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."

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

While this is an interesting debate, in truth it doesn't matter.

Initiative is declared and the warlock runs for it. Either by invocations, double dashing, or dimension door.

He hasnt hexed anyone yet.

He declares he is using Hex, then initiative is rolled, before the Hex hapens. He doesnt get a free Hex before combat is started.

You might run your games differently, but those are the rules. Declaring an attack simply starts the combat sequence. Then, in turn order, actions are resolved.

Then proceeds to use maddening hex to kill the king.

Assuming he goes before the King, he uses maddening Hex. The king orders his men to sieze the Warlock, and lock down the keep.

I'm presuming the King lives in a world where magic (like Warlocks) is a thing. Ergo the audience chamber is dimensional locked (to stop teleportation) via Hallow spell from the local friendly church, and the walls are lined with lead (to stop divination magic). The retainers are all Knights (probably lead by a Champion) plus Veterans and Guards, with a Mage or two on staff (with one likely on staff watching the whole thing with detect magic running).

These are basic defences.

Unless the guards are able to kill the warlock or make him drop concentration the king will be dead, because there is no save in this scenario.

Remove curse works.

And who cares? Even should the King die, he gets resurrected (500gp diamonds arent a big deal for the King - it barely covers the weekly maintence costs for the keep) and the Warlock gets hunted down and publicly hung.

Its not a big deal. You dont need any agreements with your players here. Just hang them if they try (actions have consequences).

Do it once, and they learn pretty fast.
 

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Ahh, yet more "you're doing it wrong" to defend the MMO grind of 5e's crappy default expectation of time wasting trash fights.

Dont blame me, blame the Devs. Im not a huge fan of the 6-8 encounter baseline either.

How does your v-tude not explode when your PC's experience 6-8 significant encounters a day in the wilderness?

The game does not expect 6-8 encounter every single day. It does not expect them every single adventuring day either.

It does balance at that point. Although it also realises that enforced mechanical balance (that 4E hoisted on us) is boring and not what players of the game want.


  • Some days will feature 6-8 encounters/ 2-3 short rests
  • Some days will feature 1 encounter, or 2.
  • Some days will feature 3 encounters, and 2 short rests, or 1 short rest
  • Some days will feature encounters, followed by waves of more encounters, and little to no chance to rest at all.
  • Some days will feature 6-8 encounters, and the chance to short rest after every single one
  • Most days will feature zero encounters.

With the way 5E has framed its encounter/ adventuring day paradigm (and its resource management paradigm with some classed being more long rest and others being more short rest focussed) it allows the DM to manage the adventuring day subject to his or her own campaign. The game doesnt force this paradigm on you, it just sets it as the rough average balancing point for the classes/ and encounters.

You can throw more short rests at your group if your fighters, monks and warlocks are struggling. You can throw more encounters at your group if the full casters are dominating.

Basically you (the DM) get to move the spotlight, from player to player, and from class to class. You have your hands on two 'dials' - rest frequency and encounter frequency. Tweak them from day to day as you feel appropriate.

Some days its a single encounter, and the full casters/ paladins and barbarians are boss. Some days its the 6-8 encounter/ 2-3 short rest days and the classes alll balance sweetly. Some days its waves of encounters, no chance to long rest, and multiple chances to short rest, and the Fighters, Warlocks and Monks are Gods

______________________________

Example:

Your average 'dungeon' (and most adventures take place in 'dungeons' or tightly zoomed in encounter areas of ruins, castles, keeps, forest trails with clearings etc etc) adventure goes:

1) Week(s) in town doing dowtime. Get 'hook' for adventure/ quest (slay BBEG/ recover macguffin/ rescue NPC).
2) Head to adventure locale (ruin/ dungeon). Generaly a fast forwarded montage. Possibly get an encounter or two on the way.
3) Zoom in to the 'dungeon', featuring several combat encounters/ traps/ environmental challenges all tightly packed together, with a few chances to take a breather here or there.

