Playing a Cleric
The Perfect Cleric Guide

For me, there are two kinds of effective Clerics:

- The Priest - A more magic-oriented Cleric, able to turn undead more efficiently and to cast a greater number of spells, which are also harder to resist

- The Crusader - A more combat-oriented Cleric

My 20th level Cleric is a Crusader. Of course, you might say it could be good to take (FOUR!!!) Fighter levels to make a better Warrior-Priest. But, trust me: BE A PURE CLERIC. Now, some tips on Priests and Crusaders:

General tip about race:

At character creation: Donīt think twice. Human is the best race for a Cleric. The extra feat and balance of attributes is just what you need. The extra skill points per level also helps a lot, since Clerics have a very small number of Skill Points per level (2 per level). A second choice of Race, for Constitution, (probably a Crusader) would be a Dwarf. Donīt choose Gnomes cause they are Small Sized (canīt use large weapons).

Specific information on Clerics - Priests and Crusaders:


Ability Scores: Wisdom 18. I know itīs very expensive to buy an ability at 18. But if you spend all your ability score increases during the game (at levels 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20th) you will end up having a base Wisdom 23. With a Periapt of Wisdom +5, which can be easily bought in Chapter 4, you will have a base augmented Wisdom of 28. That means you will have a grand amount of Bonus Spells for having high Wisdom. INCLUDING a bonus of one extra 8th and 9th level Spells, which is fabulous. Another important attributes for a priest is Constitution, Charisma and Intelligence. Donīt worry about more than 10 Str and Dex.

Str 10 Dex 10 Con 12-14 Int 10-12 Wis 18 Cha 10-12 - Str for carrying more equipment; Charisma for Better reaction (and the Persuade Skill) and Turn Undead; Inteligence for more Skill Points.

Feats: Favor Toughness, Extra Turning and the following Metamagic Feats: Extended Spell, Maximize Spell, Quicken Spell, Empower Spell, in this order. You might dump Extra Turning for other Feat, if you are not afraid of undead swarms...

Domains: Healing. No discussion. The Heal spell as BOTH a level 5 and 6 spell is a gift from heaven (literally). Also, the Cure Serious Wounds can be memorized as both a 2nd level spell and still as a 3rd level spell (its original spell level). Better yet, the Healing Domain makes your Cure Light, Moderate, Serious and Critical wounds work automatically as if Empowered (by the Feat). My 20th level Cleric heals more than 50 points of damage with a Cure Serious Wounds.


Casting Cure and Heal spells damages undead. A HEAL spell cast on an undead works as the HARM spell, leaving the undead with 1-4 hitpoints. Once, I faced a mod over the Internet with my Crusader and he cast A LOT OF 1000+ damage HEAL spells on undeads... So, ironically, HEALING also becomes a very powerful destructive Domain.

Magic: The Magic Domain gives you Melfīs Acid Arrow as a 2nd level spell (its natural level for mages), a very good offensive spell (specially for Clerics). Ice Storm as a 5th level spell (as an Arcane spell, its level is 4), which is also a good offensive option. But the best thing about the Magic Domain is the Stoneskin spell as a 4th level magic, which is its natural spell level for Wizards/Sorcerers. It will save your... skin for more than 1000 times during the game.

So, for Priests, Healing and Magic Domains are the best choices.

Crusaders: (remember, I have a 20th level Cleric that I played more like a warrior-priest, or, as I call, a Crusader. I mean, Crusaders are better then Priests for me, but both are very powerful)

Ability Scores: Str 14 Dex 8-10 Con 14-16 Int 10 Wis 15-16-17 Cha 8-10

I cannot go beyond here. Make your choices based on the above. Donīt worry about Dex 8, for you can wear good armor and may have other priorities; I used Dex 10 and Cha 10. I would not get a Cha lower than 10 for you would have less Turn Undead powers per day (rest time), worse reaction and Persuade. Some Domain Powers also rely on Charisma.

Starting with Constitution 16 and Wisdom 15 is an optimum option (I used it): it allows +3 HP per level (+4 with the Toughness Feat) and, by putting all Ability Increase Points during the game (at levels 4,8,12,16,20) on Wisdom, you will end at 20th level with a 20 Wisdom, which allows you to get more Bonus Spells, 9th level spells and gives a +5 on Will Saves and on the DC (Difficult Check) to resist your spells. Cast Owlīs Wisdom to make your spells even harder to resist and strengthen your Will Saves(it has no use on Bonus Spells, as you have to sleep to memorize spells and then the Owlīs Wisdom wears off).

