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UA New UA: 43 D&D Class Feature Variants

The latest Unearthed Arcana is a big 13-page document! “Every character class in D&D has features, and every class gets one or more class feature variants in today’s Unearthed Arcana! These variants replace or enhance a class’s normal features, giving you new ways to enjoy your character’s class.”

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Last edited:
Russ Morrissey

Comments

To me, it's just too much flexibility in their spell lists/known which to me should be the silo of the Wizard.
I actually take your point re 7/8/9th level spells. The simple fix is to limit it to 6th level or below spells and maybe just never the highest level you can cast.

Also worth considering that according to pretty much everyone, few 5E campaigns ever reach 7th level or higher spells so let's not be like a bad MMORPG and balance the entire game on the basis of 5% of players or whatever.
 

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RSIxidor

Explorer
It shoehorns pretty hard into the whole Wizard shtick of being the king of Versatility, especially since it applies as a feature to Cantrips as well which they kick wizards the scraps of changing upon level up.

if any class should be able to change cantrips on a Long Rest, I think it should be Wizards. I would expand the Bard/Sorcerer/Warlock ability to swap out spells they already get on a level up to just apply to their cantrips with this new "spell versatility" and then call it good.
Your point about cantrips is good. I always thought they should be in the spellbooks anyway, and be able to be put on scrolls. I'll be sure to add that input in my feedback on this. And as others have mentioned, clerics and druids already outdo wizards on versatility in spellcasting preparation and they also can't change out cantrips.

I would add a feature to C/D/W to allow some amount of switching cantrips, and keep the B/S/W as is in this UA.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
I mean, ok. Take out "really hard" from the "shoehorns really hard" of my statement. I think the sentiment still applies.

Wizards are limited to the spells in their spellbooks, which they only get to add to on level up and based on how often the DM lets them come across scrolls/others spellbooks/other casters willing to trade or sell access/etc.

So sure, they can switch their complete loadout on a long rest, but only to what is in their books.

For the Bard/Sorc/Warlock they're letting them drop a spell known on a long rest for ANY other spell on their spell lists. That seems like it veers to hard into wizard territory to me.

In the most powerful spells (7th/8th/9th) it really makes your very meaningful and significant choices of spells known at those levels... far less meaningful.

If I can know Wish today and Time Stop tomorrow or Foresight, etc. it doesn't matter that I selected Mass Polymorph with my level up.

8th level it means I can learn Demiplane today, create one store stuff and then just get it back to Dominate Monster tomorrow. Or something like that.

To me, it's just too much flexibility in their spell lists/known which to me should be the silo of the Wizard.

You're also forgetting that the spell lists for each of these are much, much smaller than the Wizard. Yeah, the Wizard is limited by what the DM allows him to find, and by the money he has to scribe the scroll. But he also learns 2 spells per level for his spell book, and 6 at first level, period. Not to mention any spells he may have from his school. That's 44 spells in his spell book at lvl 20, minimum. Lvls 17 through 20, all of them can be lvl 9, which means they have, at minimum, eight lvl 9 spells to choose from every day, and since they can prepare 25 spells a day, they can have all 8 prepared to be used at any time. Yes, only one slot a day, but that's everyone. And anyone who beats Curse of Strahd gets a library with every spell in the game. For a few thousand Gold, the Wizard can know his entire list, which is double the size of anyone else's.

The Bard, on the other hand, will have four lvl 9 spells to choose from. And technically, he could have switched out 4 of his 15 known spells from lvl 17-20 to get al lvl 9 spells, but that's a huge cost against his 15 spells known, all four of which would be competing with that one slot a day. The Sorcerer would have 5 to choose from, and the Warlock will have 5 to choose from. Although, I don't think this would count for the Warlock, as they don't get 9th lvl spells from Pact magic, they get it from Mystic Arcanum, so the Warlock is still outclassed. They will only ever get one 6, 7, 8, and 9th level spell, even with the Spell Versatility.

Also, the Spell Versatility only allows you to switch it for a spell of the same level. That does help. It means, as a Bard, you can pick one lvl 9 spell and just switch it every day, instead of getting rid of your lower level spells to make room for all the 9th lvl spells you may want to cast at any point in time. Which means that these classes will only know one or two lvl 9 spells at any given time, while the Wizard can prepare all of them and not bat an eye.

