Archive for 2017

It's Christmas in July!

DriveThruRPG is currently running their Christmas in July sale, which means until the 31st you can get all of our PDF stuff at 25% off (like, oh I dunno, A Sundered World or Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book).

The bundle prices are unchanged, so right now it's probably cheaper to buy whatever you want individually.


Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
July 21, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Enlil-Zi-Shagal's Sky Tomb: Monsters!

So I'm working on this 1st-level intro adventure for Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book that takes place within the tomb of a jinn floating about the Elemental Plane of Air.

I got the maps (four right now) mostly done, but am still working on room contents and also how some of the power generator puzzles are going to work.

Anywho here are some of the monsters that will be featured in the adventure (with some stat blocks and illustrations):

GHOUL RAT
The, ahem, progeny of dire rats and ghouls (who can also transform into dire rats). They're a bit smarter than your typical dire rat, and their faces are a grotesque approximations of the face of the most recent humanoid they've eaten.

Not sure if I want them to talk. Maybe just babble random words and phrases that the victim did. Was also considering having small, muttering faces emerge all over there body the more they eat.

(Stat-wise just go with dire rats, just a tad smarter and their faces are somewhat more human.)

JELLYFISH SPRITE
These elemental creatures erratically and explosively teleport about, releasing halos of crackling electricity each time they appear. Shocks creatures that hit them with melee attacks, and can also discharge bolts of lightning.

MOCK SUN
Plasma spheres bearing expressive golden masks, mock suns are always encountered in pairs. They propel themselves about the Elemental Plane of Air by emitting powerful winds, and attack by lashing out with fiery pseudopods.

Devouring iron causes them to grow in size: they can sense it for miles around, and their magnetic fields make it difficult for creatures wearing or carrying it to escape. They burn anyone that gets too close and explode when destroyed, so as with jellyfish sprites ranged attacks are preferred.



PRISMATIC SPIDER
A crystalline mass that absorbs the light and color from anything it pierces (translates into normal damage plus Charisma drain). It projects flat arms made from shimmering solid light, that it uses to grab things so that it can drain color from them. Once it has enough light and color built up it can emit a weakened prismatic spray effect (usually as a defensive mechanism).


Prismatic Spider
Level 4 Large Elemental
XP 128
Speed 30 feet; flying

Ability Scores
STR +2 DEX +3 WIS +0
CON +1 INT -4 CHA -3

Skills
Athletics +5

Defense
Armor Class 14 DR 1 (crystalline exoskeleton)
Fort +2 Ref +4 Will +0
Immune charm, poison, radiant
WP 20 VP 8 Total 28

Offense
Achromatizing "Bite": +4 to hit; 1d8+4 piercing damage; if the target suffers Wound damage they must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or have their Charisma reduced by 1 until they’re exposed to sunlight for 2d4 hours. While the target is suffering from Charisma loss in this way their body is noticeably paler than usual (nearly white).

Prismatic Spray: 30-foot cone; roll 1d8 for each target caught in the blast. In an effect allows a saving throw, the DC is 12.

  • 1. Red: 3d8 fire damage, or half on a successful Reflex save. 
  • 2. Orange: 3d4 acid damage, and the target's AC and DR is reduced by 1 until they heal (if natural armor) or repair it (if worn armor). A successful Reflex save halves the damage and negates the AC and DR reduction.
  • 3. Yellow: 3d6 lightning damage, ignoring armor. A successful Reflex save halves the damage (but targets wearing armor or made of metal suffer a -2 penalty to the save).
  • 4. Green: 3d6 poison damage, and the target is poisoned for 1d4 hours. A successful Fortitude save halves the damage and negates the poisoned condition.
  • 5. Blue: 3d6 cold damage, and the target is slowed until the end of their next turn. A successful Fortitude save halves the damage and negates the slowed condition.
  • 6. Indigo: The target's Dexterity is reduced by 1d4 points. If this would reduce the target's Dexterity to -5 or lower they're instead petrified. A successful Fortitude save means the target only suffers a -1 penalty to their Dexterity. Lost Dexterity returns at a rate of one point every 1d6 hours.
  • 7. Violet: 3d6 radiant damage and the target is blinded for 1d4 rounds. A successful Fortitude save halves the damage, and the target is only blinded for 1 round.
  • 8. Target is Hit by Two Rays: Roll twice and re-roll additional 8's.

The prismatic spider can't use this ability again until it has a chance to feed: this usually means completely absorbing the color from a Medium or larger creature (or partially absorbing the color from several creatures: mock suns are ideal prey), and 1d4 hours of exposure to light.

Treasure
Prismatic glass (2d4 x 50 sp)

WEATHERED GUARDIANS
Only found inside the Sky Tomb, these are damaged stelae possessed by jinn spirits that reconfigure themselves into roughly humanoid warriors to attack intruders.


Weathered Guardian
Level 1 Medium Elemental
XP 16
Speed 20 feet

Ability Scores
STR +1 DEX +0 WIS +0
CON +2 INT -2 CHA -2

Skills
Athletics +3, Perception +1

Defense
Armor Class 12 DR 2 (stone body)
Fort +3 Ref +0 Will +0
WP 7 VP 0 Total 7

Offense
Stone Blade: +2 to hit; 1d8+2 slashing damage

Special
Last Gasp: When the weathered guardian is destroyed, every creature adjacent to it must succeed on a DC 11 Fortitude save or suffer 1d4 bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone.

