Strixhaven

From 1d4chan
Big Gay Purple d4.png This article is a skub. You can help 1d4chan by expanding it

Strixhaven is a school (as in university, not discipline) of magic on the plane of Arcavios. The school has five prominent colleges of magic, each hosting two opposing colors. The five colleges were founded some 700 years ago by five elder dragons. As you might have guessed, this is a setting chiefly for wizards but there is space for shamans, clerics, and druids as well.

Lore[edit]

At the birth of the world, as the mana of two worlds overlapped in conflicting ways, many forms of life adapted to the new structure and many new forms of life were spawned. Five particularly powerful vortices of overlapping mana became luminous spheres, from which hatched five dragons. These dragons have become emblems of the magic of the plane, living symbols of the clashing forces of the five dichotomies.

The Founder Dragons were the first to master the magic of the five opposing combinations. When the humanoid races arose, the dragons were at first angered that mortals would try to harness the wild forces of magic, but they came to realize that only through disciplined study would magic be in safe hands. So, centuries ago, the dragons founded an institution devoted to the study of the five mana dichotomies, and that institution is now known as Strixhaven. The five colleges were based around the magic mastered by each of those dragons.

To this day, the Founder Dragons roam the world, the five deadly sages of the skies. They no longer associate directly with Strixhaven, preferring to let the deans of the colleges speak in their stead. The dragons' wisdom is vast, but their tempers can be short. Mages seek them out only to learn the most elusive of secrets.

Factions[edit]

Although the main conflict of the plane is centred on not-Voldemort and not-Death Eaters trying to destroy not-Hogwarts for the evulz, the five colleges themselves are based on opposing colors of magic and like Hogwarts they like to encourage rivalries between themselves. They even have their own not-Quidditch sport, Mage Tower, to channel these rivalries, but unlike no-fun-allowed Hogwarts, students from different colleges are encouraged to fight each other in magical duels whenever necessary, the professors themselves encouraging and sometimes getting in on the action as well.

Lorehold[edit]

Named for the elder dragon Velomachus Lorehold, the college of Lorehold focuses on archaeomancy - that is, drawing magical power from the secrets of the past. Being red and white colors, they try to summon war spirits and awaken statues to fight for them in addition to slinging fireballs and lightning blasts at their rivals. Despite being the history nerds of the setting, their theme appears to revolve around being both sides of Indiana Jones but instead of ancient traps and crazy Nazis to deal with, the statues themselves can come alive with murderous intent...

Since their chief flavour is archaeology, Lorehold has a strong emphasis on artifacts, artifact creatures, and 3/2 Spirit tokens that represent reawakened ghosts of ancient warriors. They don't have a specific mechanic per se but they have surprising amounts of recursion and card advantage for a normally aggressive tempo color combination.

Their heads are Plargg, the Dean of Chaos representing red and Augusta, the Dean of Order representing white.

Prismari[edit]

The college of arts and performance, named for the elder dragon Galazeth Prismari. They focus on trying to create exquisite masterpieces through magic and paint or breath-taking performances full of fire and color and flaming colors too. They are obsessed with arts and crafts as their way of making bold and/or sophisticated artisitic statements. To give you an idea of how over-the-top they are, their orchestra is so metal their music summons literal thunderstorms and arcane explosions so they always have to practise outside.

Prismari is all about big spells and arguably some of the best Magecraft abilities in the set. While it is not represented with a keyword, specific Prismari instants and sorceries have an alternate in-box casting option that lets them discard the spell to create a Treasure token. They also often create 4/4 Elemental creature tokens as byproducts of their big spells.

Their heads are Uvilda, Dean of Perfection representing blue and Nassari, Dean of Expression representing red.

Quandrix[edit]

Who knew mathematics could be magical? The college of Quandrix was founded by elder dragon Tanazir Quandrix and represents all the math nerds out there. Except instead of throwing away the equations and formulas at the end of the day, Quandrix students channel them into elementals called Fractals which can grow exponentially in size through tinkering with the numbers. They like to view magic as formulas and theories to be solved, and programs to feed into gigantic Fractals to crush any who would stand in their way.

Quandrix are all about the big numbers and their spells reflect that with an added twist of duplicating creature tokens and +1/+1 counters. Their spells revolve around modifying and multiplying base power and toughness in various ways and creating 0/0 Fractal creature tokens to build up their numbers.

Their heads are Kianne, Dean of Substance representing green, and Imbraham, Dean of Theory representing blue.

Silverquill[edit]

The college of literature, debate and eloquence, Silverquill is all about language - and being vicious with it. Founded by the elder dragon Shadrix Silverquill, they draw power from words, verse, script and passage to quite literally bring curses and insults into life to attack their opponents. They have a sinister vibe to them but they're just really into perfection and eliteness.

