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    Default [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Hello board! I need your opinion help on this cleric build. I will be playing this character from levels 5-15 in a weekly game, but I can't seem to make it work. This is a practical build challenge, not a thought exercise. Can you help?

    CONSTRAINTS: 32-point buy. No exotic races; I want to be able to walk into town without causing a commotion. I will be party tank/melee controller, healer, knowledge monkey and batman. VERSATILITY is more important than POWER, so consider this a sideways optimization challenge. I worship Thoth, but the DM is allowing Initiate of Mystra since Thoth is the Mulhorandi god of magic and lacks an initiate feat. Mechanics should support the flavor of an exotic Egyptian-style character who uses arcane and divine magic in unusual ways.

    RULES: All WoTC books, no setting-specific books except Forgotten Realms, no third-party content. UA cloistered cleric variant and traits/flaws available. DM has allowed a reflavored church inquistor PrC for followers of Thoth.

    ENVIRONMENT: Forgotten Realms campaign setting, no specific theme to the campaign.

    PARTY: The other three characters in the party are rogue 5 (party face), fire-themed warlock 5 (striker role only, has a terrible build), and ranger 5 (heavily optimized for archery).
    Last edited by jiriku; 2009-09-05 at 12:46 PM.

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    yuk Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    BUILD: Inspired by the cheater of Mystra, but optimized for versatility. Needs to be effective out of the box at level 5, since the party is relying on me to anchor the team. MAD on purpose to fill many roles rather than absolutely smash the game in one role.

    Race: Human Illumian
    Str 12 13, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 15 14, Cha 14
    Classes: Cloistered Cleric, Church Inquisitor, Dweomerkeeper
    Special: two flaws at level 1
    Domains at L1: Knowledge, Magic, Law (traded for Law Devotion)
    CC 1 Extend Spell, Persist Spell, Power Attack
    CC 2 Naenhoon Sigil
    CC 3 Initiate of Mystra
    CI 1 Inquisition Domain (traded for Knowledge Devotion)
    CI 2 Immunity to Charms
    Conjurer 1 Scribe Scroll
    DK 1
    DK 2
    DK 3 Quicken Spell
    DK 4
    DK 5
    DK 6 (any feat)
    DK 7
    DK 8
    DK 9 (any feat)


    Gear at 5th level: reliquary holy symbol, nightstick, masterwork bronzewood spear, masterwork chain shirt

    Edit: Reduced Wis to increase Str at 1st level, as Thespianus pointed out I don't qualify for Power Attack. Will definitely need to buy a +Wis item before 11th level in order to be able to cast 6th level spells, but that shouldn't be hard to do.

    Edit: removed magical training, added a level of conjurer at level 6.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2009-09-05 at 09:39 PM.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Tactics with this build:

    5th level: Persistify wraithstrike. Use Law Devotion, Knowledge Devotion, and Power Attack to gain a net +2 to hit, +8 damage, and +3 AC against most foes. Supplement with ProtX for AC and saves or brambles for +5 damage as needed. Use Ring of Blades to increase damage output against multiple adjacent foes. Precast cure serious wounds onto the archer's spell storing blunt arrows so he can deliver ranged heals in combat. Throw out a few close wounds spells to deliver some ranged healing without burning my standard actions.

    10th level: Persistify Divine Might and wraithstrike for large bonuses and easy PA damage. Pick up a rod of lesser quicken to add quickened divine power and other buffs as needed. Likely net bonuses of +5 to hit, +23 damage, and +5 AC with full PA, while striking as a melee touch attack.

