OneDnD diving into feats & expert classes for what they are as a whole rather than what they aren't

tetrasodium

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I went over the packet2 rules glossary a few days ago here with some hit & miss wordings. Feats & expert class threads have remained largely mired in arguments over how X & Y specific thing from those is slightly worse in isolation with very little in the way of dives into the four as a sum of their parts. Because of that I'm starting a new thread to talk about what these things are now as a package together.

  • Prerequisites: Something that will be a mixed bag over time if implemented as worded is this line "If a prerequisite is a Class or a Class Group, you must have at least 1level in an eligible Class to qualify for the Feat"
    • I get it that wotc doesn't want to overcomplicate things but this wording says that no feat will ever be able to justify more than one level in a class or group to limit it's ability to avoid throwing off the math of what's reasonable when used in conjunction with a multiclass dip. For future proofing alone this should be something like " the specified number of levels or more in ..."
  • Repeatable: The wording is sound & there are definately feats that it should be possible to take more than once but I'd like if this included mention of needing the GM's blessing for a repeat selection.
  • ASI: It's a repeatable feat that gives +2 or 2x +1/+1s. The wording is almost if not identical to the old ASI attribute bump option but as a GM I'm not sure how I feel about players being able to just pump their stats if I start them off with a lower powered array/reduced pointbuy since in a lot of ways it simply thwarts the point of doing so & ultimately raises the power in undesirable ways.
    • The first time is only +1 attrib over some other feat, but that could be +1/+1 to two odd stats & the second time is +2 over two feats. I'd much prefer if this was a bit less repeatable in order to give me as the GM the ability to say "Bob your pc is a bit laser hyperfocused in ways that are a little over the top for the group or whatever, I'm going to say that's too much" As it is I could still say that but would be saying it against things like "You didn't tell us these houserules before" & many other exclamations of outrage about how I'd nerfed their character in ways that are making it unplayable or whatever rather than bob looking at the merits of my reason & being willing to make an effort to work things out.
  • Actor: Notably it now includes a DC to mimic a creature but the wording is off there. It was a useless & terrible feat before, it's still not likely to be topping anyone's list of must have feats.
    • "Creature" is a too broad of a list because it includes bob's humanoid to mimic whalesong, elephant seal calls gibbering mouthers & literally any other creature. The wording should be changed to similar/compatible creature or just include something like druidcraft/minor illusion with the ability to use it for mimicking other incompatible creatures.
  • Athlete: not much to say it seems pretty similar
  • Charger: I like the shift from +5 to +1d8 or +knockback on the charge attack & +10ft on the charge action
    • Setting up a charge in combat is no small feat, especially doing it a second time. a third option of a +1d8 bonus to attack on the charge attack might be nice for varied strategies beyond "hit it harder" & open up more room for the GM to use high AC hard to hit monsters.
  • Crossbow expert: unintended combos have been cleared up by limiting this specifically to crossbows & that's a great thing. It also allows a nice bonus of +dex mod to offhand finesse crossbow damage that works nicely with the new dual wielding mechanics. These are all great changes.
    • I'm surprised this isn't limited to warrior & expert groups. If a priest or mage archetype is fitting for this sort of thing it should grant or allow it since that sort of siloing of primary attack unlocking feats also allows mage & priest group feats to be a little less concerned with "what if an elf/tiefling/warrior/bard/etc takes this".
  • Defensive duelist: reaction to add prof bonus to AC when holding a melee weapon.
    • I get the desire for this as a mechanic, but levelup has parry weapons with an almost identical mechanic & it's caused a good bit of friction in my game so I expect this would cause the same. Some better wording or a limitation like a point of exertion or use the reaction bonus to AC could & should fix all of those issues.
      • Firstly combat slows to a crawl as every player with this goes from having as description of the monster doing their attack & damage to "it attacks bob> bob does a xx hit">bob looks down and hmms deciding if he wants to use it on this attack>bob looks at his AC & adds the bonus saying yes/no or the new ac. The flow is really messed up
      • Secondly is that most monsters don't have a great tohit & as a result only hit on a small chunk of their attacks on a given round so this gets used to negate all of those successful attacks & only those attacks -or- as a GM I thwart this bit of metagaming by just getting their AC & declaring it would hit without stating the total but then players get salty about the fact that I'm keeping it secret from them.
