February 26, 2016

College of Paint

Bardic College
Comments from the Finger: This has been banging around in my head for a long while, but balancing monsters as summons is challenging. Let me know if anyone has any insight on this.
BIG EDIT: Switched to the college of painting for thematic cohesion. I'll make a new college of calligraphy to fit at a later date.

College of Paint

Bards of the College of Paint, simply called master painters, are more skilled with a paintbrush than a swordsman is with a blade. Masters of hues and form, their skill is so refined and their portraits so lifelike, they can call upon the paint itself to assume life and aid their cause.

Bonus Proficiencies
By 3rd level, you are masterful with a pen, paintbrush, and canvas. You can speak, read, and write one additional language of your choice and you have proficiency with painter's supplies. You also have advantage on any ability check involving painting or illustration.

Conjure Inkling
At 3rd level, you learn the conjure inkling cantrip, detailed below.
Conjure Inkling
Conjuration Cantrip 
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a bottle of ink)
Duration: Instantaneous
     You can imbue a one-ounce bottle of ink with temporary life, creating an inkling. Your inkling acts independently of you, but it always obeys your commands. In combat, it rolls its own initiative and acts on its own turn. An inkling can’t attack, but it can take other actions as normal. You can use your action to communicate with your inkling telepathically. You can only have 1 inkling at a time.
      When the inkling drops to 0 hit points, it disappears, leaving a splotch of ink where it died. Your inkling also dies if it moves more than 60 feet from you, or spends more than 10 minutes outside of its bottle. As a bonus action, you can dismiss your inkling, returning the ink to its bottle.
      Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your inkling can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell. Doing so instantly destroys your inkling.
Tiny elemental, unaligned
Armor Class 9
Hit Points 1 (1d4 - 1)
Speed 15 ft.
STR 3 (-4) DEX 3 (-4) CON 3 (-4)
INT 3 (-4) WIS 3 (-4) CHA 3 (-4)
Senses blindsight 30 ft. passive Perception 6
Languages understands Common but can't speak
Challenge 0 (0 XP)
Amorphous. The inkling can move through a space as narrow as 1/8 inch wide without squeezing.
Ink Blot. The inkling can leave messages behind in ink wherever it moves.

Sling Paint
Starting at 6th level, you can fling paint from your brush as a long tendril of vibrant color. You can treat it as a magic whip dealing 1d8 damage which you are proficient with. You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made using this weapon. On a critical hit, the target must make a Constitution saving throw or be blinded by paint for 1 minute.

Paint Golem
At 14th level, you can conjure life into a bucket of paint, by expending a Bardic Inspiration Die during a 10 minute ritual, transforming it into a paint golem. Your paint golem rolls its own initiative and acts on its own turn. You can mentally command your golem as a bonus action. You decide what action the creature will take and where it will move during its next turn (your paint golem is vaguely humanoid and is can perform any action a normal humanoid can), or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the golem only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the golem continues to follow it until its task is complete. You can only have 1 paint golem at a time.
      Your paint golem dries out if it remains conjured for 12 hours and can return it to its container as a bonus action. Your golem can't willingly move more than 100 feet from you.
      Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your paint golem can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell.
Paint Golem
Medium ooze, unaligned
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 95 (10d12 + 30)
Speed 25 ft., climb 25 ft.
STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 16 (+3)
INT 1 (-5) WIS 6 (-2) CHA 5 (-3)
Damage Resistances acid, cold, lightning, slashing
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, prone
Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages -
Challenge 6 (2300 XP)
Amorphous. The paint golem can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Ink Blot. The paint golem can leave messages behind in paint wherever it moves.
Pseudopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., Hit: 10 (2d6+3) bludgeoning damage.

Changelog: 2/26/16: Name of Subclass changed to College of Paint - basically everything tweaked to focus on this theme - living paint works thematically better than living ink.
Bonus Proficiencies: Proficiency with Painter's supplies rather than the forgery kit. Also advantage on painting.
Pen is Mightier: name changed to Sling Paint. Some rewording.
Ink Golem: name changed to Paint Golem. Added level. Some rewording.
2/27/16: Paint Golem: Changed to more closely resemble Animate Dead. Ritual to form the paint golem is reduced to 10 minutes from 1 hour.
Sling Paint: Weapon is magic


  1. Yesterday I wanted to play something that summons by drawing. Today this came out. Wow! It's really good!

  2. When is the ink golem available at, level wise?

    1. 14th level. I'll edit that in soon. Good catch

  3. > Tools for calligraphy would make more sense, but that's just my opinion.
    > Last feature lacks the level requirement in its description.

    Other than that, it seems good to me.

  4. Firstly, there are calligraphy tools listed as Artisans tools in the players handbook. Secondly, perhaps a painter would be more appropriate for summoning oozes? Or perhaps not, but having a calligrapher Bard dump blobs of ink instead of writing magical words seems to clash with the concept of calligraphy. If the Calligraphist Bard could summon ink monsters AND use magic writing I'd find it more thematic. Perhaps the ability to use writing in place of verbal components? The current subclass is mechanically excellent, I just feel it misses the mark thematically. A sort of "And then the goblin was very afraid" kind of story-enchantment magic might work too.

    1. I totally forgot there were calligraphy tools when I wrote this. I'll put those in place of the forgery kit pretty soon.

      And you might be right about theme here - I was really stuck on the idea of a calligraphy-bard, because I ultimately want to represent all the facets of artists within the Bard class. I thought that bringing ink to life fits, but calligraphy is an art of great finesse which doesn't use tons of ink, and ink doesn't blob nearly as well as paint does. This gives me a lot to chew on. I very well might make this into a 'painter' subclass, and move some of your other ideas into a proper calligraphy bard.

      Really, really great comment.

    2. Thank you! I would also just like to say that our current main party includes an Arachnoid Stalker and a Warhulk, and we've used the Crusader, Gear Priest, and Gunslinger for several one-shots. We get a lot of mileage out of this blogs work. So thank you for your work.

      As well, I was curious about a couple things- first, would you reconsider creating an Artificer, in light of Wizards very slow update schedule probably pushing back Eberron for another year or more? And second, would you mind terribly if I emailed in a mockup of a new Calligraphers possible mechanics?

    3. Glad you like the stuff!

      Yeah, wizard's update schedule really irks me. We might end up integrating the artificer into our crafting class (the Smith, or whatever we end up calling it), so it's on the todo list in some respect.

      Yeah, send away. The current version is remodeled after a painter that summons living paint, so hopefully your Calligraphist represents a unique subclass with a different direction from this subclass. Looking forward to seeing what you have!

  5. "You can use your action to communicate with your paint golem telepathically."

    What does this mean, specifically? Does the character have to use their action to talk to / direct the golem?

    1. You know, I'm glad you pointed that out. This seems to be a mistake on my part; this line was largely taken from the find familiar spell, which, upon closer inspection, does not require an action for communication. I'll change this soon

    2. Totally changed to be more similar to Animate Dead. Now you command your golem with a bonus action, and it more specifically states what you can do with that command.

  6. I now want to make a tattooist bard based around this subclass.

    1. For tattoos, also consider college of calligraphy.

  7. About the only complaint I have is that you can't use a brush as your spell focus... but I suppose if you're already using it to whip people you'd need to use something else to cast spells.

    1. Huh, that's a good addition. I'd include it, but I'm afraid that the Bonus Proficiencies section is already a little crowded. 100% awesome for a house rule, though.