Religious Smithing, Ray Gunslingers, and Robot Magic – Technological Class Options for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons


Since high technology and super-science plays such a significant role in the Iron Gods, I felt it was important to convert some of the unique technology-related class options that are found in the Pathfinder RPG for use in my 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons conversion.

As with the Gunslinger class, and firearms in general, these options may not be appropriate for all campaigns (particularly those without a technological presence). However, they should provide some tech-heavy options for PCs in the Iron Gods campaign that’ll let them bask in the high technology vibe that suffuses that adventure path.

But enough talk, let’s get to the tech options!


This domain functions the same as the divine domains listed on pages 59 to 63 of the Player’s Handbook.

Cleric Level Spells
1 shield, unseen servant
3 heat metal, magic weapon
5 elemental weapon, meld into stone
7 fabricate, stone shape
9 animate objects, creation

At 1st level, you gain the mending cantrip, which doesn’t count towards your total number of cantrips known.

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to project an aura that shields you and your allies from harm. When you activate this ability with a bonus action, you and all allies within 30 feet of you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons until the start of your next turn.

At 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to cast the spiritual weapon spell.

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with destructive power. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 thunder to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Starting at 17th level, you can cast the wall of stone spell at will as an action.

This Gunslinger archetype functions the same as the archetypes found in the description of the Gunslinger class found here.

Note that many of this archetype’s abilities refer to rules for high technology items that can be found here.

Beginning when you choose this gunslinger archetype at 3rd level, you gain the ability to maximize the power of the shots you take with high technology firearms. Once per turn, when you take the Attack action and attack with a high technology firearm, you can spend 1 grit point and an extra charge to deal double damage to one creature hit by your attack. This damage increases to triple damage at 6th level, quadruple damage at 10th level, and quintuple damage at 14th level. This damage is doubled on a critical hit.

For example, a 12th level techslinger could spend 1 grit point and an extra charge when shooting with an inferno pistol to do 3d10 fire damage on a hit or 6d10 fire damage on a critical hit.

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to spend 1 grit point to use 1 charge fewer than normal when firing a high technology firearm.

Starting at 3rd level, you no longer need make any ability checks to understand high technology firearms. You automatically understand how to use any high technology firearms you find. This ability only applies to high technology firearms.

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to spend 1 grit point as a reaction to prevent a timeworn firearm from glitching.

Starting at 6th level, you can ignore detrimental glitches that are rolled when a timeworn firearm glitches. Instead, they are treated as if you had rolled no glitch.

At 14th level, you gain the ability to squeeze an extra shot out of a depleted high technology firearm. Once per turn, as a bonus action, you can spend 1 grit point to grant 2 temporary charges to a high technology firearm, even if that firearm normally cannot be recharged. This charge fades when you create a short rest or a long rest.

At 14th level, you gain the ability to use your Gunslinger abilities with high technology firearms with the Cannon, Support, and Artillery properties.

Prerequisites: Proficiency with Technologist and the ability to cast at least one spell.

Note that the abilities of this feat refer to rules for high technology items that are found here.

You mastered the art of blending magic and super-science and unlocked the secrets of technology from a lost age. You gain the following benefits:

  • You can spend 1 hour to recondition a piece of timeworn technology, after which the item no longer has a chance of glitching until you complete a long rest. You can perform this reconditioning while you complete a short or a long rest. At 5th level you can recondition two timeworn items in the same amount of time, at 11th level you can recondition three timeworn items, and at 17th level you can recondition four timeworn items.
  • You gain the ability to power technological items with your spell power and vice versa, as a bonus action, as set out on the table below. Once you use this ability you must complete a short rest or a long rest before using it again. For example, as a bonus action you could expend 5 charges from a battery to gain a 3rd level spell slot.
Spell Slot Level Charges
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 5
4th 6
5th 7
  • Your spells that have charm effects can affect robots, ignoring their immunity to the charmed condition. Further, your conjure spells can now be used to conjure robots. For example, you could cast the dominate person spell on a gearsman robot or you could use the conjure elemental spell to summon a collector robot.

5th Edition D&D seems to have moved away from abilities and spells that have limited or specialized applicability (for example, spells that only work in certain environments or only target certain kinds of creatures), so I feel like these rules may represent a departure from some of the design aesthetics of D&D 5E.

That said, given that these rules are designed to be used in a campaign loaded with hi-tech items and foes, the limited nature of some of these abilities/options may not be as limited, in practice, as they seem at first glance.

