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Cleric Domains 5e

Cleric Domains 5e

Clerics are an often overlooked class, possibly because their potential and abilities often seem less exciting than others. Fighters are found rushing into melees, spellcasters are seen firing magical bolts at their enemies, and Rogues have that outsider mystique.

But Clerics are anything but the poor relations of the adventuring world; when roleplayed adequately, they are as exciting and dynamic as any other class, perhaps more so.

Clerics derive their power directly from their gods, act as a bridge between mortal and heavenly realms, and act as their deity’s representative in the earthly world.

This means that far from being the glorified healer with a neat trick for banishing the undead, they are often not insignificant players in a chess game that plays out as byzantine plots and world-shaking events.

Table of Contents

What are Domains?

Clerics organize themselves into Domains based on the general theme that their deity is responsible for. From these specific auras and energies, the Cleric, in turn, derives the magical powers that allow them to cast spells and wield mystical abilities.

Which Domain a Cleric chooses to specialize in is an important choice the player will have to make, so here is a quick guide to their various strengths and weaknesses.

Here is our ranked list of the Cleric Domain Subclasses in 5e DnD:

  • #14 – Nature Domain
  • #13 – Tempest Domain
  • #12 – War Domain
  • #11 – Knowledge Domain
  • #10 – Death Domain
  • #9 – Trickery Domain
  • #8 – Forge Domain
  • #7 – Light Domain
  • #6 – Peace Domain
  • #5 – Arcana Domain
  • #4 – Grave Domain
  • #3 – Order Domain
  • #2 – Life Domain
  • #1 – Twilight Domain

Best Cleric Domains 5e

With so many Domains to choose from, where to begin? Here are our favorites and the best Cleric Domains to choose from for your next campaign.

#14. Nature Domain

Like Druids and Rangers, Clerics of the Nature Domain follow gods who wish to protect the land that they call home and which furnishes mortals with everything that they need, should they only know where to look.

Such an attitude is shown in their preferred Domain Spells, such as Animal Friendship, Barkskin, Spike Growth, and Plant Growth; Dampen Elements and Divine Strike can enhance their damage options. If your campaign favors wilderness and outdoor adventures, this Cleric comes into its own.

Despite their affinity with nature and some practical outdoor skills, Clerics of the Nature Domain seem slightly less potent as adventurers than other Domain choices. Perhaps the DM should use them as colorful NPCs and story arch characters.

The Nature Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook.

Nature Domain Features

The Nature Domain attempts to bridge the gap between Cleric and Druid. They gain access to several different nature spells and their Channel Divinity ability lets them commune with animals and plants.

In addition, they can also gain resistances to certain types of damage when attacked like acid, cold, fire, and lightning. 

Pros of Nature Domain

They have a few spells in their list that are useful, and the damage resistance can be useful in certain situations. 

Cons of Nature Domain 

To call their Channel Divinity ability mediocre is kind. Their abilities simply aren’t that good and the extra spells don’t really add a whole lot to the class. The entire nature domain seems uninspired, and the Cleric has so many cool subclasses to choose from. 

Expanded Spell List of Nature Domain 

Level 1Animal Friendship
Speak with Animals
Level 3Barkskin
Spike Growth
Level 5Plant Growth
Wind Wall
Level 7Dominate Beast
Grasping Vine
Level 9Insect Plague
Tree Stride

#13. Tempest Domain

The Tempest Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook

Tempest Domain Features

The storm is one of the primal forces in nature and Clerics who follow the Tempest Domain worship and answer the call of the gods responsible for these forces. Often sailors and other travelers worship the gods of Tempest, and Tempest Clerics gain the power of the storms. 

Pros of Tempest Domain 

The Tempest Domain Cleric’s Channel Divinity gets upgraded with Destructive Wrath. Whenever they deal lightning or thunder damage they deal maximum damage instead of rolling damage dice. 

Cons of Tempest Domain 

The Tempest Cleric has an impressive array of damage abilities, but they don’t have many other abilities outside of combat. 

Expanded Spell List of Tempest Domain

Level 1Fog Cloud
Level 3Gust of Wind
Level 5Call Lightning
Sleet Storm
Level 7Control Water
Ice Storm
Level 9Destructive Wave
Insect Plague

#12. War Domain

The War Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook.

War Domain Features

The Channel Divinity ability gets upgraded as Guided Strike. Guided Strike gives a +10 bonus to hit when making an attack. They are able to boost their accuracy to ensure damage to their enemies. 

War Domain Clerics are a mixture between Cleric and Paladin. It’s one of the Cleric Subclasses that turns the Cleric into a warrior healer. 

