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D&D 5E Semi-final Revised Cleric

Einlanzer0

Explorer
Here's my attempt at reworking the official cleric to provide design space for the robed, non-martial priest archetype that is common in fantasy but has always been conspicuously absent in D&D. Note that my goal here is severalfold -

a.) To design the new archetype within the space of the official cleric, removing the need to make a new class
b.) To do it in a comprehensive way, so that the default cleric becomes what I envision, rather than creating a new, mostly redundant class, or jury-rigging the official cleric in a way that feels ham-fisted or incomplete.
c.) To make the wizard-priest archetype very flavorful in a way that really differentiates it from the standard cleric without needing to have a different class to represent it.
d.) To do all of this without undermining the theme and mechanical viability of the official cleric, since they have a place in most settings and many people like them

So here's what I have. Something like this is how I feel the 5e cleric should have been designed to begin with.

Revised Cleric

HD - D6
Armor Proficiency – None
Weapon Proficiency - Club, Sling, Quarterstaff

1st level – Select Path of Servitude (in addition to Divine Domain) – Path of the Crusader or Path of the Prophet. Your subclass name combines the two choices. I.e. Tempest Crusader or Prophet of Life.

Crusaders are the most common type of cleric – in most settings, they represent the armies of devoted disciples to a particular god or faith. They typically receive martial training as groups in temples to be the foot soldiers and vanguard of the god or faith they represent.

Crusader features -
-Gain +1 HP/level
-Gain light/med armor and shield proficiencies, and simple weapon proficiency.
-8th level path feature – Divine Strike (untyped unless specified otherwise).
-Bonus weapon/armor proficiency or cantrip where appropriate for domain choice (as in RAW)


Note: the crusader is almost exactly the same as the official cleric, with the only differences being that they always acquire Divine Strike in place of potent spellcasting and have d6 HD instead of d8, albeit with +1 HP/level.

Prophets are less common than crusaders. They are the typically the leaders of organized faiths or religions, possessing an uncommonly strong link with their god(s) or faith. However, many smaller or less organized religions do not martially train their followers and, outside of lay devotees, are only represented by the occasional prophet. Prophets typically eschew physical combat and are instead very accomplished orators and miracle workers in service to their god(s) or faith.

Prophet features
-Gain Message and True Strike cantrips (in addition to any provided by normal domain choice).
-Bonus armor or weapon proficiencies from domain are instead skill/tool proficiencies or languages.
-8th level path feature - Potent Spellcasting
-Gain Revelation Domain (in addition to chosen Domain), with the following features:


Revelation Bonus Spells (unlike normal domain spells, these are simply added to your list of spells that can be prepared – they don’t automatically count as prepared, although they are considered cleric spells for you):
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 – Foresight, Miracle (slightly altered/weaker Wish)

1st - Prophet’s Rebuke – Gain Cha bonus to AC as a reaction once per short rest.

2nd – Channel Divinity – Revelation – Swap out one prepared spell for another, and regain a spell slot for the level of the swapped spell. Maximum is current spell level -1.

6rd – Mysteries of Faith – Once per long rest, if you receive damage, make a Charisma check vs DC 15. If you succeed, restore 2d6 + wisdom HP, stun your attacker, and regain a use of Channel Divinity. HP restoration increases to 4d6 + wisdom at 10th level, 6d6 + wisdom at 14th, and 8d6 + wisdom at 18th. Any overflow becomes temporary HP.

17th – Channel Divinity – Portents of Doom – all intelligent foes within a 30’ radius of the caster must succeed a composure/wisdom check vs your charisma or suffer fear and madness. This works like the fear spell, except it does not require concentration and naturally lasts for up to 1 hour.


It may seem like I'm giving prophets a lot, but keep in mind I'm stripping pretty much all martial combat viability from them, and most of the abilities they get are simply new options, not things that represent direct power upgrades. In fact, the design intent is really to have prophets give up damage and attrition for significantly greater utility and versatility compared to crusaders. The only one I'm really worried about is the 17th level Revelation feature. I'm not sure whether or not it should be a Channel Divinity, and I'm not sure whether it's underpowered or overpowered.
 
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Thurmas

Explorer
My biggest concerns would be:

1. While they may not be exactly unbalanced compared to each other (Id have to compare it more to decide), its just a very strange design format where one path continues to get a ton of stuff as it levels while the other doesn't. I think you would be better off just giving the Prophet a level 1 ability that scales, maybe something similar to the Wizard's Arcane Recovery.
2. The Prophet will be the only class that doesn't either get light armor or access to Mage Armor. I think one of the two should be considered.
3. It's just not as streamlined as it could be.

