Bone Collector (5e Class)

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This content deviates from 5e standards. Its use could dramatically alter campaigns, take extreme care. DesignDisclaimer.png
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This content intends to provide a different experience, or goes beyond the scope of the anticipated subjects and situations, than the 5e rules were intended to handle. Some portions of the content below may not be what you expect from traditional game content. When implementing this content, DMs and Players should read over all the information carefully, and consider the following specific notes of interest:
This class allows a character to concentrate on two spells at one time (with limitations to attempt to balance this), defying a core precept of the spellcasting economy. Please consult your DM before choosing this class.

Bone Collector[edit]

You are the bureaucratic life of the party. You are the memory of the party, connecting to past encounters, taking on the big bad, and animating skeletons. You are also sort of a sorceror-druid-wizard mashup.

Collectors of Mementos, Items, Voices, Reminders, and Souvenirs[edit]

Bone collectors are the world's obsessive tourists. Everywhere they go, they have to collect something. Sometimes it is a bone or a scale from a monster they killed. Sometimes a pebble from a temple garden, a coin from a dragon horde, a signature of a hero, or merely the memory of words spoken and things seen. Bone Collectors keep a history of the adventures of the parties they have traveled with, and when they retire, publish an account of those adventures. They act as a party's memory, recalling the names and places, the runes and writings they have encountered along their journeys. They provide a solid center for a party to build around, and allow a party to reconnect with its past, sometimes quite directly.

Here's how including the bone collector class may affect your campaign
  • Villages, cities, nations and the world itself may gain a semi-sentient voice when a bone collector talks to them. They may not want to go back to sleep once the conversation has finished.
  • The lost remains of legendary heroes can be found and animated or brought home for proper burial.
  • You could if you want make broken bones a part of combat results.
  • Undead skeletons in your world can become more varied, interesting, and powerful.
  • Long distance communication may become easier with a bone collector as intermediary.
  • You will find the player running the bone collector asking about details that you may not have developed. Your campaign could become more detailed.

Creating a Bone Collector[edit]

fez2.jpg
A Bone Collector's Natural Habitat Credit: iStock


Are you the party recorder? Do you want everything that has happened to you in the past make a difference now? Do you want to stay in contact with the creatures you've encountered and the contacts you've made? If so, you might give Bone Collector a try. Bone collectors realize that their innate ability to handle complexity can also help a party remember where it's been. Do you want to be a more combat, support, scholarly, magic, necromancy, animal or thieving oriented?

Quick Build

You can make a bone collector quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Dexterity, then Wisdom and Strength. Second, choose the Sage background from the Player's Handbook. Third, choose rapier, dentist's tools, scholars's pack, and collector's coat/armor, mage hand cantrip, and poison spray cantrip.

Class Features

As a Bone Collector you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Bone Collector level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Bone Collector level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor only
Weapons: Simple weapons, Rapier, Flail, Whip, Bone Collectors use very light martial weapons (3 lbs or less).
Tools: thieves' tools or dentist's tools or archaeology kit
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose three skills from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Stealth, proficiency with your selected tool kit.

Equipment

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

Table: The Bone Collector

Level Proficiency
Bonus
Features Cantrips —Spell Slots per Spell Level—
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +2 Variant Spellcasting, Minor Healing 5 2
2nd +2 Skeleton Friendship 5 3
3rd +2 Inventory Sense 4 4 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3
5th +3 Wild Shape 4 4 3 2
6th +3 Doll Avatar 4 4 3 3
7th +3 Bone Healing 4 4 3 3 1
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 4 4 3 3 2
9th +4 Lifeline 4 4 3 3 3 1
10th +4 Handle Cursed Item 4 4 3 3 3 2
11th +4 Village Voice 4 4 3 3 3 2 1
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 5 4 3 3 3 2 1
13th +5 Monster Shape 5 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
14th +5 City Voice 6 4 3 3 3 2 1 1
15th +5 Advanced Skeleton 6 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 7 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
17th +6 Nation Voice 7 4 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 1
18th +6 Legend Shape 7 4 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 7 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 1 1
20th +6 World Voice 7 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1

Variant[edit]

Your spell casting is (often) based on having physical items associated with the target in order to be able to affect the target. Common spells that are cast this way have the attribute 'Variant' next to them on the spell list. These variations mostly affect targeting, range, and the chances of success. Not having any item associated with a target strongly reduces your range and chance of success.

