D&D 5e: Order Domain Cleric Guide
D&D 5e: Order Domain Cleric Guide
Role in the Party
The Order Domain Cleric is the cleric centered around being the law; clerics of this domain tend to believe that the enforcement of well-crafted laws is necessary to maintain order, and will act to achieve this end. You can make your Order Domain cleric good, neutral, or evil, but they had better be lawful unless you want to make a very confusing character.
Your features center around enforcing your will (or the will of the law) on others, whether to boost allies or harm allies. Your role will be like that of a normal cleric; you have a high armor class, can heal, can cast support spells, can damage enemies, and can sometimes debuff enemies too.
Order Domain Cleric Features
1st: Command is a fine spell that’s already on the cleric list, and Heroism is a great way to remove the frightened condition from allies or proactively prevent it, and it provides some extra temporary hit points. I was surprised to find that Heroism wasn’t already on the cleric list; it ought to be.
3rd: Hold Person is an okay but situational and risky to use spell that’s already on the cleric list, and the same with Zone of Truth.
5th: Mass Healing Word is kind of a meh spell since it doesn’t do much healing, so it’s only good for bringing up a few allies with one bonus action, and Slow is a decent spell.
7th: Locate Creature is probably a waste of a slot most of the time, and Compulsion is an underwhelming spell that’s only good for making enemies provoke opportunity attacks. Just use Spirit Guardians.
9th: Commune is a fine spell that’s already on the cleric list, and Dominate Person is a risky spell with an expensive cost, and it’s situational since it only works on humanoids.
When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor. You also gain proficiency in the Intimidation or Persuasion skill (your choice).
Heavy armor and a skill proficiency will help you a bit. It’s not dramatic, but it is useful.
Voice of Authority
Starting at 1st level, you can invoke the power of law to embolden an ally to attack. If you cast a spell with a spell slot of 1st level or higher and target an ally with the spell, that ally can use their reaction immediately after the spell to make one weapon attack against a creature of your choice that you can see.
If the spell targets more than one ally, you choose the ally who can make the attack.
I have used this ability, and it is indeed dramatic: let’s say we’re a level 7 Order Cleric and cast Bless on the party, and we use it on the level 7 rogue. They make an attack with their hand crossbow, add the bless d4, and probably hit. They get sneak attack and deal a total of 5d6+5 damage. We just got well over the damage of an entire Guiding Bolt for free on top of our Bless! And if that rogue had a magic weapon, it’ll deal even more damage and have a better chance to hit. You can also use this on a Great Weapon Master fighter to maybe deal 2d6+15 damage with a single hit, which is fairly dramatic as well.
Voice of Authority lets you give the biggest single attack hitter in the party another hit all the time. This isn’t even limited to buff spells or Cleric spells: if you have five levels in Wizard and fireball the rogue, they get their reaction attack anyway even if they pass the save and use Evasion to take no damage. This is one of the best 1st level cleric features out there, except for the infamous Peace cleric, and this plus the heavy armor proficiency are what make Order Domain a dip in all kinds of spellcaster builds.
Channel Divinity: Order’s Demand
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to exert an intimidating presence over others.
As an action, you present your holy symbol, and each creature of your choice that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by you until the end of your next turn or until the charmed creature takes any damage. You can also cause any of the charmed creatures to drop what they are holding when they fail the saving throw.
This is a somewhat circumstantial Channel Divinity. If you use this against a bunch of goblins without planning or thinking, they’ll all be charmed and drop their scimitars, which sounds good at first. However, when their turns come up, they’ll just pick up the scimitars and then attack people who aren’t you, which might not be what you want as a high armor class character.
This is much more effective as an area of effect disarm; if the rogue goes after you and before the goblins, they can swoop in and grab one of their weapons, leaving them weaponless or forcing them to use a crappy backup option.
However, not all creatures use weapons, and the battlefield and initiative order aren’t always favorable; keep that in mind.
Embodiment of the Law
At 6th level, you become remarkably adept at channeling magical energy to compel others.
If you cast a spell of the enchantment school using a spell slot of 1st level or higher, you can change the spell’s casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting, provided the spell’s casting time is normally 1 action.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.
Fun fact: clerics have exactly seven enchantment spells, not counting the ambiguously official Acquisitions Incorporated content. Of these, the only ones with a casting time of one action are Bane, Bless, Calm Emotions, Command, Hold Person, and Zone of Truth. Clerics also don’t have strong non-leveled spell actions, so this feature just lets you tag a free cantrip or mediocre weapon attack on top of it. Multiclassing to make the most of this feature probably isn’t worth it.
