Introduction

Twilight Clerics are one of the best instances of the concept of power creep you can find in 5th Edition. They’re just better at everything Clerics do than most other clerics. Prior to Tasha’s, you had Clerics that were better than baseline at healing or preventing damage, Clerics that could wear heavy armor, and a few that were both. The primary one of these was, of course, the Life domain Cleric, a subclass that’s so boring that its subclass capstone is barely usable because combat healing is a terribly inefficient proposition.

Then we got the Twilight Cleric. It could do both of those, fly, give someone advantage on initiative checks literally forever, and it has one of the best expanded spell lists in the game. Every subclass ability is rated blue except for Divine Strikes which, even if your DM doesn’t let you replace it with Blessed Strikes, is still green because you also get Martial Weapon Proficiency for free and can walk out with a warhammer and a shield and pretend you’re a Paladin. I’m currently playing a Twilight Cleric in an Out of The Abyss campaign and it feels like cheating. Every feature is easy to use, there is only one combat trick, and you and your party are both very durable. This hasn’t stopped two of my party members from turning into statues anyway, but at least that wasn’t my fault.

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Twilight Domain Features

  1. Domain Spells: Almost all good options, but a handful of situational options which you may have trouble using.
    1. 1st Level: The lowest-level counter to invisibility, and a staple low-level save-or-suck. Sleep will stop being reliably useful after low levels, but Faerie Fire never stops working.
    2. 3rd Level: See Invisibility is another excellent counter to invisibility, and having Faerie Fire handy allows you to easily spot invisible foes then reveal them to your party without needing to have See Invisibility running on everyone. Moonbeam is a great combat option for the narrow window of levels 3 and 4 before your cantrip damage increases and Sacred Flame will be almost as effective as a 2nd-level spell which requires Concentration. After that, you’ll never use it unless you meet a shapeshifter.
    3. 5th Level: Enormous quantities of slow healing balanced around being cast by a high-level Paladin, and a magical place to rest which doubles as a go-to option when you’re out in the open and need cover. At medium levels, a single Aura of Vitality can effectively replace all the healing a party would get out of a short rest without feeling like a huge resource cost. If you’re a group that doesn’t have any other short rest-recharge resources, spending a minute walking and getting back up to full HP lets you easily roll over the expected pacing and become epic all the quicker.
    4. 7th Level: Aura of Life is generally only useful against certain types of undead like shadows, but Greater Invisibility is one of the best buffs in the game.
    5. 9th Level: Circle of Power is normally a Paladin exclusive, and you get it long before the Paladin does. Mislead is neat, but very situational.
  2. Bonus Proficiencies: Perfect for a front-line cleric.
  3. Eyes of Night: Darkvision is great if you don’t already have it, and the absolutely absurd 300 ft. range is unprecedented. 120 ft. would be blue. On top of that, you can share it with your allies for an hour at a time and you can refresh the ability by spending a spell slot of any level. Considering that the Darkvision spell is 2nd-level, that’s phenomenal.
  4. Vigilant Blessing: But wait, there’s more! On top of the other amazing stuff that Twilight Domain gets at first level, you can give someone Advantage on their next Initiative roll. I recommend an Assassin Rogue if one is in your party, otherwise, go for one of the primary battlefield controller in your party even if that means you. The effect lasts until it expires, so you want to get this set up again the moment that combat ends so that you’re never not benefiting from this.
  5. Channel Divinity: Twilight Sanctuary: If this were a fire-and-forget effect that granted temporary hit points or removed charm/fear once, I would rate it blue because the pool of temporary hit points is enormous. Instead, it refreshes every round for a minute. Remember that clerics can use Channel Divinity once per short rest at this level, going up to 3 times per short rest. This makes your whole party incredibly difficult to kill, and makes them all but immune to both charm and fear effects.

    The light effect here is a bit unclear, as it doesn’t explain how it interacts with other light sources. Does it reduce existing light levels? How does it interact with magical light? What about spells like Daylight or Darkness? I’m honestly not sure and I’m hesitant to offer suggestions. It’s possible that brighter light simply overrides the light from Twilight Sanctuary, and if that’s the case I’m fairly confident that that doesn’t cause you any problems except trying to activate your Steps of Night.