Associated Items
Variant spells are modified versions of regular spells in which a you should have something associated with the target to affect the target. Associated items may be bones or teeth, but are not limited to them. Associated items may be nearly anything. These can be something formerly possessed by a target, for example a lock of hair, a coin spent by the target, something worn by the target, a drop of their blood, droppings, something the target has spent a lot of time sitting on like a piece of a saddle or chair, a bone, a tooth, an item from their place of birth, an item they had as a small child, one of their signatures, a button, a tuft of hair, a piece of their clothing, a possession etc. Generally, range for the spell is increased, your spell is 'advantaged'. Otherwise, range is touch and your spell is 'disadvantaged'. The number of associated items you have for a target is based on the number of kinds you have. For example, having 10 teeth only counts as one associated item, not 10.
Range
  • 'Variant Touch' is the base range for most variant spells. For every item associated with the target, add 30' to the range of the spell. If one or more of the items is a bone or a tooth, add 30' more.
  • 'Variant Local' range spells work at a distance of 1 mile per associated item you have collected. If you do not have any items for these spells they do not work. Your list of 'local range' spells includes L2) whispering wind, L3) clairvoyance, L4) dimension door, locate creature, pebble blink, phantasmal killer, L5) telepathic bond, L6) locate remains, and L7) mirage arcane area of effect (AOE).
  • 'Variant Remote' spells can work at great distances. You can target far away people and places for which you have associated items, or whose hands you can get an object into (The send coin spell is good for this). A list of 'remote' spells includes L2) bone lore AOE, L3) animal messenger, coin lore AOE, sending, L4) dowse location, remote comfort, L5) dream, legend lore AOE, remote casting, scrying, L6) find the path, word of recall, L7) project image, teleport-variant, L8) telepathy
Saving Throws
Spells with saving throws are rolled with disadvantage if you have an associated item, and with advantage if you do not. If you successfully grapple while casting the spell, this eliminates the advantage.
To Hit
Spells with to hit rolls are rolled with advantage if you have an associated item, and with disadvantage if you do not. If you successfully grapple while casting the spell, this eliminates the disadvantage.
Grappling
You may attempt to grapple a target while casting a spell on that target. You can cast spells while grappling or being grappled.

Spellcasting[edit]

Your power is based on affinity to the bones, items, and things you associate with. Your magic is most similar to the kind used by necromancers, diviners, illusionists, and druids.

Learning Spells
You know 54 spells, one for each bone in your hands and wrists, 27 for each hand. Each spell is stored in one of the bones of the left or right hand. An extra finger adds four more spells. Each spell you know is assigned to a bone in your hand or wrist. If you lose a hand, you lose 27 of your spells. After each long rest, you may prepare a number of spells equal to your level + your dexterity bonus + your intelligence bonus. You must drop an old spell to learn a new spell. At any level, you may learn any spell from spell level 1-7, even if you can not cast it yet. You may spend one month per spell level reinventing from scratch any spell in your spell lists. This is the most common way to get 8th and 9th level spells.
Double Concentration
You may concentrate on two concentration spells at the same time, one with the right hand and one with the left. While concentrating on two spells, you may not cast any other spells, unless you cease concentration on one of them.
Boiling Cistern
Many necromantic spells can affect either a corpse or skeleton or a pile of bones. You may only target a skeleton or a pile of bones, not a corpse. 'Skeleton' spells are modified versions of regular spells in which only skeletons or parts of skeletons may be the target. Your spells do not affect corpses. In order for you to free the skeleton, you must boil away the flesh in a large 'cistern' for 8 hours and then dry the bones. The entire process takes one week. The boil cistern spell is good for this. Boil cistern even works in the wild. The spell contains the heat into a small boiling area, and as long as there is not current to disrupt it, you can use a small piece of a lake or a small pond. It kills some fish though.

