I'd like optimize my character for a game I just joined.

I chose a variant human, tempest cleric, stats were rolled. Full stats (before racial bonuses) are 12/12/12/13/14/17, so I will have 12 INT/CHA/DEX, 18 WIS and either 14 STR and CON or 15 STR and 13 CON.

Skill proficiencies I picked up are Insight, Perception, Athletics, Religion and Intimidation.

My main question now is whether I should start with 14 STR and 14 CON or 15 STR and 13 CON. See below on why.

I've already decided I want to start with Magic Initiate (Wizard) for Booming Blade and Find Familiar, plus it ties nicely into my backstory. Along the line, I want War Caster for the advantage on concentration checks and the Booming Blade synergy.

However, if I take War Caster at level 4 and start with the more optimized 14/14, I won't be able to wear splint or plate mail until level 8. The alternative, to me, is picking either Heavy Armor Master or +2 STR at level 4, then War Caster at 8, but I feel like I want that ASAP.

The other route would be going 15/13, picking War Caster at 4 and then going +1/+1 or Resilient: CON at Level 8. This strikes me as the stronger option in the end, but would leave me at only 13 CON until level 8, meaning I'll lose out on tankiness and concentration for the early game.

Which build path would is more effective for a Tempest cleric acting as a tank?

The game that this build is for:

  1. Standard 5E game (no homebrew).

  2. Most of the party will be elves or variant humans:

  3. Party composition: Tempest Cleric, Fighter, Bard, UA Ranger, and Warlock.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please include all of your stats as rolled, not just the high ones. Indicate what abilities you have assigned scores to, and which you have not. CharOp questions need to also include objectives. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 31 '17 at 21:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello Tip, and welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour and visit the help center page. "Which build path is the better one?" really depends on what you have in mind and what your objectives are with this character. This is either too broad or too opinion-based as written. Once you've provided a little more detail it will be easier to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Jan 31 '17 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited the question to emphasize the main question. If that isn't what you're asking, feel free to rollback or re-edit. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Feb 1 '17 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a lot of detailed analysis here, but I don't see any mention of what you're optimising for. What is your optimisation goal? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 6 '17 at 15:56

Take the 14 Str/14 Con

The reason being you will not be able to afford Platemail until about 5th-level anyway so there's no reason to take 15 base strength at 1st-level which has negligible mechanical benefit.

Just take the 14 Str/14 Con now, and increase it to 16 at 4th-level, if you're really itching to get that additional +2 to AC; whether or not you should pick the +2 to strength at 4th level or pick the Warcaster feat is up to personal preference.

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There are many issues with optimization here

Opportunity Attacks hardly ever trigger, Booming Blade even less, if the DM has any tactical sense.

If you want your main activity to be a melee weapon attack, than your main stat should reflect that.

Lightning Lure would use your Int for a save, so don't expect to succeed.

Bottom line

You should specialize, decide if you want to swing a weapon or cast spells. You can't do both properly, especially if you also want feats.


Heavy Armor Master's is wonderful at low levels, but its usefulness degrades as you level up. It is brilliant against goblins, less spectacular against ogres, and useless against a lich. I suggest taking it at level 1.
This means Str 15, leaving 13 for Con, if you are dead set on Wis 18.

TL;DR: put the 18 to Str, 14 to Con and Wis, and use spells that don't have a save.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While I was referring to the flexibility mattered being for the Cleric, I note that you edited the answer. I like the answer due to your taking on the desire in the question about being a tank, which to survive early levels fits nicely with heavy armor master. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 6 '17 at 13:31

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