Darker Oaths – Paladins for Grimmer Games

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While not fallen knights, these are holy warriors who have fallen on hard times none the less.  Certain orders of the paladin are not seen as the high and mighty crusaders of justice and good, but a necessity for dealing with evil… while preventing troubles members from falling themselves.  Many of the more righteous minded are uncomfortable around such types, as they tend to be far more dour, jaded and even looking they have the life taken out of them.

For many their path is seen as one of ultimate damnation, getting too close to that which they fight… or at the very least, losing sight of what’s worth fighting for.  Among their darker orders, they are the realists, the last line of defense, those who know too much about their enemy and the like.  Only a fool would turn down the aid of a dark oath member.  These crusaders are typically infiltrators, veterans, lore keepers and specialists against specific threats.  This of course assumes that suspicion doesn’t lead to their banning or worse.

Author’s Note: While these sub-classes are meant to be neutral/anti-heroes, they could be twisted into alternative options for Fallen/Oath Breaker Paladins.  All in all, I wanted these sub-classes to convey an almost gothic theme, alongside other inspirations.  Furthermore, I really wanted to experiment with these sub-classes, totally overhauling my original ideas for the “Oath of Blasphemy” and the “Oath of the Cynic”.  However, these sub-classes could easily fit vibes like Mythos Cultists, Instruments of Chaos and Trickery (i.e. Loki, Tzeentch, Cyric), Corrupt Clergymen, Fanatical Crusaders, agents of the Shadowfell or even servants of a less malicious God of Death (i.e. Wee Jas, The Raven Queen, Kelemvor, Anubis, etc).

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Swinefolk – A “Porc” Race for D&D 5th Edition

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Hardy Hogs of Arcadia

In olden days, they were called the “Pigmen”.  More often than not, they were mistaken for another fearsome race known as “The Orcs”.  While Orcs were born from natural means and from a different reality entirely, Swinefolk were created by the Arcadians as sturdy infantry for war.  These creatures were bred to charge into foes, goring them with their tusks; all while sustaining incredible amounts of damage.  Like many of the beastkin that dwell in the material realm, many broke away from Arcadia; whether from imperial campaigns or out of rebellion.  Built much like their wild ancestors, these creatures are brute ferocity incarnate.  While not too threatening from afar, the Swinefolk are known to brashly charge into their floes and slam them with their deadly tusks.  They are also skilled at combat and are a challenge to down.  While stocky and often foul tempered, they are able to endure suffering like few other creatures can.

Warring Clans, Brutal Combatants

Contemporary swinefolk tend to be divided among two societies, the natural dwelling truffleroot caste and the imperial-minded sylvan caste.  The former cares little about outside politics, focusing on their own societies.  This can range from ensuring survival to slight self-indulgence.  More often then not, they just prefer to be left alone and to their own devices at that.  While they’re curious about new developments in the world around them, they tend to be apathetic to trends and popularity in general.  While they tend to be the more mellow of the two societies, they can still be angered quite easily.  The latter was built upon spreading fear and servitude to the dark fae… or at least their newer societies have taken inspiration from this.  In a sense, these ‘pigmen’ are closer to how many portray another creature called “The Orc”.  In fact, it has earned them the nickname of “Porc” as a result.  But, best be warned, using that nickname around this breed of swinefolk is a good way to provoke violence.  The fact that these creatures have arrived to the material realm recently has made this distinction all the more apparent.  While the Sylvan get along with the Orcs, the Truffleroot have come to dislike them immensely.

Even among the swinefolk themselves, there is a lot of anger and aggression.  The two split factions often but heads whenever they meet, almost literally.  Their civil war is endless and tireless, as is their hatred for each other.  While some have escaped the politics of both factions, said politics still have a habit of catching up to them.  Many adventurers have taken a roll as emissary or representative for either faction; while others seek out adventuring out of pure rebellion.  For some, adventuring is a means of escape and independence.  For other more harshly minded swinefolk, it’s a means of assembling a new faction to crush the other two.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This started as a pun for April Fool’s Day that never got fleshed out beyond a bad pun…  So, yeah.  Anyway, I wanted to come back to said “POrc” race and actually make it something.  I’m not fully content with it, so I might change it up a bit later.  Until then, playable big pig things!

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Goatfolk – A High Dwelling race for D&D 5th Edition

“A Beast?  A Fiend?  I’ll show you both…”

 “I’ve seen it, a spawn of the Demon Prince of Beasts!  It walked like a man, but looked like a goat.  The creature carried strange sorceries upon them too, like nothing of this world.  Surely, there must be more…” – A traveler’s encounter with a fiendish-goatfolk warlock.

Born from the Planes

Many rumors have spread of a race of beastly creatures born from demons.  They have prominent goat features and walk upright, with a strange speech that’s a cross of humanoid and animal.  In truth, the origins of these creatures have nothing to do with fiends at all, but the fair folk or the fae.  The ever dubious and tricky denizens of the wyld plane are known for creating strange things on a whim, sometimes using outside creatures mutate into new ones.  The goatfolk is one such case.  During a fight between the unseelie and fiendish powers, warped goat-like creatures known as “hooved horrors” were unleashed as infantry forces for the fiends.  For the most part, the creatures were vanquished.  Those that were captured were used by the fey for experiments.  Most of them had their fiendish corruption purged as they were made into protectors of the Wyld Plane.  However, some still had a lingering fiendish essence that festered and manifested in later generations.

Swift and Athletic

The Goatfolk tend to dwell in steep crags, harsh mountaintops and rocky hills.  Many are adept at jumping about the otherwise dangerous surfaces.  As such, they value dexterity and maneuverability as important skills within their society.  Ironically, their strange hoof-like fingers make them less likely to train in ranged weapons.  However, those who have had success with such weapons are regarded as near-royalty.  For those who aren’t disposed towards weapons, sorcery is more than common upon the goat people.  This is likely the result of their distant underworld heritage, though the tampering of the fey could have caused a magical awakening all the same.  However, magic users are seen as eccentric and strange within much goatfolk culture.  Many see it as an unnecessary oddity, especially when physical prowess is held in such high regards.  Some even see it as cheating one’s way to power or improving themselves artificially.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: GOATS!  Sure, the connections to devils and the like was a bit easy, but I wanted to roll with it as a player option.  I guess it fits under the anti-hero category because of that, but whatever.  To be fair, this started as a variant tiefling option… which is also below.  Also, I guess I owe a minor apology to the many people who wanted content that could translate into Undertale… especially when I either didn’t deliver or was crabby about it.  (In short, I’m not a fan of Undertale.  I just couldn’t get into it.)  No matter, here’s my early Crimbo present to you!  Or should I say, Merry Krampus!

But yes, come for the goat race, stay for the Tiefling options!

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Oath of the Blasphemer – A Blackguard Oath for D&D 5th Edition

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For some, the antipaladin and the oathbreaker represents a fall from grace.  These are the exiles and the heretics whom must be stopped at all costs!  But, what happens when an entire oath is distorted by gradual influence of the darkness itself?  The Order of the Blasphemer is one such atrocity that arises.  These distorted paladins have lost their way much like the blackguard, but are convinced they serve a divine or holy cause.  This could be from sheer madness or from a dark revelation that the order itself is corrupt.

While many devotees of dark forces are aware of how far from grace they have fallen, the blasphemer order is tragic and ironic in their ignorance.  Driven mad by their past oaths and ideals, they have become delusional in the corruption they carry.  Many mad blasphemers have reached a level of insanity typical in the most devout of abyssal followers as a result of their broken minds doing all they can to refute their wretched existence.  Those who manage to break free of their mania typically become oathbreakers.  Some try to atone and become cynics.  The rest die from despair or failure to absolve themselves of their sins.

Author’s Note: Ah, deconstructing the Paladin… it’s always fun!  As written above, I’ve done this before with the Cynic.  Here, I have a new twist on the antipaladin/blackguard, a reluctant one who clings onto their old hopes and views while unwittingly (or perhaps willingly) committing great evil.  Also, take note!  This concept was an experimental idea I came up with to expand the oathbreaker archetype.  Some of the ideas are volatile and will be patched up in the weeks following.  Also, the original idea was far closer to Artorias from Dark Souls, but I figured it would have been too much of an homage.  But enough from me, subscribe today and a faustian bargain can be yours!

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