Priest Beginner's Guide - Baldur's Gate 2
The Priest Archetype in D&D refers to Druids, Clerics and Shamans - all 3 of these classes fall under "Priest" since they all cast Divine Spells. It's highly recommended that every single group have a Priest in it because of the buffs that they offer. Some buffs like Bless and Protection From Evil 10' Radius you'll probably want to keep on your team at all times while exploring and fighting.
Unlike most other games out there in D&D Priests main job is going to be buffing rather than healing. In fact, there are not many heals that are even worth taking on a Priest until you unlock Level 6 and 7 spells. At level 6 you will get Heal which is a Fullheal spell. Once you unlock Level 7 spells you get Greater Restorating which is a fast casting full heal that can save tanks who are taking a beating during a battle. Almost all of the other healing spells you'll probably want to use outside of combat rather than in it due to the long cast time and the low amount that they heal.
In addition to buffs and the aforementioned heals Priests will also get access to different resurrect spells which can bring a dead party member back to life. No other classes in this game will be able to do this, the only way to resurrect someone without a Priest is to bring them to a Temple and pay.
(Level 1) Armor of Faith, Bless, Doom, Remove Fear
(Level 2) Chant, Aid, Hold Person
(Level 3) Animate Dead, Call Lightning (Druid/Shaman), Cure Medium Wounds
(Level 4) Protection From Evil 10' Radius, Call Woodland Beings, Lesser Restoration, Defensive Harmony
(Level 5) Chaotic Commands, Iron Skins, Insect Plague, Raise Dead or Recall Spirit, Righteous Magic (Anomen)
(Level 6) Conjure Animals, Aerial Servant, Heal, Harm
(Level 7) Shield of the Archons, Greater Restoration, Mass Raise Dead (also works as AoE heal), Regeneration, Sunray
Note: The SCS mod for Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 adds in a couple of Icewind Dale spells for Druids and Shamans that previously did not exist in the game.
(Level 1) Armor of Faith: One of the best self buffs that Priests and Priest hybrids get. At level 1 you get 5% protection from melee and magical attacks; at level 20 you'll get 25% protection from melee and magical attacks. Typically the AI will automatically cast this spell at the start of every battle if you have it memorized which you definitely will want to have it memorized since it is so good.
(Level 1) Doom: Doom is a very short lasting spell (1 turn) that is a guaranteed -2 penalty to all of the enemies rolls. This spell can be combined with Greater Malison at higher levels to greatly reduce the enemies Saving Throws leaving them vulnerable to many different magical attacks. Even on enemies that typically have very high resistances, like Sarevok or Irenicus, you can still hit them with a Doom/Malison combo to drastically reduce their rolls.
(Level 1) Remove Fear: This spell is an AoE buff that lasts for 1 ingame hour that will remove any fears currently on your party as well as give you a resist fear buff. Whenever you're going into combat against enemy mages, dragons, liches or any other powerful enemies you'll definitely want a way to resist the fears they throw at you and this is the way to do it.
(Level 1) Sanctuary: Essentially this is an invisibility spell that allows you to heal and buff yourself without it fading. If you make an offensive action either a spell cast or a melee hit then this spell will dissipate.
(Level 1) Cure Light Wounds: Cure Light Wounds is a heal spell. However, unlike most games you will probably not want to use this during combat. Most of the time you'll use this spell after combat to heal up some characters or during Rest to top off your party.
(Level 1) Bless: A buff that gives you +1 to attack and damage rolls as well as +1 morale. Bless has a medium duration and is one of the many spells that are worth using prior to combat. If you're playing on Core Rules or lower this will be one of your most used spells typically.
(Level 2) Slow Poison: Removes any poison from the target, it's a very quick cast time which means it's something you can use in battle too. In my opinion on Core Rules this isn't that great of a spell but the higher you go in difficulty the more useful it will become. Especially if you don't have an Elixir of Health lying around in your inventory.
(Level 2) Chant: Arguably one of the most powerful buffs available to Clerics and Paladins. While under the effects of Chant you'll recieve +1 bonuses to Saving Throws, attack and healing rolls. Additionally, if enemies are nearby when you cast Chant they'll suffer negative penalties instead of positive. For the most part though I would recommend you use this buff prior to entering combat rather than during.
(Level 2) Hold Person: This is one of the best CC spells in the game and is available to both Wizards and Priests, though Priests get access to this spell at a much earlier level. As the name of the spell suggests this will hold a person in place for a very long period of time. This will only work against humanoid targets so keep that in mind but otherwise this is a fantastic CC spell that I strongly recommend. Note: The game's AI will use this spell automatically when you have it memorized too.
(Level 2) Silence 15' Radius: Probably another spell that you won't get much use out of on difficulties lower than Core Rules. As the name of the spell suggests this will silence all creatures (including your own party) in a 15ft radius around the caster. This spell is very useful to use against groups of enemy casters during the harder difficulties.
