Posts Tagged ‘Mike Myler’

The following playtest material (the Exemplar class by Mike Myler) appears in Book of Celestial Heroes, a part of the Book of Exalted Darkness Kickstarter. Unlike BoED the supplement this appears in is for the D&D 5E players and GMs that dig on the holy decopunk utopian world of Askis but aren’t that keen to playing evil adventurers. There are builds for Simon Belmont (from Castlevania) and King Arthur of Camelot (really a very silly place) to illustrate some exemplars at work over on Mike’s website. All of the illustrations below are by the principal artist for the project, the talented artist Indi Martin.

(Note from James: I’m a part of this amazing Kickstarter too! I’m making magic items!)

Leaping to the stage, Daedrus looked out at the discontent villagers and raised his voice above the din of the angry crowd. “Hear me, good townsfolk,” he bellowed, gesturing toward the bound nobleman, the disheveled man’s fine clothes marred by bits of rotted fruit and his arms held fast by trustworthy Terrea. She nodded to him, squeezing the villain’s wrists to make the deposed ruler wince. “Lord Balcroft’s duplicity has wounded you, but surely, are you not better than he?” A stronger quiet overtook the mob as all turned their faces to the hero, unsure of the violence they were so bent upon. “Ask yourselves—will you be known for this foul man and the act of killing him, or rather as a town that overcame corruption and has grown all the stronger for it?” His voice practically dripping with honey, he asked the calmed citizenry before him one last question: “To where would you wish to take your family and raise your children?”

Whoever her father truly was, Apollyta reckoned, he either had a strange sense of humor or a consistent desire to see her dead. Remembering the tricks she used when last a dragon tried to burn her to death, she quickly gulps a breath of air before the fire heats it then rolls with the blast of flame and into cover behind a weathered pillar, barely scorched as the enormous creature slithers the rest of its body into the antechamber. Summoning a touch of her divine power, Apollyta slams into the stone with the very strength of the gods driven through her shoulder—the ancient rock cracks and falls, crashing down into the dragon and winning her a scream of enraged pain as the monster retreats hesitantly, fearful that its prey may not be as weak she first seemed.

Nami put her shoulder into her shield, depending on it to save her life for the thousandth time and trusting in its magic to ward away the ogre’s club. The force of the creature’s blow makes her stumble backwards and nearly breaks her arm, but the magic in her treasured relic holds before unleashing a brilliant flash that blinds the monster. Unslinging the enchanted shield from her arm Nami throws it with all the strength she can muster, sending the metal hurtling through the air and into her giant assailant’s face before it bounces back to her arm, affixing itself with magic. As a half dozen of the ogre’s teeth bounce onto the ground she raises her scimitar high and calls out to her innate connection to the weapon, empowering it with her spirit and lunging forward, the power shimmering from her blade inciting fear in her enemy’s eyes as she moves in to make the killing blow!

Hunching at the entrance of the cave, Fethgar followed the corrupted beast’s trail of blood with his greataxe in both hands, the blade wavering just a foot above the ground. The half-orc thinks of the meal he spiced with sceletium and tamanu oil as the stench of the creature’s lair nearly overwhelms him, the herbs raising a fire in his blood that only deepens his resolve to slay the wretched monster. Stepping softly around a corner Fethgar sees his quarry once more, the wounds he inflicted at the beginning of the chase still fresh. It growls angrily at the sight of him and the hero returns the same, his eye flashing a deep crimson that makes the gash on the slathering thing’s torso flare with red energy as it springs forward, teeth gnashing at the air!

Where others succeed by blade or spell the exemplar forges ahead with an adventurous heart, implacable will, and a hell of a lot of good luck on their side. Many a mage or warrior distinguishes themselves with heroic deeds and grand triumphs but an exemplar defines their own path, weaving it with those of others touched by greatness or fate and relying on an abundant spirit that refuses to yield no matter what challenges lay ahead. The merit of these iconic champions is that they are not measured by their victories—it is their character that inspires the myths and legends left in their wake.

Abundant Spirit

An exemplar is born destined for greatness not by fate but by the nature of their soul, imbued with a potent lifeforce  that drives them to constantly search for ways to make the world a better place. This impulse frequently brings exemplars into the mouth of danger but it is there where they shine brightest, inspiring their allies and performing truly great deeds when the need is most dire by drawing upon the same thing that brings violence into their lives. Even when utterly destroyed by the foulest of magics the powerful spirits of these champions live on long after their death, the stories of their trials and triumphs passed down in epic poems or ballads that withstand the ravages of time.

Courageous Heart

One thing that can always be expected of exemplars is that they will do what they believe is to be good and right. Though this often makes them predictable such meritorious behavior quickly emboldens reputations for being reliable and trustworthy. This is not to say that an exemplar is necessarily brash or foolish (many employ brilliant tactics or exceptional cunning) but the urge to undo evil runs strong in them and true malevolence must be met with bravery and perseverance—whether tomorrow or after years of careful preparation.

