropes.
  • Celestial/FiendishMM - No stat mod. Crappy qualities. Not worth a LA+0. Seriously. This isn't even worth a template.
  • Gravetouched GhoulLM - Decent choice. This template suffers from the no-con issue that Necropolitans do. However, there are positives. Natural weapons are decent, and the Wis boost is good. If you have a lower point buy and allow LA-buy-off, becoming a gravetouched ghoul might be useful.
  • Half-FeyFF - The flight and Wis boost keep this from being red. The SLAs are not very impressive.
  • Half-VampireLM - Avoid the blood dependency if you decide to take this. There's nothing stellar about this template, but it's not terrible. The natural attack is better than some of the others you might get via a template.
  • ShadowLoM - This template flourishes for certain builds and is mediocre for others. The evasion ability is nice, as is fast healing.
  • PhrenicXPH - A good haul. The PLAs are powerful and useful. The stats are helpful. If using Psi-Spell transparency, the SR is even more useful.
  • SaintBoED - Single most powerful LA+2 template possible. Sure, it has some decent requirements, but o.O!!! If you're playing a good character and can use LA buy-off, take this template ASAP!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 01:18:20 AM by aftercrescent »
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The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
The 13th Guard - An alternate history campaign idea.
Clerics just wake up one morning and decide they need to kick ass, and it needs to be kicked NOW. ~veekie


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Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 07:44:33 PM »
Main Class Features

    • Hit Die: D8s are good hit die, but not great.  You will be able to take a bigger hit than wizards or rogues, but the barbarians and warblades clearly outshine you. Not the most vital attribute, but a good one to have. Overall, your Con modifier will factor into your HP more than this will.
    • Skill: You are a wisdom based caster with all the fluff for rooting out the truth.  And yet you lack Sense Motive as a class skill.  That's just bad planning.  You don't have the skill points for it either. 2+Int is nothing special.  If you don't have a negative Int modifier your skills will most likely consist of Spellcraft and Concentration. Skills aren't too important for you, big guy.
    • Proficiencies: On the plus side you have access to heavy armor, which will help keep you alive. Equipment is one of your many decisions when optimizing and it should not be taken lightly.  You are also proficient with shields, so make sure to grab an animated one. They help both ranged and melee fighters.  The biggest downside is the simple weapon only clause, unless you take the War Domain. Best simple weapon for you is the MORNINGSTAR.
    • Aura: If you worship a deity you glow with its aura. If you have an alignment and don't worship a deity you glow with that aura. This has no benefit and merely helps reveal you to enemies. Especially Paladins that can detect evil/good at will.  You can mask it but that's just extra wasted resources. The only upside comes from being neutral and having an evil deity. Paladins waste their smite evil on you. :D
    • Spells: Cleric spells are awesome. Vigor?! Righteous Might? Righteous Wrath?!  The list goes on.  While most of these spells are buffing/debuffing there are plenty of offensive spells out there, so you can pull whatever role you want.
    • Deity: Deities supply domains. In a campaign where you have to pick a deity this can be a boon or hindrance. It all depends on what your deity's domains and portfolio are.  There's a lot of good roleplay to be had through this, but then again anyone can worship a deity.  If you know what domains you want and there is a deity that supplies them, it really is a nice thing.
    • Domain Powers: These are some of the best things clerics have to offer. They are also the reason Cleric 1 is a great dip.  Most of the best powers come in the form of bonus feats or things like uncanny dodge. Whatever the case may be, you can do a lot with these powers, so make good use of them. One important note: Prestige classes that add domains should stack with cleric levels for the purpose of the domain ability, but that is your DM's call.[spoiler]PHB
      • Animal - Once per day? You can talk to an owl? If you need knowledge nature for some reason take the Knowledge Domain.
      • Chaos/Evil/Good/Healing/Law - +1 Caster level for a descriptor type of spell is very rarely useful. There just are not enough of these spells to make it worthwhile.
      • Death - In a core only game this may be useful. If you are sticking to primarily cleric (which should only occur in a core-only game; PrCs are awesome), you can make use of this ability, otherwise it's just not worth it. Even then, it's only once a day.
      • Destruction - A sub par smite. Pass.
      • Protection - Resistance bonus? Eh. I mean if you were level 20 and granting a +20 resistance bonus to someone as a standard action... Well I'd smack you for wasting a standard action.
      • Strength - Enhancement bonus? For 1 round? I mean if you really, really need to break down that door...  But that just means you should have taken the Magic Domain and gotten an appropriate Wiz scroll.
      • Air/Earth/Fire/Plant/Water - Situationally useful. If you foresee a multitude of creatures with the appropriate subtype, being able to turn/rebuke them may be useful.
      • War - Proficiency and weapon focus? Eh. Not usually a good thing, but in the right build it's nice. Ordained Champion makes good use of it.
      • Knowledge - This is great for 3 reasons. One, you get all knowledge skills, which is useful. Two, you can trade it for knowledge devotion, which is sweet. Three, cloistered clerics get it for free. The increased caster level for a whole school of magic is just icing.
      • Luck - Rerolls are golden. Did you just roll a one on the save from that Bodak? Try again. :)
      • Magic - All kinds of magical items are now at your disposal. Who needs a wizard when you can do both? A great domain power.
      • Sun - Absolutely beautiful. If you're going to be a cleric in an undead heavy campaign, this is amazing. Even when not used all the time, it's a solid choice.
      • Travel - (Su) Freedom of Movement that requires no action to use? Very nice.
      • Trickery - For skillmonkey clerics, this is a wonderful domain. Great for an urban campaign. Helps you make a great party face. :)
      Spell Compendium
      • Courage - Terrible. Morale v fear is way too common.
      • Craft - Weak bonus feat (Skill Focus - Craft (any)) and descriptor-caster level increase. Not worth it.
      • Creation - Like craft but without a feat attached. That's the opposite of even trying to optimize.
      • Darkness - A very bad bonus feat (Blind-Fight). Try something else.
      • Domination - For a social/face-type this has its uses, but spell focus (enchantment) is generally sub par
      • Drow - A small boon to your weak save, but that's why you have Divine Agility, right? or Spell Resistance? Or you prestiged into Divine Oracle for heavy-armor-evasion? Pass.
      • Dwarf - Worthless. Unless you need Great Fortitude as a pre-req, pass.
      • Envy - One skill? Worse than a subschool caster level increase? Terrible.
      • Family - +4 Dodge AC is not really worth all that much. Especially since everyone has to stay really close to you.
      • Greed - Bad bonus on cross-class skills. Always a bad choice.
      • Madness - This is one of the most confusing domain powers. Plus you take a hit to everything except one time per day you get a boost. Not worth it.
      • Mentalism - Resistance? Pass. At low levels this has minor uses and it gets worse with levels, don't let it fool you.
      • Metal - Proficiency and focus... Like the war domain, but restricted. Pass this one. The only time this would be better is if you don't select a deity and your DM won't let you get the war domain power without doing so.
      • Nobility - Like a bad Bard imitation. Find another way to cover morale bonuses
      • Ocean - You're actually better off slapping on the amphibious template than wasting taking this as a domain. I'm just saying.
      • Orc/Elysium/Hades/Limbo/Mechanus - A sub par smite. Pass.
      • Portal - Portal detection? No. I mean if you are in FR and in the Underdark, maybe. But even then, probably no.
      • Renewal - No. Just no. Even in low levels this isn't that great.
      • Retribution - Max damage? so maybe 3 or 4 more damage than average? Once a day?  Not worth it, in my book.
      • Rune - Seriously? Even wizards trade away scribe scroll.
      • Sloth - Funny. Not funny haha, funny terrible.
      • Storm - Resistance 5? No.
      • Suffering - Overall poor choice. Take the death domain instead.
      • Trade - Free action is nice, but everything else makes this ability blow chunks.
      • Tyranny - Like spell focus, but more limited and terrible.
      • Wealth - Absolutely useless.
      • Wrath - Craptastic.
      • Abyss - Kind of like rage, but you can cast spells. And a limited duration. Plus it counts as two domains. While better than taking a level of Barbarian it's worse than doing some competent.
      • Arborea - Morale bonus to damage? We have spells for that. Saves against fear/compulsion? Better domains and spells. Scratch this one.
      • Celestia - No.
      • Balance - Wisdom as an unnamed bonus to AC. Pity it's only once per day, otherwise it would be disgusting.  The duration being based on your cleric level can hurt certain builds
      • Cavern - Stonecunning is decent. Nothing super, but not bad.
      • Cold/Moon/Scalykind/Slime/Spider - Situationally useful. If you foresee a multitude of creatures with the appropriate type/subtype, being able to turn/rebuke them may be useful.
      • Community - Sub par SLA. Untyped bonus to Diplomacy makes this okay for party faces.
      • Competition - Small bonus, but untyped. Meh.
      • Dragon - If you need intimidate, here's where you get it. Also a good domain for a race with a natural weapon. Greater Magic Fang is awesome.
      • Force - It's a reroll, but only for damage. Half good/Half bad.
      • Gluttony - Size increase?  Too bad it doesn't stack with other effects. If your campaign allows retraining, this may have relevance early on.
      • Gnome/Illusion/Purification - An increase to an entire school is nice. It's not amazing, but it's respectable.
      • Halfling - Cha modifier to good stealth skills. This is useful in a pinch.
      • Hatred - This one is iffy. If your DM rules that sacred/profane bonuses stack, this can be useful, situationally. If not, it's terrible and easily replicated via spells.
      • Lust - This domain power = extra turn attempts based on level. Bummer that it only lasts for 1 round. :(
      • Mysticism - The fact that this is a luck bonus is nice, but the duration isn't.
      • Oracle - +2CL for an entire school is nice. It sucks that it's divination, but still a decent option.
      • Pestilence - Immunity to disease. Nice. But only if you aren't dipping a PrC that gets you immunity *cough*Contemplative*cough*
      • Windstorm - If your DM pays attention to weather and you expect it to have an impact on the game, this domain becomes more important.
      • Baator - See in magical darkness can be really nice. Still, two domains is a harsh cost.
      • Celerity - The speed boost is great for skillmonkey-clerics.
      • Charm - An untyped bonus to CHA 1/day means extra turn attempts.
      • Deathbound - This domain is amazing for the cleric who wants their own army of undead.
      • Dream - Immunity to fear effects! Yes, please.
      • Elf - Great domain choice for ranged clerics. Simple as that.
      • Glory - For turning undead, this is a nice bonus.
      • Hunger - Free bite attack? This opens all kinds of fun options. Great for melee-types.
      • Inquisition - +4 to dispel attempts. This is good stuff.  Omen of Peace has a great guide on counterspelling. Check it out.
      • Liberation - Slippery Mind? What levels do Rogues get this? What level do you? Thought so.
      • Mind - Untyped bonuses to social skills make for great party faces. Couple this with Trickery for some fun cleric builds.
      • Pact - Gets you Intimidate and Sense Motive. Not a bad choice. Combine with Trickery and a cloistered cleric for a face-type skill monkey.
      • Spell - Good choice for a Primary Caster. Bonuses to Concentration and Spellcraft are fun.
      • Summoner - If you are going Malconvoker, this domain is right up your ally. +2 CL is nothing to shy at
      • Time - Improved Initiative is an okay feat. It's the spells that make this domain, though. Even better if you need Imp. Init. as a pre-req.
      • Fate - Screw rogues and barbarians. You're better than that. Uncanny dodge for free. :wink
      • Planning - Extend Spell? Pre-req for Persist! It doesn't get much blue-er than this.
      • Pride - Reroll a one on a saving throw?! Yes.
      • Undeath - Extra turning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Did I put enough exclamation points?)
      Book of Exalted Deeds
      • Celestial - A sub par smite. Pass.
      • Endurance - Enhancement? Nope. Bad duration to boot.
      • Fey - One of the druid's weakest abilities? I think not.
      • Herald - One class skill and a sacred bonus isn't worth it.
      • Joy - Worse than the Herald domain. Much worse.
      • Pleasure - Immune to Charisma damage/drain?!? Yes please. This is awesome for a Cleric who uses his turn attempts.
      Book of Vile Darkness
      • Pain - Bad. Once per day, if you do damage, you can heal that? Boo!
      • Bestial - Scent's not bad. Considering how difficult it can be to get that, this is an easy way. Not a great ability, but not terrible either.
      Fiendish Codex I
      • Corruption - Once per day you can sunder or break something? Why are you trying to destroy treasure?
      • Temptation - Whoa. What?
      • Demonic - If you were going for a natural weapon/unarmed strike build, this can be nice. Profane bonuses are not too common. Even better if your DM lets them stack with Sacred.
      • Fury - The attack/damage bonus is really only useful for the BBEG, but it's decent when that happens. It's a waste otherwise.
      • Ooze - Situationally useful. If you foresee a multitude of creatures with the appropriate type, being able to turn/rebuke them may be useful.
      • Entropy - This is a ranged touch attack that has no range limit. That's awesome. Your DM will likely smack you with the Fiendish Codex, but as written, this ability is surprisingly good. Sonic & Unholy damage is nice too. The 1/day isn't amazing, but hey, if you can see it, you can hit it with this ability.
      Fiendish Codex II
      • Diabolic - Terrible ability. BoVD has it granting vision in magical darkness, which is better than this one.
      • Winter - A bad ability that functions only during 1 season. That's like taking a bad domain and then getting kicked in the nads.
      Heroes of Horror
      • Spite - You can return damage dealt. This ability is like a bad version of Mirror Move from Pokemon. That's right, I made a Pokemon reference. That's how bad this ability is. I had no other choice.
      Lords of Madness
      • Vile Darkness - A very bad bonus feat (Blind-Fight). Try something else.
      Magic of Incarnum
      • Incarnum - You now have the ability to cast spells from your domain. If you have some manner of Incarnum based cleric build going, this covers a feat (Incarnum Spellshaping) you may need, but in general, this is a wasted ability.
      Races of Destiny
      • City - The skills just aren't worth it when there are so many better choices out there.
      • Destiny - Being able to force a reroll is nice. It would be better if you could use it yourself.
      Races of the Wild
      • Sky - Unless you have some manner of natural fly speed, this is bad. Even with it, it's only mediocre. And that's just because having spot as a class skill is important for ranged combat builds.
      • Repose - The Death Domain ability? It was bad in the PHB and it is still bad in this reprint.
      • Sand - Useless item is useless.
      • Summer - Heat protection 1 is useful in a campaign set in the desert and you don't have it. But it's not worth a domain. Not at all.
      • Thirst - Situationally useful. If you foresee a multitude of creatures with the appropriate type, being able to turn/rebuke them may be useful.
      • Ocean - If you're spending that much time near the water that you need to breathe it, be amphibious.
      • Storm - A simple first level resist energy beats this.
      • Seafolk - This is nice in an aquatic setting and if you have a natural swim speed. If not, never take this.
      • Blackwater - Immunity to pressure damage is nice. I'm picturing a Warforged wanderer, walking from one continent to another.
      Eberron Campaign Setting
      • Artifice - Bad skill boost + casting a subschool at +1CL = Fail.
      • Commerce - You get a bonus to making money checks with Perform. If you take this, you clearly are not an adventurer.
      • Deathless - How many deathless do you fight? And you can command the ones you rebuke once per day? Not worthwhile in the least.
      • Feast - Just grab immunity to poison and disease some other way.
      • Life - Terribly low amount of temporary hit points? No thank you.
      • Passion - Why would you cast rage on yourself?
      • Shadow - A very bad bonus feat (Blind-Fight). Try something else.
      • Decay - Not too shabby. You can cause Con damage or damage to those immune to it. Not a lot, and not great, but at least you have a bit of versatility.
      • Exorcism - You can end possession. Decent.
      • Meditation - The Sudden Empower feat, but without actually getting the feat? Average at best.  There are definitely much better choices.
      • Dragon below - Augment Summoning without needing spell focus conjuration is awesome. Great for a Malconvoker build
      • Necromancy -  For you undeath-focused clerics, this domain is nice. A solid boost to an entire school.
      Faiths of Eberron
      • Warforged - Situationally useful. If you foresee a multitude of creatures with the appropriate type, being able to rebuke them may be useful.
      • Revered Ancestor - EWP with a good weapon. For melee oriented clerics this is a solid choice, especially if you're an elf. I mean you shouldn't be one, but if you got drunk and decide to play an elf, this is a good choice for a domain.
      Races of Eberron
      • Transformation - Awesome. Cast transmutation spells at +1CL is good. Especially since transmutation is great spell school.
      • Truth - The scaling bonus being untyped is sweet. The boost to an entire spell school is good too, even if it is Divination.
    • Domain Spells: You have two domains (at least) and one domain spell for each level. Who doesn't like free extra spells? It's almost like a specialist wizard, except better.  The key thing to note is that you want to get access to solid spells that are not normally available to you. Mix these well with domain powers and you'll be happy.
      • Air - Wind Wall is a good control spell that you can get access to a spell level early. Control Winds is a solid spell that clerics otherwise can't access. Pass that, if you want to focus on summoning, you may get some use out of Elemental Swarm at higher levels, but overall the domain itself is average.
      • Animal - Almost nothing on this domain is useful.  Antilife Shell is on the cleric list at the same level. The only spell this domain offers is Shapechange. So above 17th level, this domain is useful, prior to that, it's a complete waste.
      • Chaos - Chaos Hammer is a decent spell, although nothing special in the grand scheme of things. Everything else on this domain list is on the cleric list at the same level, making this domain a generally bad choice.
      • Death - Nothing on this list is worth your time. Even the 9th level spell is subpar. Don't bother with this domain.
      • Destruction - The only spell on this list worth getting that you don't normally have access to is disintigrate, and you get it a spell level late. It's not worth it, unless you have to have disintigrate. Here's a hint: You don't.
      • Earth - This domain has more or less useless spells to you. It makes the air domain look good by comparison.
      • Evil - Unholy Blight is worse than Chaos Hammer, so this domain is overall subpar to the Chaos domain.
      • Fire - Overall this domain is pretty good. It grants burning hands at first level. While all its spells are fire based (easily the most resisted element) it still grants a slew of spells not normally available to clerics. At low levels it's great, and above it's an average domain.
      • Good - I like Holy Smite's secondary blinding effect, but YMMV. It's on par with the Chaos domain, I suppose.
      • Healing - BAD!!! Horrible domain! Back! Back, I say!  This domain offers you NOTHING! There is zero reason to take this domain.
      • Knowledge - Good overall domain. In the lower levels, you get solid divination spells, and the penultimate spell is Foresight. Since that's a great spell clerics don't get access to, Knowledge gets another boost.
      • Law - This domain is pretty solid. Order's Wrath can daze, which is a very nice status effect. Hold Monster is a good non-cleric spell, even if you get it late. In that case, it's a nice save pump. ;)  The other spells aren't terrible, but aren't anything special either.
      • Luck - At lower levels, this domain is really lacking. Spell levels above six offers some good spells, and can even culminate in spontaneous miracles, with the right feat. ;)
      • Magic - Identify is much cheaper as a divine spell, even if it is level 2 here. Antimagic Field is two spell levels early, making this a good core domain if you want that spell.  You also grab Disjunction at level 17... I'm not a fan of it, but it's a good spell. Overall, for an abjuration focused cleric, this is a pretty good domain chocie.
      • Plant - At low levels (re: entangle) this domain offers you some nice spells. You gain some plant-focused spells primarily on the druid list, so it could be useful. The higher level spells are lacking, though.
      • Protection - Want Mind Blank? Prismatic Sphere? Here you go. Otherwise, skip the domain. It's mediocre. Too reactive of a domain, if you ask me (and you are, since you're reading this handbook).
      • Strength - Enlarge Person? Could be really useful. Otherwise skip this domain unless you have a strange fetish for Bigby's hands...
      • Sun - Let's say you liked the fire domain, but are starting at a higher level. Odds are this domain is just a bit stronger. Not by a lot, but Flame shield is accessed much easier this way.
      • Travel - Fly!? Dimension Door?! Yes, please. Travel is sexy. Very, very sexy.
      • Trickery - Invisibility. Check. Time Stop. Double Check. PAO. Broken Check. Can we say optimized domain? Good. :D
      • War - High level and need the power word spells? Here's a hint, the answer is no. So you can safely skip this domain and its poor spell selections.
      • Water - Ew. No. The spells not on the cleric list that you might like are a level spell level behind when they're worth it.
      • Spontaneous Casting: As a cleric, you can spontaneously cast either cure or inflict spells.  Generally speaking, sacrificing well prepared slots for spontaneous healing is not a good idea, but in a pinch, this ability can be useful to you.  Just remember, if you channel negative energy, get everyone to grab Tomb-Tainted Soul.
      • Alignment Restriction: This is probably one of the biggest setbacks for a cleric. You are not allowed to cast a spell with an alignment opposite of your own. If you are evil, you cannot cast Holy Word, etc. It's not too terrible, because there are not an insane number of aligned spells, but it is still an inconvenience. This reason alone is why I suggest playing a neutral cleric. You have access to everything, and lose nothing (Except, apparently, access to the Incarnum domain *rolls eyes)
      • Turn/Rebuke Undead: Amazing! Second best class feature. There is just so much you can do with turning attempts. Grab a domain with the ability to turn other subtypes and you can do even more. You can power Divine Metamagic. You can power all sorts of divine feats. You can turn undead or command them. An incredibly useful class feature; you'll be happy you have it.
      • Bonus Languages: You can take the religious (re: aligned outsider) languages as bonus languages. Meh. It does allow for some interesting language choices, but in reality there's no advantage or disadvantage to this feature. Warforged have no bonus languages, so this helps them, though.
      Alternate Class Features

