[Let's Read] 5E Player's Handbook

Sigrid Hex

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Animate dead and fireball are third level spells. Wizards learn those at fifth level, not 6th.
If that's a response to me, the issue is that the necromancer subclass gives you animate dead for free at level six, which suggests that you shouldn't spend resources picking it up at level five (you still can, of course, but then you lose out on a free spell.)
 

DavetheLost

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I find it strange that necromancers wouldn't have access to Speak with Dead. To me that seems a pretty iconic necromantic ability. Cause Wounds and Harm are less iconic, but would still make sense.
 

PeterM

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Yeah, there is trick shots and then there is field conditions. Let me see it against a moving target, wearing armour that is trying to kill him with a war bow and medieval arrows, then I will credit that a D&D Fighter could do it. He is at extremely close range, with flu-flu arrows. Trick shooting is nice, but it is trick shooting.
If that's your criteria, I'm going to have to see a Magic Missile spell used in combat conditions before I'll agree that all the missiles count as a single attack for purposes of Concentration. Fair's fair.

It's heroic fantasy. Restricting fighters to things that are actually feasible in real world combat would handicap them more than they already are.
 

vitruvian

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So I was thinking about what a medium-style necromancer might look like, and discovered that wizards don't get Speak With Dead, so it's a non-starter. Nor do they get Inflict Wounds or Harm, two perfectly respectable damage-dealing spells that are no longer merely the inverse of Cure spells. There's a few spells involving bringing the dead back to life which I understand keeping as divine magic only, but how do you have someone who controls the necrotic forces and can't even have a conversation with a smart-ass skull?

Edit: I say Boo! Pun intended.
So, yeah, the only true necromancers in the original sense of the term will be clerics and maybe bards with the appropriate Magical Secrets, at least until you get into 9th level spell slots.
 

DavetheLost

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If that's your criteria, I'm going to have to see a Magic Missile spell used in combat conditions before I'll agree that all the missiles count as a single attack for purposes of Concentration. Fair's fair.

It's heroic fantasy. Restricting fighters to things that are actually feasible in real world combat would handicap them more than they already are.
We all have different things that disrupt our suspension of disbelief. The mechanically same three shots in rapid succession in one action wouldn’t break mine. Go figure. ;)
 

RadioKen

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I find it strange that necromancers wouldn't have access to Speak with Dead. To me that seems a pretty iconic necromantic ability. Cause Wounds and Harm are less iconic, but would still make sense.
I think more than other schools ('cept maybe divination) Necromancy suffers from protecting the cleric's niche.
 

Raxmei

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On a vaguely related topic, I'm impressed that the Death domain cleric isn't all about undead.
Yeah, it's actually an interesting enough domain that I'd like to play one as a PC and I've already asked the DM's blessing. It has only incidental interaction with creating undead, like you could imaginably use the Improved Reaper feature with the Animate Dead spell. The Death domain mostly makes the cleric better at killing things with necrotic damage. It's a pretty good offense-oriented domain, a little behind Light.
 

VoidDrifter

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For all the complaints about the necromancer here, I actually like it. I mean, yes, it's critically underpowered, and yes, it only does the archetypical "black necromancer" - but then, the "medium" is really more of a necromancy-tinged Diviner or a Grave domain Cleric in my eyes. But even so, it actually throws the wizard necromancer a bone for once in its life and makes it have decent abilities to manipulate and control the undead from the corebook. For so long, the necromancer wizard has been flat out inferior to the Cleric in terms of actually being a necromancer; this is the only edition where that's not the case. For that, if nothing else, 5e has my respect.
 

Kiiratam

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I come to you through fire and water. Well, though hot oil and hard liquor, which amount to the same thing. It's time to get mythical, and finish this chapter before we die of old age. Gentlefolk, I give you, THE TRANSMUTER!

Transmuters are probably chaotic. Or Tzeentchian, at the least. All about change, the mutability of form. One could argue for a more ordered approach, like (to steal an image from the book) a smith at a forge, bringing order from the chaos of possibilities. And again, we get the 'some <subclass> are X, whereas other <subclass> are not-X.' In this case, tricksters and deadly serious: "seeking the power of the gods to make and destroy worlds." Really? That's what you're going with, as opposed to alchemical searchings for profit and immortality? Seriously, if I was starting from scratch with wizard subclasses, no schools, no nothing, we'd have the Diviner (Knowing Stuff), and the Transmuter (Changing Stuff). Never go straight for the power to destroy worlds, kids. It's insignificant next to the power of the Narrative. (Which is why bards are the best class. But I digress).

Transmutation Savant (2nd) - Still omnipresent in the wizard subclasses! Still not interesting!

Minor Alchemy (2nd) - Oh, we are getting alchemy. Cool. Aaaaaand it's a 1 hour with concentration not-spell that let's you transmute one object of entirely wood, stone, iron, copper, or silver into another one on that list. 10 minutes per cubic foot. Okay, that could be useful. It's nice as a fallback utility, at least? Turn those handcuffs into wood, and chew your way through. The casting time means it's never going to be a first resort, though.

