STORIES OF THE IRON GODS – New Tools, Backgrounds, and Bonds for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons


Ok, so I may have fibbed about working on equipment for the Iron Gods adventure path next.

As I looked through my notes, I realized that I hadn’t yet posted some of the character material that I wrote up for Iron Gods.

When I first started prepping for a 5E version of Iron Gods, I identified a few campaign-specific backgrounds, tools, and bonds that I felt were necessary to run the AP. This blog entry will present my draft versions of some of those elements.

The following are backgrounds that are specific to the Iron Gods adventure path. They function the same as the backgrounds listed on pages 125 to 141 of the Player’s Handbook.

RENEGADE TECHNIC LEAGUER                                                                                          

Tech Leaguer

At one time in the past, you were associated with the mysterious Technic League. You are no longer a member, and you may be currently hunted by your former colleagues.

More information on the Technic League can be found at pages 64 to 69 of Pathfinder Adventure Path #86: Lords of Rust (Iron Gods 2 of 6), the Numeria entry in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting’s Inner Sea World Guide, and the Numeria: Land of Fallen Stars.

Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, History
Tool Proficiencies: Engineer’s Tools, Technologist
Equipment: A bottle of black ink, a quill, a small knife, a black access card, a set of common clothes, and a silverdisk worth 10 gp

Feature: Experienced Engineer
Your time with the Technic League has taught you to work carefully when around Numerian high technology. When you are rolling to determine how technology works (as described on page 268 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide), you can always ignore a result that would use a charge or waste an item. You still suffer any other effects of a failed roll. Further, when you attempt to learn or recall a piece of lore relating to Numerian high technology, if you do not know that information, you often know where and from whom you can obtain it (though doing so may be an adventure unto itself).

For your Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw, use the tables for the Sage background, found on page 138 of the Player’s Handbook.

KELLID TRIBESMAN                                                                                                                


You are a member of one of the savage tribes that populate the wilds of Numeria.   Your background is similar to the Outlander background, found at page 136 of the Player’s Handbook, but has some important differences that reflect the unique setting of Numeria.

More information on the Numerian tribes can be found in the Numeria entry in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting’s Inner Sea World Guide and the Numeria: Land of Fallen Stars.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: Technologist
Languages: One of your choice.
Equipment: A dagger, a hunting trap, a souvenir taken from Numerian ruins, a set of traveler’s clothes, and a silverdisk worth 10 gp.

Feature: Wanderer
This feature is identical to that of the Outlander background.

For your Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw, use the tables for the Outlander background, found on page 136 of the Player’s Handbook.

NEW TOOL PROFICIENCIES:                                                                                                  


Engineer’s Tools
Engineer’s Tools are implements that are used to create, maintain, and alter high technology. They are used like any other tools and characters that are proficient with Engineer’s Tools may add their proficiency bonus to checks made with Engineer’s Tools. However, note that, without the proficiency in the Technologist “tool,” a character still suffers disadvantage on such rolls.

The technologist “tool” does not refer to a set of tools or supplies that are used for specific purposes, but instead refers to a kind of “meta proficiency” that enables you to use your other tool and skill proficiencies without penalty when using or identifying Numerian high technology.

Normally, when a character tries to identify, use, or interact with Numerian high technology, they suffer disadvantage on their rolls. However, if you are proficient with the Technologist tool, you make those rolls normally.

IRON GODS CAMPAIGN BONDS                                                                                             


The following table provides you with bonds tailored to the Iron Gods adventure path. Use them in place of or in addition to the ones you selected from (or created for) your background.

