Unleash the Storm: The Definitive Tempest Cleric 5E Guide

tempest cleric
Table of Contents

Crackling with lightning and rumbling with thunder, the Tempest Cleric calls down the raw fury of storms upon their foes. This powerful subclass manifests the devastating power of nature's wrath through their divine magic, blasting enemies with potent lightning and thunder spells.

In the world of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, the Tempest Cleric stands apart as a deadly magic-user who also isn't afraid to don heavy armor and wade into melee combat. Backed by the might of storm gods like Talos or Zeus, these clerics wield martial weapons with skill and channel the divine power of tempests through their spells.

This comprehensive guide will explore everything you need to know to master the Tempest Cleric, from optimizing their abilities to roleplaying storm-based character concepts. You'll learn how to play this subclass to its full potential, dominating the battlefield with powerful spells and martial skill. So batten down the hatches and prepare to unleash the perfect storm!

Introduction to the Tempest Cleric

Within the Cleric class, the Tempest Domain represents the raw, uncontrolled power of nature—the ability to call down storms, conjure lightning bolts, and bellow commands with a voice of thunder. These clerics are agents of destruction, harbingers of tempestuous weather that wreaks havoc upon the unjust and uncaring civilizations of the world. Their spells and abilities evoke images of raging hurricanes, crashing waves, and earth-shattering quakes.

In the world of Dungeons & Dragons, Tempest Clerics worship deities connected to storms, the sea, or destructive natural forces. Gods like Talos, Zeus, Thor, or Umberlee drive these clerics to express their deity's wrath. Their commitment could come from a place of protecting the innocent from evil forces or from a desire to revel in chaos and mayhem. Either way, their divine powers tap into the raw, raging spirit of the storms.

Mechanically, the Tempest Cleric mixes potent spellcasting with martial weapon and armor proficiencies, giving them both magical and physical combat prowess. Their signature abilities maximize lightning and thunder damage and push enemies away with strikes of storm magic. With clever play, Tempest Clerics can dominate any battlefield, commanding the space around them with destructive magic while also bashing foes with weapon strikes.

In your D&D adventures, a Tempest Cleric character brings serious carnage to the table. Embodying the awe-inspiring power of storms, they can fill both the striker and controller roles in a party, dealing huge damage while manipulating battlefield positioning. And their heavy armor helps them survive right on the front lines.

If you want to play a Tempest Cleric, this guide has everything you need to optimize your build, roleplay the stormy personality, and unleash hell upon your foes!

Tempest Cleric Class Features

The Tempest Domain grants clerics a suite of storm-themed spells and abilities to empower their divine magic with the fury of storms. Here's a closer look at everything that makes the Tempest Cleric a force of nature.

Bonus Proficiencies

Right from 1st level, Tempest Clerics gain proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor. This is a major boon, giving Tempest Clerics an edge in melee combat over other clerics. They can wear heavy armor like plate mail without speed reductions and wield weapons like battleaxes and greatswords.

These proficiencies encourage Tempest Clerics to take up a frontline role in battle alongside fighters and paladins. With their martial weapons and spells, Tempest Clerics mix physical and magical combat seamlessly.

Wrath of the Storm

At 1st level, Tempest Clerics can retaliate against attackers with a jolt of storm magic. When hit by a melee attack from a creature within 5 feet, the Tempest Cleric can use their reaction to force the attacker to make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d8 lightning or thunder damage on a failed save, or half damage on a success.

This extra damage really adds up at low levels, punishing enemies for ganging up on the cleric. And since it only costs a reaction, Wrath of the Storm imposes no action economy penalty. The only limitation is uses per day equal to the Cleric's Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 use).

Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath

Starting at 2nd level, Tempest Clerics can maximize lightning or thunder damage by expending one use of their Channel Divinity instead of rolling. This synergizes perfectly with the Tempest spell list, boosting the damage of go-to spells like Thunderwave, Shatter, and Call Lightning.

With Channel Divinity recharging on a short rest, this ability fuels the Tempest Cleric's signature blasting potential. It's like overcharging a lightning bolt spell for extra devastation!

Thunderbolt Strike

At 6th level, any time the Tempest Cleric deals lightning damage to a Large or smaller creature, they can push that enemy 10 feet away as a free bonus. This forced movement synergizes with the Cleric's spells for battlefield control. Push enemies away from your backline, or blast them into environmental hazards with thunder magic!

The only limitation is that this works only with lightning damage, not the Cleric's thunder spells. Still, it's great for positioning foes right where the Cleric wants them.

Divine Strike

Starting at 8th level, Tempest Clerics can infuse their weapon strikes with storm energy. Once per turn when they hit with a weapon attack, the attack deals extra 1d8 thunder damage (increased to 2d8 at 14th level).

This excellent damage boost works perfectly for a Tempest Cleric who fights up close with martial weapons. And the thunder damage type is rarely resisted or immuned compared to other types like fire.


At 17th level, Tempest Clerics can fly! They gain a flying speed equal to their walking speed while outdoors. With flight and heavy armor, Tempest Clerics can take the battle to the skies, summoning storms while raining destruction from above.

The only limitation is that it doesn't work in dungeons or indoor spaces. But flight is still an incredible power for battlefield mobility and survivability.

Taken together, these class features make the Tempest Cleric a formidable blaster on the front lines. They have the tools to devastate groups of enemies with powerful lightning and thunder magic while also holding their own in weapon combat aided by heavy armor.

Optimizing Your Tempest Cleric

Now that you understand the Tempest Cleric's powers, let's explore how to optimize your build and playstyle to maximize those stormy abilities.

Ability Scores: Priorities for Tempest Clerics

Which ability scores should you focus on when building a Tempest Cleric? Here are the priorities:

  • Wisdom: This powers the Cleric's spellcasting and many class features. Push it as high as possible.
  • Strength or Constitution: Strength lets Tempest Clerics excel with heavy armor and martial weapons. Constitution boosts their durability on the frontlines. Prioritize one or split points between them.
  • Dexterity: An optional 3rd priority if you want to be mobile or use finesse/ranged weapons, but heavy armor negates the need for high Dex for AC.
  • Intelligence: The Tempest Cleric has no particular use for Int. Consider it a dump stat.
  • Charisma: Only boost if you want your Cleric to be the party Face or multiclass into Sorcerer/Paladin. Otherwise it's a dump stat.

So in summary, max out Wisdom first, complement it with Strength and/or Constitution, and feel free to dump Int/Cha. This builds an optimally stormy Tempest Cleric!

Best Races for Tempest Clerics

The Tempest Cleric's traits mesh well with certain races that boost Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom. Here are some top choices:

  • Hill Dwarf: An excellent tanky Cleric with +2 Con and +1 Wis, extra HP, and no speed reduction in heavy armor. Resistance to poison is just icing.
  • Dragonborn: +2 Str/Con variants like Copper Dragonborn make great Tempest Clerics, and you gain a thematic lightning breath weapon.
  • Firbolg: With +2 Wis and +1 Str, Firbolg is a less tanky but very wise choice. Innate magic like Disguise Self and Detect Magic also come in handy.
  • Air Genasi: A perfect thematic fit, with +2 Con and +1 Wis. The free Levitation spell also gives you a taste of Tempest Cleric's late-game flight.
  • Goliath: A mountain-dwelling folk with +2 Str and +1 Con who can weather rocky landscapes. Their damage resistance while raging fits the durable Cleric perfectly.

Recommended Feats for Tempest Clerics

Here are some of the best feats to consider when building your Tempest Cleric:

  • War Caster: Advantage on concentration saves will make your potent Tempest spells last longer in battle. Also allows casting with weapons/shields.
  • Elemental Adept: This halves damage from your chosen element and turns 1s into 2s on your dice rolls. Specialize in lightning or thunder for a big damage boost to your storm spells.
  • Crusher: Knock enemies back 5 feet when you hit with bludgeoning damage. Synergizes with the Tempest Cleric's melee attacks and forced movement abilities.
  • Magic Initiate: Grab cantrips like Booming Blade, Green-Flame Blade, and Shocking Grasp to add even more lightning/thunder damage to your melee strikes.
  • Resilient (Constitution): Boosts concentration saves which you desperately need to maintain potent Tempest spells that control the battlefield.

Best Spells for Tempest Clerics

Here are some highlights of the most effective spells for a Tempest Cleric:

Cantrips: Toll the Dead (damaging cantrip), Guidance, Resistance

1st Level: Bless, Healing Word, Shield of Faith

2nd Level: Spiritual Weapon, Hold Person, Prayer of Healing

3rd Level: Call Lightning, Sleet Storm, Revivify, Spirit Guardians

4th Level: Banishment, Guardian of Faith, Control Water (situational)

5th Level: Destructive Wave, Insect Plague, Mass Cure Wounds

Higher Levels: Dawn, Fire Storm, Chain Lightning, Whirlwind, Storm of Vengeance

Gearing Your Tempest Cleric

A Tempest Cleric focuses on heavy armor, martial weapons, and a holy symbol as their key equipment:

Armor: Scale mail leading up to plate armor and a shield. This maximizes AC without relying on Dex.

Weapons: Greatswords, warhammers, mauls, battleaxes, etc. High damage melee weapons to utilize Divine Strike.

Holy Symbol: Etched on a shield, worn around the neck, or emblazoned on armor. Used as a spellcasting focus.

Other Gear: Standard cleric gear like healer's kits, but also weather-themed trinkets like a barometer, cloudy crystal ball, or vial of rain water!

Playing a Tempest Cleric

So you've built the ultimate storm-wielding cleric – now let's focus on playing that character at the table!

Character Backstory Ideas for Tempest Clerics

Your character's backstory helps define their personality and motivations. Here are some backstory ideas for a Tempest Cleric:

  • A sailor who prayed during a deadly storm and found their prayers answered by a tempest god offering power. Now they bring divine storms against seaborne threats.
  • A former hermit who lived high in the mountains, struck by lightning one day which jolted them into a zealous faith in the storm's power.
  • A tribesman marked with the scars of a thunderbird after surviving a brushfire as a child. Now a Tempest Cleric shaman who calls lightning to protect their people.
  • A relative of storm sorcerers who lacked innate powers, but whose devotion led them to beseech a storm god for similar abilities.
  • A charismatic coastal leader who rose to power through demonstrations of control over the seas, all granted through the Tempest Domain.

Personality and Roleplaying a Tempest Cleric

On a roleplaying level, Tempest Clerics can have larger-than-life personalities! Here are some ideas:

  • Loud and thundering in speech and presence, buoyed by the booming voice granted by their storm god. Intimidating in their righteous wrath.
  • Surprisingly calm and meditative while awaiting the right moment to unleash the tempest. Speaking in metaphors relating to gathering clouds and mounting pressure.
  • Almost feral and madness-tinged, lost in the throes of channeling such primal storm magic. Bellowing skyward, tasting the wind and talking of omens.
  • Jovial and mirthful with sparks dancing in their eyes, taking great joy in exercising their divine power of the storms. Loves showing off.
  • Somber and contemplative, wielding storm magic with care and solemnity. More shepherd than destroyer, protecting both land and people from devastation.

In combat, Tempest Clerics want to be on the front lines leading the charge with martial weapons swinging and spells blasting away. Support this thematically by shouting oaths invoking your tempest god and taunting your foes. Describe your attacks with vivid imagery like thunderclaps, crashing waves, and crackling lightning!

Additional Build Options

While this guide has focused on an optimization approach that combines martial and magical prowess, you can build a Tempest Cleric in other ways:

  • A ranged blaster who uses a longbow along with storm spells can be very effective, though you would ignore Divine Strike.
  • Lean fully into magic damage and control by prioritizing spellcasting ability over martial weapons and cutting Dex/Str.
  • Multiclassing can blend Tempest Cleric with storm-themed options like Storm Sorcerer, Storm Herald Barbarian, or Ranger with a coastal terrain.
  • Magic Initiate can grab some primal druid cantrips like Frostbite and Produce Flame to expand your elemental magic options.

At the end of the day, build the Tempest Cleric you want to play! The storm god calls, but how you choose to answer is up to you.

Tempest Cleric Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions players have about the Tempest Cleric:

What book is the Tempest Cleric subclass in?

The Tempest Domain Cleric is found in the Player's Handbook.

Can Tempest Clerics learn Lightning Bolt?

Unfortunately no. D&D did not include it on their spell list. You would need to multiclass or use feats to gain access to it.

Can Tempest Clerics fly?

Yes, at 17th level their Stormborn feature grants a flying speed when outdoors. Indoors they cannot fly.

Conclusion – Bring the Storm!

And with that thunderous finale, you now have comprehensive mastery over D&D 5th edition's storm-focused Tempest Cleric subclass. This powerful mix of potent spellcasting and martial skill can dominate any battlefield.

By optimizing your build, roleplaying the stormy personality with vividness, and unleashing your Tempest abilities at the right moments, you'll have deadly fun playing this divine blaster. Your enemies will flee from the very mention of your Tempest Cleric's name!

So gather your adventuring party, say a prayer to Talos or Zeus, and prepare to unleash heavenly fury upon your foes with the D&D Tempest Cleric – the ultimate storm incarnate!


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