Transcendent Mode (5e Variant Rule)

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Transcendent Mode[edit]

Rolling up a new character.png

Have you ever started a new campaign with fresh characters and just found yourself bored with the system as a whole? Have you ever wanted to try things that were never supposed to happen in an entirely "serious" campaign setting? Have you ever wanted to be the most socially awkward bard or intellectual barbarian ever? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then Transcendent mode is just for you! Transcendent mode is a variant game mode which changes the very way with which you create the characters of a new campaign. The basic premise is to take all of the worry about optimized builds out of your players' hands and instead have them rely on RNGesus to make their choices.

Rolling up a Character... Literally![edit]

The first basic rule of Transcendent Mode is that everything in character creation is rolled for. For sake of hilarity, everything including stats, race, subrace (if applicable), class, and items are all rolled for. Generally speaking, you may encounter weird dice (e.g. d24), thus refer to here for clarification.

Who Your Character is[edit]

The first step of character creation for Transcendent Mode is to determine what race your character is. The selection of possibilities is entirely up to the DM to determine, however here is the basic list using only "vanilla" races (i.e. those given by WoTC thru the Player's Handbook (PHB), Volo's Guide to Monsters (Volo), and Elemental Evil Player's Companion (EE)). For any race that has options for subraces, the player would roll for those as well. Obviously, the DM can create a list of any and all races he/she may wish to use (e.g. My group had a list of 100 races which I created after looking through all of the homebrew races).

Roll a d24

    1. Arakocra (EE)
    2. Genasi (1d4) (EE)
         1 Air Genasi
         2 Earth Genasi
         3 Fire Genasi
         4 Water Genasi
    3. Goliath (EE)
    4. Aasimar (1d3) (Volo)
         1 Protector Aasimar
         2 Scourge Aasimar
         3 Fallen Aasimar
    5. Firbolg (Volo)
    6. Kenku (Volo)
    7. Lizardfolk (Volo)
    8. Tabaxi (Volo)
    9. Bugbear (Volo)
    10. Goblin (Volo)
    11. Hobgoblin (Volo)
    12. Kobold (Volo)
    13. Yuan-ti Pureblood (Volo)
    14. Orc (Volo)
    15. Dwarf (PHB) (1d2)
         1 Hill Dwarf
         2 Mountain Dwarf
    16. Elf (PHB) (1d2)
         1 High Elf
         2 Dark Elf (Drow)
    17. Halfling (PHB) (1d2)
         1 Lightfoot Halfling
         2 Stout Halfling
    18. Human (PHB)
    19. Dragonborn (PHB) (1d10)
         1 Black Dragonborn
         2 Blue Dragonborn
         3 Brass Dragonborn
         4 Bronze Dragonborn
         5 Copper Dragonborn
         6 Gold Dragonborn
         7 Green Dragonborn
         8 Red Dragonborn
         9 Silver Dragonborn
         10 White Dragonborn
    20. Gnome (1d3)
         1 Forest Gnome
         2 Rock Gnome
         3 Deep Gnome (EE)
    21. Half-Elf
    22. Half-Orc 
    23. Tiefling
    24. Reroll

What Your Character is[edit]

The next step in Transcendent character creation is to roll your character's gender, alignment, and class. For gender, you may find it easiest to just flip a coin, but you may use nonbinary genders is you so will. Alignment is perhaps the very first part of the truly hilarious parts of Transcendent mode. You may quickly find that your character is very odd in their leanings relative to the party and to the character's class.

For alignment, roll a d10

    1. Lawful Good
    2. Neutral Good
    3. Chaotic Good
    4. Lawful Neutral
    5. True Neutral
    6. Chaotic Neutral
    7. Lawful Evil
    8. Neutral Evil
    9. Chaotic Evil
    10. Reroll

For class, roll a d12

    1. Barbarian
    2. Bard
    3. Cleric
    4. Druid
    5. Fighter
    6. Monk
    7. Paladin
    8. Ranger
    9. Rogue
    10. Sorcerer
    11. Warlock
    12. Wizard

Ability Scores: Where the Real Fun Begins.[edit]

The penultimate step of Transcendent character creation is to roll your ability scores *cue thunder*. For those of you that have reached this far, you should have noticed the image at the top of this article. You will do precisely that. For your character's ability scores, roll 1d20 for each in order (i.e. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, in that order specifically). This may have hilarious results at any end of the spectrum, from a character with ridiculous stats to one with abysmal ones, anything could happen. Additionally, it may be advisable to refer to the 3.5e SRD for ability scores to determine the result of having 0 in a given score as if a 1 is rolled for an ability score, its possible to reduce it to 0 (but you may also wish to just say that the minimum is 1). Those pages are given below:

Strength

Dexterity

Constitution

Intelligence

Wisdom

Charisma

What Your Character Has[edit]

The final step of creating a Transcendent character is to roll for items. Each vanilla class has been listed with what you would roll for. The list of rolls for each type is given afterward. if you use homebrew classes, use these as guidelines just ensuring that the player has access to any items that are required to make the class even function (e.g. spell casting foci).

Barbarian

    2d4x10 gp
    Armor
    Martial melee weapon
    2 simple weapons (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Bag

Bard

    5d4x10 gp
    A musical instrument
    Armor
    2 simple weapons (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Bag

Cleric

    5d4x10 gp
    Holy Symbol
    Armor
    Simple or Martial weapon (Roll 1d2. 1: simple 2: martial. Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Simple weapon (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Bag

Druid

    2d4x10 gp
    Druidic focus
    Armor
    a: wooden shield or b: simple weapon (Roll 1d2. 1: a 1: b)
    Simple melee weapon
    Bag

Fighter

    5d4x10 gp
    Armor
    a: Martial weapon and shield or b: 2 martial weapons (Roll 1d2. 1: a 2:b. Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged for each)
    Simple weapon (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Bag

Monk

    5d4 gp
    Simple weapon (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Simple ranged weapon
    Bag

Paladin

    5d4x10 gp
    Holy symbol
    Armor
    a: Martial weapon and shield or b: 2 martial weapons (Roll 1d2. 1: a 1: b.  Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged for each)
    Simple melee weapon
    Bag

Ranger

    5d4x10 gp
    Armor
    Martial ranged weapon
    2 Simple melee weapons
    Bag


Rogue

    4d4x10 gp
    Thieves’ Tools
    Armor
    Martial melee weapon
    2 Simple weapons (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged for each)
    Bag

Sorcerer

    3d4x10 gp
    Armor
    Simple Weapon (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged)
    Component pouch or an arcane focus
    Bag

Warlock

    4d4x10 gp
    Armor
    2 Simple weapons (Roll 1d2. 1: melee 2: ranged for each)
    Component pouch or an arcane focus
    Bag

Wizard

    4d4x10 gp
    Component pouch or an arcane focus
    A spellbook
    Armor
    Simple melee weapon
    Bag


Armor (1d4)

    1. No Armor
    2. Leather Armor
    3. Scale Mail
    4. Chain Mail

Simple Melee Weapons (1d10)

    1. Club
    2. 2 Daggers
    3. Greatclub
    4. 2 Handaxes
    5. 5 Javelins
    6. Light Hammer
    7. Mace
    8. Quarterstaff
    9. Sickle
    10. Spear

Simple Ranged Weapons (1d4)

    1. Light Crossbow
    2. 10 Darts
    3. Shortbow
    4. Sling

Martial Melee Weapons (1d20)

    1. Battleaxe
    2. Flail
    3. Glaive
    4. Greataxe
    5. Halberd
    6. Lance
    7. Longsword
    8. Maul
    9. Morningstar
    10. Pike
    11. Rapier
    12. Scimitar
    13. 2 Shortswords
    14. Trident
    15. War Pick
    16. Warhammer
    17. Whip
    18-20. Reroll

Martial Ranged Weapons (1d6)

    1. Blowgun
    2. 2 Hand Crossbows and 20 Bolts
    3. Heavy Crossbow and 20 Bolts
    4. Longbow
    5. Net
    6. Reroll

Bags: Roll 1d30 2d6 times and get a Backpack (you can adjust this as you see fit in practice)

    1. Book of Lore
    2. Bottle of Ink
    3. Ink Pen
    4. 10 Parchment
    5. Bag of Sand
    6. Small Knife
    7. Crowbar
    8. Hammer
    9. 10 Pitons
    10. Bedroll
    11. Blanket
    12. Mess Kit
    13. Tinderbox
    14. 10 Torches
    15. 10 Candles
    16. 5 Candles
    17. Hooded Lantern
    18. 2 Oil Flasks
    19. 10 Days Rations
    20. 5 Days Rations
    21. 2 Days Rations
    22. Waterskin
    23. 50’ Hemp Rope
    24. 10’ String
    25. Alms Box
    26. 2 Incense Blocks
    27. Censer
    28. Vestments
    29. 1000 Ball Bearings
    30. Bell		

What About This Thing You Didn't Explain?[edit]

My group didn't ever really delve into backgrounds and other such things so I never wrote any particular rules for how to determine these things. You may wish to roll for them or simply let the players create a backstory and choose a background based upon what else they rolled. This could of course lead to any number of hilarious and memorable characters. Additionally since the players rolled for all their things, it may be worthwhile or palatable to have the DM roll for all of the encounters or towns just to see what happens. Obviously, all of these rules are meant to cause ridiculous things to happen. For example, we had a demolitionist in one party which accidentally used a bomb on the 2000 ball bearings that our rogue had poured on the ground in order to trip the undead ogres we were fighting... in a small enclosed room. The result being as you would imagine. Feel free to add any rules you use to determine any of these other things. For example, you might decide to have players roll for archetypes, spells learnt, ability score increases, or feats.


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