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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGirl

    Join Date
    Jun 2021

    Default The NecroDancer (a Bard Subclass)

    I've been working on a NecroDancer subclass for bard in my spare time. None of the existing homebrews or builds really hit what I wanted to exist and play: a bard, who summons backup dancers/fighters/accompanists from the ranks of the undead. This is a bard subclass that would play melee initially, and have melee or range attack styles as options at higher levels.

    I have not been able to play-test yet, though, and I would really appreciate feedback. The specific issues I've been grappling with most recently: the level 14 capstone feels underpowered or too late; the NecroDance feels too situational.

    NecroDance - Starting at 3rd level, you can use a bonus action to spend a Bardic Inspiration die and begin a Necrodance, and summon several undead backup dancers. The area within 10 feet of you is difficult terrain for all creatures except you. When a creature moves into a space within 10 feet of you or starts its turn there they must make a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC, or fall prone. You can use an action to force all creatures within 10 feet of you to make a dexterity saving throw or take 1d4 necrotic damage. The necrotic damage increases to 1d6 at 6th level, 1d8 at 10th level, and 1d10 at 14th level. After 1 minute, the undead return to their rest. A NeroDance requires Concentration.

    Spells and Proficiencies
    When you become a NecroDancer, you gain proficiency in Performance, and have access to the following expanded spells.
    1 Cause Fear
    3 Gentle Repose
    5 Summon Undead
    7 Shadow of Moil
    9 Danse Macabre

    Undead Accompaniment - At level 6, as an action or when you begin a NecroDance, you can start an Undead Accompaniment. It lasts for a minute or until you lose concentration. You raise a swarm of undead monsters, who have the 'undead swarm' statblock (see below).
    You and the swarm share one attack, movement, and bonus action, and your reaction. You can split those actions between yourself and the swarm in any way, including splitting the movement between both units.
    If either you or the swarm does not move in a turn, you must make a concentration save to keep the Accompaniment going - you are out of sync.
    While you have Accompaniment, you have a bonus to Concentration checks and Performance rolls equal to your charisma modifier.
    You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier each day. You regain uses after a long rest.

    Shadow Accompaniment - Starting at level 14, if your undead swarm taken an attack action this round, you can also take an action.

    Undead Swarm: Large swarm made up of medium creatures
    A swarm can partially occupy any other creatures space, and vice versa. It can move through any space that can accommodate a small creature.
    AC 10+your Proficiency Bonus (PB)
    HP 5+5 times your Bard level
    Speed: 25 feet
    Damage Resistance: bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
    Immunities: charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned
    Undead Swarm shares your Proficiency Bonus

    Undead Summon: The Undead Swarm uses your proficiency bonus when making ability checks or saving throws
    Actions: Maul, melee weapon attack: 1d20+your spell attack modifier to hit, reach 5ft, one target. Hit: 1d8+2+PB bludgeoning damage

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The NecroDancer (a Bard Subclass)

    NecroDance - Starting at 3rd level, you can use a bonus action to spend a Bardic Inspiration die and begin a Necrodance, and summon several undead backup dancers. The area within 10 feet of you is difficult terrain for all creatures except you. When a creature moves into a space within 10 feet of you or starts its turn there they must make a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC, or fall prone. You can use an action to force all creatures within 10 feet of you to make a dexterity saving throw or take 1d4 necrotic damage. The necrotic damage increases to 1d6 at 6th level, 1d8 at 10th level, and 1d10 at 14th level. After 1 minute, the undead return to their rest. A NeroDance requires Concentration.
    Ok, this looks really strong at low levels. So it makes you a powerful obsacle for melee enemies - save or fall over, and unless they started close to you they probably don't have the movement to stand up again. Judicious use of your own movement to position yourself well and you could dominate battlefields... well dominate is maybe a bit much, but it is powerful use of inspiration. I guess the power drops off as you have more spell slots to concentrate on and instead of competing with concentrating on nothing, it competes with another spell.

    I don't actually have a problem with either of these - a fun powerful ability that needs some skill to use... a nice design. And one challenge a bard can have is the shortage of spell slots - no arcanenatural recovery, no channel divinity to use in place of spells, no eldritch blast so your non-leveled-spell turns don't suck... Taking the edge off longer adventuring days seems good design, and if it doesn't scale that well? Also fine - it isn't like the basic bard is a slouch at higher levels.

