BR:Nightblade

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A Bosmer nightblade stalks her future victim
Nightblade
Personality | Agility
Nightblade class symbol
Difficulty
Offense
Defense
Support
3 stars
2 stars
2 stars
2 stars
Delvebound Class | Variant Spellcaster

Class Overview. The Nightblade is a spellcasting class that bends shadow and darkness to their will in order to fulfil their goals.
Cunning Action. Allows you to move and act on the fly.
Shadow Hand. Grants you the ability to summon a helpful hand.

Unexpectedly, the viscount blurts out the location of the missing dauphin, when moments earlier he seemed disinterested in helping. With a wave of her hand, an Altmer smiles slyly, thanks the aid, and confidently leaves the castle.

Suppressing a giggle, a Breton waggles her fingers and magically lifts the key ring from the guard’s belt. In a moment, the keys are in her hand, the cell door is open, and she and her companions are free to make their escape.

Navigating the dark alleys in near silence, an Argonian dressed in black dyed leather heads towards the back side of the mayor's villa. Noticing an open window on the second-story, he fades into the shadows and with a puff of black smoke reappears in the unlit room.

Every nightblade has given themselves to the shadow, exploiting the ancient magic found within the darkness. They use the arcane arts to enhance their skills of stealth and to manipulate the minds of others.

Mischievous Opportunist

Whichever path they choose, nightblades have a sinister reputation that follows. They are known to be clever pickpockets and burglars, but also pranksters and mischief-makers. Not all nightblades are scoundrels, however. Many use their talents to become incredibly successful investigators, undercover operatives, or royal inquisitors.

When it comes to getting in and out unnoticed, nightblades are unrivaled. They're natural talent with stealth, combined with magical concealment means a capable nightblade is hardly ever seen. Unlike studious mages, nightblades supplement their magic with their skillful blade and light armor.

Conflict and Misfortune

The life of a nightblade is a dangerous one. Whatever their motivations, slinking through alleyways, spying on suspects, and liberating goods is a risky business. Sometimes considered agents of misery, most nightblades have become inured to the woe's of others, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are unaffected by their actions.

Typically driven by the need to learn more about the dark arts of shadow magic, or to discover the inner workings of black markets, nightblades often find themselves flirting on the edge of morality to get what they want.

Creating a Nightblade

As you create your nightblade character, consider it's relationship with the shadow. Have you completely given in to the darkness are do you skirt around the edges, taking only what you need? Do you struggle with the harmful magic, or have you learned to balance the dangerous power? Perhaps you believe that light shines brightest in the darkness and use this gift to fend off the forces of evil.

What was your life like before you started your adventure? Were you a lowly thief or an esteemed agent of the Empire? Or maybe you started out as a illusionist and realized you can use your magic prowess to take what you want. How did you learn about the obscure shadow magic? Were you selected by a mentor who noticed your talents or did you happen across a mystic tome during a heist?

Consider why you've joined a group of adventurers. Are you in search of more powerful knowledge that you can't manage on your own? Does your greed drive you, are you interested in honing your skills, or are you investigating nefarious villains.

The Nightblade

Level Proficiency Bonus Class Features Cantrips Known Spells Known Magicka Points Spell Level
1 +2 Spellcasting, Path of Darkness 2 2 2 1st
2 +2 Cunning Action, Shadowhand 2 3 4 1st
3 +2 Night Eye 2 4 7 2nd
4 +2 Attribute Score Improvement 3 5 9 2nd
5 +3 Shadow Step 3 6 14 3rd
6 +3 Path of Darkness Feature 3 7 17 3rd
7 +3 - 3 8 23 4th
8 +3 Attribute Score Improvement 3 9 24 4th
9 +4 Magical Ambush 3 10 26 5th
10 +4 Path of Darkness Feature 4 10 32 5th
11 +4 Night Magic (6th level) 4 11 33 5th
12 +4 Attribute Score Improvement 4 11 34 5th
13 +5 Night Magic (7th level), Versatile Trickster 4 12 35 5th
14 +5 Path of Darkness Feature 4 12 36 5th
15 +5 Night Magic (8th level) 4 13 37 5th
16 +5 Attribute Score Improvement 4 13 38 5th
17 +6 Night Magic (9th level) 4 14 39 5th
18 +6 Spell Thief 4 14 40 5th
19 +6 Attribute Score Improvement 4 15 41 5th
20 +6 Shade 4 15 42 5th
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 nightblade as one of your classes.

