Command Respect and Fear with the Order Domain from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
The Order Domain from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything feels truly weird in the spectrum of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. What I mean is this subclass is tied heavily to law, discipline and command and few other 5E D&D cleric Divine Domains associate so strongly with a particular alignment. For most other cleric Divine Domains we have more general concepts — things like Light, Life and Nature. While I come very close to exploring the notion of how the Order Domain demonstrates the death of the traditional alignment system, that’s too deep a topic for today. Instead let’s talk about first impressions and how this 5E D&D cleric feels almost like the antithesis of another Divine Domain from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything – the Peace Domain.
Order and peace in 5E D&D
Order and Peace are two Divine Domains for clerics within Tasha’s Cauldron of everything that feel intrinsically tied to one another. Peace can absolutely be a result of order but it order could also just as easily follow war — no matter what side wins.
Let that sink in for a moment. This cleric could be used as a villain archetype in a setting like Grim Hollow or Ravenloft to represent the imposed laws and strictures upon society. I love how versatile and neutral the Order Domain feels.
While the Peace Domain empowers individuals to join willingly the Order Domain subjugates. True, the ally you just healed might want to strike the foe you commanded them to but they might also do the Order Domain cleric’s bidding wholly against their will and here’s where things get interesting with this cleric domain.
Narrative conflict could absolutely stem from a cleric empowering some to attack a target with a command. What happens when the Order Domain cleric commands the party leader, and it works? While peace clerics grant benefits to those who choose to remain together and stand strong the Order Domain’s features center around forced action. Thematically a cleric of order manipulates the minds of others with its psychic damage dealing Divine Strike. This domain feels very much like a pseudo psionic cleric and can fill niches previously filled by 4E D&D’s Ardent or Warlord. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Or as I like to call it the Best Edition of D&D]
On the whole the Order Domain revolves around charm, which means these clerics are going to feel extremely powerful in certain contexts and extremely weak in others. This subclass clearly fills a niche.
Order Domain features
- Domain Spells. For the Order Domain, your cleric gets access to charms like command and hold person. You also get powerful bolstering spells like heroism and mass healing word evoking a vibe similar to the discipline priest from World of Warcraft. Compulsion, commune, dominate person and locate creature are where the Order Domain starts to rear a bit of a sinister air for me. That last one is especially alarming as it means this cleric is willing to hunt things down. Combine with commune being a means of taking direct orders from your deity on your own and those other two outright stripping agency from creatures and you get a pretty disturbing picture if morality is even a bit askew.
- Bonus Proficiencies. Gaining proficiency in heavy armor feels natural for this cleric particularly with its very militaristic feel. As for gaining proficiency in either Intimidation or Persuasion, this is where things really define your character’s approach and flavor. Does your Order Domain cleric prefer violence and coercion? Then you pick Intimidation. If you prefer to be more diplomatic (or the pessimist in me inserts “manipulative” here) then Persuasion is your go to. I tend to view the former as the evil manifestation and the latter as good or at least neutral.
- Voice of Authority. This feature is what I really zeroed in on while reading this class as it feels like the core feature dictating so much of the flavor. This is where you command an ally to make an attack. Technically the text specifically calls out which creature the target attacks as the cleric’s choice — not the commanded individual’s choice. This is more than a hair alarming if you think about it too much and it can definitely lead to some sweet, sweet party drama (in game only, of course). When played well with a mature group this can make for some awesome stories and conflict. However, speaking as someone who regularly runs D&D games for kids I would caution that less mature groups might need some modification of this feature to maintain the peace (pun intended). A simple adjustment of who chooses the target should suffice, I would imagine.
- Channel Divinity: Order’s Demand. Here we have another instance of stripping agency from creatures, something that frankly screams lawful evil cleric to me though in a flavor way and not a bad way by any means. This ability is extremely powerful as any creature within 30 feet that fails its saving throw against this ability can be made to drop whatever it is holding. Weapon wielding enemies, mages with foci and so many more will cower at this feature the first time you use it.
- Embodiment of the Law. This handy feature allows you to transform your enchantment spells in a sorcerous way. The ability to make a single action spell into a bonus action spell is crazy powerful, but as mentioned earlier its focus on enchantment makes this more situationally useful than at a glance. This is another feature making this cleric feel at home translating a World of Warcraft discipline priest into 5E D&D.
- Divine Strike. A fairly straightforward feature this allows your cleric’s weapon attacks to deal extra psychic damage, which could easily manifest as your cleric striking abject terror into their hearts or even psionically toying with their minds and possibly evoking a primal emotional response from the blow.
- Order’s Wrath. With this feature you curse creatures you hit with your Divine Strike, functionally empowering it further. I like the interesting twist of enhancing and building up a previous feature, which clerics don’t generally get too often. This ability really pulls the synergy of features together nicely and brings the whole package full circle as you can order your allies to then strike the same creature as you to get this feature’s benefit every round, if you so choose.
What do you think of the Order Domain for clerics from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything? Do you play a cleric of Order? What flavor would you superimpose on one? Let us know in the comments, connecting with us on Facebook or tweeting us @Nerdarchy.