First playtest thread! One D&D Character Origins.

darjr

I crit!
For the first playtest talks. Character Origins.


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See the spoiler block for the transcript
Do
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We Begin we we begin with Origins right appropriately enough we begin at the
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beginning and so this under tarkana is the first and what's going to be a
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series of Unearthed Arcana articles that come out every month or so over the
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course of not only the next year but probably the next year and a half or so where we're
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going to present different pieces of the player's handbook but with brand new
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content then also familiar content but with new elements
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updates and this is the chance for DND fans to let us know what they think to
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really lend their voice to the chorus of DnD fans that will be really letting us
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know where they want us to go next with this game that many of us have been
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playing for decades and so many people have been playing since the 5th edition
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players handbook came out in 2014. and so with this first one we thought
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why not start at the start and that is uh figuring out where your character in
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d d where did they come from and so when we say your character origin that's what
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we're talking about what in your back story helped shape who you are and was
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formative for you before you became an adventurer your adventuring life is largely
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expressed by your character class and so character classes we'll get to in some
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upcoming anarch Arcana articles in this one we're going to be looking at
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three main elements that together Express who you were in the earliest
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stages of your life and that is your character's race your character's background as well as whatever feat that
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you get as part of that background because yes one of the new things here
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which some of our recent d d books have already signaled was coming and many fans have already guessed coming that
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everyone's background will now give them a first level feat but we'll talk more
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about Feats I think a little later in the video so to begin since this is about Origins
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let's start with race so your character's race in d d represents your ancestry in many ways
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when you make your character you decide are is your character a member of the human race or one of the game's
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Fantastical races various race options have appeared in many of our books over the last eight
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years now is our time in this under turkana to revisit our old friends the races that
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are in the player's handbook and so here we're going to be able to look at all of us together as d d fans the latest
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versions of humans elves dwarves and others
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many familiar aspects of those races are still here many of the traits that
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people have been using for the last eight years they're right here on the page
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but then there are also new traits and some of those traits that we've been all using in our characters have new options
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great example of this in the dwarf you still have stone cunning
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but now a dwarf as long as they're in contact with stone in some way whether
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they're standing on it touching it dwarves now a certain number of times per day can give themselves Tremor sense
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meaning they can sense through the Earth itself if there are creatures nearby
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moving objects we're really leaning into
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the Mythic stories of each of the race options in the game and looking for ways
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to make them sort of the version truest to themselves like some something that
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we would talk about while working on them is we want this dwarf to be the dwarfiest dwarf right right we want the
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elf to be the elfiest elf and so we've been looking at ways of not only
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maintaining continuity with with what sort of the general silhouette of that
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race option is in the 2014 Players handbook but again bring some new elements to the foreground give you some
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more fun things that you'll be able to do during play so that's another element
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people are going to see in the races that ones that maybe in the past didn't
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have an active ability something they could do during play now there they
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might have one and so the dwarf's Tremor sense is an example of this now the dwarf has something that there they can
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use that makes them feel dwarfy and will have usefulness and Adventures uh while
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also having some of the familiar traits that they had before the resistance to
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poison for instance right still here I love the narrative hook of that just because if you're a minor if you are a
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tunnel Digger like in a war you are extremely sensitive to vibrations yes
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you're just Ultra aware all the time so that's that's perfect for that uh playable race exactly and uh you will
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get to see things like that uh in all of them where we took something that was
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there before and often it's just we turned up the volume what can we do to this to make it even more fun uh give a
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new dimension of play for people as they play their dwarf they're halfling their
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gnome what have you uh in some cases
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there are also options where before there were none one example I'm really
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excited about is uh if you play a tiefling you now have several really
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interesting choices choices that we began exploring years ago in modern canaan's Tome of foes and
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now lean into here in the the this UA for the Player's handbook and that is
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when you create a tiefling you decide what your infernal Legacy is I'm sorry
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your fiendish legacy and one of those options is infernal but your legacy also
