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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I have for you today three subraces for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. They’re based on my want of something a little less Faerunian for players when choosing these races. The Dark Elf especially is my attempt to come up with an elven subrace more connected with the unseelie side of the fairy/elf mythos than the now ubiquitous drow.
The Brownie Halfling is a classic take on the halfling based on fairy myth. I enjoy the image of a furry halfling, similar in my mind to the Orlan from Pillars of Eternity. Brownie tales were some of my favorite ones from my childhood.
The Dark Elf is a bit of a gothy-take on bad elves. I like the idea of not-good elves that have a code of honor and are very orderly. Living in stone fortresses among the cold highlands, wearing heavy cloaks and thick sable boots and looking around haughtily.
The Deep Dwarf is just an update of a subrace that often gets overlooked in favor of the Duergar. Not all deep delving dwarves are evil illithid-slaves that can inflate like Mario.
Update: And now a River Gnome for your perusal!
Anyway, enough gabbing. Here you go! (Expect a PDF version later today for those that like that sort of thing.)
A Selection of Subraces
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Too long in the making, here is my playtest/WIP Backgrounds and Station module for my re-imagined Al-Qadim campaign world.
Continue reading “Al-Qadim: Station and Backgrounds”
I’ve been running Al-Qadim (well I have ran one session anyway) converting on the fly to 5th edition. I soon realized that I wanted to get a weapons, armor, and gear list set up for use with it, as a lot of the weapons and armor you see in Al-Qadim are different and there is quite a bit of variety in their goods and services.
So, I’ve spent two manic days putting this monstrous PDF together. I’ve come up with the items and prices based on scouring through the Al-Qadim books, the 2e Player’s Handbook, comparing it to the 5e Player’s Handbook, and a good bit of my own fiat. I’ve added even more items to the lists from the 2e Al-Qadim books that I felt were missing (no coffee beans listed for trade goods? come on!). I also made a table of clothing sets to give examples of how the clothing listed before that might be used by different people in the Land of Fate.
Anyway, here it is in one giant WIP PDF. Enjoy!
There are a few things in D&D Fifth Edition which I feel could be expanded upon to great effect. One of these is Downtime (which I have attempted to expand on here), and another is Factions.
In the base D&D rulebooks, factions are a bit of an abstract. In Organized Play they are a bit more structured, but even then gaining reputation within the faction is a linear process that happens automatically as you play in the Adventurer’s League rather than being an entity in the world that you can choose to interact with (or not) for mutual benefit.
This rules module attempts to expand this idea by presenting an example faction, the Knights of the Towerwatch, that as the PCs gain renown with various privileges and amenities are unlocked. However, this goes both ways, and the PCs can get negative ranks with this faction, which could cause some complications for the PCs. This faction could be easily renamed for use in your world.
Eventually I would like to come up with multiple factions that are a bit archetypal (a knighthood, a thieves’ guild, a mage university, etc.) so that players could take those and shape them to their world with minimal effort.
The Knights of the Towerwatch
(pdf coming soon)
Continue reading “Factions: The Knights of the Towerwatch”
You are led down a spiralling stone staircase, far beneath the unassuming house near the outside of the village. Your eyes are covered, and you have to grasp the shoulder of the masked Gatekeeper as he leads you forward towards your fate. You are cold and tired, but in your heart anxiety wrestles with excitement.
There is the sound of a door opening and a rush of warm air, and you step forward. It shuts behind you with a soft click. Around you is the thick perfume of incense, and you feel hot flame on your face as the blindfold is taken from your eyes. Finally you behold the inner sanctum, the secret circle of power for higher initiates.
Finally you are being given the secret that binds your soul to the order.
Hidden from the eyes of official authority, below the lazy vigil of noble and king and the blind eyes of the temples, lay the secret path to true power. One need only seek it out, to walk the hidden path of illumination. Continue reading “As Above, So Below: The Cultist Background”
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.
Continue reading “Ranger Archetypes: Manhunter and One of the Ancient Order”
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!
Continue reading “The Spirit Patron and the Pact of the Totem”