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    Barbarian in the Playground
    Rhaegar14's Avatar

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    May 2010

    Default Sorcerous Origin: Jade Phoenix Mage (PEACH)

    Sorcerous Origin: Jade Phoenix Mage
    Long ago, a fellowship of swordsages known as the Masters of the Jade Phoenix took up the study of arcane magic in search of a new martial discipline. They discovered that the mental austerity and economy of action each swordsage had cultivated in his martial studies opened the door to a powerful and unique form of arcane mastery. Properly applied, the stances and maneuvers of a martial discipline provided the mage with exceptional power and control in his arcane spellcasting—and by channeling the arcane energy of his spells into his martial maneuvers, he achieved supernatural perfection in his chosen disciplines.

    For years, this secret society defended the land against evil, perfecting this new path that wove together martial disciplines and arcane power. Then a terrible abomination, known only as the Souldrake, descended on the world, wreaking unthinkable destruction across the land. The realm defended by the masters of the Jade Phoenix was swept into ruin, but the arcane swordsages gathered together and confronted this fearsome enemy. Many masters died, but at the end of the struggle, the awful Souldrake was bound and imprisoned in a hidden vault. To ensure that their foe would never break free, the thirteen surviving members of the Jade Phoenix fellowship swore a mighty oath to walk the world for all eternity, maintaining the Souldrake’s prison with their own unceasing vigilance. Such was the power of their oath that these spirits have been reborn again and again in the world, keeping the Souldrake immured in its secret prison.

    Today, thirteen Jade Phoenix mages walk the earth—no more, no less. The instant one dies, a new one is born somewhere in the world. As he grows and learns, he is inevitably drawn to both the Sublime Way and the magical arts—for he was a master swordsage and a mighty sorcerer in previous lives he has now forgotten. In time, another Jade Phoenix master discovers the new incarnation of his old companion. In an age-old rite, the existing master awakens his newfound comrade to awareness of his past lives, renews the oaths of vigilance that bind the Souldrake in its prison, and reveals to him the ancient secrets of the order. Both Jade Phoenix brothers then go their own way, their ancient duty discharged until once again a Jade Phoenix mage dies and is reborn.

    Martial Study
    At 1st level, you gain the Greenflame Blade cantrip if you don't already know it, and you also gain proficiency in light armor and one martial melee weapon of your choice. When you cast Greenflame Blade, you may choose for it not to target a creature other than the primary target, but the extra fire damage that would be dealt to the second target is lost, not applied to the primary target.
    Additionally, your hit point maximum increases by 1 and increases by 1 again whenever you gain a level in this class.

    Fire Affinity
    Starting at 6th level, when you cast a spell that deals fire damage, add your Charisma modifier to that damage. At the same time, you can spend 1 sorcery point to gain resistance to fire damage for 1 hour.

    Rite of Waking
    At 6th level, you are awakened to awareness of your past lives, usually by another Jade Phoenix Mage in a simple ritual that takes ten minutes. You now remember places you visited, people you knew, and things you did in lifetimes long past. You add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.

    Firebird Stance
    At 14th level, you are able to channel magical energy into an aura of fire, causing those around you to take fire damage. As an action, you can expend 4 sorcery points to draw on this power and exude an aura of green flames that deals your Sorcerer level in damage to creatures of your choice within 10 feet at the start of each of your turns. The aura lasts for one minute.

    Jade Phoenix Master
    Starting at 14th level, you have earned the right to call yourself a Jade Phoenix Master. You can now perform the Rite of Waking for someone else, provided they are a suitable candidate embodying the reincarnated spirit of one of the ancient masters. You gain the ability to sense the direction and distance to the nearest Jade Phoenix Mage, master, or candidate simply by meditating for one minute without interruption.

    Emerald Immolation
    Starting at 18th level, you can perform the awesome Emerald Immolation. As an action, you explode in a blast of green fire that deals 20d6 fire damage to each creature in a 20-foot radius around you, or half as much damage on a successful Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC. This blast destroys you, but on your next turn you reform in the same space you were in when you used this ability. You reappear at your maximum hit points, with your exhaustion level reduced to zero and any effects that cause the blinded, charmed, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned conditions, reduction to any of your ability scores, or reduction to your hit point maximum are ended. After reappearing, you are stunned until the start of your next turn.
    Once you use this feature, you can not use it again for 7 days.

    Spoiler: Design Notes

    So for those of you who know your Tome of Battle, this is rather obviously an attempt to convert the Jade Phoenix Mage prestige class to a 5e D&D subclass. In fact, the italicized fluff is copy-pasted directly from Tome of Battle. I may rewrite it later to remove the references to the Sublime Way and other ToB-unique mechanics that don't have real equivalents in 5e.

    Martial Adept -- This is really the only feature that serves to make this a gish subclass. Adding Greenflame Blade as a bonus cantrip is something of an attempt to "idiot-proof" it as they don't get any other way of scaling up their melee attacks, such as Extra Attack. It also makes it clear that the subclass was balanced around the assumption that they would use Greenflame Blade as their primary at-will attack, and is not intended to function if that spell is not allowed (although I don't know what DM is going to ban SCAG but not homebrew). Still, the subclass functions pretty well as a straight-up fire mage. I'm not sure if I want to try and move it away from that.

    Fire Affinity -- Verbatim copy of Draconic Bloodline's Elemental Affinity feature, but restricted to fire.

    Rite of Waking -- Ribbon. Giving them Jack of All Trades for the knowledge skills may seem like a little much for a ribbon, but I couldn't come up with a better mechanic to represent remembering past lives when knowledge checks can be made untrained in 5e, and on a class that dumps Intelligence adding half proficiency to an Intelligence check is rarely gonna make much of a difference.

    Firebird Stance -- This is kind of a combination of Draconic Bloodline's Draconic Presence feature and Storm Sorcery's Heart of the Storm feature, inspired by original JPM's feature of the same name. This is honestly the feature I'm most open to suggestions on; I thought very hard about simply copying the Valor Bard's Battle Magic feature, as it would make the subclass feel more gishy, but I worry that giving it a bonus action attack after casting a spell would make its at-will damage with Greenflame Blade WAY too high for a full caster. Plus they can already accomplish essentially the same thing with Quicken Spell.

    Jade Phoenix Master -- Ribbon.

    Emerald Immolation -- A mostly faithful reproduction of the original feature from ToB, minus the Banishment effect because it's already strong enough. On the one hand, it's crazy powerful. On the other hand, it has a seven day recharge (the only precedent for which is Divine Intervention).

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