D&D 5E in Ancient Greece: The New Argonauts 5E Conversion

Now that I’ve got the Star Wars 5E Hack, Street Fighter D&D 5E, Beztekorps 5E Conversion (for some Attack on Titan action), and the voluminous Warhammer 40k D&D 5E Hack, I was wondering what to do next and saw a post on the Facebook groups about doing a classical greek game using 5E. During my collegiate years I drifted away from roleplaying games–were it not for Sean K. Reynolds and The New Argonauts, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post. One of my minors at university was in Classics so after reading it I was hooked back in, and then I got in with a good Pathfinder group (the world that ultimately became Veranthea Codex), and here I am hacking away. 😀

It would be ridiculous to try and out-do what Sean has already brilliantly done for D&D 3.5, so at the start of every post in this series I’m going to 1) thank him for making that supplement (thank you Sean!) and 2) tell you to go download it (it’s free–give it 5 stars because damn). This blog series is not intended to be a reproduction of that product, only a conversion update (written with permission to boot). Go get it.

If you spot a way this can improve, share the info! I’m on Twitter @MikeMyler2FacebookGoogle+, and you can leave messages below the post. Thanks!

 

RACES

EVERYBODY IS A HUMAN but has a Bloodline that makes them unique, proper classical heroes tied to the gods. The bottom of this post has more than two dozen bloodlines. Plus everybody gets a feat of their choice at 1st level so yay!
For those interested, it should be noted that there’s great research into the supposed ethnic purity of Ancient Greece (here’s a nice example).

 

CLASSES

ALL player characters can choose from barbarian, fighter, or rogue with one exception: warlocks with the Hellenistic Patron (at the very most, 1 character in a party might have warlock levels although even so it is unlikely to be that character’s only class). Barbarians are uncommon and spellcasters are very, very rare.
Note that PCs can still get access to limited magic through feats and Bloodlines.

Expert Fighting
Fighters and Rogues get this as a feature at 3rd level. When making their first attack on their turn, they can choose to lower their bonus to hit on attack rolls by as much as their Proficiency Bonus, increasing their AC by the same amount. The penalty to attack rolls and bonus to AC last until the start of their next turn.

SKILLS

Healing nonmagically is critical! Everyone can choose Medicine as one of their skill proficiencies. Rogues also add Survival to skills they can be proficient in.

EQUIPMENT

As written in the The New Argonauts! Go download it for specifics like tool kits and so on.
Weapons. Armored gauntlet (with or without spikes), club, dagger, dart, greatclub, javelin, longsword, quarterstaff, short bow (with arrows), short sword, spear (all standard varieties), sling, trident.
Armor. Leather, studded leather, hide armor, scale mail, breastplate (which is an armored chest plate, armored metal skirt, and metal greaves), shield.
Crafting Magic Items. pretty much follows the same rules on pages 22-23.

CULTURE, DEITIES, HISTORY, RUNNING THE CAMPAIGN

Seriously go get The New Argonauts. It’s free. The chapters on this are excellent. He even includes an example campaign!

NEW RULE: CONTINUING POISON DAMAGE

A creature that fails its saving throw against poison makes an additional saving throw every hour for a number of hours equal to the poison’s DC. Failure on one of these saving throws deals the minimum amount of damage from the poison.

NEW RULE: DONATIONS & INTERVENTIONS

As written in the The New Argonauts!

NEW RULE: SLOWER DYING

Player characters and important NPCs do not die until they have four failed Death saves.

EXISTING D&D 5E FEATS

 

  • Alchemist is rare and will not be very useful.
  • Arcanist, Naturalist, and Theologian are uncommon–these are fine selections for PCs that want to be magical.
  • Crossbow Expert is exceptionally rare if available at all (only very late era Greece had crossbows) and makes sense only for characters with a wealthy background.
  • Heavily Armored and Heavy Armor Master are right out because there’s no heavy armor to be worn.
  • Mage Slayer might make sense, but only when PCs are reaching the middle-game (7th-12th level or so).
  • Magic Initiate not available, and Ritual Caster may only be available to Hellenistic Warlocks (though even then only at the GM’s discretion).
  • Mounted Combatant is another one that’s uncommon–horses aren’t getting rigging, usually tied off to chariots instead.
  • Spell Sniper and War Caster are rare (obviously only making sense for hellenistic warlocks).

