Ranger Archetypes: Manhunter and One of the Ancient Order

In 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, the subclass structure of classes is where you’ll find a lot of the variety that helps make a class your own. As it stands, between released products, there are around 2 to 4 subclasses per class, not including the 8 or so domains and traditions given to Clerics and Wizards. It is clear that these subclasses will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to defining these classes in the context of campaign worlds, as well as fulfilling certain character builds from past editions.

The Warlock patron and pact item of my last post inspired me to look at the subclasses we have so far and try to come up with some solid ones for classes that are lacking. The Ranger is one class that is sorely lacking in a good variety of archetypes, so I decided to ruminate and try to come up with a couple that I found interesting. Hopefully you will too!

The following subclasses are works in progress, thoroughly not playtested and more than likely overpowered. The reason for this is that I prefer to scale back then forward. I will be updating this post as I have been the Shamanic Warlock one as I get feedback and am able to test them. (A special shout out to those on Reddit who helped me with your generous feedback!)

The Manhunter is a ranger archetype that focuses around grappling and incapacitating creatures. The One of the Ancient Order is a more mystical style ranger, getting a couple of rituals and a druid cantrip that they can use once per rest. Hopefully I can work these into good subclasses for a class that is sadly lacking those at the moment.


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The Spirit Patron and the Pact of the Totem

Thrusk upended the horse leather pouch and several small humanoid figurines tumbled out onto the rough dirt floor of his tent. The orc studied them where they lay, noting the ones laying on their backs, on their sides, and the few who landed standing up.

Watching closely were Hruk the warchief and his five advisors. They were silent, letting the shaman study the idols with anticipation. Thrusk closed his eyes for two breaths, then scooped the figures up and put them back into the pouch.

“Well?” asked Hruk, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the arms of his wooden chair.

“The omens… are not in our favor,” said the shaman. The advisors looked to each other worriedly, murmuring. Thrusk continued. “However, with a proper sacrifice, the spirits may aid us.”

The following is very much a work in progress. While some eye has been kept on balance, it is entirely non playtested. This is my attempt at bringing in a Shamanic archetype into 5e using the Warlock. I wanted it to feel very different from a Druid or otherwise Nature based class with divine magic. Instead I wanted to give it a primal feel, giving hints to a primeval spirit otherworld.

I would really appreciate your feedback. Currently I am hoping to replace some the additional spells (drawn from the Cleric and Druid spell list) with new Warlock spells meant specifically for the Spirit patron. Please tell me what you think!


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Downtime Expanded

In this module, I decided to try and come up with some rules that will allow PCs to both make money, and spend it. It showcases four tweaks I’ve made to the Downtime system of D&D, a system I am quite infatuated with.

Like much of what I make, this hasn’t been playtested much! I wish I could spend a lot of my time playing and testing RPGs, but a full time job makes this impossible. So I’ll pass my unpolished stones onto you in the hopes that you find something worth keeping.

The PDF version of this module is here.


Downtime Expanded

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Simple Settlements

(A PDF of this in-the-works module is provided here.)

The idea behind this module is to give 5th Edition Dungeon Masters an easy way to flavor the settlements of their world, as well as provide some light mechanics that they can use to interact with the PCs in interesting ways.

Adding new ways for PCs to interact with the various settlements in your world can really enrich gameplay. These light mechanics will give you and your players that interaction and provide you with a simple system to resolve interactions between settlements. These rules will also be helpful for your PCs if they happen to gain control of a village, town or city.

The following rules are based on the ability score roll system of Dungeons and Dragons and provide settlements with their own Ability Scores, just like PCs and NPCs. It also provides them with what are called Attributes, which function like a simplified version of the skills and special rules of character classes and monsters. Rolling up a settlement using these two things will give your settlement mechanical weight, allowing you to express the different aspects of your settlement using the game rules.

Z 970

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The Sablewood: Rodential Races (Unplaytested)

When I was young, alongside Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander I read a lot of Brian Jacques. Jacques was a consummate storyteller, whose Redwall series took the anthropomorphic animal themes of Wind in the Willows and Watership Down and set it in a vaguely medieval fictional English forest called Mossflower. Here mice, squirrels, otters, and badgers lived alongside each other in hovels and villages, as well as the titular Redwall Abbey. They fought against the hordes of rats, voles, foxes, and other such predatory creatures. They were stories of heroism, about plucky small heroes barely coming out victorious against thieves, pirates, and murderers. They were also surprisingly progressive for stories of the heroic fantasy genre, featuring a great many female animals who could fight toe to toe with their male counterparts.

