D&D General Chevar: Champions of The Ninth Realm! - Goth DnD Meets Aetherpunk Meets 80's Cartoon Sci-Fantasy (+)


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay, so right now I for sure have, spoilered because it's long
  • The Anathemir, which is something between a warlock and the witcher and a more esoteric wizard
    • Level 1 choice determines your early game focus as a class, whether it's swordfighting witcher, or summoner/binder, or spellcaster, but all Anathemir that reach high enough level end up mastering all three. Because of this, you don't automatically get spells above 5th level, like a warlock. Instead, you have to spend Vestiges (similar to invocations, but tied to physical objects, and might eventually work more like infusions) to gain the ability to cast spells of each subsequent spell level, and you gain 1 casting of that level per long rest, and cannot gain more. You can know multiple spells of that level, though. You still probably prepare only 1, regardless of level? So like mystic arcanum, but with a price, and the ability to change your choice when you rest, if you've learned more spells of that level.
    • Subclasses are things that focus on the type of creatures you deal with, or that focus in on the other tools of the class, like the familiar or the Goetic Key (spellbook), or maybe even that require having chosen the right level 1 ritual tool mastery, so you can go full witcher by taking the Blade Impliment, and a subclass that requires that choice and doubles down on making you an effective gish.
    • I know for sure at least one subclass wiill involve summoning an otherworldy being and allowing it to possess you, causing a dire transformation, like turnign into a wraith-like creature or a being of celestial light, with some fiddly esoteric rules regarding beings of oppositional cosmological alignment being unable to possess you if you have recently invoked their opposite.

  • The Aethernaut,which is a sort of swordmage with specific lore around being a student of a tradition founded by an alchemist aethership captain during a war against jotuns hundreds of years in the past. Basically, you "ride the aether" which is an element that gathers at Crossroad Vespers, which are places and objects that allow going between worlds. The aethernaut originates in Chevar because Chevar is a solar system sized Vesper. I considered vespernaut, but I like aethernaut more, since the class harnesses aether, even if they aren't interested in world hopping
    • One subclass will probably be a pet class that bonds with a vesper creature like a dragon or a griffon, which generates aether natually and can naturally travel between worlds and exist in places where only such creatures can survive, such as some parts of space and the ethereal worlds. Might call it a an Vesper Dragoon or something, because it's a mounted character that is equally dangerous on foot.
    • another will be a "aethership marine"
    • might be fun to have a vehicle subclass, in a setting with magitech vehicles
    • level one you gain your aegis and dweomer blade, and spellcasting. might give a choice of 3 aegis, to keep it similar in structure to the other classes inthis group
      • right now aegis gives unarmored defense but it's based on int alone, so that you can more freely use strength for attacks
      • spellcasting uses aether rather than spell slots, at 1 aether per spell level, with spell level scaling of a half caster. Might push this to level 2 partly, ie you get cantrips and ritual casting but no aether to spend until level 2. idk
    • level 2 you get esoteric techniques and expertise
    • level 3 is your mystic order choice, which orients on your weapons and tactics
    • level 5 is extra attack and art of deflection (basically deflect any attack, magical, mundane, ranged, melee, etc) and redirect it by spending aether

  • The Alchemist, which is partly a rework of the artificer to feel more like a magitech scientist/engineer and less like a mage who infuses magic items
    • Subclasses based on jobs, maybe? So one might be a mechanic or engineer, while another is is a bombardier, another a saboteur
    • Either a full caster, or some sort of hybrid caster, but definitely faster spell level progression than the artificer, or maybe half caster on a faster progression but with devices that replicate higher level spells, similar to the anathemir
    • lean harder into tools, with perhaps the level 1 choice being 1 or 2 tools you are a master of, and mastery gives certain benefits and things you can make with those tools, ways you can effect the world, etc. Tinker tools let you repair devices in the field without risk of failure, and make improvised mechanical devices, for instance.
      • tier-gate some more powerful or specialised devices, so you have to be a journeyman of aeronautical engineer's tools to build a basic aether engine or core and command crystals, like for a personal vehicle or emplaced device, while the true aetherships require mastery of multiple tools.
      • If you are a master, you can charge devices related to your tools more efficiently and effectively, a bit like a wizard's school traditions
    • Devices rather than infusions, and renamed and rewored spell storing item built into the spellcasting trait or the device making trait. Maybe give the class fewer spell slots but they can store spells in items enough to make up the difference?

