Is my adaptation of the Battle Master as a Wizard subclass balanced relative to other Wizard subclasses and to the original Battle Master?


Background Motivation

I wanted to create a subclass for Wizard that uses an expendable die resource to augment its magic and benefit its allies, similar to how the Battle Master Fighter expends superiority dice to fuel maneuvers which augments its attacks and benefit its allies.

Design Process

The following were some significant steps and motivations in my design process.

  • I called the subclass the School of Pedagogy because, thematically, a Wizard of this subclass is an academic who studies magic at a theoretical level. I called the equivalent of Battle Master maneuvers “theorems” for the Pedagogy Wizard and the equivalent of superiority dice “savant dice.”
  • I evolved the Pedagogy concept from the Unearthed Arcana Lore Master and School of Invention, but almost nothing from those inspirations remains.
  • I ported the Battle Master subclass features (at 3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th Fighter levels) into the chassis of the Wizard (at 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 14th Wizard levels), trying to keep a similar pacing of improvements.
  • I reduced the die size progression and the utility/skill features for the Pedagogy Wizard to include only d8 and d10 savant dice to account for Wizards generally being more powerful than Fighters at higher levels and for Wizards generally having more skills.
  • I ported many of the Battle Master maneuvers directly into theorems with minimal changes to apply the benefits to spells and magical effects. However, not every maneuver was sensible to port, so I excluded some. Then I created original theorems to fill unique magical needs that exist for a Wizard but not for a Fighter.
  • I compared the resulting theorems to all subclass features of other Wizard subclasses to avoid stepping on their toes. Some features and theorems are inspired by class/subclass features from other classes, in which case I tried to avoid impeding on those as well. I specifically avoided duplicating any Sorcerer Metamagic features.
  • For wording all theorems that add or subtract a die on an attack, check, or save, I tried to use wording identical to that used in Battle Master maneuvers, Bardic Inspiration, and the bless and bane spells: if the intent is that you can add/subtract before or after the roll is resolved, it’s explicitly stated; otherwise, you add it when you make the roll.
  • I iterated the subclass many times using feedback from several other DM’s. We will be playtesting the subclass for two Wizard characters in two campaigns (one where I am the DM and one where I play the Wizard), but it hasn’t made it to the table as of this posting.

Text of the Subclass (version 1.0)

The following is the result of my design effort.

Arcane Expertise

At 2nd level, you gain proficiency in the Arcana skill if you aren’t already proficient in it, and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses Arcana.

Magical Savant

When you choose this school at 2nd level, you learn magical theorems that are fueled by special dice called savant dice.

Theorems. You learn three theorems of your choice, which are detailed under “Theorems” below. Many theorems enhance a spell or other magical effect in some way. You can use only one theorem per effect.

You learn two additional theorems of your choice at 6th, 10th, and 14th level. Each time you learn new theorems, you can also replace one theorem you know with a different one.

Savant Dice. You have four savant dice, which are d8s. A savant die is expended when you use it. You regain all of your expended savant dice when you finish a short or long rest.

You gain another savant die at 6th level and one more at 14th level.

Theorems

The theorems are presented in alphabetical order.

Applied Studies

When you make an Intelligence (Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion) check, you can expend one savant die to add it to the check. Alternatively, when you or a friendly creature who can see or hear you makes an Intelligence (Investigation) check, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to add it to the check before or after making the check, but before any effects of the check are applied.

Beguiling Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a Wisdom saving throw against being charmed or frightened, you can expend one savant die to make the spell especially beguiling and hard to ignore. Subtract the savant die from that creature’s first saving throw against the condition.

Damping Defense

When a creature damages you with a weapon attack, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to reduce the damage by the number you roll on your savant die + your Constitution modifier.

Distracting Spell

When you hit a creature with a spell attack, you can expend one savant die to distract that creature, giving your allies an opening. You add the savant die to the attack’s damage roll. The next attack roll against the target by an attacker other than you has advantage if the attack is made before the start of your next turn.

Dual Strike

When you cast a spell with a duration of Instantaneous and it deals damage to a creature on your turn, you can use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike in tandem. When you do so, choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you and expend one savant die. That creature can immediately use its reaction to make one weapon attack against the same target, adding the savant die to its attack roll.

Elemental Flux

When you cast a spell that deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage, you can expend one savant die and choose one of the spell’s damage types from that list to substitute for another type from that list for the spell’s duration. The first time you roll damage for the spell using the substituted type, add the savant die to the damage roll.

Focusing Oration

When a friendly creature that can see or hear you misses with an attack, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to refocus that creature’s efforts. Add the savant die to the attack roll, possibly changing the outcome.

