D&D 5E [Let's Read] Solasta Campaign Sourcebook: Revised Edition

Libertad

Hero
This book hasn't been updated with the stuff on the Snow Alliance from the second expansion pack? That is a far more interesting setting than Masgarth and it's boringly generic capital city.
I haven't played that campaign yet, so I can't say what's been included. But it doesn't have any setting details on the Lost Valley besides a brief mention with one of the Warlock patrons, so I'm quite sure it doesn't have anything new in regards to that region. The only expansion stuff included appears to be the subclasses.
 

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SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
This looks really fun. Solasta is a great game. The core adventure is okay, but there is so much fan content that I have really enjoyed. I've found some of their home brew material to be a little unbalanced, but overall the game is fun. I'd have to really think about playing it as a tabletop version, but it's an interesting possibility.
 

Libertad

Hero
Classes, Part II

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The concept of the Monk originated among Tirmarian warrior societies, ranging from those who combined their training with religious principles to those who sought to find ways to fight without weapons for necessity and other reasons. Like so many other traditions it spread to the other races post-Cataclysm, and in modern times they include secular as well as religious philosophies.

The Way of Freedom originally developed among Manacalon slaves who were forbidden from owning weapons. The Cataclysm gave them the perfect opportunity to conduct slave revolts across the Empire, freeing their people. This text kind of contradicts Monks having a human origin. But going on with mechanics, at 3rd level they can use Flurry of Blows without having to Attack first, and they gain a free use of Dash and advantage on their next attack roll when doing so. At 6th level they can spend a reaction to make a melee counterattack against an adjacent enemy who misses them. At 11th level they can make 1 additional attack with Flurry of Blows and regain 1 ki point if 3 of their flurries hit, and at 17th level they can remove one mobility-based Condition (like grappled) for free at the start of their turn, and gain a flying speed and free use of Dash and Disengage for 1 turn whenever they use Step of the Wind.

The Way of Light was founded after the Cataclysm to fight the many monsters that became commonplace in the world. At 3rd level they learn the Light cantrip, and they can cause targets to radiate bright light when they’re hit with a Flurry of Blows and also automatically take radiant damage while so lit. At 6th level they can spend 2 Ki points to do a blinding AoE burst of light that also deals radiant damage, and at 11th level they deal bonus radiant damage when using unarmed strikes against opponents lit up from their Flurry. Their 17th level capstone lets them automatically light up nearby opponents without needing to Flurry them, and while in bright light they can change their unarmed damage type to radiant and once per turn spend a Ki point to force a foe who strikes them to reroll their attack.

The Way of Survival reflects monks who focus on pushing their bodies to their limits, hoping to outlive and outlast their opponents. It turns the Monk into more of a tank role, initially giving them +2 AC when they’re not wearing armor or using a shield, and gain advantage on attacks for 1 round when using Patient Defense. At 6th level they can heal damage at the start of their turn equal to half their Monk level or the total amount of damage taken whichever is lower, provided they took damage since the start of their last turn. They also gain resistance to all damage at 6th level when they use Patient Defense. At 11th level they add their Constitution modifier to the damage of unarmed strike and monk weapon attacks, and at 17th level once per long rest they regain half their maximum hit points and Ki points when they drop to 0 hit points, and become immune to any instant-death effect that doesn’t deal damage.

Thoughts: The Way of Freedom freeing up Flurry of Blows from the Attack action opens the Monk up to some nice combos and also guarantees them a way to still do damage in a round when they’d otherwise be doing something else. The use of a reaction-based counterattack is nice too, given it’s going to be a very common trigger. As a combat-heavy subclass it still lags behind other options as it primarily involves dealing damage, while something like Open Hand can impose various debuffs and Astral Self can substitute force damage and grant reach. Way of Light is better than Sun Soul (the other radiant damage light-based subclass) in that its damage-dealing effects add onto unarmed strikes rather than being a weak substitute, and their 6th level ability is less damaging than an attack/flurry but makes up for that with a good multi-target debuff.

Way of Survival is pretty good in that the Monk is pretty fragile for a melee-focused class with its d8 Hit Dice, and the subclass explicitly minimizes this weakness. Its initial +2 AC effectively gives them a shield for a circumstance that should more or less always apply, and its buff to Patient Defense makes it good for offensive purposes (advantage on attack rolls) in addition to effectively halving all damage. The Constitution bonus to damage rolls is nice but probably isn’t going to be all that high given it’s a MAD class, and the 17th level feature really ups their staying power but at that point in a campaign PCs in general get really hard to kill.

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Paladins are holy warriors who are “sworn to fight against evil using the divine might of their patron deity,” which implies an alignment restriction on paladins and also ties their oath to a god, something that is no longer the case in 5th Edition traditionally.

The Oath of Judgment are those paladins who swear to punish evildoers and lawbreakers, acting as wandering judges without bias or preference to institutional power. Their bonus spells are a grab-bag of rather unrelated options such as Heat Metal, Blight, Silence, and Scrying. Their Channel Divinity options are both bonus actions, either granting the option to restrain a struck target in melee or end a wide variety of Conditions on a nearby friendly target. Their aura lets allies add the Paladin’s proficiency bonus to their damage rolls, at 15th level they can perform a reaction-based attack dealing psychic damage to someone who hurts them or an ally affected by their aura, and their 20th level powered-up buff lets them mark targets and can teleport to them, ignore damage resistance, gain resistance to their attacks, and force the marked target to make a Charisma save to attack anyone besides the Paladin.

