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Class Option: The Artist

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Welcome to the DM's Day sale! From now through March 14th, this title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more values, visit our DM's Day sale page.

The Artist is a variable effect caster class balanced against the versatility and power of Wizards and other 9 level caster classes. 

Combine a variety of effects to make spells up on the fly, but be warned, the generative act is taxing.  If you create too much too fast or Works that far exceed your own stamina you will be driven insane, sickly, or even die.

4 Archetypes based on the kind of Art you create await: Painters, Sculptors, Storytellers, and Dancers. 

Whether you want to be a Warholian master of defining "It" or a slapstick cartoonist sketching anvils into place over your foe's head, the Artist has a solid chance of filling the niche.

Included is a Chart to make it easy to track which effects your Works have applied.

In the coming weeks I will be trying to modify this scaling system of effects to create a workable Psionics to tide us over until an official release.  Please keep an eye out for it.

 
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Discussions (14)
Customer avatar
Gage R February 06, 2021 11:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
If you're still around, might I ask: Aside from buffs, is there any other use for Magnum Opus? Based on my reading, the only truly useful thing is to pile buffs on other party members. Me and the group feel that it would be foolish to NOT do this everytime an artist hits 20th level. Am I reading things wrong, and there are other more viable ways of making use of this capstone?
Customer avatar
Matthew C February 08, 2021 12:24 am UTC
CREATOR
It's intended to function like some kind of installation piece. Like you paint the ceiling of the chapel and everyone that enters gets some kind of buff or a painting that permanently Paralyzes anyone that looks in its eyes, or a statue that continuously scourges the tarrasque's corpse with Acid to prevent it from resurrecting...

I try and give L17+ features and capstones more of a narrative feel. Like RAW I guess you could hammer out Opus after Opus, destroying them, and repeat, but in context for an Artist that would be like a person having a kid, getting the kid to mow the lawn, and then murdering them so they could have another kid to wash the dishes, and murdering them to have another to take out the trash.

While yes, you can create a work whose sole purpose is to give you and your buddies (or maybe a whole town) a bunch of buffs, is that really what all your work is intended to amount to? Is it useful? Sure, but is it cosmically the best thing? Maybe you make your buddies...See more
Customer avatar
Gage R February 08, 2021 3:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
BTW, forgot to ask something all this time: No range was ever specified for your works, other than that a character can perceive the area or target. I basically interpreted that as an Artist has unlimited range, subject to their ability to actually see or sense the target. I don't know if I read the ability wrong, but that's what I basically told my players when issues regarding range came up. Our one dancer is basically sniping enemy ships with a fire dance.

One last thing as well: Ability score improvement is supposed to be on level 19, not 18. To avoid level 18 becoming a dead level due to correcting this, I would recommend raising Dreamer of Dreams to level 18, and just let the Flow increase be the sole gain of level 17.

I basically implemented these during our initial campaign using the Painter, as well as the current campaign with our Dancer. There was no noticeable imbalance from making these changes. Just thought you'd want to know.
Customer avatar
Matthew C February 10, 2021 5:55 am UTC
CREATOR
Range was not specified bc it kind of depends on the nature of the art.

Here's my breakdown. If the Artist is affecting an area, it has to be within ~100 feet for the Artist to have enough of a sense of the area for their Work to reference it. But this might be a different story if the player is describing some massive installation. In that case it might have very long range or, conversely might only affect a creature inside it.

If the Artist is affecting creatures directly, the creature needs to be able to sense the work. That generally cuts the range down to 30-60 feet depending on the medium. Like a sculptor that uses Glassblowing tools and makes tiny dioramas inside marbles is going to need to practically mash the piece in the target's eye.

The difference is important since lighting a guy on fire while you're on a boat is a bad idea, but lighting him, the floor, and maybe some nearby curtains, blankets, or furniture is a deliberate catastrophe.

You can...See more
Customer avatar
Gage R February 12, 2021 3:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
Ah......I had not considered that the range rules could be inferred from the limitations set by your other rules.

One last thing: If there is a duration longer than instantaneous with a persistent area that grants the advantage to the next attack roll or ability check effect, does it only apply once to those affected, or does it refresh at the start of their turns?
Customer avatar
Matthew C February 13, 2021 5:40 am UTC
CREATOR
The advantage granting effect is specifically "the next attack or check" so it would be a one and done. If it's combined with other effects, those might persist, but the first d20 roll they make will get this benefit.

