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Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Cleric

Joseph is an IT nerd who is a long-time fan of the Dark Souls franchise.

dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric

"Within the ranks of the Chosen Undead, those Bearers of the Curse and Ashen Ones all, there is not merely one discipline, but a multitude. For all that the redoubtable knights, mighty warriors, noble heralds, and cunning assassins might be most obvious, they are but a few amongst many." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Character Expansion Rulebook

Dark Souls: The Board Game

Dark Souls: The Board Game is a dungeon-crawler that uses dice, AI behavior cards, and node-based movement to simulate the tense atmosphere, solid combat, and overall difficulty of the video game franchise that it is based on.

The Characters Expansion adds new armour treasure cards as well as six new starting characters: Mercenary, Sorcerer, Thief, Pyromancer, Cleric, and Deprived. In this guide, I will only be covering the Cleric and various strategies and equipment you should look out for while playing the game.

Other Character Guides

The Cleric's character sheet.

The Cleric's character sheet.

Character Overview

The Cleric primarily focuses on healing damage — or red cubes — from her party. She functions similarly to the Herald, who primarily heals endurance — or black cubes — from the party, except she can be more of a tank and is usually attacking at close range. The Cleric can be a decent offensive character, but she benefits more from playing a support role.

Her ability, Keep The Faith, allows her to heal two red cubes from all allies within one node of her once per spark. This can be great early game as encounters will indubitably take longer meaning you will be taking more damage until you get better gear. Her ability will still see use throughout the rest of the game especially when you are able to combine its use with the more powerful miracles you find along the way for bigger heals.

She also has one of the lowest taunt levels of all ten starting characters which allows her to more easily fill her role as healer.

Starting Equipment

The Cleric starts with four pieces of equipment:

  • Mace
  • Cleric Robes
  • Blue Wooden Shield
  • Sacred Chime
The Cleric's starting equipment cards.

The Cleric's starting equipment cards.

The Cleric's equipment is excellent early on. Her starting weapon, the Mace, has an attack that costs zero stamina and uses a blue die for damage — meaning you are guaranteed to roll at least a one when attacking. Its second attack costs three stamina, but allows you to move the aggro token to another character after attacking. The Cleric's other weapon isn't really a weapon, but rather a support item. The Sacred Chime has a range of two nodes and allows you to heal a member of your party. Its zero stamina attack heals one health, and its three stamina attack heals three health.

Since you are able to attack with both weapon slots during your activation, you can forgo using a shield and have both the Mace and Sacred Chime equipped in order to deal damage and also heal on your turn.

Speaking of your shield, the Cleric has two black dice for physical defense, and a blue die and black die for magical defense when using both the shield and the mace. Overall, the Cleric is very well-rounded early on being able to fill both an offensive roll or support role depending on how encounters play out.

Unique Cleric Treasure

There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Cleric:

  • Sunset Shield
  • Cleric's Candlestick
  • Magic Barrier
  • Med Heal
  • Sacred Oath
The Cleric's unique treasure cards.

The Cleric's unique treasure cards.

Magic Barrier and Sacred Oath are both great supporting miracles. Magic Barrier requires 12 Intelligence and 24 Faith to use, but its attack costs zero stamina and gives all characters within one node of the Cleric a blue die for magic defense until the next character's activation. Sacred Oath requires 14 Intelligence and 30 Faith, and has a similar attack except it gives a blue die for physical defense. Bringing both miracles into encounters may not be the best idea as you would sacrifice some armour as neither miracle gives any sort of inherent defense. That being said, when playing with a party one of your party members can bring one of the them while you bring the other.

The Sunset Shield requires 15 Strength and 20 Faith, and gives you a black die for physical defense and a blue die for magical defense — which is a huge improvement over the Cleric's starting shield. It also gives the Cleric the ability to push a Hollow on the same node as her after it attacks.

