View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Prestige Ranks and Legendary Items

2018-08-06, 10:14 AM
Hey all, about a month ago I started working on an additional system for 5th edition, based on the idea of prestige classes and modeled loosely off of a combination of the UA prestige class Rune Scribe and Pathfinder's Mythic Adventures supplement. A link to my longer version is here: What are Prestige Ranks (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KB75Et0wk0Fr5CgmE6MzHH7p2MkxX71QqhY4_Qv9eMo/edit?usp=sharing). Shorter versions are found in the spoiler blocks below.

The general idea is that Prestige Ranks are not levels in a class that a player takes, but extra abilities they unlock as they level up normally (like PF's Mythic Ranks). Advancement is limited to the different tiers of play (you can enter them at 5, get rank 2 at level 11, and get rank 3 at level 17), and requires in-character actions in order to qualify. Unlike Prestige Classes of the past, Prestigious Ranks are not limited based on your character's class or even general capabilities, but often their bonuses are more useful for one class than another.

Prestigious Orders are organizations within the game world that pursue a variety of goals. Characters who gain membership in these orders are granted powerful abilities, which improve as they gain further ranks in the orders. If background represents what your character did before adventuring, and the skills they learned from that life, Prestigious Orders represent the choices they made while adventuring, and the abilities they gain for that.

Unlike 3.5 and PF's Prestige Classes, Prestigious Orders never have class-based requirements (including requiring spellcasting). However, many of them are more beneficial to some classes than others. The Order of the Timeless Tower, for example, grants improvements to spellcasting ability and additional spell slots; while non-casters can learn to cast spells through membership in the order, spellcasters get better mileage out of the order's abilities.

A character is not eligible for Prestige Ranks until level 5. At level 11 they become eligible for 2nd rank, and at level 17 they become eligible for 3rd rank. Each rank (including the first) requires some sort of task, feat of strength, or similar accomplishment before it can be entered.

Prestigious Orders are extremely strong. If you are going to use them, they should be available to all players. You will also want to increase encounter levels in each tier of play once your players have access to their ranks.

It is important that if you are using this subsystem, your players have a reasonable ability to pursue higher ranks. This does not mean you need to give them rank-advancement requirements freely, but they should be able to pursue them with reasonable restrictions. Feel free to make the pursuit come with a cost; if a villain is trying to raise an army of the dead and your players seek out advancement in their ranks instead of preventing his unholy rituals, they should have to deal with an army of the dead (incidentally, this also will give you a good excuse for more challenging encounters).

I have written the sample orders to be as setting-neutral as I can. Feel free to change names, social goals, leadership, or locations to fit your setting. Homebrewers are encouraged to create original Orders for both setting-neutral play and for their favorite settings.

In addition to Prestige Ranks relating to Prestigious Orders, I have implemented a system of Legendary Item Ranks using the same functionality. These can be used interchangeably with Prestigious Orders, and the same general rules apply. The main difference is that instead of joining an in-world organization, your character will be wielding an in-world item of legend, which gains new abilities as you increase in ranks. Often these work as normal magic items before you begin to gain ranks in them, or if you choose not to gain ranks in them.

Longer Version is here: Variant Prestige Ranks: Legendary Items (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1a5kBomhjoxqrOf3fAN4zXRxLXpqiJngkfVsUvzDQ1Vs/edit?usp=sharing)

2018-08-06, 10:21 AM

The Order of the Timeless Tower
A weathered paladin arrives at a great library, removing priceless lost tomes from their protective covering and turning them over to the curator. Despite clear damage to his person and his other belongings, the tomes are in pristine condition.
A youthful mage sets aside his sketchbook, pulling out large rolls of parchment and setting them against the wall etchings to take a rubbing. Later, at his home village, he spends long hours translating the secrets held within.
A cheery cleric calls upon her god to restore shattered pottery, returning it to her temple for display. The dazzling array of artifacts tells the story of a civilization long lost to the region.

Preserve, Protect, Reclaim
The Order of the Timeless Tower is dedicated to the preservation of current knowledge and the reclamation of past knowledge. They are archaeologists, historians, researchers, curators, and of course, adventurers.
The ultimate use of the knowledge they collect is unimportant to the organisation. They acknowledge that some information is dangerous, and other information obsolete, but believe that allowing it to slip into the mists of time is an affront to civilization. Many members pursue goals at odds with one another, but none will destroy knowledge willingly.

