Dungeons and Dragons: TSW Homebrew Release

It’s taken me longer than I expected, but I have now cleaned up my notes for homebrew adapting the setting of The Secret World to fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons enough for a public release. Included in this are a core rulebook with everything you need to create characters and play in the setting, a short campaign of four “issues” (adventures), and a bestiary with stats for all the monsters in the campaign.

The Black Pharoah Akhenaten in The Secret WorldYou can download the files from my Google Drive.

Features include:

  • New death mechanics reflecting the immortality of Gaia’s chosen.
  • A sanity mechanic.
  • Racial choices replaced by five playable factions: The Illuminati, the Dragon, the Templars, the Brotherhood of Phoenician Sailors, and the Council of Venice, each with unique perks and abilities.
  • New feats, skills, and backgrounds (I’m especially proud of the Conspiracy Theorist background).
  • New subclasses for all playable classes (some classes are disallowed because I feel they clash with the setting). Some of these are direct adaptations of abilities and builds from the original MMO — leech heal with the Reaper archetype for rangers, or regen like Wolverine as a Predator rogue — while others are entirely new ability sets inspired by the lore of the setting. Pacify your enemies with the Sleepless Lullaby as a College of Binding bard, or follow in the footsteps of Theodore Wicker by choosing the Hellraiser origin for your sorcerer.
  • Rules for driving cars.
  • New and reflavoured items and equipment.

I tried to design this to be equally playable by both hardcore TSW fans and people with no prior experience in the setting (a difficult tightrope to walk). None of my friends played the MMO, and I do want this to be a tool to help introduce more people to the awesomeness of TSW. The core rulebook includes a lore primer to help people who don’t know TSW; however, you can ignore it if you already know the setting.

Some caveats:

  • This is an adaptation of the mechanics of the original version of The Secret World, not Legends. I don’t wish to rehash any debates, but I feel the original TSW was a superior game and a better expression of the setting.
  • The bestiary only includes monsters that were used in the campaign I wrote. If you want to create new stories, you’ll likely have to build your own monsters, or repurpose existing D&D creatures.
  • I fully expect some people to disagree with my interpretations of the setting (I expect my list of what classes are and are not playable to especially controversial). That’s okay. I encourage everyone to tweak things as they see fit. I’ll be surprised if anyone ends up playing this with exactly the rules I wrote.
  • I am not a professional game designer, and this hasn’t been rigorously play-tested. I tried to balance out the most broken stuff (my original draft for Backer warlock was horrifying), but there are still bound to be many balance issues. As much as possible, I tried to err on the side of making players too powerful rather than too weak.
  • More than anything else, I want to stress that I see this as a starting point for adapting D&D to tabletop, not a total conversion. Manage your expectations accordingly.

That’s about all there is to say. If anyone does end up playing using my homebrew, please let me know! I’d love to hear your feedback, and any war stories on how it went.

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