((This is based on my 3.x/PF Grace-Gift class that I am in the process of rewriting for 5e. I haven't published that version of it yet, but a summary of its relevant class features can be seen in this post, and MoleMage said in the previous post in that discussion thread that it would be acceptable.))
Way of the Guardian by StagnantFlux : Discussion thread on this site (GitP) HERE. Monks who use shields to protect their allies.
Mama-Bear/Papa-Wolf: Ranger Subclass.
Helping Hand: My attempt at converting the 3.x spell.
Band of Blood-Brothers:9th level spell to evenly distribute damage across the entire party.
Hands of the Healer: Give up the benefits of a short or long rest to double the hitpoints or hit-dice your allies regain. Ended up being a feat, but originally I considered having it be a Hermit Discovery, Life Cleric Alternate Class Feature, or all three. Drawn from my work towards a 5e version of the Grace-gift.
Gods with both the Life and Protection domains often grant this domain, as do those who commonly sponsor paladins who take the Oath of Devotion. It is specifically available to clerics of Týr, Christianity, and the ancestor spirits of bushido. These first two are especially likely to take it generally. For the third it is generally seen in shugenja yojimbo (in settings where that isn't a contradiction in terms) especially those who devote their lives to guarding a few high-ranking officials, rather than being for-hire.
A few gods of karmic balance may also grant this domain.
Spoiler: Tip for Game MastersThis sub-class could be an effective bodyguard for a B.B.E.G. (Big Bad Evil Guy).
Self-Sacrifice Domain Spells
*New spell described at the end of this post.
Cleric Level Spells 1st Compelled Duel, Bolt of Resilient Guidance* 3rd Status*, Warding Bond 5th Beacon of Hope, Protection from Energy 7th Aura of Life, Aura of Purity 9th Circle of Power, Telepathic Bond
Bastion of Defense
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with Heavy Armor that you meet the strength requirement (if any) not to be slowed by*. If your strength score later increases this may grant you additional proficiencies.
*As dwarves do not need any specific strength score to avoid being slowed by armor, they may ignore that requirement.
You are also proficient with Martial Reach weapons.
You have proficiency in Concentration saves to maintain spells that affect one or more of your allies, but do not benefit yourself. This also specifically applies to Bolt of Resilient Guidance*. When casting a spell with concentration duration that would provide you a benefit (such as Beacon of Hope) you may elect to have that spell provide you no benefit.
*New spell described at the end of this post.
Damage transferred from an ally to you by a spell or class ability you used does not require you to make concentration checks.
However, these benefits come with a tiny drawback. You must always humbly remember that your best defense may not be sufficient. If you are not proficient in the Medicine skill, you must choose Spare the Dying as one of your cantrips at level 1.
Channel Divinity: Selfless Sacrifice and Vicious Defense
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to protect others against misfortune or to become a deadly bulwark of defense.
Expend a bonus action to activate either of the following two effects for a number of minutes equal to your cleric level to a maximum of 10. You may dismiss either or both of them as an action.
- Selfless Sacrifice::
Whatever grace is granted to me, let it pass to them instead.
You have disadvantage on all saving throws, except concentration checks that this Domain grants proficiency in. Whenever an ally* within 20' of you makes a saving throw, they have advantage on it.
*Other than yourself of course!
Spoiler: Quick and Dirty copy-paste of a minor nerf that makes this draw more aggro rather than potentially cheesing non-AoEs.
This effect sub-consciously communicates the tactical fact to all opponents with a tinting aura (doesn't make it any harder for us to hide, nor shed any light) around you and your targets that even Int 1 animals understand instinctively. In other words they KNOW your are weakened and the allies that are within 20' of you at that instant are strengthened (more reasoning ability would be required to figure out it is an ongoing, range-dependent, effect).
- Vicious Defense:
For the duration of this ability you lose the ability to use the Attack action and can not cast spells that involve attack rolls*, would cause at least one enemy to make a saving throw either immediately or at the start of their next turn except for Compelled Duel, and/or would (in that specific instance) deal hitpoint damage immediately when cast except for Bolt of Resilient Guidance.
*For example Booming Blade.
You gain an additional reaction each round that may only be used for an opportunity attack. You add your wisdom modifier (with a minimum of +1) to all to-hit rolls for opportunity attacks. If the weapon you are making the opportunity attack with is not magical, it becomes magical for the duration of that attack.
