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The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
[GUIDE] For God and Party-A Cleric's guide
For God and Party-A Cleric's guide
As Originally Published on the Wizards of the Coast Message Boards
Table of Contents
Proficiencies, Attributes, Backgrounds, and Class Features
Builds and Combos
(If anyone can help me find a picture that might go with this.)
For this guide I am going to use the typical color scheme for ratings.
Red: No please donít
Purple: Really, I guess if you want to.
Black: Not bad, not the best, but ok.
Sky-Blue: Really good
Gold: What is stopping you?
Green: The thing in question has too many variables (maybe mostly how your DM acts) to rate well.
Part 1: Introduction.
The basic cleric has been in every version of dnd. In some editions they were the only healers. Even when there were other classes with healing they were best class for healing. In this addition they still have some of the best healing spells. So if you play a cleric, most people at the table will expect you to patch up their booboos. The nice thing that this edition kept from 4th edition is that you can heal and still lay some smack down.
For most clerics your damaging will come from weapons. This means you will need a good strength or dexterity to use those weapons. You will most likely want a good wisdom as that is your spellcasting attribute. This gives you 2 stats that you need to maintain. (There are a couple of builds that use a certain spell that can make you single stat class but without that option you need two stats to be high.)
Part 2: Proficiencies, Attributes, Backgrounds, and Class Features.
Armor: Baseline clerics get light and medium armor and shields. Some domains (see domain section) get access to all armor, which is even better.
Weapons: For the most part clerics only get simple weapons. There are two domains that also get martial weapons. So they are better.
Tools: No tools except for what you might get in a background.
Saving Throws: Rather baseline. You get Wisdom and Charisma saves. (Which means it will be difficult to take you over mentally.
Skills. You get to choose two skills from a set of 5 skills. For the cleric class it is rather lackluster. Only two of the skills use one of your primary stats. The others use stats, that depending on what you wish to do may be dump stats.
History: This skill is intelligence based. If you value intelligence it might be good for you. It also depends on the campaign.
Insight: Try to figure out the motivation of NPCs. Are they lying? And you will be good at it.
Medicine: Remember your party is going to look for you to keep them from meeting their deities. When you run out of spells this might help.
Persuasion: Good skill to have. But depending on your build and your charisma score you might pass.
Religion: You think you should be good at this, yet this is an intelligence based skill yet again. If you choose to be intelligent it might be for you.
I tried to come up with some basic guidelines, but your attributes can really vary. Here is the best advice I can give.
Strength or Dexterity: With one build exception one of these two should be high. You are not going to be able to use all of your spell slots in combat. For those who have access to heavy armor you will want a high strength and can probably dump dexterity. Those who will fight with strength but use medium armor probably want at least a 12 dexterity. Clerics who fight with dexterity probably still want at least a 10 strength especially depending on how picky your DM is on encumbrance. The only build that can keep these scores from the top would be a Nature cleric that is picking up Shillelagh.
Wisdom: This is your spell casting attribute. It is also the attribute that fuels your channel divinity and many other abilities for your cleric. This attribute should be a pre-racial 15. Unless you donít care about that stuff and are thinking you are only going to cast spells for healing and utility. You still probably want at least a 14.
Constitution: Hit points and concentration checks. Need I say more? Minimum 12.
Intelligence and Charisma: Many of you are going to put a pair of 8s here. If you still have build points, or you are rolling you may want one of these to be 10 - 12. Three of your five class skills use these stats. Also depending on the party you might be called to be the negotiator. Whichever one you put some points to, the other you need to dump.
Acolyte: Although some believe this is the background made for clerics, it doesnít help you much. The two skills are skills that are on the class list, making it so that you will have proficiency in skills that you probably donít have a natural gift for.
Charlatan: This is for the clerics who are using their dexterity. If you also put some points into Charisma you have some nice skill options that are not on the main list. Plus you get proficiency in a couple of tools that depending on the campaign can be cool or useless.
