Is this homebrew Dartmaster class balanced compared to the other classes in the PHB?

Hit Dice

Hit die: 1d10 per dartmaster level
Hit points at 1st level: 1d10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per dartmaster level after 1st


Armor: Light Armor, Medium Armor
Weapons: Darts, shortswords
Tools: Dart modification kit with 100 materials
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Skills: Choose two skills from Acrobatics, Nature, Arcana, Perception, and Sleight of Hand


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

(a) 30 darts and a dart modification kit (a) a shortsword and studded leather armor or (b) breastplate (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Class Features

Dart Master

You are proficient in using your darts as melee weapons. Your darts ignore half cover, get a -2 penalty for 3-quarters cover, and a -5 penalty for full cover.

Dart Modification

You can use your dart modification kit to enhance your darts. Enhancing your darts takes 5 minutes per dart, and costs materials from you kit. Your kit regains 40 materials after a short rest and 160 after a long rest. Enhanced darts do 1d6 piercing damage unless otherwise stated.

Heavy Dart This dart gets a critical hit on a 19 or 20, and adds your intelligence modifier to damage. Costs 20 materials.
Charged Dart This dart does additional lightning damage on a hit equal to 1d4 + your intelligence modifier, and prevents the target from taking reactions until its next turn. Costs 20 materials.
Accurate Dart This dart has a range of 40/120 and adds your intelligence modifier to its attack roll. Cos

Subclasses: ----------- At level 2, choose between the dart mage and the dart slinger.

Speedy darts: ------------- You can make a dart attack as a bonus action.

Level 4: ASI, and at levels 8, 12, 16, and 19.

Power Throw:

At level 5, you can choose to power throw a dart. This dart has advantage on its attack, and does a bonus 4d6 damage. You can only do this once per long rest.

Dart Recovery:

At level 7, your darts return to you after you when they miss. Your kit regains 80 materials per short rest and 320 per long rest.

Improved Dart Mastery: ---------------------- At level 10 you gain +2 to all attack rolls made with darts.

Interrupting Dart: ----------------- At level 13, when a creature you see takes the dash, disengage, or use an object action, or takes the attack action on something or someone thats not you, or tries to cast a spell, you can use your reaction to make a dart attack against the creature. The creature must make a wisdom save or fail to perform that action. The DC for this saving throw is 8 + the damage dealt by the attack.

Improved Power Throw: --------------------- At level 15, the damage of your Power Throw increases to 4d10.

Dart Melee Master ------------------ At level 17, when making melee attacks with your darts, you can add your intelligence modifier to attack rolls and damage.

Death Dart ---------- At level 20, once per long rest, when a dart hits your target you can make them make a DC18 constitution saving throw or be killed as if by the disintegrate spell.

Dart Mage ========= When you choose this subclass at level 2, pick 2 imbuings from the list below. It takes an action to imbue a dart. You can pick 2 additional imbuings at levels 6, 9, 11, 14, and 18. Some imbuings have prerequisites. If an imbued dart requires a saving throw, the DC is 8 + your intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus.

Force Dart: Cost: 30 materials. On a hit, your dart does an additional 4d4 damage distributed as you wish to creatures within 10 feet of the target (including the target).
Boom Dart: Cost: 20 materials. On a hit, the target takes an additional 2d4 thunder damage and must make a strength saving throw or fall prone.
Poison Dart Cost: 40 materials. On a hit, the target takes an additional 2d4 poison damage and must make a constitution saving throw or be poisoned for one minute.
Mind dart Cost: 20 materials. On a hit, the target must make a wisdom saving throw or take 2d4 psychic damage and have disadvantage on their next attack.

Prerequisite: level 6

Fire dart: Cost: 90 materials On a hit, every creature within 15 feet of the target must making a dexterity saving throw or take 6d6 fire damage.
Radiant dart: Cost: 60 materials On a hit, every creature within 50 feet you choose must make a constitution saving throw or take 4d6 radiant damage. Undead have disadvantage on this saving throw.
Barrier dart: Cost: 80 materials This dart does not require an attack roll. You can throw the dart and have it activate anywhere within its range. When it activates, it becomes a transparent barrier up to 20 feet in diameter. The wall has an AC of 15 and 30 hp. Enhanced Poison Dart Cost: 80 materials On a hit, the target must make a constitution saving throw or take 4d6 poison damage or be poisoned and blinded for one minute.

