In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Unearthed Arcana was a rules supplement written by Gary Gygax and published by TSR in 1985. It was, essentially, a cash grab; TSR was pretty heavily in debt, so Gygax's brilliant idea was to gather up a bunch of D&D content of various types published in Dragon Magazine (mostly by himself) or which had been submitted there but never printed, stick them all in one easy-reference book, and flog it to the market as a third "core" book, alongside the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide.
The result was... less than brilliant. To put it in perspective, in that year's November issue of Dragon, there were four pages worth of rules corrections, a two-page list of typo corrections, and some explanations and justifications for items which were not actually errors. In January 1987, that month's issue of Dragon devoted the entirety of its "Sage Advice" column to answering readers' questions about Unearthed Arcana, as a follow-up. Even then, it took until the 2013 anniversary reprinting before an edition of the AD&D Unearthed Arcana was published that actually incorporated this stuff.
Content included in the AD&D version of UA included the first ever version of the Barbarian class, alongside the cavalier and the thief-acrobat, new races/subraces like the drow and the svirfneblin, new weapons, revised information on character level maximums for non-human player characters, revised weapon specialization rules, new spells, the Comeliness ability score, magic items and non-human deities, alongside others.
Wizards of the Coast would later use the name thrice over.
The first time was for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, where a second rules supplement was posted in 2004. This version of the UA was akin to its predecessor, in that it was marketed as a new tool for dungeon masters and veteran players. However, rather than just containing new content - which was, after all, the norm for every supplement in 3e by that point - this version of Unearthed Arcana focused on various ways to customize existing rules. Where the original Unearthed Arcana had simply expanded the rules and options of the core game, this 224-page supplement was aimed at providing an extensive list of variant rules and options to change the standard game itself. The book ends with a checklist of the included variants, preceded by a short chapter discussing ways of transitioning among multiple games using different rulesets (one of which explicitly emulates the "Eternal Champion" stories of Michael Moorcock).
The second use of the name by WoTC was as an article series in their e-zine versions of Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine, which served as a testbed for experimental rules or campaign ideas for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.
The latest and most recent form of Unearthed Arcana is tied to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. In February 2015, WoTC began publishing a semi-regular series of PDF articles on their website, displaying homebrewed, experimental content created by WoTC's writers and which could potentially be updated into official content in the future, depending on fan-reception. Usually, only one such article gets published a month, but sometimes WoTC gets motivated and releases more than one per month.
There exists also an only semi-related Arcana Unearthed. This is Monte Cook's homebrew, a "variant players' handbook" for 3rd edition, which he named such as a homage to / ripoff of the original under the OGL. (It became Arcana Evolved.) Likewise, d20 Modern setting book Urban Arcana is likely a play on the title, but otherwise unrelated.
- 1 AD&D UA Content
- 2 3e UA Content
- 3 4e UA Articles
- 4 List of 5e UA Articles
- 4.1 2015
- 4.2 2016
- 4.3 2017
- 4.4 2018
- 4.5 2019
- 4.6 2020
- 4.7 2021
AD&D UA Content
Content in the first UA was divided into two sections; Player and Dungeon Master.
The player's section saw the amendment of ability modifiers and level restrictions for various races, as well as new Elf subraces (Drow, Gray Elf, Wild Elf, Valley Elf), a Half-Drow variant of the Half-Elf, and the new Duergar and Svirfneblin races. It was home to three new classes - the Acrobat, Barbarian and Cavalier, some rules-tweaks for the Paladin, Druid, Fighter, Ranger, and Thief. There were rules on how the Cavalier handled money, a segment on equipping the character, and a plethora of new arms, armor and spells.
The DM's section contained new rules for character creation, the new Comeliness ability score, followers & henchmen for cavaliers, and some material expanding upon the new arms, armor and spells introduced in the previous section. Rules were presented for the effects of darkness on combat, as well as for how being underwater affected spellcasting. A brief examination was made of how social class & rank and the circumstances of birth could affect the campaign, and then a huge array of new treasure was provided. Finally, a series of appendices provided rules for weaponless combat, non-lethal combat, the nomenclature of pole arms, and perhaps the book's greatest legacy: new demihuman deities.
This was the first book to present the foundations of the Morndinsamman and the Seldarine, as well as the pantheons of the gnome, halfling, and orc races. Specifically, it presented these gods to the D&D world:
- Clangeddin Silverbeard
- Aerdrie Faenya
- Erevan Ilesere
- Hanali Celanil
- Labelas Enoreth
- Solonor Thelandira
- Sheela Peryroyl
- Baervan Wildwanderer
- Segojan Earthcaller
- Flandal Steelskin
3e UA Content
The 3e version of the UA is divided into six different chapters; Races, Classes, Building Characters, Adventuring, Magic and Campaigns.
The Races chapter introduces new racial variants of standard PHB races based on environment or elemental affinity. It also introduces mechanics for reducing the dread Level Adjustment, a new mechanic of "Bloodlines", which is effectively an alternate way of handling special racial ancestry outside of the "Half-X" racial templates, and the Racial Paragons mechanic; racial "mini-classes" that expand upon the inherent abilities of a race. Everything except bloodlines (which are horribly confusing and counter intuitive) are generally allowed in normal all first party book games/optimization contests.
The Classes chapter is all about the Variant Classes. Firstly, it provides a huge list of specific variant classes, listed below. Then it provides examples of a simpler way of making variant classes, such as a "Hunter" (Barbarian who trades Raging for the Ranger's archery skills), a shapeshifting, swift-moving Ranger, a Monk that favors toughness over mobility, or a Sorcerer/Wizard who gains an animal companion instead of a familiar. Then it examines possible variant abilities for specialist wizards, in many ways laying groundwork for what would happen to them in Pathfinder and 5th edition. This is followed by mechanics for converting divine spellcasters to work as spontaneous casters, and then variant versions of class features, such as replacing Favored Enemy with Favored Environment. The Prestigious Character Classes turns the Bard, Paladin and Ranger into Prestige Classes, whilst the Gestalt Characters rules are either a foundation for 4e's Hybrid Classes or a throwback to 2e's Multiclasses; they let you advance in two classes simultaneously, instead of taking first one level in one and then a level in the other. The chapter finishes with new rules for generic classes; Warrior, Expert and Spellcaster. The sample alternate classes (except Domain Wizard which gets a shit ton of stuff at no cost) are generally allowed in all first-party book games/optimization contests.
- Totem Barbarian
- Bardic Sage
- Divine Bard
- Savage Bard
- Cloistered Cleric
- Druidic Avenger (a sort of Druid/Barbarian hybrid)
- Thuggish Fighter
- Monk Fighting Styles
- Paladins of Freedom, Slaughter & Tyranny
- Planar Ranger
- Urban Ranger
- Wilderness Rogue
- Battle Sorcerer
- Domain Wizard
Chapter 3, "Building Characters", is a more grab-bag affair, featuring alternative skill systems, complex skill checks, new rules for character traits and flaws, the "Spelltouched" and "Weapon Group" feats, the Craft Points mechanic, and an examination of character background.
Chapter 4, "Adventuring" is again a grab-bag of various topics, ranging from alternative ways of handling hit points and armor, to new rules for reserve points, action points, combat facing, variable modifiers, bell curve rolls, playing on a hex grid, and having players roll all the dice.
Chapter 5, "Magic", is new material all relating to spellcasting. Variant rules for handling Summon Monster spells, a new "Magic Rating" mechanic to replace caster level, the option to allow spells to be cast with metamagic effects by using new "metamagic components", using metamagic spontaneously, a spell points system to replace the traditional Vancian Casting mechanic, rule to make spellcasting "rechargeable", and finally rules for legendary weapons (magic weapons that improve as your character does via a prestige class), item familiars (just what it sounds like; familiars that are sapient magical items), and incantations (a way for non-dedicated spellcasters to cast spells).
Finally, the book's last chapter, "Campaigns", is an assortment of different campaign altering subsystems and mechanics; Honor, Taint, Reputation, and Sanity all appear as new ability scores, alongside mechanics for contact, test-based prerequisites, and level-independent XP awards.
4e UA Articles
The very first Unearthed Arcana article for 4th edition was posted in September 2010, in the pages of Dungeon Magazine #182. Its purpose, according to the article (and the editorial for Dragon Magazine of the same month) was to explore topics which aren’t easily incorporated into the formal structure of the Dungeons & Dragons game, replace existing rules with variants, or extend the game in other unofficial, experimental ways.
