Saturday, April 30, 2016

May Theme: The Heroic Age



This month's theme, in honor of these ever-increasing temperatures that make me want to walk around shirtless, is the Heroic Age. In the coming weeks, you will find a whole host of resources and articles for swords and sandals gaming with 5e Dungeons and Dragons. For players, we'll have another 3 cleric domains, a barbarian path, new bard college, and at least one (and possible many more) new sorcerer origins. On the DM's side of the screen, we'll focus more on monsters of myth along with a new mysterious island and heroic adventure generator.


May 2 - Barbarian: Path of the Thaneborn

May 4 - Cleric: Revelry Domain

May 6 - Monsters of Myth (Part 1) [Postponed]

May 9 - Bard: College of the Muses

May 11 - Cleric: Strength Domain

May 13 - Monsters of Myth (Part 2)

May 16 - Sorcerer: Zodiac Mage

May 18 - Cleric: Fortune Domain

May 20 - Mysterious Island Generator

May 23 - TBA

May 25 - TBA

May 27 - Heroic Adventure Generator

May 30 - TBA

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cleric: Travel Domain

Travel Domain

The realm of vagabonds, merchants, messengers, and adventurers, the gods of the travel domain – including Hermes, Fharlanghn, Shinare, and Olladra - are popular among any who frequent the roads or sail the seas. The traveling priests of inhospitable regions also tend to represent the gods of travel.


Travel Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Feather fall, jump,
3rd
Find steed, suggestion
5th
Fly, haste
7th
Dimension door, freedom of movement
9th
Hold monster, passwall


Blessing of Travel
When you select this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency in one of the following skills of your choice: athletics, perception, or persuasion.

Also, while you are not wearing armor or using a shield, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.

Clever Escape
Also at 1st level, you are granted a knack for wiggling and scrapping your way out of trouble. Whenever, you make a Strength or Dexterity saving throw, you may grant yourself advantage as a reaction.


You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.


Channel Divinity: Fleet of Foot
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity class feature as a bonus action to double your normal movement rate for 1 minute. During this period, your high and long jump distance is also doubled.


Channel Divinity: Missed Step
Starting at 6th level, you use your Channel Divinity class feature as a reaction when a creature within 60 feet of you that you can see moves, hopefully causing the creature to stumble and fall. The target must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone and its movement ends.


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 damage of the same type dealt by the weapon to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.


Perfect Travel
At 17th level, add the teleport spell to your list of domain spell. It is always considered prepared and counts as a cleric spell for you. When you cast teleport, you are always considered very familiar with the destination via the will of the god of travel.



Download the PDF Here!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cleric: Destruction Domain



Destruction Domain

Deities of destruction and chaos tend to be vengeful, malicious even capricious by nature, but the one thing they all have in common is a unhealthy relationship with violence. Many clerics of these deities often relish in the pure act of destruction while some few see destruction as a necessary part of the cycle of ruin and rebirth, or simply as a tool to put an early end to something much worse.


Destruction Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Hellish rebuke, thunderwave
3rd
Ray of enfeeblement, shatter
5th
Call lightning, fireball
7th
Phantasmal killer, wall of fire
9th
Hold monster, telekinesis


Bonus Proficiencies
Starting at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor and martial weapons.


Force of Ruin
Also beginning at 1st level, you learn the fire bolt and shocking grasp cantrips. They count as a cleric spell for you.


Channel Divinity: Ray of Ruin
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity as an action to point your finger at any creature, object, or magical force you can see within 60 feet. The target takes 5 points force damage per cleric level. If this damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, it is disintegrated, as per the disintegrate spell.


This spell automatically disintegrates a medium or smaller non-magical object or magical force. if the target is a large object or larger, this spell disintegrates a 5-foot cubic portion of it. Magic items are unaffected by this spell.