Pros of War Domain 

War Domain Clerics have a decent expanded spell list, and they are more martial-focused than many of the other Cleric Domains. 

Cons of War Domain

Their abilities don’t help as much as you would think. They have minimal combat bonuses outside of accuracy, and it makes more sense for them to use their spells and cantrips. It’s a class that sounds good on paper but isn’t quite whole. 

Expanded Spell List of War Domain 

Level 1Divine Favor
Shield of Faith
Level 3Magic Weapon
Spiritual Weapon
Level 5Crusader’s Mantle
Spirit Guardians
Level 7Freedom of Movement
Level 9Flame Strike
Hold Monster

#11. Knowledge Domain

If you believe there is power in knowledge, then the Clerics of this Domain might appeal to you.

Followers of this path gain power from their god, slowly revealing the universe’s secrets to them so they can unlock various skills and develop ways of utilizing such knowledge to their advantage. Information is critical, and only through the study will their deity reveal their plan.

Their Spells, such as Command, Identify, Suggestion, and Speak With Dead, are all based on gathering information ranging from the magical to the mundane, but there is no such thing as useless knowledge.

Clerics of the Knowledge Domain are not well equipped for combat duties, nor are they blessed with extensive mastery of healing. These Clerics come into their own in the more story-focused or puzzle-solving parts of an adventure and thrive in campaigns geared more towards this type of campaign.

The Knowledge Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook

Knowledge Domain Features

Knowledge Domain Cleric abilities focus heavily on skills. They gain extra languages and proficiencies at the first level, and their Channel Divinity is upgraded to gain proficiency in a toolset and imitate the Suggestion spell. 

Pros of Knowledge Domain

The Knowledge Domain gives the Cleric quite a bit of utility. Many of the abilities allow the Knowledge Cleric to tackle a wide variety of situations with tools, and have plenty of abilities for out-of-combat. 

Cons of Knowledge Domain

They have a few combat-oriented abilities, but not many. Most of their skills are geared toward out-of-combat solutions. 

Expanded Spell List of Knowledge Domain

Level 1Command
Level 3Augury
Level 5Nondetection
Speak with Dead
Level 7Arcane Eye
Level 9Legend Lore

#10. Death Domain

Clerics of the Death Domain worship gods representing the forces of death, the undead, and the afterlife. Their primary specialty comes from dealing Necrotic damage to their enemies and removing their resistance from such attacks.

Spells such as False Life, Ray of Sickness, Animate Death, Vampiric Touch, and Death Ward offer great offensive powers. Reaper, Touch of Death, and Inescapable Destruction administer unparalleled debilitating Necrotic Damage against most of their enemies.

Despite the attractive area of expertise, these Clerics’ Proficiency Bonus for martial weapons is only slightly improved from the Cleric’s standard weapons. Clerics of the Death Domain are helpful if your party requires a tremendous offensive spellcaster but isn’t so good when it comes to the roles of support and healing.

The Death Domain can be found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Death Domain Features

The Death Domain worship and have a close bond with deities of death. They view death as a natural part of the life cycle, and their abilities can sometimes hasten it along to their enemies. 

Their Channel Divinity ability is upgraded to deal additional necrotic damage, and their necromancy and necrotic spells deal extra damage and even negate resistance to the necrotic damage type. 

Pros of Death Domain 

The Death Domain is one of the more offensive-oriented Clerics in the game. Their ability to ignore necrotic resistance and familiarity with offensive spells work very well together to make a dangerous combination. 

Cons of Death Domain

The Death Cleric is in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and is often described as an evil character, so unless your campaign is evil it may be hard to fit them into the party. Their Channel Divinity ability also deals additional damage, but in comparison to spells and other characters, it’s rather limited. 

Expanded Spell List of Death Domain

Level 1False Life
Ray of Sickness
Level 3Blindness/Deafness
Ray of Enfeeblement
Level 5Animate Dead
Vampiric Touch
Level 7Blight
Death Ward
Level 9Antilife Shell

#9. Trickery Domain

If the world is one big, clever, cosmic balancing act, and the Clerics of the Order Domain sit on one side of it, those of the Trickery Domain sit on the other.

Trickery Domain Clerics believe that chaos is necessary to keep the world going to maintain a universal balance. Their gods love acts of deception, jokes and pranks, and all manner of fraud and arm their Clerics with such skills.

Their Domain Spells, such as Disguise Self, Charm Person, and Mirror Image, are all based on illusion, deception, and wrong-footedness. Also, their abilities, such as Blessing of the Trickster, Invoke Duplicity, and Cloak of Shadows, make them akin to religious Rogues.

