September 20, 2017

Wizarding Contests

Variant Rules
Comments from the Finger: These rules are companions to the Nail's fantastic Tourney Rules, but with a distinctly arcane bent. Enjoy!

Wizarding Contests

Whereas tourneys and contests of skill are grand public events and important occasions for nobility, wizarding contests are rarely met with much fanfare. Normally, they are held at lonely wizard's tower for a small audience of eclectic spellcasters, or at an arcane university to the cheers of students and faculty alike. Other times, they are played in secret, simply to prove a spellcaster's superiority over their peers.
     Wizarding contests are almost always used to prove the participant's mettle, by testing their wit, skill, and creativity -- the attributes most important to spellcasting. In fact, they are routinely used as exams, a final test for apprentices, to be played against their masters.

September 18, 2017


Sorcerous Origin
Notes from the Nails: a bit of a mash-up here, with the fluff inspired by The Time Traveller's Wife, the capstone drawing on the Prince of Persia games, and the rest of the class pretty much my own work.


Being born with unpredictable magical powers in one's blood is often an unpleasant and traumatic thing but, of all the sorcerous origins, the futuresoul must be one of the most disruptive. These rare individuals possess souls that are dislocated from time, causing all manner of chronomantic disturbances wherever they go. The futuresouls themselves experience the worst effects, jumping randomly forwards or backwards in time, sometimes by years or decades. With practice, however, these sorcerers can gain control over their powers, with some becoming truly formidable spellcasters.

September 15, 2017

The Brotherhood

Roguish Archetype
Comments from the Knuckle: "Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent. Hide in plain sight. Never compromise the Brotherhood."

The Brotherhood

There is an ancient and secret order of trained fighters who keep the peace and maintain freedom throughout the land. They wage a silent war against their sworn enemies, the Crusaders, who believe that peace comes only through tyranny. Members of the Brotherhood have sworn to give their lives to the order, many of them refusing to wed or bear children, as familial attachments are a distraction from the Brotherhood's vital mission.

September 13, 2017

Variant Rule: Round-Table Initiative

Variant Rule
Comments from the Finger: Shorter article this Wednesday (we're working on some more involved ones), but this rule has gotten a lot traction in our home game, so I think it deserves an article on its own.

Combat takes a while; for most tables, it's an unavoidable truth. Most of the time, there's a few major causes, but one of the most important ones is that players can't independently figure out when their turn is coming up, so they start deciding on their actions only once their turn has begun.

Today, I want to share with you a recent initiative variant we've been using to speed up combat at our table by fixing that very problem:

September 11, 2017

Sunsteel Templar

Martial Archetype
Comments from the Knuckle: This offering comes from my own campaign setting. The Sunsteel Templars are an order of holy knights who worship the goddess Valinta; the Queen of Light, and Empress of the Southern Stars. They are honor-bound to pass down both the written and oral traditions of their religion, and they wield flaming swords blessed by Valinta and her Eternal Light. After a year-and-a-half of my players asking how to play one in 5e, I finally present it here.

Sunsteel Templar

The lone guardsman who holds his post, securing the entry way of the basilica. The wandering warrior who passes along the Old Faith to any who with the patience to listen. Both of these fighters are Sunsteel Templars with significant ties to a religion, or a specific religious order. The flaming swords they wield are legendary throughout the land, symbolizing hope among the common folk; hope that the darkness will not overtake them this day.
     Note: The Acolyte and Soldier backgrounds are recommended for Sunsteel Templars.

September 7, 2017

Leviathan Hunter

Ranger Conclave
Comments from the Finger: We wrote this one with the help of Grand Moff Xela, who has been helping out on the upcoming High Seas book. (Also, for our patrons that didn't see the recent post, High Seas and the rest of the development queue are being delayed for a month so we can finish up Dark Matter, the Channeler, and the Shugenja Redux.)

Leviathan Hunter Conclave

Many rangers steal out into the wilds to slay dire beasts that encroach upon civilization, safeguarding cities and towns from their animalistic fury. But some rangers take this further, obsessing over a single kill at a time, and hunting their quarry to the ends of the earth. Rangers that join the loose Leviathan Hunter conclave might track any creature, provided that it is as threatening as it is colossal, but are so named for the brave fools that once fancied to kill the mighty leviathan, a quest that ultimately spelled their demise.