April 20, 2018

The Shadow Cabal

Otherworldly Patron
Comments from the Knuckle: "I've said a couple of times to the other Digits that I think we should port more Overwatch characters into 5e. We've already done Tracer, after all, and the characters' power sets are easy enough to turn into subclasses. 
     From a story perspective, I love Reaper, aka Gabriel Reyes. On the surface, he's a character designed to appeal to edgelords, spouting things like "Death walks among you," "Back from the grave," and "You look like you've seen a ghost;" but digging into both the canon and crackpot fan-theory aspects of his backstory (some of which are pseudo-confirmed via comics and tweets from the Story Lead, Michael Chu) reveals a tragic and conflicted anti-hero-turned-villain whose downfall was entirely of his own making.
     Here we present mechanics for representing Reaper as a character in 5e, or for playing someone with a similar power set. If you're looking for his hellfire shotguns, I apologize, but you won't find them here. For now, I would use eldritch blast, but I'll make sure to stat them up as a magic item after we finish reworking our firearm rules."

The Shadow Cabal

Your patron is a council of beings who magically bolstered and corrupted your body to make you into their chosen operative, a vicarious embodiment of their will. Your new powers grant you supernatural speed and stealth, as well as a ghastly form that strikes fear into the heart of your enemies. Patrons of this sort can be any number of shadowy organizations, such as the Dark Powers of Ravenloft, the Gloaming Court, the Mage Hand Press, the Red Wizards of Thay, the Shadow Enclave Proclamation, the Treaty of Ascended Lords from the Otherworldly Nexus, and the Umbral Council.

Shadow Cabal Expanded Spell List
Spell Level Spell
1stbane, inflict wounds
2ndpass without trace, silence
3rdbestow curse, feign death
4thdeath ward, locate creature
5thdominate person, seeming

Death Walks Among You
At 1st level, you gain proficiency with the Intimidation skill. If you already proficient in it, you gain proficiency with one of the following skills of your choice: Athletics, Deception, Insight, or Stealth.
     When you make a Charisma (Intimidation) check, your proficiency bonus is doubled.

Shadow Walk
Also at 1st level, while you are in dim light or darkness, you become one with the shadows. Your speed increases by 10 feet, and you can climb without expending additional movement. You do not need handholds to climb along a surface while using this feature.

Wraith Form
At 6th level, as a reaction when you are hit by an attack you can become a haunting, incorporeal phantasm. You gain resistance to that attack and all damage until the end of your next turn, and you can then move 60 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see.
     Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

The Reaping
At 10th level, when you go on the offensive, the dark forces that empower you grant you a defensive boon. Once per turn, when you deal damage to a hostile creature, you can regain hit points equal to your Charisma modifier.

Death Blossom
At 14th level, as an action on your turn you can unleash a deadly barrage of eldritch energy in a 30-foot radius around you. Creatures you choose in this area must make a Dexterity saving throw against your warlock spell save DC. On a failed save, a creature takes force damage equal to 5d10 + your Charisma modifier, or half as much damage on a successful save.
     Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Pact Boon
Your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you for your loyal service.

Pact of the Cloak
As a bonus action, you can summon a cloak, coat, or robe which aids in your movement and mobility. This Pact Cloak appears on your body, fitting over any other clothes or armor, and it does not impede your movement, vision, or your ability to wear other equipment. While wearing your pact cloak, you constantly float a few inches off the ground. You ignore the effects of difficult terrain, your speed increases by 10 feet and you can walk across fluid surfaces, such as water and quicksand.
     You can dismiss your Pact Cloak as a bonus action.

Eldritch Invocations
If an eldritch invocation has prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn the invocation at the same time that you meet its prerequisites.

Fell Flight
Prerequisite: 15th level, Pact of the Cloak or Pact of the Skin feature
Your patron grants you the power to fly: this manifests as a pair of wings (of varying designs), a dark aura, or some other sign appropriate to your patron. You gain a fly speed equal to your walking speed.

Shadowy Visage
Prerequisite: Pact of the Cloak feature
While wearing your Pact Cloak, you can summon a hood at will, which conceals your appearance in shadow. Creatures which cannot see through magical darkness cannot see your face or parts of your body that are covered by your pact cloak. Additionally, while this ability is active, you gain a bonus equal to your Charisma modifier to all Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Wisp of Shadow
Prerequisite: 7th level, Pact of the Cloak feature
While wearing your Pact Cloak, you do not take any damage from falling.

Changelog: 4/20/18: Death Blossom: Damage increased to 5d10; recharge on a short/long rest


  1. "The Mage Hand Press". LOL.

    DWAY: Should be "doubled for that check".

    The Reaping is problematic (sack of rats). Maybe temp hp, or limit uses?

    I think death blossom could have some additional effect. Maybe preventing healing for 1 round? Or just a bit more damage?

    1. The sack of rats isn't applicable to The Reaping, which requires the creature to be hostile to you.

      Death Blossom is already pretty strong, I thought. It's 13.5 damage on a successful save, or 27 on a failed save. Not a /huge/ amount of damage, but it's AoE, and it /does/ still do damage when a creature succeeds. I was particularly concerned about buffing this too much more, because if you get in the center of a bunch of enemies, use it and get attacked, you can Wraith Form and get out pretty easily.

    2. It's still only a bigger fireball that doesn't hit friends, at 14th level. That's not really too impressive. I don't think adding 1d10 or 10 extra feet would make this anywhere near overpowered, but I guess it's not really necessary.

