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

JEB

Legend
Part of it is because classes get their archetype abilities at sometimes vastly different levels. For instance, a bard gets them at 3rd, 6th, and 14th levels. A sorcerer gets them at 1st, 6th, 14th, and 18th. A warlock, at 1st, 6th, 10th, and 14th. A wizard, at 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 14th. So it's difficult to make any archetype that would fit two or more arcane classes--they all get abilities at 6th and 14th level, but only some of them get them at 10th, and and only one gets an 18th-level ability. So how do you make any archetypes that would allow both wizards and sorcerers? Or bards and any other class?
Right, that's the issue in the default rules, but it seems like they addressed that in the Strixhaven UA by providing a menu of subclass features that could be acquired after a certain minimum level, rather than a fixed chain of feature A leading to feature B to feature C. Is there a reason why that doesn't fix the problem? I assume the power levels would be somewhat lower than features for dedicated subclasses, but that seems like a fair tradeoff.

For 6th edition (or whenever they completely revamp class structure while keeping archetypes) they could decide that each class gets one archetype ability per tier of play (6th and 10th level are both tier two), and thus multiclass archetypes could be much more easily fit in. And I hope so, because it's definitely a good idea.
Agreed here, yes. They should have been at the same levels in 5E...
 

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Hussar

Legend
Part of it is because classes get their archetype abilities at sometimes vastly different levels. For instance, a bard gets them at 3rd, 6th, and 14th levels. A sorcerer gets them at 1st, 6th, 14th, and 18th. A warlock, at 1st, 6th, 10th, and 14th. A wizard, at 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 14th. So it's difficult to make any archetype that would fit two or more arcane classes--they all get abilities at 6th and 14th level, but only some of them get them at 10th, and and only one gets an 18th-level ability. So how do you make any archetypes that would allow both wizards and sorcerers? Or bards and any other class?

For 6th edition (or whenever they completely revamp class structure while keeping archetypes) they could decide that each class gets one archetype ability per tier of play (6th and 10th level are both tier two), and thus multiclass archetypes could be much more easily fit in. And I hope so, because it's definitely a good idea.

Heh. It’s almost like standardizing class abilities is a good idea. Wonder wher I heard that before…
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Right, that's the issue in the default rules, but it seems like they addressed that in the Strixhaven UA by providing a menu of subclass features that could be acquired after a certain minimum level, rather than a fixed chain of feature A leading to feature B to feature C. Is there a reason why that doesn't fix the problem? I assume the power levels would be somewhat lower than features for dedicated subclasses, but that seems like a fair tradeoff.
Not so much. In the UA, you gain your abilities at a particular level or higher--whenever you would normally gain your archetype abilities. But the first one is a bard/warlock/wizard archetype (Lorehold). It gives abilities at 1+ (two at this level), 6+, 10+ and 14+. So a warlock gains the first ability at level 1 and the bard gains it at level 3, and they both get the second ability at level 6. Easy-peasy. But then when the bard reaches 14th level, they have to choose if they want the 10th-level ability or the 14th-level ability. Is that fair or fun? I don't know, but there were probably a lot of people who thought it was neither. And what's the lore-reason for a bard, who is supposed to be a master of lore, gain Lorehold abilities later, and gain fewer total, than a warlock or wizard? Plus, how would this affect multiclassing, and what happens when the idea is expanded and multiclass archetypes are revealed for all classes, not just arcane casters?

So as I said, it's a good concept, but the current class structure isn't really built for it. And while I am not rooting for standardizing class abilities, standardizing when they get their abilities, or at least doing it as a 1/tier thing for all classes (plus an extra when you first take the archetype), would go a long way to making it more equitable.
 



Stormonu

Legend
Too many character concepts need the subclass at level 1 for character creation.
I wouldn’t say so. I’d say the better option is to start at 2nd or 3rd level for those concepts.

I personally don’t play campaigns starting at 1st level any more, usually starting at 2nd and sometimes 3rd. I definately see 1st level as being for first-time players and 2nd as being a level to start at before you decide what path you want your character to go down. 3rd level being for those characters who you know what they’re going to become.
 


