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Cleric build

JordiJordi Member Posts: 16
Im planning a new run and try something new so decided to go cleric, a full support cleric at the backline. Which do you think is the best race, the best kit, best weapon style, weapons to choose, stats, and maybe the most important spells?
Thanks.

Edit: my party:
Nalia
Haer Dalis
Keldorn
Minsc
MrTOB
Post edited by Jordi on

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,845
    Weapon choice for a pure cleric is not very important. You get plenty of proficiencies, and can't specialize in anything. You get a total of 12 proficiency points by level 40, and a total of ten points you can allocate ... you'll literally have every proficiency you possibly can at level 32 (5.4 million XP), and those last two points get skipped.

    That said, get sling proficiency early. Every other option you have is melee. If you're starting at level 1 in BG1, slings should be one of your two level 1 proficiencies, along with a melee weapon.
    A sling can be used with a shield, but not another weapon. While you won't benefit from any of the weapon styles while wielding the sling, you'll definitely want a shield for that reason. And since you're probably going to have a one-handed weapon as your melee backup, switching to that will leave you in position to gain the benefits of shield style. Go ahead and pick up a point in that.

    For your melee option, hammers are probably the best choice in BG1. Ashideena. That is all. By the time BG2 rolls around, you should have a second melee proficiency - and hey, here's the Flail of Ages. That'll carry you until endgame weapons become available, at which point you'll be proficient with everything and free to take whatever's left over after the party warriors make their choices.

    Stats?
    Strength is always nice, because it's damage on every attack including your sling. But at only one attack per round, it's not a big deal if you don't have that much. And you've got spells to boost your strength in battle if you need that. The biggest drawback of a low-strength cleric is the reduced armor selection - heavy armor weighs a lot and has high strength requirements (15 for full plate). Until you can afford to give them a strength-boosting item, you'll be restricted to lighter, and generally less protective, armor options.
    Dexterity is valuable, as it is for every class. Better AC, better ranged THAC0. And there's only one set of 18 DEX gauntlets in each game.
    Constitution is valuable, as it is for every class. No point in going past 16 unless you're a short race, though - clerics don't get any extra HP for more than that, but the last point of shorty save bonuses comes at 18 CON.
    Intelligence has some value. But once you've got 9 so you can use scrolls and wands, any more is basically useless. All you get for it is lore, and the party rogues and mages will outperform you in that anyway.
    Wisdom is your primary stat. Get as much as you can.
    Charisma ... are you the party's "face", who stands up front and initiates conversation first? No? Then you don't need charisma. (Aside from some dialogues in Siege of Dragonspear which specifically rely on the protagonist's charisma score)

    Race?
    In my opinion, the cleric's biggest weakness is their poor spell save. So many threats will force your characters to save versus spells, or have bad things happen to them. Sure, clerics have buffs to grant immunity to those bad things, but will you always have those active? Probably not. And if you want to boost your passive defenses, you can't go wrong with a shorty. Dwarves are kind of the obvious choice here, as the other two short races have wisdom penalties.
    Though really, you'll be fine with any race, especially as a back-line character.

    Kit?
    All of the cleric kits follow the same formula - pick a god, get a couple of special abilities, restrict your alignment to within one step of the god's alignment. No reason not to choose one, unless you have a concept that doesn't match any of the available gods.
    Of the available kits, the priest of Lathander is generally considered the most powerful, on the strength of their "Boon of Lathander" ability. Though that's a self-only combat buff; it doesn't really mesh with the back-line support character you want to build. Just take a look for yourself, and go for whatever looks good if it fits your character concept.

    Spells?
    As a cleric, you know all the spells you can possibly cast automatically. And if you memorize a spell one day and decide you don't like it, you can just memorize a different spell the next day. Feel free to experiment.
    If you're in the back, you'll probably focus less on the personal combat buffs like Draw Upon Holy Might and more on the direct combat spells like Hold Person. The tricky part is how to balance between healing, party buffs, and those combat spells. And I don't have an easy answer for that. Adjust to taste.
  • JordiJordi Member Posts: 16
    Very explanatory, thank you!
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 657
    edited May 2023
    Just to add, kits in the Cleric class don't make much of a difference (at least not to me) so just pick the one that best reflects his alignment (which should in turn reflect his behaviour, possibly) or the one you like best, or none at all, if they don't fit.

