Monthly Archives: February 2016

A dragon and its hoard

I’ve posted before about my parthenogenic, mutagenic dragons.
Whence different colors of dragons? Why would a proud red sire (mater?) a sniveling white whelp, and allow the child to survive to her primacy?

The quick answer is that they wouldn’t. Red dragons nest in temperate zones, and white dragons in arctic ones, a-doy. But they surely should be able to, what with the mutation blood and the asexual reproduction.

Nature vs Nurture
Dragons hoard. What if that’s an incubation strategy?
A dragons egg is infused with the feng shui of the parent’s hoard. The metallics are actually not significantly benefitted by this, since the outcome is affected only by the single most valuable object in the hoard; the rest of the hoard is an attempt to influence the egg towards that object, or to buffer sub-hoards (and thus eggs) from each other.
Rubies yield reds, emeralds greens, sapphires blues; onyxes black, opals white. That gets us a theme and a dragon trying for that theme; we’ll say diamonds are more random, producing the parent’s type much of the time, and a random type the rest of the time.

We’re going to fiddle with the completely forgettable brass and bronze dragons: brass is currently a desert-based illusionist with a fire and sleep breath, bronze coastal with lightning and repulsion; copper has acid and slow, hilltops and terrain effects.

They’re just not useful to me: they’re not cool metals, and they’re not memorable effects. Gold and silver are fine, so far as they go, but these three?

Instead, let’s talk gold, silver, copper, iron and lead.

Iron dragons have fire and sickening breath (like iron golems: this breath deals no damage but does impose the poisoned condition) with the stats of bronzes but the lair and lair effects of brass.

Lead dragons have acid and slow, the stats of brass and the lair and lair effects of bronze (lead/acid battery and burdens the victim).

Copper has lightning and repulsion and it’s own lair and lair effects (conductor and electromagnetism).

This gets us moving again: we have metallics and they’re interesting; we have a loosey-goosey fluff justification for certain types of hoard.

I’ve mentioned before that a dragon’s size is foretold by her hatching; that an ancient wyrm is rare because most wyrms just can’t attain that size, they lack the genetics. What if the gp value of the hoard determined child size, or even personal size?

That is, a dragon needs one gp per XP value to attain large size. They sicken and wither if denied their haul. Or their eggs hatch as squibs, unable to grow to the scale of their dams.

Something like that.

Advertisements

Domain Play: Events and Ministers

So as discussed in the cheatsheet, we’ve got a little economy simulator.

To keep it interesting, though, things need to happen:

Each year, determine the “year theme”. This can be:

  • (01-70%) Political
  • (71-00%) Natural
  • (doubles on the dice:) Supernatural, in addition to the rolled theme. Pick a supernatural monster type:
    • 01-10% Aberration
    • 11-15% Celestial
    • 16-30% Dragon
    • 31-40% Elemental
    • 41-55% Fey
    • 55-70% Fiend
    • 70-00% Undead

Once you’ve got the year themes, each turn, you’ll roll the month’s event on the proper table. On doubles on an event roll, consult the supernatural table.

Political Events

  • 01-30% War event. See Political(War) Events, below. Note that each turn, any active war events continue.
  • 31-60% Domestic event
    • 31-40% Farms
      • 31-33% Banditry: -1sp per farmer >1 day from settlements
      • 34-35% Drought: -1sp per farmer >1 hex of body of water
      • 36-37% Flooding: -1sp per farmer <1 hex of body of water
      • 38-40% Booster crop: +1sp per farmer <1 day from settlements
    • 41-50% Settlements: Select a random settlement (even chance of each);
      • 41-44% Corruption & Criminality: Lower industry of settlement by 1/2 until dealt with.
      • 45-46% Fires: 1d20% of the settlement dies
      • 47-48% Disease: 1d20% of the settlement dies
      • 49-50% New discovery: Raise industry of entire domain 1d6 percentage points
    • 51-60% Factions
      • 51-53% Death of leading member of most powerful faction; new leader has opposite opinion
      • 54-56% Political upset; most powerful faction yields 10% of its power to least powerful faction.
      • 57-60% Appointment of friendly member within most powerful faction
  • 61-70% New neutral faction forms from 10% of most powerful faction:
    • 61-66% New guild, company, or other asset- or skill-based group
    • 67-69% New clan, noble house, or other bloodline-based group
    • 70% New religion
  • 71-90% No event! Births, weddings, capture of criminals.
  • 91-00% New Resource; placement:
    • 91-93% Wilderness
    • 94-97% Near a village
    • 98-99% Near a town
    • 00% Near a city

