DM’s Guild – A Planar Grimoire

Planar Grimoire Cover Image

Pardon the somewhat inconsistency in my posts.  I’ve been trying to revise old work while work on some personal projects I hoped to get out on the web (like this one), while balancing a stressful work life and home life.  But I digress, I was never too happy with my original planar spells posts.  Some were blatant rip-offs of previously existing D&D spells, while others were just poorly worded.  So, I did a fair bit of clean up while making some other not-so-subtle homages!  But, no matter, here’s over 15 pages of extraplanar goodness for your 5E Spellcasters!  Enjoy.

A Planar Grimoire is Pay-What-You-Want, you may find it here.

Strange Things in Bloodied Wyvern Peak Adventure Report: Part 2 & 3

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“THEY ARE AMONG US!”

At long last, the players are ready to embark into the mountains ahead, unsure of what strange things await them within the jagged lands beyond.  What dangers will they face?  Will their ranks thin?  Will some go mad?  Will they awaken new horrors upon the land?  Only time will tell!

Author’s Note: Due to a handful of things, part 2 was cut very short.  As such, I decided to merge the recap with part 3.  Stay tuned for more after the jump!

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Grittier Magicks: Alternatives to Cantrip Rules

Abusing cantrips can be taxing on the mind!

While house-ruling the game to fit higher/epic fantasy games seems pretty simple (lift restrictions on magic items, utilize cantrips RAW, modify crafting to be less toilsome), lower fantasy seems to be a bit more of a challenge.  Before I accidentally cause backlash, I find cantrips to be a neat idea and realize their intent is balancing out caster classes for the newest edition.  No matter, I pondered ideas on modifying cantrip casting in an effort to make classes fit other narratives, genres, and gaming styles.  Of course, I thought of alternatives that are hopefully pretty balanced against cantrips themselves.  Plus, I’ve been curious on how to merge OSR-inspired mechanics and concepts into more modern gaming such as D&D 5e.  As a result of that thought experiment, here are some ideas to replace the cantrips mechanic.  All of these replace the rules for cantrips as written.

  • Basic Idea – Choose one of the following below.  Unless an ability below says otherwise, you may cast Cantrips as many times as your casting stat + 1 before taking a short rest.  (If you feel proficiency bonus is more appropriate than caster stat, replace it with that instead.)

Exploiting Resources – You may safely cast Cantrips as many times as your level + your casting stat mod per long rest.  Upon casting cantrips after this, you must make a saving throw (DC 12 + 1 for every successful save) using your casting stat for the saving throw.  Failure results in losing your action for that round. This modules allows for at-will casting, but at a potentially dangerous price.

In addition, the DM can choose one of the following options.

  • You may not use cantrips again until you take a short rest.
  • Depending on the severity of the failed save, the character suffers from a level of the Madness condition.
  • Failure could result in arcane corruption akin to 3rd Edition’s “Tainted” mechanics.  This will be covered at a later time.

AD&D Style – Instead of the short rest mechanc, you gain 1 extra Lv. 1 spell slot.  In addition you always know the spell “cantrip” (or “orison” for divine characters.)  This spell lasts for 1 hour and replicates the effects of any cantrip spell from your appropriate class list.  However, you only gain the benefit of one of those cantrips at a time, unless an ability states otherwise.

Imbuing Power – You’re able to form magic into a minor weapon of some sort as an action, using your caster stat for attacks (e.g. A shard of ice dealing d4 + caster cold damage, a small flame on a staff dealing d4 fire + caster damage, or the like).  You can only have 1 minor magical weapon at a time, each lasts for 1 minute.  You may do this as many times as your caster stat before taking a short rest.

Battle Knowledge – Weapons you’re proficient with can use your casting stat instead of their regular stat for attack/damage.

Slot-Like Cantrips – You can cast each 3 times before taking a short rest; also, you can sacrifice 1 cantrip to cast another more times.

Arcane Scholar – You may use Detect Magic as a class ability as many times as your proficiency bonus + 1 per Long Rest; Also, the Read Magic cantrip is rolled into the Arcana (or possibly Religion) skill.

These house rules are very volatile, as they haven’t been tested.  If you try them, let me know what happens!  Also, I’m always open to feedback in general.

Image Source: Xzar by Myrskyt

On The Hunt: Alternate Favored Enemy

I enjoy the ranger’s new take on favored enemy, but still want the flavor of older versions.  So, I propose this house rule for variant favored enemies.  While I ready myself for the week ahead, here’s a home rule to alter the Ranger in a way that’s more thematic while keeping them balanced against other classes through a situational bonus.

Alternate Favored Enemy – You gain advantage against a target that falls under your favored enemy list. After making this attack, this target cannot be selected for at least 24 hours. You may designate a favored enemy target as many times as your Wisdom modifier before taking a Short Rest or Long Rest.

To give credit where credit is due, this was a mix of my own idea (found in my House Rules page on the original tumblr site, as well as Samuel from the Homebrew D&D 5th Edition facebook group.)  Image is from Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Wild Magic – An Arcane Tradition for D&D 5th Edition

Author’s Note:  I’m not sure why, but I’m not overly fond of the Sorcerer as presented.  Plus, I wanted to convert the AD&D Wild Mage (including the BGII version) to D&D 5th Edition.  Without further ado, enjoy.

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Neera, Iconic Half-Elf Wild Mage

New Wizard Arcane Tradition – Wild Magic

Whether this unofficial school of magic was created through a desire to become the most powerful or out of sheer madness, wild magic is perhaps the most misunderstood and confusing method of magic.  WildMagic is understanding the raw powers of arcane energy itself, trying to harness it to the fullest, and seeing where the energy takes you as a result.  For obvious reasons, this school of magic faces more persecution than the necromancy school.

Crunch after the jump

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The Ursine – A Bipedal Bear Race for D&D 5th Edition

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Bear Cavalry, with more bears!

 

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Fearsome Woodland-born Heroes

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Physically, the ursine look like somewhat bipedal bears.  While actual bears rarely move on their hind legs, these creatures are somewhat bound to it by default.  However, they can move on all fours like their wild cousins.  Like many strange creatures encountered throughout the realms, the ursine were creations of strange and often horrific experiments.  Tribes are what separate the ursine from one another.  Usually, each tribe is based off the species they originated from.  Beyond that, each tribe has a caste system of sorts; hunters/gatherers, farmers, traders, guards, and the elder councils.  While there is no official hierarchy, some social branches gain more respect than others. Despite their bestial appearance, they tend not to be hostile with ‘regular’ humanoids.  Their actions with outsiders rarely venture beyond trade and negotiations, but it isn’t too uncommon to see an ursine travel as a guide or bodyguard.  Within their lands, many tend to live off a diet associated with their wild equivalents, while some have successfully imported and maintained food stock from the outside world.  While this has lead to slight infighting and social conflict, these resources have been a blessing in tougher times.

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Free Minds and Free Spirits

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In ages past, several kingdoms captured and trained bears as a means of tactical offense and element of surprise.  Already built for survival, they made powerful allies among their battle companions.  Their service continued until wartime had ended and an uneasy age of ceasefire had begun.  In this age, arcanists, alchemists, engineers, and biologists began to experiment with new methods of advancing the society around them.  While most kept to a code of ethics, the scientists from the land of Markovia cared not for petty morality.  With their bred battle stock wandering aimless and without purpose, they used them as test subjects.  After months of brutal testing and no direct results, the bears began to exhibit more and more human-level intelligence, as well as slight mutations to make them seem a little more humanoid.  The developments were gradual; more bipedal structure, slight speech capabilities, and even hand-eye coordination/operating items requiring human hands.  Through crude methods of communication, they relayed plans to stage a coup.  When Markovia’s ‘dumb animal army’ were ready for feeding time, the bears’ plan was carried out.  While the Markovian military suffered many casualties, the legion of bears suffered only a few.  They failed to destroy the government, but succeeded in escaping the territory.  Luckily, the country’s fuehrer, Vladek, was more interested in other things besides hunting the bear creatures down. Free from the shackles of tyranny and corruption, they set out to start their own tribes and try to live in this new, confusing state.  Eventually, each experimented species branched off and created their own societies.  Their newfound intelligence came with the dysphoria of not being a true humanoid.  To keep outsiders from fearing them as savages and wild beasts, they attempted to adapt to “civil” environments and incorporate humanoid customs into their new societies.  Never forgetting their roots, each of the cavalries maintain a strong defense and stronger pride in freedom.  Most Ursine are trained at a young age to defend themselves, as well as honing the wild instincts from youth.  This isn’t to say that ursine society is completely wild.  Many have imported and learned to forge all sorts of arms and armory to fit their needs.  However, due to their specific needs, outsider smiths are either likely to massively inflate prices for their pieces or outright reject giving service.  Even with trade complications, they are a very civil people.  Many prefer diplomatic reasoning over war and rely on their councils of elders for wisdom.  Among the few things to rile them up are oppression and authoritarian rule, due to the traumatic past of the “Founders”, as they call them.

STATS AFTER THE JUMP

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The Eldritch-Touched – A Lovecraftian Race for D&D 5th Edition

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“It is permissible to say that, aside from the external appearance of face and hands, the really human element of Wilbur Whateley must have been very small” – The Dunwich Horror

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Things That Should Not Be

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Throughout the planes lie many mysteries.  Many planar mysteries inhabit prime material itself.  Among them are the castaways from reclusive societies, creations of dreadful cults, and mad men changed through dark worship.  This great mystery is an unfortunate soul bonded to dark cosmic power.  These strange beings are cursed to suffer the blood of elder beings that seed minds with madness and exist beyond dreams.  Perhaps these souls are more in-tune to their distant masters… or perhaps they were created to spread frightening agendas far beyond mortal comprehension.  No matter the reason, these misfits wander several realities, finding their place while trying to escape nameless horrors.

Similar to planetouched beings like aasimar, tieflings, and genasi; the eldritch-touched is a race onto its own.  There is no specification to how a being looks.  They often look a lot like their mortal realm parent, with the traits of the blasphemous being they are tied too.  Features from the eldritch master will always vary; tendrils writhing around their skin, multiple eyes, gibbering mouths, non-Euclidean forms that cannot be grasped by a human mind!  Of course, these are some of many possibilities.

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Children Born from a Sleeping Madness

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While most eldritch touched are slain due to being the progeny of unfathomable elder beasties, many find ways to cope and adjust to their offbeat heritage.  Many has fought against reality piercing voices in their dreams, creating barriers through the very same power imbued within them.  They have found ways to shape these dreadful boons into shields against unspeakable terrors, as well as defense against the ignorant masses.

For those who look beyond their eldritch powers, they are more than valuable companions.  Enhanced knowledge from strange sources has them to become powerful speakers, magic users, and more than competent warriors in their own right.  The dread visions of Far Realms haven’t always lead to lives of misery.  When dealing with an aberrant incursion, you can guarantee an Eldritch-Touched will make a useful partner.  But, in other cases, they seek to fuse the world of the aberrant with the world of our own.  Few understand their madness or the reasons behind their existence… and few want to.

TRAITS AFTER THE JUMP
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