5E Homebrew Simple Spell-less Spellcaster: the Elementalist (4e)

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I recently noticed (with the use of the old off-line 4e Character Builder) that 4e powers make good class/subclasses features when you change them to fit the maths of 5e. Also, some of my players love the idea of spellcasting but find the idea of having to learn and juggle the spells descriptions very difficult and would prefer a simpler ''at-will'' spellcaster no more complicated than a rogue, lets say. So I had the idea to create a new class with the 4e Elementalist, a simpler sorcerer variant from Heroes of Elemental Chaos.

The Elementalist

Disdaining the restrained framework of theories of modern magic and sympathetic principles, elementalists learn to seize the raw stuff of creation with simple force of will, bending the elements to their whim. Elementalist mages might fashion whips or darts out of earth, create shields and armor from fire and ashes, or inundate their enemies beneath torrents of water.
Since elementalists arise from very different and eccentric magic-using traditions, other users of arcane power shun them. These mages practice their arts in isolated libraries, secretive cabal, and occasionally distant schools from the land of genies. Often accused of being more reckless and destructive than other kinds of mages, elementalists in turn sneer at spellcasters who seek to keep a safe distance when creating tools and systems for shaping magic. To elementalists, the only right way to learn magic is to dive in headlong and seize energies with both hands. Some believe that elementalists are prone to evil or that they revel in the reckless destruction of their mad science, but neither assertion is necessarily true. Like more conventional arcane magic, the elementalist’s magic is a tool—and like any tool, it can be turned to evil ends or to good.
Hit Points
Hit Dice:
1d6
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per elementalist level after 1st
Proficiencies
Armor:
none
Weapons: daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, spears, light crossbows
Tools: none
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Intimidate, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, and Religion.
1st:












Elemental Ability
Intelligence is your elemental powers ability for your elementalist features, since you learn your energy bending powers through rigorous study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a feature refers to your elemental powers ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for an elemental power you manifest.
Elemental save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Elemental Bolt: You learn to use bolts of pure elemental energy as a weapon. This weapon is a ranged spell attack using your elemental ability (1d20+prof+Int) with a range of 30/45 ft. It deals 1d12+Int damage on a hit, with the type depending of your elemental studies. The damages increase to 2d12 at 5th level, 3d12 at 9th , 4d12 at 13th and 5d12 at 17th.. For the purpose of counter-spells and anti-magic effect, this attack count as a spell with a spell level of 1.

Hardened: While you aren't wearing armor or wielding a shield, your base AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier.

Elemental Studies: You choose an elemental studies from the list: Fire, Water, Earth and Air.

2nd: Elemental Resilience: You gain Resistance to the element of your studies and another from: fire, cold, acid, lightning. At level 14 it increases to become immunity.

3rd: Elemental Escalation (1 use): You gain the ability to unleash a chaotic elemental surge associated with your specialty: air, earth, fire, or water. Once per round, as an action, you can make a special elemental bolt enhanced with pure primordial energy. This bolt deal an extra its normal damage plus 3d4 in a range given by your elemental study. The extra damage increases to 6d4 at 10th level and 9d4 at 15th. You cannot use it again until you take a short or long rest.

4th: ASI
5th: Elemental Might: Increase the damage dealt by elemental powers by your Con mod.

6th: Elemental Studies feature
7th: Elemental Escalation (2 uses)
8th: ASI

9th: Drain Energy: As a reaction when you take fire, cold, acid or lightning damage, you can gain resistance to the damage and gain THP equals to your elementalist levels. Also, the first time you hit with an elemental bolt on your next turn, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage of the triggering type. You can use this feature a number of time equals to your Int mod before taking a long rest.

10th: Elemental Affinity: You have Advantage on persuasion, intimidation and insight check against elemental. You also ignore resistance to the element of your studies.

11th: Elemental Might: The bonus to damage of your elemental might increases to Con mod+2
12th: ASI
13th: Elemental Escalation (3 uses)
14th: Elemental Studies feature
15th: Chaos Sanctuary: Elementals have difficulty harming you. If an elemental targets you directly with an attack or a harmful spell, that creature must make a Wisdom saving throw against your elemental save DC (an elemental needn't make the save when it includes you in an area effect). On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or forfeit targeting someone instead of you, potentially wasting the attack or spell. On a successful save, the creature is immune to this effect for 24 hours. An elemental is also immune to this effect for 24 hours if you target it with an attack or a harmful spell.
16th: ASI
17th: Elemental Might: Increase the damage dealt by elemental powers by your Con mod+4

18th: Instill Vulnerability: When an enemy is hit by your Elemental Escalation, if becomes vulnerable to your element until the start of you next turn.

