Spores, Brutes, and Inventors: Unearthed Arcana Brings You Three New Subclasses
  • Spores, Brutes, and Inventors: Unearthed Arcana Brings You Three New Subclasses


    It's been a while, but there's a new Unearthed Arcana from WotC's Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford. There are three new subclasses to playtest, including the Druid Circle of Spores; the Fighter Brute; and the Wizard School of Invention.


    Druids of the Circle of Spores find beauty in decay. They see within mold and other fungi the ability to transform lifeless material into abundant, albeit somewhat strange, life.

    Brutes are simple warriors who rely on mighty attacks and their own durability to overcome their enemies. Some brutes combine this physical might with tactical cunning. Others just hit things until those things stop hitting back.

    The School of Invention claims credit for inventing the other schools of magic—a claim other wizards find absurd. Wizards of this school push magic to its limits. They stretch the known laws of arcane power and strive to reveal important truths about the nature of the multiverse.


    Comments 128 Comments
    1. FlyingChihuahua's Avatar
      FlyingChihuahua -
      While I like the mechanics behind Brute, do we really need another generic fighter? Champion already does that pretty well.
    1. BookBarbarian's Avatar
      BookBarbarian -
      Spore is finally trying to address druids that don't want to wildshape. I think that is a neat direction to go.

      Brute is the opposite. It's not interesting at all. was Champion and Barbarian not filling the roll of "I want to hit stuff, and don't want to be bothered with much else." Interestingly I see nothing that restricts it to using strength, like Barbarian features, so you could be a skinny, weak "Brute".

      Invention seems interesting. It's almost exactly what I would envision for a Dragonlance Gnome, but I would never want to play a Dragonlance Gnome so... Its good I guess?

      Still I always like UAs where they through crazy stuff at us to see what sticks.

      For me Spores stick and Brutes don't and Inventors... I don't know.
    1. DEFCON 1's Avatar
      DEFCON 1 -
      The immediate impression I get from this UA is that they had a whole handful of various game mechanics they wanted us to give our opinions on whether we liked them or not... all to be used in their various other classes/subclasses coming up. But because they weren't ready to show us the full work-ups of those classes/subclasses... they "created" these three subclasses to use as a flavor clothesline from which to hang all the mechanics from.

      I mean, the arcane armor just screams Artificer to me. But because they probably don't have the full 20 levels of Artificer to show us for another round of playtesting yet... they create this fake "School of Invention" so that we can see and give opinion on the mechanics before they possibly then incorporate the armor stuff into the Artificer for that classes next playtest.

      And the Brute? As FlyingChihuahua says, it's completely unnecessary when we already have the Fighter. But if they want us to tell them whether we like giving out a smaller damage bonus die at a lower level just like they already give out a larger bonus die to many of the cleric domains at a higher level... they made up this basic Fighter subclass to have us take a look.

      The eventual question of course being whether anyone will actually ever comment on the mechanics, rather than just rail against the fluff over and over. We might not see it here on the boards... but hopefully they'll get something useful in their surveys.
    1. Satyrn's Avatar
      Satyrn -
      Quote Originally Posted by FlyingChihuahua View Post
      While I like the mechanics behind Brute, do we really need another generic fighter? Champion already does that pretty well.
      Rather agreed, except that the brute's features appeal more to me - except for Devastating Critical, which just makes me say "oh give something other than yet another feature that just ups my damage."

      I'd rather the Champion's Remarkable Athlete slotted in instead
    1. castlewise's Avatar
      castlewise -
      I really like the Spore Druid, its doing neat stuff and has flavor. I also like the Brute but admit that its got a lot of overlap with other subclasses. Personally I'm a little cold to the Inventor. My thought would be that the class might be able to modularly combine different effects to make new "spells" at the cost of spell slot efficiently (i.e. I can spend multiple slots and cast a spell that combines major illusion + sleep). The armor stuff is neat, but feels like a different class. Reckless Casting just seems too random to be useful. I'm having a hard time picturing a situation where I would be happy using the feature.
    1. Satyrn's Avatar
      Satyrn -
      Quote Originally Posted by castlewise View Post
      Reckless Casting just seems too random to be useful. I'm having a hard time picturing a situation where I would be happy using the feature.
      Agreed. Well, until 14th level, at which point we get to burn our numerous 1st level slots and get 2nd level spells out of the deal.
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      I was looking for an urban fighter type, not like a rogue. Brute may fit right in.
    1. zeldafan42's Avatar
      zeldafan42 -
      As an avid Magic player who’s been loving the Plane Shift supplements, the first thing that struck me is that the Circle of Spores and College of Invention are perfect fits for a Ravnica campaign, adding the perfect subclasses for the Golgari and the Izzet respectively.

