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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    MoleMage's Avatar

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    Default D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    This is the first subclass competition on the forums. Or at least, I'm pretty sure it is. Anyway, here's some rules:

    1. The class must fit the theme of the contest. For the first contest, the theme is technology. Beyond that, your imagination is the limit. Want to make a ranger that specializes in high-concept traps? A fighter who crafts his own rifle? A thief with a bat-utility-belt? A clockpunk wizard? Do it!
    2. Your class must be posted in this thread. If you wish, you can use external formatting, such as Google Docs or Homebrewery, though I recommend sharing it as a PDF to ensure that it works on most computers.
    3. You may only create one subclass, which must follow the normal progression for the class it belongs to. Please specify what class it is for. You can use any base class published in official material (including the Unearthed Arcana posts), or any existing homebrew class (don't make a whole base class just for your submission). If you are going to use a homebrew base class, make sure you get permission from its original creator and post a link so we know where to find it! Failure to get permission will be grounds for disqualification.
    4. Until the contest is finished, do not post your subclass anywhere else. If you are found to have done so, that subclass will be disqualified (though you will be allowed to post a new one if you wish, within reason).
    5. Your subclass must be complete by 11:59 PM Central Standard Time on Sunday June 17. After that, I will put up a voting thread. Any submissions or edits after that point will be considered invalid.
    6. Have fun, be respectful.

    Chat Thread
    Voting Thread
    Last edited by MoleMage; 2018-06-18 at 01:51 PM.
    Currently operating the 5e Subclass Contest and the 5e Base Class Contest. Check them out if even just to vote or give feedback, we love that in there.


    My DMsGuild content. Most of it was written with feedback from right here on the forums.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground

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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    The Clockwork Warframe
    A fighter archetype

    Clockwork Warframes
    A Fighter Archetype

    The first Clockwork Warframes were created by gnomish artisans, desperate to make up for their race's small stature in conflicts with much larger foes. They produced powered exoskeletons for their warriors and trained them in their use. After many failures and training injuries, an elite corps of Warframes were born.

    Since then the secret has leaked out and a few non-gnomes have successfully constructed exoskeletons of their own and become accomplished in their use. These are the Clockwork Warframes. These warriors spend the bulk of their time inside their heavily customized exoskeletons, living and fighting with the help of the gears, springs, and pneumatic framework. They are also responsible for maintenance and upgrades; as a result they become accomplished tinkerers and gadgeteers. Every Warframe's exoskeleton is unique and only usable by that one person.

    The framework has attachment points for armor and does not replace the armor. It can be donned and doffed concurrently with armor, and you can sleep in it without penalty.

    Augmented Strength
    When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you have finished the basic framework of your exoskeleton. This frame provides significantly increased strength and stability. When you wield a weapon with the Versatile trait in one hand, you use the same damage die as if you were wielding it in two hands.

    In addition, y
    You can attempt a grapple or shove against creatures up to two sizes larger than you. Your carrying capacity doubles, and you ignore the Heavy property of weapons entirely.

    Gadgeteer's Tools
    When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in two artisan's tools of your choice from the following list: Jeweler's tools, Smith's tools, Tinker's tools, and Woodcarver's tools.

    When you make an ability check to know more about machinery or constructs or to use or to repair machines or constructs and would add your proficiency bonus, you can add double your proficiency bonus instead.

    Bond Breaker
    By the time you reach 7th level, you have completely adapted to your exoskeleton and have learned how to leverage its strength. You can add double your proficiency bonus to any Strength check made to escape a grapple, break free from a restraint, force open a locked door or container, or break through obstructions.
    In addition, you ignore difficult terrain due to heavy plant growth, webs, or other effects that would require a Strength saving throw to avoid.

    Weaponized Exoskeleton
    By the time you reach 10th level, you have completed a significant upgrade to your exoskeleton. Choose one of the options below:

    Sweeping Strike: You have upgraded the arms of your suit, letting you scythe through enemies. Once per turn when you take the Attack action with a melee weapon, you can perform a sweeping strike instead of one of your regular attacks. Choose a 180 degree arc and make an attack roll; all targets in that arc within the reach of your weapon that would be hit by that attack roll take damage as if they were struck by the weapon normally.

    Death from Above: You have upgraded the legs of your suit, enabling potent leaping attacks. When you fall at least 10 feet onto another creature and make a successful weapon attack against it, the target must make a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone and be pushed 5 feet in a direction of your choosing. If the target fails the saving throw, you can use a bonus action to make one additional weapon attack against it. You land adjacent to the target whether it succeeds or fails the saving throw.

    If you would have taken falling damage, you take none and the target takes the whole amount as additional damage whether or not it failed the save.

    Defensive Augmentation
    By the time you reach 15th level, you have completed a second significant upgrade. Choose one of the options below:

    Turn the Blow: You have strengthened the arms of the suit to let you deflect melee attacks against you. When another creature hits you with a melee weapon attack, you can make an attack roll as a reaction. If your total result is higher than the triggering attack, you successfully deflect the attack. If you roll a critical hit, the force of the parry unbalances the opponent and the next attack against them has advantage.

    Deflecting blows strains the mechanism--once you successfully deflect an attack twice in this way, you must complete maintenance during a long or short rest before you can use it again.

    Burst of Speed: You have improved the legs, increasing your movement speed and jumping capability. Your movement increases by 10 feet, and you can use a bonus action to Dash.

    Additionally, your jump distance doubles and you are always treated as if you had a running start when jumping.

