Sunday, December 20, 2015

Race: Awakened Undead [Third Draft]

Constantly, it seems this project is being left to die, before it suddenly rises from its grave with newer revisions!

Very little changed in this version, which means that this is (likely) the final draft. Always good, especially because I have a couple very big things planned and it's nice to have a clean project queue before starting up a mega-project.

What's different? Changelog!


  • Rebalanced Bone to Pick and gave your skeleton arm a d6 instead of a d8. Seems reasonable.
  • Withering Touch is now more important, not giving you proficiency in something you'd already have by default, and adding CON to unarmed damage. 
  • Fixed Incorporeal Stride so that it no longer references 4e mechanics and gives you a very clear idea of what keeps out your ghost. 
  • Nothing, really. Seems about done and balanced to me.
  • Not much this time around. Just that you guys are always particularly good at picking out the nits I've missed. 

Expanded and Exotic Weapons [Fourth Draft]

Adding new mechanics further down the line is a bit of a double-edged sword (or, y'know, a sword, two-bladed).

On one hand, it's usually pretty necessary to work out bugs and kinks when it happens. On the other hand, it's new and unpolished, so it always brings a whole lot of clunk to the table as well.

While the 4e encounter-power mechanics the last draft used worked, they didn't always work in service of a weapon and, if the weapon missed, it resulted in the feat feeling wasted. Wanting the weapons to feel worthwhile, I broke the powers down into either new weapon properties or special mechanics on the weapons themselves.

But now we're getting into the crunch of what got changed, and that's the changelog's job.


  • Rebalanced the Katana, Scythe, and Shuriken, keeping them from stepping on the toes of other weapons. The Katana no longer has the light property (there's always the feat to hold two), and the shuriken fell from 1d6 to 1d4 damage, but now has a minor special property. The scythe was reduced to 1d6 slashing, but is now also a finesse weapon (that you cannot sneak attack with).  
  • Folded Exotic Weapon Powers into the weapons themselves. This resulted in the new Ensnaring and Rapid Fire properties, as well as cropping down the feat into just a single proficiency because the powers now come bundled with.
  • Reworked Double Weapons such that there is only one way to hold them, as two one-handed weapons, because it cuts down on complication and cheese. 
  • Added Special Rules for every Exotic without Extra Shot or Ensnaring.
  • Moved Tonfa into the Expanded Weapons list. Being Exotic wasn't working out for it.
  • Added Harpoon to the Exotic Weapons list. Now any orc or goblin can be your character's white whale. 
  • Balance on new content, as always. Specifically on the new weapon properties and special properties for Exotics. 
  • Little, horrible mechanical complexities and cheese this might accidentally cause with builds I didn't consider. Seems to be a reoccuring theme with this project. 
  • Weapons have a lot more moving parts than appear on the surface. You all have helped me stumble upon a new branch of system mechanics I didn't as much consider when I started this project. 
My quest to make an effective, selectable PDF continues. For this version I've generated this selectable PDF, which you can download by clicking here

It looks great in Google Drive, which was my goal, but now it looks awful in Adobe Acrobat. C'est la vie.

A newer version of this option is available. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Expanded and Exotic Weapons [Third Draft]

There are two important things to consider when revising homebrew:
  1. The difference between when a mechanic is bad and can be fixed, and when it's bad enough to have to take it behind a shed and do what must be done.

  2. When to keep it simple, and when it's appropriate to complicate it a little bit. 
The "trade in proficiencies" bit wasn't really working out for this homebrew. So, I nixed it, and mixed the format of this project around a little bit. 

The changelog can explain.

  • Expanded and Exotic Weapons is the new title, replacing the old "Exotic Weapons" and representing the two weapon lists available here,
  • Broke weapons into two lists, one intended to be an extension of the PHB's weapon list and proficiencies, the other of which requires feats to access. 
  • Removed Bladed Fan because that one just really wasn't working out. 
  • Added Repeating Crossbows because D&D cowboys. 
  • Added Sword Sheath because that's a fun thing to beat people with. 
  • Added Exotic Weapon powers which are once-per-short-rest abilities related to the weapon, intended to help make a feat worth it. 
  • Revised item descriptions, rebalanced weapon damage because you can't do that enough times. 
  • What's the power balance on the new Exotic Weapons and the weapon abilities? I think the power variation is fairly alright; I guarantee they're not going to be perfectly balanced, but as long as the spread is roughly even I'm alright with it. 
  • Do any expanded weapons invalidate any existing weapons? Keep in mind the differences in Simple and Martial weapon categories. 
  • Well, that thing I posted, above. 
  • 4e-style mechanics can work in 5e. Whoda thought. 

Also, I'm still figuring out how to generate a PDF with selectable text that Google will let me embed without breaking it. It's surprisingly tricky, but for now you can download a PDF with selectable text here. It won't look pretty previewed, but if you download it, it should run off a computer or device just fine.

A newer version of this option is available.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Exotic Weapons [Second Draft]

One of my favorite things to do recently is to take cracks specifically at game mechanics I don't have experience with yet, to build up my knowledge base and system mastery for more complicated homebrew projects down the line.

So far, I've learned that weapons in 5e are fairly comprehensive and have very little wiggle room to add new material. Rather than let that be a deterrent, I've found the areas that 5e's weapon spread hasn't covered, and used that to bring back perennial favorite D&D weapons, and to bring in new stuff that fits the genre all the same.

...Problem is, in the first swing at it I had very little idea of what the parameters of these weapons should be. But, you all helped me with that quite a bit! Let's see how:


  • Adjusted damage values for Bladed Fan, Spiked Chain, Jian, Katana, Kusari-Gama, Nunchaku, and Sap.
  • Removed Dwarven Throwing Hammers and Kukri because unknown to me the PHB's light hammer already covered that niche, and the Kukri wasn't coming together right.
  • Added Machete and Tonfa, both providing very interesting dual wield options.
  • Reworked properties for the katana, sap, and nunchaku.
  • Changed proficiency requirements. You must now trade three Martial proficiencies for one Exotic proficiency, and two Simple proficiencies count as one Martial proficiency for this purpose. 
  • Tweaked Double Weapon property, mostly for clarity.
  • Tweaked Grappling property, to keep players from grappling two people at once with a spiked chain. 
  • Added note on Exotic Weapons and monk weapons.
  • The spiked chain as a two-handed weapon that deals 2d4 damage interacts in an interesting way with the fighting style Great Weapon Fighting. I don't see it as particularly game-breaking, just nice, and a small homage to the spiked chain's history as a powerful, optimal weapon. 
  • Special properties are probably the way to go with differentiating weapons, but not overly powerful and only where they make sense. 
A newer version of this option is available.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

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

What? What's that you say? I've been avoiding updating my 17-page, huge document of world-building stronghold options because it takes SO LONG and is a huge pain in the butt?

No I haven't. That's not true. You can tell, by the fact that the second draft of it is right here.

Minor tweaks, all around, but important ones all the same. Let's take a look!


