Tanares RPG is a third-party D&D 5e compatible adventure and supplement. The Kickstarter campaign already reached over $1.6 M and is about to end on September 30th. Created by Dragori Games, Tanares has some big names on the list of creators such as Ed Greenwood (The Forgotten Realms), Bruce Nesmith (Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, and 4), and Amy Vorpahl (Candlekeep Mysteries, Fizban’s Treasure of Dragons).
Tanares is a massive product
Tanares Kickstarter is so big you will scroll through the page for fifteen minutes. It is MASSIVE! Books, VVT assets, minis, DM screen, maps, and so on. There is a great lot of choices for players, DMs, mini collectors, and painters. Make sure you take a look at the campaign as soon as you finish reading this.
Even if you don’t feel like it’s a good time for you to participate in the Tanares campaign, give it a shout-out on your social media. I believe that supporting 3rd party developers and publishers is essential for the future of the hobby. TTRPG space will be creatively diverse and sustainable if we have more success stories just like Tanares.
Before You Roll in Tenares – New character options
From among all the content, I’ve decided to talk a little about available character options in Player’s Guide to Tanares, one of the books (among Tanares Campaign Sourcebook and Adventure in the Realms of Madness). There is a book sample, with few character choices, available on the Kickstarter campaign page. I’ve picked a few of them to take a closer look, what Tanares introduces in regards to classes and subclasses.
Character options I want to talk about today are:
- [Class] Dragonblade
- [Class] Madwalker
- [Subclass] Wizard – Lost Magic Researcher
- [Subclass] Cleric – Courage Domain
Tanares is big on dragons. They play a significant role in the whole world of Tanares, so I’m not surprised that there is a dragon-specific class. Since there is quite a lot of Dragon-focused content out there, Dragonblade can be easily implemented into other settings and classic campaigns like Tyranny of Dragons.
Dragonblade is a scholar and a warrior and in that regards it has a little bit of Artificer feel to it. I would say it is a hybrid class, somewhere between a fighter, a monk, and a sorcerer.
Since I couldn’t get a glimpse of the subclasses yet, it’s hard to say more about the overall role of this class. I can only assume that there will be several subclasses for Dragonblade, each connected to one of the Avatar Dragons: Azymor, the Red Dragon; Thyra, the Blue Dragon; or Kelorth, the White Dragon. Possibly, emphasizing each of the dragons’ strong points.
Tenares Dragonblade Versatility
Dragonblade has something everyone loves – Versatility. I don’t know a player who looks at their character sheet and regrets having multiple options. Some players like the creativity hidden in constraints, but being able to choose your play style is paramount to great D&D design.
By introducing Draconic Powers, spells-like skills, utilized by Dragonblade, there is little to no limit on how you can approach encounters. Having a resemble of Fighter Battle Master maneuvers, Dragonblade instantly becomes a viable option for players who like to optimize, prepare and adjust their skillset.
The only drawback that seems to surface from reading the sample is the lack of mechanical anchor in the class in form of a recognizable die. It makes the class a little bit more rough and mechanically challenging, comparing to said, Battle Master.
Dragonblade Ultimate Power
Starting at the 3rd level, Dragonblade gets access to a very interesting ability and is most likely my favorite piece of design in this class. Ultimate Power allows to stack the Draconic Power uses and by the right combination, enforce the final skill. The idea of sequencing skills to achieve a bigger and better result is thrilling.
Dragori Games called their adventure Adventure in the Realms of Madness so Madwalker is not out of place here. Connected to Phenumbral Plane ‘where one cannot accurately predict how space, time, or even gravity will work’, Madwalkers are entangled in some insane mechanics.
Madwalker Aberrant Mutations
Similar to Draconic Powers, Tenares Madwalker can use Aberrant Mutations to temporarily modify its body and gain access to powerful techniques. Aberrant Mutations are also something between spells and maneuvers, but by utilizing them, Madwalker gains Insanity Points.
Mutations almost instantly reminded me of Warlock’s Eldritch Invocations, but they are temporary and thus more flexible. Moreover, the alternative Insanity cost has a twist to it. A big, juicy twist!
Madwalker Penumbral Shape
Probably what is going to attract most players to this class is Penumbral Shape. Activated by gaining enough Insanity Points, you can shapeshift into a monster-like creature. Apart from Basic Penumbral Shapes, there are two Trails you can pick from, to enforce the shape – Arachnid Trail and Augury Trail. Arachnid is the one presented in the sample, but truth be told, the Augury seems way more intriguing to me.
If you ever dreamed of becoming a druid straight out of the nightmares, Madwalker is there for you. I’m still not sure how stacking Insanity points and timing the Penumbral Shape would work in an actual play, I’m sure for more mechanically oriented players it will be a treat.
The stunning, evocative art in the book is selling this class. Look how disgusting it is… but come on, who wouldn’t want to chase goblins as Gluttony.
Who would enjoy Dragonblade and Madwalker?
Easily these are picks for more experienced players who can juggle multiple mechanical aspects of the class and utilize them properly. Madwalker seems to pose even more challenges with the shapeshifting ability and intense role-playing context.
Both classes use 1d8 hit die, so there are not the most sturdy. It could pose some threat for Dragonblade since it seems to be the class that excels on the front lines.
Overall the additional layers of mechanical edge make those classes an interesting choice, easily adaptable to other published settings and adventures.
Wizard – Lost Magic Researcher
Lost Magic Researcher is one of two subclasses revealed in the Tanares sample. As most of the designs in the sample, it is presented only partially but it’s enough to pique my interest. This wizard subclass leaves behind the school-specific ties and focuses more on magic manipulation.
Its Magic Imbuement skill allows the wizard to modify the spell by succeeding in an Intelligence (Arcana) check. The only issue I see here is the rather high DC (starting with 17 and growing), which for level 2 wizard can pose quite a challenge. Critical successes and fails add more fun to those rolls because they further influence the effect of the modification.
One of the unrevealed abilities is called Arcane Overcharge so we can probably expect even more ways to enhance the spells and utilize them differently.
I love the underlying truth behind this wizard subclass. If magic can be studied and has almost mathematical precision to it, there are ways to change, customize and reshape the spells in unlimited variations.
Cleric – Courage Domain
Courage Domain Cleric is the second class introduced in the sample. By the way, the art represents also a brand new species in Tanares – Taii’Maku. The creators made a conscious choice to differentiate between races and species, which is also an interesting and smart move.
This domain is pushing the cleric a little bit into the paladin class but not in a way. Nonetheless, we have an intriguing approach to the cleric and an attempt to introduce a small, new subclass mechanic in form of Courage Points. By using them, this cleric empowers its abilities, make them stronger or possibly versatile. 1st level of Courage Domain looks insanely strong so it would be interesting to playtest this cleric against some threads.
I have no idea how this domain is scaling and what we could expect when progressing. The Unyielding Spirit on level 17th sounds promising thou, and I do believe that this piece of design will be one of the most popular in the book.
Support Tanares Kickstarter
The Kickstarter campaign is still going on so don’t forget to take a look at it, pick your pledge or support the product in any way you can. The product looks amazing. It is content-packed and available in many different forms. There is print, digital, VTT-ready.
If you want something new, interesting, especially as an alternative to the official 5e material, you should check out more 3rd party products, just like Tanares.
Also, follow Before You Roll blog for possibly more info on Tanares and other 3rd party products out there!