An elf clad in rugged leathers completes her whispered incantation. Suddenly, a column of divine fire roars down from the heavens, engulfing enemy soldiers.
Arms and eyes upraised toward the sun and a prayer on his lips, a human begins to glow with an inner light that spills out to heal his battle-worn companions.
Adorned in scale mail, a gnome shouts orders to nearby allies, helping them coordinate their assault to the best advantage.
An archivist is a wielder of divine magic, similar to a cleric only in the type and nature of the magic at his command. Indeed, the archivist has more in common with the wizard than he does with the standard servant of the divine, due to the scholarly way in which he collects and maintains his spell selection. Archivists seek out esoteric sources of divine lore, wherever those sources might be, securing those secrets for themselves and their fellow scholars.
Scholars of the Divine
As an archivist, you travel in search of new and unusual magic of a divine nature. Since your understanding of magic revolves around the written word, you prize magical writings of any kind and will travel far to investigate a newly discovered (or yet-to-be discovered) holy scripture or mystical recitation. The secrets you uncover are their own reward, and your confidence in yourself and in the job you do is more rewarding than the empty gratitude of some group or hierarchy.
Agents of Knowledge
Archivists are not especially potent front-line fighters and will often hang back with the wizards when combat arises. They are sturdier and usually better armored than their arcane counterparts, however, and boldly stride into combat when necessary.
Creating an Archivist
The archivist is a more academic profession than the cleric or paladin but hardier and more worldly than the average cloistered wizard. Due to the exploratory and often dangerous nature of their work, archivists develop techniques for safeguarding themselves and their allies from the foul taint that so often surrounds and accompanies the lost or forbidden lore they seek. Archivists are thus exceptional support characters, bolstering the efforts of those who aid them in their scholarly pursuits.
You can make an archivist quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest score, followed by Constitution or Dexterity. If you plan on following the Path of the Tactician, make Strength your next-best score. Second, choose the sage background. Third, choose the light, resistance, and sacred flame cantrips, along with the following 1st-level spells for your prayerbook: bane, bless, command, cure wounds, guiding bolt, and inflict wounds.
As an archivist, you gain the following class features.
- Hit Dice: 1d6 per archivist level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constituion modifier
- Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constituion modifier per archivist level after 1st
- Armor: Light armor
- Weapons: All simple weapons
- Tools: None
- Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
- Skills: Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus
- (a) a scholar's pack, or (b) an explorer's pack
- Leather armor and a prayerbook
As a scholar of divine magic, you have a prayerbook containing spells that show the first glimmerings of your divine power. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the cleric spell list.
At 1st level, you know three cantrips of your choice from the cleric spell list. You learn additional cleric cantrips of your choice at higher levels as shown in the Cantrips known column of the Archivist table.
At 1st level, you have a prayerbook containing six 1st-level cleric spells of your choice.
Preparing and Casting Spells
The Archivist table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
You cast spells from the cleric's list of spells. You prepare the list of archivist spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of archivist spells from your prayerbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your archivist level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
For example, if you're a 3rd-level archivist, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With an Intelligence of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination, chosen from your prayerbook. If you prepare the 1st-level spell cure wounds, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd-level slot. Casting the spell doesn't remove it from your list of prepared spells.
|Level||Proficiency Bonus||Features||Cantrips Known||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th|
|1st||+2||Spellcasting, Dark Knowledge (d6)||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+2||Path of Knowledge||3||4||2||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||4||4||3||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|5th||+3||Dark Knowledge (d8), Font of Knowledge||4||4||3||2||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Stillness of Mind, Path of Knowledge feature||4||4||3||3||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement||4||4||3||3||2||—||—||—||—||—|
|10th||+4||Dark Knowledge (d10), Magical Secrets, Path of Knowledge feature||5||4||3||3||3||2||—||—||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||—||—||—|
|14th||+5||Magical Secrets, Path of Knowledge feature||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||—||—|
|15th||+5||Dark Knowledge (d12)||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||—|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||5||4||3||3||3||3||2||1||1||1|
You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of archivist spells requires time spent studying your prayerbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your archivist spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for an archivist spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
You can cast an archivist spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your prayerbook. You don't need to have the spell prepared.
