War of the Burning Sky 5e Player's Guide Preview!

War of the Burning Sky 5e Player's Guide Preview!

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War of the Burning Sky 5e Player's Guide Preview!


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Happy <Insert Holiday Here>!

As you may know, War of the Burning Sky will soon be released for 5e. We will be targeting a roughly monthly release in PDF form (inluding printer-friendly letter and A4 formats for printing into a binder) and on Roll20. For those of you interested in this amazing adventure path from EN Publishing, think of this preview as an early holiday gift. The artwork, content, and cover layout are not final.

And for those of you really interested in the adventure path or who enjoy developing new rules material for 5e, this is also a bit of a public beta. I would appreciate any feedback you would have on the new rules material included in the campaign guide. This material will be with the players for ~2 years. So I would like to make an extra effort to ensure the material is not under- or over-powered and fits with the general way that 5e handles things. The preview will be up for about 1 week.

Finally, for those in the world that use A4 paper on a regular basis, what is the "most standard" version of a punch that would allow the printer-friendly versions to fit in a binder. In other words, what are the size of the holes, their number, and their spacing from each other and the edge of the page?

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

EDIT: I have incorporated several of the points of feedback. Highlights include:
* The Gate Pass Backgrounds have been stripped of everything except the features and are now called "Connections."
* The Wayfarer Cirqueliste is now a bard college.
* Several adjustments have been made to the language of the Commander archetype and Leader Feats.
* The like lightning, storm shield, and ​telekinetic thrust spells have been added.
* A lot of fluff from the 4e player's guide was added.
* The New Rules Material chapter was reorganized to follow the same order as the SRD (for the most part).
* Guild Sympathizer feature clarified to work with Wisdom (Perception) checks.
V3
* The leader feats have been folded into the Commander archetype.
* East and West Wind Style feats now only contain requirements for Sorcerer and Cleric and a cantrip respectively.
* Gabal's Superior Missile and War Mage specify that you use the Ready action for their special modes.

For those familiar with the War of the Burning Sky 3.5 and 4e covers, which style do you prefer between the 3.5 style, 4e style, and the full size artwork on the draft 5e version?
  1. Lylandra
    Wow, thanks for the preview. Didn't expect to see a first draft so soon.

    Overall: Good job. I'm really looking forward to see the AP come to life again

    Still, you asked for feedback, so I'll give it a try. First, I'm not really a 5e expert when it comes to actual experience with the edition, so I'll leave the balance fine-tuning to someone else and provide more general thoughts.

    For the rules:

    Backgrounds: Using the old Gate Pass feats as new backgrounds is a sound idea, but I don't know if it is the best one. Originally, the feats were pure bonus for players who chose to integrate their character into Gate Pass (thus making the DM's life easier). Now they are replacing one concrete feature of character creation and I don't know if too many players would actually take them.

    I also don't know if every Gate Pass background feat has enough meat on its bones to warrant being a full 5e background which symbolizes the origins of a character. And "festival organizer", for example, doesn't provide with a complete origin that evokes a story. Others, like Guild sympathizer, are fluff-wise simply another version of the criminal background with different benefits.

    Oh and one thought, if you wish to keep that one as background: the War Mage really needs something else than the Sage in the skills/languages/proficiencies section. Gabal's school is all about stance, physical posture, discipline etc. and not so much a typical bookish wizard school.

    Now having WotBS specific backgrounds is a neat idea. But maybe they'd work better as general backgrounds from all over the world. When I read through other groups' campaigns (and thinking of my own group), players are seldom simply humans born and raised in Gate Pass. They wish to play a Shahalesti elf or a Dasseni dwarf veteran or a Innenotdar or Taranesti survivor or maybe even a Ragesian rogue inquisitor or a monk from the monastery of the two winds. Question is, which character background warrants a fully fleshed out background option?

    Feats: As I said, I am no expert in 5e balance, so take my feedback in this section with a grain of salt.

    What I found a bit unusual were the prerequesites of the feats. The leader feats have more demanding prereqs in comparison to other 5e feats and if I remember correctly, 5e abandoned any kind of feat chain and players seldomly use more than 2-3 feats.

    As a quick thought, I'd cut the "ability to cast shocking grasp" from the East Wind Style feat, even if it fits thematically. The spell itself is never used within the feat's application.

    For the leader feats, I'd consider using the PHB feat Inspiring Leader as entry point. I don't really know whether the feat is considered strong or weak, but the Leadership Performance feat is definitely stronger. Plus Legendary Leader basically incorporates the effect of the Inspiring Leader feat. I'd also let Leadership Performance be entirely CHA-based. I don't see a reason why all casters should have an innate advantage on leading their allies over martial characters.

    I'm not sure whether Iron-Willed Leader is worth taking for it is really situational to use. Necrotic Leader and Primal Leader are too weak without adding an ability score increase. In addition, you could consider baking them into one.

    Commander:
    First, I really, really like it that this class became a fighter archetype.

    What I did find quite odd however was that Widen Command also applies to a feat, Leadership Performance, which is purely optional (and there are groups out there who play without allowing feats at all). As I'd say the Commander might not be the strongest archetype, maybe giving it the effects of Leadership Performance as feature might help. Especially as I'd say that Implicit Command feels kind of weak considering the fact that basically everyone in WotBS speaks common and the feature doesn't remove the INT 3 restriction.

    Wayfarer Cirqueliste:
    I really don't know if you want to open the Pandora's Box that is Prestige Classes and release it onto 5e. I assume you didn't know whether the WC would be better suited for bard or for sorcerer as a starting class and it was kind of unique to WotBS. I also understand that you don't want to make it a class of its own as the flair of the WC was that story-wise you could just join the Wayfarers and go for it.
    But I'd really consider making the WC a bard "college", considering the fact that former PrCs Arcane Archer and Eldritch Knight are both fighter archetypes despite the latter having a spellcasting progression of their own. Maybe start with giving it misty step as bonus spell known and give it your suggested list of WC spells as additional spells known option.

    Gabal's superior missile: The way it is right now would make it 100% superior (hehe) to Magic Missile. If this was your intention - maybe as a benefit for joining Gabal's school, then mission accomplished.

    For the Fluff:

    The 4e player's guide has some added details that could be considered adding to the 5e PG.

    First, it has a section on the eight temples or shrines of the eight gods plus some priests running it. There is also a neat myth on what really sparked the Resistance against Coaltongue.
    While you could always change the names (other than Burun Watcher and Biggs they are never mentioned again), giving the temples at least names and suggestions for the corresponding god's portfolios will help aspiring divine characters. When I started the campaign, I didn't bother to look for the 4e material first and had to put up everything on my own when it came to Divine stuff (a pantheon etc.) besides the four Spirits. Maybe even add a "sample pantheon" (for example, there was a Red Archer mentioned in the Prologue) for those who don't want to bother inserting one of their own.

    Then there is a section on races (where they can come, how other people see them etc.) from which is always useful for players. I don't know if you wish to integrate all PHB races - the 4e version did this, but had some strange side effects on the campaign as Dragonborn felt tucked on despite having the opportunity to weave them into the Elemental Myth or connect them with the existing dragons. But maybe consider stressing out that Shahalesti view High Elves as superior and that all noble Shahalesti are High Elves or that Drow are... basically unheard of which is why playing one needs extra considerations etc.