Within that broad meta, the DM polices the resource usage of his party and ensures they are challenged. Whether thats by placing time constraints on the quest (BBEG/ NPC/ Macguffin needs to saved/ killed/ rescued by [Time X] or [Consequence Y happens]) or via 'random' or 'wandering' monsters and/ or a reactive BBEG who comes looking for them, or via mechanical effects (Gritty realism rest variant), via the social contract ('Guys, if you abuse the rest mechanic, I simply wont DM anymore') or even simply via being heavy handed (you rest, and feel better, but nothing happens and you dont get spells/ HP back) is up to the individual DM.

Heck, some days the DM can just sit back and let the players police it themselves. If they expect the DM to throw more encounters at them, they naturally police themselves, and hold back frok 'nova' strikes. They also refrain from nova 'builds' becuase the meta of the campaign makes them useless.

Now you might run your games differently, and good on you, but the above is the default assumption of DnD as a game. If that doesnt work for you you are probably better off playing a different game with a different underlying assumption (Savage Worlds, Rolemaster, WHFRP or whatever).

And dont blame me for this mate. Blame Crawford and co. Or even blame Gygax, seeing as DnD has always been a resource management game, and the '5 minute adventuring day' trope has been around since OD+D.
 
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Argyle King

Legend
Within that broad meta, the DM polices the resource usage of his party and ensures they are challenged. Whether thats by placing time constraints on the quest (BBEG/ NPC/ Macguffin needs to saved/ killed/ rescued by [Time X] or [Consequence Y happens]) or via 'random' or 'wandering' monsters and/ or a reactive BBEG who comes looking for them, or via mechanical effects (Gritty realism rest variant), via the social contract ('Guys, if you abuse the rest mechanic, I simply wont DM anymore') or even simply via being heavy handed (you rest, and feel better, but nothing happens and you dont get spells/ HP back) is up to the individual DM.


I see this idea pop up a lot.

I'm curious about what is happening in the game world when this happens.
 

I see this idea pop up a lot.

I'm curious about what is happening in the game world when this happens.

DM: 'You huddle up on the cold stone floor (soggy bedroll) and enter a restless sleep of several hours, broken by a lonely 2 hour watch where you are deep in your own thoughts. Throughout the night, the sounds of distant footsteps (wild animals) wake you, and you swear they are getting closer. The snoring of the Dwarf Paladin keeps you up much of the night, but you leave him be to heal from his wounds from the prior battle. You all awake feeling tired, but you strengthen your resolve and push on'

'OK guys, the rest you had wasnt quite peaceful enough to 'mechanically' count as a long rest, instead it counts as only a short rest. Who wants to spend any Hit dice to restore HP?'

___________

'When you all awake, you feel better, but the events of the prior day weight heavily on your minds. This rest only counts as a short rest'

___________

'During the night your tent collapeses, and you all get soaked. You spend long minutes in the pouring rain setting it back up, and spend a night shivering in the cold damp of your bedrolls. The rest only counts as a short rest'

______________

(DM rolls some dice, igores the result, and decides to throw a 'random' encounter at the party to spice things up).

'Who's on second watch? Right... make me a Wisdom (perception) check.' (Combat ensues)

______________

'The BBEGs mocking laughter, and horrible dreams of demons and devils torturing you haunts your sleep (elven trance). Wizard, you detect some kind of strange arcane effect at work here. The rest only counts as a short rest.'

(i.e. - Because: Magic - also pushes the PCs towards the BBEG to slay him)

________________

Seriously, ever been camping? Or in the Army? I can think of a ton of reasons why a 'long rest' in the monster and magic infested wilderness might not be as restful as 8 hours at home in bed!
 
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Argyle King

Legend
DM: 'You huddle up on the cold stone floor (soggy bedroll) and enter a restless sleep of several hours, broken by a lonely 2 hour watch where you are deep in your own thoughts. Throughout the night, the sounds of distant footsteps (wild animals) wake you, and you swear they are getting closer. The snoring of the Dwarf Paladin keeps you up much of the night, but you leave him be to heal from his wounds from the prior battle. You all awake feeling tired, but you strengthen your resolve and push on'

'OK guys, the rest you had wasnt quite peaceful enough to mechanically count as a long rest, instead it mechanically counts as a short rest. Who wants to spend any Hit dice to restore HP?'