Channel Divinity: Furious Rebuke
Your fury and gift for destruction allows you to retaliate relentlessly against foes foolish enough to challenge your terrible strength. Starting at 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity whenever you are attacked by a creature you can see within 30 feet or cast at cast a cantrip or spell as a reaction. The attacker who triggered this ability must be the sole target of the spell.


Force of Ruin
On the battlefield, you are a force of destruction all to yourself, hurling spells and steel in unison and leaving a wave of ruin in your wake. Starting at 8th level, whenever you cast a cleric cantrip, you may make a single melee attack as a bonus action.


Maelstrom
Starting at 17th level, add chain lightning, disintegrate, reverse gravity, incendiary cloud, and meteor swarm to your list of domain spells. Like your other domain spells, they are always prepared and count as cleric spells for you.



Download the PDF Here!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cleric: Underworld Domain



Underworld Domain

The underworld, the realm that houses the tortured and senseless spirits of the dead is an image universal to real world mythology and distinct from the Death domain presented in the Dungeon Masters Guide. While there is some amount of overlap, the death domain focuses on the creation of undead servants, while the underworld domains is much subtler in its approach, bringing the sickness, disgust, and plagues that haunts the underworld into the mortal realm.


Deities of the underworld are not universally evil. According to Greek myth, Hades performs fewer immortal acts, such as rape, than his more esteemed brothers, Zeus and Poseidon. Perhaps the underworld god in your campaign is similar. Instead of a being vile Lifetaker bent on the destruction of all life, she is instead  a dark, gloomy sentinel that guards veil between the underworld and the mortal one from vengeful, undead spirits.


Underworld Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Hex, ray of sickness
3rd
Invisibility, ray of enfeeblement
5th
Bestow curse, spirit guardians
7th
Blight, phantasmal killer
9th
Contagion, insect plague


Bonus Cantrip
At 1st level, you learn the chill touch cantrip if you don’t know it already. It counts as a cleric spell for you.


Drain Strength
At 1st level, when an enemy within 30 feet of you that you can see makes an attack against you or an ally, you can use your reaction action to drain the attacker’s strength and impose disadvantage on the attack roll. An attacker that cannot be poisoned is immune to this class feature.


You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.


Channel Divinity: Cloud of Pestilence
Beginning at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity class feature as an action on your turn to summon an sickly cloud of pestilence with a 15 foot radius within 30 feet. For 1 minute, all creatures that begin their turn inside the cloud must make a Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Creatures who make this saving throw are immune to this effect for 24 hours.  


Channel Divinity: Sever Life
Starting at 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity class feature to sever another creature’s life force. When you roll necrotic damage, you can use your channel divinity to automatically deal maximum damage instead of rolling.


Potent Spellcasting
Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.


Aura of Fear
Starting at 17th level, you can use your action to become the Visage of Death and surround yourself with an aura of fear and gloom that lasts for 1 minute. Any enemies who begin their turns or move within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 6d10 psychic damage and is frightened for 1 minute. A creature that succeeds on this saving throw is immune to this effect for the next 24 hours.


You cannot use this ability again until you finish an extended rest.



Download the PDF Here!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Creating Exciting, Dynamic Fantasy Religions

In my last article, Thoughts on Creating Simple, Compelling Pantheons, I discussed several  ways to make deities and pantheons in Dungeons and Dragons games more compelling and distinctive. I have continued thinking and would like to resume that conversation.

In our previous article, I discussed different types pantheons and the practical differences between monotheism and small and large groups of individual deities; duality, which reconciles two or more opposing or conflicting ideas into a single, dynamic whole; and how creating a hierarchy of deities of differing power levels can inherently and effortlessly inject conflict and interest into your game world.

Today I would like to talk less about deities and more about the religions worshiping them. For the purposes of this post, I am writing with polytheism in mind, though many of these concepts may also be applied to monotheism and dualism as well.


Community Worship & Appeasement

Whereas pantheons organize a collection a gods and goddesses in relation to each other, religion organizes a them in terms of the mortals by whom they are worshiped and revered. We can construct fantasy religions in many ways. Throughout this article we will discuss several of them.

