Baldur's Gate 3 Cleric Handbook


Clerics are spellcasters powered by their faith in a deity. Their divine spellcasting is powerful, impactful, and reliable, and they get enough armor to stand on the front lines alongside barbarians and fighters. They’re an asset in any party, and the stereotype of clerics being healbots wildly undersells how powerful they are and how much fun they are. I can’t count how many times I’ve functionally ended an encounter by pressing the right buttons with Shadowheart.

With full spellcasting and many of the best buffs and support options in the game, the Cleric is a great Healer and Support caster, but that is not the extent of their abilities. They also get some excellent damage spells like Guiding Bolt and Spirit Guardians, plus some save-or-suck spells like Hold Person and Command, allowing them to serve as Strikers. The biggest gap in the cleric’s offensive spellcasting is ranged area damage, but even then some subclasses like Light Domain get access to better blasting options like Fireball, and Spirit Guardians can melt through crowds at short range.

With medium armor, shields, d8 hit points, and middling attacks, the Cleric doesn’t work as a Defender like a martial character could, but you can make up that deficiency with spells and subclass features. Several subclasses (divine domains) provide proficiency in heavy armor and better weapons, but that boost in durability doesn’t actually make you good at using weapons. Clerics don’t get weapon damage boosts at low levels like martial characters do, and the Divine Strikes feature offered by some subclasses at level 8 doesn’t fix things. If you want a melee-focused cleric, expect to multiclass.

Despite how powerful and fun they are, it is absolutely not necessary to have a cleric in your party. In-combat healing is rarely a good idea unless an ally is actively on the ground dying, and easy access to short and long rests any time outside of combat means that you don’t need to bring a healbot like you do in many other CRPGs. If one person in the party can cast Healing Word (it’s available to bards, clerics, and druids), it is absolutely fine to not have a cleric in the party. Bring a cleric because they’re awesome, not because you feel like you must.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses a color coding scheme to rate individual character options.

  • 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.

RPGBOT is fan content published under Larian’s Fan Content Policy. This is not official content, and RPGBOT has no official relationship with Larian.

Cleric Class Features

Hit Points: 8+ hit points is better than a wizard, but not enough to survive on the front lines without some work.

Saves: Wisdom saves protect from stuff that takes you out of a fight, and your Wisdom saves will be really good.

Proficiencies: Medium armor, shields, simple weapons, flails (I’m not sure why), and morningstars (I can’t explain without spoilers). Some subclasses will grant heavy armor and martial weapon proficiency.

Spellcasting: The main reason to play a cleric. While many people overlook clerics because they expect a healbot, the Cleric’s spellcasting includes a ton of utility options, buff options, and even a few excellent offensive options like Spirit Guardians.

Channel Divinity: Channel Divinity is a pool of resources which recharge on a Short Rest and fuel abilities like Turn Undead plus some subclass features.

Channel Divinity: Turn Undead: Only situationally useful, but undead are common enemies and turning them will dramatically simplify encounters.

Destroy Undead: “Destroy” is a bit ambitious. 4d6 damage won’t be destroying anything at this level, but more damage when you turn undead is still great.

Divine Intervention: The fact that this only works once is frustrating, but it’s once per character and there’s nothing stopping you from respeccing everyone in the party into cleric for a few minutes to get Arm Thy Servant or Golden Generosity several times.

[Spoilers]: There’s also an item you can find in act 3 that allows a second usage of Divine Intervention per character, but it seems to only work if they haven’t used the first one yet.

  • Arm Thy Servant: The only option with a meaningful permanent effect, and it gets you a pretty good mace. Collect multiple maces and use them between fights to recover your party’s hit points.
  • Golden Generosity: You can buy these items.
  • Opulent Revival: You might save this for the final boss of the game, which feels suitably dramatic, but you should only do that if you plan to respec everyone everyone in your party into cleric temporarily or purchase the cleric hireling to get Arm Thy Servant.
  • Sunder the Heretical: Absolutely not. Cast Spirit Guardians and dive into combat. This is nowhere near good enough to only work once.

Cleric Subclasses

You will be asked to select a deity. While this has social implications, such as Shadowheart disliking Selûne worshippers. Note that choice of deity is restricted by the race and subrace of the cleric. Only Githyanki have the option to choose Vlaakith as a deity, only Duergar Dwarves have the option to choose Laduguer as a deity, Lolth-Sworn Drow may only choose Lolth as a deity, and Seldarine Drow cannot choose Lolth as a deity.

Knowledge Domain

Versatile, effective, and capable of changing their skill proficiencies on the fly, knowledge domain borrows some of the Wizard’s skills and some of their spells to create a great package.

Knowledge Domain is a great choice for a cleric main character, allowing you to conveniently switch into Charisma-based skills as needed, but keep your proficiencies elsewhere while out looking for trouble.

Knowledge Domain doesn’t get a 6th-level feature.

1: Extra Skill Proficiencies: Proficiency and Expertise in two Intelligence-based skills, which greatly makes up for clerics typically dumping Intelligence.

