Saturday, June 25, 2016

Divine Domain: Winter [ROUGH DRAFT]

Today is Summer Solstice, a holiday for druids and beachcombers alike, the longest and (usually) hottest day of the year.

Which sounds, to me, like the perfect time to release a cleric of Winter!

Winter clerics are icy warriors and mystics that hail from the coldest parts of the world, using the chilling power of their gods to serve mankind, or to slay those weaker than themselves.

What's cool about the Winter cleric? Let's take a cold, hard look:


  • Ice spells, ice spells, so many ice spells.
  • Play as either a melee or spell-casting cleric, with your choice of 1st and 8th level features.
  • Many different ways to freeze and slow your enemies, from using your Channel Divinity to rebuking creatures with Rime.
  • Conjure a powerful Blizzard! Dòng zhù, bùxǔ zǒu!
  • Blizzard is probably my biggest concern right now, it's hard to tell if it's too strong, or too weak.
  • Not sure about the cold resist on Winter Acolyte, but it pairs well with the "no penalties from cold environments" which should be offered early on. 
  • Splitting a cleric domain into two paths (melee/caster) like this is interesting and makes thematic sense for this domain, and I'm curious to see what you all will think.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Corsair [Second Draft]

People loved the first corsair!

...except for just about everything mechanical about it. Ah well.

But that's okay. I got even more quality criticism than usual, and revised most of the corsair's abilities to improve flavor and general, all-around power balance.


  • Compressed Sea Legs and Bonus Proficiencies into Scallywag's Tricks, removing the additional skill proficiency while maintaining the rest.
  • Moved the animal companion to 3rd level as its own feature, First Mate! The animal companion can even use a diminished form of your Sneak Attack, and is balanced against having an off-hand attack.
  • Replaced Captain at the Helm with Dirty Fighting to give the class option more things to do itself, and less abilities reliant on others doing things.
  • Compressed Captain at the Helm into Infamy, offering players a choice of abilities depending on whether they're a naughty or nice pirate. 
  • Added rules for having a hook, because really, what's a pirate without a hook?
  • Balance on First Mate is something I'm sure will come up, but I'm fairly certain it trades off well against an off-hand attack. Unless there's something I didn't notice, but we'll find out. 
  • Touched up the companion stats a little bit, maybe not enough, let me know. 
  • If you're trying to make a pirate, don't make some sort of rogue-warlord. Just make a pirate. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Corsair [ROUGH DRAFT]

The Swashbuckler in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is a really cool option - probably my favorite in the book. And while it's great for a duelist, rake, or general seeker of adventure, it's just not a pirate in the same way that 3.5's Dread Pirate class was.

So, based on a great suggestion from one of my readers, I created the Corsair roguish archetype option! Lead your crew into battle on land and ship, and teach those landlubbers why you are the most-feared pirate to sail the seven seas!


  • Sea Legs and Bonus Proficiencies, both designed to make you feel perfectly at-home on the deck of a ship!
  • Captain at the Helm and Infamy, designed to make you feel like a rogue ne 4e warlord as you lead your crew.
  • Avast, ye Scurvy Dogs! which is probably the most team-focused a rogue level 17 ability can be.
  • Monkey and Parrot familiars for pirates of sufficient station.
  • Sea Legs and Bonus Proficiencies give you a lot, but none of what they give you seems particularly game-breaking.
  • Captain at the Helm may be worded oddly, and its tHP math could use a look to see if it's overpowered or not.
  • I like Infamy a lot, but it could probably use a look at its power balance.
  • Avast, ye Scurvy Dogs! strikes me as almost a non-concern - rogue level 17's should do situationally an additional ~40 damage, and the situation on Avast is if everyone's attacks hit. Still, verbage might be shaky, and that's where I'd look there. 
  • The Monkey and Parrot likewise could use a look. As usual, I outright suck at monster math, and appreciate any help that can be rendered. 
  • Y'all have some great ideas. Thanks, Lee Robins!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Martial Archetype: Dragoon [Second Draft]

Step One: Release a whole bunch of rough material.

Step Two: Receive a whole bunch of quality critique.

Step Three: Start a new job.

Step Four: Never revise anything, ever again, forever.

Fortunately, I managed to find some time, and spent that time revising our somewhat-contentious friend, the Dragoon. Let's see what got changed.


  • Aspirant Step now may be used twice/four times per rest, up from once/twice, scaling with level.
  • Aspirant Step does not initially modify attacks, which is now saved for the level 7 feature.
  • Ascendance is now Ascendant Strike, and modifies attacks/damage from Aspirant Step in addition to adding resistance to falling damage. 
  • Needle of Heaven has been heavily modified, and is now long-rest refresh dealing 10d12 + STR damage, befitting an "ultimate attack" type ability, and has a save versus prone and grounding flying targets. It has also been modified to deal radiant damage, and fluffed to be more obviously magical. 
  • Balance on the damage from level 7+ Aspirant Step is not 100% certain, but I'm still pretty satisfied with it versus the expected additional damage output of a Battlemaster fighter. 
  • Even if I give the historical dragoon a direct shout-out, some people still get angry about JRPGs co-opting the term. Ah well, can't please everyone. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Expanded and Exotic Weapons [Fifth Draft]

I think five drafts is just about the most I've ever done on any one project. I seem to remember my very first project being five drafts, but that hardly counts because the first draft of that one wasn't even Photoshoped.

