Monthly Archives: September 2014

Undead Slayer- Ranger Archetype for 5e

When I first started playing 2e Dungeons and Dragons one of my favorite kits was in the Complete Elven book, the undead slayer.  I thought it would be fun to create this as an archetype for 5e.  I really love the kit approach of 5e.

Here are some other 5e goodies I’ve done:

Blood Magic- Sorcerous Origin

Oath of the Fallen- Paladin Sacred Oath

Ranger Archetype: Undead Slayer

Undead Slayer 3


You have seen firsthand the devastation that the undead can bring: Hordes of zombies, skeletons, and ghouls that march ceaselessly across the landscape killing and consuming the innocent, vampires enslaving whole governments and bending them to their depraved will, or a lich that corrupts and blights the very earth with their mere presence.  You’ve lost loved ones, friends, or even your whole village to their onslaught… you have trained against these monstrosities and seek vengeance.  You know that holy water, mirrors, stakes and silver weapons aren’t enough.  It takes a resolve and a reckless devil-may-care attitude to do what you do.  And you won’t stop until every single undead creature lies dead at your feet.


Hatred of Undead

If you have not chosen undead as a favored enemy at level one, it is now a bonus favored enemy.  You gain all benefits stated in the rules (PHB, pg 91).  You have also studied a specific type of undead (IE- zombies, skeletons, wrights, lich, etc.) to gain Advantage against all attack rolls against them.  At level 7 and 15 you chose another specific undead and gain the same benefit.

Undead Slayer 2

Righteous Spells

Undeath is the antithesis of nature, and as such the very planet itself fuels you with spells that enable you to fight undead better.  These spells only function against the undead.


Ranger Level Spell Name
3rd Protection from Evil (Undead), Searing Smite*, Thunderous Smite*, Wrathful Smite*
5th Branding Smite*
9th Blinding Smite*
13th Staggering Smite*
17th Banishing Smite*

*= Smites can be delivered via melee or ranged attack.

Unwavering Resolve

At 7th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice.

Battle Hardened- When fighting against one of your specific undead types you gain +2 to your AC.  If the creature hits you with an attack your AC is increased to +4 against all subsequent attacks made by that undead for the rest of the turn.

Clear Minded– You gain Advantage on saves against being charmed by undead creatures.

Minds Eye- You gain Advantage on saves against illusionary effects used by undead creatures (not spells).

Steel Will– You gain Advantage on saves against being frightened by undead creatures.


Debilitating Powder

At 11th level your studies of your specific undead enemies have allowed you to learn their weaknesses.  You are able to create a powder (roughly 100 gp in reagents) that can affect the undead.  Choose which powder you are creating: Mental or physical.  If the mental powder is thrown on the undead it must succeed on a Wisdom save or suffer Disadvantage on all mental rolls (including spells and special abilities- if applicable).  If the physical powder is thrown on the undead it must succeed on a Constitution save or suffer Disadvantage on all physical rolls (including attack and special abilities- if applicable).  This lasts until the creature takes a short rest.

Undead Slayer 1

True Slayer

At level 15 your studies and confrontations with the undead have bolstered your strength and resolve.  You gain Advantage to all saves against special attacks or supernatural abilities by any undead, but not actual spells.


Oath of the Fallen- Paladin Sacred Oath for 5e

Yesterday I posted the Blood Magic bloodline for Sorcerous Origin for Dungeons and Dragons 5e.  I thought it would be fun to do the same with some of the other classes.  I don’t know how many I will do.  I have two more (at least) planned…  we’ll see what my use says.  Anyways- enjoy.


Paladin Sacred Oath: Oath of the Fallen

Fallen Paladin 1

Paladins take up the mantel of their faith to met out justice to evildoers and bring hope to the downtrodden and oppressed.  This constant struggle exposes paladins to some of the worst experiences and evils on the planet.  While many find strength and solace in their faith, others become disillusioned, frustrated and corrupted by hatred.  Eventually these paladins turn to the dark gods they had promised to fight against for power and strength.  To these fallen paladins the weak deserve to be crushed under boot and whip, and the good and divine are the reason the world is such a constant mess.  They march across the landscape with undead and fiends at their side, culling and enslaving the weak.


