Friday, September 22, 2017

Race: Awakened Undead [Fourth Draft]

Available on the DM's Guild (pay what you want) at this link!



The dead rise yet again! Just like this blog, really.

This time, they come with reinforcements in the form of two additional subraces, plenty of rules-tweaks, and updated DM's Guild friendly public domain artwork!

Lots to love here, so why don't we take a look at what's different.

CHANGELOG:

  • The Bloodless feature is now a core race feature, because that made much more sense. 
  • Revenant's Unnatural Vitality got a buff, no longer requiring death saving throws and instead functioning off the presence of temporary hit points. 
  • Ghost's Withering Touch has been nerfed, taking away the CON-mod bonus, so very sorry, ghost monks.
  • Ghosts now have resistance to being grappled, because have you ever tried to hug a ghost?
  • Ghouls have been added! Bringing with them two different flavors of natural weapon and an ability/unfortunate compulsion to feed. 
  • Mummies have also been added! With an additional feat it you really want to cuuuuuuuurse your foes.
CONCERNS:
  • Most of these races still trend fairly strong, though they're definitely less powerful than a good deal of what Volo's offers. Looking directly at you, Yuan-Ti Pureblood. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • A few nifty Photoshop tips and tricks to make the art work better together, and that it's almost certainly time to bring some subclasses onto the DM's Guild as well!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Otherworldly Patron: The Fathom Horror [Second Draft]



This one's been kicking around in my head for a long time. Way, WAY before I did the Codex of Waves, which I honestly half-did to support this (and another) project.

It's very satisfying then to be able to finally revise it and make it into a version I'd allow in games. Doubly so because this patron also has elements of me experimenting with Unearthed Arcana modifications to the warlock, like the Eldritch Smite invocation for the Pact of the Blade, and my figuring out of what the answer to that should be for the chain pact.

All in all, I find it in a pretty nice place. The balance of it feels just about as it should, though I'm certainly not the best judge of that. Look it over and give me your thoughts, same as always, and we can make it even better.

CHANGELOG:

  • Pelagic Tentacle now says what it does with flying/falling creatures, and includes an addendum to let you use it to give your falling friends a slimy, extradimensional hand.
  • Brine has been made overall more useful, with the original effect being transitioned into a bonus of sorts. 
  • Jellify now gives you a grey ooze friend if you kill someone with it, so go out and murder your way into having a lil' slime buddy today. 
  • Anchor of Drowned Sailors applies benefits to ALL pact weapons, making it more versatile and a direct competitor with Eldritch Smite. Technically you could double up both invocations, which is great I guess if you want to blow all your spell slots in one round. 
  • The Young Sea Drake has been retuned, giving it a knockback breath and almost-invisibility, neither of which cost spell slots. 
  • Verbage tweaks for two spells, for clarity. Not exciting, but probably important!
CONCERNS:
  • I think the balance on Brine is solid, but it may be situationally very powerful. I don't think that's important enough to make it outright overpowered, though. 
  • The sea drake is essentially a pseudodragon + warlock scaling, escape abilities, and almost invisibility. I'm hoping it's useful enough in its present state to warrant an invocation. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Changing these spells kinda sucks, because now I have to go back and change them in the Codex of Waves as well. Grumble grumble grumble.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Otherworldly Patron: The Ancient Dragon [Third Draft]



Always wanted to update this one. Got into a conversation the other day that got me thinking about it, and it just kind of went from there.

One thing I didn't like about the v0.2 of this patron option was that it tried too hard to be dragon-agnostic, creating a spell list that attempted to address every type of dragon possible. What it generated was something of a bland mess that had a lot of holes and no central feel.

So, I made six spell lists instead, one for each damage type of dragon (almost; acid and poison have to share).

It was a huge pain in the butt. I hated it from a simplicity-in-design standpoint. But it was the right call, I think, to preserve the feeling of this patron.

But, of course, that's not the only thing that got changed. Changelog!

CHANGELOG:

  • Diversified and reformed the spell list(s), trying to keep a central idea of dragon-ness while showing deviation across the various dragon-types.
  • Moved Ancient's Breath (now Breath of the Ancients) to 1st level, and included a note saying that yes, dragonborn can and will have two different flavors of breath.
  • Added Dragonscales at level 6, a shield type ability that does what I was trying to make shield do, without costing a spell slot. 
  • Reworked Blood of Dragons making it less dependent on coming into contact with a specific type of damage. 
  • Minor reworks to Draconic Apotheosis, to make it function with the new Blood of Dragons and Breath of the Ancients.
  • Added Invocations, including the much-loved dragon chest, small buffs to the Pact of the Chain pseudodragon, a Pact of the Blade weapon, and more!
CONCERNS:
  • I'm not sure of the damage ramp on Breath of the Ancients, could use another look. 
  • Blood of Dragons may be too good, and also, is it clear? Could also use a look.
  • The pseudodragon invocation (Dragonling) may have unintended consequences, maybe?
  • Giving heavy armor to warlocks is probably an okay call, given that this invocation matches numbers with Armor of Shadows pretty well, but I'd still like to have Knight of the Beyond be looked at. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Usually, it's worth doing the big, stupid, extra-work-pain-in-the-ass thing to preserve flavor.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Expanded and Exotic Weapons [Sixth Draft]

Available on the DM's Guild (pay what you want) at this link!

