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.

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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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Either Perkins or more likely Crawford described this in a UA analysis video on Youtube a few months ago. They realised that it's a useful tool to prevent MAD requirements (especially for MC characters and for classes that are already MAD like Monks, Paladins, Rangers, etc). They also want to not punish MC characters with half your "this class" level rounded down - better to just use the singular measure everyone gets!

Personally, I'm the other way around - I want to avoid level dips to cherry pick. EB is a perfect example. So this is a design anti-pattern towards me - a repeated pattern that makes the game worse.
 

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Weiley31

Legend
Yeah. In D&D, you often have to suspend your disbelief for the purposes of the rules or fun to happen. I mean, yeah. Who doesn't want to play a death knight who rides on top of a Skeleton Warhorse, both you and your steed wearing Plate Armor, and you have two giant shadowy lances, with which you instantly kill any commoner who has the misfortune of coming across you.

Imagine a warlock who makes a pact with a lich, who as part of their pact have to capture bodies or souls for their master, to either feed them, grow their undead army, or use them for some other unholy purposes.
I remember in 3.5, I came up with the idea of a Female Necromancer who was called Beladolza: The Banshee Queen. She was an elven magic user who got peeved that her Family Name was stricken from the record by the Elven Nations. So she learned everything she could about Necromancy and pretty much raised an undead army and fashioned a Black Throne made of Black Onyx. Said Throne was a legit Construct/Mount that duel wielded Black Onyx Lances. So the Throne would handle the melee while she, the rider, would take care of the magic casting. And anything that she killed had their soul ripped out and absorbed into the Throne. Needless to say with that, and her undead army, she almost consumed the Elven Nations until she was stopped by a Bladesinger. Unfortunately, at the moment of the finishing blow being struck, Beladolza transported a fragment of her soul into her slayer and now his current day descendant has to worry about being taken over by said fragment of the Banshee Queen's soul.

Also the fact that this sometimes manifests in the form of Wail of Banshee/Psychic Screams being randomly casted doesn't help as well.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The bard screams: "I want to be a shaman! But I'll get a randomized ability so that I don't look like one..."

Maybe my bard IS a shaman. He's got the outlander background. Read his backstory. Talking about cool bards, this other character over her is a warrior-poet skald. She's not actually bard at all, just a barbarian with the entertainer background. But she has the skills she needs, it just isn't magical songs. Oh, and another barbarian is a shaman as well. Took the Ancestral Guardians subclass. That bard over there is a con-man. But so it that sorcerer with the charlatan background.

When you mix background, class, and subclass there's a lot of concepts that are well covered. A lore-filled story-telling shaman who talks to spirits? Sounds like a great implementation. Heck, flavor Jack of All Trades as getting advice from the spirits on how to do something. Classic.

Even if shaman was a class that wouln't preclude this. We have handful of different official implementations of the "gish" concept, several archers, and even more that are good healers - 5e has room for multiple classes that approached different facets of a concept, and you aren't locked into a single class for certain concepts.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
Imagine a warlock who makes a pact with a lich, who as part of their pact have to capture bodies or souls for their master, to either feed them, grow their undead army, or use them for some other unholy purposes.

Or just to have the warlock firmly indentured to the lich.

"You have killed a sentient being, simply because I commanded it done. You are a murderer. Know, then, I now control your destiny. You are mine, now and for all time. Failure to heed my every command, or even my slightest whim, and you will be exposed, for I will see it done. That power you wield? It comes from me. If I can grant such power to one as low as you, how much do you think I hold for myself? Once exposed to the authorities, doubtless you will be put to death once the details of your act are known, as they will be, in exacting and visceral detail. Then I will take your rotting corpse, raise it, and still you will serve me! Freedom is now lost to you; as vestigial as the dying breath of he you killed. Relish in the power I grant you, but know your place beneath it."
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Personally, I'm the other way around - I want to avoid level dips to cherry pick. EB is a perfect example. So this is a design anti-pattern towards me - a repeated pattern that makes the game worse.

Most people ignore the multiclass rules. You can, too.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Or just to have the warlock firmly indentured to the lich.

"You have killed a sentient being, simply because I commanded it done. You are a murderer. Know, then, I now control your destiny. You are mine, now and for all time. Failure to heed my every command, or even my slightest whim, and you will be exposed, for I will see it done. That power you wield? It comes from me. If I can grant such power to one as low as you, how much do you think I hold for myself? Once exposed to the authorities, doubtless you will be put to death once the details of your act are known, as they will be, in exacting and visceral detail. Then I will take your rotting corpse, raise it, and still you will serve me! Freedom is now lost to you; as vestigial as the dying breath of he you killed. Relish in the power I grant you, but know your place beneath it."
That's awesome. I'm definitely going to steal that at some point.

(Side note: I guess I now have to make epic level options for these subclasses, now. It's a bittersweet relationship, the more options we get, the more excited I am to play/DM certain characters, but I also have to do more work to incorporate more subclasses into my ruleset.)
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I remember in 3.5, I came up with the idea of a Female Necromancer who was called Beladolza: The Banshee Queen. She was an elven magic user who got peeved that her Family Name was stricken from the record by the Elven Nations. So she learned everything she could about Necromancy and pretty much raised an undead army and fashioned a Black Throne made of Black Onyx. Said Throne was a legit Construct/Mount that duel wielded Black Onyx Lances. So the Throne would handle the melee while she, the rider, would take care of the magic casting. And anything that she killed had their soul ripped out and absorbed into the Throne. Needless to say with that, and her undead army, she almost consumed the Elven Nations until she was stopped by a Bladesinger. Unfortunately, at the moment of the finishing blow being struck, Beladolza transported a fragment of her soul into her slayer and now his current day descendant has to worry about being taken over by said fragment of the Banshee Queen's soul.

Also the fact that this sometimes manifests in the form of Wail of Banshee/Psychic Screams being randomly casted doesn't help as well.
That's cool.

Also, Conquest Paladins multiclassed with the Undead Warlock are very good, with the Frightening ability once every round.
 

I do like that they're starting to allow damage type modifications for the warlock. This is way overdue, all Eldritch Blast force all the time is borning and questionably thematic. I wish they'd retrofit this to the genie patron warlock too - makes sense that if i pact to a Noble efreet i can use a fire damage Eldritch Blast.

Though personally I'd prefer an alternate rule that allowed any of the Eldritch Blast invocations, like Agonizing Blast, to apply to any damage dealing cantrip, chosen at the time the invocation was selected.

From a balance point of view I really think that the extra dice of necrotic damage should only apply once per turn though, not once per attack roll. That's much more in keeping with similar effects elsewhere. Probably the same with the Frightened effect.
 



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