June 9, 2018

Grand Couturier

Martial Archetype
Notes from the Nails: and now for something that needs no introduction... 

Grand Couturier

The warriors who call themselves 'couturiers' are a colorful and creative lot, placing a heavy emphasis on fashion, beauty and style. They go to extreme lengths to design for themselves the most impressive clothes imaginable, believing that there is no point to anything if you do not look fabulous while doing it.
     In battle, they employ fantastical weapons to cut their enemies down to size, turning their dressmaking skills to violent ends. Couturiers are quick to violence, being naturally expressive and passionate sorts, which means they often come into conflict with those who would try to keep the peace - especially those who do so in dull, ugly uniforms.

Bonus Proficiency
Starting at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with tailor's tools, which allow you to make and modify fabric-based items such as clothing, bags or dolls. Furthermore, you can add twice your proficiency bonus to any ability checks relating to clothes, fashion, or dressmaking.

Dressmaker's Cut
Also at 3rd level, your ability to cut things is sharpened to an incredible degree. When you use a weapon to deal slashing damage, that damage counts as magical and ignores resistance to slashing damage. In addition, whenever you use your action to attack with a one-handed slashing weapon and your other hand is empty, you can use your bonus action to make another attack, stabbing a target with needles and pins. This attack is treated as a melee weapon in which you are proficient, its damage die is a d4 and it deals piercing damage.

Rapid Suturing
Starting at 7th level, you can use your Second Wind on any willing creature within 5 feet of you, allowing them to regain the hit points instead of you.

Mental Refitting
At 10th level, you learn to sever the strings of any puppeteer that tries to control you. You can use an action to end one condition that is causing you to be charmed or frightened. Once per short rest, if a creature you can see within 60 feet would be subjected to either of those conditions, you can use your reaction to extend this benefit to them for 1 minute.

Dye It Red
At 15th level, you are so sick of your clothes being ruined by bloodstains that you decide to give up and enjoy the bloodletting. Once per turn, you can deal an additional 1d6 damage when you hit a creature that doesn't have all of its hit points with a melee weapon attack that deals slashing damage.

Fiber-Reinforced Body
At 18th level, you sew high-strength fibers into your skin, granting you immunity to critical hits and resistance to slashing damage.

New Equipment

The grand couturiers are famous for their bizarre and outlandish weapons. Always developing new ways of combating their foes, they have proven beyond doubt that creativity can be deadly.

Martial Melee Weapons
Drastic Measure4 gp1d6 slashing2 lb.Reach
Scissor Blade20 gp1d10 slashing3 lb.Heavy, massive, versatile (1d12)
Seam Ripper2 gp1 slashing1 lb.Finesse, ripper
Martial Ranged Weapons
Needle Gun100 gp1 piercing5 lb.Ammunition (range 30/120), light, rapid fire (4 shots), reload (32 needles)

Weapon Properties
These weapons have the following new properties:
     Massive. This weapon is incredibly large and heavy. When a creature wields this weapon, it reduces the number of attacks that creature can make with the Attack action by one, to a minimum of one. 
     Rapid Fire. This weapon can fire multiple shots in quick succession. For each normal attack you make with this weapon, make the number of shots shown in brackets. For example, if you have the Extra Attack ability and use an action to fire a weapon with the Rapid Fire (2 shots) trait, you make a total of 4 shots, using 4 pieces of ammunition. Each set of 2 shots must be targeted at the same creature, and you can only add your Dexterity modifier to the damage on the first shot of each attack.
     Ripper. This weapon damages the armor of any creature it hits. Creatures wearing nonmagical artificial armor have their AC reduced by 1 every time they are hit by this weapon. If this would reduce their AC to the level it would be without armor, the armor is permanently destroyed. Armor damaged in this way can be repaired with 10 minutes of work, which can be performed over a short or long rest.

Magic Items
The enchanted items carried by legendary grand courtiers might appear to be little more than tailor's tools, but they're absolutely deadly in a courtier's hands.

Acupuncture Needles
Weapon (ammunition), uncommon
These magical blowgun needles disrupt the harmony of the target's body rhythms. This magic ammunition has a +1 bonus to damage rolls against any target which has ki points. Additionally, a target with ki points loses 1 of them when hit by a needle.
Bolt of Starching
Weapon (ammunition), common
These magical crossbow bolts cause any clothing they hit to become stiff and uncomfortable, slowing the wearer. A target that is wearing clothes that is hit by one of these bolts has its base speed reduced by 10 feet until it uses an action to smooth out its clothing.

Goku Uniform, 1-, 2- or 3-Star
Wondrous item (soldier's uniform), rare (1-star), very rare (2-star) or legendary (3-star) (requires attunement)
This expertly-tailored uniform grants you an AC of 14 + your Dexterity modifier (to a maximum of 2) + a magical bonus equal to its number of stars, and it can be donned or doffed as an action. Furthermore, you can add the bonus to any Athletics checks you make while wearing the uniform.

Rending Scissors
Weapon (scissor blade), rare
This pair of magical scissors must be wielded with both hands, but grants a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls. When you roll a 20 on your attack roll with this weapon against a target that is wearing nonmagical clothing or artificial armor, one item of clothing or piece of armor of your choice can be cut apart, rendering it useless until it can be repaired.

Changelog: 06/09/18: Dressmaker's Cut: Proficiency clarification
Goku Uniform: Updated to newest version
Needle Gun: Rapid fire increased to 4, short range reduced to 30, ammo capacity increased to 32, gp cost increased to 100
Rapid Fire: Adds Dex to damage only once per attack
Scissor Blade: Now Massive
Dye it Red: Once/turn
Mental Refitting: Costs an action
Seam Ripper and Rending Scissors do not work on magical gear.


