• Justin Handlin

Unearthed Arcana 2020 Subclasses, Part 5

Wizard of the Coast has just released its latest Dungeons and Dragons Unearthed Arcana, playtest content. This is amazing! We get Way of the Ascendant Dragon for monks and the Drakewarden for rangers. Are you kidding me? Dragon themed subclasses!? HELL YEAH!

First I love the Ascendant Dragon Origin table. Gives you great flavor to fill out how your monk has learned this dope Draconic Disciple at 3rd level. "You found a scroll written in Draconic that contained inspiring new techniques". or After a dream that featured a five-handed dragon you awoke with altered ki, reflecting the breaths of dragons". Both of which are just awesome, to say the least.

The Draconic Disciple gives some pretty cool features, such as altering the damage of your unarmed strikes to allowing you a rerolling of Intimidation or Persuasion checks once per long rest. These are all fine and dandy, but what really tickles my dice is the Breath of the Dragon feature. It's like a suped up version of the Dragonborn's racial, and better yet, it can be used in place of just one of the attacks you take instead of the entire action. This makes for some pretty flashing martial arts followed by breathing fire, but the nice little detail they included is that its not explicitly a dragon's breath, just your ki releasing destructive waves. so you can toss this flavor in any way you want! Firebending, Kamehameha, Spirit Gun, or even be a gas man and release gouts of flames from your arse! You name it. And that's just a level three.

Much like the Ascendant dragon you get several origin concepts from a table for the Drakewarden. "You studied a dragon’s scale or claw, or a trinket from its hoard, and created your bond through the token’s lingering draconic magic" or "You drank a few drops of dragon blood, forever infusing your nature magic with draconic power". And several more. This once again really adds great theme and development to your character's story.

The core of the Drakewarden is Draconic gift. This allows the ranger to summon a drake companion. This is a pretty big step up from the ranger beast companion as you can make attacks with it as a bonus action, something many have been asking for in the beastmaster changes. What I really like is it gives you full rain of the visual description of your drake, and allows you to choose the elemental damage that it does. They've also done a nice job with increasing its size and damage and gaining new features like water breathing or flight depending on the features the summoner chooses.

Both of these are fantastic both thematically and mechanically. I can't wait to see where this goes. Check out the full playtest material here!

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