Sub-Class: Oni-Blooded Sorcerer

Hello everyone and welcome to another self-imposed challenge! When I had the Twitterverse vote on these, which feels like months ago, I was very happy that the Oni-Blooded sorcerer came out as one of the things I should try to do. In the time since then I have managed to produce an entry of the Libris Monstrum that talks about oni and come up with some ideas on what I might do with this class. We’re going to start with a brief run-down of what I worked on focusing my ideas around. Then we will get right into the class!


Okay, so this is probably the easiest class I have worked with to build sub-classes so far. At least as far as concept goes. Sorcerers are spell casters that have an innate ability to use magic. It is in their blood, a part of them. Where this comes from can vary and, honestly, it doesn’t even have to be hereditary. The main point is that sorcerers don’t study to learn magic, they don’t pray for it, and they didn’t bargain for it. Something happened (often they were born and/or hit puberty) and now they are powerful magic users. The latest edition makes this class even more flexible in that sorcerers are not arcane casters. They can get their power from anywhere and the difference between arcane and divine is flavor and lore more than any real, hard distinction. All this amounts to a class that is flexible in the way you can create a sub-class but with a clear and specific tact in the relationship between the class and the person wielding that power.


So that brings us to the oni. In order to create a new type of sorcerer we need to explore sources of power. What are different types of magic that someone could be able to tap into? What type of creature might have passed down some power to their descendant? For us we look at the oni and I think they make a wonderful subject. As I discussed in the Libris Monstrum, the oni are at once categorically similar in many, many ways. But they are also vague and varied in just as many. These are one of your classic mythological creatures that are more a name than might apply to any number of beings with certain distinctions but no really specific grouping. Similarly to things like fey there are distinct attributes that lead you to say, “hey that’s an oni” but much of those aren’t required to be an oni.

Void Yai Oni from Paizo’s Bestiary 3

For our part I want to focus on the major players in what makes an oni. These are ogres, demons, hags, and spirits. They posses a supernatural quality that I most associate with hags. There are arguments to be made to call hags fiends, fey, or unique and the oni are similar to that. Personally I see them as fiends, despite the latest edition making them giants, but with their own distinction that brings them closer to the spiritual world. Older editions used the term spirit and this would also be applied to things like ghosts. From there I want to play up the idea that these are strange and horrific looking creatures. They are capable of great strength, deviousness, and have the power to turn invisible. Centering around those I believe we can make a pretty good sub-class for the sorcerer.

Oni-Blooded Sorcerer

Grotesque Visage

Starting at first level, the deformities of your ancestry take shape in the eyes of others whenever you cast a spell. For 1 minute after casting a spell, you have advantage on all intimidation checks made against those who witnessed the spell’s casting. Additionally, whenever you are concentrating on a spell your eyes become yellow and bloodshot and your teeth become elongated and sharp causing any melee attacks against you or attempts to break your concentration to be made at disadvantage. At third level you gain the ability to reveal the image of a true oni whenever you cast a spell. Doing so causes all creatures within 10 feet of you to make a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. You must take a long rest or spend 2 sorcery points before you can use this effect again.


Spirit Blood

Beginning at 6th level you can use a bonus action to become invisible. This lasts 10 minutes or until you attack or cast a spell. Maintaining invisibility requires concentration and you must complete a short rest before you can use it again. The duration of the invisibility may be extended by 10 minutes by spending 1 sorcery point before the effect ends.


Fearsome Resilience

At 14th level your oni blood allows you to heal from wounds faster than normal. Whenever you cast a spell you gain a regeneration equal to the level of the spell. This regeneration occurs at the beginning of your turns and lasts for 1 minute. This regeneration ends if you drop to 0 hit points. If you cast another spell while this regeneration is active you must choose whether to keep the current remaining effect or begin the new one, the two do not stack. Spending 3 sorcery points doubles the regeneration value of this effect.


Gruesome Form

Starting at 18th level you gain the ability to turn yourself into an oni as a bonus action by spending 6 sorcery points. While in this form your skin changes to a blue, red, or orange hue; your eyes become dark with white pupils; you grow claws and horns; and you mouth fills with fangs. This form lasts for one minute and ends early if you become incapacitated or end it early as a bonus action. While in this form you have advantage on all intimidation checks, you gain a fly speed of 30, have darkvision of 60 feet, you grow to large size, and your Strength increases to 18 if it was lower. You may cast spells in this form, but you may also make up to two claw attacks as an action using your Strength score and including your proficiency bonus. Finally, you gain a regeneration of 10 for the duration of this effect.

All in all I am pretty happy with this first iteration of the oni-blooded sorcerer. I tried to do my best to stick within the realm of reason for 5E oni. I am still unsure if these powers are balanced, of course. Invisibility can be super helpful, but the movement features of other builds are less time restrictive. Regeneration I kicked up to 14th level instead of 6th like I had intended because it is strong. It might still be too strong, but I am not sure how I should handle balancing it. Ideas are welcome! Finally, I think the end feature is pretty good but I feel like I could do more with it if I expanded how I was using oni to be more akin to 3rd edition, 4th edition, or Pathfinder. Let me know what you think so far and maybe I can flesh something better out!

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