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How to Create Great Pathfinder 2nd Edition Characters: Cleric

Kyra - Pathfinder Cleric by Paizo

Whenever I talk to someone about Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2), it’s inevitable that we end up discussing the three-action economy. After all, it’s arguably the most drastic change between PF2 and many other d20 systems. But did you know that the concept actually has its roots in First Edition Pathfinder? It’s true!

Let me direct your attention to page 102 of Pathfinder Unchained. I’ll give you a second to brush the dust off and clear the cobwebs. Good? Good. You’ll see that Paizo introduced the idea of committing three acts on your turn, along with any free actions. In addition, you get a reaction that you can take until you take your next turn. Sound familiar?

Obviously Pathfinder Second Edition has enhanced the idea and polished it up to a full-fledged system, but it’s not like the original mention of it in Unchained was minimal. There were eight pages dedicated to it! At the end of the day, Unchained was meant to introduce new mechanics to improve on the base game. You might as well refer to it as Pathfinder 1.5 Lite.

History lesson aside, we’re back at it again this week with our Character Concepts series. In case you missed the other four entries in the series, you can find links to the other classes at the end of this article. We’re on to everybody’s favorite healbot, the Cleric!

Pathfinder 2nd Edition Cleric Class

The Pathfinder Second Edition Cleric, Kyra holds her glowing symbol of Sarenrae in one hand and her scimitar in the other.
Kyra, the 2E Iconic Cleric

Clerics are known for their support capabilities, namely in the form of healing. Always be nice to the Cleric, otherwise you may find yourself at the end of the line when it comes to regaining those precious hit points.

Don’t just limit Clerics to healing, however, because their domains allow them to have great versatility in casting useful and timely divine spells.

Paizo indirectly did me a huge solid in Pathfinder Second Edition, because they included my all-time all-star class, the Warpriest. Even though it’s been absorbed into the Cleric class as a Doctrine distinction, I’m glad to have the option to step outside the Cleric stereotype and get some close combat in my life. Having the Cloistered Cleric and the Warpriest Doctrines available from the get-go really helps people open their minds about the roles Clerics can fill.

Regardless of Doctrine, Clerics are centered around their Deity. While every character can choose to be associated with one of the Divine, it’s actually a requirement for Clerics. When building a Cleric, your choice of Deity provides a really good launching point for determining what your character is all about.

Just like Champions, if Clerics stray too far from their divine path, they risk losing their powers entirely. It doesn’t have to be permanent; Clerics can atone to appeal to their god’s mercy and forgiveness to get their magical prowess back. Keep that in mind when selecting your alignment and spells.

  CARAVAN ESCORT

You’ve been everywhere. From the glittering sands of the Golden Road to the rough terrain of the Five Kings Mountains, you’ve guided others and protected them against the terrors of traveling. With an impeccable sense of direction and unrivaled survival skills, you are a true asset on the road.

On top of that, you might be an expert with animals, considering the beasts of burden whose services are utilized in caravans. Additionally, you turn to your god to protect your group. As long as everyone gets from Point A to Point B in one piece, you still have a job.

Have you picked up any hobbies to pass the time while on the road? Do you typically escort people or goods? Who is your employer? Are you doing this job voluntarily, or is it restitution to pay back a debt? What places have you visited over the course of your travels? Are you typically traveling back-and-forth along the same routes? Do you take advantage of any downtime between journeys?

How does your deity fit into the grand scheme of things? Did you adopt their tenets out of worry or appreciation? Have you been attacked on the road? Have you ever failed an escort mission? What’s the most valuable cargo that you’ve transported? Do you prefer to ride or walk alongside the caravan? Are you good at your job, or is it more of an opportunity to see the world?

Pathmap

  • Doctrine: Warpriest
  • Deity: Desna
  • Ability Scores: Wisdom, Strength
  • Skills: Mountain Lore, Nature, Society
  • Sample Spells: Forbidding Ward, Guidance, Know Direction, Stabilize, Shield, Create Water (1st), Sanctuary (1st)
  • Cleric Feats: Domain Initiate, Communal Healing (2nd), Improved Communal Healing (4th), Cast Down (6th), Channeled Succor (8th), Heroic Recovery (10th), Domain Focus (12th), Fast Channel (14th), Eternal Blessing (16th), Echoing Channel (18th), Metamagic Channel (20th)

  ADAPTABLE UNDERTAKER

People live and people die. It’s the circle of life. Whether they leave the world surrounded by people they love or if they’re all alone, your job is to see to it that they’re handed off safely into Pharasma’s Judgement. You are there until the deceased’s soul has traveled through the River of Souls into the Boneyard.

