About Familiar Archetype Sage and Sage’s Knowledge?


Sage’s Knowledge (Ex)

A sage stores information on every topic and is happy to lecture its master on the finer points. A sage can attempt all Knowledge checks untrained and receives a bonus on all Knowledge checks equal to 1/2 its level. Additionally, a sage gains 2 skill ranks at each level.

Does the "2 skill ranks at each level" mean 2 skills ranks to add to a singular skill, all skills, to a class skill, all class skills, a X-class skill, or all x-class skill?

Would these adjustments to the ranger archetype Beast Master help the animal companion be more useful?

I recently playtested a Beast Master ranger from level 1 to level 20 (I was playtesting a new homebrew archetype, which was my primary reason for doing so; the Beast Master ranger was just one of the other party members), but there were a few things I noticed regarding the relative power of the beast companion itself. For reference, the beast I went with was a wolf, which is probably a fairly standard choice.

Issues

Now, I know that Beast Master rangers are infamously weak, but I still wanted to see if I could try to improve what I felt were some of its weakest points during my playtesting. I was already using the popular houserule of letting the ranger tell the beast to attack using a bonus action instead of an action, but the other things that bothered me were:

  • Relatively low HP (as the first linked Q&A points out), although this was more of a problem during Tier 1/2, less so during Tier 3/4, at least during my playtesting;
  • Hardly any hit die, which is related to the above problem, since I remember having to spend a lot of healing resources to keep bringing the wolf’s health back up to full/close to full;
  • The DC for resisting the knocked prone secondary effect from the wolf’s Bite attack remains pathetically low at DC 11 for the whole game.
  • The lack of any saving throw proficiencies really screwed the wolf over during the big finale where it died to a meteor swarm, but with a decent DEX saving throw bonus, it would probably have made it.
  • I was sometimes hesitant to use the wolf, because it was dropped to 0 HP a few times at lower levels, unless I knew it would probably land the killing blow or could avoid an opportunity attack or otherwise being hit.

I will point out that at higher levels, the AC was fairly decent (for a wolf), and the HP wasn’t as bad as it was at earlier levels, and I was impressed with the damage output thanks to attack rolls and damage scaling with the ranger’s proficiency bonus. Its Stealth and Perception skill bonuses were also impressive. These things I don’t feel the need to change.

Changes

Here are the changes I propose, somewhat inspired by the UA Sidekick rules:

  • You get a new hit die whenever you take another level in ranger, so at level 3 your wolf starts off with two hit die, but at level 4 they would have three hit die … by level 20 they have 19 hit die. I doubt this would make their max HP better than four times the ranger level, so it would only really be for the purposes of short resting.

  • To improve the max HP a little, maybe something as simple as adding the beast’s CON modifier to that, so it’s now:

    \begin{align} \text{ (ranger level + beasts’s CON modifier)} \times 4 \end{align}

    This way, the animal’s toughness is also taken into an account; I feel like the wolf having 5 instead of 4 more HP each level would have been just enough to help, combined with more hie die to heal, but also from a flavour perspective, I feel like choosing a boar should end up tougher than a hawk, whereas RAW, they would both have the same HP. I would however, keep the minimum HP gained per level to 4, in case the beast somehow has a negative CON modifier, since I think taking HP away from the beast would be cruel, given how underpowered this whole archetype is.

  • Any DCs it has, such as the wolf’s ability to knock people prone, should scale with your proficiency bonus, like this AC and attack/damage rolls do, so rather than a measly 11, at level 3-4 it would be 13, and at level 5, it would be 14 … ending up at 18 at level 17+.

  • Unless it already has a "physical" saving throw proficiency (meaning STR, DEX or CON), it gains one of your choice at level 3, which of course would just mean a +2 (because that’s every valid animal companions’s proficiency bonus) but that also has your proficiency bonus added to it, like AC, etc. This would have certainly helped when it was hit by meteor swarm during our final level 20 showdown, it might have actually survived (even with its RAW hit points) had it made that DEX saving throw.