    15th level: cast in AMF, permanency with no XP cost, Law Devotion and Knowledge Devotion bonuses continuing to scale with level, higher-level cleric spells...so, yeah.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Race: Human
    Str 12, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 14
    Classes: Cloistered Cleric, Church Inquisitor, Dweomerkeeper
    Special: two flaws at level 1
    Domains at L1: Knowledge, Magic, Law (traded for Law Devotion)
    CC 1 Extend Spell, Persist Spell, DMM Persist, Magical Training
    CC 2
    CC 3 Power Attack
    You need Strength of 13 to take Power Attack.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Flaws with previous build:

    I don't actually get Initiate of Mystra till 6th level, so I can't yet cast wraithstrike. I could take the spell domain, but then I either lose the magic domain and don't qualify for Dweomerkeeper or I lose the substantiall hit/AC bonuses provided by the Law Devotion.

    I also don't have the item creation feat required for entry into Dweomerkeeper. I could get that with the Rune domain, but see my earlier concern about losing one of my existing domains. I could take the item creation feat instead of Power Attack, but Power Attack is what really drives the damage output for this build.

    I could drop Magical Training, and take a level of wizard (conjurer, ACF abrupt jaunt) at L5, then proceed to DK...this gets me 1st level spells and scribe scroll (qualifying for DK) and I can then fit in IoM at L3...but good golly, I'll suck at level 5 - no 3rd level spells, no wraithstrike. I'd be a bucket of doodoo until L6, and I'd be behind a casting level permanently.

    Edit: and, as Thespianus just pointed out, I need to juggle some ability points from somewhere. This build just cries out "help me, oh great optimizers, help me!"
    Last edited by jiriku; 2009-09-05 at 12:43 PM.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    I have to recommend Illumian (Races of Destiny) for a cleric build. The Naenhoon sigil will provide you effectively with DMM as a bonus feat (except you can use it to power ANY effect, not just one) and +2 bonus to Con, Wis, and Int based skills from level 2.

    Illumians look just like humans, and are humanoid(human). However if you want to use your DMM and skill bonuses from your sigils, you will either need to take the Subtle Sigils feat or you have to have your sigils light up (in which case you will have floating words flying around your head)
    Last edited by HCL; 2009-09-05 at 12:57 PM.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Edit: and, as Thespianus just pointed out, I need to juggle some ability points from somewhere. This build just cries out "help me, oh great optimizers, help me!"
    Try to dumb DEX since you can go full-plate, unless cloistered cleric is mandatory, it's not like you're going to use lot's of ray attacks. With divine power later you doesn't need to worry much, anyway.

    If you're really a cloistered cleric I don't think you need that much int, since 6+Int mod gives a lot of things. You aren't going to take much social interaction skills (since the party already have a party face) so you can focus more on knowledge and other skills and normaly interaction is hadled by roleplaying anyway.

    Try to always put your ability scores as odd numbers, since it's only one point to the next level, and with level increases you can take an even score later.

    Unless you don't have access to more turn undead attempts per day by items or feats, I don't think it will make too much diference to have Cha 13 to Cha 14 since it's either 4 turn attempts against 5.

    If you want to be versatile, try to pick one role as your main role (tank/meele figther) and be good at it while not overshadowing the dedicated expecialist (you're a cleric, you will be good at combat), take one or two secondary roles where you are also good but less than your primary role (knowledge man, utility guy) and for the rest just don't suck terribly. But you're a spell caster, you're not going to suck THAT terribly in anything while you have a good selection of prepared spells.
    Last edited by Arakune; 2009-09-05 at 01:07 PM.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Quote Originally Posted by ryuan View Post
    If you're really a cloistered cleric I don't think you need that much int, since 6+Int mod gives a lot of things.
    On the contrary: you need a lot more INT if you're going to benefit from Knowledge Devotion. While you've got 6 + INT mod skill points as Cloistered Cleric, you're screwed with 2 + INT mod on Dweomerkeeper.

    There are six Knowledge skills relating to creature types, and you need to max out all of them to reliably get your Knowledge Devotion bonus. And of course you'll need the usual basic skills of Concentration, Spellcraft, and Spot just to be competent. So you really want 9 skill points at every level. A human Cloistered Cleric with 14 INT works just fine. It's the prestige classes that mess you up.