      Although, a friend pointed out something to me...with the way the Circle of Spores’ Fungal Infection is worded, it seems like the zombies it creates can’t move...oversight maybe?
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      I'm running Out of the Abyss, so the spore druid might be fun to play with as an NPC. As for the School of Invention, I hope it's not just a flavor hanger to test a mechanic like DEFCON 1 says, because I really like the concept and the mechanics! Admittedly, it is one of those very limited audience sort of things. I can see some players absolutely loving the idea, and the majority having no interest at all.
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
      The immediate impression I get from this UA is that they had a whole handful of various game mechanics they wanted us to give our opinions on whether we liked them or not... all to be used in their various other classes/subclasses coming up. But because they weren't ready to show us the full work-ups of those classes/subclasses... they "created" these three subclasses to use as a flavor clothesline from which to hang all the mechanics from.
      Agreed. I love these subclasses, but it's primarily because they're doing some new and different things. Auto-reaction damage? Wildshape as a short-rest rage-type buff? Flat dice bonuses to damage and saves? (I'm not really into fighters, but I love the brute.) At-will wild magic? (It needs much better than an 8% chance for a double-cast to be worth it, but I like the thought.) Keep it up, WotC. I'm enthused.

      Edit: Low level polearm master spore druid is crazy. 2d6+Wis as an action, 1d6+1d4+Wis as a bonus action, and 6 damage as a reaction, 2/SR at level 2? (Assuming VHuman Polearm Master and using shillelagh.)

      Edit 2: Is it me, or does Brute actually favor Dex fighters, specifically dual wielders with Elven accuracy? Bonus dice favor more attacks, and devastating critical is a strong incentive to go crit fishing.
    1. Satyrn's Avatar
      Satyrn -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeldafan42 View Post

      Although, a friend pointed out something to me...with the way the Circle of Spores’ Fungal Infection is worded, it seems like the zombies it creates can’t move...oversight maybe?
      Well, moving isn't an action, it's just something the zombie does. But it can't Dash or Disengage or the like, because those are the actions its prohibited from taking.
    1. ehren37's Avatar
      ehren37 -
      Quote Originally Posted by FlyingChihuahua View Post
      While I like the mechanics behind Brute, do we really need another generic fighter? Champion already does that pretty well.
      I personally find the champion weak and uninteresting. The champion's big thing, expanded critical, is randomly triggered. The champion in one of my games went 4 sessions without it ever making a difference. This keys every hit. Remarkable athelete is pretty lackluster, since every champion I've seen is proficient in Athletics anyways, which it doesnt even then improve (and even then is a whopping +1 for most of the game range people play). If you're going to have a boring "kid brother" button masher fighter subclass, at least Brute gives some bigger numbers attached.
    1. Li Shenron's Avatar
      Li Shenron -
      Awful, all three.

      The druid is basically a few prepared spells (with the notable addition of Animate Dead, I admit) and some bonus damage. The zombie spawning is interesting but could be a mess if they become too many. It does have some narrative merit although definitely more for NPCs.

      The fighter subclass has no new mechanics. I can't think of anything more boring.

      The wizard mechanics are among the worst I've ever seen. Even the armor is a joke, they could have just granted force resistance. Nonsense that you need to wear the armor to augment you spells, which have nothing to do with it. And of course you always wear the armor anyway.
    1. jgsugden's Avatar
      jgsugden -
      Brute is the 'Fixed' Champion, I'd say. People complain about how underpowered it is and this makes a correction.

      School of Invention is odd - and perhaps too swingy. You give up control over which spell you cast. You have a 19% chance to try to cast 2 spells, which will fail 19% of the time. That equates to 81% chance of a 'random' (best of 2 options) spell, 15.39% chance of two 'random' spells, and 3.61% chance of no spell. Your random spell or double spells are not things you can choose, so you have to be prepared to have spells that are awkward to use in some situations (in a small room and you cast fireball?) However, it has some real power concentration appeal in converting 2nd level slots into additional damage to spike damage up. That might allow a wizard to get closer to being competitive with the melee classes on dealing damage to a single foe on a per turn basis.
    1. BookBarbarian's Avatar
      BookBarbarian -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      Is it me, or does Brute actually favor Dex fighters, specifically dual wielders with Elven accuracy? Bonus dice favor more attacks, and devastating critical is a strong incentive to go crit fishing.
      Yup. Doesn't a Low strength Elf Dual-wielding rapiers seem like the textbook "Brute" to you?

