Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Warforged of Eska

Warforged of Eska
I’ve never played or used Eberron, but I love the idea of the warforged. The version in the Eberron Unearthed Arcana released by WotC is completely underwhelming, though. I found a few versions online that I liked, but none I was completely happy with. I combined my favorite aspects of each into what I present below. The Keith Baker version forms the core. Most of the flavor and subraces, as well as the warforged repair and healing comes from Gr7mm Bobb’s version on the DnD Wiki, while the wizard spells come from Nerdarchy.

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The homeland of the rock gnomes of Eska served as the opening battlefields of the Kinslayer Wars. It was to no fault of the gnomes, though, just an unlucky fluke of geography that placed them between the mori’edhel, taur’edhel, and the mith’edhel when hostilities erupted.

Fleeing, the gnomes have spent the last couple millennium as wanderers, scavengers and inventors. Many of their successful inventions have combined magic and technology in ways to improve the gnomish lifestyle. Most of these have been exported to other races, which many have learned to copy and build. The gnome’s two most successful creations are closely guarded secrets and are the core of gnomish defence. Their crawlers are kept as gnomish exclusive vehicles. The warforged, on the other hand, have proven the biggest money maker. First used as “gnomish muscle”, both to protect and perform manual labor. Since their creation, the gnomes have sold untold numbers of warforged to act as laborers, guards, scouts, soldiers and mercenaries.

On most other worlds, the warforged are a young race. On Eska the earliest models were created after the start of the Kinslayer Wars, nearly two thousand years ago. A handful of those originals are still around.

Warforged are widespread on Eska, and have worked for all sides during the Kinslayer Wars. They have few general prejudices against any of the other races, though individual warforged certainly do based on personal experiences.

“I served in the last war. I dealt in death, it is all I knew. But with the war now ended and my home destroyed, I cast my eyes to the horizon and the city. Tales of danger and endless riches, it called to someone like me. A warrior, a mercenary, an adventurer, a lost soul.”

Physical Description

The warforged are made of stone, metal and wood fibres. The core of a warforged is a skeletal frame made of metal and stone with wood fibres acting as a muscular system. Covering the warforged is an outer shell of metal and stone plates. An internal network of tubes run through the warforged's body, these tubes are filled with a blood like fluid that is designed to lubricate and nourish their systems. Their hands have only two thick fingers and a thumb whilst their feet only have two broad toes.

The warforged's face loosely resembles their human creators though they have a toothless jaw, heavy brow line and are lacking noses. Each warforged has a ghulra engraved upon their foreheads. Each of these runes are unique to the warforged giving them a sense of individuality.

The warforged have a sexless form and are considered to be mono-gender. The warforged are able to be repaired and modified by artificers or even themselves giving them an endless possibility to their appearances.

A warforged on average stands 6'0" - 6'6" and weighing in at 270 - 300 lbs. These numbers may vary among the subraces, Juggernaut's being 6'2" - 7' and 280 - 360 lbs and Scouts standing from 2'10" - 3' 6" in height and weighing between 35 - 50 lbs.


Warforged can have unique personality traits though, being constructs they are restricted in some ways. They experience anger, pain, fear and hatred like their human creators though, all warforged are incredibly reserved and pensive hiding an array of emotions behind their metallic face. Their faces were not designed to display facial expressions and so it can seem like they are distant to the conversation. Despite their lack of physical facial expressions they're not completely without them as their eyes tend to brighten when experiencing strong or specific emotions.

Some warforged are incredibly naive and lack introspection however, many others are the opposite and question their existence, wonder if they have souls and ask what becomes of them in the after life. The more intelligent warforged create complex philosiphies about what they perceive and learn. Though warforged can show loyalty to religions and organisations, typically they become loyal to a small group of comrades.

Warforged often have little life experience as they spent most of their time assigned to one specific duty, usually soldiering. If there is one interest all warforged share it is the love of working and many create endless lists of goals and chores. They take pride in their work and work incredibly hard which makes them dislike idleness and failure. Warforged can excel at most tasks having a single-minded effenciency, especially in combat related roles.

Warforged Names

Warforged tend to take up names that are adjectives, objects or nicknames given by those around them that describes the warforged. It is not uncommon for the warforged to change names a few times as they grow into or out of old personality traits.

Example Names: Am, Book, Bulwark, Cart, Falchion, Graven, Hammer, Mark, Morg, Nameless, Pierce, Pious, Relic, Rune, Steeple, Three, Titan, Unsung, Victor, Watcher, Zealot.

Warforged Traits

Ability Score Increase. +2 Constitution, in all shapes a warforged is hearty and durable.

Age. A warforged is complete and fully developed at construction and are built to last. The maximum age for a warforged has not been determined to this date.

Alignment. A warforged's alignment is as varied as its creators and generally is a reflection of its designed purpose.

Size. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.  

Living Construct. Even though you were constructed, you are a humanoid. You are immune to disease. You do not need to breathe, eat or drink, but you can ingest food or drink if you wish.

Unsleeping Sentinel. A warforged can go into an inert state with full awareness of its surroundings even while in this resting state. A warforged gains the benefits of a long rest in 4 hours of rest. Warforged do not dream.

Warforged Resilience. You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.

Integrated Armor. When you are not wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier. During a short rest, you can bond a suit of armor you are wearing to your body. When you finish that short rest, the armor you are wearing is bonded to you, and it cannot subsequently be removed from your body until you finish another short rest during which time you remove the bonded armor.

Self-Stabilizing. You have Advantage on death saving throws.

