The Black Hack

I honestly didn’t know that you could just play the Black Hack for free by looking at a website. Did you know this? How long have people been keeping this a secret from me? And to what end?

Anyways, regardless, here’s a link. https://the-black-hack.jehaisleprintemps.net/

From the drivethru page:

The Black Hack is a super-streamlined roleplaying game that uses the Original 1970s Fantasy Roleplaying Game as a base, and could well be the most straightforward modern OSR compatible clone available. If speed of play and character creation, compatibility, and simple – yet elegant rules are what you yearn for. Look no further!

The Black Hack is a fast playing game and the rules can be picked up in minutes. The full rules fit in a single 20 page A5 book!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/178359/The-Black-Hack

Neat!

Oops! All Attacks

source

In your typical dungeon fantasy game, your attacks have both an attack roll and a damage roll. Why don’t other abilities have this feature?

A quick experiment: All your abilities have a ‘skill’ roll and an ‘effectiveness’ roll. Skill determines breadth of ability, the character’s capacity to take what they know and apply it to the situation at hand. And ‘effectiveness’ is how well that works.

When you roll to test an ability, roll 1d20+ that ability’s skill rating. Target difficulty is 10+the defender’s skill rating. If you succeed, you roll effectiveness and apply that ‘damage’ to the defender’s ‘stress.’

Stress takes the place of ‘hit points.’ When you take enough stress, you gain a condition reflecting what happened to you. When you gain a condition, mark a couple* of your skills. Those skills are at -1 per mark until the condition is removed. [1]

Difficulty, in general, is abstracted much like hit points for monsters would be in standard dungeon fantasy. A cliff that resists the efforts of the party might have 10 ‘stress’ that must be overcome by applying climbing skills, or engineering, or athletics until the party’s gotten on top. Meanwhile, slipping stones cause abrasions or concussions, falling causes scrapes and bruises and broken bones, etc. A monster, obviously, needs to be defeated- but by the sword, or by demoralization? Or can it simply be fed? You can give the world around the players various ‘skills’ that reflect how approaches might be taken. A hungry owlbear might have Ravenous +3, Ferocious +2, and Massive +1, so it’s really good at eating, fighting, and being hard to move (in that order). You might have a hard time in a battle, but it’s not too hard to trick. A stuck door might have Rusted +2 and Jammed +1. Picking the lock is a pain, but it’s not especially durable do you can probably shatter it if you have an axe or something.

As a rule of thumb, you can probably give non-players an amount of stress equal to their skill totals times their durability, where durability is explicitly there to make the challenge last longer (and therefore have more opportunities for the environment to make its own actions).

Probably there needs to be an explicit rule that if the players fail, then the challenge gets an opportunity to react using its own skills and rolls, with its own chance to cause stress and inflict conditions.

Items exist in this ruleset to tell you things about the fiction- a sword lets you cut, but you can fight without it. Ropes let you climb back up from places. Poles let you poke. An axe lets you cleave. A helmet might protect you from head trauma. Probably it’d be cool to let appropriate gear give you a +1 to your skill- after all, you gotta bring the right tools for the job.

[1] I don’t think it’s probably necessary to note which stress condition caused which penalty- if you gain a condition that affects your fighting and one that affects your climbing, it’s probably ok for the condition you gained in a fight to recover and remove the penalty to your climbing. The “human” body/psyche/spirit recovers in a variety of interesting ways, after all. Not that this ruleset specifies that you must play a human, of course. Play a cyber-shark vigilante in a post-human Mars colony for all I care.

Warriors: Valor

source

Warriors have an additional attribute: Valor. They gain Valor when they defeat a worthy foe (or cause them to admit defeat, or submit). You lose Valor when you are forced to stand down, admit defeat, or retreat.

A being is considered a worthy foe when they have at least as much valor as you (or, if they are a monster, if they have an equal or higher Rank than your Renown.)

When you’re in combat, you gain the twice the difference between your Valor and your enemy’s as a bonus to your attack and damage rolls.

