Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

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enderxenocide0
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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by enderxenocide0 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:58 pm

AvonRekaes wrote:But yeah, I did kinda just bite the bullet and say "Eberron is about heroic adventure! FEATS FOR EVERYONE!" In all fairness, I should say that I have yet to DM an actual game of 5th, so I don't know how terribly broken an entire party with at least one feat (two if you're human!) at first level is. My inclination is that, yes, they will be significantly more powerful, but maybe you can just toss in dhakanni goblin ninjas and dolgaunts and everything will work out? -shrug-
I've played in 5E and done significant amounts of mechanical work with the sytem, but have yet to run it either. I agree that it'll probably be decently more powerful. Once could just make more powerful enemies, but I have concerns about that. In my 3.X experience, such a mentality of "fight power with power" leads to a sort of power escalation where things become increasingly deadly for the players and adds extra frustration on the DM's part when designing encounters. I think 5E's bounded mechanics will help mitigate this, but I don't know for certain. I admit that it's an appealing option in its simplicity and one that, from a 3.X standpoint, seems logical. I have my reservations, but I can't guage how balanced it is without seeing it in action.
AvonRekaes wrote:I'm also dropping the action point thing. In all my years of DMing Eberron games, I've actually had a lot more negative player reaction to action points than positive. (I only get them back when I LEVEL?! What do you mean I LOSE UNSPENT POINTS? Aw man, I SHOULD HAVE used one for this save!" I also think Inspiration (even the base form) serves much the same purpose of encouraging high-action adventure, and is much more elegant.
Action points have always been a bit problematic for me, so always house ruled it this way: You have a pool of X action points based on your level. As you level up, this pool may increase. I grant action points to players based on roleplaying or completing story-based objectives. That way, they almost always had an action point available to them. So yeah, I already pretty much treated them like Inspiration, so in my 5E vision of Eberron, I replace Action Points with the Inspiration system.

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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by AvonRekaes » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:13 pm

enderxenocide0 wrote: Once could just make more powerful enemies, but I have concerns about that. In my 3.X experience, such a mentality of "fight power with power" leads to a sort of power escalation where things become increasingly deadly for the players and adds extra frustration on the DM's part when designing encounters.
That's a possibility but, I dunno. I used to run 3.5/Pathfinder with 38 point-buy, which is insane. My feeling was, the more powerful the PCs the more interesting monsters I could use. The idea of a band of orcs or goblins or kobolds with no cool monster abilities didn't really excite me (but this was also before I learned how to be a better DM from 4th edition, long story).

I think as long as you have a firm grasp of the game, and you understand why, say, making critical hits more deadly is worse for PCs than it is for monsters (because any blanket change that makes combat more deadly for both sides is going to affect the PCs more, because on average a monster fights in one combat, and is supposed to die, while the PCs fight in 12 per level, and is supposed to live), then you should be able to handle any "power creep".

Besides, it's not like there's an arms race. As the ultimate arbiter of the game, you're kinda setting up both sides. And as long as your players know you're futzing with things and understand that you may have to rebalance the game, things should be fine. :)
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The Wayfinder Foundation of Khorvaire: 5th Edition and Pathfinder Eberron conversions.

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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by AlHazred » Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:44 pm

My initial thoughts on Dragonmarks I put on my gaming blog here. They are a lot more primitive than what you guys have come up with.

I LOVE the Inspiration mechanic. Here's the great thing about it: I can institute it in my Eberron 5E game, already in full swing, and no one has to redo their character from scratch.

In order to give some mechanical difference between Dragonmark Scions and everybody else, I might give race-specific options and dragonmark house-specific options, and you choose if you're one of the relevant races. For instance...

Human Nature
Prerequisite: Human race.
Choose one of the following:
Legacy of Adaptability. You can spend your inspiration to gain proficiency in one skill for 5 minutes; once you have used your inspiration in this way, you must complete a long rest before you may choose that skill again with this legacy.
Mark of Finding. You can spend your inspiration to gain proficiency in the Perception skill for 20 minutes. If already proficient, you instead double your proficiency bonus.
Mark of Handling. You can spend your inspiration to gain the friends cantrip for 20 minutes; you may only use this cantrip on beasts. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell. Alternatively, you can spend your inspiration to gain proficiency in the Animal Handling skill for 1 minute. If already proficient, you instead double your proficiency bonus.
Mark of Making. You can spend your inspiration to gain the mending cantrip for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can spend your inspiration to gain proficiency in the Arcana skill for 1 minute. If already proficient, you instead double your proficiency bonus.
Mark of Passage. You can spend your inspiration to gain a bonus of five times your proficiency bonus to your Speed for one round; once you have used your inspiration in this way, you must complete a short or long rest before you may do so again.
Mark of Sentinel. You can spend your inspiration to gain the blade ward cantrip for 1 minute. Alternatively, you can spend your inspiration as a reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your Armor Class; once you have used your inspiration in this way, you must complete a long rest before you may do so again.
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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by AlHazred » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:15 pm

