September 9, 2015

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down.

The Thumb here! Just a quick update in addition to the new ranger archetype we posted this morning.

     Since we started this site, we've put out over 60 unique nuggets of content for 5e. Many of them fell short of expectations, some turned out pretty awesome, and a few have been under intermittent change, even after their time of posting. Just a reminder, if you're using our content in your game, you ought to just go back real quick and make sure we haven't changed anything. For instance, I just rebalanced a feature of the Bone Knight, which was posted several weeks back. Everything is subject to change, even some of our oldest stuff. But a lot of that depends on your feedback.

     A big part of new content is playtesting. As university students, we've had a hard time organizing games to test our content. I'm just barely able to type out this update between writing a paper and going to class. As gamers who generally prefer low level play, our higher level class features are almost entirely untested. We generally don't play characters past level 12. But I digress...

     I wanted to ask those of you who have created and played characters using our content for your input. What did you play? How did it work out? Did it seem balanced or not? Having played that character, is there anything about the class/race/subclass that you think should be changed? Drop a comment below and let us know.

24 comments:

  1. I played the Solar warlock because of an exceptionally warlock-heavy campaign. Aside from the fun of just playing a good warlock...it didn't really wow me? I played him at level 6, and...eh. It seemed reasonably balanced, just not as exciting as some of the other warlock options. Maybe something just for flavor? Not sure what to suggest.

    Also partially my fault for making him an aasimar, thus rendering many of the class features redundant (necrotic resistance, that kind of thing). The shield of heaven feature was one I was reluctant to use, as a caster without the hit die of a paladin or fighter to eat into when I knew the rest of the party was better able to take a hit than me. (The rogues and their stupid dodges...)

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    1. The Solar is an odd customer. It is intended that you either build your character with lots of constitution or multiclass into pally or another tankier class. It is kinda wimpy otherwise. I guess we could've done something different that synergized better. The Machine is the same way. A frontline warlock relying on a high con score to be able to risk your skin.

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  2. I am currently playing a shadow master rogue and last meet we finally got to lvl 3 so that I could gain my shadow powers, but I havent used them yet. Also one of our players is currently running a cluckromancer sorcerer but hasnt used his cluck fu stuff yet so no playtesting has happened yet, but I will come back and post my thoughts on the matter once we have played around with them some.

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  3. I played a bunch of them. They all have awesome groundwork for sub classes and really creative ideas. You did a great job.

    The problem I have is that you put a spell as a feature. You want to give a the player a new set of tools with a sub class and allow them to explore with them. That's what I try to do.

    Here's the marionette sub class that I changed. It's my perspective on it as an example. I also released those edited versions.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9ePUWJ_GznBQ2lvWUYyekdkUlk/view?usp=sharing

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  4. My only complaint is that some of the classes are kinda meh. Either they didn't go far enough or they're kinda boring. For example, the Oozemaster is just kinda... lame. He has no real crazy benefits that Sorcerers are known for (like wild magic, blue magic, chickens, etc). Others, like the Gunslinger, don't mesh with 5e very well, and the limited number of maneuvers made me a little sad. In all honesty, the version that Matt Mercer cooked up for Critical Role is a lot better. That said, you guys do have some great stuff (Blue Mage, Ghostfaced Killer, Entropy Domain, Magitech Warrior, Bone Knight, etc). Also, seriously, chickens thrown by the Cluckromancer should count as a spell attack.

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    1. I would tend to agree with you. Our material is really hit and miss at times. Lots of the weirder ones (like the oozemaster) are very setting specific and situational in terms of usefulness. Some of them (scavenger, swordsage, kensai) need complete overhauls because they're just not mechanically strong or interesting.

      As for the last bit, I agree to a point. Cluckromancer was never really intended to be optimized. With ranged attacks, you're always better off just casting a firebolt. I will go ahead and change it though.

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  5. I've been stalking this blog for awhile, slowly collecting a mass list of content from here and the Unearthed Arcana PDFs to introduce to my players as canonical content for the world's that I DM. I plan to introduce this list in a few weeks, so I haven't tested playing with them yet, but as with every UA PDF, I scrutinize the content here thoroughly and edit any and all content you put out if I believe it needs it.

