dnd 5e – How does anyone ever die with a Cleric

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Clerics

With apologies to Dick the Butcher, if you want your characters to feel the heat in combat and stop taking clerical healing for granted… kill the cleric. Or more properly, take out or somehow occupy the cleric early in the combat, so they can’t easily dispense healing at the earliest opportunity in a combat.

On the one hand, intelligent adversaries who can recognize clerics and want to actually win the fight would do this as a matter of course. Assassins certainly qualify, here, and ought to be well-briefed on who they’re trying to kill.

On the other hand, one expects this to work maybe once or twice before the group starts stocking up on healing potions or otherwise taking protective countermeasures. (And if the opponents are focusing fire on the cleric, that means they’re probably not focusing fire on the wizard, the barbarian, or whoever the biggest and most reliable damage-dealer in the party is.)

A Frame Challenge Or Two

But remember, there’s a natural narrative tension running through most D&D games: Most D&D games have a lot of combats, and most D&D games aren’t grimdark enough to be killing characters on a regular basis. And if you run through enough combats where everyone survives, eventually the player are going to figure out that maybe– just maybe, whether it’s because of the existence of healing potions, or clerics, or because of the way the whole game world is structured– they’re not quite treated the same way as the minor NPCs.

That’s why clerics and healing potions exist. They are meant to be used to rescue the characters.

But not all tension in a game comes from the immediate threat of death in any given combat. Another way to look at things (both at the level of an individual combat, or a series of related combats before the group can rest, regroup, and recover their resources) is as an exercise in resource management.

At the level of an individual combat, every time the cleric has to go over and heal someone (and remember, those healing spells have a range of touch, meaning the cleric has to go over there consuming multiple actions on a round) means that he or she can’t be doing anything else that might be useful, like buffing other characters or casting damage-dealing spells against their opponents.

And at the level of a series of combats, every healing spell cast now is a healing spell that cannot be cast in the next combat, or the next after that… until the players shut down and take a long rest. This is critically important to the way 5e and related systems work. Your PCs can feel like demigods if they blow through scarce resources in the early (probably less challenging) combats of a sequence, only to be left high and dry when fighting the Big Bad at the end.

If that’s what’s happening, they’ll eventually feel the pinch.

If you’re following this school of thought, then one of your jobs as GM (which is not necessarily easy) is putting the characters in situations where they can’t come at each combat at full strength like a sledge hammer, but rather where they’ll have to run through a gauntlet with some real uncertainty on their part of where they should be spending those resources.

A natural result of this– and I think a good one– is that not every combat will feel like a mortal threat, but some of them toward the end of those sequences, surely will.

dnd 5e – Can you know the damage before teleporting with Cleric Peace Domain Lvl6 Protective Bond?

The reaction is taken immediately after its trigger. But sometimes it’s complicated.

The trigger for the Protective Bond reaction is:

When a creature affected by your Emboldening Bond feature is about to take damage

Therefore, the Protective Bond reaction is available immediately after the rules of the game have decided that the creature affected by Emboldening Bond is to take damage. There are actually several cases we must consider here.

Hit by an Attack

The rules for attack rolls state:

To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. If the total of the roll plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class (AC), the attack hits.

The rules for resolving attacks state:

On a hit, you roll damage.

So when the affected creature is hit with an attack, this is the reaction trigger. It is at this point, once the attack has been determined to hit, that we know the creature is about to take damage, and this is before we have rolled the damage – the trigger occurs before damage is rolled.

Now, if there is a possibility that the attack could deal 0 damage the DM does have to roll the damage to be sure that the affected creature is about to take damage, but the reaction still occurs immediately after the trigger, which is before the damage is applied. In this situation the DM would tell you, “The damage is more than 0”, and give you an opportunity to make the choice, but the DM shouldn’t tell you what the damage is.

Saving throw (half damage on success)

Saving throw damage is complicated, as there are two cases which need to be handled differently. In the first case, suppose the affected creature is in the area of effect of a fireball spell. They take 8d6 damage on a succesful save, and half on a failed save. In this instance, the rules have established that they are about to take damage before the saving throw is even made. In this case, the saving throw is not determining if they take damage, it is determining how much damage to roll. So you would make the choice to use your reaction before the creature even attempts the saving throw.