  • Finally, since I’m letting the beast be commanded as a bonus action, the first half of the 7th level ranger feature Exceptional Training is kinda wasted, so I was considering changing that to not only make the beast’s attacks magical, but also to effectively give the beast a rogue’s Cunning Action, which it can use if you command it to using the same bonus action you used to command it to attack (or do something else with its action). In short, you use one bonus action to tell it what to do with its turn, and it can now effectively use its action and bonus action to do something useful.

Question

Do the above changes seem reasonable, and do you foresee any balance issues coming from my proposed changes? My intention is for the Beast Master’s beast in particular to become more useful and survivable, without increasing its damage output (since I was happy with that), but not making it more powerful than I intended by overlooking something. I suppose also double checking whether there’s a problem with making some animals tougher than others based on their CON; does this unfairly favour tougher animals to the point where that’s a balance issue in and of itself?

Rogue sorcerer archetype

I am not sure I understand how this works. I have a rogue that gets the sorcerer archetype via the Ancient Elf heritage (Lost Omens Character Guide).

Because of the heritage, he automatically gets the ‘Sorcerer Dedication’ archetype feat. That feat gives him two cantrips (he chose occult).

So as he gains levels he gets nothing more until he takes another sorcerer archetype feat, right?

If he later chooses ‘Basic Sorcerer Spellcasting’, he gets a first level slot, picks up a 2nd level spell at 6th character level, and a 3rd at 8th character level. Right?

So, if he only chooses those two feats, at level 20 he gets 2 cantrips, 1- 1st, 1- 2nd, and 1- 3rd level spell? Only 5 spells?

I get that it shouldn’t be as good as a primary sorcerer, but a sorcerer main gets 5 cantrips and 3 first level spells. At 20th level, a sorcerer main gets 42 spells, but our guy only gets 5.

Do I have that right?

Do pact archetype wizards have full curse progression?

I’m pretty sure that I can’t be reading this right, but the pact wizard archetype from 5th level says you gain an oracle curse and you count your oracle level as half your wizard level. Looking up the oracle’s curses it says that the curse has a level equal to your oracle level plus 1/2 your level in any other classes. To me this means that at say 10th level you count your oracle level as 5th, no problem there, but the description under the curse suggests that you have 10 class levels which would give an additional 5 curse levels. Did they really mean for the pact wizard to get full curse progression? I can’t find anything about it.

Curses do apparently progress without level of oracle, was this just supposed to indicate a more serious advance than just a 1 level dip in oracle could expect?

Is this homebrew roguish archetype Shadowdancer balanced compared to the other archetypes? [Version 2]

This is a follow up to my previous question: Is this homebrew roguish archetype Shadowdancer balanced compared to the other archetypes?

In short, I want to convert the 3.5e prestige class Shadowdancer into a 5e roguish archetype. I made an attempt in that previous question linked above, but there were some balance issues as pointed out by the accepted answer. I have made some revisions and wish to get another evaluation from the community.

As before, the parts in nested quotation format in italics are my design commentary.

Roguish Archetype: Shadowdancer

Operating in the border between light and darkness, shadowdancers are nimble artists of deception. They are mysterious and unknown, never completely trusted but always inducing wonder when met. Despite their link with shadows and trickery, shadowdancers are as often good as evil.

Flavour text taken from here (since NWN2 is where my knowledge of 3.5e primarily comes from anyway, so I might as well borrow their flavour text).

Summon Shadow. At 3rd level, you can summon a shadow, an undead shade. As an action, you summon a shadow, which uses the statistics from the Monster Manual, but its alignment matches yours and it cannot raise new shadows via Strength Drain. The shadow lasts until it is dropped to 0 hit points, at which point it disappears. If you summon another shadow whilst you already have a shadow summoned, the first one disappears. You can use this feature again once you finish a long rest.