Treasure
25% chance for a wind shard (1d4 x 10 sp)

There are also ones that are mostly intact: they are tougher, sometimes larger, and can manipulate wind and fly (because jinn spirits).

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Black Book: Bard Concept

A long time ago Melissa and I played in a Dungeon World campaign where she gave the bard class a shot for like six or so levels.

She hated it so much that we decided to just make our own bard (that a lot of other people also like, so I guess that was more productive than just bitching about it online).

Frankly the only bard I've ever liked (besides the one we made of course) is the one in 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Yeah, the magic system doesn't make any sense (nothing new for D&D) but at least the class isn't spread so thin that it can't reliably do anything besides maybe make lore and Diplomacy checks.

One of the big things with Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is that I wanted to make the magic systems actually make sense in game (and not be assumed or basically required just to get by). We succeeded with the other spellcasters so far, but the bard was giving me trouble until recently.

For the wizard and sorcerer I gave them Mana points and variable spell drain to simulate unpredictable and dangerous magic. For the cleric and druid I gave them Favor, which is safe and predictable, but replenishes more slowly and they are beholden to their god: piss off your god and you could lose your powers. Warlocks have a mix of magic that can be used at-will, but they can also spend Boon to increase it, and like cleric and druids they have to answer to something.

These all work and make sense in-game, and I'm not opposed to using the same or similar system if it makes sense, but that's just it: none of them really scream "bard".

As with Dungeon World classes, Melissa and I prefer to start from a purely flavor perspective, imagining/explaining how various things work in-game, and then dress it up in mechanics later. When I think of a bard using music, I imagine it requiring some sort of build up in basically two ways.

The first is that the bard just starts playing a song that affects creatures that can hear it. If the bard plays a lullaby, then creatures can get drowsy and fall asleep. Not instantly, mind you: I think of it more like they make a Will save, if they fail they become effectively dazed, and then if they fail again on their next turn they fall asleep.

I could see a fear effect working similarly: you start playing, creatures that hear it make Will saves to avoid being frightened, and if they fail twice start running away from you.

The catch for this sort of stuff is that the creatures can't be hostile towards you before you start playing. Like, if a band of orcs is charging at you, you can't start playing a lullaby to put them to sleep.

The second are effectively spells with longer casting times.

I had this idea years ago when working with Josh on a D&Dish game that never saw fruition. The idea was that a wizard could use a Standard Action to make a ranged attack that dealt let's say 1d4+Int mod damage, but they could opt to build up magical energy for a round, and then on the next round throw out an attack that could deal something like 4d6+Int mod damage.

So, assuming your Int mod was +2, you could take two turns doing a total of 2d4+4 damage (9 on average), or two turns doling out 4d6+2 mod (16 on average). The drawback was that you could be attacked, which would force a skill check or saving throw to avoid losing the spell (or maybe even having it go out of control).

(There was also something like where you could take HP damage or spent  Magic Points or something to speed up the process, but I forget because this was back in 2012 I think, before I was even playing Dungeon World.)

So a bard could have a kind of area-effect cone attack could require 2 rounds of playing in order to build up the song before suddenly releasing it (like a song building up to the chorus). Since a wizard's Burning Hands talent requires only a Standard Action and deals 2d6+Intelligence fire damage (Reflex save for half), the bard's what I'm calling for now the Soundwave talent could take 2 rounds to cast and deal 2d8+Charisma bludgeoning damage (doesn't seem much better but then the bard doesn't have Mana or anything like that to worry about).

Other song spells could have effects that change on a round-by-round basis, reflecting the song reaching its chorus before starting over again. For example, a haste spell could give you a bonus to Speed on the first round, a bonus to AC and Reflex saves on the second, a bonus to hit (or maybe even a bonus attack) on the third, and then it starts all over again.

Of course the bard will be able to do other stuff: scaling bonus on all checks made to recall information (Bardic Lore), actually good in melee (what with the actually flat math), and since the bard doesn't have any sort of currency (like Mana or Favor) you could feasibly make a bard without any magical music what-so-ever if that's really not your thing.

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeons & Delvers: Appendix D Issue 3

The third issue of Appendix D has been added to Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book (for free of course): it adds the vancomancer (a spellcasting class that uses an actually Vancian magic system), necromancer talent tree to the wizard, six magic items (some undead, some drawn from The Dying Earth), and more higher-level undead monsters.

As with previous issues let me know what you think, and also what you want to see in the next issue. Someone wanted to see an enchanter tree for the wizard, but I'm thinking either a primer for A Sundered World (not the entire setting, but enough to run your own games there plus some races and classes) or something to give fighters more options.

Announcements
It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Charmed, I'm Sure

When I was working on the succubus for the second Appendix D update for Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book, I went through various D&D editions to see what they did, and one thing I noticed that she always gets an at-will charm person.

I made a Charm talent for the wizard in an earlier Dungeons & Delvers draft (the Enchanter tree didn't make it into the Black Book), which at the time let you spend Mana, have the target make a Will save, and if they failed treat you as a trusted friend until you proved otherwise.

It originally didn't have a duration, because I honestly thought that the charm person spell didn't have one, either: I thought they just considered you a friend until something happened!

In 2nd Edition the spell (charm person) lasted until the target made a successful saving throw, which was regularly checked at intervals based on the target's Intelligence: the smarter they were, the sooner they got to make additional saves.

3rd Edition had it last one hour per caster level (which is what I also did with the Black Book version), while 5th Edition sets it at a single hour, though the 5th Edition succubus's Charm lasts for a day but they can only have one creature charmed at a time: they can't just keep spamming it until everyone is either charmed or resists it.

