Attend the magical university of Strixhaven with the new upcoming D&D sourcebook
The magical college D&D sourcebook, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, finally has a release date: December 7, 2021. The publication will include the campaign setting and rules of the university as well as new adventures and a new race. But since the Unearthed Arcana playtest Mages of Strixhaven explored the setting there has been some fairly big changes to it incorporated into the book and revealed at this this year’s D&D Live. We’re going to talk about a few of them now.
Say goodbye to the Multiclass Subclasses
One of the big features of the Strixhaven playtest were subclasses that could be chosen by more than one class, personifying the various disciplines of Strixhaven’s magic training and traditions. At D&D Live, we found out that the entire concept seems to have been removed.
Jeremy Crawford, when speaking about the subject, specifically mentioned that the general approach to subclasses in D&D 5E is to make them feel unique to the classes they are part of. They should feel like they belong as part of that class and no other class, so the playtesters ultimately felt dissatisfied with those subclasses. But they were prepared for that possibility and there are new options available for Strixhaven players.
Owlins for everyone
However, one of the things that hasn’t changed, save for their name, are the Owlfolk that we saw in a recent Unearthed Arcana. Now they’re called Owlin, which we really should have seen coming since we know them from their Magic: The Gathering cards.
They’re still pretty much the same as they were in UA with a fly speed, stealth during flight due to their quiet feathers (which is a thing actual owls have, too), and their ability to see magic, all preserved from the playtest
New social features await
Both Amanda Hammon and Jeremy Crawford also talked about the systems that go into Strixhaven University to make it feel like a real magical college experience. There’s an NPC system that sounds suspiciously like something from Baldur’s Gate 2 or Dragon Age, where you can forge relationships with these NPC’s and end up getting bonuses to adventures you go on, which have a distinctly going to dungeons as the final exam for this semester kind of vibe.
They specifically used the term hot mess to describe college, which jibes with my recollection of that time in my life. Strixhaven will have skill checks and other mechanics to make and keep friendships, deal with relationships that go bad, and even progress in level as you play. The University is set up to provide levels 1 through 10 over the course of a multi-year campaign, so that by the time you graduate Strixhaven University, you’re a full-fledged and capable adventurer and not the usual green level 1 character who ends up dying in a cave full of Kobolds.
In general Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos definitely feels like it’s finally bringing some of the social elements that other RPG’s do into the mix, and it’s a welcome addition in my opinion. Strixhaven introducing a series of adventures that can be woven into a mini campaign or used as separate stories, the idea of basically dropping Strixhaven (perhaps changing the name to fit a magical university in your own world) into a running D&D campaign, and the new systems for socialization and challenges outside of combat feel like a really fun new diversion, a new way to play D&D.
We’ll get to see how much there is to the book in a few months, as it’s the last of the big three coming out this year with its December 7th release date.
Originally published on July 27th, 2021. Updated with new release date on October 6th, 2021.
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