Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Project Updates and General Rambles

Hey folks! After a few months picking at it like a fussy eater, I think I need to table my Ghostwalk work for now. It's not coming together quite like I'd hoped after multiple iterations, and long gulfs between when I can work on it are certainly contributing to its splotchy implementation. The perils of the day job, I fear.

Nevertheless, I am intent on doing more conversions, even if this one didn't pan out. After how well Birthright and Council of Wyrms went, I guess two out of three ain't bad. Unless you're being graded in American school systems, in which case that's still a D, depending on state.

For my next trick project, I am actually a bit adrift. I'm not sure what else is speaking to me, so I'll happily take suggestions. Something may spring out to me in the meantime, but really, the sky is the limit.

Recently I've also become enamored of Robert Schwalb's "Shadow of the Demon Lord" product line. To friends, I have likened it to Warhammer Fantasy without the heavy doses of self-parody and bombastic insanity that it enjoys. And well, as a child of the 80s and 90s, grimdark and edge are still part of my gamer DNA, and I don't know that modern sensibilities will ever really change that.

The fact that I enjoy it should not come as too much of a surprise to me, since I also loved his Song of Ice and Fire RPG that he did for Green Ronin. The games don't have much in common with one another, in terms of completely different focus and challenge resolution; in SIFRP you are navigating the political landscape of Westeros and spending most of your time in roleplay and intrigue, while in SotDL you start out as level zero commoners in a world on the brink of a demon invasion apocalypse.

I also find the system quite kitbashable into other things; I briefly fiddled with a Mass Effect RPG conversion over the course of a weekend, but one of those already exists using FATE. A canny traveler can still find it floating around in the archives of the internet in a post cease-and-desist world. I'm no fan of FATE, but the effort was sound before it got the hammer dropped on it. Let that be a warning to the enthusiast who uses the intellectual properties and copyrighted artwork of notoriously litigious companies. They don't care if you're doing it because you're a mega-fan, sadly.

Additional time investments of late include the Kickstarter for the Heroic Fantasy and Barbarian Conquerors handbooks for Autarch's Adventurer Conqueror King System. The teased content is rich and delightful, and though ACKS's adherence to ye olde systemes makes it challenging to rope groups into playing it, the expanded content offered by the new Kickstarter is going to be wonderful and I look forward to giving it a spin.

That's all I got for now. Since the day job is consuming most of my creative energies over the last month or so (and into the next one), it'll be a little light over here until, say, July. Not that it's been particularly busy or that I have a vast and demanding viewership or anything.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Magic of Torment

Like many, I am a huge fan of Planescape: Torment, which was recently released as an Enhanced Edition by Beamdog Studios.

Having finished my nineteenth playthrough of the game (really) with this new Enhanced Edition, which makes the game more bearable to play on modern PCs without needing to download a bunch of mods and get them working properly, I felt inspired to whip up a document that imports many of its unique spells into 5th Edition.

Playtesting is non-existent at this point, but if you ever do mess around with these, let me know what you think. Or if you see immediately bizarre formatting or balance issues. I tried to keep them in line with other spells of their level, but a few (Enoll Eva's Duplication and Tasha's Unbearable Derisive Laughter, for example) may be crazypants or not good enough.

In addition to the spells, I wrote up some flavor stuff in the front half of the document for giggles. And because I love the game. A lot. A whole lot. It's my favorite.

Hope you enjoy it. You can get it here, for free as always, as well as on the links bar.

Special thanks to Harbinger of Doom and Aryxymaraki for sanity checks and feedback. :)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Birthright Bestiary

Have another Birthright thing. I've been distracted by work and life, but managed to do this in my spare time between sessions agonizing over Ghostwalk mechanics.

I intend to expand upon it, particularly the Unique Creatures section (which at present features only a 5E conversion of the Gorgon). One of these days I may get over my hangup of using public domain art; even credited it feels like theft even if it's really not.

I may also have a serious grump-face when I see homebrew products featuring stolen artwork. There's too much of it out there. Harumph harumph.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Birthright Archetypes

I polished off and collected my first series of Birthright character options this evening and placed it up in the links bar for everyone to consume. Contained herein are the following options:

  • The Bloodline domain for clerics
  • The Knight-Errant archetype for fighters
  • The Umbral Warden archetype for rogues
  • The Mebhaighl Scholar tradition for wizards

As well as three spells usable by aforementioned spellcasters. Enjoy, feedback welcome, etc.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New Dark Sun 5E in Links Bar!

I've put together my Dark Sun homebrew stuff into the Links bar for consumption, applying some feedback I received to the finished product. I do reference that you need Volo's Guide rather than reprinting that information in the document. I doubt WotC would have a freakout in the astronomically remote chance somebody there drives by this silly blog, but better safe than sorry and reprinting it is kind of a dick move.

Enjoy, additional feedback welcome as always.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Knight-Errant

Another of my Birthright archetypes in development is the knight-errant. I wasn't too thrilled by the Purple Dragon Knight/Banneret introduced in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and wanted to try a more Cerilian-themed archetype. Playing to the systems I converted and/or created is another added bonus.

Of course, fighter archetypes tend to be pretty annoying to design. They usually end up shackled to the idea of superiority dice or act like a hybrid of other classes. I wanted something that felt like a traditional knight, even if it could also be one that isn't necessarily a landed lord. With a bit of surgery, I sliced and diced bits of the Witch Knight I made into this, reflavored accordingly.

Plus, a squire. Everybody likes squires!


The knight-errant encompasses any titled warrior with a knowledge of the upper echelons of society. As representatives of their respective regents (or themselves regents) they can take the role of questing knights, warrior-emissaries, or bodyguards to prominent nobles.

Right of Sanctuary

When this archetype is selected at 3rd level, you may request sanctuary for you and your allies when visiting the abodes of titled nobles or other influential entities. The right of sanctuary is a long-respected Cerilian tradition, though certain human cultures (particularly the Vos) do not necessarily pay it heed. Your hosts may request service of you in exchange for their hospitality, but to do so is often considered bad manners.

Sanctuary includes lodgings (though they need not be comfortable) and food (though it need not be palatable) for a period of 24 hours. While under sanctuary, you are expected to obey the rules of the host and not disrespect or dishonor them in any way. Your allies are also subject to this expectation. Breaking the right of sanctuary is a grave insult to the host and word of the knight-errant's iniquity will follow them for a period of no less than one month (unless such word is prevented), during which time no other hosts will provide sanctuary.


As a titled warrior, you gain the service of a squire. This individual accompanies you on your travels and is primarily suited to tending your gear and steed, as well as helping you into your armor each day.

Your squire is of a race and gender of your choice, and uses the ability scores and starting equipment of a Guard (do not modify ability scores for race). You replace their proficiency bonus with your own (affecting their attack rolls, skills, and saving throws accordingly), and apply your proficiency bonus to their AC and damage rolls. Their hit point maximum equals their normal maximum or four times your fighter level, whichever is higher. When you gain an ability score increase through level advancement, your squire also gains an ability score increase to be distributed to your liking. Your squire rolls for initiative like any other creature, but you determine its actions and behavior.