In most table top roleplaying games, each temple seems to worship a single god or goddess. In terms of real-world polytheistic religions, the exclusive worship of Zeus to the exclusion of Hera or Apollo would be utterly preposterous. In ancient Greek religion, Zeus, Hera, Apollo and dozens of other gods worked together to make up a single, united whole and were worshipped as such. While there the ancient Greek performed specific festivals and rites and erected temples in the honor of individuals deities, worshipers worked together to invite the gods’ gifts and prosperity into their homes and to ward away misfortune and divine retribution (see just any Greek tragedy for details).

Most ancient religions were community-oriented and operated under the assumption of appeasement. It was necessary to burn offerings and make sacrifices to Thor in order to ensure a community’s wellbeing and protection against outside forces. But pleasing Thor alone would not guarantee a productive harvest or keep violent storms at bay; the community must instead pay each member of the pantheon his or her dues. Without support from multiple divine protectors and the sacrifices made to calm the wrath of more destructive deities, the community would succumb to ruin and defeat.

This is a perfectly acceptable way to organize a religion for a table top roleplaying game. It gives PCs the opportunity to create stronger ties to their home base and sets up a struggle between mortal vs. divine forces or mortals vs. nature, which can have rather interesting consequences on gameplay.

This model works particularly well when regions don’t worship each deity separately, but instead revere the whole host as a single unit.

Adventures could include the PCs being sent to retrieve an important sacrifice (the Blue Bull of Minorus) in order to regain the Stormcaller’s favor or hunting down hubristic mortals who seek to upset the natural order of the universe, thereby diverting a deity’s displeasure.


Choosing Sides in the Unending Cosmic Battle
Most religions in official D&D settings operate by this model. Instead of community worship and making sacrifices in the hopes of appeasing an entire pantheon, communities and individuals align themselves with a patron god or goddess, usually for the purpose of an overarching cosmic conflict.

The nature of this conflict may vary. One group of gods versus another, the gods verse an outside force (demons, the great old ones, etc.), and petty gods scavenging for power and worship to increase their own individual power on a cosmic scale are but a few of the possibilities.

Depending on the extent to which deities can exert their own will to alter the physical world, worshippers may find themselves as little more than pawns on a chessboard, carrying out their patron god’s or goddess’s will in the mortal world. In a setting where the gods walk among men, worshippers may find themselves the subjects of a god-king or other divine ruler or act as soldiers in an army led by the Warbringer himself. On the other hand, in a world where the divine realm is farther removed from the domains of mortals, worshippers may be the only instruments able to wield divine forces in the physical world and must rely on their own wits and archaic religious texts to advance their deity’s position.


Marked by the Gods
In a world where mortals are far-removed from the divine, deities choose their own champions on Earth, marking them with great power and responsibility. These champions are, of course, clerics in D&D terms (or paladins, rangers, and any other divine casters, depending on edition, setting, and class interpretation).

Under this model, only their chosen champions have any real connection to the gods. While religious institutions may exist, they are out of sync with the desires of their deity. Clerics are often feared, seen as radicals, heretics, or liars rather than the prophets and divine champions they really are. In this world, religions are, at best, uninformed institutions used to support spiritual and political stability throughout civilization. More often, they tend to embody fundamentalist bigots, undermining the cleric’s divine authority and unjustly oppressing or taking advantage of the communities they profess to serve.


One World, Multiple Religions
In G.R.R. Martin’s popular series, a Song of Ice and Fire, there isn’t a single, overarching religion. No. There are dozens of cults of varying sizes spread throughout the world. While the Faith of the Seven is certainly the most widespread throughout the Seven Kingdoms, the old gods of the north; the Drowned God revered by the Ironborn; R’hllor, the Lord of Light; the little known Lady of Waves and the Lord of the Skies; and several others make their presence known and felt.

