Coming soon... Evil Tide!
A D&D Next conversion of the deadly sea devils of the Evil Tide AD&D module: the Sahuagin!
These creatures will also play a major role in my cosmology/setting, World of Cthon...
The World of Cthon
A new cosmology and setting template that concentrates all the planar location into the material world!
Cthon: First Age
The First Age of Cthon in detail!
The primitive and deadly world that ended with an immense disaster, going deep underground and becoming the Underdark and Lower Planes of the later ages!
Cthon: Elder Gods
Meet the Elder Gods of Cthon, a class of deities that includes classic lovecraftian beings, classical evil gods and entities, and demonic lords of DnD!
The Dawn of Sorcery
A "legend and lore" post wrote before my World of Cthon cosmology idea, it explores sorcery as channeling of raw magic, predating wizardry and eventually originating it!
A big real-world mythology figure inspired the story... Which one?!
Not yet part of the #dndnext blog carnival "If I Ruled The Multiverse", but I will adapt it to World of Cthon soon!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
So I was feeling bored and creative, a special combination that can result into utter nothingness when I experience it, since I create much better things when I'm actually busy with many things.
But one thing comes out easily from these moments: new D&D characters!!
For my next Ravnica campaign, probably to be played online with DM @gcampoverde and player @ArtificerAlf (and I hope someone else too! Drop a line if interested :D), I wanted a character who had something of both my favorite guilds: Simic and Dimir. Dimir is actually the only guild which "mixes" with any other easily, since it has infiltrates here and there. And that's what i wanted: a basically Simic character who kind of turned to "the dark side" becoming a secret agent of Simic.
Some of you may recognize this comes from Warhammer 40k, Dark Eldars in particular. Not exactly a kosher source for fantasy characters, is it? And yet it's the second D&D character I illustrate with a Dark Eldar, and both of them have been used in MtG-based campaigns!
So let's state the fundamental points about the character:
ELF: This is straightforward. Simic has a lot of elves in its ranks, and elves are among the most interesting races to play in D&D Next from a mechanical point of view. I think I'll use Wood Elf, both because of the Wisdom bonus and the sneakiness, which will help the Dimir side of Solanyr.
WINGS: Well, these are mostly vestigial/aesthetic. Mostly. Because then again the Simic guildmage build I created (as a Ceric, see the previous posts for the proposed mechanics), is quite focused on flying, using a Monk's Ki ability for sudden short flights, and Feather Fall as its first level (and thus repeatable) domain spell. Of course, these abilities were meant to represent Simic mutations more than magic, just as the next thing which is...
ELEMENTAL MANTLE: This is the most important bonus druidic spell that characterizes my D&D Next version of the Simic "guildmage". It's meant to represent different sudden mutations/adaptations, of which the elements become just a metaphor, in game.
NINJA: Yes. Believe it or not, it's going to be played as a ninja. This is not only because of the Dimir side. Solanyr was stealthy even before becoming secretly Dimir, and he's not that secretive in that even now. He's not very good at bluffing (mediocre Charisma), so even his Dimir allegiance isn't *that* secret in the Simic guild. Most of the smart members suspect (and most of the Simic are smart), but right because of the typical Simic mentality, fascinated by experimentation and evolution, they wouldn't even try to stop him, not before witnessing how (or what) does he become in the process. They instead manipulate him when possible, to use his abilities and allegiances at their advantage. Something he knows, and even enjoys: more interesting work..!
He hides in shadows, enjoys sneak attacks (which he does by using Inflict Wounds with the "Cipher" Dimir ability, which he acquired in place of the Divine Magic channel divinity), and he uses a Katana for maximum damage and maximum exploitation of his very high Dexterity.
SPY: In D&D Next background terms, I chose the Spy background for obvious reasons. The only skill that had to be added, since Sneak is a bonus skill given by the (obvious) Hide In Shadows feat, I chose it to be Tumble, since he may run out of 1st level slots when performing a sudden flight or a drop from a ceiling. I could even replace Search with Climb, since he won't have high Strength, and climbing could be needed for said drops from celings. He's an assassin after all, first and foremost.