I suppose I could buy it if need be, but it's hard not to think "those sleeping conditions sound relatively good compared to my Army days."
 

Again, thats only one technique to use (and its heavy handed, so use it sparingly).

But you can combine it with:

1) 'timed' quests [(slay the BBEG/ stop the ritual/ rescue the NPC/ recover or destroy the Macguffin/ raid the bandits before the move camp/ escape the dungeon/ blow up the Death Star) before (Time X) or else (Bad thing y) happens]

2) Reactive monsters (rooms previously cleared are even more deadly, and traps are reset, the BBEG teleports away once he hears of the PCs assault etc)

3) 'Random' or 'wandering' monsters (roll your dice, ignore the result and throw an encounter at them if they tarry! Bonus points for a random encounter.... followed immediately by another one).

4) Mechanical methods (impose 'gritty realism' longer rests etc)

Throwing the occasional curveball at the PCs (they think its a 'single encounter day'... only to find out that the encounter is the first of many, or is immediately follwed up by a second even more deadly encounter!) is a good way to make them wary enough to conserve resources and avoid nova builds also.

Select a few methods from the above list, and you're good to go. Dont overuse them, but use them. For much of the rest of the time, the players will police themseves, not knowing if there is another encounter around the corner or not.
 

I suppose I could buy it if need be, but it's hard not to think "those sleeping conditions sound relatively good compared to my Army days."

I was Cavalry (armored recon).

As a Recon Scout youre sleeping on rocks in full gear if you're lucky. In Australia where there are enough mosquitoes the noise keeps you awake at night (and thats before you wake up with a thousand bites on you). As a driver/ crew commader you get to sleep on the nice padded racks in back of the AFV's... if you can tolerare the 30 degree heat at night in the back of them.

When you finally do get to sleep, you're woken up to man the machine gun for an hour or two. Then comes stand to as you watch the sun rise for another glorious day of carrying 30kg+ long distances in brutal conditions.

Im sure I dont need to tell you how bloody tired you can be in the Army rolling from one mission to the next.

"Warning order: 5 minutes notice to move. No move before: 5 minutes ago..."

:)
 

Argyle King

Legend
I was Cavalry (armored recon).

As a Recon Scout youre sleeping on rocks in full gear if you're lucky. In Australia where there are enough mosquitoes the noise keeps you awake at night (and thats before you wake up with a thousand bites on you). As a driver/ crew commader you get to sleep on the nice padded racks in back of the AFV's... if you can tolerare the 30 degree heat at night in the back of them.

When you finally do get to sleep, you're woken up to man the machine gun for an hour or two. Then comes stand to as you watch the sun rise for another glorious day of carrying 30kg+ long distances in brutal conditions.

Im sure I dont need to tell you how bloody tired you can be in the Army rolling from one mission to the next.

"Warning order: 5 minutes notice to move. No move before: 5 minutes ago..."

:)

Infantry here. It took some getting accustomed to, but I got to a point where sleeping with body armor on became second nature.

Ideal? Certainly not, but having trust and faith in your unit goes a long way toward being at ease. I often imagine that an adventuring group is similar to a squad. Besides, the PHB contains most of the items you'd need to set up what are essentially claymores around the perimeter.

That being said, I can imagine situations in which sleep is not possible. However, those situations (which I've been in) didn't allow access to magical protection spells.
 

Infantry here. It took some getting accustomed to, but I got to a point where sleeping with body armor on became second nature.

Ideal? Certainly not, but having trust and faith in your unit goes a long way toward being at ease. I often imagine that an adventuring group is similar to a squad. Besides, the PHB contains most of the items you'd need to set up what are essentially claymores around the perimeter.

That being said, I can imagine situations in which sleep is not possible. However, those situations (which I've been in) didn't allow access to magical protection spells.

