5e Unearthed Arcana: Barbarian Primal Paths


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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Threeshades wrote:

Fighter Martial Archetypes are here!

Ha! I beat you to it this time, Alchemy.

Curses! My one blazing eye was turned another direction at the moment.

Arcane Archer: Interesting, I think this may be the first case where a technique (arcane arrow) can be wasted on a miss. Still, it's a big payoff move. I like the bonus skills as well. Too bad Grasping Arrow has a set DC rather than a scaling one, have we seen that before?

Knight: I'm not a fan of mounted combat, so I'm biased. I am excited that marks are coming back, as previously one had to take Sentinel to get a Defender type effect going in 5e.

Samurai: Fighting Spirit is an interesting option, it overlaps a lot with Barbarian. Elegant Courtier feels lacking for lvl 7, could easily offer 2 profs.

Sharpshooter: I don't like this path because it's clearly better for archers than crossbow users. Crossbow Experts already get the lvl 10 benefit, and have a good use for their bonus action. Arcane Archer was exclusively for bows, and this is kind of more of the same. My feedback for the poll would be to make this more crossbow friendly.


Oh yes, that's another thing I am not really sure why the knight even has the Born to the Saddle ability. Nothing else in the archetype has anything to do with mounted combat. I suppose the thought is that they use the mount's speed to engage the enemy they mean to keep away from the squishy people before it can get close.


I dislike Arcane Archer's implementation. It seems like it would be better served as a superiority dice class, and make the class best with a bow but not hobbled without it.

My implementation:

3rd level - superiority die gained, learn 2 maneuvers.

3rd level - arcane arrow using superiority die. When you gain a maneuver you can choose a shot instead.

7th level - archer's lore.

15th level - every-ready arrow.

18th level - deadly arrow.

I cut conjure arrows, because it's... well absolutely terrible with no practical application. Even as a ribbon it's just a filler ability.

Knight is really, really good. It's the first one I have seen without modular abilities that is extremely powerful but not too powerful. I might change the Knight's Lore to an Expertise like ability because of flavor reasons alone (knights having such specialized and heavy training).

I'm not wild about Samurai but I like the 3rd and 18th level abilities in concept.

Sharpshooter is boring and absolutely make Crossbow Expert useless, but I like the idea of it as a class that doesn't require Crossbow Expert with slight retooling.

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I think Arcane Archer would work better as a ranger archetype, maybe adding some wizard spells to the ranger list and the ability to change the range of a spell to the range of the arrow.

I kind of wish some of those 3 per long/short rest abilities scaled with level, like usable a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.

Vis-à-vis the Knight: Adding a level-based damage bonus is interesting, especially since it doesn't get multiplied on a crit.

I really like the Samurai Fighting Spirit ability. It seems like a great "crunch time" ability.

Sharpshooter seems like a weak fix for a fighter that should have played a ranger. Also, it's confusing that it has the same name as the Feat.


My Thoughts:
Arcane Archer: The Arcane Archer already existed, it was called Ranger. If they had to do it as an archetype it should have been for the Ranger.

Knight: Cavalier from Kits of Old did this better.

Samurai: Should have had a focused version of the superiority die mechanic similar to the Scout's from Kits of Old except the applicable skills should be Athletics, History, Insight, Perception, or Persuasion, and a damage option that, like the cavalier's, is limited by weapon type; specifically to longbows and longswords. Drop Elegant Courtier (and add Bonus Proficiencies at 3rd level in two of: Animal Handling, History, Insight, or Persuasion) and Rapid Strike (for Relentless), keep Unbreakable Will, and alter Strength Before Death so that in addition to the normal effect, you're superiority dice increase in size one step to d10s.

Sharpshooter: No real opinions on this one. Just doesn't have much that sparks my imagination.

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Not sure I agree with the Arcane Archer working better as a ranger archetype, since the Ranger is traditionally a divine caster. If the Fighter has the Eldritch Knight, Arcane Archer seems like a natural fit as well.