Tenets of the Fallen

The tenants of the Oath of the Fallen vary with each dark god or fiend, but the means all tend to be the same.

Wrath. Hated and anger are powerful allies, use them to your full advantage.

Cull the Weak. Those that cannot defend themselves are weak and should be put to the sword or enslaved.

Break Their Will. Corrupting others to serve your dark gods (especially those in power), bolsters your own strength and stretches the influence of your deities to further realms and heights.

Survival. Do whatever it takes to ensure your survival, even if it means the destruction of a complete civilization.


Oath of the Fallen Spells

You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.


Paladin Level Spells
3rd Bane, False Life
5th Darkness, Ray of Enfeeblement
9th Animate Dead, Bestow Curse
13th Blight, Confusion
17th Contagion, Insect Plague


Variation from Paladin Class


Divine Sense– Functions as the standard ability (PHB, pg 84), with the following changes: You no longer sense or detect evil, but instead good.

Lay on HandsFunctions as the standard ability, (PHB, pg 84), with the following changes: You can only heal evil aligned targets (or yourself).  You are also able to use this on undead to heal them. 

Divine SmiteFunctions as the standard ability, (PHB, pg 85), with the following changes: damage is necrotic, not radiant.

SpellsSpells function as per descriptions in the magic section, however the DM may change things slightly to fit a more evil bend.  This can be stating that the spell only works on evil creatures (IE- bolstering them, etc) or hinders good aligned.  The DM is more than within their right to alter these spells as they see fit.

Fallen Paladin 2

Channel Divinity

When you take this oath at 3rd level you gain the following two Channel Divinity options.

Wrack With Pain– You can use your Channel Divinity to cause enemies within a 20 foot radius to be wracked with unbearable pain.  The targets must succeed a Charisma save or suffer Disadvantage to all rolls and move at half movement while in the affected area.  This lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Paladin’s level.

Turn the UnholyThis functions as the Channel Divinity feature (PHB, pg 86), with the following changes: You can turn good-aligned or divine creatures.


Marching Horde– At 7th level you emit an aura that causes yourself and any friendly targets within 10 feet to gain Advantage on saves against any hold spells or those that hinder movement.  At 14th level the radius is increased to 30 feet.


Death Knight– Starting at t 15th level, when are dropped to 0 HP you can restore life to yourself as a reaction in one of two ways: One– You can pull the life force from a living target within 15 feet.  The target must succeed a Constitution save or take 3d4 damage, and restoring half that amount to you as HP.  If the target succeeds they suffer no damage and you are only healed for 1 HP.  Two- You can sacrifice an undead minion (if you have one summoned via the Animate Dead spell), giving you half of their remaining HP.  If the undead is intelligent it receives a Wisdom save to resist.  If the undead is successful you only receive 1 HP and the undead is no longer under your control.  Once you use this ability, you must take a long rest before you can utilize it again.


Additionally you cease aging and no longer suffer any of the drawbacks of old age, and cannot be aged magically.

Fallen Paladin 3

Unholy Champion– At 20th level your dark gods have blessed you with necrotic zeal, allowing you to become surrounded with dark energies.  On your action you become surrounded by a thick miasma that spreads out for 30 feet, and gain the following benefits for 1 minute:

  • At the beginning of your transformation you are instantly healed for 3d8+10 HP.
  • Become resistant to damage from good aligned targets (or magical weapons).
  • Any enemy target that starts their turn in the area of your miasma takes 3d6 damage (no save). Fiends and undead are immune to this effect.

Blood Magic- Sorcerous Origin for Dungeons and Dragons 5e

I love blood magic.  I dug it in Avatar… love it in Dragon Age… and dug the Blood Mage prestige class in the 3.5 days.  I even drew inspiration from the class for my Hubris game.  I decided to take some of the same concepts and ideas and port them over to a sorcerous origin for 5e.

