The traditional “healbot” cleric comes to us through the Player’s Handbook. As a worshipper of gods who support growth and vitality, the Life Cleric has somewhat general options of god to choose; Any non-evil god can have some healer clerics beneath them. This allows a lot of flavor options, since you can have a vibrant selection of gods to support and still heal. So, while the subclass might be boring mechanically, you can still have plenty of reasons to play it. We’ve put together the complete LIfe Cleric 5E Guide to cover every aspect of this domain. Don your healer’s garb and let’s check out what a Life Cleric can really do!
Feel the Heals: Life Cleric 5E
Mechanically, the Healer cleric is a natural pick for any support. It offers a lot of extra efficiency for its spells and ways to save spell slots through domain abilities alone. The domain list is about what one would expect from a Life cleric, making it naturally good at preventing or restoring damage.
The Domain spells of the life cleric revolve around the basic ideas of healing. Restore lost health, negate debuffs, nullify damage, and bring back the dead.
- 1st Level – Bless, Cure Wounds
- 3rd Level – Lesser Restoration, Spiritual Weapon
- 5th Level – Beacon of Hope, Revivify
- 7th Level – Death Ward, Guardian of Faith
- 9th Level – Mass Cure Wounds, Raise Dead
Cure Wounds and Mass Cure Wounds are kinda like your bread and butter. Cure Wounds is the Cleric’s most consistent healing move, and it easily makes any Good Cleric’s spell list by default. Mass Cure Wounds doesn’t normally make it, but healing en masse can be important, and this archetype helps the lower health a lot. Lesser Restoration also falls into this category; it’s a really good idea for a support to have it. These can be amplified with Beacon of Hope, a concentration spell that maximizes your healing rolls.
Bless and Death Ward are potent buffs on different sides of the field. Bless makes enemies die faster with more accuracy on your allies. Death Ward makes an ally die slower. Both are good ideas for big fights, though Bless requires concentration. Juggle it with Beacon of Hope to maximize defensive or offensive capabilities.
Revivify and Raise Dead are the natural choices for bringing someone to life. Revivify has a strict time limit, but is much less expensive. Use it whenever you can! Finally, the damage options. Spiritual Weapon is a downright fantastic spell, and a great use of your Bonus Action. Guardian of Faith is a strange, almost scouting spell. It still can be a great zoning tool, and I’m sure GMs would let it boost Intimidate in the right situation.
This one still comes out of nowhere for me, but Life Clerics get proficiency in Heavy Armor. As usual for Heavy Armor, this is great for Clerics. You can invest more into Strength and Wisdom without worrying about your AC. This lets you be closer to your allies so you can heal without moving while having high AC. And you can still beat heads with solid weapons like the Mace, showing that this healbot has some hurt, too.
The Cleric remains proficient in Light and Medium armor, as well. Don’t be afraid to be a ranged healer, especially if you are a race with good movespeed. Weapons are important for this archetype, however, so make sure you can use something.
Disciple of Life
The first real ability of the Life Cleric is focused on increasing efficiency.
Also starting at 1st level, your healing spells are more effective. Whenever you use a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level.
Okay, sweet. This means that your first level Cure Wounds spell heals for 1d8+Wisdom+3. And it scales up to adding 11 hitpoints onto your healing.
This is clearly just better efficiency for your basic heals, but it’s much better for area of effect heals. Those are usually a little bit smaller; Mass Cure Wounds heals for 3d8 at level 5, rather than 5d8. So, the extra 7 health to everyone you heal is a really good use of this ability.
And it’s limitless. It’s a rather small amount of healing, admittedly, but the fact that it doesn’t have the Wisdom Modifier limit makes it infinitely useful. The only limit is the number of healing spells you have, which increases exponentially. So… Really nice!
Channel Divinity: Preserve Life
The Channel option for a cleric is, unsurprisingly, to heal. But it’s a really good heal!
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to heal the badly injured.
