The Conductor

A gnome taps his quill thoughtfully against his lip, arcane texts covering the right side of his desk and musical scores covering the left.

"No no no," the woman cries in exasperation as the duelists return to their positions, "it's step-two-three, step-two-three, lunge-two-three. Again, from the top."

The dwarf taps a beat with his mace against his shield in time with the phalanx marching forward, the quickening of his tempo speeding their footsteps on the field.

Magic and Music

Many are familiar with bards and their ability to turn their passion and skill for music into a talent for magic, but they aren't the only ones capable of drawing upon the music of creation. They have a counterpart in the conductor, who also weaves music and magic together but whose talents lie more on the cerebral end of the scale. Where bards bring a sorcerer-like intuition to their craft, conductors are more wizard-like and methodical, coordinating teams of fellow adventurers just as they would conduct an orchestra and attempting to ensure that every last "performance" of theirs proceeds exactly as planned.

The Conductor Spell Slots per Spell Level
Level Proficiency
Features Cues
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Time signature 2/4 3 2 2 — — — —
2nd +2 Conducting Style feature 3 2 3 — — — —
3rd +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 2 4 — — — —
4th +2 Conductor's Baton 4 2 4 — — — —
5th +3 Time Signature 3/4 5 3 4 2 — — —
6th +3 Conducting Style feature 5 3 4 2 — — —
7th +3 Ability Score Improvement 6 3 4 3 — — —
8th +3 Metric Modulation 6 3 4 4 2 — —
9th +4 Time Signature 4/4 7 4 4 4 3 — —
10th +4 Conducting Style feature 7 4 4 4 4 — —
11th +4 Ability Score Improvement 8 4 4 4 4 — —
12th +4 Tempo Rubato 8 4 4 4 4 — —
13th +5 Time Signature 5/4 9 5 4 4 4 2 —
14th +5 Conducting Style feature 9 5 4 4 4 3 —
15th +5 Ability Score Improvement 10 5 4 4 4 4 —
16th +5 Finale 10 5 4 4 4 4 —
17th +6 Time Signature 6/4 11 6 4 4 4 4 2
18th +6 Conducting Style feature 11 6 4 4 4 4 3
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 12 6 4 4 4 4 4
20th +6 Take It From The Top 12 6 4 4 4 4 4

Class Features
As a conductor, you gain the following features

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d8 per conductor level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per conductor level after 1st.

Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, rapiers
Tools: Calligrapher's tools, one musical instrument of your choice
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Skills: Performance, plus two of your choice from among Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Religion, and Sleight of Hand.

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • (a) a rapier or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor, heavy crossbow, and 20 bolts
  • A set of fine clothes, suitable for a gala or performance hall.

As a conductor, you cast spells exactly as a bard does, except that you do not learn any cantrips and you use Intelligence as your spellcasting ability instead of Charisma.

Beats, Cues, and Time Signature
You have an intuitive sense of the rhythym of the world around you, and by synchronizing the rhythm of your surroundings to your internal tempo, you can manipulate the world using your musical gifts. Your ability to do so has three components: Cues (magical effects that can direct other creatures to act--or not act--at precisely the right time), Beats (tiny packets of musical magical energy that power your Cues), and your internal Time Signature (the rate at which you gain Beats and can use Cues).

You know a number of Cues, according to the value on the table above. To use a Cue, you must have at least one hand free, must point or gesture at the target (one other creature than yourself within 30 feet of you), and must spend one or more Beats. A Cue can be activated as an action or as a bonus action, and you may activate as many Cues on your turn as you want so long as you have the Beats and actions and/or bonus actions to use them. Cues are not spells, and are not prepared or expended; you either know a Cue or don't, and can use a given Cue whenever you wish. However, repeatedly focusing your attention on a single creature attenuates the magic in a Cue, and so after you use a Cue on a creature you cannot use the same Cue on the same creature until a certain amount of time has passed.

Each round at the start of your turn, you gain a number of Beats, which can be used to activate Cues. Any Beats you haven't used since the start of your previous turn are lost (but see Tempo Rubato, below).