    The section on the other lands of the setting is also slightly more detailed and includes the Wayfarers (which is not a bad idea when you wish to integrate the Cirqueliste into the PG). There are some sections which you'd like to leave out like the relationship of the old Khagan with a tribe of Dragonborn, but adding at least something about Ostalin (yep, my players also asked me "what about Ostalin?" right at the beginning) should be worth it, especially if many half-elves stem from there.
  2. Tormyr
    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    Wow, thanks for the preview. Didn't expect to see a first draft so soon.

    Overall: Good job. I'm really looking forward to see the AP come to life again

    Still, you asked for feedback, so I'll give it a try. First, I'm not really a 5e expert when it comes to actual experience with the edition, so I'll leave the balance fine-tuning to someone else and provide more general thoughts.

    *snip*
    Thank you for the feedback, especially as you have run the campaign. There are a lot of interesting ideas in the old player's guides that provide unique (and somewhat powerful) options. I especially like how much of the focus is on teamwork. Here is a bit of what I was thinking when I was putting this together:

    Backgrounds
    The 3.5 Gate Pass bonus feats tie into Gate Pass nicely, but more importantly in my view, they mostly focus on teamwork with backing up your allies. I am looking for each PC to have the option of a strong tie to Gate Pass even if they started life somewhere else. Complete strangers would not be asked on the starting mission after all. The Player's Guide mentions that a GM might also have the players choose backgrounds from another source (the PHB or elsewhere) and get just the feature from the Gate Pass backgrounds. Maybe it is better to just make that the standard option and ditch the background portion of it? That is basically what was done for Zeitgeist 5e with the starting themes.

    Feats
    With some of the feats (and the Wayfarer Cirqueliste), the training takes a basic ability and makes it an innate part of their powers. East Wind Style takes shocking grasp and adds its damage to Stunning Strike; Shining Warrior makes combat use of the light spell; and Wayfarer Cirqueliste boosts misty step. West Wind Style would have had a requirement for a low-level wind spell, but there is not really a good option within the SRD. West Wind Style and East Wind Style could also probably work well as monk archetypes, but they would need some new content written as there is not enough in the feat to spread out over the levels.

    The Leader Feats only have 1 chain through Leadership Performance which has no prerequisites, and the Inspiring Leader feat is not an option because it is not in the SRD. The other Leader Feats all either boost or use the limited resource from Leadership Performance so need that feat first. Necrotic and Primal Leader have a niche use where they boost a Necromancer, Ranger, or Druid. In their case, the prerequisite was there to keep someone from taking a feat that just would not apply to them, but I would think a necromancer or someone who could command animals would be very powerful with those feats.

    I am not sure what you meant with Leadership Performance being entirely Charisma based and how casters come into it unless you meant the Necrotic and Primal specializations.

    As for Iron-Willed leader being weak, I will change the language to make its effect add on to a regular Leadership Performance rather that the either/or that it is now.

    Commander
    The 3.5 Commander class and its Widen Command ability were also tightly coupled to the Leader Feats. The idea that I saw and wanted to preserver/magnify is that someone who really wants to use the Leadership feats probably needs to look at the Commander class to reach its full potential. In 5e, the Commander becomes a Charisma-based archetype of the Fighter because that is really the only class that has enough ASIs to choose a majority of the Leader Feats. The kind of player that wants to play a Commander is someone who is focused on making the team shine.

    Good point about Implicit Orders. I will check if there is another feature from the 3.5 class that would work better.

    Wayfarer Cirqueliste
    I added this to the player's guide more recently as I had been thinking of holding off until the chapter where the Wayfarers pop up but decided to include it up front to help people plan their characters. I did think about both a Prestige Class as well as a bard College and had settled on the prestige class because the audition shows up in a later chapter and I was thinking about keeping the audition as the entry point. Hearing a new voice reinforcing the idea of the bard class reinforces that may be the better way to go and that restricting the Cirqueliste until later in the campaign is not really necessary. There is a lot of bonuses that I will need to pare down to fit that unique theme into an archetype though.

    Spells
    I knocked around Gabals Superior Missile a bit and settled on the current implementation after a while. It has two limitations over a regular magic missile: the range is halved and you have to concentrate for a full round to use the homing version. During that time you are not doing anything and are vulnerable to losing concentration and a round of damage. I could put a prerequisite of Gabal's school, but I figured that a sorcerer or wizard with that on their spell list had passed through Gabal's School for training at some point.

    Fluff
    Thank you for pointing this out! I had missed that there were new subsections in the 4e player's guide as the general structure was the same.
  3. Lylandra
    Yep, I'm also a fan of teamwork a la PF teamwork feats or the 4e leader types or buffing allies as with the bardic inspiration or your take on the commander.

    I don't know exactly how 5e Zeitgeist handles the theme feats (they were bonus feats in PF), but giving the Gate Pass background features as a bonus for those who'd like to integrate into the city's factions sounds like a good plan. It offers players an incentive to tie their characters to Gate Pass, whereas a simple option might get ignored.

    Feats:
    Ah, totally forgot that shocking grasp is a cantrip in 5e. My bad, I assumed it was a 1st level spell.

    For West Wind/East Wind style: As feats they work just fine and follow the original idea of providing an option for monk multiclass characters. Making them monk traditions could also work within the story if they'd get some sort of casting progression (arcane for East Wind, divine for West Wind) to keep the hybrid aspect of both schools as Pilus is monk/sorcerer and Longinus is monk/cleric (specialized in divination).

    I also just thought that the 17 Cha for Legendary Leader is pretty hard to obtain for any non-cha user, especially when feats replace your ability increases and you're playing with arrays or low-medium point buy. In 3.5 and PF ability increasing items were quite common and I don't know if this is still the case in 5e with its limit on how many items you can bond to a character.

    And yes, the Leadership Performance as prereq for the other leader feats makes sense

    I'm still not really sure about the Necrotic and Primal Leader as I don't have the experience of how many minions a Necro or a Summoner Druid will command on average. To have an effective feat, I suppose that they would need at least as many minions as they have party members who are neither undead nor animals (the original number of targets the Leadership Performance would affect). What's also to be considered is the fact that other summoned creatures, like elementals or outsiders, can be affected by just using Leadership Performance without requiring another feat. Plus Druids and Rangers might not have the best Cha scores anyway.

    What I meant with "entirely cha based" was referencing to the following part of Leadership Performance: "You can use your leadership performances between short or long rests a number of times equal to your spellcasting ability modifier".
    I would change the last paragraph to Charisma modifier, because martial characters don't have a spellcasting ability modifier.

    Commander
    Mh, could you not replace one specific fighter ASI with Leadership Performance? Or am I thinking too much in terms of Pathfinder archetypes here? Because the way the archetype is written right now, Leadership Performance is kind of mandatory (and rightfully so) without explicitly stating it.

    Oh and one more thing: Am I correct to assume that the Seela race will be covered in the Campaign Guide? I remember hinting at a "fey race that once lived in the Fire Forest" and some members of that race living in Gate Pass, but decided to hand my players more info should they be interested in playing one. So I guess it might best be put into the DM's hands.
  4. Matthan
    I love WotBS and have been running it in 5e for a while now. I never bothered with a direct conversion of a lot the player material though so Iím really interested in what youíve come up with. Iíve got the 3.5 and 4e versions pulled up too. My plan is to go through, compare, and offer my thoughts as they come. Hopefully, one or two will be helpful.

