Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Spirits Bard and Undeath Warlock

We have a new UA release with two subclasses. The College of Spirits Bard is a fortune teller or spirit medium type character with a big random effect table. Meanwhile the Undeath Pact Warlock is a a do-over of the Undying Pact Warlock.

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I disagree. I think it's profoundly liberating. As liberating as eliminating AD&D race-class restrictions and eliminating AD&D human dual classing vs demihuman multiclassing. I think it's more liberating that eliminating pre-5e class alignment restrictions, more liberating that eliminating AD&D racial level maximums, and more liberating than eliminating 1e AD&D gender strength limitations.

I agree that some of what each race or subrace gets doesn't really reinforce what the game says each subrace's culture values. The game has historically used racial ability modifiers as a crutch for accomplishing that, and it really shows if you eliminate how they pigeonhole (i.e., stereotype) each race. However, that doesn't mean racial ability modifiers are actually a good design, just that that design has an impact on play. I agree that, for example, mountain Dwarves seem to benefit non-martial classes much more, but I'm not convinced that it really matters that Dwarven Wizards prefer to wear breastplate or half plate.

I hope they come up with something a bit more robust.
 

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Since there is no immutable law against attempting to provide perspective to another poster's post when one believes that the poster was being misunderstood, it's not up to you to tell me what I can or cannot do.

There was no perspective, it was a loaded attempt to define, which is not cricket.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Popularity. I still can't get my friends to play a game of Geist: Sin Eaters or Monsterhearts 2.
Now THAT I definitely understand! I've spent years trying to get my players interested in other games, as much as I love D&D. Nobody wants to learn a new system I suppose. I think there's a line between D&D and every other RPG, and a lot of people won't cross it.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Well, getting rid of MC-ing for all tables also gets rid of the pressure of "I need to MC in order to keep up with the rest of the group."

A thing that manifestly does not exist in 5e so is not a problem even with MC. MCing in 5e is not a path to power like it was in earlier editions.

Not saying that you can't have a temporary advantage - but you'll pay for it in levels afterwards. A "oh look I took a level that gives me something neat, but I'm going to delay my ASI and my level 5 power bump so I'm actually behind single classed characters for more then I'm ahead".

Now, it's not perfect - there are a few classes that are a bit to front loaded. Fighter, cleric for spellcasters wanting armor, plus feature, plus access to some of the best 1st level spells in the game, and hexblade for any CHR-focused melee.

And if you are playing in late Tier 3 or in Tier 4 that cures a lot of slowdowns of MCing - but WotC surveys have shown most play happens levels 1-10, and DnDBeyond has independently shown the same thing.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If people are going to use multiclassing as an excuse to critique new content, such that that it doesn't move forward, then it is hurting potentially everyone's table.

Read the grey infobar for any UA. They have not done an MC balance pass, and explicitly ask for MC feedback. Feedback of that nature is not "I don't like this", it's "this comes too early" or "this combos really strongly with X".

Since they are looking for that type of feedback, that's not going to be "oh, just tank the whole thing", more like "okay, let's move this back to the level 6 feature and put something else at 1st".

Your premise requires that they ask for multiclassing feedback but don't recognize it nor know what to do with it so they kill off ideas. I'll give them credit that they will recognize it since they said they did.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
It IS a trade off, so it's good and honest that it feels like one. Something very literally "I'm giving up this to get that" can't be downchecked because it accurately feels like a tradeoff.

And it's really straightforward. Get the HP and features on the chart of this class instead of that class. Spellcasting with multiple spellcasting classes is slightly more complicated, but spellcasting single classed characters is also more complicated than the average.



Depends how you mean it. If you mean it as "let's add in MC-lite options in addition to MC", then I am for it. If that will make some tables happy and not take away from other tables, I'm all for it even if I don't use it.

If you mean it as "let's add in MC-lite options and take away MC", that translates to "let's put in options that may be of use to the MC-less tables, at the cost of hurting every table that uses MC". That's going to be net harm to the game.

With MC as a variant, it's existence doesn't hurt any table that doesn't want it. But taking it away does. So as you as you want to add so everyone can play the want I'm for it. It's only if you say "badwrongfun" to a multitude of tables and want to take away MC do we have any disagreement.