Also available in a selectable, format-less print-safe PDF!

The thing about making an expanded weapons list is it can (and will) just keep expanding as new ideas come up. I guarantee this sucker will be just about as long as the Strongholds project when I'm done with it. But for now, I'm happy that I can squeeze it in to four action-packed pages of content, all done up in public domain artwork and ready for the DM's Guild.

Six whole drafts, though! Can you believe it? I sure can't.

So let's see what got changed.

CHANGELOG:

  • DM's Guild compliant public domain artwork!
  • Minor tweak for trading expanded weapon proficiencies: the traded weapons must have the same damage dice.
  • Brass knuckles are back in! Just about as good as a light hammer, without connecting to unarmed combat rules in any way (it's for the best, really).
  • Added a special property for the sword sheath allowing it to be drawn with the same object interaction as the sword it's paired with.
  • Changed the sap, yet again. Less rolling (hopefully) means more fun.
  • Added the spiked shield and the monk's spade to the exotic weapon list! Both have been widely requested, so it's good to have them on there. 
  • Added magical version of the monk's spade, the spiked shield, and the spiked chain as a little bit of bonus content.
CONCERNS:
  • Spiked shield does some wacky things vis-a-vis AC and being wielded as a weapon primarily. I'm pretty sure that's okay because it costs a feat, though. 
  • I'm unsure of the balance on the monk's spade, with its bonus action shove. Could use some more eyes on that. 
  • Sap is always a little wacky, but I love it so it has to be in. I blame the Thief series of computer games.
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Everything's an ongoing project. I just wish adding new content didn't raise so many balance concerns. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Otherworldly Patron: The Fathom Horror [ROUGH DRAFT]



I'm not dead yet!

It's been a while, but I'm back with a brand-new warlock patron option. Before my long and unplanned hiatus, this was one of the things I was looking forward to the most, and (in fact) part of the reason I developed the Codex of Waves in the first place.

First, though: apologies for the absence. Life has twists and turns, and homebrew (sadly, much as I love it) is usually the first thing to end up on the back burner. If I'm on hiatus in the future, I'll do a much better job of labeling it as such, as I had more than a few concerned messages asking me if I was physically alright during my time gone.

While gone, my DM's Guild presence grew surprisingly. Both Merchants and the core Strongholds options have become Electrum best-sellers, putting them in the top 1.3% of most-sold content on the DM's Guild. Now, as they're pay-what-you-want, that doesn't mean I'm necessarily selling them for anything above $0, but it's still nice to know that they've become very widely-used and well-reviewed rulesets.

But enough about things that aren't this warlock, I'm sure you're all very interested to hear the intricacies of forming a pact with the nightmares beneath the waves. Here's the features list, then:

FEATURES:

  • Class features that epitomize the grossest parts of undersea life, from conjuring horrid tentacles to transmuting your foes into sea jelly. 
  • All-new invocations based on the Warlocks and Wizards Unearthed Arcana, allowing you access to near-infinite treasure maps and the ability to bean your foes with an enormous anchor. 
  • Spells directly from Codex of Waves, referenced here for your convenience.
CONCERNS:
  • Lots of points of balance that might be wacky. I'm primarily unconcerned with the spells because I've had them looked at so much already, but the long-term effects of Brine and Jellify might need a critical eye.
  • I did a couple new things with invocations here. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but Sea Serpent and Anchor of Drowned Sailors could definitely use a look.
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Let people know I'm not dead before I go on hiatus next time. Whoops. =x

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Looking for Art!

So, as part of moving to DM's Guild, I've been looking for a reliable artist behind the scenes for a while.

For every class option I release, it'd be nice to have a personally-created image to go with each of them. This is something I've always wanted for my work, but it's finally possible with income from the DM's Guild to make this a reality.

If anyone is interested, I'd be willing to pay $35-40 per piece, as long as it meets the appropriate art style (i.e., sufficiently similar to works found in the Player's Handbook, or cool enough that I'd consider it anyway). I'd also be willing to credit you fully with an art credit and a link to a blog or profile that has at least as much visibility in the credits as my own blog link.

This would also be reliable work, as every time I'm about to release an option, I'd be looking to commission (and pay for) a new art piece.

If you're interested, let me know in the comments, or by messaging /u/the_singular_anyone on reddit! Show me your profile, or link me some of your existing works, so I can get a better idea of the art that you create.

The first thing I'm looking at commissioning is the Common Man paladin, so if drafting up a Soviet-esque hero of the people sounds like fun to you, let me know.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stronghold Expansion: Traders & Merchants [Second Draft; DM's Guild Variant]

Available on the DM's Guild (pay what you want) at this link!



It'd be awfully silly if I was to host content on the DM's Guild and omit the largest thing I've ever made, wouldn't it?

It took some searching, some editing, and some doing, but Traders & Merchants has been updated to use entirely public domain artwork. It was a difficult process (and one that unfortunately doesn't pay dividends in new content or rules updates), but it needed to be done as I continue to move from fair use art into public domain art.

What changed? Well, about that...

CHANGELOG:

  • 32 pages of new artwork!
  • Made Quality and Legendary Merchants operate off of a d20 (to improve probability distribution).
  • That's it.
  • Exciting, right?
CONCERNS:
  • Gimmicks present in some Legendary Merchants may need balancing or adjusting.
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • I never want to re-do 30+ pages of artwork ever again.