19th : ASI

20th: Elemental Savant: You Ignore immunities to the element of your studies. You can also take the form of a fire, water, earth or air elemental as an action.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Fire
1: Student of fire
Your elemental bolt deal fire damage. Enemies next to your target also take damage equals to your Con mod. On your turn, you can manifest dagger of pure fire called the Nail of Imix to make your Elemental bolt as a melee spell attack against a creature within 5 ft.

3: Mastery of flames
Speak Primordial. When you use Elemental Escalation, select a point within Elemental Bolt range. An explosion of fire occurs there. All creatures in a 10' radius sphere must make a Dex save or take your Elemental Bolt plus Escalation fire damage, save for half damage. In addition, unattended flammable objects ignite. Then, you can teleport half your speed and each enemy within 5 ft after the teleport take half your level in fire damage.

6: Cinder Cloud
As a bonus action on your turn, you can cover yourself with a cloud of burning ashes. You have half-cover against attacks and if a melee attack hits you, the attacker take 1d6 fire damage.

14: Fire stride
You can move on lava or other burning surfaces without taking damage and you dont sink.
When you are next to a fire of campfire size or larger. You can teleport as a bonus up to 60 ft to a 5 ft square next to a fire of campfire size or larger.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Water
1: Student of Water

Your Elemental bolt deal cold damage. Enemies next to the target are pushed 5 ft. On your turn, you can manifest an halberd of shaped water called Riptide to make your Elemental bolt as a melee spell attack against a creature within 10 ft.
3: Mastery of Water
You speak primordial and gain a swim speed equal to your speed. When you use your Elemental escalation, select a point within Elemental Bolt range and a mighty downpour crushes all enemies in a 5-foot-radius, 40-foot-high cylinder centered on a point within range. All enemies must make a Con save or take your Elemental bolt damage plus your Escalation cold damage and are stunned until the end of their next turn. On a succesful save, they take half damage and are not stunned, but their speed is halved.

6: Deluge
As a bonus action on your turn, you can smash adjacent enemies with furious waves. All enemies are pushed 5 ft. and their speed is halved.

14: Amorphous body
You no longer need to breath and you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non magic weapon.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Earth
1: Student of Earth

Your Elemental bolt deal magical bludgeoning damage. On your turn, you can manifest a whip of stone and obsidian called Gorgon's Leash to make your Elemental bolt as a melee spell attack against a creature within 10 ft.

3: Mastery of Stone
You speak primordial. When you use your Elemental escalation you create a Shockwave that is 10' wide and as long as your Elemental Bolt range projecting out from your hand. All creatures in the Shockwave must make a Str save or take Elemental Bolt plus Escalation Thunder damage and be pushed 10' back and knocked prone. On a successful save, they take half damage and are not pushed or nocked prone.

6: Seismic shock
As a bonus action on your turn you can send waves of rolling earth to bring your enemies to their knees. All enemies next to you fall prone and you create a 10 ft zone around you that is difficult terrain until the end of your next turn.

14: Earth glide
You gain a burrow speed of 15 ft. When you move at least 10 ft with your burrow speed on your turn, you gain 1d10+your level THP.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Air
1: Student of Air

You elemental bolt deal lightning damage. When you use Elemental bolt on your turn and would have advantage, you can forgo advantage to fork your attack against a second target within 15 ft. On your turn, you can manifest an glowing spear called Cloud Piercer to make your Elemental bolt as a melee spell attack against a creature within 5 ft.

3: Mastery of Wind
You speak primordial. When you use Elemental escalation, select two targets 60 ft, they are surrounded by a small Tornado. They must make a Str save or take your Elemental Bolt damage plus Escalation lightning damage and be lifted 10' into the air until the end of your next turn, at which point they are lowered 10' and then dropped. While lifted in the air, their speed is reduced to 0, their attacks and Dex saving throws are at disadvantage, and all attacks on them are at advantage. If they succeed on the Str save, they are not lifted, and they take half damage.

6: Static Charge
As a bonus action of your turn, you can send a painful shock into nearby foes. All enemies within 5 ft take 1d4 damage lightning and cannot make AoO until the end start of their next turn.

14: Soaring Mage
You gain a fly speed equals to your speed. You weight is halved if you wish to.

Rolling Thunder
You can change the damage type of your elemental powers from lightning to thunder. If you deal thunder damage to a creature, you have advantage against it with every attack that deal lightning damage.
 
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NotAYakk

Adventurer
The damage seems abysmal? Am I missing something?

