Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything includes new subclasses for DMs and players to explore! They include the following:
- Artificer: Alchemist, Armorer, Artillerist, & Battle Smith
- Barbarian: Path of the Beast & Path of Wild Magic
- Bard: College of Creation & College of Eloquence
- Cleric: Order Domain, Peace Domain, Twilight
- Druid: Circle of Spores, Circle of Stars, & Circle of Wildfire
- Fighter: Psi Warrior & Rune Knight
- Monk: Way of Mery & Way of the Astral Self
- Paladin: Oath of Glory & Oath of Watchers
- Ranger: Fey Wanderer & Swarmkeeper
- Rogue: Phantom & Soul Knife
- Sorcerer Subclasses: Aberrant Mind & Clockwork Sorcerer
- Warlock Subclasses: Fathomless & Genie
- Wizard Subclasses: Bladesong & Scribe
Each of these has features, spells and abilities that set them part. Here is what players and DMs need to understand about these subclasses BEFORE you start playing!
This is an extensive commentary on each subclass, if you want to skip to a specific part of the article, just use the links below!
The Alchemist is one of the best supports that doesn’t strictly use spells or concentration.
Tools of the Trade
The Alchemist gains proficiency in alchemy tools or another of the Artisan’s Tools if they have alchemy tools already.
At 3rd level, the Alchemist gains Experimental Elixir. Every long rest, the alchemist can use their alchemy tools to create a random Experimental Elixir. The elixir type is decided by the chart below. The alchemist can also create more elixirs of any type on the table by expending a level one spell slot or above. It takes an action to consume the elixir or force-feed it to another creature. The number of elixirs created very long rest increases to 2 at 6th level and 3 at 15th level that will also be randomly selected by the chart and will need their own flasks.
The Alchemist spell list provides a mix of healing spells, damage spells, and utility. The standouts among them include the Flaming Sphere, Mass Healing Word, Death Ward, and Cloudkill.
3rd Healing Word, Ray of Sickness
5th Flaming Sphere, Melf’s Acid Arrow
9th Gaseous Form, Mass Healing Word
13th Blight, Death Ward
17th Cloudkill, Raise Dead
At 5th level, the Alchemist gains Alchemical Savant. Whenever the alchemist casts a spell using their alchemy tools, the alchemist can add its intelligence modifier to one of the rolls for healing and damage spells. This ability only adds damage to spells that deals acid, fire, necrotic, or poison damage.
At 9th level, the Alchemist gains Restorative Reagents.
- When a creature drinks an Experimental Elixir, they gain 2d6 + Intelligence Modifier temporary hit points.
- The alchemist can cast lesser restoration without a spell slot or material components as long as the spell is cast using alchemy tools a number of times equal to the alchemist’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
At 15th level, the Alchemist gains Chemical Mastery. Long term exposure to chemicals has had an effect on the Alchemist.
- The alchemist now has resistant to poison and acid damage with immunity to the poisoned condition
- The alchemist can now cast Greater Restoration and Heal without a spell slot without spell slots or physical components as long as they use their alchemy tools to cast them once per long rest each.
Understanding the Alchemist
Experimental Elixir uncouples the Alchemist from concentration and opens them up to a lot of buff handouts. Being freed from the concentration bottle neck also means they can mix and match abilities. For example, an Alchemist can take an Elixir of Flight and then cast Haste on themselves or an ally. Most of the Elixirs are based on 1st or 2nd level spells, but they come pre-made and can be handed out ahead of time thereby freeing up the Alchemist’s turn during combat.
Restorative Reagents is an improvement on the base Elixirs ability and to keep the Alchemist from having to burn through spell slots to undo debuffs dealt by enemies. Chemical Mastery follows the move away from using so many spell slots, but provides a measure of defense with resistance to Acid and Poison.
The spells and features spell out a Cleric approach to combat focused on undoing the worst of the conditions handed out by the enemy. In terms of slots, however, it is far more efficient. A lot of the time, the Alchemist will be casting spells during combat and will be heavily reliant upon their subclass spells for damage.
Overall, the Alchemist is a non-traditional support caster that relies greatly on preparation and the ability to mix and match abilities ahead of time. Any DM should listen carefully when the Alchemist is gearing up for an encounter since they can dictate the Party’s approach.
The Armorer is somehow the tank and the stealth expert of the Artificer subclasses.
At 3rd level, the Armorer gains Tools of the Trade, Arcane Armor, and Armor Model.
Tools of the Trade
The Armorer gains proficiency in smith’s tools or another of the Artisan’s Tools if they have smith’s tools already. They also gain proficiency with heavy armor.
The Armorer can use smith’s tools as an action to turn a suit of armor into Arcane Armor. The armorer gains the following benefits when wearing the Arcane Armor.
- The armor has no strength requirement
- It counts as an arcane focus for artificer spells
- The armor cannot be removed from the Armorer without the Armorer’s permission, can expand to cover the entire body or retract to normal proportions as a bonus action, and replace and act as missing limbs.
The Arcane Armor takes one of two models: Guardian and Infiltrator. The model can be changed on a short or long rest using the smith’s tools. Both come with a special weapon that can use intelligence for attack and damage rolls.
The Guardian is a front-line fighting model and has the following features.
- Thunder Gauntlets: both gauntlets attached to the armor count as simple weapons so long as the hands are empty and deal 1d8 thunder damage. When a creature is hit by this attack, it has disadvantage on hitting anyone besides the Armorer.
- Defensive Field: as a bonus action, the Armorer can gain temporary points equal to the Armorer’s level which replaces any temporary hit points they already have. These go away if the armor is removed. This bonus action can be used a number of times equal to the Armorer’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
The Infiltrator is a stealth model and has the following features.
- Lightning Launcher: this is a simple ranged weapon with a short range of 90 ft. and a long range of 300 ft. It deals 1d6 lighting damage on a hit. This can deal an extra 1d6 lighting damage once per turn.
- Powered Steps: walking speed increases 5 ft.
- Dampening Field: the Armorer has advantage on stealth checks unless the armor gives disadvantage on stealth naturally they roll with neither disadvantage nor advantage as normal.
The Armorer Spell list provides a number of offensive spells with dips into both crowd control and stealth. The standouts among them are Mirror Image, Hypnotic Pattern, Lightning Bolt, and Greater Invisibility. The spell list, in particular, complements the subclass well not just mechanically but also flavorfully. There are enough spells to feel like a soldier mounted up with the latest weapons and deflector shields galore. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
3rd Magic Missile, Thunderwave
5th Mirror Image, Shatter
9th Hypnotic Pattern, Lightning Bolt
13th Fire Shield, Greater Invisibility
17th Passwall, Wall of Force
At 5th level, the Armorer gains Extra Attack. When the Armorer takes the Attack action, it may attack twice.
At 9th level, the Armorer gains Armor Modifications. The armor counts as five separate pieces (chest piece, gauntlets, helmet, and special weapon) for the purposes of infusions. If the armor model changes over, it retains the infusions. The Armorer’s total infusions increase by two so long as they are part of the armor.
At 15th level, the Armorer gains Perfected Armor which augments their two armor sets.
- Guardian: When a creature of huge or smaller ends its turn within 30 ft., the Armorer can use its reaction to force the creature to make a Strength saving throw. On a successful save, nothing happens. On a failure, the creature is pulled to an empty space around the armorer within range. If it is within 5 ft. of the Armorer, the Armorer can make a melee weapon attack against the creature as part of the same reaction. This can only be used a number of times equal to the proficiency bonus every long rest.
- Infiltrator: when a creature is hit by the Lighting Launcher, it glows with dim light in a 5 ft. radius and the creature has disadvantage on attacks against the Armorer. The next attack roll on that creature has advantage and if the roll hits the creature takes an additional 1d6 lighting damage.
Understanding the Armorer
The Tools of the Trade on this one provides heavy armor which is essential to making half of these features work. The Arcane Armor removes the strength requirement as well, allowing the armorer to focus on both Intelligence and Constitution.
The Guardian variation on the armor is an aggro tank that makes hitting them the best option and provides them the temporary hit to take the hits. The Infiltrator provides a ranged option and enough movement speed to keep barely out of reach of an enemy.
The Extra Attack just allows them to be viable as a martial class focused on weapons, but things get interesting at Armor Modifications. The Armor Modifications will make this subclass. There are too many avenues to describe here, but they will provide even more defensive options via Replicable Items.
Perfected Armor augments the two given roles of the armorer. The Guadian upgrade amplifies the tank role and the size limit means they can drag a giant to them and beat them. The infiltrator upgrade is a way to debuff the enemy but does not provide much damage for a 15th level ability. The player would do well to remember all of the add ons to damage from all the abilities that stack with the Lighting Launcher.
The armorer lives up to its name, putting the Paladin and Eldritch Knight Armor Classes to shame while still not giving up the ambush approach if necessary. The armorer is ideal for a player who wants to feel like Iron Man with a full-frontal attack prepared or special ops soldier with the latest technology providing them an edge in ambush combat.
DMs should remember that this subclass can change between these roles on a rest. The artificer is a preparation-based class and this subclass leans on that even harder. They are good in both the company of both Rogues and Paladins.
Important to note as well, this subclass makes playing a character with a missing limb or physical disability extremely easy. There is no flavoring needed; the armor takes care of that entirely.
Artillerist likes to make things explode. Short, simple, and to the point, this subclass is a blaster.
At the 3rd level, the Artillerist gains Tool Proficiency and Eldritch Cannon.
The Artillerist gains proficiency in woodcarver’s tools or another of the Artisan’s Tools if they have woodcarver’s tools already.
Using an action, the Artillerist can use Woodcarver’s tools or Smith’s tools to summon a small or tiny cannon on a horizontal surface. This can be done once per long rest or at the cost of a spell slot. Only one of these can exist at a time. It is a magical item with the following statistics:
- AC of 18 and hit points of five times the Artillerist’s level
- Immunity to Psychic and Poison damage
- A 10 (+0) for all stats
- It can be healed 2d6 hit points with a casting of the Mending spell
- Disappears if reduced to 0 hit points or at the end of an hour. It can be dismissed as an hour.
The cannon can be commanded as a bonus action to activate its ability and move 15 ft. There are three forms the cannon can take:
The Artillerist spell list is filled with oodles upon oodles of offensive options and exactly two defensives spells. The standouts are Shield, Fireball, Cone of Cold, and Wall of Force. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
Level Artillerist Spells
3rd Shield, Thunderwave
5th Scorching Ray, Shatter
9th Fireball, Wind Wall
13th Ice Storm, Wall of Fire
17th Cone of Cold, Wall of Force
At 5th level, the Artillerist gains Arcane Firearm. On a long rest, the Artillerist can use it’s wood carving tools to create an Arcane Firearm by engraving runes on a wand, staff, or rod. This Arcane Firearm counts as an spell casting focus for Artificer spells and when used this way adds a d8 of damage to one of the dice rolled for a damaging spell.
At 9th level, the Artillerist gains Explosive Cannon.
- All cannon damage rolls go up by a d8
- The Artillerist can issue a self-destruct command as an action within 60 ft. of the cannon. Each creature within 20 ft. of the cannon must make a Dexterity saving throw against the Artillerist’s DC. They take 3d8 force damage on a failure and half as much on a success.
At 15th level, the Artillerist gains Fortified Position.
- Allies have half cover while within 10 ft. of the Eldritch Cannon thanks to a translucent energy shield
- Two cannons can now be active simultaneously. Two can be summoned with the same action, but not the same spell slot and both can be fired with the same bonus action. The cannons do not have to be the same type.
Understanding the Artillerist
The Eldritch Cannon feature offers a short-range shotgun blast effect, a sniping tool, and a damage-dampening field effectively. The cannon can move, but this feature lends itself to slow advances or holding a single position. Speed is not going to be a strong suit.
Arcane Firearm reinforces this subclasses’ role as a caster with a secondary damaging feature. Explosive Cannon adds more damage and a self-destruct feature that you gotta admit is like every techy in a spy movie. Fortified Position provides even more defense with half cover (AC and Dex saves) with two cannons providing a lot more battlefield coverage. Without an exhaustive list of all the combinations, the
A running feature with artificer subclasses is their slow, stacking approach to damage. There’s no one feature that does all of the work, but the total output of all pieces working together. That being said, the subclass spells kind of spits in the face of that idea since this one gets a solid damage Area of Effect spell at each spell level.
For players that just want to hit hard every turn and enjoy the mad bomber feel in a game, the Artillerist is a great choice.
Battle Smiths to reduce the amount of incoming damage as much as they can and fix the broken parts as they are happening.
At 3rd level, the Battle Smith gains Tool Proficiency, Battle Ready and Steel Defender.
The Battle Smith gains proficiency in smith’s tools or another of the Artisan’s Tools if they have smith’s tools already.
Battle Ready provides foundational proficiencies for the subclass.
- Proficiency in Martial Weapons
- When the Battle Smith makes an attack with a magic weapon, it can use its Intelligence instead of Strength or Dexterity for damage and attack rolls.
The Steel Defender is a creation of the Battle Smith’s own design. It acts on the Battle Smith’s initiative and takes its turn immediately after the Battle Smith. It only takes the Dodge action unless ordered to take any of the normal actions or one of the ones in its stat block. If the Battle Smith is incapacitated, the Steel Defender can take actions besides the Dodge action.
The Steel Defender can be healed 2d6 hit points if the spell Mending is cast on it. If it dies, it can be resurrected by using smith’s tools and a level 1 spell slot or above as an action to resurrect it as an action. One minute after that action, the defender returns to life with all its hit points. A Steel Defender can also be recreated on a long rest.
The bulk of the Battle Smith’s spells focus mostly on defense and support. The standouts among them are Shield, Warding Bond, Aura of Vitality, and Mass Cure Wounds. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
3rd Heroism, Shield
5th Branding Smite, Warding Bond
9th Aura of Vitality, Conjure Barrage
13th Aura of Purity, Fire Shield
17th Banishing Smite, Mass Cure Wounds
At 5th level, the Battle Smith gains Extra Attack. When the Battle Smith takes the Attack action, it may attack twice.
At 9th level, the Battle Smith gains Arcane Jolt. Arcane Jolt amplifies the striking power of the Battle Smith. When the Steel Defender or the Battle Smith hits with a magical weapon, the Battle Smith can use one of the following effects once per turn:
- Deal an extra 2d6 force damage
- Choose one creature or object within 30 ft. and restore 2d6 hit points
This ability can be used a number of times equal to the Battle Smith’s Proficiency bonus every long rest.
At 15th level, the Battle Smith gains Improved Defender. Arcane Jolt and the Steel Defender both beef up.
- Aracne Jolt’s healing and damage increase to 4d6
- the Steel Defender adds 2 to its AC
- When the Steel Defender uses its Deflect attack reaction, the attack takes 1d4 + Artificer’s Intelligence modifier force damage
Understanding the Battle Smith
Players at my table have lovingly referred to it as the “Paladin subclass of Artificer” due to its spell list. Interestingly enough though, the smite spells it have are not limited to melee weapons like the Paladin’s Divine Smite. The smite spells they have are actually compatible with ranged attacks. This class can easily slip into melee combat since it has defensive spells at every level, specifically Shield.
Thanks to Battle Ready, this subclass can be extremely viable with only good Intelligence and Constitution. The Steel Defender is a scaling, powered-up familiar that can attack and defend basically every turn. It does have self-sustain with its repair feature and it will have full health every short rest so long as the Artificer takes Mending so it can handle multiple fights in a day.
A drawback to the Steel Defender needing to be ordered with a bonus action is that it bottlenecks against the smite spells the subclass provides, meaning that every turn their bonus action will be a variable.
