D&D 5e: Warforged Cleric Guide
D&D 5e: Warforged Cleric Guide
The warrior priest is a fantasy character staple that can only be enhanced by making it a magical robot war machine. Exceptionally tanky, this race and class combo comfortably acts as the backbone of any party.
This starter guide is designed to get you playing fast, explaining your potential build paths, spell and subclass options, and more.
How to Make a Warforged Cleric
Building a Cleric tends towards the simple, with one major decision point early on:
Are you going to be a battle Cleric, using weapons for damage and mostly casting buffs and the occasional damage spell? If so, your stat spread will probably be Str 16, with Con and Wis sitting at a slightly lower 14.
If instead, you choose to be a caster, Wis should be maxed as early as possible to increase spell DCs, with Con and Dex as your secondary stats.
All Clerics have access to a reasonable list of gear proficiencies: Simple weapons, up to medium armor, and shields. This means every Cleric can have decent AC, which stacks nicely with the Warforged bonus. Gear beyond weapon and shield doesn’t tend to matter, but remember that you need a holy symbol to cast many of your spells. (Pro tip. Put a second one on your shield.) Generally, choosing the heaviest armor you can wear and the weapon with the largest damage dice is enough consideration here.
Many subclasses offer supplementary proficiencies, often towards the role they’re built to play. Martial weapons and Heavy Armor are both common sights at level 1. However you choose to gear up, a melee weapon and a backup ranged weapon are always good to have on hand, as many of the Cleric cantrips are short-ranged.
The Cleric skill list is far more limited, picking 2 from a list of 5 options. Clerics also don’t tend to have the stats to be good at many skills. However, from mid-levels, this won’t be an issue, as your problems will mostly be solved with magic. As long as you take proficiency in Perception, (which Clerics are very good at) the rest of your skill choices are mostly free.
How to Play a Warforged Cleric
Playing a Cleric is decided predominantly by your subclass choice, but playstyles are broadly split between two main themes: frontline brawler and backline caster.
Frontline clerics generally clad themselves in the heaviest armor they can wear, and wade into combat supporting their more martial colleagues. Early levels generally see as many rounds attacking with weapons as casting spells, but the class probably transitions into full spellcasting from around level 5.
Spell choices for this style of play could include raw damage, with standouts like Spiritual Weapon and Spirit Guardians, or buffing allies using examples like Bless and Shield of Faith.
Backline casters normally want higher WIS than frontline Clerics, which makes their save-based debuffs much more likely to stick. Spells like Command, Blindness/Deafness, and Bestow Curse can end an encounter in one failed roll.
While we’re discussing spells, it’s important to touch on healing.
Often, newer players believe that a Cleric’s job is to keep everyone topped up to max HP. But 5e was explicitly designed to make in-combat healing an inefficient choice.
Remember. The only HP that really matters is the last one. A character on 1HP fights at the same effectiveness as a character that’s just rested. A good rule of thumb is only to use actions to heal when characters drop to 0 HP, to get them back on their feet and into the fight.
With this in mind, the best healing spell without question at every level of the game is Healing Word, because it takes a bonus action to cast so doesn’t eat into your action economy, and only uses a level 1 spell slot.
Clerics have not one but two of the most broken subclasses in the whole of 5e, both of which are exceptional options for the Warforged: Peace and Twilight.
The Domain of Peace is mostly support focused. Its main ability is Emboldening Bond, which adds a D4 to one roll a turn to multiple members of the party and scales both in uses and number of targets, as well as stacking with spells like Bless.
This single ability would be enough to recommend the class, but the domain also offers essentially free emergency healing and the ability to play pass-the-parcel with damage amongst party members. It’s an excellent subclass, to the point that many GMs are wary of its power.
The Domain of Twilight, on the other hand, is widely considered straight-up broken. Early levels are packed with boons, each one of which would be enough for an inferior, less godly subclass. Bonus proficiencies, the best Darkvision in the game, (5x normal range!) which can be handed out to the party, and free, permanent Advantage on Initiative for one member of the party.
But the most powerful thing on offer is Twilight Sanctuary, the domain’s channel divinity power. Available from level 2, the ability is a one-minute 30ft bubble that allows you to hand out scaling temporary HP at the end of every single turn to your party members. The HP on offer is high enough that many encounters find themselves incapable of dealing meaningful damage, and as you level the ability can be used multiple times per day.
A final choice, that’s both fluffy and powerful, is the Forge Domain. This again offers Heavy Armor, but on top of that, gives you multiple ways to stack bonuses to AC to become an invincible tank. Backing this up is a powerful spell list and some interesting RP potential built around forging yourself as well as your weapons and armor into superlative tools.
How to Roleplay as a Warforged Cleric
That’s the single biggest question when you’re building RP hooks into your character. Why was your particular Warforged created? What was his role, and does he still ascribe to it?
Why did he find religion? Why does he follow his particular path and his particular god? How does that impact his life?
Why does he fight, instead of preach? Is this the only thing he knows, or is this simply the most direct path to keeping the people of the world safe? Or perhaps this is something greater. A divine calling, you could call it.
Everything on your character sheet is an opportunity to ask this question, and sitting back for five minutes can offer an absolute ton of insight.
If you’re struggling, the old, grizzled veteran who found the gods fits perfectly here as a starting point, as does the newly converted firebrand preacher who knows that his path and his allies are blessed, despite their protestations. After all, if a constructed being can find faith, so can anyone else.