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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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!
Continue reading “Race: Automaton (Updated)”
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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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
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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And now back to our Using Skills series. Last time we covered Deception, this time its…
Using Skills – History
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”
Last week at the end of my Using Skills – Deception post I mentioned doing a new version of my Rodential Rodents for this week’s “monthly” post as a break from the Using Skills series. Instead, having been immersing myself in the Dungeons and Dragons Beyond program, I thought I would type out my thoughts on it. Please enjoy this review.
Dungeons and Dragons Beyond is the belated digital arm of the new edition. Wizards of the Coast has long been fraught with problems when it comes to offering digital tools and programs for its games, so when I heard they were partnering with Curse (owned by Twitch and famous for hosting one of the largest modding networks on the internet), I was intrigued. These people know how to utilize digital product, having used them for World of Warcraft mods in the past, and being owned by Twitch certainly gave them impressive backing.
Now that the tools are out, are they the Fifth edition dream made reality? Do they improve or change the game in any way? Are they worth the price? Let’s get into it.
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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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Welcome to part 2 of my weekly series on using the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last week we covered Acrobatics, and this week we’ll be going over Animal Handling
As mentioned before, the point of this series is to clearly define what each skill is as well as provide examples and options for using it in your game. Some skills, such as Animal Handling, seem (to me) to not be used as much as they should. Hopefully this series of posts will inspire you to try something new in your games, or provide your PCs with the opportunity to do so themselves.
Using Skills – Animal Handling
A woodsman coaxes a bear cub, badly burned by a bushfire, out from under a dead log. A hunter watches warily as a dire wolf stalks nearer, trying to figure out if the thing is curious – or hungry. A charging knight guides his stallion to jump over a thorny wall of brambles with only the slightest touch. Animal Handling is the domain of those with a connection to the beasts of the world, and the desire to control them in some way.
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