Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana August: Races of Ravnica

I don't know modern MtG or Ravnica other then what we have been talking about on here and at D&D the last few weeks...but quick look I like this.


Vedalken sound like I could totally play the blue elves like 'mystic elf' and 'magician of black chaos' from yugioh. I think I really like the race even if I never heard of it before.
 

Now that Ravnica and it's classes and races are being added to D&D official does that include those? If so where for the Simic Hybrid (likely to be renamed), Vedelkyns, Viashino, where those fit into FR? (FR already has Centaurs, Minotaurs, and Loxo/Loxodons).

I expect the Ravnica book will have sideboxes "how to use this content in with settings" like SCAG did.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
No, but Princes of the Apocalypse, which is an adventure set in the Forgotten Realms, does.

PotA is barely set in the FR: it even includes guides for setting it in Dark Sun, Greyhawk, Eberron and Dragonlance. The changes needed are barely anything at all, just some proper names.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
But my point is manta glide is considerably better than flying. Aarocka have a maximum flight speed of 50'. Manta glide can achieve speeds of up to 1000'. That's 20 times faster. It works out at around 150 MPH. That's a lot faster than Spiderman.

I mean, it's cool, very cool, but again seems to working as intended.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
But my point is manta glide is considerably better than flying. Aarocka have a maximum flight speed of 50'. Manta glide can achieve speeds of up to 1000'. That's 20 times faster. It works out at around 150 MPH. That's a lot faster than Spiderman.


It is an incredible distance, but how often is it useful. Think about it, first you have to get 500 ft up, then fall 500 ft. If you are already flying and able to get 500 ft up... then whatever 1,000 ft gap you are trying to cover could have been covered by whatever you used to fly 500 ft up.

And if the fact is that moving 1,000 ft from instantly falling is the problem, then go ahead and use the Xanathat variant (think it was in that book) that gives an actual falling speed per turn, which I think may have been 200 ft. Even if it was 500 ft... this just seems like a really convoluted way to get somewhere and will have little actual benefit in a real game.
 

how often is it useful.

That's the thing, if you compare it to the other simic level 1 abilities, the intention is that they each be occasionally situationally useful.

However, unlike the other 1st level simic abilities it's quite easy to build a character who the answer to "how often is it useful?" is "most of the time". All you need is a class ability that allows you to propel yourself vertically upwards. And there are many of those: Fly spell, druidic shape changing (after level 8, change into a bird, fly up, revert to natural form, glide), Spider Climb spell, Fey Step, Storm Sorcerer ability, Misty Escape (Warlock), Tiger Totem, Eagle Totem barbarian abilities, and I'm sure there are more I haven't thought of.


As for "why" you would want to use it, the important thing is not the maximum speed, but the fact that it is "free" movement, in addition to what you can normally get from your move and dash actions. So you could use it to:


1) move between melee targets that would otherwise be too far apart

2) close rapidly on an archer

3) Stay well out of melee range, even against superfast enemies

4) surprise a target by beginning a round well beyond their visible range
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
That's the thing, if you compare it to the other simic level 1 abilities, the intention is that they each be occasionally situationally useful.

However, unlike the other 1st level simic abilities it's quite easy to build a character who the answer to "how often is it useful?" is "most of the time". All you need is a class ability that allows you to propel yourself vertically upwards. And there are many of those: Fly spell, druidic shape changing (after level 8, change into a bird, fly up, revert to natural form, glide), Spider Climb spell, Fey Step, Storm Sorcerer ability, Misty Escape (Warlock), Tiger Totem, Eagle Totem barbarian abilities, and I'm sure there are more I haven't thought of.


As for "why" you would want to use it, the important thing is not the maximum speed, but the fact that it is "free" movement, in addition to what you can normally get from your move and dash actions. So you could use it to:


1) move between melee targets that would otherwise be too far apart

2) close rapidly on an archer

3) Stay well out of melee range, even against superfast enemies

4) surprise a target by beginning a round well beyond their visible range

Still all seems to be working as designed. These don't seem like unintentional consequences.
 


Still all seems to be working as designed. These don't seem like unintentional consequences.

Why would anyone choose one of the other two highly situational abilities when you can choose something that is useful pretty much all the time?

Seems like a pretty unintentional consequence to me!

(even without special class abilities, you could end your movement with a running high jump to gain an extra 3+strength mod movement each turn.)
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Why would anyone choose one of the other two highly situational abilities when you can choose something that is useful pretty much all the time?

Seems like a pretty unintentional consequence to me!

(even without special class abilities, you could end your movement with a running high jump to gain an extra 3+strength mod movement each turn.)

It's useful whenever you can get height (anything above 100 feet will cause damage, do note), which is just as situational really. The Tabaxi get straight up free movement, which is consistent. Moving underwater in a city that has underwater sections is fairly useful, as is climbing at walking speed: that I think you are underestimating. Still none quite as useful as a High Elf Melee Fighter getting Fire Bolt.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Why would anyone choose one of the other two highly situational abilities when you can choose something that is useful pretty much all the time?

Seems like a pretty unintentional consequence to me!

