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(5E) How to play Trickery Cleric?

Undrave

Explorer
I've always liked the concept of a Cleric who uses underhanded methods to bring about his Deity's goals... and the Trickery Cleric looked like that at first but I'm not quite sure. I've tried it before and was somewhat dissapointed.

Honestly, it should have been called the Shadow Domain, what with its emphasis on stealth rather than deception, sleight of hands and other things, even if it has access to a perfect illusion (with some terribly written rules BTW...).

I've accepted this aspect and I'm considering eventually playing a Trickery Cleric but I'm just not sure what that's supposed to look like. I know that outside of combat you need to focus on Stealth and you can do some shenanigans with your Duplicate, and your extended spell list is GREAT. but once combat start is where I'm at a loss.

The features seem, to me, to imply a melee cleric, but you don't get any extra armor or extra attacks. Even if you decided to use a ranged weapon to use your Divine Strike feature, you only got a limited choice of weapons to pick from and you don't get extra attacks for your bow or whatever. The Duplicate and invisibility powers seem to imply using them in melee but, again, not really armoured unless you invest heavily in DEX?

I guess you could play them as Caster Cleric, but since the PHB only has ONE attack cantrip, which does RADIANT damage, you lose a lot of flavour there (Why wasn't Toll the Dead in the PHB anyway?). Like, outside of combat you're this shadowy figure orchestrating sneaky operations and support your party, but then once battle lines are drawn you're just some generic Divine Caster who might as well not have a domain

Any insight on the strength of the Trickery Domain and how to properly use it once a fight break out? What's the game plan to really make you FEEL Tricky? That would be much appreciated!
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
This speech is my recital, this domain is very vital
A subclass sublime that's perfect in design
It's Tricky tricky, here we go

It's tricky to commune with the divine, to have a domain that perfectly designed
It's tricky, it's tricky, tricky
(Tricky, tricky)
It's tricky to commune with the divine, to have a domain that perfectly designed
It's tricky, tr-tr-tricky, tricky
(Trrrricky)

...is there any problem that Run DMC cannot solve?
 

Undrave

Explorer
This speech is my recital, this domain is very vital
A subclass sublime that's perfect in design
It's Tricky tricky, here we go

It's tricky to commune with the divine, to have a domain that perfectly designed
It's tricky, it's tricky, tricky
(Tricky, tricky)
It's tricky to commune with the divine, to have a domain that perfectly designed
It's tricky, tr-tr-tricky, tricky
(Trrrricky)

...is there any problem that Run DMC cannot solve?
Nice!

Do you have first hand experience with Trickery?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Do you have first hand experience with Trickery?
Didja see my name? ;)

This may be helpful-

I don't agree with everything in that article but I do think that Trickster Clerics can be a lot of fun played properly; that said, they are not great at combat, and their abilities have to used judiciously.
 

DemoMonkey

Explorer
I think the whole idea of a Trickery Cleric, is that you don't GET into combat. That's why it doesn't have any combat enhancing abilities.

What's the game plan to really make you FEEL Tricky?


Avoiding the fight in the first place, because you have outwitted Thor your enemies!
 

Undrave

Explorer
Didja see my name? ;)

This may be helpful-

I don't agree with everything in that article but I do think that Trickster Clerics can be a lot of fun played properly; that said, they are not great at combat, and their abilities have to used judiciously.
Yeah I read that, helped me appreciate the spell list but doesn't answer my combat conundrum.

I think the whole idea of a Trickery Cleric, is that you don't GET into combat. That's why it doesn't have any combat enhancing abilities.

What's the game plan to really make you FEEL Tricky?

Avoiding the fight in the first place, because you have outwitted Thor your enemies!
Fair enough, but sometimes it can't be helped. What kind of tricky support can a Trickery Cleric bring? And if they're not meant to get into combat then why do they get that useless Divine Strike with Poison Dmg? Or why the duplicate specifically calls out it grants you combat advantage (but you can't use it to do the Help Action to aid your allies?! What kind of support class is this?).
 

ninjayeti

Explorer
Yeah as others have said Trickery Domain isn't focused on offensive power.

Out of combat don’t ignore Disguise Self and Charm Person. While they require some creativity they provide lots of potential for deception, infiltration, and sowing confusion.

In combat you should mostly be using non-domain spells. Your duplicate, mirror image, and blink are great for keeping you safe while you do regular cleric stuff like healing or dropping Hold Person. Even with the poison damage, melee attacks at higher levels are essentially cantrips – just there for rounds you don’t want to burn a spell slot. Use advantage from you duplicate to deliver powerful melee attack spells like Inflict Wounds and Contagion.

At the end of the day you’re are a cleric with some cool trickster abilities. The domain stuff is there to supplement your regular class abilities, not replace them. If you don’t think the general cleric abilities are interesting or powerful this is not the build for you.

Finally, never let the Tempest cleric convince you to do “get help.” It’s humiliating.
 

Esker

Exploree
Treantmonk has a three part video on YouTube going in depth on the Trickery Cleric which is worth checking out. He obviously has a particular style of building characters that isn't for everyone, but there's a lot of useful insight there. He does assume you have access to Toll the Dead though, and builds the character as a caster.

Divine Strike is terrible, but that's true for all Cleric subclasses. It takes some very specific build choices (and likely multiclassing) to make a cleric that still wants to be using weapons by level 8.

I think the main use of Invoke Duplicity is defensive support: give the enemy a false target to attack, diverting that attack from someone else. If you don't mind getting in close, you can merge with the duplicate, then separate again, playing a shell game to keep the enemy guessing which one of you is real. I assume that when you have Mirror Image up, the duplicate also looks like it has its own mirror images, but that's something to ask the DM about.

Once you hit 7th, you get Polymorph, which makes you better than the Life Cleric at single-target in-combat "healing". You also get Dimension Door, which lets you rescue somebody from a bad situation.

And as @ninjayeti said, you still have all the base cleric stuff. You'll want to be using spiritual weapon and spirit guardians just like any Cleric.
 

Undrave

Explorer
At the end of the day you’re are a cleric with some cool trickster abilities. The domain stuff is there to supplement your regular class abilities, not replace them. If you don’t think the general cleric abilities are interesting or powerful this is not the build for you.
I usually like playing support characters, but I'm not SUPER thrilled by the base cleric (compared to 4e where it was my favorite class)... Mostly because from round to round you don't feel enough like a support class until you drop a heal or a Bless a few times per day. But I do like a lot of the base domain abilities because they feel like their own domain. Light domain with its radiant bonus, life cleric with the extra healing, Nature cleric and the Druid cantrip, etc... Trickery just feels like the one that doesn't have that strong of a flavour in battle that stands apart from the base class like the other Domains.

But I'll probably not play a Cleric for my next character in my current ongoing game, but maybe at some point in another one.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Bane is also thematic but not strong
Spiritual weapon seems thematic enough
Command is perfectly fitting IMO
Silence
Hold Person
Bestow Curse


I think you have plenty of spells to do tricky things.
I think trickery is more of a mindset than a mechanic.
I think I'd drop str to maybe 10 and go dex and wisdom. Bows and finesse weapons seem fitting.
 

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