I do expect these archetypes will change quite a bit before an official release, I'll have to remember to respond to the survey next week.


I think that Arcane Archer is flavorful and could fit either as a fighter or ranger archetype. And I'm really glad the didn't go with superiority dice. Almost all the previous fighter archetype used them and they just feel bland. Also it's not looking to be better than other existing archetype. Often I think forum poster doesn't seem to consider an archetype worthy unless it's plainly better than any other option. As far as I'm concerned, archetypes are to add diversity and flavor, not power.
[/rant]

Knight and Samurai are interesting archetype, still I'm not how I feel about them.

As for Sharpshooter I believe it's totatly uneeded.


Petty Alchemy wrote:
Not sure I agree with the Arcane Archer working better as a ranger archetype, since the Ranger is traditionally a divine caster. If the Fighter has the Eldritch Knight, Arcane Archer seems like a natural fit as well.

I see where you're coming from, though I disagree with it. The divide between arcane and divine magic (and primal) simply doesn't exist in 5E. Besides, with all the ranged weapon attack boosting spells that the Ranger has access to that no other class does; makes them more of an Arcane Archer in my books than a Fighter archetype that doesn't even get spells.


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Mordo wrote:
I think that Arcane Archer is flavorful and could fit either as a fighter or ranger archetype. And I'm really glad the didn't go with superiority dice. Almost all the previous fighter archetype used them and they just feel bland. Also it's not looking to be better than other existing archetype. Often I think forum poster doesn't seem to consider an archetype worthy unless it's plainly better than any other option. As far as I'm concerned, archetypes are to add diversity and flavor, not power.

That would be accurate if my suggestions made it better than Battlemaster in terms of power which it is not. Battlemaster with a bow still does more damage and is more useful in more situations than an Arcane Archer. And 5e needs to lean in on common features like Fighting Styles and Maneuvers and not needlessly create artificial barriers between classes, let alone archetypes.

One of the biggest reasons spellcasters are so versatile is because there is a common pool of spells with increasing variety and some special class-only options. The last thing 5e needs to do is make a large number of archtetype specific subsystems. A X/rest feature is one thing. An Arcane Archer's arcane shot is basically a special Battlemaster maneuver with some magical ability in its nature, and since (if published) it would get 0 future support let them pick from new maneuvers if/when they get published.

Modular. Be Modular.

Sovereign Court

I agree, Hiiamtom. They don't need to reinvent the wheel. I see that a lot of archetypes seem to be trying to be so distinct that they go out of their way to stretch the system in some crazy new direction. It's not always a good way to innovate.


I don't mind reusing existing features, but superioity dice have been already reused in other UA. They should be left on the side line for a while. We already have the BM, Monster Hunter, the Scout and the Cavalier that use them. It's good to see new mechanics once in a while in UA articles.

I don't mind see an archetype using them in an upcoming book, but until then let's have WotC staff try to come up with different features that they could use. Let's remeber that UA articles are brainstorming for upcoming products. If they always rehash the same mechanics, they won't be brainstorming much.

On the other hand,you can see the Arcane Shots either as maneuvers or even Invocation but specific to the Arcane Archer, this way, they are effectivly reusing existing feature, but just gave them a new name.


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Honestly Arcane Archer should be a feat that lets you use spells and a bow together so EKs, Bards, warlocks, rangers, and whatever else get some good use out of it. And this UA was always going to suffer because fighter has a lot of different looks from other UAs as well as a lot of expansion around Superiority dice like the spell-less ranger, kits of old, etc.

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Yeah, an Arcane Archer feat could give a cantrip, a way to add a spell to an arrow or crossbow or pistol or blowgun dart, etc., and maybe a way to make arrows magical, perhaps as a bonus action.


