We’ve been thinking of moving our 4e game to 5e. I’m really looking forward to it — I’ve REALLY been enjoying the way 5e kind of “hangs together” in ways 4e doesn’t for me — but there’s a couple of missing features. To my mind, there are basically two big problems:
1) Our wizard (Erevan) is famous for three things: fireballing the party, turning into a fire elemental, and summoning a fiery hound.
You don’t need rules support to fireball the party. We’re covered on that front. Most of Erevan’s spells leave behind cinders, though. I guess we could do that rare thing where we flavor an ice spell as a fire spell; she might prefer ice storm flavored as flaming cinders, since it at least carries difficult terrain for 1 round (“precendiary cloud”?). There really aren’t a lot of lingering effects in 5e, for which I’m mostly grateful. The humble “pool of burning oil” might be the best option; they burn for 2 rounds (usually) and deal 5 fire damage to creatures entering or ending in the area. A Wand of Liquid Flame (7 charges; spend one charge per level of a spell you are casting which deals fire damage; fill the ground in its area with burning oil) might be needed.
Turning into a fire elemental is a bit harder. Wizards just don’t get that trick (druids, oddly, do). The elemental evil investiture of flame is a decent start (covered in fire and elemental resists, damage to those who end near you, fire snake arms). The flight is fairly important; it might be better to swap out the damage for those near you for flight. The PHB fire shield too, of course; resistance to cold damage and unsaveable reckoning damage when you’re hit. You could modify the warlock’s armor of agathys to be fire aspected, too. Don’t overlook absorb elements; its discharge condition is a melee attack, not a melee weapon attack. To me, some combination of these powers is enough.
There’s lots of spells for the fire hound. The easiest is flaming sphere, then conjure minor elemental some azer in hound masks, then conjure elemental a fire elemental described as a hound. Hell hounds (swap fiend for elemental type) would be ideal, but they’re in the dead zone: Challenge 3 is too high for ‘minor, but too low for the full summon. C’est la vie; the flaming sphere and azer, between themselves, provide more than enough IMO.
2) Our paladin (Kriv) is a coward. The entire point of his character is to Divine Challenge or Sanction the foe, then kite them, doing the bare minimum to keep the mark on. They’re busy chasing him, and the bulk of his damage comes from the DM having the monster attack anyway, incurring divine wrath.
First: spirit guardians, alone, is almost good enough here. It does damage just for being near you and hampers its victims; from a strict “I don’t hit people, I just flit around”, this is basically Kriv’s modus operandi, less needing the DM to check with the player over who’s marked.
But say we wanted more mechanical commitment.
The Oath of the Crown is a really good match: Champion Challenge and a spell list including compelled duel, warding bond and, of course, spirit guardians.
The Oath of Vengeance is even better, though. They work almost not at all like the current kitey behavior, but they fit the flavor excellently. Their abjure enemy locks the foe down (no hit point damage, but…), and their vow of enmity makes your hits doleful and, when you hit 15th level, Soul of Vengeance lets you smack your foes for attacking (anyone).
The question is, I guess, whether the spell list is more important, or the control aspect without casting spells.
With all of that said, though, I think the easiest solution might just be a new spell, available to paladins:
1st level abjuration (cleric, paladin)
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a scale and a feather)
Duration: 1 minute
You place an injunction on a creature which can see and hear you, and which is not immune to the charmed condition. You command it to eschew violence and aggression (or, with the DM’s permission, other behavior). Until the spell ends, each time that creature attacks, makes a damage roll, or forces someone to make a saving throw, this spell punishes them. The creature must make a Charisma saving throw. If they succeed, the spell ends; otherwise, that creature takes 1d12 points of radiant (good), psychic (neutral) or necrotic (evil) damage.
At higher levels: You gain an additional die of damage per higher spell level; you can use it to select additional targets or to increase the damage to all existing targets.
This formulation is careful. You can still grapple (“The rule is simple: if you’re making an attack roll, you’re making an attack.“), shove, and so forth. You can hide, dodge, drink potions, help allies. But you can’t act aggressively.