It looks like you have a single 1d12+stat damage attack, with some small amount of per-encounter modest damage boosts.

At 20, an escalated attack deals 1d12+2d10+int+con+4, which is meh for a at-will attack routine, let alone one that uses rest resources.

I guess you do get 2 targets?

---

1) I'd be tempted to grant them warlock-like "spell slots", which can by default only be expended for "smites" (escalations). This also makes it easy to balance, as smites have already done it for you.

2) The ability to manipulate their element like a "bender", for utility and flavour. Earth can tunnel and shape stone/earth, even if not at combat speeds.

3) Protecting you and your allies against damage of your elemental type.

4) Two subclass tracks -- one for your element (which you pick at level 1), and one for your "school". This is because I think an elementalist should be able to summon/control elementals, but that is a bit more complex than the default goal of this class: so having 2 subclasses, one which can summon the other cannot, solves that nicely.

5) Base damage should approach a Warlock with the +Cha damage feature. Before smites. And depending on how many toys they get compared to Warlocks.
 
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Nice idea.

Honestly, as far back as 1e I'd noticed players wanting to play elemental-themed magic-user, and not doing so, because there weren't enough spells around any one element, and it was self-crippling.
Come 2e specialists I added an 'elemental' school with 6 sub-schools and oppositions, to allow playing an element-focused mage
(Aside: amusingly, somehow, folks got the idea of using the -mancy ending, like in necromancy, for these specialists - pyromancer, &c - but, of course, that ending means something closer to 'divination by.' There were RL pyromancers, they claimed things like gaining visions of the future by staring into flames.)
It modeled concept, but was as at least as complicated as any other 2e specialist wizard.

The HotEC Elemental Sorcerer was an interesting take, and the few times I saw one, the player had fun with it. The resistance-negating stripped it of a little flavor, I felt, and resistances were rarely so high as to call for it in 4e, anyway.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The damage seems abysmal? Am I missing something?

It looks like you have a single 1d12+stat damage attack, with some small amount of per-encounter modest damage boosts.

At 20, an escalated attack deals 1d12+2d10+int+con+4, which is meh for a at-will attack routine, let alone one that uses rest resources.

I guess you do get 2 targets?
Well, it at-will 1d12+Mod+Mod+4. Escalation add another target and extra damage. So with a 20 Int and (lets say) a 18 in Con, your looking at an average of 20 damage with an extra effect. And it can crit!

Maybe I'll remove the +2 at level 11 and instead increase the bolt damage to 2d12.

better? I dont do math.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Ok changed the damage to increase to 2d12 at level 11.
Escalation augment to +2d10 at 10 and +3d10 at 15.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
So EB with the level 2 invocation is (1d10+mod)*4. At mod=5, that is 10.5*4=42 damage at-will.

Eldritch Smite gives you 4 uses of +6d8 (27) per short rest, which can be applied after you know if you crit.

---

Escalation should be d12 as well; rolling more of the same dice is less annoying.

---

So 2d12+Int(5)+con(3) is 21 damage. So half of what an EB does. Like I said, abysmally bad.

Escalation upgraded to d12s gives +3d12 or 19.5, and 3 times per short rest. So, abysmally bad compared to Eldritch Smite.

Hitting two targets is nice, but (a) a discount of 50% on the second target is reasonable, and (b) if you don't have the choice to focus it sucks because you suck in boss fights.

In any case, your burst is (21+19.5) on 2 targets, so about 60 after discount. The Warlock is 69 by burning one smite, and can crit-fish to boost that to 96 for 1 encounter resource. The Warlock gets 4 such resources; you get 3.

And then the rest of your chassy isn't as good as the Warlock.

---

Compared to the Rogue, they deal 11d6+stat+item+some, or about 50, at-will. And can usually attack with advantage due to their utility abilities.

---

Now, the Vulnerability ability might break this; it doubles your damage output if you hit on the last turn.

If that is sufficient, this means this problem just exists from like level 5 through 16. ;)

---

How about a half-caster Warlock chassis? So you get 1-4 "escalations" of 1d12 to 5d12.

Your core, at-will damage should be:
L 1: 10ish
L 5: 21ish
L 11: 32ish
L 17: 42ish
to keep up with the EB Warlock. If you also include hex:
L1: 13ish
L5: 28ish
L11: 42ish
L17: 56ish
which is reasonable to do (if a Warlock isn't using Hex, they have better things to do).