Galvanizing Oration

When a friendly creature that can see or hear you makes a saving throw to end an ongoing effect on itself or to maintain concentration, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to add it to the saving throw.

Maneuvering Spell

When you cast a spell with an area of effect, you can expend one savant die to direct one of your comrades to exit the area. Choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you in the area. Before the spell takes effect, that creature can use its reaction to move up to its speed, adding the savant die to its AC until it stops moving.

Mental Agility

When you roll initiative at the start of combat, you can expend one savant die to add it to the roll. When you use this theorem and aren’t incapacitated, you can’t be surprised on your first turn in combat.

Merciful Spell

When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with a spell and the target isn’t killed outright, you can expend one savant die to hold back some of the spell’s energy and merely knock the target out. The target falls unconscious and is stable. You gain temporary hit points equal to the savant die roll + your Wisdom modifier.

Precision Spell

When you make a spell attack against a creature, you can expend one savant die to add it to the attack roll. You can use this theorem before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.

Reactive Cantrip

When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one savant die to cast a damaging cantrip that targets only that creature and has a duration of Instantaneous. Add the savant die to the cantrip’s damage roll.

Stirring Oration

When you cast a spell with verbal components on your turn, you can use a bonus action and expend one savant die to encourage one of your companions with an insightful speech woven into your spellcasting. Choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you. That creature gains temporary hit points equal to the savant die roll + your Charisma modifier.

Swift Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a Dexterity saving throw, you can expend one savant die to make the spell especially swift and hard to avoid. Subtract the savant die from that creature’s first saving throw against the spell.

Tough Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a Constitution saving throw, you can expend one savant die to make the spell especially tough and hard to withstand. Subtract the savant die from that creature’s first saving throw against the spell. This theorem can’t hinder a Constitution saving throw made to maintain concentration.

Expeditious Research

Starting at 6th level, you can use the Search action as a bonus action.

Improved Magical Savant

At 10th level, your savant dice turn into d10s.

Timely Epiphany

Starting at 14th level, when you roll initiative and have no savant dice remaining, you regain one savant die.

Question

Is this Wizard School of Pedagogy balanced relative to other Wizard subclasses and to the original Fighter Battle Master that inspired it? In other words, can the School of Pedagogy coexist with those other subclasses as a useful, distinct, and coequal option without impinging on their design? Things to watch for…

  • Flawed language with ambiguity or unintended consequences.
  • Features that are not level-comparable with similar features from other classes/subclasses.
  • Features granting benefits that are too powerful relative to existing options.
  • Features that are game-breaking within the game’s existing design.
  • Features that are so niche or unhelpful they would never be chosen or used.

I am not at all concerned with whether the Pedagogy Wizard seems thematically or mechanically similar to the Sorcerer, so any similarity between the concept of theorems and of metamagic isn’t considered to be infringing on the use case of Sorcerers for purposes of my question, unless a theorem directly replicates a particular Sorcerer metamagic option.

(To the best of my ability, I’ve followed the recommendations on Meta for how to present a homebrew balancing question. I’m happy to accommodate actionable suggestions for improvement of the question. However, if I need to iterate the subclass design again after reviewing the answers, that will be done in a separate question. Finally, sorry for the wall of text. I hope it’s easy to follow.)

Teleporting a polearm master

I have a character that can swap locations with another via teleportation as an action. Another has the equivalent of the Polearm Master feat. If the Teleporter swaps locations with the Polearm Master on the Teleporters’ turn, and an enemy is within range, does the Polearm Master get to use his opportunity attack on the enemy when he arrives?

Does the Polearm Master bonus attack have to be used after the main attack?

Using the Polearm Master bonus attack rules:

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon.

Does this additional attack clearly occur after the attack with the main weapon, or is there a time to use it between the attack being "declared" and resolving the main attack?

Background/motivation: I would like to attempt the following:

  1. Announce I am attacking Bandit Keith;
  2. Use the bonus action to attack with my halberd’s shaft, with a Tripping Attack maneuver;
  3. Assuming success on the attack / STR check, attack with the halberd blade at advantage;

While that appears to fit how the flow of a fight works in my head, the word take appears a bit ambiguous to me if I wish to argue from RAW. If an Action is taken does this mean it is completely resolved?

Can we be game master as a couple?

My girlfriend and I enjoy developing my D&D world a lot. We spend much time talking about what the backgrounds of characters are, how history has developed, what the relations between the different kingdoms and peoples are, what the hidden agendas of the villains are. Her ideas have enriched and improved my world a lot.

