Unearthed Arcana Spores, Brutes, and Inventors: Unearthed Arcana Brings You Three New Subclasses


Satyrn

First Post
My main complaint with the Brute is that it misses opportunities to be more flavorful. I think that could be achieved without making the class more complex (because it seems one of the design goals is simplicity). Here's my take at it. Not as powerful by the numbers, but that could be tweaked. I'm mostly thinking of fun/flavorful mechanics:

Brute

Brute Force
Starting at 3rd level, you’re able to strike with your weapons with especially brutal force. Whenever you hit with a weapon that you’re proficient with and deal damage, if your unmodified attack roll is greater than either of your Intelligence and Wisdom scores, the weapon’s damage increases by an amount based on your level in this class, as shown on the Brute Bonus Damage table.

(insert table)

You Are the Brute Squad
Also at 3rd level you gain proficiency in Charisma (Intimidation). If you already have proficiency then your proficiency bonus is doubled.

You’ll Just Make Him Mad
Beginning at 7th level, your obliviousness to discomfort (what others might call “pain”) allows you to shrug off all manner of assault. When required to make any kind of saving throw you may choose to make a Constitution roll instead. If it is a death saving throw, any result greater than 20 counts as a natural 20. You may do this a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum once), and regain all uses at the end of a short rest.

Additional Fighting Style
(Unchanged. Not terribly interesting, but at least it has the potential to affect playstyle.)

Staggering Blows
Starting at 15th level, when you score a critical hit, your target must make a Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the beginning of your next turn. The DC is equal to 8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency modifier, and is further increased by 2 if using a weapon two-handed, or by -2 for offhand attacks.

Survivor
(Unchanged...can’t think of anything better at the moment)

Only one thing that affects damage, and yet this feels more brutish than the original. Nice.

For nitpickiness, I'd like to see You’ll Just Make Him Mad let you reroll a failed save, using Constitution instead of whatever save it had been. This way, even if the Con save granted by the feature fails it'll still feel like I got something out of it. Because just choosing to use Con in place of Wis won't feel like anything interesting or fun if I just wind up rolling low anyway.
 

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Aaron L

Hero
I think the Brute re-skinned as the ultimate master warrior, being just better at everything through sheer skill and willpower (a Batman-style Badass Normal) is much more fitting to the great mechanics, and I am going to use it as such. Nothing about it particularly says to me "mindless brute who powers through everything by raw strength." In fact getting an extra Fighting Style, having a wider Critical Hit range, and rolling an extra die for damage with weapons actually seems much more fittingly attributed to greater skill than raw brute force, just screaming "greater weapon skill through advanced training," while adding an extra d6 roll to Saving Throws and "regenerating" Hit Points in the middle of combat (willing their bodies to ignore pain and fatigue) feels like the epitome of a Batman or Captain America type character who can push their bodies to the limit and shrug off magic that would subdue lesser mortals through sheer indomitable willpower. It feels to me like they had these great ideas for interesting mechanics but struggled to think of a theme for them, and just fumbled around til they come up with the "Brute" idea. I'll be using this Archetype as warriors who undergo advanced training and meditation techniques to forge themselves into supreme combat masters.

The Spore Druid is kind of interesting, I can imagine undead animated through necromantic fungal infestation, zombies with fungal ridges encrusting their bodies, mushrooms sprouting out of their eye sockets, and clouds of spores puffing out of their mouths to trail about their heads.

The Inventor Wizard does nothing for me. I despise Dragonlance (and Warcraft) style "tinker" gnomes; the fact that this became the default archetype for gnomes in D&D from 2E onward just sickens me; it ruined the race and turned them into bad jokes (and has infected every other portrayal of gnomes in fantasy fiction ever since Dragonlance and 2nd Edition D&D (again, just look at the World of Warcraft). Just the mere idea from here of associating the Inventor Wizard with "tinker" gnomes makes me reflexively dislike the subclass, which seemed to me pretty scattershot, unfocused, and uninspiring to begin with. Wearing magitech armor and casting randomly determined unprepared spells? I don't get the connection. It's not that I don't like the idea of mixing magic and technology... I love that. I despise the random slapstick "silly absent-minded professor makes a wacky crazy invention that blows up in his face" feel of it all (which is why I despise "tinker" gnomes.) I greatly prefer the Artificer from many months ago for this kind of concept.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I despise Dragonlance (and Warcraft) style "tinker" gnomes; the fact that this became the default archetype for gnomes in D&D from 2E onward just sickens me; it ruined the race and turned them into bad jokes (and has infected every other portrayal of gnomes in fantasy fiction ever since Dragonlance and 2nd Edition D&D (again, just look at the World of Warcraft). Just the mere idea from here of associating the Inventor Wizard with "tinker" gnomes makes me reflexively dislike the subclass, which seemed to me pretty scattershot, unfocused, and uninspiring to begin with.

