D&D 5e: Bonus Familiar Abilities

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In 5e, the owl is often way more attractive than other familiars: between high-speed flight, darkvision, and flyby, it’s just really good at all the things you mostly want a familiar to be good at. I put the following together to try to level the playing field a bit, such that a player wanting to take a different animal as a familiar for roleplaying reasons won’t feel like it’s a bad mechanical choice.

It’s up to you whether you want all versions of the animal to have these abilities, but it’s definitely intended to be something that a familiar version of it gets.

Bat

Night Flier: The bat has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks and attack rolls (to deliver touch spells) at night in dim light or darkness. Attackers have disadvantage on opportunity attacks against the bat in these circumstances.

Cat

Nimble Escape: The cat can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.

Crab

Big Claw, Little Claw: The crab may reroll a failed attack roll to deliver a touch spell, and may take the Help action as a bonus action on each of its turns (allowing it to effectively Help on two attacks per round).

Dog (Little Dog)

(Treat stats as Cat that doesn’t have a Climb speed, has Keen Hearing and Smell, and its attack is Bite instead of Claw.)

Pack Tactics: When the dog delivers touch spells, it has advantage on its attack roll if at least one of its allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.
Fierce Protector: While taking a short or long rest, if the dog succeeds at its Wisdom (Perception) check to notice an approaching threat, none of the rest of the party can be surprised.

Frog (Toad)

Lashing Tongue: The frog has 10 foot reach for delivering touch spells.
Hopping Defense: The frog may take the Dodge action as a bonus action on each of its turns.

Hawk

Swift Striker: The hawk may take the Dash action as a bonus action on each of its turns, and has advantage when delivering touch spells during any turn in which it’s used the Dash action.

Lizard

Detachable Tail: When the lizard is reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, it can drop to 1 hit point instead. It can’t use this feature again until it finishes a long rest.

Octopus

Clever Tentacles: An octopus can manipulate an item for its master with as much or more dexterity than human hands. When within 5 feet, it may grant the Help action on any of its master’s actions involving manual dexterity.

Owl

The owl is already really good.

Poisonous Snake

Venomous Delivery: When the snake successfully delivers a touch spell, it can also inject venom if the master desires. The target must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or take 2d4 poison damage.

Fish (Quipper)

(The fish’s Blood Frenzy applies when delivering touch spells.)

Rat

Streetwise: When inside a city, town, or building, the rat may take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
They’re Everywhere: When it is reduced to 0 hit points by a ranged attack within an area that has other rats, it is instead missed (the attack killed a different rat). The rat may only use this ability once per day in the same location (approximately within the same 100 feet).

Raven

Gregarious: In any location that has other crows or ravens, the raven exchanges gossip with others of its kind. The raven automatically becomes aware of threats the corvids know about, and can take 1d4 hours to make a Wisdom (Perception) check to discover more specific information for its master. The DC of the check depends on how easy it would be for local corvids to uncover the information.

Sea Horse

Surprising Speed: The sea horse can take the Dash, Disengage, or Dodge action as a bonus action on each of its turns.

Spider

Patient: If it is not moving, the spider gains advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide.
Venomous Delivery: When the spider delivers a touch spell, it can also inject venom if the master desires. The target must make a DC 9 Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 poison damage.

Weasel

Nimble Escape: The weasel can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
Weasel’s Intuition: The weasel can Help its master with Charisma (Deception) checks if it is within 5 feet.

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D&D 5e: Items of the Runelords

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I converted a bunch of the gear my players had at the end of Rise of the Runelords for… reasons that may become apparent if I actually run the followup campaign I think I’m running soon.

Weapons

Koruvus’ Prize

Scimitar, rare

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this silvered, magic weapon. It deals an additional 1d6 Radiant damage to Fiends. On a critical hit against a Fiend, you may immediately cast Banishment on that target as a bonus action with no components (the saving throw DC is based on your Charisma). Servants of Lamashtu have disadvantage on this saving throw.

This sword was an ancient human relic that was found by the goblin hero Koruvus and kept by him when he was corrupted by Lamashtu cultists. It was later wielded by a Varisian hero that used it to slay many fiends, awakening its nascent hatred of the breed. It glows in the presence of fiends and servants of Lamashtu, and stokes the wielder’s distaste for these targets.

Res Judicata

Longsword, very rare

You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this adamantine, magic weapon.

