New Wizard School: Bloodbinding 5


This is another rough draft of a subclass for Under the Seas of Vodari, the upcoming aquatic campaign setting that expands on the Seas of Vodari setting. Thanks to, you know, the whole spellbook thing, coming up with exciting and thematically relevant wizard concepts poses certain challenges. This is what came from our conversations about it.

School of Bloodbinding

The Bloodbinder wizards take the blood of creatures, as well as ichor from celestials and fiends, to gain occult knowledge and strange powers. They capture and store the blood in crystal vials for study and use. In the aquatic cultures of Vodari, they most often serve as advisers to monarchs and other powerful people.

Most aquatic Bloodbinders, and wizards intending to join them, inscribe their spells on thin plates of Ancient metal, which don’t corrode in saltwater.

The Keen Edge

2nd-level School of Bloodbinding feature

You gain proficiency in the Medicine skill, and when you would roll Wisdom (Medicine), you can roll Intelligence (Medicine) instead. When you succeed an Intelligence (Medicine) check to stabilize a dying creature, you can expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher. If you do, the target regains 1d4 hit points per level of the spell slot expended. If you expend a use from a healer’s kit at the same time, the target instead regains 1d6 hit points per level of the spell slot expended.

Blood Vial

2nd-level School of Bloodbinding feature

You create and enchant three crystal vials. When you deal damage to a creature within 30 feet of you that is not an undead or construct, you can immediately use a bonus action to deal an additional 1d8 damage and pull some of its blood or other vital essence into one of your vials, as long as that vial is open and contains only air or water.

You can also fill a vial from a willing creature as an action, dealing no damage but causing it to expend 1 hit die. You can fill a vial from a creature that has died within the past five minutes as an action.

You can fill each vial once, and you can’t fill it again until it is empty and you have finished a long rest. A filled vial remains usable until you empty it as an action, or with the Scarlet Aspirant feature.

Scarlet Aspirant

2nd-level School of Bloodbinding feature

You can empty the blood from one of your crystal vials to gain certain benefits, depending on the creature type that the blood came from.

Aberration. When you cast a spell that deals acid, force, poison, or psychic damage and the creature has resistance to that damage, you can empty this vial to make your spell ignore that creature’s resistance.

Beast. You can empty this vial as a bonus action to gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks for 10 minutes.

Celestial. When you cast a spell that targets one willing creature, you can empty this vial to grant the creature advantage on the saving throws of one ability for 1 minute.

Dragon. When you cast a spell, you can empty this vial to treat it as if cast with a spell slot one level higher.

Elemental. When you cast a spell that deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage and a creature has resistance to that damage, you can expend this vial to make your spell ignore that creature’s resistance.

Fey. As an action, you can empty this vial to give yourself or a creature you touch advantage on Charisma checks for 10 minutes.

Fiend. When you take bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage from a weapon is that isn’t magical or silvered, you can empty this vial to halve the damage that you take.

Giant. As an action, you can empty this vial to give yourself or a creature you touch advantage on Strength checks and saving throws for 10 minutes.

Humanoid. When an undead creature takes damage from a spell that you cast, you can expend this vial to add 1d8 to the damage it takes, as the blood makes them momentarily more like the living, and thus susceptible to your power.

Monstrosity. When you or a creature you can see within 30 feet makes an attack against a surprised creature, you can empty this vial to give them advantage on the attack. If the attack hits, the deal an additional 2d8 damage.

Ooze. When a construct or object takes damage from a spell that you cast, you can expend this vial to deal an additional 1d8 acid damage.

Plant. As an action, you can empty the vial to give yourself or a creature you touch 2d6 temporary hit points.

Scarlet Insight

6th-level School of Bloodbinding feature

When you hold a crystal vial of a creature’s blood, you can use a bonus action to learn its condition immunities, damage immunities, damage resistances, and damage vulnerabilities, including the effects of any spells or magic items.