As fun as this sounds,  the Trickery Domain’s abilities aren’t helpful in many situations, and their lack of access to healing spells further questions their usefulness. If you like the idea of such a Cleric, you might be better off choosing the Bard or Rogue class and just role-playing them with a bit more religious zeal.

The Trickery Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook

Trickery Domain Features

Clerics of the Trickery Domain typically worship the various trickster gods in the different pantheons. Think of Loki having several different followers that worship him. 

Trickery Clerics gain access to a lot of different utility spells that include cham and illusion spells to alter the world around them. Their Channel Divinity ability is upgraded to make a mirror image of themselves and later on, turn themselves invisible completely. 

Pros of Trickery Domain 

The Trickery Domain has quite a lot of good spells and is a nice combination of Rogue and Cleric. The two classes supplement each other nicely, and if you’re planning on multiclassing they’ll get all the damage of backstab with the spell list of the Cleric and Trickery Domain. 

Cons of Trickery Domain 

By itself the Trickery Domain is nice, but it’s not as damage oriented as the Rogue. They’ll be excellent utility characters, but not nearly as useful in battle. 

Expanded Spell List of Trickery Domain

Level 1Charm Person
Disguise Self
Level 3Mirror Image
Pass without Trace
Level 5Blink
Dispel Magic
Level 7Dimension Door
Level 9Dominate Person
Modify Memory

#8. Forge Domain

Gods who specialize in forging their destiny and hold liberty and free will above all things are found in the Forge Domain. As those gods see fit to achieve these ends through aggressive and combative means, their Clerics are imbued with their fighting strength and a series of powerful and offensive spells such as Searing Smite and Heat Metal.

Clerics of the Forge Domain are geared up to offer support and frontline firepower as required. They have plenty of bonuses relating to protection and bonus proficiencies that increase their armor class.

Think of these Clerics as the zealous crusader types willing to convert others and protect the vision of the world that they hold dear and do it whilst wielding the sort of weapons that would even impress a Barbarian.

The Forge Domain can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

 Forge Domain Features

Clerics who follow the Forge Domain worship the gods of craftsmen and blacksmiths. They believe that their creations and crafts are inspired by the gods and they can infuse their creations with that magic. 

They have the ability to create non-magical items out of thin air and can touch items to infuse them with magic, giving them the Magical property and a little bonus.

At later levels, they’re more adept at wearing armor and their closeness with magic from their forge gives them fire damage and several different resistances. 

Pros of  Forge Domain 

The Forge Domain is an all-around excellent class. Their additional spells are great, and they have the level 1 ability to create magical weapons and armor simply by touching them. They’re a great mixture of utility and damage dealing. 

Cons of  Forge Domain

Their healing abilities suffer a little bit, but they definitely make up for it with their ability to have magical weapons at level 1. 

Expanded Spell List of  Forge Domain 

Level 1Identify
Searing Smite
Level 3Heat Metal
Magic Weapon
Level 5Elemental Weapon
Protection from Energy
Level 7Fabricate
Wall of Fire
Level 9Animate Objects

#7. Light Domain

The gods’ followers grouped into the Domain of Light uphold many virtuous and positive values such as vigilance, truth, renewal, and rebirth. Even their offensive powers take the form of psychological influence rather than anything aggressive and damaging, such as striking fear into their enemies’ minds or bolstering their allies’ morale and courage.

Clerics of the Light Domain wield spells that are attuned to an image of the flames of justice — Burning Hands, Scorching Ray, Fireball, and Wall of Fire — burning love and light into the dark hearts of their foes. Other powers, such as Bonus Cantrip, Warding Flare, and Potent Spellcasting, do wonders to improve their attacks.

If you like the image of the beatific priest casting holy fire to smite their enemies, consider taking this Domain as your specialty.

The Light Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook

Light Domain Features

Only the truly evil have fear of the dark, and the Light Domain Clerics bring the light wherever they go. Their Channel Divinity upgrade literally brings light to the darkness by illuminating the area around them, but it also can be used to deal a significant amount of radiant damage. 

Pros of Light Domain

The Light Domain is actually really impressive when you look at it from a damage point of view. They have access to some of the best fire damage spells in the game. They’re excellent for focusing damage on single opponents and for crowd control. 

Cons of Light Domain

Their Channel Divinity upgrade deals a fair bit of damage for a level 2 ability but will get outclassed as the Cleric levels up, and become obsolete. Many abilities go obsolete after a few levels, but Channel Divinity is the bread and butter of the Cleric class and it would have been nice to see a better use for it. 