Eberron also does this with its Silver Flame, Sovereign Host, Dark Six, Blood of Vol, Cults of the Dragon Below, Path of Light, Path of Inspiration, Undying Court, and Keepers of the Past. They vary from being monotheistic to polytheistic or completely agnostic, but they all have two things in common: their clerics all cast spells and their legitimacy is, at best, ambiguous.

Containing multiple, unique religions can really bring a campaign world to life.

Finally, several different, completing faiths can worship  the same deity or pantheon. Take real world Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, for example, three competing religions built on the worship of the same, all-powerful father figure. Each has its own interpretations, but all follow interlinking religious texts and overlapping beliefs. Roman Catholicism vs. Eastern Orthodoxy and the Shia and the Sunni give us another real-world perspective. Just imagine a fantasy world with magically empowered terrorists of Set, working to dismantle the Egyptian faith from within or ridding the world of blasphemous heretics. It might be a terrible place to live in, but it’s certainly a great place in which to role dice.


The Question of Alignment
Alignment in D&D has always been something of a prickly point to many. On the one hand, it helps describe how an individual, community, monster, or deity behaves. On the other hand, it breaks down when taken to any sort of extreme or when you apply real-life psychology to it.

Even with those limitations, I like and use alignment in my games. I’ve never overheard that ever popular, internet-sensation, the conversation, “do we kill the orc babies?”, in real life. It just doesn’t come up, at least not at any table or group I’ve played with. For me, alignment is a useful shorthand. A LE god of trickery is quite different than a NE one. Using alignment, I don’t have to spend a lot of explaining those differences to myself or my players (though, in limited doses, that can be fun, too).

Furthermore, many proclaim that alignment it’s boring. On the contrary, it’s use livens up your campaign in several ways. The first is when the general religious body and the god(s) it worships are of conflicting alignments. Imagine a LE god of war oppressing and enslaving the NG community who worships him. They don’t worship this Warbringer out of love or devotion, but out of fear and obligation. The opposite can work just as well: an LE tyrant, hiding behind the face of a NG god of health and medicine.

The second trick comes up when priests of varying alignments and allegiances, competing against one another for political and religious power, fill a polytheistic hierarchy. This set-up remembers the real world most closely, with vying sects and assemblies squabbling under the banner of a single religion.

Lastly, create deities with the polar opposite alignments that one would normally expect. Imagine a LE god with the love domain, the patron god of S&M, or the LG god of death, using undead slave labor to raise her follower’s standard of living. Sounds like the perfect basis for one of those unnamed city states lying forgotten in the bottom corner of your campaign map.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cleric: Winter Domain



Winter Domain

Deities whose portfolios include the winter domain – Hoder, Boreas,  the Raven Queen, and others – govern over all aspects of sickness, cold, ice, and frost, and those creatures and peoples who dwell in cold, icy environments such as the northern reaches and high mountains.

Winter Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Ice knife*, ray of sickness
3rd
Gust of wind, Scnilloc’s snowball swarm*
5th
Ice shape**, sleet storm
7th
Blight, ice storm
9th
Cone of cold,  contagion
* From  Elemental Evil Player’s Companion.
** See New Spells below for more information.


Bonus Cantrip
At 1st level, you learn the ray of frost cantrip if you don’t already know it. It counts as a cleric spell for you.


Winter’s Wrath
Also at 1st level, you can censure attackers with gusts of freezing air. When a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to cause the creature to make a Constitution saving throw. The creature takes of 2d8 cold damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.


You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.


Channel Divinity: Shards of Winter
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity as an action to summon a gust of freezing air in a 15 foot radius circle within 30 feet. The area becomes difficult terrain for 1 minute as shards and spears of razer-sharp ice appear. All creatures in the area must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes damage equal to the your level + Wisdom modifier.


Freezing Cold
Beginning at 6th level, whenever you deal cold damage to a target, the target cannot take reactions until the end of your next turn.