  • Dual wielder: The update seems mainly to coordinate with the new dual wielding mechanics but I like that this is now 1 nonlight+1 light rather than 2 rapiers as before since that gives me as a gm a little bit more room than rapiers & greatswords as treasure that might get used.
  • Durable: Great feat now. same +1hp/level but now it allows bonus action hit die spending for hp recovery & advantage on death saves
    • I'd like it to also add a bonus to max exhaustion before death to make it easier for a GM to switch from death saves to exhaustion, possibly the same as the +1/level.
  • Elemental adept: I think it's the same
  • Epic boons: Some are much more powerful than others but level 20 has always been lolbroke for anything but one shots & I'm sure others will dive into that quagmire in detail I don't feel necessary.
  • Fighting style archery/defense/dueling/TWF: These all look the same so not much to say in the absence of warrior group classes & archetypes that might stretch them
  • Fighting style Great weapon Fighting: reroll 1s & 2s while wielding a 2 handed weapon.
    • As a GM I despise this constant timesuck at my table. Unlike the 1s=2 of elemental adept this actually requires a reroll of any 1 or 2 facing dice but allows a situation where a player can roll one of those then reroll multiple times. Just change this to "when you roll a 1 or 2 .. it counts as a 3" & save a lot of time for us at the table waiting for bob to reroll all of his 2d6/4d6/6d6/8d6 worth of damage dice each turn.
  • Fighting style Protection: It was a pretty awful FS that almost required the gm to bootstrap it before it so much as became functional & this version still is awful
    • Sword & board characters go that route because they want to get (ineffectively) attacked not to maybe stop an adjacent ally from a close call attack. This FS should be changed to empower that goal, skip the AC juggling & just shift it to reaction swap spaces with the ally with a 5ft teleport speed & become the target of the attack or something.
  • Grappler: kind of cool given other improvements but this deserves to grant a PC the ability to explicitly treat their fist as a light/offhand/whatever weapon for purposes of dual wielding for the extra swing that goes with it now.
  • Great Weapon Master:1/turn add proficiency bonus to damage for an attack & sort of a limited cleave when you drop a target to zero.
    • I like that these make a GWM PC feel different than just +damage. These are great changes to what was once a rather overpowered feat
  • Heavily Armored: I've seen players take this on occasion with great effect (Ie moon druids who want plate barding): I think it's the same
  • Heavy Armor Master: shifts from -2 damage to -prof bonus damage
    • Changing this from -2 damage to -prof bonus damage is a great change that will nicely allow it to scale a little better as levels advance
  • Inspiring Leader: Changes a lot to give 2d4+prof THP when used during a rest
    • I've seen the original used a few times but don't like the change because it needlessly encourages short rest spamming given the new 2d4+prof bonus. Just change it to a 1 5 or 10 minute "highly audible speech" allowing it to be somewhat spammed when not too concerned about attracting attention.
  • Keen mind: expertise in one of a few skills & allows using the study action as a bonus action
    • I freaking love this change for two reasons. Firstly it sheds the old "I have keen mind so expect the GM to take notes for me" annoyance and secondly because the study action also allows study of creatures you see making it a thing that grants a PC the ability to do something on their action & bonus action learn stuff about the target. For a lot of casters there aren't bonus actions so this allows them to really lore/statblock-dump info about monsters without sacrificing effectiveness
  • Lightly armored: New version rolls light/medium armor & shield prof into one feat.
    • This is probably a great change since before they were pretty much never taken because either the cost was too high for the gain or any PC who might be willing to use them probably already had them.
  • Mageslayer: concentration checks against your damage are made with disadvantage & 1/long rest you can legendary resist a failed int/wis/cha save
    • Wow... this is going to be among the top feats for a lot of classes. On the one hand I was worried about too large a share of PCs having it & shutting down casters at first. On the other hand I feel like this allows me as a GM to use nasty int/wis/cha save spells & such that make casters a scary thing. That assumes Wotc puts the teeth back into such spells with 5.5/6e, the 5e spells tend to be overloaded with free save every turn & such to make them not so scary.
  • Medium Armor Master: I think it's the same so not much to say
  • Mounted combatant: fairly similar with some minor changes
    • I rather like this but if the armor does not ultimately bring back the old speed penalties for heavier armor we still have the initial 5e problem of nobody really having a reason to bother with mounts other than the moon druid across the table & that linking introduces a lot of complications for the gm with movement & initiative order. Changing this to make the rider & mount have the same initiative would be nice.
