Monday, November 11, 2019

Common Enchantment Spells - 5e Dungeons and Dragons

I have seen a few posts and complaints in discords, facebook, and twitter about various enchantment style effects. These complaints fall into two broad categories for the most part though I am sure that there's a couple of outliers.
  1. They are too weak and not useful until you get to Dominate. (This is the less common complaint)
  2. They are too powerful and break my encounters. (By far the most common complaint)
This is a combination of not reading the spells thoroughly and not understanding the limits. So, let's go down and look at the Charmed condition and effects that cause that or similar things.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Gorgon Archer - Character Advancement - Legend of Five Rings 5e

At the basic level, character advancement in Legend of Five Rings is very similar to how character Advancement works in another Fantasy Flight RPG: Genesys. The players acquire experience points and spend them to increases abilities and acquire techniques. Experience points are awarded at a rate of 1 point per hour of play with additional rewards of 3 to 5 points for achieving important story milestones.

The interesting part of character advancement in Legend of Five Rings comes in with the School Curriculum. Curriculum are a list of advances that are explicitly tied to the teachings of the school. A curriculum table is split into five ranks, with the 6th rank containing just a school mastery ability. At each rank is listed certain skills, techniques, and categories of techniques. In some cases, a curriculum will give you access to a technique you otherwise wouldn't have available. However, you only have
that special access at that rank. So if you have special access to a technique at Rank 1 but advance to Rank 2 before taking it, you no longer have access to that technique.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Young Investigator - Kitsuki Investigator - Legend of Five Rings 5e

So, at this point, I am going to go ahead and create the wife for the Dragon Kitsune I created earlier. This means that there will effectively be two Kitsuki members in this band, but that's fine. I considered choosing the pure Bushi school, the Two-Heaven Adept, or the Taoist Blade Bushi/Monk, but I am going with the Kitsuki Investigator, because I find it absolutely hilarious that a member of that family and that school could be married to a kitsune and not know it.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Fox of the Dragon - Kitsune Impersonator - Legend of the Five Rings 5e

The Kitsune Impersonator is a school available to players via the Emerald Empire sourcebook. I thought it would be a member of the Kitsune family, but instead it is an actual kitsune, fox spirit. You choose your family and clan as normal, but this is a false identity. Kitsune are neutral or benevolent in nature and sometimes hang around for various reasons, including marrying mortals. The kitsune gets fewer skills and less choice in technique than other schools, but has really useful school abilities. It is important to note that in the lore of this setting, children born of a kitsune and mortal are mortal. There are several families that have intermarried frequently with spirits.

The Skeptical Magistrate - Shiba Guardian - Legend of Five Rings 5e

The Phoenix are most well known for their magical talents and preference for peaceful resolutions, but they have their armies and their warriors like any Clan. They simply prefer not to use them.

Blind Musician - Ikoma Bard - Legend of Five Rings 5th Edition

This is not the first time I theory-crafted a blind character for Legend of Five Rings or otherwise addressed the question of playing a blind character in a tabletop roleplaying game. As I am currently working also working on the gorgon archer theoretical for this game's edition, I decided to create a few comrades for her before I moved on to doing the theoretical advancement for the character. In any case, on to the twenty questions.

Gorgon Archer - Legend of Five Rings - 5th Edition (Epithet) - Character Creation Analysis

Official Kaito Shrine Keeper Art
The 5th edition of the game involves some very different mechanics than what came from earliereditions. I looked at 4th Edition already on another post. Now there are some similar structures. You choose a Clan, you choose a Family, and then you choose a School. There's also a twenty questions structure to the character creation. However, while the previous editions used the twenty questions as purely a way to fill out your character's personality and backstory, this edition ties the twenty questions into the mechanics as well. As with 4th edition, we can't really do a legitimate gorgon and have it make narrative sense. If the naga were available it would be a different issue, but we don't have that.