Silverquill spells emphasise creating cheap and easy +1/+1 counters to put on their 2/1 flying Inkling tokens, and have a heavy emphasis on destruction of all kinds. They do also bring some relevance to +1/+1 counters being on things but otherwise run on a modest but deadly tempo.

Their heads are Embrose, Dean of Shadow representing black, and Shaile, Dean of Radiance representing white.

Witherbloom[edit]

Not just representing the cycle of life and death but also harnessing the power of both into their magic, the college of Witherbloom excels at all forms of life magic derived from sacrifice and ritual. Founded by the elder dragon Beledros Witherbloom, they cultivate Pests and other swamp nasties to use as blood sacrifices for their spells. They are the premier lifegain college with many spells centred around lifepoint manipulation and creature sacrifice.

Witherbloom like to create Pests, 1/1 creature tokens that net 1 life to the player upon dying. While this may not seem like much they can present a difficult challenge for opponents both on the attack and defense, especially when there are 'gain life' triggers waiting to go off. Their spells revolve around tons of incremental lifegain and graveyard recursion.

Their heads are Valentin, Dean of the Vein representing black, and Lisette, Dean of the Root representing green.

D&D Content[edit]

Naturally, Strixhaven was chosen to go the same route as Ravnica and Theros by becoming a setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, with Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos' hitting shelves on November 19 2021.

Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings
Basic D&D: Mystara (Blackmoor) - Pelinore
AD&D: Birthright - Council of Wyrms - Dark Sun - Dragonlance
Forgotten Realms (Al-Qadim - The Horde - Icewind Dale
Kara-Tur - Malatra - Maztica) - Greyhawk - Jakandor
Mystara (Hollow World - Red Steel - Savage Coast)
Planescape - Ravenloft (Masque of the Red Death)
Spelljammer
3rd/3.5 Edition: Blackmoor - Dragonlance - Eberron - Forgotten Realms
Ghostwalk - Greyhawk (Sundered Empire)
Ravenloft (Masque of the Red Death) - Rokugan
4th Edition: Blackmoor - Dark Sun - Eberron
Forgotten Realms - Nentir Vale
5th Edition: Eberron - Exandria - Forgotten Realms - Greyhawk
Ravenloft - Ravnica - Theros - Spelljammer - Strixhaven

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos[edit]

Unearthed Arcana[edit]

In June 2021, a preview of the book was launched with the Unearthed Arcana "Mages of Strixhaven", which introduced five new subclasses representing the five magical colleges. These introduced an entirely new mechanic to 5e; a subclass that can be taken by several core classes, and where rather than having a level-based fixed gain of subclass features, outside of the two 1st level features associated with each subclass, the player gets to choose one subclass feature when they hit a "gain a subclass feature" level in the appropriate core class, so long as that subclass feature is gated behind an equal or lower level.

Any subclass feature that grants bonus spells has the clause that each such spell counts as a class spell, but doesn't count against the character's number of spells known. This means Warlocks can finally get in on that Bonus Spell bandwagon (which Sorcerers already boarded in Tasha's Cauldron) and gain some much-needed versatility! On the other hand, it represents a massive power boost for many of the other classes who aren't wizards (who have tremendous spell versatility already), druids (who could've got domain spells from many of their other subclass options anyway), or sorcerers (who had severe spell-availability options and desperately needed the new onrush of domain spell-equivalents most of their modern incarnations had). Warlocks and bards both get a bit more out of it. However, warlocks have it really weird, since one of their subclasses has a feature that can be recharged by spending spell slots: good for literally every other caster in the game but not them!

Also, in general, many of the subclasses have severe balance issues, from the Sage Companion breaking bounded accuracy on Intelligence checks (yes, guidance did that in more limited fashion from day one, but this one’s for free with no time limit and the two stack), to Witherbloom's brewable poison not only being comically underpowered but potentially only applying to a single piece of ammunition (the other two out of three options are good), to the Silverquill mage getting to not only turn a fireball (or any other damage spell) into one of two harder-to-resist damage types but plop a powerful secondary effect on it that goes through even if they save, charming or frightening whole rooms (and paradoxically giving elves and elf-derivatives advantage on said save that does nothing to stop said charm, or halflings and halfling-derivatives the same for frighten). And some of the choices for which classes get which subclasses are weird in terms of flavor or mechanics; the most artistically flavored subclass, the Prismari, isn't for bards because it focuses so heavily on elemental damage and bards don't get much, while the Quandrix, which is actually fairly druid-friendly in both the lore and the card game, doesn't let druids in for no obvious mechanical reason. Also, with Witherbloom having a 5th level spell, Greater Restoration, given to the subclass at 7th level (Where a players best spell slot is a 4th level), it doesnt really help with making one feel that the UA was given that much love and attention.