In addition, whenever you hit with an opportunity attack while this ability is active, you can expend one spell slot and take damage equal to that slot's level to deal extra radiant damage to the target. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st level slot, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than first, to a maximum of 10d8 total radiant damage.
Spoiler: Optional Rule: Alternate Damage TypesInstead of all clerics of this domain dealing radiant damage, the GM can give the player a choice of what damage type they would like this feature to add to their Vicious Defense.
Radiant damage is still available, but only if the cleric is Good.
Evil characters may choose Necrotic.
Lawful characters may choose Cold. (The ability of cold to transform the chaotic swirling and shapelessness of water into the stability of ice is symbolic of Law.)
Chaotic characters may elect to wield the cacophonic energy of Thunder.
Characters of any alignment may choose the vengeful energy of Fire, the agonizing rebuke of Acid, or the divine judgement of Lightning.
This change in damage type also applies to the Divine Strike option available at 8th level.
Once made, this choice may only be altered if the character's alignment alters to no longer qualify for their previous selection (without, of course, falling from the favor of their deity).
Roleplaying suggestion: Most characters who undergo such a profound change still pick a alignment exclusive energy type. Sudden reversals (from Lawful to Chaotic for example) usually select the element that goes with the new aspect of their alignment.
At 6th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice:
- Carry the Burden:
You can take the weight of gravity in the stead of those you treasure.
Fly is considered a prepared spell and you cast it as one spell level higher than the slot used. This includes using a 2nd level slot to cast it in its basic version. However, you cannot cast it on yourself, and the weight of all targets (including their own loads) is added to your load. If this exceeds your carrying capacity you become Prone and Restrained* for the duration of the spell and may not take any actions other than dismissing the effect (you may, however, pass time without taking actions to allow the effect to continue!). If this exceeds twice your carrying capacity the crushing weight deals you 1d8 bludgeoning damage each round for each target of the spell. You do not need to make concentration checks for this damage.
*This bypasses the immunity provided by Freedom of Movement and similar effects.
When using a higher level spell slot to cast Fly you may reduce the number of targets allowed by up to four. Add 1 to the number of targets given up and divide the weight added to your load by this number. In effect, you can choose to spend each individual level you increase the spell on either adding an additional target, or on mitigating the weight.
- Gift of Time:
In a crisis, split seconds can be the difference between survival and death. You give up your own fleeting moments to those whose need is greater.
You may forgo your action, bonus action, and movement to grant one ally within 30' of you the following benefits for 1 round:
- Speed is doubled
- +2 bonus to AC
- Advantage on Dexterity saving throws
- An additional action on their turn. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.
These bonuses are NOT cumulative with the effects of the Haste spell.
Nota Bene: Unlike Haste, this effect does NOT cause a loss of actions to lethargy when it ends.
You can do this Wisdom Modifier (minimum 1) + your proficiency bonus times per short or long rest.
- Take My Eyes, That You Might See. Take My Ears That You Might Hear:
This ability has two major options, each with sub-options. All target a single creature within 30', have a duration of Concentration, and, unless otherwise specified, the maximum duration is 8 hours. The effect also ends if you and the target are ever separated by more than 30', or if the sense you give up* is restored to you. They also fail to manifest in the first place if you have immunity to the condition(s) that specific application would inflict on you.
*This includes if you gain blindsense while concentrating on the Eyes option.
Spoiler: Spoilered for lengthEyes: You go blind and have any blindsight you possess suppressed for the duration of this ability. Pick one of the following for the target:
- They can see as normal for their species for the duration of this ability, even if born blind. If they are from a species with no sense of sight they gain the visual abilities of a human. Any pre-existing blindness effect is suppressed (but not removed) and they are immune to being blinded for the duration.
- They have advantage on sight-based perception checks.
- See Invisibility. This has a maximum duration of 1 hour.
- Darkvision out to a range of 60 feet.
- They gain low-light vision as an elf.
- (You must have a cleric level of at least 13 to select this option.) True Seeing. This requires the normal material component, which is destroyed, but you can simply hold it, rather than having to apply it to the target. This has a maximum duration of 1 hour.
Ears: You go deaf for the duration of this ability. Pick one of the following:
- They can hear for the duration of this ability, even if born deaf or from a species with no sense of hearing. Any pre-existing deafness effect is suppressed (but not removed) and they are immune to being deafened for the duration.
