Unearthed Arcana: Four New Subclasses

There's a new Unearthed Arcana from Ben Petrisor, Dan Dillon, Bill Benham, Jeremy Crawford, F. Wesley Schneider. This one has four new subclasses Path of the Beast (Barbarian), Way of Mercy (Monk), Oath of the Watchers (Paladin), Noble Genie (Warlock).


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Russ Morrissey

Comments

jayoungr

Adventurer
The Way of Mercy, a healer monk, is a nice concept. But the Noxious Aura ability seems off-theme. Why would a healer have a poisonous aura?
The monk is not the class I would have chosen to give a plague doctor subclass to but alright.
I feel like I've seen something along these lines in a Chinese TV drama somewhere. Maybe this links up with something in Chinese folklore that isn't well known in the west?
 

Undrave

Adventurer
I feel like I've seen something along these lines in a Chinese TV drama somewhere. Maybe this links up with something in Chinese folklore that isn't well known in the west?
Reminds me of Lou When Jie from Thunderbolt Fantasy season 2 who was a powerful monk able to manipulate Ki and is able to use it for healing... but you need to convince him that the person's life is worth saving because he's like a uber nihilist and eventually he turns into the bad guy and starts killing dude...
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I'm doped up on allergy drugs and Mucinex, so only two quick observations: I would like the beast totem to have a horns option at 3rd level (maybe 1d8 bludgeoning or piercing plus 1d8 if you move more than 20 feet before making the attack).

Also, this totem would be a particular good one for a smuck who is cursed to be a barbarian. That feylord used up his wild magic sorcerer curses for the month, and he had to do something else......
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The Way of Mercy reminds me of the Lepper from Darkest Dungeon.

A Genie Chain-Warlock would be really good with the new Invocations from the alternates features UA that enhance the familiar.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
I like the Path of the Beast.

The tail is a big die with reach
Teeth gives you healing
Claws gives you more attacks

Infectious fury is great. Either get them to hit someone else or deal 2d12 damage. I think though it does need a clarification. You can only activate it X number of times, does that mean you can only force the save that number, or that you can only inflict one of the conditions? Because if you force a save and fail, it does nothing, and we generally don't like wasting abilities if we can avoid it. Call of the Hunt is not really that OP in terms of the temp hp... and maybe not even in terms of granting Reckless Attack. It is only useful for people who use strength to attack, which is a small subset of characters to be honest.


Way of Mercy is... odd. I think it is definitely an evolution of the Way of Tranquility monk, with healing and being able to use healing while flurrying. The thing is, while I like the aesthetic of the manipulation of life and death, the abilities aren't very evenly distributed for that. The level 11 ability is pretty minor, and with the aura giving disadvantage, poison which procs the Hands of Harm, and the poison damage, they lean heavily into their death side.

I like the paladin a lot. Definitely feels like an Anti-Abomination paladin with the massive boosting to mental saves, and that capstone. I also like the rebuke if you resist a spell, combined with the aura and the advantage, that could be almost guaranteed.


The Warlock is the only one I feel is way too rough. My guess is that it is actually going to end up combining the with Pact of the Talisman. I'm not sure why binding someone grants you a bonus to perception, and I can see the spell distance being a big thing... if you know to cast the spell, but there is an odd catch here.

See, the target has to be willing, and they get nothing out of this deal, until 6th level. That is a long time, and lasting only an hour kind of makes it a weird binding too. Additionally, that big benefit of casting a spell, I think this is meant to be a Pact of the Chain warlock match, but it doesn't actually do anything to make that better.

"Protective Wish" is decent, but again, it is only rarely going to be useful. It is great if you swap with the barbarian, put you are going to be pulling them out of position and forcing them to take damage instead of you. I feel like that might lead to bad situations, especially since, again, other than the level 6 ability the bound creature doesn't get anything.

