Monday, May 28, 2018

Psionic Sub Classes for 5E



I've been watching The Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour, lately. He's been showing off some of his design process a lot of it full of idea boards just tossed into a word document and him speaking about the story and feeling he wants represented in play. This is a messy process and it is inspiring to see such a prominent lead do this kind of work in public in an hour. He doesn't always finish what he starts in an hour but he makes a fair bit of progress. A few episodes ago he started looking at creating a psion like sub-class for Wizards. He made enough progress and had enough potential he went on to do this for the fighter and now the monk.


But, enough about how I feel about the videos. The import part is that it has inspired me to think about design. Largely in part because during a few episodes Mike mentioned that there was a design element for Barbarians thought of as the Nova Barbarian. The idea being when the Barbarian stops raging there is an affect that happens. What the design team found out was that it prompted players to enter rages and then end them the next turn to get that effect. This wasn't satisfying and didn't really feel like a barbarian tactic, so it was scrapped. I was thinking about this concept and wanted to try and make it work. That got me on the path to thinking of a barbarian that rages and while raging builds up a pool of damage that is dealt to everyone around her at the end of the rage. The longer the barbarian rages the more damage she will be able to do. But, I couldn't figure out a theme for it until Mike started the psionic sub class series. It made a lot of sense for this Nova Barbarian to be psionic themed. In addition it got me thinking of other classes and concepts to explore. So before showing off my Psionic Barbarian Path, the Path of the Telekinetic. I want to outline a few other sub class and psionic ideas in general. Mostly so when Mike beats me to developing them I can say I tried.

TelekineticistBarbarian - This class' psionic power is fueled by raw emotion. They are the most terrifying kind of wild talent because thing move and jump around them and often they will never control or understand their power. Those that do are terrible and dangerous because they've learned to tap into their internal turmoil and inflict it physically upon the world.


Mind Spiker - Rogue - This rogues sneak attack does psychic damage. At higher levels it causes confusion and maybe even lets them interrogate the minds of people outside of combat. In addition the mind spiker might even be able to render himself invisible to observers by removing the memory of his presence all together. The mental link to interrogate people might be the kind of thing that is a non-combat ability that the Mind Spiker achieves by "pickpocketing" the mind of another and allowing scrying like abilities on that person.


Mental Mage - Wizard - Mike already covered this and it might be better to run with his idea if it is ever released as an Unearthed Arcana. However I think there might be more options or space to play in particularly if this mage is about fear effects, illusions, and confusion, rather than the psychic damage/thought theft that Mike took the subclass in.


Psychic Surgeon - Bard (specialized in mind & body) - The bard already borders on psionic powers because this class is often about influencing emotions. But taken to an even higher level this class is so in tune with the effects of mind over matter that it can heal the body or tear apart the fragile minds of those that oppose it.

Etheric Summoner - Druid (summons the essence of nature) - This "druid" is attuned to the spirit of nature such that it understand the mind of wild beasts and plants and is able to bring into reality the truest essence of the form. This druid would be able to summon not a bear but instead it summons the essence of a bears rage manifested in a form that perfectly fits that beasts emotion. Or perhaps the druid can cloak herself in the essence of a lionesses' stealthy strike granting her a form and powers beyond just becoming a lion, then after the strike has been made the druid channels the stability and resilience of the spirits in the rocks around her to protect her for the rest of a fight.


Wild Talent - If the design encourages adding some "psionic" abilities that are generic across all the psionic classes or even a pool of abilities that are psionic and not specificall exclusive to class this would make them available to everyone in addition it might be nice if a player wants to add more psionic abilities to their class.


As you can see these classes above are still germinating ideas. But I hope they interest people enough to want to play them and also to want to make their own ideas. However this post has grown long enough that I think the Barbarian should in it's own post. That will be posted this afternoon once I have cleaned it up a little.

Path of the Telekinetic Rage

As I mentioned in my previous post here is the for the Path of the Telekinetic Rage. And please if you play this or like the idea but think it needs improvement let me know. If you hate the idea please don't let me know. I am not sure I want to deal with that kind of vitriol the internet can produce here.

