Plague Doctor Class Draft 1

Greetings everyone! Today we finally get back to working on some class-based stuff. If you recall a recent subclass article, I discussed using the bard college of lore as a simple way to make a plague doctor character. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here. For the TL;DR I concluded that, while possible, the plague doctor really deserves its own class. To this end I decided to skip the attempting to build another subclass this month and will instead begin work on that! We’ll start by going over some of the ideas I have for the class at present followed by actual stats to try out the class, skeletal though it may be.

Basic Design

Okay so there is a lot going on with this class. To start the base structure is going to be a combination of bard, warlock, and ranger. Warlock is the main backbone in terms of mechanical inspiration. Then, some bard abilities come into play to make it play out as I initially intended. Finally ranger is my inspiration for a class that is mostly focused on what they know how to do with spells being an aid more than a main feature. When beginning a plague doctor character you will need to choose a specialty. This is your professional area of study as a doctor. Today I will focus on herbalism / medicine. The study of medicines allow you to understand symptoms and solve problems or to cause adverse symptoms in enemies. I am hoping I can mix in anatomy for a doctor that might target specific parts of the body. This archetype will certainly feel a little more roguish. The third build I hope to have is one based on a combination of miasma theory and the humors. This one will have additional abilities centered around being able to enhance or harm the moods of others. Each area of study will have its own class features and unlock certain specific techniques.

From Red Hook’s Darkest Dungeon game.

Techniques are going to be similar to invocations in the way they are obtained and the way they have prerequisites. These will not just have influences from specialty but also from your third level tool choice. The choice of tool is kind of a combination of fighting style and pact type. The plague doctor will choose from needles, ampules, or censer. Needles will allow for more targeted attacks, reducing number of targets and increasing effects. Ampules will focus on portability and the ability to hand them off to other players to break open when needed. Censer will focus on area effects and increasing target area while decreasing effectiveness. The toughest part of all of this might be making everything feel good and set apart from the other builds while also having the plague doctor feel like a good class as a whole.

As a note before we get into what test material I have, I want to just let you all know what I am going for. The plague doctor is someone with medical training, professional medical training. As an adventurer they are, in all likelihood, not successful. They might be second rate doctors, drop outs, or desperate for work but the point is that I want them to feel like the wandering doctors of old and not like a noble’s private physician. Of course you can always make such a character, that is up to you! The plague doctor, of course, is not a modern doctor and will focus on older medicinal theories like humorism and miasma. But it is D&D so a dash of magic and some of these concepts actually working is perfect!

Plague Doctor Attempt 1

*note: things are roughly written and specifically only include things available here, next draft will be much better*

Hit Dice: d8

Armor Prof: Light, Medium
Weapon Prof: Simple weapons
Tool Prof: Doctor’s kit
Saving Throw Prof: Intelligence, Charisma
Skill Prof: Choose 3 from Medicine, Persuasion, Insight, Perception, History, Deception


Level Prof Bonus Features Spells Known Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Techniques Mastered
1 +2 Stimulating Procedure (d6), Medicinal Craft
2 +2 Spells, First Aid (d6) 2 2
3 +2 Equipment Specialization, Techniques (1 from Craft + 2) 2 3 3
4 +2 Ability Score Improvement 3 3 3
5 +3 Stimulation Procedure (d8), Skill Prof. 3 4 2 3


Medicinal Craft

All doctors tend to have a special area of study they are most proficient at, a set of theories they prefer over others. Plague doctors are no exception and they have managed to manipulate these specialties to better suite the life of an adventurer. Your choice of craft can be that of herbs and other medicines, preferring to use natural remedies to problems. This craft grants you special features at 1st level.

Stimulating Procedure

Your knowledge of medicine allow you to understand the needs of the body and ways to stimulate it to greater heights. Use a bonus action on your turn to choose one creature within 20 feet of you that you can see. That creature gets one stimulation die, a d6. Once, within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add that number to one ability check, saving throw, or attack it makes. The creature can use the stimulation die after seeing the result of the d20 roll but must choose to use it before the GM announces whether or not it was a success. Once the stimulation die is used it is lost. A creature can only have one stimulation die at a time. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier. You regain any expended uses after a long rest. The stimulation die changes as you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at level 5.

First Aid

Beginning at 2nd level you are more adapt at tending to the injuries of others while travelling. By using your doctor’s tools or 1 charge of a healer’s kit, you may tend the wounds of your adventuring party. Those who are treated and who spend one or more hit dice may add an additional 1d6 hit points.

Equipment Specialization

No matter your area of study, you have developed a tendency to utilize specific tools of the trade. You may choose from the following tools to specialize in: censer, a tool for burning incense that allows you to spread your effects over a larger area. This selection grants you your first medical technique and allows you to select other techniques to enhance your style of play.

Medical Techniques

Beginning at 3rd level you begun to develop and advance your medical techniques. Your choice of equipment grants you the first of these techniques and two additional ones may be picked. You will gain additional techniques as you level up in this class. Choosing the censer as your tool grants you the stimulating vapors technique.

Skill Proficiency

Having wandered for most of your medical career you have picked up on a few things. You may choose one skill, tool, or language to become proficient in.

Medical Techniques

Stimulating Vapors: You have specialized in the use of vapors and incense in your procedures. When you use your stimulating procedure you may choose to reduce the die by one size (d6 becomes d4, d8 becomes d6, etc). and affect one additional creature in range. Both creatures gains the smaller stimulation die which works as normal.

Veterinary Medicine: Your knowledge extends beyond the range of humanoids and into that of beasts. You may use animal friendship without spending a spell slot.

Wilderness Doctor: You have been in tight spots before but that hasn’t stopped you. You gain proficiency in survival and nature.


DC = 8 + Prof + Intel modifier

Intelligence is your spell ability score

Level 1

  • Cure Wounds
  • Healing Word
  • Bane
  • Heroism
  • Sleep
  • Hideous Laughter
  • Charm Person
  • Bless
  • Detect Poison & Disease
  • Purify Food & Drink

I know this is a very basic outline, but that is probably the hardest part of making a class from scratch. I am already wondering how the extra proficiency might need tweaking as part of the whole picture. I am also curious if it makes sense to move some spells into bonus spells based on area of study. Finally, is veterinary medicine too powerful? Should it require a spell slot or perhaps a one per day limit? Additionally I want to point out that I am probably going to make the base stimulating procedure range touch because each tool technique I am planning will affect the range possibilities.

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