Hey guys, I made a Death Domain for Clerics

I needed to make a death domain for a cleric in my campaign and this is what I came up with. Hopefully other people can have some fun with it. Let me know what you think!

 

Death

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Clerics of this domain worship gods of death, decay, and disease. Some are evil clerics that wish to bend the forces of nature to their wills, others consider themselves executioners, dealing death to those they feel unfit to live, while others still worship death as an essential force of nature, and serve as porters to the afterlife. Clerics of this domain are usually neutral or one of the evil alignments.

 

 

Gods and Tenets

 

Examples of the gods of this domain include Hades of the Olympian pantheon; Anubis of the Pharaonic pantheon; Hel of the Asgardian pantheon; Yurtrus of the FORGOTTEN REALMS, and Nerull of GREYHAWK.

The gods of death attract a variety of followers. You might be a harbinger of doom, offering up the souls of the living as prayers to your god. Or you might be an undead priest with the desire to spread pestilence and decay across the lands. Whatever your connection to death, you strike fear into the hearts of living beings wherever you go.

 

 

Domain Spells

 

Cleric Level    Spell

1    Curse [See Below], Inflict Wounds

3    Ray of Enfeeblement, Spiritual Weapon [Modified]

5    Animate Dead, Speak with Dead

7    Blight, Guardian of Faith [Modified]

9    Insect Plague, Raise Dead

11    Harm

13    Destruction

 

 

 

Bonus Spells

 

You gain the Chill Touch cantrip if you don’t already have it. You also gain extra domain spells at levels 11, and 13, as shown in your Domain Spells table.

 

 

Disciple of Death

 

Whenever you deal necrotic damage to an enemy with a spell, the creatures takes additional damage equal to 2 + the spells level. The spell must be at least 1st level.

 

 

Channel Divinity: Aura of Pestilence

 

Starting at 2nd Level, you can use your Channel Divinity to emanate death and decay.

As an action, you present your holy symbol to activate an aura of pestilent energy that lasts for 1 minute or until you dismiss it using another action. Any organic matter in a 25-foot radius of you begins to rot and decompose. Living creatures of your choice within the area of effect must make a Constitution saving throw. A creature takes necrotic damage equal to 2d8 + your cleric level on a failed saving throw and half as much damage on a successful one. Additionaly, living creatures of your choice that end their turn within 25 feet of you on subsequent turns must make a constitution saving throw and take necrotic damage equal to 1d8 + your cleric level on a failed save and half as much on a successful one.

 

 

Touch of Death

 

At 20th level, when you score a critical hit with a weapon against a creature, you can attempt to drain its life force. If the creature has 100 hitpoints or fewer, it must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (DC 10 + your Wisdom modifier + your proficiency bonus) or it dies.

 

 

Notes:

 

  • Channel Divinity: Evil Clerics and some neutral Clerics get Rebuke Undead instead of Turn Undead, awe-ing or controlling them instead of driving off or destroying.
  • Spiritual Weapon: The weapon created by this spell for Death Clerics is typically a sickle or scythe.
  • Guardian of Faith: Your spectral guardian appears as a dark hooded figure wielding a large scythe.
  • Weapons: Death clerics often use sickles, scythes, or executioner's axes (great axes or battle axes, if they have the Great Weapon Master feat). The sythe is a simple melee weapon, 1d6 slashing, heavy, reach, two-handed.

Curse

1st-level enchantment

 

Casting Time: 1 action

 

Range: 25 feet

Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes


Choose any number of creatures within range that are not already affected by this spell. Whenever a target makes an attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, your curse forces them to subtract a d4 from the result. Any creatures under the effects of both a Curse and Bless spell has both effects cancelled out.

Neat. Thanks.

I like it a lot.  I've got one question and a couple suggestions for you to consider.

 

Are you allowing the death cleric to control undead instead of turn them as another option for their channel divinity?

 

For the 20th level ability, I'd consider maximizing any necrotic damage dealt instead of killing creatures with 100 HP or less, but in some ways, those may be nearly equivalent at 20th level.

 

I'd also grant proficiency with a scythe since you are going with that theme.  I'd probably make it a heavy, 2-handed weapon, 1d8 or 1d10 slashing damage.

