Unearthed Arcana 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).


Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 6.51.08 PM.png
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Aaron L

Hero
I was actually happy with the December and early series of Subclass UAs as well. I want them all.
Oh there are quite a few of the Unearthed Arcana articles that I absolutely love; the article with the weapon mastery Feats is beloved by my brother and I, and we both use it heavily in our campaigns; we use the article with the Favored Soul for a special order of Sorcerer-Priests of the God of Enlightenment, Magic, and the Sun; the article with the full Mystic class is absolutely essential to big parts of my campaign world; and the Sidekick article is a wonderful way to reintroduce Henchmen to the game (which is something that 5E was sorely lacking, since the ability to have Henchmen and followers is a pretty big freaking deal if you want to run a 1st Edition style campaign.) Most of them I think are terrific, with only a few of them holding no interest for me.

An article I'd really like to see would be altered experience level progression tables, to have some guidelines to making level advancement slower, more like it was in 1st and 2nd Edition, and instead of an even, smooth progression through all levels I want flattened out stretches where it takes longer to advance at certain points as existed in 1/2E, such as maybe taking longer to advance from one Tier to the next, and also to have a certain sets of levels last longer than others to presevre the "sweet spots." The rate of level advancement in 5E is way too fast for my liking, with PCs easily going from 1st to 20th level in a handful of years of adventuring! I don't think there should ever be 20th level characters aged in their 20s or 30s (barring certain extremely rare prodigies such as Raistlin; in other words, literary creations.) That kind of thing is just ridiculous to me; powerful high level characters should be grizzled old veterans who have been campaigning for decades and gained their power through hard years of steady effort, not in quick spurts of advancement over a handful of years the way the game is set up now. I despise the idea that PCs should progress from 1st to 20th level in a year of playing, that concept is actually grotesque to me. Modern gaming trends make the game feel to me like Harry Potter or similar YA novels where a "chosen ones" achieve ultimate power by the time they graduate from high school, then they retire from adventuring and raise a family because adventuring has become boring since he has too much power and can do anything, rather than gaining life experience over the course of a decades-long life career like Conan.

(Let me reiterate that I am talking about myself and my opersonal preferences, not laying out universal requirements for a "Good Game"; if you want to play a Young Adult Novel-style campaign where everyone gains a level every other game session and the test for graduation from Wizarding School is being able to cast Wish and you can only earn your Fighter School diploma if you are able to defeat Demogorgon single-handedly, than more power to you; that kind of game feels grotesque to me, but if you enjoy it then have fun. The problem is that the game has been trending in that direction and forcing everyone into playing that way as the default style, and I want the game to feel like it has some challenge in it, and I just want the option of having a slower XP progression so as to feel more in the style of Conan adventuring for decades, winning a kingdom by his own hand and the sweat of his brow, and finally reaching 20th level in his 60s, instead of one of those god-forsaken Isekai anime where you hear and audible "Ding!" when your character gains a level, and a bag of gold coins and magical swords actually appears in the air above your head.)

Something I really wish they would have done was to include differing XP progression tables and aternate XP acquisition methods (more than just "a level per so many sessions", "story goals", and "wing it") with an XP for treasure model and slowed advancement tables, one table for each of the different Fantasy style genres delineated in the DMG; Sword & Sorcery has a different feel and different pacing than High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and so on, and unique level advancement tables with accompanying unique XP acquisition methods would have been wonderful. The problem is that even though I've been able to identify the problems I have with the game and know how I can fix them, I'm just not good enough at game mechanics to figure out how to make the altered XP tables for myself. ;)

(The fast level advancement also leads to the unavoidable question of why there aren't hundreds and thousands of characters of 15th -20th level all over the world if it can be accomplished so quickly, and it seriously breaks any sense of verisimilitude in the game world for me. But then again, the NPC statblocks do indicate that a simple Veteran soldier looks roughly equivalent to around an 8th level Fighter, so maybe everyone is high level now?)

I've tried to work out my own slowed progression tables, and to insert required time-breaks to slow progression (such as using the level training optional rules from the DMG,) toyed with the idea of creating a rule that adventuring time must be balanced out with a certain amount of downtime or it will lead to burnout and no more experience can be earned until after an adequate amount of rest and time to reflect on the lessons learned adventuring.

