View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Primeval Thule: Player's Guide

2015-10-28, 12:59 PM
I'd love to get comments and feedback on this. It's a guide to character creation, house rules, and homebrew for my upcoming Primeval Thule (sword-and-sorcery) campaign. Thanks!

Primeval Thule: Player’s Guide

Ability Scores
Customized ability scores with 27 points to spend.

Choose a narrative and record the granted proficiencies and special abilities. Choose a trait, ideal, bond and flaw, or create your own. Write as much or as little as you like about your character’s background and personality—developing the character in play is perfectly acceptable. Before writing several pages of character background, keep in mind that Primeval Thule is violent and brutal, and PCs will sometimes die.

Available character classes and subclasses:
• Barbarian: berserker, totem warrior
• Fighter: battlemaster, champion, warlord (aka Purple Dragon Knight)
• Rogue: assassin, mastermind, swashbuckler, thief
• Monk: open hand

Feats and Multiclassing
All feats are available, including Magic Initiate (see below) and Ritual Caster. Multiclassing is permitted and even encouraged, given the limited selection of class options.

Dual Wielder: In addition to the listed benefits, you gain the following feature. If you hit a single creature with at least one main-hand attack and your off-hand attack on the same turn, you may add your proficiency bonus to the damage roll of the off-hand attack.

Great Weapon Master: The “power attack” feature (-5/+10) may not be used with polearms.

Magic Initiate: Prerequisite: Intelligence 13. You learn two cantrips and one 1st-level spell, and you gain one 1st-level spell slot. Your spellcasting ability modifier is Intelligence. You may choose your spells known from any spell list or combination of spell lists. For example, you could choose guidance, shillelagh and hex. Spells must be thematically appropriate to a sword-and-sorcery campaign. As a rule of thumb, most abjuration, enchantment, illusion, and necromancy spells are in; splashy evocation and conjuration spells are out. It’s possible we could “refluff” some spells that would otherwise be a bad fit. For example, magic missile could be reworked as agonizing pain, which simply inflicts necrotic damage in the specified amount upon the target of the spell. When in doubt, just ask. When you take this feat, you also become eligible for the next feat in the spellcasting feat chain (see Magic Adept, below).

Polearm Master: The benefits of this feat apply to the quarterstaff only when it is wielded two-handed.

New Feats

Close Combat Master
You are trained to use one-handed weapons with exceptional power and finesse. You gain the following benefits:
• On your turn, when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon that does not have the two-handed property, or when you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you may move up to half your speed as a reaction.
• Before you make a melee attack with a proficient weapon that does not have the two-handed property, you can choose to take a -2 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +4 to the attack’s damage.

Magic Adept
Prerequisite: Magic Initiate. Your exploration of the dark arts is progressing nicely. You gain the following benefits:
• You learn one cantrip, two 1st-level spells, and one 2nd-level spell, and you gain two 1st- and one 2nd-level spell slot.
• You gain the ritual spellcasting feature, allowing you to cast any known spell that has the ritual tag without expending a spell slot.
• You can use magic items restricted to any spellcasting class, though these items are exceedingly rare in Primeval Thule.

Shield Brawler
You are trained to use your shield as a weapon. You gain the following benefits:
• When you are wielding a shield and take the Attack action to make a melee attack with a weapon other than your shield, you may use a bonus action to make a melee weapon attack with your shield. The shield is treated as a light weapon that deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage.
• When you are wielding a shield and an enemy within 5 feet of you misses you with a melee weapon attack, you may use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack or shove against that enemy. You must use your shield to make this attack.

Prerequisite: Magic Adept. Your mastery of things Man was not meant to know is nearly complete.
• You learn one cantrip, one 1st-level spell, one 2nd-level spell, and one 3rd-level spell, and you gain one 1st-, one 2nd-, and one 3rd-level spell slot.
• You can learn new spells from scrolls, grimoires, and similar sources.
• You can learn and cast spells with the ritual tag of a level for which you do not have spell slots. To perform such a ritual, you must make a sacrifice unique to each ritual spell, and you must make an Intelligence (Arcana) check with a DC equal to 10 + the spell level to complete the ritual successfully. Finally, you must make a Madness check with a DC equal to 10 + the spell level or gain one affliction from the Madness Table.

Thrown Weapon Master
You are exceptionally skilled with thrown weapons. You gain the following benefits:
• Attacking at long range does not impose disadvantage on your attack rolls with thrown weapons.
• Your attacks with thrown weapons ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.
• If a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see attacks an ally and misses, you may use your reaction to make an opportunity attack with a thrown weapon against that creature. You must be wielding a thrown weapon or have a hand free to draw the weapon as part of the attack.

• “Healing potions” are available at apothecaries, though these are typically some variety of stimulant, narcotic, ointment or balm, rather than true potions.
• There are no hand crossbows or rapiers.
• There is no half-plate, plate, or splint armor.
• Spears are light weapons.
• See Primeval Thule page 83 for new weapons and armor. One-handed weapons should not have the heavy property.

Optional Rules
• Healing Surge
• Slow Natural Healing
• Lingering Wounds
• Hero Points
• Fear and Madness
We’re going for a gritty, grungy, bloody campaign, but one in which survivors may become larger-than-life sword-and-sorcery heroes in the tradition of Conan or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

House Rules
• When he uses the frenzy ability, a barbarian must expend one unspent barbarian Hit Die, plus one additional Hit Die for each time he has previously used the ability since his last long rest (e.g. 1 HD for the first use of frenzy, another 2 HD for the second, another 3 HD for the third, etc.). This replaces the existing exhaustion mechanic.
• Monk shove attacks cannot be used on opponents that are more than one size larger.
• Rogues gain proficiency with scimitars, and with light and heavy crossbows.
• Failed death saves are removed only after a long rest.

The Campaign
You begin the campaign as a member of the Bloody Companions serving in a battalion under contract with the city-state of Quodeth. Early on in the campaign, your company will have the opportunity to go anywhere and do just about anything you choose, but give some thought in character creation to how you fit and what you contribute to a mercenary unit charged with battling savage beastmen in the wilderness.
Level advancement will be session-based so as to give you the most possible freedom without built-in incentives for one kind of adventure or campaign style. You’ll advance at the same rate whether you spend the session slaying monstrosities, exploring the wilderness, or drinking, whoring and gambling in the flesh-pots of Quodeth.

Whether you remain mercenaries or travel other paths, you are adventurers. However rich your background and personal motivations, you seek fame and fortune with steel and wit. You explore the howling wilderness, slay monsters, rob tombs, win – and lose – great treasures. You’ll have a great deal of freedom to choose your path as a group, but you should almost always be eager to pursue a “hook” (i.e. prepared adventure) when there’s a whiff of battles to fight or treasures to be won.

2015-10-28, 02:10 PM
Sounds interesting.