(Level 2) Writhing Fog: Writhing Fog is a Shaman only spell that deals a small amount of damage and has a mediocre chance of slowing creatures caught inside of it for 1 round. For the most part this spell isn't anything to write home about but it can be combined with other spells like Animate Dead, Cloudkill, Stinking Cloud etc to create a very powerful AoE that will incapacitate and kill most enemies.
(Level 2) Aid: Aid is Bless' big brother. It effectively does everything Bless does along with giving you a bonus 1d8 additional Hit Points and this spell stacks with Bless. These bonus Hit Points will allow you to go over your max health. I'd recommend you use this spell before every single fight much like you do with Bless.
(Level 3) Call Lightning: This spell is only available to Druids and Shamans and it's the best direct damage spell that they get for awhile. Call Lightning deals 2d8 electrical damage plus 1d8 additional damage for every level of the caster making it one of the best scaling nukes in the game. The biggest downside of this spell is you must be outdoors when you cast it otherwise it will not work.
(Level 3) Animate Dead: Animate Dead is only available to Clerics as far as Priests go; Wizards can use Animate Dead too but it's a level 5 spell for them instead of 3. Like the name of the spell suggests, Animate Dead will allow you to summon undead warriors to help you in combat. The undead you summon with this spell scale in level very well and come with all of the same resistances that undead typicaly come with. That means they'll be immune to Poison damage and heavily resistant to other forms of damage such as most physical damage. I strongly recommend you use this spell on your team as it's one of the best summoning spells in the game.
(Level 3) Cure Disease: Like the name of the spell suggests, it will cure almost any disease - some 'magical' diseases will not be cured by this. Along with curing most diseases it'll also cure Blindness, Deafness, and Feeblemind. This is a pretty good spell if you like playing on harder difficulties and/or don't want to 'wait out' many of the debuffs that this will cure.
(Level 3) Summon Insects: One of the best level 3 spells available to Druids and Shamans; what this spell does is it interrupts spell casters. It does a little bit of damage along with reducing Armor Class too but that's not the reason you're using this spell. The only reason you'll want to use this spell is to interrupt an enemy spell caster and prevent them from casting pretty much anything so long as they have this spell on.
(Level 3) Remove Paralysis: Cleric only spell that removes Hold and Held debuffs; this spell is a must have when fighting Ghouls. Even if you don't use this during combat it'll save you a ton of time waiting around for Held/Hold to wear off once combat has finished.
(Level 3) Cure Medium Wounds: As the name of the spell suggests, this is a single target heal. Usually you'll always want a few of these memorized to heal your party between fights or before resting.
(Level 4) Call Woodland Beings: This spell is only available to Druids and Shamans and it is one of the better summoning spells in the game. A Nymph is summoned when you use this spell that has low AC and HP but comes with a wide range of different spells that you can use, many of which are extremely powerful. Call Lightning, Hold Person, Mass Cure are among the best spells this Nymph has to offer. What makes this spell so good is it takes a single Level 4 spell slot and in exchange gives access to multiple higher level Priest spells.
(Level 4) Protection From Evil 10' Radius: One of the best buffs that a Cleric gets; unlike the Wizard version this one will buff your entire group. This spell says that it only protects you against Evil but in BG1 and BG2 that pretty much means all enemies, even enemies you know are good you'll still get benefits from this spell when fighting them (for whatever reason). I'd recommend you use this buff before every tough fight.
(Level 4) Death Ward: This is a Cleric spell that protects you from many forms of instant death. It's very good to use this on your main character if you're playing with a smaller party or on higher difficulties because if your main character dies it's an instant game over.
(Level 4) Neutralize Poison: Neutralize Poison will cure Poison, Disease and heal the target for a small amount. Essentially this is a Slow Poison, Cure Disease and Cure Light Wounds all wrapped into one spell. Up to you if you'd like to sacrifice a Level 4 spell slot for this spell or not.
(Level 4) Defensive Harmony: Every Priest class get this spell, it's a short duration party wide buff that will give everyone +2 AC. Typically most people skip this spell because it doesn't last very long but the upside is it stacks with pretty much every other spell in the game and it is a very quick cast.
(Level 4) Lesser Restoration: This spell cures Level Drain which is not a very common debuff throughout all of BG1 but it becomes extremely common in Siege of Dragonspear and in BG2. During almost all of BG2 you'll be fighting Vampires and other undead enemies that will Level Drain you every single time they hit you.
(Level 5) Chaotic Commands: This buff will make whomever you cast it on immune to magical commands. These include, Stun, Hold, Sleep, Paralysis, Charm, Confusion, Maze and Feeblemind. If these status affects are already on the target when you cast Chaotic Commands it will not cure them. Chaotic Commands only prevents them from being cast on you.