Anything else is almost a slightly nerfed Foresight spell and that was definitely not the intent.
Customer avatar
Gage R October 30, 2020 12:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Two more things to add to a future update:

1. Level 6 is a dead level (meaning that, other than hitpoint increase, you gain nothing else), which is a design no-no in D&D. I would recommend pulling the archetype feature down a level, and just let a Flow increase be the sole gain for level 7.

2. Tattoos is WAY overpowered. With no apparent limitations, it easily makes the painter the strongest archetype. I would suggest limiting it to one instance at a time.
Customer avatar
Matthew C October 30, 2020 4:38 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you for all your feedback!
Customer avatar
Gage R September 26, 2020 1:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Say, if you ever do a major update for the document, you should probably make a musician archetype. Yeah, I know that steps a bit on the bard's toes, but I think of the Bard as more of a Jack-of-All-Trades, whereas the artist is more of a versatile battlefield controller. Having a musician would really help round out the selection.

Also, it was very fortunate that your class was discovered by me when it was. My group is toying with the idea of a D&D style Octopath Traveler down the road, and you just saved one of my players from having to use a bard to serve as Primrose's class. Almost all of Primrose's dances can be imitated to some degree by your works system, and the Dancer archetype gives her some good evasion and better options for using a weapon than the other archetypes would.
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 26, 2020 4:58 pm UTC
CREATOR
Neat!

Yes, music would make a fine medium, If I do add it in I’ll probably make it a desperate document to prevent the assumption this is “just a hard alternative” since Bards are understood to be less versatile casters and this is intended to be anything but.

Adding additional forms of art was intended, if you’ve seen the Calligrapher class I wrote, that was an outgrowth of a playwright concept that came up side by side with the Storytelling medium. Heavily influenced by the 3.5 Truenamer class. Also a slotless caster but skill check based. Give it a look if interested.
Customer avatar
Matthew C December 22, 2020 5:20 am UTC
CREATOR
Aloha again!

Here's a link to a contest, the first entry is a Bard College of Musicians that replaces their Spell Casting with the ability to create Works of Art using this subsystem, I'll probably make it an appendix for this document.

https://forums.giantitp.com/showthread.php?624341-D-amp-D-Subclass-Contest-XX-Subsystems-Online&p=24855593#post24855593

I'm also retouching some features, trying to clarify intent in text and revisiting some core themes. I'm getting ready to add a Fashionista subclass, I just got a new Wacom Tablet so I can't wait to create some new art too! Thanks again.

Customer avatar
Gage R September 24, 2020 9:04 am UTC
PURCHASER
Finally managed to do a test run in. Someone had to use a backup character. Yeah, that issue with making everyone permanently immune came up. I did a quick fix by saying that any passion effect that normally requires a long rest after using (I noticed all the problematic effects are part of what needs a long rest to regain once used), cannot be used again if they are part of an ongoing work. To be able to use them again, the artist needs to end the work, and needs to take the long rest to regain it if the work was made and ended on the same day the effect was used. It resolved the issue.

Now for the good news. They absolutely love the class. Its not quite as versatile as a spellcaster in some respects, such as utility spells or more thorough battlefield manipulation, but the Artist is very frightening if you leave them on the battlefield unmolested. An artist allowed to take turn after turn in a safe position will very quickly overwhelm the opposition. Taking your classes indication that some effects...See more
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 25, 2020 1:05 am UTC
CREATOR
I'm glad you and your players had such a positive experience and would be glad to hear about more adventures in the future!
Customer avatar
Gage R September 03, 2020 5:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
One other thing: I would recommend you limit Dreamer of the Dreams to once per Long Rest. Being able to cast any 8th level spell or lower at will renders most other spellcasters to be pointless. Why tout the limits of the artist's ability to grant flight safely as being balanced, when they can just cast Fly at will. The artist can spam healing spells of 8th tier and below. There is a reason Wish can only be cast once per day at best by most classes that get it.
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 04, 2020 12:37 am UTC
CREATOR
OOF. That was an oversight. I've revisited the document since. I'll post the updated one shortly.
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 04, 2020 12:49 am UTC
CREATOR
Update in place.
Customer avatar
Gage R August 29, 2020 10:18 am UTC
PURCHASER
One other minor thing I only noticed just now: Your class's save proficiencies are in two weak saves. Classes in the official player's handbook always have a proficiency in one strong save (Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom), and in one weak save (Strength, Intelligence, Charisma). Just thought you should know.
Customer avatar
Matthew C August 29, 2020 4:17 pm UTC
CREATOR
Also intended, I thought that was included in your earlier comment about weak defenses. The class isn't written to be played conservatively, they're supposed to be passionate people that push themselves to the edge of insanity, so the lack of defenses encourages wisdom loss in exchange for early and lasting resistances.