The Oath of the Motherland are those who wish to heal the land wounded during the Cataclysm, and focus on the Badlands which they call the Motherland. Their Oath implies a hostility to the adventuring economy arising from expeditions into this region, such as returning things taken by monsters and thieves to the “rightful inhabitants of the Motherland” and that “mortal activities must be destroyed if they unbalance the natural way.” Their overall theme is fire and stone-based, such as bonus spells like Fireball, Flame Strike, and Stoneskin, and their Channel Divinity options can deal short-range fire damage or blind a target. Their aura grants resistance to fire damage and +1 AC, and at 15th level they become immune to fire damage, ignore resistance to fire damage with their attacks, and reduce physical damage dealt to them by 5. At 20th level their transformed buff causes their melee attacks to deal bonus fire damage, turn a foe’s fire immunity into resistance, and can engulf targets in flames when they attack them in melee.

Paladins of the Oath of Tirmar were members of the Inquisition, dedicated to rooting out the Sorr-Akkath and their agents. In modern times they are viewed as obsessive weirdos given that such monsters are believed extinct. Their bonus spells revolve around truth and light-based stuff such as Moonbeam, Dispel Magic, and Daylight. Their Channel Divinity options either grant advantage on Persuasion and Intimidation checks for the next 10 minutes or cause melee attack to gain the benefit of Dispel Magic on a struck target as well as forcing them to revert to their original form on a failed save if they’re shapechanged. Also at 3rd level their bonus Smite damage applies to shapechangers in addition to fiends and undead. Their aura grants short-range blindsight, at 15th level their melee attacks reduce a target’s movement speed (which can stack with each attack) and their Divine Sense also grants Truesight for 1 round. Their 20th level buff state effectively applies the restraining/true form melee attack from their Channel Divinity to every attack, they have advantage against creatures not in their true forms and such enemies have disadvantage on attack rolls against the paladin, and enemies with 20 or less hit points within 30 feet fall unconscious (no save) and remain that way until they get more hit points or the paladin moves out of range.

Thoughts: The Oath of Judgment’s bonus spells feel rather unfocused, and the offensive ones such as Inflict Wounds and Heat Metal are being heavily weighed against the bonus damage from smite. Their Channel Divinity option that can end all sorts of Conditions as a bonus action is quite nifty, but their aura is rather underwhelming in comparison to other subclasses as damage roll bonuses have a lot less oomph than stuff that helps bounded accuracy. Motherland is also kind of weak in that fire is one of the most commonly-resisted damage types, and the ability to ignore that with their abilities kicks in way too late at 15th level. The +1 to AC from their armor may be good for some tank builds, but that alone doesn’t save the rest of the subclass. Finally, the Oath of Tirmar is the kind of thing where its overall usefulness depends on what enemies the DM throws at you. In a “classic Solasta” campaign where the Sorr-Akkath are the main enemies they can really shine, but otherwise shapechangers aren’t a common enough enemy type to justify taking the subclass.

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Rangers are pretty much the same in Solasta as they are in virtually every other setting: warriors who specialize in using nature’s magic and terrain.

The Marksman is our first subclass, originating among the soldiers of the Manacalon Empire. At 3rd level they gain proficiency with fletcher's tools and can automatically craft arrows during short and long rests provided they have access to wood, and they can make a ranged attack as a reaction against non-adjacent opponents who cast a spell or make a ranged attack. The text specifies that it’s a target the Marksman sees making such an attack and not against them in particular, so they can do this counter for foes who are attacking their allies and other people. At 7th level any targets they hit with a ranged weapon cannot make opportunity attacks against them for 1 turn, and they ignore disadvantage on ranged attack rolls when within 5 feet of a hostile creature. At 11th level once per turn they gain a free extra attack against a creature they successfully hit twice with a ranged weapon, and at 15th level their Extra Attack can let them attack three times with the Attack action.

Shadow Tamer is basically an OGL-ified Gloom Stalker. Their bonus spells involve stealth and scouting such as Invisibility, Meld Into Stone, and Faithful Hound. At 3rd level they gain darkvision, or improved range for that sense type if they already have it. They can also mark a target for an hour once per short or long rest, letting them see the target perfectly even through total cover and deal extra damage equal to their proficiency bonus against them. At 7th level their darkvision range increases, can see in magical darkness, and can spend a reaction to impose disadvantage on an attack made by a marked target. At 11th level they can make a free weapon attack against a hostile creature who misses them a number of times per long rest equal to their Wisdom modifier. At 15th level they gain for one turn +2 to AC and proficiency in all saving throws against a target’s attacks if the Ranger hits it with an attack.

The Swift Blade originated among the Sylvan Elves, and it would be Drizz’t Do’Urden’s subclass if he was statted up in 5th Edition. You’re all about two-weapon fighting and being a speedy warrior. At 3rd level you gain +2 AC when fighting with a weapon in each hand, your speed increases by 10 feet, and opportunity attacks against you are made with disadvantage whenever you Dash. At 7th level you can turn invisible for 1 round as a reaction once per short or long rest if you take damage. At 11th level you can make two attacks instead of one as a bonus action when doing two-weapon fighting, and you can make one attack each with your main and off-hand weapon whenever you make an opportunity attack. At 15th level you can enter a state of increased focus for 1 turn a number of times per long rest equal to your proficiency bonus, dealing +1d8 damage with melee weapon attacks and critting on an 18-20 with such weapons.

