View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Divine Domain: Priest (Cloth-wearing, charismatic preacher for 5e.)

2017-04-07, 04:05 PM
So I felt two things where missing from 5e as it stands now in terms of divine spellcasters. The first was a "cloth-wearing" priest, like often found in MMOs like world of Warcraft or JRPGs. The second was a charismatic preacher type of character option. While I considered making a custom d6 "priest" kind of class I ultimately decided that was unnecessary since, lo and behold, clerics get their archetype at 1st level. This means that an archetype that changes their casting stat and plays around with their proficiencies is totally doable. So I came up with this. I have no idea how balanced it is, however, so any and all help is appreciated. I did not add fluff yet because it is very BETA but once I get some advice on it I will put in the fluff. Again, balance advice would be most appreciated! Now here is the domain...

Divine Domain: Priest


Domain Spells

You gain a different set of domain spells based on the alignment of your deity (or your ideal's associate alignment if you worship an ideal.) if you worship a good-aligned deity (or follow a good-aligned ideal), you use use the Holy Priest Domain Spell List. If you worship an evil-aligned deity (or follow an evil-aligned ideal), you use the Unholy Priest Domain Spell List. If your deity or ideal is neutral, you choose which domain spells list you use at 1st level but once the choice is made it cannot be changed.

Holy Priest Domain Spell List

1st: Cure Wounds, Sanctuary
3rd: Hold Person, Warding Bond
5th: Aura of Vitality, Haste
7th: Death Ward, Stoneskin
9th: Hold Monster, Mass Cure Wounds

Unholy Priest Domain Spell List

1st: Cause Fear*, Inflict Wounds
3rd: Ray of Enfeeblement, Suggestion
5th: Animate Dead, Vampiric Touch
7th: Blight, Evard's Black Tentacles
9th: Dominate Person, Planar Binding

(Spells marked with a * are from the "Starter Spells" Unearthed Arcana article.)

Strength of Conviction

Your divine magic comes the strength of your own convictions and zeal rather than your connection to your deity. Starting at 1st level, you use Charisma instead of Wisdom as your spellcasting ability. You replace all instances of "Wisdom" with "Charisma" in your Cleric spellcasting feature. (So you use your Charisma modifier in place of your Wisdom modifier when preparing spells and calculating your spell save DC and spell attack modifier. Cleric spells that refer to your spellcasting ability use your Charisma in place of your Wisdom.) You also use your Charisma modifier in place of your Wisdom modifier when determining your Channel Divinity DC. Additionally, your strength of conviction also allows you to force your will upon others or sway them to your cause. When you select this domain, you gain proficiency with your choice of Persuasion or Intimidation.

Armor of Faith

While your magic comes from the strength of your convictions, your direct connection to your deity is still strong enough that you can draw upon it for protection. While you are wearing no armor and carrying no shield, your AC equals 13 + your Wisdom modifier. However, due to your zeal you feel no need to rely on armor and shields for protection, believing wholeheartedly that your deity will protect you. You lose the proficiency with light armor, medium armor and shields you gain from the Cleric class.

Channel Divinity: Divine Seal/Invert Healing

At 2nd level, you gain one of the following channel divinity options, based on what domain spell list you use. If you use the Holy Priest Domain Spell List, you gain the Divine Seal channel divinity. If you use the Unholy Priest Domain Spell List, you gain the Invert Healing channel divinity. These channel divinity options are described below:

Divine Seal. As a bonus action, you present your holy symbol and create a divine sigil beneath the feet of one ally you can see within 30ft that lasts until the end of your turn. As long as that ally is standing in that sigil: when you cast a cleric spell that heals damage on them, instead of rolling dice to determine how much damage that spell heals them for, that spell heals them for the maximum amount of damage it could heal for. (So if you cast a Cure Wounds spell on that ally using a 1st level slot, it would heal 8 + your charisma modifier damage instead of 1d8 + your charisma modifier damage. If you cast a Mass Cure Wounds on your party using a 5th level slot, that ally would heal 24 + your charisma modifier while the rest of your party would heal 3d8 + your charisma modifier.)

Invert Healing. You brandish your holy symbol as a bonus action, inverting healing energies around you. For 1 minute, no creature within 60 feet of you can regain hit points due to magic. Instead, when a creature would regain hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw or take necrotic damage equal to the amount it would have regained. For this minute, you may cast cleric spells that heal hit point damage on hostile creatures. (forcing them to take damage if they fail their Constitution saving throw as-per the effects of this Channel Divinity.)