Genie's Entertainment is... interesting. I like the idea of sending them to the court, and the genie granting you the ability back if they are there for a full minute. Because they were entertained. But, the ability specifically says the Genie doesn't do anything and that is boring from a story perspective

And the last ability is just bad. Other warlock caps are also bad, but that isn't an excuse. A DC check to even activate, it might do nothing, and even if it does, it isn't very impactful. 8d6 is about 27 points of healing, which is similar to a 4th level cure wounds, and you are using a capstone that required a check. Disadvantage is nice for saves, but one turn and you can't benefit from it? Or a 5th level spell that is a ritual anyways.

I like the idea of the sacrifice though. That is interesting, and the idea of your position as a warlock being to go out and find creatures and items to add to the menagerie is really cool, but I think this one needs some more spit and polish.
 

vecna00

Explorer
I see the Way of Mercy as the martial artist who master pressure points. Though I'm not exactly sure how one would put that into a subclass.

I'll add that to my feedback!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Love way of the beast. Always wanted a lycanthrope type character and this does it without the curse part. Not fond of the monk or paladin. largely because not every class needs to have an archetype for everything scenario Not every class needs a healer. Not every class needs to fight Githyanki or whatever.

The warlock will be OP, I think. Tether to the rogue who is stealthed and sneaky ahead, and you cast spells through them. You don't even need to be in the immediate area or detected. Invisible rogue is just a conduit for you casting spells while you stay safe. Or tether to the tank and let loose all your short range devastation while you remains safely away. Lots of scenarios.
That isn't OP, it's just good teamwork.

As for the Paladin...there absolutely should be Paladins who specialize in protecting from outsiders. Like that's...an obvious pick.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Oh my lycanthhorpic barbarian has finally arrived! (not really it's UA)

Natural Weapons that count as magical weapons is great! I think a bonus to Wisdom (Survival) checks would have been a nice ribbon add to level 6 but that's a minor quibble.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Subclasses, Part 1

<insert Mel Brooks joke here>

Path of the Beast
Because Totem Barbarians are just Larping. A psudo lycanthrope subclass. Or Wildshape as through the lens of a non-druid.

Form of the Beast
Interesting note: They are swap-able. Also none of these have a to-hit formula or listed bonus damage from anything. Just the damage die. They are called “Natural Melee Weapons”. Are you proficient in these attacks? Do they count as real weapons so you can get your rage damage bonus on them? Unarmed Strikes are called “melee weapon attacks” but don't count as weapons.

Bite
Self-Healing? For a Barbarian? That's kind of broken, especially at later levels when the barbarian can be permanently enraged and just go around biting everything all day long and never die. On the flip side, if it was temp hp instead, you would grow out of it by level 5. One of those weird abilities where mechanic isn't really salvageable in it's current state due to how the system is limited. Maybe make the bite it's own bonus action attack, then have the self-heal become a once per short rest thing that heals for a lot of scaling damage instead of a slow trickle.

Claws
Two attacks for the price of one. Only a tempting option if you get rider. Otherwise just use your greataxe. Or longsword if you can't use a greataxe.

Tail.
The Thagomizer deals 1d12 damage and has reach, which is nice presuming you get riders. More so for small races who can't get that kind of die normally. Even then it would rapidly go down in usefulness after level 5, when barbarians have two attacks, and get access to feats.


Bestial Soul
Obligatory natural magical weapon damage resistance bypass.
Jumping seems kind of meh compared to the other options, but at least you can swap it out on a short rest.

Infectious Fury
Reminds me of Old Yeller. :cry:
Important tidbits: Scales with con (secondary stat for every barbarian), causes creatures to lose their reaction and hit an ally, or just deals a bunch of psychic damage instead. Why psychic damage, shouldn't it be necrotic because it's an infection? I know it's just mind control, but not every form of mind control is based on mental energies.

Call the Hunt
Everybody gets Reckless attack! Your elven crit-fisher will love you for this. Oh wait, it only works for people using STR to attack.

Thoughts:
A bit of clarity is needed on these natural attacks. Also, just make them bonus action attacks. I know the Barbarian is bonus action starved, but these attacks have no way of being modified at higher levels. No feats, very few magic items, not even a Magic Fang spell to help them out. As a bonus action, they would at least save you the cost of a feat.