Magical protection spells = NVG's and Claymores :)

While PC's at higher levels can bypass the dirty/ tiring sleeping in the wilderness bit (hello MK magnificent mansion!), by that stage the DM can fall back a bit more on [timed quests]. Also the PCs at that stage in their careers are powerful enough that creatures that could potentially bypass the extra-planar nature of that spell (i.e. Demons, Devils etc) are relatively commonplace now (and many probably have a reason to come looking for the PCs, in addtion to having the means to bypass that protection).

Its entirely possible that the PCs have also made enemies of at least one powerful demon lord/ devil/ mage/ priest or whatever thats capable of bypassing those magical defences, and has the motive to do so.

Did the PCs once thwart 'Blagazarr, high priest of Orcus' at 6th level, stopping him from 'his evil plot to sacrifice hundreds in the name of his dark lord' its entirely possible that Blagazaar has been brought back by his evil master, or even that Orcus himself has taken offence.

Bam presto. Orcus gates in a resurrected Blagazaar (replete with new shiny demonic powers) and a bunch of demons into MK Mansion.

Lesser Deity (read: DM) fiat.

Im not saying do it all the time of course. Just enough to keep the PCs on their toes :)
 

Argyle King

Legend
I think most of the issues I have with resting in 5th (and D&D in general really) is that there is too much of a gap between what is defined as a short rest and what is defined as a long rest. (I also feel like 5E is pretty relaxed on all of the things you can do during a long rest and still be rested.) I like the idea of short rests being shorter, but I'm still fine with long rests being the length they already are.

I've been playing around with the idea of introducing "medium rests," but it's currently just a rough idea.

The format might look strange to this; I just copied from a conversation I was having elsewhere:

"I think 5E's rests are too long, but I think it's still based on some different assumptions than 4E. I know it's not in the book, but I could see 10 minutes for a short and then somewhere between 1-4 hours for a long rest. In either case, if you change long rests to only being 1 hour, I'd consider using something similar to the half-spell-slot thing mentioned in the DMG. If it's not too complicated for people to understand, I'd propose having short rests, "medium" rests, and long rests.

Short Rest - 5 (or 10 minutes), refreshes things that refresh during a short rest.

Medium Rest - 1 hour or more, benefits of a short rest plus spellcasters can recover a number of spell slots equal to half of what they normally get (round down). For example, a third level sorcerer has 4 first level slots and 2 second level slots, so -during a medium rest- that same sorcerer could recover 2 first level slots and 1 second level slot. Spell slots above 5th level cannot be recovered during a medium rest, but may be recovered using other means such as a sorcerer's spell points. Eating a meal and/or using a healer's kit to bandage wounds might allow recover of a hit die or regaining HP as though a hit die were spent.

Long Rest - 8 hours, all resources are refreshed as normal for a long rest. See page 186 of the PHB for details."


What I had in mind for variable times was based on similar ideas to what Flamestrike was saying. A short rest might only be 5 minutes in a relatively safe place. The 10 minute time could be deemed necessary by the DM in areas where an element of danger requires the party to take precautions for safety and security. The same concept is applied to medium rests. I had considered allowing the party to opt to still use the shorter times in dangerous areas in exchange for a higher chance of random encounters or a higher chance of being interrupted by attackers.

Medium Rests are a slightly modified version of how the DMG defines long rests if the heroic options are used.
 

I think most of the issues I have with resting in 5th (and D&D in general really) is that there is too much of a gap between what is defined as a short rest and what is defined as a long rest. (I also feel like 5E is pretty relaxed on all of the things you can do during a long rest and still be rested.) I like the idea of short rests being shorter, but I'm still fine with long rests being the length they already are.

I've been playing around with the idea of introducing "medium rests," but it's currently just a rough idea.

The format might look strange to this; I just copied from a conversation I was having elsewhere:

"I think 5E's rests are too long, but I think it's still based on some different assumptions than 4E. I know it's not in the book, but I could see 10 minutes for a short and then somewhere between 1-4 hours for a long rest. In either case, if you change long rests to only being 1 hour, I'd consider using something similar to the half-spell-slot thing mentioned in the DMG. If it's not too complicated for people to understand, I'd propose having short rests, "medium" rests, and long rests.

