The newest campaign guide to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is out, and it’s a doozy! With more player options than the last few books combined, Tal’dorei Campaign Setting Reborn promises to shake things up a bit! Most classes received something fun and interesting to work with, and Cleric is no exception! The Domain we’re going to talk about in this article is one of mystique and allure, like the moon itself. Channeling the power of the celestial body, the Moon Cleric brings their foes to a standstill with long-winded magical power. If you want to know why the Moon Cleric 5E is so unique, let us tell you!
Homebrew Content: This subclass is not official WOTC material.
Wax And Wane: Moon Cleric 5E
The Moon Domain is a support domain with a ton of spellcasting assistance. It is focused around Channel Divinity as a major player in its power, which is a bad resource to rely on. However, later on when you get multiple uses of the ability, this archetype can very easily clear dungeon fights. When building this, you have to make sure your party can support you. You’ll need someone in melee and a good, strong spellcaster. The Moon Cleric sacrifices a lot of self-sufficiency to be a decent support.
First and foremost, we should talk about the spells that you will always have with you.
Oh boy. Starting off, your power level isn’t exactly skyrocketing. Faerie Fire is a decent spell, but it is specifically anti-stealth and anti-invisibility with a minor bonus for attack rolls. Silent Image relies on a creative DM to work well. Illusions just aren’t that strong, especially at low levels. It can solve problems, or it could blow your cover.
Invisibility is a fantastic spell; offensive, defensive, and with great utility, this is a fantastic spell to spend slots on. Moonbeam is pretty solid. Nothing overwhelming, just okay damage every round. Hypnotic Pattern is stellar area denial and one of the best starts to a fight in the game. You’ll need to work with your team to ensure you deal maximum damage during the turn where you drop Hypnotic Pattern, and focus priority targets. Major Image is where illusions start to get interesting, but still will require your DM to be creative. Be careful with this.
Greater Invisibility is strong with a heavy-hitting class alongside it, such as Rogue. Hallucinatory Terrain is an overly specific illusion that’s, at least, pretty large. There are few uses for this, but at least you have Greater Invisibility to spam.
Dream’s fun. It lets you safely message people or send some threats at people. But it’s not exactly something you always want to have prepared. Passwall can be a hilarious way to escape from a fight or trap, but not exactly the most potent spell in the world. Good if you remember you have it in the situations where it’s strong.
So, there’s a slight problem with this Domain list. You have some alright combat spells here, but not many. And the spells that are good for combat require your Concentration. You are going to be limited with what Domain spells you can use, and they aren’t the strongest for keeping your party alive. You have decent problem solving spells against gullible targets, but that’s highly situational. On the bright side, the Trickery domain finally has an illusion friend!
Clarity of Catha
At level 1, you can spend a reaction to make a creature make a Wisdom save applied against them with advantage. You can do this a number of times per day equal to your Proficiency bonus. This is weak, but far from useless. The most potent save in the game is Wisdom. Wisdom-targeting spells include fight-enders like Dominate Person, Hold Person, Weird, and many more. In the late game, these are the most brutal spells you can run into. So, being able to spend your reaction to save the target is good! Especially since Clerics can’t naturally learn Counterspell.
Clerics actually don’t get any Reactions naturally, so having this is at least something. Better than praying for an opportunity attack with a club. It’s highly specific but highly appreciated when it comes up. You will have days where you never spend a single use of Clarity of Catha. And that means you probably had a good day.
It’s a good thing that, like many clerics, this is not the only 1st level ability that the Moon Cleric gets! Wait… What do you mean this is the only level 1 ability that this domain gets?!
Channel Divinity: Blessing Of The Full Moon
Right to level 2! You can choose one of two new options for your Channel Divinity. This targets a single willing creature within 30 ft.
- Watchful Moon: +10 Movement Speed, advantage to track a creature with Perception or Survival. Lasts 1 hour.
- Blood-Drenched Moon: Gain advantage on attacks against a creature who is adjacent to another ally. Lasts 10 minutes.
These are actually quite good. Well, one of them is. The bonus on tracking creatures is… fine? +10 movement speed is wonderful, allowing melee characters to get to the range where they are most useful. However, in many cases, sending a scout far ahead of the party is a recipe for the scout to get ambushed. They should stay relatively close to the party in case they are found out. So, that movement speed only helps so much. It’s handy, absolutely! Both in and out of battle, 1 hour of movement speed is great.
However, the other benefit is slightly stronger. This is another way to gain advantage, handy for attackers like Fighter or Barbarian who might use Great Weapon Master to attack, or archers who want to try Sharpshooter. You’ll need an ally to be adjacent to the target. However, most parties will have somebody who can stand in melee. If not, you can use a Summoning spell to give your allies the friend they need.
Don’t discount the strength of the Watchful Moon, but the Blood-Drenched Moon can swing multiple fights in your advantage.
Channel Divinity: Mind Of Two Moons
Awesome, we have two pretty solid Channel Divinity options. Time to add yet another Channel Option!
At level 6, when you expend one use of Channel Divinity, you may concentrate on a second spell. But only if both spells are on your Moon Domain list. Concentration saves are made at disadvantage, and on a failure, you lose concentration on both spells.
As a level 6 ability, this has a lot to live up to, and it just doesn’t hit the mark. This spell allows you to cast the following spells alongside one another:
- Faerie Fire
- Silent Image
- Hypnotic Pattern
- Major Image
- Greater Invisibility
There are some good combos here, to be sure. Most of your combos involve making two people invisibile at the same time. Or, you can have two Moonbeams stacked on top of each other to deal extra damage. Starting two Hypnotic Patterns can lock down a gigantic area of a fight, making it easier for your party to slip by.
