Defiler (5e Subclass)
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Defiling is an arcane tradition unique to the plane of Athas, relying on the twisted mechanisms of arcane power there. Without the DM's approval, it cannot be chosen by wizards who are not native to Athas and does not function outside of Athas.
Defilers harness the flawed structure of Athas's magical weave to fuel their spells with the life-force of other living things. Doing so kills and sterilizes the land around them, eventually resulting in places where nothing can grow. Great swaths of Athas are empty, barely-habitable deserts as a result of centuries of misrule by defilers and their ilk. Furthermore, using magic in this way is addictive, and has flesh-warping physical effects on its practitioners.
On Athas, any wizard can succumb to the temptation of becoming a defiler. Any wizard of second level or higher who wishes to may immediately replace their current arcane tradition's class features with the defiler's. Doing so causes the wizard's alignment to become evil.
A defiler who wishes to change his or her evil ways must first shed his or her evil alignment and demonstrate their sincere desire for atonement. Then, they must find a teacher of another arcane tradition and spend at least one adventure refraining from using their Life Drain class feature, until the teacher is satisfied their addiction to defiling has been broken. Only then do they gain the class features associated with their tradition. No teacher will take on a defiler who has relapsed after seemingly defeating their addiction.
Because of the villainous nature of this tradition, seek your DM's approval before selecting it.
- Terrifying Reputation
When you adopt this tradition at 2nd level, you gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill if you don't already have it. Whenever you cast magic in the presence of an intelligent creature, you can immediately attempt to intimidate it without using an action.
- Life Drain
Starting at 2nd level when you choose this tradition, you learn to use other life as fuel for your magic. Whenever you cast a spell of first level or higher, you can use a bonus action to defile the earth beneath you to enhance it. Doing so kills all plant life in a sphere centered on you, with a diameter of a number of feet equal to the level of the spell times five. If there is no plant life in that area, the earth is instead defiled, drained of all life such that nothing can ever grow there again unless it is somehow mended through magical means or careful tending over the course of years. You can't use this ability while there is no undefiled land inside of the sphere, nor while less than half of the sphere contains either plant life or undefiled earth.
When you use this ability, you may double either your proficiency bonus or your spell ability score for the purpose of calculating all spell effects, including saving throw DCs and spell attack rolls. You choose which every time you use this ability. You can use this ability a number of times per long rest equal to your wizard level times two.
- Arcane Sustenance
Starting at 6th level, you can expend one use of your Life Drain power to instead regain one expended spell slot of your level divided by five or lower, or to instantly cast lesser restoration on yourself with no verbal, somatic, or material components. Doing so defiles the land around you as usual. When you use this power, you don't have to sleep or consume any food or water to gain the benefits of rest for twenty-four hours.
- Monstrous Thirst
Starting at 10th level, you undergo a hideous transformation. You are covered in a thin layer of scales, and may have other monstrous physical traits, marking what you are physically for all to see. When you aren't wearing armor your AC is equal to 13 plus your Dexterity modifier, and your hitpoint maximum increases by 10. It increases again by 1 whenever you gain a level in this class.
However, you have become addicted to the sensation of defiling. Whenever you take a long rest without having expended a number of your daily uses of your Life Drain power equal to half your levels in this class, you begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms, as described below.
If it's been at least one day since you last expended a use of your Life Drain class feature, you suffer a level of exhaustion. If it's been at least a week, you suffer the poisoned condition. If it's been two weeks, you suffer an additional level of exhaustion. After four weeks, all of these effects fade, and you have broken your defiling addiction. Any spell or effect that would remove these conditions instead suspends them for a period of one minute, after which they resume. Expending a use of Life Drain at any point in this process, including after your symptoms fade, will immediately relieve all of these symptoms, but you will have to start again from the beginning to attempt to break it again.
- Hunger for Life
Starting at 14th level, your hunger for life force is a weapon in its own right. When you use your Life Drain, choose one creature within the radius of the sphere. That creature must make a Constitution saving throw or suffer necrotic damage equal to the spell's level times five. A successful saving throw halves this damage. Whenever you kill a creature with this damage, you may immediately gain one benefit of your Arcane Sustenance class feature. As long as you choose a creature in this way, only a quarter of the sphere must contain plant life or undefiled earth.