 

 

NEW ARGONAUT FEATS

  • Armor Defense Mastery – As written in The New Argonauts (swap Tumble/Lightning Reflexes prerequisite with proficiency in Acrobatics).
  • Asclepian Doctor – Prerequisites change to having either Healer or Medic, proficiency in Medicine, and a Proficiency Bonus of 3 or higher.
    • Neutralize poison (DC 5 + poison DC)
    • Remove disease (DC 10 + disease DC)
    • Cure hit points DC 15
    • Repair injury DC 18
    • Raise the dead DC 20 + number of days dead
  • Counter Combat Style – Prerequisite changes to Proficiency Bonus +3
  • Defensive Stance – As written in The New Argonauts.
  • Extra Greater Bloodline Use – As written in The New Argonauts.
  • Field Surgeon – This is redundant because there’s the Healer feat.
  • Hellenic Alchemy – As written in The New Argonauts.
  • Hellenic Priest – Prerequisites change to proficiency in Medicine and Religion, and you are able to use the feat’s healing power with a bonus action.
  • Leaping Strike – Prerequisites change to Proficiency Bonus +4 and proficiency in Athletics or Acrobatics, DCs change to 14 (Medium), 18 (Large), 22 (Huge), and on a successful hit you make a second attack roll which if successful makes your leaping strike into a critical hit.
  • Luck of the Gods – Prerequisite is the same, adds to all types of saving throws.
  • Monster Hunter – You gain a +1 bonus to Deception, Insight, Perception, and Survival checks against the monsters of Greek myth (listed in Chapter 9: Monsters), as well as a +1 to weapon damage rolls against these creatures.
  • Nature Spirit – You have advantage on Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion checks when dealing with dryads, wood nymphs, river gods, and other nature-guardian entities of mythic Greece.
  • Orphean Music – Prerequisites change to proficiency in Performance. Once per day per point of proficiency bonus, you can use the power of music to grant one Bardic Inspiration die (treating your character level as your bard level).
  • Scholar – You gain proficiency in Arcana, History, Nature, and Religion; you get a +1 bonus to checks for those two skills.
  • Touch of Immortality – You gain a +1 bonus to Strength and Constitution saving throws, 3 extra hit points (once, not at every level), and you have advantage on Death saves.

Nightmare Gods devotee ritual.png

HELLENISTIC WARLOCK PATRON

Please read the beautiful entry for the Hellenistic Sorcerer class in The New Argonauts. We’re doing that but with the Warlock class.

Specialty Warlocks

Hellenistic Warlocks are different from regular Warlocks in the following ways:

  • They have their own spell list separate from other warlocks
  • They may only select the Pact of the Blade
  • They don’t receive Mystic Arcanum
  • The following eldritch invocations are unavailable: Ascendant Step, Book of Ancient Secrets, Chains of Carceri, Sculptor of Flesh, Voice of the Chain Master.

Hellenistic Warlock Spell List

  • Cantrips–control flames, eldritch blast (note that this should be reconceptualized as thrown spears of energy), minor illusion, light, produce flame, resistance
  • 1st–absorb elements, animal friendship, dissonant whispers, earth tremor, false life (requires 10 gp of oils), fog cloud, heroism, hex, purify food and drink, sleep, unseen servant
  • 2nd–aid, darkness, blindness/deafness, enthrall, gust of wind,
  • 3rd–clairvoyance, daylight, deathcloak†, fear, major image, protection from energy (requires 25 gp of herbs), remove curse (casting time changes to 1 hour)
  • 4th–baleful polymorph† (as polymorph but otherwise written as in TNA), dragon chariot†, locate creature, phantasmal killer, stoneskin (casting time changes to 1 minute, components change to 500 gp of rare oils)
  • 5th–circle of power, commune (as written in TNA), control weather (max stage 3; otherwise as written in TNA), finger of death (as written in TNA, change DC to heal wound via Wisdom [Medicine] to 20), hold monster, modify memory (erase memories only), vitality of youth†.