  • The Witch,which is like a mix of wizard, sorcerer, and druid. I think the core is "druid forward", ie primal
    • SPellbook, can learn spells in play
    • Shares some space with the alchemist, but with a much more limited set of tools they can master, and different features related to mastery, focused on potions, charms, sympathetic icons, etc.
    • Sorcery points or something like it, fueling a lot of limited resources. Either that, or simply the ability to trade in spell slots to modify a spell during casting, and they get more spell slots or recover some slots with ashort ritual PB/LR, something like that
    • some metamagic, though I plan on expanding the availability of metamagic so that any spellcaster can gain them. I might add metamagic granting vestiges to the anathemir, for instance, while the aethernaut probably has to take a feat or undertake a Training Endeavor (downtime) to gain the use of them.
    • Level one choice determines a good chunk of how the class plays. Maybe here you gain shapeshifter, greater power through your familiar, or some kind of bless and curse mechanic, or maybe you choose from a few "Hexes", and the other choices are your subclasses (obv covens)
  • The Assassin- the most directly lethal class of the group, somewhere between the rogue and the fighter, with one subclass adding in a hefty dose of magic, but the core class does have some ritual stuff and some mysticism.
    • shares some thematic space with the anathemir, but is very different.
    • subclasses based on the idea of guilds at the moment, with each one named for a monster, such as manticore, doppelganger, wraith, and mimic
      • wraith gains shadow magic, doppelganger gets low level mind reading and incredible disguise abilities, manticore gets poison and I'm working on giving it more ability to dart in and out, peryton gets incredible movement and features to drop-bear things to death, and some vision upgrades, basically becoming altair
    • Assassin's Shroud (prolly have to rename since it's an OGl product now rather than dmsguild) is a death mark you place on a creature that lets you track them more easily, crit more often against them, and you can end the effect by calling in the mark and dealing explosive damage to them. The damage and how many shrouds you have per day scales with level, and some features, especially subclass features, give you new ways to spend shrouds.
    • Not easily killable, but definitely not up there with the PHB tankable classes
    • Reliable damage dealing when not using shrouds by way of being able to attack as a bonus action, but there is an opportunity cost to doing so because the other bonus action abilities are also quite good
    • Basically a very mobile, stealthy, killer that can drop into a room, kill the target's bodyguards, and then kill the target, and then disappear.
    • level 1 secondary choice is about tools, but differently from the alchemist
      • tinker tools gets you a hidden weapon with some minor non-magical buffs
      • poisoner's kit gives you some poison formulas, ability to learn how to make poisons (based on the listed cost of each poison, adding to your repertoire like a wizard adds spells they find), an improved basic poison, and the ability to make PB poisons at the end of a long rest, and quickly make PB more during the day (basically modeling if you could make 1 as part of a short rest)
      • Disguise kit gives you a semimagical disguise and an identity that you can put on or take of as a bonus action
    • Earlier draft got extra attack rather than a bonus action attack, and your bonus action stuff could also be done in place of an attack with the attack action. It made really fun tactical play that is easy to learn, but extra attack ended up feeling like too much. Maybe at a higher level the assassin can use them as an object interaction or something
A way to set this apart from mainstream 5e, beside the setting, would be to have 3 tiers of proficiency, maybe using proficiency dice

Other ideas i have are a knight that can be like the paladin or like the 4e warden or more mundane, a reworked bard, and a reworked monk that is like a more subtly magical aethernaut, or a slightly mystic swashbuckler, but definitely not a full bakers dozen of classes. I want to take the skill monkey bits of the rogue and bard and make an expert or jack class.
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Heretic of The Seventh Circle
After talking with my wife, who is my primary creative partner and just incredibly insightful, I don't think I need to build a knight or archer class, but can instead rewrite the fighter to have fighting styles mean more, and some other stuff.

I'll probably consolidate a lot of the houseruled class changes I've floated over the years, like changing how fighter's action surge and indomitable features work to work similarly to legendary actions and legendary resistence, though not an exact analogue. I also will make fighting styles mean more to the class so that when you pick archery, it basically turns you into an Archer, and rewrite some of the fighting styles to work better while adding more.

