D&D 5E As a DM cleric spells to watch out for in 5e?

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Agreed. Too many adventures take the step of nerfing divination as "too easy" where they should just be rolling with it.
Similarly paranoia about phasing thru walls and telepathy. It cripples the fantasy game itself if a DM (and designers!) get too controlling and heavyhanded about these possibilities.
 

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If they're going to torture you anyway, the spell is kind of pointless.

And, unless they're evilly aligned, might be symptoms of a different problem altogether!
Thankfully I don't think I would classify most of the extrajudicial trespasses threatened or carried out by PCs upon the persons or properties of uncooperative creatures in my games as "torture".
 



Mort

Legend
Supporter
I found, especially in outdoors fights, that Spiritual Weapon can be useless once you have defeated your initial foe.

How so?

If there are multiple opponents, you can move the weapon 20' AND attack with it as a bonus action. Leaving your regular action for whatever else you want to do (including cast regularly).

Are you saying 20' movement just isn't enough in outdoor fights? I've found, especially after the 1st round, 20' is usually plenty.
 

Simonb1

Explorer
How so?

If there are multiple opponents, you can move the weapon 20' AND attack with it as a bonus action. Leaving your regular action for whatever else you want to do (including cast regularly).

Are you saying 20' movement just isn't enough in outdoor fights? I've found, especially after the 1st round, 20' is usually plenty.
Exactly, the fights were scattered, we were having to drop the spell to arrive in a timely manner.
 

So I really like clerics thematically as buff, heal, divination, and some weird utility type spellcasters. Narratively I generally don't like clerical god laser blasting spells, though divine hammer flamestrike and holy word type things don't really rub me the wrong way. Generally I like zaps to be arcane and a lot of damage to come round to round from the martials. With the clerical daily access to anything on the spell list it is easy to find and load up on the rare spells that are arguably off theme or overpowered.
I will point out that, other than being tradition, there really isn't a difference between divine hammer, flamestrike, and holy word and Spiritual Weapon, Spirit Guardians, or combat cantrips -- they do the same thing (flamestike in particular is and always has been 'higher level, lower damage fireball' with a few extra nuances thrown in surrounding damage resistance). That said, if you don't like a thing, you don't like it.
As a DM I have repeatedly been introduced to the PC cleric of my group's favorite 2nd level spell spirit guardians, the auto damage to enemies only in an area ongoing spell which is super effective. It seems to have significantly altered fights it gets deployed in, which is most of them. My games narratively rarely have large numbers of separate encounter fights per game day so it often gets deployed in combat.
It is effective, but note that it has plenty of limitations -- it requires concentration (a hard thing to maintain while shepherding a front-line requiring spell*); it means you aren't concentrating on other, often very important, other concentration spells; it requires you to be in the front line; It damages anything except those things you specify when the spell is cast**.
*unless you take two feats to make the saves a semi-sure thing, which is a heavy investment and requires it to be a feat-having game (which are, frankly, a higher-power play experience).
** things you need to be able to see at the time of casting. so no stealthing or invisible allies. No one back behind a bend in the corridors. No innocent prisoners the rogue freed in round 3 and rushed through the battlefield towards supposed safety...

That said, it is certainly a powerful spell, and (and others may disagree here) it seems like the Spirit Guardians/Spiritual Weapon combo is an expected part of a cleric's 'boss-fight' strategy -- it's too good and too obvious to have been an accidentally good setup. For that reason, I posit this: if you would rather a front-line cleric go in a-mace-a-swingin', remove the spell, but then give clerics a second attack some time in the 6-8 level range.

