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Unearthed Arcana June Unearthed Arcana: Druid Shepherd, Fighter Cavalier, and Paladin of Conquest

The latest Unearthed Arcana from Mearls and Crawford revisits four subclasses from earlier UA articles. "Part of the fun of playtesting is seeing how feedback and play can push a design in new directions. In this month’s Unearthed Arcana, we revisit class material that appeared in previous installments: four subclasses for various classes, along with Eldritch Invocations for the warlock. This material was all popular, and the revisions to it were driven by feedback that thousands of you provided in surveys. The updated subclasses are the druid’s Circle of the Shepherd, the fighter’s Cavalier, the paladin’s Oath of Conquest, and the warlock’s Celestial (formerly known as the Undying Light). One of the main pieces of feedback we got about the Eldritch Invocations is that most players didn’t want them exclusive to particular Otherworldly Patron options, so we’ve opened them up to more warlocks, tweaked them, and cut the least popular ones."

The latest Unearthed Arcana from Mearls and Crawford revisits four subclasses from earlier UA articles. "Part of the fun of playtesting is seeing how feedback and play can push a design in new directions. In this month’s Unearthed Arcana, we revisit class material that appeared in previous installments: four subclasses for various classes, along with Eldritch Invocations for the warlock. This material was all popular, and the revisions to it were driven by feedback that thousands of you provided in surveys. The updated subclasses are the druid’s Circle of the Shepherd, the fighter’s Cavalier, the paladin’s Oath of Conquest, and the warlock’s Celestial (formerly known as the Undying Light). One of the main pieces of feedback we got about the Eldritch Invocations is that most players didn’t want them exclusive to particular Otherworldly Patron options, so we’ve opened them up to more warlocks, tweaked them, and cut the least popular ones."

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Argyle King

Legend
I skipped 4e, so I know nothing of how it handled the shaman. But in regards to the Shepherd, to me it fails at being a true shaman because it doesn't deal with ancestor spirits or animistic spirits of the land and nature. Animal and fey spirits need to be there, too, don't get me wrong, but it needs to be expanded upon.

While I certainly had my issues with 4th, I think the Shaman was a place where it succeeded. The concept was cool, and it did a lot more than what you're seeing in what appears to possibly be the 5E version. A lot of the "Powers" of the 4E Shaman (which I suppose you could say are roughly analogous to spells) did exactly what you're saying. They summoned spirits which caused various effects.
 

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Dualazi

First Post
I was thinking that I'd likely just have my hawk spirit hang out with the sharpshooter ranger in the party so they have 10 rounds of guaranteed advantage for the cost of 1 bonus action.

At the cost of 10 uses of your reaction, sure, unless you're pitching some homebrew options of your own making. To quote the UA article:

Hawk Spirit. The hawk spirit is a consummate
hunter, marking your enemies with its keen
sight. When a creature makes an attack roll
against a target in the spirit’s aura, you can use
your reaction to grant advantage to that attack
roll.

So it's not like it just passes out advantage to all, which was my point to i_dont_meta, that faerie fire could accomplish the task for the whole party, for multiple rounds, at the cost of a level one spell. A class feature that doesn't scale and already has less impact than a level one spell is hardly powerful, and it's tied to short rests for recharge.

Also, the hawk wouldn't be hanging out with the sharpshooter at all. Presumably if they're making use of that feat they're quite a ways back, and the hawk can only be used on targets within 30 feet of it.
 

Argyle King

Legend
At the cost of 10 uses of your reaction, sure, unless you're pitching some homebrew options of your own making. To quote the UA article:

Hawk Spirit. The hawk spirit is a consummate
hunter, marking your enemies with its keen
sight. When a creature makes an attack roll
against a target in the spirit’s aura, you can use
your reaction to grant advantage to that attack
roll.

So it's not like it just passes out advantage to all, which was my point to i_dont_meta, that faerie fire could accomplish the task for the whole party, for multiple rounds, at the cost of a level one spell. A class feature that doesn't scale and already has less impact than a level one spell is hardly powerful, and it's tied to short rests for recharge.

Also, the hawk wouldn't be hanging out with the sharpshooter at all. Presumably if they're making use of that feat they're quite a ways back, and the hawk can only be used on targets within 30 feet of it.

Thanks for pointing that out. I misread how it worked.
 

pukunui

Legend
Shepherd: Speech of the Woods is cool. It's basically an always-on speak with animals, which I think is better than just saying "You can cast speak with animals at will." The Spirit Totem has potential, but limiting it to just three options seems pretty meh, and the options themselves are pretty meh too. Unicorn is the best of the three. Mighty Summoner is nice, as is Guardian Spirit. Faithful Summons is cool in theory; not sure how great it will be in practice. Overall: Meh.

