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I used to play a Lythari Elf Mage in 3.5e and now I want to play a Lythari Elf Sorcerer. Lythari Elves are special for their lycanthropic transformation powers:

The lythari are a subrace of elves who can transform into wolves. Unlike most werewolves, they can transform at will and keep their minds while in wolf form.

My 3.5e GM, following Rule #0, allowed me to cast Shout while in my animal form. The logic behind this decision was that the description: "emit an ear-splitting yell" seems to only require a howl/shout/yell and my animal form is capable of making such a noise.

Is there a spell in 5e that I could cast as my wolf's howl to deal damage? Since the decision to cast Shout was a home-brewed ruling, I am open to home-brewed solutions in 5e, too.

What I've Tried Already

  • Shatter won't work due to material and somatic components (a wolf can't do this)
  • Thunderwave also requires somatic movement to produce the sound (like a clap if I understand it correctly)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ In which way do you want the spell to be similar? Is it the deafness that is interesting? That it only requires a verbal component? That it is cone-shaped? All of it? \$\endgroup\$
    – DrPhil
    Mar 31 '17 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just in general, an attack spell that is sound based used via one's voice. All of it would be perfect but I won't hold my breath. \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 9:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if it is worth mentioning but my character's race was/is a Lythari Elf \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Am considering" isn't really helpful - are answers required to work for sorcerer, or not? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Mar 31 '17 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ It would help to know how you plan to shapeshift, since that impacts the answer. For example, if you ended up playing a druid to use Wildshape for this purpose, the answer would be that you can't cast spells while wildshaped. The answer may differ depending on the class feature or spell you use for changing forms. It's also unclear whether you want to know how to achieve the effect of making your howl deal damage or what spell is equivalent to 3.5's Shout, which are not the same question. Can you clarify? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 31 '17 at 13:45
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I'd go for a cantrip. Thunderclap (from the free Elemental Evil Player's Companion) is a good bet; it's short-range but it has the auditory theme. Its somatic component could be you stopping and howling loud into the air.

If your GM will let your Sorcerer take a Bard cantrip, consider Vicious Mockery. It deals psychic damage, but you could interpret that as your howl being unnaturally unsettling.


Reskinning: If the above don't work for you, you can also reskin an existing spell that does a different damage type to deal thunder damage instead. Be aware that not all damage types are created equal; for example, more monsters are resistant against fire and cold than thunder, so converting one of those spells to thunder will actually increase its power.

My suggestion if you want to reskin would be to find a force- or radiant-dealing cantrip and turn it into a thunder-dealing one. You'd be decreasing that cantrip's power a bit but not enough to really matter.

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You and your DM might want to consider a custom race similar in nature to the Shifters. I recommend reviewing the rules for a custom race in the DMG and modifying the Shifter race to include a once per long rest casting of Thunderwave.

There is ample precedent for adding in limited use spells per day by virtue of the Tiefling's racial abilities.

The specifics will have to be determined at your table, but I think this option will preserve your desire to have a character capable of some shape changing, provide you a Shout equivalent spell, and work within the bounds of the 5e system.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't it be simpler for everyone at that point to just ask permission to use the 3.5 edition spell? \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Clarus_Nox I can't access the link for the spell at this time due to workplace blocks, but I do know that 3.5's balance is atrocious and thus simply cutting and pasting the spell could potentially be disruptive to play in a 5e game. It's possible that the spell could be rebalanced, but the proposed solution is preferable from my perspective as it appears to create an effect similar to what you're aiming for within the bounds of the system you're playing in. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 31 '17 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Components:V Casting time:1 standard action You emit an ear-splitting yell that deafens and damages creatures in its path. Any creature within the area is deafened for 2d6 rounds and takes 5d6 points of sonic damage. A successful save negates the deafness and reduces the damage by half. Any exposed brittle or crystalline object or crystalline creature takes 1d6 points of sonic damage per caster level (maximum 15d6). An affected creature is allowed a Fortitude save to reduce the damage by half, and a creature holding fragile objects can negate damage to them with a successful Reflex save. \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Clarus_Nox Unfortunately, as written, that spell would be unbalancing in a 5e game assuming it were cast as a 1st level spell. Burning hands deals 3d6 damage in an area, thunderwave deals 2d8 and has a knockback effect. Your proposal deals a lot more damage, has a long-term effect whose duration isn't exactly supported by the 5e RAW. You might be able to do a conversion on this, but that would be its own question. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 31 '17 at 21:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ there wasn't room but here is the requirements part; Evocation [Sonic] Level: Brd 4, Sor/Wiz 4 Components: V Casting time: 1 standard action Range: 30 ft. Area: Cone-shaped burst Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Fortitude partial or Reflex negates (object); see text Spell Resistance: Yes (object) \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 21:53
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There is no exact copy of that in 5e, so you will need a homebrew race for that. Since it will be custom anyway, you can include anything your GM approves. There are similar things to base it on, though, so that it will fit better and will make it easier to balance.

There are races that are able to cast spells as a racial ability (eg. tieflings), so it is not out of the question. Those spells are usually cantrips or level 1, at most level 2. This is not a stated rule, but seems reasonable. Also, you will still need to be level 3 to cast a 2nd level spell.

Within that level range there are two spells that deal thunder damage: Thunderwave and Shatter. Neither allows you to deafen those affected, but shatter is similar to Shout in that it is effective against objects and creatures made of inorganic matter.

Take a look at the Eberron optional rules, there are shifters listed as a race. They do not get racial spells, but could be a good starting point. To be similar to your previous character, the spellcasting could be a Shifting Feature of your custom subrace.

For example you this subrace I made up if your GM agrees:

  • Thunderhowl

    As a thunderhowl shifter, your voice becomes a weapon.
    Ability score increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
    Shifting Feature. While shifting you are unable to speak, but if you wish so, your voice can be heard up to a mile away and you can cast Thunderwave at level 1 needing only Verbal components. After you reach level 3, you are also able to cast Shatter at level 2 in a similar manner. You can cast each spell once. You must finish a long rest to cast them again.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I saw those two spells but I don't think I'd be able to use either of them as a wolf. \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 9:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Clarus_Nox Not a problem if you homebrew anyway :) I added a possible custom subrace. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Mar 31 '17 at 10:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ can an elf sub race have a sub race? \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 10:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Clarus_Nox I intended this as a Shifter subrace. I think it would be more fitting as you also want to be able to shapeshift. Or consider making it a custom druid circle feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Mar 31 '17 at 10:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty set on my character's race, I'd rather just go without the spell or ask permission to use a 3.5 spell. But thanks for trying to help. \$\endgroup\$
    – Clarus_Nox
    Mar 31 '17 at 10:31

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