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.