1: Domain Spells: Many excellent options, especially save-or-suck spells from the Wizard’s spell list.

  1. Command: Excellent at any level.
  2. Sleep: Excellent at low levels, but falls off quickly because the spell scaling is poor.
  3. Calm Emotions: Only situationally useful.
  4. Hold Person: Humanoid enemies are abundant in Baldur’s Gate 3, making Hold Person a spectacularly powerful save-or-suck spell.
  5. Slow: A fantastic debuff. This can often win fights by itself if you get it to land.
  6. Speak with Dead: Excellent, but you only need to cast it once per day, so having it permanently prepared feels wasteful.
  7. Confusion: Too unreliable.
  8. Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere: Clerics don’t get Fireball, but this is a decent substitute.
  9. Dominate Person: In a game where the majority of enemies are humanoids, Dominate person is very powerful.
  10. Telekinesis: Fun, but not super effective.

2: Channel Divinity: Knowledge of the Ages: As many as 5 additional skill proficiencies depending on the ability score that you choose. You’re going to be locked into at least a few Intelligence-based skills by Knowledge Domain’s extra proficiencies, so plan to use this elsewhere, such as Wisdom-based skills. If you use your background and your class skills to fill out the other Intelligence-based skills, you can have every Intelligence-based skill and every Wisdom-based skill. Even better, you can change the ability score every time you use Knowledge of the Ages, so you can change your skills to meet the needs of the moment.

Knowledge of the Ages doesn’t stack with the Githyanki’s Astral Knowledge, but you can use the two features on different ability scores, further improving your skill options.

8: Potent Spellcasting: A significant increase to your cantrip damage.

Nature Domain

Nature Domain doesn’t get a 6th-level feature.

1: Acolyte of Nature: One skill, one druid cantrip, and heavy armor. Altogether it’s pretty good.

  • Animal Handling: Tempting if your cleric is your main character because Animal Handling is an easier fit than using Speak with Animals to make Charisma-based checks, but you get much less information and you’re also locked into having Speak with Animals prepared.
  • Nature: Your best bet, but still not a great skill since clerics frequently dump Intelligence.
  • Survival: Borderline useless.
  • Poison Spray:
  • Produce Flame: Already a cleric cantrip.
  • Shillelagh: Essential to making weapons viable for the Cleric, but it’s not enough on its own. If you’re not going to great lengths to build a weapon-using cleric, skip this.
  • Thorn Whip: One of vanishingly few pull effects in BG3.

1: Domain Spells: Almost all of the spells are from the Druid’s spell list. The best options are area control options which the Cleric can’t typically match.

  1. Animal Friendship: Made wholly obsolete by Nature Domain’s Channel Divinity.
  2. Speak with Animals: An excellent spell, but with the Cleric’s poor Charisma you’ll often be stuck talking to unhelpful squirrels and such.
  3. Barkskin: You get heavy armor, and this requires Concentration. This is a terrible spell.
  4. Spike Growth: Decent area control, but enemies will typically jump out of or over the area to avoid the damage, so it’s often difficult to make this meaningful.
  5. Plant Growth: The speed reduction is massive, but Spike Growth is usually sufficient.
  6. Sleet Storm: Potentially knock enemies in the area prone, robbing them of their Action at least for the next turn.
  7. Dominate Beast: Beasts almost never appear as enemies.
  8. Grasping Vine: Enemies will kill the vine immediately.
  9. Insect Plague: Decent area control, and you can shove or throw enemies back into the area to re-trigger the damage.
  10. Wall of Stone: Wall off part of an encounter so that your party can focus on a smaller number of foes at a time. The wall is drawn between two points within range, so to get the maximum range you want to draw the line as close to you as possible, though you might not always need to do that.

2: Channel Divinity: Charm Animals and Plants: Beasts almost never appear as enemies in BG3.

8: Divine Strike: Excellent by Divine Strike standards, especially since you can change the damage type to capitalize on weaknesses or status conditions like Wet. it’s still not great, unfortunately.

Life Domain

If you read everything else on this page, including my repeated refrain “the Cleric is not a healbot,” but you really want to play a healbot, Life Domain is for you. Life Domain is the “default” cleric subclass in some ways. It’s simple to play and easy to understand, making it a great choice for players who want a low-complexity support character.

1: Disciple of Life: A significant improvement to the efficiency of your healing spells, but the vast majority of your magical healing should be 1st-level Healing Word.

1: Heavy Armor Proficiency: A significant improvement to your durability, and with no Strength requirement to avoid speed penalties you can safely dump both Strength and Dexterity and focus on other ability scores.

1: Domain Spells: Very few good options, and all of the spells are already on the Cleric’s spell list, and most of them can be prepared/unprepared outside of combat for the rare times when you need them.