Artificial Anatomy. A warforged does not recover hit points naturally. A warforged receives only ½ hit points from spending hit dice during a short rest, and the effects of healing spells (minimum of 1). No hit points are recovered during a long rest.

A warforged can recover hit points through repairs using a 'warforged repair kit', which is a set of artisans tools that are specifically designed for this purpose. The amount of hit points recovered from 8 hours of work is equal to the hit points that would be gained from a long rest. The following tools may be used instead of a warforged repair kit, but you only repair half of the total damage (rounded down): jewelers, masons, smiths, or tinkers tools. All warforged are proficient in the use of a warforged repair kit. The repair process is a form of 'light work' and may be performed while resting.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one additional language (usually reflecting the language of its creators or a common enemy).

Warforged Subraces

Warforged Tactician

Ability Score Increase. +1 Intelligence

The Right Nudge. A tactician starts with the guidance cantrip.

Marker. A tactician can use the Help action as a bonus action

Of Mind and Body. A tactician has an innate sense of how things work mechanically and magically when it comes to mechanisms and constructs. A Tactician has Advantage on checks to determine how certain devices work. This includes, but is not limited to, Arcana checks to identify constructs, how a particular magical-mechanical device functions, and even medicine checks on warforged.

Warforged Juggernaut

The Juggernaut variety of warforged was created for the easy mass production of warforged foot soldiers. Designed to both hold and break the battle lines.

Ability Score Increase. +1 Strength

Solid Construction. A warforged juggernaut has resistance to piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage.

Lasting Injury. A warforged juggernaut cannot recover hit points from resting, only by repair.

Stability. A warforged juggernaut has the advantage against effects that would physically move it or knock it prone.

Warforged Scout

Ability Score Increase. +1 Dexterity

Darkvision. The mobile sentinels of the war. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Light Frame. Scout models can perform a stealth check even when only lightly obscured.

Quick Footed. A warforged scout has a base walking speed of 35 feet.

Small stature. A scout model’s size is small instead of medium.

Warforged Repair Kit

Containing a variety of organic and inorganic materials (much like the warforged themselves) and specialized tools, this kit contains just the right materials to help warforged encourage its ability to repair 'naturally'.

A Warforged repair kit weighs 1lb and costs 50 gp for one use.

New Wizard Spells
Repair Damage
1st Level Transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

A Construct you touch regains a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on non constructs.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd or higher, the repair increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.
6th Level Transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

Choose a construct that you can see within range. A surge of reconstructive energy washes through the construct to regain 70 hit points. This spell also ends any rust effects, removes blindness, or deafness affecting the target. This spell has no effect on non constructs.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 7th or higher, the repair increases by 10 for each slot level above 6th.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Variant for charged magic items "magic focusing"

Wanting to take a break from the races of Eska (even though I only have the warforged left), I've been reading through old issues of Dragon Magazine for things to convert to 5e. While I've found plenty of cool articles and short fiction to read, (not to mention Snarf Quest and Wormy), there has been a lack of things that would port well into 5th Edition.

Then I was reading issue #111. While I've barely got into the issue, the first article really caught my eye. Good Stuff, For a Spell. Magic focusing, a new dimension for possessions, by John M. Maxstadt. It provides a variant idea for powering charged magic items such as wands and staffs.

The old school 81 charge wand of fireballs, for example, never struck my fancy. Players either hoarded charges and mostly forgot about them, or used them at every opportunity, blasting everything until all charges were gone.

I'm not really a fan of 5th Edition's 7 charges that regenerate, either. I'm not really sure why, but it just doesn't seem right to me.

What the article presents is really just an idea, not fully fleshed out. He leaves "the details of the individual items up to the individual DMs and designers." He calls them "magic focusing items".

What a magic focusing item does is allow a spell caster to power the item with their own spell slots to cast the spell. Using the wand of fireballs that I referenced above, if using the magic focusing variant the wand itself has no charges, but allows you to cast fireball if you power it with at least a 3rd level spell slot. You don't have to have fireball memorized, or even have it as a spell known to cast it, as long as you focus your spell slot through the wand. Powering the wand with a 5th level spell slot works the same as casting a fireball with a 5th level slot.

Magic focusing items can't "store up" spell slots cast before hand. The spell slot must be used at the time the effect is desired.

More than wands can be magic focusing. Any item with charges can be "converted" into a magic focusing item. A staff of fire can cast burning hands, fireball, or wall of fire, as long as the user powers it with the appropriate spell slot.

Many other items can me magic focusing as well. A ring of feather fall, an amulet with the shield spell, a bracer of web.

Non Spellcaster Variants
This also has me thinking about other ways to power the magic items other than spell slots. Using spell slots makes the spell focusing ring of feather fall useless for a non spellcasting fighter.

An idea I've been toying around with for Eska is using a sacrifice to power magic. This can be either sacrificing yourself or another. I haven't worked up the details of this, yet, but a full system is coming.

The basic quick and dirty would be using hit dice and levels of exhaustion to power magic. Each hit die or level of exhaustion expended is equal to a spell level.

On Eska, the gray elves guard the art of wizardry closely. Very few non gray elves are ever taught. For the other races, magic comes naturally in the form of sorcerers or by making pacts as warlocks. I'm using the spell point variant rules for sorcerers in my game, and just rolling sorcery points into the spell point total, and making them interchangeable. This makes the sorcerers extremely flexible with their limited spells known.

The gray elf wizards, wishing for some of this flexibility, developed the [I]magic focusing[/I] items.

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