Cleric 5e: DnD Class Guide

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Time to read 17 min

Are you ready to explore the divine power that lies within you? Look no further than the Cleric class in DnD 5e. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the depths of this versatile class, equipping you with the knowledge you need to create a truly formidable cleric character. As a cleric, you are not only a devout follower of a specific deity, but also a conduit for their divine power. Whether you prefer to heal your allies, smite your enemies, or protect your comrades with a shield of faith, the Cleric class offers a wide range of abilities and playstyles to suit your preferences. From choosing your deity and domain to selecting spells and preparing for battle, we will walk you through every step of the way. Unleash your divine wrath, call upon powerful miracles, and become a beacon of hope and guidance for your party in your quest for glory. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of the Cleric class in DnD 5e and unlock the true potential of your devotion. Brand Voice: Engaging, adventure-seeking, knowledgeable.

Overview of the Cleric's abilities and role in the game

The Cleric class in DnD 5e is a powerful and versatile class that serves as a vital support role in any adventuring party. Clerics are the divine casters of the game, drawing their power from their unwavering faith and devotion to their chosen deity. They possess a wide array of abilities that allow them to heal, buff, and protect their allies, as well as deal damage to their enemies.

At the core of the Cleric's abilities is their spellcasting. Clerics have access to a diverse range of spells, which they can use to heal wounds, banish undead, and even call upon their deity for powerful miracles. In addition to their spellcasting, Clerics also have several class features that set them apart from other classes. These features include Channel Divinity, which allows Clerics to call upon their deity's power for various effects, and Divine Intervention, which grants them the ability to ask their deity for aid in dire situations.

As a cleric, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice:   1d8  per cleric level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels:  1d8  (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per cleric level after 1st


Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools:  None
Saving Throws:  Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from History , Insight , Medicine , Persuasion , and Religion

Level Proficiency Features Cantrips —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
Bonus Known 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
Spellcasting, Divine Domain 3 2
Channel Divinity (1/rest), Divine Domain Feature 3 3
3 4 2
Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3
Destroy Undead (CR 1/2) 4 4 3 2
Channel Divinity (2/rest), Divine Domain Feature 4 4 3 3
4 4 3 3 1
Ability Score Improvement, Destroy Undead (CR 1), Divine Domain Feature 4 4 3 3 2
4 4 3 3 3 1
Divine Intervention 5 4 3 3 3 2
Destroy Undead (CR 2) 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
Destroy Undead (CR 3) 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
Destroy Undead (CR 4), Divine Domain Feature 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
Channel Divinity (3/rest) 5 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
Divine Intervention Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Choosing a deity and understanding the importance of alignment for a Cleric

One of the most important decisions you will make when creating a Cleric character is choosing a deity to worship. The deity you choose will not only determine the spells and abilities you have access to, but also influence your character's alignment. Alignment is a fundamental aspect of the DnD 5e system and plays a significant role in shaping your character's morals, ethics, and behavior.

When choosing a deity, it is important to consider their alignment and the alignment restrictions that may be placed on Clerics who follow them. For example, a Cleric who follows a chaotic evil deity would be expected to act in accordance with their deity's alignment, which may involve committing evil acts or causing chaos. On the other hand, a Cleric who follows a lawful good deity would be expected to uphold justice and act in a morally upright manner.

Divine Domain
At 1st level, you choose a domain shaped by your choice of Deity and the gifts they grant you. Your choice grants you domain spells and other features when you choose it at 1st level. It also grants you additional ways to use Channel Divinity when you gain that feature at 2nd level, and additional benefits at 6th, 8th, and 17th levels.
Domain Source
Arcana Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
Death Dungeon Master's Guide
Forge Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Grave Xanathar's Guide to Everything
Knowledge Player's Handbook
Life Player's Handbook
Light Player's Handbook
Nature Player's Handbook
Order Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica
Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
Peace Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
Tempest Player's Handbook
Trickery Player's Handbook
Twilight Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
cleric 5e shield

Cleric subclasses and their unique features

The Cleric class in DnD 5e offers several subclasses, known as domains, each with its own unique features and abilities. These subclasses allow you to further customize your Cleric character and tailor their abilities to your preferred playstyle.

Some of the most popular Cleric subclasses include the Life Domain, which specializes in healing and support magic, and the War Domain, which focuses on combat and martial abilities. Other domains, such as the Light Domain, the Tempest Domain, and the Trickery Domain, offer additional options and abilities for Clerics who want to specialize in different areas.


  1. Versatility : Clerics can fill multiple roles within a party, including healer, tank, and damage dealer, depending on their domain and spell choices. This flexibility allows parties to adapt to various challenges.