When you use an action to accuse a target that you can see of a crime, the blade ignites with cold blue flames that shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. You must genuinely believe the target is guilty of the declared crimes, and that they are sufficient to demand maiming or death, or the flames will not ignite. The target gains an empathic sense of what she is being accused of, even if she does not understand the language you use to speak the crimes.

While the flames are active, the sword does an extra 2d6 radiant damage to this accused target. The flames go out after a single hit to the target if she truly believes herself to be innocent of the declared crimes. They also end upon killing the target, or when the blade is sheathed. You cannot strike to incapacitate when the flames are active: when a target is defeated by a strike from the blade, that defeat almost always means death.

If the target has been officially sentenced for the crimes you accuse her of, and that sentence carries the death penalty, damage from the blade ignores any of the target’s damage resistances and immunities.

This sword was originally created by the church of Aroden, passed to the Order of the Crux after His death, and was taken by the Order of the Scourge in the Chelish Civil War. It bears the eye of Aroden on its hilt. It may have a role yet to play in the saga of Aroden. The wielder always feels a vague sense of loss at the death of Aroden, or perhaps due to the fact that the sword bore other powers before His death that are no longer capable of being accessed through attunement.

Shadow’s Pain

Shortsword, rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this adamantine, magic weapon. You can cause it to become sheathed in barely-visible electricity; when active, whenever you hit with an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 lightning damage. This electricity’s glow is not sufficient to cast visible light, but it extends the range of Darkvision by an additional 10 feet for anyone that has Darkvision and is within 10 feet of you.

This sword has a mostly-dormant Runeforged Sadistic enchantment. When you critically hit with an attack made with this weapon, any target currently protected by an Abjuration effect must make a Constitution saving throw (against a DC of 8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Your Charisma Modifier) or be Stunned until the end of your next turn.

Crafted by a Shoanti mage for a Gnomish hero, the weapon may gain additional powers as it is used for greater deeds.

Shadow’s Thirst

Shortsword, rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this adamantine, magic weapon. You can cause it to become sheathed in flickering shadows; when active, whenever you hit with an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 thunder damage. This doesn’t make any sound, as it actually absorbs the noise of its impact, and the target is momentarily silenced while touching the blade (this is sufficient to muffle any screams from the blow, but not to prolong inability to communicate or cast spells).

The shadowy flickering of the blade allows you a retroactive feint: if you miss with all attacks made with the weapon this turn, you regain the action used to make the attacks. You cannot use the regained action to make attacks (but may use it for other actions in combat).

Crafted by a Shoanti mage for a Gnomish hero, the weapon may gain additional powers as it is used for greater deeds.

Sightstealer

Longbow, rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this magic weapon. You can cause any ammunition it releases to be sheathed in coruscating energy; when active, whenever you hit with an attack, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage. All damage from the attack is treated as Piercing, Lightning, or Radiant, depending on which would do the most damage to the target. When you critically hit with an attack made by this weapon, the target is Blinded until the end of your next turn.

This bow has a mostly-dormant Runeforged Dominant enchantment. When you critically hit with an attack made with this weapon, any target that is a Transmuter wizard or has the Shapechanger trait must make a Constitution saving throw (against a DC of 8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Your Charisma Modifier) or be Paralyzed until the end of your next turn.

Crafted by a Shoanti mage for a Varisian hero, the weapon may gain additional powers as it is used for greater deeds.

Adornments

Belt of Hellish Perfection

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This wide belt is made of a chain mesh of a variety of precious metals, each large link scribed with subtle runes of speed, strength, and health.

The belt has 8 charges. While wearing it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it with yourself as the target: Cure Wounds (1 charge), False Life (1 charge), Enhance Ability (2 charges), Lesser Restoration (2 charges), Protection from Poison (2 charges). You may spend an additional charge when casting a spell from the belt to gain advantage on rolls to maintain Concentration.

The belt regains 1d6 expended charges daily. There is no ill effect for exhausting its available charges (though you cannot spend more charges than it currently possesses).

This belt is actually created by ancient, giant-sized creatures, for whom it was meant as a gorget, and is too large to serve as even a belt for small creatures or medium-sized creatures with narrow hips. The runes are foreign to the magic of Avistan, looking vaguely Tien in construction, and it is likely that this was ornamental war regalia for a powerful creature whose inheritors may want it back. The wearer can understand Tien speech, but not speak it, and can detect the presence of nearby Kami as an incessant, inarticulate whispering. The links regularly exchange positions when not being looked at directly, forming odd shifting patterns and glyphs in the rings of differently-colored metals.