I've even tried, in addition to slowing the level progression overall, to work on altering the progression from a flat trajectory to one that slows down for certain level stretches as it did in 1E and 2E, to maintain the "sweet spots" for longer. I've noticed that, using the standard rules, sometimes PCs will gain levels so fast that they don't really have time to enjoy and "learn how to be X level" because not long after they achieve X level they are suddenly Y level.

The real core of the problem is that fighting monsters is probably the main part of the game for a lot of (if not most) people,and you want to do it as much as possible. But the more you fight, the more XP you get, and the faster you level up, creating an endless cycle of getting higher and higher level faster and faster the more you play. In 1E/2E you could fight monsters for days and days and days on end and get some XP, but it wouldn't be so much that you kept gaining levels unless you were routinely fighting Demons and Devils and were risking your immortal soul constantly. Instead it took good hauls of treasure to actually gain levels. Which meant that level advancement was mostly in the hands of the DM, since anytime he wanted the PCs to advance he could just place a big treasure guarded by an important monster for a nice fight with a good payoff, and whenever he wanted the PCs to relax and enjoy their current levels for a while he could spread the treasure thin.

That was the thing: the payoff of a big treasure and the accompanying XP came after and separately from the good fight. They were associated, but the XP was not directly tied to the monster you fought. You fought the monster to get the treasure and the XP it gave you, fighting the monster wasn't what gave you the XP. When that line became blurred it lead to some funky unforeseen consequences for the game, and a fundamental shift in the way players perceived the whole goal of playing.

Instead of the point of adventuring being exploring and treasure-hunting, ever since 3E the whole point has become to kill monsters, which just exacerbates the murder-hobo phenomenon since the XP methods of 3E/5E removed many of the classic old methods of securing treasure from monsters by trickery, thievery, and ingenuity like in the pulp adventure stories and myths that D&D was based on... instead of just brute force combat all the time.

This is the reason why many people feel like 3E and later Editions feel "videogamey" even if they can't put their finger on a reason why; 1E/2E were designed to feel like the pulp stories on which they were based, where tricky and clever heroes would outwit monsters to steal their treasure just as often as they would defeat them in combat through main force. The methods of the Grey Mouser and Cugel the Clever were just as important to the game as those of Conan and Fafhrd. In 1E and 2E combat was actually incidental to the treasure-hunting and exploration that was the main focus, and it was only a minor method of XP acquisition; killing monsters was just one possible method of getting the treasure... but ever since 3E tied XP to killing monsters exclusively, it has turned killing monsters into the sole means of advancement and the main goal of the game like in a video game, instead of it being just one possible method of advancement and one of many possible means of adventuring. Now, I've continued to love the game since 3E, but even so I have definitely also felt the "videogaminess" of it and gotten a bit sick of it. But fortunately this was just an unintended consquence of tying XP to killing monsters instead of for finding treasure, it isn't an inherent or incorrectable flaw in the system, and so it is fixable.

If you could have asked an adventurer (not player!) from 1st Edition what was the goal of going on adventures, most would probably have said something like "for gold and glory, to get rich and famous!" and possibly "and to gain great honor along the way!" If you could ask a 5th Edition adventurer what was the goal of adventuring, he would probably just say "to kill monsters!"

Now I know some people will want to say "then just ditch XP altogether and dictate when the PCs advance at your whim" but I hate that idea; I want level advancement to actually be tied to some measurable and "solid" numbers from what happens in the game. I want fighting monsters to earn XP of course, but I want a way to lessen the importance of fighting and make the main body of XP come from finding/looting/stealing treasure again. I considered multiplying the XP tables by 10, leaving the XP gained from monsters as is, and going back to the good old 1 XP = 1 GP, but I have no idea how that would actually play out. What does everyone think? I would love it if they would release an Unearthed Arcana article with XP tables for different advancement rates (like Pathfinder had in the main rulebook!) and rules for treasure XP, in the same vein as the "Greyhawk Initiative" article they released.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

I'm excited that they are trying a sha'ir (Noble genie pact), but I don't like the mechanics.

They are doing something that several of the newer subclasses (Xanathars and after) have done--taking a single mechanical trick and basing the subclass around it. I don't like that. I much prefer the original PHB style where a subclass has multiple not necessarily connected features that together express the theme.

What's worse, the trick they've chosen doesn't make me think sha'ir. This one needs to go back to the drawing board.

What's even worse is that I'm still not sure that the surveys can gather enough information to determine whether a poor rating means "we do not want this subclass in the game" versus "we really want a subclass with this theme, we just don't like this implementation."
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm excited that they are trying a sha'ir (Noble genie pact), but I don't like the mechanics.

They are doing something that several of the newer subclasses (Xanathars and after) have done--taking a single mechanical trick and basing the subclass around it. I don't like that. I much prefer the original PHB style where a subclass has multiple not necessarily connected features that together express the theme.

What's worse, the trick they've chosen doesn't make me think sha'ir. This one needs to go back to the drawing board.

What's even worse is that I'm still not sure that the surveys can gather enough information to determine whether a poor rating means "we do not want this subclass in the game" versus "we really want a subclass with this theme, we just don't like this implementation."
Maybe, they aren’t doing a sha’ir. They’re doing a warlock whose patron is a noble djinn. 🤷‍♂️
 

Maybe, they aren’t doing a sha’ir. They’re doing a warlock whose patron is a noble djinn. 🤷‍♂️

Well, that could be. I certainly hope not, because that's even more irritating. "Instead of creating the content you want, here's some content you don't want that is conceptually close enough to what you do that we aren't ever going to create the content that you do want now that we've created this."
 

Maybe, they aren’t doing a sha’ir. They’re doing a warlock whose patron is a noble djinn. 🤷‍♂️
Given that their last two attempts at a wizard subclass have proved so catastrophic (three if you count Invention wizard) I think making a serious attempt at sha'ir would be a good idea.

No reason not to have a noble genie patron though. The survey must be due soon, It think it's important for people to give detailed and considered feedback. You can say that you like the subclass, but dislike individual powers, and you can give an explanation and suggestions in the textbox. Ticking "love everything" or "hate everything" is unhelpful and stupid.
 


I disagree, I think a 5e Sha'ir wizard would go a long way towards fitting the generalist niche.

Something like this:

level 2:

Special familiar: you always know the find familiar spell. This does not count against your spells known. When you summon a familiar it can be a gen [has the elemental subtype, maybe a few other tweaks]. You and your familiar are resistant to the element (fire/cold/lightning/acid) associated with your gen.

Spell Retrieval. When you take a long rest, rather than using your spellbook you can send your gen to retrieve any wizard spells of a level up to the highest level spell slot you possess. Spells retrieved in these count against your normal number of spells you can prepare. You can only use this ability if you have a gen and it is not cut off from planar travel. [This doesn't remove the spellbook, but allows the Sha'ir to prepare spells like a cleric].

Level 6:

Enhanced Spell Retrieval. When you take a short rest you can send your gen to retrieve any one spell from any class list provided it is at a level you have slots. The spell is a wizard spell to you. You can cast this spell once using one of your spell slots.

Level 10:
Summon Genie

Level 14:
Bind Genie
 
Last edited:

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Given that their last two attempts at a wizard subclass have proved so catastrophic (three if you count Invention wizard) I think making a serious attempt at sha'ir would be a good idea.

I really doubt that any Wizard subclass UA is going to make it in the foreseeable future. Only one of them has ever been printed, and I suspect that's because they absolutely had to print one of them. It's far more likely that any new wizard subclass is going to have to bypass the UA process, just like the Bladesinger, and the two that are being printed in the Critical Role book.
 



RSIxidor

Adventurer

It's there again.

Love is now Unity. The stalkery feature replaced with a sharing damage CD.
They moved Creation's pet feature to 6, no longer reliant on the creation feature.
Clockwork's advantage/disadvantage feature changed to not allow the roll to be affected by dis/adv. I think the dice for Bulwark of Law got bigger but I didn't save the original PDF.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle


Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top