When I became the editor for EN5ider my first objective (aside from keeping the high level of quality D&D 5E articles coming!) was a new suite of classes to follow up on the original A Touch of Class. In this series I’m going to explore the 9 new entries in A Touch More Class, reveal some of the development process behind them, and consider the obstacles in getting these from ideas to fully finished concepts.
The Kickstarter launched a week ago, it FUNDED in 4 MINUTES (ahhhh!), and as of this writing has raised more than $47,000/£37,000! If you are still on the fence about pledging, remember there are free previews for the geomancer and savant classes.
Let’s get real: everybody wants blood magic. It’s a fun concept, it offers wonderful roleplaying opportunities, there’s plenty of that kinda supernatural treatment for blood in humanity’s history, and it’s cool. I wasn’t terribly surprised when a cool fellow like Chris Rippee–the gamemaster that got me into Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition almost two decades ago–pitched THE BLOODWEAVER, and as usual he knocked it out of the park! Of course in typical Chris-fashion we also went well beyond the original project parameter but no worries, the only people that benefit from that are you. 😉
“This sounds really cool,” I wrote, “but do not remake the mystic here ok? We just do not have the budget for 11,000 words. Not for you, not for me, not for layout.” I meant these things, I truly did, but after going through Chris’ work I realized very quickly that what I wanted didn’t much matter–the bloodweaver required a special spellbook all its own (ultimately making it longer even than the Tinkerer class).
Bloodweavers–as you might expect–power their magic (disciplines) through sacrificing blood. This starts with a daily-recharging Sanguine Reservoir, but like any fun blood magic that’s something that can be replenished through hit point-sacking class features and other effects besides. If it has to do with blood however, bloodweavers have something to do with it: making good with death saves (advantage!), sensing living creatures, ignoring poison and disease, and so on. The multitude of disciplines bring a ton of variety to a player’s design choices, but the archetypes (Traditions of Blood) are probably more exacting here than anywhere else in A Touch More Class.
- Sanguine Reservoir This is the big pool of blood magic and that limits a bloodweaver’s daily allotment of disciplines, built much like the spell points variant found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Inside the context of a new sort of magic it works wonderfully!
- Tome of Disciplines Originally Chris had slightly tweaked a bunch of different spells to try and bring the bloodweaver into a comparable word count range, but the nuances and specifics made it too unwieldy so instead there are 62 (!) disciplines ranging from the minor (like spitting acid, hexing someone, stopping bleeding, or tracking through blood) all the way up to the devastating (consume souls, take over the bodies of the living, rain down corrosion, or assume a new shape). The fundamental differences between disciplines (which can still be seen and tracked visually–they aren’t “spells+”, more like “spells-alternate”) and spells made creating this extra 15 pages of material worth the effort.
- Traditions of Blood Whereas a geomancer of any order is going to bear many similarities in play to other geomancers, it’s very possible for two bloodweavers to look very, very different from one another. On top of discipline selection, the class archetypes are all going their own directions and don’t have much in the way of similarities between them.
- Bloodbinder These bloodweavers use blood magic to heal–not a bad idea given how they can recycle some of those hit points back into reservoir points. They get boosts to restore hit points and at the end game suck the blood right out of the air, gaining hit points whenever a critical happens within 50 feet (which I looooooooove!)
- Crimson Witch Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble indeed! This one is about manipulating disciplines–adding Constitution (the class’ spellcasting ability score, obviously) to discipline damage, forcing targets to have disadvantage to resist, making them use Wisdom instead of Constitution, and finally voodoo level badness (if you’ve got a piece of a creature’s flesh or hair, or some of its blood, you can target it with disciplines regardless of range). That’s some witching right there.
- Scarlet Reaper This is what I think Chris really wanted when he pitched it. This archetype turns blood into weaponry, mark up enemies to track/deal more damage, have Extra Attack, and eventually restore their reservoir points with each enemy slain.
DESIGN HURDLE: Circumstance & Grit
As mentioned above this class used up more space than we had. Fortunately two things worked in our favor: 1) unfortunately the regular layout guy needed a little bit of a break which left me to fill in for a few weeks, and 2) I am willing to do extra work on the cheap to make something special. Developing Chris’ notes and going back-and-forth with him, I put most of the words for the Tome of Disciplines together and then put those to the published page! If I didn’t adore the concept of blood magic, been working on this with an old friend, or have these unexpected circumstances in my lap, the bloodweaver simply could not have happened. Every once in a while in game design though, you get lucky. 😀
If this sounds awesome to you then please check out the A Touch More Class Kickstarter and if you can’t wait for the PDF/book (which deliver as soon as the Kickstarter funds are sent to EN Publishing) consider joining the EN5ider Patreon! It can be as affordable as $1 per month and as soon as you join you get instant access to Bloodweaver Basic, Bloodweaver Advanced, and the Tome of Disciplines along with the rest of the 270+ article archive!