Unearthed Arcana: Cleric Divine Domains Analysis

It’s the third Unearthed Arcana article for the month of November and this time the D&D Team provides three new Divine Domains.

This time I decided to provide an analysis on the Unearthed Arcana content.

Forge Domain

Clerics under the Forge Domain value artisan work with metal. They seek to find lost items and discover new unusual materials that can create new magic artifacts with. These Clerics wield the power of the forge. The deities of this Domain include Gond, Reorx, Onatar, Moradin, Hephaestus, and Goibhniu who are also included in the Knowledge Domain.

  • Forge Domain spells. The list of spells for this Domain is a mix of offensive and defensive spells, along with some that have a connection with crafting. All of them fit perfectly the theme of this Domain, in my opinion.
  • Bonus Proficiency. You gain proficiency with heavy armor at first level. I see no problem here.
  • Blessing of the Forge. A +1 weapon or armor at level one can be quite helpful, especially since it’s considered magical. This can help a lot when dealing with enemies that have resistance against damage from non-magical weapons at low levels. At higher levels, when you will also have better magic items, this feature may become irrelevant.
  • Channel Divinity: Artisan’s Blessing. This feature reduces the crafting time of a non-magical item to one hour, during a short rest. However, the item’s cost can’t be more than 100gp, it must be at least part metal, and you have to provide material equal to its cost. This means you can’t make profit from this feature, which I believe is fair. Also, it’s mentioned that you have to spend a Channel Divinity but, since you conduct the ritual at the beginning of the short rest, you regain it when you finish the rest. This means that either the only time that you won’t be able to use this feature is when you’ve expended all of your Channel Divinity or we should be expecting a correction on the writing of the feature.
  • Soul of the Forge. You get some good bonuses. +1 AC when wearing medium or heavy armor, which you should be, resistance to fire and extra damage against constructs. While the last bonus is very specific, the first two are pretty good and also all three of them fit the flavor of this Divine Domain.
  • Divine Strike. Nothing new here. Clerics get either extra weapon damage or extra damage on their cantrips at this level. And since this Divine Domain is melee centered, the Divine Strike fits better than Potent Spellcasting.
  • Saint of Forge and Fire. Okay. Is this a little too powerful? It probably is. It’s like the Avatar of Battle from the War Domain but with extra fire immunity. Yes, the resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage may only work with heavy armor but this Divine Domain pretty much tells you that you should be wearing heavy armor.

I like this Domain. I like its theme and how it’s complemented by the features. All that’s left is test it and see how it fairs power wise.

Grave Domain

Clerics of this Domain consider undeath and desecrating the dead an abomination. They seek to put the dead to rest and ease the suffering of dying creatures. Deities of this Domain include Kelemvor, Wee Jas, the ancestral spirits of the Undying Court, Hades, Anubis, and Osiris. Some of them also claim the Death Domain.

  • Grave Domain Spells. This is a collection of spells with a wide variety of effects. There are spells that deal damage, hinder your enemies and bolster and protect you and your allies. Again, they fit to theme of the Domain.
  • Bonus Proficiency. It’s another melee centered Divine Domain so heavy armor proficiency fits its theme.
  • Circle of Mortality. Being able to cast Spare the Dying as a bonus action can prove to be quite helpful. Also, doing a bunch of healing to a character who is currently at 0 hit points helps them get back to the fight more easily. While this feature is useful at any level, I believe it is extra useful at low levels because 5th Edition is quite dangerous then.
  • Eyes of the Grave. I really don’t like this one. It’s like the Ranger’s Primeval Awareness but only for undead. However, you don’t spend a spell slot, you know more or less the location of the undead, how many of them are and also the type of the strongest one. In my opinion, this can ruin the DM’s plans in many ways.
  • Channel Divinity: Path to the Grave. This one is quite interesting. You can make a creature vulnerable to the next source 0f damage it receives by you or an ally. If that source has multiple damage types, it makes the creature vulnerable to all of them. Also, if the creature has resistances or immunities, it removes them. This can be a powerful ability if used at the right moment and could also lead to interesting situations, especially since you’ll be able to damage a creature with the damage type it is immune to.
  • Sentinel at Death’s Door. You can turn a critical hit against you or an ally into a normal hit, once every short or long rest. It also negates any effects that critical hit would trigger. This is a good feature but doesn’t really fit the theme of the Domain.
  • Divine Strike. Since this is a melee centered Domain, it gets the Divine Strike instead of the Potent Spellcasting feature. All is well. However, the damage type is necrotic. Why? Aren’t the Clerics of this Domain supposed to hunt down the undead? So shouldn’t the Divine Strike do damage that would hurt the undead a lot?
  • Keeper of Souls. When an enemy dies you can heal yourself or an ally near you for an amount equal to the enemy’s hit dice. You can use this feature once per round but you don’t need to spend your reaction. I believe this is a little too powerful.

I like the idea of the Grave Domain Cleric. However, this needs some work. The Divine Strike damage type, in my opinion, does not fit the flavor of the Domain. Sentinel at Death’s Door may be a good feature but it doesn’t have to do anything with the theme. Yes, a critical could kill you but not necessarily. Eyes of the Grave is something that I don’t like at all.

Protection Domain

Clerics who follow a deity of the Protection Domain consider their duty to protect the weak. Deities who grant this domain include Helm, Ilmater, Torm, Tyr, Heironeous, St. Cuthbert, Paladine, Dol Dorn, the Silver Flame, Bahamut, Yondalla, Athena, and Odin. Deities that claim this Domain can also be found under the Knowledge, Life, Light and War Domains.

  • Protection Domain Spells. The spells contained in this list fit perfectly the theme of this Domain. There are spells that hinder, stop and punish an attacker and even draw their attention in order to protect someone else.
  • Bonus Proficiency. This one, too, gets proficiency with heavy armor and of course it matches the flavor. The better the armor the better you can defend against evil.
  • Shield of the Faithful. This is the Protection Fighting Style without the need of wielding a shield. I’m not a big fan of it.
  • Channel Divinity: Radiant Defense. The first thing that came to mind was Hellish Rebuke. The difference is that you add your Cleric level to the damage, there is no saving throw and it costs your action. You have to decide if the extra damage and no saving throw justify the extra cost.
  • Blessed Healer. That’s a Life Domain feature but fits this Domain’s theme as well. You get rewarded by helping others. It’s not bad.
  • Divine Strike. Again, nothing surprising. This is a melee centered Domain and so it gets Divine Strike. Radiant damage because you’re good and protect your friends.
  • Indomitable Defense. After a short or long rest you can choose two damage types(choosing from bludgeoning,necrotic, piercing, radiant, and slashing) and gain resistance to them. As an action you can give them to an ally until either the end of the next short or long rest or until you spend a bonus action to transfer it back to you.

This is not a bad Domain. It reminds me of the Paladin a little bit but it doesn’t mean that this is a bad thing.

Ultimately, I like the flavor of all three of the Domains. The Forge and Protection Domains need just a little bit more work. The Grave Domain, however, needs a lot of work. What’s your opinion? Do you like these Domains?

Lastly, the survey for the Bard Colleges is out and can be found here.

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here.

P.S: Did you like the analysis? Do you prefer this over what I’ve been doing until now with the Unearthed Arcana articles? Please, let me know. Your opinion on the content of the blog is important to me.

One thought on “Unearthed Arcana: Cleric Divine Domains Analysis

  1. I really like your analysis on this Unearthed Arcana. The grave domain is the one that sparked my interest the most but indeed it needs more work than the other two. I look forward to your analysis of future Unearthed Arcanas.


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