Creating an Exemplar

The first thing to decide when making an exemplar is how they are distinctive—are they aloof and mysterious, spoken of reverently in whispers by tavern candlelight? Perhaps they were thrown into the throes of destiny after discovering a relic in the wilderness, something that has emboldened them with confidence and daring? Maybe your hero is bound to greatness by blood, their divine ancestry weighing heavy on their shoulders, or the inspirational qualities of your character drew you to protecting those who look upon you so fondly? Regardless of how the world looks upon them, what triumphs and deeds have they achieved so far?

While the archetypal focus of your exemplar is important, the hero’s nature as an exceptional specimen of their kind is not to be ignored. A halfling exemplar’s incredible bravery is rewarded with good fortune, half-orc exemplars push themselves back from the brink of death with tremendous strength, a dwarf exemplar has an iron stomach and can weather countless blows, and so on. How does being a model of excellence among their kin influence the way your hero perceives the world? Do they embrace their gifts with humility? Has their destiny-bound soul brought tragedy to their life or the lives of those they care for?

Alignment. Exemplars must be of good alignment. An exemplar whose alignment becomes anything other than chaotic good, lawful good, or neutral good cannot level in this class again until their alignment changes back to good.


As an exemplar, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per exemplar level.

Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier.

Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per exemplar level after 1st.


Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields

Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons

Tools: None

Saving Throws: Charisma and any ability score of your choice.

Skills: Choose any three skills.


You begin play with the following equipment, in addition to any gear acquired through your background.

  • (a) chain shirt or (b) studded leather
  • (a) a martial weapon and a shield or (b) a greatsword
  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) a longbow and 20 arrows
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Table: The Exemplar

Level Proficiency Effort Points Features
1st +2 Fighting Style, Heroic Archetype
2nd +2 2 Heroic Archetype, Heroic Effort
3rd +2 2 Bravery, Friendly Reputation
4th +2 3 Ability Score Increase
5th +3 3 Extra Attack, Heroic Archetype
6th +3 3 Lesser Paragon
7th +3 4 Rally
8th +3 4 Ability Score Increase
9th +4 5 Courageous
10th +4 5 Heroic Archetype
11th +4 5 Extra Attack (2)
12th +4 6 Ability Score Increase
13th +5 6 Greater Paragon
14th +5 7 Never Stay Down
15th +5 7 Heroic Archetype
16th +5 7 Ability Score Increase
17th +6 8 Battle Hardened
18th +6 8 Instinctual Reflexes
19th +6 9 Ability Score Increase
20th +6 9 Supreme Paragon

Multiclassing Prerequisite: Charisma 13

Proficiencies Gained: Light armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons, and either medium armor or one skill of your choice

Heroic Archetype

At 1st level, you determine the fundamental nature of the destiny that lay before you: Enchanted Warrior, Epic Hero, People’s Champion, or Slayer, all detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 1st level and again at 5th, 10th, and 15th level.

Fighting Style

You adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.


You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.


You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes, and you can roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike. When you reach 11th level in this class, you deal an additional 1d4 damage with your unarmed strike.


While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.


When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Great Weapon Fighting

When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.


When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

Two-Weapon Fighting

When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Heroic Effort

Beginning at 2nd level, you learn how to reach deep into yourself to draw upon your abundant spirit, performing impossible tasks that defy belief. This reservoir of power is represented by a number of Effort points. Your exemplar level determines the number of points you have, as shown in the Effort Points column of Table: The Exemplar. You can spend these points to fuel various effort features. You start knowing four such features: Hero’s Ire, Heroic Stand, Implacable Resolve, and Stroke of Luck. You learn an additional heroic effort feature from your heroic archetype. When you spend an effort point, it is unavailable until you finish a short or long rest, at the end of which your spirit replenishes. Some of your effort features may require your target to make a saving throw to resist the feature’s effects. The saving throw for these features is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier.

Hero’s Ire

As a bonus action, you can spend 2 effort points and choose a creature that you can see. For the next minute you gain a bonus to attack rolls and weapon damage rolls equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) when attacking that creature.

Heroic Stand

You can spend 1 effort point to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on your turn.

Implacable Resolve

As a reaction, you can spend 2 effort points to gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your exemplar level. These temporary hit points last until the beginning of your next turn.

Stroke of Luck

As a reaction, you can spend 2 effort points to reroll an attack roll or saving throw. You must choose to use this feature before the results of the attack roll or saving throw are revealed.


Also at 3rd level, your heart is bolstered by the glory of your accomplishments and an insatiable desire to overcome whatever stands in your way. You gain advantage on saving throws against fear.

Friendly Reputation

Starting at 3rd level, your uplifting reputation is well-known and earns you some small acts of kindness. You gain the following benefits.

