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    Default The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Introduction Ability Scores & Races Domains Feats & Equipment Multiclassing & Backgrounds Spells Example Builds Dipping Cleric

    The Devout and the Dead
    a guide to Clerics


    Note: no images in this guide belong to me. I have no artistic talent. Google image search has artistic talent.

    The Cleric is one of the oldest classes in the game of Dungeons and Dragons, and with it's long history have come many different iterations of the class. Thus when the designers approached Fifth Edition they had many resources to draw from to craft these devout spellcasters. The result is a rich and complex class with many different builds and options.

    My very first character was a Cleric in the heyday of 3.5, but unfortunately those who taught me to play the game encouraged me in that direction because they thought they needed a healbot, and thus I was poorly advised on how to play Clerics. I was handed a crossbow and a bunch of Cure Wounds spells and told to patch up the team and fire away if nobody was injured. It was only after I started learning more about the class and it's diversity of options that I returned to it some time later as a much more competent and dangerous character. This guide is intended for those of you who want to make a similar journey, away from mere bandaid and into a fully fleshed out character who holds his or her weight in combat and out of it.

    In the usual fashion of handbooks I'll be using the following color scheme to indicate how strong certain choices or features are for you:

    Sky Blue: Amazing
    Blue: Good
    Black: Decent
    Purple: Bad
    Red: Horrible

    Table of Contents:
    Post1- Introduction
    Post2- Ability Scores & Races
    Post3- Domains
    Post4- Feats & Equipment
    Post5- Multiclassing & Backgrounds
    Post 6- Spells
    Post 7- Example Builds
    Post 8- Dipping Cleric

    Well, let's jump right into the class features common to all Clerics.

    1d8 HD: you're no Barbarian, but I consider this the “average” HD for 5e.
    Armor Proficiency (Light, Medium, Shields): Plenty of good options here, and a few domains get you heavy as well.
    Simple Weapon Proficiency: Sufficient for most builds, some domains will improve this
    Saving Throws (Wisdom & Charisma): You're going to have the best Wis save in the game, with only the Druid matching you. This is important, because things that target Wisdom are both plentiful and dangerous. Charisma is a dump save that won't come up much.
    Spellcasting: Your primary class feature. Clerics have it good here, as not only to they get all Cleric spells to choose from every day, but their domains further increase their number of prepared spells. Moreover Cleric get Ritual Casting, which is fantastic, and their Spellcasting Focus (i.e.- Holy Symbol) can often be worn or put onto your shield, thus freeing up your hands for weaponry.
    Divine Domain: Even if the Cleric lost its spellcasting many of these domains would outclass a Ranger by themselves. Tons of versatility here.
    Channel Divinity: This feature. It's HIGHLY domain dependent and campaign dependent, but in the right hands or in the right situation it can be rather potent.
    Destroy Undead: By the time you get this you probably wont be worried much about lesser undead anyway, if they even bother showing up. Most domains will have a better use for Channel Divinity.
    Divine Intervention: I can't even begin to rate this, since it's SO dependent on your DM. More of a plot device than an actual class feature.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2016-01-27 at 11:06 PM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics



    There are a handful of directions one can take a Cleric. Knowledge and Light Domain Clerics, as well as some Nature Domain Clerics and most Arcana Domain Clerics, can afford a pure-Wis build. Many others, however will want a secondary ability of either Str or Dex. And of course Con is always useful. Outlined below are three basic builds, using 27pt buy before racials.

    Pure Wis

    Wis 15, Con 14, Dex 13, Str 10, Cha 10, Int 10
    This build is for those who do not plan on using weapons, but rather rely wholly on magic for damage. The idea is to use medium armor and a shield for maximum AC and have your spell focus in your main hand. This build is best for Knowledge and Light Domain builds that rely on Sacred Flame, as well as Nature Domain builds that rely on Shillelagh. Arcana Domain will also likely be of this type.

    Wis & Str
    Wis 15, Str 14, Con 14, Dex 10, Cha 10, Int 8
    This is for Life, Nature, Tempest or War Domain Clerics who want a Str-based weapon and heavy armor. Both this type and the next will often use their weaponry for offense, freeing up spell slots and cantrip choices for buffs, crowd control, healing, and other effects.

    Wis & Dex
    Wis 15, Dex 14, Con 14, Str10, Cha 10, Int 8
    The mirror of the above, for any who want to rely on Dex-based and/or ranged weapons and light armor. Tempest, Trickery, War, and Death will be the primary consumers of this build, though Tempest and War work just as well with Str.

    With any of the above builds you can switch out that 8 Int with either Cha or the other stat that is a 10 to shift around your “weakness” for roleplaying reasons or to reflect your skills.

    Races


    ~~~PHB~~~
    Hill Dwarf: My personal pick for most builds is the very first race in the book. It has perfect ability scores and bonus hitpoints to boot. Darkvision and resistance to poison are both handy, and you even get a free tool proficiency to boot.
    Mountain Dwarf: Similar to the above, but 2Str instead of 1Wis, and fewer hitpoints. Obviously you'll want to go Str build with it, and your casting stat will take more effort to cap, but they can make fearsome combatants.
    High Elf: High elf isn't a bad race overall, just bad a being a Cleric, especially when compared to Wood Elves- who work with the same builds, but better.
    Wood Elf: Speaking of Wood Elves, they have the best stats in the book for a Dex build, and their natural ability at Stealth mixed with their high speed is useful in a variety of situations. Free proficiency in perception combined with Darkvision and a high Wis score means you'll likely be the best at spotting things, too.
    Drow: Like High Elves, they get outdone by Wood Elves in just about every way. Or halflings, for that matter.
    Lightfoot Halflings: Like Drow, but you trade light sensitivity and perception proficiency for a lower move speed and Lucky. Still a very middle of the road option. You're better off playing a Stout.
    Stout Halfling: Not as good as a Wood Elf, but with some of what makes Dwarves so good. A 2nd string choice for a Dex build.
    Human: Boring but effective. You'll want to juggle your ability scores around a bit to make the most of them.
    Variant Human: A free feat is a big deal. Depending on your build you might want to pick up War Caster, Heavy Armor Master, Sharpshooter, or any number of other feats.
    Dragonborn: It's like a Mountain Dwarf but worse in almost every way as far as Clerics are concerned. Picking your resistance is nice, at least.
    Forest Gnome: Brings very little to the table aside from Gnome Cunning
    Rock Gnome: Same as Forest Gnome. If you want to play a Gnome, go play a Wizard.
    Half-Elf: For those of you who want to be a social Cleric and/or have a bunch of skills.
    Half-Orc: Much like Dragonborn, it's basically a bad Mountain Dwarf. But not nearly as bad, with Darkvision, Relentless Endurance, and Savage Attacks.
    Tiefling: The worst race in the game for Clerics- it contributes to both of your dump stats and gives you very little besides.

    ~~~DMG~~~
    Eladrin: Basically alternate High Elves, so most of those comments apply here, except that the loss of a free cantrip is actually somewhat hurtful, so High Elves are better.
    Aasimar: +1 Wis and resistance to Necrotic and Radiant is nice, but the rest of the race is lost on Clerics, sadly. Like the Half-Elf they're better suited to Cha casters.

