log in or register to remove this ad

 

UA 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.

Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 6.49.17 PM.png
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad


Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Well the next book coming up after Frostmaiden is Curse of Strahd Revamped technically.

So, do we think that this Planar options book is 2021, and Curse of Strahd Revamped is taking the final spot for 2020 (or the final book got pushed back due to Covid delays)?
 

MarkB

Legend
Yeah, that's my biggest complaint. Then again, I have a strong bias against level dipping and/or optimization in general anyway.

I don't know why they didn't do something like, "1/2 your warlock level, rounded down, minimum 1 time". They've done that a few times already in that way.
For the past several UAs they've used the "number of times equal to your Proficiency bonus" for a lot of things. They seem to be strongly pushing that as a game mechanic.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Oh, I just noticed they called this an EARLY playtest. Uh oh. That language suggests they have a LOT more steps to go through until/if these reach publication. That heavily suggests they're not destined for a 2020 book.

For the past several UAs they've used the "number of times equal to your Proficiency bonus" for a lot of things. They seem to be strongly pushing that as a game mechanic.

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!
 


Not really impressed with either of them.
The bard screams: "I want to be a shaman! But I'll get a randomized ability so that I don't look like one..." There is a reasons that we don't see many wild magic sorcerers... The next most useful ability (spirit session) takes up two hours to set up. And only for divination or necromantic magic. A nice way to get dancing skeletons?

The warlock is a bit better but would not rate high on my list of all time favourite. "Form of dread" almost encourages any fighter type to take a 1 level dip into the warlock. Untied to charisma, it could mean disadvantage to any attackers trying to attack the character. I can imagine a Barblock using this along with reckless assault. I attack with advantage, you attack me normally. DC would be charisma, so not a big DC but now imagine a paladin/warlock... The second ability to change damage to necrotic is a bit meh. The additionnal dice is nice but warlock do arcane damage with EB. Arcane is the least resisted damage type in the game. So in effect, the necrotic damage is not that great. But for a melee char, it still not bad. But this high, only a pact of the blade lock would benefit from this.

The next ability can be used only if you "die" and only 1 every 1d4 long rest... Powerful yes, but also very trivial. And you get a level of exhaustion to boot.

They should really make a shaman class... Maybe for the PHB 2?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
That said, it REALLY urks me the wrong way when WotC publish two subclasses for the same class that are essentially identical in narrative function. I don't mind if we have Bladesingers and Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters and Battle Smiths and Hexblades and Blade Bards - these are all different iterations on the Arcane Gish, but live within their own classes that feel thematically distinct from one another otherwise.
I get that, but like... I remember back when the UAs for the Xanathar’s Guide subclasses were making the rounds, I voted against the Oath of Treachery Paladin on the basis that we already have the Oathbreaker (as I’m sure many others did). And now I really wish I hadn’t because it never even got a second pass, and it was so much better as a mechanical expression of the concept of a Paladin who violated their Oath (as opposed to a Paladin sworn to an oath of evil, which is what the “Oathbreaker” seems like).

Also, despite the similar names, I feel like the Undead has a distinct story identity from the Undying. The latter feels like a lich in training - someone who made a pact with an undying being to extend their own life beyond its natural limits, while the former feels like someone who made a pact with a being that wields power over undeath for a measure of that power. Like the difference between giving your eye and hand to Vecna in exchange for the secret of lichdom vs giving your soul to Orcus in exchange for the power to wake the dead.
 

MarkB

Legend
Spirit Session took me a couple of tries to parse, and still seems a little weird. You can conduct the ritual with a number of "creatures", limited by proficiency bonus (naturally), and the benefit you gain scales with the number of participants. And apparently whoever takes part alongside you doesn't even gain a participation trophy.

So, what qualifies a "creature" to be able to participate in this ritual? If nobody else in the party wants to hang out with me for an hour getting in touch with my spiritual side, can I use a couple of trained rats instead?
 

While summoning Undead mooks to provide support/flanking bonus in the middle of the total chaos that is happening.

If we're going whole hog on the UA material, then let's dig out those alternative summoning spells from the Spells & Magic Tattoos UA. They're Concentration, so you'd want to invest in something to help make those checks, but some of the Undead Spirit options would make a really nice melee buddy.
 

DeviousQuail

Explorer
Looks like Conquest paladins will have to make an actual decision when dipping into warlock.

I like that more things are given the "proficiency bonus times a day" treatment. I'm not sure I like it on Form of Dread, but that's a MC issue that isn't applicable to everyone.
 

If we're going whole hog on the UA material, then let's dig out those alternative summoning spells from the Spells & Magic Tattoos UA. They're Concentration, so you'd want to invest in something to help make those checks, but some of the Undead Spirit options would make a really nice melee buddy.
That UA Eldritch Mind Invocation looking mighty fine for dat!!! Give it Revised Ranger/Might of the Master for Companion scaling and your Undead Buddy is GOLDEN!
 

