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

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I think its just an unfortunate over site, because wizards definitely need a boost.

One boost we have given them is to allow them to concentrate on two spells with a feat. Has worked pretty well, and given them a small nudge towards wizards of older editions.
We could give wizards a similar ability to the sorcerer, bard, and warlock's spell versatility. Allow a wizard to replace a spell in their spellbook during a long rest. That way, if they ever added a spell to their spellbook that they never use they can swap it for one that they would use.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Enhances which Spellcasting feature? You mean the Class’ spellcasting feature? Is this the Spellcasting feature you are referring to? The same one the Spell Versatility wording refers to?

Ok, where in the Spell Versatility Feature does it say where you get this extra spell you can switch out? The first one. At your first long rest.

The interview shows the way they intended it to read, and how it was written as well. This is for those play groups, like play by post, that can go a year or more between leveling up, so that Bards, Sorcerers and Warlocks aren’t stuck with useless choices, as from a design standpoint, telling players they have to “eat their vegetables” or “Git Gud” just doesn’t make sense.
I appreciate the link to the interview, I really do. Unfortunately, I lost sound on my computer a few months ago when a sound file crashed my computer and broke. I'm not tech savvy enough to fix it, so I've been unable to do audio. :(

I'm going to run it as I've laid it out here. That way it will be reasonably versatile without being over the top.
 

Hussar

Legend
The problem with melee clerics isn't so much about horning in on Paladins, but, rather that their attack cantrips are too good.

I mean, by 8th level, Sacred flame is doing 2d8 damage. That's easily equal to whatever melee attack the cleric is doing. Why bother having decent weapon proficiencies and good armor prof's if your ranged cantrips are flat out better? Never minding something like Toll the Dead which is dealing even more damage.

Having just played a Forge Priest out to 12th level, I quickly realized that even though I was a good tank, there was virtually no point in having magic weapons. My cantrips could do for free as much or more damage as my melee attacks. And, since Sacred Flame is a Dex Save, my odds of success were at least as good as flat out attacking.

I honestly think it would not hurt to give clerics a second attack at, say, 7th level, just to allow for the "melee combat" cleric archetype. Otherwise, you might as well be standing beside the wizard.
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
I mean, by 8th level, Sacred flame is doing 2d8 damage. That's easily equal to whatever melee attack the cleric is doing. Why bother having decent weapon proficiencies and good armor prof's if your ranged cantrips are flat out better?
Well, at 8th level the melee Cleric is doing 2d8 + ability mod + magic weapon perks on a hit. That can be significantly more than just 2d8, but it's very dependent on gear and build. Sacred Flame has good baseline performance that's harder to improve. It may be a case where melee Cleric holds up if you go all in on it, but half measures don't pay off well compared to just spamming a Cantrip.

Though it doesn't hurt to consider the side benefits of being on the front line. For one, you're part of the front line. In a small or ranged heavy party, having an extra body to help there can make a lot of difference.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
And while I'm at it, while I don't care much for Cunning Action: Aim on the Rogue, it does model perfectly exactly how spellcasting and ranged attacks need to be universally nerfed. You move, no spellcasting or ranged attack for you. You cast a spell or make a ranged attack, your speed is 0 the rest of your turn.
No.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, at 8th level the melee Cleric is doing 2d8 + ability mod + magic weapon perks on a hit. That can be significantly more than just 2d8, but it's very dependent on gear and build. Sacred Flame has good baseline performance that's harder to improve. It may be a case where melee Cleric holds up if you go all in on it, but half measures don't pay off well compared to just spamming a Cantrip.

Though it doesn't hurt to consider the side benefits of being on the front line. For one, you're part of the front line. In a small or ranged heavy party, having an extra body to help there can make a lot of difference.
Yeah. Well, as I said, my forge priest made a very good brick wall. Good HP, great AC. But, standing between the fighter and the barbarian, I'm just doing so little damage comparatively that realistically, I might as well not even bother.

I mean, even at 8th level, I had a magic mace with gauntlets of ogre power, an the Ild rune (Against the Giants) that meant I was doing 3d8+4 points of damage on a hit (Forge Priests get that smite thing at 8th level). Great. Fantastic. But, that ate THREE magic items AND a class ability and two Attunement slots.. Just to do, on average, 8 more points of damage per round than my cantrip.

At the end of the day, it REALLY wasn't worth it. I should have just stuck to spamming Sacred Flame and then have a wand or two.

Never minding that at 11th, now my Sacred Flame is doing 3d8 damage. So, effectively, my three magic items and a class ability would net me +4 damage. Whoopdee freaking doo.

Granting a second attack to clerics at, about , say, 7th level would go a LONG way towards allowing Fighty clerics to shine.
 

Hussar

Legend
No.


No.

