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."

Screenshot 2019-10-17 at 21.14.02.png
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I'm not familiar with the giant soul sorcerer, but what I've seen a few times is that if a class has a spell that does a function (like the enlarge spell) that the caster gets pretty early on, then when they get to higher levels, they get abilities that replicate the spell to a point without the caster needing to cast the slot or prepare the spell

Giant Soul is on dndbeyond under Sorcerer. It's an old Unearthed Arcana Origin for Sorcerers where the sorcerer is descended from a giant bloodline. It's a great Origin.

Their 14th level ability is that they double in size. It's a little better than enlarge because your reach actually increases 5', as does your speed, and you get + ConMod damage to weapon attacks. In theory they also stack because one is a spell and one is a class feature, so you could cast enlarge that triggers the Rage of Ostoria feature and suddenly you're huge with 10' Reach 35' (or greater) movement and your weapons deal +1d4+ConMod damage on top of their normal effects. Both last 1 minute.

The rune knight at 3rd level can be come large, gains advantage on str checks and saves (this ability is common to both class features and enlarge), and your weapons deal +1d6 damage which is better than enlarge. One is a bonus action, one is triggered when you cast a spell of 1st level or higher (which could be enlarge).

Could all three be stacked since they are different sources? Two different class features and a spell to go from medium to gargantuan, +1d6+1d4+ConMod on damage?

Ugh... to much thinking.
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
What you're arguing is that I can't talk about any aspect of Protestant beliefs if I happen to be a Catholic because that would be cultural appropriation.
Correct. You cannot misrepresent reallife Protestant beliefs or reallife Catholic beliefs, and then SAY that they are ‘Protestant’ or ‘Catholic’. That disinformation would be culturally disrespectful to reallife Protestants or Catholics. Same goes for any human cultural spiritual heritage.



Northern Germanic peoples. Norse religion (Norse paganism) is literally a branch off of germanic paganism. In fact, germanic paganism came first.

First of all. The word ‘Germanic’ is a Non-Norse word that has never existed anywhere in the Norse language.

The term was invented by ignorant people who knew almost nothing about Scandinavia. (Namely, Roman Imperialists in Italy.)

Second of all. These dubious ROMAN LATIN traditions about socalled ‘Germanic tribes’, are described as originating in DENMARK. Having nothing to do with Germany, except that one of these Danish royal families migrated southward into Germany to become German, namely to become one of the tribes in Saxony.

Third of all. Germany is mostly Celtic, plus some Slavic, plus what was historically Nord

Fourth all, German tribes were often enthusiastic participants in the Roman Empire Mediterranean cultures − modeling their own traditions after Roman cultic traditions − and supplying the Roman Empire with most of its armies.

Germany is an amalgam of many Non-Norse influences that are far-away from and unlike Scandinavian cultures.



The final thing is. Scandinavians dont like it when other cultures create disinformation about Scandinavian heritages.

As a prelude to the N*zis invading Scandinavia, many German imperialistic academics aggressively culturally appropriated Norse cultural heritage as part of their fictitious ‘master race’ ideology.

Scandinavians have never been part of Germany. Scandinavians never want to be part of Germany.

Scandinavians deeply resent it when ‘Germanicists’ appropriate, abuse, and misrepresent indigenous Scandinavian cultures.
 

dave2008

Legend
Great, instead of a new ranger class, they give a new ranger subclass. How about fix the class first before creating a subclass that may need to be changed depending on what the final ranger will be.
The original ranger is not going away. If they "fix" it, it will be:
  1. With a subclass
  2. A minor errata (which they already did one of those)
  3. A new class that sits alongside, but does not replace, the original.
#3 is the least likely option
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Correct. You cannot misrepresent reallife Protestant beliefs or reallife Catholic beliefs, and then SAY that they are ‘Protestant’ or ‘Catholic’. That disinformation would be culturally disrespectful to reallife Protestants or Catholics. Same goes for any human cultural spiritual heritage.





First of all. The word ‘Germanic’ is a Non-Norse word that has never existed anywhere in the Norse language.

The term was invented by ignorant people who knew almost nothing about Scandinavia. (Namely, Roman Imperialists in Italy.)

