The dark motif has been explored in several 5E classes. However, strangely, Darkness is a subject that Clerics never truly directly tread on. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduced the Twilight domain for Clerics. The Twilight Domain touches upon the point in the day at which light transitions to darkness. That can be a time of rest, relaxation, and joy, but also is filled with horrific monsters. The clerics of the Twilight Domain protect the beauty of twilight while defending from the monsters that erroneously call the darkness their home. So, defend the innocent with our Twilight Cleric 5E guide.
Shrouded in Darkness: Twilight Cleric 5E
The Twilight Cleric is a strange part of the Cleric Updates in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. It relies on the limited Channel Divinity resource quite a bit to be useful in combat. However, it has access to one of the easiest methods of gaining flight imaginable, is solidly good at utility magic, gains great proficiencies, and has unique utility. It’s a pseudo-support, with a lot of what makes frontline clerics strong. Very few clerics can claim the same role as the Twilight Cleric, and yet I have trouble putting it in a party.
The spells that you get are dedicated for protection and a bit of healing.
Faerie fire is a really good situational spell, having some use outside of anti-invisibility. Sleep is great early on but quickly becomes slow and far too health-dependent to be realistic.
Moonbeam is fine damage, better in specific situations. It likely won’t be your standard way to spend 2nd level slots. See Invisibility is as situationally specific as it gets, but having this always prepared will be useful for you once or twice.
Aura of Vitality can be an okay utility spell. It’s basically a level 3 spell slot to cast a level 1 Healing Word every turn for a minute. That’s pretty solid! You can hold it for an entire fight and have a good way to spend Bonus Actions, but keep in mind that you’ll be using that Concentration. Leomund’s Tiny Hut can be pretty cool, but not exactly something you need to use 3rd level spell slots on at all times. Keep it in mind, but only use it for safely resting.
Aura of Life is like a more situational Aura of Vitality. Normally, you’ll only want to use Aura of Life against liches, or creatures with significant necrotic damage. Aura of Vitality is a tiny bit better at picking people of the ground. Greater Invisibility is an absolutely god-tier spell to have constantly available. If you’re playing a Twilight Cleric, this spell slot alone is a good reason to partner with a Rogue… Or anyone who makes attack rolls, really!
Finally, Circle of Power is a pretty long-lasting anti-caster tool that only really matters if you’re going against dangerous casters. That’s a pretty significant number of bosses, so this is pretty great! Mislead is fun, especially for out-of-combat purposes, but doesn’t do too much outside of scouting and doing party tricks. Still, really fun!
This is far from a bad spell list, though not exactly spammable. I love all of the Paladin Auras they pull to make them a beacon of party buffs.
The Twilight Cleric starts with some additional combat versatility.
You gain proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor.
Martial weapons tend to be slightly stronger Simple Weapons. Their benefit tends to be minor, like a slightly higher damage dice or an additional use for the weapon. Clerics can make good use out of weapons with additional reach, additional damage, or actual utility. As a Twilight Cleric, you are probably going to be melee, because…
Heavy armor is such a good thing for you! With Heavy Armor, you can completely ignore the Dexterity stat, and just invest in Wisdom, Constitution, and Strength. This proficiency doesn’t mean you can’t be a ranged or low-range build, but it does let you choose between Dexterity and Strength without needing to go in-between, since Medium Armor tends to like 14 Dexterity.
We highly suggest using Heavy Armor, as it reduces the number of stats you need to spread around.
Eyes of Night
Your first unique ability is… good, not amazing.
You can see through the deepest gloom. You have darkvision out to a range of 300 feet. In that radius, you can see in dim light as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light.
As an action, you can magically share the darkvision of this feature with willing creatures you can see within 10 feet of you, up to a number of creatures equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of one creature). The shared darkvision lasts for 1 hour. Once you share it, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest, unless you expend a spell slot of any level to share it again.
Allowing your party to gain 300 feet of Darkvision for a full hour? That eliminates ANY need for Torches and outranges most other sources of darkvision by a ton! You can really plot ambushes since you can see so far away. You probably don’t need to do this more than once per day, but the ability to drop a level 1 slot to get it again…
But, realistically, it’s unnecessary to do more than once. An hour is a long time! Just remember that this is guaranteed to drop after a short rest.
This Darkvision is actually longer than any natural darkvision, and so you’re not wasting anything if your party has characters with darkvision. It’s still useful for scouting or outranging.
The final ability that you get at level 1 is… actually pretty stellar!
The night has taught you to be vigilant. As an action, you give one creature you touch (including possibly yourself) advantage on the next initiative roll the creature makes. This benefit ends immediately after the roll or if you use this feature again.
So, every time you finish a combat, you throw this on whoever you wish to go first. Then, they get advantage on initiative!
