Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana Returns to Monthly With Some Revised Subclasses


Mercule

Adventurer
Also pretty much discards the identity of the Kensei as a master of one weapon.
This bothers me, as well. On the other hand, most real-world martial arts styles have multiple weapons associated with them. But... those aren't just any old weapon. The Kensai (in D&D) has always been as much (or more) Fighter than Monk: It takes focus on a single weapon to an extreme. I definitely don't like the enforced "one melee, one ranged" idea. I could forgive a tight group or just a couple of bonus weapons. But that's just... weird.

No one has mentioned the biggest problem with the current (otherwise pretty cool) kensei implementation: the weapon focused monk subclass is the one that is required to make the most unarmed attacks.

I like it because it gives the low level Kensei a choice: more damage by making all your attacks with your weapon, or more AC. It mimics the choice a fighter has between a shield or a two-hander.
It also mimics real-world martial arts weapon training (IME). The weapons are taught as an extension of the art, not a replacement of it. Sai forms, for instance, still include things like kicks in them. This part of the Kensei actually just serves to reinforce that the character, herself, is still a weapon. If you want to go with a purely weapon-focused mastery, then you should pick the Fighter. All of which doesn't mean the balance couldn't be shifted to prefer weapon attacks a bit more, but I don't know how I'd do that, mechanically.

I'm really not sure whether I like the idea of the Kensei as a Monk subclass or Fighter subclass better. I think the Fighter better represents prior editions, but a weapon-focused Monk is interesting.
 

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Ketser

First Post
Favoured Soul Sorcerer: I take back what I said above. This doesn't make the cut. I could actually see a whole new "Divine Sorcerer" class, but trying to shoehorn it in as a sub-class of Sorcerer feels awkward.

To be honest shoehorning a "divine sorcerer" class into the game would a lot worse. The original was nothing but a poor attempt to add an option to people who wanted to play a cleric like character, but didn't like spell preparation. And really there is no real room for such a class in the current class design and its not really needed with the neo-vancian casting. But as a sorcerer it can fit better into game mechanically and well, it works better with the sorcerer's supposed inborn/supernatural heritage theme. if anything we need a bit fixes to sorcerer class, not another class to do the same thing as sorcerer, but with divine spells instead of arcane.

About the article. I was surprised to see the blade bard here, is it a hint that a few of the older subclasses like the shadow sorcerer might be under consideration for "the big book of crunch?" Does anybody remember or noticed any of the older stuff that seemed to be popular or was mentioned by wizards having been that?
 


Corwin

Explorer
I'm really not sure whether I like the idea of the Kensei as a Monk subclass or Fighter subclass better. I think the Fighter better represents prior editions, but a weapon-focused Monk is interesting.
Personally, I also think a fightery monk is probably more mechanically interesting than a monkish fighter. But that may just be me...
 

gyor

Legend
A Favour Soul with cure wounds, chromatic orb, and the new cermonal ritual spell, Spare the Dying, Minor Illusion, Guidance, and Firebolt plus the favoured of the gods feature actually has some good flexibility at level 1 in it's actions.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Personally, I also think a fightery monk is probably more mechanically interesting than a monkish fighter. But that may just be me...
I would agree with this. Really, this is probably the big argument for putting it in Monk. If you put it in Fighter, all you really get is a variation on the Improved Weapon Specialization feat tree from 3E. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but somewhat competes with Champion for "basic" Fighter. If you put it in Monk, you implicitly have a few more toys to play with.

Of course, there are a couple of other options:

1) Just say that Kensei is really a function of the Immortal Mystic and move on with life. Not every legacy class should be updated to 5E as stand-alone options. Some of them are covered by other builds, whether core or expanded.

2) Create a Kensei base class to resurrect the Book of Nine Swords sort of Wuxia-ish fighting styles. I had mixed feelings about the book, at the time, but would be open to seeing it worked into a new, balanced structure. The problem here is that it might compete with the Fighter class, as a whole, which would be double-plus-ungood, IMO.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
No. The particular problem of the blade is that you need to take the ATTACK ACTION to be allowed to make an offhand attack. The blade uses an ACTION to make a melee attack with a bonus. (Flourish). No problem before level 5. You can either TWF or flourish which is a bit like rogue cunning action. But at level 6 you don't get extra attack which allows you to make 3 attacks including your offhand but you just make an extra attack with flourish. So TWF is completely useless from level 6 qnd beyond.

