Wednesday, December 30, 2015

D&D 5e: The Homunculus

Photo by Caitlin Holden

In the LARP that I work on, one of the races available to players is the Homunculus. It's less like D&D homunculi and more like Frankenstein's Monster; as with Shelley's original, they are fully sentient. Within the setting, they are widely abused and mistreated by their wizardly creators, though some wizards are better than others. A few homunculi have escaped their creators and live free, or have been freed by law.

As with other races, I've also created a list of traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws for homunculi, to give some suggestions on how the race might shape gameplay.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

D&D 5e: The Stormcloak Ranger Archetype

I create a lot of subclasses in this blog, because subclasses are fun and interesting to design. In this case, as with the Lantern-bearer Ranger Archetype, I'm looking for thematically appealing ways to address some of the ranger's shortcomings on the damage-output side. I'd also like for high-level rangers to be over-the-top to the same degree as other classes - I've come to feel like their abilities stay fairly tame while other people get increasingly flashy powers.

Also, this has nothing to do with the Stormcloaks of Skyrim.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Design Comparison: Exploration and Journeys


Far over the Misty Mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day,
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

--The Hobbit

On one hand, talking about the Ranger class in this blog has had me reading the Exploration rules. On the other, I've been reading The One Ring and its rules for Journeys. Obviously, any game presenting Tolkien's works needs a really good approach to the travelogue, or long-distance overland adventuring. I think that TOR has a lot of interesting things going on. If there's anything we can learn or borrow for application in other games, I hope to find it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

D&D 5e Playtest: That Old Black Magic



This month's Unearthed Arcana is on the small side, but it punches well above its weight in the Rule of Cool. Technically, all that is here is a new subrace and five new spells. On the other hand, it's breaking tieflings down into subraces - a welcome change - and breaking major boundaries on how Conjure spells work. As someone who does an immense amount of homebrewing design, I often feel like UA articles serve as much to point out new possibilities to third-party designers as any other end.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

D&D 5e: Spirit Domain

A friend of mine suggested the other day that he would really like to see a class similar to 4e's shaman, with a strong focus on interacting with spirits in one way or another. You can make just about any caster class feel like a shaman with a very thin coat of paint ("a spirit did it" works exactly as well in the fiction as "a wizard did it"), but that's not terribly satisfying, is it? Druids are one obvious go-to, as are warlocks with a serious spell list rework and a lot of new Invocation options, but the more I thought about it, the more I was drawn to making it a cleric domain.