Divine Boon

At 6th level, you gain a divine boon from your deity, determined by what domain spell list you use. If you use the Holy Priest Domain Spell List you gain the Holy Ward boon. If you use the Unholy Priest Domain Spell List you gain the Aura of Desecration boon. Both boons are described below:

Holy Ward. When you cast a cleric spell of 1st level or higher that heals damage, you can create a holy ward on each target of that spell which lasts until you finish a long rest. As long as these wards are active, they provide the character(s) who have them with temporary hit points equal to 2 + the level of the spell that triggered this feature. (So, if you cast Cure Wounds on an ally with a 3rd level slot and then placed a ward on them with this feature, they would gain 5 temporary hit points from that ward.)

Aura of Desecration. All undead under your control gain temporary hit points equal to your cleric level and add your proficiency bonus to their weapon damage rolls as long as they remain within 30ft of you. Additionally, undead under your control within 30ft of you count as living creatures instead of undead for the effects of cleric spells you cast that heal damage or remove conditions.

Infused Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you cleric cantrips that deal damage deal additional damage equal to your Charisma modifier. If you use the Holy Priest Domain Spell List, this additional damage is radiant. If you use the Unholy Priest Domain Spell List, this additional damage is necrotic.

Divine Boon Improvement

At 17th level, your Divine Boon improves, gaining another special ability. The ability each Boon option gains is detailed below:

Protecting Ward. When you give an ally a ward with your Holy Ward feature you can also give them a protective blessing. The first time that ally would fail a saving throw after receiving that ward, they can re-roll that saving throw with a bonus equal to your Charisma modifier on that roll.

Zone of Desecration. You can use your Aura of Desecration to taint a 30ft area centered on you as an action. When you do this, all corpses in the area rise as skeletons or zombies (that are not under your control). Anything that dies in this area after you used this feature rises as a skeleton or zombie 48 hours later. (these undead are also not under your control.) Any cleric can end the undead reanimation effect of this feature by casting a Hallow spell powered by holy energy on this area.

Additionally, when you use this feature, you can use your bonus action as a part of this feature to take control of any undead in the area. When you do this, you choose any any number of undead with a total combined CR up to your Cleric level in the area. These creatures must make a Charisma saving throw against your Cleric spell save DC. If a creature succeeds, this feature has no effect on it. If a creature fails, it is dominated by you, as if by the Dominate Monster spell, for 4 hours. Intelligent undead are harder to control in this way. If a target has an Intelligence of 8 or higher, it has advantage on the saving throw.

Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest

2017-04-07, 04:47 PM
If you're looking for a "charismatic preacher," you can be a half-elf and/or take Persuasion as a skill (or Religion if your DM likes the idea of using Cha[Religion] for proselytizing). Making a cleric into yet another Charisma caster doesn't seem like a safe solution...

2017-04-07, 05:08 PM
That's a totally valid opinion on, but still an opinion. Balance-wise I see nothing wrong with the swap. Charisma is a worse stat than wisdom, so going from wisdom to Cha for your caster stat is actually somewhat of a nerf, even if it's a minor one. However, from a flavor standpoint I understand your complaint. However, that's why this is homebrew. It's not core, and never will be, so if you don't like the archetype on a theneatic level or because it dosen't feel "5e" enough thats perfectly fine, you can just disallow it at your table and call it a day.

That is one of the beautiful things about how wizards handled 5e. For some of us, only being able to "kinda" play the character we want is fine. What you described is a valid option for some, but you will never be as good as a sorcerer or warlock at Charisma skills that way. You will not be very persuasive, just kinda persuasive. For some of us, that's fine. However, for others, we want the ability to play exactly what we want. Wizards understands that this is an "issue" for some and they handled it very well...by supporting and encouraging homebrew like this.

Rather than do what PF dose and provide "Canon" mechanics for every possible character concept, 5e let's us, the DMs and players, fill the gaps we want filled ourselves with homebrew. This allows us to get exactly the character we want, without book bloat. So while this concept may not feel like "5e" to some or may be "off" to them fluff-wise, that does not matter in 5e. Power is in the DM's hands this edition and you don't want charisma casting clerics in your game then you can simply say "no" to the archetype at your table. That's the beauty of the DM having their power back; at your table you can disallow something like this, at mine I can go hog wild with the homebrew options.

So while some may not like something like this on a theneatic and "feel" level for others like myself the fluff and feel is a-ok, and that's who this is made for. So while I appreciate your comment, I would prefer criticism on the basis of mechanical balance (I am positive some features could stand to be re-balanced/scalled down) rather than "5e feel" or "fluff." I know the fluff and feel will be off for some, but this is not made to please everybody. It's really made just for my table, TBH. So from here on out I'd prefer all criticism be based on mechanical balance issues and not fluff/flavor or "feel." Thank you.

2017-04-08, 05:43 AM
I like the subclass. Here's some feedback:
- Holy ward has an odd consequence: If I heal an ally, I can't immediately heal them again because the ward blocks healing. What if my first spell had bum rolls, and they still have half health?
-For flavor, you could have Potent Spellcasting deal radiant/necrotic damage
- The unholy side of the domain is mostly about undead, which I think belongs mostly to the Death domain. There's many other ways to be unholy besides desecration of the dead!