      • Blasphemous Incantation - Exemplars of Evil: Lose Rebuke Undead (A great class feature) to sicken good creatures (not good at all).
      • Champion Cleric - Unearthed Arcana: Sacrifice Turn Undead for Aura of courage and a Paladin's smite. It is a bad move.
      • Divine Counterspell - Complete Mage: You lose turn undead, which is bad. You gain the ability to counterspell using ONLY your cleric level, not your caster level. Terrible option.
      • Positive Healing - Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: You lose a domain granted power, which is bad, but not a horrible loss. In return all you gain is 10HP over 5 rounds? And that costs you a turn attempt. Two losses does not equal a win.
      • True Daylight - Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: Like Positive Healing except instead of healing, you can cast Daylight... Who thinks up these things? Even in an undead heavy campaign this is terrible.
      • Pool of Healing - Complete Champion: Trade one fourth level spell for a variant Lay on Hands ability. This actually isn't a terrible ability and could be really useful. The problem is that you're usually hitting a PrC by 7th level, so this won't see much air time.
      • Dragonscale Husk - Dragon Magic: For a Vow of Poverty build, this ACF is good. Otherwise it's not worth it.  Even then, you may just end up using Greater Luminous Armor.
      • Drow Cleric - Drow of the Underdark/Rebuke Dragons - Dragon Magic: If your campaign is going to have a lot of vermin or dragons, this could be useful. It still counts as turn undead for the purpose of divine feats, which is nice. It all depends on your campaign and DM, really. These could be useful or useless.
      • Destroy Undead - Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: In a campaign with powerful undead, or if you just want to use your turning as a backup, you trade the ability to make undead cower for the ability to damage them for 1d6/cleric level. The save for half sucks, but otherwise this is a decent choice, as long as you can still use your turn attempts to power divine feats, that is.
      • Divine Magician - Complete Mage: It's the "Make your own Domain" ACF. Instead of a power, you get to add a wizard spell at each level of spell. Not the greatest schools, but solid choices for what you're giving up. Nice if you have to choose a deity and there's not two good domain choices. PhaedrusXY has a rework of good spells to choose from here.
      • Divine Restoration - Dungeonscape: You lose a granted power from one of your domains (nice if you picked a domain just for the spells and it has a terrible power) and gain the ability to spontaneously cast restoration spells.  I could see a use for this, especially with a Hellfire Warlock/Eldritch Disciple.
      • Cloistered Cleric - Unearthed Arcana: You get bardic lore, knowledge domain as a bonus, Bucket o' Skill Points, extra spells. You lose BAB which Divine Power makes up for and Armor proficiencies. Let's face it. This ACF is ideal for a lot of cleric builds. The biggest downside is one less average HP, and there are a lot of ways to counteract that.  An ideal ACF for ranged, skill monkeys, stealth, etc.
      • Spontaneous Domain - Player's Handbook II: Instead of spontaneously casting Cure/Inflict, you spontaneously cast Domain spells. Granted, it is only one domain, but it's still awesome. If you have a domain with solid spell choices that you'll use most of the time, this feature is amazing.
      • Substitute Domain - Complete Champion: While not actually an alternate class feature, this spell allows you to swap a domain you have for another one of your deity's for 1 day/level. It allows for flexibility and versatility without commitment. It is especially evident if you need access to a certain spell for a certain objective or a domain power for a short time.  It takes some planning to determine what you will need more often, the domain power or a certain spell, but when you need to switch, this spell is great. It can also be dismissed, so there's no worry that you will be stuck with a terrible domain for too long.
      « Last Edit: June 13, 2009, 08:51:50 PM by AfterCrescent »
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      The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
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      • Here After
      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #3 on: May 27, 2008, 07:44:40 PM »
      • Augment HealingCD - Not worth a feat. You should only take this if you are trying to optimize your healing potential to be a "healstick." If that's the case, you really have no idea what a cleric is capable of when properly utilized.
      • Combat CastingPHB - It's a trap! The limitations imposed on this feat make it terrible. You are much better off taking Skill Focus (Concentration). In fact, if you are going to take Shielded Casting (Races of Stone), try to get your DM to allow Skill Focus in place of this feat.
      • Combat ReflexesPHB - You're dumping Dexterity most of the time. Odds are that this feat will grant you little to no benefit.
      • Domain FocusCD - There are few domains with more than one spell that you'd take this for. You're really better off getting spell focus for an increase in caster level here.
      • Enlarge/Maximize/Silent/Still/WidenPHB - These are the rejects of the core Metamagic feats. The level adjustment compared to the benefit is just not worth it for these feats.  Don't waste you precious feat slots here.
      • Eyes in the Back of Your HeadCW - You might think you're safe because this feat takes away a +2 to hit you, but you can still be sneak attacked. Plus, arguably, Darkstalker from Lords of Madness allows someone to get the bonus for flanking you... Just be careful with how your DM rules that.
      • Imbued HealingCC - You need to heal (1), have access to the right domain (2) and get a sub par ability that lasts for one minute (3). Yup. Three strikes your out. This feat is too complicated and not worth the benefit it grants.
      • Improved CounterspellPHB - Omen of Peace has a very informative Dispelling & Counterspelling Compilation. I suggest you read it if you were thinking about this feat. (Yes, his guide says its an outdated option)
      • Improved TurningPHB - Even when optimizing your turning efficiency, you'll likely avoid this feat. The +1 to turning level can be handled many other ways. If you have all of those and still want more, then you might want to consider this, but why waste a feat when you just spend a little money instead?
      • Martial Weapon ProficiencyPHB - As you are only proficient with simple weapons, this may seem like a worthy investment. It's not. Don't let it fool you. You'll only get 1 proficiency. You are better off dipping into a class that grants you proficiency.  Or take the war domain and go Ordained Champion. Hell, you can even be an outsider and just have proficiency naturally. No matter what you do, there's no reason to take this feat. If you need a weapon, take Exotic Weapon Proficiency before you take this feat. PS: Never take Exotic Weapon Proficiency.
      • Quicken TurningCD - If you're going the optimized turning route, this becomes an okay feat, but even then it's not really that great.
      • Spiritual CounterCC - Just remember: If you are readying an action, you've already failed. Actions are important, use them wisely. It's better to kill an enemy before it gets the chance to cast a spell than to wait and counterspell it.
      • Spring AttackPHB tree - Unless a stealth-based cleric, do not try to use this tree. Even stealth based, you're better off without this tree, although Dodge will have its uses. Anything beyond dodge is a no-no.
      • Able LearnerRoD - For skill monkey clerics, this feat is useful. The downside is you have to be a human or changeling. The upside is that both of those races are awesome. :D. A good choice for Cloistered Cleric builds.
      • Chain SpellCAr - The key thing to note here is that it has to specify a target, and most rays don't. However, if you can get a touch spell that specifies a target, find a way to give it a range (Reach Spell or Ocular Spell), you can Chain it. Some may argue that Chain only applies to a spell that has an original range of greater than touch, but that's a DM's call right there.
      • Craft WondrousPHB - Most Item Creation feats are sub par at best.  If you are considering Item Creation, this feat is all you need. You have Greater Magic Weapon and Magic Vestment to cover the others you might be thinking about.  Really, Warlocks & Artificers do this job better, but to each his own, I guess.
      • Disciple of the SunCD - By spending an extra turn attempt you gain the ability of the Sun Domain.
      • Earth SenseRoS - This feat is okay at best. The real reason you'd take this feat is because it is required for Earth Spell. There's nothing spectacular about this feat, but you're most likely better off doing something else.
      • Empower SpellPHB - One of the two mediocre metamagic feats in core. Good for offensive spells.
      • Empower TurningCD - If you're using your turn attempts to power other things, pass on it. Being able to turn more creatures is nice.  Being able to turn creatures with more HD would be better.
      • Exalted TurningBOED - If you are using the turning variant where you deal damage or the ACF that deals 1d6/cleric level, an additional 3d6 is pretty nice. In that way, it's like Improved Turning but 3 levels instead of 1. A much better deal if you look at it that way.
      • Extend SpellPHB - One of the two mediocre metamagic feats in core. Good for a lot of spells, especially defensive ones.  Also, it is a requirement for the greatest feat for clerics -> Persist Spell
      • Point Blank ShotPHB - This feat is required to get Precise Shot, which is essential for a ranged combat build. As such, it's not a great feat, but its importance as a requirement is noted. The +1 attack/damage is untyped, so I guess that's something minor to note.
      • Rapid Spell - For summoning-type clerics, this feat is almost necessary. A good solid choice when going Malconvoker.
      • Retrieve SpellCC - The requirements are harsh, but the ability is solid.  Getting back spells is awesome. If you have methods of getting lots of turning attempts and won't use them all, this can be useful. It's not amazing, though.
      • Transdimensional SpellCAr - A decent feat. One of those feats that, depending on the campaign and DM, may be of more use or less use.
      • Vow of XBOED - Most of these vows are situational and, while okay, are not amazing.
      • Ancestral KnowledgeRoS - You have to be a dwarf, but that's not a bad thing. Especially if you take the right subrace. Using your wisdom in place of intelligence for knowledge checks is great for a Knowledge Devotion using cleric.  It further helps alleviate MAD issues. You still need a 10 in Int so as not to lose skill points.
      • Earth SpellRoS - A very useful feat, and one of the key ingredients for an optimized Shadowcraft Mage. Clerics using DMM Heighten or entering Shadowcraft Mage will find this feat amazingly useful.
      • Heighten SpellPHB - Heighten Spell does a lot of interesting things, the least of which is increasing the save DC for the spell. Depending on interpretations, you could even heighten a shadow spell to qualify for Shadowcraft Mage (although there are other, less shaky, ways).
      • Holy WarriorCC - For melee and ranged clerics, this is a great feat. Depending on how you interpret it, Spontaneous Domain (War) would mean you +Highest level spell available to damage rolls. Not too shabby. :D
      • Invisible SpellCity - Not only do you make visual effects of your spell invisible, but there are a lot of tricky things you can do with this. An Invisible Summon Monster is dirty. If you Shadowcraft Mage your cleric, invisible Silent Images are very disturbing.  My favorite? Invisible fog spells. Only see invisibility and True seeing will see these clouds, which actually is detrimental to a lot of creatures. Invisible fog cloud a deep dragon and it can't see you, but you can easily see it.  Your DM will most likely ban this use, but it's fun.
      • Leap AttackCAd - If you go the Power Attack route, Leap Attack is not a bad choice. You don't have jump as a class skill, so it'll be hard to pull off, but still a good feat if you can get it.
      • Mitigate SufferingCC - At first it sounds kind of crappy, because all you can do is alleviate some ability damage for a few minutes. But you can rinse and repeat as often as necessary, so you can keep the Hellfire Warlock at full Con until his Con heals normally. As long as you are paying attention, anyways.
      • Power AttackPHB - For melee combat oriented clerics, the Power attack route while wielding a two handed weapon is a stable. Add in an animated shield and you should be set. Just remember, Divine Power is your friend. It gives you full Base Attack Bonus, which can then be used to Power Attack.
      • Practiced SpellcasterCAr - If you multiclass or PrC and lose any caster levels, take this feat. Very, very important!
      • Precise ShotPHB - A -4 penalty is harsh. In d20, that's a 20% higher chance of missing. Precise shot is essential to ranged combat for that very reason. It's quite possible one of the only archery based feats you need for a ranged Cleric build.
      • Quicken SpellPHB - The +4 spell level may seem intense, but it is well worth the cost.  One of the first things I learned when I began optimizing is that the only economy more valuable than that of the gold piece is that of the action. You have swift actions. Use them efficiently.
      • Reach SpellCD - One of the few ways to make a touch spell have a range. When combined with chain spell, you have a great combo. The extra bonus is that this has a fixed range now. See the trick section for more info on it.
      • Sculpt SpellCityv - Area of Effect spell manipulation is great. It's just that simple.
      • Shielded CastingRoS - A good, solid feat. If your campaign is going to go into epic levels, there will be ways to make this feat null and void, but for the time being it's good. Sure, you can most likely invest in Concentration and make the casting defensively checks, but if you'd rather use your skill points more efficiently, this feat is a pretty good choice. As a cleric you should have the shield with you at all times, so it's not much of a requirement. The only counter-argument you may have is that an enemy could ready an action to disrupt your spell.  But that just means you've already won if the enemy can't do anything better than disrupt your casting.
      • Spontaneous DomainsCC - Similar to the ACF, except you trade a feat for the ability to spontaneously cast both domains. Although you can only use your domain slots. You win some, you lose some. If you have two very varied domains with good all around spells, this could be useful.
      • Twin SpellCAr - A great feat for Primary Casters. Being able to hit them with that save or X (suck, die, etc) twice in a row doubles the chance that they fail it. If you can throw in a quickened spell too, you're golden.
      • Vow of PovertyBOED - This Vow, however, can be optimized in a most interesting manner.  My favorite method of using Vow of Poverty involves a Warforged and the saint template. These three things together get some incredible bonuses and a lot of sickening immunities. A nice little combo, if I do say so.
      • Yondalla's SenseRotW - This is the Improved Initiative of Halflings. Halfling cleric with Improved Initiative and this may just beat your generic caster in initiative. And I think we've all realized that initiative is often what it comes down to when determining a victor.
      • Craft Contingent SpellCAr - You can make any spell you know the target of your contingency. That's borderline broken. Contingent Shapechange? Timestop? Yeah.  It's an amazing feat, but you're actually probably better off not taking it. You know your DM better, though.
      • DragonwroughtRotD - One feat can make a kobold gain a +3 to all mental stats. That's awesome. Plus having the dragon type is nice. One optimized race with one optimized feat. A good package together.
      • Extraordinary Spell AimCAd - Okay now say it with me. Extraordinary Spell Aim so that you are not affected by your Persistent AMF. Toss in Saint/VoP and a few other Persist Spells that make baby Pun-Pun cry... Also, expect the ban-hammer if you use it this way. This feat is just that good.
      • Persistent SpellCAr - This is THE feat for clerics.  Since a majority of your spells are buffs, if you can make your buffs last all day, you have that much more time to focus on your other areas of expertise.  Persistent Spell is not a broken feat. It is a powerful feat and well worth the +6 level adjustment needed to use it. This feat is how you manage to be a primary buffer and a primary whatever else you want to be.
      • Planar touchstonePlH - The Catalogues of Enlightenment. When you are attuned to this location you gain the granted power of a cleric domain. After reading all those domains, you must have seen one you wanted but then didn't like the spells it gave you. Well here's the solution. Now you can grab a cleric domain power without having to take the actual domain. Not to mention the other abilities of the feat can be nifty.
      • Tomb-Tainted SoulLM - This feat is amazing for any cleric that channels negative energy. If you want to heal without being a goody-two shoes, get this feat and make your party members get this feat. A great little trick to have handy
      • Zen ArcheryCW - Like I said back in post one, this is the feat for ranged combat clerics. Don't make yourself MAD; take Zen Archery.
      • Divine MetamagicCD - This feat is amazing. A cleric without Divine Metamagic is like a druid without Natural Spell. It might as well be a part of the class features. Divine Metamagic, when chosen, can apply to any metamagic spell you have, which makes it the most versatile feat I know. Not to mention its power.  You do have to know the metamagic feat in question, but that's minor compared to what you can do with it. The safest option is to talk to your DM and determine what you can and cannot do with it and what limits, if any, your DM will place on methods to obtain extra turn attempts to fuel this feat. Take this at least once, possibly more than once, depending on the build.
      Devotion FeatsCC[spoiler]
      • Chaos - The bonus from this feat is completely uncontrollable and the average defense is +6 to AC. It's just not worth it.
      • Death - Negative levels are nice, but you can only give one per hit and only a maximum of 5 at level 20.  The trade off isn't worth it. You'd actually be better off taking the Death Domain than this feat, and you can scroll up to see my views on that...
      • Earth - Do you want a sub par Freedom of Movement?  How about a second rate class feature of the Knight? What about limited forms of them that suck worse than the originals?  I didn't think so.
      • Evil - The damage reduction is minimal and the aligning of weapons is not worth a feat when a low level spell can accomplish the same thing. Don't kid yourself, this devotion is just bad.
      • Fire - Minimal damage bonus from an easily resisted effect is not worth a feat. The save or catch on fire sounds good, but it doesn't really do much.  When you're stuck between this bad feat and an average feat, take the average one.
      • Good - The damage reduction is minimal and the aligning of weapons is not worth a feat when a low level spell can accomplish the same thing. Don't kid yourself, this devotion is just bad.
      • Healing - Fast healing 5 for 1 minute at level 20? Seven turn attempts equates to 350HP.  Persisting mass lesser vigor is 14,400 per person. You can figure out which one of these feats sucks on your own. Hint: It's Healing Devotion.
      • Magic - A crappy offensive power? You mean like cleave?  Honestly, cleave might be of more use than this...
      • Plant - The fortification is nice, but the limited duration doesn't make it worth it. On top of that, the trade of two turn attempts to one reuse is not cost effective. You're better off getting fortification via some armor or other ability.
      • Air - The AC boost is nice, and a semi-entropic shield effect is nice. Overall, though, the ability is average.  If you have a DM who considers ranged spells to be affected by the ability, this moves into the blue. I've seen interpretations both way, so it varies.
      • Destruction - Taking away natural armor and armor bonus sounds nice. And it kind of is. An immediate action and any melee damage you do for one minute lowers AC. Clerics excel at melee, and this is a useful feat to do so, especially if you are the secondary melee - make it easier for your allies to hit.
      • Luck - It takes a little bit of risk out of damage rolls by guaranteeing average damage. It's a decent safeguard, but not crazy good.
      • Sun - Very situational in its uses, but definitely a blue feat if you are playing in an undead heavy campaign.
      • Trickery - This used to have an amazing ability, but errata nerfed it fairly badly. Still, the 10th level ability can be very useful, even without magic items.  If you don't play with the most recent errata, this is one of the greats. ;) Here's the original, non-errata evaluation: "A great ability. I absolutely love it. Let's be honest here, this devotion has a million ways to be abused. At higher levels your shadow clone has all those wands and scrolls you have to use, but his respawn when you remake him later. Don't use this unless your DM knows what you can do and has specifically okayed it."
      • War - The dodge bonuses are decent, but the cost of using it efficiently is just too much to make it effective.
      • Water - A cantrip for a huge water elemental? Not a bad trade. Situationally useful, but one of the better ones.
      • Animal - A +8 bonus to strength is nothing to laugh at. Profane and Sacred Bonuses are not the most common either. You can also get a decent fly speed going with this feat. The Bite attack is pretty crappy, so stick with these other two options and you'll be satisfied.
      • Law - A good bonus that you can shift from AC to attacks or back as your need fits. A versatile and powerful choice.  This is years beyond the counterpart Chaos Devotion.
      • Protection - While this bonus is only to AC, it also applies to allies within 30' which is amazing. Especially nice for ranged builds that chill by the casters and fire off death. Everyone's happy with extra protection.
      • Knowledge - As a wise man once said "Knowledge Devotion is Weapon Focus for the thinking man."  Nothing truer can be said.
      • Strength - Natural attack that does the damage of a greatsword? Awesome. If you have a god that offers strength, this is way better than the domain. WAY better.
      • Travel - Movement as a swift action is awesome. Instant pseudo-pouncing is what you get. There are a lot of skirmish based builds that use this to excess. A good way to move around the battlefield for whatever your purpose may be.

