In the latest release of Unearthed Arcana, Wizards of the Coast have drafted 3 subclasses for 3 separate character classes: Monk, Paladin, and Ranger. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for Robin Hood (particularly Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), but even without reference to the movie, this trio of subclasses seems like the perfect thing to recreate a D&D-appropriate group that has a slant towards monster hunting, rather than an defeating a tax collector.
MONASTIC TRADITION: WAY OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER
The notion of a Friar Tuck character in the world of D&D makes me giddy. While a lot of the Monastic traditions and structures tend to skew towards East-Asian elements (with this subclass being no different) I’m always a fan of twisting such archetypes on their head and finding a new perspective on an old trope. Buddhist Kung-Fu monks are absolutely a thing, but in the world of D&D, what’s to stop a player from having a low clergy devotee dedicated to some minor god of drink, whose honed martial skills are drawn from being practiced at bar brawls?
The idea is highly characterful and abilities like Tipsy Swing when paired with the other class abilities just adds a layer that builds up a monk whose roleplaying elements are also reflected in their combat mechanics.
PALADIN OATH: OATH OF REDEMPTION
This sacred oath reminds me of the Unearthed Arcana Way of Peace Monastic Tradition. It includes the Emissary of Peace ability from that subclass, as part of the Channel Divinity in this Paladin subclass, reworked into an arguably more fitting class. While the Monk’s Way of Tranquility is interesting enough, forgoing the sheer damage output that Monks generate feels like such a high opportunity cost for players. Paladins, on the other hand, are driven by their faith and gives them a stronger roleplaying drive to see the good (or potential good) in others.
It also might be interesting to combine with a race seen as typically evil. How fun would it be to have a hulking 7′ tall orc Paladin espousing the way of redemption as your party’s Little John?
RANGER SUBCLASS: MONSTER SLAYER
Let’s be straight: In the world of D&D, a Robin Hood who robs from the rich to give to the poor would be the kind of character who hunts and kills dragons, and those that serve them. A dragon-slaying, bow-wielding hero seems like the perfect fit, particularly given that the description from WoTC themselves reads, “Trained in a variety of arcane and divine techniques to overcome such monsters, slayers are experts at unearthing and defeating mighty foes.”
The class is a rework of the Monster Hunter fighter class, and the preference between the Fighter version and the Ranger version is really a matter of taste. I do think that the spellcasting ability of Rangers helps this class more within this particular niche for sure, but I feel like it’s an option for option’s sake when it comes to giving the Ranger more to play with (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as WoTC continues to evolve the class.) Like many of the issues I find with Ranger subclasses and in many of the other UA subclasses, roleplaying abilities are missing, and the focus on combat-only abilities is a frustrating element. There is no built-in story or narrative that drives this character other than what players choose to introduce. For more experienced roleplayers or players who prefer to build-out their own character, it might be the thing for them.
Do you agree with our impressions of this Unearthed Arcana? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast, Urban (Wikimedia Commons)
Teri Litorco loves the idea of playing drunk characters in D&D, moreso when they’re portly (and deceptively danger as a result). She’s also written a book about tabletop gaming, and can be found on social media.