  1. Bless: A staple buff. Excellent at any level.
  2. Cure Wounds: If you’re going to try to heal allies in combat, this is your best bet until you get Heal when you reach 6th-level spells. It’s still not a good choice, but at least Disciple of Life tilts the math slightly further in your favor.
  3. Aid: An excellent spell, but since you can change prepared spells at any time outside of combat, it’s frustrating to have this permanently prepared.
  4. Lesser Restoration: Very rarely impactful in BG3.
  5. Beacon of Hope: A significant improvement to the efficiency of your healing spells, but your Concentration should be dedicated to something more impactful than making hit point attrition into a longer and even more costly problem.
  6. Revivify: Hopefully you won’t need this often enough that having it permanently prepared makes sense. Scrolls of Revivify are widely available and surprisingly cheap.
  7. Death Ward: A great buff, but it lasts all day and it’s not helpful to have it permanently prepared because you’re not going to cast it in combat.
  8. Guardian of Faith: Only situationally useful, and the same slot is almost always better spent on Spiritual Weapon or Spirit Guardians.
  9. Greater Restoration: Almost never useful. You can 100% the entire game and never feel the need to cast this once.
  10. Mass Healing Word: Only situationally useful, but with Disciple of Life, at least the amount healed is decent.

2: Preserve Life: A decent amount of healing, and it essentially guarantees that you have a good way to use your Channel Divinity even if you’re not in a part of the game where you’ll encounter undead. The amount healed is surprisingly good and the AOE is enormous. Be sure to use this before short rests to get everyone to full hp as quickly as possible. This is a huge improvement over the tabletop version, which is barely usable most of the time.

6: Blessed Healer: If you’re on the front lines tanking, you’re going to take some hits. This reduces the urge to heal yourself instead of your allies. The amount of healing isn’t huge, but it triggers for each creature that you heal, and it also triggers off of Channel Divinity: Preserve Life (which is treated as a level 0 spell, unfortunately), so multi-harget healing spells can quickly rush you back to full health. This is important for keeping your cleric topped up as they should be casting Warding Bond on your primary Defender or a melee Striker. It will also trigger off of the weapon ability from Divine Intervention: Arm Thy Servant.

8: Divine Strike: Radiant: A great damage type, especially with the abundance of Cleric-friendly items that synergize with radiant damage. Divine Strike is a bad feature, but this is among the best versions.

Light Domain

Want to play a Blaster, but also a cleric? Light Domain is the closest you can get to an evocation wizard without playing a wizard. The subclass’s features are almost exclusively offensive, adding some of the Wizard’s best fire damage options to the Cleric’s already excellent spell list. There’s very little nuance to the subclass, but in a game full of nail-shaped problems, Light Domain is a hammer-shaped solution.

[Spoilers]: Want to run this domain on easy mode? Get the Hat of Fire Acuity, use Produce Flame your primary damage cantrip, and rack up Arcane Acuity using Scorching Ray before droppin high-value spells to boost your save DC.

1: Warding Flare: An excellent defensive option on par with the spell Shield.

1: Domain Spells: All of the fire damage you could ever want. Definitely consider Elemental Adept.

  1. Light: Not particularly useful, but it’s a free cantrip, which most subclasses don’t get.
  2. Burning Hands: Good short-range area damage at low levels, but it becomes obsolete quickly.
  3. Faerie Fire: A good counter to invisible enemies and a great way to help allies focus their attacks on enemies with a lot of hit points to burn through.
  4. Flaming Sphere: Flaming Sphere is much more trouble and fills a similar niche. Of course, you can summon both if you have the spell slots for it.
  5. Scorching Ray: The king of single-target damage until level 11.
  6. Daylight: Easy to overlook, especially if you’re coming from the tabletop rules, but this is surprisingly good against enemies in the Underdark and in Act 2.
  7. Fireball: The king of area damage spells.
  8. Guardian of Faith: You’re better off upcasting Spiritual Weapon.
  9. Wall of Fire: An incredible area control and damage spell. It lasts a long time, does a decent chunk of damage per turn, and you can shove or throw people back into it if they escape.
  10. Destructive Wave: Good damage, a decent area of effect, and if enemies fail the Constitution save they’re knocked prone. In a game where standing from prone eats your action, that’s a massive impact. Unfortunately, the
  11. Flame Strike: Unless your target is specifically vulnerable to radiant damage, cast Fireball or look elsewhere.

2: Channel Divinity: Radiance of the Dawn: Not a ton of damage and it targets Constitution saves, but it also doesn’t harm allies, so it’s decent at low levels or for clearing groups of low-hp enemies.

6: Improved Warding Flare: A great way to negate critical hits or hits that would drop your allies to 0, but be careful not to burn through all of your uses early in the day. Be sure to set this to “Ask” in the reactions menu.

8: Potent Spellcasting: A significant increase to your cantrip damage.

Tempest Domain

Where Life Domain creates a heavily-armored tank and War Domain attempts to create a martial cleric, Tempest Domain turns the Cleric into a heavily-armored Blaster and Controller.

Even with the rules changes compared to the tabletop rules, tempest clerics suffer from the same challenges that 5e tempest clerics do. That said, Destructive Wrath and Shatter still work out very well mathematically, as we explain in our Tempest Domain Cleric Handbook.

1: Extra Proficiencies: Heavy armor is great. Ignore the weapons.

