One of my players in my new campaign wanted to play a Wizard with a gun / Magic Law Enforcement type character. However we found that none of the existing class options quite hit what we were looking for. Therefore we created this homebrew class.
The design goals for the class are:
- Create an arcane casting equivalent to the Ranger, without the major drawbacks of the Ranger class.
- Give Wizard-like feel as a half-caster (intelligence casting, spellbook)
- Provide a gunslinger / arcane archer type combat option
- Be balanced between in-combat and out of combat utility
To create this class I borrowed heavily from existing material for progression. In particular:
- Uses feature progress (ASIs and features per level) from Ranger
- Spellcasting progression from Artificer
- Borrow heavily from Arcane Archer and Matt Mercer's Gunslinger subclass for Spellshot subclass
I'm looking for review on the mechanical aspects of the class. In particular the relative power level compared to the classes/subclasses it is based on (Ranger, Gunslinger/Arcance Archer Fighter, Artificer).
I'm going to omit a lot of the flavour text in favour of keeping this post length manageable, I'm also leaving out some of the basic features as I am confident they are balanced. The full class is available here for anyone that wants to see it.
Hit Die: d8
- Armor: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields
- Weapons: Simple weapons, Martial weapons
- Tools: Thieve's Tools
- Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
- Skills: Choose two from Athletics, Stealth, Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Intimidation, Perception
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 1st +2 Spellcasting 2 2 — — — — 2nd +2 Fighting Style, Insightful Combatant 2 2 — — — — 3rd +2 Enforcer Specialisation 2 3 — — — — 4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 2 3 — — — — 5th +3 Extra Attack 2 4 2 — — — 6th +3 Spell Combat 2 4 2 — — — 7th +3 Enforcer Specialisation Feature 2 4 3 — — — 8th +3 Ability Score Improvement, Lay Down the Law 2 4 3 — — — 9th +4 ─ 2 4 3 2 — — 10th +4 Badge of Authority 3 4 3 2 — — 11th +4 Enforcer Specialisation Feature 3 4 3 3 — — 12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 3 4 3 3 — — 13th +5 ─ 3 4 3 3 1 — 14th +5 Precision Fighter 4 4 3 3 1 — 15th +5 Enforcer Specialisation Feature 4 4 3 3 2 — 16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 2 — 17th +6 ─ 4 4 3 3 3 1 18th +6 Arcane Restraints 4 4 3 3 3 1 19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 3 2 20th +6 Law Unto Yourself 4 4 3 3 3 2
Weapon or Wand
You can use an arcane focus (see the Adventuring Gear section) as a spellcasting focus for your enforcer spells. Alternatively, you may use any weapon you are proficient with as a spellcasting focus.
At 1st level, you know two cantrips of your choice from the enforcer spell list. You learn additional enforcer cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Enforcer table.
At 1st level, your spellbook contains 4 1st-level Enforcer spells of your choice. Your spellbook is the repository of the enforcer spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.
Preparing and Casting Spells
[...] You prepare the list of enforcer spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of enforcer spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + half your enforcer level, rounded down (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. [...]
You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of enforcer spells requires time spent studying your spellbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
Spell Casting Ability
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your enforcer spells. [typical magic rules]
You can cast an enforcer spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.
Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher
Each time you gain an enforcer level, you can add two enforcer spells of your choice to your spellbook for free. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the enforcer table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your spellbook.
Beginning at 1st level, your training has gained you an uncanny eye for detail.
You have advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) check made to uncover hidden objects or information.
Your detailed notes also allow your to precisely recall important information. Your notes are stored in your spellbook, if you wish you may write then in a code only you can understand. You may check your notes to recall a specific fact you have since forgotten. Once you have used this feature you cannot use it again until you have completed a long rest. Your spellbook must be in your possession to use this feature.
[Standard Fighting Style rules] Options: Archery, Defense, Dueling, Protection, Two-weapon Fighting
From 2nd level, your keen attunement to the intentions of others grants you an edge in combat. You may add your Intelligence modifier to Initiative checks. Additionally you have advantage on Attacks of Opportunity made when an opponent attempts to leave your reach.
At 3rd level, you select a specialisation to hone your skills with advanced training. Enforcer specialisations are described at the end of this class. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 11th and 15th level.
From 6th Level, you have become extraordinary profiency at wielding both weapons and magic. When you use your action to cast a spell during your turn, you may use your bonus action to make one weapon attack with a weapon you are holding.
Lay Down the Law
At 8th level, your force of personality has power over others. As a bonus action, you fix a creature you can see with a piercing stare. The target must make a charisma saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, you have advantage on persuassion and intimidation checks targetting that creature until you finish a short or long rest.
Once you use this ability you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Badge of Authority
From 10th level, at the beginning of combat you may force a number of humanoid creatures up to your intelligence modifier to make a wisdom save (using your spell save DC). On a failed save they are frightened of you for 1 minute. Affected creature may attempt the save again at the end of their turns. You may use this feature once per long rest.
Starting at 14th level, your astute mind can determine weak points in your enemies. When you hit with a weapon attack you may add your intelligence modifier to the damage roll.
