You see a wyrd-touched traveller through the haze. They grant you a warding magic. What elements bind it?
Roll 2d20: 1) Salt 2) Iron 3) Bone 4) Water 5) Earth 6) Stone 7) Flesh 8) Blood 9) Wind 10) Wood 11) Feathers 12) Glass 13) Cloth 14) String 15) Oil 16) Leather 17) Gold 18) Silver 19) Coal 20) Smoke
Traits are an optional rule variant for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition that replaces inspiration. This variant places the responsibility and power of roleplaying rewards in the hands of the players freeing up mental space for the GM and encouraging players to roleplay harder.
The Mycellium is a new patron for Warlocks in 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons that focuses on the harnessing of disease, decay and poisons.
Sheemaw’s hut in Qaval from The Splintering Wheel, our open table hexcrawl Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings campaign.
Another great moment from the first Splintering Wheel game was the party meeting Child Deciever, a wandering Sand Dwarf Wizard who used a piglet as a doorbell on his tent and proceeded to seduce Aethwen the party’s friendly if reckless Drow Wizard.
Really enjoying running my new rundown dieselpunky desert dnd campaign The Splintering Wheel. One of my favourite images from the first adventure was Gnolls pulling a wrecked trailer full of blocks of brontosaurus meat.
The Splintering Wheel is a continuing game of Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings I am running. It is an open table, centrally located hexcrawl game, mechanically inspired by The West Marches.
The setting is desert based fantasy/dieselpunk. It’s races are culturally adjusted and it contains both firearms and Automobiles.
Shoalmourn is a human kingdom which has retracted back into itself as the climate has changed and the deserts have encroached on their lands. The prevailing wisdom is that they have been abandoned by Oli the Seasonkeeper who is upset with their excessive use of magic and lack of filial piety, and idea gleaned from High Elves. To rectify this the humans of Shoalmourn have become less socially mobile and more rigidly controlled by their mid level governments.
The Town of Qaval
Qaval is a human town of approximately 3000 people at the south-easternmost corner of the largely subterranean human kingdom of Shoalmourn. It’s remoteness has earned it a reputation as a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Adventurers and outcasts gravitate to this settlement either lured by the call of the expansive wastes that surround it or escaping the rigid control of Shoalmourn’s brutal inquisitorial guardforce. Adventurers are known to meet in what is referred to as the forum, a public square between two taverns, a flophouse and a smithy, inhabited by a seemingly voluntarily homeless man known only as Caesar.
There is one god and that god is IA.
IA is the Splintering Wheel, gaoler of the world.
His domains are Life, Death and Destruction.
He is uncaring and eternal.
There are seven Wardens that obey IA and tend to the world.
They are as follows:
Oli, the Seasonkeeper, whose domains are Nature, Construction and Tempest
Horu of the Undergrowth, whose domains are Death and Nature
Avio, the Kilnmother, whose domains are War, Construction and TravelShobi of the Skies, whose domains are Knowledge, Light and Tempest
Nodermu the Pure, whose domains are Knowlege, Life and DestructionShan the Patient, whose domains are Knowledge, Trickery and War
Kilarbi the Flare, whose domains are Trickery, Light and Travel
Races here list their defining traits according to Hofestede’s Cultural Dimensions, their societal structure and the styles of their artisans.
High Power Distance, High Uncertainty Avoidance, Past Oriented
A rigidly structured matriarchal society centred around great houses built along the ancient spice routes. Their crafts and architecture are dominated by elaborate designs reminiscent of Qing Dynasty Cloisonné, Girih Mosaics and Medieval Persian Carpets.
The masters of the great houses the high elves are the most rigidly bound by their matriarchal structure. High Elves almost never leave the region around their house’s holdings. It is believed that High Elves that venture from their homes are struck down by a wasting disease which is evidence of the displeasure of IA and his Wardens.
The carpenters and tradesfolk of the Elves are less strict than their noble brethren. Their families typically owe allegiance to a High Elf House and go out into the world to deal with their affairs.
The great architects of the Elves, the Drow reshape the undercaverns into tunnels, halls, pits and spires. Originally slaves to the High Elves, forced to construct their great houses they escaped beneath the surface of the world. At their height they constructed vast magnificent subterranean cities that glittered with magical light but as the Fold of Nodermu spread through their culture they rejected this grandiosity for it’s imitation of the hubris of the High Elves and disbanded to live simpler lives, practising their arts primarily as an expression of piety.