Potent Spellcasting
Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.


Herald of Winter
At 17th level, as an action, you can transform into the form of the Winter’s Herald for 1 minute. When in this form, you create an aura of ice and cold within 30 feet of you. The ground turns to ice and the air becomes a thick, whirling blizzard. The area within your aura is considered difficult terrain and heavily obscured for all creatures other than you. So long as your aura remains, you have immunity to cold and necrotic damage, and you may cast ray of frost as a bonus action once during each of your turns.


You cannot use this ability again until you finish an extended rest.


New Spells
The winter domain contains the following new spell.

Ice Shape
3rd level transmutation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You cause a section of ice, no more than 10 feet in any dimension, to form itself into any shape you desire. For example, you could shape a piece of ice into a weapon, an ice sculpture, or a small passage through a wall, as long as the wall is less than 10 feet thick. Weapons created in this way count as magical for the purposes of bypassing resistances and immunities.



Download the PDF Here!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cleric: Creation Domain



Creation Domain

The gods and goddesses of creation can be separated into two categories: those deities who created the world or the cosmos, or else they are the gods of the smith, craftsmen, or some sort of trade – including Hephaestus, Ptah, or Cissonius. Clerics of these deities are capable for amazing feats of craftsmanship and  artistry, both magical and otherwise, able to create tools and weapons out of thin air and mend cracks and splinters with a word.

Creation Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Greece, identify
3rd
Magic weapon, rope trick
5th
Create food and water, Leomund’s tiny hut
7th
Fabricate, stone shape
9th
Animate objects, creation


Blessing of Creation
At 1st level, you gain the mending cantrip if you don’t know it already. You also become proficient in your choice of three artisan’s tools. You can use those tools to create items, including magical items, at twice the normal speed.


Bonus Proficiencies
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor, martial weapons, and any tools you create using the Masterwork or Divine Masterwork class features. 


Channel Divinity: Rite of Creation
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity class feature as an action to instantly create an inanimate object that appears in your hand. The object may be made of any vegetable matter, stone, or crystal, and in any shape you can imagine. It may not, however, depend on small, moving pieces (such as gears), be no larger than 3 feet on any one side, nor weigh no more than 15 pounds. Weapons created in this way count as magical for the purposes of bypassing resistances and immunities. The object is not visibly magical, though it disappears after 10 minutes, whenever you use this feature again, or if it takes damage.


Masterwork
You may spend a week to create any common or uncommon magic item from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. You may only have one masterwork at a time. If your masterwork is ever used up or destroyed, you can spend one week to create another. At any time, you can spend 1 week to transform your masterwork from one form into another, becoming any other magic item chosen from one the lists above.


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 damage of the same type dealt by the weapon to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.


Divine Masterwork
When you use the masterwork class feature, you can now create a common, uncommon, rare, or very rare item. Furthermore, you no longer need to be attuned to your masterwork in order to use it.



Download the PDF Here!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thoughts on Creating a Simple, Compelling Pantheon

Before we start, I’m going say this and get it out of the way. I hate D&D pantheons. Not only are they full of overdone clichés, but there are generally way more deities to speak of than I could ever care to remember. Phew. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s begin.

A unique pantheon of gods and goddess and a couple of hints of the myths surrounding them can give your campaign its own feeling and flavor. However, if you’re anything like me, creating a decent collections of deities always seems like more trouble than it’s really worth.

To help myself correct this problem, I brainstormed a list of topics to think about when creating a new pantheon for an upcoming game. This isn't a how-to guide per-say, though that may (or may not) be coming in the future, just a list of possibilities to leap from.


Types of Pantheons

Monotheism
Traditional monotheism, the belief in the exchange of a single, supreme deity, is hard to pull off in a fantasy setting. Not only does it conflict with the standard planescape-y cosmology, but it generally contains such a vast sprawl of saints, angels, or “faces of god” that you end up building your own de-facto pantheon out of those elements anyway.