In addition, this new edition set back the timeline to before the Scorpion Coup and the core book does not include stats for any of the minor clans. As such, I do not have access to the Tsuruchi Archer school yet. There is, however, the Kaito Shrine Keeper which is an archer monk that does magic stuff with their archery. A further note of the lack of Minor Clans means no Snake Clan stats. So I can't make them a pariah by birth so much the way I did with the 4th edition character.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Bearer of Calamities - Variant Human Hexblade, Pact of the Tome

Anime: Gate of Memories is an third person fighting game with a lot of roleplaying game elements. It is based on a French tabletop RPG called Anima about which I don't have much knowledge more than that the art is full of inhumanly slender, long-limbed, and impossibly proportioned people and bizarre monsters and that the books are quite expensive.

I've been curious so I decided to pick this game up a while back to see if I could get some sense for the setting. However, it is a highly focused scenario and you don't get to build your own character. That gives a moderately limited idea of what is happening, but the character you are given made me think of a D&D warlock for obvious reasons. Eventually, I pondered that she seemed to most resemble a Hexblade who had taken the Pact of the Tome.

As a note, she finds and equips weapons, but the weapons just sort of increase her stats. They don't change her fighting style at all, so I tend to assume that regardless of what item she equips, it is subsumed into the flashes of energy that she uses when she fights. Also, she can switch places with her Patron, Ergo, they share a magic pool but have different health levels. However, I'm not sure how the different health levels would be represented, so I would have Ergo appear mostly as a fluff.

I'm going with a Faction Agent for background due to her associations with the Order of Nathanial and Variant Human for race.

For this I am using my typical theoretical 30 pt array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Emma Terreal - 2nd Edition Geist

This is a rebuild of this character I played as a Geist from the 1st edition game.

Root: Advocate
Bloom: Avenger
Concept: Balance of Accounts
Burden: The Kindly
Archetype: Furies

Intelligence ***
Wits **
Resolve ***

Strength **
Dexterity **
Stamina ***

Presence *
Manipulation **
Composure ***

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Veteran of Hell - Feral Winged Tiefling Monster Slayer (Revised) Ranger

In the Player's Handbook section on alignment on page 122 there is a paragraph that reads:

"Alignment is an essential part  of the nature of celestials and fiends. A devil does not choose to be lawful evil, and it does not tend toward lawful evil, but rather is lawful evil in its essence. If it somehow ceased to be lawful evil, it would cease to be a devil."

Now, despite the fact that it says "it does not choose" earlier on, the last line of that paragraph that interests me the most. We know that celestials have become fiends due to their choices such as Zariel who is now one of the Archdevils and rules the 1st of the Nine Hells. And there have been past discussions of fiends that rose to be celestials, also due to their choices, such as Eludecia who was a succubus paladin who had been made for the D&D fight club back in the days of 3rd edition. We also know that a lot of devils and demons had previously been mortals and, in fact, a lot of the involvement of the fiends with mortals is geared toward collecting recruits for the eternal Blood War.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Holy Archer - Wood Elven Celestial Warlock, Pact of the Blade

I've wanted to do a Divine Archer for a while now and had been focused on the Paladin due to Divine Smite. This is especially true once I heard that the Smite ability was limited to melee only for flavor reasons rather than balance.

However, when I started to think through a subclass I came to realize that it just doesn't work because the bulk of the Paladin features synergize very well with melee and almost not at all with ranged attacks.

Perhaps you could choose to sit near the other back rank members of your party, but that invites AoE targeting, so it's not exactly best practices. So I started looking at other options. Ranger and Arcane Archer are frequently where I'm pointed to as a way to do this. Both have some really good archery enhancements and spells. However, they just don't have the feel of what I'm looking for. Similarly, Clerics also don't really work because they don't have many options on how to enhance archery beyond some basic weapon enhancement. Then I recalled that Warlock could get blade pact archers via Improved Pact Weapon and Smite via Eldritch Smite. So that is the direction I am going.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Summary of the various classes in Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Okay, I've retyped this a few times on the Dungeons and Dragons 5e Facebook group, so I'm making good on my threat to type this out and I'm going to expand upon it a little bit.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Warlock Traits

Warlock Statistics

Hit Dice: d8
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Two out of Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion
Armor:Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: None
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Charisma
Subclasses (Patrons): 6
  • PHB Patrons: Archfey, Fiend, Great Old One
  • SCAG Patrons: Undying
  • Xanathar Patrons: Celestial, Hexblade

Friday, March 22, 2019

Shade Blooded Serpent - Yuan-ti Shadow Magic Sorcerer

Art from
This was an idea that came to me tonight. Yuan-ti are sort of pure breeding. The child of a Yuan-ti pureblood and any other humanoid will also be a Yuan-ti pureblood. There are likely some variations based on the non-human races but it occurs to me that the Shadar-kai are also human-descended and occasionally have been prone to seeking ways to infiltrate societies, or at least they had that tendency in earlier editions. I haven't seen much of the current lore on them yet. So I had the wonder about what would happen with a Yuan-ti and a Shadar-kai had a child.

It's pretty easy to figure out from a mechanical perspective. You could either have Shadar-kai with a class that allowed for picking up a lot of the snake-like abilities of a Yuan-ti, or a Yuan-ti with some of the Shadar-kai shadowy stuff. Since I don't have the Shadar-kai stats yet, I'm, going to be doing the second one. I could have done this with a few different ways. The Shadow Monk, Arcane Trickster Rogue, maybe an Eldritch Knight Fighter, the Gloomstalker Ranger, and so on. But I'm going to go with a Shadow Magic Sorcerer.

I am going to focus her on powers of deception, illusion, and mental influence and I'm going to mark her as the Spy variant of the Criminal Background. Charlatan was another option for this, but Criminal does give her the Thieves Tools proficiency as well.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Sorcerer Traits

Sorcerer Statistics

Hit Dice: d6
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Two out of Arcana, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, Religion
Armor: None
Weapons: Daggers, Darts, Slings, Quarterstaves, and Light Crossbows
Tools: None
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Charisma
Subclasses (Heritages): 5
  • PHB Heritages: Draconic, Wild
  • SCAG Heritage: Storm Sorcerer (reprinted in Xanathar's)
  • Xanathar Heritages: Divine Soul, Shadow Magic

Rogue Traits

Rogue Statistics

Hit Dice: d8
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Skills: Four out of Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth
Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: None
ASIs: 6 (4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Dexterity; (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma)
Subclasses (Archetypes): 7
  • PHB Archetypes: Thief, Assassin, Arcane Trickster
  • SCAG Archetypes: Swashbuckler (reprinted in Xanathar's)
  • Xanathar Domains: Inquisitive, Mastermind, Scout

Ranger Traits

Ranger Statistics

Hit Dice: d10
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Two out of Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion
Armor: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields
Weapons: All
Tools: None
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Strength or Dexterity, Wisdom
Subclasses (Archetypes): 5
  • PHB Archetypes: Hunter, Beast Master
  • Xanathar Archetypes: Horizon Walker, Monster Slayer, Gloomstalker

Paladin Traits

Paladin Statistics

Hit Dice: d10
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Two out of Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion
Weapons: All
Tools: None
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Charisma, Strength or Dexterity
Subclasses (Oaths): 6
  • PHB Oaths: Devotion, Ancients, Vengeance
  • SCAG Oaths: Crown
  • Xanathar Oaths: Conquest, Redemption

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Monk Traits

Monk Statistics

Hit Dice: d8
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Two out of Acrobatics, Athletics, History, Insight, Religion, and Stealth
Armor: None
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Shortswords
Tools: One artisan's tolls or one musical instrument
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Dexterity, Wisdom
Subclasses (Traditions):7
  • PHB Traditions: Open Hand, Shadow, Four Elements
  • SCAG Archetypes: Long Death, Sun Soul (reprinted in Xanathar's)
  • Xanathar Domains: Drunken Master, Kensei

Fighter Traits

Fighter Statistics

Hit Dice: d10
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Two out of Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival
Armor: All
Weapons: All
Tools: None
ASIs: 7 (4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Strength or Dexterity, Constitution
Subclasses (Archetypes):7
  • PHB Archetypes: Champion, Battlemaster, Eldritch Knight
  • SCAG Archetypes: Purple Dragon Knight (Banneret)
  • Xanathar Domains: Arcane Archer, Cavalier, Samurai

Druid Traits

Druid Statistics

Hit Dice: d8
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Two out of Arcana, Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Religion, and Survival
Armor: Light, Medium, and Shields
Weapons: Clubs, Daggers, Darts, Javelins, Maces, Quarterstaves, Scimitars, Sickles, Slings, and Spears
Tools: Herbalism Kit
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores:Wisdom
Subclasses (Circles): 4
  • PHB Circles: Land, Moon
  • Xanathar Domains: Dream, Shepherd

D&D 5e Class Traits

These lists are not meant to substitute for knowledge of the game or possession of the books. The terms and categories are subjective. They also do not rate the capability of each trait in the category it is placed in just that it is has the ability to be used for that purpose. For example, the Web spell can be used to deal damage when it is set on fire so it is included under the Damage category, but it is not particularly useful for damage dealing.

Some things:

Why are there categories on some classes that aren't on others? - Partially because I haven't standardized everything yet, but most of it is reasonably the same sort of thing.

What is Area Denial? Any effect that discourages or outright prevents creatures from entering an area. This can be causing the area to become Difficult Terrain as with Ice Storm, dealing damage to targets in the area as with Wall of Fire, or just preventing passage as with Wall of Force. The effect can be mobile, like Flaming Sphere, or stationary, like Plant Growth.

Why aren't Cantrips included in the Increased Effectiveness with Higher Level Slots categories? - Because you don't cast Cantrips with spell slots. The effectiveness of damage-dealing Cantrips increase based on Character Level automatically.

Why do you note which spells are Ritual on a classes that aren't Ritual Casters? - Because it is possible to get the Ritual Caster ability from another source such as the Ritual Caster feat or multiclassing.

Why is Wish on the Sorcerer list in its own category? - Because it's Wish.

What is a subclass? - For those that are new to 5e, the prestige classes from 3.x have been basically wrapped up into basic function of the class. Each class has several sub-classes and one of these is chosen between levels 1 and 3 dependent on which class it is. (Sorcerers, Clerics, and Warlocks choose at 1st Level. Druids choose at 2nd Level. The other classes choose at 3rd level.)

Why don't you less to-hit rates for the classes? - Attack accuracy is based on character level in 5e rather than differing from class to class. A character has a Proficiency Bonus which they add to any Skill, Saving Throw, or Attack with which they have proficiency. The Proficiency Bonus starts at +2 and caps out at +6 at level 17. Martial classes have other ways to stand out in their fighting ability such as the Extra Attack trait that most of them have.

Why did you use the PHB ranger instead of the revised ranger? - I prefer the Revised Ranger but decided to start with what WotC considers official and they have abandoned the Revised Ranger that they released on Unearthed Arcana. Mike Mearls has been toying with revising Ranger again, but the stuff he does on his stream is not always official so I do not know if we will be getting an official revision.

Others Coming

Cleric Traits

Cleric Statistics

Hit Dice: d8
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Two out of History, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion
Armor: Light, Medium, and Shields
Weapons: Simple Weapons
Tools: None
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores:Wisdom
Subclasses (Domains): 10
  • PHB Domains: Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, War
  • SCAG Domain: Arcana
  • Xanathar Domains: Forge, Grave

Bard Traits

Basic Statistics

Hit Dice: d8
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Skills: Three out of list of all Skills
Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple, Hand Crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
Tools: Three music instruments
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Charisma
Subclasses (Colleges): 5
  • PHB Colleges: Lore, Valor
  • Xanathar Colleges: Glamour, Swords, Whispers

Monday, March 18, 2019

Barbarian Traits

Basic Statistics

Hit Dice: d12
Saving Throws: Strength and Constitution
Skills: Two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival
Armor: Medium and Shields
Weapons: All
Tools: None
ASIs: 5 (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, 19th)
Important Ability Scores: Constitution, Strength, Dexterity
Sub-Classes (Primal Paths): 6
  • PHB Primal Paths: Frenzied Berserker, Totem Warrior
  • SCAG Primal Paths: Dwarven Battlerager, Additional Totem Warrior options
  • Xanathar's Primal Paths: Ancestral Guardian, Storm Herald, Zealot

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Scarred Endurance - Crossroads Campaign - Sessions 30-32

I've seen off Kelmar, Wyndelly, and Nezeri off on their mission to investigate the situations on Sharron leaving myself to look into the matters on Endurance with the newcomers to our little circle. Varis and Andraste are both far more competent with a blade than I am and have worked hard to interweave their magical arts with their martial abilities but this will be my chance to see how they stand up to the rigors of a mission.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Siege of Hollowguard - Crossroads Campaign - Sessions 26-29

I am writing now from within our quarters in the Center, the investigation has proven that there are certainly outsiders at work within the world of Sharron. The town of Hollowguard had been taken in the past by the effort of a necromancer and now that necromancer had reached out to the outer powers for greater power. Apparently there is a coalition of sorts of necromancers within the world and this one had felt constrained by their restrictions and so he sought extra power to defy them. When we arrived the initial necromancer had already been slain by a one of the members of this coalition who was now engaged in a half of a siege.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Aki Satou - Chosen Scion of Ama-no-Uzume

Scions of the Second Refinement

D&D version of her, the scion version has no tail.

Background: Aki's conception was problematic to say the least in that she was certainly conceived after her supposed father died. Her mother, Kimun, reported that her husband came home from a position abroad one night and they celebrated as long parted lovers do. He left out the door the next day saying that he would return and the next she heard from him was a report that he had died in a car accident on another continent on the same day that he supposedly returned home.

At first Kimun and others assumed that the tryst was a matter of a ghost saying a final farewell and she sought a purification from the touch of the dead. Then she discovered that she was pregnant. She carried the child to term and gave birth to a daughter she named Aki. Aki was prone to sudden shifts of mood but was mostly well meaning just unfocused. Kimun sought help and learned that the apparition that had come to her was actually an oni with unknown intentions. Which is when she received a message to expect the creature soon and make his daughter ready for him.

Terrified for herself and her daughter, Kimun enacted a desperate plan. She set out a tea ceremony for her visitor who decided to appear in her husband's form, unaged from the last time he had appeared. Over the course of the meeting, she worked in subtle appeals to the Kami hoping against hope that they would help a simple woman such as herself. Luckily for her the Kami, or at least a Kami, heard and by the time the oni realized there was real power working against him, it was too late for him to act. He was forced to relinquish all his claim and influence over the child.

Unfortunately, Aki had snuck into a nearby room and witnessed the event and so she was present during the confrontation. As such while she was purified of the oni nature, it still left its mark on her. She had horns and her skin would range from shades of blue and red depending on her mood. Her mother worried that she would be shunned wherever they went. They'd already had to move from their first home due to the stigma of Aki being a cursed child, but there was no where to go where they could escape her cursed appearance. Fortunately, a cheerful woman stopped by their isolated house one day and asked for a chance to rest her feet. As she "just happened to chance" upon seeing Aki, she thanked her hostess by teaching Kimun a simple tea brew to help Aki conceal her curse.

It is the only tea that Aki finds very distasteful.

Computer Games I'd like to see

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