D&D 5E New Unearthed Arcana: Wonders of the Multiverse

WotC has posted a new Unearthed Arcana featuring the Glitchling race, the Fate domain, and a handful of backgrounds, feats and spells.

In today’s Unearthed Arcana, we explore D&D character options from across the multiverse. This playtest document presents the glitchling race; the Fate Domain cleric subclass; and the gate warden, giant foundling, planar philosopher, and rune carver backgrounds. Additionally, a collection of new feats provide links to giants and other primordial forces of the planes, while a selection of new spells highlight the power of fate and chance.



 
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I don't mind the idea of "Criminal gives Dungeon Delver" but what happens to people who don't want to deal with the complexity of feats? Either feats are no longer optional, or the entire table has to decide whether or not feats will be allowed in the campaign.
I was wondering the same thing. I allow feats if the players feel inclined to take them but my group never has. They are fairly casual, I'm probably the most gung-ho with one other that digs in fairly deep. I'm curious to see how it looks.
 

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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Well, in my experience the frustration for people who don't like Feats (basically everyone I've ever played with) is in choosing the darned Feats. Now, if the Feats come in an easy to digest narrative package, like "Criminal gets Dungeon Delver due to their suave skills," I don't thinknwe have the same problem. Because Background is a very good mechanic that people glum onto easily.
It does make wonder though whats the point of classes? Why not just background + feat tree for everything?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It does make wonder though whats the point of classes? Why not just background + feat tree for everything?
Well, that's what they are anyways, yes. Classes are effectively Feat point buy builds in 5E.

Again, Strixhaven is instructive, where the emerging standard first emerged in it's full form allowing for Class bending (Wizards with Druidcraft, etc.) without impacting balance any more than giving a PC Tough or Skilled for free at Level 1.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Semi-whelmed? Un-whelmed?
download.jpg
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Cartomancer:
Now this IS promising. Nothing great, but there is some utility to get here for roleplay(a plus), some laughable damage boost, and chance to have some good spell on Bonus action so you can combine it with Dodge, Dash or Hide if need arises. A solid one. Maybe if damage boost would scale with prof bonus, like prof bonus×d4 it would be a good feat.
As written this feat is broken. There's no built in limit to the number of cards you can invest with a spell. Spend a few weeks of downtime and...
 

