February 9, 2018

School of Images

Arcane Tradition
Notes from the Nails: this was originally inspired by the character Anastasia from Shadow Hearts: Covenant, so the default fluff is that this is a modern or gaslamp fantasy setting, in which cameras and lenses etc. are common. If you wanted to play this class in a medieval fantasy setting, you could fluff the 'camera' as a magic item (like spheres in Final Fantasy X) or ancient technology (like the Sheikah slate in Breath of the Wild). It could even be replaced by incredibly fast painting skills!

School of Images

Wizards belonging to the School of Images are obsessed with capturing photographic records of everything they encounter. They carry their cameras everywhere they go, and their offices are filled with pictures of monsters, copious notes, and overburdened corkboards. Although many give the impression of being half-crazed maniacs, their research is often deep and penetrating -- and they always have a few tricks up their sleeves. After all, you can't get the perfect shot without getting close to where the action is!

Monster Album
At 2nd level, you begin to collect the images of monsters you fight. You can use an action to take a picture of one creature you can see within 30 feet. If the creature has a CR no greater than half your wizard level (rounded down), you capture its image for your monster album. Once you have a monster's image, you know all of its game statistics, including its armor class, maximum hit points, ability scores, save proficiencies, damage resistances, and special abilities.
     You can store a number of monster images equal to your wizard level. An image can be removed from the album as a bonus action; when you do so, the image is permanently destroyed.

Photocopy
Also at 2nd level, when you attempt to copy a spell into your spellbook, the process is much faster. You require only 1 round per level of the spell (the gp cost is unchanged.) However, you can only conduct this process in total darkness.

Projector
At 6th level, you gain the ability to summon a copy of any monster in your monster album. As an action, you summon the creature into an unoccupied space you can see within 30 feet. It remains for up to 1 minute, and requires your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell). The DM has the creature's statistics.
     The summoned creature is friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the creature, which has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to it, it defends itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise take no actions.
     Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Telescopic Lens
When you reach 10th level, you can cast spells through your camera, taking advantage of its optical zoom. As long as you can see the target, you can treat all spells with a range of touch as having a range of 30 feet instead.
     Additionally, if you have a monster's image in your album, all monsters of the same name have disadvantage on saving throws against spells that you cast.

Blinding Flash
Starting at 14th level, you can trigger a blinding flash when you use your Monster Album feature to capture a new image. Each creature in a 30-foot cone (directed towards the monster being photographed) must make a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC or be blinded until the start of your next turn.



Changelog
2/10/18: Monster Album: slight rewording to confirm that you can target any creature, but only capture images of those below the CR threshold.
2/13/17: Blinding Flash: Reworded to clarify that triggering the effect is optional

29 comments:

  1. Very nice! This is one for my Modern Magic setting for sure!
    About Blinding Flash: I'm pretty sure most blindness affects require a CON save, not DEX. It makes sense either way though, and you might have some other reason to make it DEX.

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    1. Yeah, my logic here is that you can avoid the effect if your reactions are quick enough to blink when the flash happens. It's not really something you can 'tough out' with Con.

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    2. Makes sense.
      Also, the font of the word Photocopy in the PDF is wrong.

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    3. I think the Finger was half-asleep when he made that pdf. The heading for Blinding Flash is missing altogether... :S

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    4. Finger needs to get more sleep.

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    5. I was very, very sleepy. Better now. PDF fixed.

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    6. Uh... you didn't fix the photocopy heading. That one's still hidden away in the text of monster album.

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    7. Fine, NOW it's fixed!

      *poof*

      Like magic.

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    8. New from the Finger of Vecna and Apple
      The iMage: a magic camera for this hispeed ancient age

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  2. :,( Honestly, both myself and my group feel like this is lackluster. I think you could even argue that if you reduce this down, it could even simply be a tiered/leveling magic item and be a hundred times more interesting. Lately, I feel like MFoV has been putting out very bland, boring concepts that frankly seem weak compared to traditional WotC material.

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    1. I like almost everything they put out. I like most things since not everything they put out I'm interested in.

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    2. I don't think it's lackluster at all. I think it's really unique and creative for a modern-ish setting.

      That being said, you aren't wrong about it being a cool magic item. But can't we boil a ton of subclass features down to magic items if we wanted to?

      But as someone who doesn't really enjoy Wizards as a class, the fat that this is making me consider playing one is worth something.

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    3. You know, I don't feel the need to defend our material -- if you're not super jazzed about it, that's fine -- but I actually think we've been on a hot streak recently. In the last three weeks, we've unveiled the redux to the Warmage, a sequel to the Muscle Wizard that I was pretty happy with, a "Devil Went Down to Georgia" bard, a pretty interesting Onion Knight, and a bunch of quality siegeball stuff.

      If you're not happy with the level of power, I get that; we've been making consolidated attempts to combat power creep as much as possible around here.

      That being said, if you have /specific/ complaints, I'm happy to listen. We're constantly looking to improve.

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    5. Well, 'it should be an item' is a specific complaint, so...

      My answer to that is: okay, it could be an item, but it'd have to be a full-on artifact, since it's got the same power level as a whole subclass. And the thing with *that* is, no one ever uses artifacts because they tend to unbalance the game. A subclass, on the other hand, anyone can play from levels 2 to 20. It's more... I don't know. Democratic?

      When you say the concept is weak, I take it you mean the flavour, not the power? I'm which case it comes down to personal taste, because I think the flavour of this is pretty strong.

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  3. It's kinda like a persona from the Persona series.

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    1. The 'Monster Album' and 'Projector' abilities that is.

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  4. So two things: 1) I am assuming if you remove an image from the album, it's gone forever (deleting a picture, rather than taking it out and putting it in your bag)

    2)Can you attempt to photograph creatures (or intentionally photograph creatures) that you know are too strong (so you can blinding flash it)? It's an action to try to blind everything in a cone, but is there a limit to pictures you can take? Or just ones you can keep?

    I like the concept. It's not SUPER strong, but its flavor is wonderful, and I'm always a fan of good flavor, even if I normally end up evocation mage for the 'splosions

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    1. Thanks! Given that it's a wizard, it *can't* be super strong. Arcane Traditions have by far the smallest latitude for mechanical power of any subclass.

      1) Yes, gone forever.

      2) As written, you can't even take the shot, but now that you've pointed it out, I don't like that. I think you should be allowed to take the shot and trigger Blinding Flash, you just won't get a usable picture out of it. So I'll change the wording on Monster Album slightly.

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    2. Nice. If nothing else, I figured that a blind/action isn't so strong it breaks the game, but there could be times when it could be very useful.

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  5. Although I think the monster capture system is a really fun concept and quite well implemented, besides the photocopy feature, what ties this to the wizard class?

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    1. Thinking about it futher, although that class has yet to find OP-legal publishing, with minimal re-jiggering this would probably be a pretty solid fit flavour-wise for the artificer

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    2. Making this a wizard was mostly a gut instinct on my part. Anastasia herself is probably closer to a bard, but one thing she's not is a craftsman. Wizard is a more appropriate base than that, for sure.

      When I had the idea to write this, the first thing that came into my head were the features. I wasn't set on any particular class, but it seemed to me that they all slotted very neatly into the framework of an arcane tradition.

      Thematically, I think studying monsters and collecting photos for an album are wizardly things to do. They're also the squishiest class, which suits someone who's not really an adventurer, but a photojournalist attached to an adventuring party. Finally I knew there wouldn't be a lot of combat power in this subclass, which would have necessitated some 'padding' if I'd used any other base class.

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  6. Blinding Flash is kind of a sidegrade if you can't turn it off, since you might also blind your allies.

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    1. Good point. That was not my intention, but I've messed up the wording. I'll ask the Finger to fix it.

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  7. BEHOLD THE MAGE OF MONSTER MAGICS; THE SAGE OF HUNTING INFO;

    Volo, The Guide of Monsters.

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  8. Also when I first read the class I was hoping it would be something like Velvet from the show RWBY. While I would still like to see something like that, I think this is such a cool concept and kinda screams Volo. My group is going to be starting Tomb of Annihilation soon and the DM for it mentioned that we could run into Volo if we were lucky.

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  9. I know there are some out there but none seem that viable could you think about working on a card based mage? I've seen some that were based off of Twisted Fate but I like luck involved in using it its what makes it fun.

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