1: Wrath of the Storm: At low levels this can outright kill enemies, but it doesn’t scale, so at high levels it feels very forgettable.

1: Domain Spells: A good mix of offensive options, but not enough that works well with Destructive Wrath, unfortunately.

  1. Fog Cloud: Low-budget Darkness.
  2. Thunderwave: Not much damage, and Constitution saves are often high for many enemies, but you can launch enemies off ledges or into pits, which can often win a fight for you. Becomes obsolete when you get Gust of Wind.
  3. Gust of Wind: Thunderwave with a better AOE, but no damage. If you want to launch foes off edges, this is a great way to do it.
  4. Shatter: Normally second-fiddle to Fireball, but without access to Fireball, Lighting Bolt, or another big damage spell that works with Destructive Wrath, Shatter is your Fireball.
  5. Call Lightning: Passable damage in a small AOE. If you can keep enemies Wet or capitalize on Thunderbolt Strike, this can be very effective.
  6. Sleet Storm: Potentially knock enemies in the area prone, robbing them of their Action at least for the next turn.
  7. Freedom of Movement: Not always useful, but against enemies that rely on Paralyzed or Restrained, this can be huge.
  8. Ice Storm: Not great damage unless your targets are Wet, but the icy surface can knock enemies prone. Sleet Storm does the job just as well for a spell slot lower, so it’s a better option unless you desperately need the damage.
  9. Destructive Wave: Good damage, a decent area of effect, and if enemies fail the Constitution save they’re knocked prone. In a game where standing from prone eats your action, that’s a massive impact. Unfortunately, the
  10. Insect Plague: Decent area control, and you can shove or throw enemies back into the area to re-trigger the damage.

2: Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath: If you’re building a single-class tempest cleric, this is going to be used for Shatter and nothing else. If you’re multiclassing, sorcerers and wizards can use this in conjunction with the Wet condition and spells like Chromatic Orb and Chain Lightning to do insane damage.

6: Thunderbolt Strike: A great way to reposition enemies without cutting into your action economy.

8: Divine Stike: The damage type is good, but Divine Strike is still weak.

Trickery Domain

Trickery Domain can be frustrating at times, and it’s very easy to forget to use its subclass features, but in a party relying heavily on stealth, it can be a powerful asset. A trickery cleric isn’t a substitute for a rogue, but they are the Rogue’s best friend. Still, if you can cast Pass Without Trace from another source, strongly consider a different domain.

Trickery Domain doesn’t get a 6th-level feature.

Shadowheart is a trickery cleric by default.

1: Blessing of the Trickster: A nice buff and you can use it for free whenever you like. Generally you’ll put this on your party’s Scout whenever you’re not concentrating on something important.

1: Domain Spells: A slow start, but some really great options at higher levels. The spell selection is eclectic, but includes and interesting mix of buffs, utility, and save-or-suck spells.

  1. Charm Person: Only useful if you’re dead set on your cleric being your party’s Face for some reason.
  2. Disguise Self: Only situationally useful, but it does let you do things like talk to corpses of people who you’ve killed.
  3. Mirror Image: A good defense once you have Spirit Guardians running since it doesn’t require Concentration, but otherwise it’s not especially useful.
  4. Pass Without Trace: Trivialize stealth checks for the entire party. It does take Concentration, so you can’t use it with Blessing of the Trickster, but mathematically it blows Blessing of the Trickster out of water.
  5. Bestow Curse: Given the choice between the two, cast Command.
  6. Fear: In some situations, Fear is a better offensive option than Spirit Guardians, and considering how much Spirit Guardians monopolizes the Cleric’s offensive tactics, that’s amazing.
  7. Dimension Door: Line of sight teleportation for you and one ally on a class that doesn’t get any.
  8. Polymorph: Turn something into a sheep.
  9. Dominate Person: In a game with a lot of humanoid enemies, this is amazing.
  10. Seeming: Very situational.

2: Channel Divinity: Invoke Duplicity: Worse than the tabletop version, which was already underappreciated. The inability to move the duplicate makes this hard to use in highly mobile fights, and the fact that the illusion can be destroyed if it takes any damage or is moved means that it’s hard to keep the duplicate running.

8: Divine Strikes: Poison: If you use this, it’s going to be on an opportunity attack. The damage isn’t enough to make it worth your Action and it’s of the worst type in the game.

War Domain

War Domain attempts to turn the Cleric into a meaningful weapon user, but falls far short of that goal. War Priest is a neat way to get an extra attack, but a few extra attacks per day simply isn’t enough to make the Cleric meaningfully good at using weapons, and the domain spells don’t close the gap. More likely, War Priest is an appealing class dip for other classes looking to get more out of their Bonus Action without leaning into two-weapon fighting.

1: Extra Proficiencies: Heavy armor is great. Ignore the weapons.

1: War Priest: The closest that the Cleric gets to Extra Attack. It only works a few times per day and eats your Bonus Action, which is often better spent on a spell. Note that Divine Strike is still once per turn, so even if you’re attacking twice you only get the damage boost once.

