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    Troll in the Playground
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Nov 2006

    Lightbulb Doing some 5e homebrewing, looking to poach from 4e

    I'm doing some homebrewing for 5e and am trying to steal stuff from 4e.

    First, preamble:

    The idea is to use the 5e framework, but ensure that "melee" classes have a bit more utility (both in-combat and especially out) than the default. I'm also aiming it at kids, because I got a kid I want to play D&D with. :)

    To that extent, I'm trying to build 3 classes -- Rune Knight, Rune Ranger, Rune Wizard -- with a power framework half way between 4e and 5e. Collectively they are called Rune Mage.

    Each Rune Mage gains 4 Rune Bindings (tatooed on their body) as they gain levels. Each Rune Binding is different in theme. In addition to theme, each Rune itself can be different.

    My current iteration looks like this:

    (Knight) Castle: Earth (toughness, armor)
    (Knight) Might: Moon (weapons, athletics)
    (Knight) Honor: Sun (morale, protection)
    (Knight) Heart: Ocean (life, healing, charm)

    (Ranger) Might: Sky (weapons, athletics)
    (Ranger) Glimmer: Stars (vision, hiding)
    (Ranger) Fleet: Ocean (movement, speed)
    (Ranger) Familiar: Earth (ally, companion, pet)

    (Wizard) Familiar: Sun (ally, companion, pet)
    (Wizard) Heart: Stars (life, healing, charm)
    (Wizard) Staff: Sky (evocation, some conjuration)
    (Wizard) Essence: Moon (transmutation, metamagic)

    Each Rune Mage has 1 Rune Binding they share with each other Rune Mage class (so 2 shared, 2 unique), but by default they use a different Rune there (stealing the Rune for another classes Binding is permitted; but you cannot bind the same Rune in two different Bindings). So there are some nice symmetries.

    I tried to avoid the naive elemental bindings; Earth includes Volcanoes/Lava, Roots, Rocks, Diamonds, Weight, etc.

    Each Rune Binding grants a "passive" feature. In addition you learn Talents as you gain levels; my current scheme is to use 5e half-spellcaster table for spells per day, but each spell slot is consumed by learning a Talent, and you gain a level 1 slot at level 1.


    Knight is the brawler/defender/champion class.

    Ranger is the skill monkey/sneak/assassin/archer class.

    Wizard is the sage/wizard/summoner/priest class.

    And yes, that does make them pretty wide.


    Here comes the poaching; the Talents. I want at least some of them to poach 4e powers or class features, then rewrite them for 5e balance.

    Especially interesting are abilities that would logically offer out of combat utility to an otherwise melee class.

    The effect need not be magical. For example, I intend for Disruptive Strike to be a combat Ranger Might Talent.

    Sky Might Rune Talent (1): Disruptive Strike: When an enemy within your weapon's range hits an ally, you can try to disrupt the attack as a reaction. Make an attack on the enemy; if your attack hits the enemy, the enemy must reroll the attack on your ally, and loses advantage if it had it. You may use this once, and can use it again whenever you take a short or long rest. If you learn this talent at a higher level, you may use it one additional time between rests for every higher level.

    Star Glimmer Rune Talent (1): The Hunt: As an action you may begin to hunt a creature, gaining knowledge of its weaknesses and strengths. You must be able to see it or be tracking it. When you make an attack, ability check, or damage roll against or about that creature, you may roll add +1d4 to the roll, and when that creature makes you do a saving throw you add +1d4 to your save roll. At higher levels, you may hunt 1 additional creature per additional level you learn this Rune Talent at. In addition, at Rune Talent 3 the die increases to 1d6, and at 5 to 1d8.

    (This is a port of Hunter's Quarry, but extended into a utility power. The "it costs an action" is intended as a high cost in combat; 3 round combats means you are giving up 1/3 of your contribution. Out of combat it is ridiculously awesome, and rewards you for scouting, planning, and picking your targets.)

    There are a bunch of cool Rogue and Assassin stealth powers, as well as the Warlock Shadow Walk, that are poachable. The mechanics of the Avenger are neat, but are there powers that work well for a less divine-flavoured sneak? The Ranger "move and use your second wind" ability is fun.

