Unearthed Arcana: Encounter Building Breakdown

Huh, new UA today, and on what is for some of us a holiday. I guess WotC doesn’t take Indigenous Peoples’ Day off? Either that, or they decided it should be a gift-giving holiday. Anyway, today Mearls is tackling an alternate approach to encounter building. Overall, we see very little expansion or revision of DM-facing content, and especially not with something as bone-dry as encounter building.

Unearthed Arcana Breakdown: The Ranger, Revised

In today’s Unearthed Arcana article, Mearls returns to one of the most hotly discussed topics of 5e design: the ranger. This isn’t UA’s first take on an alternate ranger, either – and the blogging/third-party-publishing community has followed suit. That previous article lays out a lot of what WotC sees as The Issues, but the solution they presented was not particularly celebrated in the conversations I saw about it. To be fair, though, the core of the problem is that there’s probably less consensus on the ranger’s identity as a class than any other class in the game. In this article, I’m picking apart what I see in the document.

Unearthed Arcana – Ranger Revised

The new and improved Ranger is here from Wizard of the Coast’s Mike Mearls! After a few cracks at the ranger, we get an 8 page PDF that renames its archetypes to conclaves and they hope will have everyone loving the class again. We also see the re-introduction of the Deep Stalker Conclave who is most at home in the Underdark and was last seen in Unearthed
Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark!. They basically fixed the base class, left the Hunter alone and fixed the Beast Master.

Unearthed Arcana: The Faithful Breakdown

Awesome, Unearthed Arcana is on time! This time around, we have two new subclasses addressing arcane casters that have ties to faith or a deity: the Seeker Patron and Pact of the Star Chain for warlocks, and the Theurgy Tradition for wizards. Mearls mentioned on Twitter, over the course of last month, that this article would address something that has bothered him for 30+ years; it turns out that the issue is “how to portray followers of a god of magic without making them clerics.” Let’s see how well this works out.

Unearthed Arcana – The Faithful

This month (it was meant for July, but this came in a little late), a 3 page Unearthed Arcana PDF presents two new options that allow arcane casters to express their faith in the gods. Warlocks get the Pact of the Seeker and Wizards get the Theurgy arcane tradition. As always, remember this material is playtest ready but is likely not perfect.

Unearthed Arcana: Quick Characters Breakdown

For whatever internal reasons, July’s UA article was delayed until the last Monday in July. But here we are, and I’m going to say a few words about it. “Quick Characters” presents dice tables for generating characters, largely constrained to the character options found in the D&D Basic rules. I don’t think I go too far to say that this article has been roundly – perhaps blisteringly – panned by its audience. I confess that it doesn’t have a lot of applications for the way I run my game, but I don’t think it deserves the reaction it has gotten, either.

Unearthed Arcana Analysis: Feats

It’s the first Monday in a month, so that means we have arcana to unearth! This time, Mearls is talking about feats, and that’s lucky, because I damn near think the fanbase was going to go into revolt if we didn’t see some new feats soon. The article opens with a discussion of feat design philosophy, which I think is excellent, and continues into several use cases – a total of eight feats and one discarded draft. At five pages, the article is short enough that I’ll do a pretty deep dive into critiquing it.

Sherlock Holmes – Unearthed Arcana Inquisitive Rogue Archetype Build Test (D&D 5e)

This month’s Unearthed Arcana: Gothic Heroes provides us with 3 new playtest ready player options, which include the Revenant subrace, Monster Hunter archetype for fighters and the Inquisitive archetype for rogues. A month ago I ran an investigation one-shot and a PC build using this archetype would have been an excellent fit. This week on the Campaign Trail, I thought I’d take a break from looking at dungeons to try out the new Inquisitive archetype by creating a level 20 Sherlock Holmes inspired rogue. I’m hoping this build and analysis will help you figure out if the Inquisitive is a good fit for your game or if it needs more work in the lab.