Unearthed Arcana Review

These things are a big hit, so let’s jump on the bandwagon. I noticed a new UA today, this one continuing the theme of Subclasses, this time we get ones for the Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue.

Fighter Archetype: Rune

Having been thinking about a Viking campaign, I feel very qualified to talk about this subclass. And having researched Viking runes, these are not what I want in runes.

This is, however, a really powerful fighter archetype, one I could see playing.

Bonus Proficiencies

First, extra profs. One of the most important things I’ve come to realize about D&D5e is that the game is better if you’re using the proficiencies as a large part of the game. And people should have more of them. So starting off with a tool and a language is 102% awesome in my book.

Rune Magic

Okay, so we’ve seen something like this before in the Artificer and the Forge Cleric. Designate an object to grant a boon. When you level, you can swap them out which is fairly unique for fighter abilities, and you gain more as you go. You enscribe them on a weapon, shield, or armor, which seems like it might be a limiting factor? I think it would be cool to have things on gauntlets, or as a tattoo or something.

It does seem to indicate that you can provide party support, so that’s cool.(nope not party support AFAICT) You can’t double up on an effect, tho.

Unfortunately, it’s based on giants, by which D&D actually means “Forgotten Realms Giants” Maybe they’re universal, I dunno, but that irks me.

  • Hill Giant
    • Poison Resistance as if you were a dwarf.
    • and the resistances part of a rage (for a minute).
    • Not bad. Nothing amazing, but not bad
  • Fire Giant
    • Double Tool Proficiency. WHAT. That is crazy!
    • You can also use the rune to cast something like Max’s Earthen Grasp as part of the attack. So a free 2nd level spell that doesn’t take an action. that’s crazy.
    • This is crazy and should be illegal
  • Frost Giant
    • Advantage on Animal Handling and Intimidation. Okay, I can see those being… useful? maybe? If no one else is around to do it?
    • +2 Strength for 10 minutes. This is lame. That’s a +1 to related checks for only 10 minutes, but it eats up the fighter’s rune slot. I mean, if you have it, great, but I can’t imagine it being worth the party’s time trying to get someone this +1 bonus.
  • Cloud Giant
    • Advantage on Slight of Hand and Deception. That’s pretty crazy in the right campaign. Pass this to the rogue for the perfect heist
    • Redirect an attack to ANYBODY as a reaction. This is… I mean, it’s once a short rest, but this is shenanigan city, right here. It depends on your foes, but…
    • actually, the wording of this is crazy. The trigger is a creature is HIT by an attack, not targeted, so it would redirect a critical hit or anything getting through the armor, but it says nothing about armor on the receiver. So, theoretically, you could have the paladin smite the party’s wizard, and redirect the blow to the 26 AC Elder Dragon you’re fighting, no attack roll needed.
    • Huh.
    • Anyway, this rune looks like fun, but it needs some weasel words.
  • Stone Giant
    • Darkvision or DV boost and advantage on insight checks. Not horrible.
    • Single target Hypnotic pattern. The save is not likely to be high, but that’s nifty.
    • In the right campaign, this is a decent rune
  • Storm Giant
    • Advantage on Arcana and can’t be surprised.
    • AS a BA, turn on the option to grant advantage or disadvantage as a reaction.
    • Wizards of the Coast has lost their minds

Giant Might

For the REST of Level 3. That’s right, all of that was the FIRST PART of the level 3 features. Crazy. Anyway, you can “cast Enlarge” as a bonus action, without actually casting, and with a bit more damage.

This not actually being Enlarge means that you can cast Enlarge on a person doing this, meaning a PC can get to Huge size. (with +1d6+1d4 in damage!)

Defensive Runes

This is a way for them to give something interesting, along with your 3rd rune. Spend Reaction to boost AC based on Int, only triggers if ally is actually hit.

Man, I’m going to want to play a full int fighter now. High elf/variant human so it can start with some wizard cantrips, then heavy armor spell sniper. That’d probably be my build, although its too early in this review to tell. This would also be a good class for the D&D Construction Crew discussion I was having this week.

Great Stature

Add 3d4 to your height, increase the bonus to damage from Giant’s Might to a d8, and learn a 4th rune.

This seemed like a pointless ribbon, but that 4th rune is what is actually important here, and the rest is just flavor. The d8 is +1 damage comparatively, so it could add up if you’re doing the fighter thing, but it’s not actually that much better.

Rune Magic Mastery

You can invoke runes twice a short rest, no matter what the recharge was before

This does bring up a question, who does the invoking if you hand a rune to a friend?

Okay, going back and re-reading it, I don’t think you can pass these to the party. Which changes how I’ve thought of these, as you can’t hand out buffs. Still, cool. And add a 5th rune. I hope you’re wielding 5 weapons or sets of armor, because it’s probably getting crowded.