Two examples:

If you have 3 Valor and your enemy has 1, you get a +2 bonus to attack and damage.

If you have 3 Valor and you are fighting a mixed group of enemy warriors (two at 1 Valor, and one at 4 Valor) you get a +4 bonus against the 1 Valor enemies and no bonus against the 4 Valor enemy (who will themselves get a +2 bonus against you).

As you can see, the only way forwards for a Warrior is to find victory, to never back down, and to continue to challenge themselves in battle.

Note: This can lead to fun scenarios where player characters pick on an old man only for the warrior in the group to realize that this seemingly frail old man is actually a retired weapon master, and also for the warrior to recognize that the big blustering barbarian is actually a big wimp and will fold after a little pushing. It also encourages Warriors to realize that some fights are just not worth their time, which is fun in a very particular way to me.

Note 2: This is intended to work alongside the Dungeon Core rules I was writing, where Warriors inherently get a larger damage die than other classes, better hit points, and an additional ‘feat’ that makes them a little different. DC also doesn’t use attributes, so a Warrior in this scheme has hit points, gear, a Valor score, and some skills.

Rogues: Connection

This is the first entry in my series about companion mechanics for generating fantasy characters. I’ll write more about the project itself, later. For now, I’d like to get this stuff out of my brain and into the ether.

source: https://imgur.com/gallery/uKuYK

The defining characteristic of Rogues are their Connections. For many rogues, this is the Underworld- a loosely defined chain of smugglers, thieves, bandits, and spies that trade information and contraband in shadowy webs. For some rogues, their connections are to fellow heretics, as they hide from unaccepting eyes. Some rogues are revolutionaries, fighting to overthrow the established order in some capacity and remake the society in which they live. Some rogues, almost paradoxically, are members of extralegal or semi-legal enforcement agencies- think witch hunters, bounty hunters, and the like.

So when you make a Rogue, choose one Association and one History. You will also choose one Mission, secretly. You start the game at Rank 1 and Reputation 1- low but with many opportunities to rise.

Association

  • Criminal– Making money outside of the law
  • Heretical– Beliefs outside of the norm
  • Revolutionary– A better world is possible
  • Espionage– Agents on the line of the law
  • Protectors– Keeping the realm safe

When you select an association, name it and identify your primary contact (your handler, immediate superior, boss, or some combination). Name its ultimate purpose and a few signs to identify your peers by.

History

  • Neonate– You are brand new in the organization.
  • Disgraced– You’re well known in local circles, but not necessarily for a good reason. Write this event down. Your rank is 2 but your reputation is -1.
  • Rival– You accidentally made a few bad moves and gained a rival out of your league. Name them. Your reputation starts at 2.

Mission

Completion of a mission increases your Rank or your Reputation. Failing a mission may or may not cause your Rank or Reputation to decrease.

The following is a list of suggestions for missions:

  • Smuggle– get an object from point A to point B
  • Steal– take something important from someone and bring it back safely
  • Sabotage– break or destroy something without being caught
  • Blackmail– gather evidence of a wrongdoing or embarrassment and then return with proof
  • Assault– Harm (but do not kill!) a target
  • Murder– Kill a target, and present evidence
  • Silence– Prevent the spread of information at its source
  • Rescue– Save someone from a bad situation
  • Escort– help a person get from one place to another

Postscript

I am trying to be better about attributing source to the images I borrow, but I just browse Pinterest for them and half the time there’s not any actual attribution, just a link to some hosting site (like the image here).

I also don’t know how I feel about having ‘rogues’ be ‘heretics,’ given the real-life effects of inquisitors and witch-burners and the like. And doubly so given that I prefer for my fantasy games to be polytheistic- but I wanted the rogue class to be able to have secret religious societies, typical fantastical ‘evil cults’ and the like and I couldn’t think of anything else.

Similarly, with the name of ‘espionage,’ although at least with that one I’m sure it’s not problematic.

