Archivist Tradition (5e Subclass)

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Wizard subclass

Archivists delve deep into ancient texts for obscure and ancient lore. It is one thing to study magic for practical uses, but is another thing entirely to be so completely devoted to study for its own sake. Indeed, the place of an archivist would typically lie in a stuffy old library, but its a big world out there, and you prefer a more "hands on" approach.

Notable Archivists in Fiction
  • Merlyn. "The best thing for being sad ... is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."
  • Newt Scamander. "See, they're currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most dangerous creatures on the planet: humans."

Archivist Tradition[edit]

At level 2 you may choose this tradition as your Arcane Tradition, granting the following features at levels 2, 6, 10, and 14.


Upon becoming an archivist, choose two of the following skills. You gain proficiency in these skills, or if you already have proficiency your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make using either of the chosen proficiencies.

  • Arcana
  • Animal Handling
  • History
  • Investigation
  • Medicine
  • Nature
  • Religion

Cum Laude[edit]

Magic is such a flexible thing, able to come from many sources to service many needs. As an archivist, you may copy spells into your spellbook from any spell storage or record (such as potions, staffs, spell storing items, and wands) and from any classes spell list, as if they were wizard spells. Once a spell is copied into your spellbook it is treated as a wizard spell for you. Additionly, you may have someone teach you one of their spells, which you then copy into your spellbook. However, copying spells in an unorthodox way increases its difficulty. Copying from a source other than a spellbook, spell scroll or a teacher doubles the time to copy the spell and copying a spell that is not on the wizard spell list doubles the gp cost.

In addition, your comprehension of magic theory is immense. The time it takes you to copy a spell into your spellbook is reduced by a number of hours equal to your Intelligence modifier to a minimum of 1 hour, and the cost of experimenting is reduced by your Intelligence modifier times 10, to a minimum of 10 GP.

Broadened Horizons[edit]

By the time you reach level 6 you have spent a great deal of time working with many different sources of material from all over the world, and have become very cultured because of it. You learn to speak, read and write 2 languages of your choice that you have come into contact with (see page 123 of the Player's Handbook for details).

Magna Cum Laude[edit]

When you reach 6th level you find ways to strengthen your magic, so long as you have the time and material to do so. When you are casting a spell as a ritual, you may add one of the following effects any number of times, increasing the time and gp cost of the ritual by the amounts listed.

  • Invoking Duality. +5 minutes, +50 gp per spell level. The round after you cast this ritual spell, you may cast it again.
  • Invoking Multiplicity. +30 minutes, +100 gp per spell level. All of the spell's properties are doubled.
  • Invoking Haste. +100 gp per spell level. The casting time is halved.
  • Invoking Perpetuity. +10 minutes, +50 gp per spell level. The duration of the spell is doubled.

In addition, whenever a ritual (spell or otherwise) would have you spend materials worth a certain amount of gp, you may sacrifice any number of creatures during the ritual. This covers 5 gp per Hit Die if the creature has 3 or less Intelligence, or 10 gp per Hit Die otherwise. This value is multiplied by 10 if the creature has not yet come of age.

The Sacred Texts[edit]

At level 10 your spellbook (or more likely spellbooks at this point) have become just too important for you to leave unprotected. You may perform an 8-hour ritual that costs 100 GP on a spellbook you are holding, binding it to your mind and protecting it with the following effects. You may have a number of spellbooks bound equal to your Intelligence score, and may unbind a spellbook as an action. For this purpose, a spellbook is classified as a collection of 100 pages that can hold notes for spells (therefore, spellbooks that are 200 pages long would count as 2 spellbooks, determine further specificities with your DM).

You and those you choose are unaffected by the following defenses on the spellbook.

  • The spellbook is magically stored within you and as a 1-hour ritual, you create a physical copy of it. You choose whether changes to the copy are reflected in the original.
  • The information within this item is protected against divination spells. Creatures attempting to use divination on the item must make an Intelligence (Arcana) check against your wizard spell DC, or else the spell provides no information
  • Those who attempt to physically read this item must make an Intelligence saving throw for every page that they read. On a failed save, the reader takes psychic damage equal to your wizard level and roll a 1d4 and they gain one of the following conditions for 10 minutes:
  1. blinded
  2. charmed (the book then compels the reader to return the book to you)
  3. frightened (of the book)
  4. unconscious

Summa Cum Laude[edit]

Upon becoming a 14th level archivist your understanding of magic theory is beyond compare. When you are able to see and hear the casting of a spell that you do not have written in a spellbook of yours you may use your reaction to make that spell your Fixation. You may only have one fixation at a time, and lose all previous fixations upon gaining a new one. The spell of your fixation whirls about in your mind as you reverse engineer its components and functions. You may copy your fixation into a spellbook of yours as if it was being taught to you.

In addition, you gain advantage on saving throws to resist effects that would invade your mind (such as mind-reading, charm, and possession).

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