Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana Returns to Monthly With Some Revised Subclasses


Al2O3

Explorer
I really like the current UA. For those I care about they are great improvements and seem promising even for material I thought beyond hope. After seeing this I guess they might even make a warlord I like at some point (e.g. as an UA at some point after the next book with crunch is published).

The Arcane Archer seems like a good contender to the revised ranger when it comes to convincing me to play a ranged non-caster. There is one thing I would like to change:
Instead of turning normal arrows into +1 arrows I would like to conjure arrows from thin air, counting them as magic for overcoming resistances. Maybe make the last part an improvement at level 7 as a sort of ribbon ("you learn to keep some of the magic in the arrow"). This is mostly me disliking the bookkeeping and having to pay for ammunition when Eldritch blast is free.

Barbarians as defenders took me a couple of seconds to accept, but if I want to play a tank it might work really well. Seems really fun to combine with someone marking or similar (giving the enemy disadvantage vs everyone and everyone resistance vs a lot of damage).

Blade flourish should be fine after another set of feedback and polish. I need to check PHB chapter 5 before I understand what weapons a Kensei can and cannot use. Otherwise it looks great to me. It might be a hard choice between that and the Sun Soul for my favourite monk.

The sorcerer is still a Sorcerer. The things I find fun in the game do not work well with more than 1 level of sorcerer (but I do love that one level on my current Swashbuckler 5/Dragon sorcerer 1).

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BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Barbarians as defenders took me a couple of seconds to accept, but if I want to play a tank it might work really well. Seems really fun to combine with someone marking or similar (giving the enemy disadvantage vs everyone and everyone resistance vs a lot of damage).

Now I've always thought that Barbarians in this edition make great Defenders. Reckless Attack gives really good incentive for a Monster to attack the Barbarian instead of another party member, and Rage gave them great survivability, *but* Paladins were even better Defenders due to Auras making the other party members have better survivablity. Now Spirit Shield functions in a way similarly to the Auras by buffing the party members, but instead of having to have the Party members near the paladin, you can just have the Barbarian go Near the Monster.
 

Al2O3

Explorer
Now I've always thought that Barbarians in this edition make great Defenders. Reckless Attack gives really good incentive for a Monster to attack the Barbarian instead of another party member, and Rage gave them great survivability, *but* Paladins were even better Defenders due to Auras making the other party members have better survivablity. Now Spirit Shield functions in a way similarly to the Auras by buffing the party members, but instead of having to have the Party members near the paladin, you can just have the Barbarian go Near the Monster.
I agree. Maybe "accept" was the wrong word. It was more me going "huh? Those features are strange on a barbarian" and then a couple of seconds later going "ah, right! Barbarian as defender. Well, that makes sense then."

I still sort of view barbarians as animals with winter fur in spring, except instead of winter fur they have excessive hit points. That is what attracts me to playing them.

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Chaosmancer

Legend
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.


Let's go with that instead of me forgetting that Stone's Endurance takes a reaction :blush:
 

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 gives the high level Kensei a reason to keep their weapon around when their martial arts die equals or exceeds their weapon die.

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.

Would it be acceptable if the Way of the Open Hand monk's primary 3rd level ability only functioned if one of the attacks they made was with a weapon rather than unarmed?

This is exactly the same issue. Of all monk subclasses, Way of the Open Hand is the one that should be most able to gain all of their subclass benefits even if they eschew weapons entirely. And of course, they can.

Kensei, or "sword saint" is all about their weapon. Now, as a monk, if they use their bonus Martial Arts attack, or their Flurry of Blows, they are already going to be making unarmed attacks all the time anyway (it would be nice if they could avoid that, but this isn't what I'm complaining about). The wording of this ability (and I can't but think it is intentional due to the precision) requires them to make more unarmed attacks than any other monk in order to benefit from that ability. Not just an unarmed attack, but more. (They can't even benefit from the ability and make a weapon attack on the same round until 6th level when they get Extra Attack!) Absurd, and I hope that anyone who agrees brings it up in the survey.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I agree. Maybe "accept" was the wrong word. It was more me going "huh? Those features are strange on a barbarian" and then a couple of seconds later going "ah, right! Barbarian as defender. Well, that makes sense then."