Glimmer

Glimmer is the currency of the underworld. It is pure, distilled lifeforce. It is similar in appearance to moonstone, but moonstone never shines with an internal light, and moonstone does not vibrate, shift, and wiggle in its own power. A typical specimen is about the size of an adult human thumb, with variations in size and shape

When you would die, you instead lose half of your Glimmer to the void, and then you lose 1d6 additional Glimmer. If you are out of Glimmer, you cease to exist- your corporeal body dissolves and your life force ebbs into the background radiation of the universe. If you still have Glimmer, you may still recover.

You may discover Glimmer by accident, as free Glimmer that forms ‘naturally.’ Or you may wrest it from the beaten and battered bodies of your enemies. You may also trade ‘free’ Glimmer from the other denizens of the underworld that you come across in your travels. It is the only universally accepted currency- metals and trinkets have no inherent value here among the dead. And, lastly, you may discover solidified Glimmer in the form of weapons, armor, and other items of note.

You can spend your own free Glimmer to manifest or enhance items that you wish to carry with you. A mundane sword may become enchanted, or an already-enchanted sword may gain new powers. You can also give the Glimmer to others, for any reason you choose.

You can also absorb your Glimmer to increase your own power. When you reach certain thresholds of Glimmer, you ‘level up’ and increase your abilities and power, sometimes substantially. When you lose Glimmer (by ‘dying,’ for example), your ‘level’ can decrease.

A being or item with little Glimmer appears somehow unstable, translucent, insubstantial- for example, the gutter wretches of Schilla. On the other hand, a being or item with much Glimmer seems unusually solid, sturdy, vigorous, and potent.

What causes Glimmer to solidify and form out of soul-stuff and life energy is one of the great mysteries of the underworld.

Dungeon Core Character Generator

That’s right, a generator for the heartbreaker I’ve been working on, because it’s more fun to write generators for half-written systems than finish writing those systems. Apparently.

I continuously want to write oddball shit into my generators but that’s my mouth writing checks my brain can’t cash, so this one is fairly mundane for the time being. I think that’s a good thing for a dungeon fantasy game- the characters should be the canvas through which the players explore the strange unreality of the world around them, and keeping them relatively grounded helps with that sort of thing.

Anyways, here it is: https://perchance.org/tns25awykv

Talent Perks: Brainstorming

Two main ideas: give players something to look forwards to at 3rd level while also giving more definition between characters. At 3rd level, your character has been with you for a little while. They’ve been through a few things. They’re ready to grow.

I like the idea of 3rd level perks tying into the first level ones, but without any character building restrictions other than your concept. If you want your mage to learn weapon mastery, I won’t stop you.

So first we have Weapon Mastery, which again increases weapon damage dice by one step, and increases critical strike range. This is just the Fighter perk again, but this time anybody can take it. If the fighter takes it, they’re either wielding a one-handed weapon that deals 1d10 damage or a two-handed weapon that deals 2d8, which is pretty fearsome.

Guardian is something new- it adds the ability to protect others. When you’re standing next to an ally, you can take their damage. It also gives you 1 DR and +1 defense, so you can better endure whatever you have to endure.

Berserker is also new. When you take damage, you gain that much Rage. For every 3 points of Rage, you add +1 to your attack and damage rolls. For every 6 points of rage, you gain +1 Damage Reduction. And Rage, of course, dissipates once the threat has passed. This works best if you have a lot of hit points, and if you want to fight.

Energy– gain 2 focus and when you spend a point of focus, you can gain +1 to attack rolls and Defense until the end of your next turn. Not terribly useful unless you’re a martial artist, but helps you land important strikes and encourages you to chain your unarmed striking (since the bonus carries over).

Hands Without Shadow lets you regain focus when you land an unarmed strike. Also, you get to roll your unarmed damage twice, taking the higher result.

Peace and Calm lets you dart around when you spend focus. It should probably also give you more focus. I haven’t decided on this one yet.

The Assassin has two easily movable parts- they need their enemy to remain unaware of them, and they want to deal damage.

Dangerous lets you automatically apply hit and also the critical effect of your weapon to an enemy if you are the one to engage. Imagine a bold assassin walking up to his target and jamming a dagger deep into their guts.

