January 13, 2016


Comments from the Finger: I should throw 4e fans a bone every once in a while. Thanks for the help on this one, Parker!

The mass of crystals shuddered, glowed a warm light from deep within, and rose up in the form of a man. The incessant humming focused, and the crystals spoke.
-Iago, encountering a Shardmind

Living creatures in the loosest sense, shardminds are beings consisting of many small crystals, ranging from vibrant greens to translucent blues, and burning reds. These shards form humanoid figures which range from polished and sleek to rough and fragmented.

Fragments of the Gate
Long ago, the Elder Elves forged the Vast Gate, which was a massive crystalline structure linking the Material Plane, the Astral Plane, and the alien Far Realm. Its construction was a terrible mistake. Once complete, the Vast Gate destroyed the civilization of the Elder Elves entirely, and was itself shattered.
     The scattered fragments of the Vast Gate formed together and came to life as individual creatures, the shardminds. The nature of their life is as enigmatic as the Vast Gate itself. Every time a Shardmind dies, somewhere in the Great Wheel another piece of the shattered Vast Gate springs to life a new Shardmind. As a result, the number of Shardminds in the multiverse is fixed.

Barrier to the Far Realms
Many shardminds believe that, because they are sentient fragments of the gate, it is their duty to protect the multiverse from what lies beyond. Some dedicate themselves to purging the corruption of the Far Realm from the universe, while others seek the ancient magic of the Elder Elves to rebuild the Vast Gate. What is clear is that no shardmind knows for certain what purpose they serve or how to accomplish their ultimate goals.

Shardmind Names
The Shardmind race does not use surnames, because they have no lineage, like other races do.
     Male: Balashi, Hunzu, Kubaba, Seluku
     Female: Dipana, Kuri, Zakiti

Shardmind Traits
Shardminds are unique creatures, unlike anything else considered alive. All shardminds share the following traits.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
     Age. Shardminds do not age, and are mature when born.
     Alignment. Shardminds are predominantly neutral. Some are innocent, and approach life with profound curiosity, while others remain distant, and tend not to associate themselves with society.
     Size. Shardminds stand 6 feet tall on average. You size is Medium.
     Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
     Hardened Mind. You have resistance to psychic damage.
     Living Construct. You do not need to eat, drink, or breathe. You do not need to sleep, though you must enter a state of inactivity, remaining semiconscious, for 4 hours a day. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
     Bioluminescence. You glow faintly, producing a dim light within 5 feet. You can suppress this light as a bonus action.
     Language. You can speak, read, and write Common and 2 other languages. When Shardminds speak, the shards that make up their body hum, and their voices sound vaguely similar to metallic ringing.
     Subrace. Shardminds are divided by differences in physical composition. Choose one of the following subraces.

You come from a land near the Vast Gate, and your body is formed from arcane crystals. As a result, you are gifted with innate psionic spellcasting.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
     Gate Magic. You know the mage hand cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the expeditious retreat spell once with this trait. At 5th level, you can cast the spell levitate once. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells and you regain the ability to cast them in this way when you finish a long rest.

Your body is of the most crudely-formed among the shardmind. You were spawned into existence under great heat, melding your shards together in certain areas.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
     Hardened Fists. You may attack using your crystalline fists, dealing a d4 for damage with unarmed strikes.

Your body is comprised of hundreds of smaller, lighter crystals, far more than a normal shardmind.
     Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
     Disperse. As an action at the beginning of your turn, you can assume the form of a giant cloud of crystals by breaking your physical form apart into all its components. Until the beginning of your next turn, you can take no actions, bonus actions, or reactions, and you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, and you ignore difficult terrain when you move. After using this ability, you can use it again after you take a short or long rest.

Changelog: 1/13/16: Disperse: You can take no reactions while you are dispersed.
2/7/16 Onyx:Ability Score Increase: Changed from Str +1 Con +1 to Str +2


  1. Hellooo my new antagonist for the campaign.

    I like it, good job! Just one question though - when Swarm Disperses, it is mentioned that it can't use actions or bonus actions, but... can it still use reactions? Opportunity Attack comes to mind, and seeing how it's made up of lots of small crystals, I don't know how would it hold a weapon (although I could imagine it, I'm asking just to make sure).