Cavalier: I really can't understand how this one made the cut, and I'm guessing it's too late to convince WotC to drop it since it's mentioned on the product page for Xanathar's. Sigh ... This subclass seriously sucks. It's a waste of space. Overall: Blech.

Conquest: To me, this feels more like an NPC class. I'm not sure I'd want a Conquest paladin PC in any of the games I DM. Overall: Meh.

The Celestial: I liked the Undying Light (except for the name) and I like this one too. I was a fan of the Enlightened Spirit warlock prestige class in 3.5, and this definitely scratches that itch.

Warlock Invocations: Clearly I'm in the minority for preferring the previous set of invocations, many of which were tied to specific patrons and were thus more flavorful.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Shepherd: Speech of the Woods is cool. It's basically an always-on speak with animals, which I think is better than just saying "You can cast speak with animals at will." The Spirit Totem has potential, but limiting it to just three options seems pretty meh, and the options themselves are pretty meh too. Unicorn is the best of the three. Mighty Summoner is nice, as is Guardian Spirit. Faithful Summons is cool in theory; not sure how great it will be in practice. Overall: Meh.

Cavalier: I really can't understand how this one made the cut, and I'm guessing it's too late to convince WotC to drop it since it's mentioned on the product page for Xanathar's. Sigh ... This subclass seriously sucks. It's a waste of space. Overall: Blech.

Conquest: To me, this feels more like an NPC class. I'm not sure I'd want a Conquest paladin PC in any of the games I DM. Overall: Meh.

The Celestial: I liked the Undying Light (except for the name) and I like this one too. I was a fan of the Enlightened Spirit warlock prestige class in 3.5, and this definitely scratches that itch.

Warlock Invocations: Clearly I'm in the minority for preferring the previous set of invocations, many of which were tied to specific patrons and were thus more flavorful.


I'm part of the same minority.
 




Staffan

Legend
At the cost of 10 uses of your reaction, sure, unless you're pitching some homebrew options of your own making.

Druids generally don't have all that much to do with their reaction anyway. There are three spells you usually see being cast with reactions, and druids get none of them: feather fall, shield, and counterspell. I mean, sure, there are opportunity attacks, but druids are primary casters. They generally don't do many of those.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Cavalier is really good at hitting someone hard and knocking then down and protecting anyone within 5 feat of them, but otherwise really doesn't do anything else well. It needs enhancement, mostly in it's ability to utilize mounts in a way that gets around mounted combat limitations. Still a lot of potential.

If they want to make the cavalier more interesting, they have to show how its flavour and abilities are transferable to riding everything, not just horses, e.g. elephants, dragons, flying carpets, rafts bucking on a river, sitting on the shoulders of a giant, etc., whatever is plausible in a fantasy milieu. Additionally, the cavalier should have an edge over other classes when on foot dealing with mounted foes.

In simpler terms: the cavalier knows mounts, using them and fighting others using them, regardless of the type of mount! :)

Am I missing something about the cavalier?

It appears to be a weaker version of Battlemaster with less options for choosing maneuvers. I'd have thought there would at least be some level at which they gain a mount or maybe the ability to use a lance in a different (or more effective) way.

I'm not seeing what makes the subclass unique or noteworthy.

Cavalier:

How was THIS one of the better received subclasses? It was bad before and it might arguably be worse now. As it stands, this is just a gimped battlemaster with some very niche mounted abilities, but as someone said at the start of the thread I would play a battlemaster with the mounted combat feat any day of the week over this shallow excuse of a subclass. I might as well make peace with having to design my own version of the cavalier if this is indicative of what we're getting down the line.

I would be totally fine with the other three subclasses as they are now, but the Cavalier also leaves me very undecided... The way it is now, it's not terrible, but it definitely lacks identity and uniqueness.

-

First of all, I am not a fan of re-using the Combat Superiority mechanics, but it does have one merit: since it's based on a pool, it gives the player a very good chance to use it fully, without ending up with unused abilities too often.

This can be especially useful for a (sub)class that is focused on something (in this case: riding) which can in many scenarios be just vetoed by the DM, for example while indoor, underground or very impractical terrain.

So that's where a pool-based mechanic can really help: when the Cavalier is in a scenario where she just cannot have a mount, she can still use all her Combat Superiority resources on maneuvers which don't require a mount.

-

That said, I am still not very happy that overall the riding-related abilities aren't exactly "shiny". And that two maneuvers are identical to those of the Battle Master, I would certainly like those 2 to be replaced by something unique to the Cavalier.

As for the general identity of the subclass, "mounted and educated knight" is good enough for me, although there is already a Noble background to keep in mind when finalizing the Cavalier design.
 

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