Dragon #394: The Awakened Psion: New mechanics for the Psion class to allow them to delve, or deeply merge their minds with the minds of those they touch with their psychic powers, an act that comes with both benefits and penalties.
Dragon #395: Strongholds: Rules for building and managing strongholds, castles, forts and other domiciles. Comes with two new rituals; Call Stronghold (teleports your stronghold to you) and Flying Fortress (turns your stronghold into a flying version of itself).
Dragon #396: Fight or Flight: Expanded options for ending a combat encounter, including interruptions, fleeing, and parlay/surrender.
Dragon #397: Henchmen and Hirelings: A return of a classic mechanic, allowing your players to buy their own mooks to fill the role of useful, non-combat grunts and minions. Also includes mechanics for pets and henchmen.
Dragon #398: Gambler's Games: Rules and advice on actually running gambling games as part of your D&D session.
Dragon #398: Ignorance is Blessed: Yeah, this issue had 2 UA articles in it. Add more of a pulp fantasy or sword & sorcery feel to your games by incorporating uncaring, unknowable or underpowered gods for your Divine classes to worship and draw power from.
Dragon #403: A Hero's First Steps: In contrast to earlier editions, where a level 1 character was a complete amateur lucky to get anything done, 4e had 1st level characters be full-fledged heroes, practiced and experienced to around the point of 3rd or 5th level by comparison. This UA article attempted to bring back the old-school feel by allowing you to play a rookie "Level 0" character, so you can work your way up to competence and bad-assery by gaining that first level.
Dragon #404: A Matter of Honor: Introduces the Honor system as a new mechanic for 4e, fitting into the issue's Oriental Adventures motif. It does look at honor beyond the stereotypical Bushido, pointing out it also works well for chivalry or just organizational principles, such as forming the code of conduct that lets a thieves guild actually work together.
Dragon #412: Using Ships in your Campaign: The title really says it all, don't it?
Dragon #420: Unfinished Business: Mechanics for playing as a Ghost.
Dragon #421: Alternative Multiclassing Rules: As the title says, a new form of 4e multiclassing, more closely mimicking the system used in 3rd edition.
Dragon #422: Building Character: Random tables for backstory elements, in an effort to make character backstory generation easier for players.
Dragon #423: Game Changers: An assortment of specific new alternative rules/playstyles; Playing Without XP, Alignment Enforcement, "Going Off The Grid" (going back to measuring things by feet instead of by squares), Grittier Play, High-Octane Games, Superpowered Characters, Playing Without Money, Average or No Damage, and Tougher Deprivation.
Dragon #424: Achievements: Mechanical rules to make it easier to generate those nebulous, non-physical successes or rewards, such as crafting a magical item, blazing a trail, or building a stronghold.
Dragon #425: Combat Options: Alternative rules/playstyles for combat; Fumbles, Injuries, Group Action Phase, Action Options, Action Points, and Variable Defenses.
Dragon #427: Personality Traits: Mechanical rules for character merits and flaws, to add a little more encouragement to give your PC a personality and not just be a bundle of stats.
Dragon #429: Snips of Scales and Dragon Tails: A 4e equivalent to an article that had appeared in 3rd edition Dragon; the manifold valuable uses of different dragon bodily parts and fluids; Scales, Hide, Teeth, Blood, Powder and Bones.
Dragon #430: Time Travel: A discussion on how to incorporate time traveling into your campaigns, complete with a Time Traveler background and Time Portal ritual that, well, let's you open a portal that leads to a different time. This was followed up in the same issue by a new character theme (Ghost of the Past - you're a character from the past brought to the present, which is your future) and a bazaar of the bizarre full of time-travel related magic goodies.
Dungeon #182: Curses (Foiled Again): Explored the idea of using the iconic fantasy image of curses and hexes that cause worsening debilitation in those so afflicted by using a variation on the 4e core rules for diseases. Contains the Forestfoe Curse, the Fire's Foe Curse, the Satyr's Dancing Curse, the Speechbane Curse, the Curse of Rage, the Curse of Isolation, the Curse of Angelic Torment and the Death Titan's Curse.
Dungeon #201: The Truth is Out There: Add a dash of Spelljammer meets Science Fantasy to your setting by using aberrations as alien visitors from other worlds, rather than the Far Realm. Includes stats for Grays as monsters.
Dungeon #204: Less Death, More Danger!: Expanded rules for injuries as a combat subsystem, including new recovery rules for post-combat.
List of 5e UA Articles
Eberron Update: Bare-bones mechanics for converting Eberron campaigns to 5e mechanics. Includes 5e PC stats for the Changeling, Shifter and Warforged, Dragonmark rules, and the first rendition of the Artificer, as a Wizard subclass. More or less panned by fans of the setting, who feel most of it was phoned in - the Artificer was particularly loathed for being underpowerd, whilst the Warforged was so weak that Keith Baker himself put up his own version on his blog.
When Armies Clash: Rules for mass combat in 5th edition.
Modifying Class: As the name suggests, an extended discussion on how to mechanically tweak and homebrew classes and subclasses. Examples give are a non-spellcasting version of the Ranger class and the first edition of the Favored Soul as a Sorcerer class.
Favored Soul - This first attempt at converting the Favored Soul is relatively close to the original 3e version. Taking the Favored Soul option instead of Draconic Bloodline or Wild Origin means your sorcerer gets to pick options from one of the Cleric domains for themselves and adds those domain spells to their list as bonus spells. They get much better combat stuff (automatically proficient with light and medium armor, shields, simple weapons, and gain an Extra Attack at level 6), but they still have d6 hit dice, so it's not always the best idea to go wading into melee. They gain the ability to sprout wings for flying and healing whenever they cast a Domain spell. Take the Life Domain and your Sorcerer can toss around healing and buffing spells like nobody's business (and with metamagic, to boot. Twinned Cure Wounds? Don't mind if I do), or take the War domain to put your newfound ass-kicking skills to the best use.
Waterborne Adventures: Rules for playing naval campaigns, complete with the Krynnish Minotaur race, the Mariner fighting style, and the first drafts of the Swashbuckler and Storm subclasses for the Rogue and the Sorcerer respectively.
Storm Sorcery focuses on lightning, swooping around with wind powers, and controlling the weather to make navigating a ship a breeze (No pun intended). At high levels, they can fly and spend an action to let the party swoop around, too. In short, a pretty great "pure caster" bloodline that doesn't go for making you tough like a dragon or have a significant lol-random component like the wild one. This eventually got made official with the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, but with one key nerf: the extra "stormy" spells that they got for free and which didn't count against their allotment of spells? Gone now. Who the fuck knows why.
Variant Rules: The first of several UAs aimed at modifying and expanding the rules of 5e as a whole. This article contains the "Players Make All Rolls" rules variant, the "Custom Alignment" rules variant, and the Vitality optional rule.
Modern Magic: 5e rules aimed at more "Urban Fantasy" games, ala D20 Modern. This particular article contains the City Domain for Clerics, the Ghost In The Machine Patron for Warlocks, and the Technomancer Tradition for Wizards, as well as new spells for all of them, and a gunslinging invocation for Warlocks. It ties into another article called "Behind The Screens: My New D20 Modern Campaign", which also features more urban fantasy equipment in the form of new firearms (sidearms and longarms) and modernistic armors.
Technomancers represent a Wizard for a more modern age, one who focuses on mastering the interplay between magic and technology. A fairly fluff-accurate character, but unlikely to be of much use unless your DM wants to run either an urban fantasy game or a magitek/dungeonpunk game in the vein of Shadowrun - or at least with more advanced stuff than Eberron. The Technomancer gets free proficiency with sidearms (that is, pistols) and hacking tools at level 2, as well as trading their spellbook for an enchanted tablet computer. This lets them scribe spells in half the time of a normal wizard. At level 6, they get Program Spell, which lets them use any basic computational device (mobile phone or better) to "hold" a spell for them. The charge only lasts 48 hours, is one-use only, and a technomancer can only have one at a time. On the other hand, this lets you give somebody an undetectable improvised explosive device by handing them a cheap mobile primed to detonate a Fireball when they answer it. At level 10, they get Online Casting, where they can use networked electronic devices to channel spells for them. So, if you can get yourself into the mall's security room, you can promptly blast every fucker who walks into a room with a working security camera, without leaving the place. Finally, at level 14, they get the Chained Device feature, where they can have a tablet computer or better gizmo maintain concentration on a spell for them, allowing them to hold two concentration spells at once.
