WotC Removes Latest Unearthed Arcana

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WotC has removed this week's Unearthed Arcana from its website. Not only has the article's web page itself been removed, the actual PDF has been replaced with last month's "Subclasses, Part 1" PDF (although it's URL still reads... /UA2020-Subclasses02.pdf).

The article included three new subclasses, the bardic College of Creation, the cleric's Love Domain, and the sorcerer's Clockwork Soul.

[NOTE - NSFW language follows].

I don't know if it's linked, but WotC came under criticism on Twitter for its treatment of the Love Domain. The main argument isn't that mind-control magic has no place in the game, but rather that coercive powers should not be described as "love", and that the domain might be poorly named.

People like game designer Emmy Allen commented: "It seems WotC have tried to create a 'Love' domain for clerics in 5e. By some sheer coincidence they seem to have accidentally created a 'roofie' domain instead. Nothing says 'love' like overriding your target's free will to bring them under your power."


That domain was introduced as follows: "Love exists in many forms—compassion, infatuation, friendly affection, and passionate love as a few facets. Whatever form these feelings take, the gods of love deepen the bonds between individuals."

The powers were Eboldening Bond, Impulsive Infatuation ("Overwhelm a creature with a flash of short-lived by intense admiration for you, driving them to rash action in your defense”), Protective Bond, and Enduring Unity.

Whether the criticism was a factor in the article's withdrawal, I don't know. It might be that it just wasn't ready for prime-time yet. It seems the domain itself would be better named a "control" or "charm" domain than a "love" domain, which seems to be the main thrust of the criticism on Twitter.

WotC's Jeremy Crawford commented: "The official version of the Unearthed Arcana article “Subclasses, Part 2” is still ahead of us, later this week or sometime next week. Our team will hold off on answering questions until you’ve seen the real deal!"
 
Russ Morrissey

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prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Eh. It's a near-miss. Most of the domain abilities are pretty decent, though the Impulsive Infatuation thing is ... a little creepy (at least potentially. I can see why one might not want to conflate Love with Mind Control, though. I'm ambivalent about adding Love as a domain in my setting, anyway, but I'm willing to consider it (without actual mind control in the domain spells, by preference).
 

Ringtail

World Traveller
I would say that's probably exactly what happened. The designers had good intentions but when the possibly problematic nature of it was highlighted the pulled it back. They might re-release it with tweaks, but I don't know. What else can a "Love Domain" do but use charm effects? Especially since, unlike other charm spells which are mostly friendly, this is specifically targeted at desire and may remove a character or NPC's agency if they fail a save.

I've often considered the unsavory or uncomfortable aspects of charm spells before. I've never had them come up, and hopefully I never will but it has occurred to me. Though I've considered highlighting in in the legal code of say a large city-state.
 

FlyingChihuahua

Adventurer
honestly making a love domain seems like it would be a fools errand.

Either you got charm spells all day or you're someone who has basically no reason to adventure.

And now with this iteration, people are gonna be upset no matter what. Either they stick to this idea and the people currently upset stay upset, or they change it and people get upset for them changing it.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Hmmm.

So, on the one hand, I can definitely understand why there is a ... desire ... for a love domain. You can't shake a stick at real-world pantheons without running into some sort of Love Deity. And given the prevalence of various Love Deities, there should be a corresponding Love Domain.

And there is a long tradition of various charm spells that continues in 5e. So, yeah, it almost seems like a no-brainer.


But on the other hand ... it makes EXPLICIT what is a usually un-remarked aspect of those various charm/domination/command/compel spells. It's one thing to charm the guard to get into the city, it's another to specifically flag these abilities for their ... well, rape-y and roofie aspects.

I'm not sure that there is an easy answer to this.
 

jhilahd

Explorer
I get the backlash, but I also get why it was in the domain from a trope perspective.
How often in literature and other media do we see people seeking "love" potions to get so-and-so to fall in love with them? And the village witch/apothecary obliges. Usually this ends badly for our protagonist and they learn a life lesson. Huzzah. But... maybe this one is ... awkward.

And I agree with @lowkey13, I'm not sure there is an easy answer to this either.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Hmmm.

So, on the one hand, I can definitely understand why there is a ... desire ... for a love domain. You can't shake a stick at real-world pantheons without running into some sort of Love Deity. And given the prevalence of various Love Deities, there should be a corresponding Love Domain.

And there is a long tradition of various charm spells that continues in 5e. So, yeah, it almost seems like a no-brainer.


