I Was Beguiled!

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If you keep up with me on Twitter, you may know that yesterday I tried to write a subclass called Beguiler. I was pretty convinced that I could make it a wizard subclass based on 3rd edition’s Beguiler base class. Though ironically, I was greatly deceived by my worst enemy- myself! Today, we’ll take a closer look at how my design went awry and where I am going next.

The Enemy of Reason and Thought

It’s a massive farce to allow myself to be so misguided in my design process. It is almost poetic, really. Like the victim of any beguiler, I was, as I said, deceived. Deception isn’t necessarily about being “tricked”, in fact, plenty of great people can be beguiled. Being beguiled is a failure to discern and to think, or rather to have your discernment and thought be directed elsewhere. When you trick someone, you have not made them think anything. You have simply presented something to them that they can’t see the truth. It appeases their senses and faculties so that whatever you have tricked them with, they take it at face value. The person on the receiving end being an idiot or being gullible may play into it but it’s more about the craft of the person doing the beguiling. It may not necessarily be their brand of magic, it may just be that they have that je ne sais quois that makes them hard to resist.

Where I Was Deceived

I looked back at Beguiler in 3.5. I always was enchanted with them, these Intelligence based casters that don’t particularly handle things with overt violence but through manipulation with the use of enchantment and illusion magic, seamless blending them into one core set of abilities. By catching their enemies off-guard, their magic is harder to resist and they can eventually cast spells without even moving or speaking. Of course, what did I do? I tried to make it a wizard subclass. I sat staring at the same nearly blank screen for two hours as I occasionally typed a sentence, erasing it soon after. Wizards only have one main type of resource: spells. Everything else has to be situational, or modify existing spells. Don’t get me wrong, that’s awesome design space, but not for the goal I had in mind. It was too broad. Was I supposed to pick charm person and make it better? Mordenkainen forbid, I decide to just start throwing numbers around or start misusing advantage and disadvantage.

As I shut down my computer and walked home, it dawned on me. I ignored my list of ingredients that pointed me towards my mistake:

  • one core set of abilities
  • their magic is harder to resist 
  • cast spells without even moving or speaking
  • they have that je ne sais quois
  • Wizards only have one main type of resource

The reason I was beguiled was I sat down and said, “These are intelligence-based casters” and I pointed myself in the wrong direction. Though the evidence was there, The Schools of Enchantment and Illusion already occupy the design space. War Mage in Xanathar’s works by focusing on a more offense/defense design space. However, I realized that of the full-casters, sorcerer was the only one that lacked a sufficient “manipulation” based subclass, they get metamagics that enhance their spells, like Heightened spell and Subtle spell, and I could focus on a core set of abilities, in other words: that je ne sais quois.

This weekend you can expect a new Sorcerous Origin: Beguiler


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