So LOVE this game.
I realized soon that a cleric was instrumental to survival, and rushing a lot of squishy apprentice footmen was not a good idea, so I rushed the cleric! I found that I can get a cleric in Hard mode, unmodded (I have @BrunoSupremo 's Easy mod, which I used for practice, then normal, and then finally in Hard mode! I might be able to get it a bit earlier, but a lot of thinking, pausing and shuffling of jobs needed. I also want to point out I did not buy any of the mats (like leather, which would make it quicker, but unreliable that the merchant will sell it).
So, can you, without mods or “helping it along” via tricks, get a cleric faster?
I took a day off of work to try this. I am that kind of nerd.