With that bit of pre-emptive defence work out of the way, let’s talk about each of the options, in turn.

Of all the options presented above, the Artificer domain is the one most easily adapted for campaigns with a more traditional fantasy flavor. I patterned the domain abilities off the Artificer domain in the Pathfinder RPG and some of the divine options out of the Pathfinder supplement, Inner Sea Gods.

For the Techslinger, I tried to keep most of the abilities from the Pathfinder version of the Techslinger archetype introduced in the Pathfinder Technology Guide, but ended up adding several totally new abilities to balance it with the other Gunslinger archetypes. The 5E version of the Techslinger is too dependent on high technology to be appropriate for most fantasy campaigns (none of the abilities work without high technology guns), unless your DM is willing to keep you in particle guns and laser guns from 3rd level onward.

Finally, for the Technologist, I decided to go with an idea that I have been playing with for the past few months, which is to adapt Pathfinder Prestige Classes into one or more feats.  Feats in 5E are more substantive than those in previous editions of D&D, most often representing a bundle of related abilities, so they seem like an idea mechanism for replicating the kind of “niche” abilities that Prestige Classes represent.

The Technologist Feat’s abilities are mostly 5E versions of the key abilities from the Prestige Class, though I jettisoned the abilities that related to Pathfinder-specific crafting rules.

Moreso than any of the other 5E conversions I have done, or am likely to do, of the Iron Gods adventure path, these conversions are pretty difficult to reskin into other non-high technology versions, but if someone else has ideas as to how to do so, I’d be all ears.

While these options may not be appropriate for every 5th Edition D&D campaign, I think they would be great thematic additions to the Iron Gods adventure path, for both PCs and NPCs (how terrified would your players be when the Technic Leaguer they are fighting summons more robots for them to fight with her Technologist feat?).

To supplement these rules, I will be posting conversions of some of the spells from the Technology Guide in the coming weeks, but for now, I hope you enjoy the new abilities these options offer.

Until next time, I remain;

Religious Smithing, Ray Gunslingers, and Robot Magic – Technological Class Options for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Casting Call – Live from the Sword Coast: Beradin Toraktaalomar 5th Level Cleric- 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Beradin Toraktaalomar

Male Dwarf Folk-Hero Cleric 5  XP: 9,120
Faction: Order of the Gauntlet Renown: 4
Neutral Good
Representing Dave

Strength 14 (+2)
Dexterity 9 (-1)
Constitution 14 (+2)
Intelligence 10 (+0)
Wisdom 18 (+4)
Charisma 13 (+1)
Size: Medium
Height: 4′ 2″
Weight: 175 lb
Skin: Brown
Eyes: Dark Brown
Hair: Black; Thick Beard / Hirsute

Maximum Hit Points: 43 [includes hill dwarf bonus]
Hit Dice: 5d8
Speed: 25 feet
Armor Class: 18 = 10 + 6 [chain mail] + 2 [steel shield] (Resist Poison)

Proficiency bonus: +3
Initiative modifier: -1 = -1 [dexterity]
Attack (handheld / thrown): + 5 = + 3 [proficiency] + 2 [strength]
Attack (missile / finesse): + 2 = + 3 [proficiency] -1 [dexterity]
Strength save: + 2 = + 2 [strength]
Dexterity save: -1 = 2 [strength]
Constitution save: + 2 = + 2 [constitution]
Intelligence save: + 0
Wisdom save: + 7 = + 3 [proficiency] + 4 [wisdom]
Charisma save: + 4 = + 3 [proficiency] + 1 [charisma]
Insight (passive): 14 (19 with advantage)
Perception (passive): 14 (19 with advantage)

Carry: 210 lb maximum

Languages: Common Dwarvish
Proficiencies: Brewer’s Tools, Healer’s Kit, Herbalism Kit, Land Vehicles, Simple Weapons, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor

Sacred Flame [DC 15 Dex save or 2d8 radiant damage, (range 60ft)]
Unarmed strike [+5 to hit; 3 bludgeoning]
Crossbow, light [+2 to hit; 1d8-1 piercing, 6 lb, ammunition (range 80/320), loading, two-handed]
Warhammer [+5 to hit; 1d8+2 bludgeoning, 4 lb, versatile (1d10 bludgeoning)]

Chain mail [heavy; + 6 AC; max dex + 0; stealth disadvantage; 55 lb.] Steel Shield [+2 AC; 6 lb.]