Thoughts: The Marksman’s initial woodcrafting ability is not so hot given that many gaming groups don’t track ammunition or make it very cheap, and it’s honestly the kind of thing people should be able to do by default with the proper tool proficiencies. However, the subclass has great damage-dealing potential in gaining additional attacks, and the ranged counter-attack at 3rd level will be a very common trigger. As the 11th level ability isn’t limited in use and Archery is already a Fighting Style that adds a +2 bonus, they are a very good offensive option for a Ranger.

The Shadow Tamer is obviously competing for the Gloom Stalker’s role in being a “hunter in the dark,” and unfortunately Gloom Stalker wins out. From its bonus to initiative, being outright invisible to darkvision, proficiency in Wisdom saves, plus a free attack at the beginning of combat, the only things Shadow Tamer has going for it that Gloom Stalker doesn’t is their ability to see through total cover against targets they mark.

Swift Blade is focused almost entirely on combat like Marksman, but it helps make two-weapon fighting a more effective and viable option. The initial +2 AC makes up for the lack of shield and can stack with the Dual Wielder feat, and gaining an additional off-hand attack also really helps. The only feature that feels out of place is the one-round invisibility, which at best will mostly be good for gaining short-term advantage on a foe for when the Ranger attacks it.

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Rogues are…well, in Solasta the only commonality is that they’re unpredictable and specialize in all sorts of stuff. How imaginative!

The Darkweaver represents rogues who specialize in using poison and striking from above. They initially gain proficiency with the poisoner’s kit and can poison a weapon with their Cunning Action, and can substitute the DC of poisons with their own (8 + Intelligence modifier + Proficiency Bonus). Not only that, they gain a climbing speed equal to their walking speed and they can trigger Sneak Attack without the need for advantage when striking from a higher elevation.

Quite a front-loaded subclass! At 8th level they ignore reduced movement from difficult terrain, have advantage on saves vs effects that would Paralyze or Restrain them, and they reduce a target’s immunity and resistance to poison damage one step down (immune becomes resistant, resistance is lost) when attacking targets with poison. At 13th level they can infuse a weapon with magical poison that lasts until they die or infuse a new weapon, and deals bonus poison damage and the poisoned condition whenever they perform a Sneak Attack, and can poison enemies immune to the poisoned condition. Finally, at 17th level they can double the damage of an attack provided it’s a weapon attack made against an already-poisoned creature, and this can be done a number of times per long rest equal to their Intelligence modifier.

Hoodlum represents those Rogues and criminals who are more brawns than grace. Initially they apply their Strength modifier to Intimidate on top of Charisma, gain proficiency with martial weapons, medium armor, and shields, and can make Sneak Attack with melee weapons that don’t have the Finesse property. At 9th level anyone they Sneak Attack has disadvantage on attack rolls against the Rogue until the start of the Rogue’s next turn, and at 13th level they can use a bonus Action to blind and incapacitate a target for 1 turn if they fail a Constitution save (targets become immune for 24 hours after being affected). Their 17th level capstone gives them +51 hit points and they gain +3 bonus hit points each time they gain a level afterwards. Additionally, when they trigger Uncanny Dodge and the attack is within melee reach, they can spend a reaction to attack and apply Sneak Attack if they don’t have disadvantage on the attack.

Shadowcasters are Rogues who dabble a bit in spellcasting to enhance their abilities. They’re like Arcane Tricksters in that they can learn up to 4th level spells and draw from the Wizard spell list but have a relatively wide option of schools: conjuration, evocation, necromancy, and transmutation. At 3rd level they can apply Sneak Attack to spells with attack rolls, and can use their Dexterity instead of Intelligence when making melee and ranged spell attacks (save DC is still based on Intelligence). At 9th level they can spend a bonus action to teleport up to 25 feet, and can do so a number of times per short or long rest equal to their Intelligence bonus. At 13th level they learn two cantrips from any class and can spend a reaction to cast a cantrip at a caster who damages the Rogue with a spell. At 17th level they can spend a use of their teleportation to automatically dodge an attack as a reaction.

Thoughts: First off, Darkweaver is very front-loaded and thus will be quite friendly to multiclass dippers. Poisons in 5th Edition tend to be cost-prohibitive, given that it’s one of the most commonly-resisted damage types and Conditions. The subclass kind of solves this problem in making it so that the Rogue can ignore this, but as this comes in at 9th level and later its best features won’t see use in most campaigns. As for the Hoodlum, it comes off as another subclass best for multiclassing: while I do like they’re trying to emulate those musclebound gangsters without making them Fighters, Strength is still one of the weaker stats in 5e. As for Shadowcaster, being able to apply Sneak Attack to spells is pretty nifty, and as they can do a reaction-based cantrip at 13th level this can potentially let them apply Sneak Attack twice per round. In comparison to the Arcane Trickster they’re not going to be as good of a utility-based Rogue, given that they cannot choose Enchantment and Illusion spells. The spell schools that would be of greatest use to most Rogue concepts.