Belt of the Claimer

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

The wide, golden buckle of this belt is inscribed with Thassilonian runes, particularly those of Greed. Its leather is made from the skin of the first Rune Giant. While wearing the belt, you gain advantage on any saving throws you make to resist any hostile spell of the Transmutation school. It absorbs any coins the attuned owner places into it, and can return them at need, and can hold up to 1,000 coins in this manner with no additional weight (this does not count as an extradimensional space).

The belt has 10 charges. While wearing it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it with yourself as the target: Jump (1 charge), Longstrider (1 charge), Alter Self (2 charges), Enlarge/Reduce (2 charges), Levitate (2 charges), Spider Climb (2 charges), Fly (3 charges), Haste (3 charges), Water Breathing (3 charges). You may spend an additional charge when casting a spell from the belt to gain advantage on rolls to maintain Concentration.

The belt regains 1d6 expended charges daily. There is no ill effect for exhausting its available charges (though you cannot spend more charges than it currently possesses).

A symbol of power of Karzoug the Claimer, many who see it may be afflicted by a greed for the item and the status it represents, causing them to challenge the bearer for it. The wearer can hear the faint sound of a chiming bell when an onlooker is about to attack to claim the belt, granting Advantage on Initiative.

Bindings of the Black Monk

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This fifty-foot long, foot-wide ribbon of silk was manufactured by the ancient Therassic monks, and still bears subtle embroidery with images from their school of martial arts, though it has darkened to near-black over the ages. It can be easily wrapped around the body and stays in place, forming loose clothing as placed by the wearer. The wearer has advantage on all rolls to escape a grapple, as the cloth automatically detaches and slips from hostile grasps to make it hard to get a grip upon the wearer.

The unarmed damage of the attuned wearer increases by a die size (to a d4 if the wearer does not otherwise have a source of unarmed damage). An attuned wearer who has access to Ki gains an additional point.

The ribbon is practically unbreakable, and can be used as rope to climb, tie up an opponent, lash objects together, and the like. It automatically releases when desired by the attuned owner, or when no part of it is within ten feet of the owner.

Boots of the Rune Law

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

These understated sandals are made of intricately-embroidered silk, with the pattern detailing, in Thassilonian, the entire legal system of Xin. When worn and attuned, you gain advantage on saving throws against any Enchantment effect designed to compel you to take an action that is illegal (including any Geas not applied as a properly mandated punishment).

When you are in a direct and immediate foot chase to pursue a fleeing fugitive, you cannot be slowed and ignore difficult terrain.

Additionally, they function similarly to boots of Elvenkind, Speed, and Striding and Springing:

  • Your steps make no sound, and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks that rely on moving silently.
  • When you use the Dash action, your walking speed is doubled for the movement granted by that action, and attacks of opportunity against you have disadvantage on the attack roll.
  • Your walking speed becomes 30 feet if it is not higher, and cannot be reduced below 30 feet by encumbrance or armor. You can jump three times the normal distance (though not further than your remaining movement would allow).

Due to its use in the legal system of Thassilon, the attuned wearer gains an intuitive understanding of the legal system of that ancient land, granting Advantage on any relevant rolls. The sandals never get dirty.

Cloak of Xin-Shalast

Wondrous item, legendary

Converted from the robes of Karzoug the Claimer, this deep-green cloak had its magic refocused for the use of non-wizards. While wearing it:

  • You gain advantage on all saving throws against spells.
  • You gain advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide (it changes colors to blend into its surroundings).
  • You gain resistance against Cold. After you take Fire, Cold, Lightning, or Necrotic damage, the resistance of the cloak changes to that energy type until you take a short rest or you take another kind of energy damage (after a short rest, it reverts to Cold resistance).
  • You can always breathe, even underwater or in locations where there is no air.

By tightly wrapping the cloak around yourself, you may pull yourself and your carried possessions into an extradimensional space. The cloak collapses onto the ground. It is dark inside, and you can hear faintly in the outside world. Because you can always breathe, you are in no danger of suffocating. Whenever the cloak is disturbed, you are dislodged from the plane and refill your space, wearing the cloak. You can exit the plane at will, wearing the cloak in its current space.

Those who recognized Karzoug may recognize this cloak as a symbol of his power, and some may take offense at the alterations to it. The material never gets dirty, and is made of some strange transmuted material that grants it many of its properties.