During the playtest there was an Arcane Archer feat, which I've copy pasted below. That said, I'm fine with this as the "written in pencil" UA playtest version. I like the idea of a magically empowered fighter archetype which is not reliant on spells.

Arcane Archer
Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell of 1st level or higher, proficiency with the long bow or short bow
As an action, you can imbue a spell of 1st level or higher into an arrow you are holding. You cast the spell as normal, but the spell effect does not occur until after the arrow is used in an attack. You can only imbue a spell that affects one creature or a spell that has an area such as a sphere, cloud, or cylinder. The arrow holds the spell effect until the end of your next long rest or until it is used in an attack that hits.
If you cast a spell that affects one creature, the next time the imbued arrow hits a creature with an attack, the attack deals damage as normal, and then you resolve the spell’s effect against the target.
If you imbued a spell that has an area, the creature does not need to be hit for the spell to take effect. Instead, you resolve the spell’s effect from the space or creature you targeted. If the arrow hits a creature, damage is dealt as normal.
Once you resolve the spell’s effect, the spell vanishes from the arrow.

(Yes, I'm such a nerd that I kept all the playtest packets on disk.)

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That feat is neat, but I think being able to cast the spell on the arrow as your action, and shooting that arrow as a bonus action, might be cooler.

Also, giving you the option to have your arrow cause no damage would be a nice way to deliver ranged buffs and healing.

And thirdly, a way to use your bonus action to enchant your arrows until the end of your next turn (or beginning of your next turn) would be a nifty way to bypass DR.

EDIT:

Would being able to cast any spell (or even just any cantrip) and shoot an arrow as a bonus action be too powerful, action economy wise? Particularly, I'm thinking of truestrike and/or bladeward.

Sovereign Court

Hmmm... Maybe not. Consider the help action.


I'm miffed that you can't take Arcane Archer for a ranger. Ftr/Rgr would be great, except of course that it delays either half of the build until at least 6th-8th level if you want to be able to gain Extra Attack at any reasonable time.


SmiloDan wrote:

That feat is neat, but I think being able to cast the spell on the arrow as your action, and shooting that arrow as a bonus action, might be cooler.

Also, giving you the option to have your arrow cause no damage would be a nice way to deliver ranged buffs and healing.

And thirdly, a way to use your bonus action to enchant your arrows until the end of your next turn (or beginning of your next turn) would be a nifty way to bypass DR.

EDIT:

Would being able to cast any spell (or even just any cantrip) and shoot an arrow as a bonus action be too powerful, action economy wise? Particularly, I'm thinking of truestrike and/or bladeward.

An EK Fighter can do that with cantrips at level 7, and higher level spells at level 18. So, not too powerful, but not accessible at 3rd level.

I mean, when I fill out Monday's survey I'm going suggest that Arcane Arrow does force damage and "count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage" for all attacks with a bow, but what can I tell you, they're the game designers and I'm just some home-brewing fool.

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I PITY THE HOME-BREWING FOOL! DRINK YOUR SCHOOL! DON'T DO MILK!! STAY IN DRUGS!!!

I understand the designers wanting to make different archetypes for all the classes, but the Arcane Archer seems more appropriate as a feat, since it could be used for bards, all kinds of spellcasting elves, fighters, rangers, and even paladins.

In 3.5, I played an elf archer druid, and it would have been neat to combine druidiness with archery.


Hitdice wrote:
I mean, when I fill out Monday's survey I'm going suggest that Arcane Arrow does force damage and "count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage" for all attacks with a bow, but what can I tell you, they're the game designers and I'm just some home-brewing fool.

All attacks in one action after you used your bonus action for create magic arrow?

Or do you mean you can just permanently fire arrows made purely of force?

I mean it does already deal force damage and it is magical (doesn't need to count as).


Threeshades wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
I mean, when I fill out Monday's survey I'm going suggest that Arcane Arrow does force damage and "count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage" for all attacks with a bow, but what can I tell you, they're the game designers and I'm just some home-brewing fool.

