Cleric Class Color Guide for Role Playing in DnD
Updated: Apr 3, 2022
A light in the shadows, a beacon of knowledge, an agent of war and so much more. The Cleric is a class whose definition can be as varied as the gods they serve and in dungeons and dragons, gods are plentiful, and their own motivations are many. Welcome back to the class colors series, a series where I will help you build more dynamic and interesting characters using the color pie, and in today’s episode will be covering the Cleric.
The beauty of this class and what makes its so special is its potential for true variety. Each domain available to the Cleric has a fundamental effect on the class and can change every aspect of it. The cleric’s primary defining feature is its devotion. It is a class built around serving its god’s purpose. Whether that means it’s an instrument of life, of war, of trickery or knowledge the cleric upholds its gods’ intentions with a fanaticism not seen by many other classes save for the paladin. This is what makes the cleric so hard to define but as you’ll come to see there is a common thread among all of them, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we will discuss the class’s core color soon.
When building your Cleric, It can be easy to default your color choices based on what domain you choose, and this is where I would urge you to create your cleric in the opposite fashion. Do not start with the domain, start with the character and the domain will follow suit. Like I always say in these videos, motivations are the driving force behind your character’s colors. There will be colors you will see more often in each class and by understanding how a class adapts any given combinations it will help you create better characters. As always, we will begin with the class colors chosen by wizards of the coast in the set adventures in the forgotten realm and discuss if their selection is a good candidate for the core color of the class. Alright, ask your god for guidance as we get into the class colors of the Cleric.
At the heart of the Cleric is one core truth, it is the class of piety, the class that looks to a higher power for answers and because of these aspects it fits perfectly into the color chosen by Wizards of the Coast, and that is White. You might think that white is the core color because of its healing powers or because it helps the weak and heals the injured but that is not the reason why we will be choosing white, because as you may know the Cleric is so much more and at times none of those things. So, let’s break down why White works as a core color for this class with this in consideration.
White is the color that is always looking externally for answers, whether that be in laws, kings, angels, or deities. In some ways White is like its neighbor green, in that it believes in a bigger purpose outside of itself it’s just that to green this idea is more abstract and to white it is something tangible. Therefore, we see religion most often in white, a moral guide which it can mold its life around. Every setting in dnd is populated with many gods and fulfilling their wishes becomes a tangible way of life for some. The Cleric in this way becomes the literal right hand of a god, extending its influence on the masses and exacting its will in tangible ways.
As you can begin to see no matter the domain this is the one common thread. They could enact the will of death, of trickery or war and yet there will often be white, the mechanism of piety and of laws bigger than oneself. Now that we have an understanding and a base to start with, I want to begin the fun part of the video where we build three characters using the color pie to help inspire you when it comes time to making your own Cleric. For our first character we will be adding in Green and Red to see what comes from this combination.
White Green Red
For this cleric I want to paint a picture of what lead them to this class and the domain in which their god falls under, that way you can understand what lead them to now stand as a White Green Red Cleric. In this instance we have a character who at a young age loved the sea and as soon as they were old enough, they joined a merchant ship as a deck hand. It was a tough life, but they loved every minute of it, that is until one day the ship ran into a violent storm. While many hid below deck our protagonist fought tooth and nail to keep the ship on course but eventually the storm won.
The ship was destroyed, and none survived, that is except for our future cleric. They had spent the entire night gripped tightly to a piece of wood and managed to resist the waves which threatened to pull them under. When morning finally came, and the sun rose over the sea our character found themselves washed against a shore. They spent the next year alone on an island adamant that they had lived for a reason and that a god of the tempest domain had smiled upon them. They spent that year alone praying to this god and swearing their loyalty to them. When they were finally rescued, they devoted themselves to this god by becoming a cleric. They now watch over vessels their god deems worthy to traverse those same seas. Their ability to tap into natures raw forces of sky and sea are a boon to any ship and the courage our cleric displays inspires those who fear the threat of open water.
Let’s talk about the colors present here to gain more insight into our character. White as we have already covered is the piety and total selflessness regarding its devotion to their god. Green in this case is the respect and admiration of the natures will. Sure, most of the time when we think of green, we picture lush forests, but it’s also a reverence for both sea and sky. It is the majesty of everything nature provides and a willingness to follow its example instead of bending it to your will.
Red in this case is courage instead of fear. It is the heart and soul of the sea and the fury of its storms. The colors all come together to craft a character who enacts the will of their god on behalf of those deemed worthy. It is of someone who inspires courage in others by standing firms in the storm’s fury. They do not waste any time on those who are weak and whose actions would spoil that very water they wish to traverse. Those who ferry slaves or make their coin through pirating are not worthy and must be dealt with in kind. Here we have a cleric who is wrath and honor, bravery, and stoicism. For our next example I would like to drop both Green and Red and add Blue to learn what kind of cleric is bread from these colors.
Knowledge is the building blocks of any great civilization and to this cleric the gathering of that knowledge is their primary purpose thus landing them squarely at the side of one of the gods found in the knowledge domain. This gathering of knowledge is the basis for most of their adventures. They will routinely go out into the world to gather lost knowledge, diving deep into lost catacombs, ancient towers, and defiled dungeons. It is on these quests for knowledge that you may gather this cleric into your party. Their understanding of history, lost languages and supporting magic are a boon to any team, the only requirement is that they get first dibs on any of the books or important relics of the past.