Overall, somehow, both an overambitious failure and undercooked and underbaked. How?! That's like being on fire underwater! There is some good news, though, which is that for once in 5e's miserable life, WotC actually listened to fans when they warned them that their mechanics were garbage—in the official release of the Strixhaven splatbook, these unbelievably horrible subclasses have been scrapped entirely! Instead they're replaced them with a (confusing and cumbersome but overall way less broken) series of interlocking backgrounds and feats, similar to the guilds of Ravnica splatbook, which recreate the idea of subclasses that can be taken by multiple classes without forcing the square peg of that mechanic into the round hole of 5e's greater functioning. But for posterity's sake, here's the UA mess.

The Mage of Lorehold can be taken by a Bard, Warlock or Wizard. Its available subclass features are:

  • Lorehold Spells: 1st level. Gain Sacred Flame and Comprehend Languages cantrips and these spells:
3rd knock, locate object
5th speak with dead, spirit guardians
7th arcane eye, stone shape
9th destructive wave, legend lore
  • Ancient Companion: 1st level. After completing a short or long rest, you can create an animated statue companion in one of three flavors; Sage, Warrior or Healer.
  • Lessons of the Past: 6th level. Your Ancient Companion gains a new bonus trait depending on which mode you activate it in.
  • War Echoes: 10th level. Once per turn, after a creature you can see is hit by a successful attack roll, you can force the target to make a Wisdom save vs. your Spell DC or gain Vulnerability to a damage type inflicted by the attack until the end of its next turn - yes, this vulnerability applies to the triggering attack. You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • History's Whims: 14th level. As a bonus action, invoke the powers of chronal chaos for 1 minute. Each turn, choose one of three benefits; Luck (+d6 to saves vs. damage), Resistance (Resist Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing), or Swiftness (+15ft speed, ignore opportunity attacks). You can't benefit from the same benefit two turns in a row. Once used, you can't use History's Whims again until you either complete a long rest or spend a 4th level or higher spell slot.

The Mage of Prismari can be taken by a Druid, Sorcerer or Wizard. Its available subclass features are:

  • Creative Skills: 1st level. Gain 2 skills from this list; Acrobatics, Athletics, Nature, or Performance.
  • Kinetic Artistry: 1st level. As a bonus action, you can Dash and apply either the Boreal Sweep (walk on water, creatures within 5ft must Strength save vs. your Spell DC or be knocked prone), Scorching Whirl (creatures within 5ft must Dexterity save vs. your Spell DC or take 1d4 + your spellcasting modifier Fire damage) or Thunderlight Jaunt (you can move through enemy spaces, and ignore opportunity attacks). You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • Favored Medium: 6th level. Whenever you finish a long rest, you gain Resistance to your choice of Cold, Fire or Lightning. Until your next long rest, whenever you use a spell slot to cast a spell that deals that damage type, you emit a 5ft aura until the end of your next nation that grants any creatures you choose Resistance to that same damage type.
  • Focused Expression: 10th level. You gain a bonus whenever you activate Favored Medium, which can be activated whenever you deal damage to a target and only hits one specific target of your choice. If you pick Cold, the target takes +1d6 Cold damage and must Con save vs. your Spell DC or lose -10ft speed until the end of its next turn. If you pick Fire, the target takes +1d6 Fire damage and an ally within 30ft gains 1d6 temporary HP. If you pick Lightning, the target takes +1d6 Lightning damage and must Dex save vs. your Spell DC or be unable to use Reactions until the end of its next turn.
  • Impeccable Physicality: 14th level. You gain Proficiency in Dexterity saves, unless you already have it, and when making a Dex save, treat all results of 9 or less as a 10.

The Mage of Quandrix can be taken by a Sorcerer or Wizard. Its available subclass features are:

  • Quandrix Spells: 1st level. Gain Guidance, Guiding Bolt, and the following spells;
3rd enlarge/reduce, spike growth
5th aura of vitality, haste
7th control water, freedom of movement
9th circle of power, passwall
  • Functions of Probability: 1st level. Whenever you cast a spell using a spell slot, you can choose to target either that same creature or another creature within 30ft, which could be yourself, and invoke either Diminishing Function (target must Wis save vs. your Spell DC or subtract -1d6 from the next attack roll it makes before the end of its next turn) or Supplemental Function (target can add +1d6 to its next attack roll or saving throw).
  • Velocity Shift: 6th level. When a visible creature starts its turn or moves within 30 feet of you, you can spend a reaction to teleport that creature to any point you like within 30 feet - unwilling targets can resist with a successful Cha save vs. your Spell DC. You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • Null Equation: 10th level. Once per turn, after damaging a creature, you can force it to make a Con save vs. your Spell DC or suffer Disadvantage on Str and Dex saves as well as half damage with weapon attacks until the start of your next turn. You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • Quantum Tunneling: 14th level. You gain Resistance to Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing Damage and the Incorporeal Movement trait - you can move through objects and other creatures as if they were difficult terrain, but take 1d10 damage for every 5ft you move through them, and if you end your turn inside one, you are shunted into the nearest unoccupied space you last occupied.