Criminal Again for those clerics for whom dexterity is their attack stat. You get Stealth and thieves tools. If you donít have a rogue you can fake one.
Entertainer If you want to have agility and fight with dexterity this could work.
Folk Hero: Two skills that are not on your list, and that you should be good with. A set of Artisanís tools and land vehicles. Not too shabby.
Guild Artisan: Again there is too much overlap in skills here in my opinion.
Hermit: Ok this background also has the skill overlap, but more than makes up for it with the Herbalism kit. Depending on the campaign you can now craft your own potions of healing.
Noble: You are not going to be wonderful at your skills. If for roleplaying you want to be a noble go for it, but for optimization . . . meh.
Outlander: Here is the first not too bad background for clerics who want to beat things with a big weapon. Since you are going strength Athletics and Survival will both be good skills for you.
Sage: Only clerics of the Knowledge domain will be interested in this, and their own gifts make this background not one to consider.
Sailor: I wasnít going to rate any background above blue, but if you are a strength cleric this is a very good background. Athletics and Perception both will be good skills for you.
Soldier: Again for the strength cleric. But if you want training in athletics, there are better options.
Urchin: This isnít bad for a dexterity based cleric. Another background with thievesí tools.
Spellcasting: Clerics are full casters. They only start with three cantrips. Personally I would like to see more options for the spellcasting cleric who didnít fuel the warrior nature.
Ritual Casting: Allows you to cast many utility spells without actually using slots. Although unlike the Wizard, you need to have the spells prepared.
Spellcasating Focus: Put that holy symbol on your shield and you donít need material components. (unless they are costly)
(Domains will be reviewed in their own section.)
Channel Divinity: Turn Undead: Well you get it. If you have a lot of undead in your campaign it could be very handy. If not. . .you may not use it at all.
Ability Score Improvement You get the 4th 8th 12th 16th 19th that most folks get.
Destroy Undead Again the usefulness of this may be campaign dependent. Although when the DM pulls out the hordes of low level undead. . . you just might love this.
Divine Intervention Ok I might have some personal bias against this one. First of all, if you are using it outside of combat you are really only using it for utility and that utility might be better served with preparing some utility spells and casting them as rituals. If you are using it in combat, for levels 10 Ė 19 you are using your action to have an 81 Ė 90 percent chance of doing nothing. If your party is in such a dire predicament that you are trying this, do you really want such a high chance of doing nothing? Then if it does work, what happens is up to your DM. That leaves a lot of variation. Plus there is no guidance for what the DM should do. (Which from the DM perspective I appreciate.) I have had some DMs that would make this a joke.
Part 3: Domains:
Each domain gives the cleric a lot of abilities.
To say one positive about this domain it can be used as part of a skill monkey build. Bard 10 / Rogue 1 / Knowledge Cleric 2 has ďExpertiseĒ in 8 skills and once every short rest can gain proficiency in any skill or tool. Is it worth it?
Domain Spells The only spells that are not already on your list are identify, suggestion, nondetection, arcane eye, and confusion. Some of these spells are ok. Nothing stands out as staggering.
Blessings of Knowledge: You learn two languages and two intelligence skills which you gain double proficiency. It isnít bad, but there are better things to have.
Channel Divinity: Knowledge of the Ages Gain proficiency in a skill or tool for 10 minutes. If you have a DM who likes using skills and a lot of fellow PCs who are clueless this could see some benefit.
Channel Divinity: Read Thoughts The nice thing about this is the suggestion. But you do already have that spell on your list.
Potent Spellcasting Add your Wisdom modifier to damage with any cantrip. Too bad the only damage dealing cantrip is Sacred Flame. This might get better if new books give more spells.
Visions of the Past:I am being generous here. In some campaigns this could be amazing.
Life domain lets you do what most people want you to do very well.
Domain Spells Every spell is already on your list, and are ones you would prepare anyway.
