Unearthed Arcana New Year Unearthed Arcana Brings Back Those Old 2E Kits

The scout fighter looks like yet another take at a ranger, but one I'm personally more likely to use. For the Cavalier I might want some more feature related to social interaction, not just the horse part and a proficiency. Something along the lines of what the Banneret/Purple Dragon Knight got in SCAG or a new use of superiority dice.

The bard colleges seem nice, but "Tumble" might have a bit too many benefits compared to Rogue Cunning Action.
 

The first Unearthed Arcana of the year is now up. By Mike Mearls, this instalment is entitled Kits of Old. "If you played AD&D second edition back in the 1990s, you probably remember kits—the character options first introduced in The Complete Fighter’s Handbook. This month, Unearthed Arcana converts a few of the more popular kits from that era to new class options for the bard and fighter—and wants to know what other classic kits you’d like to see converted to fifth edition." Included is the College of Swords, College of Satire (both for bards), and the Cavalier and the Scout (both for fighters).

Find it right here.

Mike Mearls describes the process thusly:
This month's Unearthed Arcana is up! The highly scientific process of picking which feats to convert took four steps.
Step 1: Walk over to our library of D&D books.
Step 2: Flip through the Complete books until I found a few kits I wanted to update.
Step 3: Design the damn things.
Step 4: Email them to an editor for the actual, hard work of making this stuff (in other words, make it coherent and useful).


[Note --- if you're viewing this on the news page, there's a bug which means the first 20-ish comments are not showing. You can read them by heading here, though.]
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Yeah, the climbing part in particular is insane. Pretty close to the Monk ability to run up walls, but at level 3!

Yeah, but you have to play a jester! There's a good chance your own party will kill you a few hours into the adventure just out of annoyance :) It's basically kender as a class.
 


TheLoneRanger1979

First Post
I lke the scout myself too. If my DM allows it, i might convert my current battle master into one. I planned on MC-ing into a ranger anyways. Maybe it's a good idea to see if they release any more kits though.
 

Zaran

Adventurer
So I don't get it. These aren't kits. They are subclasses. Am I wrong? I've always thought kits were premade modules of existing mechanics that new players can choose to simplify character creation. Whatever they are called it's nice to have them.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
So I don't get it. These aren't kits. They are subclasses. Am I wrong? I've always thought kits were premade modules of existing mechanics that new players can choose to simplify character creation. Whatever they are called it's nice to have them.

Kits were like Pathfinder archetypes - they slid on over the existing character classes ans provided (generally minor) alterations to class abilities and function. Typically, they were more for flavor than anything else, though a few - such as the Bladesinger, which has already been converted in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide - provided pretty massive power boosts.

Rather than introduce a new system or mechanic, the designers seem to be working on converting 2e kits to 5e subclasses. This makes sense enough, except in cases where the kit was essentially a complete rewrite of how a class functioned (such as the Sha'ir from Al-Qadim, and, really, most of the kits from the Complete Sha'ir's Handbook).

I'm not really sure how I'd go about converting ideas like the Sha'ir to 5e, honestly. It would almost require a completely new class.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
So I don't get it. These aren't kits. They are subclasses. Am I wrong? I've always thought kits were premade modules of existing mechanics that new players can choose to simplify character creation. Whatever they are called it's nice to have them.

Kits, when they came out in 2e, were specialized archetypes that fit under a main class theme, granting additional mechanical benefits that the class didn't normally grant. These are the exact same thing in practice--a specialized archetype that grants additional mechanical bonuses not covered by the main class. Kit or subclass, they are basically the same thing.

For example, the 2e blade bard kit gave you benefits to increase your AC or inflict damage on an attacker by your whirling blades skill. 5e version does similar things, just by using the superiority dice mechanic.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Blades, Jesters, and Cavaliers! Fun-stuff.

And yes, kits where basically sub-sub classes, at least the meatier ones, which included the Fighter and Bard ones. This approach makes a lot of sense.
 

jodyjohnson

Adventurer
Tumble seems a little good - maybe just pick one instead of getting all.

The Fighter Alt Battle Master subclasses were interesting:
The Cavalier trip I would rewrite like the PHB Trip Maneuver (unreliable if you need to declare on attack rather than damage).
I like the alternate Parry Maneuver - more useable if you get Critted (which is when you really need it).
Precision Attack was identical.
Each got an additional subclass specific usage like Bardic Inspiration.

I think the bonus skills were maybe excessive. The scout I think actually becomes better at the skills than the PHB Ranger. Since they get Advantage in favored terrain and can add a Superiority Dice on top.

Not a bad trade without spells.

I'd use any of these with a toned down Tumble and perhaps one less bonus skill proficiency each.

Without a general house rule on party mounts, pets, and other NPCs I think the Cavalier mount would still be pretty hard to pull off. 3HD horses and 2 HD ponies are pretty hard to keep alive without a general fix for keeping these auxiliary party members viable (like 'auxiliary party members have HD=party minimum with no other changes').
 