Anyway, this particular project is currently part of the Bi-Weekly (Bi-Monthly?) Homebrew Review on reddit's /r/unearthedarcana, and true to its name, review was done and further edits needed to be made!

Plenty changed in this draft. Here's the changelog to help us sort it out.


  • Art assets removed as there just wasn't space for them. The credits are modified to reflect this.
  • Gauntlet has been replaced with Kunckle, brass, with a new special property to make it more useful.
  • Sap has been tweaked to make it more intuitive and less gamebreaking. 
  • Scythe is no longer a finesse weapon, and now is a 1d8 reach two-handed simple weapon.
  • Double Weapon has been retooled, hopefully allowing for more clarity. 
  • The Ensnaring property has been removed and replaced with special properties for its related weapons. 
  • Double Weapon formatting in the table has been fixed to frankly be a lot easier to read and understand.
  • The Spiked Chain can now grind targets for damage, while the Kusari-Gama can now disarm, in addition to the grapples they used to do. 
  • Several mechanics that inflicted Disadvantage on yourself now remove Advantage, because that seems overall more reasonable. 
  • Harpoon has been buffed somewhat to make it worth taking a feat for. 
  • The Punching Dagger is now the Katar, and both it and the Claw are now no longer light, but deal more damage.
  • Monk weapons have been retooled to be more in keeping with monk design schema.
  • When this much is changed, little side-errors start popping up. That's what I'd be on the lookout for. 
  • Making selectable PDFs is exhausting and way more work than it should be. I'd love to do it in the future, but I definitely want to take a break before figuring it out again. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Race: Modron [ROUGH DRAFT]

Been cooking this one up for a while. Races take a long, long time, especially when they've got three subraces and a special background tacked on!

Modrons are one of my favorite races, right up there alongside kobolds, myconids, and sea elves. I love the idea of races that are inherent cultural outsiders with very little reference point in traditional, human society, but that still have a place in a world and its lore. They're fascinating and engaging to roleplay, and always require a good deal of thought and dedication. So, of course I went ahead and adapted them to 5e.

Modrons hail from the magical plane of Mechanus, a place of pure law and order made manifest in cities of machinery and churning gears. Forged by the god-being Primus, modrons tend to the hidden mechanisms of reality, and only occasionally do they go rogue and join adventuring parties around the multiverse.

What do they do? Why are modrons the coolest? I'm glad you asked.


  • Race lore and statistics, for building and understanding your own modrons.
  • Optional rules for playing loyalist modrons that have you play as a hiveminded squad.
  • Three subraces of modron, including the spherical monodrones, two-part duodrones, and cubic quadrones!
  • The Rogue Modron background, because most other backgrounds just don't apply to modrons. 
  • I could really use a higher resolution image for the modron on the first page, but would you believe modron art is actually hard to find?
  • As always with races, I hope I got the racial ability math right. You can check my ability values, included at the end of this entry.
  • Flying is always a tricky thing to include, and I hope the balance on the quadrone's Wings works out. 
  • I'm hoping that the Rogue Modron background's Underlying Order feature isn't too hard to understand.
  • Sometimes, it's fun just to crack open an old Planescape book to do research, but I'll be damned if Planescape wasn't way more 90's than I remember. 
RACIAL POINT ALLOTMENT (based on math values found here):
  • Modron (base)
    • 1 (ASI+1)
    • 0.5 (Darkvision)
    • 1 (Natural Armor)
    • 1 (Living Construct)
    • -0.5 (Disintegration)
    • 0 (Size, Speed, Languages)
    • TOTAL: 3 points
  • Monodrone (subrace)
    • 3 (Modron)
    • 1 (ASI+1)
    • 0.5 (Myopic Focus)
    • 0.5 (Tireless)
    • TOTAL: 5 points
  • Duodrone (subrace)
    • 3 (Modron)
    • 1 (ASI+1)
    • 0.5 (Artisan of Mechanus)
    • 1 (Binary Calculations)
    • 0.5 (Tireless)
    • TOTAL: 6 points
  • Quadrone (subrace)
    • 3 (Modron)
    • 1 (ASI+1)
    • 3 (Wings)
    • TOTAL: 7 points
Given that you want point values between 5-7 for a finished, balanced race, these seem to fall in the acceptable range, with the quadrone as a slightly higher outlier.