ThinkDM's Spellcaster Template

F ' ull Casters are classes most capable of using magic in the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. The five Full Caster classes in the Player's Handbook all follow a standard spell progression for the number of spells they can cast per day. The difference lies in the spells they know, the spells they prepare, and cantrips they can cast.

Choosing an Ability Score

When creating a new homebrew Full Caster, the first consideration is choosing the casting ability. This will affect the way in which your class interacts with magic.

Bards and Sorcerers cast with Charisma because they are using the force of their personality to cull forth magic.

Clerics and Druids cast with Wisdom because the attune to a higher power. This is why they know all of their spells, but they must prepare certain rituals.

Wizards cast with Intelligence because they are recalling intense and dedicated studying.

Ability Score Mechanics

Ability score choice impacts the way classes know and prepare their spells:

  • Charisma casters know a limited number of class spells, but they can use any spell they know.
  • Wisdom casters have access to all class spells, but they must prepare spells they want to use.
  • Intelligence casters gather and prepare their spells.

Generally, following these tropes is advisable. However, if you come up with a thematic explanation as to why your homebrew Full Caster functions in an alternative way, feel free to break the guidelines.

Spells Known

Bards and Sorcerers are limited to choosing spells from their class spell list. They have limited opportunities to exchange spells when gaining levels.

Clerics and Druids know all spells on their class spell list.

Wizards know the spells they record in their spell book. They could potentially know all of the spells available to their class, but they would have to collect them.

Spells Prepared

Bards and Sorcerers can cast any spell they know without preparation.

Clerics, Druids and Wizards can only cast spells they have prepared. They can prepare spells equal their casting ability modifier plus their class level.

Cantrips Known

Assign cantrips at the end of class creation for balance. There tends to be a tradeoff between spells and cantrips known. Classes that know more spells in general tend to be able to cast fewer cantrips.

Sorcerers, who know the fewest spells of full casters, conversely know the most cantrips. Druids, who know all their class spells, have the lowest number of cantrips and the slowest progression.

There is some room for mixing this up. Consider that Bards, who know many spells, share the slowest progression with Druids. Yet, Clerics and Wizards can both know more spells and possess quicker cantrip progression.

Class Spell Lists

Creating a Class Spell List is an interesting task. Consider both the number of spells available and theme of the spells.

Number of Spells

The number of spells available to a class is generally tied to the difficulty of obtaining the spells. Wizards must expend time and resources to add spells to their repertoire. As a result, they have access to twice as many spells as most classes. By contrast, Druids and Clerics, who automatically gain access to their entire expanded spell list upon leveling up, were given the smallest spell lists in the Player's Handbook. The middle tier was occupied by the Charisma casters, Bards and Sorcerers.

However, there were some shifts after Druids received stronger treatment in Xanathar's Guide to Everything than Bards and Clerics. Now, the line between Charisma and Wisdom casters is more blurred in terms of spell access.

Spells Available to Full Casters
Class Total PHB XGE
Wizard 292 215 77
Sorcerer 184 129 55
Druid 150 110 40
Bard 132 120 12
Cleric 113 106 7

Spell Themes

There should be thematic cohesion between the spells you choose for your new class. Get a general idea of which spells are related by checking the schools of magic (abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, evocation, illusion, necromancy, transmutation). Then, look to the types of spells which are grouped together various subclasses:

  • Cleric domains (knowledge, life, light, nature, tempest, trickery, war, forge, grave)
  • Druid circles (arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, underdark, dreams, shepherd)
  • Paladin oaths (devotion, ancients, vengeance, conquest, redemption)
  • Ranger archetypes (gloom stalker, horizon walker, monster slayer)
  • Sorcerer origins (shadow, storm)
  • Warlock patrons (archfey, fiend, great old one, celestial, hexblade)
  • Wizard schools (schools of magic, war wizard)

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ThinkDM | Homebrew Spellcaster Template

Assigning Class Features

Highlight new Class Features that drive your theme. Don't Frankenstein existing classes just to bypass multiclassing. Your primary focus should be on your subclass. Make sure to keep the spellcaster balanced by honoring "Dead Levels".

Subclass

Spellcaster subclasses interact with magic. So, spellcasters get their subclasses earlier than martial classes. How will this interaction affect your character at low levels? How can it scale as the character gains access to better magic?

"Dead Levels" When Unlocking Spells

Obtaining access to a higher level spell slot is a significant power boost. As a result, Full Casters often don't obtain Class Features at odd levels past five. Features given at these benchmarks are incremental increases to low level features.

