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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by RogueJK View Post
    A homebrew Scholar class could easily be made using the Expert sidekick class from Tasha's as a starting point.
    This was exactly my thought. A non-wizard/rogue scholar that helps others in combat may be the way to go.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    IMO scholar (or Sage) is a background, not an adventuring class. It's what you did before you started adventuring, not the thing that enables adventuring. That's not to say it can't have impact on adventuring.

    Just like I wouldn't expect a Noble class or a Hermit class or a Soldier class.

    If you want a non-caster former scholar now adventuring, take one of the very few non-caster class/subclass combinations and ad an appropriate background of choice. Sage, Acolyte and Hermit are the traditional ones from the PHB.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reach Weapon View Post
    I see the non-caster scholar as covering characters like Indiana Jones, where cleverness and relentlessness fuel success.
    As I was scrolling through the thread, I started thinking about characters in fiction who could be described as both scholars and adventurers, and Indiana Jones popped into my head not long before I scrolled down to your post. Coincidence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    The game just seems stuck in thinking that rogues need to be the be-all, end-all of characters who aren't warriors but also don't cast magic.
    Truth. Fighter is great as a blank slate, but rogue has too much of its flavor baked in to its features, with things like Sneak Attack, Thieves' Cant, and thieves' tools. I remember once trying to build a doctor character, and Sneak Attack kind of made sense based on his knowledge of anatomy, but the rest did not. It would certainly be nice to have a few other options for non-magical skill monkeys.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Scholar, WIP.
    Interesting, you took this in quite a different direction than my WIP. It will be interesting to compare once we've fleshed out our concepts more.

    I started a WIP of my own, and it's starting to come together.

    I gave it a d6 hit die, reasoning that they're probably not any tougher than a wizard. But they get medium armor (they are a warrior scholar, after all), so they'll at least have decent AC. I'm also giving them Uncanny Dodge or something like it, so they can still be somewhat resilient, but the lack of a shield and lower HP will encourage them to stick to the back line.

    I'm a bit worried I might have them getting too much at 1st level. Currently, they get four features: Monster Lore (basically Favored Foe, but it extends to all INT and WIS checks related to that creature type), Bonus Languages (four of them, in addition to the one from Monster Lore), Expertise, and Ballistics. I feel like the bonus languages would be the first on the chopping block, since they already get extra languages from Monster Lore, but I feel like there isn't really a class that specializes in languages and this one should be the one that does.

    Ballistics allows you to use INT with your ranged weapons. It also allows you to use a bonus action to calculate projectile trajectory so you can shoot in an arc. This doubles your range and allows you to ignore cover, including full cover (so long as there is a path for the projectile to arc through). Keep in mind that you have disadvantage on the attack if you can't see the target (e.g. if they are behind full cover). The way this is worded, the bonus action effects apply to any ranged attack, including thrown weapons or spells (I might have been thinking about my previous Eldritch Sniper concept). This makes it an interesting ability to dip for, but not a ridiculous one.

    Typically a class gets a damage bump at 5th and 11th level, but I decided to go a different path for this. The scholar is supposed to be a support class, not a DPR class. So at 5th level you get Distracting Ramble. Once on your turn, when you attack a creature you can impose disadvantage on their next attack. Note that you don't have to hit; this combos nicely with Ballistics letting you reach behind full cover. You can also use this ability to try and distract a crowd by making an INT check with proficiency against their passive Insight. If you succeed, that creature will listen to you ramble for 1 minute, imposing disadvantage on their Perception checks and giving advantage on attacks against them.

    Then, at 11th level, your rambling can lower a target's guard. When an affected target makes a save, they subtract 1d6 from their save, once per round. This is in addition to imposing disadvantage on their next attack, and it also works with the crowd version (e.g. for a Mass Suggestion).

    At this point, I have everything up until 14th level filled out, so I don't think I have any more room for lower level features. Which is a shame, because I still have some ideas for some. One of them was adding your INT mod to Persuasion checks thanks to your ability to reason out an argument with logic. Being a class that gets lots of languages, it made sense to give them more social features, but not too many since scholars aren't exactly known for people skills (Persuasion is a class skill though for exactly this reason, and because logical arguments). TBH, making a logical argument should probably be an INT (Persuasion) check anyway.

