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I am designing a new Cleric Archetype for Pathfinder and I find myself in need of a little advice. I want to replace two of the largest Cleric abilities (Channel Energy and one or both Domains) with a full Sorcerer Bloodline. Yes, I am making the Archetype a Spontaneous Caster complete with Spells per Day and Spells Known charts copy and pasted from Sorcerer and using Charisma as the casting stat. Yes, I realize how much of a near complete overhaul this is. What I need the advice on is this; is a full Sorecerer Bloodline including feats, powers and spells worth Channel Energy and one Domain or is it worth more (or less?)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you looked at the tradeoffs you get for either in the existing archetypes? There's a bunch of sorcerer archetypes that trade off bloodline stuff and a bunch of cleric archetypes that trade domains/channel already that should serve as a baseline. After doing that compare, does your question get more specific? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 22 '17 at 17:33
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As your result is closer to a sorcerer than to a cleric, you should better compare the result to the vanilla sorcerer. The differences I can see are:

Pros:

  • better BAB (3/4 instead of 1/2)
  • better HD (d8 instead of d6)
  • two strong saves instead of one
  • one domain (if you let it)
  • better weapon proficiencies

Cons:

  • You don't get Eschew Materials

So yes, it seems very powerful compared to the vanilla sorcerer.

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Yes, it is balanced

You are asking us if replacing some of the core abilities of a class is enough to keep it balanced or not. To analyze that, we have to compare all abilities from a class as a kit, and what you are replacing by what is being gained.

Aparently, you are granting a Bloodline, but you did not mention Bonus Spells or Bonus Feats. What happened to those? Does the arquetype also grant bonus spells or bonus feats? Or they are excluded since they are technically another class feature of the sorcerer?

Without that being specified and clear, this isn't much different from an Oracle (which is a cleric with spontaneous casting).

Clerics: d8 HD, 2+int skills, two good saves, medium armor proficiency, shield proficiency, all simple weapons proficiency.

  • Channel Energy: A strong ability that you cannot obtain from feats.

  • Two Domains: Also strong abilities depending on your domain that are difficult to obtain via feats (but not impossible). The 8th level abilities are mostly unique or emulate 4-5th level spells with limited uses per day. A domain will also grant the character access to spells normally not available to his class, this can be considered as bonus spells known.

Sorcerers: d6 HD, 2+int skills, one good save, all simple weapons proficiency.

  • Schew Materials: this works as a free bonus feat.

  • Bloodline: This is a collection of abilities of the sorcerer, which grants one additional class skill, one additional spell known every two levels, and one bonus feat every 6 levels. The bloodline powers are in line with domain powers, but are gained at levels 1, 3, 5, 9 and have a greater potential going past 9th level, with a new power at 15th and 20th level. This 20th level ability is similar to a capstone ability gained at 20th by other classes (which clerics normally do not gain). A bloodline also grants an arcana, an ability gained at 1st level that normally scales with your character level and are normally as strong as a feat or two.

Now if we take a look at the oracle, this looks a lot more like the cleric than a sorcerer does.

Oracles: d8 HD, 4+int skills, one good save, medium armor proficiency, shield proficiency, all simple weapons proficiency.

  • Revelation: This is also a collection of abilities, gained every 3 levels, that also grant bonus spells every 2 levels, and 3 or 4 extra class skills.

Comparing all three classes next to each other, i personally would say that being prepared or spontanous caster is simply a matter of taste and game design, they are balanced as they are. So we only have to compare the other core class abilities and see how strong they are compared to one another.

The oracle has most of the cleric base abilities, replaces the two domains and channel energy by revelation and mystery-related abilities that are gained every 4 levels. By lv20, an oracle has 7 revelations, one being gained at 20th and being similar to a capstone ability.

For the sake of comparing, we could say that each "ability", given the level they are gained, are comparable in power. Abilities gained at earlier levels being weaker, and abilities gained at later levels being strong.

Abilities

  • A sorcerer's bloodline will grant the character 7 abilities.

  • A cleric's domain will grant the character 2 abilities. With two domains, they gain 4 abilities.

  • A oracle's revelation will grant the character 7 abilities.

Bonus spells

  • A sorcerer's bloodline will grant the character 9 bonus spells.

  • A cleric's domain will grant the character 9 bonus spells. Two domains grant 18 spells, but nearly half of those spells will be already on the cleric's list. Sometimes you hardly gain 3 or 4 spells from a single domain.

  • A oracle's revelation will grant the character 9 bonus spells.

Bonus feats

  • A sorcerer's bloodline will grant the character 3 bonus feats.

  • A cleric's domain will grant the character no bonus feats.

  • A oracle's revelation will grant the character no bonus feats.

This clearly proves that a single bloodline is more powerful than two domains. This, however, does not account for the extra spell slot gained from the domains, which are 9 extra spell slots, which clearly balances thing in favor of cleric's domains again.

So, yes, replacing two domains by one bloodline is somewhat balanced, as long as you also add the bonus spells from that domain and you add extra feats to balance the lost spell slots. But not if you ignore the additional feats, as a bloodline already grants more powers than both cleric domains, but those are not enough to compensate the nine extra spell slots.

It is fine to add a few bonus feats if you also remove Channel Energy, which is a scaling ability that is equivalent to a mid-level ability (and can be gained by an oracle mystery aswell).

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It sounds like you're trying to build a divine caster that spellcasts like a sorceror and uses charisma as their casting stat. I'd recommend that you start by looking at the oracle class which does exactly that.

If there's more you want to change, you should make an oracle archetype rather than a cleric archetype -- it's likely that you can swap out an oracle mystery for a sorceror bloodline and have it be less of a complete overhaul.

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