Hmmm...

Aberrant Nature
(Or maybe Legacy of Aberration?)
You can spend your inspiration to impose disadvantage on an opponent's saving throw against a spell you have cast or other effect you caused; once you have used your inspiration in this way, you must complete a long rest before you may do so again.
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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by enderxenocide0 » Mon May 16, 2016 4:04 pm

Now that I've actually converted my 3.5 Eberron games to 5E and have players with dragonmarks, I've been looking at this more than before. I still like the Heroic Traits idea I had before, but I don't think I really figured out how I wanted to balance it until right about now. For right now, I'm testing this method: each character can have a single Epic Boon (DMG pg. 232). These boons must be worked out between player and DM. On top of that, the boons are modified from those presented in the DMG to be acceptable for lower-level characters. Follow these general criteria:

1. All boons require a use of Inspiration in some fashion.
2. If the boon has a short or long rest recharge, the recharge remains.
3. If the boon has an at-will spell, it can only be cast by using inspiration.
4. If the boon provides a permanent feature, using Inspiration grants you this feature for 1 minute.

This, of course, still isn't perfect, but I think it captures what I was really after: the ability to represent dragonmarks as a subset of a larger system of heroic abilities, but one that is separated from pre-existing game mechanics. With the above limitations, new boons can be crafted to fit any dragonmark. For example:
Mark of Scribing
You can cast comprehend panguages at will, without using a spell slot or any components.
My one player has a Siberys Mark of Storm and I'm essentially using the following:
Siberys Mark of Storm
As an action, you can cast Storm of Vengeance (DC XX) without using a spell slot or any components. Once you do so, you can't use this boon again until you finish a long rest.
Now, my players are level 12 currently, so while this is powerful, it's not too far off from how Siberys marks were in 3.5. That's simple, though fairly limited, and it only really captures the Least Mark. For higher marks, you can start tacking more on to the Boon or create new boons and let them have multiple boons (though this latter option might be risky). What I might consider is having stages of boons, so that your boon increases in power as you level. The normal Boon of Fortitude from the DMG increases your hit point maximum by 40. That's way too powerful for a low level character, but you could start small with an extra 10 hit points and then increase it by 10 every 5 levels or something. We could even use the cantrip level progression for this, even though these are clearly more powerful than cantrips. Epic Boons are just that: epic, and I feel that's what dragonmarks should feel like for players. Even the low-level marks should make them feel special; like they can do something others can't. Sure, there are other people in the world with the marks, but shouldn't a player get something more out of it?

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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by AvonRekaes » Tue May 17, 2016 4:28 pm

Great idea using Epic Boons! I'd be very interested to see the final product, once you have a full listing of Heroic Boons including non-Dragonmarked ones.
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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by AlHazred » Wed May 30, 2018 3:30 am

I've been playing around with this stuff recently.

I still like the idea of using what I'd called Legacies earlier, but I've been toying with allowing every player character one Legacy. Some of the Legacies are dragonmarks, but not all of them -- for instance, maybe some of them are things like being touched by the Silver Flame or something. For example:
Legacy of Vol
As an action, you may spend your Inspiration (if you have it) and make a melee attack roll against a living target. If you succeed, you do 1d6 necrotic damage to the target, and are healed by the same amount.
This legacy's damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).
Or:
Legacy of the Silver Flame
As an action, you may spend your Inspiration (if you have it) and heal wounds. You have a pool of healing power that replenishes when you take a long rest. With that pool, you can restore a total of 5 hit points.
The pool of healing power increases when you reach 5th level (10 points), 11th level (15 points), and 17th level (20 points).
Alternatively, you can expend 5 hit points from your pool of healing and touch an object to cause an effect identical to the light cantrip. If the object is a willing creature, that creature can concentrate on the spell instead of you.
If you are a paladin, you may add this pool of points to your paladin pool, and can use your paladin pool of healing to cast the light cantrip as above.
Similarly, you can (if you're of the correct race, or have special dispensation because of some Epic Destiny) take a dragonmark. I need to go over the additional spells in Xanathar's and see which ones are appropriate for dragonmarks, but ultimately, the legacy would be a minor ability that costs Inspiration.
Mark of Scribing
You can spend your Inspiration to cast the wizard mark spell. Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again until you have taken a long rest.
When you reach 11th level, you can replenish this ability when you take a short or long rest.
Then, I'd have feats that built on the power of the legacies, so you Mark of Scribing can get more powerful and do higher-level spell effects.
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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by enderxenocide0 » Wed May 30, 2018 3:50 pm

