What Do I Know About First Impressions? Twilight Accord Playtest Subclasses Part 3 (5e SRD)

5E_TwilightAccord_Logo_Square_small-450x450Let’s finish off our look at all of the subclasses currently available for playtest if you are a patron of Green Ronin’s Twilight Accord Patreon. This is a great project with a wonderful goal, so you should definitely back it, especially to get the context for some of these subclasses that lean more heavily into the setting background. 

To round out what we’re looking at, this time around we’ve got the Scoundrel (Rogue), Soulfire (Sorcerer), The Twilight Advocate (Warlock), and School of Prismatics (Wizards).

Scoundrel (Rogue)

The Scoundrel’s story is that you are a rogue that lies, cheats, steals, and out-maneuvers others to survive. You may not be bad, but you have learned to be bad, especially if you need to do so in order to survive in society.

  • 3rd Level–Daring Defence, Engaging Banter, Sly Flourish
  • 9th Level–Dirty Fighting
  • 13th Level–Nimble dodge
  • 17th Level–Scoundrel’s Trap

Rogue subclasses are tricky, because they have to do a lot with 3rd level, because that’s the only “flavor” you’re going to get until 9th level, and honestly, anything about 10th level may never come up. So let’s see what we’ve got.

Daring Defense is a “Dex Mod + Another Ability Mod” armor class ability that a few classes get, which doesn’t work with armor. This is good for looking like just a regular person, but it also means that if you don’t have a good secondary stat, in this chase Charisma, that’s not as useful. Engaging Banter lets you use this ability as one of your Cunning Actions, and if you make a successful Charisma (Deception) check, you can sneak attack even if you don’t have an ally nearby or advantage. The DM gets to set the DC for this check. Sly Flourish lets you add your Charisma bonus to your damage with finesse weapons. All of these mean you really want to have Charisma and Dexterity as high as you can get them both, and you don’t get an in-combat benefit for that Charisma until you reach 3rd level.

Dirty Fighting lets you use a special tactic a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest. These include the ability to blind an opponent until the end of your next turn, move 10 extra feet for the attack, you could riposte with your reaction, cause the opponent to grant advantage until the beginning of your next turn when they are attacked, or impose a penalty to armor class to your opponent equal to your strength bonus when you hit. 

Nimble Dodge lets you designate an opponent, and every time they attack you, you can use your reaction to move 10 feet away, and if that puts you out of their reach, they miss. They can save against this at the end of each of their rounds, and once they save, you don’t get this ability back until you take a short rest.

Scoundrel’s Trap at 17th level lets you designate a 20-foot radius area within 120 feet of you as having been trapped by you. Creatures in that area have to make a Dex save or suffer your sneak attack damage, with damage based on how you explain how your traps work. You can do this once per short or long rest.

First off, this feels a little more like a swashbuckler than a scoundrel, but officially in the 5e rules, we already have a Swashbuckler subclass, so I understand. Having a high Charisma may be rough for two levels instead of, say, Constitution, but it’s probably worth it over time. I wish Engaging Banter either forced a save based on your stats or had a set DC, because it feels like a DM could easily make this a non-feature by not having guidelines for how hard it should be. 

The Blinding Strike option of Dirty Fighting is just better than Set-up Strike, in all but a few very narrow cases, because being blind is usually going to give everyone advantage to hit the character, and it lasts until the end of your next turn, setting you up for another sneak attack. Staggering Strike, which requires Strength, feels like it’s asking too much when you are already a Dex and Cha-heavy character. I feel like Nimble Dodge should allow the save at the beginning of the opponent’s turn, and Scoundrel’s Trap should have a constrained list of damage types, or else the Rogue is going to be very tempted to explain every trap as doing Force damage. 

Most of my issues with this are placement and timing, not with the abilities themselves. I like the feel of this subclass, and honestly, I’d play this before playing a Swashbuckler.

Soulfire (Sorcerer)

Soulfire Sorcerers are connected to the Fires of Inspiration directly. While that’s a setting element, I think it still works as a general theme outside the setting. But let’s see what happens with the class as it interacts with the rules. 

  • 1st Level–Soulfire Spells, Spark Inspiration
  • 6th Level–Absorbing Aura
  • 14th Level–Prismatic Inspiration
  • 18th Level–Soulfire Mantle

The Soulfire Spells are themed with fire and multiple colors until 9th level, where there is a shift to animate objects and scrying, which feels a little off. Spark Inspiration lets you spend two sorcery points to grant an ally Inspiration (see last time around and how Inspiration in the setting can do additional things beyond granting advantage on a roll). 

Absorbing Aura allows you to absorb spells that target only you, as long as the spell is of a level you can cast, and convert it into Sorcery Points. You can “overcharge” yourself to have up to twice as many of your usual Sorcery Points in this way. Prismatic Inspiration allows you to grant a character the ability to expend that Inspiration to use one of the special functions of Inspiration in the setting even if they aren’t aligned with a particular color of the Fires of Inspiration. Soulfire Mantle cloaks you in multicolored flames that do a random damage type to hostile creatures near you, with fiends and undead taking extra radiant damage and potentially becoming frightened of you. You also give off light and are resistant to all damage. You can do this once per long rest, or spend 5 Sorcery Points to use it again. 