Pathfinder Second Edition swirling symbol of Pharasma, the Lady of Graves.

But on this side of the River, someone has to take care of preserving the body and ensuring that the proper burial rites are followed. You are an expert at embalming, although you’ve been known to cremate from time to time. People, pets–everyone is welcome to the unbiased judgement of the Lady of Graves.

You are careful, attentive, and meticulous in your actions. You revere the act of death as a necessary step towards the final reward, and you abhor those who cheat death.

How long have you been in this profession? What’s the strangest reason why someone died, from what you’ve witnessed? Do you insist on any special or significant divine ceremonies as a part of your position? Have you ever worked on a battlefield? Have you ever seen the same person twice, as in they were resurrected?

What are the tools of your trade? Do you specialize in any of those from a combat perspective? What do others think of your work? Have you ever done taxidermy? Are you social, or do you keep to yourself? Do you ever find yourself judging others’ worthiness, especially if you knew them in life? Would that make you inter them any differently that someone who was more pious or moral? How do you feel you will be judged? Are you ever worried about that?

Pathmap

  • Doctrine: Cloistered Cleric
  • Deity: Pharasma
  • Ability Scores: Intelligence, Constitution
  • Skills: Boneyard Lore, Arcana, Medicine
  • Sample Spells: Chill Touch, Disrupt Undead, Light, Prestidigitation, Read Aura, Ray of Enfeeblement (1st), Detect Poison (1st)
  • Cleric Feats: Holy Castigation, Turn Undead (2nd), Channel Smite (4th), Steady Spellcasting (6th), Cremate Undead (8th), Castigating Weapon (10th), Domain Focus (12th), Swift Banishment (14th), Resurrectionist (16th), Improved Swift Banishment (18th), Avatar’s Audience (20th)

  BATTLE ARTIST

All anyone ever wants to tell you are the gristly details of warfare. The gore. The blood. The agony. But you have a much different perspective; in your eyes, battle is a beautiful tapestry unfolding with every thrust of the spear. War can be fought elegantly, with poise and precision. Even trained soldiers should be able to appreciate that, even if they aren’t as dexterous as you.

Wielding your trusty glaive, you find the joy in the darkest annals of the battlefield. You are always balanced, moving with intent and distinction. Just because you’re fighting doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain a respectable appearance. Others respect your tenacity and your way of finding the beauty in all things, not just war. The battlefield is just where you feel most at home.

Are you from a family that has always served in the military, or are you not associated with a certain faction? Where were you trained in combat? Who taught you? Were there any important lessons that you’ll always remember? How do you justify your bloodlust with the teachings of your deity, which prompts others to promote peace?

How would you describe war as a type of art? Do you value exceptional skill on the battlefield? What other ways can people earn your respect? Have you ever surrendered or met someone you considered to be an equal? Are you narcissistic? What are your main vices? What type of leadership position makes you most comfortable?

Is there any act that you simply can’t tolerate? Why did you turn to religion? Have you served at a temple? Who do you confide in? What other types of art do you appreciate? Are you an artist who uses a medium other than the blood of your enemies? What is your first response to a threat?

Pathmap

  • Doctrine: Warpriest
  • Deity: Shelyn
  • Ability Scores: Dexterity, Charisma
  • Skills: Warfare Lore, Acrobatics, Performance
  • Sample Spells: Daze, Know Direction, Guidance, Sigil, Disrupt Undead, Magic Weapon (1st), Harm (1st)
  • Cleric Feats: Harming Hands, Sap Life (2nd), Channel Smite (4th), Divine Weapon (6th), Align Armament (8th), Replenishment of War (10th), Shared Replenishment (12th), Extend Armament Alignment (14th), Eternal Blessing (16th), Echoing Channel (18th), Avatar’s Audience (20th)

  INVIGORATING STANDARD-BEARER

Rally to me, rally to me! In your eyes, combined morale is more important in determining wartime victors than numbers. When your friends were conscripted into the army, they all wanted to swing the mighty sword. Not you. Since day one you have hoisted the flag of your nation, invigorating your brothers and sisters with your bellowing cry.

Pathfinder First Edition Cleric (Warpriest), Oloch, an orc with a mighty sword and tattered banner waving gently behind his heavily armored body.

Even though you’re just one person, you know that you can make a difference in the lives of others. That might mean taking back a position that was lost or challenge others to new heights.