Hellknight Plate

Plate, very rare (allows attunement by a Hellknight)

This suit of plate armor is made of adamantine: while wearing it, any critical hit against you becomes a normal hit. It is decorated with infernal ornamentation designed to intimidate criminals and enemies of Cheliax.

When attuned and wearing the armor, if you have been invested with the authority to wear it by the Hellknights, you have resistance to Fire and gain the benefits of the Devil’s Sight warlock investment (you can see up to 120 feet in darkness, even if it is magical).

Celestials will find the presence of this item repulsive. Even moral bearers are provided a subtle temptation to wickedness by the infernal emanations of the armor, which tends to make even the most fair-minded Hellknights overzealous in the enforcement of their duties. This is not helped by the fact that the armor also bolsters the bearer’s self confidence.

Artifacts

Sihedron Tome

Wondrous item, artifact (requires attunement)

The first Sihedron Tomes were said to have been crafted by a dragon in the service of Emperor Xin. Each of these books has a unique appearance, and hold an infinite number of pages for spellcasters to inscribe spells upon.

The book may only be opened willingly by its owner, and closes inevitably when it leaves the immediate presence of its owner. It can only pass on to a new owner when the old one is slain, or willingly gifted. Unless gifted, the knowledge stored in the book is forever locked away, perhaps destroyed, for its later owners.

It comes instantly to its owner’s hands when summoned, and can cross any space or dimension to do so. It cannot be teleported away so easily, of course, but is so secure that its owners rarely think much about leaving it around.

Any spellbook-using spellcaster who prepares spells from a Sihedron Tome, which potentially holds libraries worth of arcane knowledge, may prepare three additional spells (or five additional spells if no prepared spells are of schools that oppose any other in the Sihedron diagram; e.g., Divination plus up to three adjacent other schools).

Greed (Transmutation) – Sloth (Conjuration) – Envy (Abjuration) – Lust (Enchantment) – Pride (Illusion) – Wrath (Evocation) – Gluttony (Necromancy)

Major Beneficial Property: While attuned to this artifact, you can’t be Blinded, Deafened, or affected by Feeblemind.

Minor Beneficial Property: While attuned to this artifact, once per day you can use an action to cast Comprehend Languages.

Minor Detrimental Property: While attuned to this artifact, any spells you scribe into any other books or scrolls besides this tome immediately fade into illegibility. You may tear pages from the book to create scrolls, but they are recovered into the book whenever you summon it (you must tear them out again, but not recreate them) and will disappear upon your death like its spells.

Tattoo Magic

Mark of Wrath

Tattoo, very rare

This faintly-glowing tattoo-like rune of Wrath upon your forehead allows you to cast Fire Shield once per day. Additionally, upon your next turn after taking damage, if you hit the target that dealt that damage, you may expend a hit die as a free action to add that die to your damage total (the die only, not the Constitution modifier).

Order of the Scourge Investment

Tattoo, very rare

You may expend one hit die to generate the following effects (requires the listed type of action):

  • Vigilance: As an action, you gain truesight for one minute, and Darkvision to 60 feet (if you do not already have Darkvision). While this is active, you can get a vague sense of any threats in a room on the other side of a wall or door you are touching.
  • Onslaught: As a bonus action, until the start of your next turn increase your speed by 10 feet, gain advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws, and 1d10 to melee damage rolls.
  • Wrack: As an action, make a melee attack roll to touch a target. If hit, the target takes 1d10+Cha Modifier Psychic damage and must make a Constitution saving throw (DC based on your Charisma) or be Stunned for one round.

Therassic Tattoos

Tattoo, very rare

You may use an action and expend one or more hit dice to generate the following effects (to a maximum of half your hit dice spent on a single effect):

  • Heroism: You are immune to being frightened and gain temporary hit points at the start of each of your turns. The temporary hit points gained are equal to the hit dice you expended. This lasts for one minute and does not require concentration.
  • Fireball: You throw a ball of fire that explodes at a point within up to 150 feet. It has a radius of five feet for every hit die expended (to a maximum of 20 feet). Each target in the radius takes 1d6 damage per hit die expended (Dexterity saving throw for half). The difficulty of this save is based on your Charisma.
  • Fire Shield: You wreathe yourself in hot orange flames or cold blue flames (chosen at the time of activation) that shed bring light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. These flames last for one minute per hit die expended, and this does not require concentration but can be cancelled early if desired. While active, you have resistance to Fire (for cold flames) or Cold (for hot flames). Whenever a creature within 5 feet of you hits you with a melee attack, the shield erupts with flame. The attacker takes fire or cold damage equal to the number of hit dice you expended (based on the type of flames). You also add this damage to your unarmed attacks (including damage dealt while grappling).

