Using Skills – Performance

So I may have missed a couple of updates here for a couple of weeks. Holidays keep me busy and tired because of my real (lame) job, and so my blog suffers. Nevertheless, late though it is, I have for you the next part of our Using Skills series. Last time on this series we covered Perception, which I recommend you go back and read. This time clear your throat and tune those strings, it’s…


Using Skills – Performance

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The old warrior, far past his battle years though those long near-forgotten days still marked him with scars upon his arms and face, leaned forward in his customary chair by the fire. His audience, a small group of disparate children, crowded around him. The light of the fire cast shadows that danced behind them on the oaken beams of the great hall. He stared past the children to these fey shapes and as he leaned in, they did the same – ready to cling on to his every word. His voice, it was said, had the power to summon up the spirits of warriors and dragons from days gone by; to transport you to primeval glades and crystalline caverns; to unveil the very fabric of the magical universe. Finally his old voice, gravelly and low, spoke out the first incantation that brought all of this to life: “Once upon a time…”

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Using Skills – Perception

Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of Using Skills, covering perception. Last time in this series we took a look at Nature. Last week we had taken a break and instead presented to you a new version of the Automaton race. Check it out!


 

Using Skills – Perception

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As her party circumvents a dank old tunnel, the sorceress taking up the rear finds that an odd shape on the ceiling above catches her eye. From his hidden spot on the balcony above the ancient chamber, the thief gazes around trying to find anything out of the ordinary in the chamber below. As he makes his way through a large crowd, the knight notices a small dirty hand make its way to his belt pouch. Perception is the boon of any adventurer that wants to survive in the dark and hidden places of the world.

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Race: Automaton (Updated)

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!


Race: Automaton

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Using Skills – Nature

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

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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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Using Skills – Medicine

Last week we covered Investigation in our Using Skills series. This week we’re back with Medicine. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Medicine

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A city watchman brings his torch closer to the body in the alley, trying to figure out how the person died. A cleric prays over an ill peasant while taking note of her symptoms to develop a diagnosis. The barbarian gingerly wraps the wounds of his unconscious companion to stop the flow of blood in an attempt to keep him from death’s door. Medicine is the science of health.

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Using Skills – Investigation

All right, we’re finally back on track with our ongoing series Using Skills, in which we define and explore each skill in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Last time in this series we took a look at Intimidation. Today we’re looking at Investigation. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Investigation

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A scholar pores over a text, surrounded by piles of books, looking for the one clue that will cause everything else to fall into place. The scout inspects a tile in the floor that looks ever so slightly different then the rest. The dwarven foreman taps the cavern wall lightly with his small surveyor hammer, listening to the sound, looking for the best place to begin work on a new tunnel. Investigation is using your powers of deduction to link clues and arrive at a conclusion.

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Beta: Automaton Race for 5th Edition

PDF HERE

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.


Race: Automaton

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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Using Skills – Intimidation

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

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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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Using Skills – Insight

Last week we covered History. This week, it’s all about that woogy feeling you get around creeps. That’s right, Insight. Or, a PCs spider sense. Enjoy!


 

Using Skills – Insight

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The guard captain reads over the suicide note a third time, noting a rather matter-of-fact tone that wouldn’t match the nervous man now hanging from the barn rafters. The barbarian narrows her eyes at the guide she hired to get her through the city to the harbor, finding his manner and speech ringing false. The minstrel strikes a chord on his lute as he listens to the crowd, getting a feel for their mood before deciding what to play. Insight is your natural awareness and empathy of other people and creatures.

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Using Skills – History

And now back to our Using Skills series. Last time we covered Deception, this time its…


Using Skills – History

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The cleric studies the small wooden idol, trying to determine if it matches the descriptions of ancient orc fetishes she had learned about years ago as a scholar. A thief selects an unassuming jewel from the vault he has broken into, knowing this one to be the crown jewel of the old kingdom. The paladin pales as he deciphers the name carved in old draconic above the sarcophagus, having heard it many times in ancient tales of evil. History is the domain of those who study the past in order to further their fortunes in the future. Continue reading “Using Skills – History”