    ~~~Elemental Evil~~~
    Aarakocra: It's a flying Wood Elf! Which is a very good thing, if you've been paying attention. These guys will arguably make better archers and ranged spell casters due to superior aerial mobility, but it's a bit more campaign dependent.
    Deep Gnome: See "Rock Gnome" above.
    Air Genasi: Not the best Dex option for you, but not actively BAD the way some races are (Gnomes, for example).
    Earth Genasi: And again, not the best Str race, by a long shot, but at least all the stat bumps will be relevant to a Str build.
    Fire Genasi: +2 Con, Darkvision, Fire Resistance, and a free Cantrip are pretty cool even if it doesn't bump your offensive stats. Could make a pretty cool Light Domain build with this.
    Water Genasi: Here's the Wis bump you were looking for! Comes with Acid Resistance, Water Breathing, a Swim speed, and the ability to do cool minor things with water. I'm thinking Nature Domain would be the best fit.
    Goliath: These guys are kinda like Dragonborn with a tanking trait to make up for lost elemental resistance and a slightly better secondary stat and traits to make up for the breath weapon. Probably a slightly better pick for a Str build, but not as good as Dwarf or Orc.

    ~~~Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide~~~
    Duergar: The worst of the Dwarven subraces. It still makes a passable Str based build. I'd put about the same as Dragonborn.
    Ghostwise Halfling: A bit better than the core Halflings, thanks to the Wis bump. Finally you get Lucky paired with Wis. Obviously you're looking at a Dex build.
    Deep Gnome: See the write-up in the Elemental Evil section above.
    Half Elf Variants: Some of these may or may not be better than the base Half Elf. The cantrip seems decent, but it's Int based.
    Tielfing Variants: Well, Feral is a huge step up from base Tiefling for you, and you should strongly consider Winged if your DM allows it. Still not a top pick, especially if Aarakocra is available.

    ~~~VGtM~~~
    Protector Aasimar: On the one hand the Cha is useless, but on the other hand all the rest of the package is too good to not at least consider. This is the best of the three.
    Scourge Aasimar: Con is nice, self damage is... not as bad for Life Clerics as any other class? Not a bad choice at all.
    Fallen Aasimar: Probably better than Scourge for Str builds.
    Firgolg: The only +2 Wis in the book! Unfortunately its other features are... lacking. Fits Nature thematically, but would be better as a Str build, mechanically.
    Goliath: Same as Elemental Evil- good but not great Str race.
    Kenku: Great ability boots for a Dex build, but once again lacking on significant features. The two bonus skills are nice, though. Fits Trickery, thematically.
    Lizardfolk: Perfect ability boosts for any build, the Bite predisposes you toward Str builds (and is a great option for Trickery), though the Natural Armor is useful for Dex builds as well. Cuning Artisan is great for keeping your Javelins in stock, which Str builds love.
    Tabaxi: The Cha is wasted, but the rest of it is good for a Dex build.
    Triton: Not terrible for a Str build, it's usefulness is somewhat campaign dependent.
    Bugbear: Kind of a confused race, half its features are good with Dex and the other half want to be a Str polearm build.
    Hobgoblin: Con is nice, and the saving throw boost is handy, but the rest of it seems lackluster for Cerics.
    Goblin: Great stats for a Dex build, bonus damage, and bonus disengage/hide make for a potent race.
    Kobold: Some really quirky benefits with a fair handful of drawbacks. It could make a funny Dex build, and actually pairs well with Sanctuary.
    Yuan-ti Pureblood: Pretty much a poison type Tiefling. Magic Resistance is its saving grace.
    Orc: Worse than a Half-Orc in many situations, it's still a decent race for Str builds. Probably on-par with Dragonborn.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2016-11-07 at 08:06 PM.

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    After Spellcasting Domains are your biggest class feature, and tend to be very defining of your character. Certain Domains are very similar to one another in terms of final builds (i.e.- Knowledge and Light, or Temptest and War), and some are unlike any other (i.e.-Trickery). Each gives you bonus Domain Spells, which don't count against your prepared spells for the day, as well as a new use of channel divinity, a bonus to damage with either spells or weapons, and a couple other unique features.


    Knowledge:

    Domain Spells: Some decent divination type stuff. I'm a big fan of Speak with Dead and Arcane Eye, both of which have creative uses.
    Blessings of Knowledge: Expertise in two knowledge skills is cool. You'll probably want a higher than average Int to take advantage of that, which is actually most viable with a Human.
    Knowledge of the Ages: Easily the best non-combat use of channel divinity in the book. Free variable proficiency makes you practically Bardic in your skill versatility.
    Read Thoughts: Make Great Old One Warlocks jealous with your mental manipulations. Sure you could do it with spells, but not necessarily as effectively.
    Potent Spellcasting: Sacred Flame actually does respectable damage now! This is pretty defining when it comes to your offensive capabilities, letting you spend your spell slots on other things.
    Visions of the Past: Qui-Gon Jinn would be proud. A potent plot tool. This becomes significantly less awesome if your mostly doing dungeon grinds, but the same can be said of most of the Knowledge Domain.

    Life

    Domain Spells: Any domain list that starts with Bless and Cure Wounds is doing it right. Those are spells that every Cleric should have prepared anyway, so giving them to you for free frees you up to dig deeper into the Cleric Spell list.
    Heavy Armor Proficiency: This leans Life Clerics toward Str builds. It synergizes well with their massive healing abilities.
    Disciple of Life: At the lowest levels this is simply overkill. The higher your level the more useful this becomes, as it allows you do dedicate fewer spells per day to heals, and more to buffs and CC.
    Preserve Life: This is another tool to help alleviate your spells slots. Use this after a big fight, or right after a boss unleashes a devastating AoE to keep people on their feet.
    Blessed Healer: This is a great reason to go Life Domain. It allows you to jump into the thick of things with a buddy and have both of you come out unscathed after a single patch-up spell. As with everything else Life Clerics get, it's designed to make your spells go further than they otherwise would.
    Divine Strike: Makes you feel like a Paladin. As with all the Cleric8 features, it improves your at-will offense, which is a very good thing.
    Supreme Healing: Life Cleric capstone? All healing maximized for free sounds about right. Once again aimed at having you cast fewer heals per day, this has it in spades.

    Light

    Domain Spells: Blasty blast blast blast. People liken this to the 4e laser-cleric for a reason. For the Clerics that secretly wish they had rolled a Sorcerer.
    Bonus Cantrip- Light: Underwhelming, if thematic. Most races have Darkvision anyway.
    Warding Flare: One of the more underwhelming domain features, it's basically an anti-rogue. Use against big attacks that you can see coming.
    Radiance of the Dawn: More blasting, this time using up your Channel Divinity. Better than Turn Undead, which is nice.
    Improved Flare: Your only non-blasty feature from Light Domain, this is useful if an ally that's low on hitpoints gets attacked.
    Potent Spellcasting: As per the Knowledge Domain your get a damage buff on Sacred Flame, giving you a better fall-back option when you've blasted your last blast from spell slots.
    Corona of Light: An aura that makes you significantly better at what you do. If you have another party member that specializes in Fire (Sorcerer) or Radiant (Paladin) damage they'll be able to take advantage as well.

    Nature

    Domain Spells: If Light Domain Clerics wish they were Sorcerers, Nature Domain Clerics wish they were Druids. Not even the best Druid spells, but it's a passable list.
    Acolyte of Nature: There are some good cantrips on the Druid list. Many are the same as yours, allowing you to get just a little more mileage out of your cantrips. Of note, Shillelagh give you the only pure-Wis melee build of all Clerics, which makes Hill Dwarves very happy.
    Heavy Armor Proficiency: As good for you as it was for Life Domain, perhaps, giving you the option for a Str build.
    Charm Animals and Plants: I'm sorry, but Charm is just bad in this edition. This is just as situational as Turn Undead.
    Dampen Elements: Free multi-element resistance that only uses your reaction? Yes please! This makes Nature Clerics a strong support for many types of foes (Dragons, Demons, Devils, other nasty things that start with “D,” etc.)
    Divine Strike: As with every other domain you get a damage boost. Unlike them you get to pick your element with each swing, allowing you to target any weaknesses you're aware of.
    Master of Nature: This takes a bad class feature and makes it good. Still limited by your Channel Divinity uses, it just comes a little too late for my taste.

