Wednesday, October 26, 2016

[KINK] Pony Play Workout

As I write this, I'm getting ready for my weekly handler-mandated "pony workout," during which I have to get a good workout in while wearing my tack. Not full tack, mind you (minimum tail, bridle, posture collar, and "skin"); we reserve that for when we're practicing in public parks. Because if you're going to be a horse in public, you gotta look good doing it. No excuse.
Actually, practicing in the sunroom and the backyard is scarier to me than practicing in public, because the house I'm leasing is in the middle of white suburbia. Furthermore, my backyard is elevated in relation to the houses behind mine. Basically, I'm in full view of my neighbors when I'm training, and these are neighbors my roommates and I have to keep for at least a year, and want to keep for at least three.
But I'm doing it anyway, mostly because I fear my handler subjecting me to "enhanced training" more than the opinions of snooty suburbanites. And as per my pony/handler contract, my roommates have the ability to rat me out for neglecting my training, and I'm not risking it. Turns out that having your roommates involved in a kinky arrangement with you isn't half as fun as all those books I've been reading make it out to be.
If my handler is reading this, I hope that this evidences that I am being a good horse and shouldn't be run into the ground, but instead given lots of carrots.
Anyway, here's the cover to my imaginary new workout video, “How to Look Pretty Damn Good, But Not Nearly as Good as the Show Pony Pictured Here:”

Monday, October 24, 2016

[CRIT] If it can Bleed, it can Die

I'm adding an update to the Back to Basics section of my D&D 5e House Rules that goes a little something like this:
When someone hits your flesh with a critical hit, you start bleeding. Note the highest die size among the dice used for the damage roll that caused the bleeding. At the beginning of each of your turns, you roll one die of that same size - called the bleed die - and automatically take that much damage. This effect ends when you regain any amount of hit points, or on a successful Medicine roll with a DC Equal to 6 + the size of the bleed die. Bleeding does not stack, but additional damage to your flesh can cause your bleed die to increase in size. Outside of combat, bleed damage continues to take effect once per exploration turn.
I like this little touch because characters aren't going to be able to take wounds and forget them; their wounds are something they have to carry with them, a resource they have to manage during times when they'd ordinarily forget about it.
This can be adapted to the core rules by just having a character bleed on a critical hit.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

[CRIT] Gestalt in D&D 5e

Dungeons & Dragons 3e/3.5e and other takes on the d20 System are infamous for their power creep. By level 12-14, Game Masters have to scramble to find things that actually challenge the players. But at the end of the day, there's no way to create a sense of risk for a Climb check with a modifier in the upper twenties, short of coating all the flagstone in a dungeon with magical grease.
Because of this, I'll never really understand why the Gestalt rules variant became so popular; if base characters in the d20 System were superpowered, then Gestalt characters were hyperpowered. The gist of Gestalt is this:
Take two classes at every level, choosing the best aspects of each. The process is similar to multiclassing, except that characters gain the full benefits of each class at each level. if the two classes you choose have aspects that overlap (such as Hit Dice, attack progression, saves, and class features common to more than one class), you choose the better aspect.
An obvious problem with Gestalt - besides the power level that takes d20's already shaky structure and crushes it between its thighs - is keeping track of all of this, especially for new players; if a vanilla d20 character is a tax form, then a Gestalt character is an IRS audit.
The absurdity and complexity of Gestalt, then, cause this rule variant to clash with the philosophies Dungeons & Dragons 5e was designed with: Bounded accuracy was implemented to squash the power creep in which Gestalt thrives, and all the fiddly-bits that Gestalt draws from have been replaced with broad unifying mechanics.
However, if implemented within the context of 5e's rules, it is possible to run a Gestalt game without sacrificing accessibility and mechanical integrity.