    As mentioned by jmerry, Boon of Lathander is great, but I like the Tyr Priest's Exaltation ability which reflects my style of gameplay (and at the moment I like to play LN characters).
  • JordiJordi Member Posts: 16
    Good point.
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,864
    With the right spells used in the right order a Cleric gets the base Thac0 of a Fighter with the same level, automatic maxed damage roll and a huge STR increase, up to 25 (+7 Thac0, +14 damage), this means that once he has reached a high enough level he can do some noticeable damage each round with the sling before he cast his spell or he can even go mlee and dual weld for 4 apr improved hasted. The Cleric can use any armour and has a good natural Thac0, having him only as a support caster is a waste of potential, he can heal the party, protect them with spells and call summons, but is also a damage dealer and if needed even a tank when your usual tank's health is too low.
    The boon of Lathander makes a Cleric even stronger if used with the proper buffs active, he should do more than 100 dmg ranged or more then 150 mlee each round if also improved hasted.
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 629
    Cleric is one of those classes that just gets infinitely much better by having a Fighter dual into cleric

    lvl 2 fighter is enough to get a noteworthy boost, but 7 is of course better.

    You'll still be limited to cleric weapons, but you can pip up in your chosen weapon and get more attacks and damage each round.
    Still a support character but you can actually do decent work with a sling through the entire saga if you get 7 fighter lvls.. or turn into a ridiculously hulking melee monster..

    The xp lost for having 2 lvls of fighter, or 7 even, is negligible even in BG1 as it barely affects your max lvl due to xp cap and how the xp requirements start ramping up past lvl 7 (You'd get your fighter lvls back pretty much immediately upon starting Dragonspear or BG2 if you drop SoD.. the way the xp cap works, lvl 8 cleric is max in BG1 for single class cleric (lvl 7 is 55K xp, lvl 8 is 110K xp and lvl 9 is 225K xp.. games hard cap is 161k, so with Fighter 7 dualed to Cleric, you'd max at lvl 7 in BG1.. lvl 8 if you go single class)

    The XP cap in TOB is 8 million, though you'll likely peak out at 6m or so with a full party, so those 67K spent on fighter means nothing in any of the games really.

    You'd play half of BG1 as a fighter though, and I guess that's not what you're truly after.. but it's worth keeping in mind, even just 2 lvls of fighter will turn things on it's head and as imo better than even Boon of Lathander. You could also roll 18/00 in Strength which is significant compared to just 18, if you donate the Strength tome to someone else (But why would you?)

