Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Archaeologist [Second Draft]

As a rule, I'd never run one of my rough drafts in a real game. When I release one, I always am thinking one of two things:

A) This rough draft is 100% perfect and nothing could be wrong with it (I am always wrong)


B) Eh... well, it's definitely a proof of concept.

With the rough draft of the Archaeologist, it was definitely in B territory.

Usually when I'm in that zone, I release a draft because I'm stuck and need some insight from you guys. You all haven't failed me yet, and you didn't fail me with the rough draft of this one.

With your help, I think this class option is in a shape to properly present. It's still a little rough around the edges - think of it as a second rough draft - but it could certainly use a look-over and some quality criticism.


  • Fiddled with Field Training. No longer offers you a skill from a list, now gives you a climb speed!
  • Revamped Intelligent Combat. Doesn't reduce (or require) your Sneak Attack any more. Needs a saving throw for everything, hinges on Intelligence heavily. 
  • Switched the levels for Forgotten Magic and Seasoned Explorer, and added an initiative boost to Seasoned Explorer in place of its missing climb speed. 
  • Paragon of Adventure has been adjusted to account for changes in Intelligent Combat. 
  • Still not 100% on the balance of Intelligent Combat. Input would be appreciated.
  • Paragon of Adventure is flavor-lite. I'm open to suggestions on how to make it more flavorful. 
  • Apparently, the criticism on the blog alone is quality enough to revise a rough draft. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sacred Oath: Oath of Love [Remaster]

The more I learn about homebrewing, the more I have cause to regret some of the earlier design choices I made.

This deep-seated pathos is what has made me start remastering some of my old projects, and no project have I wanted to go back and modify more than the Oath of Love paladin.

I became less and less satisfied with this oath's use of charm mechanics, the further along I got. It seemed disingenuous, somehow, to swear an oath about upholding True Love, only to, a second later, charm someone into loving you, and then be rewarded for stabbing them while they are forced to love you, though your Channel Divinity.

That's not to say charm mechanics are bad or that they shouldn't have a place in this option, but they certainly shouldn't be used to con and stab people when you're trying to preach the gospel of love.

I'm hoping this remaster fixes the thematic issues of my older work. If not, let me know. Nothing says I can't release an even newer version, should this option need one.


  • Modified the spell list to make it less charm-intensive, bringing back old favorites like color spray!
  • Two new Channel Divinity options, one that bolsters your allies with temporary hit points, and the other locks down anything intelligent enough to truly want something. 
  • Lover's Embrace is now Aura of Affection, and adds hit points to any healing done within the radius. 
  • Passion's Kindness is now Radiant Empathy, because looking back Passion's Kindness was just kind of annoying in practice. 
  • Endless Devotion has been completely reworked, and now primarily makes your enemies incapable of attacking, if they fail a save and start adjacent to you. 
  • I changed a lot, which usually means there are little, fiddily errors out there. See if you can find any. 
  • Channel Divinity: Heart's Desire intentionally uses inconclusive language, as the creature it targets could hypothetically desire anything. I'm not sure if that's a wise choice or not. 
  • It feels pretty good to have gone back and finally taken a crack at fixing this one. Maybe I can update the Knavery paladin next. 

Divine Domain: Winter [Third Draft]

With homebrew, my personal philosophy is to push the bounds of convention. To look at what is there in core, but to change and add to it, rather than to keep completely faithful to what already is.

But, sometimes that bites me in the ass.

And that's okay - making mistakes and learning from them is the entire reason I have a WHAT I LEARNED section, below. It pays to dissect the intense layers of math and balance within this game to determine how the whole machine works. If nothing else, it makes me appreciate the obvious dedication to building balance that went into fifth edition, and it encourages me to be more forgiving of the handful of balance mistakes 5e does make.

But, enough about mistakes. Let's see what got fixed:


  • Frost's Fortitude was tweaked significantly, and now hinges on Wisdom instead of Strength (to illustrate that it's your magic making you tougher), and now gives you access to much of the lower-end martial weaponry. 
  • Cold Snap can now target objects, maximizing damage against them for multiple rounds afterward. 
  • Rime has had its resistance-nullification removed. The feat Elemental Adept exists for a reason.
  • Blessing of Snows is now a vanilla Divine Strike, because it seemed like this option was leaning melee overall anyway. 
  • Cold Snap is still very similar to hold person, but I feel it's important to have at least one freeze-creature ability inherent to this domain. 
  • Sometimes, more choice can actually be a bad thing. Surprising, but true. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Roguish Archetype: The Archaeologist [ROUGH DRAFT]

So, this one went through an interesting development process.

It started out as a bard college, and as I was building it, I slowly realized that I was building a (thematic) rogue that could cast spells like a full caster. That didn't seem like a terribly great idea.

So, as I sometimes do in moments of doubt, I went over to d20pfsrd to see how Pathfinder handled it. Pathfinder, for its flaws, does a great job of engaging and creating more obscure class options that have a lot of thematic weight. While not everything they do works for 5e, seeing how Pathfinder handles thematic content usually works very well.

It didn't. Pathfinder ended up doing exactly what I already did: Take a bard, and slowly make them into a rogue (plus spells, minus Sneak Attack).

I deconstructed everything, then, and rebuilt the class option from the ground up as a rogue. I figured if it was going to be trying with its every class feature to be a rogue, it might as well actually be a rogue in the first place.

