View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Malebolge: Building the Wasteland - PEACH

2017-03-08, 06:12 PM
Over in the Worldbuilding forum, I'm working on a Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy setting for 5th edition called the Malebolge, and this is a project that requires equal parts fluff and crunch in terms of "what do I need to make".

Since the Worldbuilding forum is for working on the fluff, I need to come here for seeking help with the crunch. Right now, I'm focusing a lot on the races and subclasses I need to build for the setting, but beyond that, I've got plans for spells, magical items, monsters, hazards and maybe even backgrounds and feats, if folks are interested.

First things first, though; working on what I have, and then working on what I want to add to those first two sections (subclasses/races). However... most of my races for the Malebolge, and all of the subclasses, are already up for scrutiny in my other assorted threads. Would it be better manners to repost them here, or just let people link to them in the relevant threads?

For those interested in learning more about the setting, and I could desperately use somebody to talk to about the fluff-developing as well, the link is here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?516536-Malebolge-Post-Apocalyptic-Fantasy

2017-03-10, 05:23 PM
So... I was hoping for some opinions on how to proceed beforehand, but I might as well share one of the distinctly unique races of the setting first.

The Slyvharri - I know, I'm not really fond of that name, I'd like to rework it - owe their existence to two things. Firstly, the Shin'hare (http://hextcg.gamepedia.com/Shin%E2%80%99hare) of the Hex trading card game - these are a race of Asiatic-themed bunnyfolk who serve as the primary villains of the setting; with a culture that uses some Japanese trappings/terminology as a gloss over a core of Communist China and North Korea, they are an arrogant race with a manifest destiny of conquest, so indifferent to the value of life that they literally breed specialized litters of children just to be sacrificed to fuel blood magic-based rituals to create enchanted arms and armor. Secondly, the Suelese Lich of Greyhawk, which I was introduced to in its 3.5 update via one of Dragon Magazine's Creature Collections; this is a cursed undead wizard, reduced to an incorporeal undead being that possesses living hosts in order to work its will in the material world.

The Slyvharri were the result of this; created by a band of elven necromancers & fleshcrafters who were turned into Suel Lich-like undead by the Black Dawn, they escaped non-existence by possessing the first creatures they could. Which, unfortunately for them, were a warren of rabbits. And, worse, they found themselves stuck, constantly reincarnating into new bunny forms when their old hosts inevitably died. Incensed and more than a little insane, they have shaped their progeny over countless generations into a twisted culture that exists only to avenge these ancient evils on a world that cost them everything. In many ways, the Slyvharri fill the "usual badguys" slot of the setting... you know, other than the mutant cannibals, demented Mad Max-esque bandits, towns full of inbred lunatics, giant vermin... Well, you get what I'm saying.

But, despite this, Slyvharri are not an Always Evil race. Their culture is sick and twisted, but the individuals themselves aren't evil by nature - it's a matter of nurture. So, the setting accounts for the possibility of playing defectors or even the children of breakaway groups. Which means I need a PC writeup for them.

I can post the "racial gazetteer", which is basically an elaborate fluff writeup for the species, but I figured that what I shared should be enough to get the gist of things across and work well with just the stats.

Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, +1 Constitution OR +1 Charisma
Size: Small
Speed: 35 feet
Vision: Normal
Die Without Blinking: Slyvhars are immune to mundane sources of fear and have Advantage on saves against magical fear and against Charisma (Intimidate) checks.
Swarm of Bodies: A slyvhar can move through the space of any creature of equal or larger size to themselves.
Rabbit's Leap: A slyvhar uses Dexterity to determine its jumping distance rather than Strength, and is always treated as having a running start when making Jump checks.
Hardened Through Deprivation: A slyvhar has Advantage on Constitution saves against Disease and Poison, halves its daily water requirement, and can go for 4 + Constitution modifier (minimum of 2) days without food.

2017-03-10, 05:41 PM
I don't see anything that seems to powerful, the race looks interesting as it points to a small speedy dervish fighter, which we don't really have, and given that the setting sounds like it lacks resources the hardened by deprivation feature is really flavorful

2017-03-10, 08:40 PM
Well, thank you very much for the compliment! I'm worried I may have screwed up the Die Without Blinking feature, because I'm actually not that sure of how the Fear rules work in 5e, off the top of my head. The basic idea is that these guys really don't fear dying - they're not kender-style "fluff says you should do random **** out boredom" *******s, but they grow up in a culture where "you will die for the good of the warren" is drummed into their head so extensively that even rebels have this natural nihilistic indifference to their own survival. You just can't really scare them, as you'd expect for people coming from a culture where "literally crush the enemy under a pile of your corpses and drown them in your blood" is part of the official doctrine of warfare.

