Posts Tagged With: Character Class

Mystic, Psionics, and 5E vs AD&D Balance

So, the playtest of the full, 20-level, Mystic came out via Unearthed Arcana last week and it looks pretty decent. I’m not sure I like all of it, but I like most of it and I find the whole package quite workable even if I have some qualms about specific Disciplines and don’t think there are enough Talents.

I also don’t like that there is no “psionic vs. psionic” combat – all psionic attacks work against anyone, and there is seemingly no benefit in being psionic when it comes to resisting psionic attacks or damage.

Part of this is because I want to keep some of the flavor of AD&D psionics, and there are a handful of things which don’t translate well or haven’t been translated at all – and there are some things which I like a great deal and because I never played 3E or 4E or even any 2E Psionics, I never had any exposure to them. I played with a “Psionics as the random extra” straight out of the Player’s Handbook and the Psionicist class out of the Dragon Magazine. I also used the Deryni from the same issue and adapted various races do include an innately psionic component.

Now, you could certainly adapt Feats as a way to grant some access to psionics without having to go full-Mystic or even have to adopt a psionic subclass (which I am sure will appear sooner or later, I’m pretty sure that’s what the Soul Knife is going to end up as). There are the Magic Initiate and Ritual Caster Feats and some analogy would be easy enough to develop.

But I’m also a fan of the “psionics as a rare and random extra” for characters. So my current thought experiment is that there is a percentage chance equal to the total of the character’s modifiers for Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma that the character is psionic. This might be too high, I haven’t checked against the old chances in 1E.

And then a table both for total number and for random Disciplines and Talents – similar to the old 1E method of handling things. I’d probably make Psionic Strength Points a multiplier of level rather than the completely random method used in 1E, perhaps 2x or 3x level, so that it is always lower than an actual Mystic.

5E has attempted (and failed, as usual) to keep characters tightly balanced. The action economy, the mostly nonsense of bounded accuracy, the general increase of hit points, and the overall nerfing of spell-casting (fewer slots, concentration, etc). The problem is that even with spell-casters being nerfed, they still outclass other classes in Tier 3 & 4 play. Some are positively sickening such as the Eldritch Blast Warlock, and the non-caster melee types simply pale in comparison.

As broken as Exalted was (is), this is where it was amazing with it’s Charms, you could play a melee character and it was as bad-ass as a spell-caster (possibly more so in some ways, but that was the nature of the wuxia-inspired system).

So, as an old 1E AD&D DM, I’m much more comfortable with characters of unequal power, and in fact with characters that are fundamentally more powerful than they are in 5E. Heck, I have a campaign world somewhat predicated on it, there’s some wriggle-room, but I really wouldn’t want to depend on a 5E Tier 4 character for the fate of the multiverse…

Pretty much all my house rules continue in the vein of making 5E characters more powerful, especially the spell-casters. We are miles away from the quadratic casters of earlier editions, but I simply have no problems with the idea of high-level casters being significantly more powerful than melee-types.

When I think of high-level spell-casters I’m thinking Gandalf fighting 1v1 with the Balarog (yes, yes, I know that they’re both really angels, but you know what I mean) or Ged fighting multiple dragons by himself, or Elric, or Pug, or even Doctor Strange. These are characters you really can’t replicate any more given the power restrictions of 5E.

D.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casting spells and wearing armor (5e)

So, as I go through the list of things that I like about 5e as compared to 1e, and things I like much, much better in 1e the whole concept of wearing armor and casting spells comes up. In 5e, this is simply a matter of proficiency – if you are proficient in the armor, then it doesn’t interfere in your spell-casting. Now, in 1e spell-casting and armor was severely limited and was one of the great balancers for non-human races, fundamentally for Arcane Magic.

Now, truthfully, there are all sorts of different flavors of Arcane Magic now (and we’ll ignore my “historical game” switched all sorts of things up, like Druids using Arcane Magic, blah, blah, blah…) but, in the quest to nerf the idea of level-dipping, and continue to add back at least some of the verisimilitude that made my campaign world make sense…

Divine Magic has no inherent limits on armor (just like 1e), it is simply a matter of the armor training you get from your class. A character Deity is happy to pump divine energy into you, whatever you’re wearing, as long as you’re doing “the right stuff”!

Arcane Magic is where it gets wonky…

Wizards, Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters, and Sorcerers may only wear only wear Ultralight Armor.

Bards and Warlocks may wear Ultralight and Light Armor.

