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T O P I C    R E V I E W
TomCosta Posted - 09 Mar 2017 : 16:56:40
Hi all, I've posted my DM's Guild title, Forgotten Characters of the Realms.

http://www.dmsguild.com/product/207031/Forgotten-Characters-of-the-Realms?src=newest_in_dmg

Its 101 pages of 5e characters options based grounded in the lore of earlier editions of the Realms. The table of contents is available in the preview. Here's the intro....

A reincarnated avenger, having lived a hundred lives, returns again to battle the wicked assassins of Set among the Plains of Purple Dust. A lone wolf scout in the Forest of Tethir tracks down his marauding prey among the dark boughs. In the Underdark, an ooze takes on humanoid form to converse with a marble-skinned human woman, who is not quite… human. A cleric of Sune frolics, while a warlock of Cyric plots. A High Old One of Dumathoin's body starts to calcify as he begins his transformation into a deathless thorsamsonn. All while the Jordain bodyguard disrupts the magical bolt of force launched at his elder Halruaan lord. A dwarven berserker, a lewd song on her lips, flips over the tail of a hydra while smashing her greatsword into the monstrosity’s flank. All of these characters have a home in the Forgotten Realms of Faerûn. This ancient world has come out of a century of upheaval, but is still in dire need of heroes like you.

Well met fellow boldblades. This supplement offers several new character options for the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, grounded in earlier editions of the Forgotten Realms, but useable in almost any setting. In addition to the Player's Handbook (PH), Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), and Monster Manual (MM), this supplement references material in free Wizards of the Coast “Unearthed Arcana” website articles and free DM’s Guild products such as Elemental Evil Player's Companion (EE), and though the following are not needed, Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (SCAD) and Volo’s Guide to Monsters (VGtM). Some spells noted below are known by different names and have a corresponding change in their description as indicated in parentheses following the spell's PH name. These descriptive differences have no effect on the spells mechanics unless noted. I hope you enjoy these new options. Please send any constructive feedback to THOMASC148@aol.com, so I can continue to improve on what I've started. Thank you for your interest.

Thomas M. Costa has been an avid fan of Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying games from the age of 7 when his big brother introduced him to the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. From 1998 through 2008, Thomas was a regular contributor to and game designer for the Forgotten Realms and other Dungeons & Dragons products, with credits that included: Demihuman Deities (1998), Races of Faerûn (2003), Dragons of Faerûn (2006), Grand History of the Realms (2007), and 10 other game products; 13 Wizards of the Coast website articles; 12 Dragon Magazine articles; and 3 fan-based Forgotten Realms supplements co-written with Eric L. Boyd. From 1999-2001, Thomas also created several fan-based supplements for the Marvel Super Heroes “SAGA” Adventure Game.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
hashimashadoo Posted - 23 May 2017 : 16:00:42
I've been plugging the book Tom, and word has it that Erik Scott de Bie's new D&D 5e project might require some consultation with you ;)
TomCosta Posted - 16 May 2017 : 03:17:23
BTW, if you want new lore, I encourage you to take a look at other DM's Guild titles from George Krashos and the other scribes on these boards. There's some good stuff out there. Also take a look at all the stuff from 3E right here at Candlekeep.
TomCosta Posted - 16 May 2017 : 02:47:44
Thanks. I'm really loving 5E and don't have any intention of going back to 3E of PF. As for the lore, while I've pulled it from multiple pages and some nooks and crannies, the document is still mechanics focused, though I hope I was successful in flavoring the mechanics with the lore.
Cards77 Posted - 16 May 2017 : 02:28:55
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

Sorry that wasn't clear to you.

As I wrote in the intro, "This supplement offers several new character options for the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, grounded in earlier editions of the Forgotten Realms, but useable in almost any setting," and the table of contents is available in both sneak peak options. The options are "new" for 5E, not necessarily "new" to the Realms or even D&D concepts.

The amount of conversion versus new material varied greatly. I did that on purpose. One of the things I wanted to demonstrate is that good design sometimes meant something completely new and sometimes meant something a bit more recycled or modified. I'm also fortunate to have been playing for nearly 40 years and have most published and some unpublished Realmslore to draw upon.