  • Observant: Kind of like the ne Keen mind. Not sure if this will be cool or just a way of getting BA shattering search checks since those seem less useful in combat
    • Doing the search action as a bonus action seems like it will be a huge problem at times since a lot what the search action does are things where the time needed is going to be largely influenced in what you are searching
  • Pole Arm Master: Fairly similar but now limited to weapons that are heavy andreach so no quarterstaff spiked chain type cheese. Interestingly it ends the sentinel combo by no longer classifying the on enter reach attack as an opportunity attack
    • These are all great changes & I love it
  • Resilient: Appears the same, not much to say
  • Ritual caster: Mostly the same with some changes for the new ritual casting mechanics but adds a 1/long rest ritual cast as an action that introduces some issues.
    • Lets be honest this 4th level feat is going to be for noncasters who want tongues or something & the limit of very few first level ritual spells from another list on top of the spells they could already ritually cast is going to make this caster feat a feat casters pretty much never take. That could change by allowing rituals from the chosen list of any level you have slots if you find a scroll or someone to teach it. That would enable two big spells that make the feat worth it. Arcane casters gain access to a couple minor utility spells plus "that's MY cleric/BSF" spells like revivify/raise dead. Divine/Primal casters could ritual cast a bunch of new utility spells plus the utterly broken & in need of adjustment spell tleomund's invincible bunker until a packet gives us a new version of that spell. None of those caster types would feel like that would be a must take feat but all of them could see serios pros to choosing it with such a change.
  • Sharpshooter: Still ignores half & 3/4 cover. Loses the -5/+10 & gains the ability to ranged weapon attack while in melee but still allows remote drone warfare/rods from god type ranges without disadvantage if ranged weapon ranges don't change
    • Long range on many of the best ranged weapons as of 2014 is far too long to accommodate long range without penalty. Whoever wrote the new spell sniper realized the double range is a bad thing, this should do the same unless we are going back to the much reduced 3.x style ranges & range increments.
  • Shield master: Pretty standard & still going to be useful for similar reasons.
  • Skulker: Blindsight 10', attack rolls while hidden doesn't end hidden, advantage on dex hide stealth hide action in combat
    • I love almost all of this, especially removal of the use stealth for scry & fry analog empowering stealth at full speed. Blindsight has a sane 10' & the attack from hidden doesn't specify what type of attack as long as it uses an attack roll (presumably including some spells). The dex:stealth hide action in combat needs to be changed to just the hide action since it will cause pushback from players if the GM wants wis:stealth or something as well as if they want some other skill for whatever reason relevant to the fight.
  • Speedster: Silly name but seems solid allowing the character to ignore difficult terrain while dashing if not wearing heavy armor. Seems fairly solid for charger builds if those get enough pieces to make a comeback after future packets.
  • Spell sniper: much improved. Still ignores half & 3/4 cover but allows ranged spell attacks in melee without disadvantage & +60ft on applicable spells instead of doubled range.
    • changing from double to +60 is a good thing since now anything it impacts is at least likely to come at least close to fitting on the battlemat but a 120ft range spell is still 36 squares& shorter ranged spells tend to be save or x spells.
    • I'd really like to see that +60ft range bit moved to its own feat & made to just bump any spell with a range between 10 & 50 feet to 60 feet since that would provide a much needed top tier feat for god wizard types & other casters who focus on shorter ranged save or x spells to differentiate them from casters who focus on spell attack spells that tend to be nukes who are more vulnerable to casting in melee.
  • Warcaster: Pretty similar advantage on con saves for concentration & make AoOs when targets exit your reach
    • That AoO always felt backwards & should to be more like the 2014 sentinel. 5e casters may not be all that squishy as of today but they do tend to be on the squishier side & 5e combat is close to melee then i hit you hit till a new target is needed. Changing this to allow casting a single target spell against creatures that enter your range would allow a caster to actually do something new with this pretty regularly. If it's limited to a leveled spell then spell slot consumption alone would greatly limit any "what if" type concerns that cantrip having races could bring when combined with action based class features.
  • Weapon Training: This now grants proficiency with all martial weapons so some people might actually take it now