 

Natural Events

  • 01-45% Disaster event
    • 01% Tornado: 1d6 hexes 50% destroyed.
    • 02-05% Bad Weather: 1% of farms destroyed.
    • 06-10% Drought: -1sp per farmer >1 hex of body of water
    • 11-14% Flooding: -1sp per famer <1 hex of body of water
    • 15% Major Flooding: Body of water switches course, 1d% destroying all in its path.
    • 16-20% Fires: 1d20% of one settlement dies.
    • 21-25% Landslide: 1 hex 10% destroyed
    • 26-28% Tremor: 1 hex 50% destroyed
    • 29-30% Earthquake: 1d6 hexes 1d% destroyed.
    • 31% Volcano: One mountain erupts, 100% destroying its hex
    • 32-35% Collapse: One resource collapses on its workers, destroying 50% of population.
    • 36-45% Tapped: One resource will be exhausted in 1d12 months at current rate.
  • 46-70% Domestic Event
    • 46-50% Settlement Corruption & Criminality: Lower industry of one settlement by 1/2 until dealt with
    • 51-53% Death of leading member of most powerful faction; new leader has opposite opinion
    • 54-56% Political upset; most powerful faction yields 10% of its power to least powerful faction.
    • 57-60% Appointment of friendly member within most powerful faction
    • 61-65% Banditry: -1sp per farmer >1 day from settlements
    • 66-70% Booster crop: +1sp per farmer <1 day from settlements
  • 70-90% No Event!
  • 91-00% New Resource; placement:
    • 91-93% Wilderness
    • 94-97% Near a village
    • 98-99% Near a town
    • 00% Near a city

Supernatural Events: Roll a d6:

  1. Outbreak: One settlement has 1d6 * 10% its total experience point value in supernatural creatures of the given type openly become active in it.
  2. Infiltration: One settlement has 1d10% of its total experience point value in supernatural creatures of the given type become active in it.
  3. Influence: One faction become influenced by the given type.
  4. Influence: One settlement becomes influenced by the given type.
  5. Conjunction: Gateways are active between worlds, and a single envoy from one arrives.
  6. Signs and Portents: A comet is seen, a two-headed birth produced, etc.

 

Political(War) Events: You start out at peace with each of your neighbors, and they have 0% of their military along their borders. Each time a war result is indicated, they will commit some percentage of their standing military, plus some percentage of conscript/newly minted military, to their borders. As war events are continually indicated, this will eventually result in skirmishes along the border and even open warfare.

Plot events can easily accelerate this timeline: for instance, if you muster troops along your own (peaceful) borders, assume that each neighbor musters an equal number.

Each time a war event is indicated, check for new belligerents.

  • All non-belligerent neighbors with >25% of your troops along their borders are automatically belligerents.
  • Otherwise, the single non-belligerent neighbor with the most troops along a shared border becomes belligerent (even with a ridiculous number of troops, like 0% 🙂 ).
  • Once a neighbor is a belligerent, they remain so until you pacify them diplomatically or their armies break morale (as a result of losses).

Each turn, each belligerent will:

  • Check morale
    • If fewer than half the dedicated troops remain, they’ll sue for peace. Other events can also drive surrender: for instance, the coming of winter will cause a conquest war to end, as both sides find its execution too difficult.
  • Increase belligerence by the lower of 1d10 * 5 percentage points (when this goes over 100%, it means they’ve levied additional troops)
  • Make a maneuver
    • The war can be in one of several stages. Begin at peace; each turn the enemy mirrors your actions and increases the level only on a 1-in-10.
      • Peace: While the belligerents may build up forces along a shared border, they will not take direct hostile actions.
      • Raiding: Forces will hit-and-run targets within striking distance of the border, but will not attempt to move the border itself.
      • Conquest: Forces will be placed in targets in an attempt to shift the border, but their goal is specific to the region; once they hold some set of geography and resources, peace may be attainable.
      • Total War: The belligerents are marching on their enemies in an attempt to seize their assets and to remove them from the map.
    • Once a stage advances, the tactics of the enemy will continue along that vein (as appropriate).

Resolving Battles:
The smaller side loses (40 + 1d20)% of its forces and slays that same number of the larger side (not necessarily to death: injury, broken morale, underequipped, or just generally made unfit for continued service). The side with more units remaining at the end is the winner of the field: if they were raiding, they extract wealth, if they were conquesting or making total war, they hold the target and your forces must either retreat or be occupied.

