Monday, November 30, 2020

Monster Design: the Behemoth

We set out to design the behemoth because we had never created a boss monster before. An interesting problem to be sure; a boss monster is more than a big stat block with legendary actions. A boss monster is an experience, a defining feature of a campaign, something you spend sessions tracking before a huge fight. Or, you know, it’s a pretty fun one shot. Either way, one only needs to look at the Curse of Strahd module to understand just how campaign-defining a boss monster can be. Now I know my limits - I can’t make Strahd. I can, however, make a pretty sweet boss monster.

The behemoth, named after the biblical beast, is an unstoppable force of nature. It’s the ultimate apex predator. This concept intrigued me; there’s no reasoning with the behemoth, and there’s no subterfuge. There’s only simple destruction and hunger. I picture a group of adventurers coming across an empty town, with only a large path of footprints to tell the story that took place. That’s the kind of scenario a good boss monster creates!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monster - the Behemoth

In the wild, each layer of a food chain gets smaller, as the creatures in each layer get hungrier. There are hordes of rabbits and minnows in the wild, but fewer foxes and salmon, and even fewer bears. As the predators become more fearsome, their appetite becomes more and more demanding for an ecosystem to support, so it can only support a few of the most dangerous creatures. And so, we present the Behemoth, the ultimate capstone to every food chain; a singular predator, with a truly endless appetite. Next on the menu, your adventuring party.

We hope enjoy running this high level boss monster as much as we enjoyed testing it. If you're feeling generous, we take tips over on Ko-fi, and let us know what sorts of brews you want to see coming up!

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Subclass Design: How I Did It

Originally named the ‘Doctor’ Rogue during testing, the Stitcher took on new flavor as we began publishing. What originally began as a plague doctor was expanded to encompass the archetype of a back-alley surgeon or a Frankenstein-esque figure. Here’s the details on our thought process surrounding the design.


First Aid is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a sort of ‘Fast Hands’ for healers. Things get more interesting with Patchwork, which uses Hit Die as a resource to heal your allies. We knew we didn’t want this class to ‘magically’ restore hit points, so we decided that the healing needed to expend some kind of resource and not just appear from thin air. Expending the Hit Dice of other creatures seemed to be an elegant way to accomplish this.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Rogue Subclass - The Stitcher

Get to stichin' your friends back together the good old fashioned way with this Roguish archetype, the Stitcher! Tired of relying on magic to heal your friends, inspect bodies, and apply crippling debuffs? Then this doctor of dubious certification is a perfect fit for you! After your alleyway surgery business takes off, be sure and come back and share the love by sending us some of your gruesomely-gotten gains on Ko-fi. Sewer rent ain't cheap, and we always appreciate the support!

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Monday, November 2, 2020

Designing Races: Building a Better Boneman

Hello again, everyone. Thank you for the great response we’ve seen for the Wakeful already! It’s good to know our work is appreciated, so thanks for that. If you’re feeling generous, feel free to support our efforts on Ko-fi. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter so you get updates on our work as it comes out!

Today, I want to talk about how we created the wakeful, and what drove them toward the state they ended up in. Hopefully it’ll give you some insight into how we test player races, and how 5E balance informs even the little details of the game’s design.

The wakeful began as a part of a larger project I’ve been working on for a long time now, a massive city-setting, in which the wakeful are created in the aftermath of a calamity early in that realm’s history. As a result, the first major step in making them for Cubicles was to write the lore as realm/setting neutral, so that a DM looking to use it wouldn’t need to work in too much background adaptation to make them appropriately fit into whatever game they would be running.


In addition, since they already existed in a fairly complete form within the setting I’d written, writing the wakeful as a player race was more like adapting them than it was like writing something new. Instead of deciding what to make and what it ought to be able to do, I already knew exactly what a typical wakeful skeleton was capable of, and just needed to translate it into the rules of 5E.