Not too many surprises in the feats. A few disasters fixed over 2014 & a few interesting new twists but by & large pretty much as it was before despite a few rough edges & areas that could be improved

Moving on to the classes themselves. There is only one archetype each so I'll just roll them in with a note when subclass features are included rather than doing the base then subclass in isolation.
  • Proficiencies: They get simple weapons & martial weapons with the finesse property. n The other classes had similar changes. That's probably a good thing that avoids one off edge case weapon proficiencies & allows alternate equipment lists that don't require a bunch of additional rules just to decide what formerly edge case dependent classes expect. This kind of thing also allows martial weapon proficiency restricted feats.
  • Starting equipment: Seems that this is standardized to 110gp worth of stuff It's almost ceraindofferent classes might(and possibly should) start with as different standardized value of stuff as fits their starting needs but rogue starts with 110gp of it
  • Expertise: Still choose two skills that you get to destroy Bounded Accuracy with in bad ways.
  • Sneak attack: +1d6 every other level once per turn on the attack action. still requires advantage or an adjacent ally along with a finesse or ranged weapon
    • Cleaning up unintended edge cases like sentinel/pa, & others like reaction/AoO sneak attack is a theme that keeps repeating itself through the playtest document with good results. Now rogues can have feats & archetype features that allow it to be used in other situations instead of pointless ribbons that assume those edge cases are being used. These also stop the system from thwarting GMs who want to make changes.
  • thieves' cant: still (imo) just as pointless but also allows an extra language choice that can include "rare languages"
    • the extra language is probably a good thing but I'm not sure how I feel about allowing rare languages for it.
  • Cunning action: Take the hide disengage or dash action as a bonus action, not too different until you get into the mostly good glossary differences there
  • 3rd subclass (thief) feature:
    • Fast hands: Add search action to cunning action & allow dex:sleight of hand to disarm traps/pick locks/pick pockets
      • This is a bit of a ribbon that will drive GMs bonkers. Search to some degree depends on what you are searching & shortening it to a bonus action isn't going to work or have any point. Monsters are pretty much never made with per individual loot & tracking that would be a lot of work for the gm. Allowing pick pocket as a bonus action means "for my action I attack him & for my BA I pick his pockets"... every round
    • Second story work: You get a climb speed & can use dex with the jump action detailed in the glossary. This is fine & maybe even interesting given the move speed changes in the glossary that limit PCs to one type per round.
  • 4th 8th 10th 12th 16th 19th Feat: "you gain the ability score improvement feat or another feat of your choice"
    • The wording here is borked. Ability score increase is literally a feat already, it doesn't need to be spelled out specifically unless the goal is to create edge cases that make it harder for the GM to just change that feat to repeatable:no or swap it out with something else.
  • 5th Uncanny dodge: Reaction to halve damage from an attack roll made by an attacker you can see. Interestingly it's not yet clear if this would include spell attack rolls yet. That wouldn't have been possible before but might be now
  • 6th subclass (thief) feature:
    • Supreme sneak: advantage on dex stealth checks
      • expertise is broken, advantage+expertise even moreso. This should include a stipulation that it doesn't count if you have expertise in stealth. Allowing the two together may as well just call this scry(stealth) & fry.....fixitfixitfixitfixitfixit
  • 7th Expertise: Two more skills with bounded accuracy destroying expertise
    • Expertise itself needs a new mechanic that doesn't cause this. Until then this is "I seduce the dragon" at its worst, especially with an already jawdropping dc10 hurdle to pacify a "hostile" creature
  • 9th evasion: Pretty much the same as before but the edge case of evasion not working while incapacitated is a nice correction to a problem I'm surprised to have never encountered while running AL games .
  • 10th subclass (thief) feature:
    • UMD: does a couple things each with their own issues
      • attune up to 4 magic items: I don't care if it's a variant rule in the dmg but we absolutely need body slots back alongside attune & wotc must do a better job assigning attune:yes than the current "sure no need to attune a +3 weapon +3 shield +3 armor & so on" We probably need bonus types back for magic items to limit stacking & allow conflicts to be created
      • Some allowances with scroll use: The dying earth rare magic scroll availability legacy from old editions needs to get corrected in 5.5/6e & this is an additional example of why before we even have priest or mage group classes
  • 11th Reliable talent: d20 ability checks are now minimumm10+ability mod+2x prof for at least 4 of your skills
    • It's a cool ability & fits the class but exposes how broken expertise is by it squeezing out room for this. Coincidentally all the rogue needs to make a hostile creature not hostile with guaranteed success now is to not have a negative ability mod or have proficiency in the relevant skill even with a negative ability score mod..... fixitfixitfixitfixitfixit
  • 13th Subtle Strikes: advantage on ally attacks against a target within 5 feet of your target
    • This is one of many changes that make me hope for serious changes to monster math as well as flanking. Level 13 is a level that most of my 5e campaigns reached with levels to spare so I'll say that advantage on attacks that have a reasonable chance of not connecting is very different from advantage on attacks that are almost certain to hit anyways. Wotc please don't give characters abilities that do nothing but waste time making us watch them roll an attack that's almost certain to hit anyways. Just skip the timesink & make it auto success on attack rolls if the math is not changing.
  • 14th Subclass (thief) feature:
    • Thief's reflexes: You can take a second bonus action now
      • As a GM I shudder at the thought of a player wanting to move in>attack>pickpocket a monsteras a bonus action with zero possibility shy of fiat at stopping it >disengage as a bonus action & move away then expect to do that every round.
  • 15th slippery mind: Proficient in wis & cha saving throws
    • This hopefully points to monster changes I like the thought that players have a chance of saving against nasty spells but the math matters. If the effect doesn't matter on a fail and the players have little chance of failing it's just wasting time at the table
  • 17th Elusive: If you aren't incapacitated attack rolls against you never have advantage
    • Again monster math matters. The value of this is inversely linked to the odds of monsters having tohit bonuses capable of successfully attacking players without needing a crit or close.
  • 18th stroke of luck:1/short or long rest make a failed d20 test a roll of 20.
    • As a GM I have to wonder about the logic going on here.... The PC has 4 skill or tool proficiencies take bounded accuracy & use it to create the very problem it was intended to solve. Of those 4 along with any other proficient skill or tool ability check the PC is incapable of rolling less than 10. Ar least some of those are always made with advantage. How is this anything but a seed for problems & why exactly does this need to recharge on short rests too?
  • 20th Epic Boon: Not much to say, those are a whole topic of their own


Rogue is quite solid but exposes problems with expertise the skill system & various DCs in a way that's visible from space. There are a few monster math concerns that 5.5/6e will hopefully make nonissues with better math on the monsters that were worth noting just to be thorough


