This is a monk to emulate be a force user, as from the Star Wars universe.
There is a spoiler from The Last Jedi film. I thought that the ability to telekinetically affect your environment is too cool a concept to be left to a couple of spells, so I wanted to create a martial class that could utilise these concepts.
The homebrew subclass in this question was finally playtested, so I can come back and try and refine it.
However, it was not an extensive playtest, so assessment from the community is appreciated. Prior to playing, I removed the multiple concentration feature of Force Prowess, leaving just the increased cost for more targets component.
The main issues seen were:
- the contested checks resulted in both more rolling and more swinginess in whether the ability worked
- using contested checks instead of saves meant that boss targets couldn't circumvent the abilities
- the ability to force something prone from range or to restrain something were both very powerful (especially against flying targets)
It was also unsatisfying to attempt to use an effect, just for it to fail, and my limited resource be wasted. As I was playtesting, I also found myself unwilling to use the Greater Telekinesis feature that lets you move creatures as an attack - maybe this was just due to the situations I was in, but it could just be a quirk of the combats I found myself in.
Additionally, I made some changes to Force Choke, but was unable to test it.
The changes I've made off the back of the above issues are changing all of the contested checks to Strength saving throws. This simplifies the text, and lets legendary creatures save from the effects, as well as reduce the amount of rolling. I also switched to using the player's wisdom modifier instead of proficiency modifier for effects that I wanted to have a limited number of targets; I don't think this should change too much, however.
I am still worried about the balance and feel of this subclass. It still has the issue that, quite often, a turn can be wasted trying to get a target to succumb to a force effect, and you fail consistently, wasting a lot of resources. Other subclasses get features they can use without resources; currently, this subclass only has Life Sense for that. Additionally, the ability to force something prone, or to restrain a target, from range gives a large incentive to just keep trying to get these powerful effects. The use of Strength saving throws instead of Dexterity saving throws is also a tad worrying; I'm not sure how unbalanced that is, though.
How balanced does this subclass seem in relation to officially published monk subclasses? What ways could it be improved to increase player satisfaction, with regards to resource expenditure, that official subclasses take into account?
Way of the Force
Monks that follow the Way of the Force have learnt how to use their ki to manipulate their surroundings with their mind, tapping into the energy that inhabits all things.
Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can use your ki to telekinetically manipulate the world around you. You gain the mage hand cantrip if you don’t already know it, and it is invisible.
Force Radius. A force radius of 30 ft that is centered on you defines where you can use ki specific force features. Your force radius increases to 60' at level 11, and increases to 120 ft at level 17.
When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can forgo one of your attacks to spend 1 ki point to achieve one of the following effects against a Large or smaller creature, or an object, in your force radius.
Force Shove. The target must make a Strength saving throw. If they fail the save, you can do one of the following: knock the target prone, push the target up to half your Force Radius directly away from you, or pull the target up to half your Force Radius directly towards you. Unattended objects automatically fail this save, and if an object is held by a creature the creature makes the save.
Force Grab. The target must make a Strength saving throw. If the target fails the saving throw, it is grappled for one minute while you concentrate on the effect (as if concentrating on a spell). The target can use an action to try and break the grapple, repeating the saving throw.
Unattended objects automatically fail this saving throw, and if an object is held by a creature the creature makes the save. An object held in this way can be moved to a location within your force radius up to half your force radius away from its origin point as an object interaction, and stay aloft in the air at the end of the move if you wish.
Greater Force Connection
Mind Powers. At level 6 your connection to the Force grows. You gain the ability to cast Charm Person (1 ki point) and Suggestion (2 ki points) using Wisdom as your spellcasting ability modifier. You can cast Charm Person at higher levels by spending one ki point for every level above first level you wish to cast it at, to a maximum total number of ki points equal to your wisdom modifier.
Life Sense. You can concentrate for a minute and learn the number of creatures within double your force radius, as well as their locations relative to your own. You do not learn any further information about these creatures, such as creature type or identity. You cannot detect either undead creatures or constructs with this feature.
Greater Telekinesis. Your Telekinesis abilities now work on Huge or smaller creatures and objects, and you can move creatures with Force Grab as well as objects. When moved in this way, you must use an attack to force the creature to make a Strength saving throw. If they fail, they are moved to a location of your choice within your force radius, following the same rules as moving objects with Force Grab. If they succeed, they are not moved.
At 11th level you can apply the effects of Telekinesis to additional creatures and objects beyond the first by spending one ki point for each additional creature, up to a maximum of your wisdom modifier. When moving objects using Telekinesis, you can move any number of held objects using a single object interaction.
Your Telekinesis abilities now work on Gargantuan or smaller creatures and objects.
Finally, when you attempt to Force Grab a creature, you can increase the number of ki points you spend to 3 ki points and try to hold a creature more fully. Instead of being grappled when they fail the save, a target is restrained, and repeats the save at the end of each of their turns. When you target additional creatures with this effect you must spend 3 additional ki points for each additional creature.
At 17th level your mastery over your ki and the ki of others is legendary.
- The radius of your life sense increases to 1 mile, and you can tell the creature type of each detected creature.
- Creatures remain unaware of the effect you have had on their mind when you use Greater Force Connection abilities on them.
In addition to the features above, you can choose to gain one of the following features:
Force Choke. When a creature is held and restrained by your Force Grab, you can choose to start choking them if they are within half of your force radius. As an action on your turn, you can choose one creature that is under the effects of your Force Grab, and start choking them. They begin choking, and they become paralyzed for a minute. If they take any damage while paralyzed in this way, this effect ends on them. Additionally, you can use an action on following turns to crush the windpipe of any creature that has started choking in this way. They have to make a Constitution saving throw, or be reduced to 0 hit points. Creatures that don't need to breathe cannot be reduced to 0 hit points in this way, but can still be paralyzed by this feature. If a creature manages to escape your Force Grab, they are no longer under any of the effects from this feature.
Force Lightning. As an action on your turn, you can spend 5 ki points to start spewing lightning at your foes, concentrating on this effect for up to one minute. A beam of lightning flashes out from your hand in a 5-foot-wide, 120-foot-long line. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 10d6 lightning damage. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage. You can create a new line of lightning as your bonus action on any subsequent turn until your concentration ends, without having to spend further ki points. These lines of lightning vanish at the end of your turn.
Force Projection. As an action on your turn, you can cast Mislead by spending 5 ki points. Instead of the duplicate appearing where you are, however, you can choose to make the duplicate appear within 30ft of an ally you are aware of on the same plane of existence as yourself.
My playtesting experience, unfortunately, consists of only one one-shot, which was at level 13. There were three combats. In the first combat, I had issues with the contested rolls against a number of weak enemies. In the second combat, I managed to restrain an enemy early in combat, which helped trivialise the fight. In the third fight, I used a lot of resources trying to ground a flying enemy, which, although is useful, made me feel like my turns were wasted, as well as burning a lot of my limited resources.