Welcome to the Tal’dorei Campaign Setting Reborn! This third-party book for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is quite capable of changing the tabletop RPG for the better. Especially if you, as a Wizard, wants to find some darker secrets. While most schools of magic have fantastic strengths, none can be quite as risky as blood magic. By channeling your own vitality, you may unlock incredible power… Or, you may strip away the last of humanity as your life flows out of your fingertips. Looking to take that risk? Good. You can now read the School of Blood Magic DnD 5E Guide to learn if this archetype is worth trying for yourself.
See the Future: Blood Magic Wizard 5E
The Blood Magic Wizard is a mostly offensive archetype which promises to deal significant damage to your foes. However, it is at the cost of your life points. Wizards have a historically tiny pool of health, so this is a risky strategy at best. Blood Magic experiments with using health to replace plenty of things, so if you want a Wizard who is always on the edge… Read on!
To start, you get a small amount of utility. At level 2, you may use your body as an Arcane Focus, as long as you do not have your maximum amount of health. Also, you may take 1d10 damage to replicate 50 gp worth of material for a spell. If this brings you to 0 health, the spell will not be cast. However, you get to keep the spell slot.
The first part of this is not too useful. Your body being an arcane focus is a fun idea, since you can now cast spells while being tied up or while wielding a sword and shield. This opens up a few different builds, but not many. Cantrips will still deal more damage than swinging an ax. You can pretend that you’re not a Wizard, but that ruse might fall apart quickly. Overall, mostly just fun flavor and utility. If you need to use it, make sure to prick your finger in the morning to unlock this ability early.
Now, the second part is interesting. The damage is very high, keeping you from doing this with combat spells. Thankfully, almost all spells with a material cost are utility spells, such as Create Homunculus. Create Homunculus would deal 20d10 damage to you, which is an average of 100 health. Getting your wizard over 100 health is a chore. So, this ability is most useful on spells with a cost of a little less than that. 100 gold is just 2d10 damage, which is nothing.
But hold on. It says if the damage brings you to 0 you lose the spell. Is there a way to prevent you from dropping to 0 health from damage…?
At level 7, your Cleric can cast Death Ward on you. Death Ward doesn’t reduce damage in any way, it just makes you drop to 1 instead of 0 from taking damage. Now, you may take any amount of damage to cast any spell in the game. For free.
This ability will break this archetype if it gets to the endgame. Being able to cast Wish for free might make your DM a bit miffed. You can save your money for magical items that you cannot craft and just cast all sorts of spells that you would otherwise not be able to. All at the cost of your Cleric’s 4th level spell slots.
Please talk with your DM about this ability and ensure it is okay. This can be balanced by simply lowering the cost of the Material by 50 gp, to a maximum of 50 gp per level. Or by preventing Death Ward from working. Otherwise, this can get a bit annoying.
At level 2, you can use your blood magic in another way. You can take non-negatable necrotic damage equal to the spell level of a damaging spell you’ve cast. You can reroll a number of dice equal to your Intelligence modifier, and must take the reroll.
Pretty solid! Wizards often suffer from relying on their dice. And when you throw 8d6 per fireball, a few are probably going to be 1s. This can turn a worthless spell into a massacre, only at the cost of a relatively small amount of damage to yourself. And this damage to yourself is the only cost! No limitations per day or anything like that.
Try to use the law of averages to your advantage here. If you roll a 3 on a d6, you’ve rolled average. You’re as likely to roll equal or lower as you are to roll higher. That might not be worth rerolling! Focus on lower dice values to maximize the damage you deal.
Fantastic ability! Make sure you have the healing support to back this up.
Bond of Mutual Suffering
At level 6, you can force an enemy to learn just how hard they hit. You spend your reaction when you take damage to make the target, who you can see, take the same exact amount of damage. This can only be used against living things once per short or long rest. At level 14, you get another use.
I’m usually not a fan of “thorn” effects, where you deal damage back to an aggressor. This is a little bit different. You deal full damage back to them, no fuss or fowl. That means you can take a 50 damage Harm and you deal 50 damage back. That’s pretty great as a reaction! It’s a solid deterrent from attacking you, and if you reflect the right attack, the enemy might just get decimated in one hit.