  • Simple Weapons: instead of having edge case weapon proficiencies bard too are limited to particular groups. In this case it's simple weapons.
    • I think this is probably a good thing & will allow weapons to carry more oomph as well as allow modular drop in equipment lists that dob't require a bunch of class specific notes among other things
  • Starting funds: 100gp. This is less than rogue but not significantly so & the starting package seems reasonable.
  • Bardic Inspiration: Some new changes allowing it to be used for healing, shift to reaction instead of action, Also it shifts from charisma mod uses/long rest to proficiency uses /long rest. These are all probably good & interesting changes
  • 1st level Spellcasting: Bards are not flex-vancian casters who can prepare any spell of divination illusion enchantment or transmutation using their spell slots after a long rest plus there are certain spells they can consider always prepared & they get others later. They lose some spells but also gain others (like hex!).
    • All things considered this is probably a good thing on all points. Hex will pressure bards towards dual wielding with the new rules& their limited selection from the arcane list takes "I;m totally a full caster too" takes a class with significant class features out of the wizard/cleric fluff niche.
  • 2nd & 9th level Expertise: Still choose two skills that you get to destroy Bounded Accuracy with in bad ways.
  • 2nd level Songs of Restoration: At levels 2/4/6/8/10 you start considering Healing word/lesser restoration/mass healing word/Freedom of movement/Greater Restoration as always prepared.
    • This is a nice feature & having players with healing/recovery spells always prepared saves me as a GM from "can't bob cast X?">bob: "Yea but it's not prepared, I wanted to make room for X" & similar.
  • 3rd (college of lore) subclass feature:
    • 3 skill proficiencies from a selection of skills
    • Cutting words: Use a reaction & bardic inspiration to subtract a bardic inspiration die from someone's successful ability check or attack roll
      • I like that it's limited to 60 feet & creatures that you can see but there is no requirement that the target be capable of hearing seeing or even understanding you. Hypothetically this probably shouldn't work against a feebleminded deafened ooze under the effects of silence.
  • 4th 8th 10th 12th 16th 19th Feat: "you gain the ability score improvement feat or another feat of your choice"
    • The wording here is borked. Ability score increase is literally a feat already, it doesn't need to be spelled out specifically unless the goal is to create edge cases that make it harder for the GM to just change that feat to repeatable:no or swap it out with something else.
  • 5th Jack of all Trades: Same as before but with the new glossary wording. You add half proficiency bonus to any ability checks you aren't proficient in
    • The wording cleans up unintended edge case combos like adding to initiative & similar which is good. Also this doesn't create problems by breaking bounded accuracy like expertise.
  • 6th Cunning Inspiration: When your bardic inspiration gets rolled roll it twice & take the better
    • A nice feature but later on there is a thing where you don't lose a bardic inspiration if they roll a 1 so this pretty much nullifies that in all but the most extreme 1/1 on a d20.
  • 7th Font of Bardic Inspiration: Recover it on a short rest too
    • as a GM I dislike features that pressure players to say "letstakeashortrest" the second combat ends & would rather see more charges or spend hit dice to recover charges. It's worth noting that the glossary does not currently define a short rest like it does for long rests so those coyld be very different & have a wording that makes giving in to that short rest spam pressure more difficult.
  • 10th (college of lore) subclass feature:
    • Improved Cutting words: It deals damage but still the issue that the target need not hear see understand or even be capable of doing those things for it to work
  • 11th 15th (Further) Magical secrets: Choose a list& you can now prepare two of any school spell from that list.
    • Theis is a solid feature but the wording could be a bit more clear on if these spells are prepared using your normal slots or if two new slots are added because they are prepared before you "otherwise follow the rules of your spellcasting feature. I'd like to avoid having to answer this question or have two bard players each decide it works different without asking.
  • 14th (college of lore) subclass feature
    • Peerless skill: Use a bardic inspiration on your ability check when you fail
      • A solid ability but it worries me that it has a null action, this should probably be a reaction at least given that bardic inspiration recovers on short rests by now.
  • 18th: Superior Bardic Inspiration: +2 bardic inspiration uses when you roll initiative.
  • 20th Epic Boon: Not much to say, those are a whole topic of their own
Bard is extremely solid & with hex on their spell list bards will be more than capable using dual wielding. They have expertise & some of those problems like the rogue but less skills with expertise & fewer abilities compounding the expertise issues.


