The Illusionist: Class, Background or Theme?

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
The class discussion threads felt incomplete without talk of the benighted Illusionist. In the spirit of thoroughness, what are our thoughts on the Illusionist?

School specific wizards should be be reflected in theme and spell selection. That is all the Illusionist brings to the table.

The Beguiler was an interesting Enchanter/Illusionist blend. If there is a 5E Illusionist class, it would do well to blend in more than straight illusion. A class built around 'the power to cloud minds' would be interesting. How do you differentiate from a wizard, psion or bard?
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Class, class, class!

Necromancer as a class too, while we're at it.

The rest of the wizard variants (Conjurer, Diviner, Evoker, etc.) aren't really distinct enough and can easily be lumped into general Wizard/Magic-User.

Lan-"Illusionist - best class ever!"-efan

EDIT: is there supposed to be a poll with this - all the other class threads have one...
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
Theme or part of the Wizard class. Possibly as one of the advanced themes they're considering.

I like the idea that someone could specialize in any school, even the ones that aren't as obviously useful. It adds flavor to the world.
 


KidSnide

Adventurer
I tend to theme that schools of magic are best handled with themes, for two reasons.

First, the primary difference between a specialist and a non-specialist is spell selection. Wizard (and sorcerer) class mechanics should be sufficient to allow casters to select spells appropriate to their school of choice.

Second, the limited number special abilities that should apply to the specialists are perfectly valid for a number of classes. Sure, there can be wizard illusionists, but why not sorcerer illusionists or bard illusionists? For that matter, I wouldn't rule out a cleric necromancer or a druid transformer. Just like how fighters, rangers and rogues can all be two-weapon specialists, the school specialist mechanics apply to multiple classes and are good candidates for themes.

-KS
 

Oni

First Post
Honestly, I'm really hoping class. I really don't feel like we need specialist for every school of magic, and but some types of magic are special enough to warrant making them their own classes so they have license to make them actually unique. I really could see Illusionist, Necromancer, Enchanter, and Summoner being their own thing.

Specialization requires a level of symmetry that is sometimes an ill fit, making things more similar that they need to be.
 


GX.Sigma

Adventurer
Part of the Wizard class. I like the idea that schools of magic are purely a Wizard thing due to the way they study it.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Unique spell lists and spell casting look very doable in this version of the game. That would be cool. I'd like to see Druids and Illusionists (and any other spellcasting subclasses) get their geek on in their own cool way. Remember Backgrounds are just skills and Themes simply feat groupings. Neither are necessary to the game. Having an Illusionist class would mean a caster with fewer spells, but ones far more applicable to nearly any situation. Plus, I always thought they had a bit more thief or fighter in them too, so they might be better in a fight.

2e magic schools would be cool too, but I'd rather they were an option. Just like any class is.
 

CM

Adventurer
I want to see illusion as a wizard class specialization. Note that I am all in favor of exclusive spells and class features for the various schools, to give them all something unique the generalist wizard can't do (or can't do as well). This would have the effect of making them mimic the 1e illusionist in spirit, but I don't think a completely separate class write-up is warranted for them.
 

1of3

Explorer
Theme. Their are several spell-casting classes that all might decide to go into illusions.

Furthermore themes are all about your accessoires. Weapons, equipment, spellls, tactics. Illusion spell fit the line perfectly.
 

Oni

First Post
Theme. Their are several spell-casting classes that all might decide to go into illusions.

Furthermore themes are all about your accessoires. Weapons, equipment, spellls, tactics. Illusion spell fit the line perfectly.

There isn't really any reason that you couldn't have specialization, or a class, and a theme in addition to that, then through the right choice of themes and class you could have an illusionist that's all in, one that's deversified a bit, or another spellcaster like a cleric or warlovk that has chosen illusions as part of their focus.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
My preference is none of the three, but if I have to choose I'd go with theme.

As a separate class I don't like it because it's either too similar to the wizard, or it might require to remove/reduce illusion capabilities from the main wizard to justify its existence and make it different enough. But normally I would like the wizard to efficiently cover illusion too, so that you can freely decide how much your wizard wants to lean toward that school of magic. I don't like multiclassing as a solution, because there is always some klunkiness in it.

As a background it doesn't even make sense. Mechanically, backgrounds are skill bonuses + a special ability that's supposed to work during downtime. You'd have to come up with forced ideas to justify it being a background at any cost.

As a theme, you may come up with a wizard-only theme based on feats which enhance your illusion spells, and this is OK. Since 5e is concerned with trying to avoid number inflation, these feats would presumably make your illusions more flexible or robust rather than bump the DC. But it won't be a theme for everyone, unless it grants additional illusion-only spells.

Overall, I think an Illusionist is all about illusion spells, so everything you need is in the Wizard class as you already are an illusionist if you know a lot of illusion spells. But it would be nice to be able to specialize even more through feats (still I'm not fully convinced by one Illusionist theme, I'd probably go with a free selection of feats), although I think other wizard specialization have more room for this (e.g. necromancer and diviner).
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Class, class, class!

Necromancer as a class too, while we're at it.

The rest of the wizard variants (Conjurer, Diviner, Evoker, etc.) aren't really distinct enough and can easily be lumped into general Wizard/Magic-User.

Lan-"Illusionist - best class ever!"-efan

EDIT: is there supposed to be a poll with this - all the other class threads have one...

Eh? A conjurer, evoker, or diviner isn't distinct enough, but a necromancer or illusionist is?

Personally, I am against such overspecialization. Just like fighters who only use swords, a mage who only uses illusions has too many situations where their abilities aren't useful. And if you aren't using illusions, why bother with being an illusionist?
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
As long as the Illusionist gets unique spells that aren't available to other types of Wizard then I'm fine with it being either a theme or a class. Include some of the Enchanter's spells while you're at it, to create a caster specialised in affecting minds. It looks like this might be the way the Cleric is going, and I see no reason not to do the same with arcane casters.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
By my own rules of inclusiveness it should be a class.

That said, I am not sure how people actually want to play an Illusionist would would not be happy with a Wizard, Sorcerer or Warlock with an Illusionist Theme.

Background is right out.

But theme or class I think could go either way.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
Personally, I am against such overspecialization. Just like fighters who only use swords, a mage who only uses illusions has too many situations where their abilities aren't useful. And if you aren't using illusions, why bother with being an illusionist?
Doesn't the 3e rogue's sneak attack suffer from the same problem? It happens to be not useful in much the same situations as illusions too - fighting mindless undead, constructs, plants, and the like.

I'm actually very much in favour of more specialised casters. I feel that the 1e to 3e caster spell lists were much too long. There shouldn't be a few classes that can solve any problem. They're too powerful and lacking in flavour. Or, if there are, their resources should be a great deal more limited than those of the specialist.
 


Ellington

First Post
I'd like wizards to get schools in a similar manner to cleric domains, which would largely determine what sort of spells and abilities they have access to. The illusionist would be one of those schools.

If that doesn't work, a theme sounds fine.
 

Aenghus

Explorer
Personally, I would prefer specialist classes and limiting the max spell levels of the generalist mage, forcing a choice between specialisation and versatility.

This would of necessity involve allowing specialists to be competent and useful all the time i.e. removing widespread immunities that more or less arbitrarily marginalise some classes/ schools of magic while leaving others intact.

Unfortunately, I know this isn't going to happen.
 

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