Monday, September 15, 2014

Oath of Ruin [5th Edition D&D Paladin Oath]

I love Paladins. I always have. My first AD&D character was a paladin (Stryfe Strikehard). I love all types of paladins--the golden armored paragon of virtue, the grim and tortured vampire hunter, the boisterous orc-slaying dwarf. Love. Them. All.

I also love anti-paladins. The best heroes need the best villains. Obi-Wan needs Vader. Superman needs Darksied. Eowyn needs the Witchking.

In 5th Edition D&D, paladins are pretty cool. The different oaths they take at 3rd level gives them a lot of variety and flavor. Oaths also present a terrific opportunity to create a variety of anti-paladins, blackguards, and other villainous champions.

The basic abilities of the paladin do not need to change. Divine Sense, Lay on Hands, Fighting Style, Spellcasting, Divine Smite, and Divine Health are as useful to the chaotic evil reaver as they are to the lawful good champion.

At third level, the paladin may take the Oath of Ruin, detailed below.

The Oath of Ruin was intended to be a mix of the D&D blackguard with the Warhammer Chaos Warrior, as well as a little bit of Elric, and a touch of Rust Cohle's nihilism.


Oath of Ruin
A paladin who takes the Oath of Ruin has seen that the world is broken and strives to complete that ruination. Perhaps the paladin was once a good person who has had their hopes shattered. Perhaps the paladin has always been wicked. Perhaps the paladin just wants to watch the world burn. A Paladin of Ruin is empowered by dark gods, alien outsiders, or the raw power of Cosmic Entropy. He uses his strength to dominate and destroy others while increasing his own power. Most Paladins of Ruin are evil, although many are chaotic neutral. Some very few are actually good, who believe that the destruction of this world will usher in the creation of Paradise.

Tenets of Ruin
Everything Rots. Nothing lasts. Every creature starts to die on the day it is born. The creations of man, elves, dragons, and gods, all crumble. Do not try to stop entropy. Usher it along, and be the last one standing.

Power is Truth. There is no truth but your truth. Bend the world to your will. Cultivate your own power. The weak are tools for your own disposal.

Let None Judge You. The others are deluded by their illusions of justice and mercy. They call you evil, but you are a force of nature. It is your place in the universe to be the Destroyer. You are doing what is right; you are doing what is needed.

Revil in Ruin. You are the destroyer. Never doubt yourself or your purpose. Find delight in sorrow and purpose in chaos. Embrace your hate.

Oath Spells
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.

Paladin Level
Hex, Hellish Rebuke
Crown of Madness, Blindness/Deafness
Animate Dead, Fear
Blight, Evard’s Black Tentacles
Contact Other Plane, Contagion

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

Tainted Blade. As an action, you can imbue one weapon with negative energy. For one minute, your weapon flickers with a black radiance. Your weapon's damage type becomes necrotic for the duration. While Tainted Blade is in effect, when you damage an enemy with this weapon, they must make a CHA save. If the saving throw fails, then the target's maximum Hit Points are reduced by an amount equal to the damage inflicted. This reduction lasts until the target completes a Long Rest. If your weapon is not already magical, it is considered magical for the duration.

You can end this effect on your turn as part of any action. If you are no longer holding or carrying this weapon, or you fall unconscious, this effect ends.

Kneel! As an action, present your holy symbol and shout your hatred at a target. The target must make a WIS save or gain the Prone condition. On its subsequent turns, the victim can use its Move action to make a WIS save to stand up. This effect ends once a successful save is made, you fall unconscious, or a number of turns pass equal to your CHA Bonus +1 (minimum 1).

Entropic Aura
At 7th level, you and all your allies within 10 feet gain Resistance against entropic and poison damage while you are conscious. You and your allies also have Advantage against all Necromancy spells. At 18th level, this radius increases to 30 feet.

Ruinous Soul
At 15th level, you gain the ability to infuse your attacks with the essence of ruin. After a successful melee attack, you can use a Bonus Action to activate this power. At the start of their turn, the target must make a CHA save or take 1d8 entropic damage. The victim must make this save every turn or take another 1d8 entropic damage. Once they make this save, the effect ends. The body of a creature slain by this damage crumbles to ash.

This ability cannot be used again until you take a short or long rest.

Aura of Corruption
At 20th level, as an action, you can emanate sickly green-purple aura of corrupting energy. For one minute, this fell light flickers forth from your core. The ground for 30 feet around you cracks and becomes covered in ash and rot.

Whenever an enemy creature starts its turn within 30 feet of you, it must make a CON save or suffer the “Poisoned” condition. It must make this save again every turn, until it leaves your aura.

Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cybelle and the Cold Desert [Mini-Map Monday]

I've had a really busy and tiring couple of weeks with my day job, so I've kind of let the maps slack. I'm going to make that up to you this week with two maps, as well some actual background details on their contents. 