Bonus Proficiency: Heavy armor. Not bad at all.
Disciple of Life:Your healing heals more. Your friends will love you.
Channel Divinity: Preserve Life: Use your Channel Divinity for more healing. This is nice as it makes you feel like you can use your spell slots for more than healing.
Blessed Healer: Healer heal thyself. It wonít be your only healing, but every bit helps.
Divine Strike:Extra radiant damage with your weapon attacks. May I have another? Yes at 14th level.
Supreme Healing:Maximum dice on healing. At this stage all the healing is getting a little boring.
Clerics with fireball.
[bold]Domain Spells:[/bold] Burning Hands, Faerie Fire, Flaming Sphere, Scorching Ray, Fireball, Wall of Fire are all spells you canít regularly get. (Do I see a pattern?) It give spells to fulfill my want of a caster cleric with lots of damage spells.
Bonus Cantrip: I guess the only thing I can say about this is you donít need to choose Light for a cantrip, you can pick other things.
Warding Flare: Impose disadvantage on attacks against you 3 Ė 4 at most 5 times per day. It is actually not a bad ability, but I would like to see it more often. Maybe recharged at a short rest. Since it uses your reaction there is already a restriction on use.
Channel Divinity: Radiance of the Dawn: Finally light and radiant damage. I like this one.
Improved Flare: That ok ability above you can now use to help others. Too bad you canít use it more times per day. If the ability didnít recharge at a short rest before, now would be a good time.
Potent Spellcasting Add your Wisdom modifier to damage with any cantrip. Too bad the only damage dealing cantrip is Sacred Flame. This might get better if new books give more spells.
Corona of Light This feature is actually very cool. Your opponents have disadvantage against all of your major attack spells. Too bad it uses your action. If you can get it off it really supports all your spells and your channel divinity. I feel at 17th level wasting your first action of combat for a big buff it might be too late. Although you will be awesome after you get this off.
This cleric will more than likely speak softly and carry a big stick.
Domain Spells The only spell that is already on your list is insect plague. Lots of utility and some buffs. Dominate Beast looks like it could be fun.
Acolyte of Nature This is the reason most folks are going to take this domain. Using this ability to get Shillelagh means the only ability score you need to worry about is Wisdom. Get your 20 Wisdom asap. It is your attack and spell ability. Who could ask for more?
Bonus Proficiency: Heavy armor. Not bad at all.
Channel Divinity: Charm Animals and Plants: The only downfall is that the animal or plant is only charmed for one minute or until they take damage.
Dampen Elements:Use your reaction to give one creature resistance to acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder damage. Unlimited only by your reactions.
Divine Strike:Extra damage, and you get to choose itís type. Your choices are between cold, fire or lightning. Not bad.If you follow my advice and take Shillelagh and Polearm Master this is so much better than the others as you have reaction weapon attacks and you get your extra damage once per turn.
Master of Nature: Give commands to the animals and plants you have charmed. Two questions I have. How many animals and plants will you fight at 17+ level? How many commands can you give until they take damage and are no longer charmed?
Tempest domain. Cleric of the gods of the storms. You become part of the storm yourself. Very strong domain with lots of synergy.
Domain Spells:Thunderwave, Call Lightning and Destructive Wave are all spells that do either thunder or lightning damage. Look below to see why that is important. You also get Fog Cloud, Guest of Wind, Shatter, Sleet Storm, Ice Storm that are not on your spell list. Nice list of spells.
Bonus Proficiencies:Heavy armor AND martial weapons. Thatís a good bonus.
Wrath of the Storm: Use your reaction to attack (Wisdom modifier times per day.) Plus you can choose lightning or thunder damage. At low levels this is awesome. Damage will not be as spectacular as you increase in levels, but using your reaction to attack is always good.
Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath: Maximum damage on lightning and thunder damage. Works with the spells highlighted above and on your Wrath of the Storm feature. If you do not get a lot of short rests, it might not be quite as good, but you still wonít complain.
