Thursday, June 14, 2018

Roguish Archetype: The Jester [Fifth Draft]

Download a selectable-text, printsafe version here!

The last time I touched this one is three years ago? My god, how time flies.

I've got a backlog of revisions due a mile long, and I'm not content to just edit old content. I've learned so much in the time I've spent doing this, and I aim to re-imagine old options, making them distinct, well-rounded, and complete!

The jester, for one, had a unique casting system that I always felt was somewhat lacking. It was very much "Here are some spells! Make the spells happen!" without any distinguishing system mechanics behind them.

No longer! The jester thematically was always about blind luck, silly situations, and grim humor over sheer utility, so I've re-imagined it as an extremely variant 1/3-caster that relies mostly on luck to determine its spell list.

I expect that this won't be a final version (woe betide me, a sixth draft?!), but it's a bold reworking that I imagine will carve more of a niche for itself than the four other jesters that have come before it.

CHANGELOG:

  • Arcane Buffoonery is now Arcane Wit, which comes with a full (if decidedly different) 1/3 caster spell progression!
  • Harlequin's Mask doesn't specifically reference vicious mockery, because it created weirdness whether it or Arcane Wit should be first.
  • New Ability: Tumbling Fool! Get some extra mileage out of your Disengage, roll around the battlefield like a maniac.
  • Cruel Comedy has been raised from 9th to 13th level, which seems like a better space given what it does.
  • Most of the spells you know are completely random! But don't worry, they reset every long rest.
  • Now uses a 1/3-caster version of warlock spell mechanics, instead of eluding to it sidelong like it did before.
CONCERNS:
  • Oh, so very many.
  • Will randomized spellcasting be fun?
  • Is 1/3-caster warlock progression balanced?
  • Is Arcane Wit clear in its language as to what it does?
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • I guess if I need to revise my entire catalog, I might as well start right now.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Martial Archetype: Centurion [rough draft]


Download a selectable-text, printsafe version here!

Sometimes in the middle of a big project, I'll start working on a small side-project just to clear my mind a little bit. The augmented actually started that way as well, believe it or not, until it spiraled off into a project even bigger than the one I was taking a break from!

I was doing a lot of research into Rome for reasons I won't get into just yet, and a friend of mine expressed interest in seeing a Centurion realized in 5e. The more I researched, the more I realized how possible a Centurion fighter was, and so I took a break and decided to give it a go.

Turns out, the idea had legs. And now we've got a full-fledged Centurion fighter, ready for a test drive!

FEATURES:

  • Three different postures to hold your Tower Shield, depending on what you think the enemy will throw at you next!
  • A wealth of options that build on core fighter mechanics, creating great synergy with the base class.
  • The ability to be the tankiest tank of them all, just don't expect to move very quickly.
CONCERNS:
  • Maybe too tanky? It's powerful within that one focus, but it doesn't have a whole lot of latitude outside of it.
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Sometimes, ideas happen really quickly, and it's good to be prepared when they do!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Class: The Augmented [Rough Draft]


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

So here's what I've been working on all this time!

It's been very hard to get perfect, but I finally got it into a state that I'm happy with. New classes are always tough (half-casters most of all), and building a technology-based class in a mostly non-technological game is additionally tricky!

But enough of my woes, I'm sure you want to hear what the Augmented has to offer!

FEATURES:

  • 3 subclasses, ranging from protecting your allies with conjured barriers to hacking into the minds of your foes!
  • 34 augments, allowing you to customize your augmented and create something truly unique.
  • A progressive system for upgrading your body as you level, allowing you to build new augments into your newly-upgraded parts.
  • Battlestrikes that deal additional damage, and allow you to control the flow of battle.
  • Personal shielding, to give you that much additional survivability!
CONCERNS:
  • Augments are varied, and hard to balance. So far, they seem acceptable.
  • This class dabbles in a lot of kits that may belong to other classes, but with enough caveats that hopefully that shouldn't matter too much. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Yep, this is DEFINITELY the hardest thing I've worked on so far. Balancing half-casters is no joke!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Otherworldly Patron: The God-King [ROUGH DRAFT]

Download a selectable-text, printsafe version here!

Ok, hiatus over, back on track!

The God-King warlock has been one of the most challenging warlocks I've worked on to-date, and it took me a good bit of back-and-forth (and no small help from fans and friends) to get it in a workable state. Commissioned by zriegel, a Walrock-level backer on my Patreon (thanks again!), the God-King is an ancient Egyptian themed warlock ready for multiclassing, viable as a Stygian cultist, a devotee of Athasian Sorcerer-Kings, or as a wanderer of the wastes, using dark magics to survive the perils of the desert sands.

Pact with an ancient and forgotten God-King, receive their blessing and their curse, and enforce their fell will across the wasteland and beyond!

