Is it just me..? (Wish in 5e)

So, in my quest to figure out how high-level characters can engage in wholesale carnage and slaughter (and yes, 40d6 from a Meteor Swarm is quite decent) I happened to look at the Wish spell.


  1. Duplicate any 8th level or lower spell – check.
  2. List of clearly spelled out non-spell duplicating effects – no problem.
  3. Obligatory, the DM can let you do anything you want if they want to, but it might screw you if you try it - duh.

And then we get down to the last paragraph.

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you. After enduring that stress, each time you cast a spell until you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 Necrotic damage per level of the spell. This damage can’t be reduced or prevented in any way.

Ok, seems kind of harsh for the ability to “downgrade” a 9th level spell into an 8th or lower spell (even if it is potentially a non-Wizard spell) in the 5e spell slot mechanic, but, well, ok. I guess. But let’s continue.

 In addition, your Strength drops to 3, if it isn’t 3 or lower already, for 2d4 days. For each of those days that you spend resting and doing nothing more than light activity, your remaining recovery time decreases by 2 days.

Ok, so in addition to being useless as a spellcaster for the “rest of the day” you are also essentially useless physically. Sure, I can run with this, even if it seems like insult on top of injury. But wait, there’s more…

Finally, there is a 33 percent chance that you are unable to cast wish ever again in you suffer this stress.

Let’s just write that again so we are clear:

There is a 33 percent chance that you are unable to cast wish ever again in you suffer this stress.


So, in a game where I can pretty much memorize anything thing I might want to cast, unless I use what is theoretically my gamechanger, my single most powerful spell, the single most powerful spell in the game, to do something that I already innately do (unlike every other edition) there is a One-in-Three chance that I will never be able to cast this spell again? That’s in addition to being all but useless until I can get a full night’s sleep.

I am kind of hoping that there is a missing sentence in there somewhere. A Saving Throw to make, a clarification that “Category 2″ Wish‘s (see above) count as “spell duplication”, something… Because otherwise the opportunity risk/cost of using a Wish is far too high, and it moves from the category of “super-utility” spell and into a some other netherworld of arcane magic that is great, as long as you never count on doing it again – so make sure it’s worth it!

Teleport the entire party in flash to escape the dragon? 1/3 chance to never cast another Wish.

Cast a “Tempest Cloud” instead of a “Incendiary Cloud” because the monster is vulnerable to Lightning and immune to Fire? 1/3 chance to never cast another Wish.

Especially when compared to the new Divine Intervention rules for Clerics, this seems so out of whack.

Please tell me they are going to Errrata this…




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CR = Combat Rating = Training Wheels = Fleeing From Gygaxian Naturalism

I was commenting on the Rambling Roleplayer’s “The Temple of Elemental Challenge Rating Calculation Evil” post when I realized my big problem with CR numbers.

It’s a set training wheels that I don’t need or want.

I’m used to playing 1e – there were no CR’s. I had to learn how to build adventures based on roughly equating Hit Dice to Level – sort of. Alternately, we could look at the old “Random Monster” tables for dungeon levels, which had a roughly accelerated version of that idea. Going one step further there was the old Wilderness Random Encounter tables which were Gygaxian Naturalism red-in-tooth-and-claw and had no correlation whatsoever to level, it was simply what you could run into “out there in the wild” (or in the city).

This might be because it is a game based on a wargame that predates the vast majority of “point build systems” that are so common today (the Citadel games, Ground Zero Games, etc.) It was rooted more in systems that replicated scenarios that were often less about “balance” and more about “interesting”. Could you survive as the British at Roarke’s Drift? Could you sink the Bismark? How would you handle Pearl Harbor? Can you do as well as Caesar at Alesia?

Instead of trying to build a “balanced scenario” players and DM’s really did engage in a least a little bit of “who can outwit the other” – in the same spirit as wargamers did. In fact, some of the joy of the DM was not so much in building a scenario that killed the players but in watching the players win against odds that were stacked against them.

That’s what made adventures like D3 so great – the idea isn’t to wipe out the entire city of Drow, it’s to sneak in and “win” by achieving the victory conditions. There is nothing “balanced” about the module at all in most respects. One of the most memorable adventures I played in as a players was similar, it was for essentially name level characters (9th-10th level) and was based on Stephen King’s novel Salems Lot – yes, it was a remote village that had been taken over by vampires. By “CR” standards it was utterly over the top and a level-draining, undeath-generating deathtrap, there was nothing “balanced” about it – but we still beat something like two-hundred vampires, along with the utterly evil vampiric version of Rutger Hauer’s character Étienne from Ladyhawke with the bastard sword that acted as a Ring of Vampiric Regeneration. Twenty-plus years later and I still remember that adventure, we had a great time, by finding and enlisting allies, some combination of Captain Kronus, Vampire Hunter and Vampire Hunter D by my recollection, plus finding a vampire-mesmerizing magical item (the Bloodstone) and then fighting smarter not harder.

