March 21, 2016

Shadow Adept

Arcane Tradition

**Our newest contributor, Takiskal, helped with this wonderful class. Give him a shout-out in the comments to let him know how well he did!**

School of Shadow

Some wizards who discover the existence of the Shadow Weave are cautious about using it, altering their magic slowly to take advantage of its effects. Others are more reckless, hurling themselves into the abyss of the Shadow Weave immediately to acquire all the gifts available to the casual student and discover secrets unavailable to all but the most dedicated. These latter spellcasters are the shadow adepts, who make great sacrifices with respect to some aspects of the Art in order to reap greater benefits elsewhere.

Shadow Magic 
Beginning when you select this tradition at 2nd level, the exotic nature of the Shadow Weave makes your spells difficult to resist. The saving throw DC for wizard spells you cast increases by 1.
     Additionally, your affinity for the dark can shy away lit flames and fireflies. As a bonus action, you can extinguish any number of non-magical sources of illumination within 60 feet of you which can fit in a 5-foot cube.

At 2nd level, you can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. If you already possess darkvision, its range increases by 30 feet.
     Starting at 10th level, you can see through magical, as well as nonmagical, darkness.

Shield of Shadows
Starting at 6th level, you can surround yourself with a globe of purple-black force as a bonus action, which lasts for 1 minute. This shield of shadows absorbs magic missiles, and causes disadvantage to ranged weapon and ranged spell attacks against you. You can see and reach through the shield, so provides neither cover nor concealment to your opponents. After using this ability, you must complete a short or long rest before using it again.

Consuming Darkness
At 10th level, as a bonus action when you cast a cantrip, you can shroud a 5-foot cube of space that you can see in 60 feet with enervating shadows. A creature which enters this darkness or begins its turn inside it must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save the creature take 2d8 necrotic damage, or half as much on a successful save.
     You can have a number of shadowed areas up to your Intelligence modifier at one time. Each shadow vanishes after 1 minute.

Insidious Magic
Starting at 14th level, when you cast a spell which requires a saving throw, you can give one target of the spell disadvantage on their first saving throw made against the spell. You can use this ability 3 times and you regain all expended uses when you take a long rest.

Changelog: 3/22/16: Consuming Shadows: reworded
3/28/16: Consuming Shadows: damage dropped to 2d8, works when you cast a cantrip, range 60 feet
4/21/16: Shadow Magic: Illumination sources must be smaller than a 5-foot cube


  1. Holy Smokes, another one of my favorite 3.5e prestige classes brought to 5e? This looks awesome! I played a gnomish shadow mage back in the optimization days of 5e, whose whole shtick was making spells out of illusions and shadows that were more real than the actual spells, and while this doesn't have that aspect, it's certainly freaking cool!
    Quick question on Consuming darkness: Due to a missing word in the ability description, it's kind of vague. I'm assuming you mean "you can HAVE a number of shadowed areas", rather than something like "you can CREATE a number of shadowed areas" or the like. While either could work and be viable, it seems like being able to make 5 or more areas of consuming darkness at once would be pretty broken, while re-positioning and slowly building up the ones you already have seems like a good use of a Bonus Action.
    I like the flavor, I like the design, and I LOVE the abilities! Adding this to the ever-expanding list of things I need to play/throw at my players. You've done it again!

    1. Nice catch, and thanks for the comment! It was 'have', if you were wondering.

      And a lot of the credit on this one goes to Takiskal. He's been sending us some fantastic stuff.

    2. Woops! Meant to say "the optimization days of 3.5e". Shows you where my mind was at lmao

  2. Am I missing something or is Consuming Darkness extremely broken? It´s a bonus action and it has no recharge mechanic. This spell is basically free 15d8 damage every fight, which just blows every other wizard school out of the water, even Evocation, the school specifically made to have the best damage.

    1. And the it doesn´t even have range, you could be a mile away with a telescope and bombard whatever you want.

    2. Well, it's a bonus action 3d8, which I've been thinking about decreasing to 2d8. You can have 5 of them, but they don't move, and it takes 5 rounds to get there, since you can only make 1 a turn. You'd basically have to be fighting a stationary target to land damage from a particular shadow round after risebecause snyany other target will just move 5 feet.

      I SHOULD put a range on it, though. Misstep on my part.

    3. I mean that over the course of the fight you are guaranteed free 15d8 every fight, not in each round after the fifth. If you managed to grapple an enemy or otherwise set his movement to zero or hit multiple enemies, the damage ramps up way higher. But what I meant is that simply by using the ability every turn, you will deal 15d8 with a save for half for free in most fights.

      I think the issue with this ability isn´t the amount of damage it deals, but simply that you get to deal additional damage for free without any resource cost. While this is okay on minor effects like Empowered Evocation, I feel this is both unbalanced and out of place. Lowering the damage makes it more balanced, but doesn´t change inherent issues with the ability. For example, it´s an ability that you need to actively use, but there´s neither a drawback to it, nor do you need your bonus action for something else that often. 90% of the time there is just no actual decision to make here, because you´re going to use it anways.

      I´d personally change it to costing an action, once per long rest, higher damage, higher AoE range, deals X damage and strength saving throw against getting pulled to the center of the ability, basically a mini black hole.

      I just saw the cantrip related changes you did to the ability. While that makes it a bit better in both balance and decision making aspects, it still mainly feels like "add 2d8+save damage to your cantrips", so basically a vastly better potent cantrip.

    4. "a vastly better potent cantrip" is kinda wrong now that I think about, it´s only really better until level 11.

    5. I don't think you and I are on the same page with what this feature is supposed to be: Consuming Darkness is a battlefield control feature. It allows you to black out areas of the fight in darkness, dealing damage to creatures that try to move through that region. You can build a wall between you and the enemies, or just guard a doorway. I'm not changing it to an action activation, because this subclass needs some features that are powered by bonus actions.

      With that in mind, I've thought about it, and here's my current plan: Increase the damage to 4d8, only target spaces without creatures, and remove the bonus action requirement (it just triggers when you cast a cantrip.) What do you think about this implementation?

  3. I think that it would be better if the 14th level feature was changed so that when an enemy is hit with an attack it must make a save against being blinded or engulfed in magical darkness because right now it is pretty weak.

    1. Oh, I totally disagree with that. Disadvantage on a spell can be absolutely crippling to an enemy if used correctly. This can mean anything from all but assuring massive damage, to making sure your enemy gets turned into stone. No buff needed here, as I see it.

  4. For the feature "Shadow Magic", you should specify how much fire you can extinguish. For example, can you extinguish a house fire? a forest fire? Or does this feature simply suppress the light, not put it out? For how long?

    A guide for what to do might be in the EE "Control Flames" cantrip, which specifies that you can extinguish all fire that fits within a 5-foot-cube.

    For campfires/torches this feature makes perfect sense. But I don't think that this guy is meant to be a master firefighter.

    1. That's a good note! Totally implemented.