  • The Trading Post can now be built as a Large House, for those of us looking to make an effective inn. 
  • Expansion Units and Expansions are no more! They are now replaced with room points and rooms, which specify that they are used to furnish existing, unfurnished rooms. 
  • Rooms no longer upgrade spell slots used. Rather, some rooms increase spell duration, as well as halving the price of reagents used for a spell. 
  • The Chapel and Graveyard have been reworked. The Chapel is now permanently hallowed ground, and the graveyard provides some minor quality-of-unlife improvements to aspiring necromancers. 
  • Added a sidebar for the Magical Enchanter because not every game needs easy access to magical items. 
  • The Tavern now produces alcohol you can sell and is overall probably one of the best rooms you can buy, which I'm pretty alright with. 
  • Updated the skills required for Hidden, and replaced Wisdom (Insight) with Dexterity (Sleight of Hand).
  • The Sphere of Annihilation now costs significantly more and will still fuck you up just as much. 
  • Reduced the time it takes to cast year-long spells in a structure, down to every-day-for-a-month, which seems more reasonable in many campaigns. 
  • Room balance is still imperfect, but I don't care about this so much because it isn't as aggressively out-of-line as it was before. Structures are the sort of things that you will build up how you want, regardless of balance, so long as balance issues are minor. 
  • There's a LOT that I have planned for expansions to this content, and I'm dreading making it. It's so cool that I definitely will anyway, though, so don't worry about that too much. 
  • The good thing about introducing large content packs is that I don't have to add every brilliant new idea the people reviewing the content have, because I can just introduce everything in an expansion. It saves me from the formatting nightmare that re-editing 17 pages of content is to add new things, so I'm thankful for that at least. 
  • Teleportation Circles for easy transit around a large structure.
  • Golem Forge for constructing golem hirelings.
  • Magical Hirelings because who doesn't want to hire a fey cleaning staff?
  • Druid Circle to attract defenders of the wild to also defend your structure, maybe.
  • Tinker's Workshop to make mechanical devices and contraptions!
  • Labyrinth to amaze and confuse (mostly confuse) unwanted visitors.
  • Brightsmith to cut and forge magical gems.
  • Mining to provide resources for your structure.
  • Baths to keep a clean, satisfied population.
  • Sewers to keep a clean, satisfied population in less speakable ways. 
  • Secret Passages to conjoin rooms in sneaky ways. 
  • Planar Binding Circle for when you absolutely have to summon up Asmodeus and not die. 
  • Topiary Enclosure because who doesn't like shaped plants?
  • Hospital because the sick need somewhere to go besides the Graveyard.
  • Catacombs are always cool, and can effectively hold treasure and secrets.
  • Thieves' Enclave for thief guild shenanigans.
  • Soothsayers, Graverobbers, Cultists, and other specialized hirelings.
  • Crossroads to bring the trade to you!
  • Well/Oasis for clean drinking water.
  • Vault to keep your treasure (and you) nice and secure. 
  • Lighthouse for seeing at sea at night.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Exotic Weapons [ROUGH DRAFT]

Homebrew is best and easiest to add when it's relatively light-weight, something that can be included in a game without too much fuss or argument, that blends into many settings and may even serve to enhance the more esoteric corners of whichever D&D world you are running.

That's kind of what I'm going for here: enhancing the basic weapon options offered by the 5e PHB, without rocking the boat too much in terms of balance. Hopefully it's on the mark, but of course that's where all of you all come in!


  • 23 New Exotic Weapons, each unique in their own way, from the likes of the Katana and the Kusari-Gama to the ever-popular Spiked Chain and Chakram!
  • Rules for Gaining Proficiency in an exotic weapon, that don't disrupt balance or character progression.
  • 5 New Weapon Properties to make these weapons even more unique (without breaking balance, of course).
  • Double weapon may be a bit hard to understand, but it's about as clear as I think I'm able to make it.
  • The katana held in two hands deals 1d10, which is more than any other finesse weapon. However, I think its negative special property (and the fact that it eats up an extra hand that no other finesse weapon does) somewhat cancels out this benefit.
  • Grappling with reach seems alright, but also like something that could go wrong in ways I didn't think of. 
  • It's hard to keep weapons representative of what they do, while still remaining unique and balanced. 
  • 5e is very restrictive on things like Crit Range (a.k.a. keen) and other staples of weapons in past editions. This makes 5e's weapons more streamlined and balanced, but less easily diversified. I had to get creative with keeping these weapons unique. 
A newer version of this option is available.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Race: Awakened Undead [Second Draft]

After sinking a ton of time working on my Stronghold rules, the Awakened Undead fell by the wayside for a little bit.

Well, no longer! The spooky, scary skeletons (and revenants and, now, ghosts!) are back in force, rebalanced, tweaked, and with all-new content.

What content is that? Let's see what the changelog has to say.


  • Playable Ghosts! These spectral undead have been added to the roster, take a look and tell me what you think!
  • No more Exhaustion immunity. Instead, Exhaustion for undead is treated as being one level less than it is.
  • Diversified Skeletons and Revenants! Skeletons can now pop off their arms to beat people with or pick locks, and Revenants get tHP when they refuse to die. 
  • Sidebar rule with brief guidelines on dead characters returning to play as awakened undead, and awakened undead returning to mortal life. 
  • Ghosts trend strong, but I think I managed their abilities well. Ghosts have a good deal of kit, making it hard to confine them to just a subrace, but I'm fairly sure they are balanced as presented here. 
  • I essentially gave both Skeletons and Revenants a minor buff. The Revenants could stand to have one, but Skeletons were already powerful. Still, the buff for Skeletons is mostly just a fluff power, albeit one that allows you to use what's basically a bludgeoning rapier by disarming yourself.
  • Racial magic feats (a la Svirfneblin Magic) are weird. Svirfneblin Magic has a 2nd level spell cast at-will (albeit not a particularly useful one), and three 1st level spells cast once a day. I jettisoned the at-will in mine and allowed casting three spells from a small spell list per day, which included 1st-3rd level spells thematically appropriate for a ghost. I figure the axing of the at-will probably covers the difference of power in terms of spell slots, but I'll let you be the judge of that. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Worldbuilding Option: Fortresses, Temples, & Strongholds [ROUGH DRAFT]

A mysterious 2-week long absence? What happened?

Did I give up on homebrew? Did life happen? Did I straight-up die?

Turns out, I was working on an incredible 17-page long set of optional rules for strongholds! Well, that and a bit of the second one up there, but mostly the 17 glorious pages linked above.

What's it got in it that's so great and takes so much time? I'm glad you asked:


  • A collection of base structures to build! Ranging from abbeys and colleges to palaces and trading posts.
  • Rooms to expand your structure, giving it (and you) special boons and bonuses. 
  • Tables for merchants drawn to your structure by the expansions you build!
  • Ways to further modify your rooms including building traps and making the room itself extradimensional!
  • Lists of hireable hirelings! Including gold values for combat hirelings, slaves, and spellcasters.
  • Two new spells! One of which summons the structure you build, the other which raises and moves sky islands.
  • Guidelines for making money with your structure or making peasants revolt through taxation.
  • Oh god is everything alright so much math aaaaaaaagh
  • Are expansion (room) buffs roughly balanced against one another? Which are weak and which are strong?
  • I'd like to differentiate the prices on expansions a little more.
  • Adding more information on merchants and making money would be nice. 
  • Are these gold values reasonable for level 13+? This math helped me, but I'm still not 100% sure. 
  • Does anything break the game?
  • Building core gameplay mechanics is hard.
  • No, I probably didn't need an image on every page, but damn if it didn't make it pretty. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Race: Awakened Undead [ROUGH DRAFT]

Barely in time for the end of the Day of the Dead: Playable Skeletons! Playable Revenants! Be dead, and have fun doing it.