Now that you point this out, I agree with you. Due to the current wording of Blade Flourish and Cunning Flourish, TWF is really a superfluous build for the Blade (mainly after level 6 like you say.)

If a character decides to fight with two weapons, it's usually because they want one more attack over and above what others of a similar level have. From levels 1-5 its usually 2 attacks versus a sword 'n boarder's (or two-handers) 1 attack, then 3 attacks versus 2 once Extra Attack comes into play.

But the way the Flourish rules are written... once a Blade reaches 6th level and gets what is ostensibly their "extra attack"... they no longer get to maintain that one extra attack edge. If Cunning Flourish gives them a second attack when using Blade Flourish (BF), and BF does not allow you to make a Bonus action off-hand attack (because in order to do so you must take the Attack action, which BF is not)... then once you reach 6th level as a Blade you no longer gain anything for TWF.

Even if you ran out of Bardic Inspiration dice, there is no real impetus to switch over from using Blade Flourish to using TWF (like you might do from levels 1-5). You're going from 2 attacks with BF to 2 attacks from TWF (gaining you nothing)... your damage goes down because there's a good chance your off-hand weapon with TWF is Light and thus your damage die is smaller than your main hand... and you also lose the extra 10 feet of movement you get from BF. It's only if your off-hand weapon was specially magical would there possibly be a reason why attacking with your off-hand might be preferable to attacking twice with your main hand with BF.

If this is the way its meant for the Blade to play, then fine-- but then the subclass should NOT offer up the Two-Weapon Fighting style as one of its choices. Because doing so gives the illusion that fighting with two weapons is something the Blade should be doing, despite all evidence to the contrary.

The rules of Blade Flourish are currently written such that the Blade should always be using it when engaging in weapon combat... which means anything having to do with TWF is unnecessary. So don't give the subclass the TWF fighting style because it *is* in fact a trap, as it gains you nothing once the Blade reaches level 6.
 

Please do, WoTC. This is nothing like the Favored Soul I know and love. The one they originally made way back when they mad the article on the spell-less ranger was perfect, and embodied the best aspects of the class. It was also a perfectly viable and very good theurge subclass, unlike the new overtuned one they're trying to shove down our throats. I don't get why they had to make a new favored soul that plays nothing like how I would expect a Favored Soul to do. I've loved almost everything to come out of Unearhted Arcana, even the sharpshooter, more than this terribly played-out and hackneyed rebranding of what was a great subclass the first time around with strictly inferior and less flavorful changes. I'm surprised that people actually said they liked it, especially in comparison to the original one, but I wager a guess that it's because not many people may have been aware of it because it was tucked away in a kind of forgettable article that didn't provide much mechanically for players.

I think it is more that the 1/3 melee caster is one of the big duds in 5e design, and the favored soul was the last shot at that. It is usually better for the caster to cast a spell at a distance than to use the sword up close. I suspect it is why they added the hexblade patron and the college of swords bard in the UA's to shore up the 1/3 melee caster. I was actually surprised with favored soul v2 that they didn't do something like "spend X sorcery points to add Y radiant damage to your melee attacks." I would have totally backed that.

On top of that, there is a contingent asking for a support sorcerer (I thought the bard covered the high charisma, magic support guy in 5e, but what do I know), and WotC thought this would be an elegant way to give them that (which it is). Favored soul v3 clearly doubles down on that concept (with added wings, because spectral wings are cool [I am 100% down with that]).
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I'm glad those archetypes are on the way to (one day) become official. I'm not really good at the mechanic things, so I'll let people be the judge of that, but as far as flavor goes, I'm pretty happy. Many of those have been classes that I played when I was younger and still discovering D&D through Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Night and Icewind Dale.

Arcane Archer: My go-to hero in many game since BG: Dark Alliance, I'd like to play one in a game, even if its just 2 or 3 magic arrows per short rest; I'm not expecting my Arcane Archer to be a spellcaster.