Saving throw (no damage on success)

In this case, such as in cantrips which deal no damage on a successful save, the saving throw is determining if the creature is about to take damage. Therefore, your reaction would only be available to you after the saving throw has been attempted and failed, but again, before the damage is actually rolled. It is only after the saving throw has been attempted that the rules of the game have determined if the creature is about to take damage or not.

Fall Damage

This one will just require a ruling form the DM. Protective Bond just teleports you to a space near the creature, which seems to me wouldn’t actually affect fall damage at all. RAW, it can cancel fall damage, but it seems reasonable to rule that this feature doesn’t help with fall damage, or allows you to quickly utilize Tasha’s optional Falling onto a Creaure rule:

If a creature falls into the space of a second creature and neither of them is Tiny, the second creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be impacted by the falling creature, and any damage resulting from the fall is divided evenly between them. The impacted creature is also knocked prone, unless it is two or more sizes larger than the falling creature.

There is room to rule differently.

What I gave above is a pretty strict reading, I think, of the feature and the relevant rules, but the trigger “about to take damage” is still somewhat ambiguous, so there’s room to rule differently. To me it just seems a bit cheesy to be able to be this selective with using the feature, but there’s nothing wrong with taking it in a different direction. In particular, ruling that you can make the choice after you know what the damage would be makes it far less complicated than what I presented above.

dnd 5e – How to deal lightning damage with a tempest domain cleric?

This is an improvement on the 1st level feature Wrath of the Storm

The Tempest Cleric’s 1st level feature, Wrath of the Storm says:

Also at 1st level, you can thunderously rebuke attackers. When a creature within 5 feet of you that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the creature to make a Dexterity saving throw. The creature takes 2d8 lightning or thunder damage (your choice) on a failed saving throw, and half as much damage on a successful one.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

The 6th level Thunderbolt Strike feature synergizes well with this feature, allowing you to deal damage and push the creature away from you with your reaction. You can even use channel divinity to make it deal 16 damage.

This can be especially useful for kiting creatures with multi attack. If a creature expends all of its movement to reach you, then hits you with its first attack, you can use your reaction to push the creature out of reach, so that it is unable to make any further attacks.

Since class features do not assume you will be given any magic items or play a certain race, it seems this is the canonical intended function of this ability.

Ask your DM if you can swap some spells on your spell list.

If you want more flexibility here, I recommend just working with your DM on swapping out some of your existing spells for more lightning damage spells. The DMG says this is okay:

Modifying a class’s spell list usually has little effect on a character’s power but can change the flavor of a class significantly. In your world, paladins might not swear their oaths to ideals, but instead swear fealty to powerful sorcerers. To capture this story concept, you could build a new paladin spell list with spells meant to protect their masters, drawn from the sorcerer or wizard lists. Suddenly, the paladin feels like a different class.

This shouldn’t make your Tempest Cleric feel like anything other than a Tempest cleric. It just gives the cleric more of what it should have had to begin with.

dnd 5e – Does a Javelin of Lightning allow a cleric to use Thunderous Strike?

To quote Naut Arch’s answer

It’s going to be up to the situation and up to the DM

There are no rules that specify who does what when it’s not a directly related cause and effect that can easily be traced back to a creature. Heck, it’s not even always cut and dry to trace back to a creature.

Because of that, the situations will matter and it will end up being a DM decision as to if the warlock is the source or something/someone else.

Personally, clearly the thrower of the Javelin is dealing damage

This specific case does not give any truly explicit indication of who/what is dealing the damage. That said, the weapon does state the following:

(…) Make a ranged weapon attack against the target. (…)

Where you, the attacker, the one using the Javelin, are making the attack. However, this is, technically, not 100% utterly and entirely explicitly stating that you are also the one dealing the damage. In fact, the same weapon later states (emphasis mine):

(…) the target takes damage from the javelin plus 4d6 lightning damage. (…)

I believe “from the Javelin” here is merely meant to convey that the target takes the regular damage as well as 4d6 lightning damage instead of just 4d6 damage, but this could still be construed as meaning the Javelin itself is dealing its normal damage and then also the 4d6 lightning damage.

