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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Russ Morrissey

Comments

OB1

Jedi Master
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.
I'm fine with Sneak Attack every round via Aim, but don't like giving advantage with it. Let advantage be for when you successfully hide.
 
Like I said, this was just my first impression upon reading the new document. I'm sure if I sat with it for a little while and did a detailed reading, tested things out, etc., I would have different opinions. But right off the cuff, these were my observations.
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.
I feel that "double your Proficiency bonus" messes too much with bounded accuracy, especially in the later stages of character development. I'm sure it's fine mathematically; it's a matter of personal preference.

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
Yeah, I know. And to be honest, most of the changes that are presented here for the cleric I am on board with; this one was the only one that stuck in my craw. Maybe not every cleric needs to be "more martial focused", ya know?

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.
Ah. Well in that case, it's probably fine. I doubt they would get much use at any rate.

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.
WotC has been trying for years to build a better ranger. This one is getting closer, but it's still got a ways to go. I would prefer they make the Ranger into a subclass of Druid or Fighter instead of trying to stitch the two together...but I understand why that won't ever happen. Alas, a moogle can dream.

Re: spell Versatility - Welcome to the club, prepare to be pelted. So you're ok with it on Bards/Warlocks, but not Sorcerer?
Only for flavor reasons. A sorcerer's magical ability comes from their bloodline, not from the whims of a divine or extraplanar entity. So do they change their blood while they sleep? As far as the rules are concerned I think it's fine; I just don't understand why every class has to have the same abilities as every other class. Come on, Wizards.

Talisman seems very... underwhelming to me as a PC option, though I could see it as a Mentor/NPC choice kind of thing.
I really like the flavor more than anything else. The specific features could use a little more polish, sure, but I think it's pretty evocative. And I agree--in its current rendition, it will work great for NPCs.

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"
True, that wouldn't be bad. Another option would be to give War Clerics the same d10 hit die of other martial classes.
 

PsyzhranV2

Explorer
Yeah, I know. And to be honest, most of the changes that are presented here for the cleric I am on board with; this one was the only one that stuck in my craw. Maybe not every cleric needs to be "more martial focused", ya know?
I'm actually more inclined to use the new Cleric flexibility in the other direction, to make previously weapon focused Clerics more casting focused. Especially the Trickery Cleric, which is a martial Cleric despite having neither martial weapons or heavy armour for some god forsaken reason.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I'm actually more inclined to use the new Cleric flexibility in the other direction, to make previously weapon focused Clerics more casting focused. Especially the Trickery Cleric, which is a martial Cleric despite having neither martial weapons or heavy armour for some god forsaken reason.
Agreed

Alas, a moogle can dream.
Hehe. I prefer Ranger as an archetype. If you're going to wrap it into Druid or Fighter, then Paladin needs the same treatment.

I don't see that really happening, but yes. a moogle can dream!
 

Undrave

Adventurer
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.
I think it would make more sense for Aim to just let you use your Sneak Attack, the same way the Swashbuckler feature and the 'If an ally is within 5 feet" thing do, rather than outright Advantage. Just for the sake of less crit fishing.

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. :)
There's a difference between 'getting your Sneak Attack" and "Getting advantage". A Rogue already gets Sneak Attack if their buddy is involved in melee with the target, but they don't get Advantage on said attack. Like I mention above, I could see Aim doing the same thing instead of a blanket advantage.

Why is Advantage causing delays? You either have it, or you don't, and the times you get it are all fairly simple. Of course, if you have munchkins who go "Oh my enemy is facing the sun so he should be partially blinded by it and I should get advantage on that attack" and use other excuses to finagle a bonus every single time, then that's not on the mechanic...
 

maceochaid

Explorer
Also with Proficiency Versatility they could easily also add the following enhancement to the 3rd level Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster "Arcana is now considered a class skill" this means they could retrain something to Arcana if they want their character, but without bumping up the overall number of skills the class has (And something similar with the Zealot Barbarian getting Religion).
 
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. :)
Overpowered or not, a feature that gives them advantage without a DM ruling should decrease arguments.

And if your going to complain about every-turn advantage, owl familiars with flyby help actions are the most ridiculous offender to my mind (albeit the easiest problem to solve provided that at least one enemy has a ranged attack). It's advantage at the cost of a completely negligible resource and cheesy to boot.
 

Parmandur

Legend
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. :)
It's worked well so far.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
I'm fine with Sneak Attack every round via Aim, but don't like giving advantage with it. Let advantage be for when you successfully hide.
I really disagree.

Infinite hide tricks strains hide beyond the breaking point of credibility. The problem with hide is that players keep doing it in the same spot over and over again and getting the same benefit. That's absurd. If you take arrow fire from a tower 150 feet away, you're not going to be surprised when that arrow fire keeps coming just because the guy is trying to be quiet after he ducks behind a merlon. It's not reasonable to keep allowing someone who ducks behind the same wall to keep hiding and getting the same benefit. It's even worse when it's a Halfling hiding behind another PC. Where do the NPCs think the Halfling is? Exactly where he is!

The rules on hiding and stealth are -- almost literally -- "your DM should do what makes the most sense in the real world." And then they give you two races (wood elf, halfling) and a class (rogue) that explicitly do things that don't make sense in the real world.

