BR:Mage

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An Altmer mage shields herself with a protective ward and flings fire in a single motion
Mage
Intelligence | Willpower
Mage class symbol
Difficulty
Offense
Defense
Support
3 stars
3 stars
1 star
2 stars
Delvebound Class | Full Spellcaster

Class Overview. The Mage is a spellcasting class that can infuse their spells with metamagic in order to produce truly fantastical feats of spellcraft.
Magical Focus. Allows you convert magicka points into focus points, or viceversa.
Metamagic. Allows you to bend the rules of magic at your whim.

Clad in the silver robes that denote her station, a Breton closes her eyes to shut out the distractions of the battlefield and begins her quiet chant. Fingers weaving in front of her, she completes her spell and launches a tiny bead of fire toward the enemy ranks, where it erupts into a conflagration that engulfs the soldier.

Checking and rechecking his work, a Dunmer scribes an intricate magic circle in chalk on the bare stone floor, then sprinkles powdered iron along every line and graceful curve. When the circle is complete, he drones a long incantation. A hole opens in space inside the circle, bringing a whiff of brimstone from the otherworldly plane beyond.

Crouching on the floor in a dungeon intersection, an Argonian tosses a handful of small bones inscribed with mystic symbols, muttering a few words of power over them. Closing his eyes to see the visions more clearly, he nods slowly, then opens his eyes and points down the passage to his left.

Mages are supreme magic-users, defined and united as a class by the spells they cast. Drawing on the subtle weave of magic that permeates the cosmos, mages cast spells of explosive fire, arcing lightning, subtle deception, and brute-force mind control. Their magic conjures monsters from other planes of existence, glimpses the future, or knit the wounds of their allies. Their mightiest spells change one substance into another, call meteors down from the sky, or open portals to other worlds.

Scholars of the Arcane

Wild and enigmatic, varied in form and function, the power of magic draws students who seek to master its mysteries. Some aspire to become like the gods, shaping reality itself. Though the casting of a typical spell requires merely the utterance of a few strange words, fleeting gestures, and sometimes a pinch or clump of exotic materials, these surface components barely hint at the expertise attained after years of apprenticeship and countless hours of study.

Mages live and die by their spells. Everything else is secondary. They learn new spells as they experiment and grow in experience. They can also learn them from other mages, from ancient tomes or inscriptions, and from ancient creatures that are steeped in magic.

The Lures of Knowledge

Mages’ lives are seldom mundane. The closest a mage is likely to come to an ordinary life is working as a sage or lecturer in a library or university, teaching others the secrets of the Mundas. Other mages sell their services as diviners, serve in military forces, or pursue lives of crime or domination.

But the lure of knowledge and power calls even the most unadventurous mages out of the safety of their libraries and laboratories and into crumbling ruins and lost cities. Most mages believe that their counterparts in ancient civilizations knew secrets of magic that have been lost to the ages, and discovering those secrets could unlock the path to a power greater than any magic available in the present age.

Creating a Mage

Creating a mage character demands a backstory dominated by at least one extraordinary event. How did your character first come into contact with magic? How did you discover you had an aptitude for it? Do you have a natural talent, or did you simply study hard and practice incessantly? Did you encounter a magical creature or an ancient tome that taught you the basics of magic?

What drew you forth from your life of study? Did your first taste of magical knowledge leave you hungry for more? Have you received word of a secret repository of knowledge not yet plundered by any other mage? Perhaps you’re simply eager to put your new-found magical skills to the test in the face of danger.

The Mage

Level Proficiency Bonus Class Features Focus Points Cantrips Known Magicka Points Spell Level
1 +2 Spellcasting, Magical Focus 2 3 4 1st
2 +2 Arcane Tradition 2 3 6 1st
3 +2 Metamagic 3 3 14 2nd
4 +2 Attribute Score Improvement 3 4 17 2nd
5 +3 - 4 4 27 3rd
6 +3 Arcane Tradition Feature 4 4 32 3rd
7 +3 - 5 4 38 4th
8 +3 Attribute Score Improvement 5 4 44 4th
9 +4 - 6 4 57 5th
10 +4 Arcane Tradition Feature 6 5 64 5th
11 +4 - 7 5 73 6th
12 +4 Attribute Score Improvement 7 5 73 6th
13 +5 - 8 5 83 7th
14 +5 Arcane Tradition Feature 8 5 83 7th
15 +5 - 9 5 94 8th
16 +5 Attribute Score Improvement 9 5 94 8th
17 +6 - 10 5 107 9th
18 +6 Spell Mastery 10 5 114 9th
19 +6 Attribute Score Improvement 11 5 123 9th
20 +6 Signature Spells 12 5 133 9th
If your group uses the optional rules on multiclassing in the 5e Core Rules and the Basic Rules, here’s what you need to know if you choose mage as one of your classes.