I recently dove into Monte Cook's Numenera. I needed an interesting starting area, so I started to develop a small section of Matheunis the Cold Desert, out in the Beyond.

Far Brohn - A trade city on the edge of the Beyond.
The Anomalous Monolith - No one comes away from this unchanged. (Based on a certain James Raggi adventure.) 
The Bone Forge - Where necro-crofters repurpose life with machines of flesh and steel.
Cybelle - A city built in the shell of an ancient automaton.
Nihliesh - City of mutants!
The Broken Gate - A huge non-euclidean structure, shattered for ages.
Kazlo's Hook - An interesting geological formation.
Monastery of Worms - Where strange pilgrims revere stranger things.
Rell - A pleasant village known for expert animal husbandry.
The Crater - Home to the Red Eyes bandits and a mysterious door.
Towers of Grahuul - Citadel of a massive Margr warchief.
Bronze Pylon - Wherein Tycho the Nano wishes to be interned.
Foundation Stones - Seven gigantic floating crystals.
Iron Skull - The massive, city-sized skull of some great machine-beast.
Murderfuck Deathzone - A deadly numenera site from which no one has ever returned. I wouldn't go there if I were you.
The Frozen Fleet - Ancient ships of metal, whose shadows are visible deep under the ice.

Cybelle is a city of 10,000. It is built in the shell of an ancient automaton. This automaton is hundreds of feet tall and bears the form a human woman. Cybelle's arms are missing, as is the top of her head. The city is buried waist-deep in the sterile dirt of the Cold Desert. The lower extremities of the automaton have never been explored. Great machines within Cybelle produce purple nutrient gel that is pumped out of the city and into the surrounding land to support the city's outlying farms. 

The city of Cybelle is divided into several districts that correspond to specific area's of the automaton's anatomy. The districts and some of their more interesting locales and inhabitants are listed below. 

Aeon Clave
Farren, the Blind
Lyrra, the Deaf
Helios, the Mute

Aged nano of esteem

Dreams of Lavender
Psychotropic numeneric sensorium
Lavender, purple pangendered proprietor

Lord Bruum, captain of guard

Central Storage
Overseer Grant Grell, two-brained mutant

The Lost Depot
Oldest tavern in Cybelle

Kastilla Stel
Governor of Cybelle

Lamp of Insight Academy
Private school for the privileged.

Infinite Theater
Numeneric amphitheater for drama and athletics and combat

The Grumblecat
Working class tavern and inn

Word of the Truth
Daily broadsheet news
Felder Freman, editor

Valdorra's Tchotchkes
Dealer in cyphers and oddities

Steel and Synth
Malvora Mase, armorer

Hawk's Trading Post
Dry goods and sundries
Runcibold Hawk and his thuman, Blue

The Wastrel Well
Largest tavern in Cybelle

Reclamation Plant
Superintendent Trask

The Forgeworks
Argos, ancient automaton

The Tattered King
Low-class dive bar

The Drum and Anvil
Sleazy brothel

All-Worlds Foods
Specializing in visitant cuisine

Unexplored tunnels and shafts... abhumans...

Monday, August 25, 2014

D&D Fifth Edition 0-Level Characters Update

"Come at me, Orc!"
After the D&D 5th Ed Basic Rules came out, I posted a thing describing how to use Backgrounds to make classless 0-level characters. It was pretty well received, which gave me a happy little glow.

Now that I have the Player's Handbook, I have access to all Backgrounds that didn't appear in the Basic Rules. I have just updated that original post to included stuff for the new Backgrounds.

It also occurred to me that some of the 0-level weapon tables gave PCs armor or shields, but since classless 0-levels have no armor proficiencies (unless you're a Mountain Dwarf), they are going to have Disadvantage on a ton of rolls if they use that armor. I considered getting rid of the armor on the lists, but I decided that the image of a untrained pseudo-hero staggering around in padded armor was kind of charming, so I kept it. It will be up to the individual player if the armor's protection outweighs the potential handicap.

Anyway, the original post is updated, and you can READ IT HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Library of Uthgarion [Mini-Map Monday]

The past two weekends I ran the Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure Sailors on the Sea of Fate for my home group. In the adventure, the players can find a map stitched into the hem of a discared cloak. This map is left for the GM to define.

So I defined it.

The map is inked on old brown lambskin with notes from unknown explorers and leads to something called "The Library of Uthgarion." Sages and sorcerers might know that Uthgarion was a wizrad of some power in Days of Old. The Black Chapel is a well-known landmark in the nearby city of Ghul-Midyan.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beneath The Forest Shrine [Mini-Map Monday]

Another Monday, another map! This one has all my favorite elements--a mixture of natural and constructed chambers, underground rivers, bridges, etc. Drawn freehand with illustration pens on board.

Click it to big it!