Minor Healing[edit]

If you have an item with a character, you may heal that character by the number of points equal to your level as an action. Once a character has received healing this way, they may not receive additional healing from you until after you have had a long rest. The range is 60 feet. Once you have created a Doll Avatar of a character, the healing may be at any distance, and the healing is doubled.

Skeleton Friendship[edit]

Starting at 2nd level, animated skeletons have an affinity for you. They are gently drawn by your presence nearby, even if you did not create them. With you, they feel comfortable. It is understandable that this could be of concern to your companions. Skeletons will not attack you unless directed to attack you specifically, by their controller, preferring to attack other party members instead, or no one if you stand between them and the party, or they have not been ordered to attack. Skeletons won't even mind if you decide to snip off a pinky bone. Skeleton friendship even extends to skeletal guardians who will usually let bone collectors pass without issue. This privilege does not extend to your companions however.

Your Friends Are
Skeleton, and the Advanced Skeleton types below.

Inventory Sense[edit]

Starting at 3rd level, you become fully in tune with your Inventory of items. You no longer need to spend an action finding an item, and you always have a feeling for the direction of where your Inventory is if it is separated from you. If your Inventory becomes scattered, you can sense what direction the bulk of it is, and you can sense each piece of your Inventory within 60' as you come near it.

Note to Dungeon Master
You do not generally have to keep track of what the bone collector has seen, heard, or collected. That is the player's job. Collected items are used for targeting. At first and second level, it takes one action to find something in the bone collector's Inventory. If the player can not find what they need in their notes by their initiative turn, then they keep searching and need an additional turn to find what they need. If they did not record or remember an item item for a 'Variant' spell, that is their loss. Presumably because the bone collector themselves lost the item. Also please don't be mean to the poor bone collector by taking all their stuff away.

Ability Score Improvement[edit]

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. Or you can gain a feat.

Wild Shape[edit]

Starting at 5th level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of an animated skeletal or living beast that you have collected something from. The beast must have bones for this to work. Other than that, this feature is identical to the Druid Wild Shape feature found on page 66-67 of the Player's Handbook . You do not gain its magical abilities, only its 'natural' abilities such as a poison sting. You collect memories of the creatures you have seen.

Doll Avatar[edit]

Starting at 6th level, you gain the ability to create avatar dolls of most of your friends (and your enemies when you can get the materials). A doll avatar allows you to directly harm, help, contact, or find a person at great range. You use these to bolster your allies or weaken those who would conspire against you.

Creation
To create a doll avatar, you need a piece of clothing owned and worn by the person, and at least four of the following six items related to the person: 1) A bone, 2) A tooth, 3) A lock of their hair, 4) A drop of their blood, 5) An item from their place of birth, 6) One of their signatures. This effigy costs 100 GP and takes 24 hours to create.
  • The piece of clothing must be large enough to fashion a doll. You then takes these pieces and creates an effigy of this person. Doll avatars can only be made for creatures that wear clothing. The clothing is usually cloth or leather but may be some other material such as chainmail.
  • The doll lasts no longer than 10 years.
  • To create a doll avatar for a skeleton you must first find some item of clothing that the person wore in life. When used to animate a single skeleton, the skeleton animated remains loyal to you until dispelled.
  • You may create doll avatars even starting at first level, but they will not be more useful than the sum of their parts until you reach 6th level.
Using the Doll
  • Once created, the doll avatar improves your ability to target the associated creature with spells. If the first attempt fails, the Doll Avatar allows you to take a reaction to use the spell on the target again without using up additional spell slots.
  • The doll avatar doubles the amount of Minor Healing the creature associated with the doll avatar receives.
  • Doll Avatars may allow you to cause effects over great distances. Certain spells and features may use a doll avatar to affect a creature at any distance.
  • Features that can use a doll avatar are Minor Healing, Bone Healing, and Lifeline.
  • Spells that can use a doll avatar to target creatures at any distance are remote casting.

