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D&D 5e: Cultist Background 4

For an upcoming project, I felt like the Acolyte background was a little too socially acceptable. The Cultist background presented here is a fairly close cousin to it, but emphasizes an illegal or heretical sect or secret society. As such, I think it’s especially well-suited to warlocks, but I love […]


D&D 5e: Expanded Background Assets 3

In D&D 5e, Backgrounds grant a modest assortment of equipment and a pocketful of starting cash. For many campaigns, this is fine and appropriate. You’re playing wanderers, sellswords, not to say murderhoboes, and a broader base of social and material assets will at best be in a town halfway across the […]


D&D 5e: Serpentkin Roguish Archetype 3

A few months ago, Jeremiah McCoy mentioned wanting a snake-themed roguish archetype, inspired by his long-term King’s Gate character who was a physician and brewer with a bond to the Snake totem. Obviously, barbarians are the class with pre-existing totemic themes, but I wouldn’t be sorry to see totemic themes […]


D&D 5e: Ranger Spells 7

I’ve recently started a Forgotten Realms campaign with Kainenchen and two of our friends, Sam and Ryan. Sam created a tabaxi ranger, planning to go for the Beast Master conclave. (Conclaves are cooler than archetypes, as a descriptor, so I’m running with it.) She has only a little 5e experience, […]


Flesh Grafting

Some time back, I created D&D 5e stats for homunculi – not the tiny bat-winged dudes of D&D tradition, but something more like sapient flesh golems. (I probably don’t have to tell you this – you all read books – but Doctor Homunculus was their creator’s name.) One of the key […]


Celebrating 400 Posts: A Giveaway! 29

This is my 400th published post in Harbinger of Doom. To celebrate the first 399, I’m giving away a copy of Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate! From now until the end of the month, you can enter the giveaway by either: Commenting on this post, or Sending an email to harbinger@brandesstoddard.com. If you feel helping […]


The Forbidden Grimoire of J. Alfred Prufrock 2

Okay, look, quoting T.S. Eliot back and forth at each other was a significant part of how I got to know Kainenchen. All the more so when we reworked “The Naming of Cats” and “The Waste Land” to be about Fallen Earth, the MMO we both worked on. My point is, […]


Campaigns I’d Like to Run: Dread Sigil 3

Some time back, Kainenchen and I were talking about campaigns that pit multiple factions of antagonists against one another, and for the PCs it’s devil take the hindmost. We came up with two different takes on the same high concept: a Planescape/Ravenloft mashup. I’m going to discuss both of them a […]