Monday, March 13, 2017

Worldbuilding Option: Fortresses, Temples, & Strongholds [Fourth Draft]

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

Yup. I finally updated it, yet again!

Easily the most popular thing I've ever made (though the Common Man paladin gives it a run for its money), the stronghold rules here have sort of become the gold standard on the internet for building structures in D&D 5e. And, while I'm proud of that, it's also pretty easy to chalk it up to stronghold rules being a massive pain in the butt to make.

In this iteration, I added a ton of suggestions from you guys, updated it to my newest template, and of course swapped in public domain art to facilitate hosting it on the DM's Guild. Let's run down exactly what got updated in this pass, as we do:


  • Added rules for rebuilding damaged structures, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence for adventurers.
  • Added nine new rooms! So a if you've ever wanted a bank, baths, a boutique, catacombs, a clock tower, planar docks, a lighthouse, a mill, or sewers, you're in luck!
  • Updated Traders and Merchants rules to coincide with how that expansion has progressed.
  • Added Secret Passage and Teleportation Rune room modifications, by popular demand.
  • Adjusted pricing on room modifications, making them by and large more affordable.
  • Added hirelings from Volo's, which has notably more than quadrupled the spellcaster hirelings list.
  • Added rules for a flying stronghold falling out of the sky, as that appeared to be a big old question mark last draft.

  • I've got a ton more content that I had to cut off here, such as rules for building canals and roads, because I just couldn't make it work to my satisfaction. I'll probably add it in sooner or later, but knowing how these things go, it might end up being later.  
  • I actually like the public domain look for this option way, way more. Looks more relaxed, austere, and less overall eclectic. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Spells: Codex of Waves [Second Draft]

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

Well, that was exciting! My first all-spell supplement seemed to be very well received, although not without issues of both balance and sloppy editing on my part.

Needless to say, though, those have been fixed (to the best of my knowledge) and the Codex of Waves appears more ready than ever to be used by actual spellcasters in actual games of D&D 5e!

Also, as I'm sure you read from the very large text at the top, this title has been submitted (or rather, is in the process of being so) to the DM's Guild! Thanks also for all the knowledge you fine folks laid on me about the DM's Guild, as it helped me go into the submission process with both eyes open, knowing full well what to expect.

What'd I change, though? What makes v0.2 better than the rough draft? Well...


  • Bigby's blistering barnacles now allows you the (rather gross) option of removing them with an action and a Strength check.
  • Bless vessel now requires a creature that uses it to gain advantage on a check or save to actually be on the vessel somehow.
  • Flowsight is now a divination spell.
  • Pressure sphere has been fully reworked, requiring a bonus action to crush your target's head each turn and allowing your foe the chance at a Dexterity check to escape its clutches. 
  • Red tide is now 5th level instead of 6th, but otherwise remains unchanged.
  • Ripple now has a reasonable damage progression, similar to other cantrips.
  • Water tentacle has been re-worded partially, substituting your spellcasting ability score for the inherent Strength score it previously had.
  • The DM's Guild is still a fairly daunting process, and I'm not fully familiar with it yet. There remains the possibility I missed something up. 
  • As for the spells, none as of yet. Small editing errors are the most likely issue, going forward. 
  • It's cool to finally be published, in a fashion. I'm excited to see where this blog will go from here. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Donation Received!

February is over, which means that all the money I collected that month goes straight to the ACLU!

We totaled $30 throughout most of the month, which I'm happy to hand off to an organization that'll always be fighting the good fight, likely for longer than I'm even alive.

Thanks again to everyone who donated! Homebrew blogging isn't exactly the world's most profitable business, but it feels good to use what it receives to help create positive change in the world.

Spells: Codex of Waves [ROUGH DRAFT]

Up until now, I've only occasionally touched on new spells. Making new spells is imprecise, and can affect multiple classes in wide sweeping ways. As such, I like to avoid it whenever possible.

Problem is, I use homebrew to fill holes left by the core rules, and magic in D&D contains very few spells that pertain to water, and very, very many that pertain to lightning and fire. That in mind, I made 19 new spells (including several I've ported from Stormwrack, because everyone loves Stormwrack) that more fully encapsulate the use of water in magic.

Are they balanced? Hopefully! This is a rough draft, after all, tell me what could use some fixing.


  • 19 new spells, including all-new creations and classic spells brought over from Stormwrack!
  • Spell lists for every casting class, dividing these new spells along thematic lines.
  • Public domain artwork, which represents my first steps towards publishing on the DM's Guild!
  • 19 spells is a heck of a lot, I'm sure there's some balance errors in there.
  • Some spells I kind of had to eyeball a bit as to what spell level they should be. Your mileage may vary, tell me if you disagree.
  • Public domain art is easy enough to find and work with, but I'll still miss the fancy, fantasy-specific art I'm used to. :(

Friday, February 17, 2017

Stronghold Expansion: Traders & Merchants [Second Draft]

REMINDER: Any donations to this blog for the month of February will be passed on to the ACLU, in full. 
Donations can be made to the blog, or to the ACLU directly at the link above.
I'll try and keep a running tally with each release. So far we have $30 to donate! Great job!

Bet you wondered where I went, didn't you?

One of the difficult parts of updating old content is when I've switched over to a new template since making it. For the previous version of this project, I had my second-iteration template. Now, I'm using a third-iteration template with different sizing and standardization that pretty much exactly replicates the PHB. That's great and all, but what it really means is that I need to re-do every page of a project if I want consistent sizing and aesthetics with my newest content.

And that's a problem if a project is 23 pages long. Even more so, when you inflate the project to 32 pages after working on it.

