Unearthed Arcana Returns to Monthly With Some Revised Subclasses

Last week, we reached the end of a series of weekly Unearthed Arcana installments, which came out for several months. Today Unearthed Arcana returns to being monthly, appearing on the first or second Monday of a month. To kick things off, we look back at five of the subclasses from the recent series: the barbarian’s Path of the Ancestral Guardian, the bard’s College of Swords, the fighter’s Arcane Archer, the monk’s Way of the Kensei, and the sorcerer’s Favored Soul.





Each of these subclasses was popular in the surveys you filled out, but each one also included things that you wanted to see changed. We examined the survey answers that thousands of you provided, and we revised the subclasses based on your feedback. The results are now here for you to see. We’re also tinkering with other subclasses from the previous series, but we thought these five subclasses would be particularly interesting for you to revisit. Next week, we’ll release a survey so that you can let us know what you think.

The weekly series generated tons of feedback from you, for which we are very grateful. The cleric’s Forge Domain ended up being the most popular thing we released, and the fighter’s Sharpshooter subclass was, by far, the least popular. The most satisfying options—things that were liked by at least 70 percent of you—have a good chance of appearing in future D&D books, after being revised and polished. Thanks, again, for sharing your thoughts on Unearthed Arcana and trying the material out in play!
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Comments

Gladius Legis

Explorer
the fighter’s Sharpshooter subclass was, by far, the least popular
No one in their right mind liked that abomination. A terrible concept from the start.
 
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MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
Good for the forge cleric. I am not sure it was my favorite of the weekly UA subclasses, but it was definitely in the top 5.

I like the new favored soul. It is like the best of both previous favored souls combined. The swords bard makes for a nice Zorro. I liked the ancestor barbarian before, and I like it now.
 

Corwin

Villager
Having played a bard of swords for a while, I'm glad they addressed some of my issues with the subclass. Not necessarily in the ways I expected. But at least they acknowledged some of the problems with the original version.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Some of them turned out to be clearer and simpler in execution.

Overall I like how the Blade and Ancestral Guardian turned out.

With Ancestral Guardian, I feel that the ancestor spirits wants to force enemies into a single conflict with their guardian.

The Blade feels like a good take on a melee focused bard.

I know some won't like the fact that the Kensei is no longer one that focuses on a single weapon, as a Kensei can now learn multiple weapons.

With the Arcane Archer I feel that Bursting Arrow should allow a Dex save for half for anyone who's not the primary target. The uses of Arcane Shot get quite a bit closer to the Battlemaster's supremacy die, but fortunately it feels different enough.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I haven't read through them all, yet, but I've got a Favored Soul, in my game. I think I'll be sticking with the previous version. I hate having cure wounds hardwired into the class. Totally ruins it, IMO. The backstory for the FS in my game would have worked extremely well without cure wounds (he had an extra slot, so took it, but sure didn't need to). Having it forced upon the class seems so very limiting.

Empowered Healing compounds the issue, even further, by turning cure wounds from a bonus ability to a forced focus. While there's the possibility that Blessed Countenance could be milked a bit (I'd rather see "pick two Cha skills and gain expertise"), I liked it much, much better.

I prefer Divine Purity over Angelic Form because I've never really cared for wings on the Favored Soul (or as a feature of any other class, for that matter). Having them as spectral, rather than physical is much, much better, though, and I wouldn't have a problem with them sticking around.

So, overall, there is absolutely no feature of the latest Favored Soul that is better than the previous one. At best, an individual feature might be a break even. Some of them are substantively worse. If this becomes the official version (assuming "big book o' crunch, 2017 edition"), it's unlikely to see play at my table.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
The two weapon fighting option of the blade is a trap. You can't engage in two weapon fighting if you are using blade flourish... so when you reach level 6, you can either take the attack action and attack twice with a bonus or you use the attack action and attack twice with light melee weapons. The rest of the blade sounds great though.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
This implementation of the Kensai doesn't seem bad, per se. The wording of the rules seem a bit clumsy, though. I think I like it better, over all, though.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
This post was generated by a news article which your device or browser is not displaying directly. You can view the article directly here.
 

Corwin

Villager
The two weapon fighting option of the blade is a trap.
I don't see how it qualifies for such a descriptor.

You can't engage in two weapon fighting if you are using blade flourish...
Correct. Just like EKs can't engage in Extra Attack when using War Magic. Which is probably even more common than a bard using an inspiration die to flourish, by my (rough) guestimation.

so when you reach level 6, you can either take the attack action and attack twice with a bonus or you use the attack action and attack twice with light melee weapons.
You should have tried playing it in its previous incarnation.