Bone Healing[edit]

Starting at 7th level, you can heal broken bones by setting and splinting them. The bones become fully healed after the patient has a long rest. The subject does not have to be alive for this to work. If the subject is not alive, the bones heal after 24 hours. This feature will prevent paralysis from a broken back or neck if started within 24 hours of the break.

Lifeline[edit]

Starting at 9th level, you gain the ability to open a sending style channel with a person or creature that you have made a Doll Avatar for. You can converse with them as if they were right next to you, even during combat. You do not need to concentrate. You can get advice from them, ask questions, send and receive messages, and generally hang out. It takes 1 action to begin a lifeline, and it ends once you begin a long rest or when either party ends it. Either party can end the lifeline at any time. You may create a lifeline once per long rest.

Handle Cursed Item[edit]

Starting at 10th level, you may handle any cursed item, even a legendary or possessed cursed item without being cursed by it. You may pick it up, analyze it, use magic lore spells on it, store it etc, as long as you don't use it. If you use it, it curses you. This feature does not tell you whether an item is cursed or not. For that you may use the identify spell.

Village Voice[edit]

Starting at 11th level, you can have a conversation with an entire village as if that village was sentient and had its own voice. This takes 1 minute to begin, and may last up to 10 minutes. Once you have 25 or more items related to that location and the creatures within it you can talk to and listen to a village as if it had a voice. The village generally won't know much beyond the area covered by its buildings and fields. If it is a fishing village, it will know about its harbor, and if it is a mining village, it will know about its mine. You may only use this feature while in the village. Once in a long while, information supplied by village voice manifests as a stack of large sized, type covered, low quality paper. You may use this feature again after a short rest.

Monster Shape[edit]

Starting at 13th level, you can assume the shape of an animated skeletal or living monster that you have observed and collected an associated item from as an action. You do not gain its magical abilities, only its 'natural' abilities such as poison or breath weapons. The monster must have bones for this to work.

City Voice[edit]

Starting at 14th level, you can have a conversation with an entire city as if that city was sentient and had its own voice. It takes 10 minutes to begin the conversation and it may last up to 1 hour. Once you have 100 or more items related to that location and the creatures within it you can talk to and listen to a city as if it had a voice. You may only use this feature while in the city. The city generally won't know much beyond its local area and close villages. You may use this feature again after a long rest.

Advanced Skeleton[edit]

You may take an advanced undead skeleton created by the greater animate skeleton spell or the greater animate dead spell and convert it into one of the following advanced skeleton types over a period of 7 days at the cost of 5000 gp materials: Giant Rat Skeleton, Incorporeal Skeleton, Minotaur Skeleton, Mob of Skeletons, Nimble Skeleton, Ogre Skeleton, Onyx Skeleton, Pixie Skeleton, Reforming Skeleton, Rust Monster Skeleton, Sharkin Skeleton, Skeleton, Clacking, Skeleton (5e Race) , Skeleton, Variant, Skeleton, 2nd Variant, Skeleton, 3rd Variant, Skeleton Knight, Skeleton Monk, Skeleton Warrior, Skeletons, Skeletons Reborn!, Storm Giant Skeleton, Warhorse Skeleton and so on. The skeleton remains your servant for 24 hours, after which it makes its own decisions (see Skeleton Friendship).

Nation Voice[edit]

Starting at 17th level, you can have a conversation with an entire nation as if that nation was sentient and had its own voice. This takes 1 hour to start and may continue until you begin a long rest. Once you have 500 or more items related to locations within that nation and the creatures within it, you can talk to and listen to the nation as if it had a voice. You may only use this feature within the borders of the nation. The nation generally won't know much beyond its borders. You may use this feature again after 1 week.

