Empath/Heart Mage (5e Class)

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"It seemed a completely normal, inoffensive village of kind hearted folk, but whenever someone passed the alley where the child huddled, in her torn rags, knees hugged tight to her body, they would attack her with words, or spit, or throw something at her. This intrigued me and when I asked why, they said, 'She's a devil child!' Knowing a bit about these things I asked what signs of Fiend descent did she bear on her body, but the villagers, embarrassed, said she had none. Then they changed their words and said she was cursed. So I asked, 'What kind of curse?' It took a bit more time weeding out the truth, but eventually they told me that she knew everyone's secrets and that no one could touch her without screaming in pain. This intrigued me greatly. I approached the girl and asked her if I would scream in pain too if I touched her. She looked at me for a long time before emitting a whispered '...No...'. I reached out and patted her head, nothing happened. I continued for a few seconds and she started crying. I suddenly felt like crying as well and utter misery filled my heart. It was then that I knew I couldn't leave her here and, surprising myself more than any of those present, asked her how she felt about traveling the world with me... as my adopted daughter. She looked at me again, more calm than I expected. At that moment, I could not, for the life of me, understand her expression. It might have been shock, it might have been cold calculation. Even now I wonder. After a pause, she said yes, and that is when my life changed. Possibly for the better. But one thing was certain: my life was no longer my own."

Control Emotions

Use Emotions to control the battlefield.

The Empath, is a person with unique abilities to influence the emotional state of others. Empath abilities are non-magic but only work on feeling creatures. They have no effect on undead or constructs, unless they feel emotions.

In a few rare individuals, this ability manifests so strongly that it gets quite uncomfortable for the person and/or those around them.

Creating an Empath

The Empath provides aid to members of their adventuring company. An Empath bolsters their allies and weakens their enemies. Strangely, these individuals don't need magic to affect the world around them, instead, they send out or elicit/provoke waves of intense emotion that radically change people's hearts and minds.

Some of the questions you want to ask yourself to build this kind of character are: "Where does their power to affect the hearts and emotional state of others come from? How do they want to use their powers? For good or evil? Are they gentle in the way they intrude into the hearts of others or are they violent about tearing out dark secrets and dealing emotional and psychic damage to others?"

Quick Build

You can make an Empath quickly by following these suggestions.

First, Wisdom should be your highest ability score followed by Charisma and Constitution.

Second, There are many backgrounds that work with this : Hermit for the classics for example. Or, from the Home-brew collection : Exile, Experiment, Fey Child, Mystic, Psychic, ...

Third, choose similar equipment to what you would choose for a mage class, but without any focus on spell-boosts. You want AC if possible (no armour) and DC boosts.

Class Features

As a Empath you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Empath level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Empath level after 1st


Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple
Tools: None
Saving Throws: wisdom and charisma
Skills: Choose 2 from Animal Handling, Insight, Perception, Persuasion, Deception, Intimidation


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) Explorer's Pack or (b) Scholar's Pack
  • (a) Leather armor or (b) Hide armor (if proficient)
  • a dagger
  • (a) a gaming set or (b) a musical instrument

Table: The Empath

Level Proficiency
Features —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Heart Cantrips, Empath Spellcasting, Heartfield Aura, Innate Abilities, Overflow 2
2nd +2 Empath Archetype 3
3rd +2 Heart Cantrips 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 3
5th +3 4 3 2
6th +3 Archetype Feature 4 3 3
7th +3 Aura size increase +10ft 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 2
9th +4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Archetype Feature 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Aura size increase +20ft 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Ease of Practice 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Rewards of the Heart 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Class Features

Empath Abilities

All Empath "spells" are not considered magic, but are to be treated as psychic-like abilities. Many Empath spells are automatic hits, allowing targeted creatures to make a Wisdom saving throw to resist the effects or take half damage.

Empath spells have a normal spell DC if the target is visible. The spell DC increases by 4 if there is skin contact, and decreases by 8 if there is no visual sight on the target (the target still must be within aura range).

As a general rule, one can consider all Empath spells to have only one component: V (Verbal). For this reason and the fact that Empath abilities are not spells, they are much harder to detect when used discretely in everyday life.

The range of all spells is determined by the Empath's Heartfield Aura size.

Heartfield Aura

Empaths have a certain range within which their intent and emotional energy can affect those around them, called their Heartfield Aura. Your aura dictates the range of all your Empath abilities and spells, and begins with a radius of 30 feet. This radius increases at certain levels.

At 7th level, your maximum aura range increases by 10 feet. At 14th level, your maximum aura range further increases by 20 feet.