My group is currently 5th level, any other clerical spells you think I should particularly be on the lookout for as he levels and I think about fight encounters? PHB, Xanathars, and Tashas are all books that I have.
I think people have brought up the big players: Guidance and Bless bend the curve on skills and spells; Healing Word gets a downed ally up at range from any hit that doesn't kill them outright; Revivify does the same if they were killed; Spirit Guardians/Spiritual Weapon set up a spell-focused combat synergy you dislike. The rest -- well there are certainly powerful spells, but I suspect you already know about them from earlier editions (Resurrection, Plane Shift, Anti-Magic Field, Silence, Stone Shape, and any of the divination spells like Scrying or Divination have effects which can obviate entire obstacles depending on the situation). I don't think there aren't any 'surprise' super-spells in the cleric list after level 3 spells.
 



Voadam

Legend
Honestly I think what DMs need to prepare for isn't anything Clerics do in combat, but all the divination and exploration oriented spells. You've got to be prepared for them to Zone of Truth npcs, speak with corpses, scry on people, send 25 word messages across the multiverse. Any of those things have a lot more potential to mess up a DMs plans or force them to make important story decisions on the spot than cheesing a combat ever will.

Wizards or memorized casters are unlikely to make the substantial investments to learn many of these sorts of spells and whatever they do take you will get used to them using at every opportunity. But any Cleric (or Druid) who has an inkling that such spells might come in handy on a given day might prepare them without the DM having any idea they're coming.
Any new ones in 5e that have turned up as super useful? I am used to the impacts of speak with dead and so forth from B/X, AD&D, and 3e/3.5/Pathfinder.
 

Voadam

Legend
Generally speaking, healing spells are suboptimal in combat, with one big exception:

Healing Word works great because going from 0 to single digits means a PC is 100% effective on his turn, and as a bonus action the cleric still gets a turn of actions (limited further with casting, but still lots of options).
Yeah I've noticed.

I am all for the popping up from zero and back in the fight for the PC participation aspects, but I am disappointed that in combat healing is not really a good option. I liked the 4e in combat healing dynamics a lot.
 


Mort

Legend
Supporter
Yeah I've noticed.

I am all for the popping up from zero and back in the fight for the PC participation aspects, but I am disappointed that in combat healing is not really a good option. I liked the 4e in combat healing dynamics a lot.

Yeah, I liked the 4e clerics many abilities that were do x AND ALSO heal for y.

Not nearly as much of that in 5e, though there are a few like Aura of Life (mostly for paladins but some clerics get it) and healing word.

That said, 5e PCs are pretty resilient so extremely efficient in combat healing may be gilding the lily, Certainly there is wide held opinion that it's already too hard to actually keep 5e PCs down (not sure I share that view, but it's very prevalent).
 

Voadam

Legend
Moonbeam was the all-star cleric combat spell in the 5e game I've been running (currently at 5th level). Essentially no targeting problems.
2nd level Single target 2d10 per round concentration and probably requiring recurring use of an action to target.

Hasn't been picked so far but thanks for the heads up.

2nd level Spiritual weapon with only requiring the bonus action for round to round attacks has been the go to so far.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
2nd level Single target 2d10 per round concentration and probably requiring recurring use of an action to target.

Hasn't been picked so far but thanks for the heads up.

2nd level Spiritual weapon with only requiring the bonus action for round to round attacks has been the go to so far.
By the way Moonbeam was written, we took it as not requiring actually seeing the creature (or even the space where the bottom would be) and it didn't require a too-hit. So it was used to get something behind cover and at another point something on a ledge. With a 5' radius (10' diameter) it could block an entire hallway, and at 40' high even something like a crevice.

I will need to check out Spiritual weapon.
 

Yeah I've noticed.

I am all for the popping up from zero and back in the fight for the PC participation aspects, but I am disappointed that in combat healing is not really a good option. I liked the 4e in combat healing dynamics a lot.
With the Tasha's expanded spell list, a Life Domain Cleric using Aura of Vitality to heal 2d6+5 per round as a bonus action (with main action Cure Wounds being an option for rounds subsequent to initial casting) can be a good strategy (particularly when facing enemies where pop-up healing will not save you, such as any 'hit 0 and you are just dead, not down' effects). However, it is fairly niche.
 

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