Low Power Distance, Collective, Feminine, Indulgent
Dwarves are a nomadic people whose trails are said to be written into their very bones. Their family groups are large and intermingled and exemplify their saying “it takes a whole caravan to raise a child”. Many of the less hospitable places along their paths have hidden towns of caves and tunnels carved into rock faces over generations within which to shelter. Fond of life’s simple pleasure the echoes of their joyous music ring out from their camps most nights.
Their crafts are dominated by colourful paintings,bold symbolic stonecarving and elaborate beadwork similar to Romani and Native North American arts.
Sometimes known as Seasonal Dwarves they are recognised by their brightly painted conical tents that move along the landscape with the weather, never staying in one place much longer than a few weeks.
The wagons of the Hill Dwarves, often insensitively called Mud Dwarves, commonly make camp in and around the large settlements of other races often for months at a time until trade with the community dies down.
Low Uncertainty Avoidance, Future Oriented, Feminine
Bundled in heavy hessian robes few people have seen the face of a gnome. Their skills and craftsmanship is often full of sharp angles and mechanical embellishment. If it has a plate of steel bolted to it for no reason or unnecessary patching it’s probably gnomish. If it has no baling twine, fencing wire, zip ties or silver tape it probably isn’t.
Now called Wild Gnomes these creatures are rarely seen amongst the trappings of civilization only wandering out of the desert into towns individually to trade for a few essential supplies.
Rock Gnomes, commonly called Tame Gnomes, gather in warrens in abandoned spaces around cities and towns such as empty storehouses, back alleys and dry sewers. Often they are employed for repetitive, delicate or menial tasks, sometimes unnecessarily in the belief that if they aren’t kept occupied they will turn to mischief and crime.
High Power Distance, Collectivism, High Uncertainty Avoidance
Halflings Build huge suburban sprawls around bountiful clear water sources notable for their canal-lined streets watering the large gardens and fields that they grow between houses and buildings. They invest heavily in their social strata and civic organisations. Titles are highly prised and respected from Mayor to book club secretary.
Stout halflings are industrialists who build large communal factories, mills and breweries. The foremen of these institutions are often important community members.
Lightfoot halflings tend the gardens and fields that criss-cross the halfling sprawls. They are considered brash and gossipy by Stouts who think that Lightfoots use petty politics to gain status instead of hard work.
Collectivist, Masculine, Future Oriented
Masters of tools, invention and teamwork, Humans use regular communal expressions of faith to power their indomitable march towards industry and agriculture. Their admiration for the skilled and well mannered Drow has lead to their cities filled with networks of subterranean rooms beneath simple heavily reinforced surface structures. Only the largest human cities contain buildings with multiple above-ground storeys.
Humans are known for their bold, minimalist art styles often using large sweeping brush strokes, and simple shapes in bold colours in expert spatial arrangements.
High Power Distance, Collectivist, Low Uncertainty Avoidance, Indulgent
Once known as half-orcs the sturdy Ogrin are industrious labourers who build small dense towering cities of baked wattle and daub criss-crossed with wooden walkways and narrow streets. The high walls of these cities are filled with the scents of hearty food and drink as Ogrin life is seen as a trade of labour for earthly pleasures. Simple work and cuisine.
Masculine, High Uncertainty Avoidance, Restrained
Often found in positions of significant power and influence Saurians rarely construct their own communities, preferring to insert themselves into the societies of other races. Their work is fine and subtle in all fields, when they do express flourishes they are powerful and filled with sharply honed raw colour and emotion.
Individualist, Masculine, Future Oriented
Believed to be abandoned by The Wardens Tieflings are often the subject of pity amongst other races who see their “deformities” as the manifestation of the wrath of IA. They are however, fiercely self-sufficient and will often sabotage charity directed towards them. Their work is sturdy and smooth, often embued with curls and waves carved into silver and hardwoods.
Low Power Distance, Individual, Masculine, Past Oriented
Known for the grand masonry of their massive coliseum fortress cities built atop towering mesas. Huge ghostly white Goliaths have earned a fearsome reputation in the fairy tales of other races due to the brutality of the ritual combat that dominates the social order and culture of their civilisation.
Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings is what I’m calling my attempt to tweak 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons to better support player driven stories and inter-character interactions at my table.
I’ve added a few systems stealing bits I like from Dungeon World, Apocalypse World, Burning Wheel and FATE.
In order to make this all work and to visually realign priorities I’ve also created a custom, if basic, character sheet for my players to play with.
