Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Freelancer aspirations: Sentinel Druids of Autumn

Another re-post of work I've done that appeared elsewhere, although this time it's undergone some revision since then. Some of that revision is mechanical, some of it is word choice, and some is simply story.

The work in question this time around is the Sentinel Druid of Autumn. I suppose a bit of explanation might be in order for non-gamers wandering in here (yes, there are a few of you sometimes). Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, which had the original rules for the Sentinel, presented Sentinels associated with spring and summer, with strong implications that rules for autumn and winter Sentinels had either been edited out from the book or would be forthcoming shortly. The same was true for the Cavalier in that rules for valor and sacrifice virtues were detailed, and two others (compassion and justice) mentioned but not present in the book. Having finished writing the Dark Pact Hexblade, and waiting for a verdict on its fate, I wanted something to keep my brain on design in case I was asked for edits.

I like the leader role in 4E Dungeons & Dragons most of the time, as it stretches the part of my brain that likes military history, tactics, and logistics. The Hexblade has a format where the powers must come in certain action types at certain levels, and the same was true for the Sentinel. The number of mechanical pieces for a Sentinel was also smaller than the number of mechanical pieces for either a Hexblade or a Cavalier, so I decided to start here.

I linked the original publication above. I got some comments from the original readers, but also directed it to the attention of a few civilized members of the Character Optimization forum at Wizards of the Coast, looking for critique and advice. I got some, and took most of it to heart. A summary of the most important changes:

  • The animal companion changed from a fox to a cougar.
  • The cougar's aura became something different entirely.
  • The damage boost for using chosen weapons was increased, and now scales by tier.
  • The animal companion's attack gained at level 17 was completely rewritten.
I've since edited my original manuscript, and formatted it to make the stat blocks look pretty. Download it here.
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