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Is there a Pathfinder equivalent to the Radiant Servant of Pelor? I am trying to convert my campaign from D&D 3.5 to pathfinder, and everyone is on board except for my Cleric player who doesn't want to lose this prestige class opportunity. Is there a similar alternative I can suggest to him?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Depends what he wants out of it, rules power or flavor.

In terms of flavor, Sarenrae is the closest deity to Pelor in portfolio (Sun, Healing).

Prestige classes, in Pathfinder, have been demoted to what they were kinda supposed to be when 3.0 added them - reflections of belonging to a quite specific in game organization. There are some good anti-undead ones like the Knights of Ozem, and there's a Dawnflower Dervish of Sarenrae in Wayfinder #1. But in general the Pathfinder way is that classes and class options (feats/archetypes/etc) have been made stronger and more interesting such that multiclassing and prestige classing are much less common because they're less necessary.

You can:

  1. Use the Radiant Servant of Pelor straight from 3.5, most of it works fine without comment in Pathfinder except for the Greater Turning ability of the Sun Domain. You can keep that if you want, but remember channeling can hose out d6's of damage to the undead anyway, making it somewhat redundant. Some people believed Greater Turning to be overpowered in 3.5 (google "Radiant Servant of Pelor" + OP or overpowered for discussion thereof) and it gets stronger in conjunction with the already-strong clerical channeling from Pathfinder (which is enhanced by the Sun Domain) and easier turning with Turn Undead. If you do add Greater Turning you should replace Sun's Blessing with it - that Sun Domain ability already adds the cleric's level to channeling damage to undead and bypasses channel resistance, adding destroy-if-turned on top of that (+ Improved Channel, +2 to DCs) is an easy way to make undead pretty pointless in your game. In fact my DM disallowed this exact p-class/ability when I was playing a cleric of Sarenrae using Pathfinder Beta rules + 3.5e addons in Curse of the Crimson Throne. I took a Crusader level instead. :-P
  2. Use a random fan conversion of the RSoP to Pathfinder like this one, the Radiant Servant of Sarenrae, from the Paizo boards.
  3. Just build a cleric that works that way - core classes and cleric domains are stronger in PF. Take the Healing domain to get the empowered heals, Sun domain to get enhanced channeling damage and bypass turn resistance. Stack on some feats and you're done. You could also mess with templates, take the Sun alternate channeling ability, etc. Building with classes is the old 3.5 way, in PF you have plenty of building blocks in your class, especially a class like the cleric.

A lot of the difference here is in how Channeling Energy is very different from 3.5e's Turning, make sure and understand how it works first. Channeling is the default clerical power that does positive energy damage to undead in a burst; Turn Undead is a feat you can take on top of it to frighten them instead of harming them (similar with Command Undead). Turning is easier in PF (just a save, not otherwise scaled to HD) and channeling does damage by default, obsoleting the need for a "destroyed result..."

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Just use the Radiant Servant of Pelor straight, where the Extra Greater Turning features instead grant Greater Turning (as the Sun Domain feature). It’s not likely to be a problem anyway.

For reference, the Radiant Servant of Pelor’s class features:

  • Radiance: more flavor than anything else. Fitting but not powerful.
  • Greater Turning: powerful against undead, but mostly only against cannon-fodder type undead. Powerful undead have turning resistance and often have more HD than their CR, meaning that if they’re anything like a real challenge to the party, the Cleric cannot turn them anyway. If your campaign is all undead, I might be concerned about this, but probably not even then. Strong optimization can make it an instant-kill at high levels, but that’s hardly unique to Greater Turning in the rocket-tag world of high-level 3.x.1
  • Divine Health: Minor at best.
  • Empower Healing: The spells of the Healing Domain are mostly pretty weak, and moreover benefit very little from Empower Spell (since the cure spells only have one die per spell level). In-combat healing is a relatively weak strategy in 3.x; frankly, if your Cleric is wasting turns in a fight healing, he’s not doing some of the far more dangerous things he could be doing. Plus this doesn’t even affect all Healing spells, or even all spells from the Healing domain: it only affects the Domain spells from the Healing domain. Which is bad both because you only get one Domain slot per level anyway, and because the Healing domain is very weak.
  • Aura of Warding: Not bad, but nothing amazing.
  • Bonus Domain: This is pretty nice, but figure it’s already the Cleric’s third choice; he won’t be getting anything nicer than what he already has. Especially since he’s obligated to take the very-weak Healing domain if he wants to use half his class features.
  • Maximize Healing: Weak for the same reasons as Empower Healing.
  • Positive Energy Burst: Burns a ton of resources, does less than a spell typically would.
  • Supreme Healing: Still not that good.

In short, the class is giving you one powerful feature that is limited to only a certain type of enemy, and the most dangerous enemies of that type are going to be protected against it. This is not a powerful class.

What the Radiant Servant of Pelor is, is close to “something for nothing” since it advances spellcasting and Turn Undead at every level (which, depending on your Domains, may be the only features of the Cleric class), but unfortunately that’s pretty common in both Wizards’ and Paizo’s work. Neither game is even remotely balanced to begin with, so finding “strictly superior” options like this is not hard. As noted above, the requirement of the meh Sun Domain, the very-weak Healing Domain, and the burning of Turn Undead uses to power most abilities all lead to some pretty hefty costs as it is.

Just from Complete Divine alone, Contemplative, Divine Oracle, Rainbow Servant, and Sacred Exorcist are more powerful than the Radiant Servant of Pelor. The Ur-Priest class, also from Complete Divine, is far more powerful than Radiant Servant of Pelor. The web enhancement for Complete Divine had the Dweormerkeeper, far more powerful than that. And so on. The Radiant Servant of Pelor is not bad by any means, but it’s not a super-powered prestige class.

Ultimately, though, the Cleric has the least grounds for complaint about Pathfinder, though, excepting maybe a Wizard or Sorcerer. Pathfinder, in a lot of ways, shafted mundane characters even harder than 3.5 did. Relatively speaking, the Cleric is even more powerful than he was in 3.5.

1 Pathfinder’s version of Turn Undead (available with a feat) involves a Saving Throw instead of a special turning check. If you adapt Greater Turning to use this rule, it effectively becomes undeath to death, which is a 6th-level spell (i.e. not available for many levels after the Radiant Servant of Pelor gets it). Because this gets around the HD caps on turning, this may be less appropriate than the 3.5 turning rules. There’s no reason you cannot simply use those rules, however.

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