I have decided to move Summon Shadow to 3rd level. It now uses the stats of a CR 1/2 shadow rather than a CR 5 wraith, but cannot raise new shadows, just like how I removed Raise Spectre from my wraith in version 1. My concern here is that Strength Drain might still be rather strong, given that it reduces the target’s Strength rather than just dealing damage; would removing the Strength reduction help to balance this? Another concern is that the shadow, as written currently, remains indefinitely, although I did at least ensure you can’t have more than one. Should it have a time limit?

Shadow Sight. At 3rd level, you gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision from your race, its range increases by 30 feet.

I still think this makes sense at 3rd level, similar to a Gloom Stalker Ranger gaining (or improving) darkvision at 3rd level. This has not been changed since version 1.

Shadow Illusion. At 3rd level, you can create visual illusions from shadows. You can cast silent image once per long rest.

I have chosen to move Shadow Illusion to 3rd level, because it did seem odd before that my archetype gained two things at 13th level. Also, my hope is that gaining it at 3rd level will counterbalance the weakness of the trait, especially since this archetype is now getting three things at 3rd level. I did consider increasing the number of uses, say 3 times per long rest or something, but I didn’t want to front load this archetype more than it already is now.

Shadow Jump. At 9th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of the turn.

This is unchanged since version 1, I’m still happy with this. It’s the same as a Way of Shadows monk, except the Shadowdancer has to wait for three more levels before they get it.

Shadowy Dodge. Starting at 13th level, you can dodge in unforeseen ways, with wisps of supernatural shadow around you. Whenever a creature makes an attack roll against you and doesn’t have advantage on the roll, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on it. You must use this feature before you know the outcome of the attack roll.

Taken directly from the Gloom Stalker ranger. I’m still happy with this from version 1, although now it’s all you get at 13th level rather than getting it alongside Shadow Illusion. Since it competes with Uncanny Dodge for the rogue’s reaction, I don’t see it as being too strong, especially since that’s all you get at this level now.

Hide in Plain Sight. Starting at 17th level, you can hide from your enemies even while being observed. You can take the Hide action even when you are in plain sight of the creatures you are trying to hide from so long as you are within dim light. However, you cannot try to hide using your own shadow.

This has now been moved to 17th level, since it did seem too strong as a 3rd level rogue feature. I’m comparing it to the warlock invocation Shroud of Shadow, which is basically at-will casting of the invisibility spell (which warlocks can only take upon reaching 15th level); this isn’t quite that, since you’re not actually invisible, but on the other hand, given how high the rogue’s Stealth modifier is likely to be at this level, it’s almost the same thing.

My main concerns are:

  • whether or not Hide in Plain Sight is balanced, meaning not too powerful, but on the other hand, not too weak (it is supposed to be a 17 level ability, the Shadowdancer’s capstone);
  • front loading the archetype with three abilities (although I’ve seen official archetypes do this, so it’s more about whether these three abilities are balanced at 3rd level);
  • whether the Summon Shadow feature is balanced (in particular regarding it’s Strength Drain and the fact that it lasts indefinitely).

I think I’m happy with everything else.

Is this homebrew roguish archetype Shadowdancer balanced compared to the other archetypes?


Introduction

The Shadowdancer is a prestige class from 3.5e. Since, in 5e, prestige classes were replaced by class archetypes (for example, the Assassin prestige class from 3.5e is now represented by the Assassin roguish archetype in 5e), I’ve decided to have a go at converting the Shadowdancer prestige class form 3.5e into a 5e roguish archetype.

My goal is to create a roguish archetype that is balanced compared to the other RAW archetypes, but at the same time has the same flavour as the Shadowdancer from 3.5e. I don’t mind if it’s a strong archetype, but I don’t want it to be so strong that it’s unbalanced, broken even.

Insight into Design

Firstly, I chose Rogue as the base class for which this will be an archetype because half of the Shadowdancer’s features from 3.5e are part of the core Rogue class in 5e anyway, so it seemed like a natural fit.