What does it do? Why is the archaeologist worth playing? Let's take a look-see:


  • Proficiencies to help your rogue feel like a world-class explorer, complete with whips (of course)!
  • Reduce your Sneak Attack damage to deal added effects with attacks, with Intelligent Combat!
  • A small assortment of low-magic spells, picked up from a lifetime studying ancient, eldritch secrets.
  • I'm not sure how balanced the effects of Intelligent Combat are against one another, or against the trade-off of 2d6 damage.
  • Overall, I feel like this option trends weak, but rogues have a wide power spread for archetypes. This option feels closer to what is offered by the Thief and Assassin, rather than the (higher) power level of the Arcane Trickster or the Swashbuckler. 
  • Don't be afraid to scrap it and try again. That, and Pathfinder doesn't have all the answers.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sacred Oath: Oath of the Hellsworn [Second Draft]

As it turns out, the bad paladin was pretty good.

Not that I didn't have to change a few things, but much less overall than the last two options I built. Any time I get to be lazy and know that I already did a pretty good job is alright by me.

But still, change stuff I did. Here's what:


  • Fiendish Smite now ignores damage resistance, in order to properly mimic radiant damage. Fiendish Smite no longer exists. All in all, may have been a bad idea. 
  • Hellgate replaced with Beguiling Aura, an aura designed (like the rest of this paladin) to mirror the Devotion paladin, making your foes easier to trick and frighten. 
  • Infernal Inheritor has been reshuffled, adding wings and magical darkvision, removing claws and damage resistance nullification. 
  • The resist/immunity bit on Fiendish Smite isn't a perfect fix, but considering that radiant is only resisted by 4 creatures in the Monster Manual (pretty much the entire Angels section), it feels about right. 
  • Do more paladin variants. Maybe go back and fix the Love paladin sooner rather than later.  

Current Projects

I dabble. It's how I work best, and it's what I do.

However, this means I have a ton of unfinished projects sitting around. I'll pick up and drop a project as I feel enthusiasm for its subject come and go, and constantly revisit my old material when I have new ideas or have a breakthrough with an existing writer's block.

This in mind, I decided to tabulate a list of what I'm working on, and the projects that I currently have in progress. Take a look:


  • Barbarian - Elemental Totems
  • Bard - College of Archaeology
  • Bard - College of the Bonesinger
  • Bard - College of the Crossroads
  • Cleric - Flame Domain
  • Cleric - Pestilence Domain
  • Cleric - Sea Domain
  • Fighter - Warden
  • Monk - Drunken Master
  • Warlock - Primordial Patron


  • Prestige Class - Reforged
  • Race - Modron (revise)
  • Race - Myconid
  • Spells - Codex of the Waves
  • Spells - Codex of Bones
  • Feat - Expanded Gourmand
  • Strongholds Expansion - Commerce & Coin
  • Strongholds Expansion - Nature & Industry

Any you'd like to see sooner rather than later? Any ideas on how you'd like a specific project to turn out?

Let me know. I'll tell you what I can.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sacred Oath: Oath of the Hellsworn [ROUGH DRAFT]

I haven't done a paladin in a while, and I figure it's time I fixed that.

So far, we only have one evil-oriented paladin option, the Oathbreaker in the Dungeon Master's Guide. The Oathbreaker is a general, all-purpose, "this is what happens when good paladins go bad" sort of class option. I wanted to explore a different option: a paladin who is evil (or regularly tempted by it) from the start.

The oath of the Hellsworn is what awaits those who pledge themselves to the service of Asmodeus (and/or your local Satan proxy) or one of his legions of underlings. The hellknights that take this pledge do so for a variety of reasons, but most either desperately needed the power for the sake of someone or something they loved, or simply loved power itself.

A hellknight is bound to honor contracts and is expected to enlist help. Any who fight on the hellknight's side fight (by extension) on the side of Hell, after all.

What makes this a fun alternative paladin to play? Let's see:


  • Use your Channel Divinity to charge your weapon with Hellfire, or to Turn away the enemies of Hell!
  • Teleport your friends with Hellgate! Keep your enemies guessing by rearranging the battlefield.
  • Transform yourself into a fiend, slay those that oppose you.
  • It's always hard to balance capstones. I'd like help figuring out if Infernal Inheritor is too strong or weak. 
  • Fiendish Smite might get some criticism, but it's almost a downgrade. Radiant is one of the least resisted damage types (Resists in the Monster Manual: 4, Immunes: 0) while both Necrotic (R: 11, I: 11) and Fire (R: 37, I: 40) are among the most resisted damage types. 
  • Niche ideas are always worth exploring. I'm really happy with how this came out so far. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Divine Domain: Winter [Second Draft]

Lately, the rough drafts I've released have been really well-received, except for their mechanics. People love the themes and vision for certain class options, but (reasonably) hate the way I've done certain things.

Things like overload the last rough draft's first level with literally everything a cleric could possibly need. Whoops.

But you guys are very good at keeping my mistakes from being permanent mistakes, and the Winter cleric got a truly stellar round of criticism. Let's see what I ended up changing:


  • Added semicolon; intro is now more grammatically complete.
  • Split Winter Acolyte into both itself and Frost's Fortitude, giving caster/melee options at first level similar to how the Nature domain does it. 
  • Frost's Fortitude applies medium armor to Strength characters, keeping the actual AC numbers very close to what heavy armor would provide, anyway.
  • Rime moved to 6th level, and now gives its target disadvantage on their first STR/DEX/CON save, rather than disadvantage on ALL the DEX saves. 
  • Blizzard retooled slightly, now heavily obscures an area rather than providing half cover, and combos with itself to inflict disadvantage when re-applying Rime.
  • I didn't change the level 8 ability choice at all. I know a few people raised concerns, but both options it offers are balanced, and I think having one facet of choice in the path is much more palatable than the two facets in the rough draft. 
  • Blizzard is still hard to gauge, but it feels about right for a once per long rest power.
  • If it seems like I shoved too many things into one feature, I probably did.