Expanded Spell List of Light Domain 

Level 1Burning Hands
Faerie Fire
Level 3Flaming Sphere
Scorching Ray
Level 5Daylight
Level 7Guardian of Faith
Wall of Fire
Level 9Flame Strike

#6. Peace Domain

As the name suggests, Clerics of the Peace Domain promote kindheartedness and friendship, look for more pacifistic and peaceful solutions, and often preside over disputes and diplomatic disagreements.

In return for this, their gods give them spells such as Heroism, Sanctuary, Aid, and Warding Bond to help increase their allies’ morale and thus empower them toward victory.

So, whilst not participating in the fight, a Peace Cleric can often make a real difference to the battle’s outcome. Sort of a religious cheerleader.

Emboldening Bond, Protective Bond, and Expansive Bond are all great. Peace Domain Clerics enable their allies to boost their damage, stay motivated through belief in their eventual success and the justification of their cause, teleport when attacked, or even gain resistance to damage. As non-combatants go, these are valuable people on your side in a fight.

The Peace Domain can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Peace Domain Features

The Peace Domain has no combat skills, but in any battle, you want one on your side. The Peace Clerics focus heavily on ending conflicts and saving lives as quickly and efficiently as possible and are heavy support characters. 

Peace Clerics specialize in support by adding numerous buffs to the party. Their Channel Divinity is upgraded to allow them to walk through a battle unharmed while healing their allies, and they can give a bonus similar to bardic inspiration to other allies in their sight. 

Pros of Peace Domain

Peace Clerics have some of the best support and healing abilities in the game. They grant numerous buffs and are adept at healing allies. All of their abilities are extremely useful and even with Peace in their name you’re going to want one on your side in a battle. 

Cons of Peace Domain 

Peace Domain is an incredibly useful subclass in combat, but actual damage potential is limited. 

Expanded Spell List of Peace Domain

Level 1Heroism
Level 3Aid
Warding Bond
Level 5Beacon of Hope
Level 7Aura of Purity
Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere
Level 9Greater Restoration
Rary’s Telepathic Bond

#5. Arcana Domain

Clerics who follow gods specializing in ancient magic and secret knowledge receive their blessings in the form of arcane power. They often borrow some of the traits and abilities of the spellcasting classes, which turns them into highly effective offensive magic users in their own right.

Clerics of the Arcana Domain can be as potent as a Wizard when tested in combat, often more so.

Those Clerics who see their roles as being one of healing, comfort, and support should not take this option, as their strength comes from their more aggressive and magical stance.

The Arcana Domain can be found in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

Arcana Domain Features

The Arcana Domain worships gods that typically represent knowledge and study of the Arcane arts. 

The Arcana Domain feels like a mixture of Cleric and Wizard, and they do gain access to several wizard spells which allow them much more versatility as a spellcaster.

The Arcana Domain’s Channel Divinity gives the Cleric another power similar to the Turn Undead ability. Instead of affecting only the undead though, their channel divinity can turn celestials, fey, and demons. 

Pros of Arcana Domain 

The extra spells Arcana Domain Clerics have access to are a fantastic subclass. They’re great with healing, utility, and they have access to some of the Wizard’s strongest spells. They won’t have as many, but they still can pick 4 of any of their spells to add to their list. 

Cons of Arcana Domain 

They’re a great overall class but focus heavily on spellcasting. It won’t be as fun for players looking to add martial skills to the Cleric. 

Expanded Spell List of Arcana Domain

Level 1Detect Magic
Magic Missile
Level 3Magic Weapon
Nystul’s Magic Aura
Level 5Dispel Magic
Magic Circle
Level 7Arcane Eye
Leomund’s Secret Chest
Level 9Planar Binding
Teleportation Circle

#4. Grave Domain

The Drave Domain can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Grave Domain Features

Grave Domain is similar to the Death Domain. Grave Clerics view death as a natural part of life. They use their magic to prevent death or to hasten its coming. 

Their Channel Divinity curses an enemy with a damage vulnerability ensuring that their trip to the afterlife is swift. 

Pros of Grave Domain 

They do everything that the Death Domain does, but better. Literally, all of their abilities for healing and damage are just better with the Grave Domain. 

Cons of Grave Domain 

The Grave Clerics’ abilities work best when creatures are on the point of death. This can be a little tricky to deal with as a healer. Do you wait until a party member is completely down and risk actual death before healing them? There’s a fine line to walk and it could backfire horrifically. 

