Elder Sage (5e Class)
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An old man sits within a crude cage suspended in the center of the doomed town. The remains of his friends surround him, the ashes of their homes fall from above as fiendish conquerors wait to deliver him to their dark master. He is rescued by brave heroes first, just in time to play a pivotal role in events to come. He is an Elder Sage, and in times like these, his knowledge will be invaluable.
Where a Wizard is dedicated to unlocking the vast secrets and powers of magic, an Elder Sage seeks knowledge for the sake of the knowledge and uses spells only to further this goal. They are wholly dedicated to the discovery, collection, preservation, and distribution of vital knowledge and lore, typically using their gifts to assist others in times of need. They are firm proponents of the philosophy that knowledge is power, earning the title of "Elder" among sage collogues upon reaching a certain degree of proficiency within their field of study, regardless of their age.
Creating an Elder Sage
Prerequisite: You must select the sage background to create an Elder Sage. The title of "Elder Sage" is reserved for distinguished individuals in sage communities, granted by their peers.
The first question to ask yourself when creating an Elder Sage is whether this is really the class you're looking for. You saw the d4 Hit Dice, right? You can probably create a similar enough character using a different class. This class was created to reflect a specific character (Deckard Cain from the Diablo franchise) who appears as an NPC guide rather than a protagonist. It should work better as an NPC or DMPC class rather than a player class in most games. If you intend to use this class as a player, discuss how that will affect the game with your DM. The Elder Sage must be able to provide information that provides a tangible difference in the difficulty of encounters to justify its lack in raw power.
If you do wish to use this class, consider how your sage came to be so knowledgeable. Did they live a life of near isolation? Were they a member of a university or mage clan? How is your background and specialty reflected in your spells and your subclass? Most importantly - what drove you from the comfort of your study, or did you choose to leave on your own? The presence of an Elder Sage should signal an impending conflict of significant magnitude - talk to your DM about what role your character might play in the story.
- Quick Build
You can make an Elder Sage quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Ensure you have the Sage background, and choose a quarterstaff, arcane focus, and the scholar's pack. Choose the mage hand and produce flame cantrips, along with the 1st-level spells detect magic and sanctuary.
As a Elder Sage you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Weapons: Daggers, Quarterstaffs
Tools: One gaming set of your choice
Saving Throws: Charisma, Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose four from Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Religion, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a quarterstaff or (b) a dagger
- (a) an arcane focus or (b) a component pouch
- (a) an explorer's pack or (b) a scholar's pack
- If you are using starting wealth, you have 5d4gp in funds.
|Features||Cantrips Known||Spells Known||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||Spellcasting, Knowing Touch, Wealth of Knowledge||2||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+2||Expertise, Abjuring Thoughts||2||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||2||5||3||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Sage School Feature||2||7||4||2||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||2||9||4||3||—||—||—|
|11th||+4||Sage School Feature||3||12||4||3||3||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||3||12||4||3||3||—||—|
|15th||+5||Eye of Elders||4||14||4||3||3||2||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||4||14||4||3||3||2||—|
|18th||+6||Sage School Feature||4||15||4||3||3||3||1|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||4||15||4||3||3||3||2|
|20th||+6||Eye of Ioun||4||15||4||3||3||3||2|
You receive additional benefits based on the Specialty from your sage background:
Alchemist: You have a set of Alchemist's supplies and you are proficient in using them.
Astronomer: You are proficient with Cartographer's supplies and you have a spyglass. You will not part with the spyglass willingly.
Discredited academic: You have a Forgery kit and you are proficient in using it.
Librarian: You are proficient with Calligrapher's supplies and you have a book and a magnifying glass.
Professor: You are proficient with Calligrapher's supplies and one additional standard language of your choice.
Researcher: You are proficient with Calligrapher's supplies and any artisan's tool of your choice.
Wizard's apprentice: You learn one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. It becomes a sage spell for you and doesn't count against your cantrips known.
Scribe: You have a set of Calligrapher's supplies and you are proficient in using them. You also learn one exotic language of your choice, but you can only understand its written form.
As a student of all knowledge, you have learned certain spells that assist you in your studies.
At 1st level, you know two cantrips of your choice from the elder sage spell list. You learn additional elder sage cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Elder Sage table.
- Spell Slots
The Elder Sage table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your elder sage spells (hereby referred to as "sage spells") of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these sage spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. At 1st level, you have two 1st level spell slots. They are not shown on the Elder Sage table due to a limitation in the website's template.
- Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher
You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the elder sage spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Elder Sage table shows when you learn more sage spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 5th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the sage spells you know and replace it with another spell from the elder sage spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
- Spellcasting Ability
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your sage spells, since the power of your magic relies on your ability to dedicate them to memory. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a sage spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
- Spellcasting Focus
You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your sage spells.
- Ritual Casting
You can cast a sage spell you know as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag.
Wealth of Knowledge
When you make a Wisdom (Medicine) or Wisdom (Survival) check and you have proficiency in the check, you can use your Intelligence modifier instead of Wisdom. In addition, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any Intelligence ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.
Having extensively studied the nature of magics, if somewhat neglecting the art of spellcasting itself, you have become a master of identifying magical properties. You know the identify spell and can cast it at will, without expending a spell slot or material components. It has a casting time of 1 action for you and does not count against your spells known.
When you reach 5th level in this class, you can cast legend lore at will, without expending a spell slot or material components. When cast in this way, it has a range of Touch and can only target an object that you touch for the duration of the spell's casting.
At 2nd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and a tool proficiency granted by your Sage Specialty feature. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.
At 7th level, you can choose two more of your proficiencies (in skills or with tools) to gain this benefit.
At 2nd level, you recall an ancient warding spell which remains active through concentration. You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or components. When cast in this way, it requires concentration.
In addition, you can cast shield at will, without expending a spell slot or components when you have not taken actions other than the Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Hide actions since the beginning of your last turn.
At 3rd level, you choose a Sage School which represents the focus of your work. Choose between Arcane Visionary, Battlefield Advisor, Natural Philosopher, or Star Speaker, all detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 11th, and 18th level.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
At 10th level, your mind has grown sharper than the finest blade. Whenever you make an ability check that uses your Intelligence modifier, you can treat a d20 roll of 9 or lower as a 10.
At 14th level, choose two of your skill or tool proficiencies for which you have already gained Expertise. Your proficiency bonus is tripled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.
Eye of Elders
At 15th level, you gain the effects of the true seeing spell. You can touch a willing creature and grant them the same effects for 1 minute. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, and you regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Eye of Ioun
At 20th level, you can cast the foresight spell without expending a spell slot or material components. You can use this feature once and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest.
You've made a career of understanding the fundamental principles of magic, hoping to unlock the secrets of creating new spells.
- Wizardly Aspirations
At 3rd level, you learn one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. It becomes a sage spell for you and doesn't count against your cantrips known. In addition, when your Spellcasting feature lets you learn a sage spell of 1st level or higher, you can choose the new spell from the elder sage spell list or the wizard spell list. You must otherwise obey all the restrictions for selecting the spell, and it becomes a sage spell for you.
Finally, you learn to use more powerful spells more quickly, gaining higher level spell slots earlier. You refer to the following table instead of the Elder Sage table when determining the number of available spell slots for your level.
-Spell Slots per Spell Level-
- Arcane Prodigy
At 6th level, you begin to understand the language of magic more intimately. You can now spend time researching and developing new variants of existing spells. You can perform a 1 hour ritual to attempt to alter the nature of a cantrip or a spell of 1st level known by you or an ally who has demonstrated the spell to you and remains with you for the duration of the ritual. At the end of the hour, you must succeed on an Intelligence (Arcana) check and the spell's caster must successfully cast the spell again. The DC of the Intelligence (Arcana) check is 15 for a cantrip and 20 for a spell of 1st level. A roll of 20 on the d20 always results in a success.
On a success, the effects of the spell are changed in accordance with the caster's desires. This change should serve as a "sidegrade" to the original spell. One could change the type of damage dealt, make a trade between range and duration, increase the area at the cost of damage, or perform some similar alteration. Discuss the change with your DM, it should never make a spell more powerful overall than the original version.
If you use this feature to alter a spell that has been prepared from a class spell list (not from a spell book) and the spellcaster prepares a new list of spells which doesn't include the altered spell, the alterations to the spell are lost.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum once) and you regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.
- Mystic Savant
At 11th level, you can use your Arcane Prodigy feature to attempt to alter a spell of 2nd or 3rd level. The DC of the Intelligence (Arcana) check is 25 for a 2nd level spell and 30 for a 3rd level spell.
- Weave Guru
At 18th level, you can use your Arcane Prodigy feature to attempt to alter a spell of 4th level or higher. The DC of the Intelligence (Arcana) check is 35 for a 4th level spell and 40 for a 5th level spell. If you attempt to alter a spell of 6th level or higher, you must roll a 20 on the d20 to succeed. On a failed attempt, you take 2d10 psychic damage for each spell level above 5th.