Prerequisite: Level 14

Stop Dart: Cost: 160 materials On a hit, the target must make a constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for a number of rounds equal to your intelligence modifier.
Energy Cylinder Dart: Cost: 160 materials On a hit, a cylinder of energy 30 feet in diameter and 100 feet long extends backwards from the target. Every creature in that cylinder must make a strength saving throw or take 2d10 bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone.
Duplicating Dart: Cost: 100 materials On a hit, the dart does an additional 1d8 force damage . Then, 2 more darts appear and attack as if they were thrown from the targets position. When darts miss, they disappear, but when they hit, hey produce two more. Prerequisite: level 18

Drain dart: Cost: 280 materials On a hit, target must make a constitution saving throw or have one ability score of your choice decrease to 8 for one minute.
Tiring dart: Cost: 300 materials On a hit, target must make a constitution saving throw or suffer 2 levels of exhaustion.
Ballistic Dart: Cost: 320 materials The dart's damage is increased to 8d6, and on a hit, it is an automatic critical.
Control Dart: Cost: 320 On a hit, the target must make a charisma saving throw or be under your total mental control until dispel magic of similar is used.

Dart Slinger

When you choose this subclass at level 2, you can throw 2 darts at once whenever you attack as an action, making two separate attack rolls either at one creature or at two creatures within 5 feet of each other.

At level 6, you can throw two darts at once during your bonus action attack as well.

At level 9, your bonus action dart attacks have advantage if all of your action dart attacks hit.

At level 11, you can throw three darts at once during your action attacks.

At level 14, you can attack twice whenever you take the attack action.

At level 18, you can throw three darts at once during your bonus action attacks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I need to ask a few design reason questions and I'm trying not to answer in the comments, but still: First are we using a d12 or a d10 because the opening seems to contradict itself, and why?; Second is there any specific reason that what appears to be a heavy martial class is only getting proficiency with darts and short swords, this has fewer weapon proficiencies than a wizard?; Third why does the dart kit use such large numbers, is there a reason we can't just drop the zero?; Fourth some of your effects are very potent and verge on save or die, do you have a basis for these effects? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Oct 3 '18 at 3:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical: I assume it's meant to be a d12 for the class; OP seems to have used fighter as a base, given that the HP at higher levels line said "your Constitution modifier per fighter level after 1st", which would explain the confusion. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 3 '18 at 3:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast given how many aspects of this class run contrary to established precedent within the game, I'm hesitant to assume anything. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Oct 3 '18 at 3:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I get that the class is supposed to focus on darts, but as written if this character doesn't have access to darts they are nigh completely unable to do anything. Is that deliberate and if so why? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Oct 3 '18 at 4:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to post this link to How to Ask Homebrew Balance Questions again for you and heavily recommend that you follow through with the content inside. I think it'll help you put together better homebrew, better homebrew questions, and give you results that you can use at your table. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 3 '18 at 13:54

Absolutely Not, and it also doesn't follow the rules

This proposed class is not balanced with other similar classes, especially because of the potential for exploits. Consider the following:

Dart Modification needs a limit: crafting materials isn't enough

Your kit regenerates materials every short and long rest, and the modifications on darts (apparently) never expire. This means that you can modify an unlimited amount of darts expending nothing but time. Any resource that is easy to get and never expires is suspect, and one which allows you to add 1d4+INT modifier to every single attack is an extremely powerful modification at every level.

Do the dart modifications expire when you take a long rest? When you throw them? If not, then you're essentially giving yourself a free bonus to damage at all times (especially after level 7, when darts automatically return to your hand).