  1. Powerful Healing and Support Spells : Clerics have access to some of the most potent healing and support spells in the game, such as "Cure Wounds," "Healing Word," and "Revivify." They can keep their allies in the fight longer and counteract enemy actions effectively.

  1. Access to Divine Magic : Clerics derive their powers from a deity or divine force, giving them access to a wide range of divine spells that can be effective against undead and evil forces. Spells like "Turn Undead" can be game-changers in the right context.

  1. Domain Features : Each cleric chooses a domain related to their deity that grants them additional abilities, spells, and sometimes even weapon and armor proficiencies. These domain features can significantly enhance a cleric's effectiveness in their chosen role.

  1. Resilience : Clerics generally have a good hit point average and can wear heavy armor and shields (depending on their domain), making them quite durable in combat situations.


  1. Jack-of-All-Trades : While being versatile is a strength, it can also be a weakness. Clerics may not excel as much in a specific role as a character class dedicated to that role. For example, a cleric's healing might not match that of a specialized support character in certain situations.

  1. Limited Spell Slots : Like all spellcasters in D&D 5e, clerics have a limited number of spell slots, which can constrain their ability to continuously cast spells during long days of adventuring without rest.

  1. Dependency on Wisdom : A cleric's effectiveness is heavily dependent on their Wisdom score, as it affects their spellcasting ability, spell save DC, and spell attack bonus. This can make it challenging to allocate ability scores effectively, especially if trying to balance combat and spellcasting capabilities.

  1. Slow Progression in Damage Output : Compared to pure damage-dealing classes, clerics may experience slower progression in their ability to deal damage as levels increase, especially if they focus more on support or healing roles.

  1. Role Conflicts : In parties with multiple support characters, clerics might find their roles overlapping with others, which could lead to less efficiency in combat if the party lacks balance in other areas such as damage output or tanking.

Cleric 5e spells and spellcasting mechanics

Spellcasting is a core feature of the Cleric 5e class, and understanding how it works is essential for maximizing your character's potential. Cleric 5e have access to a wide variety of spells, ranging from healing spells that can restore hit points to damaging spells that can smite enemies.

Clerics prepare their spells from the entire Cleric 5e spell list, allowing them to adapt to different situations and tailor their spell selection to the needs of the party. Additionally, Cleric 5e have the ability to channel their divine energy into their spells, allowing them to maximize their effectiveness and even enhance their healing abilities.

Cleric 5e spellcasting in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (5e) revolves around divine magic, which clerics harness through their devotion to a deity or a divine concept. This guide will cover the basics of how clerics cast spells, manage spell slots, and select their spells, along with some strategic tips on spell selection and usage.

Understanding Cleric Spellcasting - Spell Slots

Cleric 5e , like other spellcasting classes in D&D 5e, have a limited number of spell slots they can use to cast their spells before needing a long rest to replenish them. The number of spell slots and the highest level of spells they can cast increase as they gain levels. For example, a 1st-level cleric has two 1st-level spell slots, while a 9th-level cleric has access to 1st through 5th-level spell slots.

female cleric with white hair and white armour

Tips for building and optimizing a Cleric 5e character

Building a Cleric 5e character can be an exciting and rewarding process. To ensure that your Cleric 5e is effective in combat and provides valuable support to your party, it is important to consider several factors when building and optimizing your character.

Firstly, think about your desired playstyle and the role you want to fulfill in the party. Are you primarily focused on healing and support, or do you want to deal damage and smite enemies? This will help guide your choice of deity and domain, as well as your spell selection.

Secondly, consider your attributes and ability scores. Wisdom is the primary attribute for Cleric 5e, as it determines the effectiveness of their spells and abilities. Other important attributes include Constitution for hit points and survivability, and Dexterity for armor class and initiative.

a cleric holding a book and reading

Roleplaying tips for playing a Cleric 5e

Playing a Cleric in D&D 5e offers a unique roleplaying experience, as you embody the divine power of a deity and act as a conduit for their will. Here are some tips to help you bring your Cleric character to life:

1. Embrace your character's faith and devotion. Your Cleric's beliefs and motivations should be at the forefront of their actions and decisions.2. Consider the tenets of your chosen deity and strive to uphold them in your roleplaying. This can help create interesting moral dilemmas and conflicts within the party.3. Explore the relationship between your Cleric and their deity. Are they a humble servant, a chosen champion, or something else entirely? This can add depth and complexity to your character's backstory and motivations.

Dungeon Dudes - A Clerics Guide 5e

Cleric equipment and gear recommendations

As a Cleric 5e, your choice of equipment can greatly enhance your abilities and effectiveness in combat. While Cleric 5e are proficient with simple weapons and light armor, it is important to choose gear that complements your desired playstyle and role in the party.