There are some echoes of this concept in Rise of Tiamat, and that’s actually kind of cool. But it still talks about reducing Tiamat down from a CR30 threat to a more manageable CR18 for the supposedly ~15th level adventurers. I wish it simply talked about ways to allow a group of hopelessly outmatched 15th level adventurers to handle a CR30 threat. It bad gamer speak that robs, I think, the players of any real pride in the accomplishment of taking down Tiamat. “Sorry, that wasn’t the real Tiamat, it was the CR18 version – come back and brag when you vanquish the real one.”

As a long-term DM I don’t need the training wheels of a CR to tell me how to balance an encounter or adventure. Ultimately I’m not trying to build a balanced adventure. I’m trying to build a fun adventure, a challenging adventure, a memorable adventure, hopefully an adventure that my players will be talking about 20+ years from now.

I think the other potential problem with CR ratings is that it doesn’t actually account very well for exceptional players or “unbalanced groups” – I think I just witnessed that with the Cragmaw Hideout session. Three lightly armoured, high-magic characters essentially walked through the entire section by using stealth rather than what was clearly designed for a more “frontal assault” from the descriptions in the module.

The players job is to break the module, to shred any semblance of balance, and reap the rewards.

CR is a third and unnecessary wheel in that process.




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Wow! On an entirely different note…

I had the insight that my “Lost Imperium” idea for an alternate Dark Heresy game would also make a fantastic Traveller campaign – especially with the Mongoose rules that have all sorts of pointers towards the WH40K setting. I’m kind of amazed that I never seriously considered it. I spent so much time wrestling with the question of how to “fix” the Imperium to get an ATU that I could live with I never realized that all of the elements I was looking for are pretty much already present:

Imperial Nobility, Interstellar Trade, Stellar Empires, Alien Races, Psionics, High Tech, Low Tech, Lost Tech, “Ancients”, Cybertech, Lost Colonies, New Colonies, Interstellar Wars, Powered Armor, Imperial Agents, etc. etc. etc.

Really, it’s all a pretty nifty fit in a good many ways – the only clear boggle I can see is the basic (and somewhat fundamental) lack of Adventurer-class ships – unless of course I posited a change in the tech (and I could do that if I wanted I suppose).

I mean, yes, it’s a radical re-envisioning of a Traveller setting, but not as radical as someone who prefers a Proto-Traveller setting instead of the fully-fledged OTU from the height of the GDW era. I was never a huge fan of the Rebellion, enjoyed the old Paranoia Press and Judges Guild versions of the (then) ATU, even the last bits of the Classic Traveller OTU were pretty enjoyable – but the Rebellion was kind of “meh”… I actually enjoyed Hard Times more than the Rebellion and that is pretty darn sad when you think about it.

(Yes, I thought TNE was an abomination just like everyone else. Bad system, worse setting…)

Now, I’m enjoying the heck out of 5e right now and no desire to switch games any time soon, but this is kind of nice to have in my hip pocket. I always run better games when I can let my brain gnaw at an entirely different setting and system.



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Society of Light – Part 5

Part One     Part Two     Part Three     Part Four

As large and encompassing as the Church of the Lords of Light, all those who work with the Celestial Hosts do not full under it’s rubric – nor are all of the Celestials in accordance with how to pursue the War Without End. Some of these organizations are well-respected by the Church, being recognized as members of the Greater Society of Light that have different connections to the Celestials than the Covenant of Enoch.

  • The Healers of Sc. Estor – Perhaps the best known of the Orders that do not fall under the Seal of the Lord Sc. Metatron, the “Green Friars” or “Green Cloaks” (as they are often known) are renowned as healers and have chosen to coexist with the Church by creating monasteries and chapter houses similar to those of the Orders Anchorite and Mendicant. In truth, most members of the Church do not fully realize that the Estorians are not members of the Church proper.
  • The Endorian Warrior Monks – Equally as renowned as the Healers of Sc. Estor, the Warrior Monks of Endor maintain a series of monasteries across the Mortal Realms. Masters of the martial arts, the Endorians wander the realms, bringing justice, healing, and wisdom to those in need. More obviously not members of the Church, they are nonetheless deeply respected, and are friends no commoners and nobles alike.
  • The Sabean Order – Little known and secretive, the Sabean Order likes to think of itself as the “pragmatic cousin” to the Church of the Lords of Light. More “neutral good” than “lawful good” the Sabeans work with all Celestials not merely the Host, as well as good-aligned Dragons, Fae, and Giants (and neutral as well if need be) – often acting as spies and assassins as often as they fight on the field of battle.
  • The Tamarines – With their robes of many colors and ash-marked faces the spiritual sons and daughters of Tamar dwell deep within the Desolation of Hazor in the Tower of Absalom. Led by the descendant of Tamar herself, the women are mystics and prophets, while the men are assassins who seek vengeance for the crimes witnesses in drug-fueled visions. They can be found throughout the realms, doing their bloody work in the darkness and the shadows.