As a scholar of the art of war, your place is on the battlefield. Preferably not too close to the actual fighting, though.
- Slayers' Guide
When you make an Intelligence check to recall information about a creature, you can apply your proficiency bonus to the check. When you reach 7th level and 14th level, you can select this type of check to receive double or triple your proficiency bonus by your Expertise and Mastery features, respectively.
- Tactical Abjuration
Starting at 6th level, the warding spell granted by your Abjuring Thoughts feature becomes second nature to you. While you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Intelligence modifier.
In addition, you gain the ability to project your protective ward unto your allies. When a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see is hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell and you are currently able to cast shield using your Abjuring Thoughts feature, you can use a reaction to create an invisible barrier of magical force around the target creature. Until the start of your next turn, the creature has a +3 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack, and takes no damage from magic missile.
- Tutor of War
Starting at 11th level, you can focus your mind to divine additional information about a creature. You can use an action to choose a creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The DM reveals one significant strength or weakness of the creature that you didn't already know, such as a damage immunity or vulnerability, a personality trait, its lowest saving throw score, a powerful or exploitable feature, or some other useful information. Taking this action does not prevent you from casting shield using your Abjuring Thoughts feature. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, and you regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.
In addition, when you use the Help action to aid an ally in attacking a creature, the target of that attack can be within 30 feet of you, rather than 5 feet of you, if the target can see or hear you.
- Survey the Battle
Starting at 18th level, you can cast time stop without expending a spell slot. While the spell remains active, you can use your Tutor of War feature to gather information about creatures without expending a use. Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can do so again.
Though some may call you a simple herbalist, a scholar of natural philosophy excels in finding new ways to put nature's gifts to use.
- Wildlands Guide
At 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Animal Handling and Survival skills. If you are already proficient in Survival, you gain Expertise in the skill. If you already have Expertise in Survival, you gain Expertise in your choice of Animal Handling, Medicine, or Nature. You also learn the shillelagh and druidcraft cantrips, which become sage spells for you and don't count against your cantrips known. Finally, when your Spellcasting feature lets you learn a sage spell of 1st level or higher, you can choose the new spell from the elder sage spell list or the ranger spell list. You must otherwise obey all the restrictions for selecting the spell, and it becomes a sage spell for you.
- Medical Savant
At 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Herbalism kit. When you are in an area with varied life, you can spend 1 hour experimenting with the flora and fauna using an Herbalism kit to attempt to create a new Healing Potion formula. At the end of the hour, you make an Intelligence check using your proficiency in the Herbalism kit. The result of your experimenting is determined by the following table:
|1-4, or a roll of 1 on the d20||You are poisoned for 1d4 hours. If you have a willing assistant, they are poisoned instead.|
|10-19||You have a +1 bonus to subsequent checks made in this area.|
|20-29||You create a Healing Salve and you have a +2 bonus to subsequent checks made in this area.|
|30-39||You create a Greater Healing Salve and you have a +3 bonus to subsequent checks made in this area.|
|40, or a roll of 20 on the d20||You create a Potion of Healing.|
Keep track of bonuses accrued to checks made in the current area, they stack additively for each check made until you can produce a Potion of Healing. Once you learn to create a Healing Salve of a certain quality, you can reproduce the salve by using this feature to take 1 hour to gather and mix resources, creating 1d4 salves in the process. Once you learn to create a Potion of Healing, you can use this feature to reproduce them as well, taking 1 hour and expending 1 spell slot of 1st level or higher to produce 1 Potion of Healing. If you have assistance, the time required to use this feature is reduced by 5 minutes for each unskilled assistant and 15 minutes for each skilled assistant, to a minimum of 30 minutes. An assistant must have proficiency in Nature, Medicine, Survival, Alchemist's supplies, or the Herbalism kit to be considered skilled. If an assistant is proficient in three or more of these skills, they contribute a +1 bonus to your roll for each proficiency beyond the second.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum once) and you regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Healing Salve: This paste can be applied as an action to a wounded creature. If the creature is not an undead or construct, it gains Hit Points depending on the quality of the salve after 1 minute. A creature who is healed in this way cannot benefit from another Healing Salve until they finish a short or long rest. Five doses of the salve weighs 1 pound, and it will spoil if unused for one week or one month if chilled. A normal Healing Salve restores 1d4 HP and a Greater Healing Salve restores 2d6 HP.
