Posted by : David Guyll December 08, 2010
Reskinning isn't a new concept, and today's Dragon article gives us two-and-a-third pages worth of advice on changing names, descriptions, and damage types. I found the article a bit weak, because the author suggests simple changes that people have already been doing for years. On the first page, he describes renaming the druid evocation thorn spray to debris spray to better fit his theme. While this is something that I appreciate, preferring to make thematic characters over optimized ones, I can easily swap thunder damage for fire damage in thunderwave, and call it firewave.
While the author also explains that not all energy types are created equally, this is both not new information or difficult to find. Even if you don't flip through the various monster books or frequent the forums, its a simple matter of doing a quick search through D&D Compendium: resist cold returns 281 entries under creatures, fire gets 547, force 72, and necrotic 722. The lesson is that be wary about swapping energy types for less resisted ones, something that I suspect players might try in order gain a slight advantage. One thing that the author fails to mention is that energy types also tend to carry certain themes: cold likes to slow and immobilize, fire likes to deal lots of damage, thunder and force add forced movement, and so on.
One the second page, there's a couple paragraphs where the author recommends changing the names of all the monk disciplines, which I found a bit misleading. By renaming them to maneuvers like hard right hook and haymeker, he believes that it would make it easy to envision it as a westernized pugilist. Not only do I not agree with people who think that the monk doesn't fit in, but when I read pugilist I think martial power source, and there's no explanation for the crazy stunts that is feasible for a monk to achieve. The brawler fighter is a better example, since he cannot jump insanely high, punch people from far away, or teleport.
The only part of the article that I enjoyed was the last bit, where he creates a minotaur infernal pact warlock and renames some of the spells. Not because he renamed some of the spells, but because of how he interprets the effects in relation to the race choice. Unfortunately, it gets about a half-page.