Second of all. These dubious ROMAN LATIN traditions about socalled ‘Germanic tribes’, are described as originating in DENMARK. Having nothing to do with Germany, except that one of these Danish royal families migrated southward into Germany to become German, namely to become one of the tribes in Saxony.

Third of all. Germany is mostly Celtic, plus some Slavic, plus what was historically Nord

Fourth all, German tribes were often enthusiastic participants in the Roman Empire Mediterranean cultures − modeling their own traditions after Roman cultic traditions − and supplying the Roman Empire with most of its armies.

Germany is an amalgam of many Non-Norse influences that are far-away from and unlike Scandinavian cultures.



The final thing is. Scandinavians dont like it when other cultures create disinformation about Scandinavian heritages.

As a prelude to the N*zis invading Scandinavia, many German imperialistic academics aggressively culturally appropriated Norse cultural heritage as part of their fictitious ‘master race’ ideology.

Scandinavians have never been part of Germany. Scandinavians never want to be part of Germany.

Scandinavians deeply resent it when ‘Germanicists’ appropriate, abuse, and misrepresent indigenous Scandinavian cultures.

Sorry, you're just not correct. I use the term "germanic paganism" because this is an English speaking forum, and that's the English word we use to describe that culture. Also, I never said Scandinavia was part of Germany. Not sure where you're getting that from.

What I am saying, is that those myths that you are saying are being culturally appropriate from Norse mythology came from what we call northern Germany now. Here's a map

1571349651415.png


That's where the original myths of Odin, Thor, etc all originally came from. Magna Germania. As much as the Nazis were bad, they couldn't have stolen the myths of Odin et al because those myths started in northern Germany before the Norse did. Norse paganism branched off of germanic paganism.

Seriously, this isn't that hard to look up.
 

Aaron L

Hero
I like the concept of the Rune Knight.

The flavor might require caution − verging on cultural misappropriation.
...
This misrepresentation of Norse culture verges on abuse, like misrepresenting a Native American headdress.
The Rune Knight is hardly being denigrating to Norse culture, and in any event the Norse are far from being a disadvantaged minority culture that is being exploited by thoughtless and insensitive outsiders by having Norse words used as magical elements in an RPG. I am sure plenty of the writers and players of this game actually have a significant amount of Norse/Scandinavian/Germanic ancestry (I am among them) and I highly doubt there is any significant number of them who would find this to be in any way insulting.

Using elements of real world cultures and their mythologies in fantasy settings is in no way being disrespectful to those cultures, unless those elements are being used to try to insult or denigrate those cultures or depict them as being inferior in some way. This kind of thinking is destructively restrictive and damaging to creativity, and if we had to restrict any references to real world cultures for fear of being "offensive" just by merely making any reference at all to a real culture, then we would have to eliminate the entire Fantasy genre.

I am all for being considerate of cultural differences, but there is a point at which this kind of thing becomes nothing but a search for things to be offended about and inciting divisions between people where no conflict was intended.
Let us all embrace our shared heritage as Homo sapiens, celebrate our unity as Human Beings and all the things we share and that bind us together, such as the glorious wonders of our shared mythologies, instead of searching for yet more ways to fragment ourselves into warring tribes saying "No you can't use that, that's mine!"
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I also have thought BGs are kind of meh. Wish they were more like what themes were in 4th edition, probably an analog in other editions as well. Even some 5E adaptations turn them into something with actual features instead of, "hope your DM likes doing this stuff" features.
It could also work well in pathfinder 2e as ancestry options.

4e themes were great options you could have a number of different classes/races and then tie them all together with a theme which was pretty cool. They provided some great customisation.
 

MReav

Explorer
I feel like the Revived would work better as a feat progression or even a race (like the Revenant from 4E) rather than a class, since the abilities don't really seem all that 'rogue-y' and could be applied to any class.
 

Aaron L

Hero
I also have thought BGs are kind of meh. Wish they were more like what themes were in 4th edition, probably an analog in other editions as well. Even some 5E adaptations turn them into something with actual features instead of, "hope your DM likes doing this stuff" features.
I love Backgrounds. Want to have a character who is a priest of some god but is a member of the Fighter class? Give him the Acolyte Background, and he's a priest, no Cleric class required. I have a character who is a Sorcerer-Priest of the God of Magic in my brother's homebrew setting, merely by giving him the Sorcerer class and the Acolyte background.

