Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Armoires and Armors and Initiative

Armors in 5e fill very specific niches. Light, medium, heavy.

Apologies for the formatting

For players who want their character to have a decent AC, there are only 3 types of armor worth wearing under standard 5e rules: studded leather, breastplates, and full plate. Why?

Well, it's rather self-explanatory using the chart. For Dex-based characters, studded leather lets them maximize their Dex bonus unless they fiddle with half-plate and the Medium Armor Master feat, which Brandes Stoddard goes over in his dissertation on medium armor. 

The breastplate is a better option than the half plate if you have to make any Stealth check throughout your campaign. Could the cleric Guidance you, or the bard Inspire you, or the rogue Cunning Action the Help action to remove the disadvantage and provide a bonus, you ask?
Yes, but they'll likely be helping...

...the fighter in plate armor who already has disadvantage and a meh Dex score because he put a good score in Strength. Seriously, though, 18 AC is really neato. Who cares about the enemy noticing the mobile metal statue when it's hard to get at his meaty insides?

This, for me, is part of the Dexterity imbalance of 5e. What with initiative modifiers, saving throws, and attack stats, Dex is a strong temptation for those positively modified ASI's. 

Here's my proposal: link Str to AC and initiative the same way that Dex is. The ASI used for initiative depends on the armor type you're using. 

Armor Class
Dex Armors (category)

Leather (type)
10 gp
11+Dex mod
10 lb.
Studded leather
45 gp
12+Dex mod
13 lb.
400 gp
13+Dex mod
20 lb.
Str Armors

Half chain
10 gp
11+Str mod
20 lb.
100 gp
12+Str mod
55 lb.
1,500 gp
13+Str mod
65 lb.
Mage Armor

Mage armor
0 gp
12 + spellcasting mod.

10 gp
+ 2
6 lb.

Right now, there're three categories of armor: light, medium, and heavy.

Let's abolish these three categories and replace them with two categories: Dex armor and Str armor. If you're not wearing armor, use Dex. Each individual kind of armor (leather, chainmail) is now an armor type.

Dex armor users will use their Dex score for initiative because its what helps them move faster in their armor. And Str armor users will use their Str score for initiative because Strength is what's moving that heavy armor, not Dexterity. 

(If you like the armor idea but not my initiative revamp idea, don't use the initiative stuff. I use a hacked version of Greyhawk Initiative because I like it better than the 5e standard.)

Mage Armor is a special case. Yes, this does mean that spellcasters who have access to Mage Armor will reap the rewards of not being encumbered by armor and be able to use their spellcasting modifier for initiative. But, I counter, they'll have to burn a spell slot for this privilege, and the best AC one can have with Mage Armor is only 17. Never as good as a breastplate or plate armor.

There are only 6 types of armor besides shields and mage armor, yes, but a lot of types on the standard 5e armor table weren't being used. You can reflavor your leather as hide or your chainmail as ring mail. Say that your plate armor looks like splint armor. Fluff is up to you. 

What armors do you get access to at level 1, you ask? 

You can be proficient in, at minimum, 2 types of armor if your race/class combo has access to only 1 or 2 5e standard armor categories. 

So, if you're a bard with access to light armor, then you get to choose 2 types of armor to be proficient in. If you choose the College of Valor as your subclass, you get access to 1 more armor type of your choice and shields.

If your race/class combo has access to 3 or more 5e standard armor categories then your armor proficiencies are equal to the number of standard armor categories you have. 

So, if you're a human fighter with access to light, medium, and heavy armor and shields, you get proficiency in 3 armor types of your choice and shields. That seems to be a good number.

Shields count as an armor category, and you can't pick up shield proficiency unless you have access to it through your race/class.

No double counting: if you're a mountain dwarf with Dwarven Armor Training and you're a fighter, you only get 4 proficiencies, not 6.

Optional rule: you gain another armor proficiency (if your class can access armor at 1st level) at 6th and 10th level. I think that's late enough in an adventurer's career to reflect accumulated experience and training. Alternatively, you can exchange ASI's for 1 armor proficiency (like a feat) or perhaps only give access to armor profs through training, which requires money.

You don't have disadvantage on stealth checks in any kind of armor. Yes, that does mean one can sneak around in plate, but plate armor doesn't become good until Strength hits 18 or 20. 

