D&D Ideas — Unearthed Arcana Speculation

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Welcome once again to the weekly Nerdarchy Newsletter. If you’ve been following on with our weekly live chats and the newsletter you already know they are linked. They share a topic. This past week Nerditor Doug and Nerdarchist Dave speculated upon the next Unearthed Arcana for what we assumed would be fighter, ranger and rogue subclasses. On that part we were correct at least. But on the actual subclasses, not even close. You can get the Nerdarchy Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy, by signing up here.

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Delving Dave’s Dungeon

Nerditor Doug and myself during our last live chat decided to speculate on the next Unearthed Arcana. The part we got right was that it would be a fighter, ranger and rogue subclasses. Granted it was a bit of a no-brainer since all the other classes got subclasses. Nerditor Doug wrote his part of the newsletter before the latest Unearthed Arcana dropped so he’s still speculating with some cool ideas that weren’t even close. Nerdarchist Ted went on with what he was thinking and put his thoughts in newsletter knowing they weren’t correct, but having fun exploring those ideas anyway.
As for me while these subclasses were kind of cool and different, I’m still a little disappointed. Mostly by the rogue. I really wanna see a thug variant. As for the fighter subclass *sigh* another magic fighter. This makes three alongside the Arcane Archer and Eldritch Knight. The ranger on the other hand, kudos. But we’ll be shooting a video on those this coming week.
Instead another magic using fighter I’d would have rather seen a thrown weapon specialist or weapon master style subclass. In both cases it’s about being a specialist. One specializing in a fighting style the other in specific weapons. I’m a bit disappointed there isn’t a viable thrown weapon option for 5E D&D. I’ll echo Nerdarchist Ted’s words below — perhaps we’ll have to make it ourselves.

From Ted’s Head

When it comes to Unearthed Arcana it can be hard to guess what the designers are thinking. When it comes to the end of the series you can attempt to extrapolate data and make a guess. By the time I am writing this my predictions are just wrong as I am able to read the new Unearthed Arcana. But if I was going to write the last UA I would have gone with the following.
Looking at the last 4 Unearthed Arcanas I am seeing a certain theme going on and I would have tried to follow the same pattern. The sorcerer and warlock were certainly extraplanar. The sorcerer has a Sorcerous Origin based on things from the outer planes and beyond. It seems alien in nature. The warlock Otherworldly Patron is from the deep seeking power of creatures potentially from the elemental plane of water.
Bard and Paladin seen to be slightly different from the others when you look at the bigger picture. Bard seems to gain a power to talk to anything allowing you to go beyond the mortal nature so possibly extraplanar. The paladin is about the hero type. Heroes are the type to go above and beyond but no definitive extraplanar. I will say I like the hero paladin so much that the character I am playing will be choosing the hero paladin when I get to 3rd in paladin.
Barbarian and Monk very much fit the extraplanar mold. The monk literally gains power from the astral plane. The barbarian is about wild magic, potentially deriving power from the plane of chaos, Limbo?
Lastly we have the cleric, druid and wizard. The twilight cleric is the guardian of the realms of the dead. They live in the space between life and death. The druid gains the power of fire and rebirth, potentially from the plane of fire. The wizard is all about names. The power of true names goes beyond the mortal world allowing you to bind others and gain power over them.
So my predictions are based on extraplanar class archetypes. For fighter I would have guessed they might have gone in a slightly ranger theme and had an option for a fiend hunter. Other classes of fighter have gained skills and or languages. Perhaps gaining Arcana and Abyssal and or Infernal. They could possibly have rites of power that gave them pseudo magical abilities.
For ranger and rogue I was thinking about completing the circle of the elemental planes. For ranger we already have a planeswalker with the Horizon Walker, but what if one gained power from the elemental plane of earth? Could they take on a more elemental form? Could they gain a burrowing speed? What about calling an elemental companion? For rogue we could have a connection to the plane of air. What if the rogue could become the wind gaining the ability to move through tight spaces. It might be crazy but what if they could use abilities by sacrificing sneak attack dice. It is a new concept and the powers would need to be worth it to sacrifice those dice.
Since the new Unearthed Arcana is out we know they did not go in the direction I guessed but are any of these concepts something you would like to see Nerdarchy make?
post apocalyptic new D&D subclasses
In some ways D&D is already post apocalyptic. I’m ready to explore the next level of that concept! Click the image for more post apocalyptic D&D fun.