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Sorcerers originated from the magical maladies wrought from the Cataclysm, where a rare few were born with the ability to drain magic from the surrounding environment. Some of them bonded with disrupted magic, in effect having their very essence changed.

Child of the Rift is our first subclass, arising from the confluence of energies between Solasta and Tirmar. Their bonus spells draw heavily from the Cleric list such as Guiding Bolt, Spirit Guardians, Banishment, and Lesser/Greater Restoration. At 1st level they gain a swappable proficiency and expertise in two skills, languages, or tools every long rest. At 6th level they can teleport up to 30 feet whenever they use Metamagic. A 14th level whenever they’re about to take damage they can spend 1 Sorcery Point and a reaction to become resistant to a single damage type for 1 turn. At 18th level their free teleportation use increases to 60 feet and they can bring along one adjacent creature of equal or smaller size (unwilling targets get a Dexterity save to resist).

The Haunted Soul represents those who are haunted by spirits who died during the Cataclysm. Their bonus spells are heavily necromantic and debuff-centric such as Inflict Wounds, Animate Dead, Phantasmal Killer, and Geas. At 1st level they learn Chill Touch for free and can cast it as a bonus action whenever they cast a leveled spell that takes 1 action to cast. When leveling up they can also replace learned sorcerer spells with enchantment/necromancy spells from the warlock and wizard spell lists. At 6th level they gain resistance to necrotic damage and can spend a reaction and 2 Sorcery Points to haunt a foe that damaged them, causing attack rolls to be made against them with advantage. At 14th level they can once per long rest touch a recently slain creature as an action, regaining half of their spent Sorcery Points up to half their Sorcerer level or half the target’s Hit Dice, whichever is lower. At 18th level they can spend 6 Sorcery Points to be possessed by a powerful spirit, letting out a paralyzing selective AoE wail along with a variety of buffs such as flying speed, immunity to necrotic damage, can reduce the Sorcery Point cost of Metamagic spells by 1 (minimum 0), and can perform a frightening gaze attack.

The Mana Painters are those born with the ability to draw magic from the environment, and when arcane magic seemed all but lost after the Cataclysm they were the only kind of spellcaster who could still cast such spells by leaching them from elsewhere. Their bonus spells draw heavily from the Druid list and are elemental and battlefield control themed, such as Spike Growth, Call Lightning, Wind Wall, and Tree Stride. At 1st level they gain temporary hit points equal to three times the level of a spell whenever they cast a leveled spell, and at 6th level they can substitute their Charisma modifier for another ability score when saving vs spells. At 14th level they can spend a reaction to leech magic from someone casting a spell within 60 feet. The spell is weakened if it would roll an attack or force a save, imposing advantage/disadvantage in favor of the targeted. The Mana Painter then regains Sorcery Points equal to the level of the spell. They can use this once per short or long rest or by spending 5 Sorcery Points, but they only regain Sorcery Points the first time they use it per long rest. Their 18th level capstone lets them buff themselves up with infused magic for 1 minute once per long rest, letting them apply two Metamagic options to the same spell, and can substitute Sorcery Points by taking a number of d8 worth of force damage by the amount they’d otherwise pay.

Thoughts: Child of the Rift turns the Sorcerer into a pseudo-Cleric, and gaining double proficiency in two skills or tools that can be altered every long rest will make this a very dip-friendly subclass. The higher-level teleportation and context-based damage resistance are practical in that they help increase the class’ staying power. Overall, not a bad option all around.

Haunted Soul can be good for damage builds in that they effectively get to apply Chill Touch whenever they cast most spells in combat. The advantage-imposing haunting has great synergy with Rogues, but 2 Sorcery Points can be a bit costly. Being able to choose from warlock and wizard spell lists may sound good, but as they can only replace learned spells rather than learning them as entirely new spells, this isn’t as versatile as it seems. Regaining Sorcery Points from the fallen is nifty but comes in too late for most campaigns, and the same applies to the buff-based possession even if it has a lot of broad abilities.

As for the Mana Painter, their low-level features are very good. The temporary hit points will apply almost all the time given that spellcasting is their primary feature, and their 6th level ability makes them much more resilient against magic. Interestingly their mana leech can be harmlessly used on non-offensive spells, so they can still gain Sorcery Points if they do something like “leeching” off a Cure Wounds cast by the party healer.

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Warlocks operate a bit differently in Solasta, given that contact with the outer planes was severed due to the Cataclysm. Instead, warlocks nowadays choose patrons from powerful entities who live in the world, many of which are trapped in unknown locations.

The Hive represents warlocks who tap into the hive-mind of monsters known as Redeemers. These monsters are giant insects bred during the Manacalon Empire to eat magical waste and unruly slaves. Their expanded spells focus on bug and gas-based effects such as Giant Insect, Cloudkill, and Acid Arrow. At 1st level they can once per short or long rest apply pheromones to a target they damage with a spell, giving them disadvantage on their next saving throw. At 6th level they learn Counterspell, can cast it once per short or long rest without a spell slot, and can add their proficiency bonus to the ability check if the Counterspell would call for that. At 10th level they have advantage on all saving throws versus spells, and at 14th level once per turn they gain temporary hit points whenever they’re about to take damage from a spell.