From 18th level, you may use an action to conjure arcane manacles onto a large or smaller creature who is already grappled, restrained or incapacitated. Make an opposed grapple check using your Intelligence modifier + Proficiency Bonus vs the targets Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Stength (Athletics) (targets choice). If you succeed the target is bound.
While bound a creature cannot use any action that require their hands, cast spells or move more than half their speed in one turn. The creature make attempt to break free once per day by making a Strength (Athletics) check against your spell save DC.
You may only bind one creature in this way at a time.
Law Unto Yourself
At 20th level your law enforcing prowess knows no mortal comparison. You may serve as investigator, judge and jury all at once, passing judgement on creatures you deem deserving.
You learn the Geas spell, which always counts as prepared for you but it not counted against the number of enforcer spells you have prepared. Once per day you may cast Geas as though you were casting with a 9th level spell slot.
Once you have judged a creature in this way, you may not do so again until you complete a long rest.
I intend to provide three subclasses for this class. One ranged combat focused (this one), one magic focused and one melee focused. However as this is the one my player will be using I want to focus on this for balance.
Starting when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with firearms, allowing you to add your proficiency bonus to attacks made with firearms.
[As per Matt Mercer's Gunslinger, with minor fixes]
At 3rd level, you learn to unleash special magical effects with some of your shots. When you gain this feature, you learn three Arcane Shot options of your choice (see "Arcane Shot Options" below).
Once per turn when you fire a firearm as part of the Attack action, you can apply one of your Arcane Shot options to that shot. You decide to use the option before making your attack roll. You have a number of uses of this ability equal to your proficiency modifier, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a short or long rest.
You gain an additional Arcane Shot option of your choice when you reach certain levels in this class: 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level. Each time you learn a new Arcane Shot options, you may replace an option you already know with another one.
Starting at 7th level, you can reload any firearm as a bonus action. [Moved to earlier level than Gunslinger as both player and I feel it is too late to be useful]
You have learned to use your firearms defensively. From 7th level, when making an attack, you may forego the attack roll to instead fire over your targets head. The target makes a wisdom saving throw against your Arcane Shot DC. On a fail, they have disadvantage on attack rolls until the start of your next turn.
Fan the Hammer
At 10th Level, you gain the ablity to rapidly fire multiple shots. You may use your action to fire all remaining ammunition in a firearm you are holding. Make a spearate attack roll for each shot. Once you have used this ability you cannot use it again until you complete a short rest, or expend one use of Arcane Shot to do so.
Improved Arcane Shot
Beginning at 15th level, your ability to manipulate the arcane energy attached to your shots has improved. Many effects increase duration from 1 round to 1 minute, this requires your concentration to maintain. While in effect the target may repeat the saving throw at the end of each of their turns. Other effects increase in damage. See Arcane Shot Options below.
The Arcane Shot Options are largely inspired by the Arcane Arrow options from Arcane Archer as well as the Trick Shots from Gunslinger. As they as a lot of complexity to the review I'm just going to put three as examples. Assume the other options will be balanced in terms of power level.
Arcane Shot Options
If an option requires a saving throw, your Arcane Shot save DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Imbued with planar energy a creature hit by this shot must make a charisma saving throw or be banished to harmless pocket plane. While banished in this way, the target's speed is 0, and it is incapacitated. At the end of its next turn, the target reappears in the space it vacated or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied.
From 15th level you maintain this effect for up to one minute duration using your concentration.
When you use this option, you don't make an attack roll for the attack. Instead, choose one creature you have seen in the past minute. The shot flies toward that creature, moving around corners if necessary and ignoring three-quarters cover and half cover. If the target is within the weapon's range and there is a path large enough for the shot to travel to the target, the target must make a Dexterity saving throw. Otherwise, the shot disappears after travelling as far as it can. On a failed save, the target takes damage as if it was hit by the shot and you learn the target's current location. On a successful save, the target takes half as much damage, and you don't learn its location.
From 15th level, creature who fail to save against this effect also take 2d6 force damage.
Your shots limit your opponents ability to flee. Make hit by this shot a creature must make a dexterity saving throw or be slowed until the start of your next turn. While slow the creature's speed is halved, it cannot take reactions and may only use an action or a bonus action on its turn, not both.
At 15th level you can maintain this effect for up to 1 minutes by concentrating on it.
I'm not overly concerned about the balance of the spell list. However I understand it is required to be able to assess the relative power of the spellcasting feature. Therefore I have included it below.
Overall I'm fairly confident in the balance of this class and plan to begin playtesting it this weekend. However I've spent so long looking at it I'm sure there is a chance I have completely overlooked a glaring issue. Therefore I wanted to get some more eyes on it. Mainly I want to know:
- Does this class achieve the design goals?
- Have I avoided making the classes it is based on entirely redundant?
- Is it balanced from a relative power level?
- Is there any potential issues I should be monitoring during playtesting?
I know this is an enormous question. I've tried to reduce it as much as possible while still being a fair review of the class. If anyone has suggestions for formatting improvements or feel I've left something out please let me know in the comments below.