Way of Mercy
Not to be confused with the Way of Mercer. This subclass seems to be vaguely inspired by the old Way of Tranquility

Merciful Mask
Ah yes, because monks were missing out on that sweet Plague Doctor aesthetic, or would that be ascetic in this case? Who knows, maybe the entire subclass was just the set-up for that joke.

Implements of Mercy
Because you are a Doctor, you can poison people. Are these monks the Doctors that Anti-Vaxers were trying to warn everyone about?

Hands of Healing
More short rest healing? They just really want to break healing I guess. On the plus side it doesn't eat into the action economy too badly. You can still punch three times and heal in the same round for the same Ki cost.

Hands of Harm
A Ki Smite. As if monks didn't have enough ways to decimate their Ki pool. On the plus side, this one does better than breaking even, because you can burst it for 6x damage on a crit provided that the target is poisoned. Now if you only had a way to reliably poison targets.

Noxious Aura.
I've met people like this at conventions: You have the mystical power of B.O., which not only poisons and damages everyone next to you, it is also so thick that it helps deflect ranged attacks. Fortunately for everyone but you, it requires a Ki point to activate. On the plus side, having it active means you are conserving the rest of your Ki for Hands of harm.

Healing Technique
Lesser Restoration riding on your healing hands. Too bad it's at level 11, you could have really used this at like level 6.

Hand of Mercy
This ability is interesting. It's super powered Feign-Death that you can inflict on any creature, including yourself. It will inspire and require out of the box thinking for sure.

Thoughts:
This subclass has two problems, well three problems.

The generic Poison Problem. Half of this subclass gets shut down in the wrong campaigns. At least you still have stunning fist to fall back on. But it's still a dissatisfying experience when the fun things you signed up to do aren't a viable option most of the time.

A problem with Ki, until level 6 you are totally Ki starved. You want to Flurry of Blows cause that's “The Monk thing.” You want to Hands of Harm because that's your subclass thing. And you need to Hands of Healing because people are dying in combat all around you. At level 6 you basically have to give up on Flurry of blows, and most of the other core monk powers, but at least you get that passive poison cloud to help out on it.

The final problem, the Problem of Subclasses. This subclass wants to do two different things at once. Heal & Harm. Unfortunately, subclasses really can't do two things at once. This particular subclass ends up being 1/3 of a healer, which is not good enough to act like a healer (see the PDK for an example). Partly because of the mechanic they chose to tie healing into, and partly because they have to split subclass features between healing and poisoning.

Fortunately, there is an easy design direction that can mitigate most, if not all, of the problems. Instead of tying the Healing resource to Ki, make it a separate, daily resource. This allows the healing to have more oomph (because it's not short-rest resource), potentially hitting the half-caster healer benchmarks of Revivify and Greater Restoration (in some fashion). It allows the Monk to act like a Monk, because it's not Ki Starved. And finally it gives the Subclass a useful path to pick when poison isn't an option.

And seriously, let it heal more than just HP before level 11.


Oath of the Watchers
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Tenets
This is the anti outsider/far-realm paladin.

Oath Spells
Most of these are spells that guard stuff or directly counter supernatural threats. Then you get weird stuff like Chromatic Orb?
Is that supposed to be a stand-in spell? I mean, it does get around most resistances, but doesn't Divine Smite do that anyway?

Channel Divinity
Watcher’s Will. It helps break mind control effects, that's rad.
Abjure the Extraplanar. It's turn undead, but for anything from a different world. Kind of boring, but standard.

Aura of the Sentinel
Initiative aura? I suppose that works, but it seems, lackluster over any kind of aura that would help guard against supernatural stuff. Maybe if they threw in a bonus to perception checks.

Vigilant Rebuke
Your allies are really good at resisting spells, and this hurts people who try to hurt them. Unfortunately, not all supernatural powers are spells.