  • When you reach an inn or tavern, you may make a DC 8 Charisma check to see if your reputation precedes you. On a success you are given free lodging, drink, and food. The GM may decide that no check to be recognized is required because someone who works in the establishment knows you already or has seen you recently.
  • You may convince merchants to sell you goods for a more modest price. If you succeed on a DC 12 Charisma check to be recognized, you gain advantage on an ability check to determine the final price of an item that costs 50 gp or less. You may exploit your reputation to persuade merchants this way a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Expended uses recharge after a long rest.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class.

Lesser Paragon

Starting at 6th level, you begin to unlock your truest self and embody the best parts of your ancestry. Others of your kind often look up to you, granting you a +1 bonus on Charisma ability checks when dealing with other members of your race. You gain one of the following benefits:

Human. You gain proficiency in two skills and a tool kits. You may choose a second tool kit to replace one of your new skill proficiencies.

Dwarf. Your darkvision increases to 200 feet.

Elf. You gain advantage on Perception and Stealth checks.

Halfling. You can spend your bonus action to Dash or Disengage.

Half-Elf. Choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with a tool kit. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.

Half-Orc. You regain the use of Relentless Endurance after finishing a short rest.

Gnome. You gain advantage on all Intelligence ability saving throws and tool checks, and you are able to perfectly recall any memory of an event you experienced within the past year.

Aasimar. You gain immunity to radiant damage.

Dragonborn. You can use your Breath Weapon feature twice between rests.

Tiefling. You are able to see through magical darkness. In addition, you gain advantage on saving throws to resist the blinded condition.


Beginning at 7th level, you can bellow forth a shout of resolve from the core of your being that inspires your compatriots to never give up. By spending an action yelling, you bolster the health of a number of creatures equal to your proficiency bonus. Each creature gains a number of temporary hit points equal to your exemplar level.

You may also choose an additional number of creatures equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) for a secondary effect so long as each is at 0 hit points or has died within the last minute. A creature at 0 hit points gains advantage on its Death saving throws. Recently deceased creatures reroll their most recent Death saving throw with advantage (though any additional Death saving throws that result are made normally).

Creatures must be within 60 feet of you and must be able to hear or see you to benefit from this feature. Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again. You can use this feature twice between long rests starting at 14th level, and three times between long rests at 20th level.


At 9th level, you cannot be cowed and the very sight of you lifts the spirits of others. You gain immunity to the frightened condition and allies able to see you gain advantage on saving throws against fear.

Greater Paragon

At 13th level, your excellence achieves new heights as you become even more iconic among your species. You gain one of the following benefits:

Human. Choose one ability score and increase it by 2. Alternatively, you may choose two ability scores and increase both by 1. Your maximum for the chosen ability score (or ability scores) increases to 22.

Dwarf. You gain immunity to poison damage and the poisoned condition.

Elf. You gain immunity to the charmed condition.

Halfling. Once per minute, your Lucky feature activates on a roll of 2.

Half-Elf. When a creature targets you with a spell that causes the charmed condition, it makes a Charisma saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or becomes confused (as the spell) for a number of rounds equal to Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

Half-Orc. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you may choose to reroll one of the weapon’s damage dice, using the highest result.

Gnome. You can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Aasimar. You gain immunity to necrotic damage.

Dragonborn. You gain immunity to the damage type associated with your draconic ancestry.

Tiefling. You gain immunity to fire damage.

Never Stay Down

Starting at 14th level, you refuse to give up even when your body desperately wants to shut down. You gain advantage on Death saving throws.

Battle Hardened

At 17th level, you have weathered so many blows that your body has toughened considerably, reducing the effectiveness of certain attacks. You gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage.

Instinctual Reflexes

At 18th level, your life of daring has honed you, making jumping to action something you do almost without thought. When you roll an initiative check, you may choose to treat your roll as a natural 20. Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you finish a short rest.

Supreme Paragon

When you reach 20th level, you become truly legendary among your people and your exploits are bound to become the stuff of myth.

Human. You can add half your proficiency bonus to any ability check or saving throw you make that doesn’t already include your proficiency bonus. For checks that already include your proficiency bonus you gain a +2 bonus.

Dwarf. Your Constitution score increases by 4. Your maximum for that score is now 24. Creatures are at disadvantage when attempting to move you with attacks or spells. In addition, you have advantage on checks and saving throws to resist being moved.

Elf. Your speed increases by 15 feet, your jump distances are doubled, and creatures have disadvantage on opportunity attacks made against you.

Halfling. Your Dexterity score increases by 4. Your maximum Dexterity score is now 24. In addition, you do not treat movement through other creatures squares as difficult terrain.

Half-Elf. Increase two ability scores by 2. Your maximum for these ability scores increases to 22.

Half-Orc. Your Strength score increases by 4. Your maximum for that score is now 24. In addition, if you have at least half of your total hit dice remaining you may expend them as a reaction to use Relentless Endurance after the feature run out of uses.