A Member of Every Class

First, I want to offer a different way to visualize 5e's multiclassing rules. I feel that this visualization is a neat way to explain how multiclassing works in 5e, especially to new players, and players used to the multiclassing rules of previous editions. It's worked like a charm so far!
Your character is a member of every available class. Your character is level 0 in each of these classes. When you complete character creation, you have 1 level to place in any class that your character is a member of. You can place levels that your character gains beyond 1st in any classes that your character is a member of, but you have to meet the ability score prerequisites of those classes in order to do so.
Now, let's expand this visualization by adding Gestalt Classes:
Every class combination is considered to be a unique custom class, called a Gestalt Class. In addition to the base classes, your character is also a member of every Gestalt Class. For example, Fighter/Barbarian, Fighter/Bard, Fighter/Druid, and Fighter/Warlock are each Gestalt Classes that your character is a member of. Gestalt Classes exist for every possible combination of classes.

Defining Gestalt Classes

So now that we've defined what a Gestalt Class is, what exactly does it look like? In order to construct a Gestalt Class, use this quick checklist:
  • Select two classes.
  • Hit Dice: Use the highest-sized hit die between the two classes.
  • Proficiencies: You can choose from both classes' lists of saving throws and skill proficiencies. Pick two saving throws, and pick the highest number of skill proficiencies allowed by either class. You also get all tool proficiencies from both classes.
  • Class Features: When you gain a level, you gain all of the features that each class gains at that level. If you would gain two class features that have the same name, choose one.

So Where's the Power?

How I've presented Gestalt in 5e thus far seems more like a take on 4e's Hybrid class. Just how are Gestalt Classes more powerful than the average player character?
  1. Increased Build Potential: Not only can you achieve multiclass builds that would otherwise require twice as much time to make and cut your maximum class level, but you can come up with builds that wouldn't be feasible without Gestalt Classes.
  2. Optimizing Action Economy: You are still subjected to the same action economy as everyone else, but what you can do with that economy has increased exponentially between two classes and two class paths. Because of bounded accuracy, choices are power in 5e, and if you don't have a numbers game, you better believe the options game is where it's at.
  3. Using Spellcasting Paths: Since you only get to choose one Spellcasting feature from a Gestalt Class built from two spellcasting classes, making such a Gestalt Class seems like a waste. This couldn't be farther from the truth, since each spellcasting class has core features and path features that are interchangeable, from Sorcery Points to Arcane Recovery to lists of spells that you always have prepared. One spell progression and one spell list, but with twice as many ways to bolster it. Really, if we threw two different spell progressions on top of it, Gestalt in 5e would give a whole new meaning to caster supremacy.

Fuck Warlocks

While toying around with these rules, the Warlocks proved to be quite overpowered. Really, I couldn't find a reason not to always include Warlock in a Gestalt Class. What makes the Warlock so potent in Gestalt Class configurations is that its spell slots come back with a short rest, and that its Pact Magic feature is a separate feature from Spellcasting.
  • Since Spellcasting and Pact Magic are two separate features, having the Warlock and another spellcasting class in a Gestalt Class would allow for two sets of spell slots and two spell lists at once.
  • The Warlock also ruined an idea I had where Gestalt Classes would have access to both classes' spell lists. A Warlock being able to drop high-level Wizard spells with slots that recover on a short rest? No thanks.
  • Even some of the paths made Warlocks problematic. For example, a life domain Cleric always has cure wounds prepared, which means a Warlock immediately becomes a literal health dispenser.
My friend Alex - who approached me with the Gestalt in 5e discussion, which I have since been unable to stop thinking about - had a great solution, which amounts to this: if you're going to have such powerful features, there's got to be some sort of tax.
If you have both the Pact Magic and the Spellcasting features, each time you spend a spell slot you receive from Pact Magic, you also have to spend a spell slot you receive from Spellcasting that is of equal level (or lower, if you don't have any slots left that are a high enough level). You can continue to use Pact Magic spell slots after your Spellcasting spell slots have run out.
This rule serves two functions: to discourage pairings with Warlocks and other spellcasters in Gestalt classes, and to smash the idea that Warlock spell slots can be thrown around freely because they come back at a short rest. Powers bestowed upon you by an entity that literally owns your soul will always be more potent than the magic that flows through your blood, was gifted to you through prayer, or learned from books, and the charge from these spells saps the energy you reserve to perform other types of magic.

