Monday, July 21, 2014

5th Edition Wild Magic Arcane Tradition Draft!

Random crazy eyes wizard from
page 126 of the 2e Tome of Magic

I love Wild Mages. I love jumping the gun on things I don't understand. I'm trying to make a 5e style Arcane Tradition for the Wild Mage. This is a terrible idea. My one 5e character is level 1! The PHB isn't even out yet! What am I doing!?!?!

I'm making a Wild Mage dammit!

My first D&D character ever was a Wild Mage. I still play her, much to the consternation of Reynaldo Mandarin and Zach Marx Weber, and the delight of Kasper Blombdell. I've played them in 3.5 edition, when they were a prestige class, and 4th edition, where they were really some weird variation on the Sorcerer. I think they're cool, and stuff. So, while I imagine Wizards will probably come out with their own version, I wanted to jump the gun and also see just how flexible 5th could be.

This is a rough draft because I like putting out rough drafts on the interwebs and going "hey interwebs, fix this" because the interwebs is actually pretty smart about these things.

BEFORE YOU GO OFF BEING "HELPFUL" HOWEVER, PLEASE, please, Please familiarize yourself with AT LEAST the 2nd edition Wild Mage rules. Purple Worm is helpful! Also, please have read the (freeee) 5th edition rules, specifically the bit about Wizards and Arcane Traditions

Direct links:
Wild Mages
Level Variation Rules
Level Variation Table
~WiLd SuRgE tAbLe!1!1!~
Tome of Magic Wizard Spells (Spells with asterixes are Wild Magic spells)

Things I stole from 3.5 Edition: an attempt to use a die roll to determine level flux, instead of a table
Things I stole from 4th Edition: Wild Soul, Chaos Burst which is really Chaos Action but kind of merged into a different thingy

The core concepts of the Wild Mage since 2nd edition have been:
> Their spells do random things, are random in nature, and fluctuate in power
> Their spells have the potential to blow up in their faces and cause horrible things to happen

Keep that in mind when making suggestions. While I do want this Wild Mage to be balanced, randomness IS a central theme. The idea is that while the Wild Mage should have the potential to be more powerful than other wizards, this power should come with all kinds of weird headaches, disadvantages, and potential for terribleness.

Questions I have: Do the Arcane Tradition abilities make sense? Are they too powerful for their level? Not powerful enough for their level? How do I make Arcane Flux both better balanced (atm, you basically have a 1/4 chance of casting the spell at its level) and easier to use (This may be worse than the original table, idk). Is rolling for Wild Surge every time too much work? How are the few spells I've written up so far? Which Wild Magic spells that I haven't fully written out look like they have potential, and which ones should I just chuck out of a window? Any suggestions for other Wild Magic spells (I feel like there should be more Wild Magic than the average Cleric gets from a domain, but less than you get from the average school of magic)?

Here's the draft so far.

Arcane Tradition: Wild Magic

Wild Magic is a dangerous and strange tradition of magic. Most Wild Mages are mavericks, shunned by their peers for their unpredictable nature. Wild Mages study the magic of pure chaos and randomness.

Said Tradition grants a few more features than most Traditions, but at considerable cost.

Wild Magic

Starting at level 2, you access to the Wild Magic school. Other wizards cannot use these spells: they require considerable study to master.

Arcane Flux

Starting at 2nd level, all of your spell slots are treated as being 5 levels lower than they actually are for the purposes of effects that vary by level (such as the damage of a Magic Missile spell). Instead, when you cast the spell, roll 2d4 and add the total to the effective slot level. AFTER adding the result of the 2d4, the level of the slot cannot be less than 1.

For example, if you are a 3rd level wizard and you choose to cast Magic Missile using a 1st level slot, the spell level is treated as -4. The spell can thus fluctuate between level 1 and level 4 slot (with the chances of being level 1 about 60%).

This flux is ONLY used for determining effects that vary by level. Spell slots otherwise behave normally (eg, you use spells in the slot appropriate for your level).

