Friday, October 25, 2013

The Many Days of Horror! - Revenants in D&D Next

Revenants in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

The revenant was first introduced as a playable race in an issue of Dragon Magazine, and quickly adopted as a full option later on. The Revenant appeared in “Heroes of Shadow” which remains one of my favorite 4th edition era books, full of good stuff for use with a macabre campaign centered in the Shadowfell.  It was part of the post-Essentials line of 4E books, one of the first in fact, and so was a bit divisive among some 4E fans that preferred the style/feel of the pre-Essentials content vs. the post-Essentials approach.

I can say this much: the revenant is a cool concept, a sort of undead who has been given a new lease on life, usually by a divine power (The Raven Queen in 4E) with an interest in using a determined agent in the mortal plane to get some task done or some wrong righted. Revenants could be a product of any god of the dead or undead….Orcus, Pluto/Hades, Nergal, Morrigan, Ereshkigal….you name it. Any god could grab a petitioner of their court and turn them into a revenant, destined to accomplish some long term goal that requires a free-willed undead.

Converting the revenant to 5th edition (the September Final Playtest version) is pretty easy, actually. I have retained a few of the 4E-isms in the conversion because they don’t break the system in any way (i.e. having a choice of two stats to apply a bonus to) and done the rest as a “design appropriate” conversion to reflect the 5th edition principles and mechanics.

Revenant Adventurer Statistics:

Modifiers: Dex +1 and choose one: charisma or constitution +1

Size: medium

Speed: 30 feet

Revenant Properties:

Lowlight vision: Revenants have lowlight vision, and are able to see in low light with the same ability as elves and other species with the same trait.

Language: common and one other that may be appropriate to whatever the revenant knew in his or her former life.

Undead Traits: like other undead revenants are immune to disease, poison and necrotic damage. Revenants cannot be put to sleep, and do not in turn need sleep (though they need four hours of meditation as an elf to recover magic). Revenants do not  eat or drink except as they choose to.

Past Life: revenants may take on an aspect of their former life; choose one race with which to identify from the revenant’s former living existence and gain its qualities for purposes of nature. Thus an elven revenant would be typed  as an elf for purposes of effects that relate to elves.

Unnatural Vitality: when you would be unconscious or dying you retain consciousness, not dropping until actual death (but you continue to act as you would with negative hit points otherwise for purposes of mortality checks). During this period you may take actions as normal but are at disadvantage on all actions.

Dark Reaping: revenants can syphon a portion of death energy away from an individual who has died or is near death. When a creature within 25 feet of you hits 0 hit points you may add 1D6 necrotic damage to your next attack. This ability can be regained after use following a short rest.

Sample Revenant:

Varaman dann Praedor
Octzellan knight, human revenant, fighter                
Level     1                             
Alignment:         neutral good
Background:       Noble                   
Homeland:         Octzel (Capitol)
STR         16 (+3)
DEX        13 (+1)
CON       16 (+3)
INT         10 (0)
WIS        9 (-1)
CHA       10 (0)
HPs        13
Proficiency +1
AC          16 (chain mail)
Move    30’ (25’ in armor)

Languages: Common (middle tongue), orcish, Old Tongue

Skills: Athletics (STR),  History (INT), Insight (WIS), Persuasion (CHA)

Fighter Traits: Great Weapon Fighting (deal STR dmg on miss), Second Wind (1D6+fighter level temp hit points for 5 minutes)

Noble Traits: 3 retainers: Jorvune Grayson, butler; Tamarin Dane, squire, and Lady Arianna Tovalish, publicity agent

Equipment: fine clothes, signet ring, sealing wax, scroll of pedigree, riding horse, saddle, bridle, grooming kit, feed (1 wk), 29 GP, 5 SP

Chainmail armor (AC 16, -5 feet move, Disadv. Stealth)
Greatsword (2D6+3 slashing, heavy two-handed)
3 hand axes (1D6+3 slashing, light thrown 20/60)

Varaman dann Praedor was a foppish noble who had trained in the martial arts at his father’s behest but was in fact a natural rake, always chasing women and getting into trouble. His death was ignominious; while riding drunk along the street adjacent to the Dreaming Wall in Octzel with two lasses he fell from his horse and broke his neck.

Hermes, assigned the task of dragging his unworthy soul to the underworld for judgement took pity upon the man, and decided to let him return with one missive: he must commit to four great deeds to make himself worthy before the gods. With that Varaman dann Praedor awoke, a revenant, and now only his most dedicated servants continue to work with him, aware of his true nature, to help the wayward knight ascertain what his second chance calling will amount to.

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