College of Gimcraks (5A)

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This is a Bard subclass for 5A.

Source: Mike Myler in En5ider 147 under the name College of the Passage.

Many bards develop a signature technique to make their performances unique and memorable. Mechanical devices that move on their own are mostly seen as toys, but gimcrak bards use their eponymous little constructs to beguile their audience, especially children. They are are excellent toymakers, but also master ways to turn toys into deadly devices of war and espionage.

Sublcass Description

Gimcrak Spells

Starting at 3rd level when you join this bardic college, you learn additional spells when you reach certain levels as a bard, as shown on the Gimcrak Spells table. Each of these spells counts as a bard spell for you, but it doesn't count against the number of bard spells you know.

Whenever you gain a bard level, you can replace one spell you gained from this feature with another spell of the same level. The new spell must be from the artificer or bard spell lists.

Gimcrak Spells
Bard Level Spells
3 Alarm, Grease
3 Animate Clockwork, Magic Mouth
5 Flame Arrows, Tiny Servant
7 Arcane Eye, Summon Construct
9 Animate Object, Bigby's Hand


When you join this college at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with tinker's tools. If you already have this proficiency, you gain proficiency with a language, tool, or vehicle of your choice.

You are now able to build clockwork toys called Gimcraks. Using tinker's tools tools and 10 gp worth of materials, you can spend 1 hour to construct a Tiny clockwork device, a Gimcrak. You can use recovered parts of a destroyed Gimcrack to built another Gimcrak, saving the gold. You can have a maximum number of Gimcraks ready to be activated equal to your Proficiency Bonus. If you exceed this number, one of your older Gimcraks breaks down.

A Gimcrak is a clockwork creature, typically a miniature animal, monster, or person, such as a frog, mouse, bird, dragon, or soldier. It has a Charisma (Performance) bonus equal to your Proficiency bonus and can Help you when you perform. It also has a Dexterity (Stealth) bonus equal to double your Proficiency Bonus.

You can activate a Gimcrak and give it a destination as an action. It then remains active for one hour before it breaks down. When active, the toy moves on each of your turns in a direction of your choice, following a path determined when you activated it. As long as you know the exact route it is to follow, you can give it a destination within 1 mile and it will move there and then hide, stay still, or perform a simple entertainment routine of your choice. You can also order it to follow you in your space or at a set distance. It can make noises as appropriate to the creature it represents and play tinny instruments you build into it. The only actions it can take while moving on its own is the Dodge and Hide actions or to use Perform, as you instruct it when you activate the device.

You may spend a bonus action to expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling a Bardic Inspiration die and gaining precise control over a Gimcraks' movement for a number of minutes equal to the result as long as the Gimcrak remains within 1 mile of you. When you control one or more Gimcraks this way, they can move and act like a normal creature and you can see the area within 30 feet of a Gimcrak you control. This also resets the duration of the Gimcrak as if you just activated it. It can now remain active for another 1 hour and you can give it new instructions. You can use a reaction to detonate a controlled Gimcrak, destroying it. All creatures within 10 feet of an exploding Gimcrak must make a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC, taking force damage equal to 2d6 × your Proficiency Bonus on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success.


Tiny construct
Armor Class: 10 + PB
Hit Points: Twice your level (Hit Dice 1d4 per level)
Speed: 20 ft.
STR 1 (-5) DEX 10 (+0) CON 10 (+0) INT 1 (-5) WIS 11 (+0) CHA 10 (+0)
Skills: Perform + PB, Stealth + 2 x PB
Damage Immunities: poison, psychic
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses: darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Advanced Senses: At level 10 the Grimcrack gains Blindsight 30 feet.
Languages: none
Challenge: —
Proficiency Bonus: equals your bonus

Special Traits

Evasion. A gimcrak can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon's fiery breath or a Fireball spell. When the gimcrak is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

Gimcrak Scout

Beginning at 6th level, your control over your Gimcraks increases dramatically. When you use a Bardic Inspiration die to control a Gimcrak you can perceive through its senses until the start of your next turn. For the next 10 minutes you can extend or resume this until the start of your next turn as a bonus action. This enables you to hear and see anything it can for as long as you control it, using any sense it has. You can still perceive normally using your own senses during this time.

In addition, you can now construct a Gimcrak that has climb, fly or swim speed instead of land speed.

Advanced Senses

Starting at 14th level, your Gimcrak gains blindsight 30 feet. When you have a controlled Gimcrak within 5 feet you also gain blindsight 30 feet. You need not be perceiving through the Gimcrak senses to gain blindsight in this way.

In addition, when you perceive through one of your controlled Gimcraks, it gains truesight.

Editor's Notes

Extensive edits, trying to make the rules clearer and more balanced. Introduced the name Gimcrak to give it a game term and allow for more concise wording.