Both are races I've loved seeing in action, and have rarely seen any press or even homebrew attention for. So, I decided to fix that, no bones about it.

It's a rough draft, of course, so there may be bugs and issues. Goes without saying, and as always I'd appreciate any help you could give on that front.


  • General suite of core undead features makes it easy to add on other undead races in the future.
  • Choosing a Past Life race to better define who your undead was before death.
  • Wide spread of potential ability bonuses to accommodate multiple playstyles. 
  • Resurrection-type abilities for both undead subraces, to better give the feel of dying and coming back.
  • A revenant that is a solid combination of the 4e revenant and the revenant from the 5e monster manual. 
  • Both of these trend strong (skeleton moreso than revenant) and are in the same neck of the woods power-wise as elves, according to /u/JamesMusicus' race power rundown. I don't see this as such a bad thing because they aren't as powerful as dwarves or half-elves, but these undead are definitely in the better half of races. 
  • The resurrection abilities could use a look. I'm like 90% sure they're alright, but I'd like someone to take a look-see for my own comfort. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Prestige Class: Vampire [Fourth Draft]

When the changes get smaller, the drafts get closer to completion. And this draft is full to the brim with small changes, which I take to be a good sign.

Incidentally, this is the first draft of the vampire I'd actually play. For most things I design, that's v0.2, but prestige classes are pretty special for a lot of reasons.

But about those small changes: What are they? To the changelog!

What I Changed:

  • Hit dice are now d8s, in accordance with the highest hit dice given to full casters.
  • Undead Fortitude no longer requires you be wielding no shield.
  • Sanguine Strikes now caps the spell slots it can use at 3rd level, bringing it in line with what a paladin's Smite offers and not making the class inherently better for casters. 
  • Somber Elegance is now Eyes of the Enticer, and has been rebalanced in line with other similar charm effects.
  • Minor verbage changes throughout, and a sidebar added on the last page explaining the details of multiclassing.
  • I almost feel as if I didn't change enough. Everything feels very balanced and flavorful, though, so I'm not sure what I would change. 
What I Learned:
  • This is easily the most satisfying project I've worked on, now that it's nearing completion. Prestige classes are hard, balance nightmares, but I'll definitely do one again sooner rather than later. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Prestige Class: Vampire [Third Draft]

This last round, I got feedback loud and long about how people wanted a vampire, but that the Crimson Blessings were wacky and made the vampire feel as if it had no direct progression, among a host of other gripes.

And that's great! When you have gripes, I get to fix gripes. Crimson Blessings are no more, replaced with a scaling pick-one-of-three-blessings reminiscent of the totem barbarian, and all of the other gripes have been fixed.

But wait, this sounds like I'm getting into the changelog already, and I haven't even thrown up the header yet. Let's fix that:

What I Changed:

  • Well, that thing I said, above.
  • Total blood points have increased, now scaling at 5/10/15 instead of 2/4/6/8/10. 
  • The drawback from having no blood has been changed to levels of exhaustion instead of leaving you paralyzed in the middle of wherever, at the whims of whatever.
  • Hit dice back up to 1d10, in lieu of the blessing that would let them be increased. 
  • Blood drinks per target per day is now a function of the target's size, rather than its CON score.
  • Somber Elegance and Blood's Vigor have been compressed into the Blessing of Blood, Lifeblood, and buffed up to a reasonable level.
  • Wolf Form has been buffed, to make it an ample competitor for Mist Form and Bat Form.
  • Vampiric Celerity has been folded over into Deathly Reflexes.
  • Predatory Gaze has been reworked and rebalanced. It now costs an action and two blood points.
  • Somber Elegance returns as a charm spell, the spiritual successor to the nix'd Dark Beckoning, built off the charm available to the vampire monster. 
  • Someone pointed out this prestige class needed a level 4 stat increase, and they were completely correct. Added a variable stat increase a la the Rune Scribe's Living Rune, named it Sinister Nourishment, and made it function off of your daily consumption of blood.
  • Changed Vampiric Siring to Curse of Eternity, now raises a minion from a properly prepared body, with the additional fluff power of being able to turn your friends into vampires if you can, y'know, kill them with your bite first. 
  • I'm not 100% on how the respective options for each blessing balance against each other. If someone could look at that and tell me what they think, that'd be great. 
  • Blessing of Darkness comes in at 4th level, the same time as the stat increase. It's pretty weak though, but I'm not sure if it's okay to double-up on a stat increase or not. 
  • Curse of Eternity has a small mechanic that functions off of total character level, which nothing else in the game does aside from multiclass spell casting. Still, it enables you to raise a vampire spawn at a level which would be appropriate for it, and prestige classes are a little different anyway - I'm leaning towards saying it's probably okay. 
  • Overall feel. Does it feel solid, like it has meaningful progression? Let me know!
What I Learned:
  • Modularity is nice, but not when it comes at the expense of feeling like you're making progress. 
  • A player character conjuring a minion should be assumed to conjure a CR's worth of minions equal to 1/3 of their character level (based off of create undead and similar). Thus, a level 15 character should be able to conjure CR 5 worth of creatures, or one vampire spawn. 
  • All classes are "about" something. A prestige class needs to also be "about" something, and it has significantly less time and space to carry the same fluff weight a normal class has. 
  • Prestige classes are still really hard. =( =( =(

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Walrock Template v0.2 - More Toys, More Tools!

My last template was, as it turns out, really well-loved by a wide variety of homebrewers. 

That's always nice. So I made you another, updated template with better stuff.

As with the last template, be sure to do the following before using this:
  1. Read /u/skybug12's Mousefolk guide, which you can find here.
  2. Download and install these fonts and brushes.
After that, you can open up and use the template in Photoshop just fine.

This template includes the following:

Class Table

Class Table

Expanded Spells
(Full Caster)

Expanded Spells
(Half Caster)

Spell Formula

Spellcasting Table
(Third Caster)

Monster Stat Block

Optional Rule

Spell Formatting

Formatted Titles
and Text

Happy homebrewing!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Prestige Class: Vampire [Second Draft]

Prestige classes are complicated things.

Essentially, you're making an entirely new class in miniature, and expecting it to slot in near anywhere along another class' progression. Damage needs to be kept consistent with whichever class the PrC's levels will be replacing (which, ideally, is any of them), and the options afforded by the PrC have to be appealing without being imbalanced.

Basically: It's a massive pain in the ass. And yet, I love every second of it.

