OneDnD One D&D Cleric & Revised Species Playtest Includes Goliath

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"In this new Unearthed Arcana for the One D&D rules system, we explore material designed for the next version of the Player’s Handbook. This playtest document presents the rules on the Cleric class, it's Life Domain subclass, as well as revised Species rules for the Ardling, the Dragonborn, and the Goliath. You will also find a current glossary of new or revised meanings for game terms."


WotC's Jeremey Crawford discusses the playtest document in the video below.

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

It's still an effective spell -- a nice bit of extra damage each round, costing only bonus actions -- but it will no longer be the no-brainer pick that it is now.
It is. However the cleric in my game uses it primarily because it's not concentration. A lot of cleric spells are concentration so in a lot of cases my player has to choose which is the best one for the combat/encounter. His build isn't melee oriented and doesn't do a lot of damage in combat. SW was his way of mitigating that while still having a decent buff/debuff spell going. He's not particularly happy with that direction.
 

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Some thoughts...

Ardling: The way this is headed, I'm even more convinced now that when Shifters are revisited, they need an option to switch out their inner beast, so that they're more like Animal Man or Vixen.

Dragonborn: I know they've said Fizban's is still in play, but in practice, most people will consider the most recently publish version the "real" one.

Goliath: Not really feeling them being turned into medium sized Spriggans.

Cleric: It's probably a futile effort, but I'm ready to neg-rate the hell out of this. For what they represent, I think Holy Order and Domain are mechanically implemented ass backwards.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Which is excellent. I just wish they also had identities instead of waiting for 3 and making the game effectively an 18 level one.
Admittedly I've never really understood this missing out on levels argument. I'm not saying you're doing this, so I apologize if it's coming across this way, but it reminds me of when 5e first came out.

Folks argued that they liked the less powerful lower levels because it allowed those who wanted zero to hero to have it. Others argued against it, saying they didn't want to wait until level 3 to get powers, so they felt cheated out of 2 levels.

And I don't get that. Whether there are 5 levels or 500, it doesn't matter or impact the time you spend playing. It's not like, "Well, I'd like to play, but Tuesdays are only for level 1-2 PCs, so I can't." Just play at the levels you like. That's pretty much how it was always done. And really, hardly anyone plays past the early teens anyway, so no one is really missing out.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
New Goliath answers the question “What if Rune Knight Fighter, but a species?”
I think it's more, "What if we move the Giant Sorcerer from UA into the Goliath creative space?"

The Rune Knight Martial Archetype was an attempt at salvaging the Sorcerer - Giant Bloodline mechanics but narratively it was completely different since it's a class-ability acquisition pathway. Giant Bloodline has always been what Goliaths are about (they're either Half-giants or distant cousins of True Ordning Giants), and it was very much so in line with the Sorcerer class features (where your power comes innately).

Not so incidentally, the Sorcerer is the class that MOST overlaps with the narratives of your Species choice, given that it reflects a power sparking inside of you (as an aside, Psionics are the other truly innate class concepts, and that's why there's significant overlaps between the Psion and the Sorcerer, beyond the core ability choice at least). That power might be from your ancestry, like Draconic Bloodline, or from being born under a certain Moon (Lunar Magic) or being touched by the Shadowfell (Shadow Magic), or hit by a lightningbolt and LIVED when you were an infant (Storm Sorcery), but it's unlike other classes in that your learning is entirely around you learning to hone something that is inside of you rather than learn some external power you're tapping into.

That's the same narrative beyond progressive and powerful Specific Features - see the Tiefling's spells at 5th Level that are innate powers, for example. There's not much to separate the concepts of a Tiefling and an Infernal Bloodline Sorcerer, hence why we don't have an Infernal Bloodline Sorcerer yet (and it took practically the ENTIRETY of 4th Edition before we got the Demon Spawn Theme, and even that was Demon Spawn while the Infernal variation was Infernal Slave, a la you're a Fiend Pact Warlock but not necessarily a Warlock).

