D&D (2024) New Unearthed Arcana Playtest Includes Barbarian, Druid, and Monk

The latest Unearthed Arcana playtest packet is now live with new barbarian, druid, and monk versions, as well as new spells and weapons, and a revised Ability Score Improvement feat.



WHATS INSIDE

Here are the new and revised elements in this article:

Classes. Three classes are here: Barbarian, Druid, and Monk. Each one includes one subclass: Path of the World Tree (Barbarian), Circle of the Moon (Druid), and Warrior of the Hand (Monk).

Spells. New and revised spells are included.

The following sections were introduced in a previous article and are provided here for reference:

Weapons. Weapon revisions are included.

Feats. This includes a revised version of Ability Score Improvement.

Rules Glossary. The rules glossary includes the few rules that have revised definitions in the playtest. In this document, any underlined term in the body text appears in the glossary.
 
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Pauln6

Hero
As someone who misses race-as-class for actually making the demihumans feel unique... Design-wise, I still prefer players dealing with opportunity costs (like, reroll 1s versus critting harder) rather than being pigeon-holed into only using certain race/class combinations because of penalties.
Yeah, I suppose I am used to viewing it as different combinations have different flavours, some of which will have more strength and some of which will have more breadth. Some of the greatest heroic characters have flaws and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. A disadvantage only pigeonholes you in your head. The characters are still fun to play.
 

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Vikingkingq

Adventurer
I propose that short bows and long bows get renamed to no longer be based on a percieved length, but of strength and power through pull.

Rather than a short bow, call it a hunting bow (or a light bow if you like the crossbow naming convention).
Rather than a long bow, call it a war bow (or a heavy bow as it has the heavy weapon property).

Maybe I'll just use that terminology in my own worldbuilding just for fun.
Yeah, that works too.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Yeah, I suppose I am used to viewing it as different combinations have different flavours, some of which will have more strength and some of which will have more breadth. Some of the greatest heroic characters have flaws and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. A disadvantage only pigeonholes you in your head. The characters are still fun to play.

For me, this always seems so bizarre.

What hero's great flaw was that they needed to use a slightly smaller weapon? And of course, in this entire discussion of Longbows, we forget that pistols, rifles, and crossbows all exist, which WOULD have no issues with the halfling small size, and some of those weapons do even more damage.

In stories, people have flaws that MATTER. Arrogance, greed, wrath, a hereditary curse, an inability to say no to someone in distress.

And the bigger problem is, as was pointed out, that it just serves to penalize character concepts. And it isn't like the concepts penalized are spellcasters or dex-based characters who currently have a massive advantage. They penalize and pigeon-hole the strength-based characters, who are already a struggling minority of characters in the game.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Strength-based characters are not "struggling." I refer you to pretty much any set of tier rankings for 5e: you'll find barbarian and fighter in the top half of most, and paladin in the number 1 slot more than any other class. As for "minority": sure, mathematically they are only 3 of 13 classes. However, fighters are by far the most popular class, and both barbarians and paladins are about average for popularity. Overall, strength-based classes are overrepresented, since they represent about 23% of classes but 28% of characters, according to the most recent data I've seen.

Far from a "struggling minority."
 

Eubani

Legend
Are we once again at the point where we need to explain that Popularity =/= Mechanically Well. A person can like the fiction of the Fighter but be unhappy with the mechanics both in themselves and in compared to other classes.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Are we once again at the point where we need to explain that Popularity =/= Mechanically Well. A person can like the fiction of the Fighter but be unhappy with the mechanics both in themselves and in compared to other classes.
And so I also pointed out that strength based classes also rate highly on tier lists. According to those who care enough to make and publish tiers lists, fighters are generally considered quite good. Which is also what I find from players at my tables. And what I see in actual play shows.

Fighters are not a struggling class in 5e. They are a bit two dimensional, which is why that is being addressed in 2024, but are excellent at their core roles. As are barbarians. Paladins are borderline broken, IMO.
 

And it isn't like the concepts penalized are spellcasters or dex-based characters who currently have a massive advantage. They penalize and pigeon-hole the strength-based characters, who are already a struggling minority of characters in the game.
People repeat that again and again and in 10 years of playing D&D 5e, strength based classes are alive, healthy and useful at our table.
 

Pauln6

Hero
For me, this always seems so bizarre.

What hero's great flaw was that they needed to use a slightly smaller weapon? And of course, in this entire discussion of Longbows, we forget that pistols, rifles, and crossbows all exist, which WOULD have no issues with the halfling small size, and some of those weapons do even more damage.

In stories, people have flaws that MATTER. Arrogance, greed, wrath, a hereditary curse, an inability to say no to someone in distress.

And the bigger problem is, as was pointed out, that it just serves to penalize character concepts. And it isn't like the concepts penalized are spellcasters or dex-based characters who currently have a massive advantage. They penalize and pigeon-hole the strength-based characters, who are already a struggling minority of characters in the game.
Many heroes in literature use smaller or less efficient weapons like quarterstaffs or daggers. The argument seems to be that character concepts are 'peanalised' due to inflicting a few points less damage due to more limited weapon choices without balancing the limitations against other benefits.

I think the logic behind it is more that, when implementing classical interpretations of halflings for example, it's silly for a 3ft halfling with half the body mass of a half orc to have Str20, while at the same time, acknowledging that, in a different fantasy setting, people may want to do that. So, rather than banning outright, like 1e where Tolkien heavily influenced concepts and halfling Str was capped at 17, they allow it but acknowledge that it goes against the grain of the classical interpretation by making it fractionally less efficient. This is a compromise.

There is also the issue that 35 or 30 DPR only matters if the monster has more than 30hp, so some of the penalty is only on paper.

Dex-based characters are more likely to be knocked prone and often feel more vulnerable in our campaign. The strength based characters are more resilient. There are definitely pros and cons.

Mobility and novas seems to be the biggest dividing issues for our characters but we do have players experimenting with all sorts of less efficient weapons, so maybe this is why complaining that a halfling can't use a longbow as a deal-breaker is such a head scratcher to me.

I've been playing the game for 40 years so I've seen the drift as new fantasy genres become mainstream and the game was tweaked to incorporate those genres and the differences between races / heritage have narrowed again and again, and become more modular. I do worry that any flavour is being removed in favour of mechanics as if characters are code in the matrix rather than variations on classical themes.

That said, if they had the core rules and then said and here are optional chassis that you can apply for certain types of campaign, I am perfectly fine with that.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Strength-based characters are not "struggling." I refer you to pretty much any set of tier rankings for 5e: you'll find barbarian and fighter in the top half of most, and paladin in the number 1 slot more than any other class. As for "minority": sure, mathematically they are only 3 of 13 classes. However, fighters are by far the most popular class, and both barbarians and paladins are about average for popularity. Overall, strength-based classes are overrepresented, since they represent about 23% of classes but 28% of characters, according to the most recent data I've seen.

Far from a "struggling minority."

Many of the Paladins strengths come from their non-strength abilities.

Fighters can be Dex based too, and most of the Dex-based builds are superior.

The only build for fighters that is superior with strength, is also the only one brought up with Barbarians.

So, yeah, PAM + Great Weapon Master exists. But is there such an obviously top-tier contender for any of the casters or dex-based non-fighters (which also have Crossbow Expert+SS, which is generally considered better than PAM+GWM)
 


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