The Vampire is a perfect candidate for being a prestige class, being something that can apply to any character. This second draft aims to solve a few of the problems the rough draft presented, rounding out what the PrC offers and making it feel more substantial and fleshed out.

This is one of those times I fully expect to do several drafts. That in mind, let's look at our friend, the changelog.

What I Changed:

  • The vampire has actual vampire spells, with the Vampiric Arcana class feature. They're all basic utility things, none of which do combat damage, but it gives the vampire a spell progression and helps round out that aspect of the character.
  • Unlike anything else in 5e, you choose your casting stat out of Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma. From what I can tell, PrCs in 5e are supposed to be roughly stat-agnostic, so this keeps to that particular piece of design schema without breaking too much (or getting involved in the wonky "Spell Level + 12" saves that the Rune Scribe has).
  • Removed Minions of the Night, placed another Crimson Blessing at level 5 in its place. More streamlined, better use of features, and the Crimson Blessings are fun enough that this is a logical choice. 
  • Changed Vampiric Siring to keep you from raising a CR 13 monster because holy fuck what was I thinking.
  • Added the crimson blessings Masquerade and Vital Blood. 
  • Touched up verbage here and there, to keep things working well and making sense.
  • Does it do enough damage? Sanguine Strikes is very good at covering that particular gap, but the Vampire prestige class mostly contributes utility rather than raw combat power.
  • How does it feel? Does the prestige class feel right, for what it is?
What I Learned:
  • When making something from this much whole cloth, a million little mistakes pop up. It's good to have nit-picky eyes to help me spot them. 

Roguish Archetype: The Jester [Fourth Draft]

A fourth draft? Well, the confusing morass that was applying sneak attack damage to spells sure needed one, and so a fourth draft is what we've got!

I tightened up what needed tightening up, I fixed what was inelegant, and what we have now is a beautiful, fun archetype that synergizes very, very well with existing rogue mechanics.

And how does it do that, you ask? To the changelog!

What I Changed:

  • Harlequin's Mask no longer gives charm immunity. Rather, it gives you the ability to cast vicious mockery as a bonus action (thus intentionally competing with Cunning Action much as the Mastermind rogue does with the Help action). When cast in this way, vicious mockery deals no damage, thus keeping DPR similar.
  • Arcane Buffoonery and Jesting Magician now only grant three spells each, keeping your total arsenal of spells down to three (and then six) specific spells per short rest, that can each be cast once. 
  • Cruel Comedy has been completely reworked. It now additionally buffs vicious mockery, giving you advantage on your next attack after using it, thus allowing you to use vicious mockery to get sneak attack damage without directly applying the damage to the cantrip. The charm immunity of Harlequin's Mask now finds itself here, as charm immunity is much better as a 9th level feature in any case. 
  • I better damn well have this right after four drafts. 
What I Learned:
  • Keep It Simple, Stupid. I was trying to make the features more elaborate to shoehorn together two things that don't work. Rather, use what already exists more fully to make the new stuff function.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Roguish Archetype: The Jester [Third Draft]

With a third draft, I think the jester is finally either complete or very well nearing completion. Mechanically sound, balanced, and with abundant flavor, this definitely looks like a rogue archetype worth playing.

A lot changed in this draft, and not all of it obvious, so let's have a look at the changelog to see what's what:

What I Changed:

  • I used an entirely new template for this! Based off of the formatting I used on the Vampire PrC, the type is smaller and the headers are a closer match to what the PHB uses. Overall, it's cleaner and gives more room to add graphics and features while maintaining readability, which is always a good thing.
  • Fixed my Photoshop (finally) to allow for high-resolution PDFs. A great thing, which will mean I'll probably have to go back and high-resolution all of my previous work (a less great thing). 
  • I added faerie fire and feather fall to Arcane Buffoonery, and enthrall, mirror image, and misty step to Jesting Magician. I capped Arcane Buffoonery at "choose four spells," and Jesting Magician at "choose five" - one less than Jesting initially got, but the fact that you can choose from a list means it needed the minor rebalance. 
  • Cruel Comedy can now be used defensively as soon as you are the target of an attack. This means a gamble for the jester: Do you wager that the enemy is going to fail its Wisdom save, and then miss on its attack against you while it is suffering disadvantage, or do you expect that the enemy will make its save or hit regardless, and take the damage while using Uncanny Dodge to mitigate it? 
  • Cruel Comedy also has had the verbage changed up on the qualifiers for vicious mockery's sneak attack, which should make it come up more often. 
  • Cruel Comedy doesn't have the clearest, most intuitive verbage for the aforementioned sneak attack, but I truly believe it's about the best I could do. Making sneak attack apply to spells with saves is hard work. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Prestige Class: Vampire [ROUGH DRAFT]

In the latest Unearthed Arcana, it has been revealed that prestige classes are officially a thing in D&D 5e!

Well, un-officially. Sort of. The rune scribe sure looks cool, though.

In that vein, I emulated the rune scribe's design to make my own prestige class - something fitting the concept and the dark n' spooky holiday season that's almost upon us.

And so, I give you the Vampire prestige class. The longest and toughest project I've worked on to-date, and one that promises to involve even more work once you folks tear into it.


  • Vampiric strengths and weaknesses! Jump on people and drink their blood in pitch darkness, but stay the heck away from running water. 
  • Blood Points! A side resource that you drink blood to fill, and that you expend to fuel your vampiric powers. Just don't run out when you take a long rest. 
  • Build-your-own-vampire! Crimson Blessings allow you to mix and match different vampiric powers to make a unique vampire all your own!
  • SO MANY CONCERNS. Is it balanced? Does it work right? Is it not powerful enough / too powerful? This is the first thing I've made nearly from scratch - I really hope it works out. 
  • Crimson Blessings are all roughly balanced against one another, but there exists a possibility that some are strictly better than others. 
  • Vampiric Siring doesn't feel right just yet. It's a total fluff power, but still - something feels off about it. 
What I've Learned:
  • Prestige classes are hard.
  • Prestige classes are VERY hard.
  • Prestige classes are REALLY REALLY COOL. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Roguish Archetype: The Jester [Second Draft]

So, other than one major hiccup, the rough draft was mostly okay!

Well, as mostly-okay as rough drafts ever are. It had a bunch of bumps that needed ironing out, but iron them out I did, and we have a rather promising second draft before us.

So let's take a look at the changelog, then, to see why this is so much better.

