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Azoun's Guide to Heroic Collaboration
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Azoun's Guide to Heroic Collaboration


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Azoun's Guide to Heroic Collaboration

Utility Class Features for Martial Heroes

Explore your martial characters in new and exciting ways ... out of combat! This supplement includes out of combat class features for the following martial-leaning classes:

  • Barbarian
  • Fighter
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
Within, you will find class features that will give you tools to help the party beyond skills and roleplaying. Instead, you will gain features that will spark creativity and character development in ways usually reserved for spellcasters.

Build a new party where everyone can contribute! Collaborate heroically!

Read The Introduction to Azoun's Guide to Heroic Collaboration Below:

From his great throne in Suzail, King Azoun Obarskyr IV kept watch over Cormyr through many dangers. At the height of his power, Azoun led armies and negotiated treaties, but at one time the now-King was more adventerous - in more ways than one - and he could be found battling mystical creatures in endless forests or avoiding traps in the darkest dungeons. As with most adventurers, he traveled with companions with legendary capabilities, which he never forgot. Indeed, he had more than a few memorable talents himself.

What you hold now are Azoun's memoirs; the recollections of those great feats. If you have been so fortunate as to gain the King's favor, plumb these pages with care. They hold the secrets that will cause your companions to long remember your great acts when the need was greatest.

Azoun's Guide to Heroic Collaboration is a celebration the greatest deeds and most creative talents ever attributed to martial characters. These pages contain several addtional class features for the character classes that rely more on their physical prowess than magic in combat. If ever you wished that a fighter would be more fun to play outside of combat, this is the guide for you.

The Other Two Pillars

Dungeons and Dragons is a game about adventurers. Whether  they be climbing a cliff face, negotiating with diplomats, investigating a murder, or, yes, even killing monsters, adventurers ought to feel unique and interesting. While exploring a ruin, a bard may use Bardic Inspiration to prepare for the ruins, while a wizard scries ahead of the party. In negotiations, clerics may cast zone of truth, while the warlock magically disguises herself with a Mask of Many Faces.

Unfortunately, for martial classes, such as fighters, rogues, and monks, their ability to participate in exploration or social interaction is comparatively limited by skills. In negotiations, both the fighter and the rogue use Persuation and Intimidation (to similar results). Wilderness exploration comes down to the Survival skill for Monks and Rangers alike.

Of course, in many ways, spellcasters need to have an edge in out-of-combat utility, since it lets the wizard or bard feel mysterious and unpredictable. However, as we have said, adventurers should feel distinct and interesting out in the world too - not just in combat.

That's where this supplement will help!

The Cost of Utility

To be clear right out of the gate, none of these features ask a player to exchange anything for the features offered in this supplement. In terms of their ability in combat, martial characters are well balanced with spellcasters and no changes are necessary. On the other hand, generally, the features offered in this supplement should see very little use in combat and, if they are used, they will not affect combat potency in a significant way.

Rather, these features are a straight buff to out of combat utility - giving additional features and taking none in return. These changes are not meant to be balanced with the same martial classes in the Player's Handbook, but to begin to balance them with spellcasters in terms of utility.

Solidifying An Identity

There is one more reason that this supplement is exciting and necessary: class identity. Even just walking through town, people can spot the druid from the wizard. The sorcerer has a different manner from the bard, even just sitting in a tavern.

In the case of martial-leaning classes, the entire identity of the class revolves around what it does in combat, with little or no bearing on their identity elsewhere. Even doing something like talking to a noble, a rogue might be indestinguishable from a ranger, or even a paladin from a fighter.

That doesn't feel quite right.

This supplement takes steps to build out story beats and an identity for those classes. With the features that fill the following pages, we will choose a strong out-of-combat identity for the fighter, the monk, and the barbarian, among others, and allow classes to fill a distinct role in the stories we choose to tell.

Why No Love For Spellcasters?

Let's be honest. If you want to be useful out of combat, you probably already chose a spellcaster. Why spend so much time adding these features to classes that obviously don't want them?

Well, honestly, these changes are for the players that like to play spellcasters!

If you're like me, you've played several spellcasters, but the idea of throwing sneak attack daggers fills you with glee. The problem is that, once combat ends, things get boring. Everything comes down to a skill roll and I can't just rely on a fun feature I have to solve problems.

For people who want to get some of the joy of being reliable outside of combat, these features allow you to fill a flavorful role in your party and allow your creativity to occasionally save the day.

Is This Balanced with Spellcasters?

One of the main purposes of this supplement is to give each martial class a niche in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. To varying degrees, spellcasters have amazing adaptability - able to quickly change from healing to damage to utility with only slightly altered preparation. The martial utility options presented here tend to have much less adaptability - instead delivering on reliability and, occasionally, earlier access.

It is important to note that the biggest game changers come after Level 7. This is because most spellcasters must sacrifice some combat prowess for utility early in the game. Around Level 7, the need to choose between combat power and utility largely fades, and it is at this point that martial characters fall furthest behind spellcasters.

Reflavoring the Features

For many martial classes, particularly fighters and rogues, the lack of out-of-combat options has led to these classes being catch-all classes with little or no common identity. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, in order to create flavorful features, it is necessary to choose a theme and follow it.

Each of the features presented were created to follow a central theme for the class, but usually in the broadest way possible. Generally, these abilities should apply to many, many backstories.

But, if you find that a certain feature doesn't quite fit, I would encourage you to simply reflavor it to fit your backstory and temperment, rather than throw out the mechanical benefit.

It is, after all, fairly common for players of wizards to claim they learned their power from a supernatural patron, rather than from books. Or for clerics to gain their power from belief rather than from a god. Or even for bards to claim their musical talent comes from draconic ancestry. Theming class abilities is a long and honored tradition in D&D. I would encourage you to make use of it here as well.

Leaving One Out

Some abilities, though, might just not appeal to you. As with any features in Dungeons and Dragons, you are under no compulsion to take any class features.

With the exception of some later features that rely on earlier features to function, feel free to pick and choose which class features you want to use and which you would rather avoid.

Enjoy and Good Luck Out There!

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Customer avatar
Philipe M April 09, 2019 8:19 pm UTC
I have been following this homebrew since the day it was released looking for the time when it shows up in the popular section, and it breaks my heart not to see it there. You really should advertise it on something like r/unearthedarcana or r/dndhomebrew. Granted, you would need to change the cost to be Pay What You Want, but it's still a way to expose the work.
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File Last Updated:
March 04, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on March 04, 2019.