I wouldn’t say so. I’d say the better option is to start at 2nd or 3rd level for those concepts.

Hard disagree. Bard and Artificer in particular are pretty awkward because you can very easily begin play without the ability to use signature weapons or armors. Other classes can begin play without signature skills. Especially at the start of 5th edition there were a number of subclasses which featured skill proficiencies for particularly relevant abilities, granted proficiency in those skills as a part of the class, and then not making a substitute skill a part of the ability.

In other words, they go out of their way encourage, say, a character whose concept will in part revolve around Persuasion to not begin play with knowing the first thing about Persuasion at all. It's an absurd design.

Rune Knight (Fighter), College of Valor (Bard), College of Swords (Bard), College of Lore (Bard), and Armorer (Artificer) strike me as particularly silly. Artificer is particularly annoying because every subclass gains proficiency with a subclass-specific set of tools at level 3 that fits the theme. So, according to the game, an Alchemist is an Artificer that just learned how to use alchemist's tools.

I personally don’t play campaigns starting at 1st level any more, usually starting at 2nd and sometimes 3rd. I definately see 1st level as being for first-time players and 2nd as being a level to start at before you decide what path you want your character to go down. 3rd level being for those characters who you know what they’re going to become.

"It doesn't ever affect me anyways," isn't exactly a convincing follow-up.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Hard disagree. Bard and Artificer in particular are pretty awkward because you can very easily begin play without the ability to use signature weapons or armors. Other classes can begin play without signature skills. Especially at the start of 5th edition there were a number of subclasses which featured skill proficiencies for particularly relevant abilities, granted proficiency in those skills as a part of the class, and then not making a substitute skill a part of the ability.

In other words, they go out of their way encourage, say, a character whose concept will in part revolve around Persuasion to not begin play with knowing the first thing about Persuasion at all. It's an absurd design.

Rune Knight (Fighter), College of Valor (Bard), College of Swords (Bard), College of Lore (Bard), and Armorer (Artificer) strike me as particularly silly. Artificer is particularly annoying because every subclass gains proficiency with a subclass-specific set of tools at level 3 that fits the theme. So, according to the game, an Alchemist is an Artificer that just learned how to use alchemist's tools.



"It doesn't ever affect me anyways," isn't exactly a convincing follow-up.
I always used to offer expertise if a class feature gave you a skill you already had.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Rune Knight (Fighter), College of Valor (Bard), College of Swords (Bard), College of Lore (Bard), and Armorer (Artificer) strike me as particularly silly. Artificer is particularly annoying because every subclass gains proficiency with a subclass-specific set of tools at level 3 that fits the theme. So, according to the game, an Alchemist is an Artificer that just learned how to use alchemist's tools.



"It doesn't ever affect me anyways," isn't exactly a convincing follow-up.
Y’know, I hadn’t noticed that on Bard for skills (guess I haven’t had enough people playing them to notice), same with Artificer (haven’t seen the class in action except for a player that started at ~5th). I understand the mechanics behind it, but it is just a really weird way to handle that development. It would be like giving the Fighter Shield, Medium and Heavy armor proficiencies at 3rd level - just in case you wanted to have subclass Fencer who uses Unarmored Defense instead of the heavier armors and shields.

I guess a better “build” for Bard/Artificer would be to choose a Path at 1st/2nd (akin to Fighter’s fighting style or Rogue’s Expertise) that gave these skills/tool proficiencies.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I wouldn’t say so. I’d say the better option is to start at 2nd or 3rd level for those concepts.

I personally don’t play campaigns starting at 1st level any more, usually starting at 2nd and sometimes 3rd. I definately see 1st level as being for first-time players and 2nd as being a level to start at before you decide what path you want your character to go down. 3rd level being for those characters who you know what they’re going to become.
For example, I expect a High Elf Eldritch Knight military to already be weaponizing magic at level 1. Some High Elf cultures have every member grow up studying weapons and magic together.

Many character concepts require the subclass choice at level 2, when building the character and deciding the background.
 


