What Do I Know About First Impressions? Twilight Accord Playtest Subclasses Part 2 (5e SRD)

5E_TwilightAccord_Logo_Square_small-450x450We looked at four of the Twilight Accord subclasses last time around. Let’s climb back into these playtests and take a look at another four. As I said last time around, I’m not looking at these in release order, I’m looking at them in class order, since I gathered all of them into my own PDF for my personal reference. This time around we’ll be looking at The Commander (Fighter), The Way of Serenity (Monk), Oath of the Beacon (Paladin), and the Delver (Ranger).


As I mentioned last time around, I have had the opportunity to have anyone try out these subclasses in any of my games. I’m evaluating these based on my time running and playing D&D 5e so far. It’s definitely possible to miss something that would come out at the table or to underestimate something that ended up being a star ability in the session.

The Commander (Fighter)

If the Battlemaster is a master of tactics, some of which benefit their allies, the Commander is the other side of the coin, a leader whose leadership ability sometimes includes tactics that can benefit those that they command.

  • 3rd Level–Inspiring Presence, Commands, Student of War
  • 7th Level–Battle Captain
  • 10th Level–Increased Presence
  • 15th Level–Commander’s Guidance

Inspiring Presence gives you a number of Inspiration Dice equal to your proficiency bonus that you get back on a short or long rest. These work like the Bard’s Inspiration Dice, and the description notes that you can only have one Inspiration Die at a time. I feel like this intentionally means you can’t have an Inspiration Die from a Bard and a Commander at the same time, but in the Bard description, every instance of Inspiration Die is preceded by “Bardic,” so this may need to be clarified. The Commander also gets their complement of dice back on a short or long rest from 3rd level, which the Bard has to wait for until they reach 5th level.  That may be more of a flaw with the Bard than with the Commander, but should a fighter be more efficient at regaining uses before a Bard is? It feels like no?

Commands are a list of special abilities that you can learn, starting with two, and gaining two more at 7th, 10th, or 15th level. Student of War stipulates that instead of learning commands, you could gain proficiency in a skill instead. Some commands trigger when you do something else and spend a use of your Inspiring Presence, some are triggered with a bonus action, and some give someone with an Inspiration Die an additional way to use that die. 

Battle Captain gives your allies a bonus to damage equal to your Charisma bonus if they are within your Inspiring Presence range. Increased Presence widens your Inspiring Presence range. Commander’s Guidance allows you to take the Help action as a bonus action, and you can add a kicker to your Help action that removes the Charmed or Frightened condition, adds temporary hit points, or brings an ally at 0 hit points to 1 hit point. The Commander is slightly behind the Bard in the size of their Inspiration die up until 7th level, and from then on, the Inspiration die remains the same as the Bard’s at a similar level.

I have mentioned in the past that I’m a fan of Robert Schwalb’s third-party Warlord, but I also think that you can argue that the Warlord archetype is handled just as well with a subclass that doesn’t require you to design multiple subclasses for different command styles. I don’t really want this subclass to get better Inspiration die recovery than the Bard, but part of the issue with that is subclass levels. If they don’t get that ability at 3rd, they don’t get it until 7th, and I feel like 5th is the latest that should kick in. I kind of wish Commander’s Guidance had slightly more powerful kickers, with a proficiency per day limit, instead of smaller unlimited kickers, but I like the Help action as a bonus action feature. It probably goes without saying, but having so many abilities that enhance the rest of the party definitely reinforces the story of the subclass.

Way of Serenity (Monk)

This Monk subclass is all about finding peace and harmony, which I feel is an underlying secondary story of a lot of Monk subclasses, and to a lesser extent, the class itself. On the other hand, Monk themes are hard, because they can be metaphysical, martial arts based, or even more traditionally religious in nature.

  • 3rd Level–Yielding Flow Technique
  • 6th Level–Serenity of Body
  • 11th Level–Serenity of Spirit
  • 17th Level–Serene Stillness Meditation

Yielding Flow Technique lets you deflect melee weapons the same way you deflect ranged weapons. If you reduce the damage to 0, instead of throwing the weapon back at them, you have a chance to knock them prone. This technique also gives you a new Ki spend to ignore forced movement, or to take the Dodge action as a reaction.

Serenity of Body allows you to use an action to end the Poisoned, Blinded, Deafened, or Paralyzed conditions or you can take Wholeness of Body from Way of the Open Hand. Serenity of Spirit allows you to spend Ki points to effectively Counterspell, except that this is noted as working against “magical effects,” and also how to adjudicate the effect “if” it’s a spell, which means this ability could be really flexible, but also may run headlong into the fact that 5e isn’t quite as strict in defining magical effects as previous editions. Instead of taking Serenity of Spirit, you can choose to take Tranquility from the Way of the Open Hand. 

