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UA 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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GrahamWills

Adventurer
One of the responsibilities of game writers is to decide what to bring into the spotlight. The world is large, and the realm of what is possible is enormous. Arguing about “is it possible?” Or “hasn’t this already existed” is beside the point. In a world where mind-control magic is readily available, it absolutely makes sense that people will use it to gain power over others and make them do things they don’t want to.

But the job of a game writer is to present not just possibilities, but to present a subset of them that will enhance the game and make it more fun for more people; to make it appeal to more people.

So, ask yourself — if you are designing a game that is supposed to appeal to all ages and has a generally positive and heroic feel, do you think it’s a good idea say that part of the essential nature of Love, something that a heroic believer in the power of Love ought to learn to do, is to mind control others to get them to do what you want?

Does it make sense that it happens in the world? Absolutely. Could a mature group of roleplayers handle it? Definitely. Is is a staple of old legends and myths? Sure (although the results never seem to be good). Do you want to explain to your 12-year old group why their cleric of love casting a spell on the daughter of the king to mind control her into going on a date with him is wrong?

.... not me. I understand why the spell was included in the Love domain; it makes sense and fits with D&D tradition. But it’s a mistake because we want the game to get better and be more friendly to all. So they did the right thing and pulled it.

I imagine the writer was thinking of positive uses of the spell, or of less ugly myths, when they decided to put it in, but then I like to think someone said to him “you know, this spell looks like one Brett Kavanaugh would put on his daily must-prepare list” and they realized their mistake.

As a side note, love and sex are huge drivers of real-world activity, but only lightly covered by big game companies. I cannot imagine that in a realistic world there is not a ton of magical research and business focused on it, but D&D is not the genre for that. Monte Cook Games has a pretty good pdf on it (Love and Sex in the Ninth World (PDF) - Monte Cook Games Store) that I’d recommend as both plausible and playable.

For D&D, with its strong focus on heroic, good characters, it would be a mistake to try and position the Love domain as morally neutral, with good and evil spells in it. if a DC supervillain would use your spell, take it off the list. so, good work, WotC
 

Rhineglade

Explorer
Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. I simply do not understand as this to me is such a non-issue. This is just a game. I should hope people took it as such. Grant it, I think "Love" is kind of a odd choice for a domain name. Especially when "Charm" would likely fit better. But just because someone interprets something one way, doesn't mean it is "the way."
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
... this isn't some utter novel idea, there is fantasy stuff pointing out love potions and other mind-control stuff are utterly creepy going back to the 1980s at the very latest.
Heck, we can go back to bloomin' Shakespeare (in A Midsummer Night's Dream) to see depiction of love potions as problematic, havign to erase people's memories to protect them from the consequences.
 


Horwath

Adventurer
Heck, we can go back to bloomin' Shakespeare (in A Midsummer Night's Dream) to see depiction of love potions as problematic, havign to erase people's memories to protect them from the consequences.
well, that is simple human nature.

No one likes to get played. In any way.

Being used via love potion, or being used via true love and then discovering that the other person is a piece of "#$% that just needed you for something, or having your business partner rip you off your share of the profit, or even when a lowlife of a street dealer cuts your eightball too much. Whenever someone plays you, you will get mad.

But, as the old adage says; don't get mad, get even!
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This is just a game.
If it is, "just a game," and therefore of no real consequence, then it is of no consequence to not have these things in it.

The problem you seem to miss is that it is "just a game" until it touches too close to real-world problems. To folks who have suffered emotional abuse or sexual assault (so, to a large chunk of the population), such stuff can turn it from "just a game", into, "a reminder of their abuse."

If you want it to remain just a game, keeping it from resembling real life is a pretty decent idea.
 



Wiseblood

Adventurer
It seems to me on the surface that a deity of love would either be the creator of love that set it loose upon mortals or the one who actively imposes it on mortals. Seldom if ever do we decide to have feelings. Often we do not even want them or anticipate them.

In that vein subversion of the will actually makes sense. Is it nice? No. Do the gods care? Maybe, if they choose to, they aren’t human.

As far as a deity with modern concepts of love goes. We have no modern deities. That is not what we do now. At best we might have an online love conspiracy with a large following. That makes me think cult or cult leader which might be the way to go.

as always I could be wrong.
 



Rhineglade

Explorer
You've succinctly stated the problem.

It is possible that there are people other than you who have different life experiences, who do in fact regard it as an issue. I bet you even know some personally. Maybe listen to them?
Well if you go that route, I have a issue with the number of players who like playing "evil" characters or murder hobos. I take deep offense to that and it makes me worried about how our society is progressing. Should we remove that as an option? What about tieflings? Warlocks with the Fiend patron? All fiends in general? When do we draw the line? Who gets to draw the line?
 

PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
Well if you go that route, I have a issue with the number of players who like playing "evil" characters or murder hobos. I take deep offense to that and it makes me worried about how our society is progressing. Should we remove that as an option? What about tieflings? Warlocks with the Fiend patron? All fiends in general? When do we draw the line? Who gets to draw the line?
Unless you're living in a weak or failed state where law and order have collapsed and the USA, Russia, or China is looming over you, giving you a suspiciously greedy look over your land and natural resources, the real life equivalent of murderhobos shouldn't be a problem for you.

Meanwhile, the threat of sexual assault is a very real danger even for privileged oeople in the developed world, if it has not already ceased to be a threat and become a reality for them.
 

Rhineglade

Explorer
Unless you're living in a weak or failed state where law and order have collapsed and the USA, Russia, or China is looming over you, giving you a suspiciously greedy look over your land and natural resources, the real life equivalent of murderhobos shouldn't be a problem for you.

Meanwhile, the threat of sexual assault is a very real danger even for privileged oeople in the developed world, if it has not already ceased to be a threat and become a reality for them.
So is demon and devil worship.
 

Mr. Patient

Explorer
Well if you go that route, I have a issue with the number of players who like playing "evil" characters or murder hobos. I take deep offense to that and it makes me worried about how our society is progressing. Should we remove that as an option? What about tieflings? Warlocks with the Fiend patron? All fiends in general? When do we draw the line? Who gets to draw the line?
There are no tieflings and warlocks in real life. People are drugged and raped in real life.

We draw the line at being empathetic to people around us.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
There are no tieflings and warlocks in real life. People are drugged and raped in real life.

We draw the line at being empathetic to people around us.
People are robbed, swindled and murdered too. Some have been killed in wars and natural disasters. Some are Maimed and persecuted if you remove all of these you reduce the game to a dungeon crawl of traps that just delay or inconvenience players.

Making a game accessible to more people is an admirable goal making it accessible to all is impractical or unmarketable.

Also; The floor is lava.
 

Mr. Patient

Explorer
So is demon and devil worship.
You are seriously equating devil worship, which does not exist, to rape? Come on, man. I mean, we all play D&D here. We should know better than anyone that there is no such thing as real-life Satanism. The Church of Satan is a prank to stop local governments from putting up monuments to the Ten Commandments or whatever. No one is actually engaging in blood sacrifice. But in real life, millions of women (and men) are sexually assaulted every year.
 

Rhineglade

Explorer
There are no tieflings and warlocks in real life. People are drugged and raped in real life.

We draw the line at being empathetic to people around us.
There is also evil in real life. People do evil things in real life. By getting rid of all evil alignments and evil monsters in D&D, would that fix the problem? Does D&D have that kind of power? Is D&D the prime teaching tool for all social norms?
 

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