Dragonlance DRAGONLANCE LIVES! Unearthed Arcana Explores Heroes of Krynn!

The latest Unearthed Arcana has arrived and the 6-page document contains rules for kender, lunar magic, Knights of Solamnia, and Mages of High Sorcery.

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In today’s Unearthed Arcana, we explore character options from the Dragonlance setting. This playtest document presents the kender race, the Lunar Magic sorcerer subclass, the Knight of Solamnia and Mage of High Sorcery backgrounds, and a collection of new feats, all for use in Dungeons & Dragons.


Kender have a (surprisingly magical) ability to pull things out of a bag, and a supernatural taunt feature. This magical ability appears to replace the older 'kleptomania' description -- "Unknown to most mortals, a magical phenomenon surrounds a kender. Spurred by their curiosity and love for trinkets, curios, and keepsakes, a kender’s pouches or pockets will be magically filled with these objects. No one knows where these objects come from, not even the kender. This has led many kender to be mislabeled as thieves when they fish these items out of their pockets."

Lunar Magic is a sorcerer subclass which draws power from the moon(s); there are notes for using it in Eberron.

Also included are feats such as Adepts of the Black, White, and Red Robes, and Knights of the Sword, Rose, and Crown.

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That would be a bit of an edgy step...but it may be worth it if they can improve the character creation process, as right now people have tonwork around not being their actual character until Level 2 or 3, unless you are a Cleric, Sorcerer or Warlock. Regularizing thst might be an improved experience. Which might justify some disjuncture. And if they can make cross-Class Archetypes...like an Arcane Archer that can be a Fighter, Paladin, Ranger Rogues, etc...that has possiblities.
Oh I agree. It’s the only way I’d be accepting of that big a change.
My guess is that it waters down class identity. Which is odd. Way back in the 2e era, TSR realized that Character Class =/= Character Identity. Some Kits pointed this out- anyone can be a Barbarian. Or an Amazon. Being a Pirate or a Swashbuckler didn't require a separate class, but the mechanics had to reflect individual classes (so a Swashbuckler Fighter was mechanically distinct from a Swashbuckler Thief).

Olive Ruskettle could be a Bard without having the Bard class.
Arilyn Moonblade could be an Assassin as a Fighter.
Pikel Bouldershoulder can call himself a Druid, despite probably being a Nature Cleric.
Gandalf can call himself a Wizard, despite being a Demigod/Angel (Angel Summoner?)
I think class identity is part of it, sure. And try to keep in mind that most of the player base now doesn’t know anything about 2e, or at least wasn’t playing it when it was being published.

The floating subclasses for Strixhaven were more generic than the better existing subclasses, as well. I figure a lot of folks probably viewed them as more general than what they wanted.
 

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JEB

Legend
The problem is that it's not enough to simply be compatible; they also need to make sure that the revision is perceived to be compatible, otherwise they're risking what happened with 4Essentials all over again.
I think we're past that perception point, well before 2024 - plenty of folks already see a difference between 5E pre-Tasha and post-Tasha, and MOTM's revised versions of the non-core races push that even further. Even though they use the same trade dress and writing style as 2014 5E.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I think we're past that perception point, well before 2024 - plenty of folks already see a difference between 5E pre-Tasha and post-Tasha, and MOTM's revised versions of the non-core races push that even further. Even though they use the same trade dress and writing style as 2014 5E.
Only if you hang around folks like us. The folks in meatspace I know who play D&D but aren't obsessive about it don't see any of that as anything other than "cool - more cool stuff!"

Keeping the same trade dress, making sure they don't touch the actual core rules (you know, everything from chapter 5 to chapter 9 in the PHB) combined with explicit marketing in in a way that makes it a cool addition to the game and not a replacement would be enough I think to keep those folks on board.

(The changes we've seen so far are basically less than the changes that Unearthed Arcana added to the game back in the day. The 4e comparison to me is off because they changed so much of the presentation - trade dress, fonts used in the books, style of presenting classes - that it felt like the 3.5 rollout - and NOTHING should ever feel like the 3.5 rollout again. That's not to say that they couldn't screw this up, but right now they have a strong incentive to not make this Anniversary Edition a jumping off point for the huge numbers of folks they've added to the player base and not a lot of incentive to try to upsell their player base to a brand new edition, unlike where they were when Essentials came out.)
 

JEB

Legend
Keeping the same trade dress, making sure they don't touch the actual core rules (you know, everything from chapter 5 to chapter 9 in the PHB) combined with explicit marketing in in a way that makes it a cool addition to the game and not a replacement would be enough I think to keep those folks on board.
The only way 2024 won't be treated as a jumping-off point by some fans is if they don't do the revision at all, and we know they're going to. And even casual players will recognize that it's a replacement, compatible or not, because the major player-facing options will be getting changed (races for certain, and likely classes, and maybe backgrounds). I'd be very surprised if they don't also change the trade dress (every other edition had done so by this point in their respective lifespans, even without changing the core rules).

