15
\$\begingroup\$

In anime (and manga) there are often characters who exude an aura of power. Is there anything in the D&D 5th edition ruleset that would duplicate this effect?

The aura doesn't necessarily need to do anything mechanically. The only requirement is that it must be visible under normal conditions (e.g. you don't need to have darkvision, be under moonlight, have a special class ability or feat to see it).

If the aura can increase a character's power, so much the better.

Keep in mind when answering this question that this should be the character's own power, not a glowing sword, for instance.

Also, while illusionary magic should count, it's a dangerous gambit if the character in question doesn't have the power to back it up.

\$\endgroup\$
22
\$\begingroup\$

I've sorted the options which I've found and deemed reasonably close by increasing level, pushing spells towards the end.

Scourge Aasimar

The Scourge Aasimar's Radiant Consumption trait (Volo's Guide to Monsters, p. 105) lets them:

[...] unleash the divine energy within yourself, causing a searing light to radiate from you, pour out of your eyes and mouth, and threaten to char you. [...] During it, you shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet, [...]

The other Aasimar subraces have similar activated abilities, though they are glow-y eyes and wings, rather than an actual aura. (Thanks to By Symmetry for pointing this one out.)

Path of the Storm Herald

When raging, a barbarian who follows the Path of the Storm Herald (XGtE, p. 10):

emanate[s] a stormy, magical aura while [they] rage.

That aura is desert-, sea-, or tundra-themed depending on the environment they choose, granting additional benefits as they increase in level.

Way of the Sun Soul

Also from XGtE (p. 35), Monks who follow the Way of the Sun Soul until 17th level gain the Sun Shield feature:

You shed bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet.

They can activate or deactivate the light as a bonus action. The "aura of power" aspect fits even better because they can deal radiant damage as a reaction if someone hits them while they're glowing with this aura.

Oath of Devotion

A Paladin who has sworn the Oath of Devotion and reached 20th level gains the Holy Nimbus feature, which says that:

as an action, you can emanate an aura of sunlight. For 1 minute, bright light shines from you in a 30-foot radius, and dim light shines 30 feet beyond that.

There's also some radiant damage for enemies that start their turn in the aura, and advantage for you on saving throws against spells cast by fiends/undead.

Holy Aura

The 8th-level cleric spell holy aura opens with:

Divine light washes out from you and coalesces in a soft radiance in a 30-foot radius around you.

I'll just here mention that the other aura spells (aura of life, aura of purity, aura of vitality - all on PHB p. 216) have you emanate life-giving energy or something similar, which are not explicitly described as visually apparent. Other spells like crusader's mantle (PHB, p. 230) have similar wording.

Miscellaneous spells

There are, on the other hand, a number of spells which add some visual up-to aura-like effect on you (or in some cases other casters). I've generally ignored spells where the effect is described as faint or similar; we're kinda looking for something obvious here. I also can't guarantee that this is a complete list.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ This deserves a mention : The barbarian aura is activated in pretty much the same way power aura are activated in anime : By going all out and letting your heart cry out! I now want an occasion to have a barbarian/monk called Goku. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 May 29 at 1:17
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @3C273 too bad that you can't get rages from ki points or visa versa. Give up a rage and reset your ki. \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Cohoon May 29 at 1:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer! I was busy looking stuff up writing mine when you posted it... \$\endgroup\$ – Guybrush McKenzie May 29 at 1:32
3
\$\begingroup\$

There are quite a few class features and spells which are specifically auras, though most are holy in nature, and don’t do what you want. They all confer some benefit, but it’s usually to nearby allies as well as the character, and almost none are described as being visible or shedding light. (You may be able to describe them as such with your DM’s permission, so long as you don’t benefit from illumination.)

Paladins have a lot of these - the class features Aura of Protection, Aura of Courage, and the specific Auras granted by some of the Sacred Oaths (Aura of Devotion, etc), plus the Paladin spells Aura of Vitality (3rd level), Aura of Purity (4th level), and Aura of Life (4th level) on PHB p. 216.

The 8th-level cleric spell Holy Aura is described like this:

Divine light washes out from you and coalesces in a soft radiance in a 30-foot radius around you. Creatures of your choice in that radius when you cast this spell shed dim light in a 5-foot radius [...]

It gives the caster and such allies advantage on saves, and their enemies disadvantage on attacks and (if they're fiends/undead) a chance to be blinded by the light.

Alternatively, a Protector Aasimar (VGtM, p. 105) of level 3 or higher can use the Radiant Soul trait to manifest luminous incorporeal wings. These do indeed increase your power, granting flight and additional radiant damage.

The closest fit may be the aura of the Path of the Storm Herald barbarian (from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p. 10). They acquire Storm Aura at level 3, a “magical, stormy aura” flavoured to match one of three environments - desert, sea, or tundra. When they rage, it manifests in ways that, while not specifically mentioned as visible, certainly seem to be: an enemy in the aura takes lightning damage, everyone in the aura takes fire damage, or allies gain temporary hit points.

But there’s nothing to prevent you describing any number of spells and class features that increase your power as giving your character exactly the aura you want; especially if they are higher-level effects, them shedding light is hardly overpowered, and indeed could be detrimental in some circumstances. This kind of flavouring of character abilities is a time-honoured tradition and many Dungeon Masters will actively encourage it, so long as it doesn’t take up too much time at the table or veer into the territory of granting extra power.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.