Ghost in the Machine - A Warlock with this pact comes from a hyper-dungeonpunk, high-magitek or Urban Fantasy type setting, having made a pledge with some sort of powerful artificial intelligence. This warlock gains the ability to mentally control computers, teleport along electrical wires & data cables, resistance to magical forms of detection and information retrieval, and the ability to "infect" others with a techno-virus by touching them, which hurts them with Psychic damage and lets you control them like puppets. This is awesome, but sadly useless in the standard high fantasy setting your group insisted on playing in.
City Domain - An Urban Fantasy or high-magitek/hyper-dungeonpunk worshipper of Urbanus or conceptually similar deities. Enhanced Charisma, Perception, and Insight in urban areas, a Channel Divinity that lets you mentally control all city utilities (and knock over or grab enemies by making the city grab them), bonus Psychic damage with melee attacks, and free teleportation between mass transit points (so bus stops, subway entrances, train stations, etc).
Ranger: This month's edition presents a 1st through 5th level look of an updated, revised ranger, born as a result of all the people complaining about just how awful the default 5e ranger was.
Prestige Classes & Rune Magic: As its name suggests, this article tries to bring back the concept of prestige classes, and introduce the Rune Magic subsystem on the side. The response was lackluster and PrCs don't seem likely to ever officially come back, though that might be due to how bad the Rune Scribe sample PrC was.
Light, Dark, Underdark!: As you can probably tell, this UA was inspired by the Underdark. Two fighting styles - the Close Quarters Shooter ad the Tunnel Fighter, the Deep Stalker Archetype for Rangers, the Shadow origin for Sorcerers, and the Undying Light Patron for Warlocks.
Undying Light - Making a pledge to the force of Positive Energy itself, these warlocks are a weird melding of warlock and cleric, making them a pretty interesting alternate take on the Favored Soul. In addition to a bunch of fire/light based spells, including two new cantrips, it gives Radiant resistance, a bonus to Radiant or Fire damage that it inflicts, increased vitality, and a healing touch. It also comes with a d6 table of optional personality flaws, which basically revolve around hating the dark and loving the light - despising the undead, being afraid of the dark, always needing to light up any place that's dark, things like that. This would receive some tweaks and ultimately give rise to the official Celestial Patron in "Xanathar's Guide to Everything".
Shadow Magic - gives no new spells, but does get a bunch of "umbramancer" class features, like burning sorcery points for Darkness, summoning a "Hound of Ill Omen" (ghostly dire wolf), teleporting between shadows and assuming a shadow form. It comes with a list of weird undead-themed optional quirks, like slow bleeding or a tendency to stare without blinking.
That Old Black Magic: Demon-focused UA article, presenting the new Abyssal Tiefling variant race and new Wizard spells for conjuring various low-level fiends.
Kits of Old: New subclasses based on various kits from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, specifically for the Bard (College of Swords, College of Satire) and Fighter (Cavalier, Scout). None were seen as particularly bad, although Cavaliers did elicit grumbles about how they fall into the same old traps and Scouts elicited outrage from Ranger fans for being better at their job than Rangers are.
Psionics And The Mystic, Take Two: An update and expansion of the original Mystic from the previous year, now going all the way up to 10th level. This one doesn't get a lot of attention because WoTC has screwed it up putting it into their own archives, forcing anons to search for it with the clumsy search engine the site boasts.
March 2016 Review: One of the lazier Unearthed Arcanas, this article consists of WoTC shilling the three DM's Guild products they most took a liking to, stating that if fans agreed with this like, such material could be ultimately made official content. The three products advertised were Blood Magic, Book of Beasts: Demon Depository, and Battle for the Undercity. Fans were... not impressed.
Feats: Just what it says on the tin; a bunch of new experimental feats, these ones focusing on weapon and tool proficiencies, like the official Polearm Master feat. Fell Handed, Blade Mastery, Flail Mastery, Spear Mastery, Alchemist, Burglar, Gourmand, and Master of Disguise all appear in this article.
Quick Characters: Optional rules intended to make generating characters quicker and easier to pull off.
The Faithful: New subclasses to allow arcane casters to get in on the divine casters' schtick. This article introduced the Seeker Patron for Warlocks, and the Theurgy tradition for Wizards. There was an immediate uproar that the Seeker was all over the place and the Theurge was overpowered.
Theurges are incredibly powerful, and this has led to quite a bit of backlash from fans who denounce them as being the most broken Arcane Tradition in the game, a title they held until the Lore Master came out in 2017. Essentially, a Theurge is a "wizard-priest", an arcanist who is either devoted to a deity sufficiently to wield some of their magical powers, or has learned to imitate (or usurp) divine magic through arcane lore. Essentially, the Theurgy Tradition is an alternative to the Arcana Domain for Clerics, in that it tries to make a singular class out of the Cleric/Wizard Mystic Theurge, but by from the basis of being a wizard who studies and wields godly magic. Amusingly, by its default fluff, you can easily use it to represent an Ur-Priest as well. It's first second-level feature is, of course, Divine Inspiration, which lets you pick a specific Cleric Domain. Naturally, this should be one appropriate to the deity your Theurgist is worshipping/studying/ripping power from, though it notes that the most natural fits for a Theurgist are probably Arcana, Knowledge and Light. Its second level 2 feature is Arcane Initiate; when you gain a level, you can choose to trade one of the Wizard spells you know for a Cleric spell from a slot level you can cast - so, if you can cast 3rd level spells, you can snag a 1st, 2nd or 3rd level Cleric spell. You must concentrate on gaining the bonus spells from your chosen Domain first; only if you can cast all of the spells from that Domain can you pick up "generic" Cleric spells for your spellbook. Additionally, though you keep these spells in your spellbook, other wizards can't learn to cast them by copying from your spellbook. Its final 2nd level feature is Channel Arcana, which basically gives you Channel Divinity 1/short rest (2/short rest at 6th level, 3/short rest at 18th). When you make use of this power, you can gain either the Divine Arcana power-up (+2 to attack roll or saving throw of the next spell you cast) or the Channel Divinity effect granted by your chosen domain. The rest of its Tradition features are based on gaining access to your Cleric Domain's bonus features, with the exception of weapon and armor proficiencies. Arcane Acolyte (level 6) gives you access to the level 1 bonus feature, Arcane Priest (10th level) gives you access to the level 6 bonus feature, and finally Arcane High Priest (level 14) gives you access to the level 17 cleric bonus feature for your domain. Arcane High Priest is the most commonly cited and least legitimate source for complaints about the "overpowered" status of Theurges, with many falsely insisting that, RAW, you could take the Arcana Domain and thusly get access to Wish at level 14. More legitimate complaints focus on the potential for abuse if you apply Spell Mastery to Cleric spells,or the fact you can effectively have two Domains by becoming a multiclassed Theurgist/Cleric.
Seeker - The Seeker is a semi-divine warlock, sworn to the service of a deity or similar entity dedicated to gathering lore and knowledge. The UA article it appears in outright states that it mostly owes its inspiration to Celestian, the Greyhawk god of stars, space and wanderers. At 1st level, it grants the Shielding Aurora feature, where you can invoke a 1-turn-long forcefield once per short rest that grants you Resistance (All) and inflicts Radiant damage on any enemy that ends their turn within 10 feet of you. At level 6, it grants Astral Refuse; spend an action and you teleport off the battlefield to a non-space, where you can cast two spells on yourself before returning to where you started and ending your turn. 10th level grants you the Far Wanderer feature; you no longer need to breathe and are now Resistant to Fire and Frost damage. Finally, at level 14, you gain the Astral Sequestion feature: once per day, you can spend five minutes performing a ritual that teleports you and your party (no more than 10 people plus yourself, mind) to the Astral Plane. There, you get to complete a short rest before returning to the material plane with no time having passed in the interim. Its bonus spells are a mixture of divination and mobility enhancers, from Feather Fall to Legend Lore.
The Ranger, Revised: A follow-up to the UA from a year ago, this further expands the Revised Ranger's ruleset by making it a full 20th level class at last.
Encounter Building: New rules to make generating encounters quicker and easier.
In this month, WoTC introduced a glorious but ultimately short-lived changeover to make UAs come out more than once per month.
Barbarian Primal Paths: First edition of the Ancestral Guardian, Storm Herald and Zealot subclasses.
