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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Sometimes it feels like they just create subclasses just to cover every possible combination of fluff/lore and mechanics. Reminds me when you started seeing CHA based fighters.

"Well, we know STR and DEX can impact the ability for a fighter to be effective in combat because those tie together in a logical way. But that's not enough. We should have fighters where they add their CHA bonus to hit and damage because good looks and witty words make sharper blades or something! And one where they add WIS bonus! And one where they add INT bonus! Because reasons!"
I'm guessing one of the most requested subclasses or concepts was the Rage Mage from previous editions.


Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
It makes sense to me so I will try to describe how I imagine it works.

But it hurts you to do this - because that power was literally part of your body, and you just moved some of it to your pal. So you take some damage as you do this. But they now have their pool of power re-filled and can use it like they normally would use it now.
I'm not a hater on this, I like the flavor of the Wild Soul subclass. My only issue with the 6th level mechanic is that its limit is based on the Barbarian's hit points rather than something more limited, like # of rages per day.

So a Wild Soul barbarian can top off one or more caster pals, take a short rest/spend HD to heal up + the Bard's Song of Rest d8...

It's not the end of the world, but it would/does limit the DM's ability to design encounters and days around rests with a Barbarian like this in the mix. It just skews the encounters per rest dynamics.

A DM with this Barbarian in the party would need to keep any and all Rings of Regeneration away from the PC's at the top tier or they'll have near unlimited 1-6th level slots!


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 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.

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.

You bring up some good points that had crossed my mind regarding classes being a frame for your character and how to maintain character balance if the class system were to be removed. I dont have the answers though I think its doable and the 2E Players Options books were on the right track to doing this.

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