Legend Shape[edit]

Starting at 18th level, you can assume the shape of any god, demi-god, or legendary creature that you have observed and collected an associated item from only if that legendary creature has bones. You must spend 1 minute to activate this feature. You may stay in this form for up to 1 hour. You may use this feature again after a short rest, but if the legend you copy is aware of what you are doing and does not like it, you lose the ability to use this feature for 1 week, and you may never change to its form again.

World Voice[edit]

At 20th level, you can have a conversation with the entire world as if it is sentient and has its own voice. This feature takes 1 round to initiate. It may last up to 1 hour. Once you have 2000 or more items related to the world's locations and the creatures living on it, you can talk to and listen to the world as if it had a voice. You may only use this feature while on (or in) the world. If the world already is alive and is sentient, you can talk to the live sentient world and on the same plane. However this ability does not grant sentience to a world if it is not already sentient. If the world is actually sentient and does not want to talk to you again, you may never use this feature again. Otherwise, you may use this feature again after 1 week.

Bone Collector Spell List[edit]

Each spell level up to 6th has 20 spells. 7th + 8th + 9th level have 20 spells.

Cantrips - 20 cantrips
1. Blade Ward, 2. Combat Nab, 3. Force Whip, 4. Friends, 5. Guidance, 6. Know Direction, 7. Label, 8. Mage Hand, 9. Magic Stone, 10. Mending, 11. Message, Variant touch, 12. Mold Earth, 13. Poison Spray, 14. Produce Flame, 15. Resistance, Variant touch, 16. Roll the Bones, 17. Shocking Grasp, 18. Spare the Dying, 19. Thorn Whip, Variant touch, 20. Toll the Dead, Variant touch
1st Level - 20 spells
1. Absorb Elements, 2. Attract, 3. Bind Skeletal Familiar, 4. Charm Person, Variant touch, 5. Compelled Duel, Variant touch, 6. Comprehend Languages, Variant touch, 7. Detect Magic, 8. Disguise Self, 9. Expeditious Retreat, 10. False Life, 11. Heroism, Variant touch, 12. Identify, 13. Inflict Wounds, Variant touch, 14. Mage Armor, 15. Missile Lore, 16. Peltskin, 17. Protection from Evil and Good, 18. Skull Goblet, 19. Shield, 20. Speak With Animals, Variant touch
2nd Level - 20 spells
1. Acid Arrow, Variant touch, 2. Alter Self, 3. Animal Messenger, Variant touch, 4. Barkskin, 5. Bone Lore, 6. Bone Shield, 7. Coin Sending, 8. Combat Messaging Unbalanced, 9. Determine Lineage, Variant touch, 10. Dragon's Breath, Variant touch, 11. Enhance Ability, Variant touch, 12. Hold Person, Variant touch, 13. Invisibility, Variant touch, 14. Locate Object, 15. Magic Mouth, 16. Mirror Image, 17. Quiet Armor, 18. Shadow Blade, 19. Skeletal Warhorse, 20. Whispering Wind, Variant local