1: Domain Spells: Very few good options, an the best ones are already on the Cleric’s spell list.

  1. Divine Favour: Too weak, too short duration, and you can’t share it with someone who is better than you are with weapons.
  2. Shield of Faith: A great buff for your party’s Defender if they’re drawing a lot of attacks.
  3. Magic Weapon: This game hands out magic weapons like candy.
  4. Spiritual Weapon: A staple at any level.
  5. Crusader’s Mantle: In a party that brings a lot of pets and summoned creatures, the +1d4 damage can add up quickly. However, if you’re in a party with just player characters it’s functionally useless.
  6. Spirit Guardians: Among the Cleric’s most defining spells.
  7. Freedom of Movement: Not always useful, but against enemies that rely on Paralyzed or Restrained, this can be huge.
  8. Stoneskin: By the time you get access to this spell, most things that deal a relevant amount of damage will be dealing magical damage.
  9. Flame Strike: Bad AOE damage.
  10. Hold Monster: An upgrade to Hold Person, this can take any creature out of a fight.

2: Channel Divinity: Guided Strike: Decent for damage spells like Guiding Bolt and Inflict Wounds, but don’t use it with weapons.

6: Channel Divinity: War God’s Blessing: By this level you’re not making attack rolls, so using your Channel Divinity charges to help allies is a much better use of the resource.

8: Divine Stike: The damage type is good, but Divine Strike is still weak.

Cleric Ability Scores

Because heavy armor doesn’t have a strength requirement to avoid speed penalties, and because clerics have essentially no reason to use a weapon beyond low levels, and because the value of medium armor for clerics is further increased by the abundance of good medium armor specifically designed for them, there is really no reason to build a cleric around Strength. This does make cleric builds extremely homogenous, which is disappointing, but this is an optimization guide so we’re looking at what’s effective.

If you still want to build a heavily-armored cleric that swings weapons around, take a 2-level dip in paladin for Divine Smite and smite spells, then build your ability scores around Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom.

I typically recommend maxing your key ability score to 17 at level 1. However, the lack of feats which provide a +1 bonus to Wisdom means that there’s usually no benefit to doing so, so leaving Wisdom at 16 is fine.

Str: There is basically no reason to invest in Strength on a cleric since heavy armor doesn’t impose a speed penalty. There are some great weapons that thematically would make sense on a cleric, but those same weapons work better in the hands of a martial character. If you want a viable melee weapon option, multiclass to get Shillelagh and then use it on a magic staff that buffs your spellcasting.

Dex: 14 to fill out medium armor is plenty, but you could just dump it to 8 if you’re in heavy armor. Having high Dexterity so that you can make opportunity attacks sounds interesting, but it won’t be impactful often enough to justify. Even if you’re proficient in heavy armor, you likely want to build around medium armor and Dexterity because many of the armors intended for clerics are medium.

Con: Hit points, Constitution saves, Concentration.

Int: Some skills.

Wis: Spellcasting, Wisdom saves, Perception.

Cha: Face skills.

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Cleric Races

Clerics don’t have any obvious, fantastically powerful race options. Innate spells are hard because they’re almost always Charisma-based, and armor and weapon proficiencies are mostly either redundant or unhelpful. Your best bet is to look for defenses or benefits to your skills depending on your cleric’s role in your party.


Slow, and both Darkvision and Poison Resilience are replaceable with 2nd-level spells. The weapon proficiencies aren’t helpful.

  • Gold Dwarf: More hp is nice, but you don’t really need it.
  • Shield Dwarf: Redundant.
  • Duergar: The innate spellcasting is fine, but doesn’t really add anything that you need. Duergar may select Laduguer as a deity.


Damage resistance is great, and the breath weapon can be a decent area damage option at close range, but you also have spells that fill that niche.


Darkvision can be replaced by a spell, but Fey Ancestry and proficiency in Perception are both good. The innate spellcasting is fine, but it’s Charisma-based so Faerie Fire won’t be reliable.

Lolth-sworn Drow and Seldarine Drow are mechanically identical in most cases, but Lolth-sworn drow may only select Lolth as a deity and Seldarine Drow cannot choose Lolth as a deity\.


Darkvision can be replaced by a spell, but Fey Ancestry and proficiency in Perception are both good. The weapon proficiencies open up some additional weapon options for clerics that don’t get martial weapon proficiency from their subclass, and since building with some Dexterity is expected, access to rapiers and bows can be very helpful.

  • High Elf: An offensive Intelligence-based cantrip is not helpful. Blade Ward might be worthwhile for combining with Spirit Guardians.
  • Wood Elf: Another skill and some extra speed.


Gnome Cunning, coupled with the Cleric’s excellent Wisdom saves, makes many of the most dangerous saves in the game trivial.

  • Rock: Adding twice your proficiency to History checks is nice, but it doesn’t come up very often.
  • Forest: Speak with Animals is a ton of fun and a great asset in Baldur’s Gate 3, but it’s also readily available from consumables, so dedicating your subrace to a single spell is hard to justify.
  • Deep: Advantage on Stealth checks is a huge benefit for a sneaky character, or it can offset the penalty from your armor.