    Stabilizing Frame
    Beginning at 18th level, the torso portion of your exoskeleton has been augmented to provide medical treatment to keep you in the fight longer. At the beginning of each of your turns, you regain hit points equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1) if you have no more than half of your hit points left and are not incapacitated.

    When you are reduced to zero hit points, you can discharge a massive burst of healing serum, returning you to one-quarter of your maximum health. Once this portion of the effect triggers, you must complete a long rest before you can use it again.

    Spoiler: Design notes and summary:

    Inspiration: The idea for this archetype came from a full base class I wrote (available here (Google Doc)), plus thinking about gnomes. Rock gnomes are the tinkering types, and need something to help them fight much bigger foes. I'm also amused by the thought of tiny gnomes wielding big weapons and standing up to bigger foes. The sight of gnome tanks in WoW always made me smile.

    The abilities are inspired by that base class, but have been modified from there to fit the very different needs of a fighter.

    Level 3 ability: The idea is that you'd use a versatile weapon and a shield, gaining a slightly larger weapon die. Not a big effect. Or, if you're small, you can use big weapons normally. You can also grapple/shove bigger things (this stacks with size-increases like enlarge/reduce.

    Level 7 ability: Modeled after Remarkable Athlete, this is both more powerful and more focused, in part because Remarkable Athlete is generally considered to be weak.

    Level 10 ability: An offensive active ability. Either a 180 degree cleave or a jumping attack with save or prone/push.

    Level 15 ability: A defensive ability. Either a limited-use reaction-base melee deflection or a passive speed/jump boost + bonus action dash.

    Level 18 ability: A version of Survivor (the Champion ability), this one heals for less normally (CON mod instead of 5+CON mod) but can bring you up from 0 to 1/4 health once per long rest.

    Edit: Modified some abilities per feedback. Deletions struck out, additions in green.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2018-06-12 at 07:20 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    I wanted to do something a little more lasery, so may I present the Bard College of Optics!

    For some bards, the future is just as important as the past. Many colleges focus on the development of new technology, magic, or artistic style as much as they do on the recording and passing down of old stories, songs, or cultures.

    One of those colleges is the college of optics. Formed by a lens grinder who discovered a way to use lenses to focus magical energy into the form of powerful light rays, it allows bards who study its techniques to manipulate magic through the use of lasers as well as music.
    Bonus Proficiencies
    When you first join the College of Optics at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in glassblower's tools and one other set of artisan's tools.

    Opticist's Glass
    Upon joining the College of Optics at 3rd level, you learn to craft a specialized tool, which combines advanced lenses with magical know-how to focus and redirect light. Your Opticist's Glass only functions for you, and has the following uses:

    • The Opticist's Glass functions as an improved spyglass. At your option, you may choose to adjust the magnification of items viewed through the glass from anywhere between two and four times normal size. Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks made when viewing distant objects through your glass.
    • The Opticist's Glass can be used to make a ranged attack against a target within 120 feet. This attack deals fire damage equal to 1d10 + your Charisma modifier.
    • You can use the Opticist's Glass to cast Silent Image as a 1st level spell at will by projecting holographic light. The space between the Glass and the image must remain unobstructed, and creatures have advantage on their Intelligence (Investigation) checks to identify that a projected Silent Image is illusory.
    • You can use your Opticist's Glass as an arcane spell focus for your Bard spells.

    If your Opticist's Glass is lost or destroyed, you can replace it by expending 500 gold pieces worth of materials with 8 hours of work. You can repair a broken Opticist's Glass over the course of a long rest, as long as you have it on hand.

    Focusing Lens
    At level 6, your Opticist's Glass improves as you add new lenses to its design to focus its power further. Whenever you hit with an attack roll using the Opticist's Glass, you can spend one of your spell slots to increase the damage dealt by that attack. The additional damage is 2d8 for a first level spell, plus an additional 1d8 for every spell level above that, up to 5th.

    Splitting Lens
    At level 14, you add an array of lenses and mirrors designed to fire additional shots from your Opticist's Glass. When you use your action to Attack with your Opticist's Glass, you fire two beams, instead of one, which can target the same creature or different creatures. You can spend up to two uses of your Bardic Inspiration to generate additional beams, gaining one for each expended Bardic Inspiration. When you use Splitting Lens, you can only use Focusing Lens on a single beam.
    Last edited by MoleMage; 2018-06-12 at 09:30 AM.
    Currently operating the 5e Subclass Contest and the 5e Base Class Contest. Check them out if even just to vote or give feedback, we love that in there.


    My DMsGuild content. Most of it was written with feedback from right here on the forums.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    The Path To The Singularity

    Man-Machine: At level three, when you take this subclass, you begin replacing your body with cybernetic parts. These initial improvements increase your martial arts die by one step and grant you resistance to poison damage, as well as advantage on saves against poison.

    More Machine Than Man: At level six, you gain advantage on saves made against Exhaustion. In addition, you reduce all non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage you take by your proficiency bonus (applied before resistance, if applicable).

    Blinged-Out Robo Bits: At level eleven, you gain one of several upgrades:
    -Rocket Fist-You can fire your fist as a projectile. This attack is treated as an unarmed strike, save it has a range of 60'/240'. You may do this up to twice-once for each arm-before you must reattach your fists. Re-attaching one fist is a bonus action, both is an action, and it requires you to recover your hand first.
    -Rocket Legs-You gain a fly speed equal to your land speed, but must end your turn on solid ground or fall.
    -Bionic Eyes-You double the range of your Darkvision, or gain Darkvision out to 60' if you did not already possess it. You can also focus your eyes as an action-if you do so, you gain Truesight out to 10' for as long as you both Concentrate (as if on a spell) and use your action every round.
    -General Reinforcements-You gain +1 to your AC.