Sharp Eyes gives you additional 1d6 damage if you strike an enemy against whom you have advantage.

Dirty Fighting lets you (or an ally) get advantage on your next attack if you succeed by at least 5 on your attack roll.

Adepts like to cast spells but don’t really have a way to gain more, so here are a couple things to help them out:

Innate Sorcery: If you already know a 1st level spell, you learn one 2nd level spell and two 1st level spells. If you do not know a 1st level spell, you gain two 1st level spells and spell points equal to your level.

Arcane Knack: You learn a 1st level spell. You gain 2 spell points. Whenever you cast a spell of 1st level or greater, if you succeed, you regain that many spell points.

Acrobats like to move and dart around, and they also get a lot of mileage out of their abilities outside of combat, so let’s do something like this:

Tumble: Whenever you spend a point of focus, you may move up to half of your speed in any direction. You ignore difficult terrain or an non-blocking obstacles in your way.

I guess Acrobats get the short end of the stick for now. I’ll think of something else later.

Now for the Mage-centric perks:

Runic Inscription: When you take a long rest, you may inscribe your weapons and armor with runes. You have 2 less spell points as long as you are equipped with runic weapons and armor. You gain a +2 bonus to defense as long as you are equipped with runic armor. You may add your proficiency bonus to your attack and damage rolls as long as you are equipped with runic weapons. You may release the runes’ power during a short rest, if you wish. The runic weapons and armor only function in your hands.

Battlemage: Whenever you strike an enemy, you may immediately cast a spell of your choice on that same enemy, or on yourself. That spell costs 1 less to cast.

Practiced: Select a single skill. Whenever you add your proficiency bonus to a roll related to that skill, add your proficiency bonus +2 instead.

Hyperliterate: Add your proficiency bonus to checks to transcribe spells into your spellbook. Your spellbook can contain 5 additional levels of spells.

Tome of Power: When you cast a spell that is written in your spellbook, you may spend 1 point less to cast that spell.

Living Codex: Your spellbook hovers around you when not in use. When you are not casting a spell from your spellbook, it provides you with +2 defense.

That’ll do for now, I think.

For my next brainstorming lesson, I’ll try and come up with some compelling options for the level 6 ‘Capstone’ perks.

Aspects of Creation

There are six aspects of creation. It is known. These aspects mingle and suffuse all things living and unliving- all peoples, all buildings, all places. The shifting influences of the elements affects all things, and to those versed in its secrets, the power can be manipulated and redirected. But only if it is properly understood!

Sun

Light, truth, will, vitality, logic. The light of the Sun is present in torches and lanterns, but also in academic tomes, in the eyes of believers, in the ring of truth in an orator’s words.

Moon

Shadows, secrets, reflection, instincts, emotion. The Moon is present in the hushed words of conspirators, in the sing-song of a parent soothing their crying child, in the in-jokes of friends, in lies and in a bard’s song.

Fire

Burning, passion, warmth, clearing, regrowth, unpredictability. Fire lives inside a lover’s embrace, in a thunderstorm, in spring cleaning, in the roll of the dice and in sharp-tongued insults.

Air

Movement, dryness, wandering, speed, information, seeking. Air is where merchants discuss far-off events, in the breath of a ranger, inside the lungs of a man truly free.

Water

Cool, wet, concealing, smothering, nurturing, returning, relentless. You can find water in a mother’s kiss, in the peaceful afterglow of a spring rain, in the endless siege of your hometown, and in the inevitable destruction of your plans.

Earth

Solid, stubborn, heavy, patient, grounded, sensual. You will find Earth in the promises of your best friend, in the relaxed guard of a veteran soldier, and in the bones of a farmer.

It is not enough, for the purposes of a mage-to-be to merely be in the presence of this element. It must have unharnessed energy- the potential for more! In practical terms, this means it is not enough to simply stand on the coast and hope to channel its power. The water energy there is already in use, powering endless chains of predator and prey, crashing against stones, or overturning ships. Instead, there must be a potentiality and a focus.