I want subclasses that are designed for a setting to give off that setting’s flavor, but it does make it harder to gauge how well the subclass is working. Even with the additional effects that Inspiration has in the setting, Spark Inspiration feels a little light for the only ability you’re going to have to tell this story until 6th level. I do really like the idea of absorbing energy and returning it back to “potential” energy as Sorcery Points in the Absorbing Aura feature.

The Twilight Advocate (Warlock)

The Twilight Advocate is an ancient entity that goes back to a time before the multiverse split into different realities. It is the entity calling marginalized LGBTQIA+ characters to the First City to clear it of monsters and to found their communities. It’s generally doing a benevolent thing, but is also mysterious and cagey.

  • 1st Level–Eldritch Secrets, Expanded Spell List, Pact Boon
  • 6th Level–Liberated Soul
  • 10th Level–Walk Behind the World
  • 14th Level–Overwhelming Compassion

The expanded spell list for this patron includes some traditional support spells like bless, calm emotion, and beacon of hope. If you take Pact of the Chain, your familiar can be a construct in addition to the choice between celestial, fiend, or fey. Eldritch Secrets give you an additional cantrip, an extra spell known, and an additional spell slot.

Liberated Soul lets you use a reaction to escape bonds or restraints, as well as end charmed or frightened conditions on yourself. Walk Behind the World lets you open up a gate that can open the other side up to a mile away, and you can traverse the distance with 20 feet of movement. Overwhelming Compassion lets you target someone within 120 feet of you. This has different effects based on if the creature is an ally or is hostile. Allied creatures shake off a level of exhaustion and can shake off a condition, as well as either getting the effect of a bless or sanctuary. Hostile creatures have to make a Wisdom save or be stunned for one minute, and after the stunned effect ends, the creature has to make a Wisdom save when they attack, and if they save, they take 4d10 psychic damage. This ends if anyone attacks the creature.

I feel like Walk Behind the World should have a limiter, maybe proficiency bonus per long rest, although with a Warlock, maybe once per short rest. The Overwhelming Compassion ability for a hostile creature feels a little complicated. I do think, in general, you do get the feeling of a Warlock connected to a being that predates planar boundaries, except for Overwhelming Compassion, which works for the Advocate as someone bringing together a community, but is a little removed from the rest of the “story.”

There are also some Eldritch Invocations to go along with this subclass, including:

  • Advocate’s Insight (gain Insight and Perception proficiency)
  • Defy Direction (Spider Climb)
  • One With the City (Find the Path while within the Fallen City)
  • Stunning Blast (add a stun feature to Eldritch Blast a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest)

Since Eldritch Invocations aren’t tied to a particular patron, all of them but One with the City could fill out a Warlock’s concept of what they want to accomplish, although Stunning Blast introduces the same issues as the Monk, and doubles those potential problems if you have a Monk and a Warlock both in the party.

School of Prismatics (Wizard)

The School of Prismatics studies magic as modified by the Fires of Inspiration. They are all about quantifying the Fires and how they relate to existing spells.

  • 2nd Level–Prismatic Knowledge, Prismatic Alignment
  • 6th Level–Prismatic Resistance
  • 10th Level–Prismatic Expertise
  • 14th Level–Prismatic Mastery

Prismatic Knowledge lets you pick one of the colors, and whenever you spend gold and time to copy that spell into your spellbook, it is halved. You pick up a new color every two levels. Prismatic Alignment lets you pick one of your known colors to align with, and when you do, you can shift damage type to the damage type associated with that color, and you gain access to a new cantrip. You also pick up a first, second, and third level spell that is considered prepared while you are aligned (although you can’t use any of the spells that you aren’t high enough level to cast).

Prismatic Resistance gives you advantage on any chromatic or prismatic spells, as well as resistance to damage type or effects aligned to different colors. Prismatic Expertise allows you to align to a second color, and also lets you add your Intelligence modifier to damage to spells from your aligned colors. Prismatic Mastery lets you align to three different colors at once, and you can shift your alignments on a short rest instead of when you prepare spells.

I like the interplay of alignment, bonus spells, shifting damage, and later on, extra damage. Overall, I think the complexity level of the subclass matches the overall complexity of Wizards, in general. I like this.

Final Thoughts

My favorites out of this batch of subclasses are the Scoundrel and the School of Prismatics. I feel like the Soulfire Sorcerer should stand on its own apart from the setting rules a little bit more. The Twilight Avocate is a solid Warlock patron, but the story really comes through in the context of the setting.

I really enjoyed reading through all of these subclasses. Several of them speak to me more than official subclasses. There is a certain enthusiasm that I think comes through all of these subclasses that makes them enjoyable, even when I have some things that I would tweak with them.

For now, I’m going to take a break from Twilight Accord content, but I would like to circle back around and look at the ancestries, Inspiration rules, and other mechanical elements that have been released in the playtest so far.