Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana October 2017: Fiendish Options

So a bunch of fiendish subraces but only a point of ABS besides Charisma moved to other skills and some Legacy spells swaps, plus some cult spells and features.

It doesn't do much for my game.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
You're right. I would have much preferred they released this UA without the tiefling subraces at all.

Because it's too much trouble to read something you won't use? I will assume that's because you are a busy professional, and not that you are lazy.
 

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Dausuul

Legend
Sometimes it's not a question of how simple (or even "lazy," if you like) an idea is, but simply coming up with it.

Sure, anyone can swap out the spell options and the stat bonuses to create different tieflings connected to different devils. But did anyone? Everyone saying "I could have done this," sure you could have, but had you actually thought to do it prior to this?
The general principle of "you can tweak things by swapping out spells for other spells of the same level" is well-established. No, I had not had occasion to apply that principle to tieflings' Infernal Legacy. But I've done it with other racial spell abilities, class abilities, etc. And previous editions have done it with tieflings. In fact, the very first iteration of tieflings ever--Planescape in 2E--designed them with a "mix-and-match" approach that included an array of innate spell abilities.

Spell swapping to create new concepts was indeed an idea of brilliant simplicity... when it was first thought up. That was decades ago. It's not brilliant to say "And we can use a hammer on this nail, too! Did you ever actually use a hammer on this particular nail? No, you did not."

Sometimes, you float something easy, simple, even lazy, just to see if there's interest, and if so, how much. You spend an hour whipping up something serviceable, but no more, to see if it's worth spending longer at it.
Well, if they're looking for feedback on this particular approach to tiefling subraces, the message from this forum seems clear: No, it is not worth spending longer on this. Try something else.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Well, if they're looking for feedback on this particular approach to tiefling subraces, the message from this forum seems clear: No, it is not worth spending longer on this. Try something else.

I certainly hope that's the message they receive. Although based on how some people are responding, God forbid anyone have a critique against the great and powerful WotC. They should clearly not be judged on their level of creativity and innovation, but rather we should be thankful they put something out for free. And while some here are happy to engage in thoughtful discussion regarding our reasoning for our critique and the standard we hold WotC to, others seem to prefer to troll and attack the words we use rather than the reasons behind our use of words. So who knows.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I certainly hope that's the message they receive. Although based on how some people are responding, God forbid anyone have a critique against the great and powerful WotC. They should clearly not be judged on their level of creativity and innovation, but rather we should be thankful they put something out for free. And while some here are happy to engage in thoughtful discussion regarding our reasoning for our critique and the standard we hold WotC to, others seem to prefer to troll and attack the words we use rather than the reasons behind our use of words. So who knows.

I'm too lazy to do this, but it would be interesting to go through the thread and do an actual count of how many liked it and how many didn't. My gut feel is that you may be jumping to conclusions (again, confirmation bias on both of our parts, etc.)

And nowhere did I say your opinion about the usefulness/quality of the material was invalid (in fact I very clearly said the opposite) just that you presented your opinions with entirely unnecessary insinuations about the people who wrote it. I'll also point out that those designers are more likely to pay attention to your feedback if you don't insult them.

(Why I am trying to coach you on how to persuade them to do the opposite of what I want is a good question. And, anyway, this is a D&D forum not finishing school so I'll drop it.)
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
And nowhere did I say your opinion about the usefulness/quality of the material was invalid (in fact I very clearly said the opposite) just that you presented your opinions with entirely unnecessary insinuations about the people who wrote it. I'll also point out that those designers are more likely to pay attention to your feedback if you don't insult them.

(Why I am trying to coach you on how to persuade them to do the opposite of what I want is a good question. And, anyway, this is a D&D forum not finishing school so I'll drop it.)

Hahaha! I really hope the designers are not reading these forums. This isn't the place to sway the designers (that's what the UA survey is for). This is the place to discuss our reactions and opinions. If I were directly speaking to the designers I would certainly adjust my message, just as I am not so harsh in my feedback to posters in the 5e homebrew threads (unless of course I have a personal rapport with that individual and that is our established way of communication). While my feelings and words regarding this particular UA may have been strong and harsh, I don't see anything I have said as inappropriate given the intent of this forum and this thread in particular.
 


G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Hahaha! I really hope the designers are not reading these forums. This isn't the place to sway the designers (that's what the UA survey is for). This is the place to discuss our reactions and opinions. If I were directly speaking to the designers I would certainly adjust my message, just as I am not so harsh in my feedback to posters in the 5e homebrew threads (unless of course I have a personal rapport with that individual and that is our established way of communication). While my feelings and words regarding this particular UA may have been strong and harsh, I don't see anything I have said as inappropriate given the intent of this forum and this thread in particular.

That's actually really interesting. Why would you use different language here versus in official UA feedback? Wouldn't you want to be your most persuasive in either case?
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Um, since you guys don't seem to be likely to convince each other of your points, can we stow that line of discussion in favor of actually discussing the UA article itself?
 

Mephista

Adventurer
Yes, lets talk.