    This ability is exceptionally powerful. The amount of temporary hp is huge and the fact that it refreshes is terrifying. If it’s a problem in your game (and it might be starting in midgame when two per short rest doesn’t feel like it’s too precious to use often), there are several variations that you could try to address it with. If you try any of these or if you have your own fixes, email me and let me know what you tried and how it went.

    • Fix A: The cleric must maintain Concentration as though Concentrating on a spell. This prevents them from combining Twilight Sanctuary with the Cleric’s best spells, including things like Bless and Spirit Guardians.
    • Fix B: Applying either of the two effects takes the cleric’s Reaction, so they’re only able to affect one creature per round.
    • Fix C: The temporary hit point option applies once per creature, and the temporary hit points disappear if the creature exits the area of effect.
    • Fix D: Adjust the number of temporary hit points granted. 1d6+level is a lot. Try 1d6+Wisdom (may be slightly higher than intended at low levels, but will max out at 1d6+5 by level 8). You might also try just a flat 1d6 or just the cleric’s Wisdom modifier.
    • Fix E: Instead of automatically removing a Charm/Fear effect, creatures can re-attempt their save against one Charm/Fear effect currently affecting them at the original save DC. If this feels like too much of a “nerf”, you might grant Advantage on the save.
    • Fix F: The temporary hit points granted by Twilight Sanctuary end when the effect ends or if the creature leaves the area of effect.
  6. Steps of Night: Magical flight is a crucial tactical option, and activating it as a Bonus Action without spending spell slots is phenomenal. Granted, you can only trigger this in Dim Light and Darkness, but you can produce Dim Light with Channel Divinity: Twilight Sanctuary, or in a dark place you can hold a candle. The ability also doesn’t require you to stay in those lighting conditions to keep using it. You can use this a number of times equal to your Proficiency Bonus every day, which is frequently enough to get you through every occurrence where you’ll absolutely need to be flying.
  7. Divine Strike: Radiant damage is among the most reliable damage types available. See also: Divine Strike vs. Cantrips.
  8. Twilight Shroud: Effectively +2 AC for your whole party. Mathematically impactful at any level, and it still stacks with the vast majority of other AC buffs. Your allies may also be able to use this cover to hide, but check with your DM.

Twilight Domain Ability Scores

No change from any other plate-wearing Cleric.

Str: Get this at least to 13 to make best use of heavy armor unless you’re either a Dwarf or don’t care about being slow.

Dex: Dex saves generally only deal damage, and your armor sets your AC.

Con: Dying is suboptimal, plus you have several of the best Concentration spells in the game.

Int: Dump

Wis: It powers your spells and a class feature.

Cha: Dump

Point BuyStandard Array
Str1513
Dex88
Con1514
Int810
Wis1515
Cha812

Twilight Domain Races

You can safely spend zero power budget on Darkvision or flight, so, once again, Variant Human is probably your strongest choice. 

Dhampir is a terrible choice for Twilight. Spider Climb is worse than flight and Darkvision is wasted budget.

Shifter is a slightly better option for Twilight. You’re still losing budget to Darkvision, but Survival Proficiency to take advantage of the high Wisdom and Wildhunt to make sure that nothing has advantage rolling against your high AC is a pretty good character.

Really though, I think the race that truly sparkles as a Twilight cleric is being a Centaur and letting someone ride you into battle as you fly and distribute temp hp in an aura.

Twilight Domain Feats

Nothing different for Twilight Domain. If you think you’re going to be putting that martial weapon to frequent use, you should pick up Warcaster sooner rather than later, probably as a variant human, but nothing else sticks out.

Twilight Domain Weapons

Nothing different than any other Cleric that has the right proficiencies.

Twilight Domain Armor

Get the heaviest armor you can afford. You’ll start in Chainmail and buy Plate as soon as you can.

Multiclassing

This section briefly details some obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn’t fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see my Practical Guide to Multiclassing.

