tempest cleric 5e guide

Worship the Sky: Tempest Cleric 5e Guide

Unlike most D&D 5e classes, Clerics get their Domain subclass right away at level one. This allows them to dive into what makes them unique right away but can also make selecting the Best Domain for your play style more daunting if you’ve never played a Cleric before.

So, it is essential to look at what each Cleric Domain has to offer so that you can make sure to pick one that will match what you have in mind for your character. If you’re looking for a balanced Cleric with balanced offensive options, you’ll want to look closely at the Tempest Domain. Welcome to our Tempest Cleric 5e Guide.

Key Info Up Front

  • Book: Player’s Handbook
  • Feature Levels: 1, 2, 6, 8, 17
  • Roles: Striker, Healer, Tank
  • Domain Gods: Zeus, Thor, Talos, Umberlee, Zeboim

Tempest Cleric Overview

Tempest Cleric

The Tempest Cleric worships gods of the sky, lightning, thunder, and even earthquakes. These sorts of deities tend not to match what one typically expects a Cleric to follow. This is because Tempest Clerics use fear rather than healing or righteous acts. Their deities have them do so either to make commonfolk follow a righteous path or to motivate them to make sacrifices in worshiping their patron deity.

This can make playing a Tempest Cleric unique compared to other Clerics because they can have a more selfish motivation in their actions if they are primarily concerned with encouraging people to worship their deity. The Domain also offers players an outstanding balance between offensive and tank capabilities, acting similarly to a mix between the Life and Light Cleric Domains.

Tempest Cleric Spells

When you make your character and choose to play as a Tempest Cleric, your list of available spells gets expanded to help tailor your character’s capabilities to your Domain’s playstyle. For first-level spells, Tempest Clerics gain access to Fog Clouds and Thunderwave Spell, which help you easily control crowds of enemies. Once you get access to third-level spells, you also get access to Shatter and a Gust of Wind. These two spells are both group debuffs that can debilitate entire groups of creatures.

For fifth-level spells, Tempest Clerics can also choose the Call Lightning and Sleet Storm spells to give them some more ranged capabilities. Seventh-level spells include Control of Water and Ice Storm, while the ninth-level grants Destructive Wave and Insect Plague. These spells offer some fun utility for the character if you can reach a high enough level to take advantage of them.

Ability Score

Deciding which abilities to focus on when playing a Cleric can be a bit challenging as there are a few ways to approach it depending on your Domain and play style. However, with any Cleric, I recommend having Wisdom be your priority as it is responsible for all your spells. This is particularly important for a Tempest Cleric, as your offensive spell options won’t be nearly as effective if your Wisdom score is too low.

After your Wisdom, I think you should focus on Constitution. As a Cleric, you’ll be taking a lot of hits, and may even have to fill the Tank role for your party, so you’ll want to have as many hit points as possible. After these top two, focusing on Strength, Dexterity, or Charisma mostly depends on your play style.

tempest cleric skills

Dexterity is useful if you plan on using light armor, but I recommend dumping it if you’re going to play a Tempest Cleric. Strength isn’t a bad option so that you can handle your own with a melee weapon, but you’ll likely use your cantrips most of the time. Charisma can also work if you plan on fulfilling more of a Face role for your party.

Finally, I always dump Intelligence if rolling a Cleric. This is because you don’t need it for any of your class’ abilities, and you likely won’t be focusing on knowledge skills as a Tempest Cleric. If it makes sense for your character, then go ahead and make your Cleric decently intelligent, but outside of roleplaying, there is no benefit.


As always, choosing a background for your Tempest Cleric should largely be influenced by what backstory you’ve imagined for your character. However, picking a complementary background is a great place to start if you’re having a hard time thinking of one or what to maximize the mechanical aspects of your character.


Book: Player’s Handbook

The Acolyte is the background that the Player’s Handbook recommends for the Cleric, and it makes sense why. It comes with some solid skill proficiencies, and bonus languages always help as well.

dnd acolyte

City Watch

Book: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

This background has some fun flavor with the Tempest Cleric, in my opinion, and it grants you Insight which is always helpful. Its proficiency in Athletics is a bit of a waste, but it is still a strong option.