Blade: Haer-Dalis, my raven, you've been missed. Now I just hope my next Dm has a bad memory so I can play a abyssal tiefling blade member of the Doomguard dual-wielding shortswords without judgement.

Favored Soul: I'm sure my divine-inclined player will like this subclass.

Kensei: Powerful and plain, just like the old kit. I'd like a little more flavor on this one.

Ancient Spirit Barbarian: I think I can make a good samurai-inspired character with this one. I like it, it's simple and efficient.

I just hope the Shadow Sorcerer and the Raven Queen warlock made the cut.
 

Now that you point this out, I agree with you. Due to the current wording of Blade Flourish and Cunning Flourish, TWF is really a superfluous build for the Blade (mainly after level 6 like you say.)

If a character decides to fight with two weapons, it's usually because they want one more attack over and above what others of a similar level have. From levels 1-5 its usually 2 attacks versus a sword 'n boarder's (or two-handers) 1 attack, then 3 attacks versus 2 once Extra Attack comes into play.

But the way the Flourish rules are written... once a Blade reaches 6th level and gets what is ostensibly their "extra attack"... they no longer get to maintain that one extra attack edge. If Cunning Flourish gives them a second attack when using Blade Flourish (BF), and BF does not allow you to make a Bonus action off-hand attack (because in order to do so you must take the Attack action, which BF is not)... then once you reach 6th level as a Blade you no longer gain anything for TWF.

Even if you ran out of Bardic Inspiration dice, there is no real impetus to switch over from using Blade Flourish to using TWF (like you might do from levels 1-5). You're going from 2 attacks with BF to 2 attacks from TWF (gaining you nothing)... your damage goes down because there's a good chance your off-hand weapon with TWF is Light and thus your damage die is smaller than your main hand... and you also lose the extra 10 feet of movement you get from BF. It's only if your off-hand weapon was specially magical would there possibly be a reason why attacking with your off-hand might be preferable to attacking twice with your main hand with BF.

If this is the way its meant for the Blade to play, then fine-- but then the subclass should NOT offer up the Two-Weapon Fighting style as one of its choices. Because doing so gives the illusion that fighting with two weapons is something the Blade should be doing, despite all evidence to the contrary.

The rules of Blade Flourish are currently written such that the Blade should always be using it when engaging in weapon combat... which means anything having to do with TWF is unnecessary. So don't give the subclass the TWF fighting style because it *is* in fact a trap, as it gains you nothing once the Blade reaches level 6.
Reminds me a bit on the ranger who gets abilities that don't play well with TWF, namely the whirlwind attack at level 11 of the hunter subclass and the lvl 7 ability of the beastmaster subclass. Actually those two points are really the most annoying things in my book. Abilities of a single class that make you regret earlier choices.
Bladesinger is in a similar spot... not by default but by simultaneously add cantrips that don't play well with extra attack.
Rant over. So back to the blade.
I'd like them to have just normal extra attack feature in addition to improved flurry. That way a twf bard is in a similar spot as the rogue with action economy which contrary to the aforementioned abilities I am actually ver fond of.

Sent from my GT-I9506 using EN World mobile app
 

ehren37

Legend
Um, you don't need either the feat nor the fighting style to use two-weapon fighting.

Got a rogue who does it. Sure, average 1 point less damage on my on-hand attack because it's a light weapon (but even without Dex-to-damage my off-hand can make that up), but most importantly now I have two opportunities to land a blow and get my sneak attack in for the round. And if I hit on my first attack I can use my bonus action for something else if I want.

Feat isn't particularly enticing with only 1 attack - averages to +1 damage each hand assuming hits, and +1 AC. Multiclassing for fighting style is also not planned anytime in the next few levels. And again, right now it's just to deliver SA - I can skip it any particular round for a different bonus action assuming I hit with the main. If I start investing it it at the cost of my SA, then I'll be more constrained to use it.

I think you misunderstood. I didnt mean have dual wielding ONLY available with the feat/fighting style. It would remain a bonus action, but IF you have either, it becomes part of the attack action. I've been running this in my games for over a year, and it has worked very well.

