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D&D 5E Strixhaven: Orientation

WotC has released an overview of the upcoming Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, as adventurers of levels 1-10 uncover a plot against the university. Teased are activities like tavern games, a magical frog race, an improv festival, and other social encounters. You can also take exams to improve your skills, join clubs, or get jobs.

Also included is a bestiary of over 40 new creatures.

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The Bibloplex contains most of the information in the multiverse. Plenty of other locations fill the book, such as Captain Dapplewing's Manor, a mansion built for the university professors. One adventure has the PCs breaking into the manor. Another adventure involves the main Strixhaven student sport, Mage Tower.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

There’s a point where reductive descriptions become innacurate, and “D&D Harry Potter” definitely hits that point. The only similarity is that both are schools, with magic.
It's not the "only" similarity. The main one that is influencing people's impressions is the ART STYLE, which is of course what we are seeing of Stryxhaven at the moment. Art is very important for setting the tone, and the art for Stryxhaven is bright, breezy and unserious.
Compare:
8009893df05f5a4e58502be7832db3fd.jpg

If you wanted something that was tonally similar to A Wizard of Earthsea, you would go for something more angsty, with pastels or watercolours.
0397e47d71ccfe92ead103e02b5744e7.jpg


Of course, there is also this lot:
R.b85758b888fe15898aac5b3ed7d1ffeb

But Pterry focuses on the faculty, rather than students, who are treated as a minor inconvenience on the way to lunch.
 

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eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
Yes, it is. I haven’t seen anything remotely HP in vibe.
Ah, okay. To each his own I suppose. The Strixhaven art and promotion are clearly heavily Harry Pottery in what they are conveying to me. But hey, interpretation is subjective. Though, it is strange to say that it's a controversial take when several people in the thread are saying the same thing, but that's okay too.

There’s a point where reductive descriptions become innacurate, and “D&D Harry Potter” definitely hits that point. The only similarity is that both are schools, with magic.

Strixhaven isn’t a boarding school for child/adolescent wizards.
Yeah, aging up the PCs a couple of years and not having them literally sleep on campus means it can't possibly be anything like Harry Potter. Checkmate, you got me.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I hope the interview linked up thread helps with this perception. Strixhaven has monks. I’d say that the Cobalt Soul Monk (and the monks with spells) is a great fit, as are any of the magical Fighter and Rogue subclasses, one or two Barbarians, and of course all the spellcasters. IIRC even the artificer is getting a new spell in this book, and you can use the background and feat to give an otherwise mundane character some magic.
Yes and no. A mundane fighter could in theory join the school, but only if they are interested in learning about magic. Some people don't see the need, nor do they want, to be able to cast spells. The "feel" of why your PC is there, what the entire goal and intent of a Strixhaven academy puts PCs on a specific path. Add in the fact that the feats you can take will (as far as I can tell) greatly benefit pure casters just doubles down on it. Not only are the new feats more powerful but they're also spell related and seems like it would be more difficult to introduce new PCs who didn't go to the academy if you want to continue a campaign after everyone is done with the academy.

It just feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for a more balanced "adventurer's academy" to me. But it's not that big of a deal. I don't buy every supplement, I rarely use mods, this is just a book that I'll ignore. 🤷‍♂️
 

Bolares

Hero
Yes and no. A mundane fighter could in theory join the school, but only if they are interested in learning about magic. Some people don't see the need, nor do they want, to be able to cast spells.
Yes, in that case that PC shouldn't be on stryxhaven probably. But that is a campign objectives problem not a book problem. A wizard shouldn't be on a no magic story, an warforged shouldn't be in a no construct story....

