Friday, October 25, 2019

Unearthed Arcana and Freeport, Part 12: Even More Subclasses, Continued!

Welcome back to my ongoing series of capsule reviews of "Unearthed Arcana" with an eye for how to use them with the Freeport setting. This time, we'll take a look at articles released in September and October 2019. These three installments seem to complete the latest round of new subclasses (see Part 11), with one for each of the twelve classes in the Player's Handbook.

For my past columns about using D&D Fifth Edition sourcebooks with Freeport: The City of Adventure, see the Freeport 5E Index.

Bard and Paladin (9/18/2019): The College of Eloquence gives a bard increased powers of persuasion and inspiration. The Oath of Heroism is for paladins who are destined for legendary greatness, enhancing their own powers in a way that eventually can be used to inspire allies and frighten enemies. (No suggested alignments are given for this sacred oath. None of its tenets preclude any alignment.)

Of these two new subclasses, the College of Eloquence bard is more likely to fit into a Freeport campaign. However, an Oath of Heroism paladin may still find a place. The subclass seems more concerned with personal glory than the greater good, and that kind of egotism does fit Freeport just fine.

Cleric, Druid, and Wizard (10/3/2019): The Twilight Domain is a natural fit for heroes who brave the darkness to combat the dangers that it hides. Two examples in Freeport canon include Tagmata's dualistic light-based faith of Astrape, and the cult of Nut in Hamunaptra.

The Circle of Wildfire embraces both the destructive side of fire and the new growth that it makes possible. It's imminently suited for druids who live near volcanoes like the one on A'Val--but such a character is likely to inspire a great deal of terror in Freeporters due to their painful memories of the Great Green Fire that ravaged the island a few years ago.

Finally, the arcane traditon of Onomancy is an attempt to translate "true name" magic into D&D. As such, it would be best suited for the erudite wizards of Hamunaptra (where words and names are considered to have innate power), as well as for summoners and cultists who seek out true names to bind supernatural beings to their will.

Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue (10/17/2019): The Rune Knight martial archetype for fighters learns how to imbue their possessions with the power of giantish rune magic. In the World of Freeport, this archetype would be most common among the northern barbarian tribes of Druzhdin.

The Swarmkeeper ranger archetype has a connection to fey nature spirit that manifests as a swarm of tiny beasts sharing their space. As the ranger advances in level, this swarm can increase their weapon damage, enhance their movement, spy remotely, and eventually attack others at range. This subclass is rather bizarre and potentially offputting in social encounters, but could be appropriate to a wide variety of characters, from fey-bonded wood elves from Rolland, to worshipers of insect or plague gods from Hamunaptra, to weird outcasts who dwell in the sewers beneath Freeport.

The Revived archetype for rogues represents a character who becomes aware that they have died in the past, and recall parts of one or more past lives. This connection to death gives them a bonus skill or tool proficiency, the ability to go without eating, breathing, or sleeping, and a ranged option for Sneak Attack. Later levels allow the character to gain knowledge from the dead (or while on death's door) and even teleport short distances via the Ethereal Plane.

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