  1. Yes, the Goku Uniform is a reprint from, like, a few days ago. I thought it was a necessary inclusion here as well.

  2. Do you have proficiency with the needle attack in Dressmakers Cut?

    1. I guess I thought that was too obvious to say? Of course you're proficient.

  3. Do you add your ability modifier to the damage of each needle you fire with the needle gun?
    Is each needle a separate attack roll?

    1. The intent (and I believe, RAW) is yes to both (unless you rule it as a firearm I suppose). I did do some maths on that, way back when...

      It does look strong for people with 18 or 20 Dex, but that's a pretty niche market and bards & rogues aren't proficient. It also loses out massively on crit damage, and you'd need to carry loads of ammo.

      I'm open to suggestions if people think it needs tweaking.

    2. I could build a fighter around this weapon. Starting with 18 Dex, scaling up to 20 by level 12. Sure, I have to carry massive amounts of needles, but each round I'm making 9 attacks (18 with action surge, possibly more if I have something that lets me attack with the weapon as a bonus action). Each of those attacks is dealing 6 damage, and I can poison all of the needles, and/or enchant them on top of that.
      That's a lot of damage, very consistently, without having to worry about crits because the extra benefit isn't very much.

    3. Not saying it's bad, necessarily, because the monetary cost is definitely a balancing factor. Just making sure you're aware of how far it can be pushed.

    4. Maybe I'll just cut it down to 2 shots. That would have less potential for abuse.

    5. It could be 2 shots of 1d4 or 1d3 and adding the ability score modifier only to the damage of the first attack. That would also help balancing possible higher-rapid-fire-rate weapons.

    6. I'd rather keep the needles as 1 damage, like the blowgun. They're only little pins, after all.

      But you have a point about making other rapid fire weapons in future. I could see only adding Dex to damage on the first attack, since the recoil throws off your aim after that.

      So, what about 4 shots of d1 with only one getting +Dex? That's 9 damage per attack and a high level fighter has to reload every other round. Yeah, I'm going with that.

  4. Can't see how this is able to compare with pretty much any of the other Martial archetypes. The exception being the Nail Gun which would be completely nuts if you manage to get hold of something that scales off of hits, such as Hex, Hunter's Mark or similar. Hell, just picking up Sharpshooter with that is crazy powerful.

    1. Yeah, I'm going to tone down the needle gun.

      Am I over-rating the d4 bonus action attack? People seemed to think that was a real game-changer last time I proposed this. And Dye it Red adds significant at-will offensive power; easily the equal of what champions and battle masters can do.

    2. Considering there are other routes that give you a full damage bonus action attack, a single d4 doesn't really seem that cool to me, especially if you can't poison the pins and needles attack as it isn't technically a weapon.

    3. I agree, the D4 bonus action attack is weak. and because Dye it Red requires slashing not piercing it doesn't synergise well later though. However, it is a very flavourful ability, which seems like it would be fun to use. The only real question for me is how to make it compare with simply going dual wielder or carrying a shield.

    4. How about adding something like "A creature that takes any damage from this attack has [effect happen to them]."
      Effect could be a speed reduction, could be disadvantage on an attack roll, could be an AC reduction, or it could inflict a condition on them.
      I'm a fan of "A creature that takes any damage from this attack has disadvantage on the first attack roll it makes before the beginning of your next turn."

  5. Nails, I love many of your ideas, but some of them are really unbalanced.

    Dye it Red seems too powerful- as a fighter you're attacking 3 times per turn at that level, 6 with Action Surge. Even if this would add 1d4 instead it would still be very good (compare to champion's 15th lvl ability, which adds ~10 damage 5% of the time, for an average of +0.5 damage per attack).

    Also, I don't understand the fluff of mental refitting, and immunity seems a bit much. Advantage seems like enough.

    The weapons don't seem balanced at all either- Scissor blade is the only one-handed weapon that deals a d10, ripper would be powerful for a magic weapon and seems way too good for a 2gp weapon, and the needle gun in the hands of someone with +5 dex would be much better than any other ranged weapon (1+1+5+5=12, longbow is 4.5+5=9.5).

    Bolt of starching is cool, but should not stack -three hits would reduce an average creature's speed to 0.

    Rending scissors should probably not work on magical armor.

    1. In my defense, I wrote this over two years ago.

      I can agree with a most of your points. Bolt of starching shouldn't stack, but then, I think that's what the RAW says anyway. Rending scissors shouldn't work on magical armour; I'll add a note to that effect. I can see how Mental Refitting might not make sense if you hadn't seen the anime, but I don't think immunity is too much. Devotion paladins can do the same at level 10, and monks can shrug off charm and fear from level 7.

      For the weapons, maybe Heavy isn't enough to balance the scissor blade. What if I gave it the Massive property from exotic arms and armour? For the Ripper property, I figured it wasn't worth more than two steps on the damage die, since most monsters don't wear armour. Perhaps that's too generous though. What if I dropped the damage to 1? Or 0, even, like the net?

      I'm thinking I'll reduce the range and clip size on the needle gun, and increase the gp cost. It's basically the same damage as a heavy crossbow at 18 Dex now, so I'm not too concerned about it any more.

      I'm starting to think you might be right about Dye it Red, as well. I want to be roughly equal in power to Combat Superiority, and I probably need to limit it to once/turn to achieve that. I think I must have been in ranger mode back when I originally wrote this...

    2. I like this i like this one alot.

    3. All these changes look much better.

      I forgot about Devotion paladin. Damn, I keep being surprised by how powerful paladins are in 5e.

  6. Question: if using the drastic measure, a one-handed slashing weapon, can you still use dressmaker's cut, even though the drastic measure has reach?

    1. Dressmaker's cut doesn't have reach, so you probably have to be adjacent to a target to use it.

    2. Yeah, the bonus action doesn't have reach.