As an action, you present your holy symbol and evoke healing energy that can restore a number of hit points equal to five times your cleric level. Choose any creatures within 30 feet of you, and divide those hit points among them. This feature can restore a creature to no more than half of its hit point maximum. You can’t use this feature on an undead or a construct.
So, this ability heals a decent amount of health. When you get it, it heals for 10 health once per short rest. Eventually, you get 100 health four times per short rest. That’s fantastic scaling for a healing ability. Unfortunately, until you reach the late game, the health is somewhat low, and is better for keeping people at full health rather than healing a massive amount of health like Cure Wounds.
The versatility of this ability is quite nice. You can top off a group after an area of effect, heal one player by most of their health, heal two people for a good chunk, etcetera. Depending on how your GM rewards Medicine checks, you can use this ability without wasting any points of healing. Now that’s efficient!
Speaking of efficiency, healing yourself is no longer as important.
Beginning at 6th level, the healing spells you cast on others heal you as well. When you cast a spell of 1st level or higher that restores hit points to a creature other than you, you regain hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level.
This effect is rather weak, since healing yourself for a small amount of health only does so much. However, not all is lost. Healing other people means that you essentially double the amount of healing that your Disciple of Life heals; up to 22 total, domain-ability-based hitpoints if you and an ally are weak. Area of Effect heals can target everyone except yourself, if you have 6 people you’d rather heal.
The problem with this ability comes, obviously, if you’re the only one injured. Then you do lose just a little bit of healing when restoring yourself rather than someone else. This can be solved by keeping Channel Divinity if only you need health. Then, you can save your spells for using Blessed Healer and Disciple of Life. So, not really the best ability, but it can top you off and does increase the health you provide.
Level 8 is typically a damage increase of some variety, and this archetype is no different.
At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 radiant damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
This is why it’s important for Life Clerics to gain access and use a weapon. Even without Extra Attacks, divine strike tends to make ranged or melee weapons slightly stronger than cantrips for consistent damage. Do remember that this doesn’t work with Spiritual Weapon; it has to be an actual weapon.
This does mean you will have to consider investing in either Strength or Dexterity, or else lose this ability entirely. You can safely have lower Wisdom than most clerics, since Disciple of Life and Blessed Healer both naturally increase healing.
Radiant damage is also a good damage type. Not the best, and there’s no way to change the damage. But it’s not heavily resisted or immuned by monsters in the base manual.
This level 17 ability is the final ability that the Life Cleric gets, and wow, is this one potent.
Starting at 17th level, when you would normally roll one or more dice to restore hit points with a spell, you instead use the highest number possible for each die. For example, instead of restoring 2d6 hit points to a creature, you restore 12.
This example that is given is quite small compared to the power this ability has. Let’s, for example, say you are a Cleric at level 20. You want to heal someone with a level 9 Cure wounds, to keep it simple. If you heal for 9d8+16, assuming you have 20 Wisdom. You instead heal for 84, instead of an average of 56.5. That’s certainly not nothing.
This lets your lower level heals have a definite number on them, so when you top someone off, you know exactly the level of healing that they need. In the late game, people get hit often, so knowing exactly what amount of healing you’ll need for a small little punch or a slam with a tree trunk is great.
There are earnestly not too many healing spells that don’t heal a set amount of hitpoints in the late game, but this does increase the power of Mass Cure Wounds, Cure Wounds at lower levels, spells like Regenerate, and more. Increasing the efficiency of spells that aren’t Heal will always be important for clerics. You’ll find that you’ll save so many spell slots with this and the healing boosters early on.
Best Races for Life Clerics
The Life Cleric is one that doesn’t really need much of anything. Thanks to Disciple of Life and Blessed Healer, Wisdom is no longer as important. It allows you to become a frontliner or backliner without much issue, as long as you’re within 30 ft. It’s still recommended that you get a healthy amount of Wisdom to improve the effectiveness of non-healing spells, but there’s less of an urgency. Consider the following;
When making a cleric, always consider asking the question; will a Hill Dwarf help me? With more useful Heavy Armor abilities, extra health, and Wisdom, Hill Dwarves make Heavy Armor clerics look good. The extra health is useful for staying alive long enough to Channel Divinity or Mass Cure Wounds when a plan goes south. Do be sure to invest in a fair amount of Strength for Divine Strike.
