The subclass described below is a homebrew sorcerer that focuses on divination through mirrors. It's part of a set of classes I'm designing that attempt to make divination magic more interesting for the players in D&D 5e.
I have three main concerns about it specifically, but I am also interested in general feedback about balance (this is one of the first subclasses I've tried to create, discounting deliberately unbalanced just-for-fun subclasses). I'm likely to be the person DM'ing any player with the class, so I'm not worried about DM buy-in, but I'm interested in hearing how more experienced DMs think such a player might complicate the DM's job.
What I'm wondering:
- Is this class balanced for a player, in that it specifically wouldn't leave other players feeling underpowered in the campaign?
- Is this class balanced for a PC villain, in that it would make for a fun villain who wouldn't make the game less fun for the players?
- Does the class encourage players to play in a way that is otherwise problematic? (For example, I want to avoid making a player class that is encouraged to spend more time soloing than the typical thief player.)
Thanks in advance for any feedback!
(Major credit for this class's inspiration goes to the Lady Blue from Mark Lawrence's series the Red Queen's War!)
The Mesmer is a sorcerer attuned to mirrors, reflections, and the boundary between the real and the uncanny. Mesmers specialize in divination, illusion, and enchantment, and have a particular knack for casting spells using reflective surfaces. Frequently, their reflections appear to possess unusual aspects, such as always appearing to be sick or injured, not appearing at all in mirrors, or acting independently of the real mesmer. Mesmers are often sought as spies, information gatherers, and communications specialists by powerful factions.
1st-level Mesmer feature
Starting at level 1, you learn additional spells at certain levels in this class according to the Reflective Spells list, below. These spells count as sorcerer spells for you, but they do not count against your number of spells know.
- Level 1. detect magic, charm person, mirror projection (see below)
- Level 3. locate object, calm emotions
- Level 5. clairvoyance, enemies abound
- Level 7. arcane eye, dominate beast
- Level 9. scrying, mislead
When you can see an undisturbed mirror-surface within 30 feet using your non-magical sight, you may use it to cast spells from your Reflective Spells list without providing verbal, somatic, or material components. (See the mirror projection spell description, below, for more information on mirror-surfaces.)
6th-level Mesmer feature
Your reflection on reality has made you adept at Divination spells. When you cast the clairvoyance, arcane eye, or scrying spells using your Reflective Casting feature, the casting time is only one action, the spell grants you both remote audition and remote viewing, and you are not blinded or deafened to your own senses while remotely perceiving. Additionally, the visual and audio you receive from the spell is projected from the mirror-surface used by the Reflective Casting feature such that everyone within 30 feet of the mirror-surface can see and hear the remote location.
When you are concentrating on a clairvoyance, arcane eye, or scrying spell that was cast using your Reflective Casting feature, you may use an action and four sorcery points to open a 2-way visual and aural window to the location of remote perception for the duration of your concentration. In order to be able to open such a window, there must be an undisturbed mirror-surface in the remote location (see the mirror projection spell description below for more information on mirror-surfaces). The window connects the remote and nearby mirror-surfaces such that other creatures within 30 feet of either surface may see and communicate through the window. If either mirror-surface is broken or disturbed, then the channel closes and the spell ends prematurely.
14th-level Mesmer feature
You have grown so accustomed to the nature of reflection that mirrors have become conduits for not just your mundane sight but also your inner eye. You now maintain any magical senses such as darkvision or truesight when you are remote viewing.
While you have a window open to a remote mirror-surface using your Far Open ability, you may use the remote surface to satisfy the mirror-surface requirement of your Reflective Casting ability to cast spells as if you were in the remote surface's location. Additionally, you may concentrate on two spells at the same time as long as both were cast using your Reflective Casting feature and as long as exactly one of the two spells provides remote viewing (clairvoyance, arcane eye, scrying, or mislead). If you fail a concentration check or cease concentrating on either spell then both spells end.
The mislead spell is special. When you cast mislead using this feature, the original remote viewing spell ends and you do not become invisible. Instead, your projected image in the remote mirror-surface becomes your duplicate and emerges from the remote mirror-surface.
18th-level Mesmer feature
When you cast the mislead spell using your Far Caster feature, you may optionally swap places with your illusory duplicate immediately after it emerges from the remote mirror-surface, and this swap is not directly perceptible to others. Additionally, whenever you are concentrating on mislead, you may cast the charm person, mirror projection, and calm emotions spells as if you were in the location of your illusory duplicate, and you may concentrate on both calm emotions and mislead (both spells end if either spell ends).
Mirror Projection (cantrip)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: None (this cantrip is always subtle)
Duration: 1 minute
Choose 1 mirror-surface (see below) within range that you can see. You may project silent illusions into the reflection of this mirror-surface. The illusions may be of anything that you can imagine, but they must remain constrained to the mirror-surface. The illusions may appear to have depth (e.g., reflections of illusory objects may appear different from different angles). You may control only one mirror at a time using this cantrip.
At higher levels. You may simultaneously enchant 2 mirrors when you reach 5th level, 3 mirrors when you reach 11th level, and 4 mirrors when you reach 17th level.
A mirror-surface is any undisturbed non-magical reflective surface that you can see with your non-magical sight and whose surface area is at least 2 square feet (i.e., larger than a hand-mirror). Examples include unbroken plain mirrors, still pools of water, and unclouded reflective panes of glass. If you must use a magical effect such as an ability granted by an Eldritch Invocation or a spell in order to see a surface then it is not considered a valid mirror-surface. A mirror-surface that becomes disturbed (a mirror that is broken, a still pool that is struck, a glass that is clouded, silver that is tarnished) or that disappears from the caster's non-magical view immediately ceases to function as a mirror-surface.