View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Grey Dwarves and (I need help with) a Runesmith.

2016-09-06, 08:50 PM
Hey all, a little bit of (Spoilered for convenience) backstory as to what brings me to the Homebrew section;

So a friend of mine moved 6 or so states away from where I used to live, and we've been playing roleplaying in various forms over Skype with groups on either end. The newest one we have, on his end, is a complete group of new people. I figure "Ok, I'll intentionally gimp myself and not play a Combat class (Which I have a horrible tendency to Min/Max anyway), and I'll play a Cultist of Cthulhu (Warlock of the Great Old One). I'll try to talk my way out of situations instead of beating people over the face."

This was all going well and good until we fought our first dragon. Apparently the entire group knew ahead of time that they were going to fight their first dragon and were pretty excited about it. Well, we find the dragon and no one wants to enter the room and wake it up. So I try to cast Detect Thoughts on it, but have to move closer to it. One Abysmal stealth check later, and my Level 4 Warlock is face to face with a rather annoyed Dragon and, through a bit of Role Playing and some karmic justice from that Stealth Check roll, ends up convincing a Dragon to join his cult. Half of the group had to pick up their jaws from the floor, but the other half (Which frankly, would probably be a group of Murderhobos if it was just them) was incredibly disappointed by having missed the Dragon fight, to the point where they were trying to convince the rest of the group to run back to the Cult Hideout my character was creating to kill the thing anyway.

This is on top of some Poor Communication that has caused several players to complain that my character takes everything (As he's the only one capable of Identifying anything), and a personal quest I took on for a cult member was to find an emerald brooch she left at her burnt down house in what used to be a village that the Paladin who just got a +1 Great Axe crying the most, as he didn't know the Brooch was a quest item (My fault in it's entirety).

Because of this, and the fact that my character was specifically built to do things like that, the DM and I have decided that I should play a different character so as to not be splitting the party on what I'm trying to do with the BBEGs we meet.

So with all that in mind I was trying to figure out what exactly to play that would A) not split the party as to what it should do, B) Still require some creative thinking on my part, and C) not allow me to become an instant death murder machine that I typically like to do. With all that in mind I was browsing various books and games I used to play and found the perfect solution: Warhammer Fantasy Dwarven Runesmiths.

Dwarves, at least in the edition I was playing, were the only faction that could basically create their own magic weapons by putting Runes on them, rather than having to use "legendary" artifacts someone else used prior. This as a concept could work as a class (Taking the Non-Magical weapons the party finds and giving them a purpose by giving them item charges or turning them into +1 weapons), but I'm unsure of how to take it; a Small spell list that can be carved/forged into various metal objects? A variety of effects much like the Warlock's Eldritch Invocations? A mix of both?

As for the Grey Dwarves (Duergar) this is what I was hoping to play as;

Grey Dwarf:
The entire Duergar race were dwarves who dug too greedily and too deep, unleashing the Mind Flayers upon themselves. Upon eventually receiving their freedom from the Oppressive Mind Flayers, most Duergar became slavers themselves, having forgotten what happiness and pride are. However, not all of the freed Dwarves became slavers and were horrified at the thought of inflicting that hell on others. These Duergar became the Grey Dwarves, outcasts of both the Duergar for being traitors and other Dwarvish races for being Duergar in name only.

Has the "Common" Dwarf Racial bonuses.

Ability Score Increase: A Grey Dwarf receives +1 to Strength.

Grey Dwarf Resilience: Grey Dwarves have spent entire generations under the yoke of manipulators of the mind, and do not take kindly to mental prodding. Grey Dwarves have Resistance to Psionic damage, and have advantage on any saving through involving seeing through an illusion.

Grey Dwarf Magic: Grey Dwarves hail from the Underdark, a place of strange magics. Said magic has seeped into the very blood of Grey Dwarves, allowing them feats that other members of their race can only dream of. As an action, a Grey Dwarf may cast Enlarge and Invisibility on themselves, with no components. Using one doesn't prevent the use of the other, though using the second automatically dispells the first. Upon use, a Grey Dwarf must finish a short or long rest before it can use the ability again.