Alternatively structured, you could do three things:
1) Make a good domain
2) Make an evil domain
3) Make a variant rule: any cleric may choose to use Cha (or heck, many even Int) as their supernatural attribute.

There's certainly an argument for extending this benefit to other classes. I found a houserule here that lets a player choose any attack, defense, or supernatural stat if they convince me it makes sense, and i offer it to players at my table.

2017-04-08, 06:39 AM
Thats totally understandable, but I do not want the casting stat swap to be a houserule. I want it to be baked into a subclass in the odd instance I'm not playing with my friends and I find a table/group thats ok with homebrew subclasses, but not houserules (thats *very* common, believe it or not). I do, however, like the radiant/necrotic potent spellcasting, so I think I will steal that. About the undead thing, thats a personal want/need. The Death domain really has little to do with undead; it's all about necrotic energies, but not actual pets. Part of my reason for making this was wanting a undead pet master based on charisma. So thats more a personal need. However, if you don't like the idea of the Priest sharing the necromancer role with the death domain, but still like the domain just fine disallowing the unholy side of it at your table is a totally valid option, since the split is a thing.

As for the Holy Ward drawback, that was for balance sake. However, if you think that it would still be "balanced" if they could be healed while it is up I can get rid of that drawback. I just felt that may be too powerful if that was the case. However, if you think having the ward still allow healing would not be too broken I can easily remove that part. In any case, thanks for all the feedback, it is quite helpful!

2017-04-08, 02:21 PM
I understand, and you have good reasons to keep the homebrew all close together.

Looking at it closer, holy ward may be overpowered.
Take a 6th level cleric that casts cure wounds as a 1st level spell on an ally. Assume 18 charisma. Said ally gets 8 hp, and 16 thp. This ward doesn't expire, so that first level spell is guaranteed to mitigate 24 damage - more powerful than a 5th level cure wounds spell. This is of course exacerbated to an extreme if a spell heals multiple targets.

The ability incentivizes characters to use their lowest level spell slots to heal their allies, because the largest benefit isn't from the spell itself, but from the rider effect. An odd circumstance.

On another note, it might be best if you word it similar to armor of agathys, so that it parses better and dovetails with existing temporary hit points rules. Currently, these thp stack with thp from other sources - a situation I wouldn't encourage.

2017-04-08, 06:05 PM
Thanks for the advice! If it's too much HP as it stands currently, what would be a better ammount? I ask because I am fairly new to 5e homebrew and still am not all that great at 5e math..I am much more used to the larger numbers and bonuses of 3.5e/PF. So any help getting the math right would be most appreciated!

EDIT: I re-made Holy Ward and protective blessing with Armor of Agythas as a template for the math. Not sure if the temp hp is too low or not though, so I would appreciate advice/comments on both the new Holy Ward and the new Protrctive Blessing. Thanks!

2017-04-09, 12:20 AM
Thanks for the advice! If it's too much HP as it stands currently, what would be a better ammount? I ask because I am fairly new to 5e homebrew and still am not all that great at 5e math..I am much more used to the larger numbers and bonuses of 3.5e/PF. So any help getting the math right would be most appreciated!

EDIT: I re-made Holy Ward and protective blessing with Armor of Agythas as a template for the math. Not sure if the temp hp is too low or not though, so I would appreciate advice/comments on both the new Holy Ward and the new Protrctive Blessing. Thanks!

I think that it's all a step in the right direction. I still have concerns, because this effectively doubles the power of healing spells.

To use a point of reference, I looked to the Life domain. They get (2 + the spell's level) additional healing, and the same for themself at level 6. THP is probably about a bit better than healing in regard to power, so I would use this as a guide.

For protective blessing, I would allow subjects to use their own reaction. After all, what I the subject I around the corner or 1 mile away? Or, it might not need a reaction at all, just automatically working on the first failed saving throw.

2017-04-09, 07:16 AM
Thanks again for the help. Edited things a bit more, using the life cleric as a basis. Do they look alright now?

2017-04-09, 08:48 AM
Seems fine to me! Good work I'd say.

2017-04-09, 12:59 PM
Why is the AC Wis based? Throws more MAD in for no apparent thematic reason

2017-04-09, 05:52 PM
Because Charisma-to-ac made this too good a dip for Sorcerers and Bards, and Wis was more thematic that dex.(Also makes aasimar the ideal holy priests, which IMO was intentional design-wise.) Although I could just set it to 13 + dex mod, and that may be a better sollution? Still a good dip for non-dragon sorcs, but not *as good* as 13 + cha mod.