2
\$\begingroup\$

I am in the process of creating a homebrew class.

or potentially a subclass...

I haven't decided yet if I wanted to make this class a type of caster or martial character, but either way, I want it to be a primary support class. It will use abilities/spells to buff allies and debuff enemies. Its raw damage output potential is limited, but when working with allies, the overall damage output potential is increased. The class will be themed after Japanese Ofuda (the paper talismans you see in anime and old shrines that were used to ward off demons and spirits in ancient Japan.

This ability will be the core of this class's theme, so I want it to be accessible at a low level where character identity is formed.

When I was formulating this, I had the Blade Ward cantrip in mind. I found it reasonable to prevent 5- to 20ish points of damage considering a cantrip has the potential to block 20+ damage from enabling resistance.

Edit for clarity. There are three things presented with this post; a class ability, a cantrip, and a spell. I will only be using one of them. I am presenting them as ideas for balancing purposes. Would it be better to make this a class feature, a cantrip, or a spell?

Here are my variations of what the ability will do.

As a class ability, I have this:

Otherworldly Ward

At 1st level, you gain the ability to create protective wards. You spend 10 minutes praying over a stack of paper in an attempt to enchant them with magical protective properties. At the end of the 10 minutes, you create a number of protective wards equal to half your [class] level + your Intelligence modifier. Of you attempt to create more wards and would create more than your maximum, the additional wards disintegrate. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. You regain expended uses when you take a long rest.

You can use an action to magically adhere a single ward to a creature or object. If the creature or object would be damaged [by a creature of an origin outside the Material Plane], reduce that damage by 1d6 + your Intelligence modifier. After this effect occurs once, the ward disintegrates. A creature can only be affected by a single ward at any given moment. If a second ward were to be adhered to a creature, then both wards disintegrate cancelling the effect of both wards.

When you create these wards, you may expend a spell slot to increase the negated damage by 1d6 per spell slot expended. (If you expend a 1st-level slot, the total damage would be 2d6+intelligence, 5th-level slot would be 6d6+intelligence, etc.)

As a Cantrip, I have this:

Toshiro's Otherworldly Ward

Abjuration cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (A piece of paper approximately 2 inches wide by 6 inches long)
Duration: Up to 1 hour

You wave your hand over the piece of paper while muttering a prayer of protection, enchanting it with magical energy. Words of the prayer appear on the paper in a language of your choosing that you know turning it into a protective ward.

The ward magically adheres to the next creature or object it touches. For the duration, the next time the creature or target is damaged by any creature that does not originate from the Material Plane, reduce that damage by 1d4 + 2. After this effect occurs once, the ward disintegrates.

At any given time, you can have a maximum number of active wards equal to your proficiency bonus. If you try to create more than the maximum, the oldest ward disintegrates. A creature may only be affected by one ward at a time. Objects can have more than one ward applied at a time.

At Higher Levels. This spell’s damage reduction increases by 1d4 + 1 when you reach 5th level (2d4 + 3), 11th level (3d4 + 4), and 17th level (4d4 + 5).

As a 1st level spell, I have this:

Toshiro's Otherworldly Ward

1st level Abjuration

Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (A stack of paper approximately 2 inches wide by 6 inches long)
Duration: Instantaneous

You wave your hand over a stack of paper while muttering a prayer of protection, enchanting it with magical energy. Words of the prayer appear on the paper in a language of your choosing that you know turning it into a stack of protective wards.

When you cast this spell, create a protective ward for each minute spent casting it. You can have a number of active protective wards equal to your half your [class] level rounded down (minimum 1) + your Proficiency Bonus. If you attempt to cast this and would create more wards than you are allowed, the extra wards disintegrate, nullifying their magical properties.

A creature may use a bonus action to adhere the ward to a creature or object. For the duration, the next time the creature or target is damaged by any creature that does not originate from the Material Plane, reduce that damage by 1d4 + the caster’s Intelligence modifier. After this effect occurs once, the ward disintegrates.

A creature may be affected by only one ward at a time. If you attempt to use two wards on a single creature, they cancel each other out and both disintegrate ending, the effect of both. Objects are not held to this restriction.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the ward reduces an additional 1d4 damage.

A couple of specific questions I would like to know regarding the balancing:

I know it is difficult to create new spells while keeping in mind all the possible scenarios. Are there any game-breaking combos that this can be abused with?

Should this be a higher level spell/ability?

Does the wording make sense?

Are there any other spells or abilities that this one is stepping on the toes of?

Final note:
I know it is generally considered bad practice to create something that steals from the proficiencies and provisions of other aspects of the game. I am keeping that in mind and doing what I can to keep that overlap to a minimum, but I have noticed that all of the classes have some form of support role, especially the Bard, so it will be difficult, if not impossible, to keep the venn diagram from overlapping at all.

Also, many of you out there are far more elegant with your words than I am, so if you have any suggestions for flavoring, I'd greatly appreciate it!

