Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Race: Modron [Second Draft]

Sure took me long enough to revise this one, didn't it? Almost a year and a half!

But now, revised Modrons are here, with updated art from the ever-talented Doug Wright! Play as a monodrone, duodrone, or quadrone with new racial abilities and drastically improved balance, using all the wonderful things I've been learning about race mechanics for this past year-and-some-change!

  • Tweaked Racial Traits, changing up the way staples like Living Construct and Natural Armor work!
  • Every Subrace Has New Traits! And our humble monodrone friends even managed to get wings!
  • There is a bit of toe-stepping with the rogue going on here, but it's not the worst. The race is set up so you'll usually avoid that, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it.
  • Everything old can be new (and balanced!) again!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Race: Satyrs [Second Draft]

Happy New Year, everyone!

In the spirit of celebration, we have the satyr, a character race to which revels and festivities are near and dear. The satyr epitomizes the heights and depths of emotion, drinking, carousing, but also mourning deeply, when such is called for.

Satyrs come with three subraces and an inherent musical talent. Based heavily on the satyr offered in 4e's Heroes of the Feywild, this satyr is nevertheless distinct, and a very flavorful addition to the fey-themed races of D&D 5e!

  • Three distinct subraces, for satyrs of all stripes!
  • New racial feats! One for each subrace.
  • Musical magic, baked right into the core race!
  • Unsure of whether this should be fey/humanoid, or just fey (like the centaurs in Guildmaster's Guide). Sticking with fey/humanoid for now, because satyrs are way more humanoid than centaurs.
  • Yep, Heroes of the Feywild is still one of my favorite 4e books. For a whooooole lot of reasons.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Race: Faeries [Second Draft]

It's good to be ambitious and take on challenging new concepts! It's one of the things that, I think, made latter-day 4th edition so great.

This in mind, I decided to make faeries as a playable race, tackling the concept of playing as a tiny character. Some things change! Others don't! Surprisingly, it's only a small (hah) difference.

Let's see what faeries have to offer:

  • Three distinct subraces, for pixies, sprites, and sylphs!
  • Five racial feats! At least one for each subrace.
  • Flying as a racial trait! But, like, balanced.
  • Shrink the world down to your size, and really mess with people.
  • The new rules for tiny races could create issues I haven't foreseen.
  • Feat balance isn't my forte, but they seem alright so far.
  • The flight ceiling isn't ideal, I don't think, but I'm hoping the easing of restrictions as a character levels make sense.
  • Many, many more races are possible that I would've initially thought! Time to try some truly crazy concepts.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Race: Awakened Undead [Fifth Draft]

Awakened Undead! Just in time for... Christmas?

So the DM's Guild just unleashed a massive collection of new art, including a ton of new undead images, for all creators to use. This spurred me to take another look at the Awakened Undead, and I realized I've learned a whole lot about making character races since I developed them.

Thus, revision number 5! 

Lots of changes this time around, both in verbage and in presentation. Let's get started!

  • New Interior Art, including artwork from the talented Leena Lecklin (@leenadraws), whose tumblr and instagram you can find at the links provided here!
  • New Racial Feats, one for every undead subrace!
  • New Racial Traits for skeletons and revenants!
  • Undead can now be healed and affected by humanoid spells, but only receive half-healing from most sources.
  • Added a sidebar for "classic" no-healing undead, because I know that's important to lots of folks.
  • Rebalanced Mummy and Ghoul, because some traits were outside the intended power balance.
  • Adding healing, even half-healing, to undead was a contentious decision. I'm sure I'll make someone unhappy by doing so, but at least the half-healing trait (and the alternative sidebar rule) exist.
  • I changed quite a bit. Usually that creates small errors here and there. If you see something, say something!
  • Always make the most of new art when it appears on the Guild! You can do quite a lot with it!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Race: Shardmind [First Draft]


When I make a race, I often think: What makes this different? Why would someone want to play this, when a human, an elf, or a gnome is right there?

Back in the old 4e days of yore, the Player's Handbook III offered a wide swath of races, introducing githzerai, minotaurs, and wilden to the game. Each of the subsequent PHB's offered a "power source" they focused on. PHB2 had Primal, whereas PHB3 offered multiple Psionic classes to choose from!

Alongside those were, of course, the shardminds. An enigmatic race of psionic living crystal, formed from the last line of defense against the nightmares of the Far Realms.

Lore-rich and with strong psionic ties, shardmind stood out from the other race offerings in the PHB3 by virtue of being so different. You could be a more established race, sure, or you could be a being of glowing, living crystal that speaks by imparting thoughts into the minds of others.

So, naturally, I had to carry that over to 5e, soon as I could!

  • A Depth of Lore that solidifies a shardmind's place in the world!
  • Glow When You Want To! Turn it off when you don't.
  • Turn into a Swarm of Crystal Shards and really mess people up.
  • Two New Racial Feats! For manipulating your psionic crystal to cast spells, or conjure weapons!
  • There's a lot in this race, but it doesn't necessarily feel over-powerful.
  • I'm always unsure of feat balance. Feats are hard to manage, and I don't have as much practice with them as I'd like.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Race: Swarm [First Draft]

Sometimes, it's fun to make something profoundly different and gross. Something that makes my skin crawl just writing about it. Something equal parts fun and horrifying to bring to the table and play.

Hint: I'm talking about this race. This horrible, disgusting, pile-of-worms-or-rats-in-a-trenchcoat race.

A swarm is created one of two ways: Either arising by itself when a group of tiny animals or insects affected by magic bands together, or when a mortal is transformed into one by dark magic. Swarms are nightmares to behold, and a truly alien creature to step into the shoes of.

And, honestly, those are the characters that I like playing the best. The characters that see the world in a way I never could, that have opinions, thoughts, and motives that I the player find strange to contemplate.

Anyway! Here's what it does:

  • Break into an amorphous ball of nasty, to slip through grates and escape foes!
  • Summon animals from the wilds, and add them to your horrible body!
  • Eat people! Just, eat people.
  • Two different feats, to give your swarm some fun magic to play with!
  • This is a hard one to balance, but doesn't feel overly powerful. Playtesting is good.
  • It's fun to do concepts that instinctively make me flinch away! Broadens my horizons, and I can really lean into what I find gross or unnerving about them.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Spells: Codex of Technomancy [First Draft]

I've always wanted to make another spell collection! Had a few drafts that I ideated on for quite some time, but never finalized.

Fun fact: I had a rough Codex of Alchemy at one point, but I fully cannibalized what I made there to make the Brewcraft and Imbue Potion features on the Witch class.

Anyway! Technomagic has always been one of my favorite ideas, the idea that in a world where both science and magic exist, there'd be a rather big overlap on that Venn diagram. I've also been a big fan of the mad science types that would take up such arcane practice, as well as the Actual Magic Scientists who'd look down their nose at exactly those kind of people.

Let's take a look at what this supplement has in store:

  • 16 New Spells, with something for every class!
  • Spells to Craft Golems, take pictures, summon impossible machines, create traps, and more!
  • The usual slew of small balance concerns that come with making lots of spells for just about any class
  • YEP SPELL COMPILATIONS ARE ABOUT AS HARD AS I REMEMBER. I'll for sure make another one eventually, but it'll take a while.