Additionally, at higher levels you're ability to hammer, jig, splash, or shout a work as a reaction can be used as a quasi counterspell by rendering a character resistant or immune to various damage, move them out of the AOE or create an obstacle that prevents LOS or LOE temporarily. That's if you haven't already stacked a bunch of resistances already.

A Painter's party will have 150% of their HP total at the start of any new adventure provided their portraits are kept safe.

Sculptors and Dancers get AC boosts from items or features. The Sculptor will have constructs to soak attacks as extra targets and their ability to apply the Paralyzed condition earlier...See more
Customer avatar
Gage R August 31, 2020 1:33 am UTC
PURCHASER
Alright. I'll trust you on that. I'll be testing it out a few campaigns later anyway.

However, there are a few things not 100% clear I believe you can clear up:

1. Can the artist exercise limited control over how their works act? For example, a high level artist peppering a potential battlefield near a castle the party is defending with long duration AOE defensive works such as archers ready to barrage a section of the battlefield, pikemen meant to stab anyone in the vicinity of the gate once its down, etc. but able to control when said archers fire? and to have them stop on command, like if they need to move friendlies? You did say that enemies can counter the works using common sense solutions depending on the nature of the work, so wouldn't it also be possible for the artist to have common sense control over their work?

In that same scenario, the artist creates a flaming moat around the wall. Flames, under normal circumstances, cannot be made to just "stop doing your...See more
Customer avatar
Matthew C August 31, 2020 3:09 am UTC
CREATOR
1. As a rule Works are indiscriminate. Some Works are harder to deal with than others depending on intent.
Here are some examples:
You tell a Story of a phoenix nesting in a foes hair so his head catches on fire. Putting the fire out with water won't straightforwardly end the effect but should probably grant advantage on the save to end it. Failure indicates the phoenix continues to roost. Killing the phoenix with an arrow (if the DM decides such a thing is even possible) won't automatically end it either, but the water will still help with the save. Note: trying to kill the phoenix doesn't add a phoenix to the fight, though another work that rained fire on the area inspired by a phoenix irritated they tried to kill it would be a good follow up work.

If you make a statue of Apollo to rain piercing & fire damage on an area for a minute, it can happen in a variety of ways depending on the player. Apollo himself could appear in a cloud and loose flaming arrows. Not a lot targets...See more
Customer avatar
Gage R July 27, 2020 3:49 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Something I don't think you considered: You have a duration option of "Until Dispelled". You also have an option to grant immunity to one damage type. Do you see where I am going with this?
Customer avatar
Matthew C July 30, 2020 10:13 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thanks so much for your interest in this product! It was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever undertaken.

It was considered thoroughly. Though it’s been a couple years I’ll try and explain the rationale.

This class is supposed to be on par with the versatility and power of the Wizard. I very specifically limited its burst damage capability and in exchange, amped its potential to narratively and magically resolve complex problems, have “imagination is the only limit” versatility in how it dealt damage, buff and debuff. I added in specific spell like abilities to subclasses to fill in classic Wizard schtick that I wanted to remain more limited (Teleport etc).

If your DM is comfortable with someone playing a PC that continuously drives themselves to the edge of death and madness to stack immunities on the party at lower level, that’s fine.

but as I recall the math on Flow of Ideas, you’d be risking madness on a daily basis as well as crippling...See more
Customer avatar
Gage R July 31, 2020 4:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Correct me if I got the math wrong:

11 points by level 20
0 points in Execution (1 minute)
5 points in Concept (Until Dispelled)
5 points in Passion (chooses Immunity to one damage type for the work's duration)

Perform multiple works. Party now has immunity to everything.

Or did you mean that active works still count against the flow points? Because the wording is not all that clear in that regard (I have gone over it. Nothing I have seen indicates that this is the case). Because if that is the case, then that indeed would resolve the problem, and actually puts the capstone's nature in a new light.

You might what to clarify that part in any update. If that is indeed how it works, I can work it into my next game without issue.
Customer avatar
Matthew C July 31, 2020 6:42 pm UTC
CREATOR
Edit:
If you’re the DM, I’d recommend just omitting that one line/effect if you’re uncomfortable with it. My now deleted previous response went into great detail for ways to work around nigh immortal PCs.

Flow of Ideas is intended to be a per work Limit. Limiting it to works in effect at once would be akin to making Concentration an action for casters.