SKULKER: Hide in Shadows and Ambush are his bread and butter. He prefers to drag combats, in case he doesn't finish off his prey in the first round. He's accustomed to working alone, so he's a survivalist, with his own skin as his highest priority, and the death of his prey as the close second. From this solitary nature comes the name Solaynr. Which is also a reference to the Solarite, the Dark Eldar elite winged warrior of the illustration.
SPELLS: Other spells he uses, if limited tot he Cleric list, are Spiritual Weapon, which is also very Dimir in flavor if you think about it as spectral blades, and Speak With Animals, apart from the obvious Cure Wounds. Speak With Animals because he finds it an efficient way to marry the Simic and Dimir methods: restricted information, but from nature. He's particularly fond of birds of prey, for obvious reasons. Something of a fetish of his.
EQUIPMENT: Apart from his signature Katana, which I will want to describe and design (or more probably find an illustartion for) later, for protection he wears a Dragon Leather (Krasis Carapace, to stay Simic) and resorts to a Longbow when distance is required and spell power is depleted. He also uses all the tricky gadgets he can get his hands on, like caltrops, smoke bombs and so on.
And that's it! The mechanics of the character spawned quite a lot of background and personality info already, as usual, but I'll also add some more to give depth to the character, especially when we'll (hopefully) start to play! :)
Monday, May 13, 2013
This time it's the turn of Azorius, Boros, Gruul and Rakdos! Oh boy... The difficulties of these are really high, and I'm thinking about making at least one or two of the most martial ones as options for Fighters instead of Clerics.
But right now I want to try a different root that might still work. It will be a stretch, probably...
As of now I still haven't wrote or thought anything: I improvise even when I design!!
Well let's see what we can do with these guys. Starting with Gruul, dedicated to @ArtificerAlf! :)
Base Deity: None: no armor proficiency, proficiency with unarmed strike, Barbarian's Thick Hide class feature, Big Stick feature.
Big Stick: When you use Shillelagh with a two-handed weapon, you change the damage to 1d12.
Channel Divinity: Touch of Stony Doom (Monk's Ki ability), Divine Magic, Bloodrush
Bloodrush: You can expend a use of Channel Divinity as a reaction when one of your allies attacks an enemy, or when you attack an enemy. If you do, you or an ally at charging range can charge the same target (as having the Charge feat) inflicting a critical hit, but suffering an Opportunity Attack by doing so that will also be a critical hit. At 11th level, the movement of the charging subject is doubled, it has flying until the end of the turn, and it deals 3d10 extra damage.
1: Flaming Sphere
3: Call Lightning
4: Freedom of Movement
5: Move Earth
Suggested Background: Thug
Suggested Specialty: Survivor
Base Deity: Protector
Channel Divinity: Spiritual Vestment, Divine Magic, Detain
Detain: You can spend a use of Channel Divinity as an action to magically bind a creature within 10 feet. The target has Disadvantage on attack rolls and can't move more than 10 feet from you. The target can spend an action to roll a saving throw to free itself from the effect, but it has Disadvantage on the saving throw if you haven't dealt damage to it during your last turn. At 11th level, you can target any number of creatures within 10 feet.
Cantrip: Ray of Frost
2: Zone of Truth
3: Hold Person
4: Air Walk
5: Hold Monster
Suggested Background: Bounty Hunter
Suggested Specialty: Defender
Base Deity: Protector
Channel Divinity: Righteous Might, Divine Magic, Battallion
Battallion: You can spend a use of Channel Divinity when you hit a target in melee. If you do so, up to two target allies that can see you can instantly take an action that must include a weapon attack against the same enemy. At 11th level, you can target up to 12 allies.
2: Flame Blade
4: Divine Power
5: Cure Wounds, Mass
Suggested Background: Soldier
Suggested Specialty: Skirmisher
Base Deity: Trickster (Skills: Intimidate, Perform, Break Object)
Channel Divinity: Vengeful Flame (Monk's Ki ability), Divine Magic, Unleash
Unleash: You can spend a use of Channel Divinity to put yourself under the effects of a Confusion spell, where the only possible results are the last two (change the dice rolls accordingly, to 50/50), and in place of an attack you can also cast a domain spell, provided you do so against the nearest target. As long as the effect lasts, you have Advantage on attack rolls and saving throws, and attacks against you and saving throws against spells you cast are made with Disadvantage. At 11th level, as long as the effect lasts you are also under the effects of a Haste spell.
