Friday, April 29, 2016

Divine Domain: Technology [ROUGH DRAFT]

Domains are the most fascinating thing about clerics in 5e. It's simple, intuitive, and makes perfect sense that a cleric of a trickster god like Loki would feel fundamentally different than a cleric of a storm god like Thor, but still have some common ground, as the two of them serve the same basic social purpose.

Likewise, a Madness cleric feels fundamentally different from a Civilization cleric, and both are diverged significantly in feeling from a Technology cleric.

Like their (as-yet, not canon) artificer brethren, a cleric of Technology builds and constructs, but channels their inspiration and the core of their power from a great and powerful god of science and industry. Gods like Vulcan, Gond, Onatar, and Erathis style themselves gods of Technology, and clerics who serve them push the frontiers of knowledge and scientific inspiration with their transforming clockwork creations and technomagical know-how.

What sort of things can a Technology cleric do? Let's find out:


  • A Clockwork Minion who can transform through uses of a class feature.
  • Use your Channel Divinity to always draw the perfect tool (or trap) at the perfect time.
  • Build as a caster or crossbow-user, allowing you to fluff your cleric as you please.
  • Clone yourself! It's good for you. 
  • Transforming your clockwork assistant is kind of a strange feature, and I wonder if it is balanced right. It was originally designed as a Channel Divinity, but I moved it to once per long rest to be safe.
  • Divine Toolbox, on the other hand, is limited by uses Channel Divinity. Is being able to whip out 2+ traps, ball-bearings, or caltrops for an hour each short rest reasonable, you think?
  • I kept the spell list as technomagically focused as I could. Does the flavor hold up?
  • I did the math, I did the monster math, but it turns out I'm not the greatest at monster math. Could someone check the Clockwork Assistant math and tell me if it's alright?
  • Instead of cantrips vs weapons, I tried to split Scientific Accuracy on ranged vs melee. Does it feel about right?
  • I really, really, really need to learn more about monster math. I don't think I've done creature math since the Dead King pact back in the day. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Ninja [Second Draft]

Normally, I like to work on two (or three) projects at a time. It switches it up, keeps it interesting.

But this ninja, man. This ninja and all the things I've had to fix.

The rough draft of the ninja was mostly fine. Almost everything needing fixing was relatively small, fiddly stuff, but literally everything needed some amount of fixing, and it all snowballed into a landslide of balance tweaks. In the end, whole abilities and features got revamped.

But! It seems like it's in a good place, and that means its time for a new build. Tell me what you think, and what game-breaking bits I missed, same as always.


  • Everything. Just, everything.
  • Jutsu, Ninja Tricks, and the latter half of Ki have been combined into just "Ninja Tricks" and a Elemental monk style list of abilities that you can take, two per level. This allows you to use later levels to choose previous levels' abilities, if you want.
  • This archetype now requires Wisdom as reflected in the Ki save DC. Most, but not all, of the abilities now have some component that scales on Wisdom.
  • Several Ki abilities have had their costs adjusted. Mostly increases, because that was necessary.
  • Feathery Tread and Immaculate Footwork have been rearranged, lumping run-on-water and balancing advantage into Immaculate Footwork, and jumping and a new half-fall-damage ability into the new ability, Crane's Ascendance.
  • Everything is a Weapon now has a ranged throw with Ki that can sneak attack and scales with Wisdom, replacing its proficiency-with-anything mechanic.
  • Step onto Air has been replaced with Flawless Strike, as the scaling between Step onto Air and Crane's Ascendance would've been bananas. Flawless Strike allows you to spend ki to reroll your failed attacks.
  • Eyes of the Ghost is now Sense the Heartmind, an ability that allows you to feel people through walls and increases the range of your blindsense.
  • Deathblow is now Shadow Clone Jutsu. This ability creates a shadowy double of you, which sneak attacks enemies and confers bonuses to you. 
  • The balance on Flawless Strike seems about right, but I'd appreciate someone else looking at it.
  • I could've missed something in the rest of the overall balance. Entirely likely, in fact.
  • Sometimes, you have to drop everything to fix everything

Friday, April 22, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Ninja [ROUGH DRAFT]

One of the great pleasures of this hobby is taking a crack at old fan-favorites and drafting them into 5th edition, making them work within existing schema in imaginative ways.

This in mind, the ninja is a shadowy roguish archetype that uses Ki, same as a monk, to activate quasi-spiritual abilities while straight-up assassinating folks.

Sounds fun? Of course it does, it's a ninja. Let's see what it can do:


  • Choice of two of four ki-based abilities at 3rd, 9th, and 13th level, focusing on utility, combat, and utility respectively.
  • Deliver a Deathblow to reroll Sneak Attack dice at 17th level by spending Ki.
  • A 1/3 caster Ki system, based on the class assumption of the monk as a half-caster.
  • Ki abilities cost either 1 ki or 3 ki, which I figure is a good general representation of their utility, but may be too bland or not balanced correctly - it's hard to tell.
  • Class options that have a "choice of" abilities can end up having a lack of flavor, as with early drafts of my Vampire PrC. I don't think that's the case here, but I could be wrong.
  • I make the assumption that the monk is approximately a half-caster in regards to ki - a fair assumption given how much punching monks do, but also one that could be wrong.
  • Ki is mostly a damage resource to monks, but to ninja it is mostly a utility resource. I don't see this as much of an issue, but it could have ramifications I haven't thought of. 
  • 10 + total character level for a saving throw is kind of odd and unprecedented, but I specifically didn't want to tie the saves to a secondary stat. Save-using options for this archetype are few and far between, and a player could easily avoid taking them to avoid having to put points in a secondary stat, so I didn't want to disincentivize the options in that way.  
  • Making 1/3-caster options out of alternative resource systems is possible. I wonder what else I could apply that idea to.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Divine Domain: Civilization [Second Draft]

What's most interesting about subclasses, to me, is how much or how little they color the overall class.