Almost twice as long as the core Strongholds rules, this is now officially the biggest project I've ever worked on, and hopefully contains a merchant for just about every situation.

What made this pile of insanity worth doing? Well, since you asked...


  • Added 8 new merchants, including legendary merchants, rare super-merchants a player can stumble upon once in a lifetime!
  • Added new and altered items to all merchant inventories, to make the lists more representative of what they're supposed to be. 
  • Added a Quantity column, so players will have a hard limit on how many throwing knives they can purchase. 
  • Removed Very Poor and Very Good merchants, folding them over into Poor and Good qualities.
  • Merchants are now determined by a d100 roll, allowing for food merchants to show up more often than potion merchants.
  • Fixed textual errors referring to incorrect sources and similar.
  • I've added more than I've ever added to just about any project to date. I'm betting there'll be a mistake or two somewhere.
  • I might need to change the probability numbers on the legendary merchants, to make encountering a time traveler or the devil himself significantly less common than say, an enchantments merchant.
  • I'm not looking forward to updating the Strongholds core to the new template, I'll tell you that much. Although it'll probably be way easier than this, tables are an absolute nightmare to format. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Monastic Tradition: Way of the Zen Archer [Second Draft]

REMINDER: Any donations to this blog for the month of February will be passed on to the ACLU, in full. 
Donations can be made to the blog, or to the ACLU directly at the link above.
I'll try and keep a running tally with each release. So far we have $30 to donate! Great job!

Monks are a massive pain in the behind to do anything with.

You've got the ki system, of course, which itself isn't so bad. But then you've got Martial Arts, a list of weapons which do/do not synergize with that feature, Flurry of Blows vs. the basic MA bonus attack, and a whole lot of hidden balance math that can be upset when you try and do something obscene like make monks synergize with using ranged weapons.

There's a reason the Kensei has to kind of be a mess and include "kensei weapons," is what I'm saying.

But! I have the advantage of being able to release multiple incarnations of one class archetype whenever I feel like, allowing me to fix and update much faster than a UA release.

That said, this version of the Zen Archer greatly improves the balance and feeling of the original, making the whole experience of being a bow-or-crossbow monk a much cleaner, more flavorful experience.



  • Incorporated Martial Arts directly into Bonus Proficiencies, because trying to pick and choose how the feature interacts with MA without explicitly stating it was a losing battle.
  • Spiritual Archery no longer has a bonus action attack, now using a bonus action to increase the damage of your attacks directly. It still has a Flurry of Blows equivalent option, but it waits until 5th level to coincide with Extra Attack. 
  • Immaculate Lance has its math rebalanced, giving it a higher front-end damage but lower back-end damage. It also has new verbage to allow it to be cast using 0 ki, similar to the Sun Soul monk's Searing Sunburst, and now deals no damage on a successful save. 
  • Exquisite Accuracy now only negates disadvantage, allowing advantage from things like true strike to persist. 
  • Some people expressed vague concern over Stunning Strike being available at range, but after looking it over a couple of times I can't find anything that makes it inherently gamebreaking. The most imbalanced thing I can find is pulling off a Stunning Strike / Immaculate Lance wombo-combo, and that requires careful planning and about half your ki at the level it becomes available. 
  • True strike continues to be marginally useful, but is handy if you're using your action for something other than attacking. It synergizes well with Immaculate Lance, if nothing else. 
  • The new Spiritual Archery makes advantage and disadvantage a bigger deal than it would be for a regular monk, but that doesn't seem balance-breaking by its nature. 
  • I'll miss the spirit arrow. Ah well, these mechanics are much smoother. 
  • I deeply, deeply miss how relatively easy it is to make something like a rogue. Maybe next time. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Monastic Tradition: Way of the Zen Archer [ROUGH DRAFT]

REMINDER: Any donations to this blog for the month of February will be passed on to the ACLU, in full. 
Donations can be made to the blog, or to the ACLU directly at the link above.  

I really and truly love playing 5e. Having played both 3.5 and 4e as well, 5e is definitely my favorite edition to date, in my opinion running smoother, cleaner, and more intuitively than either of its WotC predecessors.

One of the problems I do have in 5e is the holes in material, but that's bound to happen in any relatively-new system. Most of what I do here is try and patch the holes that I perceive to exist, making 5e be (in the end) a more complete system with a fuller range of options.

In this case, the hole I'm filling is the ranged monk. The only ranged options available for monks are to either be a sun-bolt hurling Goku, or to rules-abuse the UA Kensei into using martial ranged weapons that can deal Strength bludgeoning damage. Neither seems like a real great way to make a bow-monk, and that's where homebrew comes in.

More than just a monk with a bow, a Zen Archer is a spiritual ranged attacker that focuses on making impossible shots and striking foes with bolts of pure ki energy. A Zen Archer attempts to make every shot count, channeling their mastery of mind and body through a bow or crossbow to dispatch foes from far away.

What makes this monk different and fun to play? Well...


  • Curve arrows around walls to make impossible trick shots, striking dead those who would hide from you. 
  • Fire conjured bolts of ki from your bow, with the ability to supercharge them using ki points!
  • Launch a powerful lance of radiant ki that you can empower with additional ki points.
  • Some of the abilities may be a little verbose. I tried to cut them down a bit, with mixed results. 
  • Unsure of the damage balance on Immaculate Lance, it may need to be higher. Tried to base it off of what the Sun Soul got at that level, but a burst effect is hard to balance against a line effect. 
  • There might be usage errors here and there. A lot of this is emulating core monk features in a different direction, similar to what the Kensei does, which even the Kensei didn't do especially clearly. 
  • Monks have a LOT of working parts, and it's particularly hard to design a subclass without running afoul of some of them.