Attribute Score Minimum. As a multiclass character, you must have at least an Intelligence score of 13 to take a level in this class, or to take a level in another class if you are already a mage.

Proficiencies Gained. If mage isn’t your initial class, here are the proficiencies you gain when you take your first level as a mage: light crossbows, short blade and staves.

Magicka Points. Add all your levels in the mage class to the appropriate levels from other classes to determine your available magicka.

Quick Build

You can make a mage quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest attribute score, followed by Endurance or Agility. If you choose to join the school of Illusion, make Personality your next best score. Second, choose the sage background. Third, choose the mage hand, light, and ray of frost cantrips, along with the following 1st-level spells for your spellbook: burning hands, charm person, feather fall, mage armor, and magic missile, and sleep.

Class Features

Hit Points
Hit Dice 1d6 per Mage level
HP at 1st Level 6 + your Endurance modifier
HP at Higher Levels 1d6 (or 4) + your Endurance modifier per Mage level after 1st
Proficiencies
Armor None
Weapons Light crossbows, short blade, staves
Tools None
Saving Throws Intelligence, Willpower
Skills Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Religion.
Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • a spellbook
  • (a) a quarterstaff or (b) a dagger
  • (a) a scholar's pack or (b) an explorer's pack

As a mage, you gain the following class features.

Spellcasting

1st-level mage feature

As a student of arcane magic, you have a spellbook containing spells that show the first glimmerings of your true power. See chapter 10 of the Basic Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the mage spell list.

Cantrips (0-Level Spells)

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

Spellbook

You have a spellbook containing six 1st-level mage spells of your choice. Your spellbook is the repository of the mage spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.

Preparing and Casting Spells

The Mage table shows how much magicka you have to cast your mage spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend magicka, as noted in the spell's description and the Magicka Cost table found in chapter 10 of the Basic Rules. You regain all expended magicka when you finish a long rest.

You prepare the list of mage spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of mage spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your mage level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you can cast.

For example, if you're a 3rd-level mage, you can cast a prepared spell at either 1st or 2nd level. With an Intelligence of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination, chosen from your spellbook. If you prepare the 1st-level spell magic missile, you can cast it at either 1st or 2nd level. 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 mage spells requires time spent studying your spellbook and memorizing the incantations and gestures you must make to cast the spell: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Spellcasting Attribute

Intelligence is your spellcasting attribute for your mage spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting attribute. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a mage spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Ritual Casting

You can cast a mage spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don't need to have the spell prepared.

Learning Spells of 1st level and Higher

Each time you gain a mage level, you can add two mage spells of your choice to your spellbook. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you can cast, as shown on the Mage table. On your adventures, you might find other spells that you can add to your spellbook.

Your Spellbook

The spells that you add to your spellbook as you gain levels reflect the arcane research you conduct on your own, as well as intellectual breakthroughs you have had about the nature of the mundas. You might find other spells during your adventures. You could discover a spell recorded on a scroll in an evil wizard's chest, for example or in a dusty tome in an ancient library.

Copying a Spell into the Book. When you find a mage spell of 1st level or higher, you can add it to your spellbook if it is of a spell level you can prepare and if you can spare the time to decipher and copy it. Copying that spell into your spellbook involves reproducing the basic form of the spell, then deciphering the unique system of notation used by the mage who wrote it. You must practice the spell until you understand the sounds or gestures required, then transcribe it into your spellbook using your own notation.

For each level of the spell, the process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp. The cost represents material components you expend as you experiment with the spell to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. Once you have spent this time and money, you can prepare the spell just like your other spells.

Replacing the Book. You can copy a spell from your own spellbook into another book – for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your spellbook. This is just like copying a new spell into your spellbook, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to cast the spell. You need to spend only 1 hour and 10 gp for each level of the copied spell.