The main visual space is taken up by Callings and Traits which are explained later in this post while the important stats appear in a column down the left of the page.
Things like attacks, spells and other abilities are all lumped into a “Moves” section while passive things like Stonecunning and Darkvision appear go in the “Features” section. The “Skills” section allows players to jot down their proficiencies in Skills, Languages and Tools. “Gear” is a general space for listing all equipment the player has.
Callings are your character’s motivations and beliefs. They should be stated as an opinion or thought followed by an actionable intention.
“The baron is extorting his people. I will remove him from power.”
“The party Rogue, Tamlin, saved my life. I will return the favour at any cost.”
“The Gods are unworthy of worship. I will end all religion in the land.”
When you attempt to take actions that come from your Callings, gain 1 experience.
Eg: “I start an argument with the town crier who supports the baron BECAUSE the baron is extorting his people.”
When you achieve the intention stated in your goal you gain experience equal to your level and replace that belief with a new one.
Traits are simple words or phrases that explain the defining features of your character. Traits can be invoked by players and the GM to grant advantage or disadvantage on rolls where those traits are relevant in the story. It can also be invoked to grant non-roll based benefits or misfortunes. Once a trait has been invoked to gain advantage or benefit it is marked and cannot be used again to gain another advantage or benefit until it has been unmarked. When a trait is invoked to grant disadvantage or misfortune you can unmark one trait of your choice. All traits are unmarked at the start of each session.
Invoked to grant advantage on deception check to disguise oneself as a bear.
Invoked to grant disadvantage on acrobatics check to escape a sticky swamp.
Invoked to grant advantage on persuade check to convince a priest to give people asylum for the night.
Invoked to grant disadvantage on sleight of hand check to steal the keys to a jail cell.
At the end of each session the rest of party votes on which trait is least descriptive of your character in that session and what to replace it with. These changes are then made to your character.
A location, circumstance or situation may have traits that can be invoked like character traits by players and the GM to grant advantage or disadvantage on rolls.
Invoked by to gain advantage on a stealth check.
Invoked by to grant disadvantage on an attack roll.
You are eligible to level up when you gain XP equal to nine plus your level multiplied by three. Levelling up is a Great Work which must be completed before you gain the benefits of your new level.
At the end of each session each character goes through their callings.
If they can give an example of an action they took in the session that was motivated by that calling they gain one experience. This is called a Because Statement. I.E. “I robbed the noble’s son BECAUSE wealth should be shared amongst the common folk.”
If they have completed the goal stated in that calling they gain experience equal to their current level and remove that resolved calling.
They also gain experience for each answer they found to questions in their Mystery Table.
Get set back by being outmaneuvered or through oversight and learn from it?
Devise a shrewd scheme or strategy that was successful and put the party at an advantage?
Loot a Memorable Treasure?
Acquire a useful ally, contact or confidant?
Defeat a notable foe?
Complete any quests?
When you succeed on a perception or investigation check you may ask up to three of the following questions. Acting on the answers grants advantage on relevant rolls. If you fail by five or less, you may ask one.
What happened here recently?
What is about to happen?
What should I be on the lookout for?
What here is useful or valuable to me?
Who’s really in control here?
What here is not what it appears to be?
When you succeed on an insight check against a character you may ask up to three of the following questions. Acting on the answers grants advantage on relevant rolls. If you fail by five or less, you may ask one.
Is your character telling the truth?
What’s your character really feeling?
What does your character intend to do?
What does your character wish I’d do?
How could I get your character to __?
Persuasion is convincing someone to do something because something good will happen to them if they do. It is opposed by a Wisdom save.
Intimidation is convincing someone to do something because something bad will happen to them if they don’t. It is opposed by a Charisma save.
Deception is convincing someone that something you say is true despite evidence or lack thereof. It is opposed by an Intelligence save.
When you succeed on an intimidation, persuasion or deception check against a player character you they gain one experience if they do what you say and gain disadvantage on any rolls to not do that. If you fail by five or less, choose only one of those conditions.
When you succeed on an intimidation, persuasion or deception check against a non-player character you they they do or believe what you want you say. If you fail by five or less, they will do or believe what you say when you give them some reasonable evidence that you’re to be believed.
A character’s mystery table is a list of questions the player has about the world, their own character and characters around them. At the end of each session the character gets one experience for each of those questions which have been answered and removes that question from their mystery tables. New questions can be added to the table between sessions. If answering one question would answer another question they cannot be listed as two separate questions. There is no limit other than common sense to how many questions you can have on your Mystery Table.