If your squire is slain in battle, they may be returned to life normally, or you may petition a regent for a new squire. After a period of one month traveling with you, this prospective squire gains all of the abilities granted through this feature.

Armor Specialization

At 7th level, choose one type of armor (light, medium, heavy) with which you are proficient. While wearing armor of this type, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Mandate of War

Upon reaching 10th level, the knight-errant can call for special dispensation to levy troops. When the knight-errant attempts to muster armies as part of a domain action (whether as the regent or as a lieutenant) they halve the Gold Bar cost for mustering non-mercenary units.

When attached to a unit as a commander, the knight-errant grants the unit an additional +1 bonus on battle resolution checks.

The knight-errant, and allies fighting alongside the knight-errant, gain advantage on initiative checks.

People's Champion

When the knight-errant reaches 15th level, they inspire those around them to greater heights by virtue of their deeds and skill. As a bonus action, the knight-errant may grant proficiency with any one skill in which they are trained to any ally who can see and hear them until the end of the knight-errant's next turn.

Furthermore, the knight-errant gains proficiency in any one saving throw of their choice.

Strength of Arms

An 18th level knight-errant lives and dies by the sword in the name of the quest. Whenever the knight-errant of this level successfully strikes an opponent in melee, they gain temporary hit points equal to the better of their Strength or Dexterity modifiers. If the attack is a critical hit, you gain temporary hit points equal to your fighter level.

Designer Notes

The Squire is the answer to who is taking care of the horses and helping the fighter into their full plate armor every day. You ever try to put that stuff on? You're not getting into it by yourself even if you are pretty well trained at wearing and maintaining it. Best I could ever do is a mail shirt without help, and that was back when I was ten years younger.

Don't look at me like that. I was a young nerd, you think I didn't try to put armor on whenever I got the chance at various festivals and fairs?

The Squire could be a bit of a hindrance/extra annoyance to track in combat, as it is a fairly weak combat pet. Of course, if it dies under focused assault, you probably won't be getting a new one any time soon unless your party is capable of raising the dead.

Right of Sanctuary might have some redundancy problems.

Armor Specialization seems boring and stacks with the Defense fighting style, so it may need rethinking. But then, having something not-complicated is kind of nice. I left it open in case there were Dexterity-based knight-errants that wore light or medium armor (as could be the case with Brecht or possibly Khinasi knight-errants). There's some redundant wording in there as well (of course the fighter is proficient with all armor), but it might be worth calling out in the case of multiclassed fighters.

Mandate of War is mostly there for mustering and battlefield boosts, but the initiative advantage is a solid party-wide boost. It might be too good and I might need to pare it down to just the knight-errant. In fact, I'm almost positive I will in version two.

People's Champion really only comes down to two choices: Dexterity or Wisdom. Until Wizards starts stuffing additional monsters with Intelligence and Charisma saving throw abilities, they will remain the most common saving throws (up there with Constitution, with which the fighter is already proficient).

Strength of Arms isn't as punchy as some of the other 18th level fighter archetype abilities, but by this point the knight-errant's squire is a pretty reliable damage boost on a given round, provided it's with the party.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Birthright Interlude: The Bloodline Domain and New Spells

Taking a brief break from Ghostwalk to churn out some more Birthright content that I've been tinkering with on the side. Today I present the Bloodlines cleric domain, a religious sect that can be part of any faith whose adherents attach themselves to blooded scions as advisers, chroniclers, and bodyguards. Alternately, they hunt and slay blooded individuals in accordance with their god's ethos.

Naturally, this domain only works in the Birthright setting, and most specifically with the conversion I made.

Bloodline Domain

The Bloodline domain is available to any deity of Cerilia. Its exact tenets vary from faith to faith, but those who follow this religious doctrine are sought out for their expertise in matters of lineage and inheritance. Some are scholars of the divine bloodlines, and others are holy (or unholy) champions venturing forth to battle blooded foes.

The domain's mandate means that even clerics of opposing faiths and gods will meet to share knowledge and records of the scions they meet in their travels, or catalogue the affairs of powerful blooded entities, the awnsheghlien and fabled ersheghlien.

Bloodline Domain Spells

1st - amanuensis, detect divine blood
3rd - enhance ability, zone of truth
5th - clairvoyance, tongues
7th - death ward, locate creature
9th - blood boil, legend lore

Archivist of Lineages

Your clerical order is extremely proficient in the histories and relationships of noble bloodlines and keeps a quasi-religious text with them at all times known as the Archive of Lineages. Each cleric maintains their own copy of the Archive, which contains abbreviated family trees and major historical events regarding some of Cerilia's most storied families.

It is the duty of each Archivist to catalogue the affairs of scions they encounter, and expand their copy of the Archive. If the cleric's copy of the Archive is damaged or destroyed, their first priority must be to repair the book or create a new copy to take with them on their journeys. Without it, the cleric cannot prepare any new spells.

Bonus Proficiencies

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency in History. If you are already proficient in History from another source (such as being Anuirean) you instead gain proficiency in Persuasion.

You also gain proficiency in heavy armor.


At 1st level, you possess the knowledge of how to more effectively engage blooded foes. You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against creatures with a bloodline score. Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track blooded individuals, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. Furthermore, you have advantage on saving throws against effects from a scion's blood abilities.

Channel Divinity: Blood Augment

When you reach 2nd level, you may use your Channel Divinity to boost the effects of a bloodline's power. As an action, you may choose one target within 60 feet of you that possesses a Bloodline ability score. For 1 minute, that target adds their Bloodline modifier to the result of attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws. If you are a blooded scion, and your target either lacks a Bloodline score or their Bloodline score is weaker than your own, you may instead apply your own Bloodline modifier in place of the target's modifier.

Shared Glory

Starting at 6th level, when either you or an ally within 60 feet uses a blood ability, you and all allies within 60 feet of you gain temporary hit points equal to three times the Bloodline modifier of the individual activating the ability.

Divine Strike

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with divine energy. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 radiant damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Bloodline Transference

Upon reaching 17th level, the cleric gains special powers as they relate to the ebb and flow of bloodlines. By spending at least 1 hour with the corpse of a slain scion that has been dead for no longer than 1 week, the cleric may transfer that scion's Bloodline to a new unblooded recipient. This recipient must be present for the rite, and the departed scion cannot already be divested of their divine blood by another source (such as being slain by a tighmaevril weapon). The recipient immediately gains a Bloodline score of 11 with the same derivation of the slain scion. If the slain scion's Bloodline score was less than 11, the recipient's score is equal to that value. If the dead scion is later returned to life, they will do so without their bloodline!

This does not give the recipient stewardship of the scion's holdings or provinces, though the recipient may later attempt to lay claim to them as the "blood heir" of the departed. The ceremony of investiture must still be performed to formalize the transference.

The cleric may not use this ability more than once per week. Some faiths view this as a masked form of usurpation if used irresponsibly and will react accordingly.