    I, Robot: At level seventeen, you have become the machine-man hybrid you always wished to be. You gain immunity to Exhaustion, your More Machine Than Man feature now applies to all bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, and you gain immunity to lightning damage. In addition, you may spend a ki point without an action to absorb lightning and charge yourself-when you would take lightning damage, the ki may be spent to heal yourself for the damage you would've taken, were you not immune.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Way of Invention (Monk)

    Power Fist: At third level, you create an advanced gauntlet weapon called a Power Fist. This weapon is treated as a Monk Weapon for you. When you make a successful attack roll with a Power Fist, you can push an enemy back by 5 feet by spending 1 point of Ki. You also push an enemy back by 5 feet on a natural 20.

    Voltaic Fist: At sixth level, you have managed to upgrade the Power Fist with an electric charge. Upon a successful attack roll, you may spend 3 Ki Points to deal 1d10 Lightning damage and the target must make a Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed until the start of your next turn.

    Jump Jet: At eleventh level, you have crafted a pair of boots or a backpack that allows for efficient flight. By spending 3 Ki points as an action, you gain a fly speed equal to 1.5 times your movement speed until the start of your next turn.

    Flame Jet: At seventeenth level, you have upgraded the flame of your Jump Jet's flames to harm your enemies. When using your Jump Jet, all creatures within 5 feet of you must make a Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 Fire damage, or half of that on a failed save.

    I hope this entry is okay!
    Last edited by Protato; 2018-05-19 at 11:55 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Roguish Archetype: Analyst
    Analyst rogues are obsessed with information. They believe that, if they can gather and process enough data, no one will be able to defeat them in business, combat or any other endeavour. While the intricacies of an analyst's techniques are beyond the ken of all but the most bookish wizards, adventurers around the world have nonetheless come to value their insights.

    When you reach 3rd level, you gain the ability to cast spells. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the wizard spell list.
    >>Cantrips. You learn three cantrips: true strike and two other cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. You learn another wizard cantrip of your choice at 10th level.
    >>Spell Slots. The Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table (PHB 98) 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.
    For example, if you know the 1st-level spell charm person and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast charm person using either slot.
    >>Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher. You know three 1st-level wizard spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the divination and transmutation schools on the wizard spell list.
    >>The Spells Known column of the Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table shows when you learn more wizard spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be an transmutation or divination spell of your choice, and must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
    >>The spells you learn at 8th, 14th, and 20th level can come from any school of magic.
    >>Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the wizard spells you know with another spell of your choice from the wizard spell list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots, and it must be an transmutation or divination spell, unless you’re replacing the spell you gained at 8th, 14th, or 20th level.
    >>Spellcasting Ability. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a wizard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
    Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
    Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

    Multiplexed True Strike
    Starting at 3rd level, when you cast true strike, you can choose up to three targets rather than just one. Additionally, you can ignore half and three-quarter cover when attacking a creature you have marked with true strike, and you do not need to perform any spell components when you cast true strike.

    Data-Driven Investments
    By 9th level, you have amassed enough data to gain the upper hand in commercial transactions. You can add double your proficiency bonus to any Intelligence check you make to appraise an item, compute currency exchanges and interest rates, and predict which commodities will be in demand up to 30 days into the future.

    Heads-Up Display
    At 13th level, you can cast any divination spell you know as a bonus action.

    Telepathic Divination
    At 17th level, whenever you cast a divination spell, you can telepathically broadcast the information you glean to any willing creature within 30 feet of you, granting them the benefits of the spell. If the spell can be controlled or manipulated after being cast (e.g. arcane eye), only you can control it.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2018-05-30 at 01:27 AM.
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    A Faerie Affair

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Withdrawing entry
    Last edited by Jama7301; 2018-06-07 at 01:57 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical Definitely not my strength.

    The following barbarian primal path is intended to capture the feel of Frankenstein's monster. I realize that it is maybe only thematically qualified for this contest; none of the features really scream technology. Someone, somewhere provided the inspiration on some of the flaws -- and if I can ever find who/where, I'll credit.

    With that being said, I may end up editing this so much that it comes to resemble a completely different subclass (or could I just squeeze in all of my draft subclasses for this contest and let the comments winnow them down?).

    Edit 1 (5/26): Edited Anguished Strength as it was confusing and probably OP. I've probably dipped too much into the Hit Die-as-power pool but like this iteration better. Many more edits to come I'm sure.

    Path of the Monster
    For some, rage is not a choice but a byproduct of the tortured technology of their creation. Whether created as altruistic scientific experiments or as a dark means of alchemical vengeance, those of The Path of the Monster are trapped in the confusion and pain of their birth. Often hunted as aberrations and monstrosities, these barbarians must harness the rage of their torturous existence as a means of survival.

    In addition to the features gained when you select this path, you also gain one of the following flaws as indicated by a d10 roll:

    Flaw (d10)

    1. My voice is rough and barely audible, my head is not joined well to my torso.
    2. I escaped my creator, and he or she will stop at nothing to recover me.
    3. I have disturbing nightmares from the lives – and deaths – of my component body parts.
    4. My face is that of a notorious criminal, traitor, or other widely reviled person.
    5. My creator’s experimentation left me with a debilitating fear of technology.
    6. I am wanted for questioning in the death of my creator.
    7. I have a fear of fire, driven by memories of the torches of those who drove me away.
    8. I desire to be alone and shun crowds, for I tend to hurt those around me.
    9. Most people view me as a monster and I certainly look the part.
    10. Clothing and material items are the trappings of life, something I don’t consider myself a part of.

