Uncaged Anthology: Feminist Dungeons and Dragons adventures

Uncaged Anthology is coming! After what feels like literal aeons I can share details of my upcoming work as part of this amazing project.

What are you talking about, Mell?

Well, reader. Uncaged Anthology is a collection of feminist Dungeons and Dragons adventures for 5e in which classic, sexist tropes of myth and legend are turned on their heads.

Part of the pitch process was to outline which elements of my story were feminist. Just so you have an idea of the level of thought that’s been put into tackling the TTRPG community’s questionable track record with such things.

Oh my gods, that sounds great

Yeah? Well it looks even better than that.

Uncaged Anthology

Just look at that amazing cover art by Samantha Darcy. LOOK AT IT.

It’ll be available on DMsGuild.com on March 12th in print and PDF format. Sign up here for pricing and other updates as they become available.

What’s your adventure about, Mell?

Well, it all started when I got pissed off about the story of the Harpy as told in the Monster Manual.

Go look on Page 181 of the Monster Manual right now. I’ll wait.

The Harpy’s story is a beautiful example of how women and their stories have been let down by…well, most accounts of myth and legend, but D&D chose to compound those failings and that’s what Shadows and Talons sets to put right.

We learn all about Fancy McGodpants who cursed the first harpy, but she doesn’t even get a gods damned name. And we’re expected to see this powerful creature as a pining soul, obsessed only with the romantic attentions of a man. She has no agency.

My adventure, Shadows and Talons, fixes that. And some other stuff. Also there’s a cool forest and a creepy temple.

Basically, I’m excited for you to buy the anthology and play along.

Basically what I’m trying to say is:


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I’m still not convinced

Well, you’re wrong, and Satine Phoenix agrees with me. Deal with it.

Satine Phoenix Uncaged Anthology

Btw, did you play test it with some amazing people?

Why, yes I did! Thanks to my play testers, pictured below, mid-debate. And extra special bonus thanks to Bec and Josh, whose amazing gaming table that is.

Uncaged Anthology play testers

Left to right: Mick, Laila, Carl, Matt, Josh and Bec Also known as: Jethro, Taron, Wineskin, Anne, Smashsword and Miri

Creating an Orogene in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

If you haven’t read N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy stop reading this right now and grab it from the library.

broken earth trilogy

Okay good.

Now you’re as excited as I am to play an Orogene in Dungeons and Dragons, right? Right.

Spoilers abound…

Wtf is an Orogene?

Orogenes are powerful, violently oppressed magic users on The Stillness, the continent where most of the Broken Earth trilogy takes place. They have earth-based, elemental powers, with other abilities coming to light as the series progresses.

When I finished the books I started to wonder if I could create an Orogene using the existing classes and spells in Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

Turns out, yeah. Yeah I can.

Creating a custom Orogene class will be a feat for another day.

For now I’ve decided to try and create a character somewhat like Essun, our kick ass Orogene protagonist.

Which race?

Variant Human is the laughably obvious choice here. You could argue for reskinned Dwarf, Gnome or Barbarian too for thematic flair. I’m sticking with Variant Human for Essun.

In Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, Variant Humans get to pick a feat instead of improving all of their stats by +1 like Standard Humans. There are a ton of great feats to pick from, but for Essun I like Alert and Elemental Adept.

Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

Humans in D&D look like regular humans, only way cooler. Copyright: WotC

Orogeny gives Essun additional awareness and she’s rarely surprised by attacks, the Alert feat makes perfect sense for this.

The Elemental Adept feat means your Orogene gets to ignore resistance to one elemental damage type. This would be great for adding impact to those cold damage attacks you definitely won’t be using as a Fulcrum-trained Orogene. Right?

The class

There are tons of different ways to do this, depending on which aspect of Orogeny you like most.

Druid makes the most sense for most low-level Orogenes, especially since Xanathar’s Guide to Everything brought a bunch of thematically relevant low-level Druid spells in to flesh things out.

Druids are in touch with the inherent magic in the world, and can shape it to their will. So if that’s what you like about Orogenes, go for a druid with some heavy reskinning.

Wild Shape doesn’t really make sense, but a forgiving DM could easily re-skin the animals into something else if you really wanted to make it work.

If you want to branch out into Unearthed Arcana content, a Wu Jen Mystic could be almost perfect.

I’d be far more inclined to go with Wizard or Sorcerer for higher level Orogenes. Again, adding the expanded spell lists from Xanathar’s into this really fleshes out those lower levels. Mold Earth and Ice Knife, anybody?


If we’re talking about Essun, Wild Magic Sorcerer with a custom table for the…side effects would be perfect, but we’re sticking by the book, so Wizard it is. Transmutation or Evocation schools would serve you equally well. You could argue Abjuration, too.

Of course, Guardians would be Warlocks. If you’ve seen a darker pact with a higher (lower) power than theirs, I’d love to hear it. Actually, I wouldn’t. That sounds terrible.

Spell List

I’ve picked out some spells to help you get your Orogene on in 5th Edition. Special thanks to Xanathar, The Forgotten Realms’ most enterprising beholder.

These won’t complete your spell list, so add in whatever tricks you reckon Essun would pick up on the way in your game. With the potential for Orogeny uncovered throughout the books, you can justify anything with enough XP.

Druids, Wizards and Sorcerers get access to most of these spells. If you think your Wild Magic Sorcerer desperately needs that Druid Cantrip like…take it. Ask your DM. Live your life.

That’s…basically it! If you make an Orogene let me know how it goes. I have to wait for a new campaign or my dumb awesome Warlock to die before I can get in on this.

If this has been helpful for you, grab me a coffee ❤
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1st Level

2nd Level

  • Earthbind (Xanathar’s)
  • Healing Spirit (Xanathar’s)
  • Hold Person
  • Shatter
  • Spike Growth – This could easily be rocky spikes rather than plant-based ones.

3rd Level

4th Level

5th Level

6th Level

7th Level

8th Level

9th Level