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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Undrave

Legend
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.

The thing is, while that's all cool, Backgrounds are really a DM ressource rather than a player ressource. You get some skills and proficiency but most of the stuff is 100% dependant on your DM and what the world they build is like. I had the Hermit background with a Discovery that tied into one of the overarching plot of the campaign but my DM never did anything with it so my background mostly served to give me an out of place Religion proficiency that never ammounted to anything useful...
 

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Aaron L

Hero
The thing is, while that's all cool, Backgrounds are really a DM ressource rather than a player ressource. You get some skills and proficiency but most of the stuff is 100% dependant on your DM and what the world they build is like. I had the Hermit background with a Discovery that tied into one of the overarching plot of the campaign but my DM never did anything with it so my background mostly served to give me an out of place Religion proficiency that never ammounted to anything useful...
I would have thought that it would still have had a major impact on how your character acted and interacted with the world. A Fighter with the Folk Hero Background would be a completely different kind of person than a Fighter with the Noble Background, regardless of whatever else happened in the campaign.
 

Undrave

Legend
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.

See, this is the point where I feel like you should be able to hand out your runes to other players... it seems a bit silly to just wear a bandolier of runic daggers with different runes at all times to stack them all ('cause you can just be wearing them, mind you). Or like... use darts to tie your hair? I dunno.
 

Undrave

Legend
I would have thought that it would still have had a major impact on how your character acted and interacted with the world. A Fighter with the Folk Hero Background would be a completely different kind of person than a Fighter with the Noble Background, regardless of whatever else happened in the campaign.

Of course, but that's just basic roleplaying. It's not really a function of picking the 'Noble' or 'Folk Hero' background. I could just take the proficiency from Guild Merchant and act like a Noble and nothing would change.
 



Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
See, this is the point where I feel like you should be able to hand out your runes to other players... it seems a bit silly to just wear a bandolier of runic daggers with different runes at all times to stack them all ('cause you can just be wearing them, mind you). Or like... use darts to tie your hair? I dunno.
Just making it so you can stack multiple runes on the same object would go a long way.
 


ZeshinX

Adventurer
I do like the Rune Knight, though I would prefer the Rune's abilities effects be specific to what type of item they were "attached" to (offers a little incentive and flavor to change things up a bit, perhaps allowing the use of the same rune on two items for a more flavorful concept). I mean the versatility as written is nice too...but I suspect would become quite "samey" rather quickly (at least until reaching 3/4 runes known).

The way it currently is, limiting it just to weapons, shield and armor seems kinda/sorta oddly specific (I mean those are certainly common places to see etched runes and such)..."runestone" is a pretty common thing in fantasy gaming too (you're already limited in the number you can imbue...why restrict it yet further?)

Little interest in the Swarmkeeper, since I'm one of those that finds the Ranger remarkably underwhelming in 5e.

The Revived...that just doesn't feel "right" as a class-specific option. That feels a LOT more like it should be a race option.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
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.

What I like about this one is that the target is not actually asleep. They're Charmed and Incapacitated but not Unconscious. So while you can just use it as an in-combat pseudo stun, you've also got some room to be creative with out of combat uses. For example, as an interrogation tool. Talking isn't an action, so you're free to ask them questions while you have the benefits of the Charmed state.
 

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