I wanted to build a healer/melée fighter character for a Pathfinder campaign. With the 4E Essentials Warpriest in mind, and having no PF experience, I wanted to build a Dwarf Warpriest. Given that the only thing I have is the d20pfsrd, I feel really lost.

Character creation with my GM was frustrating, because:

  • I've never played PF, only 2E and 4E.
  • the GM didn't explain much about the class, only that "it's a hybrid class"
  • I had no access to sourcebooks or the d20pfsrd, the site didn't work in my smartphone.
  • My rolls (I wanted to use point-buy or a prebuilt array, GM stated "everyone rolls or everyone buys, rest of the group chose to roll) were 10,11,11,12,13,15.
  • I wanted a "simple character" (I was still thinking about the 4E Essentials Warpriest).
  • I then changed to Cleric, thinking "this will be simpler than a hybrid class"
  • I found out that Dwarf and Cleric don't mesh well because of the dwarven -2 to CHA. People at the table (but not the GM, at least I didn't notice) implied that channel energy and turn undead were kind of important for a cleric.
  • The rest of the group built everything but a Melée role (but see * below).
  • The rest of the group hasn't built a Healer role either yet: Bard (dedicated to buffing, not healing, IIRC), Sniper, Oracle (see * below), another-role-I-forget-but-not-healer-or-defender.
  • The rest of the group implied and overtly stated that I'd be in the thick of melée, and that I'd be basically the only one. I'm OK with being in the middle of the fight (Warpriests do that), but my stats for a Dwarf Cleric made that ridiculous, if I'm correct.
  • People in the group are suggesting I either go with an Aasimar Cleric or Warpriest, or a Paladin. Problem is, I don't really want to roleplay either. I know next to nothing about Aasimar, and Paladins are... Paladins. Perhaps other classes or races are a better fit.
  • (*) After group email, the Oracle player wants to build a Brawler.

Given this, is it viable to build a Dwarf Warpriest? Should I choose a different class/race? Which?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ using 4e roles in pathfinder is not really a good idea. 'defenders' do not really exist in pathfinder. Often times, tanks do not really have a way to prevent enemies from just walking past them and attacking more threatening characters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Aug 27, 2014 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ColinD I've changed my wording. Thanks for the clarification about PF tanks! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2014 at 17:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would also be skeptical about your other players advise on channeling. Cleric channeling is only great if you are in an undead themed campaign. Using it for in battle healing is generally a trap (healing in combat is usually sub-optimal. also requires selective channeling feat to do well) \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Aug 27, 2014 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


From my experience clerics make excellent buffers, but since that is already handled by your bard go with Dwarf Warpriest. It is a combat focused character with some healing powers (sounds like its what you really want to play anyway).

It is a hybrid class: meaning it draws features from its 2 parent classes (in this case fighter and cleric). It gets some access to the cleric spell list (only up to level 6) but focuses on combat.

Use the following stats:
Str: 15
Dex: 12
Con: 15 (13 + 2)
Int: 11
Wis: 13 (11 + 2) put your ability score increases from levels here, stop when it is at 16.
Cha: 8 (10 -2)

Use your spells to buff/heal/support your comrades, but focus on beating things down with your self-buffed weapons.

High STR and CON combined with some of your dwarven racial features provide combat presence and tankiness. Invest in WIS up to 16, so you get full access to your spell list.

Unlike standard Cleric, Warpriest channeling is not CHA based, making CHA a safe dumpstat.


Some notes:

Dwarf and cleric mesh excellently. Wisdom is far more important than Charisma, and Constitution increases survivability, something that is very valued in a cleric that will be in the thick of things. Furthermore, as you get access to some martial weapons by virtue of being a Dwarf, you're in a pretty good place to melee. By dumping Charisma, you only hurt your Channel Energy ability, which is not the end of the world.

Bards can definitely be healers. If he is focused on ranged, then he can definitely spend some time using his spell slots on Cure Light Wounds.

I don't think your stats are too ridiculous for defender. A level 1 cleric with 15 Con (assuming you go 17 Wis) you would start with 11 hit points. Putting your dex at 12, Hide Armor, and a shield gives you 1 + 4 + 2 = 7 more AC, for a total of 17.

If you would prefer to be more combat focused, and archetypes are allowed, look into the Crusader archetype, which would give you access to heavy armor at level 1.

But ultimately, the most important thing is that you create a character you enjoy. I think a Dwarven Cleric, with a focus on the War Domain, can definitely thrive in a party where there is already another person who can heal and another person who can tank (Brawler). Your stat rolls, while not fantastic, will leave you with a fairly strong and well rounded character.

I've also looked into it a bit more and Warpriest also seems very viable, doing similar calculations, but having Strength at 12 instead of Dexterity. That said, I'm unfamiliar with the class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A question: 15 CON is 13+2, and 17 WIS is 15+2, right? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2014 at 16:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AdrianoVaroliPiazza Yeah, he's suggesting you let your Dwarven racial adjustments boost up your two best stat rolls. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2014 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem with him being a 'defender' is that he is no real threat to enemies and no way for enemies to just walk around him as a cleric. \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Aug 27, 2014 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ColinD That's true of most people in Pathfinder, though. The 4th edition "Defenders" that move enemies and force them to attack the tank just don't exist on the same level. He's still a threat to enemies. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2014 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SurrealAnalysis a medium BAB with little/no bonus to attack or damage roles combined with lack of damage or control spells on his list makes him non-threatening. \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Aug 27, 2014 at 17:06

You've answered part of your own question here:

People in the group are suggesting I either go with an Aasimar Cleric or Warpriest, or a Paladin. Problem is, I don't really want to roleplay either.

Sounds like you had your heart specifically set on playing a dwarf. Dwarven clerics can be viable. Your high stat is a 15 and your low is a 10. If you want to be an aggressive battle-cleric, consider making the 15 your con stat so you can get some bonus hitpoints. In the long run, you're going to need ways to increase your wisdom to keep your cleric spells and powers potent.

Since you're new to PF with some other D&D experience, I would advise trying the standard cleric. True, you won't have the best Charisma stat, but it will not be impossible to play. There are a variety of Cleric Archetypes that will slightly alter the Cleric class with details that may help you with the theme. D20PFSRD isn't going to list out all the various deity options available to you. Some of that information may instead be found in the pathfinder wiki.

With a little work and research you should be able to make a dwarven cleric that is something you want to play and a contributing defender to the party.

((Unable to link to the sources from here, will edit them in later or I encourage another user to link to the d20PFSRD / PF wiki))

  • \$\begingroup\$ My point in your quote was about the Aasimar and Paladin specifically. Some other options might be available. I'm not opposed to playing a human warpriest, for example, if people tell me it's a viable alternative. BTW, the warpriest is included in the pfsrd. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2014 at 16:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AdrianoVaroliPiazza Ah, it's already in the PFSRD? I've removed the note. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2014 at 16:29

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