Todd Talks - Unearthed Arcana 'Class Feature Variants' Part 2 - With Jim Davis (WebDM)

  • Published: 13 November 2019
  • Todd Kenreck and Jim Davis (WebDM) continue their analysis and discussion on the new Unearthed Arcana class features.

    Find part one here:

    Every character class in D&D gets one or more class feature variants in this new Unearthed Arcana! These variants replace or enhance a class’s normal features, giving you new ways to enjoy your character’s class.

    Unearthed Arcana is playtest material put out by Wizards of the Coast for potential future D&D products, and trying it out can not only help that process and gain insight into new products, but be a lot of fun!

    Todd Kenreck is a host and Creative Manager for D&D Beyond, as well as the DM of Heroes of the Vale. Follow him on Twitter:

    WebDM creates original D&D and RPG content to help make games more awesome! Co-host Jim Davis ( ) offers enthusiastic insight, analysis, suggestions, and live games on Twitch ( ) YouTube ( ) and Patreon ( )

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Comments • 124

  • Kyle R
    Kyle R  1 months back

    I would like to commission

    Avren’s Guide to Wibbly Wobbly Timey Whimey Sword Coast

    It would be the only book I’d need ever and would use FOREVER

    • Collin 4486
      Collin 4486  2 months back

      How does Jim not have a decent mic after all this time?

      • Micaiah Burnett
        Micaiah Burnett  2 months back

        I'll play a seven eras of Waterdeep campaign, no questions asked. Do it Chris Perkins! Or whomever.

        • Jeromy Hunt
          Jeromy Hunt  2 months back

          To launch off from your last discussion point, I always want a d20 Modern type game in a world like Greyhawk or Faerûn. I want to see where magic takes us without the Dragonmarks of Eberron.

          • Chikiko Saotome
            Chikiko Saotome  2 months back

            I loved your Asgardian campaign it was was the first I ever saw on twitch.

            • Hades Zero
              Hades Zero  2 months back

              new monk weapon definition does nothing. Am I not seeing something?

              • Armand Van Drunick
                Armand Van Drunick  2 months back

                So no discussion about bards, clerics, druids or paladins?

                • Bronson Kim
                  Bronson Kim  2 months back

                  As someone who mains monk I will say that the monk weapons are definitely not for the Kensei. Its more for all the other monks since it lets you do things like throw Darts (usually reskinned as shuriken) as a 1d10 damage weapon.
                  Also on the subject of Hobgoblins, there is a tastey potential to choose Whip as a monk weapon to eventually have 1d10 on a one handed reach weapon which is niiice

                  • Gabe Parada
                    Gabe Parada  2 months back

                    Can wizards retain or gain some more exclusive spells.

                    • Jędrzej Potwór Umiński

                      On topic of Hunter's Mark+Hex: D&D is not a PvP game and those goblins and kobolds are gonna be dying faster than Ranger can acquire new targets for those spells. Unless new heroes are facing against bugbears, it hardly really matter. Also Rangers don't need Hex specifically. They already have cool things like Zephyr Strike, Hail of Thorns and Ensnaring Strike, that most people didn't used because it was falling short in comparison of Hunter's Mark. Now can be used alongside it.

                      • darren trivedi
                        darren trivedi  2 months back

                        The movie is Stuber btw

                        • Rampe
                          Rampe  2 months back

                          That time travel talk made really curious on how would they do it? Is it just DM magic or would players have some kind of access to it themselves? I'm doing something like that in my campaign right now!

                          • eric peterson
                            eric peterson  2 months back

                            Monk weapons are still not finesse weapons, so still no sneak attack unless you use a dagger or short sword. This enhancement does nothing for that. Also unarmed strikes are not weapon attacks so no smiting either. It is as if they wanted monks to be completely useless for multiclassing. You have slog through tier one with d4s for more than half your attacks, there are no current game mechanics to boost your unarmed strikes, no magic item to make you hit harder or more accurately. Any multiclassing you do end up doing will only make your monk abilities less effective. (Except fighter 2 for action surge) so no, I'm not impressed with these options as they do not address my fundamental problem with the monk, the complete separation of the unarmed strike from all other types of melee attacks. Which makes half of your attacks less effective. Also it ruins my image of the kung fu master if he to fight with some kind of weapon to be effective.