Gnome. Your Intelligence score increases by 4. Your maximum for that score is now 24. In addition, you gain a bonus to AC equal to half your Intelligence modifier.

Aasimar. By spending 1 effort point as an action, you grow a set of angelic wings. Your wings grant you a fly speed of 50 feet and remain for 1 hour. As long as you are airborne, you gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage.

Dragonborn. Your Charisma score increases by 4. Your maximum for that score is now 24. In addition, you add your Charisma modifier to the damage of your Breath Weapon (minimum 1).

Tiefling. You may cast haste and dimension door using your Infernal Legacy feature. In addition, you regain your uses of the Infernal Legacy feature on a short rest.

Enchanted Warrior (Heroic Archetype)

The spirit of an exemplar sometimes gravitates to a legendary weapon or piece of armor, their lifeforce unlocking the relic’s power to carry them from obscurity and into the halls of greatness. Bolstered to achieve the impossible by the enchanted items unique to them, long after their demise the artifacts of these heroes are enshrined by those they championed to be looked upon by generations to come with the same reverence of a religion’s first holy tome.

Enchanted Item

When you choose this archetype at 1st level, you find or are gifted an item with a special connection to you. Choose one of the following: a light armor, a medium armor, a shield, or a weapon. While wearing or wielding your enchanted item you gain benefits from this heroic archetype, but in the possession of any other creature your enchanted item is a mundane piece of equipment.

Armor or Shield. You gain a +1 bonus to two saving throws of your choice.

Weapon. When you take the attack action on your turn, you gain a +1 bonus to the attack roll.

Draw Power

Starting at 2nd level, you can spend 1 effort point to empower your enchanted item.

Armor or Shield. When you are hit by a spell attack or weapon attack, you may choose to reduce the amount of damage the attack deals by your Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

Weapon. After successfully hitting a creature, you may choose to deal an additional amount of damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

Unlock Power

At 5th level, you begin to unlock the true power of the item connected to your soul. Your enchanted item gains an enchantment pool with a number of enchantment points equal to half your proficiency bonus. These enchantment points are spent on the enchantments below; unless otherwise noted, each enchantment costs 1 enchantment point.The benefits of your enchanted item cannot be changed until you gain a new exemplar level. Whenever you or the GM rolls to randomly determine a magic item you receive from a quest or treasure hoard, if it would be the same type of item as your enchanted item (weapon, armor, or shield) you may choose to reroll the result. An enchantment can only be chosen once per Enchanted Item.

Enchanted Armor. Your enchanted armor grants a magical bonus to AC equal to half your proficiency bonus, rounded down.

  • Blinding. When you are struck by a critical hit from a melee weapon attack you may spend 1 effort point to cause your armor to flash with dazzlingly bright light, forcing your attacker to make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, your attacker is blinded for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1).
  • Deafening. When you are struck by a critical hit from a melee or ranged weapon attack you may spend 1 effort point to cause your armor to crack like booming thunder, forcing creatures within 10 feet per exemplar level to make a Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature is deafened for 1 minute. As this feature is activated you can choose a number of creatures equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) to automatically succeed their saving throws against it.
  • Holy. While wearing your enchanted armor, you cannot be charmed, frightened, or possessed by aberrations, fiends, and undead.
  • Reciprocating. When you are hit by a melee weapon attack, you may spend 1 effort point as a reaction to make a melee attack against your attacker.
  • Shadowed. Your armor grants advantage on Stealth checks. If your armor causes you to have disadvantage on Stealth checks, it no longer causes you to have disadvantage.
  • Tempered. Your armor has a number of fortification charges equal to half your Charisma modifier (minimum 1). When you are struck by a critical hit your armor removes a fortification charge, changing the critical hit into a regular hit. When there are no more fortification charges, this feature of your armor ceases to function. You regain all expended fortification charges when you finish a long rest.

Enchanted Shield. Your enchanted shield grants a magical bonus to AC equal to half your proficiency bonus, rounded down.

  • Blinding or Deafening. As above.
  • Catching (2 points). When you are successfully hit by a ranged weapon attack or spell attack and wearing your enchanted shield, you can spend your reaction to negate the attack.
  • Edged (must have weaponized). Your enchanted shield grants a magical bonus to attack and damage equal to 1/3 your proficiency bonus.
  • Sacred. You can spend your bonus action to force an evil creature that can see your enchanted shield to make a Charisma saving throw. If the saving throw fails, until the start of your next turn the creature makes attacks against you with disadvantage.
    Unless surprised, a creature can avert its eyes to avoid the saving throw with its reaction. If the creature does so, it can’t see you until the start of your next turn. If the creature looks at you in the meantime, you may spend your reaction to cause it to immediately make the saving throw.
  • Throwing (must have weaponized). Your enchanted shield has the thrown property with a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet. Immediately after you throw your enchanted shield, regardless of whether or not you hit, it flies back to your hand and re-equips itself.
  • Weaponized. Your enchanted shield is a martial weapon that deals 1d6 bludgeoning or slashing damage (chosen when this enchantment is chosen) on a successful hit.