+1

 
good stuff
 
But, I'd put animate dead at a lower level, like 3rd (caster level). Kind of sucks to play a caster focused on a certain area and it doesn't come online until 5th. Although, it's also the same level when fighters get their 2nd attack, so yeah, it does make sense from that pov too.

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Pelinor wrote:

I like it a lot.  I've got one question and a couple suggestions for you to consider.

 

Are you allowing the death cleric to control undead instead of turn them as another option for their channel divinity?

 

For the 20th level ability, I'd consider maximizing any necrotic damage dealt instead of killing creatures with 100 HP or less, but in some ways, those may be nearly equivalent at 20th level.

 

I'd also grant proficiency with a scythe since you are going with that theme.  I'd probably make it a heavy, 2-handed weapon, 1d8 or 1d10 slashing damage.

 

Great suggestions, channel divinity definitely dominates undead, I will add it to the notes. I thought about maxing necrotic damage, but I think this idea might be a bit more fun and add interesting flavor.
I think there should be a sythe in the equipment section simply because I feel like so many people enjoy the flavor, but I'm not sure if I should give this cleric weapon proficiencies, or if I will leave it up to them to take the Great Weapon Master feat and choose to wield a Sythe or a Great Axe (executioner). Although the sythe should probably just be a simple weapon anyway because it's a farming implement.

Gornichex wrote:

+1

 
good stuff
 
But, I'd put animate dead at a lower level, like 3rd (caster level). Kind of sucks to play a caster focused on a certain area and it doesn't come online until 5th. Although, it's also the same level when fighters get their 2nd attack, so yeah, it does make sense from that pov too.



Thanks! Animate Dead is a third level spell, and Clerics don't get third level spells until level 5. The domain spells are spells that the Cleric always has prepared, so a third level Cleric would not have access to Animate Dead, that's why it's at level 5.

gojirra wrote:

 

Pelinor wrote:

I like it a lot.  I've got one question and a couple suggestions for you to consider.

 

Are you allowing the death cleric to control undead instead of turn them as another option for their channel divinity?

 

For the 20th level ability, I'd consider maximizing any necrotic damage dealt instead of killing creatures with 100 HP or less, but in some ways, those may be nearly equivalent at 20th level.

 

I'd also grant proficiency with a scythe since you are going with that theme.  I'd probably make it a heavy, 2-handed weapon, 1d8 or 1d10 slashing damage.

 

 

Great suggestions, channel divinity definitely dominates undead, I will add it to the notes. I thought about maxing necrotic damage, but I think this idea might be a bit more fun and add interesting flavor.
I think there should be a sythe in the equipment section simply because I feel like so many people enjoy the flavor, but I'm not sure if I should give this cleric weapon proficiencies, or if I will leave it up to them to take the Great Weapon Master feat and choose to wield a Sythe or a Great Axe (executioner). Although the sythe should probably just be a simple weapon anyway because it's a farming implement.

 

I agree a scythe whould be a simple weapon as well due to its origins.  I actually meant to put that in but forgot.  

 

Scythe or Great Axe!  Man, with that simple statement you've got me thinking about two types of "death" gods and their associated clerics.  There is the neutral god of death who takes on the natural aspect of death and then there is the evil god of death who seeks to bring about death to as many people as he can (executioner).  Those could be two very different gods and player experiences.  

 

Regardless, I've always felt that if a god has a weapon as part of its symbol or mythos, clerics would receive training in them and shouldn't be forced to take a feat to have to use their church's weapon of choice. 

Pelinor wrote:

Scythe or Great Axe!  Man, with that simple statement you've got me thinking about two types of "death" gods and their associated clerics.  There is the neutral god of death who takes on the natural aspect of death and then there is the evil god of death who seeks to bring about death to as many people as he can (executioner).  Those could be two very different gods and player experiences.  

 

Regardless, I've always felt that if a god has a weapon as part of its symbol or mythos, clerics would receive training in them and shouldn't be forced to take a feat to have to use their church's weapon of choice. 

 

Yes! This is exactly what I was going for with the death cleric. There are many options, some might worship the occurance of death itself and seek to deliver it to as many as possible, and those who worship the natural order of the world, etc.