                            • JustMonica
                              JustMonica  2 months back

                              Pretty sure unarmed strikes are weapon attacks. Same way a zombie's slam is a weapon attack. Unarmed strikes *aren't* weapons, but they are weapon *attacks*.

                          • John Hastings
                            John Hastings  2 months back

                            I would love to Sign up for the class were Jim Davis teaches the history of dungeons and dragons. I mean of Star Trek learn languages can be a thing why can’t D&D history. Or if this a thing I was not aware .

                            • Anthony Norman
                              Anthony Norman  2 months back

                              If you check out the latest episode of WebDM, you'll see he covers some D&D history.

                          • Bluecho4
                            Bluecho4  2 months back

                            Wait, they updated the UA? When and how? This is important.

                            • CitanulsPumpkin
                              CitanulsPumpkin  2 months back

                              The thing about Wizard spell selection is simple when you look at it from a numbers perspective. It's balanced because they get at least twice as many spells as anyone else. At level one they start with 6 level one spells known. All the other spells known casters know two level one spells the first level they get spell casting.
                              At level 20 Wizard have a bare minimum of 44 spells. Even if they never once learned a spell during research, downtime, loot piles, or any of the dozens of ways they exclusively have access to new spell acquisition, they still will have the most spells "known" than anyone except for the Druid or Cleric.
                              Even the Paladin spell list is only about 48 spells. If your wizard gets to high levels without knowing more than 48 spells something has gone horribly wrong.
                              At 20 Bards know 22 spells, Warlocks and Sorcerers know 15, and Rangers know 11.
                              Wizards always have at least twice as many spells as bard, three times more spells than warlocks and sorcerers, and four times as many spells as the ranger.
                              You can give Ranger all the bonus spells from the Land Druid's spell lists for their favored terrains, all the bonus spells from any one of the Ravnica Guild backgrounds, and a free Magic Initiate feat and you would still be hard pressed to find a Wizard who doesn't know twice as many spells as them.

                              • Gabe Parada
                                Gabe Parada  2 months back

                                The wizard has to pay a lot to have access to the same amount of spells all other classes get access to for free.

                                But I guess they don't need to invest anymore since they can wait the night to have any other caster solve the problem.

                              • Anthony Norman
                                Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                My rebuttal, "What else does a wizard do besides cast spells?"

                            • Nick G
                              Nick G  2 months back

                              I play an undying warlock, a murdered actor, who the goddess of death took pity on. He now plays identify theft with all the villains he kills, using mask of many faces and actor feat. 😈

                              • TheZerotk88
                                TheZerotk88  2 months back

                                Wizard prepare spells
                                Wizard realizes they read the scenario wrong complete
                                Wizard: Well I'm useless, or I didn't prepare that today. If you wait til tomorrow I can do it then.

                                • Anthony Norman
                                  Anthony Norman  2 months back


                                  "I thought it was doing to be an exploration day. I don't have any social spells queued up..."

                              • Ahmed Yassin
                                Ahmed Yassin  2 months back

                                the slow return of the beard XD

                                • Ahmed Yassin
                                  Ahmed Yassin  2 months back

                                  so funny thing about monk weapons that they cant use heavy or two handed weapons even though alot of chinese weapons are polearms like a glave.
                                  but the monk weapon feature you can use a hand crossbow and become john wick ..... yes we broke the monk XD

                              • ValasaFantastic
                                ValasaFantastic  2 months back

                                I love random dice creation charts! I do many random rolls when DMing and it almost always turns out fantastic for everyone! I do intentionally pick some things still. Time travel, high level , dimension hopping are all fun but you have to have improv and other worlds ready to go! I have binders of worlds and notes so as long as we have the energy to do the high brain work level DMing and the campaigns feel matches. A few audio issues and lots of fun sidetracking but it was very enjoyable overall.