Bard Colleges: First editions of the College of Glamour and College of Whispers subclasses.
Divine Domains: First editions of the Forge, Grave and Protection subclasses for Clerics. Forge and Grave would go on to become official in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, whilst Protection remains unofficial so far.
Forge Clerics worship smithing creator deities like Moradin, and so they get bonus spells relating to manipulating fire, augmenting gear, and creating stuff, like Heat Metal, Searing Smite, Animate Objects, Magic Weapon, etc. They get bonus proficiency with heavy armor, the ability to turn a non-magical weapon or suit of armor into a +1 version for a day, which is a power they can only use once per day, the ability to create simple items as part of a short rest (no, there's no real mechanical bonus to that), +1 AC in Medium or Heavy Armor, Fire Resistance (which ultimately improves itself to Fire Immunity), a once-per-turn Divine Strike that lets you deal bonus fire damage, and the ability to gain Resistance to non-magical physical damage whilst wearing heavy armor.
Grave Clerics are, as you'd expect, the "non-evil necromancy clerics!" domain; whilst Death is mechanically aimed at gods of the undead, murder and other "death as an evil force to be feared" deities, the Grave Domain is aimed at gods of "death as a natural part of the cycle", like Kelemvor, Pharasma and Wee Jas. They get bonus spells relating to "good" necromancy (false life, gentle repose, antilife shell) and "neutral" necromancy (blight, animate dead, bane), the Spare The Dying cantrip for free, the ability to always heal maximum damage with their healing spells, the ability to spend 1 minute to sense all undead within 1 mile once per day, the ability to use Channel Divinity to remove immunity/resistance (if present) or grant vulnerability to the next attack to strike that creature, the ability to negate a critical hit on an ally once per short rest, a Divine Strike that ca deal bonus necrotic damage, and the ability to give themselves or an ally some free healing in response to an enemy's death once per turn.
Protection Clerics worship guardian deities, obviously, and so their powers basically make them more castery paladins. They get protective bonus spells, the ability to impose disadvantage on combat rolls by enemies within 5 feet who're attacking someone else, a Channel Divinity that lets you armor an ally with an aura that burns the next guy to strike that ally, gaining healing when you cast a heal-spell on others, a radiant damage Divine Strike, and the ability to gain two damage resistances from the list of Slashing, Piercing, Bludgeoning, Necrotic and Radiant, which you can change every short rest and which you can transfer to someone else with a touch.
Druid Circles and Wild Shape: First editions of the Circles of Dreams, the Shepherd and Twilight, plus alternate rules for governing druid wildshaping.
Martial Archetypes: First edition of the Arcane Archer, Knight, Samurai and Sharpshooter subclasses for Fighters.
Monastic Traditions: First edition of the Way of the Kensei and the Way of Tranquility for Monks. The Way of the Kensei is essentially a monk-samurai, based on the "unarmored weapon master" kits from the earliest editions of D&D and made infamous in Baldur's Gate for how broken they were through dual-classing with wizards. Its big thing is that it grants the monk 3 free martial weapon proficiencies, and any weapon it's proficient with becomes a "kensei weapon". What this means in practice is that any weapon they're proficient with now benefits from all the traits of Martial Arts, including the "key off Dex instead of Str" thing. That's right, this lets you bring back your greatsword-wielding Soaring Blade monk from 4e - at 3rd level. Their other features revolve around bumping up their weapons even further; One With The Blade means that A: the kensei treats all of its kensei weapons as magical, and B: the kensei can double its proficiency bonus on an attack once per short rest, Sharpen The Blade lets it spend ki points to buff up attack & damage rolls, and Unerring Accuracy gives it a free reroll for failed weapon attacks once per turn.
The Way of Tranquility, in comparison to the Way of the Kensei, is a pacifist monk who thusly specializes in diplomancing; an effectively permanent Sanctuary spell on itself at 3rd level, the ability to heal others of wounds, poison and disease with a touch, free proficiency in Performance or Persuasion, Advantage on "Charisma checks made sincerely to diffuse violent situations", a charm attack delivered by touch that temporarily nullifies the victim's ability to fight, and finally a "you pushed me too far!" freak-out you can undergo when somebody kills somebody in your presence that buffs your damage, allowing them to lay down a righteous ass-whupping. While everyone likes the later-level class features, the first two are pure skub. There's just no getting around the fact that they are better versions of other people's class/archetype features, gained, in the case of the at-will sanctuary effect, at a lower level than the other monk archetype that grants it.
Sacred Oaths: New material for Blackguards, in the form of the first editions of the Oaths of Conquest and Treachery for the Paladin.
Artificer: The second ever fully-fledged new class for 5e, in the form of a new take on the Artificer, complete with the Alchemist and Gunsmith subclasses.
Ranger and Rogue: First edition of the Horizon Walker and the Primeval Guardian for the Ranger, and first edition of the Rogue's version of the Scout.
Sorcerer: First editions of the Phoenix Soul, Stone and Sea Origins for Sorcerers, and the second edition of the Favored Soul Sorcerer subclass.
Favored Soul - This mark 2 version doesn't get free Cleric spells but is instead allowed to learn Cleric spells. They also get a boost to hit points, the ability to add 2d4 to a failed attack or saving throw, doubled proficiency on Charisma checks, immunity to poison and disease, and regaining half your health once per long rest. This might make a decent survival Sorcerer.
Phoenix Soul - This lets you start fires, deal fire damage to anything that hits you, add your charisma bonus to fire damage you deal, ignore killing blows and deal fire damage when someone lands one, spend spell slots to heal themselves, and eventually fly, gain resistance to all damage, and deal even more damage when someone lands a killing blow. It's a bit of blastiness, mixed with some survivability. However, it's also been widely and intensely derided for having literally all of its features only matter when you're in your phoenix form, which you can only assume for one minute per day.
Stone Soul - Weirdly, this is a tank sorcerer and plays like a Battlemind or maybe a Swordmage. This nets you proficiency with shields, simple weapons, and martial weapons. You also can learn spells off a list that focuses on melee combat and tanking (you get a bunch of different smites), get a boost to your HP and an AC of 13 + Con. You can grant allies a reduction to physical damage equal to (2 + Sorcerer Level) / 4. When an ally with this reduction gets hit, you can teleport next to them and make a melee attack with bonus damage. At first, you can only give this reduction to one ally, but eventually, you can throw it on 3. Finally, you get a nice little bonus to your spell damage. It's the clear winner of the UA. It's hard to say why Wizards decided to remake the Battlemind as a sorcerer, but they did a pretty good job of it. It's also one of the better ways to make a gish in 5e.
Sea Soul - Guess your mom got freaky with a water-elemental or something. This lets you breathe underwater and swim real good, curse people to trigger special effects when you hit them with a lightning/cold/forced movement spell, resist fire damage, reduce physical damage you take by your charisma modifier, turn into water, and eventually, resist physical damage, ignore critical hits, and, best of all, exist without food/drink/sleep (why does D&D keep trying to sell us this shitty, shitty feature as a goddamned capstone? It's not like most DMs use the fucking food rules!) It's kind of a mixed bag of features, without a real mechanical theme. Maybe a control sorcerer?
Warlock and Wizard: First editions of two new Patrons for the Warlock, in the Hexblade and the Raven Queen, four new Warlock invocations, and the first edition of the Lore Master Tradition for Wizards, which has been derided as being even more broken than the bloody Theurge was.
Lore Masters were... well, if you thought Theurgists got bitched about, you hadn't heard anything yet. Lore Masters are the return of the "Generalist Wizard" archetype, which is represented by giving them quite a bit of versatility, attracting complaints that now it outdoes the 5e Sorcerer at being the "versatile caster" as well as complaints about being overpowered. Its first 2nd level feature, Lore Master, doubles your proficiency bonus for Arcana, History, Nature and Religion checks (you still gotta be proficient in the first place) and lets you roll Initiative based on your choice of Int or Dex. The second level 2 feature, Spell Secrets, lets you change the damage types of elemental damage spells (that is, spells that inflict Acid, Cold, Fire, Force, Necrotic, Radiant, or Thunder damage) at will, and change the saving throw type of a single spell per encounter. This means that not only could you throw around all of the "force damage inflicting fireballs" that you want, you could also throw a fireball that is resisted with a Strength check once per encounter. Level 6's Alchemical Casting lets you modify certain spells by burning an extra spell slot; give up a 1st level spell slot when casting a spell that inflicts damage for +2d6 bonus Force damage, give up a 2nd level spell slot when casting a ranged spell of at least 30 feet to instead upgrade its range to 1 mile, and give up a 3rd level spell slot when casting a spell with a saving throw to increase its DC by +2. At level 10, you gain the Prodigious Memory trait, which lets you use a bonus action to swap one of your memorized spells out for a prepared spell instead once per encounter. Finally, level 14 makes you a Master of Magic, letting you cast 1 spell from any spell list (must be a level you can actually cast for, though) once per day. This tradition has received a huge outcry for effectively being better at magical flexibility than the entire Sorcerer class is, to say nothing of their ability to make all their damage Force damage, and therefore nigh-irresistible.