Skill Name Key Ability Skill Modifier Ability Modifier Trained? Misc. Modifier
Acrobatics Dex -1 = -1
Animal Handling Wis 4 = +4
Arcana Int 0 = +0
Athletics Str 2 = +2
Deception Cha 1 = +1
History Int 0 = +0
Insight Wis 4 = +4
Intimidation Cha 1 = +1
Investigation Int 0 = +0
Medicine Wis 7 = +4 + 3
Nature Int 0 = +0
Perception Wis 4 = +4
Performance Cha 1 = +1
Persuasion Cha 4 = +1 + 3
Religion Int 3 = +0 + 3
Sleight of Hand Dex -1 = -1
Stealth Dex -1 = -1
Survival Wis 7 = +4 + 3

Cleric spells:

First-level castings: 4/day
Second-level castings: 3/day
Third-level castings: 2/day

At cleric level 4, you know 4 cleric cantrips. Beradin knows the Guidance, Mending, Sacred Flame, and Thaumaturgy cantrips.

Beradin’s level and wisdom allow him to prepare 9 Cleric spells daily, in addition to his domain spells.

Gold Dwarf

  • Can move 25 feet even if in heavy armor
  • Darkvision (see 60 feet black-and-white in pitch-dark)
  • Dwarven resilience: Advantage on saving throws against poison, and resistance against poison damage
  • Stonecunning (always proficient with double the proficiency bonus on history checks related to stonework; cannot become lost underground)

Folk Hero

  • You can find a welcome and protection from ordinary people as long as you are decent.


  • Ritual caster.
  • The DC to resist your spells is 15 (8 + proficiency bonus + your wisdom modifier).
  • Level 2: Channel Divinity (1 use between short rests)
  • Channel Divinity — Turn Undead (1 action, each undead within 30ft makes Wis save DC 14. If failed, creature is turned and must move away and cannot take reactions, taking only the dash action.)

Life Cleric (domain)

  • When using a spell to restore hit points, recipient regains 2 + the spell level hit points.
  • Level 2: Channel Divinity — Preserve Life. Distribute 25 (5 x your level) hit points to creatures within 25 feet who are at half hit points or below.
  • Level 5: Destroy Undead — if an undead of challenge rating 1/2 or lower fails its save on being turned, it is destroyed

First Ability Score Improvement: +2 wisdom

Beradin Toraktaalomar’s Equipment:

Money: 420 gold pieces.

Wyrm’s Breath Bitter: This pungent and bitter beer forces the imbiber to make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute (Dwarf characters have advantage on this saving throw, thanks to their Dwarven Resilience trait). For 1 minute after consuming this ale, the imbiber can use a bonus action to unleash a thunderous and noxious belch, which causes all creatures in a 10ft cone to make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned and deafened. Those targets affected by the belch can make a new saving throw at the end of their turn to end the poisoned and deafened conditions. After three belches, the poisoned effect on the imbiber immediately ends and he can no longer belch (at least not to cause poisoning and deafness).

Kobold Glue Pot: Each creature within 10ft of bomb’s target must succeed on a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw or be restrained. The target or another creature within reach of it can use an action to make a DC 11 Strength check; if the check succeeds, the effect on the target ends.

Crossbow bolts (quiver of 20), Backpack, Mess kit, Rations (1 day) x10, Rope (50′, hempen), Tinderbox, Waterskins, Healer kit (proficient), Holy symbol (silver), and Spell component pouch.

Beradin Toraktaalomar’s Personality Traits: If someone is in trouble, I’m always ready to lend a hand.
Beradin Toraktaalomar’s Ideal: Sincerity: There’s no good in pretending to be somethign I’m not.
Beradin Toraktaalomar’s Bond: I protect those who can’t protect themselves.
Beradin Toraktaalomar’s Flaw: I put too much trust in my church’s hierarchy.

Order of the Gauntlet Contacts:
Onthar Frume: Human Paladin of Helm and Grandmaster of the Order, based out of Elturel, but roams the Sword Coast region – Contact Bond Level 2

Sir Bennett: Human Knight Captain of the Order, runs the fledgling Chapter House in Baldur’s Gate – Contact Bond Level 1

ANIMATED ARMOR – Order of the Gauntlet Follower
Medium construct, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33
Speed 25 ft.
STR 14 (+2) DEX 11 (+0) CON 13 (+1) INT 1 (-5) WIS 3 (-4) CHA 1 (-5)
Damage Immunities: poison, psychic
Condition Immunities: blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 60ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 6
Antimagic Susceptibility. The armor is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by a dispel magic, the armor must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.
False Appearance. While the armor remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal suit of armor.
The armor makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6+2 bludgeoning damage.