After a rout, you are able to retreat the better of 2d10 * 10% of your surviving population, and 1d% of the defeated population can be brought back into service in the next turn.

When raiding, the enemy can carry away up to 50 gp per surviving soldier from the settlement. If this is less than or equal to the output of the settlement (so 10x tax value), there are no side effects. If it is less than 10 times the output, the settlement is damaged, and must be repaired by investing twice that quantity into it before it will produce again. If it is greater than that value, the settlement is effectively destroyed. An enemy may choose to loot less than they could to avoid triggering these stages.


Wizards in a post-SRD world

Another in my SRD series.

The wizard is perhaps the most core concept yet. They are the lowest hit die, lowest armor proficiency, lowest physicality class going. This lets them turn the dial all the way up on their spells in theory. But if years and years of D&D have taught us anything, it’s that you can’t have “spells” as the thing you’re uniquely best at, because there’s a spell for everything and the wizard just shouldn’t get them all. Gotta save room for the Cleric and suchlike.

But: here we are. Since I wrote the “interlude” piece, I’ve somewhat reconsidered, but I had proposed a split along Alchemist, Astrologer, Enchanter and Summoner.

I’m not disagreeing with past-me, but it might be nice to add some other currently archetypeless nouns to our mix: philosopher? Apostate (thanks, Dragon Age!)? Guild Mage? War Mage?

I’m still of the belief that specialties aren’t a natural fit for the wizard, who is by nature an adaptive generalist. Your real class features — your spells! — derive from moldy tomes! The “pyromancer” or “enchanter” or “necromancer” subtypes all fit better in other classes, with more support.

So let’s revisit that list.
The SRD evoker becomes our War Mage: we’ll drop Evocation Savant (the cheaper/quicker spell copying feature) in favor of light and medium armor proficiencies at second level. Otherwise it’s as writ.

The Apostate is a wizard who has broken their dedication to the strictures of magic and given in to a corrupting power. They generally pose as a member of some other subclass, and indeed, a wizard may trade in their previous subclass to assume this one.
Eldritch Influence: beginning when you select this tradition at 2nd level, your study of and allegiance to some supernatural source (aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead, selected when you select this school) infuses you and your magic. Select one of those creature types as your eldritch type. At the end of each long rest, you may consider your creature type your native type or this eldritch type until your next long rest. As a special rule, celestials and fiends each consider the other type their own for purposes of features below.
Eldritch Spells: At 2nd level, whenever you cast a spell whose target is restricted to “humanoids”, you may instead target your current creature type. Any other conditions, targeting restrictions etc remain.
Eldritch Transformation: At 6th level, you may become your eldritch type as an action, and become your base creature type at the end of a short rest.
Eldritch Attributes: At 6th level, when you become your eldritch type, gain the effects of the alter self spell without expending a spell slot. You select the attributes of the alter self spell when you first use this ability each long rest, resuming the same form each use until your next long rest.
Eldritch Insight: Beginning at 10th level, when a creature of your creature type is immune to the conditions or damage type of a spell or ability you control, that immunity is suppressed and instead they have advantage on the save (if any) and resistance to its damage (if any). When they have the resistance trait to the damage type, it is suppressed.
Eldritch Apotheosis: Starting at 14th level, you may assume the features of a creature of your chosen type. Expend a spell slot; replace your character with a creature of your type of Challenge less than or equal to twice that spell slot for 1 hour or until you end a short rest, using your hit points and store of spell slots to power any Innate Spellcasting trait with a frequency designator other than at will, and replacing the spellcaster trait with access to your own spells. Any effect that would end or check concentration ends or checks this ability (though it does not otherwise consume concentration); if it ends in this way the DM controls your character for the remainder of its duration.

Alchemists are mages which study the nature of matter, life, magic and the influences between them. Their powers are direct, controlling matter and energy in perceptible ways. They are also most skilled at storing energy for later in the form of potions or triggered magical items.
Brew Unstable Potion: beginning when you select this tradition at 2nd level, you gain the ability to cast spells of less than 5th level into an unstable potion during a short rest with access to proper tools; you may have up to your intelligence bonus in such potions at one time. The unstable potion remains effective so long as the slot used to craft it remains expended; you may elect not to refresh the slot if you wish when that option is presented to you. When you craft the potion, select all parameters for the spell except for the target: the spell targets the drinker (or is centered on them) and consumes their concentration as appropriate.
Minimum Opus: Also at 2nd level you expend half the necessary gold and time when crafting.
Infuse Elemental Distillate: At 6th level, you may add your intelligence bonus to one damage roll each round of a spell or effect which deals fire, acid or poison damage.
Counter-reaction: At 6th level, you have advantage on saves against poison, petrification and polymorph effects.
Calcinate/Sublimate: At 10th level, once per long rest you can cast gaseous form or stoneskin without expending a spell slot, material components or concentration.
Parvulum Opus: At 10th level, you expend one-fifth the necessary gold and time when crafting.
Magnum Opus: At 14th level, you expend one-10th the necessary gold and time when crafting. You may craft unstable potions without expending spell slots, though you are still limited to a number equal to your intelligence bonus (and which last until you replace them or 24 hours). You may create golems as though using a manual of golem crafting (though note that this is a ritual, not crafting), as well as homonculi and other novel creatures with DM agreement.

