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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

Faolyn

Hero
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.
Asking a DM to do what they're supposed to be doing isn't the same thing as asking a DM to suck it up.
 

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Faolyn

Hero
It is if you're insisting they run a game they dont want to run.
So: a player has a core class feature that lets them do a bit more damage than a hypothetical DM likes, and that's enough to make the DM not want run the game at all.

I think that means the problem in this case is definitely is with the DM. This hypothetical DM sounds like the type of immature, horror-story DM I've read about who also gets mad if you try to do anything but their railroaded plot, or if you outshine or worse, attacked one of their precious DMPCs.
 

So: a player has a core class feature that lets them do a bit more damage than a hypothetical DM likes, and that's enough to make the DM not want run the game at all.

I think that means the problem in this case is definitely is with the DM. This hypothetical DM sounds like the type of immature, horror-story DM I've read about who also gets mad if you try to do anything but their railroaded plot, or if you outshine or worse, attacked one of their precious DMPCs.
Maybe you're right. Maybe the DM is being unreasonable. That's not the point. The point is you seem to think that the DM should have to run a game they dont want to, whatever the reason. If you as the player think the reason is bogus, and neither side is going to change their mind, why do you want the DM to keep running anyway? Even if they do it they're not going to be happy. How much fun are you going to get out of that?
 


Faolyn

Hero
Maybe you're right. Maybe the DM is being unreasonable. That's not the point. The point is you seem to think that the DM should have to run a game they dont want to, whatever the reason. If you as the player think the reason is bogus, and neither side is going to change their mind, why do you want the DM to keep running anyway? Even if they do it they're not going to be happy. How much fun are you going to get out of that?
If having a PC who does "too much damage" (when talking about a fully playtested core ability) is enough to make a DM refuse to run the game, then I would consider that a major red flag and not play with them. Problem solved.

Because we're not talking about "whatever the reason" as if the reason is some outlandish thing here. A DM who says "No, you can't use material from this non-core or third party book because I haven't read it thoroughly or done research to see if it's properly balanced" or who says "You can use it, but if I feel it's OP I will make changes" isn't being unreasonable. We're talking about DMs who try to alter key features of a core class because they "feel" that the feature is too powerful--when in reality, that DM has more than likely never actually tested the supposedly over-powered ability or run it by other DMs in the wider community or even talked about it with the player, and is also more than likely doing it for power trip reasons. So no, I wouldn't "force" them to run (not that such a thing is actually possible, since what am I going to do, hold the DM at gunpoint and force them to pick up the dice?) I would simply not be in that person's game.
 

Hussar

Legend
It is if you're insisting they run a game they dont want to run.
Yeah, I have to go with @Faolyn on this. If a basic element of a class, such as a rogue's backstab, is causing the DM so much angst that they hate the game, there's WAY more problems at that table than just that.

I do get what you're saying @Micah Sweet, and, as a general rule of thumb, sure, a DM shouldn't run games they are not enjoying. But, it's not a binary thing here. There's all sorts of shades of grey, and the reasons the DM isn't enjoying the game matter a LOT as to whether or not that DM should be running games.

I mean, seriously, an 11th level rogue is dealing [weapon+Stat+6d6] damage per round (presuming the rogue is getting sneak attack, which, by and large the rogue will be), so, somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 30 points of damage per round Give or take. A fighter, without any items, is dealing [weapon+StatX3] points of damage per round, so, about 30 points of damage (10 points/hit is not unreasonable) per round. Those two more attacks per round will make that fighter (not counting any bonuses like subclass damage bonuses) pretty much deal the same damage over the course of an adventuring day as the rogue. The only real problem is the DM is being shocked by spike damage and isn't really looking at the big picture. If rogue sneak attack is causing the DM problems, that's on the DM, not the player.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
It seems kinda obvious that deciding on setting and characters and rules, is a negotiation involving everyone at a table, including both the player(s) and the DM(s). (Players might take turns DM-ing.)

These negotiations especially happen in the discussions about what kind of setting to play, and during session zero to iron out the details.

Of course, different points of view might only become apparent later during higher levels of game play, and these are to be negotiated as well.