What I Changed:

  • Midway through the rough draft, I changed Pratfall to Cruel Comedy. Pratfall almost perfectly emulated another core rogue feature, which didn't seem like anything close to good design, and so I changed it.
  • Cruel Comedy is designed to compete with Uncanny Dodge somewhat - when hit by an attack, you can decide whether to ignore half the damage or to cause minimal damage and disadvantage on the enemy's next attack. When taking damage from a spell, however, it's more of a no-brainer, and you can insult the asshole who hit you to your heart's content. 
  • I streamlined Cruel Comedy from the rough draft - instead of emulating vicious mockery, it now just casts vicious mockery. This is a trade-off, as it decreases the damage done from 1d10 to 1d4, but it also has a massive buff because...
  • Cruel Comedy now allows you to apply Sneak Attack damage to vicious mockery once per short rest. This can function off a standard casting, or the revenge-casting that Cruel Comedy provides. 
  • Jesting Magician now buffs the spell slot level of spells cast from Arcane Buffoonery to 2nd level - which is nice for color spray, and not much else. 
  • Included a sidebar on the last page directly addressing the multiclassing spell slot weirdness. 
  • Spell progression here is still weird, which makes sense because I've been doing weird things with the archetype. I don't think it's terribly unbalanced, though - you may get extra spells, but only four with any direct combat application, and your spell level caps at 2nd level rather than 4th. 
  • Other than that, not much. I think this archetype is good to ship!
What I've Learned:
  • Roguish Archetypes are weird. Unlike paladin oaths and warlock otherworldly patrons and pacts, rogues have most of their combat potential stored in core features of the class that cannot be directly altered, really. Thus, roguish archetypes are great for flavoring the core experience of being a rogue, which is essentially what they do in canon materials. 
  • It's really, really fucking hard to find pictures of high fantasy festivals. Seriously, try it. It's even more bananas than finding a non-sexy female necromancer. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Roguish Archetype: The Jester [ROUGH DRAFT]

It's not a warlock! It's not even a paladin!

It's a rogue! Or, really, it's a Jester.

The Jester was a fan-favorite of 3.5, a comical magical rogue who utilized tricks, arcane know-how, and grease paint to entertain, beguile, and frequently annoy both friends and foes alike.

There was some hullabaloo from people involved with 5e about the Jester early on in its production run, and seeing it as a genuine subclass in the core rules seemed like a possibility. Sadly, though, this was not in the cards, which brings us to this offering, here and now.


  • Charisma-based spellcasting similar to the inherent magic some races get. No spell slots here, just spells that you can cast once per short rest. 
  • Being clumsy to escape damage: it's not a bug, it's a feature.
  • Burns so sick they hurt your enemies' brains. 
  • Face-paint and high-level death avoidance.
  • Roguish Archetype design schema is kinda weird. Most archetypes (including the new Mastermind) follow a two-combat / three-utility delineation of class features, regardless of the level those features are awarded at. However, Swashbuckler and Arcane Trickster break this hard, themselves having only one utility and four combat powers. In the end, I shrugged my shoulders, said "meh," and attempted to have almost every feature in this archetype have both a utility and a combat purpose. 
  • Multiclassing with this is inherently weird. Unlike the 1/3 caster options like Arcane Trickster, this has no spell slots, and the spells are cast entirely as a function of class features. Therefore I'd consider this not even a fraction of a caster option when determining multiclass spell slots - it's zero caster. 
  • Arcane Buffoonery and Jesting Magician give more spells than you'd normally have at your equivalent level of Arcane Trickster - however, you have no choice in which spells you receive, and ultimately get less spells overall. 
  • I considered allowing vicious mockery to synergize with sneak attack, because that'd make some amount of thematic sense, but decided against it on the grounds that it might break the game in unexpected ways. So: would it?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of Love [Second Draft]

Positive response! Always love getting that, though a negative response often tells me just as much about how to fix something and make it work.

Much was said, and it gave me sufficient material to turn this around and make a second version of it relatively quickly. As always, thanks to all those that helped, and to all those who enjoy this class option!

What I Changed:

  • The spell list nix'd color spray in favor of sanctuary. Less magical girl, more magical paladin - which is probably a positive change for the class option, but still makes me personally a little sad. =(
  • Sense Ardor has split off of Conquering Passion. I'm getting the idea that I should let fluff powers stand free rather than lump them in with Channel Divinities, even though I've pulled that off with the Free Commerce and Common Man oaths.
  • Passion's Kindness no longer refers to itself as a miasma, which I've come to learn means "bad air." Who knew.
  • Endless Devotion now actually takes an action to use (hurr) and allows you to pop a Channel Divinity as part of the same action, leading to intended synergy with Conquering Passion and your paladin playing smite wack-a-mole with the enemies near him or her. 
  • Still not 100% on the power level of Endless Devotion, seems like it could be stronger. Level 20's are hard to balance. 
  • That's about it. Not much else in the way of balance concerns, this seems fairly in line with other oath options. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of Love [ROUGH DRAFT]

Paladins are pretty cool for a lot of reasons.

They're magical knights empowered by a concept - typically one with a god behind it - that go out into the world in an attempt to make more of their concept. This can be devotion to a holy cause, revenge against the evils of the world, violent revolution for the masses...

...or, simply enough, Love.

Paladins who take the Oath of Love believe that love is the underpinning of all good and beauty in the world, and seek to create and protect as much love as possible in all of its many forms.


  • Charm-based mechanics. Tank well with solid crowd control, and bonus smites for breaking charm with a hit. 
  • Limited control of creatures immune to charm. Heartless creatures can still be Held with your Channel Divinity, allowing you to not be entirely helpless when facing creatures with charm immunity. 
  • Heavily defend your allies and yourself with features that make you harder to hit and that bring attacked allies into a safer, more defensible position. 
  • Possibly too control-y. Charm is a delicate balance, but very important to the class. It costs spell slots that you'd otherwise like to use on smites, too, so it's an important trade. 
  • Passion's Kindness is really quite powerful, but so are most other paladin level 15's. I'd like someone balance-minded to take a closer look at it. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of Knavery [Second Draft]

And the second half of the Pacts & Pickpockets update: The updated Oath of Knavery!

Unlike the pact boons, this option needed a great deal of changing. People seemed overall dissatisfied with the tenets and the complexity of Skulker's Blessing and so, with thanks to reddit users /u/vastlyapparent, /u/timdragga, and /u/maxwellbegun, I revamped and fixed up these particular features.

Now, we've got a thief-y paladin I'm pretty proud of, with solid mechanics and flavor to spare.

If you've got opinions, don't keep them to yourselves! Let me know, and I'll give credit where it's due if there's another round of updates.

What I Changed:

  • The tenets are almost entirely all-new. Along the same lines as the previous, but more cohesive, restrictive, and generally common-sense.
  • Skulker's Blessing has been broken into two separate Channel Divinities, the second of which (Tricks of the Trade) has replaced Turn the Righteous.
  • Skulker's Blessing now does damage that scales with level, rather than as a function of the Charisma modifier. This damage is 1d6 more than previous, but is now poison damage and is thus more easily resisted by a wider range of creature types. 
  • Tricks of the Trade is built from the fluff portion of the previous Skulker's Blessing, and now also grants its bonus potentially to Strength (Athletics) and Wisdom (Insight). TotT now also has its own fluff power, which looks like a really cool thing for a thief-focused individual to have. 
  • Aura of Deception has been reworked, now giving an additional d6 to Dexterity ability checks and saves to you and those nearby you. This ability also reduces the armor penalty to stealth, and even gives you advantage if you choose to wear lighter armor instead of stock-standard paladin plate.
  • People seemed to like Mask of Legends, but I didn't get too many eyes on Ruse. My intuition tells me that Ruse is alright, but I'd really like confirmation. 
  • Any additional insights I can get towards multiclassing this with rogue I'd appreciate. Multiclass knowledge is, as said before, one of my weak points. 