Your personal Time Signature manifests internally as the constant ticking of a metronome, beat of a drum, or other musical signifier running through the back of your mind, and you can feel magic pulsing through you to the same beat. A Time Signature takes the form "X/Y" where the numerator is the number of Beats you gain each round and the denominator is the number of rounds you have to wait before reusing a given Cue on a given creature. Normally your Time Signature is fixed to the value on the table above, but certain class features can change it temporarily.

Conducting Style
At 2nd level, you develop your own personal conducting style, becoming an Accompanist or a Maestro. Your choice grants you features when you take it and again at levels 6, 10, 14, and 18.

Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 3rd level, and again at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature. Alternatively, you can choose a feat.

Conductor's Baton
At 4th level, you can magically transform a branch, a mace, or other relatively straight implement made wholly or mostly of wood into a mystical implement known as a conductor's baton. This ritual takes 1 hour (which can be done during a short rest), and the baton-to-be must be held in your hand for the whole time. You may only have one conductor's baton at a time, but if it is lost you can simply create another.

While you hold a conductor's baton, the range of your Cues is increased from 30 feet to 60 feet. Additionally, you can cast minor illusion at will to create the illusory image of one instrument per point of your Intelligence bonus with accompanying illusory music, both of which last as long as you concentrate. While the illusion lasts, you can cause your Cues to originate from the illusion instead of from your own position.

Finally, as a reaction when a creature within 60 feet makes a Performance check, you may do any of the following at a cost of 1 Beat each: grant advantage, grant proficiency, improve the creature's proficiency to expertise, impose disadvantage, negate the creature's proficiency, or reduce the creature's expertise to proficiency. Unwilling creatures can make a Charisma save (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier + number of Beats spent) to negate the effect.

Metric Modulation
Starting at 8th level, you can change your internal Time Signature to better fit the tempo of a given encounter. As a bonus action, you can add +1 to the numerator and +2 to the denominator, or can subtract -1 from the numerator and -2 from the denominator, and may do this as many times as you wish so long as neither number falls below 0 or increases past double its original value.

For instance, if you have a Time Signature of 3/4 (meaning you gain 3 Beats per round but can't re-use Cues on the same creature until 4 rounds have passed), you could increase it to 4/6 or 5/8 (if you want more Beats to work with, at the cost of re-using Cues less frequently) or decrease it to 2/2 or 1/0 (to allow re-using Cues more frequently, at the cost of having fewer Beats per round).

Tempo Rubato
Starting at 12th level, if you do not use up all of your Beats in one round, the remaining Beats carry over into the next round. You cannot use this ability again in the next round to build up Beats over multiple rounds, you can only alternate remaining Beats -> extra Beats -> remaining Beats -> extra Beats and so forth.

At 16th level, upon beginning an encounter (either when initiative is rolled or a DM agrees that a new encounter has begun), you may declare the encounter to be a Finale or a Grand Finale. If you declare a Finale, the numerator in your Time Signature is doubled for the duration of the encounter, after which your time Signature is set to 0/0 until you finish a short rest and you cannot declare a Finale again until you finish a long rest.

You may instead declare an encounter to be a Grand Finale, the numerator in your Time Signature is tripled for the duration of the encounter, after which your time Signature is set to 0/0 until you finish a long rest. You cannot declare a single encounter to be both a Finale and a Grand Finale, and you cannot declare a Finale encounter and then take a short rest to reset your Time Signature after declaring a Grand Finale.

Take It From The Top
At 20th level, as an action you can conjure a hand-sized glowing rune of a segno on a creature or object (an unwilling creature can attempt a Charisma save to negate this) and your internal tempo begins to play backwards in your head, signifying the powerful chronomantic energy bound up in the rune.

When the rune is placed, make a note of the target's exact position and condition (hit points, spell slots remaining, and so forth). At any time thereafter you can use an action to activate it, in one of two ways:

Da Capo Al Segno: The target is sent back in time to the beginning of the encounter, experiences it again while making slightly different decisions, and then pops back into the normal timestream at the moment the rune was placed. Mechanically, the target can undo one decision or event that occurred in the encounter before the rune was placed, similar to a wish spell (and with the same degree of DM determination as to the exact outcome), and then is teleported to the same position it was in when the rune was placed.