All attacks in one action after you used your bonus action for create magic arrow?

Or do you mean you can just permanently fire arrows made purely of force?

I mean it does already deal force damage and it is magical (doesn't need to count as).

All attacks with a bow at 3rd level would deal force damage, rather than piercing. At 7th level, replace Conjure Arrows with Counts-as-Magical on every shot. Neither requires Create Magic Arrow.

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Is there a magic bowstring that turns into yellow energy and shoots yellow radiant energy arrows? ;-)


If that's how you want to picture it, be my guest. *shudder*

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Hitdice wrote:
If that's how you want to picture it, be my guest. *shudder*

Only if I also get a pet baby unicorn too.


Hitdice wrote:
I mean, when I fill out Monday's survey I'm going suggest that Arcane Arrow does force damage and "count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage" for all attacks with a bow, but what can I tell you, they're the game designers and I'm just some home-brewing fool.

If the text says "you create a magic X" it doesn't have to specify that the magic X counts as magical. The AA's arrow attacks don't count as magical, it has a magical ability to create a magic arrow that has magical effects on top of damage.

As for a feat, I was thinking like the playtest feat:

Arcane Archer

Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell of 1st level or higher, proficiency with the long bow or short bow.

As an action, you can imbue a spell of 1st level or higher into an arrow you are holding. You cast the spell as normal, but the spell effect does not occur until after the arrow is used in an attack. You can only imbue a spell that affects one creature or a spell that has an area such as a sphere, cloud, or cylinder. The arrow holds the spell effect until the end of your next long rest or until it is used in an attack that hits.

If you cast a spell that affects one creature, the next time the imbued arrow hits a creature with an attack, the attack deals damage as normal, and then you resolve the spell’s effect against the target.

If you imbued a spell that has an area, the creature does not need to be hit for the spell to take effect. Instead, you resolve the spell’s effect from the space or creature you targeted. If the arrow hits a creature, damage is dealt as normal.

Once you resolve the spell’s effect, the spell vanishes from the arrow.


hiiamtom wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
I mean, when I fill out Monday's survey I'm going suggest that Arcane Arrow does force damage and "count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage" for all attacks with a bow, but what can I tell you, they're the game designers and I'm just some home-brewing fool.
If the text says "you create a magic X" it doesn't have to specify that the magic X counts as magical. The AA's arrow attacks don't count as magical, it has a magical ability to create a magic arrow that has magical effects on top of damage.

I'm not looking to argue with you, but you've used the word "magic" and "magical" so many times in one sentence that I feel like there's more reason to be specific, not less.


It's the monk's turn this week - Way of the Kensai and Way of Tranquility.


The kensei is exactly what I have been wanting to play for a long time. An unarmored, dex based, two-handed melee fighter.

Looking over the tradition at first I thought you lose out on some things like flurry of blows when using a kensei weapon, but actually looking at flurry I noticed that you don't need to use an unarmed strike or monk weapon to trigger it. That only applies to the martial arts bonus attack, for which the kensei has its own equivalent.

The tranquility monk has nice 3rd level abilities and Anger of a Gentle Soul could be a great gamechanger when things start looking bad for the party, but the other two abilities feel a little underwhelming. Emissary of Peace would be fine, if Douse the Flames weren't also written in such a way that it is basically an out of combat ability.
I mean, unless you start battle against a single enemy and immediately use it to stop the fight before anyone else gets a hit in that's pretty strong, but aside from that specific situation, it is useless. You calm a creature, someone else hits an ally of the creature and your action was wasted. At best you might be able to keep the main hitter of the enemy party out of the fight for the first turn, that is if none of your allies have already attacked it or have their initiative before the target.

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Kensai: So I guess you can use a maul with Dex, and forget about damage dice replacement for a while. It's definitely best to use your bonus action for an unarmed strike to get +2 AC, that sounds amazing.
Sharpen the Blade is powerful as well, looks like it stacks onto magical weapons you might find as well.