2: Heat Metal
5: Flame Strike
Suggested Background: Jester
Suggested Specialty: Two-Weapon Fighter
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The title is very self-explanatory. I use the extremely flexible Cleric class and in particular its Deity feature to represent a handful of guilds from Ravnica, creating a custom Channel Divinity effect to simulate the core mechanic of the guild in a D&D-meaningful way.
Without further ado, here we go!
Base Deity: Trickster -> Bonus skills: Administer First Aid, Handle Animal, Recall Lore (Nature)
Channel Divinity: Divine Shelter, Divine Magic, Populate
Populate: You can expend a use of Channel Divinity to summon a beast identical to one you have charmed through Animal Friendship. This summoned beast disappears when you take your next short rest. If you are maintaining concentration for an effect on you or another charmed beast, the summoned beast benefits from that effect as well. At 11th level, you summon 1d4 beasts.
1: Animal Friendship
3: Plant Growth
Suggested Background: Guide
Suggested Specialty: Mystical Healer
Base Deity: Lightbringer (Shocking Grasp instead of Lance of Faith. Note that it can stop OAs).
Channel Divinity: Magical Might, Divine Magic, Overload
Overload: When you cast a domain spell, you can expend a use of Channel Divinity to change it so that it has the range and area of effect of a Fireball spell. At 11th level, double the range and area.
Cantrip: Shocking Grasp, Mending
1: Color Spray
2: Heat Metal
3: Lightning Bolt
4: Wall of Fire
5: Cone of Cold
Suggested Background: Artisan
Suggested Specialty: Metamagician
Suggested Background: Thug
Suggested Specialty: Survivor
Suggested Background: Sage
Suggested Specialty: Hedge Magician
Suggested Background: Guild Thief
Suggested Specialty: Skulker
Suggested Background: Priest
Suggested Specialty: Specialist
Sunday, April 28, 2013
I appreciated most of the latest Legends & Lore article, aside from crinching a bit on seeing Scout as an archetype belonging to Fighter and not Rogue, and wondering if the "simple Wizard" will end up killing the Sorcerer's niche.
See these two examples actually introduce my argument very well. With sub-classes and the means to have entirely different mechanics dwell in the same class, distributed among sub-classes, have you wondered what happens to Rangers and Paladins? I think Mearls kind of wondered too, and tried to calm the masses by citing these classes casually in the article. Just in case someone thought they could become sub-classes too.
Actually, I wasn't and I am not worrying about them being in danger of being "demoted".
My quarrel is this: we'll now have at least two or three different Fighters with entirely different base mechanics (Hurray!). Now look at the Ranger and Paladin. They practically share their base mechanic entirely. And they're different classes.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I was thrilled by Dave Noonan's idea of making a D&D Next Lich into a three-stages boss, like AngryDM did some time ago for 4e Solo monsters.
Since I'm a tinkerer at heart, I instantly opened up the Bestiary and instantly jotted down my version of the undead TPK-causing calamity that is a true "final boss" Lich...
Following Noonan's ideas, I made the first stage a crazy "bombastic" one, the second a sneaky one, to which I coupled the nasty area effects, and the third stage is the desperate one, to which I coupled the last resort high level area spell and a funny physical change inspired by a related classic D&D monster...
The Lich here is an arcane fuel tank constantly exploding and never ending its fuel. Or something like that.
Since it won't last for very long, I said why limiting the spells? If players don't hit this thing hard enough, their fault: the Lich will continue raining Fireballs on them. Luckily, it's just 30 HPs of glory for the Lich.
I also added some customizations of the sidebar and some exceptional rules to make up for lack of actions etc. The strategy of the lich here is to not let the enemies approach it, using its (changed) cantrip for that and hoping its Frightening Gaze works too. In the mean time, just rain spells on the enemy.