(Level 5) Insect Plague: Insect Plague is a Druid/Shaman debuff that you can cast on a group of enemies that will prevent them from casting any spells for the duration. It'll inflict some damage to the enemies as well but it's minimal, the main reason you're going to be using this spell is to interrupt enemy spell casters.
(Level 5) Iron Skins: Iron Skins is the Druid/Shaman version of Stoneskin. Just like Stoneskin it will apply 'Iron Skins' to your character making you effectively immune to physical attacks until all charges of your Iron Skin are gone.
(Level 5) Righteous Magic (Fighter-Cleric): This spell will give you 1 HP for every level of the caster and 1 STR for every 3 levels. Additionally all successful hit will inflict max damage. For the most part this spell is only worth using on Fighter Cleric hybrids since they will get the most use out of it.
(Level 5) True Seeing: When cast and once per round until the spell expires all hostile Illusion/Phantasm spells will be dispelled. What that means is spells like Invisibility, Improved Invisibility, Mirror Image, Simulacrum etc etc will be dispelled. Depending on what difficulty you're playing on this is either a must have or not worth taking at all. On Core Rules I rarely felt there was ever a reason to take this spell.
(Level 5) Raise Dead: This spell will allow Clerics to resurrect a dead party member. Any party member that suffers a 'permanent death' will not come back to life from this spell.
(Level 5) Recall Spirit (Shaman): It's basically the same thing as Raise Dead except that it is unique to the Shaman class.
(Level 5) Flame Strike: A Cleric only direct damage spell that deals 1d8 fire damage per level of the caster.
(Level 6) Conjure Animals: One of the better high level summons available to Priests. If you're using mods such as SCS that incorporate spells from Icewind Dale then this spell will be even more powerful.
(Level 6) Heal: Considering the spell is named Heal it shouldn't really be a mystery what it does. It heals all damage you have taken as well as cures any Disease, Blindness and Feeblemind.
(Level 6) Dolorous Decay: Druid & Shaman spell that is a guaranteed Slow. If the creature fails a Saving Throw vs Poison roll with a -2 penalty then they will also take 1 point of damage per second until they take a total of 50 damage in total. All in all the DoT component of this spell is pretty mediocre because 50 damage over an entire minute is not that much; most fights will last probably 20 seconds tops. However the Slow component of this spell is great especially since they can't resist it.
(Level 6) Harm: This spell is extremely broken without any mods to nerf it. Essentially what it does is it replaces your main hand weapon with this spell and if you perform a successful attack within the next 2 rounds it'll hit the target for 150 points of damage; or reduce their HP to 1. For the most part this spell can be really good if you're playing a Fighter-Priest hybrid or if you have a way of buffing your THAC0 high enough to where you'll likely land a successful hit. Either way at the end of the day this spell gives you the chance of being one punch man pretty much.
(Level 6) Aerial Servant: Cleric only spell, it allows the Cleric to summon an extremely powerful Aerial Servant that lasts for 1 turn per level. This spell is significantly more powerful than Animate Dead but it only lasts long enough for a single fight.
(Level 7) Creeping Doom (Druid): The best way to explain this spell is it's a better version of Summon Insects and Insect Plague. One thing this spell does that I didn't mention before is each tic of the insect DoT that it applies will take off a charge of the enemies Stone Skin/Iron Skin.
(Level 7) Regeneration: Regeneration will heal you for 3 HP a second and lasts for 1 round for every 2 levels of the caster. By the time you unlock this spell you'll likely be high enough level to make it last almost an entire minute which makes it a great spell to use on your tank prior to combat or to heal up your characters after combat.
(Level 7) Greater Restoration: Cleric only spell that will completely restore a targets HP, cures level drain, ability score drain and a variety of other status effects. This spell has an extremely fast cast time and heals to full which makes it a good "oh shit" button during combat.
(Level 7) Symbol, Stun: Arguably the only good Symbol spell in the game. When a target is stunned every attack made against them will land which makes this spell devastating in the right conditions. The biggest downside of this spell is it can hit your own party members.
(Level 7) Shield of the Archons: This spell is the Priest version of Spell Trap. Essentially what it does is absorb a bunch of different spells that are cast at you, when enough spells are absorbed the shield is lost.
(Level 7) Resurrection: Resurrects someone with full life.
(Level 7) Nature's Beauty (Druid): Inflicts blind on every enemy around you that fails a Saving Throw. Blind in this game is extremely powerful since it will prevent the enemy from attacking at all.
(Level 7) Sunray: This is a rather quick casting spell that deals decent damage to all targets around you as well as blinds them for a single turn (if they fail a Saving Throw). If the target is undead they'll take additional damage from this spell.
(Level 7) Mass Raise Dead: You can use this spell to rez everyone in your group that died and/or as an AoE heal for your entire group. One of the reasons this made the list is for the group heal aspect of it.