But… What happened with this ability? They seemed like they were very worried about it being too strong.
You have to spend the same number of spell slots, you have to spend Channel Divinity, you have to keep Concentration, your concentration gets nerfed, your spell list is situational at best… Good lord!
It’s not that this is a bad use of Channel Divinity, it’s just that you have a handful of good ways to use Channel Divinity already. Having this on top of those feels excessive. And if you drop Concentration, then that’s it! You lose both spells and that use of Channel Divinity. You can get shot with a crossbow and roll low on the save, due to the Disadvantage, and your double Greater Invisibility is gone.
It’s temperamental and expensive. That doesn’t mean it is bad. You have to take great care when deciding to cast your second Concentration spell. This should be planned out early with your party and then executed quickly.
Double Greater Invisibility is by far your greatest power play with this effect. Keep yourself safe while concentrating by being behind cover, having distance, or using magical items. Then, your Invisible allies can wail on something with their weapons.
Hypnotic Pattern is another good combo tool, locking down opponents. Two Patterns have a very large radius that can cover an entire room if placed correctly.
This should be a situational choice, like Turn Undead. Read the room and decide if this is better than giving your friend Advantage on attacks for ten minutes. Then, make sure you’re not going to lose your Concentration immediately.
At level 8, you do additional damage equal to your Wisdom Modifier in bonus damage whenever you cast a cantrip. Nice. Nothing complex, at the same exact power level as the other domains. Just make sure you have a good Toll The Dying or Sacred Flame on your spell list so you can make use of this extra damage.
Eclipse of Ill Omen
I have not been singing this Domain’s praises, but this ability might change things. At level 17, you can summon an aura of light around you for 1 minute. This is in a 60 foot radius around you. This radius applies dim light from the vermillion moon which causes creatures you choose within it to have disadvantage on saving throws. Whenever you deal radiant damage to creatures within the radius, one creature’s speed is halved and they can’t regain hit points. The curse can be activated once per turn. You can use this ability once per long rest.
Pretty solid! I certainly hope I didn’t miss anything… Oh, there it is.
It requires Concentration. Why?!
Okay, okay, enough overreacting. This ability is pretty great. The aura is massive, covering 12 squares away from you. That’s triple the size of a Fireball. And considering how strong the Cleric’s spell list is, you’ll make good use of the saving throw disadvantage. You can deal good damage here with magic like Flame Strike… Although Flame Strike is very weak for it’s level, at least they’ll probably take full damage.
But holy crap, the concentration requirement! This means that the only concentration spells that you can utilize with this fantastic effect are Hypnotic Pattern! Or Invisibility! No Hold Person or Banishment or Holy Aura or even Sunbeam! This restriction makes this ability go from great to fine. You need another spell caster to make it matter at all. Or someone to make good use of the reduced saving throws more than a concentrating Cleric can.
The alternative effect, where radiant damage can cause curses to land, is good. The radiant damage halves movement speed and stops healing, at least until your aura stops. This is great for melee-oriented boss fights, where you can now outrun them – hopefully.
There are a good number of Radiant Damage spells on the Cleric spell list. However… Half of them are Concentration. Moon damn it.
Your options are Sacred Flame, Word of Radiance, Guiding Bolt, Guardian of Faith, Flame Strike, Forbiddence (not really), and Sunburst. Since the curse is Single Target, Guiding Bolt is good enough. Sunburst is a gigantic radius itself, so you can have your pick of the enemies with that spell.
On the bright side, if another character can do radiant damage, then you can curse more often. That’s nice, though radiant damage is somewhat rare outside of the Cleric class. Good for a Paladin?
The only problem that this ability has is that it is a Concentration spell. This limits the Cleric’s best options and makes it have awful synergy with your spell list and your basic Cleric abilities. And it can only be used once per day. Choose wisely.
Best Race for Moon Clerics
Your race has to have some synergy with Concentration in some way. Not only do you need high Wisdom to synergize with your spell DCs and damage options, but you need high Constitution so your spells have a chance of survival when you double-up. You can augment the likelihood to succeed at Concentration checks with feats like Resilient and War Caster.
Humans are usually the best option for a race. I hate talking about them. But you need War Caster. War Caster allows you to get advantage on Concentration saves when you take damage. It’ll also make having a shield much more viable, since you can hold something in your other hand. It’ll also let you make opportunity attacks with magic, which is nice for when enemies underestimate you. You’ll get your +1 Wisdom, +1 Constitution, and Skilled to get you Perception or another skill. If you think you can afford to wait a while for War Caster, then you can choose…
The Warforged, from Eberron: Rising from the Last War, are very strong and not guaranteed to be allowed into every campaign. If you get them in, then you’ll be hard to kill with +1 to AC, good resistances and immunities, and you can watch for the party. You even gain a bonus skill. You’ll get a +2 to Constitution for an early start on that front, and a +1 which you can put into Wisdom. This is tankier than a Human, but has a worse start in terms of feats you can take. This is also a good fit thematically given the addition of automatons in the world of Critical Role.
Conclusion – Our Take on the Moon Domain
This is a weak domain on paper. It has a lot of reliance on Channel Divinity, a ton of situational abilities, and so. Many. Concentration effects. However, a smart Cleric can use the power of Greater Invisibility, Hypnotic Pattern, and even the Image spells to make a fight hell for their enemies. Choose this archetype if you have a good grasp on the spells that the domain grants you for free. See our Cleric 5E Guide for other character creation options.