Thunderbolt Strike:Ok you have heavy armor and martial weapons. Why are you trying to push people away? There are definitely situational uses (watch out for the cliff. . .aww there you go) but it doesnít really make sense to me.
Divine Strike:Extra thunder damage with your weapon attacks. Very nice.
Stormborn: You can fly if you are not indoors or underground. In an outside campaign this is much better.
Alone this domain has some interesting features, but the capstone is rather uninteresting. A rogue might find some interest in dipping here. The cleric might want to dip into rogue. There is a lot of synergy between Trickery domain and rogue class. I have a character doing this, but I donít know how optimal it will be.
Domain Spells There is a nice selection of spells that are not on the regular list. Charm Person, Disguise Self, Mirror Image, Pass without Trace, Blink, Dimension Door, Polymorph, Dominate Person and Modify Memory. This domain has the largest list of domain spells that are not normally cleric spells. Many of them are even quite nice.
Blessing of the Trickster: This is very situational. You could make one person in your party the super scout. Or if there is only one who isnít stealthy you could balance the stealth scales. In the right party this could be very nice, in the wrong party it could be a waste.
Channel Divinity: Invoke Duplicity: This is a nice feature. You get an illusory duplicate. You can cast spells as if you were in the duplicates space, but you still have to use your own senses. So no shooting around the corner. The best part of this is that if you and your duplicate are both within 5 feet of a creature you get advantage. But the creature has to be able to see the duplicate. My guess that any creature that has blindsense, truesight, or tremorsense you will probably not get advantage on. The bad things are that it only lasts a minute and the duplicate cost your concentration.
Channel Divinity: Cloak of Shadows: Never hurts to turn invisible.
Divine Strike: Poison damage? Extra damage is nice. But good luck against undead, constructs, and elementals. And dwarves will call you a wimp too. It would be much better if it was just more weapon damage.
Improved Duplicity:This is certainly the case of more of a good thing is not better. You get four duplicates. You can still cast spells through them, but if you are really doing that you are not getting advantage on attacks. And that is one of the best reasons to have your duplicate(s).
This class exemplifies the warrior feature of the cleric.
Domain Spells Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, Crusaderís Mantle, Stone Skin and Hold Monster are the spells not on the regular cleric list. It is not a bad group of spells.
Bonus Proficiencies: Heavy armor AND martial weapons. Thatís a good bonus.
War Priest Attacks as bonus actions. Too bad it only works your wisdom modifier number of times per day.
Channel Divinity: Guided Strike: Turn that hit into a miss. This also opens up options if you take the Great Weapon Master feat. You can turn a couple more hits into massive damage.
Channel Divinity: War Godís Blessing: Now you can share your +10 to hit with your friends. You are still limited by your channel divinity, but when the party really needs someone to hit, you can make sure they do.
Divine Strike: You get more weapon damage. Good deal.
Avatar of Battle: You get resistance to bludgeoning piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons. I havenít looked at many creatures, but if many creatures at that level either have magic weapons, or their natural weapons count as magical, this might be not as good as it seems.
Part 4 Races:
Mountain Dwarf: +2 to str +2 con no wisdom bonus. Could make a good War or Tempest Domain cleric.
Hill Dwarf: One of the few races that give +1 wisdom, but no bonus to an attack stat. Could make a very good Nature cleric.
High Elf: +2 dex, so we know the attack stat. Again no wisdom bonus.
Wood Elf: Here is the package deal. Dex and wisdom bonuses. Not too much better.
Drow: You still get the +2 dex. But unless you are in a campaign that will never see the light of day, the sunlight sensitivity is too restrictive.
Lightfoot and Stout Halfling: Dexterity bonus and lucky. Canít complain about either of these.