I would rather to feel my PC is different since the first level. Subclasses should start at 1st level, at least with an exclusive but soft feat or class feature, only to mark its special identity.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Rune Knight (Fighter), College of Valor (Bard), College of Swords (Bard), College of Lore (Bard), and Armorer (Artificer) strike me as particularly silly. Artificer is particularly annoying because every subclass gains proficiency with a subclass-specific set of tools at level 3 that fits the theme. So, according to the game, an Alchemist is an Artificer that just learned how to use alchemist's tools.
Part of the design philosophy of 5e seems to be that if you want to come to the table with a concept for your character and a background with any kind of depth you should be starting play at at least level 3 (I'd argue 5, but at least level 3). That's where you have a fully formed character.

Levels 1 and 2 are, it seems to me, trying to replicate that "formative D&D experience" where you come to the table with no preconceptions about about your character other than they're a fighter or a magic-user or a bard or whatever. And then through the first few levels of play you develop a personality for them based on what happens at the table and go from there. The character is nearly a blank slate with maybe at most a few sentences of background before you start playing with them. So in this form of play the artificer would actually be someone who learns how to use alchemist's tools at that point because prior to that you wouldn't be sure what kind of artificer you would be playing.

The problem is a mismatch of expectations between the style of play players want and what the game is providing. Everyone seems to want to start at level 1 but not everyone agrees what "level 1" play actually means. For folks who want that blank slate experience the game is working as intended, for folks who want to start the game with a character who has a backstory and is already fully formed in their head, starting at level 1 has a bad feel. I'd argue that there's nothing wrong with starting out as level 3 characters if everyone is already coming to the table knowing what subclass they want and what their character's backstory is like. In fact I'd argue that 5e more than previous versions of D&D makes it very easy to start play at any level you want.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Levels 1 and 2 only exist for people who want to see the "zero to hero" playstyle. Level 3 is where the game actually begins. It's better to think of levels 1 and 2 like the 1e Cavalier's sub-levels. This is actually design intent, to compromise between where the WotC devs felt starting characters should be at in power (very similar to how resilient and capable 4e starting characters were), and where many old school players felt the game should begin.

But I see a lot of complaints that say "1st level characters should have all these things", which I find a little amusing, since a common complaint is how front-loaded the game's classes already are.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
But I see a lot of complaints that say "1st level characters should have all these things", which I find a little amusing, since a common complaint is how front-loaded the game's classes already are.
I think it's possible to have both complaints. The classes can be too front-loaded but also not "right" at level 1. (I'd love to see an optional expansion that lets you take a "second subclass" at level 11 for example - perhaps they could call it a "paragon path" or something).

But otherwise I agree - the design intent is definitely that level 3 is starting level for characters who aren't on the zero to hero path.
 

Part of the design philosophy of 5e seems to be that if you want to come to the table with a concept for your character and a background with any kind of depth you should be starting play at at least level 3 (I'd argue 5, but at least level 3). That's where you have a fully formed character.

Levels 1 and 2 are, it seems to me, trying to replicate that "formative D&D experience" where you come to the table with no preconceptions about about your character other than they're a fighter or a magic-user or a bard or whatever. And then through the first few levels of play you develop a personality for them based on what happens at the table and go from there. The character is nearly a blank slate with maybe at most a few sentences of background before you start playing with them. So in this form of play the artificer would actually be someone who learns how to use alchemist's tools at that point because prior to that you wouldn't be sure what kind of artificer you would be playing.

The problem is a mismatch of expectations between the style of play players want and what the game is providing. Everyone seems to want to start at level 1 but not everyone agrees what "level 1" play actually means. For folks who want that blank slate experience the game is working as intended, for folks who want to start the game with a character who has a backstory and is already fully formed in their head, starting at level 1 has a bad feel. I'd argue that there's nothing wrong with starting out as level 3 characters if everyone is already coming to the table knowing what subclass they want and what their character's backstory is like. In fact I'd argue that 5e more than previous versions of D&D makes it very easy to start play at any level you want.

