Mouser (Swashbuckler Archetype)

A small blade in the hands of someone exceptionally brave can be just as effective as a mighty weapon of war, even against massive foes.

Not only is this an statement in relation to how daring can save the day, but also a matter of fact that larger foes are typically poorly defended on their undersides, or at least have difficulty retaliating at foes that get underneath them. It’s the same reason a turtle tries its best to stay rightside up, and why massive heard animals try to keep smaller predators from approaching.

Mousers are those that take advantage of those weaknesses, learning to boldly move close and under a larger foe in order to undermine them from below. As such, most such swashbucklers tend to crop up among the smaller races, as they have more reason than most to have to fight larger targets by virtue of being smaller than most potential foes. However, in realms where many massive monsters exist, even human-sized races can find need to train in this way.

Taking advantage of a missed swing, these dashing warriors can move uncomfortably close to a larger foe, slipping under them, making it difficult for them to focus on any foe but the mouser, leaving them open to other foes .

Larger foes also tend to not notice when small items go missing, and mousers can take advantage of the pain of an attack to sneakily steal items in their possession.

The key to bringing down large foes often means undermining them to negate the advantage of size, and so these swashbucklers learn every dirty trick in the book to bring them down to earth.

Finally, these warriors recognize the need to avoid being pinned down, and so they learn to launch high-speed charging attacks on the fly, always running past after their attacks to avoid reprisal.

If you’re planning on playing a small swashbuckler, or else one in a campaign filled with large, mighty foes, this archetype may be perfect for a build that focuses on undermining such massive foes. I recommend a mobility, hit-and run build, possibly with vital strike as well, to get the most out of single attacks.

There is little to differentiate the plethora of possible personalities of this archetype when compared to the vanilla swashbuckler, other than perhaps their quips and taunts being more focused on the size and clumsiness of their larger foes. They might see larger foes as brutes and bullies using their size to torment the small, which makes them perfect for freedom fighter backstories.

 

Given how dangerous the fey realms can be, gnomes and gathlain alike learn early on how to turn their small size to their advantage in combat, a lesson they took with them to the mortal world. Stories abound of trolls being tricked into burning themselves alive, and hill giants brought low by a hundred narrow cuts.

The Coalition of Titans, a massive army of giants, has plagued the region for decades now, their remote strongholds making them hard to counterassault even when driven back. Even races normally unwilling to provide aid are putting in their effort to fight back, such as squadrons of gnoll giant-catchers, whom work in teams to bring down larger foes, capturing them for interrogation.

Though normally limited in their scope, a new choker threat has begun to work its way up from the world below. These specially-trained aberrations not only strangle foes, but are unafraid to get up close and personal with foes, overwhelming them with their many tentacle limbs. This has strained the dwarven defenders of Yunok, but the question of who is training these shock troops remains unanswered.

4

I’m doing an oceanic campaign for a new group and I’ve put together some materials for them - this is a quick little showcase of the normal & exotic races they can choose from. I also did two for the monsters of the world. I’ve got tons of naval combat, piracy, storms, leviathans planned for them. Is gonna be great

I just thought of an EVIL dungeon.

Backstory: i work for a company that does vacation packages (I’m not a travel agent because im hourly with incentive not purely commission). One of the partner hotels gave THIS as a way to encourage us to book through them. It’s basically a six sided maze with pits where the ball gets stuck but the more i stared at the it the more i wanted to make it in a game.

So you’ll need one of these, that way you know your map is properly aligned. Photocopy it and trace it (to scale) onto grid paper. Let your adventurers go around on it.

The goal is to clear all the sides and get to be center. The pits i mentioned earlier are designed to get the ball stuck but i say make those lead to other sides like short cuts, and in doing so your players will see there is a portal to go through in the center they must find the right one. (They can’t go into the wrong hole see the portal and travel to it like by flying).

When they first begin they think it’s just a maze but when they get to the edge it looks like a cliff with canals cut into them vertically. As they attempt to scale down it it, the gravity shifts and they’re walking right side up. If they get to the hole and attempt to scale down it, same thing. If they throw something down the side it will land on the floor and reveal the gravity shift and the 3 dimensional nature of the maze.

Each side has some small villains, a mini boss (your discretion) and there’s a major boss blocking the portal in the center. “Find the path” and “guidance” doesn’t work, and you cant raise above the wall. Once they defeat a mini boss give them a hint which way to go so they can clear all six sides. Obviously give them some dead ends where they can rest and recover. This will REALLY aggravate your players but give them decent rewards along the way to keep them motivated, don’t skimp out on the magic items (if you don’t want to get too many magic items make them consumable magic items like spell scrolls and potions).

The maze is on a demiplane. Once they clear it and get to the center, perhaps they can use it as their own prison for future encounters.

Variant: if your players are god tier (in the 20 range) then maybe you can add a divine twist to it: those who know the Kobold legend know they constantly seek their god Kurtulmak who was trapped in an underground maze by the gnome god Garl Glittergold. But they’ve been digging for eons now and no sign of their god. Maybe that’s because Garl was a crafty gnome and didn’t hide Kurtulmak on the material plane but a demi Plane. Maybe your characters are in the same maze being chased by Kurtulmak and they must escape without freeing him.

7

Here’s a picture of all the characters in my D&D group! I’ve been having a blast playing this with a bunch of friends for a while and felt like drawing their awesome characters. 

None of them are mine, except Menuet, the half-elf druid. Galdrik, the half-orc bard, is @suroseno ‘s ! 

Our lovely DM also streams our sessions every saturday night, meet us there!

I adore this character. She’s tiny, she’s tough, and she’s so adorable. If only she could get a handle on her… appetite. 

Anyways, thought I’d do some fanart of this game because I loved the ambiguous story and I love the character/creature design. Hoping the next DLC features more Six! Just hope they don’t explain too much–I’m enjoying the questions.

d&d 5e ranger idea:
  • roll a gnome beastmaster and get a giant frog companion
  • giant frogs can swallow small creatures, like gnomes
  • train it to swallow you without harming you
  • construct a gnomish clockwork periscope and snorkel
  • climb into your giant frog and hide there all day every day
  • in combat, pop out and fire arrows then pop back in
  • enemies look where arrows came from but it’s just a frog
  • for bonus points, use minor illusion or ventriloquism to speak through it so everyone thinks you’re a giant awakened frog