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Weird Dave

Adventurer
Publisher
A lot of the kits from 2E fall under the category of backgrounds in 5E, however. It's actually interesting seeing the division between the two and how unregulated 2E was in regards to their use. If you look at the kits from the Complete books, it seems like a lot are simply re-skins of the same thing (a savage version, a noble version, a peasant version, etc.). I like the four subclasses in the UA article, especially the bardic colleges. I guess I can scrap my own version of the College of Blades!
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
If you're concerned about mounts being too fragile now, don't play WFRP 1e. 1000 damn crowns for a warhorse that got killed in one hit by a skaven. No, I'm not still bitter.... ;)

As far as the scout, I never need to multiclass F/T ever again. I had been a fighter with the criminal background, but now the scout fighter fits perfectly. A halfling with light armor? Everyone assumes just a typical thief. Until I multi-attack/action surge on their butt, and have twice the HP they expect :)
 

jodyjohnson

Adventurer
Tumble Rewrite:

Alternate Tumble said:
Tumbling Fool 
At 3rd level, you master a variety of acrobatic techniques that allow you to evade danger. As a 
bonus action, you can tumble. When you tumble, you gain one of the following benefits for the rest of your turn: 
•  You gain the benefit of taking the Dash action. 
•  You gain the benefit of taking the Disengage action. 
•  You gain a climbing speed equal to your current speed.

As a Reaction you can Tumble and take half damage from falling. 

Adding Tumble to take half damage on a fall allows it to work on your turn and during the rest of the round.
 

My biggest takeaway from this is that there are ways to have Superiority Dice without Maneuvers. I like that shift for other custom subclasses.
 

NotActuallyTim

First Post
Hmm...

I'm actually thinking of running Tumbling Fool like so:

Jesters get those benefits for free. Everybody can try to get one such benefit for a turn by succeeding on a Acrobatics check on their turn.

I may also include the ability to make one ability check per turn for free, unless specified otherwise.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Just gonna put this here:

2e Complete Book Conversions

(I'm working on Bards now, so it's especially timely!)

Conceptually:
I don't object to more subclasses to represent some kits. Not always very NECESSARY, as I think I'm showing with my conversions, but it can be nice. The possible conceptual issue is splat creep, but if they've got a good story link, a good fiction, it'll be fine. They're not splatting at a rate that makes me fear creep too much at the moment. :)

Kits I'd Like to See
Though I'd really like to see what their take on a beast rider would be...but I imagine that dovetails with their ranger re-write (I WANNA RIDE A BEAR!). I think the acrobat could also use a subclass (not necessary, but there's room!). And it'd be interesting to see a Cleric subclass that swaps out weapons and armor for unarmed combat a la the fighting monk - a monk with full spellcasting! :) And it'd be interesting to see their take on 2e alternate priesthoods, too.

Specifics
The College of Swords has fun flourishes, but I don't know that that's "enough" to distinguish them from Valor bards. The two are looking awfully similar. Maybe the flourishes would be better as a feat or a simple "alternate class feature" for Valor bards? Either that, or make the College more distinct.

College of Satire seems weak at first blush. Though VERY mobile, it's not lucky or wacky enough for my preferences for a "jester" class.

Cavalier and Scout have the same issue as the College of Swords - it's not a lot different from the Battle Master (with some extra sauce). Though a little less so. Putting these abilities as a feat (or two) could make some sense, adding those options to ALL BMs would be fine. Either that or make the Archetype more distinct, I'd say.

These subclasses, I think, need to try harder to achieve escape velocity from the Land of Feats and Backgrounds. Any time your subclass is 50% or more copypasta from existing subclasses, it's too much. Just give me alternate class features / feats / etc.
 
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Cavalier and Scout don't get to use Maneuvers. So while the base mechanic is the same, what they do with it is different. If using Superiority Dice means you are a Battle Master than using spells means you are a Wizard.
 

Avenger_jr

First Post
Tumble seems a little good - maybe just pick one instead...

I'd use any of these with a toned down Tumble and perhaps one less bonus skill proficiency each

One thing to note about tumble, compared to cunning action, is that rogues have alot less competition for their bonus action than bards do. Sneak attack falls on an attack action, so a rogue would benefit from part of.their cunning action bonus action and be able to apply sneak attack as well. A bard, however, has uses for their bonus action in the form of the bardic inspiration. The core two colleges gain additional spells or additional proficiencies, as well as alternate or additional uses for bardic inspiration - their bonus action mechanic.

Due to this, I feel that the College of Satire's tumbling fool bonus action is a very good feature for the bard to have as it provides good competition for their bonus action use, especially compared to the other bardic colleges. While it IS strictly more powerful than Cunning Action, it is both belonging to a class besides rogue, behind a class archetype, and three levels in.

Cavalier and Scout don't get to use Maneuvers. So while the base mechanic is the same, what they do with it is different. If using Superiority Dice means you are a Battle Master than using spells means you are a Wizard.

They do not get to use maneuvers, but.the Battlemaster does. Besides the +dice to skill checks, most uses of superiority dice that a scout or cavalier gets is similar to and can potentially be replaced by an existing maneuver. Thus the decision is the following: do I become a cavalier and get a few mount-specific uses of superiority dice, or do I become a battlemaster and get proper maneuvers thay can replicate some-if-not-all of the Cavaliers superiority dice options.
 
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