Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Roguish Archetype: The Jester [ROUGH DRAFT]

It's not a warlock! It's not even a paladin!

It's a rogue! Or, really, it's a Jester.

The Jester was a fan-favorite of 3.5, a comical magical rogue who utilized tricks, arcane know-how, and grease paint to entertain, beguile, and frequently annoy both friends and foes alike.

There was some hullabaloo from people involved with 5e about the Jester early on in its production run, and seeing it as a genuine subclass in the core rules seemed like a possibility. Sadly, though, this was not in the cards, which brings us to this offering, here and now.


  • Charisma-based spellcasting similar to the inherent magic some races get. No spell slots here, just spells that you can cast once per short rest. 
  • Being clumsy to escape damage: it's not a bug, it's a feature.
  • Burns so sick they hurt your enemies' brains. 
  • Face-paint and high-level death avoidance.
  • Roguish Archetype design schema is kinda weird. Most archetypes (including the new Mastermind) follow a two-combat / three-utility delineation of class features, regardless of the level those features are awarded at. However, Swashbuckler and Arcane Trickster break this hard, themselves having only one utility and four combat powers. In the end, I shrugged my shoulders, said "meh," and attempted to have almost every feature in this archetype have both a utility and a combat purpose. 
  • Multiclassing with this is inherently weird. Unlike the 1/3 caster options like Arcane Trickster, this has no spell slots, and the spells are cast entirely as a function of class features. Therefore I'd consider this not even a fraction of a caster option when determining multiclass spell slots - it's zero caster. 
  • Arcane Buffoonery and Jesting Magician give more spells than you'd normally have at your equivalent level of Arcane Trickster - however, you have no choice in which spells you receive, and ultimately get less spells overall. 
  • I considered allowing vicious mockery to synergize with sneak attack, because that'd make some amount of thematic sense, but decided against it on the grounds that it might break the game in unexpected ways. So: would it?

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