Others however are viewed as heretics by the Church and not considered part of either the Church of the Lords of Light or the greater Society of Light, even though they may have been accepted at one time.

  • Rite and Benediction of the Congregation of the Triune – A short-lived Rite that was declared heretical within a generation of it being founded, the Triune was established with a group of angels fell from grace when they lay with women and spawned a race of monsters – fair in form, black in heart. While it still exists in small hidden communities, it is ruthlessly stamped out wherever it is found by the Church, wary of the monsters that can be hidden within their midst.
  • Order of the Blessed Knights of the Triune – An Order Militant that is associated with the Triune Rite, it is equally small and hidden at this point, working in secret to protect the members of the Triune Rite from the enemies both within and without the Church. Considered as skilled in the skills of the knife and cloak as the Siccari  by those who know of them, they are quite feared by the hierarchy of the Church.
  • Children of the Revelation – An extremely heretical sect unrelated to the Triune Rite (and never actually a formal part of the Church), the Children of the Revelation are a sect that practiced (or practices, their extinction is unconfirmed) a radical form of prophecy involving altered states of consciousness derived from a series of intense ecstatic experiences. Though similar (and much less intense) practices are used by the Church, these were of such a nature that the Children were deemed to be heretics on the verge of Apostasy.


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Ok, also figured out a name for the new campaign…

The Siyahchal Campaign.

I’ve also basically decided where to set it – down south in what was the old Duchy of Loren in Albion, on the borders of the small realm of Mystvale and Old Aquitaine (ignore the quick revision of the old campaign…). Somewhere up on the northern border, near the Ossian Tanglehills – if I’m going to keep the old Mystryvven Campaign relevant I need them to be on the border, in hilly country, near to some mountains, and ideally a coast as well – and that is a vaguely decent enough area. Rich in history and lore, close to all sorts of things now that I think about while writing this. My first thoughts were that beyond the proximity to Mystvale (one of the two independent elvish kingdoms in the Heartlands) it was near the remnants of Tiernaese culture and even relatively close to both Lindesfarne (the home of the Sacred Grove of the Old Faith and the Bardic Colleges) and Tysfar (kind of my version of Waterdeep, plus home to a reskinned Undermountain). But as I think about this also gets the game close to the Great Tor (site of the first great blow against the Witch King in the Wars of Binding and one of the most holy sites of the Old Faith) and the Well of Souls (portal to the Realm of the Dead). Heck, the old County-Palatine of Morrow isn’t that far away when I think about it – and that is/was the domain of an old PC of one of my current players. It’s probably its own small kingdom now.

All of this makes things full of great potential.

The Ossian Clans are a richly neo-Celtic culture compared to the rest of the Heartlands, which actually makes them an excellent neighbor to Mystvale. The exotic nature of Tiernaese culture (think a fantasy Turkish/Ottoman Empire) makes those remnants equally interesting – not to mention the presence of the Iron Court. There is also the remnants of Albion to the south, now a collection of smaller kingdoms and independent states that grimly hold the line against the Blight and the depredations of the Ravengers that cross over the Barrier Peaks. In any case, it’s easy to set both Phandelver in this area as well as a Diamond Lake, an Oakhurst, or even a Barrow’s Edge. I had wanted to spend the time to create a homebrew “starter village” but I suppose I don’t have to.



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Session #2 – Cragmaw Hideout

So we played a bit of 5e again – picking up with the party just outside Cragmaw Hideout but down one player (who wasn’t feeling well) so the party went in with Gwyneth the High Elf Sorcerer, Fonkin the Gnomish Warlock, and the Rhys the Half-Elven Rogue (an NPC) – Ilda the Dwarven Bard “stayed to guard the wagon”.

All in all it went extremely well. The players are pretty tactically adept, but they also all rolled consistently good Initiatives and generally as good Stealth checks – as a result they did the ninja thing through the whole complex. Having the two spell-casters really helped, as did the “brazen stealth” thing – which allowed a great many Sneak Attacks on the part of the Rogue (twin thrown daggers for the win!). The big boss fight with the Black Goblin (aka Bugbear) was somewhat anticlimactic, the two Goblin’s Boggarts were put to Sleep by the Warlock, and then the Black Goblin was dropped in a single round by a solid hit with a Chromatic Orb from the Sorcerer and twin Sneak Attacks with said thrown daggers. They rescued Sildar in the final battle without even allowing the Goblin leader to drag him over to the edge or push him off and no character took any damage the entire evening. We’ll pick up the next session with the whole group and Sildar can do his infodump and they can interrogate the two Goblins they Slept – and then make their way to Phandelver!

Other observations:

  • Cantrips really do free up the spell-casters to be spell-casters rather than one-shot glass cannons. And even the Warlock, who is kitted out as a non-combat spellcaster, was able to acquit themselves quite respectably.
  • Spectral Hand is nasty, Eldritch Blast almost as much. I’m kind of dreading (from a DM perspective) finding out what the “real” combat spells look like – but as players all end up discovering, what goes around, comes around!
  • Stealth and Sneak Attacks are impressive, but mostly for the Advantage. Yes, the +1d6 damage was a game-changer against the Goblins (with 7HP), but I think this will be much less of a factor against more higher HP monsters – even at higher levels with increased Sneak Attack damage.
  • Now we have three 2nd level characters! The Sorcerer gets Font of Magic, the Warlock gets Eldritch Invocations, and the NPC is now a multiclassed Rogue/Fighter (to continue out his backstory for a 1E Ftr/MU/Thief)



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Ok, the “Creating New Races” excerpt from the DMG…

Very cool.

I am very happy that we’ll have “official” Aasimar (and Eladrin), I just hope that Warforged are still in there as was mentioned back a couple of months ago.

So far my only real complaint about a “lack” looks like it will be psionics – with the added complaint that it looks like it could easily be a couple of years before anything official comes out because of the stated release schedule. This really sucks, because psionics and psychic stuff was and has been a big thing in my game world. I really hope I don’t have to kitbash something together in order to replace it later – I’m really trying quite hard to avoid that sort of thing.

Of course, I already have a couple of ideas of course – at least for psychic combat and defense, and basic discipline type stuff. But I pretty sure that I don’t want to have to come up with a Psionicist class all by myself…


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Society of Light – Part 4

Part One     Part Two     Part Three     Part Five

The Sarim: The Sarim are the Chief Celestial Princes who rule over the Eternal City, the Seven Heavens, and Heavenly Host, and the Choirs of Angels. It is said that there is an angel for everything, and that There are too many for a complete list here, as there are entire tomes dedicated to the Hierarchy of Heaven, but the following is a list of the best known or most popular.

  • Lord Sc. Anafiel: Lord of the Crown Judgment; Chief of the Qaddisin (The Judges, two of which must be part of any celestial court); and the Keeper of the Keys to the Eternal City. Once soundly thrashed the Lord Sc. Metatron as part of a Divine Judgment.
  • Lord Sc. Barakiel: Prince of the Choir of Seraphim; Tutelary Prince of the Throne of Heaven; and the Master of the Trisagion.
  • Lord Sc. Camael: Prince of the Presence; Prince of the Choir of Malakim; Chief of the Soqed Hozi (Keepers of the Divine Balances); and the Master of Divine Justice.
  • Lord Sc. Chayyiel: Prince of the Choir of Kerubim; Chief of Angelic Guards over the Great Realm of ‘Aden; and Master of the Sword of Enoch.
  • Lord Sc. Gabriel: Archangel of Annunciation, Resurrection, Mercy, and Vengeance; Tutelary Prince of the Great Realm of Thalath; and Chief of the Soperiel Mehayye (Keepers of the Book of Life).
  • Lord Sc. Jehoel: Prince of the Presence; Prince of the Choir of Ofanim; and Chief of the Merkabah (the Chariots of the Heaven). Reputed to have transported Enoch to Heaven
  • Lord Sc. Metatron: Chancellor of Heaven; The Great Archon; Prince of the Ministering Angels; Sustainer of Mankind; Angel of the Enchiridion; Preceptor of Enoch in the Mysteries of the Evangelion; and Tutelary Master of the Congregation of Istar.
  • Lord Sc. Michael: Archangel and Prince of the Presence; Tutelary Prince of the Kingdom of Light and the Mortal Realm; Angel of Repentance; Viceroy of Heaven; Firstborn of the Sarim; Deliver of the Faithful; and Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts and the Sword.
  • Lord Sc. Phanuel: Prince of the Presence; Tutelary Prince of the Realm of the Great Waste;  Prince of the Sustaining Angels, Angel of Penance; and Master of the Epitemia.
  • Lord Sc. Radueriel: Tutelary Prince of the Underdark; The Recording Angel; Leader of the Celestial Choirs; and Creator of Lesser Angels.
  • Lord Sc. Raphael: Archangel of Healing, Science, and Knowledge; Prince of the Choir of Arelim, Prince of the Presence; and Regent of the Sun.
  • Lord Sc. Ratziel: Archangel of Proclamation and Herald of the Sarim; Master of the Supreme Mysteries; Preceptor Angel of Enoch; Revealer of Divine Mysteries; and Chief of the Irin (the Watchers, two of which must be part of any celestial court)
  • Lord Sc. Uriel: Benevolent Archangel of Death; Preceptor Angel of Enoch; a Prince of the Presence; Angel of Salvation; Regent of the Moon; Tutelary Prince of the Shadowlands and the Great Realm of the  Dead, Overseer of Tartarus; Chief of the Sopheriel Memeth (the Keepers of the Book of Death); and Master of the Tachrichim

