November 11, 2020

Master of Masks Redux

Bardic College
Comments from the Finger: The all-time favorite bard is back and better than ever!

College of Masks

Bards in the College of Masks (the masters of masks, as they have come to be called) are virtuoso performers who practice becoming the figure they portray, rather than merely imitating them. Bards who join in this college come to believe that all life is performed, rather than lived, and that to become an actor in this Great Play requires that one merely puts on the metaphorical mask of another. To engage in this great stage drama, a master of masks carries with him a number of masks, each a potent magical artifact of a specific archetypal character or creature to allow them to better enter those roles.

Bonus Proficiencies
When you join the College of Masks at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Performance skill. 

Persona Masks
Also at 3rd level, you learn to craft potent magical masks, each of which allows you to take on a different persona and gain some aspect of that archetypal character. You gain two Persona Masks of your choice. You gain an additional mask at 6th level (3 masks) and another one at 14th level (4 masks). You can exchange a mask you have for another mask whenever you gain a level in this class. If one of your masks is lost or stolen, you can remake the mask with 8 hours of work and 100 gp in materials.
You can put on a mask or switch masks as a bonus action. Only you can gain the effects of your Persona Masks.
Beginning at 6th level, some of your persona masks improve and gain additional abilities.

Hidden Persona
By 6th level, you wear the masks of others wherever you go, even when others cannot see it. You can use your bonus action to cause a mask you are wearing to become invisible or return to visibility.

Master of Many Faces
At 14th level, you have become a master of assuming the archetypes contained within the masks. You can wear two masks simultaneously, gaining the benefits of each. 

Persona Masks
The following masks are listed alphabetically. 

An alluring, serene face gazes out of this mask of flawless alabaster. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can expend one Bardic Inspiration die to deal additional radiant damage to the target equal to the number you roll on the Bardic Inspiration die plus your Charisma modifier.

This clay mask bears exaggerated wrinkles and the scowl of a cantankerous old man. You know the fire bolt cantrip, as well as the spells shown on the table below. As you gain higher levels in this class, you know additional spells while wearing the mask. These spells count as bard spells for you, but don’t count against the total number of spells you know. 

Bard Level   Spells
3rdgust of wind, scorching ray
5thlightning bolt, protection from energy
7thdimension door, ice storm
9thscrying, wall of stone

This obsidian mask grins with the fangs and horns of a handsome fiend. As a reaction when you take damage from a creature you can see within 5 feet of you, you can spend a Bardic Inspiration die to deal fire damage to the creature equal to twice the number rolled.

Painted cloth forms the scales, horns, eyes, flowing whiskers, and teeth of a multihued dragon’s head. While you wear this mask, you can use your action and expend a Bardic Inspiration die to exhale destructive energy. Each creature in a 15-foot cone must make a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC. A creature takes fire damage equal to three times the number rolled on the Bardic Inspiration die on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. 

Two perfectly round eyeholes stare out of this otherwise blank, featureless porcelain mask. While you wear this mask, can cast the spell disguise self without expending a spell slot or material components.

This porcelain mask of a grinning jester is adorned with bells, ribbons, and vibrant checkerboard paints. While you wear this mask, your movement speed increases by 10 feet. Additionally, you can take the Disengage action as a bonus action. 
Improvement. Beginning at 6th level, you can take the Dash action as a bonus action.

This grim metal helm, pockmarked and scratched, conceals the entire face. While you wear this mask, you have proficiency with martial weapons and shields.
Improvement. Beginning at 6th level, you can add your Charisma modifier to your melee weapon damage rolls. 

High Priest
In lieu of a face, this bronze mask bears the image of a holy symbol, with the bearest of slits to see out of. You know the sacred flame cantrip, as well as the spells shown on the table below. As you gain higher levels in this class, you know additional spells while wearing the mask. These spells count as bard spells for you, but don’t count against the total number of spells you know. 

Bard Level   Spells
3rdaid, lesser restoration
5thmass healing word, tongues
7thbanishment, death ward
9thgreater restoration, mass cure wounds

This gleaming silver mask bears a golden, jeweled diadem instead of eyes. When a creature rolls one of your Bardic Inspiration dice and rolls a 1 while you wear this mask, it can reroll the die and must use the new roll. 
Improvement. The creature can reroll the Bardic Inspiration die when it rolls a 1 or 2, and must use the new roll.

This white fabric mask conceals the face as a funeral shroud, with two gold coins sewn over the eyes. You become invisible if you do not speak, move, or take any actions for 1 minute. You remain invisible for up to 10 minutes, or until you remove this mask, take damage, make an attack, or cast a spell. While invisible, you can become half-visible as a ghostly image or return to invisibility as a bonus action. 
Improvement. Starting at 6th level, while invisible, you levitate an inch above the ground, which allows you to ignore difficult terrain and make no noise while moving.


  1. This is really, really cool... But with archmage + high priest, it gets a ridiculous amount of extra spells. Sure, you don't get to choose them, but you get 4 times more extra spells than College of Lore.
    And the fact you only get 1 suit of spells at a time hardly matters- only mass healing word is a bonus action.

    I can't see this breaking the game... But it's very, very powerful.

    By the way- if you cast a concentration spell and then remove the mast that gave it, RAW you can still concentrate on it, right?

    1. Currently, yes. The masks let you cast the spells so taking them off only removes the ability to cast using them.

      I'm going to have to chew on the power level of the spellcasting masks. It feels like most of that benefit comes from the Archmage mask, especially since we gave it some exploration (dimension door) and interaction (scrying, wall of stone) spells. Having a _lot_ of spells is only powerful when the spells are helping you tackle broad categories of problems, which only some of the Archmage spells do. By contrast, the restoration spells on the High Priest mask are nice, but far more situational.

    2. Maybe try having each mask has an opposite that cannot be worn with each other.

  2. For the Spirit mask: Is there a limit to this? Because it would seem you could stay invisible indefinitely if you just stay still right? 1 minute stillness, 9 minutes of sneaking, then the last minute of invisibility you stay still and get another 10 minutes?

    1. You know, I didn't consider taking your last minute of invisibility to re-up the ability. I might have to write the feature to prevent that.

      We're not 100% happy with the spirit ability, but we knew we wanted a mask to buff the stealth aspect of the class without a simple buff to Stealth checks. That said, as far as non-combat interaction goes, it's very powerful, and I'd much rather come up with a replacement. I'm open to suggestions!

  3. This is very interesting. It reminds me a lot of your Binder class in that it is very modular. One questions, for the Gladiator mask, the language seems to imply the Charisma modifier is in addition to Str or Dex, is this intentional or should it be instead of?

    1. This is intentionally an addition. It's strong, but we also figure that, without Extra Attack, you'll struggle to stay competitive

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  5. It feels weird to make a subclass focused on masks, and then almost immediately give them the ability to make the masks invisible, thus erasing their primary style difference from any other bard subclass.

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