One thought on “What made the designers decide that the Death domain should be evil?

  1. D. Walker says:

    Kelemvor is MUCH better represented by the new Grave domain in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

    As the DMG guide explains, the Death domain refers to the forces that -cause- death, and that create undead. In previous editions of the game, this would have referred to Negative Energy.

    So right off the bat, there’s a colossal disconnect with Kelemvor. His dogma is largely that no one should die before their appointed time, and he hates undead. Thus, it makes absolutely no sense for a cleric of Kelemvor to have powers that revolve around causing unnatural deaths and creating undead. A cleric of the Death domain is literally the opposite of everything Kelemvor stands for.

    In contrast, the Grave domain is overwhelmingly about sparing the dying from an early grave, and destroying undead. They’re somewhat like Life domain clerics in that regard, they just accomplish the same goals in different ways. The key difference is how closely they operate to the line between life and death.

    A Life domain cleric seeks to keep hit points high and out of the clutches of potential death. They generally try very hard to not let an ally be struck down.

    But a Grave domain cleric is more than happy to let people have a small taste of death, keep them from tumbling over the brink, and then bring them safely back to the land of the living.

    This particularly suits Kelemvor, who wants his servants to teach people not to fear death, but to accept it and even embrace it as just another part of life. We fear the unknown, but accept the familiar. By allowing their companions to face death in safety, and to grow familiar with it, a Grave domain cleric helps to dispel their fear of it, and ultimately accept it.

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