• Justin Handlin

Creating Custom Class Options

Listen: Episode 29: Creating Custom Class Options

Crit Academy covers guidelines offered by Wizards of the Coast on creating custom D&D class options.

"Sometimes a campaign will have special needs for archetypes or character options not found in the existing official material. If you’re in this situation, you might want to modify one or more of the classes in the game in order to provide options for players looking for a unique twist on their characters’ abilities. However, modifying a class is not something that should be undertaken lightly, and the job requires some serious effort, playtesting, and revision to get it right. The two best ways to modify a class are to swap out some class features for different ones, and to add new to an existing class. This article presents methods that will help you to use existing mechanics as a model, while drawing upon features of other classes for inspiration."

Find Original Article Here

Unearthed Tips and Tricks: New and reusable D&D content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.

Character Concept: Wizards Ink!

This sort of reflavor may require permission from your Dungeon Master. While it shouldn't change the mechanics for the most part, some DMs may take issue with the fact they can't strip away your spellbook to limit your casting. In our experience this doesn't happen often.

This wizard is without a spellbook. He got so sick and tired of losing it,(forgetfulness, damaged, stolen) That he decided he would tattoo all of his spells onto his skin.

In harder to reach areas he has the incantations written backwards and uses a mirror to read them.

If the wizard uses a familiar, he could use it to read aloud the incantations for him when preparing them.

Monster Variant: Thundering Ogre: Bregruk Thunderclub

Origin: Ogre


Thunderous Strikes: When this creature takes the attack action with any bludgeoning weapon, it can use its bonus action to imbue the attack with thunder magic causing its weapon to ring with thunder that is audible within 300 feet of it. The attack deals an extra 1d8 thunder damage. Regardless if the attack is successful the creature must succeed a strength saving throw of 13 or be pushed back 10 feet away and knocked prone.

Earth Splitter: The creature uses its action to strike the ground, opening fissures in a 15ft cone effect in front of it. All creatures make a dex save of 13. On a failed save the target is caught in a fissure and the target is grappled. The target can break the grapple with a dex or str check DC 13.

Encounter: Lost in the Desert!

Travel is often overlooked in the D&D world. While it is important to make sure the players don't get board by minutes of exposition, you can easily make travel encounters interesting. Here we discuss some interesting ways to make desert travel fun, and challenging.

The focus is non-combat situations, such as;


Heat exhaustion/dehydration

Mirages/hallucinations – damage if extreme: Utilize spell effects such as phantasmal force or hallucinatory terrain.

Sandstorms – blinding, and windy knockbacks/prone

Poisonous Plants – adds to dehydration effect

Quicksand or shallow mounds.

Fall/Slide down and lose equipment.

Magic Item: Ash’s Monster Monocle

Wondrous, Uncommon

This monocle was created by an old Archmage and used to document and record creatures that he encountered on his adventures and store the information for future use.

When a creature looks through the monocle at an unknown creature, some truths of the creature become clear to you.

You can use a bonus action to gain expertise on an Intelligence (Nature) check used to identify any single monster for 1 minute. You may choose to instead expend all remaining charges(at least 2) to also gain advantage on that check. You learn at least one notable fact about the creature. This item regains 1d4 charges at dawn.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Everyone knows that the best dungeons are populated by wandering monsters, who might show up if the party lingers too long in one area. It could be easy to just roll on a chart, generate a monster, start a fight, and go from there- but is that all it could be?

Try thinking about exactly what the monsters are doing while they’re wandering. Are they gathering food? If so, the party might be able to trade them food in exchange for letting them pass. Are they scouting? If so, spotting the party means that a later encounter might be bigger or smaller (depending on whether word got back to the rest of the monsters). Is the monster taking a break from its duties, and might it be reprimanded by its superiors if anyone found out? Might it be delivering a message or item, that the party can intercept? Or could the monsters be searching for someone or something, that the party might have found along the way?

If you simply roll an encounter without thinking about it further, you’re taking the potential for an interesting, dynamic dungeon and reducing it to its base value.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick! you can avoid dickitude by...

Creating your own Command Words!

“Sword of Omens, give me sight beyond sight!”

“Camaro, come out!”

“By the power of Greyskull, I have the power!”

Some could argue that the point of combat in Dungeons & Dragons is to have memorable, exciting encounters. When you find a magic item with an ability activated by a command word, one way that you can make every encounter that much more memorable is to create your own command word! Too often magic item activation is a complete afterthought- something taken for granted whenever the item is used. But if you create a memorable command word- such as “Brisingr!” whenever your sword is drawn- then it evokes so much more emotion and excitement than simply saying, “I draw my flaming sword.”

If you have any feedback, unearthed tips and tricks or topics you would like us to discuss, please send them to us. You can email them to us at critacademy@gmail.com or find us on twitter and facebook @critacademy.

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Keep your blades sharp and spells prepared heroes!

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