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D&D 5.5E: The New Cleric is Divinely Inspired

4 Minute Read
Jul 10 2024

D&D 5.5E’s new Cleric is full of divine magic and improvements that make it still one of the strongest classes in D&D.

Clerics have always been one of the more powerful classes in D&D. It stands to reason, since they’re also one of the more necessary elements of the game. Capable of casting powerful spells that can heal and harm, as well as wielding weapons and armor like more sturdy classes, Clerics are a beacon of fantasy might.

Their tie to one of D&D’s many gods gives them a story element built right in that’s easy for layers to latch on to. That same position of power is still true in 5.5E, where the Cleric has been leveled up.

5.5E Cleric – More Divinity, More Channel

Alright. One of the biggest changes to Clerics we see was one previewed in the Playtest Packet. Divine Order is back, this is a feature that gives you the option of choosing whether you want Heavy Armor and Martial Weapon proficiencies, or whether you want to focus on sells, gaining an extra cantrip and your wisdom modifier getting to add to some skills.

Either way, Clerics are beefed up from the beginning. And then at 2nd Level, Channel Divinity has been reworked. Turn Undead no longer scatters the undead to the five winds but rather incapacitates and frightens those undead affected by it. Or, if you’re not dealing with undead, you can simply do damage or heal your friends with the “Divine Spark” option now available to every Cleric.

At level 5, it gets even more powerful with “Sear Undead,” which now just does extra radiant damage to undead creatures you turn, destroying them in a traditional way instead of based on CR. At Level 7, Clerics gain Blessed Strikes, which either gives you a bonus to melee attack damage or a bonus to spellcasting damage.

But perhaps most importantly, Divine Intervention has been reworked. It is now no longer a “you maybe get your god to do something, maybe” ability, but instead, once per day, you can cast any Cleric spell of level 5 or lower (as long as it isn’t a reaction spell), and you can cast it. Whether you have that spell prepared or not, whether you have the spell slots or material components or whatever.

Yes, this means you can raise someone from the dead without having to spend a diamond to do so. At Level 20, your Divine Intervention stops being a “limited wish” and now just lets you cast the wish spell.

Cleric Subclasses – Divine Inspiration

Life Domain leads the charge of the new 5.5E Cleric Subclasses. And with good reason. It’s the “default” Cleric. This is the one that’s all about healing, and it mostly works the way it used to, but with a few tweaks to keep it in line with the new edition.

Light Domain Clerics, on the other hand, got a lot of revision. They still have firebal and scorching ray and the like, but they also now get scrying and other divination spells, meant to reflect “divine illumination”. And things like Warding Flare got improved, so it can work on you or someone else as soon as you get it. Improved Warding Flare also gives your target temporary hit points once you hit 6th level, and at higher levels, Corona of Light imposes disadvantage on saving throws against fire and radiant spells.


The Trickery Domain Cleric got a few fixes. Namely, Blessing of the Trickster can work on the Cleric now. And Invoke Duplicity works as a bonus action and no longer needs your concentration to maintain it, so you can cast other spells while your illusory double is running around, taunting Rangers who are still concentrating on Hunter’s Mark.

And War Domain, the last of the 5.5E PHB Subclasses, has seen few major changes, notably to the Channel Divinity option, which lets you just cast Spiritual Weapon or Shield of Faith for free at level 6, while their other features have seen “minor improvements” all around.

All this in the coming 5.5E Player’s Handbook, due out September 17th!

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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