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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    To start off, yes I know, dumb idea. It's less an idea, and more that I ended up in a party with 1 monk and 2 sorcerers, which kinda leaves the role taking a blow or two to me, the cleric, and I'd already chosen Death Domain. Trying to figure out a way make it work now that I've been dealth my lot. My biggest question is, where do I put my Stats? Strength of Dex? I don't have heavy armor, but thinking maybe going for a feat to take care of that? Or perhaps multiclassing?

    So far my stats are:
    Str: 10
    Dex: 14
    Con: 16
    Int: 8
    Wis: 16
    Cha:10

    (weird campaign specific race, +2 con, +1 wis, point buy.)

    We're starting at lvl 1. So, how can I take a blow harder with this class, because this layout still makes me go 'uuuuuh'. As the sole person about to be socked in the face, I have the feeling thisi s going to hurt.

    What I'm thinking is maybe try to find some bloody way to get Heavy Armor, and go for strength. Or perhaps just stick with Medium armor and pray this is good enough?

    Any suggestions more than welcome.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Can you go Life Cleric instead?

    You can go Life Cleric 1/Moon Druid X

    Cleric 1 will give you great heals and heavy armor.
    Druid will give you goodberry for even better self-administered heals
    Moon Druid will give you bear form to tank for a while.
    Last edited by Orc_Lord; 2019-01-28 at 03:23 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Orc_Lord View Post
    Can you go Life Cleric instead?

    You can go Life Cleric 1/Moon Druid X

    Cleric 1 will give you great heals and heavy armor.
    Druid will give you goodberry for even better self-administered heals
    Moon Druid will give you bear form to tank for a while.
    Wouldn't druid ban heavy armors by multiclassing into it? Suppose wild shape would help with tanking, as Druids are always godlike tanks for spell casters.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    For a Tank Death Cleric, I'd stick with your existing stats. You won't do much melee damage with your low STR and middling DEX, but you'll be able to suck up hits decently well. You're maximizing Medium Armor's AC bonus with your 14 DEX. Your CON is good, to help offset the d8 Hit Dice and help you keep Concentration. And your Wisdom is good, for spells.

    You'll want to use a Shield, obviously. Have a Finesse weapon like a dagger for backup use and opportunity attacks at early levels, but concentrate on spellcasting for your attacks. Use your 1st Level Reaper ability to get Chill Touch for an additional option, but nearly all your attacks (both melee and ranged) will be with your Cleric Necromancy Cantrip Toll the Dead. Use Reaper to "twin" the Toll The Dead attacks when there are two enemies within 5 feet.

    Shield of Faith will help as your primary buff at early levels to give yourself +2 AC and be a better tank. False Life can also be useful at lower levels to give a small amount of Temporary HP, and doesn't use Concentration. Once you get 2nd Level spells, you'll want to use your Bonus Action to make Spiritual Weapon attacks, for added damage.

    At your 4th level ASI, you'll want to grab Warcaster to allow you to use Toll The Dead on Opportunity Attacks too. (And give you Advantage on Concentration.) You won't even need to use a weapon at all at that point.

    After Warcaster, pump WIS to 18 at 8th. Then boost CON to 18 at 12th. (Or vice versa.)

    Obviously, Death Domain isn't optimal for this Cleric, as you won't be able to make much use of their Touch of Death or Divine Strike. But I still think you'll be an adequate tank. You won't be putting out as much damage as a dedicated melee cleric, but you can still take on the primary purpose of a tank fairly well with your good AC and decent HP. Your Toll The Dead and Spiritual Weapon attacks will still contribute, but let the Monk and Sorcerers do most of the damage dealing. Stick to healing, buffing, and controlling while soaking up hits, and doling out additional damage when you can.
    Last edited by RogueJK; 2019-01-28 at 03:52 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by RogueJK View Post
    For a Tank Death Cleric, I'd stick with your existing stats. You won't do much melee damage with your low STR and middling DEX, but you'll be able to suck up hits decently well. You're maximizing Medium Armor's AC bonus with your 14 DEX. Your CON is good, to help offset the d8 Hit Dice and help you keep Concentration. And your Wisdom is good, for spells.