Vessel of Life

10th-level School of Bloodbinding feature

You can resistance to necrotic and poison damage, and you have advantage on saving throws against the poisoned condition. When you would take necrotic or poison damage, you can empty one of your crystal vials as a reaction to reduce the damage to 0 instead.

Scarlet Master

14th-level School of Bloodbinding feature

The blood of others is yours to command. As an action, creatures of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you must roll a Constitution saving throw against your spellcasting save DC. On a failure, they take 7d6 piercing damage and can’t take reactions until the beginning of your next turn, as you magically extract their blood or other vital fluids. On a success, they take half damage and suffer no further effect. Undead are immune to this effect unless you empty a crystal vial containing humanoid blood as part of this action. Constructs are immune to this effect unless you empty a vial containing ooze essence as part of this action.

Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest, unless you spend a 4th-level spell slot to use it again.

Design Notes

I’m going for a classic blood mage, here, on the idea that people who can study sharks up close, and who have water currents to work with, might have a keen appreciation for the power of blood. Obviously, Scarlet Aspirant got a bit complicated, but I like that what you get from that feature changes based on what you’ve fought lately.

Let me know what you think!


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5 thoughts on “New Wizard School: Bloodbinding

  • Kevin

    This is an interesting design. I think I might adapt the level 2 vials features for use as a magic item for a player running a bloodbinder character (it’s a 5E campaign using all alternate classes from a 3rd party source rather than the official classes).

  • Craig W Cormier

    This is pretty cool conceptually. I’m always interested to see different treatments of blood magic type characters because I think the base idea says something very interesting about the connections between life (blood) and magic.

    The subclass fluff is cool, though the last line seems more like a general statement about aquatic wizard spellbooks in general rather than something specific to this subclass. That actually might be worth adding a few more example ideas and sticking in a small sidebar in the wizard section.

    The Keen Edge is a nice minor healing ability. The ability to use the healer’s kit to improve the healing is a nice boost and makes me want to know what an aquatic healer’s kit contains.

    Blood Vial is fine as is. A nice simple way to keep your power topped up. The ability to fill it from a willing creature is nice. Is there any special handling for filling the vial from a summoned creature? Especially with the simpler summoning spells from Tasha’s, I expect that more wizards will be adding summoned creatures to their repertoire. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but it is another interesting facet for how this kind of magic works. The basic question being, does the blood of a summoned creature, which in 5e is explicitly created by magic, have the innate power of the blood of a naturally occurring one?

    Scarlet Aspirant is very cool. My comments are all in regards to the consistency of mechanics and wording. Aberrant should probably read “When you cast a spell that deals acid, force, poison, or psychic damage and the TARGET has resistance”. Similar for Elemental. And those two should specifiy if they affect more than one target. Should the effects that trigger when you cast a spell specify that the use of the vial is part of the action of casting the spell? I can’t remember what the standard is in situations like that. I also really like the minor explanation about why the Humanoid effect works and I would love to see something similar in the others.

    Scarlet Insight is a nice info gathering ability. If anything I think this needs to be expanded somewhat. It also says something about the nature of magical items and spells that their effects can be detected by examining a creature’s blood. If you have the blood of a creature that is still alive does this ability allow you to detect changes in their immunities etc? Can the vial stand-in for “knowing the target well” in spells like Scrying?

    Vessel of Life is fine, but kind of boring. I was kind of hoping for another creature type list but with passive effects this time.

    Scarlet Master is a nice high damage effect. I like that having Ooze and Humanoid grant special effects, though that makes me wish that every creature type did something different. Maybe reduce the damage and put in a list of stacking secondary effects? Always a fan of seeing the “expend a spell slot to recharge” mechanic applied to cool powers.

    Overall very cool.

  • David Windrim

    Heya – love this, especially for a villain.

    To confirm – can vials stack? Can I say cast a fireball and empty Dragon and Elemental blood vials to enjoy both effects?

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      I… think I’m fine with that? Though I wouldn’t want to see someone use two Dragon vials on the same spell, really.