Hexblade - Pledge yourself to a sentient weapon of some description. Echoes the old Hexblade class and focuses on melee combat (it's a pretty obvious pairing with the Pact of the Blade). You get spells focused on making your weapon more magical (including three Paladin smite spells!), boosting your mobility, and a few kill-y spells. You also get proficiency with medium armor, martial weapons, and shields, and can substitute your charisma for dex or strength when making attacks with 1handed weapons. Other features include a curse you can put on people to make it easier to kill them (grants increased crit threshold, add proficiency to damage against them, regain hitpoints when they die, eventually makes it hard for them to hit you). Finally, you get a magic dog that lives in your shadow. You can make this dog go into someone else's shadow, which will let you ignore most cover they might be behind (I know that sounds made up, but it's real, I swear.)
Raven Queen - Pledge yourself to the Raven Queen. Focuses mostly around having a raven familiar. Spells are themed around death, finding things, and cold. Features give you a magic raven that grants you some bonuses, which you can eventually merge with. You also get advantage on death saving throws, immunity to frighten, and resistance to necrotic damage, and the ability to cast "Finger of Death" once per long rest.
Mass Combat: A revision of a concept touched upon in the very second every UA Article, way back in March 2015.
Traps Revisted: New rules for DMs to handle managing, placing and disarming traps.
The Mystic Class: The complete version of the Mystic, so far, a full 20th level class with all the mechanics that 5e plans to use to handle psionics, or so it seems. a fan-made modified, expanded, and illustrated version can be found here
Wizard Revisited: A second edition revamp of the Theurgy Tradition and a new Tradition in the form of War Magic.
Warmages were released in a March 2017 Unearthed Arcana, and if you think about it, they make more sense in this edition, as Wizards and Sorcerers no longer use different casting styles, and they were always highly trained, which is the wizard's "thing". Surprisingly, they're not redundant nor do they step on the toes of Evokers; they're all about blasting smarter, not harder. The first of their second level features, Arcane Deflection, lets them boost up their defenses with magical energy - when they take a hit against AC or fail a Con saving throw, they can burn their reaction to immediately boost their AC by +2 or their Con saving throw score by +4, as needed, in order to negate that particular attack. The downside is that they can't cast anything more powerful than a cantrip until the end of their next turn after using this trait. Their other level 2 feature, Tactical Wit, lets them add their Int modifier to their initiative rolls. Power Surge, unlocked at level 6, allows them to boost up their crowd-smiting attack spells once per short rest, in the form of adding +2 damage dice to the spell - this means they can launch a 10d6 fireball once per encounter, and at hitting level 20, they could unleash a 16d6 fireball. Their 10th level feature, Durable Magic, continues the "mystical protection" theme, giving them +2 to AC and to all saving throws whilst they have a spell maintained. Finally, the level 14 Deflecting Shroud provides a nice mixture of defense and offense, as it lets the Warmage deal half their level in Force damage to all enemies within 10 feet whenever they use Arcane Deflection. This Tradition was made official in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, with Power Surge getting a complete rewrite, Arcane Deflection boosting all saves, and Deflecting Shroud gained greater range at the cost of hitting fewer targets.
Mk2 Theurges are... literally unchanged from the mk1 version posted so long ago.
A Trio of Subclasses: One new subclass for each of the Monk, Paladin and Ranger. The Monk gets the new Way of the Drunken Master, the Paladin gets the new Oath of Redemption, and the Ranger gets the Monster Slayer, a tweaked version of the Monster Hunter subclass released for Fighters in Gothic Heroes.
The Way of the Drunken Master is, as you would expect, the stereotypical drunken master, despite not actually using alcohol in any way, instead opting for acting drunk. Roleplaying may vary. Drunken technique gives you proficiency in the Performance skill, as well as giving you disengage whenever you use Flurry of Blows and increasing your speed by 10 feet for that turn. Tipsy sway emulates the drunken swaying, making it so that, when you are missed by a melee attack, you can use your reaction to redirect it at another creature within 5 feet except the attacker. However it is only once per short or long rest. Drunkard's luck allows you to spend 1 ki to give yourself advantage on any saving throw, but must be used before the saving throw. Intoxicated frenzy allows you to make up to five attacks with Flurry of blows at the cost that every attack must target a different creature.
Starter Spells: An assortment of new cantrips and 1st level spells for all of the casting classes in 5e.
Downtime: New rules on how to handle what PCs do during downtime in between adventuring encounters.
Feats for Skills: An assortment of new feats based on skill proficiencies.
Feats for Races: An assortment of new feats restricted to characters of specific races.
In this month, Unearthed Arcana returned to being a once-per-month production.
Revised Subclasses: Five 2nd edition revamps of subclasses from the past year; the barbarian’s Path of the Ancestral Guardian, the bard’s College of Swords, the fighter’s Arcane Archer, the monk’s Way of the Kensei, and the sorcerer’s Favored Soul.
Favored Soul - This third and final unofficial redraft of the Clerical Sorcerer subclass goes for more of a heal-bot approach. Divine Magic, acquired at 1st level, means it can learn Cleric spells and Sorcerer spells at will, and gets a "free" Cure Wounds spell - an automatically learned spell that doesn't use up its limited supply of spells known. It also retains Favored By The Gods, as per the last version. At level 6, it gains Empowered Healing, allowing it to spend sorcery dice to reroll the dice results for healing spells it casts. Level 14 gives it access to Angelic Form, where it can summon or dismiss ethereal wings that grant it a Fly speed of 30 feet. Finally, at level 18, it gains Unearthly Recovery, which lets it regain 50% of its hit points after dropping to half or less of its HP once per long rest.
Revised Class Options: More tweaked 2nd editions of subclasses from earlier Unearthed Arcanas; the druid’s Circle of the Shepherd, the fighter’s Cavalier, the paladin’s Oath of Conquest, and the warlock’s Celestial (formerly known as the Undying Light) Patron. It also has some new Warlock invocations.
Celestial - This is the "good guy warlock" patron option, where you make a pact with an angel of some description. In mechanics, it's a refluffed version of the Undying Light Patron presented in an earlier UA. The big difference is that it adds some healing spells to its list of bonus spells, instead of just fire/radiant damage-dealers, and rearranges what levels you get which features at. At 1st level, you gain Healing Light - the "heal with a touch" feature from the UL Patron, which it didn't get until level 14 - and Light & Sacred Flame as bonus cantrips. At level it gets Radiant Soul, which is Resistance (Radiance) and bonus to radiant & fire damage, a feature the UL got at 1st level. They both get the same "bonus temporary HP on completing a rest" feature at level 10, but the Celestial renames it the Celestial Resilience trait. Finally, it gets Searing Vengeance - 1/day, when reduced to death, spring up at half maximum hitpoints and inflict radiant damage & blindness on all enemies within 30 feet - as its 14th level trait, when for the UL Patron it was a 6th level feature. This would go on to be reprinted exactly as-is for Xanathar's Guide to Everything.
Greyhawk Initiative: Old-school styled rules for handling initiative amongst PCs, using random dice rolls made in each turn of combat. Pretty much universally held up as the absolute worst UA that WoTC has put out to date.
Three-Pillar Experience: New rules for gaining experience, in an effort to make exploration and social interaction as important to a game as combat, because traditionally all your XP comes from killing shit and that only really encourages murderhobos.