Unsurprisingly, Elves are masters of the ranged build, and I find there to be no difference for Life. High move speed, good Wisdom, great Dexterity, and proficiency in strong ranged options are useful for the build. Flavorwise, as a defender of the forest, promoting growth and life is fairly important to a lot of elves. Why not devote yourself to it?
The Aasimar is a chosen titon of an angelic deity. Flavorwise, being an angel dedicated to protecting people is quite apt for a healer. The boost to Wisdom is nice, you gain a healing ability, and can get a Flight speed for when things get rough, and you need to get to someone fast. This doesn’t have Dexterity or Strength attached to it, but the utility options the Aasimar gets is quite strong. Talk to your GM about potentially allowing it.
Races to Avoid
I sincerely believe any race can be useful as a Life Cleric, thanks to all of the abilities that support it. Flavorwise, it might be weird to be a Life Domain Warforged for obvious reasons. Not that Warforged are not affected by healing (in fact, they make a fine Life Domain cleric)… But being a robot dedicated to natural growth and vitality might be strange. Even that said, it’s not difficult to make a Life Domain Cleric out of any race option.
Life Domain Deities
Unsurprisingly, Life Domain clerics worship deities that sustain and celebrate life on the material plane. These range from gods of healing to gods of the harvest and even gods of the Sun. As long as the being protects and supports living creatures, you have a good argument for a Life Domain Cleric.
The Sovereign Host can only call one being the goddess of Life. The Goddess of Jungle Leaves brings shade to those who revere nature. The Goddess of Abundance and Storms protects sailors who bring offerings and sing songs of her glory. She who has been through much, who is the mother of the Fury and sister to demons and devils. She is Arawai, patron deity of those who call to the skies.
Arawai is the Neutral Good goddess of fertility and good weather. As the nature goddess of the Sovereign Host, Arawai has reign over weather patterns and keeps harvests alive. As such, peasants and druids alike find themselves in the same pews, worshiping her.
Worshippers of Arawai include classes that gain their magic from natural sources, like Druids and Rangers. These characters are the most likely to understand the impact of Arawai on their communities. Mothers also worship the goddess, asking for her blessing to bring healthy children.
Life Clerics of Arawai focus more on the fertility aspect of the goddess, rather than the good weather. These clerics serve as midwives, pediatricians, teachers, and doctors for communities. However, they do not disregard Arawai’s more natural side. They understand the importance of rain for a good harvest, sun for a healthy lifestyle, and storms for those who disobey nature. They teach reverence for the goddess during harvest seasons and head services during these times.
In all things, a critical eye is required to identify the solution to a problem. From crimes to tests, intellect is required. This even goes for magic, as even deities require a cunning intellect to understand issues. The physician of the gods is not a man to be trifled with. He can cure someone wholesale by throwing them in mystical waters. Diancecht can craft new limbs that function as well as real ones. He is Diancecht, the god of Medicine.
Diancecht is the Lawful Good god of medicine in the Celtic pantheon. He is the grandfather of Lugh and is who the gods turn to first when they are injured. He is known for throwing mortally wounded men into his will and drawing them out totally cured. However, he is also known for his pride in his work, even willing to kill his own son when he is one-upped.
Worshippers of Diancecht tend to be those in the medicinal industry. This is most often clerics, who find his blessing to be useful for their healing services. However, it can also belong to artificers and alchemists, who pray to him before mixing elixirs to save lives. His name is even occasionally uttered by inventors, who may ask for his aid in deciphering the human body to produce incredible prosthetics.
Life Clerics of Diancecht call upon the power of his life-saving well to produce similar miracles. Their focus is purely on saving lives and healing. Their single-minded focus on this goal can cause issues in communities where alternative medicines appear. However, none can doubt their efficiency and dedication to the art of healing.
