The latest Unearthed Arcana column by WotC's Mike Mearls is entitled Light, Dark, Underdark! An eclectic mix of underdark-themed character options, the 4-page PDF includes two new fighting styles for fighters, paladins, and rangers; plus a new ranger archetype called the Deep Stalker, the new Shadow Sorcerer, and the Undying Light warlock pact.
Included are the close quarters shooter and tunnel fighter fighting styles, the deep stalker ranger, the shadow sorcerer, and the undying light pact warlock. Oddly the warlock and ranger only get one bonus spell per level.
Close-quarters shooter looks sooooo much better than the standard archery fighting style. You get a +1 to hit instead of just a +2 but can ignore cover and avoid disadvantage. That's pretty huge. Within 30 feet when firing at someone blocked by an ally, you effectively have a +1 to hit over the regular archery style and +4 if they have 3/4 cover. 30 feet is close, but that's a lot of bonuses to hit.
The rest seemed fairly decent. I like the deep stalker ranger more than the UA ranger they did as an ambush master.
How would you interpret this bit from the tunnel fighting style:
"While in your defensive stance, you can make opportunity attacks without using your reaction"--does that mean the tunnel fighter uses his/her attack to make opportunity attacks or do they get a separate action to make opportunity attacks? Either way, it seems like the goal is allow the tunnel fighter to make multiple opportunity attacks (one with reaction, one [or more] without).
Deep Stalker Ranger looks fine to me, even if the Ranger itself is underwhelming.
Shadow Sorcerer, I like the concept but the Hound of Ill Omen though I feel doesn't scale with level when it should, though the disadvantage to the targets saves is useful. I also don't like the fact that it apparently has a separate initiative from the PC, that adds unnecessary complications in my opinion.
Undying Light Warlock, there's something I feel that's off with the concept, is that a Warlock has to feel like they're dealing with something sort of unpleasant or at least slightly menacing. This one needs a little more of an explanation on why it's spooky like the other Warlocks and those flaws I feel don't do enough. In fact they probably should have a patron entity in my opinion.
I'm guessing the Deep Stalker Ranger is probably in reaction to the underwhelming response to the Ranger rewrite they put out a couple of months ago - a sop to those who want their Ranger to hit more stuff more better and to be sneakier, but a retreat from the 2d6-always-attack-first-supershaman monstrosity.
First thing I thought of when I saw the Undying Light patron for the warlock was Eberron-- the kalashtar worship the Path of Light, which is not really technically a "god" per se but more of a celestial force. Which could be thought of more as a patron than a god, and thus perhaps the kalashtar's religious class could be interpreted of as more warlockian than clerical?
Granted, I'm fully stretching here I easily admit... but this warlock patron might perhaps be another indication of Eberron material being worked on? I don't really see any other reason why WotC would see the need to offer up a Undying Light Warlock, since that isn't exactly something that's been missing from the game or that people have been clamoring for. The Path of Light is the nearest thing I can currently think of that might be a connection.
Honestly, I think the Undying Light warlock is very cool. I, personally, have been waiting for a warlock option that doesn't seen inherently evil or morally grey. I understand that to some people that's a requirement for a warlock, but certainly not for all tables. Aside from that, I found it to be interesting.
I like the new ranger subclass here a great deal more than what they have previously released, though I'd still love to see a martial ranger beyond what was presented in the modifying classes article.
Yeah Crunch Time! Thats a very great Article and with so much stuff in it! 8D
The Ideas are great but some things seems a bit wonky at the moment:
* Close Quarter Shooter: This adds advantages from two great Feats and add a +1 to Attack. While I really like that Style, it seems a bit to strong at the moment (except if you plan to take those feats)
* Tunnel Fighter: I'm all for defender-styles! It's a bit strange to have to use a bonus action for the stance which allow you to make opportunity attacks without reaction, but still having to use reaction for attacks if the enemy moves without leaving your reach.
* Ranger - Deep Stalker: Seems a bit weak for me. The Underdark Scout is great in the first round, but then useless if you don't have the right terrain or if you are a melee fighter. Stalkers Flurry is nice, but still limits you to 2 successful Attacks per Round, which is simply weaker than the Fighters 3rd Attack or some other Ranger Options (Animal Attacks twice,..).
* Sorcerer - Shadow: Casting Darkness with 1 Sorcery Point and seeing through it and much higher survival Rate with Strength of the Grave seems quite strong. Overall strong but very cool! The first Sorcerer that I would play, even without any bonus Spells.
* Warlock - Undying Light: I don't like the Expanded Spell List .. I miss either Fireball/Scorching Ray, which are the Archetypical Firespells (a light Cleric is still the better blaster then this Warlock) or a Healing Spell for the positive Plane Conection. But all the other Feature are awesome. 8D
I really like the new Ranger archetype. It fits the guerilla warfare/ hit and run style that I always thought the Ranger should have.
When I got into 5e, I was adamantly against the idea of too much new content, but these UA add-ons are great. As long as the quality stays at this level, and they keep issuing them for free, I'll be a fan.
Fighting Styles: At first glance, they seem like too much compared to the existing styles in the PHB.
Deep Stalker: Mechanically it seems all right. Fluff-wise, they still seem fixated on the idea of the ranger being a loner. The class seems to me to be built around the concept of solo play rather than team play.
Shadow Sorcerer: Love it! Especially the quirks.
Undying Light Warlock: Love this one too. Reminds me vaguely of that celestial-themed warlock prestige class from 3.5.