    Mismatched Parts
    The cadaverous parts your creator stitched together to make your body are able to mitigate damage and have an almost supernatural vitality. While raging, you can spend one or more Hit Dice as a reaction, up to your maximum number of Hit Dice. For each Hit Die you spend in this way, you roll the die and add your Constitution modifier. You regain hit points equal to the total.

    You can decide to spend an additional Hit Die after each roll. Any hit points gained in this manner that exceed your maximum number of hit points are gained as temporary hit points that last until your rage ends. Spending Hit Die in this manner consumes the die just as if you had used it during a short rest.

    Anguished Strength
    You are able to draw upon your deep sorrow, pushing your chemically saturated and electrical fueled muscles to feats of superhuman strength. Beginning at 6th level, while raging, you add your Rage Damage bonus to your Strength attribute and are treated as one size larger for the purposes of grapple, shove, and overrun (DMG p272) attempts . Beginning at 6th level, while raging, you can spend one or more of your Hit Die any time you successfully deal damage with a melee attack. For each Hit Die you spend in this way, you roll the die and add to your damage. When you spend a Hit Die in this manner, you are treated as one size larger for the purposes of grapple, shove, and overrun (DMG p272) attempts until the start of your next turn.

    Misunderstood Monstrosity
    Though your face may be that of a monster, the mind behind the flesh can have surprising emotional depth and intelligence and is often underestimated. Beginning at 10th level, you can never have disadvantage when making contested Persuasion or Deception checks.

    In addition, you can draw upon your experiences with the cruelty of humanity (and the occasional kindness) to give yourself a flash of insight. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn give yourself one Insight die, a d10. Once within the next ten minutes as long as you are not raging, you can roll the die and add the number rolled to one Intelligence, Charisma, or Wisdom ability check. You can wait until after your roll the d20 before deciding to use the Insight die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once your Insight die is rolled, it is lost and you don’t regain its use until you finish a long rest.

    Electrical Conduit
    You were animated with electrical energy, channeled by your creator through contacts placed on your body – typically small protruding metal rods in the skull or neck. Starting at 14th level, you are completely immune to lightning damage and do not need to make saving throws against attacks that deal this type of damage. Any attack that deals lightning damage instead heals 1 point of damage for every 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing causes you to exceed your full normal hit points, you gain any excess as temporary hit points.

    In addition, when affected by an attack that inflicts lightning damage, you gain the benefits of the haste spell with the exception that you do not suffer the lethargy effect and the effect lasts until the start of your next turn.
    Last edited by Mourne; 2018-05-27 at 01:13 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    I made a technomancer/clockwork wizard. It's a puppetmaster.

    Homebrewery Link
    Last edited by demonslayerelf; 2018-06-01 at 10:05 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Presenting: The Wizard School of Magitech! (GM Binder) (PDF on google drive)

    This unique and inventive spell school pushes the limits of traditional spellcasting, utilizing unique magical items in combat, and learning to alter the very structure of spells they cast. Each Wizard of the informal School of Magitech has their own personal magical rule-breaker, and likes to alter their spells in different ways. Some Wizards will fire their spells through long-barreled Magirifles, while others will use the magic stored within their Arcane Armor to keep them safe. One Magitech caster might use their signature spell Thunderball to tear through their opponents, and another instead chooses to harness the runoff magic of powerful spells in order to power weaker ones.
    Last edited by WarrentheHero; 2018-06-13 at 02:01 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Do you like gundam and/or D.VA? If so, why not take a gander at the brand new BandoCorp certified Mech Pilot Wizard!

    I created this subclass hoping to help fulfill the role of a mech-using character, like one might see in a game or TV show, while still keeping it somewhat reasonable in D&D. I held this off from submission for a few days to try and make more Modules, but I think that it should work in its current state.
    Check out my homebrew blog, Bando's Homebrew!

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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Grammaton Cleric

    Monk subclass

    Total Weapon
    Beginning at 3rd level when you select this monastic tradition, you gain proficiency with firearms and count them as monk weapons, both when firing them and when using them as a blunt instrument.

    Gun Fu
    Also at 3rd level, whenever you use flurry of blows, patient defense, or step of the wind, you may reload or attack with a firearm as part of that bonus action.

    Gun Kata
    Beginning at 6th level, whenever you both move and shoot a firearm on your turn, ranged attacks have disadvantage against you until the beginning of your next turn.

    Bullet Storm
    Beginning at 11th level, you may make firearm attacks in place of your unarmed strikes when you use flurry of blows, ignoring the loading property.

    Bullet Trance
    Beginning at 17th level, you can use Wisdom in place of Dexterity for your attack and damage rolls with firearms. If you do, you can spend a ki point to turn any normal hit into a critical hit.
    Last edited by sengmeng; 2022-06-22 at 12:08 PM.
    My Homebrew (Free to use, don't even bother asking. PM me if you do, though; I'd love to hear stories).

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    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    Variant Multiclass: Rogue
    The right tool for all the wrong jobs, every time.

    The rogue variant multiclass is an archetype that can be used for most classes other than rogue. In particular, the rules here can be used to variant multiclass with rogue with no alteration if you are a barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, sorcerer, warlock or wizard. Rather than actually taking multiclass levels in rogue, it replaces - or, rather, is - your primal path, bard college, divine domain, druidic circle, martial archetype, monastic tradition, sacred oath, ranger archetype, sorcerous origin, otherworldly patron or arcane tradition. The restrictions are as follows:

    - You cannot become a variant multiclass rogue if you have any rogue levels.
    - You cannot take rogue levels if you are already a variant multiclass rogue.
    - You cannot be a variant multiclass rogue in two separate classes.