The Mage of Silverquill can be taken by a Bard, Sorcerer or Wizard. Its available subclass features are:

  • Eloquent Appearance: 1st level. You gain either Sacred Flame or Vicious Mockery, as well as 2 skills from this list; Deception, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion, or Insight.
  • Silvery Barbs: 1st level. Immediately after a creature you can see within 60 feet of you succeeds on an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can use your reaction to demoralize the creature. Unless the creature is immune to being charmed, it rerolls the d20 and must use the lower roll. If the attack roll, ability check, or saving throw then fails, you can choose a different creature you can see within 60 feet of you (you can choose yourself). That creature is empowered, and can reroll one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw it makes within 1 minute and use the higher result. A creature can be empowered by only one use of this feature at a time. You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • Inky Shroud: 6th level. You gain Darkness as a bonus spell, and can cast it without using a spell slot 1/day, whereupon it gains these bonus traits; you can see through it as if it wasn't there, and if a creature starts its turn both in the darkness and in your line of sight, it takes 2d10 Psychic damage.
  • Infusion of Eloquence: 10th level. When you cast a spell that deals damage, you can change the spell to either do Psychic damage and Frighten the target until the end of your next turn or to do Radiant damage and Charm the target until the end of your next turn. In both cases, you are the fixation of the Fear/Charm effect. You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • Word of Power: 14th level. You gain the powers of Deadly Despair (when a creature under Silvery Barbs fails its roll, you can instead give the target Vulnerability to one damage type until the end of your next choice) and Selfless Invocation (if a creature takes damage in 60 feet, you can use your Reaction to grant them Resistance to that damage, at the price of taking Psychic damage equal to the damage they suffer).

The Mage of Witherbloom can be taken by a Druid or Warlock. Its available subclass features are:

  • Witherbloom Spells: 1st level. Gain Spare the Dying, Cure Wounds, Inflict Wounds, and the following bonus spells:
3rd lesser restoration, ray of enfeeblement
5th revivify, vampiric touch
7th blight, greater restoration
9th antilife shell, mass cure wounds
  • Essence Tap: 1st level. As a bonus action, invoke the powers of either Overgrowth or Withering Strike for 1 minute. Invoking Overgrowth lets you spend 1 Hit Dice as a bonus action at the start of each subsequent turn to gain result + spellcasting modifier HP. Invoking Withering Strike allows you to change the damage type of your attacks to Necrotic and ignore Necrotic Resistance. You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
  • Witherbloom Brew: 6th level. Gain Proficiency with Herbalism Kits. After completing a long rest, you produce a number of Brews equal to your proficiency bonus; these Brews are magical potions that come in one of three flavors and retain their powers for 24 hours. You get to choose which flavor each individual Brew is. Fortifying Brews grant Resistance to either Cold, Fire, Necrotic, Poison or Radiant damage. Quickening Brews heal 2d6 damage as well as 1 disease (if any) and allow the drinker to end the Charmed, Frightened, Paralyzed, Poisoned or Stunned effect. Toxifying Brews can be applied to a simple or martial weapon and remain potent for 1 hour; the first successful hit in that time inflicts +2d6 Poison damage and forces the target to Con save vs. your Spell DC or be Poisoned for 1 minute.
  • Witherbloom Adept: 10th level. Once per turn when you deal necrotic damage or restore hit points using a spell, one target of the spell takes additional damage or regains additional hit points equal to your proficiency bonus.
  • Withering Vortex: 14th level. When you cast a spell using a spell slot that deals necrotic damage to any number of creatures that aren’t Undead or Constructs, choose one of the creatures that took damage. You drain an amount of life energy equal to half the damage dealt to the chosen creature. One creature other than yourself that you can see within 30 feet of you regains a number of hit points equal to the life energy drained You can use this power Proficiency Bonus times, and it recharges on a long rest.
Settings of Magic: The Gathering
Pre-revisionist: First Magic Sets - First Urza Block - Arabian Nights
Legends - Homelands - Ice Age - Mirage
Weatherlight Saga: Portal Starter Sets - Second Urza Block
Tempest Block - Masques Block - Invasion Block
Post-Weatherlight: Otaria Block - Mirrodin - Kamigawa - Ravnica - Time Spiral
After the Mending: Lorwyn - Alara - Zendikar - New Phyrexia
Innistrad - Return to Ravnica - Theros - Tarkir - Eldraine - Ikoria
Two-Block Paradigm: Kaladesh - Amonkhet - Ixalan
Post Two-Block Paradigm: Eldraine - Ikoria - Kaldheim - Strixhaven
Never in a standard set: Fiora (Where the Conspiracy sets take place) - Kylem (Battlebond)