Saturday, July 4, 2015

D&D 5e: Three New Spells, One New Pact, One New Patron

In my campaign, I recently introduced warlocks serving the Nightwalker, my setting's version of the Grim Reaper. The PCs have known they would eventually run into such warlocks, but this is the first time it has happened. Obviously, that meant I had to write a new Patron option for the Warlock class, and in so doing I also wrote a new Pact and three new necromantic spells. The new spells are a patch on the extremely small number of low-level necromancy spells that I could assign to the Patron. Some of what I'm doing is also an attempt to stake out a fourth gameplay style for warlocks. In the comments below, feel free to tell me whether I've succeeded. As usual, there are Design Notes after each section discussing why I made the choices that I did.

Monday, June 29, 2015

D&D 5e: Magic Item Economy

Over in Google Plusville, +Levi Kornelsen mentioned the absence of a magic item economy in 5e. This is a core design assumption on WotC's part, and they haven't been shy about it. In most settings I agree with this choice, but in his post he's specifically talking about Eberron. That setting gets to be the exception, because it internalizes the magic item economy of 3.x and renders it into industrial fantasy - both low-end magic items (tools to make life easier) and large-scale magic items (lightning rail!) are essential to Eberron's feel. Large-scale items are created at the speed and inflationary whims of Plot, but low-end stuff needs support, and the definition of "low-end" scales by level. The ideas I'm presenting here are only for people who want to introduce that approach to money and the economy.

Monday, June 22, 2015

D&D Dungeon Postmortem: The Abbey of the Immortal Saint

Something odd happened in my tabletop campaign last weekend. In an eight-hour session, there were two fights, one of which resolved inconclusively (no one lost hit points or suffered debilitating conditions on either side) and one of which was over before the single NPC's first turn (having egregiously lost initiative). Even so, the tension was cranked up to 11 and I had at least one player say it was the best session of the campaign to date.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

D&D 5e: Five New Cleric Spells

The cleric spell list of the Player's Handbook is pretty solid and broad, but I think there are some class-appropriate themes and spell concepts left to be plumbed. I've mentioned before my dissatisfaction with the fact that clerics have only one damage-dealing cantrip. In this post, I am pleased to present five new spells suitable for a cleric, one of which is also suitable for the paladin spell list. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

D&D 5e Playtest: Waterborne Adventures

Okay, I'm a month late to the game on this one, but I've only now found time to write about the most recent release from Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures. It's a rules module for things that like water, but prefer to stay above it rather than in it. In particular, it offers one race, one fighting style, one Rogue Archetype, and one Sorcerous Origin.

Friday, May 29, 2015

D&D 5e: Alternate Crafting Rules

For those who know me, or have been reading this blog since its inception, it comes as no surprise that I'm less than satisfied with the crafting rules of 5e. The good side of them is that even magic items don't cost XP (because charging XP turns it into something like an in-character currency, and that's weird), and you don't have to spend character-build currency (skill proficiencies, feat slots, whatever) on improving a downtime action before you know if the DM will give you time to use those abilities. The bad side... well, there's nothing to interact with in the system other than ticking one number down and another number up, for what may be an incredibly long time.

Monday, May 18, 2015

D&D 5e: Divine Trickster Rogue Archetype

For a campaign that started up this past Saturday, one of the players was looking for a way to play a more divine-side rogue, rather than an arcane trickster. Now, a straight replacement of Arcane -> Divine is one thing, but the campaign setting has laws of magic that significantly differ from the Player's Handbook, so there are some things here that look quite odd. Still, a holy trickster figure is a pretty cool idea by itself.