An Astrologer is a Mage who holds themselves apart. Their powers are the most subtle, because they deal with cosmic forces and the ebb and flow of celestial magic. They are in some ways very clerical in nature, dealing with divinatory, protective and meta- magics.
Horoscope: At 2nd level, your spellbook can also include birth charts for creatures (as though they were spells). Each birth chart is a spell of 1st-5th level (your choice when scribed). You can craft a chart as though scribing a spell into your spellbook; to do so requires that you know either i) the target’s true name, ii) the target’s birthdate and birthplace (within the granularity of a few hours and a few miles), or iii) the patterns of the target’s finger- and palm- prints. To prepare a birth chart into a horoscope, while you are preparing other spells expend a spell slot of the proper level. Roll 1d20 once per level of the spell and record the results in your prepared slot; until the end of your next long rest you may substitute one of those results (in order) for a d20 roll which the subject was about to make (or which would be made for an attack on the target), crossing it off the list (this is not an action; limit one per round).
Subtle Magics: At 6th level, when you expend a spell slot to cast an abjuration or divination spell, you regain a spell slot which is of lower level than the discharged one and lower than 5th level.
Predict Behavior: At 10th level, you may discharge one die from a horoscope to gain the effects of an augury concerning the behavior of that creature as an action.
Defensive Cantrips: At 10th level, when you use your action to cast a cantrip, you may take the Dodge, Dash or Withdraw action as a bonus action.
Glimpse: At 14th level, you cannot be surprised and have advantage on initiative checks. During the first round of combat, your attacks gain advantage and attacks against you gain disadvantage.

Guild Mage
Servant of a more worldly power than other mages, Guild Mages are bonded to the order which taught them their powers, and derive several benefits from their continued membership.
Interchange Spellbook: At 2nd level, you may treat any spellbook you encounter as your own, preparing spells and performing rituals, regardless of tradition; you don’t need to copy the spells out. This doesn’t apply if the spells are specifically encoded.
Supply Power: At 2nd level, as an action you may expend a hit die and a spell slot of up to 5th level to allow a spellcaster within 30 feet to temporarily regain a spell slot of the same level. They lose this slot at the end of your next turn if not used. You may also send this power, along with a short message of up to 25 words, to a guild power-bank.
Bonded Mage: At 6th level, you gain the ability to offer your services to another. You gain the ability to cast geas targeting yourself without expending a spell slot. This requires 10 minutes and can be done once per day. The terms of your service are specified in a written contract held by another, with a minimum duration of one day. While you are under such a contract, you can end the charm and frightened conditions on yourself with an action, but are considered both charmed and frightened of the holder of your contract, no save.
Receive Power: At 10th level, your mastery of the guild gives you access to enormous stores of stabilized power. Once per short rest, when you expend a spell slot to cast a spell, regain a spell slot of a level lower than the expended one and equal to or less than 5.
Echo Spell: At 14th level, your influence within the guild is so extensive that you can have your spells “echoed” for you. Once per day when you cast a spell of 5th level or below, you may use a bonus action to conjure a semi-real shadow wizard in your space. It immediately casts the same spell, maintaining concentration as appropriate, and otherwise controlling the spell as you direct.

Theologians investigate the nature of the deities and of the mortal race’s nature. As a result, they gain some granted power which stretches the bounds of mortal power.
Divine Thesis: At 2nd level, select a clerical domain. You gain the domain spells feature, considering its prepared spells as prepared for you. If you have levels in cleric, your wizard and cleric levels combine for access to domain spells (and you must use the same domain for both).
Divine Synthesis: At 6th level, your continued researches yield fruit. When you cast a spell known through the Divine Thesis feature, you gain your wisdom modifier + the spell level temp hit points.
Divine Dialectic: At 10th level, you gain the ability to speak with any creature that has a language using Infernal or Supernal, which you also gain (if you did not already know).
The Highest Good: At 14th level, whenever you complete a long rest, you gain the benefit of a sanctuary spell until the end of your next long rest (though it can end early as per normal).