    Tempest

    Domain Spells: An odd mix of utility and blasting. Certainly works thematically.
    Bonus Proficiencies: Here we go. This is what makes Tempest and War distinct from the other Domains- full proficiencies. Opens up a lot of options in terms of equipment.
    Wrath of the Storm: Reactive damage is always nice, and half damage on save damage is the best way to do it. You might find better uses for your reaction- but this ensures you don't have to.
    Destructive Wrath: Using Channel Divinity to maximize your blasting? Sure, that works for me. Your nova rounds are going to be pretty shocking (sorry, I couldn't resist at least one pun...).
    Thunderbolt Strike: I keep trying to think of a way to get Shocking Grasp based on Wis, but until such a time as that this remains fun but limited in use. Your best bet is to combine it with your Wrath of the Storm.
    Divine Strike: Thunder damage isn't resisted a whole lot, so this is good. Would have been better as lightning, if only because of the abuse with Thunderbolt Strike.
    Stormborn: What a capstone! Unlike previous editions, access to flight is very limited in 5e. Even moreso the ability to fly AND concentrate on another spell. Have fun raining down death.

    Trickery

    Domain Spells: Honestly, this is probably the best part of this domain. Mirror Image alone is one of the best buffs in the game if for no other reason than it not requiring Concentration. Also Polymorph. Great spells.
    Blessing of the Trickster: Red! The only domain ability in the guide to receive the rating! Why? Opportunity cost. You see, Trickery gets Divine Strike rather than Potent Spellcasting at 8th level, meaning it's a weapon-focused Domain. But all the other weapon-focused Domains (except Death) get Heavy armor proficiency, allowing them to go Str, and Tempest, War, and Death get Martial weapon proficiency as well, allowing them to go Dex. Trickery? Stuck with Simple weapons and no Heavy armor. This basically shoehorns them into Studded Leather + Dagger or Light Crossbow, unless you're a Wood Elf, in which case you get a Shortsword to work with. Other than that you'll need either multiclassing or a feat to fix this broken domain. The ability itself is basically a more focused version of Guidance that you can't use on yourself. And because you can only have once instance up at a time it's useless for group stealth as well, meaning in order to really take advantage of it you need a stealthy party member who goes off on his own all the time. Which encourages splitting the party. Don't.
    Invoke Duplicity: You get a clone that uses your Concentration to allow you to fire spells from a different angle. If it lasted for more than a minute I would rate it higher for roleplaying potential, but it seems poorly designed.
    Cloak of Shadows: A quick escape button or temporary Advantage granter is a pretty good use of your Channel Divinity. At this point I'm almost convinced this Domain was meant to multiclass with Rogue, though.
    Divine Strike: To add insult to injury the Trickster's damage bonus is Poison, which is one of the most commonly resisted damage types.
    Improved Duplicity: A mediocre capstone to a pretty terrible Domain overall.

    War

    Domain Spells: Not a bad bunch, but nothing stands out as exceptional.
    Bonus Proficiencies: As I pointed out in Tempest, this gives that Domain and this one a huge amount of build flexibility.
    War Priest: An excellent start to the class. This keeps you competitive with melee classes in terms of weapon output. Only it's limited uses keeps it from being rated higher.
    Guided Strike: Sometimes hitting the badguy is just really important. For times like that, you have Guided Strike.
    War God's Blessing: Sometimes your ally hitting the badguy is just really important. For times like that, you have War God's Blessing. But for real, this buff is a solid use of both a Channel Divinity usage and a reaction.
    Divine Strike: Making you better at what you do.
    Avatar of Battle: At this level there will be a lot of things that ignore your resistance. But there will also still be a lot of things that don't. And it's always-on, so that's nice.

    Death

    Domain Spells: A solid set of debuffs that gets better with Improved Reaper. Also lets you play at undead armies, which is nice.
    Bonus Proficiencies: Weapons but not armor? This and Divine Strike place you uniquely suited to a Dex build, though Wis works as well.
    Reaper: As of when I'm writing this you can choose between Chill Touch and Spare the Dying. Since Spare the Dying is already on your list you can choose Chill Touch and get the multi-targeting benefit to both spells, if you want. Either way this is good.
    Touch of Death: A solid amount of necrotic damage at all levels.
    Inescapable Destruction: What I like about this domain is that all of it's features work together. There are 11 monsters in the Monster Manual with resistance to necrotic and an equal number with immunity, which overall is fantastic news for you, especially now that you've gotten this feature.
    Divine Strike: It's in your element, so have fun with that.
    Improved Reaper: Twinning all your single target debuffs is remarkably handy. Can also be used with, say, False Life to spread the temporary hitpoints, which could make a Warlock dip rather attractive.

    Arcana:
    Domain Spells: A decent list, full of things you don't always have access to,
    Arcane Initiate: This is a big game changer. This makes you a top contender for best pure-Wis build, though with one of the SCAG weapon-based cantrips you could go with a solid Str build.
    Arcane Abjuration: Meh. This is about as situational the base Turn Undead.
    Spell Breaker: This is pretty good, but somewhat campaign dependent. Less so than, say, your channel divinity options. But not something that will come up every adventuring day.
    Potent Spellcasting: Pretty typical, and synergies well with your extra cantrips.
    Arcane Mastery: Nice spells are nice. This greatly helps with versatility.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2016-04-28 at 03:40 PM.

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    Feats come at the cost of ability scores now, which is a sad face. If you used the 27pt buy builds I suggested above you're only going to have room for one or two feats anyway, asuming you want to cap out your Wis and Str or Dex. Pure Wis builds have a bit more room for feats, potentially getting up to three. There are a goodly number of feats, so I'll only bother addressing the ones relevant to a Cleric. Some are obviously better for some builds than others.

    Charger: Since non-War Clerics only get one attack and don't always have a use for their bonus action, this actually becomes a decent choice for Life, Nature, and Tempest builds. Tricksters that have multiclassed with Rogue might also find it useful.
    Crossbow Expert: There's some controversy regarding the specifics with this feat, but if your DM reads it the way I do you can get a bonus attack when wielding only a Hand Crossbow. Potentially useful in a Death, Tempest, or War build in either case.
    Defensive Duelist: Another Dex option, or for those using rapier+shield with Str, this time using your reaction. Would be rated higher if most domains didn't already have good uses for their reaction.
    Dual Wielder: It's a trap! If you're dual-wielding chances are you're already at least using shortswords. This lets you use rapiers instead, which is not worth the feat.
    Elemental Adept: For all you Light and Tempest Domain Clerics out there, this lets you be better at your element of choice.
    Great Weapon Master: For those Tempest and War types who like Heavy weapons, this is another tool that makes every hit count. War Domain in particular does well with this, with its accuracy buff.
    Healer: If your DM gives you frequent access to Healer's Kits this is basically like paying money for a few extra first level spells per day. Usually not necessary, but worth considering for some.
    Heavily Armored: This allows for Death or Trickery to go for a Str build, which is another good fix for Trickery.
    Heavy Armor Master: At low levels this is amazing. As you level, however, it quickly loses its relevance.
    Magic Initiate: Not necessary on most builds, but if you want to pick up Shillelagh you can make a Pure-Wis build out of any domain by picking up a stick and some medium armor. Also good for melee weapon users with the cantrips from SCAG, despite being based on your dump stats if you're not Arcana Domain. Probably a better choice than Weapon Master if you're trying to fix Trickery Domain with a feat.
    Observant: +1 Wis is nice, of course, and the fact that your Wis based means you'll already have one of the better Perception scores in the party. If you get proficiency from your background and if you're the party scout then this might be worth it.
    Polearm Master: Another Tempest or War exclusive, this allows you to get some nice bonus action damage going on. You'll have to use your discretion as to when to use your reach-enabled opportunity attack and when to use your Domain granted reaction.
    Resilient: I'm specifically thinking of the Con version, which will be quite helpful for pure-Wis builds who will have both room for the feat and enough Ability boots to have a good Con score. The Dex version might be worth it in Dex builds.
    Sentinel: For those of you that like to control enemy movements with your weapons. Seems especially good for Life Domain, as they don't always have better uses of their reaction.
    Sharpshooter: For you Death, Tempest, or War types that picked up a longbow. Once again better on War because of accuracy issues.
    Shield Master: Not a bad choice by any stretch of the imagination, it's another tool to help with the oh-so-common Dex saves in the game.
    War Caster: A godsend for many builds, and one of the first ones you should consider. Just so many good things.
    Weapon Master: One way to get a decent weapon on a Trickery Domain Cleric. But honestly, still probably not worth it.