Gestalt Multiclassing

A quick addition: you can multiclass into other classes as normal, but you cannot multiclass into classes that are part of a Gestalt Class that you already have a level in.
I personally wouldn't allow multiclassing into other Gestalt Classes, but if I did, I would require the character to meet the ability score prerequisites for both classes that compose that Gestalt Class (as shown in the "Multiclassing" section), and I would increase the prerequisites from 13 to 15.

[CRIT] D&D 5e Downtime Actions Overhaul

Last Updated 4/8/17
Thanks to Darkwynters for all the helpful feedback! He’s responsible for the new “Scribe Scroll or Create Potion” downtime activity.

The Downtime Cycle

If the party is travelling or waiting between sessions, your character receives a number of downtime days equal to the days spent travelling or waiting. This is called a downtime cycle.

Spending Downtime Days

At the beginning of each session before play begins, you can spend downtime days to perform downtime activities. When play begins, you lose all remaining downtime days.
If you are in Civilization, you must pay 1gp for each downtime day that you spend.

Renown

At the beginning of each downtime cycle, if you are in Civilization, you have an extra number of downtime days equal to your total Renown. You do not need to spend 1 gp when you spend any of these downtime days. Any unused downtime days granted from renown disappear at the end of the downtime cycle.

Activity Tags

A downtime activity may have one or more of the following tags listed beneath it:
  • Automatic: When you use this downtime activity for the first time, it occurs again for every week’s worth of downtime days you spend thereafter. A week is 10 days. You do not have to spend downtime days to use this action.
  • Extended Project: Days spent on this activity can accumulate over multiple downtime cycles.
  • Civilization: In order to spend downtime days on this activity, you must either be located in or travelling through a civilized area. If you are in civilization, you must pay 1gp for each downtime day that you spend.
  • Income: You do not have to pay 1 gp per downtime day you spend on this action.
  • Matching: When other characters help you with this activity, they choose to give you advantage on one of the ability checks made as part of the activity. If they do, they must each spend the same amount of downtime days that you end up spending.
  • Teamwork: Other characters can contribute their downtime days to help you with this activity.
  • (Special): This is used to modify other tags. If this tag is appended to another tag, then there are exceptions to that tag discussed in the activity’s description.

Appraising

Civilization (Special)
Spend one downtime day to determine the cost of one item.
If you are not in civilization, you must spend a number of downtime days equal to 6 - your Intelligence modifier.
If you have the Spellcasting feature, appraising an item in this way also counts as a free cast of identify.
Record this activity as “Appraising (days spent).” For example, appraising an item for 10 days would be recorded as “Appraising (10).”

Building a Stronghold

Extended Project, Income, Teamwork
You must have acquired a plot of land (a royal charter, a land grant, or a deed) in order to use this downtime activity. The cost for acquiring a plot of land is typically equal to the stronghold’s construction cost divided by 100.
In order to build the stronghold, you must spend a number of downtime days equal to the Construction Time. For each downtime day you spend, you must also spend an amount of gold listed under Construction Cost.
After constructing the stronghold, you must use the Maintaining a Stronghold downtime activity during the next downtime cycle.
Record this activity as “Build a Stronghold: [Stronghold] (days spent / days left).” For example, working on building a manor for 52 days would be recorded as “Build a Stronghold: Manor (52/150).”
Stronghold
Plot of Land Cost
Construction Cost
Construction Time
Abbey
5,000 gp
125 gp
400 days
Guildhall, town or city
500 gp
83 gp
60 days
Keep or small castle
5,000 gp
125 gp
400 days
Manor or estate
2,500 gp
17 gp
150 days
Outpost or fort
1,500 gp
150 gp
100 days
Palace or large castle
50,000 gp
417 gp
1,200 days
Temple
5,000 gp
125 gp
400 days
Tower, fortified
1,500 gp
150 gp
100 days
Trading post
500 gp
83 days
60 days

Carousing

Civilization, Income
Spending a downtime day on this activity costs an amount of gp equal to your level. Roll d100 + your level to determine the results.
Record this activity as “Carousing (days spent).” For example, carousing for 12 days would be recorded as “Carousing (12).”
d100 Roll
Result
0-40
You are placed in a scenario that the DM determines by rolling on a bigass table. It won’t necessarily be good or bad, but it sure as hell will be interesting!
41-80
You recoup the money you spent in order to carouse.
81-90
You recoup double the money you spent in order to carouse.
91+
You recoup quadruple the money you spent in order to carouse.

