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I'm toying with the idea of cross-classing a Sorcerer with one level in Cleric (Life domain for the bonuses to heals and heavy armor).

At 2nd level, 1st level Cleric & 1st level Sorcerer, what would be the pros and cons?

At 20th level, 1st level Cleric & 19th level Sorcerer, what would be the pros and cons?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a heads up, generally with optimization questions, we're usually looking for some kind of criteria by which to judge a question (what are you trying to do with this character). In this case I think it's fairly easy to define pros and cons for the scenarios you set up. But keep that in mind if you want to ask further char-op style quesitons \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 21 '14 at 0:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wax eagle, Noted. Thanks for the heads up. \$\endgroup\$ – Nestor Ledon Aug 21 '14 at 0:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please validate this assumption: You're a first level Sorcerer taking a 1 level dip into Cleric, before continuing to 19 as a Sorcerer? \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Aug 5 '16 at 16:11
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Sorc 1/Cleric 1 should be pretty solid.

You'd have 3 L1 spell slots per day, you'd get access to medium armor and Shields, which is a nice boost to your AC. You'd also pick up the first domain feature for your cleric, which can be quite good. A S1/C1 would be a solid combination, it's a bit MAD as you'd want to make sure you have wis/cha/dex, but that's not the end of the world.

Sorc 19/Cleric 1 has a bit more issues. You only have the few L1 cleric spells, and lots of Sorcerer spells, make sure you took cleric spells that scale (so you can cast them in your higher level spell slots).

You miss out on the Cleric's Channel Divinity feature, which can be quite good. More importantly though, you miss out on the Sorcerer's capstone which will limit your effectiveness at L20. The Sorc's capstone is Sorcerous restoration which restores 4 sorcery points every short or long rest. Considering the number of things you have to use those on by L20, it would be a shame to miss out on that refresh.

A more significant dip into cleric might be more beneficial. 4 levels gets you the ability score improvement you miss by not taking Sorc 19. The second level of cleric gives you channel divinity and your second divine Domain feature. So I think, personally, I'd look at a heavier investment in your second class if you are going to give up your capstone.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good advice. At second level I can see some immediate pros. If you start with Cleric you get a larger Hit Die. Cleric also offers proficiencies with Light armor, medium armor, & shields. Additionally if you go with the Life Domain, heavy armor and boosted heals. Solid build for a low level character. I can see what you mean when it comes to 20th level. That comes down to weather or not heals, heavy armor and shields are worth more than Sorcerous Restoration, which most likely isn't the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Nestor Ledon Aug 21 '14 at 0:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Xerosigma yeah, MCing is intentionally costly for most classes, they really want you to think, and it seems the really want you to take at least 4 levels (the second level dip costs you an ability score increase, which you can't recover until L4). \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Aug 21 '14 at 0:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/46478/… \$\endgroup\$ – DampeS8N Aug 21 '14 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ You don't need to take Clerical spells that scale. You know all of the clerical spells you could cast as a first level cleric. The consideration is which you prepare for the day. \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Aug 5 '16 at 16:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ 4 levels of cleric might give you that ability score improvement but you miss out on 9th level spells. Wish and Meteor Swarm for instance. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Oct 18 '17 at 15:38
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One level of cleric can add a ton of versatility to just about any spellcaster.

Pros

You get a bunch of good 1st level spells that scale well, a number of good ritual spells, good proficiencies, 3 additional cantrips (5 if you do arcana domain) and a Divine Domain feature that ranges from additional skill proficiencies to some cool abilities.

When I do this sort of build I make a point of picking cleric cantrips and spells to prepare that don't have an attack roll or save (buffs like bless, or a healing spell like healing word), so I can minimize my wisdom at 13 or 14, and so that I don't need to invest ASI's in improving an ability to go to the secondary class. The cleric's armor proficiency means that you don't need a dex score higher than 14 as well (or maybe dump dex entirely if you have heavy armor proficiency, like with life domain cleric, though watch those strength requirements), which means you can focus on your primary casting stat (charisma in your case) and then feats.

As you progress in sorcerer, make sure you have spells that get much better as they go to higher levels so that you can use your otherwise dead slots to good effect. Some examples: hold person/monster, animate dead, or major image.

Which spells/cantrips?

Some examples of 1st cleric spells that are awesome throughout your career: sanctuary, cure wounds, healing word, and detect magic.

Cleric cantrips that are useful to take: guidance, light, mending, thaumatergy

Con

If you make it to level 20, you lose the sorcerer's capstone ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Spare the dying for when you are out of healing and someone is down on the deck making death saves. \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Oct 18 '17 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please review the edit I made to make sure your intent is preserved. I did that mostly for format. Edit again as needed to fine tune your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 18 '17 at 15:42

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