(even without special class abilities, you could end your movement with a running high jump to gain an extra 3+strength mod movement each turn.)
Because it fits their character? Not everyone is going to look at the manta wings and wonder why they'd pick the others. Out of all 3 options, the wings would be my last option, I'd rather have the climbing speed or the amphibious trait.

Just because you think something is clearly the superior option doesn't meant everyone else wants to pick it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Because it fits their character? Not everyone is going to look at the manta wings and wonder why they'd pick the others. Out of all 3 options, the wings would be my last option, I'd rather have the climbing speed or the amphibious trait.

Just because you think something is clearly the superior option doesn't meant everyone else wants to pick it.

Indeed, in the Races of Ravnica Dragon+ episode posted earlier in this thread, Crawford goes a bit into how the vast majority of players make entirely narrative driven decisions with no care for mechanics or optimal results.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
That's the thing, if you compare it to the other simic level 1 abilities, the intention is that they each be occasionally situationally useful.

However, unlike the other 1st level simic abilities it's quite easy to build a character who the answer to "how often is it useful?" is "most of the time". All you need is a class ability that allows you to propel yourself vertically upwards. And there are many of those: Fly spell, druidic shape changing (after level 8, change into a bird, fly up, revert to natural form, glide), Spider Climb spell, Fey Step, Storm Sorcerer ability, Misty Escape (Warlock), Tiger Totem, Eagle Totem barbarian abilities, and I'm sure there are more I haven't thought of.


As for "why" you would want to use it, the important thing is not the maximum speed, but the fact that it is "free" movement, in addition to what you can normally get from your move and dash actions. So you could use it to:


1) move between melee targets that would otherwise be too far apart

2) close rapidly on an archer

3) Stay well out of melee range, even against superfast enemies

4) surprise a target by beginning a round well beyond their visible range


Okay, let us first break some of this down.

Fly - 3rd level spell, means it comes online at 5th level and costs a daily resource
Druid - Comes on 8th level and costs a limited short rest resource
Spider Climb - 2nd level spell, comes at 3rd level and costs a daily resource. Additionally, requires a wall in the correct positions
Fey Step - Eladrin Racial ability... if you know of a way to be two races at once let me know. Otherwise we are talking about Spring's ability to use a 1 per rest ability to move an ally, which requires two players and two races.
Storm Sorcerer - Bonus action when you cast spells, a legit way to activate for limited resources.
Misty Escape - 1 per rest, comes online at 6th level, and requires you to be hit first
Eagle Totem - Comes online at level 14
Tiger Totem - I guess you are talking about gaining an extra 3 ft from jumping up while raging? At the opportunity cost of other 3rd level totems?


So, most of these are mid-level and cost some significant resources, but more interestingly is your claim of "free" movement, because generally none of this is "free". Take using fly for example. An action to cast, 60ft of movement up, and then you cancel concentration, burning the spell, and all you have gained is an additional 60 ft of movement laterally. This movement is only a bonus in the fact that it would have taken you an extra turn to get that far if you had simply flew in the direction you wanted. So, we are comparing (in this instance) a turn of movement vs the versatility of being able to move in 3-dimensions for the length of the spell. That extra round is very rarely game-changing and that is all you are gaining for burning a 3rd level spell slot and the benefits of flying (such as staying in the air out of the reach of most opponents)

Additionally, before I address your 4 scenarios, we must remember an important point about the movement of the manta glide. It is 2 ft forward for every single foot down, but you still must move through the space. So, to fly over the heads of most humanoids you would need to cover their 5 ft square (minimum of 2.5 ft drop) while also being at least 5 ft above the ground. So, if you were to teleport 30 ft up, you would only move 60 ft across if there were no medium sized enemies 50 ft away, because your last bit of movement would be canceled by running into them. Additionally, falling those last 5 ft (minimum clearing distance) moves you 10 ft, out of their range and triggering attacks of opportunity.

With that in mind

1) If you have targets that far apart the battle is either nearly over, or so large to be unwieldy. Also, most of the classes which can activate this movement are spellcasters, and few spellcasters want to be in melee to begin with nor do they have multiple attacks per round. Most Likely candidate is the Eagle Barbarian, who needs a target 45 ft away and they need to have no access to throwing weapons (since nothing prevents a barbarian from attacking in melee, moving, drawing a throwing axe, and throwing it). Also, it is likely largely irrelevant if the character can get to the second target, as they have an entire team of people.

2) Can largely be done anyways, the distance covered is only gaining you a single turn. The archer may attempt to kite, but if you couldn't close on them without this, then you are likely not going to get more than a single AO on them anyways, since the archer will just book it instead of sticking around for melee. Many of your solutions are only usable once remember, and again, this is an option important for melee characters, most spellcasters you can reliably cause this to activate have range themselves, and generally enough range to hit archers. This also runs into the problem of terrain or other enemies which may impede your progress due to their height.

3) Being able to fly or climb up generally does this as well, in fact getting out of reach would be far more effective since most of the time you could be caught up to anyways. Casting fly and then canceling it to fall doesn't help you on round 2 or 3 when the enemy has dashed to close the gap. Also, I'm curious about teamwork here again, if you are moving so fast away and the enemy is incredibly fast and chasing you.... your allies are getting farther away and will be unable to help you in the situation. You are essentially choosing to split the party and solo something that you are trying to flee from.