    Essentially, you can only multiclass as a rogue once, irrespective of the type of multiclassing or order of operations. In general, it's probably inadvisable to mix standard and variant multiclassing.

    All classes get similar benefits from becoming a variant multiclass rogue - it's for the player to decide, as with regular multiclassing, whether or not a particular combination is worth it - but there are slight differences in who gets what, and they get them at different times in accordance with the usual timings for their abilities.

    The following variant multiclass rogue abilities are gained by the various classes at the given levels:

    Brb Brd Clr Drd Fgt Mnk Pal Rgr Sor Wlk Wiz
    Arcane Trickery - - 1 - - - 3 - - 1 -
    Bonus Skills 3 3 1 2 3 3 3 3 1 1 2
    Thieves' Cant 3 3 - - 3 3 - 3 1 1 2
    Sneak Attack 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 3 1 1 2
    Channel Divinity: Sacred Assassination - - 2 - - - 3 - - - -
    Expertise 6 6 6 6 7 6 - 7 6 6 6
    Uncanny Dodge 10 6 8 10 10 11 7 7 - 10 10
    Reliable Talent 14 14 17 14 15 11 15 11 14 14 14
    Blindsense 14 14 17 14 18 17 15 15 14 14 14
    Elusive - - - - 18 - - - 18 - -
    Stroke of Luck - - - - - - 20 - - - -

    Arcane Trickery

    If you are a cleric, paladin or warlock, the following spells are treated as domain, oath or pact spells for you, gained at the normal levels you gain spells of that level:

    Spell level Spells
    1st Disguise Self, Silent Image
    2nd Invisibility, Knock
    3rd Haste, Sending
    4th Dimension Door, Greater Invisibility
    5th Dominate Person, Telekinesis

    Bonus Skills

    You choose two skills out of Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth, and become proficient in those skills. If you by some insane method are proficient in all of them already, choose any other skill and become proficient in it. You become proficient in thieves' tools as well.

    Thieves' Cant

    You can use thieves' cant for communication just as described in the standard rogue feature.

    Sneak Attack

    You can perform a sneak attack, much as a standard rogue can, except that the damage is only 1d6, plus 1d6 per 3 levels after 1st (from 1d6 when you gain this ability at 1st, 2nd or 3rd level up to 7d6 at 19th level).

    Channel Divinity: Sacred Assassination
    You can channel divine energy into your weapon directly, bringing ruination on your foes by using your god's guidance to direct the weapon straight into the enemy's most vulnerable parts. As an action, you can channel divinity to make an attack, just like a regular attack action, except that the first attack made in this action has advantage on the attack roll.

    At seventeenth level as a cleric or 15th level as a paladin, when you attempt a sacred assassination, the first attack you make in any attack action against that target has advantage for the rest of the combat, even if the original sacred assassination attack misses.

    Example: Ysadora is a 17th-level cleric/variant rogue. She attempts a sacred assassination against a pirate with her crossbow. She rolls a 3 and a 4 for the attack roll, and her crossbow bolt thuds into the wall next to the pirate. For the rest of the combat, the first attack Ysadora makes against the pirate in any attack action has advantage - which usually means it'll be a sneak attack if Ysadora uses her crossbow.

    If you are a paladin, you can also channel divinity into your armour as a bonus action, making the metal flow like cloth. For one minute, your armour weighs nothing and if it would impose disadvantage on stealth checks, it doesn't.


    Choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with thieves' tools. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies

    Uncanny Dodge

    When an attacker that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to halve the attack's damage against you.

    Reliable Talent

    You have refined your chosen skills until they approach perfection. Whenever you make an ability check that lets you add your proficiency bonus, you can treat a d20 roll of 10 or lower as a 10.


    If you are able to hear, you are aware of the location of any hidden or invisible creature within 10 feet of you.


    You are so evasive that attackers rarely gain the upper hand against you. No attack roll has advantage against you while you aren't incapacitated.

    Stroke of Luck
    You have an uncanny knack for succeeding when you need to. If your attack misses a target within range, you can turn the miss into a hit. Alternatively, if you fail an ability check, you can treat the d20 roll as a 20. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short rest.

    Playing a Variant Multiclass Rogue

    While a variant multiclass rogue lacks many of the abilities of a true rogue, they do have the power of another whole class backing them up. The best results are achieved when using your class features in concert.

    Barbarian/Variant Rogue: The Marauder
    "Find your enemy. Make them bleed. That is war."

    For the marauder, the plan of attack is one of catching enemies off-guard, then tearing them apart with reckless ferocity. There is a level of contradiction in a marauder's tactics: they must be stealthy and yet fly into a rage, and they must wield a weapon that rewards the use of dexterity, and then choose to use strength instead. However, there is a great synergy inherent in two of your features: namely, reckless attack and sneak attack. Every single attack you attempt can be a no-nonsense sneak attack, and the only caveat is that attacks against you have advantage in return. Fortunately for you, you have resistance to physical damage, and when you get uncanny dodge, you can halve the damage of one attack per round as well.

    Outside of combat, you have a selection of extra skills, and your thieves' tools. When you get expertise, you can either enhance your rogue abilities, your barbarian abilities, or one of each. Consider using expertise on your dexterity skills, which are likely to be weaker for you than for a standard rogue unless you use expertise on them. Alternatively, use expertise on athletics, and become the undisputed champion of grapple and shove attacks.

    Bard/Variant Rogue: The Court Spy
    "I sing the nobles a song, and they sing me schemes and politics."