Important Locations
Museums, libraries, and similar repositories of information are the most important locations to members of this Order. All of them know of at least one place where information they recover can be safely delivered, and they are generally welcome in most institutions of knowledge.
The Order itself is centered in the Timeless Tower itself, a powerfully enchanted tower with seemingly infinite demi-planes accessible from permanent portals within. The highest authorities, the five Timeless Sages, hold their seat here and organize expeditions to recover specific information, while the Archives Master establishes standard organizational methods for member facilities.
In moments of danger, the Timeless Tower seems to vanish from all realms, returning only when it is deemed safe. This function does not answer to any mortal authority, and no god has claimed responsibility for it as yet. Members often speculate about the nature of this ability, attributing it to groups of gods or even sentience within the tower itself.

Membership in the Timeless Tower
Members of the Order of the Timeless Tower are not bound by a great deal of rules. They are honor-bound to protect and preserve knowledge, and to submit any discoveries they make to a member facility for proper recording and (if necessary) duplication. Beyond that, their methods for retrieval are unsupervised (though most local facilities will obey local ordinances so as not to be shut down), and what they choose to do with uncovered knowledge after ensuring its preservation is limited to their own personal beliefs. Some gather it for the sake of preservation only, while others scribe copies of their most arcane texts for distribution to wizards and other spellcasters. Still others make forgeries of famous artworks to sell to the upper crust, while the original is preserved deep within their local facility or the Tower itself.
When your character wishes to join the Timeless Tower, consider why the collection and preservation of knowledge is important to you. Work with your DM to determine locations affiliated with the tower that your character has encountered, and establish relationships with those locations.

The Order of the Timeless Tower

Character Level
Prestigious Rank

Improved Spellcasting, Bonus Languages, Home Facility

Advanced Spellcasting, Knowledge Surge

Timeless Lore, Perfect Recall

Rank 1: Initiate of the Timeless Tower
Prerequisites: Character level 5, must have delivered an item of lore (such as a book, scroll, or magical artifact) to a Tower-aligned facility and have peaceful relationship with the Order

Improved Spellcasting: When you take the first Rank of this Prestigious Order, you gain additional spellcasting ability. You gain a single 1st level spell slot, in addition to any spell slots granted by your existing classes. You can also cast the spells Comprehend Languages or Identify using any spell slot, as though it was a spell you knew or had prepared. If you do not have a spellcasting class, you use Intelligence as your spellcasting ability for spells cast using your bonus spell slot.

Bonus Languages: The members of the Order of the Timeless Tower study a wide variety of knowledge written in a wide variety of languages. You speak two additional languages of your choice, and can always identify a language you do not speak.

Home Facility: Your membership is based out of a Tower-aligned facility, and they will always provide simple services such as shelter, food, and healing, if it is within their ability. Additionally, you have advantage on Arcana, Religion, History, and Nature checks made within your Home Facility. In exchange, you are expected to report and deliver your findings to your Home Facility. Changing your Home Facility is possible by spending a week in the region of your new Home Facility, during which you introduce yourself to the local staff and establish your credentials through exchange of letters with your previous facility.

Rank 2: Queastor of the Timeless Tower
Prerequisites: Character level 11th, must have delivered a very rare or rarer magical item to your Home Facility, or undertake a special recovery mission for specific lore assigned by the Tower

Advanced Spellcasting: Your Improved Spellcasting ability now gives 2 1st level spell slots and a 2nd level spell slot. Choose a 1st or 2nd level spell from any class’s spell list. You now know that spell or have it permanently prepared (as appropriate for your spellcasting class). It does not count against your limit for spells known or spells prepared.
If you do not have spellcasting levels before taking this rank, the spellcasting ability for this spell is Intelligence.

Knowledge Surge: You can draw on uncountable knowledge thanks to your deepening connection to the Timeless Tower. When you must make an Intelligence check or a Wisdom (Medicine) check, you can choose to treat the result as if you were proficient and had rolled a 15 on your d20 roll. Once you have done so, you cannot do so again until you have finished a short or a long rest.

Rank 3: Cerezahl of the Timeless Tower
Prerequisites: Character level 17th, must have delivered an artifact to the Timeless Tower itself, or performed a special service at the request of the Timeless Sages

Timeless Lore: Your Improved Spellcasting ability now grants two 1st level, two 2nd level, and a 3rd level spell slot. You learn an additional spell, as learned in your Advanced Spellcasting ability, which can be a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level spell. Further, you can expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher and choose to view the past of an object, person, or location. You can view the object as it was up to one year per slot level ago. This effect requires concentration and lasts for up to one minute. As an action on your turn, you can target a different time within the range allowed by the slot.

Perfect Recall: You never forget anything you have read, heard, or seen, and always treat Intelligence checks as though you were proficient. If you already have proficiency in an Intelligence check, it is doubled. When you use your Knowledge Surge feature, treat the d20 as though it had rolled a 20.