Quoted for Truth
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The Inventor Wizard does nothing for me. I despise Dragonlance (and Warcraft) style "tinker" gnomes; the fact that this became the default archetype for gnomes in D&D from 2E onward just sickens me; it ruined the race and turned them into bad jokes (and has infected every other portrayal of gnomes in fantasy fiction ever since Dragonlance and 2nd Edition D&D (again, just look at the World of Warcraft). Just the mere idea from here of associating the Inventor Wizard with "tinker" gnomes makes me reflexively dislike the subclass, which seemed to me pretty scattershot, unfocused, and uninspiring to begin with. Wearing magitech armor and casting randomly determined unprepared spells? I don't get the connection. It's not that I don't like the idea of mixing magic and technology... I love that. I despise the random slapstick "silly absent-minded professor makes a wacky crazy invention that blows up in his face" feel of it all (which is why I despise "tinker" gnomes.) I greatly prefer the Artificer from many months ago for this kind of concept.


This is probably kicking a hornets nest and potentially thread derailing, but as a person who is unfamiliar with older editions of DnD... What do you want Gnomes to be then?

Granted, I can see having an entire race of "Wacky Hijinks Inventor" getting a bit too much, even though I personally don't mind that character archetype in small doses, but why not have Gnomes be technically minded and a people full of joy and wonder? I mean we have so many different races taking chunks of "short" "lives underground" and "loves wealth" in Fantasy between Dwarves, Goblins, Halflings, Kobolds and Gnomes that I kind of like having SCIENCE and a bit of silly wonderment to help define gnomes as something a bit different from the others.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
This is probably kicking a hornets nest and potentially thread derailing, but as a person who is unfamiliar with older editions of DnD... What do you want Gnomes to be then?

Granted, I can see having an entire race of "Wacky Hijinks Inventor" getting a bit too much, even though I personally don't mind that character archetype in small doses, but why not have Gnomes be technically minded and a people full of joy and wonder? I mean we have so many different races taking chunks of "short" "lives underground" and "loves wealth" in Fantasy between Dwarves, Goblins, Halflings, Kobolds and Gnomes that I kind of like having SCIENCE and a bit of silly wonderment to help define gnomes as something a bit different from the others.

Gnomes as kind of the faerie version of halflings: more reclusive, more sylvan, more magical.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I think the Brute re-skinned as the ultimate master warrior, being just better at everything through sheer skill and willpower (a Batman-style Badass Normal) is much more fitting to the great mechanics, and I am going to use it as such.

Fair enough, but what about the battlemaster then?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This is probably kicking a hornets nest and potentially thread derailing, but as a person who is unfamiliar with older editions of DnD... What do you want Gnomes to be then?

Granted, I can see having an entire race of "Wacky Hijinks Inventor" getting a bit too much, even though I personally don't mind that character archetype in small doses, but why not have Gnomes be technically minded and a people full of joy and wonder? I mean we have so many different races taking chunks of "short" "lives underground" and "loves wealth" in Fantasy between Dwarves, Goblins, Halflings, Kobolds and Gnomes that I kind of like having SCIENCE and a bit of silly wonderment to help define gnomes as something a bit different from the others.

5e Forest Gnomes are a decent example of what pre-2e gnomes looked like. Tricksy little woodland critters with ties to the fae.

