Hello friends! I took a detour from writing plot stuff to generate some SWSTS specific feats. I wanted to generate some tempting options for my players that ease their passage through the Plague City of Kaladoss. The focus here was to provide little advantages to recurring elements of the game or increase survivability. I used the feats within the Player's Handbook as a format for how powerful each should be then made modifications that built on the changes I've already made to the core rules. Although they are not perfectly balanced in value (some are certainly more exploitable than others), the story-focus and meticulous gameplay of SWSTS should mean each of them get plenty of use.
A keen observer may note that feats are generally only available every 4 levels and if Scott is putting effort into writing new ones then perhaps level 4 is nearby. And to that I say "that is a possibility." But have you also considered that maybe I'm just bad at prioritising? I'll never tell...
- Increase your Intelligence score by 1 (to a maximum of 20).
- You can make an Intelligence check (DC 8 + the writer’s proficiency modifier + the writer’s Intelligence modifier) to decipher coded cyphers without having been taught them from the writer.
- When making Intelligence checks for alchemy you add double your proficiency modifier.
- You gain +2 to damage rolls against Undead creature types you have encountered before.
- You gain advantage on Perception checks made against Undead creature types you have encountered before.
- You gain advantage on Despair checks made against Undead with the horrific appearance trait.
- Increase your Constitution score by 1 (to a maximum of 20).
- You do not fall unconscious when reduced to 0 hit points.
- You still roll Death saves normally while on 0 hit points but are able to act normally.
- Increase your Dexterity score by 1 (to a maximum of 20).
- Opportunity attacks against you are made with disadvantage.
- Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1 (to a maximum of 20).
- Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you may make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5ft. of the original target and within range of your weapon.
- You gain resistance to Psychic damage.
- You gain advantage on saving throws against Despair and spells and spell-like effects from the Enchantment school.
- Increase your Intelligence or Wisdom score by 1 (to a maximum of 20).
- You gain expertise in Nature checks (double your proficiency bonus).
- When foraging for food/plants outdoors (or in dedicated garden spaces) you find twice as many resources.
- Increase your Constitution score by 1 (to a maximum of 20).
- You only require half the normal amount of food, sleep and water each day.
So something that comes up a couple of times here is the dreadfully capitalized "Despair." I cannot remember if I've mentioned this before in early posts discussing SWSTS but I'm using Despair as a way of implementing mental strain on the PCs. The fatalistic atmosphere of Kaladoss is incredibly oppressive and certain events in SWSTS are particularly distressing. Characters who witness/experience such events have to make a save against Despair or risk developing mental disorders. If a disorder does develop, it manifests according to the following table:
1. Necrophobia: Must succeed a Wisdom saving throw (DC 15) when entering combat with Undead or be frightened for 1 minute. Each subsequent round the victim is allowed another saving throw to end this effect.
“Everything is dead now! Soon I’ll be one of them!”
2-3. Anxiety: Disadvantage on Dexterity checks for initiative.
“I am convinced everything will go wrong.”
4-5. Apathy: Disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws.
“I don’t believe there is anything I can do to make a difference.”
6. Dread: Disadvantage on death saving throws.
“I am going to die here.”
7. Paranoia: Disadvantage on Charisma and Wisdom checks and saving throws.
“I can’t trust anything or anyone.”
8. Insomnia: Must succeed a Wisdom saving throw (DC 15) each night to gain restful sleep. Otherwise they are subject to the effects of exhaustion.
“If I fall asleep I might never wake up…”
9. Depression: Disadvantage on all ability checks and saving throws, including initiative and death saves.
The character develops a disorder seated in their sense of identity. For multiclass characters it is the DM’s choice. For prestige classes, they get Depression and then have to pick a real class.
- Barbarian: Rageaholic. Whenever the Barbarian enters combat they must make a Wisdom save (DC 15) or are forced to use their rage ability. If they have no charges left when they fail this save, they fall into a rage regardless but gain 2 levels of exhaustion afterwards.
- Bard: Writer’s Block. Any bardic inspiration dice granted by the affected Bard are rolled with disadvantage. The Bard cannot use inspiration points.
- Cleric: Shaken Faith. Any time the Cleric attempts to use their channel divinity ability, they must first succeed a Wisdom save (DC 15) or they lose their action. This does not expend their use of channel divinity for the day.
- Druid: Feral. Whenever the Druid uses wild shape they must make a Wisdom save (DC 15) or temporarily lose their Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma scores, which are replaced by that of the animal whose form they took. They behave as the animal would normally behave in its current circumstance. Every 10 minutes that passes there is an accumulative chance of 10% that they regain their normal mental ability scores.
- Fighter: Lethargy. The Fighter has disadvantage on Dexterity checks for initiative and is unable to use the benefits of their fighting style.
- Monk: Blocked Chakra. The Monk’s ki points recover at half the normal rate, rounded down.
- Paladin: Shaken Faith. Any time the Paladin attempts to use their channel divinity ability, they must first succeed a Wisdom save (DC 15) or they lose their action. This does not expend their use of channel divinity for the day.
- Ranger: Lethargy. The Ranger has disadvantage on Dexterity checks for initiative and is unable to use the benefits of their fighting style.
- Rogue: Nervous Shakes. The Rogue has disadvantage on Dexterity checks that use thieves’ tools.
- Sorcerer: Volatile. Whenever the Sorcerer casts a spell they must cast it at the highest available spell slot they can (if the spell can be cast at higher levels) and expend as many sorcery points on it as they can (provided the spell is a valid target for the Sorcerer’s metamagic abilities).
- Warlock: Mental Fracture. The Warlock no longer regains their spell slots on a short rest and must regain them at the rate of a long rest instead.
- Wizard: Mental Exhaustion. The Wizard cannot use their arcane recovery ability. If they have no spell slots at the end of the day they gain 1 level of exhaustion.
“I’m starting to lose myself…”
Despair as a mechanic is not meant to trivialise mental disorders. Those who know me will understand how seriously I take this. It's purpose in the game is threefold; firstly it is meant to humanise the PCs and help players form bonds with their characters. Secondly, it is meant to enhance the atmosphere of the game, driving the point home that this isn't a story about heroism. It's a story about suffering and facing off against a darkness much greater than yourself. Lastly, Despair is meant to help players appreciate how mental disorders can have very real, very dangerous consequences that go on outside our heads and how living with them is a struggle but they can be beaten. Every disorder in SWSTS can be recovered from. I won't say how the mechanics work exactly because my players read this blog, but there is hope.
So this post was pretty out of the blue and to be honest, it'll probably be the only one for a while again. Breaking my foot had more of a toll on my motivation than I realised and I haven't been so good at getting myself working recently. Oh yeah, for those of you who don't know, I went and snapped my Achilles playing indoor netball and haven't been able to walk for six weeks. Great times. It made doing a movie a day really easy but made doing anything else a hell of a lot harder. I'm going into the hospital on Thursday to see if I need another (fifth) cast or not. So yeah, if you're in Auckland and want to stop by for a cup of tea, I'm free. Otherwise, I'll see you next time xx