Friday, April 30, 2021

A Brief Musing on the Grimgully

    The grimgully has been in the works for quite a while. Back when I was a budding homebrewer, I was inspired to create a monster based off of the sack man from Bloodborne. You know the one.

Y'know, the sack man.

    Anyways, from the start the grimgully wasn’t intended to take characters from place to place. It seemed more like a cool monster in terms of its looks and feel. It does, however, grab people and stuff them in a spooky bag. Enter the other inspiration, our very own James’ boneman. The boneman is basically the kidnapper, except he has a cool collection of zombies and skeletons and everything else that goes bump in the night and he happens to like bringing them around in a potato sack.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Monster - the Grimgully

    Some adventuring parties get a bad reputation for sticky fingers, but few are in the habit of carrying off entire people. The grimgully collects people, dead or alive, and may even run off with some of your adventurers! Take one for a spin, but be careful, they've been known to carry away entire hamlets if left unattended. 

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Friday, April 23, 2021

The Sorcerer of My (and Everyone Else's) Dreams

    Dreamwalker is an archetype that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a long time. A large part of why is that my inspiration for the concepts were very difficult to convert into 5E; Wheel of Time’s Tel'aran'rhiod is isn’t exactly a character trait (it’s basically a ‘plane of dreams’ that only special mages and also wolves can enter), and Gaiman’s Morpheus is too much of a kinda-sorta-not-really god to be anything so limited as a PC. The power of dreams has inspired a huge variety of fascinating media, but that much content and variety is very difficult to boil down to something playable. 

    As the project actually settled into the start of an archetype, it was clear pretty early that this would be a Sorcerous Origin, since sorcerer is uniquely immediate in its ability to present a particular sort of magic. Other casters are always somehow flavorfully mediated; clerics are worshippers of some force or god, wizards are all scholars or one type or another, and so on. This is not to say these classes are any worse at enabling good character building (scholars and worshippers come in all sorts), but sorcerer isn’t specific in the same way. Magic is in a sorcerer’s nature, and the kind of magic they do is just as essential to them. While every other caster has to do something to get magic, sorcerers simply are magic. And, since there are no more specific rules to sorcerer flavor than that, sorcerers have the potential to embody a form of magic more directly than any other caster.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Sorcerer Subclass - Dreamwalker

    For our first Sorcerer archetype, we offer a project that simmered in the Snickering Ghoul's mind for months before getting written: the Dreamwalker. Sorcerers are fun, since their archetypes lean so much into their particular flavor-identity, and traditions about the magic of dreams are some of the oldest and richest. The challenge wasn't so much to find interesting ideas, but to find a way to make them all fit into only one archetype! We're pleased with how much made it into the final, and we hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think of the subclass, and if you think any other classes should get a taste of dream magic. Until next week!
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Friday, April 16, 2021

The Masquerade: Terror and Horror in Tabletop Roleplay

    The idea of a shapeshifting stalker is nothing new - the doppelganger as it exists in D&D goes as far back as 1st edition! Don’t get me wrong; I love the doppelganger. But, I think it's a concept that can be built upon. There is something inherently terrifying about a creature taking your form and replacing you in your life, and that terror is a key concept that I wanted to hone in on for the masquerade.

    A fair warning before I continue - this monster is deliberately terrifying and carries some intense themes with it. Take care of yourself.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Monster - the Masquerade

    Most of us who've played DnD for a while can understand the appeal of having many faces to choose from. Metaphorically speaking, at least. The literal version of such a thing sounds rather... unsettling.
    So, why not inflict it on your players? Nothing like a good face-stealing to keep the silly bastards on their toes. Let us know how it goes if you do! We'd love to hear about all the identities your version of our latest monster steals from your helpless NPCs and hapless players.
    In other news, we've just passed 100 followers on Twitter! We're very excited to see our little brewers' project grow, thank you for all of your support! As a way to celebrate, Gel Cubicles is putting out a call for projects you'd like to see us make. Tell us a little bit about an archetype, a monster, or anything else you'd like to see us tackle, and we'll put our favorite suggestions into a Twitter poll by the end of the week. We'll make whatever project wins the poll! We think it'll be a fun challenge, and we're excited to see what you all come up with for ideas. Reply here to put your concept into the running!
That's all for now. Steal some players' faces on us, yeah? We'll see you again soon.
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Friday, April 9, 2021

Righting a Perceived Wrong - Racial Feats

It is hardly a controversial claim to say the available set of racial feats in 5th Edition is a bit lacking. Sure, there’s a fair spread for the PHB races, and even a few more broad ones based on sizes. But outside of those, and a few extremely niche ones for Planeshift releases, there seems to be an absence of racially inspired feats in a game which has a play experience largely defined by roleplaying as a fictional fantasy race.

One might argue the non-PHB races (mainly those from Volos and other setting specific books like Eberron and Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica) are both uncommon and unique enough on their own to not warrant specialized feats that play into their racial flavor and give them interesting abilities - but really, I couldn’t disagree more. Nothing makes the game feel more samey than for every Goblin to have identical abilities whereas humans, elves, tieflings, and half-orcs all strut around with diversity options.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Content Expansion - Expanded Racial Feats I

Continuing with our theme of 'content that seems like it should already exist', we present this first expansion to 5E's selection of racial feats. The racial feats of XGE were and are an excellent way to embellish a character of a certain race, but it's high time that a race other than elves got some more love. These feats begin with some of the races in Volo's, but we intend to expand the list further soon. We already have ideas, but we'd love to hear your take, too! Tell us which of these new options is most exciting to you, and let us know which other races you're most excited to see feats for!

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Everyone Likes Dogs, Right? Right.

  There are a lot of different ways to start an article like this - A mechanical breakdown of doing a whopping five subraces, an examination of what inspired me to tackle a dog race, what the heck does ‘groosehound’ mean, a really obvious joke about there being two whole feline races but not a single canine one.

All of these are solid ways to begin an article like this, and I can answer all of them really quickly.

“Why five subraces?” - Dogs are a varied kind of animal and I wanted Groosehounds to support a variety of playstyles and archetypes.

“What inspired you?” - I have a friend who likes cute dogs and wanted to play their character in D&D. 

“What is a Groosehound?” - A hound known for groosing.

“Haha Cat Joke.” - No.

But what I really want to talk about is the value of documents like this. Articles examining homebrew and talking about the reasoning behind it. Why do we write these? Doubtless they’re less popular than the actual homebrew content we produce. So - what’s the point?