Clerics master exciting new domains in the latest Unearthed Arcana…
Time to polish up your holy symbol and get ready to Channel some Divinity, because Clerics are getting three new Divine Domains in this week’s Unearthed Arcana: the Forge, the Grave, and Protection.
- The gods of the forge are patrons of artisans who work with metal, from a humble blacksmith who keeps a village in horseshoes and plow blades to the mighty elf artisan whose diamond-tipped arrows of mithral have felled demon lords.
- Gods of the grave watch over the line between life and death. To these deities, death and the afterlife are a foundational part of the multiverse’s workings. To resist death, or to desecrate the dead’s rest, is an abomination.
- The protection domain is the purview of deities who charge their followers to shield the weak from the strong. The gods’ faithful dwell in villages and towns on the borderlands, where they help bolster defenses and seek out evils to defeat.
Each of these domains is a fully fleshed out character path that your cleric can put to good use. Let’s see what they’re all about.
The Forge domain adds a good deal of utility to the Cleric, granting access to some powerful offensive and defensive spells like searing smite, shield, protection from energy, and wall of fire; as well as some thematically appropriate (and also good) noncombat spells like fabricate and creation.
The features granted by this domain tend to skew a little more defensive–the level 6 feature gives you a bonus to AC and fire resistance while in heavy armor, which turns into immunity to fire and resistance to nonmagical damage at 17th. Fire, unsurprisingly, is a central theme for this domain. Its Channel Divinity is a little underwhelming compared to the rest of the class–you can create a nonmagical item of up to 100gp, but only if you have materials of equivalent value–but all in all, this seems like a solid choice.
Life and Death (mostly death) reign supreme in this domain. All the classic necromancy spells are on display here: vampiric touch, blight, raise dead. So you get a little extra offensive punch (as well as some survivability).
The rest of the domain gives you some very flavorful utility in and out of combat: you can sense undead, cancel crits, heal your dying allies more effectively, and at 17th you can steal some HP every time an enemy dies. But the real star here is the Channel Divinity: pick a creature–they are vulnerable to the next attack. So, double damage. OR, if the enemy has resistance or immunity, you strip it away and it takes normal damage. That’s insanely good. There is never a situation where you wouldn’t want that.
The Protection domain, as you might expect, is all about protection. If you want to soak up enemy attacks and not care, this is the domain for you. With spells like compelled duel and slow, you’ll be sure to keep an enemy’s attention, while getting a little more battlefield control with wall of force and otliuke’s resilient sphere.
The other features of the domain make you into a defensive fighter who belongs right up there on the front line with the fighter and the Paladin. You can give an enemy disadvantage when they attack your (adjacent) friends, cause an enemy to take damage when they hit you, and starting at 6th, healing others heals yourself (for a lesser amount).
That’s just a quick look at the new Divine Domains, up for playtest now at Wizards. Try them out, your feedback matters here. And from what I can tell, it looks like this is what they’ll be working on for a while.
Could they be gearing up for a new player’s handbook or the like? It sure seems that way–especially since the Sage Advice column is going on hold, temporarily. But though the column is in stasis, the Sage lives on, as Jeremy Crawford will continue to provide official rules answers on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford), as well as in the new Sage Advice segment in the Dragon Talk podcast.
Either way, be on the lookout for a Cleric survey next week, along with a look at Druids.
Have you given any of these new options a shot? What new options are you hoping to see for upcoming classes? Let us know in the comments!