Unearthed Arcana has been an incredible source of options for our games of D&D that it’s no surprise that this week they’re providing 4 updated subclasses, as well as revised Eldritch Invocations for our Warlock playing friends. The whole point of D&D is to play the character YOU want and the new options we get from Unearthed Arcana are the literal icing on the cake. All 4 of these subclasses, as well as the Eldritch Invocations have been released before, but like the last Unearthed Arcana, these options have been revisited thanks to all of the player feedback they received.
DRUID – CIRCLE OF THE SHEPHERD
This Druid Circle focuses on a type of spell (specifically summoning spells) that Druids have access to, kicks it up to 11, and provides some interesting additional benefits. When you select this circle, you learn how to communicate with beasts and some fey, as well as learn the ability to create a spirit totem. There are 3 options, each with two different abilities. Unlike a Barbarian who chooses the Path of the Totem Warrior, you are not forced to keep the same animal spirit you choose at 2nd level, so there is a bit of freedom there. As a Druid in this circle progresses, their summons become a bit better (similar to how Wizards of the School of Necromancy have summons that are slightly better), those same summons eventually receive additional benefits from your Spirit Totem, and the final ability you learn helps protect you should you fall to 0 HP.
Overall, while this Circle provides some interesting benefits, I can’t help but feel that it is outshined by the existing Circles from the Player’s Handbooks. Both Circle of the Land & Circle of the Moon provide immediate benefits that you can use, whereas this Circle’s level 2 ability can only be used once without needing a short or long rest and really doesn’t start to feel right until Level 5 when you get your 3rd level spell slot with Conjure Animals, and doesn’t start being incredible until Level 7 when you get the 4th level spell slot for Conjure Minor Elementals & Conjure Woodland Beings.
FIGHTER – CAVALIER
The Cavalier is the eponymous image of a knight, charging on horseback and fighting most effectively from the saddle. This is a fantastic addition to the world as most adventurers are more “Fellowship” while marching on foot and fighting effectively from there and less “Riders of Rohan”. In terms of the gameplay, a Cavalier learns a number of benefits related to Animal Handling and Mounting/Dismounting (even if that second one wasn’t intentional). Other than these related benefits, the Cavalier feels like a modified Battle Master because the rest of their abilities relate to Maneuvers that are unique to the Cavalier and disappointingly unrelated to mounted combat.
PALADIN – OATH OF CONQUEST
The Oath of Conquest is really cool because it takes the stereotypical depiction of the goody two shoes Paladin and dumps it on its head. Paladin’s who follow this Oath believe in ruling through Fear and the use of overwhelming, sometimes unnecessary, force to achieve their goals. Their Channel Divinity options play into both the reputation aspect of these Hell Knights (by exuding an Aura of Fear), or their martial abilities (by providing a +10 bonus to an attack roll). The spells they have access to because of their Oath have a decidedly wicked bent and their higher level abilities start to play off this combination of fearful reputation and combat effectiveness. Overall, this is probably the coolest, if not darkest, Paladin Oath you can take and yes, I know that Oathbreaker Necromancer Paladins are a thing.
WARLOCK – THE CELESTIAL
I love this Otherworldy Patron because Celestials have a patron that is a powerful being from the Upper Planes of everlasting bliss. Why exactly they are making deals with mortals to provide them with powers on our plane isn’t super clear but whatever.
The expanded spell list for the Celestial provides Warlocks with both fire/radiant based damage and healing spells. This alone makes the Celestial an great pick but the abilities just keep getting better. You get a pool of D6 healing dice equal to 1 + Your Warlock level that you can spend as a bonus action to heal other characters. There is a limit of the number of dice you can use at a time but this pool will provide an incredible amount of healing, it doesn’t use one of your precious spell slots AND it’s a bonus action? You have access to Cure Wounds from the expanded spell list so the sheer volume of healing you are capable of using both your action and your bonus action is just mind boggling.
The higher level abilities are all great utility from adding damage to flaming/radiant damage you do, providing (lots) of Temporary Hit Points to you and your party and easily the coolest self heal (which can only trigger when you are forced to make a death save) in the game, having the Celestial as your Otherworldly Patron adds a TON of flavour to both the game and the Warlock class.
On the subject of Warlocks, there are also 15 new Eldritch Invocations that any Warlock has access to. These are similar to the Patron specific ones they released earlier but an overwhelming amount of feedback was that players were unhappy with Patron restrictions so ALL of those have been listed. There can still be ability and level requirements as usual but no tricky restrictions.
Do you have an idea for a new subclass? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast