Friday, March 4, 2016

In which there was Content.

As of Sunday, I will be actually running a game again! My first time running some 5e, so it ought to be interesting. I am a huge fan of the megadungeon, so we'll see how that goes down, especially since it will be my first time running D&D for Shieldhaven at all. Not the first time I've run a game he's played in; the first (and only) such being my Nobilis One Shot of great antiquity (that I never actually posted about ><). Anyway.

My setting, which is called Liel, is the oh so original idea of taking a Sigil like crossroads and making it a whole world, rather than just a city. So pretty much all races and gods are available here. To reduce burden on myself (for some values of reduce), I re-wrote most of the PHB races to get rid of subraces, and broke some of the subrace options into a cultural bonus for being an immigrant (more recently come to this work) or being a colonist/native (originally from the world, or having immigrated so long ago it makes no difference). I also changed some things because the default races are different (humans are common, but not even a little default), and yeah. The important thing here is that the natives/colonists all have an option to take a feat at first level, and I know you're surprised that pretty much all of the PCs are doing that. Go figure!

The main thing this does is make it so that I feel better about starting at first level, rather than going with my 3e inclination and starting everyone at 3rd.

When I last ran this setting for 4e, I had a pantheon of gods that granted a background feat to their worshipers. Feats being tiny and fiddly, this was a lot of good fun to come up with. I wanted to do something similar for 5e, and funnily, it actually fits better. Because there are so many gods available in the world, the most common form of worship is called Giedame, where the worshiper selects six gods of their choice and focuses their piety upon them. Technically, a PC could choose gods not listed below (historically, Dragonlance gods are popular in the world :P), and I'd try to come up with something for that, but I've only actually written things for the gods I made up myself. So... below the cut I have:

  • 1 new feat
  • a bunch of boons (about 1/3rd of a feat to mix & match)
  • 3 new spells (2 1st level spells (one of which is a ritual), 1 cantrip)
And a bunch of gods for spicy flavor. Enjoy!

New Feat: Faithful Giedamede

As a practitioner of Giedame, you choose 3 favored Gods. You gain 3 boons from the list below. If a single God offers multiple boons, you may only select one of them. You may take this feat up to two times. If you wish to worship a God not listed here, please discuss with the GM. 

The Hero-Gods (Atailan)

The Hero-Gods, Begaren, Vai'Varin, and Pi'kati, are called thus because of their roles in various myths and stories. It is not known whether they were once people who lived and were later deified, but the stories treat them as if they once, indeed, lived in the world like men. 

Begaren-- The God of Honor, Valour, and Nobility, his worship is common to warriors and those who value codes of honor above all else. In Ar'Siva, he is a favorite god of Military Knights, though his worship is more common in the other countries. His worship suggests proficiency with all manner of heavy (not thrown) swords and/or shields. His symbols are a sword or spear cutting through tendrils of dark energy coming from below, or a shield with a hand and three orbs upon it, parting a wave of dark energy from above. 

  • Shield Brethen - When you have a shield equipped, you may spend a reaction to subtract 1d6 from a damage roll against an adjacent ally.
  • Spear Brethren- If you have a spear equipped, and are flanking, you and the flanking ally can add 1d4 to your melee attack rolls once per short rest. 

Vai'Varin-- The God of Humility, this god is never himself depicted, though like Begaren, he is considered a hero-god, and spoken of as such. His symbol is a common household item-- a shoe, a kettle, a broom, et al-- held singly, or on a plain field. Healers most often worship of Vai'varin, and many nobles who care about their obligations serve him. He is a common household god on Ar'Siva. Those who follow Vai'Varin may choose from the following Background Feats: 

  • Helping Hand - Adjacent Ally gains a +3 bonus to their surge value when they spend their second wind, +5 at 11th level and +7 at 21st. 
  • 50 Feet of Rope- You may spend your move action to grant one ally an extra 5 move before the end of your next turn. Allies who start a climb or a jump adjacent to you gain +2 to their Athletics check.
  • The Best Cook Ever - During an Extended Rest, you may sacrifice a hit die to restore an extra hit die of healing to all allies.