Transposed Equipment

After you defeat the first mini-boss you are able to shuffle an additional five "transposed" equipment cards into the treasure deck:

  • Archdeacon Robe
  • Morne's Great Hammer
  • Atonement
  • Great Heal
  • Magic Stoneplate Ring
The Cleric's transposed equipment cards.

The Cleric's transposed equipment cards.

The Archdeacon Robe is one of the best armours for the Cleric. It requires 17 Strength and 35 Faith, and gives one orange die for physical defense, and one black and one orange die for magical defense. It also has two slots for rings which is pretty useful for the Cleric. It doesn't have any dodge dice though.

Great Heal is the main support item for the Cleric. It requires 40 Faith, has no defenses, but has two support options. For two stamina you can heal one character within two nodes six health. For four stamina you can heal all characters on one node within range six health. This is the best health recovery option in the game. It might not be the best item to take with you during normal encounters, but it is a must-have for boss fights.

The Magic Stoneplate Ring is a nifty item. It requires 32 Faith and only offers a single black die for magical defense. That's it. It has no ability, just that little bit of extra magic defense. There aren't a lot of rings that the Cleric really cares about so this can be easily slotted in without worry.

Legendary Weapons

When you defeat the first mini-boss you are also able to shuffle five random "legendary" equipment cards into the treasure deck. There are ten legendary cards in the base game and they are:

  • Dragon Tooth
  • Fume Ultra Greatsword
  • Santier's Spear
  • Sunlight Straightsword
  • Avelyn
  • Dark Sword
  • Gotthard Twinswords
  • Drake Sword
  • Moonlight Greatsword
  • Washing Pole
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dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric

The problem with the Cleric is that she doesn't really want to use two-handed weapons and that is what the majority of the legendary weapons are. That being said, there are two legendary weapons that fight extremely well with the Cleric.

The Sunlight Straight Sword requires 15 Strength, 15 Dexterity, and 30 Faith and fits the Cleric's support role perfectly without sacrificing her damage capabilities. Its first attack costs zero stamina and uses a black and a blue die for damage. The Sunlight Straight Sword also has one upgrade slot available for a Titanite Shard to help further increase its damage potential. Its third attack is where its true value is though. It also costs zero stamina, but is not an attack. Instead, it buffs all allies — regardless of distance — by giving them an extra black die for magical and physical defense until the end of the next enemy activation. It may not seem like much, but any potential advantage in this game is your best friend.

The Dark Sword has no support benefit like the Sunlight Straight Sword, but it does make the Cleric more of an offensive presence on the board. It requires 30 Strength and 30 Dexterity, offers no defense, but has two upgrade slots. You can slot in a Titanite Shard for an extra guaranteed point of damage (the blue die's lowest side is a one), and any other gem depending on what your party needs. Its first attack costs zero stamina and uses just a single blue die, and its second attack costs two stamina and uses two blue dice. Its third attack is quite strong, and its requirement of five stamina reflects that. You can move one node before attacking your target using two orange dice. You will have to max out both your Strength and Dexterity in order to use this weapon, so it is definitely a commitment you should think about before building towards it.

Legendary Armour

The Character Expansion introduces ten new legendary armour treasure cards. You are still only able to add five of these to the treasure deck after you have defeated the first mini-boss, but you can pick which ones you want to add instead of doing it randomly.

What makes these especially unique is that there are "normal" versions of these cards that start in the treasure deck at the beginning of the game. They are weaker versions of the legendary alternatives, however, so obtaining the legendary version will always be an improvement.