Crafting

Extended Project, Income, Teamwork
For each downtime day you spend crafting, you contribute 5 gp worth of value to an item that you create.
For example, crafting plate mail takes 300 downtime days, because plate mail is worth 1,500 gp and you contribute 5 gp per downtime day that you spend to craft it.
Record this activity as “Crafting: [Item] (days spent / days needed).” For example, spending 60 days on crafting a suit of plate mail would be recorded as “Crafting: Plate Mail (60/300).”

Crafting (Magical)

Extended Project, Income, Teamwork
For each day you spend crafting, you contribute 25 gp worth of value to an item you create. The item you select must be listed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. You can also add a magic bonus to a weapon or armor. Items that are already magical cannot be modified, and the “masterwork” property is removed when a weapon becomes a magical item.
At least one character spending downtime days on this activity must have the Spellcasting class feature and meet the Minimum Spellcaster Level.
Record this activity as “Crafting (Magic): [Item] (days spent / days needed).” For example, spending 60 days on crafting a jar of oil of sharpness (a rare magic item) would be recorded as “Crafting (Magic): Oil of Sharpness (60/200).”
Item Rarity
Creation Cost
Spellcaster Level
Max Bonus
Common
100 gp
3rd
+0
Uncommon
500 gp
3rd
+1
Rare
5,000 gp
6th
+2
Very Rare
50,000 gp
11th
+3
Legendary
500,000 gp
17th
+4

Gaining Renown

Civilization, Extended Project
Select a faction you are a member of. Spend a number of downtime days equal to 10 x your Renown score with that faction to increase your Renown with that faction by +1.
Record this activity as “Gain Renown: [Faction] (days spent / days needed).” For example, if you had Renown (Zhentarim) 5 and spent 42 days interacting with the Zhentarim, it would be recorded as “Gain Renown: Zhentarim (42/50).”

Maintaining a Stronghold

Automatic, Income
You spend 1 downtime day to manage the assets of your stronghold. This includes paying the stronghold’s upkeep according to the table below.
If you cannot pay the upkeep on your stronghold, it does not function until upkeep is paid.
Record this activity as “Maintain a Stronghold: [Stronghold] (days spent).” For example, taking a day to manage the assets of your abbey would be recorded as “Maintain a Stronghold: Abbey (1).”
Stronghold
Upkeep Cost
Abbey
20 gp
Guildhall, town or city
5 gp
Keep or small castle
100 gp
Manor or estate
10 gp
Outpost or fort
50 gp
Palace or large castle
400 gp
Temple
25 gp
Tower, fortified
25 gp
Trading post
10 gp

Recuperating

You can spend 1 downtime day to take a long rest.
Additionally, you can spend 3 downtime days to make a saving throw with advantage to recover from a disease, a poison, or an effect preventing you from regaining hit points.
Record this activity as “Recuperating (days spent).” For example, recuperating for 6 days would be recorded as “Recuperating (6).”

Researching (Lore)

If you spend a number of downtime days equal to 6 - your Intelligence modifier, you have advantage on the next Intelligence check you make.
If you spend a number of downtime days equal to 20 - your Intelligence score, you get a natural 20 on the next Intelligence (Choose one: Arcana, History, Nature, Religion) check you make.
Record this activity as “Researching (Lore): [Lore] (days spent).” For example, researching Arcana for 10 days would be recorded as “Researching (Lore): Arcana (10).”

