Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Cleric’s have a deep connection to the origins of Dungeons and Dragons, being one of the first three classes published, and the only original class to keep its name throughout the years.
They have a deep connection to the deity they serve, so much so that they are imbued with divine powers.
One of the best cleric classes out there, the forge domain clerics devote themselves to a deity who presides over the domain of the Forge. These are hardy gods who represent fire, the hearth, metal, crafting, smithing, and more.
Serving a deity who is so innately tied to artisans, blacksmiths, and metal workers means that these clerics are almost as crafty as artificers.
Unlike other domains like life, death, and nature, the forge is more than just a lofty concept. I mean, the forge domain doesn’t just have substance, it is substance and the creation of substance.
The gods who see over this domain are often seen as patient and hardworking, devoted to the forge, and the same is true for clerics who follow this domain.
So naturally, an important part of any cleric is the gods they worship.
Some gods who preside over the forge domain are as follows:
- Moradin – The creator god of the dwarves is the embodiment of strength and an iron will.
- Darahl Firecloak – This minor elven god is connected to earth and fire magic, more so than just the forge.
- Gond – The Lord of All Smiths is the god of the Faerun pantheon who pushes his followers towards continuous innovation.
- Mythrien Sarath – This deities’ control over protection magic connects him to the forge domain.
- Tharmekhûl – This deity is a servant of Moradin, and represents more of the aspects of the forge’s fire than just the forge itself.
- Reorx – Reorx is the god of creation, dwarves, and gnomes in the Dragonlance setting.
- Onatar – A member of the Sovereign Host, Onatar is the father, and is often seen as a smith, or at times a brass dragon.
- Hephaestus – Originating in Greek myth as the god of the forge and fire, some settings will see Hephaestus as an interloper deity.
- Goibhniu – Similar to Hephaestus, Goibhniu is the celtic god of the forge.
Forge domain clerics can choose any of these gods, or any other deities related to the forge to gain their power from. Forge clerics in the eberron setting might even be atheists, but have such a deep connection to their belief in the power of the forge.
- Defensive Tanks
- Creative Smiths and Artisans
- Plenty of Fire Power
The forge domain clerics get an incredibly powerful and cohesive set of abilities that fit the concept of the forge so well. Every piece of their subclass abilities invokes the image of a hardy blacksmith who has chosen a life of adventure.
So let’s start by looking at all the defensive abilities. Starting at 1st level, we get proficiency in heavy armor, moving us up to the highest ACs available. Then we get the ability to give our armor +1 by making it a magical item with our Blessing of the Forge.
Of course, we can also use Blessing of the Forge to give the bonus to a weapon or to give the bonus to the non magical item of another member of our party should we choose to be more supportive, rather than defensive.
As a 1st-level ability in which we can choose a new target for each day, there are a lot of opportunities at our fingertips.
Moving forward to 6th level, we get Soul of the Forge which gives us an automatic +1 to AC when we’re wearing heavy armor, and resistance to fire damage.
This boosts up to an immunity to fire damage and resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage as our capstone ability at 17th level. Guided by a god of the forge we can walk through fire and not get burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Another defensive measure we get is the Protection from Energy spell at 5th level. This spell can be used as a support or we can provide ourselves with more resistances.
This fits the theme of many of the spells available to us through the normal cleric spell list, allowing us to heal, buff, or tank as the situation requires.
Naturally, we get some abilities that allow us to create things. We already discussed Blessing of the Forge, which channels our power over the forge into magical energy imbued into a weapon or suit of armor. Our channel divinity fits this niche as well!
We can use the divine energy of our god to create just about any metal object, so long as it costs less than 100 gp. I’m not sure how much of an effect bartering has with a god, but it’s always worth a try.
Seriously though, this lets us pump out weapons, armor, and more in an hour using divine magic and enough metal to create the object. Ironically this doesn’t even require the use of smith’s tools, which we do get proficiency in at 1st level.
We’re also getting a ton of spells that fuel our creative fire. Not the least of which is creation, a powerful spell that lets you create objects with shadowfell energy.
We also get Animate Objects, turning ordinary (or not so ordinary, if you’re feeling particularly creative) objects into soldiers for your cause. Wall of Fire, Fabricate, and Identify all feel deeply connected to the concept of a truly powerful smith as well.
Now let’s finish things up by talking about my bad pun. While you’re probably not going to be using guns, you totally could by the way, most of your offensive capabilities utilize the power of fire.
Your Divine Strike gives you extra fire damage to deal on any weapon attacks you make, once per turn. That amount of consistent extra damage is a sight to behold.
To boot we get plenty of hot spells; Wall of Fire, Searing Smite, Heat Metal, and Elemental Weapon all give you the ability to strike while the iron is hot. That’s almost half of all your spells devoted to the forge’s fire, making you a real threat for anyone that’s not resistant to fire damage.
Let’s keep it rolling with that last comment from the class-defining abilities. While there is some serious potential to be a big threat to any creatures you come across, most of your abilities are centered around fire damage. Even your resistances are focused on fire damage until you reach your capstone.
Fire is one of the most common damage types in fifth edition. This is a bit of a double-edged sword for the forge cleric. On one hand, your resistance is one of the most useful in the game. On the other hand, there are a lot of creatures who have resistance or even immunity to your favored damage type.
In the monster manual, there are 37 creatures with fire resistance, and 40 creatures with immunity, which puts fire in second place to only poison damage (which boasts a whopping 90 creatures with immunity).
As with any damage type, it all depends what kind of monsters your DM throws at you. If they want to mess with you, you’ll be using those other elements for Elemental Weapon a lot more often. If they’re nice, you’ll burn empires to the ground.
At the end of the day it comes down to odds, and odds are you’ll have to find some other way to capitalize on extra damage. Dual-wielding weapons with differing elemental bonuses might be a nice solution. Your creativity as a forge cleric will be the deciding factor on just how limiting this limitation really is.
Black Citadel’s Ranking and Tier System
Color and Tier ranking is very helpful when you’re trying to digest a lot of information. In our ongoing series of 5e class guides, we use the following color-rating scheme:
- Red – C Tier. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful and might make for an interesting narrative choice, but they are largely less effective than other tiers.
- Green – B Tier. Solid but nothing that is absolutely critical for a build, or Green can be very good but only in very specific situations.
- Blue – A Tier. An excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective.
- Purple – S Tier. The top of our rankings. Objectively powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are worth strongly considering when you create your character.
Our goal here is to provide scannable but comprehensive guides for you as you develop your character.
While we might sometimes make reference to unofficial or homebrew content to illustrate a point (or just because it’s too cool not to talk about), every option we suggest is legal in the official rules for D&D 5e as published by Wizards of the Coast.
Clerics can get a bit MAD (Multiple Ability Dependent) and the forge domain is no exception. You want to have a strong wisdom for all of your spellcasting, a high strength score for your attacks and your heavy armor, and a hardy constitution so that you can fit nicely into the tank niche.
Any combination of racial bonuses in these abilities will be good. Once you roll your stats you can decide how to balance each ability.
- Dwarf – +2 in Constitution means dwarf as a base is an excellent start. Dwarven combat training also gives you some great weapon proficiencies, like warhammer, that fit so nicely. Dwarven resilience gives you some nice saving throw advantages as well. On top of all this let’s just mention that most forge gods are deeply connected to the dwarves, with Moradin straight up being their creator god.
- Hill – +1 in Wisdom makes this the more spell-based option, along with providing a nice bonus to hit points.
- Mountain – +2 Strength is great, but we do run into double proficiencies with light and medium armor, which doesn’t stack. This choice is a catch 22, but considering that most of our benefits are coming from the main race, it’s not the end of the world to have a wasted racial feature.
- Firbolg – Wisdom +2 and Strength +1 is a great fit for clerics. These fey-oriented half giants get some fun magical abilities and a powerful build to make a really unique and powerful cleric.
- Genasi – +2 Constitution gives us a similar start to the dwarf main class. Unlike the dwarves, the rest of the useful abilities are tied to which subrace you choose.
- Earth – +1 Strength. You can move across difficult terrain without using extra movement, and you can cast Pass without Trace using constitution as your spellcasting ability. Nothing that’s intimately tied to the forge, but cool abilities nonetheless.
- Water – +1 Wisdom. Resistance to acid damage is a great bonus, boosting our defensive abilities greatly. The rest of the water based abilities are awesome for a counter intuitive forge cleric, perhaps a cleric with a deep understanding of the danger’s fire holds.
- Goliath – +2 Strength and +1 Constitution. Resistance to cold damage is a great parallel to our fire resistance. We also get another great defensive bonus with Stone’s Endurance. This ability lets us reduce damage dealt to us by 1d12 plus our CON modifier once per short or long rest. It’s a great ability that can be put to excellent use.
We tend to choose these based on our highest stats, but choosing a different route based on how you want to roleplay isn’t a bad idea, especially since adding your proficiency bonus might compensate for a not-so-good ability modifier.
