D&D 5e: New Cleric and Paladin Spells 11

I’m hip deep in editing and development work, which means that occasionally my brain needs a break to create some new stuff. Even after XGTE, TCOE, and Seas of Vodari, the higher spell levels are fairly slim pickings for clerics, so that’s what I’m hoping to deal with a bit today – spells for clerics of 5th level and higher, and some spells for paladins. If they’re flavored particularly toward Under the Seas of Vodari, so much the better.

Blood Penance

5th-level necromancy (cleric, paladin, warlock)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 minute

A creature of your choice within range must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or become cursed for the duration of the spell. When the creature deals damage to any creature you can see within 30 feet of you, you deal an additional 2d6 necrotic damage the next time you hit the creature with an attack before the end of your next turn.

A remove curse spell ends this effect.

Crushing Depths Smite

2nd-level transmutation spell (paladin)

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V (Mmm num ba de, Dum bum ba be, Doo buh dum ba beh beh)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

The first time you hit with a melee weapon attack during this spell’s duration, your weapon surrounds the target with the cold and crushing pressure of the ocean’s depths. The attack deals an extra 3d6 cold damage. Additionally, if the target is a creature, it must make a Strength saving throw or treat all movement as difficult terrain until the spell ends. Opportunity attacks against the creature have advantage for this duration. As an action, the creature can make a Strength saving throw against your spell save DC to push through the crushing pressure and end this spell.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 2nd.

Healing Flood

5th-level evocation (cleric, druid, paladin)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30 feet)
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

When you cast this spell, you and creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you regain 2d8 hit points. For the spell’s duration, as a bonus action, you can choose one creature within 30 feet that you can see. A torrent of healing water rushes from you toward it, and it regains hit points equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting modifier. Any number of creatures of your choice standing in a 5-foot-wide line between you and your target regain hit points equal to your spellcasting ability modifier. Constructs and undead can’t regain hit points from this spell.

You can also use a bonus action to regain hit points equal to 2d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

Living Lightning

7th-level conjuration (cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, wizard)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (a three-pronged copper rod)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You summon three motes of living lightning, tiny elementals made of air and fire, found in Vesi’s Rage or other elemental locations. They manifest in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of a creature that you can see within 60 feet. As a free action, you can mentally command each mote to move up to 60 feet and attack or defend one creature within 5 feet of it. The motes take their turns immediately after your turn. A mote that is not within 5 feet of a creature at the end of its turn disappears.

A mote that is commanded to attack makes a melee spell attack with a 5-foot reach, using your spell attack modifier. On a hit, the target takes 3d6 lightning damage and can’t take reactions until the end of the mote’s next turn. The mote can only make opportunity attacks against the creature you most recently commanded it to attack.

A mote that is commanded to defend grants the creature it is defending resistance to lightning and thunder damage, and when the creature it is defending is hit with a melee attack, the attacking creature takes 10 lightning damage and has disadvantage on attacks it makes until the end of the mote’s next turn.

Motes are immune to all damage, but they can be banished, charmed, or dispelled. They use your spellcasting ability modifier + your proficiency bonus as their modifier for all saving throws.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 9th-level spell slot, you can summon a fourth mote of living lightning.

Token of the Seas Beyond

7th-level necromancy (cleric, warlock)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a coin that has been used to pay for the dead)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

You and up to six willing creatures within 10 feet of you become ghostly for the spell’s duration. This spell effect ends for any creature that ends its turn more than 60 feet from you. Creatures affected by this spell gain the following effects:

  • They have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by nonmagical weapons that aren’t made of silver.
  • They have resistance to necrotic and poison damage.
  • They have darkvision to a range of 60 feet.
  • They can pass through creatures and objects as if they are difficult terrain, and they take 1d10 force damage if they end their turn inside an object.
  • They gain a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  • While in sunlight, they have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

If you maintain concentration on this spell for its entire possible duration and you are on the surface of the ocean or within sight of the ocean, a ship arrives that can take you to the Seas Beyond.

Tomb of Nolgathar

8th-level abjuration (bard, cleric, warlock)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (a platinum tablet inscribed with the target’s name, worth at least 1,000 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You attempt to bind your target in a tomb of stone and coral, similar to the one that bound the deep dreamer, Nolgathar the Contagion. Coral and stone grow around the limbs of one creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or become restrained and unable to teleport. At the end of each of its turns while it is not paralyzed, it can make a Dexterity saving throw. On a success, it escapes from the tomb and the spell ends.