      Your skill list is not huge, but you don't have a great number of skill points, so it is fairly even.  It's important to note what skills you need both for in-game use and for requirements for prestige classes.
      • Concentration - A very important skill for any caster. It keeps you casting even when you get it. If you decide to go the Shielded Casting route, you may not need more than 5 ranks in this, depending on your campaign.
      • Craft - In general, it is useless. The only reason you'd use this is for the Bone Knight prestige class.
      • Diplomacy - If you go the route where you have a decent Charisma, think about investing in this skill if you have the excess points. Being a party face is effective and fun. Overall a good skill. Works better if you can get Sense Motive as a class skill, too, in my opinion.
      • Heal - You can cast healing spells. You can summon a creature to do what this skill does for a low level spell. There's almost no point to taking this skill.
      • Knowledge (Arcana) - Good for in game knowledge checks, even better with Knowledge Devotion.
      • Knowledge (History) - A worthless skill. Don't waste skill points here. Remember, if you need to know about the history of something, there's a divination spell for that.
      • Knowledge (Religion) - Thematically appropriate. Synergy helps your turning. Good for a lot of in-game knowledges. Even better with Knowledge Devotion. Take this skill if possible.
      • Knowledge (The Planes) - About on par with Arcana; a solid skill.
      • Profession - Much like craft, this is useless. The sad part is it can't even be used as often as craft can. Pass on this.
      • Spellcraft - Arguably the most important skill in D&D, and definitely the most important for clerics. This identifies spells and other magical effects. Always keep this skill maxed or close to.
      Skill Tricks
      Since you have such an incredibly low number of skill points per level (unless you are a cloistered cleric), you are most likely not taking a skill trick.  However, if you manage to get one or feel the urge to take a few, these are some of the useful ones for clerics.
      • Collector of Stories - It's debatable whether or not this works in conjunction with Knowledge Devotion, but even if it does not, it is still a viable trick.  Very useful for identifying monsters.
      • Swift Concentration - You don't have that many spells that require concentration, but when you cast one that does, you'll be glad to have this trick.
      « Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 05:47:19 PM by AfterCrescent »
      The cake is a lie.
      Need to play table top? Get your game on at:
      Brilliant Gameologists' PbP Forum. Do it, you know you want to.
      The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      The 13th Guard - An alternate history campaign idea.
      Clerics just wake up one morning and decide they need to kick ass, and it needs to be kicked NOW. ~veekie


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      • Here After
      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #4 on: May 27, 2008, 07:44:51 PM »
      Considering how many different splat books are out there, you can imagine just how many cleric spells there are.  What follows is a small selection of some of the better Cleric spells. These are general spells that, if you prepare them on a generic adventuring day, will serve you well.
      First Level[spoiler]
      Divine FavorPHB
      Entropic ShieldPHB
      Protection from Evil/Good/Chaos/LawPHB
      Shield of FaithPHB
      Blessed AimSC
      Ebon EyesSC
      Faith HealingSC
      Omen of PerilSC
      Lesser VigorSC
      Ray of ResurgenceLEoF[/spoiler]

      Second Level[spoiler]
      Bull's StrengthPHB
      Eagle's SplendorPHB
      Hold PersonPHB
      Owl's WisdomPHB
      Shield OtherPHB
      Spiritual WeaponPHB
      Avoid Planar EffectsSC
      Close WoundsSC
      Divine InsightSC
      Ghost Touch ArmorSC
      Living UndeathSC
      Bewildering SubstitutionCC
      Body WardCC
      Lore of the GodsCC
      Soul WardCC
      Tyche's TouchLEoF[/spoiler]

      Third Level[spoiler]
      Dispel MagicPHB
      Magic Circle Against Evil/Good/Chaos/LawPHB
      Magic VestmentPHB
      Divine RetaliationPH2
      Mass ConvictionSC
      Girallon's BlessingSC
      Mass Resist EnergySC
      Mass Lesser VigorSC
      Lesser Visage of the DeitySC
      Vision of the Omniscient EyeDM[/spoiler]

      Fourth Level[spoiler]
      Air WalkPHB
      Death WardPHB
      Divine PowerPHB
      Freedom of MovementPHB
      Greater Magic WeaponPHB
      Spell ImmunityPHB
      Mystic AegisPH2
      Delay DeathSC
      Lesser Holy/Infernal TransformationSC
      Mass Shield of FaithSC
      Spiritual AdvisorCC[/spoiler]

      Fifth Level[spoiler]
      Break EnchantmentPHB
      Plane ShiftPHB
      Righteous MightPHB
      Spell ResistancePHB
      True SeeingPHB
      Swift EtherealnessPH2
      Divine AgilitySC
      Righteous Wrath of the FaithfulSC
      Surge of FortuneCC[/spoiler]

