D&D 5E Swordsage: Homebrew

Joshy

Explorer
I'm working on a complete homebrew. I have a bit of everything done but I would like some help feedback.
To start I would appreciate some help with my swordsage class. It's intent is to replace the monk and rogue role.


Swordsage
Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (5.5) + your Constitution modifier per level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: All simple and martial weapons, except those with the heavy property.
Tools: Choose any two
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Skills: Choose 3 from from Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth

Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • (a) a one handed martial weapon, or (b) two simple weapons
  • (a) two light martial weapons, or (b) two simple weapons
  • (a) a burglar's pack and 24gp, (b) entertainer's pack, or (c) an explorer's pack and 30gp
  • studded leather armor, and equipment for the two chosen tool proficiencies (100gp max)
  • 20 ammunition and container for each and every weapon with the loading property.

Level Class Features
1 Initiator, Exploit Weakness
2 Subclass
3 Expertise
4 ASI
5 Improved Ki Training
6 Subclass Feature
7 Quick to Act
8 ASI
9
10 Subclass Feature
11 Reliable Talent
12 ASI
13
14 Subclass Feature
15 ??? Need something
16 ASI
17 ??? Need Something
18
19 ASI
20 ??? Need Something

Initiator
Swordsage is a full initiator class. You gain initiator levels equal to your swordsage levels. Your disciple attribute is dexterity.
Grants Ki, Martial Arts, and Martial Style at level 1. Grants an additional Martial Style at initiator levels 9 and 18

Martial Arts
At 1st level, your practice of martial arts gives you mastery of combat styles that use unarmed strikes and discipline weapons. Each discipline has its own associated weapons. You may count an empty hand as if wielding a weapon.

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only discipline weapons.
  • You can use any of your discipline stat for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes and discipline weapons.
  • You can roll your martial arts die in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike or discipline weapon. This die changes as you gain initiator levels, as shown in the Martial Arts column of the Initiator table.
  • You can make unarmed strikes through your discipline weapons. The weapon acts as normal but deals Martial Arts die damage.
  • When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a discipline weapon on your turn, you can make one attack with an unarmed strike or discipline weapon as a bonus action. The weapon damage die of this attack is equal to your martial arts die.

Ki
Your initiator level determines the number of points you have, as shown in the Ki Points column of the Initiator table.

You can spend these points to fuel various ki features. You start knowing three such features: Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, and Step of the Wind.

When you spend a ki point, it is unavailable until you finish a short or long rest, at the end of which you draw all of your expended ki back into yourself. You must spend at least 30 minutes of the rest meditating to regain your ki points.

Some of your ki features require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature's effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Ki save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your discipline attribute modifier
  • Flurry of Blows: You can spend 1 ki, an Action, and a Bonus action to make a Flurry of Blows. You can make 2 more attacks than if you took the Attack action. Each of these attacks must be made with an unarmed strike. At Initiator level 11 you make 3 additional attack instead of 2.
  • Patient Defense: You can spend 1 ki point to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on your turn.
  • Step of the Wind: You can spend 1 ki to take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action on your turn, your jump distance is doubled for the turn and when you jump and land on difficult terrain you don't fall prone. You can spend an additional 1 ki and gain the benefits of both Disengage and Dash.

Martial Style
You gain one martial style that you meet the requirements for:
  • Silence's Initiate: Stealth.
  • Iron Rain: Perception, proficiency with at least one ranged or thrown weapon.
  • Army of One: Acrobatics, proficiency with at least one reach weapon.
  • Onyx's Stride: History, can take the Dash action.
  • One Mind, Myriad Body: Persuasion, can communicate with others.
  • Immovable Aegis: Insight, proficiency with shields.
  • Thrashing Greatwyrm: Sleight of Hand, Can wield at least two weapons at once.
  • Empyrean's Grip: Athletics, proficiency with at least one two handed weapon.
  • Savagery: Survival
  • Vorpal's Edge: Intimidation
  • Yin-Yang Flow: Medicine

Exploit Weakness
Once per turn, you can deal an extra Martial Arts damage to one creature you hit with an Attack while meeting the following requirements:
  • The attack must not be made with a heavy weapon or with disadvantage.
  • The attack must have advantage or the target must have a creature that is both hostile to it and not incapacitated.
The damage increases by 1 Martial Arts die at Swordsage level 3 and every 2 Swordsage levels there after.

Expertise
Select two skills or tools that you have proficiency with. You may double your proficiency bonus when making ability checks with them.

Improved Ki Training
Once per round you can reduce one basic ki ability cost by 1. (Basic means a non-disciplined ability)
You also gain new ki abilities:
  • Slow Fall: You can use your reaction when you take fall damage to reduce the amount of d6's rolled by your initiator level.
  • Vanish: You can spend 1 ki point to take the Hide action as a Bonus action on your turn.
  • Quick Hands: You can spend 1 ki point to take the Use an Object action or make a Sleight of Hands check as a Bonus action on your turn.
Quick to Act
You gain proficiency with initiative checks.