Faction Agent

Book: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

The Faction Agent is another background that comes with Insight proficiency, and you can also use it to pick up Perception and some bonus languages. This is my favorite background for a Tempest Cleric, especially because of its fun roleplaying aspects.


The Hermit DND

Book: Player’s Handbook

This background with the Medicine skill isn’t the best since you can always use healing spells to better effect. However, it does come with Insight, and the Herbalism Kit will allow you to make healing potions to help keep you and your party up and fighting.


When making a Cleric, you get to take proficiency from five skills. You’ll want to take up proficiency with different ones depending on what you get from your background. Some skills are much better than others, and I rank them in the following order.

  • Insight: Insight is always useful to tell the intentions of NPCs, and with your strong Wisdom score, you’ll be great at it as a Cleric.
  • Religion: Religion doesn’t always come up all the time, but it is pretty integral to the flavor of playing a Cleric and can be a useful tool for gathering information depending on your Dungeon Master.
  • Persuasion: Persuasion is a must-have skill if you’re filling the Face role for your party, but it is a solid option to pick up regardless so that you can help with it here and there.
  • History: History can be a useful knowledge skill, but as a Tempest Cleric, you’ll likely have a party member that is much better suited to cover this skill.
  • Medicine: Medicine is an almost useless skill because you should almost always use magic instead.

Tempest Cleric Features

Bonus Proficiencies

Level: 1

When you pick Tempest Cleric at the first level, you get proficiency with all martial weapons as well as heavy armor to help you hold your own on the front lines of the battle.

Wrath of the Storm

Level: 1

This ability buffs the Tempest Cleric’s defensive abilities right off the bat. It can be activated using your reaction when you are hit with an attack; you can call down lightning to strike the enemy that hit you. This forces them to make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d8 lightning damage on a failed to save and half of the damage on a success.

You can use the feature as many times as your Wisdom modifier, and your uses refresh when you take a long rest. This ability can be excellent at low levels, and while its usefulness decreases over time, it is still effectively free of extra damage.

Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath

Level: 2

This Channel Divinity ability can be incredibly powerful when paired with your Domain spell list. It allows you to maximize the damage of your rolled dice when you deal lightning or thunder damage.

You may be tempted to do so with your Wrath of the Storm, but I advise saving it for spells with higher damage potential, such as Thunderwave. I love this feature, as it can be an absolute lifesaver in situations where you must ensure your damage is high and can even clear out an entire room of foes if you use it smartly.

Thunderbolt Strike

Level: 6

This feature allows you to push any enemy that is Large or smaller up to 10 feet when you deal lightning damage to them. This ability can be pretty fun, but it feels underutilized because of the Tempest Cleric’s lack of cantrips that deal lightning damage. However, it is a handy tool for using your Wrath of the Storm, as it is guaranteed to deal at least half the damage.

This makes Thunderbolt Strike a strong option to get out of melee combat if you need some space to heal or retreat. It also can be combined well in close areas to push enemies off ledges.

Divine Strike

Level: 8, 14

The Divine Strike feature is an offensive buff that allows you to add 1d8 to your damage roll once per turn for free. Even better, once you reach level 14, your damage goes up to 2d8. Thunder is one of the strongest damage types in the game because of how few enemies have resistance to it, so this extra damage will buff your melee capabilities significantly.


Level: 17

Stormborn gives you a flight speed equal to your walking speed whenever you are outside. This can be extremely helpful at higher levels, especially since you get it free, allowing you to keep an attunement slot open for a different powerful magic item. However, this can be a tad redundant if you roll your character as a race that already comes with flight.

Tempest Cleric Races

When looking for a race to use for your Tempest Cleric, you can go with any that seems cool, fun, or interesting to you. However, some start differences between the ones that work better and lesser for the subclass. So, if you want to make sure that your chosen race works for a Tempest Cleric, here are my favorite races to use.

Air Genasi

Book: Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

The Air Genasi is a very strong option for the Tempest Cleric because of its bonus spells. All the spells that come with the Air Genasi’s innate spellcasting are new options, and its Shocking Grasp works exceptionally well with the Thunderbolt Strike feature.