    Equipment:

    Armor is pretty straightforward. Dex builds want Light, pure Wis builds want Medium, Str builds want Heavy. What you're holding in your hands is the real question. Knowledge and Light builds don't have to worry about this- they can use Sacred Flame instead of weapons, so they'll just want a shield. Everyone else will need to look at if they're a Str or Dex build, and if they have martial weapon proficiency or not. The following list covers the best options:

    Spear- for Str builds without martial proficiency (ie- Life or some Nature builds) or Dex builds that dipped Monk (so probably also Life or Nature)
    Quarterstaff- for Nature Domain Clerics that picked up Shillelagh.
    Javelin- For Str builds that want to use a weapon for ranged attacks instead of spells/cantrips.
    Light Crossbow- For Dex builds without martial proficiency, which should be rare.
    Battleaxe/Longsword/Warhammer- For martial Str Clerics with a shield.
    Rapier- For martial Dex characters of all stripes, my personal recommendation for Death Domain
    Shortswords- if you multiclassed Fighter or Ranger to pick up Two Weapon style this could work, but I advise against it. Also for Wood Elf Trickery Domain builds.
    Greatsword/Maul- martial Str Clerics who opt for no shield can deal a lot of damage with these, especially War Clerics.
    Glaive/Halberd- for Polearm Master builds, which is honestly done better with other classes
    Heavy Crossbow- martial Dex builds will likely pick one of these up
    Longbow- for when you really just need range. Probably best on a high level Tempest Cleric with the Sharpshooter feat.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2016-06-06 at 10:05 AM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics



    Unless you're Trickery Domain most Clerics will be happy to stay single classed. But a 1-3 level dip might occasionally be worth it, so I'll be rating the other classes based on that idea. Often if you're planning to dip it's a good idea to do so fairly early on, so you get the benefits of that dip as quickly as possible. Clerics get an excellent bump at level 8, so if you know you're going to be playing that high of level 9th might be a good time to take a detour.

    Barbarian: As a reader pointed out to me, Rage stops spellcasting and concentration. That's a bad thing. You can get martial weapon proficiency this way, but there are better options for that.

    Bard: If you've got the Cha for it you might appreciate the increased potency with skills that comes with two or three levels of Lore Bard. There are better ways to get the benefits of Valor, however.

    Druid: Two levels would get you Moon Druid's CR1 wildshape. Unfortunately this doesn't work all that great with Clerics, but it does have some niche uses.

    Fighter: A great choice for one or two levels, first level gets you full weapon proficiencies and a Fighting Style, and second level gets you Action Surge- which comes highly recommended by anyone who's read the thing. Taking it before Cleric gets you Heavy Armor as well, for those that want but don't have it.

    Monk: An excellent choice for a Dex build, it allows you to use Dex for Domains like Life or Nature that would normally go Str. Also one of the ways to keep Trickery relevant, if you really want to for some reason.

    Paladin: Yo, dawg, I heard you liked holy warriors. So I put some smiting in your smiting so you could smite stuff while you were smiting. But for real this is a decent way to pick up martial weapons and a fighting style, but perhaps not as good of a dip as Fighter.

    Ranger: Dipping in three levels for Colossus Slayer would actually be worth it on a lot of builds. Especially with the good Fighting Style choices Ranger gets.

    Rogue: For all you Dex builds out there, here's another good one. Cunning action rocks my socks, and Assassinate would be great with Divine Strike. One of the handful of ways to make Trickery Domain useful would be to start with a couple Rogue levels.

    Sorcerer: One level for Draconic Resilience might be okay for a Dex build, if you've got nothing better to do, but you're probably better off with Monk for that. Though the melee cantrips from SCAG are pretty solid, even based on Cha. Storm Sorcerer is also interesting for a high-mobility build, but somewhat niche.

    Warlock: A quick dip into Great Old One might be flavorful for a Knowledge Domain type, and three levels could net you a Pact benefit and a couple Invocations. The Pact Blade is yet another way to try and get a Trickery Domain Cleric to be any good, and the short-rest spells slots are a good way to toss out frequently used low level buffs like Bless. Finally, access to SCAG melee cantrips is a plus.

    Wizard: Not much to gain from a dip. Minor Conjuration might be worth looking at, as would Portent. Improved Minor Illusion could fit some niche builds, and Light Domain Clerics might look as Sculpt Spells. Perhaps most importantly you could pick up a melee cantrip from SCAG.

    Backgrounds


    I feel obligated to include this section because it's a major part of character creation, but honestly this is the least mechanically impactful decision you will likely make. I really have only one piece of advise here: pick skills that reinforce your good stats. You're a Cleric so look for Backgrounds that grant Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, or Survival. If you're a Str build head toward Athletics. If you're a Dex build head toward Acrobatics, Slight of Hand, and Stealth. Your party probably expects you to be proficient in Religion- you can either play to type or come up with an interesting reason that you're counter-type. Frankly, everything in core except Noble and Sage include at least one of these, so I guess my advice would be to avoid those two. Out of the SCAG Waterdhavien Noble is the only one that fails to have a skill you want.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2016-04-28 at 03:18 PM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Concentration spells will be marked with a (C) and Ritual spells will be marked with a (R)

    Cantrips

    Guidance(C): What a cantrip! Free boosts to skills? At-will? Yes please! The only downside is you better not be Concentrating on a long-duration buff.
    Light: It's very good at what it does, which is allowing the party to delve into unlit caverns and such. Too bad ¾ of the PHB races have Darkvision, though.
    Mending: I like this spell, and it actually comes up a fair amount when I'm a player, but it's usually not critical to whatever task it at hand.
    Resistance(C): A decent effect, but you might as well just cast Bless on the whole party.
    Sacred Flame: A damage cantrip is always nice to have, and it's ranged to boot. No attack roll means no disadvantage in melee, and Knowledge and Light Domain Clerics get to add Wis to it at level 8. Str builds will likely choose this over a sling or javelins for a ranged option.
    Spare the Dying: One the one hand it's great at what it does. On the other hand it can be emulated by a good Healing check. Take one or the other. Or a Healer's Kit, if your DM gives you frequent access to those.
    Thaumaturgy: Fun for being showy. The most practical non-social use I've seen was opening a trapped door from a distance, thus bypassing the trap, which is nice.