And while I'm at it, while I don't care much for Cunning Action: Aim on the Rogue, it does model perfectly exactly how spellcasting and ranged attacks need to be universally nerfed. You move, no spellcasting or ranged attack for you. You cast a spell or make a ranged attack, your speed is 0 the rest of your turn.
Thinking about it, that's not a bad house rule. No movement when casting or making a ranged attack. That would go a LONG ways towards scaling back the ranged/dex mastery in the game and would make casters a lot more vulnerable. Hrm.... I kinda like that idea.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
While I'm at it, while I don't care much for Cunning Action: Aim on the Rogue, it does model perfectly exactly how spellcasting and ranged attacks need to be universally nerfed. You move, no spellcasting or ranged attack for you. You cast a spell or make a ranged attack, your speed is 0 the rest of your turn.
Aim doesn't bother me at all because it's just a less odious version of hide abuse.
 

Chaosmancer

Explorer
And while I'm at it, while I don't care much for Cunning Action: Aim on the Rogue, it does model perfectly exactly how spellcasting and ranged attacks need to be universally nerfed. You move, no spellcasting or ranged attack for you. You cast a spell or make a ranged attack, your speed is 0 the rest of your turn.
I'm not sure if you are fully thinking through the consequences of that nerf, especially the "no casting spells if you move" part.

The majority of classes have spellcasting, and a non-insignifigant portion of spells have short range, range self aoe, or range touch. This would further gut things like Spare the Dying or Cure Wounds, because the cleric running to the downed ally would then have to wait a turn to use those spells, meaning if it is 1 turn from them possibly dying, there is no point, you can't reach them in time.

I also wonder what happens to the wizard when someone gets close. An enemy ends there turn within 10 ft, that is dangerous so the wizard moves. Now they can't do anything except dodge (guess they could throw a dagger first?). If they move their normal speed, enemy moves 30 ft, ends within 10 ft and now we have a loop. Wizards dashes? Enemy dashes, back to the loop.

I just don't see any benefit to that, except making things more boring because no one will want to move.

Not to say I particularly like the Aim ability for cunning action, but I at least see value in the ability for some concepts.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
Thinking about it, that's not a bad house rule. No movement when casting or making a ranged attack. That would go a LONG ways towards scaling back the ranged/dex mastery in the game and would make casters a lot more vulnerable. Hrm.... I kinda like that idea.
I just don't see any benefit to that, except making things more boring because no one will want to move.

Not to say I particularly like the Aim ability for cunning action, but I at least see value in the ability for some concepts.
You ever played the Tactical RPG 'Rondo of Swords' for the DS? It has a very unique battle mechanic where you direct you set the path a unit and have them pass through the spaces of enemies and allies. When moving through an enemy the unit will attack, and when passing through an ally they'll receive a boost. Enemies can also do this so don't clump together.

Spellcasters in that game were terrible. Your unit's turn ends immediately after a move, because it's a move and an action. So, in order to be able to use Spells, you needed to use the spell AT THE START of your turn. Meaning you had to anticipate where enemies would be, maneuver your spell caster there, and then hope that once the next turn swung by you were still in position to blast anything.

Needless to say, I never used my Spellcaster in battle. Which ended up biting me in the ass because there's a mission later where everybody BUT the Spellcasters deserts you and you need to survive this rough battle with your underleveled spell casters that you have ZERO practice using...

Anyway, Spellcasters (and archers) who can't move is a terrible idea.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
The problem with melee clerics isn't so much about horning in on Paladins, but, rather that their attack cantrips are too good.

I mean, by 8th level, Sacred flame is doing 2d8 damage. That's easily equal to whatever melee attack the cleric is doing. Why bother having decent weapon proficiencies and good armor prof's if your ranged cantrips are flat out better? Never minding something like Toll the Dead which is dealing even more damage.

Having just played a Forge Priest out to 12th level, I quickly realized that even though I was a good tank, there was virtually no point in having magic weapons. My cantrips could do for free as much or more damage as my melee attacks. And, since Sacred Flame is a Dex Save, my odds of success were at least as good as flat out attacking.

I honestly think it would not hurt to give clerics a second attack at, say, 7th level, just to allow for the "melee combat" cleric archetype. Otherwise, you might as well be standing beside the wizard.
Do that, and the the uproar about how fighters are weak will become even more pronounced. I mean, right now, as is, people are very upset about how the fighter isn't even the best at fighting (true or not, that's the argument). So if you put the cleric on par with melee damage along with everything else the cleric gets, you make it an OP class.

If you want to have a class that's a tank and dishes out a bunch of melee damage as well, play a fighter/barbarian/paladin. That's not the cleric's role. I played a tempest cleric up to level 15 in Tyranny of Dragons a while back, and I was one of the best tanks in the party (which included a dragonborn barbarian and a warlock/fighter greatsword PC). My melee attacks weren't great, but that wasn't my role. Between my melee attacks along with spirit guardians I had up, I was doing as much if not more damage per round than everyone else. Giving me an extra attack would make me OP.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer

Wow. I have a friend who always plays a Ranger. She looks like this in reallife. With these clothes, this is exactly how I imagine her character looks like!