At the beginning of a turn in which the target is restrained but not paralyzed, it must succeed a Constitution saving throw or become paralyzed. For every ten minutes that it is paralyzed, it can make a Constitution saving throw with disadvantage. On a success, it is no longer paralyzed. 

If you maintain concentration on this spell for its entire possible duration and the target is paralyzed by this spell at the end of that duration, the creature receives one final Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the spell becomes permanent; on a success, the spell ends. The tomb of coral and stone that the spell builds around the target is at least twice the creature’s size.

Once the spell’s duration is permanent, the spell can only be removed with a greater restoration spell and a remove curse spell, each cast with a spell slot of 8th level or higher.

Design Notes

Blood penance is… struggling with both wording and data-tracking issues. It’s not quite there yet. I’m including it here more to show you a work-in-progress than to assert that it’s ready to go, but we’ll have it in a solid final state for Under the Seas of Vodari.

Crushing depths smite is probably getting renamed to crushing smite, on the idea that the extant smites are one word + “smite,” but I think it loses a lot of the theme if you drop either of those words. Maybe some other perfect word will come along. This spell wasn’t in the Patreon post, but Shawn suggested that we needed something like this, so… now we have it.

Healing flood is trying to get more aquatic with healing themes, so it’s playing on water of life and healing stream concepts. Its potential healing output is huge, but it does take your bonus actions pretty steadily. If you want to use it for out-of-combat healing, well, a 5th-level slot should be worth a lot, I’d say?

Living lightning is inspired by a moment from Altera Awakens, a local LARP, but also I just think clerics and others should be able to summon bits of Vesi’s Rage and try to use it for their own ends, given a high enough spell slot. We’ll see if that idea earns the approval of the Vodari Keepers of the Canon. I reduced the damage output slightly from an earlier version. What I like most about this spell is that it gives the caster both an offensive and defensive option – for me, that’s a nod to leader-like play.

Token of the Seas Beyond is combining a lot of different ideas into one 7th-level spell: pass without trace, etherealness sort of, and a very constrained form of plane shift. I’m hoping it feels awesome for Vodari lore.

Tomb of Nolgathar is intended to be a lesser form of imprisonment, in that it grants a progressive save sort of like flesh to stone. Not 100% sure if it works, and using stunned for the final condition means it probably doesn’t affect the kaiju-like deep dreamers that it is most intended to be used against (that’s what Nolgathar was in Vodari lore, before getting killed and transforming into Rhaluq the Many). This spell has seen a substantial rework from its earlier format in my Patreon.

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11 thoughts on “D&D 5e: New Cleric and Paladin Spells

  • Kevin

    Does the effect of Blood Penance stack? It’s unclear from the writing if:
    1) The 2d6 extra damage happens just once from any damage the target deals once cursed, and then doesn’t trigger again until you hit the creature (and then it can trigger again after that, but once again only once until you hit it the next time), or
    2) It’s 2d6 extra damage for each time the target deals damage until you hit the creature, within the spell’s duration, at which point the curse effect can start stacking again.

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      I agree that it’s unclear – that’s very much what I’m talking about struggling with in the Design Notes on the spell. =) I need to do some math and figure out how much expected damage is okay in the spell’s first ~3 rounds, given that it won’t do anything in the round you cast it.

      • Craig W Cormier

        I am very much in the camp in favor of a stacking effect (you know, if there are camps). I think it rewards clever targeting by picking a creature with multiple attacks. The downside being that it is a higher tracking load on the caster, but I don’t see that as a deal-breaker. Spells with complex interactions are more fun at the table in my experience.

  • Matt

    Maybe to make it feel less like a wasted turn Blood Penance should be cast as Bonus Action? You are already spending a 5th level spell for potentially minimal benefit – I would imagine if you use it against any sort of intelligent foe they would connect the dots after a turn or two of extra hurtin’. Also maybe try:
    ” …for the duration of the spell. If the target deals damage to one or more creatures you can see within 30 feet of you, you deal an additional 2d6 necrotic damage the next time you hit the target with an attack before the end of your next turn. If you deal this extra damage or fail to hit the target while the bonus damage is available, this damage is lost for subsequent turns, unless the target damages one or more creatures you can see within 30 feet of you once again. A remove curse spell ends this effect.”

