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

Not who you were responding to, but I guess I was expecting more people to be talking about the setting of Strixhaven University and the plane of Arcavios? More discussion about the setting, the characters, and how to use them.
I would start a new thread to do that. Fifty-two pages in, this one is unlikely to change back in that direction.
 

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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I would start a new thread to do that. Fifty-two pages in, this one is unlikely to change back in that direction.
Yeah I agree, it appears that most discussion on this board go for the broader discussion on how new books influence the overall game rather than dives into setting and play.

Setting and Play needs more specific starter questions to keep people focussed
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Dina (Witherbloom): MTG Class: Druid/WizKids Minis Class: Druid
Killian (Silverquill): MTG Class: Warlock/Wizkids Minis Class: Wizard
Quintoruis (Lorehold): MTG class: Cleric/WizKids Minis Class: Artificer
Rootha (Prismari): MTG Class: Shaman/WizKids Minis Class: Bard
Zimone (Quandrix): MTG Class: Wizard/WizKids Minis Class: Wizard

Shaman to Bard makes sense, yet the Bard class would need to be modified to handle elemental spells.

Cleric to Artificer, seems unnecessary. Why not a cosmic force Cleric?

Warlock to Wizard seems unnecessary. Why not an abstract patron for the Warlock? Also, Fey often associates storytelling.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The negotiable nature of how the Warlock deal works is a real strength, for sure. I wouldn't want to do something like what happened with Uk'otoa in Critical Role, but it is great that it is an option on the table.

Having thought about ebwryoncontrivutiona, I think I prefer the model of the Patron making the Warlock an initiate into .apical secrets and not having control over the powers they gain, rather than a power line that can be flipped off and on. But whatever works for the table.
Same. That is how I run Warlocks unless the players wants something else.

Also in general I view supernatural beings as being bound by rules, one of which is that they cannot simply take back something they have given a mortal. This leads to the patron having to actually do something interesting in order to enforce their will.
 

I had a player who desperately wanted a magic sword. He asked around town and found out there was one above the mantle of a wealthy merchant (introduced only because the player asked). Player goes and knocks on the door and asks to see it, actually assuming he could just go in and take it. Should the DM just have the butler hand him the sword because that's the players conception? Let him take the sword?
When players ask, "Why would I take the spell 'Nystul's Magic Aura'?" This is why. Yes. Let him steal the prop sword with Nystul's Magic Aura fooling everyone that it's a +1 Sword of Sharpness. That's what the spell is for.
 

Hussar

Legend
Now I'm wondering if the PhB should have a message about variability in DMs and what a player should do if they're not having fun or something doesn't seem right. (Things to ask the DM, things to look for, how to discuss why you're not having fun etc..).
I think something like that would be a really good idea. A section of "Please don't do this" advice in the DMG wouldn't be remiss either.

We get lots of great Dming advice, but, very little advice on what to do when things go pear shaped. I know that I've kept playing in games far longer than I should have simply because I didn't want to be "that guy" who up and walks away. Frankly, my early gaming experiences probably would have been FAR better if, A. People had walked out my games! and B. I had walked out of other people's games.

But, it's really hard to tell a friend, "Hey, you're my friend, but, I dislike the way you run a game so much that I'd rather not play with you."
 

Hussar

Legend
I said 40 to 50 regular players and then mentioned additonal players. I also stated that even before the 90s, I did not have the problem.
if I recall correctly, you also do organized play. I and many of my friends had enough issues with organized play players in the early 80s and heard enough horror stories from others into the 90s that we stay clear of organized play. Also back then, many of the organized play players at cons were people whom had bad reputations and were kicked out of local groups. I am not saying that they were a respresentational sample of organized play players as a whole, but it is a major reason that we stay clear of organized play (in addition to no wanting to be beholden to the organized play rules).
No. Never did organized play. I have done a LOT of online play though. Since about 2002. Good grief, I just realized, I've played online as long as I've played offline. Holy crap!
 

Hussar

Legend
I still haven't heard anyone admit that what they want is for the DM in question to essentially "suck it up" and run the game anyway over their own objections. People keep saying these problems shouldn't be problems. But what if they are?
It's only a problem because the DM has chosen to make it so. The DM has decided that the patron doesn't like what the warlock is doing and is insisting on punishing the character for it. So, yeah, it's 100% a DM side problem.

See, I mentioned before that Binders are my go to inspiration for warlocks. With that in mind, here is the text from the 3.5E Binder:

3.5 Tome of Magic pages 17-18
The process of summoning a vestige and making a pact with it was designed to be a behind the scenes process - much liek the exact way that clerics pray for spells and wizards study their spellbooks... However, you can roleplay this interaction if you wish...Because a vestige has already agreed to bind with its summoner simply by showing up, the process of pact making boils down to a contest of wills to determine whether the vestige gains influence over the binder...

If you're playing a binder, you will eventually come under the influence of a vestige... Although the limitations imposed by influence can be a hinderance, they can also make for great roleplaying opportunities... Should this aspect of the influence become too troublesome, you can always just ignore the vestige's influence and take the penalty that such a choice imposes... be considerate of other players at the table when making that choice (to use influence or not). Don't use the influence as an excuse to hog the spotlight... When you have fun at the expense of other player's enjoyment, the campaign is in trouble​

See, to me, right there, THAT'S how it should work. It's 100% in the player's hands. The DM has no influence here at all. The player can ASK the DM to role play out the pact, or can ask the DM to talk to the vestige (ie. Patron) but, at no point is it suggested that the DM initiate anything. Note, ignoring influence imposes a -1 on die rolls (attacks, saves and checks) until the vestige leaves. It's a minor penalty at best.
 


Hussar

Legend
I gotta ask, @Magister Ludorum, how do you figure that a 4e monk is more restricted than a 5e one? Good grief, a 4e monk had hundreds of options to the point where every character was mechanically very distinct. 5e monks are only differentiated by subclass and two monks with the same subclass are identical.

Anyway, about the point about quitting bad DM groups. I am going to disagree a bit here. Sure, in particularly egregious cases, players do quit. But, what more often, IMO, happens is the players simply develop strategies to get around the DM and mitigate the problem. DM is too hands on with player's characters? Ok, fine, we play classes that don't have any hand holds like wizards and fighters. We create backgrounds that are basically self contained with nothing for the DM to use. So on and so forth.

I mean, it's rare for DM's to be truly bad. Most of the time, it's a DM and player have a problem with this or that element. And the player can simply sort the problem by not using that element. A DM can't hold a patron over a player's head if the player doesn't play a warlock after all. That's the point I was making earlier about seeing so many players coming from other tables. It's handsy DM's, not necessarily bad ones, just ones that have gone a bit too far and gotten a bit too hands on with some player's character that teaches the player to turtle up. It's never a problem if you don't allow it to be a problem.
 

Magister Ludorum

Adventurer
I never played a 4e monk. I gave up on 4e after only chronicle. I'm speaking of limiting characters to roles and forcing all their spells (excuse me, powers) to work only in furtherance of those goals. The 4e monk may have been the exception in all of 4e class design,
 

Magister Ludorum

Adventurer
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?
I'm going to back up Maxperson here. Dream Thief's Daughter takes place in the 1000 years of subject time Elric spends wandering the multiverse in astral form helping out other versions of the champion eternal. This time takes place in the seconds in which he is tied to the mast before his final death.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
Not who you were responding to, but I guess I was expecting more people to be talking about the setting of Strixhaven University and the plane of Arcavios? More discussion about the setting, the characters, and how to use them.

From what I saw on the MTG wiki, it looks like a really cool setting and one I'd love to explore (I'd probably lean towards My Hero Academia and other "high school plus super powers" anime more than Harry Potter). It would be neat to see a dedicated lore discussion thread for this and other subjects, since any thread that goes to 10+ pages on here has probably been tackled off a cliff by some combination of alignment, races, indie darling RPG's, or semantics.
 

Hussar

Legend
I never played a 4e monk. I gave up on 4e after only chronicle. I'm speaking of limiting characters to roles and forcing all their spells (excuse me, powers) to work only in furtherance of those goals. The 4e monk may have been the exception in all of 4e class design,
Ahh. Fair enough I suppose. I truly remain baffled by this perception that the 4e design was limited this way, but, I accept that others see it. But, I do have a question, what is "chronicle"?
 

Remathilis

Legend
I still haven't heard anyone admit that what they want is for the DM in question to essentially "suck it up" and run the game anyway over their own objections. People keep saying these problems shouldn't be problems. But what if they are?
Depends what the group dynamics are.

The DM can do whatever he wants to tailor the game to his heart's desire. He can ban barbarians, paladins and rogues, make warlock and cleric players bake him cookies to appease their patrons (just no oatmeal raisin, that's a smiting) or do any number of things to modify the game to taste.

And if he can't find a group of players willing to play under his demands, he can sit home with his binders of house rules and stew.

Players have a say in their game and should have a little more say than voting with thier feet. DMs have responsibility to make the game enjoyable to turn too. Some players chaff under the watchful eye of Devil-May-I. Others want to roll fistfuls of d6s. If the DM can't abide that sort of thing, they may find themselves short players. So yeah, maybe for the sake of the group, a DM has to compromise.

D&D is like lovemaking; you have to respect the needs of everyone involved, or you might end up just playing with yourself.
 

Shaman to Bard makes sense, yet the Bard class would need to be modified to handle elemental spells.

Cleric to Artificer, seems unnecessary. Why not a cosmic force Cleric?

Warlock to Wizard seems unnecessary. Why not an abstract patron for the Warlock? Also, Fey often associates storytelling.

You got into it more in the other Power Source thread, but I hadn't even considered Cosmic Force Cleric--that seems to fit M:tG's flavor more than the "Cleric of a Specific God" that tends to be assumed by D&D. (aside from what I know of Amonkhet and Theros, and even then...)

I would love to see an elemental bard; it could be a nifty application for a pre-Bronze Age "primitive" campaign."

Yeah, I am in complete agreement--and perplexed by--the Warlock-to-Wizard switch. I'd still like to see an Elder Dragon as patron; they remind me of the Dragonlords from Dragonlance Fifth Age.
 



Faolyn

(she/her)
I still haven't heard anyone admit that what they want is for the DM in question to essentially "suck it up" and run the game anyway over their own objections. People keep saying these problems shouldn't be problems. But what if they are?
Because nobody is saying that they want the DM to suck it up.

If you have a player with a core ability that you think does too much damage, then nobody is telling you to just let that PC mow your NPCs down (that would be telling you to suck it up). What we're saying is plan around that PC. Be a creative DM. Find in-game ways to reduce the threat, or use NPCs with the exact same abilities. Not to just take an ability away from the PC because it gives you "fits."
 

Because nobody is saying that they want the DM to suck it up.

If you have a player with a core ability that you think does too much damage, then nobody is telling you to just let that PC mow your NPCs down (that would be telling you to suck it up). What we're saying is plan around that PC. Be a creative DM. Find in-game ways to reduce the threat, or use NPCs with the exact same abilities. Not to just take an ability away from the PC because it gives you "fits."
That's actually what I do. It's not always easy, and I dont always succeed, but I try. I've never asked a player to change their character for me, although there have been times when I've been sorely tempted. But I also believe that the DM is under no obligation to let the player pick any option they want, even out of a core book, if they're not comfortable with it. You shouldn't have to run a game if you dont want to, any less than a player shouldn't have to play a PC they dont like. You might notice I made the point several times that a discussion needs to be had, and options reviewed. That should include ways the DM can make that PC work in their campaign. But if no accord can be reached, than the DM shouldn't have to run the game anyway. They can choose to, and hope they can figure something out. But they shouldn't be obligated to.
 

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