Mortal Bulwark.
It's brutal against an Outsider, but damn near useless against anything else. As a capstone, it ain't going to see much use, but still.

Thoughts.
This subclass is a bit too narrow in scope, it needs more generally applicable powers. Other than that, it's still a Paladin, so it's always going to be useful, and in the right campaign, it will dominate.

The Noble Genie
The Sha'ir, in non-wizard form.

Expanded Spell List
Thematic and useful, a bit of a rarity.

Collector’s Vessel
So you enslave some random creature and keep it in an itty-bitty living space.
Oh wait, no, you just create a mystical USB cord that connects your Genie-pod to a willing target so you can cast spells through them. Lots of tactical and RP potential.

Elemental Resistance
You and your new best friend have resistance to the element of your choice every long rest. Not quite as mechanically interesting as other warlock options, but undeniably handy

Protective Wish
You can swap places with your bound companion when either is struck. Handy if your companion is a Barbarian. Or I suppose it could be used in desperation to protect someone who is even squishier than a warlock, though I can't think of many who are.

Genie’s Entertainment
Finally something that actually collects.
It's basically Banishment, but with no concentration. Also, if the poor target is unlucky, you can use it again. Really powerful.

Collector’s Call
A strange mechanic. It's basically divine intervention, but less powerful. Also by default it's a coin flip (or worse), but you can make it easier on yourself with some character building cheese. It's just a bit weird to see something that can potentially get harder for you to do when you increase your level.

Thoughts:
I don't have much objection to this subclass, other than the strange capstone. Though I do wonder how often it will be used instead of the ever-popular hexblade.
 
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Weiley31

Adventurer
I see the Way of Mercy as the martial artist who master pressure points. Though I'm not exactly sure how one would put that into a subclass.

I'll add that to my feedback!
I actually view The Way of the Open Hand Monk tradition as that. Quivering Palm is basically hitting the pressure points via vibrations to achieve the effects. Stunning Fist can also be seen as the same.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay, review time.

Barbarian. I love every single thing, here. CharOp nerds can work out if the natural weapons need any rewording or whatever, but I think it all works rreally well and would be a blast to play. Definitely a worthy addtion to the game, and something a lot of folks have been wanting.
Level 3 needs a little bit more, though. Give it speak with animals or something.
Also I was mildly disappointed that Call The Hunt didn't summon animals to fight beside you, but I get it.
Haven't wanted to play a new Barbarian subclass since the PHB, but I wanna play this.

Monk. Level 3 is perfect, and I already have 3 characters in mind to use this subclass. Level 6 I can't imagine using. Like...ever. 11 is a nice upgrade to the level 3 healing ability. The capstone is amazing. I love it. Anyone reviewing it purely from a combat POV is objectively wrong and should rethink their life.

Paladin. 3rd and 5th class level spells are kinda boring, but the higher level ones are great. Channel Divinity is great. I'd add celestials to the adjured creatures. Level 7 aura is great. I'm biased here, as anyone in the Marshal thread knows. Vigilant Rebuke is a delight. Finally a mage-hunter paladin, though I wish this part came in earlier. Capstone needs more flavor, but that's fine as UA. Love the abilities.

Warlock. Level 1 is thematically appropriate, and can be used with a Chain Familiar for really cool effect. I like it. 6 makes sense, and is a good benefit. level 10, consider spells like Hellish Rebuke and Armor of Agythis. I love this. I'd change the second level 10 feature to the creature coming back poisoned (drunk), or something, but otherwise I like it. The level 14 ability either needs a higher chance of success, a lesser effect when it fails rather than just "nothing happens", or to only be lost when you succeed.


I hope all of these see print.
 
Monk. Level 3 is perfect, and I already have 3 characters in mind to use this subclass. Level 6 I can't imagine using. Like...ever. 11 is a nice upgrade to the level 3 healing ability. The capstone is amazing. I love it. Anyone reviewing it purely from a combat POV is objectively wrong and should rethink their life.
You use it to poison people so Hands of Harm can hit harder.
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
Subclasses, Part 1

<insert Mel Brooks joke here>

Path of the Beast
Because Totem Barbarians are just Larping. A psudo lycanthrope subclass. Or Wildshape as through the lens of a non-druid.

