Puppet Master Class Part 2 – Upgrades | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

This is the second part of the Puppet Master class. It covers the upgrades that puppet masters can give to their puppets and explains the process for doing so.

Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Design Notes

Here are my notes for this portion of the build.

Before the Build

I wrote a little bit in the first part how I planned on tackling this portion of the Puppet Master class. Basically, I will be using the magic item rules mixed with spells that have longer durations.

After the Build

This is a class that’s going to need a lot of playtesting as it incorporates a ton of new features (it’s basically like creating an entire caster class from scratch).

I wish I could have finished up more before launching this, but the demand is so high, I wanted people to get out there and play it.

Feel free to make suggestions down in the comments for cool new upgrades and I’ll be sure to add them in. Also, let me know if there are any obvious overpowered combinations possible with this build.

puppet-mater-art
Art by League of Legends.

Puppet Master Upgrades

At 2nd level, a puppet learns ways to retool its puppet with new bonuses, benefits, and features called upgrades.

Upgrade Level

Every upgrade has a level from 1 to 5. An upgrade’s level is a general indicator of how powerful it is. The higher an upgrade’s level, the high level a puppet master must be to employ that upgrade.

Upgrade level and puppet master level don’t correspond directly. Typically, a puppet master character has to be at least 17th level, no 5th level, to use 5th-level upgrades.

Known Upgrades

Before a puppet master can employ an upgrade, he or she must have the upgrade firmly fixed in mind. The number of upgrades that a puppet master knows at a given level are shown on the Puppet Master class table.

Upgrade Points

A puppet master must spend upgrade points in order to add an upgrade to its puppet. A puppet master starts with 2 upgrade points. The number of upgrade points the puppet master has increases with its level as shown on the Puppet Master class table. A puppet master can only spend upgrade points on upgrades that it knows.

Each upgrade has a point cost equal to its upgrade level. For example, a 4th-level upgrade costs 4 upgrade points.

Using its tinker’s tools, a puppet master spends upgrade points on any upgrades that are known to it. The cost of the upgrade points are removed from the puppet master’s pool of upgrade points and the benefits of the upgrade. As long as the puppet continues to benefit from the upgrade, the upgrade points used to upgrade it are used up. The only way to regain upgrade points is to remove the upgrade.

Removing Upgrades

The puppet master can use its tinker’s tools to remove upgrades and regain spent upgrade points. The puppet master selects which upgrade it wishes to remove and spends the requisite removal time (if any) removing it as noted in the upgrade’s description. Once the removal is completed, the puppet loses the benefits of the upgrade and the puppet master regains the cost of the upgrade back in upgrade points. The puppet master can then spend those upgrade points on different upgrades.

 

Adding an Upgrade

When a puppet master adds an upgrade, the following rules apply. Each upgrade description below begins with a block of information, including the upgrade’s name, level, affected part, build time, removal time, and materials. The rest of an upgrade’s entry describes the upgrade’s effect. A puppet may not take an upgrade option more than once.

Build/Removal Time

Upgrades require time to employ, typically a few minutes or more. Some advanced builds may even take as long as a week. Similarly, removing an upgrade takes time, usually half the time that it takes to add it. If a puppet master is interrupted while adding or removing an upgrade before the build or removal time is met, the process fails and the puppet master must start all over.

Materials

Adding some upgrades requires particular objects, specified in the upgrade’s materials entry. If an upgrade states that a particular material is consumed by the upgrade, the puppet master must provide this material for each upgrade.

 

Upgrades List

The remainder of this article describes the most common upgrades available to puppet masters. It begins with the upgrade list of the puppet master class. The remainder contains upgrade descriptions in alphabetical order by the name of the upgrade.’

 

Arms

Your puppet can only have one upgrade to its arms at a time. The following arms upgrade options are listed below in alphabetical order.

Archer’s Arms

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 2 hours / 4 hours

Materials: a martial ranged weapon and raw materials worth 25 gp, all of which are consumed during the upgrade

These arms are lither and capable of quickly drawing and firing arrows. Your puppet grains proficiency with martial ranged weapons and it acquires a martial ranged weapon of your choice (included in the build cost). In addition, your puppet gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls it makes with ranged weapons.


Whip Arms

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 2 hours / 4 hours

Materials: 2 whips and raw materials worth 6 gp all of which are consumed during the upgrade

The puppet’s arms are replaced with long whips. It can no longer hold items in its hands. However, it gains a whip attack. Each whip counts as a light finesse weapon, meaning that the puppet can use the whips for two-weapon fighting (refer to chapter 9 of the PHB). Each whip attack is a melee weapon attack with a reach of 10 feet. On a hit, the whip deals 1d4 damage plus your Intelligence modifier (unless one of the whips is in its offhand) and the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the target is grappled (the escape DC equals your upgrade quality DC). If the creature is still grappled on your next turn, you can use your action to command your puppet to pull the target into an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the puppet.

 

Builds

Your puppet may only have one build upgrade at a time. To change its build, you must remove its previous build and then add the new build. Your puppet’s starting build is known as its default build. When you remove a build upgrade, it automatically returns to the default build. The following build upgrade options are listed below in alphabetical order.

