Alpha Test: Barbarian & Bard Subclasses

This is the first of yet another series. Today we begin showing you all first looks at the earliest drafts of our character option rules. As we revealed in our Subclass Descriptions, each class has 3 subclass options in what will be our Player’s Guide. Let’s start pulling those initial descriptions apart and see what we’re thinking about how they translate into mechanics… We look forward to your feedback.

Barbarian (Malupit)

Heroes of the ancient ways, barbarians possess a deep bond to their ancestors and to their homelands. This connection to timeless, primal forces opens up a wellspring deep within them of animalistic rage. When they choose to tap into this primordial fury, a barbarian is driven to fantastic feats of physical prowess. 

The Guided Path (Inapo)

  When a great warrior rises amongst the barangay of the wilds, they often draw the attention of the anitus of their tribe. These ancestral guardians watch over those who follow the guided path. A barbarian who has attracted such a spirit can harness its power for spells and other supernatural effects. Ultimately, they allow their anitu to possess them during rages, becoming a juggernaut of man and spirit.

Guided Path Features

Abyan Guide

Beginning when you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain an Ancestor Spirit Companion that you build using 2 Companion Points (see Spirit Companions). If you already have the maximum number of Spirit Companions allowed, either you must dismiss one of them if none of them are Ancestors, or you gain 2 Companion Points which you must spend to augment one of your Ancestor Spirit Companions. You gain an additional 2 Companion Points at 9th level, which must be spent on an Ancestor Spirit.

  Your companion helps you maintain focus in battle. You may maintain concentration on a spell that targets you (and only you) while raging.

Spellcasting

By time you reach 3rd level, your ancestors have instructed you to use their power to cast spells.

  Cantrips. You learn two cantrips of your choice from the Guided Path spell list.  You learn additional Guided Path cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Guided Path Spellcasting table.

  Spell Slots. The Guided Path Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your guided path spells. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

  For example, if you know the 1st-level spell jump and you have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level slot available, you can cast jump using either slot.

  Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher. You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the Guided Path spell list.

  The Spells Known column of the Guided Path Spellcasting table shows when you learn more guided path spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.

  Spellcasting Ability. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your guided path spells, since your magic draws on your attunement to the spiritual world. 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 guided path 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

Spiritual Fortitude

Beginning at 6th level, you have advantage on Constitution saving throws that you take in order to maintain your concentration on a spell.

  You also gain 2 Companion Points that you must spend on an Ancestor Spirit Companion.

Spiritual Knowledge

Also at 6th level, you gain proficiency with the Spirit Lore and History skills.

Ancestral Prowess

At 10th level, you gain one additional feat of your choice for which you meet the prerequisites.

Ancestral Ascendancy

Beginning at 14th level, you may have your anitu companion possess your body when you rage. When you do, your physical appearance changes to adopt aspects of the spirit. When you gain this feature, choose two of the following attributes that you gain when you rage:

  Elemental. You are made of natural elements. Choose one of the following damage types – acid, cold, fire, lightning, necrotic, poison, radiant, or thunder. Your melee attack damage has this type. You gain immunity of that type.

  Bestial. You take on the aspect of a wild animal. You gain a climbing or swimming speed equal to your walking speed. You gain Darkvision. You gain proficiency in the Athletics skill and have advantage when making Athletic checks.

  Four-Armed. You grow two extra arms. You can use two-weapon fighting even if the one-handed weapons you are using are not light. You gain two additional attacks that can only be used to make unarmed strikes or to make a grapple attack. You have advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made during grapple attacks.

  Brute. You grow to have a hulking presence. Your Strength and Constitution modifiers are doubled. You gain temporary hit points equal to your barbarian level + your Constitution modifier.   

  Zephyr. You take flight. You gain a flying speed of 30 feet. You have advantage on Dexterity checks and Dexterity saving throws.

  Armored. Spiritual energy coalesces into armor around you. You gain a bonus to your armor class equal to your Wisdom modifier. You gain advantage on all saving throws. You are not considered to be wearing armor due to this attribute.

The Path of the Moon-Eaters (Laho)

  There is no life without death. No joy without pain. There are barbarians who choose to become forces of destruction in the world. Many believe that in order for the mortal realm to thrive, balance must be maintained between civilization and the wilderness. Others just want to burn the world. Regardless of their motivations, those that choose to emulate the fabled “moon-eater” epic beasts, this path leaves a wake of debris. In their presence, the intricate skeins of magic unravel and the best laid strategies fall to chaos.

Path of the Moon-Eaters Features

Smash!

Beginning when you choose this path at 3rd level, you have advantage on Strength checks to break objects and on attack rolls against objects and constructs. 

