Do class or subclass features that affect spellcasting apply when casting a spell from an Artificer’s Spell Storing Item?

In my recent question about a homebrewed Artificer subclass, I was asked in a comment how one of the abilities that modifies spellcasting would interact with casting spells stored within a my subclass’s variant version of the Spell Storing Item feature that all Artificers get. I’d not considered it before, but I suspect it should work the same as a normal spell cast from a normal Spell Storing Item.

But as it turns out, I’m not actually sure how that works for normal Artificers either. Here’s the relevant rules text for Spell Storing Item (from Eberon: Rising from the Last War, page 58):

While holding the object, a creature can take an action to produce the spell’s effect from it, using your spellcasting ability modifier. If the spell requires concentration, the creature must concentrate.

Notable in that rules text is that it does not say that the creature using the object casts the spell, only that it produces the spell’s effect. This seems relevant because the top voted answers to this previous question seem to mostly attach to the “cast” terminology used by most magical items that grant extra spells.

In combination with the answers to that question, it seems like the different language (not using “cast”) may mean that using a Spell Storing Item isn’t spellcasting, and so no feature that modifies spellcasting will apply. But there’s enough ambiguity that I want to ask about it here. Do an artificer’s spellcasting features apply spells they store in an item? Do spellcasting-related features of the creature using the Spell Storing Item (which may or may not be the Artificer themself) apply?

For a concrete example, if an Artillerist stores Scorching Ray in a wand, staff or rod that they had previously made their Arcane Firearm, would they get an get an extra d8 to add to one of the spell’s damage rolls when they use the stored spell?

How balanced and clear is my Arcane Luthier subclass for the Artificer

I’ve long been disappointed by how brief and largly meaningless D&D 5e’s handling of musical instruments is. Bards can use them as spellcasting focuses, but other than that, there’s not much to them. Hardly anyone has a reason to play a musical instrument for any length of time, nor does it really matter much if you’re any good at it.

To address that, I decided to make my own subclass that focuses on crafting and playing musical instruments. It’s a subclass of the Artificer, using class rules from Eberron: Rising from the Last War (which is not the same as any of the earlier drafts of the Artificer in various Unearthed Arcana documents).

Here’s the subclass, my questions about it are below:

Arcane Luthier

An Arcane Luthier is a master of the magical crafting of musical instruments. While less innately talented than a Bard at musical performance, an Arcane Luthier’s skills at musical composition and the ability to create their own personalized instruments often makes them among the best instrumental performers around. Their abilities to manipulate emotion with music can make them very popular with those who hear them play.

Musical Instrument Proficiency and Crafting

When you adopt this specialization at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in two musical instruments of your choice.

  • If you spend an entire long rest touching a musical instrument you are not proficient with, you can exchange one of your existing musical instrument proficiencies for proficiency with the touched instrument. You are always proficient with musical instruments you have crafted yourself, even if you are not proficient with their instrument type.
  • Musical instruments you are proficient with count as tools for your other Artificer class features (so you may use them as spellcasting focuses, create them with The Right Tool for the Job, and use double your proficiency modifier on ability checks made with them after you gain the Tool Expertise feature at 6th level).
  • If you create a musical instrument with The Right Tool for the Job and keep it with you continuously for one week, you may use appropriate materials worth half the instrument’s normal cost during a long rest to make it permanently become a normal item which will no longer vanish if you use The Right Tool for the Job to create another tool or instrument.

Arcane Luthier spells

After you adopt this specialization at 3rd level, all spells on the Bard spell list count as Artificer spells for you.

