View Full Version : [5E]Bought unbalanced dmsguild adaptation of the duskblade and now trying to fix it

2017-07-06, 04:12 AM
I'm pretty new to D&D and just played my first session last week. I wanted to play for a long time but couldn't find players in my town. Last week I discovered roll20 and thought that I should try to find an online group. So, I went out to find a class that I would like to play and remembered an old 3.5E class from a time I seriously wanted to find a group - the duskblade. After a short search I noticed that this class wasn't available for 5E. Through critical role I knew of the site dmsguild and thought that I might find a homebrew version there. I found one and it's rating looked good. So I bought it and went on to find a group on roll20. I found a DM who was willing to pick me up and liked the lore/fantasy behind the class and permitted me to play it. So I dived deeper into the ruleset and noticed that the adaptation wasn't polished at all. It had bonus feats in it's progression and more then 20 features, a spell progression akin to a normal caster and much more. So I began trying to fix it and removed features, changed them or introduced new ones. Only at a later stage did I discover that there were other probably better homebrew adaptations (like on this forum) of the duskblade. But since I've already put considerable work into fixing it I wanted to finish what I started. Considering I've no real experience and just looked at what other classes had I'd like to discuss if I'm heading in the right direction.

Since I can't post links and the mods said I had to link the original: If you search for "Duskblade" on dmsguild.com it is named "The Duskblade: A 5e Class". Furthermore I can't post the whole reworked class publicly. Therefore I'm posting only the features I've reworked or created from scratch.

Spell progression: I changed it to be akin the ranger/paladin progression since this class is kind of a half-caster as well.

Feature progression: The Duskblade doesn't get a feature on it's 5th and 17th level (on those he gains his first 2nd and 5th level spell slots).

Spellcasting: Spellcasting is learned at level 2 and two cantrips are learned at level 1.

I havn't included the level 18 and 20 features since I havn't worked on those although they need to be reworked. The Duskblade gets the standard feature Fighting Style at level 3 and chooses his archetype at level 3.

Arcane Weapon Bond
At 1st level, you learn a ritual that creates a magical bond
between yourself and one weapon. You perform the ritual
over the course of 1 hour, which can be done during a short
rest. The weapon must be within your reach throughout the
ritual, at the conclusion of which you touch the weapon and
forge the bond.
Once you have forged an arcane weapon bond you can use
the weapon as an arcane focus (explained in chapter 10 of
the Players Handbook) for your Duskblade spells.
Additionally as long as you touch the weapon you can ignore
the somatic component of spells.
If you choose the Fighting Style: Two-Weapon Fighting you
can have up to two bonded weapons otherwise you are
limited to one bonded weapon.Trying to bond with a weapon
while having already reached the maximum bonds allowed
requires you to break one of the existing arcane weapon

This might be a bit weak but having your sword act as an arcane focus and remove the need for a somatic component is kinda neat. I could add things to it akin to what the Eldritch Knight gets with his weapon bond (immune to disarm, able to summon his weapon) but maybe that would be too much. I wanted to kinda emphasize that channelling a spell through a weapon can't be done by a weapon which wasn't kinda prepared for it. So I made it a requirement for Arcane Channelling to use a bonded weapon with it. That's more of a flavour thing but it might create a dangerous situation if the bonded weapon and it's wielder somehow get seperated. He could use a backup weapon but wouldn't be able to use the channelling feature.

Arcane Attunement

Cantrips: At 1st level, you know two cantrips of your choice from the duskblade spell list. You learn an additional
duskblade cantrip of your choice at 4th and 10th level. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your duskblade spells. Additionally, you can innately cast the spell Detect
Magic and Mage Hand. You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your Intelligence modifier, you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. These spell-like powers do not count
against your total of spells known or spells per day.