Elves, High Men, Half-Elves, Sh’dai, Dwarrow, the Old Race, and Gnomes (this could expand as additional races are detailed) may wear non-metallic Light and Medium Armor and cast Arcane Magic, they may also wear enchanted metallic armor of the same types.

This gets us back to the image of locking wizards into specially-made suits of armor as a way to neutralize them without having to cut their tongues out or cut off their fingers and hands… It’s also the reason why these races are likely to get targeted first by tactically knowledgeable opponents, they are going to be assumed to be spell-casters, no matter what they actually are, and are perceived as mysterious, dangerous, and the most significant threat sans any more obvious target.

D.

 

Categories: Game Design, Game Play, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shadowlands (Environmental Effects)

So, when the party travelled to the Shadowlands, they discovered that it has rather grievous effects on non-natives. Being so close to the Realm of the Dead, this creates a drain on those not born to it. The following are the basic rules for how the Shadowlands affects creatures and classes who travel for any length of time there without magical protection.

RACIAL PENALTIES:

  • Humans: Must make a DC15 Charisma Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Khazan: Must make a DC5 Constitution Check monthly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Half-Elves: Half-Elves suffer from much the same penalty as both of their kin, just to a lesser degree. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check, and they must also make a DC15 Charisma Check weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Dwarves: Dwarves are generally unaffected by the Shadowlands, merely needing to make a DC15 Constitution Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Gnomes: Closely tied to the Mortal Realms and Faerie, Gnomes lose their Speech with the Wild Things and Mask of the Wild feature. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check. They suffer greatly from the lack of sun (see their Disadvantages) and they must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Elves: Closely tied to Faerie, Elves are grievously affected when within the Shadowlands. They lose their Faerie Mien unless they make a DC15 Con check to call it forth – and then must maintain Concentration upon it. They must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.

For periods spent Carousing in the Shadowlands the roll to check for Exhaustion may be reduced to a DC5 Check.

Exhaustion levels may be reversed for each week spent Carousing. Sanity loses may be partially reversed in the Mortal Realms for every month spent Carousing, if started weeks equal to the 1 + the Wisdom modifier of the character in question. If Sanity is lost, no more than half can be regained in this way (rounded down).

HEALING AND REST PENALTIES:

  • Long Rest only restores 1HD (not half), unless accompanied by the excitation of strong physical and emotional passions (or by some forms of intensely focused meditation).
  • Death Saving Throws are at Disadvantage. A Healer’s Kit is and a DC10 Wisdom (Medicine) check is needed to stabilize a creature.

CLASS EFFECTS:

  • Bard: Song of Rest will restore +1HD if played during a Short or a Long Rest. Bardic Inspiration may also be used to restore 1HD per use of the Bardic Inspiration. Recovery of Bardic Inspiration requires a DC15 Charisma check. After a Bard has resided in the Shadowlands for 1 month per level they recover Inspiration as normal.
  • Cleric: Clerics of the Life, Light, and Nature Domains must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Clerics of a Death Domain do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.
  • Druid: Due to the alien nature of the Shadowlands, until a Druid has resided there for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells as normal after a Long Rest.
  • Monk: Due to their studious discipline, Monks may recover HD as normal. Monks of the Way of the Shadow have Advantage in Combat, and only need spend 1 Ki to use their Shadow Arts.
  • Paladin: Paladins of the Oath of the Ancient must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Until they have resided in the Shadowlands for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells after a Long Rest.
  • Ranger: Rangers have Disadvantage when using their Natural Explorer feature until they have resided in the Shadowlands for one week per level of experience.
  • Warlock: The nature of Pact magic means that there is no mechanical issues for Warlocks in play. Those with the Archfey Patron may find that they must make Charisma tests to use Patron-related features, while those with a Patron among the Great Old Ones are likely to become the targets of the Wild Hunt…
  • Wizard: Those who study the School of Necromancy do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.

DAMAGE MODIFIERS:

  • Cold, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic, and Radiant damage is +1 per die of damage.

EFFECTS ON GEAR:

  • Non-magical equipment and gear from the Mortal Realms suffers from -1 Penalty each week of existence in the Shadowlands. After no more than five weeks (and a potential -5 penalty) it finally reaches a functionally useless state.
Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Scenario/Resource | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

5e – Prestige Class – Luminous Order

There was about fifteen years where I wasn’t running D&D for my fantasy campaign world, instead I was running my own home-brew rules. Now, much of what came out in that time-frame was dreck and did nothing to convince me that I was missing anything, but there were a number of modules that were interesting and had a lot of potential. When I came back to 1E AD&D before I started running 5E D&D, I ran a handful of modules and one that I was setting up was The Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde. It had something that I had no way to model exactly in AD&D (so I did it as more of an “extra” – that is pretty easy in AD&D), but with 5E they actually released rules for a Prestige Class, so I’ve decided to write-up my version of the “Solar Channeler” because I always thought it was kind of a neat idea and it fits my game world pretty nicely.

The Luminous Order

An ancient and mystical fraternity with roots that are said to predate even the Society of Light, and may be the original form of the current Lightbearers of the Church of the Lords of Light. The Luminous Order consists of individuals who have been chosen by the Angelic Host, to acts as channels for the Light and even to act as a kind of vessel for a member of the Host when needed.

The Luminous Order

  • 1st Level – Channel Divinity (+1/Rest), Healing Touch, Divine Spellcasting
  • 2nd Level – Summon Sword of Light, Greatsword Mastery
  • 3rd Level – Channel the Host
  • 4th Level – Channel Divinity (+2/Rest), Wisdom Score Improvement
  • 5th Level – Greater Channel the Host

Requirements:

  • Be a member of the Society of Light
  • Of Good Alignment
  • Be at least 5th Level in a Divine Spellcasting Class
  • Have both a Wisdom and a Constitution of 16+

Class Features:

  • Hit Dice are 1d8 per level
  • Proficiency in Greatsword

Channel Divinity

The character gains an additional use of their Channel Divinity ability between rests, at the 4th Level of the Luminous Order this become two additional uses.

Healing Touch

The character may use their Channel Divinity ability to touch any living creature and cure them of 4d8+2 Hit Points of damage, as well as freeing them from any curse, disease, poison, blindness, or deafness.

Divine Spellcasting

The character continues to gain spellcasting levels, as a full spellcaster, for the purposes of multi-classing, as long as they are a Divine Spellcaster. Clerics essentially continue their spellcasting levels as normal while Paladins potentially gain a small boost in available spell levels. Mages, Warlocks, Bards and Sorcerers (with the exception of those with the Celestial Patron) cannot gain this benefit, nor could Eldritch Knights or Arcane Tricksters. Only the rare Druids and somewhat more common Rangers that belong to the Society of Light would gain this benefit.

Summon Sword of Light

The character may, with the use of a Channel Divinity ability, summon a magical greatsword that they may wield with Advantage. It does 2d8 Slashing Damage plus 3d8 Radiant damage with each successful strike and counts as a magical weapon, and has the Finesse quality. The greatsword radiates Bright Light in a 30′ radius, and Dim Light for another 30′ beyond that. The greatsword lasts for one round per level of the character or until it is voluntarily released from the characters grasp.

Greatsword Mastery

When using a Greatsword, the character may re-roll any 1’s or 2’s rolled on damage dice, may immediately make another Attack as a Bonus Action upon making either a Critical Strike or reducing a target to zero Hit Points, and may choose to take a -5 to the roll in exchange for a +10 to the damage roll if it hits.

Channel the Host

Perhaps the signature feature of the Luminous Order, the character may use their Channel Divinity ability to act as a temporary vessel for a member of the Angelic Host. This is a choice fraught with some peril because the character loses access to their equipment and normal class features while doing so, buts access to a potent set of abilities otherwise. They gain the following abilities:

  • Aura of Life and Vitality: All non-hostile creatures within 30 feet of the character (including the character) have Resistance to Necrotic energy, and their Hit Point maximum cannot be reduced. Any non-hostile, living creature regains 1 Hit Point when it starts it’s round within the aura, and the character may use their Bonus Action to heal one creature within the aura for 2d6 Hit Points of damage.
  • Luminous Resistance: The character has Advantage on all Saving Throws, as well as Resistance to Radiant damage and damage from all non-magical weapons (Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning). The character is Immune to Charm, Exhaustion, Fright, Disease, and Poison.
  • Greatsword Mastery as the Luminous Order class feature
  • Summon Sword of Light – While similar to the regular class feature for the Luminous Order, when Channeling the Host it has greater potency, and the character may Multiattack for 2 Attacks each round with it. It becomes Versatile, doing the same damage no matter if used one or two-handed.
    • At 3rd Level the Sword is +6 to Strike and Damage, does 2d10 Slashing damage and 4d8 Radiant damage, and does a Critical Strike on a 19-20.
    • At 4th Level the Sword is +8 to Strike and Damage, does 3d10 Slashing damage, 5d8 Radiant damage, and does a Critical Strike on a 18-20
    • At 5th Level the Sword is +10 to Strike and Damage, does 4d10 Slashing damage, and 6d8 Radiant damage, and does a Critical Strike on a 17-20
  • Angelic Form – While channeling, the character takes on a angelic aspect, growing in stature, with the wings, robes, and halo of one of the Host – though still discernable (with effort) as themselves through the Light that suffuses them. They are considered Large for the purposes of Grappling.
    • This lasts for 1 Round per point of Wisdom Modifier
    • At 3rd Level the character has an Armor Class of 17, +4 Temporary Hit Points per Hit Die, a Speed of 30, and may Fly 90′ per round.
    • At 4th Level the character has an Armor Class of 19, +6 Temporary Hit Points per Hit Die, a Speed of 40,  and may Fly 120′ per round.
    • At 5th Level the character has an Armor Class of 21, +8 Temporary Hit Points per Hit Die, a Speed of 50,  and may Fly 150′ per round.
  • This feature may not be used again until after a Long Rest.

Wisdom Score Improvement

This increases the characters Wisdom Score by +2, up to a maximum of 22.

Greater Channel the Host

The duration of the Channeling increases to 1 minute per point of Wisdom modifier.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5e – Warlock Patron – The Shadow King

The Shadow King

You have made your pact with one of the Lords of Shadow, powerful, liminal beings who dwell in the Shadowlands and beyond. Wise and ancient, selfish and patient, the Shadow Kings work behind the scenes, neither of the Light or the Darkness, to survive against threats from across creation. None can say what their true motives are, but their subtle hand is feared by those that know of it.

Expanded Spell List

The Shadow King allows you to choose from an expanded spell list when you learn Warlock spells. The following spells are added to the Warlock spell list for you.

  • 1st Level: Shroud the Shadow, Debilitate
  • 2nd Level: Shadow Sight, Shadow Embrace
  • 3rd Level: Shadow Bolt, Blackout
  • 4th Level: Shadowform, Shadowbind
  • 5th Level: Devouring Darkness, Mantle of Dread

Embraced by Shadow

At 1st level your patron grants you a cloak of shadows when it is desired – enveloping the character Dim Light. This makes Charisma skill checks more difficult but lessens the difficult if Stealth and similar checks. The character is also now treated as a native of the Shadowlands when considering it’s negative effects.

Shadowstep

Starting at 6th level the character may teleport, as a Reaction, up to 120′ away as long as they end up in an area of shadow. This feature may not be used again until after a Short or Long rest.

Shadowstuff

At 10th Level the character has become infused with Shadow to such a degree that they are Resistant to Non-Magical weapons.

Spiritual Malaise

Upon reaching 14th Level the character can touch a target and inflict a number of levels of Exhaustion equal to their Proficiency Bonus. The target is allowed a Con save against the effect at the Spell Save DC of the character for half effects – creatures of the Shadowlands are Resistant to this effect. This feature cannot be used again until the character finishes a long rest.

 

Note: The Spells of the Expanded Spell List are from Necromancer Games Book of Lost Spells

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

5E- Barbarian Path – Path of the Demon Hunter

Path of the Demon Hunter

While most barbarians are from uncivilized tribes, some subjects can inspire even the most civilized of people to the same levels of rage. Demons and the Dearth are one of these. So beyond those Barbarians who hail from waste and wilderness and fight against the Dearth there are also such groups as the ancient, disciplined and almost extinct Order of Dion from Atlan to the fiercely passionate Sla’tersha E’lin of the High Elves.

 

Corruption’s Scent

Starting at 3rd level, Demon Hunter’s are able to Detect Demons as a Reaction.

Hunter’s Heart

Upon choosing this Path at 3rd Level, the Demon Hunter has Advantage on all saves vs Fear and Mind-Control vs. effects from Demons while Raging.

Indomitable Spirit

At 6th Level the Demon Hunter has Resistance to Necrotic and Psychic Damage.

Radiant Hatred

When Demon Hunter reaches 10th level they burn with such hatred of Demons and their ilk that when those creatures strike them with a melee attack they take 2d8 Radiant Damage from the blazing aura that has suffused them.

Eye for Vengeance

At 14th level, a Demon Hunter does a Critical on 19 or 20 against Demons.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

5E – Ranger Archtype – The Ranger Knight

Ranger Knight

The epitome of the wandering “knight errant” of the wilderness, the Ranger Knight is actually quite comfortable with civilization and will move from rural, to urban, and then to wilderness with nary a concern save for the most effective way they can protect their charges and combat their enemies. Their presence, both open and hidden, has proven the deciding factor in the survival of many a settlement in the face of invading goblin hordes and rampaging troll warbands.

Stalwart Foe

At 3rd level, the Ranger Knight is able to add their Proficiency Modifier to the damage from successful weapon attacks against Favored Enemies.

Staunch Defender

When reaching 7th level, the Ranger Knight gains Advantage all Attacks and Saving Throws when defending the weak and the helpless from immediate danger or threat. This includes the defense of fortifications where innocents are not in the direct line of fire but does not include situations where the Ranger Knight has sought out their opponent. This would also include a rearguard defense while wounded of a group flee the site of battle.

Inspiring Presence

For Ranger Knights of 11th level and greater, their mere presence grants companions and allies Advantage on Saving Throws against Fear and similar effects. They also have Advantage on attempts to rally troops or other related activities.

Implacable Enemy

Finally, at 15th level, when fighting a Favored Enemy, a Ranger Knight will make a Critical Attack on a 19 or 20.

—-

This is an attempt to create a “Ranger that feels like a Ranger” because I’m not a huge fan of either Beastmaster Rangers as the default or that thing they call a “Hunter” in the Player’s Handbook. So with this I think we get a bit closer to my idea of a Ranger, a bit more Aragorn, a hint more of 1e rather than 2e or later. I expect that I should come up with an “”official list” of potential Favored Enemies for my game world as well, given the changes in commonality of some creatures.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Multiclassing

So I promised one of my players a short discussion on multiclassing in 5e, along with some guidelines into what is involved in doing so. First, one of the things I like about 5e is that the combination of race, class, and archtype fundamentally removes some of the reasons for multiclassing that were found in 1e. You can play a roguish spell-casting warrior half-elf, or a dwarven soldier-priest, or a elven mage who wields a puissant longsword pretty easily just with the basic game mechanics. Add in feats and this only increases the ability to tweak the flavor of a character pretty easily.

But multiclassing goes one step further, so that you get the class features of two classes, though you don’t get the starting skills of the subsequent classes and weapons and armor skills may or may not be restricted. Mechanically it is also more like 1e “dual-classing” which used to be restricted to humans only, but is now available to everyone unlike the old 1e multiclassing which was simultaneous advancement across two or three classes.. It is a clearly stated optional feature available at the discretion of the Dungeon Master, but I see no problem in allowing it per se, just with how it gets presented a bit in Players Handbook.

In 5e, as long as you can some very basic statistic requirements (which are not even as high as they were in 1e) the implication is that you simply get to decide upon making a new level, if you want to take the level in your current class or if you want to take it a new class. Yes, there is some flavor text about “hanging out with the new class lately” but the implication is that this is an relatively off-the-cuff decision on the player/characters part.

That… I don’t exactly agree with.

I certainly agree that some of character classes are pretty simple to switch into – especially in the 5e with the use of skills as opposed to many things being inherent to a character class. So, you want to switch over to Fighter or Rogue? Those are, in my mind, probably the only two classes that have no requirements other than the basic ones mentioned in the Players Handbook for doing so. They both represent relatively basic skill sets at 1st level, that are then refined and developed.

After this however, the classes all have some particular focus or inherent skill set that required varying levels or dedication or training to even get to first level (and that’s before we even address the whole 5e idea that character classes are fundamentally special and unique beyond the ken even many NPC’s – which is horseshit in my opinion, btw). The next easiest is probably the Warlock – all you need to do is make a Pact, and you’re a Warlock. So if you want to roleplay out getting a Patron, becoming a Warlock is pretty easy.

Sorcerer’s are a similar case – they simply need a good reason why a new “inborn” magical ability manifests. This isn’t a freebee in my campaign, but if someone really wants to play a sorcerer I have no problem in figuring something out. This might require some roleplaying, ok, probably it will, but explaining away suddenly becoming a Sorcerer is relatively easy in the grand scheme of things. Objectively this class is arguably the “hardest” to switch to because it is supposedly fundamental aspects or inborn traits of the characters, but gaming logic and character experience usually provide ample fodder for such things manifesting. Case in point, Fonkin’s new level is in Sorcerer, and he had to take the new Shadowed Bloodline – but this makes perfect sense given what happened to the character.

Next up are Clerics, Druids, and Paladins. All a character fundamentally needs is a genuine connection to Deity and a Calling  and they have the most important thing (that they really can’t be without). Now, that said, most Callings involve training through a religious institution (the Church of the Lords of Light, the Druidic Orders, the En Khoda Theos Kirk, etc) so that you are recognized clergy as opposed to a wild-eyed (potential) heretic – plus so that you can actually do a good job of being clergy.

At some point I suppose I could rant about the training involved in Master’s level programs vs. Doctoral-level programs Divinity schools in the real world. But suffice to say that there is more to being clergy than an initiation… The end result is that, with rare exceptions, if you want to multiclass as a Cleric, Druid, or Paladin, you need to spend some time studying at seminary or the equivalent, probably between six months and a year. This is more than simply Downtime Activities, and probably requires taking some time away from adventuring – unless you’ve been role-playing the heck out of this and been using your Downtime Activities for this purpose. Also be prepared for some very close attention being paid to you by your mentors and superiors in “the Church” as they try to make sure you don’t screw too much up as you figure out this new vocation.

Barbarians, Bards, and Rangers are the next tier, but for somewhat different reasons. Barbarians have to tap into their rage, Bards have a fair amount of study and learning(both mundane and magical), and Rangers have a deep connection to land plus some magical study. None of this comes easy, and the class features and flavor text all imply something that needs to be nurtured over the course of time via study and practice. Sure, with the right Background (much like with Cleric, Druid, and Paladin) some of this can be shortcut, but sans any divine act, you simply don’t just develop a Bard’s music skills, or a Ranger’s favored terrain, or even a Barbarian’s ability to focus their rage effectively. Again, we’re probably talking six months to a year of work on the characters part, in addition to Downtime Activities. I’m also likely to demand that you choose what your Totem, College, or Archtype will be “up front” so that the role-playing reflects that eventual focus on the characters part – it may not be graven in stone, but people need something fundamental to switch their class to one of these as opposed to simply picking up the right feats or skills.

Lastly  we have Monks and Wizards, both of whom are classes which are explicitly described as requiring years of disciplined study to even get to first level. You need to find someone to train you, you need to do the training, and the training can’t be interrupted by lots of adventuring. In general, expect to be away from the adventuring party for at least a year of game time. Sure, there might be some “Downtime Adventuring” (and roleplaying) but these characters are engaged in their “disciplined study” even if it is highly shortened due to their heroic nature.

Depending upon the final rules on Mystics they could either be like Warlocks & Sorcerers or they could be like Monks & Wizards. If someone really wanted to play a Witch Hunter I think I would treat them similar to Priests, Druids, and Paladins, and if there is an Alchemist or Engineer class that ever comes out I would probably treat it like Monks & Wizards.

It is worth noting that some races and classes don’t mix well at all (Dwarves and Wizards for example) while some work very well together (Khazan and Barbarian, Gnome and Ranger, Dragonborn and Sorcerer, to mention three). This may make things easier or harder when justifying or explaining how the multiclassing works. Similarly, some classes don’t play well together (Cleric and Warlock immediately spring to mind) while others seem like a natural fit (Ranger and Druid) – again this can create significant impediments to multiclassing or smooth the way considerably.

Lastly, this is fantasy game, so with a good enough story almost anything can happen. Characters have gone to Faerie and come back dual-classed as a Wizard having spent seven years there while a winter passed in the Mortal Realms while another switched from Cleric to Druid after meeting Dannan, and another switched from Fighter to Paladin. Now, these stories came with complications (and good rule of thumb is that the more shortcuts, the more complications) but roleplay well or do the right quests and there is usually a way to make things happen.

TTFN!

D.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Play, House Rules | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Circle of the Well and the Black Circle

Here are a couple of new Druidic Circles, one because my spouse wants a Druid Circle that plays up the “animal friendship” aspects of being a Druid and the other because I wanted to come up with a version of an old NPC variant that I had in my 1e game…

The Circle of the Well

Druids of the Circle of the Well are the center of circle of animal companions and friends, much like a wild spring that both predator and prey will drink from side by side. Most often the members of the Circle of the Well are friendly and outgoing, though some of these druids definitively prefer the company of their animal friends to that of others of their kind, unimpressed with even the most basic interactions with civilization. Druids of this order are the eyes and ears of their land, gossiping with squirrels about nuts, singing with wolves and frogs at sunset, and listening to news from far away brought by hawks and ravens.