This is GREAT design space to allow for Sorcererous concepts INSIDE of the Species byline, freeing you up to be a melee character or something. It's also incredibly similar to the way Dragonborn works with Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer.
 




Faolyn

(she/her)
So is a Tabaxi a cat Ardling? Is a Kenku a raven Ardling? The whole Ardling thing just seems so generic and kind of (I hate to say it) lazy. Barely a race, and more just an excuse so that no one has to feel like they can't play their human/animal hybrid of choice.

As you can tell, I have yet to be sold on the concept.
It sounds like ardlings are humans with animal heads and maybe a few other animal features. Egyptian god-style people. I did a similar heritage in the Level Up book I pout out. So that still leaves room for full-on anthro races.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Admittedly I've never really understood this missing out on levels argument. I'm not saying you're doing this, so I apologize if it's coming across this way, but it reminds me of when 5e first came out.

Folks argued that they liked the less powerful lower levels because it allowed those who wanted zero to hero to have it. Others argued against it, saying they didn't want to wait until level 3 to get powers, so they felt cheated out of 2 levels.

And I don't get that. Whether there are 5 levels or 500, it doesn't matter or impact the time you spend playing. It's not like, "Well, I'd like to play, but Tuesdays are only for level 1-2 PCs, so I can't." Just play at the levels you like. That's pretty much how it was always done. And really, hardly anyone plays past the early teens anyway, so no one is really missing out.
The deal is right there in the video: you are now meant to blow through levels 1-2 pretty much immediately.

Levels 1 and 2, regardless of if you want zero to hero or not, aren't actually levels anymore, they're just the tutorial level. Which is (supposed to be) fine if this was the starter set adventure, but those two wasted levels just hang around forever. Yes, you can start at 3, but now you only have 18 levels of play in the game and let's be honest, a ton of people don't like the fun levels, so we actually only have like 8 levels from 3-8.

We're making 10% of the game a non-entity because D&D culture specifically (other games don't do this) has no respect for the intelligence of people who haven't taken up the hobby until recently.
 

The deal is right there in the video: you are now meant to blow through levels 1-2 pretty much immediately.

Levels 1 and 2, regardless of if you want zero to hero or not, aren't actually levels anymore, they're just the tutorial level. Which is (supposed to be) fine if this was the starter set adventure, but those two wasted levels just hang around forever. Yes, you can start at 3, but now you only have 18 levels of play in the game and let's be honest, a ton of people don't like the fun levels, so we actually only have like 8 levels from 3-8.

We're making 10% of the game a non-entity because D&D culture specifically (other games don't do this) has no respect for the intelligence of people who haven't taken up the hobby until recently.
we almost never start at 1st anymore... 3rd or 5th are our go to 'start low' and 'start high'
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
I'd probably pare down Domains to some ready prepped spells and a unique channel divinity manifestation. The Holy Orders would be the core that the subclasses would be built around.
You see, I'd rather them take the opposite tack and stay the course here.

Holy Order is akin to Pact Boon or Fighting Style. It defines your character's combat role, but it is the least flavourful decision point. It's integrated quite fluidly here with Divine Strike / Empowered Cantrips by merging those features into Blessed Strikes and pulling it out of the subclass options (something already extant in Tasha's).

There's a limit of character concepts to expand into with Holy Order, much as there are for Pact Boon or Fighting Style. Subclass needs to be a broad enough concept that they can endlessly expand the choices with splatbooks. Domain works for that - Cleric is the gold standard of subclass expansion room, given that there are more Cleric Domains than ANY other Subclass, and often twice as many as some of the other classes. You take that away and build subclasses around Holy Order, and you're going to run out of party role archetypes quite quickly.

