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Pathfinder: Barbarian 1st level, all Cleric after - a multi-class that's 'worth it'?

   
Barbarian 1st level, all Cleric after - a multi-class that's 'worth it'?

I fully understand that most multi-class combinations aren't generally "as good" as just all the same levels in one class. Perhaps especially so for spellcasters. Having a level of something else is nice early on, but later levels - you will likely wish you could trade in that odd level of whatever for full levels in your higher class.

Flavor of your character, and just doing what you want to do aside - looking in terms of "optimization" or just plain "worthwhileness" - again I'm not saying anyone is 'wrong' who does any multi-classing...

How about this - altogether I'm thinking it could be a multi-class combination "worthwhile" or very close to "as good" as just all levels as a Cleric.

Human. 1st level Barbarian. Then all Cleric after. For example sake - 25 point buy.

Str 14 (or 16), Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16 (14), Cha 14. (If you are willing to figure you can buy or come across a Wis bump before 18th level - you could then at least cast all your divine spells, if not have a bonus spell from Wis mid level on. Then you could go with a little more Str than Wis)

Cleric is likely my favorite class. I really like the Channel Positive Energy. Which again I really like and get the balance aspect of it. But of course makes Cleric even more MADdening (Multi Ability Dependent). Wanting to be more than "just a healer" or waiting to get stout enough spells at later levels to feel more useful in combat (though Magic Weapon, Shield of Faith, and others are good) - I was thinking that 18 rounds of rage from one level of Barbarian (using 1st level and human feat for Extra Rage) would empower some feelings of usefulness to effectiveness to 'heck ya' in combat. Would allow you to use Rage nearly all the time in combat early on and then perhaps all to most of the rounds of a "boss" fight later levels.

And you could go with Community domain or the Restoration subdomain of Healing to remove your own Fatigue 3+ Wis Modifier every day. The thing that first caught my eye and gave spark to this idea.

Looking at other benefits together with the primary combat one of Rage, I'm thinking this may "worth it"

+10 movement. Which would take the Travel domain as cleric. I would say there are some feats, but Swift requires light load... not thinking to go that way.

Martial Weapons proficiency. Could be a big deal depending on what kind of weapons your party comes across or you could be able to acquire.

More class skills. Climb, Swim, Knowledge Nature, Survival, and Perception. Perhaps a few others. I know you could get Perception and others via Traits, but still good. And you would get 2 more skill points at 1st level.

So - as long as you are ok with waiting a level and getting your next set of spells to cast at even levels, not odd. And being one level behind with Channel (which really is a lot of extra healing to start with - or lot of extra damage to undead, especially if you go Sun domain and Sarenrae to go along with the Restoration Healing domain). Then you will have some good benefits to go along with still being a durn good party healer (and undead controller) starting at 2nd level.

I think some unique aspects of the Cleric (or Oracle if they can get Community or Restoration/Healing domain) and the Barbarian make this work well together. Namely that you get a lot of Barbarian benefits from just one level. Whereas say a Fighter - you need to be taking levels to get the more feats. (I know there a lot of great other things Barbarian levels get you, that this would miss out on.) All the above plus that you can take Extra Rage as feats at later levels without taking any more levels in Barbarian. I would think you would like to take Selective Channel, Quickened Channel (maybe put a skill point in Knowledge Religion at 1st as a Barbarian so you can do Quickened Channed with 5 ranks in it at 5th level), and possibly Extra Channel before you start going more Extra Rage. 18 rounds at 1st should last you up to 5th, 7th, or 9th I would think. And on the Cleric / Oracle side - the fact that even with one less level, you are still likely a great healer for the party. And still ok with the control or other spell aspects you have. The sort of great at healing, ok at a lot of other things (other than a variety of skills) aspect of them I think uniquely suits Cleric / Oracle to lose a level to multi-class without dropping it's 'power' level down as much as it would some other classes. Again - if you are getting a lot of gain from that other level, as I think you are here.

The other way to do this that I don't think is nearly as appealling, and again cleric is my thing, but I can see how getting rid of your own Fatigue at 1st or 2nd level rather than 16th or so for Tireless Rage could be good - would be one level of Cleric for Community or Restoration / Healing domain and then Barbarian after.