Blood Magic


Your innate magical comes from the vital component of nearly all living creatures: blood.  No one is sure what has given this rare and terrifying power, but you use it to fuel your abilities and spells.  Did this power come from your mother or father being involved in a dark ritual?  Were you cursed while still in the womb?  Or still even a darker design meant for you?  Whatever the reason, you use this power to wield the might and awe of the arcane.

Empowered by Blood– At 1st level you are able to tap into the life essence of your blood and sacrifice a number of HD from your Hit Dice pool to gain extra power on spells that deal damage.  For every HD point spent, add an 1d4 damage to that spell (cannot sacrifice more HD than the sorcerer’s level).

Metabolic Control– At 1st level you are able to slow down your metabolism.  By spending 2 sorcery points you only need to consume half the needed food and water per day.  At level 10 you can spend  4 sorcery points and not need to consume food or water for 24 hours.

Power of Blood– At 6th level you have the ability to regain lost Sorcery points by pulling the energy out of blood.  This can be accomplished one of two ways: One- by cutting on your own flesh with a ceremonial dagger you regain 1d6 Sorcery points back, but take that same amount as damage.  Two- You can attempt to pull the blood out of another target.  The designated target must succeed a Constitution save.  If the target succeeds, you are unable to regain any Sorcery points.  If the target fails, you regain half of your Sorcery points back and the target takes 3d6 damage.  You must take a long rest before you are able to use this ability again.

Metabolic Weakening– At 14th level you are now able to affect the blood of others.  A designated target within 30’ of you must succeed a Constitution based save or suffer Disadvantage on all physical rolls until they take a long rest.  The affected target’s body becomes sluggish and they move at 50% of their normal rate.  A sorcerer can spend 4 sorcery points to cause an affected target to develop hemophilia.  Any slashing or piercing damage deals an extra 1d4 damage per round (this stacks with multiple attacks).

Blood Mage 1

Blood Walk- At 18th level you are able to jump into a living creature and use their blood to transport you anywhere on the same realm that you have visited previously, no matter the distance.  You must emerge at your desired location through another living creature.  The creatures both must be living, have red blood, and medium or larger in size.  Jumping into a target is a reaction and the sorcerer must succeed a touch attack (if the target is unwilling).  You emerge at your desired location the next round, no matter the distance.  You can choose to emerge from a target violently, bursting forth from their body.  Should you choose to do emerge violently, the target must succeed a Constitution save or suffer 10d6 damage.  If the target succeeds they suffer no damage and you must make a Constitution save or be stunned for 1d3 rounds, suffering Disadvantage on all physical type rolls.  You must take a long rest before you can attempt to blood walk again.

5e Session 1 Recap- Into the River Kingdoms

I mentioned the other day that I was about to kick off my mini-campaign using the new D&D 5e rules.  I am also play-testing the hackability of my Hubris campaign book.  I am using the Bogwood Swamp territory info of the Lay of the Land and Encounters and see how well they fit in a campaign that isn’t Hubris.  So far, so good.

The River Kingdoms

The River Kingdoms

The River Kingdoms


Background– I’m going super-lite on the fluff because I’m not sure how long we’ll play this.  I told my players that if they want a longer break from Hubris, I totally understand and we can keep playing this (new stuff refreshes the old- also Hubris is gritty and dangerous, and I understand them wanting to branch out a lil and be heroic for once).

I decided that the northern kingdom has been in civil war for 10 years after the Grand King died and his four children are fighting for power.  The constant shifting in territory borders, changes in laws, conscription, and other various reasons- people are fleeing their homes in the northern kingdom and going else where.  Many deserters and others are going south through the mountains to the River Kingdoms.  Each “kingdom” has it’s own set of laws and there is no over-arching form of government (I’m using inspiration here from the Civil War and the Old West).  The only one law is that everyone is free.  There is no slavery.  The moment a slave enters the River Kingdoms, they are instantly free.  Anyone attempting to capture others and make them slaves is arrested and put to death.  However government is nothing without hypocrisy, so there are forms of indentured servitude…  just slavery that’s more PC.