My brother just created a character for the Greyhawk campaign I will be starting soon, and opened up entire new worlds of possibility for the campaign by making him a Hexblade Priest of Wee Jas, by choosing the Warlock class and the Acolyte background. We removed all references to the "Raven Queen" in the Hexblade description and replaced them with Wee Jas (The Witch Queen) and came up with the idea that he belongs to a Sect within the Church of Wee Jas that believes that the "Hexblade Entity" (or whatever you'd like to call it) was created by, or is otherwise tied to, the Ruby Sorceress, meaning his Pact as a Warlock is indirectly a Pact with Wee Jas herself.

I think it's brilliant.

Backgrounds don't need to have any whiz-bang powers to make them important and significantly impactful to the character, just the campaign implications of what that Background means.
 
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lkj

Hero
The original ranger is not going away. If they "fix" it, it will be:
  1. With a subclass
  2. A minor errata (which they already did one of those)
  3. A new class that sits alongside, but does not replace, the original.
#3 is the least likely option

These don't seem to cover the oft mentioned 'alternative class features' option that the designers have mentioned on numerous occasions. Which isn't really a new class. Not to say they haven't abandoned the idea. But it still seems like a viable option.

Of course alternative class features almost certainly won't interfere with subclasses unless they are specific alternatives for a given subclass.

AD
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Rune Knight
magic-runes-laddie.png

Bonus Proficiencies
Some ribbonish things that let you understand how to read and inscribe Runes onto your equipment. Kind of necessary for the Verisimilitude but not much game impact other than that.

Rune Magic
The Real Draw of this subclass, this lets you temporarily enchant armor, shields, or weapons. You start off only knowing two, but you can swap them out on level-up and eventually know more. Of note, this ability lasts until you finish a long rest. Which can in practice be longer than a day, or in theory be never, if you are that abominable Coffee-Lock or something similar.

Rune Options
Right off the bat, this class uses your INT for a saving throw. An uncommon, but not unheard of, tertiary stat for Fighters. For good or bad, this stat use draws even more parallels to the as of yet unpublished Artificer. Personally, I feel like a bit of cross-pollination in subclass design is inevitable and leads to fun things like where everyone in the group has the same theme applied to a different class. The wording implies (via the use of the word "You"), that only you can benefit from these runes, so no handing out items to the party. Also, they are all written in what is presumably supposed to be the Giant Language.

Haug (Hill Rune): Advantage and Resistance VS Poison, with the additional benefit of being able to pseudo-Rage once per rest for a solid 60 seconds without any restrictions. The poison bit is hardly anything to write home about, but the not-quite-rage bit on the other hand is going to make Barbarians look at you with the stink eye, due to your potentially better AC in the low to mid game.

Ild (Fire Rune): Tool Expertise. I like it when Expertise is spread out more. The short rest part of this ability is vaguely reminiscent of Bigby's Grasping Hand, However it is both more potent (because it uses a save, and it Restrains instead of Grapples) and less powerful (it only lasts until they make a save). Still, a very potent tool against Rogue and Mage types. Note: This can be applied to a longbow, making the power much more devastating than if it was on a sword.

Ise (Frost Rune): Advantage on Intimidation and Animal Handling checks is a bit underwhelming compared to the Expertise of the last rune. The short rest ability of this one lets you up your STR by 2 for 10 min. Which is basically +1 to hit and +1 damage on melee attacks, and +1 on STR saves. Again, this is going to make the Barbarian cross with you, even if it is technically lesser than what they get. But more importantly I do so loathe the in-combat "Stat Math" of previous editions, there has to be a more elegant way of doing this.

Skye (Cloud Rune): Advantage (instead of Expertise) on slight of hand and deception checks. Letting you be even more Rogue-Like. The Short rest power on this one is possibly one of the most fun powers I have ever seen, letting you redirect an attack from any target unto another target, up to 30' away. That Crit the Blackguard did on your party Rogue? Well now it's going right into the belly of the enemy Mage!

