Thursday, March 31, 2016

Otherworldly Patron: The Ancient Dragon [Second Draft]

First warlock pact in a long, long, while, and reddit loved it! Which is always appreciated, but even more appreciated is the level of quality criticism the pact received.

Turns out, the balance of the rough draft was more or less spot-on, so much of the criticism focused on thematic elements and general comfort-in-playability factors (like not rolling 11d4 twice per combat).

This in mind, let's see the changelog:


  • Switched up the spell list in a couple of ways:
    • Stinking cloud and cloudkill were removed for not being thematic for all dragons. Fire shield can stay for now, because while not perfect the ability to resist fire or cold applies to almost any dragon.
    • Elemental weapon added to third level. The ability to enchant an existing weapon seems very dragon-y.
    • Hallow added to fifth level. The effects hallow provides are very similar to the ambient effects dragons create just by making their lair in a specific region. It's also a spell that breaks the one-hour maximum duration warlock spell slot rule, but the Fiend pact already has it, so I figure that's alright.
  • Ancient's Breath now requires a minimum spell level of 3rd (which you'll have at warlock level 6, anyway), and deals 4d8+Cha, scaling by +1d8 every spell level, approximately the same damage as before. I considered capping this at 6d8 to keep its maximum to what's available in warlock spell slots, but I figure that if someone wants to multiclass badly enough to use a 7th level slot and get an extra 2d8 on it, why not let 'em?
  • Ancient's Breath now requires a Con saving throw instead of Dex if it would deal Poison or Cold damage.
  • Hoard Sense now includes the ability to cast Leomund's secret chest the ability to summon a chest whenever, wherever. Be advised that the chest returns to your patron, though, so you maybe shouldn't put anything they want too terribly badly in there.
  • Draconic Apotheosis has a minor adjustment, upping the damage of Ancient's Breath from a d8 to a d12, rather than the d4 to d6 upgrade before. Though a d8 to a d12 seems like a much larger upgrade, the final damage numbers remain roughly the same. 
  • Leomund's secret chest is a 4th level spell, which are typically first accessed by full casters at 7th level. I'm giving it to this warlock pact at 1st level, and removing many of the restrictions on the spell. But, I mean, it's Leomund's secret chest, very much utility-only. Not as if I'm allowing blight as a spam-able, first-level spell. Yeah it was still a bad idea, and I didn't like the feel. Now you can summon and dismiss a chest with half the storage capacity of Leomund's, which is still pretty generous. 
  • The spell list is still somewhat contentious, but spell choice being what it is there's not a whole lot I can do about that. 
  • It's jarring to update something without worrying about re-balancing it in one direction or the other. I just hope Leomund's the adorable, half-capacity chest didn't tip the scales too much. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Shadow-Weaver [Second Draft]

Some homebrew is universally beloved right off the bat, while other homebrew is markedly less so.

What's interesting to me is when a homebrew project falls in between, absolutely loved by some and completely reviled by others. The response to the shadow-weaver was pretty markedly polarized, but within all of that was some really quality criticism, such that I feel confident in releasing another build.


  • The usual slew of textual errors, blady-bloo.
  • Revamped the cantrips list and added silence to the spell list. Man, is it a pain in the butt to reference spells from EEPC and SCAG, though.
  • Retooled Shroud of Shadow such that it deals 1d6 necrotic per spell level on a hit OR a miss. Now specifies that only one shroud may be out at any one time, and that you cannot place a shroud the same turn you remove one, or vice versa.
  • Buffed Black Agony from d10's to d12's, adding ~10 damage to the ability.
  • Feed the Darkness is now Heart of Darkness, and is a significant fluff power closer in balance to the Assassin's Impostor than the Arcane Trickster's outrageous Versatile Trickster.
  • The new Shroud of Shadow math is based on magic missile (1d4+1 [median 3.5] per slot vs. SoS's 1d6 [median 3.5] per slot). Still not entirely satisfied, as SoS does this alongside a normal attack, but it seems like the most balanced I can make it while keeping it faithful to the Oassassin's feel.
  • Really, that's about it. Most of my worries about this archetype are tied to how shrouds work. If that's 100% functional and balanced, the rest of the subclass probably is as well. 
  • If you're trying to somewhat emulate Smite, on a rogue, don't make it out-damage Smite what the hell were you thinking. 

Otherworldly Patron: The Ancient Dragon [ROUGH DRAFT]

It's a bit strange, now that I think about it, to be publishing a blog called "WALROCK HOMEBREW," and yet to not have done any actual homebrewing for warlocks in over half a year.

High time we fixed that.

The Ancient Dragon pact is exactly what it says on the tin: You sign a contract, drink an elixir of dragon's blood infused with a willing dragon's power, and are granted magic dragon warlock powers like your patron's breath, a sense for treasure, and the ability to half-transform into an aspect of your patron's power.

It's pretty cool stuff, great for warlocks who find fiends, fey, and outsiders a little too intangible to be trusted. Because, as everyone knows, you can always trust a dragon.