    Page 1: I like the broader margins versus the 3.5 version. The 4E version has a lovely header that would look nice brought over. I prefer the two columns of this and the 3.5 version over the 4e. The footers and page numbers of the 4e version pop more as well. This is my first time really looking through the 4e version. I didnít realize that they had shifted Shahalesti into an Eladrin nation. That might be an interesting idea to consider as you think through the conversion. Perhaps the Shahalesti are high elves and the remaining Taranesti are a different subrace (Wild perhaps or a new subrace with some connections to shadow)

    Page 2: Again, the 4E version pops much better with its header and footer. It is also more visually distinct and useful with the gray sidebar that breaks down Gate Pass into quick game information. The 4e version also provides additional information not present in the 3.5 version. In your position, I would copy the 4e sidebar instead of the 3.5 stat block. I donít recall seeing that kind of city statblock in 5e and the 4e one conveys a lot more information.

    The 4e version has a nice introductory paragraph that helps to give a sense for how common the knowledge included is. Thatís something worth copying.

    Your first paragraph under ĎTraditions and Cultureí is missing an indent.

    The 4e version contains a section on race relations regarding Orcs, Half-Orcs, and Humans. This may be particular to some need within 4e that I am unaware of, but it might be useful to include how the various races are considered in Gate Pass and give a section to it.

    The Districts, Walls, and Gates section has a nice flavor text snippet in here that helps set the scene in the 4e guide (page 3 of the 4e guide). I would use that though I would probably keep the font uniform throughout the snippet.

    I would quibble about the DC 19 Strength (Athletics) check at the bottom of page 2. I would convert from the 3.5 Ė 25 climb check to be either a 17 or 18, but thatís honestly a quibble.

    Page 3:

    This whole section has better structure in the 4e guide. I would copy that structure.

    I like the inclusion of the City Map. My guess is that you donít have access to old image files to edit, but I would prefer that the map not include the Poison Apple Pub (though the 4e version includes an even more explicit map so probably a wash).

    I like the stats for the wall and gates. They fit the 5e mode (kudos for remembering about Damage Thresholds). I would quibble about the DC 26 Strength Check. I would put it around 23 or 24 and include (Athletics). Still, just a quibble.

    The 4e version includes material describing the east and west walls that would be useful to include.

    The 4e version includes material describing the Typical Gates (first paragraph) that would be useful to include.

    Page 4:

    The 4e version includes another flavor snippet under ĎCity History and Mythsí. I would include it.

    I really like the ĎFamous Mythsí box. I do wonder if you could add a little texture to the red (see the 4e version), but that would be at the risk of printer friendliness. I would play with the ĎFamous Mythsí title in the black portion. Possibly shift the font, increase the size, and/or center it. Iím not sure what would look the best, but the title needs to pop more.

    Under ĎThe Wavering Maidení, ďThe Tidereaver Kraken seeks to exploreÖĒ should be switched to sought.

    Page 5:

    I love the ĎFestival of Dreamsí box. Same notes apply as to the ĎFamous Mythsí box, but the art chosen is lovely, evocative, and immediately draws your attention. I would love it if the art more fully matched the size of the box (see the 4e guideís layout), but I think you may be constrained by your layout program here.

    I went back and looked. You arenít indenting the initial paragraph of your subheadings, but you did back on page 1 for your main heading. I would encourage indenting all your paragraphs (pedantic, I know).

    The 4e version includes a rundown of actual temples in the city. The gods are still left general to fit the APís goal of being able to plug into a DMís chosen cosmology, but they add a great bit of flavor to the city. I would include them.

    Page 6:

    I love the addition of the griffon art, but I do wish it wasnít quite so square. I recognize that youíre at the mercy of the art you have though. I would feel better about it if it wasnít in the middle of the page. Iím not sure if you could move text around to get it at the bottom of the page, but I think it would look better there.

    ĎGabalís Schoolí Ė the 4e version expands Gabalís scorn to warlocks as well. That seems worth keeping.

    ĎThievesí Guildí Ė who doesnít love Rantle? Is there any art of him that could be slotted in here? The picture that appears on page 8 of the 4e version maybe?

    I like that you move the Gate Pass feats to a different section of the book.

    Page 7:

    The 4e version makes the decision to include the regional map at this point. I think thatís a better choice. It gives an immediate visual to what youíre reading. I also like the 4e version of the map. They touched it up a little to give it some flavor.

    The 4e version includes an extra few sentences describing Ragos that might be worth including.

    I would prefer a sidebar for Ragos in line with how 4e dealt with Gate Pass above.

    Page 8:

    ĎThe Inquisitorsí mentions asking your GM about their abilities being available to PCs. I very much hope that you follow up on that with rules later in the document or in the campaign guide. A former Inquisitor fleeing from Leska is a great character concept.

    I would like to see some of the inquisitor art here instead of moving onto the Shahalesti. The 4e guide has one and I remember a very cool ink drawing of one in the campaign. Either would really help sell the villains.

    Again, I would love a sidebar for Calanis even if small.

    Page 9:

    The 4e version contains an extra paragraph on how Shahalesti tends to act during times of war which is helpful.

    Page 10:

    Bresk would be well served with a sidebar and including some short snippets of the eight feudal holdings and their leaders would give PCs a chance to plug their characters into the setting (I had a PC who wanted to be a noble so I had her be Galloís daughter which worked wonderfully).

    Let me continue to commend you for choosing to move all game mechanic content to a separate section.

    ĎSindaireí Ė I would love a sidebar for Turinn and a name for the Exarch. I canít recall if he/she is named in the campaign, but details like that help especially when alliance building.

    Youíre missing Ostalin entirely. It should be between the Knights and the Monastery.

    Page 11 (New Rules)

    The 4e guide has a fantastic introduction in this section (page 8 of that guide) that would be helpful to you. I would strongly encourage you to use the section that talks about the various races and where they fit in the world (editing the Eladrin section, of course).

    I do think some custom backgrounds could be a great addition to the guide. I donít think taking the Gate Pass feats and turning them into backgrounds is the way to go. I would consider using the Theme approach that Zeitgeist did (which you mention above). If you do that, then the abilities given are fine. If you keep them as backgrounds, the features are out of line with the core rules. Background features are almost always just flavorful things for your character and do not mechanically impact combat. Your backgrounds break that convention and, if kept, should be edited. You make note of that fact, but continue with it regardless. 3PP are held to a high standard for balance. You need to earn the trust of your potential customers. Donít break with standard conventions here. Use the theme framework instead.

    The abilities as written are fine for bonus feats at first level with a few exceptions.

    Calvary Errant has unlimited usage (just restricted by action economy), but is a fringe benefit. Itís probably fine.

    Civic Minded needs further restrictions. As written, it is copying the Mastermind rogueís 3rd level ability. Itís to strong for a bonus feat. Limit it to once per short or long rest and you should be fine.

    Student of War is to strong for a bonus feat. It would be fine for a real feat that costs an ASI, but not for a bonus feat. Consider tweaking it to focus on spell dueling. Off the cuff, I would say allow for a PC to roll an arcana check to identify a spell being cast once per round without using their reaction. As per Xanatharís, that would allow a PC to identify a spell before casting Counterspell (which RAW is not possible at the moment though probably highly houseruled)

    The Lookout is vague. What ability check is to be repeated? Iím guessing you want them to be able to reroll Perception versus the enemies Stealth, but clarity would be welcome here.