No, I agree with you; this isn't about doing away with MC, it's allowing people to realise character concepts without having to go down the rabbit hole of multiclassing.


If people are going to use multiclassing as an excuse to critique new content, such that that it doesn't move forward, then it is hurting potentially everyone's table.

This. Eldritch Knight exists even though you could make a MC Fighter (Champion) 13/Wizard (War Magic) 7 with roughly similar features.

Multiclassing exists for further refining your concept beyond archetypes, and for allowing you to change adventuring career paths or follow multiple ones mid-campaign - say I'm a Fighter 4 (Battle Master), but I started taking lessons from a Wizard and learned my magical power inside, so took Wizard 1. Or I'm a Bard 5 (Glamour), but during a foray in the Feywild, I swore an oath to the Lady of the White Well, and now I've taken Warlock 1 (The Archfey Patron).

There's room for both, and MC choices should not be a reason to say no to a particular subclass. They SHOULD be taken into account for balance concerns before final publication.

Read the grey infobar for any UA. They have not done an MC balance pass, and explicitly ask for MC feedback. Feedback of that nature is not "I don't like this", it's "this comes too early" or "this combos really strongly with X".

Since they are looking for that type of feedback, that's not going to be "oh, just tank the whole thing", more like "okay, let's move this back to the level 6 feature and put something else at 1st".

Your premise requires that they ask for multiclassing feedback but don't recognize it nor know what to do with it so they kill off ideas. I'll give them credit that they will recognize it since they said they did.

And that's fine and important. We should look for the balance concerns.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
Read the grey infobar for any UA. They have not done an MC balance pass, and explicitly ask for MC feedback. Feedback of that nature is not "I don't like this", it's "this comes too early" or "this combos really strongly with X".

Since they are looking for that type of feedback, that's not going to be "oh, just tank the whole thing", more like "okay, let's move this back to the level 6 feature and put something else at 1st".

Your premise requires that they ask for multiclassing feedback but don't recognize it nor know what to do with it so they kill off ideas. I'll give them credit that they will recognize it since they said they did.
I suppose that's true, and maybe it's not fair of me to think that way. I'm just tired of ideas being tossed because they can't meet WotC's arbitrary 70%, and complaints about multiclassing interactions are pretty common ones in response to UA. The single level MC issue comes up around here a lot.
 

I suppose that's true, and maybe it's not fair of me to think that way. I'm just tired of ideas being tossed because they can't meet WotC's arbitrary 70%, and complaints about multiclassing interactions are pretty common ones in response to UA. The single level MC issue comes up around here a lot.
For me, I agree with 70% methodology − even when there are certain results that I like less.

It helps keep most of 5e popular and useful.

It also helps prevent the edition from accumulating low-quality bloat.




By the way, the experimental UAs remain, even if they failed the 70% test. So there is still some quasi-official niche products already available. Personally, I am happy with the UA Modern, for example.



I am satisfied with DMsGuild being the go-to place for experimental niches.

That said, I find it difficult to navigate and to peruse DMsGuild content. So, even when it is there, it is hard for me to know where to look for high quality stuff that might interest me.

If I was in a physical bookstore, I would peruse the books (while drinking coffee) and decide if I want to purchase it. But that kind of freedom is more restrained in the DMsGuild setup, where there is only a predetermined glimpse, such as a table of contents, or a passage that might not be the part that I want to look more closely at. Here, I am unsure of a solution. Maybe each account can peruse a certain number of books per week, month, or year? Maybe pay money to refresh a perusal? Anyway, it would help me to look at the high quality costly offerings.

Of course, there is much high quality in DMsGuild that is pay-what-you-want! Here, navigation to find it is the main challenge.
 

Weiley31

Legend
By the way, the experimental UAs remain, even if they failed the 70% test. So there is still some quasi-official niche products already available. Personally, I am happy with the UA Modern, for example.
This is true. DNDwikidot has pretty much all the UA subclasses and feats except for maybe the Love/Unity Domain.
 

I disagree. I think it's profoundly liberating. As liberating as eliminating AD&D race-class restrictions and eliminating AD&D human dual classing vs demihuman multiclassing. I think it's more liberating that eliminating pre-5e class alignment restrictions, more liberating that eliminating AD&D racial level maximums, and more liberating than eliminating 1e AD&D gender strength limitations.