Rogues, for example. A rogue is fundamentally a rogue first, regardless of subclass. The subclass is kind of how they do rogue, but that's about it.

But with paladins, clerics, and, to a lesser extent, warlocks, subclass is their entire thing. It's how you do what you do, yes, but it's also why you do what you do.

Both the Madness and Civilization domains have clear missions the crunch of the domains re-enforce. For Madness, you're put on god's green Earth to make people go crazy. For Civilization, you have an arguably much nobler purpose: the safeguarding and expansion of society, of mortal-kind as a whole. Both domains define your character's purpose just as much as a background possibly could.

That's enough waxing-game-design from me, though. Let's see the changelog.


  • Many tweaks to CD: Bastion, including keeping it from being conjured within 120 feet of other summoned monuments, only being able to perform the permanent monument ritual once per day, and re-adjusting AC and HP to be in-line with what the DMG says stone structures should be.
  • Fruits of Civilization has been likewise tweaked, halving the merchant's available money and adding the word "approximately", so not every merchant will have exactly 500gp on the nose. Also made the type of currency ambiguous, so you could run into a gem-mining dwarf deep within a cave, or a fairy that'll deal only in electrum, if your DM wills it so.
  • Added a line to Drumbeat of Progress adding a buff to passwall, making its duration permanent if you will it so. Now your walls can have easy doors. 
  • None at the moment. 
  • If players can create a wall out of something they can summon, they probably will, even if they have another spell that actually creates a wall. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Divine Domain: Madness [Second Draft]

One of the crazy things about making homebrew the way I do is that sometimes, there are problems I clearly know exist, but I'll be damned if I know how to solve them, or even where they are.

That's part of why peer review is so important to the process: you guys manage to hammer down my material, find the faults I know have to be there, and give me a pretty clear idea of how to fix them.

The rough draft of the Madness cleric was a combat monster across the board, powerful without much exception. Hopefully, this draft helps remedy that.

Let's see how:


  • Reworked Eyes of Insanity, again. It now does only movement, no opportunity attacks, but is a bonus action. It also requires an additional save if you attempt to walk an enemy into bad stuff, and no longer works on targets that can't be charmed.
  • Tweaked Sow Madness such that it also does not apply to charm-proof creatures. I also changed a few of the effects on the roll table, most notably number 7 in a way that makes it more fun and less broken.
  • Berserking no longer excludes some targets, so, y'know, no one get too close to the crazy rage guy.
  • Voices in Your Head no longer grants Deep Speech because I just plain didn't like how it felt, and languages are easy enough to get from backgrounds besides.
  • Gates of Madness has updated verbage specifying limits on the ritual. 
  • If there was THAT MUCH stuff needing fixing that I didn't see, is there more? 
  • If you only use the most powerful abilities in a class as benchmarks, you'll end up with something obscenely powerful. Whodathunk. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Divine Domain: Civilization [ROUGH DRAFT]

After starting up this blog again, I've been on a kick. I still need to revise my Madness cleric, but in the meantime here's something completely different.

Where the Madness cleric is a spell-casting combat monster, the Civilization cleric is anything but - a melee-focused skill machine, made for building and creating and supporting your party.

Take a look, you'll probably like it.


  • Spells focused on supporting civilization, from conjuring food to building walls.
  • Parkour! Parkour.
  • Summon a monument with your Channel Divinity. Never go without a shrine again.
  • Pray to your god, receive a merchant. No matter how unlikely the circumstance. 
  • Remarkably combat-light, but no more so than (for example) the Nature cleric.
  • The merchant might cause some consternation for DMs of a certain playstyle.
  • Overlapping thematically somewhat with the UA City cleric, but where that cleric is about neighborhoods and communities, this cleric is about frontiers and empires. 
  • Yeah I should probably go back and nerf some of the combat potential of the Madness cleric. It doesn't need to be THAT out of hand. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Divine Domain: Madness [ROUGH DRAFT]

So far, I've dabbled in warlocks, paladins, and rogues. Now, let's see how tweaking a cleric works.

Madness is a popular concept in roleplaying, such that entire games revolve around it. Nearly every setting in D&D canon has at least one mad god, and it'd make sense that such gods should have equally mad clerics: fonts of enlightened insanity, sharing their manic wisdom with the world (whether the world wants it, or, more likely, not).

An interesting domain riding hard the "Chaotic" side of the alignment chart, Madness and the clerics that espouse it can range from being Good at heart, using their insanity for the benefit of others, to being malicious and Evil, truly wishing to destroy all that is sane and safe in the world.

Let's look at what makes this fun.


  • Spell list full of mental-control powers, feels functionally halfway between bard and warlock.
  • Use the message cantrip to make people go nuts. No seriously, try it.
  • A controlling/offensive first-level combat feature, essentially an ultra-light version of compulsion.
  • Two Channel Divinities, one to make your enemies crazy, the other to make your friends crazy.
  • An assortment of level 6+ domain spells delivered at class level 17. 
  • Deep Speech may not be entirely necessary on Voices in Your Head. But it seems so fun.
  • CD: Sow Madness is strong, but less strong (due to unreliability) than what an Arcane cleric gets so that seems alright.
  • CD: Berserking may be stronger or weaker than intended. Hard to tell with that one. 
  • I was originally making this as a paladin Oath of Madness. I'm still probably going to make the paladin Oath, but man, is it much easier to design for a cleric.