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Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana Subclasses Part III: Artificer, Druid, and Ranger

The third in the recent spate of D&D subclasses from WotC! "Continuing our series of new D&D subclasses in 2020, Unearthed Arcana presents three more for you to playtest: the Armorer for the artificer, the Circle of the Stars for the druid, and the Fey Wanderer for the ranger. Today’s article also includes some new infusions for the artificer."

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Raunalyn

Adventurer
Ok...thoughts on the Artificer; if it's your thing, you'll probably like it. I am not a big fan of the Artificer, so having a power mech is not my idea of D&D.

Moving on...

The Druid: I like the idea behind it. This is reminiscent of the old Gaelic druids of old (think Stonehenge). I am not sure about the implementation, though. Starry Form? Just seems like a weird mechanic. Cosmic Omen seems like an OK mechanic, but Diviners do it better. Full of Stars (2001 reference...HA HA) is meh. Star Flare is an OK teleport with mild damage...not terribly impressive.

Rating: Meh

The Ranger: Fey based. Nice little level 3 power that lets you make your weapon attacks magical for one turn and do some psychic damage once on your turn. Doesn't scale, but it is nice that you can use this as part of the same bonus action to use two weapon fighting (first time I've seen this in use, so I like it). Level 7 feature is kind of nice...a mini-smite that causes your enemy to be scared of you. The level 11 feature is neat...when an ally makes its saving throw against a charm or fear effect, you can force another target to make a saving throw or either be charmed, or take some damage. Not bad. And their capstone? You are invisible and inaudible to a single target until they make a saving throw? Holy Shiznitt!!!

Rating: Interesting, though I would be interested in possibly reskinning this.
 

Arilyn

Hero
The armourer is maybe too close to Iron Man? Also, I feel the armour is too slick and modern. It doesn't have a steampunk feel. It's Iron Man, right out of the box. 🙄

I like the starry druid, but feel the constellation actually appearing on the druid's body is a bit much. But that's just fluff, so no biggie. Love the flavour of the star map.

I really like the fey ranger. Ideas for characters immediately started brewing, so that makes me happy.

Overall, a good set. I'll even let my Avengers fans play the armourer.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
I've been of the opinion for a while now that the ranger subclasses should have been based on favoured enemies rather than vague archetypes. While the fluff for this fey ranger is not much a hunter of fey and instead is powered by them its not a far cry off. It's not hard to picture a character who gets powers from their quarry as they have grown to know them so well.

What I'm saying is that it feels like it validates an idea I have so I like it conceptually. Mechanically it is a bit of a shame that rangers require getting a bit of a damage boost from their subclasses as Dreadful Strikes feels kinda forced into the theme.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I've been of the opinion for a while now that the ranger subclasses should have been based on favoured enemies rather than vague archetypes.
[

You do realize the design issue with that, though, right? That works well in a novel or movie where the author makes sure the story has a whole bunch of those favored enemies around. In an RPG, though, you can all-too-often be stuck with these cool powers defined by an opponent.. and the opponent doesn't show up. Powers based on the type of opponent are pretty situational.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
[

You do realize the design issue with that, though, right? That works well in a novel or movie where the author makes sure the story has a whole bunch of those favored enemies around. In an RPG, though, you can all-too-often be stuck with these cool powers defined by an opponent.. and the opponent doesn't show up. Powers based on the type of opponent are pretty situational.
Yes. Let me clarify. I would make each subclass inspired by the chosen favoured enemy but not necessarily have powers that are only active against them like in 3rd edition.

For example take this fey ranger. They get advantage vs charm and proficiency in a social skill along with some other mind affecting powers. These powers are useful against fey but not restricted to fey, they can be used in other scenarios. The bonus spell list further solidifies this: banishment and dispel magic for dealing with fey, charm person and mislead as fey-like inherited powers.

For a dragon slaying ranger I would give them powers and bonus spells that grant resistance to energy damage types, bonuses to area of effect saving throws, maybe a feature to counter fear. Maybe add in a feature that gives bonuses to attacks when made a certain distance away from your target. These are things that are undeniably useful against dragons, but also generally useful in fighting other things as well.
 


lkj

Adventurer
I think it's interesting that they are starting to try out the 'fix' for bonus action scarcity. Mearls had come around to thinking that it was really mostly an issue with two weapon fighting. It's nice to see the little rider in the Fey Wanderer Dreadful Strikes ability.