      Edit: I realized it's even better using Crossbow Expert. What a Brute!
    1. Mistwell's Avatar
      Mistwell -
      I love the wizard subclass! Reckless casting to cast a spell you didn't prepare! Changing energy type with an added spell slot, or adding force damage! Bonus action to replace a prepared spell for unprepared on in your spellbook! Love this stuff. Particularly that last one.
    1. ehren37's Avatar
      ehren37 -
      Inventor is god awful. No full caster should EVER get the ability to burn resources faster. We have enough issues with nova/low encounter days as it stands without running a bunch of MMO grind filler encounters. So I'm auto against throwing low level slots in to deal more damage. Same with upconverting spell slots or casting multiple spells in exchange for random rolls.

      This would be fine on something like the warlock's chassis (which is where the Artificer should be anyways). Not on a full caster that already gets to repick their superpowers on a daily basis.
    1. Satyrn's Avatar
      Satyrn -
      Quote Originally Posted by ehren37 View Post
      I personally find the champion weak and uninteresting. The champion's big thing, expanded critical, is randomly triggered. The champion in one of my games went 4 sessions without it ever making a difference. This keys every hit. Remarkable athelete is pretty lackluster, since every champion I've seen is proficient in Athletics anyways, which it doesnt even then improve (and even then is a whopping +1 for most of the game range people play). If you're going to have a boring "kid brother" button masher fighter subclass, at least Brute gives some bigger numbers attached.
      One minor rule nitpick that I'm pointing out because it's easily missed, and weirdly inconsistent with the rest of 5e (and D&D in general):

      Remarkable Athlete gives a +2 bonus for most of the game range people play. It never even grants just a +1 because - and here's that inconsistency - you round up after halving your proficiency bonus. The whole feature is a really pointless little bit of math.
    1. Kobold Avenger's Avatar
      Kobold Avenger -
      So the Circle of Spores Druid I like the best out of that bunch, I feel it's a good thing that they're pondering Druid subclasses that can substitute a wildshape use for something else. But for the main spore feature, I feel it's not clear what kind of reaction they can damage with spores. Was it an "action that takes your reaction for the round, because we didn't want to use bonus actions" or would it be when you take damage.

      Don't like the Brute steps too much on the Champion Fighter (which I don't like either) and the Barbarian. I could see this subclass being presented again as a Barbarian subclass much in the way the Scout got moved to Rogue.

      The School of Invention, doesn't have that much of an inventor feel to me. Sure it gets an Armour Proficiency, but it's Armour is worse than Mage Armour, it should be 13+dex mod, and possibly improve at later levels. Or even better make it Medium Armour (which often gets overlooked) instead of Light Armour. The Reckless Casting bit seems too much like an attempt to do another Wild Mage. I recognize the Alchemical Casting comes from the Loremaster attempt, it's been toned down at least, but nothing about it feels to me like it's something you use power armour for.
    1. MechaTarrasque's Avatar
      MechaTarrasque -
      There are classes (warlock) and subclasses (berserker barbarian, college of whispers bard, etc.) that seem to exist as much for DM's as for players. The brute (which I think maybe ought to be renamed the slayer) fighter and the spore druid seem to fit those bills, although the druid's bit about wildshape not being used for wildshape is pretty innovative (kind of like a paladin being "spell less" by pumping all the spell slots into divine smite, a "wild shape less" druid could pump all the wildshapes into something else; how long before the "rageless" barbarian appears?). I would have preferred a subclass feature that allowed the spore druid to get access to plant shapes for wild shape, but this is certainly more daring.

      I have mixed feelings on the invention wizard. Some people on the threads have described wizards as fearless pioneers pushing magical boundaries, but mechanically, nothing could be further from the truth: wizards are basically magical auditors who spend their time stealing magic that they know will work from other wizards. So it would be nice if there was a subclass that did that. On the other hand, reaching out into the Weave and casting some random spell seems pretty sorcerer to me.
    Comments Leave Comment