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The School of Transmutation wizard archetype has a feature at level 14 called Master Transmuter. It can allow such a wizard to, once per long rest, destroy their transmuter's stone and do one of a handful of options, one of which is:

Restore Life. You cast the raise dead spell on a creature you touch with the transmuter's stone, without expending a spell slot or needing to have the spell in your spellbook.

Unfortunately, in my homebrew universe, there is no resurrection magic, so I'm looking into replacing this option with something homebrew that is not related to resurrection, but still at least broadly fits the theme of "Restore Life".

Unlike in my similar question about replacing resurrection related class features, I do actually have a player who has a transmutation wizard (they are currently "retired", but the player is strongly considering "unretiring" them in the near future, so this character will almost definitely come back at some point and isn't far off level 14); this player is also strongly in the camp of "resurrection magic cheapens death", so they are definitely up for replacing this option of the class feature.


Given that it is called "Restore Life", I considered replacing it with some kind of healing (say, the heal spell), but then noticed another option that the Master Transmuter feature offers:

Panacea. You remove all curses, diseases, and poisons affecting a creature that you touch with the transmuter's stone. The creature also regains all its hit points.

So healing would look a bit redundant and underwhelming compared to that option.


Finally, I looked towards greater restoration, since a) it's a 5th level cleric spell like raise dead, and b) Panacea is kind of like a super charged lesser restoration, plus healing. So I have come up with the following (a "super charged greater restoration" effect):

Restore Life. You end all reductions to all of the target's ability scores and hit point maximum, and end one effect that imposes the petrified condition on the target. In addition, all levels of madness and exhaustion are removed from the target.

I've not included the greater restoration spell's removing curses (since I didn't want overlap with Panacea) or ending charmed effects (because it doesn't really fit the theme of restoring life). I also haven't included regaining any hit points because I thought that might be too powerful compared with Panacea if it also healed the target (although I could have it at least restore hit points equal to the reduction of their hit point maximum, if it was reduced at all).


So my question is, in a setting where there is no resurrection magic, does my proposed replacement of the Restore Life option of the Master Transmuter class feature seem balanced, primarily comparing it to the raise dead spell and the Panacea option?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A small clarification: Is it intended that your proposed change cannot remove exhaustion levels, while greater restoration can? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 1 '19 at 11:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Ah, I was just going off the spell description; I forgot that greater restoration could do that as well. If I recall, it can also remove madness too. Maybe my new "Restore Life" ought to do that too, unless that would make it overpowered... I guess the answers can decide that, though... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 1 '19 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Frankly, I should have read the full question before I started writing out a long answer about what abilities I think would be a good replacement for Restore Life. Your suggested correction does seem to match the power level of what its replacing but personally it does not strike me as something a transmutation wizard would have. \$\endgroup\$ – Karan Shishoo Dec 2 '19 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KaranShishoo Whilst I'm primarily interested in mechanical balance, I am also interested to know your take on the "theme" as well (at least here in the comments, if we presume the answers are for the mechanical take). Why do you think a transmutation wizard would not have something like this (as opposed to raise dead)? \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 2 '19 at 11:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS Raise dead specifically stands out as something transmuters/alchemists have been trying to achieve since time immemorial in their lore (out of dnd) and thus is one of the more iconic dreams for them. Healing ability damage and non-disease statuses seems like a spin of Panacea that cures what ever it could not \$\endgroup\$ – Karan Shishoo Dec 2 '19 at 11:20
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This is significantly stronger than the original option and is probably overpowered

The following makes the (somewhat naive) assumption that spells of equal level in 5e are approximately equal in power. Obviously this is not always the case (see: fireball), but for the time being it will have to serve as a reference point for establishing the power of these effects.

This is functionally equivalent to an instantaneous application of multiple Greater Restoration Spells

Greater Restoration states the following:

You can reduce the target's exhaustion level by one, or end one of the following effects on the target:

  • One effect that charmed or petrified the target
  • One curse, including the target's attunement to a cursed magic item
  • Any reduction to one of the target's ability scores
  • One effect reducing the target's hit point maximum

Note the emphasis I added to this text.

While your proposed option is missing the ability to removes charms and curses, its ability to remove all exhaustion, all madness, all ability score reductions, and all hit point maximum reductions makes this option incredibly overpowered for the following reason:

The first option you described allows the user a single cast of Raise Dead, a 5th level spell. The option that you have proposed is similar to Greater Restoration which is also a 5th level spell, except applied an infinite number of times at once.

Normally, a spellcaster using this spell would be required to spend an entire action and 100gp for each application of this spell. This means that if the player is affected by 5 effects reducing their hit-point maximum, five applications of Greater Restoration is required. This proposed effect, however, allows them to accomplish all of this in a single action for "free" (excluding the cost of the stone).

As such, this effect is much, much, stronger than the Raise Dead effect it replaces.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe something you've overlooked is the fact that there is almost never a reason to case greater restoration multiple times. It's so so rare for a creature to have multiple of these sorts of effects at once, and they're such detrimental effects that you're likely to remove them ASAP \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 5 '19 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 The one situation that immediately comes to mind would be a fight with Strahd in CoS. Strahd has charm person and a bite attack that reduces max-HP, so the ability to purge both effects at once would be particularly strong against him. But I can't deny that you're correct that multiple status effects are uncommon in general. However, just because it's non-problematic in the general case doesn't mean that it can be considered balanced. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrendire Dec 5 '19 at 2:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for this feedback. Although a "super charged lesser restoration" for Panacea might be alright, that's only a second level spell, whereas greater restoration is a fifth level spell, and so it seems obvious now you've pointed it out that a super charged one will of course be more powerful than both Panacea and raise dead. Assuming I get no other answers, I'll likely accept this tomorrow. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 5 '19 at 10:22

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