The change is greatly needed to help dual wielding keep pace compared to GWM, Sharp Shooter and other options. It would free up rangers to use hunter's mark the first round of combat for example, and let fighter's get a second offhand attack with action surge. Rogues can still dual wield as is now, just with the feat they can use cunning action AND their offhand. I wasnt proposing making those a requirement to dual wield, merely upgrading them further.
 
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Dausuul

Legend
  • Path of the Ancestral Guardian: The spirits of your ancestors come to aid you in battle... except you're the one person they don't aid. They aid the squishy wizard and the weaselly rogue and the sanctimonious cleric--at your expense, I might add. Once those weaklings are dead or fled, and you're the last one standing against a terrible monster, the spirits of your ancestors stand around with their thumbs up their butts. Great concept, solid mechanics, but this concept does not belong with these mechanics*. Except the clairvoyance thing, that bit is neat.
  • College of Swords: Plenty of folks have pointed out that two-weapon fighting technically doesn't work with Blade Flourish. This is easily rectified (just allow Blade Flourish to count as an Attack action for TWF); I trust WotC will take care of that before official release. Other than that, I think this is a very solid offering, the best of the five and a significant improvement on the Valor Bard.
  • Arcane Archer: Most of the arrow options feel clunky and forced to me, but I always feel that way about the Arcane Archer; I have never met an implementation of the class that I liked. The concept leaves me utterly cold. So I will leave it to Arcane Archer fans to judge whether this version is good or bad. It seems reasonably effective mechanically.
  • Path of the Kensei: ...So, this is for people who like the flavor and core abilities of the monk, but don't like having to fight with farm implements. It does the job, but I'd like to see more focus on a single weapon and more of a mystical link with that specific weapon. "Nothing in this world can you trust; not men, not women, not beasts... This you can trust.**"
  • Favored Soul: So, your sorcerer gets to use cleric spells. And you can use sorcery points to be a better healbot. That's really all there is to this one. This subclass used to give you a bunch of flavors depending on your choice of deity; now it's pure vanilla. Borrrring. Bring back access to domain spells. Or Channel Divinity. Or something where a Favored Soul of Bane is different from a Favored Soul of Sune.
[SIZE=-2]*Although now I kinda want to make an Ancestral Guardian barbarian whose ancestors are just a**holes and think it's funny when their descendants get themselves killed.

**Yes, I know this quote is from a barbarian, not a monk. Considering the barbarian in question got himself killed in the next scene, he's in no position to cry plagiarism. He should have spent less time pondering the riddle of steel and more time pondering how to make his ancestors leave him alone.[/SIZE]
 
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Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
My first thought when looking at the Path of the Ancestral Guardian was hey look, it's a Tairnadal elf!

I actually feel like each of these have a really great and specific place within Eberron.

Path of the Ancestral Guardian: Tairnadal elves, definitely. We've never really had a great deal of gameplay support for the "by my ancestors!" concept, which is the central piece of that tradition. This fits great.

College of Swords: This feels like something that would have been popular in Cyre pre-Mourning. Could be the new Cyran Avenger?

Arcane Archer: Aerenal was the traditional home of Arcane Archers already; I could also see an "Arcane" Archer tradition in Thrane (with the magic attributed to the Silver Flame)

Path of the Kensai: Eberron has several monastic traditions that are weapon-based; don't know if every weapon associated with those traditions work for this Kensai (don't think there's an official double-bladed sword, and if one existed it would almost certainly have the special property) but most I think would work fine. Plus now your Mockery-worshiping kama-wielder can be use war pick if you want.

Favored Soul: This is exactly the kind of blurring the lines between arcane/divine magic that's pretty central to Eberron. I like the idea of these being somehow influenced by or descended from Radiant Idols. Not quite the 3.5 Favored Soul but as has been argued I don't think that concept is really missing from 5e, and I dig the Divine Bloodline idea. I echo the disappointment over cure wounds as the default spell; would probably house-rule that as player's choice based on the exact nature of the origin.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
So, looking back over the Spirit Shield ability. Nothing in the rule prevents you from using it on yourself.

