Posted by : David Guyll June 25, 2011
additional options for Strength-based clerics to the tune of a variant class feature, variant Channel Divinity power, and sixteen at-will and encounter attacks ranging from levels 1-27. This is a hefty addition, and I'll need to let my Saturday game's dwarf cleric player do some retraining (especially because she even went so far as to take Scale Armor Proficiency). Lets take a look at the alternate features and powers, first.
- Battle Cleric's Lore gives you a shield bonus to AC and proficiency with scale. That right there is nice, essentially a small bundle of feats (except that you do not actually have to carry a shield), but it also grants allies an attack bonus instead of bonus hit points when you heal them. This basically gives you a hands-free defender's AC, but your healing words still get some extra perks on the side. As it stands it seems a bit too good, especially compared to Healer's Lore (bonus hit points healed equal to your Wisdom modifier).
- You can swap out divine fortune for favor of the gods, which gives one creature a free reroll before the end of your next turn. It isn't something you can use when they miss, you target them with it on your turn, and if they miss they can opt to give it another shot. Kind of like a more conditional version of divine guidance, and I like it a lot more than divine fortune.
- You can swap out turn undead for punish the profane, which is a weapon attack that deals radiant damage and immobilizes the target. It also deals half damage on a miss and has a secondary effect that targets all undead within an area of effect, dealing a small amount of radiant damage and pushing them on a hit. This one I don't necessarily like more than turn undead, but seems very flavorful for a battle cleric.
New Cleric Powers
There are two at-wills, and both work better with simple weapons. Battle cleric's weapon mastery, in addition to needing a shorter name, has a built-in attack bonus and gives you a damage bonus if you are using it with both hands. It is basically a souped up melee basic attack. On the other hand, weapon of divine protection deals an extra d6 damage if you are using a simple weapon, and grants allies next to you a defense bonus as an effect. So, that's pretty leader-y.
The rest is a bunch of encounter attacks that extend all the way to epic tier, two per level. They all follow the general theme of gaining an attack bonus (ie, Strength +1 vs. AC) and damage bonus if used in two hands, or just one or more d6's if you are using a simple weapon in general. Some of them are just improved versions of themselves (for example, sundering might and divine beacon), and I would have preferred if they just used the formatting that they use with powers that scale if you take them at a higher level.
These new encounter attacks really seem like Mearls just going through the motions of trying to wrap up support for a class concept, which is actually very good because despite the fact that any competent DM or player could have done the same thing: I know many people do not allow something that didn't come out of a book--specifically, an official D&D book, and sometimes not even then.
You will like it if you play clerics in general (especially for the alternate features), but obviously if you want to emulate a warpriest then this should have you covered.