    All that said, custom backgrounds that fit the campaign would be awesome. Lyceum student (or Gabalís Graduate), Taranesti survivor, Ragesian deserter, etcÖ

    Page 12:

    Since you have moved all game content away from the setting information (which is the right decision), you should bring some of that information back into the item and ability descriptions. For example, Shatterspell should be noted as being a tool of the Inquisitors. Itís also probably underpriced for what it does. Consider how the 4e version details it (13) mentioning that it is difficult to find outside of Ragesia and increasing the cost. It is basically a Dispel Magic (a third level spell). 50 gp is not enough for that. It essentially functions as Spell Scroll of 3rd level (Uncommon), but anyone can use it by throwing. I would price it at the high end of Uncommon at 500gp.

    I personally donít like the approach you took in converting the feats. Iíll offer my thoughts one by one.

    East Wind Style: The prerequisites are off base with standard 5e. I donít like the idea of requiring Multiclassing before the feat is taken (multiclassing was part of the benefit in 3.5). I would just limit the prerequisite to Monk and grant the Shocking Grasp cantrip as part of the feat.

    However, my actual preference is that you would look at the 4e paragon paths and consider making a Monk subclass for East Wind (vicious, tempestuous, Cha over Wis, and lightning) and one for West Wind that fully exploits the ideas there (Healing, movement, flight).

    Shining Warrior: I would drop the prereq and grant the cantrip, Light, as part of the feat.

    Again, my full preference would be a subclass for the Solei Palancis the fully exploits this idea (see the 4e paragon paths), but that may be beyond the scope of your project.

    Spellduelist: This feels weak for a feat. I would probably shift this idea towards the Themes and the bonus 1st level feats and move the War Mage feature here for this feat. Though I still prefer being able to freely identify a spell being cast as being more useful and evocative for spell dueling than the deceit here. As written, this feels incredibly niche.

    Vow of Healing: seems fine though the technical language seems unwieldy. I would have to spend time to figure out if there is a more elegant way to phrase it.

    West Wind Style: See my notes on East Wind Style and my full preferences there. If kept as a feat, I would drop the Cleric prereq. I would drop the Fly spell bit and just keep the ki expenditure for fly speed. I might add the ability to simply cast Fly as per the spell for a cost of 4 ki (requiring a full action instead of bonus).

    Page 15 and 16 Spells:

    Cancel: This made sense as a spell in 3.5 with how they handled countering spells, but is not useful in 5e with how Counterspell is available. I appreciate that you have balanced it for second level (increased range, requiring an action and a reaction, requiring concentration), but I donít feel itís necessary. It was initially designed for the Inquisitors. I would move this to an Inquisitor ability (presuming that you are designing options for PCs to able to use in that regard). I would probably start with the idea of being able to Cancel (use Counterspell) as a cleric Channel Divinity and move off from there for how it would look as a class option for the various classes. That might actually be the most intriguing way to develop the Inquisitors. Instead of designing full subclasses or a separate class, you could make a few alternate class abilities that would replace other class abilities. Might be beyond your scope though.

    Duelistís Etiquette: This is mostly fine, but you need to specify that the ability only functions on magical effects that are cast or summoned within the circle. Otherwise, you could cast it in combat and the enemy mage 80í away could cast Fireball on you and it would be turned into non lethal damage without him having the ability to end the spell by entering it.

    Gabalís Superior Missile: This was balanced in 3.5 by making it 2nd level. I would follow that pattern. As is, it is not balanced as a first level spell regardless of the restrictions that youíve added. It is superior to Magic Missile and should be a higher level. I would balance it by holding it against Magic Missile at first level (which this has to be superior to) and Scorching Ray at second level (which should have better potential damage since it requires an attack roll). The extra abilities (hit behind cover and always hit) safely put it beyond Magic Missile and make it 2nd level. However, the damage doesnít feel right to me. Consider that Scorching Ray has a range of 6-36 and requires an attack roll. Gabalís has a range of 6-16 without an attack roll. That range seems to low for second level. I would drop the 1d4+1 per missile for a 1d6. That shifts the range from 3 to 18. Scorching Ray is still viable, but you donít risk missing. I would actually like to shift each Missile to 2d4-1 to give you a range of 3-21, but I donít know if there is precedent for subtracting from damage.

    Stand the Heat: This is a perfect conversion and fills the narrative role it serves perfectly.

    Page 16: Magic Item:

    Potion Bracer: This a great conversion.

    Page 16: Leader Feats:
    I really do not like feat chains. Iím opposed to this design on that ground alone. I think you would be better served with a class or subclass design. Perhaps creating a suite of replacement class features that can be chosen with minimum level prereqs. Iíll still go through the feats.

    Leadership Performance: This is fine. It requires some record keeping, but itís balanced. There is a problem with how many times you can use it being tied to your spellcasting modifier when you may not be a spellcaster and take the feat. I would tie it to either Cha mod or Proficiency Bonus.

    Iron-Willed Leader: Since you are using your Leadership Performances as a resource, you may want to reword the initial feat a bit to make it more clear that you are going to be using it as a resource. I donít like feat chains so I donít like the interaction with the prior feat. If I was designing it, I would shift the first ability to be something like when you or an ally within 30í of you have to make a saving throw against a mind-affecting effect, you may spend your reaction to inspire either yours or their mental resolve granting them advantage on the saving throw.

    For the second ability, I would keep it as is, but I would make it independent of the prior feat. I would allow the ability to be used Cha Mod times per rest (minimum 1).

    Legendary Leader: I know this has high prereqs including an additional feat, but this feels to strong for a feat. The Dodge bonus action alone is kind of massive. I feel like this needs a redesign. Youíre granting a persistent +3 (at least) to a lot of rolls with the only caveat being they remain within 30í. That would stack with a Paladinís auras too, I believe. Then, for another expenditure, your giving temp hitpoints and Dodge (disadvantage on attacks on you) for a bonus? Itís a lot and itís really powerful. Iím not sure youíve considered how strong that would be.

    Maneuver Leader: I would decouple this from Leadership Performance and limit it to 1/ short or long rest. Alternatively, I would limit it to one ally and allow for a number of uses equal to your Cha mod per rest.

    Necrotic Leader: There is nothing in Leadership Performance that would limit it from being used on mindless undead that you count as allies. Note that you deleted the Intelligence requirements of the 3.5 version. As written, this feat is useless. If you adjust, then this still feels weak for a feat. It also doesnít make much sense outside of a mechanical idea. How do you give a rousing speech to mindless undead? I think this was a poor design choice in 3.5 and should probably be dropped in 5e. If you keep it, it needs to be boosted somehow because 5e doesnít really allow for the hordes of undead that necromancers would make in 3.5. It still happens, but not to the same scale.

    Operation Leader: Your prereqs have proficiency in Stealth and Deception and then the text questions whether you have them. Drop the prereqs and drop the request for proficiency in skills. The abilities are fine regardless of proficiency. Decouple it from Leadership Performance and give the final ability a 1/rest and an hour duration. You might be fine to pop it up to Cha mod/rest.

    Primal Leader: Suffers the same issues as Necrotic Leader. As written, this is a useless feat.

    Spellwise Leader: I think youíve overbalanced this. Decouple it from Leadership performance and set the prereq as the ability to cast a spell. Have the ability cost your reaction with all the other requirements (target someone with a spell that has already been targeted by a spell that round) and allow it to be used spellcasting mod times per rest.

