Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wildspace Magic - First Draft

Spells for Spelljammer adapted to 5e

 Spelljammer is... unusual. There are very few settings that take the usual high-magic fantasy  formula and put it into space, as space is typically seen as the purview of science fiction. As there was no precedent for High-Fantasy-In-Space (and other circumstances), the creators of Spelljammer were able to mold it as they saw fit.

This led to some... interesting components for the setting, but it is one that fascinates me to no end (which probably annoys my wife to no end).

While 5e has been almost entirely focused on the Forgotten Realms setting, with a short foray into Barovia, WotC has been hinting more and more that there might be expansions into new settings in the not-so-distant future. I fear that Spelljammer might be in the more distant future than some other settings (despite hints dropped into the adventures), so I figured that I would not be stepping on WotC's toes if I adapted Spelljammer spells to 5e.

This is the first draft of these spells, and I would really appreciate some feedback on wording, balance, and anything else that you think might be improved.

This is my first time embedding a PDF in my blog, so hopefully this looks alright.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Two big ideas to add to D&D 5e

I have been thinking about 5e for some time, and it has occurred to me that there are some things that could be implemented to benefit the D&D community and WotC alike.

Idea the first: Add a Legendary Player's Bundle to DnD Beyond

This one is pretty simple, and I'm kinda surprised that it has not already been implemented:  Make a trimmed down version of the Legendary Bundle (which is every piece of official content available on DnD Beyond at once, for 15% off, plus 15% off any future purchases) that only has player content. While the normal bundle comes with EVERYTHING, the player's version would only have content that is useful to players, making it much more appealing to players who don't DM.

Being generous, including all class options, race options, backgrounds, feats, and spells, the total value of player options comes to $100.90 (By my calculations, at time of writing this).

At 15% off, that would come to $85.77, which is much more reasonable than the $360.70 for the full Legendary Bundle, less than a quarter of the price! Since there are a lot more players than DMs, this would likely appeal to a wider audience than the Legendary Bundle ever could.

 The only things (that I can think of) that this would take to implement, are a few interface changes on the website, adding tags to all of the player content to mark them as a part of this bundle, and figuring out prices of future books with the player content discounted (or implement a system to do this automatically).

This idea originally also included all beasts that a druid could wildshape into and adventure specific familiars, but these seemed like something that could be cut for the sake of lowering the price a bit more (~$30).

Idea the second: Introduce setting guides to the DM's Guild

This idea would definitely take more effort to implement, but it would likely be extremely profitable for WotC.

Release a pair of PDFs (with print on demand options) every so often on DM's Guild (and probably DnD Beyond as well): 

This plan comes in three parts:

Part one is "The Player's Guide to [Setting]", with everything that someone from that setting would know: Major locations, people, creatures, culture, etc., maybe using condensed and/or edited versions of older setting guides, throw in some race and class options and everyone is happy. (and of course setting specific rules, such as for Spelljammer ships and travel)

The second part is "The Dungeon Master's Guide to [Setting]", which contains everything that the above player's guide has, plus further detail on everything. Where the pg has a note about some strange creature that the PCs might have heard of, this one has details about its behavior, habitat, diet, and of course, it's stat block (or at least what Monster Manual monster to use for it). It would also include quest ideas and potential dangers.

Beyond expanding upon details of the world, this book has a guide on how to run a game in that setting, how to capture the feel of it and express that to the players. How to run a pulp adventure in Eberron, get that post-apocalyptic feel in Dark Sun, portray the philosophies of the factions in Planescape, or the high-seas-in-space hi-jinks of Spelljammer.

Finally, the third and most important part: Open DM's Guild to submitted content for that setting.
Once the third part is done, all WotC has to do is sit back and watch the D&D community create multitudes of content for that setting. Adventures, more detailed location descriptions, more monsters, and a multitude of player options. A guide for creating content in the setting, and probably several Guild Adept adventures/supplements would be advisable, but not as required.

I feel that this idea is the less likely of the two, for several reasons:
1. It would take a lot more effort and possibly forming a whole new team just to tackle it (unless they want to at least partially hand certain settings over to Guild Adepts, like entrusting Eberron to Ruty Rutenberg and Satine Phoenix).
2. It could distract from whatever storyline the current adventure is focusing on, reducing sales of that adventure book and Adventurer's League adventures.
3. This idea has the possibility of getting rushed, just to get the content out there without sufficient playtesting or progressing the story of these worlds to keep them fresh for those who played them in past editions. This is a small thing, and might not bother people who just want their favorite setting adapted to 5e, but it could also cause those who are new to the setting to not be as interested.


Perhaps these are things that WotC has already considered, perhaps they even have them planned for some point in the future. I think they have a lot of potential, the first as a way to generate more (likely lasting) support from non-DMs in DnD Beyond, and the second as a way to open up the worlds of D&D to the community, and let their unlimited creativity add to the amazing possibilities that D&D allows us.