Designer Notes

There's a few places I see improvement needed. Bloodline Transference is an "in-the-field" version of basic investiture mechanics, but comes very late in the domain's progression and thus I didn't see this as a huge danger. It's not a combat benefit, which may make this domain lag a bit behind in raw power compared to some others.

Also, Bloodbane's damage bonus doesn't scale well as-written, so I also tinkered with it adding the cleric's Wisdom modifier to damage. It still might not be good enough, so I am considering improving it at level bands (+4 damage at 6th, +6 damage at 11th, +8 damage at 17th).

Archivist of Lineages is a pure ribbon. I loved the idea of the wandering priest with the huge tome bearing the names of every noble family tree from Anuire to Vosgaard and having the sacred duty of chronicling every offspring, legitimate or otherwise. Whole adventures could arise from the need to learn the truth about a given regent's progeny, or urging (after first finding) a bastard scion to take up the mantle of rulership to vanquish a corrupt parent.

New Spells

These were made to support the above domain. There's also like a thousand versions of amanuensis out there. Mine's probably too stingy for a first level slot, so I'm leaning towards increasing its duration to an hour, adding it to the wizard spell list, and making it a ritual.


1st-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a quill with a silver point worth at least 10 gp, plus adequate parchment or paper to complete the copy)
Duration: 10 minutes

By means of this spell, you may copy written texts from any non-magical book, parchment, or other written medium. The quill that is the component of this spell animates and rapidly transcribes the text as a perfect copy of the original over the course of the duration, completing one page per minute (up to ten pages per casting of the spell).

The spell cannot copy diagrams or illustrations, nor can it transcribe magical texts, duplicate spell scrolls, or create glyphs of warding. Where such banned items occur, only a blank space will be revealed in the copy.

Blood Boil

5th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (a small vial of snake venom)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

This spell, created as a bane to blooded scions and awnsheghlien everywhere, ravages the body and cripples the victim's divinely-gifted abilities. Choose a target that you can see within range that is not undead. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or suffer 5d6 points of fire damage and 5d6 points of poison damage as their blood becomes a burning toxin within their veins. If the target is a blooded scion, the damage is increased to 5d8 fire and 5d8 poison.

On the initial round that the damage is suffered, the victim cannot activate any blood abilities or use powers related to their divine heritage. At the end of each of its turns, for as long as you concentrate, the victim can attempt another Constitution saving throw to end the secondary effect.

Detect Divine Blood

1st-level divination (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

For the duration, you sense the presence and location of individuals possessing a bloodline within 30 feet of you. If you sense a bloodline in this way, you may use your action to pinpoint individuals with a bloodline of any strength, determining its derivation and relative strength (tainted, minor, major, great, true).

The spell can penetrate most barriers, but it is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet or wood or dirt.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ghostwalk is Hard, Y'all.

Converting this is a bear. Many of its conceits are mired in the systemic chassis of 3rd Edition and it's been difficult to extricate the bits I need from the setting and keep them remotely familiar.

I've had some successes. I think the basic idea of the Eidolon class is solid enough, though its abilities need significant work. I wanted to talk more about other bits I've changed over into 5th Edition.

What is a Ghost?

Unlike the standard ghost monsters, Ghostwalk ghosts are not completely undead, but certainly not among the living. When someone refers to a ghost in Manifest, they do not mean a shrieking spirit of the damned that withers all who behold it -- such creatures are unknown in Manifest, though undead such as wraiths and specters still haunt defiled burial grounds.

Rather, ghosts of Ghostwalk are a unique manifestation of the deceased's will to carry on. For reasons unknown, only the souls of humanoids can endure in this fashion; monsters, outsiders, and dragons are not governed by this cosmological law, and their souls either immediately depart this world or are part of their physical remains.

So You're Dead. Now What?

A ghost is considered a humanoid of its corresponding type, though it also gains the ghost descriptor. Certain feats, spells, and creatures have special effects on ghosts, or can only be used while you are a ghost. Ghosts obviously do not age, do not require food and drink to survive, and are immune to diseases.

A ghost does not necessarily need to sleep during a long rest though they may willingly enter a sort of torpor. However, every ghost has a compulsion they must satisfy during this period of time. Some may need to listen to a particular tune, behold a certain sight or person, indulge physical pleasures such as eating or drinking while fully-manifested, or haunt a particular location. A ghost that fails to do this at least once a week risks succumbing to the Calling, which drags them to the True Afterlife.

A ghost exists in one of three states: ethereal, incorporeal, and fully-manifested. They may transition through one or more of these states as they adventure or are affected by certain magic.

An ethereal ghost is formless and invisible to all but ethereal creatures or those with magic to see into or transpose themselves onto the Ethereal Plane. Ethereal ghosts can pass through unwarded solid objects, but cannot harm or be harmed by creatures on the Material Plane. Ethereal ghosts cannot wear or use physical equipment unless it is present on the Ethereal Plane or possesses the ghost touch quality.

An incorporeal ghost is weak in both realms, and is considered in a state of flux. Incorporeal ghosts can pass through objects as though they were difficult terrain, and has resistance against damage from sources on the Material Plane. However, all creatures save other partially-manifested ghosts have resistance against damage from an incorporeal ghost. Inorporeal ghosts cannot wear or use physical equipment unless it is present on the Ethereal Plane or possesses the ghost touch quality.

A fully-manifested ghost is, for all intents and purposes, completely on the Material Plane. They suffer and deal full damage to creatures, though their appearance is still clearly that of a ghost -- slightly translucent flesh, a haunting gaze, and possibly the physical marks of their death.

While within the Manifest Ward, all ghosts are forced into a fully-manifested state. Some spells, magic items, or feats used outside of the Ward may temporarily duplicate this effect. Outside of the Ward, which extends above and below the surface of the city of Manifest as well as outward toward the ring of trees at its periphery, a ghost cannot willingly become fully-manifested without aforementioned magical aid.

The Ethereal Current and the Veil of Souls

When a humanoid dies, their soul appears on the Ethereal Plane a short time after (around ten minutes, if you require a specific time frame). Their soul is carried along a flow of otherworldly mist known as the Ethereal Current -- resisting this pull is possible, though most departed souls either lack the will or desire to do so.

These currents flow like a river toward Manifest and the entrance to the Land of the Dead. The Veil of Souls is a metaphysical barrier, and upon reaching it the soul can choose to remain on the Material Plane or pass into the True Afterlife -- a realm from which only resurrection magic can extract them.

Death and Resurrection

The cosmological proximity of the next world in relation to Manifest means that the rules of resurrection are somewhat more lax. Oft times, the cost of securing the services of a priest or druid capable of raising the dead is exorbitant, compounded by the expensive material components.

While within the boundaries of the Manifest Ward, the material component costs of spells such as raise dead, resurrection, and true resurrection are annulled when used on individuals in a ghost state. It is a relatively simple affair to raise the dead here, provided a spellcaster powerful enough can be located. For this reason, those with the power often do not advertise such; they would quickly find themselves overwhelmed with petitioners begging for loved ones to be returned to them, and not every deity smiles kindly on constant prayers to upset the natural order of life and death (however peculiar it may be in Manifest).