    Spells and Proficiencies
    When you become a NecroDancer, you gain proficiency in Performance, and have access to the following expanded spells.
    1 Cause Fear
    3 Gentle Repose
    5 Summon Undead
    7 Shadow of Moil
    9 Danse Macabre
    Unusual... but I get it. Honestly, I feel that some of these are filling in the gaps - that you feel some pressure to have a spell for every spell level in the range. It may be I don't get the fluff, but shadow of Moil doesn't seem a great fit, and nor gentle repose. In fact it seems like the class is all about the dead geting up and dancing about, not gently reposing at all.



    Undead Accompaniment - At level 6, as an action or when you begin a NecroDance, you can start an Undead Accompaniment. It lasts for a minute or until you lose concentration. You raise a swarm of undead monsters, who have the 'undead swarm' statblock (see below).
    You and the swarm share one attack, movement, and bonus action, and your reaction. You can split those actions between yourself and the swarm in any way, including splitting the movement between both units.
    If either you or the swarm does not move in a turn, you must make a concentration save to keep the Accompaniment going - you are out of sync.
    While you have Accompaniment, you have a bonus to Concentration checks and Performance rolls equal to your charisma modifier.
    You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier each day. You regain uses after a long rest.
    Why does undead swarm have a 25ft movement stat if it shares your movement?

    Other than that is kind of seems strong... it isn't just the damage and the extra scope for opportunity attacks but the fact that it is coupled with the basic NecroDance. It isn't one thing, but rather that it fills a lot of functions OK and with a resource that you will probably have a lot of. It is a fantastic opener to a fight where you don't know if you want to commit a lot of resources.



    Shadow Accompaniment - Starting at level 14, if your undead swarm taken an attack action this round, you can also take an action.
    This seems fine, not so worried at these higher levels as your bigger effects are likely to be concentration spells and you concentration getting congested keeps things in check.



    All in all this looks a) very cool and b) pretty well balanced. I wouldn't worry about feeling the Capstone comes to late or the necrodance is too situational - even if the necrodance is situational, it isn't like it is the only use for bardic inspiration. You can still inspire your allies. Secondly, I don't think it is particularly situational. As for the capstone, I think it is fine as well. It isn't that splashy or powerful but bard 14 abilities rarely are. My one gripe with this is that it pushes choices like warlock dips a bit too hard to have plentiful non-concentration awesome things to do.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    sandmote's Avatar

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    Oct 2017
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    US
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    Default Re: The NecroDancer (a Bard Subclass)

    NecroDance is good for a short range controller, which I really like. Undead Swarm on the other hand should probably just require your action, to both move its speed and attack. I think that would be simpler and solve the awkward difference in speeds. If I understand the RAI though, Undead swarm is probably fine as a capstone. You can now serve as a melee controller in two choke points at once or across a wider face, since you keep Necrodance up as well.

    I think Shadow of Moil is fine (it's a good backup option against a lone target, and it fits okay) but I'd replace Gentle Repose on the expanded spell list. I think Mirror Image would fit really well as a replacement.
    Extended Signature, Woo! Latest Homebrew: 4e Dog-Folk

    Note: was ill, apologies for being gone. Hopefully over it, but responses may be spotty for a few more days.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGirl

    Join Date
    Jun 2021

    Default Re: The NecroDancer (a Bard Subclass)

    Thank you MrStabby and sandmote for the response and feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    Why does undead swarm have a 25ft movement stat if it shares your movement?
    I gave undead swarm that movement, so that it wouldn't be able to move as far as most characters can (though I think I forgot small characters); that way, you'd be guaranteed some movement space left over. I like sandmote's fix of using your action to have the Swarm move and attack both, while keeping the (flavorful, if nothing else) requirement that you and it move.

    I absolutely did feel pressure to have a spell for each level there, which is how Shadow of Moil and Gentle Repose got included; I like the idea of using Mirror Image instead of the latter, but I'm not sure what (if anything?) would replace Shadow.

    It seems like making Undead Swarm's move and action, only take your action, would make it more powerful; I could see forcing a Concentration Save if it gets hit, or weakening its attack/lessening its movement, as ways to bring its power level down.

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