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D&D 5E Advice on Boons based on Chromatic Dragons

Trit One-Ear

Explorer
Hey everyone,

I'm planning a series of adventures/dungeons that involve my party of 6 attuning to a series of shrines, each dedicated to a dragon of a different color. This is part of a larger narrative, but that's not necessary to get into for this post. Essentially, each player will attune to a dragon of a different color (based on some aspects of their personality). As part of this, I want them each to receive a different buff or ability that relates to their dragon's color, or the personality aspect.

Currently trying to balance these boons around 2nd level Channel Divinity abilities for consistency. Alternatively, it could have something to do with the element associated with each dragon, but I don't just want to hand out various elemental resistances, Elemental Adept feats etc.
Here are the ideas I have so far, with the personality trait they're meant to represent:

  • Black Dragon: "The Observer," those who watch and make plans. Ability based on Watcher Paladin's "Watcher's Will." You and 2 friendly targets get advantage on Int, Wis, Cha saves for 1 minute. 1/long rest. (Intentionally making it only able to target half the party).
  • Blue Dragon: "The Bolt," for the talented or inspired. Ability based on Knowledge Cleric's "Knowledge of the Ages," gain proficiency with one skill for 10 minutes (or gain expertise on a skill you are already proficient with.) 1/long rest.
  • Green Dragon: "The Quill," diplomats and manipulators. Not sure where to go with this one. Could do Trickery Cleric's Invoke Duplicity, Redemption Paladin's Emissary of Peace, or even Peace Cleric's Balm of Peace...
  • Red Dragon: "The Flame," for those of strength and power. Ability based on War Cleric's Guided Strike, limited to once/long rest. (Considering making it +10 to one attack or +5 to one DC for spell casters).
  • White Dragon: "The Horn," for those of bold action and leading by example. Again, unsure on this one. Maybe either Crown Paladin's Channel Divinity abilities. Maybe tweak Glory Paladin's Inspiring Smite to just be a one/long rest gift of 2d8 temp HP to up to 3 targets (again, limiting to half the party for my own selfish DM reasons.)
  • Purple Dragon (semi-made up for this setting): "The Crown," those of conscience, the "heart" of the party. Surprisingly Crown Paladin's don't feel right for this. Maybe Redemption Paladin's Rebuke the Violent, or Peace Cleric's Balm of Peace. Still open on this one as well.


Thanks for any thoughts you all have!
Trit
 

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Trit One-Ear

Explorer
Good question, and I apologize for not asking a more specific question originally.
I'm curious if these feel fairly balanced and suitable (in your opinions) for powerful dragon-related boons.

As for how the shrines work, here's a little in-world description, followed by a more mechanical one.

During the Thousand Year War, some of the most powerful dragons, known as the Dragon Sages, saw how the conflict would destroy their people. In order to try and ensure the continuation of their culture, the Sages agreed to seal themselves away, to be released in the future when their enemies, the giants, were less a threat. As part of this, they created a shrine to each of the six colors of dragons (six conveniently being the number of players I have, hence including purple dragons). Their plan - in the future, their descendants (who in my world include both dragons and to a lesser extent the dragonborn) would awaken them, using these shrines. To prevent their enemies, or unworthy strangers, from awakening the Sages before their time, a test was required to attune to a shrine and to earn the dragons' boons. If a group of individuals passed all the tests, and attuned to all six shrines, they would be able to break the seal and awaken the Sages. (This is what the party is currently trying to do for narrative reasons I won't get into now unless folks are interested.)

Mechanically, the heroes are finding these shrines scattered around the world, some at the end of dungeons, some obstructed by other obstacles etc. (one will involve a murder mystery for example.) Once they gain access to the shrines, they will have to pick one character who the best believes represents the nature of each boon (which they will know in advance) to attempt to attune to the shrine. I'm not yet sure what the test will look like mechanically (that was going to be another post), but if anyone has any ideas I would of course love to hear them.
If successful, they will receive the boon, and the party will continue to find the next shrine.
If unsuccessful... the DM (me) will scramble a bit, or allow another character to attempt the test. There may be other consequences (traps, hazards, summoned monsters) specific to each shrine.

I'm intentionally not defining the magic of the shrines too specifically (as in, it's not XXX spell etc.) but I hope this still answers your question @Flicker the Flareon .
 

Flicker the Flareon

Champion of Alola
I have an idea. What if, for each time an attunement attempt fails, a hostile wyrmling of the same type as the shrine appears as an enemy? (Red should be the last shrine because red dragon wyrmlings can be dangerous to low level PCs)
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Green Dragon: "The Quill," diplomats and manipulators. Not sure where to go with this one. Could do Trickery Cleric's Invoke Duplicity, Redemption Paladin's Emissary of Peace, or even Peace Cleric's Balm of Peace...
For this one, I actually think you could borrow a version of Turn Undead, mix it with elements of the sanctuary spell, and give them a "talking some minions out of fighting when things go sideways" power.

Sow Discord and Doubt. As an action, you make a quick argument deterring creatures from attacking. Creature immune to either charm or fear are unaffected, as are creatures with Intelligence less than 6, and creatures that cannot understand your language. Each viable creature that can see and hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is pacified for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.

A pacified creature cannot attack you or companions within 30 feet of you, nor can it use harmful spells, effects, actions, traits, or features against you or your companions within 30 feet of you.

