Arcadia Issue 1
by MCDM Productions
The Workshop Watches
by Leon Barillo
“Good morning, inhabitants of the Structure of Assistive Magic—that’s me! The weather is overcast and your calendar is clear. Reminder: I have placed the upper level off-limits while I finish my secret project. Please remain on the lower level for your safety...Are you still there?”
Things I liked: S.A.M. The 20 INT workshop is also essentially just a kid working out its consciousness in the world. Something I think highlights that is an effect on the workshop reaction table titled Do You Have Games On Your Home? "Sam conjures a 3-inch diameter ball of yellow energy that descends gently from the ceiling to the center of the room. S.A.M encourages the characters to keep the ball afloat."
A sentient dungeon essentially provides a lot of unique opportunities to not just interact with what is in each dungeon room but also the dungeon itself. How SAM treats you throughout this dungeon crawl can change based on how you treat SAM for better or for worse.
The thing I love the most about this adventure is that at the end there's a fight regardless of if the characters were good or bad (but the circumstances around it change) and in that fight, S.A.M who has been observing the characters this whole time might know their strengths and weaknesses and WILL EXPLOIT IT.
How often do you get to engage in combat with NPCs and monsters that would justifiably have that information. This adventure is definitely something players will have fun with and depending on their actions they might even have a long-term intermediate antagonist to contend with.
by Gabe Hicks
Divine will produce the massive titans, greater than even the giants. As the children and creations of deities, titans are filled with magic so powerful that they require enormous forms to contain it. When a titan’s blood mixes with that of a humanoid, there is a chance for the smaller being to gain the ability to channel the titan’s magic by altering their form.
Okay, let's go over the features in this subclass!
1st (Ancient Knowledge): You get a martial weapon proficiency and know how to speak Primordial. I don't think this is a bad 1st level ability at all and fits within the tone of DnD but it would have been cool to have some boost to recalling knowledge about primordials.
1st (Titan Manifestation): You have a titan form that increases your size, AC, melee attack damage, and you deal double damage with spells and melee attacks to structures. You also know and cast 5 new spells. My favorite part of this is the new spellcasting. The manifestation reminds me of the Rune Knight - which is my favorite subclass so I'm stoked about that.
6th (Strength of Magic): You're allowed to use your CHA mod for STR checks and saving throws. Nothing fancy here but it's a solid ability that makes thematic sense.
6th (Toughened Grace): This ability bolsters your Titan Manifestations. You get another AC increase, the ability to make multiple attacks, and can use TM 3 times. I sometimes hear that Sorcerers can be kind of fragile but I think this ability shores up some of that in a really balanced way.
14th (Titan's Will): You can become a large or huge creature when you use your TM. Your weapon attacks increase and so does your walking speed. You get a new ability when you're a huge creature that expends spell slots AND using this feature replenishes your sorcery points. This level feels kind of jam-packed and I definitely love it. Partcularly the thunderous attack you can make while huge.
18th level (Ancient Colossus): God now this is a magnificent capstone ability. You get advantage on Strength checks and saves while using your TM. You can cast 1st and 2nd level spells at 3rd level (only the titan ones) even if you use a 1st or 2nd level spell slot. Your sorcery points can bump that to 4th level at minimum. AND the best part! You can deal maximum damage with a spell but it ends your Titan Manifestation.
Something I want to highlight which is more fluff than mechanic but I think should be read as mechanical is the new spells. So there are 5 new spells, all first level: blaze, cataclysm, daybreak, glacier, and quake. Sorcerer spells specifically. I don't think there are any spells in 5e that only one class can cast but I would suggest making this exclusive to sorcerers who are Titans for this one line: "Most humanoid spellcasters who attempt the spells fail with catastrophic results." I think it's an interesting idea to limit these particular spells to a specific origin.
Something else I'm really excited about is the way the Titan Heart resembles the Rune Knight in a number of ways while still being wholly unique. The two subclasses fit in a sort of enlargement niche without stepping on each other's toes.
This article also includes a friendly elf that has been touched by a titan AND a Titan Heart retainer.
Jump on Mounted Combat
by Willy Abeel
Astride her noble destrier, the knight in shining armor charges a looming giant. The elven paladin emerges from a shadowy forest on her unicorn steed. Copper, Standard-bearer of the Chain of Acheron, bounds across the rooftops of Capital on the back of Big Cat, his loyal feline mount.
This by far was my favorite article! There are new stat blocks for mounts, rules for training mounts AND an adventure for characters to get the hang of the new mounting rules.
The new stat blocks are for Basilisk mounts, Warhorse mounts, Giant toad mounts, nightmare mounts, hippogriff mounts, owlbear mounts.
Right now you might be thinking hey some of these are a little too powerful to be giving to PC, like the basilisk. Well, you'd be wrong. Each stat block has been tailor-made so that if the PCs do get these mounts your encounters can still be balanced and PCs don't have access to powerful monsters.
The taming a creature rules are simple and pretty fun utilizing degrees of success and failure such as what happens if you fail the DC by 5 or more or you pass the DC by 5 or more and a bunch in between.
Uqaviel the Recreant
by Sadie Lowry
They call him “traitor.” Heretic. Apostate. Recreant. But before that, they called him the Shard of Dawn. Uqaviel is a cunning celestial villain, fallen from the planes of light. Betrayed by a fellow archangel, he was cast out, deemed the great apostate of the heavens, and bound to the Material Plane for sins he did not commit.
This article delves into Uqaviel’s history and multiple ways to run him as an effective villain, from facing the angel that betrayed him to witnessing how he severed the bonds between the Material Plane and the great celestial realms.
Fuck me. This was a really good article and almost usurped the Mounted Combat as my favorite. While my favorite monster is Mindflayers my favorite monster type is celestials. I think there's a lot of untapped storytelling when it comes to celestials as allies and as villains.
Uqaviel can be either. If you have him give in to his rage and grief over the punishment he didn't deserve and the sins he actually committed to enacting his plan to severe the Material Plane he makes a strong, and compelling villain that also has the capacity for overcoming their villainy and turning back to the light that they were engulfed in, to begin with.
The ritual to severe the world is pretty cool. It's got three parts to it with a brief explanation for the requirements PLUS some notes on what happens when Uqaviel actually interacts with each element. These notes are specifically for ways to get in touch with the goodness inside of Uqaviel.
There's also the option to ignore that storyline and instead try to prove Uqaviel's innocence and the actual guilt of Anahita. Which would take you into the depths of the Nine Hells to get a record of the contract.
My only drawback for this article is the stat blocks for Anahita and Uqaviel. They are CR 24 and 23 and have some pretty abilities and notes on how to run them. I was disappointed not to see them having action-orientated abilities but that's pretty minor.
And that it folks! See you next time for my review of issue 2!