Blessing of the All-Father

When you giant might, and ally gets it too. Could be nice, but that’s party dependent. At level 18, your party should have combat figured out. Maybe there’s room for a second large member?

Closing thoughts

This could be a fun class. I’d probably multi-class, probably to wizard, but rogue also looks very tasty. They definitely need some more words to clarify how some of it works, though.

Ranger Archetype: Swarmkeeper

Okay, before I read any of it, I want to play this solely for the name.

Swarmkeeper Magic

Some spells. Mage hand cantrip. Eh.

Gathered Swarm

WIS times a day, activate an ability that gives you a minute of 1 die of sneak attack, 2 die if level 7, and can push pull. And you get to push pull on the weapon attack. So it’s eh?

Look, I just went and re-read all the ranger stuff and this is about on par with that. A bit less damage for the control aspect, but other wise on par

The general miasma of “man, this doesn’t seem great” as a core part of the ranger class, not this subclass.

Writhing Tide

I’m assuming these have a duration equal to your Gathered Swarm. These are… Okay? maybe?

Scuttling Eyes

Okay, so this is kinda like a find familiar. Except for these lines

“The spirit has AC 18. If it takes damage, you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC equal to 10, or half the damage dealt, whichever is higher) or the spirit disappears.”

This… is amazing. This is what Find Familiar should be! I might have to re-write FF using these rules and have a better version.

Oh, and you can use it to teleport, which isn’t bad.

And, this part is interesting, you can use this feature again using a spell slot. That is another FASCINATING thing that we’ve not seen before.

Storm of Minions

Meh? Its a handful of spells active at once, but at this high of a level, I can’t picture the players fighting any creature that isn’t immune to at least one of the features. 1d8 of HP  at level 15 is not a lot.

Closing thoughts

Look, I trust WotC with the numbers. I believe they’ve playtested things and know what they’re doing.

But man, it’s hard to trust them sometimes.

This is one of those times.

The name is the only cool part of this subclass.


You know what? after thinking about it a bit, the thing about this class is mechanically it feel weak, but the Swarmkeeper seems really cool, as a thought and concept. If you are playing with a GM who is all focused on the rules, then yeah, it’s weak. But if you’re playing at a table where the GM says “Yeah, you’re a ranger, of course you can do that one thing” Then rangers, in general, become really good. They are a class that has very specific flavor, which makes it easy for the GM to allow things. So at the right table, this could be a lot of fun to play, as long as you’ve made the character interesting and the support of the character, instead of the mechanics.

Rogue Archetype: The Revived

We’re back to crazy now. Like, beyond nuts. DNDbeyondNuts.com.

Tokens of Passed Lives

Every long rest, pick a skill or a tool prof. that you now know.


Look, I love tool profs, but getting to cherry pick your skill for the day? as a ROGUE? that’s crazy.

Revived Nature

Okay, so you’re not undead, because that is a magic keyword and a template for being undead would be FLIPPING USEFUL FOR GMS!!! But you know what, this is fine. Dwarf-ish poison resistance, which we need a better name for because so many not-dwarves have it now.

You don’t need to eat, drink , breathe or sleep. So I guess you ARE dead. So that’s a thing your GM should know.

Bolts from the Grave.

You can shoot your Sneak attack as Necrotic damage. Because why not? I would rather this is an Intelligence saving through as opposed to a Dex, but whatever. It’s probably the least ridiculous ability of this subclass. and that is seriously saying something.

Connect with the Dead

Free speak with dead? That’s kinda cool.

I think the sudden knowledge would be better in the GM’s hands, instead of the dice or the player’s. A player being able to speak with dead, then suddenly know draconic and be able to read the riddle sounds so, so tasty.

Audience with Death

Terry Pratchett did it first in a short entitled Theater of Cruelty. Which I am SO happy to be able to link to.

There is no limit on this. If you have more questions as a group, you can stab the rogue a bit and then heal him.

You also have advantage on Death Saving throws, which is kinda cool.

Ethereal Jaunt

Unlimited. Bonus Action. Teleports. With a lot of weseal words about what happens if you collide with people. Sure, its a high level, but OMG.

Closing thoughts

This is basically what Vax became in C1 of Critical Role, which is a fascinating thought. What if they made classes based on completed characters? On the arcs the GM made as they grew?

Also, in my own character stable, I would probably rebuild Rasputin, my 4e Bard/Cleric, into a Revived Rogue (with maybe a few levels of Divination Wizard)

This is not a subclass you should just play. There are major ramification on how death works, and your gods of death and such that your GM has to have figured out before this should be played. Like, this class probably had issues during Tomb of Annihilation

But it looks so cool to play.


That’s what was in this UA. An okay fighter, a meh ranger, and an incredible Rogue. Which is how those classes go, normally. I’m happy to see so much content coming.




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