The only thing I've changed is that this gives you access to cantrips since spellcasting was moved to the 2nd level. I'm unsure if it's okay to gain the ability to cast a first level spell (Detect Magic) for free but I left it as is for now. Spell Attack and Spell Save DC are noted under the spellcasting feature

Arcane Channeling
Beginning at 2nd level once per turn as part of an attack
action you can cast any spell you know from the duskblade
spell list and deliver it alongside a melee attack which is
made by an arcane bonded weapon. If the melee attack is
successful, the attack deals half damage; then the effect of the
spell is resolved immediately. Spells that normally have a
duration longer than instantaneous end once the effect has
been resolved. Any modifier to the attack roll, such as
Shocking Grasp's advantage against metal armored targets,
are not granted. If the attack misses the spell is lost.
If the spell normally calls for a saving throw, the target may
make the appropriate saving throw against the spell's
secondary effects (if any) as normal, but not its damage.
If the spell has an area of effect, it is transfromed into a cone
effect where the weapon is it's origin point. If the spell is a
line or cone spell, your weapon is the spell's origin point, and
the target must be inside the area of effect. Any creatures
other than the target that are inside the spell's area of effect
make saving throws for damage and the spell's secondary
effects as normal.
Spells that do not normally call for an attack roll (such as
fireball) do not have their damage dice doubled on a critical
hit using this feature.
If a chanelled spell is countered it destabilizes your attack
and causes a -6 to hit penalty.

I took some ideas from aumguitarist07 who posted a duskblade version here in the forums. One of the things I've added is to account for a channelled spell being counterspelled. I think that even a channelled spell should be counterable and as such it should have an effect on the attack. This penalty decreases to 0 as the duskblade gets more adept at channelling spells.

Improved Arcane Channeling
At 6th level, if you miss on a channelled attack you may
choose to expend a spell slot one level lower then the one you
used to channell the spell.
The hit penalty when a channelled spell is countered is
reduced to -4.
The original version was much stronger. So I toned it to a level that you actually lose something when you miss a channelled spell but with this feature it's slightly less bad to miss.

Arcane Weapon Barrage
Havn't changed it. I think this is okay.

Arcane Determination
As a Duskblade you are used at concentrating on intricate
spells while fighting and thus honed your determination. At
9th level you'll gain advantage on concentration saving
throws. Additionally you'll add your Intelligence modifier to
Constitution and Wisdom saving throws.
This is somethin I created and which replaced Arcane Guardian of the original. Since this class is going to regularly take dmg I thought that something to help with those concentration checks might be a good idea. I looked at the warcaster feat and thought that just providing advantage might be a bit too weak so I added the part about adding the duskblades intelligence mod to const and will saves. Now I think being able to add the int mod to both const and wisdom saves might probably too much but when I looked at the monk he got a talent which allowed him to add his proficiency bonus to all saves. So feedback on this would be great.

Advanced Arcane Channeling
At 11th level, you can use your arcane channeling ability on
an attack of opportunity. Furthermore effects with a duration
longer than instantaneous don't end once the effect has been
resolved. The standard rules for concentration spells still
apply (see chapter 10 in the Players Handbook).
The hit penalty when a channelled spell is countered is
reduced to -2.
I changed this one as well since the baseline skill now provided what this did. Originally the baseline version only allowed touch spells being channelled and this changed it to allow channelling of any spell. Since there is only 1 touch spell left in the wizard spell table it didn't make any sense to limit channelling to touch spells only. So I took the idea from the next improvement of Arcane Channelling and toned it down since it was too strong regardless of when you'd get it.