Encounter damage budget is:
L1: 10
L5: 35
L10: 108
based off a Warlock doing nothing but non-critical Smites. (Note: I double-dipped Hex slot; so shaving off 13->27 encounter damage to pay for the Hex's damage is probably a good thing).

At 11-20 their smites don't get better. If you value the 6/7/8/9 slots as no better than smites (and I'd argue they are better than smites), they get the equivalent of 153 daily damage from them (at 2 short rests/long, that is ~50 damage /rest).

Anything below that and you are just not doing enough damage. Amounts above that should be balanced off (a) warlock crit-fishing, (b) other warlock abilities (such as Hex).

---

The warlock also goes crazy with the new "Illusionist's Bracers", where at-will damage almost doubles.
 
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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
This is a class with little resource depth, based on doing one large attack and with little inherent toughness. The damage progression you would want to follow is the rogue.

I like the idea of using 1d12s as the damage dice (I think they're more random and a little more intimidating, which fits the feel of the class well). So I'd probably want to see 1d12+Int at 1st level, and then bump it by 1d12 every 4 levels after 1st (so 5th, 9th, 13th, 17th). That parallels the growth of rogue damage, although rogue is slightly ahead, which fits since the rogue has (slight) restrictions on the use of sneak attack and is usually melee.

Then, I like the idea of a two-pronged subclass like Warlock, with the element being one prong and something else as the other. I'd make some utility talents as the elemental contribution, like gaining a fly speed for air, or make walls of stone for earth.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Is there a reason for INT rather than CHA primary?
I know that in 4e it was a sorcerer variant, but since there's soooo manu Cha-casting classes in 5e, I wanted to play a little more the ''savant of destruction'' angle rather than the ''wielder of raw power''.

I thought for a second of making'em Con-casters, but I'm still iff-y about it.
 
Oh, it might also be cool if elemental bolt could be ranged or melee. Like, you can create a sword or whip of flame or a bludgeon of stone or ice or whatever, when in melee.

I thought for a second of making'em Con-casters, but I'm still iff-y about it.
Well, other all-at-will DPR classes tend to have decent hps, so primary CON on top of d6 might not be too out of line.
And it does fit. The elements are primordial and demanding.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Oh, it might also be cool if elemental bolt could be ranged or melee. Like, you can create a sword or whip of flame or a bludgeon of stone or ice or whatever, when in melee.
I gave this feature to the Earth student, but I agree that it should be available to all archetype.
I'll modify it.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
Subclass 1: the elemental type.

Subclass 2: Your "superhero" origin story:

Mage: You studied elemental magic. (Blaster)
Heir: You carry elemental blood in your lineage. (Transforms into the elemental)
Bargainer: You traded for elemental power. (Summoner)
Vessel: You absorbed elemental power. (Creates a Focus Weapon)

They'd all be "blasters"; but the Mage would be the "pure"er one.

Or maybe ... the Mage gets group buffs? Oh that could work; the "extra feature" requires concentration (transform, summon, create weapon, and buff allies).
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I know that in 4e it was a sorcerer variant, but since there's soooo manu Cha-casting classes in 5e, I wanted to play a little more the ''savant of destruction'' angle rather than the ''wielder of raw power''.

I thought for a second of making'em Con-casters, but I'm still iff-y about it.
I like Con Casters myself more than a couple ways of perceiving ... The channeling of the magic through your body is painful and the techniques require you resist that distracting pain in some fashion as you do it. (or the opposite its incredibly pleasurable). Or CON could represent using your life force itself. Or it's a measure in the strength of your blood which hey maybe you use to seal the bonds or bribe sources .... shrug.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I like Con Casters myself more than a couple ways of perceiving ... The channeling of the magic through your body is painful and the techniques require you resist that distracting pain in some fashion as you do it. (or the opposite its incredibly pleasurable). Or CON could represent using your life force itself. Or it's a measure in the strength of your blood which hey maybe you use to seal the bonds or bribe sources .... shrug.
Yeah, I think i'll keep them as Int-caster with Con a a secondary, just because I think that if we were to have Con-casters, Sorcerers should be the ones to have it first, and I'm not ready yet to make that jump.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yeah, I think i'll keep them as Int-caster with Con a a secondary, just because I think that if we were to have Con-casters, Sorcerers should be the ones to have it first, and I'm not ready yet to make that jump.
Call them an Elemental Bloodline Sorceror? Shrug what is in a name... ;p Actually two of those descriptions I presented as from the Wheel of Time Ashaman and Aes Sedai they might also be called channelers. One is a Warlock Style and or 2 might be Sorceror flavor. the difference between Int/Con and Con is well how whole hog you want the description to be apply.
 

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