Alternative 3rd Level Warlock Pact Boons [Second Draft]

It's always nice to release content with lots of fiddly bits and find that it doesn't really need much in the way of fixing. It tells me I'm either getting better at this whole homebrew thing, or I got obscenely lucky this time around.

I'm leaning towards the second possibility. Especially considering all the changes due to the Paladin of Knavery, the second draft of which is also coming out today!

It's the Pacts & Pickpockets double-feature update. Check out the changes and enjoy the new content!

What I Changed:

  • Retooled Chimeric Aegis (thanks, /u/FullmetalCowgirl!) to better differentiate it from options provided to the Fiend pact warlock.
  • Broke the synergy between Eldritch Arrows and a rogue's Sneak Attack feature, because that could've gotten silly (with thanks to /u/994125010!).
  • Modified Eldritch Arrows to build off of Agonizing Blast, rather than ignore it. 
  • Would like more eyes on the damage numbers of Pact of the Peacemaker and Pact of the Scourge still, but I consider no news on those to be good news - I did work very hard to balance both pact boons. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Accolades and sandwiches

It's been a pretty good week for the Walrock blog. Two new pieces of content published, a couple more on the way, and some other exciting things worth mentioning:

My Oath of the Common Man paladin got the distinction of being the first piece of homebrew featured on reddit's /r/unearthedarcana! Homebrew submitted by the reddit community will be selected by the moderators bi-weekly (bi-monthly?) on the board, and the Common Man paladin has been chosen as the first piece of content.

You can check out the /r/unearthedarcana thread right here at this link, and be sure to check out the other pieces of homebrew reddit users submit to /r/unearthedarcana while you're at it.

Second: The blog received its first ever PayPal donation from reddit user /u/eerongal! 

I used it to buy this sandwich:

And it was amazing.

Hours upon hours of homebrew work, revisions, and meticulous Photoshop, and what do I have to show for it?

A homebrew feature-ette and a sandwich. And I couldn't be happier.

You guys rock. Thanks for all the love. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of Knavery [ROUGH DRAFT]

Paladins! Champions of light and law and good! Catchers of criminals, enemies of party rogues!

...well, most of them, anyway.

The Paladin of Knavery, on the other hand, is an ethical rogue's best friend. Dedicated to robbing from the rich to give to the poor (the rich in this case also including dragons and other wealthy monsters), these paladins often eschew plate for leather, and skulk across the battlefield to deal additional damage.

Many of their abilities emulate (but don't duplicate) rogue functions, and everything is designed to stack with rogue abilities pleasantly for an easy, highly-functional multiclass experience.


  • Sneak-Attack-like Channel Divinity, doesn't stack with Sneak Attack on an individual attack but does allow usage on a second attack. 
  • Spell list that allows for emulation of much rogue kit, as well as other thematic abilities,
  • Features centered on trickery and stealth, while not sacrificing paladin kit like helping others and avoiding damage.
  • Balance on the level 20 feature is question marks. It seems to be alright, but I'm still not 100% sure. 
  • Ruse and Skulker's Blessing could probably be worded better. 
  • I'd like more people to look at this and rogue multiclassing, as multiclassing knowledge isn't my strong suit.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Subrace: Mountain Elf

I like elves. Elves are neat.

Here are some elves that make great barbarians by way of being elves and also dwarves.

Features: Track prey like a badass, don't give a fuck about difficult terrain, and use big beefy weapons no other elf would dare touch.

Concerns: None. Maybe I'll buff this subrace in a couple of places if ya'll think it's necessary, but it seems pretty balanced so far to me.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Subrace: Sea Elf

Sea elves!

Fantastic in any swashbuckling campaign or any campaign taking place near the sea (or a lake, or a river), sea elves have always been my favorite variety of elf for at once having an alien perspective but not necessarily being dicks about it the way the drow are.

I liked 'em in 3.5, but 4e skipped over sea elves and broke my heart (though I guess they were technically supported with a feat? 4e was weird). I'm not going to take that risk with 5e, though - so homebrewed, balanced* sea elves it is.

Features: Swim fast, use weapons that work well underwater, access to the shape water cantrip.

Concerns: Nothing balance-wise, subraces are easy-peasy. I could do a better job with the write-up, though, and I'll probably take another crack at editing in a couple days when I have the energy.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Alternative 3rd Level Warlock Pact Boons [ROUGH DRAFT]

Some warlocks get a book. Other warlocks get a sword. A few warlocks even get a familiar.

Not you, though. You get to choose whether you want a whip, or a bow, or a gun, or even a shield! Or fancy shoes!

AND you get thematic, balanced* invocations to support these choices! How lucky can you get?

* * *

Special Mechanics:
  • Pact of the Scourge - You get a whip! The whip has reach, but doesn't deal a whole lot of damage on its own. With invocations, you can attack up to twice and cast thorn whip once, all with one action. 
  • Pact of the Bastion - You get a shield! It gives you the always-handy +2 to AC, in addition to giving you access to invocations that allow you to better protect yourself and others. 
  • Pact of the Mystic Treader - You get fancy boots! They increase your move speed and give Dex folks access to jumps, in addition to making you much more mobile and even a little more skilled, with invocations. 
  • Pact of the Arc - You get a bow! It allows you to shoot eldritch blasts with your Dex modifier while being nimble and accurate with invocations.
  • Pact of the Peacemaker - You get access to a bunch of guns! The invocations increase which guns you can use, as well as allow you some serious synergy with the hex spell.
  • Damage is balanced roughly off the Bladelock for the Scourge and Peacemaker pacts, while Bastion, Arc, and Mystic Treader are assumed to use eldritch blast primarily for damage. Scourge/Peacemaker damage is approximately on the mark, but could use a closer look. 
  • Invocations are in the order of their pacts on the rest of the document, except the Bastion's invocations because I fucked that up and didn't want to have to fix ALL the formatting in the world to rectify it. 
  • I may have to add some verbage about Scourge's thorn whip either counting or not counting as casting a spell on that turn. I'm not sure which would be better. 
  • I know that the UA - Modern Magic supplement gives the option of using a gun as a part of a Blade pact, but that's not terribly thematically fitting nor balanced, as a gun-blade-pact easily does more damage than any other blade pact. The Peacemaker pact is balanced on typical Blade pact damage, while retaining more flavor. 
* * *

These are cool ideas I've been sitting on for a while, trying to figure out how to properly implement them. I've got them together enough to push forward to the next step - namely, asking other people for help because lord knows I can't fix balance issues myself.

If we can get these balanced and in order, I've got some great ideas for additional pacts, as a second pact-pack! Gotta make these ones work first, though, and I'd love to hear what input you guys have.

A newer version of this option is available. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of Free Commerce [Second Draft]

Here's some homebrew! It's fancy and refined! But enough about that, here's some other stuff first:

In non-homebrew news, my job has started up again!