Reliable Talent
Ability checks with proficiency cannot be rolled lower than 10.



Later Levels:
I'm not sure about the level 15, 17, and 20 abilities.
Maybe Empty Body at level 17 and Perfect Self as the capstone. I don't have a lot of experience with high levels








Martial Style Example:
Silence's Initiate
Strike:
Action or replace a single attack, depends on ability
  • Invisible Strike: Make an attack while hidden, if the attack misses you remain hidden.
  • Silencing Strike: Attack the target, Con save vs Muted condition until the end of you next turn.
Boost: Bonus action
  • Ghost Step: For 1 min, if you are hidden you may move up to half your movement speed in the open. As long as you end your turn in a place you can be hidden you will stay hidden.
Counter: Reaction
  • Exploit Opening: When a creature is hit by an attack made by a creature other than you, that creature provokes an opportunity attack,
Stance: Passive buff, takes Bonus to switch into one. May only have one active at a time.
  • Blend In: You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured.
  • Trackless: You can’t be tracked except by magical means and you leave behind no tracks or other traces of passage.
Condition: Muted
A muted creature cannot speak and can’t Cast a Spell with a verbal component


Martial Style Subclass Example:
Assassin

Gain proficiency with the deception skill, if you already have it you may select another skill. Gain the Silence's Initiate martial style. If you already have it you may select another martial style that you qualify for. You may have two stances active at the same time as long as at least one of them is from the Silence's Initiate martial style.

Assassinate
Add Martial Arts die to initiative
Attack action on first round of combat grants an additional attack.
All attacks in the first round can trigger Exploit Opportunity, but only once per creature.
Any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.

Perfect Disguise
Gain proficiency with disguise kit, if it already had it you may select another tool proficiency.
You may don a disguise as a Bonus action, you don't need to precreate disguises.
You can’t be targeted by any divination magic or perceived through magical scrying sensors without your permission.
You are aware if magic that attempts to determine if you are lying, and can determine if it thinks you are lying. Magic that reads your mind while in disguise picks up thoughts reasonable for your disguise, not your true thoughts.

Cloak of Shadows
When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible. You remain invisible until you make an attack, cast a spell, or are in an area of bright light.

Silence's Initiate Squad Leader
You may make a stealth check that applies to each creature you choose within 30 feet of you. Each creature benefits from any and all Silence's Initiate stances and boosts that you have active. Each creature also benefits from your Assassinate ability and they gain Exploit Opportunity with a single Martial Arts die if they don't already have it.
 
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Joshy

Explorer
I tried to make it look clean. I would put it into a pdf but I have no experience doing that.
Do people usually put it into a pdf and attach it to the post?
Or is it better to just do what I did and put it all in a single post?

I've never uploaded any of my homebrew before so I'm a bit new to this aspect.
 

cbwjm

Legend
It's probably fine doing it in a single post.

If you want to turn it into a pdf, most document programs have a print to pdf function which lets you easily convert it once you've written it up.

I'd say one issue is that we don't have all of the information. Is an initiator just another term for monk, or is it literally everything in the description (ki, martial arts, martial arts styles, etc.)? What are the effects of the Martial Arts Styles? Knowing that might help to evaluate it.

I think on the whole, it is probably fine, exploit weakness substitutes for sneak attack so it should be able to keep up in damage. Unless I missed it, level 13 looks like it needs an ability. Maybe diamond body or the rogue's slippery mind would fit in well there.

I quite like quick to act and reliable talent, I believe the interaction means that they will have a minimum initiative equal to 10+dex+prof. which means probably at least a 19 by level 11.
 

Joshy

Explorer
It's probably fine doing it in a single post.

If you want to turn it into a pdf, most document programs have a print to pdf function which lets you easily convert it once you've written it up.

I'd say one issue is that we don't have all of the information. Is an initiator just another term for monk, or is it literally everything in the description (ki, martial arts, martial arts styles, etc.)? What are the effects of the Martial Arts Styles? Knowing that might help to evaluate it.

I think on the whole, it is probably fine, exploit weakness substitutes for sneak attack so it should be able to keep up in damage. Unless I missed it, level 13 looks like it needs an ability. Maybe diamond body or the rogue's slippery mind would fit in well there.

I quite like quick to act and reliable talent, I believe the interaction means that they will have a minimum initiative equal to 10+dex+prof. which means probably at least a 19 by level 11.
Yes they interact together.
Initiator level is like caster level. It grants pretty much what is in the description plus a martial arts die progression and is set up that way for multi-classing purposes.