Either way, your methods work and people are inspired by your efforts. You lead by example and forge your own path. Encouragement is your weapon and when the enemy sees you coming with your standard it strikes fear into their hearts. You are the edge that turns the tide.

Do you keep your standard in meticulous condition or is it tattered from use? Are there any instruments that aid you in keeping others’ attention? What are the most memorable battles that you’ve been in? Were you always inspiring to others? How do you inspire yourself? Do people perceive you as being weak? Are you often underestimated?

Is war necessary? Who taught you the importance of building others up instead of tearing them down? Do you ever use intimidation or derision to inspire others? Are you well-known throughout the military? Were you a part of a regional army or a smaller band of adventurers? Do you get scared when facing overwhelming odds? What do you do to cope with fear, or do you always put on a strong front?

Pathmap

  • Doctrine: Warpriest
  • Deity: Gorum
  • Ability Scores: Charisma, Strength
  • Skills: Heraldry Lore, Intimidation, Diplomacy
  • Sample Spells: Detect Magic, Divine Lance, Guidance, Shield, Chill Touch, Bless (1st), Spirit Link (1st)
  • Cleric Feats: Domain Initiate, Emblazon Armament (2nd), Directed Channel (4th), Selective Energy (6th), Emblazon Energy (8th), Heroic Recovery (10th), Emblazon Antimagic (12th), Swift Banishment (14th), Resurrectionist (16th), Improved Swift Banishment (18th), Maker of Miracles (20th)

  METICULOUS HORTICULTURIST

Nothing is more important than the natural world. After all, we’re all living in it so we should care for it. You are excellent at growing everything from beans to beech trees. In fact, if your thumb were any greener you’d be part-fey. Maybe there’s a grain of truth to that.

You are diligent and focused, methodical in your approach to everything. It doesn’t take much to over-water, and you know what plants crave. You aren’t the typical cleric, since you tend to spend most of your time away from the trappings of civilization. Nature is a constant; it’s always there for you, providing shelter and quiet solitude.

You are caring, accepting, and take great care to prevent others from despoiling the natural beauty that we all share. At the same time, you’re aware of weeds, both figuratively and literally, and understand that they must be removed else they throttle the entire plant.

Were you taken in or raised by a group of druids? What is your favorite part of nature? Do you prefer rivers, mountains, forests, or deserts? Do you have any secrets for how you are able to grow things so well? Are you more of a hermit or do you thrive as a part of a community? Are you connected with the First World or the Fey? What about other natural-minded folk like leshy?

Do you view the world as one big garden? Where do people and industry fit into the grand pruning scheme? Do you carry around a gigantic pair of garden shears? What are your thoughts on family trees? Are you an expert in survival techniques? Have you ever lived in a town or are you born and bred of the soil? If you’re so naturally-inclined, why didn’t you become a druid? What aspect of divine magic or your deity made you choose this path? Or did the path choose you?

Pathmap

  • Doctrine: Cloistered Cleric
  • Deity: Gozreh
  • Ability Scores: Intelligence, Wisdom
  • Skills: Wilderness Lore, Nature, Survival
  • Sample Spells: Forbidding Ward, Light, Prestidigitation, Stabilize, Divine Lance, Air Bubble (1st), Mending (1st)
  • Cleric Feats: Healing Hands, Versatile Font (2nd), Directed Channel (4th), Selective Energy (6th), Channeled Succor (8th), Replenishment of War (10th), Shared Replenishment (12th), Fast Channel (14th), Resurrectionist (16th), Echoing Channel (18th), Metamagic Channel (20th)

Pathfinder 2E Cleric Class – Be Divine!

Clerics aren’t all cut from the same cloth. Sometimes they wear their divinity right on their sleeves and other times it’s more subtle. Regardless of what type of cleric you want to play as, Paizo has you covered in Pathfinder Second Edition.

The best thing about clerics is that they’re almost always in demand. You can be that cleric! And when others see your unabashed enthusiasm for the class, maybe they’ll think twice before playing a terrifying axe-wielding barbarian for the third time.

Mark my words–within two years you won’t be able to find an open cleric spot on an adventuring party. GMs will be begging their players for someone to NOT be a cleric. We’re in the middle of a cleric revolution!

I’ll be back again next week with the next class in my character concepts series. For those of you following along at home, that means we’re talking about Druids! Be sure to check out the other entries of the series below.

Until then, don’t commit any clerical errors!

How to Create Great Pathfinder Second Edition Characters