Unearthed Arcana 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!"
 

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Bitbrain

Lost in Dark Sun
reads entirety of thread
I wish I had looked at the Cleric domain more closely when I followed the initial link. But I didn’t, because the Sorcerer subclass looked far more interesting to me.

Hopefully when the PDF releases officially they’ll have removed the channel divinity at the very least and replaced it with something that better reflects the “Battle Couple” trope someone may have mentioned earlier in the thread, even though I can’t seem to find the exact post.
 

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Mournblade94

Adventurer
They should release it as an option at least. There are going to be those that don't like it, but as we always do, if there are things you don't like you ignore it and move on.
 



Mournblade94

Adventurer
I saw this before it got taken down by WotC, and it raised some eyebrows for me. I'm not surprised it was taken down so quickly.

Me and my players are sensitive to "loss of character agency" story arcs, so I don't use much stuff like charm person and dominate when writing my adventures. It's not a law or anything; I've never needed a house-rule to stop the players from selecting these spells when preparing their lists for the day, and there's nothing stopping them from buying a Love Potion No. 9 or whatever from the local witch. We just don't. It feels creepy and we don't like it.

If this brand of mind control is your jam, the rules and game mechanics fully support it. But it's not for me.

As to the agency part, why is it really loss of agency. Its a magic effect just as Hold Person. Not dissing on your groups preference, but I mean we play a game where you can literally get infected and die from disease. How is this worst than being charmed? Especially when its a temporary magic effect. I'm only curious because I have seen this criticism pop up on twitter alot (which may not be the best source for all of its melodrama).

It doesn't seem like your character has any less choice about their fate when they are ensnared or if they are under suggestion. Its just one of many character obstacles.
 



Rikka66

Adventurer
But they took it down due to someone losing their mind on twitter of all places. THAT is the opposite of what they are supposed to do for a playtest

Officially, they took it down because it was never supposed to have been put up this week. That may just be the PR excuse, of course.

As to the agency part, why is it really loss of agency. Its a magic effect just as Hold Person. Not dissing on your groups preference, but I mean we play a game where you can literally get infected and die from disease. How is this worst than being charmed? Especially when its a temporary magic effect. I'm only curious because I have seen this criticism pop up on twitter alot (which may not be the best source for all of its melodrama).

It doesn't seem like your character has any less choice about their fate when they are ensnared or if they are under suggestion. Its just one of many character obstacles.

Think of books like 1984. A common idea in fiction is that a worse punishment than death you can inflict on someone is the subversion of their own will.
 

Mournblade94

Adventurer
Think of books like 1984. A common idea in fiction is that a worse punishment than death you can inflict on someone is the subversion of their own will.

That's fair enough. I'm sure there are groups that are opposed to disease effects and such as well. I just notice that the Charm effects seem to come under scrutiny much more. I don't particularly enjoy disease mechanics. ITs my least favorite thing in D&D, but I certainly wouldn't ask people to stop using them, and I use them as I DM as well, because I don't think there is anything quite as horrifying.
 

In Judge Death voice "You cannot kill what hassss already been downloaded...

But that said the criticism of the "love" domain is legit and claiming it "woke" is shenanigans, because 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. I bet I could find 1970s examples if I tried. Games are always influenced by their era, and lots of stuff in earlier editions was utterly "woke" by the standards of the era. D&D has always been an odd combination of social liberalism (races, genders, classes all working together) and dubious kind ethnic-cleansing-lookin or banditry-lookin stuff.

Edit: thinking about Howard and Leiber one might be able to take "mind control is for creepers" back even further.

So shenanigans I say to claims of "2 woke 4 me"! Fie upon such silly business!
 
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