Drain Vitality

Starting at 3rd level, as part of the bonus action to enter your rage, choose a creature that you can see within 30 feet of you, that creature gains a level of exhaustion. You may not use this ability again until you complete a short or long rest. At 9th level, you may choose a second creature when you use this feature.

Unravel Magic

Starting at 6th level, while you are raging, any creature that attempts to target you with a spell or that includes you within its area of effect (such as with a cone or sphere) must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or the spell has no effect. The creature does not expend a spell slot.

Sundering Blow

Starting at 10th level, while you are raging, you may use your action to make an attack roll with a melee weapon. If this attack is successful, you have advantage on the damage roll and the target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier) or become stunned until the end of your next turn. If the attack is successful, your rage ends.

Shred Weave

Starting at 14th level, you may enter a baleful state that frays the magical essence around you. When you rage, you may gain the effects as though you have cast Antimagic Field. These effects end when your rage ends. When this rage ends, you gain a level of exhaustion. You may not use this ability again until you complete a long rest.

Path of the Headtaker (Kalinga)

 For many of the Bukana tribes, their traditional ways of life are being eroded by the visitors that swarm their islands. Not so for those barbarians that walk the path of the headtaker. Whether they collect the actual heads of their enemies or bind their souls to effigies, the Kalinga as they are called, practice the old rituals of vengeance that maintain their ancestral heritage and bring glory to their people.

Path of the Headtaker Features

Soul Points

Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you gain a number of Soul Points equal to your barbarian level which increase as you gain levels. Soul Points represent the portion of your enemies’ souls that you have captured when you ritualistically take their heads or bind them to your head effigies. You regain all spent Soul Points after a long rest or after you have captured the soul of a new worthy enemy, as determined by the GM. You can never have more Soul Points than your barbarian level. You may expend one or more Soul Points in a number of ways as shown in the following table. You gain additional uses for Soul Points as you advance in barbarian levels.

Soul Point (SP) Uses

LevelSPEffect
31As a bonus action, gain proficiency with a skill of your choice for 1 minute.
31As a bonus action, Add your Rage Damage to a successful attack when not raging.
33As a bonus action, Gain advantage on Strength checks & Strength saving throws for 1 minute when not raging.
66Use your action to gain the benefit of the Guidance cantrip which must target yourself.
66As a bonus action, if you are raging, up to 3 creatures within 30 feet of you gain a bonus to melee damage rolls equal to your Rage Damage. This effect ends when your rage ends.
1010As a bonus action, you enter a rage. This does not use one of your uses of rage.

Harvested Knowledge

Also at 3rd level and again at 10th level, you gain proficiency with a skill or tool of your choice, and you can speak, read, and write one additional language of your choice. At 9th level, you may choose an additional skill, tool, or language.

Feared & Fearless

At 6th level, your demeanor and trophies mark you as a fearsome opponent. You have advantage when making a Charisma (Intimidation) check. 

  Other characters have disadvantage when making Charisma (Intimidation) checks against you.

  You may use your Strength modifier on Intimidation checks instead of your Charisma modifier.

Accumulated Prowess

At 6th level, you gain one additional feat of your choice for which you meet the prerequisites.

Grim Harvester

Starting at 10th level, when you reduce an opponent to zero hit points, choose a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see. As a bonus action you may immediately move a distance up to your speed and must end this movement closer to that creature. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. If you are raging, then you must end your movement within melee weapon range of that creature if able, but that creature then has disadvantage on attacks targeting you until the beginning of your next turn.

Wrathful Warcry

Beginning at 14th level, you may use your action to let loose a terrifying scream. When you do so, choose a number of creatures that you can see within 30 feet of you equal to the number shown for your barbarian level in the Rages column of the Barbarian table. All creatures that were chosen that are within 30 feet of you and can see or hear you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or be frightened of you until the end of your next turn.

Bard (Tagapalabas)

All of the people of Bukana have a rich oral tradition that is handed down through the generations. Even now that most tribes have adopted written languages, much folk knowledge is passed on by storytellers, poets, and through ritual songs. These performers seamlessly blend their art with the story of their people. With the arrival of foreign cultures and religions, many colleges and libraries have been established in some urban centers, but most bards in the islands rely more on loose societies of like-minded artists to exchange stories and find mentors.

College of Storytelling (Paratawag)

Traveling storytellers have always been a part of every Bukanese human culture for millennia. Even as baybayin script was being learned through communion with the spirit world, the oral tradition was still the most common way to tell stories, pass on information, and entertain folk across the islands. The arrival of a wandering paratawag is cause for a barangay to gather, learn, and interact. These storytellers are masters of the spoken word and through it, have become adept at learning about and acclimating to the widely disparate cultures throughout Bukana.