    Page 18: Commander Class

    Youíve designed this class to directly interact with your leadership feats. Why not go the whole way and take that design and attach it to this class? Take some of the feats/ASIs of the fighter and replace them with leadership abilities. Everything else seems fine though Tactical Genius may be to strong. Scratch that, it is to strong. I just looked up other 18th level abilities. Giving all allies (no cap) an extra immediate full turn is game breaking strong. You need to rethink that one.

    Page 18 and 19: Wayfarer Prestige Class

    Please do not make a prestige class. Make it a bard subclass and feature some feats that can be taken if someone joins the Wayfarers. I donít even want to read for balance. Prestige classes should stay in 3.5. They did not test well for 5e. Donít bring them back.

    There you go. Thereís my thoughts. That took longer than I thought, but I hope its helpful.
  5. ArchfiendBobbie
    My review:

    Organization

    The organization of the product up until the New Rules Material section is pretty good. There are a few minor problems, as noted by others, but nothing that isn't a quirk or minor irritation. Really, you could leave most of it alone.

    The New Rules Material section could use a massive reorganization. I would suggest changing the order to Backgrounds, Archetypes, Feats, Leadership Feats, Prestige Classes, Magic Item, and then Spells. The current organization makes one think you mistakenly put the spells and magic item in the middle of the feats section. And having the archetypes placed earlier has people thinking more along the lines of those when selecting feats.

    Also, the art is sometimes placed oddly. However, this is the same complaint I have about the core DnD products, so your product is not out of line with the core material. Feel free to ignore my art complaint.

    Backgrounds

    For the most part, they are good.

    I am uncertain the point of the Festival Organizer background; it seems like it wouldn't be a true background at all, given the limits of it. Maybe fold it into another background?

    The effect of the War Mage background makes me think it would be far better reworked as a feat than being left as a background.

    Feats

    I have to admit the odd base requirements threw me for a moment, but I had a similar reaction to racial feats from XGTE at first. It is purely not being used to 5E feats having any real requirements beyond a base attribute score. So, I would not change the requirements of the regular feats. Just don't be surprised if people have the same reaction I had.

    Now, comes the downside... Speaking about the Leadership Feats.

    Speaking purely from a playing perspective, the entire Leadership Feat section is worthless. They are usable as written, but run into the problem that every feat is going to have with 5E: Feats come at too high a price to take more than two or three of them in a character's lifetime. That means that any feat tree, no matter how many feats it involves, is going to be at a massive disadvantage in 5E when compared to all of the feats that are not part of a tree. I would suggest considering feat trees to simply be dead in this edition.

    I would suggest taking the entire Leadership Feats section back to the drawing board. If you want to keep them as feats, remove Leadership Performance and rework all of the others as stand-alone feats. But given the concept I see you are working on, I would suggest instead reworking that entire section as a bard archetype; what you have would be a perfect archetype feature set.

    Fluff

    East Wind Style and West Wind Style I must call out right off the bat. The fluff for those two perfectly justified their odd class requirements once I thought about it a moment.

    I also like the way you connect the Spellduelist to Gabal.

    Those two, to me, perfectly show off the writing level of this product. Despite my earlier complaints about organization and a certain feat set, I would buy this product purely for the fluff. It also is one of the best player's guides I've read for an adventure path, just due to the amount of setting material it includes. That alone justifies buying it.

    The amount of setting material is useful in another fashion: Character backgrounds. Someone making a character who wants to set it in Gate's Pass or another area related to the AP would have no trouble writing up a character background with enough information to fit. It also makes it easier for a DM to adapt to odd things the group will do, since they have more information to draw from and thus less on-the-spot prep work they need to do in order to keep the campaign flowing.

    My only complaint might be that there isn't enough fluff about the area, but this is a player's guide and not a setting guide.

    On The Whole

    Overall, despite what negative things I had to say up above, this is not a bad product by any stretch of the imagination in its current form. The final product should be worth the money easily.
  6. Tormyr
    Quote Originally Posted by Lylandra View Post
    Yep, I'm also a fan of teamwork a la PF teamwork feats or the 4e leader types or buffing allies as with the bardic inspiration or your take on the commander.
    *snip*
    Once again, thank you for your feedback. Here are a few more thoughts regarding what you brought up:

    Backgrounds
    5e Zeitgeist has flavor text and a "half-feat" rather than full backgrounds. I have done the same thing in version 2 of the draft player's guide I just posted.

    Feats
    Legendary Leader does have steep requirements, but its benefits are powerful. Keeping the bonuses for up to an hour, granting temp hp, and granting Dodge as a bonus for up to an hour is huge. To gain that, the fighter has to have a 17 in a non-standard ability score and two feats. With a character created with a standard array will generally have to put their 13, 14, or 15 (depending on race) in Charisma and use 3 of their 5 ASIs (7 as a fighter) to get this and cannot get it before 8th level. That holds them back as a regular fighter and forces a choice between being a better fighter or being a Commander who turns the party into a more effective fighting force.

    Primal Leader and Necrotic leader are also powerful if there is a necromancer or druid in the party. Necromancers and Druids can raise an army, and I think that extending the Leadership Performance should be behind a second feat.

    Commander
    The commander can function without any leader feats. They can skip Charisma, just use Direct Orders every turn, and mostly be a normal fighter. The 3.5 Commander did give leader feats as part of the class, but there is not really room in the Martial Archetype for it, and there needs to be a bit of cost for the powerful abilities. The Commander, being a fighter archetype, has the ASIs to take full advantage of the Leader Feats, but they will be an "average" fighter. As an example, I do not think a a Commander will never be a GWM fighter with a huge Constitution score.
  7. Morrus
    I'm really happy to see the enthusiasm for a 5E WotBS!
  8. Matthan
    Iím on my phone so please forgive the brevity, but Legendary Leader is terribly broken in its current state. Compare it to Foresight (a 9th level spell) and it outperforms it in almost every way and can be done multiple times. A half elf hex blade warlock could have it online by eighth level and essentially have access to an ability more powerful than a spell available at eighteenth. As written, it is stronger than most class capstones. It does not fit 5e as is. Conversion sometimes have to look towards the spirit of something more than just the mechanics. You need to scratch the design and ask yourself what would a Legendary Leader look like in 5e? Honestly, you need to ask yourself that with a lot of your design. Youíre hewing to close to the 3.5 paradigm and being to rigid with the initial design. 3.5 was designed to be feat heavy and that design was asking what a fantasy leader would look like in that system. You need to walk away from the prior guides and ask how you would meet the fundamental question in 5e. What does a fantasy leader look like in 5e?
  9. Tormyr
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthan View Post
    I love WotBS and have been running it in 5e for a while now. I never bothered with a direct conversion of a lot the player material though so Iím really interested in what youíve come up with. Iíve got the 3.5 and 4e versions pulled up too. My plan is to go through, compare, and offer my thoughts as they come. Hopefully, one or two will be helpful.

    *snip*

    There you go. Thereís my thoughts. That took longer than I thought, but I hope its helpful.
    Wow, thank you. That was extremely helpful. I considered everything carefully and made many adjustments based on your feedback. Here are some places I decided to still keep things close to their original version and some of the reasons why. Feel free to tell me whether you still think the options are somewhat off balance. It may look like I said, "I am not so sure about that," a lot, but it is because you gave me so much good feedback to work with.

    Paragraph Indentation
    I think it is common to not indent the opening paragraph of a section. That is the default in my application and also the default in the WotC books. I do not have a copy of any Manuals of Style to reference, but I imagine that the commonality is not a coincidence. The exception seems to be that the first paragraphs of chapters are indented unless there is a drop capital letter. I just decided to stick with the default.