With all this in mind I decided on a few things.

The first was that a succubus can only charm creatures that aren't already hostile towards her. This means she has to be subtle and catch the PCs off guard. She can't just run (or fly) around spamming Charm over and over until someone fails a Will save. Unless the party is expecting succubi or catches her with her pants down (since she can't completely disguise herself), this shouldn't be that hard to do (the first time anyway).

(I'm working on the bard for the third Appendix D update, and a lot of their magic so far only works on creatures that aren't already trying to bury an axe in your skull.)

I think 5th Edition's whole "you're immune for 24 hours" is boring, weird, and arbitrary (though still better than earlier editions' just-keep-trying-until-someone-fails model): like, someone else can try to charm you, even another succubus, but no matter what that particular succubus cannot charm you until at least 24 hours have elapsed.

Instead I designed it so that if a target makes their Will save, then the succubus has to basically wait until the target lets their guard down before she can try again. She can follow the potential victim around, and wait until they no longer expect a succubus to try and charm them (could take awhile), or maybe change her shape and trick the person into thinking that she's just a normal person and earn their trust.

The other thing I'd considered was making you immune to the succubus's charm for a random duration, like 1d6 rounds, minutes, or hours (or a random duration after everyone has more or less "calmed down").

So what do you think: good way to handle charms? Prefer how another edition did it? Got something completely different you want to pitch? I could see Enchanter wizards getting a talent that lets them charm even hostile creatures, maybe with a save bonus, higher Mana cost, and/or reduced duration as a kind of emergency charm.

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeons & Delvers: Age of Worms, Episode 605

Cast
  • Humal (level 10 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 10 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 10 elf rogue/ranger)

Summary
Busy with lots of stuff (work, game work/stuff, art for various things, kids, general farm crap, etc), so I'm going to keep this as short as possible (which after writing it ended up not being nearly as short as I'd planned).

Picking up from the previous session, the party finds a grievously wounded Allusten suspended in a lightning sphere. Luckily the sphere has him trapped in some sort of stasis, so he hasn't bled out yet.

Sumia takes a shot at a metal spike in the ceiling that best as she can tell is generating the lightning sphere. This causes a bolt of lightning to arc from the spike into the metal floor, conjuring a kind of amorphous creature made from metal shards and crackling with electricity (visually I was going for how watch towers in BLaME! download exterminators).

It propels itself towards Corzale because of her metal armor, but she summons a bunch of roots and plants to hold it in place. This works for a bit, but it quickly burns and cuts its way free and attaches itself to Corzale, shocking and cutting her pretty badly before it is destroyed.

The party then proceeds to pelt the spike with various ranged attacks. They quickly shatter it (luckily before more shrapnel elementals are summoned), which causes the sphere to dissipate and Allustan to fall to the floor. Not wanting to risk killing him via botched Medicine checks, Sumia administers a healing potion before carrying him back to the smaller room where they found the magic chainmail (that was lightning resistant) and stone slab.

While they rest Allustan recounts how he got trapped while exploring the sky tomb, and even attempts to teach them how to reorient their perception of gravity so that they can walk on the walls and ceiling, but unfortunately only Humal picks up on it.

They then tell Allustan about the black dragon, and how it destroyed his home and wants to kill him. Humal explains how he has a teleportation circle primed in the Whispering Cairn to transport them all to Dovin: between the city's militia, wizards, and labyrinthine sewer network he figures that if the dragon even figures out that they teleported to the city, it'll get picked off long before it can find them.

Allustan seems cool with the plan, but he still wants to explore the rest of the sky tomb because his life's work involved the Wind Duke cairns, and now he's found another tomb on another plane of existence. Plus there's probably more magical shit and maybe something to do with the Age of Worms. But, just before they head out they hear something talking in the other room.

It's speaking in Infernal, so only Humal knows what it's saying: mostly it sounds annoyed and tired of looking for something, but while it sounds like it's talking to someone else he only hears the one voice.

Sumia lifts the door slightly, and when Humal looks underneath realizes that it's his half-brother Humata. Small multiverse, right? Humal goes out to speak with him, and learns that their father sent him here to retrieve as best he can figure a wooden stick, claiming that he doesn't know what it can do or why their father wants it. Humata explains that he's checked out most of the tomb, but there's this ice tower that he can't get into because of magical wards.

Humal offers to help, but when he mentions he's here with other people Humata suggests killing them so they don't get in the way or cause trouble. Luckily Humal manages to convince his brother to spare the rest of the party, and they all tentatively follow him to the ice tower. At the tower's base is an open door, but as Humata said it's enchanted so that demons can't go in or damage it.

The wards are too powerful for Humal to dispel (probably: I don't think he wanted to let them in anyway), but since he doesn't have enough demonic blood to be barred entry and the rest of the party doesn't have any, he offers to retrieve the rod for him. This is when Humata's "shadow" is revealed to actually be his sister Seruya in disguise: she extends a black tendril into his shadow, allowing her to communicate with him via telepathy.

Seruya elaborates that the "stick" is a fragment of the rod of seven parts, but she also claims to not know what it can do or why their father wants it. She then produces a square metal seal, stating that they found it in a small room (the one with the stone slab) but haven't found any other indentations where it would fit, which meant they might need it somewhere in the ice tower.