There’s no real strategy to this. If you think you’ll take a lot of damage from an attack, just use your reaction. Since you get it back every short rest, you don’t necessarily need to hold onto this ability. This should be a tool to take down a big threat during a fight, rather than a trump-card to hold onto until the boss rolls up. Especially at level 14, where you get two charges!
Glyph of Hemorrhaging
At level 10, you get to add an additional effect on 1 spell every time you take a short or long rest. You curse a single living creature that is hit by your spell. That creature is cursed, and takes 1d6 bonus Necrotic damage every turn. The creature can attempt a Constitution save to shrug off the curse.
Hunter’s Mark and Hex are two of the best spells in the game. This ability allows you to apply a version of Hex to an enemy. This Hex is stronger and weaker than the original spell. It can be removed with a good saving throw, and does not debuff skill checks. However, you just gave Hex to your whole party! Whenever anyone does damage to this enemy, they’ll deal 3 average extra damage! That’s absolutely insane! You can pump numbers for Monk, Fighter, or any multi-hitting ray!
If you can consistently lower the Constitution save of your target through conditions like Sickened or similar effects, this can spiral out of control. Your 3 bonus damage will tear through an important enemy over the course of a long boss fight.
However, it is only once per short or long rest. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Just make sure you’re targeting a big healthy man. Or someone that you need to take down as soon as possible. It’s not the rarest thing that you’ve ever seen, but you’ll need to make sure it lands on the right target so your party can tear them to shreds.
Thicker Than Water
Level 14 is a bit weird for the Blood Mage, as it is primarily defensive. Whenever you are healed by magical effects, such as spells, you regain extra health equal to your proficiency bonus. In addition, if you’re concentrating on a spell, you gain resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
These are pretty solid. The first is whatever. Getting a small amount of extra health will rarely come into play. At this point, healers can spend a spell slot to heal for 70. Adding 4 to that isn’t going to make it more worthwhile! This can help with multiple instances of small healing, such as the constant healing from Aura of Vitality. You can also use it with Wither and Bloom to heal a pitiful amount of health on top of what the spell normally heals for. This can build up over the day, so don’t discount it!
Being able to reduce the damage you take while you channel is extremely nice. Physical damage is the most common by a large margin, since almost every monster can punch you in the face. Against creatures with weapons, you’ll probably not benefit from this by the time you get this ability. Weapons at this point will probably be magical more often than not. Usually, this means just a touch of extra safety while you concentrate. Be sure to concentrate on important spells! Concentration spells can lock down enemies, but they can also lock you down a bit.
Best Race for Blood Magic School Wizards
The Blood Mage is very, very slightly different from standard Wizards. Since they can cast with their bodies rather than a free hand, they can get away with using a weapon and shield early on. Later, you’ll probably want your grimoires that improve your DCs. And you’ll still want to get a ton of Intelligence.
The hobgoblin from Volo’s begins with Light Armor proficiency, great Constitution, a bit of Int, and Saving Face. Saving Face is great for a Wizard, since it’ll let you get a +3 (more or less, depending on the size of your party) to a saving throw if you completely screw the pooch. It can also give you that bonus to an attack roll if your Disintegrate flew off to the side. This race can set up for Medium Armor proficiency for Shield proficiency. Great all-around!
The Hybrid from Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica lacks the raw power of the Hobgoblin’s start in return for utility. You get Animal Enhancement, which can let you float, climb, or even swim. Great for specific campaigns, and a good Climb Speed can be almost as strong as Flight in the right situations. In addition, at level 5, you can Grapple or Spit acid, neither of which are fantastic. However, you can get a raw +1 to AC, which is very nice. Getting harder to hit is important for a Blood Mage, since they are doing a great job kicking their own buts! The Warforged from Eberron are another great option, trading in better movement speed for a +1 to AC earlier.
Conclusion – Our Take on the Blood Magic School
With one super awkward exploit in mind, the Blood Magic school feels rushed. If you can get around that exploit with your DM, you can find a Wizard with a ton of damage to back up the Wizard’s impressive strength. If you want a Wizard who can blow up an encounter very consistently, this is your guy. Just make sure your DM understands what you can do, and don’t let that minor hurdle ruin your campaign.
But wish doesn´t have a material cost? Its already “free”. Most spells with really high component costs are situational and high level, at which point the most parties have more money than they can spend. I really don´t think its a problem.