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May 14, 2022

D&D Mechanics Inspired by Assassin's Creed: Black Flag

I'm about 9 years late to the party, but I am absolutely loving Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. I've realized in the past couple years that pirates is one of my all-time favorite genres, and this game doesn't disappoint in the least. Aside from the epic ship battles and the stealth mechanics, I've noticed that some of the controls and mechanics in the game are really inspiring for use in making certain aspects of Dungeons & Dragons more effective and manageable for DMs and players alike.

Open World Exploration

Black Flag absolutely nails the feeling of exploring the seven seas on a ship. The Caribbean is obviously smaller than in real life, and rarely are there completely blank horizons, but there is enough space and variety in the different areas of the map that it's always fun to go exploring into the unknown, and fast traveling to places you've spent time at before. The game follows a good method of revealing areas: if you "synchronize" at certain areas on islands, you gain knowledge of the surrounding areas, which are revealed. Similarly, if you conquer a sea fort, that region of the sea is revealed, and the fort becomes a base of operations for you and your fellow pirates. There is a main quest line in Black Flag, but there's plenty of side things to do when you just want to make money to upgrade your assets and just explore.

Exploration is one of the "three pillars" of D&D, but it's kind of hard to make it work in a world that everyone is only seeing inside their own head. It's also hard to avoid "railroading" the players too much or too little. I think I need to do more analysis of exactly what makes Black Flag so fun to explore, but it definitely has to do with leading the players through quest lines to interesting areas that have a lot to do beyond just that one quest. It also always pays to know what motivates the players. If it's wealth, drop a rumor, map, or discovery of a cache of riches in an interesting location, like Black Flag does in underwater shipwrecks, smuggler's caves, or jungle temples. It's just as easy to offer rewards like lore, power, and roleplaying opportunities with that same sort of luring technique.

Black Flag also makes sure that there's always plenty to do. You can do the next step of the main questline, or you can work on upgrading one of your many assets, reveal areas you haven't explored yet, or just go pirating because it's fun and rewarding. And along the way, there are random events that can grab your attention for a little more risk and reward, like pirate hostages who need freed, an abandoned ship full of goods that might sink at any moment, or a courier carrying valuable equipment who realizes who you are and runs away screaming. Oh yeah, and there are the four "legendary ships," which drop a ton of loot but are extremely difficult to beat. They're never going to wander into your path, since they're only at the four farthest corners of the world map—You have to seek them out yourself, if you dare to risk it.

It might be hard to give the same level of scope and exploration as Black Flag does with showing sprawling vistas whenever you synchronize atop a giant tower, but with some practice in the above techniques and a focus on interesting area descriptions, I think this could be a valuable skill to learn for keeping players engaged.

Simple Crafting

From the moment I hunted my first iguana and ocelot in Black Flag, my mind was opened to how fun crafting can be if you set aside some realism and find the happy medium between overly complex and overly abstract. From the very beginning of the game, you have a list of items you can craft to upgrade your character, along with the resources needed to craft them. The reagents are all items taken from wild animals you can hunt and sea creatures you can harpoon on a whaling boat. Bigger upgrades require reagents from more dangerous areas of the world. Each item only takes two or three reagents, and very few of the craftables have any crossover between the reagents. I like this concept, because it gives you an idea of what to be on the lookout for in order to craft what you want, and only requiring two of the same reagent makes crafting an item doable without being too easy. And you can buy ingredients if you don't want to find them (though they are pricey). The ship in the game, the Jackdaw, can be upgraded as well, and the highest upgrades to each component have "plans" that need to be found first, whether in sunken shipwrecks or at the end of treasure maps, before they can be purchased.

Crafting has been a complex issue in D&D, one I've looked at in previous posts. The rules-as-written way has some inconsistencies in it that make crafting not really worth the trouble, and 5e's streamlined style demands a fine line between a system that is just not fun or just not viable. I'm really tempted to try out Black Flag's crafting system in my next homebrew campaign, at least for non-consumable items—the players could have a somewhat common knowledge of simple magic items (such as +1 and +2 weapons, adamantine and mithril armor, and gauntlets of ogre power), along with the reagents required to craft them. I like the idea of requiring exactly two of them, so that have the option of having a mix of hunting, pillaging, trading, and purchasing in order to get the ones you want and need; and so that you may stumble on a reagent without realizing what it was for, and saving it for others later once it was identified. I also like the idea of upgrading an existing magic item with reagents.