    You'll want to use a Shield, obviously. Have a Finesse weapon like a dagger for backup use and opportunity attacks at early levels, but concentrate on spellcasting for your attacks. Use your 1st Level Reaper ability to get Chill Touch for an additional option, but nearly all your attacks (both melee and ranged) will be with your Cleric Necromancy Cantrip Toll the Dead. Use Reaper to "twin" the Toll The Dead attacks when there are two enemies within 5 feet.

    Shield of Faith will help as your primary buff at early levels to give yourself +2 AC and be a better tank. False Life can also be useful at lower levels to give a small amount of Temporary HP, and doesn't use Concentration. Once you get 2nd Level spells, you'll want to use your Bonus Action to make Spiritual Weapon attacks, for added damage.

    At your 4th level ASI, you'll want to grab Warcaster to allow you to use Toll The Dead on Opportunity Attacks too. (And give you Advantage on Concentration.) You won't even need to use a weapon at all at that point.

    After Warcaster, pump WIS to 18 at 8th. Then boost CON to 18 at 12th. (Or vice versa.)

    Obviously, Death Domain isn't optimal for this Cleric, as you won't be able to make much use of their Touch of Death or Divine Strike. But I still think you'll be an adequate tank. You won't be putting out as much damage as a dedicated melee cleric, but you can still take on the primary purpose of a tank fairly well with your good AC and decent HP. Your Toll The Dead and Spiritual Weapon attacks will still contribute, but let the Monk and Sorcerers do most of the damage dealing. Stick to healing, buffing, and controlling while soaking up hits, and doling out additional damage when you can.
    Thank you, this was helpful

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    - Heavy armor is not a big deal. Heavy armor is at best +1 AC, and in many circumstances isn't even that. For example, in any game where it's possible to get magic items, a suit of half-plate and a cloak of protection is cheaper than a suit of full plate, provides the same AC, and +1 to all saves. Same goes for a suit of half-plate and a +1 shield. And if you're spending a feat, there are other ways to get a +1 AC than taking heavy armor proficiency.

    - You aren't especially dependent on your Action for relevance. For example, Spirit Guardians and Spiritual Weapon will keep ticking away even if you're using the Dodge action.

    - Animate minions. Have them provide cover (remember, creatures provide cover bonuses against ranged attacks), shoot vulnerable enemies, or grapple things. Remember that you can issue general commands so that you don't have to spend bonus actions on them all the time.

    - Sanctuary is a good bonus action defensive spell that does not take Concentration. You can cast it at the end of your turn (after using harmful actions), and maintaining SG/SW/Animate Dead or the like won't end it.

    - Use Shield + Rapier. Use Toll the Dead as your necromancy cantrip.

    If it sounds like most of this stuff isn't specific to the Death Domain, it's because it isn't. You'll mostly be relying on the capabilities of base Cleric, since the Death Domain doesn't bring a lot to the table.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    You know, I honest to goodness forgot about the dodge action. That could be super useful in combination with Sheid of Faith. It basically makes a +7 AC, and dissuades critials. (which makes AC nearly 26.) Let's me chip at them, and gives room for allies.

    I definitely plan on abusing Animate dead, so I'm good action economy at later levels too. As far as specifying death domain, that or grave are what I'm locked into thematically for this campaign, so its going to be my main focus. Just pretty much noting it as 'not life/light/etc' for my allies. Base cleric was the only way I saw getting through this anyways.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Since it's an option, I'd take Grave Domain instead. It still deals with death, just with a different approach. And the abilities will be more useful to this character.

    You'll still get False Life for handy low-level Temp HP.

    You'll still get Vampiric Touch, for self-healing while still dealing damage.

    You'll get a Channel Divinity that you can use.

    Tanks will make good use of the ability to turn critical hits into normal hits as a Reaction.

    And you'll get Potent Spellcasting instead of the useless Divine Strike, making your Toll The Dead attacks more damaging starting at 8th level.

    The only real downside is that you won't be getting Reaper, so that means no Chill Touch (which won't be used as much anyway as it's a ranged attack), and no "twinned" Toll The Deads (which is more useful, albeit situational, since it relies on two enemies being within 5 feet of each other).