I still sort of view barbarians as animals with winter fur in spring, except instead of winter fur they have excessive hit points. That is what attracts me to playing them.

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Oh yeah. I like my Barbarians able to take a beating. It's stupid how much value I place on that d12 hit die.
 


BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Would it be acceptable if the Way of the Open Hand monk's primary 3rd level ability only functioned if one of the attacks they made was with a weapon rather than unarmed?

This is exactly the same issue. Of all monk subclasses, Way of the Open Hand is the one that should be most able to gain all of their subclass benefits even if they eschew weapons entirely. And of course, they can.

Kensei, or "sword saint" is all about their weapon. Now, as a monk, if they use their bonus Martial Arts attack, or their Flurry of Blows, they are already going to be making unarmed attacks all the time anyway (it would be nice if they could avoid that, but this isn't what I'm complaining about). The wording of this ability (and I can't but think it is intentional due to the precision) requires them to make more unarmed attacks than any other monk in order to benefit from that ability. Not just an unarmed attack, but more. (They can't even benefit from the ability and make a weapon attack on the same round until 6th level when they get Extra Attack!) Absurd, and I hope that anyone who agrees brings it up in the survey.

I think a Kensei should be able to Flurry with their Kensei weapon. That would pretty much solve my problems with it.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
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.

Perhaps the Barbarian will be barred from Valhalla if he lets his friends do the lion's share of the fighting, so his Ancestor's are really pulling for him by getting the Monsters to eat his face instead of anyone else's.

Yeah there is a bit of a disconnect between the flavor text, and what is in my opinion a great set of mechanics.
 

Xeviat

Hero
Would it be acceptable if the Way of the Open Hand monk's primary 3rd level ability only functioned if one of the attacks they made was with a weapon rather than unarmed?

Only if the base monk had abilities which specifically key off of weapons ... oh wait ...

This is exactly the same issue. Of all monk subclasses, Way of the Open Hand is the one that should be most able to gain all of their subclass benefits even if they eschew weapons entirely. And of course, they can.

Kensei, or "sword saint" is all about their weapon. Now, as a monk, if they use their bonus Martial Arts attack, or their Flurry of Blows, they are already going to be making unarmed attacks all the time anyway (it would be nice if they could avoid that, but this isn't what I'm complaining about). The wording of this ability (and I can't but think it is intentional due to the precision) requires them to make more unarmed attacks than any other monk in order to benefit from that ability. Not just an unarmed attack, but more. (They can't even benefit from the ability and make a weapon attack on the same round until 6th level when they get Extra Attack!) Absurd, and I hope that anyone who agrees brings it up in the survey.

They're still using their weapon; they're just using it for defense instead of offense. Make 2 attacks with your weapon, or make one attack with your weapon, block some attacks, and still kick someone in the face.

It's a trade off. Like I said, a trade off between Greatsword vs. Longsword and Shield. Heck, the Soul Knife got a similar "bonus action for twf, or bonus action for +2 AC".

Now, if your complaint is that it's functionally the only ability they get at this level, then yes, I fully agree. Best case, they use something like a longsword in two hands for 1d10 damage; this is only +1 damage more than the quarterstaff they were already probably using. They can also sort of flurry with ranged attacks, which is cool, but not really much; it's just making their ranged about as good as their melee. So, when the ability is functionally +1 damage or -2 damage and +2 AC, I can see the reason someone would complain.
 

bganon

Explorer
Flurrying with Kensei weapons would be very OP without some kind of drawback. They can two-hand a longsword for d10 damage, which would be 3x d10+Dexmod attacks right at 3rd level, far outstripping any other class.

