Upcoming One D&D: Unearthed Arcana 'Expert' Classes (Bard, Ranger, Rogue)

WotC has posted a video describing the upcoming Unearthed Arcana playtest document which will feature three of the core character classes, each with a single subclass.

This document is the second in a series of Unearthed Arcana articles that present material designed for the next version of the Player's Handbook. The material here uses the rules in the

2014 Player's Handbook, except where noted. Providing feedback on this document is one way you can help shape the next generation of D&D!

Inside you'll find the following content:

Expert Classes. Three Classes appear in this document, each one a member of the Expert Group: the Bard, the Ranger, and the Rogue. Each Class appears with one Subclass. More Subclasses will appear in Unearthed Arcana in the months ahead.

Feats. Feats follow the Class descriptions, particularly feats available to the classes in this document.

Spell Lists. Three Spell lists-the Arcane, Divine, and Primal lists-are featured here. The Ranger uses the Primal list, and the Bard potentially uses all three, thanks to the Magical Secrets feature.

Rules Glossary. In this document, any term in the body text that is underlined appears in a glossary at the end. The glossary defines game terms that have been clarified or redefined for this playtest or that don't appear in the 2014 Player's Handbook.

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That would miss the point. 4e rituals did a few different things:
  • Silo away utility/long-term healing magic from combat magic.
  • Open up rituals to anyone regardless of class. No longer do you need a cleric to cure a disease. You might not even need a classical spellcaster – you can make a character like Elric who can deal with short-term problems with a blade and longer-term ones with magic.
  • Set a price tag on utility magic. Creating food might be useful if your supplies run out when you get lost, but it's a lot cheaper to buy food at the inn.
  • Limit magic that tries to replace skills. Sure, you might be able to open a lock with magic, but it takes 10 minutes and costs you money in components. Better to bring a locksmith if you're in a hurry.
5e rituals do pretty much none of these – a little bit of the first point, but nowhere near enough.

Then have also some extra "ritual only" spells that do exactly that.
But I still don't see why we need to artificially divide one thing into two.

And in 5e there also is the ritual caster feat that allows you to have some cool utility magic.

I think price tags are important wven for my proposal so you could keep the abuse in check. The traditional rituals could be just way cheaper which is why they are usually used as rituals.

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
If they don't put the label on the package they can't make other rules that care about that label. Having the groupings means you can have special feats that are only usable for that class group, for example, which is pretty useful from a design perspective.
It remains to be seen what the utility of group feats will be. If they are trying to prevent OP synergies (e.g. an Expert taking a mage feat) that suggests multiclassing will be even more stupid than it is.

But maybe it all works. My instinct is to dislike the meta game aspect of groups, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see the whole thing.


I crit!
It also could have the knock-on effect of suggested that it's "bad" to play with, say, a DM and three players (because your party won't "tick all the Class Group boxes"). But some of my best 5E sessions have been DM and three players.
Not bad, but someone may need to work two jobs.

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
The most important upside to WotC: Ease of Use.

I try not to make uninformed pronouncements about what they are thinking or what they prioritize, but “suggested spell lists” indicates that ease-of-use is at least one of their objectives, in which case making feat choice simpler would fit that goal.


Nah. Rather make all spells ritual. End of it. If you want to cast a fireball as a ritual, cast a fireball as a ritual. Won't increase the damage output during a fight, but could give enemies a target to go after, tryong to stop it.
Especially if there is a rule, that you can cast spells as rituals even if you don't actually have the slots, if you put in a few pricey material components, then a siege could be a fun scenario, because when the enemy spellcasters line up to cast their fireballs, you are now at a 10 minute timer to get out and stop them.

(Of course they have other casters who protected them against arrows and simple magic. )
I Like this idea though I would increase the ranges to make use of spell in siege warfare practical. Maybe add more casters for added range.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
But only because it is not falling fast enough to hit the earth.
Actually it’s going too fast to hit Earth. If it was going slower it would eventually fall into Earth, but it’s going fast enough that it will eventually escape Earth’s gravity well. What it’s doing is taking the most direct path past Earth that it can in curved spacetime.


No, Crawford made it clear that Artificer would be a full Expert Class...but not in the PHB.

I think there will still be an imbalance of Subclass representation, but probably at least 3 each.
Thanks. I didn't watch the video. So, that's good to know.

The group sorting strikes me as unnecessary. Like, I can see where it's kinda compulsively satisfying to a certain personality type, but my instinctive reaction is that it isn't needed and doesn't help the game.

It has a whiff of trying to over-curate the table experience (and that does smack of 4E). "Make sure your party ticks these four boxes and has a Warrior, a Priest, and Expert, and a Mage!" One of the things I like about 5E is the "play what you want to play, and don't worry about your 'party role'" ethos.

The many, many subclasses offer the main classes so much versatility that they can often be built to fill different roles.
Not really. 4e didn't do that at all actually. While they had the roles, you absolutely did not have to "tick the boxes" and they repeatedly made that point. A group of all strikers worked just as well as a mixed group. And, really, this division is no different than what we saw in 2e. It's just a way to easily group different classes to make it easier for players. You want to play a "Hitty" guy? Ok, pick a warrior. You want to play a "Blow stuff up guy?" Play one of the arcane classes.

Clarity is a good thing. Clarity does not mean "ticking boxes". It just means that instead of listing classes alphabetically, they list them categorically.

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