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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Mists of Ravenloft

    Default The Misty Shadow's Arcane Traditions - PEACH

    So, you're doubtlessly wondering what the hell is going on. Well, to put things simply, I've got a lot of homebrewed subclasses for 5e that I want to get critiqued, plus plans for future subclasses beyond that. For obvious reasons, I can't post each subclass here individually; I'd drown us all. But, at the same time, I can't hope to get any reviews or comments if I put them all in one thread - wall of text to the nth degree. So, I tried to compromise and instead make a relatively small group of splinter topics that I can post them under in more manageable numbers.

    To see these subclasses in their natural habitat, follow the linked google-doc:

    To see the index of all my 5e homebrew, follow this linked thread:

    I love the wizard. It's always been my favorite class, and D&D has always been one of my go-to worlds for interesting and powerful magic users. Although WoTC has been quite generous with the Arcane Traditions thus far, there are a few ideas I've had that've slipped under their radar, so far.
    Last edited by Shadow_in_the_Mist; 2017-02-28 at 02:22 PM. Reason: Messed up the title
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
    Homebrew Material Index: Misty Shadow's Stupid-Huge Homebrew List

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Mists of Ravenloft

    Default Re: The Misty Shadow's Arcane Traditions

    The Elementalist is one of the oldest "alternative" specializations for wizards in D&D, dating back to at least 2nd edition's Tome of Magic. Of course, specialist wizards tended to be rather dull in general back then, but it's such a classic archetype that I figure it really deserves some love. I'm also a huge fan of the Wu Xing as an alternative elemental system setup, and so whilst I would like to discuss the idea of doing a proper Wu Jen Tradition (which, based on its history, would probably work as a sort of Wu Xing elementalist meets monk hybrid), I went ahead and did proper Elemental Traditions for both Wood and Metal.

    I struggled with whether or not to put all of these in the same post, but I figured that with spoiler blocks, it'd be okay.

    One of the oldest forms of wizardry, the Elementalist is a spellcaster who studies the magical energies inherent in one of the elements, learning to master that element to the utmost degree. Although the term is collective, elementalists favor mastery of one specific element, even if they may learn spells from many.

    Earth Elementalist
    2nd level Feature: Speak To Stone
    Your ability to commune with the elemental earth around you enhances your perception of the world. You gain Tremorsense to a range of 30 feet. Additionally, whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered Proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

    6th level Feature: Hardened Skin
    Through your elemental affinity, you draw strength from the earth, fortifying you against violence. You increase your Armor Class by +1.

    10th level Feature: Mountain's Heart
    With the strength of the earth thundering through your veins, your ability to draw upon its energy is hard to stifle. Concentration Checks provoked by taking damage use the lower DC of 10 OR half the damage you took, instead of the higher DC as is normal.

    14th level Feature: Move Through Stone
    When you speak, the earth listens, allowing you to move through solid stone as if it were air. You gain a Burrow speed of 30 feet; if you already have a Burrow speed due to a racial trait or magical item, it increases by +10 feet.

    Air Elementalist
    2nd level Feature: Call the Storm
    Your increased understanding of the secrets of elemental air enhances your adeptness at deploying its fury. You may add your Intelligence modifier + 1/2 your level to the damage roll for any spell dealing Lightning or Thunder damage.

    6th level Feature: Slipstream
    Calling the wind around yourself allows you to move with greater speed and buoy yourself further when you leap. Increase your default movement speed by +5 feet. Additionally, you always count as having a running start whenever you try to jump.

    10th level Feature: Warding Winds
    A veil of elemental air shields you from the tempest's fury and wards against projectiles. You gain Resistance to Lightning damage and Thunder damage, and increase your Armor Class by +1 against ranged attacks.

    14th level Feature: Ride the Wind
    Your mastery over the wind and air allows you to surround yourself with arcane currents that carry you aloft as you will. You gain a Fly speed of 30 feet; if you already have a Fly speed as a result of a magical item or a racial trait, you increase your Fly speed by +10 feet.