The legendary armour cards are:

  • Catarina Armour
  • Guardian Armour
  • Embraced Armour of Favour
  • Adventurer's Armour
  • Dark Armour
  • Black Iron Armour
  • Black Knight Armour
  • Gold-Hemmed Robes
  • Crimson Robes
  • Havel's Armour

Note: The legendary versions will have an orange flame in the upper right-hand corner of the card, whereas the normal versions will not.

dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric

There are a couple armour cards that the Cleric can take advantage of — potentially a third — and one of them is the Crimson Robes. It requires 22 Dexterity, 32 Intelligence, and 22 Faith, and has fairly impressive defenses. You get one blue die for physical defense, a blue die and a black die for magical defense, and two dodge die. Its ability pairs really well with the Cleric's support role as it allows you to removed a condition token (i.e, bleed) from an ally whenever you use the her ability.

Another noteworthy armour would be the Golden-Hemmed Black Robes. It has better defenses than the Crimson Robes, but it can be fairly expensive in order to have the levels to equip it. It requires 28 Dexterity, Intelligence, and Faith, so you will need to max both your Dexterity and Intelligence. If you manage to do that, it will give you one blue die for physical defense, two blue dice for magical defense, and two dodge dice. Its ability allows you to recover one stamina whenever you use Keep The Faith. One stamina doesn't seem like a lot initially, but often times one stamina is the difference between life and death.

The Embraced Armour of Favour is functionally the same as the robes. It requires 23 Strength and 33 Faith so you will need to max your Faith — but you are going to do that anyways with the Cleric. It gives you one blue die for physical defense, two blue dice for magical defense, but only one dodge die. Its ability is the same as the robes, except you heal one health rather than one stamina. This armour is arguably better than the robes simple for having less stat requirements despite having one less dodge die.

Notable Treasures

There are a lot of other normal treasures that the Cleric can take advantage of should you come across them, but these are the most notable:

  • Sunless Armour
  • Deacon Robes
  • Sunset Armour
  • Exile Armour
  • Heal Aid
  • Heal
  • Force
  • Kukris
  • Halberd
  • Great Mace
  • Morning Star
  • Reinforced Club
  • Effigy Shield
  • Dragon Crest Shield
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dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric
dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric

The Sunset Armour, which requires 20 Strength and 24 Faith, has a good balance of stats. It gives you two black dice for physical defense and one black die for magical defense. It also still gives you one die for dodging, plus there are two slots for rings should you come across any. The Deacon Robes, which only requires 24 Faith, has similar stats. You get one black die for physical defense and two black dice for magical defense. You still only get one die for dodging, but you get one less slot for rings.

Heal Aid and Heal are very good miracles that require 13 Faith and 23 Faith respectively. Heal is a better version of Heal Aid, as it has two abilities and its first ability is the same as Heal Aid's. Its second ability costs three stamina to use, but it heals four health damage off a character within three nodes of the Cleric. As most of the Cleric's equipment heal stamina damage off of party members adding Heal to your extra equipment slot will give you more options to support your party.

Kukris is a unique piece of equipment as its only attack costs zero stamina, does no immediate damage, but inflicts bleed on the enemy. It has a range of one node, so it pairs well with the rest of the Cleric's equipment.

The Chloranthy Ring is an interesting item to use with the Cleric. It requires you to have 18 in all four stats, but when equipped it allows your party members to heal three stamina at the start of their turns instead of just two as long as they are on your node. Considering you should be a node away from your companions when you are playing as the Cleric there may not be many opportunities for this effect to take place. That being said, it is a passive ability meaning it doesn't take up a weapon slot and there aren't many rings in the base game. The only real downside to using the Chloranthy Ring is just the levels required to equip it.

Weapon Enhancements

There are also nine other treasure cards you should look out for when drawing from the treasure deck:

  • Sharp Gem
  • Titanite Shard
  • Heavy Gem
  • Simple Gem
  • Crystal Gem
  • Blessed Gem
  • Blood Gem
  • Poison Gem
  • Lightning Gem
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dark-souls-board-game-character-guide-the-cleric

The Titanite Shard — which requires no stats to equip — is arguably the most valuable out of the gems, as the extra +1 damage means that you'll break through most of the normal enemies' physical defenses without even having to roll the dice.