    Not sure about a capstone or high level features. I have some ideas for subclasses, though.

    Arcanist. Boring version is that it's a half or third caster subclass. Less boring version is that they're not a caster at all, but do study magic. They record spells in a book, not a spellbook but a normal book with normal ink, and they're not restricted by class lists. They can do ritual casting, and can scribe scrolls, but don't get spell slots. I'm playing with the idea of having them create makeshift scrolls at the end of a long rest, but I suppose that's just spell slots by another name. Another idea is counterspelling a spell by brandishing a matching spell focus (which will require you to know what kind of spellcaster the enemy is), and possibly only when the spell is targeting you (so maybe something more akin to the lightning redirect from Avatar: The Last Airbender).

    Monster Hunter. You know those big game hunters that go to Africa to hunt lions or elephants or whatever with the safari hats and blunderbusses? Yeah, that. A more combat oriented subclass, they would probably get additional combat-related benefits from their monster lore, but also just be more competent in combat in general. Monster lore would be a nice extra, not the crux of the subclass. Not sure why this came to mind as a scholar subclass, but I think it oddly fits.

    Monster Tamer. The subclass for those who want to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is their real test, to train them is their cause. So maybe a Beastmaster who doesn't suck? Implementation could be a problem. If you're meant to tame a variety of monsters as you meet them, where do you keep them when you're not using them? TBH, if we're not using a pokeball analogue, then this concept might work better by having a companion that can copy or possess a monster, so instead of actually taming the monster you're having an already friendly ally become the monster. In any case, an important aspect of this concept is collection; you're not just going to tame a monster at 3rd level and keep it until the end of the campaign, you'll want to tame new monsters as you encounter them, and maybe switch between them. Possibly a modified version of Find Familiar could be used for this.

    Beyond that, perhaps a tactician, poet, or archaeologist subclass could also be good options. I'll need to get the base chassis down before I start working on subclasses, but I've got a few ideas so far.
    Last edited by Greywander; 2021-09-18 at 07:11 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5eNeedsDarksun View Post
    I'm thinking back to older editions where Int got you more proficiency slots that could be used effectively for a fighter. It's a shame there isn't some benefit like that in 5e, so Int is just a dump stat. I know one of my players (running a 20 Int Wizard) often said, 'Why the heck would I be hanging around with these guys?' referring to the rest of the group where every other character was 8 Int. I don't think he was all wrong.
    They are his slaves/peons, thatís why heís hanging out with them.

    When I play wizard thatís how I role played my attitude towards the rest of the party.
    Last edited by Gignere; 2021-09-20 at 12:06 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    I think Grod The Giant made some classes along this vein. Can't find them at the moment, but check his stuff-if I recall correctly, he's already taken a stab at this.
    I went through a bunch of iterations, but I don't think I ever managed a great scholar-type class. The closest I got was a muddled mess that offloaded its main schtick onto wildly different subclasses. I eventually wound up breaking it up into a couple different classes:
    • The Alchemist from my Guide, which is a straight up spellcaster with some quirky rules about how their spells work to make them feel more like potions and poisons.
    • The Magewight from my Guide, who's my version of the Artificer. Think the published class, but replace all the spellcasting and unique infusions with extra Replicate Magic Items you get to shift around during long rests.
    • "Mundane healer" subclasses for the Fighter and Rogue, also in my Guide.
    • The Archivist from my Grimoire, who's sort of a full spellcaster, but with a very limited set of combat magics (Voodoo curses and blessings) and a massively expanded set of ritual magic.
    • The Warlord from my Grimoire, who's a purely-mundane-support class with auras and party-aiding reactions. Not very scholarly, but it wouldn't be hard to swap Charisma for Intelligence and do a bit of refluffing.

    Your take looks like it'll wind up being a much more direct and faithful take on the concept, though.