    1. Good catch! It totally shouldn't be able to. Let me fix that.

  2. I've had a player looking to play a shardmind, but I had no idea how to fit one in. This is absolutely perfect!

    The only question I have is, as part of the Onyx Shardmind's Hardened Fists, are you able to choose whether the unarmed damage is bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage?

    Because that seems like an awesomely thematic way to enforce a shardmind's malleability and keep the racial feature viable for later levels.

    1. RAW, the unarmed strike damage is just bludgeoning, and I don't think I want to change it because of how it'll interact with monks. Either the flexibility of choosing your damage type will make non-monk shardminds using unarmed strikes overshadow monks, or that type of versatility in the hands of a monk might have far-reaching consequences.

  3. One concern I can see with this is as a construct technically most if not all healing spells don't work on you leaving you with a significant weakness should you choose to play this race which I suppose is paid for by not needing to eat

    I can also see the argument that as a "living" construct you can be healed but it's a little loose in my opinion.

    1. Living Construct doesn't change your type to Construct. You are technically still a Humanoid and are still effected by spells and effects like other PCs.

      I had to deal with this exact problem when I did the Revenant race (coming soon), that faced a similar problem being Undead.

    2. You know what? I need to end this feature with the sentence "Your type is Humanoid."

      Expect that change later tonight

  4. This could use an additional feature to be worth using, i recommend you tack the benefits of fey ancestry to hardened mind. The bonus against being charmed is both flavorful and useful.

    1. I mean, Hardened Mind kinda fulfills that role. I'll think about swapping it out

  5. I think that it would be better if the elder subrace were changed from +1 wisdom to +1 intelligence because in the description is says that the crystals are arcane so it would make more sense for it to be the primary ability of an arcane spell-caster like a wizard rather than wisdom.

    1. I did really consider that, but I didn't feel like this class should offer a +2 to Intelligence. There aren't many classes in core which do this, and I didn't imagine this class as the natural racial extension of a wizard either.

    2. Ya I do agree that it would not fit as a wizard race but I still feel that it should have a +2 somewhere such as having the onyx have +2 strength rather than +1 and +1 con because right now it does not seem to have a class for which it would fit.

    3. Ya I do agree that it would not fit as a wizard race but I still feel that it should have a +2 somewhere such as having the onyx have +2 strength rather than +1 and +1 con because right now it does not seem to have a class for which it would fit.

    4. I gave the races a detailed look, and you're actually totally right. +2 Strength makes more sense. Expect and update soon

  6. Same question as I had in 4th edition about these guys. They don't have a circulation, how can they be affected by poisons, diseases and bleeding effects? And if they aren't how is that balanced?

    1. No arguement here; it's a no-win situation. Either you give them a ton of immunities or you ignore part of their story. I opted to go with the more mechanically safe option, because enough hand-waving can make the story sections go away (the poison damages their arcane auras, and bleeding causes a similar damage to their arcane aura, etc)

  7. On the wiki it says that Shardminds have 25ft of telepathy would you think about putting that in, perhaps by taking out normal language like with the Myconids.

    1. Telepathy isn't an even trade for regular language - it's a huge feature. Silent communication that works with any creature, regardless of language, is a huge feature, and I balanced it into the myconid's feature set pretty carefully. Moreover, telepathy isn't a simple feature to slot-in like it was in previous editions of D&D. It isn't like blindsight or darkvision, which has a detailed sense description, so it needs to be described in depth to give it to a player character.

      All of the mechanical trouble nonwithstanding, I considered this while writing the class with my friend Parker, who had an interesting insight into the issue. In 4e, the Shardminds are native to the astral plane, where the only form of communication can be telepathy, which is the reason it needed to be included. In our version, we have moved the gate to the material plane and changed their origins and nature slightly to fit a more 3.5/5e cosmology and mindset. Since they're native to an environment with air, they don't need telepathy. Plus, I believe they could also vibrate for communication in 4e, which seems a little redundant when you think about it.