    Longwinded post for something you kinda didn't ask for, but I thought i'd just throw it out here in case it'd catch your interest.
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,186
    On my current play through my PC only went to 3rd level Fighter, then dualled to cleric. Obviously I wasn’t going for the power build (7th or 13th being the best choices).
    But this has worked out quite well. Actual grand mastery in Warhammer by the end of BG1! (That’s 3 pips as a 3rd level fighter, one each at 4th and 8th cleric).
    The character has 40% of party kills at the mid-point of ToB, in a party that includes Keldorn and Minsc. And I’m getting scolded over on the Reddit Forums for not knowing how to do a power build… Morons.
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,864
    Yup, dualing from fighter you gain +1 apr once you get 5 pips in your chosen weapon, +1 1/2 if you dual class at lev.7 and this imho is the only true advantage as a cleric can rise his STR so easy so the .00 is not so relevant as DUHM overrides it and the Thac0 from his cleric class will soon be better then the one of a lev 2 or 7 Fighter when he does not go full buff, for the battle with bosses he will get the same Thac0 of a Fighter of the same level of his Cleric class, what makes the dual strong is the APR and being able to put 3 pips into DW.
    3.5 APR, 7 improved hasted, with 25 STR while sparing the STR enhancing items for the rest of the party make him really strong even in late ToB.
    But also the single class, better with the Lathander kit, is quite strong when using buffs and the Boon as he reaches 6 APR buffed and lets you play as cleric for the whole saga, so is a perfectly viable choice giving all the utility of his divine spells to the party and being a good damage dealer when is needed.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,845
    atcDave wrote: »
    But this has worked out quite well. Actual grand mastery in Warhammer by the end of BG1! (That’s 3 pips as a 3rd level fighter, one each at 4th and 8th cleric).
    Note that this doesn't work in BGEE (standard rules, before the SoD campaign). You need 6 levels in your current class in order to take the fourth dot of a proficiency, and 9 levels to take the fifth. The first is achievable by delaying the level-up from F3/C3 until you can go all the way to F3/C6, but the latter is impossible since the 161K experience cap is too low to reach level 9 as a cleric no matter when you dual (225K XP as a cleric needed).
    A fighter -> thief or fighter -> druid dual can pull off grand mastery within the BG1 campaign. No other dual-class combination can.

    Not really on topic for this thread, of course - the OP was asking about how to build a pure cleric, and a backline one at that. And on that note, what advantages does a pure cleric have over an early fighter -> cleric dual?
    - You can take a cleric kit. They're all pure upside, unlike kits for other classes.
    - You can be something other than human. All of the nonhuman races have mechanical advantages, while humans don't get anything special.
  • JordiJordi Member Posts: 16
    edited June 2023
    Thanks for all this input, i tried a cleric of Helm because it looked cool but didn't enjoy it and droped the game,maybe a dual class will make it more interesting.

    Edit: apologies for my poor english
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,186
    jmerry wrote: »
    atcDave wrote: »
    But this has worked out quite well. Actual grand mastery in Warhammer by the end of BG1! (That’s 3 pips as a 3rd level fighter, one each at 4th and 8th cleric).
    Note that this doesn't work in BGEE (standard rules, before the SoD campaign). You need 6 levels in your current class in order to take the fourth dot of a proficiency, and 9 levels to take the fifth. The first is achievable by delaying the level-up from F3/C3 until you can go all the way to F3/C6, but the latter is impossible since the 161K experience cap is too low to reach level 9 as a cleric no matter when you dual (225K XP as a cleric needed).

    It worked fine for me! I EEKeepered the initial scores but didn't touch it during later game play. Although if I'm reading your comment right it might be because I had SoD installed? Interesting anyway. It was the lowest level I'd ever dualled and was quite pleased with results.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,845
    Having SoD installed won't make a difference. SoD doesn't change the main BG1 campaign's experience cap (still 161K), and it doesn't change PROFSMAX.2DA (the file that controls the level-based proficiency restrictions) either. The only difference SoD can make is that, if you're actually in the SoD campaign, the level cap increases and your cleric can reach level 9.

    If it worked for you, it's because you've changed the rules. Is there a copy of PROFSMAX.2DA in your override folder?
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 2,186
    I don’t know and I’m not at home to check. But it did just occur to me I had an exp cap remover installed. That’s been my only mod so far on a new computer, but perhaps it had that element also?
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 759
    edited June 2023
    The OP’s interest in single class clerics seems to have waned, but I thought I’d comment for the benefit of others who may be interested.

    I’m currently at the end of an SCS/Ascension Insane trilogy solo no reload with a single class cleric. She has by now reached the final hurdle, the confrontation with Melissan and The Five. Her fate will be determined in the next couple days. Her run is documented at TavernRPG, in the Candlekeep Annex thread, for those who are interested.

    To my surprise, my cleric has crushed it up to this point. I’ve soloed SCS/Ascension with a variety of classes in the no reload context- from sorcerers, to F/Ms, to M/Ts, to bards, to paladins, to barbarians, to thieves, to rangers. Few, if any, have made it to this point in the adventure with greater ease. It may surprise you to hear that. It surprises me to say it, but the evidence is clear. A cleric can, in fact, rock the party from the Keep to The Throne. Don’t underestimate them. I once did. I won’t any longer.