† new spell (see the Magic chapter in TNA)

New Moon Casting

Starting at 1st level, under a new moon, or aboveground when the sky conditions obscure the light of the moon (such as heavy clouds), you increase your caster level by an amount equal to half your proficiency bonus. For example, at 4th level while this feature is active you count as a 5th level caster (increasing the damage of eldritch blast or produce flame).

Power Focus

At 6th level, you can craft a handheld power focus item such as a ring, scepter, graven stone, or wand (a short magical stick of wood, bone, or metal, not a magical item in the traditional game sense). You choose one spell you know, and increases your spell save DC or spell attack bonus by +2 when using the item as a focus component for that spell. At 10th and 14th level you choose two additional spells to be augmented by your power focus. If the focus is ever lost, broken, or stolen, you must spend 500 gp and one day’s work to replace it.

BLOODLINES

The New Argonauts has three levels of bloodlines, but I’m bombastic so this hack recommends using all of them at once for full on in-your-face classical greek action.

Your bloodlines here grant proficiency in one skill or tool kit, a +2 increase to one of your related god’s attributes, a +1 increase to another of the related god’s attributes, and a special bloodline feature chosen from the two presented.

When a bloodline feature calls for a saving throw, it is equal to DC 8 + the demigod’s proficiency bonus + the demigod’s Charisma modifier. Spells granted by a bloodline are innately cast without the need for material components and where noted are modified as though cast using a sorcerer’s metamagic features. Note that these abilities are available once every 24 hours, not once between long rests.

Anemoi (the Winds)

Proficiency: Acrobatics
Attributes: Dexterity, Constitution
Bloodline Features: Gust of wind once per day or extended expeditious retreat once per day.

Aphrodite

Proficiency: Persuasion
Attributes: Constitution, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Extended charm person once per day or heroism once per day.

Apollo

Proficiency: Perception
Attributes: Dexterity, Wisdom, Charisma
Bloodline Features: True strike (as a bonus action) once per day or cure wounds (as a 2nd-level spell) once per day.

Ares

Proficiency: Athletics
Attributes: Strength, Constitution
Bloodline Features: Ares’ Rage once per day or Battle Aura once per day.
Ares’ Rage. As a bonus action you enter a rage similar to barbarian rage, gaining a +2 bonus to Strength or Constitution (chosen when you begin to rage; this cannot increase an ability score past 20), a +1 bonus to Wisdom saving throws, and a -1 penalty to AC. Activating this ability is a free action and it lasts 1 minute.
Battle Aura. Once per day as a bonus action, your awesome presence frightens enemies within 20 feet of you causing them to be frightened for 1d4 rounds.

Artemis

Proficiency: Survival
Attributes: Dexterity, Constitution
Bloodline Features: True strike (as a bonus action) once per day or Artemis’ Arrow once per day.
Artemis’ Arrow. After hitting a creature with a ranged weapon attack, as a bonus action you can choose to force the target to make a Wisdom saving throw or be stunned for 1 round. If you use this feature in conjunction with a bow, the DC increases by 1.

Athena

Proficiency: Arcana
Attributes: Constitution, Wisdom, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Heroism once per day or your AC increases by 1.

Demeter

Proficiency: Nature
Attributes: Constitution, Wisdom
Bloodline Features: Extended goodberry once per day or barkskin (self only) once per day.

Dionysus

Proficiency: Nature
Attributes: Constitution, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Entangle once per day or hideous laughter once per day.

Eos

Proficiency: Survival
Attributes: Constitution, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Light at will or enhance ability (Charisma and self only) once per day.