Feats: You should mix two or three Metamagic Feats (specially useful are Extended, Maximize and Quicken) and Combat Feats like Martial Weapons, Power Attack, Cleave and Improved Critical. Toughness is also a must for this character (as it is for most characters).

Weapon choice: Go for the Greatsword, Weapon and Shield or... for an Evil, Dark Crusader, go for a Scythe.. but it requires the Exotic Weapon Feat.

Domains: Healing. No discussion here(see above in Priest area). The Earth Domain gives two very good protective spells: Stoneskin as a 4th level spell and Energy Buffer as a 5th level spell, which means you can protect yourself from both physical and magical (elemental) damage very well. It also allows the Turning of Elementals with the Turn Undead power. Other good choice is the Magic Domain (see Priest above). You may find strange that I did not choose War and Strength for this more aggressive, battle-oriented Cleric, but you may take them. I warn you: they give Powers related to Charisma (which will probably be low for you) and the Domain Spells and Powers granted aren't that good.

Be sure: you will be better by choosing Healing and Magic/Earth Domains for your Crusader.

*As a side note, I should tell that my 20th level lawful good Human Male Cleric (Crusader) chose Healing and Good Domains at the beginning. I donīt regret it, for the Good Domain also gives Stoneskin as a 4th level spell, and having the Good Domain allows for turning of "outsider creatures" with the Turn Undead ability. But I admit I would be even better if I had the Magic Domain (or Earth Domain).

Skill choices for both Priests and Crusaders:

Heal - 3-7 points - You might ignore this completely, for Clerics are masters of healing spells anyway. A good role-player might want some points here.

Persuade - 4-10 points
Concentration - Max it!
Spellcraft - Max it! - Anticipating your enemies spells to build your strategies on healing and buffing is important!
Lore - Put no points or Max it! - If you can manage to go back to a Temple and pay for Identification, do it and donīt take Lore. If you decide to learn Lore, Max it, for a middle level Lore canīt Identify some items.


- Mix your Cleric with ONE (1) level of Fighter to get 1 Extra Fighter Feat and acess to Weapon Specialization via Weapon Focus and an accumulated +4 base attack bonus for your Cleric.

- Mix your Cleric with FOUR (4) levels of Fighter.

At high levels(17,18,19,20), the Cleric gains mostly 7th, 8th and 9th level spell slots. That means it's a BIG spell-power loss when you mix other class with Cleric. So, it must be for a VERY GOOD REASON. So, let's see some good reasons:

- A 20th level Cleric has 3 attacks per round
- A 16th/4th Cleric/Fighter has 4 attacks per round and access to the Weapon Specialization Feat, which grants a +2 damage bonus on a particular weapon. Also, the 4 Fighter levels give you 3 (Battle) Feats for Free, at 1st, 2nd and 4th levels of Fighter.

For instance: a 17/3, 18/2, 19/1 Cleric/Fighter would get some extra Feats AND access to the Weapon Specialization Feat BUT WOULD REMAIN AT 3 ATTACKS PER ROUND!

- The minimum number of Fighter levels that will make your Cleric get ONE MORE ATTACK per round is FOUR. Also, remember that the highest number of attacks per round for a 20th level (pure) Fighter is 4. A 16/4 Cleric/Fighter ALSO HAS 4 attacks per round.

After all, you are trading some more hit points, 3 Battle Feats and an Extra Attack per round for spell slots of very high, powerful levels. It's up to you!

Submitted By: Marcelo "High Cleric" Salgado

The Perfect Cleric Guide #2

Reading Marcelo's article inspired me to try a crusader cleric, but I think (and have proven) that it works much better as follows:

STR: 16
Dex: 8
Con: 14
Wis: 16
Int: 12
Cha: 10

The Dex 8 is a bit of an achille's heel if you are playing with a greatsword (like I am), but the plethora of barkskin potions and the Cat's Grace spell can handily compensate. The STR 16 base is the important piece...

Domain selection:

Forget healing, despite Marcelo's suggestions. If you are playing the game right, it doesn't factor in much. The Magic domain doesn't offer much outside of the 4th and 5th level slots (Stoneskin and Ice Storm). I can cast stoneskin from scrolls when I need it (more on that later) or I can take the Sorceror henchman and have him cast it for me. My suggestions? Animal and Air Domains. This will become more clear after I cover the class selection below, but here is the quick breakdown.