Personally, 4e gnomes were my favorite take on gnomes by far. They fully embraced the fae connection, and even took it a step further, justifying them as a unique race instead of just being halflings-for-elves, by making them refugees from the feywild, where they were originally created as a slave race in service to the more powerful fey folk.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I think too many people have been caught up in the dragonlance gnomes and WoW gnomes. My general understanding of gnomes in 2e were the forest gnomes with tinker gnomes being more or less dragonlance only. I normally associate gnomes with illusions more so than gadgets, and that is because of 2e that I make that association.

Sent from my [device_name] using EN World mobile app
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
I think too many people have been caught up in the dragonlance gnomes and WoW gnomes. My general understanding of gnomes in 2e were the forest gnomes with tinker gnomes being more or less dragonlance only. I normally associate gnomes with illusions more so than gadgets, and that is because of 2e that I make that association.

Sent from my [device_name] using EN World mobile app

Gnomes were originally more like Dwarves in D&D (and still are in my game). They were short (shorter than Dwarves), bearded (but not as much as Dwarves), hill dwelling miners and smiths. Kind of the rural, less harsh, version of Dwarves. They were (maybe) related to Dwarves, rather like Goblins were (maybe related) to Orcs. And, yep they made excellent Illusionists and Thieves. Hiding is good when you're smaller than most. It wasn't the most distinctive niche for a race given the presence of Hobbits (Halflings after the Tolkien estate suit). But they did mining / smithwork and the Halflings were farmers. It was like this in the original game and 1E and 2E. As I recall, one of the 2E settings birthed the Gnomes as mad inventors (I believe you were right - it was Dragonlance) and then they became fey related... I prefer the humbler, homier, sneakier, Dwarf related ones myself.

*edit* for clarity and rambling memories :)
 
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The idea of the gnome as the tech-involving inventor really caught on as it gave them a unique identity. Something they had to themselves that wasn't being compared to other races

I mean, Chance just described why some other ones haven't caught on "They're dwarves but more different" isn't exactly an inspiring concept for a player race. Being inventors was the first time they got something of their own, along with the whole heavy fey influence in 4E
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
The idea of the gnome as the tech-involving inventor really caught on as it gave them a unique identity. Something they had to themselves that wasn't being compared to other races

I mean, Chance just described why some other ones haven't caught on "They're dwarves but more different" isn't exactly an inspiring concept for a player race. Being inventors was the first time they got something of their own, along with the whole heavy fey influence in 4E

That may be true, but laser cannons also would have given them a unique identity. Doesn't mean that it fits with the genre/aesthetic that many people want to imagine when playing D&D.
 



Chaosmancer

Legend
That may be true, but laser cannons also would have given them a unique identity. Doesn't mean that it fits with the genre/aesthetic that many people want to imagine when playing D&D.

But, clockwork and alchemy aren't really that far outside of the aesthetic, if they are outside of it at all.

Yeah, giving them steam-powered tanks might be a bit much, but we have clockwork golems and such anyways, alchemists are a thing, and a lot of traps are mechanically advanced versions of pulleys and block and tackle systems.

Heck, Mechanus is a thing in the DnD multi-verse and the Inevitables were massive clockwork angels. You don't need to go super sci-fi with it, they are the most advanced scientists in the world, they can make clocks.


Otherwise... yeah, they are the strange child of halflings and dwarves. They mine and smith like dwarves, but they are shorter, less hairy and live in hills like halflings, but no one in their entire civilization farms so they aren't halflings and I guess no halflings smith either...It just doesn't work out if you have to assume they can create sustainable cities and villages. Smithing and Farming are jobs too important to just not do.
 


R_Chance

Adventurer
Otherwise... yeah, they are the strange child of halflings and dwarves. They mine and smith like dwarves, but they are shorter, less hairy and live in hills like halflings, but no one in their entire civilization farms so they aren't halflings and I guess no halflings smith either...It just doesn't work out if you have to assume they can create sustainable cities and villages. Smithing and Farming are jobs too important to just not do.

It works out if they trade what they do for what someone else does. It's basic economics. In the real world specialization improves productivity and requires trade to gain what else we need / want. None of us are independent of others on an individual level and nations are not on that level. So, having fantasy races specialize just requires a system of trade among the different races. Next up comparative and absolute advantage... agh!!! I'm at work :)

*edit* I teach. History, political science and economics. I had a flashback to basic economics...
 