Golgari Swarm Circle of Rot Druid is a creepy swamp or Underdark favoring druid who worships fungi as one the great powers of nature, embracing them in their role as entities that break down dead matter and turn it into the stuff from which new life can prosper. As such, their vision of the cycle of life doesn't entirely exclude the undead, although they will still come down hard on undead creatures that seek to break the cycle. Their Circle Spells thusly dip into the wizard and cleric pool, drawing forth a combination of necromancer spells (Chill Touch, Gentle Repose, Ray of Enfeeblement, Animate Dead, Contagion) and spells that fit the "fungal" theme (Gaseous Form, Blight, Confusion, Cloudkill). At level 2, they gain Halo of Spores (as a reaction, inflict 3 Poison damage on 1 creature within 10 feet, which upgrades to 6 damage at 6th level, 9 damage at 10th leve, and 12 damage at 14th level) and Symbiotic Entity, where they can spend a use of Wild Shape to gain 3 temp HP per Druid level, double their Halo of Spores damage, and inflict +1d6 Poison damage with their melee attacks for 10 mins or until they use Wild Shape again. At level 6, they gain Fungal Infestation, where any creature slain by their Halo of Spores rises as a 1 hit point zombie that obeys the druid for 1 hour and then decays into nothing. 10th level gives them Spreading Spores, where they can sacrifice the ability to use Halo of Spores temporarily to create a 10ft cube up to 30 feet away where everyone that enters it is affected by Halo of Spores; this lasts 1 minute or until they use another action to relocate the spores. Finally, 14th level gives them Fungal Body, making them immune to blindness, deafness, fear, poison and critical hits. All in all, its a weird class, but flavorful and decently strong.
Gruul Brute Brute Martial Archetype is for Fighters who want to dabble in Barbarian, or for those who think that the Champion is too complicated, depending on who you ask. Their 3rd level ability is Brute Force, which increases their weapon damage by a bonus amount based on their level (+1d4/3rd level, +1d6/10th level, +1d8/16th level, +1d10/20th level). 7th level gives them Brutish Durability, which adds +1d6 to their death saving throws and boosts their chance of having rolled a 20. They pick up an Additional Fighting Style at level 10. Level 15 grants them Devastating Criticals, where they add bonus damage equal to their Fighter level to all critical hits. Finally, level 18 gives them the Survivor trait, where they automatically regenerate 5 + Constitution modifier (minimum of 1) hit points per round so long as they have 1 hit point left. It's not a flashy subclass, but it is a bloody solid one.
Izzet Researcher School of Invention, on the other hand, doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Fluff-wise, it's an attempt to play the Artificer as a full-caster by making a wizard into someone who is constantly experimenting with new ways of performing magic. It gets three level 2 features; Tools of the Inventor (2 free tool proficiencies), Arcanomechanical Armor, and Reckless Casting. The former feature grants the wizard proficiency with light armor and lets them turn a suit of studded leather armor into a magical version that A: only functions for them, B: grants Resistance to Force damage, and C: has an AC of 12 + Dexterity modifier. The latter feature lets a wizard choose to try and manipulate raw magic to their will instead of casting one of their prepared spells. For cantrips, this a simple roll on a D10 table. For spells, the wizard expends a spell slot of 1st through 5th level and rolls 2D10 on the table for that spell slot's level (6th+ level spell slots still work as rolls on the level 5 table); they can pick which of the two results to use, but rolling a 10 does give them the option to try and cast two spells from that list at the same time. These Reckless Magic spell lists include spells from other casting styles. At level 6, they gain the Alchemical Casting feature; when wearing their Arcanomechanical Armor, they can give up an extra 1st level or 2nd level spell slot whenever they cast a wizard spell; giving up a 1st level slot lets them change a spell that does Acid/Cold/Fire/Lightning/Thunder damage to dealing a different damage type from that list, whilst giving up a 2nd level spell bumps up a damage spell by letting them inflict +2d10 Force damage against one target of the spell's. Level 10 grants them Prodigious Inspiration, which lets them swap out a memorized spell for one in their spellbook once per short rest. Finally, their 14th level feature is Controlled Chaos, where they can choose to roll on the table 1 level higher for expended spell slots when using Reckless Casting (so, you can give up a 1st level spell slot and Reckless Cast a 2nd level spell). All in all, it's a real mess of a class thematically; the features are okay, and Reckless Casting is a hell of a lot more interesting for a Wild Mage than the actual Wild Magic table is, but they just don't mesh together. It's been argued that the School of Invention is an attempt to remake the controversial Lore Master, but others don't see it, given the Lore Master's fluff was a combination of "generalist wizard" and "arcane scholar", whilst the Inventor-Mage is an Artificer-Wild Mage hybrid in both fluff and crunch.
Into the Wild: An expansion upon the existing rules for wilderness travel and exploration in the PHB and DMG, this was shot to pieces almost as soon as it hit /tg/, and may claim the crown as one of the laziest and least-liked UAs ever from the previous incumbent, the much-despised Greyhawk Initiative System UA.
Nothing: Instead, a less-than-a-single-page preview of Mordekainen's Tome of Foes was provided at the last minute with the explanation that the developer's involvement in GaryCon and Mordekainen's Tome of Foes precluded the completion of any Unearthed Arcana article.
Order Domain: April saw UA finally release something decently crunchy, in the form of a new Cleric Domain analogous to the "Law" alignment domain in 3e. Actually garnered a mixed reaction; whilst definitely superior to what had been provided for the last two months, the Order Domain is one of several things that Mearls came up with and revealed on his streams, including an Acrobat subclass for Rogues, a Kraken patron for Warlocks, a Giant-based origin for Sorcerers, and a draft of a 5e Warlord - Mearls could have released all of those in one mega UA to make up for the absolute garbage of the last two months.
The domain itself? Not so bad; free proficiency with Heavy Armor, a bundle of Enchanter based buffs and debuffs for its bonus spells, and the features Voice of Authority (cast a 1st+ level spell on an ally, that ally can melee attack as a reaction), Order's Dominion (recover a spell-slot of 5th level or less whenever you cast a 2nd level or higher Enchantment spell), Divine Strike (bonus Force damage on your weapon attacks once per turn), and Order's Wrath (an enemy you hit with Divine Strike also takes further Divine Strikes whenever your allies hit it until the end of your next turn). Its unique Channel Divinity option is Order's Demand, which is basically a free Charm Person effect.
Centaurs & Minotaurs: Another strong crunchy UA that surprised /tg/, the May 2018 UA provided a new version of the Minotaur PC race, which had first appeared way back in May 2015's article, as well as the first ever 5th edition PC writeup of the Centaur. Both races featured new concept; whilst racial type-based spell-restrictions aren't as prevalent in 5e as they were in 3e, they do still exist. To counter the buffing effect that having a non-Humanoid racial type would normally bring, PC centaurs and minotaurs count as both Humanoids and Monstrosities, making them more vulnerable to race-targeting effects instead of less.
Giant Soul Sorcerous Origin: As the name says, this was a new subclass for Sorcerers, and earned some immediate negative attention because, like the Order Domain before it, it's one of Mearls' Stream-invented subclasses and it was released all on its own. And then there's the mechanics itself, which are contentious; people are still fighting over if, RAW, bonus spells granted from non-Sorcerer lists do or don't cast with Cha.
Its first level features are Jotun Resilience (+1 max HP, and a further +1 max HP each time you level up) and Mark of the Ordning, where you select which type of Giant you descend from and gain 3 bonus spells, two at first level and one at third level, based on that particular giant:
- Cloud Giant: Fog Cloud, Minor Illusion, Invisibility
- Fire Giant: Burning Hands, Fire Bolt, Flaming Sphere
- Frost Giant: Armor of Agathys, Ray of Frost, Hold Person
- Hill Giant: Heroism, Shillelagh, Enlarge/Reduce
- Stone Giant: Entangle, Resistance, Spike Growth
- Storm Giant: Shocking Grasp, Thunderwave, Gust of Wind.
At level 6, you gain the feature Soul of Lost Ostoria, where you gain another benefit based on your specific giant ancestry:
- Cloud Giant: After casting a Mark of the Ordning spell, you can teleport 10 + Con modifier feet as a bonus action.
- Fire Giant: Your Mark of the Ordning spells inflict bonus damage equal to your Con modifier.
- Frost Giant: You gain Temporary Hitpoints when you use your Mark of the Ordning spells When you cast Ray of Frost or Hold Person, you gain Temporary HP equal to your Con Modifier (minimum 1). When you cast Armor of Agathys, increase the Temporary HP it bestows by your Con modifier (minimum 1).
- Hill Giant: After casting a Mark of the Ordning spell, pick up to 2 creatures within 5 feet; they must pass a Strength save with the same DC as the spell you cast, or be pushed 5 + your Con modifier (minimum +1) feet away.
