Updating the Blue Mage for 5th Edition

A while back, I wrote a Blue Mage class for B/X (Basic/Expert by Cook & Marsh) and FLAILSNAILS (online play). It's a lot of fun, and I've run into more than one person who's played it. Strangely enough, because the Blue Mage is not a true spellcaster, the class in 5th edition most suited to having a class speciality in Blue Mage appears to be the Monk.

Here's a Blue Mage for 5th Edition:

When you reach 3rd level, you commit yourself to a monastic tradition: The way of the Open Hand, The Way of Shadow, or the Way of the Four Elements. Your tradition grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 11th, and 17th level. There is another path, however, that of the Blue mage.

Monastic Traditions

Three traditions of monastic pursuit are common in the monasteries scattered across the multiverse. But there are more. Blue mage is one of those rare traditions.

Way of the Blue Mage

Monks who follow the way of the blue mage, know that the best weapon is to learn the ways of your enemy and to turn their own power against them. Blue mages absorb the abilities of their opponents and can use them against other targets in the future.

Blue Magic
Once you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can use your ki to absorb and permanently learn and use spells and monster abilities. Whenever you are targeted by an spell, or monster attack, you may spend one ki and attempt to learn it. The Ki point is spent at the time the blue mage is subject to the attack. The acquisition of the ability is not automatic or instant. Within 24 hours, the blue mage must take a short rest. During this rest, on a successful Constitution saving throw versus a DC of 10 + the monsters CR, the ability or spell is learned.

You lose access to the unarmored defense and unarmed movement monk abilities.

The Blue mage may then use the ability by spending Ki points. A spell costs a number of Ki points equal to its level. A monster ability may be used by expending 1 ki point.

A blue mage may not know more spells and monster abilities than those that are equal to their level + one-half their constitution modifier.

Some more restrictions:

  • The blue mage must be the target of the spell or ability.
  • The blue mage must be personally affected by the spell or ability, if protected in some manner the ability cannot be learned. 
  • They may learn an ability that affects them regardless of the success or failure of their saving throw versus the ability.
  • Seeing an ability is not enough, they must be the target or one of the targets of the ability or spell.
  • They are considered affected by the ability, even if they die or collapse during the attack.
  • If you use your Evasion ability at 7th level and take no damage, you have avoided the spell or effect and may not learn it. 
Azure Consumption
At 6th level, you gain the ability of Azure Consumption. The Blue Mage can attempt to learn passive or defensive abilities from creatures by eating them. They must succeed on a DC 10 + monster CR Constitution saving throw after consuming a corpse to learn the ability. Otherwise they are sick and vomit up the corpse which is ruined. A whole corpse must be consumed and this takes 10 minutes.

Each of these passive abilities counts against the total number of abilities the Blue Mage can learn. Each passive ability 1 ki point to maintain, reducing the available ki points by that amount. These abilities are always 'on' and cannot be turned off to regain access to the reserved ki points.
Their form changes to reflect the abilities learned. If they gain the +4 natural bonus to armor of the Galeb Duhr, then their skin takes on a rocky appearance.

Blue Missile
At 11th level, the blue mage  can conjure and fire a bolt of force. This bolt is a magical attack they have proficiency in. The attack modifier for this effect is equal to your proficiency bonus, plus your Dexterity modifier. It costs 1 energy to use and does damage equal to your base unarmed attack. It has a range of 180 feet. 

Blue Magic Mastery
At 17th level, though still limited in the number of powers they can have, passive abilities no longer require one ki point to maintain, freeing up those ki points for other uses.  They may now also learn legendary abilities.

In 5th edition, this is fairly straight forward.
A blue mage hit by a Chimera's fire breath would gain it if it spent a ki point when it was attacked, took a short rest within 24 hours, and succeeded at a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. 
If subject to a Dopplegangers read thoughts ability, they would gain it if they spent a ki point when their mind wea read, took a short rest within 24 hours and succeeded at a DC 13 Constitution saving throw.

Passive abilities are the same, at 6th level.
If the blue mage eats a doppleganger corpse, they can attempt to eat the corpse, and choose one of the following passive abilities: Condition Immunity Charmed, Darkvision 60 ft., Shapechanger, Ambusher, or Surprise Attack. On a successful DC 13 Constitution saving throw, they learn the one ability. On a failure, they messily vomit up the corpse. Success or failure, they need another corpse to learn another ability.

It is important to keep in mind that the scope of monster abilities is much much more limited than the scope of spells. Monster abilities are primarily focused around doing damage or forcing saving throws. While this is useful, it often frequently gives the blue mage options between several abilities that basically do the same or similar types of damage.

Hack & Slash 
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  1. Using the Monk as a base is pretty inspired, I gotta say.

  2. That's really cool, thank you. If only GM allowed homebrews. I assume you used monk as a base because of Ki points?

    1. Well, and that they aren't spellcasters and a lot of the monk abilities are basically blue mage abilities.

  3. Using these guys in my homebrew as a central force, loosely inspired by the Maori, a tribe of Monster hunters basically, who just want to fight and test themselves seeking to purify their bodies through combat and becoming better learning from each battle they face. Using this as my template for them. Thank you so much

  4. Using this a a template for a group in my game inspired by the Maori Warrior of Polynesia. The fought to survive and finally found this power, and began searching to make themselves the perfect weapon and body

  5. Thank you so much for publishing this none of that would have been possible without it


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