I plan to make three initiator classes, three half initiator and half caster classes, and three full casters.

I added an example of a martial style and a relevant subclass. I didn't add it before because I'm not 100% sure how it will be implemented.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Yes they interact together.
Initiator level is like caster level. It grants pretty much what is in the description plus a martial arts die progression and is set up that way for multi-classing purposes.

I plan to make three initiator classes, three half initiator and half caster classes, and three full casters.

I added an example of a martial style and a relevant subclass. I didn't add it before because I'm not 100% sure how it will be implemented.
Okay, that's a cool idea for the initiator then, I like having more cross-class viability.
Martial Style Example:
Silence's Initiate
Strike:
Action or replace a single attack, depends on ability
  • Invisible Strike: Make an attack while hidden, if the attack misses you remain hidden.
  • Silencing Strike: Attack the target, Con save vs Muted condition until the end of you next turn.
Boost: Bonus action
  • Ghost Step: For 1 min, if you are hidden you may move up to half your movement speed in the open. As long as you end your turn in a place you can be hidden you will stay hidden.
Counter: Reaction
  • Exploit Opening: When a creature is hit by an attack made by a creature other than you, that creature provokes an opportunity attack,
Stance: Passive buff, takes Bonus to switch into one. May only have one active at a time.
  • Blend In: You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured.
  • Trackless: You can’t be tracked except by magical means and you leave behind no tracks or other traces of passage.
Condition: Muted
A muted creature cannot speak and can’t Cast a Spell with a verbal component
If this is anything to go by, then these martial styles are cool as! I like that they don't just grant a passive bonus (I was originally comparing them to fighting styles) and instead provide a way to really customise a playstyle for your character.

Silence's Initiate Squad Leader
You may make a stealth check that applies to each creature you choose within 30 feet of you. Each creature benefits from any and all Silence's Initiate stances and boosts that you have active. Each creature also benefits from your Assassinate ability and they gain Exploit Opportunity with a single Martial Arts die if they don't already have it.
I do feel like this could be an incredibly powerful ability as it grants so much to everyone else in the party. It is the 14th level ability so it should be good, but it seems a little too good.
 

Joshy

Explorer
I do feel like this could be an incredibly powerful ability as it grants so much to everyone else in the party. It is the 14th level ability so it should be good, but it seems a little too good.
Yeah I was worried about that. Do you have any suggestions? Oh and maybe for the 13th ability I should aim for some ribbon ability. The class doesn't seem to have one except maybe a tool proficiency. I'll need to think up a level 13th ability for the other classes as well.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Yeah I was worried about that. Do you have any suggestions? Oh and maybe for the 13th ability I should aim for some ribbon ability. The class doesn't seem to have one except maybe a tool proficiency. I'll need to think up a level 13th ability for the other classes as well.
I'd probably strip it back to stealth for each creature of your choice, which should be high due to reliable talent. Maybe also grant the first attack of each ally to be a critical hit if against a surprised target. I do think that might still be too powerful, players will definitely leverage it to end encounters almost before they've begun, but then that's also half the fun of DnD.
 

Joshy

Explorer
How about:

Silence's Initiate Squad Leader
You may make a stealth check that applies to each creature you choose within 30 feet of you. Each creature benefits from any and all Silence's Initiate stances and boosts that you have active. Each creature also gains the Exploit Opportunity ability if they don't already have it. It deals only a single Martial Arts die in damage, or a d4 if they have no initiator levels.


It still feels wrong, I'm aiming for something that would allow the assassin to help sneak in allies. But what I want is an ability that would help out a group of assassins of a lower level. Like a lvl14 lead and level 6-12 assassin group.

I'm aiming for an ability that helps non stealth users stealth well and one that would make a group of lower level assassins more dangerous. Like a a leader to a group of level 6-12 assassins.


How about:

Silence's Initiate Squad Leader
You may make a stealth check that applies to each creature you choose within 30 feet of you. Each creature benefits from any and all Silence's Initiate stances and boosts that you have active.

With something like one of these maybe:
  • All creatures in the group that have the Assassinate ability deal an extra 1/2 proficiency in Martial Arts die in damage on the first turn.
  • All creatures in the group that have the Assassinate ability deal 1/2 proficiency in Martial Arts die of damage with Exploit Opportunity.
  • All creatures with the Assassinate ability do max damage against creatures that have not taken their first turn in combat.
  • All creatures with the Assassinate ability do max damage against creatures that are surprised.
  • All creatures with the Assassinate ability may use your Martial Arts die size.
  • All creatures with the Assassinate ability get an extra unarmed attack if they kill a creature that has not taken its turn yet.
  • All creatures with the Assassinate ability may use Flurry of Blows on the first round of combat for 0 ki.
 



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