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D&D 5E Golden Sun Djinn in 5E?

Undrave

Hero
So this is an idea that's been percolating in my mind for the last few days and I could use some brainstorming partners...

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Now, for those not familiar with the JRPG series of games for GBA and Nintendo DS, Golden Sun, I will go over the basic. In the game you can find these little elemental spirits called Djinn who come into four flavor: Venus (Earth), Mars (Fire), Jupiter (Wind) and Mercury (Water) and they have a very interesting way of being used. It's one of the most interesting system in the games that make the serie stand out(alongside the overworld puzzles) and it basically goes like this:

First, your characters can 'equip' those Djinn. The Djinn grants your character a stat boost, and plays into the game's class system, granting you extra Psyenergy (AKA spells). When in battle, however, you can 'Unleash' one of your equipped Djinn as your action for the turn. This grants you various effect, usually a strong elemental attack, but also buffs to the party or heals and status cancelling. Doing so, obviously, negates the stat buff you were getting, so it's a trade off. Then, once they have been unleashed like this, the Djinns sorta floats around you and you can then use them as fuel for summons! Powerful AOE abilities that can use multiple Djinn at once (the more you use, the more powerful they get). After being spent this way, the Djinns are deactivated for a certain number of rounds (or a certain number of steps on the overworld). After that time has passed they gt re-set to your character as equip.

Basically, the way I envision it working for 5e is like this: At the end of your Long Rest you meditate and get X number of elemental spirits to 'bond' with your character, granting you passive buffs. The buffs would be on a ladder, basically granting more and more buffs as you get more of them. In battle you can Unleash those spirits to perform a specific action (that would probably be decided by the element instead of individual actions). After doing so, you can bond with them again with a Short Rest, OR you can use the released spirits to do a bigger move, usually reproducing a spell. Doing so, however, would spend the spirit until your next long rest.

Seems simple enough, but I run into a few snags...

First is that, while all the characters in the game can use Magic to a certain extant, not all of the characters are 'caster' archetypes. You roughly have four archetypes, IMO, the 'Hero' (who is generally more of a weapon user but has a good balance of defense and offense) the 'Bruiser' (uses axes, has strong offense, lesser defense and lesser spell casting), the 'Caster' and the 'Healer'. And the thing is that, aside from the main character always being a Earth user, the other roles can be any of the elements.

Furthermore, while it would be easy to just say 'make one subclass per element' (putting aside that it wouldn't work with the idea that each element can be each archetype) , this doesn't take into account the fact that you CAN equip Djinns from whatever element you want. The games' characters have a natural element they can use, and equipping djinn of that element makes them stronger, but you can access special psyenergy by mixing and matching elements.

So I was thinking the basic Equip bonuses would be on the base class starting at level 1, and at Level 1 you'd pick an Elemental Afinity that would give you some bonuses as you went on in level, but you'd be able to pick whatever element (or combination of elements) you want at each long rest, and you would also pick your subclass/archetype at level 1. You'd have one that grants you heavy armor proficiency, one that grants you only medium armor but gives you stronger weapons, and two that grants you some more spellcasting... but then I can't just give them whatever, I'd have to make list per elemental affinity for each casting archetype to keep the theme strong...

Do you guys think it would be too much work for nothing? Would it be interesting or too fiddly a class? Should I just make a Fightery Elemental Class and Cleric-y Elemental class with two subclass each amd the same Elemental Spirit bonuses? Should I bolt this principle onto other classes instead? Like slap it on the Fighter and the Barbarian or one of the Spellcaster and have multiple subclasses using the elemental spirit system the way we have Psionic classes? This feel like I wouldn't have much design space for interesting effects and I would run into the limited theme thing of the spellcasters.

Or maybe I should just keep the idea in my bac pocket and build a whole system based on the world of Golden Sun :p

What's the best path here?
 

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Eis

Explorer
why can't they be basically a magic item? on first reading through your description of them I immediately thought Ioun stones, granting a stat boost but then activating them for a burst of elemental damage or what have you, then you would just have to work out rules for how they synch when you unleash the multiple djinn power
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I personally would leave out the part where having different djinn equipped affects what spells you can cast. Seems like more trouble than it’s worth, and I’d honestly rather have djinn as sort of living spells that you could add to any D&D game rather than reinvent the whole 5e class system around Golden Sun‘s system.