Arcane Jolt provides some team healing or parasitic power to Battle Smith. This rounds out the subclasses’ role as a support tank with a bump in damage. While many artificer subclasses require planning, because of the spells and Steel Defender, this subclass can react well to a dangerous situation at the drop of a hat.
When DMing for this subclass, it is important to note that their turn may take a while since they to control their Steel Defender and have many choices for their bonus action. Be sure to let them know that their turn is coming up so they can prepare.
Path of the Beast
Path of the Beast is a highly variable brawler subclass designed to provide more strategy per turn than simply hitting hard.
Form of the Beast
At 3rd level, the Beast Barbarian gains Form of the Beast. This feature lets a Barbarian choose between three features to shift into each time they rage:
- Bite: the Beast Barbarian manifests great jaws that can be used for an attack for a d8 piercing damage. If the Beast Barbarian is beneath half health, it may regain hit points equal to the damage done with the jaws once per turn.
- Claws: The Beast Barbarian’s hands turn into claws and can be used for weapons so long as they are empty. The deal a d6 piercing damage and when used to make an attack, an additional claw attack may be made as part of the same attack action.
- Tail: the Beast Barbarian grows a prehensile tail. When a creature within 10 ft. makes an attack roll against the Beast Barbarian and hits, the Beast Barbarian use its reaction to roll a d8 and add the number to their AC potentially causing the attack to miss.
At 6th level, the Beast Barbarian gains Bestial Soul. The natural weapons spawned by rage become magical for overcoming Resistance and Immunity and the Barbarian can alter its physiology on short rest or long rest. The options for physiological changes include a swimming speed equal to its walking speed, a climb speed up to its walking speed even on sheer surfaces with no checks, or boosting their jumping power so that when they jump they can make an athletics check and boost their jump distance by the number rolled on the dice once per turn.
At 10th level, the Beast Barbarian gains Infectious Fury. This takes the inherent fury of a Barbarian and makes it contagious. Up to their proficiency modifier per day, they can strike an enemy and force them to make a Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the target must make an attack against a creature in range the Beast Barbarian chooses or take 2d12 psychic damage.
Call the Hunt
At 14th level, the Beast Barbarian gains Call the Hunt, the subclasses’ only support feature. It can select a number of willing creatures up to the Barbarian’s Constitution modifier, within 30 ft. and boost their melee damage for one hit per turn. The Barbarian also gains 5 temporary hit points per ally they effect. This ability can be used a number of times equal to their proficiency bonus every long rest.
Understanding the Wild Magic Barbarian
The Beast Barbarian is the opposite of the Wild Magic, instead of randomness the Beast Soul has a variable fighting style. Form of the Beast provides three real approaches. The Claws is ideal for stomping a bunch of small creatures like Goblins or Kobolds. The Bite is good for when the Barbarian is starting to wear down in a fight. The tail is best for the start of a long-haul fight where they can’t afford to lose a lot of healing out of the gate. It actually kind of reminds me of the fighting styles from Yakuza 0.
Beast Soul just makes them a better athlete and some movement options. Infectious Fury is a bump in damage in one way or another. A creature that hits harder than the Barbarian can be turned to the Beast Barbarian’s advantage. If the target has weak physical damage, the Beast Barbarian can just deal psychic damage instead.
Call the Hunt provides a measure of support that rewards the Beast Barbarian for playing nicely. It can be used multiple times in a day so this will almost always be an opening move followed by rage.
Barbarians are often thought of as screaming punching machines without a lot of thought involved, but this one offers meaningful tactical choices at each level and can spice up combat a lot.
Path of Wild Magic
The Path of Wild Magic sees the Barbarian co-op some of the Mechanics of the Wild Magic Sorcerer with its own Wild Magic.
As an action, the Wild Magic Barbarian can sense the location of any spell or magic item within 60 ft. that isn’t behind total cover until the end of his next turn. This action can be used a number of times equal to the Barbarian’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
This is the signature ability of this subclass. When the Wild Magic Barbarian rages, he must roll on the Wild Magic table and put into play the effect he rolled. If there is a saving throw involved, the DC is Con. + Proficency Bonus + 8.
At 6th level, the Wild Magic Barbarian gains Bolstering Magic. It allows the Wild Magic to touch any creature, including self, and provide one of two benefits. The first is the creature can add a d3 to an attack roll or saving throw once within the next 10 minutes. The other allows the Wild Magic Barbarian to roll a d3 and provide the creature a spell slot of the rolled number or lower, recipient’s choice. A creature can only benefit from this once per long rest.
Bolstering Magic can be used a number of times equal to the Wild Magic Barbarian’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
At 10th level, the Wild Magic Barbarian gains Unstable Backlash. A Wild Magic Barbarian can respond to taking damage or failing a saving throw with another roll of Wild Magic that replaces the current effect.
At 14th level, the Wild Magic Barbarian gains Controlled Surge. This allows the Barbarian to roll twice whenever they invoke the Wild Magic and choose the better effect.
Understanding the Wild Magic Barbarian
The Wild Magic Barbarian offers its benefits to the most adaptive player. The player of this subclass will have to learn to roll with the randomness and turn even the smallest Wild Magic surge to their advantage. All the Wild Magic Options with the Wild Surges are helpful, unlike the Wild Magic Sorcerer, but they can be situational and occasionally limiting.
The biggest perk of its Magical Awareness is the ability to hunt out magic items in dungeons and treasure hunts.
Bolstering Magic gives the Barbarian something to do outside of combat that is sure to make them a party favorite among the full casters. It allows them a measure of utility when a Barbarian is so often focused on taking hits only.
Unstable Backlash is a second chance when rolling something unhelpful and an important measure of action economy. Since a lot of the abilities proc when rolled, the Wild Magic Barbarian can respond to threats as they come at this level. From attack to reposition, the adaptive thinking the player has shown up to now is rewarded.
Controlled Surge just provides the Wild Magic Barbarian another measure of control over the madness.
The Bolstering Magic does not scale and some of the Wild Surges don’t scale well either. A concern a DM might have for this subclass is rolling with the creative ideas that the Wild Magic Barbarian throws out so that their creativity can be on display since the focus on this subclass is not damage.
College of Creation
Some Bards can sing and dance, some can fight with swords, some slink in shadows, but this one animates mundane objects and can create matter.
At 3rd level, the Creation Bard gains Mote of Potential and Performance of Creation.
Mote of Potential
Mote of Potential is an augment for the Bardic Inspiration that procs special abilities when used. Each use grants a different effect from a burst of thunder damage when aiding an attack roll to granting temporary hitpoints when used for a saving throw to greatly increasing the power of a skill check.
Performance of Creation
The Performance of Creation allows the Bard to take an action to create a non-magical item medium or smaller item worth twenty times the Bard’s level in gold or less. The size of this item increases each time a subclass feature is gained. This feature can be used once on a long rest or at cost of a second-level spell slot. Only one of these items can exist at a time.
At 6th level, the Creation Bard gains Animating Performance. The Bard can take an action to animate a Large or smaller object into a Dancing Item with the stat block that accompanies the Creation Bard in the book which lives for one hour within 30 ft. It takes its turns after the Creation Bard in the initiative and dodges only unless the Bard uses a bonus action to command it. This can be done as part of giving out Inspiration. If the Bard goes unconscious, the Dancing Object can move and act without guidance. This ability is once per long rest unless the Bard uses a third-level slot. Only one of these creatures can be animated at a time.
At 14th level, the Creation Bard gains Creative Crescendo. The number of items that can be animated goes up to the Bard’s Charisma modifier. Only one can be maximum size while the rest must be small to tiny. The gold limit on created items is also lifted.
Understanding the College of Creation
The College of Creation is one of those subclasses that the most creative player can stretch in a million different directions. The sheer options of these abilities are difficult to define simply because they are so broad. For Performance of Creation, weapons and armor are the easy options at lower levels, but also false diamonds to sell and some sophisticated replacement limbs. Animating Performance allows for large objects to be brought to life, meaning a Bard could animate the floor underneath an enemy and just dance them off a cliff. For engineers and artists, this subclass is a godsend and DMs should probably talk about general rules and how they will respond when a player says they want to play this. A degree of flexibility will always be needed with a Creation Bard since their abilities are so specific, so DMs should prepare themselves and maybe say some calls will have to be trial and error.
For example, since the Dancing Item can fly, it would probably be safe to say that if a Bard animated floorboard underneath an enemy, the enemy would probably have a DEX save against the Bard’s spell save DC or fall prone. Every DM will have a different reaction to stuff like this and I came to my conclusion based on what seemed balanced for the nature of the ability while also trying to give the Creation Bard something for being creative. So, think through carefully what you’ll agree to with a Creation Bard since they will have it in their bag of tricks forever.
As for the Dancing Item itself, it’s a more powerful familiar which is a recurring theme in both the Circle of Wildfire Druid and the Scribe Wizard later on. One of the aims in Tasha’s appears to be to provide more powerful companions as class features with a distinct utility leaning, but while generally retaining the ability to fight.
The Dancing Item’s role is a mixed one. It can attack, unlike the Scribe Wizard’s Manifested Mind or a Familiar, which provides the Creation Bard a measure of help in the number of actions it can take on a turn even as part of giving out Inspiration. It does have darkvision, but it can’t speak and its Intelligence is not great and its Wisdom is only average. Those four traits combined means scouting is a tricky business with the Dancing Item is a tricky business. It can probably stamp once for good, twice for bad, but getting more sophisticated than that without special powers is going to get messy.
Even a well prepared DM should be expecting improv rules for the items on the fly and not be afraid of rolling with it. Sometimes you tell a player, “that’s smart, it’s a hideously powerful idea, but I’ll allow it this time so long as it’s ONLY this once.”
College of Eloquence
Bards already have a defined social edge and this subclass takes that edge and hones it to legendary sharpness.
At 3rd level, the Eloquence Bard gains Silver Tongue and Unsettling Words.
The Silver Tongue feature means that Charisma checks for Deception and Persuasion that roll beneath 10 will be treated like a 10 before modifiers.
Unsettling Words gives the Bard the ability to undercut another creature’s next saving throw before the Bard’s next turn at the cost of an Inspiration dice and a bonus action.
At 6th level, the Eloquence Bard gains Unfailing Inspiration and Universal Speech.
Unfailing Inspiration does what it says on the tin and when a creature uses the Eloquence Bard’s Inspiration dice and fails, they keep the Inspiration Dice.
Universal Speech allows the Bard to take an action and communicate flawlessly with a number of creatures equal to or less than their Charisma modifier within 60 ft. lasting for an hour. This ability recharges on a long rest or at the cost of a spell slot of any level.
At 14th level, the Eloquence Bard gains Infectious Inspiration. If a Bardic Inspiration causes a creature to succeed on a saving throw, attack roll, or saving throw, the Eloquence Bard can use their reaction to give Inspiration to another creature within 60 ft. The Eloquence Bard can use this reaction a number of times equal to their Charisma modifier, recharging each long rest.
Understanding the College of Eloquence
D&D is a game that involves a lot of rolling the dice and a lot of gambling. Not everything will always pan out. Sometimes players will try and fail at checks and that part actually kind of matches real life. However, the College of Eloquence is for those people that want to minimize any risk. Social checks with a properly build Eloquence Bard will only fail when asking for the most ridiculous of things. They have the honeyed words of the gods, and they are tough to resist. With the ability to communicate with anything, they stand a chance of convincing anyone of anything. The Inspiration is much the same, meaning that Inspiration can be given out and used more freely knowing the dice is never wasted.
Each Feature stacks extremely well in this subclass, building up to a character that has all the calculated odds of a professional gambler or corporate lawyer and the player can relax knowing they have minimized their odds of failure while lifting up their team dramatically. This is ideal for campaigns with player characters that are almost more myth than man, which is exactly why it was first introduced in the Mythical Odysseys of Theros setting book.
Order Clerics are law bringers first and battlefield controllers second. Roleplay with this one is going to matter.
At 1st level, the Order Domain gains Bonus Proficiencies and the Voice of Authority feature.
Order Domain gains bonus proficiencies in heavy armor, Intimidation or Persuasion.
Voice of Authority
Voice of Authority means that if the Order Domain Cleric casts a spell of 1st level or higher on an ally, that ally can use a reaction to make a melee attack against a creature of the Cleric’s choice within range.
The Order Domain spell list features 6 Enchantment spells, integrating well into the class feature. The standouts are Hold Person, Slow, Locate Creature, and Dominate Person. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
1st Command, Heroism
3rd Hold Person, Zone of Truth
5th Mass Healing Word, Slow
7th Compulsion, Locate Creature
9th Commune, Dominate Person
Channel Divinity: Order’s Demand
At 2nd level, the Order Domain gets Channel Divinity: Order’s Demand. This Channel Divinity means that, as an action, the Order Domain Cleric presents its holy symbol and affects every creature if it’s choice that can see or hear them within 30 ft. All targets must make a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by the Cleric until the end of the Cleric’s next turn or until they take damage. When Charmed this way, the Cleric can make any number of the Charmed creatures drop what they are holding when they are first affected.
Embodiment of Law
At 6th level, the Order Domain gains Embodiment of Law that lets them cast Enchantment spells of 1st level or higher as a bonus action a number of times equal to their Wisdom Modifier every long rest.
At 8th level, Order Domain gains Divine Strike which adds 1d8 psychic damage to their melee strikes once per turn, which goes up to 2d8 damage at level 14th level.
At 17th level, Order Domain gains Order’s Wrath. When the Order Domain hits an enemy with their Divine Strike ability, the next ally to hit the same target deals an extra 2d8 psychic damage with their attack.
Understanding the Order Cleric
The Order Domain Cleric has fantastic synergy throughout the subclass. Six of the Domain spells are Enchantment, meaning they can be cast as a bonus action using the Embodiment of Law. Meaning, the Order Domain Cleric can cast Hold Person as a bonus action and then deal a lot of extra damage thanks to instant crit on a hit thanks to the Paralyzed condition and their Divine Strike ability. They can also cast the Heroism spell on an ally, have their ally make an attack, and then make one of their own thanks to this bundle of features. Because they can cast their Enchantment spells as a bonus action, it isn’t quite as frustrating or time-wasting if an enemy succeeds on a saving throw since their action can still be used for something They cannot, however, cast a leveled spell after they cast a bonus action spell.
Roleplay wise, these Clerics are also flavorfully rich. With spells like Zone of Truth always prepared, proficiency in Intimidation or Persuasion, and their Channel Divinity being able to stop a fight before it starts, Order Domain Clerics are halfway between a hostage negotiator and riot police. This is a great choice for players who lean hard on the lawful side or are big into organizing the flow of a battle. If a DM comes across a player running one of these, be prepared for plenty of roleplay dialogue between villains and heroes.
Peace Domain Cleric
Peace Domain Clerics are defense-oriented healers with a pinch of skirmishing built-in.
At 1st level, they gain Implements of Peace and Emboldening Bond.
Implements of Peace
Implements of Peace gives them proficiency in Insight, Performance, or Persuasion.
Emboldening Bond lets the Peace Cleric take an action and choose a number of creatures up to its proficiency modifier within 30 ft. and magically bond them. This bond lasts for 10 minutes. While the bonded creatures are within 30 ft. of at least one other, they can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw once per turn.
This feature can be used a number of times equal to the Peace Cleric’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
The spell list focuses on defensive measures, team buffs, and a few touches of utility. The standout spells among them are Sending, Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, and Rary’s Telepathic Bond. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows.
1st Heroism, Sanctuary
3rd Aid, Warding Bond
5th Beacon of Hope, Sending
7th Aura of Purity, Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere
9th Greater Restoration, Rary’s Telepathic Bond
Channel Divinity: Balm of Peace
At 2nd level, the Peace Domain gains Channel Divinity: Balm of Peace. This Channel Divinity means that as an action the Peace Domain Cleric can move up to its speed without provoking opportunity attacks and restore 2d6 + Wisdom Modifier hit points to each creature it passes within 5 ft. as it runs.
