Dwarf Cleric basic stats optimization

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Hi. I am playing D&D for the first time, and we are using only the original 4e Player's Handbook, as far as I can tell. I am a dwarf cleric, and my party consists of a wizard, a ranger, a fighter, and a rogue. I would like to be a regular devoted healer/buffer cleric, and I have scoured the internet (including this forum) for tips, but I am not quite satisfied with what I've found so far. 

Here's what I've come up with thus far for stats (adding 22 pts to a base of 10 10 10 10 10 8):

Wisdom - 16+2
Constitution - 13+2
Charisma - 14
Strength - 13
Intelligence - 10
Dexterity - 10

My defenses will look something like:

AC - 17 (chainmail + shield)
Fortitude - 12
Will - 16
Reflex - 11 (shield)

Bearing in mind that my character has to be a little beefy given the shortage of tanks, how do those stats look? I think I will have to fill a sort of secondary-tank role.

One thing is that I see everywhere that charisma is my important 2nd stat, though I'm not sure how much the reality bears that out. I'm open to reducing intelligence or dexterity a little further, though i'm not sure which.

I'm also told that focusing on both wisdom and strength is not smart. Originally I had those at 16 each, but I decided to change that. I kept strength at 13 since I'm planning on starting with light shield proficiency, as well as getting chainmail proficiency. I'd also like to be able to swing a weapon if needs be. Is it viable to be a bit of a tank without focusing more on strength? Also, how important is constitution, particularly considering that I'm looking at a starting AC of 17?

The horrible truth seems to be that I may have to give up my devoted cleric aspirations and become more of a battle cleric. Is this inescapable?

In all this it feels like I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too.

If this is the wrong forum or I haven't provided enough information, let me know. I'm *very* new.

Try to get your DM to let you have access to other material.  They added a lot of stuff to the cleric that makes its starting stats work because they screwed up when they made the cleric the first time by making him need too many stats all at once to be effective.  Several of the PHB1 classes and builds have problems without using later updates because you need to invest in multiple stats just to stay functional and don't get enough stat boosts to do this.

The most important change was battle clerics lore in dragon 400, which is essentially a rebuild of a lot of class features.  You don't get the wisdom bonus to healing powers and instead get scale mail proficiency, a +2 shield bonus to ac, and when you target an ally with a surge spending power they get +2 on their next attack.  Its kind of hard to overstate how much this made the class easier to build stat wise.

They also changed dwarves so that they can either go +2 str/+2 Con or +2con/+2 wis.  And added what are called expertise feats, which you won't need now, but become important later on.

As far as your stats go if you don't use any changes, decide if you want to go melee or ranged or both.  For melee I would go 18 15 10 8 15 10.  For ranged 13 13 10 8 20 12.  For balanced 16 14 10 8 18 12 and make you first two feats scale proficiency and spiked chain proficiency. 

Edit: I forgot to mention that if you are just using PHB1, then the ranged version is best over the long term, with balanced a close second.  Strength clerics have one really good at will that gets to be great in epic (without errata), a couple of good dailies and encounter powers.  And a lot of junk.  Ranged clerics on the other hand have two good at wills and at least decent to great choices for their encounter and dailies at each level.
So your recommendation is low charisma in any case? This is one point which people can't seem to agree on.
Charisma is nice, but it only matters depending on power selection.  The only build that can normally really afford to invest in it as a true secondary is a str/cha build, which isn't that great if you are only doing PHB1 and since you are using a wis/con dwarf that is hard to pull off properly. 

You need at least a starting 13 13 for strength and con for feat prereqs if you want good ac, which means you can't have a 20 wisdom and a good charisma score at the same time.  And a 20 wisdom is on the whole better since hitting more, along with doing more damage with most of your powers, having +1 to your will, and healing a little more.

Wis/cha can work well too, but even then you need to boost your AC somehow if your not using battle clerics lore which messes the stats up.  With BCL, you can do a starting 10 15 10 8 20 13 or 10 15 11 8 18 16 or something and then put points into cha when you level up if you want to since you don't have to have stats for AC prereqs.

On top of that with a lot of the later published cleric powers con is the secondary stat for clerics so going wis/con gets extra surges/hp and a better fortitude defense along with some power riders vs just getting better riders with wis/cha ohly a good will defense.
Well, I like the look of both your ranged and your balanced suggestions for PHB dwarf clerics. I will talk it over with the other players, and see how much I need to be on the front line in battle. 

As much as charisma can be helpful, it looks like it would be asking too much to go for it as well. And it looks like the charisma focused powers are often not necessary. 