    City Sidebars
    I took your advice and mined the 4e player's guide for content and shifted the city stat blocks to sidebars or paragraphs as the 4e version had them. There is not really time to write up new content for a loss-leader product.

    Gate Pass Connections
    Civic-Minded: The intent here was to bring forward the 3.5 bonus feat rather than duplicate the Mastermind feature (which I had not been aware of). I am thinking that the feature only helps in combat, because anyone can take the help action out of combat without needing a proficiency. The power of this is to make the Help action a bonus action. More often it means that it will be used to Help grant advantage to the next attack from an ally. It only helps with one attack, and to use it consistently, the PC must be within 5 feet of a target. This probably means they are going to be hit a lot.

    War Mage: I believe this ability is balanced by two things: the cancel spell, which any spellcaster can take, and the fact that you cannot move as part of your reaction. Any spellcaster must stay in the open when they are charging a spell. Because the spell has a casting time of 1 action, it is already cast, and the spell slot has been used (the same as if your ready a spell). If you take damage and fail the concentration check or are hit by cancel, you lose the spell slot. So it is powerful, but there are ways to counter it, and enemies are aware of them.

    Feats
    East/West Wind Style: I put the multiclass requirement in on the suggestion of one of my players. The reasoning was, "This only works for a multiclassed character. If you put the prerequisite on it, people will not take it when they cannot take full advantage of it." While it does make the transition a bit clunky and require some planning, it fits the flavor and enables a multiclass option that would otherwise not work (at least for East Wind Style).

    Shining Warrior: Because of the Shahalesti origin of the feat and their magical focus, I wanted to keep the light cantrip requirement. This essentially means that it is only open to High Elves, Eldritch Knights, and other combinations that have access to the cantrip and use a weapon. In some ways it is "racial feat lite".

    Spellduelist: I think this is the balancing force to all the counterspelling that will go on in this campaign. A spellduelist has more control over whether someone will counter their spell. If no one tries to counter the spellduelist's deception or they are all fooled, the spellduelist can safely cast their spell. If someone realizes the deception, the spellduelist can switch down to a cantrip or a different action other than a spell and not risk the spell slot.

    Spells
    Cancel: There were a couple reasons I kept this. 1) Inquisitors can use one of their Channel Divinity uses to counterspell. There are significantly fewer of those in 5e. This gives them a second option. 2) It is available to all spellcasting classes. 3) It provides a counter to spells that have a casting time longer than 1 action or abilities that enhance a spell when the casting is extended beyond 1 action.

    Duelist's Etiquette: I forgot to update this. While the casting time is 1 minute, and characters would have trouble using it in combat, I see your point and will clarify that further.

    Gabal's Superior Missile: While the 3.5 version was as second level spell, it had an additional dart, and from caster level 3 it had the same number of darts as magic missile. From that point on it was exactly the same damage as magic missile aside the differences were in the special mode and the range. 3.5 magic missile had a range from 110-300 ft. based on caster level while Gabal's ha a range of 30-125 ft. Comparing this with 5e, magic missile has a slight increase over the 3.5 baseline at 120 ft. I did not think the 5e Gabal's would really work at 30-40 feet. In the end I went for half the range of magic missile although I suppose I could knock it back to 50 feet, but that means the effective range is 5-10 feet less (or more) when having to go around cover. Even though you can fire from cover, it does not stop someone from lobbing in an area effect spell to make you lose concentration, use cancel, or have all targets run out of range. All of which would cause the spell to be lost.

    Leader Feats
    I reworded a bunch of them. Anything that references a 1-minute speech should now stack with the original leadership performance benefit. By the way, did you notice the restrictions on leader feats in general under the section heading? I thought that would restrict Necrotic Leader and Primarl Leader to being necessary (although I did add the living keyword to clarify things since undead got smarter in 5e). I really wanted to keep the Leader Feats and Commander archetype separate so other classes could use Leader Feats and someone could be a Commander that only used Direct Orders if they wanted to. I get the reaction to feat chains, but I wanted to keep the Leader Feats somewhat powerful, and that means (at least to me) that there has to be a higher cost to get the rewards.

    Legendary Leader: While powerful, I think it is okay for a several reasons: 1) you still need a 1-minute speech, so it is not available on a whim. 2) It can be hard at times to stay within 30 feet of each other. 3) It will take most characters 3 ASIs to get it which usually means 8th level at the absolute earliest. 4) It only lasts an hour, which means that there will be many occasions that it does not cover more than one encounter. 5) Most PCs will only have 5 of Leadership Performances per day. 6) The bonus action Dodge is taking up the bonus action that the allies might want to use for something else.

    Iron-Willed Leader: I rewrote this a bit. The first benefit now stacks with leadership performance. I kept the second benefit as is because it allows you to use your Charisma (Performance) check (which you have advantage on) to stand in place of the saving throw. This allows you to counter difficult saving throws such as those by high-level dragons which your allies may be mathematically unable to counter.

    Maneuver Leader: This and the second benefit of Iron-Willed leader use a leadership performance partially because of how powerful they are. This provides a mini nova damage for the party. With this, the Commander has to decide whether to use this to help take out an enemy now or have another use of legendary leader later (or vice-versa).

    Necrotic Leader / Primal Leader: I think the clarification I added to living targets for the Leader Feats in general helps here. This is designed to work with necromancers / druids. These two are specifically called out as magical because it is more than your words of your speech that help. It is your (or your ally's) magical connection to the undead / beasts that allows the feat to work. The speech is more for yourself or your ally. It is definitely niche, but a dozen skeletons or wolves under the boost from leadership performance (skeletons with 17 temp hp and Dodge as a bonus action!) would be very powerful.

    Spellwise Leader: The only reason I think this would not be over-balanced is that it could allow a Commander and a couple of spellcasters to wipe out a legendary creature's legendary resistances in a couple rounds. I also think I might go back and switch the language to, "targeted by or took damage from a spell from another ally." This would allow two area of affect spells in succession to force disadvantage on a saving throw to an entire group.

    Operations Leader: I took out the prerequisites and reworded it a bit but kept Stealth and Deception in for their respective benefits. This way you can still have the coordination benefit at the least.

    Commander
    I want to keep the Leader feats separate from the Commander for a few reasons: I want the Leader Feats to have a real cost to them that only the Commander can take advantage of to their full potential. 2) I want a player to have the option to have a non-Charisma Commander that only uses Direct Orders. I think the other Leader Feats are too powerful related to their cost if Commanders get Leadership Performance for free.

    Tactical Genius is very strong, but I am not sure if it is overwhelmingly so. In essence it is a free surprise round once a day that excludes the Commander as it only helps their allies. It starts at 18th level. So players will only see this in the last 2-3 chapters. Additionally, while it is allows any number of allies within 60 feet to act, that does not have as much of an effect in this adventure path. Each encounter is balanced for 4 PCs and contains a note on how to scale the encounter so the challenge is roughly the same for parties of different sizes than 4 PCs. While a large party will get lots of free attacks or opportunities to buff each other, the encounter should be able to take it.
  10. Tormyr
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthan View Post
    Iím on my phone so please forgive the brevity, but Legendary Leader is terribly broken in its current state. Compare it to Foresight (a 9th level spell) and it outperforms it in almost every way and can be done multiple times. A half elf hex blade warlock could have it online by eighth level and essentially have access to an ability more powerful than a spell available at eighteenth. As written, it is stronger than most class capstones. It does not fit 5e as is. Conversion sometimes have to look towards the spirit of something more than just the mechanics. You need to scratch the design and ask yourself what would a Legendary Leader look like in 5e? Honestly, you need to ask yourself that with a lot of your design. Youíre hewing to close to the 3.5 paradigm and being to rigid with the initial design. 3.5 was designed to be feat heavy and that design was asking what a fantasy leader would look like in that system. You need to walk away from the prior guides and ask how you would meet the fundamental question in 5e. What does a fantasy leader look like in 5e?
    Thanks again for the feedback. I will sit back and think some more about this before the final version goes live.