- Worldly Navigator
At 6th level, you can cast find the path without expending a spell slot or components while you have a vantage point and a clear view that allows you to see at least 1 mile in all directions. When cast in this way, it has a duration of 1 minute, no concentration required. You cannot use this feature again until you finish a long rest.
- Superior Salves
At 11th level, your Healing Salves become more potent. When you use your Medical Savant feature to create one or more Greater Healing Salves, you can expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher to create Superior Healing Salves instead. When a Superior Healing Salve restores HP to a creature, it also produces the effect of a lesser restoration spell. You choose which effect is produced when you create the salve. In addition, when you use your Medical Savant feature to create a Potion of Healing, you can expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher to produce a Potion of Greater Healing instead.
- Supreme Salves
At 18th level, your Healing Salves become more efficient. When you use your Medical Savant feature to create a Healing Salve of any quality, it now restores one additional die of HP (2d4 or 3d6) and takes effect after 1 round (at the end of your next turn) instead of 1 minute. In addition, when you use your Medical Savant feature to create a Potion of Healing, you can expend a spell slot of 5th level to produce a Potion of Superior Healing instead.
You are an expert in divinations, able to gleam extraordinary knowledge simply by watching the night sky.
- Cosmic Guide
At 3rd level, you learn the guidance and thaumaturgy cantrips. They become sage spells for you and don't count against your cantrips known. You also gain proficiency in the Perception skill. When you make a Wisdom (Perception) check to observe something in the sky or beyond, you can add double your proficiency bonus to the check. You also have advantage on any ability check made to recall information about celestial bodies such as stars, moons, worlds, comets, constellations, and structures, as well as any creatures that live among them.
- Star Speaker Spells
As a Star Speaker, you learn additional spells at the sage levels noted in the table below. These spells become sage spells for you, and they don't count against your spells known.
|Elder Sage Level||Spells|
|3rd||detect evil and good, guiding bolt|
|9th||daylight, life transference|
|13th||sickening radiance, summon abberation|
|17th||commune, summon celestial|
- Astral Augur
At 6th level, you learn the augury spell. It doesn't count against your spells known. If you already knew augury, you instead learn another sage spell of your choice for which you have spell slots. When you have a clear view of the stars in the night sky, you can cast augury as a ritual without material components. When cast in this way, you can receive an omen about the results of a course of action that you plan to take within the next 24 hours.
- Starlight Navigator
At 11th level, you can cast find the path without expending a spell slot or material components while you have a clear view of the stars in the night sky. When cast in this way, it requires no concentration, but the spell ends early if you lose sight of the stars.
At 18th level, you can cast astral projection. When you do, you don't require material components. You cannot use this feature again until the next solar eclipse.
Elder Sage Spell List
You know a number of spells and cantrips as described in your Spellcasting feature from the elder sage spell list.
acid splash, arc, blade ward, control flames, encode thoughts, gust, light, mage hand, magic stone, mending, message, minor illusion, prestidigitation, produce flame, resistance, shocking grasp, toll the dead, vicious mockery
- 1st Level
alarm, bane, cause fear, comprehend languages, detect magic, disguise self, expeditious retreat, feather fall, find familiar, fog cloud, impart knowledge, magic missile, protection from evil and good, sanctuary, silent image, sleep, tenser's floating disk, thought purge, unseen servant
- 2nd Level
arcane lock, augury, blindness/deafness, bone lore, darkness, darkvision, detect thoughts, enhance ability, enthrall, find traps, gust of wind, knock, levitate, locate object, misty step, nystul's magic aura, pass without trace, rope trick, see invisibility, silence, suggestion, warding wind, web, zone of truth
- 3rd Level
catnap, clairvoyance, dispel magic, enemies abound, fear, feign death, fly, gaseous form, haste, hypnotic pattern, intellect fortress, magic circle, nondetection, remove curse, sending, speak with dead, tiny servant, tongues
- 4th Level
arcane eye, banishment, compulsion, confusion, dimension door, divination, fabricate, fire shield, freedom of movement, hallucinatory terrain, leomund's secret chest, locate creature, mordenkainen's private sanctum, otiluke's resilient sphere
- 5th Level
animate objects, awaken, contact other plane, dream, far step, legend lore, mislead, modify memory, planar binding, rary's telepathic bond, scrying, seeming, skill empowerment, telekinesis, teleportation circle
If you multiclass into the Elder Sage class, you gain no extra equipment from the Sage Specialty feature.
Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Elder Sage class, you must meet these prerequisites: Sage background, Intelligence 15
Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Elder Sage class, you gain proficiency in one skill from the class's skill list.