      I'd say if you kick the sack before releasing the rats they'd be pretty hostile. Or you can collect a bunch of small sentient beings.
      Anyway, a smart player can probably find a way to use this freely this, and a smart dm could prevent that, but the whole purpose of the stricter rules in 5th is to prevent over-munchkinism and rules-stretching, so some kind of limitation might be in order.

    3. Maybe a line about during combat, or "after initiative is rolled" or similar? Basically to make it clear that The Reaping only works during a fight, as that's the intent?

    4. I actually don't agree with you on this one Idan. Bag of Rats is solved in this case with 'hostile'. Rats can bite, but they're not 'hostile' in the conventional rules sense, even if provoked.

    5. Yeah, I have to agree. Hostile isn't super well defined, but the DMG says that:

      A hostile creature opposes the adventurers and their goals but doesn't necessarily attack them on sight.

      I don't think an animal can really be passively hostile, and encountering anything that is actively hostile should result in initiative and combat.

    6. Alright, that definition of hostile ("opposes the adventurers and their goals") does seem to solve the issue.

    7. Idan, we buffed the capstone a bit. What do you think there?

    8. I think it looks great.
      5d10+ does seem to be more on par with other warlock capstones (the standard of which seems to be 10d10 to one target and a small effect). Being 1/short seems to go well with this warlock's survivability.

      I did notice now something I haven't before- it's called "death blossom", but the damage is force, which is kinda weird. I mean, many creatures resist necrotic, but it kinda seems more fitting here (although I don't know overwatch, so this might fit the theme better).

    9. Force damage is definitely how we want to go here for representing Death Blossom. It’s an Ultimate, and cuts through the resistances provided by armor and shields. If I weren’t porting an ability into D&D from another game, I would definitely agree with you.

  2. Death Blossom feels very underwhelming for a capstone.

    1. It is aoe on a pact that can run into the center of an enemy crowd and easily get out

    2. I'm with Levi - it seems pretty much bang on the money to me.

    3. I understand the sentiment, though. For a 1/long, we might want the damage a /bit/ higher to make it look more attractive. After all, at 11th level, you're dealing 31.5 (3d10 + 15), and this deals only 27 per target. It's probably not critically bad, but it /does/ feel a bit deflated for a 1/long capstone.

    4. But it's to every creature you choose within 30 feet. So you could clear out a mob fairly quickly, or weaken them. I wouldn't buff this by too much, and certainly not the damage. /Maybe/ I would up the range to 50-ish feat.

  3. You know, using your Firearm rules, you could give him a Pact of the Blade weapon that's a shotgun.

    1. Well, yes and no. By RAW a pact weapon must be a melee weapon /unless/ you find a magical weapon and bind it to you. That's why I'm gonna write his Hellfire Shotguns as magic weapons :D

  4. Light, and maybe with a little extra fire damage (1d4),
    Perhaps also a stipulation that they’re a matched set and count as one weapon for the purpose of abilities and class features that target individual weapons (Pact of the Blade, Bonded Weapon, etc.)

  5. In Wraith Form
    "You gain resistance to that attack and all damage until the end of your next turn, and you can then move 60 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see" implies you get to move 60 feet only at the end of your next turn. Unless that's what you intend to mean, ditch "then." I can see the reasoning; it's a triok not to imply that the player gains the ability to move the extra 60 feet from the time of reaciton all the way until the end of their next turn, thereby getting the ability to do it twice.
    "You can move 60 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see, and you gain resistance to that attack and all damage until the end of your next turn" might be what you're looking for, but even I admit it's not a perfect solution. Getting reaction-triggered defintions air-tight is tricky

    1. See, the reasoning for the 'then' is to make very clear that order for events is "gain resistance, take damage, then teleport". Without it, it's unclear if you can cause the attack to automatically miss with the teleport (which is not the intent.) Your version seems to get this backwards, as well.

    2. I should probably make this clearer somehow: Wraith Form isn't a teleport. You're still moving through spaces, you just get 60ft. of movement to do that with.

    3. Hearing what you folks are saying. Might have cracked it. Might.
      "At 6th level, when under attack you can become a haunting, incorporeal phantasm. When you are hit by an attack, as a reaction you can gain resistance to that attack and all damage types until the end of your next turn and can take 60 feet of movement.
      Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest."
      To tell you the truth I'm not 100% happy about the term 'take 60 feet of movement' as far as adherence to parlance of the official publications but as far as specificity goes that's the best I think I've got. Just for your consideration, obviously

    4. But that doesn't take into account whether attacks of opportunity are still occuring. If it isn't supposed to be a teleport then in theory they would. I'm lost

    5. It isn't a teleport, so you would indeed still be provoking attacks of opportunity; that's part of the intent. But you're also resistant to them, so for one round-ish, you get to be tanky and draw aggro for the rest of the party while you get out of range and set up your next barrage of Eldritch Blasts.

    6. I know where the Finger got that from. "Unoccupied space that you can see" is very much a materialisation convention. Teleportation and summoning effects are the only instances that I can think of having seen it in

    7. I don't want to be a pest. I can drop it if that'd be best

    8. I mean, you're not a pest :) Helping to point out where our wording could be better is appreciated. I'll toy with the wording over the next couple of days and see what I can come up with.

    9. I've been playing with several different wordings, and none of them communicate the information cleanly, so I think I'm going to leave the wording as is. Especially after looking through the keywords of spells and features that allow you to teleport, they explicitly use the word teleport, so I think that it's fine as is, using the word "move."