The simplest plan to ensure smooth gaming: the DM makes a temporary judgment call while everyone notes what the conflict is, then continue adventuring. After the session concludes, go back to the conflict and negotiate it together, in case a similar situation shows up in the future.

D&D is a mutually reciprocal game involving everyone equally. We have to make space for each other.

It seems to me, most D&D gamers do all of this normally.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
If having a PC who does "too much damage" (when talking about a fully playtested core ability) is enough to make a DM refuse to run the game, then I would consider that a major red flag and not play with them. Problem solved.

Am I right that there were a few pretty broken things in Pathfinder 1e (if not core, one of the main supplements)? I'm kind of surprised 5e has made it this far with sharpshooter apparently being the most broken thing.
 

To be fair, this argument kinda got away from me. I don't think issues with core abilities are a good reason to end a game, rather a challenge to work through. I don't personally have a problem with sneak attacking rogues, although I still don't like fully kitted and optimized berserker barbarians. And the kind of DMs you guys are talking about are not folks I'd like to game with either.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The general idea is, just like a DM needs to be into the setting to want to play, a player needs to be into a character to want to play. Interfering with a character, such as class features or other aspects on the character sheet, can interfere with the players desire to play.
 

Hussar

Legend
The general idea is, just like a DM needs to be into the setting to want to play, a player needs to be into a character to want to play. Interfering with a character, such as class features or other aspects on the character sheet, can interfere with the players desire to play.
Certainly interfere with the player wanting to play that character anyway.

I'm a huge proponent that character sheets are off limits from the DM. The DM has control over the entire universe, but the player only has that sheet. It behooves the DM to tread very, very lightly in these cases.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Any DM that runs games she doesn't want to has let herself in for a lifetime of misery. Nope, no thanks, check please.
Of course, the alternative might just be a long string of Saturday nights at home watching Disney+. I think a lot of these White Room scenarios exclude the difficulty of finding a game group with matching interests and schedules and that the DM has room to be infinitely picky. That's not so say a DM has to run anything thrown at her, merely that primadonna DMs who run to only their very specific interests end up with difficulty attracting groups.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Of course, the alternative might just be a long string of Saturday nights at home watching Disney+. I think a lot of these White Room scenarios exclude the difficulty of finding a game group with matching interests and schedules and that the DM has room to be infinitely picky. That's not so say a DM has to run anything thrown at her, merely that primadonna DMs who run to only their very specific interests end up with difficulty attracting groups.
No white room, I don't run games I don't want to run. Why on earth would I?
 



Remathilis

Legend
In the case of games I don't want to run? Very much so. That's just me though, everyone has different tolerances.
Again, I think it might depend on the exact nature of complaint. I wouldn't run a game that was in the lines of FATAL with overt violence and sex, but I'm not going to give up gaming because of my personal stance on dragonborn or that the barbarian can crit a horse in half.

I believe this all stemmed from a disagreement over whether patrons can deny class abilities from thier charges. To me, this isn't the kind of hill a DM should choose to die on, but I guess some do..
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Again, I think it might depend on the exact nature of complaint. I wouldn't run a game that was in the lines of FATAL with overt violence and sex, but I'm not going to give up gaming because of my personal stance on dragonborn or that the barbarian can crit a horse in half.

I believe this all stemmed from a disagreement over whether patrons can deny class abilities from thier charges. To me, this isn't the kind of hill a DM should choose to die on, but I guess some do..
Well sure, lets not descend into silliness. :D In my case it as much about admitting my own laziness than anything else. If I'm not interested in running the game its not going to happen. I prefer to not make promises I know I'm not going to keep.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
@Hussar @Faolyn

This feels vaguely related to patrons forcing things on Warlocks and the impact of having a Patron. Do either of you include the mistrust of Tieflings by the general populace in your games?

People tend to be suspicious of tieflings, assuming that their infernal heritage has left its mark on their personality and morality, not just their appearance. Shopkeepers keep a close eye on their goods when tieflings enter their stores, the town watch might follow a tiefling around for a while, and demagogues blame tieflings for strange happenings.

Is that something you'd discuss with the player at session 0? Lean towards including it since its front and center to what being a Tiefling is in the PhB and assume the player would expect it because they read the PhB? Leave it out because it's really uncomfortable to roleplay even if the player wanted to be discriminated against in those ways?
 

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