The Timekeeper is a mysterious figure who is singularly focused on healing the areas of land where time malfunctions due to the Cataclysm. Such warlocks are tasked with stabilizing areas of distorted time. Their expanded spells focus around speed and mobility such as Blur, Longstrider, Slow, and Freedom of Movement. At 1st level any hostile targets they affect with a leveled spell cannot take reactions for one turn, and at 6th level once per long rest they can spend a reaction when damaged to pop out of the timestream like the Blink spell, also negating the damage and its effects and then reappear in a nearby space the next turn. At 10th level they can grant an ally the benefits of Haste for 1 turn, but with no lethargic side effects, a number of times per long rest equal to their proficiency bonus. At 14th level once per long rest they can take one additional action on top of their regular action/bonus action.

The Tree is a plant somewhere in the Lost Valley that is said to be able to grant wishes. Those who braved the dangerous journey to find it become its warlocks, brimming with new magical power. The expanded spells draw heavily from the Druid list with a side of debuffs such as Barkskin, Confusion, Conjure Woodland Beings, and Spike Growth. At 1st level any enemy who attacks them in melee takes 1d4 piercing damage, and at 6th level they gain immunity to the poisoned condition and resistance vs poison and necrotic damage. At 10th level once per short or long rest they can emit a sudden thorny growth as a bonus action, damaging and restraining adjacent targets who fail Dexterity saves. At 14th level their piercing counterattack deals +1d4 poison damage, and they gain a permanent +2 AC and half-cover against all ranged attacks.

Thoughts: The Hive patron has a nifty 1st-level debuff, but from here on out the rest of its features are specifically to deal with spellcasters. Due to this, its overall effectiveness depends on what foes the DM pits against the party. As for the Timekeeper, the 1st-level ability is a good way to prevent enemies from conducting opportunity attacks against the warlock and their allies, making the party a bit more mobile in that regard. A lot of their expanded spells are concentration-heavy, so they compete for influence with what few spell slots the warlock has. The one-turn Haste at 10th level with no downsides is best for martial allies, but otherwise of limited use for other classes and roles. The Tree feels rather underwhelming in that pretty much all but the 10th level ability are passive, and the thorny growth and counterattack damage is something only useful when the warlock is in melee; something a non-hexblade arcane class should not be doing!

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The practices of Wizards originated in the Manacalon Empire, and through the use of spellbooks their knowledge spread widely even after the Cataclysm. Spellbooks are a particularly sought-after treasure in the ruins of the Badlands, for it allows modern-day mages to add such powers of the past to their repertoires.

Court Mages served the rich and powerful as supernatural bodyguards, using their magic to protect their charges where ordinary steel would fail. They gain proficiency with shields and the Protection Fighting Style. They can also generate a Spell Shield, a protective magical aura around themselves and a nearby ally a number of times per long rest equal to their proficiency bonus. This aura has a bunker of hit points equal to 3 x wizard level and any damaging effects apply to it first. The shield remains for 10 minutes, until another use is expended and thus refreshed, or the wizard or ally gets out of range. At 6th level the wizard can spend a bonus action to teleport adjacent to an ally with their Spell Shield and also grants +2 AC to the Wizard when they’re adjacent to an ally. At 10th level they and an ally gain resistance to a single damage type whenever a Spell Shield is generated. At 14th level a Spell Shield that runs out of hit points creates a short-range AoE that blinds, defeans, and silences hostile creatures on a failed Constitution save, and also grants the protected person resistance to all damage for 1 turn.

Greenmages originated among Sylvan Elves, blending magic of the natural world with wizardry and archery training. They gain access to an expanded spell list drawing from the Druid class such as Speak with Animals, Dominate Beast, and Commune with Nature. They also grain proficiency with light armor, shortbows, and the Archery fighting style. At 6th level they can transform a piece of ammunition from a ranged weapon attack they perform into entangling vines a number of times per long rest equal to proficiency bonus, restraining a target. At 10th level they can spend a reaction to halve damage from a ranged attack or spell. At 14th level they can substitute their Intelligence for Dexterity when making ranged weapon attacks, and can imbue ammunition with leveled spells that go off when the ammo is shot, but once such an ammo strikes a target they need to wait for another short or long rest in order to do so again.

Loremasters are all about gaining as many magical spells as possible, dedicating their lives to quantity over more focused purposes. At 2nd level they gain proficiency in Arcana and History (if proficient in one or both they gain proficiency in Medicine or another Intelligence-based skill) and the time and money to craft potions and scrolls is halved. They also gain a bonus cantrip from any class. At 6th level they gain three wizard spells instead of two whenever they level up, and can learn ritual spells from any class. At 10th level they can prepare a number of additional spells equal to their proficiency bonus, and once per day they can swap out a prepared spell with one from their spellbook after completing a short rest. At 14th level they learn 4 cantrips from any class, and gain one bonus 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level spell slot.

The Shock Arcanist originated among elite troops of the Manacalon Empire, overloading their spells at risk to their health to gain unmatched magical devastation. At 2nd level they can treat any spell that deals more damage when upcast as one level higher, but only a number of times per long rest equal to their Intelligence bonus. At 6th and higher levels they learn various kinds of Arcane Shocks, which can modify a cast spell. For the first time per long rest they suffer no negative detriment, but each time thereafter they take psychic damage that cannot be reduced, or are blinded and deafened for one turn for the most powerful kind of Arcane Shock: Overwhelm. The Arcane Shock Types are Power (6th level, roll damage twice and take higher roll), Pierce (10th level, ignore magic and damage resistance), and Overwhelm (if it would deal half damage on a successful save, deals full damage no matter what). At 10th level the wizard converts their Hit Die to d8 and their maximum hit points increase by 10; they don’t recalculate hit points for 1st through 9th level, they just use d8 from then on out. At 14th level they can apply multiple Arcane Shock types to a single spell, gaining the benefits and drawbacks simultaneously, and can treat damaging spells as two levels higher via their 2nd level upcasting ability.