So, Glyssa and Dispater seem to have a criminal organization versus spy thing going on. Considering that those seem to be very close to each other, should the writers give up one or the other? Try a different angle on them, such as the spy focus more on divinations than on sneaky magic?

What other of the Nine do you consider too close?

How do you feel about demons, consdering lots of them seem to be just blessing random individuals?
 

Wrathamon

Adventurer
I'll tell you something else, speaking as a designer.

Sometimes, you float something easy, simple, even lazy, just to see if there's interest, and if so, how much. You spend an hour whipping up something serviceable, but no more, to see if it's worth spending longer at it.

That's what playtests and public participation are often for. UA isn't just about, and was never promised to be about, wild and out-there stuff. This is the best way to determine--yes, better than just asking a question without context--if there's an interest in source-specific tiefling subraces.

THIS!!!

bunch of arm-chair QBs ;)
 

Wrathamon

Adventurer
THIS!!!

bunch of arm-chair QBs ;)

Just like on FB .. no one seems to care about the actual content of something. Just the opinion, and if you extremely agree or disagree with it and how you present your opinion. ;)

---

I think the idea of Subraces based on the Devil is interesting. I thought tieflings were more abyssal? but I dont keep up on the planar lore. I think these are too many subraces for one race and would rather it be a streamlined in changes to the race feature. Here is a list of spells for each level that are balanced and you pick based on what you feel each Devil would grant you. Leave the flavor to the player (like backgrounds) but give the player balanced choices on how their heritage "changes" them.

The boons seem very game breaking if given out to players ... but it seems to be that these are meant for NPC/Monsters. That is pretty neat stuff to help theme a campaign (savage tides looking at you)
 

I prefer the actual bloodlines of Tieflings to be a more ambiguous thing. The different selection of spells should just be something called the legacy trait, all 3 spells or their rough equivalent (such as Wings that was presented in SCAG) as a package without a link to any layer or Archdevil, just names like the Legacy of the Deceiver or Legacy of Wrath, a Tiefling gets one choice of Legacy.

The subrace idea should just be thrown out, or alternatively be based on types of Fiends like Devil (the PHB one), Demon, Yugoloth and Other Fiendish (Night Hag, Hordelings, Gehreleth/Demodand), +1 CHA should the one fixed ability increase and other 2 points floating in abilities that aren't WIS (I would restrict against STR too).

There could be a smaller trait choice to substitute Fire Resistance, which could be other elemental resistances or things like claw attack for 1d6 damage.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
That's actually really interesting. Why would you use different language here versus in official UA feedback? Wouldn't you want to be your most persuasive in either case?

Because this is not the place to persuade. This is a place to react and discuss. I'm not trying to change minds, but it is interesting seeing what others see that were in my blind spot, and hopefully sharing the same with others.

THIS!!!

bunch of arm-chair QBs ;)

Just because I'm an "armchair quarterback" does not de-legitimize my arguments or opinion. In fact, as a person that pays for content, our opinion of this work does matter. WotC has done much better than this in previous UAs, and so when the quality falls it is our responsibility to call them out for it when we see it, lest we get more of the same. I also have a problem in how they packaged this. These are tiefling options for players. They are not fleshed out subraces, no matter how much the writers attempted to disguise it as such in their write-ups for each demon/devil lord's bloodline.

Yes, lets talk.

So, Glyssa and Dispater seem to have a criminal organization versus spy thing going on. Considering that those seem to be very close to each other, should the writers give up one or the other? Try a different angle on them, such as the spy focus more on divinations than on sneaky magic?

What other of the Nine do you consider too close?

How do you feel about demons, consdering lots of them seem to be just blessing random individuals?

This is exactly an extension of the problem I pointed out with this content. The differences between a high elf, wood elf, drow, and eladrin are obvious. The difference between lightfoot halflings, stout halflings, and ghostwise halflings are equally distinct.

But for the tiefling "subraces"? Out of the ones presented, 4 share thaumaturgy and 2 share mage hand as their cantrip options. 2 of them share disguise self as their 1st level spell option. 2 of them share invisibility and 2 of them share darkness as their 2nd level spell option. How can anyone claim they are distinct subraces when there is so much overlap?

I am not familiar with the lore or powers of Glasya or Dispater, but I am sure more separates them than minor illusion versus thaumaturgy. There is literally only one difference between the two. They are not subraces, they are cousins... siblings even.

The only race like this is the dragonborn, but even they do not claim each color represents a different subrace, but rather an ancestry. They don't get different stat adjustments or anything like that based on their color choice. Their ancestry ability is the same across the bloodlines, and they are given a chart to choose from. If WotC wanted to go that route, cool. But don't pass these off as subraces. They are the same race and they are changing Infernal Legacy into an ancestry ability like dragonborn.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
Ah, I see your beef now. Is it that you think they should have been more like true sub-races, e.g. Wood-elf vs. High-elf vs. Drow?

I see the glass as half-full: compared to Half-orcs and Half-elves this is a lot of variation and choice. And if they did build out full sub-races for Tieflings there probably wouldn't be six of them.