For example, if you prefer to be on the front lines and engage in melee combat, consider equipping a melee weapon such as a mace or a warhammer, along with heavier armor for increased protection. If you prefer to stay in the back and focus on spellcasting, consider lighter armor that allows for greater mobility, as well as a focus or holy symbol to channel your divine power.

Common challenges and how to overcome them as a Cleric

While the Cleric 5e class offers a wide range of abilities and versatility, there are some common challenges that Cleric 5e players may face during their adventures. Here are a few challenges and tips on how to overcome them:

1. Limited spell slots: Cleric 5e have a limited number of spell slots, so it is important to choose spells wisely and conserve your resources. Consider using lower-level spells for minor threats and saving higher-level spells for more challenging encounters.

2. Lack of offensive options: Cleric 5e are primarily known for their healing and support abilities, but they can also deal significant damage with the right spells and abilities. Explore the offensive options available to your domain and use them strategically to turn the tide of battle.

3. Balancing healing and damage: As a Cleric 5e, you are responsible for keeping your party alive and healthy. However, it is important to find a balance between healing and dealing damage. Don't be afraid to prioritize damage when the situation calls for it, but always keep your party's well-being in mind.

cleric 5e

Conclusion and final thoughts on playing a Cleric 5e

Playing a Cleric 5e can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The class offers a unique blend of support, healing, and offensive capabilities, making it a valuable asset to any adventuring party. By choosing the right deity, domain, and spells, and embracing your character's faith and devotion, you can unlock the true potential of the Cleric 5e class and become a beacon of hope and guidance for your party.

So, are you ready to embark on a divine journey and unleash the power of the Cleric in D&D 5e? The path to glory awaits, and with your unwavering faith and dedication, you are destined to become a formidable force on the battlefield. May the blessings of your deity guide your every step, and may your adventures be filled with triumph and glory.

FAQ Cleric 5e

How many spells can a cleric prepare 5e?

A Cleric 5e can prepare a number of spells equal to their Cleric 5e level plus their Wisdom modifier each day. After finishing a long rest, clerics can choose which spells to prepare from the cleric spell list. This number does not include cantrips, which Cleric 5e can cast at will and do not need to be prepared.

Here's the formula for the number of spells a cleric can prepare each day:

Number of Spells Prepared=Cleric Level+Wisdom ModifierNumber of Spells Prepared=Cleric Level+Wisdom Modifier

It's important to note that this formula allows clerics to adapt their available spells daily, giving them flexibility to prepare for expected challenges. However, once the spells are chosen, they cannot be changed again until the cleric completes another long rest.

How many spells do clerics 5e get?

The number of spells a Cleric 5e has access to at any given time is determined by the spells they have prepared for the day plus their cantrips. The specifics of how many spells a Cleric can prepare and how many cantrips they know depend on their level and their Wisdom modifier. 

How to build a cleric 5e?

To build a Cleric 5e, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Race : Select a race that offers a bonus to Wisdom, as it's your primary spellcasting ability. Races like Hill Dwarf, Wood Elf, or Firbolg are great choices.

  2. Select Divine Domain : Choose a Divine Domain related to your deity that defines your cleric's abilities, playstyle, and role in the party. This choice affects your spell list and grants domain-specific benefits.

  3. Allocate Ability Scores : Prioritize Wisdom for spellcasting. Constitution is important for health, and Strength or Dexterity is useful depending on whether you plan to focus on melee or ranged combat/support.

  4. Pick Background : Choose a background that complements your character's history and provides useful skill proficiencies. Acolyte and Sage are thematic options, but any background can fit with the right story.

  5. Choose Equipment : Based on your domain and combat preferences, select appropriate armor (heavy or light), weapons, and a holy symbol as your spellcasting focus.

  6. Prepare Spells : Daily, prepare a number of spells equal to your Cleric 5e level plus your Wisdom modifier, choosing from the Cleric 5e spell list. Your domain provides additional spells that are always prepared for free.

  7. Learn Cantrips : Choose cantrips (minor spells you can cast at will) from the cleric spell list. These don't count against your number of prepared spells.

Remember, your Cleric's development will also heavily rely on the choices you make while leveling up, such as increasing your Wisdom score with Ability Score Improvements or selecting feats, and expanding your spell repertoire.

How to play a cleric 5e?

