Last week’s release of Unearthed Arcana brought in some really exciting options as well as revealing more interesting elements about the universe. For the Warlock, they gain 2 new options for patrons (with significant roleplaying options therein), and additional Eldritch Invocations. The Wizard also gains a subclass, a magic generalist who went to wizard post-secondary and proved there is such a thing as a PhD in general studies. Here’s our breakdown of the release:
WARLOCK PATRON: HEXBLADE
While most Warlocks come to power through a pact with a supernatural entity, the Hexblade as a supernatural patron is an interesting one as the concept is present in all sorts of lores and universes outside of D&D (think Supernatural‘s cursed objects, Katana’s sword in the DC Comics universe, and even the Warhammer 40,000‘s Dawn Blade that Commander Farsight uses to grant him unnaturally long life for a Tau). These weapons, sentient with magic from the Shadowfell, offer great power to those who wield them in exchange for the life essence of their victims. After all, what good is an evil sword if there’s nobody to wield it?
While Warlocks are always fun to roleplay, given their interactions with their familiar and the potential for conflicting desires of the patron and servant, this manifestation is even more interesting since your familiar is essentially replaced by something that by all outward appearances is inanimate and not sentient. Side conversations that can make you look like a crazy person (the way that Mystery Men‘s bowler had to sate the needs of her ball in order to go to grad school) and can let GMs wield creative influence on your character. Sure, at 6th level you can also split your shadow from yourself (Peter Pan-style) and turn it into a hound that stalks enemies, but it isn’t the conversationalist that your weapon is.
Make no mistake: this is a warrior class with a magic weapon, giving the warlock a fighter-hybrid option that gives them proficiency with medium armor, shields and martial weapons at first level and making kills easier, as the curse hungers for more victims. It also protects the one who bears the weapon, as at 14th level, any attack that hits you can be ignored on D6 roll of 4+ (yowza!). I’m very excited for both the combat and roleplaying options of this particular subclass.
WARLOCK PATRON: THE RAVEN QUEEN
Probably a little less subtle than sending a sentient weapon that serves her from the Shadowfell, The Raven Queen, ruler of the dread realm, may take a particular interest in an individual in order to assert more influence in a realm she has limited control in. Hastening death for those who may have dodged it, your character may end up with a personal quest that looks a lot like making someone else’s life turn into the story of Final Destination. While this patron gifts some nifty spells and a loyal raven into whom you can eventually warg into (ala Game of Thrones), this is truly a patron whose servant is made all the more interesting through roleplay rather than combat.
WARLOCK: NEW ELDRITCH INVOCATIONS
Basically, these invocations allow for new options to manifest the bond between yourself and your patron. The only interesting thing of note is that this list also includes an additional option for another Unearthed Arcana patron for the Warlock, The Seeker, released last August.
WIZARD: LORE MASTER
I think of adherents to this study of magic as someone who studies art by specializing in art history, using a broader understanding of art to be avante garde, inventive, and for lack of a better term uncategorizable as a magic user. The description doesn’t give strong roleplaying guidance as the kind of people gravitating towards understanding the mechanical and structural elements of magic (rather than simply knowing if one does X, says Y, and has Z components, a specific outcome happens) isn’t prone to being typecast. That said, the mechanical elements of this subclass are very intriguing, Not only do you get Knowledge Cleric-esque proficiencies for magic-related knowledge at 2nd level, but you also get the ability Spell Secrets, which is basically having a signature touch to the magic you wield that is purely unique to you. Because you don’t specialize you get the ability to duplicate magic from any school, which when combined with your ability to augment spells give you limitless options.
If you’re interested in exploring magic with a character in unique ways, the Lore Master subclass is just up your alley.
What do you think of these new options for the Wizard and Warlock classes? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast