And now we finally come to the last part of our ongoing series on the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last time we covered Stealth, and for this final discussion we’ll be going over that friend of rangers and barbarians: survival.
Using Skills – Survival
The bent blades of grass. The occasional broken dead twig from the surrounding autumn forest trees. A slight smell still on the air; of horse sweat and steel.
“Less than an hour,” the tracker said, brushing dead grass out of the way of the muddy hoof-print. “Riding east hard, though they’ll need to be turning south-east to get around the river.”
Survival is the skill of thriving outside the confines of civilization.
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Last week we discussed using the skill Religion in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. Today we’re getting a grip on that skill of nimble fingers, sleight of hand. This will be a short one, as it’s pretty straight forward and a DM hardly needs inspiration in cultivating the use of it.
Using Skills – Sleight of Hand
The juggler stepped through the crowded market area, ignoring every jostle and bump as she kept five balls in the air -as well as nicking a bauble surreptitiously off of a market stall. The courtier made her rounds through the ballroom, greeting diplomats and nobles one after the other with a friendly pat or a hug; none would realize until much later that their pockets were much lighter. The guard captain once again frisked the urchin he had caught stealing in the wharf district, but could not for the life of him figure out what happened to the coins he swore he saw the vagrant grab. Sleight of hand is the go to skill for the sticky fingered.
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Back in September I released an alpha version of the Automaton race for 5th edition D&D, which was meant to bring a more universal “warforged” like race to the table. Not liking the current warforged available via the Unearthed Arcana series because it was both under-powered and boring, I decided to work on something that I thought would be more fun to play.
I received a lot of great feedback last time, as well as a lot of grief because I had made it overpowered. My thinking in this was that I wanted to make it overpowered to scale it back, but (rightly) people pointed out that I had taken this too far and it was pretty broken as a result.
Using the feedback I have received I have made a number of changes. This included reducing the number of subraces to three, moving the balance of functionality into the subraces, and overall lowering the power level all around. I think I have made it more balanced and playable. You can check out the new Automaton below. I hope you enjoy!
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Welcome to the next edition of Using Skills! Last week we looked at Medicine, and this week we’ll be looking at Nature. Enjoy!
Using Skills – Nature
The wise woman pulls a cluster of dried herbs from a flour sack and tosses them in a cauldron while making a note in her book. A struggling wood elf scours the floor of the dense forest for a certain white flower, knowing the taproot of this local plant will neutralize snake venom. The green knight scans the trees, confused as to how birch trees could be growing so far south. Nature is the knowledge of flora and fauna, and the lore of the wilderness.
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The following is a beta-test version for a race of sentient constructs. I am not a fan of the Warforged we have seen so far, and I wanted something a little more universal that could be used easily in home-brew campaigns. As a first pass, I intended to overpower rather than under-power them as a race so that I could make cuts rather than have to add in more abilities. Please enjoy, and any feedback would be extremely valuable to me.
Feedback: So far from feedback I have lowered the subrace ABIs, took away the armored ability, and pared down the Upgrades feature so that you get one instead of two.
Automatons are sentient constructs, built for a specific purpose using either magic or advanced technology. They can think and act independently, but are still bound by whatever purpose was given to them by their creator.
Particularly ancient automatons, awakened after centuries of a death-like inactive state might not know their purpose or may have somehow forgotten it in the long years. These automatons are driven then to find out what their purpose was or is, and to find out who built them and why.
The Automaton is an optional race built for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. How exactly they fit into your campaign setting is up to you. It is purposefully left vague so that you can expand and detail out their place in the world, whether they are common or rare, or whether they are magical in nature or the result of advanced technology.
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Apologies for the late post, I had forgotten to publish it this morning. Last week we covered Insight, and this week we’re covering Intimidation. Enjoy!
Using Skills – Intimidation
The Goliath chieftess cracks her knuckles and smiles to the goblin captive, who turns a paler shade of green. A diplomat quietly whispers into the magistrate’s ear, reminding him of the dangers of going against the Earl during the council vote. The knight throws down his shield and holds aloft the holy symbol of his deity to the unruly mob, checking their simmering anger with a reminder of divine retribution. Intimidation is the skill used by those who persuade with a closed fist rather than an open hand.
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And now for the next in our ongoing series on Using Skills. Last week we explored Arcana, and now we’re going to explore the shady side of Charisma with Deception.
Using Skills – Deception
The diplomat plants a small false rumor among the other members of the town committee that is just enough to sway them in the direction he wanted. The thief, being held up by the scruff of her coat by a guard, quickly comes up with a reason for being so interested in the locked door to the merchant’s house. The old barbarian looks at his hand of cards, then at the other players, letting his face show a small imperceptible grin -just long enough for the other players to think they’ve detected a hint of something under the stony exterior. Deception is the art of convincing others that something false is true.
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Last week we covered Athletics. After a hiccup in the order, I present to you Using Skills – Arcana! We are now back on schedule.
Using Skills – Arcana
A wizened scholar pores over an ancient text once thought of little note, but he is beginning to know better. A treasure hunter traces her finger over the sigil set into the chamber wall, remembering the right way to draw the symbol so as to not set off the ancient trap. The warlock repeats a phrase he learned early in his youth, once believing it to be a child’s rhyme but now knowing its true power. Arcana is the domain of arcane lore and secrets; the deep well of knowledge about the power that weaves itself throughout existence.
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Welcome to the third part in the Role Play Craft Using Skills series. Last time in this series we covered Animal Handling, and today we’re covering Athletics! I appreciate the feedback on this series so far, and I’m glad a lot of you are finding it useful or enjoyable.
You might notice that we’ve skipped Arcana. This wasn’t intentional – I’m just bad at planning. We’ll cover Arcana next week.
Using Skills – Athletics
The half-orc carefully chooses another hand-hold on the sheer cliff face, lifting himself little by little toward the ridge above. A kensei leaps from a tree branch far across the skirmish field to land in front of the goblin chief. The sailor, thrown overboard, tries to calmly keep her head afloat amid the storm-chopped water. Athletics is the domain of heroic physical feats against incredible odds.
The Player’s Handbook describes it thus: “Your Strength (Athletics) check covers
difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming.” (PHB pg.175)
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The questing grail knights of Arthur, the paladin Roland in the Matter of France, Sir Gawain and his trial against the Green Knight – all of these are knights who travel through strange lands on adventures in search of something. A divine relic, a crusade to protect their homeland, or the meaning of bravery.
This Oath of the Quest option represents a more “chaotic good” sort of knight, used to the freedom of the road. They seek something, and along the way they help who they might. Not tied down by a lord or a strict religious order, they are free to go where they may, spreading their influence and forging their own legends to be told by the smallfolk for generations to come.
This is a play-test version of this paladin option. It has not been tested extensively and feedback is both sought and appreciated.
update: Based on feedback from Reddit and Twitter, the Oath of the Quest has been tweaked! I adjusted power levels across the board. I got rid of Mark the Craven and instead have Pilgrim’s Rebuke. Enjoy!
Oath of the Quest
The Oath of the Quest represents the Paladin’s pursuit of a sacred task, binding them to a life of travel and adventure. Seeking a holy relic, attempting to pilgrimage to a sacred land, seeking the favor of a powerful fey lord or lady, or crusading into the unknown to defeat a particular foe are all impetus for a Paladin to take up this oath. As constant travelers, they tend to gain a love for the freedom of the road and rapport with commoners. Sometimes called Knight-Errants, Free Knights, or Questing Knights, those of this oath typify the ideal of the traveling roads-worn knight unbound from their home to seek that which will bring salvation, honor, or glory.
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