I think there will be ways to put non magical classes in the story, but if you are not interested at all in having your character interact with magic, well, then a story in a magical school would not be the right place for it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yes and no. A mundane fighter could in theory join the school, but only if they are interested in learning about magic.
But not only if they want to cast spells. Or even do magic.
Some people don't see the need, nor do they want, to be able to cast spells. The "feel" of why your PC is there, what the entire goal and intent of a Strixhaven academy puts PCs on a specific path.
"Casting spells of any kind, or knowing about or doing any type of magic, ever" isn't a specific path.
Add in the fact that the feats you can take will (as far as I can tell) greatly benefit pure casters just doubles down on it. Not only are the new feats more powerful but they're also spell related and seems like it would be more difficult to introduce new PCs who didn't go to the academy if you want to continue a campaign after everyone is done with the academy.
Why would it be difficult to do so? I see no problem with having someone who is a "towney" to a Strixhaven campaign, but less after the campaign starts.
Also the feats aren't more powerful than other feats, it's the backgrounds that are more powerful, IIRC. The feats are equivalent to existing spell granting feats, just more focused.
It just feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for a more balanced "adventurer's academy" to me. But it's not that big of a deal. I don't buy every supplement, I rarely use mods, this is just a book that I'll ignore. 🤷‍♂️
We'll see how narrowly focused it even is upon release, but tbh I think a magic university makes exponentially more sense in more worlds than adventuring academy does.

But like I said, a Cobalt Soul Monk works just as well in Strixhaven as a Wizard does, and I'd argue so does Inquisitive Rogue. I do think the Fighter needs a non/less magical Intelligent Fighter archetype, but most classes have some kind of ability to be built as a nerd, scholar, or magic user, any of which work in Strixhaven.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's not the "only" similarity. The main one that is influencing people's impressions is the ART STYLE, which is of course what we are seeing of Stryxhaven at the moment. Art is very important for setting the tone, and the art for Stryxhaven is bright, breezy and unserious.
No more so than Witchlight, or large swathes of the content expansion books, or a lot of the PHB art.
Compare:
8009893df05f5a4e58502be7832db3fd.jpg

If you wanted something that was tonally similar to A Wizard of Earthsea, you would go for something more angsty, with pastels or watercolours.
That would be different, yes. From any 5e art.

ArchwayStrixhaven.jpg

I mean...doesn't look anything remotely like it exists in vaguely the same world as Harry Potter.
Ah, okay. To each his own I suppose. The Strixhaven art and promotion are clearly heavily Harry Pottery in what they are conveying to me. But hey, interpretation is subjective. Though, it is strange to say that it's a controversial take when several people in the thread are saying the same thing, but that's okay too.
I've never seen a controversial take that didn't have multiple proponents. So, not especially strange at all, in fact.
Yeah, aging up the PCs a couple of years and not having them literally sleep on campus means it can't possibly be anything like Harry Potter. Checkmate, you got me.
"A couple of years"!? lol come on! Harry Potter is eleven years old when he starts at Hogwarts.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
not having them literally sleep on campus means it can't possibly be anything like Harry Potter
You say that as if it's only a technicality that Strixhaven isn't a boarding school.

You know college isn't boarding school, generally speaking, right? They're very different, and the boarding school aspect is...central to the storytelling of all but the last couple books, and even then the final battle happens at the school for a reason, and that reason is very much that it is home for all these people. Every character slept in a House dorm for many of their formative years, identified by force or by willful choice or both with a house, soaking the walls of the place with their most foundational memories.

Most people don't feel that way about the 4 to 8 or so years they spent at college.

I'm sorry, but y'all are seeing "a school with magic" and letting your confirmation bias run absolutely hogwild.

If Strixhaven is "Harry Potter DnD" then it is literally impossible to make a school with magic in DnD and have it be anything else, at which point the comparison is completely useless.
Yes, in that case that PC shouldn't be on stryxhaven probably.
The character I'm most excited to run if my friend goes through with running a Strixhaven campaign next year is a mundane scholar of the arcane, who at most will have some feat based magic. I'm leaning toward Cobalt Soul/Inquisitive Rogue, especially since my Eberron PC that is that had to become a DMPC (which in my games, is never the main character, always support staff and occasionally a quest giver), so I haven't been able to see the build fully unleashed.
 

