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I have a player who is running a bard with the Master of Masks archetype, a homebrew found online.

It allows a player to spend 8 hrs and 100 gp to create a mask they can wear that grants them different abilities, as well as changing the appearence of their alignment. I glanced over it and thought it cool so allowed it.

It doesn't give much to the player other than an odd kind of utility. It also costs 100 gold to use any of the masks listed in the class.

My player, at level 3, spent all of his gold and 8 hours and created the Dragon mask, which imitates the dragonborn's breath weapon.

It allows him, as an action, to breath fire in a 15 ft cone, causing targets to make a dex save. On a fail, targets take 4d6 fire damage. It then goes on cooldown for 1d4 rounds. This is what he gets at level three.

I'm concerned this may be more power at that level than I feel comfortable allowing. The barbarian can do around the same damage range at level 3 with a combination of rage and frenzy (path of the beserker) and they don't have to pay the 100 gold.

Does this seem too overpowered for level 3?

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This particular ability is quite strong; it's identical to a Burning Hands spell cast from a 2nd-level spell slot. This is, of course, a power normally available to many characters at level 3. However, those characters can only cast it twice per day, where the Master of Masks can use it an unlimited number of times.

While the recharge limitation slows down the number of uses, the DMG suggests characters should be dealing with six to eight encounters per day. So even if the Master of Masks only gets to use this power once per encounter, they're still using it 3 or 4 times as often as anyone else could.

Leaving aside this specific ability, the archetype as a whole is not really balanced. It has a "lite" version of many of the other class's main features, as well as some powerful abilities specific to itself. The Bard is already one of the most versatile classes, and this would make it definitively the most versatile by a long shot.

As a final note, with this many different features available, there is almost certainly the potential for game-breaking builds hidden with the archetype, particularly since it only requires 3 levels to acquire any of the class's features a character might want. Extensive analysis would be required to guarantee this class as "safe" to use, but due to the sheer number of options available to it, that kind of analysis would be extremely time-consuming.

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"You may switch masks as a bonus action." is probably the most broken bit. By costing only 100 gp each, and being virtually unlimited in their use (i.e. they don't lose power after X uses), it means that a mid-level char that had a couple of lucky deception/steals/treasue has a tremendous amount of versatility.

If you want to play this, either (or all) the following changes are recommended:

  • make them way more expensive. 500 GP seems more reasonable (remember you are a bard, you already can do many things)
  • Make them expire. After n uses they must be crafted again
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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Good call: I misinterpreted the content of that one. \$\endgroup\$ – Diego Martinoia Jan 13 '16 at 14:22
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Often home brew classes can be a little poorly balanced, they usually haven't had enough people looking at them.

On a quick read through, the Dragon mask does seem an outlier, the "cost" of 1d4 rounds wait does not really offset the benefit of an area effect attack of that power. I recommend that you make it cost a spell slot, similar to other mask effects, or limit it to once per rest.

The power of each mask seems to vary a lot. Some masks could do with power being increased, some reduced. I suggest compare to other path features gained at similar level. See if you can involve some others in the discussion so that more angles are considered.

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I love how it's "imitating" the Dragonborn breath weapon but is far more powerful. At Level 3 the Dragon Born can only do one breath attack per Short Rest for only 2d6.

How is this imitation? It should be a weaker version of the real thing, not so much more powerful than it. Or on par at the most.

Just adjust it to match the real Dragonborn breath weapon (2d6 once short rest) and it should be fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Mochan, you're new, welcome to the site! If you haven't already, take the tour, you'll get a little more knowledge about how the site works, how its different from other Q&A and the traditional forum, plus a bronze badge to boot. Your answer could be improved by backing it up with experience. Anyone can speculate that reducing the damage should re-balance the homebrew, but great answers will show what happened when they changed it, with drawbacks, and side-effects. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jul 8 '17 at 5:24

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