      Sixth Level[spoiler]
      Greater Dispel MagicPHB
      Heroes' FeastPHB
      Energy ImmunitySC
      Superior ResistanceSC
      Visage of the DeitySC
      Spiritual GuardianCC[/spoiler]

      Seventh Level[spoiler]
      Blasphemy/Holy Word/Dictum/Word of ChaosPHB
      Ethereal JauntPHB
      Greater Bestow CurseSC
      Greater Consumptive FieldSC
      Holy StarSC
      Holy TransformationSC
      Greater Plane ShiftSC[/spoiler]

      Eighth Level[spoiler]
      Antimagic FieldPHB
      Discern LocationPHB
      Greater Spell ImmunityPHB
      Cloak of Chaos/Holy Aura/Shield of Law/Unholy AuraPHB
      Summon Monster VIIIPHB
      Mass Death WardSC[/spoiler]

      Ninth Level[spoiler]
      Energy DrainPHB
      Summon Elemental MonolithSC
      Greater Visage of the DeitySC[/spoiler]

      Domain Spells[spoiler]
      Identify: 1 - Oracle
      Mage Armor: 1 - Force, Spell
      Anyspell: 3 - Spell
      Blur: 3 - Celerity
      Dominate Animal: 3 - Animal
      Fly: 3 - Travel
      Greater Magic Fang: 3 - Dragon
      Haste: 3 - Time
      Chaos Hammer: 4 - Chaos, Limbo
      Dimension Door: 4 - Travel
      Heroism: 4 - Courage
      Holy Smite: 4 - Good, Glory
      Order's Wrath: 4 - Law, Mechanus
      Unholy Blight: 4 - Evil
      Baleful Polymorph: 5 - Gluttony
      Evard's Black Tentacles: 5 - Slime
      Permanency: 5 - Time
      Polymorph: 5 - Transformation
      Rary's Telepathic Bond: 5 - Community, Family, Mind
      Teleport: 5 - Travel
      Greater Anyspell: 6 - Spell
      Contingency: 6 - Time
      Legend Lore: 6 - Oracle
      Magic Jar: 6 - Envy
      Forcecage: 7 - Force
      Greater Heroism: 7 - Courage, Pride
      Greater Teleport: 7 - Travel
      Sunbeam: 7 - Sun, Glory
      Limited Wish: 7 - Envy, Spell
      Greater Blink: 8 - Celerity
      Foresight: 8 - Time
      Maze: 8 - Portal
      Mind Blank: 8 - Protection, Fate, Liberation, Mind, Trade, Arborea
      Moment of Prescience: 8 - Luck, Competition
      Otto's Irresistible Dance: 8 - Limbo
      Polymorph any Object: 8 - Trickery, Transformation
      Summon Nature's Ally VII: 8 - Animal
      Sunburst: 8 - Sun
      True Domination: 8 - Domination
      Dominate Monster: 9 - Charm, Dragon, Tyranny
      Imprisonment: 9 - Cavern, Inquisition, Baator
      Monstrous Thrall: 9 - Domination
      Prismatic Sphere: 9 - Protection, Family
      Shapechange: 9 - Animal, Scalykind, Limbo, Transformation
      Time Stop: 9 - Trickery, Celerity, Planning, Time
      Wail of the Banshee: 9 - Death, Deathbound, Hatred
      Wish: 9 - Envy[/spoiler]
      « Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 08:27:01 PM by aftercrescent »
      The cake is a lie.
      Need to play table top? Get your game on at:
      Brilliant Gameologists' PbP Forum. Do it, you know you want to.
      The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      The 13th Guard - An alternate history campaign idea.
      Clerics just wake up one morning and decide they need to kick ass, and it needs to be kicked NOW. ~veekie


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      • Here After
      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #5 on: May 27, 2008, 07:45:24 PM »
      **NOTE: Magic Vestment and Greater Magic Weapon are amazing at saving clerics money for other, also amazing, items**
      • Full Plate: Standard Cleric issue.  Remember, use the best of what you have. +13 Armor bonus is better than just about anything else. Not to mention you can add all kinds of cool enhancements to it.
      • Armor Spikes: If you can get +1 Defending armor spikes and cast Greater Magic Weapon, that's a solid +5 to your armor for a minimal investment.  If you plan on using the spikes in combat (don't do it), check the weapon section below.
      • Bracers of Armor: These items are of more use to stealth-based clerics. When you can't take full-plate, this is a decent second place.
      • Monk's Belt: Allows you to add your Wisdom to your armor class. When combined with Bracers of Armor, these have the potential to increase your armor more than Full Plate. Be wary of the fact that you can't add some of the good armor enhancements and armor crystals to these two items.
      • Psychoactive Skin of Ectoplasmic Armor: A good, low to mid level alternative to Full-plate. Ideal for Cloistered Clerics. Magic Vestment will work on it, so you can still get the +13 Armor bonus, but you won't be able to add other enhancements to it. Avoid this if you're going stealth based.
      • Mithril Light/Medium armor: Start with a chain shirt and move up to a breastplate. These two are good choices for stealth based clerics until you can afford the Monk's Belt.
      • Called (2,000gp): This is the greatest enhancement you can put on a cleric that isn't fused to his armor (Bone Knights). For two grand, you can summon the armor to you as a standard action. No more spending four minutes to get armor on. One standard action, bam!
      • Glamered (2,700gp): A good investment for stealth and diplomacy based clerics. Sure, you'll still sound like metal, but you have spells to cover that. The whole "looking your role" will more than make up for the investment.
      • Fortification (+1, +3, +5): If your DM will let you upgrade the fortification ability, starting out with the lower amounts is great. Either way, if you don't have a method for critical and precision immunity, get Heavy Fortification on either your shield or armor.
      • Ghost Ward (+1): Take that +5 from Magic Vestment (or whatever the bonus is at your level) and add it to all touch attacks, not just those made by ghosts.
      • Landing (4,000gp): For urban campaigns with stealth based clerics, this makes a nice little boon. 60' of falling damage is a good distance.
      • Bane Blind (15,000gp): If you're in a campaign with 80% or more of a certain type, this armor bonus can be fairly useful.
      • Freedom (+5): A nice armor ability, but only if you're putting Heavy Fort on your shield. You can much more easily cast Freedom of Movement, but if you'd rather use your actions for other purposes, this is a solid investment
      • Adaptation: If you're in a planar campaign, this crystal jumps in importance and value. If not, there are usually safer alternatives.
      • Lifekeeping: Not as awesome as you'd think, considering you can cast Death Ward with ease. Okay, but nothing special here.
      • Screening: In an incorporeal heavy campaign, combined with Ghost Ward armor, you have a good combo going for protection.
      • Restful: A good, cheap crystal for sleeping in your full plate. You can choose between this and the Called ability. Or take both. :wink
      • Heavy Shield: Wood or metal doesn't matter. Adamantine or Mithril, whatever. The goal here is to use your heavy shield, as it is the best you are proficient with. There's not another choice, really.
      • Shield Spikes: If you can get +1 Defending shield spikes and cast Greater Magic Weapon, that's a solid +5 to your armor for a minimal investment.  If you plan on using the spikes in combat (don't do it), check the weapon section below.
      • Bashing (+1): If you are going the TWF with a shield route, this ability is nice, but in general, not worth it.  Remember the rule of thumb, if you are going TWF, you need an alternative damage source beyond just base weapon damage.
      • Fortification (+1, +3, +5): Just like on armor, this is great. If you're equipping armor with many abilities, it might be safer to put fortification on your shield.
      • Ghost Ward (+1): Take that +5 from Magic Vestment (or whatever the bonus is at your level) and add it to all touch attacks, not just those made by ghosts.
      • Animated (+2): PUT THIS ON YOUR SHIELD! Sword and board is, unfortunately, mechanically sub par to both TWF and THF. Having a shield is awesome. Having it float by you so you can wield more/better weapons is more awesome.
      • Arrow Deflection: For ranged combat clerics, this crystal is a nice boon. You'll be taking more ranged attacks than melee if you use sound tactics, so a +5 AC is not too shabby.
      • Gauntlet: Similar to the Armor Spikes and Shield Spikes, these babies can be enhanced with Defending and further augment your Armor Class. Another important thing to note is that you want the regular ones, not the spiked ones. You want this because it will allow you to perform a disarm and take the weapon of an opponent.  At higher levels, when you can be colossal sized with a full Base Attack Bonus (Miracle-Giant Size & Divine Power) being able to take a weapon from an opponent can very well end the battle.  Plus they come free with Full-plate, so Yay!
      • Morningstar: Best Weapon you start proficient with. One handed means you can wield it with two hands for Power Attack. It deals two types of damage, always. That's a great boon. Damage is solid too.  Plus the image of smiting an infidel in the face with a morningstar is priceless.
      • Longspear: A reach weapon you start proficient with. A decent choice at early levels. Especially if you have gauntlets to threaten your close range.
      • Greatsword: If you are taking the War domain, perhaps because you are going Ordained Champion, this weapon is a solid choice, and a fair number of deities have it as a favored weapon.
      • Scythe: Like the greatsword above, but fewer deities have it. The damage is decent and the crit multiplier is nice. I love the imagery, too.
      • Longbow: The ranged cleric's best friend.  Don't waste a feat on EWP Greatbow. The average damage increase just isn't really worth it. You're much better off with the solid, efficient longbow.
      • Bane (+1): If you're in a campaign with 80% or more of a certain type, this weapon boost is very nice.
      • Defending (+1): Put this on your gauntlets, your shield spikes, and your armor spikes. Remember, now it's an unnamed bonus coming from THREE sources, that's a +15 AC. It speaks for itself.
      • Ghost Touch (+1): Solid weapon choice. There are a fair amount of ways to become incorporeal, and being able to hit them regardless of the way, makes for effective combat.
      • Divine Wrath (+1): Toss this on an undead Bane weapon in an undead campaign and you've got even unintelligent undead running for the hills. :D
      • Impact/Keen (+1): Criticals are good, so doubling your chance of getting them is good, too.
      • Magebane (+1): Like bane, but better.
      • Warning (+1): When it all comes down to an initiative battle, put this on those spikes and you'll be happy you invested in it.
      • Collision (+2): Extra damage is nice. This extra damage is great, because it is multiplied on criticals.
      • Wounding (+2): Unless everything you fight is immune to ability damage, this ability is awesome.
      • Speed (+3): Not a good ability. Righteous Wrath of the Faithful is better and cheaper.
      • Brilliant Energy (+4): Good for heavy armored critters, but not for ones with heavy natural armor.
      • Vorpal (+5): A good ability, but not for its price. Don't get this one, it just isn't worth the cost.
      • Sure Striking (+1): From Player's Guide to Faerun, this ability is great for its price. An absolute must have.
      • Shadow Striking (+3): From Tome of Magic, this is how you upgrade Sure Striking. Another essential ability for your weapon at higher levels.
      • Adamant Weaponry: Remember, just because you don't sunder treasure, doesn't mean your DM won't occasionally send a sunder-monkey at you. At those moments, it pays to have an adamantine weapon with this crystal. Now other adamantine weapons don't get their special effect when sundering you. :P
      • Return: Drawing a weapon as a free action means you can full attack right off the back. A decent choice.
      • Demolition: Critical constructs? Yes!
      • Revelation: Take that, Invisible Stalker. A good investment when you can see the creature but your party can't.
      • Truedeath: Critical undead? Yes!
      Bracers of Armor: As mentioned above in armor, this in conjunction with a Monk's Belt can be an alternative to Full-Plate.
      Bracers of Archery: A sound investment for a ranged cleric.
      Strongarm Bracers: Amazing ability from these bracers. Not for use with powerful build races, but otherwise, phenomenal.[/spoiler]
      Odds are you won't be using these because of Full-Plate, but if you do, here are some of the better choices.
      Robe of Bones: A cheap and useful tool for necromantic clerics.
      Robe of Eyes: If you can combine this item with a method for achieving gaze immunity or blindness immunity, this is a solid investment.[/spoiler]
      Artificer's Monocle: You need to know what that item is before you put it on. Remember that.
      Goggles of Lifesight: Good in a campaign where not everything is what it seems to be.
      Crystal Mask of Knowledge: Excellent in conjunction with Knowledge Devotion and the Knowledge Domain
      Goggles of Foefinding: These can particularly useful if playing with a DM that uses organized tactics and makes use of cover.
      Third Eye Expose: Considering your lack of Sense Motive as a class skill, this definitely has its uses.
      Mask of the Tiger: A decent set piece for a wilderness focused cleric. I've found it fun and useful for humans.
      Raptor's Mask: Immunity to blinding is sweet.
      Mask of Lies: Awesome for a social butterfly/bluffing cleric.
      Crystal Mask of Discernment: The upgrade to the Third Eye Expose.[/spoiler]
      Anklet of Translocation: Did you mess up somewhere and need to get out in a jiffy? This item is the one for you. A mini-version of a wizard's ACF. Nice.
      Skirmisher Boots: Great for non-melee clerics. Decent for them, but better for the other versions.[/spoiler]
      Gloves of Spell Disruption: Making it difficult for casters to cast around you is fun.
      Gauntlets of Ogre Power/Gloves of Dexterity: These are okay at best. They're very traditional and old-school. With the MIC out, you can place these enhancements in other, more useful locations.  Even better, once you can afford it, there's the Belt of Magnificence.
      Glove of Storing: You're unarmed. Or are you? I love these things. If your DM will let you wear one on each hand, even better.
      Casting Glove: Decent item for its price, but you likely won't have as much use for it as someone like an artificer.
      Gauntlets of War: These are decent items, although a bit pricey. I normally don't think +1 melee only damage is worth four grand, but you might differ. If you worship a War Domain granting deity (especially for Ordained Champion) the +3 damage makes it about 2% better.  In reality, it depends on the diety, as some deities have decent favored weapons, but most suck horrible ass.[/spoiler]
      Phylactery of Faithfulness: If you have a deity and are dependent on it for spells, this item is awesome. Remember, think before you act. Even if you are chaotic.
      Hat of Disguise: Awesome for the stealth and/or social cleric build.
      Circlet of Persuasion: Bonuses on Cha based checks mean bonuses on Turning Checks. +3 to your turning check for a few thousand is a great buy.
      Headband of Intellect: These are okay at best. They're very traditional and old-school. With the MIC out, you can place these enhancements in other, more useful locations.  Even better, once you can afford it, there's the Belt of Magnificence.
      Phylactery of Undead Turning: For optimizing turning, here's your first stop. +4 to your effective turning level? Sweet.[/spoiler]
      Ring of the Darkhidden: Amazing ring. Like a ring of invisibility, but only functions in darkness. This is a great buy for stealthy clerics and their counterparts alike.
      Ring of Protection: A good buy. Deflection bonuses are nice. MIC allows them to be applied to other body parts besides just rings.  There are plenty of spells that allow for the deflection bonus at lower levels to cover this. Really only viable for +3 to +5, in my opinion.
      Ring of Sustenance: Not only do you not need to eat, but only needing 2 hours of sleep is awesome.
      Ring of Counterspells: Excellent item for storing a Dispel or Greater version in it. Keep your buffs up regardless of what others think or do.
      Ring of Spell-battle: Let's face it, spot and listen are not your class skills. This ring helps out against casters.
      Ring of Freedom of Movement: A decent substitute if you go the Monk's Belt route for armor and cannot get the Freedom ability.
      Ring of Universal Energy Resistance: Very expensive, but a nice item nonetheless.[/spoiler]
      Cloak of Resistance: Irrelevant. At lower levels, when you find one, feel free to wear it, but as soon as you have 11 caster levels, Superior Resistance makes this obsolete.
      Cloak of Charisma: These are okay at best. They're very traditional and old-school. With the MIC out, you can place these enhancements in other, more useful locations.  Even better, once you can afford it, there's the Belt of Magnificence.
      Phoenix Cloak: Perfect maneuverability is hard to come by, so this is nice.
      Wings of Flying: Generally this is faster than the Phoenix Cloak, but worse maneuverability. Still, it is a sound investment.[/spoiler]
      Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker: For 500 gold, it's a mini-Travel Devotion. At low levels, this is a fairly good item.
      Reliquary Holy Symbol: AWESOME! One of the best items for clerics. It grants you extra turning attempts for being a cleric. What's not to love?
      Amulet of Natural Armor: Much like the Cloak of Resistance, there are spells that do this as well or better. Still, it's a decent item at low to mid levels.
      Amulet of Health/Periapt of Wisdom: These are okay at best. They're very traditional and old-school. With the MIC out, you can place these enhancements in other, more useful locations.  Even better, once you can afford it, there's the Belt of Magnificence.
      Amulet of Mighty Fists: If using Unarmed Strikes or Natural weapons, this is an okay item. See if you can't get your DM to allow the Necklace of Natural Weapons from Savage Species, as it is strictly superior.
      Ankh of Ascension: Okay, so let's say you took DMM Extend, because you aren't a fan of DMM Persist. At level 20, your GMW and MV last 20 hours. You sacrifice 2 level 3 spells or 2 level 4 spells, as appropriate and now they last 24 hours. DMM Extend that and your weapons/armor are at maximum enchantment for 2 days. This item is awesome. Like a cheap Bead of Karma (see below).
      Necklace of Adaptation: Specifically makes you immune to cloudkill. Not to mention you can travel to the moon now. :wink  It's a great item.
      Amulet of Second Chances: If everything goes to shit, you'll be glad you have this item.[/spoiler]
      Shiftweave: A cheap version of Glamered. Not bad, but it doesn't mask the armor you should be wearing. :P  Good if you go the Monk's Belt route, though.
      Ephod of Authority: Another level increase that becomes useful when optimizing turning.
      Tunic of Steady Spellcasting: When you are going to be in melee and casting defensively, a solid +5 on Concentration is hot. It works all the time, regardless of the name of the item.[/spoiler]
      Belt of Magnificence: Overall, a great buy. Check it out in the Miniature's Handbook. +2, +4, +6 enhancement to ALL stats without the 1.5 cost normally required for slapping them all together. In fact, it is cheaper than buying all 6 items together.
      Healing Belt: A life saver at low levels, literally. There's no 24 hour connection time, so buy multiples and use them. I love this item, even at higher levels. (Although Persistent Mass Lesser Vigor makes it obsolete out of battle).
      Belt of Battle: Amazing for any class, so it's clearly golden for clerics.
      Monk's Belt: As mentioned above, since you're a wisdom based caster, this thing is superb.[/spoiler]
      Millennial Chainmail: Max Dex of +8 is good for stealth based clerics. If you have a 16 Dex, combined with Divine Agility, you'll make the most of this armor. The ACP is low, too. Sacrifice a 4th level slot (right between Vigor and Greater Vigor) and you get fast healing 3. Grab an everburning torch to heal yourself. This item multiplies in value when you are in a campaign that does not allow Persist spell, especially for Mass Lesser Vigor.
      Raptor Arrows: I love these things, as does just about any ranged optimizer. Unlimited ammunition is amazing. Automatic Bane property for one 4th level spell? That's worth it in just about any book.
      Gauntlets of the Talon: Ghost-touched unarmed strikes of a Monk 5 levels higher and you can choose between slashing and bludgeoning damage? What's the cost? One 5th level spell. Very much worth it, especially with Sacred Fist builds. (See sample builds, below)[/spoiler]
      Pearls of Power: Good choices, because as we all know, spells are superior in D&D. Just make sure you use them on the important spells that you'll need later. Remember it is a standard action to get the spell back, so try to use them outside of combat if possible.
      Quiver of Ehlonna: If you can't get raptor arrows, go with this quiver. It should hold everything you need.
      Metamagic Rod Extend: Great for buffs. Any version can be helpful, it depends on which spells you prepare for buffing.
      Talisman of Undead Mastery: Another great tool for optimizing turning. It is limited in use, but they replenish each day, so that's a plus.
      Orb of Mental Renewal: When you need your Wis and Cha back, this'll help.
      Rod of Bodily Restoration: When you need your Con and Str back, this'll help.
      Radiant Sphere: For those times when you feel like you're playing Resident Evil and you just have to keep killing undead with everything you have.
      Ioun Stones: These are general good ideas for any character.
      Scepter of the Netherworld: Another tool for turning. +3 more effective levels for turning.
      Bead of Karma: +4 Caster Level (Ridiculously good; Even better if your DM can't do math and you get it for the low price of 9,000gp instead of what it should cost - 20,000gp)
      Rod of Undead Mastery: For the necromantic cleric, this tool is perfect.
      Metamagic Rod of Chaining: Great for some of your buffs. Cast them once and have them affect the whole party.
      Manuals & Tomes: Save up for the +5 ones. Alternatively, ask your DM to allow you to upgrade tomes as you adventure. It's the same cost in the end, and you don't have to worry about lugging all that loose change around.
      Nightstick: From Libris Mortis, this amazing item gives you 4 extra turning attempts for a mere 7,500gp. That's great for DMM clerics and Turning clerics alike.[/spoiler]

      For those of you who feel that you still don't have a high enough turning level, carnivore has a Comprehensive Guide to Turning over on WotC.
      « Last Edit: August 02, 2008, 03:33:57 AM by aftercrescent »
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #6 on: May 27, 2008, 07:45:32 PM »

      General Disclaimer: An optimization rule of thumb is that caster levels are superior to other abilities. Caster levels with extra abilities are superior to even that.  Basically, if at all possible, don't lose caster levels.  If you must lose caster levels, never lose more than 3 in a 20th level build, and make sure the benefits greatly outweigh what you are losing.

      Clerics are unique in that you get all of your class abilities at the outset, so Prestige classing and Dipping into other classes is much more viable than in some other builds. That being said, the disclaimer about Caster Levels stands.  Another important thing to note is that if you plan on using turning for more than just Divine Metamagic, make sure your prestige classes advance turning much like cleric does. Not all of them do, and it is important to note the ones that do for this purpose.

      The Soulknife-Soulbow Dip
         The standard idea with this build is to grab two levels of Soulknife for the throw mind blade class feature and then dip one level of Soulbow. The idea is that Soulbow allows you to apply your Wisdom modifier as damage to the Mind arrows you fire.  When in a null psionics field, you can attempt to use your mind arrows regardless. In a psionic-magic transparency game, this means you can manifest the mind arrow in an antimagic field.  This dip, while it may seem like it is okay for ranged clerics, is fairly bad.  If your DM reads the mind arrow ability to mean that you can make +2 mind arrows at character level 7, you're good, but most likely he'll read it as it was meant to and require multiple levels of soulbow for this purpose. You are better off getting Raptor Arrows and good bow.  Still, for a psionic flavor, there are many more worse options.
      The Monk-Sacred Fist Dip
         The goal of this build is a monk/cleric "divine gish."  By taking one level of monk (two if you can't spare the feats needed), you then take cleric and Sacred Fist. This prestige class is viable up to two points, depending on your DM. If your DM rules in favor of text over table, take all 10 levels, because it is full casting. If he or she rules the table to be the authority, dip out at level 6. Either way, you'll want a Monk's Belt and something like either Bones of Li-Peng (WoL) or Gauntlets of the Talon (MIC). Skydragonknight has a good example of this combination in the sample builds below.
      The Druid Variant Dip
         Unearthed Arcana has a druid variant that offers a monk's AC bonus, the Track feat, and one Favored Enemy as a one level dip.  For certain cleric builds, this could be a good choice. The Monk's AC bonus is always a nice boost, and a +2 favored enemy can be really useful for not too heavy of an investment. Probably the biggest boon of this dip is access to the druid's spell list. You can now activate spell completion items of druid only spells like Owl's Insight (:evillaugh).  Now if only there were divine runestaffs...  :weep
      The Classic Fighter Dip
         A pretty straight forward dip, one or two levels of fighter. Two levels can get you the Dungeoncrasher ACF, but it also costs you a second caster level. Depending on where you go with this, you can enter Ordained Champion fairly easily (take only 1 fighter level if any) or Bone Knight (you can get away with two here).  For the melee focused cleric, this dip is a decent, if archaic, choice.
      The Crusader-Lockdown Dip
         Taking Crusader 1 costs you a caster level but nets you the prerequisites for taking Martial Stance (Thicket of Blades) as a feat.  If you want to mix all the wonders of a lockdown build with the power of a cleric, this is a decent method. You could accomplish this with a couple feats, but if those are limited in your design, this is a safe alternative. Another good pro for some people is that the pre-written flavor fits smoothly, too.
      A Rogue Dip?
         Here our goal is multifaceted. Able learner combined with a level of rogue forever gives us the stealth based skills we need without resorting to our domain choices. The 1d6 sneak attack is a nice little boost, too. It's not the clear winner, but it opens up spells like grave strike as having a bit of potential.  The kick in power to your Reflex save also helps the one bad save you have.  Primarily for skillmonkey clerics, this dip can be worth it.
      Dragonfire Adept Dip
         What the hell does a dragonfire adept have to do with cleric casting? Everything. No, not really. But I love the class, and it does make a surprisingly good dip.  You gain a breath weapon, which, while minimal in damage can be boosted with the ever amazing Entangling Breath feat. Also, the Dragontouched feat gives you the dragonblood subtype, which lets you grab some cool feats if that's your goal. The kick to your saves is like icing on the cake. The real winner, here, though, is that one single invocation. Draconic Knowledge is perfect for Knowledge Devotion builds.  +6 unnamed bonus to all Knowledge skills and Spellcraft, plus you can make checks even without ranks. That's useful for both regular and cloistered clerics.

      Prestige Class Options

      Bone Knight5N
         As long as you are not barred from using Eberron books, this is one of the best cleric prestige classes around.  It is especially ideal for melee oriented clerics.  It is a 9/10 Casting class, meaning you only lose 1 caster level.  It meshes well with Ordained Champion (see below).  The skills are a bit tough to come across, since craft and ride are not traditionally of use to a cleric, but they are worth it for Bone Knights.  You are forced to Rebuke Undead for this class, but it is very much worth it. The class stacks with your cleric levels for turning level.  On top of all the casting, you gain a boatload of immunities that will make you a beast on the battlefield.
      Church InquisitorCD
         Church inquisitor is one of the very few prestige classes that can be entered before having 5 base classes. Once you have 3 cleric levels, if you are non-evil and lawful, this prestige class is a good choice.  You gain an extra domain (Inquisition). The domain can be kept for a nice ability or traded for the Knowledge Devotion feat.  The mental immunities and auto saves against certain spells and effects are sweet.  The class is good for the first 5 levels. If you are worried about possession, level 8 make a second stopping point. The last two levels of the class really just aren't worth it.
         You can't take this class until level 11, but it is well worth the wait.  At first level, you gain an extra domain and immunity to disease. That's beautiful.  Really, many cleric builds just take this one level.  If you are looking for more, then the second drop point is level six. At level 5, gaining immunity to poison is okay, but you get the second domain at level 6.
      Divine OracleCD
         This is another full casting PrC. It has either 2, 6, or 10 levels. The Oracle domain is a fairly decent domain, but the second level is where things get nice. You gain an ability that functions as EVASION, but in ANY armor. Heavy armor clerics with evasion is quite sickening. Level six makes you unable to be flanked with Improved Uncanny Dodge. Level 10 is truly the cream of the crop, though.  Remember that whole thing about initiative? Well you always get to act in a surprise round, if there is one, so no one can get the drop on you. It take a while to get, but that reward is pretty sweet.
         An 8/9 casting PrC focused on battlefield control via summons.  While it can be argued that wizards or druid do this class better, clerics make damned good Malconvokers. Add some Thaumaturgist on top of it and you're golden. Treantmonklvl20 has a wonderful guide to Mastering the Malconvoker.
      Ordained ChampionCC
         3/5 casting means you can only lose one other casting level.  Another reason I suggest that this build be used in conjunction with the Bone Knight (see above). This class also advances turning. Yay! You gain a third (or fourth or fifth) domain upon entering this. If you don't have the war domain, you'll gain it instead.  This class basically forces Domain Spontaneity (War) on you as an ACF, but it is well worth it.  The abilities of this class are good for melee combatants.
      Prestige PaladinUA
         This class only exists for a one level dip.  If it wasn't actually a prestige class, it would be up in the dip section. The important aspect of this class is that it puts all the paladin spells onto your cleric spell list.  In combination with Ordained Champion, A build utilizing this dip can be a powerhouse.
      Radiant ServantCD
         The worst aspect of this class is the Sun domain requirement, but it fits and it actually makes it useful.  Extra Greater Turning is amazing. You could dip this PrC for 1 level or stick it through to ten. Level five is probably the best drop point as it nets you a bonus domain.  For a Neutral Good cleric, this domain is about as good as it gets.  I mean the class grants you weapon proficiencies. That alone is sweet.
      Ruby Knight VindicatorToB
         Remember that crusader dip I mentioned up above? Here's how you make the most of it.  This build is often nicknamed the Ruby Knight "Win"dicator. Let me explain why.  Full BAB and 8/10 casting. You gain maneuvers and stances (not many, but they're useful in combat... especially since you don't have to spend a feat on Thicket of Blades now).  The "win" though? That's the 7th level ability, Divine Impetus. A Windicator breaks the action economy. As many turn attempts as you have, you can spend to gain swift actions. Travel Devotion lets you move your speed as a swift action. Battle Blessing lets you cast Paladin Spells as swift actions.  Quickened spells.  I think I've said enough.
      Sacred ExorcistCD
         The best thing about this class is that it stacks with cleric for turn undead. It also has some useful abilities for undead or evil outsider heavy campaigns.  Full casting progression makes it a viable choice for certain prestige class hungry builds.
      Sacred FistCD
         The text has to triumph over the table for this prestige class to work. By the rules, the text does, but if your DM is a douche, you may not be so lucky.  You'll want to take at least one Monk level, like I mentioned above, before taking this class, as it will fulfill the many feat requirements.  Stacking monk unarmed damage with full cleric casting makes for a powerful build.  See the sample build section for just how powerful.
      Seeker of the Misty IsleCD
         Another issue of text over table. This class is also full casting by the table. Remember to point that out to your DM.  The race requirement is harsh, but if you ignored my advice and are playing an elf, the class gives you two solid domains.  This PrC meshes well with Cloistered Clerics for the whole skill-monkey cleric angle.
      Sovereign SpeakerFoE
         Another one of those Eberron Cleric PrCs that works wonders.  The required feat actually isn't a terrible one. It can be useful for clerics, making you not dependent on your holy symbol. Even beyond the full casting this class gives, is the ability. You gain a new domain at every level. Granted you are limited to not taking too many domains of a certain deity, but you can get some of the best domains this way. Feel free to stop taking the class before you have to start taking any less optimal domains.
         Your HD in this class is pretty crappy, but the ability boosts of this 5 level PrC are fairly nice.  It really meshes well with Malconvoker and makes for a wicked Planar Binder.
      « Last Edit: June 06, 2008, 01:22:18 AM by aftercrescent »
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #7 on: May 27, 2008, 07:45:40 PM »
      Sample builds
      The Sacred Warfist by SkyDragonKnight
      Race: Human
      Alignment: LN or LG
      Monk 1/ Cloistered Cleric 3/Church Inquisitor 3/Divine Oracle 2/Sacred Fist 10/Contemplative 1
      Feats: 1) Combat Casting
      Human) Combat Reflexes
      Monk) Improved Unarmed Strike
      Monk) Stunning Fist
      Domain Bonus) Extend Spell (Planning Domain)
      Domain Trade) Knowledge Devotion
      Domain Trade) Strength Devotion
      3) Skill Focus (Knowledge {Religion})
      6) Persist Spell
      9) DMM (Persist Spell)
      12) Beast Strike
      15) Shape Soulmeld (Totem Avatar)
      18) Improved Natural Attack (Slam)

      Domains: Planning and Hunger (Contemplative)

      Items: Monk's Belt, Gauntlets of the Talon (Sacrifice a 5th level spell slot), Might Arms Warforged Graft, Battlefist, Fanged Ring, Necklace of Natural Weapons (or Amulet of Mighty Fists)

      **Beast Strike is a feat from Dragon Magazine #355 p.76. It requires Improved Unarmed Strike, Base Attack Bonus +5, and a claw or slam attack. When making an unarmed strike, you may add your claw or slam damage to the attack.
      Base Unarmed Strike Damage: 2d10->12d8(Giant Size)->16d8(Fanged Ring)->24d8(Battlefist)->32d8(totem avatar) *Note: Giant Size is acquired via Miracle.
      Base Slam Damage: 2d6->8d6(Giant Size)->12d6(Imp. Natural Attack)->16d6(totem avatar)

      Full attack Routine is five unarmed strike+slam damage via flurry, a slam as an off-hand attack and a bite as an offhand attack.

      *Note, this build does not use flaws. Suggestions for flaws are to take Power Attack and Move Skill Focus up so you can take another feat later.[/
      Cleric 20 by carnivore
      Full build detailed in this post
      This is 20th level cleric focused on undead slaying.
      1: Improved Turning
      3: Empower Turning
      6: Extra Turning
      9: Divine Energy Focus
      12: Choosen of the Deathless
      15: Quicken Turning
      18: Disciple of the Sun
      Elf Versatility 1 by carnivore
      Full build detailed in this post
      Race: Any Elf
      Cloistered Cleric 10/ Seeker of the Misty Isle 9/ Contemplative 1
      Elf Versatility 2 by carnivore[spoiler]
      Full build detailed in this post
      Race: Any Elf
      Ranger 2/ Cloistered Cleric(spontaneous Domain Casting Variant(Healing)) 4/ Seeker of the Misty Isle 4/ Knight of the Raven 4/ Radient Servant of Ehlonna 5/ Contemplative 1
      Cleric Monk by carnivore[spoiler]
      Full build detailed in this post
      Monk 1/ Ardent 2/ Cleric 3/ Psychic Theurge 10/X4 (Any full spellcasting progressing class)
      The Healing Machine by carnivore[spoiler]
      Full build detailed in this post
      Race: Warforged
      Alignment: Lawful Good
      Cloistered Cleric 5/ Landforged Walker 5/ Celestial Mystic 10
      Super Holy Warrior by carnivore[spoiler]
      Full build detailed in this post
      Race: Krau Naen Illumian
      Alignment: CG
      Warlock 1/ Cleric 4/ Eldritch Disciple 8/ Knight of the Raven 7
      « Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 05:08:44 AM by aftercrescent »
      The cake is a lie.
      Need to play table top? Get your game on at:
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      The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      The 13th Guard - An alternate history campaign idea.
      Clerics just wake up one morning and decide they need to kick ass, and it needs to be kicked NOW. ~veekie


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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #8 on: May 27, 2008, 07:45:48 PM »
      Debatable Tactics and Tricks
      The purpose of this section is to take a look at some of the tactics and tricks that Clerics may or may not be able to use.  I will have the title of the ability/trick/etc in bold and a summary of the arguments for or against it in a spoiler block below that. I do not want this thread to turn into a debate over which one actually works. Both methods are at least somewhat plausible by a strict reading of the rules, but it is truly up to your DM to decide what he or she will allow. If you have a tactic that may be debatable or an argument stance that is not expressed here, feel free to explain it and I will add it to the section, so there will be a complete, unbiased point of view. Once again, please do not turn this into a debate thread.  Take your rules discussions elsewhere ;)

      Greater Consumptive Field {Spell}[spoiler]
      The Trick: Using Divine Metamagic (Persist Spell), a cleric persists Greater Consumptive Field.  He or she then proceeds to walk by an anthill, pile of flies, through a forest, etc. As each of these seemingly irrelevant creatures fail their will saves, the cleric gains a +2 unnamed bonus to Strength, along with a +1 caster level, to a maximum of 1/2 his or her original caster level. The next day, the cleric repeats this procedure, allowing the caster level to increase by 1/2 of the caster level when the spell was cast (which is currently 1.5*the caster level before the trick began). This process repeats ad nauseam.

      The Pro: Original caster level refers to the caster level when you cast the spell, so as long as you cast it before the previous casting expires, the trick works.  The idea is that the spell only checks for "original caster level" once, at the start of the spell, and that has already been increased by a previous casting.  The spell also states all creatures and does not specify anything else.

      The Con: Original caster level is never defined in the rules, and by using original, refers to the caster level prior to casting the spell the first time. Also, casting the same spell twice does not make it stack, it just makes the duration overlap. In addition, it is clear that in D&D certain creatures cannot pose a challenge even to first level characters and are thus not considered "creatures" in the way the spell refers to, so flies, ants, etc would not grant the bonus.

      Side Point: Regardless of which side you take, +2 stackable unnamed Strength is impressive and most animals and commoners have 9HP or less, which makes this spell quite impressive regardless of ruling.[/spoiler]
      The Trick: Nightsticks grant 4 turn attempts. Use Night sticks to power Divine Metamagic like a battery. Use one, drop it, pull another and use it, drop it. Rinse and repeat as needed.

      The Pro: Nightsticks are like the extra turning feat. It can be taken multiple times and grants 4 additional turn attempts each time, so Nightsticks can, too. Also, the 4 turn attempts are not a bonus, so the rules for stacking bonuses do not apply.  Much like multiple pearls of power can be used to regain spells multiple times, multiple Nightsticks grant multiple turn attempts.

      The Con: The extra turn attempts come from nightsticks, and as they are the same source, multiples cannot be used.  While they require the extra turning feat, they do not actually grant the feat, and thus multiples will not stack.

      Side Point: The Sage advises that Nightsticks not be allowed to stack.  The authority of the Sage is not official, but one designer's opinion aimed at "balancing" the rules.[/spoiler]
      Reach Spell/Persist Spell[spoiler]
      The Trick: Spells can only be persisted when they have a range of personal or a fixed range. Reach spell gives a touch spell a range of 30', which is fixed. A cleric can prepare a reach spell and apply Divine Metamagic (Persist Spell) to make touch spells last 24 hours.

      The Pro: A reach spell can be cast at a range of 30 feet. 30 feet is a fixed range, not variable like close, medium, long. Thus, it is a viable target for Persist. Since effects can be applied in the order most beneficial, reach will be applied before persist.

      The Con: The wording of reach spell says that it "effectively" becomes a ray. It does not say it actually becomes a ray, nor does it say it actually changes the range. The range remains touch, but the metamagic allows it to be cast at range. Since the range is not fixed, it cannot be persisted.

      Side Point: This argument also works with the Ocular Spell feat from Lords of Madness.[/spoiler]
      Dragonborn, Warforged, Saint, and Vow of Poverty[spoiler]
      The Trick: To achieve impressive armor and immunities, take a dragonborn warforged. It keeps the living construct subtype (and consequently, the immunities). Take Vow of Poverty along with Adamantine Body. The Adamantine Body can have Magic Vestment cast on it without violating the oath. Add the Saint template for further immunities and Wisdom to armor class. As was pointed out to me by sorenskriveren, the Exalted AC bonus from Vow does not stack with AP since it grants an armor bonus. So drop Vow and use magic items to further increase your AC. While You may lose out on a few points of AC, it's still got a butt-load of immunities and a makes a decent wall even before you add 9th level spells to the mix.[/spoiler]
      Imbued Healing/Aura of Chaos: Infinite Damage[spoiler]
      The Trick: Step one, Play a Ruby Knight Vindicator (or any combination of cleric/martial adept). You need the Aura of Chaos Stance which lets you reroll and add the damage together every time you get the maximum amount. You also need the Imbued Healing feat which will allow you to treat a natural "1" as a natural "2". The last step if to be of a size where you have proficiency with a weapon dealing 1d2 damage.

      The Pro: The wording of Imbued Healing: Luck states that any die result of 1 is treated as a 2, and since that is the maximum result, the trick works.

      The Con: The exact wording of Aura of Chaos states "When one or more of your damage dice show a maximum possible result." The die still shows a "1" even if it is treated as a "2" and thus Aura of Chaos does not apply.

      Side Point: Infinite Damage loops are purely theoretical and should never be attempted in a game, regardless of ruling.[/spoiler]
      Alternate Fuel for Divine Feats[spoiler]
      The Trick: Take two domains that grant turning, such as the ooze and fire domain. Each of these grant 3+Cha turning attempts. Power your divine feats with your new 9+3*Cha turn attempts.

      The Pro: The wording, directly from Complete Divine states: "Each use of a divine feat costs a character a minimum of one turn or rebuke attempt from her number of attempts each day." It does not specify that they must be turn undead attempts there. Also, consider Divine Metamagic's rule: "You must spend one turn or rebuke attempt, plus an additional attempt for each level increase in the metamagic feat you're using."

      The Con: Complete Divine also says that the force powering Divine Feats is the ability to channel positive or negative energy to turn or rebuke undead. The Divine Metamagic feat says just before the line quoted above: "As a free action, you can take the energy from turning or rebuking undead and use it to apply a metamagic feat to spells you know."

      Side Point: This argument is almost exactly like the argument as to whether Dragonwrought Kobolds qualify for the Loredrake Archetype from Dragons of Eberron.[/spoiler]
      The Bloodtouched Rite[spoiler]
      The Trick: For necromancy based/evil clerics. Especially potent in Eberron, but may be possible in other settings, check with your DM.  Lose 2 Con to gain a variety of minor bonuses.

      The Pro: +1 CL for all necromancy spells and your effective cleric level for rebuking is 1 higher. Minor other bonuses.

      The Con: You lose 1HP/level while only gaining +Cha HP, which isn't much (unless you're low level). Plus your Fort save takes a hit, albeit a minor one.  If you're in a no-nightstick stacking game, your Cha might be high enough to warrant this trick.[/spoiler]
      « Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 01:24:48 PM by AfterCrescent »
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 07:45:54 PM »
      There you go. Enjoy, comment, etc :D
      « Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 08:05:08 PM by aftercrescent »
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 08:12:07 PM »
      Reading through

       :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap in advance... :wink
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #11 on: May 27, 2008, 08:14:25 PM »
      Is this your work originally? I'd like to know the original author too, if you aren't the one responsible. You know, adding the name to the Handy Links too.

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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 08:16:34 PM »
      Is this your work originally? I'd like to know the original author too, if you aren't the one responsible. You know, adding the name to the Handy Links too.
      Definitely mine. The old one on WotC is fairly outdated. Been working on this for the past week or so. :D
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #13 on: May 27, 2008, 08:18:37 PM »
      Brilliant! Then I will give this a good, thorough read! I was already sick of the previous one... Had I enough expertise of Druids (sure, I play a lot of them and they are my favourite class, but still..) I'd do something like this.

      Edit: Updated the Map.
      Edit 2: Add in a mention condoning Spell domain for melee Clerics. Using Anyspell to get Wraithstrike and then persist it with the standard Divine metamagic cheese is effective. So effective that my DM was wondering how well I ran over the dragon we fought...
      « Last Edit: May 27, 2008, 08:21:55 PM by Tshern »

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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 08:21:14 PM »
      Brilliant! Then I will give this a good, thorough read! I was already sick of the previous one... Had I enough expertise of Druids (sure, I play a lot of them and they are my favourite class, but still..) I'd do something like this.
      Don't worry about it. I still don't know if I have enough expertise with Clerics, but sdk seemed to think I do, so he urged me on and here's the result :D
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #15 on: May 27, 2008, 08:23:20 PM »
      Brilliant! Then I will give this a good, thorough read! I was already sick of the previous one... Had I enough expertise of Druids (sure, I play a lot of them and they are my favourite class, but still..) I'd do something like this.
      Don't worry about it. I still don't know if I have enough expertise with Clerics, but sdk seemed to think I do, so he urged me on and here's the result :D
      Possibly when the Iron Siege is over and I am finished with a project that is even beyond its scale of magnitude...

      Quote from: Tshern
      Edit 2: Add in a mention condoning Spell domain for melee Clerics. Using Anyspell to get Wraithstrike and then persist it with the standard Divine metamagic cheese is effective. So effective that my DM was wondering how well I ran over the dragon we fought...
      I added that to my previous post, while you posted the one I just responded to. Figured I could put this here so it won't be missed...

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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #16 on: May 27, 2008, 08:30:33 PM »
      Quote from: Tshern
      Edit 2: Add in a mention condoning Spell domain for melee Clerics. Using Anyspell to get Wraithstrike and then persist it with the standard Divine metamagic cheese is effective. So effective that my DM was wondering how well I ran over the dragon we fought...
      Good catch. Thanks. I put in the Domain Spell section. I'd actually not condone it much like I don't condone Shivering Touch abuse. :wink Access to Anyspell and its Greater version can be very helpful before you have Miracle, though.
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #17 on: May 27, 2008, 08:35:21 PM »
      Well, then there is another nice trick. I'd suggest any archer to get his hands on the Spell domain as well. Why you might ask and here is the answer: Limited wish. Owl's insight from Druid's list? Oh yeah, that's a divine spell, so DMM works on it!

      At level 20, assuming Beads of Karma, but no other CL buffs, you have a CL of 24. That's +12 insight bonus to wisdom right there. +6 to attack rolls, save DCs, will saves and, with a high likelyhood, to AC as well.

      Actually, any reason for caster Clerics, hell, any Cleric for not using this?

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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #18 on: May 27, 2008, 08:39:58 PM »
      Limited Wish can be gotten from the Spell and Envy domains as well.  It costs XP though, so I'd rather actually waste the Miracle slot to persist it. And extend the persist if your DM will allow you to do that.
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      Re: The 3.5 Cleric Handbook
      « Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 08:43:06 PM »
      At level 20 I'd probably just persist and extend it (metamagic rod) and use that 150xp a day. Better than sacrificing a Miracle.

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