Researching (Spell)

Extended Project
You must have the Spellcasting feature in order to learn a spell.
In order to learn a spell from the spell list for your class, you must spend a number of downtime days equal to 30 x the level of a chosen spell, and pay an amount of gold per downtime day you spend equal to that spell’s level.
In order to learn a spell from a different spell list, the amount of downtime days you spend and the amount of gold you spend is doubled.
Record this activity as “Researching (Spell): [Spell] (days spent / days needed).” For example, researching the spell Fireball for 40 days would be recorded as “Researching (Spell): Fireball (40/90).”
Spell Level
Downtime Days
Cost per day
1st
30
2 gp
2nd
60
3 gp
3rd
90
4 gp
4th
120
5 gp
5th
150
6 gp
6th
180
7 gp
7th
210
8 gp
8th
240
9 gp
9th
270
10 gp

Running a Business

Automatic, Income, Teamwork
In order to purchase a business, you must pay its construction cost. If you wish to expand the business by one size, you must pay the difference in construction costs.
When you create a business, you decide what skill is required to run it. That skill is rolled on the profit table each time this downtime action is used. The DM may impose advantage or disadvantage on this roll to account for events like market crashes and festivals.
If you cannot pay the amount of the maintenance cost specified by the result, any subsequent rolls for this business are permanently decreased by -3.
You can elect to spend multiple downtime days on this action. If you spend less than a week’s worth of downtime days on Running a Business, the number of days you spend is added to the next Running a Business roll. If you spend consecutive weeks’ worth of downtime days running a business, you multiply the maintenance cost by the number of weeks.
Record this activity as “Running a Business: [Business] (days spent).” For example, managing your bakery for 17 days would be recorded as “Running a Business: Bakery (17).”
Business (Size)
Maintenance Cost
Construction Cost
Tiny
25 sp
160 gp
Mom & Pop
5 gp
400 gp
Average
10 gp
800 gp
Large
20 gp
2,000 gp
Multiple
80 gp
4,000 gp
Local chain
120 gp
8,000 gp
Chain
160 gp
20,000 gp
Local Monopoly
320 gp
50,000 gp
Monopoly
640 gp
100,000 gp

d20 Roll
Profit
4
You pay twice the maintenance cost.
5-9
You pay the maintenance cost.
10-14
The business covers its maintenance cost.
15-19
You earn money equal to the maintenance cost.
20-24
You earn money equal to twice the maintenance cost.
25-29
You earn money equal to three times the maintenance cost.
30+
You earn money equal to four times the maintenance cost.

Selling an Item

Civilization, Income
You can spend 1 downtime day to sell as many mundane items as you want at half price, so long as each item is worth less than 25 gp.
If you want to sell items worth more than 25 gp, you must spend 1 downtime day per item. If you want to sell an item for full price, spend 1 additional downtime day per item you sell at full price.
If you want to sell an item through the black market, use the Selling an Item (Magic) downtime activity. The item’s rarity is the one with a Base Price closest to the value of the treasure.
Record this activity as “Sell Items (days spent).” For example, spending 2 days to sell a number of odds & ends - one of which is worth more than 25 gp - would be recorded as “Sell Items (2).”

Scribe Scroll or Create Potion

Civilization, Extended Project
You must have the Spellcasting feature and the ability to scribe scrolls in order to use this activity.
Select a spell that you know. If you spend a number downtime days as shown in the table below, you gain a scroll containing that spell. The spell contained in the scroll uses the level the caster had when they spent their first downtime day to create it.
Scribe scroll also costs a number of gold pieces equal to 50 x the spell’s level x the caster’s level.
Creating a potion is the same as scribing a scroll, but potions cannot be made using spells above 3rd level.
Record this activity as “Scribe Scroll/Create Potion: [spell name] (days spent).” For example, spending 6 downtime days to scribe a scroll of fireball would be recorded as “Scribe Scroll: Fireball (6).”
Spell Level
Time
1st
2 downtime days
2nd
4 downtime days
3rd
6 downtime days
4th
10 downtime days
5th
16 downtime days
6th
26 downtime days
7th
42 downtime days
8th
68 downtime days
9th
110 downtime days

Selling an Item (Magic)