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might be Abyssal or a a new third option which we're calling cathonic which has
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to do each of these options has to do with different lower planes and so
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infernal means you come your your legacy is connected to lawful evil planes if
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you pick cathonic it's neutral evil planes and if you pick up Bissell chaotic evil planes now of course the
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tiefling's moral Outlook is is not connected to this sort of origin of
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their mystical powers which are shaped those Powers by this
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choice so if you want the tiefling you have already in the 2014 player's
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handbook choose the infernal Legacy and you're going to see you have the
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familiar abilities although you have a little more now because now in addition to the magical abilities you had before
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you now also have the Firebolt can't trip because you're going to be able to
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hurl fire thanks to the Legacy that you have because that's very much the the
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fire and the the pits and the Flames are basically what evokes that type of uh uh
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setting for anything of infernal exactly whereas if you pick Abyssal you have a
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completely different set of spells that you that you have in you innately and
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then also your damage resistance is different so infernal tieflings have the
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resistance to fire that tieflings have in the 2014 Players handbook whereas Abyssal and cathonic teeth links have
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other damage resistances this sort of structure of giving you
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choices that maybe you didn't have before is something you'll see in a variety of places not only in this under
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tarkana but in future ones as well now there's another fun choice that
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tieflings will have that they didn't have before and it's also a choice that humans have in this unarth Arcana and
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that is their size if you are a human or a tiefling you're now going to be able
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to decide whether you are medium as they are in the 2014 player's handbook or
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small because first off in the real world there are humans who are small and so we
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want to make sure that's now an option in the game as well and when it comes to
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tieflings we added that option because some of the games iconic fiends are
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actually quite little yeah and and so we thought how fun would it be to see more
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height variants in tieflings a theme then that we carry over into a brand new
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race that is also in this on our tarkana would you like to talk about that yes I
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would love to so these are very unique week yes so in this on Earth Arcana we introduce a race
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that we're calling the ardlings ardlings are also a people of the outer Plains
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like tieflings and like asamar who appear in Monsters of the Multiverse
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and ardlings are associated with three different groups of upper planes
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you'll see there's a parallelism here tieflings are associated with sort of
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three through the three main segments of the lower planes ardlings are associated with the three main segments of the
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upper planes they can be smaller medium just like tieflings and all of their
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abilities are themed around you know the heavens and whatnot but also visually
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they are really going to stand out because one thing that sets ardlings
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apart from say their asamar cousins is they all have the the face of an animal
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and what we're doing here is we're really leaning into the fact that going all the way back to first edition many
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of the game's celestials don't actually look like Angels many of the game celestials from The Game's long history
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and I'm thinking here of cardinals Hound archons many of the avatars of specific
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Gods many gods themselves in not only dnds pantheons but General mythology yes
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but also in in human mythology have the visages of animals and so that that is
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true of the ardlings where when you make one of these folk who can trace their
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lineages to the upper planes you also decide uh what animal appearance you
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have whether you know you're a bear or a lion or a cat or an eagle uh that that
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is going to make it so that when when you're walking down the street people are going to know there's something
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special about you especially when you then also temporarily Sprout your spectral Wings To Go on short short
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little bouts of flight so this will also be the first time that we have introduced a a race with limited flight
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in the player's handbook right and we saw that in a previous UA as well but
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yeah this limited flight because flight can flight is an interesting thing yes and and this flight definitely is just
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for little bouts because uh the ardlings do not have physical Wings all the time
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but they can Channel their connection to the upper Plains to temporarily have these
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luminous wings that they use to you know maybe reach a heart a a hard to reach
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place I I like to imagine that you know some of them especially with their their animal features might sometimes just use
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this ability to get that cat stranded up there in the tree uh yeah nothing nefarious
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although although just as tieflings determine their own moral compasses this
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is true of artlings as well so uh just because you know Grandma might have been
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from Mount Celestia doesn't mean you're ardling shares the moral Outlook of that plane
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so you could play a Sinister ardling and I think it would be quite interesting to
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see that in in people's games in the years ahead oh yeah I'm already going to I'm playing a bat ardling a hundred
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percent you have Unleashed my my bat humanoid bat fantasy already unknowingly
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so I'm very excited for this and and I can't wait to find out if your bat artling is uh from the uh exalted