Rarer and more complex items could just be drops found in dungeons, or they could require formulas in order to craft. Finding a formula could be a really fun adventure in itself, following a treasure map purchased from a pawn shop, seeking out the formula in a scroll case in a dragon's hoard, or learning the formula from an ancient wise man.

Fun Ship Battles

There is nothing more fun in Black Flag than chasing down a ship, slowing it with chain shots, blasting it with heavy shot from your broadside, lighting up its weak points with swivels, and then throwing grappling hooks onto the ship and boarding it until all its officers are destroyed and the crew surrenders. It never gets old, and the exciting explosions, the cheers of the crew, and the awesome soundtrack all contribute to that. But what makes it the most fun is the amount of choices there are. You can ram a ship if you don't mind taking some damage yourself. You can drop fire barrels behind your ship if there's an enemy tailing you. You can use your limited ammunition mortars and heavy shot, or you can stick to your weaker broadside cannons that have no limit. It's a great addition to the game and really evokes the fun and excitement of a real pirate battle.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh is a fun addition to the D&D sourcebook collection, but the action economy for ship vehicles is somewhat lacking. I don't want to go over the mechanics here, but they have a basic "crew morale" or "quality" bonus to certain actions, actions that the officers like the bosun and carpenter and cook can do, and some basic pre-pirate age weaponry like ballistas and mangonels. But it's just kind of boring. If you're going to have a ship that fights another ship while the players are still available to use their own actions, why does it have to be so boring? Descent into Avernus hit a little closer to the mark with their Infernal War Machines, but the lack of a crew made for some weird decisions and a lack of focus on some of the participating players.

Black Flag inspired me to make this stat block for ships. I haven't tested it yet, but the idea of having multiple options for attacking and a simple, abstract "crew" resource that you had to manage, theoretically would make ship battles more interesting, and shift tactics in certain ways that just sitting on two adjacent islands wouldn't. Black Flag literally uses crew members as a resource. You can hire crew mates at taverns, or find shipwreck survivors as commonly as floating flotsam. With the demands of running separate creatures in combat that D&D has, having a crew "stat" would theoretically accomplish the same thing to great effect.

If I end up testing this system and it is as fun as it sounds, I'll make more stat blocks for the other vehicle types, from a whaling boat (rowboat) to a gunboat (keelboat) to a man o'war (war galley). But we'll see.


Apr 27, 2022

Artifacts of Argaenothruzil 5e

There aren't a lot of magic items established in Argaenothruzil lore, unfortunately, but these are the ones I gleaned from the existing publications I still have access to.

The Amber Hand
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

This block of amber has been chiseled into the shape of a right human hand. The Amber Hand has 6 charges and regains 1d4+2 charges daily at dawn. While holding the Hand, you have a +2 bonus to saving throws, and you can use the following properties:
  • You can cast the prestidigitation cantrip.
  • You can expend 1 charge to cast dimension door, but you must target a space that you have already been in the past 24 hours.
  • You can expend 5 charges to cast word of recall.
  • Choose a creature you have seen in the past 24 hours. You can use your action to expend 2 charges to summon the creature and everything it is holding and wearing to an unoccupied space within 10 feet of you. A creature knows who is summoning it and where it is being summoned to. An unwilling creature can avoid being summoned by succeeding on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. You can't use the Hand to do this again until the next dawn.
  • If a creature within 60 feet of you attempts to teleport, you can use your reaction to expend 3 charges and force the creature to make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the creature teleports to an unoccupied space of your choice within 60 feet of you, provided the space is on the ground or on a floor, instead of its intended destination.
  • You can expend 6 charges to cast time stop. After using this property, the Amber Hand stops regaining charges until 1 year has passed.


Orb of Castigation
Wondrous item, very rare

These orbs of volcanic glass are used by demons of the Dungeon Realm to control their inferiors. An orb can be held in one hand and weighs 3 pounds. While holding it, you can cast hold monster with a DC of 16, but you can only target fiends and creatures of an evil alignment with it. You do not have to
maintain concentration on the spell. Instead, while you maintain the spell, your movement is 0 feet, and at the start of each of your turns, you take 1d8 fire damage as the orb sears your flesh from its emanating power. This damage ignores resistance. You can drop the orb on your turn (no action required) to end the effect early.

If the orb of castigation is used again, the damage dealt to you is triple the amount done the previous time it was used; for example, 3d8 the second time and 9d8 the third time. The damage reverts back to 1d8 nightly at dusk.