Hathor (Forgotten Realms)
The Quite One serves on the council of the Mulhorandi pantheon. Alongside the gods of the earth and the hunt, she stands as the empathetic, loving creature that serves all communities equally. She Who is There for Those in Need brings children to the world and keeps them healthy. Additionally, She warns mortals of danger and calm hostilities with a glance. She is Hathor, the Nurturing Mother.
Hathor is the Neutral Good goddess of motherhood. She cares for all creatures, but focuses her gaze on parents and children. Hathor serves as the defender of communities and a guide for those looking for aid. She was even known to be able to cause a mother’s pregnancy to create twins or triplets.
Worshippers of Hathor tend to be expecting parents or young adults. They find Hathor’s protection and blessings to be useful for the development of a happy family. Hathor also finds lost people and those who were abused in her church, because they are seeking an empathetic gaze.
Life Clerics of Hathor are critical for the goddess. They serve as midwives and caretakers in their communities. They are often sought out as guides and village elders, with the Nurturing Mother’s name invoked in their honor. Motherly goddesses are common for Life clerics. Mishakal is an example from the Dragonlance setting.
Lathander (Forgotten Realms)
The Morninglord’s name may be the one repeated most across the Forgotten Realms. Mothers call for him on the day of their child’s birth. Artists utter his name when their canvas begins to fill with paint. Athletes ask for his forgiveness after a poor performance. Guards ask for his aid during a training session. Few can hold as many titles as Lathander, Inspiration’s Dawn, and few strike a mightier image.
Lathander is the Neutral Good god of renewal and youth. He is commonly represented by the rising sun, or a handsome man holding a child. As the god of Youth, he is tasked with protecting all race’s longevity, charisma, and spirit. His eternal optimism is contagious, and few can be angry in his presence. However, those who know him in detail would know his propensity for zealotry and vanity.
Almost anyone can find a reason to worship Lathander. However, his clergy is tasked with a quite daunting series of requirements. They must appreciate art, sports, the sciences, training, childbirth, and more. An older priest may still worship Lathander, but most bring the energy to prove their usefulness in his service.
Life Clerics of Lathander must embrace his eternal optimism and spirit of adventure. Healing is critical to keep spirits high and energy consistent. As such, Life Clerics embrace the spirit of renewal simply by doing their work with healing magic like Cure Wounds. However, they should be very willing to use their magic often, a showcase of their zealous spirit and love for the continuation of young, happy lives.
Example Feats for Life Domain Clerics
Life Clerics are in a strange spot in terms of feats. They want to be able to survive being on the frontlines, if they are melee builds. But, they want to be more durable in general: These clerics want to be the last ones standing in a fight, so they can bring everyone back into it!
Fey Touched is nice. +1 Wisdom, Misty Step for free once per day and learned permanently, and a 1st level spell? Those are all insane benefits! Two extra low-level spell slots are absolutely worth losing 1 ability score improvement… In most situations.
We suggest taking Silvery Barbs from Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos. That spell is an insane reaction that does a great job buffing allies and debuffing enemies. It will come up often, as long as you’re in a combat-centric campaign.
Resilient is a simple feat. All it does is boost a stat by +1 and give you proficiency in its saving throw. This will almost always be used for Constitution saves. Constitution saving throws affect your Concentration checks, and are the second most common saving throw in the game. If you want to keep yourself on your feet, this’ll give you a big bonus against magical effects that target your health!
Tough boosts your HP by 2 per level. This is the equivalent of +4 to your Constitution. Still, this gigantic HP bump will be more than enough to keep you alive for an extra hit or two while you heal yourself or allies. This is usually better than just bumping your Constitution by 2.
But, there are ups and downs to it! Mainly, you won’t be improving your Constitution save at all with Tough. You just get health points. That usually is good enough, but keep it in mind before you take Tough for the health and nothing more.
