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. 


  1. Dude, your work is simply awesome.

  2. Hey, TMS from r/unearthedarcana here, quick thing for if you do another draft, in the cantrips section, it might be better to make it read "from this list" rather than "off this list" just professional textual note.

    As for balance, I like the way the archetype is, but you may want to consider replacing feed the darkness with a ribbon or skill based ability to slightly weaken the archetype in combat and improve it's utility? my thought is just that the archetype gets a lot of combat benefits already, how about double proficency bonus, or advantage when using intimidate checks on a target your shroud is on- it makes sense, especially if you know their emotional state it could reflect you learning how to use that. Black agony is a bit much too, but I'm more willing to forgive something like that doesn't come in until 17... If you agree, i suggest replacing it with disadvantage on your shroud target's attack, or even weaker ability checks (as hex does), actually if you do take the second option, i think the level 13 feature you currently have in place, or even with the intimidation bonus tacked on would be balanced?

    1. >Feed the Darkness

      Replacing it with a useful ribbon actually sounds like a great idea, I'll pop it in before reddit release.

      It could use more ribbon-ing, though, but that sounds like a good place to add it.

      >Black Agony

      Consider that the Thief rogue can take two turns (and thus, two sneak attacks) on its first round of combat, at level 17. Balanced off of that, Black Agony is more reliable, but less damaging overall.

      A top-level sneak attack does around 40 damage median, so two sneak attacks in a row (for the Thief) deals around 80 damage median. Likewise, the Assassin rogue *also* has an ability to deal double damage on a surprise attack, albeit less reliably.

      Upgrading sneak attack damage dice from d6's to d12's does around 30 extra median damage, which, when added to a normal top-level sneak attack, does around 70 median damage.

      That's about the balance math I'm looking at for this, and it seems about good for a level 17 rogue ability.

    2. Ah, understood- your math checks out, I didn't think it through enough

  3. Just quick note you haven't actually added silence to the list in the PDF.

    But if you're looking at adjusting the spell I also would also like to see your thoughts on the following spells for the archetype:

    1st - Alarm, Detect Evil and Good, Fog Cloud.

    2nd - Alter Self, Invisibility, Magic Mouth, Misty Step, Pass without Trace, Rope Trick.

    3rd - Nondetection, Speak with Dead (Very Thematic), Feign Death.

    4th - Greater Invisibility, Hallucinatory Terrain, Locate Creature.

    These all feel like fairly thematic choices - though I can certainly see how some of them (Invisibility) might alter the balance of power for the class.

    1. >silence

      Well, fuck. It was totally on the PSD, but didn't make the jump to the PDF somehow. Will fix.

      >other assorted spells

      There were a couple things I wanted to gatekeep from this subclass for a number of reasons. Invisibility is something I specifically wanted the subclass to not have, as was Misty Step (which was too similar to Gloomstride in any case).

      I didn't particularly want to include too much variety in the spell list - the Arcane Trickster has a somewhat stripped-down spell list itself, and I wanted to stay true to the limited scope of choice.

      I mean, feel free to include them if you see fit, though. Aside from Pass Without Trace and the other spells I mentioned specifically, I don't think any of the choices you've got would really negatively impact balance.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Yeah I figured that was the case about the ones you pointed out - I'll make sure to be careful messing with the spell list - I'm going to be playing a Ghost Shadow-weaver from your Awakened Undead pdf in an upcoming campaign (and our paladin is using your Oath of Love) but wanted to tweak the spell list a bit.

    I appreciate the feedback anyway - keep up the great work!

  5. Love the idea of this archtype, and it seems really well executed! Any updates since last year? :)