    Water Elementalist
    2nd level Feature: Aquamancer's Bounty
    Your attunement to water at its most primal level ensures that you can always have water at hand to fuel your spells. You gain the Shape Water cantrip and can cast Create or Destroy Water once per short rest without using a spell slot; when used through this trait, you can only cast it in its Create Water format, and your free spell slot can be cast at equal to or lower than the maximum level of spell slot you have available.

    6th level Feature: Rebirth to the Wave
    Attuning yourself to elemental water reshapes you, rendering you better suited for survival underwater. You gain a Swim speed of 30 feet, the Amphibious trait, and Resistance to Cold. If you already have a Swim speed from either a racial trait or a magical item, it increases by +10 feet. Amphibious allows you to breathe air and water with equal ease.

    10th level Feature: Gift of Water Breathing
    Your affinity for elemental water is such that you can share your blessings with others, to a degree. All allies within a radius of 10 feet times your level gain the Amphibious trait as long as they remain in that area.

    14th level Feature: Sculptor of the Fluid Medium
    Controlling water comes second nature to you, enhancing your ability to sustain multiple uses of it at the same time. When you are Concentrating on a spell that manipulates water, such as Shape Water, Wall of Water or Watery Sphere, you can cast a second spell without disrupting your Concentration, so long as this second spell also revolves around creating water or ice, such as Tidal Wave of Snilloc's Snowball Swarm.

    Fire Elementalist
    2nd: Roaring Conflagration
    When you inflict Fire damage with a spell, you inflict bonus Fire damage equal to your Intelligence modifier.

    6th: Douse the Embers
    You gain Resistance to Fire Damage. If you already have Resistance to Fire, you further reduce all Fire type damage inflicted on you by an amount equal to your Intelligence modifier plus your level.

    10th: Shape the Flame
    As an action, you can manipulate fire within 30 feet of you. You can transfer fire from one source of flammable material to another, causing it to spread, or you can extinguish it, or you can gather it into your hands. If you gather the fire into your hands, you can then use a bonus action to cast a Burning Hands spell. This bonus spell does not use one of your spell slots, but is cast at its default caster level.

    14th: Eternal Inferno
    When you cast a spell with the Concentration trait that inflicts Fire damage, you can cast a second spell without breaking your Concentration, so long as the second spell also inflicts fire damage.

    Metal Elementalist
    2nd level Feature: Strength Through Steel
    Attuned to the element of metal, you are more adept at wielding its physical manifestations than most wizards. You gain Proficiency in Medium Armor and Martial Melee Weapons. In a game that uses Firearms, at the DM's discretion, you may also gain Proficiency with Firearms.

    6th level Feature: Thy Weapon, Thy Wand
    Blades bearing metal can serve as a conduit for elemental energy, a trick you have mastered to hone your own arcane powers. Whilst carrying a magical melee weapon that you have attuned yourself to, you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and spell damage rolls. The bonus is determined by the weapon's rarity; +1 for an Uncommon weapon, +2 for a Rare weapon, and +3 for a Very Rare weapon.

    10th level Feature: Unyielding Will, Inviolate Flesh
    A master of elemental metal can strengthen and repair armor, rendering themselves far harder to hurt. When wearing magical Medium Armor or Heavy Armor, you can spend a spell slot to increase its Armor Class for 1 minute. The bonus is equal to the level of the spell-slot spent.

    14th level Feature: Master of the Crucible
    Such is your mastery of the elemental aspects of metal that you can wield affiliated elemental energies for offense or defense. At the end of a long rest, you may choose one elemental energy from the list below; until you change elements, you gain Resistance to damage of that element and spells you cast that inflict that kind of damage gain bonus damage equal to your Intelligence modifier.
    • Acid
    • Fire
    • Lightning

    Wood Elementalist
    2nd level Feature: Expanded Spell List
    An elementalist wizard studies the magical energies associated with and shaped by their chosen element, granting them access to an array of spells that normally lies beyond the reach of conventionally practiced wizards. The following spells are added to the spell list of a wizard of this elemental school:
    • 0: Shillelagh, Thorn Whip
    • 1: Entangle, Goodberry, Cure Wounds
    • 2: Barkskin, Protection from Poison, Spike Growth
    • 3: Plant Growth, Speak with Plants
    • 4: Grasping Vine
    • 5: Tree Stride, Mass Cure Wounds
    • 6: Transport via Plants, Wall of Thorns
    • 7: Resurrection

    2nd Level Feature: Scholar of Life
    As part of your elemental studies, you learn to understand how the natural world works and how it can interact with beings of flesh. You gain Proficiency in the use of the Herbalist kit and on Wisdom (Medicine) checks.