But on the other hand ... it makes EXPLICIT what is a usually un-remarked aspect of those various charm/domination/command/compel spells. It's one thing to charm the guard to get into the city, it's another to specifically flag these abilities for their ... well, rape-y and roofie aspects.

I'm not sure that there is an easy answer to this.
As I said, the Domain abilities (except for Impulsive Infatuation) seemed unobjectionable to me, though I'm willing to hear other opinions; it was the Domain spells that had problems (and were kinda creepy). I'm not sure I see an easy answer, either.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
Honestly, I am unsure how it's different than typical charm and domination spells in the PHB. Why don't we get rid of the Enchanter, too?

Sorry...I am genuinely confused as to why there is backlash, especially considering that this is a fantasy role-playing game and that things like this have been part of the standard fantasy trope since the beginning. Not trying to be obtuse or angry about it, just baffled.
 

oreofox

Explorer
As I said, the Domain abilities (except for Impulsive Infatuation) seemed unobjectionable to me, though I'm willing to hear other opinions; it was the Domain spells that had problems (and were kinda creepy). I'm not sure I see an easy answer, either.
What other kind of spells would a Love domain have? There isn't really much in the way of spells with that sort of theme other than the charm spells. I don't know, maybe someone could possibly find something (only one that really comes to mind is the Ceremony spell). I am sure there's a Love domain (or similar) out there on the internet that might have a better selection of spells.
 

FlyingChihuahua

Adventurer
Yeah, just Impulsive Infatuation seems bad, and you could probably come up with something, even if it's just adding another bonus to you 1st level ability or something.

The domain spells though are a problem, and I don't think there are spells currently in the game could work. Could always make more spells and make those the domain spells, but they haven't done anything like that yet since all domain spells have been in the PHB (at least, to my knowledge).

Honestly, I am unsure how it's different than typical charm and domination spells in the PHB. Why don't we get rid of the Enchanter, too?

Sorry...I am genuinely confused as to why there is backlash, especially considering that this is a fantasy role-playing game and that things like this have been part of the standard fantasy trope since the beginning. Not trying to be obtuse or angry about it, just baffled.
The spells aren't the problem, it's the context those spells are being used in for the domain.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
What other kind of spells would a Love domain have? There isn't really much in the way of spells with that sort of theme other than the charm spells. I don't know, maybe someone could possibly find something (only one that really comes to mind is the Ceremony spell). I am sure there's a Love domain (or similar) out there on the internet that might have a better selection of spells.
Ceremony had come to mind. I'm not looking at my books at the moment, so I don't have any other ideas, myself.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Honestly, I am unsure how it's different than typical charm and domination spells in the PHB. Why don't we get rid of the Enchanter, too?

Sorry...I am genuinely confused as to why there is backlash, especially considering that this is a fantasy role-playing game and that things like this have been part of the standard fantasy trope since the beginning. Not trying to be obtuse or angry about it, just baffled.
Also, the subclass abilities for Enchanter (and some of the specific spells) are ... remarkably creepy. The ability to rewrite memories? Eew. As @FlyingChihuahua sez, the conflation of "love" and "mind control" is the problem, here, and putting those spells in a Love domain makes that conflation hard to avoid, and practically canon.
 

PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
I'm pretty sure the pulling of the UA document has less to do with the Love Domain Cleric specifically and more that this document was found by somebody scraping their website for possible URLs. And now the document was found before they were ready, and the wind's out of their sails.

As to why they're hosting a (possibly outdated) document not ready for release in a publicly accessible, if hard to find part of their website in the first place? Who knows? They aren't a tech company, that's for sure.
 

FlyingChihuahua

Adventurer
Also, the subclass abilities for Enchanter (and some of the specific spells) are ... remarkably creepy. The ability to rewrite memories? Eew. As @FlyingChihuahua sez, the conflation of "love" and "mind control" is the problem, here, and putting those spells in a Love domain makes that conflation hard to avoid, and practically canon.
From a cynical perspective, love as a form of mind control makes sense, but I don't think that D&D is going for that type of perspective on the world and the nature of love.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
There was a reason why I referred to the domain as the stalker domain in the other thread, but half jokingly. But in all seriousness, I can see how they intentionally tried to avoid what that tweet accuses. Look at the powers, and they are the same effect as various charm spells. It's the wording that seems to get people worked up by using "love' and "infatuation". But the effects are no different mechanically than existing enchantment spells.
 
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