Innate Abilities

Perceive emotional state, detect life, send emotional message.

The range on these abilities is the same as the aura range. These Innate Abilities are unlimited at-will and can all be used as Bonus Actions, Actions or Reactions in the context of combat.

Perceive emotional state : You glean the general emotional state of a target creature.

Detect life : You detect the presence of any feeling creature within your aura range.

Send emotional message : You send a message to a creature within your aura whose location is known to you, the message contains more of a feeling than a meaning, it can be colored by a specific emotion or a mix of 2 or more emotions and can evoque an image or a sound or a smell, or a temperature, etc.


When casting an Empath spell, if it does not have an attack roll, roll a d20. On a 1, you lose control of the building emotions, causing them to be released in a wave called "Overflow". For Empath spells with an attack roll, rolling a 1 on the attack roll will cause an Overflow. When an Overflow is triggered, the intended Empath spell is not cast, but you still lose the spell slot you spent for it.

When this happens, a negative effect applies to the Empath, a random creature in near proximity to them (within aura range, the closer, the higher chance of being the unfortunate target), or even to all creatures within aura range. The severity of the negative effect depends on the level of the Empath spell that was attempted. For example, a 1 rolled on an attempted Heart Delve could become the opposite, exposing the PCs secrets of heart to the target. A 1 on a Heart Grasp might stun the PC for one round of combat at level 5, or the entire party at level 9 ! This is to be used at DM discretion.

nb : A more classic approach of this would be : "An Overflow causes a number of random targets within your aura range equal to one more than a third of your Empath level rounded up to take psychic damage equal to the spell's level in d6 (1d6 for cantrips). Targets may make a Wisdom saving throw against your Empath Spell Save DC, taking half as much damage on a success."

Empath Spellcasting


Theses are the "Heart Cantrips" available to Empaths :

    Chill Touch, Guidance, Resistance, Shocking Grasp, Spare the Dying, Toll the Dead, True Strike, Vicious Mockery, Word of Radiance

Empath Unique Cantrip :

    Heart Jolt : Action, Spell Attack Roll, no saving throw. Deals 1d6 force damage. 
    On 3 consecutive casts of this Cantrip on the same target, the creature must make a wisdom saving throw, on a fail, they are stunned until the end of their next turn. 
    This spell’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

Remember that all these are still treated not as magic effects but as psychic/emotional effects (in-game descriptions will bring these alive and make all the difference).

Other options can be added with DM discretion, as long as you can imagine a non-magical way of doing it, it's ok for an empath to have it.

Note that most spells requiring physical contact can be described in that way (an emotional surge).

At Level 1, you choose 2 Cantrips from the list above. You may choose 2 other Cantrips at level 3.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Empath table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level or higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spells level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

All Empath spells are always available for you to cast, choosing from the Empath spell list. The spells must be cast on a level for which you have an available spell slot.

Spellcasting Ability

Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your Empath spells. The power of your Empath spells come from your overflowing emotional energy and your natural empathy affinity. You use your Wisdom modifier whenever an Empath spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the DC for an Empath spell you cast and when making a attack roll with one.

       Spell Save DC : 8 + your proficiency modifier + your Wisdom modifier 
       Spell attack modifier : your proficiency modifier + your Wisdom modifier 

Ritual Casting

You can cast a spell that has the ritual tag as a normal spell, expending the appropriate spell slot.

Spellcasting Focus

Your body, it's life and energy is your focus for your spells. As such, you become unable to cast Empath spells so long as you no longer have a body's life and energy to work with. As a soul-projection or in an ethereal state, an Empath looses all their abilities.

Note that some Empaths also use their voice to elicit and communicate emotions to others, some use only eye contact, or a touch... (DM & Player discretion)

Archetype Feature

At level 2, you gain an Empath Archetype and the corresponding features.

You gain another Archetype feature at levels 6 and 10.

Ability Score Increase

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.

Ease of Practice

At level 18, you may choose a 1st level Empath spell. You may cast this spell at its base level without using a spell slot.

Rewards of the Heart

At level 20, you gain +2AC and are permanently under the effect of the Sanctuary spell's effects. This is not a magic effect and cannot be dispelled. Any creature who targets you with an attack or a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or lose the attack or spell. This effect doesn't protect you from area effects, such as the explosion of a fireball. Attacking or casting a spell that affects an enemy creature does not remove this effect. You may use this once per long rest

Empath Archetypes

Heart Mage

The Heart Mage is more battle oriented and focuses on disabling foes and dealing damage.