  • You must use a musical instrument you are proficient with as a spellcasting focus to cast any spell not normally on the Artificer spell list.
  • At 3rd level, you learn Minor Illusion cantrip. You may not exchange this spell for another cantrip, but it does not count against the number of Artificer cantrips you know.
  • You always have certain spells prepared after you reach particular levels in this class, as shown in the table below. These spells don’t count against the number of artificer spells you prepare.

\begin{array}{c c} \textbf{Artificer Level} & \textbf{Spell} \ \hline 3\text{rd} & \textit{Charm Person, Silent Image} \ 5\text{th} & \textit{Calm Emotions, Enthrall} \ 9\text{th} & \textit{Fear, Hypnotic Pattern} \ 13\text{th} & \textit{Compulsion, Hallucinatory Terrain} \ 17\text{th} & \textit{Dominate Person, Seeming} \ \end{array}

Instrumental Virtuoso

At 3rd level, you know how to blend spellcasting into your instrumental music.

  • While you are playing an instrument you have crafted (either with The Right Tool for the Job or more mundane means), you may change the casting time of an Enchantment or Illusion spell with a casting time of 1 action to instead have a casting time of 1 bonus action. You must follow the normal rules for casting spells with a bonus action (briefly: you may not also cast a leveled spell with your main action, cantrips are OK).
  • When you cast an Enchantment spell in this way, you can prevent one or more affected creatures from knowing they were magically charmed and from becoming hostile when the spell ends. For each creature you wish to do this for, you must spend one action during the spell’s duration performing music they can hear and succeed on a Charisma (musical instrument) check with a DC equal to 10 plus half the creature’s CR or level. The creature will still know their emotions or behavior have been manipulated, but will assume it is just a natural effect of your music, rather than a magical effect.
  • You may play music with an instrument you have crafted in place of the vocal or somatic components of any spell you cast. If a spell has costly material components that you have in your possession, you do not need to use a free hand to manipulate them (though they will still be consumed if the spell says so).

Beguiling Melodies

Starting at 5th level, you can compose musical themes that enhance the abilities of your spellcasting to manipulate the senses and emotions of those who hear you.

  • Whenever a creature makes a saving throw or an investigation check against a spell you cast from the schools of Enchantment or Illusion, it does so with disadvantage if you are playing a musical instrument you are proficient with and the target can hear your music.
  • You are a skilled accompanist, able to compose and play fanfares and harmonies that bring out the best in the performances of others. When you are playing music with an instrument you are proficient with, you may use the Help action targeting any number of creatures of your choice, but only to give the targets advantage on ability checks to perform before an audience who can also hear your music. The performances you accompany do not need to be musical, you can also accompany dramatic or oratorical performances with your music.

Magically Charged Instrument

At 9th level, you can add additional magic to musical instruments you create.

  • This feature works like the Spell Storing Item feature of the core Artificer class, but it may only be used to store a spell from the Bard spell list in a musical instrument that you have crafted. If you store a first or second level spell, it follows the normal rules for Spell Storing Item. You may instead store a 3rd level Bard spell in the instrument, but if you do, the instrument will be destroyed when the spell ends the first time it is used.
  • This feature operates separately from the regular Spell Storing Item feature, so when you have both after 11th level, you may store spells in two different items, one instrument from this feature, and another item (which may also be an instrument, since they can be spell focuses for you) from the normal Spell Storing Item feature. Use the normal Spell Storing Item rules for the second item, even if it is another musical instrument.
  • Starting at 15th level, you may use this feature store a 4th level Bard spell, with the instrument being destroyed after one use. If you store a 3rd level spell, the instrument will only be destroyed after its second use, rather than its first.

Battlefield Instrumentation

At 15th level, your instrumental performances awe your enemies, even in the thick of battle.

  • Creatures that are not immune to being charmed have disadvantage on attack rolls against you if you are playing music with an instrument you have crafted and they can hear your music.
  • While you are playing music with an instrument you have crafted, you may cast the Sanctuary spell on yourself, without needing to have it prepared or using a spell slot. The spell has no effect on creatures that cannot hear your music, and ends immediately if you stop playing. You may cast the spell this way a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, and regain all uses after you complete a long rest.
  • While you are playing music with an instrument you have crafted, you may cast Mass Suggestion, without needing to have it prepared or using a spell slot. After you cast it in this way, you may not do so again until you finish a long rest.

