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Urban Archetypes: 30 Urban-Themed Subclasses
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Urban Archetypes: 30 Urban-Themed Subclasses

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Urban Archetypes includes 30 urban-themed subclasses and 17 spells (including lovely spells like Conjure Mugger and Lawyer-Up) for any cityscape campaign or character. A summary of each subclass can be found below.

Barbarian

  • Path of the Stonefist Brawler. Consumed by fire and fury, these barbarians find themselves at home in hand-to-hand violence—whether in a boxing match, a back-alley mugging-gone-wrong (for the mugger, that is), or as an enforcer hired by a local cartel. This primal path is focused on fisticuffs and unarmed strikes.

Bard

  • College of the Black Vista. Inspired by The Music of Erich Zann by H.P. Lovecraft, the College of the Black Vista deals with stemming the nightmare of the Slumbering Titan, an avatar of mankind's consciousness. It revolves around sleep, madness, and breaking conjurations.
  • College of Canvas. For bards that are not on this earth to sing or recite poetry there exists the College of Canvas. No matter the medium or craft—sketching, painting, woodworking, sculpting—these bards create beauty and evoke emotion in those around them. This College allows bards to later paint creatures (beasts and humanoids) and objects into the world.
  • College of Erotica. When mortals have needs and the means to quench them, even the most debauch lifestyle is possible. Bards of the College of Erotica ensorcel their marks, often resorting to blackmail or manipulation.

Cleric

  • Commerce Domain. Trade rules men and nations alike, and the deities of commerce smile upon the ambitious. The Commerce domain includes features to summon a spectral guard, invest hit points in others, and let vengeance compound into a terrible blood debt from which there is no escape.
  • Law Domain. Morality is no factor in application of the law, and justice must be handed out with impartiality. The Law domain includes features to bind creatures to blood-contracts and oath of hospitality.
  • Love Domain. Love governs mortal hearts, and the quest to find it in the cityscape is often poisoned by ambition. It's Channel Divinity, "Star-Crossed Lovers" provides a new, dynamic mechanic dependent upon movement and positioning.

Druid

  • Circle of Sickness. The Circle of Sickness deals with plagues. Just as a druid would contain a raging forest fire, but still let it run its natural course, so too do these druids act as mediators of plagues, never allowing one to consume an entire city. They're often mistaken as plague doctors by the masses. The subclass focuses on inciting and curing disease.
  • Circle of the Streets. Life takes on a strange new meaning in the city and urban druids can tap into the collective energy offered by men and beast alike. They often act as spies and messengers, and can blend in with their surroundings—or even change their faces completely, as reflected in their subclass features.

Fighter

  • Brigand. Cartels and other organizations staffed with unscrupulous individuals need men to lay down the law. A martial archetype that emphasizes mobility and medium armor, the brigand is a simple design for fighters that just want to smash and dash.
  • Gladiator. For fighters that seek honor and glory, no path is more lauded than that of the gladiator. It focuses on the power of Charisma and swearing of a nemesis to focus their attacks upon.

Monk

  • Way of Thundering Justice. Monks that cannot abide rampant crime and corruption take to prowling the rooftops and alleyways of the city. They fight injustice wherever they can, often learning this monastic tradition on their own—the hard way.
  • Way of the Weave Seeker. Organizations concerned with policing, perhaps even eradicating, arcane magic often train Weave Seekers. These monks sacrifice their earthly to permanently and perpetually behold the Weave of Magic, and act as bloodhounds in the hunt for unlawful magi.

Paladin

  • Oath of the Inquisition. Arcane magic can wreak havoc across civilization; a single spell upon a lord can chart the future to some black end. Thus, many religious organizations raise a chapter of templars that swear to the Oath of the Inquisition. These paladins are mage-slaying juggernauts and charged with rooting out spellcasters.
  • Oath of Poverty. The Oath of Poverty is a deeply masochistic, support-based paladin subclass. Its tenets concern aiding others, such as the poor and downtrodden, even at the cost of the paladin's own health and wealth. It allows a paladin to substitute their own hit points for others, or to boost AC at the cost of their own.

Ranger

  • Bounty Hunter. The Bounty Hunter is an investigative build for rangers, focusing on hunting down men. Its subclass spells include charm person, hold person, and greater invisibility. It also adds urban terrain to the Ranger's Favored Terrain feature.