The Angels: Often considered the epitome of the Celestials (though there are many others), Angels, collectively known as the Host, are organized into seven great Choirs. Though it is rarely their true form it is common for angels, especially the lesser Choirs, to appear either as normal members of a mortal race or as clearly celestial and winged members of that race. In truth, angels (and most Celestials) have beautiful and awful forms that the mortal mind and eye can barely comprehend, and they cloak themselves in humble array to spares the minds and souls of those that bear witness to their presence.

  • Seraphim - The first and highest Choir of angels, in their true forms the seraphim are great fiery snakes made of love and light, with six wings and four eyes. They unceasingly intone the Trisiagon and surround the thrones of the Heavens.
  • Ofanim - The second Choir of angels, the Ofanim, are the great wheels of the Heavens, their true forms being an iridescent constellation of eyes made up of stars and burning coals. They are the messengers of the Heavens, moving at irresistible speed through the Great Realms, bringing news to all that serve the Light.
  • Kerubim - The third Choir of angels, they are the holy beasts of the Heavens, their true forms most commonly being great multi-winged lions with mortal heads, set to guardianship as a flame of whirling swords.
  • Arelim - The fourth Choir of angels, the valiant ones comprised of white fire, are among the most numerous of the Host, commonly appearing as winged humanoids bearing weapons of fire and thunder.
  • Virtues - the Ministering Angels are the fifth Choir of angels. They are responsible for all living things, plant and animal, and they watch over and minister to their needs.
  • Powers - the Sustaining Angels are the sixth Choir of angels. They are responsible for all the fundamentals of the great works of creation and those things made from and of them. The stones and the seas, the fire and the wind are their charges and they watch over them and sustain them.
  • Malakim - The Choir that stands alone, the dark-winged Malakim are full of grace and valor, standing against the Fallen and the Dearth. The Malakim are the destroying angels, fierce and terrible in their wrath in the War Without End.

The Virtues and the Powers are constantly present on the Mortal Realms and elsewhere, invisible and undetectable for the most part. Arelim are the angels that most commonly answer the summons or answer the needs of mortals, their form and manner being the least alien to mortal understanding. The Kerubim are set as guardians only upon the most powerful or important of mortal places or beings, instead generally being concerned with more arcane matters, and the Ofanim move across Creation unceasingly – their presence dazzling enough to drive mortals blind and mad with it’s mystery and beauty. Seraphim remain Heaven for the most part, rarely venturing elsewhere save in the most dire or important of circumstances. The Malakim can be found anywhere at any time for they are among the most fearsome of the angels, their presence a portent of death, destruction, and despair even in the greatest of victories.

The Council of the Elect: Comprised of those mortals who have come to the notice of the Sarim by virtue of their exemplary service to the Light. The first among the Elect was Enoch, who was blessed by the teachings of the Lord Sc. Metatron as a slave and found his way out of darkness and tribulation in the service of the Light. The Elect often act as inspirations and patrons to various Orders (Anchorite, Evangelion, and Militant) within the Society of Light and their families and bloodlines are respected. Of course, the most respected of the Elect are the Patriarchs of the Church, those life’s work and service serve as the foundation of the Church:

  • Sc. Enoch: First Patriarch and  Patron Saint of the Slaves and the Oppressed
  • Sc. Christoforo: Second Patriarch and Patron Saint of Travelers
  • Sc. Constantine the Faithful: Third Patriarch, Patron Saint of Kings & Rulers, and First Among Equals
  • Sc. Dominus the Preacher: Fourth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Orders Mendicants
  • Sc. Amun the Hermit: Fifth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Hermits and Eremites
  • Sc. Andraa the Valorous: Sixth Patriarch, Patron Saint of the Orders Militants, and Defender of the Holy Lands
  • Sc. Tomasin the Wise: Seventh Patriarch and Patron Saint of Atlan
  • Sc. Aristus: Eighth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Orders Anchorite
  • Sc. Musafir of the Travelers: Ninth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Khem
  • Sc. Simeon: Tenth Patriarch and Patron Saint of Istar
  • Sc. Singh the Lion-Blooded: Eleventh Patriarch and Patron Saint of Khitain
  • Sc. Isaac: Twelfth Patriarch and Patron Saint of the Faithful
  • Sc. Kerioth: Thirteenth Patriarch and Apostate