    There are certainly other things that a bard/variant rogue could be, but a court spy is one of them. Whatever the case, the bard/variant rogue is skilled in both social and technical skills, and is deadly in a fight. They may be an instigator or an investigator, a hell-raiser or a hitman, but whatever the case, they're good at their job.

    With more skills than a standard rogue, an incentive to use finesse weapons anyway, and true strike as one of your cantrips, you have an exceptional versatility in and out of combat. There's rarely a skill that you can't use to outdo any other member of your party, you have full spellcasting, and you can hold your own in a scuffle with a rapier or whip and judicious use of true strike.

    Cleric/Variant Rogue: The Sacred Assassin
    "You have committed crimes against the church, and I am here to bring vengeance upon you."

    Being both a cleric and a rogue could hint to being a charlatan preacher, but more likely they are a hidden operative of their faith, striking with zeal and trickery alike. Often, these individuals are sent to hunt down enemies of the church and either bring them to heel or to the grave.

    The sacred assassin lacks a real domain, but makes up for it with devastating sneak attacks, usually delivered at the business end of a crossbow, though more subtle sacred assassins use a dagger or dart. Using their signature ability, the sacred assassination, they can occasionally land these sneak attacks without assistance from allies or spells. Of course, gaining invisibility and greater invisibility as domain spells is also helpful when attempting sneak attacks. Finally, a sacred assassin has access to twice as many skills as a standard cleric, which is fairly helpful outside of combat.

    Druid/Variant Rogue: The Hedge Witch
    "Oh, I know it's dangerous out here in the woods. In fact, you should be more careful yourself...

    The coven of hedge witches is a strange group indeed, using their stealth and shapeshifting powers in conjunction in order to perform a variety of missions most others could not. As a hedge witch, the ability to change into an animal is one of your key features, particularly since some of their natural weapons are finesse weapons and therefore work with sneak attacks! You'll have to check how the attack and damage bonuses are calculated to tell; for example the stirge's blood drain attack is calculated with its +3 dexterity modifier, hence having a +5 to hit with its +2 proficiency, and a +3 to damage. The ability to change your size, appear harmless, and fly or swim is also exceptionally useful.

    Druid spells have limited synergy with rogue abilities, but entangle is your friend: restraining enemies will allow you to make sneak attacks against them easily. Conjure Animals is also a decent option to grant you one or more flanking partners. If you prefer to defeat your enemies with spell attacks and use your rogue abilities to assist, consider putting expertise in stealth, casting call lightning, and ducking for cover while continually calling down lightning bolts on your foes as they frantically seek you out. Alternatively, spells like tree stride and meld into stone can help you hide.

    Fighter/Variant Rogue: The Thug
    "Oh, I've more ways to break your bones than with sticks or stones, believe me."

    A thug is an enforcer for a criminal gang, a mugger or robber, or someone else for whom combat prowess and stealth are both important. Perhaps, more charitably, they are a reconnoitre or vanguard, scouting ahead of an army for any trouble. Irrespective, generic plus generic makes generic, and a thug can be whatever you want it to be.

    There are many ways to play a thug. One is to wait for an enemy to rush up to an ally, then shoot the enemy, relying on your +2 bonus to hit from your combat style to allow you to hit rather than advantage, and using the presence of an ally to allow for a sneak attack. Some thugs favour the flamberge, a type of rapier usually wielded in two hands - because the rapier isn't versatile, you wouldn't think there was a point to wielding it with two hands, but the great weapon fighting style allows you to re-roll 1s and 2s with sneak attack dice - this only actually increases your damage output by two-thirds of a point of damage per sneak attack die, but it adds up when you have a few of them. Of course, two-weapon fighting with scimitars is another possibility, giving you multiple attacks to ensure that you land at least one sneak attack. Finally, using a one-handed weapon and a shield, whether you use the duelling style (for a little extra damage) or the protection style (if a creature is adjacent to both you and the enemy, then your enemy gets disadvantage to attack them and you get sneak attacks against the enemy). While the protection style initially appears ideal to protect a flanker, remember that it uses a reaction that you might prefer to use on uncanny dodge - or you can use protection if the enemy targets your ally, and uncanny dodge if they target you!

    With up to four attacks and the extra damage from sneak attacks, your damage output is exceptional, and you're no slouch at skills either, with expertise in two and regular proficiency in another two. You also have enough ability score improvements to maximise your dexterity early on, allowing you to fight on the front lines in only light armour with no problems.

    Monk/Variant Rogue: The Ninja
    "A single touch is all it takes to sever the soul."

    Ninja have always been famed for their exceptional martial arts prowess, and no wonder: the combination of monk and rogue is an exceptional one. The ability to ignore the mediocre damage die of the two weapons which are usable for both sneak attacks and monk abilities - the shortsword and dagger, or in the ninja's case the ninjato and sai - and replace it with a higher die as you gain levels is useful enough, but the ability to make a sneak attack and then follow it up with a deadly flurry of blows is exceptional.

    Because as a monk you cannot use a shield properly and as a rogue you cannot use two-handed weapons properly, it's only reasonable that you should wield two weapons, which gives you an interesting option - if your first attack hits, you apply your sneak attack damage to it and follow through with a flurry of blows. If it misses, you attempt another sneak attack with the weapon in your other hand. If you're facing off against one opponent while an ally is locked in combat with another, you can even throw one of your sai at the opponent next to your ally, and then if the sneak attack hits, make a flurry of blows against the adjacent one.