Enchanted Weapon. Your enchanted weapon grants a magical bonus to attack and damage equal to half your proficiency bonus, rounded down.

  • Elemental (2 points). Choose one of the following types of energy: acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, psychic, or thunder. Your enchanted weapon deals an additional 1d6 damage of that energy type. This damage multiplies on a critical hit.
  • Forceful. When striking a creature or object that is immune to bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, the creature treats their immunity as resistance instead. By selecting this effect a second time, your weapon ignores a creature’s immunity or resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage (even magical weapon damage).
  • Graceful. The first time you attack with your enchanted weapon on each of your turns, you can transfer some or all of your weapon’s magical bonus to attack and damage to your Armor Class instead. For instance, you could reduce your magical bonus on attack and damage rolls by 1, and gain a +1 bonus to AC. If you possess two enchantment weapons, you must reduce both weapons’ magical bonus to attack and damage (this does not double your bonus to AC).
  • Holy. Your enchanted weapon deals an additional 1d8 radiant damage against creatures of evil alignment. This damage multiplies on a critical hit.
  • Lethal. When you score a critical hit with your enchanted weapon, your total bonus to damage is doubled.
  • Sharp. When attacking a target wearing armor, you receive an additional +2 bonus to the attack roll.

Arm and Armament

At 10th level, you acquire a second Enchanted Item with its own enchantment pool. If you already have an enchanted weapon, you gain an enchanted armor or enchanted shield. If you already have an enchanted armor or enchanted shield, you gain an enchanted weapon. Alternatively, you may choose a second enchanted weapon but only if it has the Light property.

Combined Essence

Starting at 15th level, when you finish a long rest and don your Enchanted Items, each gains 1 additional enchantment point you can immediately spend on an enchantment. When you reach 20th level in this class, each gains 2 enchantment points instead. Whatever enchantments you choose immediately cease to function when one of your Enchanted Items leaves your possession or whenever you next finish a long rest.

Epic Hero (Heroic Archetype)

When a god chooses to mate with a mortal the divinity of their offspring does not always immediately present itself. For some of these demigods the true power of their gifts must be earned, either through redemption at the feet of their parent’s rivals or a set of epic trials. Of all the various types of exemplars these are the most likely to achieve a place in a culture’s mythology, living on for millennia as the protagonists of fables and archeological musings.

Signature Attribute

When you choose this archetype at 1st level, select one ability score. You gain a +2 bonus on ability checks with that ability score.

Mythic Touch

At 2nd level, you can spend 1 effort point as a bonus action to gain advantage on an ability check using your Signature Attribute as a touch of your divinity beguiles the senses of others or passes through you to grant physical power.

Uncanny Resilience

At 5th level, your guile, incredible timing, luck, or impressive hardiness protects you from the elements. You gain resistance to two of the following: acid, cold, fire, lightning, psychic, or thunder.

Signature Attribute

At 10th level, you choose a second ability score to be a Signature Attribute.

Epic Resilience

Beginning at 15th level, when you make Death saving throws you do not die until you have 4 failures and you treat a roll of 19 as if it were a 20.

People’s Champion (Heroic Archetype)

Often seen as the most mundane of exemplars, people’s champions become truly beloved by common folk and live more vividly in the minds of those they defend than any of their peers. Whether roving about the land in search of wrongs to right or answering the calls for aid from villages that seek them out, the people’s champion and their unfailingly loyal ally distinguish themselves not just with their achievements, but also the flair and panache with which they win the hearts and minds of their fellows.


When you choose this archetype at 1st level, you gain proficiency with two skills and one tool kit.

With Style

At 2nd level, you develop a knack for performing crucial tasks with finesse when the stakes are high. Choose four skills you are proficient with. You can spend 1 effort point as a bonus action to gain advantage on an ability check that uses one of these skills. You may choose a tool kit to substitute for one of these skills.

Loyal Aide

At 5th level, you gain the services of a devoted and loyal squire. Your squire may have small differences (like a different height, weight, race, gender, or disposition) but otherwise has the same statistics you did at half your current level, beginning play with attribute modifiers equal to half your positive bonuses, rounded down (so if you have a Strength of 18 and Constitution of 15, your squire begins with a Strength of 14 and Constitution of 12), or 10. When you reach 8th level in this class, and 11th, 14th, 17th, and 20th level, your squire gains a level (taking the same character options that you did, except that it does not gain starting equipment, this feature, or a background). At the time you gain this feature your squire trusts you implicitly and performs tasks you give them so long as you do not request anything illegal, suicidal, or in opposition to your alignment. The GM may decide that certain orders you give require a Charisma check against DC 8 + the companion’s level + the companion’s proficiency bonus. If your squire dies, you must wait one month before recruiting a new squire. Though they do not accrue levels as quickly as a PC, your squire counts as a PC for determining XP rewards.