1 Against the Technic League: Although the Black Sovereign rules Numeria in name, it’s the spellcasters of the Technic League who hold the real power. While their influence is certainly strongest in the capital of Starfall, their touch can be felt even here in Torch—the League takes a significant cut of the town’s income as tithes every month. For some reason, you have a grudge against the Technic League. Perhaps your parents lost their jobs as the result of an act they took that displeased the League—you might even suspect the League was responsible for their deaths. Alternatively, you could just rankle at the League’s open acceptance of slavery, their reputation for sadism and cruelty, or their penchant for hoarding and controlling technological wonders. Talk to your GM to refine the reasons why you hate the Technic League, but you’re convinced that they are somehow responsible for putting out the town’s torch and that evidence of their tampering can be found in the caverns below—if you can find evidence of the Technic League working against Torch’s better interests, that could well be a step toward the town’s independence from the League.
2 Local Ties: You have ties to a prominent local in the town of Torch—the missing wizard Khonnir Baine. If you’re a wizard, alchemist, or other scholarly type, he may have been your tutor or teacher. If you’re of a more martial bent, Khonnir could instead have been a friend or business associate of your mother, father, or patron. He may even have been your adoptive father, in which case you likely have a bond of friendship or rivalry with his adopted daughter Val (your GM has more information on her in this case if you wish to know more for your character’s background).
3 Numerian Archaeologist: Numeria is a land ripe for archaeological exploration, since so many of the strange technological dungeons have been either avoided by the superstitious barbarian tribes or have been locked down by the Technic League, leaving many of them untouched and ripe for exploration. You’ve studied the strange language associated with these eerie technological ruins, and are eager to start exploring them—you suspect that Torch’s namesake is in fact part of a larger buried ruin, and you hope to enter these ruins and learn their original purpose by exploring the caves below town.
4 Robot Slayer: The strange automatons that plague the wilds of Numeria are a blight upon the world, and the idea that there could be countless more of these creatures lying in wait in the unknown ruins scattered throughout the region chills your blood. Khonnir’s recovery of a deactivated robot from the caves below Torch worries you—not only could that thing wake up and run amok in town, but there may well be more lurking below! You want to explore the caves under Torch to determine if there is indeed a lurking robot threat below town.
5 Skymetal Smith: The fires atop Torch Hill have long been a boon to smiths and metalworkers, and your family is no exception. Whether you grew up in Torch or simply made several trips here with your parents to use the fire, this was to be your first time to use the torch for your own project. You managed to use the fires to craft a small weapon or piece of armor from skymetal, but not long thereafter the fires went out. The violet f lames are as much a part of your upbringing as anything else, and their loss distresses you; you hope to find a way to rekindle the torch below the hill.
6 Stargazer: They say the strange technological ruins scattered throughout Numeria came from the skies several thousand years ago. The concept of life on other planets far beyond Golarion has always fascinated you, and you’ve long hoped to learn more about what life on those other planets may have been like. You’ve heard stories about the strange alien creatures found in Numerian dungeons and hope to learn all you can about them—perhaps some of these aliens can be found in the caverns below Torch!

The backgrounds mechanic introduced in 5E is one of those “why didn’t I think of that earlier” innovations that I love about the newest edition of D&D. Backgrounds allow players to add a thematic twist to their characters, without losing any of the mechanical benefit of their class, they provide terrific backstory for the character, and they give useful non-mechanical, non-combat benefits to players, all of which make for a richer experience at the table.

Given my feelings on backgrounds, it may not be surprising that I felt that whipping up some new backgrounds would be a great way to give players in the Iron Gods campaign some Numerian flavor for their characters.

Turning to the Technologist “tool”, while I am reluctant to add new mechanics when I am converting material over to 5E, I felt that a “meta proficiency” was the best way to handle a trait like the Pathfinder Technologist feat, which is essentially restricted to offsetting penalties.

Finally, I used information from the Iron Gods Player’s Guide to create the Iron Gods Bonds table.

In my Tyranny of Dragons campaign, I had all my players roll on the Bonds table from the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure (the first adventure in the Tyranny of Dragons campaign), to give them a campaign-specific bonds in addition to the bonds they selected as part of their background. I found that it provided some great ways to tie the PCs to the campaign, and the other PCs, so I decided to recreate something similar for the Iron Gods campaign.

Given how Iron Gods-specific these elements are, I am not certain that they could be repurposed to serve other campaigns.

Ok, with these character-focused elements finished, I believe I have everything ready for my players to roll up characters for the Iron Gods adventure path!

Next up, I will be turning to some of the hi-tech items available in the Iron Gods adventure path, and then start in on the conversion of monsters.

Until next time, I remain;

STORIES OF THE IRON GODS – New Tools, Backgrounds, and Bonds for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

4 thoughts on “STORIES OF THE IRON GODS – New Tools, Backgrounds, and Bonds for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

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