A ghost can be injured and driven to a state of "true death." When a ghost is killed, their soul immediately departs for the True Afterlife as though they succumbed to the calling, and must be raised from the dead via magic.

The Calling

The Calling is the need for the departed to gravitate toward the True Afterlife. Even ghosts with a strong will can find themselves yearning to venture to the beyond.

Certain spells or effects in the world may trigger the Calling, as well as a ghost failing to satisfy its compulsion after a period of one week. When such a situation occurs, the ghost must make a Charisma saving throw with a DC equal to 10 + its current level of the Calling or advance one further step on the track.

You reduce your level on the Calling track by one after completing a long rest while satisfying your compulsion, being subjected to certain restorative magic, or completing a task that cements your grasp on the Material Plane such as vanquishing a powerful foe.

The Calling Track

  1. You can no longer grasp objects given to you from this point on, and they pass straight through your body when you try to grab them. This does not affect equipment you are already carrying or wearing, or attacks meant to cause you harm.
  2. Your will wavers as you struggle to fend off the Calling, and you suffer disadvantage on all Wisdom saving throws.
  3. The Calling forces you into a partially-manifested state if you are fully-manifested. You can no longer fully manifest.
  4. As you fall deeper under the sway of the Calling, you become closer to a state of undeath. You may be turned or commanded by clerics, and are vulnerable to radiant damage.
  5. The Calling weakens your grasp on the world even further, forcing you into an incorporeal state. You can no longer partially or fully manifest in the Material Plane.
  6. You are drawn to the True Afterlife, no longer able to resist the Calling.

Elves and the True Afterlife
Unlike most humanoids, the souls of elves and half-elves that submit to the Calling or do not choose to become ghosts meld with one of the spirit trees surrounding the city of Manifest. This does not affect the ability to later raise the elf from the dead, but elves may not want to return to life after achieving such a state of oneness with the souls of their people.

Ghost Appearances

When a ghost appears on the Ethereal Plane after its death, it looks much like its corpse at the moment of its death. Depending on the circumstances, the appearance of a ghost can be merely unsettling or completely horrifying. This appearance persists across different states of manifestation; there is no way to repair any apparent damage, nor does this result in a loss of hit points for the ghost while they exist on the Material Plane. Any severe damage, such as the loss of a limb, may impair the ghost in significant ways.

Should the cause of death not bear hallmarks of severe trauma, such as death by natural causes, a heart attack, or spells that kill the target with psychic damage, the ghost does not suffer any inconveniences aside from being dead.

Most adventurers, however, tend to die due to terrible injuries such as sword wounds and magical spells. When attempting Charisma skill checks using Deception, Performance, or Persuasion on creatures not used to dealing with ghosts, you suffer disadvantage on the roll.

The most unfortunate ghosts are those that suffer grievous and terrible deaths from massive weapons, being devoured by dragons or other monsters, being consumed by fireballs or dissolved by acid, or dying due to aggressive flesh-consuming diseases. Even to those citizens of Manifest that deal with ghosts on a daily basis, beholding one of these poor souls causes instant revulsion. You suffer disadvantage on all Charisma skill checks made to positively influence creatures, though you have advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. It is advisable for such a ghost to hide their features when possible so as to avoid creating public disturbances.

What Next?

Obviously this is all just converted material. I need to determine the degree of awfulness surrounding the level-swapping mechanic from the Life Epiphany (that is, when you are dead, you only gain levels as eidolon or eidoloncer, and when raised you can trade out levels for another class that is not one of those two). It has the potential to bog down play a lot unless you bank XP rewards when players take downtime.

I also need to do some minor setting stuff like giving Ghostwalk's pantheon of deities appropriate domain selections. The eidolon and eidoloncer obviously need to be completed and polished up.

I backed off of creating new demihuman subraces. I feel like there are so many of those out there now that adding more for this setting would be superfluous. Even in Birthright I felt like I could justify it, but here I don't feel like it's needed after some consideration.

As always, I like feedback and constructive criticism. I haven't done anything risky here yet, just converted known quantities.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Ghostwalk Eidolon Class, First Draft

I wanted to toss this up here for feedback as I work on the Ghostwalk stuff. The 3E eidolon was one of two classes that ghosts could gain levels in, and I am currently carrying that conceit forward. It was a very barebones class with no proficiencies, no powers, no anything; just a bunch of ghost feats every other level.

Instead of doing that, I am giving it a somewhat more practical advancement track. I've created a form of currency, motes of ectoplasm, to power its abilities. Three of the six ghost paths from Ghostwalk (corruptor, poltergeist, and traveler) are going to be the archetypes for the eidolon. The eidoloncer, the caster-variant of ghosts, will use the other three (dominator, haunt, shaper).

The Path of the Corruptor is mostly done, and is an offensive-focused fighter-alike for ghosts; it will be posted as part of today's entry. Poltergeist will be something of a ranged fighter that animates objects to attack people, and traveler will be more rogue-like and evasive. Dominator possesses the bodies of enemies and uses them like puppets. Haunt is... something. I don't know yet. Shaper does funky stuff with ectoplasm to heal, harm, and create temporary ghost-themed magic items for party consumption.

Anyway, eidolon is below. It's still something of a mish-mash of themes, I find myself struggling to give it a single cohesive set of powers that all feel like they belong together. In particular, Wave of Wrath feels wrong and I will almost certainly replace it.

Needs work overall. Not quite happy with it.


Eidolons are the most common form of ghosts, consisting of those spirits who possessed a martial or otherwise physical bent in life. While they do not possess many overt physical characteristics compared to their living counterparts, eidolons choose a path that defines whether they are a violent ravager of the physical world, a manipulator and possessor of objects, or a fleeting spirit that is hard to pin down.

Class Features

As an eidolon, you gain the following class features:

Hit Points

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


Armor: None
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Persuasion, and Religion

The Eidolon

LevelProficiency BonusMotes of EctoplasmFeatures
121Force of Presence, Ghost Path, Viscous Ectoplasm
221Ectoplasmic Weapon
322Ghost Sight
422Ability Score Improvement
532Extra Attack
733Ghost Fade
833Ability Score Improvement
1044Path Feature
1144Wave of Wrath
1245Ability Score Improvement
1355Path Feature
1455Terrifying Reaping
1656Ability Score Improvement
1766Path Feature
1967Ability Score Improvement
2067Rise Again

Force of Presence

While not wearing armor, your Armor Class is equal to 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Charisma modifier. You can benefit from the use of a shield.

Ghost Path

At 1st level, you choose your Ghost Path from among the Path of the Corruptor, Path of the Poltergeist, and Path of the Traveler.

Viscous Ectoplasm

Your body is comprised of ectoplasm, which is both a measure of your metaphysical resilience and a source of your ghostly powers. Beginning at 1st level, you can create 1 *mote of ectoplasm* to power your special abilities. You gain additional motes of ectoplasm as you gain levels in this class. You regain all expended motes of ectoplasm after completing a long or short rest.

