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D&D Ideas — Renewal

Spell Slots and Class Features as Expendable Resources in 5E D&D
Think Outside the Box and Turn Spoilers into Benefits in 5E D&D

Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is renewal, which we discussed in our live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST and talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. Speaking of renewal, our rollout of renewed digital products continues! Gaze of the Void Eye is the latest cover renewal at Nerdarchy the Store. If adventurers aren’t afraid of the dark, after a jaunt in the lightness realm of the Void Eye, they will be. Check it out here. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here. Visit us over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel here and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss these live chats on Mondays at 8 p.m. eastern, plus our regular three videos each week where we talk about D&D and other RPGs. With the COVID-19 pandemic situation we want to assure everyone we’re following all the guidelines and regulations, and practicing safety and preventative measures like social distancing, and we strongly urge everyone to do the same. Our partners and employees health is our No. 1 priority. Visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest news, updates and developments.

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Delving Dave’s Dungeon

This week’s topic is renewal so I decided to whip a cleric Divine Domain. Deities that grant the Renewal Domain are gods with sun, rebirth, birth, redemption and beginnings in their areas of concern.

Renewal Domain Spells

Cleric Level — Spells
1st — Heroism, sanctuary
3rd — Aid, enhance ability
5th — Beacon of hope, revivify
7th — Aura of purity, death ward
9th — Circle of power, hallow

Renewal Domain Features

Cleric Level — Feature
1st — Domain Spells, Blessing of a New Dawn
2nd — Channel Divinity: Blessing of Renewal
6th — Renewed Healing
8th — Divine Strike (1d8) radiant
14th — Divine Strike (2d8) radiant
17th — Dawn Bringer

Blessing of a New Dawn

After a long rest you spend a minute conducting a ceremony of renewal. Choose as many creatures as you can see that witnessed the ceremony and grant them advantage on their next ability check, attack roll, or saving throw. This ability can’t be used again until you finish a long rest.

Blessing of Renewal

When a creature within 60 feet of you see a creature reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, they can drop to 1 hit point instead.

Renewed Healing

When you cast a spell that restores hit points you can also use your bonus action to remove one condition.

Dawn Bringer

You can cast the dawn spell without components. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1). One you use this feature you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

From Ted’s Head

These topics are always fun to try and see how I can be inspired to create something for use in game. So please allow me to describe the legendary Pool of Renewal.

The Pool of Renewal

This pool or small spring has had many names throughout the ages. Some legends claim it only appears when needed, some say it is protected by a powerful guardian. The waters from this spring only retain their magical power if the water is consumed at the spring. Any water taken away from the spring becomes tainted and vile.

Water consumed has the powers to undo any negative effects. It can break curses, heal any injuries, restore lost body parts and so on. If water is poured over someone who is petrified it will turn stone to flesh. Regardless of the ailment, so long as the target is alive, the waters will restore or renew.

Another option is for if you have a player who wishes to keep the character but have a major class change you could allow a ritual of transformation involving the Pool of Renewal. Most of the time you take a level and you should just be stuck with it, but every once in a while it could be a cool story moment when a warlock pact is broken, an oath removed or even the divine presence of those wielding the power of a god removed.

How would you use this? Nerdarchy likes offering many seeds of adventure to see what characteres decide to do. Early on have an NPC talking about this, or if you have a player who has a high enough skill in Arcana or Nature you could offer up this location. When doing so only mention a small part and be as vague as possible so it does not sound all that interesting. If they bite on it early have them find some false clues and hopefully they will lose interest. Some time later you could have them fight some monster that leaves permanent injuries. This could leave negative mechanical effects.

There are lots of options in 5E D&D edition, but feel free to create your own as well. As long as you are willing to provide a way of curing it, I love doing this type of thing in my games. After all the quest to undo things is a quest and most quests have loot and experience. But most importantly you have the ability to actually make the character better or more through the renewal process.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide has a whole section on boons that could be given out to the party. The character who needs it gets the boon because they drank the water, while the others get it regardless of whether they drink the water or not because they are in the presence of the spring and they risked their lives for their ally or friend. The guardian is an eternal creature that never dies. It could be a golem or elemental that is renewed themselves, but actually holds a sentience as it is their duty to test the worthiness of those approaching the pool. It could be the one to deliver the warning about taking the waters away.

shadow beholder 5E D&D

Afraid of the dark? After a jaunt into the lightless realm of the void eye, you will be! [Art by Darryl T. Jones]

From the Nerditor’s desk

In the live chat Nerdarchist Dave and I touched on the idea of renewing character traits like a paladin’s Sacred Oaths. Any time I can explore shared space between players and Dungeon Masters when it comes to their adventures and campaigns is a thrill for me, so I thought it would be fun to look at all of the classes for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and the aspects of each one suitable for renewal.

Artificer. “When creating an artificer, think about your character’s relationship with the artisan who taught them their craft. Does the character have a rival? Talk to your DM about the role played by artificers in the campaign and the sort of organizations you might have ties to.” Renewing their dedication to the craft can mean a visit to this mentor to share the secrets learned since apprenticeship.

Barbarian. “When creating a barbarian character, think about where your character comes from and his or her place in the world. Talk with your DM about an appropriate origin for your barbarian. Did you come from a distant land, making you a stranger in the area of the campaign? Or is the campaign set in a rough-and-tumble frontier where barbarians are common?” Renewal of the connection to their people and place in the world could mark an important journey.