Stein (Stone Rune): Insight (adv again) and 60' (or +30') Darvision. The short rest power on this one is a single-target sleeplike condition. This rune is vaguely reminiscent of a Warlock.

Uvar (Storm Rune): Further cribbing from the Mages (this time Diviners), adv on Arcana (for what that's worth), and immunity to surprise, which is really rare and quite potent. I can see Wizards considering this for a 3 level dip now. The short rest power is cumbersome. You enter a "state" (basically like a "stance") and during that stance you can can grant adv or disadv on any one attack roll, saving throw, or ability check as a reaction. Just skip the "state" part and make it a "flash of prophecy", directly letting you use the reaction whenever. It works smoother, like butter.

Giant Might
"By the Power of Greyskull, I have the Power!" This is basically another type of Rage that makes you big, and gives you bonus dice damage. Unfortunately it requires a bonus action, and a lot of those runes you want to use up there also require a bonus action, as does your Second Wind, and possibly you two-weapon-fighting(this power works on every weapon attack, making that an attractive idea). Which means this subclass is totally bloated on Bonus Actions, and probably needs a different way to make this work. The good news is that despite being a STR themed power, this totally works with Ranged attacks! Appropriate if you want to throw rocks, but very nice if you are going for a not-rogue dex-fighter.

Defensive Runes
Another way to use your reaction, this time you throw up a small shield to protect any other creature you can see, not you, just them. Of note, this power doesn't have a per-rest limitation, so you can shield all day long. Also, you get another Rune, which is great.

Great Stature
You hit your second Growth Spurt, gain up to an additional foot in height, and do extra damage with Giant Might. Kind of fun, but I can already foresee people hating the fluff bit about being taller. For some reason people just balk at any kind of ability that changes how their character looks.
Also, yet another Rune, bringing you up to 4.

Rune Magic Mastery
You double all your Rune per-rest uses, and get another Rune. Which makes 5/6 options yours. At this point you need to carry around 2 extra weapons and a shield or 3 extra weapons just to house your Runes.

Blessing of the All Father
Would you believe it took me this long into the subclass to make the He-Man connection? Anyway, when you get swole from Giant Might, you can also make any other creature within 60' of you swole too. Which is seems really fun if you have another weapon user in the group, or just hilarious if you make the Wizard a giant.

Thoughts
This subclass blatantly poaches from and recycles so many things. The Giant sorcerer, the Runesmith PrC, the Artificer, the Barbarian, the Rogue, all sorts of Mages, the Brute, and the Masters of the Universe. And much like a kitchen sink, it needs a bit of cleaning and polish before it goes pro. Namely bonus action scarcity hits this subclass like a truck.

Swarmkeeper
This is a weird feeling, the first time I have come close to predicting something in a UA, and it was in a thread talking about Ranger pets.

Swarmkeeper Magic
Extra spells are especially good for the Ranger, who has a very restricted list. Faerie Fire and Web are nice, the others are more thematic than general purpose, but can be put to good use regardless.

Gathered Swarm
"3rd- and 11th-level Swarmkeeper feature" What? Is that a thing now? I've never seen a listing like that before. The only notable thing it does at level 11 is scaling damage. That aside, this summons a Swarm of Fey Spirits to act as an aesthetic particle effect around your character. They can look like tiny beasts, which gives a lot of leeway on how this looks:
Badger
Bat
Cat
Crab
Cranium Rat
Flying Snake
Frog
Hawk
Ligotti (basically a tentacle)
Lizard
Owl
Poisonus Snake
Quipper
Rat
Raven
Scorpion
Sea Horse
Spider
Stirge (ew)
Traxigor (an Otter)
Tressym
Velociraptor
Weasel
And that's not including obvious swap outs, like Bees or Butterflies, or basically whatever other tiny animal you can think of because they are spirits who crib the look of the animal, not the stat block. Which is a relief, because I don't think anyone could handle a player controlled swarm of actual Stirges. :eek:

Anyway, the mechanics of this swarm let you cover your weapon in them as a bonus action, and use it to attack for extra force damage, and push or pull the target 5' every time at your discretion for up to 60 seconds. regardless of the creatures size. And you are now imagining a Spirit Crab surfing on an arrow that was launched at an ancient Red Dragon. Who then slaps said dragon with the back of it's claw, which forces the dragon to take a step back. And really, who wouldn't take a step back after getting claw-slapped by an arrow-surfing crab?