At 6th level, Emboldening Bond is made stronger by Protective Bond. When a character who is bonded by the Emboldening Bond is about to take damage, one of the other bonded characters within 30 ft. may use their reaction to magically teleport within 5 ft. of the first creature and take all of the damage intended for them.
At 8th level, the Peace Domain gains Potent Spellcasting. This adds the Wisdom Modifier in damage to this Cleric damage cantrips.
At 17th level, the Peace Domain gains Expansive Bond meaning the range of the Emboldening Bond expands to 60 ft. and when a target takes damage for another, the creature taking the hit has resistance.
Understanding the Peace Domain Cleric
This is a healing subclass with a large amount of tactical thinking involved. Because it is so much about healing, it is more geared towards the defensive side of combat.
Emboldening Bond is an ability that will matter a lot at low and middle levels, but the d4 will matter less at higher levels even with the proficiency bonus going up and allowing more people to be added.
Balm of Peace is both positioning and healing so it allows the Peace Domain Cleric a lot of control over its placement while lifting the team up.
Overall, this subclass is a good pick for players worried about keeping everyone alive. Once Protecting Bond comes online, especially with a Barbarian for example, the Cleric can constantly do the minimum amount of healing to a designated punching bag to keep them out of death saves and up to keep them taking hits. For D&D games with a high player kill rate, this is a good pick.
Expansive Bond is just a big upgrade for Protective Bond. It just vertically increases the power as part of the subclass and further cementing the focus of the subclass.
DMs prepping to have this subclass in their game should make sure to check their distances of enemies and monsters. In order to challenge this subclass, the DM will have to thoroughly divide the players in the battle given the insane map coverage of Emboldening Bond.
Twilight Clerics have a preternatural connection to the world at night and use utility spells to bring the entire party up to the same level.
The bonus proficiencies grant heavy armor and martial weapons.
Eyes of Night
Eyes of Night provides darkvision out to 300 ft., seeing dim light as bright light, and darkness as dim light. This ability can be expanded to a number of creatures within 10 ft. equal to the Cleric’s Wisdom Modifier as an action and lasts an hour. This ability can be used once every long rest. If already used, this ability can be activated again at the cost of a spell slot.
Vigilant Blessing allows the Twilight Cleric to take an action to give one creature it touches advantage on their next initiative roll.
The Twilight Cleric spell list adds some favorites from Paladin, Druid, and Wizard that tend towards robbing enemies of their edge in combat and granting additional layers of safety to allies. The standouts are Faerie Fire, Moonbeam, Leomund’s Tiny Hut, Aura of Vitality, Greater Invisibility, and Circle of Power. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows.
1st Faerie Fire, Sleep
3rd Moonbeam, See Invisibility
5th Aura of Vitality, Leomund’s Tiny Hut
7th Aura of Life, Greater Invisibility
9th Circle of Power, Mislead
Channel Divinity: Twilight Sanctuary
At 2nd level, the Twilight Cleric gains Channel Divinity: Twilight Sanctuary. As an action, the Twilight Cleric can create a 30 ft. sphere of dim light centered on them that follows them. This lasts for 1 minute or until they are incapacitated or die. When a creature ends its turn within the sphere, the Twilight Cleric can grant them temporary hit points equal to a d6 + Cleric’s level or end one Charmed or Frightened effect.
Steps of Night
At 6th level, the Twilight Cleric gains Steps of Night. While within dim light or darkness, the Twilight Cleric can give itself a flying speed as fast as its walking speed for 1 minute. It can use this bonus action a number of times equal to its proficiency bonus after every long rest.
At 8th level, the Twilight Cleric gains Divine Strike. Once per turn when the Twilight Cleric hits with a melee attack, it can add 1d8 psychic damage to the damage. This damage goes up by a d8 at 14th level.
At 17th level, the Twilight Cleric gains Twilight Shroud which means that allies within the Twilight Sanctuary now have the effects of half-cover.
Understanding the Twilight Cleric
Eyes of Night and Vigilant Blessing both are measures to lift up the entire party. A most human party can now operate at night and strike first.
Steps of Night gives the Twilight Cleric of safety above the fight and the Sanctuary is a radius so the Cleric can continue to support from the air.
Twilight Clerics will stand out with almost any party. Their abilities are a bit off-kilter for 5e and do not take up very many actions to set up or use. These Clerics are excellent complements to a group focused on slaying monsters due to their neutralization of Charm and Fear effects that many monsters use and their ability to fully counter invisibility. Hags, Devils, and Harpies beware!
As for DMs, there is a large focus on aura abilities so a party using the Cleric’s abilities to their fullest will be more clumped up than average, making them more susceptible to an area of effect attack. The aura does deactivate if they are Incapacitated and some spells like Tasha’s Hideous laughter have this effect. Be sure to brush up on the effects of lighting in your game as well, as it is critical to understanding this subclass!
Circle of Spores
Circle of Spores Druids occupy the deep underbelly of nature, thriving in harsh environments and bringing life to seemingly dead ends.
At 2nd level, the Spore Druid gains Halo of Spores and Symbiotic Entity.
Halo of Spores
Halo of Spores is a feature that grants the Druid an invisible escort of deadly spores that can be triggered when a creature enters a 10 ft. radius of the Spores Druid or starts its turn there. When those conditions are met, the Spore Druid can use its reaction to force the creature to make a Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 necrotic damage. This damage scales, increasing to a d6 at 6th level, a d8 at 10th level, and a d10 at 14th level.
Symbiotic Entity allows the spore Druid to sacrifice their Wild Shape transformation as an action and awaken the spores following them in a far more dangerous form for 10 minutes. When this happens, the Spore Druid gains hit points equal to 4x their Druid level, deal a second dice worth of damage with their Symbiotic Entity, and any melee attacks made by the Druid do an additional 1d6 necrotic damage. These benefits end when all of the temporary hit points have been depleted or if the Spore Druid uses Wild Shape for a different reason.
Not all Druid subclasses provide extra spells, but this one does. This spell list is less about expanding the power of the Spore Druid, but more about expanding what it does thematically and flavorfully. It gains several spells relating to undeath and a few about rot and decay. The standouts are Chill Touch, Blindness/Deafness, Animate Dead, and Cloudkill. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
2nd Chill Touch
3rd Blindness/Deafness, Gentle Repose
5th Animate Dead, Gaseous Form
7th Blight, Confusion
9th Cloudkill, Contagion
At 6th level, the Spore Druid gains Fungal Infestation. As a reaction when a beast or humanoid medium to small dies within 10 ft. of the Spore Druid, the Spore Druid can use its reaction to reanimate it as a Zombie with 1 hit point for an hour. This Zombie uses the same stat block found in the Monster Manual, acts after the Druid’s turn, and can only be mentally commanded to take the attack action with one melee attack. The Spore Druid can use Fungal Infestation a number of times equal to its Wisdom Modifier after every long rest.
At 10th level, the Spore Druid gains Spreading Spores. Spreading Spores can only be used when Symbiotic Entity is active and it allows the Spore Druid to use a bonus action to cause the spores to swirl in a 10 ft. cube no further than 30 ft. from the Druid. Any creature that starts its turn in the cube or moves into it must make a Constitution saving throw or take damage equal to the Spore Druid’s Halo of Spores. They can only take this damage once per turn. The spores will dissipate if the feature is used again, can be dismissed as a bonus action, or can be neutralized if the Symbiotic Entity feature is no longer in effect. The Halo of Spores reaction cannot be used while Spreading Spores is in effect.
At 14th level, the Spore Druid gains a Fungal Body. With a Fungal Body, the Spore Druid is immune to several conditions. These are blinded, deafened, frightened, or poisoned. On top of all that, any critical hit on them counts as a regular hit unless they are Incapacitated.
Understanding the Circle of Spores
The sum total of all this is a Druid subclass that focuses on dealing small, but consistent bonus damage every turn.
Symbiotic Entity and Halo of Spores paint a clear picture of a melee-focused Druid who uses their Wildshape as their primary tool. The extra temporary hit points are a valuable boon especially at the cost of a Wildshape.
Due to to the tight constraints on Fungal Infestation, it is very situational. It is best used in big brawls as a distraction. DMs preparing for a spore Druid at their table should consider putting a beast or humanoid in at least 50% of their encounters so this feature gets use.
Spreading Spore provides a measure of crowd control and small notes of passive damage.
Fungal Body is going to be something to consider every time the DM plans an encounter. They aren’t scared by dragons anymore. They can’t be poisoned by Yuan-Ti. Critting on them means nothing. If the player made it to this point, they deserve the power trip this provides.
There is a huge bottleneck for reactions between Halo of Spores, Fungal Infestation, and Spreading Spores. DMs and players both should remember every creature has only one reaction unless otherwise specified so they better make it count.
In addition, this subclass uses debuff spells, action economy spells like Animate Dead, and it’s Fungal Infestation to turn the tide of battle with a sheer number of actions taken per turn. A Spore Druid with a day or so’s preparation can go to war with a small entourage of creatures and still pick up more during the fight.
DMs should be aware that Spore Druids can cause a large scale battle resulting in some long fights and prepare accordingly. Don’t forget that Zombie’s Undead Fortitude doesn’t work when they are hit with Radiant damage.
Circle of Stars
The Circle of Stars feels like a subclass from another planet given their ability to invoke a variety of stellar forms and abilities to meet any occasion.
At 2nd level, the Star Druid gains Star Map and Starry Form.
When the Druid becomes a Star Druid through research or training, they develop a Star Map that is a tiny object and can serve as a spell focus. While holding this map, they gain the following features: the Guidance cantrip, the spell Guiding Bolt is always prepared, and can cast Guiding Bolt without a spell slot a number of times equal to their proficiency bonus every long rest. If the map is lost or destroyed, they can perform an hour-long ritual to restore it on short or long rest.
Starry Form is an alternative usage of Wild Shape that can be used as a bonus action that makes the Druid appear like stars in the sky for 10 minutes. This form ends if the Druid is Incapacitated, dismisses the form, or summons the form again. While in this form, they glow with dim light for 10 ft. This form takes on one of three abilities based on the player’s choice when activated.
- Archer. As a bonus action on subsequent turns, the Druid can make a ranged spell attack, launching a light arrow that targets one creature within 60 feet. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 + Wisdom modifier radiant damage.
- Chalice. Whenever the Star Druid casts a healing spell, it can also restore 1d8 + your Wisdom modifier hit points to itself or another creature within 30 ft.
- Dragon. When the Druid makes an Intelligence, Wisdom check, or a Constitution concentration check, they can treat a roll of 9 or lower on the d20 as a 10.
At 6th level, the Star Druid gains Cosmic Omen. Whenever the Druid takes a long rest, it can roll a d20 and gains a special reaction if it is even or odd and can use the new reaction a number of times equal to its proficiency bonus.
- Weal (even): Whenever the Druid sees a creature 30 feet make an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, the Druid can use its reaction to roll a d6 and add the number rolled to the total.
- Woe (odd): Whenever the Druid sees a creature within 30 ft. make an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, the Druid can use its reaction to roll a d6 and subtract the number rolled from the total.
At 10th level, the Star Druid gains Twinkling Constellations. All Starry forms gain a buff. The Archer and Chalice both gain another d8 and the Dragon gains a hover speed of 20 ft. In addition, the Star Druid can also change which form it’s in every round.
Full of Stars
At 14th level, the Star Druid gains the feature Full of Stars. This form gives it resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage while in Starry Form.
Understanding the Circle of Stars
This is a subclass that can fill a variety of roles. It can heal, debuff enemies, fly, skill monkey, and hold concentration seemingly forever. The gateway to most of the power is with the Starry Form which uses Wild Shape recharges on a short rest, meaning that this is a Druid who can handle multiple fights in a day. The Starry Form options provide more damage, healing, or a sort of oneness with the universe that provides knowledge and inner peace for concentration checks. Using the right one for the situation is key until level 10 where this becomes more free form.
Players who use this subclass will have a lot of talents and can stretch it in a lot of directions. When combined with other classes who are more specialized, some incredible results can be achieved. A Bard and a Star Druid can give an ally a d8 and d6 to an ability check using Inspiration and Cosmic Omen respectively.
For any DM worried about the seemingly infinite concentration, they should remember the Dispel Magic spell. A concentration check will not stop Dispel Magic. It simply ends the spell if cast at the correct level or requires a roll by the attacking party.
Circle of Wildfire
Wildfire Druids are about fire as a source of rebirth. For them, fire is the transformative force, either into a provoking regrowth in a garden or reducing it to a pile of ash.
The Wildfire Druid also gains new spells at certain levels in this class. It starts out more damaging and moves towards healing as the levels go. The standouts are Burning Hands, Scorching Ray, Aura of Life, and Flame Strike. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
2nd Burning Hands, Cure Wounds
3rd Flaming Sphere, Scorching Ray
5th Revivify, Plant Growth
7th Aura of Life, Fire Shield
9th Flame Strike, Mass Cure Wounds
Summon Wildfire Spirit
At 2nd level, the Wildfire Druid gains Summon Wildfire Spirit. It can sacrifice a Wild Shape as an action to summon a Wildfire Spirit within an unoccupied space within 30 ft. Everyone within 10 ft. of its summoning, minus the Wildfire Druid, must make a Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 fire damage. The creature is provided its own stat block in Tasha’s and it acts immediately after the Wildfire Druid’s initiative, but still on the same turn. It will take the Dodge action unless ordered by the Wildfire Druid as a bonus action to use one of the actions provided to players or one of its unique actions on its stat block. If the Wildfire Druid is Incapacitated, the Wildfire Spirit can take whatever action it wishes. This creature lasts for an hour, until it is drained of all hit points, until the Druid dies, or until the Druid summons another.
At 6th level, the Wildfire Druid gains Enhanced Bond. While the Wildfire Spirit is active, the Wildfire Druid’s damage and healing spells deal an extra d8 of hit points. On top of that, the Wildfire Druid can have the spells originate from the space the Wildfire Spirit occupies so long as the spell does not have a range of self.
At 10th level, the Wildfire Druid gains Cauterizing Flames. When a small or larger creature dies within 30 ft. of either the Wildfire Druid or the Wildfire Spirit, a small ghost of a flame appears in the corpse’s space for one minute. When a creature enters that space and the Wildfire Druid can see it, the Wildfire Druid can use its reaction to heal that creature or deal fire damage it equal to 2d10 + Wisdom Modifier. No saving throw required. This reaction can only be used a number of times equal to the Wildfire Druid’s proficiency bonus on a long rest.
At 14th level, the Wildfire Druid gains the Blazing Revival feature. When the Wildfire Druid drops to 0 hit points and the Wildfire Spirit is within 120 ft., the Wildfire Spirit can drop to 0 hit points and put the Wildfire Druid back on its feet (literally, you stop being prone based on our reading) with half their hit points. This feature can only be used once per long rest.
Understanding the Circle of Wildfire
The Wildfire Spirit is a flexible, scaling, and long-running companion who shares traits with the Ranger’s Animal Companion and the Wizard’s Familiar. The ability to originate spells from the Wildfire Spirit combines well with spells like Cure Wounds so the Wildfire Druid can heal using its companion in the midst of a deadly fight without having to give up a secure position. It also gives a massive range increase for spells like Blight (range of 30 ft.) to hit distant enemies where the Wildfire Spirit can close most of the distance and the spell distance can make up the rest.
The Spirit’s ability to short-range teleport allows the Wildfire Druid a measure of escape when a player goes down to immediately pull them out of the fire, pun intended.
Cauterizing Flames provides zone control and is why DMs will have to mark out where creatures in combat are dying to make full use of this ability. Choosing between healing or damage just puts the Wildfire Druid’s thumb on the scales of combat.