Cambion

Lest you think I am picking on poor old eldritch blast: I am not. D&D5e is missing a good old “I’m a monster” class. It has the sorcerer (“My blood is (distantly) the blood of dragons”), the warlock (“My (distant) boss is a fiend”), the cleric (“My (theoretical) boss is a god”). But not “I am personally of the blood of fiends” — the warlock has some of that space, but it’s not 1:1.

It also doesn’t have a good “I’m a vampire”, “I’m a werewolf”, “I’m half-elemental”, and so forth.

In short, monster races that still function as PCs. Servants of darkness (or the wild powers, or the strange powers) that function even-further-from-primary-casters than warlocks (okay fine I’m picking on warlocks 🙂 ).

Here’s the problem: Warlocks are primary casters. Level 9 spells at 17th level. High level spells in each encounter, chosen from a regular old spell list — and in such a way that their “spell points” bleed over into other casters. They’re not half-casters, they’re full casters, and that means they need to balance what non-casting features they get against the wizard’s panoply. They _can’t_ get a really good firebreath, because that would be on top of the top-tier spell they’re already casting frequently. They can’t get invisibility at will: that would be on top of their nearly-at-will other powers, and far too good with the powers of a spellcaster on tap.

The Way of 4 Elements monk is… not as good as it could be. But it points an interesting way forward! It has access to spells, but it’s definitely its own being, casting those spells on its own terms, using its own resources. It uses ki points for a variety of different purposes. The Moon Druid is in a similar position: When they’re using their beastform, they’re emphatically not using their spells until they’re high level; in fact, they’re cannibalizing them in order to tank. Their caster chassis is there so that when they’re not all shifted, they can still cast to solve spellcaster-y problems, if they haven’t already burned all of their slots. But the monk, the rogue; they don’t have these things.

So without further ado:

An outcast, an outlaw, a victim, a villain. The Cambion is, by birthright or curse, a character whose nature has been changed by a brush with a great power. Sometimes that great power is a fundamental force of the cosmos, a deity, a fey noble, or a dark curse. Other times it is a distant bloodline, or even a fluke. In any case, the Cambion is set apart from their kind by this change and must struggle to understand and control it.

The center of your power (and the division between subclasses) is the change which was awoken in your characters nature, called here a Twin Soul. The changes may manifest physically or spiritually; they may be transient or permanent, but the thing that makes a Cambion a Cambion is that secondary nature which they have access to. As varied as the sources which can produce a Cambion are the types thereof; here are presented the Fiend. I could imagine aberrations, fey and some others.

The Twin Soul produces changes in the Cambion along a sliding scale: the more power the Cambion draws from their second nature, the more overt the produced changes, but also the more dangerous and unpredictable the Cambion becomes to friend and foe alike.

The Cambion

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d8 per monk level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per monk level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor: Heavy armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: 
None
Saving Throws: 
Constitution, Charisma
Skills:
Choose two skills from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion

Table: The Cambion
Level Proficiency Bonus Features
1st +2 Twin Soul
2nd +2 Discipline, Fighting Style
3rd +2 Twin Soul feature
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack, Manifestation Improvement
6th +3 Twin Soul feature
7th +3 Mettle, Stillness of Mind
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Manifestation
Improvement
10th +4 Twin Soul feature
11th +4 Improved Strike
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Manifestation Improvement
14th +5 Twin Soul feature
15th +5 Diamond Soul
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Manifestation Improvement
18th +6 Twin Soul feature
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Perfect Self

Twin Soul
At first level, select the nature of your twin soul. This document describes Fiend, but others are possible. That nature gives you several shared features:

  • Manifestation. Each Twin Soul has an uncontrolled “manifestation” which arises in moments of stress. As your character grows in power, the effect of yielding to it has larger effects. For some it might be a physical transformation of your character, while for others it might be an unconscious effect on your environment, a mental transformation, or other supernatural effect.
  • Favored Damage Type. Each Twin Soul has a favored damage type. Several features of the class key off of this type.

In addition, at 1st level, your Twin Soul grants you a feature
At 3rd, 6th, 10th, 14th and 18th level, you get a new feature from your specific Twin Soul.

Discipline
At 2nd level when you gain this feature, you gain a pool of Discipline Points equal to your level in Cambion. Each point of discipline represents the struggle for magical control between the two souls of your character, which triggers your manifestation as you expend them.