This is one of the rare subclasses that isn’t really improved by multiclassing. You mostly just want to get access to all your great abilities as soon as possible.

Example Build – I protect my friends with magic

Let’s see, we have four legs, we can do magic, and we end up, through episodic character growth, on a first name basis with a deity. I’m glad this doesn’t remind me of anything.

Abilities

As described above.

BaseIncreased
Str1515
Dex88
Con1516
Int88
Wis1517
Cha88

Race

Centaur (either Custom Origin or the updated version in Monsters of the Multiverse). Charge will help us get through low levels where Cleric damage can be underwhelming, 40ft move speed is always appreciated, and you have your choice of one of 4 free proficiencies, 3 of which take advantage of your high Wisdom (or Nature if you really want it).

Background

Take Sage for the Researcher feature, then immediately drop every proficiency it provides for Perception, Animal Handling, Herbalism Kit, and a language or tool of your choice. Did I basically just rebuild Hermit but with a different ability? Yes I did. But Sage’s ability to just know where to find lore it doesn’t know is very strong. Maybe it’s like… your personal library is vast and you know its card catalog very well, even though you’ve never read most of it.

Skills and Tools

Race gives us Survival, Background gives us Perception, Animal Handling, Herbalism Kit and a wildcard, and Cleric gives us Insight and Medicine, rounding out our uses of Wisdom. If you don’t have any fixes in place for Medicine being unhelpful, pick up Persuasion proficiency instead. People are often willing to talk to clerics because there’s an inherent trustworthiness in someone who devotes themselves to a higher power, even if the particulars of the deity might leave something to be desired.

Feats

Level 4 gets us Telekinetic because of course it does. This is roughly the level we stop wanting to bonus action attack with Charge, so this comes in as the replacement we’re looking for.

Level 8 caps Wisdom to 20.

Level 12 gets us Fighting Initiate (Protection). Why not Warcaster here? Because weapon attacks stopped being useful a while ago, so just have one hand holding a shield and the other hand free to provide components.

Level 16 gets us Gift of the Chromatic Dragon

Level 19 can be really anything. Eldritch Adept for Devil’s Sight, Lucky, or any of Tough/Defensive Duelist/Resilient for more defenses are all viable choices depending on what your character’s going through.

Levels

LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Cantrips:
– Sacred Flame
– Guidance
– Toll the Dead

Domain Spells:
– Faerie Fire
– Sleep

Eyes of Night

Vigilant Blessing
I mentioned before that first and maybe second level is going to look a lot like repeatedly charging someone to attack them with your warhammer and hooves in the same turn to put out good DPR. You have a few tools spell-wise to aid that like Sleep for groups and Healing Word to stand back up whoever inevitably falls over while people are still very fragile. If things are more than 40 feet away, get closer and ask them for saves.

For starting equipment, take a warhammer, chain mail, a priest’s pack, and a dagger to eat with.

Eyes of Night is already worth sharing from time to time. Probably don’t spend any spell slots on it yet, but don’t hesitate to share it with whatever party member didn’t take racial Darkvision.

Ideally, you have a melee Rogue who’s willing to ride around on your back and take advantage of the easy sneak attack you’re providing them. Something else martial and melee works, too.
2Channel Divinity: Twilight SanctuaryIf it looks like a hard fight, pop this early and watch as all the damage things try to deal to your party is mitigated with little effort besides positioning. Fortunately, positioning is much easier for us because Centaur.

Optimal positioning really is the defining part of playing a Twilight Cleric well. You will often find yourself faced with the choice of optimizing group damage with Spirit Guardians or party defense with Twilight Bastion and the Aura spells. There is no one right answer here, and it’s really going to depend on the specifics of the fight and your party composition. Fortunately, the small purple dragonborn on your back solves one problem by moving with you, but if you two are the only melee characters, maximizing damage could leave your vulnerable strikers undefended if you’re not careful.