The weapon’s description is not perfectly clear, but I would rule, in a heartbeat, that the one using the Javelin is dealing damage with said Javelin and thus they are the one dealing the damage. Perhaps the Javelin is also dealing the damage (after all, damage need not be caused by only one thing), but until a scenario arises where that call is required, I do not know how I would rule. I almost can’t imagine anybody even claiming the attacker isn’t the one dealing damage because it would be like arguing somebody swinging a sword isn’t dealing damage when they very much are.

What about the saving throw damage?

It is, of course, also ultimately up to the GM. That said, I would similarly, personally rule that this damage is also caused by the one attacking with the Javelin. They are the one who is dictating its path and choosing where the Javelin is sent, they have a great enough amount of agency in this scenario, they can, to me, meaningfully be said to be the causer or the damage, that I would conclude the damage can be considered to be being done by them as well.

Can a cleric "multi class" between domains? [duplicate]

I have a player asking me if there is a mechanic that would allow them to take on a second domain, much in the same way a player can multi class. My gut here is no and I am contemplating instead finding out which 2 domains they wish to combine and then forming my own homebrew deity and domain that takes aspects of each, but not everything. But is there a RAW way that a player could take on multiple domains as a cleric?

dnd 5e – Can a twilight domain cleric see colors in dim light?

The standard rules for Darkvision apply

The description of Darkvision says:

Many creatures in fantasy gaming worlds, especially those that dwell Underground, have Darkvision. Within a specified range, a creature with Darkvision can see in Darkness as if the Darkness were dim light, so areas of Darkness are only lightly obscured as far as that creature is concerned. However, the creature can’t discern color in Darkness, only Shades of Gray.

The description for the Twilight Cleric simply says you have Darkvision and doesn’t go on to modify that in any way. Darkvision doesn’t allow you to discern color.

dnd 3.5e – Prestige classes that grant domains – Effective cleric level

For a prestige class that grants domains and increases caster level for a previous class, if it grants an extra domain, what is the effective cleric level for that domain? For example, if you are a sorcerer, and you take four levels of Rainbow Servant, you gain access to the Air domain. What is your effective cleric level when you turn/rebuke Air/Earth creatures? Is it your level in Rainbow Servant only? Or is it your effective Sorcerer caster level? Or is it your total character level?

Edit: this came up when the Rainbow Servant came across a wyrmling Green dragon, and she remembered she had access to the Air domain, so she turned Air creatures. She is Sorcerer 6/Rainbow Servant 4. If the effective cleric level is 4, she can roll to turn the 5 HD Air creature. If the effective cleric level is Sorcerer Caster Level, then it is 8. If it is Sorcerer + Rainbow Servant levels, then it is 10, and in the last one, it is possible that the little dragon goes pop (I said it was 4 = Rainbow Servant level).

dnd 5e – Can a forge cleric use Artisan’s Blessing to make diamond rings?

Yes, but it can’t exceed a value of 100 gp

The Channel Divinity is fairly clear (emphasis mine):

You conduct an hour-long ritual that crafts a nonmagical item that must include some metal: a simple or martial weapon, a suit of armor, ten pieces of ammunition, a set of tools, or another metal object

The thing you create can be something that is worth no more than 100 gp. As part of this ritual, you must lay out metal, which can include coins, with a value equal to the creation.

So, a Cleric of the Forge Domain can indeed quite literally convert metal coins into diamond rings, as long as the value of the ring is lower than 100 gp. There are no official diamond jewelry of less than 100 gp of value (the Dungeon Master’s Guide lists
some types of jewelry as Art Objects in Chapter 7), so whether such a low value diamond piece can be created will be up to the GM. There is no direct precedent, but a gold ring set with bloodstones is valued at 250 gp. Bloodstones are valued previously in the chapter at 50 gp which is the lowest value diamond implicitly mentioned in any spell component list. Chromatic orb:

Components: V, S, M (a diamond worth at least 50 gp)

Presumably, a 50 gp diamond set in a material less valuable than gold (for example, silver) would satisfy the 100 gp maximum. However, whether such a ring exists is entirely speculation as there is no reference for a less than 100 gp diamond ring. So a GM is perfectly within his right to deny such a creation (not that he wouldn’t be if there were some obscure precedent).

