5e: Designing Warlock Patrons

With the impending release of Book of Heroes: Heroic Fighter Archetypes, I am setting up the framework for the next few installments. One if them is warlocks, because I love warlocks. It’s a solid class mechanically, and it has a back story built right in. My first 5e character (post playtest) was a warlock—Sir Tim von Daggerdale. He’s fun. I haven’t played him in years, but I enjoyed the fun times I had with him.

From the point of view of the in-game characters that choose to be a warlock, let’s moment and analyze the biggest choice for the character: the otherworldly patron. The PHB has 3 in there: the Fiend and let’s just call them Fey and Great Old One. Specifically, I am only looking at flavor reasons why a character would choose to make a deal with these; I’m not looking at the game mechanics.

Warlock

First just being a warlock means a number of things. You made a deal with a being for power. So you lacked the patience to study to become a wizard, the innate ability to become a sorcerer, the faith and devotion of a cleric or a paladin or any of the other prerequisites for the other classes. This deal is or power plain and simple. Without that deal you believe you would be simply average. The real question is, “Is that true or is the deal holding you back from what you are meant to be?”

Fiend

The deal you make with a fiend is never what you expect. Even if you think you found all the loop holes, you haven’t. This deal always benefits the fiend far more than it benefits you. So what does it say about a person that reaches out to a demon or a devil for power? It could say you are ambitious and are willing to make sacrifices to see that ambition come to fruition. It could say you desire to rule over others, stopping conflicts by making others see what is obvious to you. One could even choose the fiend pact out of a desire to preserve life, believing that taking such power is required to make others hear what you have to say. No matter what the reason, choosing the fiend pact is a far more complex option than simply believing that the devils have it right.

Fey

Harry Dresden made a deal with Queen Mab for power after he broke his back. She pursued him for a long time but it refused until he felt he had no option left except a deal with her. So what does it say about him and–back to the main topic–any character that makes a deal with Mab or some other great and powerful fey? First off unlike the other two you stand for life. Fiends and Cthulhu want the character’s soul (or the souls of others) while fey promote the natural world. So if you choose the Fey as your patron, you promote life not death. You may promote the life of animals and other non-intelligent creatures over humans but it is still life. You may find something appealing about civilization becoming a less potent force in the world. Perhaps you just enjoy being a force for chaos or a trickster.

Great Old One

While the cultist that is a true believer and wants to see the world end in fire or drown in water is the stereotype, it is far from the only kind of character that would make a deal with a Great Old One. I prefer a passage from the Roger Zelazny book A Night in the Lonesome October.

“I hunted rats and ate out of dustbins and saw my kittens killed and was hung by my tail and abused by wicked urchins,” Graymalk said suddenly, “before the mistress found me. She was an orphan who’d lived on the streets. Her life had been even worse.”

Here, Greymalk the cat is telling Snuff the dog why they support opening the gate and the Great Old Ones destroying the world. Greymalk and her mistress had terrible lives and the two want their own pain to stop, want the pain for others in their situation to stop and to make all those that inflict such pain to pay for their crimes. While a character in a 5e game might not want to go to such lengths, those in a position to be recruited by a Great Old One frequently have had something bad happen to them and it stayed bad for a very long time. Someone who has made a deal with an otherworldly being that wants to destroy the world wants to lash out, particularly at anyone causing pain. Those who take the power offered by Cthulhu and others of his kind may very well be good people willing to do bad things to bad people because of the pain inflicted upon them. So what does a deal with a Great Old One say about your warlock, that you’ve been hurt. Hurt quite a bit.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

Help us produce more great articles like this by downloading our 5e PDFs like the Book of Magic: 10 Warlock Invocations at the JBE Shop, the Open Gaming Store, and DriveThruRPG.

Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale!

They Pathfinder Fans, It is that time of year again!

To put cucumbers in our ears?

No. It is time for the Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale! This year is going to be amazing because every Pathfinder PDF we produce that is over $2 is 60% off the regular price and it is exclusively at the JBE Shop. To make it easy for you, we put all of our products that are on sale on its own page.