So that’s the backdrop of the campaign- a soggy, sodden, rainy territory filled with ancient ruins, dangerous monsters, and the various kingdoms trying to etch out their own ways, while proclaiming freedom, etc.

I did give a little fluff to the elves.  I said that the elves were banished from their ancient kingdom over a thousand years ago.  In that realm they are immortal, however the “Nemesis” attacked and was conquering everything- so the elves fled to the mortal realm.  Here they are mortal and can die.  This, and the loss of their kingdom has made them bitter and feeling isolated.

T0 give them strength, High elves latched onto the magics of the material plane.  Wood elves have latched onto nature to give them strength and power.

The drow were a splinter group of high elves, led by Lillith, who desired to regain their immortality.  They were banished and fled to the underdark.  Lillith began practicing dark rites, contaminating her own people (thus transforming them into the drow we all know) and eventually was transformed into Lolth, the drow spider goddess.  Now her people worship her, continuing to practice their dark rites in the hopes of joining her.  (Aside: However they do not realize that when they die, Lolth consumes their souls to give herself even more power.  Also she fears any form of competition that might remover her from her demi-god status).

So that’s the fluff I’ve given the setting…  and it’s enough.


Fletch- Dwarf barbarian

Liam- Gnome paladin

Nate- Human fighter

Stephen- Halfling barbarian

Lisa- Human ranger

Chuck- High elf sorcerer

John- Wood elf rogue

Emerging into the Swamp

The group came out of the mountain pass, guarding a old fat human merchant who is retiring and moving to Saltmarsh.  He offered to pay the group 50gp each to get him there.

The flat area of the River Kingdoms stretched before them.  The group could see various trees dotting the landscape.  However they couldn’t see the ground… a thick white fog blanketed the ground (ankle deep).

After walking in the swamp for about 40 minutes the group stumbled across an overturned canoe made of reed and straw.  Four dead lizardmen were around the craft, as were two dead humans.  The humans had been looted of their gear and goods.

As the group was walking around surveying the area they heard a panting and splashing coming towards them.  A wounded female lizardfolk  stumbled towards them.  After a moment of them all staring at one another she begged for help.  Stating that humans were attacking her village and killing her clansmen.

The group debated for a few minutes on whether or not they should get involved or that this creature was telling the truth.  Eventually the lizardfolk offered reward for help and all (including the retiring merchant) agreed.  The group set off as fast as they could with the merchants wagons slowing them down.

Who’s the Bad Guy?  Who Can We Kill?

The group formed a plan that they would see who actually was the aggressor and culprit of the supposed attack and then act accordingly.  The group saw the smoke and flames of the sacked lizardfolk village from a distance.  As they were walking up they saw a man with a longsword and an eye patch holding a dead lizardman, “Kill them all!  Don’t forget to skin them!  We can get up to 20 gold for each of their hides!”

Someone in the party said, “Ah crap, now I HAVE to kill them.”

Stephen was first into combat and cleaved one with his short sword and threw a hand axe into another nearby raider, dropping both of them.  Stephen then shouted, “You can definitely tell this isn’t Hubris!  I’m killing stuff and not afraid to just run into combat.”  This was a compliment, because that was EXACTLY what I was aiming for with Hubris.

The fight was fairly quick.  Two of the raiders fled immediately.  The leader was nearly killed by a ray of frost from Chuck, and then stabbed to death by John.  The rest of the raiders went down easily.  One surrendered and Liam tied him up to be dealt with later.

Stephen and Lisa decided to give chase on the two that ran away.  I rolled for a chance of a random encounter during the fight and, sure enough- got one.  I rolled on my Bogwood Swamp encounter list and got 2d6 Deep Ones.  I rolled 7.

Stephen and Lisa weren’t surprised by the hideous creatures jumping out of the small stream, but they were overwhelmed by their attacks and were soon unconscious and being dragged away.  The rest of the group decided to look for the group.  Stephen and Lisa succeeded at their three death saves.  The third round was when the rest of the group caught up with the Deep Ones.