I’ve also created a thematically related Infusion, that any Artificer should be able to choose:

Enhanced Instrument

Item: A musical instrument (requires attunement)

While playing this instrument, a creature gains +1 on ability checks related to their performance. Spells cast with this instrument as a spellcasting focus gain +1 to their spell save DC. These bonuses increase to +2 when you reach 10th level in this class.

My questions:

  1. Are there any ambiguities in the rule presentation, or ways I could better or more consistently phrase things? Because some of my previous reviewers were not as much mechanics geeks as I am, I have deliberately included some text restating some existing rules (like how bonus action spellcasting limits your main action, and which Artificer features interact with their tool proficiencies). But other than that, I’d like to be a bit less wordy if I can get away with it without introducing ambiguity.
  2. Is this subclass balanced? I’d appreciate comparisons against other Artificer subclasses, as I’ve only had a tiny amount of experience playing with an Artificer in the same game as me. I’d also like to compare Arcane Luthier Artificers to Bards, since there’s a bit of overlap between them, given that my subclass gets access to the Bard spell list. One of my reviewers was particularly concerned since Artificers can choose to prepare any spell on their spell list, while Bards can only learn a few of their spells, swapping them out only as they level. Is that versatility really problematic, given that an Artificer is a half-caster?
  3. Does the subclass overlap too heavily with the Bard thematically? I’d hope that there would still be a clear distinction between the high-CHA Bard front-man (e.g. Freddy Mercury) versus the high-INT Arcane Luthier guitar virtuoso (e.g. Brian May, with his PhD in Astrophysics). But would it be problematic to have both in the same party?
  4. Does the subclass diverge too far from conventional D&D norms? It’s inspired in part by modern stereotypes about rock musicians, and I’m not sure if there is an equivalent from the middle ages. I suppose that D&D does not always need to adhere too closely to history, but I don’t want to push things too far. And maybe the Artificer is a norm-shifting class already, with a bit of steam-punk theming, and this isn’t any worse.

What class and subclass are the most efficient to rush fights per tier?

Context:

I ask this question because I played a bard from level 1 to 2 almost 3 (4 sessions). It was great except during battle. These battles were not that difficult but were (too) long. We’re kind of a newbie party so players don’t play that fast yet. The point is I wanted to play a character that would deal consistent great amount of damage in order to rush through less entertaining fights.

I switched to a vengeance paladin. I’m a level 3 variant human starting with polearm master, a quarterstaff, dueling fighting style and it does great. The limited divine/searing smite, vow of enmity and hunting mark add a great deal of damage, and if I use them with parsimony, I feel like I can be efficient all the day long in destroying fights we come up with. Without spell slot and with 16 STR I can deal 1d6 + 6 + 1d4 + 6 => 14-22 damage per turn (if i don’t miss) without opportunity attack nor smites.

I feel like the feat is a bit OP in the early levels, but except the level 5 extra attack, I fear that my damage output won’t scale that much and that I will heavily rely on spell slot to keep up.

So, I wondered, if my character happens to die (I don’t plan to beg my DM to reroll every other session), what I should be picking.

Constraint:

Also, no multiclassing.

Recap: Looking for the most op vanilla builds per tier that features high damage, quick fights, usefulness throughout the day.

I don’t want build that are based on: Tanking, CC, debuff (except for dealing higher damage)

Candidates:

I considered eldritch blast Warlock, Champion fighter, Assassin Rogue (looks like it deals lots of damage in the first turn), or wizard (when it has enough spell slot to deal a lot of damages on average if there isn’t too much fights, bonus: possible AoE damages).

If i ask this is because I’m kind of a new player and that i don’t have enough experience to feel the gameplay of every classes just by reading their description (which I did).

I’m open to answers that do not directly answer my questions if you feel that I would benefit from reading it.

EDIT:

Before downvoting, please comment and tell me what did wrong with this post.

Is this “Fortune Domain” Cleric subclass balanced?

This subclass was initially conceived of as a complement to the Order domain. It evolved from being focused around chaos and disorder to emphasizing luck and randomness, instead. The end result is a subclass with several features revolving around advantage and disadvantage, meant to be a reflection of modifying the odds of a particular outcome.