So if you have been wanting the $10 PDF of the Book of Heroic Races Compendium, you can now download it for only $4. That is one heck of a discount that you do not want to pass up. We’ve got monsters, NPCs, and spells from $1.18, playable races from $1.58, and Adventures from $2. Even the Book of the River Nations is available for only $2.38.

You do not want to pass this up. It lasts until the end of PaizoCon so while you are waiting for any spoilers from the convention, download these PDFs and enjoy yourself now. Check out the Not Going to PaizoCon 2019 Sale! at JonBrazer.com now.

Pathfinder Black Week Sale 2018

The holidays. Yes it is that time of year again where the Autumn colors come out, pumpkin spice turns to peppermint, and the spiders come indoors. Well, two out of three isn’t bad.

Here’s one more thing to brighten up your day: Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Pathfinder Black Week Sale. We have every last Pathfinder PDF we ever created at a whopping 75% off. That means that just about every PDF we have is under $2 and the few that aren’t are under $4. We have everything you could want: adventures, spells, races, vehicles, and much more.

This sale is going on now at JonBrazer.com, Paizo.com, and the Open Gaming Store. You don’t want to miss this sale. It is going on now and will end Tuesday, Nov 27th. So you have to hurry and grab what you want at these great deals. You won’t see a sale this good any time soon so order now.

5e: Honor Guard

Not long ago we shared a new spell for Fifth Edition, the conjure minor celestials spell. We assume they didn’t include that spell and replaced it with spells that said a cleric can call up some spirit to fight for you to same room in the MM by not including good things to call up. I’m not a fan of those spells and enjoy calling up creatures to your side that can also have a conversation with you.

The MM does have some lawful neutral celestials that I cannot touch, but that doesn’t stop me from making my own. This one is the first, based upon my own interpretation of the plane of law that I mentioned a while back (and should get back to). I hope you enjoy the honor guard. It will be apart of the Book of Magic: Conjurable Creatures, due out early next year along with many of these other creatures we are posting here on JonBrazer.com.

Until the book is finished, please check out our other Fifth Edition books, like the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, available now at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Honor Guard (Guardian)

Small celestial, lawful neutral


Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 38 (7d6 + 14)
Speed 20 ft.


STR 14 (+2) DEX 12 (+1) CON 15 (+2)
INT 8 (–1) WIS 11 (+0) CHA 9 (–1)


Saving Throws Con +4
Skills Athletics +4
Damage Resistance radiant; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, frightened
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages all, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 1 (200 XP)


Aura of Honor. The honor guard is a shining example of honesty. All Deception checks made within 10 feet of the honor guard have disadvantage.
Spiritual Weapon. The honor guard’s weapons instantly disappear when disarmed and reappear in the honor guard’s hands.

Actions


Multiattack. The honor guard makes two bayonet attacks.
Bayonet. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Divine Shot. Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 20 ft./120 ft., one creature. Hit: 12 (2d10 + 1) radiant damage. After firing, the divine shot cannot be fired again until the honor guard takes a move action to reload.

5e: Conjure Minor Celestials

Not long ago we shared with you one of my favorite creations for 5e, the lantern archon. This little talking ball of light is a guide through the heavens and a great helper to servants of a deity. There’s just one little problem with it, a cleric has to be level 13 to summon one and they cannot cast resurrection that day if they want to do so. I mean, I like that little guy and all but not that much.

It never seemed fair to me that wizards and druids can conjure up some help at much lower levels, but not the cleric. In other editions clerics are just as good at calling up help from beyond as wizards. So it only seemed logical that I do something about it.

Conjure Minor Celestials

5th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
You summon celestials that appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. You choose one of the following options for what appears:

  • One celestial of challenge rating 2 or lower
  • Two celestials of challenge rating 1 or lower
  • Four celestials of challenge rating 1/2 or lower
  • Eight celestials of challenge rating 1/4 or lower.

A celestial summoned by this spell disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.
The summoned creatures are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures as a group, which has its own turns. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures, but otherwise take no actions.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain an 8th level spell slot, you choose one of the summoning options above, and twice as many creatures appear.