Humal takes the seal, Sumia trades her cursed dagger for a few extra sets of eyes from Humata (who even arranges them like a spider's eyes after Sumia complains about them and Humal uses his illusion magic to explain what a spider looks like), and Seruya warns Humal that if he can't find the fragment that he'd best not return.

Just inside the tower they run into what looks like a walking, talking ice sculpture. It asks for an authorization key, so Humal shows it the seal Seruya gave him, and when it asks for the name of their superior Humal responds with Icosiel (it being the only Wind Duke name he can remember): the sculpture-sentry accepts the answers and warns them about the stairs before returning to its post.

Inside the tower is a central shaft (also made of ice) that runs all the way to the top. A set of narrow stairs winds around it, but they're also made of ice and there's no rail. Not wanting to risk falling (especially near the top), Corzale summons a wall of wood up the entire shaft (eating up almost half of her Favor in the process), and they begin their ascent.

At around the halfway mark a pair of ice golems burst from the walls. Strong and durable, they swat Corzale and Allustan around before they're mostly shattered by the former's hammer and melted by the latter's fire magic (Sumia tried to contribute but didn't do much). Hoping there aren't any other surprises, the party hurries to the top before the wood-wall rots away, stopping for a brief rest just underneath the entrance to the next room.

Design Notes
For some reason in the original adventure there's an oculus demon wandering around the tomb. It's basically a winged humanoid covered in eyes with a paralyzing gaze, I think. I was originally going to scrap it, but then figured why not have a kind-of family reunion? Humata retained some of the oculus demon abilities, but Seruya was made from scratch.

Not that it mattered, because surprise surprise the party didn't fight them (though they might on the way back). I really thought they would because Corzale seems to hate all things evil, and Sumia really loves her some demon horns.

The ice-security-guard thing could have also been a fight. In the original adventure it's supposed to be a kolyarut (which is a magic robot that punishes people that break deals, and has access to a life-draining magic) that for some reason is stationed there to stop intruders from going somewhere, and I figured fuck it I'll just convert it over and see what happens (which also resulted in them talking their way past it).

The ice golem duo was supposed to be fought on slippery ice stairs, with the golems walking on the outside wall so they could hit the PCs and ideally knock them off so they take a bunch of falling damage (or dangle from the stairs), but Corzale played it smart and made a bunch of roots so they wouldn't have to worry about it.

I know some DMs would get pissed, and maybe come up with some bullshit ruling or whatever to make it not work, but I like it when my players monkey-wrench my shit and they probably do, too. So that plus Allustan's fireballs made it pretty easy (though I got some hits in before they were destroyed).

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeon World: The Jinni

The Jinni is now on sale! It has been added to our All of the Playbooks and Monster Mash bundles over on DriveThruRPG.

As with other monstrous classes we've published, this one is more inline with its mythological roots than the Dungeons & Dragons iteration. While some of the jinni types will sound familiar, they aren't linked to the classical elements: instead they determine if you're especially tough, or skilled with various types of magic.

In addition to changing your shape, you can command the winds and your supernatural nature (being formed from smokeless fire) renders you immune to mundane smoke and fire. Even though magical fire can still harm you, what you really need to watch out for is iron: its mere touch can hurt you, and when you're harmed by iron weapons the damage is rolled twice and you suffer the highest result.

As you level up you can improve your existing abilities or expand your repertoire, allowing you to curse your foes, turn invisible, grow in size and strength, draw upon the fire that burns within you, weave illusions, fly, and teleport great distances.

This product contains three files.

The first is a letter-sized character sheet that uses our new character sheet layout (so we could fit all of the advanced moves on the back).

The other two are digest-sized PDFs, one in color, the other in black and white to make it easier to print at home. They both contain:

  • The jinni class (which includes 26 advanced moves)
  • New weapons, armor, dungeon gear, and magic items
  • Nine extra moves (and a jinni type) that we couldn't fit on the sheet
  • New jinni-type monsters
  • A Director's Cut with questions to ask yourself when rolling up a jinni, and explanations/clarifications for some of the moves

You can see a preview of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$2.25
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Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
June 30, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Dwarven Forge: Castle Preview Part 1

We finally got our Dwarven Forge castle set plus some other bits and stretch goal stuff last week. It's pretty easy to paint so we got the entire castle part done in a day (we're gradually working on the ladders, barrels, statues, etc).

Since you can't buy castle sets yet (and I have no idea when you'll be able to), think of this more like a heads up as to what you get/what it can do, and if that interests you just keep an eye on their store (there's also another Kickstarter going on if you want a lot of awesome dungeon stuff).

First off, here's a bird's eye view of the standard Castle set (as in the Castle pledge level):


And I pulled the walls back here so you can better see just how much real estate you get:


Here's the gatehouse with some minis for scale:


Gatehouse with the LED torches lit up:


If you get torches unpainted (like we did) the whole piece glows: you have to paint over the parts that are supposed to be metal if you don't want them to do that (I didn't take a picture before I painted it, so just imagine the entire thing glowing).

They're attached using these sockets, so if you get other LED socket pieces (like rune stones or orbs) you can swap them out.

As a minor nitpick, the default floor of the gatehouse is this big-ass trapdoor thing. It falls out pretty easily and the pull tab in front keeps tiles from properly lining up next to it.


You can easily get around this by arranging four 2 x 2 tiles in a square, or using a 4 x 4 tile (such as a stone house floor tile), so again really just a nitpick.

I guess you could use the big-ass trapdoor tile for something else, like in an upper level of a house or dungeon but again the wooden part can fall out pretty easily and the tab can prevent things from lining up properly.

