I didn't want standard-issue magic missile hurling wizards to be too common in this setting. Instead, I wanted a variety of magicians with very different thematic spell lists.
When designing magician for the drowned world, I wanted to be sparing with damage spells. Instead, I wanted to grant PCs a collection of problem solvers that can offer a lot of battlefield control and tactical play. I have always believed that the best magic-user isn't the one toasting the enemies with fireballs, but rather the one who .make sure the fighter is invulnerable while he splits skulls, and the thief always backstabs. These are my initial takes:
Halflings with Attitude
Rather than having wild jungle sorcerers, or eerie druids from the heart of a black forest, I wanted my settings plant-magic specialists to be everyday farmers who happen to learn a strong dose of folk magic that they mostly just use to care for their crops. But the really talented among their mage-farmers can turn scarecrows into armies and use their crops as a weapon.
A race of simple, small, dark-skinned people so attuned to the life force that they can speak to plants. As a people, they have developed a secret magical art that allows them to animate plants, causing them to grow and move, or take shapes. They can animate figures of sticks and gourds to serve as laborers and bodyguards.
The Immerweils’ plant magic is feared, and their crops are always bountiful enough to trade, which buys them a peaceful existence.
Doll: The Immerweil can make a figure of a gourd, roots, twine, leaves, and sticks that will become their animated servant. Making a doll requires six hours of crafting and rituals and costs 100gp worth of materials. You may have as many dolls as you may have henchmen.
HD 1d6; AC 13; Attacks: Punch (1d3); MV: 120’ (40’); AL: N; ML: 12; Treasure: Nil; XP: 5
For me, the best D&D experiences are ones where the adventure felt like a puzzle to be solved. This is how I have imagined the time magicians that I call The Demalion. They cannot deal damage, but their ability to control the flow of time can turn the tide.
While their spells include some truly staggering high level options, at low levels attempting them will render the character helpless and fail more often than not. I am hoping that over time the struggles of these characters will make the payoff feel big.
The Demalion are a tribe of sorcerers who discovered the ancient engine that regulates time itself. They have learned to manipulate, slow, and even freeze time, but never turn it back. Deeply aware of their own mortality (although many live for centuries), they are driven by an urgent need to accomplish great works of magic, Art, and technology. They are notoriously ill-tempered, impatient, and sarcastic.
I love illusionist heroes. Deception and trickery as your primary weapons are another. I deceided to make a imp-like illusionist / thief.
A race of minor fiends that fled the netherworld and live alongside humans. They have become mortals after generations on the material plane. They are black-skinned, horned, and tailed. They are gifted in illusion magic, and often serve as entertainers.
Thief Skills: A Trickster has a 1 in 6 chance of Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, Pick Pockets, or Hear Noise. They may distribute 4 extra points out of six (to a maximum of 5 in 6 in any skill) in any skills. Every level after first up to thirteenth they may add another 2 points across their skills.