Veteran mages often, therefore, will create purpose-built ritual areas that harness natural energies into a useful focus point. Imagine the vast geomancies possible in the now-ruined Standing Stones in Northmarch! Or the power one would command were they to wrest the Sacred Fires from the oligarchs in Mumodia, with its colossal burn pits and a bonfire that reaches the skies itself and scorches the clouds!

Proper magic, therefore, takes time and study. Many young sorcerers find delight in eking out a miniscule bit of power here and there and then flinging motes of, say, fire at those who bedevil them. Who could blame them? The instant gratification after years of study; the rush is intense! But there is so very much more to the study than such trivial efforts.

Lastly, there is another ‘element’ worth discussing: Void.

Void

Emptiness, despair, hopelessness, fear, cessation, forgetting. You will find void in the eyes of living dead folk, behind hateful words that were never meant to be true, in forgetting the name of your first love, behind the stars. It is the bleak coldness of a dungeon, the breakdown of society, in the refusal to live and love.

Void cannot be harnessed or made to be useful. Void exists as a sucking annihilation of all other elements, and can be conceptualized only as that which all else lacks. Nevertheless, it does exist, and the conscientious mage does their best to avoid it when possible. It is the force that ends all force, the energy that destroys energy. It is entropy made manifest, and renders the will-working of a skilled mage inert.

Dungeon Core

You and a few other unfortunates have found yourself at the mouth of The Dungeon. It is blighting the land and causing the dead to rise, which is of course an issue, but more pressingly, you cannot leave while the Dungeon remains alive. Yes, alive. You must descend into the Dungeon, seize its Core, and expose it to the light of day to break the curse this blasted edifice has on you and the land both.

The Basics

If there’s a chance your character can fail at something, roll 1d20. Results of 11 or above indicate success. If your character has a relevant skill, add your proficiency bonus. If there are beneficial circumstances outside of your character’s personal skill, you can get advantage. If there are detrimental effects outside of your character’s skill, you might get disadvantage.

Advantage / Disadvantage

If the circumstances are in your favor, roll 1d6 and add the result to the roll. If the circumstances are not in your favor, roll 1d6 and subtract the result.

Advantage and disadvantage cancel each other out. Additionally, some other effects may increase or decrease the advantage or disadvantage applied.

Making a Character

Choose a a class, a perk, and three skills.

You apply your proficiency bonus to any skills you possess. Your proficiency bonus is equal to your level +2.

A newly created character is 1st level.

Classes

There are three classes: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage.
Warriors are those folks who dedicate their life to combat and bloodshed. Rogues live by their wits. Mages know deep secrets and spend their lives in pursuit of magic.

Warrior

Warriors can use any weapon, any armor, and shields. They apply their proficiency bonus to their attack rolls and damage rolls. They have d10 hit dice, and have 1d10+5 hit points. At 1st level, they choose one of the following:

  • Martial Artist: Your unarmed strikes count as light weapons. You have 3 focus. If you hit with an attack, you can spend a point of focus to immediately make an unarmed attack. You recover all focus after a short rest.
  • Fighter: Your weapon damage dice increases by one die size. Your critical strike range increases by one.
  • Outlander: Your hit dice increases by one die size, and you gain three hit points at first level.

Rogue

Rogues can use light weapons and light armor, but not shields. Rogues have a d8 hit die and have 1d8+4 hit points.

At first level, a Rogue gains two additional skills, then they choose one of the following:

  • Assassin: When you strike an enemy that is unaware of you, you gain 1d6 advantage on the weapon strike. If the strike lands, you deal 1d6 bonus damage.
  • Adept: You gain two 0th level spells that you can cast at-will. You gain a 1st level spell. You have spell points equal to your level.
  • Acrobat: You have 3 focus. You can spend a point of focus during your turn to move half your speed in any direction. You regain your focus after a short rest.

Mage

Mages can use light weapons, but cannot wear armor or use shields. They add their proficiency bonus to their spell-casting rolls. Mages have d6 hit dice and have 1d6+3 hit points.

Mages have spell points equal to twice their level, and, at first level, know three spells.

