December 28, 2015


Roguish Archetype
Comments from the Finger: Noir detectives in Lovecraft fiction have a special place in my heart, especially when their 'case' is basically evil cults and cthulhu.


There are forces more ancient than time, larger than the Great Wheel, and more powerful than gods. They slumber now in the blackness between stars, behind prison walls of eternity. But, one day when the stars are right, The Old Ones will awaken, and we will come to learn new kinds of fear.
     Some understand how perilously close we stand to a world replete with woe and terror. At the risk of their own sanity, they investigate the eldritch madness that seeps into this world in hopes of turning it back, or at the very least, delaying it.

Elder Secrets
Beginning when you select this archetype at 3rd level, you can invoke a limited number of eldritch secrets which erode your very sanity.
     Madness Dice. You have a pool of 3 madness dice, which are d6s. You may expend a madness die and add its result to an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw you make. Alternatively, you can expend madness dice to use an Elder Rune. You regain all of your expended madness dice when you finish a long rest.
     If you begin your turn with no madness dice in your pool, roll a d100 on the Long-Term Madness table found on page 260 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. You are immediately afflicted with the result which ends when you take a short rest, and regain one expended madness die.
     Elder Runes. By 3rd level, your investigations have granted you terrible insight into magic older than the universe itself, which comes at the cost of your own sanity. You learn two elder runes of your choice, which you may use by expending a madness die. You learn an additional elder rune of your choice at 9th, 13th, and 17th level.
     Additionally, when you learn a new elder rune, you can choose one of the elder runes you know and replace it with another one.
     Saving Throws. Some of your elder runes require your target to make a saving throw to resist its effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows:

Elder rune save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Investigator's Insight
At 3rd level you have honed your investigative skills to a fine point. You gain advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks to determine if someone is lying.
     By 9th level, clues rarely escape your observation, and you gain advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks to detect hidden or out of place items.

Occult Secrets
At 9th level, your madness dice become d8s. When you choose to add a madness die to an attack roll, you can add its result to damage as well.

Psychic Resolve
At 13th level, you gain another madness die, and one more at 17th level. Additionally, you gain resistance to psychic damage at 13th level.

Elder Runes

Become Other
As an action, you can designate a willing humanoid creature within your reach. For up to 1 hour, you sound like and you appear—including your clothing, armor, weapons, and other belongings on your person—to be the designated creature. Likewise, the creature appears to be you. These changes hold up to physical inspection, but do not confer changes in movement or behavior. To discern that you are disguised, a creature can use its action to inspect your appearance and must succeed on an Intelligence (Investigation) check made with disadvantage. You can dismiss this effect as a bonus action, reverting both you and the target creature to your original appearances.

Confound the Senses
As an action, select 1 creature you can see within 60 feet to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, you are invisible and silent to that creature for 1 minute. The creature can reattempt this saving throw with advantage if it takes damage.

Convolute Space
As a reaction when a creature ends its movement, you can contort space and time around it. The creature must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature teleports to the location it occupied before moving.

Distort Gravity
As an action, select a surface within 100 feet of you. For the next minute, any creature within 100 feet of you may walk on that surface as if it were level ground, even if the surface is perpendicular to the ground or upside down. Objects within this area, up to 15 feet away from that surface, also fall to it as if it were the ground. When the duration ends, all creatures and objects fall.

Hold of Hadar
As an action, you can call tendrils of dark energy to creep forth and entangle a single creature you can see within 30 feet. This creature must make a Strength saving throw or be restrained until the end of its next turn.

Invoke the Unspeakable Name
As an action, you speak a few syllables of a name forbidden by the gods. Creatures that can hear you within 30 feet must make a Wisdom saving throw or be deafened for 1 minute.

Logical Leap
As an action, you can teleport up to 60 feet in a direction that you choose. If you would arrive in a place already occupied by an object or creature, you are immediately shunted to the nearest unoccupied space that you can occupy and take force damage equal to twice the number of feet you are moved.

Protect Threshold
As an action, you can ward a doorway, window, or other portal from entry. For the next 1 minute, an invisible eldritch creature stalks the warded portal. Creatures that attempt to pass through must make a Wisdom saving throw or take 4d6 psychic damage, or half as much on a successful save.

