What Do I Know About First Impressions? Unearthed Arcana 2020 Subclasses Part 3 (D&D 5e)
This time, we’ve got subclasses for the artificer, druid, and ranger. I think it’s interesting that we’re seeing an artificer subclass come up, because that either implies another Eberron source, or it’s a statement of intent that just because artificer shows up in the Eberron book, it it’s still considered a supported class across the board (I know, the class write up also indicates this, but it’s nice to see that followed up with actions as well).
- Magic missile, shield, mirror image, shatter, hypnotic pattern, lightning bolt, fire shield, greater invisibility, passwall, and wall of force are added to your spells. I’m not sure I can discern the pattern of added spells. Force spells I could understand, if you equate force with strengthening armor. Mirror image and invisibility play in to “increase defensive ability,” but not directly with an affinity for armor. Lightning bolt and invisibility tie into the two armor models you can pick, but it seems weird to tie bonus spells in to an armor mode you may not currently be using. I don’t dislike the selection, it just doesn’t tell a story for me.
- Power armor negates your strength requirement for the armor, lets you use the armor as a spellcasting focus, and makes it unable to be removed against your will. If you are missing a limb, if the armor has that limb, you function as if you have the limb. I really like that final feature, even though I’m not sure how often it is to come up. I’m actually wondering if this might get slightly more use if it also allowed something damaged or impaired to function without impairment, but I can’t think of how many effects target limbs in 5e off hand.
- Armor model lets you pick Guardian or Infiltrator models, which you can switch after a rest. Guardian gives you thunder gauntlets that emit a noise that gives anyone you hit with them disadvantage if they attack someone other than you (until your next turn), and grants you temporary hit points. Infiltrator lets you shoot a gem that does electrical damage, increases your speed, and negates a stealth penalty for the armor. I think we’re going for a taser effect with the gem, but I’m still not picturing it all that clearly when coupled with the gem. I think I might like this more as a dart that goes off when it hits.
Probably not worth going down this road, but technically if you had the dual wielder feat, since both of your gauntlets are considered to be simple weapons in guardian mode, you would get a +1 to armor class and potentially have the ability to slap two opponents to grant them disadvantage or draw their ire.
All of that was what you picked up at 3rd level. Artificer really does redefine a playstyle when you pick you subclass.
- At 5th level, you get an extra attack, which is good since this seems to be a combat-oriented take on the artificer. This also means if you really wanted to draw aggro, you have another chance to do it in guardian mode with this attack.
- At 9th level, you can use infusions on individual pieces of your armor as if they are separate items (so gauntlets, helmet, etc.).
- At 15th level, you get additional functionality from your new modes, pulling opponents to you in guardian mode, or painting a target in infiltrator mode (granting advantage on the next person to attack and kicker electrical damage).
- At 2nd level, you get a Star Map, which you can use as a casting implement. There is one of those neat d6 randomizers at the beginning of this class features that a lot of the UA articles have had, flavoring what your star chart might look like.
- You get a limited number of castings per long rest to use either augury or guiding bolt when casting with your star map, which don’t count against your spells used. I am a big fan of guiding bolt. You also get an alternative to Wild Shape called Starry Form, which grants you powers based on one of three constellations that you pick. These give you bonus healing kicker that you can give to someone within 30 feet when you cast a healing spell, a bonus action ranged attack for radiant damage, or a “reliable” Intelligence or Wisdom check, or a Con save to maintain concentration (meaning you treat a 9 or lower on the die as a 10).
- At 6th level, whenever you finish up a long rest, you get a limited number of Cosmic Omens you can use as a reaction. You roll a d6 to determine if these are weal or woe. Weal means you can use reactions to roll a die to boost someone’s attacks, saves, or ability checks, and woe means you can do the same to subtract the die from those rolls.
- At 10th level, you quote David Bowman and become Full of Stars. This is a kicker to your alternative Starry Form that also grants you resistance to normal bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage.
- At 14th level, you can cause a flare of light that takes everyone within a 30 foot burst a similar distance away from their original position, if they are willing, and anyone else in that area makes a con save or take radiant damage and become blinded. It’s a nice “we need a breather and maybe a head start” ability to whip out against a good number of opponents. This is a per long rest ability that you can burn a 5th level spell to use again.
- At 3rd level, you pick up extra ranger spells, in this case charm person, misty step, dispel magic, banishment, and mislead. Charm feels a little off here. Not because it’s not something associated with the fey, but because this feels like someone guarding against the fey.
- In addition to the expanded spell list, these rangers get advantage against being charmed or frightened, and proficiency in either deception, performance, or persuasion. They also learn how to use a bonus action to infuse a weapon with unseelie magic, causing extra psychic damage. If they are two weapon fighting, they may double up on bonus action effects and imbue at the same time they make their off-hand attack.
- At 7th level, you can add your Wisdom bonus to Charisma checks, and you can effectively psychic smite by spending a spell slot to add psychic damage to your damage. When you do this, the target also has to make a wisdom save or be frightened. Since this doesn’t mention using an action, bonus action, or reaction, this means you could boost your imbued weapon with even more psychic damage.
- At 11th level, whenever someone within 120 feet of you saves against an effect that would charm or frighten them, you can target someone else in that range with a rebound effect that causes another target to make a Wisdom save or become charmed, frightened, or take extra psychic damage. I like this . . . with a caveat, but I’ll hit that at the end.
- At 15th level, you can spend a bonus action to force a target to make a Wisdom save, and if they fail, they can’t perceive you for 24 hours. If you attack it or force it to make another save, they can make another save at the end of their turn, but it doesn’t automatically end the effect. If you use the ability on someone else, it ends for the original target. This is a per long rest ability that you can burn a 4th level spell to regain.