At 1st level, a Mage chooses one of the following:

  • Warcaster: You may wear any armor, and use shields.
  • Wizard: You have a spellbook.
  • Acolyte: You have an additional skill, and your hit die increases to d8.

If you have a spellbook, you have access to more spells than usual, as long as you have your spellbook on hand. A spellbook can contain up to ten levels of spells inside of it. When you come across another wizard’s spellbook, you may be able to transcribe it.

Perks

Choose one of these at character creation.

  • Darkvision: You can see in shadows as though it was fully lit. You cannot see in total darkness.
  • Iron Stomach: Immune to disease and resistant to poison damage.
  • Deadly: When you roll a natural 20 on an attack roll, increase the damage die by 1 step.
  • Natural Concealment: Disadvantage to those trying to notice you, as long as you are totally still and have made a token effort to hide.
  • Toughness: You gain 2 bonus hit points every level.
  • Tinker: You can produce small, simple mechanical clockwork items out of scrap and junk. These clockwork gizmos can play music, clatter, bounce around, or similar nominally harmless effects.
  • Massive: You are considered Large. You increase your hit die by one step, and you can use larger weapons.
  • Diminutive: You are considered Small. You can dart between the legs of larger creatures, and they can provide cover for you. You eat half as much.
  • Natural Wizardry: You know a 0th level spell that you can cast at will. You know a 1st level spell. You gain 1 spell point.
  • Avian: You have hollow bones, and can jump twice as far. You take half damage from falling.
  • Amphibious: You can hold your breath for ten minutes without issue, and have a swim speed equal to half your walking speed.

Skills

A skill is any set of experiences, training, or aptitudes that shape who a character is and what they do. The skills listed below are suggestions; feel free to use your own.

Animal TrainingHerbalismOratory
AppraisalHidingSailing
AstrologyHuntingSneaking
BeggingInterrogationTailoring
BrewingLawTanning
ButcheryLiteracyTorturing
CarpentryLocksmithingWeaving
FarmingMasonry
FishingMetalsmithing
HealingMusic

Equipment

Medium sized weaponry deals 1d6 damage. Small weapons deal 1d4 damage. Large weapons deal 1d10 damage.

Medium-sized creatures can wield a medium weapon in their main hand, or a large weapon in two hands. A weapon at least one size smaller can be wielded in an off-hand.

Swords deal critical hits on a roll of 19 or 20.

When Maces deal a critical hit, the target must save or be stunned. Difficulty is 10 + the damage dealt.

When Axes deal critical hits, increase the damage die by two sizes.

Standard defense for an alert human-sized combatant with no armor or shields is 10.

Light armor grants +3 defense.

Heavy armor grants +6 defense, but its wearer suffers 1d6 disadvantage on checks related to sneaking, swimming, or climbing.

When Shields are wielded, they provide +2 defense.

Fighting

Sometimes, you can’t avoid violence.

When you attack another being with your weaponry, roll 1d20. If your result is higher than their defense, you inflict damage.

When you inflict damage, roll the weapon’s damage die. Your opponent will subtract the result from their hit points. If they survive, they may attempt to return the favor.

Damage reduction, if present, reduces the damage from each attack by the listed amount.

Getting Hurt

When you run out of hit points, you are incapacitated. An incapacitated character cannot move, fight, or cast spells. An incapacitated character recovers if tended to by another character, a process which takes several minutes.

A character who becomes incapacitated also gains an injury.

Resting

A short rest is a quick breather, no less than half an hour without strenuous activity. When you complete a short rest, you can ‘spend’ a hit die to recover 1 hit die worth of hit points (ex. if your hit die is d10, you recover 1d10 hit points.) You may also recover focus, or any other resources that return on a short rest.

A long rest is a full night’s sleep, a good meal, and a warm fire. After a long rest, you recover hit points equal to your maximum hit points, and you recover all of your hit dice. Additionally, you mark one tick towards recovering from an injury.

