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D&D 5E Revised Cleric

Einlanzer0

Explorer
(This is an update from a concept I posted a while back. Since there were heavy revisions, I decided to start a new thread rather than bumping the old one)

I’ve always had a beef with the design of the cleric in D&D, and 5e is no different. The domain-as-subclass design is highly flawed in my view, because it leads to a version of the cleric class that is far too thematically constrained (just as it always has been). There are at four easy-to-see examples of this:

a.) The non-martial, robed spellcaster priest archetype, which is common in fantasy and approximated from real history, has never been part of the D&D design, and there's no reason whatsoever why the cleric class shouldn't be broad enough to properly accommodate it.

b.) having all the subclass features tied to a Domain choice makes it so domains are complex and difficult/time-consuming to design and balance, which I don't think is ideal - if they were simpler we could have a much bigger selection of them, covering all the different interesting portfolios out there.

c.) the design leads to a lot of arbitrary "pushing". Why, for example, is a cleric of life automatically martially-oriented while a cleric of light is automatically magic-oriented? Wouldn't that depend more on the personality of the specific deity or the nature of the cleric's calling in how they serve that deity than it would on the domain itself?

d.) it leaves no room to cover more unique or interesting concepts through the subclass system the way that literally every other class does. Wizard traditions, in comparison, are conceptually much, much broader.

So, I’ve created a homebrew version of the cleric to (uniquely) have a layered subclass option, which I think is the only thing that makes sense for clerics. At 1st level, you choose both a calling and a domain. The combination of these two is what determines your subclass, and therefore what class features you acquire as you level. Right now, the domain still grants more features than the calling, but I ideally think it should be the opposite - it just entails a bigger rewrite than I wanted to do for phase 1.


Base Cleric
HD: D6
HP per level: 1d6 or 3/4
Armor: None
Weapons: Club, Sling, Quarterstaff
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Knowledge, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Composure


1st level – Select Calling (in addition to Divine Domain) – Crusader or Prophet. Your subclass name combines the two choices. I.e. Tempest Crusader or Prophet of Life (other callings, such as Exorcist or Celebrant, might be created later)

Crusaders are more common in older, larger, and more well-organized religions. They are martially trained holy warriors employing divine magic to support themselves and their allies on the battlefield in service to their god or faith. They also specialize in exorcism of undead. They are essentially identical to the official PHB Cleric.

Crusader features -
-HP + 2, +1 for every additional level. +1 to any HD rolled to recover HP.
-Gain light/med armor and shield proficiencies, and simple weapon proficiency.
-At 2nd level, gain Channel Divinity – Turn Undead
-At 8th level, gain Divine Strike (domain choice may affect damage type)
-Domain bonus proficiencies are for weapons/armor, skills/tools, or languages

Prophets are often called as emissaries and revelears for nascent gods and newer, smaller faiths, so they are typically more common in areas that are less politically stable or where religion is less well-established. They sometimes appear in the servant ranks of more organized faiths, where they are usually either shunned or quickly move into a respected leadership position. They tend to eschew physical combat and are instead highly accomplished orators and miracle workers. They feature an expanded spell list, although these extra spells do count against their prepared limit (unlike domain bonus spells). Channel Divinity: Turn/Destroy Undead is replaced with Channel Divinity: Revelation, and their level 8 domain feature is always Doomspeak instead of Divine Strike.

Prophet
features
-Gain the cantrip Message (in addition to any provided by normal domain choice).
-Gain Prophet’s Rebuke
- At 2nd level, gain Channel Divinity: Revelation
-At 8th level, gain Doomspeak
- Domain bonus proficiencies are for weapons/armor, skills/tools, or languages

Gain the following bonus spells as you level (added to cleric list; not automatically prepared)

1st – Shield, Unseen Servant
3rd – Suggestion, Levitate
5th– Fear, Sleet Storm
7th – Blight, Compulsion
9th– Creation, Dominate Person
11th – Move Earth, Mass Suggestion
13th – Project Image, Sequester
15th– Dominate Monster, Telepathy
17th– Miracle, Foresight


New Features & Spells


Prophet’s Rebuke – You add your Charisma modifier to your AC when not wearing any armor.

Channel Divinity: Revelation – You can swap one prepared spell out for another of the same level, and regain a spell slot for the level of the swapped spell. Improves at the same rate as Turn Undead, capping out at a maximum spell level of 6th.

Miracle – A divine version of the spell Wish. For now, it is functionally the same spell, but I may come up with some distinguishing features after playtesting a bit.

Doomspeak – A once/long rest uber-fear that stuns and then frightens all foes in line of sight.


Removed feature:


Potent Spellcasting - I hate this feature. It manages to be both extremely boring and overpowered, and I like the idea of Prophets being more utilitarian rather than damage-focused, so this has been replaced with Doomspeak. The original functionality has been rolled into the War Priest feature in the War domain, where it is limited and where I think it makes a lot more thematic sense. This helps make the War Domain a lot more flexible and a viable option for Prophets. I plan on tackling the Forge domain next. Most of the rest should work well as-is.
 
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