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Quark's thoughts on the Warpriest

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Great Adventurer
Great Adventurer
Well, as the last of the actually not sort of immediately broken hybrid classes, I'm putting some thoughts together on the Warpriest, a hybrid of Fighter and Cleric. Yeesh, this is a crowded spot though. Considering that clerics are already kind of intended to be the warrior priests in church already, and beyond that there are also Paladins and Inquisitors, I really don't know how this is supposed to fill any useful character concept niche. But here we go, starting with the basics:


HD, BAB, Saves and Skills: Come out on top with saves, taking the Cleric's good fort and will saves, but you also have its HD and BAB. Skills are the same minimal number of both parents, but more or less combine what both get as class skills.

Proficiencies: You win here by getting the best of both: Heavy armour, martial, and deity's weapon.

Spells: Wisdom based prepared (urk) magic, with 6th levels. Lazy option of only taking the 6th level spells and under from cleric, so that spell list is fairly easy to manage if you know clerics. Happily, like the normal cleric, you can convert spells spontaneously into heals.

Focus Weapon: Free weapon focus. That is, +1 to hit with one weapon. Woo. At least it's a useful prereq.

Blessings: Merits its own section, but kind of like a cleric's domain.

Sacred Weapon: (potentially) more base damage with weapons you specialise in, and can ultimately magic them up easily, if for barely no time at all.

Fervour: Slightly less powerful Lay on Hands, but can also use it to use quickened spells on yourself.

Bonus Feats: Count as a fighter, and get 6 total.

Channel Energy: 2 uses of fervour of AoE fervour heal/harm.

Sacred Armour: Given enhancements to your armour as a swift action. Lasts longer than on weapons at least.

Aspect of War: Capstone. Short duration BAB up, DR 10/- and maybe speed boost.

These will be rated as Excellent, Good and Blah. These will tend to be rated based on the earlier power, since the major ones might not be an issue.

Air: Minor: no range penalties with weapon or AoOs from firing in melee for 1 min. Major: fly for 1 min. Both are poor uses of a standard action due to the tiny duration, although the minor one could at least sometimes be useful, and one interpretation makes it amazing with guns.

Animal: Minor: Give 2 claws or a bite for 1 minute. Major: Summon nature's ally spells, and scaling, but only lasts a minute.
The natural attacks are maybe okay if you have a someone who'd benefit from them, and the summon nature's ally spells are actually pretty great since they can't be interrupted (since they're technically supernatural and 1 minute is a good duration for them anyway)

Artifice: Minor: Bypass construct/object hardness/DR for 1 minute. Major: transfer weapon/armour special qualities for 1 minute.
Bypassing hardness or DR is amazing! You're a portable adamantine thing. Totally worth it, and doesn't even need to be in combat. The other power is... very poor.

Chaos: Minor: Small damage boost vs law for 1 minute. Major: As Animal, but summon monster spells and only chaotic creatures.
Minor is blah, but major is pretty good for the same reason Animal is.

Charm: Minor: High DC sanctuary, and target can break it for one thing at a time for 1 minute. Major: activate aura for 1 min, swift action thereafter to stop stuff doing anything for 1 round.
First power is amazing, but it's a shame the second needs the standard to activate in the first place.

Community: Minor: for 1 minute target gives +4 when they aid another or can use on self as swift. Major: When you hit something, give friends bonus to hit it as well.
Aid another bonuses are always nifty, and in this case since it's a swift action it's worth it easily. The other is awkward, since you need at least 2 turns for it to even start working. And also it has dreadful range.

Curse: Minor: Next time weapon hits something, save or take penalties for 1 minute. Major: Half strength bestow curse when something crits you as swift or immediate.
Woo, something you can prepare in advance! Makes this great. Reactionary things like the major one are also sweet.

Darkness: Minor: Give hard to bypass 20% miss chance. Major: Blind a creature
So blah they're not even slightly worth it.

Death: Minor: bonus on disguise, intimidate and various saves for 1 minute. Major: Swift action negative level on a hit. Only lasts a minute, but that's all you need a debuff of that kind for.
Minor is flexible, but ultimately useless, but major is maybe something to consider.

Destruction: Minor: Morale bonus to damage for 1 minute. Major: Medium fortification and bonus to confirm crits for a minute.
Nifty, but duration is too short to bother with.

Earth: Minor: Tiny extra acid damage for a minute. Major: Tiny DR on armour for a minute.
Both of these benefits are far too small and short to ever be good.

Evil: Same as Chaos, but Evil.

