View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next The Sanguine Warrior

2015-08-12, 04:50 PM
A friend of mine wants to make a character loosely inspired by the Dark Knight of the Final Fantasy series, who used their health to fuel their attacks. Starting with that idea, I made this archetype for the Fighter. This is my second iteration after receiving great feedback from my older post (On the wrong board :smallredface:). Feedback/ideas/criticisms/improved wording greatly appreciated! :smallbiggrin:

___Sanguine Warrior____
The Sanguine Warrior is a fighter who manipulates the power of blood to corrupt and debilitate their foes. Willing to use any tactic to attain victory, they've corrupted their own blood with dark magics to amplify their already impressive martial abilities. To them, their lifeforce is simply another weapon in their arsenal.

Blood Magic
When you become a Sanguine Warrior at level 3, you begin to learn magical attacks fueled by your own life force called Blood Strikes.
Absorbing Attacks. Before you make a weapon attack with a melee weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits and deals damage, you are healed for an amount equal to the damage you dealt with a maximum of your constitution modifier.
Blood Strikes. You may learn two Blood Strikes. You learn one more at 7th, 10th, and 15th level. Each time you learn a new Blood Strike, you may replace one you already know with a new one.
Blood Price. In order to use a Blood Strike, you must spend 10 health. You may use these abilities (and pay the cost) before you make a weapon attack roll against a creature. If the attack hits, the ability goes into effect. You can only use one of these abilities per attack, though you may use different ones for each attack if you use extra attacks.
Saving Throws. Many of these attacks require a saving throw to resist it's effects. The DC for these strikes is calculated as follows:

Blood Strike save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your constitution modifier

Bloody Retribution
At 7th level, you can cause your attackers to share your pain. When you are struck by a melee attack, you may use your reaction to cause the attacker to also take the total damage you received back, which is unaffected by resistances or immunities.

Dark Recovery
At 10th level, your second wind becomes more powerful. When you use it, it now heals you for an additional 1d10, and you can use it an additional time before you take a short or long rest.

Starting at 15th level, your Absorbing Attacks instead heal you for up to double your constitution modifier.

Grim Focus
At 18th level, creatures have disadvantage on their saving throws to resist your Blood Strikes. In addition, if a Blood Strike adds additional damage dice, the ability adds twice as many dice of that type instead.

Blood strikes
These are the abilities available for the Sanguine Warrior to learn. They are presented in alphabetical order, with their HP cost in parenthesis.

Disurpting Strike. If this attack causes the creature to make a concentration saving throw, they make it at disadvantage.
Corrupting Strike. The creature must make a constitution save or begin rotting from the inside. At the beginning of each of it's turns, it takes 1d8 necrotic damage. It may then repeat the saving throw. This effect continues until the target reaches 0 hit points or succeeds the saving throw.
Crippling Strike. The subject of this attack's speed drops to 0 and cannot gain any increases to their movement speed until the beginning of the turn after your next turn.
Dark Strike. The creature takes an additional 2d6 necrotic damage.
Dazing Strike. The creature must make a wisdom save. If they fail, attack rolls against the target before the beginning of your next turn have advantage.
Draining Strike. The creature deals only half damage with weapon attacks. At the end of each of it's turns, it can make a constitution saving throw to end this effect. On a success, the effect ends.
Spreading Strike. Creatures of your choice within 5 feet of the creature you hit make a dexterity saving throw. They take 1d8 necrotic damage on a success, or half that on a failure.
Venomous Strike. The creature must make a constitution saving throw or become poisoned until the beginning of your turn after your next turn.

2015-08-13, 04:22 AM
Hi Drackolus, I have a smidgen of feedback, if you like?

Personally, I'm not really familiar with the Dark Knight archetype, as have only dabbled in a bit FFXI; so maybe I'm coming to the theme you intended from the wrong point of view. How would you imagine that a fighter would come into these powers? A fiendish pact? Training in an ancient gribbly martial sect?Stumbling onto a twisted book of dark power and getting caught up in the interesting artwork, before the party mage found it? If any of the above, perhaps you can slip an extra feature in at level 3 - training in Arcana OR Religion, just to ground the powers in the narrative. Unless it's a high magic world, that is, and everyone has a little bit of magery...

Another thing that struck me is that the Sanguine Warrior is utilising their blood magic to deal out various necrotic effects, so clearly by this stage the power of death is somewhat in their blood; perhaps they can gain resistance to necrotic damage?

And with the 'Absorbing Attacks' feature, rather than having the healing to a maximum of their Con mod, wouldn't it be simpler just to say that they heal HP equal to their Con mod. Wouldn't it almost always be the same number anyway? Would a fighter ever be landing a hit and not doing at least the 2-5 damage that the Con bonus probably is?

Also, the 'Bloody Retribution' feature is pretty damn strong: it seems that the fighter can do it all day long, as long as they are getting buffed up with a bit of healing. I would suggest either limiting the amount of times it can be used per short or long rest (certainly more than once per long rest, though), or causing the attacker to make a save of some sort to avoid the damage. I just think having guaranteed damage on a baddie is as little too good.

Oh, and I think maybe I spotted a mistake on the 'Blood strikes' entry: "These are the abilities available for the Sanguine Warrior to learn. They are presented in alphabetical order, with their HP cost in parenthesis." As you have stated that all blood strikes cost 10 HP, rather than different amounts, perhaps the bit about the parentheses is a fossil to a previous iteration of the class.

Hmm. And now I can't decide whether taking a 10 HP hit to do a Blood Strike is a bit steep or not...

2015-08-13, 08:44 AM
Looks cool, just a few notes.