Sunlight Sensitivity: While in sunlight, a Grey Dwarf has disadvantage on attack rolls, and any wisdom checks that rely on sight.

Superior Darkvision: Grey Dwarves have Darkvision with a range of 120 ft.

Not going to lie, that's the easy part; it's basically the Duergar abilities (from the Monster Manual) on a playable character with a +1 bonus to Strength, to help with stats and to ensure that you aren't losing out on abilities due to just choosing one. Considering that a Mountain Dwarf gets +2 Strength, it should even out (but is definitely something I would be willing to get rid of if it presents balance issues).

As for the Runesmith, this is kind of what I was thinking while I was at work today:

Class Features:
Hit Dice: 1d8 per Runesmith level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Con Modifier
Hit points at higher levels: 1d8 (or +5) + con modifier per level.

Armor: All Armor, Shields
Weapons: Club, Greatclub, Light Hammer, Mace, Maul, Warhammer
Tools: Smith's Tools

Saving Throws: Wisdom, Constitution.
Skills: Choose two from History, Religion, Investigation, Athletics, Insight, and Investigation.

*A Warhammer or a Mace and Shield
*Scale Male or Chain Mail
*Two Light Hammers
*A Scholar's pack or a Dungeoneer's pack

Rune Magic:
Runesmiths are essentially wizards of a different sort. Rather than preparing spells, they prepare and craft Runes, which they engrave into armor, weapons, and anything else that requires some good old fashion magic. A Runesmith may spend time in hours (As specified by the rune) to engrave a single rune into any non-magical metal or stone surface, embuing said object with the ability granted by the Rune. Any rune engraved is permanent unless the object is destroyed and the rune severed.

A Runesmith always has the knowledge of creating Runes, but do not necessarily have the means; In the middle of a dungeon? Very few Runes can be carved into metal at such places. In town, at a blacksmith's forge, with eager eyes watching? Much more manageable. This is, of course, assuming the Runesmith has the materials required for such Runes.

Additionally, there are Passive (P) and Active(A) runes. Passive Runes are always on, while Active runes MUST be touched in order for the effect to happen.

Any item with Runes counts as Magical for the purposes of being able to hit Ghost-like enemies, and a item with Runes can further be enchanted with more Runes. Runesmiths know all spells available at their level, and can engrave a single Rune on an item at level 1, two at level 8, and 3 at level 15.

Runes that require charges regain the amount specified at the beginning of each dawn.

Spell List:
Cantrip: Mending (A), Light (A), Prestidigitation(A),

A Runesmith must choose a Smithy at level 1, and is bound by that choice afterward.
Smithy of Doom:
The Smithy of Doom is the Smithy Runesmith Apprentices learn to craft Runes of destruction, capable of punishing any who dare the wrath of a Runesmith's ally.

Doom Spell Lists:
Cantrips: Fire Bolt(A), Ray of Frost (A), Chill Touch (P), True Strike(P)

Smithy of the Ancestors:

Epic Rune: Rune of the Blood (Armor, P, Requires the Blood of a Unicorn, an Elder Dragon Claw, and the Flames of a Fire Elemental). A Character wearing Armor with the Rune of the Blood may never be knocked unconscious or incapacitated by any means. Additionally, if a character wearing armor with this rune fails three Death Saves, the Rune of the Blood holds back the character's death until either the encounter ends or the character is healed back to 1 HP.

(Author's note: The Rune of Blood is the Capstone of the Smithy of Ancestors (Healing/Defensive tree) that basically turns an armor set into the Berserker Armor from Berserk; it'll hold you together until the end of the fight, but that's all it does; get healed or die. It effectively doubles a characters health total, but if said character is in the "Bottom half" at the end of the encounter, they still die.

The basic concept is that the Runesmith grants his allies magical equipment that definitely starts out better than it ends (As high end spells for the Runesmith is Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Fly, Haste, and generally 3rd level spells). What the Runesmith lacks in quality (Though never in craftsmanship), he more than makes up for by the fact that every member of your party is able to cast Fireball 1d4 +1 times a day.