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Heavenly or idyllic oh wow interesting yeah no that that will require some
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thought yeah and because because just as in the tiefling that choice then uh
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gives your character different magical abilities themed to
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the the sort of group of planes that your character's Legacy is connected to so one of the races that is included
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right from the get is in the player's handbook for 2024 presumably is the orc
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so the orc is another new race for the
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Player's handbook that appears here and people who have monsters of the Multiverse will see this orc is the orc
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from that book and we've decided that because for many many years the orc has
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been playable it's long past time for the orc to graduate to the player's
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handbook right and so many people play them yes and and you know take take
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their place uh next to uh this other cast of characters so I'm excited that
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uh Orcs are are now going to be there in the games core rulebook but man
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tiefling's got there first I know we also have
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backgrounds and backgrounds have become so much more important than they were
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before yes uh and not only more important but also more customizable
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than they've ever been before and more narrative weight yes this is this is an important fact it's super important
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about your character exactly um and this this emphasis on narrative
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is something that people will also see uh glimmers of also back in the race
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section of the same UA because uh something that we offer to players now
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officially this is something people have been doing in their you know their games for many years uh
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in a sort of story space between your race choice and your background choice
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we encourage you to consider the possibility that your character
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might have parents of different humanoid kinds your one parent might be a dwarf
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the other one might be a halfling one parent might be a human and the other one might be an orc some of these
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pairings the game has embraced in the past we're now opening it up so to
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encourage people to realize many pairings are possible and when you do it what you do is you choose one of those
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basically you choose the parent that gives your character your game traits right but then you can mix together the
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visual qualities of the two to determine how your character looks and so you're you're kind of you have you have two
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options to draw from for the aesthetic of your character and then again you choose which one is giving you your
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special traits your characters size and speed that sort of thing and like
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you said players have been doing this so for so long like my own wife plays a
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gnome half Goblin a noblin right like this is very common you just
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have to choose the the stats that you want to go with right yeah and and so again another example of us providing uh
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new ways of experiencing the game we're all already playing
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so now let's go from that to then the background yeah let's get into the
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backgrounds and backgrounds are really exciting for me because of how we
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essentially deconstructed them into their component parts examined each part and then reassembled
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them and so the first thing that people are going to see is that the default option
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now for your background is to build your own
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in the 2014 Players handbook we had a bunch of backgrounds you could choose
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from and then we had a rule that said if you want to customize a background here's how you do it we've essentially kind of
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reversed the priority order where Now the default
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is build your own background and we tell you exactly how
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or choose one of the sample backgrounds that we provide that were built using
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the rules that we just gave you for building a background and so what those
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rules include are some choices for your character that can be very meaningful
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for you not only in terms of your character's story but also in terms of
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your character's abilities because first off speaking of abilities
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one of your choices in background is where you're going to put a floating
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plus two and a plus one to your ability scores people are already familiar
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who've been playing d d with Tasha's cauldron of everything as well as some of our other recent books like Monsters
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of the Multiverse that allow you to have a plus two and a plus one that you
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decide where they go in your characters so this is going to feel familiar but
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what's different is now that we're working on revising the player's handbook itself where those bonuses now
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live in this play test material is in the background section and it makes
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sense because you've been doing this this is your background this is like the life that you have led this is why you
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are more dexterous this is why you have you're stronger because you lifted great
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sword like you were a soldier you know this this kind of equates exactly because background is all about what
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have you been doing yeah for all for all the years before you became an adventurer it it it has a meaningful
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effect on your character's stats and now if you choose one of the pre-made
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backgrounds people will see we've we have chosen what those ability score bonuses are connected to the story of
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the background but if you use the default option which is building your own just as you can in
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Tasha's cauldron of everything you can put that plus two in that plus one or