2018-08-06, 10:25 AM
https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQh8yUplQZOhAFyL3SKWMrAnkUUtvbpJi54tQU8y3DWjoqGCI fwf6JP8UddTuSyeYG-FLmtzFW-CneH/pub

The Dragonslayers
A plate-wearing dwarf carefully hones his axe, knowing that its edge will be essential for piercing the hide of the powerful dragon he is about to face. Potions intended to protect him from its breath hang in a bandolier across his chest.
A slender archer prepares to face a hydra by studying anatomical sketches and recorded lore. Tomorrow, he will end the ongoing threat to this innocent town.
A gnome woman in simple robes traces a chalk line along the labryinth, guiding her return from the encounter with a powerful minotaur lord.

Strive Against the Mighty
The world is filled with many powerful and dangerous creatures, and the Dragonslayers’ primary reason for existing is to fight against those creatures. Fierce dragons, vicious hydras, powerful undead lords, cunning beholders; nothing is safe from the attentions of a Dragonslayer.
Almost as important to most Dragonslayers as the struggle against dangerous creatures is protecting the innocent from their wrath. Though evil Dragonslayers do exist that seek fame and treasure more than protection, most Dragonslayers are good or neutrally aligned, considering the protection of others to be a worthwhile cause in its own right.

Important Locations
The Dragonslayers, as an institution, do not have any significant locations other than their headquarters, commonly called the Hall of Heroes. To them, the most important locations are constantly changing, as powerful monsters set up lairs and are defeated.
Beyond their own headquarters, almost every training hall, adventuring guild, or warrior’s barracks has a Dragonslayer presence. These are not considered to be specifically important to the Dragonslayers, beyond needing places to interact with members in the field.
The highest position in the Dragonslayers is the Helmed Hero, who wears a distinctive helm, passed down from the first Slayer who founded the order. Beyond that, organization is almost entirely up to local chapters, but generally follows a loosely military chain of command.

Membership in the Dragonslayers
Dragonslayers swear no oath but to fight against monsters, and come from a variety of walks of life, though the special training offered by the organization heavily favors those whose martial mastery exceeds their arcane.
When your character wishes to join the Dragonslayers, consider why they have decided to dedicate their life to the opposition of such mighty creatures. Work with your DM to determine local chapters and types of threats.

The Order of the Dragonslayers

Character Level
Prestigious Rank

Keen Edge, Heroics

Fell the Mighty, Sword of Legend

Indomitable, Deeds of Legend

Rank 1: Fledgling of the Dragonslayers
Prerequisites: Character level 5, must have survived an encounter with a hostile non-humanoid creature of CR 8 or higher

Keen Edge: When you take the first Rank of this Prestigious Order, you learn to prepare your weapons specifically to fight against creatures you face. When you deal slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning damage, you overcome any conditional resistances or immunities to those damage types (your weapon counts as having any special properties necessary to ignore those damages and resistances, including magic, silvered, adamantine, or any other property). This has no effect on non-conditional resistances or immunities to those damage types (such as those granted by barbarian rage).

Heroics: Members of the Dragonslayers are known far and wide. Whenever you defeat a hostile non-humanoid which threatens a local settlement, you receive additional treasure in the form of gifts from locals threatened by that monster. You do not pay for a number of goods or services up to a total of 10gp per CR of the monster you defeated. In the event of a group of monsters threatening the locals together (such as a coven of hags), this effect only applies to the highest CR monster in the group.

Rank 2: Wyrmfighter of the Dragonslayers
Prerequisites: Character level 11th, must have defeated a hostile non-humanoid creature of CR 14 or higher with the aid of companions, or a hostile non-humanoid creature of CR 8 or higher by yourself

Fell the Mighty: When you deal damage to a hostile non-humanoid creature, you can choose to increase the damage dealt. For every 25 maximum hit points the creature possesses, you deal an additional 5 damage. Once you have used this feature, you cannot use it again for one week.
Sword of Legend: You can give a personalized name to a single weapon you own, or a single spell you can cast which deals damage. Whenever you deal damage with that weapon or spell, you can convert 2 damage dealt per rank in this order to Heroic damage.
Heroic damage ignores all resistances and immunities, and against non-humanoid creatures possessing any damage vulnerability, deals double damage. This damage is converted, not added.