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 psychic damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
The Tasha’s optional class feature (Blessed Strikes) version works on cantrips too. Use that one instead. Clerics aren’t great weapon users.
Starting at 17th level, enemies you designate for destruction wilt under the combined efforts of you and your allies. If you deal your Divine Strike damage to a creature on your turn, you can curse that creature until the start of your next turn. The next time one of your allies hits the cursed creature with an attack, the target also takes 2d8 psychic damage, and the curse ends. You can curse a creature in this way only once per turn.
You can only benefit from this feature if you didn’t take the Tasha’s replacement for Divine Strike. Even if you didn’t replace it, you’re using a simple weapon to deal… probably 1d6+4d8+3 damage if you’re using a d6 weapon and have 16 in the weapon attack stat. A Sacred Flame cantrip will deal 5d8 damage with Blessed Strikes. This is just bad.
Your level 1 features make you one of the best multiclassing candidates in the game for any spellcasting class, from Druids to Sorcerers to Wizards. Voice of Authority is also powerful for a straight classed cleric at any level. You’re also the cleric most suited to saying “I am the law” over and over like you’re Judge Dredd, and that’s probably the only thing better than Voice of Authority.
The features you gain after level 1 all range from meh to awful, and Voice of Authority is less useful without a rogue.
Best Race Options
Githzerai can cast the Shield spell, making them excellent for bolstering your already great defense, and they can cast Detect Thoughts too; every law enforcer-type character wants this spell, and it’s not on your spell list already.
Hill Dwarf is another great defensive option due to the bonus hit points, and the ability to wear heavy armor without a speed penalty if you don’t meet the strength requirements is great.
Warforged and Autognome will let you become Robocop.
Choosing the Right Skills
Persuasion and/or Intimidation are suitable skills for you; your subclass forces you to pick one, and I’d recommend Persuasion the most since it comes up more often.
Perception is the most important skill in the game, so take it. Medicine may be useful sometimes, and Insight is excellent for interrogating evildoers.
Religion and Arcana both make sense for a religious spellcaster, and Investigation is handy for any detective character.
Resilient (Constitution) will increase an odd constitution score, improve your concentration, and make you just a little bit more of an unstoppable magic sheriff.
Metamagic Adept is great for Extend Spell (for doubling the healing of an Aura of Vitality and extending other spells) and Subtle spell (for avoiding Counterspells and casting magic in secret). Great for undercover cop work.
Observant and Skill Expert (Perception) are half feats, and they’re both ways to become a master of observation. Criminals, bandits, monsters, and other sussy bakas will not escape your watchful gaze.
Acolyte is a standard and broadly applicable background for all cleric subclasses, and you can pick it if you’re not sure what else to grab.
City Watch is suitable if you want your Order Cleric to have a background in law bringing, whether they were part of a good city watch or a more tyrannical one.
Prismari Student is the most powerful background in the game for an Order Cleric; it expands your spell list so you can do things most clerics can only dream of and it comes with a free Strixhaven Initiate feat.
Any full spellcaster is perfect to pair with this, but here are two of my favorites:
Clockwork Soul Sorcerers are associated with the lawful plane of Mechanus, and they’re a perfect thematic fit. One level of Order Domain cleric taken after your first level of Sorcerer (for constitution save proficiency) makes for one of the best support builds in the game. I played a Hill Dwarf character with this multiclass and it was incredibly fun and versatile.
Evocation Wizards with one level of Order Cleric can fireball their allies, deal no damage to any of them, and then give the rogue a reaction attack. Also, the wizard is wearing plate mail and a shield now.
For an Order Cleric who wants to use Voice of Authority twice in one turn, two levels of Fighter for Action Surge will let you do that. Perfect for a party with two rogues. But if you do this every round, you’ll burn through spell slots faster than you can say “I am the law.”
Would I recommend playing an Order Domain Cleric Guide?
I strongly recommend Order Domain as a one level dip for almost any full caster out there; my recommendation is much weaker for a character who mostly has Order Domain levels, but it’s still a perfectly good character.
Lastly, remember that rogues benefit the most from Voice of Authority, so coordinate with the other players and see if anyone else is interested in playing a rogue.