To play a Cleric 5e effectively:

  1. Know Your Role : Understand whether you're primarily a healer, damage dealer, or support based on your Divine Domain and party needs.
  2. Manage Spell Slots : Use your spell slots wisely, balancing the need for healing, combat spells, and utility spells. Remember, some spells have powerful effects when cast with higher-level slots.
  3. Utilize Cantrips : Rely on cantrips for consistent, spell-slot-free effects in combat or utility situations.
  4. Prepare for the Day : Choose your prepared spells after each long rest based on anticipated challenges, ensuring a mix that suits your role.
  5. Positioning : Stay in positions that maximize your effectiveness and minimize direct threats, based on whether you're melee-focused or more of a backline caster.
  6. Use Channel Divinity : Remember to use your Channel Divinity options, unique to your Divine Domain, which can significantly impact battles or role-playing situations.
  7. Work With Your Party : Communicate with your party to understand their needs and how you can best support them, whether through healing, buffs, or divine intervention.

Playing a Cleric is about balance, strategic spell use, and adapting to the needs of the adventure and your party.

How to level up cleric 5e?

To level up a Cleric in D&D 5e:

  1. Increase Hit Points : Add 1d8 (or 5 for a fixed value) plus your Constitution modifier to your total hit points.
  2. Learn Spells : Check if your Cleric level grants additional spell slots or access to higher-level spells. Remember, you can prepare a number of spells equal to your Cleric level plus your Wisdom modifier.
  3. Gain Cantrips : Some levels grant additional cantrips. Check the Cleric 5e table in the Player's Handbook.
  4. Ability Score Improvement (ASI) : At certain levels (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th), choose between increasing your ability scores (often prioritizing Wisdom) or taking a feat, if feats are allowed in your campaign.
  5. Domain Features : Your chosen Divine Domain may grant additional features or abilities at certain levels.
  6. Update Proficiencies : Your proficiency bonus increases at certain levels (5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th), affecting your spell attack bonus and spell save DC.
  7. Review and Adjust Prepared Spells : With each level, consider adjusting your prepared spells based on your new spell slots and the challenges you expect to face.

Ensure you consult the Cleric class table and the description of your Divine Domain for specific level-up benefits.

Must have cleric spells 5e?

Choosing "must-have" spells for a Cleric 5e in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition can be subjective, as it often depends on the Cleric 5e Divine Domain, role in the party, and the campaign's challenges. However, some spells are widely regarded as exceptionally useful for Clerics across many situations:

  1. Healing Word (1st Level): A bonus action spell that allows you to heal an ally within 60 feet and bring them back from 0 hit points, all without needing to be next to them. Its action economy makes it invaluable in combat.

  2. Spiritual Weapon (2nd Level): Creates a floating, spectral weapon that you can use to attack enemies as a bonus action, allowing you to deal damage while also casting other spells or performing actions. It does not require concentration.

  3. Revivify (3rd Level): Can bring someone back to life who has died within the last minute. Given the potential for character death in D&D, having this spell ready can be a game-changer. It's especially crucial because it only requires a diamond worth 300 gp, which is relatively inexpensive for its effect.

  4. Guidance (Cantrip): Allows you to add a d4 to an ability check of the spell's recipient. Since it's a cantrip, you can use it frequently, making it incredibly useful for helping your party succeed in crucial non-combat situations.

  5. Spirit Guardians (3rd Level): Summons spirits that protect you, damaging and slowing any enemy that enters the area around you. It's excellent for crowd control and increases your survivability in melee combat.

These spells offer a mix of healing, damage, support, and utility, making them versatile choices for any Cleric 5e, regardless of their specific domain or the party's composition.

What is the best cleric domain 5e?

The "best" Cleric 5e Domain in D&D 5e largely depends on your playstyle and what role you want to fulfill in your party. However, the Life Domain is often highlighted for its unparalleled healing abilities, making it a top choice for players who want to focus on keeping their party alive. It enhances healing spells right from the start and grants access to powerful healing options not easily matched by other domains. For a more balanced approach between combat and utility, the Light Domain offers potent area-of-effect damage spells and defensive options, making it versatile in various situations. Ultimately, the best domain is the one that most closely aligns with how you enjoy playing the game.

Can a cleric bless water 5e?

Yes, a cleric 5e can bless water in D&D 5e using the Ceremony spell, which has an option to make holy water.

Can a cleric player make a magic item 5e?

Yes, a cleric 5e player can make a magic item in D&D 5e if they have the appropriate downtime, resources, and meet any specific requirements outlined in the Dungeon Master's Guide or other relevant sourcebooks, such as having the necessary spells and the DM's approval.

Yes, clerics can tank in D&D 5e, especially those who choose domains with heavy armor proficiency and spells or abilities that enhance durability, such as the Life, War, or Forge Domains.

Can clerics tank 5e?

Yes, cleric 5e can tank in D&D, especially those who choose domains with heavy armor proficiency and spells or abilities that enhance durability, such as the Life, War, or Forge Domains.