  • starting equipment 150gp: rangers have more expensive needs so it's reasonable to start them with more than basrd/rogue & the extra 40-50gp is going to have pretty minimal impsct even if the player decides to go shopping & multiclass out of ranger at 2
  • 1stFavored enemy: You always have hunter's mark prepared without using a prep slot & can cast it for the full duration without using concentration
    • I foresee magic initiate being a popular first level feat for rangers since this can be cast alongside hex with each granting +1d6 damage each time they attack a marked hexed creature.
  • 1st Spellcasting: choose any spells other than evocation spells from the primal spell list plus a few that count as always prepared for free.
    • Again I think the flex-vancian is a good change that spells interesting things for mage & maybe priest types
  • 1st Fighting Style: You get one from archery defense or twf.
    • All of them are nice boons for different choices of primary attack & as a GM I like that players will feel a little pressure towards one or the other whenever possible
  • 3rd (Hunter) subclass feature:
    • Hunter's Prey: 1/turn you can add +1d8 to a successful attack action or unarmed strike you make
      • very solid feature
  • 4th 8th 10th 12th 16th 19th Feat: "you gain the ability score improvement feat or another feat of your choice"
    • The wording here is borked. Ability score increase is literally a feat already, it doesn't need to be spelled out specifically unless the goal is to create edge cases that make it harder for the GM to just change that feat to repeatable:no or swap it out with something else.
  • 5th Extra Attack: Same functionality but more clear on the attack action now defined in the glossary
  • 6th (Hunter) subclass feature:
    • Hunter's Lore: From the wording of the two this lets you use a study action to get some specific details but doesn't mention the study action or any action at all
      • This should clarify the (non)action & type more explicitly to avoid different GMs treating it differently thinking they are just following the rules
  • 7th Roving: Get a climb & swim speed when not wearing heavy armor. move speeds were cleaned up in the glossary so now you can only use one per turn
  • 10th (Hunter) subclass feature:
    • Multiattack: Conjure barrage is always prepared & you can even downcast it.
      • Kind of cool little cone attack for rangers that compares well to other 3rd level conjuration spells. The cone makes it good for mooks & such too while using the spell rather than N attacks preemptively avoids problems that multiplicative weapon/ability score additions.
  • 11th Tireless: recover 1 exhaustion on a short rest & gain 1d8+proficiency bonus THP on a long rest.
    • I wonder if the rests are reversed but with the thp on a long rest I'm going to second what I said about the inspiring leader feat & just say this is a thing rnger should be able to do, possibly as an action at this level 1d8+proficiency bonus THP is not a whole lot compared to the benefits of attacking unless some kind of weird extreme edge case hail mary.
  • 13th Nature's veil: Bonus action to burn "a spell slot" to become invisible till the end of your next turn
    • These kind of abilities often do a great job of saving someone's rear end making this a pretty solid ability.
  • 14th (Hunter) subclass feature:
    • Superior Hunter's Defense: Use a reaction to halve an attack roll's damage against you & redirect it to a creature within 5 feet of yourself
      • Much like uncanny dodge it's not clear if this will work on spell attack rolls yet & the redirect could setup some interesting scenarios like Alice bouncing part of monster A's attack into Bob's fireshield or whatever since it's not clear who counts as dealing the origination after the redirect. For the same reason that alice bob & monster A scenario may or may not allow Alice bob or Dave to activate any "when an ally within 5 feet is attacked you can do x" type abilities. The wording should probably be cleared up a bit so different tables handle those things the same.
  • 15th Feral Senses: 30' blindsight
    • Not sure how I feel about such a long range blindsight as a GM, especially since it's not clear how or if it stacks with skulker's 10' blindsight.
  • 18th: Foe slayer: Hunters mark jumps from 1d6 to 1d10
    • It's free but pretty sad compared to the other level 18 abilities
  • 20th Epic Boon: Not much to say, those are a whole topic of their own
Rangers are solid damage dealers with lots of neat abilities including a thematically fitting escape option. Like bard the safety of ranges weapons vrs the extra swing when dual wielding with the new dual wielding rules is going to take some serious consideration given their +1d6/damage against a marked target for hunters mark unless hand crossbows or something can somehow be reloaded when dual wielding.
 

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The irony with that article at The Alexandrian is that while I think he goes a just a bit overboard in decrying Expertise as this massive issue... at the same time he mentions his four points that he thinks would improve the skill system:
  • Make flexible ability score pairing the standard rule, not a variant.
  • Eliminate the redundant skills.
  • Add additional skills to provide a comprehensive skill list.
  • Get rid of tool proficiencies.
And these are all things I 100% agree with and have done at my table since the very beginning of the 5E game. And my games have gotten noticeably better since doing all of them.

The only downside is that D&D Beyond has been really persnickety about letting users amend the skill list. Which has been kind of annoying that I can't remove skills from it, nor place new skills in the list alphabetically on the online character sheet. But it's a small price to pay.
 

Bard is extremely solid & with hex on their spell list bards will be more than capable using dual wielding. They have expertise & some of those problems like the rogue but less skills with expertise & fewer abilities compounding the expertise issues.
See, if Hex is now going to be a signature go to spell for Bards that's just another way this new edition has let down the Bard thematically in my book. It's not particularly evocative of anything I am familiar with from D&D's history of Bards or folkloric traditions of magical musicians. It's just an accident of a cumbersome new spell classification system. Not everything a class can do needs to be thematically evocative, but anything primed to be a go to strategy should be where possible.

One of the great wasted opportunities of 5e was not using class specific spell lists to have a few more unique and evocative spells for each spellcasting class. Too late now I guess.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
See, if Hex is now going to be a signature go to spell for Bards that's just another way this new edition has let down the Bard thematically in my book. It's not particularly evocative of anything I am familiar with from D&D's history of Bards or folkloric traditions of magical musicians. It's just an accident of a cumbersome new spell classification system. Not everything a class can do needs to be thematically evocative, but anything primed to be a go to strategy should be where possible.