So how does one avoid munchkinry and a level 1 scrub waltzing away with a plate proficiency +plate?. Simple. Make your players make their characters the way the PHB tells us to. Either you're given limited funds (which is why a chain shirt and leather cost the same) or you're told to pick equipment and spells from a short list at the front of the class page. Basically Adventurer's League standard. I have all my players use the standard array to avoid munchkinry.

What if you're wearing armor you aren't proficient in? Well, one, you don't get to add your ability score modifier to its AC. Two, you have disadvantage on every check, attack roll, and saving throw. Three, if you're a spellcaster, your spells (this includes cantrips) run the risk of failing. 

Base AC:                
11 - 25% chance spell failure
12 - 50% chance spell failure
13 - 75% chance spell failure

I think that all the spellcasting classes that get no armor proficiencies (sorcerer and wizard) have Mage Armor on their spell list, so everyone's covered in terms of armor types. 

Obviously, this renders all class features based on "light, medium, and heavy armor" irrelevant. 

Barbarian's Rage: Instead of "no heavy armor", "no breastplate/plate armor". 

That's all the fixes I can think of? I covered "feats for armor proficiencies" above. Let me know if I missed a class feature that depends on armor type so strongly. 

I think this levels the playing field for all armors. If you use my initiative idea with this, then 5e D&D becomes less MAD overall. Would my initiative idea make Dexterity a dump stat for Strength fighters? Absolutely. But Dex saves are still among the most common in the entire game. 

This fix also gives barbarians more leeway with armor. Str barbarians can wear chainmail and use Strength for their initiative. Yes, their AC is boosted once they hit level 20 with that +4 to Str and Con, but the maximum AC a barb can have with chainmail and the capstone is 19.

If you're worried about too high initiatives, check out the Greyhawk Initiative UA. It's what I use with a few modifications. Put simply, it's weapon dice as initiative. 

I hope this clears up the issues people have with medium armor. 

Oh, you're wondering where the armoires are? Well, an armoire is a wardrobe that's larger than a person's wingspan. It's a good size for your best suit of armor. 

Treat your armoires well.

Sunday, January 27, 2019


One of my players riffed on how Mormons think that Jesus came to Mesoamerica first in the New World.

Joseph Smith was influenced by the first images of Mayan structures and stelae threading their way back to North America.

Disclaimer: This is not an insult to Mormonism, merely a parody. Please treat it as such.

In Requiem, Aurism is a branch of the Velamnan Sacerdote that treats writings on gold tablets of indeterminate origin as divine. The Sun Tablets encourage Aurists to raise up shining cities and populate them with believers. So, Aurists travel around, establish communities, which link back to older trading outposts, hopscotching around frontiers and other loosely settled places.


Aurist Spell List

1st level: ceremony, command
3rd level: enhance ability, warding bond
5th level: beacon of hope, spirit guardians
7th level: banishment, immaculate conception*
9th level: hallow, mass cure wounds

*my homebrew spell

Tend to the Flock
At 1st level, your words can galvanize and encourage your friends. You can spend 1 minute giving a speech while presenting your holy symbol. This speech affects a number of friendly people of your choice equal to your level plus your Wisdom modifier. Choose one of the following effects:

Incite Zeal - Creatures you choose gain a d4 that they can roll and add to an attack roll after the attack roll. Double the number on the dice if the target of the damage roll is a fiend, an undead, or a member of a religion hostile to the Aurists.

Inspire Resilience - Creatures you choose gain a d4 that they can roll and add to a saving throw before they make a saving throw. Double the number on the dice if the saving throw is against an effect generated by a fiend, undead, or a member of a religion hostile to the Aurists.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier per day and must take a long rest to recharge this feature. If the dice is not used after 1 hour, it expires. A creature can only have one of these dice at a time. At 13th level, the dice granted by this ability become d6’s.

Channel Divinity: Declaim Heresy
Starting at 2nd level, as an action, you choose one creature you can see within 30 feet of you, cursing it until the end of your next turn. The next time you or an ally of yours hits the cursed creature with an attack, the creature has vulnerability to all of that attack's damage, and then the curse ends.

