When I became the editor for EN5ider my first objective (aside from keeping the high level of quality D&D 5E articles coming!) was a new suite of classes to follow up on the original A Touch of Class. In this series I’m going to explore the 9 new entries in A Touch More Class, reveal some of the development process behind them, and consider the obstacles in getting these from ideas to fully finished concepts. Get a quick fix on them all here and sign up for the mailing list so you know when the Kickstarter launches next month!
Today we’re getting into one of my thematic favorites designed by an excellent new freelancer named Andrew Engelbrite (of the LootTheBoss crew). He very rapidly became one of my go-to designers and regularly appears in EN5ider (as well as my own books–he’s got a sidequest in Trade War and two Mists of Akuma adventures on the way besides). I’m a big fan and THE FATEBENDER is one reason why! As an old D&D 3.0 auspician player, love for characters like Domino or Longshot from the X-Men, and using Luck in d20 games for years now I had extremely exacting standards for this concept–and Andrew hit it out of the park!
As the name implies this class is all about manipulating luck and Andrew did a wonderful job of balancing that incredibly useful feature while keeping it fun up into high-level play. On top of that the subclasses are all awesome: mascots (lucky and favoring 20s), jinxes (spreading misfortune and favoring 1s), and the weavers (who have their magic number change daily!).
- Fate Pool This is the crux around which the class really works well. It’s a small pool (Charisma modifier plus a slow scaling that tops out at 8, so maximum 13 at 17th level) but it recharges on a short or long rest, and more importantly depending on your destined prospect (mascot, jinx, or weaver) they get a little recharge kick when your magic number is rolled (20, 1, or randomly determined daily).
- Rerolls and Circumstances The first two basic features using the Fate Pool are Fatebend (1 fate point to reroll or force a reroll) and Chaos Theory. The former is pretty standard (like the Lucky feat) but the latter is going to differ from GM to GM–for 2 fate points the unlikely becomes likely. For example, a wandering cat might distract guards, a cask of ale breaks unexpectedly, a winning hand of cards is drawn, and so on. This is what I’ve been using the Luck attribute for in my games for years and cannot recommend it strongly enough!
- Agile Warrior I mentioned I love me some Domino and Longshot, right? Like the Gemini class, fatebenders are about being difficult to hit and get a little bit of that elusive design seen in the monk and rogue. They can spend a fate point to reduce an attack’s weapon damage by 1d6+fatebender level, get a third attack at 14th level, once a turn reroll a weapon’s damage dice, and (eventually) can dodge like nobody’s business.
- High-Level Death Saves In the end-game the fatebender makes dying a harder process for every ally nearby, upping the number of bad death saves needed to die (and the chances of folks rolling a natural 20 and popping back up).
- Destined Prospects I’ve already gushed about these but they really are tops and bear mentioning again! 😀
DESIGN HURDLE: Balancing & Multiclassing
Andrew and I went back and forth on the main resource for balancing this class–that darned fate pool. My big worry was making the fatebender too irresistible for multiclassing because Fatebend is basically a superior version of a feat which there’s no access to normally until 4th level. What guided us (aside from playtesting of course) was the bard; if you’re rocking a high Charisma it’s a good deal either way, but (maximum) 4 rerolls/short rest plus some armor/weapon proficiencies is noooot quite the sterling offering it first seems when compared to (maximum) 4d6/long rest plus 2 unlimited cantrips, 2 spell slots (choosing out of 4 spells, if they aren’t being used for smites anyway), and a skill proficiency. Looking at it from a few other directions (barbarian) it’s a swap for Constitution modded AC and Raging 2/long rest, druids or paladins initially take a little wash, fighters get more dependable features but not necessarily with as good returns–given that luck is the whole shtick it plays on a level field with its main competition (bards) and I’m pleased with it.
If this sounds awesome to you then please check out the A Touch More Class Kickstarter and if you can’t wait for the PDF/book (which deliver as soon as the project funding period ends) consider joining the EN5ider Patreon! It can be as affordable as $1 a month and as soon as you join you get instant access to Fatebender Basic, Fatebender Advanced, and the rest of the 270+ article archive!