Dal Segno Al Fine: The target is sent back in time to the moment the rune was placed. Mechanically, it is restored to the exact position and condition it was in at that time. It is incapacited for 1 round due to temporal disorientation, but afterwards it can act normally.

In either case, this ability costs one Beat in the round the rune is placed, two Beats in the next round, three in the round after that, and so on. If you reach a point where you cannot pay the ability's cost and still have not triggered the rune, the rune dissipates. Whether you activate the rune or it dissipates, you cannot place another until you finish a long rest.

Spoiler: Conducting Styles
The Accompanist

Where most conductors focus on leading large ensembles, Accompanists practice working with musicians one-on-one. By developing a rapport with a single performer, they are able to help that individual reach new heights of musical perfection.

As a bonus action, you can designate one willing creature within Cue range to be your Soloist; they remain your Soloist until you finish a short rest. Whenever you use a Cue on your Soloist, you benefit from the Cue as well, and the amount of time you have to wait before re-using the same Cue on your Soloist is decreased by 1 round.

Basso Continuo
At 6th level, when your Soloist uses their action, bonus action, or reaction, you may perform the same type of action (Attack, Dash, Cast a Spell, etc.), and must do so in a complementary way, such as moving in the same general direction, attacking the same target, or the like. Doing so costs 3 Beats, or 6 if the action is not one you could normally take (e.g. your Soloist is a sorcerer who uses Quicken Spell to Cast a Spell as a bonus action and you don't know any spells with a bonus action casting time).

This ability counts as a Cue for the purposes of re-use, targeting, and so on, and you can use this ability a number of times equal to your Intelligence bonus between long rests.

Once More With Feeling!
Starting at 10th level, whenever you use a Cue on your Soloist, resolve the effects as if you had spend 2 more Beats on it than you actually did.

Starting at 14th level, you can spend a short rest practicing with your Soloist (precluding them from gaining any other side benefit from the short rest, such as identifying a magic item) to rehearse a particular Cue with them. Afterward, the Soloist can activate the rehearsed Cue at any time as a bonus action, and it takes effect on them with a number of Beats equal to the numerator in your current Time Signature. After rehearsing a Cue with your Soloist, you cannot use that Cue on your Soloist until they activate the rehearsed Cue, but you may use it on other creatures as normal.

All Together Now!
At 18th level, instead of designating a single Soloist, you can designate up to 5 creatures to be an Ensemble. You may rehearse with all of the creatures in your Ensemble during a single short rest (choosing the same or different Cues for each) and may switch your current Soloist between any of the creatures in your Ensemble as a bonus action.

The Maestro

Where most conductors are better at theory than practice, Maestros are distinguished musicians in their own right, often conducting and playing an instrument at the same time. By studying both magic and music in great depth, they are able to improvise beyond the narrow constraints of musical theory.

Broad Repertoire
When you first select this Style, you gain proficiency in four additional musical instruments. Additionally, at each level at which your Time Signature feature improves, you learn one additional Cue and one additional spell known of your choice, of any Beat cost or level that you could normally use.

Sight Reading
At 6th level, you gain the Ritual Caster feat. Regardless of the class chosen for the feat, you use Intelligence for your key ability when casting rituals and you can cast rituals from any other character's ritual book, spellbook, or Book of Shadows in addition to your own ritual book.

Starting at 10th level, you may learn Cues with the [Dynamic] tag, and you may use Cues on yourself by increasing the cost of the Cue by +2 Beats.

Play It By Ear
At 14th level, you can use your action and spend one or more Beats to grant an ally a bonus selectable ability (spell known, warlock invocation, bard or rogue expertise, or any other ability a character could have chosen when leveling up but did not) of its choice. The ability chosen must be one that the character could have legally chosen based on its class and level (for instance, a Warlock [Fiend, Blade] 3 could not choose an invocation requiring the Archfey patron, the Chain pact, or warlock level 5th) and you must spend a number of Beats equal to the minimum class level that the ability could have been gained (for instance, for an ally to gain a bonus 3rd level spell known, you must spend 5 Beats if they are a wizard, 13 Beats if they are an arcane trickster, and so forth).