The cleric class is given the ability to choose two skills from History (INT), Insight (WIS), Medicine (WIS), Persuasion (CHA), and Religion (INT)
- History (INT) – This is a nice skill for a forge cleric to utilize, specifically around the history of forged objects and other artisanal crafts. While your intelligence might not be the highest, it’s a solid choice.
- Insight (WIS) – Insight is always incredibly useful, and any cleric with a good wisdom score should take it.
- Medicine (WIS) – This is another skill we want to take because of our wisdom. It’s going to be of great help if we decide to start doing some healing outside of spellcasting.
- Persuasion (CHA) – While persuasion is a good skill to have, we shouldn’t be pouring much into our charisma for this character build. Leave it to any of the many charisma caster classes to fight over who’s the most persuasive.
- Religion (INT) – I really don’t see religion checks used by DMs all that often, they tend to get reflavored as innate knowledge or history checks. Discuss this with your DM, and see if they’re going to be incorporating religion into the campaign enough to make this a contender.
When we look for a background we want to find some skills that synergize well with our ability scores, but that’s not all. With the forge domain, we want to find a background that gives us a good reason to have such profound worship for a god of the forge.
There’s a few ways we can go about that.
- Acolyte – Proficiency in Insight and Religion. This background really feels like it doubles down on everything cleric based. You’ll have some fun opportunities to describe the church where you’ve been of service, since it might look very different from a lot of other ‘Divine’ churches. Even the vestments you gain might be more akin to a blacksmith’s apron than a priest’s robes.
- Clan Crafter – Proficiency in History and Insight. This background has you working under a dwarf master for years, learning their craft and the ancient traditions of their clan. Whether or not you choose to be a dwarf, this is an excellent way to provide a deep and meaningful connection to a god of the forge, especially a dwarven god. Plus, if you already speak dwarvish, this background gives you access to one language of your choice.
- Guild Artisan – Proficiency in Insight and Persuasion. A classic background for anyone connected to the world of artisans. The connection to a guild is like being a part of a union, paying guild dues to stay connected and get a living wage, along with lodging and more. Plenty of the guild business in the guild artisan table would see a forge deity as their patron, creating an excellent connection to your god.
Forge Domain Cleric Progression
Features that you automatically obtain through the Cleric class will appear in Orange and features that you gain through the Forge Domain subclass will appear in Pink.
Filling Out the Character Sheet (Level 0)
- Hit Dice: 1d8 per Cleric level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
- Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per cleric level after 1st
- Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
- Weapons: All simple weapons
- Tools: None
- Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
- Skills: Choose two from History, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a mace or (b) a warhammer (if proficient)
- (a) scale mail, (b) leather armor, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a priest’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
- A shield and a holy symbol
Clerics use wisdom as their spellcasting ability, so your spell save DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier and your spell attack modifier is your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.
Clerics can prepare their spells from their list of available cleric spells when they finish a long rest. Their list of prepared spells is equal to their Wisdom modifier + their cleric level.
You can cast a cleric spell as a ritual if it has the ritual tag and you have it prepared.
Your domain is chosen based on the deity you choose to serve, and the gifts they grant you. As a forge domain cleric, you worship a deity that rules over the forge domain.
You gain proficiencies with heavy armor and smith’s tools.
Blessing of the Forge:
At the end of a long rest, you can touch one nonmagical object that is a suit of armor or a simple or martial weapon. Until the end of your next long rest or until you die, the object becomes a magic item, granting a +1 bonus to AC if it’s armor or a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls if it’s a weapon.
You can use this feature once per long rest
Forge Domain Spells:
Your domain gives you access to certain spells outside of the cleric spell list. These spells are always prepared once you reach the appropriate level. At 1st level you gain access to Identify and Searing Smite.
Identify allows you to understand the magical influences on an item or creature. If you are touching an item when you cast this spell you understand its magical origins and properties, any spells acting on it, whether it requires attunement, and how many charges it has if any.
If you touch a creature you know any spells acting on it. This is an incredibly useful spell in any campaign setting and is essentially a ramped-up Arcana check.
Searing Smite is an excellent spell to deal some fire damage on a melee attack. The extra damage you deal increases by 1d6 for each level of spell slot you cast it at, and it maintains the ability to burn your target and deal 1d6 fire damage at the beginning of each of the target’s turns.
You can channel divine energy to use one of your available channel divinity effects, either Turn Undead or Artisan’s Blessing. Uses replenish on a short or long rest. At 2nd level you can use this ability once, at 6th you can use it twice, and at 18th you can use this three times.
