Archivist Domain | Cleric Subclass for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (with Design Notes)

Continuing the archivist series (just finished up the Bard subclass), I’m now moving on to the Cleric, which in many ways, seems like the most obvious choice for the Archivist subclass.

Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by
final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Design Notes

Here is a quick rundown of how Cleric Domains work.

Cleric Domains offer features at 1st, 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 17th levels.

You also get Domain Spells, specific spells earned at 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th.

1st Level Domain Features

There is a pretty clear pattern to most 1st level domain features. If the domain is for a martial character, then it gets proficiencies with heavy armor and possibly martial weapons. Otherwise, it gets a secondary ability. Also, many of the 1st level domain features offer powers limited by your Wisdom modifier, a la Bardic Inspiration uses.

Bonus Proficiencies (Death, Tempest, and War). You gain proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor.

Reaper (Death). You learn one extra necromancy cantrip from any spell list. You can target two targets with necromancy cantrips.

Bonus Proficiencies (Forge). You gain proficiency with heavy armor and smith’s tools.

Blessing of the Forge (Forge). You can imbue a suit of armor or simple or martial weapon with a magic bonus. Usable once per day.

Circle of Mortality (Grave). When you heal a creature at 0 hit points, you use the highest possible roll. And you know spare the dying cantrip. Its range is 30 feet and you can cast it as a bonus action.

Eyes of the Grave (Grave). You can detect undead with 60 feet of you. Usable a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom score.

Blessings of Knowledge (Knowledge). You learn two languages and you become proficient in two knowledge skills. And you get expertise in those two skills.

Bonus Proficiencies (Life and Nature). You gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Disciple of Life (Life). Your healing spells are more potent.

Bonus Cantrip (Light). You gain the light cantrip.

Warding Flare (Light). You can use your reaction to impose a disadvantage. Usable a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom score.

Acolyte of Nature (Nature). You learn one druid cantrip. And you gain proficiency with a druid-style skill.

Wrath of the Storm (Tempest). You can use your reaction to deal 2d8 damage (Dex save) after you are hit. Usable a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom score.

Blessing of the Trickster (Trickery). You can give another creature advantage on Dexterity (Stealth). It lasts 1 hour or until you use it again.

War Priest (War). When you use your attack, you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action. Usable a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom score.

2nd Level Domain Features (Channel Divinity)

2nd level domain features all offer secondary powers for Channel Divinity (in addition to turn/destroy undead). Depending on the domain, these effects can be offensive, defensive, or utility.

Touch of Death (Death). Use Channel Divinity to deal extra necrotic damage equal to 5 plus twice your cleric level.

Path to the Grave (Grave). Use Channel Divinity to make a target vulnerable to an ally’s attacks.

Artisan’s Blessing (Forge). Use Channel Divinity to create a simple object worth no more than 100 gp.

Knowledge of the Ages (Knowledge). Use Channel Divinity to give yourself proficiency with one skill or tool.

Preserve Life (Life). Use Channel Divinity to heal up to five times your cleric level on multiple creatures except yourself.

Radiance of the Dawn (Light). Use Channel Divinity to dispel magical darkness and deal 2d10 + cleric level radiance damage (Con save for half).

Charm Animals and Plants (Nature). Beasts and plants make Wisdom saving throws or charmed for 1 minute.

Destructive Wrath (Tempest). Use your Channel Divinity to deal maximum thunder or lightning damage.

Invoke Duplicity (Trickery). Use your Channel Divinity to create a duplicate of yourself for 1 minute.

Guided Strike (War). Use your Channel Divinity to gain +10 bonus to an attack roll.

6th Level Domain Features

There are a few trends for 6th level domain features. First, many domains offer up new uses for Channel Divinity. Other domains offer extended uses of your personal features such as Light’s and War’s. The others augment existing abilities.

Inescapable Destruction (Death). Your spells and Channel Divinity options ignore resistance to necrotic damage.

Soul of the Forge (Forge). You have resistance to fire damage and while wearing heavy armor, you gain +1 bonus to AC.

Sentinel at Death’s Door (Grave). You can turn critical hits within 30 feet of you into normal hits. This feature is usable a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom modifier.

Channel Divinity: Read Thoughts (Knowledge). You can use Channel Divinity to read a creature’s thoughts.

Blessed Healer (Life). When you cast healing spells, you regain hit points equal to 2 + the spell level.

Improved Flare (Light). You can use your warding flare when another creature is attacked.

Dampen Elements (Nature). You can use your reaction to grant resistance to the creature against acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder damage.

Thunderbolt Strike (Tempest). When you deal lightning damage you can also push it 10 feet away.

Channel Divinity: Cloak of Shadows (Trickery). You can use your Channel Divinity to become invisible until the end of your next turn.

Channel Divinity: War God’s Blessing (War). You can use your Channel Divinity to give a creature near you a +10 bonus to the roll.

8th Level Domain Features

There are only two types of features at 8th level: divine strike and potent spellcasting. This is where there is a clear division seen between martial clerics and caster clerics. Martial clerics receive armor proficiencies at first level and divine strike at 8th. On the other hand, caster clerics do not receive armor proficiencies, however, they can add their Wisdom modifier to their spells at 8th level.

