Unearthed Arcana New Unearthed Arcana: Rune Knight, Swarmkeeper, The Revived

Another new Unearthed Arcana! "In today’s Unearthed Arcana, three classes each receive a playtest option. The fighter gets a Martial Archetype option: the Rune Knight. The ranger gains a Ranger Archetype option: the Swarmkeeper. And the rogue acquires a Roguish Archetype option: the Revived."

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Yep. That whole post is a load of...mythology, far as I can tell.
Yaarel is correct on one major point: the Germanic language family is most commonly thought to have originated in Denmark and/or the southern Scandinavian peninsula. However, he is miscontextualizing that point heavily.

Firstly, as I'm pretty sure Yaarel well knows but is choosing not to mention, the people speaking this ancestral Germanic language in Scandinavia were not the indigenous Scandinavians, but descendants of migrants from the southeast carrying with them an Indo-European speech and culture. Germanic language and mythology is unmistakably Indo-European, and very different those from the actual indigenes of Scandinavia, the Sami peoples, who by the way are still around today. Genetically, of course, there was a lot of mixing -- there always is -- and the Indo-European culture had been there for several centuries by the time it began spreading again as Germanic, but nevertheless calling it "aboriginal" would be like calling the culture and language currently spreading around the globe from the United States "Native American".

Secondly, he wants to draw a hard line between the material cultures of the Scandinavian Bronze Age and the Jastorf type. But Jastorf culture was at minimum heavily influenced by Scandinavian Bronze Age culture, and very plausibly represents an expansion of that culture. The fact that it lines up well chronologically with the reconstructed spread of the Germanic languages certainly seems to suggest that this is the case.

Thirdly, Yaarel seems to place some intrinsic value on which tribes spoke what and where "originally", as if the Norse culture we see in the historical record were somehow better or "purer" than the contemporaneous German or Dutch or indeed English culture. But just as much time separates proto-Germanic from recorded Norse as from recorded Old High German. And, note well, the amount is well over a millennium. So to insist on calling it "Nordic" instead of "Germanic", as if the Norse were uniquely close to the ancestral culture rather than separated from it by the same gulf of centuries, simply commits the same error in reverse, and deliberately so, without the excuse of convention. Scholars of Germanic languages, by and large, know full well that "Germanic" is not a great name for the family. I've heard grumbles about it more than once. But it remains the convention; for whatever reason, the standard alternative "Teutonic" (which is in my estimation better) has fallen out of fashion. And as long as everybody knows what they're talking about, it's not a big deal. Notwithstanding Yaarel's frightful warnings, in my personal experience, there is no correlation at all between scholars I have encountered who use the term "Germanic" (100%) and those who subscribe to certain violent racial ideologies (0%).

Oh, yeah, and one last thing: Runic writing is not original to the Germanic/Nordic/Teutonic language family. The script was adapted from those used by the Italic languages to the south, quite separately from and later than the initial spread out of the Scandinavian Urheimat we've been talking about. Just to bring this digression around marginally to the topic of the thread, but also undercut it entirely.
 

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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
False on both counts. Stupidity is not a requirement for being a barbarian.
There is far too much IRL going on in this thread already, I would rather talk about D&D, if you don't mind.

According to the Barbarian class description: It's not stupidity, it is purposefully eschewing the trappings and methods of the so-called "civilized world" as a philosophy, which would include the rules of grammar as an elitist institution. In 5e, WotC has decreed that the Giants had a civilization (despite what you might think of Hill Giants) and this runic magic is part of that civilization's legacy, putting it at odds with the Barbarian philosophy.

Ultimately, while it is possible to divorce the flavor from the mechanics in order to make a unique and fun character, it's doesn't really help the brand, which is a thing WotC has to consider when making new subclasses.
 

According to the Barbarian class description: It's not stupidity, it is purposefully eschewing the trappings and methods of the so-called "civilized world" as a philosophy,

The existence of the Norse inspired (and named) Berserker, the dervish inspired Zealot, and the Salvatori inspired Battlerager in 5e already directly contradict that.

which would include the rules of grammar as an elitist institution.
The RULES OF GRAMMAR?!!!! So you define a barbarian as: "someone who deliberately chooses not to talk properly". Yoda the archetypical barbarian believe you?
 

