I think I figured out how the reckless casting fit into the inventor theme.
It all hinges on the ideas of A. The armor is something of a second focus you cast through like Iron Man's Repulsors and B. Inventor is more Warcraft gnome throw things together, pull random levers and hope it works style than methodical.
In that light, reckless casting is you flipping switches and turning dials on armor you only half understand and hoping the resulting surge or energy is useful. Fun and thematic but a little weird on a fantasy wizard base.
Maybe if you ruled it more as rushed alchemy it might feel better?
They are clearly trying to reference the Dragonlance and Eberron tech gnomes here (I kind of cringe when I see someone bring up the wow gnomes without realizing that they themselves are a reference to D&D's stuff, though it's a meaningless pet peeve to be fair).
It's almost like there's a subclass for the sorcerer that is precisely designed to be just that: chaotic and random...or a base sorcerer mechanic in place that let's them tweak and adjust their spells using a daily replenishing resource...but that would be crazy right? God forbid the wizard not be able to out sorcerer a sorcerer.
I mean, the arcane armor just screams Artificer to me. But because they probably don't have the full 20 levels of Artificer to show us for another round of playtesting yet... they create this fake "School of Invention" so that we can see and give opinion on the mechanics before they possibly then incorporate the armor stuff into the Artificer for that classes next playtest.
Yup. Doesn't a Low strength Elf Dual-wielding rapiers seem like the textbook "Brute" to you?
Edit: I realized it's even better using Crossbow Expert. What a Brute!
Inventor seems just odd. How is casting random spells being an inventor? Seems more appropriate for a chaos sorcerer.
Halo of Spores
And now for something completely different: Here we have an example of bending the action economy to the absolute limit. By trading in your reaction (which is something that a caster Druid isn't going to have much use for outside of Absorb Elements), you get to deal automatic poison damage to a target of your choice.
I don't really care for the precedent that this sets. This effectively turns your reaction into a second bonus action. There has to be a better way to do this.
Well, this is probably the entire reason this subclass exists. You get to make your own zombie minions from things you kill. That sounds like fun. But there are lots of restrictions, too many inmo. First and foremost, it only happens when you, yourself, land the killing blow on a humanoid with Halo of Spores. Yeah, good luck with that. Secondly, the Zombie never scales. It always has 1hp, and always does the +3 to hit for 1d6+1 damage Slam attack once per turn. Undead Fortitude can make the thing last a lot longer than it has any right to, but why a zombie in the first place? Why not make it a vegepygmy? Or maybe scrap it as a creature entirely, because minion armies are a headache, and make it an scaling exploding spore cluster that the Druid has some control over? And once you do get rid of the zombie making, you can also remove Animate Dead from the spell list and make this subclass all about controlling the battlefield with spores instead of having to pay lip service to undead.
If they want a Sorceror like Wizard subclass they should just go straight for the Incantatrix, basically a wizard with sorcerer like traits.
Like I said have the Wizard pick two metamagic ability and a small pool of spell points. Add in a few more features inspired by the original Incantatrix prestige class. It's clear what they want, but they are going about it the hard way.
Reading the posts it appears that only the Circle of the Spoor is popular, a few people like the Brute as a replacement for a Champion they are unhappy with, but otherwise doesn't seem to interest people.
The School of Invention seems straight up hated.
I predict only the Circle of the Spoor survives.
Here are some more ideas for Wizard subclasses besides Incantatrix, Beguiler, Implement Master, Nethermancer, Shi'ar, Red Wizard, Theurge with it's own features, Elementalist, Ruathar, Geometer, Mage of the Arcane Order, Green Star Adapt, Recaster.
Seems a bit restrictive. If I was going to allow wizards to have access to metamagic through a subclass I'd allow it to apply to an spell with the same restrictions as a sorcerer. Having a single metamagic until a later level is fine, I'd probably go with 1 at 2nd level and 1 at 10th, and they wouldn't have as many sorcery points as a sorcerer, I might even go so far as to say that using metamagic reduces the number of levels they can get back via their arcane recovery power but that is mainly because I like linking subclass abilities to class abilities.
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This one is self-evident and you agree so no biggie.1) The wizard gets ONE metamagic and doesn't get a second one until after the sorcerer gets it's third one.
This is actually for flavor reasons and to distinguish wizards from sorcerers. In this way the wizard doesn't discover a trick that randomly applies to every spell, more like he discovers a way to tweak a particular spell/set of spells.2) The wizard gets to apply it to a limited number of spells ( like up to 1+Cha mod)
3) These spells are set in stone once selected (no retraining).
The wizard is already the most versatile caster, giving it metamagic should be a taste of it without allowing him to upstage the sorcerer while using it. Being allowed to use metamagic on wizard exclusives let's the wizard save resources in a multiplicative way: Extended tenser's floating disk? Extended Rope trick? extended Leomund's tiny hut?4) The spells must be on both the wizard and sorcerer lists.
Metamagic is the sorcerer core thing, no wizard should be able to use it as often as a sorcerer. Once per short rest is already too generous. ( Sorcerers can only use it three times per day at first)5) The metamagic applies to one single spell and cannot be used again until after a short or long rest.
Get more versatility now, and lose future versatility as a tradeback. Fluff it as changing a spell formula on the fly makes it hard to remember it correctly for a future casting without careful study to get a refresher on it.6) After being modified by metamagic, the spell cannot be cast again until after a long rest.
The wizard can cast way more often than a sorcerer already. Each time the sorcerer uses metamagic, she gives up future castings. If the wizard wants more versatility, he'd rather gain a restriction to compensate. Fluff it as altering the formula on the fly unbalances the magic energies that come for the weave and its dangerous to do it twice in a row without first realigning the connection to the weave and that takes time that cannot be used to tap into the magic reserves.7) If the metamagic recharges, the wizard in question can't use both Arcane Recovery and recharge metamagic on the same short rest.
For the invention thing, I think a better approach would be to allow you to roll twice at the end of each long rest, and the spells you roll are added to your prepared spells until your next long rest. That seems more interesting, and also more inventor-like, than casting a random combat spell.