5e, homebrew, spell

New Spell – Cannibalize

Many years ago I wrote a homebrew magic system for AD&D that centered around the idea of a universal magical force. I realize that this idea might not be 100% original. 🙂 Anyway, spell-casters in this system had a shared hit point and spell point pool… their own life force powered their spells. It actually worked very well and created some interesting opportunities as the players explored other sources of magical energy (force vampires are fun).

I’m still fascinated by the concept and have been thinking about how I might work this into a Sorcerous Origin for the 5e sorcerer class. As a stepping stone to that end, and with dungeonmook’s help, I wrote a cantrip that gives 5e spell-casters an option to dig deep, tapping into their life force to cast beyond their normal abilities. It comes at a hefty price though… so be careful out there.

NOTE: We’ve gone back and forth a number of times tweaking this one… debating the balance between the cost of casting such a spell and the potential benefit. I keep picturing this as a “last ditch” spell, one that you might use when you are out of spell slots and need one last punch to defeat an adversary; even at the cost of your own life. That said, it should be somewhat useful at other times as well. The first version below is closest to the original idea and directly burns hit dice and hit points in exchange for spell slots. The second taps into the exhaustion framework in the PHB to simulate the drain on the spell-caster’s body. Which one do you like better?

 

Cannibalize I

Transmutation cantrip
In the Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, and Warlock class spell lists.

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You tap into the very life force that keeps your heart pumping to power your next spell, sacrificing hit dice and hit points to regain a spent spell slot. When you cast Cannibalize choose how many hit dice you will sacrifice up to your current hit die count. You regain one spell slot equal in level to the number of hit dice you choose to expend. You can only regain a used spell slot and cannot gain a spell slot that you would not normally have.

When you use the regained spell slot, you gain advantage on one spell attack roll (or you can impose disadvantage on one targets’ saving throw against the spell). The regained spell slot is usable until the end of your current turn, at which time it expires.

At the end of your current turn, as an additional cost to casting Cannibalize, roll each expended hit die and you lose hit points equal to the result.

 

Cannibalize II

Transmutation cantrip
In the Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, and Warlock class spell lists.

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You tap into the very life force that keeps your heart pumping to power your next spell, pushing yourself to the limit to regain a spent spell slot. When you cast Cannibalize you regain one spell slot. You can only regain a used spell slot and cannot gain a spell slot of a level that you would not normally have.

When you use the regained spell slot, you gain advantage on one spell attack roll (or you can impose disadvantage on one targets’ saving throw against the spell). The regained spell slot is usable until the end of your current turn, at which time it expires.

At the end of your current turn, as an additional cost to casting Cannibalize, you suffer from exhaustion as determined by the level of spell slot regained.

Spell Slot Level Regained Effect (as per PHB 291)
1 1 level of exhaustion
2 1 level of exhaustion
3 2 levels of exhaustion
4 2 levels of exhaustion
5 3 levels of exhaustion
6 3 levels of exhaustion
7 4 levels of exhaustion
8 5 levels of exhaustion
9 6 levels of exhaustion
5e, homebrew, magic_item

New Magic Item – Powder of Precognition

This magical consumable was inspired by the incredible magic system in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn fantasy novels. I know a lot of work has been put into bringing the forces of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy to tabletop role-playing, including the Mistborn Adventure Game, and I’d love to see some of these ideas folded into rules modules for D&D – maybe new classes or variants of Sorcerer? But that’s a project for another day. For now, here is a consumable that takes inspiration from the effects of burning Atium, but with a somewhat more colorful delivery mechanism.

 

powderRuin’s Presage Powder

Rare, consumable

This chalky white powder is refined from the ground bones of a long dead god or demigod. Sniffing the powder induces a narcotic high that enables you to see just into your future. Appearing as a ghostly overlay to your normal vision, you observe the actions of those around you just before they happen. The longer you observe the future in this way the further ahead into your own timeline you can see (never exceeding more than 5 seconds). But be careful, because the more intensely you embrace and react to the vision, the more your body will be feel its loss when the effect of the powder ends.

Inhale the powder from its small paper packet as an action. Beginning immediately, and for the next 1 minute, add a d4 die to a new, precognition dice pool each time that you:

  • make an attack roll,
  • are attacked or required to make a Dexterity saving throw, or
  • make an ability or skill check that uses your Charisma modifier.