Casting Call – Live from the Sword Coast: Beradin Toraktaalomar 5th Level Cleric- 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

MUSER’S MENAGERIE 5 – More Iron Gods Adventure Path Monsters for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

As I have noted in previous entries in this series of blog postings, one of the most important things that needs to be converted in order to run the Iron Gods adventure path using 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons is the roster of exotic monsters encountered by the players along the way and, arguably, the three characters presented below are the three most important of all the others encountered in the first chapter of the Iron Gods adventure path.

For those who have missed the earlier Iron Gods 5E Bestiaries, this entry represents the final batch of conversions from the fifth part of the Fires of Creation. The conversions for the earlier parts of Fires of Creation can be found here, here, here, and here.

If you are planning on playing the Iron Gods adventure path, these characters may represent SPOILERS!

So, with those comments out of the way, let’s get to the final conversions for the Fires of Creation!

IRON GODS BESTIATRY: Fires of Creation – Part Five

Medium humanoid (human), chaotic good
Armor Class 13 (amulet of protection)
Hit Points 33 (6d8+ 6)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 9 (-1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 10 (+0) INT 18 (+4) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 13 (+1)
Saving Throws: Dex +5, Int +7, Wis +5
: Arcana +7, Insight +5, Persuasion +4, Stealth +5
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages: Common, Androffan, Draconic, Dwarven, Gnome, Hallit, Ignan, Orc, Terran, Undercommon
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Special Equipment. Khonnir Baine wears an amulet that functions as a Ring of Protection (see 191 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
Cunning Action.
On each of his turns, Khonnir Baine can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Khonnir Baine deals an extra 3 (1d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Khonnir Baine that isn’t incapacitated and Khonnir Baine doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
Spellcasting. Khonnir Baine is a 7th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): acid splash, bomb, mending, shocking grasp
1st level (4 slots): expeditious retreat, mage armor, unseen servant
2nd level (3 slots): melf’s acid arrow, scorching ray, web
3rd level (3 slots): dispel magic, fireball, fly, protection from energy
4th level (1 slot): fabricate
Dagger Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.

Medium humanoid (android), neutral evil
Armor Class 18 (studded leather)
Hit Points 58 (9d8+ 18)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 12 (+1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 14 (+2) INT 12 (+1) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 10 (+0)
Saving Throws: Cha +3, Wis +6
: Perception +6, Religion +6, Survival +6
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages: Common, Androffan, Orc, Undercommon
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Artificial Ancestry: Meyanda has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic cannot put her to sleep.
Channel Divinity. Once per short rest or long rest Meyanda can use her channel divinity to Turn Undead or do one of the other potential uses listed below.
Constructed Body. Meyanda counts as both a construct and a humanoid for the purpose of effects targeting such creatures (such as the Charm Person spell, a Mace of Smiting, and a ranger’s favored enemy ability). She have advantage on saving throws against disease, fatigue, paralysis, poison, and being stunned.
Cybernetic Mind. Meyanda has difficulty processing her own emotions and understanding those of others. As a result, she suffers disadvantage when making Wisdom (Insight) checks, but she gains advantage on all saving throws against fear.
Gaslight Influence. Meyanda can use her Channel Divinity to cast the enthrall spell.
Madness Aura.
Meyanda can use her Channel Divinity to project an aura that makes all enemies within 30 ft. roll a DC 14 Charisma saving throw or suffer the effects of the confusion spell until the start of Meyanda’s next turn.
Mindshattering Strike. Once per turn, when Meyanda hits a creature with a weapon attack, she can cause the attack to deal an extra 4 (1d8) psychic damage to the target.
Nanite Surge. Once per day, Meyanda can use a bonus action to add +3 to the result of one d20 roll. This can be done before or after making the d20 roll. When Meyanda uses this ability, her circuitry-tattoos glow with light equivalent to that of a torch until the start of her next turn.
Meyanda is a 9th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). She has the following spells prepared (the spells in bold are from the Madness domain):
Cantrips (at will): light, mending, spare the dying, thaumaturgy, vicious mockery,
1st level (4 slots): create or destroy water, cure wounds, dissonant whispers, shield of faith, tasha’s hideous laughter
2nd level (3 slots): aid, crown of madness, lesser restoration, ray of enfeeblement, spiritual weapon
3rd level (3 slots): dispel magic, fear, hypnotic pattern, protection from energy, spirit guardians
4th level (3 slots): confusion, divination, freedom of movement, hallucinatory terrain
5th level (1 slot): dream, flame strike, mislead
Meyanda makes two attacks with her inferno pistol or her spiked gauntlet.
Inferno Pistol Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/150, one target. Hit: 7 (1d10+2) fire damage. On a critical hit with this weapon, the target takes 1d4 fire at the start of each of its turns. A creature can end this damage by using its action to make a DC 10 Dexterity check to extinguish the flames. 10 shots per nanite canister.
Spiked Gauntlet Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.

Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (studded leather)
Hit Points 52 (7d10 + 14)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 18 (+4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2) INT 16 (+3) WIS 8 (-1) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws: Con +4, Int +5
: Arcana +5, Deception +6, Investigation +5, Persuasion +6
Senses passive Perception 9
Languages: Common, Androffan, Hallit, Orc
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Arcane Pool. Sanvill Trett has 7 points in his arcane pool. He may expend 1 point to gain +1 to hit and damage with his longsword, 3 points to gain +2 to hit and damage with his longsword, or 6 points to gain +3 to hit and damage with his longsword.
Elemental Weapon. Sanvill Trett may expend 5 points from his arcane pool to have his longsword gain +1 to attack rolls and deal 1d4 extra damage that is one of acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage (chosen when Sanvill Trett uses this ability).
Pool Strike. Sanvill Trett may expend points from his arcane pool as a bonus action to do extra acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage on one hit (the damage type chosen when Sanvill Trett uses this ability). Sanvill Trett may expend 2 points to do 2d10 damage, 3 points to do 3d10 damage, 5 to do 5d10 damage, or 6 to do 6d10 damage.
Spell Shield. As a reaction, Sanvill Trett may expend 1 point from his arcane pool to impose disadvantage on an attack roll that targets him.
Spellcasting. Sanvil Trett is a 7th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following spells prepared:
Cantrips (at will): chill touch, light, minor illusion
1st level (4 slots): burning hands, detect magic, thunderwave
2nd level (3 slots): invisibility, mirror image, misty step
3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, haste, invisibility
4th level (1 slot): greater invisibility
Sanvil Trett makes two attacks with his longsword.
Longsword Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) slashing damage.
Spell Combat. Sanvil Trett makes an attack with his longsword and casts any non-cantrip magus spell he has prepared as a bonus action.
Spellstrike. When Sanvil Trett casts a magus spell or cantrip that requires an attack roll, he can deliver the spell through his longsword. Using this action also costs Sanvil Trett his bonus action.

One thing that regular readers of these conversions may note is that I have not given any of these characters Legendary Actions. My reasoning for not giving these characters Legendary Actions is different for each of these characters.

For Khonnir Baine, I didn’t feel that an NPC that will never see combat with the PCs needed those actions. For Meyanda, I felt that the combo of her spells, her abilities, and her ally (a Collector Robot) will make for enough of a challenge that she did not need additional actions to feel like a potent threat throughout the final fight. And for Sanvil, I felt that his Improved Invisibility and other Magus abilities will make him a challenging enough opponent without Legendary Actions.

Another thing I didn’t bother to include in the above stats are tool proficiencies, though I would likely give each of these characters proficiency with engineer’s tools and the technologist metaproficiency (rules for both of which can be found here).

Speaking of new rules, those looking for rules for Khonnir’s bomb cantrip can find it here, in my conversion of the Pathfinder Alchemist class to 5E.

If you’d like to see the rules for Meyanda’s race or for the Madness cleric domain can find them here and here, respectively.

Those looking for the Magus class (Sanvil’s been built as an NPC Magus) can find my conversion of the Pathfinder Magus class to 5E here.

While the Iron Gods characters are fairly unique in their abilities, there is nothing to stop an enterprising Dungeon Master from using these stats for another purpose.

For instance, the stats for Sanvill Trett could easily be used to represent an arcane assassin sent to kill the PCs.   Similarly, the stats for Khonnir Bhaine could be used for a tomb robbing wizard (not far off from what Khonnir is in the Fires of Creation anyway). Finally, while Meyanda’s stats are a little more mechanically linked to her race, she could serve as a priest to a god of madness, dreams, or altered states.

With these three characters done, I am have now completed my conversions of the monsters and NPCs from the Fires of Creation. It will still be a while before I get to put these conversions to the test, but this has been an educational experience and I look forward to unleashing the hordes of the Iron Gods on my players sometime in the near future.

Until next time, I remain;

MUSER’S MENAGERIE 5 – More Iron Gods Adventure Path Monsters for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

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