Most of the features were created as modified versions of other cleric domain features. However, I’m not very experienced in creating homebrew content, and would like to know if the overall subclass is balanced.


Fortune Domain

Fortune domain spells

Cleric level     Spells 1                Chaos Bolt, Ray of Sickness 3                Enhance Ability, Mirror Image 5                Bestow Curse, Blink 7                Confusion, Freedom of Movement 9                Contagion, Skill Empowerment 

Most spells were taken for flavor reasons, involving rolling extra dice or improving ability rolls. Ray of Sickness, Bestow Curse, and Contagion were selected as sources of disadvantage, which are important for other class features.

Unfortunate Itch

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you learn the Infestation cantrip. For you, it counts as a cleric cantrip, and doesn’t count against the number of cleric cantrips you know. Also, when you cast Infestation, the movement caused can provoke opportunity attacks.

I added a bonus cantrip in order to match with the Light and Grave domains. Infestation deals less damage than Toll the Dead on average, although on a separate save ability. The ability to trigger opportunity attacks should not happen very often.

Luck In

At 1st level, you gain the ability to bend the odds in a favorable way. You can spend a bonus action to give a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see advantage on their next attack roll before the start of your next turn.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

This feature was created as a heavily modified version of Warding Flare, from the Light domain. I figured that giving advantage on one attack is slightly better than giving disadvantage on one attack, but the cost being a bonus action instead of an action is slightly higher.

Channel Divinity: Fortune’s Favor

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to change ill fortune into good.

When you roll damage for a spell, you can use your Channel Divinity to roll an extra damage die for each damage die that shows a 1 or a 2. For each extra damage die that rolls a 1 or a 2, roll another extra damage die. You can use this ability after the damage is already rolled, but only once per damage roll.

This feature was intended to act similarly to Destructive Wrath, from the Tempest domain. Fortune’s Favor is less situational, applying to any damage roll, but does not increase the damage as much on average. The specification for spell damage is to avoid any strange interactions with Great Weapon Fighting.

Luck Out

Starting at 6th level, you gain the ability protect yourself and others by altering the odds. When a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see has disadvantage on an attack roll, you can spend your reaction to use your Luck In feature and cause that attack to miss.

This is again based off of the Light domain feature of similar level. Luck Out is meant to be a more situational version of Improved Warding Flare that is slightly more powerful.

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any Cleric cantrip.

All cleric subclasses that I have seen have either potent spellcasting or divine strike as their 8th level feature. As I expect this subclass to rely more upon cantrips than melee, I selected potent spellcasting.

Fortune’s Fury

Starting at 17th level, you can use your action to activate an aura of misfortune that lasts for 1 minute or until you dismiss it using another action. The aura extends 30 feet out from you, and your enemies within this aura have disadvantage on all attack rolls and ability checks.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

This is yet again based on the Light domain feature of similar level. The ability is significantly more powerful, but is only usable once per long rest.


There are several features that I am concerned about the balance of in this subclass. Luck Out and Fortune’s Favor trade what I believe are approximately equivalent values between situationality and power, but I am unsure of my evaluation. Luck In and Fortune’s Fury are very different from the original features they were based upon, which makes evaluating them difficult for me. Beyond that, I don’t know how well these features interact with each other, or with other class features.

Is this subclass balanced, compared to other cleric subclasses?

Is this Way of the Unmastered Monk Subclass overpowered? If so, by how much?

My DM is usually very opposed to homebrew, and I can understand why, seeing as a lot of homebrews are ridiculous, but from a flavor and mechanics standpoint, this is exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve thought of combining classes for our game, but everything I’ve asked has either been ignored or shut down. I’m not trying to outshine other players or do everything, I just want to feel like Yojimbo.

I am currently a kensei monk working towards battlemaster, but I won’t be online until 9 The subclass in question

Is there any way to increase rogue’s sneak attack range to more than 30 ft for a warlock with rogue subclass?