Specifically, there’s Evasion, Uncanny Dodge (although in 3.5e that seems to be related to flanking, which is optional in 5e), Defensive Roll (which seems more like what 5e’s Uncanny Dodge does) and Slippery Mind (also improved versions of some of these, specifically Improved Uncanny Dodge and Improved Evasion).

The remaining features, Hide in Plain Sight, Darkvision, Shadow Illusion, Summon Shadow and Shadow Jump, these are what I believe should be the archetype features for my new roguish archetype. I’ve included commentaries below explaining my thought process when deciding how to represent these in 5e.

New Archetype

So, here’s what I’ve done to try to represent these features in 5e. The parts in nested quotation format in italics are my design commentary.

Roguish Archetype: Shadowdancer

Operating in the border between light and darkness, shadowdancers are nimble artists of deception. They are mysterious and unknown, never completely trusted but always inducing wonder when met. Despite their link with shadows and trickery, shadowdancers are as often good as evil.

Flavour text taken from here (since NWN2 is where my knowledge of 3.5e primarily comes from anyway, so I might as well borrow their flavour text).

Hide in Plain Sight. Starting at 3rd level, you can hide from your enemies even while being observed. You can take the Hide action even when you are in plain sight of the creatures you are trying to hide from so long as you are within 10 feet of dim light. However, you cannot try to hide using your own shadow.

I know this uses the same name as a ranger’s class feature, but the flavour of that feature didn’t feel the same as what the shadowdancer was going for at all, and this also seemed like a key feature of the shadowdancer to me (hence also why I wanted it to be their 3rd level feature), so I decided to come up with my own implementation of it, despite sharing the same name. Some of the wording (i.e. “dim light”) was based on these related Q&As. My concern is that this might be too powerful for a 3rd level feature; if this could end up being functionally the same as casting invisibility at will, then maybe this would be better off as the 17th level feature?

Shadow Sight. At 3rd level, you gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision from your race, its range increases by 30 feet.

This is taken directly from the Gloom Stalker ranger’s Umbral Sight feature. It seemed the best way to implement the Darkvision feature, a better fit in my opinion than Eyes of the Dark from the Shadow Sorcerer, which was my other choice. I didn’t want the rest of the Umbral Sight feature, though, since being hiding from enemies in the dark is what the Hide in Plain Sight feature above is for. That said, taking Umbral Sight as-is instead of Hide in Plain Sight might solve any problems from my concerns with it being too powerful, since if it’s good enough for Gloom Stalker rangers at 3rd level, it should be good enough here.

Shadow Jump. At 9th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of the turn.

This is exactly Shadow Step from the Way of Shadows monk. Hence 9th level seems appropriate given that a Way of Shadows monk would have had this at 6th level.

Shadow Illusion. At 13th level, you can create visual illusions from shadows. You can cast silent image once per long rest.

This seems kinda weak to me. I’m not sure whether I should make it stronger, like having it be once per short rest, or adding more spells like Shadow Arts from the Way of Shadows monk, or whether it should be moved to be an earlier feature, perhaps something gained at 3rd level? The solution I’ve gone with is having it be a ribbon feature alongside Shadowy Dodge (below), taken from the Gloom Stalker ranger, since it seemed to fit the Shadowdancer’s theme.

Shadowy Dodge. Starting at 13th level, you can dodge in unforeseen ways, with wisps of supernatural shadow around you. Whenever a creature makes an attack roll against you and doesn’t have advantage on the roll, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on it. You must use this feature before you know the outcome of the attack roll.

Taken directly from the Gloom Stalker ranger. As I said above, I gave the Shadowdancer this because it fits them thematically, and Shadow Illusion by itself didn’t seem like quite enough. Given that Gloom Stalker rangers get it at 15th level, it didn’t seem a problem for Shadowdancers to have it at 13th level, especially since it denies them the use of Uncanny Dodge as well. I’m aware that it becomes stronger once rogues reach 18th level and get the Elusive feature, so I’m not sure if that would unbalance this significantly; I’m assuming probably not?