One of the great wasted opportunities of 5e was not using class specific spell lists to have a few more unique and evocative spells for each spellcasting class. Too late now I guess.
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It's not? If a significant part of what hit points are is something like luck endurance & a will/drive to persevere it seems like twisting the knife verbally as they battle through the use of something like the concentration spell hex seems extremely fitting even if it ultimately involves a reflavored version of hex
 

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It's not? If a significant part of what hit points are is something like luck endurance & a will/drive to persevere it seems like twisting the knife verbally as they battle through the use of something like the concentration spell hex seems extremely fitting even if it ultimately involves a reflavored version of hex
Sure. If they wanted to make a Bard themed spell that was mechanically similar to Hex I'd probably like that. But instead they are just giving them the same witchy curse themed spell as the Warlock, and are creating a spell system where they more or less have to just give them the same witchy curse themed spell as the Warlock.

On an abstract mechanical level I can appreciate it, and see it as conducive to the story of what a bard does and in line with the sort of mechics bards get. But on a specific thematic level it is a mismatch for me of what I envision a Bard being. Bards should not be making someone take extra necrotic damage with a spell cast from an eye of newt. Bards should be making them take extra psychic damage with some unsettling speech or song laced with bardic magics. It is both a shame that Bards never got that spell in the 5e spell system which could have given them more unique and thematic spells, and also a shame that in 5.5 they will just be cut-rate arcanists with expertise and some healing spells.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
See, if Hex is now going to be a signature go to spell for Bards that's just another way this new edition has let down the Bard thematically in my book. It's not particularly evocative of anything I am familiar with from D&D's history of Bards or folkloric traditions of magical musicians. It's just an accident of a cumbersome new spell classification system. Not everything a class can do needs to be thematically evocative, but anything primed to be a go to strategy should be where possible.

One of the great wasted opportunities of 5e was not using class specific spell lists to have a few more unique and evocative spells for each spellcasting class. Too late now I guess.
Not too late, that is what the survey is for. It opens in a couple of weeks. It only is permanent if you get discouraged and not participate.
 

Not too late, that is what the survey is for. It opens in a couple of weeks. It only is permanent if you get discouraged and not participate.
I like the spirit there, but as far as I can see the closest thing to a main, guiding principle for what they are trying to achieve with OneD&D is trying to impose lots of top-level order and hierarchies. There are now three spell lists; a taxonomic system of four catagories of classes, each with three classes; unified spellcasting rules; spells prepared equaling spell slots for no particular reason other than having a big dumb rule for all occasions; standardized class progression; and everywhere, always the unrelenting merciless proficiency bonus as the only number you ever need. Somehow I feel like me, or even a thousand mes telling them that the only coherent goal they seem to be pursuing is a fool's errand won't dissuade them from abandoning the only principle they seem to be designing around, which is big orderly systems wherever they can squeeze one in, everything else be damned.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
See, if Hex is now going to be a signature go to spell for Bards that's just another way this new edition has let down the Bard thematically in my book. It's not particularly evocative of anything I am familiar with from D&D's history of Bards or folkloric traditions of magical musicians. It's just an accident of a cumbersome new spell classification system. Not everything a class can do needs to be thematically evocative, but anything primed to be a go to strategy should be where possible.

One of the great wasted opportunities of 5e was not using class specific spell lists to have a few more unique and evocative spells for each spellcasting class. Too late now I guess.
You don’t think the ability to hex people is conceptually Bardic?

Really?
 

You don’t think the ability to hex people is conceptually Bardic?

Really?
Really. I'm not saying no Bard would ever do it, I'm saying it doesn't feel core enough to the class to become the signature 1st level Bard spell for low level play they way it almost certainly will, given how vastly more efficient a use of a 1st level spell slot it is than almost anything else, and given that anytime it's casted it's likely to be moved around through multiple bonus actions. There goes that Bard, Hexing again the way Bards always do. No I don't think that should be the future of the class. A matter of particular taste perhaps.

What is not a matter of particular taste is that under the three spell list scheme there is intrinsically a lot less room to have thematic class spells. I would have liked to see more of those not less, so even if you convince me on the virtues of a hexing bard, it is still emblematic of a change I despise.
 


MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I like the spirit there, but as far as I can see the closest thing to a main, guiding principle for what they are trying to achieve with OneD&D is trying to impose lots of top-level order and hierarchies. There are now three spell lists; a taxonomic system of four catagories of classes, each with three classes; unified spellcasting rules; spells prepared equaling spell slots for no particular reason other than having a big dumb rule for all occasions; standardized class progression; and everywhere, always the unrelenting merciless proficiency bonus as the only number you ever need. Somehow I feel like me, or even a thousand mes telling them that the only coherent goal they seem to be pursuing is a fool's errand won't dissuade them from abandoning the only principle they seem to be designing around, which is big orderly systems wherever they can squeeze one in, everything else be damned.
They have turned back on things before. Remember they've had high approval thresholds in the past. If enough voices tell them to stop or change course, they will adapt and make changes. They don't want to kill the cash cow. If you feel so discouraged that you won't even try, then you have already self-defeated.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Really. I'm not saying no Bard would ever do it, I'm saying it doesn't feel core enough to the class to become the signature 1st level Bard spell for low level play they way it almost certainly will, given how vastly more efficient a use of a 1st level spell slot it is than almost anything else, and given that anytime it's casted it's likely to be moved around through multiple bonus actions. There goes that Bard, Hexing again the way Bards always do. No I don't think that should be the future of the class. A matter of particular taste perhaps.
So it seems that your argument is that because Hex is one of the best spells at 1st level, most Bards will use it and it will turn into the default Bard option even though you don't think it is Bard-like?