War Caster is a fun defensive feat. You get advantage on your Concentration checks, which is nice. Clerics have great buffs that require concentration, and getting two rolls at it means you are much more likely to clear. You can also cast with your hands full, which is nice. Most DMs don’t really mind that rule, but if yours does, this is a must-get feat!
Arguably the most important aspect of War Caster is the ability to cast spells as a reaction. Imagine catching someone running away from you and casting Banishment! This gives you a lot better aggressive presence on the battlefield.
Life Clerics get a lot of benefits for using weapons. So, let’s make our weapons better! Weapon Master gives you access to higher quality weapons, as well as a +1 to Strength or Dexterity. Typically, Martial Weapons are 1 dice better than Simple weapons, for an average of 1 damage. With the +1 to a Weapon stat, this feat barely scrapes by as being useful. Alternatively, you can multiclass to get this significant benefit.
Multiclassing for Life Clerics
Multiclassing in 5e is weird for Clerics, and we don’t often recommend it. Clerics have impressive spellcasting skills, and losing access to divine spells can be quite rough. However, they can still benefit from some strategic Multiclass choice, especially in the later game.
Fighter takes two levels to take off… But boy, is that level 2 benefit stellar! Fighter gives the Life cleric martial weapons, which do an average of +1 damage over your normal weapons. This essentially chops a feat off of your list!
Your first level isn’t bad. Fighting Styles are decent boosts that can either make you more threatening or durable. 1 AC is actually pretty hard to get, making the Defense style quite impactful. Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with a +2 to damage, or rerolling your low rolls.
But, there is one critical thing that you get at level 2: Action Surge. This ability lets you refresh your actions every short rest. This is crazy! You can cast Heal and Harm in the same turn, or Banishment and Sunbeam. These massive burst turns come out of nowhere and can quickly clear encounters.
Ranger is like Fighter, but less impactful. We only recommend this if you can get the Favored Foe and Deft Explorer features. The default Ranger features are not impactful enough for multiclassing. The best part of Ranger also comes level 2, since Ranger lets you keep 1 level of spellcasting for every 2 levels you invest in it. You also gain access to some decent spells, like Ensnaring Strike. Nothing that Cleric doesn’t normally cover.
Paladin is the hardest of the three recommended classes to get into. It requires you to get to 13 Charisma, which isn’t possible for all builds. And you’ll once again need 2 levels to make it work.
However, Paladin offers quite a bit for a melee-focused Life Cleric. It comes with Martial Weapon proficiency, saving a feat. It also gains some decent healing options, and a Fighting Style. But, what you really want is Divine Smite. This ability lets you nuke someone for 6d8 using generic spell slots. You can even save it for a critical hit! This can boost your otherwise mediocre melee damage by quite a lot.
In addition, you get to save some spells. The Paladin spell list is even less impressive for a Cleric than the Ranger’s. But, it does exist, and gives you additional aggressive options.
Suggested Life Cleric Backgrounds
Life Clerics serve as local healers, clergy, and doctors. Adventurer Life Clerics expect to be caught in the shenanigans of adventurers, and thus will likely follow many of the standard Adventurer backgrounds. Here are some that we like.
Acolyte is a generic Cleric background that works no matter what. Insight and Religion will be required for your class often, so having those locked down is handy. Two languages is fairly rare among the backgrounds, and comes in handy quite a lot. Ask your DM about which two would most benefit your party.
The equipment is perfectly fine. If you are using Starting Equipment rules, remember to sell your Priest’s Pack if you go for Acolyte. You don’t need the bonus incense or anything like that! Shelter of the Faithful for a Life Cleric is incredible. Many cultures worship a life cleric of some kind, so you’ll always be in good hands. Flex this feature as often as you can!
This is a fun one for a Life Cleric, from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. As a town guard, you have a few good things going for you. Access to Athletics is extremely fun for a Cleric. Insight is perfectly fine: You’ll be quite good at it! Just like Acolyte, you get two languages. These are always good, but talk to your DM about which two would be most useful.