Barbarian: Path of the Telekinetic Rage
This document presents a personally created and playtest quality option for the Barbarian: Path of the Frenetic Rage 
This Is Unofficial Content 
This is content has not be vetted by or reviewed by Wizards of the Coast. It was developed after listening to too much “Mike Mearls’ Happy Fun Hour”. I wanted to take a stab at a design the Mike Mearls shied away from. Feedback and comments are welcome.  
Primal Path 
At 3rd level, you choose a path that shapes the nature of your rage. At the DM’s discretion, the following primal path is available to a barbarian in addition to those offered in the campaign. 
Path of the Telekinetic Rage 
Those who choose the path of the Telekinetic Rage might have been thought of a possessed by spirits as a child or worse a controller of foul magics. As things around them occasionally moved.  But in truth it was just the force of their emotions acting upon the world. As they grew they learned to control and harness those emotions until they could embrace The Path of the Telekinetic Rage. Releasing that emotional force as an attack and cathartic release. 
Building Rage 
Starting when you choose this path at 3rd level, you can exert your emotion energy upon the world. When choose to enter a rage you may choose to enter a Building Rage. A Building Rage grants you a rage pool that adds one die at the end of every turn you are raging. When your rage ends for each die in your rage pool inflict 1d4 force damage to every creature within 10’ of you in addition you suffer one level of exhaustion. 
Kinetic Control 
Beginning at 6th level you are able to control your emotions enough to alter the world around you in more subtle ways. This allows you to cast mage hand at will. 
Rejuvenating Rage 
Beginning at 10th level you no longer suffer a level of exhaustion when you expend your Rage Pool and it results in damage to at least one enemy. In addition when you score a critical hit you may expend all the dice currently in your Rage Pool without ending your Building Rage. 
Ranged Rage 
Starting at 14th level when you expend your Rage Pool you can channel the energy to a point you can see within 50’. This creates a creating a 10’ burst centered on the target. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

1d13 things to Start or Change your 13th Age Campaign


1d13 events to start or drastically alter your 13th Age Campaign.

1.       12 Golden barges of tremendous size with red sails anchor at Santa Cora, the people from the ships spend their gold freely and speak of their religion ‘The Church of the Unified Monotheism’. They seek audience with the Priestess but quarrel with her when she refuses to acknowledge that monotheism is the only valid religion, with all other gods and goddess aspects and agents of their one true deity. Without warning, the monotheists besiege the city. Their golden ships lift out of the water, their golden masts and red sails forming great wings, from which they rain down divine retribution upon the unbelievers.

2.       A storm hundreds of miles across rages on the Sea of Monsters, at its heart a tornado 600’ in diameter destroys everything it touches. As it approaches the coast it is kept at bay by the powers of the Arch-Mage, and the storm shatters against his wards. As the days pass the wards weaken eventually succumbing to the power of the storm. Many were evacuated and much of the Dragon Empire survived, but the capitol has been lost and the Dragon Emperor was wounded, and now seeks seclusion while he heals.

3.       The Lich King quits, through his emissaries he contacts the Dragon Emperor and informs the empire that he will abandon his claim of dominion over the empire if he is permitted to claim the role as chief arch-mage and purveyor over all arcane defenses and research. In addition the Lich King offers to grant the Dragon Emperor immortality. Hearing that the Dragon Emperor is considering the deal, the Arch-Mage leaves his official holdings to wage a war of subterfuge against the Lich King.

4.       The Red Dragon returns erupting from a mountain. The volcanic activity after this escape blocks the sun from the north plunging it into a perpetual night. The lands in all other directions receive little sun, the temperatures plunge by 10 degrees. The lack of direct sun causes crops to fail and famine spreads across the land.

5.       The Crusader begins a new offensive against the Diabolist. To bolster his forces he offers elite training to any that would seek it at CASTLE PERILOUS. Those who go in return changed. Many appear normal, but for their unrelenting fealty to the Crusader but others… they hide their arms and faces. Rumors abound that the hidden feature are for the best lest people see the maddening disfigurements they bear. Those of a learned nature imply that those poor souls bear the fractures of demons and that their minds have been touched by that wickedness, some even portent that they have the immortality of a fiend wine a bit of their mind inhabits the maelstrom of the abyss.

6.       A new Gold Dragon is born. While those would ordinarily be a heralded event, some claim it is a sign that the Great Gold Wrym has died in the Abyss and this is the Wyrm reincarnated. Without the Great Gold Wyrm’s intervention to keep the demons at bay the Diabolist’s influence increases. Her schemes hamper the Crusader and throw him off the hell holes he has conquered allowing new forms of chaos to rage across the land.

7.       The statue of the first dwarf, said to bow only before the Dwarf King or Queen, has become active. For the first time in two Ages it has sought out an individual and bowed before him signaling a divine change in the leadership of the Dwarfs. Stranger still the statue of the first dwarf has found and prostrated itself before the Orc Lord.