The castle walls are either 1 x 4 blocks or L-shaped corner blocks with one or two walls stuck to them by magnets, with a thin platform tile slapped on top (that in the case of corner walls helps keep them in place):


Here's a corner wall without the platform:


And here's the wall with the platform (and more minis):


They're made of what feels like a more rigid and lighter material than standard Dungeon Forge tiles (the Dwarvenite stuff, not the older resin sets), so you can pick up an entire wall or corner section without them falling apart.

Price-wise the Castle set ran us $300 unpainted. I'm assuming that's an at least slightly discounted Kickstarter price so no idea what it'll cost when it goes up in the store, or exactly what it will come with, though.

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
June 26, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeons & Delvers: Appendix D Issue 2

Just added the second issue of Appendix D to Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book. This issue contains the cambion and dwarf racial classes, the warlock class, and some new demons to kinda go with the whole cambion/infernal pact warlock thing.

The racial classes are based on something I kicked around during the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons playtest era, which were in turn kind of based on 3rd Edition's racial paragon classes except that you can take levels in them whenever you wanted to instead of at specific levels.

The racial classes in the Black Book have two functions.

The first is for those that just want to play "a cambion" or "a dwarf", maybe because you're nostalgic for earlier D&D editions where races were also classes, or maybe because it's exactly what you're looking for.

Like classes these go up to 5th-level and have their own class features and talents to choose from (though there can be some overlap: dwarf shares many similarities with the fighter at least class-feature-wise).

The second is to let players determine how much race effects your characters. So, you can start the game as a cambion warlock, and then at 2nd-level multiclass into the cambion racial class to pick up some cambion talents (like Scaly Skin, Infernal Wings, or one that beefs up your sin's bonus).

This requires also using the multiclass rules (found in the first Appendix D issue), and so is dependent on whether the GM is cool with it (and might result in the GM modifying/bannig one or more talents).

The warlock class (which I also talked about in this post) is largely what you'd expect if you've seen/played warlocks from 3rd Edition and up (but mostly like 4th and 5th Edition): you pick a patron (right now just infernal and star), and that patron gives you a bonus and magic powers like eldritch blast.

Where it differs is that by giving things to your patron and doing shit for it, you gain Boons. Boons are a currency that you can spend to make your eldritch blast more accurate and use certain powerful warlock talents. You have to choose a Boon talent (there are talent choices that just let you do things all the time, no problem), so if you don't want to deal with them you don't have to (you get the Boons-for-better-blast thing automatically, so there's always something you can do with them).

Really thinking of having warlock talents do one thing, and then you can spend Boons to make them better. For example, Bind would just immobilize a creature for a turn, but if you spend a Boon it would deal damage and restrain them for longer: what do you guys think?

The other thing is you have a sign, a physical feature that lets people know there is something wrong about you. It starts out small, but gets worse as you level up. Since the class only goes up to 5th-level it's not much, but I'm thinking at higher levels an infernal pact warlock would basically look like a demon, while a star pact warlock would be a tentacle cluster covered in eyes.

Also thinking of maybe giving the signs benefits and/or drawbacks, so when your star pact warlock gets a bunch of eyes you also gain a bonus to Perception and maybe can see in the dark, but having a bunch of mouths could penalize your Stealth and various social skills (because they won't shut the fuck up).

Finally, monsters. If you own A Sundered World a few are based on how I did angels and demons there. There's also an imp that can get you to do things as long as you think it'll make people like you, and a succubus but it's more like the mythological succubus so can get you in your dreams.

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

The History of Kobolds

I wrote a blog post nearly a month ago (as of this post) addressing a comment someone left on an old playtest document for what eventually became Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book.

Basically, in the document I said that we were going to have more mythologically accurate kobolds (which we do, among other monsters), and the guy somehow took issue with that goal.

That blog post caused someone else to write a blog post about how I guess statting out monsters is "bad" because players might learn the stats, and once the players learn the stats there won't be any mystery or immersion (which for some reason gets a capital "I" but I'm not going to do that).

I don't really agree with any of it, and frankly the whole post comes across as misguided and a bit pretentious.

THE GOAL
First things first, us going with more mythologically accurate monsters has nothing to the sales of anything or trying to solve a problem that I'm not convinced exists, and everything to do with the fact that when I compare the classic Dungeons & Dragons kobold and the kobold from real world mythology, I find the latter to be far more interesting, so instead of telling GMs "go look it up on Wikipedia" I figured I could just do some of the legwork.

If the real-world kobold was a small draconic-ish humanoid, and the Dungeons & Dragons kobold could change its shape and turn invisible and phase through stone, I'd be sticking with the D&D version.

THE MYSTERY
I have to ask: what mystery? The abilities we're giving kobolds are and were “known”. We didn't just pull shapechanging and invisibility out of our ass or give them random abilities that just so happened to also be what it was said to be able to do: it's on the fucking Wikipedia entry! The Wikipedia entry that anyone can go read up on, which was again informed by what people “knew” about kobolds.

It's partially because of that that I don't think there is anything wrong with the players knowing monster stats. This is not only an inevitability of just playing the game, but is also reflected in the real world: people "knew" at least some of what most monsters were capable of. They "knew" that kobolds could change their shape and turn invisible.

(What do you do when you play a campaign and the players learn stuff, and then start up a new campaign? Do you just never use monsters you used in the previous campaign? Do you completely change everything about them? Do you move to a new town or get a new group?)