Human: Bonus to every stat covers wisdom and an attack stat. I should probably rate this higher but it is overshadowed byÖ
Variant Human:Bonus to wisdom and an attack stat. Plus you get a feat. Oh yeah and a skill. A very powerful build right from the get go is Nature Cleric wielding a Quarterstaff and the Polearm Master feat. Bonus and reaction attacks right from 1st level.
Dragonborn: Strength bonus, but no wisdom bonus again. There might be some synergy between lightning breathing Dragonborn and Tempest Domain.
Forest Gnome: The dexterity bonus is the only thing this has going for it for a cleric.
Rock Gnome: No appropriate stat bonuses, nothing that says cleric at all.
Half Elf You donít get the feat of the variant human, but you get 2 stat bumps of your choice (Wisdom and attack stat) and you get an additional +2 charisma, Darkvision and an extra skill over the variant human.
Half Orc: Big strength bonus gets the nod again.
Tiefling: Nothing to help for a cleric.
Part 5 Feats
Having two stats that you want top notch is not going to leave a lot of room for feats. The Nature cleric, who can become single stat dependent can have more feats. Assuming that you are using a point buy, most clerics will not get more than 2 feat if that.
Alert +5 to initiative and you canít be surprised. Only reason it is not higher is well. . . why arenít you pumping your stats?
Athlete You get some nice movement abilities and it still bumps your attack stat, no matter which one you choose.
Actor Nothing there helps you.
Charger Can attack with bonus action after using the Dash. If your DM typically puts monsters 40+ feet away this might be ok. Otherwise meh.
Crossbow Expert Maybe a Dexterity fighting cleric who wants to fight with two hand crossbows might put this to use. Since most of the attack spells on the Cleric list are saves, nothing else should pique your interest.
Defensive Duelist: I donít see the interest for a cleric. Even if you are using a finesse weapon.
Dual Wielder: Knowledge on the boards is that two weapon fighting doesnít keep up at higher levels. I havenít worked out the math myself. Trusting that why invest a feat on an attack strategy that canít keep up.
Dungeon Delver: If you are somehow trained in perception this might not be too bad to help find traps.
Durable: Really good feat. But again not worth if you arenít increasing your attack stat or wisdom.
Elemental Adept: Unless you are Tempest or Light domain, you really donít have enough spells that do the appropriate damage to make it worth this feat. Tempest has both lightning and thunder so you canít help with both. Light domain clerics might need help with all their fire damage.
Grappler Clerics, even those who fight with strength will not be the best grapplers. And word on the boards grapplers want a different feat.
Great Weapon Master: If you use an appropriate weapon this is good. Otherwise ignore.
Healer: If you are playijng Adventure League, or have a DM who lets you have rests between fights, this might be a way to free up some of your spell slots. If your DM does not set up the game for you to take as frequent rests and your adventures last for several days at a time I don't believe at high levels this will be sufficient to help enough especially since you can only gain the healing from the feat once per rest.
Heavily Armored: The only Domains that do not get heavy armor proficiency to start are Knowledge, Light and Trickery. Knowledge and Light are designed to be more caster like and would probably not find interest. My guess Trickery would more be using Dexterity as the attack stat and wouldnít want to have the weight burden.
Heavy Armor Master: For those of you who have heavy armor proficiency this isnít a bad one to pick up. One exception would be the War domain folks. You 17th level feature actually makes this worse as you apply modifiers to damage before you half the damage.
Inspiring Leader: I actually like this feat. But unless you are a half elf, you will more than likely NOT have the 13 charisma to take it.
Keen Mind: Bump intelligence and have a lot of stuff that you probably can cast a spell and do any way. Pass
Lightly Armored: You have this already.
Linguist: Again intelligence bump. Also you have Comprehend Languages and Tongues.
Lucky: Basically getting advantage three time per day (or giving an enemy disadvantage) can be bad.
Mage Slayer: If you are one who fights on the front line this can be helpful.
