PDA

View Full Version : How useful are Cloistered Clerics?



Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 08:29 AM
I was looking over the "ideal party" thread and I noticed a lot of people had Cloistered Clerics down as healers, but I'm curious about why people pick them due to how I tend to see them as being weaker then normal Clerics in general (unless you have a large party where you've got a descent frontline, I would have thought that CCs would be a liability due to how they exchange Rogue BAB, a d8 HD and heavy armour and shield proficiency for a load of Knowledge skills which Wizards already have, Bardic Knowledge (pretty much) and extra skill points).
I tend to see Clerics as needing survivability on the frontline due to how their Cure spells only have touch range, and I don't class the skills as being that useful. (I see Archivists as filling the "Academic Divine Caster" roll better due to using Int for casting spells while being able to use Knowledge skills for Dark Knowledge).

Telonius
2008-03-24, 09:06 AM
I included them in my list because my ideal Cleric is somewhat weaker than the Core Cleric. IMO, the class should have been more like Cloistered Cleric - a little more healer-ish, a little less holy fighter-ish.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 09:09 AM
How goods are they in a standard Fighter/Cleric/Rogue/Wizard party, though? Also, excluding Divine Power and righteous Might, which can't be used all the time without using all the Cleric's level 4 spell slots, are they better then Fighters?

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-24, 09:11 AM
Cloistered Clerics are weaker front-line, but if you want a mobile/caster type Cleric who doesn't wade into melee the they are they way to go.

I personally choose Cloistered Cleric because it grants an additional Domain, and I was using the Spontaneous Domain casting variant with as many domains as I could get while continuing full casting.

It all depends on what you use Clerics for. I use them for Buffs out of combat, and casting in combat. Others use them for Personal buffs that create a warrior and wading into melee.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 09:19 AM
The first character I ever created (which I haven't actually got the chance to use yet, sadl), is an LA 0 Gnoll Cleric of Ehlonna. I'm planning on using him as a heaer/buffer who can fight well rather then being dependant on spells (I'd probably only use Divine Power in an emergency): http://rustmonster.net/sheet/?view=483 . Admittedly, I'm not that bothered about the extra Domain due to how Wizards can use pretty much all of the spells on the spell list for the Knowledge Domain. My logic behind wanting a Cleric who can fight is based around the fact that intelligent enermies are going to want to eliminae healers as soon as possible (admittedly, you have a point about Cloistered Clerics being okay if you can stay out of melee).

Yeril
2008-03-24, 09:51 AM
If used right, those extra skillpoints can be great, for example, a kobold cloistered cleric of kurtlukmak.. or whatever his name is, Pick Trickery and Kobold domains.

You have 6+int skillpoints, hide, open lock, disarm device, search, bluff as class skills, and the trapfinding ability. Basicly everything you need to be a rogue without sneak attack and you still have full cleric casting ontop of that.

And you still have the awesome character of a kobold dragonpreist who knows how to be very very sneaky, everything a kobold should be!

Im sure with alittle work and domain picking, you can make a skillmonkey cleric to fit almost any role.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 09:54 AM
That would be brilliant. Can anyone else think of any other similar builds which would be as useful?

SamTheCleric
2008-03-24, 09:55 AM
Cloistered Clerics actually lead up to Combat Medic very nicely, as the combat medic gets benefits when wearing only light armor (like mobility and evasion).

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 09:59 AM
That sounds interesting. Would the Archivist work well with that PrC as well?

Talic
2008-03-24, 10:02 AM
Complete Champion Devotion Feats work well also. They work in with the use of turn undead if you don't want DMM (I like protection devotion at low levels, whole party gets +2 AC)... And Retrain it out later, provided you use that, when it's less useful.

Cloistered Cleric is a good class, for support. It can't tank like a fighting cleric can, but it's still not bad.



EDIT: Archivist works very well for reducing MAD if you're going for a theurge build, but theurge builds fail.

SamTheCleric
2008-03-24, 10:04 AM
That sounds interesting. Would the Archivist work well with that PrC as well?

Don't know... don't have any experience with Archivist. Combat Medic gets "healing kickers" where their cure spells help out a little extra.