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three plus ones wherever you want just as you can with tashas but and the
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reason why we're doing it sort of both ways where if you do build your own you decide where they go or if you choose a
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pre-made background we decide where they go because we also know there are many players who don't want to have to decide
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and so if you just like I pick soldier soldier tells me to increase these two
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stats in this way and then they're good to go it's sort of The Best of Both Worlds well and it illustrates the point
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very well yes and that and really many of the backgrounds uh that we provide
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are really just illustrations of how people can use the new background
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building system so ability scores are a part of it you
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just as you do now you uh in the 2014 Players handbook you'll also get two
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skill proficiencies uh you get a tool proficiency you get a language uh you
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also get a starting package of equipment and uh Even in our deconstruction and
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rebuilding process even all those equipment packages uh have been examined because we're embracing uh this build
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your own approach one of the things we needed to do was make it so that all the backgrounds have equipment packages of
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the same value yeah because in the 2014 Players handbook they didn't and so now
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if people like add up how you know the cost they'll see oh all the backgrounds
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have equipment packages worth exactly 50 gold pieces instead of just going for
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criminal or Noble right right and uh
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one of the main reasons why we've done that is to empower this build your own
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approach yeah so then the other thing you get in your
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background and we touched on it earlier in our talk and it is in my mind the
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most exciting new piece of background and that is you also get a first level feat
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so in that statement there are a few things for me to unpack first off I just talked about a feat and gave it a level
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that's critical because people are going to see not only in this under tarkana but in the upcoming Unearthed arcanas
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over the next year plus they're going to see Feats appearing and
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every feet will have a level on it the way to think of a feat is a feat is
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essentially a class feature that doesn't belong to a single class and Justice
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class features have levels Feats are now going to have levels that makes a lot of sense and and so there's a there are
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several reasons for this one because we're really embracing Feats
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in certain parts of this play test process backgrounds being
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one of one of the main parts of the game where we're doing that we want to make sure that feat selection
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is not overwhelming and one way for us to make it so that it's not overwhelming is to break Feats
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up into smaller groups and one of those ways that we're doing that is with levels so for instance if
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something in the game tells you go pick a first level feat then you know immediately well then I can ignore all
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the Feats in this book that are for fourth level that are for 20th level or any other level that might be on the
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feets instead you can just focus in on the first level ones and this allows
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those Universal traits that don't belong to any specific class to have a variance
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of power that fails like more in tune with your leveling up exactly like it
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allows you not to like I'm just picking from the same pool of Feats as I've always done like no that you can get a
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feat that is much more uh strong yeah well not only that but also something
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people are going to see is that when you examine the first level Feats in this Unearthed Arcana if you're familiar with
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the Feats that have been in the game in the last eight years some of them have in addition to including some sort of
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special benefit have often also included a plus one to one of your ability scores
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right you'll notice reading this document none of these Feats have a plus one to an ability score and that's
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intentional because that is actually one of the signs that you're looking at a first level feat because when you see
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some of the higher level feeds in our upcoming on Earth arcanas some of those
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Feats will still have a plus one to a particular ability score but again one
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of the signs of a first level feed is they don't include that and because first level feeds are not
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meant to change your ability score because when you're building your
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character there are already other things that are manipulating your ability scores right that those initial factors
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whereas when you move forward and you start hitting other levels you are faced with the do I increase my ability stats
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or do I go with feet right this kind of softens that as well of like well you're
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still getting a benefit with some of these feeds well you're not only getting a benefit but it's a benefit your character didn't have before right this
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is this is a pure addition that we're providing now for everybody and we have
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that in mind as we decide what qualifies as a first level feed and what doesn't uh basically anything that's going to
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dramatically increase uh character power in some way people are not going to see
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as a first level feat uh that that is the domain of higher level Feats where
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uh the game's math can handle adjustments to raw power most first
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level Feats are about increasing a character's versatility and speaking to
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different key backstories and you'll see that these Feats are you know
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they all are featured in at least one of the sample backgrounds in this document
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so you can also see looking at the sample backgrounds how to match
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first level feeds with background if you decide to build your own background and