I like the concept, just not sold on the execution you have yet.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
My biggest concerns would be:

1. While they may not be exactly unbalanced compared to each other (Id have to compare it more to decide), its just a very strange design format where one path continues to get a ton of stuff as it levels while the other doesn't. I think you would be better off just giving the Prophet a level 1 ability that scales, maybe something similar to the Wizard's Arcane Recovery.
2. The Prophet will be the only class that doesn't either get light armor or access to Mage Armor. I think one of the two should be considered.
3. It's just not as streamlined as it could be.

I like the concept, just not sold on the execution you have yet.

1. That's sort of by design, just due to the fact that the proficiencies crusaders get naturally scale with level, while Prophets need new options as they level (it's sort of a fighter vs wizard type paradigm - one is intentionally simpler, while the other intentionally has more going on). Keep in mind what i said in my original post - the design intent is to remove some of the combat ability of crusaders for significantly expanded utility for Prophets, which all their new abilities and spell access represent. I also wanted Prophets to have a lot of interesting flavor that distinguishes them relative to crusaders, and I concluded giving them an exclusive domain was the best option for. But, I do think this is a valid point to an extent, and I do have some concern about giving them so many abilities just generally. What I wanted to do was go through and basically count the total number of abilities they get relative to other classes (as opposed to just standard clerics). I may decide to revise or simplify some of what I have. Also, their 2nd level channel divinity - revelation is meant to be their version of Arcane Recovery. I wanted to make it mechanically distinct from Arcane Recovery, but it fills the same niche.

2. I did consider this, but I went with Shield instead. The prophet should want to avoid physical combat, arguably even more than the wizard, but the combination of Shield and Prophet's Rebuke gives them a lot of clutch defense. While Mage Armor is a strong spell, learning & casting it comes at the expense of other spells, so it's not like Wizards, etc. get that extra AC for free.

3. What suggestions would you make to streamline what I have right now, other than Mage Armor or fewer abilities?
 
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dave2008

Legend
I definitely like the idea of the prophet, not sure about the execution. I think it would be fine to make the prophet its own class. No need to revise the existing cleric then,
 

Coroc

Hero
Do some rework on the magical vestment spell, maybe if 3rd Level it does provide AC 15 w/o concentration for 1 hour. The crusader should get 1d8 hp and the Prophet 1d6 if you want them to have different hit dice. The Prophet should need Minimum Charisma and wisdom of 14.

The Level 17 ability is to strong in that it lasts for 1 hour, it should be 10 minutes Maximum. Compare to a Dragon fear effect it should be a bit like this.
 

Irda Ranger

First Post
Clerics are already "full" spellcasters with the full spell list to choose from. I would not give them access to any more spells. Also I would note that a player in my Curse of Strahd campaign played a Knowledge cleric with 8 Strength and didn't wear any armor; he was fine. He just hung out at the back and cast spells or cantrips a lot. So your Prophet sub-class isn't completely necessary anyway.

Instead I would say replace armor with some other kind of defensive ability, and replace weapon attack with something else to do during combat that's useful.

For defense, maybe let them cast Sanctuary a certain number of times per day without using a spell slot. Maybe at higher levels the Sanctuary gets stronger by giving them "holy" Evasion.

Now for replacing the loss of weapon attacks, you want something that isn't an attack or spell because that would end your Sanctuary. I'd say give them the benefit of the Protection fighting style when holding a staff or club, and at 2nd level they get a Cunning Action that allows them to take the Dodge or Disengage action in the same turn as casting a cantrip.
 

Thurmas

Explorer
1. That's sort of by design, just due to the fact that the proficiencies crusaders get naturally scale with level, while Prophets need new options as they level (it's sort of a fighter vs wizard type paradigm - one is intentionally simpler, while the other intentionally has more going on). Keep in mind what i said in my original post - the design intent is to remove some of the combat ability of crusaders for significantly expanded utility for Prophets, which all their new abilities and spell access represent. I also wanted Prophets to have a lot of interesting flavor that distinguishes them relative to crusaders, and I concluded giving them an exclusive domain was the best option for. But, I do think this is a valid point to an extent, and I do have some concern about giving them so many abilities just generally. What I wanted to do was go through and basically count the total number of abilities they get relative to other classes (as opposed to just standard clerics). I may decide to revise or simplify some of what I have. Also, their 2nd level channel divinity - revelation is meant to be their version of Arcane Recovery. I wanted to make it mechanically distinct from Arcane Recovery, but it fills the same niche.

2. I did consider this, but I went with Shield instead. The prophet should want to avoid physical combat, arguably even more than the wizard, but the combination of Shield and Prophet's Rebuke gives them a lot of clutch defense. While Mage Armor is a strong spell, learning & casting it comes at the expense of other spells, so it's not like Wizards, etc. get that extra AC for free.