Summon Shadow. At 17th level, you can summon a shadow, an undead shade. As an action, you summon a shadow, which uses the statistics of a wraith from the Monster Manual, but it’s alignment matches yours and it does not have the Create Spectre action. The shadow lasts until it is dropped to 0 hit points, at which point it disappears. If you summon another shadow whilst you already have a shadow summoned, the first one disappears. You can use this feature again once you finish a long rest.

I was a little unsure of what to do with this one. Summoning an ally (which can help you get sneak attack) seemed like a powerful ability, but merely summoning a CR 1/2 shadow seemed rather underwhelming for a 17th level ability, so I increased it to a CR 5 creature, a wraith. It might be that I’d be better off keeping it as a CR 1/2 shadow and swapping this feature with Hide in Plain Sight, since summoning a shadow might seem better off as a low level ability after all, and the Hide in Plain Sight can get away with being effectively at-will invisibility. However, this is the solution I’ve gone for.

Question

My question is simply: is this balanced compared to other roguish archetypes?

The above was designed with flavour in mind, which I’d rather keep as much as possible, but I have also considered the balance implications by taking other features from other classes where possible, and trying to place them at the levels where I believe they are the most balanced.

However, my commentaries above show that I have a couple of “backup plans”, such as changing my 3rd level features for Umbral Sight from the Gloom Stalker ranger as-is alongside Shadow Illusion, or to make Summon Shadow a 3rd level ability and Hide in Plain Sight a 17th level ability. If my above attempt has balance issues, hopefully one or more of these backup plans would resolve those issues?

Could you combine an herb witch and a veneficus witch archetype through the use of the “Extra Hex; Cauldron” feat?

The rules about archetypes state that archetypes must not replace the same core class features. I am not sure how this applies to the herb witch archetype and the veneficus witch archetype.

  • Herb witch demands you to take the “Cauldron Hex” at 2nd level.
  • Veneficus witch replaces the 2nd level hex with the “Toxic Words” extradordinary ability.

However would it be viable to take the “Extra Hex” feat at first level and choose the “Cauldron Hex” so that it would not interfere with the 2nd level of veneficus witch?

For referrence:

Herb Witch

Veneficus Witch

Class Archetype Rules

A character can take more than one archetype (sometimes called “stacking” archetypes) and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the base class as another alternate class feature. For example, a fighter could not be both an armor master and a brawler, since both archetypes replace the weapon training 1 class feature with something different. See FAQ at right for additional information.

Is this Artificer archetype, The Mechanist, balanced? [closed]

Basically, this makes you the Tony Stark of D&D. If this is unbalanced, please tell me how to fix it.

Mechanist, Artificer Subtype

Iron Body: Beginning at first level, you calculate your AC as 14 + your proficiency bonus.

Modifications: Also beginning at 1st level, you further mechanize and/or augment your physical form for different purposes and with different effects. Choose one of the following minor modifications. You choose another at 3rd, 9th, and 14th.
You can attempt to change your modifications after a long rest, doing so requires a tinkerer’s tools (intelligence) check, the DC for this check is equal to 13 plus twice the number of modifications you are attempting to change. On a failed check, you are unsuccessful in your efforts and must make an additional check to attempt to fix your original modifications. The DC to fix a modification is 15, if this check is also failed, you no longer benefit from it as it is non-functional. You may repeat the repair check after a short rest.

Active Camouflage

You gain advantage on stealth checks when you use half or less of your movement speed, in addition you may roll a stealth check and hide without any cover (no action required). Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Arm-Mounted Scope

Doubles the normal range for attack rolls with ranged weapons (must have the ammunition property), and the long range is doubled. Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Aquatic Adaptations

You can now breath underwater from your mechanical gills, also you gain a swim speed equal to half your base movement speed thanks to retractable flippers. Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Auditory Tracking Unit

Increases Blindsight by 15 feet, relies on your ability to hear. Can be chosen a maximum of two times.

Built-in Shield

You gain a +1 to your AC. Can be chosen a maximum of two times.