Deep One

The Deep Ones all threw javelins at the party, formed a V-shaped attack pattern and began to run at the group.  At the last minute they all fell into the fog and disappeared.  The group revived Stephen and Lisa and waited for battle.  Eventually Lisa was grabbed by a Deep One and drug under the water.  John and Stephen valiantly helped her get back to the surface.

The group made quick work of these 7 hideous creatures and headed back to the Lizardfolk village.

Our Many Thanksssssss

The group offered a place to sleep at the remains of the Lizardfolk village and given a hemp necklace with a small pressed reed pendant.  Burned into the front was the symbol of the Riptooth clan.  Wearing that displayed their frienship with this clan of Lizardfolk.  They were also given a large ruby the size of a fist, called the Dragon’s Heart, and a silver short sword.

The group asked about the surrounding area and found out that there was a grouping of four stone statues (of beasts) and that the clan stayed away from it, one day to the east.  There was also a fungal forest of large mushrooms about 1 day NE of Saltmarsh.  Those who made it out were not right in the head for several days after.

The Lizardfolk said Saltmarsh was one day south from their village.  Saltmarsh is the second largest kingdom in the River Kingdoms, Graltron being the first.

The group rested up and we ended there.

Next session- To Saltmarsh

Bogwood Village




A Review: Grandpappy Cromdar’s Whizbang Zoo Monster Manual and Adventure!

First off I was given the book by Dave to review.  Second I am partial to Dave.  He’s done excellent artwork for my Hubris campaign setting, and he’s from Mon-fucking-tana!

Not this kind of Montanan

Not this kind of Montanan


But this kind of HAPPY Montanan!

But this kind of HAPPY Montanan!


Anyways- I digress… I’m not here to explain or examine how sexy Dave is…

We’re here to talk about Dave’s recent release of Grandpappy Cromdar’s Whizbang Zoo!  Summary- I recommend this book.  A) It’s only $5! B) It’s a happy addition to the DIY RPG community! C) It’s chock-full of tasty and fun monsters! D) There’s an awesome adventure at the end of the book!


First thing I’ll get out of the way is this is not a “serious” monster manual…  Dave states right on the first page that this is a beer and pretzel RPG book.  In this book you’ll find monsters that sling insults and warn adventurers of their presence by playing kick the can, another monster that has the favorite pastime of digesting whole sharks and turn offs include mammals, music, and waking up, or another that sounds like Winston Churchill on autotune…  If you want a serious monster manual that is also awesome, I recommend Teratic Tome by R. Chandler.  That’s not to say you can’t use this book seriously, but I think that would be missing the point and joy of Grandpappy Cromdar’s Whizbang Zoo.

Grandpappy Cromdar's Whizbang Zoo!-page017

The format of the book is easy to understand and follow.  I really dig Dave’s humor and it shows throughout this book.  His artwork is top notch and fun!  I love that his has a “as big as” in the monster info- that is PERFECT for a descriptor of a monster and gets the point across to your players quickly.  The favorite pastime and turnoffs are hilarious and, again, something that makes this book a delight and fun!

Grandpappy Cromdar's Whizbang Zoo!-page010

All in all there are 21 monsters in this book, all illustrated, and follow the same 1 page format (which I love).

After monsters you will find a HUGE 3 level dungeon with over 100 rooms!  The dungeon has a straight forward format familiar to anyone who has ever ran a dungeoncrawl before.  Level 1 has a 1 page map and then 6 pages of information, the same is said for level 2.  Level 3 has a 1 page map and 4 pages of information.

One really cool thing is that Dave includes the stats of monsters mentioned in the rooms in a single line format, which saves you from having to flip back and forth in the book (unless you want to, so you can show your players the picture).  I really appreciate this.  It’s such a small thing, but it’s a nice touch and makes me happy.  I know many modules/adventures do the same thing, but there are also many that have the “well we mentioned this creature elsewhere and now we’ll just give a page number to refer to” attitude, and that doesn’t make the book user-friendly at the table.  Dave didn’t have to do this, but he did and it shows that he has that keep shit simple, keep shit moving at the table attitude!