For example, the Oath of the Romantic paladin was never really fleshed out in earlier editions (at least that I recall). The concept existed (paladins of Sune and Milil were mentioned in some sources and 3E Champions of Valor had some substitution levels for paladins of Sune), but I really built the mechanics and much of the fluff on my own and then added the Realms spin. Same is true for the Path of the Shaman and Path of the Brute Shaman barbarians. My 5E scout class is grounded in various versions of the scout from 1E-4E and its core class mechanics are largely a mix of 5E rogue and ranger, but the subclasses are all completely new. I also worked up a Darkness Domain and Luck Domain. They aren't new concept, but I think they are gaps in the existing options for 5E, and I like to think I've given them a good and hopefully clever spin that works well with the 5E subclass mechanics, while also including flavor from the Realms (such as including minor alterations to and alternate names for existing 5E divine spells that align with the deity-specific spells associated with the relevant deities in 1E, 2E, 3E, and 4E). Similarly, I worked up the incantatrix and spellfire wielder pulling on the lore from 1E-3.5E and updating the mechanics in both cases. Neither exists in official form in the 5E Realms.

I also wanted to focus on what struck me as obvious gaps in 5E such as the cleric Charm and Moon domains that were prominent in earlier editions, but didn't necessarily have to be Realms specific, as well as elements that I thought were just neat from the earlier Realms, like the Way of the Jordain monk.

Ultimately, the flexibility of 5E combined with its simplicity (at least compared to 3E and 4E) are two it's strengths and I wanted to bring elements from earlier editions into the new system.

So all that said, if you don't play 5E and you already own tons of Realms products from previous editions, this is not the product for you. If you like 5E (or perhaps if you want some consolidated lore, albeit just some, this is a mechanic focused product), then I like to think this is a useful product for you.



Thanks that helps. Do you think you'd ever spin this off into a lore only document?

It sounds like you've gone into some lore nooks and crannies that weren't covered in previous Realms editions.

I still think matching these classes lore wise with a Pathfinder mechanic even if it's cookie cutter mix and match abilities would be appealing, because everything is so Realms centric.

If that's ever on your radar I'd love to help out.

I think this may be worth it for the lore alone.
TomCosta Posted - 16 May 2017 : 02:09:07
Sorry that wasn't clear to you.

As I wrote in the intro, "This supplement offers several new character options for the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, grounded in earlier editions of the Forgotten Realms, but useable in almost any setting," and the table of contents is available in both sneak peak options. The options are "new" for 5E, not necessarily "new" to the Realms or even D&D concepts.

The amount of conversion versus new material varied greatly. I did that on purpose. One of the things I wanted to demonstrate is that good design sometimes meant something completely new and sometimes meant something a bit more recycled or modified. I'm also fortunate to have been playing for nearly 40 years and have most published and some unpublished Realmslore to draw upon.

For example, the Oath of the Romantic paladin was never really fleshed out in earlier editions (at least that I recall). The concept existed (paladins of Sune and Milil were mentioned in some sources and 3E Champions of Valor had some substitution levels for paladins of Sune), but I really built the mechanics and much of the fluff on my own and then added the Realms spin. Same is true for the Path of the Shaman and Path of the Brute Shaman barbarians. My 5E scout class is grounded in various versions of the scout from 1E-4E and its core class mechanics are largely a mix of 5E rogue and ranger, but the subclasses are all completely new. I also worked up a Darkness Domain and Luck Domain. They aren't new concept, but I think they are gaps in the existing options for 5E, and I like to think I've given them a good and hopefully clever spin that works well with the 5E subclass mechanics, while also including flavor from the Realms (such as including minor alterations to and alternate names for existing 5E divine spells that align with the deity-specific spells associated with the relevant deities in 1E, 2E, 3E, and 4E). Similarly, I worked up the incantatrix and spellfire wielder pulling on the lore from 1E-3.5E and updating the mechanics in both cases. Neither exists in official form in the 5E Realms.

I also wanted to focus on what struck me as obvious gaps in 5E such as the cleric Charm and Moon domains that were prominent in earlier editions, but didn't necessarily have to be Realms specific, as well as elements that I thought were just neat from the earlier Realms, like the Way of the Jordain monk.

Ultimately, the flexibility of 5E combined with its simplicity (at least compared to 3E and 4E) are two it's strengths and I wanted to bring elements from earlier editions into the new system.

So all that said, if you don't play 5E and you already own tons of Realms products from previous editions, this is not the product for you. If you like 5E (or perhaps if you want some consolidated lore, albeit just some, this is a mechanic focused product), then I like to think this is a useful product for you.
Cards77 Posted - 15 May 2017 : 16:47:24
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

Cards 77, Diffan is correct. A lot of it is updating material that already existed in previous editions. There might be some utility in converting back to 3.5E or PF, but probably not much if you have the original source material.