What if instead of tying djinn into the class system, you made them sort of like magic items. When you attune to a djinni you get a buff (determined by the djinni) and can cast a specific spell (also determined by the djinni) once as an action. After casting the spell, you lose the buff and the djinni manifests as a Tiny elemental in an adjacent space (stats determined by its element). You can re-equip an attuned djinni as an action, gaining its buff and allowing you to cast the spell again. Alternatively, you can use your action to command it to cast a specific spell (determined by its stat block, which is in turn determined by its element). This would be the equivalent to summoning the djinni. After casting the spell, the djinni disappears and can’t be used again until you re-attune to it during a short or long rest.

This wouldn’t account for the ability to use more powerful summons by combining multiple djinn. I suppose the djinn stat blocks could include higher level spells that they can cast if multiple djinn are manifest simultaneously, and doing so causes them all to disappear. But that might be tricky to word in 5e-speak, and it still doesn’t account for the multi-element summons.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Or maybe I should just keep the idea in my bac pocket and build a whole system based on the world of Golden Sun :p

What's the best path here?

Making an entirely new game system is truly the best path here ;)


More Seriously, I think you start off with making this a new class, based around this economy (will talk about it in a second). I would build it in a similar manner to the warlock or the Mystic. Then, I would create only two subclasses. A Gish and a Full caster who can both heal and cast magic.

This is because I don't think you are going to be able to get enough daylight between the "hero" and the "warrior" to be worth splitting them. You could potentially do a Gish, Healer, and Caster but there is another consideration.

While the lovely Water Priestess is the best healer, the Earth Hero is the second best. And while the Air Kid is a powerful caster, the others were all casters as well.

So, I think what you do is you get to focus on casting or melee, then your abilities are determined by your equipped Djinn. So you could choose to get an Earth Djinn that has a defensive buff, or one that has a more offensive bent.


Then, you get that interesting action economy. You can go with activating none of your Djinn, having those passive boosts or cantrip abilities. Then, you can choose to activate the special ability of that djinn (so, if you have a defense djinn, you might be able to activate it to give an ally resistance to an attack) which removes those buffs. Then, you could bank that Djinn, and use it to cast a summon based off the UA summon spells from a while back.

The fact that could be fascinating about this class is making a tree of abilities.

So, having chosen to get three earth djinn gives you access to abilities in that section of the tree, using one ability drops you down to two earth djinn, and resets what you have available. But, let's say you have two earth and a Water, different set of abilities.


The problem is, this gets fiddly and complex quickly. Hence why doing it as a full system might be best, but it could also be really rewarding as an off the wall homebrew class in DnD too.
 

Undrave

Hero
why can't they be basically a magic item? on first reading through your description of them I immediately thought Ioun stones, granting a stat boost but then activating them for a burst of elemental damage or what have you, then you would just have to work out rules for how they synch when you unleash the multiple djinn power
I personally would leave out the part where having different djinn equipped affects what spells you can cast. Seems like more trouble than it’s worth, and I’d honestly rather have djinn as sort of living spells that you could add to any D&D game rather than reinvent the whole 5e class system around Golden Sun‘s system.

I was just thinking of making an Elementalist class that would have Djinn bonding as their schtick and core class feature, not reowkr the whole class system ya know. I wasn't gonna have the Djinn affect what they can cast, just give passive bonuses based on element (WIND would be based on speed and Dex saves, Water on Temp HP and Wis saves, Fire on damage and also Dex saves, Earth on being tougher and also on Wis saves), but I would give out some interesting 'unleash' spells based on archetype.

Sure they could work as magic items stapled on top of existing class, but in Golden Sun they were integrated to the world's main elemental magic...

Plus Magic Items are rare and higher in level. It's certainly simpler to come up with but not as neat...

I don't necessarily want to copy them beat for beat, just this sort of risk assessment strategic play where you give up a passive bonuse for an advantage NOW and then you can get a further instantaneous advantage NOW at the cost of not getting your buff back until the end of the day. And you get to personalize your bonus loadout at the start of the day. That's the core gameplay I'd like to simulate with a potential class.

Also, all spellcasting of that class would be done using CON as casting stat, since they're channeling elemental energy out of their body.

I could always do both...

The class has generic 'spirits' that give generic boosts and instant effect per element, but the 'items' are the special Djinn with names. In Golden Sun each Djinn is unique and has its own name (Flint, Rime, Zephy, Fever, etc etc) they're like special familiars.

I could also ditch the specific elemental aspect from the class concept, to streamline it down to one ressource?

More Seriously, I think you start off with making this a new class, based around this economy (will talk about it in a second). I would build it in a similar manner to the warlock or the Mystic. Then, I would create only two subclasses. A Gish and a Full caster who can both heal and cast magic.

This is because I don't think you are going to be able to get enough daylight between the "hero" and the "warrior" to be worth splitting them. You could potentially do a Gish, Healer, and Caster but there is another consideration.

While the lovely Water Priestess is the best healer, the Earth Hero is the second best. And while the Air Kid is a powerful caster, the others were all casters as well.

So, I think what you do is you get to focus on casting or melee, then your abilities are determined by your equipped Djinn. So you could choose to get an Earth Djinn that has a defensive buff, or one that has a more offensive bent.


Then, you get that interesting action economy. You can go with activating none of your Djinn, having those passive boosts or cantrip abilities. Then, you can choose to activate the special ability of that djinn (so, if you have a defense djinn, you might be able to activate it to give an ally resistance to an attack) which removes those buffs. Then, you could bank that Djinn, and use it to cast a summon based off the UA summon spells from a while back.

The fact that could be fascinating about this class is making a tree of abilities.

So, having chosen to get three earth djinn gives you access to abilities in that section of the tree, using one ability drops you down to two earth djinn, and resets what you have available. But, let's say you have two earth and a Water, different set of abilities.


The problem is, this gets fiddly and complex quickly. Hence why doing it as a full system might be best, but it could also be really rewarding as an off the wall homebrew class in DnD too.

Yeah I'm probably not gonna get much between 'Warrior' and 'Hero' and between 'Caster' and 'Healer', but maybe I could just have that as a sort of fighting style thing? Like you pick either the caster path or the gish path, and when you pick the gish path you can pick between proficiency in all two handed weapons + medium armor, or proficiency in all one handed (or versatile) weapon and heavy armor.

and I wasn't gonna give each individual djinn boost and effect. I was thinking a scale of boosts, mostly two or three boost that get stronger the more you have Djinns (like a speed boost at 1, 3, and 5 Wind djinn), one basic unleash effect, and an additional effect as part of your subclass. The subclass would also decide the replacement for the 'summon' ability.

The Golden Sun summons are more like giant AOE than they are actual summons in the DnD sense, of course... but I guess a Caster Fire adept could trade some Djinns for a Flaming Sphere too.

I was thinking you would pick an Elemental Affinity at first level. That would give you two cantrip:

Earth: Mold Earth, Mage Hand
Fire: Control Flame, Mend
Water: Shape Water, Druidcraft
Wind: Gust, Message

I think they fit somewhat (Mend is a push but that's the best I can think of). And if you're a caster you'd get to pick an attack cantrip based on your affinity.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Yeah I'm probably not gonna get much between 'Warrior' and 'Hero' and between 'Caster' and 'Healer', but maybe I could just have that as a sort of fighting style thing? Like you pick either the caster path or the gish path, and when you pick the gish path you can pick between proficiency in all two handed weapons + medium armor, or proficiency in all one handed (or versatile) weapon and heavy armor.

Yeah, that would probably work best.

My gut says that you allow the Warrior style a damage boost type style and the hero something like Protection, but give them both martial weapons. It is simply easier. If you didn't, I'd say give the Warrior all martial and limit the Hero to anything that lacks the Heavy Property (which is most two-handed weapons) just for simplicity.

and I wasn't gonna give each individual djinn boost and effect. I was thinking a scale of boosts, mostly two or three boost that get stronger the more you have Djinns (like a speed boost at 1, 3, and 5 Wind djinn), one basic unleash effect, and an additional effect as part of your subclass. The subclass would also decide the replacement for the 'summon' ability.

