I love playing the Tempest Cleric. The elemental component of this archetype is diverse and very powerful. There’s some merit in the notion that a Tempest Cleric is among the most overall adept and potent builds in the game. I acknowledge that what’s so amazing about D&D, particularly 5E, is how well the game makers have balanced the gameplay, so much so that it’s almost impossible to determine which particular race/class/archetype build really is the “most powerful.” At the moment I have characters in six different campaigns and I’ve been playing an Air Genasi Tempest Cleric for nearly five years now, adventuring through Princes of the Apocalypse with a great DM. (Excellent, fun adventure, btw.) My cleric is almost 11th level and the wide and diverse set of class features and spells makes him a serious powerhouse in this adventure, one who is able to potently address a myriad of issues none of the other players are able to do.
I’ll put this into context with the adventure he’s currently in, POTA. The following are the key reasons I believe the Tempest cleric rises above many other class-subclasses in overall capabilities. Keep in mind that all of the scenarios mentioned have in-fact happened in the adventure thus far.
Call Lighting using Channel Divinity: One of the best features of a 5E Cleric is their Channel Divinity. In the case of the Tempest cleric, when it is activated it grants them the ability to deal maximum thunder and lightning damage. Considering the power of most thunder and lightning spells, this is can lay down some devastating area of effect damage, particularly with Call Lightning. Call Lightning is incredible magic if you consider what is happening when it’s used. Your character magically produces a storm cloud above your targets and calls lighting bolts from it essentially turning your cleric into Zues for up to 1o minutes. If the caster is outdoors and an actual rain or thunder storm is naturally occurring, the lightning damage increases by 1d10. The whole flavor of this is amazing as your cleric wields near god-like magic at this point. Consider you’re creating a storm cloud and can blast multiple targets with a devastating lighting bolt each round over and over. The kicker with this spell is that once casted you need only use your action to call down another bolt each round. Add in channel divinity to potentially max the damage, along with the Tempest’s “thunderbolt strike” feature, which means anyone you strike with lighting also gets pushed back 10′, the overall power displayed in this scenario is amazing and really fun to play out.
Healing, Buffs and Life Saving: We all know the meat and potatoes of the cleric is their ability to heal, buff and save players. This is a core part of the class. I recommend the following spells for your Tempest cleric as these have worked very well for the party this far. (Some of these spells are for clerics at 7th-9th level or above):
- Bless (A must for combat when you don’t need concentration focused elsewhere)
- Death Ward (always cast this on yourself before any major combat. If anyone needs to stay alive, it’s the healer and life saving cleric)
- Revivify (Bring buds back to life)
- Aid (Boost your party’s current and max HP). I like using this at 4th level to dish out 15.
- Healing Word (Nothing beats bonus action healing that levels up. It’s one of the best spells in the game.)
- Greater Restoration (Overall, a very powerful spell)
Turning/Destroying Undead: Another core and amazing class feature of the Cleric is turning and destroying those vile undead. By the time your reach 11th level you can start ‘instantly destroying’ undead with CR ratings of 2 or lower. That includes Orge Zombies, Will-O-Wisps and Minotaur Skeletons. That’s a lot of divine power in what is basically a snap of a finger for the cleric.
Control Water: Tempest clerics are going to get this as a tempest-centric spell. Let me tell you, it’s awesome! I was able to use this magic very effectively in Prices of the Apocalypse. When I first acquired this spell at 7th level it didn’t occur to me how useful the magic can be. Being about to move, direct, shape pretty large bodies of water can be hugely helpful. Twice I used this spell and it worked wonders, particularly when our party was about to be swept down a large waterfall. Nope! I changed (reversed) the flow of the water just in time. Another time I parted a cavernous river where am Aquatic troll was lurking, which was attacking my party from underwater. When I parted the water, (exposing the aquatic troll) my companions jumped in and took the troll down while staying dry as a bone.
Holy Weapon: In terms of power and flavor this spell is simply awesome. Although it is a concentration spell, it delivers a lot of potency to a cleric’s melee prowess. The spell lasts up to one hour and it turns your weapon (any weapon, but in my case a Warhammer) into a +1 weapon. In addition, every hit with it deals an additional 2d8 radiant damage, and the best part, when you choose to deactivate it, a burst of radiant energy strikes each target you choose within 30′. On a failed CON save it dishes out an additional 4d8 radiant to each of them -and- they are blinded for 1 minute. Amazing stuff!
Gust of Wind: As with Control Water, I never would have thought Gust of Wind would prove to be a good defensive spell, but it did just that. I used this spell to keep a whole cavern full of Rust Monsters at bay, forcing most of them to make DEX saving throws on every turn, which upon failure pushed them back 15′. Sure enough they kept failing their saving throws over and over. Some most of them had expended their movement moving towards me and the party only to be forced to enter the winds space, none of them were able to get close enough to attack. I was literally blowing these things all over the place. The rest of the party was then able to focus on the bigger fish in the room. We had a lot of fun.
Divination: This was a great moment. Shortly after I turned 10th level our party needed some serious answers. I used Divination, which clerics get at 10th. This divine power actually calls upon your god to directly intervene. However, you roll a percentage die and you must roll your level or lower for it to succeed. So at 10th level you only have a 10% chance of your diety intervening. Incredibly, the very first time I used it, I rolled 09% and it worked! It was incredible. My diety, Valkur (Lesser God of the Wind and Waves), appeared in front of our party within a huge blasting column of divine radiance and gave us critical information for what to do next. The entire party was in awe, as was I. Success on rolls that have little chance but yield profound power upon success are what help make the game so enjoyable.
So there you have it, the Tempest cleric, one of the most potent characters one can play in the game of dungeons and dragons.
~ by Michael Liuzza (Aveus)