FEATURES:
  • Use a Soul Jar to keep your friends close, probably closer than they would like.
  • Transmute your wounds into Hungering Scarabs and share that pain with your foes!
  • Use the damage you take to bolster your allies with Pain Into Life!
  • Drink the life from those around you, Desiccating all those nearby.
CONCERNS:
  • Soul Jar is probably the most ambitious level 1 I've done so far. It has a lot of moving parts, but between all the complication it feels balanced. At least, as far as I can tell.
  • Hungering Scarabs has no saving throw by design. It's built upon the damage math for magic missile, which should make it more reasonable?
  • Pain Into Life is very versatile. It's balanced around the Fiendlock level 10, but is better and worse in certain areas. 
WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
  • Things will come together eventually. Sometimes I just have to back up, look at the whole, and be unafraid of weeding out anything that's not working. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Subrace: Yule Elf [ROUGH DRAFT]


Download a selectable-text, printsafe version here!

Just in time for Christmas!

It's been a long time since I've done a stand-alone subrace. I had a plan to release a whole slew of elves for every environment back in the day, but got distracted halfway through and only ended up releasing two elf subraces.

This subrace is less of a serious, intended-to-feel-canon addition to what I've created, and more of a fun, seasonal offering. Who wouldn't love to play a holiday team of yule elves, banding together to rescue Santa, or to defeat their ancestral foe the Krampus once and for all?

FEATURES:

  • Be small, but still an elf, owing to a lineage that involves crafty gnomish blood.
  • Know all the tools, because you never know what you'll need to make before Christmas!
  • Produce things on the fly, every short rest, using slightly tweaked Downtime math.
  • Know who's been naughty, and who's been nice! Maybe even keep a list (checking twice is optional).
CONCERNS:
  • Yuletide Crafting might be semi-abusible, but it doesn't seem that bad at first glance.
  • This is the only elf subrace that gets a choice of ASI, but again I don't think that breaks balance too badly. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • When doing research for the lore I was writing, I found out that the Krampus actually harkens back to the pre-Christian Horned God common in pagan winter celebrations. That same Horned God is also considered a central figure in Wild Hunt mythology, so that seemed like a great starting-off point to write some lore!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Otherworldly Patron: The Monstrosity [ROUGH DRAFT]


Download a selectable-text, printsafe version here!

Well, that took a surprising amount of time!

First, sorry for the small hiatus. December took me by storm, and managed to upset my carefully-laid plans. However! We're back on track, and starting off all that is the Monstrosity, a patron I've made as a Christmas gift for a friend of mine, with whom I share a long and enduring love of films with giant rubbery Japanese monsters smashing models and cardboard cities.

In the world(s) of D&D, a monstrosity is something kaiju-like. Think of the tarrasque, neothelids, purple worms, and similar, monsters both immense and apocalyptic, terrifying portents of nature's wrath.

A pact is struck with these creatures not typically with their consent. Similar to a Great Old One pact, the monster may not even have knowledge that the pact has been struck, but rather the warlock draws on the beast's power through consuming its magically-imbued blood, offspring, or essence.

What destructive tricks does this kaiju-caster have? That leads us to:

FEATURES:

  • Unleash your Destructive Potential to damage anything, anywhere!
  • Frighten your enemies with a Monstrous Roar, as a bonus action OR a reaction.
  • Transform into a nightmarish Monstrosity Spawn, tear up the town, and probably never get invited back. 
  • Customize your monster form and give it the terrifying visage that suits your patron.
CONCERNS:
  • Balance is questionable with Unstoppable Rage and Spawn of the Monstrosity. 
  • I feel like there may overall be a better way of implementing Spawn of the Monstrosity. 
  • Word of Ruin involves casting a buffed 6th-level spell once per long rest, which isn't something other invocations do. I don't think it's imbalanced, per se, but it's definitely a concern. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • If you hit a bump in the road and have to slow down, that's fine, just keep going! Homebrew rests for no one. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Otherworldly Patron: The Fathom Horror [Third Draft]


Download a selectable-text, printsafe version here!

After I released both the Fathom Horror and the latest draft of the Ancient Dragon, I had a gradual realization that this material was the least future-proofed it could be. As can be seen in earlier drafts of both patrons, invocations found in Unearthed Arcana had changed the face of how certain warlocks functioned and their power level, and I attempted to accommodate those changes in the material I produced.

Ultimately, I decided just not to touch either option until Xanathar's Guide to Everything came out and included the finalized version of those UA options. What followed was a grueling waiting game on my part, both for Xanathar's, and to see how its invocation options were inevitably received.

Now that some of the hubbub around the new book has died down, I finally feel comfortable in continuing the revision cycle on these warlock options. The Fathom Horror is first up, because I love it so dang much, but expect the Ancient Dragon to be close behind!

All that in mind, let's see what all this time waiting led me to change:

CHANGELOG:

  • Jellify has been tweaked slightly, to keep the ooze it creates from being able to eat metal.
  • Removed Anchor of Drowned Sailors and Aquatic Adaptation invocations, as both conflicted with new material present in Xanathar's.
  • Anchor of Drowned Sailors is now a sidebar rule, synergizing with Improved Pact Weapon found in Xanathar's. 
  • Young Sea Drake has been rebalanced, tweaking its HP, making its Torrent Breath an at-will ability, and allowing it to share its Marine Camouflage with whoever it is riding. 
  • All invocations have been made patron-agnostic, meaning that any warlock with the right features can now use these invocations!
CONCERNS:
  • Still unsure of how the young sea drake feels. Monster math has always been a weakpoint of mine.
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • When a class' whole game is about to change, maybe wait before releasing content for it. That's why I still haven't released a single ranger option. =/