Here’s the only problem with this spell, the MM as a total of 1 celestial you can conjure with this spell—the pegasus. Even worse, VGtM doesn’t add any. There are a decent number of beasts, fey (mostly evil ones), and elementals in that book, but not a single celestial a cleric can conjure up at any level. The flail snail is conjurable for wizards and druids (or crying out loud), but nothing for the cleric.

So I will continue to correct that oversight, both in our blog and in the book Book of Magic: Conjurable Creatures, coming late 2018/early 2019. This is without a doubt a book focused on spellcasting players, but it is also great for GMs as well. I mean, its a book of monsters; every GM can use more monsters, even ones that are primarily good ones. If you are a GM or someone that primarily players spellcasters, I hope you check this book out.

While you are at it, I hope you also check out all our other supplements for 5e. We have awesome adventures, radical races, and malicious monsters. Dive in at the JBE Shop.

5e: Great Dodo

One of the problems that annoys me the most about Fifth Edition is the lack of character choice you have. Beyond 3rd level, there are very few choices for a character to make. Even spellcasters, the classes with the most numbers of choices regardless of edition get far less choice compared to other editions. This means that every choice you do make has to be more meaningful, far less choices can be a cute throwaway choice done just for the fun of it.

That is what makes the conjure spells so much fun for spellcasters. They can change their choices just because it seems like a good idea at that moment. If this one is silly, that’s ok because the next time you cast it can be completely serious. So while you have the opportunity, why not conjure up a great dodo. Before you go, “Wait, what?!?” here it is…

Great Dodo


Huge beast, unaligned


Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 152 (16d12 + 48)
Speed 30 ft.


STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 17 (+3)
INT 2 (–4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 5 (–3)


Saving Throws Con +6
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Flapping Run. When taking a Dash action, a great dodo treats its speed as 45 ft.
Actions


Bill Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 36 (6d10 + 3) bludgeoning damage. On a successful hit, the target must succeed a DC 16 Constitution save or be stunned until the end of the great dodo’s next turn.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 42 (6d12 + 3) piercing damage.

Download all of JBE’s 5e PDFs at the JBE Shop. You can also download our 5e PDFs at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

5e: Arm Wrap

One thing I hear over and over again no matter what edition or variation of D&D, there just are not enough magic items for monks. In an effort to fix that, I started writing some. As usual for this blog when showing off something not yet published in a book, it hasn’t been approved by my editors yet so it is not as polished as it would be when given the final nod.

Tell us what you think of it in the comments below. Support our efforts to bring you more 5e awesomeness by downloading our adventures, races and more at JonBrazer.com. You can also find our 5e game supplements at DriveThruRPG RPGNow Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

Arm Wrap

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

When wrapped around the arms, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls on from natural weapons such as claws and bite attacks as well as martial arts that use unarmed strikes. If you have ki points, you gain an additional ki point.

Download our Fifth Edition PDFs at the JBE Shop. You can also find our 5e books at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

5e: Scroll of Blinding Ash

So I was leafing through the DMG the other day and I realized that there is a real shortage of awesome common and uncommon magic items. So I decided to start writing some. Magic items, especially low level items, make for an excellent and rewarding experience for players. They can separate an average game from a memorable game. Expect to see this and many other like it in an upcoming PDF release from JBE when we have completed enough to make for an awesome release.

Scroll of Blinding Ash

Scroll, uncommon
Upon activating this scroll, it turns to ash. The ash flies into the eyes of a creature within 30 feet and the creature takes 1d6 fire damage. On a failed DC 13 Constitution save, the creature is also blinded for the round.

You know what else makes adventures memorable? A unique adventure your characters never played before. Download Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for your Fifth Edition game today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store. Prefer it in print? Order your copy at JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, or Amazon today.

5 Questions Every Ranger Should Be Able to Answer

Frequently depicted as the paladins of the natural world, rangers are far more complex than that. They are the fighting force in the places few others dare to tread. They stand on the bridge alone, preventing others from passing. They are loyal to their cause, to an individual, to a group, or to an ideal. While their general mission of protecting those that cannot protect themselves against terrible dangers frequently draws them to the wilderness, they can be found in towns, cities, and royal courts. Some look upon them as vigilantes, working outside of the law while others see them as the only semblance of law where the local guard fears to stand watch.