My orginal thought was for a Dwarf version. The +10 movement together with Dwarves movement not being affected by armor or encumbrance is very good. But 12 vs 18 rounds of rage with no plans for more than one level of Barbarian. Really it was the 6 more rounds and perhaps most of all the Dwarven issue with Cha that eventually pulled me to Human. Though a Dwarf or other race could also do well. And just realized you could take more Extra Rage feats down the line (just have to have the class feature to take it, not gain a level in the class) - so very viable.

Thoughts? Agree or disagree that this might be a multi-class combination that is "worth it" or "pretty close to as good" even for the most min/max, character optimization minded out there? Something you might want to try? Any cleric lovers thinking they might want to use it to give some combat umph to their next cleric?

Thanks in advance to constructive, thoughtful comments. I won't take offense to "not worth it - all cleric levels is more helpful to the party or just more effective character overall" especially with some fleshing out - I am after all asking for such consideration. Also "do what you want with your character" - I fully agree with, but not really the input I'm seeking here. And a similar final note to "This is the kind of 'roll-play' discussion I hate" - I can understand, and apologize in advance for bringing down your mood. Hope you enjoy other discussion elsewhere more.

I like the idea of this concept, but I would probably have to have a reason, role-playing wise, to really consider this. Not to say that this idea is bad, by any means, I am just not sure if you would get the return out of what you would be giving up. On the plus side though, you would not have to give up a whole lot to make this work.

Personally, the additional skills and the further customization you could flesh out your cleric would be the biggest reasons for me to go this route. The cleric is probably one of my least favorite classes to play, so the thought of being able to give more depth to my cleric would pique my interest. Besides the rage ability, I think that you could probably duplicate most of the advantages of being a barbarian, through domains and traits, although this would allow you to do so while saving those for other bonuses.

While I certainly see the reasoning behind the idea, I also have a few concerns with it. I think that as you gain levels, the basic rage ability would start to lose its luster and would even become a liability at some point. Not being able to cast a key spell because you were raging could really put a strain on the party. I think it would only take a couple of times before the party realizes how game changing it is that you might not be able to cast divine spells in a fight. Not only that, but you lose a bit of defense to gain the extra strength and constitution. I understand the bonus movement speed, which is great, but you are also missing out on being able to wear heavy armor that comes from being a cleric. So while the bonus speed is certainly something to get excited about, not being able to wear armor that you will be proficient in hurts your defense. I also do not like the fact that you essentially have to use your starting feats to ensure that you can rage longer than a short fight. It would not bother me so much if you could make this work without having to involve feats, but you essentially have to.

I think what it boils down to is what you want your role in the group to be. I think it certainly gives you an offensive boost to the cleric class, although I still would not be comfortable devoting early feats on extra rage just to make this viable. I think you become such a MAD character that you might not end up the way you planned. The 25 point buy would almost be required to make this concept work. I think the idea would be more suited to a group that really did not need you to be a secondary tank. I think in a more melee oriented group, you might be able to be a bit more one-sided in combat this way. I think if you become the focus of attacks, you might wish you weren't in medium armor with an armor penalty because of rage. Another thing to consider is how often you plan on casting spells in combat. If the idea is to rage during fights, then you need to feel comfortable doing just that, and hope your party realizes that as well.

Again, I certainly see the benefit to this idea, I just think that worst case scenario it puts a strain on the party because of the limitations with rage.

Very much appreciate the comments. I agree with a lot of what you said and I think you brought up very good points. And return for what is given up is exactly the question I'm asking of others - as it seems a good return on investment (what is given up) but I'm unsure.

The adding of skill and further customization allowed is a major bonus. I know you don't need mechanics to play a somewhat woodsy cleric with either a temper or a righteous anger streak... but this would sort of help both prompt and reinforce that. The opening up of weapon profiencies to a class that has that as a fairly major (and understandable) drawback is also a big bonus.

You nailed several of the aspects that make me nervous about it. First the AC reduction. However in Pathfinder Clerics do not get Heavy Armor Proficiency (you could put a feat into it). From my point of view it leaves me uncertain whether I would want to go shield and weapon to help cover for the -2 AC from rage or go two-handed to take advantage of extra damage. Likely would soon depend on what weapon is available and/or what shield.

Very good point on the unable to cast spells during Rage. A very good thing is you can still Channel Positive Energy and I believe still use a wand. Another good aspect of Rage is that it can be activated and de-activated as a swift action, meaning you can cast a spell to start the battle and still Rage just before your next attack. And you can de-activate it swiftly to cast a spell right then. Most of the melee clerics I have played have been cast a spell or two to start, melee, and then spells in emergency or after combat. And with Channel Positive Energy (Selective asap) as the ultimate 30' radius emergency aid (that can be Quickened as early as level 5) - I think you should be ok. That could be an issue later levels - and having to come out of Rage to cast an urgently needed spell and then need to remove your fatigue would be bothersome.