Form of the Beast
Interesting note: They are swap-able. Also none of these have a to-hit formula or listed bonus damage from anything. Just the damage die. They are called “Natural Melee Weapons”. Are you proficient in these attacks? Do they count as real weapons so you can get your rage damage bonus on them? Unarmed Strikes are called “melee weapon attacks” but don't count as weapons.

Bite
Self-Healing? For a Barbarian? That's kind of broken, especially at later levels when the barbarian can be permanently enraged and just go around biting everything all day long and never die. On the flip side, if it was temp hp instead, you would grow out of it by level 5. One of those weird abilities where mechanic isn't really salvageable in it's current state due to how the system is limited. Maybe make the bite it's own bonus action attack, then have the self-heal become a once per short rest thing that heals for a lot of scaling damage instead of a slow trickle.

Claws
Two attacks for the price of one. Only a tempting option if you get rider. Otherwise just use your greataxe. Or longsword if you can't use a greataxe.

Tail.
The Thagomizer deals 1d12 damage and has reach, which is nice presuming you get riders. More so for small races who can't get that kind of die normally. Even then it would rapidly go down in usefulness after level 5, when barbarians have two attacks, and get access to feats.


Bestial Soul
Obligatory natural magical weapon damage resistance bypass.
Jumping seems kind of meh compared to the other options, but at least you can swap it out on a short rest.

Infectious Fury
Reminds me of Old Yeller. :cry:
Important tidbits: Scales with con (secondary stat for every barbarian), causes creatures to lose their reaction and hit an ally, or just deals a bunch of psychic damage instead. Why psychic damage, shouldn't it be necrotic because it's an infection? I know it's just mind control, but not every form of mind control is based on mental energies.

Call the Hunt
Everybody gets Reckless attack! Your elven crit-fisher will love you for this.

Thoughts:
A bit of clarity is needed on these natural attacks. Also, just make them bonus action attacks. I know the Barbarian is bonus action starved, but these attacks have no way of being modified at higher levels. No feats, very few magic items, not even a Magic Fang spell to help them out. As a bonus action, they would at least save you the cost of a feat.


Way of Mercy
Not to be confused with the Way of Mercer. This subclass seems to be vaguely inspired by the old Way of Tranquility

Merciful Mask
Ah yes, because monks were missing out on that sweet Plague Doctor aesthetic, or would that be ascetic in this case? Who knows, maybe the entire subclass was just the set-up for that joke.

Implements of Mercy
Because you are a Doctor, you can poison people. Are these monks the Doctors that Anti-Vaxers were trying to warn everyone about?

Hands of Healing
More short rest healing? They just really want to break healing I guess. On the plus side it doesn't eat into the action economy too badly. You can still punch three times and heal in the same round for the same Ki cost.

Hands of Harm
A Ki Smite. As if monks didn't have enough ways to decimate their Ki pool. On the plus side, this one does better than breaking even, because you can burst it for 6x damage on a crit provided that the target is poisoned. Now if you only had a way to reliably poison targets.

Noxious Aura.
I've met people like this at conventions: You have the mystical power of B.O., which not only poisons and damages everyone next to you, it is also so thick that it helps deflect ranged attacks. Fortunately for everyone but you, it requires a Ki point to activate. On the plus side, having it active means you are conserving the rest of your Ki for Hands of harm.

Healing Technique
Lesser Restoration riding on your healing hands. Too bad it's at level 11, you could have really used this at like level 6.

Hand of Mercy
This ability is interesting. It's super powered Feign-Death that you can inflict on any creature, including yourself. It will inspire and require out of the box thinking for sure.

Thoughts:
This subclass has two problems, well three problems.

The generic Poison Problem. Half of this subclass gets shut down in the wrong campaigns. At least you still have stunning fist to fall back on. But it's still a dissatisfying experience when the fun things you signed up to do aren't a viable option most of the time.