Sleeping Rough

If you are missing one of the requirements for a long rest, you recover a number of hit points equal to half of your hit points, and half of your hit dice. If you are missing two out of three, you gain only the benefit of a short rest.

Environment

Difficult terrain is broken, cracked, thorny, slippery, or otherwise hard to traverse. You move half as fast over difficult terrain.

Characters can swim at about 1/4 their normal walking speed. They may need to make a check when in a rush, or if the water is choppy or fast-moving.

Characters can climb at about 1/4 their normal walking speed. They may need to make a check if the surface is slippery, they are carrying a lot, they are in a rush, or if the surface is especially challenging.

Falling typically deals 1d6 damage per ten feet dropped. Characters can save (difficulty 10 + damage) to try and roll at the end of the drop, to avoid getting hurt.

Gaining Experience

A character

Leveling Up

When you become second level, you gain additional hit points equal to your hit die size. (ex. if your hit die size is d6, you gain 1d6 hit points)

When you hit third level, you may choose a Talent Perk. You may instead choose to gain another 1st level Perk from your class instead, if you wish.

When you become fourth level, you gain additional hit points equal to your hit die size.

When you become sixth level, you gain a Capstone Perk. You may instead choose to gain a Talent Perk instead, if you wish.

Talent Perks

Weapon Mastery: When you wield a weapon, increase its damage die by one step. Additionally, you gain +1 critical strike range.

Brutality: You gain 2 focus. When you deal a critical strike with a weapon, you may spend one focus to force your target to suffer the critical effect twice, then gain hit points equal to half your hit dice.

Guardian: You have 1 Damage Reduction and +1 Defense. Whenever an ally is standing next to you, you may put yourself in harm’s way to protect them, taking any damage meant for them.

Berserker: Whenever you take damage, gain that many points of Rage. For every 3 points of Rage you have, you gain +1 to your attack and damage rolls. For every 6 points of Rage you have, you gain +1 Damage Reduction. Rage quickly dissipates after the threat has passed.

Aspect of Stone: You gain 2 focus. Whenever you take damage, you may spend a point of focus to

Energy: You gain 2 focus.When you choose to use a point of focus, you gain +1 to attack rolls and +1 defense until the end of that turn.

Hands without Shadow: When you deal damage to an enemy with an unarmed attack, you gain 1 focus. When you make an unarmed attack against an enemy, you may instead make two unarmed attacks against that enemy.

Peace and Calm: When you spend a point of focus, you may shift immediately before or after that action a distance of up to 5′.

Concealment: When you

Capstone Perks

Spells

To cast a spell, first spend spell points equal to the level of the spell. Then, roll a Spellcasting test, difficulty 10 + twice the spell’s level.

Many spells require their targets to ‘save’ or suffer additional effects. The difficulty is always 10 + the caster’s level + the spell level.

Spell points recover after a long rest.

(This section currently under construction)

0th Level

Also known colloquially as ‘cantrips.’

  • Mage Hand: As long as you concentrate, you can move objects up to 60′ away as though you were touching them. As soon as you stop concentrating, the effect ends.
  • Ghost Sound: You can cause a sound of your choice to emanate from a point you can see. It is always odd-sounding. The sound is no louder than a shout, and no quieter than a whisper.
  • Magic Missile: A tiny rip in causation causes an unseen force to rocket into an enemy. It deals 1d4 damage.
  • Shocking Grasp: Make a melee attack against an enemy. If it hits, you deal 1 lightning damage per level, and they must save or be stunned (DC 10 + your level). If the target is especially conductive, the damage increases to 2 per level.