The needing a high point buy is a good point. Though in some ways I see this combo as helping that. You can have 14 or 16 Str (or even lower) but sort of really have enough rounds of +4 Str (and Con) in battle without needing the high roll or points spent into it.

+4 Con on a character that can Channel to majorly heal itself just before it ends it's rage and would have otherwise died or been knocked unconscious after losing the bonus HP is also a nice combo.

The using of feats early level and possibly later is a big deal. Generally as a cleric Selective and then Extra Channel and then Quickened channel are go to in a hurry. I have found that with decent Cha early on the Extra is sort of overkill and I would have rather been better in melee. Waiting until 3rd for Selective will be a little trying, but I think worth it overall. Also it seems after that there are always useful feats for any character, but not as great ones for a cleric. This would allow you to get another Extra Rage if nothing else spoke to you at the time so to say.

Rage limitations with spellcasting is a great point I had not given enough thought to I think. Less AC had troubled me. And feats is an issue at least early on - perhaps an actual advantage mid to late levels. Appreciate it.

A closer look at Oracle Life Revelation reveals that it does not give the Healing domain (and thus access to Restoration subdomain). However the Druid archetypes of Urban and Wolf Shaman both can allow access to the Community domain and so are another option to combo in this manner to remove your own fatigue. And allow a good use of Barbarian to give some combat umph to either a cleric or Urban / Wolf Shaman Druid.

Sorry if this is a bit of thread necromancy, but barring losing access to the Restoration subdomain, perhaps a Barbarian/Oracle would be a better combo. Not only would you use Charisma instead of Wisdom as your casting stat (which melds better with Barbarian, since they get the Cha-based Intimidate as a class skill), but you can eventually combine the two with the Rage Prophet prestige class, if you're willing to go 2 level in Barbarian instead of just one (since the Moment of Clarity rage power is a prereq, and you don't get your first rage power until 2nd level Barbarian). Prestige classes are generally not as good in PF as they were in 3.5, with the added bonuses added to pure levels in most core/base classes, but the Rage Prophet combines the barbarian/divine caster together quite well, especially the ability to cast cure spells on yourself while raging, giving you more of a "tank" ability (and with the Life Link oracle revelation in the Life mystery, you can give all your party members the equivalent of fast healing 5 and just cure yourself as you take the damage... and without even having to worry about leaving melee if you take the Battle Healer revelation). You get less spellcasting ability over all with Oracle vs. Cleric, of course, but gain the added benefit of spontaneous casting, and you still get all cure spells.

One note, though, if you haven't already discovered this by now... you actually would be unable to use a wand while raging. With a spell you know, it would simply be casting, which is impossible while raging since it requires patience or concentration to cast a spell (without the Moment of Clarity rage power, that is), and if you didn't know the spell, it would be prevented by Use Magic Device being an Int-based skill, which is prohibited from use during a rage. Though if you went Rage Prophet, with the Raging Healer class feature you could use cure wands while raging without a problem.

Wow, interesting, thanks - I had missed that one. Thanks for link as well. That would be a solid option for consideration.

Thanks also for Wand explanation, that is an issue.

With a moderate to lower point buy (or not great rolls), I've been looking at Fighter, then all Cleric. As heavy armor helps lower the need for Dex and allows you to keep your AC, rather than lose it during Rage. And keep the martial weapons, as well as survival, and another feat. And avoids battle rage healing issues. Though I'm not sure Channel doesn't deal enough with that to be ok.

I still like the Barbarian / Cleric. The class skills and sort of added 'flavor' may be the best advantages to it. That's a great Prestige class for it - Barbarian/Oracle - Rage Prophet. Those or Fighter, then Cleric all help to add some pop to a Cleric. (And I still love the Magic domain ability to throw whatever big melee weapon at your enemy using Wis modifier 3+ Wis per day to 30 feet and have it magically instantly appear in hand. Which is even more amazing for a 10 Dex character.) And if you are Fighter, then Cleric - you are "open" for any domains as Restoration or Community are not so outstanding for you (unless you have a Barbarian in the party).

Thanks again for that, appreciate it.





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