Design & Development
Special Ability Winners



We're hoping this column becomes your window into roleplaying design and development -- or at least the way we approach these things here at Wizards of the Coast. We'll handle a wide range of topics in weeks to come, from frank discussions about over- or underpowered material, to the design goals of a certain supplement, to what we think are the next big ideas for the Dungeons & Dragons game. All of this comes bundled with a healthy look at the people and events that are roleplaying R&D.

This week, we present the winning special abilities from the candidates you nominated.


The Winners

In last time’s You Craft the Creature vote, we asked you to choose what special abilities our Aberrant Mastermind (affectionately known as the AMM) would have. The votes are in, and here are the results!

First Choice:

Blasphemous Geometries (EX): Being an outsider from another dimension, the [AMM]’s form does not translate well on the Prime Material plane, appearing to be composed of obscene angles and planes, making it difficult to perceive by natives. As a result of its alien nature, the [AMM]’s body reacts strangely and unpredictably to native objects traveling in normal vectors toward it. A targeted attack, whether melee, ranged, arcane or otherwise, has a 10% chance per number of [AMM]’s opponents in a 10ft. radius of being redirected randomly at one of these opponents. Area of Effects would not be affected. --Formalhoute

Blasphemous Geometries: 11.2%
That Won't Work on Me Twice: 10.2%
Wild Magic Aura: 9.3%
Aura of Vengeance: 9.2%
Sacrificing Minions: 8.7%
Euphoric Strike: 6.4%
Spell Hijack: 6.3%
Strings of the Marionette: 5.6%
Doom Coffin: 5.5%
Bodywalk: 4.8%
Learn by Subjection: 4.1%
Aura of Peace: 3.7%
Chromantic Aura: 3.4%
Uninvited Hive Mind: 3.1%
Enchanting Encapsulation: 2.5%
Thoroughly Disgusting: 2.3%
Disguise the Darkness: 2.2%
Activate Id: 1.6%

Second Choice:

Wild Magic Aura (Su): The [AMM] is a natural conduit for wild magic. Anyone within 120 ft. of the [AMM] must make a DC 25 caster level check whenever casting a spell or using a spell-like ability. Failure means the spell is affected as if it had been cast in a wild magic zone (see pg. 150 of the DMG). The [AMM]’s spells are not affected by this aura. --JohnnyONeal

Wild Magic Aura: 11.1%
That Won't Work on Me Twice: 10.7%
Spell Hijack: 8.8%
Sacrificing Minions: 6.9%
Euphoric Strike: 6.8%
Blasphemous Geometries: 6.2%
Learn by Subjection: 5.8%
Aura of Vengeance: 5.7%
Bodywalk: 5.7%
Strings of the Marionette: 5.5%
Thoroughly Disgusting: 5.2%
Doom Coffin: 5.0%
Uninvited Hive Mind: 4.5%
Aura of Peace: 3.2%
Chromantic Aura: 3.0%
Enchanting Encapsulation: 2.1%
Disguise the Darkness: 1.9%
Activate Id: 1.8%

Honorable Mentions

Coming second in both votes, we should at least give mention to MagicUser18's That Won't Work On Me Twice:

That Won’t Work on Me Twice (EX): Anytime an effect or attack is used against the [AMM], its internal chemistry changes in order to stop such an attack from hurting it again. This only takes effect after the [AMM] has been healed. It gains immunity to any specific spell, weapon or ability used on it that caused at least half its HP in damage or otherwise nearly defeated it. Lesser abilities are negated completely while more powerful abilities will have less effect (e.g., half damage, bonus on saves). --MagicUser18

We should also give honorable mention to The Crystal Mind, for correcting guessing both first and second place abilities on the message boards: "Personal favorites must go to Blasphemous Geometries and Wild Magic Aura. The geometries is what causes magic to go all screwy in its area."

Special Abilites Implemented

So what does this mean for our creature? You've voted, so the creature will at least make use of Blasphemous Geometries and Wild Magic Aura. Of course, it may likely have further abilities that we'll vote on in the coming weeks, as we continue to craft our creature. And please remember, these were abilities you voted on in concept, and will still undergo some amount of development and editing.

This Week's Vote: Size

We know our Aberration Mastermind dwells in the forest. But just how much forest space does it occupy? This week, we're asking you to vote on creature size:

What size is this creature?
Fine
Diminutive
Tiny
Small
Medium
Large
Huge
Gargantuan
Colossal

Hey, Where's My Article?

That's true -- these past few weeks, we've been asking you to vote in You Craft the Creature, but we still owe you an article. So be sure to check back early next week for the next Design & Development!

About the Authors

Design: David Noonan is a designer/developer for Wizards of the Coast. His credits include co-designing Dungeon Master's Guide II, Heroes of Battle, and numerous products for the Eberron campaign setting. He lives in Washington state with his wife, son, and daughter.

Development: Jesse Decker is the development manager for RPGs at Wizards of the Coast. His credits include a two-year stint as editor-in-chief of Dragon magazine; design work on Complete Adventurer, DMG II, and other RPG titles; and development work on numerous D&D products, most of which he can’t talk about yet.

Feedback

Thoughts or suggestions for this article? Topics for future Design & Development articles you'd like to see covered? By all means, please feel free to write directly to the authors, at: dndcolumn@wizards.com.


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