- Stone Giant: After casting a Mark of the Ordning spell, gain an AC bonus equal to your Con modifier (minimum +1) until the end of your next turn.
- Storm Giant: After casting a Mark of the Ordning spell, you can inflict Lightning damage equal to your Con modifier on up to 3 visible creatures of your choice within 30 feet.
Level 14 grants you the Rage of Lost Ostoria feat. Once per short rest, by expending a spell slot, you can increase your size category by one step: when so enlarged, you gain +1 HP (current and max) per sorcerer level, +5 feet of reach, +5 feet walking speed, Advantage on Strength checks & saving throws, and bonus damage on melee weapon attacks equal to your Con modifier (minimum of +1). This enlarged state lasts for 1 minute or until you die or are incapacitated.
The capstone 18th level feature is Blessing of the All Father; you gain +2 Constitution, your Constitution maximum increases to 22, and you can use Rage of Lost Ostoria twice per short rest. You can even use it whilst already using it, in which case you grow to a second size category from your original and double the bonuses you gained.
Eberron Races Revisited: A new go at Eberron PC races - the Changeling, Kalashtar, Shifter and Warforged. This is actually a free preview; the statblocks in this UA are reprinted from Keith Baker's new Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron quasi-official campaign setting update splatbook on DM's Guild.
Races of Ravnica: In the same vein as the last month's UA, the 2018 August UA was a final playtest of four of the races planned for release in the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica: the Loxodon, the Simic Combine Hybrid, the Vedalken, and the Viashino.
Dragonmarks: Following in the footsteps of the July issue, this month's UA is a free preview of content from Keith Baker's new Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron quasi-official campaign setting update splatbook on DM's Guild. As the title suggests, it's Baker's current draft of mechanics for 5th edition Dragonmarks.
Of Ships and the Sea: A retread of one of the earliest Unearthed Arcanas, this month's issue presents whole new rules subsystems for naval campaigns, including ship stat blocks, crew, sea travel and seafaring hazards.
Sidekicks: A simple expansion on the rules for hirelings from the Dungeon Master's Guide, allowing the player to recruit NPC combatants who will fight alongside them when out adventuring.
- Goes official in the Essentials Kit released in September 2019, that includes the sidekick mechanic so the adventure can be played in duo (DM and one player).
Artificer: Finally released the updated version of the Artificer that WotC has been promising for the last two years.
Artificer: After a month-long hiatus, we got yet another version of the Artificer. Artificer Mk-4 has new subclasses, a revised spell-list incorporating spells from Xanathar's Guide, and several new infusions.
Barbarian & Monk: After two months without a peep from WotC, they finally released this UA; two new subclasses, one each for the Barbarian (the Wild Soul, which is basically the Wild Magic Bloodrager from Pathfinder 1e) and the Monk (Way of the Astral Self, which is either the Stand-user from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure or the new Siren from Borderlands 3).
Sorcerer & Warlock: Not too long after the last UA is another one, with two new subclasses for the classes, as well as a new cantrip. The Sorcerer gets a psionics themed-subclass, which owes its bloodline to some manner of gribbly alien space creature, citing aboleths or mind flayers as potential origins. The Warlock meanwhile gets a reprieve on one of the on-stream subclasses with the Lurker in the Deep Patron. Based upon that which lurks in the waters, this warlock subclass gets to summon tentacles and gaping maws.
Bard & Paladin: In a pretty shocking surprise, WoTC has released yet another subclass related UA, this time introducing the College of Eloquence and the Order of Heroism. Eloquence is a support/intrigue related subclass with the ability to mediate between parties despite language barriers and burn Bardic Inspiration like no one's business to heal and protect allies. Eventually, they get the ability to bounce Inspiration dice around like it's no one's business. The Heroism subclass, as it would imply, is all about being a big damn hero, pumping up your physical prowess to inhumane levels, inspiring friends and demoralizing enemies.
Cleric, Druid, and Wizard: Yet another slew of subclasses for the aforementioned classes. The Cleric gets the Twilight Domain, which is a frontline fighter all about using the power of Darkness to help your buddies out by giving them boosts to their initiative and giving them temporary unlimited darkvision. The Druid gets the Circle of Wildfire, which is for people who just want to watch the world burn. They get a burning buddy that is still much better than the vanilla Beastmaster Ranger's pets and as the name would imply, is all about burninating the hell out of people, while also offering a slew of support options. Finally, the Wizard gets the Onomancy Tradition, which is a call back to the Truenamer, but is thankfully much less mechanically confusing and is a little bit more viable. Their gimmick is they can force someone to give up their truename through a saving throw, and once they do, they can unleash a slew of punishing effects that help the Onomancer, either by pummeling them with a bucketload of extra damage or by ending spells that are affecting the target. The only real problem with the subclass is that if you don't know someone's truename, then you have no subclass features, and if you fail to learn their truename the first time around, you are going to have to get creative if you want to get those bonuses.
Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue: Rounding out the last of the main classes in the recent subclass barrage are the Rune Knight, Swarmkeeper, and Revived Rogue. The Rune Knight is, as the name implies, a fighter that focuses on Runes placed upon weapons to unleash various magical effects with just the slightest hint of fightan magic. In addition, you gain a lot of giant-like effects, including, but not limited to, temporarily making yourself bigger. The Swarmkeeper revolves around a swarm of natural spirits that take the form of bees, birds, or what have you. They gain some nature-related spells, and a swarm of spirits that can push you our enemies around when you hit them. Finally, the Revived Rogue is a rogue that has realized that they've already died once, and stole their life back from the afterlife in some manner of way. This also opens the way to make a more Isekai-style character in D&D. Being Revived grants you a lot of necrotic-flavored powers, like not needing to eat or sleep and throwing out necrotic bolts every time you use your Cunning Action that deals Sneak Attack damage.
Class Feature Variants: This UA is focused on granting new options to every already existing class. The changes are split between Enhancements and Replacements, allowing classes to swap out/beef up features they would normally gain through leveling: Basically what 3E called Alternate Class Features and Pathfinder calls Archetypes. In practice though, pretty much every class got a buff since most of the changes are Enhancements. Most of the struggling classes got the most attention from this UA. Many spell casters also got expanded spell lists, incorporating new spells into their repertoire. Notably, the Fighter section is completely dedicated to Battle Master maneuvers, giving more of them as well as making them able to be swapped out. Monks get an extra attack anytime they spend ANY amount of Ki as part of an attack, giving them more dakka! Rangers finally, finally get Hunter's Mark for free, got something to replace that godawful Natural Explorer feature, and can even bum some cantrips from the Druid as a Fighting Style. They even get a decent selection for spells that they can cast once a day for free! The Sorcerer FINALLY gets more metamagic options, as well as more features to spend those sorcery points on besides just getting more spell slots. The Warlock gets a new pact boon that lets them skill monkey a bit harder, as well as a couple of new invocations. Finally, all classes that get Fighting Styles can nab a few new ones, including one that lets you punch dudes with your fists.
Psionics: 5e's second attempt at porting over that ever maligned system: psionics. Instead of shoving all of the psychic power into one clumsy and mechanically confusing class, the newest 5e take on psionics is more focused on subclasses for the Fighter, Wizard, and Rogue. The Fighter gets the Psychic Warrior subclass, which like the 3.5 version, is a mini Gish-in-a-can. Instead of flinging spells around, you instead get to throw around spell-like-powers that allow you to augment your strikes, make cover on the fly, and hurt people really bad. This culminates in the Psychic Juiggernaut capstone power, which gives you a hefty regeneration bonus and speed as a reaction. The Rogue gets the Soulknife subclass, allowing you to once again make KNIFE MIND ATTACKS. Unfortunately, like the other incarnations of the Soulknife, it also inherited many of the problems, such as the lack of scaling damage or magic item bonuses. It also burns your Bonus Action to summon the knives, which hurts like a bitch on a Rogue. Maybe one day, they will make a Soulknife worth a damn. Until then though, you should probably dig up the Mike Mearls take on the Soulknife. Finally, the Wizard gets the School of Psionics, which allows you to supercharge an object (any object) to serve as a psionic focus. They get a boatload of free spells and the ability to transform into a spooky psychic ghost that gets resistance to psychic and nonmagical physical damage. To ensure that everyone gets a little bit of purpose out of the UA, they added a couple of psionically flavored spells for use by the Wizard, Bard, Warlock, and Sorcerer.