I will point out that I didn't just ask Vb if his players would have any clue how to kill a kobold, I said, "So your players have no idea what an elf or kobold can do, or how to defeat them?" He thinks they'd hem and haw and respond with "it depends", but I think it's a safe bet that even in his game elves and kobolds can simply be stabbed to death.

Really though "it depends" is valid for many groups and many monsters, even if the players know the default stats unless maybe the DM/GM only ever has the players fight them in flat open terrain.

Finally, knowing monster stats doesn't mean that the players know everything about the monster (or even most things about it). Knowing that kobolds can turn invisible and change their shape doesn't instill knowledge of their history, culture, general personalities/habits, and so on: it just means they know that kobolds can turn invisible and change their shape.

IMMERSION
Knowing default monster stats has nothing to do with immersion: it's what the player does with that knowledge that can I guess hamper it. Like, if the player knows that kobolds can turn invisible but the character somehow doesn't (maybe the PCs are the first people to ever run into a kobold?) and still acts on that information.

If the general population knows that kobolds can change their shape and turn invisible, then the characters probably know this, too. In fact, telling the players that their characters know commonplace information even if the player doesn't actually reinforces immersion.

I don't give a shit if the players know that basilisks are so poisonous that they can turn stone to dust and kill you just by looking at you: I want to see how they handle it.

Frankly, if you need to hide stats from players to instill wonder or mystery then you're probably a bad GM. So what if the PCs know that kobolds can phase through stone: have them come across an ancient, subterranean kobold city that's been buried for centuries and only easily accessible by things that can phase through stone.

Sounds pretty mysterious to me: what was it like? How has it changed? What caused the kobold sto flee (or what killed them all off)? What artifacts/treasure/magic shit is still down there?

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeons & Delvers: Making a Spellsword

I remember trying to make a fighter/wizard combination back in my 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons days, but aside from houserules and/or specialized builds (requiring classes, prestige classes, feats, and/or magic items) it doesn't work, and I'm not even sure about the latter.

This is because of all the fiddly math in 3rd Edition: fighters need all those plusses to hit in order to hit things (with the first attack, anyway), and spellcasters need higher level spells because the saving throw numbers are based on the spell's level, so lower level magic quickly becomes worthless.

Something else I disliked about 3rd Edition was that, by the book, if you're a wizard and multiclass into fighter you immediately become proficient with all weapons and armor. Of course that's not as ridiculous as a fighter multiclassing into a wizard and being able to immediately cast spells, get a spellbook with a bunch of spells, and being able to snag a familiar.

4th Edition made things less silly with multiclass feats: you spend a feat in order to basically get a single spell, which makes more sense then a shitload somehow. Problem is by the books you can't really evoke both classes because there's only three multiclass feats, so you can only ever have three powers from the other class.

I think hybrid classes might have made this easier (ability scores could be a problem because the game assumes a +3 or +2 base for your "attack" stats), but I never bothered with them much so can't say. Really if you wanted to do a fighter/wizard proper without houserules, you're better off just rolling up a swordmage or bladesinger.

With Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book we wanted to allow flexibility and mitigate multiclassing issues/nonsense: right now if you multiclass into another class you don't gain weapon and armor proficiencies or saving throws, or the WP/VP it gets at 1st-level (you get the level-up amounts which are smaller). You usually don't gain all of the class features (MC fighters get +1 to hit and damage, but wizards and clerics lose out on an extra talent or two).

So using the alpha multiclassing rules (which got added as an extra download over on DriveThruRPG), here's what a 1st-level human fighter/1st-level wizard looks like if you started the game as a fighter:

SPELLSWORD (Fighter 1/Wizard 1)
Level 2 Medium Humanoid (Human)
Speed 30 feet

ABILITY SCORES
STR +2 DEX +0 WIS +0
CON +1 INT +2 CHA -1

SKILLS
Arcana +5, Athletics +3, Search +3

DEFENSE
Speed 30 feet
AC 12 DR 2 (scale armor)
Fort +2 Ref +0 Will +0
Mana 4
Wounds 10 Vitality 5 Total 15

OFFENSE
Arming Sword: +3 to hit; 1d8+3 damage (critical hits on 19-20)

Magic Missile: +3 to hit; 1d6+2 force damage

Evoker: 1d4 Drain; target suffers 3d6+2 force damage (half on DC 13 Reflex save)

EQUIPMENT
arming sword, scale armor, magic focus (probably a wand or staff), explorer’s pack

So you're not as tough as a 2nd-level fighter (something like 2 WP and 1 VP behind), and you don't get a fighter talent (which could give you added defense, damage, a special attack, and so on). The plus side is, hey, you got a pair of magic attacks (albeit you need a hand free to use them) and you can detect magic (though I might drop auto-detect magic and make it part of the Divination tree).

If you want a bit more magic, you can instead go with the elf race since it has an option to gain a magic talent and +4 Mana:

SPELLSWORD (Fighter 1/Wizard 1)
Level 2 Medium Humanoid (Elf)
Speed 40 feet

ABILITY SCORES
STR +1 DEX +2 WIS +0
CON +0 INT +3 CHA -1

SKILLS
Arcana +5, Athletics +2, Search +4

DEFENSE
Speed 40 feet
AC 14 DR 0 (Abjurer talent)
Fort +1 Ref +2 Will +0
Mana 6/8 (sustaining Abjurer)
Wounds 8 Vitality 5 Total 13

OFFENSE
Short Sword: +3 to hit; 1d6+3 damage

Magic Missile: +4 to hit; 1d4+3 force damage, and target must succeed on a DC 14 Fortitude save or be knocked prone

Evoker: 1d4 Drain; target suffers 3d6+3 force damage (half on DC 14 Reflex save)

Equipment
arming sword, magic focus (probably a wand or staff), explorer’s pack

I like the differences between both characters: the human is stronger and tougher, while the elf is faster and can better rely on magic for defense (though he doesn't have the DR that the human does). In either case I think they'd both work out just fine.