That and I want to see all the amazing spelljammer ships that the community can come up with.

I am curious to hear what people think of my ideas, so please leave a comment!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Weapons Not in the PHB That Monsters Use

Some time ago, I posted a small supplement to the DM's Guild called Monster Weapons!

It is an adaptation of all the weapons used by monsters and NPCs that aren't in the PHB, so that players can use them. It's good for games where you or your players want a few more options for their weapons, or so you don't have to panic if a player decides to pick up whatever wacky weapons their defeated foe may have been using.

Click here to check it out!

It is pay-what-you-want, which basically means it is free! (Unless you want to send a few bucks my way, I won't complain.)

Some of my favorites:
  • Sword Cane
  • Scythe
  • Garrote
  • Clawed Gauntlet
  • Harpoon
  • Sharktoothed and Spiked Weapons

Please check it out and feel free to leave a comment or send me some feedback.

If they ever post some new monsters with different non-PHB weapons, expect an update! (I'm looking at you, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes!)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Reflavoring to get Avenger in 5e!

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted here! Almost 8 years! A new edition has come out, going back to more traditional D&D systems, rather than 4e's "POWERS FOR EVERYONE!" system. I love 5e and wish I got to play more often, but there are some things from 4e that I miss.

The one I miss most is the avenger class.

WotC tried to fit it into 5th edition.

The Paladin's Oath of Vengeance was their attempt to cram the avenger into 5e. It's better than nothing, but it was still built upon the base paladin class. It's a good option to play as, but it just doesn't FEEL like 4e's avenger.

And then Xanathar's Guide to Everything came out, I read through it, and I realized that it was finally possible (with some reflavoring) to have a proper avenger in 5e.

It's... Stay with me... The Hexblade Warlock.

Don't give me that look. It takes a bit of reflavoring, as I said, but it fits better than trying to paint a paladin as one. So, here we go:

Avenger in 5e!

Step one: Warlock core class 
Not everyone has played 4e, so lets start with a quick rundown on the avenger: Avengers are Divine Strikers. Divine meaning they are powered by the gods and Strikers being characters that focused on dealing damage. These descriptors came together to create what was something of a holy rogue, who would hunt and destroy their deity's enemies. Imagine a paladin, minus the armor, healing, and protection, leaving behind just the oaths and smites.

There is more to it than that, so maybe I will write another post later, to describe how avengers would fit in more with the 5e aesthetic. But for now, lets focus on the reflavoring!
  • Patron - Your avenger serves a god, cause, or ideal, and receives power from that. 
  • Pact Magic - Oath Magic, derived from your unwavering devotion to your cause. You are able to cast your magic using an arcane focus due to it sometimes being necessary to hide who you serve.
  • Warlock spells - Avenger spells (obviously)
  • Eldritch Invocations - Divine Gifts, what few things the hexblade doesn't provide to make a near perfect avenger, the invocations fill in a few.
  • Pact Boons - Divine Boon, gifts bestowed upon the avenger to aid them in their task: A weapon, a guide/companion, or a book of secret magics.
  • Mystic Arcanum - Mystic Invocations
  • Eldritch Master - Divinely Favored

Step two: Hexblade abilities
Now we get into the interesting stuff that really makes it fit with avenger, in my opinion. The hexblade's curse makes a perfect Oath of Enmity,
  • Hexblade's Curse - Oath of Enmity: Instead of cursing your foe, you swear an oath to destroy them, so strong are your words that your attacks become stronger, you become more likely to deal devastating blows, and even your wounds are healed when you fulfill your oath.
  • Hex Warrior - Faith Warrior: You trained at a temple devoted to your god/cause/ideal to fight. As such you became proficient at battling in stronger armor and with more weapons. You also gain the ability to use more than just your physical abilities to attack.
  • Accursed Specter - Accursed Specter: As you slay your foe, you bind its soul to temporary service of your deity/cause/ideal. Maybe with a cool catch phrase, "You serve my god now." (this ability doesn't really fit with the 4e avenger, but I think it is still really cool.)
  • Armor of Hexes - Armor of the Oathbound: Those you have sworn an oath to destroy have a more difficult time hitting you. (I'm sure some of you would have expected this to be "Armor of Faith", but I felt that name fit better elsewhere.)
  • Master of Hexes - Oath Master: When you defeat an enemy, instead of healing your wounds, you can instead swear a new oath of enmity on another foe.

