Tuesday, August 4, 2015

D&D 5e Playtest: Modern Magic

It's a new month, so there's a new Unearthed Arcana. This time out, they're revisiting the idea of 5e set in a modern world, which came up some months ago in another post. Specifically, they're dealing with spellcasting classes reworked for the modern world. Now, I don't have a whole ton of interest in running a 5e-Modern game, but I'm always on the lookout for new ideas. The document offers a new Cleric domain, a new Warlock Patron, a new Wizard tradition, a small pile of new spells, and a few other things.
If I did run a 5e-Modern game, it would look a whole lot like Shadowrun, but less fiddly. It's like you heard about 5th edition Shadowrun and just got a little confused, right? Though... huh. 5e-Modern with the whole gamut of options turned on is a pretty close Final Fantasy aesthetic, especially FFVII.

Monday, July 27, 2015

RPG Blog Carnival: Weapons of Legend

The RPG Blog Carnival for July is about Weapons of Legend, a topic that is near and dear to my heart. In Dust to Dust, there are eleven living weapons of immense power. In D&D terms, you'd call them artifact-level weapons, and not wussy artifacts, either. There are also Named weapons, which are greater in number but less individually powerful. However, as the campaign is still ongoing, I can't talk about them without a mighty lot of spoilers. Instead, I'm going to talk about some techniques that we've used to make Living and Named weapons essential to the story, and some of the theory that went into our initial decision.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

D&D 5e Playtest: Awakened Mystic

The new playtest packet for the Mystic class - known in other editions as the Psionicist - went up on the Wizards of the Coast website today in Unearthed Arcana. Since I'm also working on an edition-by-edition exploration of psionics over in Tribality right now, I'm primed to be excited about this. The playtest packet offers the core class and two subclasses, from first to fifth level, as well as a few details on 5e's underlying story for psionics. (For an unofficial but very cool extrapolation of that story, see Blog of Holding's recent post on Catastrophic Psionics, which would also be a good name for a shoegaze remix of death metal.)

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.