Ok well I guess I'm bit confused then. If it's "new classes, races" etc, then it's just previous 3.x material converted to 5e?

I think better introduction is needed. Especially for those of us in Pathfinder that would like to use this material but not exactly sure how much work would be needed to use it in our games.

Just some clarifying points may be nice.

Are these all preexisting rules from 3.x that have been converted to 5e?

Are these completely "new" and need to be converted to PF? Etc?

Thanks.
TomCosta Posted - 08 May 2017 : 16:30:28
Thanks. I appreciate that. If you (or anyone else for that matter) have specific feedback on things that didn't work as you felt they should or ideas on how to improve things, I'd love to get that too. Thanks again.
KnightErrantJR Posted - 08 May 2017 : 15:31:15
I should probably clarify--lots of it definitely can be used, and when added to the current core material, I don't think its a problem. However, the "casually interested" people in my group have also been using the slew of Unearthed Arcana material that came out in the past few months, so adding this on top of that might be a bit much for this campaign.

I'd also like to use this specifically in the Realms, for my own personal feeling of "customized to the setting," and if I use another setting, it's likely to be Kobold Press' Midgard, which looks to have it's own slew of setting specific material coming out.

Definitely worth the price tag, for me, but I've been poking around here for a long time and appreciate the work you put into it. ;)
TomCosta Posted - 08 May 2017 : 15:04:32
Cards 77, Diffan is correct. A lot of it is updating material that already existed in previous editions. There might be some utility in converting back to 3.5E or PF, but probably not much if you have the original source material.

Knight Errant, thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. Hopefully, it doesn't lead to "option lock." My hope was to cover a few general gaps that I saw and add in appropriate Realms lore (but still keep it easy to use more generically). Aside from a few bits (star elves, deep Imaskari, windwalker domain, way of the jordain, and Harper's blessing feat -- which probably take up no more than 5 pages of the 101 pages), I hope most of it is not so setting specific that it can only be used in the Realms. For example, the lythari, incantatrix, and even spellfire can easily be moved into almost any campaign even though they all have long histories of being setting specific to the Realms, while things like a charm, luck, or moon domain or steadfast defender fighter are just gaps that happen to have Realms lore built into them. At least that was the goal.
Diffan Posted - 08 May 2017 : 07:37:15
quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Any interest in having someone convert these for use with 3.x and/or Pathfinder? I would be willing to do it for free. Would be a long term project obviously. I love this, I'm just not a 5e person. I think you would have a good base of players who are still in the 3.x rule set to use these.



Looking at the content, a lot of it comes from 3.5/3e so Im not sure what would need updated?
KnightErrantJR Posted - 08 May 2017 : 04:20:43
Review and comments posted. It was an interesting look at translating 2nd, 3rd, and 4th edition materials to the current edition, and it was definitely worth the time it took to skim through it. Interested in introducing it in a campaign, although it feels like it will be of more use to people that are already interested in past versions of the Realms and might just contribute to "option lock" if I use it for groups that are more casually interested in the setting.
Cards77 Posted - 08 May 2017 : 02:58:32
Any interest in having someone convert these for use with 3.x and/or Pathfinder? I would be willing to do it for free. Would be a long term project obviously. I love this, I'm just not a 5e person. I think you would have a good base of players who are still in the 3.x rule set to use these.
TomCosta Posted - 16 Apr 2017 : 14:07:22
Update posted. Would really appreciate some more reviews and feedback. And thanks for your support. Tom
TomCosta Posted - 04 Apr 2017 : 20:49:48
Hi all,
I'm hoping to post an update in the next few weeks (so far only editorial and minor tweaks) and would love to incorporate any feedback you might have. Thanks,
Tom
TomCosta Posted - 23 Mar 2017 : 02:07:10
Thanks. I'll be very interested in any feedback you all have after playtesting, especially if you have ideas on how to make anything better.
Diffan Posted - 22 Mar 2017 : 17:22:54
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

Thanks so much. I appreciate you taking a look. I realized that despite the changes to the shadar-kai across editions (also looking at the shadowswyfts and krinth) that mechanically they actually had a lot in common with the shades, so then it became an exercise in figuring what was common to the shadowborn races versus the two subraces and then focusing on how each dealt with living in shadow -- the shadar-kai constantly fighting against the enervating shadow while the shades embraced it as the nature of life. It's definitely one of the things I'm happiest with.



