Life Cleric 5E Guide | Attributes, Tips, Builds, and More

life cleric 5e

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.

Domain Spells

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.

Life Cleric Domain Spells

  • 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.

Bonus Proficiency

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!

Blessed Healer

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.

Divine Strike

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, this ability 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.

Supreme Healing

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. 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;

Hill Dwarf

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.

Wood Elf

Unsurprisingly, Elves are masters of the ranged build, and I find there to be no difference for Life. High movespeed, 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?

Protector Aasimar

A member of the War Cleric 5E group of races, 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.

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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