1st Level

  • Silent Image: You can cause a purely visual illusion of your choice to appear at a point you can see. It lasts as long as you concentrate on maintaining this illusion.
  • Frost Blast: A gust of supercooled air shoots from just behind your fingertips, dealing 1d8 damage to all targets in a 10′ wide and 30′ long line. For the next 1d6 turns, the path is slippery and coated in ice. The ice quickly melts after that.
  • Magma Gout: Lava erupts from the ground and explodes in a targeted 20′ circular area, dealing 1d10 damage and leaving a puddle of liquid fire in that area. In 1d6 turns it cools into stone.
  • Mystic Shield: A floating shield of arcane force provides +2 defense against projectiles, and grants 1d6 advantage against ranged attack magic
  • Spider Climb: A touched target gains the ability to climb sheer surfaces at their normal moving speed.
  • Thunder Burst: A crack of lightning strikes an enemy you can see, deals 1d6 damage, target must save or be stunned.
  • Zone of Silence: For as long as you concentrate, there can be no sound in a 60′ sphere around a point you can see.
  • Flying Ember: You produce a luminescent, brittle sphere that glows with a light like a torch. It hovers around you or any other target you can see for as long as you concentrate. You can fling it as an attack, where it deals 1d6 radiant damage to a single target.
  • Rockskin: You or an ally becomes as tough as stone, gaining 2 damage reduction for 2d4 turns.

2nd Level

  • Lightning Bolt: A splitting bolt of lightning hits one target within 100′ and then leaps to another nearby target. The lightning bolt hits 1 target per level for 1d12 damage.
  • Fireball: A blast of flame roughly 30′ wide and up to 100′ away combusts, dealing 1d10 damage to all caught within the blast. All damaged targets must save or be knocked away.
  • Sonic Assault: You open your lungs to the Elemental Air, and roar deeply. The sonic boom deals 2d6 damage to anything within 30′ of you, and they must save or be deafened for hours.
  • Searing Light: A scorching ray of light burns an enemy up to 100′ away dealing 2d4 damage on the target. The light is bright as daylight and lasts as long as you concentrate.
  • Earthshape: You can create a wall, platform, or tunnel, or similar feature of about 100 cubic feet by moving existing stone, dirt, clay, or earth.
  • Acid Breath: You spew acidic slime from your mouth, dealing 2d8 damage to all targets within a 45 degree cone 30′ long.

3rd Level

  • Meteor: An enormous flaming stone orb impacts an area of your choice. It deals 3d10 fire damage and remains in the area, glowing hot enough to burn those nearby for 1d4 fire damage.
  • Ice Prison: A single enemy takes 3d6 cold damage and must save or be immobilized for 1d6 turns.
  • Thornweave:

5e Tweaks

Ok, so we’ve decided we’re playing 5e. That’s fine. I just have a couple of house rules I’d like to introduce:

Species

Instead of choosing a ‘race,’ you select a species. A species gives you a single benefit. Your species does not affect your attributes. The species list is as follows:

  • Human: Resilience- You gain an additional 2 hit points at 1st level, and an additional 1 hit point each level after that.
  • Elf: Elf Ears- You gain advantage on checks related to your sense of hearing.
  • Dwarf: Iron Stomach- You gain advantage on saving throws against disease. You are resistant to poison damage.
  • Halfling: Diminutive. You are Small, and can dart between the legs of larger creatures as a free action. You can hide behind a larger creature, gaining cover as long as they cooperate.
  • Dragonkin: Draconic Heritage- Choose a damage type (Fire, Lightning, Cold, Acid) You gain a breath weapon of the chosen type, and are resistant to damage of the chosen type.
  • Infernal: Ancestral Bargain- You are resistant to Necrotic damage, and have Darkvision.

Attributes

Next, choose one attribute to gain a +2 bonus to, and another to gain a +1 bonus to. They can be any attribute you choose.

Weaponry

All weapons deal damage based on their size.

You can wield a weapon of the same size as you without any issues.

You can wield a weapon in your off-hand as long as it is at least one size smaller than you.

You can wield a weapon in two hands as long as it is no more than one size larger.

Small weapons deal 1d4 damage.

Medium weapons deal 1d6 damage.

Large weapons deal 1d8 damage.

If your class description states that you can wield ‘martial weapons,’ all weapon damages increase by one die size as long as you wield them.

Weapon Types

Bludgeoning weapons stun on a critical hit. (DC 10 + damage dealt to resist)

Axes deal triple damage on a critical hit.

Swords have expanded critical range and deal critical hits on a 19 or a 20.