Magic Initiate: This feat has a little rule controversy with it. The way I and some others read it is that the first level spell you get from this can only be used once per long rest. If your DM is in that category the ONLY good reason to get this is for the non Nature druids to also pick up Shillelagh. If your DM is in the other camp which say you can use your spells slots to cast it, and can cast it once without using a slot, this could be a good way to pick up some nice spells from another class list. Do remember though that the spells you get use the spell casting ability of the other class which means (unless it is Druid) you will not be able to support that.
Martial Adept: You get two maneuvers from the Battle Master and one d6 superiority die. There are some nice maneuvers there and you might find a lot of versatility there.
Medium Armor Master: For those using dexterity as an attack stat you might gain some benefit from this.
Mobile: Some nice stuff here. Nothing amazing.
Moderately Armored: You have this already.
Observant: +1 wisdom and +5 passive perception.
Polearm Master: Those who use martial weapons or Nature druids will really love this. Others can pass.
Resilient: This is to become proficient in con saves. If you have a lot of concentration spells that you like to cast you may really want this.
Ritual Caster: The only benefit for you is that you can cast rituals of spells that are not on your spell list. (you can choose another class.) There are much better options.
Savage Attacker: Not bad but there are better feats for you.
Sentinel: If you are one of the main front line fighters and there are a lot of squishy folks in your party you may want this.
Sharpshooter: If you use ranged weapons this might be nice, but in my experience long range is rarely used.
Shield Master There are some nice benefits there. Especially if you fight with a shield and use your strength modifier.
Skilled: Skill are nice and all but there are not enough feats to go around.
Skulker: For those who use dexterity as an attack stat and use ranged weapons. Meh.
Spell Sniper: Once I have looked at all the spells in the cleric list I might rate this lower.
Tavern Brawler: Nice stuff here, but you are not going to be a good grappler so why bother.
Tough: Again a good feat but there are too many of those.
War Caster: You are a caster. You fight on the front line. Too many good things for you not to take.
Weapon Master: For those who donít already have martial weapons there are not any weapons worth a feat
Part 6: Spells
WIP [Editing Note: The original guide had no further commentary on spells, however a poster named GladiusLegis in that original thread did have comments on spells, and Zardnaar had some further comments. Lacking further comments, I will include that further commentary here.
Bless: No, not "broken," but it is really good and easily THE staple combat buff for multiple allies at this level and for much of your career. Most of a Cleric's other Concentration spells will compete directly against this.
Healing Word: The best in-combat heal at this level, thanks to it being bonus action and only 2 HP/slot level less than Cure Wounds. (Let's be honest though, you wouldn't cast either with a slot above 5th level anyway.)
Prayer of Healing: The best out-of-combat heal, and in terms of raw healing numbers the best in the 1st- to 5th-level bracket.
Spiritual Weapon: THE Cleric's staple personal combat buff for pretty much their entire career. Doesn't even require Concentration, so you can still have Bless up.
Hold Person: Obviously, paralysis of humanoids. Sets up auto-crits for everyone. Concentration spell, but worth casting over Bless for against a particularly strong humanoid enemy.
Animate Dead: I think we all know the power of the undead army by now.
Dispel Magic: Obvious.
Mass Healing Word: Your main in-combat heal for multiple allies. Multiple heals run the risk of waste, or the "save it until everyone needs it trap," which is why this isn't gold.
Revivify: Raise someone who just died, taking only an action to do so. The only spell of its type that you'd always need to keep prepared, because of the time limit. Raise Dead and higher have far more liberal time limits, so you can prepare those only as needed.
Banishment: Can remove one big threat from combat and make the rest of the fight much easier for the party to deal with. Concentration spell.
Freedom of Movement: Immunity to paralysis is a very, very good thing. So is automatically escaping grabs. Doesn't need Concentration, either.
Contagion: One of the actually few spells in 5e you can legitimately call outright broken. The effect even wrecks legendary monsters and bypasses their resistances.