    I dunno, as you say, lots of stuff moving around here – may even want to remove the limit of creatures within 30 feet you can see, and just be creatures you can see (are aware of?). I like what the spell is going for, and I’m sure there is a way to do it that is less wordy than the really egregious long spells of 5e.

    For crushing depths smite – maybe pelagic/benthic/oceanic/tidal smite?? I agree that naming conventions of X-smite should be kept.

  • Craig W Cormier

    Fun content, as usual. I’ve already said my piece on Blood Penance above.

    Crushing Depths Smite is cool and evocative. My one comment is that I really want it to do something extra if the caster and/or target is actually underwater. I think there is room in the design space for spells that are just objectively better when used underwater in the same way that all fire damage spells are objectively worse when used underwater.

    Healing Flood is a fun connection of water to healing. I like it. Though I did immediately start thinking about casting it in the Frozen North and how no one would appreciate being splashed with water every few seconds in the middle of a snowstorm.

    I really like Living Lightning. The offensive/defensive option is a very nice piece of versatility for a leader-style spell and it feels like the kind of thing that a storm-related cleric might bring to bear. The question that arises in my mind concerns the last line before the “At Higher Levels”. If the motes can be charmed, does that mean that the charmer now has access to the function of the spell? Are they banished/charmed/dispelled as a group or singularly? I like this bit of unique spell interaction and don’t want to see it go away in the name of streamlining or simplicity, but I do think it needs clarification.

    Token of the Seas Beyond is some top-quality ghost pirate type shenanigans. It really reminds me of the scene in whichever Pirates of the Caribbean movie it is where they flip the ship over and it emerges in the afterlife. Not precisely the same thing, but similar energy.

    Tomb of Nolgathar is an interesting spell. As a lesser Imprisonment, I think it does most of the job admirably. The biggest problem I see with it is that it does not explicitly sustain the life of the trapped creature, meaning that quite a lot of the potential targets would suffocate before the duration expired and those that don’t will stave/die of dehydration. I like it conceptually, and I love a spell that connects to the lore of the world it comes from.

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      Releasing a Crushing Depths Smite that is better underwater, in a setting book for underwater play, runs a considerable risk of being overpowered in the primary expected game area. I’ll poke at the idea, but no promises.

      You make a good point about Living Lightning. I’ll think about it; the worst-case answer is that a charmed one can only be commanded to attack, not defend.

      I’m glad that Token of the Seas Beyond carries its story references clearly enough. 😉

      Tomb of Nolgathar – yeah, fair enough. I’ll make sure we add something for that.

      • Craig W Cormier

        Fair on Crushing Depths Smite. I got to thinking about it more after I wrote the comment and I have it backwards on comparing underwater spells to fire spells. In order to do something similar, you would design the spell to be balanced underwater and then have a detriment to being cast in the air, not the reverse. Part of me kind of still wants that. It makes sense on a world-building level that spellcasters developing magic underwater might take advantage of their environment in ways that would make their magic less effective above the waves.

        This is the kind of design I would expect in 3rd edition, with its well defined planar and environmental effects. I guess I’m not sure there is actually a place for it in 5e design. Which I think might be a shame.

      • Jamie

        As everyone said there’s a few moving parts with Blood Penance. I like the idea of it but there’s some challenges – especially for a 5th level spell.

        In order for Any damage to happen the target has to fail a Charisma save, they have to do damage, and then You have to hit them. That’s 3 places the spell could go wrong and do… Nothing. For a 5th level spell, that’s not great. Not to mention if you lose concentration. What if it’s a bonus action and they just take the 2d6 necrotic as long as their in your line of sight or something? It’s cleaner And adds a decision element for the target. Do they just stop doing damage, because it hurts them (Penance is all about being sorry, kinda, right?) Or do they just soak the damage. I like the idea that it has some battlefield control built into it which feels Cleric-y to me.

        • Brandes Stoddard Post author

          I really appreciate this breakdown! You make a lot of good points here – definitely taking this one back to the drawing board.