It's not quite bag of rats or peasant railgun awful, but it's still a stupid mechanic. Breaking the ludonarrative dissonance by just allowing the class to gain advantage from range as a feature is a great mechanical solution.
 
I thought we were talking about 1e Rangers?
Pretty sure it had shifted to 3e-5e, maybe specifically 5e, at that point. Though yeah, I tend to be all over the timeline, edition-wise. Sorry 'bout that.
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 like Crawford said, it's a @#&%# design assumption in the game.
If the Rogue can't finagle CA virtually every round, it can't claim fully-contributing in combat.
Infinite hide tricks strains hide beyond the breaking point of credibility. The problem with hide is that players keep doing it in the same spot over and over again and getting the same benefit. That's absurd....
just allowing the class to gain advantage from range as a feature is a great mechanical solution.
I don't see how one is more credible or less absurd than the other.
 
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I think it would make more sense for Aim to just let you use your Sneak Attack, the same way the Swashbuckler feature and the 'If an ally is within 5 feet" thing do, rather than outright Advantage. Just for the sake of less crit fishing.



There's a difference between 'getting your Sneak Attack" and "Getting advantage". A Rogue already gets Sneak Attack if their buddy is involved in melee with the target, but they don't get Advantage on said attack. Like I mention above, I could see Aim doing the same thing instead of a blanket advantage.

Why is Advantage causing delays? You either have it, or you don't, and the times you get it are all fairly simple. Of course, if you have munchkins who go "Oh my enemy is facing the sun so he should be partially blinded by it and I should get advantage on that attack" and use other excuses to finagle a bonus every single time, then that's not on the mechanic...
The great advantage delays often come from debating hiding. An easier route to it for rogues should minimize this. I think this is probably why they went with advantage rather than just another way to generate sneak attack. I think I do prefer it simply being sneak attack, though it does less to stop these arguments. I'm sympathetic to the Rogue who wants to stand up for getting to use their core class feature rather than just be a second rate ranged fighter with mobility; I'm much happier to see a Rogue shut down who just wants advantage for advantage's sake.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
According to the interview posted before, the reason for this was yes, so the Rogue could get a Sneak Attack when normally they couldn't, but also so they could lie prone with a loaded crossbow, aim carefully, and not have disadvantage on their attack from being prone. It makes sense to me to let them do it, and it should cut down on all the:

"I attack, then hide as a bonus action."
"We're in the middle of a field, where do you hide?"
"Tall grass."
"He knows you're there."
"I still hide. Do I get advantage?"
"No!"
 

Hussar

Legend
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.
It's not about being on par with the fighters. You're never going to be on par with the fighter types. Simply because the fighter types will have things like flaming weapons, bonus damage dice, rage, better attack stats, etc.

It's about making your melee attacks at least equal to your cantrips. If my cantrips are better than my melee attacks, then there is zero point in using melee attacks. Why would I? If it takes me three magic items and a class ability to just equal my cantrip, then, well, that's ridiculous.

Granting a second attack to a cleric at 7th level would hardly make the cleric out shine the fighter types.
 

Hussar

Legend
According to the interview posted before, the reason for this was yes, so the Rogue could get a Sneak Attack when normally they couldn't, but also so they could lie prone with a loaded crossbow, aim carefully, and not have disadvantage on their attack from being prone. It makes sense to me to let them do it, and it should cut down on all the:

"I attack, then hide as a bonus action."
"We're in the middle of a field, where do you hide?"
"Tall grass."
"He knows you're there."
"I still hide. Do I get advantage?"
"No!"
OTOH, if you're being sticky about granting advantage, that takes away a LOT of a rogue's contribution to combat. If I'm not getting sneak attack, I'm basically doing about 10 points of damage in a round. Great at 2nd level, not so much at 12th.

Never understood the issue here. Rogue hides. Good enough for me.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I'm fine with Sneak Attack every round via Aim, but don't like giving advantage with it. Let advantage be for when you successfully hide.
The Advantage part is to make it comparable to Two Weapon Fighting. Two chances to land a sneak attack is better than one chance to do so. And even then it's still worse than just Hiding, because Hiding makes you immune to being directly targeted by the enemy (in addition to granting advantage)
 

Hussar

Legend
Oh, and the notion about casters not being allowed to cast and move and healing. I'd point out that Healing Word is a ranged spell. It's not like clerics HAVE to move in order to heal.

But, even then, making combat a smidgeon more deadly isn't a bad thing IMO.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Overpowered or not, a feature that gives them advantage without a DM ruling should decrease arguments.

And if your going to complain about every-turn advantage, owl familiars with flyby help actions are the most ridiculous offender to my mind (albeit the easiest problem to solve provided that at least one enemy has a ranged attack). It's advantage at the cost of a completely negligible resource and cheesy to boot.
Additional part of the owl flyby "solution": enforce the Find Familiar material component.

PHB p240 said:
10 gp worth of charcoal, incense, and herbs that must be consumed by fire in a brass brazier
The key being the brass brazier. Who's carrying that around?

Alternatively, just don't worry about PCs getting advantage. They are the heroes of the story, after all. In our games, I hope the PCs succeed more often than not. That said, the DM needn't roll over either: sometimes design challenging encounters that negate advantage through environmental or magical means - or encounters that give monsters advantage - or... etc.
 

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