Thoughts: The Court Mage has some nice defensive features that help the squishy wizard be less squishy. However, some of them are counterintuitive: the Fighting Style doesn’t work well unless their charge is equally fragile, as most foes will opt to attack unarmored spellcasters instead. As the Spell Shield’s range is a mere 30 feet until 14th level, it’s risky to use on front-liners as the wizard will need to be in close contact with them. As for the Green Mage, it feels like a gish but does a poor job at it, as the restraining shot competes with actual spells for an action and one of their expanded spells is Entangle which can do that but with more targets. Not only that, the imbuing of spells into ammo and substituting Intelligence for Dexterity for ranged attacks kicks in way too late. For those reasons it’s a rather poor option for a subclass.

The Loremaster feels rather unimaginative in concept: it’s really just giving the wizard even more spells and can cast spells more often. That being said, this is the class’ bread and butter, and is a good option in that it gives them more options to do during the adventuring day.

The Shock Arcanist is first and foremost a blaster caster: being able to roll damage twice and take the better result is an amazing boon for spells such as Fireball. The main drawback is that its core features deal damage to the Wizard, which individually aren’t much (two or three times the slot level used) but given their low hit points that damage adds up quickly even when they later get a d8 Hit Die. The Shock Arcanist is best used conservatively rather than all-out, when they know they can risk some self-inflicted damage.

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Chapter 7: Backgrounds

Much like subclasses, backgrounds in 5th Edition are heavily restricted due to the OGL. However, while we got an awful lot of subclasses, we have only 8 backgrounds in this book, one of which is the Acolyte repeated from the Player’s Handbook. Each new background in Solasta is without exception a retooled version of one that already exists in the official rules. Instead of Sage, you have Academic. Instead of Noble, you’ve got Aristocrat!

The backgrounds here also dispense with some universal commonalities. For instance, two of them grant three skill proficiencies instead of two: the Academic grants Arcana, Nature, and Insight, while the Aristocrat grants History, Persuasion, and Intimidation. Two backgrounds even grant weapon and armor proficiencies! Lawkeeper grants martial weapons, while Sellsword grants Medium Armor (and presumably Light Armor as well, which it did in the video game). In terms of bonus equipment there’s a few winners and losers: Lowlife grants worn clothes and nothing else, while Aristocrat grants 40 gold pieces on top of fine clothes and a signet ring. As can be expected, all of their Features are background-related fluff such as Academic having ties to a mentor in the Guild of Antiquarians. But several have explicit benefits, such as Lawkeeper gaining advantage on Persuasion when dealing with law enforcement in your home nation, or Philosopher being able to collect plants and craft potions 25% faster.

Thoughts: Given that the Backgrounds here are already covered by existing official ones and are unbalanced in terms of benefits, I wouldn’t allow any of these in a campaign. The Sellsword in particular screams “pick me” for unarmored casters.

Thoughts So Far: For the rest of the subclasses, I do like how some explicitly close up the weak points of certain play styles such as the Way of Survival for a tanky Monk or the Darkweaver for a poisoner-based Rogue. The Paladin subclasses were a low point for me in being relatively underpowered and situational, while some of the arcane subclasses like the Tree patron and Greenmage play to suboptimal strategies. Which is a shame, as I do like the concept of a nature-based arcane caster. While each class has a little bit of something new, the Cleric wins out by far with seven new domains.

The new backgrounds left me cold and are obviously a relic of the video game. But unlike the subclasses which got some heavy revisions from feedback, the backgrounds are more or left as is. I also noticed that some features made reference to crafting, like the Loremaster Wizard or Philosopher background. These were useful in the video game which did have a sub-system for this, but in default 5e this more or less requires DM Fiat.

Join us next time as we finish up reviewing Solasta in Chapter 8: Monsters and Chapter 9: the Sorr-Akkath!
 



Libertad

Hero
Chapter 8: Monsters

This chapter not only talks about what sorts of monsters are common and rare in the world of Solasta, it also provides new ones organized into specific groups. The Sorr-Akkath are prominent enough to get a chapter of their own. Basically, the Rift cut off access to the outer planes, meaning that celestials, elementals, and fiends are almost unheard of save for the ones that have been already summoned here. Fey predominate in the eastern forests of the sylvan elves, while dragons are rare and live in remote volcanoes. All other types of monsters can be found in the Badlands save for vampires. The book doesn’t say why as to this last part, but I imagine they prefer large population centers.

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The Fallen are undead created from renegade priests of Maraike who turned to forbidden necromancy in order to better fight the Sorr-Akkath. Their goddess disapproved and cursed them to be harmed by sunlight as a warning to others not to fight evil with evil. Sorr-Tarr in turn granted the Fallen powers, even though they were unwitting of its source, to make them powerful and able to make more undead. That they were also killing some of his followers was of little consequence: they also victimized the living of Solasta to bolster their ranks.