4) Requires limited sight, which means darkness, which means you have limited sight as well. And, again, this is only a good plan if you solo surprising the enemy is a good idea. Also, most of the powers you listed are kind of worthless for this in addition to it being a solo fest for round or two. For example, a Druid shapechanging into a bird then using their bonus action to transform back and falling into the enemy ranks. You could have just as easily turned into a small bird, flown into the enemy ranks, and transformed back, gaining you even more surprise since a giant man-sized figure slowly falling on top of you is less surprising than a sparrow becoming an enemy.



And, I want to remind you, this started with talk about this ability being "way too powerful". Yet, none of these examples are really situations that come up a lot, and when they do they are not often horrible situations the players must survive. Also, using this ability either requires many environmental factors to line up or the use of other abilities which are already useful in their normal context and will rarely be more useful with this addition, because DMs will rarely set up scenarios where that extra amount of movement is needed.



Why would anyone choose one of the other two highly situational abilities when you can choose something that is useful pretty much all the time?

Seems like a pretty unintentional consequence to me!

(even without special class abilities, you could end your movement with a running high jump to gain an extra 3+strength mod movement each turn.)

Because being able to climb most surfaces, making ranged characters outside of the reach of melee types, is incredibly useful in a lot of situations. Also, for sneaking into locations, climbing can be incredibly useful.

Because being able to breath underwater can be incredibly useful, especially if your DM indicates there will be plenty of chances to infiltrate while underwater or something similiar. Also, stealthing underwater for areas such as docks and sewers can add huge bonuses to attempts on getting somewhere unseen.

You are talking minor gains in distance on entirely flat surfaces with no enemies in the way, versus the ability to go where you normally cannot go, opening 3D movement or other areas of the map.


Indeed, in the Races of Ravnica Dragon+ episode posted earlier in this thread, Crawford goes a bit into how the vast majority of players make entirely narrative driven decisions with no care for mechanics or optimal results.


Also, it really isn't optimal in a lot of circumstances. It's a really minor benefit most of the time from the things I've seen in game.
 

Water breathing as a racial ability is next to useless. If the adventure features underwater content, it will inevitably also feature some means for the party to breathe underwater (such as a scroll of Water Breathing, level 3 spell, works on the whole party, lasts all day), since there is no way to know that all, or any, party members will have access to the ability otherwise.


The climbing ability is a bit vague. Does it let you walk on ceilings like spider climb? Does it leave your hands free so you can use weapons, or do you need to use your hands to climb like Tabaxi do? It really, like the glide ability, needs more work.

My interpretation of the climbing ability is it lets you climb normally climbable surfaces at double the usual speed. @Chaosmancer seems to think it is a permanent Spider Climb spell. Which I agree would be pretty awesome, but, since it is considerably better than any of the abilities restricted to level 5, unlikely to be the intent of the author.
 
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The poll up on this very forum corroborates WotC survey findings. What is your evidential basis for doubting that most players don't make decisions for reasons other than optimization?

I don't need evidence to express an opinion.

But I will say this: players lie, even to themselves. It's amazing how often characters tend to have maximised DPS for "entirely roleplaying reasons".
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Water breathing as a racial ability is next to useless. If the adventure features underwater content, it will inevitably also feature some means for the party to breathe underwater (such as a scroll of Water Breathing, level 3 spell, works on the whole party, lasts all day), since there is no way to know that all, or any, party members will have access to the ability otherwise.


The climbing ability is a bit vague. Does it let you walk on ceilings like spider climb? Does it leave your hands free so you can use weapons, or do you need to use your hands to climb like Tabaxi do? It really, like the glide ability, needs more work.

My interpretation of the climbing ability is it lets you climb normally climbable surfaces at double the usual speed. @Chaosmancer seems to think it is a permanent Spider Climb spell. Which I agree would be pretty awesome, but, since it is considerably better than any of the abilities restricted to level 5, unlikely to be the intent of the author.


It is vague, but it doesn't need to be spider climb to be really good if you remember Ravinca is a urban setting. Climbing 30 ft up a building to get into a window or up on a roof puts you out of melee range, and a handcrossbow needs only one hand to fire, keeping three-points of contact is standard for climbing anyways, so I figure that could work. You also only need one hand for most spellcasting.

Waterbreathing, I'll give you. Most of the fun uses people can come up with are equaled by the fact that characters can hold their breath for minutes at a time (RAW, 1+con mod, minimum of 30 seconds)
 

Climbing 15' is enough to put you out of melee range, and anyone can do that without special abilities. In actual play I would probably ask for a skill roll for a character without a special climbing ability, but that's not RAW.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't need evidence to express an opinion.

But I will say this: players lie, even to themselves. It's amazing how often characters tend to have maximised DPS for "entirely roleplaying reasons".

So, you call a statistical observation dog testicles because... anecdotal impressions. Well, my anecdotal impression lines up with the reported trend.
 

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