  • Bard inspiration dice increase at level 5, 10, and 15;     rest dice at 9, 13, and 17; gets no features at level 7 or 11.
  • Cleric destroy undead scales at level 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17; gets no features at 3, 7, 13, 15.
  • Druid gets no features at level 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17.
  • Sorcerer gets no features at level 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17.
  • Wizard gets no features at level 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17.


Ability Score Improvements

Full Casters don't get Class Features along with Ability Score Improvements, except Wisdom casters. Clerics at level 8 scale Destroy Undead and get smite; Druids scale Wild Shape at levels 4 and 8. So there is precedent for stacking stronger features at earlier levels, but stay away from stacking Class Features with Ability Score Improvements at levels 12, 16, and 19.


Covering New Ground

A unique homebrew spellcaster should differ from these explored themes:

  • Bards draw power from performance.
  • Clerics draw power from divinity.
  • Druids draw power from nature.
  • Paladins draw power from conviction.
  • Rangers draw power from wilderness.
  • Sorcerers draw power from within.
  • Warlocks draw power from their patron.
  • Wizards draw power from knowledge.
Full Caster
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known Spells Known 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Spellcasting, Level 1 Feature(s) 2-4 2-4 2
2nd +2 Level 2 Feature(s) 2-4 3-5 3
3rd +2 Level 3 Feature(s) 2-4 4-6 4 2
4th +2 Level 4 Feature(s),
Ability Score Improvement
3-5 5-7 4 3
5th +3 3-5 6-8 4 3 2
6th +3 Level 6 Feature(s) 3-5 7-9 4 3 3
7th +3 3-5 8-10 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Level 8 Feature(s),
Ability Score Improvement
3-5 9-11 4 3 3 2
9th +4 3-5 10-12 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Level 10 Feature(s) 4-6 11-13 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 4-6 12-14 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 4-6 12-15 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 4-6 13-16 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 Level 14 Feature(s) 4-6 13-17 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 4-6 14-18 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 4-6 14-19 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 4-6 15-20 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Level 18 Feature(s) 4-6 15-22 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 4-6 15-22 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 Level 20 Feature(s) 4-6 15-22 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

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ThinkDM | Homebrew Spellcaster Template

Class Features

As a CLASS, you gain the following class features:

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d6/8 per CLASS level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6/8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6/8 (or 4/5) + your Constitution modifier per CLASS level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: None
Weapons: Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
Tools: None


Saving Throws: Dexterity/Constitution/Wisdom, Strength/Intelligence/Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Arcana, Athletics, Deception, History, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Religion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth and Survival

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a weapon, (b) a weapon, or (c) a weapon.
  • (a) a pack, or (b) a pack.
  • (a) a component pouch, (b) arcane focus, or (c) holy symbol.
  • Mandatory item(s).

Spellcasting

Description of how CLASS uses magic. See chapter 10 for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the CLASS spell list.

Cantrips

You know two/three/four cantrips of your choice from the CLASS spell list. You learn additional CLASS cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the CLASS table.

Spell Slots

The CLASS table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of first level or higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a spell slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

You know two/three/four 1st-level spells of your choice from the CLASS spell list. The Spells Known column of the CLASS table shows when you learn more CLASS spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots, as shown on the table. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can pick a new spell of 1st or 2nd level. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the CLASS spells you know and replace it with another spell from the CLASS spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The CLASS table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells. To cast one of your CLASS spells of 1st level or higher, 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 prepare the list of CLASS spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the CLASS spell list. When you do so, choose a number of CLASS spells equal to your CASTING ABILITY modifier + your CLASS level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you are a 3rd-level CLASS, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With a CASTING ABILITY of 14, your list of prepared spells can include five spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare a 1st-level spell, and 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.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of CLASS spells requires time spent descriptive activity: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Ability

CASTING ABILITY is your spellcasting ability for your CLASS spells. Your magic comes from your source of magic. You use your CASTING ABILITY whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your CASTING ABILITY modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a CLASS spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.


Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your CASTING ABILITY modifier


Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your CASTING ABILITY modifier

Ritual Casting (optional)

You can cast a CLASS spell as a ritual if that spell has a ritual tag and you have that spell prepared/that spell is in your spell book.

Spellcasting Focus (optional)

You can use a CLASS focus/an arcane focus/a holy symbol (see chapter 5, "Equipment") as a spellcasting focus for your CLASS spells.



If you like the template, please check out ThinkDM for more content.


Thanks to the Homebrewery.

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ThinkDM | Homebrew Spellcaster Template

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