    6th Level Feature: Harbinger of Regrowth
    Studying the elemental energies underlying vegetation allows you to apply their own hardiness to yourself and your allies. You gain Resistance to Poison damage and have Advantage on saving throws against Poison and Disease. Additionally, by touching a creature, you can spend an action to end any disease or ongoing poison effect that they are suffering from. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1), and then must take a long rest before you can use it again. Each time this trait is used, you end one specific disease or poison effect that the target is suffering.

    10th Level Feature: Warp Wood
    Your understanding of the elemental energies inherent in plantlife allows you to manipulate wood and vegetation through sheer act of will. You are unimpeded by difficult terrain based on dense vegetation, and in such environments you benefit from the effects of a Pass Without Trace spell. By touching a wooden object or a piece of living timber, you can shape it as you wish; this requires an action and affects a 5ft by 5ft cube of material each time.

    14th Level Feature: Floral Apotheosis
    Your studies have unlocked the deeper secrets of elemental wood, imbuing you with the sheer vitality of the mightiest trees. When you have been reduced below half of your maximum hit points, you regain Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1) hit points each round until you have returned to half of your maximum hit points. Additionally, your lifespan increases 10fold; you live ten times longer than is normal for your race, and you physically age only 1 year for every 10 years that you have been alive.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
    Homebrew Material Index: Misty Shadow's Stupid-Huge Homebrew List

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
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    The Mists of Ravenloft

    Default Re: The Misty Shadow's Arcane Traditions

    Now, don't get me wrong, I loved the idea of Defiling as a temptation for all arcanists rather than as a specific wizard tradition. But, as 5e's taken a step back from 4e in a lot of ways, well, I'm not sure that it would be the case that's what they'll do if they ever get around to releasing Dark Sun 5th edition. So, I thought it'd be fun to spitball what a possible Defiler Tradition might look like.

    The end results... I have mixed feelings towards. The basic idea, that they get metamagic options powered through defiling, feels right to me, but the implementation and actual options... well, I don't think it was pulled off very well.

    Defiler Tradition
    Originally born on the world of Athas, Defilers are a dark breed of wizard who forcibly tear the lifeforce from the land and creatures around them to augment their power. Though they have a particular adeptness for evocation and necromancy spells, it is this manipulation of life that is their most defining trait.

    2nd Level Feature: Book of Dust and Bone
    Starting at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy an Evocation or Necromancy spell into your spellbook is halved.

    2nd Level Feature: Defiling
    When you cast an arcane magic spell with a spell slot, you may declare that you are defiling as you cast it. When you defile, you create an aura of death that stretches a number of feet from you equal to the level of the spell slot you are casting with multiplied by your own character level. So a 20th level Defiler using a 9th level spell slot to defile creates an aura of 180 feet. This aura kills off the land it touches and inflicts necrotic damage equal to your level on any allies within the affected area. When defiling, you may take one of several options to empower the spell.
    • If the spell allows for a saving throw, you may double your proficiency bonus to determine the saving DC the target must try to beat.
    • If the spell has a damage roll, you can make the damage roll twice and apply the higher result.

    6th Level Feature: Defiling Alacrity
    When you cast a spell with defiling, you gain an additional empowerment option:
    • If the spell requires an action to cast, when you defile, you may instead cast it as a bonus action. If it requires 1 minute to cast, you may instead cast it as an action.

    10th Level Feature: Defiling Recovery
    When you slay at least one creature with a spell that you cast with defiling, you regain one expended spell slot, with a spell level equal to or less than the Challenge value of the creature slain by your spell.

