“You can either sell me the cursed stele, or you can wait for its original owner to come for it. The choice is yours.”
— Anselmo Durod, proctor abbot of the Hallowed Doctrine
An archivist is a wielder of divine magic, similar to a cleric only in the type and nature of the magic at his command. Indeed, the archivist has more in common with the wizard than he does with the standard servant of the divine, due to the scholarly way in which he collects and maintains his spell selection. Archivists seek out esoteric sources of divine lore, wherever those sources might be, securing those secrets for themselves and their fellow scholars.
As an archivist, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per archivist level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per archivist level after 1st
Armor: Light and medium armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose three from Animal Handling, Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Nature, Religion, and Survival.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background.
- (a) a mace or (b) a quarterstaff
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a priest’s pack or (b) a scholar’s pack
- A holy symbol
|Level||Proficiency Bonus||Features||Dark Knowledge||Cantrips Known||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th|
|1st||+2||Spellcasting, Knowledge Specialization||–||3||2||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|2nd||+2||Dark Knowledge (tactics), Specialization feature||3||3||3||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||4||4||4||3||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|5th||+3||Dark Knowledge (puissance)||4||4||4||3||2||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement, Dark Knowledge (foe), Specialization feature||5||4||4||3||3||2||–||–||–||–||–|
|11th||+4||Dark Knowledge (dread secret)||6||5||4||3||3||3||2||1|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||7||5||4||3||3||3||2||1|
|14th||+5||Dark Knowledge (foreknowledge)||7||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||8||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||–|
|17th||+6||Lore Mastery, Specialization feature||8||5||4||3||3||3||2||1||1||1||1|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||9||5||4||3||3||3||3||2||1||1||1|
As a devout researcher of divine magic, you can cast cleric spells. See chapter 10 of the PHB for the general rules of spellcasting and chapter 11 for the cleric spell list.
At 1st level, you know three cantrips of your choice from the cleric spell list. You learn additional cleric cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Archivist table.
At 1st level, you have a prayer book containing six 1st-level cleric spells of your choice. Your spellbook is the repository of the cleric spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.
Preparing and Casting Spells
The Archivist table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your 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.
You prepare the list of cleric spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the cleric spell list. When you do so, choose a number of cleric spells equal to your Intelligence modifier + your cleric level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
For example, if you are a 3rd-level archivist, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With an Intelligence of 16, your list of prepared spells can include six spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell cure wounds, you can cast it using a 1st-level or 2nd-level slot. 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 cleric spells requires time spent studying your prayerbook 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.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your archivist spells since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a cleric 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
You can cast a cleric spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell prepared.
You can use a holy symbol (found in chapter 5 of the PHB) as a spellcasting focus for your archivist spells.
Choose one knowledge specialization: Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion. Each specialization is detailed at the end of the class description (only one is here on the blog, the others will be released with the PDF on Patreon). Your choice grants you specialization spells and other features when you choose it at 1st level. It also grants you additional ways to use your Dark Knowledge when you gain that feature at 2nd level, and additional benefits at 6th, 8th, and 17th levels.
Each knowledge specialization has a list of spells–its specialization spells–that you gain at the archivist levels noted in the specialization description. Once you gain a specialization spell, you always have it prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.
If you have a specialization spell that doesn’t appear on the cleric spell list, the spell is nonetheless a cleric spell for you.
At 2nd level, you gain the ability to apply your intense studies to tracking, hunting, and even talking to the monsters of the multiverse. The secrets of Dark Knowledge pertain to only aberrations, celestials, elementals, fiends, monstrosities, and undead. You start with two effects: Tactics and an effect granted by your specialization. You gain additional effects as you advance in levels. Some specializations grant you additional effects as you advance in levels, as noted in the specialization description.
When you use your Dark Knowledge, you must choose a target and choose which effect to create.
Using Dark Knowledge requires an ability check using a skill appropriate to the creature you are using it on as follows:
- Intelligence (Arcana) pertains to aberrations.
- Intelligence (History) pertains to celestials, elementals, and fiends.
- Intelligence (Nature) pertains to monstrosities.
- Intelligence (Religion) pertains to undead.
The DC of the check equals 15. Dark Knowledge can only be used once on a given creature. The target creature must be within 60 feet and you must be aware of it, although you do not need to have line of sight to the creature. Depending on the effect used, your dark knowledge can affect a single creature or all creatures of the same race. The effects of Dark Knowledge last for 1 minute unless otherwise stated.
Some Dark Knowledge effects require saving throws. when you use such an effect from this class, the DC equals your archivist save DC.
Once you have used your Dark Knowledge the number of times shown for your archivist level in the Dark Knowledge column of the Archivist table, you must finish a long rest before you can use Dark Knowledge again.
Dark Knowledge: Tactics
As an action, you recall the general combat behaviors of the creatures of that race with a successful Dark Knowledge check. For the duration of the effect, whenever you or an ally that is within 30 feet of you makes an attack roll against a creature of the race, you and your allies can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the attack roll. If you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 5 or more, the bonus die becomes a d6. And if you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 10 or more, the bonus die becomes a d8.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase on 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.
