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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Chaosmancer

Legend
Some points

The artificer can turn any heavy armor into power armor. This means that they can turn that Plate Mail of Acid Resistance into their armor, and with the level 9 ability they can put infusions into it. I don't know what shenanigans this opens, but I think it is really cool to think about.

I'm a little shocked there isn't more discussion about the force field temp hp. It doesn't start as a lot, but with no limit and a set amount I see it as pretty powerful. I mean, I've been playing an Artillerist, and that 6-11 temp hp every turn has been incredible, and adding that to a build that can easily get 21 AC (plate mail, magic shield), I see that as really nice.

I definitely see Infiltrator lacking in comparison to the Guardian, it needs something a little better. Though, I will note, this is the only ability in the game that removes stealth disadvantage from heavy armor.

I do like the infiltrator level 15 ability though. Advantage with a 1d6 damage rider. Comes really late though, so maybe increase the damage a little? I'm not sure.

Spell Refueling Ring is really funny, because on a party member it can give you a 3rd level spell slot. On an Artificer it can give you a 6th level spell slot, which you can't even use. I'd almost be tempted to let them create a 6th level slot for giggles, but it is there.

Star druid is dripping flavor and I love it. I think the chalice ability is a little weak, but I like healing on my druids a lot.

Dragon though, holy crap. For 10 minutes you will not fail a Concentration check. If you have a +2 or +3 con, you end up being unable to get lower than a 12 or 13, meaning you need to take over 24 damage to even have a chance to fail. Building for Concentration checks and you are going to be able to guarantee concentration saves. That is huge

Cosmic omen is a little... odd. I'm not a fan but I don't know why.

Star Flare is just too weak. The teleport is great, drop it on your allies and you can move them up to 60 ft from where they were, redistributing the entire battlefield. But, it is a con save versus 4d10 with no damage on a success. This is a daily ability for level 14, at a minimum it should be save for half. And while blind is powerful, blind for 1 round is not that powerful. So, I'd really jump the damage up and make it save for half. The teleport is awesome, but this should hit hard and be awesome when the druid pulls it out.


I agree the ranger should have a scale to their psychic smites. I'm not against Dreadful strikes, but it does have problems.

Beguiling Twist is cool, I'm not sure how often it will happen though. Fear and Charm just don't seem to happen at my table, so I don't have a good judge for this. It is unlimited and it can work if you succeed the save, so that's cool. I think it might be fine, but I'm just not sure what to think.

Also, in terms of single target, Misty Prescence is incredible. They cannot see or hear you which opens some possibilities. And they only get to repeat the save if you hit them or cause them to save, so you can essentially designate a target who will ignore you in a fight. It could be better, but I think it is interesting.
 

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gyor

Legend
So D&D Iron Man, a sentient mobile phone and a goth ranger. :cautious:

New content is welcome and I'm sure plenty will really dig these...but not I. Ugh.

Iron man I can see, but Goth Ranger makes no sense, this Ranger literally has magical butterflies flying around him on short and long rests, he is the least Goth Ranger of them all. He is practically a Disney cartoon, like we now know Snow White and Cinderella are Rangers now 😋
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
The starry form gives me a very strong World of Warcraft feel, where there's a number of beings with that sort of appearance.

Antlered rangers using fey powers is pretty freaking cool, too.

The inclusion of the artificer here, in a non-particularly-planar way, makes me think this is just Xanathar's 2, rather than being a planar book, as is so often suggested.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
The artificer can turn any heavy armor into power armor. This means that they can turn that Plate Mail of Acid Resistance into their armor, and with the level 9 ability they can put infusions into it. I don't know what shenanigans this opens, but I think it is really cool to think about.

The thing is, you can't put infusions on a magic item. So even if you DM rules that the extra infusion slots from Armor Mods don't count as magical when the base armor is, you definitely still couldn't put any armor slot infusions on it. I haven't run all the permutations but I think that rules out any of the really abusive combinations. Certainly there's nothing that you couldn't already do with a Battle Smith, and I haven't seen anyone advertise any really powerful combinations there.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t there be ways to temporarily enchant a thing that are unique to a tradition, or new, or whatever?
It's not a case of there not being ways to temporarily enchant a thing, it's more that it takes a whole class to do it. Artificers themselves I see as less of a class and more something that any class could do. Alchemy to me would be a learnable skill that any class could pick up, the power armour to me should be some unique treasure, the old thunder cannon I believe should have also have been treasure that anyone could use, though I guess since that subclass has disappeared my objection to it is somewhat moot but I still feel the artillerist could instead be any class able to use the items.