I agree with the Boost simply getting stronger, or mixing depending on your build, but I think the unleash actions have to be a little more unique, because I think they take the place of some of the spells and level up abilities as you go up.

I think even the "caster" version of this ends up with spellcasting more like a 2/3rds caster, to make room for the Djinn abilities and boosts. Artificer might be a good place to look for balancing that.

The Golden Sun summons are more like giant AOE than they are actual summons in the DnD sense, of course... but I guess a Caster Fire adept could trade some Djinns for a Flaming Sphere too.

Sure, that was the effect, but lore wise they were actually summoning creatures.

And, that gives us more options, I feel like. You could take the idea in the Shepherd druid and expand on it, creating zones that last for things like a Water and Wind summon that gives DOT healing, or an Earth summon that increases AC and gives Temp Hp.

I was thinking you would pick an Elemental Affinity at first level. That would give you two cantrip:

Earth: Mold Earth, Mage Hand
Fire: Control Flame, Mend
Water: Shape Water, Druidcraft
Wind: Gust, Message

I think they fit somewhat (Mend is a push but that's the best I can think of). And if you're a caster you'd get to pick an attack cantrip based on your affinity.

Those all seem great to me, of course the Wind has to get Detect thoughts at some point.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I was just thinking of making an Elementalist class that would have Djinn bonding as their schtick and core class feature, not reowkr the whole class system ya know. I wasn't gonna have the Djinn affect what they can cast, just give passive bonuses based on element (WIND would be based on speed and Dex saves, Water on Temp HP and Wis saves, Fire on damage and also Dex saves, Earth on being tougher and also on Wis saves), but I would give out some interesting 'unleash' spells based on archetype.

Sure they could work as magic items stapled on top of existing class, but in Golden Sun they were integrated to the world's main elemental magic...

Plus Magic Items are rare and higher in level. It's certainly simpler to come up with but not as neat...

I don't necessarily want to copy them beat for beat, just this sort of risk assessment strategic play where you give up a passive bonuse for an advantage NOW and then you can get a further instantaneous advantage NOW at the cost of not getting your buff back until the end of the day. And you get to personalize your bonus loadout at the start of the day. That's the core gameplay I'd like to simulate with a potential class.
Gotcha, that makes sense. In that case you might want to take a look at the dndnext playtest sorcerer for ideas (if you haven’t already). It used Willpower points to cast spells and gained buffs as it lost willpower, so there was a similar sort of tradeoff element to that class.
 

Undrave

Hero
Gotcha, that makes sense. In that case you might want to take a look at the dndnext playtest sorcerer for ideas (if you haven’t already). It used Willpower points to cast spells and gained buffs as it lost willpower, so there was a similar sort of tradeoff element to that class.

I heard about that, it actually got me thinking about the Golden Sun Djinn actually.
 

Undrave

Hero
My gut says that you allow the Warrior style a damage boost type style and the hero something like Protection, but give them both martial weapons. It is simply easier. If you didn't, I'd say give the Warrior all martial and limit the Hero to anything that lacks the Heavy Property (which is most two-handed weapons) just for simplicity.

Good points!

I agree with the Boost simply getting stronger, or mixing depending on your build, but I think the unleash actions have to be a little more unique, because I think they take the place of some of the spells and level up abilities as you go up.

I think even the "caster" version of this ends up with spellcasting more like a 2/3rds caster, to make room for the Djinn abilities and boosts. Artificer might be a good place to look for balancing that.

I'm thinking the Unleash might be more instantaneous effect and the replacement for summons would be the long lasting effects so it'll be easier to keep track, even if defense boosts and stuff could be fun.

For sure a Caster type should get Cure Wound or Healing Word as an option for an Unleash (even if I know people are gonna find it too easy to use if its on a short rest recharge)
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Maybe you could refluff the dragon marks from Eberron as Supernatural Gifts (theros) mixing X of elemental command and figurine of wonderous powers. Then use the piety/renown system to rate the bonding of the character to the specific element.