Rank 3: Dragonslayer
Prerequisites: Character level 17th, must have defeated a hostile non-humanoid creature of CR 15 or higher possessing lair actions or legendary actions (as a group or by yourself)

Indomitable: Your ability to resist the effects of powerful monsters is beyond compare. You are proficient in any save made against a special ability other than spellcasting used by a creature with lair or legendary actions, and add twice your proficiency bonus to saves made against lair and legendary actions. Additionally, when you are at less than half of your hit point maximum, you can choose to restore yourself to half your hit point maximum as a reaction. Once you have regained hit points with this feature, you cannot do so again for one week.

Deeds of Legend: You no longer need to pay for goods and services with a base cost of 250gp or less. When you gain free goods and services with your Heroics feature, you get half that amount in precious stones, art objects, or currency, which you can sell or trade as normal.

2018-08-06, 10:30 AM

Florance, Breaker of the Leviathan
Florance is a longsword crafted of an unknown transparent blue metal. Etched markings seem to float beneath the surface of the blade, far deeper than should be possible given its razer edge, and shift as if viewed through rippling water.
A human soldier leads his company against the rising Cult of the Kraken. While his fellows fight the cultists, he moves to the center of the strange temple, where a monstrous hybrid awaits. Florance crashes in his hand as he charges the beast.
A dark elf waits by the prow of his ship. Stories claim that great sharks with the eyes of men have been attacking trade routes. When they come, Florance will send them back to the deep trenches where they belong.

History of Florance
Every culture with a strong nautical tradition or noteworthy encounters with aberrant creatures has stories of Florance. They call it by different names: The Sword of Tides, the Breaker of the Leviathan, the Crashing Blade. Each claims to have had a hero from their history who was the wielder of the blade, though some historians believe that some heroes may have in fact been the same person.
Different accounts claim different origins for Florance. Some say it was created by a powerful magic user of some seaborn race, for the subjugation of his peoples. Others claim the gods bestowed it on sailors to protect them against the threats of the oceans. Still others believe it to be a shard of the ocean itself given form. No scholar has uncovered its true origin, and some have even hypothesized that all of its stories are true, at one point or another.

Purpose of Florance
Florance’s original purpose is unclear, but one thing is certain: it provides the greatest abilities to one who wields it against the evil denizens of the ocean. It is especially effective against aberrant creatures coming from the ocean depths, and every story of it includes at least one encounter with a kraken.
Though Florance is not intelligent enough for communication, scholars do believe that it has some awareness, and the journals of previous owners report senses of satisfaction that were not their own as they wielded the blade against ocean aberrants. The most common account of such an emotion is a deep hatred of krakens.

Florance as a magic item
Florance is a magic longsword which grants the following benefits: When the wielder of Florance strikes a critical hit against any aberration, he deals an additional weapon die of damage. The wielder of Florance never suffers penalties to attacks, saving throws, or ability checks due to being underwater. Florance requires attunement to provide these benefits.

Florance: Breaker of the Leviathan

Character Level
Prestigious Rank

Sword of Tides
Deeper Attunement, Enhanced Blade, Tidal Force

Crashing Blade
Aberration Slayer, Enhanced Blade, Deepening, Blade Crash

Breaker of the Leviathan
Aberration Breaker, Enhanced Blade, Deepening

Rank 1: Blade of Waves
Prerequisites: Character level 5, must have attuned to Florance for at least one week.

Deeper Attunement: Florance’s true purpose becomes more revealed to you, and your attunement towards it no longer counts against your maximum number of attuned items. While you maintain this Deeper Attunement, you always know the location of Florance, and if it is within one mile of you you can summon it to your hand as a bonus action. This range is increased to 10 miles if you and Florance are both in contact with salt water.

Enhanced Blade: Florance now additionally counts as a +1 weapon. It also allows you to move in and over oceans with surpassing ease. While you maintain your Deeper Attunement, you can walk on the surface of water and gain a swim speed equal to twice your land speed.

Tidal Force: When you strike a creature with Florance, you can draw on the unrelenting force of the tides. The creature must make a Strength saving throw. It has disadvantage if it is on or in a large body of water (including if it is on a ship at sail). On a failed save, it takes an additional 5d6 bludgeoning damage and is knocked back 15 feet. On a successful save, it takes half of the additional damage and is not knocked back.
You can use this feature once, plus one additional time if you are on or in a large body of water. You regain both uses whenever you complete a short rest.

Rank 2: Crashing Blade
Prerequisites: Character level 11th, must have defeated at least twenty foes while sailing, walking, or swimming on or in an ocean or sea. Aberrations defeated in this way count for two foes.