The colors present within this cleric compliment this type of character. White is ever present in two ways. For one it is the purpose granted by a higher power, a calling to help others through the sharing and gathering of knowledge on their god’s behalf. The other side of it, is the idea of serving to make a better world for all. Its libraries are open to the people and this cleric hungers to share what they have learned with them. They have a respect for the past and can help build a better future in turn.
For education for all is the basis for creating a better world. As you can see this is strongly tied to blue as well. As a perfect world is one where self-improvement and learning are at the for front. It is also the hunger to learn that is at the heart of Blue which is ever present in this cleric. It is more than simply fulfilling its gods wish it’s also a natural desire to learn, to discover and to find what is hidden. In the end the combination of White and Blue present in this cleric is the idea of creating a better world through the gathering and sharing of knowledge. Next, I want to flip the cleric on its head and talk about a version of the cleric who extends the hand of death by dropping blue from the mix and adding in Black and Green.
WHITE BLACK GREEN
The motivations behind our next cleric are based in the realms of death and a unique understanding of it. When our cleric was just a child, they lost their mother in a horrible accident. This crushed our character, but odd things began to happen only two weeks later. They began hearing a voice in the night, a very familiar voice. Soon even stranger things began to happen, culminating in a night that would change the course of their life. They were visited by the apparition of their lost mother. She wore a kind smile instead of that face of sorrow which was imprinted in his mind.
He spoke with his mother at length before she left, and he never saw her again. This evening brought peace to our Cleric and from that day forward they realized that death was not the end but rather a new beginning. Once this character became of age, they left in search of the temple of a particular god. A place where they could learn more about the truth behind death. What they came to learn was that death was as natural as any process, the only issue arose when the dead did not want to move on because of some unfinished business, or of those whose death breads a creature of malice. This character then trains to either bring peace to the dead and allow them to continue with their journey, or to vanquish those foul creatures who haunt the night.
The motivations behind this cleric are centered on placing themselves in between death and life, as a facilitator guiding those lost souls where they need to go. So how do these colors reflect this cleric? In this case I want to start with Green as I believe it is at the heart of this version, more so than white, as Green sits in an interesting place when it comes to death. In the context of our cleric, it is the perspective granted to them by their god. An outlook that views death as the one constant and nothing to fear. We simply must abide by it and move on once the bonds which tie us to this plane are loosened. Both White and Black play an interesting role here, almost intertwined. With both colors present we have the application of judgement. Those spirits who cause chaos are swiftly removed from existence while those who simply need help to move on are aided with a kind hand. Creating a character who sees the world in absolutes.
As we can see many colors can fit within the cleric and its more a matter of their upbringings, motivations and of course the god they serve all coming together. Remember though the god or the domain don’t come first. Ask yourself about what motivates your character, and the domain will follow suit, think of it more as a way of enhancing your character. So, let’s talk about each color and see how they shape a cleric, that way you will have a better understanding of how to build your cleric using the color pie. White is the obvious choice, as we have learned earlier it fits so well with the cleric that I will declare it the core color, the color you will most often see in a cleric.
Let’s reiterate why that is. White is the color of piety, of having a purpose handed down to you. Cleric with white in their compositions believe they serve their god as an extension of their will and in doing so enhancing their god’s truth. Next is blue, a color of perfection, knowledge, and learning. A color that might indeed fall under very specific clerics but none the less adds a great deal to the ones they are applied to. Your blue cleric will be one who acts to better not just themselves but the world around them and if they did not bow to a specific god their intentions would be unchanging, it’s just that now their purpose is grander.
Then there is Black, a color you might not think would fit the cleric and yet is a color that compliments many different clerics. Sure, Black can be selfish and following a god is outside of this but there is more too black than that. Sometimes its more of an outlook they share with their deity. What I mean is that they could find what their god says to ring true with them on a personal level and because of that they are devoted to the one who sees the same path but has the means to get there. Black is willing be a follower if who they follow compliments and empowers them, and they also respect those beings who do not back down, ones who demand respect.
I personally love red for the cleric because Red is passion, and it is the expression of their will, and nothing brings this out stronger in someone than a person with a higher calling. This can turn a cleric fanatical, courageous, and inspiring. Finally, there is Green a color that could replace Whites devotion if you want a different spin. In this way Green brings out the ancient gods and their worshippers. It is a respect for the wild and of the bigger picture.
A green cleric follows their god not because of simple piety but because they have an understanding of the ancient forces that are at play all around us. As we can see the cleric can be diverse, there is no need to label them as simple heal bots. They can be sailors turned speakers of the sea, they can be scholars who raise a book as well as hammer or they can be agents of death, ferryman between each plane of existence. However, you chose to build your cleric just be sure to put their motivations first and ask the question “what god would my character choose based on their personality and motivations, not the other way around.” And if you do that, I am sure you will be able to create more interesting and dynamic characters because of it.
I hope you enjoyed this look into the Cleric and the colors that you can use to build your own. If you want to learn more about the color pie then be sure to browse this website or head over to my YouTube. I will be working my way through each of the classes in Dungeons and Dragons in hope of helping you build better characters using the color pie.
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