Well I think you did a great job. One of the things that 4E sort of missed with the Shadar-Kai was their extremism in regards to their feelings. It's a reason why many of them are tattooed and have piercings, not just as decorative art but because it's painful and something you're constantly aware of.

I'm planning on running a 5e conversion of White Plume Mountain (set in the Realms, though I'm not sure if it'll be due south of Iriaebor next to the Troll Mountains OR just south of Neverwinter next to the Sword Mountains) and I'm allowing my players to select options from the document. One player has expressed a desire to play a Cleric, which is great because so many Domains were added (thanks!) and the other is still up in the air.
TomCosta Posted - 21 Mar 2017 : 22:09:49
Thanks so much. I appreciate you taking a look. I realized that despite the changes to the shadar-kai across editions (also looking at the shadowswyfts and krinth) that mechanically they actually had a lot in common with the shades, so then it became an exercise in figuring what was common to the shadowborn races versus the two subraces and then focusing on how each dealt with living in shadow -- the shadar-kai constantly fighting against the enervating shadow while the shades embraced it as the nature of life. It's definitely one of the things I'm happiest with.
Diffan Posted - 21 Mar 2017 : 15:27:48
Consider it purchased! I'm reading through and I have to say that I really like what I'm reading so far. The distinction between those born of Shadow (Shadar-kai and Shades) is really intriguing. Going through the Class section and I haven't come across anything glaring overpowered and the designers notes (and suggestions based on power) is really appreciative.
TomCosta Posted - 21 Mar 2017 : 00:00:05
Hey all, just wanted to say thanks again and say I'd love some more feedback or even a review on DMs Guild. Thanks, Tom
TomCosta Posted - 15 Mar 2017 : 18:52:23
Thanks George. I appreciate the support, and good to know on the algorithm.
George Krashos Posted - 15 Mar 2017 : 02:17:15
Not to burst your balloon Tom, but their "Top 10" algorithm is based on time as well as sales. As time goes on, unless your sales keep pace, you'll drop out. But I hope you don;t as your work is awesome.

-- George Krashos
TomCosta Posted - 14 Mar 2017 : 15:25:41
Thanks. On the one hand I'm shocked by how few units one needs to sell to make the top 10. ;-) On the other and more sincerely, I'm very grateful to all those who have expressed an interest and given it a chance. Thank you everyone.

And KanzenAU thanks for all your help. You helped make it more balance, more readable, and just a better product. I really appreciate all your help.
KanzenAU Posted - 14 Mar 2017 : 00:45:58
Congrats on making it into the Top 10 Hottest on DM's Guild Tom!

I had the pleasure of having an early look at this for editing purposes (though due to time I was unfortunately little help), and I can speak to the huge amount of effort that Tom must have put into this. It's a massive document with a tonne of fun stuff in it, and well worth the money in my opinion.
TomCosta Posted - 12 Mar 2017 : 01:23:54
Thanks so much idilippy. I hope it meets your expectations and you find it useful. Please let me know what you think. I'm always willing to consider changes to make it better.

There are 21 new races and subraces, 41 new subclass options, 3 new classes and prestige classes, 5 backgrounds, 7 feats, 18 new spells, and other bits (like a few new monsters, equipment, magic items, etc.).

The intro font was on purpose--meant to be an artistic flourish similar to the intro to the PH's Preface.

I'm not sure how to create bookmarks, but that's why I went nuts with the table of contents and the hyperlinks within the document. Hopefully that makes up for it. :-)
idilippy Posted - 11 Mar 2017 : 22:52:23
$10 is more than I'd usually pay for a product on DMs Guild but I've given this one a chance. At 101 pdf pages it's a pretty good sized product for the price. No bookmarks, and the first page seems to have a slight text error as the phrase "A reincarnated avenger" is bold, and slightly larger font, than the rest of the paragraphs on the page which are italicized.

The table of contents is linked, nice! No bookmarks but this really makes it easier to flip through a product. Looks like it has 21 races, 2 classes, a bunch of subclasses, and even a prestige class: the Spellfire channeler. Cool to see the Incantrix and all the Cleric domains.

I'll have to dig in deeper to see if the mechanics seem to line up, I don't know 5e that well so I can't tell at a glance if something looks too powerful or weak. So far so good though, I'm sure I'll use this pdf if I'm able to convince a group to do a game in the Realms using 5e rules.

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