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I know the Artificer looks, smells, and tastes like Iron Man... but since D&D is typically not modern, here's my closest approximation for what they were going for with more of the "Fantasy" analogue.

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It's Vi from League of Legends. Fits the Guardian feature obviously, though if you removed the gloves is form-fitting enough for Infiltrator.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Armorer
I am Iron Man.

I'm going to take one moment here to remind people of something that needs to be addressed before this subclass even starts: There is no reasonable way for a PC to make a suit of Plate armor. None. Like seriously, of all the crafting classes, and subclasses, and rules, that have existed up to this point. This is the one idea that demands it, yet it is still left out in the cold!

Tools of the Trade
Expected, but not unwelcome.

Armorer Spells
A mix of Battlesmith and Artillerist.
Fun fact: Alchemist is still left in the dust without Shield.

Power Armor
Basically a free infusion. The added ability to get prosthetics without having to spend an atunement slot is nice.

Armor Model
Are you a melee unit, or a ranged unit? Fun fact: You can combine these weapons with the Kensei for some bizarre combinations.

I don't think Guardian armor is strong enough to function as a tank. Sure you have regenerating temp HP, but it's back-loaded and requires a bonus action. You could also forgo the weapon to not tank, but that feels like you are just kind of wasting half of your ability.

Infiltration armor is the alternative, for general use.

Also: These weapons use STR and DEX respectively, but you can also sub your INT score for either one. Weather or not you should is a question of your build. As a matter of fact, you can't even use them with infusions till level 9, so it might be better to just use a normal weapon unless you are exceptionally brainy.

Extra attack.
No strings attached this time~

Armor Modifications
Finally, you can infuse your armor and weapons. Also you get two extra infused items for your trouble, as long as you infuse them to your armor.

Perfected Armor
Guardians get a reaction based tractor beam.
Infiltration gets advantage on attacks.
I'll let you judge for yourselves which is cooler.

Thoughts:
This was clearly inspired. I think the infiltration armor's weapon might under perform a bit in the face of a Crossbow. Which is kind of a shame. And this subclass is shut down by Heat Metal, but what are you going to do?

Infusions
More toys to play with.

Armor of Magical Strength
You can use INT in place of STR for saves and Checks.
I don't see this as being really more useful than other armor infusions, even for the Artificer. Especially at level 10 or above.

Armor of Tools
Unlike the previous infusion, this one is totally worth your time.
You integrate a set of tools into your armor (for only 8 hours, what?, infusions should last at least 24). In addition to having the tools at all times, you can also gain your INT mod on tool checks with that tool.

Helm of Awareness
You can't be surprised, and gain a bonus on imitative rolls which is nice if you have room for it.

Mind Sharpener
You can auto-pass concentration saves as a reaction. Dang, that's clutch.

Spell-Refueling Ring
An extra spell slot per day is good.

Thoughts
I could see the want for most of these, and it's great to see that despite the artificer being a new class, there is still stuff in the pipe for it.

Circle of the Stars
We are made of star-stuff.
Our bodies are made of star-stuff.
There are pieces of star within us all.”


Star Map
It's an alternative focus with some cool aesthetics. The real draw is the extra spells per day you can get out of it.

Starry Form
This is an alternative to wildshape that is vaguely reminiscent of the psionic wizard.
You gain the powers of Bonus healing, Shooting Stars, or Reliable talent that applies to WIS or INT skills and your concentration checks.


Cosmic Omen
It's like bardic inspiration, except it only applies to d20 rolls and you already know what the modifier is.

Full of Stars
You get resistance to weapon attacks. Handy, but is that it all? Like no movement options whatsoever?

Star Flare
It's good teleportation ability, reminds me of the Lurker Warlock.