The armor proficiency is redundant, but the innate spellcasting and Astral Knowledge are great. The additional weapons are tempting, but not quite as good as the Elf’s.

Githyanki can select Vlaakith as a deity.


Darkvision (which is replaceable with a spell), Fey Ancestry, and a subrace. Civil Militia is almost entirely redundant, so Drow or Elf will be outright better.

  • High Half-Elf: An offensive Intelligence-based cantrip is not helpful. Blade Ward might be worthwhile for combining with Spirit Guardians.
  • Wood Half-Elf: Another skill and some extra speed.
  • Drow Half-Elf: The innate spellcasting is fine, but it’s Charisma-based so Faerie Fire won’t be reliable.


Relentless Endurance is nice, but Savage Attacks is borderline useless, and Intimidation isn’t a good enough skill for the Cleric that it makes the Half-Orc a good choice.


Baldur’s Gate 3 makes a natural 1 a critical failure, meaning that you automatically fail whatever attack/check/save.

  • Lightfoot: Advantage on Stealth checks is a huge benefit for a sneaky character, or it can offset the penalty from your armor.
  • Strongheart: Poison Resistance is available as a 2nd-level spell which lasts until your next long rest, so getting it from your race is pointless beyond low levels.


Civil Militia is mostly redundant, so it’s just the free skill, which simply isn’t enough.


Resistance to fire is a great start since Fire damage is common.

  • Asmodeus Tiefling: Produce Flame is Wisdom-based, but it’s unclear if that’s intentional or a bug. Hellish Rebuke is fine, but won’t be impressive beyond low levels. You can’t use Darkness for much in Baldur’s Gate 3. Altogether, it’s okay.
  • Mephistopheles Tiefling: Mage Hand is great, but the other innate spells are unhelpful.
  • Zariel Tiefling: Thaumaturgy can make some social options viable for the Cleric, but it’s not good enough to learn it through your class. The smite spells offer a bit of help for weapon attacks, but using a weapon is still generally a poor choice for the Cleric.

Cleric Skills

  • Acrobatics (Dex): Only useful when falling and when resisting Shove, which aren’t common enough to justify.
  • Animal Handling (Wis): Using Speak With Animals will let you use Face skills like Persuasion instead of Animal Handling, but that may actually be worse for the Cleric. Still, this is a bad skill. Have a party member with better Charisma talk to the animals.
  • Athletics (Str): Strength is a dump stat for the Bard.
  • Arcana (Int): Frequently useful in conversations and for opening some puzzles.
  • Deception (Cha): Occasionally useful in conversations, but not as often as Persuasion.
  • History (Int): Occasionally rolled automatically during conversations to give your character in-world knowledge.
  • Insight (Wis): Occasionally useful in conversations.
  • Intimidation (Cha): Occasionally useful in conversations, but not as often as Persuasion, and NPCs often don’t always respond well. Still, the availability of Thaumaturgy makes this arguably your best Face skill option.
  • Investigation (Int): Very rarely useful.
  • Nature (Int): Occasionally rolled during conversations and while exploring.
  • Perception (Wis): One of the most important skills in the game. Used to detect traps and hidden enemies.
  • Performance (Cha): Useless.
  • Persuasion (Cha): The best Face skill, but clerics usually don’t have the Charisma to make it work.
  • Religion (Int): Occasionally rolled during conversations and while exploring. The fact that clerics aren’t automatically proficient and then are typically worse at Religion than wizards has been a long-standing criticism in the tabletop DnD rules.
  • Sleight of Hand (Dex): Locks, traps, picking pockets.
  • Stealth (Dex): A hard choice for the Cleric because most of their armor imposes Disadvantage on Stealth checks.
  • Survival (Wis): The buried chests are not worth the skill proficiency to find them

Cleric Backgrounds

Backgrounds provide two skill proficiencies and determine the way that your character earns Inspiration. The game has ample opportunities to earn Inspiration for every background, so choosing a background typically comes down to what skills you want.

  • Acolyte: The go-to option for the Cleric. It’s fine, but it also limits you to a choice of 3 skills from your class, one of which is Medicine. A background with skills from outside of the Cleric list may be helpful.
  • Charlatan: Hard since clerics typically dump Charisma.
  • Criminal: Hard since clerics typically dump Charisma.
  • Entertainer: Bad skills.
  • Folk hero: The skills are both Wisdom-based, but they’re still bad.
  • Guild Artisan: Tempting if you’re planning to use your own cleric as your pary’s Face.
  • Haunted One (Dark Urge only): If you’re playing Dark Urge, you’re locked into this. You get Medicine and Intimidation, and neither of those are great, but add Thaumaturgy and Intimidation can work reasonably well.
  • Noble: Tempting if you’re planning to use your own cleric as your pary’s Face, but Guild Artisan is an easier fit for the same concept.
  • Outlander: Bad skills for the Cleric.
  • Sage: Two knowledge skills.
  • Soldier: Passable skills, and if you plan to build around Strength (not the best idea, but Shove is very tempting), Athletics will be useful. Throw in Thaumaturgy and you can get some use out of Intimidation, too.
  • Urchin: An easy choice if your Dexterity is decent.