The Artist does provide potent lasting effects at the cost of consistently high damage. Since combat is such a large focus of the game, more damage will consistently outweigh many other options and as I mentioned before, nova potential for this class is deliberately limited.

Here are some examples of things my players have done while consistently outdamaged by every other player.
-caused ashes from a funeral pyre to rise up as ash zombies and try to kill a tannarruk. 15ft cube of bludgeoning damage, 1 minute duration
-caused the warlock to shoot more Eldritch blasts from their eyes. Instant Single...See more
Customer avatar
Gage R August 01, 2020 1:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
Ok, so in a way it really is game breaking if no rails are put into place. I can still live with that. Its a bit more effort, but to be fair the character intended to be the artist is under my (the DM's) control anyway. If someone else has the same problem as me, a proposed solution would be that the resistance and immunity buffs can only be in use for one work at a time. Thus you can grant the party immunity for the foreseeable future against a damage type, but if you want to grant immunity to another damage type, or grant immunity to others, the old work will first have to end.

Other than that one hiccup, I really like the class. The flexibility is very powerful in of itself, but the class cannot really specialize quite like the spellcasters can. The artist I notice also has some of the worst defensive capabilities of any class I have encountered, but that's a good balance to the fact that at higher levels the class is pretty much a glass cannon (Yes, a wizard's meteor swarm is stronger, but that...See more
Customer avatar
Matthew C August 02, 2020 6:56 pm UTC
CREATOR
You got it. Though I wouldn't undersell the Painter's Portrait feature or the constructs available to the Sculptor. I'm glad you like it and pls let me know what your experience at the table is like!
Customer avatar
Matthew C January 17, 2019 8:15 pm UTC
CREATOR
An update is coming for the Artist which will include the following:
- sidebar about readied actions. An Artist cannot ready an action to create a Work. If they wish to create one in response to something they must use enough points in execution to create it as a reaction. The standard limit of one work per Round still applies.
- the Storyteller medium’s Plot feature can only be applied once per short rest.
Customer avatar
Matthew C November 03, 2018 1:23 am UTC
CREATOR
Update coming soon:
-minor edits for spelling/clarity
-page 5: the Dreamer of Dreams feature requires a long rest before being used again.
Customer avatar
June 24, 2018 6:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is just MY opinion, but i feel like this class does extremely less than other classes. Like the subclasses are great, but the main feature of the class "Works of Art and the Flow of ideas" features are interesting, and the step in the right direction, but they are also very weak with very little reward. The fact that all of your "works of art" are a DC10 for dispel magic, and at the most damage you could do at level 15 is 45 (class level + [3*9]) force damage. Much less damage compared some other classes. (And you would only get that damage if you put all not all ready assigned points to passion).
Customer avatar
Matthew C June 24, 2018 8:05 pm UTC
CREATOR
Thank you again for your feedback!

The damage should be, over the course of a character's career, fairly high since it doesn't fluctuate and you can almost always choose type. That said, the charts stop at five because effects beyond that scope would have either become progressively more niche or just "spells" which the entire class was designed to sidestep, however, there's no reason you couldn't choose to assign more than 5 points to Passion if all you wanted was more damage, but I think that would be a little boring when those points can instead be assigned to Concept and increase their duration.

The Artist can do something that others can't, which is access higher level effects at lower levels (albeit at great personal cost). At the risk of going mad you could choose to try and paralyze a target at level 1, grant an ally or yourself permanent resistance to a single type of damage (until dispelled), etc.

Also note: the artist also doesn't have a Concentration...See more
Customer avatar
June 24, 2018 1:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
So, I have a question. When you use your flow of idea points, are they gone? And if so, I don't think it is stated.
Customer avatar
Matthew C June 24, 2018 3:32 am UTC
CREATOR
Thank you so much for your purchase and feedback!

The Flow of Ideas is not points. It is a rating that represents the number of points you can safely assign to a work without losing points from your Wisdom and Con attributes.

So you can hammer out a Work every round, but if you put more points into a work than your Flow of Ideas rating, it eats away your wisdom and con as described.
Customer avatar
Matthew C June 23, 2018 7:01 am UTC
CREATOR
Minor edits upcoming- 1 man operation here, sorry for the inconvenience. No mechanical changes at this time.
Customer avatar
Matthew C June 22, 2018 5:26 am UTC
CREATOR
Feedback is always appreciated!
Customer avatar
Matthew C June 20, 2018 9:43 am UTC
CREATOR
Note: Purchase of this product will help fund the purchase of a wacom tablet so I can improve the quality of Art in all my products.
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This title was added to our catalog on June 20, 2018.