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As I recall, one of the 2E settings birthed the Gnomes as mad inventors (I believe you were right - it was Dragonlance) and then they became fey related... I prefer the humbler, homier, sneakier, Dwarf related ones myself.

*edit* for clarity and rambling memories :)
Weren't Mystaran gnomes into mechanisms and magic analogues of technology? Was it just the Top Ballista supplement, or a more general setting thing?

I don't like the Dragonlance Tinker gnomes because they were a tragedy (race cursed by their creator IIRC) that was generally just used for comic relief.

The Eberron Gnomes, I am a fan of however, but they are much closer to the Forest gnomes of previous incarnations than the Tinker gnomes of Dragonlance. Their society and place in the setting feels much more unique and coherent to me than gnomes from other settings.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
It works out if they trade what they do for what someone else does. It's basic economics. In the real world specialization improves productivity and requires trade to gain what else we need / want. None of us are independent of others on an individual level and nations are not on that level. So, having fantasy races specialize just requires a system of trade among the different races. Next up comparative and absolute advantage... agh!!! I'm at work :)

*edit* I teach. History, political science and economics. I had a flashback to basic economics...

LOL, I can feel that. Just took a macroeconomics class in the last few years.


The problem with that theory is that such a system of trade generally doesn't exist in our conceptions of these fantasy worlds, and even in our world very few countries that are well off import ALL of their food. And the big advantage we have in the modern world is high levels of transportation. You may be able to create portals or gates, but we generally do not see high magic used in that way.

So, theoretically possible, but not what happens. Then you've got the problem of "hidden gnome villages" suddenly being massive trade hubs...
 

R_Chance

Adventurer
Weren't Mystaran gnomes into mechanisms and magic analogues of technology? Was it just the Top Ballista supplement, or a more general setting thing?

I don't like the Dragonlance Tinker gnomes because they were a tragedy (race cursed by their creator IIRC) that was generally just used for comic relief.

The Eberron Gnomes, I am a fan of however, but they are much closer to the Forest gnomes of previous incarnations than the Tinker gnomes of Dragonlance. Their society and place in the setting feels much more unique and coherent to me than gnomes from other settings.

I'm not sure about the Gnomes of the various settings; I've always run my own campaign. I bought Greyhawk and The Forgotten Realms for reading material. I've played in those and homebrew games along with the old Judges Guild setting. That's about it. The rest of my "Gnome knowledge" comes from core books and what I've read on various forums. I'm Gnome knowledge deficient :)

*edit* Of course I know all about the Gnomes of my own setting... I think. Gnomes can be a bit tricky.
 
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R_Chance

Adventurer
LOL, I can feel that. Just took a macroeconomics class in the last few years.


The problem with that theory is that such a system of trade generally doesn't exist in our conceptions of these fantasy worlds, and even in our world very few countries that are well off import ALL of their food. And the big advantage we have in the modern world is high levels of transportation. You may be able to create portals or gates, but we generally do not see high magic used in that way.

So, theoretically possible, but not what happens. Then you've got the problem of "hidden gnome villages" suddenly being massive trade hubs...

I'm teaching macro right now :)

Given the specialization of various fantasy races it points to a trade system existing (and in mine it always has) even if it was not explicitly mentioned. Trade has always existed at whatever level transportation, production and markets allow for. It doesn't have to be ultra long range. Modern transportation does create larger markets and increase the benefit but the benefit has always been there. Medieval cities existed based on trade with surrounding villages, funneled through market towns. Long range trade tended to be in durable luxury goods. This wouldn't be any different. It means that the races would be much closer to each other geographically than modern nation states are. Dwarvish cities or Gnome steadings (or what have you) would rely on near by human or Halfling villages / towns for food. This doesn't mean Gnomes (and others) would produce none of their own food, just that they would be reliant for much of it on other communities. As for hidden Gnome villages they might just send caravans out to pick it up themselves or act through some trusted intermediaries. The ancient world supported a city of over 1 million people (Rome) on a highly organized system of long range trade with technology no better than the typical D&D world. Trade also offers numerous possibilities for adventure, which is another good, in game, reason for it.
 

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