Heh, in reallife, her lip has a less noticeable scar from having been bitten by wolf as a young kid. And she knows how to swordfight.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
For the sake of appropriate FLAVOR.

Maybe rename ‘Spell Versatility’ as ‘Magical Instinct’.

This way, it is because these classes are inherently magical (whether born inherently magical, or evolved to be). They have an instinct for magic. And with proper rest and meditation, they can temporarily gain insight, to cast a spell that they normally would not inherently know.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
Crawford said as much: he said the design assumption of the game is that the Rogue is engineering Advantage every round for Sneak Attack. This just means Sam Riegel will go through less silliness to get his Sneak Attack in every week.
Yup. I think this makes it explicitly clear that they really do intend for the Rogue to be able to use Sneak Attack essentially every round that they want to. I'm perfectly happy with that, then.
 
For the sake of appropriate FLAVOR.

Maybe rename ‘Spell Versatility’ as ‘Magical Instinct’.

This way, it is because these classes are inherently magical (whether born inherently magical, or evolved to be). They have an instinct for magic. And with proper rest and meditation, they can temporarily gain insight, to cast a spell that they normally would not inherently know.
I do feel like the sorcerer needs something (at least for low levels), and playing on their basic lore as the born inherently magical people would be best.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Barbarian: I like the extra skills that come with Survival Instincts, but I'm lukewarm on anything that doubles a proficiency bonus. Instinctive Pounce was fine until I got to the "doesn't provoke opportunity attacks" part; I'd prefer to leave that part out
What about that line hits you the wrong way so to speak? Just curious? So many mobility options have that as part of their standard boilerplate in 5e that I never thought to question its inclusion here.

Cleric: I like all of these options except Blessed Strikes...too much paladin overlap, IMO.
Blessed Strikes is just (basically, I know it's slightly different) a combination of the two different 8th level ability that all domains have. 7/12 domains already add 1d8 of some damage type at 8th level to their melee attacks and the other 5/12 add their Wis modifier to cantrips. This gives the flexibility as an example to play a more martial focused Trickery Cleric or a more caster focused War Cleric

Monk: Monk Weapons seems unnecessarily fiddly, but it will work I guess (I would have preferred something like "choose 5 weapons from the following list...") The Ki Features look fine, but I don't foresee my wife picking them for her monk.
Ki features are always/free you get all these things, so she wouldn't have to pick them. Just like all monks get Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, & Step of the Wind at 2nd level. These would just be MORE things they get at 2nd level to go with the core 3.

Ranger: Ugh. I like Deft Explorer, but very little else. Favored Foe is unnecessarily clunky (why not just make it once per short rest?) and as for everything else: why not just play a druid?
Favored Foe likely won't look like that in print when it gets there, but I get that it's clunky.

I get what you're saying about some of the other features, it definitely brings a lot of that feel/concept in, but I think there's space for both Rangers as more Druidic just as Moon Druids step on Rangers toes in a lot of ways related to combat. It's the nature version of Fighter (Eldritch Knight) and Wizard (Bladesinger) to a degree.

Plus I really like what they've done with the Beast Master companion options.

Sorcerer: I like the expanded spell list, but Spell Versatility feels out of place for a sorcerer (What do they do, replace their blood every long rest?) but it doesn't really break anything. Font of Magic options all look fine, nothing sticks out. The new Metamagic options are fine, but I'd probably drop Seeking Spell.
Re: spell Versatility - Welcome to the club, prepare to be pelted. So you're ok with it on Bards/Warlocks, but not Sorcerer?

Warlock: This is my favorite part of the entire 13-page document. I love the expanded spell list, Pact of the Talisman feature, the new invocations, the whole thing.
Talisman seems very... underwhelming to me as a PC option, though I could see it as a Mentor/NPC choice kind of thing.

Fighting Styles: Versatility is a good idea, and I like the new styles (but I predict a lot of pedantic arguments between my players about the differences between "being hidden" and "unable to be seen").
Agreed... those debates are coming...

Granting a second attack to clerics at, about , say, 7th level would go a LONG way towards allowing Fighty clerics to shine.
I could see "enhancing" or "replacing" a Cleric of the War domain's 8th level Domain Ability to either add or be Extra Attack. At 8th level, it's certainly not breaking the game, and it's not going to be a "dip"
 
Crawford said as much: he said the design assumption of the game is that the Rogue is engineering Advantage every round for Sneak Attack.
This right here? It drives me crazy. In my opinion it shouldn't be easy (or even possible, let alone the friggin' default assumption) for anyone to get Advantage every. single. round. Rogues are the chief offenders here, but crit-fishers, Luck-munchers, and GWM tanks have their issues too. "Getting advantage" causes more arguments and delays at my table than anything else, and I'd love to make it go away somehow. But like Crawford said, it's a @#&%# design assumption in the game.

I don't have a solution for this problem, only outrage. :)
 

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