Animal Domain gives you Cat's Grace to compensate for your weak dex score (minor joy), and bonus spell slots at 2,3 and 5 (3 helps with in combo with air, 5 with a number of spells). Who needs level 1 Cleric bonus spells? They all essentially suck. The Mage lvl 1 spells at least have a little longevity. The big bonus of the animal domain is ALL your animal summoning spells are upgraded to the next level. Animal summoning I gives you a Dire Boar. This does not suck. I'd pass on the Dire Bear in your monster summoning 4 slot though.... he's just a meat shield that dies too easily. Dire Wolf, Spider and Tiger all bring some great battle feats with them.

The Air Domain gives you the ability to turn elementals. Woo. The bigger piece is the Call Lightning and Chain Lightning spells, PLUS you get the bonus level 6 slot. The Magic and Healing domains won't give you this. The Call Lightning spell is the key here. Most of the lvl 3 Cleric spells are largely defensive or utility. Call Lightning does as much damage as a fireball (pretty much the same area too) and it WON'T HURT YOUR ALLIES. 1 or 2 of these will clear out most monsters that group. That's all you want it for.... clearing out the easy opponents and using your muscle against the tougher stuff. After you are done with summoning Dire Spiders at lvl 3, you'll fill every slot with this spell and clear out whole rooms of enemies in no time. I will be replacing my lvl 5 Flame Strikes with enhanced versions of this spell.

Building the Character

I will agree that human is a must. The way to build the character? Read on.

Start in the Prelude as a fighter with Power Attack, Cleave and 1 other feat of your choice (I chose a weapon focus of Greatsword; you might want a casting profiency or toughness). Keep your sword, but sell everything else you pick up. The shop in the Prelude gives you a sell valuation of 60%, which is much better than you will get on the outside. The weak goblins don't do much damage, and you will pick up a suit of Splint Mail from a chest in the Prelude which is better than the other armor you get to begin with.

The tricky part is when you meet up with your fighter friend and have him join you as a henchman. Take the right-hand door and fight the skeletons. Avoid fighting the tough goblin until after you have leveled up. For your second level, choose wizard and make sure you select Generalist with Summon Creature I and Identify spells. Choose the Pixie Familiar for trap/lock clearing.... she will be very useful during the first 2 acts. The wizard Summon creature I spell will summon Dire Boars, freeing up your Cleric spell slots. Selecting the Wizard class also gives you access to the Cloaktower guild quest (experience and a nifty cloak to boot) and you can use the full load of mage scrolls and magic items you find without worrying about armor penalties. If you can't see the advantages this brings at a net loss of 2 HP (remember your fighter gets a D10 for HP), then you're not thinking straight.

Once you have leveled, go kill the Tough Goblin to claim a 2-shot Wand of Fire.... very useful in the early acts for clearing out 2 swarms of bad guys.... just wait until you have at least 6 to target before you fire. The better gain from this is the mage at the end; he will drop a wand of sleep with 50 charges. You will use this A LOT in the first act. For your third level up, NOW you choose Cleric. You'll have 28hp, some kickass feats and a wide range of capabilities for dealing with the early threats the game throws at you.

Where you go from here (my recommendation):

I don't recommend completing the Peninsula quest for a start. The best way to begin is to assault the docks section without a henchman. I have gained as many as 44 smuggler coins from the docks when I do it without a henchman, and that translates into a lot of good early gear and gold. The dire boar does the damage. You need to rush the crossbowmen when you see them; If they don't get many shots off, you get more poison bolts from them. You can get over a 1000 gold from a 3rd of a stack of poison bolts, and that helps you buy anything else you might need.

Don't venture into the lower levels of the inn or do anything that comes close to completing any quests during your early levels; just clear out the guys wanderings the streets. After the docks, I do the Beggar's Nest (zombies are slow and easy; you'll hit 4th level here) and then the road to BlackLake (save Loxar for later). You can try the Gauntlet at this point, but you'll have a VERY hard time beating the second opponent at this stage. The Peninsula is the last place I go. The experience you get through the game is largely based on your current level, not as much the challenges. You'll get excellent experience back from the Peninsula if you follow my pattern, and have a much more survivable encounter with the Intellect Devourer as a result. You should also have completed the Cloaktower quest by now.

Then, go back and handle the sections in order (Beggar's nest, docks, Blacklake). Feel the power! :)

I am presently 1/1/11 in Act II Charwood. Daelan isn't as impressive as he used to be. ;)

Submitted By: Nate "Ravage" Scheidler

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