    Also you're stretched way too thin on what you can do with undead turn attempts. Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell) will use up 7 daily, and you'll need 3 more every combat after the first to benefit from Law Devotion. Right now you're only good for one combat a day. Unless your DM will let you benefit from multiple Nightsticks, this just isn't going to work.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    HCL: Wow, that's great! Illumian fits right into my concept of a character who's deeply tied to magic, and I'm sure the DM will go along with any flavor I write up about it. I can see an Illumian cabal devoted to Thoth.

    It looks like the illumian symbol is slightly more flexible than the DMM feat, and will set me back 12 turning attempts instead of 14. That leaves more turning to power Law Devotion. The +2 to skills more than offsets the loss of human skill points.

    I still need to address my feat shortage and PrC qualifications, but this is a big step in the right direction.

    Ryuan: Dex and Cha are negotiable. I can always buy a +stat item at higher levels. Where should I put the extra points? Point buy quickly gives me diminishing returns above a 14 stat.

    Cloistered cleric I'm hesitant to part with, as I'm developing a bare minimum of 8 class skills through level 5. The knowledge domain from CC plus the skill points gets me a solid 6-8 ranks by level 5 in the six skills needed to power Knowledge Devotion. I also need Spellcraft to qualify for DK and Concentration to cast defensively.

    I'm also looking at Lore of the Gods from Complete Champion to get +10 to knowledge skills, but unfortunately without a nightstick exploit I'll never be able to persist that. I think the best I can hope for is to extend it and quicken it with a rod of quicken.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Curmudgeon, you have hit the nail right on the head.

    Switching to the Illumian sigil cuts the costs slightly, so I can manage 1 persist and two uses of Law Devotion per day (assuming I burn an eagle's splendor during my morning buff routine). By L9 I could persist two spells and use Law Devotion 3 times if I can find a way to buff Charisma by two more points. I would be happy with that.

    I think I can swing Knowledge Devotion as-is. Lore of the Gods grants a +10 bonus, and I have a backstory that involves a search for the scrolls of uncertain provenance (reflavored to be a relic of Thoth instead of Wee Jas, since Wee Jas doesn't exist in the Realms). The scrolls grant an additional +5 to all knowledge skills, so at higher levels, with a +15 mod from skill ranks and Int and Illumian racial, I can reliably swing the 31-36 to get +4 or +5 bonuses.

    My real conundrum is, how can I be functional at 5th level and find a way to qualify for DK by 6th or 7th level? And can it be done without sacrificing any cleric spellcasting?
    Last edited by jiriku; 2009-09-05 at 02:35 PM.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    On the contrary: you need a lot more INT if you're going to benefit from Knowledge Devotion. While you've got 6 + INT mod skill points as Cloistered Cleric, you're screwed with 2 + INT mod on Dweomerkeeper.

    There are six Knowledge skills relating to creature types, and you need to max out all of them to reliably get your Knowledge Devotion bonus. And of course you'll need the usual basic skills of Concentration, Spellcraft, and Spot just to be competent. So you really want 9 skill points at every level. A human Cloistered Cleric with 14 INT works just fine. It's the prestige classes that mess you up.
    Ahm... doesn't know what knowledge devotion do.

    jiriku, if you don't know what to do with charisma or dex points, put it into Wis->Int/Con->Str depending on your pick. Try to let it end in a odd number.

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    Default Re: [Practical Optimization] Need help optimizing Cleric build [3.5e]

    OK, with a promise not to take DMM: Persist and rely just on the illumian sigil, the DM is now comfortable with the stacking of nightsticks. I've also added a level of conjurer at lvl 6. This sets back access to DK a level, but it gives me all the basic tools at level 5 - if I start the game without 3rd level spells, I don't think we'll live to reach level 6. Perhaps I'll be able to retrain it later.

    Can anyone recommend feats for levels 12 and 15?

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