You can expend 1 mote of ectoplasm to add your Charisma modifier to the damage of any successful melee or ranged weapon attack you make.

Ectoplasmic Weapon

At 2nd level, you may extrude a portion of your ectoplasm to create a single one or two-handed melee weapon. You expend 1 mote of ectoplasm and use your action to create this weapon. The weapon is considered to have the *ghost touch* quality. The weapon disappears if you drop it or attempt to give the weapon to another creature. You can maintain this weapon on your person for up to 8 hours so long as it is gripped in your hand or visibly "sheathed" somewhere on your body.

When you reach 6th level, your ectoplasmic weapon is considered magical for the purposes of striking creatures with immunity or resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage.

Ghost Sight

Beginning at 3rd level, gain darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If your race already possesses darkvision, you increase the range of your existing darkvision by 30 feet. You can expend 1 mote of ectoplasm as a bonus action to gain blindsight out to a range of 10 feet until the end of your next turn.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2 or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Ghost Fade

When you reach 7th level, you may expend 1 mote of ectoplasm and use your bonus action to become *invisible* until the end of your next turn, or until you make an attack or cast a spell.

Wave of Wrath

Upon reaching 11th level, you may expend 2 motes of ectoplasm and use your action to become a wave of violent ectoplasm. You choose one unoccupied location that you can see within 60 feet of you and draw a line between your current position and the desired location. All creatures in the line of effect must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or suffer 8d6 damage as you sheer through their bodies with ghostly fury. You may choose for this damage to be either psychic or necrotic.

A creature that succeeds on their saving throw suffers only half damage. You teleport to the location at the end of the line of effect as part of the wave. This movement does not trigger opportunity attacks.

Terrifying Reaping

Beginning at 14th level, you may expend 1 mote of ectoplasm whenever you reduce a creature to zero hit points to devour a portion of its escaping soul. You immediately gain temporary hit points equal to your eidolon level, and all hostile creatures within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened until the end of your next turn.

Rise Again

An eidolon of 20th level resists the Calling even when they should rightfully be destroyed. Whenever you are reduced to zero hit points by any source of damage, you can expend 1 mote of ectoplasm to immediately regain hit points equal to your level. You gain one level of exhaustion.

Path of the Corruptor

Corruptors are wrathful ghosts, filled with anger at their state of being and capable of wreaking havoc with ghostly weaponry formed from their own bodies. Though they are primarily focused on offense, they possess a small number of abilities to give them greater staying power, so long as they properly manage their ectoplasm.

Resilient Corpus

When you select this path at 1st level, your hit point maximum increases by 1 and increases by 1 again whenever you gain a level in this class. You are proficient in the use of shields.

Leeching Strike

When you reach 10th level, you can expend 1 mote of ectoplasm when you strike a creature with a melee weapon attack in order to restore 3d6 hit points. If this attack is made with your ectoplasmic weapon, you regain additional hit points equal to your Charisma modifier.

Corrupting Touch

At 13th level, whenever you strike a creature a melee weapon attack, you can expend 1 mote of ectoplasm to inflict 3d6 additional necrotic damage. If this attack is made with your ectoplasmic weapon, you increase the damage dealt to 3d8.

Violent Retribution

Upon reaching 17th level, you can expend 1 mote of ectoplasm as a reaction when you are struck by a melee, ranged, or spell attack. You gain resistance against the damage inflicted by the attack, and the damage that you resisted is dealt to each creatures adjacent to you as psychic damage or necrotic damage, at your option.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ghostwalk Preview: The Lichebound Dragonborn

Been a couple weeks! Still hard at work on this, but wanted to give a taste of one of the custom elements I've added to the conversion. I present to you the first draft of the lichebound dragonborn (the "liche" spelling deliberate due to standards established in the Ghostwalk campaign setting).

Dragonborn, Lichebound

During the terrible Liche War that laid low the island nation of Inuitea around 100 years ago, the wicked Xaphan and his Cult of Neistra'demos came upon the ancient silver dragon Amrost and her devoted progeny, the dragonborn. Unknown outside of this enclave, the dragonborn had few allies to call upon and were quickly overwhelmed by Xaphan's undead legions. Rather than slaughter the dragonborn wholesale and animate them as mere skeletal or zombified troops, the exarch of Neistra'demos had another fate in mind.

Amrost was made to undergo the vile rites of the dracolich in order to spare the lives of her dragonborn. The once-glorious silver dragon became a terrible undead monster under Xaphan's control, with the dragonborn's mystical bond to their matron intact. Instead of troops of rotting flesh and cracked bone, Xaphan manipulated the dragonborn to serve in his armies as elite shock troops with icy breath weapons and impressive brute strength.

Proximity to the terrible necrotic magics used by Xaphan, as well as their connection to Amrost, slowly turned the shining scales of these dragonborn to a dull grave-gray, and their golden eyes into hollow yellow pits. Though not undead themselves, the dragonborn were tainted by it forever, and when Amrost was slain by mortal champions, the lichebound dragonborn were left without a home, without a master, and without hope.

Though few of them remain, the last lichebound dragonborn are tragic souls wandering a world that fears them for crimes not of their making. They can be found in Manifest from time to time, researching ways to reach across to whatever afterlife dragons go to and bring Amrost back to the world. Others have given in completely to despair, becoming necromancers themselves. As they are humanoid, dragonborn can indeed become ghosts.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Age. The only living lichebound dragonborn are well over 100 years old. They have no known upper age limit.
Size. Lichebound dragonborn are tall, but gaunt. You stand anywhere between 6 to 7 feet in height and weigh around 200 pounds.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Necrotic Breath. You can exhale a 15 foot cone of necrotic vapor. Creatures in the area of effect must make a saving throw with a DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. A creature takes 2d6 necrotic damage on a failed save, and half as much damage on a successful save. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level.
Necrotic Resistance. You are resistant to necrotic damage.
Inured to Undeath. You have advantage on saving throws against effects originating from undead that cause the frightened condition, or which reduce your maximum hit points (such as the enervating touch of a wraith).
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Draconic.

They are pretty similar to existing dragonborn, but themed around undeath due to their history. Though necrotic damage is a relatively common energy type used against players, it is either partially or completely useless against a common enemy of player characters (the undead, of course). The resistance was thus good, but the breath weapon only occasionally so.

Thus, I felt it prudent to give them an extra trick, Inured to Undeath. It might not be good enough, but I'll build on it as I continue my work.

Other races to be added include the deathwarden dwarf subrace (the clan that lives beneath Manifest), the spirit elves (who protect and live near to the Spirit Wood), and an attempt to update the vryloka from late 4E.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ghostwalk and Fifth Edition

The Ghostwalk Campaign Setting Book from the 3E era

Because I'm a slug with immense self-doubts -- but an excellent cook, mind you -- I tend to focus my efforts here on converting old stuff. One day I'll work up the courage to put my own settings and creations up here.

Today is not that day. Today you get some of my meanderings regarding my next project: converting the Ghostwalk systems for 5E. You can find its 3E version here on the DM's Guild.