Transmuter's Stone (6th) - Back in my day, they made you get a degree in philosophy before they let you have one! 8 hours to make, you can use it, or give it to an ally. The user gets one of the following:
  • Darkvision 60ft
  • +10ft speed when unencumbered.
  • Proficient in Con saves.
  • Resistance to one of acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder.
You can shift the power every time you cast a 1st circle or higher transmutation (but only if the stone is on your person). You can only have one stone at once. It's a nice power; gives you the flexibility you expect from a transmuter. I could see a whole line of spells based around sharing the effects with your allies, boosting the effects, expanding the list of options. Good feature.

Shapechanger (10th) - Don't go breaking my heart, now. Add polymorph to your spellbook, and you can use it on yourself without expending a spell slot. Buy you can only transform yourself into a beast of CR 1 or lower. Recharges on a short/long rest. Better than I was expecting. But, as with Undead Thralls, it means getting one of the iconic spells, if not the iconic spell of your school a level late. Druids remain kings of shapechanger hill.

Master Transmuter (14th) - Destroy your transmuter's stone to get an effect. Can't remake the stone until after a long rest. The effect options:
  • 10 minutes to transmute up to a 5ft cube of nonmagical matter into another sort of matter, of similar size, mass, and value. Ugh. I kind of hate how transmutations have gone super scientific. It clashes with how I want magic to feel. Of course, transmuters are probably the most likely to be mathemagicians (see Dee, Bacon, and I'm sure more), so my feelings are not especially accurate. And, uh, shouldn't the transmuter have spells that do this? This is what transmutations do.
  • Cure all curses, diseases, and poisons afflicting a creature, plus restore all of its hit points. UM. Well, they're no cleric, but they do manage it in a pinch. Every other day or so. It's got wow factor, at least.
  • Raise dead (no need for spell slots or having the spell in your spellbook. Have I mentioned that the way they do spell-like abilities in this edition is weird? I assume this takes components (diamonds diamonds diamonds!), because it doesn't say otherwise.)
  • Restore youth, except not really. Their apparent age is reduced by 3d10 years (to a minimum apparent age of 13), but it doesn't actually extend their lifespan. Does this restore their youthful knees? Or is it just vanity? No idea!
The cure is the only wow factor. The apparent de-aging... could be? I mean, it's explicitly not giving you longevity. DRUID cracks down hard on longevity outside their jurisdiction, apparently.

So that's classes. We're over a third of the way through the book now, but still in the first part - creating a character. But let's jump the gun a bit, and get started on that. Remember, character creation goes 1) Race, 2) Class, 3) Ability Scores, 4) Describe Your Character, 5) Choose Equipment, and 6) Come Together.

First up is Casa. She's a human from the Big City. She's a variant human (bonus skill proficiency, a bonus feat, and +1 to two ability scores) because I want a reason to do an extra-close reading of the feat section. We also get a bonus language. We'll decide on all of that once we've seen feats and languages.

I find myself looking pretty closely at the Barbarian class, actually. Casa was a multiclassed abomination in 3.5 (mostly warrior-rogue stuff, because it was multiclass or die for the non-casters), and I'm severely tempted to rewrite the Totem Warrior kit as a Ghost Wrestler. But we're going to do things by the book, so the DM tells Casa's player 'maybe next time,' and it's back to the class list. As much as I love refluffing, we're also going to give the warlock a pass - it's a little too magical for Casa (though the pact of the blade weapon would let her bypass ghostly damage resistances). The ranger, we've covered how they're kind of a mess by the book (and Casa uses a warscythe anyway, and that doesn't combo well with ranger Fighting Styles).

So let's go with a Fighter. We'll look into Multiclassing when it comes up, but Casa's roguish features may just be from her background (I don't know, we're not there yet). So Casa has 1d10 hit dice, a +2 proficiency bonus, proficiency with all weapons and armour, Strength and Constitution saves, and two skills. We'll pick up Athletics and Perception at the moment. Which means we need occult knowledge from our background or as our human bonus skill. We're ignoring the equipment list for now. Casa also gets a Fighting Style. Given the aforementioned warscythe, I'm going with Great Weapon Fighting. Hooray, our weapon has Brutal 2. And Second Wind can heal 1d10+1 hp as a bonus action.

And we'll roll Ability Scores after I post this! Casa was suitably Conan-esque the first time around, so we're aiming for the fences here.

...Okay, I hadn't used the dice roller yet, so the first one has an extra die. Ignore that five (*weeps quietly*).

So, 13 9 14 9 7 8. Y'all are killing me here. And, hey, look, there's no mechanic for rerolling, apart from the tried and true 'run them into the first meatgrinder.' But we'll see what happens.

Casa, female human Fighter 1
STR 15 (+2; +4 Saves) DEX 9 (-1) CON 14 (+2; +4 Saves) INT 7 (-2) WIS 8 (-1) CHA 9 (-1) HP 12
Proficiencies: All weapons, All armour Skills Athletics +4, Perception +1; +1 human skill.
Class Features Fighting Style (Great Weapons), Second Wind (1d10+1)
Human bonus language, human bonus feat.

Next time, Chapter 4: Personality and Background! We start covering more than a half-page at a time! We get to 'roleplaying details' (now with added mechanical hooks!) We, uh, try to decide how to react to the next piece of art.

Also, we start building our second character. Give me suggestions, vote for ones you like, you know the drill. Also, did y'all want to use the ability array, roll abilities, or point-buy?
 
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