                                • Daniel Holl
                                  Daniel Holl  2 months back

                                  Did they cover the sorcerer and the new metamagic options at all between these two videos?

                                  • Anthony Norman
                                    Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                    Yes, in this video. They said they were cool but lacking.

                                • Bob Grimminger
                                  Bob Grimminger  2 months back

                                  Jim's audio is bad :(

                                  • CitanulsPumpkin
                                    CitanulsPumpkin  2 months back

                                    24:30 what does epic level carousing look like? Look up some of the orgies Nero hosted while he was emperor of Rome.

                                    • Zevran08
                                      Zevran08  2 months back

                                      Or Caligula, that guy knew how to carouse!

                                    • CitanulsPumpkin
                                      CitanulsPumpkin  2 months back

                                      @queenannsrevenge100 If we're going into myths and legends yes. The first act of Beowulf counts for that as well. Also Greek myths. Check out how many times Zeus and Hermes came down form Mount Olympus, got piss drunk, went door to door in a small town until someone let them come in to sleep it off, then by the next morning the town has been washed away by a flood that killed everyone except the people who let Zeus and Hermes sleep it off. Those people got turned into trees or shrubbery for their kindness.

                                    • queenannsrevenge100
                                      queenannsrevenge100  2 months back

                                      The Norse legends actually had some great examples of Epic level carousing -- especially the stuff with Thor and Loki. 😀

                                  • Fakjbf
                                    Fakjbf  2 months back

                                    For the Wild Soul Barbarian you can incorporate the event into their backstory but until 3rd level it only does flavor text stuff. So maybe every time they rage a multi-colored mist emanates from their body but they can't do anything with the mist until they reach 3rd level. I have a Way of the Astral Self Monk whose backstory is that as a kid they briefly tapped into their ability to manifest an arm with their ki, and now they've spent years studying martial arts and meditation to find a way to do it again.

                                    • whowasibeing
                                      whowasibeing  2 months back

                                      @52:20 I'd toss out MSRP >real< quick for a compilation book of rules/items/systems from all the other books.
                                      Same for a lore-book, with all the snippets from other books shoved together. And that second one I'd just get to loan to newer players so they understand the races.

                                      • Shiftyeyedog
                                        Shiftyeyedog  2 months back

                                        They say art is never finished, only abandoned.

                                        • Grendich
                                          Grendich  2 months back

                                          why does everyone but the wizard need more health?

                                          • DSpiritwolf
                                            DSpiritwolf  2 months back

                                            It be nice to see some of the Ranger spells for range weapons be given to the Paladin. Everyone is getting smites spells little by little but if you decide to take an oath as a paladin you're stuck playing a Melee fighter.

                                            • DSpiritwolf
                                              DSpiritwolf  2 months back

                                              Jared Puwalski I mean I guess with that new throw fighting style you can throw Javelins but I meant like how Rangwrs have spells that add effects to their arrows. The only thing Paladin has close to that is divine favor which is just a 1d4. Also you can't divine smite at range.

                                            • Jared Puwalski
                                              Jared Puwalski  2 months back

                                              DSpiritwolf thrown weapons count as melee weapons.

                                          • ShurikenSean
                                            ShurikenSean  2 months back

                                            the closed loop of a character always dieing and coming back makes me think revived rogue or zealot barbarian would also work great for time travel and them coming back is the loop repeating

                                            • Maxx
                                              Maxx  2 months back

                                              I have been looking forward to this Todd Talks for a week. Thank you.

                                              • Bobby Baker
                                                Bobby Baker  2 months back

                                                Wizard should be able to switch a cantrip on a long rest.

                                                Wizards of high enough level can choose a level 1 and 2 spell to cast at will, and change then out periodically. Doesn’t make sense to me that you would be stuck with the same basic spells until level, potentially forever at level 20...

                                                • Soul Samurai
                                                  Soul Samurai  2 months back

                                                  The fix is simple, just specify that Spell Versatility for Bard, Sorcerer, Ranger and Warlock must be of 1st level or higher. IF you must give them the option to swap out cantrips too, then they need to on level-ups, just like Cleric, druid and wizard.