Also, conceptually I see "heritage" as different from sub-race, so it doesn't make sense to me to make them full sub-races.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
They have already tested out Abyssal Tieflings as a subrace (very Chaotic): these are more subtle variations on the Infernal theme, and could probably be handled best with a chart.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Ah, I see your beef now. Is it that you think they should have been more like true sub-races, e.g. Wood-elf vs. High-elf vs. Drow?

I see the glass as half-full: compared to Half-orcs and Half-elves this is a lot of variation and choice. And if they did build out full sub-races for Tieflings there probably wouldn't be six of them.

Also, conceptually I see "heritage" as different from sub-race, so it doesn't make sense to me to make them full sub-races.

Yea, basically. If you call something a subrace, follow the trend you started. If you are more focused on an ancestry ability like dragonborn have, then do it that way. To me, this is a half measure. They wanted to present something as a subrace with different racial attributes, but then didn't follow up with the work to make them distinct from one another.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yea, basically. If you call something a subrace, follow the trend you started. If you are more focused on an ancestry ability like dragonborn have, then do it that way. To me, this is a half measure. They wanted to present something as a subrace with different racial attributes, but then didn't follow up with the work to make them distinct from one another.
I'm SCAG, they gave an a la carte approach: but that might not work well for Beyond, which is currently an important consideration.
 

Mephista

Adventurer
Don't get me invovled in your rants. The similarities could very well be a deliberate act on the writers parts to see how people react to it, and judge things.

Want to talk about what abilities they should have? Sure, lets do it. Want to talk about the themes behind each one as presented in the pdf? That's awesome. You don't need to know anything about the lore beyond what's presented in the pdf; that's all you need to talk about. Is spy versus criminal too close of concepts? That's entirely in the article and something we can talk about. I'm tired of people just complaining. So, lets get something constructive to talk about and maybe put on the survey in a month about what would be interesting or compelling to see.

Yes, the Glasya and Dispater ones are too similiar. Lets move on from that and talk about ones that actually are different and rather interseting instead of just complaining about one.

Zariel is a tiefling paladin subrace. That's kinda interesting, and unexpected. Think about it - you're getting searing smite and branding smite. You can go BARD or BLADE'LOCK with those spells now, not just paladin. Think about how that could be done. That's a pretty different style tiefling. Fallen angel style.

Levistus in a Con/Cha based subrace. Lets look at him a tic. Ray of frost, Armor of Agathys, Darkness. Definitely a cold-based character, and stats possibly resonate with the Spike Devil feat we saw before. The cantrip lends itself to a more spellcaster than grappler, but if we do go grappler, Armor does work with it. Could be an interesting combo. Honestly, I'd love to see a barbarian style tiefling; while no strength here, we could do berzerker and its intimidation ability with CHA, and the Con boost for some higher AC... well, probably not going to happen. Eventually, we will see a cold-themed sorcerer, if only for the winter-fae theme that was so popular in 4e, and this will resonate well there. I want to like an ice-mage, but the spells just aren't there. Might get white dragon sorcerer to just work barely, iirc, but Armor of Agyths doesn't work with sorcerer spell slots / metamagic. It would almost have to be a warlock again, in which case we'd want to get away from Ray of Frost. Issues, issues. How to fix, and in what way to go?

Fierna has lots of charming spells under her belt, which would be awesome for a lore bard or enchanter-style sorcerer. Not a fan of the +WIS, but it lends itself to being good at perception and reading emotions, so I guess it fits? I wouldn't put a WIS class like cleric or ranger or druid here, but definitely there are other options here. Suggestion and Charm Person are always handy magics to have, and I actually have found use for Friend in a lot of situations, especially if one has disguises.

Now, Mammon. This is.. a problematic one. INT, mage hand, floating disk, arcane lock. Its like it wants to be a wizard, but has rather weak spells to do so. Tenser's disk is handy every once in a while, and arcane lock is... well, I've never seen it actually used by a PC ever. Always NPCs. The spells just don't come up often enough. Definitely not my favorite. There's supposed to be this looting theme, but but we don't really have a class that really resonates with this theme either other than rogue, but all the wrong stats for rogue. And we have a criminal race already (Glasya again).

Dispater. Spies and infiltrators... getting thaumaturgy. Just... no. That's a spell completely at odds with being a spy or infiltrator! Does not fit.

How about trading in the Infernal Legacy trait for something from the cults? Imagine, instead of spells, Dispater tieflings got Infernal Insight. Mammon's spells are kinda lame, so imagine Grasping Hands as an ability instead? Some of these cult abilities are pretty bad ass, and I'm sure that I wouldn't mind seeing a number of them in the hands of a PC somehow, and racial benefits seem to fit perfectly. Would that work? Are there any cult abilities that won't work for a PC type?

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Fiendish boons could be Infernal, could be demonic, and are all interesting.
 


Wrathamon

Adventurer
No, by all mean put ideas out there. I never said you couldn't. Nowhere in that quote do I say dont provide feedback nor ideas. I said I agree with mouse and called out the "lazy" feedback as arm chair qbing in jest because one used a football analogy earlier about a kicker missing field goals.
 
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