- They have advantage on hearing-based perception checks.
- Whenever they have both expertise and advantage of on hearing-based perception checks, they also gain Blindsense 5'. This has a maximum duration of 1 hour.
Once you have used any of these options you may not use this ability again until you have finished a long rest.
- Mob-Halting Reflexes:
When Vicious Defense is NOT active you gain an additional reaction that may only be used for an opportunity attack. When it IS active, the number of additional reactions you gain increases to your dexterity modifier (minimum 2).
Nota Bene: Check with your GM before taking this feature. It may slow the game down more than is generally considered acceptable for 5e.
- Readied Defense: As a bonus action immediately after casting a spell that requires concentration, provides a beneficial effect to allies in an area, or that you select at the time of this initial casting (and possibly yourself), you may suspend its actual effect. You still need to concentrate to avoid losing it, but the duration is not otherwise considered to have started yet. You may start the effect and chronologically specific duration (plus any "until discharged" aspect of the duration) as a reaction or bonus action. Once begun, it may not be suspended again.
Example: ((Watch this space))
At 8th level all your opportunity attacks deal an additional 1d8 radiant damage. When you reach 14th level the damage increases to 2d8. This does not count against the cap on damage for Vicious Defense.
Spoiler: Director's Cut options:
You may select the above, OR one of the following for your individual character:
- Protector's Reward: When you use a spell slot to deal additional damage with Vicious Defense, you no longer take damage. In fact you heal 2 + slot level damage. This feature can restore you to no more than half of your hit point maximum.
- Additional Gifting Specialization: You gain an additional, different, pick from the five options of Gifting Specialization.
Improved Protective Casting:
Also at 8th level you gain Advantage on any Concentration save that the proficiency granted at the first level of this domain applies to.
Band of Brothers:
Time and time again you have shown the virtues of sacrifice. Now you shall empower others to follow in your footsteps.
At 17th level, as an action you may ward yourself and up to 5 willing creatures you select who are all within 60' of yourself and each other. This effect has a duration of 1 minute. This creates a mystic connection between each of you until the effect ends. None of the creatures may be the subject or caster of a currently active Warding Bond. You and each of the other targets gain a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws. Each time any of the targets takes damage, the damage is instead divided evenly among all targets. Remaining points are lost.
The effect ends if any of the targets (including yourself) drop to 0 hit points or any two of you are more than 60 feet appart. It also ends if this effect or Warding Bond is used again on any of the connected creatures. You or any of the targets can also dismiss the effect as an action. This action is instinctive, and requires no knowledge of spellcasting to use.
Once you use this feature you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
Also starting at 17th level, you add your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) to Concentration saves.
Bolt of Resilient Guidance
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration(but see below), up to 1 round
A flash of light streaks toward a creature of your choice within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 2d4 radiant damage, and the next attack roll made against this target during the next round has advantage, thanks to the mystical dim light glittering on the target until then. This effect occurs even if you do not maintain concentration. If you DO maintain concentration this light continues, also applying advantage to all attacks on that creature up to your casting ability modifier additional attacks during that round.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d4 and you gain +1 to concentration checks to maintain this spell for each slot level above 1st. In addition, if you cast this spell with a 6th level or higher slot the duration is Concentration, up to 1 minute. Each round after the first, it grants advantage on a number of attacks equal to your casting ability modifier.
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 hour
This spell only works on willing creatures and beasts of intelligence 3 or less.
You touch a single creature. You are aware of direction and distance to the creature and any conditions affecting them: unharmed, fatigued (including level of fatigue), wounded, incapacitated, staggered, unconscious, dying, nauseated, panicked, stunned, poisoned, diseased, or the like. Examples of conditions it does NOT reveal include charmed, frightened, grappled, prone, and restrained. Once the spell has been cast upon the subject, the distance between them and the caster does not affect the spell as long as they are on the same plane of existence. If a subject leaves the plane, or if it dies, the spell ceases to function for it.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a slot of 3rd level or higher, you may target one additional willing creature for each slot level above 3rd. If you use a slot of at 5th to 7th level then the duration increases to 8 hours. If you use a slot of 8th level the duration increases to 24 hours, and if you use a 9th level spell slot the duration increases to 7 days.