When you make a spell attack using discipline, it is based on wisdom. When you force a saving throw, the DC is 8 + proficiency + wisdom modifier.

There is also a limit to the amount of discipline you are able to expend per round, and a declaration of spell slot equivalencies (which may be used by certain features)

  • 1-4: 2, creating a 1st level spell slot
  • 5-8: 3, creating a 2nd level spell slot
  • 9-11: 5, creating a 3rd level spell slot
  • 12-15: 6, creating a 4th level spell slot
  • 16-20: 7, creating a 5th level spell slot

When you gain this ability at 2nd level, you also gain 3 techniques which require its expenditure; you may gain more over time.

  • Vengeful Riposte: When you are missed by an attack and the attacker is within your melee range, you may use your reaction and expend 1 point of discipline to make a melee attack against that creature.
  • Resist Weapons: As a bonus action on your turn, you can suffuse your flesh with supernatural defense. Until the end of your next round, when you are damaged by a nonmagical (and non-silver) weapon attack, you may reduce the damage by 1d10 + your wisdom modifier + your cambion level. If this reduces the damage to 0, the attack misses.
  • Second Nature: As an action, expend a point of discipline. Add 1d4 to the next intelligence, wisdom or charisma check you make that you are proficient in before the end of your next round. The die size increases at 5th (d6), 9th (d8), 13th (d10) and 17th (d12) level.

Fighting Style
At second level, choose a fighting style (per the fighter feature).

Manifestation Improvement
At 5th, 9th, 13th level, and 17th level, you gain a new manifestation feature determined by Twin Soul.

Mettle
At 7th level, when you are subject to damage that allows you to make a Constitution or Wisdom saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Stillness of Mind
At 7th level, you can use your action to end one effect on yourself that is causing you to be charmed or frightened.

Improved Strike
At 11th level, your secondary nature bleeds through on all of your strikes; you deal an additional d8 in damage of your favored damage type with all melee weapon attacks.

In addition, when you take the Attack action on your turn, you may extend a point of discipline to make an additional attack as a bonus action.

Diamond Soul
At 15th level, your discipline grants you proficiency in all saving throws.

Additionally, whenever you make a saving throw and fail, you can spend 1 discipline point to reroll it and take the second result.

Perfect Self
At 20th level, when you roll for initiative with less than 4 discipline, you have 4 discipline.

 

Twin Soul: Fiend
Your favored damage type is fire and poison; you can change your selection at the end of a short rest.

  • 1st: Devil’s Sight. 60 darkvision & pierce magical darkness; cast charm person or command for 2 discipline.
  • 3rd: As a free action you can create a Fire Whip. Using it is a melee spell attack, reach 15′, 1d6 slashing, 1d6 fire and pull 15 feet (unless strength save). You can expend 1 discipline on a hit to increase the damage by 2d6 fire.
  • 6th: Devil’s Tongue: cast scorching ray or suggestion for 3 discipline.
  • 10th: Telepathy 120′; cast fireball for 5 discipline
  • 14th: Truesight 120; cast dimension door or hold monster for 6 discipline
  • 18th: Cast dispel evil and good or wall of fire for 7 discipline

Manifestation
When your discipline is below half, you trigger a minor manifestation, the manifestation of the level below yours. When it is at 0, you trigger a major manifestation. Your manifestation is to transform into a fiendish beast; each level includes the level before. Your minor manifestation is the line before your level; your major manifestation is the one at your level.

  • 0th: Grow a bite and claws (1d4 slashing); you may attack with them as a minor action when you take the Attack action.
  • 1st: Add your charisma bonus to your armor class.
  • 5th: Grow wings (fly 60); resist fire and poison
  • 9th: Grow to size large (double damage dice), resist cold and lightning, immune poisoned condition
  • 13th: Aura of fear or fire: if your damage type is fire, creatures starting within 10′ make a dexterity save or take 3d6 fire damage. If it is poison, creatures starting within 10′ make a wisdom save or become frightened of you for 1 minute save each round; a successful save grants immunity for 24 hrs.
  • 17th: Scales (AC 19); grow to size huge (triple damage dice), immune fire and poison; resist cold and lightning

Edit: I should probably write some fixes wrt personality: Being a devil should definitely have some effect on your behavior.

WHOO. That was a lot of work.


Victim of the Zeitgeist

http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=14847

Blacky beats me to everything!

Edit: I decided to add some content here with a compare/contrast.

