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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Winterthorn

Monster Manager
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! :)
 
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Argyle King

Legend
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.
 

Dualazi

First Post
This one's really a pretty mixed bag, all things considered.

Shepherd druid:

The spirits suck, pretty much to a one, and this is due to a mixture of factors. First off is that some of them are really weak in general, like the hawk spirit. Blowing your reaction to give an ally advantage is pretty ineffectual, especially if your team is already good about generating advantage from other sources. The others are more disappointing in a general sense because of the limited use of the ability, I would much rather have the spirit be a constant element of the subclass, and since it isn't I find this to be an unacceptable replacement for the shaman, if that's what they're going for.

Most of the other features are fine, however, and I wouldn't have a problem with someone playing it at my table.

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.

Warlock:

Really dislike this one on thematic grounds, more than mechanical ones. I really liked the ambiguity of the previous light/radiant option, and it did a good job alluding to the fact that not all beings linked to that energy type are inherently good, and this shoots that right down. It also makes me annoyed because being bound to an evil/unscrupulous benefactor was a big part of the identity and RP elements of the warlock, which is now also right out. It seems like this is another attempt at either a favored soul or a knock-off invoker and I don't think it does either of them well.

Paladin:

The best of the lot. Not sure why cloudkill is on their spell list other than having good synergy with the fear aura, but at least it's designed well enough that the features are coherent and complement each other. I'd definitely be willing to play this variant, and hope is doesn't get too changed between now and release.
 

Argyle King

Legend
I like the concept of the paladin, but I'm not sure if the high level abilities are worth sticking with the class until the end.

I think the Warlock could possibly be a building block upon which to make a Favored Soul class.

Circle of The Shepherd appears to be a 5th Edition take on 4E's Shaman, so I think that is cool. I can see a lot of powerful uses to the various spirits. Though, I'm a little concerned that the spirits might benefit multiclassing more than staying with the class.
 

Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
Circle of The Shepherd appears to be a 5th Edition take on 4E's Shaman, so I think that is cool.

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.
 

i_dont_meta

Explorer
Apologies if this has been touched upon already, but can we assume by the introduction of Frost Blast and Gift of the Seas to the Warlocks Invoke list that the Sea Sorcerer didn't make the final cut and instead got folded into the Celestial Warlock?


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i_dont_meta

Explorer
[MENTION=6855537]Dualazi[/MENTION] In regards to your opinion on the "waste" of your Reaction to give an ally Advantage with the Shepard Druid: what MORE could you honestly ask to get out of an action that is not guaranteed to occur every turn. We call this Action Economy.
I also understand that Flanking and other situational occurrences might grant you a +2 Att bonus, but to actually assume your average DM is going to award you Advantage continually on a round-by-round basis based on "teamwork" seems like a tenuous stretch of RAI, as I see it...


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Kurotowa

Legend
The difference is that the paladin has more spell slots, albeit lower-level ones. Up to 10th level, the warlock only has two spell slots (per short rest), while the 10th level paladin has a total of 9 slots of 1st through 3rd level.

Exactly. People have to keep in mind what an unusual caster the Warlock is. Most casters have the choice between low level and high level spell slots, each of which has a different opportunity cost to use. Warlocks don't.

Low level spell slots have the opportunity cost of using an action. You could have done something more powerful with that action, but you chose to cast a weaker spell instead. Maybe you wanted to conserve your strength for later, maybe you judged that a more powerful spell would be wasteful overkill, but whatever the case you used less than your full power.

High level spell slots have the opportunity cost of consuming the spell slot. You've only got a few of them available, and if you use it now you won't have it available to use later. You need to save those more limited uses for moments when you'll get the maximum effect out of it or need a brief power spike to turn the tide of battle.

But Warlocks don't have those low level spell slots. Instead their spell slots are purely for high impact spells. If they want a weak but efficient action they have to turn to cantrips or invocations. That's why the Warlock spell list is all about spells that scale well with higher spell slots or spells that have a universally powerful effect regardless of spell slot level.

I've been playing a blade pact Hexblade Warlock, and let me tell you that those Smite spells it offers are useless to me. Without the Paladin's more numerous but low value spell slots to burn there's just never a case where they're the equal of Hex or Armor of Agythis. The same goes for Eldritch Smite. An extra 6d8 damage might sound nice, but then you realize that you paid an invocation pick for the right to spend half your total spell slots for that modest bit of extra damage. That doesn't sound nearly as good, does it?
 
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Dualazi

First Post
[MENTION=6855537]Dualazi[/MENTION] In regards to your opinion on the "waste" of your Reaction to give an ally Advantage with the Shepard Druid: what MORE could you honestly ask to get out of an action that is not guaranteed to occur every turn. We call this Action Economy.
I also understand that Flanking and other situational occurrences might grant you a +2 Att bonus, but to actually assume your average DM is going to award you Advantage continually on a round-by-round basis based on "teamwork" seems like a tenuous stretch of RAI, as I see it...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

well, good thing I don't rely on handouts for the advantage then. Knocking an enemy prone is relatively easy to accomplish and grants advantage to all melee attackers against the prone target until it has a chance to stand up. So if the Battlemaster has knocked a target down, granting advantage to the rogue attacking it does nothing. Likewise, there are several spells frequently mentioned around these parts that generate easy advantage, such as faerie fire. Given that the hawk also has an opportunity cost of eating your reaction for the round, it's pretty weak in its effect, particularly for an ability you're have for 2 out of 6-8 encounters, assuming the usual expectations of encounters per day.

It would be far better working in the opposite way, in my opinion. Allow the druid to impose disadvantage as a reaction within the aura, and it fits the theme of the harrying bird of prey better, in my opinion.
 

Argyle King

Legend
well, good thing I don't rely on handouts for the advantage then. Knocking an enemy prone is relatively easy to accomplish and grants advantage to all melee attackers against the prone target until it has a chance to stand up. So if the Battlemaster has knocked a target down, granting advantage to the rogue attacking it does nothing. Likewise, there are several spells frequently mentioned around these parts that generate easy advantage, such as faerie fire. Given that the hawk also has an opportunity cost of eating your reaction for the round, it's pretty weak in its effect, particularly for an ability you're have for 2 out of 6-8 encounters, assuming the usual expectations of encounters per day.

It would be far better working in the opposite way, in my opinion. Allow the druid to impose disadvantage as a reaction within the aura, and it fits the theme of the harrying bird of prey better, in my opinion.

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.
 

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