This ability does not effect cantrips, and it cannot raise a spell above 9th level.

Wild Surge

Starting at 2nd level, roll a d20 any time you cast a spell (if the spell requires a to-hit roll, just use that roll). If you roll a 1, you trigger a Wild Surge. Roll on a Wild Surge table to determine the result.

Level Flux does not apply on a triggered Wild Surge; if the spell functions at all, it functions at the level you cast it at.

Student of Chaos

Starting at 6th level, whenever you encounter any random effect, you have advantage on the roll to determine what that effect is. For example, if you are targeted by Prismatic Spray, you can roll twice to determine which color you are hit by. If you use a Rod of Wonder, you roll twice to determine its effects. 

This ability does not apply to your own spells and abilities, except where otherwise noted.

Wild Soul

Starting at 10th level, whenever you take a short or long rest, roll 1d10 to determine a damage type:

d10 Damage Type
1 Acid
2 Cold
3 Fire
4 Force
5 Lightning
6 Necrotic
7 Poison
8 Psychic
9 Radiant
10 Thunder

You gain resistance to that type of damage until your next short or long rest. Any spells you cast that deal that damage type deal 2x their normal damage until your next short or long rest. You deal half damage with that damage type to creatures that have immunity to that type. 

Chaos Burst

At 14th level, you can imbue spells you cast with a beneficial effect by reaching into the power of raw Chaos. Roll 1d8.

d8 Effect
1 You become invisible until the start of your next turn.
2 You teleport a number of feet equal to 5 x your Intelligence modifier
3 Roll a hit die; gain that many hit points (this does not expend your normal Hit Die uses)
4 Until your next short rest, each ally within 25 feet of you gains resistance to the damage type you resist with your Wild Soul.
5 You teleport an ally and an enemy within 50 feet of you, swapping their positions.
6 Gain a bonus to AC equal to your Intelligence modifier until the end of your next turn
7 Gain a bonus to all saving throws equal to your Intelligence modifier until the end of your next turn
8 All enemies within 10 feet of the target are knocked prone

The first time you use this ability, you suffer no averse effects. If you use this again before you take a long rest, your Wild Surge occurs on a roll of 5 or less on a d20. Each time you use this feature again before resting, your Wild Surge chance increases by 5 (to a maximum of occurring on a roll of 20).

Wild Magic Spells

Chaos Bolt
Wild Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 50ft
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You hurl a crackling orb of shimmering lights and terrible noise at your target. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 Psychic damage. If your attack roll was even, make another spell attack on a randomly determined target within 50 ft of the primary target. On a hit, that target takes 1d6 Psychic damage. This spell cannot hit the same target twice. Continue making secondary attacks until you either roll an even number or run out of targets.

This spell's primary attack damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 5th level (2d10), 11th level (3d10), and 17th level (4d10). The secondary damage never increases.

1st Level Wild Spell (Ritual)
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (A small hand lens)
Duration: 10 minutes

This spell lets the Wild Mage make sense of chaos and entropy. It has these main functions:
  • Visualize how something broken looked when whole
  • Pick out individual elements in a crowded group—for instance, picking out a single set of footprints from a crowded muddy market square (though not whose footprints they are; just allowing you to follow them), understanding a single voice over a crowd's roar (though, again, not who the voice belongs to, or what they're saying if you don't understand the language), finding a needle in a haystack, etc
  • Determining the exact number of objects in a group of similar objects (gold coins in a dragon's hoard, soldiers in an approaching army, etc)
You must be able to see or hear the thing you're trying to make sense of, and you cannot gain specific information about it beyond what's described above (you can't determine that a given cup is poisoned, just that the liquid inside is different than the liquid in a bunch of identical cups). You can't use this spell to determine a secret message in a pattern (that implies that there's already order to the pattern in question). The spell doesn't work on magic items, so you cannot see how to reforge the Shards of Whatever Magic Sword it Is This Week.