Zephyr's spirit (supernatural gifts)
- Windwright's Intuition. When you make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or any ability check involving navigator's tools, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

- Djinn's Boon. You have resistance to lightning damage.

- Headwinds. You know the gust cantrip. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

- Spells of the Djinn. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Zephy Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Zephyr Spells
Spell Level Spells
1st feather fall, fog cloud
2nd gust of wind, levitate
3rd sleet storm, wind wall
4th conjure minor elementals, control water
5th conjure elemental

Bond 3+ : Cast Featherfall Spell once per day

Bond 10 +: Resistance to falling damage

Bond 25+: Summon Wind elemental oncer per day.

Bond 50: End all passive abilities of the Djinn till next long rest. Summon an elemental Archon.
 

Undrave

Hero
Maybe you could refluff the dragon marks from Eberron as Supernatural Gifts (theros) mixing X of elemental command and figurine of wonderous powers. Then use the piety/renown system to rate the bonding of the character to the specific element.

Zephyr's spirit (supernatural gifts)
- Windwright's Intuition. When you make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or any ability check involving navigator's tools, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

- Djinn's Boon. You have resistance to lightning damage.

- Headwinds. You know the gust cantrip. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

- Spells of the Djinn. If you have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature, the spells on the Mark of Zephy Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

Mark of Zephyr Spells
Spell Level Spells
1st feather fall, fog cloud
2nd gust of wind, levitate
3rd sleet storm, wind wall
4th conjure minor elementals, control water
5th conjure elemental

Bond 3+ : Cast Featherfall Spell once per day

Bond 10 +: Resistance to falling damage

Bond 25+: Summon Wind elemental oncer per day.

Bond 50: End all passive abilities of the Djinn till next long rest. Summon an elemental Archon.

Also an interesting take! Plenty of potential.

Still feels like a straight power upgrade and puts lots of emphasis on the Djinn creatures themselves, rather than the interesting system of give and take.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Also an interesting take! Plenty of potential.

Still feels like a straight power upgrade and puts lots of emphasis on the Djinn creatures themselves, rather than the interesting system of give and take.

You are right. Its a lot of power, but we are talking about JRPG heroes: over the top powers is the name of the game :p
But yeah, its a little too huge a part of the character. Maybe a variant human race? But then players can change its bound element...
Unless we use the same design as the Eladrin who can change subrace after a long race, but then the power granted by the bound Djinn should be only more or less as strong as fey step...

An elemental pact warlock could work:

- At first level, a the end of a long rest, bind one Djinn. Gain known spells and 1 cantrip based on the element chosen. + one ''intuition'' stolen from a Dragonmark, as above.


Or

Modify the Echo Knight from Wildemount: Bind one elemental at 3rd level, change after a long rest. Gain a passive effect varying with the element. Instead of summoning an echo of yourself, you ''Unleash'' you Djinn. Maybe add 1/3 caster, but nerf a little the echo (no distant AoO, frex). When your Djinn (echo) is Unleashed (manifested) you dont gain the passive benefits.

At higher level, you can ''discard'' your Djinn to summon an elemental or cast Investiture of X on yourself.
 

Undrave

Hero
The problem is, this gets fiddly and complex quickly. Hence why doing it as a full system might be best, but it could also be really rewarding as an off the wall homebrew class in DnD too.
I agree with the Boost simply getting stronger, or mixing depending on your build, but I think the unleash actions have to be a little more unique, because I think they take the place of some of the spells and level up abilities as you go up.

I think even the "caster" version of this ends up with spellcasting more like a 2/3rds caster, to make room for the Djinn abilities and boosts. Artificer might be a good place to look for balancing that.

I was thinking I could build it like a Warlock, only 2 spell slots, the max level of which would be decided by how many total Djinn you have.

It would be fiddly but having a very limited spell list that depends on your Djinn could work. Like, you have 2 Fire Djinn and Burning Hand is in your spell list, go up to 5 and you get Fireball. 5 Djinn total is also what you need for your spell slots to be lv 3.

Caster types would get attack cantrips and more spells represented by unique Unleashes.

As you say, it'd be fiddly but certainly interesting. You'd probably need to keep a little cheat sheet of the djinn bonus and just move a marker on it to tell you what you have.
 

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