May 14, 2015

Rage Mage

Barbarian Path
Comments from the Finger: Yet another prestige class conversion, the Rage Mage. This is a favorite, especially if you grew up with Dragonball Z as an influence in your childhood. After all, very powerful, very angry sorcerers, throwing spells around with their punches, is about as compelling a power fantasy as one can get.
     My only concern with balancing this sub-class is the lack of an exploration-tier class feature, which would imply it will be too powerful when push comes to shove. I attempted to limit this by giving the Rage Mage the ability to only cast spells while raging, and limiting the spell-attack combo feature Spell Fury to casting only the lowest spell level available. Naturally, this might not offset the total power provided by this sub-class, but it should go a long way. Finally, I present the 5e Rage Mage.

Path of the Rage Mage

Few things are more terrifying than being in the path of a rage mage. Those who follow this path unlock something deep within them, a well of arcane power fueled from the depths of their fury. When a rage mage unleashes his rage, he channels his brute strength into primal eldritch might and uses it to devastate his foes in a hail of fire, blades, and blood.

Spell Rage
Beginning at third level, you can cast spells while in a rage, as long as the spell’s casting time is no more than 1 action, the spell does not require concentration, and you are wearing no armor. Your rage damage applies only to damage from spells cast in a rage. If a spell cast damages more than one target, you may only apply extra rage damage to one of the targets. In addition, casting spells during rage counts as attacking for the purposes of ending rage. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the wizard spell list.
     Spell Slots. The Eldritch Knight Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must be in a rage and expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
     Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher. You know three 1st-level wizard spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the evocation and necromancy spells on the wizard spell list. The Spells Known column of the Eldritch Knight Spellcasting table shows when you learn more wizard spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be an evocation or necromancy spell of your choice, and must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
          Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the wizard spells you know with another spell of your choice from the wizard spell list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
     Spellcasting Ability. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a wizard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.

Spell Fury
Beginning at 6th level, weapons and magic are equally an extension of your rage. When you attack recklessly, you can choose not to take advantage on your attack and attack only once with your attack action to cast a spell as a bonus action. This spell must use a spell slot of the lowest level you have available.

Arcane Intuition
At 10th level, you are intuitively aware of all magic auras. After you have been in the presence of a magic aura for 1 minute, you can sense its presence, though you cannot discern its origin or the school of magic to which it belongs.

Eldritch Storm
Starting at 14th level, you can expel the might of your rage all at once to unleash a devastating storm of eldritch magic. When you end your rage early as an action, all creatures within 15 feet of you must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 1d6 force damage for each round you've spent in rage, or half as much on a successful one. After you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Changelog: Casting stat changed from Strength to Wisdom
7/13/15: Replaced Arcane Resistance with Arcane Intuition
2/15/15: Added that you can trade out a spell you know when you learn a new spell


  1. OK when I read the capstone I was like cool a charge up explosion, better the longer the combat. But combined with the feature persistent rage this has infinite damage you could prep from the start of your day if you're mad all the time.

    1. Haha, would you want me to delete your comments and act like you got it right the first time?

  2. I know this is an old post, but the capstone doesn't specify a level. It's not a huge problem since I'd assume it's the same as the other path capstones, but I figured you might want to know.

    1. Wow, can't believe we didn't catch that. Fixed.

  3. You know that there was a level already in there right? It was in the second sentence and written as the word, 'fourteenth', but it was there. This was one of our first classes, and as such I put it in the second line since I didn't know any better, but it's there.

    As such, I'll keep the Thumb's fix and eliminate the redundancy.

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  5. If this is similar to the Eldritch Knight, shouldn't there be a sentence stating that it can relearn a spell as it gains a level in this class?

  6. Yeah, you're totally right (and I just edited that paragraph in.)

    This was one of my first classes, and I had some weird ideas about balance back then. I'll try to redux a lot of these in the future, but for now, this fix'll have to do

  7. Just a quick question about design; why this path doesn't have cantrips? if it is meant to be an option similar to the Eldritch Knight, not having the possibility to use some magical effect each round is a partial handicap to the feeling of "combat caster".

    1. This was mostly a balancing thing (though, I must admit, I've written this so long ago, it may require a Redux by our current standards.) The goal was only to offer casting while in rage, and we wanted to mix it with combat as much as we could.

    2. I can understand it, but given the number of attacks a Barbarian does during a session, vs the number of spell slots available, missing cantrip will mean using the Spell Fury feature very, very little :)

    3. If you will consider reduxing this class, i have another consideration ; bear in mind that this class has no access to spellcasting focus. that means being forced to have a free hand for getting material components. that means being unable to cast spells while wielding a (canonical) two-handed weapon.

      Sure, that could help balance the damage output, but hey... why not add a feature that allows a Rage Mage to treat a particular weapon as a spell focus?

    4. That's also a great point. Totally getting consideration whenever I can get a Redux out

  8. As written, the class allows you to take a single 1st level spell that isn't Evocation/Necromancy, and from then on you may only learn spells from those schools. Is this correct? If so, why allow the single outside spell?

  9. I love this subclass, just one question. In the line under Spell Fury "choose not to take advantage on your attack and attack only once", would this negate barbarian Extra Attack?

  10. This all looks great, and I do hope it gets a redux sometime soon, but I have a few questions for the meantime:
    For one, does Spell Fury allow you to cast spells without raging, as long as you use Reckless Attack?
    For two, can you choose to use Spell Fury with a cantrip, rather than a spell of 1st level or higher?
    For three, what do you think of the idea of being able to cast cantrips outside of a rage?
    And finally, a comment: Perhaps it would be helpful to specify whether or not shields count as armor for the purpose of potentially inhibiting your casting abilities.

    1. Oh, another thing: Would this subclass gain spells that do not have to be Evocation or Necromancy at the same levels that Eldritch Knight would gain spells that do not have to be Abjuration or Evocation?