                                                • Anthony Norman
                                                  Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                                  @HSuper Lee from a balance perspective I can sympathize, but it doesn't make sense story/lore-wise.

                                                • HSuper Lee
                                                  HSuper Lee  2 months back

                                                  @Anthony Norman you do have to consider though that they can only swap out one spell per long rest, and it has to be for one of the same level. Druids and clerics still gets to swap out their entire spell lists minus cantrips. I'd agree they should give wizards the cantrip swapping per long rest, but I also think that they should move in the direction of making wizards the best ritual casters, so I have weird opinions on them.

                                                • Anthony Norman
                                                  Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                                  @HSuper Lee WTF were people not playing bard or warlock enough!? /s

                                                  I guess arcane charisma casting has its own rules.

                                                • HSuper Lee
                                                  HSuper Lee  2 months back

                                                  @Anthony Norman yep

                                              • It Me, Falco
                                                It Me, Falco  2 months back

                                                27:59 As a Kensei monk player this is actually really good as it lets Kensei use the weapons they want to use with their monk abilities before the actually get their subclass, this lets you actually PLAY a Kensei from level 1 instead of playing a monk from 1-2 and then suddenly picking up a Katana and longbow at level 3.

                                                • Farouk Harvey
                                                  Farouk Harvey  2 months back

                                                  Green Pheonix I totally understand that. I have a Ancestral Guardian barbarian and it’s like... so this whole time i’ve never talked to my ancestors? Never? Not once? Until one day when i got to level 3? Same with like a level one druid , before you pick which circle you go to, especially if it’s a circle of the land.

                                                • typoko
                                                  typoko  2 months back

                                                  I really don't understand why they just don't open up all of the weapons that the monk is proficient to be monk weapons that do not have the specific keywords instead of 5 + Wis mod. With this current wording if you multiclass after level 1 monk you can't change the weapons that are monk weapons for you even if you gain more proficiencies.

                                                  It's also good to note that you need to be proficient in longswords if you want to use "katana" by some other means than class if you want to use it at levels 1 and 2 before Kensei kicks in.

                                              • whowasibeing
                                                whowasibeing  2 months back

                                                I see the beard's phylactery has started its work on re-corrupting the physical host.

                                              • steelshade
                                                steelshade  2 months back

                                                Adding smite spells to rangers is a great idea since adding extra punishment to certain foes has always been a ranger mainstay. But what is a more ranger-y term than 'smite' since that word is so paladin-y? Strike?

                                                • Soul Samurai
                                                  Soul Samurai  2 months back

                                                  It's just easier to give them a smite spell as opposed to making a new spell for them. If a player was to ask for referring to their smites as something else, it doesn't matter--since it doesn't change anything.

                                                  The thing that I'm concerned about is how the concentration burden will be handled on ranger. If they keep Favored Foe as-is, without taking away the "no concentration" rule.. then Rangers will have an easier time, but they still have quite a few solid concentration spells. If they made Favored Foe concentration, then it ruins the purpose of it, and also makes smites being added.. kinda pointless.

                                                • Jared Puwalski
                                                  Jared Puwalski  2 months back

                                                  steelshade I hope they make more spells that work with weapons in general.

                                              • Rolandais
                                                Rolandais  2 months back

                                                Heh, Matt Smith is the only one of the last three male Doctors *Not* to be Scottish, and the only one since Baker, not to be from "The North", probably the *most* "english" doctor accentwise, and he certainly does not have a scottish accent in the, I wish americans knew the difference between the major accents of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

                                                • Andrew Johnston
                                                  Andrew Johnston  2 months back

                                                  I think they mean that 12 is Scottish because 11 admired Amy's scottish-ness. There's a similar fan theory surrounding 10's London accent and 9's admiration of Rose.

                                              • nate tron
                                                nate tron  2 months back

                                                But I digress!!!!

