The Death Domain for Forgotten Realms 5th Edition

In the PHB for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons it lists a number of Divine Domains for Clerics: Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery and War.

However they left out one very important domain that governs clerics who worship gods of death. Like Myrkul for example, the Forgotten Realms god of the dead, aka the Lord of Bones. Not to be confused with Bhaal, the god of murder. And since clerics of Myrkul play a role in my Monday Forgotten Realms game, I am forced to create a Death Domain.

Thus to help round out the villains of my Monday Forgotten Realms campaign it has necessitated me creating a Death Domain. I have kept it simple and on par with the other Divine Domains, you will notice that some of the powers are basically the reverse of the Life Domain or variations of abilities of other domains.

Death Domain Spells
Cleric Level
1st - Ray of Sickness, False Life.
3rd - Ray of Enfeeblement, Speak with Dead*.
5th - Animate Dead, Vampiric Touch.
7th - Death Ward, Phantasmal Killer (PK)**.
9th - Raise Dead, Slay Living***

* There is a shortage of appropriate level necromancy type spells in 5th Edition D&D, thus since Speak with Dead is useless in combat I felt this was a suitable substitution which would allow clerics of Myrkul to interrogate the dead.

** Again, a shortage of necromancy spells although it is the correct level. PK should be considered to be both illusion and necromancy.

*** There is no Slay Living spell in 5th Edition. It is the reverse of Raise Dead. You will notice that in 5th Edition that got rid of various instant death type spells. Even PK doesn't kill any more. It does make sense however that a cleric of a god of death should have access to Slay Living.

Slay Living
5th-level necromancy
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a black gem worth at least 500 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Instantaneous

Negative energy encircles a living target and ravages it. The target makes a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save it suffers 8d10 necrotic damage. On a successful save it suffers half. If the damage is sufficient to reduce the target to 0 hit points, it dies instantly.

  • Slay Living has no effect on non-living targets.
  • With its range of 10 feet it should severely limit how often this spell can be used.
  • With the expensive spell component, casting this spell regularly would become prohibitively expensive. DMs should definitely enforce the spell component cost.
  • Casting this spell is an evil act. Only evil priests who worship a god of death should have access to it.
Anywho, back to the Death Domain...

Death Domain Bonus Proficiency
When you choose this domain you gain proficiency with Embalming Tools. Using downtime you can reinforce Zombies and Skeletons you create to have +1 hp per Hit Die. Also applies to Bone Golems and Flesh Golems you create.

Disciple of Death
Starting at 1st level, each time you cast a divine spell that deals damage it deals +2 necrotic damage. This bonus damage is also reduced if the spell involves a save for half damage.

Channel Divinity: Injure Life
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to badly injure your enemies. As an action, you present your unholy symbol and evoke negative energy that can damage enemies equal to five times your cleric level in hit points. Choose any creatures within 30 feet of you, and divide those hit points among them. The spell has no effect on undead or constructs. Victims of the effect get a Constitution saving throw for half damage.

Channel Divinity: Death God's Blessing
At 6th level, when a creature or ally within 30 feet of you successfully hits and deals damage, you can use your reaction to add +5 to the damage, using your Channel Divinity. You make this choice after you see the damage roll, but before the DM says whether the target dies or not.

Death Strike
At 8th level you gain the power to infuse your weapons with the power of death. Once on each of your turns, when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Master of Death
At 17th level, you gain the ability to command undead and denizens of the underworld. You can use a bonus action to verbally command what each of those creatures will do on its next turn.

Thoughts on the Death Domain presented above? Post your comments below.

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