Channel Divinity (Turn Undead) :
As an action, you present your holy symbol and speak a prayer, forcing each undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.
A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions.
For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.
Channel Divinity (Artisan’s Blessing):
You can create a nonmagical item with less than 100 gp value. Over the course of an hour, you turn an amount of metal with equal value to the item you’re creating into a simple or martial weapon, a suit of armor, ten pieces of ammunition, a set of tools, or another metal object.
The creation is formed in an unoccupied space of your choice on a surface within 5 feet of you.
The ritual can create a duplicate of a nonmagical item that contains metal, such as a key, if you possess the original during the ritual.
Harness Divine Power (Optional):
You can choose to use your channel divinity to regain an expended spell slot. The level of the slot must be no greater than half of your proficiency bonus (rounded down). If you use your channel divinity in this way, that expended use is not regained until you take a long rest.
Forge Domain Spells:
At 2nd level you gain access to Heat Metal and Magic Weapon.
Heat Metal is a spell with a fair amount of pop culture notoriety, known for its use in heating the suit of armor someone is wearing, forcing them to take damage and lose their armor. This spell is in general very useful, and extremely powerful in a forge cleric’s grasp.
Magic Weapon lets you boost the attack and damage rolls of a non magic weapon; perfect for a cleric who can forge weapons and dole them out.
You can either increase one ability by 2 points or two abilities by 1. Alternatively, you can choose a feat, if you already have great stats this is a great choice.
Cantrip Versatility (Optional):
Whenever you reach a level where you gain an ASI, you can also replace one Cantrip you know with another cantrip from the cleric spell list
When an undead fails its saving throw against your Turn Undead feature, the creature is instantly destroyed if its challenge rating is at or below a certain threshold, as shown in the Cleric table above.
Forge Domain Spells:
At 5th level you gain access to Elemental Weapon and Protection from Energy.
Elemental Weapon is the boosted-up version of Magic Weapon, now giving you 1d4 bonus damage of an element of your choosing. Most of the time you’re going to stick with the fire theme, but it’s nice to have options.
Protection from Energy reinforces your role as both support and a tank. It allows you to provide resistance from a type of elemental damage to a creature, and you can target yourself.
Soul of the Forge:
- You gain resistance to fire damage.
- While wearing heavy armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
Forge Domain Spells:
At 7th level you gain access to Fabricate and Wall of Fire.
Fabricate is a very interesting spell that has so much potential in creative hands. You can turn raw materials into something that could be made out of the material. Check out the full spell description for specific rules, but in general, the more creative you are, the more amazing things you can do with this.
Wall of Fire is just an absolutely amazing spell. You create a huge wall made of fire, which you can hold with concentration for up to a minute. It deals a crazy amount of damage to anyone that tries to touch it/ walk through it. It’s one of the most offensive-defensive measures that exist within 5e.
Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can deal an extra 1d8 fire damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
Blessed Strikes (Optional):
You can choose to replace your divine strike ability with this ability.
When a creature takes damage from one of your cantrips or weapon attacks, you can also deal 1d8 radiant damage to that creature. Once you deal this damage, you can’t use this feature again until the start of your next turn.
Forge Domain Spells:
At 9th level you gain access to Animate Objects and Creation.
Animate Objects is one of the most powerful spells in the game. It’s like having up to 10 mimics at your control, all of a sudden turning objects into creatures at your control. In case you were wondering, this is the spell Mickey uses in fantasia with the brooms.
Creation is an interesting spell, because it allows you to create up to a 5-foot cube’s worth of material, which exists for anywhere from 1 minute to 1 day, depending on the type of the material. Certainly an amazing spell for any creative forge clerics.
You can call on your deity to intervene on your behalf when your need is great.
As an action, describe the assistance you seek, and roll percentile dice. If you roll a number equal to or lower than your cleric level, your deity intervenes. The DM chooses the nature of the intervention; the effect of any cleric spell or cleric domain spell would be appropriate.
If your deity intervenes, you can’t use this feature again for 7 days. Otherwise, you can use it again after you finish a long rest.
At 20th level, your call for intervention succeeds automatically, no roll required.
Saint of Forge and Fire:
- You gain immunity to fire damage.
- While wearing heavy armor, you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non magical attacks.
Feats are an excellent way to make your character’s build unique. While the MAD aspect of this subclass will have you taking all the ASIs you can get, you still might want to opt for a feat or two in order to optimize your build.