No. Modrons are shapes. Glitchlings are humanlike. The video says they are a sibling or cousin of the rogue modron, so think of it as some other kind of Mechanus construct that has gone rogue.
Some modrons are shapes. The hierarch modrons, which haven't been updated for 5e yet, are (mostly) humanoid-like. Weird humanoid-like, but humanoid-like nonetheless...
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Rune Carving Feats.
  • So we saw a version of these feats already. One way to measure them is in the changes that have been introduced.
  • Rune carver apprentice has added a first-level spell, Comprehend languages. Can be useful in the game; is absolutely the first-level spell that would change my real life most, and so it's a good get, from my perspective. It still doesn't counteract the huge reduction in power from the previous version, though.
  • Options for Rune Carver apprentice are significantly reduced, from 19 first-level spells to 8. The reduction is probably sensible. Significantly, three of the 8 weren't on the previous list: disguise self, speak with animals, and entangle. Entangle is an amazing spell, and I'm pleased to see it added, though its connection with "Mountain" is pretty weak (though Jump was no better). Similarly, I'm not sure "Friend" is more closely associated with Speak with Animals than Bless, but maybe Snow White will be happy. Of the ones that are gone, I would miss the option of taking Cure Wounds, Fog Cloud, Shield, and Feather Fall.
  • The biggest change is that instead of being able to carve a rune of choice, you're now proficient in one EDIT: Only two runes ("I can draw a dragon, but not a mountain"). Yes, you can change one rune you know each level, but sheesh -- what a hugely underpowered concept: you know how to write one rune at a time. I would have thought a reduced list and the ability to choose would be much more fun for the player. Is this too complicated? Not by the standards being set out here. How do I know? Look at the next feat in the chain.
  • Rune Carver Adept, only at 4th level, previously let you carve more than one rune per long rest. I actually think that the previous Rune Carver Adept and Rune Carver Apprentice would have been an acceptable single feat. This is s huge investment for a "free" one-level spell slot with limited choice; with much less use than magic adept. It's really unclear what they are thinking with this feat now. Now it's a half-feat, with a free floating +1.
  • In addition to that, you get an additional effect, of (a) free advantage for an ally nearby, (b) THP for an ally nearby, or (c) no opportunity attacks vs an ally nearby. All of these are potentially useful, and are a nice trick to trot out. I like that they all help someone else -- on that level, they're good design, because they encourage team play. Everybody wants to have someone else be a runecarver now. Nice. Or so we might think....
  • What triggers this? Here's where it gets terrible. The cool benefit gets triggered (a) when you cast any of the 8 spells listed on the foundation feat, or (b) when you cast a spell of the same school of magic as the particular rune you have inscribed. All of these require keeping track of so much.
  • (a) makes it clear why the "good" spells were removed: since one might want to cast Fog Cloud, Cure Wounds, or Shield, the removal of them from the potential list of runes is a way of nerfing the second feat down to a half-feat. Ugh. It's deliberately trying to make the base feat less attractive, so that the second feat in the chain isn't overpowered (or is still a half-feat?). Speak with Animals is even less desirable now, since the in-combat benefit is unlikely ever to be triggered.
  • (b) is worse. If you case any spell within the same school as the school of the rune you have memorized... ugh. Okay, so the specialist rune-carver benefits a spellcaster more than a non-spellcaster. The idea of a dwarf fighter who knows rune magic, or a half-orc rogue who has learned an arcane secret, is always going to lag behind a wizard. That's disappointing (even recognizing that there are fewer spellcaster-focused feats than there could be). Let's look at the schools:
    • Ray of sickness -- Necromancy
    • Chromatic Orb -- Evocation
    • Disguise Self -- Illusion (unlikely to be used in combat, negating most of the benefits anyway)
    • Speak with animals -- Divination (unlikely to be used in combat, negating most of the benefits anyway)
    • Longstrider -- Transmutation
    • Command -- Enchantment
    • Entangle -- Conjuration
    • Sanctuary -- Abjuration
  • Okay: so there is one option from each of eight schools. That should be explicit. The spell/rune chosen is tied directly to one school, which is going to benefit other spells cast from that school. A full caster with access to a wide range of schools can therefore do much more with this feat than a non-caster, and a school specialist (like many wizards) perhaps get the greatest benefit.
  • While I appreciate trying to make the schools more meaningful, the story behind the feat and its implementation are too much at odds. The second feat in the chain is a half feat that disproportionately benefits full casters. That should be explicit: it's not about rune carving at all in the end, it's about enhancing the spells cast from a particular school.
 
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Kurotowa

Legend
  • The biggest change is that instead of being able to carve a rune of choice, you're now proficient in one rune ("I can draw a dragon, but not a mountain"). Yes, you can change the one rune you know each level, but sheesh -- what a hugely underpowered concept: you know how to write one rune at a time. I would have thought a reduced list and the ability to choose would be much more fun for the player. Is this too complicated? Not by the standards being set out here. How do I know? Look at the next feat in the chain.
This is incorrect. You can only have one rune active per day, but you know two runes and can pick between them. It's like a mini version of Artificer infusions.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Okay, here goes!

CleverNickName's Ten-Cent Review of
Unearthed Arcana 2022: Wonders of the Multiverse

I. Creating Your Character

These rules are almost identical to what I'm already using in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. The biggest mechanical difference is the "or increase three different ability scores by 1 each," and the biggest flavor difference is that characters can be of any creature type...not just Humanoid. Everything else I've seen before.

It's fine, nothing to get excited about.