Divine Strike (Death, Forge, Life, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, War). You deal 1d8 extra damage based on your domain type once each turn. For example, death deals necrotic damage. The bonus damage goes up to 2d8 at 14th level.

Potent Spellcasting (Grave, Knowledge, Light). You add your Wisdom modifier to damage you deal with cleric cantrips.

17th Level Domain Features

17th level is tier four, so the features you gain at that level are especially potent. A few of them (Death and Trickery) are simply improved versions of earlier domain features. But all are extremely powerful and either add significant effective hit points (Forge and War) or crank up the damage output.

Improved Reaper (Death). When you cast a necromancy spell of 1st through 5th, you can instead target two creatures within range and within 5 feet.

Saint of Forge and Fire (Forge). You are immune to fire and you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks when wearing heavy armor.

Keeper of Souls (Forge). When a creature dies within 60 feet of you or another creature regain hit points equal to the enemy’s hit dice. Usable once per turn.

Visions of the Past (Knowledge). You can hold an object and learn things from the object or the area it came from.

Supreme Healing (Life). You use the highest possible number for healing dice.

Corona of Light (Light). You emit bright light that gives your enemies disadvantage on saving throws against fire and radiant damage spells.

Master of Nature (Nature). You can command charmed animals and plants.

Stormborn (Tempest). You can fly outdoors.

Improved Duplicity (Trickery). You can create four duplicates of yourself.

Avatar of Battle (War). You gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons.

Recreating the Archivist with Cleric Domains

The Archivist is a Heroes of Horror class that’s more or less a cleric that can use Intelligence to cast magic. It has a Dark Lore power that lets it determine monster weaknesses.

This is definitely a caster cleric domain, so that means it’ll get potent spellcasting and no bonuses. Also, it will be primarily concerned with buffing the party against certain creature types. Finally, it will have some similarities to Knowledge domain but a little more useful for combat purposes.

Divine Domains

At 1st level, a cleric gains the Divine Domain feature. The following domain options are available to a cleric, in addition to those normally offered.

Archive Domain

Archivists seek out esoteric sources of divine lore, wherever those sources might be, securing those secrets for themselves and their fellow scholars.

Archive Domain Features

Cleric Level Feature
1st Lore Specialization
2nd Channel Divinity: Dark Lore Tactics
6th Channel Divinity: Dark Lore Foe
8th Potent Spellcasting
17th Foreknowledge

Domain Spells

You gain domain spells at the cleric levels listed in the Archive Domain Spells table. See the Divine Domain class feature for how domain spells work.

Archive Domain Spells

Cleric Level Spells
1st bane, faerie fire
3rd enthrall, moonbeam
5th bestow curse, magic circle
7th banishment, locate creature
9th hold monster, planar binding

Lore Specialization

At 1st level, choose one of the following types of knowledge. Each knowledge type grants you special abilities and monster types that you have specialized in fighting against.

  • Arcana. You learn Draconic and Deep Speech. You also become proficient with Arcana and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses that skill. In addition, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight and Survival) checks when dealing with aberrations, dragons, monstrosities, and oozes.
  • History. You learn two languages of your choice. You also become proficient with History and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses that skill. In addition, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight and Survival) checks when dealing with humanoids and giants.
  • Nature. You learn Elvish and Sylvan. You also become proficient with Nature and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses that skill. In addition, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight and Survival) checks when dealing with beasts, fey, and plants.
  • Religion. You learn Abyssal and Infernal. You also become proficient with Religion and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses that skill. In addition, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight and Survival) checks when dealing with celestials, fiends, and undead.

Channel Divinity: Dark Lore Tactics

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to expose the tactical weaknesses of a creature type you have specialized in. As an action, you target one creature that your Lore Specialization feature offers you advantage on your Wisdom (Insight or Survival) checks against. The creature must be within 60 feet of you and you must be aware of it. For 1 minute, all of your allies within 30 feet of the creature have a magical +2 bonus to their attack rolls against the target as well as any other creatures of the target’s race or species.

Channel Divinity: Dark Lore Foe

At 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to expose the vital area of a creature just before an ally hits it. When a creature within 30 feet of you hits with an attack roll against a target that your Lore Specialization feature offers you advantage on your Wisdom (Insight or Survival) checks against, you can use your reaction to grant that creature +5 bonus to the damage roll, using your Channel Divinity.

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.

Foreknowledge

Starting at 17th level, you have advantage on your initiative rolls when entering combat against one or more creatures that your Lore Specialization offers you advantages on your Wisdom (Insight or Survival) checks against. In addition, all of your allies within 30 feet of you have a +2 bonus to their AC on attacks against the same types of creatures.

 

Like it? Share it!

I’m going to work on a few more of these subclasses and see which one fits the best.

If you think this would be a fun option for your Cleric, be sure to share it with those who would also like it.

Just click one of the social media share buttons below!

Art by Oreki Genya on DeviantArt. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.