I do think there are ways to spice it up, though. One church might well have been very proactive in stomping out competing religions - maybe a War god or something. Now the nations of the area are under the yoke of the holy armies of this violent regime. Sects of forbidden gods exist, but only so long as the Church is ignorant of them. I think it has great possibilities for moral dilemmas. The church is good - it brings and sustains peace. But the church is also questionable: expansionist and intolerant of heathens. Which side do you choose?

Dualism
Although also limited at a cosmic level, dualism has some real possibilities. The classic Good God vs. Evil God plays out well here. In 5e terms, Light, Life, Nature, and Knowledge domains best represent the Good God, Life, Nature, and Knowledge domains, while the remainder (Death, War, Tempest, and Trickery) could represent the Evil God.

Playing with which domains each of the two deities possess can bring out different dynamics, a sacred marriage between the sun and the moon, a civilization vs. nature theme, and many others. I'll leave you to experiment with the possibilities.

Quartet
A nice, focused quartet is, in many ways, ideal for a short-lived campaign (as most of mine tend to be). It’s a nice number of deities to breath some life into the cleric class, but not too many so that you are constantly forgetting about them all. Four powers seems to create natural alliances and enemies that can seem interactive, whereas fewer Gods seems pretty cosmically static. The easiest way to do this, is based on alignment. Here’s a quick example to start you off.

These are NOT meant to be reflective of real religions except in terms of rough aesthetics and rituals as well as 'overall feel' from a fantasy perspective, not a theological one.

LG God of Light and Life, following a classic fantasy Catholic/Judaic model. Room for friendly Life types and more Crusader/Inquisition oriented Light clerics.

CG Goddess of Nature and Trickery, an animistic/fey flavored deity with touches of Tribal/Folk Religion as well as the anti-intellectualism of Taoism.

LE Goddess of Death and Knowledge, a bureaucratic soul-counter with a mix of the ritualism of Confucianism (and maybe touches of other ritualistic/orthodox religions) and a slightly fatalistic-contemplativeness of Buddhism.

CE God of War and Tempest, representing the worst parts of civilization and nature; using vaguely Hindu trappings, but most divorced from source material.

Note that any of these religions could just as well have been left unaligned. While alignment can sometimes be an interesting way to tie your deities to the cosmos, ambiguity is just as, if not more, entertaining. This ambiguity allows for more internal conflicts within distinct faiths.

Octet
Eight Gods for eight Domains. With 5e D&D in mind, this seems like the obviously place to start, but from a world-building perspective, it’s rather dull, even though it maps reasonably well to the eight alignments. After only a couple minutes of thought, I quickly ended up with LG=Light; NG=Life, CG=Nature, CN=Trickery, CE=Tempest, NE=War, LE=Death, LN=Knowledge. See, neither terrible interesting nor inspiring.

Eight deities with paired domains could be interesting, though (see Duality below). It adds a nice bit of variety and conflict. Just add four more to the gods above and you’ll be ready to go.

Beyond
Past that the pantheon stops being less 'simple' for my purposes; however the idea of every two-domain combination (56 possibilities) building to a large pantheon does seem to be an interesting place to start world-building. Adding the Arcane domain from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and my six Domains of Myth, that’s 225 complimentary (or disparate) pairs. In other words, way too many to remember! Maybe adding all these new homebrew domains isn’t such a good idea after all.


Duality
This is where most of the truly unique gods arise from. A dualistic approach to pantheon creation takes two opposing or conflicting ideas and somehow reconciles them together into a single, dynamic whole. Once again, four divinities is a nice number, since each deity is best represented by two competing aspects.

You could have a god/goddess of both Life & Death, Light & Trickery, War & Knowledge and Nature & Tempest.

Other interesting combinations include Light & Death, War & Life, Knowledge & Tempest and Trickery & Nature.