II. Glitchlings
Extraplanar warforged, eh? Let's do this.

Type: Having a creature type of "Construct" could mess with certain spells and effects that only target Humanoids, but then they caveat around it with exceptions in their "living construct" ability, so it doesn't actually matter. I'm not sure why they bothered, but whatever. They're Constructs except when it's inconvenient, got it.

Don't really have a problem with the armor plating. Lots of people in this thread are really fixated on this, but I don't see any terrible issues with it. Like the aforementioned "I'm a Construct except when I'm not," this only matters if you want it to.

Balance Chaos is weird, but I prefer this "take ten" mechanic to the "roll again and again" mechanics of the Lucky feat. I think I'm allergic to crit-fishing, it makes me itchy.

Ordered Mind is excellent, no notes.

Vestigal Wings. The way it's written, it's just a weird jump check. But it's fine. It's probably not as useful as the average player is going to think it is, so get ready for lots of arguments about movement and what the devs meant by "at the end of your turn."

All in all, it's more sci-fi flavor than I'm looking for in my D&D game...but a perfect fit for my Esper Genesis campaign.

III. Cleric Subclass: "Fate Domain"
So this feels a lot like your garden-variety oracle or seer. It looks like a very flavorful addition to just about any game setting. It's a bit weak compared to, say, the Twilight cleric, but I'm not bad about that. And special thanks to WotC, for resisting the urge to create new and unnecessary ways of rolling dice just because it has the word 'Fate' in the name.

IV. Backgrounds
Giving a bonus feat at 1st level, selected from a curated list? What a great idea! Why didn't I think of that? OH WAIT.

Gate Warden background, Giant Foundling background, Planar Philosopher background, they all look fine. Nothing really exciting or evocative for me, but that's probably because I'm not a huge fan of Planescape. The Rune Carver is my favorite, I like the idea of a rune archaeologist who studies ancient giants. It dovetails nicely with the previous Unearthed Arcana's wizard subclass.

V. Feats
Okay, so let's be honest: this is the reason I downloaded the Unearthed Arcana in the first place. Like I hinted at earlier, I'm going to be giving out feats at 1st level to the characters.

The feats here are just fine, in my opinion. I think the Scion feats are awesome; very similar to the Magic Initiate feat but with extra elemental/extraplanar flair. I've already got a nice spot picked out for them in my campaign world. I also like the Rune Carver feats (both of them) and I like that they make a sort of 'feat tree' together...I hope we get to see more like this in the future.

Throughout the document (and most visibly in the Feats section), it looks like "you can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest" is the new hotness for game mechanics. Not sure what effect this is going to have on the number of rests that the characters take after every battle, but I hope it helps. Maybe the solution to the players constantly Going Nova is to let them do it even more often?

Cartomancer feels weird in an 'extraplanar' themed release. What does a deck of cards have to do with the universe? I'm sure there's a reference I'm missing. Planescape, maybe? If I were going to go with a Cartomancer-style character, I'd base it around the Tarot and not the Multiverse, but anyway, there's nothing wrong with this feat (apart from not having a limit on the number of times per day you can 'put an ace in your deck,' in a manner of speaking.)

I. Spells
The card-based spells feel a little out of place in this UA, but ah well. The spells seem fine, the mechanics need to be adjusted and the bugs need to be worked out a bit, but I don't think I'll need to worry about it. These spells aren't the sort that my players would reach for.

Antagonize: like a 3rd-level Vicious Mockery.
House of Cards: great spell for temporary battlefield control and movement restriction.
Spirit of Death: seems a bit underwhelming for a 4th level spell slot, but eh. It's fine.
Spray of Cards: reminds me of a higher-level Color Spray.
Summon Warrior Spirit: pretty good 'instant ally' spell. In one of my adventures, the party might recover a ring of spell storing from a tomb. If they do, I'm totally going to stuff Summon Warrior Spirit into it and see how it goes.
 
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