    For the reasons I currently do not think it is broken:
    1) you still need a 1-minute speech, so it is not available on a whim.
    2) It can be hard at times to stay within 30 feet of each other.
    3) It will take most characters 3 ASIs to get it which usually means 8th level at the earliest.
    4) It only lasts an hour, which means that there will be many occasions that it does not cover more than one encounter.
    5) Most PCs will only have 5 Leadership Performances per day.
    6) The bonus action Dodge is taking up the bonus action that the allies might want to use for something else.
    7) It costs 2 or 3 ASIs / Feats depending on character build. This is a major sacrifice on the PC's part to boost the party.
    8) It does not work on the PC. Only the allies get the benefits.
    9) The allies are kept in fireball formation.
    10) It can be used against the party by an NPC.

    While it has similarities to foresight a spell I have a lot of experience with as a DM (one of the PCs would cast it on the GWM fighter with a Defender greatsword - blender mode activated), there are some significant differences.
    1. Allies can still be surprised.
    2. It does not cover ability checks.
    3. Enemies only have disadvantage on attack rolls if the ally takes Dodge as a bonus action.
    4. It only lasts an hour instead of 8.

    Right now the design of the Commander archetype and Leader Feats are pretty close to what I want for them in terms of philosophy.
    1. They trade personal improvement for the betterment of the team.
    2. They can be powerful.
    3. They have a high personal cost.

    Legendary Leader is also pretty close conceptually to where I envision it. I see a PC with Legendary Leader as being able to coordinate a team to unlock their fullest potential. The team becomes something akin to the Spartans in 300 or the Avengers at the beginning of Age of Ultron. I welcome some thoughts as to how it could be altered. At the moment I would like:
    1. To keep the Leadership Performance requirement.
    2. To keep the high cost with 2 feats (and maybe an ASI depending on character build).
    3. Keep Dodge as a bonus action and the temp HP.
    4. Keep some sort of ongoing benefit for the allies being near the leader.

    There are two ways I could think of pulling back on Leadership Performance and Legendary Leader
    1. Have Legendary Leader require concentration with advantage on maintaining the concentration. The idea being that the benefit is through continuing to give orders and encouragement to everyone nearby, but if that string of commands is broken the effect ends. This makes the Commander a target.
    2. Have the benefits of Leadership Performance not stack with Paladin auras. As an example, if the ally is under the effect of your leadership performance and a paladin's aura that provides the same or better bonus to saving throws, they use the paladin's bonus for the saving throw and it does not count against their 5 rolls.
  11. Tormyr
    Quote Originally Posted by ArchfiendBobbie View Post
    My review:

    Organization

    The organization of the product up until the New Rules Material section is pretty good. There are a few minor problems, as noted by others, but nothing that isn't a quirk or minor irritation. Really, you could leave most of it alone.

    The New Rules Material section could use a massive reorganization. I would suggest changing the order to Backgrounds, Archetypes, Feats, Leadership Feats, Prestige Classes, Magic Item, and then Spells. The current organization makes one think you mistakenly put the spells and magic item in the middle of the feats section. And having the archetypes placed earlier has people thinking more along the lines of those when selecting feats.

    Also, the art is sometimes placed oddly. However, this is the same complaint I have about the core DnD products, so your product is not out of line with the core material. Feel free to ignore my art complaint.

    Backgrounds

    For the most part, they are good.

    I am uncertain the point of the Festival Organizer background; it seems like it wouldn't be a true background at all, given the limits of it. Maybe fold it into another background?

    The effect of the War Mage background makes me think it would be far better reworked as a feat than being left as a background.

    Feats

    I have to admit the odd base requirements threw me for a moment, but I had a similar reaction to racial feats from XGTE at first. It is purely not being used to 5E feats having any real requirements beyond a base attribute score. So, I would not change the requirements of the regular feats. Just don't be surprised if people have the same reaction I had.

    Now, comes the downside... Speaking about the Leadership Feats.

    Speaking purely from a playing perspective, the entire Leadership Feat section is worthless. They are usable as written, but run into the problem that every feat is going to have with 5E: Feats come at too high a price to take more than two or three of them in a character's lifetime. That means that any feat tree, no matter how many feats it involves, is going to be at a massive disadvantage in 5E when compared to all of the feats that are not part of a tree. I would suggest considering feat trees to simply be dead in this edition.

    I would suggest taking the entire Leadership Feats section back to the drawing board. If you want to keep them as feats, remove Leadership Performance and rework all of the others as stand-alone feats. But given the concept I see you are working on, I would suggest instead reworking that entire section as a bard archetype; what you have would be a perfect archetype feature set.

    Fluff

    East Wind Style and West Wind Style I must call out right off the bat. The fluff for those two perfectly justified their odd class requirements once I thought about it a moment.

    I also like the way you connect the Spellduelist to Gabal.

    Those two, to me, perfectly show off the writing level of this product. Despite my earlier complaints about organization and a certain feat set, I would buy this product purely for the fluff. It also is one of the best player's guides I've read for an adventure path, just due to the amount of setting material it includes. That alone justifies buying it.

    The amount of setting material is useful in another fashion: Character backgrounds. Someone making a character who wants to set it in Gate's Pass or another area related to the AP would have no trouble writing up a character background with enough information to fit. It also makes it easier for a DM to adapt to odd things the group will do, since they have more information to draw from and thus less on-the-spot prep work they need to do in order to keep the campaign flowing.

    My only complaint might be that there isn't enough fluff about the area, but this is a player's guide and not a setting guide.

    On The Whole

    Overall, despite what negative things I had to say up above, this is not a bad product by any stretch of the imagination in its current form. The final product should be worth the money easily.
    Thank you for the feedback. In particular, the feedback about organization I used and rearranged the New Rules Material section to mirror the SRD's order.

    I reworded several of the Leader Feats. I do not know if that makes a difference to you. While I think the Leader Feats are quite powerful, I also realize the sacrifice involved is not for everyone. From a fluff standpoint, the Leader Feats do not work as a Bard College because it is supposed to be a military soldier / commander. Additionally, I already moved the Wayfarer Cirqueliste into being a Bard College.

    Hopefully I answered any of your other feedback in the earlier responses.
  12. Matthan
    I want to respond more fully when I have more time tomorrow, but I do want to give you two things to think through. Consider what Legendary Leader does and try to find something published by WotC for 5e that does something of a similar scope. The only thing I could think of was a 9th level spell. I think that should be a strong indicator about the balance we're dealing with here.

    The other thing that I would like you to consider is how much of your design is balanced around your assumptions. You should not be balancing mechanics based on the AP. That's poor design. Your feats, spells, archetypes, etc... should be viable regardless of the game. You don't design something overpowered and then try to constrain it narratively. That just frustrates the player and DM. Balance it up front.