Blazing Revival is even stronger than a one-up revive. The Wildfire Druid comes back with half health and it can turn a combat. It’s a much more powerful version of Death Ward and a symbolic representation of rebirth. DMs playing with a Wildfire Druid at this level should consider them to have effectively 1.5 times their normal health due to this ability. Don’t hold back when striking them.
The spell list has five fire damage spells. Many creatures in 5e have fire resistance, so it may behoove the player of a Wildfire Druid to take the Elemental Adept feat to ensure they are doing full damage against creatures with these.
Psi Warriors are like militarized Jedi who use their minds to manipulate objects to their advantage, achieve impossible physical feats, and can throw the weight of their thoughts behind a strike.
At 3rd level, they gain Psionic Power. This is represented by Psionic Energy dice. The dice scale as the Psi Warrior grows: a d6 at 3rd level, a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 11th level, and a d12 at 17th level. The number of these available to the Psi Warrior is double their proficiency modifier and restores on a long rest. However, they can regenerate one Psionic Energy Dice as a bonus action once per short or long rest.
Some abilities require the usage of a Psionic Energy dice and do not work if the Psi Warrior has none. Please read all abilities carefully for Psionic Die cost
- Protective Field. When the Psi Knight sees a creature (self is included) within 30 ft. take damage, the Psi Knight can use its reaction and a Psionic Energy die to reduce the damage by an amount equal to a roll of the Psionic Energy die + Intelligence Modifier via telekinetic shield.
- Psionic Strike. Once per turn when the Psi Warrior hits with a weapon attack within 30 ft. and deals damage, the Psi Warrior can use a Psionic Energy die and deal force damage equal to the Psionic Die + Intelligence Modifier.
- Telekinetic Movement. The Psi Warrior can take an action to target one loose object it can see within 30 ft. that is Large or smaller or one willing creature (that’s not the Psi Warrior), and move it 30 ft. horizontally, vertically, or both to an unoccupied space. The Psi Warrior can move a Tiny object to or from their hand with this action. Once the Psi Warrior takes this action, they can’t take it again without the cost of a Psionic die or after a short or long rest.
At 7th level, the Psi Warrior gains Telekinetic Adept with two sub-applications: Psi-Powered Leap and Telekinetic Thrust.
- Psi-Powered leap can be used as a bonus action and the Psi Warrior gains a flying speed equal to twice their walking speed until the end of their current turn. Once the Psi Warrior has used this bonus action, it can’t do so again unless it uses another Psionic Die or takes a short or long rest.
- Telekinetic Thrust activates when the Psionic Strike is used and the Psi Warrior can choose to force its target to make a Strength saving throw against the Psionic Warrior’s DC (8 + Proficiency modifier + Intelligence). If the target fails the saving throw, the target falls prone or moves 10 ft. in any direction horizontally.
At 10th level, the Psi Warrior gains Guarded Mind. With this feature, the Psi Warrior gains resistance to Psychic damage and can expend a use of a Psionic Die at the beginning of their turn to end every effect subjecting them to the charmed or frightened condition.
Bulwark of Force
At 15th level, the Psi Warrior gains Bulwark of Force. As a bonus action, the Psi Warrior can target a number of creatures equal to its Intelligence modifier within 30 ft. (self-included) and provide a half-cover bonus to each of those creatures for 1 minute or until the Psi Warrior is Incapacitated. Once it uses this bonus action, it can’t do so again unless it uses another Psionic Die or takes a short or long rest.
At 18th level, the Psi Warrior gains Telekinetic Master. It can cast the Telekinesis spell requiring no components with Intelligence as its spellcasting ability. While concentrating on the spell, including the turn it is cast, the Psi warrior can make a weapon attack as a bonus action. Once Telekinesis is cast with this feature, the Psi Warrior can’t do so again unless it uses another Psionic Die or takes a short or long rest.
Understanding the Psi Warrior
The Psi Warrior has excellent options for anyone aiming for a mind-over-matter feel with a lot of attacks. Jump high heights, fly, throw things around with your mind, and even hit a little harder, Psi Warriors have a little bit of something for every situation.
Mobility is a strength of this class, able to clear ground and cordon allies away from dangerous situations. Until later levels, the subclass does not require a high Intelligence so this is a good option for characters with only one or two good stats and still be effective. DMs should remember that this subclass will be able to work tricky situations like levitate keys to locks they can’t reach or float across broken bridges. They are excellent problem solvers in addition to excellent brawlers!
Rune Knights have a variety of skills and magical powers, dwarfed only by their super forms that can stack every round, snowballing into a monster on the battlefield!
At 3rd level, the Rune Knight gains Bonus Proficiencies, Rune Carver, and Giant Might.
The Bonus Proficiencies are smith’s tools and become fluent with Giant.
Giant’s Might is a transformation that can be activated as a bonus action that lasts for 1 minute with a plethora of benefits. If the size of the creature is smaller than Large, it becomes Large (things the creature is wearing increase in size as well) unless the space around the creature does not accommodate it. The Rune Knight also gains advantage on Strength checks and Strength Saving throws. Once on each of their turns, while they are transformed, they may deal an extra d6 damage with weapon attacks and unarmed attacks. This feature can be used a number of times equal to the Rune Knight’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
Rune Carver allows the Rune Knight to engrave runes onto a variety of surfaces like a weapon, a suit of armor, a shield, a piece of jewelry, or something else they can wear or hold in a hand. The rune lasts until the next long rest and each object can only hold one rune at a time. Each rune grants a different magical boon. The number of runes the Rune Knight knows is dictated by their level below.
- 3rd: 2 Rune
- 7th: 3 Runes
- 10th: 4 Runes
- 15th: 5 Runes
Every time the Rune Knight levels up in Fighter, it may exchange one of the Runes it knows for another. New rune options become available at 7th level.
If a rune requires a saving throw, the DC equals 8 + Rune Knight’s proficiency bonus + Constitution modifier. Rune options available at 3rd level are as follows.
- Cloud Rune. While active, this Rune provides advantage on Sleight of Hand and Deception checks. Also, when the Rune Knight sees a creature within 30 ft. hit by an attack roll, the Rune Knight can use its reaction to force the attack to target a different creature within 30 ft. of the Rune Knight as long as it is not the attacker in question. This reaction ignores distance limitations of weapon, spell, or other attacks as the damage is magically redirected. The new target is subject to the original attack roll. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
- Fire Rune. While active, the Rune Knight has double proficiency in any tool they are already proficient with. Also, when the Rune Knight hits a target, it can invoke the Fire Rune and deal an additional 2d6 fire damage and force the creature to make a Strength saving throw as flaming shackles grasp it. On a failed saving throw, the creature is restrained and takes 2d6 fire damage at the start of each of its turns. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. The shackles disappate after 1 minute if the saving throw is never beaten. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
- Frost Rune. While active, the Rune Knight has advantage on Animal Handling and Intimidation checks. Also, the Rune Knight can activate this rune as a bonus action and gain a +2 bonus to all ability checks and saving throws that use Strength or Constitution for 10 minutes. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
- Stone Rune. While active, the Rune Knight has advantage on Insight checks and has darkvision out to 120 ft. Also, when a creature ends its turn within 30 ft. of the Rune Knight, the Rune Knight can use its reaction to force the creature to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the creature is Charmed, Incapacitated, has 0 movement, and stands in a dream-like fugue. The effect lasts for 1 minute and the creature repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns until it succeeds or the effect ends. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
At 7th level, the Rune Knight gains Runic Shield. When another creature the Rune Knight can see within 60 ft. is hit by an attack roll, the Rune Knight can use its reaction to make the attacker reroll their d20 and use the new result. This reaction can only be used a number of times equal to the Rune Knight’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
The following two runes become available at 7th level.
- Hill Rune. While this rune is active, the Rune Knight has advantage on saving throws against being Poisoned and has resistance to poison damage. Also, as a bonus action, the Rune Knight can use this rune to gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage for 1 minute. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
- Storm Rune. While this rune is active, the Rune Knight has advantage on Arcana checks and can’t be surprised unless Incapacitated. Also, the rune can be invoked as a bonus action and the Rune Knight enters a state of foresight for 1 minute. While the state is active and the Rune Knight sees another creature within 60 ft. make an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check, the Rune Knight can use its reaction to cause that roll to have advantage or disadvantage. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
At 10th level, the Rune Knight gains Great Stature. The Rune Knight grows 3d4 inches taller permanently and the extra damage dealt by Giant’s Might increases to a d8.
Master of Runes
At 15th level, the Rune Knight gains Master of Runes. Each Rune may now be used twice rather than once and all uses restored on a short or long rest.
At 18th level, the Rune Knight gains Runic Juggernaut. When the Rune Knight’s extra damage with Giant’s Might increases to a d10 and the transformation can increase as large as Huge which also extends the Rune Knight’s reach by 5 ft. while Huge until the transformation ends.
Understanding the Rune Knight
Rune Knights are all about momentum. After a certain level, they get more powerful every round as their runes come online since they are not mutually exclusive in use. Several can be active simultaneously. After 7th level, the average fight with a Rune Knight probably looks something like the following:
Round 1: bonus action Hill Rune for damage resist, make two attacks, trigger the Fire Rune in an attempt to restrain the target, reaction to force a reroll when the enemy attacks an ally with Runic Shield
Round 2: bonus action Giant’s Might, make two attacks with one extra damage roll, force a reroll when the enemy attacks another target
Round 3: bonus action Frost Rune for even more damage and better saving throws, make two attacks, force the enemy to reroll another attack for the final time
By the end of that basic sequence, the Rune Knight is effectively Bararian raging (plus a little extra damage) against a potentially restrained target and the target still can’t hit any of the Rune Knight’s allies because the Rune Knight is constantly making it reroll attacks. Since all of these abilities are not spells but class features, Dispel Magic will not deactivate them. Since the runes scale off of Constitution, the subclass can functionally operate with only two good stats.
Worth mentioning, the rules for Grappling in 5e dictate that those wanting to Grapple can only Grapple a creature one size larger than itself. Since the size of the creature increases with Giant’s Might, the Rune Knight can Grapple with Huge creatures. At 18th level, they can even wrestle with Gargantuan creatures like the Tarrasque or an Ancient Dragon.
Because of the sizing rules, the Rune Knight might lead to just as many funny situations as it does challenging battles. Since the Giant’s Might upsizes even Small creatures, a Small Gnome can expand to a Large size Gnome making it larger than a towering Goliath in the party. Let the party antics commence!
Way of Mercy
Mending and rending while dressed as a plague doctor. It’s hard to go wrong with the Mercy Monk.
At 3rd level, the Mercy Monk gains Implements of Mercy, Hand of Healing, and Hand of Harm.
Implements of Mercy
Implements of Mercy feature provides proficiency in the Insight skill, Medicine skill, and Herbalism kit. A mask is also provided for flavor.
Hand of Healing
Hand of Healing allows the Mercy Monk to expend a 1 ki point as an action to touch a creature and restore hit points equal to a Martial Arts die + Wisdom Modifier. When the Mercy Monk uses Flurry of Blows, one of the unarmed strikes can inflict the Hand of Healing effect without spending an additional ki point.
Hand of Harm
The Hand of Harm feature means that when the Mercy Monk hits a creature with an unarmed strike, it can use 1 ki point to deal an extra necrotic damage worth of Martial Arts die + Wisdom Modifier once per turn.
At 6th level, the Mercy Monk gains Physician’s Touch. Physician’s Touch buffs both Hand of Healing and Hand of Harm. Hand of Healing now can also end one disease or one of the following conditions: blinded, deafened, paralyzed, poisoned, or stunned. Hand of Harm now can inflict the poisoned condition with no saving throw that lasts until the end of the Mercy Monk’s next turn.
Flurry of Healing and Harm
At 11th level, the Mercy Monk gains Flurry of Healing and Harm. Now, when the Mercy Monk uses Flurry of Blows, it can replace each of the unarmed strikes with a Hand of Healing without spending additional ki points for healing. Also, when making an unarmed strike with Flurry of Blows, the Mercy Monk can use Hand of Harm with that strike without expending a ki point for it. Hand of Harm can still only be used once per turn.
Hand of Ultimate Mercy
At 17th level, the Mercy Monk gains Hand of Ultimate Mercy. As an action, the Mercy Monk can touch a corpse of a creature that has died in the past 24 hours and use 5 ki points the creature regains a number of hit points equal to 4d10 + Wisdom Modifier. If the creature was blinded, deafened, paralyzed, poisoned, or stunned, that condition ends on being brought back to life. This feature can only be used once per long rest.
Understanding the Way of Mercy
Much of the appeal for this subclass can be attributed to the way it handles its ki point cost. The abilities build into one another to prevent the features sucking up too many of the Monk’s Ki points they need for other things like Step of the Wind and Stunning Strike. For example, the Hand of Healing can be used to heal the Monk without giving up its action and bonus action attack at the same cost as a normal flurry of blows.
Another example would be when a Monk is facing a challenging single enemy at 6th level, such as a young white dragon, it can take its bonus action to dodge for one round using a single ki point. With the Mercy Monk, however, it can use the same ki point for Hand of Harm to deal necrotic damage and inflict the poisoned condition WITHOUT a saving throw which gives the young white dragon disadvantage on all attack towards anyone for the next round, not just the Monk. The total value of that single ki point is a lot higher when it helps protect the entire party.
At higher levels like 11th and 17th, the Mercy Monk is an excellent healer capable of keeping an entire party up and running against even stiff opponents without a high ki cost. The real strength in this subclass doesn’t come from its direct damage dealing, but instead its ability to sustain itself and its party at a relatively low cost which is restored every short rest.
DMs should always remember the implications of the ki points coming back on short rest. The Mercy Monk in the World of D&D is one of the most effective and generous healers available. While a player’s first concern combat many a time, the Mercy Monk could have a large impact on the world at large able to wipe out diseases and cure entire villages of ailments. What does that mean in the longterm for your story?
Way of the Astral Self
The Way of the Astral Self fills a very specific niche of character that wants to transcend physical limits and command abilities derived from a higher consciousness. That or maybe the player just wants to punch people with ghost fists.
Arms of the Astral Self
At 3rd level, the Astral Monk gains Arms of the Astral Self. As a bonus action, the Astral Monk can spend a ki point to summon spiritual arms. Each creature of the Astral’s Monk choice that it can see within 10 ft. must make a Dexterity saving throw or take force damage equal to two Martial Arts dice. These arms last for 10 minutes and vanish if the Monk is Incapacitated or dies.
The Spectral Arms provide the following benefits:
- The unarmed strikes can use the Wisdom stat instead of Strength or Dexterity for attack and damage rolls and their damage type is force
- They can be used to make unarmed strikes
- When the arms make unarmed strikes, the reach for them is 5 ft. longer
- For strength checks and Strength saving throws, the Wisdom stat may be substituted in
Visage of the Astral Self
At 6th level, the Astral Monk gains Visage of the Astral Self. The Visage of Astral Self covers the face like a helmet or mask and can be summoned as a bonus action at the cost of 1 ki point and lasts for 10 minutes. It can also be summoned as part of the same bonus action that summons the Arms of the Astral Self. This effect ends if the Astral Monk is Incapacitated or dies.
While active, the Astral Visage provides the following benefits:
- The Astral Monk can see normally in magical and non-magical darkness up to 120 ft.
- The Astral Monk has advantage on Insight and Intimidation checks
- The Astral Monk’s voice can be amplified so that all creatures within 600 ft. can hear them or be directed so only one creature of their choice within 60 ft. can hear them
Body of Astral Self
At 11th level, the Astral Monk gains Body of the Astral Self. This ability activates when either the Astral Arms or Visage are active. This covers the whole body like armor, connecting with the Arms and Visage.