Your starting equipment is nothing to write home about, but Watcher’s Eye applies to every civilizations and communities. An actually useful feature for a background!
Far Traveler, from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, is quite powerful for Clerics. It begins with Insight and Perception proficiencies, as well as an instrument or gaming set. The tool might not be useful, but those skills more than make up for it! You also get any language of your choice, which is fantastic.
All Eyes on You is a unique feature that is handy in almost every single location that you can think of. Everyone likes a foreigner’s stories!
How to Play Life Clerics
Out of Combat
- Spells are critical for out-of-combat scenarios. The hardest part of playing a Cleric is knowing when to take specific spells. As you play, you will learn when you should have combat-oriented spells like Guiding Bolt, or more situational spells like Ceremony. Get used to scanning the list, and use Insight and spells like Augury to learn what you’re about to get into. Stay informed, stay wise!
- Don’t forget your Skills! While it is fun to use Spells whenever possible, Skills can pull off miracles as well. If you have a skill that applies to a situation, see if your DM can work with you! That way, you can save magic for combat situations.
- You are not just a healer. Discipline of Life and Blessed Healer suggest that you just spam healing spells in combat. But, there is nothing stopping you from using spell slots on dangerous spells like Guiding Bolt. Defeating enemies means that your allies need less healing!
- Though, don’t forget the extra health! 3-12 HP is nothing to shake a stick at. And spells like Mass Cure Wounds or Mass Healing Word can really help in the late game.
- Preserve Life gives you all the healing you will need… Sometimes. Preserve Life gives you an out to one of the scariest situations in 5E: A Party K.O. If you are the only one standing, this will give your party just enough hitpoints to stand up and maybe get another action in. Keep people alive as long as possible, while preserving your resources!
- It’s really important to remember that this spell can only heal up to half health. This is not a spell to top people off!
- Divine Strike is strong, but so are cantrips. Cantrips are still quite potent, especially as a ranged option. Use a combination of weapon attacks and cantrips to keep your foes on their toes! Even though weapons will do more damage, you don’t need to ignore your other combat option.
- Supreme Healing is Great, but Don’t Forget Heal. While you have guaranteed max HP on spells like Cure Wounds, spells that heal flat HP like Heal are still great. You can just figure out the math to determine if a spell is more or less effective in a given situation. A level 6 Heal regains 70 HP, and a level 6 Cure Wounds (with +5 Wisdom) heals for 53. Still, the extra HP is nice in emergencies.
Life Cleric FAQ
Do Life Clerics Have to Be Good?
Nothing is preventing a player from playing as a Neutral or even Evil Cleric. However, most Life Gods are good by nature. Maybe a Cleric of a god of currency and riches who forces people to pay for healing? And there may be some logic for Lawful Evil Tyrants to grant Life Cleric-like power to keep their legions walking. But, by nature, Life Clerics are good.
Can Life Clerics Learn Necromancy Spells?
Of course! Spells like Revivify and Raise Dead are Necromancy. There is nothing stopping a Life Cleric from interacting with Necromancy spells, or spells that cause death and decay. However, that may lead to an uncomfortable conversation with your deity! This depends on your DM, but a Life Cleric should value life enough to not use spells that focus on decay and unnecessary pain.
Is Life A Good Domain?
Maybe? All other clerics can heal people: You just heal people better. You have no additional utility from your class features, other than Heavy Armor. But, when you cast Cure Wounds at level 6, you can heal for 10 additional HP between you and your target. That’s really potent, and improves the effective maximum HP of your party by quite a lot.
We wouldn’t call this domain powerful or insane. It is very helpful, and is a comfortable class for a newer party. This is a great way to learn Cleric, since you are much better at picking unconscious people off of the floor.
What Book is Life Cleric From?
The quintessential cleric domain can be found in the Players’ Handbook as well as the Basic Rules.