I really like "city of adventure" style settings, and this one is among my favorites from the 3E era. Designed to be a place you could drop into any world, the city of Manifest lingers close to the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead. As people go about their day to day lives, they share the streets with ghosts. Now, this makes it a bit hard to just deposit over that unexplored hill in your homebrew; the very nature of the place's inhabitants and its inferred cosmological implications probably require some forethought. The people of the world have to come to terms that there are ghosts walking around a city where there is a legit portal to the land of the dead, and you can go meet your dead relatives for a pint at one of the city's bars.

Due to a magical contrivance known as the Manifest Ward, ghosts can only become physical and actually interact with stuff while within the city. Otherwise, they are either fully or partially in the Ethereal Plane and can't do much of anything related to the real world while there. It's probably not a lonely experience; ghosts are swept along Ethereal Currents until they reach a place called the Veil of Souls, where they can either pass along to the afterlife or linger. One is bound to meet a lot of other ghosts adrift in the current or preyed upon by hostile entities that eat ghosts.

Now, these aren't the ghosts from the Monster Manual. In fact, the setting discourages the use of those ghosts to avoid confusion (wraiths, specters, et al. are all fair game though). Ghosts in the Ghostwalk campaign are only kind of undead and they are designed to be used as PCs. This comes with some caveats and implications for the rules.

  • Ghostwalk ghosts aren't undead. They're kind of in this gray area, but for game balance purposes, they are still humanoids of their respective race.
  • Pursuant to that, only humanoids can become ghosts. Other creatures either have too-simple a spirit (beasts) or lack the supernatural quality that allows their souls to linger (most everything else).
  • Ghost characters don't need to breathe or eat. They always have a ghost trait that defines something about their personality, and usually takes the form of a compulsion or outright obsession (such as listening to music, eating food despite not needing to, watching a particular person or place, or lurking around a building).
  • Ghosts that are fully-manifested in the city are physical, have mass and weight, and can be punched back to death.
  • In 3E, ghosts had to plan their advancement very carefully, as they could only advance in the eidolon and eidoloncer classes. If you were ever restored to life, you could convert levels around. This gets weird as hell in 5E and means you need to perform tons of maintenance to your character as you die, adventure as a ghost, come back, etc. There were options to ignore this rule, but they introduced other complications that I won't go into here.

There's a lot to work with in this setting, but also a lot of landmines. As I work on this project, I need to consider what's tenable around the average gaming table. Should I expect this to be an "advanced" setting and system where only people who have good gameplay knowledge can really enjoy the experience? I don't much like that idea, as it creates the potential for the curse of knowledge to strike between the DM and some players.

Regardless, I'm going to need to figure out what to do with the two ghost classes and how leveling, dying, coming back, switching levels works -- if it will work the same way at all.

Once all this work is done, I'll mash it all together and chuck it up on that links bar at the top for people to use, or not, as they see fit. For now, I've got a lot of reading and brainstorming to do.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Radiant Sorcerer Bloodline and Defiling Homebrew Rules

Today should be pretty brief, just an air-drop of a few ideas for some stuff that was brewing in my head over my lunch hour at the code mines today. First is a sorcerer bloodline for Dark Sun, specifically individuals imbued by the destructive power of the sun itself.

Radiant Sorcery 

At 1st level, you are enveloped in a glow whenever you cast a spell from the sorcerer spell list. You become the source of bright light out to 30 feet and dim light for an additional 30 feet until the beginning of your next turn. You can spend 1 sorcery point to cause the corona to flare out, dealing your Charisma modifier in fire or radiant damage to enemies within 5 feet of you.

Sun-Basking Vigor
The heat and blinding rays of the Dark Sun cause you no discomfort and, in fact, are a boon to you. At 1st level, you can regain 1d4 sorcery points by taking short rests in broad daylight, and do not suffer discomfort from the heat of the day. You must still hydrate properly and can be affected by other sources of heat normally.

Radiant Assault
Upon reaching 6th level, when you cast a spell that deals damage to an enemy, you may convert the damage it deals to fire or radiant.

Solar Flare
When you achieve 14th level, your corona becomes far more dangerous and all-consuming. When you use the flare effect of your corona bloodline feature, the range is increased to 15 feet. You also gain resistance to fire and radiant damage.

Once you reach 18th level, you become a vessel for the destructive power of the Dark Sun. By expending 5 sorcery points, you transform into a being of radiance and flame. You are enveloped in an aura of licking flames and searing radiance that deals your sorcerer level in damage to all creatures within 20 feet of you when they start their turn within the aura. Half of this damage is fire, and half is radiant; round fractions in favor of radiant. Flammable objects within the aura catch fire. This aura lasts for 1 minute or until you suppress it as a bonus action.

The bloodline is pretty straightforward and offense-focused. I'm not even entirely sure it's any good, but I'm not convinced it's bad either. Maybe just boring. I'll noodle on it.

Next is the end result of a lot of consideration regarding defiling, but before I post it, I want to talk about the thought process. Defilers are the reason people fear users of arcane magic in the Dark Sun world (though most probably wouldn't know the difference between a cleric spell or a wizard spell). They are persecuted in most civilized territories, subject to either the laws of the sorcerer-kings or torn apart by angry mobs. Everyone knows defilers are bad news, even the good ones; their magic destroys fertile land and kills plant life, and with how hardscrabble life can be on Athas as it is, it's kind of a dick move to make things even worse.

At first, since 2E defilers and preservers were distinct wizard sub-classes, I thought about making the only wizard traditions Defiler and Preserver. But then, the game's gotten a lot more diverse since then; we have arcane tricksters, eldritch knights, bards, sorcerers, and warlocks that are also casters of "arcane" magic (though that distinction is iffy in a post-3E and 4E world). It would have also meant cutting out the existing wizard traditions, which sucks and reduces player options.

So I then tried to come up with rules for defiling and preserving options when a spell is cast. I didn't like having two choices players had to make any time they cast a spell and magnifying the already complicated nature of playing a caster in D&D -- 5E has made it easier than other Vancian-based D&D editions, but that doesn't mean I should regress just for the sake of it.

2E defilers had a much more forgiving experience table similar to the cleric. They leveled up way faster than the preserver did -- the dark side is the quick and easy path to power, right? There isn't a concept of that in later editions due to a single experience table for all classes, and it would be a bitter pill to swallow around the table to say, "Okay, defiler player, you get 10% more experience because you're an asshole."

But defiling also had to be a desirable course of action for people, since it brought power at the cost of destruction to the surroundings. Thus, I opted for this implementation.

Preserving and Defiling

Whenever you cast a spell from the arcane trickster, bard, eldritch knight, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard spell list, you may choose to wrench energy from the ambient plant life around you to fuel its power and restore vigor in the process. To defile, you must be in a region with some measure of plant life. A completely barren desert or salt flat has insufficient life to fuel a defiling attempt. 

For each level of the spell you cast, you destroy a 5 foot radius of plant life to empower the spell (thus, a 5th level spell destroys a 25 foot radius of plant life around the caster) if the territory is fertile. If the territory has only sparse vegetation, you double the radius of the defilement. 