Focused Intent

Lvl 2 Focused Intent I : Concentration Empath Spells last twice as long (up to 2h).

lvl 9 Focused Intent II : You may re-roll a 1 or a 2 once per combat when casting Empath Spells.

lvl 13 Focused Intent III : You have advantage on all rolls to maintain concentration Empath spells.

Empowering Aura

Lvl 6 Empowering Aura I : Aura range +10ft.

Lvl 11 Empowering Aura II : When casting Empath Spells, a 19 is also considered a critical.

Lvl 17 Empowering Aura III : Aura range +20ft. On a creature within the half-range of your aura, an 18 is also considered a critical.

Powerful Energies

Lvl 10 Powerful Energies I : Add 1d10 force damage to all Empath damaging spells and also add 1d10 hit points recovered when providing healing of any kind.

Lvl 14 Powerful Energies II : Double your Wisdom Modifier when dealing damage with Empath spells and when providing healing of any kind.

True Empath

True Empaths have such vast Auras, they are said to be able to change the fate of great battlefields...

Vast Heart

Lvl 2 Vast Heart I : Aura Range +20ft.

Lvl 9 Vast Heart II : Double your Wisdom modifier for all non-damaging Empath Spells.

Lvl 13 Vast Heart III : Aura range +40ft.


Lvl 6 Persistence I : Once per combat, you may have an enemy re-roll a saving throw.

Lvl 11 Persistence II : Now twice per combat.

Lvl 17 Persistence III : Now three times per combat. Once per combat, you may have an enemy automatically fail a saving throw against one of your Empath spells. The use of a legendary resistance cancels this out to a normal saving throw.

Heroic Heart

Lvl 10 Heroic Heart I : Allies within aura range gain the benefits of the Heroism spell.

Lvl 14 Heroic Heart II : Allies within aura range gain +2 to all their attacks, skill checks, and saving throws.

Thorn Heart

The gift of Empathy and overwhelming emotional sensitivity and power is not considered a blessing by all those who receive it. In fact, many consider it a curse... a curse they are but too happy to share with others.

Violent Intrusion

Lvl 2 Violent Intrusion I : All damaging Empath spells deal an additional 2d4 psychic damage.

Lvl 9 Violent Intrusion II : Your spell DC gains +1

Lvl 13 Violent Intrusion III : Your spell DC gains +1

Inner Pain

Lvl 6 Inner Pain I : When you roll a 1 on an Empath spell, double all damage dealt by this 'overflow'.

Lvl 11 Inner Pain II : When you roll a 1 on an Empath Spell, you may now choose the targets of the 'overflow'. The chosen targets must still be within aura range. Chosen targets do not get to make a saving throw to take half damage.

Lvl 17 Inner Pain III : Rolling a 2 or a 3 on an Empath Spell now also counts as an 'overflow'. Overflows deal an additional 4d6 psychic damage.

Draining Presence

Lvl 10 Draining Presence I : The maximum hit points of enemies within aura range is reduced at the start of their every turn by an amount equal to half your Empath level rounded down. This is not considered an attack and does not affect concentration spells.

Lvl 14 Draining Presence II : All enemy creatures within your aura at the start of their turn must make a Wisdom saving throw against your Empath Spell DC. On a failure, they take 1d8 psychic damage, and half as much damage on a success.

Empath Spell List

You know all of the spells on the basic Empath spell list.

Spell Limits and Requirements

All Empath spells have a casting range equal to the Empath aura range.

All Empath spells require vision on target, or in some cases, at least knowing where the target is (increases difficulty +8 or lower spell DC by 8 if no visual).

All Empath Concentration spells last for a maximum of 1h, as the energy used is of emotional/life force nature, it is too exhausting to maintain any Empath spell longer. You may only have one Concentration Empath Spell in effect at any given time.

All Empath Spells that deal no damage have "The target of this spell must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw to notice that it is targeted by an ability. If it rolls above a DC 20 it also understands the purpose of the ability." even if it is not specified in the spell's description.

1st Level

Read Heart : Bonus Action, Functions as a detect alignment spell (still not magic), but can also to some extent (depends on PC roll vs Creature Charisma and DM discretion) give insight to target creature's motivation(s).

Soothe : Bonus Action, A target creature is healed for 1d4+Wisdom Modifier (+1d4 per additional spell casting level).

Bolster : Bonus Action, An ally gains 1d4+Wisdom Modifier attack bonus on their next attack (+1d4 per additional spell casting level).

Empower : Bonus Action, An ally gains 1d4+Wisdom Modifier damage bonus on their next successful attack (+1d4 per additional spell casting level).

