The Alchemist Class for 5e

The Alchemist for 5e is now available on DriveThruRPG from Tribality Publishing!

This 20 page PDF provides players with a new 20-level Intelligence-based caster class that allows players to share alchemical effects with their allies, 6 traditions updated with playtest material and feedback from the readers here at, and a new tradition not seen anywhere else.

Best of all, Alchemist is a part of the GM’s Day Sale, but only until the end of March 16th!!

A Writer’s Guide to Roleplaying: The Price of Magic, Part 1

Though I love Pathfinder for its crunchy goodness, the massive and almost incomprehensible number of magic items makes it hard to believe that magic is something rare and mysterious. Settings like Eberron embrace magic-as-technology, but I miss the days of magical mystery. Luckily, 5th edition has returned to the days of 1st and 2nd edition’s magic-as-rare mindset. A +1 dagger was something to be prized back in the day, and a cache of scrolls or potions were worth far more than gold. Yet the only consequences to RAW* magic items or spells are used spell slots, limitations on the number of items you can attune, and resting. None of which give a DM much fodder for storytelling.

Faerie Tales: Naiads, Pixies, and Sprites for 5e

A dear friend of mine asked me to run a 5e adventure for his kids over the holiday. It will be their first official D&D game, though since their dad is a video game designer they are more than familiar with the concept. His son wants to play a Merlin-like half-demon magician with a pet wolf. Tiefling wizard it is; with a wolf familiar because fun trumps rules. His daughter’s requests were a little more challenging: a faerie or a unicorn. I countered with a centaur-like unicorn race with plans to “borrow” Dan Dillon’s centaur rules from the brilliant Midgard Heroes, but her counter-proposal was a faerie with a pet unicorn. We landed on a pixie with a unicorn NPC friend.

Their dad decided that a PC with a leadership role would be ideal, so he could reasonably step in if they needed guidance. As a fan of the oft-overlooked Epic film and Christina Stiles’ (et al) Faery’s Tale, I suggested a sprite fighter (battlemaster) to counterpoint his daughter’s pixie sorcerer. It was an excellent excuse to expand a faerie racial build into sub-races and because I am who I am, naiads (aka nixies) made it into the mix.

Waking the Dead; Reanimators for 5e Alchemists

The Reanimator is an archetype for the Alchemist class and is one of eight traditions, including Metamoporhs, Poisoners, Artificers, IrezumiPyromancers, Herbwardens, and more. You’ll need the core class presented in the original article and this to play the reanimator.


Alchemist are renowned for their understanding of the arcane sciences – chemistry, physics, geology, herbology, engineering, and, of course, biology. All alchemists have a basic understanding of healing, but reanimators use their knowledge to circumvent the capricious whims of the divine to hold the power of life and death in their hands.

Novel Inspiration: Scarecrow for 5th edition

This week’s Gameroom is brought to you by the awesome supporters on Patreon! Huge thanks to Nick Hoyt for inspiring, brainstorming, and play testing this new Novel Inspiration!

A construct with the mind of a psychopath, Crane Crow was once a respected alchemist trapped in a broken body. Afraid of both death and a deteriorating life, Crane built the original construct and transferred his consciousness into it.

Though his lifelong physical pain ended, his mental deterioration began. Unable to feel the rush of pleasure or pain, Crane’s mind fought to feel anything and over time his humanity slipped away. He eventually discovered a substitute for his own emotional needs through alchemy. By draining the blood of a victim experiencing a strong emotional reaction, Crane can separate the sympathetic rush and experience it himself. As fear is far easier to instill in a victim while draining their blood, Crane has modified his original construct into a twisted creature of nightmare.

New 5e Feats – Advanced Healer, Martial Arts Training, Survivalist

One of my favorite parts about 5th edition is the incorporation of soft-multiclassing feats which allow players to create a variety of themes without watering down their core class. One of my least favorite things is how Medicine is a throw-away skill not worthy of the slot. These feats originally appeared on and are presented here with significant playtest edits.

In Defense of Skill Challenges

This article was referenced recently on the Talking TableTop podcast and originally appeared on I’ve overhauled the original 4th ed version for 5th edition to showcase the many ways skills, tool kits, spells, and even backgrounds can be used to encourage a cooperative and narrative non-combat chase scene.

A common complaint about 4th edition DnD was that it reduced all roleplaying opportunities to skill checks via the Skill Challenge mechanic. We all know you should never let a game tell you that you can’t roleplay, but I understand where the concern comes from because I felt the same way. Mechanics should encourage roleplaying, not stifle it. As I believe you can’t truly understand a mechanic until you get it on the table, I folded a skill challenge into my 4th ed game. What I discovered was that when properly used, skill challenges enhanced roleplaying while keeping high-stress non-combat situations stressful. 

The Host – Infested Creatures for 5th edition

Inhuman creatures from other dimensions are classic horror tropes. As are temptations of power that encourage the protagonists to walk the line between good and evil. The Host are inspired by the creatures in the classic horror film, “From Beyond“, while their Host Spawn disease is built to tempt the infected creature to give in to its power.


The Host

The eel-like creatures known as the Host originated from a twisted plane of inhuman hunger and madness. How they crossed the boundary between their home plane and the Ethereal remains a mystery, but luckily their numbers remain small.

The Hosts themselves are ethereal beings, floating through the Material Plane unaware of its inhabitants until one of them makes their presence known. Often the hosts’ victims are arcane researchers, alchemists, or theologists experimenting with forbidden forces, but no living creature is immune. Magic surging along ley lines may allow the Host a glimpse into the Material world, making any living creature a potential victim.

Hypercorps 2099 – PF/5E Superheroes and Cyberpunk – Kickstarter

Hypercorps 2099 is a rules system that adds cyberpunk superheroics to the fantasy systems you love. His previous project, the Veranthea Codex goes on sale this month, but you can find him at the AaWBlog, or in products from Fantasy Flight GamesRogue Genius Games, and Paizo Publishing.

The Kickstarter has already funded and hit its first stretch goal: Rich Howard joining the team to create 5th edition Hypercorps!

More Love for Players

Huge thanks to DM Mitchell and DM Chris for inviting me back to the Dungeon Master’s Block this week with the ever excellent, DM Neal Powell. DM Neal and DM Mainprize host a post-episode discussion on the DMB forum called DMnastics where they take the podcast topics into deeper and more practical realms. They then bring those discussions back to the DMB. This week in a special 30 minute DMnastics, DM Neal and I discuss the follow-up to episode 30, The Player’s Block, delving into what we do both as players and GMs to make a better game for everyone at the table, as well as offer some great Player examples you can listen to yourself, including a love letter to John Patrick Coan and his character on the brilliant One Shot Podcast “Campaign”.