Scholar is the Expert Cleric, Thaumaturge is the Mage Cleric, and Protector is the Warrior Cleric. That's literally the 3 other class groups, and if you dip any deeper into them than this, then your Protector Cleric starts looking a lot more like a full-caster Paladin, and your Scholar Cleric looks a lot more like a Divine Bard, and your Thaumaturge Cleric looks a lot more like a Celestial-Pact Warlock. You start stepping on toes.

Maybe for a stripped-down version of D&D without dozens of subclasses, this would be fine. But if you want to sell books that give players options to express their characters' narratives in a more flavourful mechanic'd way, I think you'd do better keeping Holy Order as is and focus on the Domains.

4e tried the Holy Order as subclass in 2008. They scrapped it by 2010 and switched to Domains as subclass. The class was just too janky. See the 5e Mystic UA - it's trying to be a Psychic Warrior, a Psion, an Ardent, a Soulknife, and a Wu Jen all at once. And it unifies them by calling it the same class, but literally the only shared things are the d8 Hit Die, a couple proficiencies, and that they all use Power Points. Otherwise, they might as well be 4 classes rather than 4 subclasses of the same class. This was roundly criticised, since the warrior wasn't bulky enough to be a warrior, and the casters were TOO bulky to be balanced as castery as people wanted Psions to be, and the folks in the middle were kinda okay but they all just felt a bit tacked on.

Cleric has always operated in a middle ground between Fighter and Mage. But expressing that is tough, and been very swingy, where the Martial Clerics feel like either lesser Paladins or they're so good that they push Paladins into being Fighters with a few spells. Meanwhile, Pacifist or Laser Clerics emerged in 3e with the idea of Clerics being the Divine mirror to the Wizard, but that meant they lost their martial roots entirely and ceded it to the Paladin. Cleric can do all of these things by just dabbling in the other class groups.

I'd argue that's what the Leader role in 4e did. They dabbled in the other class groups while also providing healing and support. Cleric is right where it needs to be here.

I also think this is a great guide towards how they should resolve issues like the Death/Grave Cleric divide, the Undying/Undead Warlock divide, and the existence of the Hexblade entirely as an Otherworldly Patron despite Pact of the Blade being a viable Pact Boon. These concepts step on each others toes because they were iterations on the same concept with superior design coming later, or with slightly different roles in the party. Death Clerics want to be Warriors, but Grave Clerics want to be Casters. These "feel" like they should be the same domain, even if the types of characters who choose them are entirely different, because Death and Grave are closely related concepts. Maybe Death could be Destruction or something, but a better solution is just making it one more fleshed out domain that reflects all the roles of the Death Gods, and allow you to be either a Protector with a Greatscythe reaping the souls of your enemies or a Scholar/Thaumaturge putting the souls of the dead back to rest… or else summoning them to create an undead army.

Conversely, they can beef up Pact Boon and integrate it just a bit more so that you don't need to waste your Otherworldly Patron option on propping up your Pact Boon option, and can viably serve an Archfey but be given a blade by them, etc. We don't need to split off into Hexblade/Binder/2008Warlock sort of subclasses with Pact Boons, but they just need to be viable enough alternatives that every Patron can create good Warrior AND Caster Warlock servants via Pact of the Blade, Pact of the Tome, and Pact of the Chains (and Pact of the Talisman). Just not so much that Pact of the Tome feels like it should be a Wizard, and Pact of the Blade feels like it should be its own Arcane Gish Class.
 

The deal is right there in the video: you are now meant to blow through levels 1-2 pretty much immediately.

Levels 1 and 2, regardless of if you want zero to hero or not, aren't actually levels anymore, they're just the tutorial level. Which is (supposed to be) fine if this was the starter set adventure, but those two wasted levels just hang around forever. Yes, you can start at 3, but now you only have 18 levels of play in the game and let's be honest, a ton of people don't like the fun levels, so we actually only have like 8 levels from 3-8.