I actually tried doing a fighter/wizard that starts out as a wizard, but the end result was you're best served using the Shocking Grasp cantrip for melee attacks and Magic Missile for ranged attacks, only switching to a repeating crossbow if the target has high DR because it has armor piercing 2.

The human ended up burning through all of his Mana sustaining Abjurer and Mage Armor (which is why I went with talents that had good cantrip effects), while the elf had 4 points left over, which is enough to use Evoker or Shocking Grasp now and again. I suppose you could focus entirely on Abjurer or Illusionist, but humans have a sparse weapon selection (elves have auto-proficiency with arming swords and so have a solid d8-damage option).

I still think it'd be a neat and functional character, but not what I think when I think "spellsword".

We're considering adding in talents that let you become proficient with weapons and armor. I initially wanted to make them free aside from time and money to train in them, but I could see every wizard just doing that because there'd be no downside. This way it'd be a choice. Could also restrict it to certain classes so you need to multiclass out in order to snag them, so wizards that want to be able to wear armor would lose out on some magic juice.

Adam is working on rules for hybrid classes, because he's a huge fan of 4E hybrids and I think it'd be great to let players mash up a couple classes instead of waiting for/cobbling together a specific class. When that's good to go I'll add it as an Appendix D PDF.

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Father's Day (Also Some Free RPG Stuff)

I nearly forgot that (as of this posting) Free RPG Day was yesterday (local game store out here wasn't doing it I guess).

I quickly put up a post last night giving away a few Dungeon World PDFs, but then realized this morning I had some always free stuff I could point people to. Plus it's Father's Day.

So for gaming dads looking for something to run for the kids, here's a free playtest adventure for the kids version of Dungeons & Delvers that teaches you the game as you play (and has some pregen characters).

It'll become an actual intro adventure at some point: it just needs more art and some possible mechanics tweaks that we're making to the core game (but still plays fine as is).

If you want a more complex d20 game, there's a public not-as-cool document for Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book here (and if you want to buy the better organized snazzy PDF you can get it here).

If you play Dungeon World, you can get a free adventure here and an alternative also free character sheet here.

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
June 18, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Enlil-Zi-Shagal's Sky Tomb Playtest

Cast
  • Saitama (1st-level human monk)
  • Sarush (1st-level cambion warlock)
  • Uttama (1st-level tarchon ranger)

Very Brief Summary
Since I want to publish this adventure as a kind of starter adventure for Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book, I don't want to spoil too much (especially the puzzle solutions, which was a big reason why I wanted to playtest it in the first place).

Basically what's happened so far is that the party was hired to deal with a harpy plaguing a village, and after a day or so of travel and climbing they find out that the harpy is squatting in an ancient tower high up in some mountains.


While exploring the tower they find the harpy on the rooftop, and after a string of bad rolls followed by some good ones the monk goes down, but the harpy is so badly wounded that she tries to flee. Melissa has Uttama make a penalized ranged-attack because the harpy is so far away (and why not): she rolls a critical hit and takes it out in mid-flight.

They stabilize the monk and want to keep exploring the tower, because hey, ancient abandoned tower, so they just camp out a few days. When the monk is back on her feet the party runs into a sylph. She wants to go home (which is the Elemental Plane of Air), but all she knows is that the tower is somehow able to do that, and she's been waiting for the harpy to leave or die so she can try and figure it out.

Eventually with the sylph's help they manage to open a portal to the Elemental Plane of Air (considering changing name). Everyone hops into the portal, and it takes them to a stone platform suspended in a seemingly endless sky. A single bridge extends from the platform to a stone door, but its locked and requires a specific combination of incomprehensible symbols to open.

Everyone in the party besides the sylph (who is sticking around to help them out because it's thanks to them she was able to make it back at all) takes turns trying out different combinations and choking on toxic gas before they guess the correct combination. The door opens into a long hallway filled with a bunch of stelae, and that's where we stopped for the night.

Design Notes
So even with some pretty abyssmal luck a party of three 1st-level characters was able to take out a lone level 7 harpy (though the monk was dropped). Of course that's just a Medium critter: I'm sure something like an ogre would have splattered them all due to its size and damage output (I warn about the dangers of Large monsters in the Black Book's GM advice section).

Melissa was able to solve the first puzzle all on her own (opening the portal), but even though she overlooked a clue for the lock just outside of the sky tomb, she was still able to guess it on the third try. I might add more combinations to make it a bit harder to brute force (which might even make the clue a bit more obvious), but I guess losing WP/VP with each attempt is a more meaningful cost than just time.

Not much to say design-wise about the new classes: everything worked pretty much as intended, though Melissa never offered up anything to gain Boon for the warlock. Probably just do a few combat-heavy test runs to see how that works out. We got in a Dwarven Forge set that among other things has a spider web and my daughter is pestering me to make a "spider house", so at least I'll have a solid theme to work with.

(The warlock, as well as a few racial classes and a bunch of new monsters will be going into the next Black Book Appendix D update. Not sure when exactly, but should be out before the end of the month.)

Announcements
Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is out! It's our own take on a D&Dish/d20 game that features (among other things) simple-yet-flexible classes, unassumed magic and magical healing, a complete lack of pseudo-Vancian magic, and more mythologically accurate monsters.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Dungeons & Delvers: Designing the Warlock

The warlock debuted in 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons as an arcane spellcaster with unlimited magic. Well, unlimited as in you could use it whenever you wanted: you only started the game with the ability to make a magical ranged attack and one other thing (like creating fog clouds or spiderclimbing on walls).

3rd Edition's warlock didn't really mention pacts. The closest it gets is a line about how "a few blameless individuals are simply marked out by the supernatural forces as conduits and tools". Otherwise like sorcerers they can be born with their powers, but instead of the magic being in their blood its described as being part of their soul.

4th Edition's warlock has you choose a type of pact, though only the Fey Pact mentions forging an actual bargain: the Infernal and Star Pacts make it sound like you just learned your magic like a wizard learns his spells. It follows the standard At-will/Encounter/Daily power model that most other classes do, differentiating itself from other spellcasters by being able to curse enemies (bonus damage plus a minor benefit if you kill a cursed enemy).

While you can choose almost any spells you want, many give you an additional kicker effect if you have a specific pact, thereby encouraging you to stick with the more thematic options.

5th Edition's warlock mentions both pacts and patrons. As with 4th Edition you choose a pact (albeit at 3rd-level instead of 1st for some reason), which grants a benefit such as a familiar or the ability to summon a magical weapon. The class is otherwise a mix of pseudo-Vancian magic, plus some at-will and encounter spells. So, basically like 4th Edition, except you don't automatically start with eldritch blast and some sort of damage-boosting curse ability.

Really the only thing I liked about the 5th Edition warlock was that it at least suggests figuring out how big a role your patron plays in the campaign and your relationship with it, something that was lacking at least at the start of 4th Edition.

When developing the warlock for A Sundered World I kept 4th Edition's pacts, but created a debt mechanic to ensure that your patron's influence and desires could never be overlooked or forgotten. I also added a move so that you could get in touch with your patron and to see if it had any jobs on hand: taking the initiative to see what it wants instead of waiting for a call gives you some extra benefits.

Unlike every other Dungeon World spellcaster I've seen (and created), when a warlock casts a spell it always works: you pick what you want to do from a list, it happens, and then you make a Charisma roll to see how much debt you accrue. When your debt gets high enough it resets to 0 and your patron gives you a job: until you get the job done you take a constant penalty to further uses of warlock magic, and if you get too many jobs the GM can decide that your patron pulls your magical plug until you get shit done.

I want to do something similar with the warlock for Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book.

As with the version from A Sundered World you'll choose a type of patron. Right now I'm thinking that there will be general warlock talents, plus talents specific to a pact type, so if you choose the Star Pact you can summon eldritch horrors but not demons, and the Fae Pact won't let you immolate your foes with blasts of hellfire. Something like winged flight I think is general enough for any of them, though.

You'll also start with eldritch blast automatically, which will be raw, unshaped magical energy, basically a ranged Charisma attack similar enough to the wizard's Magic Missile. I'm thinking about having the Pact type alter this, so Infernal Pact makes it inflict fire damage, Fae Pact can have it inflict radiant or cold damage (depends on if you go summer or winter fae), and Star Pact makes it deal psychic damage.

I actually worked on a homebrew warlock class for 5th Edition back when I thought it might result in a game I'd enjoy (I later made a new pact when they got around to making an "official" warlock). One of the class features I included (and for a short while was part of the official version) was simply called sign, and had you gradually physically transform over time.

As before the sign will start out small, something that can be easily concealed, but as you gain more warlock levels you'll continue changing until there's just no hiding it. Like, for the Star Pact you might have an eye or mouth somewhere on your body, and as you level up you'll start growing tentacles, more eyes and mouths, and so on until you look like the alienist from Tome & Blood.

As for other spells, I'm thinking of giving you one spell that you can use at-will, no problem, and you can speak to your patron (10 minute ritual) to swap it out for something else. Higher levels let you have more at-will-no-cost magic on tap, though I'm not sure if I want to have them automatically scale, or let you "rank up" by using multiple I guess "slots" on the same ability.

So at 1st-level you could temporarily bind a creature in chains, and then at 4th- or maybe 5th-level you could choose a second ability, or rank up binding chains to make it deal more damage and also restrain or something. Since you can hit up your patron to swap them around, you can experiment without worrying about having a (mostly?) useless ability.

Another way to differentiate them from other spellcasters is that they won't have an automatically replenishing spellcasting resource like Mana or Favor. Instead they'll have Boon, which they can only earn it by doing or giving things to their patron (have to put in guidelines for how much to give for doing things, but for trading stuff I'm thinking 50 sp per Boon since clerics can sacrifice 50 sp worth of stuff for 1 Favor).

Depends on how much bang you can get per Boon.

Current uses for Boon includes casting more potent spells (that can only be cast by spending Boons), maybe bonuses on various d20 checks and saving throws, and boosting your at-will stuff. Really the trick is making sure its worth the effort, but not making it too good. Ah, well, that's what playtesting is for.

So, what do you think? Does this class sound interesting to you? Better than current warlocks on the market? Is there something other warlocks can do that you'd like to see this one do? Once I hammer out a five-level version it'll be part of the next Appendix D issue (probably along with racial classes).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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