    Since you won't be getting Chill Touch, and you won't be getting Death Domain's ability to overcome Necrotic resistance, you'll want a backup damage cantrip like Sacred Flame for enemies who are Resistant/Immune to Necrotic damage, or who have a high WIS save. I'd do Toll The Dead, Sacred Flame, Guidance, and your choice of the fourth. (Like Light, if you don't have Darkvision.)


    I wouldn't plan on relying too much on Animate Dead. At Levels 5+, a 13 AC and 12 HP Skeleton or an 8 AC and 22 HP Zombie won't be all that useful, especially at the cost of a 3rd level spell slot. And your Bonus Actions should be spent on Spiritual Weapon and Healing Words anyway, not spent giving directions to minions.
    Last edited by RogueJK; 2019-01-28 at 04:35 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    That's fair, I must admit, as a Nova player (I normally try to smash as much damage in a turn as possible), I was eyeing Inflict Wounds + Touch of Death a little too harshly, but seeing as damage will not be my modus operandi with this character, I might wish to be more the party player for once. Party dying does not help my mission.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by RogueJK View Post
    I wouldn't plan on relying too much on Animate Dead. At Levels 5+, a 13 AC and 12 HP Skeleton or an 8 AC and 22 HP Zombie won't be all that useful, especially at the cost of a 3rd level spell slot. And your Bonus Actions should be spent on Spiritual Weapon and Healing Words anyway, not spent giving directions to minions.
    If you're spending a third level spell slot, on the day you're actually dungeoneering, to command a single skeleton, using bonus actions in combat, you are not using the spell to anything close to its full potential. In fact, that's pretty much the worst possible way to use it.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Hi,

    Sorry, but what is Reaper? Where is it found?

    [Use your 1st Level Reaper ability to get Chill Touch for an additional option, but nearly all your attacks (both melee and ranged) will be with your Cleric Necromancy Cantrip Toll the Dead. Use Reaper to "twin" the Toll The Dead attacks when there are two enemies within 5 feet. ]

    Thanks

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganryu View Post
    You know, I honest to goodness forgot about the dodge action. That could be super useful in combination with Sheid of Faith. It basically makes a +7 AC, and dissuades critials. (which makes AC nearly 26.) Let's me chip at them, and gives room for allies.

    I definitely plan on abusing Animate dead, so I'm good action economy at later levels too. As far as specifying death domain, that or grave are what I'm locked into thematically for this campaign, so its going to be my main focus. Just pretty much noting it as 'not life/light/etc' for my allies. Base cleric was the only way I saw getting through this anyways.
    Our sixth level cleric waded into a pack of gnolls using Dodge action and Spirit Guardians. It was amazing how often that disadvantage thing caused a miss. Two rounds later, the remaining gnolls were trying their best to flee. (Needless to say, our other party members were also attacking, but that aura of angry spirits was very effective).
    He had to make one con save, and made it easily.
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    Player agency doesn't mean they get to roll for everything. Agency means that they control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusher View Post
    Hi,

    Sorry, but what is Reaper? Where is it found?

    [Use your 1st Level Reaper ability to get Chill Touch for an additional option, but nearly all your attacks (both melee and ranged) will be with your Cleric Necromancy Cantrip Toll the Dead. Use Reaper to "twin" the Toll The Dead attacks when there are two enemies within 5 feet. ]

    Thanks
    The first subclass ability of Death Domain. Gives you a free necrotic cantrip, and your necrotic cantrips can now hit two people.
    Last edited by Ganryu; 2019-01-28 at 05:30 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Our sixth level cleric waded into a pack of gnolls using Dodge action and Spirit Guardians. It was amazing how often that disadvantage thing caused a miss. Two rounds later, the remaining gnolls were trying their best to flee. (Needless to say, our other party members were also attacking, but that aura of angry spirits was very effective).
    He had to make one con save, and made it easily.
    Mathematically, a half-decent AC and Disadvantage makes it almost impossible for low-attack bonus enemies to hit you, which makes Spirit Guardians + Dodge a very effective way of taking out swarms.

