Four Year Anniversary Giveaway

It’s been four years since I released A Demon in the Desert and to celebrate, I’m doing a a month long giveaway. For all of June, you can get A Demon in the Desert for free in your choice of epub or mobi formats. I know by now that my first book was pretty rough but it got me started. It helped me start on a path to make me feel like a real person again and I’ll always be proud of that. Happy anniversary to my big green son.

You can get A Demon in the Desert here!

New Patreon Content

Hey y’all. I just wanted to post a little update talking about some of the new stuff up on my Patreon. For the past little while, I’ve been working on the much-maligned Ranger class for D&D fifth edition. I recently posted the first pass for a chunk of the subclasses, with two more to come individually. I also tried my hand at giving the Storm Herald subclass for the Barbarian an overhaul, along with a few other Fighter subclasses. I will also be starting an adventure module this year that I’ve had bouncing around my head for a while. It’ll be big on story and very orc-centric. Because I have a brand.

For fans of Grimluk, though, I’ve posted a few snippets from what I’ve been writing on Grimluk 4 (and the first draft is now over the 10,000 word mark), along with a worldbuilding post on time, and a new post today that will start a series of worldbuilding posts on the races of Arkod, beginning with elves!

On top of all that, I’ll be trying to get some new cooking posts going and I’m hoping to start a new trend revolving around Fantasy foods, along with any diabetic friendly foods I find. I’m going to try and begin doing fantasy foods by doing a potentially easy recipe from The Demons Within: goat jerky. I’m pretty sure I can get goat meat from a local butcher, so it should be doable.

And a reminder, I do take requests for content. I recently added a new request tier for $5 where I make a magic item for your game. I still have the idea request tier, too, where you can request a story or a topic for me to talk about for $25. You get access to all content for just $1, though, and my gratitude.

So come check it all out and feel free to leave comments and questions!

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.

Orctober: The Demons Within Character Intro – Manyara Arendse

Today we’re gonna meet a human. I know, it’s Orctober, but there’s reasons why. I mean besides me promoting The Demons Within. Manyara Arendse is a ranger. Given that this is a fantasy western: yes, I mean like a combination of Texas rangers and Tolkien’s rangers. But we’re here for her. Manyara is a tall, black human with a nearly shaved head. She’s hardworking, hard-fighting, hard-drinking, and her commanding officer, marshal, is an orc named Bringar. And she does have a softer side, especially with who she would say is one of her best friends, Emerald. We don’t learn as much about Manyara in the book as we do about Emerald but we do learn, from Emerald, that she’s dyslexic and if she wanted, she has the potential to become a fairly powerful magic user. As of The Demons Within, Manyara is still the least senior member of her posse but has been there long enough to be respected.

She was fun to write. Manyara fell somewhere between Emerald and Grimluk. Like Grimluk, she likes the work she does, even when it’s dirty and deadly. Like Emerald, she’s never dealt with demons before and never wanted to. Due to being a ranger, she can be a little stoic but she’s still plenty capable of being personable. Especially if there’s Cimmerian whiskey involved.

I hope you like her as much as I do. Get yourself a copy of the book and go meet her properly!

Orctober: The Demons Within Character Intro – Emerald

So, have you bought your copy of The Demons Within yet? You shooouuuuld…

To tempt you further, I thought we could take a look at a couple of the new characters for this story. First up, like Grimluk, we’ll meet Emerald. Now, you’ll learn some things about her in the book itself so this is more surface level.

Emerald is an orc who lives in Downingville, New Gilead. She works and lives at the Coming Conqueror Saloon and Hotel as a Companion ala Inara from Firefly except without the cultural appropriation/fetishization and much more saloon girl. She’s a sex worker and damn good and proud of her job. Like most orcs, she’s on the bigger side, with dark hair, and a somewhat rare beauty trait among orcs in the shape of her pupils. Though I don’t name it in the book, she stands about 6’3″, and while she doesn’t cultivate muscle, she still has a measure of her people’s inherent strength. She has some magical aptitude, as well, something she uses as part of her job, mostly in the form of minor spells using heat, cold, and electricity for massages and/or sense play. She could be considered one of the core members of the Conqueror’s Companions, as illustrated well in the book itself. She loves her peers, but especially one of her best friends, the elf named Tulip (who is the very picture of androgynous beauty). Emerald is gregarious, flirty, and good-natured, with a low tolerance for bullshit and not one problem speaking her mind. She’s happy to help those in need and happier still to ply her services.

I sincerely hope you enjoy meeting her in the book as much as I enjoyed writing her. When I was planning the book, I had the idea of having a saloon girl be one of the major characters and eventually, Emerald was the result. So get your copy of The Demons Within, and meet Emerald!