Life Cleric Sample Build
Life Clerics are exceptionally flexible. Since Clerics are decidedly the party healer, these clerics are just very good at their job. Because of that, we’re going to make sure our Cleric is a durable being of war! We’re going to make a Far Traveler Hill Dwarf of Hathor, who is on a journey to a forgotten temple to the south. She will be focused on frontlining, with a high investment in Strength and Constitution.
For the sake of the build, we want to prioritize raising our Strength and Constitution over our Wisdom. Spells are for keeping the party alive. 16 Wisdom will be enough to make her spells hard to save against.
|5E Life Cleric Build|
|Race: Hill Dwarf (+2 Con, +1 Wisdom)|
Ability Scores: STR (14) DEX (8) CON (15) INT (10) WIS (16) CHA (12)
Proficiencies: Insight, Medicine, Musical Instrument (Sitar), Perception, Persuasion
Starting Equipment: Mace, Chain mail, Light Crossbow, 20 bolts, a Priest’s pack, a Shield, a Holy Symbol, traveler’s clothes, a sitar, maps from your homeland, 10 gp of jewelry from your homeland, 5 gp
Languages: Common, Dwarvish, Elven
|Levels||New Features||Choices To Make|
-Divine Domain (Life)
-Life Domain Spells (1st Level)
-Disciple of Life
|See the above table for our Racial and Background choices. It also includes our basic Equipment Choices. At this level, you get your first few benefits, including spells from the Life Domain.|
Spellcasting: Clerics are some of the most flexible spellcasters in the game. However, there are some must-haves that you should pick up, like Healing Word and Guiding Bolt. Healing Word lets you save a life as a Quick Action. Guiding Bolt is very high damage for this early on.
Cantrips: We recommend Toll the Dead for offense and Guidance for utility. If you have a Rogue, Mending can restore their thieves’ tools. Thaumaturgy can be useful for a very creative Cleric.
|2||-Channel Divinity (1/rest)|
-Channel Divinity: Preserve Life
|No choices here! Some neat spells that you might want to look at are things like Sanctuary or Shield of Faith. Shield of Faith in particular will be handy in most fights.|
Preserve Life means that you don’t need to prepare as many healing spells. You have healing baked-in, after all! Take the time to prepare other spells. But, maybe keep a Healing Word for emergencies!
|3||-2nd Level Spells|
-Life Domain Spells (3rd Level)
|Check out some 2nd level spells. We’re fans of magic like Blindness/Deafness, Calm Emotions, and Hold Person. These can make threats become nothing at all!|
|4||-Ability Score Improvement||The Hill Dwarf’s spread of stats leave us in an awkward situation. We can decide to focus on Wisdom, but that would make our damage with weapons suffer. What we’ll do instead is, at this level, we’ll take +1 in Strength and +1 in Constitution. That puts us at 16 Constitution. We’re very hard to put down, now! Very important for the party’s main healer.|
|5||-3rd Level Spells|
-Life Domain Spells (5th Level)
-Destroy Undead (CR ½)
|Check out 3rd level spells! You will be using Dispel Magic in the near future. Mass Healing Word is one of the best emergency spells in the game.|
|6||-Channel Divinity (2/Rest)|
|Blessed Healer doesn’t do much, though it does reinforce our frontline sensibilities. Healing Word gives up 3 HP, for instance! Not a bad bonus action.Swapping through 3rd level spells is very important.|
|7||-4th Level Spells|
-Life Domain Spells (7th Level)
|4th Level spells, we’re starting to get very strong! Banishment, Freedom of Movement, and Stone Shape will come up every now and then. Debuffs like Bestow Curse and buffs like Magic Circle can be very useful in the right situation.|
|8||-Ability Score Improvement|
-Destroy Undead (CR 1)
|I’m tired of this Mace. At level 8, I’ll take the Weapon Master feat to get +1 Strength and access to Longswords, Greatswords, Tridents, and Warhammers. This gives us a good spread of damage types and ranged options. And just in time for Divine Strike! Our damage skyrockets here.|
Magical Items can change this decision. Belts of Giant Strength can massively improve our Strength without us spending Ability Score Improvements. If you think that your DM will grant a Belt of Giant Strength in the near future, you can instead invest in Wisdom. This is a hard gamble; we want to deal good damage now, not later! But, you would be a great investment for high Strength.