We're making 10% of the game a non-entity because D&D culture specifically (other games don't do this) has no respect for the intelligence of people who haven't taken up the hobby until recently.
Video games are way bigger than D&D and almost always have a tutorial. And in oD&D low level had different adventure styles; you were meant to go in with a posse of hirelings which is why the minimal hit points worked.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Aardling: This newer version is improved, but I still really dislike the concept of the race, and I hate the name. I prefer the existing way the game treats "animal-head people", each being their own species: tabaxi, tortle, harengon, etc. They more clearly tied the race to the guardinals of the planes, even if they didn't use that term. So, is that where the term "aardling" comes from? Guardinal to aardling? Eh.

Goliath: I'm not a fan of changing what goliaths are as a species. I like the current version of goliaths as related to giants, but without the same sort of subspecialization that dragonborn have. I really dislike goliath choosing between different giant types for their abilities. I also really dislike adding "Large Form", although the ability itself is okay.

Overall though, I do like what I'm seeing in this recent playtest document. I suspect that most of these options will score highly on the next survey.
Most things do.
 

Sir Brennen

Legend
We're making 10% of the game a non-entity because D&D culture specifically (other games don't do this) has no respect for the intelligence of people who haven't taken up the hobby until recently.
It's nothing to do with assumptions of intelligence. On the contrary, if the game thought people weren't smart enough to "get" their classes, it would linger in the 1st-3rd level area much longer, instead of rushing into the more complex stuff.

And if a group enjoys playing the "zero" levels, there's nothing that prevents the DM from slowing progression for a couple of sessions. And there are literally supplements out there for starting at level zero, for groups that want to really do low powered adventures for a while.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
It is. However the cleric in my game uses it primarily because it's not concentration. A lot of cleric spells are concentration so in a lot of cases my player has to choose which is the best one for the combat/encounter. His build isn't melee oriented and doesn't do a lot of damage in combat. SW was his way of mitigating that while still having a decent buff/debuff spell going. He's not particularly happy with that direction.
No cleric player is going to  like this, I'm happy to see the spell taken down a few pegs.
 

One thing I noticed in the goliath entry: you don't double the carrying capacity anymore. You now count as one size larger.
So it seems, size might matter more when determining carrying capacity.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
It sounds like ardlings are humans with animal heads and maybe a few other animal features. Egyptian god-style people. I did a similar heritage in the Level Up book I pout out. So that still leaves room for full-on anthro races.
But yours didn't have the divine stuff, and I feel it was far better for it.
 


Stalker0

Legend
I was so onboard with teh forums for the first two packets, so I'm surprised people are liking this so much.

Its....pretty bad to me to be honest. I think the old cleric was generic and boring, this one does nothing to fix it. Holy Order is a good change, prayer of healing is a good change, those I'm fully on board with. But...
  • Smite Undead means you can no longer mow down hoardes of undead, an actual cool thing clerics could do. Now its some generic damage.
  • Spiritual weapon was destroyed....concentration kills it. Your a cleric, you have bless, you have spiritual guardians, why would you cast this spell? Yes I know the scaler was improved, but you just removed a huge thing from the cleric.
  • Their spell preparation is even more rigid and in general they have less spell preparations than they did before ESPECIALLY at 1st and 2nd level.
  • Guidance is back to super spam, except now your party is going to huddle around you like some weird cronies, because 10 feet is just stupidly close when we aren't talking combat. This feels like all of the old abuse, but now its even more arguing with the DM on how close am I.
  • Divine intervention is even more random than it used to be.

This feels like a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing.
 

mellored

Hero
We're making 10% of the game a non-entity because D&D culture specifically (other games don't do this) has no respect for the intelligence of people who haven't taken up the hobby until recently.
Plenty of games do this.

It's almost standard practice at this point to have the tutorial and initial plot before you unlock advanced moves.

Even the old school Zelda didn't give you a sword until you proved you could walk around the screen and down some stairs.

Also, levels 1 and 2 are short, and there is now epic boons to go past 20. So it's not 10%. Not even 5% of actual play time.
 

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