Hill Dwarf

Book: Player’s Handbook

While this race is one of the more basic races on this list, it brings some excellent options to boost your hit points, including an increase in your Constitution and the Dwarven Toughness feature.

Earth Genasi

Book: Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

The Earth Genasi comes with nearly entirely additive features for a Tempest Cleric. It gives you access to blade ward and passes without a trace, with the latter being a great way to get through difficult terrain since your lower Strength can make jumping over it difficult.


Image from Fandom

Book: Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

Githzerai comes with a boost to defense against becoming charmed or frightened by an enemy, which is always nice to have regardless of your character. The main draw of the race is its innate spellcasting ability for the shield, which can help keep your Tempest Cleric on their feet longer since Clerics don’t get access to it.


Book: Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

The newest version of the Kobold is an excellent option for any frontline fighter, and the Tempest Cleric is no different. The race comes with the ability to get either Green-Flame Blade or Booming Blade to help buff your melee attacks until you get Diving Strike, while the Draconic Cry feature is a great way to buff your allies as well.


Book: Mordenakainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse

The Shadar-Kai is one of my favorite races in all of 5e, and it just so happens to work very well with the Tempest Cleric. It comes with short-range teleportation to help you navigate the battlefield quicker, boosts your Perception, and enables you to get a martial weapon with Trance.


Book: Eberron: Rising From The Last War

The Warforged are a mechanical species that pack an incredible amount of durability. Combined with the Tempest Cleric, you’ll be able to reach some of the highest AC numbers in your party as well as coming with handy resistances and immunities.

Mark of the Sentinel Human

Book: Eberron: Rising From The Last War

This dragonmark gives your character some fantastic defensive and support options that will allow you to defend yourself and your nearby allies. Some spells on its list will crossover with those on your class list, but the rest of the additions far outweigh the waste.

However, you should talk with your DM before taking this race, as they may not want dragon marks appearing in their setting or will want to incorporate them into the story of the campaign somehow.

Tempest Cleric Equipment

Playing as a Tempest Cleric, your equipment will be a mixed bag that focuses more on armor than weapons. If you have a decent Dexterity or Strength score, you may want to bring a Light Crossbow or some Javelins, respectively, just in case.

I recommend going with the classic Mace accompanied by a Shield for your melee weapon. It won’t be great until you get Diving Strike, but it will get the job done well enough at lower levels while you focus on using spells and cantrips most of the time.

You should start with Chain Mail for your armor since you get Heavy Armor proficiency at level one. As you adventure, try to get your hands on Full Plate to maximize your Armor Class, and always have a Shield as well. You can even put your holy symbol on your Shield when you make your character, allowing you to cast spells still, so there is no reason to not bring one alone for the added +2 AC.

As you progress through your campaign, you will start coming across magic items that can help make your character even more powerful and exciting. While your preferences will likely differ, these are my favorite magic items to run with a Tempest Cleric.

Common Magic Items

Clockwork Amulet

clockwork amulet

Book: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

The Clockwork Amulet isn’t a very strong item, but it can be used once per day to guarantee a role of ten on an attack roll, which will almost always guarantee a successful hit. The real benefit, however, is that you don’t have to attune to it, so keeping one around for when you know you need to put out some damage can be useful.

Uncommon Magic Items

Adamantine Armor

Adamantine Armor

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

Adamantine Armor is a must-have for any frontline melee build, so you’ll want to pick this up as early as possible, which may even be earlier than Full Plate because of 5e’s odd armor pricing.

Amulet of the Devout

Amulet of the Devout

Book: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

As a magic item explicitly made for Clerics, it is no surprise that this one is on the list, but it is perfect for Tempest Clerics because of the boost to your spell attacks and spell DC as well as giving you an extra use of Channel Divinity. If you can get this amulet, you’ll find yourself being a lethal force in any encounter.

Sentinel Shield

Sentinel Shield

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

With your stacked Wisdom score, you will likely be the player with the highest Perception skill in your party, and the Sentinel Shield will help amp that up even higher so that you are never caught off guard.