Modular Footwear

Your superior footing grants you advantage on any save or check against being knocked prone. In addition, difficult terrain doesn’t cost you any extra movement. Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Defibrillator

Once per long rest when you are reduced to 0 HP but not killed outright, on your next turn electricity surges through your body and jolts you back to consciousness; instead of rolling for a death saving throw, you automatically gain 1 HP. Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Flamethrower

As an action you can now release a 20-foot by 5-foot line of flames in front of you. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 2d4 + your intelligence modifier fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The fire ignites any flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried. You have two uses of this ability, all expended uses recharge on a short or long rest. Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Grasping Servos

Your extreme grip imposes disadvantage on any check an enemy is using to attempt to break free of or escape from your grapples. You also gain a climb speed equal to half your base movement speed. Can be chosen a maximum of one time.

Heat Vision

Increases darkvision by 30 feet. Can be chosen a maximum of two times.

High Beam

You affix a sparking device behind a lens on a part of your body, when activated it casts bright light in a 30-foot cone and dim light for an additional 30 feet. As an action, you can lower the intensity of the spark, reducing the light to dim light in a 5-foot cone. As an additional action, once per short rest, you can greatly intensify the spark for a moment, any creature that can see you in a 30-foot cone in front of you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature is blinded until the start of your next turn. On a success the creature is unaffected.

Hypnotic Goggles

You gain advantage on all charisma-based checks when interacting with creatures that are within 30 feet of you and can see you. Mutually exclusive with Heat Vision. Can only be chosen a maximum of one time.

Leg Servos

Your augmented locomotion increases your speed by 10 feet. Can be chosen a maximum of two times. Major Modifications: At 18th level, you choose one of the following modifications. This cannot be changed.

H.A.R.M.

You implant yourself with the Huge Adrenaline Release Mechanism. As a bonus action you may trigger this mechanism for a specialized effect. The mechanism comes in two varieties, you may choose only one.

H.A.R.M. Ω When you are wielding a ranged weapon this allows you as your action this turn to attack any number of creatures within a 15-foot radius of a point you can see within your weapons range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, you make a separate attack roll for each target.

H.A.R.M. ß When you are wielding a melee weapon you can add half your Intelligence modifier (rounded up) to all your attack rolls this turn, in addition, you can use your action to move up to half your speed and make a melee attack against any number of creatures that came within 5 feet of you during this movement. You must make a separate attack roll for each target, and this movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal. Whichever variety you choose, at the end of your turn, until the beginning of your next turn, enemies have advantage on attack rolls made against you and you have disadvantage on saving throws you make as you are briefly worn out from the sheer intensity of your efforts.

Armor Plating

You graft layers of metallic plates beneath your skin, as a result you gain +2 to your AC and develop resistance to cold damage and fire damage.

Augmented Targeting System

You surgically implant a series of enchanted retractable lenses to your skull that allow you to more accurately and precisely identify your enemy’s weaknesses. Your attacks now score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.

Mechanical Twitch

You replace the tendons in your body with enchanted metallic strands and as a result, whenever you score a critical hit with a weapon attack, you may perform an additional attack as part of your attack action with that weapon. This effect can only trigger from your standard attack actions and not from the bonus attacks granted by this ability.

Do spells count as “Class Abilities” for the purposes of the “Sanctified Slayer” archetype?

The Sanctified Slayer Archetype says,

“At 1st level, a sanctified slayer gains the slayer’s studied target class feature. She uses her inquisitor level as her effective slayer level to determine the effects of studied target.”

The Slayer’s Studied Target feature says,

“A slayer can study an opponent he can see as a move action. … The DCs of slayer class abilities against that opponent increase by 1.”

Do spells count as a “class ability” for this purposes ? That is, would a Studied Slayer Inquisitor’s spell DCs get a +1 bonus when he uses Studied Target ?

Is this Monk Archetype, Way of the Defender, balanced?

This archetype is kind of the counterpart to the Kensei. While the Kensei focuses on offense through weapons, the Defender focuses on defense through shields.