The Blood Gem is extremely rare — only one copy — and is great against bosses. The gem, which requires at least 15 strength, makes it so that the weapon you have it equipped to inflicts the bleed status on an enemy that you hit. It doesn't deal any extra damage until that same enemy takes damage from another source, in which case the bleed status activates and inflicts an additional three damage. Afterwards, the enemy is cured of the status and you can reapply it.

The Poison Gem is another extremely rare gem with only one copy. It requires 15 Dexterity and, when equipped to a weapon, inflicts the poison status on an enemy that you hit with an attack. It doesn't deal any additional damage until the end of that enemy's activation when it deals one damage. Just like with the Blood Gem, once the enemy takes the poison damage they are cured of it and you must reapply it.

Be careful when equipping gems as once they are equipped you cannot remove them from a weapon. Typically you want to wait until after the first mini boss — if you've managed to draw any of the gems — as you are bound to get better suited weapons to upgrade.

Art from the "Dark Souls: The Board Game" rulebook.

Art from the "Dark Souls: The Board Game" rulebook.

Strategies & Loadouts

You can build the Cleric in a couple of different ways, but ideally you will want to create a balance between offense and defense. You want to be able to stay alive in order to help heal your party, but you also want to be able to contribute to fights in a meaningful way. The following build is one such example of that balance.

  • Cleric's Candlestick w/ Bleed Gem
  • Dragon Crest Shield
  • Archdeacon Robes w/ Chloranthy Ring & Magic Stoneplate Ring
  • Great Heal OR Magic Barrier (in backup slot)

This build will give you one blue die and one orange die for physical defense, and two black dice, one blue die, and one orange die for magical defense. You aren't given any dodge dice for this build, so you will have to rely on your block rolls to avoid damage.

There are a couple different options for your weapon. I went with the Cleric's Candlestick here due to its attacks dealing magical damage, but you can easily go with the Morning Star so you can have an attack that uses no stamina as well as getting an extra black die for magical defense.

A Bleed Gem is attached to the candlestick in order to really get the most value out of its attacks since they both cost stamina. If the Bleed Gem is being used by another member of your party, then a Titanite Shard or even a Blessed Gem can be used to help increase your damage.

The Archdeacon Robe is used because it offers good defense while also having two slots for rings. As mentioned previously, are not that many rings in the base game, but the Cleric really wants to use the two listed. The Chloranthy Ring just further helps the Cleric fill her support role to the fullest, while the Magic Stoneplate Ring helps give her slightly more defense.

As far as your backup slot you have two options: Great Heal or Great Magic Barrier. It really comes down to how your party is equipped. If your party is strong in magical defense then you might not need to take Great Magic Barrier as it won't have as much value. If your party is mostly tanks, and they aren't take that much damage in each encounter, then taking Great Heal might not be the most useful option other than for boss fights.

Levels Required

In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of 9 levels:

  • 2 Strength
  • 2 Dexterity
  • 2 Intelligence
  • 3 Faith (maxed)

Good Luck!

As there are so many cards in the treasure deck trying to find a specific build, much less a specific card, is going to be extremely difficult. Just use what you can, and hold off on using any of the gems until after you've defeated your first mini-boss at least. That way you will have a better assortment of gear to choose from and make a better decision.

I would recommend using the souls you collect from completed encounters to draw from the treasure deck first before leveling up. That way you don't level up Intelligence and Faith, for example, and then get a really good weapon you want to use that requires Strength and Dexterity.

Hopefully this has helped give you a better idea on whether or not playing the Cleric starting character is right for you or not. Feel free to comment below if I have missed something, or if you have found an even better gear combination than the ones I have listed above!

"You may be remembered either as Lords of Cinder yourselves, forever joining the Soul of Cinder, or as Ashen Ones, ushering in an Age of Humanity where the curse of undeath is at last lifted—but chaos will ultimately consume all." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core Rulebook

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