This book is awesome and I can’t recommend it enough, especially for the price point!  I will definitely insert this dungeon into either my Hubris campaign or my 5e mini-campaign I’ve just started running.  Seriously, get the book, run it, hack it, hug it!

Thoughts on My 5e D&D Mini-Campaign and a Plethora of Inspirational Pictures

A few weeks ago we saw the release of 5e Dungeons and Dragons, and I was pleasantly surprised with the system (for my reviews- Part One and Part Two)!  So of course with the big new shiny to play with I asked my players if they would like to take a break from our Hubris campaign (which we are about to hit the one year mark of play) and do a mini-campaign to try out 5e.  No big surprise that all my players were chomping at the bit to try out the system.

I started pondering where I would want to run the game, and of course, I started getting too carried away- thinking of a whole campaign and world building rather than just realizing that this campaign will most likely only be 4-5 sessions before we go back into Hubris.

At first I was pondering running in in Planescape, but nixed that idea when I realized how much work I’d have to put into getting everything set up to run it…  I’m too busy editing Hubris and writing notes on my next RPG book to read through a whole campaign setting right now…  So, that’s out.

So I started thinking about just mashing a bunch of things together… I also decided that this was a perfect opportunity to test one of my designs of Hubris.

When I started Hubris I wanted it to be a full campaign setting, but I also wanted it to be able to be hacked to whatever setting you wanted to use.  Maybe you don’t want to run a game in my fucked up and gritty world, but you do like the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire, perfect- just take that land…  It’s perfectly stand alone and hackable!

So I decided I wanted to use the River Kingdoms from the Pathfinder world, Golarion (or whatever it’s called)- however, make it a bit darker and twisted (because that’s what I like to do).


I also decided that since 5e had some serious nods to the older versions of D&D and to the OSR, I’d run an older module.  I decided to go with the Sinister Secrets of Saltmarsh since I was already decided to start this campaign in a swamp area.  This also got me excited because it meant I could run the awesome Scenic Dunnsmouth (one of the best modules/adventures ever, btw) as well!


This is a pretty cool old module.

This is a pretty cool old module.


How I see Saltmarsh

How I see Saltmarsh

Also I decided to use a swamp because it allows me to test Hubris.  I created my own swamp territory in my setting called the Bogwood Swamp.  I’m not going to use the locations in it, but I AM going to use the Lay of the Land chart and the Encounters chart to see how well they translate to a completely different setting/world.  I know it’ll be fine, but I just want to see for myself.

I plan to start with the player emerging from the mountains with a man they are escorting to Saltmarsh.  I plan to have this be a sandbox (contained within the River Kingdoms, since it’ll be a short campaign), and we’ll see where they go.  I’ll do a session write up with thoughts of 5e mechanics after we play on 9/14 and 9/21.

Inspirational Pictures

I love looking at pictures to generate ideas and use them as a reference point.  I also think it is fun and easy to show them to my players and say “this” and them get the jist rather than constant use of descriptors that can be confusing.  I also tend to use pictures to give my players a sense of the campaign rather than a huge wall of text that I know they’ll never read.


Here are a bunch of pics!  Enjoy!

Zxyldon 2 Wizard corruption to Deep One Servant of the Castle Sahaugin Deep One Bog Witches Beastman 2 Beastman 1 Swamp Troll Swamp thing River_Kingdoms Lizardfolk2 Lizardfolk 1

Awesome 2 Baby Doll Black Dragon Giant Gnoll Goddess of Pain and Corruption Hair Monster Hang Man Monster Necromancer Old Witch 1 Possessed Child Spider man Terror 1 Terror 2 Terror 3 Terror 4 Terror 5 Weird Horror Wood Golum WraithCreepy Town mapRed VampireBogwood 1Bogwood Swamp artBogwood SwampBogwood VillageBogwood WarriorSaltmarshSwamp CathedralNaomie HarrisWitches


Santicore Has Returned!!!



Go here!!  Read the rules!!  Submit your request!!!  Do it!!!

Long live the Santicore!!