Sorcerer – The Clockwork Soul
It’s been a while since we ventured into a new Unearthed Arcana article from the Dungeons and Dragons team. Not that they haven’t been crafting or testing new options, but a few of the recent entries just didn’t spark my imagination. Of course, this is until I saw this new subclass for the Sorcerer: The Clockwork Soul. This one just gets my wheels turning so to speak.
Clockwork creatures have been part of the D&D fabric since I can remember and always bring a sense of mystery whenever they’re introduced in a campaign. How did this new technology get here? Who created them? One possible answer is that these inventions come from the Plane of Utmost Order; in a realm known as Mechanus. The overseer of this plane is a godlike entity called Primus, for whom all good things are divisible by 2. It’s from this plane of vast calculation that your sorcerer shares a connection, and draws power that manifests in spell casting. A beautiful touch to the Clockwork Soul is the suggestions for character affecting traits that appear to be physical manifestations of power. Here we get a list of different ways your character can be affected by Mechanus. A spectral cogwheel that hovers behind you, clock hands that appear in your eyes, or the chime of a clock when spell-casting are all exciting character hooks, of course, the player is encouraged to invent their own manifestations as well. This subclass is crafted with neat ideas to shape a fun character that is set for adventure in a rather un-ordered world.
1st: alarm, protection from evil and good
3rd: find traps, heat metal
5th: counterspell, glyph of warding
7th: arcane eye, Otiluke’s resilient sphere
As a soul of the clockwork, you are granted bonus spells at a number of levels. All of these spells fit into the theme of the subclass, but it’s not until we see the abilities that this archetype begins to feel unique. The first being Restore Balance, which the character receives right away at level 1. In an attempt to order the universe, you can use a reaction to prevent a creature from being affected by advantage or disadvantage. This can be done a number of times per day equal to your charisma modifier. A fantastic support ability to level any playing field. (Remember: your party counts as creatures, so you can use this on your friends to counter ill affects) Rounding out the lower level abilities you also receive Bulwork of Law at level 6. Using a sorcery point, the character can create a shimmering shield of order around the target (including yourself), which lasts until you finish a long rest. Based on the amount of sorcery points used, the shield gets a number of d8s that can be used as a ward against incoming damage. Again, a strong support ability that ties nicely into the theme of order and building. A theme that doubles down on this role in the higher levels.
Starting at level 14, the Clockwork Soul is granted an ability known as the Trance of Order. Entering a state of efficiency as a bonus action, for the next minute, attack rolls against you can’t benefit from advantage. In addition, all skill checks and saving throws count as at least a 10 if you rolled lower. Tapping into the plane of Mechanus further, at level 18, you can call upon the Clockwork Cavalcade. Summoning a number of spirits from the realm of utmost order to create the following effects in a 30ft cube radius:
• The spirits restore up to 100 hit points,
divided as you choose among any number of
creatures of your choice in the cube.
• Any damaged objects entirely in the cube are
• Every spell of 6th level or lower ends on
creatures and objects of your choice in the
Healing, repairing, dispelling affects, this is a powerful spell, and worthy of a level 18 slot. When reviewing these sub-classes, I love when a theme or role is inherently built in. With the Clockwork Soul, the support theme is strong from a mechanics standpoint, but it also feeds into the character concept of an almost robotically efficient caster that taps into the rather mysterious realm of math and engineering. Truly frightening, I know. Utilizing logic and reason, modeling a character after Spock from Star Trek immediately comes to mind. The root of this being the struggle to understand rash human emotion. Maybe the character understands the feelings of emotion, but doesn’t comprehend the link to irrational behavior. Feeling disconnected and lonely, the character strives to become part of something greater. Maybe a bit hyperbolic, but paired with such strong support spells, the Clockwork Soul feels like a small cog that will make any party greater than the sum of its parts.
Share your Clockwork character concepts in the comments below!