Your first choices when making the character are race and starting attributes.
What race to pick
There are a number of races available to clerics. Humans make the best choice, for two reasons:
- They get a bonus feat at level 1, and caster clerics need a lot of feats.
- They get an extra skill point per pevel, and caster clerics have access to many skills.
The other choices are much more limited in the benefits they provide. The main benefit given by dwarves is that they gain +2 constitution. However, they lose the free feat, and take a penalty of 2 from charisma. Therefore, dwarves aren’t really more than a human with the Toughness feat used as their bonus feat. Elves get a bonus to dexterity at the expense of constitution. This can be useful if you want to take Shadowdancer as a multiclass, but otherwise losing constitution is not a good idea. A caster cleric needs a lot of hitpoints so they can heal through damage.
Many of the subraces available in Edon can make a caster cleric more powerful. Generally, caster clerics are still constrained to human subraces if they want the most power. The following human subraces can be useful:
Aasimar are a human subrace, that cannot be evil, and may only be chosen for Surfacers.
- +2 to wisdom and charisma.
- -2 to strength and constitution.
- Resistance 5 to cold and electrical.
Aasimar are good for caster clerics due to the +2 starting wisdom. This allows Aasimar two options. First, they can start with 20 wisdom, and go up to a total wisdom of 52, which is two higher than a human cleric. Second, they can start with 20 wisdom, and go up to 50 wisdom, which is the same as a human cleric. However, to do this they will only need Great Wisdom 8, and so will gain two extra epic feats to spend. Therefore, an Aasimar could have more feats than a 38 cleric build while only taking 35, 36 or 37 cleric levels.
Aasimar will take a penalty for this though, as strength and constitution are both useful statistics for caster clerics. Therefore, you want to put some more points into both of these to ensure that these stats don't go too low.
Teifling are a human subrace, that cannot be good, and may not be chosen for undead.
- +2 to intelligence and dexterity.
- -2 to charisma.
- Resistance 5 to acid and fire.
- 10% vulnerability to divine.
Teiflings get bonuses to intelligence and dexterity, which are minor, but still useful attributes for caster clerics. At the same time their negatives do not really mean much. Tiefling caster clerics are basically just stronger human caster clerics.
Skeletons are an undead subrace.
- 25% damage immunity against slashing and piercing.
- Once per day critical immunity buff lasting two rounds per level.
- 25% vulnerability to bludgeoning damage.
- 25% vulnerability to divine damage.
The critical immunity buff is huge as it is basically another use of the Immortality mythic feat. The 25% vulnerability to bludgeoning damage can be a big drawback, but a caster cleric should be able to avoid most damage, and can take the invulnerability mythic feat to help fight enemies with bludgeoning damage.
Starting attributes – brain or brawn
You get a few options when taking starting stats, but they are highly limited by the high wisdom requirement. To get the maximum wisdom, you need to start with 18 wisdom. This is expensive.
After you do this, you want around 12 or 14 constitution (I prefer 14 for the extra hitpoints and higher fortitude saving throw), and then you basically have a choice of 14 in one other stat, or 12 in two stats. Unless you are planning to multiclass into shadowdancer which requires dexterity 13, these other stats should be either strength or intelligence. These stats will remain at 12 or 14 the whole game, as you need to put each statistic increase into wisdom. However, there can be a moderate difference between these choices even if one is 14 and the others are 8 or 10.
A strength caster cleric is prepared to hit things when their spells run out. A strength caster cleric will have slightly higher melee AB than an intelligence caster cleric. However, they will have substantially lower skill points. Therefore, to get the most out of a strength caster cleric, warpriest or paladin instead of rogue is most useful for multiclassing.
An intelligence caster cleric will get a lot of skill points in preparation for a skill dump at 39 when they rogue multiclass. This will let them have some additional minor skills they can use, such as open locks and appraise.
These choices can make a difference to your character, however they are not all that important. I have made some minor mistakes in my main caster cleric’s starting stats, and it is too late to change them now. However, she hits things with her kama just fine even though she is an intelligence cleric
Back to Caster Clerics.