In both long-term D&D campaigns in which I’ve been a player, I was a cleric. Clerics are both extremely valuable and extremely undervalued by players. 5e has thankfully done a good job at making them more attractive to play, but they’re the class that everyone wants but no one wants to play. Healing is very valuable but an often thankless job and not necessarily seen as “cool” by the people who have to do it.
Having said that, they’re a useful plot element for the assumed polytheism of D&D, and 5e has given them some neat tricks that make them a bit more attractive. This week we’re going to reintroduce an old domain, Exorcism, that still falls pretty close to a “typical” cleric.
The most malevolent fiends take mortal servants by possession, stealing their bodies for vile acts. To combat these monsters, deities may empower their servants to keep evil creatures away from the Material Plane. Deities who offer this domain are generally good or occasionally lawful deities concerned with defending the innocent and opposing evil with corresponding force. Deities that might offer this domain include St. Cuthbert, Ilmater, and the Silver Flame. Clerics with this path focus on magical protections and countering the manifestations of evil.
Exorcism Domain Spells
- 1st – protection from good and evil, sanctuary
- 3rd – calm emotions, warding bond
- 5th – beacon of hope, magic circle
- 7th – banishment, freedom of movement
- 9th – circle of power, dispel evil and good
(The spell list here is very defensive and focused on dealing with extraplanar threats. This makes a whole lot of sense for what we’re trying to do.)
Bonus Proficiency: When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor. (This makes the cleric a bit sturdier, like several other domains, but doesn’t add a lot of offensive ability.)
Mental Ward: At 1st level, your faith provides you a measure of protection against mental effects. Whenever you make an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw, you can use your reaction to gain advantage on it. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). You regain all expended uses after finishing a long rest. (This cleric will be very difficult to hit with mental effects.)
Channel Divinity: Turn the Faithless: At 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to frighten extraplanar creatures. This ability is identical to Turn Undead as described on p. 59 of the Player’s Handbook except that it affects fiends and fey creatures. Creatures with a Challenge Rating higher than your cleric level have advantage on the saving throw. (Although this isn’t particularly thrilling, it’s probably reasonably balanced. It also gives another option against the enemies you’d presume this character will face.)
Improved Mental Ward: At 6th level, you can use your Mental Ward ability when an ally within 30 feet of you makes an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw to give them advantage on the roll. (This is similar to how the Light cleric ability upgrades, but it works with the theme. Your party will be glad to have you around.)
Divine Strike: At 8th level, once on each of your turns you can infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy, causing the attack to deal an extra 1d8 psychic damage. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8. (All clerics get this or Potent Spellcasting. I think either would fit for this character and basically just made a choice. Psychic damage feels like the best fit for this domain; force would be the runner-up)
Expel Afflictions: At 17th level, you can use your action to touch an adjacent creature and end one of the following conditions: charmed, frightened, petrification, or poisoned. (This seems pretty strong, but it’s really a supportive variation on something the monk gets much earlier. It’s pretty good, though, and can save you some spell slots on restoring your allies. Adjacency limits the utility somewhat, forcing the cleric into danger to use it.)
Like this content? There’s a new DM’s Guild release “The Heavens Above” you can find here.