    1st Level

    Bane(C): Allowing a saving throw AND requiring Concentration make this spell worse than it otherwise could be. Because an accuracy and save debuff is actually a pretty good effect.
    Bless(C): The best first level Concentration spell, imo. A bonus to accuracy and saves to crucial members can make a huge difference. Relevant for your entire career, though mitigated somewhat by Concentration.
    Command: If you're fighting a lot of humanoids or spending a lot of time in cities then this might be worth it to prepare. Approach can end a chase scene early and Drop is useful against weapon-users.
    Create or Destroy Water: You'd have to be quite creative to justify preparing this most days.
    Cure Wounds: Your basic curative magic. It scales well enough, and so remains useful.
    Detect Evil and Good(C): The “evil and good” spells suck now that alignment isn't really a thing anymore. Unless you're looking for a Vampire in a crowd, don't bother.
    Detect Magic(C, R): This one is very DM dependent, since many things which are magical will already be clearly magical. Letting you know the school is nice, though.
    Detect Poison and Disease(C, R): For a VERY specific type of campaign. Usually you can wait overnight and prepare it the next day if really neccesary.
    Guiding Bolt: A surprisingly good spell. Damage and an armor debuff makes for a potent package.
    Healing Word: Bonus action ranged heal that scales with level? Yeah that works. Lets you heal while still remaining relevant in the buffs or damage department.
    Inflict Wounds: Good damage that scales well with slots. A solid, no-frills option for melee damage. As a single target spell, though it might be outclassed by your melee weapon, if you're not a Wis-only build, and even if not there might be a better use of a first level spell slot. Death Domain, on the other hand, can twin this for free,
    Protection from Evil and Good(C): If it didn't require Concentration and targeted more than one ally this would see use against these types of foes. Unfortunately neither of those are true.
    Purify Food and Drink(R): If your DM is a jerk then use this as a ritual frequently. If not, skip it.
    Sanctuary: A solid Concentration-free buff that can be cast as a bonus action out of a 1st level spell slot? Sold. The no-attacking bit is unfortunate, but you yourself are a prime candidate because of your buffs, as might be the party Wizard or Bard.
    Shield of Faith(C): Nice enough, but probably not worth your Concentration in the presence of things like Bless.

    2nd Level

    Aid: This spell has the rare distinction of being a Concentration-free buff. This makes it worth preparing and casting, especially at low levels where 5hp makes a difference.
    Augury(R): Both as a DM and a player I hate “predict the future” spells, because they're so subjective and often inaccurate.
    Blindness/Deafness: On the one hand this is a Concentration-free debuff. On the other hand it allows a save every round.
    Calm Emotions(C): For a high-social campaign this would be useful, but most Clerics can pass this one over.
    Continual Flame: Expensive for minimal effect. Though you could cast it on your Barbarian's helmet for the intimidation factor.
    Enhance Ability(C): More of a non-combat spell than in previous editions. Not worth the spell slot, to be honest, unless you know that somebody's going to have a really hard lock to pick tomorrow or something.
    Find Traps: Useful if you don't have a good trapfinder in the party, but only to a degree. There are better spells at this level.
    Gentle Repose(R): This one is more useful at high levels when you have access to revival magic than early levels when you don't. Hopefully it never comes up, but it might.
    Hold Person(C): Paralysis is nice. Allowing a save every round isn't. Just not the same as it used to be.
    Lesser Restoration: Good for when you need it, but you shouldn't need it often.
    Locate Object(C): Range restriction pegs this as a solidly “urban adventure” type spell, though it might be useful in determining the “real” macguffin from a fake.
    Prayer of Healing: Your first AoE heal, and it's a good one. Non-combat only, but it heals a good amount and starts in a nice small 2nd level spell slot. You get Mass Healing Word next level for the combat-equivalent.
    Protection from Poison: Make your non-Dwarven friends a little more Dwarfly with this. Useful if you know you'll be fighting lots of insects or Green Dragons, but poison isn't that bad of a thing.
    Silence(C, R): Useful as a mage-slayer or a stealth aid. Note that it does require Concentration, and it is stationary, making this a weak-CC against magical foes.
    Spiritual Weapon: If you don't have a better use for your bonus actions then this will be a nice source of extra damage.
    Warding Bond: Life Domain Clerics like taking half the damage so they can heal more efficiently. The rest of you don't need to bother.
    Zone of Truth: Useful in more social campaigns, this wont see use at many tables.

    3rd Level

    Animate Dead: Another interesting Concentration-free “buff,” this spell can be controversial at many tables, but is nonetheless useful for those of you whose deity isn't opposed to such things.
    Beacon of Hope(C): This spell is for after a fight where your party gets soundly thrashed. If you're expecting a thrashing it might be worth it, but most days you should probably choose spells that will prevent such situations in the first place.
    Bestow Curse(C): Here's an interesting one. A debuff that makes them vulnerable to future debuffs or just straight up loses some of its turns. What makes it really interesting is casting it in a 5+ spell slot makes it not require Concentration.
    Clairvoyance(C): Situationally useful for utility purposes.
    Create Food and Water: I've always had a soft spot for this spell. With it you can sustain a party or start a soup kitchen. If your DM doesn't keep track of food and such this obviously isn't ever going to be prepared, though.
    Daylight: On the one hand this is a long duration Concentration-free mobile effect. On the other hand you've got Light as a Cantrip option, for free if you're Light Domain. Really only useful if you're planning to encounter a lot of magical darkness.
    Dispel Magic: Another DM dependent spell. This might not come up very often, but when it does it's good at its job.
    Feign Death(R): For making your buddy look like a corpse. Bonus points if you stab him first and heal him afterward. Not for everyday use, but good for bluffing your way into/past/around somebody.
    Glyph of Warding: A choice between good damage or a Concentration ignoring targeted effect? That sounds good. On the other hand 200gp cost means this is for the wealthy or desperate. Better for buffs than debuffs, since you can guarantee it will trigger.
    Magic Circle(C): A bit too expensive for a 1hour spell, it's main use is in Conjuration.
    Mass Healing Word: Bonus action ranged group healing, including spellcasting mod? Sign me up. This will be a staple spell for many builds.
    Meld into Stone(R): There's a lot to like about this spell: the ritual tag, the long Concentration-free duration, the potential for eavesdropping or stealth. Unfortunately I just don't see it coming up in that many campaigns.
    Protection from Energy(C): A staple buff spell. Unfortunately it requires Concentration, and even worse it only targets one ally.
    Remove Curse: A lot of things can be ended with this, but many of them aren't lethal, so you can afford to prepare it the next day.
    Revivify: The lowest level resurrection magic. If you've got the diamonds on-hand this is a quick and cheaper revival than other methods, which is very nice.
    Sending: The communication revolution is upon us. No range restrictions makes this THE spell for long-distance information conveyance.
    Speak with Dead: The lack of forced truthfulness makes this less than effective on the corpses of your fallen foes. A Zone of Truth spell can fix that, but that's a lot of resources for limited potential gain.
    Spirit Guardians(C): This is an example of a good use of your Concentration. A good sized aura that slows and does damage even on a save makes you a beacon of CC that's hard to ignore.
    Tongues: When it comes up this is nice to have, but rarely will it be completely neccesary.
    Water Walk(R): Not a bad spell, but only occasionally useful.

    4th Level

    Banishment(C): Despite this spells many limitations it is one of the few true “encounter-ending” spells at your disposal. Obviously better against foes with low Cha like elementals.
    Control Water(C): Situationally useful. Obviously better in an aquatic campaign.
    Death Ward: This is exactly what a good Cleric buff should look like. Long duration, Concentration-free, prevents death. Worth casting on at least one party member right before walking into a dungeon.
    Divination(R): Predicting the future is a bad idea. Rarely works as advertised.
    Freedom of Movement: A solid all-around buff. It won't come up every day in every adventure, but there are enough situations that it will be a life-saver in that it's worth at least preparing.
    Guardian of Faith: A stationary door guard. One of a handful of anti-ambush spells. Better if you've got a home base with doors that you sleep in at night.
    Locate Creature(C): The range restriction really kills the utility of this spell.
    Stone Shape: A genuinely useful spell in many dungeon situations, it's limited mostly by the imagination of the caster. Permanent duration makes this amazing in a private stone fortress with a bunch of hidden rooms and such.