I believe the class can be found in Heroes of Battle.

valadil
2008-03-24, 10:06 AM
I have a soft spot for the cloistered cleric as it led to me playing one of my favorite characters ever. The character had spent so much time studying arcane magic that he began to believe he was a wizard. Between his domains (magic, knowledge, and force (let me cast magic missiles, otilukes, and wall of force)) the character played a lot like a wizard. A straight up cleric wouldn't have worked so well as a divine caster who dabbles in arcane. I should point out that at the time when I played the character there was no archivist, though I see the archivist as an arcane caster who dabbles in divine.

Anyway they're definitely weaker than straight clerics, but regular clerics are too powerful anyway and sometimes you just wanna play the holy guy without being a badass in full plate.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 10:13 AM
Those are good points, valadil (I tend to see Archivists as being academically gifted Divine Casters who aren't that good at fighting). Sam, Archivists learn spells like a Wizard, while using Int, but they can learn pretty much any Divine spell which can make them too versatile: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cwc/20061212 (If I ws playing one, I'd change it so that it uses Int for bonus spells while only being able to cast spells from the standard Cleric spell list and 2 of it's dietie's Domains to balance it a bit).

Draz74
2008-03-24, 10:25 AM
If you use Divine Metacheese buffs, Cloistered Cleric is still an uber-tank. I think that was what some people had in mind in the "Ideal Party" thread.

Otherwise, no, CC isn't much of a tank. But it doesn't have to be.

Players who optimize their characters are generally of the opinion that in-combat healing is rarely a good idea no matter what kind of Cleric you have. The occaisional Heal spell, sure, but other than that? Just out-of-combat Cure Light Wounds (or Lesser Vigor) spells. So getting up close to use Touch spells isn't as necessary as it might seem.

How useful are the CC's other skills and abilities? Depends how good of a "Knowledge machine" your party already has (some Wizards focus on other things rather than Knowledge with their skills), and how useful skills are generally in your campaign. I love skilled characters, so I like the CC better.

Also, a lot of domains add good skills as Cleric class skills ... which just isn't very helpful on the standard skill-starved Cleric. But on a Cloistered Cleric ... yeah. Kobold Cloistered Cleric with the Kobold and Trickery domains is a fun build.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 10:32 AM
I tend to go for a "highlight positives, hide weaknesses" approach to classes, which is probably why I tend to see knowledge as being the Wizard's job while not being too bothered about Clerics not having skills (on the other hand, I'm tempted to try that Kobold CC using a Kobold vaiant I came up with a while back due to seeing the normal Kobold as too weak). The fact that I see Clerics as being healers/buffers above everything else probably has soemthing to do with it as well.

Tam_OConnor
2008-03-24, 10:53 AM
Well, at least in my experience, folk don't think of Cloistered Clerics as front liners. I certainly don't. The CC is the one who was born and raised in Candlekeep: a bit of a wimp, but just so bookishly cute; I suppose thry're archivists for us few who don't have Heroes of Horror. I just included one in my list because I'm experimenting, trying to find a good balance for 3.6...

Chronos
2008-03-24, 11:18 AM
Even without domain skills, I find that a standard cleric is a bit skill-starved for my liking. If I'm playing a cleric, I'd want him to have, at the very least, Spellcraft, Concentration, and Knowledge: Religion, and that right there is enough to force me to take a human or a 12 Int. If I also want Knowledge: The Planes, or Diplomacy, or anything else, it just gets tougher. Cloistered Cleric lets me get all that, plus pick up an additional Knowledge skill or two that the wizard didn't cover.

And people say that cloistered cleric is inferior in combat, but I don't see that it makes all that much difference. Their BAB is the same as a standard cleric's, if both are using Divine Power, and armor proficiency isn't all that hard to get (at worst, use a feat or two, or lightweight mithral stuff). Plus, of course, they still have all of the cleric spells, which are arguably more powerful than Zilla-ing anyway.

Ponce
2008-03-24, 11:19 AM
At lower levels, they are not very good front liners. At higher levels, they're better than regular clerics. Divine Power lets you ignore your poor BaB. The knockdown to hitdice won't matter much as you'll probably PrC into a good cleric prc (RSoP, Bone Knight, etc), and that same prc grants you heavy armor proficiency.

You now have everything a normal cleric has, minus maybe like 8 hit points. You also have 4 extra skill points per cleric level, more class skills, an extra domain, lore, and an expanded spell list (not including your extra domain).

