Marionetista (5e Class)

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The use of necromancy is enchanting. But what of those who don't want to rely on reusing corpses? Sometimes a person wants bodies that don't rot. But they also aren't keen on having automated beings that run on gadgetry. They thus look to puppeteering.

Master Projection[edit]

Puppeteers are not so mechanically minded as an artificer, nor are they so arcane as necromancers. They love control, but they are somewhere in between. To a degree, they understand their puppets, having often created them with their own hands and tools on their own time. But the strings which they pull them by are not cold reams of logic or automation. And, unlike an artificer with their fancy turrets and alchemy, marionetistas are solely invested in puppetry. The puppets remain bound to their puppeteer, and the puppeteer to a degree relies on their puppetry. Those who take on this profession also have a controlling nature, usually, or a knack for playing others to their own tune.

Creating a Marionetista[edit]

As a marionetista who plays with lives and creations, they usually display some degree of detachment to reality. When making a marionetista, think about what made them want to play with things like toys. This could be a childhood obsession that slowly evolved into full-blown desire to dominate. Do they isolate themselves from the world, needing only their puppets? Did something happen to make them withdraw from the contact of others. Or did they just decide that they liked being able to have minions that didn't smell?

Quick Build

You can make a marionetista quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Dexterity or Wisdom. Second, choose either the Cloistered Scholar or Hermit background. If you are allowed to use a homebrew background, consider the Puppeteer background.

Class Features

As a Marionetista you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d6 per Marionetista level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + Constitution modifier per Marionetista level after 1st


Armor: light
Weapons: all simple weapons
Tools: Carpenter's tools or taxidermist's kit
Saving Throws: Intelligence and Wisdom
Skills: Choose 2 from from Arcana, Insight, History, Investigation, Nature, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion.


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

  • (a) a dagger or (b) a club
  • a pouch of 20 darts
  • (a) an explorer's pack or (b) a dungeoneer's pack
  • a big box that is fashioned to be carried like a backpack
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 5d4 x 10 in funds.

Table: The Marionetista

Level Proficiency
Features Puppet Slots Number of Puppets Creation Time (Days)
1st +2 Puppet Creation, String Manipulation 0 1 3d10+4
2nd +2 Slot Building, Domineering Style 2 2 3d10+4
3rd +2 Performance Tweak 2 2 3d10+4
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 2 2 3d10+4
5th +3 4 3 3d10+4
6th +3 Domineering Style feature 4 3 3d8+3
7th +3 Performance Tweak improvement 4 3 3d8+3
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement, Domineering Style feature 4 3 3d8+3
9th +4 6 4 3d8+3
10th +4 String Manipulation improvement 6 4 3d8+3
11th +4 Real Life Puppeteer 6 4 4d6+2
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 6 4 4d6+2
13th +5 8 5 4d6+2
14th +5 String Manipulation improvement 8 5 4d6+2
15th +5 Performance Tweak improvement 8 5 3d6+1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 8 5 3d6+1
17th +6 10 6 2d6+1
18th +6 Domineering Style feature 10 6 1d6+1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 10 6 1d6+1
20th +6 12 7 1d4

Puppet Creation[edit]

Starting at 1st level, you can craft a puppet to use as your soldier and pawn in battle. The number of puppets you can have at a time are written under the Number of Puppets column in the Marionetista table above. The amount of time it takes to craft a puppet is written under the Creation Time column. To repair a puppet from 0 hit points, you must spend at least half the time needed for its creation working on it with your tools. Your puppet is a construct type creature, meaning it is immune to poison damage, as well as being poisoned, and diseases. While within 100 feet of you, you can command it telepathically as a bonus action, and has your senses. If it leaves this range, the energy transfer keeping it alive is severed and it collapses in inanimation.


Depending on what you have on hand, you can make a variety of puppets with different qualities. The material also determines their sturdiness. The cost to animate and render the puppet usable is added onto whatever cost you pay to procure materials and craft the puppet itself.


The puppet base is made of polished wood that resembles the stereotypical Pinnochio style doll. It is vulnerable to fire damage and has a -1 to its base Constitution score. It has an Armor Class of 15 and hit points equal to 2d4 + your Intelligence modifier. You expend 5 gp to render the puppet usable.


Stone is much more expensive, and it is hard to find material that is actually able to be crafted, like marble. Being bulky, the golem puppet has a -1 to its Dexterity score. However, it has double its normal carrying capacity. It has an Armor Class of 17 and hit points equal to 3d6 + your Intelligence modifier. You expend 10 gp to render the puppet usable.