Thoughts:
I am whelmed by the Star Druid, not underwhelmed, or overwhelmed, just whelmed. It's an aesthetics-first kind of subclass that isn't tied to any lore at all. I suppose I was just expecting a “Druid of the Rose” or a “Druid of the Tree” or maybe even a “Druid of Winter” based on past UA givings. Heck, for a brief moment when I read the name, I thought maybe this was the psionic druid attached to Star Spawn or whatever kind of Star that the Mindflayers were running from. This could have been the missing link in lore, but no, its just a big ball of flaming gas.

Fey Wanderer
Taking a trip on the wild side.

Fey Wanderer Magic
More magic is more good. And this is a solid list.

Cunning Will
Advantage on saves could come in handy, and the extra skills especially so.

Dreadful Strikes
And now for the first oddity: You can deal 1d6 extra damage per attack, but only once per creature per turn. Which encourages you do spread out your attacks, but are you really going to do that? At least it gets around a bit of Bonus Action Scarcity by not conflicting with two weapon fighting, but then again the damage restriction makes it so two weapon fighting isn't that great anyway.

Blessings of the Courts
Ranger Smites, but why are they 3d6 regardless of spell slot used? The WIS bonus to CHA checks is also nice.

Beguiling Twist
Kind of a nice way to throw salt in the wound of a creature that tried to charm you. Unfortunately your party isn't any harder to charm than normal.

Misty Presence
Selective invisibility, against one target, who gets a saving throw against it. A 24 hour duration is interesting, but this is by no means capstone worthy, when the normal Invisibility spell is arguably better.

Thoughts:
This subclass has some interesting ideas and themes, but the experimental mechanics really snag up the class.
 

cbwjm

Hero
The power armour is one of the reasons why I'm not fond of the artificer class. I'd rather the armour be treasure that anyone with the right proficiencies can use effectively rather than just having it as an artificer ability. I had the same disconnect with the old UA thunder cannon subclass and a bit with the current artillerist class.
 

Ace

Adventurer
I rather like the artificer. Its not that big a surprise either considering how many "supers" builds are out there. There is even a Marvelous Archetypes books which is basically "The Avengers" in D&D . It would also be fairly interesting for a Warforged if the DM allowed it to be used with plating.

The druid seems sound and flavorful for the right game.

As for the Ranger, also cool and fits my home campaign quite well. I'm allowing that one if I run at some point.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Oh I was expecting the Iron Man artificer. That and the other type of science hero are the only tech hero themes left. It does what you think it would. Though what part of lighting launching fake repulsor blasting is Infiltration.

Circle of Star seems cool. Though it feels like a bit of a stretch to create a subclass for this. Though lit fits for Celtic druid imagery. The starry shape thing is cool.

Fey wanderer is okay. It really seems like the team understands that they messed up with ranger spells known. Turning rangers into psychic damage machines seems off though. Or at less a boring way to make it feylike.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Oh I was expecting the Iron Man artificer. That and the other type of science hero are the only tech hero themes left

You would think they would be able to do a Subclass of Artificer for every magic item type:
Armor, Potions, Rings, Rods, Scrolls, Staffs, Wands, and Wondrous Items.

I mean Wands, Staffs, and Rods are already covered in the Artillerist. But there are still Rings, Scrolls, and Weapons to be covered. (The Battlesmith clearly goes for Wonderous Items with that pet)
 

Armor Modifications
Finally, you can infuse your armor and weapons. Also you get two extra infused items for your trouble, as long as you infuse them to your armor.

Armor of Tools
Unlike the previous infusion, this one is totally worth your time.
You integrate a set of tools into your armor (for only 8 hours, what?, infusions should last at least 24). In addition to having the tools at all times, you can also gain your INT mod on tool checks with that tool.

As someone else pointed out, the Armor Mods feature is a little odd in how it breaks up the armor. Armor and weapon are mandatory, boots is useful, but a bracer slot? The only two bracers on the Replicate Item list are Archery and Defense, and neither is likely to be useful to this subclass.

As for Armor of Tools, I was thrown off by this at first too, but read it more closely. The Infusion lasts until canceled. Then as an action you can integrate a tool set into the armor, which lasts until canceled or until 8 hours have passed. At which point you just have to take another action to restart the effect, because the base Infusion hasn't expired. It's a little bit of an odd choice to have a timer on the effect instead of just lasting until canceled, but that's how it's written. Maybe so you can't cheese encumbrance or something?
 
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