3. What suggestions would you make to streamline what I have right now, other than Mage Armor or fewer abilities?

I think you kind of stated it right there. As the version of the Paths I suggested in the last thread showed, I think if you are doing more than making it so one is good in melee with armor, and the other is good with ranged magic and alternative defensive abilities, I think you are straying too much into the realm of completely rewriting the cleric or creating an entirely new class/subclass. I think your desire to make the Prophet good is unbalancing your ability to also look at the Crusader fairly. Its clear which of the two Paths is your favorite. Now if you presented the Prophet as a new class, with the Cleric spell list, then I think you may have something with the suggestions you are making.
 


Einlanzer0

Explorer
I think you kind of stated it right there. As the version of the Paths I suggested in the last thread showed, I think if you are doing more than making it so one is good in melee with armor, and the other is good with ranged magic and alternative defensive abilities, I think you are straying too much into the realm of completely rewriting the cleric or creating an entirely new class/subclass. I think your desire to make the Prophet good is unbalancing your ability to also look at the Crusader fairly. Its clear which of the two Paths is your favorite. Now if you presented the Prophet as a new class, with the Cleric spell list, then I think you may have something with the suggestions you are making.

Well... yeah, it is my intention to rewrite the cleric class, but not the crusader path, whose purpose is to preserve the official cleric pretty much exactly how it's written as a subclass within the now more broadly designed cleric class. The only difference is making the level 8 feature a Path feature instead of a domain feature, so standard clerics always get Divine Strike and never get potent spell casting.

My only concern here is whether what I've given the Prophet feels really unbalanced compared to the crusader. It's possible that it does, because I'm not the end-all-be-all of D&D gurus, but I don't really see it at the moment. Their alternate defense abilities are strictly inferior (by design) to the armor proficiency crusaders get, and the spells I've given them are mostly not combat oriented, but are instead utilitarian in nature. The level 17 is not something I've really deeply thought through mechanically yet, so, yeah it probably needs revision or refinement. As I said above, my intention with Prophets is to actually make them independently weaker in combat, but with much better utility. Overall, it's intentional that they are more complex with more and more varied abilities than crusaders get - the only thing that matters is whether they are too good or too crappy in comparison.

The main reason I wanted to avoid making a separate Prophet class is because I see too much conceptual overlap with the official cleric - specifically, the usage of domains for subclass granting all or most of the same spells or features for both, which is something I want to retain for the prophet. I honestly think it's better to make a homebrew version of the cleric class that incorporates both of these concepts. Really, I think it's a worthwhile endeavor for clerics to have a layered subclass setup, where they choose both a style of servitude along with a domain or portfolio to determine their overall path and ability. The idea is that servant paths other than crusader or prophet could come along later. WotC kind of dropped the ball with clerics by not doing this to begin with.

Alternatively, the cleric should just be a d6 no armor class by default who multiclasses with fighter or paladin when they want to be more martial.

edit: actually, thinking more on this - I think I can simplify and rebalance while keeping most of the same flavor. One of the things I had simply forgotten about was how effective Sacred Flame with potent spellcasting was. It probably does push Prophets over the edge in terms of balance.
 
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Einlanzer0

Explorer
Alright, here's a very quick and dirty reboot of the same concept in a simpler form with better conceptual balance between the two paths. The most noteworthy changes are that Channel Divinity: Revelation replaces Turn Undead for prophets, that the no/light armor AC bonus is made passive at 1st and normalized for simplicity (it's intentionally weaker than, say, the monk AC bonus), and Potent spellcasting has been replaced entirely because, frankly, I don't like it - it's both dull (especially since there's only one offensive cantrip in the cleric list) and overpowered.

In a nutshell, Prophecy is no longer treated as a second domain, but instead just bundles a few features that a some crusader features get exchanged for. Other than the extra spells the prophet gets, relevant abilities are gained at the same levels for both paths.

Crusader features -
-HD increases to d8
-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 (regardless of domain choice)
-Domain bonus proficiencies are taken as normal


Prophet features
-Gain Message and True Strike cantrips (in addition to any provided by normal domain choice).
-Add 1/2 of Cha modifier (round up) to AC when wearing light or no armor.
-At 2nd level, gain Channel Divinity: Revelation (progresses as Turn undead does)
-At 8th level, gain Mysteries of Faith (being struck has a chance of healing the Prophet, stunning the attacker, and recovering a use of Channel Divinity; once per long rest)
-Domain bonus proficiencies apply to skills, languages, or tools instead of weapons and armor

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 (slightly altered/weaker Wish), Portents of Doom (uber-fear; similar to ability described above)
 
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