Step three: Pact Boons/Divine Boons
 While it seems obvious that a warlock reflavored into an avenger would take Pact of the Blade, I think it would be silly to rule out the other options.
  • Pact of the Chain - Divine Companion: Even the lone hunter can use a companion. With this Divine Boon, the avenger is gifted a magical companion to guide them along their path, assist them in battle, and give them a compatriot when nobody else understands them and their mission. While some would only want to use an imp or quasit with avengers serving evil gods, I like the idea of an avenger who used a questionable ritual to bind an enemy to their service, in this case it's already what they can do with Accursed Specter. If you don't want your avenger to have a fiendish companion, maybe they could just have an animal familiar or if they serve a dragon god, a psudodragon would be appropriate. 
  • Pact of the Blade - Divine Weapon: Your avenger is granted the ability to summon a divine weapon. Honestly, this is what most avengers will choose, as it fits with the avenger's hunt and destroy mentality.
  • Pact of the Tome - Divine Knowledge: You are granted a book of prayers that gives you the ability to cast magic that may have been lost or is forbidden to members of the church. This option would be good for the more studious or magic focused avenger, granting them more cantrips and ritual spells.
Step four: Warlock Invocations/Divine Gifts
Some of the Warlock Invocations are actually perfect for the avenger, mimicking abilities from the 4e version and filling out some of the abilities. I don't think that all of them need new names, but these are the ones that I felt would fit avenger best.
  • Armor of shadows - Armor of Faith: Here is the one that fits better with the 4e avenger's Armor of Faith ability, especially since it can be gotten at a much earlier level and protects you from every attack, not just those from your oath of enmity target. It's not as versatile as the 4e version, as it only works on those with no armor, but I think it should work fine.
  • Improved Pact Weapon - Improved Divine Weapon: Woo! A blessing to your attacks! It's not really that avengery, but it's one that is likely to be picked, so I thought I'd give it a rename.
  • Thirsting Blade - Thirsting Blade: I honestly couldn't think of an alternate name for this one, but I don't really think it needs one.
  • Eldritch Smite - Divine Smite: I kind of felt obligated to include this one on the list, though I might just be happy with the smite spells... Might want to have a slightly different name for this one if there is a paladin in the party though, maybe "Oath smite"?
  • Maddening Hex - Shared Madness: I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is not one, but two 4e avenger powers that are similar to this invocation. Shared Madness's name even fit with it, so I had to add it in there. 
  • One With Shadows -One With Shadows: I think everyone wants to be able to turn invisible, right?
  • Relentless Hex - Censure of Pursuit: This is the ability that made things click to realize how well this would setup would work as an avenger, as it is very similar to one of the 4e avenger's core class options.
  • Whispers of the Grave - Whispers of the Grave: I like the idea of the hunter that can ask questions of the dead to find his quarry. It's not for everyone, I suppose.
  • Shroud of Shadow - Shroud of Shadow: See One With Shadows.
  • Witch Sight - Divine Sight: Seeing true forms of creatures would definitely come in handy for someone who hunts monsters.

Step five: Spells
 Warlock spells have a distinct flavor to them, which don't necessarily fit with the flavor of the avenger. If you like you can rename and/or reflavor them, and maybe I'll do another post about it later if it seems like there is interest.

I am excited to try this out, whenever I get a chance to actually play. I know it isn't a perfect match, especially with a focus on charisma instead of wisdom, but overall I think it is close enough. If you want to try it out, maybe surprise some of your fellow players, talk with your DM (make sure they know what's going on), and have fun with it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Races of Avion, Take Two, Part 1

After taking a break from my avion project, I realized that I didn't like how it had been developing. I scrapped some of it, though I may go back to it, even I don't know. I have come up with some different ideas, and I felt like writing them down here.

I scrapped the planar collision idea, though I still like the idea, I'm not currently using it for Avion. After reading a few chapters of a Dark Sun novel, I started liking the idea that there was a lot of small (in population, not size) races striving to make a place for themselves, and only by gaining some adaptation of note can they continue to survive.

Elves, for example have their natural grace, and quick mind, not to mdention that they very well might have been the first race. (But, they would never admit that.) Being a very old race, they have done what seems to be a common trend in my current ideas, their race splits into multiple sub-races. After an event (large war?), several of these sub-races merged so that there are four distinct elf races.

Wood elves (elves) decided that they would rather life amongst the plants, they split further depending on where they lived (jungle, forest, treetop, deep forrest, and possibly even desert).

High elves (Eladrin) believed they were above living in the forests and focused more on magic. They split into separate groups depending on their beliefs, but came together in time of need.

Dark elves (drow) were early High elves that believed in destroying the lesser races before they could get a foothold. Some repented and became the 'Risen elves', eventually joining back with the high elves. Those who remained became twisted and dark versions of their High elf brothers, and were driven underground to escape their destruction at the hand of their brothers.

Orik (Orcs) are wood elves that lived in the magic rich jungles in the southern part of their continent. The magic gave them plant-like properties, made them stronger and green skinned (as well as the ability to absorb some nutrients from the sun). They are able to reproduce with humans or other elves, creating half-orik (half-orcs).