I agree with you on being trained in the weapon of your god, but I think it's hard from a balance perspective, because Great Axe is so much better than any two-handed simple weaon. The War Cleric having profeciency in all martial weapons and heavy armor is a big feature, so instead of doing that I did extra spells. I'm not sure and there are good arguments on both sides. Personally as the DM I would give options to my players that best support the roleplaying aspects they are going for and not worry too much about balance.

gojirra wrote:

 

Pelinor wrote:

Scythe or Great Axe!  Man, with that simple statement you've got me thinking about two types of "death" gods and their associated clerics.  There is the neutral god of death who takes on the natural aspect of death and then there is the evil god of death who seeks to bring about death to as many people as he can (executioner).  Those could be two very different gods and player experiences.  

 

Regardless, I've always felt that if a god has a weapon as part of its symbol or mythos, clerics would receive training in them and shouldn't be forced to take a feat to have to use their church's weapon of choice. 

 

 

Yes! This is exactly what I was going for with the death cleric. There are many options, some might worship the occurance of death itself and seek to deliver it to as many as possible, and those who worship the natural order of the world, etc.

I agree with you on being trained in the weapon of your god, but I think it's hard from a balance perspective, because Great Axe is so much better than any two-handed simple weaon. The War Cleric having profeciency in all martial weapons and heavy armor is a big feature, so instead of doing that I did extra spells. I'm not sure and there are good arguments on both sides. Personally as the DM I would give options to my players that best support the roleplaying aspects they are going for and not worry too much about balance.

 

Understood.  That is mostly how I approach things as well.  Plus, if something is glaringly unbalanced, reasonable players will agree to dial things back a bit anyway.  Sounds fun and may add it to my packets as well.  Seems like a perfect enemy cleric addition to use against my players

I like it! However to me it seems a little unfocused.

 

Is this a cleric of Death that strives to advance Death in all things? Whether that be a Good cleric who we might imagine working in a hospice to ease people into the afterlife, or an Evil cleric who's primary goal in life is to kill all life? Because if both of those are endpoints to the same Cleric then anything undead (abominations) or any spell that reverses the force of death (Raise Dead, any Healing) would be the antithesis of these Clerics!

 

Curse is nice. You'll catch hell for not giving the character some sort of save against it's negative effect, but it is written as an exact opposite of Bless! (Bless doesn't need one because why would a character NOT want a bonus?)

 

I'd drop the 11 and 13th level Domain spells. Raise Dead is out, that just makes your job harder! Rework the domain spells to support a Good to Evil Cleric alignment. A hospice worker (highly valued by the nobility!) isn't going to want or need most of those spells.

 

Change Aura of Pestilence so that it has no ongoing effects. None of the CD's have an ongoing effect other than the base Turn and that just makes them continue to move away from the cleric. This cleric really wouldn't want that, so... 

 

Add Superior Turn Undead that focuses on the flat out destruction of the abominations as an additional Channel Divinity.

 

Overall I'd suggest taking that Good to Evil viewpoint when reworking the subclass. Right now it seems really focused on being Evil.

 

"Death is something that all living things must succumb too. If I can make that happen with less fear or misunderstandings then it is my honor, and duty, to do so."

 

Or rebrand this as a Cleric of Entropy/Destruction and stop being so willy nilly with the Evil. 

 

Just thinking out loud here, so thanks for posting this and thanks for listening!

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Is this a cleric of Death that strives to advance Death in all things? Whether that be a Good cleric who we might imagine working in a hospice to ease people into the afterlife, or an Evil cleric who's primary goal in life is to kill all life? Because if both of those are endpoints to the same Cleric then anything undead (abominations) or any spell that reverses the force of death (Raise Dead, any Healing) would be the antithesis of these Clerics!

 

I think it is very obvious that this is a domain for neutral or evil clerics only, It even states that in the description. This domain is about the mastery and control of death, I think you are confusing it with a nature type domain which is about the cylce of life. Undead creatures are a mockery of life and a demonstration of power over death, therefore I think necromancy spells make perfect sense for a Cleric of the Death domain.

 

The beauty of D&D is that you can adapt the rules to however you want to play. If one of my players wanted to make some kind of hospice type cleric as you describe based on this domain then I would totally let them modify it, but as it stands that is not really what this domain is about.


Curse is nice. You'll catch hell for not giving the character some sort of save against it's negative effect, but it is written as an exact opposite of Bless! (Bless doesn't need one because why would a character NOT want a bonus?)


Yeah I should probably add some kind of save.


Change Aura of Pestilence so that it has no ongoing effects. None of the CD's have an ongoing effect other than the base Turn and that just makes them continue to move away from the cleric. This cleric really wouldn't want that, so... 