Fire: Minor: As Earth, but fire. Major: Immunity to fire for a minute, and things take fire damage when they hit.
Fire immunity is always good, and it's rare to have a personal spell on someone else.

Glory: Minor: As Charm. Major: Swift action demoralise attempt.
Certainly not as good as charm, but a good second if you can't make the charm.

Good: As Chaos, but Good.

Healing: Minor: Empower any cure spell you cast as a swift action. Major: Give fast healing 3 for a minute.
Shame this doesn't work on things like Heal or Breath of Life. Can be done out of combat easily, both of these, which is a definite advantage for both.

Knowledge: Minor: Probably ID a creature you touch. Major: When you do ID a creature, +2 insight to a lot of stuff for a minute as a swift action.
A nice bonus that's actually usable and potentially super practical. How about that?

Law: As Chaos, But Law.

Liberation: Minor: 1 round freedom of movement as swift, even if you can't take actions normally. Major: As minor, but everyone.
Now this is something that is literally life saving. And for everyone, at later levels.

Luck: Minor: Reroll one thing in a minute and take best. Major: Immediate force reroll and take lowest.
Minor's not so hot in combat, but major is amazing.

Madness: Minor: Scared or Paralysed creatures are confused temporarily, and must attack themselves or another as a swift. Major: Swift action even while confused choose action for confused creatures.
If you can confuse stuff reliably, the major one is definitely encounter ending. Minor is semi-useless, since they're out of it one way or another anyway.

Magic: Minor: ranged attack with melee weapon, using wis instead of dex. Major: Don't use spell slot on attack spell, so long as it's fast and 3 levels lower than highest level spell.
Thing about attack spells is that they want good DCs... and low level spells don't have those. Also the first one is terrible.

Nobility: Minor: +2 on one roll type for a minute. Major: Swift action +4 bonus to friends when friends do the same thing as you for a round.
Minor is good out of combat, and Major is a swift so actually usable usefully in combat.

Plant: Minor: Swift action entangle on a hit for a round. Major: As Animal, but worse spells.
Entangle isn't a fabulous debuff unless you're planning on running.

Protection: Minor: Tiny AC/Save boost, with dreadful scaling for a minute. Major: aura of energy resist to all types.
Minor's not worth the action to use, but Major is a decent one to look at.

Repose: Minor: Touch to stagger for a round, sleep instead if already staggered. Undead staggered for many rounds. Major: When channeling, also harm undead as swift (although half damage)
If you fight a lot of undead, worth it. Otherwise definitely a skip.

Rune: Minor: make dreadful trap. Major: Cast spells into weapon as spell storing.
Major is useful, minor is trash.

Scalykind: Minor: Almost reasonable AC boost for 1 minute. Major: Bite attack, plus Con poison for a minute.
Not especially worth the standard actions for that duration. The poison could stand to be stronger for its level.

Strength: Minor: swift action boost on combat rolls for a round. Major: Swift action encumberance ignore + bonus vs paralysis type effects for a minute.
Neither of these are remarkable beyond being practical to activate.

Sun: Minor: Blind something for a round. Major: Put Flaming/Undead bane on a weapon for a minute
Both are kind of rubbish just because they're standard action to activate and have terrible duration.

Travel: Minor: Swift action to ignore difficult terrain. Major: Teleport a short way as a move action.
Useful, and practical to activate in both instances.

Trickery: Minor: Move action to give single mirror image. Major: Greater invisibility for a round as swift action.
Fantastic protective abilities, and also practical to activate.

Void: Minor: Silence something and maybe stagger it as a touch attack for a round. Major: Weak fly and life bubble for a minute.
The silence is nice, and often worth it to stuff up a caster, but the major one is very blah.

War: Minor: Weak benefits that can be changed each round for a minute. Major: Give Vicious to a friend for a minute and help confirm crits.
Vicious is terrible, but the minor one is possibly one of the better ones of this type. In either case, the short duration is terrible.

Water: As Fire, but cold.

Weather: Minor: As Earth, but electricity. Major: Wind wall and feather fall on you for 1 minute, doesn't interfere with your attacks.
Minor is dreadful, but major is a pretty useful defensive.

Okay, let's take a look at comparing this to the two parents:

Cleric gets more spells and faster, and some cross class spells. Their channel is slightly stronger (ultimately by 4d6) but have fewer uses. Their domain powers are equivalent to blessings, although some of those are a little better, and get more uses.

