Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sacred Oath: Oath of the Midnight Hour [ROUGH DRAFT]

Things that have happened since last we met:

  • Worked on the next intended expansion for Strongholds for over a month until I was fully burned out and my brain couldn't crunch numbers any more.
    • I think the tipping point was trying to make fantasy farms both balanced and somehow profitable. I possibly succeeded, but broke my will trying. 
  • My laptop, with all my content on it, now refuses to charge. Fortunately my content is cloud-stored and the laptop is being fixed. 
  • Work picked up. Quite a bit. 
  • Started building the third draft of my PSD template. You can see it at work in this project. 
  • And I'm starting a move from San Francisco to Seattle, so my house is slowly becoming the Land of Boxes. 
I needed something nice and relatively light to make to reset my brain back into a homebrewing groove, and so I settled on this little project. 

This originally started as a remaster of the Knavery paladin from so long ago, which, along with the Divine Arbiter warlock, I consider outmoded and imbalanced earlier work. The Knavery paladin was something I made to test the limits of a class' central theme, to see how far I could push the envelope before I pushed too far.

Turns out, making a paladin into a rogue is definitely pushing too far. Still, though, there's plenty of room for paladins to be dark and stealthy without stepping on any of the rogue's kit, and so I started re-themeing and re-creating a stealthy paladin option from the ground up. 

How's this different from the last one? What a handy segue into 

  • Variable Oaths to allow different patrons to have their own, personal say. 
  • Unique Channel Divinities allowing for small AoE damage or sneaking in heavy armor. 
  • Re-position your allies by having them jump through shadow itself. 
  • Go invisible, sneak up on your foes, all without expending spell slots!
  • Transform into the stuff of nightmares and make sure your enemies have a really, really bad day.
  • Flavor could be heavier, but I tried to make the option versatile to appeal to paladins of all alignments. The option practically calls out for it, but I'm still not fully satisfied.
  • Hard to know the balance on Swarming Shadows. It feels alright, but might scale poorly. 
  • Umbral Jaunt may or may not be the most intuitive way to achieve that effect. I'll think more on this later. 
  • Nightcloak doesn't seem imbalanced at first glance, but I may be forgetting something about how invisibility functions. 
  • It's never too late to go back and start again from scratch. 


  1. Glad to have you back! The Divine Arbiter Warlock is actually one of my favorites from you, as I prefer defense builds and tend toward the theme of "light," so I'd be very interested to see a remaster of it.

    A few things on this Oath:
    1. The first thing I've noticed is that Nightcloak refers to expending uses, but I don't see a use limit on it. I'm assuming that it's Charisma mod, but I'd like to hear what the intention is.
    2. I really like the idea of oath variants based on the deity, that's a very flavorful approach to something as divided as the night, good job!
    3. If you're worried about scaling on Swarming Shadows, you could instead tie it to proficiency mod and allow it to give a to-hit bonus as well. Not sure if that's balanced, but it's a suggestion.
    4. I feel like Umbral Jaunt should be tied to shadows, since the origin of the teleport effect stems from a creature's shadow. For example, teleporting from your own shadow to the shadow of a building within your movement speed left for the turn. Which brings up another point, is that you should probably not that the maximum distance for teleporting is the movement speed a character has left in a round. And, out of curiosity, does this work with the Dash action as well? The way it's worded currently, it does, but I just want to make sure that it's intended that way.

    Once again, thanks for the quality work! I look forward to your future releases.

    1. >Divine Arbiter

      I like it thematically, too, but I feel that Undying Light did a better job overall of representing the same idea (even if UD's level 6 was pretty imbalanced).

      Looking back, I'd definitely nix the shield idea. That's something more at home in pact boons (blade/tome/familiar) than as a core feature of a pact, anyway.


      Well, derp. I had a sentence in there at one point about a Charisma mod, but it seems like my own editing ate that. Yeah, Nightcloak is intended to have your CHA mod's worth of charges.


      Thanks! It's the best way I could think to make the Oath varied enough to be worth existing, while keeping it on-theme.


      Hm, CHA mod is the way most paladin features do these things. The to-hit bonus is also like the entire thing of the Devotion paladin's CD, so I want to avoid that as much as I can.

      My main concern is that usually paladin CD's that enhance a weapon function for both attacks of a multi-attack. This CD affects only one attack, to keep paladins from spamming AoE damage. Thus, it scales less, and I'm not sure if that's a problem or not.


      Double hm.

      I think what I'll do is revamp the teleport fully. Make you able to, as a reaction when an ally is attacked, teleport them up to 20 feet, or up to 40 feet if your ally is in an area of dim light or darkness.

      I wouldn't want to disable a core class feature if the mood lighting wasn't right, but giving an extra umph to it situationally seems like a good design decision that re-enforces the option's theme.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  2. I like the new oath- my main piece of feedback for it is the teleport feature- it seems like it could use some work, and I would personally like to see you consider it in light of the Way of Shadow Monk, if only because it seems you have something similar in mind, except done to others rather than one's self.

    1. Also as an aside after reading the other comments, I too love the Divine Arbiter and hope it receives the remaster you wanted it have- ultimately i like like it more than the undying light UA patron conceptually.

  3. Where'd you run off too, scribe? It's been a few months... Hope you're doing alright! I look forward to your work as always - I DM a campaign with your structures worldbuilding option (along with a few other homebrewed rooms and mechanics) and its merchant expansion. I'm really excited to use it, and there's a few people in the party who are as well.

    I'd definitely have this sacred oath - as well as a lot of your other subclass options - as my favorite 5e homebrew I've come across. Hope to see you active again soon! :)

  4. I hope you continue with these homebrews, especially with your Strongholds, Merchants and more downtime-y activities. It's a section of d&d I feel is oft under explored, and you made me want a castle. Gives me something to push towards.