Slick Escape

Beginning at 10th level, you’ve had so many close calls in a fight that you naturally step and flow through combat without hesitation. Your movement never provokes opportunity attacks. In addition, you can stand up from prone as a free action on your turn.

Sterling Renown

At 15th level, your exploits are the talk of taverns all over the region and you are practically a living folk hero. You gain the following benefits:

  • You have advantage on all Charisma-based ability checks with commoners, guards, and street merchants.
  • You are always able to find a safe and clandestine place in which to acquire food and secure shelter free of charge (even if you are a wanted criminal).
  • When you are tracking someone, common folk reveal to you as much as they would to a trusted friend. If you are tracking another exemplar, the information is revealed so long as your exemplar level is higher than your quarry’s.
  • You are able to easily arrange for meetings with local rulers as well as distant empresses and kings.

Slayer (Heroic Archetype)

For some exemplars there is no greater evil than the corruption that spreads from monsters preying on the innocent and weak. These adventurers hunt down villainous creatures, traveling across the world in search of their quarry with admirable resolve. Unlike other exemplars, slayers often retain an air of mystery to protect those close to them and infuriate their more intelligent nemeses—vampires, liches, and other horrors endowed with as much brilliance as supernatural power. Once one of these abominations has come within the exemplar’s notice, however, it is only a matter of time before the slayer (or one of their descendants) enacts a righteous kill.

Hunter of Monsters

When you choose this archetype at 1st level, choose a type of hunted monster: aberrations, beasts, dragons, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, or undead. You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track hunted monsters, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. You choose one additional hunted monster at 5th, 10th, and 15th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.

Slayer’s Mark

At 2nd level, you can spend 1 effort point as a bonus action to mark a creature you are able to see. This creature must be of the same type as your hunted monster. You gain a +1d6 bonus to attack and damage rolls made against a creature you have marked. A mark remains for 1 minute. You can maintain a number of marked creatures equal to your proficiency bonus.

Holistic Resilience

Beginning at 5th level, you learn what herbs and spices are needed in your diet to maximize your body’s natural defenses. You have advantage on saving throws made to resist abilities and spells from your hunted monsters. In addition, you learn how to make holy water.

Potent Strikes

At 10th level, your Slayer’s Mark increases in potency, changing from a +1d6 bonus to a +1d8 bonus. In addition, you gain the following two Heroic Feature options:

  • Honed Strike. You may spend 1 effort point after successfully hitting a creature you have marked to add double your Charisma modifier to your bonus damage for that attack (minimum +2).
  • Zealous Strike. You may spend 2 effort points immediately after killing one of your hunted monsters to make a weapon attack against a creature within your reach (or range if you are wielding a ranged weapon).

Supernatural Resistance

Starting at 15th level, you gain resistance to necrotic damage. You are immune to necrotic damage that would permanently lower your hit points and when a creature attempts to inflict permanent hit point damage to you, it takes 6d4 radiant damage.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of Table Top Babble is now available!

James Introcaso sits down with Ruth Tillman, Mike Myler, and Jonathan Green to discuss hacking RPGs to fit your every need.

The Tome Show

Edge of the Frontier

Cthulhu Confidential

Hypercorps 2099

2099 Wasteland

Mists of Akuma

Book of Exalted Darkness

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If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Alex Basso, Ginny Loveday, and Round Table newbie Gregg Lauer to talk about the bard, cleric, and druid Unearthed Arcana articles. Then it’s an interview with game designer Mike Myler about his ongoing Kickstarter for Hypercorps 2099: Wastleland. This podcast was recorded on November 30 and December 1, 2016.

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Open Gaming Store Pick of the Episode: Howl at the Moon

DMs Guild Pick of the Episode: Complete Adventures of M.T. Black


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Have Spellbook, Will Travel

Southern Connecticut D&D Meetup

Winter Fantasy

Hypercorps 2099

Mists of Akuma

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, like World Builder Blog on Facebook, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Hey everyone! I have a bunch of updates for some really cool new projects I’ve been working on awesome people with.

Have Spellbook, Will Travel

First up – Have Spellbook, Will Travel. You may have heard Rudy Basso and I discuss our new podcast on the most recent episode of the Round Table. You can listen to the first episode TODAY. It just dropped.

What is Have Spellbook, Will Travel? It is a fantasy comedy drama radio play podcast that’s the brainchild of Rudy Basso. The podcast is loosely based on events and moments that happened in our own Dungeons and Dragons games. The podcast is funny, clever, and features some great characters we hope you’ll fall in love with the way we have. This thing is a real labor of love that we made with our amazing actor friends who also love games. If you listen to the Round Table you’ll recognize panelists Ray Fallon, John Fischer, Andrew Timmes, Alex Basso, and Vegas Lancaster as part of our awesome crew. I’m part of the cast myself. I play Old Man Wisely, the story’s narrator.