Eris

Proficiency: Deception
Attributes: Dexterity, Constitution
Bloodline Features: Betrayal once per day or Eris’ Fury once per day.
Betrayal. This heightened (to 2nd level) and specialized form of lesser confusion causes the target to a􀄴ack an ally for 1 round.
Eris’ Fury. You imbue you or a willing creature you touch with an effect like Ares’ Rage, except that when Eris’ Fury ends you gain one level of exhaustion.

Eros

Proficiency: Insight
Attributes: Dexterity, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Extended charm person once per day or hideous laughter once per day.

Hades

Proficiency: Intimidation
Attributes: Constitution, Intelligence
Bloodline Features: Vampiric Touch (discharges after first successful hit) once per day or Battle Aura once per day.

Hecate

Proficiency: History
Attributes: Intelligence, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Fog cloud once per day or darkvision (self only) once per day.

Helios

Proficiency: Animal Handling
Attributes: Constitution, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Daylight once per day or extended expeditious retreat (self only) once per day.

Hephaestus

Proficiency: Smith’s tools
Attributes: Constitution, Intelligence
Bloodline Features: Extended magic weapon once per day or heat metal once per day.

Hera

Proficiency: Persuasion
Attributes: Wisdom, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Detect thoughts once per day or shatter once per day.

Hermes

Proficiency: Stealth
Attributes: Dexterity, Intelligence
Bloodline Features: Extended expeditious retreat (self only) once per day or invisibility (self only) once per day.

Hestia

Proficiency: Nature
Attributes: Constitution, Wisdom
Bloodline Features: Aid once per day or sanctuary once per day.

Iris

Proficiency: Navigator’s tools
Attributes: Intelligence, Wisdom
Bloodline Features: Blindness once per day or message three times per day.

Muses

Proficiency: Performance
Attributes: Intelligence, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Heroism once per day or shatter once per day.

Nike

Proficiency: Athletics
Attributes: Strength, Constitution, Wisdom
Bloodline Features: Extended jump (self only) once per day or Nike’s Blessing (self only) once per day.
Nike’s Blessing. You gain a +1 bonus to saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, and weapon damage rolls for 1 round per point of proficiency bonus you possess.

Pan

Proficiency: Performance
Attributes: Dexterity, Constitution
Bloodline Features: Extended charm person once per day or extended expeditious retreat (self only) once per day.

Poseidon

Proficiency: Vehicle (water)
Attributes: Strength, Constitution
Bloodline Features: Earth tremor once per day or blur (self only) once per day (though rather than being blurred, the character is surrounded by a concealing mist of watery droplets with the same effect as the spell).

Selene

Proficiency: Investigation
Attributes: Wisdom, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Light at will or sleep (as a 2nd-level spell) once per day.

Titan (any)

Proficiency: Athletics
Attributes: Strength, Constitution, Intelligence
Bloodline Features: Enhance ability (Strength only, self only) once per day or enhance ability (Constitution only, self only) once per day.

Zeus

Proficiency: Persuasion
Attributes: Strength, Constitution, Charisma
Bloodline Features: Heroism once per day or Thundering Smite once per day.
Thundering Smite. After hitting a creature (either before or after you roll damage), you can choose to invoke the power of Zeus’ thunderbolt upon your enemy. A blast of electricity and thunder is channeled through your weapon to your enemy, dealing +2d6 points of damage, half of which is lightning and half thunder. Every five levels (at levels 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th) this damage increases by +1d6 (to a maximum of +6d6).

CLASSICAL GREEK MONSTERS

There are several creatures in the Monster Manual appropriate for a 5E New Argonauts campaign ready to go (cyclops, chimeras, hydra, dire animals, griffons, minotaurs, pegasi, satyrs), and with everything else we’ve got above (I feel like this first post has gone on looooong enough) you can get the campaign started.

If you want to see some of the specific statblocks in The New Argonauts converted, come back next week for Aeetes’ Bulls! 😀

 

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