    It might also be worth looking for non-casting Bard homebrew; there's a lot of overlap between "charismatic leader" and "all-knowing support." I don't know how many exist for 5e, though; I did one for 3.5e but it's not even remotely import-able.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2021-09-21 at 02:31 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    I'd think you could get reasonably close without having to homebrew a new class. Just go with the appropriate background and a high int & wis Inquisitive Rogue with a 1 lvl Ranger dip... or even 2 lvls ranger if you don't mind reflavouring some of the spells as less magic-y.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: What would a scholarly, non-caster class look like?

    Spoiler: OP's Second post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    As I was scrolling through the thread, I started thinking about characters in fiction who could be described as both scholars and adventurers, and Indiana Jones popped into my head not long before I scrolled down to your post. Coincidence?


    Truth. Fighter is great as a blank slate, but rogue has too much of its flavor baked in to its features, with things like Sneak Attack, Thieves' Cant, and thieves' tools. I remember once trying to build a doctor character, and Sneak Attack kind of made sense based on his knowledge of anatomy, but the rest did not. It would certainly be nice to have a few other options for non-magical skill monkeys.


    Interesting, you took this in quite a different direction than my WIP. It will be interesting to compare once we've fleshed out our concepts more.

    I started a WIP of my own, and it's starting to come together.

    I gave it a d6 hit die, reasoning that they're probably not any tougher than a wizard. But they get medium armor (they are a warrior scholar, after all), so they'll at least have decent AC. I'm also giving them Uncanny Dodge or something like it, so they can still be somewhat resilient, but the lack of a shield and lower HP will encourage them to stick to the back line.

    I'm a bit worried I might have them getting too much at 1st level. Currently, they get four features: Monster Lore (basically Favored Foe, but it extends to all INT and WIS checks related to that creature type), Bonus Languages (four of them, in addition to the one from Monster Lore), Expertise, and Ballistics. I feel like the bonus languages would be the first on the chopping block, since they already get extra languages from Monster Lore, but I feel like there isn't really a class that specializes in languages and this one should be the one that does.

    Ballistics allows you to use INT with your ranged weapons. It also allows you to use a bonus action to calculate projectile trajectory so you can shoot in an arc. This doubles your range and allows you to ignore cover, including full cover (so long as there is a path for the projectile to arc through). Keep in mind that you have disadvantage on the attack if you can't see the target (e.g. if they are behind full cover). The way this is worded, the bonus action effects apply to any ranged attack, including thrown weapons or spells (I might have been thinking about my previous Eldritch Sniper concept). This makes it an interesting ability to dip for, but not a ridiculous one.

    Typically a class gets a damage bump at 5th and 11th level, but I decided to go a different path for this. The scholar is supposed to be a support class, not a DPR class. So at 5th level you get Distracting Ramble. Once on your turn, when you attack a creature you can impose disadvantage on their next attack. Note that you don't have to hit; this combos nicely with Ballistics letting you reach behind full cover. You can also use this ability to try and distract a crowd by making an INT check with proficiency against their passive Insight. If you succeed, that creature will listen to you ramble for 1 minute, imposing disadvantage on their Perception checks and giving advantage on attacks against them.

    Then, at 11th level, your rambling can lower a target's guard. When an affected target makes a save, they subtract 1d6 from their save, once per round. This is in addition to imposing disadvantage on their next attack, and it also works with the crowd version (e.g. for a Mass Suggestion).

    At this point, I have everything up until 14th level filled out, so I don't think I have any more room for lower level features. Which is a shame, because I still have some ideas for some. One of them was adding your INT mod to Persuasion checks thanks to your ability to reason out an argument with logic. Being a class that gets lots of languages, it made sense to give them more social features, but not too many since scholars aren't exactly known for people skills (Persuasion is a class skill though for exactly this reason, and because logical arguments). TBH, making a logical argument should probably be an INT (Persuasion) check anyway.

    Not sure about a capstone or high level features. I have some ideas for subclasses, though.

