Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sea Servant Prestige Class (WIP)

I love the idea of prestige classes and I'm really upset they aren't in vanilla 5e. Thankfully, Wizards released an example to work off of, so I wanted to try building one myself. This is specifically built for a character I'm currently playing, "adapted" from the Waveservant prestige class of 3.5. Still a work in progress in every way.

Prestige Class: Sea Servant

The Sea Servant
Levels
Features
1st
Tempest Domain Spells, Water Breathing
2nd
Ocean Strider
3rd
Rage of the Bitch Queen
4th
Primal Senses
5th
Release the Kraken



Prerequisites
In order to advance as a SeaServant, you must meet the following prerequisites (in addition to
the multiclassing prerequisites for your existing class):

Strength 15. Umberlee does not tolerate weak SeaServants, for their strength is required to stand against the strong tides.
Spells: Ability to cast 2nd-level divine spells.
Patron: Umberlee.
Character level 7th. Umberlee only chooses the worthy as her servants, and you must be a 7th-level character before you can gain levels in the SeaServant prestige class.
Complete a special task. You must have made peaceful contact with a water elemental or an evil aquatic creature; the creature must be at least CR6 and the character must have communicated with it using a language or magic. has. You might need to seek out additional creatures and make peaceful contact with them in order to reach 5th level in this prestige class.

Class Features
As a Sea Servant, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per sea servant level
Hit Points per Level: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per sea servant level

Proficiencies
Weapons: Tridents
Tools: Navigator's tools, Water Vehicles
Saving Throws: None
Skills: Nature, Survival

Equipment
The sea servant prestige class does not grant any special equipment.




Class Features
Tempest Domain Spells: At 1st Level a sea servant can prepare any spell from the Tempest Cleric Domain as if it were on his divine spell list. The spell uses a spell slot of a level equal to its level in the Tempest Domain list. For instance, a ranger/sea servant could prepare Fog Cloud as a 1st level ranger spell.

Water Adept: A sea servant can breathe water as easily as air, and gains a swim speed of 30 feet. If the sea servant already has a swim speed, the swim speed instead increases by 10 feet. Any Dex saves made while swimming are made with advantage.

Ocean Strider: At 2nd level, sea servants move and attack normally while underwater as if they were under the effects of a freedom of movement spell. They may also cast spells unhindered when underwater. Restrictions not directly related to the water (such as a web spell cast into the water) are not thwarted by this ability. A sea servant can also see underwater as if she had darkvision.

Rage of the Bitch Queen: At 3rd level a sea servant can call upon the inhuman malice of Umberlee herself. On Your Turn, you can enter a rage as a Bonus Action. While raging, you gain the following benefits if you aren't wearing heavy armor:
  • You have advantage on Strength Checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When you make a melee weapon Attack using Strength, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.
  • You have Resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
  • If you are able to cast Spells, you can't cast them or concentrate on them while raging.

Your rage lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked Unconscious or if Your Turn ends and you haven't attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then. You can also end your rage on Your Turn as a Bonus Action.

You can only rage once per day.

Primal Senses: At 4th level, a sea servant becomes so attuned to the ocean she becomes like that of a shark. She effectively has the tremorsense ability in regard to creatures within or touching the body of water she is in to a distance of 60 feet. Otherwise, she can faintly detect creatures that are in the water within 180 feet and can detect blood in the water at ranges of up to one mile. For example, if she were in an underground lake, she would know the exact location of an invisible rogue within swimming within 60 feet through the lake toward her, would know of but not be able to locate the invisible fighter who is swimming 100 feet away, and could smell the blood a cleric is shedding beneath the water 500 feet away.

Release the Kraken: At 5th level, you become a ferocious force of nature. Using your action, you undergo a transformation. For 1 hour, you gain the following benefits:
  • Your swim speed increases to 60 feet.
  • Your lower half transforms into kraken tentacles. These tentacles are natural weapons that have a 10 foot reach with which you are proficient. The sea servant has eight tentacles, each of which can grapple one target of medium or smaller. The tentacles deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage. A successful attack with a tentacle allows the sea servant to immediately attempt a grapple. Until this grapple ends, the target is Restrained.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Learning the Importance of Managing Encounters



Encounters are arguably the cheese of any campaign if the PC's are the meat and the DM is the Taco Shell. I won't go into the mechanics of building encounters because there are plenty of YouTube guides for it and the DMG goes over everthing you need to know. What I'm going to go over here is the importance of WHEN to add encounters, how many you should add, and the content of such encounters. This is for those beginner DM's who don't really get how encounters influence the feeling of a game or how it really impacts the characters or a campaigns pacing.