Iron is a good, moldable material. You can choose 1 ability score to increase by 1. It has an Armor Class of 19 and hit points equal to 4d8 + your Intelligence modifier. You expend 20 gp to render the puppet usable.

Precious Metals

Valuable metals like gold and platinum make a puppet irresistible. Its base Charisma score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1. It has an Armor Class of 21 and hit points equal to 4d8 + your Intelligence modifier. You expend 50 gp to render the puppet usable.


You can make smaller puppets that are more intricate and still fit for battle. The amount of material you need is based on size, but the time you take to make them remains unchanged, due to smaller puppets needing even more detail work. You cannot make a puppet too large to fit in your puppeteers box, which is where it rests to continue moving. For example, you can, as a Medium creature, collapse a Large puppet to fit into your box. As a tiny creature, you would only be able to carry a Medium sized one. The material you use will be whittled down to make the refined product, meaning a lot of the initial material will end up becoming unusable scrap.

Size Amount of Material Needed/Weight of Puppet (lbs.)
Tiny 20-60/15
Small 60-120/100
Medium 120-450/300
Large 450-800/650
Behavior and Purpose[edit]

You can choose a puppet type to make, which will determine what actions it can take. Choose from the table below the type of puppet you want to make. It has all the features and actions available of the creature which it corresponds to, and also shares its movement speeds, ability scores and challenge rating. The puppet shares your saving throw proficiencies and languages. It rolls its own initiative but acts on its own turn. To avoid backlog in turn order with multiple puppets, they all share the same initiative roll.

Type Action Stat Block
Close Combat animated armor
Magic homunculus servant[1]
Range expeditious messenger[2]
Trapper sacred statue, [3]
Tank steel defender[4]

String Manipulation[edit]

With your mad skills with string, you can manipulate your puppets like a battle tactician to command the field. Starting at 1st level, you can choose from the following list of maneuvers to utilize for your puppet in battle by commanding them with a bonus action. The puppet expends its reaction to carry out your order immediately. You can send out this command to as many puppets as you control, equal to your Intelligence modifier. You learn more maneuvers as you gain levels in this class:

  • Offensive Charge. The puppet moves up to half its movement speed towards a target you can see of your choice.
  • Distant Offense. The puppet makes a melee weapon attack on a creature of your choice within 5 feet of itself.
  • Charge Up. The puppet tenses like a spring, ready to strike, granting it advantage on its next attack roll.

Starting at 10th level, you gain the following additional maneuvers:

  • Wall Formation. The puppet moves to a more advantageous position, using all its movement speed, to provide cover for a creature you can see of your choice.
  • Shell Posture. The puppet braces itself, giving it a +3 bonus to AC until the end of its turn.

Starting at 14th level, you gain the following additional maneuvers:

  • Grab. The puppet makes a grappling check against a creature you choose within 5 feet of itself.
  • Act. The puppet uses one of its actions that you choose.

Slot Building[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, you get a knack for building puppets and customizing their base to fit your needs. They cannot use weapons or armor themselves, so they must be equipped from creation by you. Every puppet you control has a number of slots as shown under the Puppet Slots column of the class table. So, at 20th level, you have 7 puppets, each with 12 slots, for a total of 84 slots. As you get to be a better marionetista, you can design more complex puppets with more slots, and add more slots to old puppets. Additions to puppets occupy a certain number of slots. You can craft these additions as part of a short rest and add them to your puppet. Below is the array of additions you can add to your puppets, ordered by the amount of slots required to attach them and the cost to make them. You cannot add the same addition twice to the same puppet.