How strong is it?

Even if you could create a cheap diamond, there are only so many spells it would work with. Presumably, the diamond would be something of lower value than 100 gp (as the ring itself is 100 gp), so we’re stuck with 8 possible spells:

  1. Chromatic orb: as mentioned, only requires a 50 gp diamond (doesn’t consume the diamond, so not really relevant for the “many diamonds” abuse)
  2. Glyph of warding (partly): requires 200 gp of incense and powdered diamond, the latter of which could probably be made up of a lot of cheap diamonds. You still need to get the pricey incense though.
  3. Greater restoration: requires 100 gp of powdered diamond (like part of glyph of warding)
  4. Nondetection: requires 25 gp of powdered diamond (like greater restoration)
  5. Stoneskin: requires 100 gp of powdered diamond (like greater restoration)
  6. Revivify: requires diamonds worth 300 gp total, so a number of cheaper ones would qualify.
  7. True Resurrection: allows multiple diamonds like revivify, but the exorbitant 25,000 gp requirement, makes many cheap diamonds seem unfeasible (besides by the time you are level 17, finding resources shouldn’t be an issue).
  8. Symbol (partly): requires an opal/diamond powder mix of 1000 gp, so the opal would have to be acquired as well.

So, for the most part, revivify is the only spell they are casting that will affect the game substantively, from my point of view (since they can make the cost up of smaller diamonds), but the rest of the time they are still paying the gold cost so abuse isn’t particularly harmful to the game.

You specifically mentioned raise dead, which would not be eligible as raise dead requires a diamond of higher value (500 gp).

In conclusion: There is really only cause for concern if you expect revivify to be abused during the game to where death becomes less of a threat than you desire in the campaign. Keep in mind that revivify has a 1 minute timer, so it isn’t the most effective resurrection spell especially if conflicts are designed to last longer than 1 minute.

dnd 5e – Does a UA Dhampir Cleric Turn Itself? What does that look like?

Dhampir have two types tags in the new Unearth Arcana, they are both humanoid and undead. There is even a nice rules reminder in D&D Beyond that points out:

If an effect works on at least one of a creature’s types, that effect can work on that creature. For example, if you are both a Humanoid and an Undead, cure wounds works on you, since the spell works on a Humanoid.

Everything so far is peachy keen. I was going to introduce an NPC that is a Dhampir Cleric, but ran across an odd edge case. If the cleric uses Channel Divinity: Turn Undead I’m not sure what happens:

Channel Divinity: Turn Undead
As an action, you present your holy symbol and speak a prayer censuring the undead. Each undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a WIS saving throw (DC 14). If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.

I know it is play test material and will have weird edge cases like this not hammered out. I also know at my table I will have to make a call if it comes up. However, as it stands, the NPC is an undead within 30 feet who can see and hear itself, so RAW would have to make the roll, right? And what would it mean if you failed it and became turned and had to move away from itself? What would that look like?

dnd 5e – When sharing the Eyes of Night darkvision, does a creature needs to always be 10 feet close to the cleric to be granted the benefits?

The Eyes of Night feature from the Twilight Domain Cleric, introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything pg. 34, grants darkvision to the cleric:

You can see through the deepest gloom. You have darkvision out to a range of 300 feet.

It also allows the cleric to share this darkvision with willing creatures:

As an action, you can magically share the darkvision of this feature with willing creatures you can see within 10 feet of you, up to a number of creatures equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of one creature). The shared darkvision lasts for 1 hour. (…)

It’s clear that the creature needs to be within 10 feet of the cleric for him to use an action to share the darkvision. But once shared, does that creature needs to be within 10 feet of the cleric to be granted the benefits of the darkvision from Eyes of Night? Since the sharing has a duration 1 hour I’m wondering what if a creature that wandered far away from the cleric would still be granted this benefit.