Ormerod
Weapon (special), uncommon (requires attunement)

This object resembles a cylindrical rod of crystal about a foot long, and it weighs 1 pound. Ormerods are specialty weapons used by spellswords. As a bonus action or action, you can cause beams of green energy to form a weapon around the ormerod, with the crystal rod itself acting as the hilt. For example, energy could form a shaft and an axe head extending from the top of the ormerod to form a battleaxe, or a blade to form from the bottom, becoming a dagger. The ormerod can effectively become any one-handed or Versatile melee weapon (or a shortbow or longbow) in this manner, gaining that weapon's
properties, damage dice, and damage type, though the damage is magical. The ormerod's weight does not change, The energy forming the weapon disappears if you stow or let go of the ormerod, change it to a different weapon type using another bonus action or action on your turn, dismiss it (no action required), or roll a 1 on an attack roll.

If you have a second ormerod, you can attune to it as part of this same attunement, and holding both ormerods together, you can use a bonus action or action on your turn to form two-handed weapons such as polearms, greataxes, or greatswords. Such weapons created in this way do not have the Heavy property, and disappear if you let go of either ormerod.

You may also form other tools and implements that have handles, such as shovels or pitchforks, at the DM's discretion.

Apr 26, 2022

Devils of Argaenothruzil (Gods part 3)

 

Rauroth

God of Vengeance

Rauroth the Burning One is the god of revenge, fury, lust, and fire. The sun is often called Rauroth's Eye when it is shining particularly hot in the summer or in deserts. He is the patron god of gogs who embrace their fiendish parentage. Rauroth's name is most often invoked as an expletive when in rage, and to lose one's own mind to strong emotions and passions is to worship the Burning One. 

Rauroth is depicted as a red-eyed man engulfed in flames.

Rauroth's Champions

Alignment: Often chaotic, usually evil
Suggested Classes: Barbarian, fighter, monk, sorcerer, warlock
Suggested Cleric Domains: Light, War
Suggested Backgrounds: Charlatan, criminal, soldier, urchin

You earn piety from Rauroth through acts of cruelty, lust, and other crimes sparked through strong emotions. Fanatical worshipers of Rauroth go through rituals to completely give their minds up to Rauroth's will, going on violent rampages in his name.

Rauroth's Devotee
Piety 3+ Rauroth trait

You can call on Rauroth's favor and cast searing smite with this trait. Rauroth's blessing manifests as blood-red flames around your weapon, causing it to shed dim light in a 5-foot radius until the spell ends. You can cast the spell in this way a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Rauroth's Votary
Piety 10+ Rauroth trait

You can cast branding smite with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Rauroth's Disciple
Piety 25+ Bezzoan trait

You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.

Champion of Vengeance
Piety 50+ Bezzoan trait

You can increase your Strength or Constitution score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

Khlamul

God of Power

Khlamul Storm-Bringer is the god of lightning, the violent tempest, and forbidden secrets and knowledge. He often passes himself off as the least evil as the Other Three, offering useful and even benevolent information to those who seek it from him. While it may be true that Khlamul is true to his word, his deals often come with strings attached that ultimately corrupt his signatories or leave them enslaved to a debt of evil. He is the patron god of magic elves, whom he often uses to both improve his image and drag others to his will. He is also the inventor of Sorcery, a more unstable form of the Arcane magic that he and Henaeros revealed long ago.

Khlamul is depicted as a bald man with white eyes that crackle with lightning.

Khlamul's Champions

Alignment: Usually evil, often lawful
Suggested Classes: Bard, cleric, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, warlock, wizard
Suggested Cleric Domains: Arcana, Knowledge, Tempest
Suggested Backgrounds: Acolyte, hermit, sage, soldier, urchin

You earn piety from Khlamul by revealing secrets, seeking knowledge, and growing in arcane power.

Khlamul's Devotee
Piety 3+ Khlamul trait

As a devotee of Keranos, you have proven your wisdom and your allegiance to the storm lord. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can deal an extra 1d6 lightning damage to the target. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Khlamul's Votary
Piety 10+ Khlamul trait

You can cast detect thoughts with this trait, requiring no material components. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed.

Khlamul's Disciple
Piety 25+ Khlamul trait

When a soul leaves its body through death, you can steal its last measure of energy and make use of it. When a creature dies within 10 feet of you, you can use your reaction to gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your level.

Champion of Power
Piety 50+ Khlamul trait

You can increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

D'nethrokash

God of Chaos

D'nethrokash the Corrupter is less a god and more a force of pure destructive ruin. Bitterness from the division of the Intelligences eons ago has led D'nethrokash to want nothing more than the absolute destruction and decomposition of all matter and life on Argaenothruzil. But he is not an angry god like Rauroth; he seeks this goal with uttermost patience, content to slowly corrupt and deceive mortals into becoming part of his destructive plans. He sees no reason not to promote creation if it will lead to utter destruction in the long-term. D'nethrokash is also the creator of the vile necromantic magic known as Hothmancy.