It doesn't matter that the other CD's don't have an ongoing effect, this is what makes this one unique and interesting. It would be boring if they all did the same thing. Are you saying enemies would want to move away from the Cleric? I think that is definitely something all players want from time to time. I think this CD is a great strategic tool. You can use it to make enemies flee, kill lower HP enemies, you can use it when enemies can not escape from you, or you can use it when you and your party are in a tight formation and enemies have the choice of taking nectrotic damage from you or disengaging from your allies.

You should try and find a copy of the 2E  Complete Book of Necromancers Lot of great refs in there.

 

Some death cleric hooks:

 

Executioner

Reference: book of the new sun.

This person is a traveling headsman. Small villages may not the wherewithal to deal with a serious crime so they request the headsman to come, investigate the crime if neccessary, pass judgement, and then administer the King's justice.  The executioner is also required to be proficient in multiple kinds of execution styles relevant to the punishmen, and be proficient in the appropriate burial rites,

Weapon: Two Handed Weighted sword, Headman's axe, Man Catcher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_catcher  - these are esoteric weapons not made for sustained hand to hand combat and would definitely require proficiency to use them as combat weapons.

 

Silent Sisters

Reference: Game of Thrones. The silent sisters administer last rites to the dead.Tthey receive the bodies of the deceased and prepare them for a quiescent burial and a pleasant journey in the afterlife. They will clean up after big battles, treat the infected, and remove rotting corpses during the plague.

 

Both of these roles are pretty neutral, but I think most clerics of death are going to suffer from  being a non-caste or outcasts.

 

Quick Summary of some necromancer's book stuff

 

Secret societies

The Scaborous Society  - Cult group that worship the god of pestilence - neutral members would act like silent sisters, retrieve bodies, treat the sick in places that are quaranitened. 
(off the top of my head, leperosy might make an interesting case in point where doctors were aware that they couldn't be infected, but the public treated them as outcasts, so a group like this would serve as intermediaries)

The bad members would, of course, be attempting to find ways to spread plague.

 

The Cult of Worms

Worships a Demigod of Death and a necromancer lich king - working on freeing her. 


The Anotomical Academy 

"Since the mutilation of corpses is regarded as anathema in many civilizations, this secret organization exists to spread the detailed knowledge of the human body and to provide its members with fresh cadavers on which to practice".

PoniesNSunshine wrote:
You should try and find a copy of the 2E necromancers handbook. lot of great refs in there. some death cleric hooks: executioner. reference: book of the new sun. this person is a traveling headsman. small villages may not the wherewithal to deal with a crime so they request the headsman to come, investigate the crime if neccessary, and then administer the kings justice. weapon: two handed weighted sword, headman's axe. Silent Sisters reference: game of thrones. The silent sisters administer last rites to the dead. they receive the bodies of the deceased and prepare them for a quiescent burial and a pleasant journey in the afterlife. they will clean up after big battles, and remove corpses during the plague. Both of these roles are pretty neutral,but i think most clerics of death are going to suffer from r being an outcast. l


Awesome, these are great examples.

gojirra wrote:
I think it is very obvious that this is a domain for neutral or evil clerics only, It even states that in the description. This domain is about the mastery and control of death, I think you are confusing it with a nature type domain which is about the cylce of life. Undead creatures are a mockery of life and a demonstration of power over death, therefore I think necromancy spells make perfect sense for a Cleric of the Death domain.
Then you shouldn't use Kelemvor as an example deity. He is all about accepting and servering death. His clergy is tasked with hunting down and destroying all undead as they are an affront to death that they are and do likewise to anyone creating them.

Mirtek wrote:

 

gojirra wrote:
I think it is very obvious that this is a domain for neutral or evil clerics only, It even states that in the description. This domain is about the mastery and control of death, I think you are confusing it with a nature type domain which is about the cylce of life. Undead creatures are a mockery of life and a demonstration of power over death, therefore I think necromancy spells make perfect sense for a Cleric of the Death domain.

Then you shouldn't use Kelemvor as an example deity. He is all about accepting and servering death. His clergy is tasked with hunting down and destroying all undead as they are an affront to death that they are and do likewise to anyone creating them.



I see thanks. I was not aware of that, I just simply looked up "death dieties." I will change it.