8.       While staring across the vastness of space and learning the deeper truths of magic and the arcane world, the Arch-Mage realizes that he now understands the secrets of ruling his people to create Utopia. To achieve his goals he retreats to one of his flying realms. While he finishes the preparations to bring about a new Utopia under his rule, the customary rituals that keep the Lich King bound are not renewed, nor are the rituals that redirect the lay lines to keep the sea of storms pacified. Meanwhile the oracles for when to plant and harvest have been made by less skillful magi resulting in famine as farmers plant before the frosts are finished and reap after the dry season has already begun.

9.       In the center of the Dragon Empire a new Hell Hole has opened up with signs several others are about to open up. The creation of a new Hell Hole has caused waves of fear and panic rippling throughout the Empire, sparking new rumors that the Diabolist has begun a new offensive while gaining greater powers of control over fiendish minions. While these new openings are of her creation, it from a ritual gone awry, they are opening too fast for her to control causing her dominion over fiends to weaken while other summoners find they can bind ever more power fiends to their will without risking nearly as much of their souls in the bargain.

10.   A new wave of Living Dungeons surge forth to the surface. Lands once peaceful are plagued by the beasts that vomit forth from these dark vaults. People from all over look to the Dwarf Lord, to learn why so many Living Dungeons reached the surface. But, no messages are returned. Rumors begin to spread that the Dwarf King and his court have been consumed by a terrible dungeon and the creatures it birthed.

11.   The dead in heavily forested areas have begun to rise from their graves. While many believe this to be a plot of the Lich King and both the Dragon Emperor and the Arch-Mage hire bands of adventurers to reinforce the grave-wards said to keep the dead in place. But all is in vain, as these are not traditional undead. Instead the High Druid has found a new strain of fungus that will reanimate the dead and given time even infect the living as this plague spreads so too will nature while humanity’s oppression of nature will be forced to an end.

12.   One morning everyone awakes to find that it is midday, as time passes the sun does not waver in the sky staying always in the middle of the sky. Astrologers are perplexed by this endless day. Even the Archmage is uncertain as to why the Sun is not chased across the sky, unless the moon were unable to do so. Rumors swirl and many, especially in the underworld speculate that the moon was stolen by the Prince of Shadows. Unwittingly his grandest heist has ruined his domain of darkness.

13.   The Elf Queen accepts a rare invitation to travel to a Winter Court of the fairies. While she is away the fey Duke Urien sits the throne, declaring himself the Elf King; inciting a civil war throughout the Elven Court. The Dark Elves near universally support Urien. Several of the other courtiers remain silent to ensure they are not executed by Urien’s exuberant Loyalty Squads. While others declare for their queen. The bloodshed and mistrust running through the Eleven Court bleeds through to the world creating greater mistrust between the fey and even resurfacing old rivalries which threaten to unbalance the greater peace of civilization.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Awesome Gamer Day: Map

For “Awesome Gamer Day” I offer a map. This area will likely be called Tul’Aren in my campaign. A land covered in with thick jungles, wide grassy planes, and steep mountains, curiously cut off from the ocean by an unnatural blasted desert wasteland.

Created by Matt Maranda with Hexographer Pro.


Feel free to use this map in your home games and expect to see me flesh it out more. If people would like a version with hex numbers let me know in the comments.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fantasy in the Blasted Future