Most people are too afraid of D'nethrokash to conceive of a consistent depiction of his form. Most are content to show him as an abstract horned cloud of smoke with violet eyes.

D'nethrokash's Champions

Alignment: Always evil, usually chaotic
Suggested Classes: Barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, rogue, warlock
Suggested Cleric Domains: Death, Grave, Twilight
Suggested Backgrounds: Charlatan, criminal, entertainer, hermit, noble

You can earn piety from D'nethrokash through slaughter of life and destruction of property, corruption of others' morals, and the practice of Hothmancy.

D'nethrokash's Devotee
Piety 3+ D'nethrokash trait

You can call on D'nethrokash's favor to cast bane with this trait, requiring no material components, a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

D'nethrokash's Votary
Piety 10+ D'nethrokash trait

You can cast vampiric touch with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

D'nethrokash's Disciple
Piety 25+ D'nethrokash trait

You have immunity to necrotic damage and poison, and you regain 1 lost hit point at the end of each minute, as long as you have at least 1 hit point. However, magical healing no longer restores hit points, instead dealing radiant damage equal to the hit points it would have recovered.

Champion of Chaos
Piety 50+ D'nethrokash trait

You can increase any two scores by 2 and also increase your maximum for those scores by 2; however, you must choose a different score to reduce by 4 (minimum 4).

Apr 25, 2022

Gods of Argaenothruzil 5e (Part 2)

Bezzoan

God of Honor

Bezzoan Iron-Fists is the god of warmth, courage, and righteous triumph in battle. He is the patron god of sailors, particularly those of the sea kingdom of Vingomir, and the first creator of humans. Mortals pray to Bezzoan to preserve their family lines and to protect their homelands, but he mainly acts through inspiring mortals to help themselves, rather than intervening directly. It gives him pleasure to see weakness become strength and for shivering folks to learn to stand strong and resolute. 

Bezzoan is depicted as a black-bearded man with fists made of wrought iron.

Bezzoan's Champions

Alignment: Usually neutral, often good
Suggested Classes: Barbarian, cleric, fighter, monk, paladin
Suggested Cleric Domains: Forge, War
Suggested Backgrounds: Folk hero, noble, sailor, soldier

You earn piety from Bezzoan by standing up for truth and honor, for honoring ancestors and leaders, for being true to oaths and promises, and for defending the weak and teaching them how to be stronger. Bezzoan frowns upon using magic, besides cleric and paladin spells, and generally does not award piety to those who use it to solve their problems.

Bezzoan's Devotee
Piety 3+ Bezzoan trait

You can cast compelled duel with this trait a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Bezzoan's Votary
Piety 10+ Bezzoan trait

You can cast crusader’s mantle with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Bezzoan's Disciple
Piety 25+ Bezzoan trait

You have resistance to cold damage. In addition, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks to discern lies.

Champion of Honor
Piety 50+ Bezzoan trait

You can increase your Strength or Charisma score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

Ezrim

God of Justice

Ezrim Truth-Judge is the impartial god of law, justice, metal, and cities. In short, he embodies the ideals of civilization and the polishing of raw materials into refinement. He is the patron god of civil elves, and though he is a god just like Phroella, he is often at odds with her and her views on the preservation of the wilds. Ezrim's name is invoked in courts and in oaths, with the belief that Ezrim would not let a lie be told in his name. His religion is almost inseparable from actual city laws, for when a society is working justly and fairly, he is pleased. 

Ezrim is depicted as a gray-eyed man holding a gavel.

Ezrim's Champions

Alignment: Always lawful, often neutral
Suggested Classes: Bard, cleric, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue
Suggested Cleric Domains: Forge, Order, Knowledge
Suggested Backgrounds: Acolyte, folk hero, guild artisan, soldier, urchin

You earn piety from Ezrim by obeying and enforcing the law, promoting the cultivation of farmland and domestication of animals, and being truthful in all things. His anger can easily be kindled by those who break rules or inhibit the expansion of civilization.

Ezrim's Devotee
Piety 3+ Ezrim trait

You can cast zone of truth with a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Ezrim's Votary
Piety 10+ Ezrim trait

You gain advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) and Wisdom (Survival) checks while you are within a city.

Ezrim's Disciple
Piety 25+ Ezrim trait

You can cast Mordenkainen’s private sanctum with this trait, requiring no material components. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Champion of Justice
Piety 50+ Ezrim trait

You can increase your Wisdom or Charisma score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

Moeki

God of Fortune

Moeki the Trickster is the god of treasure, luck, and guile. He is the patron god of dwarves and the whisper of greed in every treasure-seeker's heart. Moeki was the last Intelligence to join the side of the Gods, and this was only after he realized that he would be outnumbered otherwise. His name is invoked by those who seek protection of their material goods, and a common way to honor Moeki is by burying treasure. Since Moeki's domain is the earth, lending treasure to him in this way gains his favor (and Moeki likely decreed this in hopes that his followers would forget where they buried it so he could keep it for himself).

Moeki is depicted as a beardless dwarf with golden teeth, bedecked with jewelry.

Moeki's Champions

Alignment: Usually chaotic, often neutral
Suggested Classes: Barbarian, bard, rogue, warlock
Suggested Cleric Domains: Earth*, Trickery
Suggested Backgrounds: Charlatan, criminal, entertainer, guild artisan, noble, sailor

Moeki's offers for good luck and piety are simple: hoard treasure and bury it in the earth. He is less keen to offer piety to the poor or those who do not seek material wealth.

Moeki's Devotee
Piety 3+ Moeki trait

You can cast pass without trace with this trait requiring no material components. You can cast it a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Moeki's Votary
Piety 10+ Moeki trait

You have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.

Moeki's Disciple
Piety 25+ Moeki trait

You can cast meld with stone with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest. 

In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed.

Champion of Fortune
Piety 50+ Moeki trait

You can increase your Dexterity or Charisma score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

______
*See this homebrew subclass in a future post!

Apr 23, 2022

Gods of Argaenothruzil 5e (Part 1)

Nine Intelligences came into being at the birth of the cosmos, and they worked together to create the world of Argaenothruzil. They all created races of the world, but disputes over the purpose of these "blood-children" led to a division. Half of the planet was corrupted beyond redemption, and three of the Intelligences became Devils while the other six became Gods. All nine deities continue to influence Argaenothruzil and the progress of its history in various ways.

Vendictes

God of Virtue

Vendictes Timefather is the most benevolent of the gods and acts as their wise patriarchal leader. His is the most widespread of organized churches across Argaenothruzil, and he is the patron god of all priests, Sacrum wielders, and seraphauns. He is also the god of eternity and the light of the sun.

He is depicted as a fatherly man with a white beard, wearing simple brown robes and a luminous crown.

Vendictes' Champions

Alignment: Always good, rarely chaotic
Suggested Classes: Cleric, monk, paladin
Suggested Cleric Domains: Life, Light, Time*
Suggested Backgrounds: Acolyte, folk hero, hermit, noble, urchin

You earn piety from Vendictes by doing more good than harm, sacrificing your time and possessions for those who need it more, comforting downcast souls, and studying the written words of Vendictes' prophets.

Vendictes' Devotee
Piety 3+ Vendictes trait

You know the light cantrip. Also, you can call on Vendictes' favor and cast bless with this trait, requiring no material components. Heliod’s blessing manifests as a nimbus around the affected creatures, causing them to shed dim light in a 5-foot radius until the spell ends. You can cast the spell in this way a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Vendictes' Votary
Piety 10+ Vendictes trait

You can cast daylight with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Vendictes' Disciple
Piety 25+ Vendictes trait

You have advantage on saving throws against being blinded, resistance to radiant and necrotic damage, and you no longer suffer the effects of old age.

Champion of Virtue
Piety 50+ Vendictes trait

You can increase your Constitution or Wisdom score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

______
*See this homebrew subclass in a future post!

Phroella

Goddess of Peace

Phroella Nature-Mother is the goddess of plants, animals, still waters, and traditions of peace. She is the patron deity of wood elves and the source of druidic Sacrum magic. Her name is invoked during times of conflict and violence, in hopes that she might soften the hearts of those who fight. 

She is depicted as a green-eyed woman with flowers in her long, flowing hair.

Phroella's Champions

Alignment: Always good, often lawful
Suggested Classes: Bard, cleric, monk, paladin, ranger
Suggested Cleric Domains: Life, Nature, Peace
Suggested Backgrounds: Entertainer, hermit, outlander, urchin

You earn piety from Phroella by respecting life in all its forms, spending time meditating in nature, upholding ancient traditions, and planting vegetation and trees. You lose Phroella's favor when engaging in needless conflict, poaching or vandalizing nature, or provoking others to any form of violence.

