The Scholar Class, 1st Draft

The Scholar class is an Intelligence based non-spellcaster class that lets D&D players take on the role of tactical geniuses, medical prodigies, and savants of all stripes. It has been over a year since our last draft of the Scholar and, thanks to the persistence of readers who repeatedly requested a complete version of the class, presented here is the first full draft of the class from levels 1 to 20. This Scholar class was originally inspired by reddit user wdalright’s first draft of a class by the same name. You can find his take on this concept on the DM’s Guild.

the Scholar class, First Draft

With the public release of the first full draft of the class, Patreon backers are also getting early access to the first draft of a new archetype for the Scholar. If the class catches your interest, you can see the new archetype today by pledging only a dollar a month!

Sterling Vermin Patreon

And if you missed the announcement last week, I recently released a collaboration project, the Complete Martialist Handbook. You can snag it immediately or pick up the free preview, the Incomplete Martialist Handbook, discover you love it, and then end up buying the Complete Martialist Handbook an hour later. Your choice!

the Complete Martialist Handbook

the Incomplete Martialist Handbook


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2 thoughts on “The Scholar Class, 1st Draft

  1. So a few things about the class:

    I would reduce the number of skill proficiencies starting down to 3, and then keep the subclasses grant another one. This makes the class on par with Rogue and Bard, classes mechanically-designed to be skill-based, while still keeping the thematic gain of skills through choice of subclass, with the exception of Tactician, but they still have solid bonuses. I would also remove the Bonus Proficiencies Erudite Application for the same reason, perhaps reducing Expertise down to a non-scaling effect and making the Erudite Application provide the remaining expertise, OR replacing it with a feature akin to the UA Skill Feat Historian (“When you assist an ally with a skill check or use the Help action, roll an Int check (DC 10?), if you succeed, they add half your Int modifier to their skill check roll” (this wording prevents it working with attack rolls, but clarifies that it works in combat with the Help action).

    I would maybe look at Analyze Enemy becoming a skill check (Investigation/Insight vs. Deception) to be similar to the UA Skill Feat Empathic. In doing so, you could choose to increase the bonus damage to d10, but I think that may overtune it.

    The Physician’s Doctor’s Orders feature requires some form of limiter. As it stands, it nullifies the purpose of utilising Short Rests for HP gain, as through ability usage the Physician provides a better effect without even using the short rest. Perhaps “A creature cannot benefit from this feature again until they finish a short or long rest, or they are reduced to 0hp” OR “A creature cannot benefit from this feature again while they above half their hit-point maximum”, which simulates that the Physician can improve the situation, but the individual actually requires rest to be back to full strength.

    I would change Heal Thyself to heal a different amount in order to scale effectively, and also prevent shenanigans (as current, a Physician can abuse the feature by chugging a poison to then remove it and gain a ton of HP, especially early on). Perhaps allow spending of a Hit Die?

    I would perhaps restrict the Ritualist’s Spell List down to a class’ spell list (probably Wizard) in order to prevent the taking of the subclass for reasons similar to the Lore Bard, allowing them to cherry-pick spells from anyone’s lists is a very dangerous feature.

    Those are the only things I could find, very much like the class.

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  2. A scholar based class is a dream of mine for 5e. This seems pretty good, one thing I would suggest however is maybe a few more subclasses?

    Like perhaps have an Antiquarian which is based around History and Cartography proficiency, exploring dungeons, finding items, could be some of its themes.

    Another cool one would be a Diplomat/Spy, using persuasion, disguise and forgery kits. Just a few suggestions.

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