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- Jan 2011
The Warden: An Artificer Expy (WIP, PEACH and Brutally)
Hey, I'm running a campaign in 5e that is attempting to sate my player's love for Dungeonpunk until we get some official Eberron stuff. Sealcraft, the binding of fiends to mundane objects, are my settings 'Power Crystals', and I figured I should include some sort of class that touches on that very loose mechanic. I don't have the system mastered yet, though, so I really don't have a great benchmark for much of this. ANY feedback is appreciated, though always I might not implement it as suggested.
Note: Most wardens seal fiends exclusively but sealing could work on any creature with an essence stronger than its form (any outsiders, elementals, or even fey). If you anticipate regularly sealing creatures other than demons, work with your DM to adjust your class features.
Brow furrowed and sweaty, a dwarf focuses intently on the engine of a train. The sealed marilith inside has found a weakness and threatens the lives of all its passengers. Sensing the right time, he intones a spell and casts the seal anew, ensuring both the safety and the convenience of the common folk.
A group of warriors strike out at a demon, their blades and arrows finding little purchase in its unholy hide. Their ally, an unassuming young woman, takes the field. Her eyes blazing imperious scorn, she flings a beam of light at the monstrosity, stripping it of its greatest defenses. Her party fights with renewed vigor, encouraged by their opening.
The minions of darkness surround a company of guards and their fallen. With a shout of defiance, a hero lashes out and sunders their ranks with gouts of hellfire and fury - the mysterious amulet around his neck blazing brightly.
The Warden is a master of ancient magics passed down by angels to bind demons to their will. Unlike conventional demonologists, who impose their desires on the whole creature, the warden skips the hassle of negotiations and utilizes the outsider’s very essence to power sealcrafted items and machines..
Its not easy running a world on Sealcraft, and it only takes one accident to cause panic. Thus, at the slightest hint of danger, the nearest warden or three are called in. A concern could be as simple as repairing a completely mundane object, or as deadly as wresting a loose ice devil back into containment. The most successful and famous wardens are also the most recklessly brave.
At the conclusion of the war between angels and fiends, the angel Ersta trapped the essences of the most powerful fiends within mundane objects. Unwilling to risk the heavens with the presence of such potential corruption, and not foolish enough to cast them to the fiends’ home planes, he left them on Allerrus. The mightiest kingdoms were entrusted with their protection and maintenance. To this end. he trained the first Wardens in the basic techniques - just enough to ensure that such beings would not escape, so long as Man was vigilant.
Since then, the wardens have expanded and evolved, refining and extending Ersta’s initial lessons to ensnare more fiends and use their supernatural powers to defy the laws of nature. Drawing on both divine and arcane magic, Wardens are the crafters and engineers of all things Sealcraft. They are constantly refining their techniques, often consulting with other spellcrafters that might have good ideas or suggestions and are likewise eager to offer advice to any would-be demonologists. . . though the advice is often ‘let a warden do it.’
Agents of the State
Due to the nature of sealcraft, the examinations required to become a warden are rigorous and strict. Once they pass the test administered by their local authorities, though, wardens are free to pursue any line of work they so choose - with the implicit understanding that they will answer when called upon to serve the common good.
Wardens take great pride in their work and responsibility, and each one views their Seal Focus as a material embodification of such a mindset. Those following the calling of sealcraft are often quick to recognize one another, and do not take kindly to an unqualified vagabond with a seal focus that was not earned.
Creating a Warden
When creating a warden character, consider how your character acquired his or her skills, and why? What compelled him or her to pursue such knowledge? Were you groomed from an early age? Did an emergency force you to walk a road you had not before considered? What are you doing now, and what do you hope to accomplish with your dominion over such mighty magic?
You can make a warden quickly by following these suggestions. First, put your highest ability score in Charisma, followed by Constitution. Second, choose either the Acolyte or Sage background.
