I Homebrewed a Bard college after deciding to create an Intimidation bard and finding that no colleges did this to the extent I had hoped.

Are any of these abilities overpowered, underpowered, or useless? If so, why? Additionally, do any of these skills require additional clarification?

College of Torment

Intimidation Expert:

Starting at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill; if you already have this skill proficiency, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make using it.

Additionally, you gain Advantage on Charisma(Intimidation) checks against creatures with less than half their total Hit Points, who are prone, grappled, or otherwise unable to move, or who have fewer present allies than you do. This final condition does not apply if any present allies are mutual.

Menacing Stare:

Starting at 3rd level, you may attempt to intimidate an enemy as a bonus action on your turn in combat. To do so, make a Charisma(Intimidation) check against one creature you can see within 15ft. The creature must succeed a Wisdom saving throw with a DC equal to your check. On a failed saved, attacks against this creature gain advantage until the beginning of your next turn.

Terrifying Interrogator:

At 6th level, choose one of the following as your preferred method of torture: fire, water, acid, piercing, or bludgeoning.

When you make a Charisma(Intimidation) check against a creature after dealing damage of the chosen type to it, that creature must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of you for one minute. The DC for this check is 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus.

You have advantage on Insight(Wisdom) checks to discern if a creature who is frightened of you is lying. You may also immediately expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration die and add it to your roll. If you roll a natural 20 when making an Charisma(Intimidation) check, the target cannot knowingly lie to you.

Fear Monger:

At 14th level, the effective range of Menacing Stare is increased to 30 ft.

Any hostile creature affected by your Menacing Stare or Fear Monger abilities must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw when one of its allies is dropped to 0 hit points while within 15ft of it or be frightened of the creature who dealt the damage for one minute. The DC of this save is equal to 8 + the Charisma modifier of the creature dealing the damage + the amount of excess damage after the target reach 0 hit points.

If an creature frightened by Fear Monger is reduced to 0 hit points, any of its allies within 15 ft must make a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of the creature dealing the damage until the start of that creature's next turn. The DC of this save is equal to 8 + the Charisma modifier of the creature dealing the damage + the amount of excess damage after the target reach 0 hit points.

You and your allies gain advantage on attack rolls against enemies that are frightened this way.

When a creature proficient in Charisma(Intimidation) is the one dealing damage, their proficiency bonus is also added to the save DC in either case.


closed as unclear what you're asking by NautArch, Wibbs, Sdjz, V2Blast, Jason_c_o Jun 5 '18 at 16:21

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you play tested any of this? \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jun 5 '18 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ You have a lot of mechanics in here that are not yet defined. If you can clarify them, we'll have a better chance at answering. The first is that a lot of your skills require ability checks and the results can be very table dependent. I'd recommend making the results (and the DC) clear. For Terrifying Interrogator, what does "know the truth" mean? Have you looked at the spell Zone of Truth as a mechanic? Are things like Fear Monger always on or is it a limited use ability? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 5 '18 at 15:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with @NautArch with another addition. The wording of the abilities should be brought more in line with PHB "standards" (term used loosely). For example: "you and your party" should be "you and your allies". Skill contests are tricky as some DMs would counter Intimitation with Insight, something you might need to consider as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Jun 5 '18 at 15:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you'd like to discuss, rather than fielding comments, hop into Role-playing Games Chat! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 5 '18 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've rolled back your last changes. Questions should not be changed to respond to design statements in the answers — we do not support iterative, collaborative design here (and if that's what you're hoping for, you probably want to use a discussion forum instead). I couldn't separate out which changes were correcting the previous edit, and which were altering the design in response to answers, so I just rolled it all back. You may want to re-add just the corrections. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 7 '18 at 17:58

No, I don't think it is balanced.

There is a lot of good ideas here, and for the most part I think it is quite well thought out. My main problem is with Fear Monger. As written, Fear Monger can spread without the bard. One enemy could be menaced, his ally killed, and then killed himself fearing those around him. That is fine. The problem I have is that then the bard could be knocked out, and the fear could keep sweeping through the enemy as long as an enemy died every minute. In a large scale battle this would be ridiculously powerful.

Things you could do to limit this:

  • Require a reaction from the bard to trigger Fear Monger.

  • Require the killer to be the bard. (Pretty severe nerf, but it would make it more balanced)

  • Require concentration for Fear Monger.

  • Have a creature be immune to Fear Monger for X hours if they succeed on their save.

Other Comments

I like Intimidation Expert, but I would cut the outnumber condition altogether. Outnumbering a giant three to one is not very intimidating, and even against humans I think it is too easy to get a numbers advantage.

MS is strong enough that you might want to limit it somehow. It is probably fine, but it is on the strong side.

I would not provide a list of damage types for TI. I would just have the bard choose one damage type of their choice. I don't think it would increase the power of the ability significantly, and it lets the bard play how they want.

Should creatures that are immune to fear be a hard counter to this build? I would say probably, but it might feel harsh to run into a fight that negates most of your abilities.

Fear Monger is complicated. Trying to run it during a battle might be more trouble than it is worth. Making it simpler would probably make it easier to balance and play.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While many of your points may be valid, answers on homebrew balance questions should be backed up by experience or textual evidence. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jun 5 '18 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron my only relevant experience is the time I allowed one of my players to create a rigger character, in shadowrun, where he worked remotely. Being able to influence battles without being physically present, and thus not in danger, was very overpowered. Should I mention this, or do you think it is moot? \$\endgroup\$ – BladeBriar Jun 5 '18 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BladeBriar Experience is not general homebrew but actual playtesting of the build or aspects of the build. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 5 '18 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch ahh, I see. That I do not have. Thanks for letting me know. \$\endgroup\$ – BladeBriar Jun 5 '18 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be fair, it's almost impossible that you would have playtested a homebrew class presented as a question, so usually we compare it to existing features and, from experience with similar (to the homebrew) effects and obviously experience from the actual official content you are comparing to, you can judge if it is OP, balanced or UP. In particular, suggesting changes is a more difficult terrain, and needs to be playtested by yourself or present very good arguments on why it would be better or balanced that way. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 6 '18 at 1:14

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