This ability counts as a Cue for the purposes of re-use, targeting, and so on, and lasts for a number of rounds equal to your Intelligence bonus.

At 18th level, whenever you use a Cue on a single creature, you may use it on one additional creature that would be a valid target for that Cue. The Beats you spend on the Cue apply to both creatures equally.

Spoiler: Cues
The Cues available to the conductor are listed below. For brevity, the descriptions use the notation "B" to refer to the number of Beats spent when activating the Cue. The number in parentheses after the name of a Cue is the minimum number of Beats that must be spent to activate it; a conductor can learn such a Cue even if his Time Signature does not grant him sufficient Beats each round, so long as he could somehow gain that many Beats through the use of Tempo Rubato, Once More With Feeling, or the like.

A Cue is used as an action or bonus action and can target a single creature other than yourself, unless a class feature or Cue description specifies otherwise. An unwilling target may negate the effect with a saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier) using an ability score noted in the header.

If the name of a Cue has the [Dynamic] tag after it, it is a Dynamic Cue and may only be chosen by a conductor with the Maestro style.

(This glossary of musical terminology may be helpful for determining the meanings of Cue names, if you're interested.)

Adagio (1, Dex)
The target's speed is reduced by -5B feet for 1 round.

Accompagnatto (4, Wis)
This Cue targets two creatures instead of one. For B/2 rounds, whenever one creature moves voluntarily on its turn, the other affected creature moves as well, mimicking the movement as closely as possible. For instance, if the first creature moves 10 feet west and 5 feet south, the second creature must move 10 feet west and 5 feet south as well unless there is a wall or the like in the way, and if the first creature flies 20 feet diagonally upward to the west and the second creature lacks a fly speed it must move west along the ground until it is directly beneath the first creature.

If only one of the two creatures succeeds on its saving throw, it does not have to move when the other creature does but the other creature still has to move when it does.

Agitato (3, Wis)
The target must move at least 5B feet on its turn (using its full speed, the Dash action, and any other means necessary to meet the requirement). It cannot move into the same space twice in one turn; if it would be forced to do so because it has nowhere else to move, it instead ends its movement for the turn.

Alla Marcia (3, Wis)
For B rounds, the target can only move in a straight line when it uses its movement, and however much movement it used on its first turn while under the effects of this ability, it must move the same distance (but not necessarily in the same direction) in each following round. For instance, if this Cue lasts for 3 rounds and the target moves 15 feet in its first turn, it must move 15 feet on the second turn and 15 again on the third, but this could consist of moving 45 feet in one direction, moving 15 feet back and forth between the same two points, moving in a 15-foot triangular pattern, and so on.

Allegro (1, Dex)
The target's speed is increased by 5B feet for 1 round.

Andante (1, Dex)
The target cannot take the Dash action or use any form of movement other than walking for B rounds. If the target is currently incapacitated or otherwise unable to move, it instead gains the ability to move at its normal walking speed for B rounds.

A Tempo (4, Wis)
Up to B/4 time-related effects on the target are immediately negated. This includes spells like haste or time stop, Cues from yourself or another conductor with a Beat cost of B or lower, or any similar abilities; the target may attempt a separate saving throw for each ability it wishes to retain.

Cantabile (2, Wis) [Dynamic]
The target must sing all of its actions in a strong voice for B rounds. Any spells it casts without Verbal components gain a Verbal component and it has disadvantage on Stealth checks, and the DM may impose other penalties such as making a gaffe in a social situation due to singing loudly instead of speaking normally.

Con Fuoco (2) [Dynamic]
The target gains Bd6 of fire damage, which it may allocate among any attacks it makes on its next turn. For instance, a target granted 5d6 may choose to add +5d6 fire damage to one attack, +1d6 fire damage to one attack and +2d6 to two others, or any other valid combination. Dice must be allocated before making an attack roll, and on a miss those dice are used up.

Con Moto (4) [Dynamic]
For 1 minute, the target may "save" up to 5B feet of movement on its turn and use that movement as a reaction instead. For instance, if the target has a speed of 30 and only moves 15 feet on its turn, and you spend 2 Beats on this Cue, the target could use its reaction to move 10 feet at any time before its next turn (with the remaining 5 feet being wasted).