As a warden, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d8 per cleric level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per warden level after 1st
Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, long swords, short swords
Tools: Choose one from Glassblower’s tools, Jeweler’s tools, Smith’s tools, and Tinker’s tools
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Investigation, Insight, Perception, and Religion
Languages: Choose one from Abyssal or Infernal
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a longsword or (b) a shortsword
- (a) a simple weapon or (b) a wooden shield
- (a) an explorer’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack
- A chain shirt and a seal focus
----Spell Slots per Spell Level----
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Seal Focus Maximum 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 1st+2 Seal Focus1 — — — — — 2nd+2 Sealing, Spellcasting1 2 — — — — 3rd+2 Philosophy2 3 — — — — 4th+2 Ability Score Improvement3 3 2 — — — 5th+3 —3 4 2 — — — 6th+3 Sealcraft4 4 2 — — — 7th+3 Philosophy feature5 4 3 — — — 8th+3 Ability Score Improvement6 4 3 — — — 9th+4 —6 4 3 2 — — 10th+4 Strip Defenses7 4 3 2 — — 11th+4 Infernal Influence8 4 3 3 — — 12th+4 Ability Score Improvement9 4 3 3 — — 13th+5 —9 4 3 3 1 — 14th+5 Unnatural Aptitude10 4 3 3 1 — 15th+5 Philosophy feature11 4 3 3 2 — 16th+5 Ability Score Improvement12 4 3 3 2 — 17th+6 —12 4 3 3 3 1 18th+6 Mass Production13 4 3 3 3 1 19th+6 Ability Score Improvement14 4 3 3 3 2 20th+6 Philosophy feature15 4 3 3 3 2
You begin play with an object that serves as a focus for most of their abilities and as a vessel for sealed fiends. The focus is often, but not always, an obviously significant talisman, amulet, or ring. Most wardens choose an object that they are able to repair if necessary.
The amount of essence your focus can hold is dependent on your overall competence, as shown on the Warden table above. At the end of a long rest, the focus replenishes enough essence to bring it up to half of its maximum capacity (minimum 1 seal point). While in a your possession, a focus grants the following benefits.
- You may cast the mending and fire bolt cantrips.
- You may use the focus to replenish the lost essence of a sealcraft object or machine. The GM determines how many seal points would be required in these cases, and if the vessel can be ‘partially powered.’
At 2nd level, you are skilled enough to fill your seal focus yourself. If you ready an action to do so, you may trap the essence of a slain fiend at the moment of its ‘death’. You may also do so as a reaction by succeeding on a DC 12 Dexterity check.
A sealed fiend adds seal points equal to ⅓ its hit dice, minimum 1. Any points in excess of the focus’ capacity are lost - if this is a significant number, there may be unforeseen consequences as the essence escapes control.
By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to draw upon arcane magic to cast spells, much as a sorcerer does. See chapter 10 of the player’s handbook for the general rules of spellcasting and the list below for the warden spell list.
Spoiler: Warden Spells
Armor of Agathys
Detect Evil and Good
Protection from Energy
Protection from Evil and Good
Glyph of Warding
Wall of Fire
Preparing and Casting Spells
The Warden table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest;.
You prepare the list of warden spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the warden spell list. When you do so, choose a number of warden spells equal to your Charisma modifier + half your warden level. The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. You may change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of warden spells requires time spent in concentration and meditation, at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your warden spells, since their power derives from the strength of your will. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a warden spell you cast and for making an attack roll with one.
Spell Save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell Attack Modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Your seal focus doubles as a spellcasting focus for your warden spells.
When you reach 3rd level, you face a choice: continue along the established and respected path of most wardens (also called channelers), or to turn your collected essences upon yourself as a deviant. The two philosophies are detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you an additional feature at 3rd level, and additional benefits at 7th, 15th, and 20th levels.
At 6th level, you are particularly skilled at the usage of essence in tools and technology. Each day when crafting you may spend seal points to increase the gold value of your progress that day. In addition, casting Identify upon a sealcrafted item only requires half the usual cost in material components.
At 10th level you can neutralize the supernatural defenses of an enemy by spending 2 seal points and making a ranged spell attack (range 60 feet). If your attack hits, you learn the damage resistances and immunities of the target and may nullify one of them until the end of your next turn.
By 11th level, you have not only been trained to resist fiends spiritually, but also physically. You are immune to poison.
By 14th level, you have grown incredibly skilled at certain magic related to sealcraft. If you cast Fabricate, Identify, or Magic Circle while your focus contains at least one seal point, the casting time is reduced by half. If you cast Continual Flame or Glyph of Warding while your focus contains at least one seal point, the spell only requires half the usual material cost.
Beginning at 18th level, whenever you cast Fabricate, you may choose to expend 4 seal points instead of a 4th level spell slot. You also gain proficiency with an artisan’s tool of your choice.
