by: B.J. Guest
In this “How to Build” guide, we will be diving into the faith-based warriors of the D&D universe known as clerics! We will be touching upon what makes a cleric different in the adventuring party as well as giving some suggestions of some possible race choices for creating a cleric for your Dungeons and Dragons 5E game!
Clerics are devoted to their god(s). Their devotion to their deity is what fuels their magical abilities. This idea of devotion equals power can create some interesting roleplay opportunities.
Maybe every time your cleric player character levels up, you as the DM can create a small moment between that cleric and their god? This could be a small conversation, a feeling of spiritual connection within the cleric, or maybe that god’s symbol is added into the narrative.
You can also create roleplay opportunities where the cleric is questioning their belief in their deity and their power starts fading away! The cleric could move toward serving another deity or multiclass if the player is looking for something different.
As always, I’ve searched through the sourcebooks to find some interesting and tactical racial choices for creating a cleric!
A cleric’s spellcasting modifier is Wisdom so choosing a race that pumps that stat is key, the other two stats to consider for second and third highest stat according to the Player’s Handbook, are Strength and Consitiution.
Anyone who watches Critical Role can tell you that Taliesin Jaffe’s firbolg cleric character Caduceus Clay (yes I had to look up how to spell both names) is stupid OP in certain aspects. Caduceus has a 17 or 18 passive perception, that’s crazy!
FIrbolgs are cow-like creatures that were introduced to 5E in Volo’s Guide. Firbolgs boast a plus 2 to Wisdom and add 1 to the Strength score. This race is very intuned with nature so choosing a domain that connects to nature would make sense for roleplay.
Details of the Kalashtar race are found in the Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron sourcebook. Kalashtars are a race of human hybrids that are mixed with quori (spirits from the dreams plane). Like Firbolgs, the Kalashtar people have a racial bonus of two for Wisdom but add one to Charisma. They also can communicate telepathically which is pretty neat. You can have a displaced Kalashtar cleric of The Path of Light lost in the Faerun setting who is trying to accomplish two things. Get back home to Eberron and convert as many people to this foreign religion as possible.
Another “alien” race to consider in creating a cleric would be (my favorite race) the Aarakocra. These are essentially bird-people and they are awesome. Aarakocra are a mysterious people in the setting of the Forgotten Realms, rumored to be immigrants of the Plane of Air, they have large wings and have a flying speed of 50 ft (only if you are not wearing medium or heavy armor). Aarakocra have a racial bonus of 2 towards Dexterity and 1 for Wisdom which is useful if you are considering them for a cleric.
I’ll end this post with a classic choice of the dwarven cleric. Dwarves are a hardy people with a plus-two racial feature towards their constitution. For new players of Dungeons & Dragons, dwarves are a solid choice for playing any class because they are familiar to someone who has no clue what an Aarakocra or a Firbolg are. Dwarves make great clerics purely for the roleplaying opportunities. There is a whole slew of dwarven gods that you can choose from for your character to worship!
As I have said before in all my How to Build guides, there are no right or wrong choices for character creation in D&D. the main goal of this wonderful, nerdy game of make-believe is to have fun!
*Dungeons and Dragons and their content is the property of Wizards of the Coast. Norse Foundry makes no claim to ownership to any of the things discussed in this article, this article is a helpful opinion guide on to how to play the game.