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

Proficiencies Gained. If nightblade isn’t your initial class, here are the proficiencies you gain when you take your first level as a nightblade: light armor, short blade, one skill from the class's skill list, and one tool from the class's tool list.

Magicka Points. Add half your levels (rounded down) in the nightblade class to the appropriate levels from other classes to determine your available magicka.

Quick Build

You can make a nightblade quickly by following these suggestions. First, Personality should be your highest attribute score, followed by Endurance. Second, use the charlatan background. Third, choose the chill touch and eldritch blast cantrips, along with the 1st-level spells charm person and witch bolt.

Class Features

Hit Points
Hit Dice 1d8 per Nightblade level
HP at 1st Level 8 + your Endurance modifier
HP at Higher Levels 1d8 (or 5) + your Endurance modifier per Nightblade level after 1st
Proficiencies
Armor Light armor
Weapons Long blade, marksman, short blade
Tools Choose one from disguise kit, forgery kit, poisoner's kit or thieves' tools
Saving Throws Agility, Personality
Skills Choose three from Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Investigation, History, Perception, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth.
Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
  • Leather armor, any bladed weapon, and two daggers
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) a long blade
  • (a) a burglar's pack, (b) a scholar's pack, or (c) an explorer's pack

As a nightblade, you gain the following class features.

Spellcasting

1st-level nightblade feature

Your arcane research grants you the ability to cast spells. See chapter 10 of the Basic Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the nightblade spell list.

Cantrips (0-Level Spells)

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

Magicka

The Nightblade table shows how much magicka you have to cast your nightblade spells of 1st level and higher. The table also shows what the level spells you can cast. To cast one of your nightblade spells of 1st level or higher, 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 short or long rest.

For example, if you know the 1st-level spell witch bolt and have a spell level of 2nd, you can use magicka to cast witch bolt at either level.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the nightblade spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Nightblade table shows when you learn more nightblade spells of your choice of 1st level and higher. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what’s shown in the table's Spell Level column for your level. When you reach 6th level, for example, you learn a new nightblade spell, which can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the nightblade spells you know and replace it with another spell from the nightblade spell list, which also must be of a level that you can cast.

Spellcasting Attribute

Personality is your spellcasting attribute for your nightblade spells, so you use your Personality whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting attribute. In addition, you use your Personality modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a nightblade spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

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

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus (see chapter 5, “Equipment” of the 5e Core Rules) as a spellcasting focus for your nightblade spells.

Path of Darkness

1st-level nightblade feature

Choose a path of darkness, which describes your devotion as a nightblade. Choose either Betrayer, Deathless, Seeker, Shadowmage, or Trickster, which are detailed at the end of the class description. Your path grants you features at 1st level, and then again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Path of Darkness Source
Betrayer Basic Rules
Deathless Basic Rules
Night Mother’s Shadow Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
Phantomblade Legionnaire's Guide to Cyrodiil
Seeker Basic Rules
Shadowmage Basic Rules
Trickster Basic Rules

Cunning Action

2nd-level nightblade feature

Your quick thinking and agility allows you to move and act quickly. You can take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Shadowhand

2nd-level nightblade feature

You learn the mage hand cantrip. If you already know this cantrip, you learn a different cantrip of your choice from the nightblade spell list. This cantrip doesn't count against your number of cantrips known.

When you cast mage hand, you can make the spectral hand invisible, and you can perform the following additional tasks with it:

  • You can stow one object the hand is holding in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can use thieves’ tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.

You can perform one of these tasks without being noticed by a creature if you succeed on an Agility (Sleight of Hand) check contested by the creature’s Willpower (Perception) check.

In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

Night Eye

3rd-level nightblade feature

You have naturally adjusted to being in darkness. You gain darkvision and can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Attribute Score Improvement

4th-level nightblade 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.

Shadow Step

5th-level nightblade feature

You gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness.

Additionally, you can teleport into a shadow cast by another creature within range when you are not in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end of your turn.

Magical Ambush

9th-level nightblade feature

If you are hidden from a creature when you cast a spell on it, the creature has disadvantage on any saving throw it makes against the spell this turn.

Night Magic

11th-level nightblade feature

Your continued research in the esoteric studies of shadow magic has unlocked an arcane secret known as night magic. Choose one 6th-level spell from the nightblade spell list. You can cast this unique spell once without expending any magicka. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

At higher levels, you gain more nightblade spells of your choice that can be cast in this way: one 7th-level spell at 13th level, one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Night Magic spells when you finish a long rest.

