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D&D 5E Homebrewed bard and monk archetypes

Laurefindel

Legend
Here are two archetypes I created for villains and support characters for my Girl Genius-inspired Eberron game. In the end, all support characters ended-up using a stat block similar to the Battle Smith Artificer's steel defender, whereas player-characters can use their own bonus action to use the NPC's attack or spell, so the archetypes never really served.

Nevertheless, I though I could polish them up, mostly just for fun.

Way of the Blade Sibyl (monk archetype)
The way of the blade sibyl is an amazon or barbarian-type, two-weapon fighting monk using a pair of pattas inspired by this character from the girl genius comics

[Fluff text]

SISTER BLADES
Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you are introduced to the art of fighting with the patta; a sword featuring perpendicular handle also known as gauntlet swords. The way of the blade sibyl allows you to fight with a specific combination of pattas, a pair of blades consisting of a long double-edge patta and a shorter, forked patta designed for punching and parrying. For all game purposes, the straight patta functions as a rapier, and the forked patta as a short sword.

You gain proficiency with both weapons if you don’t already have it, and both weapons are monk weapons for you. When you are wielding a straight patta in one hand and a forked patta in the other, you gain the following benefits.

- Companion blade. When you make one or more unarmed strike attacks as a bonus action using martial arts or flurry of blows, you can make a weapon attack with the forked patta instead of an unarmed strike.

- Twin blades. You can draw or stow both pattas when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one. In addition, you gain a +1 bonus to your AC.

- Sudden strike. When you use Step of the Wind, you can make a melee attack with your forked patta as part of the same bonus action.

KI-EMPOWERED BLADES
When you reach 6th level, you extend your ki into your paired pattas. Attacks made with your straight and forked pattas count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

DEFLECT BLOWS
Also at 6th level, when you wield your forked patta in one of your hands, you can use deflect missile to reduce damage taken from both ranged and melee attacks. When you use your reaction to deflect a melee attack, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level. In addition, you do not need a free hand to redirect a missile if a ranged attack was reduced to 0 damage.

Unlike ranged attacks, melee attacks cannot be redirected when damage is reduced to 0.

MEDITATIVE RESTING
Beginning at 11th level, your meditation training allows you to stay alert and awake or go without food and water for extended periods of time. These techniques grant you the following benefits.

- You can go without food for a number of days equal to 3 + your Constitution modifier + your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). At the end of each day beyond that limit, you automatically suffers one level of exhaustion. A normal day of eating resets the count of days without food to zero.

- You can go without water for a number of days equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1), regardless of the weather. At the end of each day beyond that limit, automatically suffers one level of exhaustion if you drink less than half of a gallon of water, or two levels if you already had one or more levels of exhaustion. If you drank at least half a gallon of water by the end of the day, you can make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw to avoid the level (or levels) of exhaustion. Drinking at least full gallon of water resets the count of days without water to zero.

- You do not lose the benefits of a long rest when you perform strenuous activities (at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity). You can also go without sleep for a number of days equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). At the end of each day beyond that limit, you must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or suffers one level of exhaustion. Each subsequent day spent without sleep increases the DC by 5. Sleeping at least 6 hours and performing no strenuous activities during a long rest resets the count of days without sleep to zero.

RELENTLESS BLADES
At 17th level, you gain the ability to frenetically attack your opponent in a veritable storm of cuts and slashes. When you hit a creature with one of your pattas, you can spend 3 ki points to start a persistent assault against that creature. Doing so doesn’t constitute an action and the assault continues during your opponent’s turn. Then, on your next turn, you can spend an action to complete the assault. When you use this action, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw. If it fails, it is reduced to 0 hit points. If it succeeds, it takes 10d10 slashing damage.

To complete the assault, you must begin or end your turn within 5 feet of the targeted creature. The assault fails without further effects if you are unable to reach the creature, are incapacitated, your speed is reduced to 0, or elect to use your action for any other purpose on your turn.

College of Smoke (bard archetype)
The college of smoke is knighthood order of covert operatives specializing in misdirection, inspired by this character and her order from the girl genius comics.

[Fluff text]

BONUS PROFICIENCY
When you join the College of Smoke at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with the poisoner’s kit and thieves’ tools.

EXPANDED SPELL LIST

Also starting at 3rd level, you learn how to draw magic from ordinary items to create smoke bombs, concoct stimulants, and prepare various types of poisons. These gadgets let you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a bard spell. The following spells are added to the bard spell list for you.

College of Smoke Expanded Spells
Spell LevelSpells
1stalarm, fog cloud
2nddarkness, find traps
3rdhaste, slow
4thdeath ward, staggering strike
5thcloudkill, contagion


SHADOW STRIKE

Finally, when you reach 3rd level, you learn to exploit your environment to your advantage in combat. When you make an attack from a lightly or heavily obscured area, or if your target is blinded, you can expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration to gain advantage on your attack roll. If the attack hits, you deal additional damage equal to the number you roll on the Bardic Inspiration die.

The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon within 30 feet of the targeted creature. Note that dim light alone doesn’t conceal you from creatures with darkvision.

SWAPPING TRICK

Starting at 6th level, you can attempt to rob a distracted opponent of a held, worn, or carried object – including its weapon – by replacing it with an ordinary item from your environment or own equipment. When you are within 5 feet of a blinded or incapacitated creature, you can make a Dexterity (sleight of hand) check to swap a weapon or object it holds, wears, or carries with an item of similar size such as a torch, a bar stool, or a branch. The DC for this ability check is 10 + the creature’s CR (minimum 1). If the check is successful, you now hold the weapon or object in your hands, and the targeted creature now holds another item of the same approximate size or weight of your choice.

The creature doesn’t realize the subterfuge until it uses the weapon to make an attack roll or interacts with the weapon or object in any other way. If the swapped item was a weapon, the creature must complete its attack with the new object. Typically, this object can be used as an improvised weapon of the appropriate category, or else make an attack as an unarmed strike.

The targeted creature doesn’t need to be blinded or incapacitated if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and you don't have disadvantage on dexterity checks.

DISAPPEARING TRICK

When you reach 14th level, you can escape sticky situations without attracting attention to yourself. When you receive damage or are grappled or restrained, you can use your reaction and expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration to teleport up to 60 feet into an area of dim light or darkness, or one that provides concealment. When you do so, you leave an illusion of yourself in your previous position and may immediately attempt to hide with a Dexterity (stealth) check, adding the result of the Bardic Inspiration die to the ability check.

The illusion disappears after one minute or if it is targeted by an attack or a spell, whichever comes first. The illusion cannot talk, make any attack, or cast any spell on its own but otherwise provides a convincing version of yourself. If you were grappled or restrained by a creature, that creature realises the subterfuge at the beginning of its turn, at which point the illusion disappears.

let me know what you think, what<s broken, or what could be made better

'findel
 
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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Those look pretty good. (y) Two things, one small and one bigger. First, in the capstone for the Monk, I don;t think the word 'frantically' is what you're looking for - it indexes desperation rather than speed or skill. Maybe relentlessly, since it's called Relentless Blades anyway? Second, I have an issue with Disappearing Trick. I don;t see the value of leaving an illusion in your place when you escape a grapple, it would immediately by seen through since they don't stand up to touch, and grappling does involve a lot of, you know, touching and whatnot. The ability is fine mechanically, but the way it's described made me giggle a little, which isn't what you're going for I'd imagine. Perhaps make the illusion part optional?
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Those look pretty good. (y) Two things, one small and one bigger. First, in the capstone for the Monk, I don;t think the word 'frantically' is what you're looking for - it indexes desperation rather than speed or skill. Maybe relentlessly, since it's called Relentless Blades anyway? Second, I have an issue with Disappearing Trick. I don;t see the value of leaving an illusion in your place when you escape a grapple, it would immediately by seen through since they don't stand up to touch, and grappling does involve a lot of, you know, touching and whatnot. The ability is fine mechanically, but the way it's described made me giggle a little, which isn't what you're going for I'd imagine. Perhaps make the illusion part optional?
The source material is indeed oftentimes very silly. In this case the smoke knight leaves a (physical) manikin of himself/herself in their place, which they took from... somewhere? The illusion was meant to bring a semblance of believability but you are right; the illusion doesn't really fit.

The idea behind this ability is that the smoke knight would use a distraction to replace themselves with something else, thus allowing them to escape without the grappling creature realizing it until its own turn.

otherwise, a teleport + short invisibility à la fey warlock would suffice to recreate the effects; the means is mostly fluff
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Well, you could call it a duplicate made of 'smoke stuff' that lasts for a few seconds. That would bridge the gap. Plus you get to say things like I totally smoked that dude! at the table, which is also awesome.
 

Motorskills

Explorer
I need to build the Way of the Spider for an upcoming game. These will nominally be NPC bad guys, so I can do what I want, including Action-Oriented Monster builds, but I'd like to riff off a 'legitimate' build to begin with since there will be the full spectrum of CRs..

I'm thinking some combo of Shelob meets Peter Parker. So lots of poison, lots of individual and area-effect web effects (Restrained, Incapacitated, Paralyzed, etc), lots of jumping, maybe multiple attacks (legs!) beyond that provided by Flurry of Blows.

Suggestions?
 

Shadow Strike seems like a comparatively weak usage of bardic inspiration, since requires a level of set-up that the other subclasses uses don't. I'd still put it above Valor Bard's equivalent, but behind Lore, Whisper and Sword. You already have advantage against someone who can't see you.

I really like Swapping Trick as an idea, but I get some ludonarrative dissonance from the idea of being able to remove the weapon from someone's hands just because your ally is within 5 feet. That's when they will be holding on the tightest. I think I'd prefer if the subclass was given some reliable way to make enemies temporarily blind, or if it could be done in a cloud of smoke or something.
 

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