In my last post I talked about setting a "Lamentations of the Flame Princess" game in the future after a catastrophic event. But my description did not go into any detail about what cultures and nations might look like in that world. So here I am writing to further broaden the way different parts of the world devolved yet still mimic the reality that had once been.
Kandah - The cold heavily forested planes of Kandah contain many small remote villages. Hunters, loggers and farmers eke out a meager existence living in constant fear of the long dark nights. To the West as the hardwood forests climb great mountains the villages become larger and farther apart, here miners explore the bones of the earth, wresting riches from the old mines of ages past now the home to thriving colonies of beasts that would be best left undisturbed in their holes. The riches of mining towns make them hubs for foreigners as well as the people from the woods. Moving further north brings travelers to a harsh arctic waste. Few beyond the tribes that live there have returned from those frozen lands and those that do have merely explored its frozen eastern coasts. The treasures and relics that might still exist preserved in that frozen wasteland will make legends of those strong enough to succeed.
Swerzirlind - This land is nestled in and around steep mountains. These mountains serve to insulate the land from predations of the outside world but they they also divide it. This has caused two major factions to vie for power over the people and trades routes. They are the Cantonians and the Zureich, although many other small groups can be found living in remote villages hoping to remain unnoticed by the conscriptors of forces larger than themselves. The largest faction are the agnostic Cantonians, followers of the crown Prince Haldritch Zwingli, who control the trade routes and given recent trouble with religious fanatics have taken to eradicating all organized religion. These actions fueled the ire and ranks of the opposed Zureich. Once just a free city in the heart of Swerzirlind it has become the epicenter for the Church of Monotheism. The Zureich defend their faith militantly with non-believers, unwilling to convert, being executed without need for cause. Other prominent groups vehemently against the dominant factions include Monotheists of the Later Prophets, Monotheists of the First Church, and Monotheists of the Free Orders.
Ghula - Walled holdfasts stand atop natural and manmade hills bastions of safety poking out above the Black Forests of Ghula. These holds frequently war with each other keeping trade and communication across long distances to minimum. While some semblance of a once unified Ghulian people might exist in the language and engineering, each village is a stylized subculture with their own unique take own what it means to be Shulian creating a morass of taboos and etiquettes difficult to master and easy to cross. Blood cults, headhunters seeking to honor or trap the spirit of their enemy to prevent retribution from beyond the grave, and ritualized necrophilia before the deceased are interred are additional horrors villages might have in store for explorers. As if the villages weren't dangerous enough, the untrod paths in the black forests hide worse degenerates and beasts too wicked to be exposed to the light of day.
The Divided Isles of Welschlen - The major island of Welschlen as well as the smaller islands and newly founded island colonies are united under one king, the recently coroneted Kyor of Rutland. But King Kyor does not sit the thrown unchallenged. The Green Isle is fomenting a new bid for freedom. It has rebelled several times throughout the years creating generations of mistrust, harsh laws, and even famines all to keep the people week and subjugated to the Welshlen throne.  Yet these are not the only troubles on the Green Isle, creatures of fairy also lay claim to the islands and they too have gained a strong foothold on the Green Isle and are branching out to the others. Kyor’s predecessors would have cut down such insurrection quickly with iron and fire but the Welschlen squabble internally over who should have been lord. Many support Kyor and his house under the banner of the White Lilly others disenfranchised or slighted by Kyor’s lineage have begun flocking to House Whelles of the Red Carnation. Weakening the will of both houses to remain at war with one another are the savage raiders from the North and West. They strike the Isles without mercy and with the fastest, lightest, and shallowest ships known.
Ravenna – The Empire of Ravenna, is a corrupt nation, any kind of vice can be bought or sold here. The empire has been held together and expanded by generations of strong Emperors and a pragmatic approach to the absorption of cultures and religions. But while every religion is theoretically equal two religions have greater standings with the nobility the Arcane Cult of Ottovacarian Divinity and the Devoted of the Quicksilver Blade. The Arcane Cult of Ottovacarian Divinity are the only wizards tolerated within Ravenna and their religious and arcane magic has been honed to help detect and defeat threats to Ravenna and her rulers. This protection has naturally secured their prominence, protection, and wealth. The Devoted of the Quicksilver Blade are an order of militants that worship and train for war. This makes their devotees the best trained and single minded forces in the empire. Many of in the warrior class are lay adherents, paying for services and advanced training in combat arts. This makes them first in line for promotion and elite duties. It is also rumored that the Devoted have stockpiled and understand the use of weapons from before the fall of civilization and rise of Ravenna.
Sajavedra   – A war torn barely legendary land. Jungles and abandoned rice fields dot the landscape. Meanwhile energies of a war, incomprehensible to the people surviving in the Sajavedra today, leech into these same fields and jungles warping flora and fauna alike. As this blasted and town landscape loses its connection to the world that was petty ancient gods of the land are awakening. Their sleep disturbed by the changes happening around them and the lack of propitiations offered up to them.
Although none of these regions specifically mentions the ruins of fallen civilizations, I've intentionally left that out. What technology or ruins are left is up to the game and much easier to sprinkle into things. But cultures based on history and places takes a little more planning and inspiration which is all I can hope to achieve with this post.

My inspiration for the places and cultures are from many varied sources. Kandah was inspired by Hiero’s Journey as well as the ‘Brave New World’ campaign/adventure. Swerzirlind is Switzerland with a dash of the reformation and theories that Knights Templar hid there to avoid persecution, now after the fall of civilization they return to rebuild civilization under their view after thousands of years.  Welschlen should obviously be the British Isles during the War of the Roses with added rebellion and mythic fey from Ireland. Ghula is Gaul at the peak of the Celtic civilizations. Ravenna was once the seat of the Roman Empire and this is its rebirth. While the Sajavedra if taken whole cloth from Kenneth Hite's Qelong adventure.