I am currently playing a level 6 Dwarven Cleric in Pathfinder, and I'm in a considerable bind. My cleric of Grundinnar (LG/domains of Good/Community) is part of a group consisting of a Ranger with ridiculous Dexterity and several feats/items that boost his attack bonus, a Bard with significant overall skill and inherent Buffs and a Magus that can enchant their blade with obsurd amounts of spells and had just invested in Sacred Geometry (chosen Metamagic of Quicken/Maximize).

While I have a great Wisdom stat (+3), I have abysmal strength and Dexterity stats when compared to my party (neutral Dex and -1 Str vs +3 to +6 Str and Dex). As such, the only things that are available for me to do at the moment are healing the party and using spells. However, my save DCs are too low for me to consider queueing spells like Command or Forbid Action. Moreover, some of the better spells at my level rely heavily on my Wisdom stat, like Spiritual Weapon and Divine Trident.

So, other than using Owls' Wisdom (not worth a 2nd lvl spell slot), a Headband of Inspired Wisdom/Mental Prowess, an Ioun Stone (too expensive for a +1 bonus/same bonus type as headband) and a Tome of Understanding, what can I do to boost my spell DCs and other stat-based variables?

  • \$\begingroup\$ At you levels, enemies you encounter should have a "bad save" with a bonus of less than +8 (more probably something like +5). With your natural DC of 16 for your lvl 3 spells you have a reasonable chance to affect them... But more chance is better, we all agree on that ! \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Nov 7 '16 at 9:53


Here are a few options to increase your chances to land a spell on enemies:

  • Spell Focus: Choose a school of magic and apply +1 to the DC of all spells of that school.

    • Greater Spell Focus: The previously chosen school is now +2 DC.

    • Spell Perfection (at 15th level): Choose one spell to master and double the bonus from Spell Focus. Won`t be available anytime soon, but should be listed here for reference.

  • Heighten Spell (Metamagic): This will allow you to cast spells using higher spell slots, which automatically increase their save DC.

  • Focused Spell (Metamagic): Increase the spell level by one to increase the DC by 2 on a single target of a spell that affects multiple targets.


Yes, you should consider ways to debuff your enemies that allow no save, or spells that lower their saves:

  • Cause Fear: One creature up to 5 HD becomes frightened if they fail their save (which also applies -2 to checks from shaken), or if they pass, they become shaken for one round.

  • Prayer: No save, debuff their attack rolls, damage rolls, saves and skill checks while buffing your party at the same time.

  • Sacred Space: Sancities an area to increase all good spells DC by 2, or against evil outsiders, which also debuffs their attack, damage and saving throws by 1.

Or effects that apply the Shaken condition (-2 to saves):

  • Intimidation: Intimidating a foe is the easiest way to make an enemy shaken, and can be done even by a fighter or rogue in your group, but preferably, should be someone that invested a few feats on it.

  • Doom: Will save or shaken.

  • Bestow Curse: Will save or -6 to an ability (wisdom) or -4 to attack rools, saves, and ability and skill checks.

Or effects that apply the Sickened Condition (also -2 to saves):

  • Ray of Sickening: Fortitude save or become sickened for 1 minute per level.
  • Dread Bolt (if you are evil): Causes damage against good targets and apply sickened if they fail a will save.
  • Unholy Blight (also for evil casters): The opposite of Holy Smite, will cause good creatures to become sickened if they fail a will save.

Be aware that creatures immune to mind-affecting effects will be immune to fear effects.

Other Classes

There are options from other classes that are available either as multiclass or by other party members that you could benefit from, but are also readily available (at first level):

  • Evil Eye (witch): Applies -2 to either attack rolls, skills or saves, even if they pass the save, the effect lasts for one round.

  • Misfortune (witch again): Target that fails their will save will have to roll twice and take the best result on any ability check, attack roll, saving throw or skill check for one round.

  • Spell Bane (inquisitors): While your bane ability is affecting a creature type, all your spells DC increase by 2 against that creature type.