Join us Fridays as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

One does not simply walk into the mouth of danger for no reason. Even treasure hunters and tomb plunderers do not seek out terrible danger half as terrible as a ranger encounters on an average Tuesday. You face this danger out of loyalty to someone, some group, or to an idea. What is it that you are loyal to? Describe those you are loyal to. Is it your hometown? Maybe it is just your family. Perhaps it is something larger, like your people who have been persecuted by the crown for generations and no one is coming to help you in your people’s time of trouble? Maybe your kingdom was conquered, and you are one of the last of the royal guard, living in the wilderness to avoid detection by the new rulers, all this time you are carrying out your liege’s final request: protect the people.

2) Why Do You Continue On When Few Others Do?

The obvious answer here is, “because I am loyal to them,” but that is to easy of an answer. Others were loyal as well but they abandoned their such a dangerous situation. You are a ranger and stand your ground when few others do. Something drives you forward when prudence and good sense says to flee. What is it? Are you fighting to earn the respect of the parents of the one you love? Do you seek the safety of your family and your people? Did someone now gone save your life and you are fight on in your memory? What drives you into danger?

3) How Did You Become So Comfortable with Nature?

A ranger works among by the wild places in the same way a physician does surrounded by the sick. Some find those environs so dangerous, they will work hard to avoid them. You, however, fear it not and even find it comforting. That level of comfort does not come without any explanation. It can be as simple as growing up in a small town or as a serf child on a lord’s farm and you played in the woods when ever the adults were not looking. Perhaps you’re an orphan or a runaway that fled a city to avoid those from whom you had no defense, found people that took you in and loved you, so when they were in danger, you stood your ground. Even more, you learned to make friends with animals. Did you share with a wolf some meet from a deer you shot? Did you pull a thorn from a lion’s paw? Did you raise a dinosaur from an egg?

4) What Was The Most Memorable Danger You Encounter Alone?

Remember, this is a world where a hag can disguise a cave as a candy house so unsuspecting children will enter, and it can devour them before the parents realize their young are even missing. So any tale about some deadly foe you encountered should be more interesting than a mundane mountain lion or bobcat. Make it something not from our world like gremlins, kobolds, giants, demons, or a ravaging horde of undead. No matter how you survived, it should not be by strength alone. Relying on your arm strength is for fighters. You should have survived and even overcome by your wits. Did you have the zombie horde run off the cliff edge like lemmings? Did you tie the giant’s shoe laces together when he was asleep? Did you sic the gremlins on the kobolds?

5) Do You Really Like Your Fellow Adventurers More Than Your Animal Companion?

Jokes about rangers loving their wolves a little to much aside, rangers are people that spend less time around others than they do battling monsters. Because of that, they can be socially less adept than other classes. So their interactions with their fellow adventurers should be a little awkward. No place is that better illustrated than in the Lord of the Rings when Aragorn first meets the hobbits. He’s abrupt, gruff, and even off-putting. It is when he proves to the four that he is there to help that they begin to trust him. In the same way, if your character grows up away from civilization and does not choose any Charisma-based skills, then your character should be rough around the edges. While your character should always be well meaning, helpful to the group, and never a jerk, there is plenty of room there for your character to be less than socially graceful. The strong-silent type, always phrasing their thoughts in as few words as possible, is an excellent way of doing this. No matter how you portray your character, remember to be one of the group.

Iragui is our signature ranger. His kind are knows as dragonborn but some call them a dragonspawn or even a wyvaran. He and his kind are no strangers to the wild places far from human civilization. With so much smaller numbers than humans, they have to be brave and delve into deadly places with little backup. Iragui knows the sounds of the woods and the smells of the caves. He know if the smell of mold is harmlessly decomposing something dead or if he should draw his weapon. He knows to be ready for battle when the birds are suddenly silent. All these little cues he constantly pays attention to, sometimes so much he misses the casual conversations of his fellow adventurers. While that doesn’t make him the most friendly of travelling companions, they do appreciate it when he warns then that battle is about to begin.

Find the racial stats on this dragon-based race and all our other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.

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