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First time player playing as a tempest cleric.

As I understand the rules, a cleric of any domain has access to all the general cleric spells (i.e. not the ones that are only accessible to certain domains). However, my DM informed me that my god (custom storm god that he made up) would not allow me to cast Animate Dead because that's outside his domain. He also said that while I could cast first aid type resurrection spells like Revivify, the more powerful, return-the-soul-from-the-afterlife type spells would be a no-go. However, he'd let a life domain cleric use those spells more freely.

Are there any official sources that these rules are based off? As far as I can tell this is just a homebrew push to make the domain more thematic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please see this related question \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 20 '18 at 22:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to recommend you speak with your DM about unnecessarily restricting your character this way. It sounds like the DM has an idea of what a healer should be and doesn't respect that D&D doesn't have tank, dps, heal and support classes like that. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Aug 22 at 2:53
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Are there any official sources that these rules are based off?

Not that I know of. This does indeed seem to be a homebrew approach.

You might want to ask your DM to write down the full Cleric spell list that you are allowed to use; it'll cut down on arguments later if you feel they're just removing spells at will. They are essentially making a new Cleric Spell List for each deity or domain (or however it's organized)

That seems perfectly fine to me, as long as it's clear what you're getting in to.

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Choosing a cleric domain adds spells; it does not remove spells

In D&D 5e choosing a domain adds additional spells and domain specific abilities that are over and above the general cleric kit. Unlike some previous editions, where choosing A removed your ability to do B (prohibited magic schools for wizards 3.x D&D and 2e AD&D1 for example) this edition does not penalize a domain choice. What is "lost" is access to the other domains' domain specific features as levels progress.

  • Said concisely: the choices you make for your class and sub class(domain) add features, they don't subtract. (Not for any class).

    Your DM may like the fit and feel of previous editions, and the addition / subtraction concept, but that is at odds with the design model for 5e. Have a discussion with your DM if you'd like to make that point. It may be worth making this true statement: nowhere in the D&D 5e rules so far are you penalized for choosing a cleric domain.

  • The only "penalties" are in opportunity costs: if I choose this domain, then I can't later get that other domain's neat feature. The generic clerical features are available to ALL domains.

    In this related question, can a cleric of an evil god use healing spells?, the answer is emphatically Yes.

  • Note: there is an exception to this "all of your choices cause additions" general principle. In Volo's Guide to Monsters, a few of the monstrous PC races subtract an amount from a rolled or point buy ability score. That has nothing to do, however, with cleric domains.

Why limit raise dead, and more powerful raise-dead-type spells?

This is offfered from a DM-centric point of view. When the characters don't have easy access to the raise dead style of spell, the risk of death is more present.

  • Rich Burlew (author of The Order of the Stick) has made the case that, from the narrative point of view, the higher level raise-dead-type spells make certain characters or villains virtually unkillable (in terms of the longer campaign perspective) since with enough connections and/or spell components the character comes back to life once again.

    True Resurrection, without a doubt. It's literally impossible for a mortal character to ever be completely out of the story because of its existence. Actually, all forms of resurrection are kind of a pain in the ass, though the other versions have roadblocks you can throw in the path. But because True Resurrection exists, every character death is met with, "Well, they could still come back!" forever. (Reply to Morty)

    Making that spell type scarce, hard to have access to, or non-existent increases the tension and danger in a campaign. Character death becomes something significant. In D&D editions where there are no death saving throws, no bleed to -10 hit points, or other ways to rescue a character who has fallen during combat, keeping those spells available make plenty of sense -- if the group is averse to permanent character death generally. The "at 0 HP you are dead" from 0th edition, BECMI, and 2d Edition AD&D made character death final for the player who had no access to raise dead and similar spells.

The desired theme and feel of the campaign will inform the choices a DM makes in that regard. I recommend that you have a talk with your DM about that as well, so that you are both on the same page.

@Dacromir has provided a useful insight on why limiting access to raise dead and resurrection spells can make sense within the D&D-5e framework.

1AD&D 2e "specialist wizards" could not cast spells from the "opposing" school of magic per an 8-point diagram in the book...

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No, all clerics can cast cleric spells regardless of domain.

The Divine Domain feature description reads:

Choose one domain related to your deity: Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, or War. The Life domain is detailed at the end of the class description and provides examples of gods associated with it. See the Player’s Handbook for details on all the domains. Your choice grants you domain spells and other features when you choose it at 1st level. It also grants you additional ways to use Channel Divinity when you gain that feature at 2nd level, and additional benefits at 6th, 8th, and 17th levels.

Besides additional benefits granted by each domain, cleric domains simply add a list of spells that are treated as cleric spells for clerics of those domains; these spells are always auto-prepared for those clerics. They do not restrict you from using existing cleric spells.

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RAW, as has been covered in other answers, no cleric domain (or particular god worshiped) will remove spells from your list. However, I'd like to provide some insight as to whether these changes are problematic or unusual, and why the DM might make these rulings.

Removing access to spells like Resurrection or Raise Dead is not uncommon for a DM to do. DnD 5e as written has a serious problem at higher levels - the cost for resurrection becomes trivial compared to the amount of wealth you have. Players usually hit 100,000gp around level 15. That's 100 casts of Resurrection per player. This can mean that in many groups, death no longer becomes particularly meaningful after level 10 or so. Most DMs tend to have some sort of homebrew ruling around resurrection to limit that problem, and I've had two DMs in my past that put hard limits or completely eliminated some forms of resurrection.

I would recommend having a discussion with your DM about why they are making these changes. If they are only removing resurrection spells for balance reasons, those changes aren't out of line for what you'll see at many tables. However, if your DM intends to remove any other spells, or if they don't have a clearly defined reason for the changes they have made, I would be concerned and discuss your viewpoint with them. Perhaps ask if they'd allow access to the removed spells with some sort of limitations (resurrection can only be cast once a week, or include some sort of penalty / chance of failure, etc).

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