If we knew what was your deity and cleric domains (or even the composition of your group, afterall it's a team), we could also suggest some domain abilities that could help, but i believe you got it after all these ideas.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate your suggestions, but most of these are either too low of a bonus, or just outright inaccessible for my character. On top of being lawful good, my spell DCs range from 13 - 16, meaning that most enemies I face will be able to make their saves [see Monster Creation: Statistics by CR]. All of these are great ideas in general, but not enough to offset having mostly neutral modifiers. I mean, 13 CMD isn't going to stop a Dire Lion from grappling me for four rounds and attempt to suplex me into another party member (this happened btw, went from 42 to 3 HP). Thanks anyway... \$\endgroup\$ – Areadbhair Nov 10 '16 at 16:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are no options to suddenly boost your spell DC. If your build is already set, you should consider buffing your allies instead of afflicting your enemies. At next level (7th), being grappled is no longer a problem, as long as you keep at least one slot with Freedom of Movement. Just remember to cast it before combat, as it will last one hour and it's kind of difficult to cast it while grappled. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Nov 10 '16 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the heads-up on Freedom of Movement. Honestly, I'm just reeling from loosing my original character sheet a couple months ago. I used to have pretty good stats all around, so I was able to contribute a lot more. It's just freaking depressing to be reduced to humping everyone's leg for the rest of the game or get everyone killed if I try something else \$\endgroup\$ – Areadbhair Nov 10 '16 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered spells that do not allow a saving throw? Like, the spell prayer i listed above has no saving throw. There are many combat utility spells that do not allow saves and are still valuable in a combat, like spiritual weapon, summon monster, protection from <aligment> (and the circle version). You will also have access to lesser planar ally at 7th. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Nov 11 '16 at 10:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bear in mind that you don't have to do the Intimidate check yourself to benefit from Demoralize. Your bard is probably the strongest at it. In particular, you could suggest the spell Blistering Invective to your bard, which lets him demoralize many opponents at once. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben S. Dec 31 '19 at 20:05

Besides spell focus and the like I see some additional options:

If you do not have it yet (or another magic trait) you could take the additional traits feat to get Honeyed Words and use spells that benefit from it*. As the second trait gained you could take one that helps with intimidate like Bruising intellect to debuff your enemies to lower their saves.

Or you can help your party apart from using spells (or in addition to it). While I know this is not directly answering the question it might help you feel that you do something meaningful. For example by taking the Combat advice feat. As a caster you often don't need your move action. With that feat you can buff allies in addition to casting spells.

*Example of spells that should benefit from Honeyed Words: Command (drop, halt), forbid action (attack), Compassionate Ally, Hold Person, Charitable Impulse

One metamagic feat that would help you is bouncing spell. While it doesn't increase the save, the spell bounces to a second target when the first one makes his save.

  • \$\begingroup\$ These are good suggestions in general, but the bonus from honeyed words is a bit low to take advantage of. Also with only 3 skill ranks per level, the only skills I have been buffing have been Kn Religion (to qualify for Quick Channel), Diplomacy and Sense Motive. The notion of Bouncing spell is nice, but not worth delaying Reactive Healing for another two levels (this campaign is extremely slow in leveling). However, Combat Advice is probably the best option I've seen so far; I just wish that we didn't have a Bard, which renders this feat moot (bonuses of the same type don't stack) \$\endgroup\$ – Areadbhair Nov 10 '16 at 17:18

I suggest talking to your party/DM and explain that you're feeling kind of irrelevant and sidelined because of how powerful the other characters seem in comparison to you.

Having read some other answers and your responses to them, it looks like you're playing with some allies that are rather optimized (Sacred Geometry, for example, is absurd) while you seem to be not as optimized. It also seems like you're looking for a single feat/item/whatever that you can pick up to instantly boost your save DCs' by a significant margin to catch you up with the combat strength of your party members. Unfortunately, no such option exists, otherwise they would eclipse all other options, and with your other party members being spellcasters as well, they would also have specc'd into it. To increase your DCs' your options are basically going to be Spell Focus and something that boosts your WIS score.

My suggestions are thus:

Forget the save DCs for the most part. You're playing a Cleric, which is one of the best buffing classes in the game, and one of the top 5 classes in the game. Prep spells like Prayer, Bless, Angelic Aspect, Ice Armor, and especially Magic Weapon and Greater Magic Weapon and similar spells. Blessing of Fervor, deserves special mention. The divine version of Haste, it grants a stronger buff than Haste, but only to a single option each round. It also allows any character affected by it to apply one of four select Metamagic feats to a spell they cast each turn for free, and your Bard and Magus will love you for it. Don't focus on being the center of attention, focus on enabling your allies.

Or perhaps focus on summoning. The Summon Monster spell line is very good. It has the benefits of improving your teams action economy, providing an extra target (or targets at higher levels) for your opponents to split their damage into, and it allows you to make attacks while ignoring your own poor offensive stats, plus they also will benefit from your buff spells that you'll likely be throwing around anyways!

If you decide to delve into the art of summoning, there are a handful of feats you'll want to get you started, namely Spell Focus (Conjuration), which, while unhelpful to your character overall, is a prerequisite for the much more important feat Augment Summon which will buff the STR and CON score of any creature you summon. Since you can already cast level 3 spells, and are shortly going to gain access to level 4 spells, you can start summoning real outsiders, like elementals and imps and things. My personal recommendation is to drop down an earth elemental during the first round of combat followed by some sort of buff spell like Bless.


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