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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Minotaur- A Tough Bovine-like Race for D&D 5th Edition

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“Call me ‘beef’ one more time, I find human to be delicious!”


Born into Darkness, Creations of a Mad Man


Legends of their peoples’ origins have long since been an enigma.  Some say they were born in service to the glory of the puzzling maze, perhaps they are scions of the Demon Lord Baphomet, to some they are harbingers of the end days.  Much like the Minotaur themselves, these legends and stories have traveled across boundless planes.  In reality, the archfey lord of Nightmares brought such creatures to life in boundless mazes of his design.  Unlike the myths, these labyrinths weren’t made to protect something or to hide his work, but as a means of psychological torment and dastardly experimentation.  Few know the truth, but they have likely been driven to insanity by their petty pseudo-god.  Like all beast folk of Arcadia, their kind was not initially born but remade.  Several creatures ensnared under the Nightmare Lords grasp were warped into their current form, in an attempt to create relentless servants of chaos.  To this archfey, an army of unstable beastly horrors is exactly what was needed to turn the tides in war.


Fierce in Strength and in Spirit


While the Nightmare Lord’s brainwashed army of bovine-headed horrors began to ravish the material plane, not all were controlled to commit horrible acts.  Those who broke free from this control fled to dark corridors and sprawling tunnels.  Ironically, such hiding places were much like the horrible conditions they were tortured in for so long.  Even so, their familiarity with dungeons and mazes lead to them building complex mountain-side societies.  Rather than build over the land, they built into it; eventually developing all sorts of defensive methods against intruders and invaders alike.  In the years following, they had met conflict with the subterranean mound fey, human settlements and extraplanar entities.  This never deterred their survival instincts and knack for defensive innovation.  Eventually, some of their own became among the first to ascend.  A described high queen of healing and life was among those most powerful.  Those devoted to her cause can craft salves of magical healing through prayer and meditation.

Beyond worship of ascended minotaur powers, their societies have emerged to be an industrious and militant society built on protection and honor.  Some are driven by a passion to fight for what they believe in, while others are driven by keeping their kin safe at all costs.  These beliefs have lead to them being a prominent developer of arms and armory, making them a desirable trade ally.  However, their self-imposed sanctions make it harder for contraband dealers and illegal traders to gain powerful supplies.

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Lizardfolk – A Reptilian Race for D&D 5th Edition

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Reptilians, Reptoids, Lizardmen, Reptile folk, Scaled Ones, Scalies.  A wide variety of names describe these creatures. Likewise, a variety of stories detail these creatures.  Whether it’s tales of mysterious scaled beings skulking in tropical rain forests or desert marauders that carry poisoned weapons, tall tales travel quickly… perhaps faster than the lizard people themselves.  No matter what stories ring true, the lizardfolk are a resourceful and enduring race; one that has faced immense hardships going back eons, perhaps before the existence of the “typical” races of today.

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From parts unknown, to realms obscure

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Many choose to dwell within marshy or tropical climates, as it suites their cold blood well.  Others have expanded out to regions that are typically less humid and warm on the average.  These brave souls are typically adventurers or are merely curious about climates beyond what they’re accustomed to.  Some have reported brave souls traveling to frigid areas.  For lizardfolk who don’t come incredibly prepared, such a journey is suicide.  The purpose of these journeys varies as one would expect.  Some seek to expand their territory, others seek new lives.  The allure of fame, fortune, endless possibilities; it’s just as enticing to lizard kind as it is to the humanoids.

In ages past, an advanced society of the scaled kind ventured beyond the stars and into the planes beyond.  Thus were born epics of their people coming into conflict with fiendish underworld dwellers (with traitors switching sides in the process), walking mechanical shapes, fair-like celestials and other oddities.  One account detailed a city ruled by a series of squirrels wearing a headdress, a robe, and a ring of levitation; a cruel over-deity of sorts that smites all in her way.  According to this lore, many a wandering lizardfolk have met their end at the hand of such a monster.  However, the remainder of this famed troupe had returned with glorious anecdotes of cosmic adventure.  Tales of their legendary glory circulate among storytellers, medicine men, bards and even poets among the lizardfolk.  Such plots and campaigns are toted as proof that the lizardfolk are far braver and more intelligent than many rivals give them credit for.

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It Ain’t Easy Being Green

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No one is entirely sure where the lizardfolk came from, not even themselves!  For ages, shamans and storytellers have fabricated their own tales, mostly for amusement.  Some say that they descended from a race of ancients that were pushed below the world in ancient times, only to rise up and claim their own overworld turf.  Others say they were once “fleshy ones”, or perhaps actual lizards, transformed by incredible magical powers.  To others, they have just always been, much like the other races of the material realm.  Origin story never really concerned many of the lizardfolk nations and tribes anyway.  Some assume that the ancients that traveled the planes weren’t lizardfolk, but mythical beings that gave scaled kind the power of sentience.  In many religions, this syncs up with the belief that powerful entities known as the Ancients are the true bringers of life and will one day awaken from their tombs in the center of the world, where they shall unite all life under the scaled ones.

Beliefs in deep gods as well as the strange myths they tote as their origin stories only help to hinder their reputation.  Many view them as a strange oddity at best, foul beasts that must be vanquished at worst.  In many civilizations, the scaled ones are shunned as upright walking beasts incapable of grasping social graces and the nuances of culture.  Even in more metropolitan lands, there comes the base assumption that such creatures are oafish and think through instinct rather than rationality.  As such, traveling lizardfolk are often relegated to demeaning tasks.  This is mostly because most people are quite simply too afraid to enter a land ruled by the lizard folk.  To those who have tried to understand their ways, their society is just as complex and industrious as any other… and likely as flawed.  Much of lizardfolk society is ruled under a strict patriarchal code where Lizard Kings are respected with an almost divine significance.  In times of progress and advancement, the cultures tend to flourish under such reign.  In times of stagnation and regression, the opposite occurs.  Despite what one would assume, lizard women are treated quite well in such a society, even if they don’t hold positions of power.  However, such a tradition has worked well for these people through the ages, even if many outsider eyes view them as overtly sexist and backwards to much of the world around them.

The aforementioned deep gods make up much of the common religions, while existing as cults in more mixed/non-lizardfolk society.  No one is certain if such deities exist, but among the lizardfolk, they are all powerful and all existent.  For many high priests, they see the entombed giants as protectors who watch over the scaled ones while they sleep.  Truth behind this is uncertain, but it might have some basis to theories that they once lived in the center of the planet themselves.  However, members of the scaled church will refuse to answer more on this.

 AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I haven’t done a beastly race, let alone any race in a while.  This one was requested by a blogger on my Tumblr page a looooong time ago.  Whoever you are, I just want you to know that you were never forgotten!  I just get busy is all.  Anyway, here’s my take on the Lizardfolk.  Sure, my fluff exists as a parallel to my gnoll post from many months back, but that need not be a bad thing.

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Camazotz – A bat-like race for D&D 5th Edition

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“Got any spare bugs?”

By many, they’re considered dreaded creatures of darkness; near mindless servitors of dark vampiric lords.  For eons, there have been rumors that vampires infuse their blood into giant bats in order to turn them into powerful mind slaves to carry out their wretched work.  The truth is far stranger than this fabricated mythology.  Like many races of the Wyld, they were not originally born but made.  Several tribes in the regions south of the the Forests of the Sundered Giants were facing a cosmic menace that scorched all it touched in radiant fire, capable of shooting magma like ooze from its mouth as well.  To them, the forces of light had betrayed them and have attempted to destroy them.  In truth, these creatures were an evolved version of a race of alien invaders called “The Empyrean.”  The invaders commanded that they turn to their light or be vanquished on the spot.  Spirit beings from the demiplane of wilderness sought their chance, convincing the populace to make pacts with them in an effort to banish the “Hateful Light.”  These new patrons warped bats from nearby caves into bipedal creatures under their control.  In addition, they offered the locals such power in return for revering the forces as their gods.

Following the pact, those who swore an oath became similar creatures to the transmogrified bats, fighting to banish the celestial attackers.  Following the Empyrean’s defeat, the Wyld patrons dragged their beastly creations back to Arcadia to use as part of their army.  While some of the bat people began to mentally degrade over time, others fortified plans to revolt and regain their freedom.  An ambush at the hands of these creatures, as well as from other wronged creatures, caught their fey-like captors off-guard.  A combined effort struck a devastating blow to these mighty lords of faerie, utilizing the same power that created them.  Seizing the opportunity, the bat creatures lead over enslaved monsters and beasts through the dark gateways they took to enter in the first place.  In the material world, they were greeted by a changed world that has advanced ages in time since they left.  The stranded creatures took to the darkness, where they felt comfortable.  Some utilized the shadow magicks of their captures to formulate new arcane powers, others decided to fulfill the stereotype and turn towards help from vampires.  The rest of them isolated themselves in pitch black shelters, away from the wretched light that started it all.

Author’s Note:  The Faerie of the Wyld are jerks, as I established in previous posts.  In my home setting, they’re among the antagonist factions that exist in the planes beyond the prime material.  I have utilized them in other posts, but they’re a villain I enjoy revisiting in my own campaigns or in lore within my posts.  But enough about that, we’re here for bats!  Well, kind of.  A blogger who followed me requested a bat-inspired race.  And considering I have a Gothic theme going, what better time?  As for the name, it comes from a Mesoamerican deity that takes the form of a giant sinister bat.  The name also alludes to the bat shapeshifters from the World of Darkness/Werewolf the Apocalypse expansion, “Changing Breeds.”.  All of that said, my prime concern for balance is the blind sight.

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