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Author Topic: Magus class idea for 5E  (Read 520 times)

jhkim

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Magus class idea for 5E
« on: November 08, 2018, 05:06:26 pm »
So, as I'm running 5E again now, I'm considering about a supposed core issue - that it closely depends on having 5-7 encounters per long rest for balance between the classes. As Haffrung put it in this thread, issues with 5E include:

Quote from: Haffrung;1063266
5E Pros:

Hits the sweet spot for PC customization.
Supports theatre of the mind play.
Flexible enough to run a wide range of campaign styles.

5E Cons:

PCs are so resilient it's very difficult to have PC death on the table past level 1 or 2.
Assumes 5-7 encounters per long rest, and is virtually broken if you go outside that model.
Still a big pain in the ass to run NPC spellcasters.

So what it seems is that particularly the cleric, wizard, and sorcerer are advantaged if you have fewer encounters per long rest. One of my premises is that the warlock is not included in this. Their single slot refreshes per short rest, and most of their abilities are continuous. So for a warlock, there is less difference between 2-3 per long rest (LR) and 5-7 per LR.

So an idea I've had floating around for this has been to make a new class, tentatively called "Magus" - which is balanced more like a warlock, but has flavor more like a classical hermetic magician. They shouldn't come across as walking artillery or mad scientists throwing bombs, but rather as experts who are steadily mastering the areas of magic that they deal with. They primarily don't fire-and-forget, but have more continuous power. The theme of the class would be mastery and knowledge.

Before I get too far, though, I'd first be curious if anyone knows about who else has done something like this - or if you have thoughts on the general concept.

Steven Mitchell

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2018, 05:46:47 pm »
I haven't done anything like that.  Moreover, I banned the warlock as not appropriate to my 5E setting, and because I have no issues with the encounter setup in 5E for the main classes.  

Those caveats aside, you might want to take a long hard look at the sorcerer mechanics, as it is already has one or two toes across the line into a different encounter focus with the way that the sorcerer points work in doing meta-magic.  Plus, a sorcerer is fairly weak compared to a wizard or cleric (or even bard in some cases), other than being able to do some major overkill in a short time using the meta-magic.  Specifically, I think the following would accomplish most of what you listed:

1. Radically modify the meta-magic options to remove the "nuke" options, such as maximized and twin spell.  
2. Extend the meta-magic options to give the sorcerer more variety and flexibility over a longer time.
3. Boosts the return of meta-magic on short rests.  

I think you can afford to make something considerably more powerful than the book sorcerer and it not be a problem, too.  Alternately, such a class might provide a flavorful option to work alongside your repurposed hermetic "warlock".

Omega

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2018, 08:10:21 pm »
Quote from: jhkim;1063749
So an idea I've had floating around for this has been to make a new class, tentatively called "Magus" - which is balanced more like a warlock, but has flavor more like a classical hermetic magician. They shouldn't come across as walking artillery or mad scientists throwing bombs, but rather as experts who are steadily mastering the areas of magic that they deal with. They primarily don't fire-and-forget, but have more continuous power. The theme of the class would be mastery and knowledge.

Before I get too far, though, I'd first be curious if anyone knows about who else has done something like this - or if you have thoughts on the general concept.

The Warlock actually allready covers this to a degree. They have their main zapper spell and then a few exhausting spells they can call on and then a couple of powers which may or may not be allways on depending on your build. What would be the point of a class with "all power all the time!" running? Youd have to curb them massively or do like the Wizard and put those allways on powers late in.

One option could be to just open up some more low level spells as Warlock invocations and just put a level limiter in there such as 5 or whatever works.
Currently from the PHB the warlock can get as at-wills...
Mage Armor
Levitate
Speak with Animals
Detect Magic
False Life
Disguise Self
Alter Self
Silent Image
Invisibility (with limits)
Jump
Arcane Eye
Speak with Dead
and a sort of True sight

And that isnt even getting into the patron gifts.

What would be the point of a class thats even more "allways on" than the Warlock?

jhkim

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2018, 09:22:05 pm »
Quote from: Omega;1063788
What would be the point of a class thats even more "allways on" than the Warlock?

The main point is that for my campaign style, I am interested in having different time scales. So sometimes the characters are on a months-long voyage and will only have 1-2 encounters per long rest. And maybe sometimes the characters are trapped behind enemy lines and have a dozen encounters before getting to long rest. And sometimes they might have 4-5, and sometimes 7-8. I am capable of arranging so that they always have 5-7 encounters per long rest, but it feels excessively artificial to me.

So I'd like some options for class balance that don't depend on this constraint.

The warlock has seemed fine to me, but I'd be interested in more variety than is possible under warlock templates.

fearsomepirate

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 11:33:42 am »
Here is an idea, based on what you said:

The Magus' unique ability is to ignore Concentration. The down side is that like the Warlock, he only has a tiny number of spell slots, a tiny number of Spells Known, and his spell list is very short. I would have him gain spells at the same rate as a warlock and have the same upper limit on spell level. Early on, it's just nice that he can cast Bane and not worry about getting hit. At high level, he can cast Greater Invisibility, Haste, and Fly, but that would still take all his spell slots..

You can add invocation-like things as well to add various passive effects (at-will Mage Armor, an extra weapon attack, a single cast of Fireball each day, that sort of thing).
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HappyDaze

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2018, 11:37:56 am »
So how about a "funhouse mirror" version of the Warlock. Much as Sorcerer and Wizard are fairly similar, take the Warlock and rebuild it into an Int-based character that is all about the secrets they've unlocked rather than pacts they've made. Sure, it would probably take a bit more to distance it from the Warlock, but that'll take some time (much as it's taken time to truly find a sweet spot in the Sorcerer/Wizard divide).

jhkim

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 02:43:03 pm »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1063913
So how about a "funhouse mirror" version of the Warlock. Much as Sorcerer and Wizard are fairly similar, take the Warlock and rebuild it into an Int-based character that is all about the secrets they've unlocked rather than pacts they've made. Sure, it would probably take a bit more to distance it from the Warlock, but that'll take some time (much as it's taken time to truly find a sweet spot in the Sorcerer/Wizard divide).
I think that makes sense. The question is, how much should I change from the Warlock model?

