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5e Character Archetypes: Incarnate Domain (Cleric)

Incarnate Domain


Every god needs its own representatives to walk the world -especially those gods that favor conquest and permanence such as Bhaal,  Tempus, Torm, or Tyr- but some clerics go above that call to become a living channel for their god’s presence in the world. Some take this creed literally, and take to transforming the world into their deity’s ideal, whether peacefully or by the sword. Others see this as a call for metaphysical representation, and strive to be a shining example to lead those around them.

Incarnate Domain Spells

Cleric Level Spells
1st command, entangle
3rd spiritual weapon, crusader’s mantle
5th glyph of warding, wind wall
7th grasping vine, mordenkainen’s faithful hound
9th animate objects, bigby’s hand

Blessing of the Demesne

At 1st level, you gain the ability to root your deity’s influence into the material plane. As an action, you can create a Demesne, embedding an aura of the power of your deity out to 20ft. The effect of your god’s demesne impacts the fabric of reality, impeding your enemies and aiding your allies. A nature god might cause mold, fungi, vegetation, or algae to creep over surfaces and become more vibrant. A war god might sharpen the contrast of things, making the edges or danger more apparent. A god of peace could make things appear more bright and clean.

Enemies that are within your demesne take a -1 penalty to their attacks and saves. Allies within this aura gain a +1 to their attacks and saves. The demesne lasts for 1 minute for every two cleric levels you possess. Once you have created a demesne, you cannot create another until you complete a short rest.

Bonus Proficiency

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Channel Divinity: Reach of the Gods

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to rapidly spread the influence of your demesne.

As an action, you present your holy symbol and call forth your god to extend their claim over the world. Choose up to 20, 5 ft. cubes extending in any contiguous arrangement from yourself or the edge of one of your demesne. This area is now considered your demesne, and will fade after 1 minute per five cleric levels you possess. When your demesne size increases at later levels, you can claim more cubes: 30, 5ft. cubes at 6th level and 60, 5ft. cubes as 17th level.


Beginning at 6th level, your command over the reality within your demesne grows. Your unconscious influence impedes the movement of your enemies and smooths the path for your allies. Enemies treat you demesne as difficult terrain and allies within your demesne ignore difficult terrain. You demesne now extends out to 30ft.

A Place of Refuge

At 6th level, you gain the ability to perform a ritual to create a permanent demesne within your own home. The ritual requires 8 hours to perform and requires that you have ownership or stewardship over the location. During this 8 hours, outsiders and magically attuned creatures have a right to challenge you over your claim. The demesne can be as large as the location or structure, but the grander the claim, the more likely enemies are to show up to oppose you, and the more powerful enemies that will appear. Once you claim a space this way, no other creature may claim it, and you may never claim another.

Rebuke the Intruders

Starting at 8th level, enemies within your demesne face hostile energies. Upon gaining this ability, you must choose radiant, necrotic, or psychic. Enemies within your demesne take 1d4 damage of that type at the beginning of their turn.

You can spend an action and a spell to drive your enemies out. Until the end of your next turn, your demesne deals an additional 1d6 per spell level expended. Enemies can make a dexterity save against your spell DC to halve this damage.

Walking Domain

At 17th level, the constant investment your deity has poured through you has left its mark. A demesne constantly surrounds you, out to 5ft. As you move a trail of influence is left in your wake, leaving a 10 foot wide line of demesne behind you. Demesne created in this wake of divine control lasts for 1 minute. When you create a demesne, it is now a 60ft. radius.

Additionally, if you ask for divine intervention on matters entirely contained with your demesne, you are twice as likely to receive aid. If this doubling increases your chance above 100%, the percentage above 100% is how likely it is that your deity will respond to another request within 3 days rather than 7 days.

2 thoughts on “5e Character Archetypes: Incarnate Domain (Cleric)

  1. Cool ideas, but with the different gods, should the spells be different, or act differently based on their portfolio? Entangle/ grasping vine might not be appropriate for a god of haste. Windwall is definitely not appropriate for gods of water, fire, or earth. Even “re-flavoring” the spells doesn’t exactly help in this case, as a wall of ice and earth is solid and blocks movement through, a wall of fire burns and so on, whereas a wall of wind is mildly annoying, but does no damage and people can still force their way through with some difficulty. Also, should there be a level 20 ability that helps out such as the ability to channel some part of the divine portfolio? A demesne for a god of war might make rages last longer or a god of healing demesne might make healing grant the maximum plus level or something.


    1. That’s what I had trouble with while writing this, how do I keep this domain general enough to fit with my mental picture of a cleric of any god being able to use this domain while making it specific enough to fit the flavor of their god. I ended up trying to keep it general, with a theme of spells for area control, area manipulation, summoned allies, and spells to trap enemies in your demesne.

      Clerics in general cast spells of all types even those that don’t fit the theme of their faith. So in this case, the cleric is more focused on being a walking source of holy ground for their god and will go outside of what would be expected of their usual theme. It is not ideal, but I also didn’t want to write a different list of spells for each of a wide variety of pantheons and deities. Think of the abnormal spell list as a sacrifice the cleric makes of having to go outside of their faith in order to be as effective as possible in their role.

      As to the possibility of a 20th level ability, I was following the template of the cleric archetype which does not have a 20th level ability for the templates. In some other archetypes, I replaced an existing 20th level ability to really round out the theme, but for the cleric, I felt that sticking within the archetype template worked just fine. I had thought about capping the demesne ability with something that let the cleric cast spells over their demesne cheaply or very effectively, but I couldn’t work something out that seemed interesting and balanced. A deity specific ability would be cool, but way too much work to try and create something for everyone. Feel free to add your own twist to it though in your games and let me know what you try.


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