Here it is:
Hit Points: 30
Spellcasting: The lich casts one of the following spells: at
will— frost ray; fireball, lightning bolt, magic missile.
It can cast frost ray as a reaction when an enemy moves within 15 ft
and casts magic missile as a reaction when damaged at range.
The DC to resist its spells is 17 (+2 bonus)
Actions and reactions: The lich has 2 reactions. When stunned, it can't use
reactions, but it can still use actions.
Customizations: Frightening Gaze, Turn Resistance (consider total HP)
So the adventurers should get more or less 2 rounds of the Stage 1 madness, but they're up for a few surprises with Stage 2, which I'd call the "grind stage". Here the Lich understands that the adventurers are full of resources, so it aims at depleting them with a longer battle, using invisibility and cheating a bit with it, since its spells don't break it. He still wants to break invisibility at least once or twice though, since it now has Life Drain with its touch attacks, and can have Advantage on both attacks when invisible, as having the Ambush feat (the second attack wouldn't normally have Advantage since invisibility is broken, but we want it to be extra sneaky...). Basically, it aims at doing two "cycles" of invisibility+cloudkill+firewall, then cold aura and frost ray on everyone and then multiattack ambush.
Hit Points: 40
Stage-Start Trigger: The lich casts Invisibility and Cloudkill as no-actions,
without expending its uses of the spells.
Spellcasting: The lich casts one of the following spells: at
will— frost ray; 2/day— firewall; 1/day— cloudkill, invisibility.
It can cast spells without breaking invisibility.
It can cast firewall as a reaction when an enemy would move out
of the cloudkill area.
It counts as having the Ambush feat when attacking from invisibility.
The DC to resist its spells is 15
Customizations: Cold Aura, Life Drain, Turn Resistance (consider total HP)
The second stage should last a bit more than the first, possibly a lot more if played right. So the third stage needs to be short: it is going to be the really desperate fight for undeath-prolonging, with a bit of madness in it. The Lich has taken many hits and eventually its body is destroyed... Leaving only its skull floating, like a Demilich!! In this state, the lich tries to flee, but it's also furious, so it tries to attack while leaving (yes, touch attacks still work, maybe the claws are floating alongside the skull too!). It begins this stage by casting a (low DC) Ice Storm, and then has access to Shocking Grasp, Disguise Self and Darkness. I see it using Darkness as a squid using its black ink cloud while fleeing, and Disguise Self when for some reason it believes the bluff may work..! Note that Turn Resistance is out, so the best thing to do here is Turn Undead!
Hit Points: 15
Speed: 50 ft. (Opportunity Attacks are made with Disadvantage)
Stage-Start Trigger: The lich casts Ice Storm. It is immune to its effects.
Spellcasting: The lich casts one of the following spells: at
will— shocking grasp, disguise self, darkness.
It can cast shocking grasp as if it was a Swift spell.
The DC to resist its spells is 12
Multiattack: the lich makes two touch attacks at any point during its movement.
Customizations: Nothing: no turn resistance!
That's all folks! This is my crazy idea of a climatic and dramatic lich battle in three stages. From the experiences I had and those read from other players, this shouldn't be much more difficult than its suggested original level, perhaps just 8th level instead of 7th. The difficulty in D&D Next combat is given much more by the number of enemies than the strength of a single enemy. But then again, no monsters such as this were ever tested, so it could still prove deadly.
Tell you what, test it and see it for yourselves! :)
Friday, March 29, 2013
Yes, I'm homebrewing a lot of stuff lately as you can see, but no I'm still not making up things, just using the existing material rearranged to my convenience.
Fun fact about these latest two "custom" things, the Nature Deity and this Hellknight Oath, is that before recognizing the need of making them for two of the campaign characters, I had the Nature Cleric as a Warden Paladin, and the Hellknight Paladin as an Arcanist Cleric..! Yes.
What convinced me that I needed to invert the two is that I still wanted the Arcanist Cleric to have good armor (and that's why I used Mountain Dwarf mechanics for the otherwise nearly human character) and good Charisma, while I didn't want the other guy to be very combat focused, and I needed him to have low Charisma, making him ineffective as a Paladin.