Heroes' Feast: You might as well consider this a donation of a 6th-level slot at the start of every adventuring day, as awesome as the party-wide benefits are. (Cures disease and poison, immunity to poison, immunity to fear, WIS saves with advantage, hit point max +11 avg. for up to 12 people.)
Create Undead: An army of ghouls is a solid step up from an army of skeletons/zombies. Can be upcast.
Heal: Easily the best single-target heal at this level, with 70 HPs (+10 per higher spell slot) and curing all diseases beating the pants off Cure Wounds or Healing Word cast with a 6th-level slot. Only Heroes' Feast prevents this from being gold.
Conjure Celestial: For the Couatl, as IxidorRS described above.
Plane Shift: Can either be free planar travel for your party, or a more-or-less permanent version of Banishment against an enemy you don't mind not looting.
Earthquake: Terrific against hordes of anything that can't fly (and if there's structures around, even things that can fly can get whacked). With a range of 500 feet, it's a great way to thin such a horde well before it can close in on your party.
Mass Heal: The ultimate healing spell, obviously.
Part 7: Equipment
Part 8: Multiclassing
This is a work in progress, but a few words to start out.
My comments here reflect that I don't much appreaciate the capstone ability of the cleric. If your DM works with you will on divine intervention and you like, that you might not want to multiclass. Otherwise some suggestions:
Clerics who use strength or dexterity when attacking with weapons. Dipping a few levels into fighter is not a bad option. Two levels of fighter can give you Action Surge. Taking 6 levels of fighter can give you an extra attack AND you don't lose a feat/ability bump. You do lose your 8th and 9th level spells.
Clerics who use dexterity when attacking with weapons might find some use dipping into Rogue or even Monk.One level of rogue can give you some extra damage. 3 levels of rogue can give you some nice tricks with bonus actions. One level of monk can give you a bonus action attack. Extra levels can even give you more fun things.
Outside of these options I don't see a lot of possible beneficial multiclassing interactions.
FAQ [Edit - never filled in]
Builds and Combos [Editor - This is some additional analysis provided by poster RealSeolfor]
- Tempest to me shines as a melee built, utilizing heavy armor & shield and decent melee attacks in combat. (Nowhere near martial classes since you only get the 1 attack, though Divine strike helps at level 8, 14) It can be played with a DEX based crossbow, but to me the flavor is of the classic Battle Cleric, blasting Thunderwaves and Shatter in close melee (make sure your allies step away!). Suggest Hill Dwarf or Variant Human. (Pure WIS build with Human going Magic Initiate for Shillelagh, Poison Spray and Entangle is cool. You can focus on CON and WIS)
- the domain spells give access to various Druid spells which are nice AOE damage, the cleric spell list lacks in early level AOE damage, and Tempest is all about AOE
- The key CDivinity ability of the domain, 'Destructive Wrath' is superb, Maximizing thunder/lightning damage twice per short rest at level 6 basically means once per encounter in a typical adventuring day with two SRests. 'Destructive wave' (Exclusive to Paladins and Tempest Clerics) is brutal and matches the damage output of sorc/mages level 5 spells (10d6 of which 5d6 can be maximized), with zero chance of friendly-fire and CON save for half (which is harsher than a DEX save). This is the reason to play this domain.
- 'Wrath of the storm' is great at early levels and a useful reaction for a melee setup (or a good 'pushback' for ranged setups with thunder strike feature), it however is abysmal at mid/late levels, but at least it's a use of your reaction (I wish it was linked to Cleric level instead of 2d8, say, 5+Cleric levelx2 - ask your DM, who knows)
- The level 17 ability to fly outdoors, seems ridiculously good. I dont usually judge classes/domains based on late game features, but most of the other domain's level 17 features are very underwhelming. The idea that you can fly and rain lightning bolts is awesome. (And if you REALLY want to optimize, a ranged/highDEX build seems better, since you can just fire your crossbow/longbow from mid-air. Divine Strike applies to all weapon attacks. If you landed up going STR like i did, fear not, you can still throw a Javelin/handaxe/throwingHammer, truly Zeus/Jupiter/Odin style!).