After the normal dice related to any of these events are rolled you may choose to roll all of the dice in your precognition dice pool and add them to the result of the original roll (or to your AC until the end of the current turn if you were attacked).

At the end of any turn during which you have rolled your precognition dice pool, you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC 10 + result of your precognition dice roll) or the effects of the powder end immediately.

When the effect ends (either after 1 minute or due to a failed save), you suffer 1 level of exhaustion for each time you rolled your precognition dice pool since inhaling the powder

5e, homebrew, spell

New Spell – Distract

Distract

2nd-level enchantment
In the Bard, Cleric, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard class spell lists.

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You attempt to put a sentient creature that can hear you at complete and total ease, placing them in a pleasant, waking dream. Creatures that can’t be charmed are immune to this effect. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be distracted. Once distracted, the target becomes unaware of their surroundings and will allow you and your allies to circumnavigate them unnoticed and unmolested.

At the end of each of its turns, the target can make another Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the spell ends on the target. The spell automatically ends if the target takes damage or is shaken vigorously as if waking someone from a deep sleep. If the spell ends before the spellcaster wishes, the target is immediately aware that it was mysteriously distracted.

At the end of the spell’s duration, or when the spellcaster ends the spell, the target will have no memory of the distraction.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, you can target one additional sentient creature for each spell slot above 2nd level.

5e, homebrew, magic_item

New Magic Item – The Apprentice’s Spell Die

ApprenticeDie

Apprentice’s Spell Die

Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires attunement by a spellcaster)

This rough-hewn, die of bone is worn smooth at the edges. Its four runic inscriptions are stained dark from years spent in the pocket of a nervous young adept. Often crafted as an exercise by a student of the arcane, the runes on each of the four sides are imbued with the magical energy of its maker.

When the die is cast by a spellcaster, its own power can contribute to the strength of some types of spells.

As you cast a spell that has an “At Higher Levels” clause in its description, choose the spell slot level that you will use to cast the spell. Before any attack, saving throw, or damage rolls are made roll the Apprentice’s Spell Die as a somatic spell component of the original spell (use a d4 at the game table). Add a number of spell slot levels equal to the result on the die to the spell slot level you chose to cast your spell. Use the new, combined spell slot level to determine the effects of the spell, but only the original spell slot level is consumed. Once cast, the die remains inert and cannot be used again until the next midnight.

5e, homebrew

Unearthed Arcana

One of my favorite things about D&D content through the years has been the variety of extended content that seemed to flow like a river from the minds at TSR and Wizards of the Coast. New monsters, magic items, spells, classes, specialties, and more. I poured through every Monster Manual, Player’s supplement, Dragon Magazine and even the work independent publishers to find strange and powerful new tweaks to add to my game.

And, when I am feeling creative, I still try to add my own twist to the elements of my game. Today, there’s no shortage of creative minds adding their own spark with homebrew magic items and the like. I’ve got a few of these hanging around myself and it seems to me that at least a few of them could brighten somebody else’s game as well. I’m going to start posting these types of homebrew items here in hopes that they land in a treasure hoard in your game.

I’m also looking at this as an opportunity to emphasize a micro-blog structure here on Strangedice. While I might occasionally get to longer form writing, I hope to publish a stream of quick posts that feature a new spell, item, or creature for the D&D 5E gamer.

Next post: our first little magic item. The Apprentice’s Spell Die.

bits, diy

Initiative Trackers

WP_20160109_13_19_45_Rich_LIThere are dozens of ideas floating out there suggesting how best to track initiative at the table. Some DM’s simply jot down a list in their notes. Some prefer to hang folded cards on their screens. There are templates for printing and small whiteboards for marking. Apparently there are dedicated online tools, web sites, programs and apps for this as well.

SlyFlourish writes on the topic as it pertains to his Lazy DM Method and DMDavid wrote one of the best articles I’ve read on the topic. Standing on all of these giants, I made some iniative tracking cards for my games that bring a little flair to the table, help me delegate some work at the beginning of an encounter and make it easy to manage shifting iniative places as they happen.

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