 
If you really are restricted to just the original PHB, play a Warlord. Really.
Nah, I'm married to my cleric now. I see your point, though.

Anyway, one question that comes up is, if I'm going to nerf Charisma, why stop there? Rather than 12, why not make it 10 and boost dexterity instead? I suppose a few powers do still benefit from the +1 modifier a little bit.

Now, supposing instead of a ranged cleric I were to go for a Wis/Cha cleric, how would my stat array look?

I was thinking something along the lines of:

Strength - 13
Constitution - 11+2
Dexterity - 10
Intelligence - 8
Wisdom -  16+2
Charisma - 16

Or is Wis/Cha just not worth it compared with pure ranged?
Here is what charisma boost with just PHB1 gives you. 

Powers you should take anyways where it gives a big noticable boost: sacred flame (the power on this list you will probably use the most), consecrated ground (boost to damage and healing), and healing torch (level 23, big boost to AC). 

Powers you should at least consider taking, but mainly it just increases the forced movement distance for those which is nice but a few points in charisma are good enough: turn undead, cause fear, command, thundrous word.

Its a really big increase on the debuff or buff, but its not the usually best power choice that level: divine aid, break the spirit, and plague of doom.  Break the spirit is the best choice at levels 16-22 only if you are going divine oracle.  Plague of doom is not a bad choice, but usually mantle of glory is better.

For the rest its extra healing on one of the best powers that level. Nice, but not essential: bastion of health, mass cure light wounds, puryfing fire, and sunburst.

I think the radiant servant path might have had more stuff that keyed off a charisma as well, but I don't have my PHB with me and they errated the path significantly  I can't remember if radiant action keyed off wisdom or charisma orginally, but I think was wisdom.  If it was charisma then that is a big boost at paragon.

Edit: I assume you are not using errata.  If you use my handbook at all, remember that I assume you have all errata and materials when I do rankings of things.  A lot of PHB1 powers like consecrated ground and mass cure light wounds used to have much higher ratings, but received errata or better powers that same level were published.
Very curious what kind of ranger and rogue are in play. Especially helpful if the rogue is an artful dodger so he can handle the social skills. If he's not, that's the only viable reason to me to pump your cha. And if skill usage won't be a major concern in the campaign, then definitely leave cha alone.

If cha is ok with being average, I'd suggest an array of 10, 14, 8, 14, 16, 10. You've got 3 points there left for a 10 to 13 boost or a 16 to 17 boost.
At least one of you should get access to the online Character Builder. With all the errata over the past few years, using ONLY the PHB will be clunky.
I'm by no means a char. op. person (I just like to lurk, mostly), so take my advice with a grain of salt.

If you're starting at level 1, you might want to ask your DM how far out he's planning on running this campaign... lvl 5?  All the way to 30?  If the former, you have a lot more freedom to do whatever you feel like without worrying too much about optimal stats.  If the later, he'll have to eventually cave and let you guys use other source material... The original PHB just doesn't hold up much past early paragon (imho).

My suggestion for a PHB only Dwarf Cleric is to go balanced...  You're gonna be the off-tank whether you like it or not.  You can second wind as a minor action, you get a martial weapon proficiency for free, your constitution bonus gives you a few extra HP...  You get a lot of stuff that makes you a decent off-tank... might as well embrace it!

Stat-wise, I'd go Str 16, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 14... I know I'll get a lot of flak for this array, so I'll give my reasoning (beyond the fact that this is just my opinion).

You want that attack caliber Str.  You'll probably be using a war-hammer, which only gives you a +2 proficiency bonus.  Righteous Brand is too good to not use and being in melee, you'll be making a few Opportunity Attacks.

Con of 15 will get you Plate Proficiency in heroic, if you want that... otherwise its just about taking advantage of your racial bonus for some extra HP.

Yes, I dumped Dex... Yes I know this is stupid.  I'll admit, I did it for thematic reasons.  You have to be trained in religion, so might as well not have the negative modifier in Int, right?  In all honesty, these two stats are completely interchangeable and you'd be better off with a Dex 10 and Int 8 so as to not have a negative initiative modifier, but this is not my preference.

Wis of 16 is low, I admit... You might find yourself missing a little more frequently than you would like, but as you can see, I put these points elsewhere.  My (poor) reasoning is that it will only make a difference (compared to an 18) 5% of the time you roll that die.

Cha of 14 is high, but Sacred Flame (your other at-will) will thank you, as will Turn Undead and any other power with a Cha rider.  Also, you will probably want to be trained in Diplomacy, so, there's that...

