All the Cleric Subclasses in Dungeons and Dragons

An original character design for Dungeons and Dragons, half-elven female cleric with white hair wielding a staff.

Image Credit: Cashile on Deviant Art.

Known primarily as the healer of D&D, the cleric has many flavors of subclasses to choose from.

With 14 domains, you can customize your cleric to fit your party’s needs, as well as whatever vision you have for your character.

Here are all the cleric subclasses in Dungeons and Dragons.

 

 

Arcana Domain

The Arcana domain merges the cool spells from the wizard class with the abilities of a cleric. This subclass allows clerics limited access to wizard spells, giving them more damage-dealing capabilities so that the cleric can do more than healing in battle.

With higher levels, the Arcana domain cleric can also learn additional spells for versatility from the wizard’s spell list.

 

Lizardfolk cleric casting magic spell while wearing armor, artistic Dungeons and Dragon portrayal.
Image Credit: ThemeFinland on Deviant Art.

Death Domain

The Death domain gives clerics the ability to use martial weapons like longbows, greatswords, or other interesting options.

However, this cleric subclass focuses almost completely on damage, and not as much on the types of advantages and buffs many players look to clerics to provide.

Your ability to deal necrotic damage increases significantly, making you something akin to a grim reaper as you level up.

 

Forge Domain

The Forge domain helps a cleric become a defender by letting them use heavy armor, as well as orienting their spells towards making weapons and armor.

One of their primary abilities lets you enchant a weapon or suit of armor, thereby making it stronger.

The Forge domain allows a cleric to stay useful by fighting with weapons, even after running out of spells for the day.

 

Grave Domain

The Grave domain has one of the strongest buffs in the game: Path to the Grave.

A cleric can enable an enemy to take double damage from the next attack, which makes it great to use right before a rogue or paladin who will destroy the foe.

This subclass strikes an even balance between healing and doing damage in a fight, however, so their magic is the primary ability.

 

Knowledge Domain

Although clerics don’t tend to put their highest ability scores in Intelligence, the Knowledge domain lets clerics be extra good at a couple of useful skills in the game.

Their spell list may not be fantastic, but their ability to temporarily gain proficiency for 10 minutes once a day can be very handy in a pinch.

 

A dwarven cleric under one of the subclasses, Forge, armored with an axe and shield, female.
Image Credit: BobKehl on Deviant Art.

Life Domain

The Life domain cleric is the ultimate healer.

Clerics are members of a class that does the most healing in Dungeons & Dragons.  Therefore, if you want to maximize your healing, this is the subclass for you.

Nearly all of the abilities and spells are oriented towards maximizing the amount of healing you can do, both on and off the battlefield.

 

Light Domain

Clerics specialize in radiant damage from light spells, but the Light domain gives them additional fire spells to really enhance the flavor and the damage.

The Light domain is recommended for many new Dungeons and Dragons players who want to be clerics, since it lets you be both a healer and a striker on the battlefield—with pure light as your guide.

 

Nature Domain

The Nature domain allows your cleric to have a nice, outdoorsy flavor and use animal allies in battle.

Unfortunately, the Nature domain doesn’t offer much against the majority of monsters you are liable to meet throughout the game. It’s a difficult subclass to utilize if you want something that can do a lot of damage.

It might still be fun to play, however, depending on your game.

 

Order Domain

This domain is perfect for clerics who worship a god or goddess involved in the law.

They have some powerful abilities to let their allies get the upper hand in battle, either by making extra attacks or enhancing their natural abilities.

 

Peace Domain

This might be the best subclass available for clerics. The Emboldening Bond ability lets your allies add a bonus whenever they make attack rolls, saving throws, or ability checks. However, it also stacks with other enhancements like the spell Bless.

Basically, at higher levels with this domain, you can ensure that your allies almost never miss a shot or fail a saving throw.

 

Original Dungeons and Dragons character design of elven cleric wielding magic in one hand and a shield in the other with blue skin and white hair, in an armored dress.
Image Credit: ABD-illustrates on Deviant Art.

Tempest Domain

Like the Nature domain, Tempest domain lets a player live the best parts of being a druid, while being a cleric.

It’s not clear why someone would want to play a cleric in this case, since druid is a very valid option, but the Tempest domain is there for those who want it.

Additionally, you get some great area of effect spells, so you can take care of crowds in a flash.

 

Trickery Domain

With Blessing of the Trickster, you can help the people in your party sneak around, but your main class benefits come from a spectacular spell list and Invoke Duplicity.

Invoke Duplicity lets you summon an illusion that looks and sounds like you. During battle, your Duplicate can also cast spells.  This is quite useful if you want to stay out of danger.

 

Twilight Domain

The Twilight domain is great for clerics who want to be stealthy, yet still take front-of-the-line duties.

They can lend their allies darkvision, which is awesome if you’re in a party with a bunch of humans who can’t see in the dark.

What’s more, they can give advantage to themselves or their allies on initiative rolls, so that you can ensure someone in your party goes first in a fight.

 

War Domain

The War domain is a complicated one, since it mainly relies on you giving buffs to your allies.  This ensures they can hit more reliably during battle.

However, this domain is most useful on the battlefield.  The rest of your time—when you and your allies aren’t fighting—the War domain proves somewhat useless.

 

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The subclasses specialize your cleric, and make yours stand out amongst the rest of the clerics in your party.  No matter which you choose, you’ll find pros and cons—but, always, a unique character experience sure to enhance gameplay.

For more D&D recommendations, check out the best feats in the game, every class, or this complete beginner’s guide for newcomers.