There is far too much IRL going on in this thread already, I would rather talk about D&D, if you don't mind.

According to the Barbarian class description: It's not stupidity, it is purposefully eschewing the trappings and methods of the so-called "civilized world" as a philosophy, which would include the rules of grammar as an elitist institution. In 5e, WotC has decreed that the Giants had a civilization (despite what you might think of Hill Giants) and this runic magic is part of that civilization's legacy, putting it at odds with the Barbarian philosophy.

Ultimately, while it is possible to divorce the flavor from the mechanics in order to make a unique and fun character, it's doesn't really help the brand, which is a thing WotC has to consider when making new subclasses.
Nerds gotta nerd.
 

Bitbrain

ORC (Open RPG) horde ally
I would rather the Rune Knight stay a Fighter subclass personally.

It fixes a few shortcomings I’ve noticed with the fighter from behind the DM’s Screen.

Obviously the Haug Rune’s resist bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing should be replaced (as it steps too much into the barbarians territory). I personally will be replacing it with the following:

In addition, when you hit a creature that is of large size or smaller, you can invoke this rune to knock the target prone. Once you invoke the rune, you cannot do so again until after you finish a short or long rest.
 

I would rather the Rune Knight stay a Fighter subclass personally.

I don't have a problem with it being a fighter other than it already occupies a concept space that already feels crowded.

Whereas the barbarian lacks a magic option (that isn't stupid).

Obviously the Haug Rune’s resist bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing should be replaced (as it steps too much into the barbarians territory). I personally will be replacing it with the following:

In addition, when you hit a creature that is of large size or smaller, you can invoke this rune to knock the target prone. Once you invoke the rune, you cannot do so again until after you finish a short or long rest.

So, instead of stepping on the barbarian's territory it steps on the battlemaster's territory.
 

Hussar

Legend
I likes me the Rune Knight. Very cool. And FINALLY a fighter with TONS of out of combat options. This is a pretty solid skill monkey fighter. Very cool. And, yeah, sure, runes=magic, but, for me, they're just different enough from standard spells that it passes my personal sniff test.

Very well done. Look forward to seeing the polished version. Definitely something I'd like to play.
 

Hussar

Legend
Something I did think about though with the Rune Knight, you can only put one rune on a single item. So, your armor gets one rune, your shield gets one rune (or your offhand weapon) and your weapon gets one rune. What do you do with a fourth and eventually fifth rune?

I mean, they specifically use the language "wearing or carrying" an item inscribed with a rune. Does that mean carrying it in my hand, or simply carrying it on my person? If I have 4 runes, - armor, shield, weapon and weapon, do I need to put away one weapon to use the other weapon's rune?

It's not entirely clear. And it could lead to some pretty weird situations at high level where I'm pulling out weapons, invoking the rune, tossing the weapon and pulling out another weapon just to use another rune the next round. Which is going to run into issues when the fighter doesn't want to chuck his flaming longsword to pull out his non-magical axe just to invoke a different rune.
 

Bitbrain

ORC (Open RPG) horde ally
I don't have a problem with it being a fighter other than it already occupies a concept space that already feels crowded.

I respectfully disagree. It feels different and unique in my opinion.

Whereas the barbarian lacks a magic option (that isn't stupid).

UA Storm Herald was plenty magical. My dad playtested one to 9th level and thought it did a great job being the “untamed” magic barbarian (and he usually doesn’t like D&D magic, aside from Druids and Bards).
Then Xanathar’s came out and nerfed it...

So, instead of stepping on the barbarian's territory it steps on the battlemaster's territory.

Yes. Because again, just as the Monster Slayer fixes some of the shortcomings of the Ranger, the Rune Knight fixes some of the shortcomings of the Fighter that I have noticed from behind the DM’s screen.
 

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