Does arcane ward come back after a polymorph?

In the description of polymorph, it states that

The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast.

And this sage advice clarifies the meaning of “game statistics”, which are meant to also include class features.

So it seems reasonable to interpret this as to say that an abjuration wizard does not have Arcane Ward up while under the effect of a polymorph spell, since it is a class feature. But when the wizard reverses to their original form, does the Arcane Ward come back up?

By the description in the PHB, p.115, there is a relevant remark:

Once you create the ward, you can’t create it again until you finish a long rest.

which suggests that it can end by some method. So when the effect of polymorph ends, does the wizard no longer have Arcane Ward up, therefore having to wait until the next long rest to be able to raise it again, or does it return in the same situation as immediately before polymorph entered into effect?

Can an arcane trickster use a spell scroll from the wizard spell list?

Basically, we have a haste scroll, 2 warlocks, a druid, a cleric, and me, an arcane trickster.

To use the spell scroll it must be on your spell list. The arcane trickster gets his spells from the wizard spell list. Nobody else has haste on their spell list and I can’t cast 3rd level spells…yet. Potentially, I can choose haste as a spell at a higher level.

Does this count as being part of my spell list for the purpose of attempting to use the spell scroll? If so, would I cast it by making an ability check with my spell casting ability, as per the rules of casting a spell from a spell scroll that is on your spell list but is of a higher level than you can cast?

Arcane Ward and Resistance

Does the abjuration wizards arcane ward take damage before or after resistance applies?

The arcane ward ability states that

Whenever you take damage, the ward takes it instead.

Damage Resistance and Vulnerability states

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage […] The 25 damage is first reduced by 5 and then halved, so the creature takes 10 damage.’

It seems that all modifiers are thus resolved and then you take damage, at which point it’s transferred to the ward.

Is this correct?

Would these changes to the Arcane Archer be imbalanced?

The Arcane Archer seems to be pretty underwhelming, mostly because of its limited uses of the Arcane Shot feature. Would it be imbalanced to increase its number of uses per rest to match the number of Arcane Shot options known? The feature would read something like this:

Arcane Shot
At 3rd level, you learn to unleash special magical effects with some of your shots. When you gain this feature, you learn two Arcane Shot options of your choice (see "Arcane Shot Options" below).
Once per turn when you fire an arrow from a shortbow or longbow as part of the Attack action, you can apply one of your Arcane Shot options to that arrow. You decide to use the option when the arrow hits a creature, unless the option doesn’t involve an attack roll. You have two uses of this ability, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a short or long rest.
You gain an additional Arcane Shot option of your choice, as well as an addition use of the feature, when you reach certain levels in this class: 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level. Each option also improves when you become an 18th-level fighter.

Compared to other "pick X of Y" subclasses for the Fighter, Arcane Archer is the most limiting:

  • Battle Master gets 3 uses per rest, and has (after Tasha’s) 23 options, as compared to the Archer’s 2 uses per rest, and 8 options; The Battle Master can also further increase the uses by taking the Superior Technique Fighting Style or
  • Rune Knight starts with 2 uses per rest, and has only 6 options to choose from, but that number increases to 5 runes to use, which sets a precedent for an increasing number of uses as the class grows in strength.
  • Eldritch Knight starts with 3 spells known (of 14 1st level spells in the Abjuration and Evocation schools), and 2 uses, but the number of spells known and spell slots grows frequently, nearly every second level.

I think increasing the number of uses of Arcane Shot would at least bring the Arcane Archer closer to some of the more powerful Fighter subclasses, without overpowering this subclass.

The 7th level feature seems balanced, if not strong, and I don’t think needs any changing.

The 10th level feature is weak compared to other fighter 10th level abilities, so I propose adding the Close Quarters Shooting feature, from the UA Sharpshooter subclass:

Close Quarter’s Shooting
At 10th level, you learn to handle yourself in close combat. Making a ranged attack roll while within 5 feet of an enemy doesn’t impose disadvantage on your roll.
In addition, if you hit a creature within 5 feet of you with a ranged attack on your turn, that creature can’t take reactions until the end of this turn.

This feature is relatively situational, and adds a bit of defense to the repertoire of the arcane archer without forcing them to pick one shot over another. Because of the situational nature of this feature I don’t believe it would increase the strength of the class too much, but would still improve things.

The increase to number of uses of Arcane Shot does make the Ever-Ready Shot feature rather underwhelming, So is should be replaced with another feature from the UA Sharpshooter, Rapid Shot:

Rapid Shot
Starting at 15th level, you learn to trade accuracy for swift strikes. If you have advantage on a weapon attack against a target on your turn, you can forgo that advantage to immediately make an additional weapon attack against the same target as a bonus action. You may not use an Arcane Shot on this additional attack.

This matches the Samurai 15th level feature, and I don’t think adding that feature to this subclass is unfair. As it uses a bonus action, it limits the feature to once per turn, and only on the characters turn. Not allowing an Arcane Shot mostly clarifies that if you split advantage on a use of Arcane Shot, it does not make both attacks have the Arcane Shot.

The 18th level feature I don’t think needs changing, as the increased uses of the Arcane Shot improves the value of the 1d6 or 2d6 extra damage.

What are your thoughts? Is there any change that stacks aggressively in some way I’m missing? Would this be balanced with one feature out?

Do NPC spellcasters need a component pouch or an arcane focus?

By D&D 5e RAW, is it possible for the BBEG (or any NPC) to cast spells without needing material components? Alternatively, is there any powerful magic item (e.g. a ring or pendant) in the rulebooks that can allow its wielder to cast spells without needing a component pouch or an arcane focus?

In other words, is there any way I can repeal the following rule?

Casting some spells requires particular objects, specified in parentheses in the component entry. A character can use a component pouch or a spellcasting focus (found in chapter 5) in place of the components specified for a spell. … A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell’s material components—or to hold a spellcasting focus—but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components. (PHB p. 203)

Homebrew: Arcane Duelist’s Ward

I’d like some feedback on an item for a campaign that is currently at level 10.

Arcane Duelist’s Ward

As a bonus action, the bearer can speak a command word to cause two intricately inscribed stones into rise into the air for the next minute, shimmering into arcane shields. Two spinning shields of force orbit the bearer, catching their magical aura and whirring ever faster as they cast spells for the next minute.

While in use, if the bearer is attack they can spend a reaction to make an arcana check dc of the attack roll. If the user succeeds, the whirling shields halt in the precise instant to deflect the blow, suddenly impenetrable walls of force. The shields diminish and cease rotating afterwards, but pick up speed again if the user casts at least three levels worth of spells. Similarly, expending 3 levels worth of spells once the duration is complete will recharge it for use.

Intended gameplay: There is an essence of martial skill to controlling the shields. The arcana roll makes for higher highs and lower lows, and incentivizes are riskier fast spell slinging style of combat to recharge the shield. I’d love some feedback.

  • This is for a single attack, and does not persist unlike shield.
  • The dc blocked is unrelated to your current AC, it is purely arcana control.
  • The spell levels do not need to come from one spell, it is cumulative.

Considering editing:

  • arcana check dc of the attack roll (up to 25).
  • dispel magic will discharge the stones, dropping them from the air.