Way too many attacks for free: and against the rules

The closest equivalent to the Dart Slinger is the Monk: their main advantages are frequent attacks, but are restricted to a limited array of weapons. Let's compare them at several levels: (assume 16 Dexterity and 14 Int at level 1). For the sake of simplicity and comparison, I'll assume that all attacks hit (applying realistic expected hit chances won't change the ratio of differences in damage output)

  • 2nd level

Monk: 1d8+3+ 1d4+3 per round (average 13 per round) (can do 1d8+3 +2(1d4+3)=18.5 average twice per short rest)

Dart Slinger: 2(1d6+3) + 1d6+3 (average 19.5) every round. If using modified darts, 3(1d6+1d4+5) (average 33 damage).

  • 6th level (ASI spent on Dex)

Monk: 2(1d8+4)+(1d6+4) every round (average 24.5)

Using a ki point, 2(1d8+4)+2(1d6+4) (Average 32 damage)

Dart Slinger: 4(1d6+4) every round (average 30)

Using modified darts, 4(1d6+1d4+6) (average 48)

  • 11th Level (ASI spent on Dex)

Monk: 3(1d8+5) every round (average 28.5)

Using a ki point, 4(1d8+5) (Average 38 damage)

Dart Slinger: 5(1d6+5) every round (average 42.5)

Using modified darts, 5(1d6+1d4+7) (average 65)

The gap in damage is pronounced at every level. Usually, the dart slinger does more damage spending no resources than the monk does using up its ki points. When you compare modified darts to the monk's damage, the differences are staggering.

And all of this ignores the fact that the rules on interacting with items shouldn't make any of this possible. Darts aren't ammunition, they're thrown weapons. As such, drawing them from storage isn't part of the attack action. By the rules-as-written (RAW), you should only be able to draw one dart "for free" per turn (two if you have the Dual Wielder Feat). Drawing any further darts would require your action.

There are a few other reasons that the balance of this character is odd (the ability to attack creatures behind total cover at level 1 is highly problematic for many multiclass combinations), but I hope this is enough of an explanation for why this proposed class is not at all balanced with other PHB classes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The ability to attack creatures behind total cover is also nonsensical. This class would allow you to hit someone with a dart while they are trapped in a locked box. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Oct 3 '18 at 5:46

Not even remotely balanced.

I see several issues with this Dartmaster class

Dart Master

As written the darts can be thrown through full cover. That's a big no, the darts shouldn't be able to fly through walls and ground.

Dart Modification feature is poorly written.

This feature has way too many oversights considering that it is the core feature of the class.

  • The darts remain enhanced indefinitely, which means that the Dartmaster can easily horde more darts than he can use. This also makes the dart cost almost irrelevant.
  • Anyone can use the enhanced darts, which is especially problematic because the extra enhanced darts can be used by party members or sold for free money.
  • there is no limitation to how many different enhancements can be applied to a single dart.
  • the darts do not lose their enhancement after hitting/missing.

The bonus action attack comes too early.

The damage per round of two enhanced darts eclipses all other martial classes before level 5. (Past level 5, the comparison becomes dependent on the subclass).
Moreover, you probably did not notice this: the Dartmaster does not even have enough item interactions to draw two darts every turn.

Interrupting Dart

This feature also has several problems:

  • The reaction trigger is not narrow enough: it can basically be used at any time.
  • The dart should need to hit before applying the wisdom save.
  • There should be a limit on the number of times this can be done per long or short rest.

Death Dart

There are very few save or die effects available to players and this one is better than those. Consider for example Quivering Palm. Being reduced to 0 hp is an effect that can be resisted by some monster abilities, whereas that is not the case with death by disintegration. Quivering Palm also takes an extra turn which means the Monk can be stopped, whereas Death Dart basically just happens. Quivering Palm consumes Ki points necessary for other Monk abilities, but the same is not true for Death Dart.

Dart Mage

The dart effects almost keep up with full casters, yet the dart master can throw two every turn. Now combine that with the hording problems mentioned above and this completely eclipses casters.

Dart Slinger

Way too many attacks. As written the Dart Slinger throws 4 darts by level 6 and 7 darts by level 18. Every dart will have an enhancement too. This completely eclipses all martial classes.


Any one of the problems mentioned above is enough to break the class. All those problems need to be addressed before any meaningful comparison can be made with existing classes.