I’ll try to explain the reasoning behind the features and where they come from, but most of them were heavily inspired by the Kensei Monk.

In terms of visualization, I imagine a Defender Monk fighting like Captain America. Notice how in this clip he uses the shield to attack and block, but also uses a bunch of unarmed strikes and dodges. I think this fits perfectly with the Monk class.

A different approach would be to reflavour the shield as a greatshield, so you would fight like Mash.

I tried my best to keep things balanced, but since I don’t have that much experience with D&D I probably wasn’t able to. Please let me know what should be changed to balance it.


Way of the Defender

Path of the Defender

When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, your special martial arts training leads you to master the use of shields. This path also includes instruction in the deft strokes of calligraphy or painting. You gain the following benefits.

Shield Mastery. You gain proficiency with shields if you don’t already have it. You still benefit from your Unarmored Defense feature even when wielding a shield. You no longer require 1 action to don or doff a shield. A shield is a monk weapon for you and its damage type is bludgeoning.

Agile Defense. When a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you is attacked, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

Way of the Brush. You gain proficiency with your choice of calligrapher’s supplies or painter’s supplies.

This is directly taken from the Kensei.

Instead of Kensei Weapons you get Shield Mastery and the +2 AC bonus from Agile Parry is gained through the wielding of a shield. Notice how since the shield is now a monk weapon, you can attack with it, and its damage die equals your Martial Arts die.

Agile Defense is taken from the Fighter’s Protection fighting style – notice how unlike Protection, this feature doesn’t require you to see the attacker. Since this archetype is focused on defense, I thought it fit better like this, in order to represent how aware of the battlefield and his allies the Monk is. Take an archer firing arrows while hiding in a brush as an example. This way, you can protect your allies even though you don’t see the archer – you still see the arrows flying from above, so it makes sense that you would be able to react, I think.

One with the Shield

At 6th level, you extend your ki into your shield, granting you the following benefits.

Magic Shield. Your attacks with your shield count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Deft Defense. When the target of your Agile Defense is hit, you can spend 1 ki point to increase that target’s AC by the bonus AC of your shield. This bonus lasts until the end of the current turn, including against the triggering attack.

Again, heavily taken from the Kensei. Magic Shield is exactly the same as Magic Kensei Weapons.

Deft Strike is replaced with Deft Defense. Instead of spending 1 ki point to deal extra damage, you can spend 1 ki point to better protect your allies. This functions similarly to the Shield spell, but instead of lasting until your next turn, lasts until the end of the current turn. Basically, it allows you to protect an ally from being hit by multiple attacks from the same enemy. As for RPing, think of it as you jumping into your ally’s side to protect them from attacks. Once the current turn ends (i.e. the enemy stopped attacking your ally), you return to your own position.

Strengthen the Shield

At 11th level, you gain the ability to augment your shield further with your ki. As a bonus action, you can expend up to 2 ki points to grant a shield you touch a bonus to AC while you are wielding it. The bonus equals the number of ki points you spent. For every ki point you spent, the distance at which you can use Agile Defense increases by 5 feet. This bonus lasts for 1 minute or until you use this feature again. This feature has no effect on a magic shield that already has a bonus to AC.

Very similar to Kensei’s Sharpen the Blade, only instead of bonus to offense, you get bonus to defense.

The amount of ki points you can spend goes down from 3 to 2, because AC is usually a stronger stat than attack. The extra range on your Agile Defense also allows for better protection of the backline casters. Of course, the bonus to AC from this feature also affects Deft Defense.

Unerring Defense

At 17th level, your mastery of the shield grants you extraordinary defense reflexes. In combat, you get a special reaction that you can take once on every allied creature’s turn, except your turn. You can use this special reaction only to use Agile Defense, and you can’t use it on the same turn that you take your normal reaction.

Finally, this feature was adapted from Cavalier’s Vigilant Defender. Instead of being able to do multiple opportunity attacks, you are able to do multiple Agile Defense (and consequently, Deft Defense as well).