Subclasses, Part 1: The first UA of 2020 provided four new subclasses; the Path of the Beast for the barbarian, the Way of Mercy for the monk, the Oath of the Watchers for the paladin, and the Noble Genie for the warlock. The Path of the Beast gives you therianthrope-esque shapeshifting abilities when you rage, similar to an archetype that Pathfinder did. The Way of Mercy is, despite the name, a "medic" flavored subclass for monks, granting them a number of healing abilities, as well as the ability to deliver a deadly touch and create a protective aura of lethal miasma. The Oath of the Watchers represents paladins sworn to guarding the world against planar invaders, primarily fiends and aberrations, giving them various increased detection and abjuration abilities. Finally, the Noble Genie gives your warlock a genie patron, which grants a number of utility powers to represent their active meddling in their agents' lives.
Subclasses, Part 2: Three new subclasses; the Bardic College of Creation (reality warping bard); the Cleric Domain of Love, and the Clockwork Soul Sorcerous Origin, representing sorcerers tied to the cosmic forces of order stemming from Mechanus. /tg/ actually ferreted this PDF earlier than was intended, and the article was taken down for a couple of days until it was restored by the 7th. This new version featured tweaked versions of the College of Creation and the Clockwork Soul, and replaced the Love domain with the Unity domain.
Subclasses, Part 3: Yet more subclasses! This article comes three options for the Artificer, Druid, and Ranger. The Artificer gets the Armorer subclass, who as expected, specializes in wearing giant fuck-off pieces of Power armor. You gain proficiency in heavy armor, get a boatload of defensive/offensive spells, and the ability to turn any heavy armor you are wearing into Power Armor that you can wear without any penalty, even if your STR sucks. You can then modify said power armor into two different classes of armor: The Guardian set which lets you be a big tanky threat, or the Infiltrator set, which gives you a lightning gun and lets you move around faster and quieter. Eventually, you can modify this EVEN MORE by using your infusions. The Druid gets the Circe of the Stars, which is all about constellations. You get a special map that lets you cast augury and guiding bolt, and the ability to shift into special constellations using your wild shape which helps you heal, deal damage, or maintain concentration on your spells. You can also screw with dice rolls by adding or subtracting a d6 and can eventually go supernova. Finally, the Ranger gets the Fey Wanderer subclass, which represents a Ranger who got lost in the Feywild so much it started to affect them (isn't it weird that there are a lot of feywild themed subclasses lately?). The Fey Wanderer subclass enables two-weapon fighting, but can be used with any weapon to add a load of psychic damage to your attack by spending spell slots, imbuing weapons, or forcing saving throws.
Spells & Tattoos: A handful of new spells, mostly conjuration themed, and a new type of magic item in the form of magic tattoos.
Psionic Options Revisited: A re-rerelease and tweaking of several different psi-focused options from UAs past. The Psychic Warrior Fighter has now become the Psi Knight, Soulknife's Rogue Archetype incarnation has been tweaked, the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer is now the Psi Soul, and there are 5 new feats for Psychic powers. The article opens with the explanation that the Mystic UA class, as previously envisioned, was too problematic for multiple reasons to be worked on any further, and has more or less been scrapped. From now on, Psi powers are to be handled via spell, feats, and subclasses. According to a sidebar, Psionic power can be considered magical on a case-by-case basis. All three subclasses revolve around a "Psychic Talent Die", which starts as a d6 and grows or shrinks depending on how you roll. If you roll a 6 on your d6, it shrinks to a d4, and if you roll a 4 on that d4, you can't use your psi dice at all until you take a long rest (or if you reset it once per long rest as a bonus action). If you roll a 1 on the die, it grows bigger, up to where it started. As you level up, the starting size of the die gets bigger, up to a d12.
This UA also marks the introduction to 5e of Feats having other Feats as prerequisites, as you need to have the Wild Talent feat if you want to take any of the other introduced feats if you aren't already one of the psionic subclasses.
Subclasses Revisited: Another re-examination of subclasses from recent history. This UA looks touches upon the Revived Rogue, Noble Genie Warlock, and Archivist Artificer, turning them into the Phantom, Genie, and the Order of Scribes Wizard respectively. The Phantom trades the Cunning Action bolt blast for a smaller secondary Sneak Attack on another dude that triggers when you Sneak Attack. You can also turn souls into trinkets you can use for your own benefit and the capstone lets you move around like a spooky ghost. The Genie Warlock now gets a choice of the four types of genies, and grants spells and abilities based upon the chosen element, as well as Generic Genie spells that all the types get. Instead of being tied to your teammates, this subclass is more self-focused, allowing you to pop into your own little pocket dimension and granting bonus damage on attack rolls. At later levels, you can invite your friends to crash in your place, granting them a short rest in the span of 10 minutes, and your capstone lets you cast a Limited Wish that can mimic any other spell that is level 6 or lower, and only takes 1 action. The Order of Scribes, notably, is not actually an Artificer Subclass. Rather, it was made into a Wizard subclass. You get a special quill to write your spells into your book on the cheap, and you can turn your book into a proper spellcasting focus, which also has the benefit of letting you Ritual Cast using the normal casting time, and lets you swap the damage type of your spells with another spell's damage type, as long as it is in your book. The Order of Scribes also lets you make scrolls on the cheap, and the capstone lets you come back from death at the exchange of permanently losing spells.
Unearthed Arcana: Feats A collection of 16 feats and half-feats. Many of the feats give a small ability or proficiency alongside a skill increase. The Gunner feat gives an opportunity for characters to get access to fire-arm proficiency, which was pretty much un-available to any character aside from an Artificer normally. Fey Touched, Shadow Touched and Tracker give once per day spells alongside a skill increase. More notably, was the Metamagic-Adept and Eldritch-Adept, which gave 2 sorcery points and a metamagic or an eldritch invocation (That doesn’t have a prerequisite) respectively. Thus wizards of the coast further bullies the sorcerer. Or you could just use this to get extra metamagics/eldritch invocations on your sorcerer/warlock.
Subclasses Part 4: Has some more supernaturally-themed subclasses for the Warlock and Bard. Introduces the Deathless Warlock Patron, a sort-of variant to the Undying Patron from the SCAG. For the most parts, it swapped around features, though it does have the ability by level 10 to self-destruct, exploding into a shower of limbs and gore in order to harm anyone in range and the ability to astrally project on level 14. The College of Spirits Bard acts like a medium, allowing you to turn Bardic Inspiration into a more randomized bonus to your recipient. As a bit of a fringe benefit, you also add a bonus to any healing or damage done by your spells so long as you cast through a suitable focus.
Subclasses Part 5: In which things became dragons, including subclasses for the Monk and Ranger. The Way of the Ascendant Dragon is more focused on being the dragon, initially via dealing elemental damage with your fists and a breath weapon. Later features show more powerful tricks, like an aura of elemental damage (that acts as resistance for allies) and limited flight. The Drakewarden Ranger acts as yet another pet-focused ranger, though this pet is more of a long-term summon than lifelong pet. Unlike the PHB's embarrassment of a subclass, this drake has both the ability to attack while letting the owner fight as well and has worthwhile abilities that improve as the player progresses. It gains a new mode of movement, extra elemental damage to its attacks and a capstone ability that lets you both gain resistance to any damage you suffer.
Draconic Options: This splits off the classic Dragonborn into three different options: The Chromatic Dragonborn (who gain a temporary immunity to theire type), Metallic Dragonborn (who gain secondary breath weapon that disables enemies rather than harm), and the Gem Dragonborn (Who all resist more exotic types and gain temporary wings as well as telepathy). Also revealed here is a variant type of the Kobold that aren't nearly as comical and more tied to their draconic heritage. This UA also includes feats so other beings can partially manifest draconic features and some new dragon-themed spells.
Mages of Strixhaven: Five new spellcasting subclasses based on the Colleges of Strixhaven, and an obvious build-up to the upcoming Strixhaven campaign splat. Unusual in design in that each subclass is shared between several core classes, representing how the magical systems of Magic: The Gathering don't fit as neatly into their little boxes as the magical systems of Dungeons & Dragons. Subclasses are named the Mages of Lorehold (Bard, Warlock, Wizard), Prismari (Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard), Quandrix (Sorcerer, Wizard), Silverquill (Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard), and Witherbloom (Druid, Warlock). It somehow managed to combine overambitious failure with low-effort mess. WoTC later stated that the subclasses would not be appearing in the book, and would instead be choosing to favor other player options instead due to the response the UA got from the community.