Telonius
2008-03-24, 11:20 AM
The problem with Wizardly Knowledge checks is that they only have 2+Int intelligence skills to kick around, and a high skill load. Granted your INT is probably going to be 18 at first level, so that's 6 skills you can max out. Know (arcane), Spellcraft, and Concentration are key to Wizardly undertakings. I usually put several ranks in Tumble as well. Even though it's a cross-class, that extra bit of mobility might come in handy, and the AC bump to defensive fighting is important. That leaves only two more skills to max out. Know (Planes) and know (Dungeoneering) are usually the choices. That will cover most monsters. But that still leaves Know (nature), Know (religion), and Know (local) unattended for monster-knowledge.

Compare that to a Cleric. Regular cleric gets 2+int skills. Most clerics only put a 12 or so in their Int score, so that's 3 skills to max out. Concentration, Know(religion), and a mix of Heal and Spellcraft are usually the choices, with not much room to maneuver. But with a Cloistered Cleric? Seven skills to max. The four mentioned above, and room for four others. Plus, the equivalent of Bardic Knowledge.

RTGoodman
2008-03-24, 12:27 PM
I suppose thry're archivists for us few who don't have Heroes of Horror.

Fear not! You don't even need HoH for the Archivist! Wizards conveniently has the whole class posted online here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20051007a&page=3).

I like Cloistered Clerics, but I don't know if I'd play one. They're better balanced and more flavorful than regular Clerics, but I think for the academic divine caster I prefer the Archivist. The extra skills and (basically) Bardic Knowledge are both great, though.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 01:41 PM
(I posted that link earlier). Actually, CCs only get Wizard BAB. Also, as I said, spamming Divine Power really isn't practical if you want to use level 4 spell slots for something else. (The lack of skill points doesn't really bother me that much due to seeing the combat proficiencies as making up for it: I'm not concerned with spellcraft due to Wizards being able to handle it, and Concentrate is probably the only skill which I'd care about being maxed out all the time). Also, is Bardic Knowledge really that good?

Ponce
2008-03-24, 02:05 PM
(I posted that link earlier). Actually, CCs only get Wizard BAB. Also, as I said, spamming Divine Power really isn't practical if you want to use level 4 spell slots for something else. (The lack of skill points doesn't really bother me that much due to seeing the combat proficiencies as making up for it: I'm not concerned with spellcraft due to Wizards being able to handle it, and Concentrate is probably the only skill which I'd care about being maxed out all the time). Also, is Bardic Knowledge really that good?

At "high" levels, you'll be good at melee either way. Being a CoDzilla means that you do not actually have to spam Divine Power - just persist it once, which is what a core cleric would do anyway. They end up being equal.

Essentially, the CC's "drawbacks" are all eliminated by level 7, and they weren't that bad to begin with. From that point onward, you are Cleric++. You're a cleric, plus a bunch of other stuff. How useful skills and bardic knowledge are depends on the campaign, but you can't deny the usefulness of an extra Domain or an expanded spell list. In any case, it's all stuff that the cleric simply doesn't have. You have everything the cleric does, plus a bunch of other nifty abilities. You're better.

TheThan
2008-03-24, 02:45 PM
Cloistered Clerics are weaker front-line, but if you want a mobile/caster type Cleric who doesn't wade into melee the they are they way to go.

I personally choose Cloistered Cleric because it grants an additional Domain, and I was using the Spontaneous Domain casting variant with as many domains as I could get while continuing full casting.

It all depends on what you use Clerics for. I use them for Buffs out of combat, and casting in combat. Others use them for Personal buffs that create a warrior and wading into melee.

That's what clerics should be used for (IMO), let the paladin do the holy warrior thing and let the cleric be the priest.

Ascension
2008-03-24, 02:48 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again... what I love about the cloistered cleric is that you can at last model an actual European monk in D&D. None of this Asian beat-em-up monk nonsense. An actual studious, monastery-bound monk.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 02:52 PM
Don't forget that surviving to the higher levels is a problem (to be fair, it won't be if there are other people to cover frontline fighting). I still don't honestly see the Knowledge Domain as really being worthwhile due to Wizards covering pretty much all of the spells which it grants, and I honestly don't think I'd miss not having any of the CC bonus spells. Regarding the melee point, a CC would still lag behind a normal Cleric for AC without spending feats on armour and shield proficiency (I know shields aren't that great to begin with, but they get more useful once they get enhancement bonuses). I don;t actually see any problems with Clerics being holy warriors to a degree due to heir fluff mentioning that they undergo combat training in order to help them to further their dieties aims (sometimes, combat is the only real solution to problems unfortunately).


