Dev Waslusky has a degree in writing and ran Dungeon Sphere, a weekly D&D game on Twitch, so they know a thing or two about writing content for the game.
In this article, we’ve got three things to look forward to, an introduction to the A Book of Many Heroes, a new 5e supplement on Kickstarter, an exclusive preview of it and then Dev taking us through an example.
Want to take your favourite characters from TV, anime or cinema and bring them to D&D? That’s the example we pick but the scope of A Book of Many Heroes is broader than that.
Inside readers will get 2 new character classes, an impressive 44 new subclasses, 11 new origins, 13 new feats, 117 new spells and 18 new epic spells. A Book of Many Heroes also introduces the Signature Moves Mechanic, a good partner for anyone looking to recreate certain cinematic character styles.
A Book of Many Heroes is a contemporary take on what 5e Compatible content could look like, offering both game master and players resources with a multitude of homebrew character options! Inspired by media from across different platforms, including anime, novels, and more, I wanted to bring character options that fill niches yet to be filled by 5e to the table, as well as a few different options to improve any campaign!
A pledge of $10 gets you started innovatively on the rewards tier. You don’t get the whole book but do get digital copies of 3 character options you might fancy from it.
Then, at $25, there’s a digital copy of the whole book. You also get a mention on Twitter, which might be a way for streamers and others to get some extra publicity.
The hardcover edition, with the digital and Twitter thank you, costs $50. It’s signed as standard and will go worldwide.
There are higher options, including a limited edition at $100, with the fulfilment of the whole book being expected in September 2021.
A Book of Many Heroes preview
The Kickstarter page is generous with preview content, but here is some more!
How to adapt your favourite characters into D&D: A Book of Many Heroes’ approach to Homebrew
By Dev Waslusky
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favorite shows of all-time, and Toph is definitely one of my favorite characters. Then I realized – if Toph was a character in D&D, she would technically have tremorsense just like earth elementals do.
I started with that initial inspiration and I built out from there. Bending abilities are innate or instilled, so I knew that the sorcerer class would make sense with that in mind. I knew that the tremorsense trait would be this class’s defining feature, and typically the most defining feature of a sorcerer subclass is at 6th level (each class has its own rhythm as to what types of abilities they get when). As you build out from the defining feature, I wanted features that would harken back to Toph’s character, but not replicate her. I gave the subclass the ability to stand their ground and not be moved, kind of like Toph’s sturdiness, and even drew inspiration from that scene where she creates armor entirely out of stone and earth.
When you have these sources of inspiration for a new subclass or archetype, you have to keep connecting these various sources to mechanics within the 5e system. So tremorsense is a given, but how do you replicate Toph’s sturdiness? How do you create an earth armor feature? This part gets tricky, because things can go out of balance fast. But in this case, I made it so that sorcery points would be a trigger for abilities, almost like that well of magic is coming from the earth itself. And voilá, the Earth Magic sorcerer was born!
My Two New Classes: The Wyrd & the Channeler
My original class called the Wyrd using symbols and incantations to manipulate the world around them. I had the idea of wanting to use symbols, but it was hard to draw it all together until I remembered that the Shadowhunter characters from Cassandra Clare use runes as a magic-casting method, so then I could picture it and feel it coming together, and also I love that series so it was cool to be able to finally have something that could bring that concept to D&D. I made sure it was open to all symbols, though, because I believe that always calling things “runes” is fairly eurocentric, if you think about it. Any symbol system can be used as inspiration in this case: adinkra, kanji/kana, cuneiform, etc. Disclaimer: make sure that any writing tradition you use when you play a Wyrd that isn’t part of your own heritage or culture is open and used respectfully, as there are several closed traditions.
My other class, the Channeler, drew inspiration from League of Legends of all places. The story of Thresh and his lantern was really intriguing, so I created a class that drew their power from relics imbued with the magics of the places they were forged or aged. Green Lantern has a similar lantern-concept too, and I realized this trope of deriving power from a supernatural item, as opposed to a deity or a patron, wasn’t really in 5e. So I wanted to make a class that did this, filling the gap, inspired by the patterns I’ve seen.
- Erza from Fairy Tail, for example, inspired the Sword Speaker (a fighter subclass that creates animated swords to fight).
- The Green One warlock patron was inspired by the Green Man from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
- Sai from the Naruto series definitely made me want to create the College of Artistry for bards, creating beasts that fight for you, and Shino was entirely what inspired the Circle of Plagues for druids.
- The wizard subclass called the Order of Mirrors was inspired by Gauche from Black Clover, and the Order of Cryptozoology was inspired by the Newt Scamander character from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.
- The Thunder fight subclass was entirely inspired by Kommo-o, a dragon type Pok’mon who uses the sonic power of their scales to attack.
- The Bato race was created because I thought the lemur spirit in Legend of Korra that we saw in Wan’s adventures would be a cool addition to these options.
And always remember, it’s okay to be inspired by your favorite characters, but you cannot recreate them and pass it off as your own content, particularly when you’re trying to monetize. Your Way of the Wind Monk can totally manipulate the air with a ki-based control winds spell within the monk template, but you can’t say that each of these monks gets a giant blue arrow tattooed on their forehead, if you’re monetizing. Let the players add those details in their private games. Your fighter archetype can totally use plasma sabers, but you can’t call them lightsabers, or say they use the “force.” Telekinesis feature? Oh totally. Call it the Force? No no, not that.
I hope that this has been helpful for other creators out there! If you enjoy homebrewing as much as I do, it really is about creating what excites you. If that happens to be a concept inspired by your favorite anime character, roll with it! Good luck, and get brew that home!
- Kickstarter A Book of Many Heroes.
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