Crafting Magical Items, Buildings, Advanced Engineering, Political Prestige and Personal Development require more than just a little elbow grease or a few arcane words.
To perform a great work:
First calculate the cost of the great work you wish to attempt.
State which resources you are spending on your attempt.
Roll the Required Check for the great work.
For every 1 Magic in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -10 penalty to your roll.
For every 1 Influence in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -5 penalty to your roll.
For every 1 Goods in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -2 penalty to your roll.
For every 1 PP or 10 GP in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -1 penalty to your roll.
For every 1 labour in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -1 penalty to your roll.
See the roll results on the Great Work Attempt table.
Costs come in the following units: Goods, Influence, Labour, Magic, and Platinum Pieces
Your Highest Proficient Save
Your Current Level in Platinum Pieces + Your Current Level in Days
Construct A Room or Building
Mason’s Tools or Carpenter’s Tools
Ultimate Campaign Cost
Craft An Item
Relevant Tools or Arcana
Item PP cost or equivalent number of days
Research A Spell
1 Magic + 10 days per spell level
<thcolspan=”2″>Great Work Attempt
Great Success. Roll on the Spare Parts table and gain those resources as a bonus from your efforts.
10 – 24
Partial Success. Roll on the Spare Parts table and increase the cost of this work by that much. You may reattempt this work again. Resources already invested count towards the new attempt but cannot be extracted from the work at this time.
Abject failure. Any and all resources invested in this great work are destroyed or wasted.
The assistance of a specific person or 1d4 influence
The quality of your final product
Exhaustion & Madness
Exhaustion is split into two separate tracks, Exhaustion for physical effects and madness for mental effects.
When you fail a death saving throw you gain one level of exhaustion or madness, your choice.
Exhaustion and madness can be gained by enduring physical and mental punishment such as travelling for days without rest or seeing your loved ones slain. It can also be inflicted by the supernatural such as being the victim of a mummy’s curse or an insanity spell.
1 Rank of Exhaustion can be lost over the course of a long rest in which the character also eats and drinks normally.
1 Rank of Madness can be lost by spending a day in comfortable circumstances without engaging in violence or stress.
Disadvantage on Strength, Dexterity and Constitution ability checks
Disadvantage on Attacks and Strength, Dexterity and Constitution saves
HP Max Halved
Speed reduced to 0
Disadvantage on Intelligence, Charisma and Wisdom ability checks
Cannot take reactions
Disadvantage on Attacks and Intelligence, Charisma and Wisdom saves
Cannot comprehensively communicate or understand any languages
Death / Forever Broken
Automobiles have an average move speed of 50kmph
Automobiles use 25 ml of gas per medium creature per km including vehicle
Gas costs 1 gp per litre
Automobiles are repaired with Mechanic’s Tools which cost 50gp
Bike – large, 2 passengers – 1000gp
Car/Motorboat – huge, 4 – 8 passengers – 5000gp
Mover (Bus/Tanker/Ship) – gargantuan – many passengers – 25000gp
Cleric Domain: Travel
A homebrew Cleric Domain for D&D 5th Edition by Ash McAllan (acegiak.net)
longstrider, feather fall
spider climb, rope trick
fly, water breathing
dimension door, hallucinatory terrain
teleportation circle, passwall
You are proficient with the vehicle type of your choice and may add your proficiency modifier to Animal Handling checks made for riding.
Once per long rest you can create rations equal to half your cleric level (minimum 1).
Starting at 2nd level you can use your Channel Divinity as a reaction to add +10 to your own roll for a Survival Roll or a Saving throw against becoming paralysed, restrained, grappled or prone. You may do this after the dice has been rolled but before the GM has announced the result.
At 6th level your You can use your Divine Path ability on a creature you can see within 30 feet.
At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with inertial 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 2d6 force damage to the target if you have moved at least 10 feet in that turn. When the cleric reaches 14th level, the extra damage increases to 3d6.
Starting at 17th level you cannot become exhausted or fatigued from travelling. Your carrying capacity is doubled and you can continue to walk at your normal pace while sleeping, eating, trancing, resting or meditating to prepare spells.
Cleric Domain: Construction
A homebrew Cleric Domain for D&D 5th Edition by Ash McAllan (acegiak.net) based off domains by Surrealistik (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?367292-5E-D-amp-D-Cleric-Homebrew)
create or destroy water, tenser’s floating disk
arcane lock, spike growth
create food and water, leomund’s tiny hut
fabricate, stone shape
wall of stone, creation
A Wall of My Own
When you choose this domain at 1st level you gain proficiency with heavy armor.