For this next race... this is a little hard to explain. In essence, it was inspired by this one piece of kobold artwork I found online, and it mixes into the lore of kobolds I have in the Malebolge setting. Namely, Malebolgian Kobolds are the mutant, neotenous offspring of the now-extinct dragons, and their culture has a huge hang-up about trying to recreate the dragons, experimenting on both adult kobolds and unhatched eggs in an effort to spawn true dragons. This is where all of the "drakes" - wyverns, fantasy dinosaurs and other big reptilian monsters - come from. The Fangwyrms represent one of the "near-successes" of their experiment proceedings, creating a species of particularly vicious and primal pseudo-kobolds.

In essence, a Fangwyrm is kind of what you'd get if you crossed a kobold with a snake and a piranha and a dash of the infamous 4e Needletooth Drakes (fantasy Compsognathuses notorious for their lethality against low level parties). They're very bitey and adept at eating things facing against them, complete with "eat it for healing" effects. This was actually done by me before Volo's Guide gave us PC Lizardfolk so... yeah.

Ability Score Modifier: +2 Constitution, +1 Charisma
Size: Small
Speed: 25 feet
Vision: Superior Darkvision
Ripping Maw: A fangwyrm can choose to bite when making an unarmed strike; this causes it to inflict 1D4 + Str modifier Slashing damage with its attack.
Sunlight Sensitivity: A fangwyrm suffers Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and visual Wisdom (Perception) checks made if it or its target is in direct sunlight.
Down the Hatch: When a fangwyrm using its Ripping Maw attack kills a creature, it can choose to swallow the corpse as a reaction. It can also choose to swallow fresh corpses within reach as an action. It can only swallow creatures that are one size category larger than it or smaller.
Toxic Spittle: A fangwyrm can spit gouts of venom over a startling distance. As an action, a fangwyrm can make an Unarmed Strike with a reach of 10 feet. On a hit, it inflicts 1d6 Poison damage and the target must make a Constitution check against a DC of 8 + your Proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. On a failure, it is Blinded until the end of your next turn.
Digestive Boost: When a fangwyrm has a corpse swallowed, it can use a bonus action to dissolve its meal with necrotic bile. This heals it for (Constitution modifier + level) hit points, with excess hit points being lost. Outside of combat, consuming a corpse allows each corpse to "count as" an expended hit dice for purposes of taking a short rest, as well as providing a full day's meal intake.
Scavenger's Blessing: A fangwyrm has Resistance to Poison and Advantage on Saving Throws against Poison and Disease.

2017-03-18, 03:40 PM
In the spirits of bumping this, I've been trying to think of some of the monsters I'm going to need to homebrew or convert for this setting. Unfortunately, I find the "Design a Monster" part of the DMG to be pretty incomprehensible, so all I can say is... help?

Molten Ones: These are essentially the titular character of The Incredible Melting Man being played for real horror.

Although this is a world rich in magical pollution, I don't know if the Alchemical Undead or the Toxic Ooze from Dragon #350 really warrant conversion to 5e?

Seedroach Tree: Hailing from Dragon #355, this incredibly messed up tree just makes a perfect example of how deadly life can be in the Malebolge.

4e Elementals: 4th edition had a lot of mixed-element elementals, and these fit my cosmology just as well as the classic quartet.

Once they're worked up into proper races, I'm going to need monster writeups for Aranea, Slyvharri, Fangwyrms and Calibans at the very least, aren't I?

Hmm... actually, I just started this for kicks, but now I really do need to go over my collection of critters and see about making a proper definitive list...

2017-03-23, 01:50 AM
Alright, so, the other races I want to talk about are in other threads I've already got posted here. Should I maybe start reposting them in this thread to make them clearer and easier to talk about?


2017-03-28, 03:18 PM
Alright, I'll try to start posting the other relevant races to this thread if that'd be best, but here's the current breakdown of what's important and which other thread it can already be found in:

Forgeborn Dwarf Subrace: Canon Race Variants
Alternate Warforged: Canon Race Variants
Caliban: Humanoids
Shadar-Kai: Extraplanar Races
Aranea: Beastfolk
Kobold: Beastfolk
Gnoll: Beastfolk
Flind: Beastfolk
Ratfolk: Beastfolk