Fighters get 5 more bonus feats, bravery, weapon and armour training. It's only with the weapon master's handbook and armour master's handbook that anything beyond the bonus feats were even worth mentioning. Oh, and they can hit stuff better.

There's a bit of comparison to paladin here too, since fervour is effectively Lay on Hands, if slightly weaker.

Warpriests seem... very swift action heavy. And ultimately, that's probably what ends up being their balancing factor, just because I can see a lot of things just being awkward to activate as is. There's a lot to be said for swift action heals. You're never going to be quite so effective as a fighter unprepared, but with preparation you can certainly be deadly, and incredibly durable. I think, kind of to my surprise, that it all balances out, mostly. Maybe it's just having done the many terrible blessings last, but it really is kind of a perfect half way point between the two classes. Even if it's just a teensy bit better than just straight up half fighter half cleric.


Using the same system as before, now it's archetype time:

Arsenal Chaplain: War blessing only, but quicken blessing feat for both bits free and can use it on friends efficiently in place of sacred armour. Sacred weapon doesn't do so much damage, and you get weapon training in place of channel. War isn't very good and sacred armour is reasonable, so that's not so good. Some nice things with weapon training now though, so that's a worthwhile replacement. All up not worth it though.

Champion of the Faith: Oooh, I can feel the toe stepping here. Weakens sacred weapon a bit, can detect opposed alignments in place of one bonus feat, and then SMITE as a paladin in place of channel energy (using two uses of fervour). Feels almost worth doing as a default.

Cult Leader: Lose feats for decent scaling sneak attack and hide in plain sight. Get more skills, and be all round more rogue-y. Feels almost one-man-partyish for what you can do now.

Disenchanter: Bonus feats take a dispel/save boosting turn. Give maybe reasonable save boost to friends in place of channel, and lose a bonus feat to use fervour to use a targeted dispel magic. As standard for this shoddily done book, your bonus feat options increase at 6th level, but you don't get a bonus feat at 6th level. The bonus feat options are pretty nifty things that you aren't actually able to get otherwise, which might make it worth it at higher levels.

Divine Champion: Lose all bonus feats for basically favoured enemy vs other religons, deific obedience and ability to use Fervour to fuel spell-likes from deific obedience. Amusingly, if you take the evangelist prestige class, you get double boons. On its own, sort of blah for what you trade though.

Divine Commander: Lose blessings for a mount. Lose bonus feats for template to mount and basically a Cavalier's tactician ability. Then a final lost feat to boost your army's stats. The blessings really are kind of terrible, so you're probably kind of a step up here with the mount. Happily, you can't combine this with Champion of the Faith, or you'd really be stepping on some toes.

Forgepriest: Only one blessing, and lots of scope for item creation. Can boost sacred armour/weapon with fervour in place of channel, and lose two bonus feats for craft magic arms and armour and some weak fire resist. Oh, and get more spells on your list. Not a bad swap out, except for the fire resist.

Liberty's Blade: Only Liberation Blessing, and be good against devils at the cost of slightly less good channel healing. Obviously at its best if you're fighting lots of devils, at which point it's the obvious choice, but otherwise skipable.

Mantis Zealot: Sneak attack in place of sacred weapon and evasions/uncanny dodges in place of sacred armour. Also sawtooth sabre proficiency. Kind of a blah set up for a red mantis assassin.

Proselytiser: It's easier to do nonlethal damage, although you lose a lot of stuff to do so. Not even close to worth it.

Sacred Fist: Pretend to be a monk, complete with flurry and ki in place of sacred armour, weapon and feats. Also evasion for fort saves (which is nearly useless) and get some free style feats. Feelin' the toe treading again. No ki powers though, mostly because monk wasn't unchained then.

Shieldbearer: Whack stuff with shields, channel is a cone and swap sacred weapon with sacred armour. Kind of blah.

Well, having said the base warpriest is pretty much fine, the archetypes are pretty dodgy. Lots and lots of toe stepping. Presumably just part of the issue that arises due to the concept behind it being so weak as to barely exist independent of what else is around. Almost ends up being a weird thing where the base class is fine, but a chunk of the archetypes are not.

Anyway, I hope that's helpful for anyone who actually reads these. I do it for my own benefit and notes as much as anything, but if it helps other people too, great. If you want to add your own thoughts, please do so in the comments!

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Post on Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:32 pm by Quark

This is done now too. I'm very skeptical about doing things for the other 4 hybrids, because those are immediately obviously broken, as demonstrated both in practice and just looking at them. But I'll do a thought collection on them if there's any interest.

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