And don't forget, all these classes except Warlock get Wish, which lets them cast whatever spell they want up to 9th level, from every list. So AGAIN the Warlock gets dumped on. I don't see how letting Bards, Sorcerers and Warlocks switch a spell out every long rest steps on the Wizard's huge advantages.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
As for the Ranger, I miss an option that replaces Spellcasting. Favored Foe means you don't need Spellcasting to mark enemies, and since Spellcasting is fairly powerful (at least, it's not a mere ribbon ability), it's the perfect candidate to trade away for a stronger Animal Companion.

While I'm not actively hating the "primal beast" option, it's clearly intended as an expendable pet (weak and cheaply raised).

What we're still waiting for is a living breathing animal companion with clear lupine/ursine/feline traits, robust enough for extra "rebirth" options not to be necessary, yet as independent as any other creature. (If you can summon hundreds of effective hit points, why not offer a "permanent" pet?) It's okay if such an UA option clearly mandates that the option can only be picked with DM approval, since it will by nature be stronger than most other subclasses.
 

Undrave

Hero
As for the Ranger, I miss an option that replaces Spellcasting. Favored Foe means you don't need Spellcasting to mark enemies, and since Spellcasting is fairly powerful (at least, it's not a mere ribbon ability), it's the perfect candidate to trade away for a stronger Animal Companion.

While I'm not actively hating the "primal beast" option, it's clearly intended as an expendable pet (weak and cheaply raised).

What we're still waiting for is a living breathing animal companion with clear lupine/ursine/feline traits, robust enough for extra "rebirth" options not to be necessary, yet as independent as any other creature. (If you can summon hundreds of effective hit points, why not offer a "permanent" pet?) It's okay if such an UA option clearly mandates that the option can only be picked with DM approval, since it will by nature be stronger than most other subclasses.
I think outright replacing Spellcasting like that is probably beyond the scope of this UA.
 

ardoughter

Adventurer
Overall I really like and approve of the direction this UA is going. Especially the ranger, as a lot of the ranger class features, Natural Explorer and Favoured Enemy were fiddly and campaign dependant.

Since the design thrust is in the direction of improved versatility, I must say I am all in favour.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
but the Cleric and Druid already do much better than the Wizard...

And who plays up to the level where 8th and 9th level spells are available? Not that many people really.
OK. But that has always been true of the Cleric and Druid in every edition I've played so... not sure the point there.

Historically, and I think this is true of 5e as well, Arcane spells is where all/most of the OOMF is in spellcasting. The really big effects/kicks.

The Wizard is the king of being able to be versatile within that sphere of Arcane magic.

I'm not 100% against them having flexibility. They already have it on level up. I'd like to keep it there and expand it to Cantrips or maybe Cantrips + a 1st level or higher spell swap.

I know not many play to those levels, but if you're evaluating options, it needs to be fully vetted, not only sort of vetted up to a certain level because SOME games do get there.

I actually take your point re 7/8/9th level spells. The simple fix is to limit it to 6th level or below spells and maybe just never the highest level you can cast.
I like that as a fix to this option, limited to 6th or even 5th.

Since Warlocks are already stopped at 5th level spells by this option anyway given that it applies only to Pact Magic spells known, keeping them in line with each other makes sense.
 

Those classes already can only have an extremely small number of spells. 2, at lvl 1, 15 at lvl 20. That’s not a lot. Wizards have up to 6 at lvl 1, and 25 at lvl 20, and every ritual in their book, as well. And that’s a whole lot more. And Wizards have a much, much larger spell list to choose from, and can eventually learn ALL of them.

Allowing a being infused with magic, or a person connected to a powerful being, to switch up a single spell every long rest won’t overshadow the Wizard, it just solves what is an arbitrary nerf to these classes. Their philosophy of “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” was the biggest thing I had a hard time with, even though they are some of my favorite classes.

As for them knowing their whole list, technically, it makes sense for Sorcerers and Warlocks. Sorcerers do things on instinct, not learning, and Warlocks have a patron that teaches them power, so both have a leg up on a Wizard, who gets more prepared spells per day and a larger list to pick from, but who is limited to the spells in their book. Bards are a little more of a stretch, unless you figure they’re another kind of Sorcerer.
I am one of those who always complained that Sorcerers (but not others) have too few spells known.

Still, giving them access to ALL the spells on their list is atrocious for a very different reason: it kills diversity.