While active, the Astral Monk’s Body of the Astral Self provides the following benefits:
- When the Astral Monk takes Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Thunder damage, it can use its reaction to reduce the damage by 1d10 + Wisdom Modifier
- Once per turn, the Astral Monk can deal an extra Martial Arts die of damage on a hit with the Arms of the Astral self.
Awakened Astral Self
At 17th level, the Astral Monk gains Awakened Astral Self. As a bonus action, the Astral Monk can spend 5 ki points to summon the arms, visage, and body in a newly awakened state for 10 minutes. This ends if the Monk is Incapacitated or dies.
While this is active, the Monk gains the following benefits.
- The Astral Monk’s AC raises by 2
- When the Astral Monk uses the Extra Attack feature to attack twice, it can attack three times as long as all of the attacks are with the Astral Arms
Understanding the Way of Astral Self
Astral Self is an excellent skirmisher as it puts more focus on Wisdom over Dexterity as well as providing extra reach. This makes the Astral Monk less reliant upon high stats as well as indirectly strengthening their other abilities, like Stunning Strike, since their saving throw is Wisdom dependent. Since the damage type for these attacks is force, the Astral Monk will effectively never worry about resistances or immunities to its attacks. The cheap ki cost for this ability means it can be effectively used every combat.
The Visage of the Astral Self puts the Astral Monk slightly more into the ambush attacker or psychological warfare category, seeing as it can see through magical and non-magical darkness and can communicate with either the entire battlefield or a single individual. The social advantages provided are excellent as well, providing the Astral Monk more options is generally wouldn’t have.
While the Visage of the Astral Self provides more roleplay and utility, the next two features strictly combat. The Body of the Astral Self and Awakened Astral Self makes the Astral Monk better at hitting and taking hits. Sometimes, it’s that simple.
The product of all these features gives the player an interesting way to approach combat and a character, able to focus on Wisdom without giving up on combat and even gettering really, really good at it later. Provided the player uses the reach to stay away from the bulk of enemies and budgets ki points wisely, the Astral Monk makes for an excellent shock attacker.
Oath of Glory
Oath of Glory, originally printed in the Mythic Odysseys of Theros, is the kind of Olympian style subclass that leans into the physicality of combat.
At 3rd level, the Glory Paladin gains Channel Divinity with two variations: Peerless Athlete and Inspiring Smite.
Channel Divinity: Peerless Athlete
Peerless Athlete can be activated as a bonus action and provides the following benefits:
- Advantage on Athletics and Acrobatics checks
- The Glory Paladin can carry, push, drag, and lift twice as much as normal
- Long and high jumps increase by 10 ft. (costs movement as normal)
Channel Divinity: Inspiring Smite
Inspiring Smite can activate as a free action after the Glory Paladin deals damage to a creature with Divine Smite. When used, the Glory Paladin designates creatures of its choice within 30 ft. (self-included) to gain temporary hit points. The total number of hit points 2d8 + number of levels in Paladin and divided up to the creatures within the radius at Glory Paladin’s discretion.
The Oath of Glory’s spell list is an odd bunch. It makes sense more in the original context of Theros, but that’s precisely why adapting it to a typical fantasy setting is tricky. It does get the long-range attack of Guiding Bolt and the always appreciated Haste, but the rest lean on either spells the Paladin can already take Magic Weapon and Heroism or roleplay heavy options like Enhance Ability. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
3rd Guiding Bolt, Heroism
5th Enhance Ability, Magic Weapon
9th Haste, Protection From Energy
13th Compulsion, Freedom Of Movement
17th Commune, Flame Strike
Aura of Alacrity
At 7th level, the Glory Paladin gains Aura of Alacrity. The Glory Paladin’s walking speed increases by 10 ft. and, while not Incapacitated, allies’ walking speed who start their turn within 5 ft. increases their speed by 10 ft. until the end of their turn. When the Glory Paladin reaches 18th Paladin level, the range of this aura increases 10 ft.
At 15th level, the Glory Paladin gains Glorious Defense. When the Glory Paladin sees another creature within 10 ft. hit by an attack roll, the Glory Paladin can use its reaction to raise the AC of that target by the Glory Paladin’s Charisma Modifier in an attempt to make the attack miss. If the attack misses, the Glory Paladin misses, it can make one weapon attack against the attacker as part of the same reaction as long as the target is in range. This ability can only be used a number of times equal to the Glory Paladin’s Charisma Modifier each long rest.
At 20th level, the Glory Paladin gains Living Legend.
Living Legend is activated as a bonus action and provides the following benefits for 1 minute:
- Advantage on all Charisma checks
- Once per turn, when the Glory Paladin misses an attack, it can cause that attack into a hit instead
- If the Glory Paladin fails a saving throw, it can use its reaction to reroll it. The Glory Paladin must use the reroll.
This feature can be used once per long rest unless reactivated at the cost of a 5th level spell slot.
Understanding the Oath of Glory
The Glory Paladin is about glory in the style of ancient heroes, which means being a little bit selfish. Their playstyle lends to that, get in with a lot of health, get in fast, and interrupt the attacks of others. Inspiring Smite on its surface looks like a team buff, but in reality, will generally be best applied to self only or maybe a Barbarian. Providing temporary hit points for a free action every short rest is good, but there simply aren’t enough to go around for the team. It’s best delivered in one dose. As a reminder though, temporary hit points do not stack. Heroism and Inspiring Smite cannot give the Paladin infinite hit points. Peerless Athlete is situational, maybe good for player characters that like grappling too much, and is mostly there
The Aura of Alacrity feature makes the Glory Paladin a stopgap for closing distance in the battlefield. While not as fast as a Monk, the Glory Paladin can race with the Barbarian to get to the boss first. When paired with the Haste spell, the Paladin can chase down almost any villain. The Aura of Alacrity also has the effect of making the Paladin the pivot point of melee battle, so that creatures wanting to benefit from it have to essentially follow them around. Rogues will likely get the most out of this, able to start and end their turns within the Paladin’s speedy aura which extends their range as melee skirmishers.
When combined with the spell Find Steed, however, the Aura of Alacrity provides the mount a boost it could use to run circles around enemies. Mounted creatures can only Dash, Disengage, and Dodge meaning it can get double the mileage out of the aura that other allies can if they dash. Haste can also be applied to a mounted creature, pushing the speed even further.
Glorious Defense tells us the design of this Paladin prefers polearms or lances since it so heavily features reach in this ability. This reinforces the Paladin’s presence as the pivot point of melee combat. They will almost always need to be in the thick of it with allies to get the most out of this since they cannot use it to protect themselves.
The Glory Paladin’s capstone ability Living Legend, like all other Paladin capstones, is a house shaking transformation. A lot of the abilities in its capstone are only allowed in the game because of how long it takes to get there. In this particular transformation, the Glory Paladin gets to ignore some rules that normally govern combat for special advantages like a guaranteed hit once per turn and rerolling failed saves once per turn like they’re a Fighter with Indomitable. The advantage on Charisma checks is handy for things like Intimidation checks to get an enemy to stand down once they realize they’re dealing with 20th level Paladin who can reactivate their transformation two more times before the day is over.
The reactivation feature is a new addition to the game as a whole in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, also showing up in the Oath of the Watchers Paladin. There appears to be a movement in the D&D game design towards allowing players to use spell slots to reactivate once daily abilities and make classes and subclasses less dependent on stats. We at Halfling Hobbies heartily agree with this change in approach.
DMs welcoming a Glory Paladin to their table should prepare themselves for a surprisingly difficult to kill warrior who embraces front lining. When designing puzzles or challenges for the party, DM should also throw in some large scale physical challenges for the Glory Paladin to flex their muscles on.
Oath of the Watchers
The Oath of the Watchers takes the idea of being a paranormal detective or warrior and gives it a religious fervor.
At 3rd level, the Watcher Paladin gains Channel Divinity with two variations: Watcher’s Will and Abjure Extraplanar.
Channel Divinity: Watcher’s Will
Watcher’s Will allows the Watcher Paladin to choose a number of creatures it can see within 30 ft. (total number up to Charisma Modifier) and for the next minute, those creatures have advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
Channel Divinity: Abjure the Extraplanar
Abjure the Extraplanar allows the Watcher Paladin to use an action and cause each aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, or fiend within 30 ft. that can hear the Paladin to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the creature is turned for one minute or until it takes damage. While turned, the creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from the Watcher Paladin as possible and can’t willingly end its move in a space within 30 ft. of the Watcher Paladin. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there is nowhere for the creature to go, the creature can take the Dodge action instead.
The Watcher Paladin spells are about detection at early levels and about countering and sealing at higher levels. Detect Magic, Moonbeam, and See Invisibility, all seek to strip away advantages from the enemy or see them coming. It is called the Oath of the Watchers for a reason. Counterspell, Aura of Purity, and Hold Monster, are all aimed at pushing back on supernatural threats and closing off their avenues of attack. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
3rd Alarm, Detect Magic
5th Moonbeam, See Invisibility
9th Counterspell, Nondetection
13th Aura of Purity, Banishment
17th Hold Monster, Scrying
Aura of the Sentinel
At 7th level, the Watcher Paladin gains Aura of the Sentinel. This aura is active as long as the Watcher Paladin is not Incapacitated. The Watcher Paladin and all others it chooses within 10 ft. gain a bonus to initiative equal to the Watcher Paladin’s proficiency bonus. At 18th level in Paladin, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.
At 15th level, the Watcher Paladin gains Vigilant Rebuke. Whenever the Watcher Paladin sees a creature within 30 ft. succeed a saving throw on an Intelligence, a Wisdom, or a Charisma saving throw, it can use its reaction to deal 2d8 + Charisma Modifier force damage to the creature that caused the saving throw.
At 20th level, the Watcher Paladin gains Mortal Bulwark. As a bonus action, the Watcher Paladin transforms and gains the following benefits for 1 minute:
- The Watcher Paladin has truesight up to 120 ft.
- The Watcher Paladin has advantage on attack rolls against aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, and fiends
- When the Watcher Paladin hits a creature with an attack roll and deals damage, it can force the creature to make a Charisma saving throw against the Paladin’s DC. On a failure, the creature is banished to its native plane of existence if it is not currently there. In a successful save, the creature is immune to being banished by this feature for 24 hours.
This feature can be used once per long rest unless reactivated at the cost of a 5th level spell slot.
Understanding the Oath of the Watchers
Understanding the Oath of the Watcher Paladin is to compare it to take the fervor of a witch hunter from times long past then merge them with characters like Geralt of Rivia or Trevor Belmont (strange, I know, but stick with me). The Channel Divinity option Watcher’s Will is all about protecting people’s minds from extraplanar corruption or the wiles of seductive mages. Abjure the Extraplanar is the “I don’t care where you are or where you go, but you can’t stay here” of Channel Divinities that doesn’t even require line of sight. These are both hard counters to creatures that rely on turning allies or staying out of sight.
The Aura of the Sentinel is a feature that allows players to out quickdraw their opponents which is especially important to the Watcher Paladin who will generally need one round to set up since both of their Channel Divinity Options and many of their spells are require an action to use. Since Vigilant Rebuke is contingent upon successful saving throws, it is best used in conjunction with Watcher’s Will. It is a great way to deal extra damage when attacks of opportunity are not available.
The Mortal Bulwark is the best demon slayer in the game, full stop. Truesight, advantage on attacks, and Banishment on every hit effectively allows this Paladin can stop the forces of hell from invading the Material Plane at the gate.
All of this power has very distinct limits, however. Because its abilities focus so much on paranormal threats, regular threats (Bandits, Trolls, Giants, Goblins) have nothing to fear from all these features. Creature types like Monstrosities, Beasts, Oozes, Humanoids, and Undead are conspicuously left off the majority of the Watcher Paladin’s abilities.
How good a subclass or class is at any table is entirely dependent upon what the DM throws at the players. The temptation for DMs with a Watcher Paladin at the table will be to never throw creatures that use Invisibility or use mental saving throws because the Watcher Paladin will hard counter it. However, this is precisely why the DM must throw extraplanar threats. Letting players flex their features is an essential part of DMing and is especially important in campaigns like Descent into Avernus where fighting extraplanar threat is literally the point of the campaign.
While Rangers are often known for being rugged outdoorsmen, Fey Wanderers are those that have trespassed into the world of fantastical fey only to come back socially gifted and adroit.
At 3rd level, the Fey Ranger gains Dreadful Strikes, Otherworldly Glamour, and Fey Wanderer Magic.
Dreadful Strikes means that once per turn when the Fey Ranger hits a target with a weapon attack, it can deal an extra 1d4 Psychic damage. This damage increases to 1d6 at the 11th Ranger level.
Otherworldly Glamour provides a bonus to Charisma checks equal to the Fey Ranger’s Wisdom Modifier and proficiency in one of the following skills: Deception, Performance, or Persuasion.
Fey Wanderer Magic
The Fey Ranger automatically get some spells without them counting against their spell limit via Fey Wanderer Magic. This offers some excellent options like Misty Step and Charm Person that help bring the Fey aspect to life. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
3rd Charm Person
5th Misty Step
9th Dispel Magic
13th Dimension Door
At 7th level, the Fey Ranger gains Beguiling Twist. As a passive benefit at this level, the Fey Ranger has advantage on saving throws against Charmed and Frightened. Its active benefit means that whenever a creature the Fey Ranger can see within 120 ft. succeeds on a saving throw against Charmed or Frightened, the Fey Ranger can use its reaction to force a different creature within 120 ft. to make Wisdom saving throw against the Fey Ranger’s spell DC. On a failure, the target is Charmed or Frightened according to the Fey Ranger’s choice for one minute. The target can repeat the save at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
At 11th level, the Fey Ranger gains Fey Reinforcements. The Fey Ranger now knows the Summon Fey spell which it can cast without a material component, but it doesn’t count against the number of spells the Ranger knows. This spell can be cast once without using a spell slot, once per long rest. When the Fey Ranger starts casting this spell, it can modify it so it does not require concentration. When cast this way, the spell’s duration is only 1 minute.
At 15th level, the Fey Ranger gains Misty Wanderer. The Fey Wanderer can cast Misty Step without expending a spell slot a number of times equal to their Wisdom Modifier and regain all expended uses when they finish a long rest. Also, whenever casting Misty Step, the Fey Ranger can bring one willing creature within 5 ft. to an unoccupied space of the destination space.
Understanding the Fey Wanderer
Fey Rangers wield influence and weapons in equal measure. Dreadful Strikes stacks with Hunter’s Mark can deal damage without any additional action cost. The additional proficiency with a social skill boosted by Wisdom in Otherworldly Glamour isn’t quite the same as Expertise like a Bard or a Rogue, but it’s certainly effective. Combining that with Charm Person makes the Fey Ranger almost irresistible in a conversation.
Beguiling Twist is a good “no, you” maneuver that is sure to confuse enemies since there is no other ability like this one. This is so Fey Ranger specific, some might call it their defining feature. Enemies, like Dragons, have passive fear auras can limit a party dramatically. With the Fey Wanderer, however, as the party overcomes the fear aura over the course of the fight, the Fey Ranger can turn every success into another push against their enemy. There is no limit on how often this feature can be used, it has an utterly massive range, and it is not concentration.
Its main limitation is that it is mostly situational. However, this can be subverted with some clever applications. The Ranger can target the party’s Cleric with the excellent Wisdom save with Charm Person and once they succeed, the Ranger can then take that success and turn it against an enemy as a fear effect. The same applies when working with enemies. If one enemy succeeds a Charm Person, it is easy to change targets and try again. Moreover, while Charm Person specifies humanoids, the Beguiling Twist does not. Redirecting a successful save on Charm Person changes it to a 1 minute no concentration charm for monsters and does not expire when the creature takes damage.