They may be able to minimize the split, but I don't think it can be avoided.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
They may be able to minimize the split, but I don't think it can be avoided.
I don't think anything can be completely avoided along those lines, but if its a handful of cranky old people who decide its a jumping off point for them and they're going to not accept any of the character tweaks and stick with the current edition/switch to 3e/2e/1e/whatever I don't consider that a meaningful split. You always get that. Heck you get that when they just decide they've had enough supplements and they're not buying anymore.

Major edition changes have always changed the core rules of the game and the game balance such that you have to relearn existing systems, learn new terminology, convert old characters or start new campaigns, and often get used to entirely different organization. 1e to 2e, 2e to 3e, 3e to 3.5e (yes I consider that a major edition change), 3e to 4e and 4e to 5e all have that. Investing energy in learning new systems is tough, and not everyone has time to do that, so a large number of folks deciding "I'm not upgrading" means that they've effectively shut themselves out of that edition of the game.

That's what I mean by minimizing the "jumping off point" - if that's what they're doing they need to telegraph that it ISN'T a new game, it's an Anniversary Edition of the game "you all love" and while it comes with some new subclasses, some new feats, and a new,. more flexible way of using the races that is still compatible with the current Player's Handbook and can be used complementary to it. Like when Palladium put out their Ultimate Edition for RIFTS - it's not a different game, though it does have character stuff in it that wasn't in the earlier edition.

If that's all they do - and admittedly that might be a big if when folks get in there to tinker (which is why 3.5 became a nightmare of a stealth edition change) then I think they can pull it off.
 


ko6ux

Adventurer
I kind of like the idea of Strixhaven-style floating multiclasses in theory. But the problem with floating subclasses for MoHS/KoS for me is that it still locks characters into joining those groups only levels 1-3 depending on whenever their main class acquires its subclass. It doesn't work for characters who want to join one of those organizations at a higher class level -- they'd have to multiclass to get a second subclass.

For example, Sturm Brightblade in the original DL starts out as a wannabe knight and is only able to attain full membership in the Knights of the Crown at around level 10. I guess, conceptually, Sturm could be built with something like 7 levels of fighter (champion) and then dip into paladin for three levels to get a theoretical Solamnic Knight multiclass. Alternatively, you offer players the option of swapping out their existing subclass for the floating subclass when they acquire membership in the organization, but that's not really satisfying either.

What I really want here for both the Mages of High Sorcery and the Knights of Solamnia is either some sort of additional layer on top of race/lineage/class/subclass/background or a prestige class. While, I really don't want to go back to the 3rd edition splatbook days of there being 10,000 different prestige classes, I do think that 5E could survive introducing a small number of prestige classes that were limited only to characters who are members of certain organizations.

These classes might be limited to just a few levels (say 3-5 levels instead of 10 like the original 3E prestige classes), could be built in such a way to allow PCs to take the class at level one if they wanted (and their character background allowed them to be a member of the organization at that level), and hav relatively easy prerequisites for characters of higher levels (the ability to cast a second-level spell, for example, might be the only mechanical prerequisite for joining the MoHS after 1st level).
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
The only way 2024 won't be treated as a jumping-off point by some fans is if they don't do the revision at all, and we know they're going to. And even casual players will recognize that it's a replacement, compatible or not, because the major player-facing options will be getting changed (races for certain, and likely classes, and maybe backgrounds). I'd be very surprised if they don't also change the trade dress (every other edition had done so by this point in their respective lifespans, even without changing the core rules).

They may be able to minimize the split, but I don't think it can be avoided.
At this point, I'm pretty sure the existence of Level Up is my jumping off point.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't think anything can be completely avoided along those lines, but if its a handful of cranky old people who decide its a jumping off point for them and they're going to not accept any of the character tweaks and stick with the current edition/switch to 3e/2e/1e/whatever I don't consider that a meaningful split. You always get that. Heck you get that when they just decide they've had enough supplements and they're not buying anymore.

Major edition changes have always changed the core rules of the game and the game balance such that you have to relearn existing systems, learn new terminology, convert old characters or start new campaigns, and often get used to entirely different organization. 1e to 2e, 2e to 3e, 3e to 3.5e (yes I consider that a major edition change), 3e to 4e and 4e to 5e all have that. Investing energy in learning new systems is tough, and not everyone has time to do that, so a large number of folks deciding "I'm not upgrading" means that they've effectively shut themselves out of that edition of the game.