I get that, but like... I remember back when the UAs for the Xanathar’s Guide subclasses were making the rounds, I voted against the Oath of Treachery Paladin on the basis that we already have the Oathbreaker (as I’m sure many others did). And now I really wish I hadn’t because it never even got a second pass, and it was so much better as a mechanical expression of the concept of a Paladin who violated their Oath (as opposed to a Paladin sworn to an oath of evil, which is what the “Oathbreaker” seems like).
My problem with Oath of Treachery is that it was actually called an Oath. It should've just been a Blackguard and gone from there.

Oathbreaker to me is a Paladin who willfully and knowingly violated their Oath and decided to go full evil. Blackguard, on the other hand, would be cool if presented as a Paladin who believes they've been following their Oath and have justified increasingly questionable actions against their Oaths, and they've become so adept at lying that they believe their own lies as fact and are unaware of how far they have fallen. I think there's a lot of design space for that concept separate from Oathbreaker, but IMO the "Oath of Treachery" didn't handle it particularly well.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I get that, but like... I remember back when the UAs for the Xanathar’s Guide subclasses were making the rounds, I voted against the Oath of Treachery Paladin on the basis that we already have the Oathbreaker (as I’m sure many others did). And now I really wish I hadn’t because it never even got a second pass, and it was so much better as a mechanical expression of the concept of a Paladin who violated their Oath (as opposed to a Paladin sworn to an oath of evil, which is what the “Oathbreaker” seems like).

Also, despite the similar names, I feel like the Undead has a distinct story identity from the Undying. The latter feels like a lich in training - someone who made a pact with an undying being to extend their own life beyond its natural limits, while the former feels like someone who made a pact with a being that wields power over undeath for a measure of that power. Like the difference between giving your eye and hand to Vecna in exchange for the secret of lichdom vs giving your soul to Orcus in exchange for the power to wake the dead.

Personally, I don't think subclasses should be that narrow. Liches and Orcus are both Undead (or closely associated with the Undead). If it's called the Undead, a Lich should be a possible patron. Instead, it should have room for both Pact of the Blade style "Death Knights" and pact of the tome style "Liches-In-Training." And room for being a Vampire thrall.

I do agree about Oath of Treachery; I thought it was vastly preferable to Oathbreaker, and would wish instead that Oathbreaker belonged to a Ronin/historical Black Knight type concept of someone who has abandoned their oaths. I don't see all Oathbreakers becoming Blackguards because they broke their oaths. The one as written feels like someone who broke an Oath of Devotion specifically (maybe also Oath of Redemption). Though the name felt weird - I'm swearing an oath to betray? Treachery is more like the opposite of Oaths, hence the overlap with Oathbreaker. Still was a better iteration on the Oathbreaker's stories, but neither really fulfilled what they were named for. Might be an issue with calling Paladin subclasses Sacred Oaths… in 4Essentials we had the similar but destinct Cavalier Paladin Virtues and Blackguard Paladin Vices. I think Treachery fit that narrative chart a bit better than it did for "Oaths."

Ultimately, I don't MIND them publishing the Undead, but I'd prefer if they just out and said, "this is proposed errata for SCAG." And if they do that, they should just errata Way of the Four Elements Monk, PHB Ranger & Beast Master, etc, rather than dropping them as alternate iterations on the same concept. But then again, maybe this is all for that "Big Book of Character Options and Variants" in which case… sure?
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
My problem with Oath of Treachery is that it was actually called an Oath. It should've just been a Blackguard and gone from there.

Oathbreaker to me is a Paladin who willfully and knowingly violated their Oath and decided to go full evil. Blackguard, on the other hand, would be cool if presented as a Paladin who believes they've been following their Oath and have justified increasingly questionable actions against their Oaths, and they've become so adept at lying that they believe their own lies as fact and are unaware of how far they have fallen. I think there's a lot of design space for that concept separate from Oathbreaker, but IMO the "Oath of Treachery" didn't handle it particularly well.

So 3.5e Complete Divine's Greyguard?
 


Instead, it should have room for both Pact of the Blade style "Death Knights" and pact of the tome style "Liches-In-Training." And room for being a Vampire thrall.
We DO have Vampire, as a race/folk/PC/, for one of the Planeshift Articles. Continues to eye this Warlock Subclass
 

That UA Eldritch Mind Invocation looking mighty fine for dat!!! Give it Revised Ranger/Might of the Master for Companion scaling and your Undead Buddy is GOLDEN!

That caught my eye too, but Eldritch Mind requires Pact of the Tome. So it's off the table for our hypothetical Undead Blade Pact Warlock. Maybe that requirement will be dropped in the final version, assuming it even sees print. And if not, well, there's always War Caster.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement1

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top