This isn't including their very specific effects that only they have access to, such as a simple Rune of +1 (That at level 15 allows them to freely create +3 weapons), but only a truly inspired player should be able to take advantage of most of these runes (Such as a set of Runes that attract one object to another. Not useful in combat...... until you realize that two shields could be given this to pancake an enemy, or give your entire party the ranged part of Mjolnir...)

The main weakness of the Runesmith by design is it's rigid adherence to choices the Runesmith makes. Where as a Wizard can change powers per rest to whatever the party needs..... a Runesmith can ONLY imbue new items at a town (or when the DM decides you stumble across a Forge in a dungeon), and materials are potentially harder to come by than they probably should be. On top of that, a Runesmith is a rather weak character physically, capable of fending off monsters but not really taking the fight to them. The buff that they provide to the party greatly enhances the group however, and a way that the Runesmith can take advantage of the runes better than the other party members is planned.

2016-09-06, 11:13 PM
I'd be very wary about handing out +1\+X weapons and gear to party members; it has a tendency to warp bounded accuracy, and is especially strong in a campaign that is balanced around few to no magic items. You can give goofy effects freely, but free, non-conditional damage/accuracy buffs get really strong really fast.

For example, even if you aren't the best suited at using your +3 longsword that deals 1d6 fire damage on every hit, your fighter could do quite a bit with that. If you kit out your entire party in gear like that, all of a sudden you're adding more damage (albeit indirectly) than probably anybody else.

2016-09-07, 11:03 AM
I'd be very wary about handing out +1\+X weapons and gear to party members; it has a tendency to warp bounded accuracy, and is especially strong in a campaign that is balanced around few to no magic items. You can give goofy effects freely, but free, non-conditional damage/accuracy buffs get really strong really fast.

For example, even if you aren't the best suited at using your +3 longsword that deals 1d6 fire damage on every hit, your fighter could do quite a bit with that. If you kit out your entire party in gear like that, all of a sudden you're adding more damage (albeit indirectly) than probably anybody else.

Noted. I'm thinking of making the +1 ability it's own stackable thing, so you can have a +3 weapon but it's going to be "just" that, so you can only have it at level 15 and it won't have any other special abilities. Might need to bump up the third slot to level 18 in all honesty. Might even make it where the Capstone of the Runesmith is that any weapon, armor, or shield with a Rune on it gets +1, non stacking, and get rid of the ability to put that on there entirely.

Also, thinking about it last night, I think the best way to balance it is to make it where from levels 1-7 you get more of the class specific Eldritch Invocation alikes, with the "Spell Runes" coming in later; True Strike is a powerful ability and it *Should* be usable, but having advantage on your first attack every turn is more than a little busted at levels 2-8. Fire Bolt isn't so bad, but still pretty good when the Fighter, Barbarian, and Paladin suddenly become able to cast 1d4 +1 firebolts each a day, and those are just cantrips.....

2016-09-07, 11:33 AM
If you want to make +X weapons, I'd use your third suggestion; giving magical weapons and gear +1 when you enchant them is flavorful and strong, too strong for most levels, but perfect for a capstone.

2016-09-08, 02:31 PM
Ok, does this seem overpowered/too complex at all?

Runes of Paelin's Poles (I'm horrible at naming things, and I apologize for that).

The Runes of Paelin's Poles are twin runes to be etched at the same time, using a Basilisk's Tooth to engrave the runes. Engrave the runes on two separate objects, declaring one as the Passive and another as an Active. As a bonus action, a character may activate the Paelin's active rune, which pulls the object with the Passive rune toward the Active Rune as long as it is within 30 feet. Should any character be between the two runes at the time of activation, that character must make a dexterity saving throw at DC 16 or take damage of the appropriate type/amount (Author's Note: A Warhammer would deal 1d8 Bludgeoning damage, being smashed in a stone door would deal 8d10 Bludgeoning damage).

A character may attempt to separate the two objects while the Rune is active, and will succeed in doing so on a Strength (Athletics) check with a DC of 20.