    One last thing and I promise that I will more fully respond tomorrow. Every piece of feedback (which I admit is small) has had issues or concerns with the feat chain concept. The folks who are responding at this point are your core fans and most likely to be early adopters of the work. If they are having issues with the concept (regardless of balance), then that should be a concern you take seriously. It doesn't mean abandon it, but recognize that this guide will be your one chance to convince folks to buy the rest of your work. You don't want to give them excuses to write you off and expect problems. You want to leave them impressed and trusting you. 3PP already has an uphill fight. Don't give folks an easy way to write you off.
  13. ArchfiendBobbie
    Quote Originally Posted by Tormyr View Post
    Thank you for the feedback. In particular, the feedback about organization I used and rearranged the New Rules Material section to mirror the SRD's order.

    I reworded several of the Leader Feats. I do not know if that makes a difference to you. While I think the Leader Feats are quite powerful, I also realize the sacrifice involved is not for everyone. From a fluff standpoint, the Leader Feats do not work as a Bard College because it is supposed to be a military soldier / commander. Additionally, I already moved the Wayfarer Cirqueliste into being a Bard College.

    Hopefully I answered any of your other feedback in the earlier responses.
    You have answered it, for the most part.

    The problem I have with your feats is that, for the most part, there's a simple question of why I would bother. Why would I take Necrotic Leader and its prerequisite just to get the effects of one feat on the undead, when I can take two other feats and gain two different advantages that advance me farther? The same question applies to just about every single one of them. It's that line of thinking, and one which will go through a lot of player's minds, which will work against these feats.

    The fluff reasons also don't really stand up well. The College of Valor in the PHB already covers the idea of bards going into battle under one aspect. It's already established within the game that bards can be in the military, so I see no reason why there can't be one that is more leadership focused. The Bardic Inspiration ability even mentions using stirring words to inspire.

    I do think you have a good idea with the Leadership Feats as far as what they do, just not as a feat tree.
  14. Lylandra
    First: Thanks for putting up your V.2 that quickly

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchfiendBobbie View Post
    You have answered it, for the most part.

    The problem I have with your feats is that, for the most part, there's a simple question of why I would bother. Why would I take Necrotic Leader and its prerequisite just to get the effects of one feat on the undead, when I can take two other feats and gain two different advantages that advance me farther? The same question applies to just about every single one of them. It's that line of thinking, and one which will go through a lot of player's minds, which will work against these feats.

    The fluff reasons also don't really stand up well. The College of Valor in the PHB already covers the idea of bards going into battle under one aspect. It's already established within the game that bards can be in the military, so I see no reason why there can't be one that is more leadership focused. The Bardic Inspiration ability even mentions using stirring words to inspire.
    Yep, that was my thought as well. Necrotic and Primal are so incredibly niche. The situation where someone uses Legendary Leader to buff a Zoomancer or Necromancer will be utterly rare. First, you need someone in your party who wants to play a summoning Necro or a summoning Druid specialized in animals. Then you need this character or someone else (most certainly a commander because of the ASIs) who takes a 17 Cha and three feats just to be able to buff the zoo. And the latter case is already the more likely scenario.

    Now we all know that adventuring parties can be volatile. Players change, PCs die or someone wants to play something else etc. And WotBS is a very, very long AP. It will very well take you 2 years+ to play from adventure 1 to 12. And I'd feel sorry for the commander with Necrotic or Primal Leader should his summoning buddy bite the dust.

    I do have to defnd the commander as fighter archetype however. Because in my fantasy there should be a martial leader type out on the battlefield who's bolstering his allies and using tactics to win. We didn't get the Warlord in the XGTE and it could have replaced the need for a Commander entirely. As you said, Bards have the College of Valor and the College of Swords. They are already out there inspiring their allies. So let's give the Fighter the opportunity to become more supportive.

    So now for a bit feedback of the new PG:

    Cirqueliste College - I like it. You could mention Sheena Larkis, the current leader of the Wayfarers, in the fluff text because your WC player might recognize her name in adventure 3 ("hey, she's my boss!"). I don't know if you'd want to incorporate the unanchored feature in the College. It is not so much an issue for players, but there is one encounter in adventure 8 (Lurker in the Eye) where Koren, a Cirqueliste, heavily abuses the dimensional lock zone to teleport freely while everyone else can't. You could just write it off as a unique ability of hers though.

    Calanis: I found one error that's already included in the 4e version. In one sentence it is mentioned that Calanis is forbidden to non-elves except for those who are personally invited by either Shaaladel or Shalosha. And then Calanis is mostly humans and elves which kind of contradicts the first sentence (the 4e had the "mixed" populace of Shahalesti put under Calanis, so I guess that's where that came from).

    Gate Pass: Good job Just one small addendum: Maybe add the "Mannish Inn" to the list of inns. My players coincidentally chose it as one of the favorite pubs, so they were really shocked to see Kathor lurking around in adventure 1.

    Character Races: Really like it that you added this section. There are some smaller details you might want to reconsider, depending on what you plan to use in your 5e revamp.

    Dwarves really have no country of their own in the original and I guess this "nation" mentioned in the 4e version is the small kingdom south of Gate Pass that's just filler content. I always thought that dwarves should have better representation, so I made Dassen more dwarf-heavy (the "Dassen Stone" is the temple to a dwarven god, so it makes sense) by changing Lord Iz and made Iz and Dashgoban the remnants of a dwarven nation.

    Elves are also a bit tricky. The noble Shahalesti are all High Elves, even if not all Shahalesti citizens are High Elves - many of them are humans (especially in northern Shahalesti, close to Gate Pass) or Wood Elves (Taranesti and Shahalesti had a long period of peace before Morrus attacked and pushed them into Ycengled). Even if they face prejudice. So if you mention High Elves, the other elves should probably be mentioned as well.

    Spoiler warning for some recent elvish history:
    Spoiler:
    Now Ycengled is technically Shahalesti territory. Still, I don't know whether you'd want to mention the Taranesti and the Innenotdar, the "two elvish nations" that Shaaladel erased, even if most people might only know of the Taranesti genocide as Shaaladel framed the Torching of Innenotdar on the Ragesians. In my opinion, giving a name is always a good plan and knowing that the Shining Lord can be a dick is not too much of a reveal.
  15. Tormyr
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthan View Post
    I want to respond more fully when I have more time tomorrow, but I do want to give you two things to think through. Consider what Legendary Leader does and try to find something published by WotC for 5e that does something of a similar scope. The only thing I could think of was a 9th level spell. I think that should be a strong indicator about the balance we're dealing with here.

    The other thing that I would like you to consider is how much of your design is balanced around your assumptions. You should not be balancing mechanics based on the AP. That's poor design. Your feats, spells, archetypes, etc... should be viable regardless of the game. You don't design something overpowered and then try to constrain it narratively. That just frustrates the player and DM. Balance it up front.

    One last thing and I promise that I will more fully respond tomorrow. Every piece of feedback (which I admit is small) has had issues or concerns with the feat chain concept. The folks who are responding at this point are your core fans and most likely to be early adopters of the work. If they are having issues with the concept (regardless of balance), then that should be a concern you take seriously. It doesn't mean abandon it, but recognize that this guide will be your one chance to convince folks to buy the rest of your work. You don't want to give them excuses to write you off and expect problems. You want to leave them impressed and trusting you. 3PP already has an uphill fight. Don't give folks an easy way to write you off.
    Thanks again for your feedback. I went back to the drawing board and came up with a version of the commander that folds a more limited version of the leader feats into it.

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