First of all if you're running a pre-made campaign and it has some sort of list of encounters to have during travel or whatnot I urge you to carefully look over the list and consider your situation. Say, for instance, I have the list of day and night encounters for the Curse of Strahd module for D&D 5e. Almost all of the monsters are either weak as shit for the scaling of the campaign or they're just... boring and inconsequential. At this point I've completely abandoned even thinking of using it because it adds nothing to the campaign itself and just slows eeeeeverything down.

So, instead of that, I've began building my own encounters using different monsters straight from the Monster Manual that I deem thematically accurate to the campaign setting. That, and I've been spacing out the encounters way more and making sure they just don't feel shoehorned in for the sake of having combat. In a different perspective, not all of the encounters have been combat in the first place, that's why they're called "encounters" and not just "combat". At one point I had the party stopped at a crossroads and straight up encountered a Bride of Strahd who had come to give them a message instead of using Strahd himself. Long story short, it can add a lot to a campaign if you try to be more strategic in the amount of combat encounters you have vs. roleplaying encounters.

The short of it is this: don't force your encounters if you don't need to, and don't make them all random combats. Space them out, plan them accordingly, and add flavor where necessary. Make them actual parts of your world and story rather than just filler because RPG.

That's all I really have to say. It's not much I know, but it's not really a subject that really needs a lot of explanation. Till next time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Coarse of Stag

This article is moreso for the use of my players in my CoS game, for the few who need to catch up on it. Regardless, feel free to read if you like.

Another tavern, another ale, another nameless town. Tilviljun was sitting in disguise, as the barber known as Ostap, at a lone table. Looking over his shoulders at his would-be pursuers, he was seated next to a few other adventurers. The burly and regal Viscount Bon Sheen, the Champion who had lost his family to hideous monsters. The kiddish and light-footed Rogue, Tomiko, who was in search of a dear family heirloom. In the back was the cook, always in search of something new to procure recipes from.

As the party was waiting for fate to take its course, a hooded man ventured into the nameless tavern. Upon reaching the party's table, he throws a sealed letter down on the table, saying he brings a request from his master for a group of capable adventurers. They opened the letter as the man briskly left the tavern. The letter was penned in the name of Kolyan Indirovich, the Burgomaster of a village he mentioned as Barovia. Seeing no better alternative, the party made haste from the tavern, taking the cook along with them as he had been fired for "disorderly conduct".

They traveled a few days down an empty road, unimpeded by travelers and bandits. Eventually, they happened upon dense woods. Without a second thought, the party entered. As they ventured deeper inside, the air around them became heavy and thick. The sun they had followed every waking morning was now a feint glimmer in the sky before being swallowed by the trees above. Fog encroached on them from the trees that surrounded the path. Before long, they could barely see in front of them.

Suddenly, they came upon a lonely Mansion, standing tall among decrepit fencing and decaying walls. In the yard were crying children. The eldest was holding the youngest tight, with fear in their eyes. They cried for help from the party, stating a monster was loose in the house. After much deliberation the mists closed the party in on the porch of the house, masking any way of escape, and the party ventured inside one by one.

Many oddities were held in this mysterious abode. While the exterior was old, decrepit, and rotted, the inside was lavishly decorated and in pristine condition. On closer inspection the house was empty, with nothing but food and loose adventuring gear in the first floor. As the party reached the second floor they instigated a magical suit of armor of which attacked them relentlessly. They fell the monster quickly before moving on in their investigation. The cook, always curious, opened the door to a broom closet and grabbed for one of the brooms. It came alive and attacked!

The cook was mortally wounded by this beast, nearly losing his life to it. The party destroyed the vile broom and saved the cook. After the battle, they continued. Upon investigating the final floor they found the children once again. The children explain that the ones seen outside the house are mere phantoms conjured by the house itself. The house was cursed by the Devil, forever luring fools to their doom at the hands of the house's inhabitants.

Once the party left the room, the girls tried to plead with them to not leave them alone. The party agreed to let them accompany them, and the girls possessed two of the party. Discovering a secret staircase, as well as the remains of the housemaid, they ventured below the first floor into a decrepit underground passage. This place held the tombs of the houses family as well as the areas they practiced their cultist ventures.