    5th Level

    Commune(R): On the one hand spells like this are iffy at best. On the other hand it's a ritual, so you can cast it without fear of wasting a spell slot.
    Contagion: This spell. It's a Concentration-free debuff that allows lots of saves, but when it sticks it sticks hard. Slimy Doom might be the best boss-killer in the book. Bonus points if you're a high-level Death Domain Cleric, as you get to twin it.
    Dispel Evil and Good(C): Self-buffing is nice, especially if you're a melee type. There are probably better uses of your Concentration, but I don't think most parties will crucify you for casting this one.
    Flame Strike: This is one of the staples of a blaster Cleric. Good damage in double type with decent scaling and a big area.
    Geas: A charm with a bit of behavioral control added for good measure. The casting time makes it a bit awkward, though.
    Greater Restoration: If you've got one of these effects on you, you want it off. Too bad it's gonna cost you some cash. Generally you'll prepare this reactively rather than proactively.
    Hallow: “Until Dispelled” is the best duration, especially for such an expensive spell. The effects are pretty cool, but this is obviously more for a stationary campaign than a mobile one.
    Insect Plague(C): The damage is sup-par, but the fact that it's a persistent AoE with half on a save makes this spell essentially a form of weak CC.
    Legend Lore: Your DM wants you to take this spell so he can actually tell you all the backstory of his world. You usually won't care, though, as it only works on stuff that anyone with ranks in History can already tell you.
    Mass Cure Wounds: As long as you've got more than one target this will be more efficient than a single Cure Wounds on each target, which is pretty good, in my book.
    Planar Binding: This one obviously requires a fair amount of forethought, but the potential gains are pretty good. They'd need to be, though, for a four-figure pricetag.
    Raise Dead: It comes with all sorts of drawbacks and limitations, but let's face it- you'll be glad to have this in your pocket every now and then. If you have access to True Resurrection, however, use that instead.
    Scrying(C): Scry-and-die isn't as powerful as it used to be, but that's more because of the die side than the scry side. Scrying is still a useful and powerful tool for many adventures.

    6th Level

    Blade Barrier(C): The damage is pretty weak for this level, though three quarters cover is a decent way to keep archers off your back.
    Create Undead: Better types of undead than Animate Dead. Between the two of them you can be a fearsome Necromancer. Once again, not for everyone, but for those who are looking for an undead army, these will be your elite troops.
    Find the Path(C): If your DM likes to use mazes or actually requires you to roleplay overland travel then you'll find use for this. Otherwise probably not.
    Forbiddance(R): A very interesting spell. Useful as an anti-ambush while sleeping, and if you've got a home-base of sorts the 30day option might be very attractive. Obviously not for all campaigns.
    Harm: That's a lot of damage! When you want something dead, this is a great way to start.
    Heal: For when someone is SERIOUSLY injured. Chances are this will be around half of your Tank's max hp at the level you get it.
    Heroes' Feast: If you have the time and money and know you're going up against a big boss tomorrow.... this might be worth it? At least if said boss targets Wisdom or uses fear.
    Planar Ally: If you've come into a large sum of wealth you can pay a Solar to adventure for you! Seriously, quit being lazy.
    True Seeing: The pricetag is unfortunate, but it's still the best anti-illusion out there.
    Word of Recall: The save-point spell. Requiring the creatures to be within 5ft of you really hurts this spell's utility, but if you've got a chapel in a home base somewhere this makes for nice quick transport at the end of a quest.

    7th Level

    Conjure Celestial(C): Let's look at some valid targets: Couatl, Pegasus, or Unicorn if cast with a 9th level slot. Worth a 7th level slot? Probably not most days, but perhaps sometimes. Concentration, sadly.
    Divine Word: A potential encounter-ending spell, it's best cast after you've softened up your foes. Obviously only prepare it if you plan to face this type of threat.
    Etherealness: I can see this being occasionally useful for extended reconnaissance. But when Plane Shift is at the same level, you need to think ahead as to which would be more advantageous.
    Fire Storm: The big AoE on the Cleric list. You're no master-blaster in terms of damage, but the area is big enough and it's half-on-a-save, so you can wreak some havoc with this.
    Plane Shift: Not only does it cover all your interplanar travel needs, but it can be used on unwilling targets now. That's a win in my book.
    Regenerate: For when an ally is incapacitated but not dead. Has the benefit of also fully restoring hitpoints over time.
    Resurrection: The only real advantage over Raise Dead is that they can be dead for longer. But Gentle Repose is on your spell list, so that's more likely to be an NPC than a PC...
    Symbol: Glyph of Warding's big brother sucks. Expensive for a limited duration effect, you really need a lot of planning to make this worth it.

    8th Level

    Antimagic Field(C): On the one hand this spell can powerfully shut down magic and magical effects. On the other hand it requires Concentration and even at this level spellcasters are only a portion of the foes you're going to face. In certain campaigns this will be very useful, others not so much.
    Control Weather: Dramatic and potentially devastating to a town or community, but chances are you won't need to prepare this most days.
    Earthquake(C): Good ol' earthquake. Much like Control Weather it's aimed more at leveling a city than your typical tactical scenario. As such I'm going to assume that you'll prepare it in a premeditated fashion rather than for a typical adventuring day.
    Holy Aura(C): This is a great buff, and the most universally useful 8th level spell. Especially if you're fighting a lot of undead or fiends its a no-brainer. The only downside is concentration, which this spell helps with, and acquiring the material component, which is thankfully not consumed.

    9th Level

    Astral Projection: Between an expensive material component, your 9th level spell slot, and lots of limitations I'm inclined to just say “cast Plane Shift” instead.
    Gate(C): I must say some of these 9th level spells are disappointing. Having no control of the creature pulled through, and having to know the creature's name means that any usefulness from the creature must be prearranged.
    Mass Heal: The ultimate curative magic. When you get this your tank should be around 200 max hp, and your squishiest squishy might be closer to half that. This basically will heal the whole party. Hard.
    True Resurrection: If you've gotten to this level and can afford it this is the best way to bring back those dead for more than a minute.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2017-01-12 at 09:56 PM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics


    The following are some example builds up to 20 that will hopefully serve as an inspiration and/or clarification of how to put it all together. If you've got a build to add post it in the thread or PM me with it and I'll add it with credit to you.

    Note that this section will obviously be very "work in progress" as the metagame develops and new builds become more or less viable. Until I have time to flesh them all out fully I'm simply going to list a few variables of each build.

    Hill Dwarf Life Cleric 20
    Wis 16, Str 15, Con 15, Dex 10, Cha 10, Int 8
    Using a variation of the Str/Wis array (dropping a point from Con to add to Str). Dwarven weapon proficiency means you can go Battleaxe + Shield + Heavy Armor and be a melee brute/tank in addition to the best healer in the game. Bump Wis and Str up to 20 and Con to 16 with your ability increases for a straightforward build that doesn't use any "optional" rules and is effective in pretty much any party.

    Mountain Dwarf War Cleric 14/Battlemaster Fighter 6
    Wis 15, Str 16, Con 16, Dex 10, Cha 10, Int 8
    Another Str/Wis build, this one combines Divine Strike with the all the goodies from Fighter. Grab a Maul and Great Weapon Fighting and you're going to be getting some big hits in. Stat bumps can go to maximizing Str and Wis, but you also want Great Weapon Master sooner or later.

    Wood Elf Tempest Cleric 17/Hunter Ranger 3
    Wis 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Str 10, Cha 10, Int 8
    An archer build, and the first of the Dex builds listed, Wrath of the Storm + Thunderbolt Strike combine to keep melee mooks off of you so you can breathe with your ranged attacks, and when you finally get Stormborn you can rain death from above like you were always meant to. Divine Strike and Colossus Slayer are both 1/round, and the archery style helps ensure that they trigger. You can pour all your stat bumps into Wis/Dex with no problem, but consider also Sharpshooter and Elemental Adept.

    Variant Human Light Cleric 20
    Wis 16, Con 14, Dex 14, Str 10, Cha 10, Int 10
    Pick up War Caster right away and after you bump your Wis to 20 by level 8 you can look at things like Elemental Adept (Fire), Resilient (Con) and a Con boost for your other three options (or even replace Elemental Adept for more Con, if you want). You will be a beacon of Radiant and Fire damage, and much more "caster-y" than the above builds.

    Stout Halfling Trickery Cleric 17/Assassin Rogue 3
    Wis 15, Dex 16, Con 14, Str 10, Cha 10, Int 10
    A variant Dex build that dropped the point of Con to bring Int up to an average value, this basically plays as a better "magical rogue" than the Arcane Trickster, with a focus on Sneak Attack and Divine Strike empowered Shortsword or Crossbow attacks combined with Assassinate. Make sure you pick up Guidance for a boost on your Stealth checks. Stat bumps obviously go to Dex and Wis, but Resilient (Dex) might also be worth considering.

    Half Elf Knowledge Cleric 18/Great Old One Warlock 2
    Wis 16, Con 14, Dex 14, Str 9, Cha 13, Int 10
    Crazy cultist build! Your psychic charms and telepathy put you solidly in the "caster" category. Since you're not Cha focused you don't really need Eldritch Blast goodies, so good invocation include Eldritch Sight, Fiendish Vigor, Mask of Many Faces, and Misty Visions, depending on what kind of creepy cultist you want to be. As I mentioned in the multiclassing section, Warlock spell slots would be useful for Bless, or even a Cure Wounds.

    Hill Dwarf Nature Cleric 20
    Wis 16, Con 16, Dex 13, Str 10, Cha 10, Int 10
    Shillelagh makes you a pure Wis melee build, and you can add a Shield to your Heavy Armor and Dwarven Toughness to tank pretty effectively. Maximizing Wis takes top priority, and then War Caster or more points in Con (or even some of the tankier feats like Sentinel, which doesn't mesh well with War Caster).

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2017-04-22 at 04:11 PM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Up to this point the guide has assumed you're playing a character with most of his or her levels in Cleric. This last section is for those of you who are interested in a little splash of Cleric on other builds. Due to the way Domains grant proficiencies, as well as the multiclassing rules for casters, Cleric is one of the better quick dips out there. This is, of course, more true for some builds than others. I'll only be addressing classes that I think would benefit from 1-2 levels of Cleric, if you don't see it here you can assume that it would take a niche build to be effective.

    Life Cleric 1: Lore Bard/Land Druid can use this to great effect buffing healing spells.

    War Cleric 1 or 2: Two levels make for a potent dip on anyone using Great Weapon Master or Sharpshooter such as Barbarian/Fighter/Paladin/Rogue. Also one level gives full proficiencies to those who lack them.

    Nature Cleric 1: Has some potential for a Monk. Basically if you want to spend a level instead of a feat getting to get some good cantrips.

    Tempest Cleric 2: This could be rather potent on a sorcerer who focused on electrical and/or thunder damage. Maybe.

    Trickery Cleric 1 or 2: One level would be good on a Stealth focused character like a Rogue/Ranger. Two levels could provide interesting utility for another caster class.

    Arcana Cleric 1: This would be a good way to get some Wis based Wizard cantrips on a Druid or even a Ranger build.

    Last edited by Yorrin; 2016-03-10 at 09:15 AM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Thank you for this.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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    I am a Ranger Archetype: Gleaming Warden (thx to Ninja Prawn)

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    Thank you for this.
    You're welcome

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    I'll add my thanks! I haven't looked into cleric yet, but I hope to.
    Let me ask you the reasoning behind the sky blue rating for Knowledge of the Ages. I think what you write about it is quite right. But simply put, KotA is a ten minute 1/day +2 to +6 bonus to a skill or tool you're not proficient in. It really does not seem that impressive to me. How many checks do you expect to make during that ten minute period?
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook - My D&D 5th ed. Campaign Wiki

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    I'll add my thanks! I haven't looked into cleric yet, but I hope to.
    Let me ask you the reasoning behind the sky blue rating for Knowledge of the Ages. I think what you write about it is quite right. But simply put, KotA is a ten minute 1/day +2 to +6 bonus to a skill or tool you're not proficient in. It really does not seem that impressive to me. How many checks do you expect to make during that ten minute period?
    Good question! It's a Channel Divinity power, so it's actually between 1 and 3 times per short rest depending on your level. And untrained skill checks are something that is going to come up almost every time you sit down to play (I can cite my own party as an example on several occasions). But the real reason the rating was so high is the sheer flexibility of it. As I said in the guide itself, you practically put the Bard to shame in the "jack of all trades" category and you do so without having to be a "master of none" (though in 5e, neither does the Bard).

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Just wanted to let everyone know I finished my spell analysis, so the guide is done for now. I have a couple of extra posts to play with, so I might include some example builds over the next couple days.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    I just registered to tell you i love you.
    Cheers.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by Vardas View Post
    I just registered to tell you i love you.
    Cheers.
    D'aww, thanks.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    I was wondering, since war clerics don't get a second attack, is the damage they get from the domain ability enough to keep them competent as a melee character? I don't expect them to do as much damage as a fighter, but it seems to me they tend to do less or around the same amount of damage as a knowledge cleric simply spamming sacred flame. Am I missing something?
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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Dual Wielder: It's a trap! If you're dual-wielding chances are you're already at least using shortswords. This lets you use rapiers instead, which is not worth the feat.
    I was under the impression Dual Wielder lets you use longswords (or any one-handed weapons) for your dual-wield. Is this wrong?

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix_of_Doom View Post
    I was wondering, since war clerics don't get a second attack, is the damage they get from the domain ability enough to keep them competent as a melee character? I don't expect them to do as much damage as a fighter, but it seems to me they tend to do less or around the same amount of damage as a knowledge cleric simply spamming sacred flame. Am I missing something?
    Good question! A few things to consider:

    Guided + Great Weapon Master (or Sharpshooter) is a very potent combination- +5/+10, and with Channel Divinity being 3/day at high levels it might not be all day- but you'll be able to make your big hits count.

    War Priest gets up to 5/day when you hit Wis20, which will put you in line with most melee classes for a few rounds in that regard.

    Divine Strike is going to be adding 1 or 2 d8s to each attack you make. Average +9dmg on all attacks- that's just shy of an average longsword swing at Str 20 (9.5). This also helps you keep competitive all day.

    Put the three together and your Nova rounds will be similar to those of any other melee class. And that's before you include great spells like Spirit Guardians for even more DPS. In short- War Clerics are extremely competitive in the melee department.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galen View Post
    I was under the impression Dual Wielder lets you use longswords (or any one-handed weapons) for your dual-wield. Is this wrong?
    They do- but a Longsword has the same damage die as a Rapier, but a Rapier can be used with Finesse, and is therefore Dex or Str. Longsword does have Versatile, but that's irrelevant to a Dual Wielder build, most of which will be Dex focused anyway.
    Last edited by Yorrin; 2014-10-07 at 12:39 PM.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Defensive Duelist: Another Dex option, this time using your reaction. Would be rated higher if Tempest and War Domains didn't already have good uses for their reaction.
    I think you're underestimating this Feat. The key feature is that you can use it AFTER the die has been rolled. Thus, every use is guaranteed to block an attack, or else you can just choose not to use it. Blocking one attack each round is huge, and Tempest/War clerics have a limited number of uses for their reaction anyway.

    It's also not a DEX skill. Anyone using a 1-hander + shield can use a finesse weapon and pick this up.
    Last edited by Strill; 2014-10-11 at 05:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    I think you're underestimating this Feat. The key feature is that you can use it AFTER the die has been rolled. Thus, every use is guaranteed to block an attack, or else you can just choose not to use it. Blocking one attack each round is huge, and Tempest/War clerics have a limited number of uses for their reaction anyway.