A problem with Ki, until level 6 you are totally Ki starved. You want to Flurry of Blows cause that's “The Monk thing.” You want to Hands of Harm because that's your subclass thing. And you need to Hands of Healing because people are dying in combat all around you. At level 6 you basically have to give up on Flurry of blows, and most of the other core monk powers, but at least you get that passive poison cloud to help out on it.

The final problem, the Problem of Subclasses. This subclass wants to do two different things at once. Heal & Harm. Unfortunately, subclasses really can't do two things at once. This particular subclass ends up being 1/3 of a healer, which is not good enough to act like a healer (see the PDK for an example). Partly because of the mechanic they chose to tie healing into, and partly because they have to split subclass features between healing and poisoning.

Fortunately, there is an easy design direction that can mitigate most, if not all, of the problems. Instead of tying the Healing resource to Ki, make it a separate, daily resource. This allows the healing to have more oomph (because it's not short-rest resource), potentially hitting the half-caster healer benchmarks of Revivify and Greater Restoration (in some fashion). It allows the Monk to act like a Monk, because it's not Ki Starved. And finally it gives the Subclass a useful path to pick when poison isn't an option.

And seriously, let it heal more than just HP before level 11.


Oath of the Watchers
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Tenets
This is the anti outsider/far-realm paladin.

Oath Spells
Most of these are spells that guard stuff or directly counter supernatural threats. Then you get weird stuff like Chromatic Orb?
Is that supposed to be a stand-in spell? I mean, it does get around most resistances, but doesn't Divine Smite do that anyway?

Channel Divinity
Watcher’s Will. It helps break mind control effects, that's rad.
Abjure the Extraplanar. It's turn undead, but for anything from a different world. Kind of boring, but standard.

Aura of the Sentinel
Initiative aura? I suppose that works, but it seems, lackluster over any kind of aura that would help guard against supernatural stuff. Maybe if they threw in a bonus to perception checks.

Vigilant Rebuke
Your allies are really good at resisting spells, and this hurts people who try to hurt them. Unfortunately, not all supernatural powers are spells.

Mortal Bulwark.
It's brutal against an Outsider, but damn near useless against anything else. As a capstone, it ain't going to see much use, but still.

Thoughts.
This subclass is a bit too narrow in scope, it needs more generally applicable powers. Other than that, it's still a Paladin, so it's always going to be useful, and in the right campaign, it will dominate.

The Noble Genie
The Sha'ir, in non-wizard form.

Expanded Spell List
Thematic and useful, a bit of a rarity.

Collector’s Vessel
So you enslave some random creature and keep it in an itty-bitty living space.
Oh wait, no, you just create a mystical USB cord that connects your Genie-pod to a willing target so you can cast spells through them. Lots of tactical and RP potential.

Elemental Resistance
You and your new best friend have resistance to the element of your choice every long rest. Not quite as mechanically interesting as other warlock options, but undeniably handy

Protective Wish
You can swap places with your bound companion when either is struck. Handy if your companion is a Barbarian. Or I suppose it could be used in desperation to protect someone who is even squishier than a warlock, though I can't think of many who are.

Genie’s Entertainment
Finally something that actually collects.
It's basically Banishment, but with no concentration. Also, if the poor target is unlucky, you can use it again. Really powerful.

Collector’s Call
A strange mechanic. It's basically divine intervention, but less powerful. Also by default it's a coin flip (or worse), but you can make it easier on yourself with some character building cheese. It's just a bit weird to see something that can potentially get harder for you to do when you increase your level.

Thoughts:
I have much objection to this subclass, other than the strange capstone. Though I do wonder how often it will be used instead of the ever-popular hexblade.
I would say for Path of The Beast, yes you are proficient and that they scale with STR while counting as "weapons." Especially if you make Wolverine DND Edition.

I feel this Subclass loves STR/CON. Also I see Infectious Fury not like legit rabies. More inflicting Madness/Rage of the mind. So Psychic Damage makes sense.
 

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