I'm not saying the artificer shouldn't exist, people love the class and it's core to Eberron. I'm just saying that I don't like it as I think most of what it incorporates could be shared around to any class.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The thing is, you can't put infusions on a magic item. So even if you DM rules that the extra infusion slots from Armor Mods don't count as magical when the base armor is, you definitely still couldn't put any armor slot infusions on it. I haven't run all the permutations but I think that rules out any of the really abusive combinations. Certainly there's nothing that you couldn't already do with a Battle Smith, and I haven't seen anyone advertise any really powerful combinations there.

I think I would allow the specific "Each of those items can bear one of your infusions" to override the general inability to infuse enchanted items.

But, it is a thin line and I just would be interested to see what craziness they could cook up if I removed the limit rather than thinking it would be acceptable at all tables.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
It's not a case of there not being ways to temporarily enchant a thing, it's more that it takes a whole class to do it. Artificers themselves I see as less of a class and more something that any class could do. Alchemy to me would be a learnable skill that any class could pick up, the power armour to me should be some unique treasure, the old thunder cannon I believe should have also have been treasure that anyone could use, though I guess since that subclass has disappeared my objection to it is somewhat moot but I still feel the artillerist could instead be any class able to use the items.

I'm not saying the artificer shouldn't exist, people love the class and it's core to Eberron. I'm just saying that I don't like it as I think most of what it incorporates could be shared around to any class.
The same could be said of Fighters tbh. Anyone could just pick up a sword and start swinging.
 

gyor

Legend
The starry form gives me a very strong World of Warcraft feel, where there's a number of beings with that sort of appearance.

Antlered rangers using fey powers is pretty freaking cool, too.

The inclusion of the artificer here, in a non-particularly-planar way, makes me think this is just Xanathar's 2, rather than being a planar book, as is so often suggested.

A Taxabi Ranger whose hair/fur changes with the season would be funny. A Green Tabaxi in Spring, Gold Tabaxi in Summer, a Red Tabaxi in Autumn, and Blue Tabaxi in Winter.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Anyone can just pick up a sword and start swinging.
Right, and they won’t be as good at it as the fighter.

The artificer invents the things they use. They aren’t out in the world because the guy who invented them is still using them.

Maybe wands of fireball were once the invention of an artillerist. 🤷‍♂️
 

Kurotowa

Legend
The artificer invents the things they use. They aren’t out in the world because the guy who invented them is still using them.

More to the point, they don't work for other people yet. It's true the Artificer is better than most at making standard enchanted items, but they also know how to use their own magic to create temporary or personal enchantments. You can't hand an Eldritch Cannon or Power Armor to someone else because it's tied to the Artificer and won't work for them. You call sell an Infused item (unless maybe you're a Charlatan) because it'll stop working as soon as the Artificer stops actively powering the effect.

The works of an Artificer exist on a spectrum. If it's permanent and works for anyone, it's a magic item. If it's non-permanent and works for anyone, it's an Infusion. If it's non-permanent and only works for the Artificer who made it, it's a class feature. Do you want to create a magic item that replicates the effect of a class feature? Then talk to your DM about downtime research, magic item formula discovery, rare ingredient procurement, and what a fair and mechanically balanced "class feature in a can" stat block would be. Or leave that to the NPCs and get on with adventuring.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I ignore the Artificer, and also try not to focus on the mechanics of the other two, but at least I appreciate the fact that this time there are some sensible character concepts, after a series of IMHO horrible UA articles.

The Druid class always had one possible theme based on astronomy as an example of the cycles of nature, even though it's not a theme as strong as plants, beasts or weather, it's definitely a good niche and very "druidic".

Similarly, I keep saying that the key concept of a Ranger is that of being on the borderline (or "range", hence the name) of the "normal world". It's the Ranger's saving grace to avoid getting dragged into the underwhelming idea of being just a "fighter who does camping in the woods" (or worst of the worst, the even more underwhelming archery/2WF specialist). So a good source of ideas for Ranger subclasses is borderline with what: for the Hunter subclass the what is generically monstrous races (which supposedly might live in territories beyond civilization), then for instance with the Deep Stalker it is the underdark and with the Horizon Walker is other planes of the multiverse. It makes a lot of sense to have a feywild-oriented subclass too!
 

