Power Your Next 5E D&D Game with Friendship as a Peace Domain Cleric from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is kind of notorious for adding several aspects to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons that feel like they always should have always been present in the game. One of these aspects embraces a classic fantasy trope — the power of friendship. The Peace Domain cleric is all about the power of friendship in all the best ways. The Unity Domain from Unearthed Arcana leveled up and evolved into this new Domain. The way mechanics support this subclass give such vital flavor and represent really the best restructuring of Unearthed Arcana content we’ve seen. What’s more this subclass really inspired me with its tone and flavor to the point I feel the best place for this particular subclass is a dark fantasy campaign in the vein of things like The Witcher and Dragon Age.
Walking the path of the Peace Domain in 5E D&D
Recently I was talking with Nerditor Doug about my love of dark fantasy. I’ll never forget his reaction, saying I just didn’t seem the sort to enjoy dark things like this. However, I’m here to defend the darkness and explain why heroes shine brightest in dark fantasy!
The thing about dark fantasy is it rewards selfishness and punishes heroes. This might sound counterintuitive to fun but I think it makes heroes stand out so much more. When it comes to dark fantasy it costs something to be selfless. In dark fantasy walking the road of peace is hard. It genuinely takes more strength to be peaceful in a dark fantasy setting than to commit violence. Selfishness is easy and this makes it cheap.
When it comes to dark fantasy those who dare to sacrifice for the greater good must stick together and the Peace Domain is all about this perspective for a cleric. In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything we get a cleric whose entire schtick is togetherness and the bonds forged by trials. By creating a magical bond among a group of people a Peace Domain cleric empowers their allies with the literal power of friendship. The very mechanics of this subclass reward selflessness and camaraderie.
Peace Domain cleric features
This is the quintessential support cleric subclass. Peace Domain Spells ooze with this (ew, maybe not quite the best word choice, but you get it). From healing and protection to empowerment and communication this cleric really does have it all.
Beyond the Peace Domain Spells you begin with a bonus proficiency courtesy of the Implement of Peace feature and any of the options make a character automatically better at communicating with others. If this weren’t enough you also get Emboldening Bond at 1st level, which works much like a limited bless spell requiring proximity to bonded creatures. This mechanic quite literally fosters togetherness. How appropriate! It also rewards characters who normally wouldn’t be so close to remain within a single turn’s movement of one another.
The Channel Divinity: Balm of Peace feature at 2nd level rivals the Life Domain cleric and really cements this subclass as an equally viable support option. I also love the idea your very presence radiates into a healing aura. If this wholesome ability doesn’t light up like a Christmas tree in a dark fantasy setting I don’t know what does.
With Protective Bond at 6th level we see the really cool aspect of this cleric — its evolution of a core mechanic. At 1st level you can forge a bond with others and this 6th level feature empowers the Emboldening Bond, granting it new mechanics. Specifically this allows one of the bonded creatures to take damage for the other. This is a superior ability in terms of flavor and is one of the staples of why I love this subclass for dark fantasy. It allows your allies to make a hard decision and be truly selfless.
Our 8th level Potent Spellcasting feature grants a staple for many clerics. This feels like an obvious option since giving the Peace Domain cleric Divine Strike feels wrong on multiple levels.
The capstone Expansive Bond feature for this cleric at 17th level further rewards characters for being selfless by empowering that 6th level Protective Bond feature and warding the selfless one from part of the damage.
On the whole the Peace Domain cleric fits well in so much more than just dark fantasy but I felt like the case should be made for why it would work. Not just because I have dark fantasy on the brain but also because a power of friendship cleric doesn’t usually scream useful in settings of this variety. If nothing else I hope this gets you thinking about how the power of friendship transcends genre conventions and has a place in every setting.
What do you think?
Do you own Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything? What are your thoughts on the Peace Domain cleric? Let us know in the comments!