When you defile, you can perform one of the following effects in conjunction with the casting of the spell. 

1. You regain a number of hit points equal to the level of the spell you cast (if you boost a spell using a higher level slot, you regain proportionally more hit points). 
2. You cause the victim(s) of the spell to suffer disadvantage on appropriate saving throws. 
3. You double the duration of the spell, for spells that have a duration. 

The act of defiling is abhorrent in the eyes of most people. By doing so, the ground is rendered infertile and dead for months if not years at a time, and it will almost assuredly make witnesses hostile if they have a stake in the wellness of the land. In the city-states of the sorcerer kings, it is wise to hide the fact that one can cast magic at all if one is not a cleric or druid -- most people do not know the difference between a preserver and a defiler.

It's now something you're always tempted to do if you need that extra boost, but comes at the cost of potentially making an enemy out of everyone around to witness it. The third effect probably needs a more-thorough review; there's probably a spell I'm not taking into account from my mental storage of 5E spells that would break under these circumstances.

Anyway, I think that wraps up the bare necessities to get a 5E Dark Sun game off the ground (I touched on wild talents in a previous entry though I may revisit them). I've already got a crew scheduled to start it at the beginning of March. Should be fun times!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Links Bar, plus Witch Knight Fighter Archetype

In case anyone was curious about that new links bar above, it's a quick way to get to my conversion and homebrew projects as they get finalized. I've also updated my old Black Knight fighter archetype, which is renamed Witch Knight; that link is up there too. Pact of the Aegis got a buff, and  Pact of the Brand saw some updates to clean up verbiage and make it a little more like the recent UA Revised Ranger as it pertains to a "pet class" archetype.

There are still some general problems with hybrid spellcasters, but they are beyond the scope of that archetype. I might revisit its spell progression; fractional values get weird at certain tiers, making the progression look weirder than it could be.

That's all! Back to Dark Sun stuff next time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Taking a Stab at a 5E Warlord

I've probably mentioned it before, but warlord was my favorite class in 4E D&D. I liked the idea of a non-magical healer that kept their allies up through inspirational commands and boosted combat effectiveness with cunning tactics.

No discussion of this method of healing is complete without a further discussion about what hit points represent. D&D itself recognizes that they are an abstraction, not necessarily representing actual physical injury but a combination of luck, skill, and toughness. No one is going to heal a laceration by shouting at it (I mean, unless you're some kind of bard), so the warlord concept chafed some folks I knew strictly because it was "healing" you by giving commands.

I like the battle master fighter, don't get me wrong, but it is too focused on how awesome the fighter is and not on how awesome their team is as a combined force. The battle master doesn't hit the same warlord notes that I'd like to hear.

There have already been a couple of attempts at converting the warlord to 5E by various people, but I wanted to take a crack at it. It is based on the fighter chassis and makes use of the 4E concept of hit dice as healing surges. Special thanks go to various colleagues and gaming cohorts who helped provide feedback; there's a bunch of you and you know who you are.


The battlefield commander, the knight-captain, and the cunning warrior chieftain; these are all tactical geniuses with a talent for leadership. Where the fighter focuses on personal combat, the warlord specializes in supporting their allies and turning the conditions of the battlefield to their advantage.

While they may lack the offensive capabilities of their counterparts in similar classes, the warlord has a strong array of support abilities that improve the overall combat effectiveness of their team. Warlords coordinate battle plans with their allies during adventure downtimes and adjust to circumstances as they arise, but can also serve as the face and voice of their company.

Class Features

As a warlord, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per warlord level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per warlord level after 1st


Armor: Light and medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from among Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, Persuasion.


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor, longbow, and 20 arrows
  • (a) a one-handed martial weapon and shield or (b) a two-handed martial weapon
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) two javelins
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Proficiency Bonus
Battle Plans
Fighting Style, Rally the Wounded (1 hit die)
Martial Discipline
Ability Score Increase
Extra Attack, Rally the Wounded (2 hit dice)
Battle Plan
Martial Discipline feature
Ability Score Increase
Alternative Strategy
Battle Plan
Rally the Wounded (3 hit dice)
Ability Score Increase
Martial Discipline feature
Overcome the Odds
Battle Plan
Ability Score Increase
Rally the Wounded (4 hit dice)
Martial Discipline feature
Ability Score Increase
Dogs of War

Battle Plans

You can enact battle plans for you and your allies to enhance your combat effectiveness. After completing a short or long rest, you select one battle plan that you know and maintain its effects until you either abandon the battle plan as a bonus action on your turn or complete a short or long rest. If a battle plan is abandoned, you cannot immediately select a new one unless you possess the Alternative Strategy feature.

For your allies to benefit from the effects of your battle plan, they must be able to see or hear you, you cannot be dead, incapacitated, or unconscious, and they must be able to understand at least one language you speak. If a new ally joins your group, you must spend at least 1 minute going over your current battle plan in order for them to benefit from its effects. You can only grant the effects of your battle plan on up to ten creatures (not including the warlord).

When you gain this feature, you select two battle plans that you know. You learn a new battle plan at 6th, 10th, and 15th level.

Act as One. When rolling for initiative, every ally uses your initiative result to determine when they act in the round. You may add your Charisma modifier to your initiative rolls while this plan is active. When you or an ally perform the Help action in a combat situation, add your Charisma modifier to the result of any die rolls made.

Cavalry Charge. While mounted, you and your allies have advantage on melee attacks made after moving at least half the speed of the mount.

Defensive Hedge. Any ally with one or more allies adjacent to them gains a +1 bonus to AC. This bonus increases to +2 at 11th level.

Flush Out. With this battle plan, the warlord and their allies can make ranged attacks with the intent of moving intended prey out of cover. Make the ranged attack roll as normal. If this attack hits, the target must succeed on a Wisdom save with a DC equal to 8 plus the warlord’s proficiency bonus plus the warlord’s Charisma modifier or be moved five feet in any direction the attacker chooses.

Formation Fighting. While this battle plan is active, allies gain the warlord’s Charisma modifier as a bonus to melee and ranged weapon attack rolls while standing adjacent to other allies.

Girded Stave Stratagem. When you or an affected ally casts a spell while adjacent to a character taking part in your battle plan, melee attacks against the caster suffer disadvantage until the beginning of their next turn.

Outmaneuver. Allies may move up to 5 feet whenever they successfully hit a target in melee. This movement does not count against their speed for the round, and does not provoke opportunity attacks.

Skirmish. When you or affected allies are not adjacent to any creatures at the start of your turn, you gain a 5 foot bonus to your speed. This bonus increases to 10 feet at 11th level.

Tactical Withdrawal. While this plan is active, the warlord and any allies can use Disengage as a bonus action so long as at least one ally is within 10 feet of them at the time they take the action.

Rally the Wounded

Beginning at 2nd level, you can use your action to help get an adjacent injured ally back in the fight. They may immediately expend one hit die plus their Constitution modifier to recover as though they were completing a short rest.