In our new campaign, our DM allowed us to start at level 3 with two classes so I picked rogue/warlock even though I am going to pursue Warlock beyond level 3. As a level 3 rogue, I am getting sneak attack which gives a damage of 2D6. It works nicely with my Walk Unseen invocation. Only downside is, it requires for me to be within 30 ft of the enemy which breaks my fell flight + plunging shot combo. With plunging shot I can add 1D6 damage as long as I am at least 30 ft above the target. I was wondering if there’s a way to increase sneak attack’s range that way both plunging shot and sneak attack could work from 30+ ft? That way, my eldritch blast can deal 5d6 of damage while attacking when invisible and flying above 30ft (2d6 from being level 3 warlock + 2d6 from rogue’s sneak + 1D6 from plunging shot).

Would allowing the Rogue sub-class (Assassin) to benefit from Supreme Sneak be unbalanced?

I wanted to ask about allowing the Rogue sub-class (Assassin) to benefit from Supreme Sneak.

I have a player in my campaign who plays as an Assassin Rogue and would like to have access to the Supreme Sneak upgrade at level 9, which normally is part of the Thief build.

Her argument is that Supreme Sneak is more appropriate to an Assassin because of its synergy with Assassinate. I can see her point and I don’t have any problems with allowing this, but I wanted to know if there are any glaring problems with doing this.

Would allowing a Rogue (Assassin) to benefit from Supreme Attack upon reaching level 9, instead of the regular Infiltrator Expertise, make the sub-class very unbalanced?

Here are descriptions of the relevant class features:

Assassinate (Assassin)

Starting at 3rd level, you are at your deadliest when you get the drop on your enemies. You have advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn’t taken a turn in the combat yet. In addition, any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.

Supreme Sneak (Thief)

Starting at 9th level, you have advantage on a Dexterity (Stealth) check if you move no more than half your speed on the same turn.

(PHB p.97)

Does the “use magic device” feature of the thief subclass allow you to attune to items requiring you to be a spellcaster?


Use Magic Device

By 13th level, you have learned enough about the workings of magic that you can improvise the use of items even when they are not intended for you. You ignore all class, race and level requirements on the use of magic items.

This allows the rogue to attune to “sorcerer/wizard/warlock only” items. But is the restriction “requires attunement by a spellcaster” also covered by the trait?

The official “spellcaster restriction” is explained as follows:

If the prerequisite is to be a spellcaster, a creature qualifies if fit can cast at least one spell using its traits or features, not using magic items or the like.

The problem I have with that is, that I think RAW use magic device does not let you use an item restricted to “spellcasters”, but generally those items are supposed to be less restricted than other items which might be class exclusive. Did I overlook something?

Which originally published items does Use Magic Device from the Thief subclass cover?

This class feature seemed to me dead-on-arrival when published.

It’s unclear exactly what items originally presented in the DMG or PHB that this feature was originally intended to work with.

  • Exactly which items in the DMG or PHB are made usable by a level 13 Thief when granted the Use Magic Device class feature?

  • Of those items, which of them are meaningfully useful to a creature that doesn’t meet the requirements?

    (For example: Pearl of Power does nothing for a Thief even if they can ignore the class requirement of “spellcaster” so it is not meaningfully useful.)

Extending this question to all published works would be too vast of a question, but this should be a reasonable ask.

Is this homebrew Duergar subclass balanced?

I’m planning a campaign with an underdark-based homebrew setting, and I want to give them the option of Duergar as a race. Does this seem unbalanced, and are there any potential issues in particular that I should watch out for?

Duergar

As a subrace of dwarves, Duergar have all the standard Dwarven racial traits. In addition, you have the following traits:
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Superior Darkvision. (as per Drow)
Sunlight Sensitivity. (as per Drow)
Duergar Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws to resist being charmed or paralyzed. You have advantage on Wisdom, Charisma, and Intelligence saving throws against spells. You have advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks made to discern illusions.
Duergar Magic. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the enlarge/reduce spell once, but only to enlarge yourself. You regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the invisibility spell once, but only on yourself. You regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.