It was one of those cases where you put small clothes to a large person and large clothes to a small one, and only later realize that instead of adapting them, it would be better to just swap them! :-D
So this Hellknight Oath Paladin is exactly what you think it is. Basically a variant Blackguard with Fire-based spells and features. I call it like this, but the case of my character is actually a bit different, since the "oath" was kind of forced onto him, not chosen. He's basically possessed by a devilish force, but to stay on topic with the Paladin Oaths, which state the "paladin type", I thought Hellknight was flavorful and accurate enough.
Without further ado, here's what I come with, explanations later.
Oath of the Hellknight
More often extorted or bestowed rather than chosen,
the oath of the hellknight is literally a pact with a devil.
The doom of these knights is to serve as the heavy cavalry
of the legions of a hell prince in Baator, battling angels
and demons alike.
Alignment: You must be lawful evil.
Channel Divinity: You gain the Storm's Fury (dealing Fire
damage), Dreadful Aspect, and Rebuke Undead options.
[Rebuke Undead can be changed into Rebuke Devils.]
Blackguard Spells: Add the following spells to
your spell list.
2 hold person
4 wall of fire
5 insect plague
So as you can see, this time I borrowed from the Blackguard (Dreadful Aspect) and the Storm Cleric (Storm's Fury), changing the elemental damage to Fire. The spell list was fine to build, and the detail of reflavoring the flaming sphere into a minor devil summoning is the icing on the cake, just as the Rebuke Devils option!
Feel free to use and comment!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
As I mentioned in my last post, I have a character that direly needs to be a nature-themed Cleric for story reasons, and that I arranged as a Warden Paladin. I was quite happy with it, but then I realized I should have made him at least moderately charismatic, while the character was actually famous for being very lacking in the Charisma department.
So looking at the Warden Paladin package I realized something quite straightforward: isn't it a very similar set of features compared to the Cleric's Deity?
So the process of creating a new Deity was half-way done: I just needed to move the Warden elements and replace those of another Deity. I chose The Trickster as a base because it's the one that fitted the concept of the character the most, by having Cantrips and Spells borrowed from outside the Cleric spell-list, two extra Skills (the character was quite skilled), and light armor (good since the character was dexterous).
So here we are. I know the name of the "Deity" is lousy, but well... Feel free to suggest me another one! :-D
Armor and Shield Proficiencies: You have
proficiency with light armor and medium armor
except scale mail, mithral shirt, and mithril scale.
Cantrips: You know the shillelagh cantrip,
plus one cantrip of your choice from the cleric’s
Channel Divinity: You gain the Nature's Wrath
and Lay on Hands options. If you are not
evil, you gain the Turn Undead option. If you are
evil, you gain the Rebuke Undead option.
Disciple of Wilderness: You gain two of the
following skills of your choice: Handle Animal,
Recall Lore (Natural), or Administer First Aid.
You also gain proficiency with simple and martial
Domain Spells: You always have the following
spells prepared, provided you are able to cast
cleric spells of the given level. They do not count
against the number of spells you can prepare each
3 protection from energy
5 wall of stone
Suggested Equipment: Leather armor, quarterstaff,
longbow, 50 arrows, holy symbol, flask of holy water,
adventurer’s kit, belt pouch containing 14 gp and 8 sp.
As you can see, I chose the shillelagh spell for flavor reasons, but there were other good guesses as well (s (I was tempted by druidcraft but it was too flashy for the character).
The Domain Spells and Channel Divinity are straight out of the Warden Oath Paladin, but again, one could replace at least Lay on Hands (which was ok since the character is primarily a healer), with something else such as Divine Shelter or Spiritual Vestments.
The exceptions in armor with addition of some medium ones is balanced by the fact I removed proficiency in martial finesse weapons too, and is of course for flavor reasons, but it can be overridden easily.
Drop a comment or two if you use this in play, but I guess there's not much to say about it, just words of praise for D&D Next current linearity of design which allows "home-brew material" such as this to be perfectly in line and balanced with what we have!