Aberration Slayer: Florance grants you innate knowledge of the weaknesses of any aberrations. While you wield it, as an action you can observe an aberration. Doing so reveals all damage immunities, resistances, and vulnerabilities the creature possesses.
When you have used this feature on an aberration, your weapon attacks and special features from Florance ignore damage immunities and resistances of the target aberration.
Once, when you attack an aberration in combat, you can choose to automatically hit and deal a critical hit. You regain the use of this feature when you complete a long rest.

Enhanced Blade: Florance now additionally counts as a +2 weapon. When you deal bonus damage to an aberration on a critical hit, you now deal an additional two weapon dice.

Deepening: While you maintain your deeper attunement, you can now breathe both air and water, and you are immune to negative effects due to high pressure. Your Tidal Force ability’s damage increases from 5d6 to 8d6 and its knockback increases from 15 feet to 30 feet, and you gain an additional use of it both in and out of water (for 4 total uses in water).

Blade Crash: You may consume two of your uses of Tidal Force to activate this ability. As an action, Florance erupts in a geyser of slicing water. Make one attack roll with Florance against every creature within 30 feet which you designate. On a hit, a creature takes 2d10 damage plus your ability bonus for Florance. On a miss, a creature still takes half damage. Until the end of your next turn, Florance does an additional 1d10 damage plus 1 for every creature you hit with this ability.

Rank 3: Breaker of the Leviathan
Prerequisites: Character level 17th, must have fought an aberration with a swim speed and lair actions and dealt at least half of its maximum hit points in damage. Damage dealt by your allies counts towards this total as long as you are actively participating in the combat.

Aberration Breaker: When you use your Aberration Slayer ability to study an aberration, you can choose to Break that aberration instead. When you Break an aberration, all of its damage resistances are nullified, its damage immunities become damage resistances, and it takes triple damage, instead of double, from any damage vulnerabilities. These effects last for 1 minutes.
When you score a critical hit against a Broken aberration, you always deal maximum damage.
You may only Break an Aberration once. You regain the ability to do so after one week.

Enhanced Blade: Florance now additionally counts as a +3 weapon (this replaces the Enhanced Blade bonus gained at rank 2). When you deal bonus damage to an aberration on a critical hit, you now deal an additional three weapon dice.

Deepening: While you maintain your deeper attunement, you can now share your ability to breathe air and water and immunity to high pressure effects with a creature as an action. This benefit applies to them for 24 hours or until you end attunement with Florance. Additionally, your Tidal Force ability’s damage increases from 8d6 to 11d6 and its knockback increases from 30 feet to 60 feet, your Blade Crash ability’s damage increases from 2d10 to 3d10 and its range increases from 30 feet to 60 feet, and you gain an additional use of Tidal Force both in and out of water (for 6 total uses in water).

2018-08-06, 10:35 AM
Those are the samples I've got for now. They haven't been balanced as yet, but are intended to be very powerful especially at higher ranks.

I'd be interested in any thoughts you have (both on the core functionality of the Prestigious Ranks and on the actual Orders and Item presented here), and triply interested if anyone feels like taking a crack at making an Order or item of their own.

2018-08-08, 12:29 PM
Interesting. I've created something similar about an archaeologist society where u can learn new skills doing experience inside dungeon and other old ruins. More artifacts more experience in the form of points that u can spend to select what skill u wanna learn from a list. Based on a chosen thing u can become an expert of history, an expert of languages and so on.

However, i like ur system but i think that you should put more rank. From level 5 to level 11, for example, there is a huge gap and knowing that players want to be rewarded may lose interest after a while.

2018-08-08, 12:56 PM
Interesting. I've created something similar about an archaeologist society where u can learn new skills doing experience inside dungeon and other old ruins. More artifacts more experience in the form of points that u can spend to select what skill u wanna learn from a list. Based on a chosen thing u can become an expert of history, an expert of languages and so on.

However, i like ur system but i think that you should put more rank. From level 5 to level 11, for example, there is a huge gap and knowing that players want to be rewarded may lose interest after a while.

Would adding ranks at level 8 and level 14 be sufficient you think? I chose 5, 11, and 17 because those are the so-called "tier" increases, but I could split some of the upgrades up or down into a 5-level prestigious rank system.

2018-08-08, 01:42 PM
Would adding ranks at level 8 and level 14 be sufficient you think? I chose 5, 11, and 17 because those are the so-called "tier" increases, but I could split some of the upgrades up or down into a 5-level prestigious rank system.
Would be better in my opinion. I mean, at level 8 and 14 u can give some minor skill.
I'll try to transcribe my archaeologist society using ur system. Have u already tested this system in game?

2018-08-08, 02:21 PM
I'll look into modifying these into 5 ranks instead of 3. I haven't had a chance to playtest this as yet, no. Balance is probably a little off as a result.