That's what I mean by minimizing the "jumping off point" - if that's what they're doing they need to telegraph that it ISN'T a new game, it's an Anniversary Edition of the game "you all love" and while it comes with some new subclasses, some new feats, and a new,. more flexible way of using the races that is still compatible with the current Player's Handbook and can be used complementary to it. Like when Palladium put out their Ultimate Edition for RIFTS - it's not a different game, though it does have character stuff in it that wasn't in the earlier edition.

If that's all they do - and admittedly that might be a big if when folks get in there to tinker (which is why 3.5 became a nightmare of a stealth edition change) then I think they can pull it off.
Yeah, as long as people can use their 5E Adventures, or use their 5E characters in next evolution Adventures, and mix parties...they should be fine.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Jeremy Crawford goes into their evolution of Backgrounds with this UA in this new video:

  • WotC want to keep Class more important than Background, but put something into Backgrounds to give them a bit extra
  • People can expect to see more exploration in this direction.

Deciding to make Feats a part of Backgrounds by default as part of an Anniversary Edition would start to meet my definition of a major enough change to break compatibility and create a jumping off point. So I hope they don't do that as part of the core and restrict these experiments to setting specific stuff or optional side books.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Deciding to make Feats a part of Backgrounds by default as part of an Anniversary Edition would start to meet my definition of a major enough change to break compatibility and create a jumping off point. So I hope they don't do that as part of the core and restrict these experiments to setting specific stuff or optional side books.
I really don't see it that way: simple advise such as "give a 5E PC a free Feat" should fix it, and Theros or Strixhaven PCs wouldn't steamroll an existing Campaign book.
 

JEB

Legend
I really don't see it that way: simple advise such as "give a 5E PC a free Feat" should fix it, and Theros or Strixhaven PCs wouldn't steamroll an existing Campaign book.
It's a problem if you don't want feats in your campaign, and preferred a version of the game that didn't balance character design around them. It creates a potential power imbalance between 2014 and 2024 options, as well. (Theros PCs in particular are absolutely stronger than core 5E characters, by design.)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It's a problem if you don't want feats in your campaign, and preferred a version of the game that didn't balance character design around them. It creates a potential power imbalance between 2014 and 2024 options, as well. (Theros PCs in particular are absolutely stronger than core 5E characters, by design.)
You can get a Feat at 1st Level and still not have Feats in the game past that. Theros PCs are one Feat more powerful than 2014 PHB PCs...but so are Ravenloft, Strixhaven, and Dragonlance PCs. A pattern emerges.
 

JEB

Legend
You can get a Feat at 1st Level and still not have Feats in the game past that.
That's not how the Dragonlance UA backgrounds and feats are designed, though - you get a feat at level 1 and are expected to pick up more in the chain beyond that. The assumption of these new UA rules is that feats are not optional.

Theros PCs are one Feat more powerful than 2014 PHB PCs...but so are Ravenloft, Strixhaven, and Dragonlance PCs. A pattern emerges.
Indeed.
 

The only way 2024 won't be treated as a jumping-off point by some fans is if they don't do the revision at all, and we know they're going to. And even casual players will recognize that it's a replacement, compatible or not, because the major player-facing options will be getting changed (races for certain, and likely classes, and maybe backgrounds). I'd be very surprised if they don't also change the trade dress (every other edition had done so by this point in their respective lifespans, even without changing the core rules).

They may be able to minimize the split, but I don't think it can be avoided.

The older setting books and adventures will likely only minimium effected.
 



It's a problem if you don't want feats in your campaign, and preferred a version of the game that didn't balance character design around them. It creates a potential power imbalance between 2014 and 2024 options, as well. (Theros PCs in particular are absolutely stronger than core 5E characters, by design.)
Actually, 5e has always had Supernatural Gifts, which could be used to grant PCs feats and similar permanent abilities earned through adventuring rather than by levelling.

So PCs with one or more extra feats have always been possible in 5e.
 


JEB

Legend
Actually, 5e has always had Supernatural Gifts, which could be used to grant PCs feats and similar permanent abilities earned through adventuring rather than by levelling.

So PCs with one or more extra feats have always been possible in 5e.
Supernatural Gifts in the DMG don't include feats as written; instead, they are typically described as mimicking the properties of magical items. Nothing says you couldn't just make a feat into a Supernatural Gift, of course, but that would be a homebrew choice.

Perhaps you mean Epic Boons, which do explicitly include feats as an alternative to the listed options? But those are only available to PCs over level 20, not at level 1.

Or maybe you're thinking of the Supernatural Gifts from Theros, which do work the way you describe. But (so far) those are only officially available to Theros characters.
 

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