At 5th level, the ally may expend two hit dice and add their Constitution modifier to each. At 11th level, the ally may use three hit dice with Constitution modifier to each, and at 17th level they may use four hit dice with four times the Constitution modifier.

If your ally cannot understand you or you are unable to speak or signal to them in a way they understand (such as the ally being unconscious), this healing is only half as effective; tally the results and cut them in half, rounding down as necessary.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to half your level plus your Charisma modifier. You regain all uses of this feature after completing a long rest.

Fighting Style

At 2nd level, you adopt a style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

  • Defense
  • Dueling
  • Great Weapon Fighting
  • Protection

I tend to house rule it so any class that gets fighting styles can pick any one they want, so that it is not just fighters that get them all. I don't think it's such a key part of the fighter's repertoire to have exclusive access to some styles, and hell, I might want to play an archery-focused paladin one day.

Martial Discipline

At 3rd level, you select a discipline that reflects your attitude in command situations. The discipline you choose grants you features at 7th, 13th, and 18th levels.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Alternative Strategy

Upon reaching 9th level, you can enact the effects of a second battle plan that you know when you use your bonus action to end the effects of your current battle plan. Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.

Overcome the Odds

Beginning at 14th level, the warlord emboldens their comrades in arms with their mere presence. As an action, the warlord may allow any single ally within 30 feet who can see or hear them the opportunity to roll a saving throw to end any impairing effect, such as the charmed or poisoned conditions, or a hold person spell. The ally has advantage on this saving throw. You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, and you regain all uses upon completing a short or long rest.

Dogs of War

At 20th level, the warlord and their allies become a peerless fighting force. As a bonus action, the warlord can let slip the dogs of war to grant the following bonuses to up to ten allies they can see, provided those allies can see and hear the warlord. These effects last for 1 minute, and once this feature has been used, it cannot be used again until the warlord completes a short or long rest.

  • Allies may use their reaction to gain resistance against damage they suffer from a single source, provided they are not already benefiting from resistance to that damage type.
  • Allies may use their reaction to move up to half their speed whenever they or an ally receives damage.
  • The warlord gains advantage on attack rolls made against targets with at least one ally adjacent to it.


Savage barbarian chieftains may lead through raw power and fear, but the conqueror understands that it is spirit, not brute force, that wins the day. Though they tend towards violence as their first course of action, conquerors realize that superior tactics can overcome even the most powerful enemies.

Unchecked Aggression

Upon selecting this discipline, the warlord is considered proficient and doubles their proficiency bonus when using the Charisma (Intimidation) skill to influence hostile creatures. The warlord also has advantage on attack rolls against surprised opponents.

Coordinated Onslaught

When the warlord selects this discipline at 3rd level, they may use their bonus action to designate an ally to support in battle. This ally gains the warlord’s Charisma modifier as a bonus to damage they deal with melee, ranged, or spell attacks. The ally must be able to see or hear the warlord at the time the attack roll is made in order to benefit from this feature.

The warlord may designate a new ally on their turn with a bonus action. Only one ally may be supported at a time.


Upon reaching 7th level, the warlord may use their bonus action to mark a single foe that they can see. If the target is reduced to zero hit points, the warlord and all allies within 30 feet of the target gain temporary hit points equal to one half the warlord’s level plus the warlord’s Charisma modifier.

The warlord may use their bonus action to mark a different target on any turn, and can only have one mark active at a time.

Grounding the Dragon

At 13th level, the warlord can enact a cunning strategy to immobilize opponents. When an ally strikes a creature that the warlord can see or hear, the warlord may use their reaction to make a single melee or ranged weapon attack against the same creature. If this attack hits, the creature is restrained until the beginning of the warlord’s next turn.

Unstoppable Horde

When the warlord achieves 18th level, the thrill of battle invigorates their warband at the onset of each engagement. When the warlord rolls initiative, they and up to ten allies who can see or hear the warlord may expend up to three of their hit dice, adding their Constitution modifier to each, and regain hit points equal to the result.


The axiom that no plan survives contact with the enemy rings true for the factotum. Some warlords that follow this discipline are begrudgingly forced into their military roles, or have a disrespect for conventional schools of thought as they relate to tactics. Through force of personality and no small degree of improvisation, they chaotically direct their warbands to victory.

Auxiliary Tactics

Upon selecting this archetype at 3rd level, the warlord may use their action to grant the benefits of a second battle plan they know to allies until the beginning of their next turn. Once this feature is used, it cannot be used again until the warlord completes a short rest.

Seize the Initiative

After reaching 7th level, the warlord learns to spur their allies into a rapid onslaught against surprised or unready opponents. On any combat round in which the opponents are surprised, or if an opponent has yet to act during the encounter, the warlord and up to ten allies gain advantage on melee or ranged attack rolls against the target. The warlord’s allies must be able to see or hear the warlord to benefit from this feature.

To the Hells with the Plan!

At 13th level, the warlord may apply one of the following effects to up to ten allies for 1 minute after they abandon a battle plan, in addition to the effects of any new plan adopted by use of the Alternative Strategy class feature. Once the effect is chosen, it cannot be changed.

  • The warlord and allies gain advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
  • The warlord and allies regain hit points equal to the warlord’s Charisma modifier when they reduce an enemy to zero hit points.
  • The warlord and allies ignore the effects of difficult terrain.
  • The warlord and allies double their movement speed on any turn in which they take the Disengage action.

Master Strategist

When the warlord achieves 18th level, they may select two battle plans to activate after completing a short rest. The effects of both plans remain in effect until the warlord abandons one (or both) with a bonus action or when they select new battle plans after completing a short rest.

This feature can apply the effects of To the Hells with the Plan for each plan abandoned. The same effect cannot be applied twice.


These warlords focus on defensive strategies and aiding their cohorts in overcoming injuries. Training allows them to wear heavier armor to protect them as they weave between the front lines and position their allies for maximum effectiveness. The greatest stalwarts can inspire their troops to remain standing long after lesser forces would yield to injury and exhaustion.

Armor Training

When you select this discipline at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in heavy armor.

Take Heart

Also starting at 3rd level, Whenever you use your Rally the Wounded feature on an ally with only half or fewer hit points remaining, you add your Charisma modifier to each hit die expended to calculate how many hit points you restore.

Rousing Speech

At 7th level, the warlord can restore vigor to their allies during a short rest. They restore a number of lost hit points to themselves and up to ten allies equal to their warlord level plus their Charisma modifier, without the need to expend hit dice. The warlord cannot use this feature again until they complete a long rest.

Repositioning Strike

Upon reaching 13th level, the warlord may use their bonus action after successfully striking a target with a melee or ranged attack to move a single ally that can see or hear the warlord up to half of the ally’s speed.

Last Stand

When the warlord achieves 18th level, they may inspire injured allies who can see or hear them to make their final stand. The warlord and up to ten allies gain temporary hit points equal to twice the warlord’s level, plus the warlord’s Charisma modifier. Once the warlord uses this feature, they cannot use it again until they complete a long rest.