There are only 12 Defilers, all once-respected priests and paladins whose names have been stricken from their old orders out of shame. Defilers look exactly as they did in life save for their glowing red eyes, and tend to live lives of luxury in lairs filled with undead minions. They are CR 11 monsters with Legendary Resistance (but no actions) and have some pseudo-vampiric abilities such as turning into mists, innate Spider Climb, and a hit point draining bite and paralyzing claw attacks. They are not harmed in sunlight, but suffer disadvantage on rolls and cannot regenerate hit points while so exposed. They also have the ability to impose a Constitution-draining curse on humanoids, turning them into Sorrow Zombies when they die from this. Said Zombies are basically a modified version of regular zombies, but explode into necrotic liquid upon death and those humanoids they kill turn into more Sorrow zombies.

Broods are the shock troopers of the Defilers, those who willingly choose to obtain unholy powers in order to better serve their masters and fight the Sorr-Akkath. There are three different kinds of Broods: Brood of Flesh are cannibalistic CR 5 undead who if they go without feeding long enough begin to starve and lose hit points. Brood of Blood and Brood of Dread are CR 4 and 3 undead respectively that must feed on blood. Their three stat blocks share a lot in common: multiattack paralyzing claws and life-draining bites, disadvantage on rolls when in dim and bright light, innate Spider Climb, and regenerate hit points while in darkness. Brood of Blood have rechargeable ranged spitting blood attacks that deal necrotic damage and the Blinded condition, while Brood of Dread has a gaze attack that causes the Frightened condition.

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Giant Spiders of all kinds can be found in the Badlands. Badlands Spiders are our most mundane and least powerful, CR ¼ animals that are basically weaker versions of the core CR 1 Giant Spider. Deep Spiders are CR 1 monsters, and what makes them different from Giant Spiders is…well actually, their stats are identical but they take radiant damage in sunlight and have disadvantage on rolls while in bright light. Fire Spiders are CR 2 monsters who are basically tougher versions of the prior monsters but their webs also automatically set restrained targets on fire. Lastly, the Spider Queen is a Huge-sized CR 5 monster who has sunlight weakness like the deep spider and their web attack is an AoE cone.

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The Redeemers are giant insects bred by the Manacalon Empire. They got their names for their use in eating slaves as a form of capital punishment, for such slaves would be “redeemed” upon death. Due to generations’ worth of eating magical waste, Redeemers developed an intuitive sense for magic, being able to immediately tell if a target is a spellcaster who they prioritize eating. There are three types of Redeemers and they all share some common features: a burrowing speed, darkvision and tremorsense, resistance to nonmagical physical damage, high Armor Class values due to their thick carapaces, the ability to sense spellcasters, and claw and bite attacks; the latter of which can cause a spellcaster to lose a random spell slot on a failed Wisdom save, and the drained magic heals the Redeemer.

Redeemer Pilgrims are the weakest of the lot at CR 4, and they have a Pheromone Spray ranged attack that deals acid damage and allows other Redeemers to automatically sense the target within 60 feet. Zealots served the Manacalon Empire in war, and in addition to bite and claw has a stomp attack that can crush foes or be used as a distress call to communicate to other Redeemers within tremorsense range. They also have a rechargeable lightning discharge attack, and their Hive Discipline is akin to Pack Tactics but only for Redeemers. Finally, the Redeemer Juggernaut is the most powerful species of them all and was made to dig vast tunnel networks. They can reflect any spell cast at it on a 5-6 on a d6 roll, automatically uses Dispel Magic on anything that comes into contact with it, can use its normal burrow speed through solid rock and metal, and has a rechargeable AoE roar that can stun and deal “sonic damage.” I presume they meant thunder damage, as sonic damage is a 3rd Edition term.

Thoughts: As the Solasta video game heavily borrowed from the OGL for much of the opposition, it makes sense that the bestiary is rather small on account that there aren’t many totally original monsters. As for what we got here, a lot of the monsters heavily copy off of each other: the Deep Spider being virtually identical to the Monster Manual’s Giant Spider is wasted page space, and the different Broods could’ve used some more details to make them feel distinct.

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Chapter 9: The Sorr-Akkath

Part lore and part mechanics, the final chapter of this book that contains game information details the primary antagonists of the setting. The Sorr-Akkath originated as a species of shapeshifting frog-like beings of animal intelligence, using their powers to overcome predators and overwhelm prey. The god Sorr-Tarr wasn’t their patron deity yet, instead being revered as a god of battle among lizardfolk. It was when the lizardfolk came into contact with the frogs did things change. By shapeshifting into lizardfolk, the monsters managed to attain a level of sentience over time. Sorr-Tarr saw promise in these animals: abandoning his original followers, he helped them destroy the lizardfolk, and they adopted their reptilian forms as their default state from here on out. They adopted the term Sorr-Akkath, “beloved of Sorr-Tarr,” and their god had a long-term goal in mind: destroy all other intelligent civilizations to eliminate any competition, and from that derive the other gods of worshipers and thus power. In time the Sorr-Akkath would become an existential threat to the humans of Tirmar, and when the existence of Solasta was discovered they were all the more eager to explore and conquer this new world as well.