You can use an arcane focus (found in chapter 5) as a spellcasting focus for your archivist spells.
Learning Spells of 1st Level and Higher
Each time you gain an archivist level, you can add two cleric spells of your choice to your prayerbook. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the Archivist table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your prayerbook (see the "Your Prayerbook" sidebar).
You can aid others with your extensive knowledge and cunning. To do so, you use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you that you can communicate with. That creature gains one Dark Knowledge die, a d6.
Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Dark Knowledge die, but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Dark Knowledge die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Dark Knowledge die at a time.
You can use Dark Knowledge a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Your Dark Knowledge die changes when you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.
Dark Knowledge: Dread Tactics
You have expansive knowledge of certain types of creatures. Dark Knowledge die rolls have advantage when used while interacting with types of creatures based on which Intelligence skills you are proficient in: Arcana for outsiders and elementals; History for aberrations; Nature for magical beasts; and Religion for undead.
At 2nd level, choose two of your skill proficiencies from the following list: Arcana, Decipher Script, History, Nature, and Religion. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.
You choose another skill proficiency from the list at 7th, 13th, and 17th level. You may not choose the same proficiency more than once.
Path of Knowledge
At 3rd level, you choose a path that defines the nature of your scholarly pursuits. Choose the Path of the Loremaster or the Path of the Tactician, both detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th levels.
Ability Score Improvement
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.
Font of Knowledge
Beginning when you reach 5th level, you regain all of your expended uses of Dark Knowledge when you finish a short or long rest.
Stillness of Mind
Starting at 7th level, you can use your action to end one effect on yourself that is causing you to be charmed or frightened.
By 10th level, you have gleaned magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two spells from any class, including this one. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Archivist table, or a cantrip.
The chosen spells count as archivist spells for you and count towards the two cleric spells you add to your prayerbook each archivist level.
You learn two additional spells from any class at 14th level and again at 18th level.
At 20th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of Dark Knowledge left, you regain one use.
The spells that you add to your prayerbook as you gain levels reflect the divine research you conduct on your own, as well as intellectual breakthroughs you have had about the nature of the multiverse. You might find other spells during your adventures. You could discover a spell recorded on a scroll found on the person of a defeated cleric, for example, or in a dusty tome in an abandoned church's basement.
Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a divine spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your prayerbook if it is of a level for which you have spell slots and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it.
Copying a spell into your prayerbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the spellcaster who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your prayerbook using your own notation.
For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells.
Replacing the Book. You can copy a spell from your own prayerbook into another book---for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your prayerbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your prayerbook, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell. You need to spend only 1 hour and 10 gp for each level of the copied spell.
If you lose your prayerbook, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you have prepared into a new prayerbook. Filling out the remainder of your prayerbook requires you to find new spells to do so, as normal. For this reason, many archivists keep backup prayerbooks in a safe place.
The Book's Appearance. Your prayerbook is a unique compilation of spells, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library, or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous prayerbook in a mishap.
Paths of Knowledge
The pursuit of knowledge drives every archivist the world around. For some archivists, the pursuit itself is their very existence and thus embrace that never-ending hunger for knowledge. For others, the pursuit is a means to protecting their allies or to fighting alongside them.
Path of the Loremaster
Archivists traveling the Path of the Loremaster are gatherers and keepers of secrets. They are often obsessed by the written word, with cryptic and arcane lore serving as their devoted mistress. Believing in the adage that knowledge is salvation, Loremasters often forsake material wealth and personal glory for rare or unusual information, an endless quest that brings them ever closer to their unattainable goal: perfection through edification.