If you lose your spellbook, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the spells that you have prepared into a new spellbook. Filling out the remainder of your spellbook requires you to find new spells to do so, as normal. For this reason, many mages keep backup spellbooks in a safe place.

The Book's Appearance. Your spellbook is a unique compilation of spells, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library, or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous spellbook in a mishap.

Magical Focus

1st-level mage feature

You tap into a deep wellspring of magic within yourself. This wellspring is represented by Focus Points, which allow you to create a variety of magical effects.

Focus Points

You have 2 focus points, and you gain more as you reach higher levels, as shown in the Focus Points column of the Mage table. You can never have more focus points than shown on the table for your level. You regain all spent focus points when finish a long rest.

Flexible Casting

You can use your focus points to gain additional magicka, or sacrifice magicka to gain additional focus points. You learn other ways to use your focus points as you reach higher levels.

Creating Magicka. You can transform unexpended focus points into an equal number of magicka points as a bonus action on you turn (one-to-one conversion). You can create magicka, up to a maximum of 7 points in this manner.

Any magicka you create with this feature vanishes when you finish a long rest.

Converting Magicka to Focus Points. As a bonus action on your turn, you can expend a number of magicka to gain an equal number of focus points.

Arcane Tradition

2nd-level mage feature

Choose a school of magic that you have an innate mastery over. Your choice grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th, 10th and 14th level.

Arcane Tradition Source
Alchemist Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
Enchanter Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
Scholar Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
School of Alteration Basic Rules
School of Conjuration Basic Rules
School of Destruction Basic Rules
School of Illusion Basic Rules
School of Mysticism Basic Rules
School of Restoration Basic Rules

Metamagic

3rd-level mage feature

You gain the ability to focus your magic to suit your needs. You gain two of the following Metamagic options of your choice. You gain one additional option at 10th and 17th level.

You can use only one Metamagic option on a spell when you cast it, unless noted otherwise.

Careful Spell

When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell's full force. You spend 1 focus point and choose a number of creatures up to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1 creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw.

Distant Spell

When you cast a spell that has a range of 5 feet or greater, you can spend 1 focus point to double the range of the spell.

When you cast a spell that has a range of touch, you can spend 1 focus point to make the range of the spell 30 feet.

Empowered Spell

When you roll damage for a spell, you can spend 1 focus point to reroll a number of the damage dice up to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls.

You can use the Empowered Spell even if you have already used a different metamagic option during the casting of the spell.

Expanded Spell

When you cast a spell with an area of effect, you can spend 2 focus points to increase the spell's area of effect by 5 feet for a radius, cube, or cone, or extend the length of a line by 15 feet. Conversely, you can widen a line by 5 feet instead of lengthening it.

For each additional 2 focus points spent, you can increase the spell's area of effect further by its listed increment.

Extended Spell

When you cast a spell that has a duration of 1 minute or longer, you can spend 1 focus point to double its duration, to a maximum duration of 24 hours.

Heightened Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a saving throw to resist its effects, you can spend 3 focus points to give one target of the spell disadvantage on its first saving throw made against the spell.

Quickened Spell

When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can spend 2 focus points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.

Subtle Spell

When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 focus point to cast it without any somatic or verbal components.

Twinned Spell

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn't have a range of self, you can spend a number of focus points equal to the spell's level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 focus point if the spell is a cantrip).

To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell's current level.

Attribute Score Improvement

4th-level mage feature

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one attribute score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two attribute scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an attribute score above 20 using this feature.

Spell Mastery

18th-level mage feature

You have achieved such mastery over certain spells that you can cast them at will. Choose a 1st level mage spell and a 2nd level mage spell that you know. You can cast those two spells at their lowest level without expending magicka. If you want to cast either spell at a higher level, you must expend magicka as normal.

By spending 8 hours in study, you can exchange one or both of the spells you chose for a different spell of the same level.

Signature Spells

20th-level mage feature

You gain mastery over two powerful spells and can cast them with little effort. Choose two 3rd level spells that you know as your signature spells. You can cast each spell once without expending any magicka. When you do so, you can't do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

If you cast either spell at a higher spell level, you must expend magicka as normal.

