A Cleric is the backbone of every party in D&D. Clerics are the holy one, the one with the morals, the one with the healing spells that will help your party survive. They’re a great choice for somebody looking to roleplay a character that is good in alignment.

So let’s say you’re trying to figure out what is the best character for you. What is the class that is going to let you tell the best stories, and play something that you truly enjoy?

Picking a character for a D&D campaign (especially if it’s a long one) can be an overwhelming experience, but you’ve got your eyes set on clerics and you’d like to know a bit more about them.

Well, that’s why we’ve written this article. We’re going to be taking a long look at Cleric and the spells that they get.

We’re going to be answering the question – how many spells can a cleric know in 5th Edition of D&D? We’ve also made sure to include some additional information about clerics and the other reasons why you might want to play one.

Cleric Overview

A Cleric is typically a light armor wearing class that uses holy magic to defeat enemies or to protect allies. They start with 1d8 hit diece, 8+ constitution modifier for your hit points, and proficiencies in light armor, medium armor, shields, and simple weapons.

As a cleric, you’re able to choose skills in either history, insight, medicine, persuasion or religion.

So as you can probably tell, a cleric is at first more likely to be a character that is on the backline of your party.

The use of a shield and medium armor allows you to protect yourself, and you will be able to fight hand to hand, but your main strengths will be within the spells and other additional abilities that you will have access to.

Clerics And Spells

So let’s explore the class further and explain how many spells a Cleric gets.

As a focus for divine or holy power, a Cleric is able to cast a number of cantrips and spells, these will increase as you gain levels and become more powerful, but let’s start at what you will have access to at level 1.


Cantrips are smaller spells that you get access to right away. Cantrips differ from other spells because they aren’t typically devastating in effect.

Instead, they are spells that you can use constantly without any limit. With spell-slot spells, you can only use so many before having to take a short or long rest. Cantrips do not need time to reset.

At level one, you are able to choose three cantrips of your choice from the specific cleric spell list. This is just what you get to start off with, and as time goes by you’ll be able to add more to your repertoire. Let’s take a look at some examples of classic Cleric cantrips.

Mending – this allows you to repair an object with a touch, which can be very useful in certain situations.

Light – you are able to touch something and imbue it with light, which can be great in a dark cave or dungeon.

Cure Wounds – a classic healing spell that allows you to cure the wound and regain hit points equal to 1d8 + your modifier.

These cantrips may increase in intensity as you level up, so it’s important to keep an eye on them as you experience your journey.

It’s also important to note that you will want to make sure you pick the right kind of cantrips, as choices you make are not easily undone within a D&D campaign.

Spell Slots

As a cleric will start with two 1st level spell slots. These will allow you to choose from a variety of devastating or restorative spells that will greatly help your party in and out of combat.

Typically, we’d recommend an offensive spell and a defensive one, that way you can be a lot more versatile in combat.

However, be aware that you will get more spell slots as you level up, so there are lots of chances to pick up spells if you can’t choose between them!

Divine Domain

The last thing we need to talk about is Divine Domain. This is something you are going to get from level 1 and will change as you level up. A Divine Domain is the school of divinity that your cleric is attached to.

This can be Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery and War. We don’t have time to go through all of these right now, but any that you choose will massively change the kind of cleric that you play.

For example, if you’re a Arroka, you could choose to be a tempest and get some spells that align more to your individual race.

Depending on your domain, you will have access to different spells. A life cleric will gain ‘Disciple of Life’ which makes your healing spells more powerful.

Which one you choose can massively change the progression of your character as they grow throughout a campaign.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! A cleric will get a multitude of different spells available to them throughout their progression, but at first, you start with 3 cantrips and 2 first level spell slots.

How many spells you have access to will change depending on what choices you make in your character progression.

If you feel unsure about what the right choices are, firstly you’re going to want to consider your character in relation to your party, and secondly, you can always contact your DM and they will probably be happy to help you work it out.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand the spellcasting potential of a cleric, and that you now feel a lot more confident about what you’ll get starting out at the first level.

We wish you the best of luck with your character creation and are sure you’ll make the perfect character for you!