Often rejecting what he views as the pointless affectations and transitory pleasures of his short-sighted neighbors, the Loremaster believes that the only worthwhile goal in life is the acquisition of intellectual might. After all, wealth is spent, passions fade, and the power of the body is limited by age, while the mind’s capacity to grow greater with time is infinite.
When you choose the Path of the Loremaster at 3rd level, you become proficient with the following skills: Arcana, History, Nature, and Religion.
Dark Knowledge: Foreknowledge
Also at 3rd level, you learn how to better protect others in battle with your knowledge. When an attack roll is made against a creature that has a Dark Knowledge die from you, it can use its reaction to roll that die and add the number rolled to its AC against that attack, after seeing the roll but before knowing whether it hits or misses.
Additional Magical Secrets
At 6th level, you learn two spells of your choice from any class. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Archivist table, or a cantrip. The chosen spells count as archivist spells for you and are not included in the two cleric spells you add to your prayerbook each archivist level.
Dark Knowledge: Read Thoughts
At 10th level, you can expend one use of Dark Knowledge to read a creature's thoughts. You can then use your access to the creature's mind to command it.
As an action, choose one creature that you can see within 60 feet of you. That creature must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature succeeds on the saving throw, you can't use this feature on it again until you finish a long rest.
If the creature fails its save, you can read its surface thoughts (those foremost in its mind, reflecting it current emotions and what it is actively thinking about) when it is within 60 feet of you. This effect lasts for 1 minute.
During that time, you can use your action to end this effect and cast the dominate person spell on the creature without expending a spell slot. The target automatically fails its saving throw against the spell.
Knowledge is Salvation
At 14th level, you've come to realize there's no point in amassing so much magical knowledge if you're not alive to share it. You may now choose yourself to receive a Dark Knowledge die. In addition, you may expend one use of Dark Knowledge before a short rest; if you regain hit points at the end of the short rest, you can roll that die and regain extra hit points equal to the number rolled.
Path of the Tactician
Archivists on the Path of the Tactician employ martial techniques passed down through generations. To a Tactician, knowledge is power, combat is an academic field, and magic is a weapon to be wielded. Not every archivist absorbs the lessons of history, theory, and artistry that constitute the Path of the Tactician, but those who do are well-rounded strategists of great skill and knowledge.
When you choose the Path of the Tactician at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with medium armor, shields, martial weapons, and one type of artisan's tools of your choice.
Dark Knowledge: Foe's Secrets
Also at 3rd level, you learn how to hit your enemies where it really hurts. A creature that has a Dark Knowledge die from you can roll that die and add the number rolled to a weapon damage roll it just made. If the number rolled is the maximum amount possible for that die, or if the die is used in a critical attack, the creature receiving the damage is stunned for 1 round.
Starting at 6th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Dark Knowledge: Assessment
At 10th level, you can expend one use of Dark Knowledge to learn certain information about a creature's capabilities compared to your own. The DM tells you if the creature is your equal, superior, or inferior in regard to up to one-half your Intelligence modifier (rounded up; minimum of 1) of the following characteristics of your choice:
- Strength score
- Dexterity score
- Constitution score
- Armor Class
- Current hit points
- Total class levels (if any)
- Levels in one class of your choice (if any)
Knowledge is Power
At 14th level, you've learned that the best defense is a good offense. You may now choose yourself to receive a Dark Knowledge die. In addition, when you cast a spell that deals damage to one or more creatures, you may expend one use of Dark Knowledge to add a Dark Knowledge die to the damage dealt. The type of damage the Dark Knowledge die deals is the same as the type the spell deals; if the spell deals more than one type of damage, you choose which type of damage the Dark Knowledge die deals.
- Natural Crit for the Homebrewery, their amazing online tool for creating professional-looking D&D homebrews.
- /u/jamesmusicus for his 5e Class Analysis/creation toolkit and his Class Documentation Template.
- Wizards of the Coast for creating Dungeons&Dragons and all their fine products, especially Heroes of Horror for having the original archivist class where this class drew inspiration from.