From the Nerditor’s Desk

It’s the day after our weekly live chat, where Nerdarchist Dave and I speculated about Unearthed Arcana — Fighter, Ranger, Rogue. The weekly video shoot is underway right now, and while they’re on set filming I’m taking a deeper dive into our speculations. Because like we joked about in 5E D&D: Cleric, Druid, and Wizard Unearthed Arcana Review video, maybe we’ll get a new collection of playtest subclasses from Wizards of the Coast tomorrow?
Fighter, ranger and rogue are the three classes left for new subclasses in this current cohort. There were a lot of people in the live chat sharing ideas and Dave and I discussed quite a few of our own. The D&D design team is a group of remarkably creative people, so there’s no telling what themes any new subclasses will explore or what niche they might fill.
Unearthed Arcana makes me wonder about the theme of the future product. If it’s like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything there’s no central theme tying new player options together. But if it’s like Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica or Eberron: Rising from the Last War then maybe there’s a thread running through all the new subclasses. Lots of people in chat felt like many of the recent Unearthed Arcana have an extraplanar quality. As much as I’d enjoy a multiplanar focused book, I don’t see it in this Unearthed Arcana cohort.
All the subclasses make me think post apocalypse. Magically irradiated barbarians, new age monks, heroes of destiny, charismatic orators, priests offering safety and rest in the dark, scholars wielding secret words of power and environmental renewalists are all tropes I can imagine in a post-apocalyptic.
What does that mean for speculation about Unearthed Arcana — Fighter, Ranger, Rogue? What role could new subclasses for these three play? Great class and subclass design hits two notes. There’s features beneficial for all three pillars of play and there’s features to help fellow party members. With that in mind here’s how I would approach Unearthed Arcana — Fighter, Ranger, Rogue. For thematic purposes we’ll say they’re all appearing in Tenser’s Guide to Survival.

Fighter

Weapon Master

Resources are scarce. Equipment is hard to maintain and even hard to acquire. For the Weapon Master fighter, anything can be a weapon. They’re trained in martial techniques. Maybe they found a pre-apocalypse manual of battle and studied the forms. They can use improvised weapons plus create and wield a unique exotic weapon of their own creation. I would make a list of exotic weapon features similar to the Battle Master’s maneuvers, and as you gain levels you customize your unique weapon through these choices. Outside of combat a Weapon Master could scavenge materials to create makeshift weapons and armor, get a tool proficiency, History proficiency. They could put together special weapons for allies with limited use.

Ranger

Scavenger

With resources so scarce and the post apocalyptic landscape so dangerous, this ranger knows how to find stuff and make clever use of it. We’ve gotten a lot of content about vehicles in recent D&D books like Ghosts of Saltmarsh and Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus so this ranger is also a gearhead, mechanic and pilot. Rangers are superior explorers and I’d lean into this aspect. They could harvest monster parts, create shelters, make tools and equipment from scavenged stuff. If there are vehicles of any sort this ranger could be a good pilot and keep the vehicle in running order.

Rogue

Trapsmith

Rogues are known for finding and disarming traps, but this rogue takes a keen interest in traps and makes their own. They can create increasingly dangerous and complex traps to debilitate foes and use their Sneak Attack damage with them. They’re like MacGuyver — give them a bubble gum wrapper, a straw and a handful of nails and they’ll make a claymore mine.

Doctor

An expert using healing kits and nonmagical ways to cure wounds, diseases and poisons. A medical doctor would know all the right places to surgically strike enemies to make it hurt, so that accounts for Sneak Attack. A nonmagical healer would be a great role to fill in the game in general, and in a post apocalyptic setting a character with this skill and knowledge would be a tremendous asset.
Until next time “Stay Nerdy”
— Nerdarchy Team

ICYMI

A quick reminder the Out of the Box: Encounters for 5th Edition Pledge Manager is live. What does that mean?

A couple of things:
  1. If you backed it, go fill out your survey and get your goods
  2. If you missed the Kickstarter it’s not too late you can still back
  3. You’ll get Kickstarter pricing
  4. You’ll get access to exclusive Kickstarter rewards
  5. You’ll be able to access Kickstarter only add ons
  6. If you are interested in attending Nerdarchy the Convention you can get badges at presale prices inside the Pledge Manager
  7. If you want to be able to check out a free encounter in the style of Out of the Box, create a free Pledge Manager account and download it.
See more Here

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