Repulse : Action, Concentration, enemies within your aura have disadvantage to attack you.

Attract : Action, Concentration, you have advantage on all Charisma-related checks.

2nd Level

Calm emotions : Action, Concentration 1 hour, same effect as the spell of same name. You attempt to suppress strong emotions in a group of people. Each humanoid within aura range must make a Charisma saving throw; a creature can choose to fail this saving throw if it wishes. If a creature fails its saving throw, choose one of the following two effects.

You can suppress any effect causing a target to be charmed or frightened. When this spell ends, any suppressed effect resumes, provided that its duration has not expired in the meantime.

Alternatively, you can make a target indifferent about creatures of your choice that it is hostile toward. This indifference ends if the target is attacked or harmed by a spell or if it witnesses any of its friends being harmed. When the spell ends, the creature becomes hostile again, unless the GM rules otherwise.

Inspire : Action, Concentration, You channel positive feelings of inspiration into a creature, give a 1d4 (1d6 at lvl 4, 1d8 at lvl 8, 1d10 at lvl 12, 1d12 at lvl 16) inspiration dice to creature. This is a maintained concentration and remains in effect until concentration is broken or stopped. The inspiration dice can be used once per combat round for any roll.

Color Emotion : Action, chose a specific emotion to imprint strongly on a person, the effect changes according to the emotion in question.

Duration is as specified, or if unspecified, is as follows : if cast at Lvl 2 lasts 1 minute, +2 minutes for every spell level above 2nd.

Rage : Grants the barbarian Rage to target for duration.
Fervor : Grants advantage on all Religion checks and on attacks made against fiends.
Despair : Gives disadvantage on all physical attack rolls to target creature.
Joy : Target Gains advantage on all persuasion checks and charisma saving throws for duration.
Enthusiasm : Target gains advantage on all intelligence, wisdom, and charisma checks for duration.
Power : Target gains advantage on all strength, dexterity and constitution checks for duration.
Courage : Target gains immunity to fear for duration.
Focus : Target has advantage on all attacks on their next turn.
Fear : Target is frightened for duration. While frightened by this effect, a creature must take the Dash action and move away from you by the safest available route on each of its turns, unless there is nowhere to move. 
If the creature ends its turn in a location where it doesn't have line of sight to you, the creature can make a Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the spell ends for that creature.
Shock : Stuns target until end of their next turn.
Desire : Acts as a Charm spell (of non-magic nature) for duration.
Frenzy : Gives target creature an extra attack for duration.
Terror : Target is frightened for duration, with you as the object of this fear, and stunned until end of their next turn. 
They also have disadvantage on all wisdom and charisma skill checks until end of combat. You take 1d12 psychic damage.

Enemy targets may make a Wisdom or Charisma saving throw (their choice), on a successful save, the effect is ignored. If Heart delve was previously cast on target creatures, they have disadvantage on their saving throws.

Note that this Empath spell can also be used outside the context of combat, regardless of the effects, it still changes the emotional state of being of the target creature.

Heart Burst : Action, Concentration (1 minute), Make a ranged spell attack against a creature. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 force damage, and on each of your turns for the duration, you can use your action to deal 1d8 force damage to the target automatically. The spell ends if you use your action to do anything else. The spell also ends if the target is ever outside your aura's range. Each successive hit increases the damage by one dice, up to +3d8. On three consecutive hits, the target is stunned until the end of their next turn.

At Higher Levels: The initial damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

3rd Level

Heart Delve : Action, Roll for spell attack, on a successful roll gives the caster deep insight into the heart and mind of the target, also allows for the creature to then be the target of Heart Grasp. The target of this spell must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw to notice that it is targeted by an ability. If it rolls above a DC 20 it also understands the purpose of the ability.

Dampen : Action, Target enemy creature must make a Wisdom saving throw, on a fail, the physical damage they deal is reduced by 1d4 (+1d4 per additional spell casting level) for 1min.

Aura of Intimidation : Action, up to *spell level* creatures must make a Wisdom saving throw, on a fail, they are intimidated by your presence and will more easily obey the Empath, as long as they don't see you as their enemy. :) If Heart delve was previously cast on any of these creatures, they have disadvantage on their saving throws.

Aura of Persuasion : Action, up to *spell level* creatures must make a Wisdom saving throw, on a fail, they are persuaded to whatever the PC is communicating, even if it is absurd. This does not mean they will act on it however. :) If Heart delve was previously cast on any of these creatures, they have disadvantage on their saving throws.