3rd Level - 20 spells
1. Animal Resurrection, 2. Animate Skeleton, 3. Boil Cistern, 4. Bone Crushing Hug, 5. Bonesword, 6. Clairvoyance, Variant local, 7. Coin Lore, 8. Control Living Skeleton, 9. Counterspell, 10. Dire Charm, Variant touch, 11. Dispel Magic, 12. Haste, Variant touch, 13. Lesser Polymorph, Variant touch, 14. Life Transference, Variant touch, 15. Magic Fang, Greater, 16. Meld Into Stone, 17. Nondetection, 18. Remove Curse, 19. Sending, Variant remote, 20. Speak With Skull
4th Level - 20 spells
1. Arcane Eye, 2. Awaken Skeleton, 3. Charm Monster, Variant touch, 4. Death Ward, 5. Dimension Door, Variant local, 6. Dominate Beast, Variant touch, 7. Dowse Location, Variant remote, 8. Fire Shield, 9. Freedom of Movement, 10. Greater Invisibility, 11. Locate Creature, Variant local, 12. Pebble Blink, Variant local, 13. Phantasmal Killer, Variant local, 14. Poison Kill, 15. Remote Comfort, 16. Secret Chest, 17. Shadow of Moil, 18. Stone Tell, 19. Stoneskin, 20. Transfer Ability, Variant touch
5th Level - 20 spells
1. Animate Objects, 2. Awaken Self, 3. Creation, 4. Dominate Person, Variant touch, 5. Dream, Variant remote, 6. Enervation, Variant touch, 7. Geas, Variant touch, 8. Greater Restoration, Variant touch, 9. Hold Monster, Variant touch, 10. Legend Lore, Variant remote, 11. Mislead, 12. Modify Memory, Variant touch, 13. Random Spell, 14. Reincarnate Skeleton, 15. Remote Casting, Variant remote, 16. Scrying, Variant remote, 17. Skill Empowerment, 18. Telekinesis, 19. Telepathic Bond, Variant local, 20. Xenae's Bubble Prison, Variant touch
6th Level - 20 spells
1. Aura of Invisibility, 2. Create Homunculus, 3. Disintegrate, Variant touch, 4. Dragon Form], 5. Dragon's Skin, 6. Dredge, 7. Find the Path, 8. Forget, Variant touch, 9. General Inventory, 10. Globe of Invulnerability, 11. Investiture of Flame, 12. Locate Remains, Variant local, 13. Tenser's Transformation, 14. True Seeing, 15. Soul Cage, Variant touch, 16. Spell Twine, Variant touch, 17. Sphere of Warded Repulsion, 18. Talisman of Summoning, 19. To Ashes, Variant touch, 20. Word of Recall, Variant remote
7th Level - 9 spells
1. Crown of Stars, 2. Form of Sea, Air, and Land, 3. Mirage Arcane, Variant local, 4. Plane Shift, 5. Project Image, Variant remote, 6. Resurrect Skeleton, 7. Sequester, 8. Simulacrum, 9. Teleport, Variant remote
8th Level - 6 spells
10. Clone, 11. Dominate Monster, Variant touch, 12. Greater Animate Skeleton, 13. Greed, Variant touch, 14. Mind Blank, 15. Telepathy, Variant remote
9th Level - 5 spells
16. Good Lich, 17. Imprisonment, Variant touch, 18. Invulnerability, 19. Shapechange, 20. True Resurrect Skeleton