Friendship of the Beasts

When this Circle is chosen at 2nd level, the druid gains ¼CR worth of Unaligned Beasts per level as friendly companions who accompany the druid wherever they travel. These beasts must be Intelligence 3 or lower, and no single Beast (or Swarm) may have a CR higher than ⅕ the druids level. CR0 Beasts count as CR⅛ creatures.

Beastspeech

Also, the druid is able to speak as well as understand each of his animal companions within the limits of their intelligence. They will help the druid as they are able, but this is a willing choice on their part to help a dear and respected friend, not magically compelled obedience. This includes combat and other dangerous activity.

Defense of Friends

Starting at 6th level, as long as there are animal companions within 5′ of the Druid, attackers have Disadvantage to attack (Constructs, Elementals, & Oozes are Immune to this feature).

Friends of Friends

At 10th level, creatures of the same subtype of any of the druids companions have Disadvantage to save against all Enchantments cast by the druid.

Kith & Kin

When 14th level is reached, the druid is able to summon (arriving in 1d10 rounds) up to three beasts of CR2, 6 beasts of CR1, 12 beasts of CR½, or 24 beasts of CR¼ (mixing and matching allowed if the proper ratio is retained) as the kith and kin of his animal companions are called for aid. These beasts must of the same subtype as the druids companions, and they will remain for up to an hour of time, being treated in all ways as temporary companions. At 17th level the numbers increase to 4 of CR2, 8 of CR1, 16 of CR½, and 32 of CR¼ beasts. This feature cannot be used again until after a long rest.


 


The Black Circle

During the Wars of Binding, some Druids of the Old Faith fell into darkness, reviving old and fell rituals and sorceries that had been buried since the days of the Black Empire. Reviled by other members of the Old Faith, the Druids of the Black Circle become infused with necrotic energies and communing with the spirits of death and darkness. The senior and most powerful members of the Circle are often a blight upon normal landscapes, needing to travel constantly or to seek out the most desolate of locations to have their presence betrayed by their surroundings.

Baleful Gaze

After choosing this Circle at 2nd level, the Druid can induce the Fear condition for 1 round per level if the target fails a Wisdom save (DC = 8 + Druid’s Proficiency Bonus + Druid’s Charisma Modifier) by focusing their attention on a target. If the target makes their save the duration is halved, and the target is immune to this effect for 24 hours. This feature may not be used again until after a short rest.

Unnatural Vitality

Also at 2nd Level, a Druid of the Black Circle become Resistant to Necrotic damage. At 10th level this becomes Immunity, and they are receive half the potential damage as Healing. Also at 10th they become Vulnerable to Radiant damage.

Dark Infusion

At 6th level, when attacking with natural weapons, the Druid does additional Necrotic damage equal to their level and their attacks cause the Poisoned condition for one round (Con save, DC = Druids Spell DC). If the save is made, the target take half the Necrotic damage and is unaffected by the Poisoned condition.

Life feeds on Life

When a Druid of the Black Circle reaches 10th level they can use a spell slot to attack all creatures within a 20′ of themselves for 2d8 Necrotic damage (Plants take double damage with Disadvantage to save). +1d8 per spell slot above 1st used. Save for half.

Dread Presence

Finally at 14th level, a Druid of the Black Circle may use their Wild Shape ability to transform themselves into Undead for short periods of time. As an Undead they become Resistant to Cold, Lightning, Piercing, Slashing, & Bludgeoning damage, and the Charm, Exhaustion, Fear, Paralysis, & Poison conditions. Their Unarmed attack does a base 1d4 Bludgeoning + 1d6 Cold (+Necrotic as above), plus does Life Drain (the target must make Con Save vs. the Druids Spell DC or it’s HP maximum is reduced by the damage of the attack. This reduction lasts until after a Long Rest, and if 0HP is reached the target is slain. They also have Undead Fortitude, if any attack would bring them below 1HP, the Druid may make a Con save (DC = 5 + Half the Damage of the Attack) or merely reduced to 1HP. Finally, they become Tomb-Tainted, Healing energies harm them, while Necrotic Energies heal them.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

En Khoda Theos Kirk – Part 2

So, I was hoping that there would be rules for Elemental Domains in the Elemental Evil adventure and was disappointed. That said, one of my players is playing a Dorje of the Great Dragon of the Air so I’ve been coming up with Domains for these four Domains of the En Khoda Theos Kirk.

