The Beastheart – An MCDM Class for D&D5e – Breakdown Part 3
Ho ho ho! Here is the last article about an MCDM product of the year! Hope you are having a great holiday season! Now with that out of the way, let’s start this!
Last article we left off having done a review on the Beastheart and two of its subclasses. Now there are three subclasses left to cover, some magic items, and a short story that teases future things that are to come! We have much to talk about, so let’s get on with it!
If you missed any of the other two articles that cover the Beastheart product you can check them out over here:
- 3rd level – Devil’s Understanding: You now know the Infernal language and are proficient in Arcana or Religion.
- Quick and fast way to make your character more infernal. There’s not much to say about it.
- 3rd level – Infernal Exploits: You can choose new features to incorporate to your character from a list, gaining more as you progress in level.
- I really like that MCDM uses this to make players create different characters from the same subclass. It feels like progressing through a tree skill system in a videogame. They are pretty much eldritch invocations.
- 7th level – Hell’s Charmer: You are now able to charm your enemies
- Thematic because devils are charming creatures, but in my opinion, it goes a bit against the theme of the class. If I would compare the beastheart with a devil it would be with a savage one, not a charming one.
- 11th level – Fiendish Traits: You choose one trait from a list of four, allowing you to change between them every long rest.
- Again, this theme on building your own subclass. I really like the options listed, such as being all barded, or having your companion spring infernal wings from it.
- 15th level – Fiendish Form: You are now able to transform your companion into a fiend creature in its totality, meaning it gets a bunch of resistances and advantages in saving throws. This lasts for a minute and is done spending ferocity.
- This is super rad, and I really want players to describe their pet’s diabolic form. This is when the heavy metal music in the background starts playing.
- 3rd level – Nature Exploits: You get to choose your own features, unlocking new ones as you progress in level
- Again. It feels weird that only some subclasses have this sort of treatment.
- These ones feel a lot like using elemental magic, commanding lava and the weather to do your bidding.
- 3rd level – Primal Understanding: You know Primordial and Sylvan, and are proficient in Nature.
- Just like the infernal one, I like that this isn’t the only thing you earn in this level, as this alone would have been very boring, which is something the WotC subclasses sometimes suffer from.
- 7th level – Allied Earth: The ground around your companion becomes difficult terrain for your enemies
- The area is only 10ft wide, meaning that it shouldn’t affect much what is going on in encounters unless you are moving through small corridors. Escaping from the companion is more difficult now, but only occasionally do monsters do that
- 11th level – Spirit Stampede: A stampede of animal spirits is summoned when your companion enters a rampage, doing AOE damage to all creatures standing 30 ft from it
- The damage is equals to the ferocity, which will never be much. Nevertheless, 30ft radius is a whole lot, and there is no enemy limit for it, so if your companion is in the middle of a whole army, tons of enemies can get damaged at once! It’s not fireball level great, but it sounds really good.
- I really enjoy the shaman vibes this ability gives to the subclass.
- 15th level – Allied Weather: Changes from the weather surge from your companion every time it is hit and it has ferocity to spend, making enemies fall prone or take lightning damage.
- More on the primordial energy! I find it great that you don’t have to spend energy for this to trigger.
- 3rd level – Beast Vitality: The caregiver receives more hit points, which will keep growing as they grow in level.
- It works exactly like the feat Tough. This means that this subclass is if you want to go tanky yourself.
- 3rd level – Pack Phalanx: If the caregiver and the companion are next to each other, each within 5 ft of an enemy, that enemy has disadvantage to attack anything but you two.
- More on the tanky theme. That’s what the subclass is all about.
- 7th level – Thickened Hide: Your companion has +2 in AC
- Very basic. Your companion is just as tanky as you are, meaning you get two tanks for the price of 1! Great deal!
- 11th level – Sentinel Companion: If a creature 5ft from your companion attacks anyone else but the caregiver or the companion, the companion can make an attack against that enemy as a reaction by spending ferocity
- So… Pretty much the Sentinel feat, but you have to pay for it? The good thing is that this works with your companion, which the feat wouldn’t work with. Getting the sentinel feat as well would be totally unnecessary with this trait (unless you want to have it in the early levels)
- Going against someone who isn’t the beastheart or its companion means the enemy would have disadvantage on the attack, so don’t expect intelligent enemies to trigger this ability very often.
- 15th level – Undying Protector: You can spend ferocity to get to 1hp when you would drop to 0. The more times you do this per rest, the more ferocity you have to spend.
- Pairing this with a half orc means you get a freeby use of this ability
8 new magic items come with this product. To be honest, none of them terribly impressed me, but I liked them all. Some of them are very fun, such as goggles of laser beams to install to your companion or a literal Pokeball. Some of them were created so that the DM can make the player’s life easier by hiding the beast whenever it is necessary. If you have had a player with a pet you know how bothersome they can become in stealth missions or when entering a civilized city. Some of these magic items help you solve that problem. Don’t expect a magic sword to be here, but there are some to make your companion more powerful or hardy.
The First Meeting: A Matt Colville Story
I wasn’t planning on reviewing this part, but when Matt Colville said in his beastheart video that it contained a tease of his next MCDM class, I had to read it.
I like Matt’s writing and I have even read his two novels, but I must admit his writing style is weird and not for everybody’s liking. This one is about a beastheart encountering a human woman from this future subclass. From the descriptions of it we can gather that it probably is a spellcasting class that fights with no single weapon. She regenerated and can heal allies, so that might be one of its core mechanics. Additionally, she needed to rest to recuperate by going into a trance. Humans don’t usually enter a trance, so I can ascertain that she wasn’t doing a “short rest” to regenerate. I suspect it’s going to be something simmilar to the Titan Heart Sorcerers from Arcadia Issue 1. I can imagine Matt going to Gabe and saying “Hey, a melee sorcerer is a very cool concept. Why not create a whole separate class about that? I would pay you for it”. We’ll see if I’m right or not in the near future (I imagine close to next year’s summer).
Overall Product Conclusion
I believe this is the most polished MCDM product to date. It’s got a lot of things going, with many of them that could easily have been extremely unbalanced. It provides us not only a new class a whole lot of people (especially those looking to recreate the classic hero with a pet trope) will love, but also mechanics on how to get a companion for your party without the need of a beastmaster. The 5 classes go all the way from the more complex ones with a lot of choices (infernal and primordial bonds), to the easier to use ones (ferocious and hunter bonds), and the one that can be played by any noob in the game as it has no active ability (the fighter champion of the beastheart class, aka the protector bond). They all feel very different, with some stepping a bit into other classes like many subclasses do in the game. I look forward to seeing many player characters use this, as well as seeing more subclasses for it in the future, possibly in Arcadia articles.
As regards the companions alone, there’s a great variety of them, and enough content to help a DM create another new companion. I’m really surprised we didn’t get a displacer beast companion, that being the monster Tom from the Chain of Acheron stream in Matt Colville’s channel played (who in a way was the first one to playtest this class). The magic items are also fine, with the laser beam goggles being the funniest one, but those are nowhere as near the stars of the product.
I want to see more content like this from MCDM. With a whole new monster book on the way, as well as a setting, MCDM is becoming one of the biggest 3rd party publishers from D&D, rivaling Kobold Press. Definitely don’t miss out on this product! It’s definitely a must-have and a possible option for my players in all future campaigns!