However, if a pacified creature witnesses one of its allies reduced to 0 hit points by you or one of its companions, it immediately may attempt the saving throw again, ending the effect on itself on a success.
 

Trit One-Ear

Explorer
I have an idea. What if, for each time an attunement attempt fails, a hostile wyrmling of the same type as the shrine appears as an enemy? (Red should be the last shrine because red dragon wyrmlings can be dangerous to low level PCs)
This is really fantastic - thanks for the idea! Luckily my party is already 10th level, so no unintentional TPK's here. As such I may use a higher level dragon "spirit" to attack them if they fail. Best part of this is they don't even need to fully defeat it to show their might, only make a strong showing to earn the respect of the magic surrounding the shrine.

As for what the attunement process is, I'm thinking I'll take Skill Challenges from 4e and make a version of that for the member who's trying to attune. They'll have visions of themselves in different circumstances and can use their abilities to try and approach the challenges in a way that suits the aspect they're trying to embody. Skill checks, spells, simple actions can all lead to successes, and once they hit a certain threshold they either succeed (gaining the boon), or fail (and the party is attacked by a dragon spirit).

Thanks for helping me crack this last nut!
 

Trit One-Ear

Explorer
For this one, I actually think you could borrow a version of Turn Undead, mix it with elements of the sanctuary spell, and give them a "talking some minions out of fighting when things go sideways" power.

Sow Discord and Doubt. As an action, you make a quick argument deterring creatures from attacking. Creature immune to either charm or fear are unaffected, as are creatures with Intelligence less than 6, and creatures that cannot understand your language. Each viable creature that can see and hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is pacified for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.

A pacified creature cannot attack you or companions within 30 feet of you, nor can it use harmful spells, effects, actions, traits, or features against you or your companions within 30 feet of you.

However, if a pacified creature witnesses one of its allies reduced to 0 hit points by you or one of its companions, it immediately may attempt the saving throw again, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Ooh fantastic, I hadn't thought of tweaking Turn Undead but that's perfect for this kind of boon. Our current cleric is Tempest domain, so this won't step on his toes (as his other Channel Divinity is damaging, not crowd control.)
Thanks for the idea!
 

Trit One-Ear

Explorer
For those who are interested, here are my updated boon abilities based on advice I received here (and on Reddit where I posted similar questions)

  • Black Dragon "The Watcher"
    "Watcher's Will." As an action you may invoke this boon to sharpen the minds of those around you. Choose 2 friendly targets. For 1 minute, you and the chosen creatures have advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws. You regain the use of this ability when you take a long rest.

  • Blue Dragon "The Bolt"
    "Collector’s Knowledge," As an action, this boon allows you to tap into the collected knowledge of the ages. You gain proficiency with one skill or tool for 10 minutes (or gain expertise on a skill you are already proficient with.) You regain the use of this ability when you take a long rest.

  • Green Dragon: "The Quill"
    “Sow Discord and Doubt.” As an action, you make a quick argument deterring creatures from attacking. Creatures immune to either charm or fear are unaffected, as are creatures with Intelligence less than 6, and creatures that cannot understand your language. Each viable creature that can see and hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is pacified for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. A pacified creature cannot attack you or companions within 30 feet of you, nor can it use harmful spells, effects, actions, traits, or features against you or your companions within 30 feet of you. However, if a pacified creature witnesses one of its allies reduced to 0 hit points by you or one of its companions, it immediately may attempt the saving throw again, ending the effect on itself on a success.

  • Purple Dragon: "The Crown"
    “Sovereign’s Boon” As a bonus action, you may invoke this boon to rally your allies. You may choose up to three creatures within 60 feet of you that are allied with you. Each one regains hit points equal to your total class levels, provided that the creature can see or hear you.

  • Red Dragon "The Conduit"
    “Conduit’s Might” When you make an attack roll or force a creature to make a saving throw, you can invoke this boon to gain a +10 bonus to the attack roll, or add 5 to the saving DC. For an attack roll, you make this choice after you see the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses. If using this boon to empower a saving throw DC, you may only use it on a spell that targets a single creature, and must declare it before the creatures makes its saving throw. You regain the use of this ability when you take a long rest.

  • White Dragon: "The Horn"
    Immediately after you damage a creature, you may invoke this boon as a bonus action to bolster your allies by your example. You may distribute temporary hit points to creatures of your choice within 30 feet of you, which can include you. The total number of temporary hit points equals 2d8 + your total class levels, divided among the chosen creatures however you like.

Thanks again to everyone who helped balance these, and if they feel useful for your own game, feel free to use them!
 

Flicker the Flareon

Champion of Alola
This is really fantastic - thanks for the idea! Luckily my party is already 10th level, so no unintentional TPK's here. As such I may use a higher level dragon "spirit" to attack them if they fail. Best part of this is they don't even need to fully defeat it to show their might, only make a strong showing to earn the respect of the magic surrounding the shrine.

As for what the attunement process is, I'm thinking I'll take Skill Challenges from 4e and make a version of that for the member who's trying to attune. They'll have visions of themselves in different circumstances and can use their abilities to try and approach the challenges in a way that suits the aspect they're trying to embody. Skill checks, spells, simple actions can all lead to successes, and once they hit a certain threshold they either succeed (gaining the boon), or fail (and the party is attacked by a dragon spirit).

Thanks for helping me crack this last nut!

What about substituting wyrmlings for young adults?
 

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