At the same time, I’m running a campaign in this world for a couple of friends that she isn’t part of (for logistic reasons, long distance relationship). But eventually, we’ll move together, and I don’t want to miss out on GMing, neither do I want to miss out on developing the world together, and it would be great to finally be able to play together. This leads me to my question:

Can we both be GMs together? How do we split the tasks a GM faces in a session? We’re fine with developing the world and the campaign together, but how would we play out an NPC’s dialogue with a player? How to agree on DCs and skill checks? And so on, and so on.

Could we take turns? (E.g. every session, or every hour?) But won’t one of us be bored, having nothing to do? We can’t really take up another player, because we know all the GM secrets, making it hard not to meta-game. Or could we divide up rooms, regions and NPCs amongst the two of us?

Using Battle Master Maneuvres with Polearm Master

Been enjoying the Battle Master Fighter, but have a question about use of maneuvres with the two parts of Polearm Master:

Polearm Master

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.

While you are wielding a glaive, halberd, pike, or quarterstaff, other creatures provoke an opportunity attack from you when they enter your reach.

On the first part, can a maneuvre be used as part of the melee attack with the shaft of the weapon? You cannot (mostly) use two maneuvres on a single attack, however does this Bonus Action constitute a new attack? If so I am also assuming the main halberd attack is resolved first and then the bonus action. So I couldn’t use the bonus action to attempt a trip with the shaft, then if successful attack with the halberd itself at advantage.

On the second part I can use my reaction to attack a creature that comes within my reach. Can I then apply some of the maneuvres to this attack? This is focused on the wordings being different, so for example:

Restraining Strike

Immediately after you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack on your turn, you can expend one superiority die and use a bonus action to grapple the target (see chapter 9 in the Player’s Handbook for rules on grappling). Add the superiority die to your Strength (Athletics) check. The target is also restrained while grappled in this way.

"On your turn" clearly means that I couldn’t perform this using a Reaction. However to compare:

Trip Attack

When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one superiority die to attempt to knock the target down. You add the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller, it must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, you knock the target prone.

That makes no reference to the attack being on my turn, so if an opponent charged towards me I could use Polearm Master to initiate a Reaction. On a hit, can I use a Maneuvre that only requires a "weapon attack" as part of this Reaction?

Can the bonus action attack from Polearm Master be used to Disarm?

Polearm Master (PHB p. 168) gives you the ability to situationally make a bonus action attack:

When you take the Attack action and attack with only a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff, you can use a bonus action to make a melee attack with the opposite end of the weapon. This attack uses the same ability modifier as the primary attack. The weapon’s damage die for this attack is a d4, and it deals bludgeoning damage.

The optional Disarm rule (DMG p. 271) allows a weapon attack to disarm rather than do damage:

A creature can use a weapon attack to knock a weapon or another item from a target’s grasp. The attacker makes an attack roll contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) check or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If the attacker wins the contest, the attack causes no damage or other ill effect, but the defender drops the item.

Can you Disarm using the bonus action attack provided by Polearm Master? (obviously forgoing the damage roll).

Which Physical vault would be the better option for storing and monitoring the Master Password securely? and how to do that?

Need a solution to secure manage the access to the master password of a password management tool- last pass, that we would soon be rolling out requirment is 2 people in XY country and 2 people in AB Country (for business continuity) will need to participate in the process of accessing the master/ super admin password Which Physical vault would be the better option for storing and monitoring the Master Password securely?

Can you combine Polearm Master, Tunnel Fighter, and Warcaster (with Repelling Blast)?

We have a player who is playing a Fighter with a level of Warlock, wielding a polearm, and they say they should be able to get the initial opportunity attack from Polearm Master when a foe enters their reach, then if the foe continues to move in they proc the Tunnel Fighter opportunity attack, which the character uses for an eldritch blast with the Repelling Blast invocation, knocking them back 10 feet…and then could hit them with Polearm Master again if they continue to advance.

Is this legal? I know the Polearm Master feat specifies (according to Mearls) that the opportunity attack from it has to be with the same weapon being used when the opportunity attack procs, but there seems to be no such limitation on Tunnel Fighter.

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?

Spear mastery or Polearm master feat for a Barbarian?

First off so no one branches too far out, the character I am making will be a human variant totem barbarian (bear all the way through). Also I will not take any more feats after the one I pick to start with so no polearm/ sentinel comboing. This are character choices that are set in stone for me.

I will either do spear mastery and switch between dual wielding spears and throwing one and then using two hands with the other spear, or I’ll go polearm master and flavor a glaive as a great spear but it will stay a glaive in all but name so no throwing range, no Versatile.

Which one, given these restrictions, is the better choice for damage and battle field control?