Fermata (2)
This Cue target a spell or other magical effect. The effect is suppressed for B/2 rounds as if it were in an antimagic field (which still counts against the effect's duration), after which it resumes normal operation.

Furioso (3) [Dynamic]
The target has advantage on all Wisdom- or Charisma-based attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws it makes for the next B/3 rounds.

Glissando (3) [Dynamic]
The target does not provoke attacks of opportunity for the next B/3 rounds.

Grave (1, Dex)
The target subtracts -B from its initiative result, potentially changing its place in the initiative order; if this would cause the target's initiative result to tie with that of one or more other creatures in the encounter, the target acts last. If the target's score would be decreased below 0, it loses its turn in that round and its initiative result "wraps around" and begins counting again at the result of whoever is acting first in the round.

Lacrimoso (4, Cha) [Dynamic]
The target has disadvantage on all Wisdom- or Charisma-based attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws it makes for the next B/4 rounds.

Lacuna (6, Cha) [Dynamic]
The target is incapacitated and has disadvantage on all saving throws for B turns. It may attempt a saving throw at the start of each turn, and a single success ends this Cue.

Legato (1, Dex)
The target cannot split up its movement for the next B rounds; it must take all of its movement at once, and any speed remaining after that is wasted.

L'istesso Tempo (3, Wis)
This Cue targets two creatures instead of one. For B/3 rounds, the slower creature can move at the faster creature's speed, and if either creature is subjected to a time-related spell (but not a Cue or other time-related ability) of level B or lower the other creature is subjected to it as well. If either creature succeeds on its saving throw, the Cue is negated for both creatures.

Molto (4) [Dynamic]
The first time the target attacks, casts a harmful spell, or takes another offensive action its next turn, any attack rolls involved have advantage and the target deals +Bd6 thunder damage in addition to the action's other effects.

Ossia (4) [Dynamic]
This Cue is used as a reaction after a creature takes any action involving a damage roll. You reroll any and all of the dice rolled, and may repeat this up to B/2 times, stopping early if you are satisfied with the result.

Ostinato (4, Wis) [Dynamic]
On the target's turn for B/4 turns, it must repeat its last turn as closely as possible (attacking the same creature, casting the same spell, moving the same distance and direction, and so forth). It may attempt a saving throw at the start of each turn, and a single success ends this Cue.

Pesante (4, Con) [Dynamic]
The target gains 1 level of exhaustion each round at the start of its turn for B/2 rounds. It may attempt a saving throw each time it gains an exhaustion level, and a single success ends this Cue.

Poco a Poco (3, Wis)
This Cue is used as a reaction and targets a spell or other magical effect. The effect is delayed, occurring B rounds later at the start of its originator's turn. The target's originator may attempt a saving throw each round, and the delayed effect occurs immediately on a successful save.

Presto (4, Dex)
This Cue is used as a reaction when a creature moves out of a space. Up to B/2 creatures of your choice may immediately make an opportunity attack against the triggering creature if they threaten the space it just left, even if they have already used their reactions for the round or the target is using an action or ability (such as Disengage) that would normally prevent it from provoking an opportunity attack.

Ritardando (2)
Any ranged attack rolls or spell attacks made against the target have disadvantage as the projectiles slow in midair, and if they still hit, the attacks subtract -B from the damage dealt due to the lessened momentum.

Sostenuto (6)
This Cue target a spell or other magical effect with a duration of Concentration. When the effect's creator loses concentration, the effect continues for an additional B/2 rounds before it expires.

Sotto (4, Cha) [Dynamic]
This Cue is used as a reaction when a creature makes a sound of any kind. The creature is subject to a silence effect for B rounds.

Staccato (2)
Whenever the target moves for the next B/2 rounds, it teleports from its space to the destination space instead of moving physically.

Subito (6) [Dynamic]
This Cue is used as a reaction. The target may immediately cast a single spell of Bth level or lower.

Vivace (3)
When the target takes an action on its next turn, it may roll a d20. On a result of B or lower, it may take that action as a bonus action instead.