Bard. “Bards thrive on stories, whether those stories are true or not. Your character’s background and motivations are not as important as the stories that he or she tells about them. Perhaps you had a secure and mundane childhood. There’s no good story to be told about that, so you might paint yourself as an orphan raised by a hag in a dismal swamp. Or your childhood might be worthy of a story. Some bards acquire their magical music through extraordinary means, including the inspiration of fey or other supernatural creatures.” I don’t know about you but creativity often undergoes renewal for fresh ideas. A This Is Your Life scenario can help a bard renew their creative juices.

Cleric. “As you create a cleric, the most important question to consider is which deity to serve and what principles you want your character to embody. Once you’ve chosen a deity, consider your cleric’s relationship to that god. Did you enter this service willingly? Or did the god choose you, impelling you into service with no regard for your wishes? How do the temple priests of your faith regard you: as a champion or a troublemaker? What are your ultimate goals? Does your deity have a special task in mind for you? Or are you striving to prove yourself worthy of a great quest?” So many things for a cleric to renew! Perhaps most importantly, a rededication to the principles that led them to life as a cleric in the first place.

Druid. “When making a druid, consider why your character has such a close bond with nature. Perhaps your character lives in a society where the Old Faith still thrives, or was raised by a druid after being abandoned in the depths of a forest. Perhaps your character had a dramatic encounter with the spirits of nature, coming face to face with a giant eagle or dire wolf and surviving the experience. Maybe your character was born during an epic storm or a volcanic eruption, which was interpreted as a sign that becoming a druid was part of your character’s destiny.” Adventurers move around and spend a good amount of time away from deep nature. A pilgrimage to powerful nature places is a great way to renew connection to the land, and you can take a page from earlier editions with high level druids a character can seek out for wisdom.

Fighter. “As you build your fighter, think about two related elements of your character’s background: Where did you get your combat training, and what set you apart from the mundane warriors around you? Were you particularly ruthless? Did you get extra help from a mentor, perhaps because of your exceptional dedication? What drove you to this training in the first place? A threat to your homeland, a thirst for revenge, or a need to prove yourself might all have been factors.” An occasional visit to a training mentor to demonstrate growth could be a great opportunity for reflection and when the character is finally able to best their teacher could become a watershed moment.

Monk. “As you make your monk character, think about your connection to the monastery where you learned your skills and spent your formative years. Were you an orphan or a child left on the monastery’s threshold? Did your parents promise you to the monastery in gratitude for a service performed by the monks? Did you enter this secluded life to hide from a crime you committed? Or did you choose the monastic life for yourself?” Monks are disciplined above all else, but along the way perhaps the meaning of their early lessons gets lost in the application of skills. Renewal of this discipline could mean a personal journey within oneself at an important location.

Paladin. “The most important aspect of a paladin character is the nature of his or her holy quest. Although the class features related to your oath don’t appear until you reach 3rd level, plan ahead for that choice by reading the oath descriptions at the end of the class.” The renewal that started it all! I love the idea of a powerful personal quest and this part of a paladin’s makeup could become a driver of high drama for the individual and their adventuring companions.

Ranger. “Did you train with a single mentor, wandering the wilds together until you mastered the ranger’s ways? Did you leave your apprenticeship, or was your mentor slain—perhaps by the same kind of monster that became your favored enemy? Or perhaps you learned your skills as part of a band of rangers affiliated with a druidic circle, trained in mystic paths as well as wilderness lore. You might be self-taught, a recluse who learned combat skills, tracking, and even a magical connection to nature through the necessity of surviving in the wilds.” Whatever their origin rangers can seek renewal of their bond to the land or reasons for their favored enemies and these can become much more than simple class features.

Rogue. “As you create your rogue character, consider the character’s relationship to the law. Do you have a criminal past—or present? Are you on the run from the law or from an angry thieves’ guild master? Or did you leave your guild in search of bigger risks and bigger rewards? Is it greed that drives you in your adventures, or some other desire or ideal?” Skills can get rusty, and even a character whose Expertise comes into play often could use a renewal of the skills they haven’t yet mastered. Revisiting a roguish past might necessitate renewal of why they got into the rogue business in the first place — or prove how far they’ve come and moved past this part of their life.

Sorcerer. “The most important question to consider when creating your sorcerer is the origin of your power. As a starting character, you’ll choose an origin that ties to a draconic bloodline or the influence of wild magic, but the exact source of your power is up to you to decide. Is it a family curse, passed down to you from distant ancestors? Or did some extraordinary event leave you blessed with inherent magic but perhaps scarred as well?” Renewal for a sorcerer could mean facing the mysteries of where and how their power comes from to begin with. It’s easy to take advantage of this strange magical might but what do you really know about the source of your own power?

Warlock. “As you make your warlock character, spend some time thinking about your patron and the obligations that your pact imposes upon you. What led you to make the pact, and how did you make contact with your patron? Were you seduced into summoning a devil, or did you seek out the ritual that would allow you to make contact with an alien elder god? Did you search for your patron, or did your patron find and choose you? Do you chafe under the obligations of your pact or serve joyfully in anticipation of the rewards promised to you?” Players love roleplaying the Otherworldly Patron-warlock relationship. Renewal here could mean getting down to brass tacks — what was the initial deal you struck, and how have you been holding up your end of the bargain?

Wizard. “Creating a wizard character demands a backstory dominated by at least one extraordinary event. How did your character first come into contact with magic? How did you discover you had an aptitude for it? Do you have a natural talent, or did you simply study hard and practice incessantly? Did you encounter a magical creature or an ancient tome that taught you the basics of magic?” A basic assumption for wizards is they studied and learned their magic somewhere. I don’t know about you but I get calls from my college all the time looking for alumni donations and event contributions. A wizard might find renewal comes in the form of obligations to their alma mater.

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