The Bard will lose magical secrets and level 6+ spells, and jack of all trades, and gain expertise in 2 knowledge skills, with knowledge skills and performance gaining actual uses and bards getting even more out of them, and gain Songs which are similar to warlock invocations, and include Songs that let the bard cast a level 6+ spell once per long rest, with a hard limit of 1 casting per day of any spell of that level probably. Basically make them more limited spellcasters, beef up inspiration, and bring back song auras and fascinate, and make bards able to learn how to do things like touch an instrument and make it play on it's own, and powerful stuff like forcing a creature to tell the truth, or giving enemy spellcasters disadvantage on concentration saves while they can hear the bard. Definitely put counterspell on their spell list. Make them feel powerful in a way that actually suits the idea of a bard. If someone wants to play the promiscuous lute playing jack of all trades, the SRD is right there.

Monk becomes something like swashbuckler or duelist, and becomes the not technically magical but certainly beyond what normal folk can do fighter.

Ranger...le sigh...probably develop my idea of replacing favored enemy with the ability to craft bane poisons that cut through resistance and immunity to poison and are tactically useful against a type of enemy, like flying creatures, spellcasters, creatures with regeneration or other healing, etc. Natural Explorer I think I'll have each one give you a trait like ignoring difficult terrain, gaining a climb speed, etc. I think that, maybe expertise, and a rebuilt pet subclass since the beast master isn't SRD anyway, ritual casting, and prepared casting, fully fix the class.

I think I'll just quietly ignore the other classes, as they're either fine as is or I just don't like them.

ANyway, my next posts will be about art!


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’m really curious what sorts of characters y’all have made or would make in the kinds of settings we are talking about!

Who’s played a sky captain or a griffon riding knight or a magitech mechanic?

Some art that feels right.




Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Just dropped by to mention Lady Blackbird rpg, takes place on an airship

Also, could be a fun portal fantasy if one of the 8 worlds is our world, but in the late 1800's

Finally, not a criticism, but when I read "umbrylar" I thought "umbrellar" - a species of sentient bumbershoots


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
More art!

View attachment 275607
That's a sky captain for sure!


In the Realms of Shadow, even the Green is dark, but not all that is dark is evil, and not all that is bright is good.
Also, I'd propose ditching the cleric class for this sort of thing.

I was thinking it'd look more like this, but that's how I'd do it.

View attachment 275601
I agree. The cleric just doesn’t fit well, and that pic is awesome.
Just dropped by to mention Lady Blackbird rpg, takes place on an airship

Also, could be a fun portal fantasy if one of the 8 worlds is our world, but in the late 1800's
It is one of the 9 worlds! Well, “Midgard” is our universe, with Earth being one world within that Realm, but yeah.

The original game this is a branch of has 3 main playable eras, the first being from about 1890 to about 1939, so dropping back a bit to the earlier 1800’s shouldn’t be hard.
Finally, not a criticism, but when I read "umbrylar" I thought "umbrellar" - a species of sentient bumbershoots
oh snap! Lol I’ve never heard of that!


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Trolls in this world look more like this big boy than like standard dnd trolls.

troll and elf.jpg

But, trolls more than any other of the Hidden Folk are capable of disguising themselves as painfully attractive humans, alfar, doragr, etc.
Many trolls look like Ludo from Labyrinth, but others look wildly different depending on their environment and inner nature.

A forest troll:

big green boy.jpg

WHile trolls are cousins to giants, they are also cousins to the spirit folk, like dryads and nymphs.



Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Other ancestries tend to have a somewhat disconcerting look

A svartalfar with decorated ears

WHile gnomes look like little cat demon people, with too-large eyes, face structures more felinoid than a human's. Havne't found good art for them yet.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, I'm thinking about rules that support this kind of world. I'm hoping folks will have thoughts on the following, in the context of imagining a product like adventures in middle earth, but for the world we've been discussing.

  • Add mechanic's tools, more common magic items, guns, and vehicles
  • make some otherwise arbitrary calls to support genre
    • Guns hit harder and have better range, but are harder to enchant, so magic items gain a level of rarity when they are guns, as opposed to analog weapons.
    • maybe missile weapons in general are harder to enchant
    • ruby of the warmage type stuff is only common for melee weapons
  • Make coherent magic item tables for cost, and a coherent system for crafting based on those costs
  • seriously considering replacing spells with magic skills. Other than final fantasy, I think magic skills better emulate the inspiring fiction, and it reduces design work while broadening player freedom
  • Arcana, Nature, and Religion, gain active uses, like manipulating magitech systems with arcana, communicating with natural spirits with nature, and cleansing a tainted place with religion.
ANyone got any other ideas that you feel would really sell the aesthetic and themes from this discussion?

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