Tattoos of the Traveler

Tattoo, very rare

As an action, you may expend one hit die to cast Alarm, Detect Poison and Disease, Longstrider, or Speak with Animals.

D&D 5e: Mystic Domain

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I wasn’t thrilled with the Unearthed Arcana implementation of the Mystic Theurge as the Theurgy School for wizards, so this is intended to come at it from the other direction.

Certain gods view mystical knowledge as a sacred journey rather than a gift of service. Instead of opening themselves up to all the possible prayers available to their deity, their followers instead write their scriptures down, notate them, and try to glean new meaning from the magical forms inherent in the words of faith. This special form of devotion makes them seem much like wizards to others of the faith, obsessed with books. But it is hard to deny that this obsession gives them access to magic beyond that available to their peers.

Mystic Domain Spells

Special

Mystic Spellbook

Unlike other clerics, you cannot prepare spells from the full cleric list. Instead, you maintain a mystic spellbook that contains the cleric spells you know, and you can prepare spells from this book. At 1st level, your book contains five 1st-level spells from the cleric spell list, and one additional 1st-level spell from either the cleric spell list or the wizard spell list. Each time you gain a cleric level, you can add two cleric spells of your choice to your mystic spellbook (each must be a level for which you have spell slots).

In addition to the spells you gain from leveling, you may copy spells in the mystic spellbook using the rules for wizard spellbooks on page 114’s sidebar. You can freely copy spells from wizard spellbooks (but must still follow the limitation of wizard-only spells per level) and from either arcane or divine scrolls (as long as the spell appears on the cleric or wizard list) using the rules for copying scrolls.

You may copy a cleric spell into the book if you are mentored by another cleric who is willing to explain it to you for the entire time it takes you to copy the spell (the teacher must cast it for you at the completion of the demonstration). The cost for copying in this way is the same as copying from a wizard’s book.

While you are not limited in the number of spells from the cleric spell list you can add to your mystic spellbook, for any particular spell level it cannot contain more spells that do not appear on the cleric spell list than your Intelligence bonus (minimum 1): this sets the limits of your capacity for understanding outside your sphere. For example, if your Intelligence bonus is +2, you may copy up to two spells at each spell level that appear on the wizard spell list but not on the cleric list.

Mystic Spellcasting

Using your normal preparation slots (Wisdom modifier + cleric level), you may only prepare spells from the mystic spellbook that normally appear on the cleric spell list.

Instead of the normal spells gained from a divine domain, you gain one additional prepared spell per cleric level (maximum of 10) that can be used to prepare any spells in your mystic spellbook.

Arts of the Wise

At 1st level, you gain an additional cantrip that can be from the cleric or wizard list (it is treated as a cleric cantrip for you). You also become proficient in Arcana.

Channel Divinity: Mastery of Magic

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to exert mastery over the fabric of magic itself.

As an action, you present your holy symbol, and all creatures or items with active spells or inherent magic within 30 feet of you acquire a visible, glowing aura similar to what you would see if you cast Detect Magic. This field lasts for Concentration, up to 10 minutes, and travels with you. Anyone seeing these auras who is trained in Arcana (or who can cast Detect Magic) can identify the school of magic for each effect.

This effect gains additional powers as at 6th level, as described below.

School Focus

Starting at 6th level, choose one of the eight schools of magic as your focus. The gold and time you must spend to copy a spell of that school into your mystic spellbook is halved, and if you use one of your spell choices from leveling up to pick a spell of that school, you instead learn two spells of that school.

Additionally, when you use your Channel Divinity: Mastery of Magic, you may choose to take an action at any point while the effect is active to target a creature or item that is being affected by an effect of your focus school (and which has been identified by the Channel Divinity). The target is treated as if you had cast Dispel Magic upon it. This spell is of a power level as if you had cast it at your highest level spell slot. The Channel Divinity ends upon using this power.

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you add your Intelligence modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.

Spell Synthesis

At 17th level, you discover deep secrets of the similarities of magic. On the same round you have used your action to cast a spell from one spell list (cleric or wizard), you may use your bonus action to cast a cantrip upon at least one of the same targets as the spell. You may do this a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier before completing a short or long rest.