Short Rest - 5 (or 10 minutes), refreshes things that refresh during a short rest.

Medium Rest - 1 hour or more, benefits of a short rest plus spellcasters can recover a number of spell slots equal to half of what they normally get (round down). For example, a third level sorcerer has 4 first level slots and 2 second level slots, so -during a medium rest- that same sorcerer could recover 2 first level slots and 1 second level slot. Spell slots above 5th level cannot be recovered during a medium rest, but may be recovered using other means such as a sorcerer's spell points. Eating a meal and/or using a healer's kit to bandage wounds might allow recover of a hit die or regaining HP as though a hit die were spent.

Long Rest - 8 hours, all resources are refreshed as normal for a long rest. See page 186 of the PHB for details."


What I had in mind for variable times was based on similar ideas to what Flamestrike was saying. A short rest might only be 5 minutes in a relatively safe place. The 10 minute time could be deemed necessary by the DM in areas where an element of danger requires the party to take precautions for safety and security. The same concept is applied to medium rests. I had considered allowing the party to opt to still use the shorter times in dangerous areas in exchange for a higher chance of random encounters or a higher chance of being interrupted by attackers.

Medium Rests are a slightly modified version of how the DMG defines long rests if the heroic options are used.

IMG I use the following:

Short rest: 5 minutes long (short breather, map check, swig of water, bite to eat, 're-org') but you cant benefit from more than one every 4 hours. You can spend up to (half level) in HD each short rest.

Basically you get one 'short rest' per dungeon level, without a 1 hour long immersion breaking 'hole up in an empty room and wait a whole hour for some reason' pause in the action.

Long rest: 8 hours/ overnight type deal. You recover no HP, but you do recover (half level) in HD. At the end of the rest you can spend as many HD as you want to heal. You recover 1 spell slot of each levels (1-5) and 1 spell slot/ mystic arcanum of level 6+. (I also reduce barbarian rages/ day by 1, but give them a fighting style at 2nd level).

This hits the 'sweet spot' for my campaigns. If I need to help 'short rest' based classes, I can always handwave or reduce the 'one short rest per 4 hours' restriction. ("Guys, you have enough time to get the benefits of a short rest now if you want one?")

I find I can back off a bit with 'timed quests' with rests pared back to that level, and my players naturally conserve (rages, spell slots, smites etc) without me really having to do anything to encourage them to do so beyond those mechanics.
 


I'm sorry, but now all I can picture is an irate Wizard cssting Silence just to get some damn sleep.

I cant begin to tell you how bad they are.

Daytime its the flies. Millions of them. The man next to you will have about 50 on his back, and dozens more flying around him. Youre walking around all day swatting them away.

View attachment 84928

Then, as the sun goes down the flies (almost magically) go away. You get sweet blissful relief as the temperature drops from 40+ celcius (104+ f) and youre out the direct heat of the sun. It goes from maddening buzzing and oppressive heat to silence and peace.

Then you hear the first of a new kind of buzzing.

The mosquitoes army starts to arrive. Within a minute or two of the sun setting, for every fly there was during the day, there are 50 mosquitoes.

View attachment 84929

Its pure hell.
 

Argyle King

Legend
I think the Shepherd Druid needs to be fleshed out into a separate class. I could see something like a cross between a druid and maybe a warlock or cleric. The spirit animal idea is cool, but losing some spellcasting in exchange for more powers which key off of the spirit would (IMO) be more interesting. I haven't messed around with 5E design enough to know how exactly to go about that, but my gut feeling is that invocations similar to a warlock could work. Alternatively (or maybe in addition), perhaps a slightly different version of channel divinity could be used.

"Invoke Spirit" could have X effect; if your spirit companion is present in the encounter, the power also does Y within the radius of the spirit companion.



