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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Tuning an IED racial ability



PhoenixPhyre
2018-11-13, 01:55 PM
So one group of hobgoblins in my setting is known for being technological and often using explosives (crude, basically black-powder charges). So I want to have a sub-race with an ability like that. But I think I'm overcomplicating it tremendously. Help?

The important parts of the race/subrace:
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Hobgoblins
Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Memory Fragments. When you make an Intelligence check to remember something, you can make the check at advantage as long as you can apply your proficiency bonus to the check.
Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark or dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You canít discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.

Dynastic Sub-race
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2.
Extra Proficiency. You gain proficiency in alchemists' supplies.
Improvised Explosives. You carry around a pack of materials for creating explosives and tinker on your long rests. You can spend 1 minute to plant an explosive device with a 30-foot trigger cord. When you pull the cord as an action it explodes with a noise audible for 300 feet. All creatures in a 30-foot cone in a direction you choose must make a Dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus. On a failed save they take 2d10 thunder or bludgeoning damage and are knocked prone. On a successful save they take half damage and are not prone. The damage dealt increases to 3d10 at level 6, 4d10 at level 10, and 5d10 at level 15.

Alternatively you can pack the explosives against an object, also taking 1 minute. When you detonate it as an action, it explodes, damaging the object as if it failed its saving throw above. Make an Intelligence check against a DC of 10. For every 5 by which you beat the DC, the damage done increases by one die. This damage is doubled against structures.

Once you use this feature in either mode you must complete a long rest before you can use it again.

jiriku
2018-11-13, 07:45 PM
Trying to define a consumable item as a class feature is tricky business.

I might recommend defining the explosive charge as a common magic item and granting the ability to create it with alchemist's supplies.

On the other hand, there's no reason why anyone with the right training couldn't do the same thing, so you might instead have a Mad Bomber background that grants proficiency with alchemist's supplies, a written schema describing how to make the item, and access to a hobgoblin organization that can serve as a regular supplier of the raw materials the background's special feature.

Yeah, on reflection this makes more sense as a hobgoblin-specific background rather than a racial trait.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-11-13, 09:25 PM
Trying to define a consumable item as a class feature is tricky business.

I might recommend defining the explosive charge as a common magic item and granting the ability to create it with alchemist's supplies.

On the other hand, there's no reason why anyone with the right training couldn't do the same thing, so you might instead have a Mad Bomber background that grants proficiency with alchemist's supplies, a written scheme describing how to make the item, and access to a hobgoblin organization that can serve as a regular supplier of the raw materials the background's special feature.

Yeah, on reflection this makes more sense as a hobgoblin-specific background rather than a racial trait.

The idea is that the item is like a wizard's component pouch. Theoretically they're scrounging the materials to make a new one every long rest in the same way the pouch never runs out of powdered bat guano. I guess I can make that clearer or delete the reference.

In this setting, "technology" is really personal magic--it's not the particular combination of chemicals that does it, it's catalyzed by the soul of the person. So it can be sorta taught, but everybody does it differently.

I have an "alchemist/mad scientist" class that takes this idea and runs with it. The "inventions" really wouldn't work for anyone else, at least not for long.

ATHATH
2018-11-14, 07:05 AM
Attach 10 of these to the end of a plank of wood over the course of ten minutes (as there's no cooldown on the ability or any stated limitations about how long the explosives can last), tie the cords of the explosives together, then point that plank of wood at someone you don't like and pull the (tied) cord.

Why does this need to be a racial trait and not a Common magic item that you can craft using the magic item crafting rules?

PhoenixPhyre
2018-11-14, 07:15 AM
Attach 10 of these to the end of a plank of wood over the course of ten minutes (as there's no cooldown on the ability or any stated limitations about how long the explosives can last), tie the cords of the explosives together, then point that plank of wood at someone you don't like and pull the (tied) cord.

Why does this need to be a racial trait and not a Common magic item that you can craft using the magic item crafting rules?

It specifically says you can't use it again until the end of a long rest. So that's 10 days. But yes, I'd need a limitation, probably max 1.