When my main group moved to 4e, we eventually noticed that almost everyone we ever played with automatically fell into racial choices that always gave the "right" numbers for whatever class they wanted to play. Eventually, we decided that everyone could just pick any pair of +2 ability score bonuses at character creation and suddenly we had a whole range of characters that wouldn't have existed if we had kept using the standard racial ability score bonuses. Letting people just pick the stats that make sense for their character instead of being steered towards specific races that gives the "right" numbers is a huge boon.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I disagree. I think it's profoundly liberating. As liberating as eliminating AD&D race-class restrictions and eliminating AD&D human dual classing vs demihuman multiclassing. I think it's more liberating that eliminating pre-5e class alignment restrictions, more liberating that eliminating AD&D racial level maximums, and more liberating than eliminating 1e AD&D gender strength limitations.

I agree that some of what each race or subrace gets doesn't really reinforce what the game says each subrace's culture values. The game has historically used racial ability modifiers as a crutch for accomplishing that, and it really shows if you eliminate how they pigeonhole (i.e., stereotype) each race. However, that doesn't mean racial ability modifiers are actually a good design, just that that design has an impact on play. I agree that, for example, mountain Dwarves seem to benefit non-martial classes much more, but I'm not convinced that it really matters that Dwarven Wizards prefer to wear breastplate or half plate.
Damn.

I mean, I don’t really experience the pull toward race/class synergy unless I’m theorycrafting out of boredom, but if even 1% of the community experiences it strongly enough to feel this way about getting rid of racial ASI’s, I’m all for making them optional.
 

Are most tables that tilted towards combat? In my experience, at least half to two thirds of a session are spent exploring and scouting, negotiating and investigating, dithering and puzzling.
Most tables have these things, but you can't really min-max for them and you can still do them just fine while min-maxing for combat. Partially because the rules are very simple (you either have proficiency or you don't) and partially because the most common fix is to go around the rules in these scenarios - if you can persuade the guards by persuading the dm, there's really no point in investing heavily in persuasion-based mechanics since they won't be used. Maybe proficiency, but you only needed two skills for combats as-is, so that leaves two to put wherever.

In other words, there's no real tradeoff of non-combat abilities vs combat abilities. You can easily have both. Meaning it's better for your character to min-max for combat* than not, because the alternative is just "not being as good at combat." It's not really a question of being worse at another pillar.

*well, min-maxing within the bounds of your character's concept, anyways. If you build a character that's powerful but boring, the boring aspect will probably outweigh the powerful part in your play experience.
 


Most tables have these things, but you can't really min-max for them and you can still do them just fine while min-maxing for combat. Partially because the rules are very simple (you either have proficiency or you don't) and partially because the most common fix is to go around the rules in these scenarios - if you can persuade the guards by persuading the dm, there's really no point in investing heavily in persuasion-based mechanics since they won't be used. Maybe proficiency, but you only needed two skills for combats as-is, so that leaves two to put wherever.

In other words, there's no real tradeoff of non-combat abilities vs combat abilities. You can easily have both. Meaning it's better for your character to min-max for combat* than not, because the alternative is just "not being as good at combat." It's not really a question of being worse at another pillar.

*well, min-maxing within the bounds of your character's concept, anyways. If you build a character that's powerful but boring, the boring aspect will probably outweigh the powerful part in your play experience.
I agree with most of what you say, but disagree with this conclusion. Combat in 5e is easy, so there is no point in min-maxing for it. The party will win whatever, the only difference min-maxing makes is it might be over a round earlier.
 


I agree with most of what you say, but disagree with this conclusion. Combat in 5e is easy, so there is no point in min-maxing for it. The party will win whatever, the only difference min-maxing makes is it might be over a round earlier.
... You're not wrong, but if anything that strengthens to point that minimaxing for combat doesn't make you worse at the other pillars, since there's still no opportunity cost for not doing so. You're going to be equally good at non-combat regardless.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I agree with most of what you say, but disagree with this conclusion. Combat in 5e is easy, so there is no point in min-maxing for it. The party will win whatever, the only difference min-maxing makes is it might be over a round earlier.
The difference is that minmaxing can make an individual more successful, which (understandably I think) is something many players like.
 

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