                                                • Connor Coultrup
                                                  Connor Coultrup  2 months back

                                                  Jim's mic makes this extremely hard to listen to.

                                                  • typoko
                                                    typoko  2 months back

                                                    Some might see me as a hater, but I think best way to implement wild soul barbarian is to not do it. The mechanics of the class are borked and for someone to look forward playing one sounds to me like a person who is looking to abuse the subclass. Unlimited spells might skew a lot of a new DMs experience of running the game.

                                                    • NxtGenDragon
                                                      NxtGenDragon  2 months back

                                                      Lore Wizard could only change saving throws once a long rest

                                                    • Anthony Norman
                                                      Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                                      @typoko I don't disagree with the wild soul Barb being taxing if not impossible to account for, especially as a new DM. I only take umbrage with your assumptions about a player's motivations for wanting to be a wild soul barb.

                                                    • typoko
                                                      typoko  2 months back

                                                      @Anthony Norman I know, I'm not denying that. But it's also about the fact that encouraging mechanics brought in by wild soul barb are especially bad for new DMs to have to deal with. I see a lot more downsides than upsides.

                                                      From what I have talked with people, this subclass has even less approval than the lore wizard that could change hold person to dex save instead of wis save so it could not be passed if failed at start.

                                                    • Anthony Norman
                                                      Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                                      @typoko presumptuous to assume the player could only be interested in abuse.

                                                    • typoko
                                                      typoko  2 months back

                                                      @Anthony Norman I personally think that if one is a new DM, they should really consider having a less chaotic environment by using play tested material. Wild soul barbarian is the opposite of that. Potential of killing other players is pretty hard to handle.

                                                  • Matthew Miller
                                                    Matthew Miller  2 months back

                                                    You guys had the same thought as me with the monk weapon change. I already have a dwarf drunken master monk but I couldn't use war hammers as monk weapons. Now I could use hammers or even a dwarven thrower for extra fun plus range.

                                                    • Kaskein
                                                      Kaskein  2 months back

                                                      Even with the new Evocation Pact of Chain doesn't really feel like I'm chaining powerful forces. The most thematic I've felt is summoning a bunch of familiars to scout using Flock of Familiars. Familiars are just to weak to warrant an attack as a bonus action so late into the game.

                                                      • GinoSoldier
                                                        GinoSoldier  2 months back

                                                        Well, one of the Invocations makes it so that if your Familiar forces a Saving Throw, it becomes the same as your own Spell DC. That means Pseudodragons specifically get extra swanky (Sprites would too but the wording is different and prevents the second effect from being stronger); the 1-minute Poison status effect now has a MUCH higher chance to apply, and making an enemy fall unconscious with it becomes MUCH likelier. Quasit Scare and poison damage chance go up, same for the Imp, which is nice too.

                                                        Between this and Familiar touch-casting, i think prepared properly, you could possibly fight entirely using only your Familiar.

                                                    • Bobby Baker
                                                      Bobby Baker  2 months back

                                                      The monk weapon update gives the ability to use multiple martial weapons with versatile property. The default attack process for a monk in the majority of the game is 2 handing a quarter staff to take advantage of the 1d8 damage die while using the attack action. This usually becomes the best choice for damage until level 11 monk when the martial die catches up at a 1d8.

                                                      I would also say this might be a way to open all monks up to the use of more magic items. One of the largest complaints against the monk is that it takes more effort to create magic items for the monk, as there are relatively few items modeled for them. This creates a feeling of uncertainty when creating items if there is little to branch off from.

                                                      Being able to use a longsword, warhammer, or battle axe for a 1d10 and potentially being able to use those magic items is wonderful. It might be enough to bridge the gap between what the average player expects from a monk and the combat effectiveness in relation to damage.

                                                      Dwarven and elven monks would be cool as hell anyways.

                                                      • Carl Galley
                                                        Carl Galley  2 months back

                                                        Jim's sound quality is just to bad to enjoy this I am sorry.

                                                        • Tony Favilla
                                                          Tony Favilla  2 months back

                                                          Interesting brainstorm on a monk who controls their body through discipline...had a homebrew for a Way of the Guru, where a monks control of their own ki allows them to tap into their "chakras" (which they would gain as they level up), bestowing certain physical effects.

                                                          Becoming immovable and impervious to restraint...resistance to elemental damage...the ability to hold their breathe indefinitely...gain "truesight" through their Third Eye...the ability to jump incredibly high and fall like a feather...essentially, giving them some physical enhancements for combat, and some out of combat utility.


                                                          Earth Chakra - "Body of Stone" - Immovable, Advantage on Strength Checks, Immune to Poison or Disease
                                                          Water Chakra - "Flow of Water" - Immune to restraint condition, use reaction to return to a position you previously occupied on your turn.
                                                          Fire Chakra - "Vigor of Flame" - Immune to fire damage, resistance to cold damage, use a reaction to strike an opponent who enters your melee range.
                                                          Air Chakra - "Gift of the Gale" - hold your breathe indefinitely, gain a jump height equal to your movement speed, enemies must make Strength checks or be pushed back 10ft by your melee strikes.
                                                          Throat Chakra - "Echo of Eternity" - you are able to transcend spoken communication, speaking to any creature without needing a language, gain one use of "Sending" spell, and advantage on "Persuasion" or "Intimidation" checks.
                                                          Eye Chakra - "Gaze of Truth" - gain a use of "Truesight", and gain advantage on "Insight" or "Perception" checks.
                                                          Crown Chakra - "Transcendence of the Soul" - gain the "Crown of Stars" spell at base level, gaining additional "motes" for each expended use of ki.

                                                          ...things like that.

                                                          • OrbitalBliss
                                                            OrbitalBliss  2 months back

                                                            Were you suggesting that this UA didn't breach 10th level for ANY of the classes, or were you just talking about Monk? If you meant ANY class... Yeah, it breaches 10th just in the Spell list additions.

                                                            • Chris Nguyen
                                                              Chris Nguyen  2 months back

                                                              Stepping on the wizards toes. It's just one spell of the same level. Where the wizard can change his whole spell list and on top of that gets arcane recovery that non of the other classes get except land druid. I feel it's ok and doesn't hurt to change one spell. If you really need a reason then just say that if you have a scroll of that spell then you can change one spell out that way.

                                                              • Lost Adventurer
                                                                Lost Adventurer  2 months back

                                                                How to properly use Hexblade that uses a bow with the hunters mark, step 1 get a bow, step 2 make that your pact weapon other know as your arcane focus, step 3 get sharp shooter, step 4 get hunter mark, step 5 get agonizing blast, step 6 get eldritch blast, step 7 shoot eldric blasts with agonizing blast, while hunter mark is active, using your bow with sharp shooter feat of +10 damage to -5 to hit. Looking at a 1d10 +1d6 +(agonizing blast) +(bow modifier) +10(sharp shooter) and that is with each beam. Oh yes make eldric blast stronger fuel my archer power I beg. Rename it to Hexger an magic(pure magic) attacker

                                                                • Bobby Baker
                                                                  Bobby Baker  2 months back

                                                                  Branding smite(lvl 2 spell) and banishing smite(lvl 5 spell) can be used with ranged weapons.
                                                                  Banishing smite is ever so slightly more damage than a paladins divine smite and is a good way to focus damage all at once if AC on a target is particularly high.

                                                                  That being said lightning arrow is much more powerful than people think.
                                                                  It’s basically a ranged smite that is also area of effect. It has the ability to crit on the first damage roll. both damage rolls are “save for half damage” effects in that The first damage roll is “miss for half” which to my knowledge is the only example of such an effect in the game.

                                                                  • Rattus138
                                                                    Rattus138  2 months back

                                                                    How does Jim not have a full beard in this video but DOES have a full beard on all webdm videos? Am I the only one disturbed by this fact?

                                                                    • Anthony Norman
                                                                      Anthony Norman  2 months back

                                                                      The most WebDM videos are recorded long in advance, so they haven't caught up to his shaving yet.