Since I play Dungeons and Dragons (5th edition) with my two kids, I also make up some additional characters to help bolster their team. My current favorite is an Wood-Elf Cleric with Nature Domain.
Maybe this is a reflection of real life, but I have often enjoyed playing clerics in Dungeons and Dragons, and if I combine this with my fascination with Tolkein’s elves it was a no-brainer for me, except for one thing: what cleric domain to play?
Elf Deities are numerous, and each one reflects certain domains you can play. Corellon is a good default choice and covers many good domains to play, and Sehanine covers some other interesting domains that are otherwise overlooked such as Knowledge. But this time around, I really felt like playing Nature domain instead, so I made my character a priest of Rillifane instead. Being a wood-elf, this made even more sense.
Nature-domain clerics sometimes get confused with Druids and are often criticized as such. There was no clear answer online about what the actual difference would be between a nature-domain cleric vs. a druid, but it seems to come down to a couple points:
- Clerics derive their power from the divine. Druids directly from nature.
- Clerics serve a higher-power (i.e. emissary of said deity), while Druids are more like sages who explore the mysteries of nature.
The choices partly come down to role-playing “flavor”, but there are some mechanical differences too.
Nature-domain cleric have all the fun of a typical D&D cleric (life gain spells, blessings and still solid melee) combined with the fun flavor of Nature domain. Unlike a Druid, they also take advantage of Channel Divinity and other things you’d expect from a cleric. The spells included with Nature Domain are more like utility spells; your nature cleric may not be a one-man wrecking crew, but it does mean you can do wacky, unconventional things like befriending a giant spider rather than outright killing it.1
In any case, part of the fun of D&D is exploring different character ideas and not getting bogged down in purely combat-oriented ideas or which class is better. After all, there is a great variety of people in real life from a variety of backgrounds, so there’s no reason that D&D can’t reflect the same. 🍃🍄🌸🌻
1 True story, in one adventure, where the party was attacked by giant frogs, I was able to use the Animal Friendship to convince the frogs not to eat us, and therefore leave. It was a nice moment of role-playing and reinforces the idea that not all battles in D&D need be fought to the death.