But yes, I can see that the design is unsatisfying. Back to the drafting table for this sub-race, I guess. I do want something either explosives, mechanics, or invention-themed, and an active ability...

jiriku
2018-11-14, 08:15 AM
How about copying the dwarven Stonecunning and tool proficiency features?

Inventor's Knack
Whenever you make an Intelligence check related to recognizing or understanding explosives or mechanical devices, you are considered proficient and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal bonus.

Tool Proficiency
You gain proficiency with the a tool set of your choice: alchemist's supplies, smith's tools, or thieves' tools.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-11-14, 11:35 AM
How about copying the dwarven Stonecunning and tool proficiency features?

Inventor's Knack
Whenever you make an Intelligence check related to recognizing or understanding explosives or mechanical devices, you are considered proficient and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal bonus.

Tool Proficiency
You gain proficiency with the a tool set of your choice: alchemist's supplies, smith's tools, or thieves' tools.

I thought of things like that, but they'd be seriously situational because they're the main group that actually uses mechanical or explosive things. Their culture is at the forefront of the (non-spell-based) tech curve in the area right now.

ATHATH
2018-11-14, 04:23 PM
It specifically says you can't use it again until the end of a long rest. So that's 10 days. But yes, I'd need a limitation, probably max 1.

But yes, I can see that the design is unsatisfying. Back to the drafting table for this sub-race, I guess. I do want something either explosives, mechanics, or invention-themed, and an active ability...
Oh, missed the long rest cooldown bit. Sorry.

You could use the Alchemist subclass of the UA Artificer class as an inspiration.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-11-15, 08:05 AM
Oh, missed the long rest cooldown bit. Sorry.

You could use the Alchemist subclass of the UA Artificer class as an inspiration.

I've been using my own Savant (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eNH1DpxdNWDSXCmGlJ7Ks-4WD2dOQrj43mv1Ftba-pU/edit?usp=sharing) class (non-magical artificer) as inspiration, and I think I'm going to go a different direction.

New Traits (replacing the current ones except the ability scores):

Tool Training: You are proficient in one artisan's tool of your choice.
Gadgeteer: You have the schema for one of the following and start play with it constructed. Replacing it requires the listed cost.

Motorized grappling hook
Replacement cost: 50 gp. Replacement time: 18 hours.
This grappling hook is attached to 50ft of fine wire and a launcher/handle. Together it weighs 6 lbs. When fired at any point as an action within the wireís reach, it flies unerringly and attaches. At any point within the next minute you can use your reaction to activate the reel, lifting up to 400 lbs that are attached to the handle. This interrupts any ongoing actions. If you donít use the reel within one minute, it retracts the hook.

Mechanized Door Opening Kit
Replacement cost: 100gp. Replacement time: 18 hours
This kit consists of a gear-and-spring-driven pry-bar and a mounting mechanism. When placed against a locked or barred door or container and activated, it latches on and pries the latch open slowly. This effect takes one minute and can be canceled at any point. It is very loud in operation, creating whirring and clicking noises audible out to 100 feet. Against barred doors, roll a d100. On a roll of 50 or lower it fails to open the door and cannot be retried for 10 minutes. When used against a magically-locked door, it fails on a roll of 75 or lower and on a failure is damaged and unusable until the end of a long rest.

Emergency Parachute
Replacement cost: 100 gp. Replacement time: 18 hours.
This gadget packs into a standard backpack and deploys as a reaction. While the parachute is deployed, you fall at 30 feet per round and take no falling damage and land on your feet. While falling in this way, you can move up to 10 feet per round horizontally as well. The parachute can be attacked--it has an AC of 12 and 15 HP, with invulnerability to bludgeoning damage and poison damage and vulnerability to piercing. If it is reduced to 0 hit points while deployed, the slow fall effect ends. An intact parachute can be packed and reset in one minute; a destroyed one cannot be reused until the end of a long rest.

jiriku
2018-11-15, 11:01 PM
These are fun little options. My head is filled with hobgoblin dark knight vigilantes and secret agents with a license to kill.