Arcane Traditions

The study of magic is ancient, stretching back to the dawn of time. It is firmly established in the world of Nirn, with various traditions dedicated to its complex study.

The most common arcane traditions in Tamriel revolve around the schools of magic. Mages through the ages have cataloged thousands of spells, grouping them into six categories, called schools.

An Alchemist is an expert at mixing mystical ingredients with potent solvents to create powerful elixirs. They scour the fields of Tamriel in search of mushrooms, flowers, and rare additives that have hidden properties that only they can understand and magically exploit.
Enchantment is as much an art as is it is a science when it comes to practitioners of the magical arts. As runestones can be found throughout all of Tamriel, knowledge of these runes seems to come from a mage’s connection to Mundus. While sleeping, an Enchanter's mind is opened to the unending nature of the stars above and the magic that one can gain from inscribing these signs into mundane objects.
Court wizards, college tutors, investigators, and keepers of lore, Scholars are masters of knowledge and collectors of information. By using their wealth of knowledge they can quickly assess their targets and exploit their weaknesses while protecting themselves from their enemies failures.
The School of Alteration involves the manipulation of the physical world and its natural properties. Mastering alteration magicks requires an understanding of the fundamentals of nature, as the spells within are bound by nature's rules. Casting alteration spells is akin to convincing a greater power that it is easier to change reality than it is to leave it alone. Those that are familiar with this magick understand that expressing a spell as a subtle change, a diversion of nature's elements, is easier than creating it anew.
Conjurers use their magical knowledge to open a connection to Oblivion. Centuries ago, the Direnni mages and sorcerers formalized many of the rituals, chants, and incantations that are still used today.

When a mage uses conjuration magic, they create a connection from their mind to the summoned entity. It is a tenuous link, meant to lure, hold, and dismiss, but in the hand of a master, it becomes much stronger.

Detractors of conjuration believe that the pursuit of summoning and control is desperate and dangerous, however, conjurers understand the risks of their power. As a mage of the School of Conjuration, you have learned how to summon powerful elemental daedra to serve as guardians and protectors, and sometimes as servants and familiars. Unlike the unpredictable dremora, the nonbelligerent atronachs are much more reliable servants, as they are not aligned with any daedric prince.
Mages of the School of Destruction express their magical power in a form that involves the harnessing of the natural elemental energies. Critics see destruction magic as crude and simplistic, whereas those who embrace the study of harnessing the destructive potential of magicka see their work as practical.
Illusion is a surprisingly useful school that is concerned with magicka's ability to alter the perception of objects without changing their physical compositions. By warping imperceptible energies, or removing sensual data, you can create darkness, extinguish light, and suppress sounds. While it might not be as flashy as the schools of destruction or alteration, illusion magic is not bound by the laws of nature as they are. Even if it is limited to only affecting the target and the caster, many are drawn to illusion for its ability to take ordinary objects and make them seem like something other than what they are.
One of the oldest and yet least understood schools of magic is the School of Mysticism. These experiments with the most arcane aspects of magicka allows a mage to alter the nature of magic itself.

The practice of mystical arts is considered to be chaotic in comparison to the far more predictable and ascertainable schools. Mysticism seems to derive power from its conundrums and paradoxes. The act of experimentation can influence magicka by its very existence.

Students and philosophers of mysticism must be patient and dedicated to their art. The complicated and irrational aspects of this field of study make the development of new innovations much more gradual than other pursuits. It is said that mysticism requires the practitioner to divorce their mind from logic and embrace a temporary sort of insanity.
The direct opposite of destruction, restoration magic focuses on resisting damage or restoring wholeness by reknitting the damaged material. Healers, priests, and clerics are usually well versed in the School of Restoration to aid the sick and weak. Restoration, as a school, goes beyond the singular curing of wounds and re-building of bones, but also includes preventing injury through powerful wards and bodily fortifications. Arguably, the greatest accomplishment of the restorative arts is the ability to cure curses, poisons, and disease, as entire civilizations were lost before the sages were able to discover a cure to such devastating plagues.

Optional: Community Subclasses

For those that seek to expand upon the available possibilities for this class, there exist several options among the community subclasses. The existing community creations may surprise you and can add a new perspective to your adventures in Tamriel. The community subclasses have yet to be playtested and will require permission to use from your GM.