Most wardens use their powers exclusively to power machinery and animate objects. Known specifically as channelers, they are an invaluable support to the average party. If not focused on the droll aspects of keeping a sealcraft machinery running, channelers can instead force collected essence into everyday objects, animating them to fight alongside their flesh and blood allies.
By contrast, the deviant plays fast and loose with workplace safety, allowing some of the essence he shepherds to taint his soul and body. This allows him some unnatural abilities and more sustainable combat abilities.
The channeler enjoys using unassuming objects as weapons, thrusting the essence of fiends into weapons to surprise, bewilder, and incapacitate enemies. As a channeler, you can switch up your attacks, working in tandem with unwielded weaponry to keep your opponents off balance.
At 3rd level you may use your essence to create an animated weapon that obeys your commands in battle. The bedeviled blade may be any one-handed melee weapon, but it uses the statistics of a flying sword. You may bind up to half your seal focus maximum into the blade as part of a short rest. If you do, the blade gains a bonus to AC, attack rolls and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws it might be proficient in. This bonus is equal to the number of bound seal points, and lasts until you recall the points as a bonus action, take a rest, or the blade is destroyed. No matter how many points are invested into the blade, its AC cannot exceed 21. The blade has hit points equal to its usual maximum or four times your warden level, whichever is higher.
The Blade obeys your command without fail and acts on your initiative, though you must actively command it. You may take an action to command it to Attack a target or to Help an ally. If the blade is destroyed before you recall any invested seal points, you may use a reaction and make a DC 12 Dexterity check. If you fail, the invested points are lost as if they had been spent.
A destroyed blade may be repaired through regular means. If using conventional crafting, the scraps of the old weapon may be substituted for the raw material cost.
At 7th level you may instead animate a suit of heavy armor when using Bedeviled Blade. The apocryphal armor uses the stats of animated armor, but if you use a suit of armor other than full plate, the armor’s base ac is equal to the armor’s stated value in the player’s handbook.
Cause and Effect
At 15th level you may equip your Apocryphal Armor with a single handed melee weapon. It is proficient with this weapon, which replaces one of its slam attacks. If the Armor is destroyed or otherwise deactivated by any means, the warden may immediately animate the weapon as though using Bedeviled Blade, transferring the bound seal points to it..
At 20th level, you can bring your mastery of sealcraft down upon your enemies with terrifying effect. At the cost of a Seal Point, you may overload your apocryphal armor with fiendish essence, temporarily transforming it into an iron golem. This causes the expenditure of any Seal Points bound within the armor. The golem is medium size, only has a sword attack if it has been equipped with a weapon, and belches fire instead of poison (requiring a Dexterity saving throw) . Otherwise it utilizes all the stats of an Iron Golem. You may relinquish control of the golem to take actions of your own, but if you do not command the golem with an action, it approaches and attacks the nearest creature - friend or foe. At the beginning of your turn, you may spend a seal point to continue the effect. This cost increases by one point on consecutive turns. If you allow the effect to end, the golem reverts to a suit of apocryphal armor.
The deviant prefers to take a more direct approach to problem solving, releasing just enough of the fiendish essence within his focus to give him an edge in battle. As a deviant, you're often criticized by other wardens, but the supernatural effects you replicate are undeniably effective.
Beginning at 3rd level, if you are below half of your maximum seal points, killing an enemy grants a single seal point. In addition, whenever you deal damage you may spend any number of seal points to increase your damage by that amount.
At 7th level, you channel the infernal shield of fiends. You may spend a seal point to wreath yourself in unholy fire. Any creature within 5 feet at the start of your turn, or striking you with a melee attack takes 2d6 fire damage. This damage may be increased through Dark Harvest. At the beginning of your turn, you may spend another seal point to maintain Fire Aura.
Beginning at 15th level, you may spend three seal points and a bonus action to use Imperious Glance. A target within 30 feet that can see you must make a Wisdom save or be frightened for one round. The DC is equal to 8+your charisma modifier+your proficiency bonus.
At 20th level you may spend up to seven seal points to release a fiend from your soul focus. This fiend may have a challenge equal to twice the seal points expended. The fiend acts on your initiative and obeys your mental commands. At the beginning of your next turn, and for each turn after that, make a Charisma Check (DC 8+the fiend’s charisma modifier). Upon a failure, the fiend is released from your control at the end of that turn. You may use your action to recall the fiend, as long as it is still under your control.