The only downside to this ability is that you can only use it WIS mod times per day. A shame really.

Writhing Tide
You can now ride on your swarm. But only when you activate the above feature. Honestly, this is ability is a bit underpowered with that restriction, and could safely be switched to "always on"

Scuttling Eyes
It's a scouting tool that is overall less useful than Find Familiar. Come on now, we started off so strong with this subclass. It does get to use your stealth stat, but even then this is a level 3 ability at best. At level 11 you should be doing something like causing the swarm to engulf someone else. Speaking of which...

Edit: Oh wait, I see, you teleport to the familiar instead of the other way around. I'm still not a fan of this ability.

Storm of Minions
You can finally make your swarm, well swarm. Lets see here
2d8 necrotic damage save for half is meh
1d8 healing is interesting. You could potently become immortal for the duration of the power, healing every time you get knocked down.
It's a Smart AoE, so no bugging your friends.
CON save vs being blind is going to basically never happen in your favor at this level of the game, especially off of WIS, which is your secondary stat at best.
The range, area, fact it doesn't doesn't use concentration are good.
It's rechargeable by using a level 4 spell slot, which is also interesting and gives us an idea of where it's supposed to be. Over all, it's a bit meh for it's level and even more meh as a capstone. Knocking it down to level 11, then making the capstone something like "You cause your body to disperse and become the swarm" Is the angle they should have went with.


Thoughts
It starts off strong, but ends up lacking a bit in the later game. Making Scuttling Eyes level a secondary level 3 power (using level 1 spell slots, and without the teleport thing that was out of left field to begin with), knocking Swarm of Minions down to level 11, and then making up a new capstone would be the formula for improvement. Also maybe make some kind of reaction power for the swarm to do when you get hit in melee combat, that would be a nice touch, but that shouldn't be the capstone either.

The Revived
The Devas are back, in Rogue Form.

Tokens of Past Lives
Proficiency slots are kind of meh for Rogues. This one however, rotates out every day, which is cool enough to make this interesting.

Revived Nature
You become a Warforged. Which is a handy set of abilities for a Rogue to have, if a bit creepy.

Bolts from the Grave
Mechanically, this is great! You manage to combine Cunning Action and Two Weapon Fighting into one bonus action. The Restriction being that you need to have missed (or otherwise not used) your sneak attack (which is the primary reason for using Two Weapon Fighting on a Rogue in the first place) and it's a Ranged Spell Attack, so melee combat might not be the best idea. Ideally, you just used your bonus action for Cunning Action, which means you should be Hidden, Disengaging, or Dashing at the moment, leaving that deadly melee combat behind you (remember, in 5e you can Move a little bit, take an action or attack, then move the rest of the way). Oops, sorry, you have to make the attack Immediately after using cunning action, which makes takes all the fun out of it. They definitely need to change that restriction.

Connect with the Dead
You cast Speak With Dead once per rest. As a twist, whenever you do so you randomly gain one proficiency. If it wasn't for the random bit, you would would see these Rogues reenact that once scene from Hamlet every time the party sets up camp. Which is amusing, but I would imagine it would get old fast.

Audience with Death
Advantage on Death saving throws. Additionally, you get to ask DEATH a question every time he comes knocking for you, and whenever you get knocked out, your brains scramble a bit so you can change your personality. I can imagine a Rogue working with the party Cleric so that the Rogue purposely brings themselves to a near death state just to ask questions now. As interesting as that is, do we really want a causally suicidal subclass?

Ethereal Jaunt
Teleportation as a bonus action is nice, and synergizes well with Bolts from the Grave. Though I have to admit, it took me three rereads to figure out what was going on with this power. Something about it didn't flow right. Maybe it's because this is the last entry on a long UA and I'm on a diet so my blood sugar is low.

Thoughts
If there was ever a UA indicator of Planescape, this subclass would be it. This is some Dustmen kind of flavor. Otherwise, Rogues don't tend to get much out of their subclasses in general.
 
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