This means that content is slowing down somewhat because, as much as I love homebrew, it's like personal project number three for me. For the record: project one is helping a street cat from in front of my house become a house cat, and project number two is top secret but won't stay that way forever.

That said, in the spirit of me starting work, here's a revision of the capitalist paladin.

What I Changed:

  • Arcane Lock has been replaced with Hold Person. Both are thematic, but so is See Invisibility. I'm genuinely sad I can't include all of them.
  • Objective Worth now scales off of your Charisma modifier, and the ribbon power of this ability has been expanded to give a fuller, more complete antiques-roadshow I-sure-know-the-price-of-this-thing experience. 
  • I wanted to add Arcane Lock as a ribbon somewhere, but the only place it would fit would be on the level 15 feature. It wouldn't be especially thematic there, but I'd still like to slot it in somehow.

* * *

This and the Common Man paladin look fit to print - to me, anyways, and we all know how that goes. Tell me what needs fixing, I'll fix it, and we all go home happy with cool paladin options.

I've got some cool stuff in the pipeline - I might go back to warlock material for a little bit, but I've got several paladin ideas I'd like to get out in the open as well.

Exciting times, assuming I find the time to do it all. 

As always, thanks for the support, folks! It's always fantastic to share my work with people willing to pick it over and help make it better - and people who appreciate it for what it is, too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of the Common Man [Second Draft]

We pulled together. worked as a community, and made Communist-Paladin a true champion of the people!

At least, unless there's something we missed. But the great thing about collective labor is, if we made a mistake, it can easily be fixed with more collective labor.

Let's take a look at the changes!

What I Changed:

  • The virtue of Togetherness is now the virtue of Community. Because, y'know, that makes perfect sense. 
  • Worker's Harmony can now also be used to buff people into having proficiency with crafting tools, which is a fun, fluffy ribbon for it to have.
  • Fixed the duration on Strength of the People. You can no longer be a giant propaganda man for an hour, that'd be silly.
  • Noted gear changing size in Strength of the People. You will no longer hulk out of your clothes and be a giant naked propaganda man. That would also be silly, and somewhat terrifying in a way not intended.
  • Adjusted benefits of Strength of the People. You now give tHP to others that can see/hear you, and can mass-help people each turn. This is easily the weakest self-buff of the paladin level 20's, but the strongest party-buff. You're big and look cool, and your being-big and looking-cool inspires your friends to pummel your enemies into oblivion. 
  • Not anything, really. This is remarkably solid and distinct. 

* * *

I'm about ready to wrap this one up. I'll put it on reddit in a few days when I've got some time, see what people think, and re-release it as a version 1.0 if it's all good.

Speaking of which, I've genned a version 1.0 of every pact I've done so far. Expect them later this week, full of perfect* balance and bug fixes!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of Free Commerce [ROUGH DRAFT]

We looked at communist paladins last week, paladins to whom money is no object. Now, the other side of the proverbial coin: gallant defenders of capitalism, the paladins of Free Commerce!

Paladins who take this oath believe in the market as a tool for great equality and freedom amongst the masses, and wish to protect the promise it holds for members of all walks of life. Known also as Thiefcatchers and Day-Traders, these paladins hunt threats to the market both mortal and monstrous, mundane and magical. A thieves' guild or organized crime racket is just as valid a threat as a hoarding dragon or slave-taking vampire, and these paladins excise these evils at the root so that civilization may flourish.

* * *

Special Mechanics:

  • Abilities that counter invisibility and stealth. Assassins, specters, and party rogues be warned, this paladin is here to catch thieves and those that try to hide from sight. 
  • Guarding and Security. Many of this paladin's spells focus on keeping belongings safe.
  • Thief-catching. Those that try to steal and then flee should beware this paladin.
  • Unsure on the balance of Invisible Hand of the Market and Game Theory. IHotM makes the paladin a very sticky tank, while Game Theory is designed to illustrate the paladin predicting all behaviors on the battlefield and thus has a limited but still diversely powerful kit. 
  • Turn the Craven is a powerful fuck-you to stealth ambushes, but it's only usable once per short rest and you better be certain that the hidden creature is within 30 feet of you. 
  • Level 15's like Market Equilibrium aren't typically once-per-short-rest, but I feel it fits the strength of the ability and keeps it from stepping on IHotM's toes too much. 
* * *

I've had fun making these paladins, and I'm wondering where I'm going to go next. Nomadic survivalist paladins that live off the land? Dogmatic paladins of Libertarianism? Maybe socialist paladins that smite their enemies to help them #FeelTheBern.

Realistically: I'm going right here, at least for one more revision. This combat economist isn't going to be perfect out the gate, and all ya'll can, as always, help me make it better. 

It's not an economy unless everyone takes part. What do you think?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sacred Oath: Oath of the Common Man [ROUGH DRAFT]

Paladins! On a Walrock blog!

Paladins are my second-favorite class, and one with a great deal of homebrew potential. While I enjoy warlocks for being clearly the most modular option offered in 5e, paladins are a close second from a flavor perspective, being interesting, compelling, and having a reason for being inherent in each and every Oath option.

So, that in mind, here's a Communist paladin.

This should work well in any setting up to modern, but would work especially well in an industrial-revolution-esque setting like Eberron where the lower classes are huddled together in cities, in constant conflict with their social superiors.

The Oath of the Common Man is, at once, both a very socially-conscious, helping-the-poor oath, and a bitter, angry oath at those who would harm the impoverished, striking out at the debtors, industrialists, and tyrants of the world and punishing them for their crimes. Paladins who take this oath are encouraged to work alongside the downtrodden and organize for a better tomorrow, all the while bringing down whatever threatens the common folk, their equality, and their dignity.

* * *

Special Mechanics:

  • Reliance on the Help action. United workers help one another, and this reflects that. Both a Channel Divinity and the 15th level feature involve the Help action in some way. 
  • Solidarity. This paladin is a team player, and many of their spells specifically help others accomplish physical actions. They also have the ability to evenly redistribute damage amongst all friendly creatures in a given area, as the common folk must bear their collective burdens together. 
  • Revolutionary spirit. This class is encouraged, both overtly and through more subtle mechanics, to attempt to overthrow any tyrannical power structure that harms the lower class. Some (by my measure, very strict) DMs might consider this disruptive - as a DM myself, I personally find it to be a powerful roleplaying opportunity with a high probability of engaging all players present. Your mileage may vary, but you were going to have to ask your DM if homebrew was allowed before using this, anyway. :p
  • Many players do not know about Help actions. That is why I included the page number here. 
  • I'm slightly unsure of the balance on Aura of Solidarity, but it seems roughly in line with the other paladin level 7's.
  • I have no fucking clue how to balance paladin level 20's, but becoming a giant figure that stepped out of a propaganda poster with several special abilities fueled by having supporters seems very thematic, and, again, in line with the other oath abilities of the same level.
  • Turn the Bourgeois does not call out specific creature types, and thus is hard to balance against the other Turn abilities. It's about in the same neck of the woods, though, and DMs are fully in control of how often it is able to be used. 
* * *

It's a rough draft, so something is clearly broken and needs to be fixed. I just don't know what, yet. 