The party reached the end of the caves only to discover an open room with macabre items set into the walls, a portcullis half-submerged in water, and another passage deeper into the cave. The sorcerer decided to shock the water, not knowing that caused a creature to awaken. A Shambling Mound attacked, crashing through the portcullis towards the party. This monster could not match the adventurers, however, and fell quickly.

As they proceeded to leave the house, it had come alive to tear them to shreds so they could not leave. In fear of this, they crashed through the walls and escaped through them, leaving the mansion to disappear into the mists.

The Curse Begins

As the party rejuvenated themselves at their camp, another visitor encountered them. Falling from the trees came their Paladin, snatched from a distant land not unlike Barovia. Soon after waking, the party was then attacked by a pack of humanoid wolves, vicious and bloodthirsty, infecting the Champion with their affliction of Lycanthropy. After their victory the party pressed on, only to be met with mysterious skeletal riders who granted them a black lantern before riding off into the mists.

Entering through the large, oppressive gates into Barovia, the party ventured into unknown lands. The Svalich Road proceeded to lead into the village of the domains name, the village of Barovia. Encased in faded light appeared the church on a hill of which the party entered. They met the priest, whose son had been afflicted by vampirism and was locked down below the church. After inquiring about details of this land the party left. They reached the Inn afterwards wherein they became acquainted with a man named Ismark. Upon his request, the party accompanied him to his home, where they met his sister Ireena. They helped the two bring their father to the cemetery to bury him.

The party left and met a camp of Vistani travelers, receiving fortune readings from the camp elder. The party departed afterwards and made camp, with Bon suddenly becoming a vicious werewolf under the full moon. A mysterious masked woman cloaked in raven feathers appeared and stabbed Bon through the shoulder with a silver sword, incapacitating him before disappearing. The next morning, the party came upon a couple that were entranced seemingly by pies.

Venturing further, the party found a windmill occupied by old hags. These hags were making pies from children, pies which caused people to go into a deep trance. Upon defeating the hags, the party rested as it began to rain. The rain stopped, and the paladin began to burn the hags bodies for some reason. After a strange bombardment of bats and wolves, the Devil Strahd himself appeared. The party was easily overwhelmed, all but the paladin Benedicite who stood his ground enough to frustrate Strahd.

After dealing with the party, Strahd went upstairs and beckoned to Ireena who took to his arms. Upon biting her, Ireena fell limp. Strahd left, leaving the party dazed and confused. Benedicite awoke to find the lamp was now lit and the flame could be lessened or brightened. Leaving the windmill, they came upon the Town of Vallaki.

In Vallaki, they met with a man named Urwin Martikov, a high ranking member of the Keepers of the Feather. Through him they met a man named Rictavio. After much deliberation, they ventured to a mansion run by a Lady Wachter. Benedicite searched the house, much to her behest. Upon him finding the Tome of Strahd, Lady Wachter attacked the party alongside her imp. The party wiped out the household, save for the houses Spy who got away. Later, the captain of the guard named Izek came to the house looking to arrest the party. Unsuccessful, he burned the house down, but not before the party escaped over the city walls. They also took with them a young adult woman named Stella who thought she was a cat.

The party went towards the mountains, where they were told they could cure Bons lycanthropy. On the way, they met a man named Bluto who was trying to use a little girl to catch fish for some reason. Using a pie, they convinced the man to run for mayor. He returns to town and the party sets the girl with Stella to return to the town as well. The party continues up the mountains, finding a fountain waterfall inset in the side of the mountain. Inside, they find a deep pool containing dinosaurs and a dragon turtle. At the bottom, the rogue finds a fucked up book.

They venture further up the mountain, encountering a crazed mage who attacks them. Upon his defeat, the party learned the made is Mordenkainen. He cured Bon of lycanthropy and told them the lamp they had held a soul in it, as well as cured Stella of her weird cat thing, then sent the party away. The party returned to the village to find it had been ransacked. After finding Ismark, the party learns that Strahd attacked the town, the villagers killed the Burgomaster, and Izek is missing. The party directs the survivors to the fountain in the mountains for refuge.