Who wants to go first in a fight, though? The characters that go first in a fight should either deal with as many enemies as possible, or buff a party. So… a Sorcerer or Wizard are quite good choices. You’re also a good choice! But, if you want to heal party members, they need to take damage first. So if you plan on buffing, then you’re a good choice. If you plan on using a healing spell like Aura of Vitality, consider helping someone else first. Assassin rogues can be good too.
Channel Divinity: Twilight Sanctuary
Your channel divinity option gets one upgrade later in the class. It’s not the only thing your class is good for, but you should get use to it.
As an action, you present your holy symbol, and a sphere of twilight emanates from you. The sphere is centered on you, has a 30-foot radius, and is filled with dim light. The sphere moves with you, and it lasts for 1 minute or until you are incapacitated or die. Whenever a creature (including you) ends its turn in the sphere, you can grant that creature one of these benefits:
- You grant it temporary hit points equal to 1d6 plus your cleric level.
- You end one effect on it causing it to be charmed or frightened.
So, this scales insanely well with your Cleric level! 1d6 plus cleric level temp HP makes a big difference, especially since you get it every round. That means you get around 3 + Cleric level every round, which is pretty grand! Later on, this blocks 23 damage to everyone near you! That’s wild, and can easily swing a fight in your favor. Even at level 2, that’s still an average of 9 damage a turn!
The other effect is obviously better when they are charmed or frightened, since those statuses heavily affect how a creature fights. Cure frightened whenever you can, though Charm may or may not be as important based on the scenario.
Interestingly, you can purge the statuses from an enemy. Not sure why that would matter, but it’s there!
Steps of Night
At level 6, you get one of the earlier flight allowances (outside of the Fly spell) that a class can offer.
You can draw on the mystical power of night to rise into the air. As a bonus action when you are in dim light or darkness, you can magically give yourself a flying speed equal to your walking speed for 1 minute. You can use this bonus action a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Casting Fly on yourself as a bonus action is pretty good, and it doesn’t even cost any spell slots or anything. It’s a pretty short duration, and the fly speed isn’t too fast, but it does what it’s supposed to. You have a quick and easy way to chase flying enemies or reposition correctly.
You do need to be in dim light or darkness to activate this ability, but it doesn’t seem like you need to be in darkness to keep your fly speed. If you can find a shadow you can get yourself the flight you need to reposition or whatever you require.
Keep the resource in mind; you only have so many of these!
At level 8, you have incentive to use your weapon instead of your cantrips.
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. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
1 to 2 d8s of extra damage on your weapon attacks will outscale your cantrips, even without fancy magic weapons. This is exactly what you needed to make your weapon just good enough to use all the time!
However, your cantrips are probably your best option for ranged attacks (if you’re melee), so you might want to still consider getting at least some spell implements if you can. This would not make your Cantrips worse than, say, a Bow on a Strength character.
In addition, if you want to be a Hybrid weapon/cantrip user, the optional class feature Blessed Strike adds 1d8 to both weapon and cantrip attacks. That can let you use cantrips without much issue, if you find yourself going back and forth between weapons and spells.
The final ability, at level 17, is quite potent.
The twilight that you summon offers a protective embrace: you and your allies have half cover while in the sphere created by your Twilight Sanctuary.
So now, your allies not only gain about 20-25 temporary hitpoints per turn, but they get half cover. That’s a +2 to AC, meaning enemies are 10% less likely to land hits! That’s going to be a really hard party to kill… As long as you have Channel Divinity procs.
You’re basically dedicated to using your channels on this, as it’s even more likely to protect your party against undead than Turn Undead is. And now that you have 3 procs per rest, you’re going to be extremely likely to stay alive during any encounter that you pop your Channel.
Best Races for Twilight Clerics
Twilight Clerics care mostly about Wisdom, with a particular love of Strength and Constitution. A Ranged Twilight Cleric can work just fine; just replace Strength with Dexterity. Our first suggestion is a Heavy Armor build, while our second is a ranged build.
These guys, from Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica (or Mythic Odysseys of Theros) are pretty stellar! They move fast, with 40 feet of movement speed. also, they are extremely good at closing on enemies and staying in their face. They even get some bonus proficiencies for some Wisdom skills! Just be careful when climbing, since your horse body has problems with anything involving hands and feet. Defend the darkness as the glorious stallion and the white knight!
These birds are a pretty obvious choice for a night-themed domain. Kenku are crow people from Volo’s Guide to Monsters. They have +2 Dex, +1 Wisdom, which is good for a ranged-ish build. Kenku are great for out-of-combat, with the Forgery and Mimicry abilities. They can also gain 2 sneaky skills for free, allowing you to make a pretty heavily skilled Cleric. You can also make the sounds of the night with your Mimicry ability, which can be really fun!
Conclusion – Our Take on the Twilight Domain
The Twilight Domain isn’t too synergistic with itself, instead offering a bunch of utility in a few different places. It’s therefore a decent support build, but acts as more of a problem solver for the party, almost like a Wizard. If you want more unique builds like this cleric, check out Tasha’s guide, because there’s plenty of really unique builds!