The rest of the blade sounds great though.
It does. Though I haven't played it like I did the previous version, with these flourishes being so different, so I can't say I like it more yet. Though it did fix a few personal bugaboos for me.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
The two weapon fighting option of the blade is a trap. You can't engage in two weapon fighting if you are using blade flourish... so when you reach level 6, you can either take the attack action and attack twice with a bonus or you use the attack action and attack twice with light melee weapons. The rest of the blade sounds great though.
At first I was confused from what you said, because I didn't remember anything in the Blade Flourish feature that used bonus actions... what I was assuming you were talking about when you said you couldn't use two-weapon fighting and it was a trap. I thought to myself "Wait, if you're attacking with your action, you still have your bonus action available to fight with that second weapon because the Blade Flourish options no longer use bonus actions!"

But then I realized what I think you were referring to... which is that in order to use your bonus action to attack with a off-hand weapon, you have to take the Attack action with your main hand. And the way Blade Flourish is now written... you don't actually do that. You don't take the Attack action, you just can make one melee weapon attack, increase your speed by 10, and take a Blade Flourish option.

Which makes me wonder if perhaps this is just an oversight on the editing? If Two-Weapon Fighting was meant to be used (as we assume it was, seeing as how they removed all the bonus action requirements on the Flourishes)... then they probably weren't meant to remove the "When you use the Attack action on your turn..." statement like they had on the old version.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Correct. Just like EKs can't engage in Extra Attack when using War Magic. Which is probably even more common than a bard using an inspiration die to flourish, by my (rough) guestimation..
Although Corwin also makes a good point here too-- that because the Flourishes use Bardic Inspiration dice, the bard won't be using Blade Flourish every round because they won;'t have the dice to pay for them. And thus on the rounds when they don't, they can fight with two-weapons.

But that does result in a fairly odd editing choice on their part... which is that they went (in the previous Kuts of Old UA article) from using an Attack action to Blade Flourish and Bonus actions for the flourish moves themselves (which means you can't use Two-Weapon Fighting on those turns)... to having an "unnamed" action to Blade Flourish and NOT requiring Bonus actions for the flourish moves themselves--

--which means you STILL CAN'T use Two-Weapon Fighting on those turns.

As a result... I'm not sure exactly what was gained by making that editing switch. Except perhaps just making it easier to point out that you can only use one Blade Flourish option even though you gain a second attack with it at level 6. But even despite that... the change in wording seems odd and unnecessary.
 

phantomK9

Explorer
I'm really liking a lot of these. I could even see myself playing most of them.
I still don't like the Favored Soul though. The inclusion of requiring the cure wounds doesn't bug me that much but the 6th level ability Empowered Healing seems like the assumption is that all Favored Souls would simply be taking as many healing spells they can or at least one per spell level.

But there is much more to the cleric spell list than healing spells. What if you want to take spells other than healing, this ability then would affect only one spell?

Favored by the Gods still seems to be a rather odd mechanic, just a random 2d4 from no where. Why not make it you get advantage or you are under the effect of bless for one minute? Why 2d4?
 

castlewise

Villager
At first I was confused from what you said, because I didn't remember anything in the Blade Flourish feature that used bonus actions... what I was assuming you were talking about when you said you couldn't use two-weapon fighting and it was a trap. I thought to myself "Wait, if you're attacking with your action, you still have your bonus action available to fight with that second weapon because the Blade Flourish options no longer use bonus actions!"

But then I realized what I think you were referring to... which is that in order to use your bonus action to attack with a off-hand weapon, you have to take the Attack action with your main hand. And the way Blade Flourish is now written... you don't actually do that. You don't take the Attack action, you just can make one melee weapon attack, increase your speed by 10, and take a Blade Flourish option.

Which makes me wonder if perhaps this is just an oversight on the editing? If Two-Weapon Fighting was meant to be used (as we assume it was, seeing as how they removed all the bonus action requirements on the Flourishes)... then they probably weren't meant to remove the "When you use the Attack action on your turn..." statement like they had on the old version.
Thanks for clearing this up. I was having trouble figuring out what the issue was with Two-Weapon Fighting. This interaction does seem kind of like a "gotcha". I certainly didn't spot it.
 

ehren37

Villager
The two weapon fighting option of the blade is a trap. You can't engage in two weapon fighting if you are using blade flourish... so when you reach level 6, you can either take the attack action and attack twice with a bonus or you use the attack action and attack twice with light melee weapons. The rest of the blade sounds great though.
Dual wielding really needs to be changed to just have the off-hand attack be part of the attack action as part of the fighting style/feat. It solves so many issues.
 

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