2-slot (5 gp)
  • A mental link allowing you to share senses with the puppet, which can be turned on and off as a bonus action.
  • A scope allowing the puppet to gain Superior Darkvision.
  • Eyes that grant proficiency in the Perception skill.
  • Claws for unarmed strikes, dealing slashing damage equal to your Intelligence modifier on a hit.
  • Talons for unarmed strikes, dealing piercing damage equal to your Intelligence modifier on a hit.
  • Fists for unarmed strikes, dealing bludgeoning damage equal to your Intelligence modifier on a hit.
  • Eyes to track heat signatures, granting advantage in Wisdom (Survival and Perception) checks to track warm-blooded creatures.
4-slot (20 gp)
  • Extendable appendages making the puppet's reach 10 feet.
  • Extendable ambulatory appendages that give the puppet an additional 10 feet of movement speed.
  • Rotors on the feet to ignore difficult terrain.
  • Rotors giving the puppet a swimming speed of 30 feet.
  • Eyes that give the puppet blindsight for up to 60 feet.
  • Spikes that force rolls to grapple the puppet to roll with disadvantage
6-slot (45 gp)
  • Wings that give the puppet a flying speed of 20 feet.
  • Extra grabby hands granting advantage in checks to grapple.
  • A chemical sensor allowing the puppet to detect poison of a substance it it touching.
  • Metal hands that can heat up or cool down as a bonus action, making its unarmed strikes deal fire damage.
8-slot (60 gp)
  • An auditory system giving the puppet advantage in Wisdom (Insight) checks to detect lies.
  • An extra pair of arms that lets the puppet have twice its carrying capacity and proficiency in the Athletics skill.
  • A wiry implant that gives the puppet a +1 bonus to its Dexterity score.
10-slot (80 gp)
  • A durable implant that gives the puppet 20 temporary hit points. This implant breaks when the temporary points are reduced to 0. You can make this implant and attach it to a puppet multiple times, but not while a previous on is already occupying its slots.
  • An attachment that drops smoke bombs, creating a 60-foot sphere of heavily obscured terrain. The puppet must finish a short or long rest in your puppet box to recharge this addition.
12-slot (100 gp)
  • A scope granting the puppet 60 feet of truesight.
  • An attachment allowing the puppet to breathe destructive energy out in a 30-foot cone. All creatures within range must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC= 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus) or take 2d6 fire or radiant damage. The puppet must finish a short or long rest in your puppet box to recharge this addition.

Domineering Style[edit]

At 2nd level, you chose a style unique to how you master the field with your puppets. Choose between Life String and Maniacal String, both detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 2nd and again at 6th, 8th, and 18th level.

Performance Tweak[edit]

Starting at 3rd level, you can make the puppet a bit better with little tweaks in between slot building attachments. Whenever you command your puppet, you may expend your reaction to augment its capabilities from one of the options shown below. You gain further tweaks to use as you gain more levels in this class.

  • The puppet's reach is extended by 5 feet.
  • The puppet gains an additional 5 feet of movement speed.

Starting at 7th level, you gain the following additional tweak options.

  • The puppet's damage die increases by 1.
  • If the puppet rolls a 1 on an attack roll, it can roll again and must take the new roll, even if it is another 1.

Starting at 15th level, you gain the following additional tweak options.

  • The puppet can take an additional command from you, with no additional action from both of you.
  • The puppet takes a stance to halve any damage it receives until the beginning of its next turn.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

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.

Real Life Puppeteer[edit]

Starting at 11th level, you become a very good puppeteer of people's emotions and such, as well as your own dolls. You gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill. If you already have this proficiency, you instead gain expertise.

Life String[edit]

You and your puppets share life force. They are extensions of you.

Health Boost

Starting at 2nd level, your careful crafting of the puppets make them glow and brim with life. Your puppets gain an additional hit point for every marionetista level you gain.

Shared Life Force

Starting at 6th level, your own vitality can be used to power the puppets and make them stronger. You can expend a number of hit points, up to a maximum equal to your Intelligence modifier. For 1 hour, your puppets damage rolls deal additional force damage equal to the amount of hit points you sacrificed.

Negative Energy Block

Starting at 8th level, your bond with the puppets powers them against darker forces. Your puppets gain resistance to necrotic damage.

Creator's light

Starting at 18th level, your puppets reflect the powerful bonds you share as a devastating light on an enemy. If your puppet deals any radiant damage, the damage die of that attack is increased by 1.

Maniacal String[edit]

You have a mania, a madness, to control the puppets as you see fit. You use them like pieces on a chess board to trap enemies.

Tactician's Eye

Starting at 2nd level, you get a better eye than others for details. You gain proficiency in the Investigation skill. If you already have this proficiency, you instead gain expertise.

Mass Orientation

Starting at 6th level, when you use String Manipulation, you can command a number of puppets equal to your Intelligence modifier + 1.

Mind Shield

Your collective mind as a master of all these moving pieces protects you all like a network. Starting 8th level, you and your puppets gain resistance to psychic damage.

Dolly Destruct

Started 18th level, you can utilize your puppets like true expendable pawns. When a puppet you control drops to 0 hit points, you may have the puppet explode with no extra action, dealing 2d10 force damage to any creatures within 30 feet of it. The puppet cannot be repaired from this state and must be wholly replaced.


Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the marionetista class, you must meet these prerequisites: 14 Intelligence and Wisdom

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the marionetista class, you gain the following proficiencies: one artisan's tool of your choice

Back to Main Page5e HomebrewClasses

  1. Eberron Rising from the Last War, p.62
  2. Eberron Rising from the Last War, p.293
  3. Mordekainen's Tome of Foes, p.194
  4. Eberron Rising from the Last War, p.61
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