Starter’s Guide: Cleric

Welcome to Starter’s Guide. Come on in and learn up on the deity worshiping, ally supporting, radiant blasting…


Welcome all, Starter’s guide is meant to help brand new players to D&D who want to play but don’t want an overwhelming amount of information. We will break down the main classes in D&D for all you new players looking to build a character.

Class talk

Clerics are the best at preventive damage, in combat. Oftentimes people believe a cleric can only be a healer, when in fact the opposite is true. A Cleric is meant to support and prevent damage and then if allies are severely wounded, then they can be a healer. Clerics have a huge list of spells that work at preventing damages from ever happening in the first place. They sometimes wear armor and wield a shield but that doesn’t always have to be the case. They use wisdom as their main stat for all their spellcasting using the power of their God to guide them. They can usually hold their own and excel at keeping allies alive. No team ever feels safer than when a cleric comes along.

Stat Allocation

When making a character you can use something called Standard Array:
15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. Using these numbers you can pair them with these six attributes; Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, & Charisma. These determine your characters stats. But you don’t want to just throw them anywhere randomly, you need them in places that make sense to your class and character.

So each of the numbers above can be paired with each attribute, putting your highest numbers with the attributes that are most important to the class and character.

The main stat of a Cleric is Wisdom, this is the stat you will be using for your spellcasting, the least important is often Charisma. The next highest stat you usually always want for a spellcaster is Constitution since it helps you maintain spells; but also a little extra HP never hurts anyone. The remaining stats can go wherever you like; Dexterity for speed, Intelligence for big brains, and Strength for hitting and pushing people. Here is just one example of what your base stats could look like.

Strength= 13

Dexterity= 10


Intelligence= 12

Wisdom= 15

Charisma= 8

Race Options

The best options by far are races that add Wisdom; but Constitution is also a viable options. But remember you should always build your class however you want. And if you’re interested in building your cleric a different way the Trickery Domain Cleric is one possible subclass.

Unfortunately, from the base races there actually aren’t too many races that give a good boost to Wisdom; which only really leaves Humans and Hill Dwarves which can both make for great Clerics. Luckily some of the later races added such as Water genasi and Firbolg make for some of the best Clerics.

Tips, Tricks, & Roles

Healing is important but it doesn’t have to be your only role. If you just want to be a healer then there is nothing wrong with that and your team will always be grateful for it. Clerics get such an array of spells which they can use on and off the battlefield. It is always good to pick up Healing Word. This spell provides very little healing but it excels at keeping your allies up when they are dropped to 0 HP. Healing Word is only a bonus action and it can actually turn the tides of a battle if people start dropping. You won’t regret picking this up; but again don’t use it for healing, get your allies back up if they go down. A more reliable healing spell is Cure Wounds. When you get stronger spells, try your hand at Hold Person. For tips on that spell you read up with this article on Hold Person. If you can identify a threatening target on the battlefield then this spell can make them useless, and by doing so you prevent them from dealing any damage to your allies. Every turn you can buy for your allies is a godsend. 

Off the battlefield clerics can remove curses, get rid of undead, create food and water, remove poisons, and a great many many other things. At higher levels you can even bring back your allies from the death. So experiment with your spells and see what works. And don’t shy away from the opportunity to play up a Cleric’s beliefs in a positive way. A cleric can be an everlasting ray of hope for many players as well as npcs. Pick a God whose morals and beliefs you feel you could portray in a hopeful and kind way to others.

And finally, every day you can pick a certain number of spells that you can use for the day; no matter what you do there will always be a spell that would have been perfect if you had only picked it, this happens to everyone so don’t get hung up on this. Do your best to pick the spells you think will help for the day but don’t blame yourself if you couldn’t foresee 1 out of a literal infinite number of possibilities.

To Close it Out

Clerics can do so many things and be at any place in the battlefield and still do really well. Off the battlefield they can benefit any society. Try to remember, prevent damage first and then after if people are injured, you can heal them. Lastly, although I think you should not be a healer first, there is something to be said about the morale of the group being tied to how healthy their characters feel; it’s great knowing someone has your back if you get too hurt out there.

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