Pi'kati-- the God of Tricksters and Rogues, he is a god widely worshiped by people in all walks of life. He is especially popular in Ar'Siva, in the country and among the proletariat. It is not uncommon, apart from those who are of the Rogue or Bard profession, for someone to feel themselves Pi'kati's in Soul, and honor him thusly. His symbol is a four-holed flute with one hand open and one hand closed; sometimes with his grinning Face behind it. Those who consider themselves Followers of Pi'kati may choose from the following boons:

  • Unassuming Pickpocket- gain advantage on stealth and deception checks to perform a slight of hand-style action. 
  • Made You Look... - once per short rest, when you disengage an enemy, grant advantage to the next attack made by an ally against that target.

The Quartet (Fari'dikan): 

The Deities of Inspiration and Creation, the Quartet are also known as the Gods of Ascension. They skirt the line between the Lielin concepts of hero-deity and force-deity.  

Alera-- Like Pi'kati, the Goddess of Love and Beauty is worshiped universally. She is usually depicted with the Twins, Oriel & Delel, and with the Goddess of Magic, Eleite. The Quartet is especially popular among young people, artists, poets, and Bards. If you follow Alera, you may choose from the following boons:

  • Deadly Beauty - When wielding an especially beautiful or ornate weapon, it counts as a magic weapon for purposes of resistance/incorporeal 
  • Passive Persuasion - add your proficiency bonus to all Persuasion checks, even if you are already proficient. This does not stack with expertise. You have disadvantage on Intimidate checks.

Oriel and Delel-- the Twin Deities of Song and Story, also known as Inspiration and Execution, are always worshiped in tandem.  They are usually depicted being embraced from above by Alera, their hands joined, and from below by Eleite, or as two children holding a book between them, their hair entangled. They are a special favorite of Bards on all of the continents. If your Giedame includes worship of Oriel and Delel, you may choose from the following boons: 

  • Muse's Whisper - once per short rest, you may move out of an enemy's threatened area without triggering an opportunity attack.
  • Inspired Action - Once per short rest, you may take an extra reaction in a round. These must have two different triggers.

Eleite-- The Goddess of Magic, when she is not grouped with Alera, Oriel, and Delel, is depicted as a woman formed out of a cloud, wreathed in stars, singing with her eyes closed. Above her hands she weaves arcane power. She is the patroness of Ar'Siva. If you follow her, you may choose from the following Boons:

  • Dedicate Arcanist - add your proficiency bonus to arcana checks, even if you are already proficient. This does not stack with expertise.  You have disadvantage on Religion checks unless they concern a member of the Quartet.
  •  Spellsong - You may cast Spellsong once per long rest without using a spell slot: 
1st level enchantment
Casting time: 1 action 
Range: 30 feet
Components: V,S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Effect: You create a 30' sphere of shimmering energy. Enemies who begin a turn, end a turn, or pass through this sphere while moving have disadvantage on their next saving through versus a spell. 

The Quintet (Fani'Dikan)

The Gods of Detriment, The Quintet are always depicted as a pillar with Gelu'Oru at the Crown, and Geru'Naten at the base, the other three arranged between them with various exaggerated expressions. Worship of these deities is not inherently evil, however. If you are Giedame and you choose the worship of the entire Quintet, you may not choose to worship any member of the Quartet. 

Gelu'oru--Destruction. Depicted as a shapeless, ghostlike figure with a crown, at the top of the Pillar of the Fani'Dikan. 

Followers of Gelu'oru can choose from the following boons:

  • Praying for The End. - If you fall unconscious during combat, you may voluntarily fail one death save to be restored to consciousness with ten hit points. You also regain one expended spell slot, two sorcery points, 1 of any other class feature that resets on a long or short rest. The failed death save stays failed until you take a long rest, You may use this ability multiple times. You still die immediately after three failed death saves. 
  • Praying for Tidal Waves. - Once per encounter, if you hit with a power that targets creatures and does damage to an ally also, you may also knock enemies hit with the power prone.
  • Watch it Come Down. - You spend your Long Rest engaged in a chanting, violent ceremony to honor the forces of destruction. You sacrifice up to 2 hit dice to re-roll a number of 1s equal to the number of sacrificed hit dice on any roll until your next long rest.

Abinde-- Law, depicted typically on the left side of the pillar (as facing the viewer), right hand raised. Abinde has no gender; its hair flows upwards and supports Okont.

