In a game that we are playing, my wizard 3/cleric 2 is having a crisis of faith. By that I mean actively cursing his god; he accidentally killed his NPC friends and blames his god.

My DM has ruled that my character certainly no longer has access to his spells or his Channel Divinity options, as they come from his god. We (DM and players) are now trying to find a way to allow him to not be a cleric, but have everyone stay the same level. As far as we can tell, there are no official rules for this.

Our DM has asked if there is anything on the Internet that addresses this situation, and I have not really found much.


4 Answers 4


Simplest solution is Wizard 3 / Druid 2

As there are no rules on "fallen cleric" in D&D 5e, you will need to arrive at an "at table" solution for this. I suggest the conversion to Wizard 3 / Druid 2 for two reasons

  1. Mechanical Benefit: Cleric and Druid are both "divine" spell casters who are based on Wisdom. They also fill similar roles in a party.

  2. Role Playing benefit: The Dungeon Master's Guide has a section (p. 10-13) about "Forces and Philosophies" powering Divine Magic. Your PC has turned from their deity and can embrace "The Divine Forces of Nature" - a source of divine spells/magic.

    The spells of clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers are called divine magic. These spellcasters' access to the Weave is mediated by divine power—gods, the divine forces of nature, or the sacred weight of a paladin’s oath. (PHB, p. 205) {italics mine}

This leads to ...

Role Playing Set Up

This step is a challenge to the creativity of you, your DM and your group. It is built on this crisis of faith - a situation that is ripe with role playing potential. The cleric turns their back on the temple / shrine to their deity, and heads out into the wilderness and encounters {someone or something}. This encounter fills the hole in their aching heart. The cleric is consumed with affirmation and good feeling by this new source of Divine Power for their magic ... and the party continues on all at the same level. How much detail you all want to put into this is totally up to you, as a play group.

Fiddly Bits

Leave the Wizard levels alone. Your PC is still Wizard 3. Choose a Druid circle, preferably one that fits whatever role playing experience your cleric had when they headed away from the temple and into the wilderness. (Basically, rebuild the 2 cleric levels into 2 Druid levels - pick a Druid circle that makes sense to you and your DM)

Respeccing Characters

In D&D 5e, Adventurers League characters can completely rebuild / respec up to the beginning of fourth level. There is no reason your DM can't allow you to "rebuild/respec" at 5th unless you are playing an Adventurers League campaign.

Have we respecced? Yeah, it can work well.

In three of the campaigns I've played in 5e, I've see respec events that go from boredom ("How about I retcon into a Rogue from Ranger?") to a massively role-play-motivated recreation of a character - our vengeance paladin became a GOO warlock. (The details only make sense in the context of that campaign).

In the other campaigns, the DMs had people re-roll new characters if their current character wasn't working out.


Returning to Grace

Though the character has turned his back on their deity, that doesn't necessarily mean the deity has turned their back on the character. Throughout the next few sessions, you could introduce signs that the deity is prepared for the character to return to the fold. Whether the character picks up on these opportunities or not is going to depend on the specific character arc, but one great motivating factor is treating the character as a lower level for that time (as they've lost their cleric levels).

In situations where the character completely abandons their former deity, I've used three different techniques.

New Deity

The method that requires the least change is for the character to assume a new deity. This keeps them as a cleric, and at most changes the Divine Domain that determines their powers. The new deity may be a rival to the character's former deity, or just an opportunist. Remember, characters with the dedication to be clerics are rare, even among priesthoods:

Not every acolyte or officiant at a temple or shrine is a cleric. Some priests are called to a simple life of temple service, carrying out their gods’ will through prayer and sacrifice, not by magic and strength of arms. In some cities, priesthood amounts to a political office, viewed as a stepping stone to higher positions of authority and involving no communion with a god at all. True clerics are rare in most hierarchies.

...so a deity would be remiss to pass up the opportunity to establish a new hand.

New Patron

If the character instead is completely detracted from the idea of serving a deity, a different kind of Otherworldly Patron can fill the same role. This would involve replacing the cleric levels with warlock levels. In this case, it could be the character seeking power to fill that hole, or the patron seeking out the former cleric.

Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patron is like that of a cleric and a deity, though the beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are not gods.


If neither of those options fit the character's direction, another choice I offered my players in the past was to dive into training with another class. Since your character is already a multiclass character, they could simply direct their attention into deeply studying the ways that their wizard training could fill the gaps that their god left in revoking the divine magic. While there are no official rules that monitor this sort of retraining, it is the simplest way to allow the characters to stay at the same level.

  • \$\begingroup\$ heh, new deity section made me grin. Some great RP opportunities there ... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 20:11

Ad hoc alert

The first thing that seems important from my point of view for you to be aware of is that you are already in uncharted waters as far as the core rulebooks go. The DM revoking your character's status as a cleric is itself very much an ad-hoc ruling. As far as I know there is no mechanism apart from "Rule 0" that allows a DM to do this, so your DM is already pulling rank in a sense by going outside the confines of the core rules to impose this, in my opinion arbitrary consequence.

DM Cooperation

As your DM is going outside the bounds of the standard rules, it would certainly be wise to pay heed to your DM's disposition. If your DM thinks that he's doing this to sustain consistency and is acting out of some sense of obligation to the game, then he'll probably be willing to cooperate and help you brainstorm a solution.

If, however, he's imposing this in some "handing down a consequence", be wary if he has his mind made up. If he's settled on it, I'd probably move on as pushing the point is likely to not only seal your character's fate even harder but draw personal out of character resentment on his part from a perceived challenge to his authority.

In particular I'm concerned that your question apparently settles that having the cleric get said powers back is out of the question given that the issue seems to have had that point already settled, if I've read the meaning of your phrasing correctly. There are many solutions that don't necessarily involve having the revocation of cleric status be permanent.

So the first thing I would do is get a good grasp of your DM's position on the matter so that you can avoid pushing against a decision that's already firm.

Role play

From an in character stand point it would seem that your cleric has sinned to the extent of being excommunicated by his own deity, as it were. Perhaps your DM would be amenable to some sort of atonement or penance quest to be performed by your cleric to regain his lost divine favor.

That said, cursing your god is the textbook definition of blasphemy, which is often a capital offense in many religious laws. Were I in your DM's place a loss of clerical power would be the least of his worries.

  • \$\begingroup\$ suggest Abandoned, cast out, or Foresaken, since ex communication is what mortal clergy to to people of a faith. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 11:42

There's nothing like an "Oathbreaker" version of the cleric in the books.

Also it's important to note that just because he hates his god now, it doesn't necessarily mean his god also hates him. He could still have access to his god's power but just choose not to use them.

If you absolutely want to make him lose the cleric class, I don't think there's a reasonable way to use the levels on another class. The only one that comes close to the cleric in concept is the warlock, but even that is vastly different. Someone with years of experience as a cleric can't really be just as good as a warlock without proper training.

But as always you should strive to have fun. The DM and the players should reach a consensus on the outcome that would be the best for the game.


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