I found these stories endlessly fascinating, and even in adulthood I can appreciate the themes of standing up for yourself and trying to be good-hearted in a world that takes advantage of that sort of thing. These days I do find the species = morality a bit overwrought, as in the book series you never met a rat who wasn’t ready to hoist the Jolly Roger and begin to slit throats. Still, I think having them as part of my childhood was an overall good thing, and I think including them in your kid’s library is a great idea.

What this has to do with this entry is that I think it’d be novel to create playable “races” of anthropomorphic rodent species to use in D&D, the idea being that the campaign world would be one similar to Redwall, or Mouse Guard, or Wind in the Willows, etc. Classes are fine if you’re okay with that high fantasy flavor, and monsters are easily reskinned as the dangers encountered by small creatures in a big dangerous world. Races, however, they need to be unique.

I actually have worked on a home setting for such creatures, this one based around a place called the “Sablewood”. I will be using that home setting as a template of sorts for some of the cultural aspects of the races mentioned. That means that you could be able to replicate Redwall or Mouse Guard with these races, but the idea for me is for use in homemade settings using similar themes.

And thus, I present to you my newest 5th Edition D&D module.


The Sablewood: Rodential Races

Alternative Races for an Anthropomorphic Woodland Animal D&D Campaign

(Now Available as a Playtest PDF HERE.)

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Using 5th Edition D&D to do Sci-Fi: Class Talk

Would it be worth it?

The main reason I enjoy the 5th edition ruleset is it’s simplicity, and the ease at which you can arbitrate the rules at the table. I’ve enjoyed a number of sci-fi rulesets throughout the years, but I can think of none that can match the simplicity of 5e. Could a conversion be worth it? Would the feel of the sci-fi genre be lost in that translation?

GURPS and Traveller are my two favorite systems that can be used for sci-fi, but both of these systems are complex and definitely not pick-up-and-play friendly. In some ways that is the charm of these systems. Traveller character creation is, to me, a game in itself. However, could the ease of play of 5e be used to make a simple and fun sci-fi system?

In this series of posts, I will first lay out my ideas for the conversion, and then start spitballing ideas and hoping they stick.


Using 5th Edition D&D to do Sci-Fi: Class Talk

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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

So, as you can probably tell, I failed NaNoWriMo spectacularly, and along with it my plans for a development diary for my Ghartha project. I’m disappointed, but it is an unfortunate reality that we generally need to put our jobs before our hobbies, and holiday season is definitely the busiest time of year for mine.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the Dungeon Master’s Guide is finally here! This tome of all three of the holy triad is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. I am a tinkerer, enjoying twisting the rules this way and that, and always get more pleasure from running a campaign than I do from playing. With the rumors of a “tinkerer’s manual” on the winds of, well, the internet, my expectations for this book (especially after the first two) were very high.

Well, how did it do?


A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

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NaNoWriMo Diary: The Lady of Stone (Part 1)

Hello! I’m still trucking a long with my Nano project, an RPG sourcebook for my Ghartha campaign mentioned in the last post. Today I have for you a rough, unedited sampling of a piece of fluff text that will be in the Player’s portion of the book. It tells the tale of a barbarian woman who exiles herself to hunt the enemies of her tribe before she dies. It is called The Lady of Stone, and will be told in multiple parts throughout the text. The beginning is thus:


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A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual

My review of the Player’s Handbook, here, was fairly positive. Okay, perhaps overwhelmingly so. Beyond a few fairly glaring indexing issues in the magic section, I found the book to be delightful and highly useable. Having now received the second in the holy trinity of rulebooks, can the same be said for the Monster Manual?

The book is, of course, quite different than the Player’s Handbook, and this review will reflect that. As more of a reference tool, or as a collection of pieces for the DM to use, there’s simply less to review. But, I am sure I can find quite a bit to say.



A Review of the 5th Edition D&D Monster Manual

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