The defensive Path of the Kensei benefit seems set up as a choice. The Kensei gets to either:

1) do a little more damage than most monks, by using a versatile martial weapon: one 1d10+dexmod attack and one 1d4+dexmod martial arts attack (or two extra attacks with flurry, all of this is at level 3)
2) do a little less damage than most monks, but gain +2 AC without having to use a bonus action: gain +2 AC for a turn and make two 1d4+dexmod attacks (or three with flurry, again at level 3)

At early levels they basically get +1 dpr vs other monk subclasses or +2 AC/-2 dpr. Later on the tradeoffs change around a bit due to martial arts damage die increases, but they basically always have a dpr advantage over other subclasses as long as they make attacks with their kensei weapon.

Maybe it doesn't seem like much, but +2 AC without having to burn the bonus action is a pretty big deal for a monk - they have so many other uses for bonus actions.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Now, if your complaint is that it's functionally the only ability they get at this level, then yes, I fully agree. Best case, they use something like a longsword in two hands for 1d10 damage; this is only +1 damage more than the quarterstaff they were already probably using. They can also sort of flurry with ranged attacks, which is cool, but not really much; it's just making their ranged about as good as their melee. So, when the ability is functionally +1 damage or -2 damage and +2 AC, I can see the reason someone would complain.

I don't think that's the complaint most of us are making. Our complaint is that the Kensei is the "Sword Saint", the guy whose bond with his weapon is so strong he needs no other weapon, or even armor. That idea is not being well supported by these mechanics however good they may or may not be.
 

Thurmas

Explorer
I like this Favored Soul more then the last. At least it brought some form of wings back. I wish it would approach the cleric spells and automatic cure wounds differently.

I like a domain spell approach, but I don't see any reason why it has to be tied to the Cleric Domains. Just give the class a list of domains to choose from in a similar format to the Circle of the Land Druid. They can be separated by alignment (lawful spell group, chaotic spell group, etc), by concept (war, fey, healing, etc), or by deity (Bane, Mystra, Helm, etc), or anything else.

I still think Light, Med Armor and simple weapon Prof is needed.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
Flurrying with Kensei weapons would be very OP without some kind of drawback. They can two-hand a longsword for d10 damage, which would be 3x d10+Dexmod attacks right at 3rd level, far outstripping any other class.

The defensive Path of the Kensei benefit seems set up as a choice. The Kensei gets to either:

1) do a little more damage than most monks, by using a versatile martial weapon: one 1d10+dexmod attack and one 1d4+dexmod martial arts attack (or two extra attacks with flurry, all of this is at level 3)
2) do a little less damage than most monks, but gain +2 AC without having to use a bonus action: gain +2 AC for a turn and make two 1d4+dexmod attacks (or three with flurry, again at level 3)

At early levels they basically get +1 dpr vs other monk subclasses or +2 AC/-2 dpr. Later on the tradeoffs change around a bit due to martial arts damage die increases, but they basically always have a dpr advantage over other subclasses as long as they make attacks with their kensei weapon.

Maybe it doesn't seem like much, but +2 AC without having to burn the bonus action is a pretty big deal for a monk - they have so many other uses for bonus actions.

Flurry of Blows is 2 unarmed attacks, so it would be 1d10+dex mod, and two 1d4+dex mod attacks.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Flurrying with Kensei weapons would be very OP without some kind of drawback. They can two-hand a longsword for d10 damage, which would be 3x d10+Dexmod attacks right at 3rd level, far outstripping any other class..

Maybe I'm missing something. Where are you getting this from? Your bonus attack (and second bonus attack if spending a ki) use your monk damage, which is a d4 at third level. Not counting flurry (because you'd only have 3 total ki, and most monks spend ki on other things besides just flurry), you've have one attack at 1d10+DEX, and one bonus at 1d4+DEX.

*Edit* Ninja'd
 

hejtmane

Explorer
Maybe I'm missing something. Where are you getting this from? Your bonus attack (and second bonus attack if spending a ki) use your monk damage, which is a d4 at third level. Not counting flurry (because you'd only have 3 total ki, and most monks spend ki on other things besides just flurry), you've have one attack at 1d10+DEX, and one bonus at 1d4+DEX.