Seems to me the issue then isn't the spell... it's all the other Bard players out there that you have a problem with-- Bard players that care more about absolute spell power than they do with being "Bard-like". Unfortunately, you're just crap out of luck on that one. Even if WotC was to remove Hex from the Bard list... that's not going to turn all these Bard players into suddenly forsaking powerful magics and playing more towards theme. You're trying to treat the symptom, not the disease.

Other people play this game differently than you (or me, or any of us). And trying to get WotC to change rules for no better argument that you personally don't like it is not an argument that I think holds much weight. Either from WotC, or more importantly from other people for whom you are trying to convince so that you ALL can put down your findings in the survey and get those precious percentages closer to what you need for WotC to make a decision to change.
 

So it seems that your argument is that because Hex is one of the best spells at 1st level, most Bards will use it and it will turn into the default Bard option even though you don't think it is Bard-like?

Seems to me the issue then isn't the spell... it's all the other Bard players out there that you have a problem with-- Bard players that care more about absolute spell power than they do with being "Bard-like". Unfortunately, you're just crap out of luck on that one. Even if WotC was to remove Hex from the Bard list... that's not going to turn all these Bard players into suddenly forsaking powerful magics and playing more towards theme. You're trying to treat the symptom, not the disease.

Other people play this game differently than you (or me, or any of us). And trying to get WotC to change rules for no better argument that you personally don't like it is not an argument that I think holds much weight. Either from WotC, or more importantly from other people for whom you are trying to convince so that you ALL can put down your findings in the survey and get those precious percentages closer to what you need for WotC to make a decision to change.

Play how you want. I'm really not super prescriptive of how other people play the game in general, but I think it's the place of game designers, in a class-based game, to put restrictions on the classes so that they play to particular class themes, so that they play in a distinctive way, so that no one character can do everything, and so that playing one class you don't feel like you've played them all or a whole swath of them.

As much as we should respect the principle that people are entitled to play the game they way they want, it is, and always has been, the place of game designers to save people from themselves by putting rules in place to ensure a long term satisfying experience over just being able to do what you want to do whenever you want to do it.

I personally will 100% make a 5.5 Bard with Hex at some point, because the mechanical optimizing urge is hard to resist. And having had my Hexy fun with a Bard, I am a little less likely to ever bother playing a Warlock, because it is now less unique and gives me less I haven't already gotten out of a Bard, Sorcerer, etc. Generally in a system with four different full casters using the same spell list (Arcane) I'm going to be less inclined to want to roll up quite so many different characters of those classes. It undermines the class distinctiveness of all four classes.

I suspect 5.5 will be a lot of short term fun, but I have doubts about its ability to keep people coming back.
 

And then, hex is not even that great of a spell if you don't dual wield and can keep concentration up... so often, you are better served with spells that actually help your party. Although, bard took some hits in the party buff and enemy debuff department.
 

Pauln6

Adventurer
So if the Shieldmaster feat allows a shield bash as part of your action, presumably you can also use it as an improvised weapon to inflict damage at the same time if you have a light weapon in your other hand? A bit of feat investment required to create Captain America still. It does open up the possibility of a mechanical use for a light shield that is +1 AC though.
 
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Dausuul

Legend
Hex for a bard is a niche spell at best. It's a powerhouse for warlocks because so many warlocks rely on EB spam. But bards are full casters, and full casters rarely make attack rolls; which means you get little to no bonus damage from hex.

The main value of hex for a bard would be as a debuff to enemy skill checks. It's not going to be a mainstay in combat.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Hex for a bard is a niche spell at best. It's a powerhouse for warlocks because so many warlocks rely on EB spam. But bards are full casters, and full casters rarely make attack rolls; which means you get little to no bonus damage from hex.

The main value of hex for a bard would be as a debuff to enemy skill checks. It's not going to be a mainstay in combat.
I think bards are the exception. They are  so versatile that I can easily see a bard that makes regular attack rolls interspersed with spells and inspiration thrown out when the opportunity arises. This is my issue with bards. Even with the support elements, the bard can do so many things they don't even really need a party.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I think bards are the exception. They are  so versatile that I can easily see a bard that makes regular attack rolls interspersed with spells and inspiration thrown out when the opportunity arises. This is my issue with bards. Even with the support elements, the bard can do so many things they don't even really need a party.
Maybe if you're playing College of Valor/Swords, you make enough attacks to justify spending your concentration on hex. Even then, I'm skeptical, since that means you're not using it for hold person, suggestion, hypnotic pattern, fear, polymorph, animate objects, or any of the other incredibly potent concentration spells available to bards.

Any other bard is going to use hex purely as a way to mess with somebody's Wisdom-based skill checks.
 

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