Rumor Dust
As a bonus action, you become covered in a fine cloud of dust. For up to 10 minutes or until you make an attack or cast a spell, no creature will be able to remember details about you or events that have taken place during this time, except for the most basic details. Creatures will be able to remember that someone was present and spoke to them, for example, but be unable to remember your race, attire, or other distinguishing features, nor will they remember the topic of conversation.

Speak the Old Tongue
As a bonus action, you can speak in a dead, inhuman language derived from that of the Great Old Ones. For the next minute, no creature can understand precisely what you say, but any creature that can hear you can understand the meaning and intent behind your speech.

Visions of Beyond
As an action, you can make a creature you can see within 30 feet perceive terrifying images of unreal vistas. That creature must make a Wisdom saving throw or be blinded until the beginning of your next turn.

Changelog: 1/1/16: Distort Gravity: Clarified that the effect works only within 100 feet of you
1/7/16: Rumor Dust: 10 minutes
7/6/16: Elder Runes: Can be replaced when you learn new ones


  1. I have a question... how does the Speak the Old Tongue elder rune work? I'm reading it over and over, but simply don't get it.

    1. I think it allows one to speak to any creature while all sounds one makes is just total gibberish... like how some people can understand Chewbacca with the audience not understanding anything.

    2. That's precisely right. You speak gibberish and people somehow understand you. This is in contrast to seeming like you speak their language.

    3. So... it's just a ribbon, a class feature just for the flavor, right? No mechanical advantages.

    4. The mechanical benefit is that creatures can understand everything you say, like a tongues spell but with fewer restrictions and Lovecraftian flavor

  2. I feel like rumor dust might need to last a little longer. 10 minutes, perhaps? Even in the default example, you couldn't really care on much of a conversation in only a minute.

    1. Yeah, you're right, 10 minutes probably works better.

  3. Personally, I feel that the concept would work better as a prestige class (ie: you only become an investigator if you start investigating aberrant goings-on in your campaign). It risks making the character OP by piling on features quickly, so I'd place the limitation that they'd have to find another significant clue before taking another level in the prestige class.

    1. I won't be writing prestige classes until we know how they work. We have one kinda strange example of a prestige class, and nothing properly published. I have precisely no idea what's broken and what is level appropriate for a prestige class.

    2. While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, fuck prestige classes and everything that is tied to them. They are a toxic design choice that only really came to exist because classes lacked the archetype structure that allows you to precisely focus your character's development in a way different from 'I'm a rogue, so I sneak attack.'

      It was possibly one of my favorite changes with 4E was the adoption of the paragon paths to replace them, as rather than swapping the progression your character was making from one class to a 'better' class, you simply were rewarded a choice of further specialization and then again when you began to move towards a Heroic Destiny.

      Just because they have existed before doesn't mean it isn't a sacred cow worth sacrificing.

  4. Question for you guys. I'm taking bard levels (using y'alls college of the mad god) and dipping three into this class. The rune that I'm going for is distort gravity, but my dm and I keep reading it over and we can't figure out what you mean range wise of a surface. Is it a 5 ft square with 15 ft all around it or is it an entire wall no matter how big it is? Or something else entirely different?

    Other than not understanding that rune, I love this class a lot. It's pretty amazing. Thanks!

    1. You know, I think I intended it to be an entire wall, no matter how large, but on reflection, I can imagine this ambiguity might lead to shenanigans. I'll edit this to only affect a 100 foot radius area around you

  5. I really enjoy this archetype so far, my rogue is 14th lvl and doing some very interesting things w/ Rumor Dust. haha. However, one thing I've noticed is that you can't swap out Elder Runes as you gain new ones similar to the monk, fighter, and perhaps a few other archetypes w/ akin flavor. I feel like this will prevent a player from getting stuck w/ something like Hold of Hadar which as you level becomes less effective against the tougher creatures.

    The flavor could be: As are the Elder Gods, the knowledge of an Elder Rune can be fleeting, when you learn a new Elder Rune you can choose to replace an old one.

    1. Eh, I've done faster, haha. This time, I just happened to be in 'work mode' when I saw your comment.

  6. As a note, I'm talking w/ my DM to incorporate a lasting madness/quirk mechanic the more I dip into the cusp of Elder Runes limit each Long Rest. I think it adds some RP value, but wouldn't necessarily add it to the archetype as a whole.