  • Thematic abilities that follow the draconic bloodline of your patron!
  • Spells focusing on the general abilities of dragons, without ascribing to any particular elemental affinity.
  • Probably the most fun first-level fluff power I've written yet. 
  • Yes okay you're totally right Ancient's Breath is a little derivative of the dragonborn racial power, but dragon's breath needs to happen in this pact and that's the most effective way to do it.
  • I'm the tiniest bit concerned about the balance of Draconic Apotheosis, but it's almost certainly alright. Long-rest warlock pact capstones are approximately balanced to a level 6.5 spell (or a 6th level spell cast with a 7th level slot), so that seems just about reasonable for the power level. 
  • Man are warlock pacts still fun to make. The hardest part is fitting all the fun stuff in to keep it thematic while retaining balance. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Huckster [Second Draft]

Second verse, same as the first!

People were all-around satisfied with the first version of the huckster, but wanted a few tweaks and changes here and there. When things get tweak-y change-y, I know the material is in a good place and nearing completion, which is always so satisfying when I can get there in just two versions.

But let's not get ahead of myself. For all I know the whole thing could be fundamentally flawed and need a ground-up rework. Judge for yourself, here's the changelog:


  • Hucksters can now choose their spells from a list, rather than learn a linear path of spells. Hucksters have a ton of utility spells, making them a very handy rogue to have in a party.
  • Faith Healing has been reworked, and rather than buffing healing at the cost of it being tHP, it now functions as an effective overheal, allowing solid huckster / actual healer synergy and selling party members on hit points they don't actually need.
  • Patched up some wording here and there, made things more clear. Usual stuff. 
  • Not many, really. The subclass seems like a solid choice, includes some unique flavor, and isn't grossly overpowered (far as I can tell).
  • If you're making something contentious (like a holy rogue), keep it simple and stick to a strong theme. The more out-there it is, the stronger the central thematic idea needs to be. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Shadow-Weaver [ROUGH DRAFT]

Does anyone remember the original 4e assassin? Used invisible marks and shadows, jumped around with shadowstep, was optimized with a greatsword for some reason?

I always thought it was a fantastic concept. Not, y'know, exactly as it was - the eventual Executioner was a much better representation of the idea of an Assassin - but a rogue-type sneak with shadow powers struck me as a particularly fun, interesting thing to play.

So I remade it for 5e. Tried to address some balance and fun issues present in the 4e version while keeping it consistent with 5e, hopefully it came out well!

  • 1/3 Spellcaster Casting, complete with shadow-focused spell list thematically differentiated from Arcane Trickster.
  • Shrouds, a 4e oassassin mainstay, play into bonus action economy while allowing you to regain abilities, gain tHP, and even deal damage on a miss.
  • Shadowstep Gloomstride, a thematic ability allowing you a greater range of motion and synergy with sneak attack.
  • Black Agony, a level 17 capstone allowing you to temporarily upgrade your sneak attack damage dice for a single, debilitating attack, dealing overall less damage but being more versatile than the 5e assassin capstone. 
  • Definitely more rough than the huckster. Balance across the board needs some general looking at, but the core ideas are solid.
  • The 2d10+ on a miss for shrouds seems reasonable (especially since it costs spell slots), but may affect overall damage balance in a way I haven't anticipated.
  • Black Agony's damage numbers and Feed the Darkness' tHP reward both seem reasonable, but I'd like someone to take a second look at them.
  • Any thematic spells I missed? How necessary is invisibility to a shadow rogue's spell list?
  • Thematic roll tables are definitely worth the time and effort, as having a basic idea of an archetype's significance does a lot to sell people on the fun of the subclass. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Huckster [ROUGH DRAFT]

Rogues are pretty cool. They can be a lot of things, from dashing rakes to bookish spell-thieves to bell-jangling jesters.

The Huckster is a different approach, and is to clerics as the Arcane Trickster is to wizards. A huckster is a holy charlatan, knowing just enough in the way of rite and ritual to convince others of any religious affiliation, all the while having several crafty tricks in reserve to help with their roguish ways.

Let's look at some specifics.


  • Wisdom-based spellcasting off a small spell list. More total spells allotted than Arcane Trickster, less player choice in the spell list.
  • Series of two class features that build upon each other to encourage roleplaying before and during combat, to confer advantages in combat.
  • Higher level class features emulate the further gaining of holy power, despite spell list being limited to 4th level spells. 
  • The limited spell list may potentially be less fun than choosing. However, the cleric spell list has a great deal of pitfalls that would either be thematically unfitting or overpowered for this subclass, and is eclectic enough that breaking the list apart by spell school doesn't really work.
  • Faith Healing may be better or worse than intended, a small but nice additional bonus that'd stack well with legitimate healing. It'd be nice to have someone look at it with a critical eye and tell me if the verbage means what I think it means.
  • Faithless Fervor is situationally strong, and is intended to loosely mirror the Arcane Trickster level 17. However, considering the huckster's spell list and the necessary trigger for the feature, it's most likely fairly balanced. 
  • 1/3 caster subclasses have a surprising amount of latitude to them. Constrained, obviously, but there's plenty of room to make them unique and fun.
  • Breaks aren't bad. Just, maybe not two-and-a-half months off next time. 

Unexpected Break

First, it was the holidays. Then, getting brutally sick mixed with Fallout 4. Finally, work started up, and took up most of my time.

But now? I've got some time, let's homebrew cool stuff again.