Cleric Feats

This section does not address every feat, as some clearly aren’t relevant to the class. For more general discussion on feats, see our Practical Guide to Feat Selection.

  • Defensive Duelist: Potentially tempting as a way to keep Spirit Guardians running, but Mobile or War Caster are better choices.
  • Medium Armor Master: The abundance of excellent medium armor for clerics makes this tempting, but if you’re taking this you’re almost certainly over-investing in Stealth.
  • Mobile: Tempting for running around with Spirit Guardians, but the melee attack requirement is a big problem. Using the Disengage action will do just as well without the feat cost.
  • Resilient: Resilient (Constitution) is a huge buff for the Cleric.
  • Shield Master: Clerics will almost always wear a shield, so this is an interesting way to mitigate area damage.
  • War Caster: Excellent for being in melee. War Caster helps maintain Concentration, and Shocking Grasp will outpace your weapon attacks, making it a meaningful Opportunity Attack option.

Cleric Weapons

If you’re building around Strength, you can use basically whatever weapon you like. Weapons which deal bonus radiant damage can be a great choice as they stack well with other items that clerics enjoy, but those weapons are rarely Finesse weapons so it’s not always a good option design the radiant damage. Instead, you might enjoy items that buff your spellcasting like magic staves.

Cleric Armor

Clerics will be in either medium armor or heavy armor. It is technically possible to build a cleric in light armor, but there is a lot of medium armor designed for clerics and no light armor designed for clerics, so it’s generally not a good idea. Half plate is the best type of medium armor, so rob Lae’zel of her Githyanki Half-plate unless she still needs it.

Cleric Multiclassing

  • Barbarian: If you want martial stuff, the Fighter is better.
  • Bard: Three levels for Expertise without hurting your spell slot progression is tempting, and between Friends and Expertise you could do okay as your party’s Face, but that’s a lot of effort for little return.
  • Druid: A single level for Shillelagh and Faerie Fire is good. Leave Good berry for camp casters.
  • Fighter: Starting with one level for Constitution save proficiency, heavy armor, and a fighting style is great.
  • Monk: Unarmored Defense and you can make an Unarmed Strikle as a Bonus Action. Of course, there is a lot of really good magic armor that’s likely more impactful.
  • Paladin: Two levels for smite spells and Divine Smite does a lot to make weapons appealing for the Cleric, but that still won’t beat Spirit Guardians.
  • Ranger: If you want martial stuff, the Fighter is better. If you want spellcasting, the Druid is better.
  • Rogue: One level for Expertise. Two levels for Cunning Action so that you can Disengage while running Spirit Guardians.
  • Sorcerer: No ability overlap. If you want similar spellcasting, for for wizard.
  • Warlock: No ability overlap, and the Warlock doesn’t provide anything new thats’s appealing to the Cleric.
  • Wizard: One level for access to the Wizard’s entire spell list. Avoid offensive spells since they’ll be Intelligence-based.

Cleric Example Build – Shadowheart, Half-Elf Trickery Cleric

Baldur's Gate 3 Shadowheart
Shadowheart can contemplate the artifact all she wants, but it won’t make her weapon attacks good.

Shadowheart is the only cleric companion character, and if we’re being honest, her build is attrocious. Players consistently complain that she can’t hit with attacks, most especially Fire Bolt, and that her subclass features are easy to completely forget about because they don’t feel impactful. All of these complaints are valid, and complaints about attacks have a very clear and obvious mathematical basis. If you’re here because you’re frustrated with Shadowheart’s performance in combat, you are not alone and you are right to be frustrated.

So we’re going to fix it. We can’t change race or background and we’re not going to chance Shadowheart’s subclass. Instead, we’re going to respec her ability scores and give you tactics that will make her work effectively without changing the heart of her build. In some ways, this makes Shadowheart a great example of why planning your ability scores is so crucial to your success.

Ability Scores

The recommended cleric stats are horrible. Not enough Strength or Dexterity to use any weapon meaningfully, not enough Dexterity to max out medium armor, and not enough Constitution to keep a cleric alive in melee while concentrating on high-impact spells like Spirit Guardians.

Since Shadowheart is a companion, we’re not going to use her in conversations, which means that her Intelligence-based skills are less important than if we were playing a cleric ourselves. That lets us dump Intelligence and put those points into Strength. We’ll also go for a little extra Dexterity to help with saves, intiative, and stealth since Shadowheart (really any trickery cleric) thrives in a party of sneaky characters. We’ll leave Constitution at 15 to pick up Resilient (Con).

RPGBOT Recommended+2/+1 IncreasesFinalShadowheart’s Defaults


High Half-Elf. Shadowheart is locked into the Fire Bolt cantrip, and since her Intelligence is poor (and you might make it worse by respeccing), it’s functionally useless in combat, but you might occasionally use it to set things on fire, such as spider webs or pools of grease.


