“We Don't Have Time... to Argue About Time!”
Let's be honest, if you're going to pick up a super power, having the ability to warp reality to suit your very whim is where it's at. The first of two Dunamancy subclasses for Wizards from the much anticipated Explorer's Guide to Wildemount gets to do just that, with a specific focus on time.
We've seen homebrewed classes and subclasses from Matt Mercer before, and seen them showcased in both Critical Role and CelebriD&D. Each of them is absolutely jam-packed full to bursting with flavour and quite often full to bursting with additional layers of rules and mechanics, too. When compared to published classes and subclasses, they can often seem quite complex, something that can probably be explained by the fact that the initial Critical Role campaign first began using the Pathfinder system – the modern-day Dungeons & Dragons edition 3.5, a system that was much more complex than the streamlined 5th Edition that many of us are now used to.
Even just a quick look at the Chronurgy Magic subclass shows that these are not overly complicated rules. They fit in perfectly with the tone of 5th edition without feeling like they've been dumbed down, but they have lost none of the spirit and flavour that you would expect from something created by Matt Mercer.
Unlike the Unearthed Arcana reviews you've seen so far on the site, these rules are not free – as such the descriptions of each ability will be brief enough to give you an overview of what the class can do. If you want to know more, I encourage you to pick up a copy of the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.
Chronal Shift - 2nd level
Limited ability to change friendly or enemy dice rolls
There is already a wizard subclass that dabbles with this kind of thing (the School of Divination if you haven't encountered it yet!) but the flavour of this ability is quite different. Rather than being able to see the future and warn someone against it, your Wizard gets to meddle with time itself to either hinder or aid a being of their choice. You have no guarantee of succeeding with this ability and it has a limited number of uses, but it's a neat trick to have up your sleeve, and it's not the only one...
Temporal Awareness - 2nd level
Anything, and I mean anything that gives a level 2 Wizard a bit more survivability is an amazing thing, and this is no different. Unless you don't like avoiding being ambushed and killed on the first round of combat – in which case you'll hate it.
Momentary Stasis - 6th level
Freeze a creature in time
This is a nice little twist on Hold Person but, as a subclass feature rather than a spell, it doesn't drain your usual resources. It doesn't last long, but sometimes you don't need a control spell or effect to last for a full minute to be able to take the heat off your party or to protect yourself.
Arcane Abeyance - 10th level
Turn your spells into items you can give to other people
This is such a Matt Mercer-y thing (and by that I mean a neat little flavourful invention that's a twist on an existing feature of D&D, in this case some of the magic items in the DMG) that it brought a big smile to my face when I read it. My favourite thing about this subclass feature is that it introduces a mechanic where a Wizard can hand out spells to other members of their party and spread that arcane love around without a care. Well, actually probably with a couple of cares, because you do have to use your usual spellcasting resources to be able to create a shareable item. If used with a degree of care and planning, you have the opportunity to enrich other members of your party and literally bring some magic into their lives.
However, the coolest part of this feature is that my brain immediately went into the “I could just prepare a crap load of spells before we attacked someone and then dish them out to the party so we can fry them with a magical barrage!”... and then I remembered that if I use up all of my lovely Wizardy spell slots to create these things, there is actually a downside. (I believe that's tangible evidence of balance!) Emptying out all of your spell slots might be tempting, but if you commit too heavily to it you lose some of your versatility, which is one of the things that makes Wizards awesome.
Not only that, but there is a reasonable time limit on how long one of these little gems will last before it fizzles and disappears – clearly they've been reading about the little trick with goodberries that munchkin Druids like to do...
Convergent Future - 14th level
Decide if another creature's die roll passes or fails
This is a super-beefed up version of your level 2 feature, Chronal Shift, with much more control over what happens with the die roll you're affecting. Again, you could be forgiven for wondering how something like this is different from the School of Divination's level 14 feature, but the mechanic really does set itself apart in both flavour and execution. You get less uses of it, but there is a price to pay for activating the feature – you don't just get to interfere with key moments in the game without a cost, after all, as we have seen on multiple occasions on Critical Role!
I have to be honest, I hate hype, and it makes me want to not like things when I hear everyone else raving about them way before they've even been released. However, on just the first skim read of this subclass I was really impressed – I always love things that bring the flavour and this really firmly fits into that category, with just the right level of complexity and some very nifty things that other Wizards don't have access to – aka, the perfect mix for a brand new subclass! This gets a round of applause and a big thumbs up, and I can't wait to get one of these fancy pants Chronurgists rolled up and warping time in a campaign!
Wizard Class Guide
Looking for advice on how to create a Wizard, including tips on how to build and roleplay them well, and make sure they're effective in combat? Look no further than this handy wizard class guide!