    Ninja also have an exceptional special ability: the ability to sneak attack as a reaction. To do so requires both luck and skill, but because sneak attack can be used once per turn, not once per round, you can sneak attack an enemy - potentially with their own weapon! - by using deflect missiles, and then do it again on your actual turn. Unfortunately, you have limited ability to gain advantage on your attack rolls, but stunning strike will do the job.

    Finally, ninja have exceptional mobility, able to run up and down walls, disable traps, open doors, and move at truly exceptional speeds. Using expertise on your athletics skill and taking a step of the wind can grant you the best jumping abilities in the game.

    Paladin/Variant Rogue: The Blackguard
    "I swore to stop you. I do not break my oaths."

    A blackguard is an zealous scoundrel who treads through the streets clad in armour and adorned with the symbols of religion, but underneath the shining armour is someone willing to use whatever trickery they must in order to defeat their enemies.

    A blackguard has their own code of conduct, but generally they choose any five from the following tenets (the alignments given are just suggestions; you may have to select at least one off-alignment tenet):

    Honour Among Thieves: Do not cheat your allies. Respect your superiors and your subordinates alike.
    Word is Law: The leader of your family, house or organisation is to be respected and their orders are to be obeyed if at all reasonable.

    Hold no Grudges: Do not seek revenge for petty slights.
    No-one Dies By Your Hand: Avoid killing unless your enemy is too dangerous to leave alive.

    Freedom for All: Free all who are held unjustly, no matter the risk.
    Stop for No-one: Do not allow any law or authority to prevent you from doing what you are dedicated to.

    Eye for an Eye: No-one who wrongs you can go unpunished.
    None May Oppose Me: Take whatever steps you reasonably can to stop anyone who shows public opposition to you.

    Better Part of Valour: You do not fight to the last unless it is your only viable option.
    Forbid no knowledge: You may hold personal secrets, but do not hold your tongue for fear of what your words might do.
    No Power is Absolute: You must not allow someone to gain a monopoly or absolute power if you can reasonably help it.
    Stay Your Blade...: Do not harm innocents, or through inaction, allow an innocent to come to harm if you can reasonably help it.

    Some of these tenets may seem something of a contradiction, but they are compatible - stop for no-one, word is law, hold no grudges, eye for an eye and no power is absolute would mean that you do what your leader tells you where reasonable, but don't consider anything conflicting with what you stand for reasonable, nor do you allow your leader to gain absolute power over a city. You punish those who wrong you, and once the punishment is done, they are forgiven.

    A blackguard's ability to use invisibility, sneak about with expertise, and make their armour as light as cloth means that whatever their tenets, they can operate in clandestine secrecy. Much like a thug, they may use either a rapier and a shield, or favour the flamberge, a rapier traditionally wielded in two hands, which allows you to re-roll low sneak attack dice (as well as low smite dice!). Some blackguards use a whip to make sneak attacks from a slight range, which also allows them to use their shield to protect a creature from behind that creature. Just like a sacred assassin, the blackguard can also channel divinity to make an impromptu sneak attack if they can't otherwise make the conditions conform. At 15th level, the blackguard's sacred assassination improves to allow them to hound a single target with repeated sneak attacks until it's dead.

    Ranger/Variant Rogue: Slayer
    "I can take a deer down with one shot. You're not as big as a deer."

    A slayer is a master tracker, who pursues their quarry tirelessly before shooting them down. A slayer can lie in wait for their prey, and attack them when the time is exactly right, or rush in for the killing blow. Either way, they are even more dangerous when fighting their favoured enemies.

    The slayer can get the highest stealth bonus in the game: a +27. Even at 11th level, with reliable talent, a camouflaged slayer cannot fail to roll a stealth check that is literally unbeatable by the vast majority of characters. This allows you a sneak attack from the advantage you get from hiding. Alternatively, simply shooting into melee combat with your +2 to hit from archery combat style is a decent way to land a sneak attack most of the time.

    Remember that you can only double your proficiency bonus once - don't take expertise in an intelligence- or wisdom-based skill if you plan to spend a long time in your favoured terrain!

    Your spells can be synergistic with your rogue abilities if used well - find traps is an obvious one that works well with your thieves' tools, pass without trace allows you to sneak by enemies more easily and not leave a trail, and conjure animals provides you with a variety of creatures to use for flanking. Of course, water breathing and freedom of movement are potentially great for infiltration.

    Sorcerer/Variant Rogue: Spellthief
    "Magic's in the blood, and if I cut this vein right here..."

    A spellthief didn't actually have innate magic from birth: instead, they stole someone's magical potential in some way. Now, they use their array of spells to help set them up for lethal attacks or to provide exceptional ability with trickery.

    Lacking the arcane trickster's ability to use mage hand to open locks and disable traps at range means that you need to get up close and personal with them, but fortunately, you have an array of spells which make you far more survivable (not to mention less visible) than the arcane trickster - by the time they're an arcane trickster at all, you can turn invisible. True strike is an obviously-useful setup for your sneak attacks, and your best bet is often to stand at the back of a fight with a crossbow, throwing out sneak attacks against your enemies. Of course, at later levels, you gain more options, such as animating objects to give you a chance at a sneak attack.

    The alternative, of course, is to use your rogue abilities to get into place for a sorcerer attack - if you can sneak a delayed blast fireball bead into a good position, and then sneak away without anyone realising you were ever there until too late, you can deal some hefty damage. Using burning hands and then running up to stab someone with a sneak attack in the same round is hardly the worst use of your turn, either.

    Warlock/Variant Rogue: Cultist
    "Power demands sacrifice!"

    A cultist has a dark deal with some malevolent entity, bound in others' blood rather than their own.