College of Storytelling Features

Linguist

When you choose the Storyteller tradition at 3rd level, you learn to speak two new languages. Note that you cannot read or write these languages, as you have learned them through spoken conversation only. 

  Additionally, when you make a Linguistic or Culture skill check to acclimate to a new culture, you may add your Charisma modifier in addition to the usual ability modifier.

Heroic Inspiration

Also at 3rd level, your inspiration becomes more powerful. Your Bardic Inspiration die (as determined by your bard level) increases by one size. Therefore, if your level indicates that you would have a d6, you would instead have a d8. Similarly, a d8 becomes a d10, a d10 becomes a d12. However, a d12 becomes 2d8 (instead of a d20).

Traveler’s Prowess

At 6th level, you gain a feat for which you meet the prerequisites.

Group Inspiration

At 14th level, when you use your Bardic Inspiration feature, you may choose more than one creature to gain a Bardic Inspiration die. For each creature chosen beyond the first, you reduce the size of the die by one. For instance, if your die is a d12 and you choose a second creature, each would get a d10. If a third creature was chosen, each would get a d8. Once your die is reduced to a d4, no more creatures may be chosen.

College of Fools (Panakawans)

It is common in the heroic tales of certain cultures in the Bukana islands to include servants, apprentices, or sidekicks for the main heroic character. Often used for comedic relief and to make the hero seem even more adept, these “fools” are popular characters with audiences. It is this tradition that has led to the creation of the so-called “College of Fools,” the tongue-in-cheek title of a fellowship of jesters. Panakawans serve many roles, they are performers like most bards, but focus their tales on their chosen heroes and comrades, thereby increasing their renown. In combat, they trick their opponents into underestimating them while providing advantages to their fellows

College of Fools Features

Sidekick

At 3rd level when you choose the College of Fools, you may select one creature to be your Hero. This creature does not need to be willing (and often isn’t). You may choose to replace your Hero with a new creature whenever you gain a bard level, or when your current hero dies. 

  When your Hero rolls a Bardic Inspiration die from you, they may roll two dice of that type and choose which value to add to the roll.

Taunt

Also at 3rd level, you learn to frustrate an opponent into making rash decisions. By expending a use of Bardic Inspiration, you may force a target creature that you can see and that can see or hear you to attack you at its next opportunity, moving to do so if necessary. The creature has disadvantage on attack and damage rolls made against you until your next turn. The creature will not put itself into obvious harm, nor will it choose to provoke Opportunity Attacks. It may drop or stow a melee weapon in order to make a ranged attack. The GM is the final arbiter of what the creature does and does not do to attack you. Once the creature has made an attack roll against you, it can act normally.

  If the chosen creature cannot affect you physically or cannot attack you for any reason, then this feature immediately ends. A creature may only be affected by a single use of this feature; if it is affected by a second use, the effects of the first use end.

Envigoring Sidekick

At 6th level, when your hero benefits from your Sidekick feature, if they choose the lower value (or either if they are tied), they immediately heal that many Hit Points in addition to adding the value to their roll normally.

Stumbling Taunt

Also at 6th level, when a creature that is affected by your Taunt feature misses you with an attack, it becomes Prone.

Valued Sidekick

At 14th level, when your Hero rolls the two dice gained by your Sidekick feature, you heal a number of Hit Points equal to the value of the die not chosen.

Mass Taunt

When you use your Taunt feature, you may affect a number of creatures equal to your Charisma modifier

College of Sirens (Manunukso)

The bards of this college emulate the myriad tales of engkanto and sirens luring poor fools astray. These mesmerizing minstrels are certainly touched by the Feywild and are able to sway the hearts and minds of those who are enraptured by their songs. Such enchanters can be found hypnotizing patrons of a tea house, manipulating bands of weak-minded bandits, or luring the unwary into their clutches. 

College of Sirens Features

Fey Secrets

At 3rd level, when you choose the Silver Road, you may learn a cantrip from any class, including this one.

    The chosen spell counts as a bard spell for you and is included in the number in the Spells Known column of the Bard table. 

Skilled Performer

Also at 3rd level, your performances become sublime. You have advantage on all Performance skill checks.

Otherworldly Prowess

At 6th level, you gain a feat for which you meet the prerequisites.

Enchanter

Also at 6th level, as a bonus action, when you cast an enchantment spell, you may expend a use of Bardic Inspiration to give all target creatures disadvantage on any saving throw that the spell causes them to take.

Siren’s Call

At 14th level, you may use your action to expend a use of Bardic Inspiration to target a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see and that can hear and see you. That creature must make a Charisma saving throw against a DC of 10 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. If the save fails, they become Charmed by you as long as you maintain concentration. 

  You may only have one creature Charmed by this feature at a time. If you use this feature while you already have another creature charmed, the first creature is no longer charmed.

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