Light Shield Proficiency as a level 1 feat is a very good (best?) call, but...
My preference is for Dwarven Weapon Proficiency.  Wield that war-hammer in two hands for +3 damage! lol! This is just how I like to play at level 1 (especially with only the PHB)!

Sorry for the long post!  I had fun with it!  Hope it helped maybe a little?
I definetly agree that it matters how long the campaign goes.  Not enough of the strength powers are worth it if you are only using PHB1 and going past heroic.  In heroic balanced with only PHB is an ok choice, but after that the PHB1 strength powers generally stink, when compared to the same level wisdom powers or other classes powers.  Holy Wrath is the only standout strength power at higher levels and even then you can take fire storm instead and do fine.  Strength powers at higher levels are so bad its to the point where if you want to make a viable str primary cleric with only PHB the main question you need to ask is you are going to mc fighter or warlord for novice power.

In heroic at least they have three notable strength powers: Righteous brand, Healing Strike, and Divine Power.  If you are not using errata than righteous brand is really good and just gets better.

And the other thing with a dwarf its real tempting to take dwarven weapon training, but with a starting 16/16 you will be better off with a spiked chain since reach and +3 will be more useful than more damage.  Plus unless your DM is generous you will need to keep up a weapon and an implement at higher levels since PHB1 by iteself doesn't really allow for many weapliments, unless you mc warlock and use the updated weaplement rules for a hexhammer.
Thanks for all the advice guys. Now that you mention it, I think it's quite likely the DM is planning this to be a relatively short campaign. I think one of the other players told me that he has actually quite a lot of the later 4e books, so maybe after this first 'newbie' campaign we'll get to something meatier and up-to-date.

I was also wondering whether the rogue had plenty of charisma or not. I'm not sure. In any case, it looks like I'll probably be a balanced cleric, for the reasons already mentioned. As for weapons/feats, well, I'll see. I had planned on starting with light shield proficiency and then getting dwarven weapons proficiency. I'll think about it. 

Again, thanks for the help.  One final question is, I see 'face' mentioned sometimes as important, and a reason for getting a Wis/Cha cleric. But what is face, and what's so great about it? I imagine that it means you are good at communicating with NPCs, and at being the 'spokesman' for your group. Am I far off the mark? 
Nope, not off the mark at all.  The party face is the one that talks to NPCs and typically negotiates a variety of things.  Anyone with high social skills and/or Charisma tend to default as the face.
Okay, thanks.
So I ended up going with the following, taken from all the PHBs and DP and Nevwin. The DM didn't want us using powers from Essentials or from Dragon magazine. This means no battle cleric lore, but I did get to go for a few nice adjustments. 

I am now a level 2 Shield Dwarf cleric (I picked that instead of regular dwarf since starting with light shield feat replaces the sub-par Dwarven Weapon Proficiency. It remains to be seen whether the DM will allow this). Before we actually start playing at level 2, we're still allowed to change anything we want about our characters. 

Abilities:

Strength - 16
Constitution - 12+2
Dexterity - 10
Intelligence - 8
Wisdom - 16+2
Charisma - 12

Skills: Religion, Heal, Insight, Diplomacy

Powers:

Channel divinity: Divine fortune (couldn't use the other one), Turn Undead (considering Healer's mercy here, it seems very strong. Thoughts?).
At-will: Sacred Flame, Righteous Brand.  
Encounter: Healing Strike.
Daily: Beacon of Hope.
Utility 2: Shield of Faith.

Equipment: Light shield, chainmail, battleaxe, 2 handaxes. Will get a waraxe ASAP.

Feats: 

automatic: Light Shield Proficiency, Ritual Caster. 
level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training.
level 2: Versatile expertise (axes, holy symbols) ----This one is subject to change

If anyone has some advice for feats at level 2 and later, it would be much appreciated. My impression is that you can wait a bit for expertise feats, and get some more surefire ones earlier on. Like superior holy symbol (accurate) or dwarven durability. There are so many feats to choose from!
My character is doing ok following what I posted above, except with the following slightly altered stat array (idea being to pump Str and Wis every single time and still qualify for axe mastery and other con-related juicy stuff. I decided Cha can be circumvented completely now that I can use Divine Power):

Str - 16
Con - 15
Dex - 11
Int - 8
Wis - 18
Cha - 10

He is about to level up to 3, and looking at Hymn of Resurgence for a 3rd level power, though it seems a little weak compared with Death Surge. We use D&Di tools for the game, including the character builder, and I am allowed to use any source except for Dragon mag and essentials and other essential-y stuff. So I don't think I can use stuff from Heroes of Shadow.