Part One

The Dorje of the En Khoda Theos Kirk are highly attuned to the Mysteries of the Great Elementals. Each Dorje chooses (or, perhaps more accurately, is chosen by) one of the Great Dragons and leads their Kirks or Vihara in the worship, veneration, and contemplation of that particular Great Dragon.

At 1st level, like other clerics, all Dorje are trained in the use of Light and Medium Armor, Shields, and Simple Weapons. They are also granted the Blessing of their Great Dragon, and the player is allowed to choose one Blessing, and then gain later features as they advance in level.

Blessing of the Great Dragon of the Air

  • Bonus Cantrip: Gust
  • Extra Weapons: Blowgun, Warfan
  • Feature: Missiles always have Disadvantage to Attack. Additionally, if unarmored, the Dorje gains half their Proficiency as an AC bonus.
  • Bonus Spells at various levels:
    • 1stAbsorb Element, Thunderwave
    • 3rdGust of Wind, Warding Wind
    • 5thFly, Windwall
    • 7thConjure Minor Elementals, Stormsphere
    • 9thControl Winds, Conjure Elemental

Blessing of the Great Dragon of the Earth

  • Bonus Cantrip: Mold Earth
  • Extra Weapons: Warhammer, Maul
  • Feature: The Dorje is unencumbered by metal armor, and may add their Wisdom bonus to any Bludgeoning damage done with melee weapons.
  • Bonus Spells at various levels:
    • 1st Absorb Element, Earth Tremor
    • 3rd Earthbind, Maximillian’s Earthen Grasp
    • 5th Erupting Earth, Meld into Stone
    • 7th Conjure Minor Elementals, Stoneskin
    • 9th Conjure Elementals, Transmute Rock

Blessing of the Great Dragon of the Fire

  • Bonus Cantrip: Control Flame
  • Extra Weapons: Shortsword, Warspear
  • Feature: The Dorje has Advantage on saves against Fire or Flame, and they may ignore the Fire damage equal to their Wisdom bonus each round.
  • Bonus Spells at various levels:
    • 1stAbsorb Element, Burning Hands
    • 3rdAgannazar’s Scorcher, Flaming Sphere
    • 5thMelf Minute Meteors, Fireball
    • 7thConjure Minor Elementals, Fire Shield
    • 9thConjure Elementals, Immolation

Blessing of the Great Dragon of the Water

  • Bonus Cantrip: Shape Water
  • Extra Weapons: Longknife, Trident
  • Feature: The Dorje has Waterbreathing for themselves and does not suffer from an penalties for moving or swimming through water, even if wearing Medium armor.
  • Bonus Spells at various levels:
    • 1st Absorb Element, Ice Knife
    • 3rd Blur, Melf’s Poison Arrow
    • 5th Sleet Storm, Wall of Water
    • 7th Conjure Minor Elementals, Vitriolic Sphere
    • 9th Conjure Elementals, Cloudkill

Elemental Wrath

At 2nd Level, the Dorje can use their Channel Divinity ability to summon the ferocity of the Great Dragon that they serve. When rolling specific damage types (Earth – Acid, Fire – Fire, Air – Thunder, Water – Poison) they can do maximum damage instead of rolling their damage.

Dragon’s Scale

At 6th level, when the Dorje or a creature within 30 feet of them takes a specific type of damage (Earth – Acid, Fire – Fire, Air – Thunder, Water – Poison) the Dorje can use a Reaction to grant them Immunity to that instance of damage.

Divine Strike

At 8th level, the Dorje can imbue their weapons with the essence of the Great Dragon that they serve. Once on each turn, when the Dorje hits an opponent with weapon attack they can deal an additional 1d8 damage based on the Great Dragon they serve (Earth – Acid, Fire – Fire, Air – Thunder, Water – Poison). When the Dorje reaches 14th level the damage increases to 2d8.

Dragon’s Roar

At 17th level the Dorje can use an action to channel the presence of the Great Elemental Dragon that they serve, causing those around them to either become awestruck or frightened. This affects all hostile creatures with a 60′ radius, causing them to become Charmed (if attempting Awe) or Frightened (if attempting Fear) on a failed Wisdom saving throw. This effect last for one minute, or until Concentration is lost, which ever come first. If a creature makes their save, they are immune to this ability for the next 24 hours.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.