Rogue

  • Gambler. Everybody needs a thrill. The gambler archetype provides a new mechanic for rogues (“Roll the Dice”) to add a bonus to their attack rolls or saving throws at the potential risk of outright failure.
  • Inquisitor. Where men gather, sins and heresy fester. The Inquisitor is a third-caster armed with Cleric spells and excels at rooting out secrets.
  • Investigator. While the Inquisitive already officially debuted in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, it’s built around Wisdom and Insight, rather than Intelligence and Investigation. The Investigator features a number of investigative specialties and “hardboiled” passives to achieve that urban noir feel.
  • Physician. Everybody bleeds. This support-based rogue is equipped with the skills necessary to quickly stabilize and patch up allies.
  • Scholar. An Intelligence-based rogue archetype, the scholar is an expert in all things academic and can scrutinize enemies to uncover weaknesses. Against these scrutinized foes, the scholar gains a bonus to its damage rolls equal to its Intelligence modifier.
  • Thug. A Strength-based rogue that employs dirty tricks—such as eye gouging and smashing windpipes—the thug is inspired by the Battlemaster and has its own unique set of maneuvers.

Sorcerer

  • Awakened Reincarnate. The truth is shattering: there are old souls that walk this world, reliving its carnage and wonder time and again… and there is power in this realization. Power that awaits to be harnessed. The Awakened Reincarnate is a modular build for sorcerers. By connecting with several of their past lives, they can focus on arcane magic, martial prowess, devotion to the divine, and, ultimately, combine their ancestral memories into one font of power.
  • Heir to Misery. Power was bought long, long ago—either through a black bargain, a wretched artifact, or the like. This sorcerous origin’s power comes from a bloodline curse carried down the generations. The curse is sentient and sadistic and delights in bringing ruin to all those the bearer holds dear. Heirs to Misery become harbingers of doom to both friend and foe alike.
  • Plagueborn. "…and while the plague left you with the gift of magic, it just left all the others dead." This sorcerous origin focuses on poison and disease, and addresses the issue of poison being the weakest damage type by allowing the sorcerer's poison spells and features to ignore resistance to poison damage. The Plague shall have its due.

Warlock

  • The Archivist. Few mortals have ever discovered “the Truth” and lived. Those that do emerge… stranger than before. A patronless warlock, the Archivist has now been cursed with madness and the ravenous hunger to collect secrets. The subclass is concerned with reading minds, stealing secrets, and defying natural law.
  • The Rat King. In the depths of civilization, in the depths of man's very blood, rage diseases so foul and debauch to turn the beauty of life into fetid filth—and at the center of this madness dances the Rat King. The King delights in sharing power with warlocks and imparts to them the ability to shapeshift into his likeness.
  • The Slumbering Titan. Mortal consciousness has birthed an heir: the Slumbering Titan. In its nightmare realm, the Black Vista, the Titan tosses and turns. Only by bleeding its nightmare might its apocalyptic awakening be delayed for yet another day. The subclass mechanics involve sleep and madness.
  • The Vampire Lord. Never do the sheep know that a wolf walks amongst them. The Vampire Lord has machinations that stretch far and wide. Yet there are places where even wolves cannot tread, and so the Vampire Lord has offered his power to mortals that would dare do his bidding. It provides a succinct "Blood point" system that allows the warlock to increase his AC, restore health, or cast minor spells (such as fog cloud). While the warlock never becomes a true vampire—a decision and plot hook better left up the DM—the line between mortality and vampirism surely blurs. Hopefully it scratches that itch for a lot of players.

Wizard

  • Alchemist. "While other wizards are gallivanting across the world, you're out here to earn cold, hard cash." A succinct build, the alchemist provides a number of recipes that can be brewed during a long rest. While of course the staple potion of healing is included, most of these recipes are new and unique and provide both a mechanical and roleplaying benefit.
  • Warden. Organizations devoted to policing the practice of arcane magic employ wardens to comb through society and investigate unlawful magic. These wizards are investigators, abjurers, and diviners, and hold to the sacred philosophy that magic must be used wisely and fairly. Otherwise every spellcaster will end up at the gallows.

If you enjoyed this, check out my other work here on DMs Guild and follow me via @Wyatt_Trull on Twitter.

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December 7th, 2018
I really have to thank you for putting together a supplement that fills my favorite niche in tabletop gaming, the dark city. The content spans several themes that ooze flavor and make me want to create stories as a DM and a player. I love the design of [...]
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October 14th, 2018
Balanced and well thought out. Adds a solid amount of subclasses that fit the theming well, which in turn adds some interesting roleplay options. [...]
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October 7th, 2018
Really well written, for one. I have to get that out of the way before I properly review the rest. Easy to read, and not over-stuffed with information. As far as composition and presentation, it gets a 5/5 from me. This always has a great impact on a [...]
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