Rudy is the creator, writer, editor, producer, and one of the main actors on the show. I helped Rudy write and produce the first few episodes, but he’s done the lion’s share of the work. I promise his efforts are more than worth your time. I friggin’ love this podcast.

Listen to the first episode now! If you love the podcast please do us a favor – go give us a killer rating on iTunes. It’s free to do and takes less than a minute of your time. Please Tweet about the show, join the Facebook group, and spread the word!


I am going to be a featured guest at Roll20CON. What is Roll20CON? It’s a free, online-only celebration of the Roll20 Community will take place on June 3rd, 2016 for just 24 hours – but you can start preparing, listing, and joining games now! From 12AM – 11:59PM Pacific time, there will be games galore played on my favorite virtual table. You’ll want to join in the action and get to try some of the Plus and Pro subscription features for free. That’s right. Dynamic Lighting (and tons of other awesome features) will be free during Roll20CON.

During the convention, some of your favorite streamers, publishers, podcasters, and I will be live on Twitch helping raise money for Cybersmile, the international non-profit supporting victims of cyberbullying. Check out the schedule below!


Mists of Akuma

Finally, if you listened to the most recent Round Table than you know I am VERY excited for Mike Myler‘s Mists of Akuma. This Kickstarter for a fifth edition D&D Eastern Fantasy Noir Steampunk setting is rich and wonderful. Check out the video below to get the scoop on Akuma!

I can’t wait to play in the world. Plus if this project is overfunded, I’m designing one of the stretch goals (can’t say exactly what yet… just gonna have to fork over those dollars to find out).

Mike was kind enough to let me host a little preview of Mists of Akuma‘s prefectures here on World Builder Blog. Take a look at his awesome words below!

Three Prefectures of Soburin

There are a total of twenty three prefectures (and possibly more if the Kickstarter finds two special backers!) ruled over by the direct descendants of the Imperial Siblings and Masuto Imperial Family. Mists of Akuma is a noir game with a narrower scope than other campaign settings however, focusing instead on the details of life in just three regions:

  1. The capital of the Imperial Prefecture, Sanbaoshi, a metropolis that tentatively embraces technology but is still steeped in the traditions of Soburin’s past.

  2. Chikan, Star of the North, where science is a part of everyday life and the Mists of Akuma are kept at bay with turbines, fans, and other machines that create powerful blasts of air.

  3. Nagabuki, Gem of the South, is within the martial prefecture of Ikari and home to the monastic order of tattooed monks, utilizing magic to treat those afflicted by the fell fogs.

Traditions kept alive since the millennia long Ichizoku Wars caused different magical and martial disciplines to develop as much as the drafting enforced by foreign invaders during the historically more recent Kengen Occupation, informing the nature of each clan’s bengoshi and henchmen as well as their culture.

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The Masuto rose to power at the end of the Ichizoku Wars, leveraging something against the Imperial Dragons that allowed their upstart forces—mostly paid ronin and spellswords—to finally overcome the armies of the 22 warring clans. Once she had assumed authority, Sohei Masuto cemented her family’s place in Soburin by claiming the center of the continent as their own, governing from the heart of the landmass and creating a bulwark safe from the greatest clan rivalries. The tactic worked and from the capital of Sanbaoshi a Masuto has ruled as Emperor for an almost 1500 unbroken years.

Ceramia invaders recognized the great value of the Imperial Capital immediately, targeting it in the Battle of Gyakusatsu and breaking the will of Soburin in a violent display of superior warfare that cowed the continent. Using it as their beachhead, advanced science became more and more common in Sanbaoshi as the Kengen Occupation wore on for over a century. Today, 50 years since the fall of the Kengen (the last remnants of Ceramian and Ropaeo forces still alive after the War of Kaiyo’s apocalyptic end on the other side of the Great Divide), many of their technologies are banned. The most violent or invasive machinery is forbidden, as are some even innocuous items, but others remain: electric lanterns are everywhere, tinkerers’ shops can be found all throughout the metropolis, and samurai fitted with steel augmetics walk the city’s streets.

As the central seat of government Sanbaoshi is a place of great intrigue among the bengoshi of the clans. Each of these functionaries is constantly at work for their lords, working to undermine their rivals and raise their patron’s esteem as well as their own. The Imperial Guard is constantly chasing down suspicious persons and the Imperial Capital has countless potential agents to spare—adventurers are common here, easy to manipulate, and cost only a few Imperial Pieces (so any bengoshi worth their salt is never in short supply of either).

Emperor Hitoshi Masuto’s tolerance for technology, the city’s strategic location, and the flurry of nightly activity that keeps its defenders occupied has made the capital a hotbed for smuggling. The trade of illegal goods is a constant problem in Sanbaoshi, fueled by bengoshi using the illicit devices for all manner of immoral aims and technologists looking to make a profit by outfitting adventurers with cutting-edge augmetics. It doesn’t help that some of the largest concentrations of Ceramian and Ropaeo communities still in Soburin can be found in the Imperial Capital. These gaijin are by and large unwanted (spurned for continuing on the destructive paths of their foreign ancestors) but as long as they serve a purpose to the clans’ functionaries, they are sure to remain a thorn in the side of the Imperial Guard.

