It’s a great day for me as I write this – it’s Tuesday 19th July here in the past, so not only do I have Journey’s Through the Radiant Citadel to enjoy but I also get treated to Unearthed Arcana’s Wonders of the Multiverse issue. I am very excited!
Why? Because Planescape, that’s why!
Today I’m going to focus on Unearthed Arcana because I haven’t had a chance to dive into Radiant Citadel yet. That comes after I finish writing my initial impressions.
So what is the Wonders of the Multiverse packet? It’s a new race option, a new cleric domain, four new character backgrounds, several new feats (that, like the Dragonlance playtest materials, are used in parts of the above backgrounds), and a few new spells.
The new race option – Glitchlings. Now, I’m no expert on Modrons, but this just reads as a Modron to me. If they hadn’t been described as ‘human-like’ and instead boxes with spindly legs, we’d all know what this was.
You are a Construct (usually meaning healing magic like cure wounds doesn’t work on you, but you’re special so it does), you have armour plating giving you an unarmoured AC of 14+Dex, vestigial wings that let you fly a little bit but only using your movement, advantage on Wisdom (Insight) rolls and saving throws against charms, and can choose to take 10 on a roll a number of times equal to your proficiency modifier per long rest.
That all sounds fun, and I can see how being a Divination Wizard with this would be a lot of fun. Or of course, a Fate Cleric.
Which brings us on neatly to the cleric I suppose.
First of all, the bonus spells – lots of obvious stuff such as divination and even see invisibility make sense to me, from the point of view of someone tuned in to future and avoiding sad fates – looking at death ward and beacon of hope there. I’m not sure how dissonant whispers and heroism exactly fit in with them, they don’t strike me as entirely flavoured correctly for the domain, but I can see how you could twist them in there.
Next up, Omens and Portents means casting augury at level 1. It makes sense for the build, but wow that’s a bold move. It’s nice that it’s capped at once per long rest without a spell slot for this purpose. The other part of the Omens and Portents ability reads poorly – is that all divination spells with a failure chance have it reduced by 25%, or does this only affect the one spell (that spell being the augury)? It seems odd that they’d factor the long rest in but it doesn’t seem to be limited.
Ties That Bind is useful for both healing and damage and is a great fit for the subclass and I like how it’s been written. That extra d6 healing or damage could be make-or-break, and literally tying your fate to that of an enemy should make tracking them much easier. I would probably add a house rule that if the target leaves the same plane of existence, whilst they are no longer possible to track, you at least know which plane they went to.
The fact that all of the above kicks in at level 1 is amazing.
The level 2 channel divinity option to fiddle with fate via advantage and disadvantage is fun, the Insightful Striking ability at level 6 is more of the same, Potent Spellcasting is always fun (toll the dead!) and Visions of the Future gives the foresight spell which makes total sense for what the subclass is doing. It’s a fun build, I’d definitely play it over a life cleric, and probably put it on equal footing with a twilight cleric or light cleric for what kind of cleric I want to play next.
Next, we’ll move on to feats. If your background gives you a feat but someone else in the party picks a background that doesn’t give one, they can pick from a list involving the elemental planes, or take the Tough or Skilled feats from the Player’s Handbook for free (just to balance out the power levels of the party). Cool.
The backgrounds are Gate Warden, Giant Foundling, Planar Philosopher, and Rune Carver. (Did anyone else notice there’s a lot of giant stuff in recent playtests? Are the giants upsetting the multiverse in the next few years?)
The Gate Warden gets proficiency in Persuasion and Survival, gets two fun language picks (advice is to take something planar), and the Scion of the Outer Planes feat.
The Giant Foundling gets proficiency in Intimidation and Survival, any two languages, and gets the Strike of the Giants feat. They are also strangely tall for whatever their race is.
The Planar Philosopher gets proficiency in Arcana and Persuasion, any two languages, and also gets the Scion of the Outer Planes feat. There’s also a mention of factions here…
The Rune Carver gets proficiency in History and Perception, can speak Giant and any one other language, and gets the Rune Carver Apprentice feat.
Right, feats are more difficult because they branch.