Expanded Spell List of Grave Domain 

Level 1Bane
False Life
Level 3Gentle Repose
Ray of Enfeeblement
Level 5Revivify
Vampiric Touch
Level 7Blight
Death Ward
Level 9Antilife Shell
Raise Dead

#3. Order Domain

Clerics of the Order Domain are concerned with an ordered and regulated society and uphold ideals such as justice, logic, and discipline to be above all things. As a result, the god they follow blesses them with qualities and abilities relating to command, leadership, and respect.

Domain Spells of Command, Heroism, Hold Person, Zone of Truth, and Mass Healing Word typify the Cleric’s sense of fair play.

Such Clerics are often found on the front lines, and their penchant for heavy armor and leading by example makes them the tank of the Clerical world.

Voice of Authority, Embodiment of Law, and Order’s Wrath enable the Cleric of the Order Domain to hand out massive damage to almost any threat, making them, along with the Forge Domain Cleric, the most useful in combat situations.

The Order Domain Cleric can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Order Domain Features

Order Domain Clerics wish to restore order in all things. To that end, they have some of the best combinations of support and attack abilities. 

Their Channel Divinity ability can also be used to charm enemies. In addition, they can allow other players to make more attacks. Divine Strike also adds additional psychic damage to their attacks, and at higher levels, it can be used to curse enemies for even more damage. 

Pros of Order Domain 

Their combination of support and attack abilities is fantastic. They’re excellent support characters, but they also have great attack abilities as well. Most of the subclasses are good at one or the other, but the Order Domain is good at both. 

Cons of Order Domain 

Their Divin Strike ability deals additional damage, but they don’t get any extra proficiencies. The Order Domain would do well with a multiclass with another martial class to really utilize their Divine Strike. 

Expanded Spell List of Order Domain 

Level 1Command
Level 3Hold Person
Zone of Truth
Level 5Mass Healing Word
Level 7Compulsion
Locate Creature
Level 9Commune
Dominate Person

#2. Life Domain

Perhaps what most people see as the traditional role of this class is typified by the Clerics of the Life Domain as they focus on preserving life and unmatched healing abilities. Spells such as Bless, Cure Wounds, Revivify, and Mass Cure Wounds offer vital support to any party of adventurers.

Being blessed with Disciple of Life, Blessed Healer, and Supreme Healing means that those healing spells can be elevated into their most potent versions.

Choose this if you want to play the sort of Cleric who avoids combat as much as possible but can offer vital support and has the skills to patch up any injuries and wounds so that their colleagues can return to the fray as quickly as possible.

The Life Domain can be found in the Player’s Handbook

Life Domain Features

When people normally think of Clerics they’re typically thinking of the Life Domain Cleric. They’re the definition of healers. They have some of the best healing abilities in the game and their Channel Divinity ability gets upgraded by allowing the Cleric to heal multiple characters at once. 

Pros of Life Domain 

Life Domain Clerics are some of the best healers in the game, hands down. 

Cons of Life Domain 

They are specialized in healing, so adding damage-dealing spells weaken their healing abilities. They’re one of the more fragile of the Cleric subclasses. 

Expanded Spell List of Life Domain

Level 1Bless
Cure Wounds
Level 3Lesser Restoration
Spiritual Weapon
Level 5Beacon of Hope
Level 7Death Ward
Guardian of Faith
Level 9Mass Cure Wounds
Raise Dead

#1. Twilight Domain

The Twilight Domain can be found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Twilight Domain Features

The Twilight Domain has one of the strongest ability sets out of all of the clerics. They can summon light and shadows to power their Divine Strike and Twilight Shroud abilities. Divine Strike grants extra damage, while their Twilight Shroud gives half cover to all allies around them. 

That’s not what sets the Twilight Domain apart though. Their Channel Divinity is one of the strongest in the game. Their Channel Divinity puts out a shroud 30ft from the Cleric.

Any ally that ends their turn in the shroud gains temporary hit points that can be refreshed every turn. The temporary hit points don’t stack, but they get more every single turn they stay in the shroud. 

Pros of Twilight Domain

Their Channel Divinity ability alone makes them one of the best Clerics in the game, and some have argued that it’s overpowered. 

Cons of Twilight Domain

Their Channel Divinity is fantastic, but at later levels, the added temporary hitpoints won’t be able to keep up with legendary monsters. 

Expanded Spell List of Twilight Domain

Level 1Faerie Fire
Level 3Moonbeam
See Invisibility
Level 5Aura of Vitality
Leomund’s Tiny Hut
Level 7Aura of Life
Greater Invisibility
Level 9Circle of Power
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06/05/2023 08:30 pm GMT

Ready to really create your Cleric character? Check out our Cleric 5e Guide and Cleric Spells guides.

Cleric Subclasses and Domains 5e DnD