D&D 5E New Unearthed Arcana: Heroes of Krynn Revisited

WotC's Jeremy Crawford has announced a new Unearthed Arcana article today with redesigns from the prior Heroes of Krynn UA based on feedback, and in the following video he discusses that feedback and what's in the article:
  • New iteration of Kender based on feedback survey, due to mixed response. This time is a back to basics, aiming to capture 1E AD&D fearlessness, curiosity and taunting skills. Delve into their origins from Gnomes in deep history.
  • Kender are no longer fey creatures who grab objects from the Feywild
  • Tweaked Feats from prior article
  • Tweaked Backgrounds from prior article
  • Brand new rule giving a list of free Feats for ANY Background
  • Free Feat rule for Level 4 for all characters that doesn't take the ASI away, based on a curated list
  • Reveals that in the Adventure, healing magic is already back.
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
You do if you want a quick shorthand reminder of something in a longer description in an NPC statblock.

It's not meaningfully different than AC:20. It tells me the AC is high, but if they players ask what armor they're wearing I have to read the description where it says jet black spiked plate mail and a spiked black shield.
Except that, by and large, the armor a creature is wearing has no bearing on the way that creature is played. Sure, there's something to be said about a person in jet black spiked plate and matching shield, but that's a serious outlier.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Except that, by and large, the armor a creature is wearing has no bearing on the way that creature is played. Sure, there's something to be said about a person in jet black spiked plate and matching shield, but that's a serious outlier.
That misses his point completely.
 

gban007

Adventurer
That's not quite what happened. The Kingpriest went super evil in his zealotry, and the Good Gods denounced him. The Kingpriest in response decided that meant the goods were not good enough and created a ritual to enslave ALL the gods to his will. This got the good, neutral and evil gods to agree he was a problem and he needed to be dealt with, and so they told their followers and sent signs down to the world to stop the Kingpriest, this largely fell on deaf ears, so one of them recruited Lord Soth one of the strongest warriors in the realm to go deal with the Kingpriest before the gods ran out of time and needed to eradicate the Kingpriest themselves, which cause a huge Cataclysm. Soth however turned around right before getting to the Kingpriest so he could cause the death of his wife and son, so the gods ran out of time before they would get enslaved, and so dropped a mountain on the Kingpriest and left the world.
Possibly depends on which books read - the ending of the first trilogy had Fizban saying:
'There was a time when good held sway .. right before the Cataclysm'.
'Yes, the Kingpriest of Istar was a good man! Does that surprise you?'
'You've seen it in the Elves, the ancient embodiment of good. It breeds intolerance, rigidity, a belief that because I am right, those who don't believe as I do are wrong'
While I believe later books added more nuance to it, if you've only read the original trilogy then I think you get a different view, as it seemed to color good in a way that we would likely view as evil.
 


Because most of the time, gaming books don't go into any sort of description as to what the evil being believes in or how it acts. The PHB lists Nuitari as the LE god of evil magic. What does that mean? What is evil magic? Is that magic itself evil, or what it's used for? I mean, it's Dragonlance, so the magic itself could be evil, but the PHB doesn't say.

Which is why alignment is pretty useless. Without a description saying why Nuitari is Lawful Evil, all you know is that they aren't being lolrandom about it. And with a description, you honestly don't need an alignment.
Dragonlance rather treated alignment like football teams. Do you support Good or Evil? They are abstracts with no real meaning or difference.

How is a Black Robes evil in terms of consequences? Do they have to do evil deeds in order to advance, or can they simply pay lip service to evil? Write evil on their character sheet in order to qualify for the nice toys, whist being thoroughly heroic? Or does the black moon mind control them into doing evil stuff?

Oh, on Divinely Favoured. It lists "good", "evil" and "neutral" sets of spells, but it does NOT say "your character must have that alignment". It works like the divine soul sorcerer, your character might get the evil spells because of a connection to one of the gods of evil, but they do not have to be evil themselves.


Disclaimer: I have never much liked Dragonlance, so I don't have a horse in this race.
 

That's in keeping with 3E alignment. The PHB says: "Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two lawful good characters can still be quite different from each other."
Uh-huh, but that's my point, there's a whole bunch of contradictory stuff. So the alignment description presents a very specific personality, one that is not necessitated by the ideals, but is in fact a stereotype. But that's primary thing players and DMs are exposed to. Then there's contradictory stuff like preamble, and the quote you have, which hard-incompatible with the summary given.

At best - the whole thing is badly written. The LG description as "One LG person might have the following traits..." but that is not, in fact, what happened.

So you have a contradictory mess setting people up for problems almost as badly as earlier editions.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
That misses his point completely.
It really doesn't. I think Mistwell actually misunderstood my point, actually.

If you want to know how a creature is played, as you just pointed out, the alignments aren't useful (because then a Lawful Good society could engage in child sacrifice[1]). Sure, earlier editions may have had a larger descriptions of what each alignment means--but that's both a greater description (which is what I was talking about) and doesn't really help in describing how this particular character is played. Nuitari is the Lawful Evil god of evil magic, but that doesn't explain what that actual means. Is some magic inherently evil, so that anyone who casts it risks becoming evil? Is it just types of magic that are evil but only because they encourage the user to perform evil acts, like creating zombies or mind controlling others? Is it any magic that has an evil result, so if you heal the serial killer who is nearly dead and send them out to murder again, does that act of healing count as evil magic?

You want to say "the army's soldiers are mostly Neutral Evil" and use that as a shorthand way of saying "they will do their job but probably aren't going to be particularly honorable about it and may or may not take prisoners and may disobey orders if obeying them means their deaths" as opposed to a LE "will follow orders" or a CE "will commit war crimes" thing... OK. Whatever. But for an individual? An actual description of that character does more than an alignment ever could hope to.

But comparing alignment to AC is silly because the type of armor being worn doesn't actually mean anything like what alignment is supposed to mean. And also, AC isn't a shorthand for anything, because the number itself is what's important, not the type of armor. D&D doesn't do enough with different types of armor for the type of armor to be more important than the number it produces.

--

[1] And if sacrificing a child means the dread demon won't arise from the pit to devour the village, it might actually be a Lawful Good act.
 

[1] And if sacrificing a child means the dread demon won't arise from the pit to devour the village, it might actually be a Lawful Good act.
I mean, probably not though, unless there's literally no other way - like the dread demon is literally impossible to defeat through any other means - and in that case you're into a "Crapsack World" kind of grimdark-y setting which is not compatible with D&D alignments. I think that's something people don't always think about, too - D&D's alignment system, whilst fun to misapply to the real world (I remember sitting in front of the TV going "Hey I think Gorbachev is LN!" and so on as a kid lol), and to all sorts of settings, is just not one that works with most settings and genres. It's a very D&D-specific thing, and even some D&D settings cause it to malfunction.
 

I mean, probably not though, unless there's literally no other way - like the dread demon is literally impossible to defeat through any other means - and in that case you're into a "Crapsack World" kind of grimdark-y setting which is not compatible with D&D alignments.
I seem to recall The Last of Us computer game going there.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Do you want to make the world a better place? Okay, great. Better for who? Who says that your version of a better world would actually make it a better place?
To be entirely fair, humans are really short-sighted, but presumably there are longer-lived races in those orders. You have a human propose a Grand Plan of Goodening and some elf can reply "We gave that a try in a couple of villages in the north for a 150 years, so here's the reports I wrote up based on my observations during that time."
 


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