It’s that special time in everyone’s week when we all take a moment to tithe a small amount of attention to the ever-growing homunculus that is my ego.
It’s time for a new issue of Unplaytested!
Below you’ll find a new lineage snatched from the realm of nightmares and waiting to enter your 5e games, a community spotlight on a collection of homebrewers, and all the UO Publishing news that’s fit to print.
Let’s do the thing!
If you happen to be following my partner on Twitter, you would have seen that we’re currently playtesting materials set to release this spooky season for UO. That, coupled with the release of the latest WoTC setting, made today’s lineage a no-brainer.
Ophciphael, the Plane of Nightmares, is a fairly prominent area in our campaign cosmology and I cannot wait to release what we have on the public. A constantly shifting and unsettling landscape that’s very much like Labyrinth meets Over the Garden Wall cloaked in shades of terror and darkness. For this lineage, I wanted to dive into the sort of denizens that a realm like that would birth.
Lineage: Terror Born
They were a person once, weren’t they? They could remember men and women, faces young and old running the gamut of expression in their mind. They could even remember some of their names. Too many names. Was one of them theirs? How curious, they thought.
Why had they never noticed these colors? So bright and so many in their shades and tones. Had there always been so many? And the scents and the sounds and the feeling of their feet on the ground. The feeling of their skin on their muscle on their bone. These they remembered, didn’t they? They tried to catch one of the chaotic memories skittering through their mind, something recalling all of these myriad sensations. But they came away from the rolling swarm of thoughts with only essences. Like a close friend describing a feeling rather than the feeling itself.
Friends. Those they remembered. Little sparks of light in a darkness so thick and clinging and intense that breaking free of it was like being born.
They would find their friends.
The Plane of Nightmares is a labyrinthian miasma made of the fears and terrors of the creatures of the planes. From the panic of prey animals fleeing snapping jaws to the creeping dread of monarchs awaiting their assassin’s blades, when eyes close and minds float freely into the waiting black the Plane of Nightmares is where they come ashore. It’s from this twisted realm of infinite and terrible possibility that the terror born emerge.
Strange beings made of a thousand coalesced fears and snatches of stolen memories, the terror born wander the Prime Material with an almost childlike curiosity, bearing witness to sights and sounds for the first time unfiltered by the fear of the dreaming. Some terror born understand their origins entirely, and find themselves strangely delighted by their new form of existence, while others suffer in confusion, lost in the ill-fitting memories of an identity that was never meant to be theirs. In either case, the terror born often find themselves drawn to a life of adventure. Some seeking to experience every fresh new thing that corporeal life has to offer, while others are desperately chasing ghosts that cannot provide them with the answers they desire.
Although the terror born are spawned from many fears, each one has a primary fear that makes up the core of their being and hints at what the true self beneath their skin might look like. This primary fear not only impacts how they look when they reveal their dream form but may also impact how they act in the world. A terror born whose primary fear is spiders might constantly find themselves toying with them and silently relishing the looks of disgust from those around them, while a terror born whose primary fear is height-based might spend their nights running along precarious rooftops.
Roll or choose your primary fear from the Primary Fears table below or work with your GM to create your own.
D6 | Fear
Terror Born Traits
Your lineage provides you with the following traits.
Ability Score Increase. Increase one of your ability scores by 2 and a
different score by 1, or increase three different scores by 1.
Creature Type. You are an Aberration.
Size. You are Medium or Small. You choose the size when you choose this lineage.
Speed. Your walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 90 feet of you as if it were bright light and in darkness as if it were dim light. You discern colors in that darkness only as shades of gray.
Blood of Fear. You are made of fear, and yet you do not feel it. You are immune to being frightened.
Dream Form. You reveal the unsettling form that you used when you walked the Plane of Nightmares. Choose a number of creatures within 30 feet of you equal to your proficiency bonus. The chosen creatures must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier). A target automatically succeeds on the save if it can't see you. On a failed save, a target becomes frightened of you for 1 minute. If the frightened target takes any damage, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Once you have used this feature you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Nightmare Knowledge. During your time on the Plane of Nightmares, you crept through a thousand minds and claimed some of their knowledge for yourself. You gain proficiency in two skills of your choice.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language that you and your GM agree is appropriate.
In this issue, I’ve decided to highlight a few self-proclaimed homebrewers that are constantly creating free content for the community. If your thing is homegrown creations plucked directly from the gaming table and provided for free, then check out the coolness below!
This blog is an ongoing (but rarely successful) attempt at writing both humorous and balanced DnD material. We're all playing magical make-em-ups so let's not take anything too seriously.
I clicked on 5e Trash and immediately fell in love. The art is fresh-to-fucking-death and the creations are original and handled with an irreverence that’s often missing from the super-serious game of pretend that we’re all playing. It was hard to choose one thing to highlight, but the above Barrel Skeletons ended up winning out. Outside of their blog, you can find them and their incredible sense of humor on Twitter.
Doug is a bestselling D&D 5e write and editor who makes homebrew subclasses and races. He also writes some articles with massive tables or inspired NPCs, programs fantasy translators, and streams D&D every other weekend.
This one is cheating slightly because DragonbornDoug is also a best-selling DM’s Guild creator, but he is constantly producing new homebrew materials which he generously posts on Reddit. His Twitter stream is a constant source of fun for the D&D-inclined and he just re-released the above desert-flavored ranger as well as its opposite, the Cape Crusader, here.
Gelatinous Cubicles is made up of a small team of four close friends. We met in our undergraduate years (circa-2017) and quickly bonded over a shared interest in 5th Edition. We've been a tight playgroup ever since, spending countless nights together in-and-out-of-session. It didn't take long for us to start developing homebrew, seeking feedback from each other and collaborating frequently.
The fine folks at Gelatinous Cubicles are dedicated to creating new options for 5th edition. From new creatures and archetypes to the above collection of Expanded Racial Feats, following along with them will net you a wealth of homebrew materials released under the Fan Content license, and they are always looking for feedback and fresh eyes. Catch them on Twitter here.
Jess Was Here
I have been slowly exiting cryptid status and making digital appearances in the community. Last week, it happened again. This Saturday, it happens even harder.
The magnificent Matthew Whitby welcomed me on his show, Dungeon Master’s Guild House. Yes, I am well aware that the thumbnail Youtube so kindly created makes me look like I’m doing a terrible Adam Sandler impression, but despite that fact, the interview was a fuckton of fun. We talked about the publishing model we use at Underground Oracle Publishing as well as my specific creative process. There’s a lot in there and I would love it if you gave it a listen and let Matthew know what an amazing job he did.
This Saturday 5/29 at 3 pm ET, I will be on the next episode of Paradice RPG’s One-Shot in Paradice. We’ll be playing through the 5th edition adventure "Into the Mists" by Scry Society. There’s an amazing crew involved and having read through the adventure after buying it a while back, I’m stoked to play through it.
You can see the full crew involved here and I hope to see some Unplaytested folks join in if you’ve got the time/inclination.
Down in The Underground
As usual, it’s hopping on the Underground Oracle Publishing side of things, so let’s jump to it.
We just released one of our original core lineages on our Patreon, the dagari. It’s very exciting to get this out to the public and the supplement also comes with 2 archetypes. (We’re in the process of converting our existing races line to lineages, so mind the dust as we change supplement titles over the next few days.)
We’ve added quarterly VTT token packs to the Champion tier for our patrons. The art is by Toby Blanchard of Bughop Designs and is fantastic.
And that’s that on issue #3, Friendos! As usual, let me know what you think of the Terror Born in the comments and if you like what I’m doing here, sharing would be super awesome.
If you want a formatted PDF of the Terror Born complete with alternative art, patrons at our $1.50 monthly tier and up get them as they release.
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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Heck yeah, great as always!
It's an honor to be among such a high quality collection. ♥
Yet again. Fucking rad.