Phroella's Devotee
Piety 3+ Phroella trait

As a bonus action, you can invoke her protection; spectral plants cover you, providing you with a +1 bonus to AC for 1 minute. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Phroella's Votary
Piety 10+ Phroella trait

You can cast calm emotions with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

In addition, the toxins of plants and animals don't affect you as much. You have resistance to poison damage and advantage on saving throws against being poisoned.

Phroella's Disciple
Piety 25+ Phroella trait

By performing an hour-long ritual, you can conjure enough grapes to fill three vials of wine. Each vial serves as a potion of healing for 24 hours, after which it loses this property. Once you use this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Champion of Peace
Piety 50+ Phroella trait

You can increase your Dexterity or Wisdom score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

Henaeros

God of Order

Henaeros Cloud-Crafter was the primary creator of the world of Argaenothruzil itself, and serves as the god of writing, air, wind, and skies. He is the patron god of gnomes and genies and, along with Khlamul, introduced Arcane magic into the cosmos in ancient times. It was Henaeros who saved Argaenothruzil from the fate that befell Eredathios by creating the Wind Barriers around the meridian of the planet. Henaeros has no organized religion, but prayers are offered to him for fair weather and wisdom.

Henaeros is shown as a blue-eyed god with windswept hair, wreathed in clouds.

Henaeros's Champions

Alignment: Usually good, often neutral
Suggested Classes: Bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, wizard
Suggested Cleric Domains: Arcana, Knowledge
Suggested Backgrounds: Guild artisan, hermit, outlander, sage, sailor

You earn piety from Henaeros by maintaining a balanced perspective, avoiding extremes, keeping records, and seeking knowledge.

Henaeros's Devotee
Piety 3+ Henaeros trait

You know the gust cantrip. In addition, you can cast fog cloud a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Henaeros's Votary
Piety 10+ Henaeros trait

You can cast gust of wind with this trait. Once you cast the spell in this way, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

In addition, when you fail an Intelligence or Wisdom saving throw, you can reroll the die, and you must use the new roll. Once you use this reroll, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Henaeros's Disciple
Piety 25+ Henaeros trait

A current of wind constantly surrounds you. You fall at a speed of 60 feet per round and do not take fall damage, and the first ranged attack that targets you each round has disadvantage.

Champion of Order
Piety 50+ Henaeros trait

You can increase your Wisdom or Intelligence score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

Apr 22, 2022

Races of Argaenothruzil 5e

Though they have more locally divine origins, for the most part, the races of Argaenothruzil resemble those on other worlds in the multiverse. The halflings were made out of clay and the dwarves out of stone by the God of Fortune, Moeki; the elves from trees by Phroella; the gnomes from snow and the genies from sand by Henaeros; and the orcs from lava by D'nethrokash the Destroyer. Humans were created from the dust of the earth by all the gods.

But other races exist that are unique to Argaenothruzil, and others have variations due to Argaenothruzil's unique cultures and climate that will be listed here as well. The races and their changes, if any, are listed in alphabetical order below. The more unique races to Argaenothruzil have more details.

Dwarves

Dwarves are identical to their counterparts in other D&D settings. The mountain dwarf subrace in particular fit most closely with those depicted in Argae.

Elves

Three types of elves exist in Argaenothruzil: wood elves, civil elves, and magic elves. Aside from losing their Trance ability and only aging up to 200 years instead of 750, Argaen elves have the same base stats of elves, except as listed below for their subraces.

Wood Elves

Wood elves are the same as in the Player's Handbook rules-wise, and in terms of appearance always have blond hair. They also have the following additional property:
  • Sylvan Ancestry. After you have spent a total of 7 days in a heavily populated, civilized area (such as a city or town), your hair gets dark streaks in it as you begin to transform into a civil elf. Spending 2 days in a forest away from civilization subtracts 1 day from this total. If you spend 14 days or more in a city, your hair becomes dark, you lose your wood elf subrace, and you gain the traits of a civil elf instead. In order to regain your wood elf subrace again, you must spend 6 months in a forest away from civilization, the halfpoint of which your dark hair begins getting blond streaks in it.

Civil Elves

Civil elves resemble wood elves that have dark hair instead of blond. They accustom themselves quickly to an urban setting and become valuable and productive members of cities. This has led some humans to capture wood elves from their forest homes and take them to their cities, believing they are doing them a favor in doing so. Obviously, the wood elf population is violently against this and considers it a form of slavery, and they are even more alarmed at the threat this is to their culture, since elves born to civil elf parents can never become wood elves.