Here's a specific question. I want to grant certain at-will spells. Is it more palatable to have them listed individually as powers like Warlock invocations. i.e.

Quote
Armor of Shadows
You can cast Mage Armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Beast Speech
You can cast Speak with Animals at will, without expending a spell slot.

Eldritch Sight
You can cast Detect Magic at will, without expending a spell slot.

Otherworldly Leap
Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast Jump on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

etc.

Or if I'm going to expand these significantly, would it make more sense to just have a list of possible at-will spells? And then have a listed number of at-will spells grouped by minimum level.

Quote
Mastered Spells

Choose a number of spells from among of the following to be mastered, according to the chart for your character's level. A mastered spell can be cast at-will without expending a slot or requiring material components.

First Circle:
1. Mage Armor
2. Speak with Animals
3. Detect Magic
etc.

Second Circle (first gained at 9th level):
1. Jump
etc.

The former is wordier, but it allows easily mixing of spells and new spell-like abilities. The latter can handle new effects by making them into Magus-only spells, but spell format is a little longer. I think this is more of a stylistic question of presentation than mechanics per se.

fearsomepirate

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2018, 02:51:26 pm »
I prefer the "Mastered Spell" list. I don't like having to read a description to know that this thing you gave a different name is actually a familiar spell. W4E monk's disciplines are annoying for the same reason.
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HappyDaze

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2018, 04:03:58 pm »
Quote from: jhkim;1063937
I think that makes sense. The question is, how much should I change from the Warlock model?

Here's a specific question. I want to grant certain at-will spells. Is it more palatable to have them listed individually as powers like Warlock invocations. i.e.



Or if I'm going to expand these significantly, would it make more sense to just have a list of possible at-will spells? And then have a listed number of at-will spells grouped by minimum level.



The former is wordier, but it allows easily mixing of spells and new spell-like abilities. The latter can handle new effects by making them into Magus-only spells, but spell format is a little longer. I think this is more of a stylistic question of presentation than mechanics per se.

To be honest, I'd instead just make it a Warlock "patron" of "self" that has a 1st level ability that changes things to Int-based.

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2018, 01:50:01 am »
Sounds a bit like Lion & Dragon's Magister.
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jhkim

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2018, 01:06:50 pm »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1063954
To be honest, I'd instead just make it a Warlock "patron" of "self" that has a 1st level ability that changes things to Int-based.
Both the flavor and the tactical use of the Magus should be different. Tactically, I don't picture the Magus as a damage producer. A witch or warlock hexes people and causes damage / suffering. A magus is different - more of a consultant. They should be there to lessen or neutralize enemy magic and grant tactical advantage against non-magical foes.

Quote from: RPGPundit;1064218
Sounds a bit like Lion & Dragon's Magister.
I confess I haven't gotten Lion & Dragon yet. I'm curious how the Magister contributes to combat.

I would like the Magus to get away from the feeling of being artillery. I picture them being more of a support role. If there are a group of non-magical soldiers, I feel they would especially want a Magus if they have to face enemy magic. If it's against non-magical enemies, then they'll still like having a Magus - but more for support and information than blasting.

Spells like Fog Cloud and Grease seem more like classical magus stuff than fireball. I'd also like to add a cantrip that grants advantage on a saving throw against magic in some fashion, and later on more like that.

jhkim

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2018, 02:49:54 am »
So here's my thinking about magus spells by level (I'm calling them "circles" here because they're significantly different than regular spell levels). The magus would get a few spells starting with the first circle, and progressing through the different circles as they rise in level, with fifth circle starting up like 15th level or so. I'm still wondering about how to scale the progression, but I'm settling on the amount. Again, when the magus gains a spell, they can cast it at will - hence the limited selection and low level. At some point, the magus should get a special ability to keep up two concentrations - since concentration is a limiting factor for them at higher levels.

Cantrips
Dancing Lights
Friends
Guidance
Light
Mage Hand
Mending
Message
Minor Illusion
Prestidigitation
Resistance
Thaumaturgy

First Circle
Alarm
Feather Fall
Identify
Illusory Script
Protection from Evil and Good
Silent Image
Tenser's Floating Disk

Second Circle
Arcane Lock
Comprehend Languages
Disguise Self
Fog Cloud
Grease
Gust of Wind
Knock
Magic Mouth
Magic Weapon (C)
Rope Trick
See Invisibility
Unseen Servant

Third Circle
Alter Self (C)
Bane (C)
Faerie Fire (C)
Feign Death
Find Steed
Glyph of Warding
Locate Object (C)
Protection from Energy (C)
Tasha's Hideous Laughter (C)

Fourth Circle
Control Water (C)
Hold Person (C)
Magic Circle
Tongues
Water Breathing

Fifth Circle
Counterspell
Crown of Madness (C)
Detect Thoughts (C)
Hold Monster (C)
Invisibility (C)
Major Image (C)
Nondetection
Remove Curse
Web (C)

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Magus class idea for 5E
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2018, 04:43:54 am »
Quote from: jhkim;1064255

I confess I haven't gotten Lion & Dragon yet. I'm curious how the Magister contributes to combat.


The magister can only learn a couple of techniques that are usable without prior preparation in the heat of the moment. But they have a large number of useful rituals they can do, and can learn techniques to make talismans, blasting wands, and alchemical substances that can be useful.
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