There's less out of combat utility than perhaps any other monk path though? By which I mean, zero out of combat utility.

Embracing Tranquility: Seems alright as well, it's a YMMV path for sure, depending on what kind of adventure the group wants. Emissary of Peace is a ribbon in most cases.

Edit: The tranquil monk has a LOT of staying power with that 10xlvl LoH pool, using one of the Flurry strikes to maintain damage output and quickly top himself off. If the Monk has 10 Con (thus gaining 5hp each level up), the LoH pool basically triples his HP for a fight.


Kensai is evocative, interesting, powerful (at fighting), and suits a massive range of fighting styles from Zen Archer to Swordsmaster to Musketeer. Great, great class that has IMO never been done right even if it is entirely combat focused.

Path of Tranquility is an interesting take on the peaceful adventurer. I would argue that Douse the Flames of War is better as the entry, and the healing could use a bit of a buff or improvement with time. Sactuary gets a save with every attempt to act against the player, so it will be overcome quickly just by the nature of the rolls. Douse the Flames of War is something that is aggressively peaceful and lasts a substantial amount of time. In general, I think calm emotions works better than sactuary.

Maybe it should be:

  • 3rd level - Douse the Flames of War and Healing Hands
  • 6th level - Emissary of Peace
  • 11th level - Healing Hands at a distance
  • 17th level - Anger of a Gentle Soul


  • Petty Alchemy wrote:
    It's definitely best to use your bonus action for an unarmed strike to get +2 AC, that sounds amazing.

    You only get the +2 AC if you attack with an unarmed strike as part of the Attack action. You cannot use bonus attacks for that. Plus, if you're attacking with your kensei weapon, other than by spending ki on flurry, you can't make unarmed strikes as bonus attacks.

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    Good points, it does specify Attack action rather than just making an unarmed attack, and Kensai weapons aren't actually Monk weapons. I'm not looking forward to correcting other players that misread it and crushing their dreams.

    Using Extra Attack to do one with the weapon, one with unarmed+martial arts bonus unarmed, +2 AC is probably the best path then, though it's a little sad to only swing your special weapon once.

    At least Polearm Master becomes more attractive since the bonus action butt tap isn't made redundant by Martial Arts.


    You also have to remember that with Path of the Kensei you can use a bonus action to add 1d4 bludgeoning damage to each enemy you hit with a kensei weapon. It's probably not going to measure up to the bonus attack or the AC bonus to be honest.

    The more i think about this Tradition, the more bizarre it seems. The way pummel is written, you can only pummel each target you hit once, even if you hit the same target twice. So it kind of wants you to spread your hits among multiple targets for more total damage.

    I think this tradition might be a tad too convoluted in its wording to really be friendly to new players.

    Maybe they should have left out the second and third point of the Path of the Kensei ability altogether and instead word the ability to say that you treat kensei weapons as monk weapons.

    Here's a little math I did with a 5th level kensei assuming a Dex 18, Wis 16 variant Human with Polearm Master.

    Spoiler:
    You can:
    • Attack twice with a halberd for 1d10+4 (2 x 9.5 = 19) and make a bonus attack for 1d4+4 (6.5); for a total of 25.5 damage if everything hits. AC 17
    • Attack twice with a halberd for 1d10+4+1d4 (2 x 12 = 24); 24 damage if everything hits and you attack two different target. 21.5 against a single target. AC 17
    • Attack once with a halberd for 1d10+4 (9.5), once with a punch for 1d6+4 (7.5) and make a bonus attack for 1d4+4 (6.5); for a total of 23.5 damage if everything hits. AC 19.
    • Attack once with a halberd for 1d10+4+1d4 (12) and once with a punch for 1d6+4 (7.5); 19.5 damage if everything hits and +2 AC. AC 19.