    For example, here's a gnoll's chance of hitting with Disadvantage at various ACs:

    AC 19: 6.25% (1 in 16 attacks hit)
    AC 21: 2.25% (1 in ~44.44 attacks hit)
    AC 23: 0.25% (1 in 400 attacks hit)

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Regarding Reaper...
    Looking at the Death Domain in Xanathar's, Circle of Mortality is 1st subclass ability of Death Domain. No mention of Reaper at all.

    Where are you getting your info? Maybe an Unearthed Arcana? I did search and found a Wiki that gave info on Reaper.

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganryu View Post
    The first subclass ability of Death Domain. Gives you a free necrotic cantrip, and your necrotic cantrips can now hit two people.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusher View Post
    Regarding Reaper...
    Looking at the Death Domain in Xanathar's, Circle of Mortality is 1st subclass ability of Death Domain. No mention of Reaper at all.

    Where are you getting your info? Maybe an Unearthed Arcana? I did search and found a Wiki that gave info on Reaper.

    Thanks
    The Death Domain isn't in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. It's in the Dungeon Master's Guide.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusher View Post
    Regarding Reaper...
    Looking at the Death Domain in Xanathar's, Circle of Mortality is 1st subclass ability of Death Domain. No mention of Reaper at all.

    Where are you getting your info? Maybe an Unearthed Arcana? I did search and found a Wiki that gave info on Reaper.

    Thanks
    That's Grave Domain.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Ah Derp.
    Apologies for the thread derailment regarding grave Domain.

    To add a relevant point...
    Bumping your Dex once and getting Medium Armor Master can squeeze out that extra AC, along with other Dex benefits.
    It isn't so painful on a variant human and it gets you to 20 AC once you get half plate. No to mention being stealthy in half plate.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ganryu View Post
    That's Grave Domain.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusher View Post
    Ah Derp.
    Apologies for the thread derailment regarding grave Domain.

    To add a relevant point...
    Bumping your Dex once and getting Medium Armor Master can squeeze out that extra AC, along with other Dex benefits.
    It isn't so painful on a variant human and it gets you to 20 AC once you get half plate. No to mention being stealthy in half plate.
    That's an investment of 2 asi to get an extra 1 AC. It isn't worth it really. Better to dip fighter to get the defensive fighting style of you want 1 AC.
    Last edited by nickl_2000; 2019-01-28 at 07:25 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    If you're even going to even consider sacrificing a spell level to multiclass to anything, you need a better reason than +1 AC, because spell progression provides more tanking value than that.

    Example single-class Death Cleric Tank:
    (I don't know what your racial features are, so I'm just using a different race with the same +2 Con / +1 Wis)

    Hill Dwarf Death Cleric 1-20
    Starting stats: Dex 14 / Con 17 / Wis 16 / Other stats to taste
    ASIs: Resilient (Constitution), Max Wis, Lucky, Defensive Duelist

    You'll have max hit points roughly equivalent to a Barbarian with 16 Con, resistance to a common damage type and status effect, all the tanking utility of the base Cleric kit, good bonuses to the most important saves (Con/Wis), the practical implications of a great Passive Perception at the front of the marching order, and Lucky/Defensive Duelist.

    The Death subclass helps you melt mooks a bit faster with Toll the Dead or lay on a little extra damage with Channel Divinity, but that's about it.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Death Domain Cleric as Tank {Odd party, help needed}

    I'm running a Death Cleric that's the party tank, but we also started at 3rd level, and I had my 1st level as a Fighter for Heavy armor and the Defense fighting style.

    Funnily enough, I'm also the party 'healer', even though he only has Healing Word prepared.. and that's basically just him yelling at someone to stop sleeping on the job.
    He's rather military focused during combat.
    ...If he hasn't slipped into his former persona of being the fantasy equivalent of an ax-crazy murderer that delights a little bit too much in the cruelty he can inflict on his enemies..

    My tip, I suppose: Try to see if you can start with a level of Fighter before you go Cleric.
    But only if you plan on going Str tank.
    If you want to stick with Dex as your defensive stat, you'll be okay with straight Cleric.

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