\$\endgroup\$
5
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It would probably better to concentrate on one of the things to review. Also it is unclear why you have a cantrip and a level one spell with the same name? Should all the things work alongside each other or will you decide on one of the three to use? \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Apr 19, 2023 at 19:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The three items presented are three separate ideas, only one of which will be applied to the class. I'm wanting opinions and review on which one would be most balanced. A class feature with a long rest refresh? A cantrip that can only create 1 ward each turn using an action? A spell that can create multiple instances of the ward over 10 minutes? Etc. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2023 at 19:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Anagkai I think the “three different ways” presentation works just fine here, and it shows that a lot of thought has gone into this already. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2023 at 19:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Thomas Markov, I understood where the confusion came from. The way I initially presented the question left room to interpret it as though I was creating the three items to all exist with the class. I added an edit to clarify that was not the case. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 19, 2023 at 19:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That makes a lot of sense. In that case it is of course unnecessary to separate. Good job on the clarification. \$\endgroup\$
    – Anagkai
    Apr 19, 2023 at 19:55

1 Answer 1

3
\$\begingroup\$

Cantrip

Over-powered at low levels, given the right circumstances. Not as sure about higher levels... Might be a bit overpowered.

False Life, a 1st level spell gives creatures 1d4 + 4 temporary hit points. your shield only lasts for one hit and prevents 1d4 + 1 damage. Most creatures do enough damage that disappearing after a single hit does not reduce this cantrip's effectiveness.

It is not an ability I would use inside of combat, as you are better off just killing the creature to prevent damage than reducing damage... But 1 free attack nullification per encounter is really powerful, especially at lower levels.

Also, I am not sure how it works exactly... based on the wording it sounds like you could create up to your proficiency bonus wards and hold them into your hand then other players could bump into you while walking by your character to renew their shield, if this is the case, becomes a lot stronger. Should specify an action cost to attach the ward.

Though at higher levels the damage reduction becomes useless compared to other things you could be doing.

If there are no otherworldy creatures... Than the cantrip is useless.

It is also weird that this has limitations based on your characters proficiency bonus... That is something that is usually seen in class abilities, not spells.

Spell

This has better wording than your cantrip, but there are parts that I don't like.

False Life gives a single creature 1d4 + 4 temporary hitpoints. which is significantly worse than giving up to 3x 1d4 + spellcasting modifier at 1st level hitpoints, which can be handed out as a bonus action to your fighter/or by your fighter to himself (fighter probably has no use for his bonus action). At level 7 this turns it into handing out 10d4 + 40 bonus hitpoints (effectively) for a single spell slot... That is better than any other healing spell (though it is not a healing spell).

This is significantly stronger than the false life, but it is weaker than sleep (auto win most CR 1 encounters) and a lot more situational. I don't think it is too overpowered right out of the gate.

That it has an effect that scales with your proficiency bonus/class level is weird, and makes this spell overpowered. If it was removed... And the number of wards that you create with this spell based on the spell slot used, it would not be overpowered.

As scaling the number of generated wards/and increasing the damage reduction as the spell level increases is not overpowered (As long as it scales in a reasonable manner), as damage reduction is not very powerful compared to killing/disabling enemies.

If there are no otherworldly creatures, than this is worthless.

Class Ability

This is underpowered at high levels. But really, really strong, probably overpowered at low levels, given the right circumstances.

This is similar in concept (though more limited) to healing pools that other classes get (such as celestial warlocks, laying on of hands by paladins, etc...).

It has the potential to prevent more damage then those abilities heal by a lot. prof bonus * 1/2 level + intelligence mod gets really high, maxes out as 90d6 + 90 * intelligence modifier damage prevented (without expending spell slots). But the requirement of 1st spending 10 minutes to create the wards... Than spending an action to attach each ward, and the limitation of 1 ward per creature at a time, reduces the maximum utility to one hit per party member per encounter. At which point this ability becomes relatively useless. especially compared to the reactionary healing of a paladin or celestial warlock, who can heal a 100 damage as an action or 21d6 damage thru 4 bonus actions. The action economy makes this ability feel very niche and useless at high levels.

At low levels however, do to much smaller numbers this is really powerful. You get 4 of these wards and can give your party an extra 4d6 + 12 hitpoints twice per long rest. Using this ability a party of 4 can theoretically go through two CR 1 encounter made up of 4 1/4 CR otherworldly creatures twice without taking any damage. Comparing that to a paladin who can heal 5 hitpoints, or a celestial warlock who heals 2d6. This is much, much stronger.

How I would fix it as an ability: Get rid of powering up the wards thru spell slots. limit it to class level number of wards (balances it against Celestial Warlocks/Paladins healing at low levels), and allow your character/other characters to hand them out using bonus action to a creature within touch (So that it isn't an action economy drain), though this might make it too powerful.

If there are no otherworldly creatures, than this is worthless. Which makes me not like it as a class ability, its okay to have niche spells/cantrips... But class abilities define a class and making the class really powerful against a single type of enemy while worthless against others (favored enemy). Can make a character either Overpowered, or useless depending on GM fiat.

Overall

TLDR; The ability that this ability provides is very niche against a single type of enemy. And it ranges from being overpowered, to being absolutely useless.

If you were to have it as a class ability, it should be useful in almost every situation. Make it useful in any encounter, reduce it's action cost, but also reduce the number of uses and it becomes balanced.

As a cantrip it is a little strong if all opponents are otherworldly. Free HP for all allies at the cost of a cantrip, is pretty OP... It would be safe to assume that all members of your party will have a shield up at the start of each encounter.

As a spell this is significantly stronger than comparable spells. But worse than other spells of the same level. It is very situational, and requires planning... I would say its balanced (if you change how the spell works, so that it only uses spell slots).

\$\endgroup\$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .