Friday, August 15, 2014

D&D 5th Edition: Mastermind Roguish Archetype

A few days ago, the G+ thread following +Rob Donoghue's post on Rangers and Rogues led to an idea that really grabbed me: the Mastermind Rogue. This is a Roguish Archetype that roughly parallels some of the functions of the Bard and the assisting functions of the Battle Master archetype. For all that I loved (OMG loved WTFBBQ) 4e warlords and other leaders, this first draft doesn't attempt to offer any real healing effects until 17th level - this is a matter of embracing the apparent style of 5e rather than trying to shoehorn in something from 4e.

Monday, August 11, 2014

D&D 5th Edition: Enforcer Background

In my campaign, the Bounty Hunter background in the playtest documents was one of the more popular options. Since the setting runs more toward late-Renaissance and early-colonial rather than the core medieval setting of most campaigns, players used that background to cover slightly more modern law-enforcement concepts as well. The Player's Handbook doesn't offer a Bounty Hunter per se, though - instead, it's a minor option within Outlander. That's sufficient for the majority of campaigns - I don't think WotC "did it wrong" on this by any means. All in all I'm impressed with how many character concepts are thoroughly covered by the Backgrounds that are in the book. But if, like me, many of your favorite characters are cops, detectives, bounty hunters, vigilantes, thief-takers, or inquisitors... read on.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Gaming to Byzantium

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
--W.B. Yeats, "Sailing to Byzantium"

Okay, I'll fess up - this isn't a post about how to use "Sailing to Byzantium" as game inspiration, though I've done that too. I recently read The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire by Edward N. Luttwak, and (like anyone as monomaniacal as I am) I reinterpreted a lot of what he talks about through a gaming lens. Before I really dive into it, let me recommend the book in the strongest available terms: if you care about a more nuanced understanding of medieval warfare and politics, or if like me you previously knew approximately nothing about the Eastern Roman Empire, this book is ideal.

(For clarity, I'll generally be calling them Byzantines rather than Eastern Romans. I know perfectly well that this is historically laughable.)