This week I've been messing around with the Echo knight - fighter sub-class.
Long story short, it allows the fighter to tap into fragments of other timelines, to use those echo's of themselves to act from a secondary location on the battle field.

As I've been looking around online, what I found was a weird mix of "OMG so powerful" and "What do you mean, it isn't a creature?" (and various other things that are apparently a result of unclear rules/writing) and finally a bunch of "sounds about right, but unfortunately...".

My hope for this thread, is that we can find some possible changes to this class (mostly to its level 3 features), that are both balanced, fun and most importantly, make more sense than the current weirdness that is "Manifest Echo".
(Note that for the full write up on the echo knight, please see: Explorers guide to Wildemount, page 183)

So, let us start at the things that I feel are weird/odd/wrong about the official rules. Per ability I'll throw in some suggestions/ideas on what to change and then... hopefully... away we go.

Do the echo's in here sound wrong to you?
Like I said above, the majority of the weirdness/issues for me are in the 3rd level abilities. But because I like thinking and writing, I'll add something about 7th level (pretend like the echo is a familiar and scout through its senses) ability as well.

Manifest Echo
Let's start here, as this is the bread and butter of the class. And it is also the main source of vagueness and (to me) immersion breaking rules/interpretations.
  • The echo is an object
  • Can move 30 ft in any direction (that includes straight up)
  • Can't influence the world in anyway except though the actions you can make through it and by occupying it's space.

The fact that it's an object means quite a few things. Things like: moving out of threatened range can't trigger attacks of opportunities against the Echo (as the description for those specifically mentions creatures); A large chunk of the damage spells can't hurt it (again specifically mention creatures); Can't use skills like Stealth etc.
The move in any direction can be quite useful (Eat big pointy swords Mr Flying-critter), but to me also seriously breaks the idea of the Echo being from a slightly different timeline (is the floor 30ft higher in that timeline? Or can alternate me levitate?)
The last one, influencing the world, is a lot more nebulous. Can it trigger tripwires? How about pressure plates? Can it open doors? Or open one in their reality, thus skipping the door in this one? (More relevant when combined with the 7th level ability, as most of the time you can just look through a keyhole and summon it on the other side of the door)

So yeah, all together I have a hard time seeing the echo as an "alternate me", due to the way the whole thing works.
One example is: The enemy sees me pull all kinds of stunts with the Echo. The echo moves past the enemy... and suddenly the enemy won't use an attack of opportunity to deny our side a favorable position?
So yeah, this is the main reason I'd like to tweak this subclass somewhat.

Initial suggestion:
  • I'd treat the Echo like a creature (to a degree) - This will require it to be boosted on the survivability to balance it out. (more HP (1d4 per level of Echo knight + 1d4 for every 2 levels of non-Echo Knight?) or AC or evasion?)
  • While the movement is still to be initiated by the Knight, I'd give the echo the same movements as the Knight themselves. Letting the echo move in a realistic way, like an alternate timeline version should.
  • For senses, maybe let the Echo Knight focus (bonus action?) to be able to discern something about what the Echo sees?
  • Specify exactly what the physicality of the Echo is. Does it trigger traps? Does it have a weight? Can it interact with things? And to what degree? And what (bonus)action does this take on the part of the Knight? (And to what degree will we boost this in Avatar mode? (level 7 ability))
  • I'd let the Echo take the hide action, probably at the cost of a action on the part of the Knight (Or maybe as a bonus action, when the Knight uses their action to hide themselves?)

Unleash Incarnation
Realistically, there's nothing wrong with this ability. However, there's one little, annoying, word that locks out a whole type of play styles. Specifically archers. (Sure, it - together with the basis in Manifest Echo - also lock out magic users, but I feel like that was intentional)
The problematic wording here is " can make one additional melee attack...".

Initial suggestion: Change this to read " can make one additional weapon attack..."

Echo Avatar
I actually like this ability as written/explained. Namely: You can't do anything with it, except move and see through it senses. (Aka, no fighting/teleporting/etc)
(Well, okay, I might have ideas about being able to use skill (stealth) roles and such... but the basis is good).
(Well, okay, two things, in the official version, your echo is an object. Aka, no sight, hearing, etc. Yet we are using ITs eyes and ears... are you sure we can hear something?)

I'm not going to suggest anything for this one (yet), but let me paint you a picture:
You use your action to start sensing through your echo.
You move a good distance away and think "Wouldn't it be great if the real me was here?"
So at the start of your (mostly theoretical turn), you drop the "Echo avatar" as a free action. Which means at the end of your turn, your echo will despawn.
But as you still have all your actions for that turn... you use your bonus action and teleport there.
(Which is fully legal as written and even as interpreted. We never used any ability while using the Avatar ability, we used it right after)

Initial suggestion: Okay, I lied, I'm still going to suggest something.
  • For the senses, specify that you'll use your normal senses while in Avatar mode.
  • For using things... I'm torn. Having the ability to open a door would make it a far better scout... but having it able to trigger traps and such, would make it too good probably.
  • For skills like stealth. I'm not entirely sure if I'd add them here, or add it to the Echo as a whole (as mentioned above)
  • Finally, as for the teleporting. I'd say, allow it. Formalize it, but limit it somehow. (Con mod per long rest uses? Fixed 1/2 per long rest uses? Or a cost in terms of how you arrive (flat footed or maybe with a level of exhaustion that goes away if you don't do anything strenuous for x time?)?

!Bonus Round!
Finally, a suggestion that boosts "Manifest Echo" over the levels. But would probably be given out as parts of different abilities. And is mostly separate from the whole.
So my brilliant idea: Increase the range your echo can be from the Echo Knight as your levels in the class increase (I'm thinking 60ft at level 10 and 90ft at level 18)?

Finally, a little guidance on what I'm looking for:
I'd love if this would result in a "this looks great and balanced and would be a perfect swap for the normal Echo Knight."
But that's hard to do in world with min/maxers and other lovely D&D players with various styles.
What I'll settle for is: This will be fun, mostly balanced and playable.

So please, do tell me what you think of these changes/what changes you'd recommend making.