    Much like a spellthief, you may find true strike your best bet, and you also have access to invisibility - as well as a few spells you wouldn't normally get as a warlock, such as haste and greater invisibility, which are exceptionally useful for landing sneak attacks. Also useful is unseen servant, which allows any attacks you make to be sneak attacks just by its presence there (better yet, enemies might not be able to tell quite why your attacks are so powerful).

    The other option, of course, is to snipe people with hyper-powered eldritch spears from a convenient location - while they're not eligible for sneak attacks, they can be made quite strong in their own right, and your rogue abilities should let you slink away if needed. Alternatively, consider using a blade pact longbow to deliver sneak-attack-related injuries from afar.

    Wizard/Variant Rogue: The Daggerspell Mage
    "My studies were quite intense, but I'm glad I had time to fit in a module on anatomy."

    Wielding spells and blades alike, a daggerspell mage is a danger to any who oppose them. Their tactics are similar to a spellthief's or a cultist's, though their far greater array of spells allows them a few other options, such as using animate dead to provide a flanking partner. Using black tentacles on an encounter should provide you with at least one possible sneak attack target as well.

    It's a high-level spell, but foresight makes every single eligible attack you make into a sneak attack, so it's a viable option at the highest levels.
    Last edited by Jormengand; 2018-06-17 at 10:47 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Cleveland, MS

    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    I didn't think anyone would do a druid before the contest ended, so here's my submission. It's supposed to be a more utility-focused alternative to the Moon Druid. I'm not entirely sure I succeeded with that, but I'd rather it be too weak than too strong.

    Circle of Progress

    Druids rarely use too many benefits of civilization and technology, preferring rather to rely on the natural world for their power. However, a select handful have decided that, as sapient races are the outcome of natural processes, so too their products must also be natural. By forming a connection to the primal energies underlying forged constructions, these druids can incorporate new technological capabilities when they take on a new form.

    Metal Armor
    Druids of this circle will use metal armor and shields if they desire its protection. Their wielding this protection does not negatively impact their class features.

    Transformed Shape
    Starting at 2nd level when you choose this circle, you can incorporate additional abilities when you use your Wild Shape feature, melding your equipment on-hand into special augmentations for your new body. When you use your Wild Shape feature, you can choose to add one of the following benefits to your animal form:

    • Climate Control: You have resistance to cold and fire damage.
    • Nighteyes: You gain darkvision out to 60 feet and blindsight to 5 feet based on hearing.
    • Internal Dampeners: You have resistance to lightning and thunder damage.
    • Reinforced Body: You gain proficiency with Constitution saving throws and add 1 to your AC.
    • Reinforced Limbs: You gain proficiency with the Athletics skill and Strength saving throws as well as an additional 10 feet to your current walking speed.

    Additionally, rather than gaining the natural attacks of your chosen form, you can incorporate one melee weapon into your new form. The weapon deals damage based on your form’s size and of the same damage type as the original weapon you transformed. You can use your Strength modifier (or Dexterity modifier, if your chosen form's Dexterity score is higher) with the weapon, adding the ability score to your attack and damage rolls. If your chosen form has Multiattack, you can use this weapon with that feature.

    • Tiny animal: 1d4
    • Small: 1d6
    • Medium: 1d8
    • Large: 1d10

    These benefits last until you end this use of Wild Shape.

    Armament Reshaping
    At 6th level, you can incorporate your armor into your Wild Shape feature, transforming it into a form suitable for you and gaining any bonuses it provides to AC. If your chosen form has natural armor, your armor replaces any bonus it provides. Additionally, if you incorporate a magical weapon into your Wild Shape using your Transformed Shape feature, your incorporated weapon counts as magical and you gain any bonus it provides to attack or damage rolls and can use any of its abilities.

    Reconstructed Shape
    Starting at 10th level, when you use your Wild Shape feature, you can gain one of the following abilities in addition to one of those listed under your Transformed Shape feature:

    • Adrenal Injection: As a bonus action, you can take the Dash action and, as part of the same bonus action, choose to spend 1 Hit Die to regain health.
    • Construct in Disguise: Your type changes to construct instead of beast. You gain immunity to poison and the poisoned condition. A creature can make a Perception check (DC = your druid spell save DC) to notice your artificial nature.
    • Reactive Sensors: You gain proficiency with Dexterity saving throws and, when targeted by a melee attack, can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll.
    • Target Marked: You can use the Help action as a bonus action to assist an ally’s attack.

    Alternatively when you Wild Shape, you can choose two of the benefits listed under your Transformed Shape feature and gain both.

    Forcefield Projection
    At 14th level, you gain the ability to project magical aid while using your Wild Shape feature. You can cast blur, heroism or warding bond as a 2nd-level spell once during each use of Wild Shape without requiring material components or using a spell slot. The effects of the spell end if you end your current use of Wild Shape.

    Edit: Thanks to PhoenixPhyre have made some minor changes and added the Metal Armor note.
    Last edited by Ivellius; 2018-06-14 at 03:21 PM.
    DM's Guild Work

    5e Homebrew: The Circle of Progress, a druid circle about becoming a transformer - Winner of 5e Subclass Contest 1 - "It's Technical"

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
    MoleMage's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: D&D 5e Subclass Contest I: It's Technical

    As of yesterday this contest is now closed. Just in case some of you track this thread but not the chat thread, the link to the voting thread is here.

    Great turnout for the first contest. If half of you come back for the second contest and beyond I'll consider it a good run.
    Currently operating the 5e Subclass Contest and the 5e Base Class Contest. Check them out if even just to vote or give feedback, we love that in there.


    My DMsGuild content. Most of it was written with feedback from right here on the forums.

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