The mechanical rule for it is "If you are raging and a creature you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction"

This is nearly identical to the wording of spells like Prayer of Healing which can target the caster "Up to six creatures of your choice that you can see within range"

So, that makes this barbarian truly beastly. If it can use it's reaction to reduce damage to itself. A Goliath Spirit Ancestral Barbarian is going to be a truly terrifying thing to see at high levels
 

Dausuul

Legend
So, looking back over the Spirit Shield ability. Nothing in the rule prevents you from using it on yourself.

The mechanical rule for it is "If you are raging and a creature you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction"

This is nearly identical to the wording of spells like Prayer of Healing which can target the caster "Up to six creatures of your choice that you can see within range"

So, that makes this barbarian truly beastly. If it can use it's reaction to reduce damage to itself. A Goliath Spirit Ancestral Barbarian is going to be a truly terrifying thing to see at high levels

Hmm, fair point. If that actually is the intent of the ability, I take back my complaints about this subclass.
 

Iguanacus

Villager
  • Path of the Ancestral Guardian: The spirits of your ancestors come to aid you in battle... except you're the one person they don't aid. They aid the squishy wizard and the weaselly rogue and the sanctimonious cleric--at your expense, I might add. Once those weaklings are dead or fled, and you're the last one standing against a terrible monster, the spirits of your ancestors stand around with their thumbs up their butts. Great concept, solid mechanics, but this concept does not belong with these mechanics*. Except the clairvoyance thing, that bit is neat.
  • College of Swords: Plenty of folks have pointed out that two-weapon fighting technically doesn't work with Blade Flourish. This is easily rectified (just allow Blade Flourish to count as an Attack action for TWF); I trust WotC will take care of that before official release. Other than that, I think this is a very solid offering, the best of the five and a significant improvement on the Valor Bard.
  • Arcane Archer: Most of the arrow options feel clunky and forced to me, but I always feel that way about the Arcane Archer; I have never met an implementation of the class that I liked. The concept leaves me utterly cold. So I will leave it to Arcane Archer fans to judge whether this version is good or bad. It seems reasonably effective mechanically.
  • Path of the Kensei: ...So, this is for people who like the flavor and core abilities of the monk, but don't like having to fight with farm implements. It does the job, but I'd like to see more focus on a single weapon and more of a mystical link with that specific weapon. "Nothing in this world can you trust; not men, not women, not beasts... This you can trust.**"
  • Favored Soul: So, your sorcerer gets to use cleric spells. And you can use sorcery points to be a better healbot. That's really all there is to this one. This subclass used to give you a bunch of flavors depending on your choice of deity; now it's pure vanilla. Borrrring. Bring back access to domain spells. Or Channel Divinity. Or something where a Favored Soul of Bane is different from a Favored Soul of Sune.
[SIZE=-2]*Although now I kinda want to make an Ancestral Guardian barbarian whose ancestors are just a**holes and think it's funny when their descendants get themselves killed.

**Yes, I know this quote is from a barbarian, not a monk. Considering the barbarian in question got himself killed in the next scene, he's in no position to cry plagiarism. He should have spent less time pondering the riddle of steel and more time pondering how to make his ancestors leave him alone.[/SIZE]

Just a small thing, but in that quote Conan's father isn't really referencing THAT sword but all weapons. Not really in support of your argument.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Just a small thing, but in that quote Conan's father isn't really referencing THAT sword but all weapons.

Granted, but I'm repurposing the quote anyway; it's not like Conan's father could remotely be considered a kensei, nor for that matter Conan himself.
 
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Something that occurred to me is that the Kensei Monk can take up the rapier as a weapon, and that could go well with a Rogue multiclass. Both Monk and Rogue would lose something in the multiclass like pure damage in either attacks or sneak attack, but I could see it adding a lot of versatility.
 


BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
So, that makes this barbarian truly beastly. If it can use it's reaction to reduce damage to itself. A Goliath Spirit Ancestral Barbarian is going to be a truly terrifying thing to see at high levels

Wouldn't the Goliath's Spirit Shield and Stone's Endurance compete for the same Reaction? I guess you could use Stone's Endurance when not raging as long as you haven't used it already since your last rest.
 

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