You gain proficiency with one tool kit. Your proficiency bonus is always double when using tool kits you are proficient with.
Rite of Construction
From the 2nd level, as an action, you can use your Channel Divinity to create a non-magical object described in Chapter 5: Equipment in an unoccupied space adjacent to you in which it can fit. The value of this object may be up to 5 GP per Cleric level. If the number of objects created is equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) you must dismiss one item, disintegrating it, before you can create another. If any of these objects is more 100 feet away from you for 60 seconds it immediately disintegrates.
From 6th level one of the active items from your Rite of Construction can be a Constructed Guardian.
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 force damage to the target. When the cleric reaches 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
Starting at 17th level you can use your Channel Divinity to reshape any solid substance such as wood, metal, ice or stone within a spherical space with a radius equal to your cleric level in feet which you can see and contains no creatures or magical items. No matter can be created or destroyed by this.
Medium construct, true neutralArmor Class: 12 + your Wisdom modifier (not including shield)
Hit Points: Varies (your Cleric level x 5)
Speed: 20 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
Skills: Athletics (X + your proficiency modifier)
Damage Resistances: bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine
Damage Immunities: poison, psychic
Condition Immunities: charmed, frightened, poisoned, stunned, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9
Languages: Understands but does not speak languages you know. Has a telepathic link with you that you can use to communicate with it at any distance as long as you’re on the same plane as the Guardian.
Bodyguard: While the Guardian is adjacent to a creature that’s the target of an attack you may have it spend its reaction to switch places with that creature before that attack is rolled. If it does, it becomes the target of that attack instead if it’s a legal target.
Has its own initiative and turn. If has an initiative bonus of 0.
Disappears when reduced to 0 or fewer hit points.
Is friendly to you and your companions.
Will defend itself from hostile creatures but otherwise takes no actions if you don’t give it any orders.
Standard Attack: May make attacks with any weapons it has equipped.
Unarmed Attack: Proficient melee attack using strength deals 1d6+Strength Modifier bludgeoning damage.
Cleric Domain: Destruction
A homebrew Cleric Domain for D&D 5th Edition by Ash McAllan (acegiak.net) based off domains by Surrealistik (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?367292-5E-D-amp-D-Cleric-Homebrew)
thunderwave, thunderous smite
shatter, scorching ray
call lightning, fireball
blight, ice storm
destructive wave, insect plague
Tools of Destruction
When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with all martial weapons.
You gain the spell Firebolt as a cantrip.
From 2nd level, as an action, you can use your Channel Divinity to corrode a nonmagical ferrous metal object you can see within 5 feet. If the object isn’t being worn or carried, the touch destroys a 1-foot cube of it. If the object is being worn or carried by a creature you must make a successful melee attack against them. If the object touched is either metal armor or a metal shield being worn or carried, its takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to the AC it offers . Armor reduced to an AC of 10 or a shield that drops to a +0 bonus is destroyed. If the object touched is a held metal weapon, it rusts as described in the Rust Metal trait.
From 6th level your corrosive touch can be made with a ranged attack within 30 feet against any non-magical, non-living object you can see.
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 sonic damage to the target. When the cleric reaches 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
Avatar of Destruction
At 17th level, you gain Chain Lightning, Disintegrate, Finger of Death, Fire Storm, Tsunami, Earthquake, Storm of Vengeance and Meteor Swarm as domain spells.
One of the things that comes up often in my D&D 3.5 and now Pathfinder games is players wanting to assist each other with skill checks and while these systems have a mechanic for that (match a DC to give a plus 2 bonus) it’s pretty bland and doesn’t feel quite right. The solution we’ve moved to is as follows:
The assistant rolls a check of the same skill before the person performing the main check, subtracting ten from the result and halving it ala converting an ability to a modifier. The result is then added to the roll of the person performing the main check.
This has a couple of advantages in that not only can you get a lot of help from someone who is particularly skilled (though the reduction means its still wiser to have the best person perform the main check) but also an unskilled or unlucky person may actually interfere with and disrupt the skill check they are trying to assist on, for instance rolling an assist check of six will actually bestow a minus two penalty to the check at hand.
The only concern I’ve had with this is having to be a little more vigilant in regards to making sure assists aren’t rolled when they don’t make sense.