    It's also not a DEX skill. Anyone using a 1-hander + shield can use a finesse weapon and pick this up.
    You make some good points. It's a good feat, and I'll make a note in the guide about how it can be used with rapier+shield, but I'm going to stand by my rating since most Cleric builds will still have better uses of their reaction most turns.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    I like the way it's turning out! I like how you're considering dex builds as well.
    I'd like to say something about Medicine and Spare the Dying, though: They're useless. They suck. Ask Admiral Ackbar about them. Hyperbole aside: Anyone can stabilize people with an application of Healer's Kit automatically with no check (10 uses for 5gp), and no proficiency required. As for the disease part, you have spells that will both detect and cure disease as a cleric.
    Medicine is quite fluffy, but far more useless. Spare the Dying is just useless.
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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    I like the Healer feat on non-Life Clerics. Frees up a lot of spell slots.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    I would mention the magic initiate feat, use it on those martial cleric domains, grab shillengah, then you don't need a high str
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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    I like the way it's turning out! I like how you're considering dex builds as well.
    I'd like to say something about Medicine and Spare the Dying, though: They're useless. They suck. Ask Admiral Ackbar about them. Hyperbole aside: Anyone can stabilize people with an application of Healer's Kit automatically with no check (10 uses for 5gp), and no proficiency required. As for the disease part, you have spells that will both detect and cure disease as a cleric.
    Medicine is quite fluffy, but far more useless. Spare the Dying is just useless.
    Here's the thing about the healer's kit: while it can be used by anyone it is a limited resource that costs money. And since 5e fully supports a low-to-no-cash campaign not every party member will be packing one at all times. I'll make a note of them under the Spare the Dying spell, since that's where I address this stuff, but all three are equally viable.

    Quote Originally Posted by edge2054 View Post
    I like the Healer feat on non-Life Clerics. Frees up a lot of spell slots.
    See the above response for why I'm hesitant to fully embrace healer's kits. Combine that with the fact that Clerics have enough magical healing that nonmagical healing is largely rendered useless to them- after all, unless you're a variant human you won't get access to the feat till level 4+, by which point your 1st level spell slots are going to be used for one of three things most days: Bless, Guiding Bolt, or Healing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rfkannen View Post
    I would mention the magic initiate feat, use it on those martial cleric domains, grab shillengah, then you don't need a high str
    An interesting proposition. Technically this could be used with any domain, but unless you're a variant human you're going to be sucking for the first four levels and you'll be back in medium armor rather than heavy. It's certainly an option, though, and I'll make note of it in the guide.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorrin View Post
    See the above response for why I'm hesitant to fully embrace healer's kits. Combine that with the fact that Clerics have enough magical healing that nonmagical healing is largely rendered useless to them- after all, unless you're a variant human you won't get access to the feat till level 4+, by which point your 1st level spell slots are going to be used for one of three things most days: Bless, Guiding Bolt, or Healing.
    Here's some comparisons.

    Cure Wounds heals generally 1d8+3 twice per long rest at level one.

    Healing Kit with the Healers Feat can heal each party member for 1d6+5 per short rest for the cost of 5sp per heal.

    A Potion of Healing can heal one person once for 2d4+2 healing at the cost of 50gp.

    At fourth level, the Cleric that spends all of their spell slots on Cure Wounds can heal 7d8+21 per long rest. The Healer Feat can heal each party member for 1d6+8 per short rest. In a four person party that takes only two short rests per day that's 8d6+64 per long rest.

    Granted, anyone can pick up the Healing Feat. But most groups will see healing as the Cleric's job and even some of those that don't might avoid the Healing Feat for the sake of not stepping on anyone's toes. For the Cleric, the feat represents a bunch of extra healing, that scales a bit with level, and opens up using their spell slots on things other than healing.

    It's fine if you wouldn't personally take it, I just thought it was worth mentioning.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by edge2054 View Post
    Here's some comparisons.

    Cure Wounds heals generally 1d8+3 twice per long rest at level one.

    Healing Kit with the Healers Feat can heal each party member for 1d6+5 per short rest for the cost of 5sp per heal.

    A Potion of Healing can heal one person once for 2d4+2 healing at the cost of 50gp.

    At fourth level, the Cleric that spends all of their spell slots on Cure Wounds can heal 7d8+21 per long rest. The Healer Feat can heal each party member for 1d6+8 per short rest. In a four person party that takes only two short rests per day that's 8d6+64 per long rest.

    Granted, anyone can pick up the Healing Feat. But most groups will see healing as the Cleric's job and even some of those that don't might avoid the Healing Feat for the sake of not stepping on anyone's toes. For the Cleric, the feat represents a bunch of extra healing, that scales a bit with level, and opens up using their spell slots on things other than healing.

    It's fine if you wouldn't personally take it, I just thought it was worth mentioning.
    Fair points. While the non-free nature of the healers kit goes against my sensibilities as a player, it's a decent investment in a game where there's not a whole lot to spend money on.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Here's the thing about the healer's kit: while it can be used by anyone it is a limited resource that costs money. And since 5e fully supports a low-to-no-cash campaign not every party member will be packing one at all times. I'll make a note of them under the Spare the Dying spell, since that's where I address this stuff, but all three are equally viable.
    To cast Identify, a level 1 spell, a wizard need a material component worth 20 times that of a healing kit. The starting gold from your character's background, even if you take all the other free goodies and don't roll for starting cash, will buy you two healer's kits minimum.

    5 GP is a trivial amount of money the DM is seriously dedicated to the idea of a poverty campaign.

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorrin View Post
    Fair points. While the non-free nature of the healers kit goes against my sensibilities as a player, it's a decent investment in a game where there's not a whole lot to spend money on.
    And sorry for being nitpicky. I just felt that omitting the healer feat completely from your feat list wasn't fair. I rolled up a Light Cleric last night for an expeditions game and took the healing feat so I could still blast.

    Unfortunately we didn't have a proper tank so I needed all the healing from the feat and most of my spell slots to keep the party alive.

    Anyway, I really like this guide and have bookmarked it. So thanks for taking the time to put it together :)

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic Spoon View Post
    To cast Identify, a level 1 spell, a wizard need a material component worth 20 times that of a healing kit. The starting gold from your character's background, even if you take all the other free goodies and don't roll for starting cash, will buy you two healer's kits minimum.

    5 GP is a trivial amount of money the DM is seriously dedicated to the idea of a poverty campaign.
    Yeah, there's a reason I don't play Arcane Casters- I never voluntarily learn a spell with a material component that I'll actually be held responsible for.

    On the other hand in the campaign I'm running my party is about to hit level three and I don't think any of them have more than about 20g in pocket change- so a healer's kit would be a significant investment for them. Likely a worthwhile one, but not a "trivial" amount.

    Quote Originally Posted by edge2054 View Post
    And sorry for being nitpicky. I just felt that omitting the healer feat completely from your feat list wasn't fair. I rolled up a Light Cleric last night for an expeditions game and took the healing feat so I could still blast.

    Unfortunately we didn't have a proper tank so I needed all the healing from the feat and most of my spell slots to keep the party alive.

    Anyway, I really like this guide and have bookmarked it. So thanks for taking the time to put it together :)
    Thanks for the bookmark! And I don't mind the critique- it's by such dialogue that the guide gets better.

    I look forward to future anecdotes from your Light Cleric

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    Default Re: The Devout and the Dead: a guide to Clerics

    Just wanted to let everybody know that I've posted a few quick example builds, which I expect to be quickly deconstructed and refined by the playground, especially considering I just put together five builds in about 15mins. Please post suggestions/improvements you see, as well as some example builds of your own! I'll probably throw together one for Knowledge and Nature as well, just so I have an example for each Domain.

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