Followers of Abinde can choose from the following boons:

  • A Fair Shot.  - Once per long rest, you may choose a spell you have prepared which takes a spell slot, for which you roll an attack. That spell does not consume a spell slot on a miss the first time you miss with it. 
  • Against Bullying. - three times per short rest, If you are flanked by enemies, and have no adjacent allies, those enemies gain -1d4 to attack and damage rolls. While this effect is active on you, You may not gain any advantage from flanking. Once per short rest, you may transfer this to an ally who is flanked as a reaction. This transfer lasts until your next turn.

Okont-- Armies and War. A full, bipedal figure with arms raised, supporting Gelu'Oru in the pillar. He wears a three-pronged crown on his head, and is sometimes depicted as male, sometimes female, sometimes neither. He rests on the hair of Ab'inde and Guru'Naten, and sometimes his legs drape around the shoulders of a fifth figure, who is known only as the Hidden One.

Followers of Okont can choose from the following boons:

  • Choose Your Battlefield: when an enemy misses you with an attack, you may spend your reaction to make an attack. If you hit, you do only weapon damage, and push the enemy up to 5', or 10' on a crit. You cannot apply sneak attack bonus, even if you qualify for it.
  • To Arms: If you are adjacent to two or more allies when making an attack, you get +1d4 to hit, and grant 1 combat die to those allies, which lasts until the party's next short rest. Your allies may spend this die to add 1d4 to an attack roll, damage roll, or saving throw. Allies may only have 1 combat die at a time. This die does not stack with a die gained from bless, or another god's boon. You may use this ability three times per long rest.
  • Combat Medic: You spend an extended rest going through the party's supplies and preparing more effective uses for your protectives. You lose two healing surges, and in your next encounter, adjacent allies may spend their second wind as a minor action.
  • Enemy Mine - You can construct explosive devices that you may place in squares adjacent to you as an action. These constructs cost 40 GP each in alchemical components, and must be prepared during a Long rest, at the cost of 1 hit die. They do 5+1/2 level damage to any opponent who passes through the square in which they are lain. You may make a stealth (dex) check or thieves' tools check as a bonus action to hide the explosives, so that enemies are unaware of their presence. 

Geru'naten-- Chaos, depicted typically on the right side of the pillar (as facing the viewer), left hand crossing their body, supporting Okont's leg. Geru'Naten is dual gendered; their hair flows upwards and supports Okont.

  • Selective Memory: During your long rest, you may choose to take disadvantage to one skill in which you have proficiency to gain advantage to all checks to another skill, in which you do not have to be proficient.
  • The World is my Weapon: With GM approval, you may choose an object not normally used as a weapon or implement in which to be proficient. Additional properties depend on the item chosen and the permission of the GM. 

The Hidden One-- This God is almost never worshiped, and never worshiped aloud. His servants do not use weapons, or any created thing if they can at all avoid it.  If you are Giedame, you must have all of the other Fani'dikan as part of your Pantheon, plus either U'Nelege or U'Olgele in order to also honor the Hidden One. Thus, you may only gain A boon of the Hidden one on your second purchase of the Faithful feat.

  • step softly: you gain advantage on stealth checks when you are not in direct sunlight, and you have nothing in your hands. 
  • speak slowly: you gain the insinuating whisper cantrip, which uses intelligence as your casting stat. This spell may not be obtained any other way than through this boon: 

insinuating whisper
illusion cantrip
range: 60'
components: V,S,M (a lump of black earth)
Duration: instantaneous

you create an illusion of shadowy whispers, smothering your opponent's senses. Your opponent must pass a wisdom saving throw or be blinded until your next turn, and take 1d6 psychic damage.
This spell's damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th Level (4d6). 

  • known by no name:  once per long rest, you may make a persuasion or deception check (charisma) to cause a target to forget the last interaction you had with them, up to 15 minutes of time.

The Uulen (The Forces)

These deities are not ever considered people, even if their symbols are vaguely humaniform, and represent eternal concepts. There are no stories about these deities wherein they have personalities, as such, though their names may be mentioned.