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again if you don't want to you just grab one of these pre-made backgrounds and the background just feeds you a
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particular feat for instance if you if you pick the Sailor you're gonna get
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Tavern brawler and and the reason for that is because in the little story that we provide for the Sailor it's because
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on your on your long Journeys you have spent a whole lot of time in taverns you
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know in different ports of call and uh and in the process you've gotten really
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good at participating in brawls whereas like criminal you get alert I believe
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yes because that makes sense yes because you want to be very alert yeah look out
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for the the soldiers of the crown or whatever exactly exactly and uh
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people are going to see that alert which is a returning feat has new functionality uh yeah and uh I'm super
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excited about this whole approach that we're taking with backgrounds of it's all about
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building character your character's story and making certain meaningful game mechanic
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choices that reflect the story you have in mind for your character and each of the sample backgrounds that
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we provide are really there to inspire you to show you the kinds of backstories that you
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can have for your character so that's why you're going to see again not only some returning backgrounds uh like
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Soldier like sailor uh uh acolyte but you're also going to see brand new ones
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like cultist uh Pilgrim and a number of
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others all meant to show a different aspect of of a character's life that
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could have been formative in who they are yeah and it's such a good uh it helps for a point of inspiration how you
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role play your character as well yeah yeah and add like the meaningfulness of the backgrounds like backgrounds were
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always cool before but now it's like okay this is this has a lot of them it has it has a lot of
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oomph because its background is also where you can express your character's
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culture where your character is from some of those elements that used to
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exist in some of our character races those elements now exist in background
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that migration of sort of cultural culturally encoded elements migrating to
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background is a philosophy that informs
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a number of the design decisions in this particular UA it's why for instance to
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go back to one of our race options if you look at the dwarf in this unarth Arcana the dwarf does not have uh
30:10
Mountain dwarf and Hill dwarf as sub options anymore
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and there's a reason for that it's because those options were only cultural for dwarves
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in our DND worlds those are really cultural designations that different
30:28
dwarf communities have taken on and also in some DND worlds those names don't
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appear at all right yeah and unlike say elves who actually have
30:40
different mystical abilities based on their connections with different environments you know whether it's wood
30:46
elves who have particular magical abilities because of their connection to primeval forests or drow who have you
30:55
know their magical abilities because of the Millennia they've spent in the magic saturated underdark
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dwarves don't have those associations and so instead of having a choice which
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was again cultural and culture now is reflected by background we focused in on
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let's make the dwarf the dwarfiest dwarf and so in a few cases where maybe before there was an there's an option that's
31:21
not there anymore really often the option is just moved someplace else and so any of the
31:28
cultural cues that a person before was searching for in say their dwarf character they can now
31:36
replicate those and often with more oomph in the background system for
31:42
instance if you want to really Lean Into You know the the fairy tale dwarf who
31:49
not only has all the characteristics we expect of a dwarf but you know also is like a minor and some and you know this
31:56
sort of thing that I encourage people to go pick the laborer background where you're going to get all the stuff you
32:03
would expect for a character who's really leaning
32:08
into that archetype this all connects to Monsters of the Multiverse as well absolutely so
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anything that you're seeing here is designed to play side by side with
32:23
books you have already and that includes recent books like Monsters of the Multiverse so the dwarf for instance
32:32
that you see in this on Earth Arcana is meant to exist in the game side by side
32:37
with the dwargar that appears in Monsters of the Multiverse the elf in
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this UA is designed to stand side by side with the sea elf aladrin and Shadow
32:50
Kai who are in Monsters of the Multiverse same with gnomes where we
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have we have the sort of the player's handbook gnome that we're looking at here and then we have the additional
33:01
gnome option of the deep gnome in Monsters of the Multiverse so really
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when you look at the player's handbook version of something it is that is the
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most sort of like archetypal Universal version the most common
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version that you're going to see all of those other versions that we have
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particularly in a book like Monsters of the Multiverse which we designed to be a big collection of options that would
33:31
then be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the options in the new
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core Rule books you then when you put them all together have this amazing family of options and
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these new options don't take away those but instead in many ways
33:52
create some when you look at one and look at the other it really then
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highlights even more what's special about each of the options this pipe test
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material is meant to work and the future product that future players handbook very nicely with the books that already
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exist exactly now there's a lot we could say about the Feats that you're getting
34:15
from those backgrounds correct and uh I'm really excited for people to read
34:22
through all of them to see what's going on in these feats rather than going through each one of
34:29
them uh as much as I would love to because there's so many people there's a lot to look at there's so many fun
34:36
things in these new Feats really what I'd love to do is talk briefly about some of the philosophy behind the
34:42
decision making here I've already talked a bit about some of the things that
34:47
distinguish a first level feat from higher level feeds uh there's another thing uh that informs
