Hacks to Fix Things

It’s impossible to be all things to all people. Heck, it’s impossible for a game like D&D to even be all things to one people — get two engineers in a room, get three opinions on the same subject.

So let’s talk about some low cost tweaks to the game to bring it in-line with what I, personally, want.

I really like Druids as a witch class, but that omnipresent shapeshifting really knocks me for a loop. I hate it, legitimately hate it. My problem with it is the non-fantasy nature of it: Polymorph is a spell available at 7th level, but there’s a whole class of people out there who can turn into voles from day 1. Hedge witches feel like they should be more popular than regular wizards. So every hamlet and thorp should have a volewalker? Not on my watch!

I came up with a solution I don’t hate, though! Replace their wildshape with a possession effect called warg-ing (pretty similar to the magic jar spell; it’s a charm effect, no save, targeting beasts only), with the same CR limits as the current shapeshifting effect. This leaves your body behind and limits you to creatures appropriate to the scene. It also gives you an always-on-tap way to coopt certain types of foes; noisy guard dog? Warg into it, no save. While you’re warging, your body is unconscious and might be mistaken for dead.
A kindly DM might make it more like a spirit-animal-projection-thing, which I _still_ like more than a fully fledged shapeshift, because then everyone knows to watch out for glowing ravens or whatever. That would let you pick the animal instead of being limited to what’s on-site. I think I wouldn’t do that, but it’s not crazy.

Give the Circle of the Moon a real wild-shape ability, separate but consuming uses of, their warging ability. This feels like a suitable reward for the specialization they’ve put in to me.

Monks. I mean Assassins.
Take a Monk.
Use Intelligence instead of Wisdom for everything they do.
That’s it; you can still take your subclass from Empty Hand (“Hashishim”), Shadow (“Ninja”), even Way of Four Elements (some ridiculous elven martial tradition).

Wizards of Powers Dark.
Warlocks get subclass benefits at 1st, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 5 “domain spells”.
Wizards get ’em at 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 14th.

So: Feel free to take Warlock subclasses as a Wizard. They should just work. You probably have to prepare the “expanded spell list” spells into prepared slots, but I’m tempted to say you don’t have to record them into your spell book.

Vice versa, too, though the wizard schools are all boring!

Fighter and Ranger Equivalence.
Fighters get subclass features at 3/7/10/15/18; rangers at 3/7/11/15 (+ feral senses at 18). Close enough to just use straight, pretending that “feral senses” was a property of the subclasses. And the features look more or less equivalent, once you’ve made that exchange. So just take features across the aisle. This is particularly good with fighters with the hunter archetype and rangers with the battle master archetype.

You might even be able to ranger/eldritch knight, as a 5/6 caster or something, backfilling spells from the druid once the ranger runs out.

Which is a big enough boost that I’d rather find something in the standard ranger to throw out to just round it up to a full caster — say, drop to a d8 hit die, drop shield proficiency, add druid spells to the ranger spell selection? That looks pretty tempting to me, especially if you name the amalgamation “Elf: the class”.

That last little spellcasting boost might push the ranger into something I actually want to play, even if it is a little sad that you don’t get to select a subclass.


About lackhand

I was born in 1984 and am still playing games, programming computers, and living in New York City. View all posts by lackhand

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