Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Unearthed Arcana and Freeport, Part 4 (Class Options, Part 2)

My previous review of "Unearthed Arcana" columns covered the new class options for Barbarian through Fighter, plus the revised Ranger class, with suggestions for using them in Green Ronin's Freeport setting. This week's column covers Monk through Wizard, plus the new 20-level Artificer class.

Monk: Monastic Traditions (12/12/2016): Monks who follow the Way of the Kensei gain additional training with weapons, providing them with more weapon proficiencies and more tricks in combat. Those who follow the Way of Tranquility are seekers of peace, and are skilled diplomats and healers. The latter choice is probably less than optimal in a rough-and-tumble town like Freeport, but might make for an interesting challenge in a campaign more focused on social interactions than murder-hoboing.

Paladin: Sacred Oaths (12/19/2016): The two sacred oaths in this installment are designed for villains rather than heroic PCs. A paladin with the Oath of Conquest, also called a hellknight, seeks to subjugate his enemies, not merely defeat them. A paladin with the Oath of Treachery, or blackguard, has no allegiance or code and will use any means to secure his own power. These paladins exist alongside the Oathbreaker from the DMG, and often have ties to the devils of Hell and demons of the Abyss, respectively. Even in Freeport, hellknights and blackguards rarely act openly--not only is the worship of devils or demons among the city's very few capital crimes, but a paladin of Treachery prefers deception by his own nature.

Artificer (1/9/2017): This "Unearthed Arcana" article presents the Artificer as a full 20-level character class replacement for the wizard subclass from the initial "Eberron" column (2/2/2015). This class works very well with Freeport's unusual mix of eldritch magic and experimental technology. The Alchemist specialist would probably be the better-established tradition, with the Gunsmith only appearing very recently, with the advent of black powder weapons.

One point that needs clarification is whether the Gunsmith's Thunder Cannon can be used by a non-artificer. If so, this would make an artificer highly prized as an ally who can provide firearms more cheaply than mundane gunsmiths--or a target for thieves or kidnappers. (I have submitted this question via the feedback survey.)

Ranger and Rogue (1/16/2017): This article presents two new ranger conclaves that can be used with either the Player's Handbook ranger or the "Unearthed Arcana" revised ranger. The Horizon Walker will have plenty of work in Freeport seeking out planar portals and the threats they can unleash (possibly leading to encounters with hellknights or blackguards!). The Primeval Guardian could be drawn to Freeport to commune with the jungles of A'Val--or might visit them to escape the city's oppressive corruption.

This column also offers one new rogue archetype, the Scout, who is an expert at woodcraft, mobility, and group tactics. This subclass will enhance the effectiveness of any party that prefers stealth and advance warning to simply running headlong into trouble, especially at higher levels. One issue with the Scout, however, is that a previous "Unearthed Arcana" ("Kits of Old," 1/4/2016) used the same name for a fighter archetype, which could cause some confusion.

Sorcerer (2/6/2017): This installment presents an update to the Favored Soul, which is radically changed from the version presented in "Unearthed Arcana: Modifying Classes" (4/6/2015), but is still easily used in Freeport. The column also presents three completely new sorcerous origins: Phoenix Sorcery, Sea Sorcery, and Stone Sorcery. Of these, Sea Sorcery is clearly the best thematic match to Freeport, and could result from having a merfolk, nereid, or marid ancestor. Stone Sorcery would be common among crag gnomes (who are masters of earth magic), while Phoenix Sorcery could be found among the azhar; sorcerers of either origin might be drawn to Freeport to explore Mount A'Val.

This column lacks an air-based sorcerous origin because Storm Sorcery previously appeared in "Unearthed Arcana: Waterborne Adventures"; the final official version appears in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

Warlock and Wizard (2/13/2017): The Hexblade and Raven Queen warlock patrons both have ties to the Shadowfell, so they are likely to be interested in the elusive places near Freeport where the barriers between the material and shadow worlds grow thin. The Raven Queen also hates intelligent undead, and Freeport seems to attract such horrors in droves. This article also presents several new eldritch invocations for various warlock patrons from both the Player's Handbook and the "Unearthed Arcana" series.

Only one new arcane tradition for wizards, Lore Mastery, is presented. These academics are likely to have ties to the Wizards' Guild in Freeport, or to seek to study texts possessed by that guild or by the famous library of the Temple of Knowledge.


For ease of reference, I've compiled a list of all my previous columns discussing running D&D Fifth Edition games set in Freeport.

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