His rules are good. They’re MUCH more lucrative than mine, and they assume that the peasantry work directly for the regent, as opposed to “for themselves but the regent skims the top”. The virtual gp generated as labor is a much more pleasant mechanism than my “peasants generate literal food gp and literal food gp can be exchanged for wealth gp at such-and-such a rate”. From an accounting standpoint, that’s cool tech.

It also has the neat “throw some parties or the peasantry revolt”, which I think is pleasing. It uses “confidence” where I use “loyalty”. It also has a lot less randomness in its system: things grow by projectable curves, with the exception of the “event” roll, which is where the random sneaks in. I mostly like that, but I a little bit don’t. The randomness in the other parts of the economy provide antialiasing: if your kingdom is running a thin profit, you should be maintaining stores which are more-or-less neutral, because you keep dipping into them on the bad years, and don’t refill them as much as you should in the good years (because you’re burning the money to appease the populace).

It has assumed fealty to church and king, and things you can- and cannot- use those tax dollars for. Finnicky, but I do like the explicit pay up/pay down.

In real numbers, his system is quarterly where mine is monthly: either is fine. Each peasant family produces 20gp (poll tax) + (20, 40 or 60 gp) (mineral rights) + 200virtualgp (service). Each family consumes 50gp + a bunch of others, and you have to build your castle/summon your hordes.

Since I do it per head, each family is, say, 5 heads; since I do it monthly, each quarter is 3 months; diving his ~260gp per family/season into my ~17gp per head/month makes me feel… actually pretty good about my numbers. I have 5 (village), virtual 10 (farmer), 25 and 50 — we’re in the running for a reasonable amount!

(of course, I assumed you only got to keep 10% of that wealth. I suppose that’s the real difference between our systems: he gives you a lot and then taketh it away; I just assume most of the stuff you’re losing is a big obscure ball of not-your-cash).

Ditch the thing about turning excess peasantry produce into cash and throw in a few more resources, and we’re cross compatible!


A replacement for Eldritch Blast

Problems with Eldritch Blast:

  1. You can cast it all day every day.
  2. It’s the only multi-target cantrip, and it scales like a fighter’s multiattack.
  3. It’s the most damaging cantrip.
  4. It does force damage, the least resisted damage (and one which affects incorporeals, even).
  5. It has a great range.

I hate it. I hate it so much. In my ideal world, instead of access to that cantrip, warlocks would get normal cantrips.

At 8th level, they’d get the cleric smite-alike feature “pact strike” (when you hit with a weapon attack, +1d8 damage typed by patron [fiend:fire, old one:psychic, fey:weapon type and is silver]; increase to 2d8 at 14th level.

Also at 8th level, they’d gain the Empowered Cantrip ability of the wizard: Add their charisma to one damage roll per casting.

 

Then I’d give them a lot more cantrips in general. Here are some new warlocky/wizardy cantrips:

Devil’s Eyes transmutation cantrip
For one minute, you gain darkvision 60′. This darkvision can see through magical darkness.

Wizard’s Strike evocation cantrip
Make a spell attack with a wand, staff or dagger with reach 10′. If the attack hits, the victim takes 1d10 force damage and is pushed 10′.
This spell’s damage increases by 1d10 at 5th (2d10), 11th (3d10), and 17th (4d10) level.

Fester Wound necromancy cantrip
Touch a weapon which has damaged a creature in the last hour. One such creature, regardless of range, takes 1d8 poison damage and is sickened for one round unless it passes a constitution save or is on a different plane than you. Either way, once used the weapon is used in this way, it is no longer a valid component for this spell until it again damages a creature.
This spell can affect an additional creature (or the same target again) at 5th (2 creatures), 11th (3 creatures), and 17th (4 creatures) level.

Evil Eye necromancy cantrip
One creature that can see you within 60 feet takes 1d6 psychic damage and is frightened of you for one round unless it succeeds on a wisdom saving throw; if it does, it is further immune to the frightened effect for 24 hours. This is a fear effect.
This spell can affect an additional creature at 5th (2 creatures), 11th (3 creatures) and 17th (4 creatures) level.

Clumsiness evocation cantrip
One creature that you can see within 60 feet falls prone in an adjacent space of your choice, taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage (or more if it is a further fall). It may make a strength or dexterity save to negate.
This spell will launch its target higher into the air first, launching them 10′ up at 5th (2d6), 20′ at 11th (3d6), and 30′ up at 17th (4d6).