Gifts of the Spirit
Starting at 6th level, when the cleric gives a buff or debuff, you can bestow that effect on one additional creature within range (that creature makes its own saving throws if required).

Flocks of the Patriarchs:
Starting at 8th level, you can cast the “Wedding” ceremony spell on an Aurist up to a number of times equal to the man's Wisdom modifier, bonding a different person every time. The effect remains for that specific partner (as long as the human is within range) until either partner is deceased.

Motivation of Zion:
Starting at 17th level, you may cast one spell of 3rd level or lower that buffs or debuffs a target that requires concentration. This spell does not require concentration for its duration and does not use a spell slot.

Immaculate Conception
4th level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V,S,M (fine linen swaddling worth at least 10 gp)
Duration: Special

You touch a willing female humanoid or female beast. They are instantly impregnated with a fetus appropriate to their race, ethnicity, or species that is halfway through its normal gestation cycle. Flip a coin. On a heads, the fetus is female. On a tails, it is male. The fetus is healthy, and is born at the appropriate time. 

If the female creature is unwilling, the spell fails. If cast on a male humanoid or beast, willing or unwilling, the male must make a Constitution saving throw against your spell DC. On a failure, they are incapacitated for 1 minute. On a success, they are stunned for 1 turn. 

Aurist children have several paths ahead of them because their role inside the flock isn't predetermined by their biological sex. When children turn 12, and become young men and women, they choose between 6 roles: the matriarch, the patriarch, the wife, the husband, the missionary, and the priest.

Matriarchs are women who dress in what we would think of men's clothes, wear false beards, smoke fine tobacco in grossly enlarged pipes, stamp around in boots polished to a deep, abyssal shine, and guide their husbands and children. 

Patriarchs perform the exact same role as matriarchs: namely overseeing farming logistics, trade manifests, negotiating caravan contracts, voting in the colony council, arguing over the finest ways to age whiskey, comparing minutely the various qualities of different plugs of tobacky, and acting as jurors, among other various duties and responsibilities. They are males.

The wives are females who take care of food preparation and childrearing, staff the various shops in each colony, and dutifully attend to the crafts needed to keep a colony running: smithing, breeding, farming, brewing, and other sundry pastimes.

The husbands are males in women's clothes who perform the same roles as wives, keeping their faces scrupulously shaven, powdered, and their hair long (or wigs long, depending on their age).

Missionaries are those brave souls who push the boundaries of the known and owned world to find property to found new colonies on. They are traders, dressing in the glistening golden paraphernalia of the stereotypical Aurist, quaffing much, making merry, laughing, haranguing, and beating a path to the door of every rube and unknown element in Requiem, seeking every advantage. 

If the matriarchs and patriarchs are the lub-dubbing hearts of every flock and colony, then the priests are the gossamer souls. They keep the confidence of every Aurist in their pillowy cotton robes, and when called upon to pass sentence upon their fellow Aurists for crimes against the colony or outsiders, act as judges, gaolers, and executioners. They can be either male or female, but all priests shave their heads, and may not take a husband or wife. They renounce all familial ties during their shrivening at 18.

Matriarchs and patriarchs may take as many husbands or wives as they wish, though 6 is a normal number. Wives and husbands married to the same matriarch/patriarch may have intimate relations with each other but not with other wives and husbands or matriarchs/patriarchs. 

Every child born within a nuclear Aurist family is born of either a husband or a wife, regardless of biological sex. When matriarchs become pregnant, they designate a husband or wife as the mother of the child to the entire community. This husband or wife is required to wear a special girdle to carry their child. 

In a similar vein, when a child is born of a matriarch, the husband or wife carrying the child emulates the process of birth, generally by being louder than the matriarch. 

The process of regrowth after the demon wars has been steady. That's not much comfort in the face of staggering losses in the wars (upwards of 70%) so the Aurists are pushing boundaries again, angering the tribes of the Comancheria and piquing the attention of the Altepetl's inquisitors in the process. 

The Seven Heavens have long, bitter memories of their near-dominance, and they dream of tamed plains, subjugated savages, and the inevitable march of Christendom. 

They will accomplish these things with a dull, booted tread, as they did before. Long live Lord Lucifer. Long live Prophet Gabriel. Long live Michael, the Iron-Shod Angel. Blessed be those who strike down the enemies of the Lord. 


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