|9||-5th Level Spells|
-Life Domain Spells (9th Level)
|5th level spells are here. Holy Weapon and Raise Dead will turn a fight in your favor.|
|10||-Divine Intervention||No big choices here. You can also look at situational 5th level spells like Geas, Legend Lore, Planar Binding, and Scrying.|
|11||-Destroy Undead (CR 2)|
-6th Level Spells
|Heal is a crazy spell with a lot of potency. Harm can very quickly take out a priority target. So can Sunbeam! Spells like True Seeing will scope out encounters.|
|12||-Ability Score Improvement||We have three major options here.+2 Strength to boost our melee damage. This is my least favorite, since we have great spells and Belts of Giant Strength can nullify this.+2 Constitution keeps us alive longer. We can also take Tough to get a massive amount of HP, or War Caster to keep our spells for a longer time in combat.+2 Wisdom is good if you find yourself using spells aggressively in combat.For the sake of our character, we’re going to take Tough to get a massive boost to HP. Our Hill Dwarf doesn’t need high spell DCs, and she isn’t too focused on dealing damage. We’re banking on that Belt!|
|13||-7th Level Spells||Conjure Celestial can bring a friend to the fight to do the dirty work for you while you heal. Regenerate will be a great situational healing tool for angry DMs.|
|14||-Destroy Undead (CR 3)||Keep in mind fun situational spells like Temple of the Gods, Plane Shift, and Symbol. These can actually come up fairly often, if your party is in a good spot to make good with them.|
|15||-8th Level Spells||Check out 8th level! These spells are crazy. Antimagic Field is great for fights where you just need to lock down a mage. Holy Aura and Sunburst are fantastic aggressive options.|
|16||-Ability Score Improvement||This level will be Resilient. We want that +6 to Constitution saves, and the +1 Constitution sets up for level 19. This will let our Concentration checks succeed more often in these late-game conflicts.|
|17||-9th Level Spells|
-Destroy Undead (CR 4)
|You only get 1 9th level spell. Check out stuff like Gate, Power Word Heal, and True Resurrection. Make a good choice based on the information you learn through fights.|
|18||-Channel Divinity (3/rest)||Your entire spell list is available now. Spells like Control Weather can solve major issues, and Word of Recall is your best teleportation tool.|
Multiclassing: At this point, you can multiclass pretty easily. We don’t really care about many class options. Fighter can be very fun, as can Ranger… But we want spells!
|19||-Ability Score Improvement||For the purposes of our Dwarf, we want to round out that Constitution score. Getting to 18 Con with Tough will mean we have the equivalent of +6 HP per level, on top of our hit dice! Let’s just get +1 Constitution, +1 Wisdom. You could get something like Crusher or Dwarven Fortitude instead, which give you different strengths. Crusher with a Warhammer makes you a valuable fighter in melee encounters, and Dwarven Fortitude can boost your health in emergencies.|
|20||-Divine Intervention Improvement||Think about what you can ask your God to do! Things like “prevent my foe from escaping” to “help me save this long-dead hero” could be possible, even by a God of Life. Just remember, you only get one per week! Make it count.|
Conclusion – Our Take on the Life Domain
And that concludes our Life Cleric 5E Guide. Naturally, any Cleric archetype that focuses on maximizing your healing ability is good. It’s one of the jobs of the Cleric to make sure your group of idiots stay alive. More efficient healing spells means that you get to spend some spell slots using aggressive magic. While it’s unsurprising that the Life Cleric gets mostly healing abilities, it is a somewhat basic, simple domain. What makes this domain special is what your character brings to the table. Consider this domain if you want to make a powerful healer with potential aggressive options, thanks to spell efficiency.
Want to see your other Cleric options or how to optimize your character in general? Check out our Comprehensive Cleric 5E Guide!
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