I do not mean to discourage you from asking questions in RPG.SE, but I need to point out that all 8 questions you have asked so far have been about homebrew, most of which is very obviously not balanced. We have many experts eager to answer these questions, but there is only so much nuance we can provide if the homebrew is extremely unbalanced.

For example, even if you follow every suggestion laid out here by us, it's likely that the Dartmaster will still be unbalanced. On the other hand, if you had come to us with something less obviously unbalanced, we would have been able to point out nuanced problems that truly require expertise to notice.

I recommend that you look up some some guides on how to create homebrew subclasses and races, so that you can better evaluate your own homebrew. I also recommend that you start with small alterations to existing subclasses, instead of creating entirely new classes. For example, the Dartmaster is very similar in concept to the Arcane Archer, which is a fighter subclass. There are only so many things you can break by making slight alterations to the Arcane Archer, so this approach guarantees some degree of balance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Death Dart No class gets a save or suck effect like this one and neither should the Dartmaster. "Quivering palm? \$\endgroup\$ – qazwsx Oct 3 '18 at 11:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Alright, maybe I was a tad extreme with that claim, but there are important differences between Death Dart and Quivering palm. Being reduced to 0 hp is something that can be resisted by some monster abilities, whereas that is not the case with death by disintegration. Quivering Palm also takes an extra turn (with the chance of disabling the monk before that turn), whereas Death Dart does not. Using Quivering Palm also means using less of the other monk abilities, but the same is not true for Death Dart. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Oct 3 '18 at 14:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @qazwsx this is an example of the reduced nuace I mentioned in my conclusion. Ideally, I should be evaluating whether having a save or die ability is balanced in the context of the rest of the class. But the rest of the class needs so many drastic changes that such an evaluation is impossible. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Oct 3 '18 at 15:01

This Class is Unbalanced

Balance is always a tricky thing to assess. I think there are some tools that attempt to science it down, but from my reading of this class my impression is that this class swings between extremely underpowered to extremely overpowered. Underpowered + Overpowered does not equal balanced.

I'm not going to review this line by line, but will highlight several items that I identified in the comments:

  1. For whatever reason, this very martial class has fewer weapons available to it then a wizard, which is absurd. If this character has their darts or a short sword taken away, they cannot fight effect effectively at all. Furthermore, there's no real precedence for this or reason other than to railroad a player into a singular narrow mindset. As a result, this notably underpowers the class.
  2. The use of the d12 hit die is very unusual. This doesn't seem to be the type of character that's supposed to be going toe to toe with the enemy. Nothing about the character design nor implied story theme suggests this either. A d12 hit die is a special thing with both thematic and mechanical implications behind it and I don't see it's use on this character being justified other than to make this character unusually tanky. As a result, this notably overpowers the class.
  3. The dart kit needs to have a hard cap on capacity. Whether that capacity scales with level, is a flat number, or something else. As written, there's nothing stopping a player from saying their character's adventure starts after they spent the last 5 years resting. Furthermore, the hard cap needs to consider the expenditure of skills between shorts rests and long rests as it relates to standard classes. This lack of a cap severely overpowers the class since they can just use their skills nigh endlessly.
  4. Just a casual review of some of the skills for Dart Mage show several effects whose result is pretty much Save or Die: Duplicating Dart (you can just keep hitting back and forth between targets), Poison Dart (there are no subsequent saves, if you blow the first save you are pretty screwed for the rest of the fight), Stop Dart (no subsequent saves on paralysis is insanely strong), Drain Dart, Tiring Dart, Ballistic Dart, Control Dart. These effects are insanely overpowered.
  5. Dart Slinger has different issues, but notable regardless. 2 attacks at level 2 is very strong without a counterbalance; and by level 18, I think you've indicated that the character ramps up and gets 7 attacks, which is just insanely overpowered.

Overall, I think I get what you're striving for with the class, but am not sure why you don't just play either a Ranger or Fighter with the archery attack style and associated feats. As written, you will either be a hard to kill god on the field of battle (d12 hit die adds up) or rendered nearly impotent (someone stole your darts, now what).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Its a d10 not a d12 \$\endgroup\$ – qazwsx Oct 3 '18 at 11:34

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