Uncovered Arcana for June 15: Variant Rules

Before I begin with this, there is something I forgot to tell you from last week’s Encounters session: In the group, we have a Drow Wild Mage (Sorcerer) who by now … well … he’s no longer a drow.

For those who seen the Wild Magic table in the Player’s Handbook, one of those Wild Magic effects is that your character’s skin turns into a vibrant shade of blue. This character rolled that result earlier in the campaign, so his colors are now blue skin with white hair.

If you can guess by the title image, you can see where this is going:

Last week, he did the Wild Magic table and….he rolled this same result again. This time, I didn’t just make his skin blue. I shrunk him down, turned his clothes solid white and turned his face into a cupie doll.

Yes, ladies and germs, We have a wild mage smurf in my encounter party.

Lolth is very, very, pissed off at me right now. But who cares, that eight-legged bitch sics SWAT teams at #Gamergate supporters, so I’m getting her back.

What’s worse, this is a doubling of a curse, so the remove curse ritual has to be performed twice, and I’ll make no guarantee that it’ll completely succeed. Heh heh heh.

Making a special rule for this character is really going to be a treat for me. Which leads me to this month’s Unearthed Arcana at Wizards.

I’m glad that Wizards is considering the incorporation of Home Rules in 5th Edition, which will help keep the game adaptable for player and DM’s tastes. I do have my own House Rules, some already canonized into the publications (Such as the Spell Point Variant which is available for both characters and spellcasting NPCs. A single number is easier to track, and I have made the proper reference to the original material when I have to copy WOTC’s books.) while others I borrowed from other games, the most borrowed being Fatecore, with the use of a node map instead of a grid, adding Fate Points features to my Action Point mechanic, and most recently including Fudge Dice into the mix (Protip: You can go cheap by using store-bought dice from where you get your playing cards; 1 and 2s are minuses, and 5 and 6s are pluses. Behind the DM screen nobody would care what they look like.) I also include an injury mechanic with a special d12 just for that purpose, and in later sessions, I’ll be bringing back critical and fumble tables as well, which I omitted in my Princes of the Apocalypse table because of the sheer number of players involved.

As for the variants in this Unearthed Arcana? I’d say that the first one of letting the players roll for the monsters would be a good idea to keep people from looking out the window. Vitality, however, would be a bit too mechanical as opposed to my Injury Dice. But customized Alignments, that has some possibilities, because even with the return of the dual axis old-school alignment array, I find the traditional D&D alignments to be somewhat abstract and not as realistic for some areas. I’ve seen cases, even in real life, where someone in one alignment warps around into an opposing side, like in the classic “He Who Fights Monsters” scenario.

What I’d like to see, and what I’ll probably do in my own homemade campaigns, is to incorporate something from the other WOTC franchise: MTG’s Color Wheel.


Mark Rosewater once made a series of articles describing the flavor of each of these colors: Green, White, Blue, Black, and Red. I refer back to these five articles from time to time when I ponder where some of my characters stand in its many combinations. (25 in all, including “Guilds”, “Shards”, and “Clans”) I find it a lot more variable and accommodating to the majority of my characters and NPCs which makes the lure to include the Color Wheel into a D&D setting very alluring. And besides, it’s easier then incorporating the cards into the game, which every time I consider it leads to an awful mess.

Also to be spoken is that you can get White and LG villains as well as Black and CE heroes eventually in any campaign world. Like I said, “He Who Fights Monsters.”

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