You can get a basic idea of how to put a broken object back together; Patternweave gives you advantage on checks to repair broken objects (but not magic items).

Nahal's Reckless Dweomer
1st level Wild Spell
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Special
Components: V, S
Duration: Special

You pull pure magic out of the Weave and try to shape it into something useful. Pick any spell in your spellbook. You attempt to cast that spell, but the casting automatically triggers a Wild Surge. You have advantage on the Wild Surge table roll.

Regardless of if you use the included Wild Surge table, the classic 2e Wild Surge table, or some other, random Wild Surge table, there is ALWAYS a 1 in 100 chance that the spell functions normally when using Nahal's Reckless Dweomer to set off the Wild Surge. If you're using some giant crazy weird Wild Surge table other than the original 2e one or the modified one I've included, roll d100 first, and if you get a 100, the spell functions normally. If not, do whatever weird voodoo you do when doing Wild Surge results.

Hornung's Baneful Deflector
2nd level Wild Spell
Casting Time: 1 reaction, when you or a target within reach are hit by a single target missile attack
Range: Touch; but see below
Components: V, S, M (A small prism)
Duration: 1 round

You create a shimmering field of force around the touched creature. Until the start of your next turn, all single target missile attacks against the shielded creature instead target a randomly determined creature within 15 feet (including allies and the shielded creature).

Other Wild Magic spells from 2nd Edition that I might adapt or whatever
2nd level
Nahal's Nonsensical Nullifier (gives random results to divination spells targeted at you)

3rd level
Alternate Reality (lets someone re-roll a roll from the last round)
Fireflow (Control and move preexisting natural fire)
Fool's Speech (People you touch speak garbled words that are only intelligible to each other)

4th level
There/Not There (50% chance of objects existing or not existing, rolled individually for each person interacting. Normally a 50% miss chance, but can also cause hilarity on things like bridges)
Unluck (creature gains disadvantage on all rolls for the next some amount of time I guess)

5th level
Vortex (mobile 5 ft diameter sphere, 50% chance of controlling its motion, requires concentration. 1d4 dmg / caster level per round to normal creatures; 1d6 against magical creatures & spellcasters. 5% chance every time it deals damage to a creature to explode in a wild surge)
Waveform (control normal water??? why is this almost a page long spell and why is this wild magic. 2e...)

6th level
Wildshield (absorb 2d6 spell levels. If the caster ends the spell early, or it absorbs exactly its capacity, it dissipates. If it absorbs over its level, it detonates in a wild surge)
Wildstrike (smack a dude in the face, next some amount of rounds/turns all spells or magical abilities or magical items used by said dude automatically trigger a wild surge)

7th level
Spell Shape (as a reaction, absorb a spell cast at you; immediately cast a spell of the same level or lower, regardless of whether it's usually a reaction or not)

8th level
Hornung's Random Dispatcher (chuck a dude into a totally random plane)
Wildzone (creates a 300 x 300 area where every spell cast / magic effect activated turns into a wild surge)

9th level
Stabilize (negates wild magic zones, wild magic effects [wildstrike, wildzone, wildwind]. Might add some effect of banishing chaotic creatures?)
Wildfire (sort of like Wish, but lame, I guess?)

Wildwind (creates a 150 ft long wall that the caster can move at 60 ft per round. Being hit by the wall deals 2d6 damage, & any spellcaster hit by the wall automatically expends their highest level spell slot on a spell, & triggers a wild surge while doing so. Magic items also activate, & trigger a wild surge)


  1. What would you think of making Nahal's Reckless Dweomer a cantrip? Its functional usefulness is low (1% chance of achieving desired effect) so I could never see many wizards spending a slot to cast it. If it was at-will, however, all sorts of chaos could ensue.

  2. Oooh, make it minus 6 levels but roll 2d4 exploding! That way every now and again (2.34% of the time ) a 1st-level wizard will get a 9th level spell effect.

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