Below the Patriarchs of the Church are the Patron Saints, members of the Church whose life was singularly defined by some aspect of service that they continue to take active interest in guiding those with the same interest or concern. This can be a profession, it can be an area, or even a somewhat abstract concept. A short list includes:

  • Sc. Bane the Scourger: Patron Saint of those who hunt Undead
  • Sc. Estor: Patron Saint of Healing
  • Sc. Mattias the Dragon Slayer: Patron Saint of those who hunt Monsters
  • Sc. Dominic: Patron Saint of Lawyers
  • Sc. Austin: Patron Saint of Poor and Oppressed
  • Sc. Calir the Mystic: Patron Saint of Psychics
  • Sc. Brendan: Patron Saint of Seamen and Navigators
  • Sc. Kirra of the Sacred Passion: Patron Saint of Tantrics
  • Sc. Thrace of the Oath: Patron Saints of Bodyguards and Boon Companions
  • Sc. Ulric the Trollborn: Patron Saint of Thule
  • Sc. Cullen the Survivor: The Patron Saint of Prophets
  • Sc. Brigid of the Sacred Flame: Patron Saint of Loren
  • Sc. Stefan the Martyr: Patron Saint of Martyrs
  • Sc. Raul the Long Suffering: Patron Saint of Lost Causes
  • Sc. Jamison of the Sword: Patron Saint of Swordsmen, Duelists
  • Sc. El’Azar: Patron Saint of the Siccarri
  • Sc. Olivia: Patron Saint of Children, Virgins, and the Innocent
  • Sc. Aragon the Ranger: Patron Saint of Huntsmen and Archers
  • Sc. Erol the Masked: The Patron Saint of Harrow
  • Sc. Tamar of the Hand: Patron Saint  of Mystics, Visionaries, and Survivors of Rapine
  • Sc. Gerald the Relentless: Patron Saint of those who fight the Lords of the Maelstrom
  • Sc. Lucia the Blind: Patron Saint of the Betrothed
  • Sc. Branwen the Raven: Patron Saint of Ravens and Female Rangers

There are also many of the Saints that have no particular orders associated with them, or who are supplementary figures in the larger orders. These members of the Council are no less respected or revered by the members of the Church of the Lords of Light, merely often of greatest interest to their mortal descendants and their families.


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Started playing 5e today… (Session #1 – Goblin Arrows)

Not sure what to call the campaign yet (I’ll backtag it when I figure things out). I have a collection of ideas around what I want to do but for the moment I’m going to run them through the starter module, Lost Mine of Phandelvar. It’s a small group right now, just the household – but them plus an NPC gets the group to four PC’s (you can see them on the character page). I decided to “reboot” Rhys from the Mystryvven Campaign as a 1st level character and to provide a link to those characters from that campaign if and when I want it – the goal there was always to do the Age of Worms adventure path and I think I could still make that work (if you can run Rise of the Tiamat, then the end-game of Age of Worms certainly isn’t out-of-hand). I think running Scourge of the Howling Horde would pair nicely with Phandelvar as would Sunless Citadel (that’s probably more wishful thinking on my part, it isn’t actually a great match – it’s just a great beginning module).

In any case, we played for a short bit – handled the goblin ambush with no losses (though both Rhys and Fonkin were wounded) and the group then decided to follow the hidden trail. The lack of bodies for Gundar and Sildar suggested that they were prisoners (or food) rather than death, and the stated reasons were to “do the right thing” and rescue their employers from goblins while at least Rhys and Fonkin were equally as concerned with getting paid if Gundar was actually dead. So they followed the trail, neatly avoiding the traps along the way, and found the Cragmaw Hideout! Taking the opportunity to take a short rest and to let Rhys and Fonkin heal, that’s where we stopped the session – just as they are preparing to enter the caves…



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Dwimmervolk, the Dwarves of the City

“Thank you for the drink! While the common folk know that we provide well-made goods for a fair coin, it is your nobles and merchants who understand our true worth as allies and partners. We provide access to the goods and services of our deep-kin, and our financial services are the backbone of the economy of the Mortal Realms. Not simply the goods we create ourselves and sell, but our banking and investments, the goods we move, and the trade we facilitate between the lands of men and the folk of the Underdark. Our engineers and alchemists have been responsible for some of the greatest wonders of the Mortal Realms and our services are in the demand of kings and mages across lands, oceans, and time – from the First City to the Great Works of Albion and Aquitaine we have been there, working beside humans to make a better, more beautiful, and more functional world.”

