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.
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 1||Animal Friendship|
Speak with Animals
|Level 5||Plant Growth|
|Level 7||Dominate Beast|
|Level 9||Insect Plague|
#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 1||Fog Cloud|
|Level 3||Gust of Wind|
|Level 5||Call Lightning|
|Level 7||Control Water|
|Level 9||Destructive Wave|
#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 1||Divine Favor|
Shield of Faith
|Level 3||Magic Weapon|
|Level 5||Crusader’s Mantle|
|Level 7||Freedom of Movement|
|Level 9||Flame Strike|
#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
Speak with Dead
|Level 7||Arcane Eye|
|Level 9||Legend 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 1||False Life|
Ray of Sickness
Ray of Enfeeblement
|Level 5||Animate Dead|
|Level 9||Antilife 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 1||Charm Person|
|Level 3||Mirror Image|
Pass without Trace
|Level 7||Dimension Door|
|Level 9||Dominate Person|
#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 3||Heat Metal|
|Level 5||Elemental Weapon|
Protection from Energy
Wall of Fire
|Level 9||Animate 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 1||Burning Hands|
|Level 3||Flaming Sphere|
|Level 7||Guardian of Faith|
Wall of Fire
|Level 9||Flame 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 5||Beacon of Hope|
|Level 7||Aura of Purity|
Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere
|Level 9||Greater 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 1||Detect Magic|
|Level 3||Magic Weapon|
Nystul’s Magic Aura
|Level 5||Dispel Magic|
|Level 7||Arcane Eye|
Leomund’s Secret Chest
|Level 9||Planar Binding|
#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 3||Gentle Repose|
Ray of Enfeeblement
|Level 9||Antilife Shell|
#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 3||Hold Person|
Zone of Truth
|Level 5||Mass Healing Word|
#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 3||Lesser Restoration|
|Level 5||Beacon of Hope|
|Level 7||Death Ward|
Guardian of Faith
|Level 9||Mass Cure Wounds|
#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 1||Faerie Fire|
|Level 5||Aura of Vitality|
Leomund’s Tiny Hut
|Level 7||Aura of Life|
|Level 9||Circle of Power|
Ready to really create your Cleric character? Check out our Cleric 5e Guide and Cleric Spells guides.
Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.