34:54
some of the decisions we made about the Feats here and that is first I'll talk about
35:02
Feats we revised and then I'll also talk about brand new Feats so
35:08
whenever we were revising a feat that already existed in the 2014 Players
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handbook and made the determination that it was going to become a first level feat we not only wanted to make sure it was
35:21
delivering something with very clear functionality and clear value
35:28
we also wanted to make sure that the feet is useful to the people who most
35:34
are typically would want to take it here's what I mean by that if you look at the Healer feet in the
35:40
2014 player's handbook you read the title and you think hey I'm playing a life cleric I'm a Healer right
35:48
that's probably a feat I want to take but then if you read it not very beneficial no because that feat
35:55
was actually written for a person who maybe doesn't have any healing ability
36:00
right so we have kind of uh turn that on its head uh and we have now
36:08
made it so that this feat is beneficial to people who are already healers while
36:13
also providing a healing ability to somebody who lacks it so
36:19
that's the kind of the needle we're threading in a lot of these that maybe a feat that before
36:25
seemed to be calling to a particular type of character but then didn't connect with that character at all we
36:31
have now made it so that it is beneficial for that kind of character like many life clerics are now going to
36:37
want to take the Healer feet but then also many non-spell casting
36:42
characters I think might be drawn to the Healer feat because of their characters
36:48
back backstory because of the battle medic ability right that is now in the
36:55
Healer feet that allows you to actually heal somebody using a healer's kit and you'll see that
37:03
again and again in these Feats things that are either going to be beneficial
37:09
for the individual character who we expect would be attracted to the
37:14
feet or beneficial to the whole party here's an example of that in the alert
37:20
feet now first level feet that again the criminal has
37:28
not only do you get a bonus to your initiative role
37:34
but you also now have an ability when initiative is rolled you and another
37:39
member of your party can swap initiative which is amazing I love it and and this
37:46
that ability alone is going to make many groups like oh we are so happy if somebody has alert because we have all
37:53
playing d d been in that situation where like if only this particular character was able to go earlier exactly yeah and
38:01
and so now the character who is because this alert feed is designed to
38:06
mean this is the person who is exceptionally ready to jump into action and can help one of their buddies do so
38:14
and that's another yeah that's another example of like alert was a very like
38:19
for my character only feet like like I just want to be first right
38:24
now you have the option to like pass that on to someone else in your group and be a good party member exactly if
38:29
given the option but yeah like that's that's lovely that's that dual purpose for all these Feats yeah and then and
38:36
and then the brand new Feats are designed to
38:42
fill some character type gaps that existed before gaps that really came to
38:49
mind for us as we were designing the sample backgrounds what's an example of
38:54
one of the new Feats so musician right is one of the new Feats and with the
39:01
musician feat you can not only gain proficiency with three musical
39:07
instruments of your choice and sort of getting the three tool proficiencies used to be a function one of the
39:14
optional functions of the skill defeat but now you get a more flavorful version
39:19
of that not only in the musician feet but also elsewhere so you get to choose three musical
39:25
instruments that you're proficient with but then you also have the ability that
39:30
whenever you finish a short or long rest you can give inspiration to a number of
39:37
people who hear you play a song on one of your instruments and the number of people who can gain
39:45
inspiration is affected by your proficiency bonus so in other words the higher level you get it scales rather
39:52
obviously yeah and and so you know in any group we're like gosh
39:57
we'd really love to have sort of inspiration in our pocket ready to go and for anyone watching who doesn't know
40:03
what inspiration is because a lot of groups don't use it that's essentially having um advantage in your pocket ready
40:10
to use when you need it right uh and so a person with the musician feet using
40:16
this inspiring song can give people inspiration
40:21
so this brand new feat is not only filling a gap in our previous feat list
40:28
but it's also doing exactly what I was talking about earlier about the Healer feat and that is
40:34
it will be useful to also someone who's already a musician most most notably the
40:39
bar the bar because this ability to whenever you finish a rest to give
40:45
certain number of people of inspiration is not an ability that Barda has so this
40:51
combines really nicely with a Bard's kit so you can become the most Barty barred
40:57
or you can play a fighter who also on occasion takes out a loot yeah who
41:04
before battle placed this beautiful song and everyone is like now I'm ready to go
41:09
yeah that's perfect yeah and and and again that is the philosophy here
41:15
throughout is how can we make uh people who again want a taste of something they
41:21
don't have happy but then also make the people who already have the thing also happy magic initiate does this too magic
41:29
initiate like some of the Feats we've published in the past year or two now tells you hey not only do you get some
41:37
spells that you can cast for free but if you already have spell slots you
41:42
can use them to cast these spells too and we we saw this in the evolution of like tashas and other books where
41:49
that you you very key much keyed into the fact that like yeah I got this first level spell but like I can't upcast it
41:56
with magic initiatives right so it's a little like frustrating if that scale if that spell can scale up if you like use
42:04
a higher spell slot and now you can do that yeah if you want to hush rebuke someone right I love doing uh you can do
42:12
so now defeat also uh has been given broader
42:19
functionality because people are going to see uh in this feat a reference to
42:26
something that is new yeah let's talk about that let's talk about I assume
42:31
you're talking about spells and how they're defined yes so not only does the
42:36
magic initiate feat uh refer to what we're about to talk about but there there are references to it elsewhere in
42:43
the dock one of those being in the high elf and that is we now refer to three
42:50
new spell lists there is an Arcane spell list a Divine spell list and a primal
42:56
spell list in our work over the last few years as
43:02
we've been preparing start unveiling this material we realized that as the game expands as
43:10
there are new subclass options uh also with you know the introduction of a class like the artificer
43:18
with Feats with magic items with a variety of things that give you access
43:24
to spells there has been a growing need for us to have a new type of spell list
43:31
and that is a spell list that isn't tied to a particular class but is instead
43:37
tied to really the source of your magic right um and so in this case Arcane
43:45
spells are all about manipulating the background magic that's in the entire Multiverse Divine spells uh as people
43:53
would expect come from either gods or the Realms of the Gods and then Primal
44:00
spells are about drawing on the magic that is in not only sort of the elements
44:07
but also in the spirits of Nature and the way the way we sort of divided is
44:12
divine is really magic pulling from the Outer Planes Primal is pulling from the
44:18
inner planes and Arcane is pulling from sort of the Multiverse writ large
44:24
and so now rather than us directing you for certain Spell choices in particular
44:31
contexts like you know the previous magic initiate was like all right go
44:36
pick from the spell list of one of these particular classes which then suddenly
44:42
the moment we introduce a new class like artificer right then then we need a
44:47
whole new feat for that yeah this feat now grows with the future of the game
44:54
because now any time that we introduce a spell the spell itself will have for you
45:03