Seishin Nohantā: With technology from before the rise of Emperor Hitoshi common all over the metropolis, tsukumogami—items that animate into creatures, usually of the violent sort—are a frequent problem. To combat and respond to the threat an elite team of tsukumogami hunters are utterly dedicated to Sanbaoshi and prowl its streets, protecting the citizens from magical harm. The Seishin Nohantā are a common watchful presence and although they are honor sworn not to directly interfere with the mundane troubles of ne’er-do-wells and criminals in the city, they often act as sentries on behalf of the Imperial Guard, reporting on anyone suspicious that falls under their watchful gaze.

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Most of Soburin’s lords resisted the Kengen Occupation in all its forms, but a few embraced scientific knowledge and have worked to improve upon it. The Supai were one such clan; when the foreign invaders finally fell half a century ago, Lord Shachō Supai brought together the greatest diviners of the land to see what the future had in store for her prefecture. Though the enormity and totality of the danger represented by the Mists of Akuma remained shrouded to them, how it would descend onto Soburin was as clear as day. Seizing on the technological advances of Ceramian and Ropaeo immigrants, Lord Shachō instituted laboratories and schools to educate her kin on the secrets of science—to great effect.

Though she died half a decade ago (some say to a shinobi’s blade) the wisdom of Shachō’s judgment holds true and today the seat of the prefecture’s power is protected by vast, powerful turbines that turn the Mists of Akuma back whenever it descends on the city. The ranks of the Supai clan are commonly fitted with fan hand augmetics for when the fell fog catches them outside of Chikan’s walls, making them a deadly and swift asset on the battlefield, able to charge at ranged enemy lines without fear.

With such a prevalence for technology and the dangers of tsukumogami omnipresent, Chikan has adopted a throwaway culture when it comes to personal effects. Hunters that specialize in detecting and tracking the strange creatures are a frequent sight, though only those in dire need or of malevolent intent can stand to tolerate the distasteful behavior prevalent throughout the settlement. They are never in short supply however—even during the destruction festivals—as with every month that passes more and more villages and cities throughout Soburin have come to adopt the wind machines manufactured in Chikan, making it a frequent harbor for legitimate traders and smugglers alike.


The Ikari are one of Soburin’s most violent clans, made all the deadlier by taming the majority of the continent’s jungles within their prefecture. Their warriors are masters of the lethal kusarigama, a lengthy chain-sickle that helps them traverse the claustrophobic wilderness with almost as much ease as the enjin that live there—ape-like people that the Kengen Occupation disastrously attempted to force into submission within Ikari cities. The clan’s longtime tradition of martial study put them in a good place to handle the insurrection that followed, and though Nesuto to the north housed more of the simian wildmen, Nagabuki’s size made it the ideal place for keeping the most rebellious enjin afterward, turning the settlement and its residents as hard as the bark of a tapok tree.

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Ceramian soldiers may be a thing of the past but the marks of their imposed rule are still fresh all over Nagabuki. Already militant since before the Ichizoku Wars began, the Ikari were one of the last clans to relent to the Kengen Occupation and as punishment for their resilience the foreign invaders chose the most troublesome race to make the martial clan coexist with. The Gem of the South changed to match the the city’s needs during the times of imprisonment (as they are known to the enjin), changing much of its historical layout to be far more like a fortress than that of a bustling settlement—tall walls surround Nagabuki, always at a greater heighter than any nearby buildings and a sizable distance from the tallest structures.

Way of the Tattooed Pagoda: The inspiring jungles of the Ikari Prefecture drew out the mysticism of the clan’s few mages and priests, and long before the Ichizoku Wars’ end enchanted tattoos had already become culturally tied to Nagabuki. Artwork inscribed onto skin—both magical and otherwise—is a common sight among warriors, used to mark their rank or as a way to commemorate their deeds. Soburin’s most famous arcane artists specializing in crafting mystical illustrations on the body are found here, and combatants looking for a traditional way to amplify their prowess travel to the Gem of the South in search of its magical tattooists.

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my podcasts, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.

I sit down with Rudy Basso to discuss our upcoming fantasy, comedy, radio drama podcast, Have Spellbook Will Travel. Then I hang with Henry Lopez and Pedro Barrenechea of Paradigm Concepts to talk about their long-running campaign setting, Arcanis, and Kickstarter for Forged in Magic. Finally it’s an interview with game designer Mike Myler about his Kickstarter for Mists of Akuma. These podcasts were recorded on April 3, 5, and 28, 2016.

Please rate and review The Tome Show on iTunes. It only takes 30 seconds and helps us so much!


If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcasts, Bonus Action and Gamer to Gamer, find my products on the DMs Guild, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!