I haven’t played much with multi-classing in 5th Edition yet, mainly because I can easily see the appeal of sticking with a single class from levels 1 through 20. However, I know there are big proponents of it out there, and so I’ve decided to take another look into the options that are available. One that struck me immediately was the new Storm Herald Primal Path for Barbarians from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and the seeming synergy it had with the Tempest Domain available to clerics. I also haven’t played much with feats, since they are technically presented as optional rules – however, this time I decided to go for it and see what fun I could have. The results are below.
Human (Variant) Storm Herald Barbarian 4/Tempest Cleric 1
Armor Class 15 (breastplate, 13 if unarmored)
Hit Points 48 (4d12+1d8 hit dice)
Proficiency Bonus +3
Speed 30 ft
Alignment neutral good
Languages Common, Giant
Strength 16 (+3)
Dexterity 12 (+1)
Constitution 14 (+2)
Intelligence 8 (-1)
Wisdom 16 (+3)
Charisma 8 (-1)
Melee Attack: Maul +6 2d6+3 bludgeoning damage, heavy, two-handed
Melee Attack: Belaying Pin +6 1d4+3 bludgeoning damage, light
Melee Attack: Unarmed Strike +6 1d4+3 bludgeoning damage, may attempt to grapple as a bonus action on a successful hit
Melee or Ranged Attack: Handaxe +6 1d6+3 slashing damage, light, thrown (range 20/60)
Melee or Ranged Attack: Javelin +6 1d6+3 piercing damage, thrown (range 30/120)
Skills Acrobatics +1, Animal Handling +3, Arcana -1, Athletics +6, Deception -1, History -1, Insight +3, Intimidation +2, Investigation -1, Medicine +3, Nature +2, Perception +6, Performance -1, Persuasion -1 Religion +2, Sleight of Hand +1, Stealth +1, Survival +3
Equipment maul, two handaxes, explorer’s pack, 4 javelins, belaying pin, 50 feet of silk rope, lucky charm (eye of the storm), set of common clothes, belt pouch with 10 gp, cast-off breastplate, orb of direction
Armor Proficiencies: Light armor, medium armor, heavy armor, and shields
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons, unarmed strikes, and improvised weapons
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s tools, vehicles (water)
Saving Throws: Strength and Constitution
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, Religion
Rage: You can enter a rage on your turn as a bonus action. While raging, you gain advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws, deal +2 damage on melee weapons attacks using Strength, and have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. You lose these benefits if you are wearing heavy armor. You cannot cast spells or concentrate on spells while raging. Your rage lasts for 1 minute, until you are knocked unconscious, you end your turn without attacking a hostile creature or taking damage, or you choose to end it as a bonus action. You can rage 3 times per day. You regain all expended uses of rage when you finish a long rest.
Reckless Attack: When you make your first attack on your turn, you can decide to attack recklessly. Doing so gives you advantage on melee weapon attack rolls using Strength during this turn, but attack rolls against you have advantage until your next turn.
Danger Sense: You have advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that you can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, you can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.
Storm Aura (Sea): While you are raging, you gain an aura with a 10-foot radius that does not pass through total cover. As a bonus action on each of your turns, you can choose one other creature you can see in your aura. The target makes a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw. The target takes 1d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Wrath of the Storm: You can thunderously rebuke attackers. When a creature within 5 feet of you that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the creature to make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. The creature takes 2d8 thunder or lightning damage (your choice) on a failed saving throw, or half as much on a successful one. You can use this feature 3 times. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Spellcasting. Your spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). You typically have the following spells prepared. Furthermore, you can cast any spell you have prepared that has the ritual tag as a ritual. See the spellcasting chapter in the Players Handbook for more information.