Conviction : Action/Reaction, Concentration, you ignore any attempt to persuade or intimidate you for the duration (1h). This also makes you immune to charm and fear effects.

4th Level

Warp Focus : Action, Target creature within aura range must make a Wisdom saving throw, on failed save, you may change the attention focus of that creature for the next 1 minute if in combat, or for the next 1h if the creature is not in combat or if it doesn't consider you its enemy. For every cast level above 4th, add +2 to your spell DC when casting this spell. If Heart delve was previously cast on target creature, it has disadvantage on its saving throw.

Violent Repulse : Reaction to being hit with an attack from within aura range, automatic hit, attacker suffers 1d6+Wisdom Modifier necrotic damage, 1d6+Wisdom Modifier psychic damage, 1d6+Wisdom Modifier force damage, and automatically fail their next attack.

Aura of Encouragement : Action, Concentration, you and all allies within aura range gain 5 temporary hit points (+2 per additional casting level) on the start of your turn.

5th Level

Heart Grasp : Action, automatically takes effect if casting conditions are satisfied. By fully understanding the heart of a creature and making them understand this, the creature becomes unable to even formulate the idea of being aggressive towards the one who understands them so completely. Requires Heart Delve to have been successfully cast on target creature prior to this spell (there are no time requirements for this). Does no damage but if successful the target cannot take any aggressive action or target the caster with an attack for the rest of the day (week at 6th level, month at 7th level, year at 8th level, ever at 9th level). Attacking the target does not remove this effect.

Mass Color Emotion : Action, Apply chosen emotion & its effects to up to 6 people within aura range. Enemies may make a wisdom save to resist the effect. Lasts 1min. For every cast level above 5th, add 1 minute to the duration.

Share Inner Pain : Action, All enemy creatures within your aura must make a Wisdom saving throw. A creature takes 4d8 + your Wisdom modifier psychic damage and is stunned until the end of their next turn on a failed save, creatures take half as much damage and are not stunned on a successful one.

6th Level

Heartbreak : Action, Roll for spell attack, target creature may make a Wisdom save to take half damage. 10d8+Wisdom Modifier (+2d8 per additional spell casting level) force damage and on a failed save target is stunned until end of their next turn. If Heart delve was previously cast on target creature, it has disadvantage on its saving throw.

Mind Phantasms : Action, one creature you can see must make an Intelligence save. On a success, the target takes 5d10 psychic damage and the spell ends. On a failure, the creature is frightened, it takes the damage and becomes trapped in its own mind for 1 minute. Instead of percieving reality, it percieves its worst fears in a sprawling landscape all around it, effectively shutting down all perceptions from its real surroundings. This illusion affects all the senses. It is in the creature's mind and cannot be percieved by any other creature than the affected target. It is also restrained for the duration. If it is moved, attacked, takes any damage, makes a melee attack or attempts a spell, it takes 8d10 psychic damage and the effect ends. If it attempted a spell, it fails and the spell slot is lost. All damage from this spell is ignored for creatures that are immune to fear. However, they are still immobilised in a mental illusion.

7th Level

Color Aura : Action, Concentration, apply chosen "Color Emotion" and its effects to all target creatures (Allies or Enemies or both) within Aura range.

Inflict Madness : Action, roll for spell attack, target creature may make an Intelligence saving throw. If Heart delve was previously cast on target creature, it has disadvantage on its saving throw. On a fail, they take 2d12 psychic damage (+1d12 per additionnal casting level) and are afflicted with a Madness. If you cast this as a 7th-level spell, it inflicts a short-term madness. At 8th level, it inflicts a long term madness. And then an indefinite madness at 9th level. And maybe, to make up for the fact that you'd have to use a 9th-level slot for indefinite madness

8th Level

Emotional Overload : Action, Roll for spell attack, target creature may make a Wisdom save to take half damage (and no stun). On a failed save, target creature takes 12d10+Wisdom Modifier (+2d10 per additional spell casting level) psychic damage and is stunned until end of its next turn. If Heart delve was previously cast on target creature, it has disadvantage on its saving throw.

9th Level

Aura of Supremacy : Action, Concentration, your aura size doubles and all allies within range gain advantage on attacks, checks and saves.

Aura of Despair : Action, Concentration, your aura size doubles and all enemies within range gain disadvantage on attacks, checks and saves.


Prerequisites. To qualify for multi-classing into the Empath class, you must meet these prerequisites: 15 Wisdom.

Proficiencies. When you multi-class into the Empath class, you gain the following proficiencies: Simple Weapons, Insight.

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