Welcome to the inaugural issue of Unplaytested!
Below you’ll find a new crowd controlling sorcerer archetype for 5e, cool community spotlights, my first stream appearance, and a little bit of UO Publishing news.
Let’s do it!
I’ve always been very enamored with the riot grrrl movement, despite the fact that I missed it by a couple of decades and several hundred miles. For a girl in the middle of nowhere in southern Indiana without access to a consistent internet connection or like-minded peers, it seemed incredibly revolutionary and like a very great way to channel the rage and frustration that I imagine most femme-identifying folks have shared at one point or another in our lives.
When the Twitter poll that I ran a few weeks ago chose the sorcerer as the riot grrrl-inspired archetype to be presented here, I was a little shocked. I expected the bard to be the obvious choice and had a whole zine-focused take in mind. But I’m clearly a fool and underestimated the community’s love for a good sorcerer.
For this archetype, I wanted to boil down the concept of creating space for yourself and your allies—one of the primary issues of the riot grrrl movement—or taking it where none exists. This archetype can be flavored to comfortably exist in any 5e setting where an oppressed people is fighting back against injustice or tyranny.
Sorcerous Origin: Riot Born
Their backs to the fountain, the small group studied the square they were in, eyes flitting about the smoke and chaos for a way out of the area that now seemed to constrict around them. Guards filed in, the stomping cadence of their boots and rattling of their shields drowning out the rest of the night as a hulking man at their lead stepped forward slowly and purposefully. “I think it’s time we put an end to all this, eh?”
The hulking man spoke with a smile, but one devoid of warmth or kindness. A predator’s baring of teeth before the kill. “Besides, looks like you’ve just about run out of room.”
The small group parted as a woman stepped through. Her eyes shining the same fiery red as her short-cropped hair and she didn’t falter as she sneered at the man and his forces in turn. “No. I don’t think this is close to over. And don’t you worry about the room”, she growled.
“We plan on making our own.”
Born to Riot
The spark of revolution burns in your chest and keeps you battle-ready. At 1st level, you gain proficiency with shields, simple weapons, and martial weapons. Additionally, your hit point maximum increases by 1 and increases by 1 again whenever you gain a level in this class.
To the Front
Starting at 1st level, you expel a wave of force that you can ride through the enemy’s ranks. As an action, each creature in a 15-foot cone originating from you must make a Strength saving throw. On a failure, the target creatures take 2d6 force damage and are pushed 10 feet away from you.
When you use this feature, you may spend 3 sorcery points. If you do, creatures who fail their saving throw are pushed back 15 feet and you may immediately move into the unoccupied space that one of the target creatures was pushed from. Doing so does not cost movement and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
At 6th level, you gain resistance to bludgeoning damage.
Additionally, when a creature attempts to grapple or move you, you may use your reaction to spend 2 sorcery points. If you do, the creature’s attempt fails. If the creature is size Large or smaller, they are also pushed 10 feet away from you in a direction of your choice.
Rise and Revolt
At 14th level, you’re able to use your spark to ignite a fire in your comrades that can overwhelm any obstacles. As a bonus action, you begin to emanate energy in an aura with a 30-foot radius. For the next 1 minute, when a nonhostile creature within your aura successfully hits a creature with a melee attack, the target creature must make a Strength saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failure, the target creature is pushed 10 feet back and knocked prone. On a successful save, the target creature is only pushed 10 feet back.
Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest, unless you spend 6 sorcery points to use it again.
Starting at 18th level, you harness your full power to ensure your cause is not forgotten.
When you successfully push a creature, you may spend up to 8 sorcery points as a reaction. If you do, each creature that was pushed at least 10 feet by you this turn must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failure, they take 1d8 force damage for each sorcery point spent. On a success, they take half as much damage.
The tabletop community is a many-splendored thing, so I plan on sharing some of the things I find interesting in each issue of Unplaytested. Anyone who knows me or Keith personally knows that we are strong believers in supporting the community around us whenever we can, so this probably shouldn’t come as a shock to most of you.
Without further rambling or ado…
Some sorcerers' magical powers come from an ancestry which can be traced to merfolk, sea-dwelling humanoids with the upper bodies of humanoids and fish tails. their lineage may come from a tale of romance as a marooned sailor ancestor was nursed to health by such a creature, or they may have been born at the high tide at the apex of a cosmic event such as an eclipse.
Speaking of absolutely rad sorcerous origins, Christopher Knapp of TBM Games has one available just in time for Mermay. Chris creates some of the best player options I’ve seen out there and I pick his luscious brain *often*. You can snag a copy of Sorcerous Origin - Merfolk Bloodline on Drivethru and you can check out his blog for tons of free 5e materials.
It’s always the right time to add some extra horror into your player's next encounter. Let us help you with new ghosts that will throw your players for a loop as they scramble to try and recover. Up the horror, bring the thrills and dial up those chills with this epicly haunted book of gloom.
You can find Kayla Bayens everywhere. On a boatload of bestselling DMs Guild titles, on a few different podcasts, and at the center of my beating heart. Her above title, Dalliance's Monster Compendium: Ghosts, is available and waiting to spice up those upcoming Ravenloft games. In addition to the above highly recommended title, you can find more of her work on her blog for free.
A junker space fantasy setting where homesteaders cultivate a lost megaplanet and tech magnates explore a forgotten satellite city.
I mean, just stringing together the words “junker space fantasy” was enough to grab me, but Comets & Cockpits has a lot more than that going for it. Headed by Cameron Day, also known as Daylight Publications, Comets & Cockpits is the next setting follow up to the incrediblyfuckingawesome Supers & Sorcery, which they kickstarted last year. They have a free mini-preview up on the KS page, so definitely check it out before it ends in the next 15 days.
Jess Was Here
Much like your average mothed-man or jerseyed-devil, I too am notoriously hard to pin down and capture on film. But last week, it happened.
I made my debut appearance on Shared Experience’s Tales from the Tavern, alongside some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet in the community. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming stream and I encourage everyone to give it a watch. A slight warning, I am *painfully* awkward for the first 20 minutes or so.
Down in The Underground
There’s always something awesome happening Underground Oracle Publishing-wise, so I’ll keep it short and sweet like a baby bee.
Our friends and partners at From Afar Podcast featured our latest release—Downtime Destinations: Mama Bardousa's Bathhouse—on Episode 53 of their podcast. Good times were definitely had and we’re lucky to have such talented folks enjoying our materials.
In honor of two more of our supplements hitting their next DriveThru medals, we’re running a 40% off sale on our entire catalog until 5/3/21. Get in there and get you some.
And that’s a wrap on the very first Unplaytested! Let me know in the comments what you think about the Riot Born or anything else and if you’re feeling particularly froggy, give it a share. If you’d like to get Sorcerous Origin: Riot Born as a pdf, it’s available to my Patreon patrons at the $1.50 tier and up.
If you want to see some playtested materials, check out my work for Underground Oracle Publishing on DriveThruRPG or our Patreon. And if you’d just like to throw a little support my way, you can find me on Ko-Fi or Twitter.
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Woop woop. Getting all the good stuff in one newsletter. This works out for lazy people like me. 😂
Stellar! I'm hype to see the first publication of this newsletter - short, sweet, and with a absolutely rocking opener. ❤