The Fey Reinforcements feature is a tricky one. Summon Fey Spirit is the new 3rd level spell from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and should not be confused with Conjure Fey which is a 6th level spell. The Fey Spirit has its own statblock per Tasha’s and is an excellent ally. Based on the way the ability reads, the spell is cast at the base 3rd level. This creature is largely a skirmisher, but can help with three different forms: Deceitful (which spreads darkness on the field), Furious (has the best chance to hit), or Joyful (which charms targets). The Joyful Fey spirit will greatly increase the chances of the Beguiling Twist coming into play.
Misty Wanderer is free Misty Step with a friend 5-6 times a day. Sometimes simple abilities are the best. The applications of this are easy: help friends escape from trouble, skirmish with a friend, and bring friends to the trouble.
The extra spells provided for the Fey Ranger open up a few possibilities to the Ranger not generally available. Charm Person is mostly about softening up a target for negotiations. Misty Step and Dimension Door are both escape hatches. Dispel Magic is just a magical off switch for spells. Mislead is the icing as it sends an illusory double out while keeping the caster invisible. This allows the Fey Ranger to stay out of trouble while causing plenty for others.
DMs preparing for a Fey Ranger in their campaign should be sure to expect lots of Charming antics, no pun intended. Fey are inherently tricksy and mischievous by nature and the Fey Ranger is made in the same mold. The Fey Ranger is certainly not a Bard, but it may coopt some strategies from it and has to capacity to foster peace and talk its way out of problems more than almost any other martial class. DMs should prepare for a lot of roleplay with this one.
The Swarmkeeper Ranger not only commands a swarm of tiny creatures at their command but also becomes the swarm in later levels able to disassemble self, duck damage, slither through small spaces, and spy-like no other.
At 3rd level, the Swarmkeeper Ranger gains Gathered Swarm and Swarmkeeper Magic.
Gathered Swarm provides the Swarmkeeper with a shroud of small swarming spirits. Once per turn, the Swarmkeeper can use the swarm to aid it one three ways
- The attack’s target takes an additional 1d6 damage from the swarm
- The attack’s target must make a Strength saving throw against the Swarmkeeper ranger or be moved 15 ft. horizontally in a direction of the Ranger’s choice
- The Swamkeeper can be moved by the swarm 5 ft. horizontally in a direction if its choice
The Swarm Ranger automatically gets some spells without them counting against their spell limit via Swarmkeeper Magic. These include a number of utility options including Mage Hand, Gaseous Form, and Arcane Eye. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
3rd Faerie Fire, Mage Hand
9th Gaseous Form
13th Arcane Eye
17th Insect Plague
At 7th level, the Swarmkeeper Ranger gains Writhing Tide. As a bonus action, the Swarmkeeper gains a flying speed of 10 ft. and can hover for 1 minute or until the Swamkeeper Ranger is Incapacitated. This feature can be used a number of times equal to the Ranger’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
At 11th level, the Swarmkeeper Ranger gains Mighty Swarm. Gathered Swarm grows mightier in the following ways
- Gathered Swarm damage is now a d8
- If a creature fails its saving throw against being moved by the Swarm, the Ranger can also choose to make the creature fall prone as well
- When the Swarmkeeper is moved by the swarm due to the Gathered Swarm, it has half cover until the start of its next turn
At 15th level, the Swarmkeeper Ranger gains Swarming Dispersal. When the Swamkeeper takes damage, it can use its reaction to give itself resistance to that damage and disperse into the swarm. As part of the same reaction, the Ranger teleports to an unoccupied space within 30 ft. of the original location. This feature can be used a number of times equal to the Ranger’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
Understanding the Swarmkeeper
The Swamkeeper Ranger is part sniper, part skirmisher, and part battlefield controller, meaning it is an extremely safe bet for characters without much health.
Gathered Swarm and its three options all activate on a weapon hit, meaning it can be ranged or melee. The extra damage will always be good especially when combined with Hunter’s Mark, but the ability to shove enemies away or shove self away matters a lot. While many enemies in 5e have a high strength score, few have proficiency in strength saving throws. The chances of pushing an enemy away are higher than one might guess. This can push them into a trap like the Web spell, into the weapon range of allies, or most players’ personal favorite of into a hazard like off a cliff or into a fire. The ability to move self means that a Swarmkeeper Ranger can strike a target and then immediately move 5 ft. away as forced movement, meaning it does not open the possibility of an attack of opportunity. It is a slight, but important distinction.
The Writing Tide makes this attack and retreat method even easier. All a Swarmkeeper has to do is raise itself off the ground and take cheap shots with a longbow from a safe distance in the air. Similarly, for melee, it can just dive bomb at a small distance or with a polearm and just attack downwards without moving. The only limit to this is that Writhing Tide is not fast at only 10 ft. speed. However, with coordination from teammates to lock an opponent down or by using the Web spell, this should not be a problem.
Mighty Swarm simply makes the strategy even better by knocking opponents prone, providing half cover (a bump in AC and better Dexterity saving throws), and dealing more damage. The final ability, Swarming Dispersal is a damage mitigation ability and a zoning tool in one, meaning that even when the enemy outmaneuvers the Swarmkeeper and is able to damage them, the Swarmkeeper still has an escape hatch.
DMs should know that Swarmkeepers are slippery, able to keep dealing damage at a distance, and can play around with the dynamics of the field a lot. With a Swarmkeeper, it will always be prudent to consider the battlefield in 3D for an optimal battle, giving them special opportunities like chandeliers to drop, since they can reach that high.
The Phantom Rogue smears the line between life and death causing the player character to act as a sort of medium and spiritual channel, augmenting their abilities with knowledge from beyond the grave. At 3rd level, the Phantom Rogue gains Whispers of the Dead and Wails from the Grave.
Whispers of the Dead
Whispers of the Dead means that with every short or long rest, the Phantom Rogue can gain one skill or tool proficiency of the Phantom Rogue’s choice as the dead spirits share their knowledge. During the next rest, this proficiency is lost when the Phantom Rogue uses this skill to gain a different proficiency.
Wails from the Grave
Wails from the Grave means that when the Phantom Rogue deals sneak attack damage, it can target a second creature within 30 ft. of the first creature and roll half of its sneak attack dice (rounded up) in necrotic damage to that target. This feature can be used a number of times equal to the Rogue’s proficiency bonus after every long rest.
Tokens of the Departed
At 9th level, the Phantom Rogue gains Tokens of the Departed. As a reaction when a creature that the Phantom Rogue can see dies within 30 ft., the Phantom Rogue can open a free hand and cause a tiny trinket to form with the essence of the pour soul within it. This Trinket provides the following benefits and uses:
- While with the Phantom rogue, the Trinket provides advantage on death saving throws and Constitution saving throws
- When the Phantom Rogue deals sneak attack damage, it can destroy one of its Trinkets to use Wails from the Grave without expending a use of that feature
- The Phantom Rogue can destroy a Trinket, no matter where it is located, to ask the associated spirit one question. The spirit appears to the Phantom rogue and answers in a language it knew in life. It only has the knowledge it retained while it was alive as determined by the DM.
At 13th level, the Phantom Rogue gains Ghost Walk. As a bonus action, the Phantom Rogue can take on a spectral form that allows it to fly at a speed of 10 ft., provide disadvantage on attack rolls towards the Phantom Rogue, and move through objects as if they were difficult terrain. The Phantom Rogue does take 1d10 force damage if it ends its turn inside a creature or object. This form lasts for 10 minutes or until the Rogue ends it as a bonus action. This form can be used once per long rest or can be reactivated by destroying a soul trinket as a bonus action.
At 17th level, the Phantom Rogue gains Death Knell. Wails from the Grave now deals necrotic damage to the first struck as well as the second creature. At the end of every long rest, a soul trinket appears in the hand of the Phantom Rogue as spirits are actively seeking them out.
Understanding the Phantom Rogue
Whispers of the Dead keeps the Phantom Rogue flexible in its skills, able to adapt every 24 hours to what the campaign calls for. Wails from the Grave approaches a frequent criticism of the Rogue, its singular focus on damaging one enemy per turn. While it is a small amount, dealing damage without a saving throw or attack roll is something rare. This allows the Phantom Rogue to slowly chip away at enemies that have armor like a tank without ever having to strike it personally. This can be used at a distance with a bow, throwing knives or darts as well.
Tokens of the Departed helps provide a sort of soul-stealing and medium effect. The advantage on death saves and Constitution saves helps the Phantom Rogue feel undead and the ability to talk to dead souls is something usually reserved for Clerics. This Rogue subclass as a connection to the afterlife like no one else and can open a whole new world of possibilities to both DM and player.
Ghost Walk enhances this theme, but also makes the Phantom Rogue even harder to kill. The ability to phase through walls and only take a d10 of force damage when inside an object at the end of a turn means the Phantom Rogue can damage two enemies at once, take one of their souls, and then phase through a ceiling to safety without being in serious danger. Death Knell is just icing since it does so much extra damage by this level and even if a DM does not use many enemies in combat, the Phantom Rogue is never locked out of its Trinket ability.
DMs should prepare themselves to remember a lot of knowledge for dead enemies and NPCs. It would be prudent to take notes and ask the Phantom Rogue player which trinkets they have and then prepare for those characters accordingly.
Soulknives use their psychic powers to infiltrate, communicate, and eradicate. Their mind is their greatest weapon, literally.
Psionic Power is represented by Psionic Energy dice. The dice scale as the Soulknife grows: a d6 at 3rd level, a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 11th level, and a d12 at 17th level. The number of these available to the Psi Warrior is double their proficiency modifier and restores every long rest.
The powers bulleted below use the Soulknife Psionic Energy dice.
- Psi-Bolstered Knack. If the Soulknife Rogue fails an ability check using a skill or tool they are proficient with, the Phantom Rogue can roll a Psionic Energy Die in addition to the check potentially succeeding. Only one die may be expended per check.
- Psychic Whispers. As an action, the Soulknife Rogue can choose creatures it can see up to its proficiency bonus then roll one Psionic Energy die. The creatures selected can communicate telepathically with the Soulknife Rogue for a number of hours determined by the die roll, no action required, for a range of up to a mile. This ability can’t be used by creatures that speak no languages and a creature can end the telepathic link at any time. Two creatures do not need to share a language to understand each other in this way. This ability can be used once per long rest and can also be used at the cost of a single psychic energy die.
Psychic Blades can manifest when the Soulknife takes the attack action. It creates a blade of pure energy that can be used for the attack. It is a simple melee weapon that has both finesse and thrown properties. The range for this weapon is 60 ft. and no further. When it hits a target, it deals 1d6 + ability modifier psychic damage. The blade disappears whether it hits or misses and leaves no mark on its target after dealing damage.
After attacking with the blade, the Soul Knife can make a melee or ranged attack with a second psychic blade as a bonus action on the same turn provided the other hand is free. The damage on this one is a d4 + ability modifier.
At 13th level, the Soulknife Rogue gains Psychic Veil. As an action, the Soulknife can become invisible for an hour or until the Soulknife dismisses the effect with all the things the Soulknife is wearing or carrying. This invisibility ends if the Soulknife deals damage to a creature or forces it to make a saving throw. This feature can be used once per long rest unless reactivated with a Psionic Energy die.
At 17th level, the Soulknife Rogue gains Rend Mind. When the Soulknife deals Sneak Attack damage to a creature, it can force that creature to make a Wisdom saving throw (DC= proficiency + Dexterity + 8). If it fails, it is stunned for 1 minute. It may make the save at the end of every round, ending the effect on a success. This feature can only be used once per long rest unless reactivated with the use of a Psionic Energy dice.
Understanding the Soulknife
Soulknives are some of the best candidates for assassins. With no trace of the damage they have done and never being in need of a weapon, they could come into a situation in only their boxers and still come out on top.
At 3rd level, they are already a cut above the rest in terms of skill checks and tools as well as functioning as a sort of psychic phone operator between creatures. They serve an interesting utility capacity in this way, able to broker conversations with exotic creatures without spells. The Psychic Blades they have at 3rd level will almost always do full damage to creatures with very little resistance and they can even make two attacks which is unheard of for a Rogue subclass at this level.
The Soul Blades provide even more accuracy and teleportation. In addition to strong in the mind, this subclass is very paranoid about preventing failure. It will almost always hit at least once in a round and has the capacity to teleport far away once the job is done. Psychic Veil is in a similar vein, with the key catch about this ability is that the invisibility only deactivates upon dealing damage. If the Soulknife Rogue somehow misses, it can still make the second attack at advantage and deal Sneak Attack damage. Its capstone ability allows it to stun a creature when it hits with Sneak Attack and by this level can attempt it multiple times in one combat. Since this ability is Dexterity dependent, it does not require any additional statistics outside of the Rogue’s general profile.
Soulknives have a great capacity for independence, not reliant upon magic items or even ideal circumstances to get the job done. Their powers work almost entirely without saving throws and largely augment what the Rogue can already do. This subclass is well suited to a coordinated attack with allies, using its powers to mitigate, any extenuating circumstances and surprises. This is a solid pick for a player that wants to feel like a skilled professional with a secret edge.
DMs preparing for this should remember general Rogue tactics, but also remember that all these benefits require a long rest each time. If a DM has a Soulknife Rogue that burns through every ability they have as fast as they can, that Phantom Rogue will be much more vulnerable later in the day and the DM will need to scale the encounters accordingly. Everyone’s luck, even the Soulknife’s, runs out eventually.
Aberrant Mind Sorcerers are the mutants and gifted children of the D&D world, able to bend the minds of others to their will.
At 1st level, the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains Psionic Spells and Telepathic Speech.
The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains additional spells that don’t count against their spell limit and are counted as Sorcerer spells. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
1st Arms of Hadar, dissonant whispers, mind sliver
3rd Calm emotions, detect thoughts
5th Hunger of Hadar, sending
7th Evard’s black tentacles, summon aberration
9th Rary’s telepathic bond, telekinesis
When the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains another level in Sorcerer, it can replace one spell from the Psionic Spells with another spell of the same level so long as it is a divination or enchantment spell from Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard.
Telepathic speech allows the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer can link its mind with another. The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer chooses one creature within 30 ft. as a bonus action and the two of them can speak telepathically with each other while the two are within a number of miles of each other equal to the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer’s Charisma Modifier. They must share a language to understand one another.
The telepathic connection lasts for a number of minutes equal to the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer’s level. It ends early if the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer is incapacitated, dies, or if the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer uses this ability to connect to another creature.
At 6th level, the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains Psionic Sorcery and Psychic Defenses.
Psionic Sorcery means that when the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer casts a spell of 1st or higher from the Psionic Spells feature, it can cast it by using the spell slot as normal or by spending sorcery points equal to the spell’s level. When casting the spell this way, the spell requires no verbal components, somatic components, or non-consumable material components.
Psychic Defenses gives the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer resistance to psychic damage and advantage on saving throws against charmed or frightened.
Revelation in Flesh
At 14th level, the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains Revelation in Flesh. This feature allows the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer to spend Sorcery points as a bonus action to gain otherworldly enhancements to their body for 10 minutes. For each point the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer spends, they may choose a benefit below.
- The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer can see all invisible creatures within 60 ft. so long as they aren’t behind total cover
- The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains flying speed equal to its walking speed as well as the ability to hover.
- The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains a swimming speed twice that of their walking speed and can breathe underwater
- The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer, as well as everything it is carrying and wearing, becomes amorphous and can squeeze through any space as narrow as 1 inch without squeezing and spend 5 ft. to escape any non-magical restraints or grappling
At 18th level, the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer gains Warping Implosion. The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer can take an action to teleport to an unoccupied space within 120 ft. and force every creature within 30 ft. of its original location to make a Strength saving throw.