    Warden powers are a bunch of awesome flavour. But some of the iconic Fighter ones (come and get it) are so tempting. Knight can also poach from Warlord; Honor and Heart both work.

    The Familiar Rune can steal from summon spells, more than the 4e/5e beastmaster build. Grating your Familiar (be it a beast or an elemental) abilities by locking in Talents is the idea.

    Instinctive actions is a fun mechanic. But in this case, the Familiar is supposed to be a steadfast ally rather than a barely controlled spirit... I guess I can have some Talents call in *additional* allies that might be barely controlled.

    There was a fun Warlord power that was triggered by an ally being reduced to 0 HP, where the Warlord would run in, hit the foe who attacked the ally, and grant the ally the ability to spend a healing surge. I think I want to poach that for a Honor Sun Rune Talent, but I forgot what it was...


    Can anyone think of mechanically interesting *or* just awesome visuals/ideas from 4e I can poach into this framework?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
    MoutonRustique's Avatar

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    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Doing some 5e homebrewing, looking to poach from 4e

    I'm sorry to say that I can't think of much of worth to add off the top of my head, but I would like to say that this sounds like an excellent game.

    I'd be very keen to see more. Very.

    Instinctive actions is a fun mechanic. But in this case, the Familiar is supposed to be a steadfast ally rather than a barely controlled spirit... I guess I can have some Talents call in *additional* allies that might be barely controlled.
    I imagine your system would react fairly well to having [instinctive actions] become less dangerous/better/always good when taken as higher level options.

    Perhaps something were the Talent itself "pushes" reckless actions.
    "Enrage Ally" - ally attacks closest creature at end of turn - level 1
    "Might Infusion" - ally attacks closest foe, or moves to closest foe - level 3
    "Awesome Empowerment" - ally acts it's regular set of actions as directed by you as a free action once per round - level 5
    ... ?
    Last edited by MoutonRustique; 2019-04-17 at 04:22 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
    ThePurple's Avatar

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    Jul 2011
    Shameland (4e Forums)

    Default Re: Doing some 5e homebrewing, looking to poach from 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    Instinctive actions is a fun mechanic. But in this case, the Familiar is supposed to be a steadfast ally rather than a barely controlled spirit... I guess I can have some Talents call in *additional* allies that might be barely controlled.
    To me, instinctive actions could still be viable since you could interpret it as how they've been trained, by default, to interpret the "Attack at will" command. Even well trained animals have to be given direction to do precisely what their trainers desire. As long as the instinctive actions aren't explicitly deleterious when mishandled (e.g. incapable of distinguishing between friend and foe), I could see them working out well. Could probably include caveats such as "If there are only allies as viable targets, the creature does nothing" or "As a player, you may choose to have this action not take place".
    4e Homebrew: Shadow Knight, Scout
    roll20: Kitru

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    Titan in the Playground
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Doing some 5e homebrewing, looking to poach from 4e

    I don't get why you're using the same rune for two contradictory abilities; e.g. the earth rune represents armor for one class, but a pet for another class? And the ocean and stars rune both represent healing, except when they don't?
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
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    Troll in the Playground
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Doing some 5e homebrewing, looking to poach from 4e

    Runes have both Bindings (where they are inscribed on the body), and the source of their power (the actual writing of the rune).

    The Binding determines how the power is used, the Rune's name determines where the power comes from. Ideally the Rune's name should flavour the abilities.

    If you imbue a sword with power from the sun, you'd expect something different than if you imbued armor with power from the sun.

    Castle, Might, Honor, Heart, Glimmer, Fleet, Familiar, Staff, Essence are 9 different rune-binding locations; sort of like "Chakras". These are points on your soul/body you bind Runes to. Which bindings you have is determined by your class (and you gain them as you gain levels), and how the magic is used is determined more by the binding than the source of power.

    Earth, Sun, Moon, Ocean, Stars, Sky are 6 different sources of rune-magic -- 6 different runes.

    You are not going to get an ability to shoot fireballs with your Staff if you bind Ocean to your Staff; if you bind the Sun Rune to your Staff fireball like effects are more likely.

    At the same time, if you bind the Sun to Castle, you won't be shooting fireballs either; you'd gain abilities like making your body glow, or melting swords as they hit you, or sanctuary (you are too awesome to attack), etc. Defensive abilities (it is Castle), powered by the Rune of the Sun.