If your civil elf character has levels in any class that has the Spellcasting ability, they are considered magic elves instead (see below). The civil elf subrace has the following abilities:
  • Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
  • Alignment. Being in the city changes civil elves' alignment. They are much more lawful-oriented than their tree-dwelling cousins.
  • Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the longsword, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
  • Streetwise. Your base walking speed increases to 35 feet while in a city. In addition, while in a city, you have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) and Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  • Sylvan Ancestry. If you were not born a civil elf, after you have spent a total of 3 months in a forested area away from civilization, your hair gets blond streaks in it as you begin to transform back into a wood elf. Spending 7 days in city subtracts 1 month from this total. If you spend 6 months or more in a forest, your hair becomes blonde, you lose your civil elf subrace, and you gain the traits of a wood elf instead. In order to regain your civil elf subrace again, you must spend 14 days in a city, the halfpoint of which your blonde hair begins getting dark streaks in it.

Magic Elves

Magic elves are civil elves who have rejected their druidic magical roots and instead look to arcane magic for power. Like alcohol to someone who has grown up never drinking it, arcane magic tends to affect elves more than other races accustomed to it, and it tends to corrupt their thinking as well as they become addicted to the feeling of power that comes with tampering with ley-line based energies.

Magic elves use the traits of the high elf subrace as listed in the Player's Handbook, with the Alignment and Sylvan Ancestry traits listed above in the "Civil Elf" traits section. Also, they are restricted from the druid class.

Genies

Genies are an ancient, rare race of sand-dwellers in whose blood flows pure magical energy. They resemble humans, albeit with skin ranging from pale to dark blue, with luminous white eyes and pointed ears. Most genies prefer to live alone and have a strong belief in individual destiny, considering their works to be more important than those of the shorter-lived races. Many legends tell of genies living alone in caves guarding secrets and awaiting those destined to be tutored by them.

Genie Names. Genies use variations of Greek, Persian, and Arabic names. The Infernal names used by tieflings are also appropriate. 

Genies have the following racial traits:
  • Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Age. Genies can live for hundreds of years, and so few are known that an accurate estimation of their lifespans is impossible to know.
  • Alignment. Genies' nomadic natures and disdain for the events of the world tend to lead them toward neutrality and good.
  • Size. Genies resemble humans in range of height and weight. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Ancient Knowledge. You have proficiency in the Arcana skill.
  • Mana-filled Veins. You know the prestidigitation cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the magic missile spell as a 2nd-level spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is the spellcasting ability for these spells. When you reach 5th level, you gain advantage on saving throws against spells and other magic effects.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and two other languages of your choice.

Gnomes

Argaen gnomes appear as wrinkled, brown-skinned humanoids with large, pointy ears. As far as their racial traits go, the rock gnome subclass in the Player's Handbook is a good fit.

Gogs

Sometimes, through seduction, deception, or more violent methods, human women become pregnant with the offspring of demons from the Dungeon Realm, or worse, the Other Three themselves. These children are born as gogs. Gogs resemble humans in almost every way, but they are distinguished by blood-red eyes, hair and skin a shade darker than normal, and the faint scent of brimstone surrounding them. Though not all gogs are evil, they tend to struggle with violent tempers, manipulative personalities, or lust for power, depending on which of the Other Three their siring demon most identifies with.

Gogs can use the tiefling class without any problems, but you can use the following tips to fine-tune your gog to one of the three Devil Gods:

Gogs of Rauroth

  • Instead of casting darkness with your Infernal Legacy trait, when you reach 5th level, you can cast the enlarge spell, targeting only yourself. 

Gogs of Khlamul

  • You have resistance to lightning damage instead of fire damage.
  • The spells of your Infernal Legacy trait are replaced with the shocking grasp cantrip, command at 3rd level, and detect thoughts at 5th level.

Gogs of D'nethrokash

  • You have resistance to poison and necrotic damage instead of fire damage.
  • The spells of your Infernal Legacy trait are replaced with the chill touch cantrip, cause fear at 3rd level, and suggestion at 5th level.

Halflings

Halflings fit well with the existing lightfoot halfling subrace.

Half-elves

Unlike half-elves in regular D&D, half-elves only inherit cosmetic traits of their elven parents (in the form of slightly pointed ears), and are otherwise treated as humans in terms of traits.

Humans

As with most other settings, humans are varied in motive and personality, and the existing traits in the Player's Handbook suit them well. Variant humans are also acceptable.