    Maybe a greatsword or maul gives more incentive to pummel and attack twice with the weapon rather than going for the AC. Certainly with great weapon master, since the -5/+10 would only be applicable to the weapon attack.

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    Note that attack line 3 is worse than attack once with a halberd + 2 punches, since you get the higher than d4 martial arts dice.

    I agree they should tighten the design, and let you pick 3 weapons to treat as monk weapons.


    You cannot halberd once and punch twice. Martial arts requires you to not be wielding anything other than monk weapons. So merely holding the halberd precludes you from punching as a bonus action.


    Kansai allows 3 martial weapons as monk weapons, thus the halberd.


    Hitdice wrote:
    Kansai allows 3 martial weapons as monk weapons, thus the halberd.

    No it doesn't. The 3 martial weapons are kensei weapons, those are not synonymous with monk weapons.


    Threeshades wrote:
    Hitdice wrote:
    Kansai allows 3 martial weapons as monk weapons, thus the halberd.
    No it doesn't. The 3 martial weapons are kensei weapons, those are not synonymous with monk weapons.

    You're absolutely correct on that, Path of the Kensei's second bullet point messed up my reading comprehension. My apologies.

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    5th Edition is occasionally semi-vague on purpose, so the DM or gaming group can make their own interpretation.

    Some might interpret kensei weapons as a subset of monk weapons. For example, all kensei weapons are monk weapons, but not all monk weapons are kensei weapons.


    Those vague points are usually there to open possibilities for players to get creative with their actions, but generally they are defined enough to have a clear way of expressing what you need to have and do to use them in the first place.

    And with the kensei, these definitions are there and are actually clear cut, but they are written in such a way that you need to pay really close attention to get them right. Hence three people have already misinterpreted three things about this one class ability.


    Even as worded isn't the ideal action Kensai weapon/Unarmed Strike/Unarmed Strike to allow martial arts and the bonus AC? Unless it's a low AC high HP foe so you want to use great weapon master, or you need to punch through resistances (well with a bonus I guess), it's the best mix of offense and defense.


    hiiamtom wrote:
    Even as worded isn't the ideal action Kensai weapon/Unarmed Strike/Unarmed Strike to allow martial arts and the bonus AC? Unless it's a low AC high HP foe so you want to use great weapon master, or you need to punch through resistances (well with a bonus I guess), it's the best mix of offense and defense.

    You cannot use martial arts with a kensei weapon, even if you make one attack with an unarmed strike. The kensei weapon is not a monk weapon, and if you are holding a non-monk weapon (or a shield, but that's irrelevant here) you cannot use martial arts.

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    WoG on Kensai.


    "Threeshades"You cannot use martial arts with a kensei weapon, even if you make one attack with an unarmed strike. The kensei weapon is not a monk weapon, and if you are holding a non-monk weapon (or a shield, but that's irrelevant here) you cannot use martial arts. [/QUOTE wrote:

    That's just an odd restriction in general that I missed.


    The most important thing I noticed from his Twitter feed:

    "Regarding the current version of the kensei, it has a few errors. The main correction: a kensei chooses Str/Dex for a Str weapon only."

    Well, that's certainly expected.

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    Paladin Oaths: Conquest and Treachery.

    These are some pretty rude oaths. Treachery seems especially powerful.

    WotC is also mentions going on holiday, next UA on 1.9.17.


    These Oaths are why I love the alignment restriction being lifted from paladins. You can have non-morality-centric extremism like Crown, Vengeance, or Conquest along with varieties of fallen paladins like Oathbreaker or Treachery.

    These would suit a setting like Cheliax and Isger so much better than LG only paladins and CE only antipaladin mirrors.

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    They're pretty cool. Treachery seems a bit powerful, but that's mostly its 20th level capstone. Mostly.


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    Blech. As an old-school paladin fan, the idea of adding even more options for evil paladins does not sit well with me.


    i like it, though another good or alignment independent paladin option wouldve been nice too.

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