Inventory[edit]

As a player, you need to keep copious lists of things that you have collected, encountered, heard, or seen. The dungeon master will not do this for you. It is recommended that you buy a small notebook to keep these notes in. Here is a starting list of categories to keep lists of: 1) Beasts encountered, 2) Dragons met, 3) Locations of pebbles etc. collected, 4) Creature personal items, [more later] - suggestions welcome. If the campaign you are in has major classes of creatures you may want to keep separate lists for example 1) Elves met, 2) Humans met, 3) Wizards met etc. It is helpful to have the names of the people and creatures met, but if your dungeon master is not much into names, you can use descriptions like "the orc captain we met on the Dusky Plains" and so on.

Multiclassing[edit]

Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the bone collector class, you must meet these prerequisites: Intelligence should be at least 15. and Dexterity should be at least 13. Wisdom and Strength should be at least 11.

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the bone collector class, you gain the following feature: Minor Healing.

Bone Collector multiclasses very well with rogue.

Design Notes[edit]

Inspiration
Inspiration for bone collector came from a feature, a sub-feature, and a spell, all from different classes. The spell was teleport. You can accurately teleport using an item from a place you want to teleport to. This means you can collect pebbles from each place you visit, and list them in a notebook while playing. The feature is the druid wild shape. You can become any beast you have seen. This means you can collect memories of each beast you see and list them in a notebook while playing. The sub-feature is mimic speech from the master of intrigue feature of the rogue mastermind archetype. This means you can collect memories of each creature you have heard speak, and list them in a notebook while playing. With each of these you 'list them in a notebook while playing'. I think this is fun, so I decided to build a class around the idea of me as a player recording oodles of things in a notebook while we game. This means that a bone collector is sort of a mashup of sorceror, druid, and rogue, and you the player are the memory of the party.
Flavor Design
I think the name 'bone collector' is cool and it was the coolest name I could think of for the new class. I have always thought a non-evil necromancer is also a cool idea. So I decided to throw in lots of skeleton and bone related necromancy. This also means that a bone collector also goes around collecting bone fragments and teeth, and you can list them in a notebook while playing. In addition I was recently in a long narrative campaign in which remembering the creatures, names, places etc. that we encountered was important for playing the story well. What better incentive for keeping track of all this than having things collected and names recorded be the foundation of a class' powers. So I add necromancy and support magic to the mashup.
Pillars of Role Gaming
D&D 5e has a lot to say about the three pillars of role gaming. I decided to make the bone collector functional on all the pillars. Bone collector adds a fourth pillar, and that is for a player to record the party's adventures to have a broad overview of the party's adventures and world.
Combat Pillar
As a bone collector you are almost a subclass of sorcerer, but you eschew flashy blasting and multi-opponent magic for more precisely targeted and more carefully planned attacks against more dangerous foes. While the rest of the party is wading through hordes of enemy minions, you will sneak up and carefully and devastatingly try to take out the big bad. You prefer to put on some personal defensive magic and then use very close targeted magic to engage your opponent. Sometimes this does not work, so you are also very good at escape and retreat magic. You can also provide strong support magic when not doing this. With your strong affinity for the bones of the physical bodies of your friends you can even provide a little healing, something sorcerers can not do. You tend toward spells that work at the range of touch, self, or the whole world. General ranged combat is not your strong suit.
Social Pillar
As a bone collector you are always trying to make meaningful connections with creatures you may want to interact with later. Social interaction allows you opportunities to study and collect items related to the people you meet. Then, once you have items associated with creatures, this empowers many of your creature interaction spells such as charm etc. Finally, making friends along the way enhances your resources of people you can call upon later for help or information as you rise higher in levels.
Exploration Pillar
As a bone collector your exploration abilities tend to be geared toward cities, settled habitations, and dungeons. These are the places where you will most likely find items that can be leveraged for use later. This is not to say that you are useless overland. When out in the wilds you are a bit druidish in your interactions, and your direction and location spells can be very valuable.
Balance
  • Being able to have a full sized spell list with a class that has so many other abilities may be unbalancing. So to depower the spells a little, I vary many of them to cast at disadvantage and zero range unless the bone collector has planned and prepared collecting items associated to the specific targets. This also happens to mean that common 'self' and 'touch' range spells are especially useful for them. So the class tends to focus on operating in a way that is close and personal. Tending toward self protecting and touch damage spells (and poison curiously enough). Preparing for events by collecting items flips the disadvantage on its head by giving the bone collector advantage, and often greater range than other casters.
  • Regarding d8 hit points, bone collectors are a very physical kind of spell caster. Their spell casting is based on affinity with items and bones including affinity with their own skeleton. This gives them added hit points. In addition, they need a few extra hit points because their combat magic style is close and personal. And also they carry around heavy loads of stuff all the time, making their bodies tougher and stronger though almost constant progressive weight training.
Filling out the Details
  • Procuring items that their owners might not want to give up means that rogue multiclassing and a few roguelike spells are useful.
  • Druidic abilities are based on the skeletons inside wild creatures and include Druid Wild Shape and therefore bring shape shifting into the mashup.
  • Bone collectors have so much stuff to keep track of that for a while they have trouble managing as many cantrips as they did at first, that is why their number of cantrips drops from 1st to 5th level.
  • I try to have at least one close combat spell per spell level: L0) shocking grasp, L1) inflict wounds, L2) flame blade, L3) bone crushing hug, L4) shadow of moil, L5) enervation
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