Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Spells: Codex of Waves [ROUGH DRAFT]

Up until now, I've only occasionally touched on new spells. Making new spells is imprecise, and can affect multiple classes in wide sweeping ways. As such, I like to avoid it whenever possible.

Problem is, I use homebrew to fill holes left by the core rules, and magic in D&D contains very few spells that pertain to water, and very, very many that pertain to lightning and fire. That in mind, I made 19 new spells (including several I've ported from Stormwrack, because everyone loves Stormwrack) that more fully encapsulate the use of water in magic.

Are they balanced? Hopefully! This is a rough draft, after all, tell me what could use some fixing.


  • 19 new spells, including all-new creations and classic spells brought over from Stormwrack!
  • Spell lists for every casting class, dividing these new spells along thematic lines.
  • Public domain artwork, which represents my first steps towards publishing on the DM's Guild!
  • 19 spells is a heck of a lot, I'm sure there's some balance errors in there.
  • Some spells I kind of had to eyeball a bit as to what spell level they should be. Your mileage may vary, tell me if you disagree.
  • Public domain art is easy enough to find and work with, but I'll still miss the fancy, fantasy-specific art I'm used to. :(


  1. Hi there,

    I tried contacting you through the site but I can't find any contact details. So, I will just use this space. :)

    I am part of an initiative of 5E D&D players who work with Realm Works (and Hero Lab) by Lions Den. We are not part of Lions Den, just enthusiastic users of the awesome tool. Using Realm Works, you can collect all kinds of D&D resources to use when preparing sessions or even at the table.

    One of our members stumbled onto your website and we really like the material you've written and we wondered if it is okay if we put together a Realm Works package of some of the stuff here? We wouldn't be earning anything from it, but people could download and use it in their realms. Of course, we would include a link to your blog in the package description.

    If you want to know more about the project, or would like to take part, feel free to contact me. I noticed this is a Dutch domain. I am Dutch myself, but since I'm not sure you are I've written this in English.

    Anyways, best of luck with the blog!

    Mike van Schijndel

    1. >we wondered if it is okay if we put together a Realm Works package of some of the stuff here?

      Sure! As long as a blog link is there, I've got no complaints. Just be sure to use the most recent versions of content, linked along the right side.

      >If you want to know more about the project, or would like to take part, feel free to contact me

      It sounds fun, but I already have a lot on my plate right now. Case in point, I have a secret project I've been putting off to work on this particular homebrew project, that I now have to complete before the end of the day. D=

      Thanks for the offer, though!

      >I noticed this is a Dutch domain. I am Dutch myself, but since I'm not sure you are I've written this in English.

      Hah, that's news to me. I'm American, and as such can only speak the one language.

      Well, truth be told I'm Californian, which kind of means I can speak one-and-a-half, including Spanish. Wouldn't help much with Dutch, though.

    2. Blogspot automatically redirects you to your own local domain. I'm seeing this as walrock-homebrew blogspot com au, for example. That would be why, if you're Dutch, you'll be seeing a dot nl link, Mike.

  2. Is there a specific reason why you haven't done a wizard subclass as of yet?

    1. I've actually toyed with a couple in my hidden, just-for-me Alpha Drafts folder. Just haven't finished any.

      My main problem with wizard subclasses is that there are already so many of them in core. The only major ideas that aren't covered in core are Technomancy, a divine-focused wizard, and a wizard generalist, and each of those is fully covered by Unearthed Arcana.

      Homebrew, for me, is mostly about filling thematic holes in the system. The wizard is very fully formed, and just doesn't have that many holes to fill.

  3. Hi. Amazing work as always. This one must have taken a lot of work. I know this is a rough draft, so there is bound to be a few errors, so i will point out the ones i found:
    Bigby's Blistering Barnacles: It doesn't say if the affected creature must make a constitution saving throw at the end of each round or if the effects depend solely on the caster maintaining concentration
    Pressure Sphere: I know it's 7th level spell, but taking 6d10 every turn, with no saving throw? Seems overpowered.
    Red Tide: I think the wording could be more clear
    Ripple: I think it could scale with your level, like some cantrip, to keep it useful on higher levels.
    Besides these issues, is very good. Creative spells, that are useful for a lot of things, not just deal damage and stuff. It would be cool to see another codex of different elements or for magic that affect the mind ( AKA, deals psychic damage and demands Intelligence saving throws. There are not many of those in the official books)

    1. >Bigby's Blistering Barnacles

      The general idea here is for concentration to be what breaks it. There's no need to add a saving throw, I feel, if the damage is relatively small and the effect can be broken by attacking the caster.

      >Pressure Sphere

      Compare this to Finger of Death, which deals ~60 damage median in one shot. My assumption is that Pressure Sphere would last for 0-2 rounds, eating your concentration, before concentration was broken.

      Keep in mind that this damage occurs at the end of the enemy's turn, so it's entirely possible for the spell to end before ANY damage occurs. This in mind, the damage range for Pressure Sphere runs about 0-60, expected, with the possibility of it going beyond that if for some reason three rounds go by without the caster having to drop concentration for attacks or tactical reasons.

      Also to note: The suffocation rules in 5e are VERY lax, such that most creatures would only begin to suffocate at the exact end of Pressure Sphere's duration. As such, this bit is mostly a ribbon.

      >Red Tide

      Could you elaborate? I'm not sure which bits I can clarify further.


      Good point. Damage progression is definitely a must-have for cantrips.

      >Further Codexes

      It'd be fun to do one for force-type spells or for necromancy. I feel like psychic will be pretty well covered whenever WotC eventually decides to release the 20-level Mystic, though, so I'd at least want to wait until then to see what they have before trying that idea. It'd be fun to bring back things like Memory Hole, though, so I'll definitely keep it in mind.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  4. About the DM's Guild, since you might be interested in eventually publishing there it might be wise to consider some tricky issues with ownership of the rights to what's published there... There's a rumor that Matt Mercer won't be able to include some of his homebrew classes in the setting book he will publish because he previously published them on the DM's Guild.

    Also, according to Matt Colville, it would seem their cut (50%) is higher then similar options out there... He will be publishing stronghold rules eventually and I think he is still figuring out the best way to do that...

    Dawnforgedcast, for instance, uses a shopify store to release his homebrew items, 5e Reforged and Alchemist Class, instead of the DM's Guild...

    On a side note, I've been considering a possible homebrew option that might fit an unexplored niche... A Trapper Ranger. I wonder if it's possible to make a viable Ranger Conclave/Archetype focused on traps, terrain manipulation and crow control, even if it's based on natural magic/spellcasting. I wonder what you think about that... Might serve as inspiration, maybe?

    1. These are good things to know, thanks for cluing me in.

      I'm not super interested in money, so much as I am in exposure. Ideally, I'd like my work to be more of a known presence, which is something I'd assume Coville and Mercer worry less about. Still, I'll be exploring other options, and seeing what's worthwhile and available to me.

      >Trapper Ranger

      That's a cool idea. I'm deliberately avoiding the ranger for now, though, because I'm just not sure where the chips are going to fall on that one yet. It being in Unearthed Arcana rerelease limbo makes it hard to plan for, y'know?

      If I did release something for the ranger, though, I suppose I could tailor it like the Horizon Walker and the tree-ranger to fit both PHB and UA schema rather easily, although that's definitely not future proof. No winning with that one, really.

    2. I'd like to add that if you post something on to DMs Guild, you are not allowed to repost it anywhere else, hence the rumor of Mercer being barred from using his DMs Guild content in his campaign guide. Of course you're allowed to link to it here and on reddit, and I don't know if that's even going to be an issue for you unless you're trying to make a book of your own.

  5. I'd love to see either an expansion to this that deals with Wind - 'Wind and Wave' has a bit of a ring to it. But this was definitely a necessary addition, Water spells (along with wind in my less than humble opinion) are woefully under supported.

    I don't spy any glaring issues with these as they stand, though as always the devil is in the playtest. Ripple is pretty fun, though I'm a sucker for good cantrips in 5e.

    I'm playing a Storm Sorcerer in an upcoming High Seas campaign (Everyone loves Stormwrack), and I'll pass these along to my DM (a long with a few wind spell ports I did myself, Defenestrating Sphere is one of my favourites from 3.5).

    That being said I also wanted to say that reading your blog has inspired me to take on some larger scale projects using your PDF resources. Never quite being happy with Matt Mercer's Gunslinger (I felt it limited you to really only one style of play), and most of what was online didn't marry the mechanics they created very well to 5e's math I came up with this:

    I don't really expect commentary, but I did want to say that I've really enjoyed your blog as a whole (I've linked your Shadow-Weaver a bunch of times, and I'm playing your Oath of Midnight Paladin as well). That being said; I did wonder where I might be able to link my work for review and editing - I'm not that confident in my understanding of 5e's math to be 100% comfortable with what I've made here. I've tried GitP but I often feel like their homebrew forum is like shouting in a vacuum.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. My thoughts on the gunslinger:

      - Marksman fighting style stacks with Archery, as-is. You should specific that it doesn't add an additional bonus.

      - Is Desperado intended to allow you to attack with the same one-handed firearm twice? Because it allows for that.

      - You might want to make Grit a short-rest refresh resource, similar to Ki. That'd allow it to be more reliably usable than hinging it off of crits and killing blows. I imagine a gunslinger that needs killing blows for Grit might be really upset at a fighter that "kill-steals" their quarry.

      - "Hexgun" and "Holy Gun" might need some better names. I'd recommend "Hexslinger" and "Dawnshot."

      - For targeting legs and wings, this same maneuver can be accomplished with the Push special attack action, without having to spend a limited resource. It also isn't specified if attacking the legs, wings, or head causes damage as normal.

      As for feedback, I highly recommend reddit's /r/unearthedarcana subreddit, as feedback on homebrew is their bread and butter. The 5e general on 4chan's /tg/ board is good, as well, but requires a thicker skin and is definitely more of a crapshoot on whether or not you'll get quality criticism.

      Hope this helps!

    2. Much appreciated mate; good catch on Desperado I'll fix that up right away.

      Fighting Styles from other classes that affect ranged weapons do not apply to firearms.
      Grit does refresh on a short rest, as well as the other methods.
      (These rules are there already, just buried in the text)
      Those are definitely working titles (how pathfinder got away with such terrible names I'll never know).

      I'll give unearthed arcana a go - see if anyone bites. I appreciate you having a look over it! Keep doing what you do - I'll be reading!

  7. Any thoughts about brewing some fey races? I feel like there's so much fun stuff to be explored with faeries and hags and secret kingdoms and so little seems to go there.

    1. One of my favorite 4e books was Heroes of the Feywild, particularly their Skald bard option and the races it contained.

      I'd love to adapt pixies, satyrs, and dryads sometime. Figuring out rules for a tiny race would be a pain, but likely completely doable, once I put my mind to it.

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