a tag that tells you if it's Arcane Divine or Primal or a mix because some
45:09
spells as people are going to see in some of our upcoming on our tarcana fall into multiple categories this is going
45:16
to have a tremendous payoff not only for like oh this later supplement added a new Arcane spell I have access to to the
45:25
Arcane spell list I can now have access to that spell without it having to route
45:31
through a particular class uh much more elegant solution yes and it
45:39
it also is another uh it has another purpose for us it's a way for us to take
45:45
this notion of these sources of magic which are mentioned at least Arcane and
45:50
divine are in the 2014 Players handbook but now we actually sort of give them
45:55
rules teeth rather than just sort of being a story rapper because Arcane and divine and then occasionally Primal when
46:02
it has been mentioned have really just been a flavor wrapper now they actually have substance in the game itself that
46:09
there is a list that you can go look at and go here are the sort of universal
46:15
Arcane spells here are the universal Divine spells and so on now people will
46:21
have to wait for upcoming under tarkanas to see how classes use those lists
46:27
because classes are going to use those lists but classes are also going to have access to spells that go beyond the
46:35
those Universal lists but again that's for that's for future us to talk about
46:41
uh and but again I think I think already this is super exciting being able to
46:47
reveal um these again these new types of spell lists that provide a tremendous amount
46:54
of flexibility for characters not only that will be able to be made with this series of unarth Arcana articles but
47:02
also that will be able to be made in the future yeah it is a very exciting time uh this
47:09
is a very weighty UA we're going to be doing this often this year uh
47:16
uh somewhat semi-monthly but yeah not not necessarily not necessarily strictly
47:24
defined yeah in terms of timing but we have a lot of uas coming out this year we need a lot of player feedback and
47:33
there is so much in this UA that we could talk about yes I know we do we
47:39
we everything and we could have made this a three hour video and and there are
47:46
before we sign off on this video yeah there are a couple other gems in this UA
47:52
I would love to go ahead go ahead yeah I uh I am I'm eager to hear so first I
47:58
encourage people in the rules glossary to look at not only the revised
48:04
definitions of a couple of our conditions they're also going to see there's a new condition that's in play
48:10
the slowed condition and people are going to see in the upcoming on Earth arcanas uh updates to a number of the
48:18
game's conditions so I'm excited to see what people think about that also I encourage people to take a look
48:25
at the new rules for inspiration because we've decided that rather than
48:32
inspiration being connected to essentially just the DM awarding people
48:37
for particular character choices instead inspiration is going to be
48:44
something you can reliably get whenever you roll a 20 on an ability check saving
48:50
throw or attack roll we wanted a way to feed people
48:56
inspiration through the system itself and we love this idea of when you have a
49:02
spectacular success you're inspired by it you bolstered by it and that can
49:08
start creating this sort of Snowball Effect yeah uh and that's what we're going for we've also uh tweaked the rule
49:17
on Inspirations so that it's still the same that you can only ever have one instant of of inspiration you don't get
49:23
the stockpile inspiration it's not you either have it or you don't but we've now made it so that if something in the
49:30
game gives you inspiration and you already have it you can then immediately give it to one of the other characters
49:37
in your group oh that's fantastic uh and it's likely that people are going to
49:43
have it because you get it by Rolling a 20 and one of the new traits of humans
49:48
in the game is humans whenever they finish a long rest have inspiration and so every human in your
49:56
group is going to start every adventuring day with inspiration and that means then if the human gets
50:02
inspiration and already has it they can then give inspiration to somebody else I think there's going to be a really fun
50:08
sort of you know inspiration flowing around yeah in the party
50:14
and what people are going to see as they actually experience this in play
50:20
what the system is intentionally doing is encouraging you to use the inspiration because there's more is
50:27
coming uh it's just like really yeah I don't know what I'm gonna need this exactly and it's we we often when we're
50:35
assessing different parts of the system uh if we see something that ends up getting hoarded so much that it actually
50:42
almost never sees use yeah that to us tells we need to change something so
50:48
that this actually becomes a fun part of play and not something that just gets marked during your character sheet and
50:54
then you forget about it is this the moment that I use it that that kind of almost anxiety like right like I've been
50:59
in Somalia you and I have been in so many one shots where it's like well I never used it yeah yeah exactly it's
51:05
gone forever whereas we want to make it easy for people to say yes yeah to say yes I'm going to use my inspiration uh
51:13
because it's likely more is coming right around the corner the gang of natural 20 thing is so exciting because like you
51:19
that's such a cinematic moment or like a great narrative moment of like I I've been very successful and now I have a
51:26
little bit left over and that could you could roll another 20 it could keep going and going and going and and to see
51:33
a game where like something like that happens I mean the odds are are
51:39
not high but they're higher now to see something like kind of amazing at the
51:44
table yeah yeah that's very very fun so critical hits have changed as well can you elaborate on on that
51:51
we are experimenting in this on Earth Arcana with a new take on the critical
51:57
hit so in addition to Rolling a 20 now feeding you inspiration whether it's an
52:04
ability check saving thrower attack roll we've now specified that if it's an
52:10
attacker and you roll a 20 it's also a critical hit as you would expect but what's different here is it's
52:19
only a critical hit if you were attacking with a weapon or an unarmed strike
52:24
now in most cases in our game that was already the case in actual play
52:32
because most spells in the game trigger saving throws rather than involving an
52:38
attack roll so spells scoring Critical Hits was a more sort of rare occurrence
52:44
than weapons scoring them but we're exploring this option and
52:50
again I really want to emphasize this is a great example of a play test giving us the chance to experiment with something
52:56
remember this is not set in stone right exactly uh we we want to see what does
53:06
the community think and how does this play out for them because what we're really trying to do is carve out a
53:13
clearer space for essentially Spell
53:18
operations on one side and weapon and unarmed strike operations on the other
53:24
and the critical hit was already confusing for a number of people because
53:30
I've actually lost count over the last eight years the number of times I've been asked by the community can spell
53:38
score a critical hit so funnily this this experiment in this UA will function for
53:46
many groups the way they were already playing because many groups had doubt that spells could actually critical even
53:51
though they could right and so now we're experimenting with well just what if they can't and this is a function of
54:00
weapon use and unarmed strike use which then also allows for us to do
54:05
greater Clarity because then it's there's not that fuzziness before of like take the dice that were involved in
54:12
the attack and roll them twice no now we Zoom way in it's take the weapon or the
54:17
unarmed strikes dice and roll them a second time now of
54:22
course people know that some people don't have dice for their unarmed strikes but monks and others absolutely
54:28
do and we wanted to make sure this critical hit option was available for them in addition to characters who rely
54:35
more on weapons now there's an additional Nuance here the way we have
54:41
worded this experimental rule it is only player characters who score Critical Hits
54:48
now I need to unpack that well it's kind so first
54:55
uh critical hits for Monsters often play out in
