What's a Cleric?

Arms and eyes upraised toward the sun and a prayer on his lips, an elf begins to glow with an inner light that spills out to heal his battle-worn companions. Chanting a song of glory, a dwarf swings his axe in wide swaths to cut through the ranks of orcs arrayed against him, shouting praise to the gods with every foe's fall.

Calling down a curse upon the forces of undeath, a human lifts her holy symbol as light pours from it to drive back the zombies crowding in on her companions. Clerics are intermediaries between the mortal world and the distant planes of the gods. As varied as the gods they serve, clerics strive to embody the handiwork of their deities. No ordinary priest, a cleric is imbued with divine magic.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per level
Hit Points at 1st level: 8 + Con mod
Hit Points at Higher levels: 1d8 + Con mod per level above 1st.


Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: All simple weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two: History, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion.


  • Choose: a mace; or a warhammer (if proficient in its use)
  • Choose: scale mail; or leather armor; or chain mail (if proficient in its use)
  • Choose: a light crossbow and 20 bolts; or any simple weapon
  • Choose: a priest's pack; or an explorer's pack
  • A shield and a holy symbol

Quick Build

You can build a cleric quickly by following these suggestions. First, Wisdom should be your highest score, followed by Strength or Constitution. Second, choose the acolyte background.

Lvl Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Divine Domain 3 2
2nd +2 Channel Divinity (1/rest), Divine Domain feature 3 3
3rd +2 3 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3
5th +3 Destroy Undead (CR 1/2) 4 4 3 2
6th +3 Channel Divinity (2/rest), Divine Domain feature 4 4 3 3
7th +3 4 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement, Destroy Undead (CR 1), Divine Domain feature 4 4 3 3 2
9th +4 4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Divine Intervention 5 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 Destroy Undead (CR 2) 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Destroy Undead (CR 3) 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Destroy Undead (CR 4), Divine Domain feature 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Channel Divinity (3/rest) 5 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Divine Intervention (automatic) 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1


Cantrips: You know three cantrips from the cleric spells. You learn an additional cantrip at 4th and 10th level.

Preparing and Casting Spells: The table above shows how many spell slots you have to cast spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended slots when you finish a long rest.

You prepare the list of cleric spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the cleric spell list. When you do so, choose a number of spells equal to your Wisdom modifier + your cleric level (min. 1 spell). These must be of a level for which you have spell slots. You may change your list of prepared spells whenever you finish a long rest; doing so requires 1 minute of prayer or meditation per spell level of the chosen the spells.

Spellcasting Ability: Wisdom is your casting ability for cleric spells. Your magic is granted to your by your deity or their servants, as a reward for your devotion. When a spell refers to your spellcasting ability, you use Wisdom. In addition, you use your Wisdom to determine the save DC of any cleric spell which requires one, and when making an attack roll with one.

  • Spell save DC= 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
  • Spell attack modifier= your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Ritual Casting: You may cast any cleric spell you have prepared as a ritual if it has the ritual tag. A spell cast as a ritual takes an additional 10 minutes to cast, but does not require you to expend a spell slot.

Spellcasting Focus: You may use a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus for your spells. Every deity or religion has at least one holy symbol, and you may use any associated with your religion. They are traditionally amulets or pendants, but can also be signet rings, insignias on a shield, or even a held banner. Whatever form they take, you must be able to take hold of the object and present it towards the target(s) of your spell.

Divine Domain

Choose one of the domains listed below. Each domain has a number of associated gods, and you must worship such a deity in order to select that domain. 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 Spells

Each domain has a list of spells-its domain spells that you gain at the cleric levels noted in the domain description. Once you gain a domain spell, you always have it prepared, and it doesn't count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.

If you have a domain spell that doesn't appear on the cleric spell list, the spell is nonetheless a cleric spell for you.

Channel Divinity

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to channel divine energy directly from your deity. You start with two such effects: Turn Undead, and and effect determined by your domain. Some domains grant you additional effects as you advance in levels.

When you use your Channel Divinity, you choose which effect to create. You must finish a short or long rest to use your Channel Divinity again. Some Channel Divinity effect require saving throws. When you use such an effect granted by this class, the DC equals your cleric spell save DC.

At 6th level, you may use this feature twice between rests, and thrice at 18th level. All uses recharge when you take a short or long rest.

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 Wisdom saving throw. 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. lt 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.

Ability Score Improvement

At 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or increase two ability scores by 1 each. As usual, you cannot increase an ability score above 20 using this ability.

Alternatively, you can choose to gain a single feat of your choice. You may choose from this list, and potentially more depending on the individual campaign; ask the DM for more details.

Destroy Undead

Starting at 5th level, when an undead fails its saving throw against your Turn Undead feature, the creature is instantly destroyed if its challenge rating is at or below a certain threshold, as shown on the table below.

Cleric Level CR
5th 1/2
8th 1
11th 2
14th 3
17th 4

Divine Intervention

Beginning at 10th level, you can call on your deity to intervene on your behalf when your need is great. Imploring your deity's aid requires you to use your action. Describe the assistance you seek, and roll percentile dice. If you roll a number equal to or lower than your cleric level, your deity intervenes. The DM chooses the nature of the intervention; the effect of any cleric spell or cleric domain spell would be appropriate. If your deity intervenes, you can't use this feature again for 7 days. Otherwise, you can use it again after you finish a long rest.

At 20th level, your call for intervention succeeds automatically, no roll required.

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