    Arcanist. Boring version is that it's a half or third caster subclass. Less boring version is that they're not a caster at all, but do study magic. They record spells in a book, not a spellbook but a normal book with normal ink, and they're not restricted by class lists. They can do ritual casting, and can scribe scrolls, but don't get spell slots. I'm playing with the idea of having them create makeshift scrolls at the end of a long rest, but I suppose that's just spell slots by another name. Another idea is counterspelling a spell by brandishing a matching spell focus (which will require you to know what kind of spellcaster the enemy is), and possibly only when the spell is targeting you (so maybe something more akin to the lightning redirect from Avatar: The Last Airbender).

    Monster Hunter. You know those big game hunters that go to Africa to hunt lions or elephants or whatever with the safari hats and blunderbusses? Yeah, that. A more combat oriented subclass, they would probably get additional combat-related benefits from their monster lore, but also just be more competent in combat in general. Monster lore would be a nice extra, not the crux of the subclass. Not sure why this came to mind as a scholar subclass, but I think it oddly fits.

    Monster Tamer. The subclass for those who want to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is their real test, to train them is their cause. So maybe a Beastmaster who doesn't suck? Implementation could be a problem. If you're meant to tame a variety of monsters as you meet them, where do you keep them when you're not using them? TBH, if we're not using a pokeball analogue, then this concept might work better by having a companion that can copy or possess a monster, so instead of actually taming the monster you're having an already friendly ally become the monster. In any case, an important aspect of this concept is collection; you're not just going to tame a monster at 3rd level and keep it until the end of the campaign, you'll want to tame new monsters as you encounter them, and maybe switch between them. Possibly a modified version of Find Familiar could be used for this.

    Beyond that, perhaps a tactician, poet, or archaeologist subclass could also be good options. I'll need to get the base chassis down before I start working on subclasses, but I've got a few ideas so far.



    It seems to me you really just want to homebrew a class that fits your desires, rather than use the current class system available to build a character within the framework of the established game. I completely understand that desire and encourage it.

    As others have already stated, there are numerous ways to get to a scholar like character within the bounds of the system without having to homebrew an entire class. Feel free to use or not use those.

    I think however, there is a better solution than homebrewing an entire class, which is to change how intelligence skills work. Currently, the stupidest thing that occurred within the 5e development was the discarding of the 4th edition monster manuals. They were fantastic. (I think 3rd had some of these features as well.) Each monster manual entry had a DC associated with a knowledge check, letting characters who made them learn the various history and tactics the monsters used. Further, a homebrew rule my table used was dividing your result by 5 and giving you that many questions to ask about specific monster defenses.
    • AC
    • Weakest Save
    • Strongest save
    • Best attack
    • Worst attack
    • Special abilities
    • Weaknesses
    • Resistances
    • Special Senses


    This allowed players to then make informed decisions in character about how to fight the said monster. I think working with your DM to bring back some of the reward for knowledge checks would really develop the abilities of intelligence characters to do cool helpful stuff without directly fighting. I think developing the skill system a little more would enable that feeling. From there, if that still doesn't scratch the itch, I would instead think making a rogue subclass that interacts with the Knowledge Skills might feel better than creating an entire new class. Example below.

    Rogue Subclass - The Travelling Scholar

    3rd Level Part 1 - Gain 2 Intelligence skills and give expertise into one of them. Further, as a bonus action you may now make intelligence checks as a bonus action and you treat any die roll of a 7 or less as an 8 in regards to knowledge checks. When you make a successful knowledge check on a monster (use the difficulty DC chart as a guide to set the DC based on the lore of the game world) You learn a piece of knowledge based on my list above.

    3rd Level part 2 - Helpful Strike - If the Scholar deals sneak attack to an enemy, they can choose not deal damage and hold those dice in reserve until the beginning of their next turn. Representing the Scholar distracting the enemy, or giving helpful advice they may give those dice to characters as they make attacks at the same creature. Letting them roll those dice for either to-hit rolls or damage. Similarly to bardic inspiration.

    Something like that.
    Last edited by BoutsofInsanity; 2021-09-23 at 09:22 AM.
    I am BoutsofInsanity and my name isn't a metaphor.


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