Izek stays behind with the villagers. The party ventures further to find Rictavios tower, meeting Stahd along the way. Upon a snarky remark from Bon, Strahd sets their wagon aflame. Tilviljun sets a curse upon Strahd, making him unable to find the Tome the party is carrying. Strahd kills Bon in a rage, knowing he isnt dead for good. The party continued on after the attack, making it to the tower finally. Tomiko appraoches the door, causing a magic trap to activate, calling lightning from the sky to strike the intruders. After managing to get away from it, Tomiko and Tilviljun find a different way inside. They see Rictavio next to a woman of whom is lying wounded in bed. Rictavio lets them inside. Bon is let in as well, but not before rising from the dead and failing to dodge the lightning trap at the door.

The woman lets slip that Rictavio is the vampire hunter Van Richten. The woman reveals herself as Ezmerelda, Van Richtens former apprentice. The two agree to accompany the party to the next town, Krezk. They ditch the partys wagon for Ezmereldas, which is set with a trap on the door that explodes if opened. Bon dons a suit of plate armor, of which is also animated armor that activates upon uttering a command word. They leave.

On the way, Van Richten reveals that Ezmerelda is a Vistani. As they reached the town of Krezk, the gates are closed. The party is urged to fuck off, but the Burgomaster intervenes. He states that they havent received their shipment of whine in over a week. If the party wants in, they need to help the shipment safely to the town. The party ventures to the winery to find it has been overrun by druids and blights. In doing so, they find and acquire a Printing Press. The owner of the house begrudgingly states they may have it if they clear the house of the enemies. After a long and arduous battle, the party clears the winery of them. Tilviljun gains a magic staff.

However, the winery still does not function, for the magical stones that power the vineyard have been stolen. Muriel the Wereraven states she saw two of them. One was taken to Yester Hill, the other to Berez. The party heads to Yester Hill, only to find a group of druids chanting prayers at a giant wooden statue of Strahd, which begins to glow. The party attacks while the druids continue to chant. More druids and berserkers rise from the earth to attack. Tilviljun continuously shatters the statue, revealing a green stone. A druid grasps the stone as he is rooted in the ground. Moments later, his body burst into a bloody explosion as a giant Tree creature bursts from underneath him.

The Tree begins to walk towards the winery, but not before the party takes it in combat. They fell the creature, with Bon gaining a magic spear and Tilviljun gaining a magic axe. The party can see a thick fog wall ahead, with an immaculate city in the distance. They decide to venture to it, through the fog. Upon entering the fog, they begin to lose all sense of direction and sound. Bon and Tomiko make it out, with Bon passing out. Tomiko tries to find Tilviljun, but becomes too exhausted and passes out. Tilviljun keeps walking deeper into the fog unwavered, yet severely exhausted. Unable to take any more, he passes out.

In a momentary bout of consciousness, Tilviljun can feel something colder than any ice he's ever felt lift him up. It feels cold enough to give someone frostbite, but at the same time it doesnt hurt at all. somehow. He passes out, then is tossed outside the fog to join the rest of the unconscious party. The party return to the winery after waking, setting aside a few days to recuperate there.

Monday, December 5, 2016

MaddHouse Podcast #1 - We Have No Idea What We're Doing

Welcome to the MaddHouse Podcast, your one stop shop for amateur Tabletop RPG discussion! Here we'll discuss all sorts of topics mainly revolving around D&D 5e, from the DM perspective of a gay D&D weirdo veteran and a trans D&D weirdo newbie.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kyton & Osyluth Tiefling Variants

I love Tieflings, mostly because I'm a huge slut for demons, devils, and whatnot. It makes me sad that the PHB has literally no variants for a race as complex as having fiendish lineage of all things. This is gonna be my very first homebrew racial variant, so input would be appreciated!

In terms of the official released outside of the PHB, I don't really like how most of those Tiefling variants are just like "pick from this list of cool stuff to give your tiefling". I wanted to make some that had a more direct lineage to certain devils rather than just the vague "Tiefling with Abyssal blood", particularly two that I find are really cool visually.

The 5th Edition Kyton - Chain Devil
Kyton Tiefling
You are a tiefling spawned of the feared Kyton, or Chain Devil. Your skin is a dampered rust color, your eyes seem bloodshot, your horns are shaped like hooks, your tail is short and thick. Due to your heritage you know how to conjure chains to attack and ensnare your enemies.