Cantrips – mending, sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st level – command, create or destroy water, fog cloud*, guiding bolt, purify food and water, thunderwave* *denotes domain spells
Elemental Adept: Lightning**
Ship’s Passage: When you need to, you can secure free passage on a sailing ship for yourself and your adventuring companions. You might sail on the ship you served on, or another ship you have good relations with (perhaps one captained by a former crewmate). Because you’re calling in a favor, you can’t be certain of a schedule or route that will meet your every need. Your Dungeon Master will determine how long it takes to get where you need to go. In return for your free passage, you and your companions are expected to assist the crew during the voyage.
Personality Traits: To me, a tavern brawl is a nice way to get to know a new city.
Ideals: Respect. The thing that keeps a ship together is mutual respect between captain and crew.
Bonds: I’ll always remember my first ship.
Flaws: Once someone questions my courage, I never back down no matter how dangerous the situation.
Tattoos: The wings of an eagle are spread wide across my upper back.
Superstitions: If you disturb the bones of the dead, you inherit all the troubles that plagued them in life.
History: Cuyler was born to a clan of sea raiders and grew up aboard various sailing ships, moving from temporary settlement to temporary settlement. He learned to fight from an early age, and enjoyed picking fistfights with the other children of the tribe (something he hasn’t outgrown). He always had a stronger connection to the ocean than the other children did. He understood it more deeply, and gave it a deeper respect. His parents told him it was because he was born in the middle of a large storm, his first cries being accompanied by massive displays of lightning and thunder while rains lashed the sea with a fury. As he grew up, he learned now to channel the rage and fury of the untamed sea through him, as a rare few of his people were capable, becoming an emerging figure within the tribe. Years later while out raiding, his boat became separated from the rest, and they were caught in the middle of a powerful storm. The boat sank, but Cuyler washed ashore on an unfamiliar land with a small catseye marble that occasionally flashed with lightning and vibrated softly as if giving off small peals of thunder. He doesn’t know how he survived, or where the keepsake came from but he knew that he had been spared for some greater purpose. Giving thanks to the storm and to the sea for giving him a second chance, he rededicated himself to the powers that had defined his childhood, and he found himself possessed with new abilities which he instinctively knew were granted to him by the powers of the storm. Since that day, he has been wandering the realms, seeking out what he knows he has been called to do. He hasn’t found it yet, but he knows it’s waiting.
Roleplay Tips: Strong and stalwart, but slightly dense and not a great people pleaser, Cuyler is a good man to have at your back in a fight – be it against monsters, pirates, or simply locals in a bar fight (that he probably started). He knows his way around a ship and he loves the freedom the ocean brings, but he understands that he can do as much, if not sometimes more, good on land.
Advancement: You will want at least two more levels of barbarian to get the Extra Attack class feature and the next upgrade to your Storm Aura, which nets you resistance to lightning damage, a swim speed of 30 feet, and the ability to breath underwater. Beyond that, it’s really up to you how you want to progress the character. You are never going to get the highest two levels of cleric magic, but if you go straight Cleric from there, you can at least grab a 7th level spell slot, and you would net the damage die increase to your Divine Strike Domain feature (netting you two attacks at 2d6 bludgeoning + 2d8 thunder damage each time you take the attack action). However, you only need to hit 9th level to max out your domain spells, so if that’s your goal, you can continue to advance your Storm Aura. It depends on how you want to play the character – more cleric levels will mean you still have your powerful rage ability to fall back on when you run low on spell slots and more barbarian levels will keep you in melee combat more frequently with the ability to fire off a spell here and there when needed (as long as you’re not raging).
**DM’s Note: I personally would have no problem letting this feat apply to the damage from Cuyler’s Storm Aura or Domain abilities such as Wrath of the Storm. However, since these are technically not from spells, your DM is well within his rights to say that this feat doesn’t apply; in this case you may get more mileage out of selecting thunder as your element, or choosing a different feat entirely, as clerics don’t have a whole lot of additional ways to deal lightning damage – it was largely chosen to keep those lower damage dice rolls from dealing minimal damage.
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