Improved Arcane Weapon Bond
At 13th level you begin to unconsciously channel arcane
energy into your weapon when striking. Whenever you hit a
creature with a melee weapon, the creature takes an extra
1d6 force damage. Your melee weapon attacks count as
magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and
immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
This is basically a weaker version of the paladin feature Improved Divine Smite. I thought that since the duskblade wields stronger spells then the paladin this ability shouldn't be as strong as the paladin one. So instead of 1d8 it's 1d6 bonus damage. Wording was later taken from aumguitarist07 from his duskblade version (feature: Arcane Infused Strikes) on this forum again

Master of Arcane Channeling
At 15th level, you become a master at channeling arcane
energies through your weapon. Channeling a spell through
your bonded weapon now treats it as if it was cast 1 spell slot
Through your experience channelling countless spells
through your bonded weapon your aim remains true even if
the chanelled spell gets countered. You don't suffer a hit
penalty anymore when a channelled spell is countered.
Since I've modified this feature and used it for the previous stage of arcane channeling I came up with something new. This gives a nice way to scale your spells a little bit and it looks fine. My dm thought so as well but maybe you'll disagree.

Archetype features:

Arcane Might
At 3rd level, you gain 3 arcane power points and another
arcane power point at every even Duskblade level beginning
at 4th. You can only spent 1 arcane power point per turn. You
regain arcane power points spent after a long rest.
Didn't change this. But have to list it to better judge the abilities that use those points. You'll get 12 at most.

Armored Arcanist
At 3rd level, your hit point maximum increases by 3 and you
gain an additional hit point on each new duskblade level.

As a reaction to an attack targetting you, you can spent an
arcane power points to strengthen your defenses. Each point
spent in this way gives a +2 bonus to your AC until the start of
your next turn.
So, the original might've been okay but together with a feature I removed it certainly wasn't. In a first draft this gave a +1 bonus to ac on top of what it does now (previously the class got a +3 bonus to ac from another talent among other things) but my dm thought a flat +1 bonus to ac might still be too much. What do you guys think? Furthermore I took an idea which the base class got and transformed it into something that uses the arcane power points. Balancing wise there are options to bring it down if this should be too strong (bonus ac counts only for the one attack)

Arcane Weapon Empowerment
At 6th level, you learn to enhance your Weapon with arcane
power. Your melee weapon strikes with a bonded weapon
become infused with arcane power. If the weapon is not
already magical, it becomes magical. Additionally whenever
you hit a creature the creature takes extra force damage
equal to half of your intelligence modifier rounded down (at
least 1). Furthermore you can now spend an arcane power
point per turn to do one of the following things:

If you spend 1 arcane power point on a channeled attack it
becomes empowered and on a successful hit it's attack
damage won't be halved.

If you spend 1 arcane power point you can make a normal
attack as a bonus action and add 1d6 arcane damage to
the attack.
So, I came up with the ability to add the duskblades int mod to the attack for extra damage which was a way to reward players who raised their intelligence. Shortly after that I noticed that the paladin had something similar but he had to activate the damage bonus and it only lasted for 1 minute. Because of that I reduced the bonus to be only hald the int modifier. The first option to spent power points is pretty straight forward and should be okay. The second one gives the player the option to cast a spell regularly and still be able to attack an opponent with his weapon.

Improved Arcane Weapon Empowerment:
At 10th level, every time you spend an arcane power point
through Arcane Weapon Empowerment you may choose a
damage type (Fire, Ice or Acid). On a successful hit your
melee damage is converted to the chosen type.

On a critical hit with a bonded weapon you'll regain 1 arcane
power point.

Additionally you can spent arcane power points on the
following abilities.

If you spend 1 arcane power point on an attack and hit the
target, the target has disadvantage against spell saves
until the beginning of your next turn.

If you spend 1 arcane power point on an attack and hit the
target, the target has disadvantage on spell attack rolls
until the beginning of your next turn.
This got some inspirations from a feature (Alternate Form) of the 3.5E Duskblade Variant on dandwiki. This might be too strong but my dm looked at it and thought it might be okay. The ability to regain arcane power points through a crit is taken from the gunslinger class which is played on the show critical role.

Spell Recall
Straight up taken from the Magus class on dmsguild.com.

Closing words:
So this is it. I'd really appreciate any feedback you might have.