However, I am allowed to use things from NevWin, which opens up the following option for a build. What do folks think of this:

Ability Scores
Str - 14
Con - 16
Dex - 13
Int - 8
Wis - 18
Cha - 10

The idea is to be a balanced wis/con dwarf, who can use wisdom weapon attacks for melee, as well as ranged implement attacks. I would also boost Str and Dex once each in order to get heavy shield proficiency and shield specialization (or whatever it's called) granting an extra +1 to AC and Reflex. I could also get + 2 fort with another shield feat in paragon. Rather than axes, I would use hammers, given that a higher con opens up hammer rhythm. Final stat array would look like this:

Str - 17 
Con - 22
Dex - 16
Int - 10
Wis - 26
Cha - 12

I feel like that build might make better use of my dwarf. The power selection would be a little bit worse, in exchange for significantly better defenses. What do the experts think? Bear in mind that I can use NevWin and Divine Power but not Dragon mag or essentials.
EDIT: Okay, how do I format the spoiler alert so that it can use line breaks? Double Edit: Well, I managed it by putting [BR] at the end of every line. Is there an easier way?

Okay, so here are the two builds I am considering. The idea in both cases is to be fill a somewhat balanced role, able to fight in melee and at range, with good healing always to hand.

My party consists of an elf Archer Ranger, a halfling Artful Dodger rogue (dex/cha), a human Shield+Heavy blade fighter and a Shardmind Imposer Wizard. I decided I do not need Cha, since the rogue has that covered. Also, the wizard took Arcane mutterings, which covers for a lot of Cha-based skills.

I figure I can get away with some essentials/dragon mag stuff as long as it doesn't seem outlandish/op/catch my DM's eye. Any feedback would be welcome!

Wis/Str cleric:

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

Level 4 Shield Dwarf Templar Cleric
Cleric lore option: Healer's Lore 
Shield Dwarf option: Light shield proficiency

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 17, CON 15, DEX 11, INT 8, WIS 19, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 13+2, DEX 11, INT 8, WIS 16+2, CHA 10

AC: 21 Fort: 15 Ref: 14 Will: 18
HP: 42 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 10
TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +7, Heal +11, Insight +11, Religion +6

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +0, Arcana +1, Athletics +3, Bluff +2, Dungeoneering +8, Endurance +4, History +1, Intimidate +2, Nature +6, Perception +6, Stealth +0, Streetwise +2, Thievery +0

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack - Strength-based
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack - Strength-based
Cleric At-Will Power: Righteous Brand
Cleric At-Will Power: Sacred Flame
Cleric Encounter 1: Healing Strike
Cleric Daily 1: Beacon of Hope
Cleric Utility 2: Shield of Faith
Cleric Encounter 3: Hymn of Resurgence
Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune
Channel Divinity: Healer's Mercy
Healing Word
Dwarven Resilience

FEATS
Free: Ritual caster (brew potion, animal messenger)
Free: Light Shield Proficiency
Level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training
Level 2: Scale Armor Proficiency
Level 4: Heavy Shield Proficiency

=============END=============



Wis/Con cleric:

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ====== 
Level 4 Shield Dwarf Templar Cleric
Cleric lore option: Healer's Lore
Shield Dwarf option: Light shield proficiency

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 15, CON 16, DEX 13, INT 8, WIS 19, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 14, CON 14+2, DEX 13, INT 8, WIS 16+2, CHA 10

AC: 21 Fort: 15 Ref: 15 Will: 18
HP: 43 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 10

TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +7, Heal +11, Insight +11, Religion +6

UNTRAINED SKILLS 
Acrobatics +1, Arcana +1, Athletics +2, Bluff +2, Dungeoneering +8, Endurance +5, History +1, Intimidate +2, Nature +6, Perception +6, Stealth +1, Streetwise +2, Thievery +1

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack - Strength-based
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack - Strength-based
Cleric At-Will Power: Singing Strike
Cleric At-Will Power: Sacred Flame
Cleric Encounter 1: Illuminating Blow OR Divine Glow
Cleric Daily 1: Beacon of Hope
Cleric Utility 2: Shield of Faith
Cleric Encounter 3: Resurgent Sun
Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune
Channel Divinity: Healer's Mercy
Healing Word
Dwarven Resilience

FEATS
Free: Ritual caster (brew potion, animal messenger)
Free: Light Shield Proficiency
Level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training
Level 2: Scale Armor Proficiency
Level 4: Heavy Shield Proficiency
=============END=============


Hopefully that's a little more easy on the eyes than my last posts, copied the rubric from someone else on charop.
 
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