Wow. This thread is oldish and I guess I hadn't run 5E before I started this thread. AlHazred, I like your general concept for the Legacies and I've been doing something fairly similar in my games. I use Inspiration as the resource for them and combine them with the feel of the "Heroic Boons" I've mentioned previously. Essentially, each boon is set up like this:

[NAME]
Passive: [This is a somewhat mundane ability that is always usable as long as the character has the boon.]
Active: [This is a more powerful ability that must be activated by spending Inspiration to use it, and usually requires a long rest recharge.]

Unfortunately, I only have one character left with a Dragonmark, and she has a Siberys Mark, so I never ended up playtesting the Dragonmark Boons and balancing them against the regular Heroic Boons my players have. Here's some examples, though:
IRON FIST
Passive: Your unarmed strikes always deal maximum damage to objects and structures.
Active: When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike, you can spend your Inspiration to treat your unarmed strikes as adamantine, byeshk, cold iron, or silver for one minute. You can use your bonus action during this minute to switch to a different metal. Additionally, during this time, your unarmed strikes deal an extra die of damage.

Once you use your Inspiration on this boon, you can't do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
MARK OF FINDING
Passive: You have advantage on ability checks made to track creatures or find objects.
Active: You can use your Inspiration to cast hunter’s mark as a first level spell without using a spell slot or requiring any components. The second time you gain this boon, you can also use your Inspiration to cast hunter’s mark as a third level spell or to cast locate object. The third time, you can also use your Inspiration to cast hunter’s mark as a fifth level spell or to cast locate creature. You do not need to maintain concentration on a spell you cast using this boon.

Once you use your Inspiration on this boon to cast a spell, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
THE WORD OF GODS
Passive: Magic that would determine if you are telling the truth indicates that you are being truthful.
Active: You can use your Inspiration to invoke the powers of speech possessed by a radiant idol. For ten minutes, you can understand any spoken language you hear and, when you speak, any creature that knows at least one language and can hear you understands what you say.

Once you use your Inspiration on this boon, you can't do so again until you finish a short or long rest.
Lastly, here's an example of my wildly overpowered-by-comparison Siberys Mark of Storm:
MARK OF STORM (SIBERYS)
Passive: You are permanently under the effects of a feather fall spell, even when unconscious.
Active: You can use your Inspiration to cast one of the spells listed below once at its lowest level without using a spell slot or requiring any components. Choose from chain lightning, control weather, control winds, investiture of wind, maelstrom, storm of vengeance, or whirlwind. You have advantage on checks made to maintain concentration on a spell you cast using this boon.

Once you use your Inspiration on this boon to cast a spell, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.
I make no excuses for the Siberys Mark. The PCs in that game are all pretty much the equivalent of superheroes now, so I didn't have anything against cranking a normal Siberys Mark up to 11. If I were making the Siberys Mark of Storm for a normal game, I'd probably just use Storm of Vengeance and say you don't need to maintain concentration on it, like the regular Mark-related boons written above.

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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by AlHazred » Thu May 31, 2018 3:30 am

I like the idea of passive and active abilities, but I'm trying to keep my guys within the "normal" D&D power levels. The slight bump of the ones I'd posted is counteracted by having to spend Inspiration. I'm afraid if I add a passive ability, it might be too much.
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Re: Representing Dragonmarks in 5E

Post by enderxenocide0 » Thu May 31, 2018 3:35 am

It's a legitimate concern. I've chosen passives that I feel are mundane enough or situational enough to not upset the balance of power overall.

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