- Dual Wielder – This feat gives you the ability to wield two weapons at the same time, a great way to cover your “I only deal fire damage” limitation. What might be surprising is that this feat also gives you a +1 bonus to AC while you’re wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.
- Durable – This ability sets the minimum amount you can heal from your hit die as double your constitution modifier. Plus, it gives you +1 to your constitution so you’re picking up half an ASI.
- Elemental Adept – Spells you cast ignore resistances to a chosen type of damage! This is THE cure to all of those creatures out there with fire resistance, for at least all of your spells. Your bonus damage through divine strikes will have no effect, but that’s okay. This is for the cleric’s who are focusing on dealing damage through their spells rather than just melee combat.
- Healer – This has to be considered for any cleric. While this subclass is more of a tank than a healer, it’s still nice to be able to heal people with medkits.
- Heavy Armor Master – Since we have proficiency in heavy armor, we might as well take advantage of the feat connected to it. This gives you a +1 to your strength score, and a reduction of 3 to any damage you take from slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning nonmagical attacks.
- War Caster – This spell is perfect for a caster who gets into melee combat. It gives you advantage on saving throws to hold concentration, the ability to perform somatic elements while holding weapons, and the ability to cast spells as reactions instead of making opportunity attacks. This is an excellent mix of melee and spellcasting-based combat wrapped up into an excellent feat.
Don’t forget to check out racial feats, which we have listed on our guide to feats.
College of Forge Cleric Builds
For the following example build we’ve used the standard set of scores provided in the PHB (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) when deciding ability scores. The only levels mentioned for the purpose of these builds are those when you will have the opportunity to make a decision on how your adventurer grows.
We will also only make suggestions for 1st through 5th-level spells, after that it becomes highly subjective. We hope to give you the groundwork for an exciting character build, while still allowing you space to make your own adventurer.
- Race: Hill Dwarf
- Background: Clan Crafter
- Ability Scores: STR 14, DEX 8, CON 15, INT 13, WIS 16, CHA 12,
- Skill Proficiencies: History, Insight, Medicine, Religion
- Language Proficiencies: Dwarven, Celestial
- Tool Proficiencies: Smith’s Tools, Tinker’s Tools
Equipment: A warhammer, chain mail, a light crossbow and 20 bolts, a priest’s pack, a shield, a holy symbol, smith’s tools, a maker’s mark chisel used to mark your handiwork with the symbol of the clan of crafters you learned your skill from, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a pouch containing 5gp and a gem worth 10gp
You gain access to cantrips. Good cantrips to know are as follows:
- Sacred Flame – A great spell to deal some radiant damage, and it’s themed as fire descending upon them.
- Spare the Dead – Being able to stabilize someone with 0 hit points is always going to be incredibly useful. This is a must have cleric cantrip.
- Word of Radiance – More radiant damage to dish out.
You gain access to 1st-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Shield of Faith – Dish out a +2 bonus to AC to a creature of your choice.
- Guiding Bolt – Deals a substantial amount of damage and creates advantage for the next attack made against the target.
- Healing Word – Another spell that clerics always want access to. Being able to send out healing as a bonus action is perfect.
You gain access to 2nd-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Hold Person – Being even mildly in control of a humanoid’s actions makes a lot of opportunity for your allies.
- Spiritual Weapon – This is an excellent spell if you ever find yourself without a weapon, deals some great damage, and you can continue to use it and move it around for a minute without even needing to hold concentration
- Silence – This spell is excellent against other spellcasters because it makes spells that require a verbal component impossible to cast.
Take a +2 to strength to move up to 16 strength with a +3 modifier. Gives us the opportunity to wear better heavy armor, not to mention it makes our attacks more powerful.
You gain access to 3rd-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Spirit Guardians – Call forth spirits to protect you! Not only does this spell deal crazy amounts of damage to an essentially unlimited amount of targets, it’s also just so cool visually.
- Revivify – This lets you revive someone that died within the last minute. Most in-combat deaths are going to fit the bill here, just make sure you start carrying some diamonds around for the material components.
- Meld into Stone – The ability to hide in stone seems so perfect for a forge cleric I’m surprised it wasn’t a domain spell.
- Glyph of Warding – Being able to inscribe spells or magical effects into an item is a powerful skill that a forge cleric should have access to.
You gain access to 4th-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Stone Shape – Change the shape of up to a 5-foot cube of stone into something that suits your purpose. Lets you make holes in walls, form weapons, and so much more.