Knowledge/Trickery (representing 'truth and lies') is another duality to consider. Nature/Tempest (nature at its best and worst); Death/Life; and Light/War (Light as 'Serenity' or 'Purity') round out a decent set of auto-oppositional powers.

All three sets of permutations could flesh out a less typical (for D&D) pantheon with different regional cults, intricate religions and even inner war/conflicts. Perfect!


Hierarchy
Another interesting idea would be to combine some of these ideas into a hierarchy. One 'Over Power' theoretically representing all Domains who is highly abstract and unapproachable.

The second tier would contain two greater, highly distant Powers, forming a Duality of some sort. Under each member of the Duality are two Intermediate Gods each with two of the Domains from the Greater Power above them; These would be your traditional Pantheistic/Fantasy Gods.

Beneath them are eight Lesser Gods, one of each Domain; being more relatable beings, worshiped by individuals and in shrines rather than in larger, organized religions.

Not only does this provide you with numerous deities of various levels of power and importance, it also creates built-in relationships between them. Furthermore, an overarching hierarchy draws several lines in the sand for potential cosmological conflicts. Will the distant powers act as generals in a war over the fate of the world? Will the lesser gods rise up to overthrow their parents? Will the gods compete and squabble amongst each other to control and direct worldly forces (domains)? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cleric: Sea Domain


Sea Domain


While the tempest domain represents the power of the thundering Stormcaller and Lord of the Sky, the sea domain embodies the might of the crashing, whirling sea. Sailors and merchants often find themselves in the hands of the Sealord - deities such as Posidon, Ægir, and Ler - whose gentle embrace can guide them safely to port and whose fits of anger can send them topping overboard into unknown depths.


Sea Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Fog cloud, speak with animals
3rd
Gust of wind, misty step
5th
Tidal wave*, water breathing
7th
Control water, dominate beast
9th
Conjure sea monsters**, maelstrom*
* From the Elemental Evil Player's Companion.
** See New Spells below for more information.

Blessings of the Sea
You also gain proficiency with tridents and nets, with vehicles (water), and in one of the following skills of your choice: Athletics, Nature, or Perception.


Waters of Strength
When an ally you can see makes a Strength check or Strength saving throw, you can use your reaction to grant your ally advantage on that roll.


You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.


Channel Divinity: Lord of the Sea
At 2nd level you may use your Channel Divinity to charm aquatic creatures within 30 feet of you.

As an action, you present your holy symbol and invoke the name of your deity. Each creature must make a Charisma saving throw. Any creature that fails the save is charmed by you for 1 hour or until it takes damage. This applies to all fresh and salt water creatures, as well as to marine birds and marine mammals (including transitional mammals such as hippos and otters). Plant creatures composed of seaweed or swamp foliage and intelligent creatures, such as merfolk, may also be targeted by this ability, though they have advantage on the saving throw and may repeat the save every 10 minutes until the power expires. Unlike other charm abilities, this ability also affects swarms. While the creatures are charmed, they are friendly to you and to any other creatures you designate.


Channel Divinity: Sea Blessing
At 6th level, you may use your Channel Divinity to grant yourself and all allies within 30 feet the sea's blessing. Any creature may expend its blessing to gain advantage on one of the following checks: saves against spells and abilities that deal lightning or thunder damage, Strength (Athletics) checks, Wisdom (Perception) checks, or Wisdom (Nature) checks. Sea's blessing lasts one hour or until expended.

Those targeted may choose which roll to gain advantage on and need not remain within 30 feet of you to retain this bonus. A character may only have one sea blessing at a time. If the cleric uses this ability again, any blessings still active end immediately. 


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 damage of the same type dealt by the weapon to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.


Sea Lord
At 17th level, when using the Sea Blessing channel divinity power, targets may gain advantage on three checks or saves before it is expended and the blessing lasts 12 hours instead of 1. In addition, undersea plants and intelligent marine creatures, such as merfolk, no longer have Advantage on saves against your Lord of the Sea channel divinity ability.