EDIT: I've just noticed a huge problem with the idea of using Persistant Metamagic: according to http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Persistent_Spell , you would need a level 10 spell slot to use that MM with Divine Power. (Ironically, Frosty and I were talking about fixing spellcasters, and we decided that limiting Clerics to light armour while banning DP and Righteous Might would balance them well). Also, why would basing them around European Monks really be a good thing? (Especially since Clerics in D&D are clearly different to Medieval clergy anyway).

Ponce
2008-03-24, 03:18 PM
The makeup and abilities of the rest of your party do not matter. The underlying fact is that the CC encompasses everything the cleric can do, and expands upon it. Done properly, the CC's AC, to hit, damage, everything, will be as large or larger than a regular cleric. You don't have to spend feats to do this. You just do what a cleric would do anyway. I outlined this already.

To be fair, yes, it does take until level 7 to surpass the cleric - in every way imaginable. But it gets done.

To gain Divine Power requires the use of Divine Metamagic. Many people don't like this feat, but if it were printed in core, it would be as common to Clerics as Natural Spell is to Druids. Its THE cleric feat.

On Paladins: Play a Cleric with the right domains. Healing, Good, Lawful, War... All of the Zeal, none of the messy table-breaking codes of conduct.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-24, 03:30 PM
(Sorry, I missed the bit about PrCs. Admittedly, they don't always fit character concepts anyway, so they aren't always a solution). Divine Metamagic* sounds realy cheesy assuming you can afford it (7 turning attempts would need to be sacrificed altogether for Persistant Divine Power, right? Also, you would need 3 feats including that one to do what you suggested).


*Choose a Metamagic feat you possess. As a Free Action, you may apply that feat to a Divine spell you are casting without changing its level by sacrificing (1 + the featís level adjustment value) of your
Turk/Rebuke attempts of the day. You may take this feat multiple times. Each time, it applies to a different Metamagic feat. (I posted it so that people could tell me if I made a mistake when working out the cost of Persisting a spell).

Chronos
2008-03-24, 03:46 PM
Yes, it's seven turn attempts to persist a spell. That's doable (at a cost) in core, with an Extra Turning feat or three. Where it really gets broken, though, is when you start getting magic items that give you more turning attempts.

If you don't like the splatbook creep needed to fully power DMM, though, you can get a similar effect in Core using metamagic rods. At the beginning of an encounter, use a Quicken rod to cast Divine Power or Righteous Might, then charge (or full attack, or whatever you're doing). Next round, if necessary, cast the other, then hit stuff some more.

True, the cloistered cleric isn't quite as survivable at low levels. But at the levels where that's an issue, the no-cost Identifies will be enough to make it worthwhile.

Ponce
2008-03-24, 03:51 PM
I have to stress again that it is the simplest and best way to make your cleric into a front liner. People say this makes the Cleric better at fighting than the Fighter - this isn't necessarily true, but assuming that it is, how much of an accomplishment is that, really?

The combo I've laid out is a common one, both on these boards and most anywhere else. The combination is also not cheesy in the sense that it exploits some kind of loophole or relies on liberal rule interpretations. Its a simple process.

There are numerous ways to reduce the costs associated with this. Nightsticks are an item that grant extra turning feats. The Planning domain grants you extend spell. There are many guides to doing this online. "Clericzillas" use this.

You are asking how potent Cloistered Clerics are. It is quite easy to make the Cloistered Cleric as powerful combat-wise as a regular Cleric, and still find you have a lot of extra abilities.

As far as PrCs go, any divine one with easy entry requirements and full casting will do. Many PrCs grant everything the cleric has, plus extra class abilities. There's really no reason NOT to take Radiant Servant of Pelor (assuming you worship Pelor). These classes are plentiful, and many are quite general.

Kurobara
2008-03-24, 04:09 PM
One more thing to think about is that the Radiant Servant of Pelor PrC is great for a healer and gets more proficiencies than you lost by going CC rather than Cleric in the first place, if you're worried about losing the heavy armor.

Aquillion
2008-03-24, 04:24 PM
That's what clerics should be used for (IMO), let the paladin do the holy warrior thing and let the cleric be the priest.The thing is, when they were designing the game they found that there weren't enough people who wanted to play the healer... there were some, but overall it isn't as popular a role as fighters, arcanists, and rogues. So they focused more and more on the cleric's fighting abilities, and made the cleric more and more powerful, and we got where we are now.