    Ranger's Sky Might rune is going to boost Archery/Thrown weapons (easy to fluff). It could also involve idioms involving hail, sleet, lighting, thunder, gas, mist, clouds. So Booming Blade is a perfectly acceptable Sky Might Talent.

    On the Knight, the Earth abilities I've been thinking of have been very rock-themed, but as Earth includes forests (where else would it go?) I think poaching a Warden power or two makes sense.

    Binding first; power source secondary.

    All of this is just a structure to hang mechanics on, really. The physicality of actually drawing runes on the rune mage is intended to make the magical more concrete for elementary-school age people. And having logic "behind" the magic that you don't really need to know initially is also pretty fun for a kid.

    Where the rubber meets the road, you'll just have 3 classes who can learn some Talents that do magical things.
    Last edited by Yakk; 2019-04-18 at 09:05 AM.

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    Troll in the Playground
    Yakk's Avatar

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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Doing some 5e homebrewing, looking to poach from 4e

    Went through ranger powers and features to about level 13. Poach list:

    Prime Shot: position based bonuses to attacks.
    ERanger: bonus attack when you hit (sort of built in to 5e DW)
    Beast Mastery: Other than companion, not sure what to poach.

    The "Familiar" might lock the Ranger into having a pet. Maybe I need to make Familiar less specific to having a pet? Would also spread Wizard design around.

    Attacks: More taps is common.
    Support for (a) two light weapons, (b) two heavier weapons, (c) a projectile weapon, (d) a melee and thrown weapon, (e) throwing weapons.

    Sure Shot: Super accurate attacks with a bow.
    Skirmishing Stance: Benefits for moving around.

    Beast powers: Talents that grant your companion advantages.

    Invigorating Stride: Burn HD to self heal in combat?

    Stalker's Mist: Mist that blocks enemy vision

    Yield Ground: Get hit, retreat.

    Disruptive Strike: Ally gets hit, get an attack with a chance to force a miss.

    Avenging Charge: Higher damage version of Disruptive Strike, doesn't disrupt.

    Snarling Wolf Stance: When hit or missed, you can make a counter attack and shift away.

    Spitting Cobra Stance: Fire a bow shot as a reaction at foes who move closer.

    Leaf Wall: Ally-friendly concealment, combat advantage granting

    Arrow of the Savior: Make a falling target not fall (convert to climbing or to ledge)

    Healing Herbs (heal and provide poison saving throw)

    Stealthy Escape (reroll a failed stealth check with a bonus)

    Weave through the Fray (reaction to an enemy moving nearby -- move away)

    Spray of Arrows (clost blast of arrow attacks)

    Thousand Arrow Awareness ("overwatch" arrow attacks with reactions)

    Root Gate (use roots to create a short-range two-location teleportation conduit)

    off-hand diversion (boosted bonus action off-hand attacks, this one makes the foe grant CA)


    Poaching from Rogue:

    Rogue poaching:

    Piercing Strike - attack becomes a dex save.
    Riposte Strike - get reaction attack if attacked back
    Acrobatic Strike - move+attack
    Gloaming Cut - attack and move and stealth
    King's castle - attack and swap places with an ally
    Duelist's Prowess - stance, riposte when attacked
    Press the advantage - free attack when an enemy is bloodied
    Spinning blade leap - move without OAs before, attack, move without OAs after
    Twilight Menace - make someone unable to see you (until they save)
    Blinding Barrage - close blast attack that makes people blind for a turn
    Confounding Attack - attack someone. They attack an ally next to them accidentally.
    Fleeting ghost - move while hidden at full speed without penalty
    Great Leap - jump extra distance, even longer than your speed, at-will
    Master of Deceit - reroll bluff check
    Tumble - move without provoking OAs
    Blade Vault - jump and stab
    Low Slash - bonus action attack with repositioning, slowing, etc
    Compel the craven - cause fear with an attack
    Hobble - knock prone, cannot stand up until makes a save
    Slippery Mind - triggered will save bonus based on bluff
    Chameleon - keep stealth off your turn even if they have a clear line of sight
    Hidden Blade - hide your off-hand blade, get CA with it.
    Perfect Feint - gain CA against all nearby foes
    Sand in the eyes - blind a foe for a turn
    From the Shadows - shift, attack, shift, stealth; gain CA if you where hidden befor the shift.
    Shadow Boxer - use a foe as cover, and hide behind them.
    Combat Tumblset - tumble through foes
    Close quarters - lock onto bigger foe, follow it automatically, penalize their attacks until they throw you off.
    Shadow stride - remain hidden while moving so long as you end and start hidden
    Clever move - react to move out of an AOE and hide
    Hide in plain sight - turn hidden into invisible until you move
    Shadow master - hide with less concealment
    Clinging Shadows - keep concealment
    Cloud Jump - jump twice without landing, with bonus, extra range
    Dazzling Acrobatics - move, ignoring OAs, climb full speed, etc
    Indomitable Agility - shed status conditions, shift, free.
    Invisible Stalker - you are invisible while moving, so long as you don't end adjacent to an enemy, at-will
    Montebank's Flight - follow a teleport
    Scoundrel's epiphany - auto 25 roll on some skills
    Seize the moment - daily +20 initiative and first-turn bonuses
    Somersault dodge - at-will reaction shift whenever missed
    Thief of fortune - reroll a failure, impose penalty on a creature you can see for a turn
    Uncanny aim - massively increase range of a ranged attacks
    Wall crawl - at-will climb speed
    Deathweaving stike - forced movement, grant attacks to allies along movement
    Kiss of death - stance; pick a foe. Whenever it takes damage, you get a free attack.
    Moving target - redirect an attack on you to a nearby creature of your choice
    Dance of death - attack adjacent foes. If they attack you before EONT, you choose an alternative target, including themselves.
    Deflected strike - redirect a missed attack to an enemy adjacent to you. Deal sneak attack damage on it.

    * Grant temporary HP to adjacent ally on attack
    * Grant temporary HP to self
    * Deal lightning damage. Nearby foe takes minor thunder damage.
    * Extra reach, and attack pulls (thorn whip)
    * Create spike zone near foe that attacks enemies for minor damage
    * Vortex of air that pulls foes towards you
    * Attack all adjacent, and make ground grab and and hinder enemies (difficult)
    * Grant temporary HP to allies when you are hit by an enemy for a round

    * Form of Ram. Move faster, deal charge damage, push on attacks.
    * Form of Panther. Dex saves, attack bonus, mobility without OAs.
    * Form of Fire. Resist fire damage. Inflict fire vuln.
    * Form of Willow. Con/Str save bonus for you and allies. Cannot be pushed/pulled etc. Reaction protection attack.
    * Form of Winter. Resist cold. AC bonus. Create difficult terrain for foes. Immobalize CB attack.

    * Eyes of Hawk. Perception bonus per encounter.
    * Guardian Thorns. Marked foes take damage when they attack a chosen ally.
    * Mountain Lion Step. Ignore difficult terrain for a turn per encounter.
    * Nature's Abundance. Create friendly cover of plants near you 1/day
    * Warding Touch. Sacrifice AC to boost ally's AC per encounter.

    * Form of Earth. Regeneration. Reduce push/pull. Shift as bonus.
    * Form of Autumn. +1 reach, resist necrotic, deal extra damage. Weaken.
    * Form of Blood Wolf. Gain speed, bonus damage against wounded foes, knock prone with advantage.
    * Form of Displacement. 50% chance to resist damage from attack.
    * Form of Spider. Generate difficult terrain. Climb speed. Con save bonus. Restrain attack.
    * Form of Night Hunter. Fly, darkvision, to-hit bonus. Ongoing bleed damage.
    * Form of Sandstorm. Ignore difficult terrain, resist damage, can squeeze to 1 inch. Grab attack.
    * Form of World Forger. AC bonus aura. Fire damage when you or allies hit. CB3 ongoing fire damage.

    * Earth Tomb: knock prone, foe cannot stand up.
    * Glacial Hammer: cold damage, restrain target and foes near it.
    * Guardian's Storm: foe takes lightning damage if it moves
    * Ravenous Earth: ground near foe attacks enemies if they try to move through it.
    * Weight of Mountain: hit foe, cause a 25' shockwave that attacks enemies
    Last edited by Yakk; 2019-05-10 at 05:16 PM.

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