- I prefer pure builds, but this can benefit a lot from a 1-2 level dip into Fighter, take Duelist or Archer fighting style and Action surge makes your 'Nova' rounds better. You can choose to start as a Fighter, which would make you profecient with CON saves, making those concentration checks easier to pull off.
- As close to a Wiz/Sorc a Cleric can get. You dont get any bonus weapon/armor profeciencies, but that shouldnt matter. Your hitdice is better than Wiz/Sorc and you get Medium Armors and Shields. Make a DEX focused build and don Light/Med Armor with Shield and just stay at range and use your Cantrip as your basic attack. Feel free to carry a sling or light crossbow for the Fire immune mobs if you must. Your AC and HP will be better than most Wiz/Sorc, while having access to similar spells. Suggest Wild Elf or Variant Human.
- Awesome Domain spell list, Scorching ray is 6d6 at level 2 slot and Fireball 8d6 at level 3 slot, nothing comes close to that damage at these early levels. Instead of divine strike, you get potent Cantrip, which makes your scalable 'Sacred Flame' add your WIS modifier. Still wont make you as good an Archer as a Martial Fighter/Ranger/Rogue Archer, but its a very decent no-fuss Cantrip. You need to maximize WIS asap i.e. level 8 hit 20 (using point buy system, earlier if you rolled and got lucky)
- The key CDivinity ability is meh, its an additional early level AOE spell. At 2d10+Cleric level it tails off in the mid/late game, but at twice per short rest (from lvl 6 onwards). This to me is the only shortcoming of this Domain,
- The Flare ability is as relevant early as its late. Basically making the hardest hitting monster take disadvantage every round, by using your 'reaction'. Awesome.
- Corona of Light, the level 17 ability basically means you start combat and use your first action to bestow disadvantage to all visible mobs v/s your fire/radiant spells for the balance of the fight. Whats not to like. That Fireball is going to hit more often that not.
TLDR: If you want to play a melee, in your face, Thunderwaving/Destructive Slamming Dwarf, go Tempest, if you want to play a Armored/Shielded Battle mage, go Light. You both anyways have access to the entire usual Cleric toolset. Cant go wrong with either.
Last edited by Mistwell; Saturday, 19th September, 2015 at 07:11 PM.
Novice (Lvl 1)
I know this post is a few years old but I just started playing a life cleric abd I'm a yuan tI in al any tips?
Superhero (Lvl 15)
Sacred flame, Spiritual weapon, and spiritual guardians are your goto attack spells, but make sure to keep some spell slots back for healing. Also remember you can swap spells out daily, so you can cast any utility spells (create food and water, speak with dead), if your not in a hurry.
Here's my guide.
Novice (Lvl 1)
For Multiclassing I enjoy adding a dip into sorcerer for meta magic and a few utility spells. I mean distant spell to get that cure wounds or healing word to an ally far away or quicken spell to pop a heal and still attack. Using misty step, blur, or shield is pretty great when you need it. Also twin cast can be sweet.
Last edited by Joseph Tracy; Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017 at 03:18 PM. Reason: forgot a metamagic
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
I believe the devs have come out and said that Contagion works the opposite of what the 'plain ol' English' spell description says it does. That might affect the gold rating. Then again, until they can be bothered to errata it instead of trying to Jedi mind trick everyone into believing it behaves quite differently than how the PHB says it does, I'm inclined to ignore them.
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
And then yes, I agree with you that the Gold rating is overrated.
Luckily this was brought over from the WotC forums when they were going away, but unfortunately the original author never came here so it isn't maintained. For some class guides people have been creating new ones. With all of the cleric UA subclasses this guide could be worth revisiting if someone wanted to take that up. Heck, could even add in sections about the pseudo-clerics, the Sorcerer (Favored Soul) and the Wizard (Theurgy).
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
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