On a failure, each creature takes 3d10 force damage and is pulled straight towards the original space, ending as close to the space as possible. On a success, they take half damage and do not move. This ability can be used once per long rest unless reactivated at the cost of 5 sorcery points.
Understanding the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer
The Psionic Spells feature goes a long way to expand the generally narrow Sorcerer spell list with 10 extra spells and allows it to swap into certain schools of Warlock and Wizard. Limiting to Divination and Enchantment solidly defines this class by its ability to gather hidden knowledge and manipulate others. The Sorcerer is particularly good at this since it can use Metamagic to significantly boost its chances of succeeding on important saves.
Telepathic Speech is a situational ability that is best used when trying to play keep-away with information. Planning ambushes in broad daylight by covertly communicating with teammates is a boon as well as allowing the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer to harass an individual across a distance without using a spell. Talk about living in someone’s head rent-free.
It can be used in situations when the party plans to split up, perhaps to pursue different side quests in town, but still need to coordinate with each other. This can also be used if the Rogue wants to scout ahead, but isn’t sure it will be able to sneak back and can instead radio back with the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer.
Psionic Sorcery is a much cheaper and action efficient way to use the Psionic spells. The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer does not even have to convert the Sorcery Points into spell slots, saving or two points per casting vs a converted slot. It isn’t the same as at-will casting, but it does make sorcery points another well to draw from rather than a nebulous mass of energy that always needs to be converted or used for very specific abilities.
The lack of components allows the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer to use their spells even within a Silence spell effect or if their hands are bound. This also de facto allows them to cast spells in public situations without being detected unless someone is specifically looking for spells, like with Detect Magic.
Psychic Defenses is a simple ability that emphasizes the theme of the subclass. Resistance to Psychic damage will not come up often, but it is much more likely against otherworldly threats. The advantage against charmed/frightened saving throws will definitely come up intermittently, but largely allows the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer to feel like they are a master of mind powers who has little to fear from other manipulators.
Revelation in Flesh is a mass of often glossed over features. The mobility options for flying and swimming are helpful and the most likely to get used. Seeing invisible things is one of those abilities that Arcane casters normally think about taking, but it doesn’t come up enough often to warrant a place on a spell list.
The gaining amorphous anatomy is the most unsettling out of the bunch, being able to turn into something like Mr. Fantastic or Plastic Man and ooze through restraints and barriers. While situational, Revelation in Flesh provides a weirdness factor this subclass needed.
Warping Implosion is a bailout option with some zoning effects and damage attached. This pairs well with a quickened spell, allowing the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer to pull everyone into a clump and cast Evard’s Black Tentacles at a safe distance on one turn.
The default list of spells for the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer focuses a lot on battlefield control. Arms of Hadar, Hunger of Hadar, and Evard’s Black Tentacles all section off parts of the battlefield as no-go zones. Sending and Rary’s Telepathic bond are more about team coordination. Calm Emotions and Detect Thoughts are for roleplay and conflict resolution. Dissonant Whispers and Telekinesis are about moving the enemy into a dangerous position. Summon Aberration is a thematic punching machine, dealing damage in a few different ways depending on the summon.
When an Aberrant Mind Sorcerer joins a DMs table, the DM should prepare for a Sorcerer keyed into information gathering and making a mess of the battlefield. There will be a lot of AoE effects in play with the default spell list, let alone if they take spells like Fireball.
The party will have access to much better communication methods than players normally think to build and will be able to share urgent information quickly. In terms of combat, the best way to prepare for this subclass is to consider what kind of saving throws the creatures the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer will be facing. Many of their subclass spells are dependent on Wisdom and Strength saving throws. Not many creatures have both, so that should help the DM determine the likelihood of successful actions the Sorcerer may take over the course of the combat.
Clockwork Soul Sorcerer
Clockwork Soul Sorcerers are perfect for steampunk enthusiasts and players who think their teammate should always have a fair chance at succeeding.
At 1st level, the Clockwork Soul Sorcerer gains Clockwork Magic and Restore Balance.
Clockwork Magic means that the Clockwork Sorcerer gains additional spells that don’t count against their spell limit and are counted as Sorcerer spells. All are gained at the following levels on the left and are as follows:
1st alarm, protection from evil and good
3rd aid, lesser restoration
5th dispel magic, protection from energy
7th freedom of movement, summon construct
9th greater restoration, wall of force
When the Clockwork Sorcerer gains another level in Sorcerer, it can replace one spell from the Clockwork Spells table with another spell of the same level so long as it is an abjuration or transmutation spell from Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard.
Restore Balance allows the Clockwork Sorcerer to use its reaction on a creature within 60 ft. who is rolling a d20 and negate advantage or disadvantage on the roll. The Clockwork Sorcerer can use this feature a number of times equal to its proficiency bonus every long rest.
Bastion of Law
At 6th level, the Clockwork Soul Sorcerer gains Bastion of Law. As an action, the Clockwork Sorcerer can use 1-5 Sorcery points to create a magical ward that protects either itself or another creature it can see within 30 ft. that lasts until a long rest or until this feature is used again.
This ward provides a number of d8s equal to the number of Sorcery Points used to create it. When the creature affected by the ward takes damage, it can expend a number of those dice, roll them, and reduce the total damage done by the total.
Trance of Order
At 14th level, the Clockwork Sorcerer gains Trance of Order. This allows the Clockwork Sorcerer to enter a state of prediction and calculation for 1 minute as a bonus action. For that duration, attacks against the Clockwork Sorcerer cannot have advantage and any time the Clockwork Sorcerer makes an attack roll, ability, check, or saving throw, a d20 roll under 9 counts as a 10 before modifiers. This state can only be used once per long rest unless reactivated with 5 Sorcery Points.
At 18th level, the Clockwork Soul Sorcerer gains Clockwork Cavalcade. As an action, the Clockwork Sorcerer can create a magical 30 ft. cube around them with spirits of law from Mechanus. The following effects activate during this action:
- The spirits supply 100 hit points of healing that the Clockwork Sorcerer can divide up among any of the creatures within the cube
- Any damaged objects totally inside the cube are completely repaired instantly
- The Clockwork Sorcerer can choose any number of creatures and objects then every spell of 6th level or lower affecting them
This ability can be used once per long rest unless reactivated using 7 sorcery points.
Understanding the Clockwork Sorcerer
Clockwork Sorcerers like predictable, replicable methods. The Restore Order feature allows them to eliminate an enemy’s advantage on attack rolls and remove a disadvantage from an ally. If the Clockwork Sorcerer shares this ability with the party, they are sure to become a favorite quickly.
When an ally gets Poisoned or Blinded, the Clockwork Sorcerer makes that much more manageable by giving them at least one attack roll free of penalty. At later levels, this is especially important as the Clockwork Sorcerer can undercut an enemy’s frustrating Magic Resist and flatten their chances of succeeding on a saving throw.
Bastion of Law needs some time to ramp up since, at 6th level, it can feel like choosing between having Sorcery points and having an extra layer of protection. It does not require a reaction to use, fortunately, so it will not interrupt the Restore Balance feature. This feature is going to be best used as either an additional layer of protection for the Clockwork Sorcerer when going into an unknown situation or to armor another player character when everyone knows they are about to get hit hard.
Trance of Order is a solid feature that can be deployed during the most serious combat of the day. It makes the Clockwork Sorcerer run, while a little on the nose, like clockwork. Its chances of success are much higher when many of the negative possibilities are just taken out wholesale. For the Clockwork Sorcerer to get the most mileage out of this ability, it would be prudent to take an attack roll spell and gauge the enemy’s AC by watching allies attack it or by feeling it out with a cantrip.
Clockwork Cavalcade is for when combat has gone off the rails against the party and they need a powerplay to get them competitive again. It isn’t a full reset for the party, but it goes to great lengths to put everyone back into service. Restoring health en masse allows the Clockwork Sorcerer to put everyone in range back on their feet and give extra health to those getting hit the hardest.
Restoring broken structures is mostly thematic, but could potentially fix armor and repair buildings to provide cover. Ending the spells of the Sorcerer’s choice is where they can turn off an enemy’s game-changing spells like Dominate Person, Mass Suggestion, Eyebite, and Greater Invisibility. This ability is a rallying maneuver the whole party will need to take advantage of.
The Clockwork Magic base spell list is a lot of debuff treatments and defensive spells. Alarm, Aid, Protection from Energy, and Protection from Evil and Good are preventative measures usually deployed before combat or on the first round. Greater/Lesser Restoration, Dispel Magic, and Freedom of Movement work to put people back in fighting form. Summon Construct is an ally to beat enemies and Wall of Force is effectively a combat pause button when given the right placement.
These spells are able to be swapped out for other Abjuration and Transmutation spells (including Wizard and Warlock) which squarely places them in either defense or buff/debuff territory. Excellent choices for these include Shield, Enlarge/Reduce, Counterspell, Haste, Slow, Banishment, Animate Objects, and Telekinesis.
DMs should prepare for a Clockwork Sorcerer by considering the conditions different creatures use against a D&D party. Some DMs feel guilty when poisoning a player character or paralyzing them to get crit on. The Clockwork Sorcerer is a gift to DMs in some ways, freeing up more damaging conditions to be used on players who are guaranteed to be able to counterplay them.
DMs would also do well to be patient when the player uses its Restore Order feature at seeming inopportune times and consider how that might change story moments if they involve rolling a d20 or results (to resist mind control or thwart an assassination attempt, for example). Trance of Order will also be a big moment for the player, meaning that when an enemy has a low AC or low saving throws, they effectively have no fear of missing or failing. However, with the exception of Paladins and Monks, no class is good at every saving throw. There are bound to be chinks in that armor.
More Cthulhu-man than Aquaman, the Fathomless Warlock brings the power of the cold, eldritch trench to every session!
At 1st level, the Fathomless Warlock gains an Expanded Spell List, Tentacle of the Deep, and Gift of the Sea.
Per the Expanded Spell List, the following spells are added to the Warlock’s spell list and can be chosen at the appropriate Warlock level. The spell level is on the left and the spells are on the right:
1st create or destroy water, thunderwave
2nd gust of wind, silence
3rd lightning bolt, sleet storm
4th control water, summon elemental (water only)
5th Bigby’s hand (which appears as a tentacle), cone of cold
Tentacle of the Deep
Tentacle of the Deep allows the Fathomless to summon a spectral tentacle that is 10 ft. long at a point they can see within 60 ft. as a bonus action. The tentacle lasts for a minute or until the Fathomless Warlock summons one in a different location.
Once created, it can immediately make a melee spell attack against one creature within 10 ft. If it hits, the target takes 1d8 cold damage and its speed is reduced by 10 ft. until the start of the Fathomless warlock’s next turn. The tentacle’s damage increases by another d8 at 10th level.
This tentacle can move 30 ft. and repeat the attack as a bonus action for the duration. The number of times the Fathomless Warlock can summon these tentacles is equal to its proficiency bonus every long rest.
Gift of the Sea
Gift of the Sea provides the Fathomelss Warlock a swimming speed of 40 ft. and the ability to breathe underwater.
At 6th level, the Fathomless Warlock gains Oceanic Soul and Guardian Coil.
Oceanic Soul provides resistance to cold damage and while the Fathomless Warlock and any other creature are fully submerged in water they can communicate through any speech and fully understand one another.
Guardian Coil means that when the Fathomless Warlock sees one creature take damage while within 10 ft. of the tentacle (self-included), it can use its reaction to reduce the damage by 1d8. This ability can reduce the damage by 2d8 at 10th level.
At 10th level, the Fathomless Warlock gains Grasping Tentacles. The Warlock now knows the spell Evard’s Black Tentacles. It counts as a Warlock spell, but not against the Warlock’s spell limit. It can be cast without a spell slot once per short or long rest.
Whenever the Fathomless Warlock casts this spell, its patron modifies the spell’s casting so that damage cannot break the Fathomless Warlock’s concentration and the Fathomless Warlock also gains temporary hit points equal to its Warlock level.
At 14th level, the Fathomless Warlock gains Fathomless Plunge. As an action, the Fathomless Warlock can teleport itself and five other willing creatures it can see within 30 ft. In a mess of tentacles, all of the selected targets vanish and reappear 1 mile away in or around a 30 ft. radius of a body of water (the size of a pond or bigger) that the Fathomless Warlock has seen before. This ability can be used once per short or long rest.
Understanding the Fathomless Warlock
The Fathomless Warlock takes some time to spin up in terms of damage dealing but has utility the whole way.
The Tentacle of the Deep, by 6th level, ensures that the Fathomless Warlock will always have something to do with its bonus action and reaction.
Because of the restrictions on spell slots the Warlock has, the Eldritch Blast is the beginning and end of the average Warlock’s turn. The Fathomless Warlock may not be dealing a ton of damage or reducing a lot of damage with its Tentacle of the Deep, but it also has very few restrictions about how many times it can deal damage or reduce damage.
Gift of the Sea and Oceanic soul are mostly thematic extensions of the Fathomless Warlock but are absolutely essential for a seafaring campaign like Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Oceanic Soul in particular provides some utility benefit, allowing the Warlock the powers of Comprehend Languages without a spell slot.
Grasping Tentacles provides bonus temporary hit points and a free but limited spell slot for the Fathomless Warlock which all Warlocks covet. Given that it comes back on a short rest like the rest of the Warlock spell slots, there is no reason not to use this every combat.
Fathomless Plunge is an escape-hatch ability for a party that is running for their lives or is desperately tired of a dungeon they’ve been exploring. This ability will work better for Fathomless Warlocks that have explored the area they are adventuring in and allowing them to do so will be foundational to them as a subclass.
For DMs, the Fathomless Warlock’s tactics should be fairly predictable. In the average combat, they will likely cast an area of effect control spell, like Arms of Hadar or Evard’s Black Tentacles, then summon their Tentacle of the Deep. From there, they will likely use the Tentacle of the Deep and Eldritch Blast (possibly paired with Repelling Blast or Grasp of Hadar invocations) to work single targets, only using spell slots for Thunderwave/Lighting Bolt/Cone of Cold for enemies that will take too long to wear down using the normal methods.
Opportunities for the Fathomless Warlock to shine will include sea travel and exploration. Their ability to communicate with any submerged creature makes it ideal as a translator for fish or aquatic hostile creatures.
Making maps available to the Fathomless Warlock by 14th level is essential for its Fathomless Plunge, so methods of navigation should be built into any campaign that will include the Fathomless Warlock.
Genie Warlocks have a stronger connection to their Patron than any other Warlock and can do more than cast spells; they can make wishes come true!
At 1st level, the Genie Warlock gains an Expanded Spell List and Genie’s Vessel.
Per the Expanded Spell List, the following spells are added to the Warlock’s spell list and can be chosen at the appropriate Warlock level. In the Genie Warlock’s case specifically, they receive spells for choosing the Genie as their patron as well as optional spells for their specific Genie type detailed below.
Genie’s Vessel is a feature that provides a small vessel of the Genie’s power such as a bottle, lamp, or an urn. This item must be tiny and can be used as a spellcasting focus for Warlock spells. It’s AC is equal to the Genie Warlock’s DC and it’s hit points are equal to the Warlock’s proficiency bonus + levels in Warlock. It is immune to poison and psychic damage. If it is destroyed, the Genie Warlock can perform a one-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from the patron and can be performed as part of a short or long rest. The vessel disappears if the Genie Warlock dies.
While holding it, the Genie Warlock gains two sub-features: Bottled Respite and Genie’s Wrath.
Bottled Respite allows the Genie Warlock to disappear and enter the vessel which remains in the space the Genie Warlock left. The interior of the vessel is an extradimensional location in the shape of a 20-foot-radius cylinder, 20 feet high, and resembles the Genie Warlock’s vessel’s design. The interior does include comfortable furnishings and temperature.
