by Jacob

Homebrew Blood Mage Class Design for D&D Next

A couple weeks ago, I put up Blood Mage as a Steal This Character article. In this article, I’m going to flesh it out a bit more for D&D Next. I’m avoiding a lot of actual numbers because 1) I’m not able to test this class (my group has moved away from D&D permanently) and 2) it’s been so long since I’ve look at D&D Next stuff that I don’t know what kind of numbers are really all that balanced anymore. It might seem kind of weird that I would even bother with a D&D Next build if I don’t play D&D anymore. There are a few reasons behind it: 1) I like building stuff in Next’s system 2) we’re going to be building a something very similar to the Blood Mage for Fate and Dungeon World in our campaign setting we’re building.

Blood Mage Class

Level Proficiency Bonus Feature Powers Known
1 +1 Blood Magic 2
2 +1 Blood School 2
3 +2 3
4 +2 Ability Score Improvement 3
5 +2 Bonus School Power 3
6 +2 Instant Vengeance 3
7 +3 4
8 +3 Extra Attack 4
9 +3 Ability Score Improvement 4
10 +3 Bonus School Power 4
11 +4 Bleed It Out 4
12 +4 5
13 +4 Ability Score Improvement 5
14 +4 Leach 5
15 +5 Bonus School Power 5
16 +5 Ability Score Improvement 5
17 +5 6
18 +5 ?? 6
19 +6 Ability Score Improvement 6
20 +6 Bonus School Power 6

Class Features

Hit Die: 1d10 (No need to give the rest of the HP information; it’s all very easy to figure out from the hit die)
Proficiencies Armor: Light armor, shield
Weapons: Any simple or martial weapon that deals piercing or slashing damage, and simple ranged weapons.
Tools: Healer’s Kit
Saving Throws:Constitution, Wisdom
Skills:Choose one from Arcana, Intimidation, Medicine, or Sleight of Hand.

Blood Magic

A blood mage’s power comes from within, from a precious resource: their own blood. They cut or stab themselves to draw blood, from which they are able to do their magic. (Blood magic powers all scale with level by being scaled by the amount of damage the player is willing to inflict to the character. The player can cause more damage to the character to make the power more potent.)

Powers Known

At 1st level, you know 2 abilities that you can do with your blood magic (chosen from the list provided at the end of the article). At levels 3, 7, 12, and 17, you learn an additional power, as shown in the table above.

Schools of Blood Magic

There are two known ways of using blood magic: sheer blood magic and blood runes. Sheer blood magic does not require as much time to use (usually a swift casting time), but is not as potent; whereas blood runes are more time-consuming (usually a full action to cast), but are more powerful. Every power can be used either way, and you may choose which way to use it when you cast it.

Magic Ability

Constitution is your magic ability for your blood mage powers.

Saving Throw DC:The DC to resist one of your powers equals 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. Note: Blood mages do not require a magic focus – they ARE the focus.

Blood School

At 2nd level, choose a blood school (none provided in this article, but each provides a small bonus at 2nd level, and provide bonus powers at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20)

Ability Score Improvement

These are gained at levels 4, 9, 13, 16, and 19

Instant Vengeance

At level 6, blood mages learn to blood that enemies cut from them to strike back quickly when they are attacked. When an enemy within 5 feet of you deals piercing or slashing damage to you, you can use a reaction to use a sheer blood magic power with the amount of blood paid in being equal to half of the damage taken.

Extra Attack

Gained at level 8.

Bleed It Out

At level 11, blood mages can bleed poisons from their body. They become immune to poison damage and other effects from poisons.

Leach

At 14th level, blood mages can draw life essence from the blood of their victims. Whenever they deal slashing or piercing damage to an enemy within 5 feet, they gain temporary hit points equal to one-quarter of the damage dealt.

??

At 18th level, blood mages can do something that I couldn’t think of. Have you got any ideas?

List of Powers

  • Crimson Entanglement – at weaker levels, it simply trips the enemy. At the more powerful levels, it can restrain, then paralyze, and eventually become powerful enough to start squeezing the life from the target.
  • Blood Shield – a temporary magical shield floats next to you. It provides a small AC bonus, but stronger versions also provide some damage reduction.
  • Hemoglobin Explosion – a burst of blood magic power explodes away from you, dealing damage to nearby creatures. Increased size and damage at higher power levels. Using blood runes, you can make it so allies don’t get hit by it.
  • Bloodbending – you take control of another creature’s blood, allowing you to control their actions. Extra powerful versions allow you to cause their blood to leak from their pores.
  • etc… Let me know of some other cool ideas for powers that you might have.

Additional Notes on the Design

You may notice that this class is largely incomplete. That’s largely due to a lack of contact with Next, so ideas of how to use the system have faded a bit. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you something more complete. Take the idea and have some fun with it. You can even post your own versions, if you’d like. Just be sure to point to here as inspiration. What I was going for was someone who was technically a martial character for a large part of their time, but would pull out blood magic when it was the best course of action. I love the idea of how the powers are their own limit for their use, since constantly using strong powers would kill your character rather quickly. I don’t have to put in something like “powers per day” or anything like that. Even if they have a healer focusing on healing them, it limits the party by forcing the healer to give up actions. Overall, I’m really enjoying the idea.

Outro

This is most likely going to be the last D&D-specific post I’m going to write (unless I get around to doing the Runepriest class, like I want to; I have a difficult time coming up with how that’ll work). It’s sad, departing from D&D after many years of its faithful service to my gaming needs, but I’ve found Fate’s and Dungeon World’s systems better suited to how I want to roleplay. I’m going to say it one last time: if you’ve got any ideas of comments about this class, let me (and the other readers) know in the comments below. Please place your comments there instead of on the site that linked you here (if that’s how you found this article). Have fun!





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