-Haegarth”the Keen” Glimdurin, Investigating Auditor-Accountant of the Great Clan of Glimdurin

Compared to their kin the Mountain Dwarves, the Dwimmervolk are a welcoming and friendly, cosmopolitan group of cityfolk. Like their kin, they are devoted to their craft, have a deep and abiding hated of goblins, trolls, and worse, with almost as great a reputation for greed and tight-fistedness as their kin. But rather than miners and smiths, the Dwimmervolk are bankers, financiers, and clockwork engineers and tinkerers. As intensely private as the Mountain Dwarves, who they consider shield-brothers and clan-kin, they keep their language and lore secret from outsiders. The term “Dwimmervolk” was given to them by the early humans, it means “the Magic-Folk” and referred not to their skill at the arcane arts per se, but to their skills with clockwork mechanisms, alchemy, and enchanting. Just like the Mountain Dwarves, they are organized along family and clan lines, but the Dwimmervolk have no kingdoms, preferring to “acculturate” into human lands and kingdoms instead, as well as hold titles with their kin in the Underdark.

Statistic Bonuses: +2 Constitution, +1 Dexterity

Languages: Two Human Languages, Dwarrune, Dark Tongue.

Appearance: Dwimmervolk stand 3’8″ tall (+2d4″), and weigh 115 lbs (x2d6). They are Medium in Size and their Speed is 25 (though they are not slowed by Heavy Armor). They tend to have stout builds (though slimmer than Mountain Dwarves) and tawny skin – it isn’t tanned, but merely a darker hue than that of their mountain-dwelling kin. Even young Dwarves tend to have features that look old by human standards, with deep lines and pronounced features, but this is not universal. Dwarven hair begins in generally dark hues, with occasional reds and blonds, but as in humans, it goes gray or white as the Dwarf ages. Dwarves tend to wear their beards and hair long, often with simple braiding to keep it it of the way in forge or fight. The Dwarven beard is a mark of pride and honor and insulting a Dwarf’s beard is a tried and true method of starting a fight with not just that Dwarf, but all their kin as well if it is dire enough. Dwarven eyes are dark, blacks, browns, and greys, but they glitter underneath craggy brows.

Common Dress: Dwimmervolk dress much like the humans they live beside, though they make a point of wearing fine cuts and fabrics that display their wealth. They also wear a fair amount of jewelry in the way of bracers, necklaces, armbands, and hair and beard rings. Clothing tends to be in browns, and the darker shades of greys, blues and greens, with brighter colors common in travelling cloaks and fest clothing – the only colors that are uncommon are whites and blacks. It is also quite common to wear and use rapiers and firearms rather than the axes and hammers of their Underdark kin.

Lifespan: Dwimmervolk are young adults at age 40, considered mature adults at around age 60, and can live up to 525 years of age. They generally begin play at 40 + 5d4 years of age.

Common Culture: Clan and Family are of the utmost importance to Dwarves, accompanied by being a productive member of society. The only members of society that are not expected to remain an active artisan are priests and soldiers (and they usually do so anyway is some small way so deep is this value instilled in Dwarven culture). Dwarves have an even more deeply held prejudice against the practice of Arcane magic save through a scant few methods (Alchemy, Divination, and Runic Magic being the foremost, the Truesmith bloodline being the other). One oddity of the Dwarven race is that Dwarves do not have a gendered society, not that there are no male or female dwarves by sexual characteristics, but by language and thought they have no gender – though each dwarf has an acknowledged parent, and some dwarves may assume a gender to simplify relations with humans.

Common Backgrounds: Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Guild Merchant, Noble, Ordinary Man, Outcast, Skald, and Soldier all make suitable Backgrounds for Dwimmervolk that require minimal explanation.

Naming Conventions: Dwarven names can potentially go back hundreds of generations, though only the skalds or the priests generally know anything beyond about twenty generations or so, and are considered the property of the clan, not the dwarf themselves – when exiled they are cut off from any connection to their former family. Dwarves give state their name in the following lineal fashion:

<Given Name> <Nickname(s)>, <Honorific(s)>

Born of (Parent), of the Clan of <Clan Name>,in the line of <Dynastic Forebear>,

<Rank & Guild Membership>, Great Clan of <Great Clan Name>, in the Kingdom of <Kingdom Name>.