Acolyte. We get proficiency in Insight and Religion.

Skill Proficiencies

By default Shadowheart is proficient in History, Insight, Medicine, and Religion. When you respec, replace Medicine with Persuasion. It won’t be useful, but it’s sure better than Medicine.


At level 4 we raise Wisdom to 18.

At level 8 we take Resilient (Constitution) to raise Con to 16 and improve our Concentration saves so that we can maintain spells better.

At level 12 we raise Wisdom to 20. You might take War Caster instead if you find that you’re still struggling to maintain Spirit Guardians and haven’t found another source of Advantage on Concentration saves.


LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
Cantrips Known
– Guidance
– Produce Flame
– Sacred Flame
Domain Spells
– Charm Person
– Disguise Self
Blessing of Trickster
Guidance is among the best buffs in the game. Produce Flame is basically only for attacking enemies with high Dexterity saves, though it can also serve as a light source if you need one and can’t get back to camp to have a camp caster hit you with Light. Sacred Flame is our go-to offensive option beyon low levels.

Among our various first level spells, grab Command and Healing Word. Command: Drop disarms an enemy, trivializing many combat encounters. Healing Word is 90% of the in-combat healing that you’ll do throughout the game because it can rescue a dying ally but leave your Action for doing something interesting.
2Chanel Divinity 1/rest
Turn Undead
Invoke Duplicity
Use Turn Undead any time you’re fighting undead. It’s really easy to forget about it, but trivializing an encounter by turning half of the enemies is too good to pass up.

Invoke Duplicity is easy to forget about. It takes an Action and eats Concentration, which is a high cost for what often feels unimpressive. The illusion doesn’t move, and any damage dispels it, so enemies can easily remove it. But if you spend an Action to summon the illusion and they spend an Action to remove it, you’ve probably come out ahead. If the illusion sticks around, it’s a good way to help allies focus fire on big, difficult targets.
3Domain Spells
– Mirror Image
– Pass Without Trace
Mirror Image is a great defense once you have Spirit Guardians running because it doesn’t eat Concentration and it won’t consume a spell slot that could instead be used to cast Spirit Guardians.

Pass Without Trace instantly makes Stealth checks very easy, but the reality of BG3’s vision cones and ligthing system means that there’s almost never a reason to actually cast it. It’s usually fine to camp non-sneaky characters outside of detection range and send your one sneaky character forward with Blessing of Trickster and Guidance running.

This levels brings 2nd-level spells, which crucially includes Spiritual Weapon. Spiritual Weapon is an amazing combat summon, providing an extra attack behind a creature that resists a lot of damage. However, its speed is extremely slow, which can be a problem in fights spread over a large area.
4Feat: Ability Score Increase (Wisdom 16 -> 18)
New Cantrip Known:
– Blade Ward
Blade Ward is exclusively for use with Spirit Guardians once we get it. This level isn’t super exciting.
5Domain Spells
– Bestow Curse
– Fear
Fear and Spirit Guardians are immediately amazing. Fear disarms a cone of enemies and sends them fleeing, trivializing many encounters against humanoids.

Spirit Guardians turns your cleric into a wandering blender. Enemies take damage the first time they enter area on a turn, not “your turn” or “their turn”, but a turn. Walk just close enough to hit enemies as you cruise past, then end your movement somewhere that encourages them to charge you and/or somewhere that your allies could shove your enemies into the area to re-trigger the damage.
6Channel Divinity 2/restBasically nothing here but more resources. No tactical changes.
7Domain Spells
– Dimension Door
– Polymorph
Polymorph turns an enemy into a sheep, which is hilarious. Unfortunately, the Cleric’s 4th-level spells aren’t great, so expect to reserve this slot for upcasting higher-level spells.
8Feat: Resilient (Constitution 15 -> 16)
Divine Strike: +1d8 Poison
Divine Strike is already bad, and getting it as poison damage only makes it worse.
9Domain Spells
– Dominate Person
– Seeming
Dominate Person suddenly becomes our go-to option for encounters against humanoids. Just remember that they get additional saves, so you want to be choosy about your targets and pick enemies that are likely to remain dominated for a few turns.

Contagion (Slimy Doom) is really good if you can debuff your target’s Con saves. Resonance (available from various items) and the debuff applied by a rat familiar’s bite are great options. Once Slimy Doom is in place you can comfortably stun-lock your target until they’re dead. Camping a Flaming Sphere or a cleric with Spirit Guardians next to them should do the job.
10Divine InterventionGet yourself a cool mace. Don’t use it as a mace, though, that would be silly. Use it to heal between encounters.
11You get exactly one 6th-level spell slot (although there’s a necklace you can find to give you another). Spend it wisely. I recommend Planar Ally (Deva), and if you have a second one, Heroes’ Feast unless you’re getting that via camp casting. Buff it via camp casting with spells like Aid, and you have a powerful, durable summon that will last all day long.
12Feat: Ability Score Increase (Wisdom 18 -> 20)Max Wisdom for max spell save DC.