Edit: [MENTION=6788736]Flamestrike[/MENTION] - That reminds me of some of the time I spent at Fort Polk, Louisiana for training. I still remember the new lieutenant falling asleep outside and looking like he had chicken pox the following morning due to mosquito bites.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
He hasnt hexed anyone yet.

He declares he is using Hex, then initiative is rolled, before the Hex hapens. He doesnt get a free Hex before combat is started.

You might run your games differently, but those are the rules. Declaring an attack simply starts the combat sequence. Then, in turn order, actions are resolved.

Yeah, I do run with old surprise rounds rules. Because the idea of someone declaring "I draw my sword" and then an entire round of combat going off then they get to draw their sword is just too weird for me.



Assuming he goes before the King, he uses maddening Hex. The king orders his men to sieze the Warlock, and lock down the keep.

I'm presuming the King lives in a world where magic (like Warlocks) is a thing. Ergo the audience chamber is dimensional locked (to stop teleportation) via Hallow spell from the local friendly church, and the walls are lined with lead (to stop divination magic). The retainers are all Knights (probably lead by a Champion) plus Veterans and Guards, with a Mage or two on staff (with one likely on staff watching the whole thing with detect magic running).

These are basic defences.

Remove curse works.

And who cares? Even should the King die, he gets resurrected (500gp diamonds arent a big deal for the King - it barely covers the weekly maintence costs for the keep) and the Warlock gets hunted down and publicly hung.

Its not a big deal. You dont need any agreements with your players here. Just hang them if they try (actions have consequences).

Do it once, and they learn pretty fast.


I both agree and disagree.

I agree with the basic defenses and that in my campaign world pulling this kind of stunt would be nearly impossible to pull off.

What about a Baron? A Duchess? Isn't it kind of strange if all nobles have that level of magical defense?

This is why the agreement is necessary. Someone important to your campaign is vulnerable to guaranteed death via Maddening Hex. Assuming a Charisma of +4, every minute that passes is 40 damage to the target. How long will it take the Baron of Smallville to notice something is wrong and send for a priest, the messenger to get to the priest and bring him back and hopefully the priest is at least level 5.

Probably not fast enough at 40 damage a minute.

Sure, this route eventually leads to the character being hunted, possibly being turned in by his allies and him being executed and the player needing to roll up a new character.

But, I'd prefer that if the plan is to kill the Baron, you don't hex and run to the other side of town. Stick around in line of sight and fight just like you would if you didn't have an invocation with no limits on when it can be activated.




The Rest Conversation

Yet more proof that Australia is really Hell and somebody forgot to tell us.

Seriously. I've heard it's pretty there, but everything else I've heard makes it sound like the absolute worst place ever.
 

Corwin

Explorer
Yeah, I do run with old surprise rounds rules. Because the idea of someone declaring "I draw my sword" and then an entire round of combat going off then they get to draw their sword is just too weird for me.
To be a bit blunt, that's a bit of a self-created problem, if you ask me. Obviously, by allowing it to be worded that way, it can create a bit of a disconnect sometimes the way things play out. You are allowing the "declarer" to establish pre-initiative action that is disconnected from the potential of others to react to the obvious stimuli. If instead, they declared, "I will reach for my sword," but it turns out they aren't as quick about it as someone getting to react to it, maybe it wouldn't be so weird?
 


Staffan

Legend
There's no surprise in 5E?

Surprise in 5e works a little differently than in previous editions. Essentially, "surprised" is a condition you can have at the start of a fight. When it becomes your turn for the first time, you stop being surprised and then your turn is over. That means that certain things that depend on surprise (most notably the Assassin's Assassinate ability) depend not only on achieving surprise, but also on beating the opponent's initiative.

In 2e, surprise lasted for a whole round. In 3e, if either party was surprised there was a special surprise round where those who weren't surprised could take either a standard action or move (or in 3.0, that was called a partial action). I'm not sure how it worked in 4e.
 


Argyle King

Legend
That's odd. How does that work with stealth?

To clarify: Say my target isn't aware they are being attacked. Hypothetically speaking, let's say I'm a sniper using a crossbow. Attempting to pull the trigger = roll initiative?
 
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