Holiday Sale

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Hey, y’all! I’m pleased to announce that I’m teaming up with some fine folks to run a sale for the month of December. From now until December 31st, A Demon in the Desert is 99 cents and Demon Haunted is half-off! For those new to my writing, the Grimluk, Demon Hunter series is about the titular orc and his adventures in a fantasy western land. A reader once described Grimluk as “the lovechild of Clint Eastwood and Hellboy”.

Next up is Brandon Draga with The Summerlark Elf, the first in his Four Kingdoms series. The book “introduces readers to compelling characters in an engaging world of swords and sorcery, personal turmoil and political intrigue!”

Erica Linquidst (who co-authors with her husband) has a slew of books on sale for you. Her sci-fi post-apocalypse book, Whiserworld, is 99 cents, along with volume 1 of her Lily Quinn erotica series, starring the titular Lily, a half-succubus monster hunter. And make no mistake, this series is graphically sexual. Last, My Guide to RPG Storytelling, a friendly guide to becoming a Dungeon Master!

And finally, we have Edward M. Erdelac with book one of his fantastic Merkabah Rider series, High Planes Drifter, about a Hasidic Jewish gunslinger on a mission of vengeance, and his short story anthology of weird fiction and horror, Angler in Darkness.

Between the four of us, you should be able to find something that makes your December just a little bit better. Happy reading, y’all!

Orctober – Grimluk in D&D 5e Updated, Homebrew

There’s a few major differences to Grimluk’s homebrew sheet this year. Last year, I held pretty closely to the RAW sheet, but included my homebrew Monster Hunter subclass for the Fighter, my homebrew overhaul for Orcs and Half-Orcs, and a Crossbow Expert style feat called Gunslinger. This year, we’re gonna make a couple of changes to each of these and then add a few things.

The updated sheet.

To start with, the aforementioned homebrew elements remain, with a few updates. My orcs overhaul was recently updated, removing Aggressive as a racial trait for orcs altogether and making Powerful Build standard. Half-orcs were updated as well, though that was mostly after realizing how hard I overthought the “orcish ancestry” trait. Instead, half-orcs once again just have Relentless Endurance. I also expanded the alternate half-orc features but that still needs a proper rebuild along the lines of half-elf ancestry and tiefling ancestry.

The Monster Hunter class is being updated as well. Firstly, I’m renaming one feature, The Hunter, to Hunter’s Strike and tweaking the rule for it. It was originally based on the Colossus Slayer feature from the Hunter Ranger but I decided to do away with the “below hit point maximum” ruling. Secondly, I’ve updated the Veteran of the Hunt feature. The more I’ve toyed with class design since last year, the more I realized that giving the Monster Hunter both a free d8 of damage once a turn AND a free d8 to an attack roll once a turn was too much. So now, once a turn, you can add that d8 to either an attack roll or use it for extra damage.

Finally, the Gunslinger feat is getting a small update as well. The original reads:

GUNSLINGER
Thanks to extensive practice with handguns, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can ignore the reload property of handguns you’re proficient with.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
  • If unsurprised at the start of combat, you can perform a quick draw, giving you advantage on your first attack roll.

That last bullet didn’t quite sit well with me. I figured, given it’s a feat, I do something a little better. The update reads:

GUNSLINGER (Updated)
Thanks to extensive practice with handguns, you gain the following benefits:

  • You can ignore the reload property of handguns you’re proficient with.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
  • At the start of combat, if you haven’t drawn your handgun, you may perform a quick draw on your turn, allowing you to make two attack rolls.

Advantage on your first attack roll is good but the whole point of a quick draw is that you’re drawing quickly. So a double attack at the beginning of combat seemed pretty fair and thematically solid. Crossbow Expert gives you a bonus action attack with your crossbow so it’s more in line with that now.

With those elements out of the way, we come to the last major updates. First, Grimluk is now Monster Hunter 9/Hunter 3. Why did I remove the level of Barbarian? Well, that brings me to the second, and biggest, update: I just flat fucking gave Grimluk physical damage resistances. Because he’s the Protagonist. I also gave him Prestidigitation for the campfire spell. It made sense. Like I said, this homebrew was gonna be bigger.

So that’s the new and improved Homebrew Grimluk for your viewing pleasure. Now, Orctober is nearly at its end.

 

Orctober – Grimluk in D&D 5e Updated, RAW

Last year, I rolled up character sheets for Grimluk in 5e. One was RAW, using the standard medieval-style weapons and gear, and the other was homebrew. I wanted to redo that this year. So first, we’ll be going over the RAW update.

Admittedly, the first version wasn’t that great conceptually. I actually did try to roll stats but honestly, Grimluk’s a Main Character, so in my update, I took the stats I’d molded through rolling and ASIs and just made them his base stats. Those stats stay the same through either version now, RAW and homebrew. On top of that, because Xanathar’s Guide to Everything didn’t come out until November, I couldn’t use anything from it AND, due to a couple of concepts I didn’t want to let go of, I insisted on including 1 level of Monk. We’ve seen Grimluk shrug off bullets, so I really wanted to keep unarmored defense and martial arts but it didn’t really work that well. Didn’t combine quite like I’d hoped.

So let’s take a look at the updated version. Here’s the sheet.

So, in the RAW version, Grimluk is still a half-orc. Duh. He still takes Fighter as his starting class with the Outlander background, along with Ranger, and one level of Barbarian. Like before, his Fighter archetype would be the Champion. With the inclusion of Xanathar’s, I debated Samurai but Champion works well, which also means a change to his Ranger archetype: the Monster Slayer. With no official version of the Fighter Monster Hunter, the Monster Slayer is the next best thing for a RAW Grimluk. Extra spells (specifically Protection from Evil & Good at lv3), Hunter’s Senses, and Slayer’s Prey are great features here. And that one level of Barbarian works better than Monk as it gives Grimluk a more appropriate Unarmored Defense (10+Dex+Con=17 AC), plus those good good resistances to physical damage while raging. True, he doesn’t have the martial arts die anymore, but oh well.

Since he doesn’t have a huge need for ASIs, I went ahead with several feats. He would’ve taken Dual-Wielder first, then Resilient, then Crossbow Expert. Dual-Wielder is more for the +1 to his AC and pulling out two weapons at once. Resilient with Wisdom, while a good Feat for any martial character, is mandatory for a demon hunter. Crossbow Expert is self-explanatory.

In play, it probably would’ve gone Fighter 6 -> Ranger 3 -> Barbarian 1 and then on to Fighter 8. Grimluk’s class choices would, as you can see on the sheet, be Two-Weapon Fighting for his first Fighting Style, then Archery from the Ranger. Fiends, of course, would be his Favored Enemy, with Grasslands as his favored terrain. Like before, and the only technical homebrew for this setup, he would have Fiend slayer weapons, still based on the dragon slayer sword. Honestly, I feel like Wizards should just make a “___ Slayer” weapon for different games.

So that’s Grimluk’s updated RAW sheet if you want to use him as an NPC. I will note one thing: for his background, I did have the thought of combining the Outlander and Haunted One (from Curse of Strahd) backgrounds. The Player Handbook says that you can create your own backgrounds, or tweak the ones listed and those two fit well together. Grimluk was trained to be a self-sufficient traveler (Athletics and Survival skills) but being a demon hunter means that, after training, he still could have the Heart of Darkness feature. So if you decide you want to tweak that, feel free. Also, you might want to get Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes to add some extra demonic flair.

Next time, we’ll be looking at the updated Homebrew version of Grimluk. Last year’s rendition was pretty intense already but this year’s is gonna be a bit more wild.