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Pathfinder - Warpriest Archetypes Breakdown

Disclaimer

I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.

Archetypes

Champion of the Faith

The Champion of the Faith takes the Warpriest a little bit closer to the Paladin. Smite introduces a problematic dependence on Charisma, making the Warpriest very MAD. If you were planning to play a Face, you need a bit of Charisma anyway, so Champion of the Faith can be a good option. Pick up Divine Protection, and you're even closer to the Paladin.

Chosen Alignment: This shouldn't matter.

Sacred Weapon (Su): The Warpriest can only enhance their weapon for a few rounds per day, so giving up that ability doesn't matter much. Having your weapon automatically aligned is much better, as it allows you to overcome DR of your likely enemies. At high levels you get to make your weapon holy/unholy/etc. for a few minutes per day, which will provide a nice damage bonus.

Detect Alignment (Sp): Detect alignment and hit things in the same round! Dropping Detect Alignment to a move action makes it much easier to use in combat.

Smite (Su): Smite is a fantastic ability, but introduces a problematic dependency on Charisma. Fortunately you can do without the bonuses provided by Charisma, so don't feel compelled to invest too heavily.

Replaced Features: Bonus Feats (3rd), Channel Energy

Compatible Archetypes:

Cult Leader

The Cult Leader is a really cool flavor. The Cult Leader gives up the Warpriest's better armor options for improved skills and a bit of Sneak Attack damage. This makes the Warpriest more of a Striker than a Defender, but in some parties this can be an effective combination. This effectively makes the Cult Leader a divine equivalent of the Arcane Trickster.

Class Skills: A much more Rogue-like skill list. The addition of Bluff helps if you plan to play a Face, but the other changes aren't particularly important.

Skill Ranks per Level: 4+ still isn't a lot, but it's better than the 2+ which normal Warpriests get.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Rogue proficiency list is fine, but you're probably going to spend all of your time using your deity's favored weapon. The light armor and light shields are a problem.

Well-Hidden (Ex): Situational.

Sneak Attack (Ex): Not as good as the Rogue, but Sneak Attack damage is always welcome.

Enthrall (Sp): Situational.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): Fantastic on any stealthy character.

Replaced Features: Class Skills, Skill Ranks Per Level, weapon and armor proficiencies, focus weapon, bonus feats (3rd, 9th, 12th, 15th), channel energy

Compatible Archetypes: None

Disenchanter

The Disenchanter is all about Dispel Magic, which is weird for a class like the Warpriest. Instead of getting into melee and waving a weapon about, the Disenchanter expects you to stand around casting Dispel Magic. While dispelling a heavily buffed enemy is helpful, most enemies won't be buffed, which means that in most encounters the Disenchanter's signature ability is worthless.

Bonus Feats (Ex): Instead of the full list of combat feats, the Disenchanter is limited to a small set of feats. Most of the options are situational or bonuses to saving throws, but some of them add some extra effects to Dispel Magic. Fortunately, you don't need to meet the prerequisites for the feats, so you can take all of the better options without taking the worst ones.

Mystic Interference (Su): The duration isn't great, but this is nice to drop before a fight. Sacred/Profane bonuses are among the rarest in the game, so this should be easy to stack.

Banish Enchantment (Su): A nice supplement to the Warpriest's 2/3 spellcasting, but you may have trouble at high levels because this doesn't upgrade to Greater Dispel Magic.

Replaced Features: Bonus Feats (altered), channel energy, bonus feat (6th)

Compatible Archetypes: None

Divine Commander

The Divine Commander adds a Mount and some Teamwork Feats to the Warpriest, making it something like a Cavalier.

Mount (Ex): A mount is a welcome addition to the Warpriest, but the options are limited, and it really hurts to give up Blessings.

Battle Tactician (Ex): At 3rd level you will have access to very few Teamwork feats, which makes it difficult to use this. For help with Teamwork Feats, see my Practical Guide to Teamwork Feats.

Blessed Mount (Su): The aligned creature templates grant DR, energy resistance, spell resistance, and a smite ability, all of which are wonderful improvements to your Mount.