Tyler largely wrote the above subclass features breakdown, but I’m of the opinion that the sphere around you is set to dim light, regardless of outside lighting conditions. When dealing with magical light levels, I would have it count as a spell of the highest level the Cleric can cast, countering light or darkness appropriately. This feels like the simplest way to interpret the rule and the closest to rules as intended.
3Domain Spells:
– Moonbeam
– See Invisibility
Not much is going to be invisible at this point, so we’re largely going to use spell slots for concentrating on damage over time.

Warding Bond becomes available at this level, and Twilight Clerics are an excellent use case for it. If you have something a little less durable like a shieldless polearm master as your Defender, throwing it on them while running Twilight Bastion effectively spreads the incoming damage out over two temp HP pools which drastically increases the target’s survivability. This isn’t crucial right now when you’re short on spell slots, but keep this tactic in mind as you level.
4Telekinetic (Wis)Oh look, free Mage Hand. I’ve talked about this feat in many of the subclass guides I’ve written. Rocco also described a masterful use of this feat combined with the Cleric staple Spirit Guardians in the Peace Domain Cleric Handbook.
5Domain Spells:
– Aura of Vitality
– Tiny Hut

Destroy Undead
Spirit Guardians was already really good, and then we went and added Telekinetic. Aura of Vitality is excellent out of combat healing if your group doesn’t have hit dice or time to spend on a short rest, and having Tiny Hut as a ritual is excellent.

One thing to note about Aura of Vitality is that Twilight Clerics always have access, even if your DM doesn’t want to let you use any optional class features. If that’s the case, it’s the only way to get it as a Cleric, and it’s good enough that it’s frequently chosen by Lore bards for their early Magical Secrets.
6Steps of Night

Channel Divinity 2/rest
Now you can fly, and, thanks to you being a Centaur, so can the friend on your back.

This is also the level our capacity to create Twilight Bastions doubles. Since you have a martial on your back it will always get at least two people, and that’s justification enough to use it basically every fight.
7Domain Spells:
– Aura of Life
– Greater Invisibility
If someone is riding you, are they your gear for the purpose of Greater Invisibility? How about vice versa? Both answers are probably not, but it’s always worth checking with your DM.
8Wis 18 -> 20

Blessed Strikes

Destroy Undead Improvement
Hopefully you can take the Blessed Strikes Optional Class Feature since your Wisdom is now capped and you’ve wanted to give up on weapon attacks for several levels.
9Domain Spells:
– Circle of Power
– Mislead
Circle of Power has the same radius as Twilight Sanctuary. Make of that what you will (mostly what you will make of it is sad spellcasting NPCs). 
10Divine Intervention

New Cantrip:
– Thaumaturgy
10% of the time, it works every time.
It probably works better if you shout three times louder than normal when you’re asking though.
11Destroy Undead ImprovementThis is the level that in-combat healing becomes viable. Of course, you’re preventing an average of 14 damage per person per turn with Twilight Sanctuary, so a single Heal is only worth a round of damage on the party. Still though, it’s the gold standard for getting someone back in the fight.
12Fighting Initiate (Protection)We have a shield and we always have someone within 5 feet of us because, indeed, they’re mounted on us. Now we have a resourceless way to spend our Reaction.
13Divine Word becomes available as a Charisma-save-based area kill spell, but not much else notable happens at this level.
14Destroy Undead Improvement
15Holy Aura and Twilight Bastion distributing 18 temp hp a turn means that you’d have to try pretty hard to lose a fight.
16Gift of the Chromatic DragonBonus action to slap our rider’s weapon with an element and a Reaction to protect ourselves when something hits us with a big elemental attack.
17Twilight Bastion

Destroy Undead Improvement
Like the sad high-level cleric we are, we prepare Mass Heal and look longingly at everything that can cast Wish.
What we can do, though, is give cover to our party, so we do that.
18Channel 3/restIf you’re having 3 fights between short rests, something has probably gone wrong. Fortunately, you have the channels to help mitigate that.
19Resilient (Con)It doesn’t make our Con go up, but it does add +6 to the save including for Concentration.
20Divine Intervention Improvement.Write a kind letter to your deity and ask them to fix your problem for you if you can’t figure it out with the power of friendship.