If this theory were true, then clerics, wizards, or sorcerers would also not choose a path until level 3. You don't need a domain (or domain powers) to have a patron. Acolyte priests and apprentice wizards are certainly an established trope, too. Sorcerers literally grow into their powers already. If the game wants the play style to be one way, then it should be that one way. Not choose half one way and half another and ending up with neither style working particularly well. Either all classes begin at level 1, or all classes begin at level 3. Pick one. It's absurd to have half the classes fully fledged at level 1, and the other half have to wait until they're far enough away from the starting equipment shop to become so. It's a bad design.

Either you need to know enough at level 1 to become an adventurer, or you don't. This half-measure thing where some classes begin play and mysteriously learn to use longbows and greataxes by using daggers, or learn how to be persuasive by slaughtering goblins, or learn how to speak Giant by not studying them is just silly.

If the game really wants us to start at level 3, then it should say somewhere, "You should start at level 3 for most campaigns." The starting equipment should say, "Here's what you get if you start at level 3 instead." Yes, I get that level 1 and 2 are about 3 adventuring days total on the outside. But you can't build the game with a level 1, and say, "here's what you get at level 1," and then publish 20 modules that start you all at level 1 and then say... oh, but you're supposed to start at level 3 or the game is kinda wonky. That would be such a poor design that it would be incompetent.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
If this theory were true, then clerics, wizards, or sorcerers would also not choose a path until level 3. You don't need a domain (or domain powers) to have a patron. Acolyte priests and apprentice wizards are certainly an established trope, too. Sorcerers literally grow into their powers already. If the game wants the play style to be one way, then it should be that one way. Not choose half one way and half another and ending up with neither style working particularly well. Either all classes begin at level 1, or all classes begin at level 3. Pick one. It's absurd to have half the classes fully fledged at level 1, and the other half have to wait until they're far enough away from the starting equipment shop to become so. It's a bad design.
I didn't say it was good design. It actually is bad design IMO, but it's bad design because it's design by committee in an attempt to try to make everyone happy.

I actually think that they designed the game to start with a level 3 power level, and because of how 4e worked (where level 1 you were a competent character with a lot of your build under your belt) they tacked 2 extra levels on and spread the benefits of different classes over those levels based on "feel" rather than consistency. 4e was also "too consistent" so they reacted in 5e by changing up the levels that different classes get things to make things "feel" less consistent. (This has also turned out to bite them in the design space, since it's harder to create things like cross-class subclasses that way, but them's the breaks).

They don't tell you to start at level 3 and that level 1 and 2 are only if you want the zero to hero experience because of that same design by committee philosophy - in an attempt to make everyone happy they couldn't just outright say "the game is intended to start at level 3, but because of a vocal group who really want their characters to start out with almost nothing we tacked on 2 "zero level" levels before the level we actually designed the game to start play occurs" because that would give away what they were doing. And another lesson they learned from 4e is that a large group of players do not want to be let in on how the game is designed too transparently - they want to figure it out on their own.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
That's no excuse. Gully Dwarves are extremely ableist. I honestly cannot fathom anyone not being able to see that. This whole "but they were cursed/BS magic nonsense" stuff is just a Thermian Argument. It doesn't matter. The fact that they exist at all in their original state is the objectionable content, not whatever in-world excuse the designers choose to attach to them to preemptively dismiss any criticism of the races.

Also, the "Humans in Silly Hats" trope can be easily subverted without making all of them bigoted caricatures of real world people or encouraging/mandating problematic behavior when roleplaying those races. This topic was discussed extensively in this thread of mine.

Gully Dwarves are a problem. Tinker Gnomes and Kender less so, but they still are.

I completely agree. I was asked about gully dwarves in a conversation on another site, and I basically said the same. I then did some research to make sure I wasn't misremembering, which lead me to this thread and this... holy manure of wiki entry:


If this wiki is accurate, it's even worse than I remembered! I'm of the opinion that this material ... can't be redeemed. There is no "value" here to be saved, just... toss it in the bin of history and move on.
 

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