I am running a campaign soon with a player who has a very interesting PC concept for a cleric whose religion is animism. Story details aside, I came up with this homebrew class based on consultation with the player about the concept and am now trying to determine if it is balanced and whether it contains red flags I should consider. (FWIW, the player has expressed interest in playing a character whose religion/magic enforces a level of pacifism.)
My concerns and analysis of the class are below.
Domain of the Choir
Since you were young you have heard—felt, really—the souls of all things, great and small. The presence of the voices of the world's souls throughout your life has gradually led you to a spiritual awakening: a realization that the souls of all things cry out constantly and together blend into an entity that you sometimes think of as "the Choir," a meta-god whose will is expressed in the harmony of souls. This Choir is with you always, and you are one of its members. By modulating the voice of your own soul, you are able to communicate with it and to negotiate with its will.
1st-level Choir Domain feature
You gain domain spells at the cleric levels listed in the Choir Domain Spells table. See the Divine Domain class feature for how domain spells work.
Choir Domain Spells
|7th||aura of purity, divination|
|9th||greater restoration, commune with nature|
1st-level Choir Domain feature
You gain proficiency in Insight, Survival, and the Herbalism Kit.
Additionally, you cannot be immune to Psychic damage, and whenever a spell you cast deals damage, you take Psychic damage equal to half the damage rolled.
1st-level Choir Domain feature
Your connection to the souls of the world have given you a knack for crafting charms and amulets out of natural materials such as flowers, stones, and feathers.
During a long rest, you may craft a number of hedge charms equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1) and imbue them with protective magic (all previously crafted charms lose their magic when you craft new charms). Any creature, yourself included, who is wearing one of these charms gains the effect of the sanctuary spell and resistance to all damage from spells and magical effects. Each hedge charm breaks and loses its magic either once its wearer's sanctuary effect ends (as specified by the sanctuary spell) or immediately after the wearer takes any damage to which the hedge charm grants resistance. If a creature removes a hedge charm before it breaks, the effect of the sanctuary spell and the resistance granted by the hedge charm end on the creature, but the charm remains unbroken and can be worn by another creature. The sanctuary effect uses your spell save DC.
During a short rest, you may repair one broken hedge charm, restoring its protective magic.
Channel Divinity: Soul Whispers
2nd-level Choir Domain feature
You can use your Channel Divinity as an action to open yourself to the Choir of Souls. For one minute or until you lose concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell), whenever you make a skill checks that would reveal information about your current surroundings or about any object or creature that you touch, you have advantage on the check, and you perceive psychometric flashes of information about the target's history. This information is always true, but its relevance to your intended query depends on the result of the skill check.
6th-level Choir Domain feature
When you compel harmony between souls, the Choir of Souls lends you its strength. When you cast the sanctuary spell, the spell save DC of the effect is increased by half the level of the spell slot used to cast the spell.
8th-level Choir Domain feature
You may cast the bless spell as a cantrip. When you cast it in this way, you may target only one creature, and the effect lasts only until the end of your next turn.
17th-level Choir Domain feature
The hedge charms created by your Hedge Witchcraft feature no longer break when their wearer takes damage from spells.
Concerns and Initial Analysis
- We use a table rule that any damage roll made by a PC ends the effects of a sanctuary spell; this avoids the loophole in which a spell like spirit guardians, cast before the sanctuary spell, can continue to do damage without breaking the sanctuary.
- Domain Spells. This is a fairly lackluster spell list that adds very little that is not already on the cleric spell list. However, the spells are thematic for the class and provide general support utility.
- Harmonic Attunement. At level 1, this subclass is immediately and strongly punished for doing any damage through spells. This seems to me like a substantial (unprecedented, even) disadvantage for a subclass, so I have given it what I perceive to be some substantially powerful abilities that help make up for this. Simultaneously, I worry that because clerics are so adaptable and needn't prepare damaging spells to be effective, I may be overcorrecting for a disadvantage that will have less mechanical impact than I'm anticipating.
- Hedge Witchcraft. The effects of the charms are quite powerful, but because they break after one use, they do not seem overly powerful or abusable.
- Channel Divinity: Soul Whispers. This is a powerful non-combat effect that the DM has a lot of control over. While this puts some extra work on the DM in general, as long as the DM is cooperative, I don't see this feature as likely to be game-breaking.
- Persuasive Wards. Notably does not affect the Hedge Witchcraft charms. At high levels, this has the potential to raise the sanctuary spell save DC from 19 to 23 if cast with an 8th or 9th level spell. Given that this is still just a sanctuary spell, this does not seem overly extreme to me, but I'm more concerned about the balance of this feature than the others (I don't have good intuition about the mid-levels here).
- Choral Blessings. This feature is intended to grant the character a support cantrip whose usefulness in typical combat is on par with the usefulness of a cantrip like sacred flame. This feels substantially better to me than the typical 1d8 damage added to an attack per turn, but since a bless cantrip still requires concentration in addition to one's action, this seems unlikely to be game-breaking.
- Potent Witchcraft. While this effect is powerful, it still requires that its targets refrain from violence (and these high level abilities are unlikely to come into play often anyway).
- Meta-commentary. This class probably relies on the sanctuary spell and its effect too much, making it a bit of a one-trick pony whose power-level is fairly reliant on the composition of the party and the campaign. I'm interested in hearing others' take on this critique and other overall critiques of the class, but I'd also appreciate some commentary on levels 1-3 alone in this case, just because the first campaign this character will participate in will be at these levels.