55:02
uh strange unsatisfying or terrifying ways and I'll
55:09
unpack I'll unpack those first they can be terrifying higher level terrifying is fine
55:16
first level terrifying can mean the character is gone uh so crits are extremely dangerous at
55:23
low levels for player characters you know that bug bear critting your first level character might mean that's
55:30
it your character is on on its on their way to the Grave yeah uh
55:35
and but then other times because of how a
55:41
monster's damage expression is built a monster critical hit can feel
55:47
unsatisfying uh and the DM might say there was a crit but the math doesn't
55:53
really deliver the punch that you you were expecting when the DM said that
56:00
also because a lot of DMS use static damage our crit role where you're
56:05
rolling a die a second time there's friction between that rule and how
56:10
monsters are actually designed and then there's a further reason that we're experimenting with this and that
56:16
is Monster's actually already have their own built-in crit like mechanic
56:25
and that is the recharge mechanic we use recharge abilities to deliver
56:31
those scary massive strikes right think
56:37
of the dragon's breath weapon when that happens everyone has put on notice and that is
56:42
the scary moment the DM decides when to use it so the DM
56:48
can make an informed decision when to crank up the difficulty in a battle the
56:55
DM has no control over a critical hit now uncertainty is also fun because we like
57:00
DMS being surprised but that's where the recharge role comes in because the DM wants the DM decides to essentially
57:07
press the things are going to get real big of the button back they're not sure
57:14
when they get the button back yeah yeah and so there is already this element of uncertainty purposefully built into the
57:21
recharge mechanic and so what we're exploring is this notion of really
57:28
monsters don't need crits because they have crits in another form and that is in recharge abilities and those the DM
57:36
has a bit more control over even though it's not total control because again once you use the DM doesn't know when
57:42
it's coming back uh that is that that modicum of control
57:47
is more in keeping with what we expect for a dungeon master and so we're exploring the crit as it's
57:54
essentially a special ability of player characters of occasionally they score
58:01
these surprisingly good hits that deal more damage than uh the weapon or
58:07
unarmed strike would normally deal uh this is this is a rule I I am very keen
58:14
to get feedback on and hope people will try it out in their game and
58:21
then we'll see where we go next Once once we get the feedback on it related to Rolling the D20 there's also another
58:28
significant thing in the rules glossary that uh I encourage people to take a
58:34
look at and that is we have decided to embrace how many
58:40
groups actually play and that is when you roll a 1 or a 20 for an ability
58:46
check saving thrower attack roll right a one is an automatic failure and a 20 is an automatic success
58:53
it will surprise some people watching that that's a change because I yeah I know because I've been doing it I don't
58:59
know for like 10 years yes uh because for yeah anyone who might not know previously a 20 meeting on
59:06
automatic success in a one meeting on automatic failure was only a function of the attack role right not of ability
59:13
checks and saving throws but what we have seen over the last eight years is
59:18
more and more groups use that rule for all of the D20 tests and we decided
59:25
rather than having the rules being in friction with how people actually play
59:31
the game let's update the rules so that the game plays the way people expect it to well
59:38
that's what's so much it was in this first play test material is much of that yes of how people
59:45
actually play or want to play because we over the last eight years through the
59:52
many uh surveys that people have filled out that have been valuable to our work
59:57
we've been listening we've been paying attention we watch streamed games we constantly play DND and all of that
1:00:05
feedback all of that play all of that observation has fed into what people are
1:00:12
seeing in this unearth Arcana and what they're going to see in the months ahead there there's two sides of the play test
1:00:18
material like this is a moment in time where like all of everyone's feedback has led to this play test material and
1:00:25
your feedback after this is going to lead to the final version so be sure to
1:00:31
play test absolutely because this is not the final version everything here is subject to change uh
1:00:39
this is really this UA in particular is our hello yeah hello we're listening yeah yeah and
1:00:47
the feedback that then the community provides in response will help determine
1:00:55
what parts of this make it into the new core books what parts do we set to the
1:01:02
side and what parts do we keep but change and so what everyone is going to
1:01:07
see just like with the DND Next process almost 10 years ago you're going to see an evolution
1:01:14
in these playtest materials in the game itself
1:01:20
also the exciting thing I think for everyone is you're going to be able to use all of these playtest stocks with
1:01:27
your existing core books we have designed these docs so that you can take
1:01:32
each one and other than the places where we tell you all right you know that thing in your book well here's here's an
1:01:39
update to it otherwise all this material works with the core books you already
1:01:44
have meaning the uas that are ahead will be very
1:01:50
targeted rather than it being like here is a cross-section of the of the entire game right instead we're going to drill
1:01:57
into one piece because that piece will now work with the books you have already
1:02:04
and so that's why you know in in coming ones we're going to drill deep on particular classes and then eventually
1:02:10
we'll drill deep on particular spells as we build this it's almost like we're
1:02:17
building a mosaic that in the end and you know once all the pieces are in
1:02:22
place you will get a glimpse of what the new core books are going to look like this has to be very exciting for you
1:02:29
like beyond the rules and the play test this is like a very exciting time to be a d d fan yeah and to be making DND yeah
1:02:36
yeah no it's it's wonderfully exciting uh because we're able to take something
1:02:42
that we love feed the passion that we in the community have had for it over the last
1:02:48
eight years feed all the conversations we've had internally that we've had with
1:02:54
fans out in the world and take all of that and let it flow into the game
1:02:59
itself so that it can move now into its its
1:03:05
next generation it's perfect I am excited for I'm very
1:03:10
excited for this video and for many more to come over the next few years yeah yeah excellent all right and uh
1:03:17
people will get access to this UA uh on D beyond.com yes that is also where you
1:03:24
get to play test and that will be coming out sometime after this video first
1:03:30
lands so for this particular one uh later today you should get access
1:03:36
to that I think that's it right yeah okay we're not going to be busy at all
1:03:42
thank you so much thank you
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Exciting times. The title of the first playtest (Origins) seems to imply it's just that, but the associated video trails a ton of rules-changes, like 1/20 always fails/passes on everything, automatically get Inspiration on a nat 20, etc.
It covers Race and Background (which is centered on Feats). Crawford describes all the rule elements that need explanation tied to those two choices.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The Video goes over some interesting points:
Backgrounds are now "Custom default" with your choice of stat boosts and a level 1 feat.
Feats are now separated into levels, level 1 feats don't have stats, higher level feats can have a +1 bonus for a stat in order to soften the blow of having to pick between ASIs and a Feat.
Crits are a player only thing, with spells not being able to crit, effectively Martial only.
The spell lists are going to be split up into Arcane, Divine, and Primal. Classes will pick one of the lists and have additional spells added to their lists.
Races are going to get new options.
Inspiration is going to be reworked so that the DM doesn't have to remember it all the time.
 
















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