Nanite Sorcerer Bloodline for 5th Edition D&D

More Machine than Man

The Nanite Bloodline, from Paizo’s People of the River, might be a little too specific for most games, but it’s perfect for Iron Gods, where players can play android sorcerers. The bloodline synchronizes with the android race nicely, in my game the bloodline is android only (and the only sorcerer bloodline androids can take). I like the idea that an android’s “sorcery” comes less from a draconic ancestor or a wild font of magic, and more from its programming. That says a lot, to me, about the people who programmed it, and the ways in which magic and technology were merged in their society. If a society has technology advanced enough to create nearly-human constructs, and imbue those constructs with souls, that’s the realm of hard science fiction. If that society also chooses to give those androids access to magical power, that’s something else altogether, something I haven’t seen tackled in fiction, much.

In that vein, this bloodline is less for people who want to play out characters and archetypes from fiction than people who want to create a blend of genres that is hard to find on bookstore shelves. I’m not against borrowing (I wrote the Mentalist to emulate pulp action heroes, after all), but sometimes creating a new path, with little basis in the literature, is fun, too.

That said, I can see an argument for keeping the nanite bloodline and the android race disconnected, beyond that being a design philosophy of 5th Edition, since wild magic can pop up anywhere, and nanites can infect non-androids. In my games, though, I’d rather keep them linked for story reasons.


jere-tokenYour innate magic comes from nanites, microscopic robots, in your bloodstream. You might be an artificial person, built with arcane power in your constructed veins, or you might have been exposed to a nanite infestation while exploring the site of a crashed spaceship. You might come from a world where nanites are used routinely, and sorcerers routinely gain power from technology. However you came by the power, your nanite abilities focus on personal transformation.

Nanite Ancestry 
Your bloodstream courses with nanites that protect you from disease, heal you in emergencies, and make your physical form more malleable. Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, your nanites can activate a number of times per day equal to your level plus your proficiency bonus. If you are an android, these activations can be used to fuel any racial powers that use nanites, and and racial daily uses of nanites are added to those gained from this bloodline.

Nanite Surge 
At 1st level, you can take an action to activate your nanites, giving you advantage on one attack, saving throw, skill check, or ability check. At 7th level, you can use this ability as a bonus action. At 11th level, you can use this ability as a reaction.

Nanite Healing
Starting at 1st level, when you are reduced to 0 hit points, your nanites automatically activate to stabilize you. No action is required to use this ability. At 7th level, when you are reduced to 0 hit points, your nanites automatically activate to spend one hit die to heal you. At 11th level, when you are reduced to 0 hit points, your nanites automatically activate to spend one hit die to heal you, and cast expeditious retreat with a duration of one round. Once used, this ability can not be used again until after you finish a short or long rest, even if you have additional nanite activations available.

Nanite Infection
Starting at 6th level, when a creature fails a saving throw against a spell you cast, or when you succeed on an attack roll to hit a creature with a spell that has no saving throw, you can use your reaction to activate your nanites to cause the creature to be blinded, deafened, or poisoned for one round. You can use two nanite activations to cause the creature to be stunned or paralyzed for one round.

Nanite Spellcasting
At 14th level, when you cast a spell from the transmutation school, you can activate your nanites in place of sorcery points when you use any metamagic ability that costs 1 sorcery point.

Living Swarm
Beginning at 18th level the nanites in your bloodstream spread throughout your body, replacing your organs. When you are hit with a spell or attack, you can use your reaction to gain resistance to one type of damage, before damage is determined, until the end of your next turn. You can also activate your nanites as part of spellcasting to cast any spell from the abjuration or transmutation schools with a range of touch or self on yourself without using a spell slot.

Hacking the Nanite Bloodline

The draconic and wild magic bloodlines are so externally focused, I thought it might be fun to work this bloodline into one that is more self-focused. While the power names are similar, and I tried to keep the spirit of each power, the mechanics of the powers are very different. Throughout, though, my goal was the same: a sorcerer bloodline focused on personal transformation. Of all the powers, I’m least sure of “nanite infection.” Do the nanites ride along the the spell? Are they self-replicating? I just don’t know!

In the end, it doesn’t matter. I followed the rule of cool, and I don’t think that using a limited resource to apply conditions for one round is overpowered.

I can see this bloodline appealing to people who miss tracking a bunch of things. 5th Edition has a lot less resource management than earlier editions, but if you’re playing a nanite-blooded sorcerer, you’re tracking all the usual things, as well as sorcery points and nanite activations. If that’s not enough I recommend the lucky feat. Between the three of them, a player might almost be tracking as much as a Magus.

Next time:


4 responses to “Nanite Sorcerer Bloodline for 5th Edition D&D

  1. Like the conversion. I would argue that in Iron Gods AP it makes sense that only androids get access to this bloodline. In a setting that is more completely science-fantasy, like Numenera, would open it up for everyone – Nano Mage.


  2. Pingback: Summerlands Recap and New Directions | Dungeon Hacking

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