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Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Barbarian and Monk

Unearthed Arcana makes an unexpected return (the last one was back in May) with a three-page PDF containing two subclasses -- Path of the Wild Soul for the barbarian, and Way of the Astral Self for the monk.

Unearthed Arcana makes an unexpected return (the last one was back in May) with a three-page PDF containing two subclasses -- Path of the Wild Soul for the barbarian, and Way of the Astral Self for the monk.

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May I interest you in the Hero System?

Ill look into it. I knew there were systems out there that allowed character creation like this but never owned or played one. Ive generally played D&D exclusively, except for Pathfinder (which was way too complicated for my taste). Theres just somethings about the class system that seems limiting and bugs me.

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Arcadian Knight
While I understand that other people play differently, I’ve never viewed classes as something that actually exists inside the game fiction. They’re always just packages of (hopefully) balanced ability progression that can be reskinned or adjusted to fit the actual character concept. I think I was exposed to the 2e DMG “create-a-class system” at too formative an age. :)
I cannot blame it on that one... but honestly that is my same point of view and I might have never come back to D&D if not for 4th edition (in which classes finally made sense to me) it was a toss up at the time over to Dresden Files or Hero Games


I did these numbers before, but excluding B/X, we get the following, allowing editions to get credit for the year they are released AND the year the next edition is released:

OD&D 1974 - 1978* (5 years)
1e 1978 - 1989 (12 years)
2e 1989 - 2000 (12 years)
3e 2000 - 2008 (9 years)
4e 2008 - 2014** (7 years)
5e 2014 - ???

*We will use 1978 as the dividing line between OD&D and 1e, as that is the year of publication of the PHB; the MM was published a year prior, and the DMG a year later.

**Unlike prior editions, the announcement of, and extensive public playtesting of, "Next" arguably ended the cycle in 2012, but I don't want to get into that debate.

So there are a number of ways to look at this-

Average age of editions: 9 years
Average age of editions (absent OD&D): 10 years

Or you could say that since 2e , the editions have been getting shorter, and estimate that 5e has an expected life of 5-6 years.

In the alternative, you could argue discontinuities, and say that OD&D+1e+2e is one system, 3e is another system, and 4e is another system, in which case it would be shorter.

Or, you could point to WoTC saying they want the product to remain "evergreen" (similar to 1e/2e, or maybe Monopoly) and posit that 5e has a multi-decade run.

Personally, my best guess is we will either see something for the 50th anniversary (2024)***, and if not, then they are really going for the "evergreen".

***In terms of a new edition; I expect and hope that they will have reprints of some old classics available!

I could be wrong or mis-remembering but I seem to recall that WotC had said that 3.5 was planned even before 3E came out and that 5E was planned before the end of 3E and 4E was just a stop gap between the 2 editions. Considering the limited releases of 5E I think they are looking for some longevity for 5E and your assumption that we'll see something for the 50th anniversary is probably correct.


Yes, the context matters.

However, I don't tink the context is Eberron for a very simple reason: Mention of the Feywild. The Eberron equivalent is called something different. If you where writing something for a specific setting you wouldn't namecheck something that didn't exist in that setting.

Given the level of whackyess of exploding flumphs, I think Rick and Morty is a more probable context.

I didn't think of Rick and Morty, interesting thought, although I still think it will be for a planar book like Volo's Guide to Specters and Spirits. Its possible it could be for a Planescape PDF book too.



Yes, it is true that Barbarians, like everything else in 5e, is getting DA MAGIC.

Just because something is already a little bad, doesn't mean we can't complain when they make it worse, right?

Up next-

The Swordcerer. It's the new melee sorcerer subclass, that uses all the spellslots for melee attacks.

I swear, I feel like WoTC is like those people who gave us peanut butter + jelly in a jar. Some things you WANT separate.

Not entirely. I think that they are beginning to realize that a lot of players want versatility. Many players play their 'Sorcadins' and whatnot because they like having the blend; it's a very popular trope and is thematically cool. Warlocks and Hexblades are played by a lot of people because of their ability to fill into almost any role which is just more fun for the player. No body wants to feel useless in encounters. No body wants to feel like their character isn't cool.

The Wild Magic Barbarian is a flavorful and unique blend of things which in my reading doesn't break anything. Unless, of course, all classes must always fit pre-determined roles and archetypes because our imagination can't work beyond traditional tropes.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This is just ridiculous, a Flumph, really? Whatever happened to Barbarians hating magic?

They got rid of it several editions back. Which is different than not using magic, but even there there are concepts with ancestral or primal magic since.

This is ... a departure though.

The longer I play D&D the more its seems that classes are just a bunch of powers/classes features.

The classes are just a bunch of powers and class features. They are the lego blocks you use to define your character. Think of how many different concepts, and characters from stories, movies, and shows can be services by just the Fighter class. With multiclassing you really see how you can build with those powers and features to describe your concept. If your table is good with reskinning it's even more obvious that the mechanics are under the hood and not the concept.

They should just give players a race and a set number of points per level with which you can buy whatever features you want.

And many RPGs go in that direction if that's what you want. Class/level is a tradition (read as: sacred cow) with D&D, and I'm glad that there are different expressions and rules so people can play the game that's right for their table by picking a game that supports it.

One thing with class is that it helps provide a framework of archetypical abilities without providing all of them to any one character, really fostering group dynamics and play.

Plus, static costs wouldn't work. Many features are multiplicative, cascading with other powers. So X, Y and Z might be a lot more powerful together. (Say Extra Attack, Attack Bonus, and Damage Bonus). If you price assuming a character will take all three, they are overpriced for characters who want to take just some. On the other hand if you price assuming that a character will take X, A, and M (unrelated features), then specialists will end up a lot more powerful. Either way you end up with only a few "correct" builds for the type of concept you want to build, so it's really a illusion of choice.


I didn't think about it before, but you're right. The mechanics would work fairly well for a wilder-type. And the Astral Monk needs even less reskinning to make it a psionic character subclass.

Hm. Maybe. I"m eager to see the psionic classes tested. But if they were going to test a monk psionic subclass, I'd think a soul knife would make more sense. Sure, they might be reskinning it into an astral monk to test out some idea and hide their true intent. But the features of the astral monk don't track that well (to me) for a soul knife.

I'd lean planar. (Probably mostly because I'm totally biased to wanting them to also be working on a planar thingy).


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