Bolares

Hero
The character I'm most excited to run if my friend goes through with running a Strixhaven campaign next year is a mundane scholar of the arcane, who at most will have some feat based magic. I'm leaning toward Cobalt Soul/Inquisitive Rogue, especially since my Eberron PC that is that had to become a DMPC (which in my games, is never the main character, always support staff and occasionally a quest giver), so I haven't been able to see the build fully unleashed.
That's a great idea! I was reffereing more to characters that not only don't want to cast spells/can't cast spells, but also don't have an interest in magic or a magic school in any way. If that's the case I don't get why you would play in a stryxhaven game. Your idea is a non caster that has a reason to be there, and that's great!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That's a great idea! I was reffereing more to characters that not only don't want to cast spells/can't cast spells, but also don't have an interest in magic or a magic school in any way. If that's the case I don't get why you would play in a stryxhaven game. Your idea is a non caster that has a reason to be there, and that's great!
Yeah tbh I don't understand why people bring concepts to the table that don't fit the campaign.
 

Bolares

Hero
I'm sorry, but y'all are seeing "a school with magic" and letting your confirmation bias run absolutely hogwild.

If Strixhaven is "Harry Potter DnD" then it is literally impossible to make a school with magic in DnD and have it be anything else, at which point the comparison is completely useless.
some people just want to say it is HP D&D and nothing we say will convince them... even if there is lots of information on stryxhaven out there. And a good portion of those won't read the book when it comes out either.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
some people just want to say it is HP D&D and nothing we say will convince them... even if there is lots of information on stryxhaven out there. And a good portion of those won't read the book when it comes out either.
Absolutely, it's just frustrating. Just dislike the thing you dislike. That's fine. No one actually cares. But extremely reductive takes that dismiss the quality or validity of the work are just bad form.
 


Bolares

Hero
Absolutely, it's just frustrating. Just dislike the thing you dislike. That's fine. No one actually cares. But extremely reductive takes that dismiss the quality or validity of the work are just bad form.
I get why someone would assume HP... I was kind of afraid of that when it came out in MTG. But once you have so much information on a place as stryxhaven has it's hard to keep arguing the same thing.
 


I'm sorry, but y'all are seeing "a school with magic" and letting your confirmation bias run absolutely hogwild.

If Strixhaven is "Harry Potter DnD" then it is literally impossible to make a school with magic in DnD and have it be anything else, at which point the comparison is completely useless.

What those people are missing is that Strixhaven is where the Hogwarts kids would go to after they graduate from high school, since it is a University.

Plus, the Kids on Bikes supplement, Kids on Brooms, is much more a Harry Potter ripoff, yet we hear barely a peep about that because that started at an indie company and they don't "deserve" the same hate that some people hold for WotC.
 

That's a great idea! I was reffereing more to characters that not only don't want to cast spells/can't cast spells, but also don't have an interest in magic or a magic school in any way. If that's the case I don't get why you would play in a stryxhaven game. Your idea is a non caster that has a reason to be there, and that's great!
This is part of why I reference Winx Saga rather than HP. Because there is canonically space for the protectors, non-magic types who work and/or go to the school to help protect it and the mages.
 

The Lizard Wizard

Adventurer
The character I'm most excited to run if my friend goes through with running a Strixhaven campaign next year is a mundane scholar of the arcane, who at most will have some feat based magic. I'm leaning toward Cobalt Soul/Inquisitive Rogue, especially since my Eberron PC that is that had to become a DMPC (which in my games, is never the main character, always support staff and occasionally a quest giver), so I haven't been able to see the build fully unleashed.

The idea of a character that comes from a well to do wizard family, being sent to Strixhaven after failing to show signs of magic all his/her life (be it whatever non-casting class you want) sounds like a lot of fun, with great potential for roleplay to me.
 


The idea of a character that comes from a well to do wizard family, being sent to Strixhaven after failing to show signs of magic all his/her life (be it whatever non-casting class you want) sounds like a lot of fun, with great potential for roleplay to me.

So like the main character of the first few Xanth novels by Piers Anthony, if he were sent to a college.
 

This could be true of the Strixhaven adventure. At least that’s how I’m running it.

Oh and when I have the luggage show up, it’s a mimic! So don’t go getting any ideas.
I'm pretty sure the included adventure is written around the PCs being students, since it takes place over a four year course.

But I would certainly run it as a Terry Pratchett style comedy if I ever do run it.
 
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