Some tweaks to the level 3 features first:
Absorbing attack should just state that you heal for your Con mod. The current text is a bit confusing at first, and really just means the same thing. I was originally going to say the -5 was to rough, however the tweaks to Blood Price mean this is fine.

Blood Price and Blood strikes: I like the idea, but it seems way too static. 10HP at lvl 3 is brutal, 10HP at 15th not so much. I would like to see the Blood Strikes use the rest hit die to fuel these abilities. More difficult to replenish, but gives an actual resource that is scarce. If you have a good healer in the party, the cost of Blood Price is trivial at best. Balance some of the abilities so they are stronger, but cost 2 hit die and you must be a higher level to get them. Fluff it as learning more about controlling blood.

Blood thirst is awesome, but should just be rolled up into Absorbing attacks. "At 15th level, you heal for twice your Con mod" at the end of the Absorbing attacks is all you need. The reason why I say this, is that this subclass has no RP features. It's all combat, and while thats awesome, the 7th level fighter sub class features are more utility then combat.

Bump Bloody Retribution to 10th level, and Dark Recovery to 15th level (not a big deal if you do specific HP costs for each blood strike). At 7th level, add in some utility feature that gives the fighter some non combat tool that fits in flavor. Maybe he can sense fear? Maybe he gets sensitivity to others blood, and like a shark, is exception at tracking a bleeding creature? What ever it is, the 7th level feature needs to be utility, otherwise they are gaining too much power before they are supposed to.

On the topic of Bloody Retribution, just make it a reaction to get a melee attack on a creature that hits you. The problem with it's current state, is that you want to take as much damage as possible then, which would then limit your ability to use the more important and exciting feature of Blood Strikes. Having it be the fighters melee attack means they want to get hit, but not take a ton of damage, allowing them to find ways to get resistances. It's almost too sadistic the way it is right now, but it's the right idea.

In summary

reword Absorbing Attack
Blood Strikes cost a Hit Die, stronger Blood Strikes cost 2 and maybe have a level restriction.
Bloody Retribution moved to level 10, and made into an PCs attack instead of return damage.
Dark Recovery moved to 15th level.
7th level utility feature

Hope that helps!!

2015-08-21, 10:56 PM
Oof! Computer problems are a pain. Finally back now, so time to get back to this! Thanks for the feedback guys =)

Both of you mention absorbing attacks just healing for the con mod; that was actually my first plan. The main reason I didn't do this is to prevent abuse cases where two sanguine warriors punch each other for 4 damage to heal for 5 and heal to full for free. It also isn't out of the realm of them to do less than 10 damage with Bloodthirst. The wording definitely needs to be fixed up though. On the topic, I agree with you aceynn on just making the increase part of the ability.

I love the resistance to necrotic. I should have thought of that. My idea was demonic magic, but I didn't write it just to keep the storytelling options open. But a dm/player can just rewrite another idea anyway, so it's not a big deal. My thought was that it's not so much becoming a learned spellcaster as it is taking advantage of corrupted blood, which they manipulate. Toying with the idea of making a "bloodbound" weapon which they have to use, similar to a pact weapon in some ways, just to explain thematically how their abilities work (their corrupted blood coats their specially attuned weapon and gets into the wounds of their opponents, which has an effect that they learned to use.) I will probably do this. In that scenario, I don't think knowledge would apply, since they aren't really using a broad understanding of magical principles so much as a very deep knowledge of how this one type of ability works. Eldritch Knights don't even have access to arcana outside of background/race, and their a much better canditate.

On Bloody Retribution, yeah, it's a lot stronger than I originally thought. A counterattack is great for the class, but I was hesitant to take the ability from the Berserker. It fits though. Maybe a fixed number of times? My gut instinct is to say con mod, but while my goal was to switch the priority of con and str/dex, that might be a step too far. I could say str/dex mod times, but that seems to conflict with the theme. I'm probably just gonna say a set number of times.

Level 7 should definitely be an exploration/utility ability. I think my first version did this, but I guess I forgot that that's what belonged there. Probably looked at eldritch knight and forgot, but they are the weird one because they get their utility from spells.

Apart from my reservations of using hit dice (mainly being their availability varies wildly from campaign and dm and even individual adventures, from being essentially limitless to much too important to spare), it also deviates from the theme of "steal health, spend health," and turning them essentially into battle masters. At that point, it's (character level) blood strikes per day, but you use your absorbing strikes to heal instead. The risk is shifted from short-term to long-term, which isn't a bad thing (spellcasters), but not what I was going for.

My thought behind the static 10 health is that the cost for an individual strike intentionally goes from heavy to easy. The tradeoff is that that they don't get more powerful, and you need to use them more often anyway, as well as having more attacks per round with which to make those attacks. You can only burn through 20-40 per turn depending on if you can use your bonus or reactions to strike at level 5, but at level 11 you can go 30-50 and then 40-60 at level 20, which is still a sizable amount of health to spend. I'm still not opposed to making stronger ones, or letting the sanguine warrior ramp some up (especially ones that deal extra damage). I was toying with the idea that they eventually get the ability to spend 20 points instead to increase their effect, possibly at the same time as Absorbing Strikes can go up to double con mod. Writing that down makes me like that idea a ton more.

Thank you both again for the feedback! This is really good stuff.

2015-08-22, 01:31 PM
I would give the blood strikes the ability to scale with level. Such as making every 10 hp be 1d8 for corrupting strike, or an increase of 1 or 2 to the dc.

2015-08-22, 02:38 PM
DONT hand out free healing. A Sanguine Warrior will almost never have to rest again(except long rests ofc and sometimes a short rest if out of Action Surges), because it can just pick a fight with some frogs(or other small, easy to kill CR 0 enemies), which they would hit anyway with a -5 penalty. I'd say it must be a worthy encounter or something, because this is open to abuse.