Unearthed Arcana: Druid Circles and Wild Shape Breakdown

I guess if you’re going to call any class even obliquely harvest-holiday-themed, druid is a good one. Accordingly, this week’s Unearthed Arcana offers three new druid circles and a variant Wild Shape rule. Whatever else might be said, they took more risks with new mechanics this time than last week, and so even if I wind up disliking it (spoiler: I won’t), it’s useful as suggestions for what’s “in-bounds” for third-party design. Third-party designers get read the Riot Act for venturing too far outside the borders that Smith & Wesson Mearls & Crawford lay out in official releases, you know? Anyway, let’s get to it.

Oh, and in case you’re new around here, I have done some writing about druids before. The link points to the last article in the series, with directory links to the earlier ones.

Gobble-ins, Centaurkeys,and Thanksgiving One-Shots

Happy American Thanksgiving, everybody! I expect most people are reading this on Thursday, because they are drinking as often as possible on Wednesday. This is going to be a hard holiday for a lot of people, and I bet bars and liquor stores are looking forward to Black Wednesday. Let’s assume for a minute that you are woefully hungover and are reading this from your smart device while praying to the porcelain gods. First, I feel your pain, and suggest you pop some alka seltzer and make yourself an egg cream. Second, double up on the mashed potatoes, heavy on the butter. Third, let’s talk about a Thanksgiving themed one-shot you can run while everyone is barely keeping it together.

Unearthed Arcana: Divine Domains Breakdown

One of these days, I’ll start managing two-article weeks again, and my columns will return to their normal schedule. This is the week of America’s favorite secular food holiday, and I’ll be mostly or entirely offline Wednesday evening through Saturday morning, so this week is not the one. Today, though, Rogers and Hammerstein have Unearthed new Arcana for us: three new domains for clerics. Where barbarians and bards were two of the classes narrowest in options, the cleric stands tied with the wizard for the most in the initial release (if you count Death from the DMG), and they stay even in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide as they each tack on one more. Let’s see what the Forge, Grave, and Protection domains offer.

Fantasy Grounds – D&D Volo’s Guide to Monsters

I’ve been going through the newly released D&D Volo’s Guide to Monsters module on Fantasy Grounds, and was also surprised to find a new Fantasy Grounds 3.2 update waiting for me. There are a lot of great new features and changes in the update. If you don’t know, Fantasy Grounds is a virtual tabletop experience that you can run games for your friends on your computer. It wotc5evgmautomates a lot of things like dice rolling, character sheets, campaign maps, and monster stats. You can play online, or use a digital screen on a table or a projector on a wall. Now if you want to learn more, you can go to Fantasy Grounds and get a demo version or you can get one on Steam.

Unearthed Arcana: Bard Colleges Breakdown

Welcome to Week 2 of November Madness (which might become Indefinite Madness, depending on how long they keep up with weekly UAs), in which the Dynamic Duo give us two new bard Colleges: Glamour and Whispers. These aren’t the first bard Colleges we’ve gotten from UA, either. I’ve also talked about the 5e bard class here in Tribality before, just as a baseline. Short version: bards needed more subclasses in a bad way, so I’m glad there’s been so much support.

Unearthed Arcana: Barbarian Primal Paths Breakdown

There’s big news today from WotC: we’ll be getting UA articles more than once a month for awhile. That’s particularly exciting for commentators like me, but it’s good news for everyone who enjoys 5e content. Even though some UA articles are less polished than others, they’re always good insights into the future of 5e and what the designers see going on in the game.

Since the release of the Player’s Handbook, barbarians have been substantially under-supported in official releases. The Totem Warrior has strong internal variety – it could potentially be twenty-seven different subclasses! – but it still reads like one subclass on the page, while the Berserker is a classic archetype but hard to use well and quite narrow in its function.

Hither came this article, Unearthed Arcanian: Ancestral Guardians, Storm Heralds, Zealots, greataxe in hand, a tank, a damage aura one, a religious one, with unusual features and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the PH subclasses under their sandaled feet.

Fey Weapons

By request from a reader, today’s article is about the magical weapons that the fey wield, or that the Archfey grant to their leal servants. This week should have returned to Domain Rulership, but I’m stalling on that for a week, just in case Mearls releases an Unearthed Arcana that is all about late-game play, how to spend filthy lucre at high levels, and domain play next week. Also, Colin did some great work with fey magic items in a recent EN5IDER article, so if you’re an EN5IDER patron, check it out!

Get to Know the Merfolk

It might seem like just a few days ago, I was talking about spooky creatures and practices in honor of Halloween. Well, now Halloween is behind us, and our next holidays in the US are Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. To that end, I will be covering the wide variety of militaristic and martial turkeys that dot the Dungeons & Dragons landscape. We’ll first cover the turku, a kenku variant, and then move into the gonzo stuff, like the turketaur and the turkesaur. Just kidding, let’s talk about merfolk.

Get to Know the Death Knight

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a good slasher film or show. The slasher genre is one of my favorites, as it deals with a single threat (usually), a well-defined location (ideally), and the mythos is surface-level enough to give you the deets without getting bogged down (until the sequels). It also lends itself to genre deconstruction in a way that can nail the deconstruction while staying firmly within the genre, something not exactly easy to do (Scream is a goddamn masterpiece in this regard, and the TV series of the same name is actually pretty phenomenal. Yeah, both seasons).

D&D Volo’s Guide to Monsters Previews Collection

Volo’s Guide to Monsters, a new hardcover book of monsters for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, is releasing very soon (November 15, 2016 or earlier in gaming stores). The book features new monsters for a Dungeon Master to unleash on his players, lore and lairs for classic monsters, and new playable races. Here are some previews to look at while you wait to get this book in your hands.