Half-Elves also exist, and partially due to laziness, they are the same no matter what race of elves they are descended from.

Also, surface dwarves are evil.

What do you think of this idea? Please leave a comment!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Arcana Of Avion

Its been a while since I did much work on my Avion setting, but since I am now working on two stories and another project set there, it has slowly been getting more developed.

The most interesting developments have been about some of the fluff things for the arcane power source.

There are three ways to gain the ability to cast arcane magic: the wizard way, the sorcerer way, and the warlock way. Each method is different and comes with its own risks.

Wizards study old tomes, discover arcane secrets, and basically figure out how magic works in order to cast it. The Risk for this type of magic is that if you learn too many arcane secrets you might go insane, and that's the nicest of the risks. This method is severly lower than it once was due to the "quick and easy" nature of the other two methods.

Sorcerers find the blood of some magic creature, such as dragons, demons, etc., and inject it into themselves to mutate themselves to be magical conduits. The type of blood you inject into yourself determines what kind of sorcerer you become. The risk with this is that you can get an unwanted mutation, become magically addicted to magic blood, become controlled by the creature is it is powerful and still alive, or just simply die. This is the most common method, due to the increase of the availability of demon's blood, creating an abundance of chaos sorcerers.

Warlocks make deals with powerful entities, smart ones know what they are bargaining with. Great power is gained, but at great cost. Some lose their soul, some give the entity a chance to use their body at any time, and some may make a good deal, but their soul becomes corrupted by the entity's power. With the demon's blood method of sorcery becoming more popular, so does the trust of the demons themselves, this method is slowly gaining popularity in Avion.

Wizards risk their mind.
Sorcerers risk their body.
Warlocks risk their soul.

The other arcane classes can take one of these and roll with it, "I traded my soul to play this here guitar real good."

So, what do you think of that? I'm glad I finally got something that's unique to the setting, and I've decided to scrap some of the work I've already done.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or anything else to say, please leave a comment! I love to get feedback on my ideas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Story Idea Too!

Merry Christmas everyone!
I hope you get the +5 magic weapon you were hoping for!

Last night I went on a mini-rampage and wrote a bunch of character ideas for yet another story concept. I hope you like it.

The watcher of dreams... The white owl
Long have my people watched over the dreams of the people of the cities of Krish. The taint that flows into our world gathers where there are many people. This taint leads a man deeper into his own dreams, into the abyss, and it is my people who lead these lost ones back to their dream so that they may wake.
More and more, of late, have the people been dragged into the abyss. My people can scarcely keep these lost ones all from being devoured by the abyss.

I have been chosen. I must find the cause of this, And I must destroy it.

But, I cannot do it alone. I know a man, head of the City Guard of Glighton, He may help me...

The watcher of the city... The gray hawk
I, like my father, watch over the people of Glighton, capital of Frameria. The people place their safety in my hands, but their faith has waned of late, as the monster attacks grow more frequent and more destructive. There is a hole in the east wall that a man could walk though, not to mention the horrors that did make it through. Twelve were lost in that attack, three of them my own men.

It is my job to protect the city and its people. I must find the cause of this, and I must destroy it.

There is a man of the forest, who knows of all things of nature and some things outside it. He may help me...

The watcher of the forest... The brown falcon
The ageless forest calls to me. It accepted me and made me a part of itself. Now, as it hurts, I hurt as well. The beasts spout flame and ice, destroying my home, my love, my life. They are like nothing I have seen before, it is as if they are of another world. Yet even now that I cannot help my own forest, a man of the city cries to me to help solve their problems.

The spirits of the forest come to me for help. I must find the cause of this, and I must destroy it.

A man in a shining tower knows of things beyond this world. He may help me...

The watcher of knowledge… The black raven
The wizard's tower, the last true bastion of the old magic. I alone still reside there, it may be the last safe place in this world, but for how long? I study these old tomes, looking for the power that the wizards of ancient times commanded. But they are coming, as the old prophesies foretold. They will destroy this tower, before I can truly command ultimate power.

This knowledge must not be lost before I can unlock it. I must find the cause of this, and I must delay it.

Perhaps the Aesir have a champion who will fight them? I shall lend my power to that person...

The watcher of souls... The golden dove
I dream of beasts. Terrible monsters that torch the sky and freeze the sea. They are led by a creature beyond description, who stalks with only destruction in his wake. Death does not describe what befalls those who battle him. Yet I stand against him with a shimmering light, and he cannot stand against me. I must, for the sake of this world, find this light, and soon.

My Aesir leads me to the truth, I must find this light. Then, I must find the cause of this, and I must destroy it.

I must find the man who walks in dreams. He May help me.

My recently starting to read DragonLance books may be the cause of this... Oh, and Aesir are the deities of sorts in Avion.

Does that sound interesting? Think its dumb? Misinterpret a certain word that makes it seem inappropriate? Leave a comment!