Greater Battle Tactician (Ex): By this point you can get some decent Teamwork feats to share with your allies.

Bless Army (Su): Only matters in mass combat.

Replaced Features: Blessings, Bonus Feats (3rd, 6th, 12th, 15th)

Compatible Archetypes: None

Forgepriest

The Forgepriest is a cool concept, but has a few fatal design errors. The best item crafters are full casters because they get access to key spells earlier. The best way to craft items is to use Spellcraft because you only need one skill for every type of magic item. The Warpriest is only a 2/3 caster, and gets bonuses to Craft. The Forgepriest gets access to some crappy spells, and access to item creation feats as bonus feats, but neither of these are enough to fix the Forgepriest.

Blessings: Only one blessing limits your versatility.

Smith's Spells: Most of the options are situational, with very few interesting options.

  1. jury rig: Very situational.
  2. shield: A decent bonus, but the duration is too short to rely on at low levels.
  3. heat metal: Amusing, but terrible.
  4. shatter: Very situational.
  5. keen edge: Not terribly important unless you are building for critical hits, but the duration is decent.
  6. quench: Very situational.
  7. versatile weapon: Situational.
  8. wreath of blades: Fantastic for a melee character. Even at rounds per level duration, you can easily exceed the damage of a d6/level blast spell, and you can further enhance the damage by enhancing the daggers.
  9. fabricate: Situational.
  10. major creation: Extremely versatile and powerful.
  11. mage's sword: Fun with decent damage, but at this level spells should be considerably more effective.

Forge Mastery (Ex): Most item crafting is done using Spellcraft. Taking a craft skill for every type of item that you want to make is impractical.

Bonus Feats: More options are always nice.

Craft Magic Arms and Armor: The Forgepriest already gets the option to select crafting feats as bonus feats, so this seems redundant.

Creator's Bond (Su): The Warpriest's Sacred Weapon ability only allows you enhance your weapon for one round per level per day. Sacred Armor works for one minute per level per day, which is a much better but less exciting use of Creator's Bond.

Heat of the Forge (Su): Energy resistance is always nice, but the Warpriest can cast Resist Energy.

At 6th level, a forgepriest gains fire resistance 5. At 13th level, this resistance increases to 10. This ability replaces the bonus feat gained at 6th level.

Replaced Features: Blessings (altered), Bonus Feats (3rd, 6th), Channel Energy

Compatible Archetypes: None

Sacred Fist

The Sacred Fist is an interesting take on unarmed combat. It combines the basics of the Monk with the Warpriest's spellcasting, giving the Sacred Fist an exciting list of magical options in place of the Monk's Ki abilities. Because the Sacred Fist is so similar to the Monk, you can use a lot of the same options when building a Sacred Fist.

Class Skills: Largely the same as the Warpriest, but the addition of Perception and Stealth add some interesting options.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: This resembles the Monk weapon list. Losing armor and shields is a big problem, but fortunately yo ucan get by on Unarmed Strike for weapons.

AC Bonus (Su): This bonus needs to make up for both armor and a shield, and because the free bonus is a deflection bonus you can't rely on a ring of protection to help make up the difference.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): Lots of attacks.

Unarmed Strike: The damage takes a while to pick up, but it gets pretty good at high levels.

Blessed Fortitude (Su): Like Evasion for Fortitude saves.

Bonus Style Feat: Style feats are essential for unarmed fighters, but unlike the Monk the Sacred Fist still needs to meet the prerequisites of the feats.

Ki Pool (Su): Losing three Monk levels worth of Ki really hurts because the Ki Pool is already so small. The insight bonus to AC is a great way to make up for the Sacred Fist's lousy AC, but it will eat your Ki very quickly.

Miraculous Fortitude (Su): Like Improved Evasion for Fortitude.

Replaced Features: Class skills, weapon and armor proficiency, Sacred Weapon, Focus Weapon, Bonus Feats (3rd, 6th, 12th, 18th), Sacred Armor

Compatible Archetypes: None