Human Names. Humans in Argaenothruzil generally have English names with the first letter switched out for another; for example, Donathan, Genry, Telissa, or Poshua.

Orcs

Orcs have dark green or gray skin and are generally either chaotic evil (if entirely corrupted by the demons of Eredathios) or chaotic good (if they resisted this corruption and feel a connection to the Nature Mother instead). Otherwise, the half-orc race or the orc race in Volo's Guide to Monsters are good fits for orcs of Argaenothruzil.

Seraphauns

On rare occasions, angelic messengers from the gods can fall in love with the mortal women they are sent to minister to, and the result of their union can bring seraphauns into the world. On even rarer occasions, one of the Gods themselves can sire one. Seraphauns appear as humans, but with their skin and hair a shade lighter than usual, and with distinctive, golden-yellow eyes. They tend to be blessed with cheerful, honorable dispositions and are among the most trustworthy and reliable of people; however, some seraphauns find the burden of living up to their divine heritage difficult and stifling.

Seraphauns can use the protector aasimar race found in Volo's Guide to Monsters.

Wampyres

The wampyre people are as ancient as the others of mainland Argae, but their existence on the island of Nerolanth was discovered relatively recently, and trade and cultural mixing has only just begun between them. Wampyres have pale skin, pointed ears, black hair, and eyes in shades of red, orange, pink, or magenta. They are a nocturnal race, living on an island with a nearly perpetual ash-cloud cover from a volcano, and their skins are sensitive to sunlight and the sunburn that comes with it. They subsist mainly on fruit juice and animal blood, utilizing their sharp fangs. The position of these fangs can vary from family to family, with some wampyres having sharp incisors, others sharp maxilar canines, and still others with underbites and mandibular canines.

Wampyres are a civilized and somewhat vain people who put great cultural emphasis on genealogy, social class, historical record-keeping, and the veneration of ancestors. They deal in paper bank notes as well as coins, and most wampyres enjoy smoking tobacco products that are native to Nerolanth. Aside from tobacco (which halflings love to purchase), they also trade in materials native to their island, such as ebony, blacksteel ore, and giant bat leather.

Wampyre Names

Wampyres have names with German and Latin influences.

First Names. Vilhellm, Yokanzel, Ssenk, Xarie, Fin, Vrank, and Qvintus.

Family Names. Xonafitii, Axxremandassii, Xroyanzi, Thonxorssitia.

They have the following traits:
  • Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Age. Wampyres have lifespans similar to humans.
  • Alignment. Wampyres tend toward lawful alignments, as their culture keeps a rigid societal order and punishes those who break the rules.
  • Size. Wampyres resemble humans in range of height and weight. Your size is Medium.
  • Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
  • Superior Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Genealogist. You have proficiency in the History skill.
  • Voice of the Night. Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas with bats.
  • Smokeform. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the gaseous form spell without expending a spell slot and with no material components. However, you can only target yourself, and the duration is shortened to 1 minute. Once you cast it, you can't do so again until you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it.
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Nerolanthian.

Apr 21, 2022

Argaenothruzil 5e

I've been thinking a lot about different D&D settings lately and what makes them unique. Dark Sun is a post-apocalyptic setting where magic is destructive and halflings have become cannibalistic; Theros is based on Greek mythology where destiny determines your path, the gods are close to mortals and directly affect the world, and heroes adventure for glory itself; Spelljammer is basically D&D in space; Planescape jumps all over the planes of existence; Ravenloft is Gothic horror; Rokugan is Asian wuxia; I'm not really sure what Eberron is, something about noir and robots?

Anyway, with the release of Chris Metzen's Auroboros: Coils of the Serpent campaign that's literally just his own homebrew setting he made as a teenager in published form, I've thought about my own first setting I roleplayed in before I even knew about D&D: Argaenothruzil.

Sadly, there's not much interesting about Argaenothruzil's races. The cosmology and theology of the world is interesting, as well as the two halves of the world and their separation, but I'm considering taking a second stab at good ol' Argae and seeing if I can use my worldbuilding skills I've developed since I created the setting 15 or so years ago. I still cringe a little when reading Alfred Shortstaff and the Cavern of Time and its simplistic descriptions of places and especially towns. Maybe now's a time to breathe a little life into it. I feel like I owe it to the setting somehow.

Anyway, we'll see how far I get, but I may as well adapt what I can to 5e. Feel free to use whatever you wish in your campaign. After all, lots of people are adventuring in a shadow version of Argae right now!

Contents

Creatures of Argaenothruzil 5e
Places of Argaenothruzil 5e