  • Int +1
  • Dex +2
  • Speed 30ft
  • Size - Medium
  • Darkvision
    • You can see in dim light for 60 feet as if it were normal light, and darkness as if dim light.
  • Hellish Resistance
    • You are resistant to fire
  • Chain Whip 
    • You create a long chain whip that lashes out at your command toward a target within 10 feet of you. As an action you can make a melee attack against a target. If the attack hits, the creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage, and if the creature is Large or smaller, you can pull the creature up to 10 feet closer to you.
    • You may use this ability an amount of your Dex modifier + 1/day.

The 5th Edition Osyluth - Bone Devil
Osyluth Tiefling
You are a descendant of the mighty enforcer, the Osyluth, or Bone Devil. Your skin is a bone off-white with pinkish-red coloring near your horns and joints, your eyes are a bright blue, your horns are long and thin, and your tail is immensely long and sharp. Using your tail you can rend your enemies asunder with its stinging strength.

  • Int +1
  • Str +2
  • Speed 30ft
  • Size - Medium
  • Darkvision
    • You can see in dim light for 60 feet as if it were normal light, and darkness as if dim light.
  • Toxic Resistance
    • You are resistant to poison
  • Poison Stinger (reach) 
    • Your mighty tail can be used to attack foes. As an action you can make a melee attack against a target. If the attack hits, the creature takes 1d4 piercing damage and the target must make a Con save (DC 8+Prof+Con Mod) or take 1d4 poison damage.
EDIT 11/21/16
Changed the formatting
Added a limit to Chain Whip
Changed Poison Stinger DC and damage.

EDIT 11/21/16
Changed the amount of uses for Chain Whip
Changed Hellish Resistance to Toxic Resistance

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NO HOMEBREW

Homebrew is awesome. Sometimes you just don't wanna use the base classes, you wanna use a Frost Mage! Or maybe you wanna use the Way of Celerity to become the fastest monk alive? Or perhaps you just want to be a weird Awakened Animal race that's just a 3 foot tall Raccoon who can talk and use Greatswords.

Yeah, well, okay don't do any of those things. Rather, don't let any Homebrew into your games for at least a few campaigns. Right now, as a new DM, your job is to learn the inner workings of the game and how to run it properly. Allowing too much, or sometimes only a few, homebrew can fuck a lot up and you'll have to compensate for it. Scale encounter levels higher, give bosses stronger moves, slap more enemies into the fray, it's a mess.

Now, I'm not saying homebrew is bad at all! Homebrew is awesome as shit. I love using it for my own characters. The reason I can do that, however, is because the people's games I play in are people who are intimately familiar with D&D and have been playing for years longer than I have. Run a few vanilla campaigns first before you even consider using homebrew! And even then, DON'T run rampant with it. Use a moderate amount. What that means is up to you, I'm just here to make your job easier.

When I talk about homebrew, I'm mainly talking about letting your PC's use homebrew character options. Whenever a PC decides to use, or even not use, a homebrew class/race/subclass make sure to look over it THOROUGHLY. Make sure it's in line with the campaign you're running. Make sure that type of class won't throw the kinds of wrenches in things that will break certain encounters rather than enhance them. It's okay if a PC's class lets them subvert a certain encounter in some way, but it's not okay if they subvert it in a way that makes the entire thing seem trivial and silly.

Regarless of whether you're using homebrew or not, ALWAYS know what your PC's are running with. Their skills, racial traits, stats, class features, feats, all that shit. It'll save you MOUNDS of frustration in the long run.

I'll probably post more lengthy and details things in the future, but this was an issue I ran into recently in my own first campaign and it's made the workload much more difficult.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Welcome to my shitty blog!

Who am I? Who cares! Welcome to my D&D-centric blog, where I'll post whatever the hell I feel like because that's how the internet works.

My favorite race to play by far; The Tiefling

For real though, welcome to my blog! I'm hoping, with this blog, I can specifically give insight to new DM's into what it's like starting as a DM. I'm almost completely new to the subject (at time of writing have only been DM-ing one campaign, which isn't finished, of which I started this past summer 2016), so I thought it could be helpful to show my process and maybe make the whole workload look less intimidating to new DM's.

I know when I started, while the internet is a HUGE resource for learning, it was hard getting a real grasp on how DM-ing worked. All I had to go on was advice of people WAY more experienced than me, which is GREAT, however it was also kind of alienating and intimidating. I'm hoping with my insight I can help give a different perspective on DM-ing as someone who is currently also in the process of learning everything from scratch.

Stay tuned! I hope to be able to post as often as I can!