Chosen_of_Vecna
2008-03-24, 04:46 PM
The thing is, when they were designing the game they found that there weren't enough people who wanted to play the healer... there were some, but overall it isn't as popular a role as fighters, arcanists, and rogues. So they focused more and more on the cleric's fighting abilities, and made the cleric more and more powerful, and we got where we are now.

The point is you can be a powerful character as a Cleric focusing only on your casting. Slay Living instead of Righteous Might, Poison instead of Divine Power, and things like Freedom of Movement and Deathward in between combats. It's not about Healing versus hitting. It's about being a Wizard in Armor versus a Fighter with higher stats and fewer feats.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-25, 02:24 AM
I had forgotten about Clerics not needing Arcane spell componants. I'll look over some PrCs (RSoP is irrelevnt to me due to not having any interest in playing Clerics which worship him). Admittedly, I really wouldn't bother with DMM due to how many feats I'd need to use it with DP (also, I don't like the idea of making other party members redundant, so I wouldn't use it anyway). Also, I know the fluff part of the discussion is slightly OT, but how would taking PrCs which add more armour proficiency and combat effectiveness fit in with the fact that CCs are meant to be scholers? (I tend to see fluff as being important due to wanting my characters to be realistic). Also, how would you sat CCs compare with Archivists from both fluff and crunch perspectives?

GoodbyeSoberDay
2008-03-25, 02:31 AM
Note that, if you're going to play a CC like a wizard in armor, you're really going to miss the wealth of no-save debuffs and battlefield control the wizard gets. However, you'll be quite good at pre-combat buffing, in-combat buffing, and will save or X casting.

Ponce
2008-03-25, 07:26 AM
I don't really have a problem with going into a combative PrC out of CC. After 7 levels of being tussled around in an adventuring world, even a scholar would have had quite enough.

As far as RSoP goes, I tend to ignore the Deity-specific requirements of PrCs, just because they senselessly restrict you to specific deities. (What's wrong with a cleric of Anhur taking levels in Stormlord? The class is what you make of it.)

Many people would agree that the Archivist is even more powerful than either the Cleric or CC.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-25, 07:57 AM
I know what you mean about Stormlord; I'd say that having the ability to use a lightning spell should be enough of a prequisite as, at least for Clerics, they would need a Domain to my knowledge to qualify for it (admittedly, that PrC doesn't refer to Talos in it's name:smallbiggrin: ). What exactly does RSoP do? (I've heard it's really overpowered). In regards to Archivists would my variant (they use Int for bonus spells rather then Wis while being restricted to learning Cleric spells and spells from 2 of their dietie's Domains) balance them enough?

Ponce
2008-03-25, 08:42 AM
RSoP gives you full martial and armor proficiency, regular spellcasting and turning as a cleric of equal level, extra Greater Turn Undead attempts (very potent) ultimately maximizes and empowers all of your healing spells for free, and grants you an extra domain. Yeah, its pretty powerful. The entry requirements are null, they're all stuff you have/would take/are great to have anyway. The only bothersome thing is the Deity: Pelor, and Alignment: Neutral Good requirements.

Adding MAD to the Archivist would be a good place to start. "Balanced" is a relative term, however, as even after you do all that, he's still in line with the cleric and other full casters.

I don't really think the cleric replaces other classes. He has a very high AC, but his damage output won't beat that of a barbarian, and he really can't toe-to-toe with some sort of Dungeon-Crash Improved Trip Spiked Chain Fighter.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-25, 08:48 AM
Actually, my Archivist didn't have MAD (I thought taking that away from it would be fair while stopping them from being as ridiculously versatile as they can be). How many DMs allow RSoP? Considering how the prequisites you mentioned aren't that much of a problem, I can see why the class is seen as overpowered (it's hardly as if you'd need to take a load of poor feats and cross-class skills to qualify).

Person_Man
2008-03-25, 09:05 AM
Tanking is just one possible Cleric strategy. You can be an equally good summoner, blaster, or battlefield controller. All you need is the right domains and the Domain Spontaneity feat from Comp Divine. For those builds, having an extra domain and Skills helps more then a few extra hit points and BAB.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-25, 09:25 AM
Those are good points. Would the Knowledge be that helpful for those sorts of rolls, though? (To be fair, a lot of people would probably ciritersize me for wanting to play a Cleric in the way WotC want them to be played. Just thinking, are Clerics which are played like that usually seen as overpowered excluding DMM, Divine Power and Righteous Might?).