Latest D&D Unearthed Arcana brings a revised Genie Warlock, scribe Wizards and ghost Rogues
Playtest content in Dungeons and Dragons — or Unearthed Arcana — is a lot of fun because it provides new options for everybody to explore and gives you a peek into what’s coming out for D&D before it gets a book release. And though it will get changes and adjustments based on your feedback, it can still be a lot of fun to play.
The latest Unearthed Arcana is exactly that: Wizards of the Coast took three previous subclasses, reviewed the feedback, and revised them into new, possibly better forms. This is what’s new.
It re-introduces three subclasses for the Rogue, Wizard, and Warlock classes that have already appeared in previous Unearthed Arcana releases, but in a new form — including a subclass that jumped from Artificer to Wizard. It’s not surprising that they’d take all of that feedback and make another pass on these classes. What’s interesting this time is how one of them — the Genie patron for Warlocks — came out of that process feeling very, very strong.
Genie Warlocks: Your wish is my command
Frankly, one of these three subclasses, the Genie patron for Warlocks, feels like it might have gone a bit far, because it feels extremely strong. It’s not bad for a subclass to feel strong, mind you — one of my favorite subclasses in UA currently is the Rune Knight, and it feels like a Barbarian that gets everything back on a short rest plus can do weird stuff like grow to large size and summon flaming shackles. I hope they eventually make the RK playable exactly as is, and I’m not saying they need to do much to the Genie Warlock, either… but still.
There are several things I like about the Genie patron this time around. You get to pick what kind of Noble Genie you’re making deals with — the Dao, Efreeti, Djinni, and Marid — and each has an elemental aspect that you can tap into, gaining access to spells not usually on the Warlock spell list rooted into that element. Also, because it’s Genies, you get Wish added to your spell list, because, come on, if you’re a Warlock making a pact with a flipping Genie, you should get Wish.
The Genie’s Vessel feature is hard to describe, but basically it’s this: you get something like a bottle, a lamp, or other container symbolizing your bond to your Genie, and you can poof yourself in there at any time and hide out for hours, and at higher levels you can bring your friends with you, and you can all basically take a short rest in ten minutes in there instead of an hour. Yeah. You read that right. It’s nuts.
Add to that stuff like getting resistance to damage of your Genie’s natural type, the ability to gain 30 foot speed for 10 minutes — which you can as many times a day as your proficiency bonus — and let’s not ignore the Limited Wish class feature, which lets you simply wish for the effect of any spell from any class (with a few restrictions). And you can add your proficiency bonus to damage for one attack every round.
The Genie Warlock is a really amazing grab bag of abilities.
Phantom Rogues and Scribe Wizards are interesting, but a lot less powerful
Honestly, compared to it, the Phantom Rogue seems reasonable — and they can walk through walls, learn new skills from the dead, inflict psychic damage, and even fly. They can only Fly 10 feet, though — again, compared to the Genie, they feel reasonable. There’s nothing wrong with this subclass — indeed, it’s got some really cool flavor and abilities. It just doesn’t have the wide range of powers and options that the Genie Warlock seems to get.
Finally there’s the Order of the Scribe Arcane Tradition for Wizards, which takes the Archivist subclass they tried out for Artificers and gives it to the class that actually does the most reading and writing. That part I’m fine with, and it does feel like a good fit overall. However, the Order of the Scribe gets some weird powers that I’m not sure I’d want over the abilities other Arcane Traditions get. The ability to return from the dead after a minute but to permanently lose spells, not just from your spellbook but from yourself forever seems less than ideal — it’s like a Revivify spell that costs a lot to cast. “Well, I used to be able to cast Fireball, but then I died.” It’s interesting game flavor, but it still made me cringe.
But who knows? Maybe there’s more to each of the subclasses here, and I’d let players take them, if they wanted to. I’d love to see a Genie Warlock in action, and that Phantom Rogue has a really cool pulp avenger vibe to it, walking through enemies and summoning tokens of the deceased to aid them.
If you’d like to play around with these new subclasses, you can find all the details here.
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