While inside the vessel, the Genie Warlock can hear everything outside it as if it was still in the space it left. The Genie Warlock can remain in the vessel a number of hours equal to twice its proficiency bonus. It can use a bonus action to leave the vessel early and is forcibly ejected if the vessel is destroyed or if the Genie Warlock dies.
When exiting, the Genie Warlock appears in the unoccupied space closest to the vessel. Objects can be left inside the vessel and can be brought out by breaking the vessel where they will appear harmlessly around the space the vessel was broken. Once the Genie Warlock has entered the vessel, it can’t enter it again until it finishes a long rest.
Genie’s Wrath allows the Genie Warlock to deal extra damage when it hits with an attack roll equal to its proficiency bonus. The damage type for this bonus is determined by the Genie type the Warlock is working with.
At 6th level, the Genie Warlock gains Elemental Gift. At this level, the Genie Warlock becomes resistant to damage of a type based on their Genie Type. This damage resistance is the same type they deal with their Genie’s Wrath feature.
Also, the Genie Warlock can use a bonus action to give itself a flying speed of 30 ft. for 10 minutes which includes the ability to hover. This ability can be used a number of times equal to the Genie Warlock’s proficiency bonus every long rest.
At 10th level, the Genie Warlock gains Sanctuary Vessel. When the Genie Warlock enters its vessel via Bottled Respite, it can choose up to 5 willing creatures within 30 ft. to come inside with it.
All residents of the vessel (Genie Warlock included) who stay inside for 10 minutes receive the benefits of a short rest and can add the Genie Warlock’s proficiency bonus to all Hit Dice rolled to restore health as part of the short rest.
The Genie Warlock can also use a bonus action to eject any number of creatures from the vessel. All occupants are ejected if the Genie Warlock dies or the vessel is destroyed.
At 14th level, the Genie Warlock gains Limited Wish. As an action, the Genie Warlock can speak its desire to the Genie’s Vessel and call upon the power of its patron to request the effect of one spell that is 6th level or lower and can be cast as 1 action. The spell can be from any player class and the Genie Warlock doesn’t need to meet the requirements of the spell including components that require a gold cost.
Understanding the Genie Warlock
Complications on the Genie Warlock are front-loaded. Once the Genie subtype is chosen and the correct version of the spell lists are added, we start to see general trends. The standard Genie spells are focused on illusions and short-term provisions, with the exception of Wish which can do almost anything and Detect Evil and Good which is a simple detection ability. The rest will be faster to explain in a bulleted list.
- Dao: lots of defense, with some environment shaping abilities
- Djinni: three crowd control spells with Greater Invisibility for safety and a destructive capstone of Flame Strike
- Eferetti: damage spells, with Fire Shield being the closest thing to defense (it’s kind of like Fiend Warlock 2.0)
- Marid: two smoke screens, one defense, one environmental control spell, and the destructive capstone Cone of Cold
How the subclass feels will depend largely on the Genie subtype because of the wild differences in supplementary spell lists. For the sake of this article, we will focus on the Genie Warlock’s main features so as to not try to examine each possible permutation.
The Genie’s Wrath is a pinch of extra damage with one damage roll that scales. Bottled Respite and its upgraded version Sanctuary Vessel are the meat and potatoes of this subclass. Being able to take a short rest inside abject safety at 1st level is mighty helpful. It also works as a safe storage space for anything the party may need so long as it can be worn or carried.
For evil parties, sorry, you’ll need to really work to get a dead body into the vessel. This ability will likely lead to some of the hijinks that DMs may experience if they add a bag of holding to the party’s inventory. It’s a great infiltration ability. If the players need to get into a castle, they can sneak the Genie Warlock inside easily the vessel as part of a visiting noble’s possessions. Alternatively, if the Genie Warlock needs a place to hide, they can mostly bury the vessel in the ground and slip inside while the enemies aren’t looking. It is an ability that straddles roleplay focus and utility focus, but should always be entertaining to watch.
The resistances from Elemental Gift range from ok (like the Efritti’s and the Marid’s) to good (like the Djinni’s) to great (like the Dao’s). The interesting balancing here is the more helpful the element is on Genie’s Wrath, the less helpful it is to have as a resistance on the player character and vice versa (with the exception of the Dao, it’s just awesome like that). The flight provided by the Elemental Gift is excellent and provides the Genie Warlock a degree of safety it would normally have to cast a spell to achieve.
Limited Wish is where the line between Warlock and Patron starts to blur a little bit. Being able to pull a Patron’s power into a fight without any material cost or bargaining is a solid power. No spell list requirement means that resurrection, warping minds, party teleportation, capturing souls, and hundreds of different ways to deal damage are now available. Its recharge time is notable as there only one exactly like in the Scribe Wizard subclass. With a max cap of four days and a minimum of one, this is an ability well suited to long-running campaigns or one-shots.
DMs preparing for a Genie Warlock should carefully think through the relationship between Patron and Warlock. Understanding how the Warlock interacts with the Patron allows the player to work its way up to ordering wishes a la carte and should be built up over a long period of time.
At lower levels, the Genie Warlock will likely focus on roleplay and using the vessel to its fullest. At the mid-level, they will be able to float and will need either another flying creature or ranged attackers to counter them. At high levels, they will most likely have a solid damage spell of some kind and will always have a wild card in their back pocket with their Limited Wish.
The Bladesinging Wizard joins the selective “full casters who gets to hit things with a melee attacks effectively” club.
At 2nd level, the Bladesinging Wizard gains Training in War and Song and Bladesong. Training in War and Song provides proficiency with light armor, the Performance skill, and one type of one-handed melee weapon of the Bladesinging Wizard’s choice.
Bladesong allows the Bladesinging Wizard to invoke a special magical technique so long as they aren’t wearing medium armor, heavy armor, or a shield. This can be activated as a bonus action and ends after one minute or if the Bladesinging Wizard puts on medium/heavy armor, uses two hands to make an attack with a weapon, or ends decides to end it with no action required.
Bladesong provides the following benefits:
- Their AC increases by their Intelligence modifier
- Walking speed increases by 10 ft.
- Advantage on acrobatics checks
- Bonus to concentration checks equal to intelligence modifier
This feature can be used a number of times equal to the Bladesinging Wizard’s proficiency modifier every long rest.
At 6th level, the Bladesinging Wizard gains Extra Attack. When taking the attack action, the Bladesinging Wizard can make two attacks or one attack and cast one cantrip.
Song of Defense
At 10th level, the Bladesinging Wizard gains Song of Defense. When the Bladesinging Wizard is in Bladesong and takes damage, it can use its reaction to expend a spell slot and reduce the damage by an amount equal to x5 the spell slot’s level.
Song of Victory
At 14th level, the Bladesinging Wizard gains Song of Victory. The Bladesinging Wizard now adds its Intelligence modifier to melee weapon damage rolls while in Bladesong.
Understanding the Bladesong Wizard
Originally introduced in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, Bladesinging is one of the most simple Wizard classes. Based on its extremely specific weapon and armor requirements, the Wizards of the coast have a definite playstyle in mind.
It will function best when using spells like Blur, Shield, and Booming Blade/Green Flame Blade in conjunction to boost the generally diminutive melee fighting capability of a Wizard to something like that of a Fighter. It has light armor and the requirement of a one-handed melee weapon means this subclass heavily favors dexterity.
Skirmishing is the name of the game, plain and simple. The Bladesinger should skirmish a lot. It gets in, hits solidly with two hits at 6th level, then either uses its extraordinarily high AC to escape an attack of opportunity or teleports out with something like Misty Step.
DMs should prepare for a Bladesinging Wizard by considering what spells they might take and what scrolls will be present in the campaign for them to find. In addition to the spells already mentioned, Haste and much later Tenser’s Transformation would be gargantuan boosts in power to a Bladesinger.
In terms of limits, the Bladesinger Wizard will have incredible AC, but will still have weaknesses when clashing with saving throws and they will always only have one reaction no matter their level. In terms of flavor, the Bladesinger lends itself to music and leitmotifs to DMs should always ask their players what the Bladesong sounds like. From a soft falsetto to guttural death metal, players always have interesting ideas.
Order of Scribes
One of the most reading-intensive Wizard subclasses for both player and character, this is for Wizards who thought every spell in D&D looked good and couldn’t commit to just one school.
At 2nd level, the Scribe Wizard gains Wizardly Quill and Awakened Spellbook.
Wizardly Quill lets the Scribe Wizard summon a tiny quill in a free hand as a bonus action with the following properties.
- It does not require ink and produces whatever color the Scribe Wizard wishes
- The time needed to copy a spell into the Scribe Wizard’s spellbook equals 2 minutes per spell level if the quill is used in the transcription
- Anything written by the quill can be erased as a bonus action by waving the feather of the quill over it as a bonus action as long as the text is within 5 ft.
The quill disappears if the Scribe Wizard creates another one or if the Scribe Wizard dies.
Awakened Spellbook provides the Scribe Wizard’s spellbook a measure of intelligence and consciousness. While holding being held, the Awakened Spellbook provides the Scribe Wizard the following benefits.
- It can be used as a spellcasting focus for Wizard spells
- When casting a Wizard spell with a spell slot, the Scribe Wizard can temporarily replace the spell’s damage type with a type that appears in another spell in the spellbook, which alters the spell for this casting only. The spell the damage type comes from must be of the same level as the spell slot being used.
- When ritual casting, the Wizard can use the spell’s normal casting time rather than add 10 minutes to qualify it as a ritual once per long rest.
If destroyed or separated from the Scribe Wizard, the Awakened Spellbook can be replaced over the course of a short rest using the Wizardly Quill to inscribe arcane sigils in a blank book or a magic spellbook to which the Scribe Wizard is attuned. Once the rest ends, the spellbook transforms into an Awakened spellbook with all its original spells included. The previous Awakened Spellbook has all the spells stripped away from it in this process, leaving it blank.
At 6th level, the Scribe Wizard gains Manifest Mind. As a bonus action while the Awakened Spellbook is on the Scribe Wizard’s person, it can cause the mind of its spellbook to manifest as a Tiny spectral object hovering in an unoccupied space within 60 ft. as chosen by the Scribe Wizard. The manifested mind is intangible, doesn’t occupy space, and sheds dim-light in a 10 ft. radius. The Scribe Wizard chooses its appearance, but it frequently appears as a spectral book, a wall of text, or an expert from the Scribe Wizard’s past.
The manifested mind can hear, see, and has darkvision out to 60 ft. The manifested mind can share what it sees with the Scribe Wizard no action required.
The Scribe Wizard can cast spells through the manifested mind’s space using its senses a number of times equal to its proficiency bonus every long rest.
The Scribe Wizard can move the manifested mind 30 ft. a bonus action through creatures but not objects to an unoccupied space.
The manifested mind dissipates if it is further than 300 ft. from the Scribe Wizard, is affected by Dispel Magic, if the Awakened Spellbook is destroyed, if the Scribe Wizard dies, or if the Scribe Wizard dismisses it as a bonus action.
This ability can be used once per long rest unless reactivated with a spell slot of any level.
At 10th level, the Scribe Wizard gains Master Scrivener. Using this ability, the Scribe Wizard can create one magic scroll of a spell from its Awakened spellbook by inscribing runes with its Wizardly Quill to a blank piece of paper once per long rest. The Awakened Spellbook must be within 5 ft. of the Scribe Wizard to do this.
The spell must be 1st or 2nd level and have a casting time of 1 action. When made into a scroll by this feature, the spell counts as one level higher than its base level and can be cast as an action. The scroll is only readable/usable by the Scribe Wizard and vanishes when cast or on the next long rest.
Also, the amount of time required to craft a spell scroll (see DMG pg. 284) is halved for the Scribe Wizard so long as they use their Wizardly Quill.
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One with the Word
At 14th level, the Scribe Wizard gains One with the Word. While the Awakened Spellbook is on the Scribe Wizard’s person, the Scribe Wizard has advantage on Arcana checks.
Also, when the Scribe Wizard takes damage while the manifest mind ability is active, the Scribe Wizard can use its reaction to dismiss the manifested mind and use the leftover magic to block the damage. When this is done, the Scribe Wizard must roll 3d6 and the Awakened Spellbook temporarily loses spells of the Scribe Wizard’s choice that have a combined spell level equal to or higher than the result of the 3d6. For instance, if the Wizard rolls a 15, it could sacrifice three 5th level spells, a 7th level spell and an 8th level spell, or any other combination. If there aren’t enough spells in the Awakened Spellbook to cover the cost, the Scribe Wizard drops to 0 hit points. This damage mitigation ability can be once per long rest.
This loss of spells is a lasting but not completely permanent consequence. The Scribe Wizard must wait 1d6 long rests before it can cast the lost spells even if it finds them in another scroll or spellbook. At the end of those rests, the spells reappear in the Awakened Spellbook.
Understanding the Scribe Wizard
DMs need to brace for this one as it one of the most logistically complicated subclasses in the game. Simply put, this subclass tries to take everything the Wizard does and takes it to the next level.
Wizardly Quill and Awakened Spellbook together mean that the Wizard has a much easier time learning new spells of any kind, can cast any ritual quickly once a day, and they have effectively cannot lose their spellbook with all their knowledge permanently, and swap out the damage type of a spell they are casting with another so long as they another spell in their spellbook with that damage type. That last one is probably the signature feature of this subclass and will require the most policing.
It might seem like micromanaging, but the player must understand they must have a matching spell level to swap out damage on a spell. It is the balancing mechanic. Otherwise, the Scribe Wizard is essentially doing full damage to everything it fights for the entire campaign and won’t struggle alongside the other players. It is not fun when one player character is leaps and bounds stronger than the others.
Manifest Mind acts as a sort of upgraded familiar that extends the range of the Scribe Wizard’s spells. Master Scrivener in effect provides the Scribe Wizard an extra 2nd or 3rd level slot of a 1st or 2nd level spell. This effectively saves them a spell slot and allows them to double up on spells they might not generally, like Invisibility or Hold Person, or damage boost a minor spell.
One with the Word is where things get complicated again. The basic math behind this one is to sacrifice a number of written spells equal to a random chance in order to cancel damage. That idea is a pinch odd because there is a random probability thrown in because the designers of the game were fully aware how hard it is to be a Wizard that doesn’t know any spells and this is their way of avoiding crippling the Scribe Wizard.
However, there is a further complication if this ability is used a few days in a row and the number of spells known goes down significantly. Should the previously mentioned condition be met, if the Scribe Wizard tries to use this ability without enough spells to meet the requirement, the Scribe Wizard drops to 0 hit points. This is a strange, foreign penalty nowhere else in D&D.
Normally, when a player doesn’t have enough resources to use a feature, it simply fails and doesn’t punish the player for trying. Read as written, that is how this ability works though. However, brutalizing a Scribe Wizard until their One with Word fails is a challenge even hard core DMs would have to actively be trying for. At 14th, going only by the two spells Wizards gain by leveling up each time, they will have 56 combined spell levels that the 3d6 has to run through. That will require high rolls on both the 3d6 and on the long rest spell book recovery time in order to exhaust this ability.
In addition to the previously mentioned concern for DMs, they should also ask their players keep a list of all the spells lost and be sure to track days in the campaign on a calendar when One with the Word activates. Also, make sure any player at your table is fully aware of how that impacts their character. This might backfire spectacularly if the player deletes spells they have prepared mid-combat and are left without the spells they desperately need.
Navigating new Resources
New resources are always fun to browse! Players and DMs alike get excited about new possibilities. However, understanding all the nuances of these subclasses can be tricky.
Be sure to check out all our articles on Tasha’s Subclasses to give you the guidance you need to use these resources with confidence!
Until next time, my friends,
May your game have advantage!