- Banishment – Sending threats to other planes is useful for any cleric.
- Guardian of Faith – This is Spirit Guardian’s jacked big brother.
Take a +2 in Wisdom to move up to 18 Wisdom with a +4 modifier.
You gain access to 5th-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Flame Strike – You make what is essentially a tornado of flame and deal 4d6 fire and 4d6 radiant damage to any poor sap caught inside of it. Use this wisely.
- Holy Weapon – Keeping with your ability to make weapons stronger, this spell makes a weapon holy, which comes with a surprising amount of damage.
- Mass Cure Wounds – Get the opportunity to heal a whole group at once.
You gain access to 6th-level spell slots.
Now we’ll finally pick up our first feat. We’ll go with Elemental Adept so our fire damage gets used to its maximum potential.
You gain access to 7th-level spell slots.
You gain access to 8th-level spell slots.
The next feat we’ll grab is War Caster so we can take full advantage of being a melee combatant spellcaster.
You gain access to 9th-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
For our last ASI, we’ll pick our strength up to 18 for a +4 modifier. If you find you’ve been much more primarily spellcasting, throw the +2 in wisdom instead and max out your wisdom with a +5 modifier.
Beginner’s Guide to Forge Cleric
Forge domain clerics are one of the best cleric subclasses around. Since clerics are devoted to a god of their choice, there is a surprising range of flavor between the different subclasses. From domains like life and light, to domains like grave and trickery, clerics embody a full spectrum of values and concepts.
The forge cleric is devoted to a god who is worshipped by blacksmiths, artisans, and craftsmen of all varieties. This gives us a cleric that feels much more like a divine artificer than the priests of OD&D. With abilities tied deeply to concepts of the forge and fire, we get a powerful warrior imbued with divine energy and fueled by fire.
Channeling the Divine Flame
Clerics are often looked at as healing tanks. The class is one that can charge into battle, take hit after hit, and stay standing, all the while healing and supporting their allies and keeping them up as well.
The forge cleric certainly maintains the ability to do all of these things but ends up being a bit more offensive than a strict support class.
The concept of MAD is on display well here. This subclass wants to utilize balance between their strength, constitution, and wisdom; abilities responsible for their offensive, defensive, and supportive (spellcasting) prowess respectively.
The features granted to this subclass give them plenty of defense, starting with heavy armor proficiency and ramping up to fire immunity and resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage.
One of the first abilities this subclass gains is used for boosting the AC of a suit of armor or boosting the attack of a nonmagical weapon. As a divine smith, this ability to make your weapons and armor more powerful makes perfect sense.
It carries through to the domain spells, like Elemental Weapon, which allows you to give a weapon an elemental damage type temporarily.
Speaking of elemental weapons, you get to deal fire damage as bonus damage once per turn starting at 8th level. At 14th level that damage is boosted, showing that your spark burns even brighter.
All in all, you are a crafty warrior, using your forge skills to make weapons and break your enemies’ wills.
Souls Forged in Fire
You might think to yourself, what reason does a smith have to go out adventuring. I certainly thought it would be a hard sell. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything tells us that these clerics take up the adventuring life to seek out rare and wondrous materials.
Since many forge-domain gods encourage their faithful to be ever-inventive and ever productive and constantly work to improve themselves, it makes perfect sense that clerics of their order would seek to subdue evils who have perverted materials.
These clerics can be found burning armies of orcs out of stolen mines, uncovering lost jewels, and hunting down mystical artifacts such as the Axe of the Dwarven Lords.
This kind of motivation can serve to set up a great portion of the campaign, and at the very least ties them to the world far better than “I used to be a soldier, now I think I’ll slay some monsters.”
Most of these clerics are probably going to be dwarfs, and not just because of the mechanical bonuses dwarves offer. Dwarvenkind has an innate connection to forges, a connection that spans across just about every iteration of dwarves throughout popular culture and ancient mythos.
In the Forgotten Realms, the dwarven god of creation Moradin is said to have created dwarves in the Soul-Forge at the center of Abeir-Toril.
This idea of a forge domain god being the creator of dwarves is common in most D&D campaign settings and is an excellent reason to have your forge cleric be at least connected to dwarven culture, if not a dwarf themselves.
The forge domain cleric is an excellent opportunity to play an exciting role in your party, both on and off the battlefield. All of their abilities allow you to get the most out of the cleric class while creating an exciting and compelling character.
Grab your warhammer, drape your smith’s apron over your plate armor and get out there to save the world in the name of your god. As always, happy adventuring!
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.