You can have as many infused items as infusions known, the max items that can be infused is per long rest, so a 5th lvl Artificer can infuse 2 items at the end of a long rest, then a further 2 items after the next long rest for a total of 4 items. They then can then change the item that up to two infusions are in per long rest after that. If it was only a max of 2 items at a time, i.e. they reset every day, it wouldn't say infusions remain in an item indefintely, and DnDBeyond wouldn't let me have all 4 items active at once. The Armorer feature means you can change 5 per long rest.
That's completely wrong. The "Infused Items" column gives you the maximum number of items you can have at any time. I.e. 2 at level 2. If you try to infuse more than that the oldest one immediately dissipates. There is no need to "refresh" infusions - items remain infused until you choose to change them, which you can do after a long rest. "Infusions known" is the number of different types of infusion your character has to choose from - it has no connection to how many infused items you can have.
 

Some points

The artificer can turn any heavy armor into power armor.
It does. I'm not sure that is indented though, and I think that initial power needs adjusting a little, since you can put on any armour and turn it into power armour in 6 seconds. Even Tony Stark needed weeks in a cave!

It should probably be comparable to creating a steel defender - it takes a long rest to build one, but you start with no "base item", you create the whole thing from scratch.

Rather than an add on, Guardian and Infiltrator Armour should be there own armour types:

Guardian: AC 18, no strength requirement, stealth disadvantage, 30lb, special
Infiltrator: AC 13+dex mod, no strength requirement, stealth advantage*, 10 lb, special

*it needs a name-appropriate buff!

I'm a little shocked there isn't more discussion about the force field temp hp.

It's basically an unlimited uses Second Wind. I agree, very powerful, possibly overpowered. Definitely overpowered compared to the other armour option.
 
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Iry

Hero
Defensive Field is definitely nice, but high level encounters can easily throw around 80-100 damage on a character in a single round. If anything, Defensive Field gives some freedom from the 14+ Constitution meta. It will probably have a bigger impact in the exploration tier where the Armorer can soak up hazard and trap damage.

Lightning Launcher definitely needs some more love. Something like 1d8 Lightning Damage and prevents the target from taking reactions until the start of your next turn, at least.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Right, and they won’t be as good at it as the fighter.

The artificer invents the things they use. They aren’t out in the world because the guy who invented them is still using them.

Maybe wands of fireball were once the invention of an artillerist.
But they can still use that weapon. An artillerist creates their little hand cannon and no one else can use it. The armourer creates a suit of powered armour and no one else can use it. Both of these things should be items to be found in my opinion, you and others clearly think differently, enjoy the artificer, for me though, I'd prefer to open these things up to everyone with other classes via skills, tools, and maybe feats.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Defensive Field is definitely nice, but high level encounters can easily throw around 80-100 damage on a character in a single round. If anything, Defensive Field gives some freedom from the 14+ Constitution meta. It will probably have a bigger impact in the exploration tier where the Armorer can soak up hazard and trap damage.

Lightning Launcher definitely needs some more love. Something like 1d8 Lightning Damage and prevents the target from taking reactions until the start of your next turn, at least.

I don't know about that 80 damage a round thing, but I can only report what I've experienced. And that is between a Paladin with Inspiring Leader, a Warlock with Inspiring Leader, and an Artificer with the Protector turret, over three seperate games, having a reliable free source of temp hp is a big help. And the Artificer showed me that having it every turn is incredibly powerful.

It is actually a little comparable to the Archdruid ability, on a lesser scale, getting an hp refresh every turn is big, even if it only works out to a 25% reduction in all damage over the course of a fight.

I'm not sure it needs weakened, because at low levels it isn't too bad, but the infiltrator definetly needs buffed to get up to it's level.

I would not have Lightning Launcher prevent reactions though, doing that at a distance is a little too tactically powerful I think. I can get behind the die size increase though.
 

The trouble with lightning launcher is lightning damage is one of the most common complete immunity damage types. Wheras thunder damage is one of the best damage types for enemies not to be resistant/immune.
 

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