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Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Mages of Strixhaven

An Unearthed Arcana playtest document for the upcoming Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos hardcover has been released by WotC!

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"Become a student of magic in this installment of Unearthed Arcana! This playtest document presents five subclasses for Dungeons & Dragons. Each of these subclasses allows you to play a mage associated with one of the five colleges of Strixhaven, a university of magic. These subclasses are special, with each one being available to more than one class."


It's 9 pages, and contains five subclasses, one for each the Strixhaven colleges:
  • Lorehold College, dedicated to the pursuit of history by conversing with ancient spirits and understanding the whims of time itself
  • Prismari College, dedicated to the visual and performing arts and bolstered with the power of the elements
  • Quandrix College, dedicated to the study and manipulation of nature’s core mathematic principles
  • Silverquill College, dedicated to the magic of words, whether encouraging speeches that uplift allies or piercing wit that derides foes
  • Witherbloom College, dedicated to the alchemy of life and death and harnessing the devastating energies of both
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Yaarel

Legend
I know it's a bad experience for a player to have their powers taken away. I just dont see why the patron would go along with a deal that one-sided logically. Internally consistent world-building is important to me.
It is a fair question.

For me, the patron just doesnt matter mechanically. Honestly, I dislike the old school DM-bullies-player via deity. I dont want to go near that. I consider it trespassing on the players character concept.

If a player wants to focus on a patron, that would be fine, and I would help make it happen. But I would let the player take the lead for that, similar to the way I let the player take the lead if deciding to create another character who is a spouse. I would be gentle if using the relationship for a plot device.

On the other hand, there are otherworldly mentors, who are part of a Background, and continue to be a useful contact. They are incentives for and heralds of adventures, and sometimes get consulted to overcome a challenge.

In a Scot-esque regional setting, the witches are Fey Warlocks. The awakening of their magical power normally involves an encounter with one of the Fey Elves who are sensitive to humans gaining Sight. These Elves are called Sith. Often a particular Elf guides them thru the ordeal of the magical awakening, and helps the newbie learn how to wield magic, safely and effectively. This Elf is a "patron" but not necessarily powerful. At the same time, the Scot-esque government of the Elves is a monarchy that the Elf Queen presides over. She is a powerful Warlock. I havent statted her but she is either Legend or Epic. Human Warlocks tend to know about her, via the other Elves, so she is available as a narrative resource for adventures.

I havent explored the Faustian Pact archetype. If a player wants a Fiend as a Patron. I would basically consider the Fiend powerless. Heh, the Fiend approaches the character basically to "advertise", in the hopes of the fiendish way of life becoming a thinkable option. If I wanted tension between the Warlock and the Fiend (if the player is into it), the Fiend can grant a valuable magic item to the character. And this magic item only works depending on how happy the Fiend is with the character.
 

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Yaarel

Legend
This is question for Warlock players.

According to the mechanics, the Patron has no say, in the Warlock class features.

The only thing that is debatable, is the Pact Boon, whose wording of "for loyal service", might imply the ability to remove it if unloyal.

Interpreted this way, the DM (not you) controls 1) your Familiar, 2) your Weapon Proficiency, 3) your extra Cantrips.

Are you ok with this?



Keep in mind, "loyal service" can mean many things, depending on who or what you choose as your Patron. If the Patron is the mage college, it might mean "studying diligently".
 

Parmandur

Legend
This is question for Warlock players.

According to the mechanics, the Patron has no say, in the Warlock class features.

The only thing that is debatable, is the Pact Boon, whose wording of "for loyal service", might imply the ability to remove it if unloyal.

Interpreted this way, the DM (not you) controls 1) your Familiar, 2) your Weapon Proficiency, 3) your extra Cantrips.

Are you ok with this?



Keep in mind, "loyal service" can mean many things, depending on who or what you choose as your Patron. If the Patron is the mage college, it might mean "studying diligently".
Once my wife played a Gnome Warlock who had sold her soul to Satin, the Platonic form of the clothe material. She was under a geas to try and taste and eat exotic cloth materials whenever possible.
 

Rikka66

Adventurer
This is question for Warlock players.

According to the mechanics, the Patron has no say, in the Warlock class features.

The only thing that is debatable, is the Pact Boon, whose wording of "for loyal service", might imply the ability to remove it if unloyal.

Interpreted this way, the DM (not you) controls 1) your Familiar, 2) your Weapon Proficiency, 3) your extra Cantrips.

Are you ok with this?



Keep in mind, "loyal service" can mean many things, depending on who or what you choose as your Patron. If the Patron is the mage college, it might mean "studying diligently".
I would want my DM and I to discuss it, but that strikes me as a reasonable halfway point for a player not losing their entire class but still suffering some loss of abilities for upsetting their patron.

Even if a patron couldn't take any abilities from a player, it seems like the familiar would be up to RP.
 


Faolyn

Hero
The only thing that is debatable, is the Pact Boon, whose wording of "for loyal service", might imply the ability to remove it if unloyal.

Interpreted this way, the DM (not you) controls 1) your Familiar, 2) your Weapon Proficiency, 3) your extra Cantrips.
I'm playing a warlock in one of my games, and I just got my pact boon. The DM asked me what it was and then asked if I would hold off using it until he could have my patron physically give it to me, which it did in the next adventure.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Nope, those are in chronological order, that's why the publication dates are out of order. The Dreamthief's Daughter takes place after Stormbinger.
I've seen multiple chronological orders. Some have it that way and some don't. How does that book describe Elric's resurrection? If it doesn't, why do you think that it's after he died?
 



Where? I couldn't find that when I Googled. Does he explain how it happened?
Moorcock's view of the nature of reality isn't causal. There are infinite timelines, some of which stuff happened one way, others it happened differently. In DTD there are multiple Elrics, and he walks a (literal) path between infinite multiple realities.

If I remember correctly, some of it is explained in "Quest for Tanelorn" which isn't listed as an Elric story, but Elric features prominently in it. In that one, Elric eat Stormbringer.
 
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Hussar

Legend
I know it's a bad experience for a player to have their powers taken away. I just dont see why the patron would go along with a deal that one-sided logically. Internally consistent world-building is important to me. It's not just about appeasing the players who don't want their toys ever taken away.
But, that's almost impossible to answer.

What are the goals of a Far Realms power? Who knows? That's the point. Heck, the patron might not even be aware of the warlock's existence.

Good grief, the only outright evil basis for warlocks is the fiend pact. There's a boatload of other options here.

Personally I love the fact that DM's who think that a warlock should be bossed around by a patron would absolutely freak out if the same thing was suggested for clerics, who are FAR more intertwined with their diety. It's hillarious that I can play my cleric, never once referencing my deity, never once setting foot in a temple devoted to my deity, and basically being a fighter with healing spells, and that's perfectly fine. But, a warlock that doesn't let the DM tell him what to do? Oh hell no.

What a joke.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
But, that's almost impossible to answer.

What are the goals of a Far Realms power? Who knows? That's the point. Heck, the patron might not even be aware of the warlock's existence.

Good grief, the only outright evil basis for warlocks is the fiend pact. There's a boatload of other options here.

Personally I love the fact that DM's who think that a warlock should be bossed around by a patron would absolutely freak out if the same thing was suggested for clerics, who are FAR more intertwined with their diety. It's hillarious that I can play my cleric, never once referencing my deity, never once setting foot in a temple devoted to my deity, and basically being a fighter with healing spells, and that's perfectly fine. But, a warlock that doesn't let the DM tell him what to do? Oh hell no.

What a joke.

I feel like I missed a post. Who said they would enforce things on some/all Warlocks in their game but not on any of the Cleric or Paladins? It would seem bizarre to me to do for the former but not the later. Does the PhB not have similar words for those classes about working out what their duties are with th DM (like it does for the Warlock) and similar parts saying which powers they get from their own merits and which are granted?
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Are they different... Bah. I get too much of that excrement in Marvel Comics.
Yes and no. I suppose on some level they are the same being, just like Elric, Erikose and Hawkmoon are all the same being. Different incarnations, though. On that level they are different and one can die while the others live.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yes and no. I suppose on some level they are the same being, just like Elric, Erikose and Hawkmoon are all the same being. Different incarnations, though. On that level they are different and one can die while the others live.

Who is Jean Grey this week?

(Undoing UXM #137 all the schlocky ways they have over the years, Claremont or not, is unforgivable).
 
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ehren37

Adventurer
Umm… That’s a weird request. I mean, my own games. Also, like, every old-school killer dungeon?

It is absolutely an asymmetrical game, though in my opinion the DM’s goal isn’t to win, but to keep the game going. The players’ goal is to win (which is to say, to succeed in their goals, which may be character driven or adventure driven) and sometimes they fail to do so.

This is one way of DMing. Not the only way, certainly not the only good way, and not my preferred way. “Illusionism” is not something I strive for as a DM, and not something I want from the DM in a game I was playing in.
That's hardly a "good chunk". Your games, and petty lunchroom DM's out to kill their friends... so, yeah, some, but not representative. Most games the PC's win, because who wants to show up to get sand kicked in your face by a friend who holds all the power in the relationship?

I feel if you believe this, you simply haven't looked far enough behind the curtain and thought about your own biases and actions while DM'ing. You tils the axis when designing challenges, adventures, and the off-screen actions of the antagonists, allies, etc. You determine the odds, and how the story unfolds if the adventure goes off what was previously written, even moreso if you are improvising on the spot. Your own biases play into that, even subconsciously. If the players win, it's because you wrote a win condition that is achievable. The zen is accepting that it doesn't matter, and it's fun anyways.
 

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