The staff of the Adder

The staff of the Adder

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

Using a staff as a Cleric may seem unorthodox, but if you are running a Tempest Cleric with solid Strength, this is a great Uncommon melee weapon. It adds 3d6 poison damage onto its attacks once it is activated, and since it is a weapon attack, you can even use your Divine Strike with it to amp it up further.

Rare Magic Items

Amulet of Health

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

Getting your Constitution up to 19 early in your campaign will allow you to focus your skill increases on other attributes or taking feats, which can provide some big buffs to your Tempest Cleric’s performance.

Ring of Spell Storing

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

The Ring of Spell Storing is best used by loading it with spells from another party member, allowing you to have offensive or defensive options to help cover yourself in more ways than normal.

Very Rare Magic Items

Manual of Bodily Health

manual of bodily health

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

This item will permanently boost your Constitution while also allowing you to reach 22 Constitution, which can be huge on the front lines.

Tome of Understanding

Tome of Understanding

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

Similar to the Manual of Bodily Health above, but for your Wisdom, it is even better. If playing a Cleric at higher levels, getting a +6 modifier to your Perception and spells is almost necessary.

Legendary Magic Items

Armor of Invulnerability

Armor of Invulnerability

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

This armor will give you invulnerability to non-magical attacks. By the time you get legendary items in your campaign, you will be facing plenty of creatures that only deal magical damage, but there will also still be smaller enemies that this will ensure you don’t have to worry about.

Scarab of Protection

Book: Dungeon Master’s Guide

This item will help defend you from necromancy magic and all undead creatures similar to the Mantle of Spell Resistance. Still, it leaves your coveted cloak attunement slot open so that you can use another powerful item.

How to Play a Tempest Cleric


When playing a Tempest Cleric, you must first figure out what the deity your character worships wants from them. If they are looking to drive people to act correctly out of fear of punishment or if they are trying to garner worshippers to create more sacrifices or rituals in their deity’s name. This should significantly impact how your character acts around others, what motivates them to go on an adventure, and how to handle their moral compass.

On top of the motivation behind your Tempest Cleric, you should also consider your character’s history and place in the world. Depending on their race, culture, and place of origin, you can incorporate many elements into your character’s personality. If you have a hard time figuring out what the culture your character grew up in was like, just talk to your Dungeon Master about it.

how to play tempest cleric

Considering your character’s culture can also help you figure out how and why your character became a Tempest Cleric. For this, I also recommend considering your chosen background. If you took the Town Guard background, maybe you turned to a deity to try and clean up criminals.

Or maybe you started as an Urchin that found a better life in worshipping your deity and want to try to convert other criminals to give them direction in life. Either way, it should funnel into the ultimate motivation of your character.


Once your Tempest Cleric finds themself in combat, you’ll want to focus on soaking up damage and becoming a pillar of the frontlines. You will likely stay at the front of your party most of the time, allowing you to take damage so squishier allies don’t have to. Once your defenses are established, whether taking potions or casting spells like a shield, you can take to the offensive.

Your offensive actions will likely vary depending on what enemies you’re facing as well as what equipment you have managed to get your hands on throughout your campaign. However, you will likely want to focus more on casting cantrips than using your melee weapon until you get a magical weapon or Divine Strike.

Even then, however, your spells will likely be your best friend, allowing you to control crowds of enemies and debuff them so that your Striker party members can kill them more effectively. During combat, you may also want to support your allies with extra healing or buffs if you have a free turn or if one of your party members needs the help.


Question: Is the Tempest Cleric good?

Answer: Yes, the Tempest Cleric is a strong offensive Cleric Domain that offers a little bit of everything, making it great for players who are trying out the class for the first time or want a more generalist approach to the class.

Question: What book is Tempest Cleric in?

Answer: The Tempest Domain for Clerics is included in the Player’s Handbook.

Question: Can Tempest Clerics fly?

Answer: Yes, Tempest Clerics can eventually use the winds to have a flight speed equal to their movement speed when they reach level 17 and get the Stormborn feature.

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