View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Please critique my custom 5e Cleric domain (Voodoo/Loa)

2017-06-22, 02:49 AM
Hi all, long time lurker first time poster here.

I'm planning a PC for an upcoming campaign, heavily influenced by the witch doctor from Diablo 3 - Hollywood voodoo vibe, wooden masks and skulls and potions (and a riding bat!). I'd originally planned some sort of ranger/druid multiclass, but realised that a custom domain could do the same sort of thing with less hassle. This is my first time homebrewing anything so please feel free to give any advice you have concerning spell list/abilities/overpoweredness etc.


Loa are the spirits of dead gods, generally tied to a particular tribe or group through ancient and unshakable bonds. Despite no longer possessing their physical strength, such gods can become powerful protectors and advisors of their people through their representative clerics. These clerics, sometimes called witch doctors or shamans, channel their gods’ devotion to the tribe, offering words of wisdom, healing, and protection from external threats. While there are a myriad of Loa, each with their own particular quirks and foci, they generally have a deep connection to nature – animals in particular – and the afterlife.


Cleric Level - Spells

1st - animal friendship, hex
3rd - web, blindness/deafness
5th - conjure animals, fear
7th - confusion, polymorph
9th - conjure volley, insect plague


When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with blowguns and Alchemist's Supplies. You also gain proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Nature, or Survival.


Beginning at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to infuse a target with the spirits of the Loa to help or hinder as you see fit. As an Action on your turn, you can touch a creature. If that creature is an ally, it gains advantage on all skill checks related to one statistic of your choice for one minute. If it is an enemy, it has disadvantage on all skill checks relates to one statistic of your choice for one minute.


Starting from 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to channel the spirits of the Loa into a recently deceased body. As an Action on your turn, you can touch a humanoid that has died in the last minute and raise it as a Zombie under your control. The Zombie lasts for one hour, or until killed.


Starting at 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with poison – a gift from your deity. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 poison damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.


Starting at 17th level, you can use your action to summon a tribal fetish (construct) in an unoccupied space that you can see. The totem cannot move, lasts for 1 minute or until destroyed and has 1 hit point and an AC of 10. The fetish begins a ritual dance, sending waves of voodoo magic into the area. While the fetish is still in play, each friendly creature within a 20 ft radius gains advantage on attack rolls and their movement speed increases by 10 ft. Once used, you can not use this feature again until you have finished a long rest.

2017-06-22, 06:15 AM
Cool. I love shamans and such.

Blowguns are, unfortunately, a bit useless. Also, they might not fit with every coception of shamanism (maybe you pass down a dagger in your tradition, or a spear).

The first channel divinity option seem balanced. Perhaps you could rewire it so that the subject is infused with a particular spirit (say, a cunning fox or wise leader).

The second seems to simply be raise dead. I'd like to see something more here, perhaps something that encourages raising zombies.

For the 8th level feature, you give divine strike. But the subclass has no martial protections, and no martial proficiency. Perhaps potent spellcasting is more appropriate.

Big Bad Voodoo... seems fine.

Nice work overall, very thematic.

As a shameless self-plug, you might look in my homebrew signature for my Hag Coven patron (which in my unposted and most updated version is instead 'The Innumerable Spirits'), and my Shaman background. It might give you a point of comparison, if nothing else.

2017-06-22, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the feedback Zeek! I will definitely check out your homebrew - a warlock patron is also a cool and thematic idea for this concept.

In regards to blowguns, I know they are horrible mechanically but the archetype I'm shooting for is less nature totem spiritualist and more Hollywood island tribalist - and the blowgun is also an iconic weapon in the Diablo witch doctors arsenal.

I also imagine the darts being poisoned through either the alchemist's supplies or a combination of Animal Handling/Animal Friendship (maybe even Conjure Animals in downtime?).

Edit: that's also the reason for divine strike rather than potent spellcasting, to encourage the use of the blowgun!

For the second channel divinity, I get your point - useful maybe to save a spell slot but boring. Maybe something like this -

Empower Zombie

Starting at 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to empower your summoned zombies with the spirits of the Loa. For one minute, all zombies under your control gain temporary hit points equal to your Cleric level, and whenever a zombie rolls for damage, you can roll an additional d4 and add the result to the total.

What do you think?

2017-06-22, 11:52 AM
On the blowgun: If the goal is to deliver a poison, then perhaps a bonus to hit would do well, like the archer fighting style. After all, at a certain point it doesn't matter how thematic you are, if the mechanics don't back you up. Also, I've found a feat called blowdart mastery in a compendium titled 'Rule of Law' - it also allows you to ignore the loading property of the blowgun, and attacks don't reveal your position. Some things to think on.

On divine strike: I get it, blowguns are cool. It even in D3, witchdoctors are magic users first, weapon users second/never. Again, we have theme conflicting with mechanics here.

On the second channel divinity feature: Seems fine. I would expand that to 'undead' instead of merely zombies,

2017-06-22, 12:19 PM
I actually think you could play up the blowgun portion, as it would be basically unique to this domain alone. If you want to give yourself more flexibility, you could include throwing daggers/spears as an alternate option.

Perhaps replace the Divine strike with a sort of poison that instead mimics a Hexblade warlock's Hex/baleful curse ability. You could have your version have a shorter duration and stack, encouraging you to weave darts in between your spells; alternatively, you could have it as a larger debuff that heals your Zombies, and also raises them as a Zombie if killed, but can only be applied to one target at a time (such as a ranged version of 4E's Oath of Enmity (http://dnd4.wikia.com/wiki/Oath_of_enmity))