Plane Shifted: The Channeler Class Review

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I’ve been struggling to come up with a class that would best represent a Magic the Gathering type spellcaster, using the 5 Colors of Magic. What I had found or worked on myself had all been a bit clunky at best, overpowered or unworkable at worst. Now that the DMs Guild has opened up for Ravnica, the first option has appeared that I think could be usable.

Michael Flotten brings us The Channeler – A Class for Ravnica and Beyond. It’s a PWYW pdf, so free to check out, though I did leave you an affiliate link there.

The channeler can fill the role of any of the PHB spell casters, “Channelers fill the role of priests, wizards, and druids, all defined by which mana source they are tapping into”. For the most part Michael does this, though he misses the mark just slightly in some spots.

At first level, and every level you get an ASI (so 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th), you attune to one of the five colors. Your attunement choice at level 1 affects your starting skills, weapon proficiencies, and cantrips.  When you get additional attunements, you can choose either a new color, or improve an existing color.

Each level of attunement also gives you two abilities that you can power using your mana. The channeler uses the spell point variant to cast spells, while mana has some correlation to sorcery points. There is also a mechanic to change mana to spell points as well as the reverse.

Continuing to improve in a single color allows further specialization, and more powerful attunement abilities, while choosing a new color improves versatility. Like a cleric, the channeler has access to their entire spell list and chooses what spells to prepare after each long rest. The channeler can only prepare one spell not in their color wheel, and it costs addition spell points to cast. Only continued improvement in a single color will allow a channeler to cast spells of 7th-9th level.

Each color has five levels of attunement, and two attunement abilities per attunement level, for a total of ten abilities per color. They are all very evocative of Magic spells and abilities, and match the colors well.

We also get a spell list for each color. This is not as comprehensive as the list we’ve seen from Laurefindel that I host here. Where Laurefindel breaks down every spell in the PHB into colors, it looks like Michael picks and chooses around ten spells for most (but not all) levels/colors. I’m not sure of his exact criteria for assigning spells to lists, but I feel he missed a couple marks. Prestidigitation is on the green cantrip list, and not druidcraft. In fairness, though, I have not delved deep into the spell list. At my table, I would probably use the list from Laurefindel.

I like the general idea he gives us, though he could use an editor. There are a handful of typos, and many of the ability descriptions could be more clearly written. Some of his number calculations require some serious thought to arrive at the solution. Take, this one, for example:

Beast Ally – Spend Green Mana equal to 2 times your Green Attunement level to
summon a number of beasts equalling a CR level equal to your Green Attunement level (so with green attunement 2 you could get 1 CR 2 beast, or 2 CR 1, or 4 CR ½ beast, etc).

Never mind that the example he gives impossible, as the Beast Ally is an attunement 3 level ability, so you couldn’t use it with green attunement of 2.

Another line that could use some clarity:

You may only prepare one spell that is a non-attuned Color for you during this time, and when you cast that spell, it will cost you extra mana, times 4 as much at 1st, times 3 at 7th, and times 2 at 14th and above. You may not prepare non-attuned spells above 6th level.

Overall I really like what he’s trying to do, and it looks like it should work. I’m not completely sold on the balance on abilities for each of the attunement abilities. In fairness, in the product description he does state that it is a first draft that has not been playtested. With the DMs Guild just opening up for Ravnica, this product feels like it was rushed out to be the first “Magic” type caster class. Play testing and some editing will go a long way.


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kofi1

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