Why not contribute to our collective labor effort, seize the means of production, and help me figure out the flaws inherent in our oppressive capitalist system?

And also this homebrew, if you don't mind. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Otherworldly Patron: The Dead King [Third Draft]

Alright! After fixing a pile of formatting errors, finding out that raising a whole pile of skeletons that do mostly nothing is confusing and boring, and fixing some verbage, this thing looks good to release.

Now, you get a single, well-trained skeleton butler, a man (woman, or genderless animated corpse) of impeccable taste, unswerving loyalty, and rotting flesh. Much more talented than the four skill-less clods before him, he can even speak (eventually, full sentences!), learn a skill (with a full +0 Int modifier!), and eventually there can be two lovable undead souls, following you around and tending to your every need.

Of course, you can't sense undead anymore. But that's okay, because your skeletal retainer can! Just be sure to ask him about it - he probably won't think to tell you right away.

* * *

The Dead King or Queen is a powerful entity with sway over undeath like a dead god, lich, or death knight. Whatever the nature of this creature, it is willing to make pacts with mortals to imbue them with the ability to cast potent necromantic spells, creating warlocks in life that will serve them in death.

Mortals may make a pact with the Dead King in order to more fully master life and death, or to attain the reliable protection that only a handful of loyal undead can provide.

What I Changed:

  • As said above, revamped Accursed Retainers completely. Now is a skeleton that essentially levels alongside you, but never does anything terribly game-breaking. It's got a bunch of little features, most I enumerated above. Check it out!
    • I removed the "undead sense" portion of the abilities, and applied it to the retainers. It's up all the time, but the retainers as a rule won't tell you unless you ask them.
    • Retainers also hang around until they die which, given that they have 1 hit point, should be pretty frequent. 
  • Lots and lots of formatting failures. Clearly I need to look at these with a closer eye before putting them up, good to go. 
  • Not much else, really. People seem to think that Corpse Explosion, Bone Armor, and Master of Death work pretty well, or at least don't consider them worth commenting on. So, that's good!
  • I've given the Accursed Retainers a lot of kit, but it doesn't really add up to much. There's also a lot of new verbage, and where there are new words, there's a potential for something to be wrong. 
  • Still'd like more people to weigh in on Master of Death, it seems like it could use some scrutiny. 
* * *

The problem with these pacts is I always want to play them so badly while making them, but have to wait until I'm all well done and finished to even consider it. Doubly true for pacts like this that break new territory and involve new mechanics like minions as a class feature - lots to make sure I'm getting right. 

Thanks for what help's been given so far, it's really reshaped a good portion of this pact, and made it all much more clean! Let's see if anyone can find anything else for me to change.

Version 0.3

No reddit thread yet!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Otherworldly Patron: The Dead King [Second Draft]

I'm excited, I won't lie. I put a lot of work into this one, and it's starting to feel really viable. Of course it's only a second draft, and if my history homebrewing has taught me anything, it's that it usually takes a full five drafts to iron out the kinks.

Y'know? Let's see if we can't get it done in three. I'd love to see a full, balanced, unique necrolock, right here and now. So let's get to work!

* * *

The Dead King or Queen is a powerful entity with sway over undeath like a dead god, lich, or death knight. Whatever the nature of this creature, it is willing to make pacts with mortals to imbue them with the ability to cast potent necromantic spells, creating warlocks in life that will serve them in death.

Mortals may make a pact with the Dead King in order to more fully master life and death, or to attain the reliable protection that only a handful of loyal undead can provide.

What I Changed:

  • Redid much art (and thus art credits). Can't believe how hard it was to find a non-sex'd female necromancer to lead the front page, but I eventually emerged victorious.
  • Overhaul on Gravesense, is now Accursed Retainers. No longer gives speak with dead, now gives an improved unseen servant once per short rest, with the drawback that it needs dead bodies to work. 
    • The "undead sense" portion of the ability remains intact, but now cannot penetrate total cover. Who really knows what's inside that spooky coffin, anyway?
  • Master of Death has been overhauled and divorced from animate dead in two important ways:
    • The ability costs one precious warlock spell slot, and continues to eat that slot through rests as long as you maintain the spell.
    • The ability does not summon zombies and skeletons, but rather Skeleton Elites and Fire Skeletons (and occasionally Warhorse Skeletons). The stat blocks for these new creatures are found at the end of the pack.
    • The new creatures are CR 1/2, whereas a zombie or a skeleton are CR 1/4. However, Master of Death summons half as many minions as a necromancer wizard's animate dead, so the overall CR has parity.
  • Bone Armor now can only be used once per short rest, has had its overall verbage streamlined somewhat, and has added verbage to keep you from hugging on to one of your Skeletal Retainers as a body shield.
  • Corpse Explosion remains mostly unchanged, but now grants creatures a save versus its poison effect on the end of each one of their turns. 
  • It's really, annoyingly hard to balance monsters. I glued a Hobgoblin, Orc, and an original skeleton together to make the Skeleton Elite, and a Magmin with that same skeleton for the Fire Skeleton. They seem fairly balanced to me (or I wouldn't release it), but maybe you see something I don't. I'm kinda hoping on it, people checking out my monsters helps.
  • The verbage on Master of Death is clunky, but I had a lot of bases to cover so I'm not sure what else I could've done. 
* * *

It's a warlock that leans towards being complicated, but I've never met a necromancer that wasn't. Less, more powerful minions should make it easier, and should make resource management a more conscious choice. 

Now, it's your turn. Do me a favor, and tell me why it's all terrible. 

Version 0.2

Link to the reddit thread.

Friday, July 31, 2015

My Template - How I Make My Stuff

Lots and lots of people ask how to make stuff done in the PHB style, and how to make homebrew look official.

It's not easy. Truth is, it kind of sucks at first, until you learn how to do it. But, once you get it into a formula, it's mostly a matter of creating the proper mechanics, finding (and cropping) the right art, and producing the whole enchilada.

If you're new to making professional-looking homebrew, I'll break it into three steps:

  1. First, required reading. Read The Mousefolk Guide by reddit's /u/skybug12. It tells you the general ins and outs of how to do things in the PHB style, requiring only light-moderate Photoshop knowledge and some serious patience.
  2. Be sure to download the brushes, fonts, and other miscellaneous materials that /u/skybug12 includes as part of his guide. These are especially important - you cannot duplicate the PHB style without this pack.
  3. Lastly, to make it even easier and to get access to elements of the pack above, be sure to download the template that I use to make everything here. Included in this template are:
    • Text columns and headers complete with formatting
    • Graphical element for the Optional Rule sidebar block
    • Graphical element for the Expanded Spell List
    • Graphical text element for the Monster Stat Block
    • Example pictures for picture elements on the page, to give a general idea as to how they're done.
Sounds simple, but is actually a massive pain in the butt to generate in the first place (especially the monster stat block, hoooooly fuck was that hard). Feel free to use the template for your own content, just be sure to credit me when you use it, same as I credit /u/skybug12 in my homebrew. 

Happy homebrewing!