I'm John Constantine, I do Stupid in Spades - The Laughing Magicians Bloodline
I had a great deal of fun coming up with the Browncoat subclass last week, so I figured I try my hand at another one from a TV/movie that I loved. After giving it some thought, I landed on John Constantine, of movie, TV, and comic book fame. I decided on doing the subclass as a sorcerer, and I know this will be a point of debate amongst people reading this. He could have gone either Sorcerer or Warlock, and I chose Sorcerer, as the description of how the class gets their magical abilities lined up better with my vision. This subclass is a combination of all three genres, so if you’ve only watched the movie, go pick up the Hellblazer comic to see where some of my inspiration comes from. You won’t be disappointed.
Constantine was born with his powers, as he was one in a long line of sorcerers known as the Laughing Magicians. The Laughing Magicians are magic-users from a particular bloodline, characterized by both their unique ability to utilize Synchronicity Wave Travelling and their tendency for rebuking and outsmarting Gods, Demons, Spirits and just about everything else. Synchronicity in magic is the belief the universe is guiding you. By using this power, you take control of synchronicity, making your own luck and advantages in battle. This allows Laughing Magicians to use fate and synchronicity to their advantage, putting fate on your side and multiplying the chances of succeeding even more. Simply put, synchronicity allows a Laughing Magician to create their own luck, and by doing so, reshape the battle they are fighting to their own accord and liking.
Laughing Magicians have existed for most of history as people who rebuked the Gods whom others worshiped. Some even managed to destroy or use Gods for their own purposes. While not all Laughing Magicians have such great powers, a select few have the abilities above.
For those that don’t want my thought process behind the Laughing Magicians:
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Constantine spent most of his time talking, arguing and making deals with demons and angels. So it made sense that the Laughing Magicians can speak, read and write Abyssal and Celestial. Knowing their language gives you advantage on History (Intelligence) checks to recall information about them. If your bloodline has, throughout history, screwed with demons and angels alike, it probably makes sense that you should able to communicate with them.
One of the core abilities of the bloodline, at 1st level when you see a creature make an attack roll against you, you can use your reaction to ride the Sychronicity Wave and impose disadvantage on the attack roll. Whether the attack hits or not, you can then move up to half your speed without provoking opportunity attacks. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier per long rest. While it may not be as powerful as I hoped for this skill, it was important to give the subclass the ability right away. One point of debate (Stephen changes everyone of my ideas, oh wait, I mean helps my through the mechanical issues) was whether The Laughing Magicians should be able to use their reaction to make an attack or be able to move away safely. I opted for safety, as it seemed to be more in line with what the character this bloodline is based off of would do. Constantine is a spell caster not a melee fighter. Once again, for those of you that have only seen the movie and/or TV show, go read the comic and you’ll understand how important this is to the bloodline.
Sigils of Protection
Among the many abilities the Laughing Magicians have, using sigils to protect themselves from danger is another core tenet of the bloodline. There is a list of the sigils in the subclass description, so I don’t want to go over them in to much detail here. I felt it was important to give protection from both spell and weapon attacks, since Constantine, while a great sorcerer, was only an average melee fighter at best. So you’ll want some protection for those annoying creatures that get a little too close. *Author’s Note - I wanted to acknowledge that I used some of the runic weapons descriptions when doing the sigils. I don’t want Stephen to get all mad at me for not giving him credit.
The 2005 Constantine Movie starring Keanu Reeves opens with him performing a rather difficult exorcism on a demon trying to cross over to the material plane. It’s a cool scene and sets the stage for the main plot line. While I was going to base the exorcism skill on the cleric Excorise spell from AD&D, it was pointed out to me that their isn’t really possession in 5e, so the spell didn’t have much mechanical use. Instead, Laughing Magicians receive the ability to learn Dispel Good and Evil, which upon comparison is basically the 5e version of exorcism in many ways. It’s a pretty powerful ability, but being able to cast out demons and other supernatural beings is the name of the game for John Constantine, so it was important to make sure it was a powerful ability for the Laughing Magicians. Also included at 14th level is having advantage against being charmed and frightened.
Portal to the Depths
Screwing with the undead and fiends are what the Laughing Magicians do best. Not only can they travel to their domain and mess with them, but the Laughing Magicians can trick the creatures onto the material plane to be bound to do whatever the sorcerer wishes. Constantine took great pleasure in trapping demons and making them do his bidding. While sometimes it didn’t work out like he hoped, it never deterred him from trying over and over again. It also seemed like John spent just as much time in Hell as he did on Earth, so allowing him to travel back and forth between specific planes was a critical skill for this sorcerer subclass to have.
So there you have it, the Laughing Magician Subclass for the sorcerer. It was impossible to include all the abilities and skills our inspiration, one Mr. John Constantine, has acquired over the years and from all the genres he has appeared in. It was important for me to not only base the subclass on Constantine, but the lore and background of the Laughing Magicians themselves. I hope you enjoy trying this out!