Iterations of the “Child of Parent” can go back as long as preferred, along with acknowledgements of changes in the lineage of that ancestors clan and dynastic forbear. Many Dwarves have nicknames attached to their names, granted by the clan-mates and friends. There is no limit to the number of nicknames that a dwarf can accumulate, but few save the most renowned gain one or perhaps two. Honorifics note special status, such as being Stoneborn, a Truesmith, and special religious status (clergy or champion). Dwarves also specifically note their guild membership as part of their name, which will include their rank or status within that guild. At a bare minimum, dwarves will relate Given Name along with Parent and Clan, anything less is considered rude and anything obscuring (but not a lie, which is dishonorable) is considered an insult (“Ragnarn, of the Dwarves”) as it implies that the addressee cannot be trusted.

Common Alignments: Dwarven culture promotes Lawful ethics and Good morals as the ideal, though there are plenty of more Neutral and even Evil Dwarves. Dwarven psychics, Wizards, and Sorcerers tend to be Chaotic in alignment, as their very nature puts them at odds with many of the most tightly held Dwarven beliefs and attitudes. Most chaotic Dwarves will effectively voluntarily exile themselves rather than risk being labeled Derrokin and have their names struck from the rolls of their families.

Common Religions: Dwarven religion is an even more private matter than the rest of their affairs. Dwarves have a great deal of reverence for the Great Gods and even a grudging respect the human religions of the En Khoda Theos Kirk (the Great Elemental Dragons), but their primary spiritual pursuit is pursuing “the riddle of steel” though “forging their souls” by trial and perseverance. They also venerate their ancestors, living and dead, holding up the best and the worst as exemplars of the best and worst of Dwarven nature. Dwarven Priests are the “Ancestor Lords” – those that have a special connection to the Ancestors, while Dwarven Oracles are skilled with both Runes and “Stonesight”. Dwarven Bards are Lorekeepers and Runesingers, all working with chants, runes, and primarily drums and harps as instruments to bolster morale, speed up work, and hone battlefury as needed.

Common Classes: Preferred — Cleric, Fighter, Rogue; Common –Bard, Paladin, Ranger; Uncommon –Barbarian, Druid, Sorcerer (Truesmith); Rare — Monk, Warlock; Very Rare — Wizard

Common Professions: Dwimmervolk culture exists in synergy with the ecologies and cultures of the Mortal Realms and the Underdark. Any profession is possible, but the Dwimmervolk prize technical skill as well as the skills and talents inherent in trade and commerce. Identical to their kin but unlike human society (let alone Elven) Dwarven ethics do not allow a leisure class, and even Dwarven nobles work to excel at a craft of some sort, though the Dwimmervolk consider “merchant” a worthy craft in and of itself. All Dwarves are also all skilled warriors though few will make a sole profession of arms.

Racial Traits

Darkvision: Accustomed to life underground, Dwarves have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. They can see in dim light up to 60′ as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. They cannot discern colors in darkness, merely varying shades of grey.

Dwarven Resilience: Dwarves have Advantage on all saving throws against poison, and have Resistance to poison as well.

Dwarven Toughness: Dwarves have a +1 to Hit Points at each level, with an increased maximum of one for each level as well.

Tinkerers: Dwimmervolk are premier tinkerers, in addition to Proficiency with Tinker’s Tools and Clockwork Tools, Dwimmervolk can spend 1 hour and spend roughly 10sp on materials to construct a Tiny clockwork device (AC5, 1HP). The device ceases to function after twenty-four hours (unless an hour is spent on upkeep and repair, which provides another 24 hours of operation). A Dwimmervolk tinker can have three (3) clockwork devices , plus their Intelligence modifier, in operation at any one time.

  • Clockwork Toy: It must be an animal, monster, or person. When placed on the ground it moves five feet in a random direction on each of it’s turns. It makes appropriate noises for the creature it represents and moves about for Levelx2 rounds.
  • Fire Starter: The device produces a miniature flame which can be used to light candles, torches, or campfires.
  • Music Box: When opened, this music box plays a single song at a moderate volume. The song stops playing when it reaches it’s end or the box is closed.
  • Autolancer: This device automatically lashes out with a razor-sharp needle for 1HP of damage on contact. It often used for pest disposal or the lancing of infected wounds.
  • Autogyro: Normally a somewhat abstract shape, this is flying device that flies about in a random direction, five feet in distance each round, maintaining the same relative height that it was released at. It moves about for Level in rounds.

With some effort (DC15 and 5sp of materials), the Dwimmervolk can combine two or more of these devices into one. This does not reduce the amount of time that must be spent building or maintaining each sub-mechanism.

Dwimmervolk Skill at Arms: All Dwimmervolk are skilled in Light Armour, and in the use of Hammers, Handaxes, Smallswords, Rapiers, Firearms, and Darters.

Special Vulnerabilities: In bright light or direct sunlight, Dwarves have Disadvantage on attack rolls and visual Perception checks when they or the target they are trying to attack or perceive are in direct sunlight past 30′ of distance.

Psionics: Reserved

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