    My cleric is a chaotic neutral halfling priest of Talos, named Astrid. I prefer to avoid discussions of which build is the “best” or most “powerful” because I feel they are misguided, but the chaotic neutral priest of Talos has a lot of strengths- particularly in an SCS setup with alignment appropriate fiends installed.

    Neutral priests have an almost unfair advantage, since they can cast Holy Smite and Unholy Blight while enjoying immunity to both- likewise for the Holy Word and Unholy Word pairing. With SCS's alignment appropriate fiends component installed, the chaotic orientation has an advantage, too: their Gate spell summons balors, rather than pit fiends. Setting aside kit considerations, chaotic neutral is a strong choice from a power gaming perspective.

    Moving on to kit attributes, the priest of Talos is under appreciated. The Lightning Bolt + Storm Shield combination is immensely useful and fun to play with. At low levels it’s better suited to a soloist, but a single arcane L7 can protect an entire party from Lightning Bolts, via Limited Wish. There are other avenues for protecting a party, too, of course, if you’re willing to invest more spell slots. For a soloist, Lightning Bolt + Storm Shield is game changing in BG1 and early BG2. It continues to be useable up into ToB. The Storm Shield, in isolation, remains an outstanding defensive tool up through the very end of the adventure. There are others ways of acquiring elemental resistance, true, but the ability to apply 100% resistance to fire, cold and electricity with a single spell equivalent action post Remove or Breach never gets old.

    On balance, the priest of Talos is a strong kit, enhanced by the avenues opened by the EEs broadening of alignments, and SCS’s alignment appropriate fiends. Astrid has been highly capable, and a blast to play. I’d encourage others to check the build out. Feel free to ask if you have any questions. I’d be happy to offer tips to my fellow cleric lovers.

    Cheers,

    A.
    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • BardsSuck_BardsSuck_ Member Posts: 133
    Gj soloing... you are very smart, how did you beat melissan solo ? She has infinite spells i couldnt beat her with my evil character on solo,i have SCS but not ascension, tactical difficulty, my character was extremely evil subhuman incel maxxed multi priest/cleric .

    She had infinite spells and always had shit up, i couldnt touch her, constantly spamming earthquake and summons.
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 759
    Thank you for your interest. I play with Ascension, and the final battle is very different. Advice based on Ascension won't translate to vanilla.

    For vanilla Mel solo cleric tactics, I'll refer you to @Enuhal , if he's available. He runs vanilla often, and he's highly skilled with divine casters.

    Cheers,

    A.
  • UlkeshUlkesh Member Posts: 212
    Alesia_BH wrote: »
    Thank you for your interest. I play with Ascension, and the final battle is very different. Advice based on Ascension won't translate to vanilla.

    For vanilla Mel solo cleric tactics, I'll refer you to @Enuhal , if he's available. He runs vanilla often, and he's highly skilled with divine casters.

    Cheers,

    A.

    Would you kindly link your playthrough ?
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 759
    edited June 2023
    Would you kindly link your playthrough ?

    Sure! The run starts here:

    TavernRPG, The Candlekeep Annex: Astrid, Halfling Priest of Talos

    I hope you enjoy it! It’s been a fun play through!

    Cheers,

    A.
    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 657
    Yep, when it comes to choosing an alignment for my cleric, I wouldn't consider anything other than LN/TN/CN for the reasons mentioned here...the Helm Temple quests are the best too IMHO
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 759
    edited June 2023
    Dharius wrote: »
    Yep, when it comes to choosing an alignment for my cleric, I wouldn't consider anything other than LN/TN/CN for the reasons mentioned here

    And since all the kits have access to the neutral sphere in the EE, there's no incentive, other than role playing, to be either good or evil.

    The broadening of alignments has its merits, but it sort of deprecates good and evil, which I don't love.
    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
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