*Edit* Ninja'd
Yep one more dpr than monk using spear or qtr staff oh the tragdey

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MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
  • 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.
Ideally every favored soul should be as different from each other as possible. Just like ideally sorcerers should be as different from each other as possible. I'll take what I can get, baby steps. Having all favored souls with enforced cure wounds isn't the best possible case, but, at least by having free reign over the cleric list they can be even more different from each other than all other official sorcerers can aspire to. Free cure wounds is a small price to pay in order to get all of the capabilities that the cleric list brings. Like summons, long-term effects, wards, divinations... Besides healing feels like something sorcerers should be able to do -not all of them of course- and something I would want to do anyway.

I like this Favored Soul more then the last. At least it brought some form of wings back. I wish it would approach the cleric spells and automatic cure wounds differently.

I like a domain spell approach, but I don't see any reason why it has to be tied to the Cleric Domains. Just give the class a list of domains to choose from in a similar format to the Circle of the Land Druid. They can be separated by alignment (lawful spell group, chaotic spell group, etc), by concept (war, fey, healing, etc), or by deity (Bane, Mystra, Helm, etc), or anything else.

The problem is that it adds yet another negative degree of liberty, the class is already quite constrained and suffers from cookie cuter syndrome. Compulsory cure wounds isn't as bad, IMO. Yes all favored souls will have it, but the similarities will end there. The real value of the subclass resides on the sheer amount of options you have, that is where you get to be an individual or the living embodiment of a deity, and it helps a lot, because having a set of preapproved lists would be quite limiting (bonus spells are out of the equation so they would bring less flexibility not more. From experience with the first version of the favored soul, I can tell you the domains available put a heavy strain on your character concept, and that is with them as bonus spells without them freebies, they are even more limiting).

I still think Light, Med Armor and simple weapon Prof is needed.
I also wish for it, but at the same time I would feel like less of a munchkin when asking a DM to allow it. I know from experience it isn't really unbalancing, but it looks overpowered from the outside.
 

Thurmas

Explorer
The problem is that it adds yet another negative degree of liberty, the class is already quite constrained and suffers from cookie cuter syndrome. Compulsory cure wounds isn't as bad, IMO. Yes all favored souls will have it, but the similarities will end there. The real value of the subclass resides on the sheer amount of options you have, that is where you get to be an individual or the living embodiment of a deity, and it helps a lot, because having a set of preapproved lists would be quite limiting (bonus spells are out of the equation so they would bring less flexibility not more. From experience with the first version of the favored soul, I can tell you the domains available put a heavy strain on your character concept, and that is with them as bonus spells without them freebies, they are even more limiting).

See, I don't see it as limiting in a bad way. Custom domains similar to Druid Land Circles allows you to customize your character in manner consistent with your god. If you want access to the entire cleric spell list, you should have to be a cleric. It's actually limiting in a good way.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
See, I don't see it as limiting in a bad way. Custom domains similar to Druid Land Circles allows you to customize your character in manner consistent with your god. If you want access to the entire cleric spell list, you should have to be a cleric. It's actually limiting in a good way.

I beg to differ, by giving the favored soul the whole list, you are giving it 95% of domains possible. If we had a limited -emphasis on limited 'cause books have limited space- set of domains, we have artificially limited the amount and variety of concepts we can cover with the same subclass. If you want more, you are at the mercy of DM fiat. Besides it not only covers champions of the gods, but descendants of the gods and celestials.
 

Xeviat

Hero
I don't think that's the complaint most of us are making. Our complaint is that the Kensei is the "Sword Saint", the guy whose bond with his weapon is so strong he needs no other weapon, or even armor. That idea is not being well supported by these mechanics however good they may or may not be.

I'm aware. And I said the +2 AC is still "using your weapon).


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