Twist Weapon enchantment cantrip
Pick a target creature who can see and hear you within 30 feet. That creature is charmed by you for 1 round and, if charmed, uses its reaction to attack a secondary creature of your choice within its reach with a weapon it is holding. The attack bonus for this attack is your spell attack bonus, and the damage to the secondary creature is the damage dice of the weapon held by the primary target.
This spell deals 1d8 psychic damage to the primary target if charmed at 5th level, 2d8 at 11th, and 3d8 at 17th.

Spoil Milk transmutation cantrip
All unattended food, drink and potions within a 10 foot diameter of a point you select within 30 feet is spoiled. Creatures take 1d6 necrotic damage and lose all food, drink and potions unless they pass a constitution save. Vermin (and swarms) take double damage.
This spell’s damage increases by a die at 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

Harvest necromancy cantrip; reaction
Cast when a living creature is reduced to 0 hit points within 10 feet of you. The creature makes a wisdom save or else it dies. If it dies, you get 1d4 temporary hit points.
The number of temporary hit points increases by a die at 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

Cackle evocation cantrip; bonus action
One target within 60 feet who can hear you takes 1d4 thunder damage. They may make a constitution save to negate this damage.
The amount of damage increases by a die at 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

 

Projecting beams of force my ass.


On Long Rests And Spellcasting

The default long rest rules don’t make me happy: they permit you to hit level 20 in 20 days, and they fill back up access to your resources in super-irritating ways.

Here’s my completely untested replacement:

  1. Short rests take 1 hour (as writ).
    1. They really do take an hour! Roll random encounters, check for danger, and you can’t be exposed to the elements or anything! No work harder than keeping watch (though others in the party can). No searching the room. They’re not guaranteed!
  2. Long rests take 8 hours (as writ, but…); you may only take a long rest once per month.
    1. They completely refill HP and HD (no complex math please).
    2. The downtime “recuperation” action refills your long rest whenever you take it.
  3. Basic Recovery: When any spellcaster ends a short rest with 0 slots available of their second highest level spell (or 5th, whichever is lower), they regain 1 slot of that level.
    1. If all you have are 1st level spells, you don’t get anything back. Sorry. Feature doesn’t do anything before 3rd unless you have a Foo Recovery, see next.
  4. Arcane, Natural, etc Recovery: You lose the Basic Recovery feature. Instead, when you end a short rest with 0 slots available of your highest spell level from the granting class (or 5th, whichever is lower), you regain 1 slot of that level. (Multiclassing: these combine to determine spell level, but don’t stack or repeat: you only get 1 slot back. Example: A wizard 5 barbarian 3 gets a 3rd level spell back; a wizard 5 + land druid 4 gets a 5th level slot back.)
    1. At 12th level, you also regain a 1st level slot if you had 0 remaining.
    2. 14th: the additional slot is of 2nd level.
    3. 16th: of 3rd level.
    4. 18th: of 4th level.
    5. 20th: of 5th level.
  5. This robs the warlock of a lot of their juice, since their big thing is “being the shortest restiest”.
    1. Give warlocks a now standard casting progression, the Arcane Recovery feature, and the new feature Patron’s Potence.
    2. Patron’s Potence: When you cast a spell which you know due to the warlock spells known feature or a warlock invocation, you may cast it at the highest level spell level you can cast as a warlock (half your class level round up).
      1. This means they’re blowing HUGE fireballs all the time. Good for them. It also gives them a lot of (eventually) 9th level slots. I’m pretty okay with that.
  6. Spells with multi-hour durations (or which create food, shelter etc) are less powerful in this version, since you might need to cast them multiply each short rest to get their benefit. The Recovery feature should combat that to a large degree; some of them are rituals.
  7. Most magic items refresh on a calendar-day cycle instead of a long rest cycle.
    1. THIS IS THE MOST UNTESTED PART. On the one hand, it’ll be super annoying: a totally different resource track than the others. On the other hand, I think it makes magic items feel cooler. So…?

 

The result of this is that wizards and certain druids will join the warlock in blowing a fireball equivalent in every encounter, secure in the knowledge they’ll get it back (they hope). The sorcerer, cleric and bard will still have their nearly-best spells on tap in every encounter, but not their truly best spells.

I hope that this leaves the warlock in an interesting place: they still “always cast everything at the highest level”, and they can nova as a wizard. The short rest refresh gets spread out a little, but I hope this means that the fiend-warlock’s incentive-warping “fireball” spell will stop eating all of their casts and they’ll do some interesting stuff instead.

 

Of course, the warlock still has Eldritch Blast. And I still hate it like poison. I don’t have anything else to say there, just… yuck, Eldritch Blast. You nasty.