 

Menacing Build

2nd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 1 week / 1 week

Materials: raw materials worth at least 100 gp, a fiend’s tooth or horn

Your puppet’s presence is terrifying to behold. It gains the following benefits with this build:

  • Your puppet has proficiency on Intimidation checks.
  • Using your action, your puppet can target one creature that you can see within 15 feet of the puppet. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw, or drop whatever it is holding and become frightened for 1 minute. While frightened by this effect, the target must take the Dash action and move away from the puppet by the safest available route on each of its turns, unless there is nowhere to move. If the creature ends its turn in a location where it doesn’t have line of sight to the puppet, it can make a Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the effect ends for that creature.

Powerful Build

2nd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 1 week / 1 week

Materials: raw materials worth at least 100 gp, which are consumed

Your puppet’s structure is reinforced in order to better assist it with physical activities. With this upgrade, your puppet gains the following benefits:

  • Your puppet has advantage on Strength checks and saving throws.
  • Your puppet has proficiency in the Athletics skill.
  • When your puppet hits with its natural slam attack, it deals bludgeoning damage equal to 2d6 + your Intelligence modifier.
  • Your puppet counts as one size larger when determining its carrying capacity and the weight it can push, drag, or left.
  • Your puppet can grapple targets up to two sizes larger than it.

Untouchable Build

3rd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 1 week / 1 week

Materials: bladed weapons worth a minimum of 500 gp, which are consumed

Your puppet’s entire form is covered in sharp blades making it difficult for creatures to approach it. Any creature that touches the puppet or hits it with an attack must make a Dexterity saving throw or take 2d4 piercing damage. In addition, when your puppet hits a creature with its slam attack, it deals an additional 1d4 piercing damage on a hit.

 

Legs

Your puppet can only have one upgrade to its legs at a time. The following legs upgrade options are listed below in alphabetical order.

Long Legs

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 8 hours / 6 hours

Materials: raw materials worth at least 200 gp

Your puppet’s speed increases by 10 feet.

 

General Upgrades

Your puppet has no limit to the number of general upgrades it can possess other than it may only select each upgrade only once. The following general upgrade options are listed below in alphabetical order.


Armor Plating

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 3 hours / 2 hours

Materials: a suit of armor which is consumed

You cover your puppet in armor. The puppet’s armor class changes to reflect the type of armor you cover it in, replacing its natural armor. The armor’s normal Strength requirements and Stealth disadvantages still apply.


Combat Prowess

2nd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 8 hours / 2 hours

Materials: raw materials worth at least 300 gp, which the upgrade consumes

The puppet can attack twice with a melee or ranged weapon or its slam attack, instead of once, whenever you command it to take the Attack action on your turn.


Elemental Cannon

2nd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 6 hours / 1 hour

Materials: raw materials worth at least 300 gp, which the upgrade consumes

You place a canon on the puppet’s shoulder, head, or another appropriate place on its body. When you place the canon select acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder for the type of cannon you create. As an action, your puppet can make a ranged spell attack against a target within 60 feet of it. If the attack hits, the creature takes 3d8 damage of the type you chose. The cannon can fire a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of once). You regain all spent uses of the cannon after completing a long rest.


Fins

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 10 minutes / 5 minutes

Materials: raw materials worth 15 gp

The puppet gains a swimming speed of 30 ft.


Improved Damage

2nd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 5 minutes / 3 minutes

Materials: none

When you add this upgrade, choose one of your puppet’s upgrades that allows it to deal damage or its slam attack. The damage dealt by the upgrade increases by 1 damage die of the same type.


Improved Range

2nd-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 5 minutes / 3 minutes

Materials: none

When you add this upgrade, choose one of your puppet’s upgrades that has a range. The range for the upgrade doubles.


Improved Resilience

2nd-level upgrade (stackable)

Upgrade/Removal Time: 1 hour / 30 minutes

Materials: raw materials worth at least 25 gp, which the upgrade consumes

This upgrade bolsters your puppet’s toughness and resolve. Your puppet’s hit point maximum and current hit points increase by 15.


Spit Acid

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 10 minutes / 5 minutes

Materials: acid vial

The puppet can spit acid. As an action, choose one creature within 30 feet or two creatures that are within 5 feet of each other. A target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 acid damage.


Touch of Evil

1st-level upgrade

Upgrade/Removal Time: 10 minutes / 5 minutes

Materials: grave dirt

The puppet can make harmful touch attacks. Whenever your puppet hits a creature with its slam attack, the slam attack deals necrotic damage equal to 1d8 + your Intelligence modifier instead of the damage normal for its attack. If your puppet hits an undead target, it also has disadvantage on attack rolls against your puppet until the end of your next turn.

 

More to come!

These are the upgrades I have so far. I’ll be creating more, trying to make at least one or two each day. My goal is to offer up at least 8 different upgrades for each level.

Also, don’t forget to follow me on Patreon where the PDF for the finalized form of the puppet master and its upgrades will appear. It’s only $3 to join, and trust me, it’s worth it, especially with the content I’m dishing out over there.

Become a patron today!

Art by League of Legends.

6 thoughts on “Puppet Master Class Part 2 – Upgrades | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

  1. Can you please make more upgrades for this class I’m a huge fan and am running one in a campaign soon and would really enjoy for there to be more options to choose from

  2. Always wanted to play a class like this, and after some searching, I find this gem! It works so well with what I was looking for, a more building/mechanical version. Thank you so much for having this and I hope you continue with the upgrades soon. 😀

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