In Solasta, Sorr-Tarr and the Sorr-Akkath have specific long-term goals: use their telepathic and shapeshifting powers to infiltrate societies, gaining political power to spread strife and discord. Sorr-Akkath set up hatcheries in the eastern marshes and other out of the way areas, slowly building up their numbers to eventually wage all-out war against the remnants of the societies they seek to bring to ruin from within. Additionally, the Sorr-Akkath have great interest in exploring the Badlands, both to obtain its magical treasures for themselves and to reopen the Rift so that reinforcements from Tirmar can be sent through.

All Sorr-Akkath have innate abilities gifted to them by their god: telepathy with their own kind, shapechange into creatures of equal or lower level/Challenge Rating, and a once-per day Soulgaze ability to learn a target’s secret desires if they fail a Charisma save. The shapechange isn’t instantaneous, as the Sorr-Akkath must observe their target over a period of days to better learn about their target in order to take on their form. The shapeshift and Soulgaze abilities only work on humans at this point: this is less due to any inherent weaknesses on the part of humanity and more due to the fact that time and research is required for the Sorr-Akkath to learn how to exploit other races in the same manner. This does contradict the video game, as there are Sorr-Akkath who can take on the forms of dwarves in the town of Coparann.

As a race, Sorr-Akkath are humanoids of lawful evil alignment, but oddly don’t have the shapechanger subtype. They all have 60 feet of darkvision, all but the Abomination type has innate Spider Climb, and they tend to have natural armor and claw attacks albeit a few have more natural attacks such as ranged spines by Warriors or none at all for some of their spellcasters. Their last universal feature, Child of Darkness, grants them +1 to AC, saves, and attacks and can regenerate hit points while in dim light, and these values are doubled if they’re in darkness. Warriors are CR 1 creatures who are straightforward in that their main method of offense is either a melee claw or ranged spine attack. Skirmishers are CR ½ and focus on ranged combat, where their spine attacks are also poisonous and they can short-range teleport once per short or long rest. Skikkath are heavily-armored CR 3 divine spellcasters, casting spells as a 1st-level paladin, have a rechargeable AoE shriek that inflicts the frightened condition, and a once per short or long rest Dark Prayer that restores their own hit points and extinguishes nearby non-magical light sources. Acolytes of Sorr-Tarr are CR 2 Clerics who can cast up to 3rd level spells. Their Soultwist power can be used once per long rest: if a target fails 3 Wisdom saves they become permanently cursed to have the Charmed condition in regards to all Sorr-Akkath and other followers of Sorr-Tarr. Fully Soultwisted targets can be subject to Geas by said Acolytes, where they become a willing cultist of the evil god.

Saboteurs are CR 1 creatures who focus more on debuffs, such as shoving enemies prone, a poisonous bite, can douse non-magical light sources and magical light spells lower than 2nd level, and can emit a laugh as a bonus action that causes adjacent targets to take additional necrotic damage whenever they’d be hit. Assassins are CR 3 creatures who have Roguish features such as Sneak Attack and Cunning Action, Pack Tactics, and once per day as a bonus action can turn invisible. If they Sneak Attack a target while so concealed, they roll damage dice twice and take the better result. Finally, Abominations are CR 6 hulking brutes who are immune to the charmed and frightened conditions, have powerful claw attacks as well as a charge attack that deals additional damage with their claws and knocks enemies prone, and can do 2 legendary actions which are either a Shove or an additional Claw attack.

I did notice that the Sorr-Akkath stat blocks weren’t appropriately formatted in places. Notably, there’s no separate entry for bonus actions, which are instead listed under actions. They signify their bonus action status in the descriptive text itself. This is counterintuitive for Dungeon Masters juggling a lot, who in glancing at a stat block quickly may end up having such a monster waste a regular action.

Thoughts: The Sorr-Akkath have an appropriate array of abilities and roles: you have your standard warriors, your sneaky types, and your mages. In terms of Challenge Rating they’re quite low, meaning that campaigns that go Tier 3 and above will quickly outclass them unless the DM homebrews new variants. Additionally there are more errors here than in the prior chapter’s stat blocks, such as the lack of a shapechanger subtype and bonus actions being grouped under the Action tag. In terms of new lore not present in the game, we don’t get much besides the Sorr-Akkath’s origins and their god’s reason for wanting to destroy other civilizations.

Chapter 10: The Art of Solasta

The final chapter of the rulebook showcases concept and key art for Solasta, both released and unreleased. Each piece has text from the design team, explaining what they were going for and the development process behind them. As I can’t really review this section in detail without basically posting the core content, I’ll leave off with showing but a few illustrations:

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Final Thoughts: As a TTRPG setting, Solasta is rather average. The elements that make it different from generic Tolkien fantasy aren’t enough to carry the setting as a whole, with only the new subclasses being the strongest draw. When it comes to Caer Cyflen and the Badlands, the core places for adventure, there’s not enough hooks for material beyond broad concepts. The DM is still saddled with having to make up plots wholesale. As a lorebook for the game setting, it does its job in filling in mission gaps, but not covering the DLC material such as the Lost Valley region (or in some cases contradicting itself like religion in the New Empire) doesn’t do it any favors.

As a product, I can only recommend it to those Solasta fans who want to know as much as they can about the world beyond what’s in the video games, and people who really liked the subclasses. For all others, there are better settings out there to choose from.
 


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