This is something many gamers do not understand, but diversity (in this case, having many possible different ways of creating a sorcerer PC or NPC) is key for longevity of the game. If you can easily change your character during the game, you'll deplete your options and get bored more quickly. Diversity is also a wonderful tool for adventure design and world building. If every Sorcerer can change all her spells given time, who cares if you're part of the fire sorcerers society or the frost sorcerers cabal, you're always potentially the same character.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Reads UA

Barbarian: Am I a joke to you?
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So I love most of these options but find the ones for Barbarian to be lackluster by comparison, and find that the best Berserker fix is on the Ranger in Tireless.

Anyway now that I am done complaining I will go roll a Ranger/Berserker with Hunter's mark that works while Raging, THP that get the benefit of resistance from Rage, and Short Rest Frenzies. Hell I'll throw in Unarmed fighting style to boot.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
Reads UA

Barbarian: Am I a joke to you?
View attachment 115459

So I love most of these options but find the ones for Barbarian to be lackluster by comparison, and find that the best Berserker fix is on the Ranger in Tireless.

Anyway now that I am done complaining I will go roll a Ranger/Berserker with Hunter's mark that works while Raging, THP that get the benefit of resistance from Rage, and Short Rest Frenzies. Hell I'll throw in Unarmed fighting style to boot.
I have to agree with a lot of what you're saying here. I like the "move 15" reaction but I feel there's still more to do here. If it weren't for the battle master and beast master update here, I'd think maybe they were focusing on base class abilities and would have subclasses somewhere else. That said, the Berzerker subclass should have its own way to remove that exhaustion, maybe it just wears off faster than it does for everyone else specifically from Frenzy, kind of like how rage works in PF2E.

For your build, just remember that you still have to cast Hunter's Mark before you rage, so that's two turns to get into a hunter's mark frenzied rage.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
So I love most of these options but find the ones for Barbarian to be lackluster by comparison, and find that the best Berserker fix is on the Ranger in Tireless.

Anyway now that I am done complaining I will go roll a Ranger/Berserker with Hunter's mark that works while Raging, THP that get the benefit of resistance from Rage, and Short Rest Frenzies. Hell I'll throw in Unarmed fighting style to boot.
Haha, I love this build idea already. Sounds super effective, and for a time would outclass the Monk for unarmed damage in tier 2.

1d8 (Unarmed Style) +1d6 (Hunter's Mark) +Str+2 = avg. 13 damage on an unarmed strike while raging. Frenzy doubles that. Then at 5th levle of Barbarian or Ranger the Extra attack triples it along with ASI boost to Str and Rage damage increases.

Monk is 1d6 (Shortsword) +1d4 (Unarmed) +Str/Dex x2 = 12 damage in a round, maybe 17.5 with Flurry if all three attacks hit.

That should hold up well against Monk until their Martial Arts die starts really increasing.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Part of me wishes Pact of the Talisman worked exactly like Jack of All Trades, but maybe JOAT is too good to begin with?

I don't see what's so bad about Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks being able to change a single spell once per day. Clerics and Druids already can choose all of their spells from their entire class list daily, at no cost. Wizards can pick from their spellbook every day. I can only see this versatility leading to more fun.

The Primal Beast still uses the Ranger's Companion features rules, right? So does it still take the "Add your proficiency bonus to the beast’s AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills it is proficient in." Part? It obviously replaces how hit points work. If it doesn't take stuff from the existing feature, then there's also no explanation for how to control it. It's a little unclear what we take from the existing feature and add to the new one.
You take the entire phb feature and use it with these beast options. Look at them as new monsters you can use with the feature, not as a new feature.
 



RSIxidor

Explorer
So for the Monk, I am not sure if it grants proficiency? This seems like it is for Racial weapon proficiencies and multiclass characters.
The alternative for Monk Weapons? Yes, that's correct. The feature does not grant proficiency (nor does the original Martial Arts feature). This allows you to use proficiencies you get from race, feats, multiclassing, etc, as a monk weapon. But you get to decide what is a monk weapon for you. I like it.
 

Parmandur

Legend
So for the Monk, I am not sure if it grants proficiency? This seems like it is for Racial weapon proficiencies and multiclass characters.
It specifically does not add proficiency, so it is only for racial and multiclass weapons. Which, as flavor, makes sense: a Dwarven Monk with racial Weapon Training who is also a Monk can now use Martial Arts with a Battleaxe but not a Greataxe, a High Elf or Githyanki can use a Longsword, etc.
 


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