Serene Stillness Meditation you can create a combined magic Circle/Tiny Hut effect so long as you remain motionless, once per long rest, when you spend 3 ki points. In addition to the other effects, you are immune to damage, have advantage on Int, Wis, and Cha saves, and get back 1 hit point per round. 

I’m not sure this says “Serenity” to me, but with all of the flow technique, and letting negative effects “flow” out of your body, and having magic “crash like waves” on your Ki, etc., I think you could give this subclass a strong story as relating the tradition to water more than Serenity. I’m not a fan of letting the subclass substitute two features from the Way of the Open Hand, because up until 17th level, you could just be playing a 66% Way of the Open Hand Monk. I also think that this may need some way to regain Ki points between rests, even if it’s just picking up 1 here or there under special circumstances. I like these features, I think they deserve to hang together in a package that doesn’t swap anything out.

Oath of the Beacon (Paladin)

The name of this subclass is tied to the backstory of the setting, which is good, but it also refers to the paladin being a beacon to others, so I think it also works if you want to use it beyond the setting. You are a light in the Gloom, pushing back the darkness, inspiring others, unashamed to be yourself, and being merciful in the discharge of your duties.

  • 3rd Level–Oath Spells, Channel Divinity
  • 7th Level–Purifying Flames
  • 15th Level–Inspired Soul
  • 20th Level–Prismatic Aura

The subclass’ Oath spells all revolve around bolstering others, alleviating suffering, and finding the lost, with one unique spell from the setting at the high end. Your Channel Divinity options allow you to grant an ally Inspiration, or to call up the Fires of Inspiration to blind an evil opponent. It’s worth noting that there are additional uses for Inspiration in the setting, so the first function of this Channel Divinity is more on brand than it might otherwise seem, because that Inspiration can be spent to trigger an ability based on the Fires of Inspiration.

Purifying Flames lets you choose if you want to do Radiant or Fire damage if you smite a Fiend or Undead, and also forces them to make a save to see if they are Frightened. If they are Frightened, continue to burn until they make a save at the end of their turn to end the condition, up to the number of rounds equal to the spell slot you used to smite in the first place. I really like a good “if you have a condition, this other thing is true” ability.

Inspired Soul gives you advantage on Wisdom and Charisma saves. It also lets you use the function of Channel Divinity that grants inspiration to grant an ally the same ability for the next minute if they are in range.

Prismatic Aura is the Paladin’s capstone “avatar” ability, in this case covering you in the colors of the Flames of Creation, and causing enemies to make a melee attack against you to take fire damage. You’re immune to fire and radiant damage and resistant to cold and necrotic. As you may have guessed, this recharges on a long rest.

Inspiring Invocation feels a little weak if you aren’t using the setting’s additional rules for Inspiration, at least until you can use the alternate ability to grant your allies advantage on saves. Everything else feels great and on point for the theme. You are literally a beacon with most of these abilities. My one little note on the 20th-level ability is I wish your aura could do your choice of fire or radiant damage, to link it more closely to Purifying Flames.

Delver (Ranger)

Delvers are rangers trained in scouting and hunting in lost, ruined, and forgotten places. Effectively, they are rangers specialized in dungeoneering.

  • 3rd level–Cunning Explorer, Set-Up
  • 7th Level–Evasion
  • 11th Level–Exploit
  • 15th Level–Uncanny Dodge

Cunning Explorer gives you proficiency in thieves’ tools, and also gives you an Intelligence save, with proficiency, to notice the trap at the last minute, even if you don’t detect it. Set-Up gives you a new bonus action that allows you to give yourself advantage to attack whenever you have cover, or you or your opponent are in difficult terrain. At 7th level you pick up Evasion, just like the Rogue ability, and at the same level. At 15th level, you get Uncanny Dodge, a full 10 levels after Rogues get the ability.

At 11th level, you get Exploit, which is not like an existing class ability. You can use a bonus action or a reaction to create a 15-foot cube affecting all the creatures you choose. If they fail their save, you can pick two effects from a list including falling prone, gaining exhaustion, gaining a condition, or taking damage, but you can only pick each option once. I’ve seen other effects trying to emulate a “trap master,” and this one is probably one of the most streamlined. Once you use this, you have to take a short rest before you use it again.

I like the idea of the Ranger being able to “autopilot” their awareness of a dangerous area by retconning their ability to notice a trap or to find advantageous terrain. Set-Up also plays into this situational awareness in a dangerous location story. Uncanny Dodge is a little disappointing as a 15the level ability, even if it thematically makes sense. If there is anything else I would tweak, it would be giving the Delver the ability to disarm traps using an alternate skill or tool proficiency, like maybe Survival, instead of just giving them proficiency in thieves’ tools.

Four More Down

Time flies when you’re having fun. Despite any tweaks I would make to these subclasses, they are a lot of fun to read through and are doing a really solid job of reinforcing the story they present. I’m looking forward to our last four subclasses, as well as more material from the Patreon.