New Spells


Summon Sea Monsters
5th-level Conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon water spirits that take the form of sea monsters and appear in an unoccupied space within a body of water. The form must be of a beast, monstrosity, or aberration with a swim speed. Choose one of the following options:

• One sea monster of challenge rating 3 or lower
• Two sea monsters of challenge rating 2 or lower
• Four sea monsters of challenge rating 1 or lower
• Eight sea monsters of challenge rating 1/2 or lower

Each creature disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

The summoned creatures are friendly to you, but not to your companions, and will obey your commands (which requires no action taken by you). If you don’t issue any commands, they will defend themselves from hostile creatures or else act according to the creature’s normal behavior, as determined by the DM. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures.


At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots, you choose one of the summoning options above and more creatures appear: twice as many with a 7th-level slot or three times as many with a 9th-level slot.





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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cleric: Love Domain


Love Domain


Nearly every pantheon has a god or a goddess devoted to the concept of love. Examples include Aphrodite, Freya, Hathor, and Sune. Like their divine patrons, clerics of the love domain are often torn between the desire to find, cherish, and protect the a single beloved and the craving for lust, passion, intrigue, and the search for a new object of their attentions. 


Love Domain Spells

Cleric Level
Spells
1st
Charm person, compelled duel
3rd
Calm emotion, suggestion
5th
Beacon of hope, tongues
7th
Compulsion, locate creature
9th
Dominate Person, dream


Shape of the Heart
When you choose this domain at 1st level, you have the choice between one of the two options below: 

Unparalleled Beauty. You gain proficiency with the Persuasion skill, and while you are not wearing armor or using a shield, your Armor Class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Charisma modifier.

Soldier of Love. You gain proficiency with heavy armor and martial weapons.


Blessing of Love
Also at 1st level, your blinding beauty or determined presence can cause attackers to doubt their resolve to strike you. When you are attacked by a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. An attacker that can’t be charmed is immune to this feature.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.


Channel Divinity: Cupid’s Arrow
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity as an action to cause Cupid’s arrow to prick a creature within 30 feet that you can see. That creature must make a Wisdom saving throw.  If the save fails, that creature becomes charmed by another creature of your choice within 60 feet of you. Both creatures must be a humanoid, celestial, dragon, fey, fiend, or giant. The creature is allowed to repeat the save each hour. On a successful save, the effect ends. Otherwise, the effect lasts so long as the target’s desire remains unfulfilled or until you use this class feature again.


Channel Divinity: Guardian of the Heart
Beginning at 6th level, you can Channel Divinity as a reaction when an enemy that you can see makes a melee attack against one of your allies within 30 feet. You use your reaction before the enemy makes its attack roll. The attacker must make a Strength saving throw or be pushed back 15 feet, landing prone, and its attack misses.


Improved Shape of the Heart
Starting at 8th level,  you gain the feature described below associated with the Shape of the Heart ability you chose at 1st level.

Unparalleled Beauty: You may add your Charisma modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.


Soldier of Love: 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 psychic damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.


Protected By Love
At 17th level, when you are subject to a weapon or spell attack that affects only you, you can use your reaction to switch places with any adjacent creature have you charmed. The charmed creature becomes the target of the attack.

Alternatively, when one of your allies is attacked and within 5 feet of you, you may use your reaction action to switch spaces with that ally. You then become the target of the attack.



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April Theme: Domains of Myth



As it says above, April's theme is cleric domains, specifically those domains related to real-world mythology. Get ready for a whole new set of Cleric domains for 5e D&D, perfect to jump-start, expand, or customize your campaign's pantheon. No longer will Poseidon be just another tempest god, but a true Lord of the Sea.

April 18 - Love Domain

April 20 - Sea Domain

April 22 - Creation Domain

April 25 - Winter Domain

April 27- Underworld Domain

April 28 - Destruction Domain

April 29 - Travel Domain