D&D (2024) Bonus Unearthed Arcana Reveals The Bastion System

A 'bonus' Unearthed Arcana playtest document has appeared, and it shows off D&D's upcoming Bastion System.

This October, we’re bringing you a special treat. While we’re continuing to develop and revise public playtesting material for the 2024 Player’s Handbook, we’d thought you’d enjoy an early look at what we’re cooking up for the 2024 Dungeon Master’s Guide.

The coming Dungeon Master’s Guide will be the biggest of its kind in decades and contain an assortment of new tools for DMs and their tables. In Bastions and Cantrips, we’re showcasing one of these tools, the Bastions subsystem. Dungeon Masters and their parties can use this subsystem to build a home, base of operations, or other significant structure for their characters.

And if you’re raring to test out more character options, we’re also including revisions for 10 cantrips in this playtest packet.


 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Actually, measure everything in "weeks". Instead of 20 days, call it "3 weeks". Instead of 15 days, call it "2 weeks".

Then let the amount of time a "week" actually is be squishy and stretchy.
Call it a week-and-a-half and it's a "tenday" (in the Forgotten Realms, at least).
 

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The "half magic", namely noncombat narrative powers, is something a background can grant.

Even a Bastion can grant "half magic" features similar to a background.

Common guards & soldiers had Half-Magic for fighting, so it wasn't exclusively non-combat. Half magic was, to a large extent, how to manage "common" npcs. Uncommon namegiver NPCs were built with hero disciplines (and possibly horror powers).

An NPC with HalfMagic:3 had (stat+3) for all tests pertinent to their profession. I can't remember if this was canon or just our table, but adolescents had half magic 1, "mature adult" npcs (aka with adolescent offspring) had 3 half-magic and white-hairs maybe got to 5. Only the exceptionally long lived races had commoners with Half Magic of 6 or 7. (even brash adept heroes knew to be polite to silver-haired elven & dwarven soldiers)

I really hope the 5.5 DMG adds something similar around proficiency bonus/effective skill*/effective level for skilled hirelings. This would cover the "how much does a hireling who can make fireball scrolls charge?" as well as "I need a master locksmith to open this safe" and "what kind of gift should I bring to the riddle-master of Waterdeep if I want them to help with this sphinx' challenge?"

e.g.
gp/day......PB.Effective* skill..effective level
2.............+2.............2................1
4.............+3.............4................5
8.............+4.............6................9
16...........+5.............8..............13
32...........+6...........10..............17

Effective skill is a combination of proficiency, stats, feats, and magic. This would apply to their profession.

This is unnecessary for Unskilled hirelings as they don't need to make skill rolls. It's in the job description.
 

Clint_L

Hero
If the Bastion system is meant to be a tease to build anticipation for the 2024 DMG, it is having the opposite effect on me: I am discouraged that this is going to use up a chunk of the book, and really hope that they don't devote too much of the book to niche optional content. Fine, bastions for the subset who want to play a strongholds mini-game, but please keep the focus on things all of us can use.
 

Remathilis

Legend
If the Bastion system is meant to be a tease to build anticipation for the 2024 DMG, it is having the opposite effect on me: I am discouraged that this is going to use up a chunk of the book, and really hope that they don't devote too much of the book to niche optional content. Fine, bastions for the subset who want to play a strongholds mini-game, but please keep the focus on things all of us can use.
Well, if that's the criteria, they can chuck the Planes, sample setting, and all the artifacts, plus all the optional rules for slow/fast healing and the like.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, if that's the criteria, they can chuck the Planes, sample setting, and all the artifacts, plus all the optional rules for slow/fast healing and the like.
Well certainly the planes and the artifacts anyway. The sample setting is probably something everyone can get a little bit of use out of. But planes and artifiacts? Yeah, those can go.

Back on topic - I do like the bastion rules and look forward to seeing them in play. I have a fighter PC in my game right now who has used a feat to get Shillelagh in combination with the Crusher feat for pushing and knocking things down. So, the new Shillelagh spell would be fantastic for this PC. I think I might pitch it to him.
 

Hey, if the arguments about "alignment being absolute" and "no one reads the DMG" taught me anything, it's that if people are running parts of the game wrong, it's WotC's fault for not being clearer.
Or... no matter how clearly it is written, people bring their older edition experience and assume (or even house rule if they prefer) that it works the way they were comfortable with it before. For example, we all know that after 50 years of different stealth/perception/surprise rules throughout the editions, everybuddy does it differently, no matter what the current rules say.

Of course there are some unclear rules. But which ones are they, really? And which ones suffer from not reading the rules, or preferring other rules?
 

If the Bastion system is meant to be a tease to build anticipation for the 2024 DMG, it is having the opposite effect on me: I am discouraged that this is going to use up a chunk of the book, and really hope that they don't devote too much of the book to niche optional content. Fine, bastions for the subset who want to play a strongholds mini-game, but please keep the focus on things all of us can use.
I disagree strongly. The DM book should be full of options you can opt in or out.
I can't use a 300 pages book full of content I use all the time anyway.

The PHB also has a lot of content most people don't use. It starts with classes you don't play, but mainly the spell section has many spells of level 5 and more that most people only rarely see in actual use.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Yes, but that's a bit outside of what we've seen from the Bastion stuff. :p
I feel it is valuable for the Bastion to handle a Wizard School. D&D is a bit late to the popculture (like it was with vampire popculture), but Wizard School tropes like Strixhaven are finally a prominent part of D&D.

Meanwhile, the Elf and other magical Humanoids, like Gnome, especially when Fey, are great for wizard-world adventures.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Call it a week-and-a-half and it's a "tenday" (in the Forgotten Realms, at least).
Yeah, the FR calendar offering "1½ weeks" is reasonably easy to track.

Alternatively, maybe call them "long weeks" when a tenday.

Or, "short weeks" if each is 5 days, and an FR tenday offers two weeks.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I feel it is valuable for the Bastion to handle a Wizard School. D&D is a bit late to the popculture (like it was with vampire popculture), but Wizard School tropes like Strixhaven are finally a prominent part of D&D.

Meanwhile, the Elf and other magical Humanoids, like Gnome, especially when Fey, are great for wizard-world adventures.
Strixhaven isn't a bastion, though. I'd have to look through it again and see if there might be a teacher who has a personal bastion(wizard tower) there, but the bastion rules aren't meant for a grand wizard school. They're meant to create a small personal fortification. A personal wizard tower, a minor thieves guild, a small keep, etc. A major school like Strixhaven exceeds that.
 

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