Dark Knowledge: Puissance
Starting at 5th level, as an action, you remember the best strategies for avoiding the creatures’ attacks with a successful Dark Knowledge check. For the duration of the effect, whenever you or an ally that is within 30 feet of you must make a saving throw against the creatures of the same race, you and your allies can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the saving throw. If you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 5 or more, the bonus die becomes a d6. And if you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 10 or more, the bonus die becomes a d8.
Dark Knowledge: Foe
At 8th level, you can use your action to direct allies to the creatures’ vital points. For the duration of the effect, whenever you or an an ally that is within 30 feet of you hits a creature of the same race with an attack, you or your ally deals an additional 1d6 damage to the creature. If you succeed on your ability check by 5 or more, the additional damage becomes 2d6. And if you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 10 or more, the additional damage becomes 3d6.
At 10th level, you have studied a specific creature type to the point of obsession. Choose one of the following creature types: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fiends, monstrosities, or undead. From now on, whenever you use your Dark Knowledge feature against these creatures, the GM tells you any of the one of the following characteristics of your choice:
- Any saving throw proficiencies
- Any damage vulnerabilities
- Any damage resistances
- Any damage immunities
Dark Knowledge: Dread Secret
After reaching 11th level, as an action, you can use your Dark Knowledge to dazzle a target. Unlike the other Dark Knowledge effects, this effect can only be used on a single target. On a successful Dark Knowledge check, the target creature can’t take reactions and its speed is halved until the end of its next turn. If you succeed your Dark Knowledge check by 5 or more, in addition to the aforementioned effects, the target creature is restrained until the end of its next turn. And if you succeed your Dark Knowledge check by 10 or more, in addition to the aforementioned effects, the target creature is stunned until the end of its next turn.
Dark Knowledge: Foreknowledge
At 14th level, as an action, you can use your Dark Knowledge to better prepare your allies against a creatures’ attacks. On a successful Dark Knowledge check, whenever creatures of the target’s race make an attack roll against you or any of your allies within 30 feet of you during the effect’s duration, the creature must roll a d4 and subtract the number rolled from the attack roll. If you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 5 or more, the penalty die becomes a d6. And if you succeed on your Dark Knowledge check by 10 or more, the penalty die becomes a d8.
At 20th level, your ability to understand and comprehend multiple subjects is rarely bested. Your Intelligence and Wisdom scores increase by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24.
All archivists are broad generalists, however, the majority spend their time focusing on a singular subject which they specialize in. This expertise often makes them the leading mind in their field of study. In fact, some experienced archivists may be the only source in the entire multiverse for particular subjects, possessing lore that not even the subject of their specialization themselves may be aware of.
Thanks to a thorough understanding of the mechanics of magic, arcane specialists are also masters of ranged spell combat. Their high intelligence helps them move and act quickly, too, providing a distinct advantage in combat against slower foes.
Every element of magic falls under your purview. From casting practices to spell and magic item creation to how planar influences affect the multiverse, there is little in the world of magic that escapes your intellectual grasp. Your understanding of arcana also gives you an advantage against unnatural creatures like aberrations.
Arcana Specialization Spells
detect magic, guiding bolt
Melf’s acid arrow, misty step
counterspell, magic circle
dimension door, stoneskin
telekinesis, teleportation circle
At 1st level, you become proficient with the Arcana skill and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with it. In addition, you learn one wizard cantrip of your choice.
Also at 1st level, you have trained in the ways of magical combat. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged spell attacks.
Dark Knowledge: Elude
After reaching 2nd level, as an action, you can use your Dark Knowledge to recall a creature’s attack methods and adjust your defenses accordingly. On a successful Dark Knowledge check, whenever a creature of that race makes an attack roll against you or one of your allies, and the target of the creatures’ attack can see the creature, you can use your reaction to give a +1 bonus to the creature’s target’s AC.
Dark Knowledge: Precision
At 6th level, as an action, you can use your Dark Knowledge to detect a flaw in a creatures’ defenses and make a carefully aimed attack at it. This effect can only be used on a single target. On a successful Dark Knowledge check, you can immediately use your bonus action to make an attack roll against the creature and your attack roll is made with advantage. If the attack roll hits, all of your allies within 30 feet of you may make their next attack roll against the target with advantage as well. The effect ends at the start of your next turn.
At 8th level, your ranged spell attacks can catch your opponents off guard. You have advantage on ranged spell attacks against any creature that hasn’t taken a turn in combat yet. Plus, any hit you score with a ranged spell attack against a creature that is surprised deals an extra 1d8 damage.
Additionally, if you are surprised at the beginning of combat and aren’t incapacitated, you can act normally on your first turn, but only if you use a ranged spell attack before doing anything else on that turn.
Starting at 17th level, you have become a master of ranged spell attacks. When you attack and hit a creature with a ranged spell attack, you may immediately use your bonus action make a second ranged spell attack using the same spell against the same creature. If the spell is 1st level or higher, you must still use one of your spell slots for the second ranged spell attack.
Thanks for reading!
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Art by Blizzard Entertainment. Original flavor text by Wizards of the Coast.