    14th Level Feature: Weaver of Death
    When you cast a spell with defiling, you may apply two defiling bonuses instead of only one.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
    Homebrew Material Index: Misty Shadow's Stupid-Huge Homebrew List

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    The Mists of Ravenloft

    Default Re: The Misty Shadow's Arcane Traditions - PEACH

    Alright, Zeek0 has been offering me some critique on these subclass ideas and, due to problems with their connection, I need to post their critique myself before responding to it.

    General Elementalist Comment:
    For me, the difference between wizard and sorcerer is that the wizard studies and conjures, where the sorcerer has innate magic and simply summons.

    As such, perhaps you can re-word some of these features so that they reflect knowledge/study, instead of innate characteristics.

    Also, wizard features traditionally add rider effects to spells of their school.
    That's a fair argument, on the rewording of flavor. As for the rider effects... that is true. Unfortunately, elementalism is not treated as a traditional school in D&D terms; spells relating to a single element can be found over multiple schools. This means it can't really work in the same way as basic specialists do - and it's not as if they're unique in doing so. Look at the Bladesinger, who gets features that make it more suited for melee combat, or the Theurge, who gets Cleric class features, or the Lore Master, who can mess around with various aspects of different spells.

    Earth Elementalist:
    On Hardened Skin:
    +1 to AC is hard to come by in 5e. Perhaps a barkskin or mage armor effect is more appropriate here?
    Maybe... any suggestions on how to implement that?

    On Move Through Stone:
    [QUOTE]A wizard isnít really built around mobility, nor is Earth. Also, at 14th level the wizard already has teleportation spells, move earth, and passwall to help them here./QUOTE]

    That is true. But, Earth Glide also speaks to just how much power the wizard has, to the point they no longer need to will magic to make the earth obey them. Plus, it means they don't need to actually waste spell slots or even spellbook slots on Move Earth or Passwall.

    Air Elementalist:
    On Call The Storm:
    Compare to Potent Spellcasting, which a cleric gets at lvl 8. They only get to add their Wisdom modifier to cantrips. Iíd say this is overly powerful. Compare to a melee attacker. Would you give it to a sword-wielder?
    While not necessarily disagreeing with your point, do remember that clerics aren't supposed to be big damage dealers (they're healers and buffers, first and foremost), whilst wizards are supposed to be pretty blasty.

    Still, maybe it would be better both to tweak how much damage they get with this ability and what level they get it at; despite my love for the concept, D&D has never really focused on elementalism that much or extensively, and neither has Pathfinder, so there's not a huge amount of past examples to draw inspiration from.

    On Slipstream:
    As a 6th level feature, Iíd be disappointed. Wizards donít need mobility the same way melee classes do.
    As I mentioned above, I ran into a fair amount of blank spots with ideas for wizards. Plus, the "core four" elementalists all have some mobility boosting aspect, which does feel fairly nice and unifying to me. Still, I am open to discussion; what would you do for an alternative feature?

    Water Elementalist:
    On Aquamancer's Bounty:
    In my mind, water-centric wizards have control over water, not a philosophic attachment to it. I see no reason to disallow Destroy Water.
    I think my rationale for this was that it simply made sense they'd be more adept at calling water into being than destroying it. Still, can't say I see any serious reason to not do as you say.

    On Rebirth To The Wave:
    This is almost the same as Alter Self, but doesnít require concentration and has no time limit. Perhaps there needs to be something larger here.
    At first, I was thinking you were saying this is redundant. But, after realizing you're stating that it needs a power boost, I'm all for it. I just don't know how to pump it up.

    On Gift of Water Breathing:
    This very circumstantial. I donít think that Iíve ever fought underwater as a player. As a DM, if I were to have my players do an underwater section, Iíd give them a magical boon, an NPC that provides this effect, or some magical item.
    While you do still have a point, I have to also point out that just because you'd do something that way, not every DM would. There are lots of DMs who'd enjoy making PCs sweat over not having an automatic breathing apparatus when underwater comes up.

    Fire Elementalist:
    On Roaring Conflagration:
    Again, note that Clerics donít get this until level 8, and only then with cantrips.
    As I said above, I can agree that maybe this needs toning down or reworking - any ideas on that? Though, still, it's not entirely accurate to use the Cleric as a base, given blasting stuff isn't their forte to begin with.