Civilization, Matching
Select a magic item that you want to sell and make a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check. You cannot sell a legendary magic item. On a failed check, no buyer for the magic item is found. On a successful check, a buyer is found, and a number of downtime days are spent based on Days to Find Buyer. On a failed check, 10 downtime days are spent and no buyer is found.
If a buyer is found, roll d100 + the item’s d100 Roll Modifier + a Charisma (Persuasion) check. The result determines the Buyer’s Offer.
Record this activity as “Sell Item (Magic): [Item] (days spent).” For example, spending 30 days to search for a buyer for a potion of superior healing would be recorded as “Sell Item (Magic): Potion of Superior Healing (30).”
Rarity
Base Price
Find Buyer
d100 Roll Modifier
Common
100 gp
1d4 days
+10
Uncommon
500 gp
1d6 days
+0
Rare
5,000 gp
1d8 days
-10
Very Rare
50,000 gp
1d10 days
-20
d100 Roll
Buyer’s Offer
20 or lower
10% base price
21-40
25% base price
41-80
50% base price
81-90
100% base price
91+
150% base price

Spellcasting Services

Civilization, Matching
Choose the spell you want to have cast. The process for finding someone to cast the chosen spell depends on that spell’s level. You cannot use spellcasting services to cast a spell higher than 5th level.
Make a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check. If you succeed, you spend a number of downtime days equal to the spell’s level. If you fail, you spend 10 downtime days. The cost for casting a spell is shown in the table below.
Record this activity as “Spellcasting Services: [Spell] (days spent).” For example, searching for someone to cast Mass Cure Wounds for 10 days would be recorded as “Spellcasting Services: Mass Cure Wounds (10).”
Spell Level
Casting Cost
1st
10 + component cost
2nd
20 + (component cost x 2)
3rd
60 + (component cost x 3)
4th
240 + (component cost x 4)
5th
1,200 + (component cost x 5)

Sowing Rumors

Civilization, Matching
You may spend a number of downtime days depending on the Size of the Population Center you are in.
Make a Charisma (Persuasion) check with a DC determined by the Size of the Population Center you are in. If you succeed, you shift a community’s attitude of a person or organization one step towards either friendly or hostile. Some individual characters’ attitudes might not be affected.
Record this activity as “Sow Rumors: [Rumor] (days spent).” For example, spending 17 days to spread a rumor about a mayor’s adultery would be recorded as “Sow Rumor: “The Mayor is an Adulterer” (17).”
Size of Population Center
Downtime Days Spent
Charisma (Persuasion) DC
Village
2d6
10
Town
4d6
15
City
6d6
20

Training (Level)

Civilization (Special)
You may spend a number of downtime days equal to your current total level to gain a number of experience points equal to 20 x your current total level.
In order to train for a level in any location, a PC in your party must have at least one more level than you in the class you are training for. Otherwise, you must hire a trainer in a civilized area, paying them an amount of gp equal to your current total level per downtime day you spend.
Record this activity as “Training: [Level & Class] (days spent).” For example, spending 70 downtime days towards training from level 5 to level 6 with the intent of placing a level in the Rogue class would be recorded as “Training: Level 6 Rogue (70).”

Variant: Training to Level

Some DMs require that when you have enough experience points to gain a level, you have to undergo additional training in order to gain that level.
In order to train to gain a level, you must hire a trainer in a civilized area. The number of downtime days you need to spend and the amount of gold you need to spend per downtime day are listed in the table below.
Level Attained
Training Time
Training Cost
2nd-4th
10 downtime days
20 gp per day
5th-10th
20 downtime days
40 gp per day
11th-16th
30 downtime days
60 gp per day
17th-20th
40 downtime days
80 gp per day

Training (Proficiency)

Civilization (Special), Extended Project
You may learn any proficiency by spending a total of 250 downtime days.
In order to learn a proficiency while in any location, the proficiency must be known by a PC or NPC in your party. Otherwise, you must hire a trainer in a civilized area, paying them 1 gp per downtime day you spend.
Record this activity as “Training: [Proficiency] (days spent / days needed).” For example, spending 30 downtime days towards learning Undercommon would be recorded as “Training: Undercommon (30/250).”

Busking

Civilization, Income
For each downtime day you spend busking, you gain 1 gp.
Record this activity as “Busking (days spent).” For example, performing music on the street for 21 days would be recorded as “Busking (21).”