There’s plenty of official content for Dungeons & Dragons, but intrepid homebrew designers often lead the charge for much needed changes.
Dungeons & Dragons has a lot of content, but the call for new material is a common one. Enter homebrew, the creation of new Dungeons & Dragons elements by players and amateur designers. Sometimes homebrew, or similarly hacking tabletop RPGS, can be a little too specific to be of much use to the vast majority of players, but every once in a while an intrepid designer can put out an excellent addition to Dungeons & Dragons.
Dungeons & Dragons is a social tabletop game in which players and a Dungeon Master, or DM, work together to create a narrative adventure. There are plenty of rules to ensure that these narrative adventures retain order and a level of fair play, but there’s no reason that players can’t change or add rules to mix up the experience. In the case of homebrew rules, the changes are often in the things that players can choose for their characters, a subject popular in even official releases like the rules changes in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
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The Elements & Beyond, written by Benevolent Evil as part of a wider D&D Unleashed homebrew work, has put in tons of effort to make its volume a tight and playable expansion for players looking to add new subclasses, races, and spells to their game of Dungeons & Dragons. The most interesting of these changes are listed below, but the whole tome is available for free on Benevolent Evil’s website.
Dungeons & Dragons Unleashed: New Character Options
The search for well-balanced new player options are often at the heart of homebrew. The Elements & Beyond tries to remedy this by giving players access to new races, backgrounds, the necessary new D&D subclasses, and feats. There are 13 additional races included with standouts like the Corvians, a race of raven-like humanoids who balance frail bodies with perfect memories, and Deeplings, octopus-like people who can camouflage their skin. The subclasses offer interesting changes to the standard fare, like Fire Keeper Rangers, who use controlled flames to fight fires and fire-starters.
Dungeons & Dragons Unleashed: New Spells
The Elements & Beyond includes dozens of new spells for D&D players and DMs to use, as long as the DM isn’t afraid of them being too overpowered. These range from fun cantrips like Needle Surge, which temporarily sprout piercing needles from the casters body, to Animate Tree, an 8th level Druid spell that allows a tree the caster touches to uproot and animate for up to an hour.
Dungeons & Dragons Unleashed: New Monsters
A DM favorite, adding fluffy new monsters into a game always brings new joy and challenge to players as long as they have some good D&D combat feats. The Elements & Beyond has an excellent selection of new monsters for DMs to tinker with and add to their games. Kobold Dirtclaws are basically Earth Benders from Avatar: The Last Airbender, while the monstrous Lava Worm can present a world altering challenge.
There is plenty more waiting for the intrepid Dungeons & Dragons player in The Elements & Beyond. Players and DMs who want to bring a little well-researched homebrew magic into their next campaign or session should definitely give it a shot. It’s definitely worth the price of admission. Now everyone just needs to form a Dungeons & Dragons group online and get playing!
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