    Luckily, I've done more UA editing than Vecna editing, but of note, I did mass changes to the Thri-Kreen, a class race I felt needed a few changes but thought had potential (and because Thri-Kreen are the coolest of races.)

    Most notably my problem comes from the Thri-Kreen weapon-making ability and Venomous Bite. With the latter, you have an unstoppable early-level monk who can run around flawlessly poisoning (and maybe stunning) enemies at any time, while the former allows infinite reproduction of (essentially) a 2d6 finesse weapon that basically never breaks and easily reproduced (with limits of course) ranged darts.
    While the weapon making isn't really that bad, I just tweaked it to make the Melee weapon break on any critical fail roll. This makes the early 2d6 weapon a powerful, but risky proposition, and considering that you can make them from nothing, supplying a jail full of weapon-less prisoner PCs now has drawbacks (other than how long it takes to make one). With that said, Thri-Kreen have too many free abilities for a race, so I cut this fairly powerful one and pasted it over Venomous Bite. This makes the hunter have a more interesting power than extra damage and stun/poisoning, but doesn't get rid of the awesome weapon creation concept and the feel of a hunter needing to hunt with whatever it has.
    I hope to get a Thri-Kreen PC soon to test this edit, but either way, thanks for all the well made races and sub-classes!

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    1. To clarify since I don't know if my previous post read that way:
      I made the weapon creation ability a Hunter specific ability in place of Venomous Bite.

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    2. The venomous bite is only a one time use per long rest though. And I tried to give the weapon creation ability enough drawbacks that you're incentivized to have a steel weapon made. To each their own though.

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    3. I will say that thri-kreen is pretty op, but what can I do? Level adjustment? Make the subraces into racial classes? Give features at higher levels?

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    4. You make a point about Venomous Bite, but I think I cut it for the reason that there are just too many abilities. Reasonably some of this makes up for the fact that Thri-Kreen are unable to speak, making them one of the more difficult races to play until an alternate form of speech is gained, but just the sheer number of abilities is a bit much.
      I've been looking over it myself once more to see if maybe it needs a bit more nurfing myself. Two ideas come to mind:
      1. Maybe you could split the two current subraces into 4 or 5, giving each ability as a singular option with a stat increase (such as a venomous bite subrace, or a weapon making subrace, or a color shifting subrace, etc.) This would allow all the signature abilities of the Thri-Kreen to remain, just not be used all at once. In a sense, this would be like the Shifter race from UA: Ebberon. The shifter has numerous options, but each only changes a bit (unrelatedly, the shifter is also an underpowered race imo, so don't look too deeply at it.)
      2. You could make the race not gain any stat increases, or only one star increase. This would balance in the long run, as even though Thri-Kreen have lots of useful abilities, they're chosing to trade stats for abilities. Like how the Humans mostly trade standout abilities for stats.

      I'm not sure what I'd end up doing, but those are some options for now.

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    5. I think I'm gonna make Venomous Bite a racial feat and put the weapon creation into the Warrior subrace. After that, it should be balanced enough.

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    6. That seems fair. I'll give the Thri-Kreen another look over after you update the PDF and let you know if anything op rears its head.
      Also, I actually do like Venomous Bite in terms of fleshing out the Thri-Kreen, but I had trouble cutting other things in order to keep it, so the feat is a good idea.
      Thanks for taking feedback. The chances that we've all got flawless advice is slim, but it's always good to have a second or third opinion.

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    7. Fixed. It should be good now.

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  6. I've played the Arcane Archer twice and Spellwarp Sniper.

    For the first Arcane Archer, I did a normal build of pure Ranger.

    For the second, I did a Ranger/Light Cleric mix to get some spells early, at the cost of delaying getting extra attack/more stats/feats. Went 5 Ranger/X Cleric. Campaign is still in progress.

    I found that the Arcane Archer, when limited by concentration on arrows, is neglecting its initial primary source of damage as a Ranger (other than simply attacking), which is Hunter's Mark.

    The first AA (the pure Ranger one) was really, really far behind in terms of damage and consistency, in my opinion. Being a half-caster, your spellslots were limited, and your spell choice was basically limited to pure-damaging things, and even when you were at the top of your game, anyone else building pure damage seemed to leave the Ranger in the dust. Which felt a little weird, to me. You're building to make things die faster, but you're still quite a bit weaker than any other build made to kill things faster, and have less combat utility, being a Ranger. Once you ran out of spell slots, you were even further behind, and didn't have the Hunter's free 1d8s/actions to back you up. However, this run was with 'adding a spell to an arrow makes the arrow take concentration, regardless of whether you fire it instantly, or not'. I was basically unable to use Hunter's Mark, etc.

    The second run went far better, and I managed to keep up with the other damage builds fairly consistently, so long as I had spellslots, which still ran out fairly fast. This run was without the arrows taking concentration to maintain, if you fired them instantly. I also found more utility in this run, in that even if I didn't use pure damage, I could still have fun. Numerous times I added Goodberry/Create or Destroy Water and even Cure Wounds to my arrows just to screw around, but that's besides the point. In terms of damage, being that it was made for pure damage, it kept up with the others. Even Hunter's Mark + every hit of Scorching Ray hitting at different points (we ruled it this way), even though, by Imbue Arrow's descriptions they'd hit simultaneously, thus only getting one extra d6, resulting in damage similar to 10d6 + 1d8 + Mods, it was still lower than other DPS class' damage. That being said, when I was able to do these kind of bursts, I wasn't too far behind it, and it made the game far more fun.


    As for Spellwarp Sniper, I tried a build involving illusions. We used a homebrew feat that allowed me to deal damage to targets that failed saving throws vs illusions. This wasn't the driving point, because as long as the illusion did even a single point of damage, and I met the requirements of sneak attack, I could deal 1/2 sneak attack damage to targets.

    Sitting behind a silent image (thus being hidden for advantage), in the shape of some monstrous thing that no normal enemy could ignore, was fairly fun. Lots of utility. In this sub-class. Albeit they're fairly limited once they're out of spellslots (being 1/3 casters), although cantrips help bridge the gap.

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    1. Lots of utility in this sub-class*. Don't know why I had a grammar screw-up there.

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    2. Some good points. We may improve arcane archer a bit. Do you have any suggestions as to what we should do?

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    3. As far as I saw, what I thought needed changing was the removal of needing concentration to imbue an arrow with a spell, assuming you were firing it instantly. It allowed to AA to actually use a lot of his spells, rather than being limited and forced to pick either concentration spells (Hunter's Mark), or the ability to play his sub-class at all.

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    4. Looks like the Finger fixed it.

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  7. So I played a meet with the shadow master, and I am here to report in. The shadow seems a little OP since it makes it so that I almost always have sneakattack and dont need to rely on others or stealth to get my sneakattack on. Not only that, but I was round after round pumping out crazy amounts of damage or high medium damage. So maybe making the shadow count as an ally for sneakattack js a tad too powerful.

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    1. One idea is that maybe tieing an intimidate check to the shadow to get advantage?

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    2. I've cut the counting for sneak attack part for now. Because your shadow can still use chill touch he's still has mechanical purpose, albeit less so. I'll be brainstorming what I can do to put in its place.

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  8. I'm currently in a party as a minotaur War hulk (9) and shadow master (3) I have expertise in grapple so nothing can really ever escape once I'm on them. My best combo right now is that my Ally I'm regular with is a shadow monk so he has been using my movable shadow to activate his shadow step to gain advantage and incredible mobility. Other than flavor it all seams very balanced even if in role play we tend to "over shadow" the group.

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    1. Overshadow. Ha.

      Hadn't even considered the synergy between shadow master and way of shadow. That's actually a pretty neat feature. Are you sure he's using it right? He has to start in a shadow and end in another shadow within 60 ft.

      As for your OP grapple, I don't see anything in either War Hulk or Shadow Master that could account for that, other than the strength bonus. That one's on you for optimizing. Frankly, I didn't think a grapple build would work incredibly well in 5e, since the rules for grappling have changed so much and the ability to pin is now restricted to a feat.

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