5e: My Top 5 Cleric Domains
This past weekend at Origins Game Fair, my daughter and I played D&D Adventurers League, including the D&D Open, and in one day our characters jumped from 1st to 4th level. This being her first character, she went with a fighter. Me, I played a cleric.
Gunther Runehammer of clan Runehammer upholds the clan’s proud tradition of serving both his deity and the cause of justice while helping his fellow adventurers. He’s a War domain cleric, which means he had the highest armor class of anyone in the group over the weekend. Add to the fact that he just got a viscous weapon means he’s going to be delivering the hurt to his enemies.
This isn’t the first cleric I made so I would like to share with you my personal favorites for the domains in the core Player’s Handbook.
First off, let me admit, I never played a Tempest cleric. My wife, however, played one and I get to see it up close. A storm themed cleric is a solid choice, one that Durkon from the Order of the Stick would definitely approve of this cleric domain. I’m putting this one at 5 since I wasn’t the one that actually played it and cannot give it an actual play experience recommendation, but from seeing it in action, it seemed fun.
I played this one at the launch of the Basic rules, before my PHB arrived. When it comes to being the party healer, you can’t beat the Life domain. Between never needing to pray for cure wounds, to healing more when you do cast it, to using your channel divinity ability to heal, and the ability to heal yourself, this one is a solid choice for being the party healer. Having said that, that is what you are: the party healer. You won’t be getting any class abilities that diversity the character in any way. As such, I only now use the Life domain cleric for a DM PC when no one in the group has the ability to heal.
When I want to blur the lines between druid and cleric, I take a nature domain cleric. Between domain spells that theme your magic to plants, animals, and the elements, a channel divinity that makes plant and animals your friends, and being able to use a reaction to grant resistance to acid, cold, fire, lightning, and thunder damage. This is a pretty sweet set of abilities that make the Nature domain stand out among its piers.
When you want to get your hands dirty with your enemy’s blood, the War domain is your domain. Between a serious armor class and martial weapon proficiencies, you can go toe-to-toe with the worst monsters out there. Add to that your channel divinity ability to add +10 to a roll makes sure you hit when the roll is bad and your domain ability to make another attack as a bonus action and you can stand next to the party fighter. Considering I was playing with my daughter among a group I just met, that was the reason I made that character, and it was fun to boot. A solid recommendation from me.
A cleric that throws fireball, is there anything more you need to say about that? While cleric spells are typically defensive in nature, the Light domain adds to it a number of common wizard offensive spells to shake up the feel of the class.
This, like all the other domains (except Life, obviously) shake up the feel of the class. They add a new flavor to what can quickly be a one note class. This, more than anything else, should be guiding light to any 5e designer looking to write new class abilities, and the cleric class exemplifies this better than any other.
Pair these cleric domains with an awesome race. Download the Book of Heroic Races Player Races 2 for your Fifth Edition game at the JBE Shop. This book is also available at DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.com.