U'Nelege-- the God of Life and Birth is not so much worshiped as accepted as part of the universe. Single-minded worship of this diety is unusual except for Clerics and the specially called, though it is a common part of a Giedamede Pantheon. U'Neglege is typically shown as a figure with long hair, manipulating a vine of flames, but sometimes is shown as just the vine and hands. Those who worship U'Nelege may choose from the following boons: 

  • Death to the Dead - 1ce per short rest, an undead creature that you hit with radiant damage loses any necrotic resistance that it has. 
  • Stand With Me. - You can revive an unconscious ally within 10' with a medicine check, at no cost. 
  • Path of Life - once per short rest, you may sacrifice a spell slot of any level. Allies within 30' regain 1d6+level of sacrificed slot hp. 

U'Olgele-- the God of Darkness and the Dead, like U'Nelege, is not generally worshipped by itself except for those that use the Radiant or Necrotic power sources, are Aasimar, or Tieflings, though it is a common part of an Ar'Siva Giedamede Pantheon. Often depicted as a pair of hands and a timepiece, or a cloaked and hooded figure with a radiant aura, holding a timepiece. Those who follow U'Olgele may choose from the following boons:

  • Grave Resistance - You have advantage on saving throws against effects that would cause necrotic or radiant damage.
  • Contemplation of Mortality - You spend your Long Rest in a ritual of scarification. Recover two fewer hit dice; any adjacent ally who is dropped to 0 hit points remains conscious until they fail their first death save, or they are no longer adjacent to you. They may continue to take actions on their turn.

Gerulu-- nature's destructive force, storms, the weather. When depicted, shown as a vortex with flame rising from the top, sometimes with eyes and hands. Worshiped most often by sailors and druids, as well as those who cast Thunder and Lightning spells.

  • Hold hard the tempest - You can unfailingly predict weather conditions and effects, and determine whether such an effect is real or magical. Gain advantage on survival checks during inclement weather. 
  • Lightning Crashes, Thunder Rolls. - Three times per short rest, when you do damage to an enemy, you may change the damage type to thunder and lightning. 

Togarini-- Earth's generosity, ore, raw materials. When depicted, shown as a coiled and hooded serpent, a serpent's head, or a crossed pickaxe and shovel, occasionally before a tree. Worshiped by miners, druids, and those with a connection to the earth, or its resources. 

  • The glittering way - once per long rest, you may cast The Glittering Way as a Ritual. If you are already a caster, you may inscribe this spell into your spell book at no cost (or add it to your other spells known for free) and cast it as normal.

The Glittering Way
1st level divination (ritual)
components: V,M (see below)
While underground, you place an object made of precious material (a gold coin, a gemstone, etc) in the center of a ritual circle and call upon Togarini, the Serpent of the Stones and Earth, to guide you. As the object is consumed, you receive knowledge of the general distance and location of the nearest item composed of the same material located within the earth (ie, not in a creature's pockets, packs.) This spell will detect items in chests, unless those items are magically concealed.

  • The gate in the rock - You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (investigation) checks to detect secret doors.
  • The comfort of the caves -  You have advantage on survival checks made underground. You make may a wisdom (survival or perception) check with advantage to determine the direction and approximate distance of the nearest source of fresh water, if any, within a reasonable range. 


I want to add something else for Gerulu, but not sure what yet, though more damage is the obvious answer. Hold Hard the Tempest is pretty useless in a game, like mine, which is mostly underground, but if someone takes it I have ideas for how it might come up in a non-stupid and obvious way (hint: if there's a thunderstorm and you're 15 levels below the earth, it is probably magic). But, well, the thing it's replacing was impossible to translate-- originally, it extended zones for an extra turn (remember zones? I miss zones). Also, some of these are a little odd, because they're 4e conversions, and I tried to stay pretty close to the previous spirit. I may post those at some point, though poor Togarini didn't have any originally. So heh, maybe I'll wind up backfilling in reverse (filling?) for that.

Also, you'll note some references to Flanking; this is because I am using the DMG optional rules for Flanking in this game, because I actually love position management in combat, and I want to experiment with encouraging it more. This is, of course, assuming anyone actually takes this feat even once (let alone the twice required to get you to the Hidden One), and so I find out how any of this plays.

Finally, yes, I know that Insinuating Whisper is possibly too good for a cantrip. I figure the main reason it's okay is that it's a cantrip that you actually can't get til 4th level, because of the way it's locked. I generally hate that kind of content locking, but this whole thing is so optional it's ridiculous, so doing something that plays to the Optimal Build Through Fiddly Choices game is something I'm fairly comfortable with for these purposes.