Hello, gamers! Today we thought we’d try something new: a class archetype for 5e Dungeons & Dragons!
(Fate fans, fear not: I still plan to write plenty of stuff for Fate, but it’s nice to try out new stuff every once in a while).
Story: While talking to a friend, Kara Dennison, writer for CruncyRoll (follow her on twitter @RubyCosmos), I was thinking about how Japanese RPG games (JRPGs) and Western RPGs differ. For example, in many JPRGs like Fire Emblem, players learn one skill at base level (ex. white magic using Cleric, a fighter, a rogue), and then merge the two together to form a 2nd level multi-class level (ex. cleric + fighter = paladin). Many of these, like the paladin, have equivalents in Western RPGs too; except for the Maid / Butler.
In JRPG games, the Maid or Butler combines the roles of rogue/assassin (ambushing, ignoring defenses) with the roles of a healer. It occurred to me: why not have a similar role in Dungeons and Dragons?
So, after consulting with D&D savvy friends of mine, we give you the first draft of a Rogue (with a touch of Paladin) archetype, the Domestic Servant!
*Warning* It has not be playtested at this time.
A wizened human nursemaid, who watches her adult charge like a mother bear. A tiefling butler who carries out his master’s wishes with much alacrity and little morals. A nimble halfling gardener whose courage far surpasses his size.
You have chosen the path of the domestic servant, a loyal attendant who is bound to another person by oath; they hold this oath sacred and few things else. Your mission is twofold: to heal your master when they are injured, and to eliminate anyone who would seek them harm.
How did you fall into this lot? Perhaps you were a street urchin given employment and a second-chance by a rich benefactor. Maybe you were an assassin or spy in your youth, and settled into the serving life as you “retired.” Maybe you’re a devoted bodyguard who acts the part of a domestic servant so others will underestimate you.
OATH OF THE DOMESTIC SERVANT
- Safety – You will keep your master safe no matter what.
- Obedience – You will get the results your master needs. If possible, you will achieve those ends in using the means your master prefers.
- Humility – You will not upstage your master; they are the focus, not you. It is best to speak when spoken to and be seen only when your master needs you to be seen.
- Hospitality – You will offer hospitality to those who do not have it. Should they accept, nothing is more important than the safety of a guest, except the safety of your master.
Note to DMs: At this current time, we don’t have any rules for a Domestic Servant that breaks any of the oaths. However, as a means of positive reinforcement, we encourage DMs to freely reward Domestic Servants with inspiration when they act in the spirit of these oaths (even if it’s detrimental to themselves or their party.)
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SERVANTS
There are many types of Domestic Servants that your rogue can be, depending on which era you are evoking and the role of your master. These include but are not limited to:
Butler, maid, valet, handmaid or handmaiden, squire, lady-in-waiting, bodyguard, manservant, cook, governess, nurse, nanny, batman, orderly, chamberlain, secretary, gardener, tutor, coachman, steward.
Note: We did not include “slave,” “bondservant,” or “indentured servant” because a. OWNING ANOTHER PERSON IS WRONG, and b. If the domestic servant is allowed to leave at any time without legal repercussions, it makes their decision to stay that much more meaningful.
Domestic Servant Features
|3rd||Master’s Bond, Servant’s Life, Spellcasting|
|13th||Wine and Dine|
|17th||Raise their Spirits|
At level 3, you may pick another character to be your master (or mistress, or similar title). We recommend another PC in party, but it can be an NPC that is frequently with the party to.
Whenever you use a spell with spell slot 1 or an item to heal the master, they heal an additional 1 wound. If use a spell slot of 2 or higher, they instead regain extra wounds equal to the spell slot used.
You may only change your master:
- When your rogue goes to another level.
- Should the master die and be past the point of resurrection.
At level 3, you know the secret language used by servants “below stairs”; the ability “thieves cant” is extended to also include servants, allowing you to slow communicate in a way non-servants don’t understand.
Also, your rogue gains proficiency of your choice of the following: Calligrapher’s Supplies OR Cook’s Utensils.
When you reach 3rd level, you gain the ability to cast spells. See Spells Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and the Spells Listing for the paladin spell list.
You learn three cantrips chosen from the following list: Guidance, Light, Mending, Message, Prestidigitation, Spare the Dying, Resistance. You learn another cantrip of your choice from this list at 10th level.
The Domestic Servant Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your paladin spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell searing smite and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast searing smite using either slot.
Spells Known of 1st-Level and Higher
You know three 1st-level paladin spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the enchantment and illusion spells on the paladin spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Domestic Servant Spellcasting table shows when you learn more paladin spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be a spell of your choice, and must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the paladin spells you know with another spell of your choice from the paladin spell list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots, and it must be an enchantment or illusion spell, unless you’re replacing the spell you gained at 8th, 14th, or 20th level.
Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your paladin spells, since you learn your spells through your passion and conviction. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a paladin spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
DOMESTIC SERVANT SPELLCASTING
|Spells Slots per Spell Level|
|Rogue Level||Cantrips Known||Spells Known||1st||2nd||3rd||4th|
OATH OF THE DOMESTIC SERVANT SPELLS
At certain levels, your Domestic Servant will gain access to the following oath of the domestic servant spells. Once you gain access to an oath spell, you always have it prepared. Oath spells don’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. If you gain an oath spell that doesn’t appear on the paladin spell list, the spell is nonetheless a paladin spell for you.
|9th||Pick One: Warding Bond or Find Steed|
|13th||Pick one: Leomund’s Tiny Hut or Create Food & Water|
Starting at 9th level, when you use Evasion to dodge out of area effect, you may attempt to save another character within 10”. You must choose to use this ability before either of you have rolled to save; if the target agrees, this single roll is made for both of you, and the target does not get to roll to save. Depending on how you roll, either one or both of you may avoid damage, or either or both of you may suffer worse.
|SAVING NON-MASTER||SAVING MASTER|
|If you succeed Dexterity save||Both take no damage||Both take no damage|
|If you fail Dexterity save||Both take full damage||You take full damage, the master takes half damage|
WINE AND DINE
Starting at Level 13, whenever your rogue provides a character with food, drink, shelter or comfort (ex. a bonfire in the cold) to a character, all members of your party gain advantage on any Persuasion (Charisma) checks against that character for the next hour.
RAISE THEIR SPIRITS
Starting at level 17th, when you use the spell Raise Dead, you do not have to use spell components (it is assumed your rogue stole them at some point in the past). In addition, if the character raised is your master, every time the resurrected master finishes a long rest, the penalty is reduced by 2 with each rest (instead of 1) assuming the Domestic Servant is there to help with the recuperation process.
Have any thoughts? Have you tried it out? Let us know!
Until next time, Tangent Artists and Dave Joria says, GAME ON!