Versatile Trickster

13th-level nightblade feature

You gain the ability to distract targets with your mage hand. As a bonus action on your turn, you can designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand created by the spell. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of the turn.

Spell Thief

18th-level nightblade feature

You gain the ability to magically steal the knowledge of how to cast a spell from another spellcaster.

Immediately after a creature casts a spell that targets you or includes you in its area of effect, you can use your reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw with it's spellcasting attribute modifier. The DC equals your spell save DC. On a failed save, you negate the spell effect against you, and you steal the knowledge of the spell if it is at least 1st level and of a level that you can cast (it doesn't need to be a nightblade spell). For the next 8 hours, you know the spell and can cast it, using magicka as normal. The creature can't cast that spell until 8 hours have passed.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Shade

20th-level nightblade feature

You have mastered the dark arts of shadow magic, allowing you to call into the shadow realms and bring forth your own shadow. As a bonus action on your turn, you can summon a shadowy version of yourself which appears from your shadow. This creature shares all of your statistics, including your current hit points, and is wearing the same equipment as you. The shade can communicate with you telepathically, knows everything that you know, and shares your alignment, background, and motivations. The shade disappears when it drops to 0 hit points, or you use a bonus action to dismiss it back to the shadow realm.

As a part of your turn, you can direct the shade to move a distance equal to your speed. You can also direct the shade to make one weapon attack.

Additionally, as a bonus action on your turn, you can swap places with your shade, as long as you are within 60 feet of each other. Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again.

Path of Darkness

The nightblade gains the Path of Darkness feature, which offers the choice of a subclass. The following options are available to you when making that choice:

Betrayers use their knowledge and magic to uncover secrets and turn them against others through extortion and threats. Nightblades are often looked upon with suspicion and distrust, usually with ample justification. This, of course, isn't true of all Nightblades. Nightblades who follow the path of the Betrayer, however, often hide their true nature. They typically claim to have developed their magic through more palatable means, as shadow magic is generally seen as nefarious, especially when it involves bending ones will. They might also keep their actual calling secret in order to infiltrate and exploit royal courts and other settings of power.
Those that are considered Deathless have uncovered mystical secrets to weave shadow magic into their illusions, blurring the lines between life and death.

With goals of reaching immortality, the Deathless attempt to fend off death, both for themselves and others. Those that master the shadow see generations pass in a single lifetime.

A lifetime of murder and death has been left in your wake. Upon the night after your first murder, you were greeted by a hooded figure, known as a speaker, who offered you a chance at a new life and a new family among the Brotherhood. Taking to the path of the Night Mother’s Shadow, Nightblades of this order fully embrace the darkness that they stalk in.
A powerful being reached out to you from beyond the veil—a ghost of a powerful person, a dead relative, a shade from the void, or something far worse—which has granted you powers similar to those they possess. The being could have an ancestral relation to you or they might seek something that only you can provide. Nonetheless Phantomblades who wield such ethereal power are forever changed.

Seekers search for knowledge, traveling through the world, collecting lore, and unlocking ancient magic lost to the ages. They use enshrouding darkness and gain access to shadowy pocket realms to protect themselves and their allies from the harms of the Mundas.

While most seekers uncover the secrets of the gloam through study and discovery of the arcane, these powers can be fast-tracked with the aid of more powerful beings. Seekers may be worshipers of the Daedra Princes whose spheres are of knowledge and shadow. Hermaeus Mora and Nocturnal are sometimes willing to sponsor acolytes and students who can prove their potential.

With skill and patience, Shadowmages can read the shadows, manipulating them and the object or force that cast it. Students of the shadow have learned how to “peer sidewise” to perceive the shadows cast by each entity and object in the Aurbis. Of course, these are not literal shadows, but the emanation of the limen each object possesses.

Through their learning and focus on the hyperagonal sense, the Shadowmage becomes skilled at instant translocation. They can step through the shadows, almost as a matter of reflex.

Another use for the Shadowmage's prowess in magical translocation is ability to create a transluminal flow of essence from their adversaries. This malicious shadow draining allows the mage to absorb the life essence of others.

Tricksters use illusion to magically entrance and beguile other creatures. Whether they use their skills to become peacemakers who bewitch the violent to lay down their arms, or become tyrants who magically bind the unwilling into their service, Tricksters rely on manipulating the minds of others.

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.