    On Douse The Embers:
    This is redundant with Protection from Energy. I think this needs a bit more.
    Would love to pump this feature up if possible. Any suggestions?

    On Shape The Flame:
    This is quite like control flames. Why not just add an option to the spell? What is Ďdefault caster levelí?
    Mostly the idea was it allows you to manipulate fire without needing to spend valuable slots on Control Flame, which is otherwise a pretty situational spell.

    Also, "default caster level" is a shorthand for "as a level 2 spell", the basic level of Burning Hands.

    On Eternal Conflagration:
    This, however, is too much. Imagine casting heat metal and immolation on the same person.
    Hmm... maybe this is too strong, but I'm not really sure what else to give a fire-wielding wizard.

    Metal Elementalist:
    On Thy Weapon, Thy Wand:
    This is a problematic feature because it relies not only on the DM dispersing magic items, but dispensing a specific magic item (a melee weapon).
    Yeah... unfortunately, the Metal Elementalist was one of the hardest concepts for me to flesh out. Any suggestions for a better trait?

    On Unyielding Will, Inviolate Flesh:
    This is extreme. Increasing AC by 4 would put you out of range of most creatures.
    Hmm... what if instead you need to sacrifice a spell of a certain, fairly high, level in order to get a corresponding AC boost? For example, getting that +4 AC only happens if you sacrifice an 8th or 9th level spell, and that means you're giving up one of (or your only) super-potent spell for the day.

    Wood Elementalist:
    On Wood Elementalist as a whole:
    Why include the healing of creatures as part of this theme? Also, I would include spells like Blight. Wizards are about control of their element, unlike clerics who wish to further it as a philosophy.
    Because, as an element, wood is associated with life and healing.

    On Scholar of Life:
    This could be changed to proficiency in the herbalist kit and Knowledge (Nature) checks.
    Hmm... I don't know, both of Medicine and Nature make sense for this feature. Maybe grant both? Also, there's no such thing as Knowledge (Whatever) anymore; Medicine, nature, History, etc are all just skills in their own right.

    On Harbinger of Regrowth:
    A quite circumstantial ability. Poison damage is very infrequent, and disease barely affects most campaigns.
    True. This is one of those features where I just didn't have any better ideas.

    On Warp Wood:
    The first part of this feature is made redundant by the speak with plants spell.
    It does mean you don't need to waste spell-slots on Speak With Plants though. Does that affect anything?

    Iím of the opinion that any detriments that are levied against a character for a choice should be on their shoulders alone. I can imagine this causing some strife at the table.

    Perhaps this would work better if you alone took the penalty?

    Also, it makes it a weird thing where you get worse at controlling the range as you level up. Yes, the power increases, but so does the penalty Ė and steeply.

    As for the ability to double your proficiency to determine saving DCs through defiling... Because of bounded accuracy, this is too powerful. It means that, at level 9, your spells will very likely have a DC of 20. At level 17, the DC is very likely to be 25
    Thing is... it's actually traditional for defiling to affect the other members of the party as well, providing flaws beyond the social impact of being a defiler. In 1e and 2e, you caused Initiative penalties amongst your allies. In 4e, you sapped healing surges from allies. 3.5, well, that's the only exception, but the fans themselves created an alternative where you inflicted a penalty to attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws - that's how iconic it is for defiling to be a threat to allies and enemies alike. It is a power associated with evil, after all.

    Tieing range into spell level was done as a simpler way to convert the variable effective radius of defiling without mandating the DM be constantly checking up terrain types. I think 4e did it as well? Still, I'm open to altering that.

    As for the benefits that Defiling actually gives you... really, I had no ideas beyond a vague "it lets wizards get metamagic at a price" mechanic, so I'd love to throw out what I have and come up with a larger array of possible boons to get from defiling.
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."

    World-Building: Malebolge Campaign Setting (5e), Star-Fantasy Campaign Setting (5e)
    Homebrew Material Index: Misty Shadow's Stupid-Huge Homebrew List

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