The level 1 feats are Rune Carver Apprentice, the Scion feats for each of the Elemental Planes and one for the Outer Planes, and Strike of the Giants.
Rune Carver Apprentice works a bit like artificer infusions – you know two runes (out of eight), stick them on a non-magical item during a long rest and suddenly you can cast the spells associated with the runes until the next long rest. Replace known runes when you level up. Spells include chromatic orb, command, speak with animals, and entangle.
The Scions of the Elemental Planes have different effects based on the different planes. Elemental Air gives you access to minor illusion (why not gust?) and the same flight ability that the Glitchling has, Elemental Earth gives druidcraft (not mold earth?) and an ability to conjure half cover for yourself or a nearby ally, Elemental Fire gives dancing lights and the produce flame cantrips with the latter useable as a bonus action, and Elemental Water gives thaumaturgy and the ability to waterbend and either push or pull a creature with a wave of water that mysteriously appears and disappears.
Scion of the Outer Planes gives access to a cantrip and damage resistance based on the flavour of Outer Plane picked when taking the feat – the Astral Plane gives psychic resistance and the message cantrip, chaotic or evil planes give necrotic resistance and minor illusion or chill touch respectively, lawful or good planes give radiant resistance and guidance or sacred flame respectively, and the Outlands gives psychic resistance and mage hand.
(There is no mention of the Ethereal Plane anywhere, so I wonder if they’ll make a Scion feat for it?)
Strike of the Giants gives bonus damage and an effect based on the type of giant selected, with the saving throw for the effect being based on Strength or Constitution for a change. Hill Giant gives bonus weapon damage and a Strength save versus being knocked prone, Stone Giant gives bonus force damage and a Strength save versus being pushed back, Frost Giant gives bonus cold damage and a Constitution save versus losing all movement, Fire Giant gives bonus fire damage (that’s it), Cloud Giant gives bonus thunder damage (but not much) and forces a Wisdom save versus the user becoming invisible to the target, and Storm Giant gives bonus lightning damage and a Constitution save versus disadvantage on all attack rolls.
The other feats are all available at level 4, and there are fourteen of them! There’s one each for the different Giant styles, one each for the different Outer Planes Scions except Astral, one that’s generic but based on the Outer Planes Scion, one for more Runes, and one for Sorcerers, Wizards and Warlocks called Cartomancer.
Cartomancers can use a deck of cards as a spellcasting focus, which means they deal an extra d4 damage a proficiency modifier number of times per long rest, can cast prestidigitation and perform card tricks like a stage magician, and can store a spell they know in one card. It doesn’t mention the spell they know has to be from the sorcerer, warlock or wizard spells, so a multiclass druid or cleric gets interesting.
The only other feat I’m going to detail (because wow this section got big fast) is Planar Wanderer, the generic feat stemming from Scion of the Outer Planes. This is very cool in a Planescape game because it allows detection of portals, resistance to a damage type that changes on a long rest, but most importantly portal hacking – you can open portals without portal keys, or even seal them shut for people using the correct keys. That’s amazing!
Last section – spells, many of them card-based.
Antagonize is a 3rd-level enchantment spell that deals 4d4 psychic damage (plus 1d4 per level) and forces the target to spend its reaction attacking a melee target of your choice or have disadvantage on the next attack if no target is available in range.
House of Cards is a 3rd-level conjuration spell that causes a literal house of cards to rise from the ground with the caster at the top. It lasts 24 hours but is pretty fragile. I’m not sure if 3rd-level is the right place for it, given how easy it is to break, but I’m also not sure it should be as low as 2nd-level.
Spirit of Death conjures a Reaper Spirit near an enemy creature that aids the caster and their companions to down the foe in combat. It can only ‘haunt’ one creature, and disappears once the creature is reduced to 0 hit points. The spirit deals 1d10 + 3 + spell level (because it can be upcast) melee damage and has a paralyzing 1/day ability. Pretty cool.
Spray of Cards is a 2nd-level conjuration spell that can be used to blind or hurt opponents in a 15-foot cone. Upcasting deals additional damage, nothing happens with the blinding effect.
Summon Warrior Spirit pulls forth a warrior spirit from the Deck of Many Things, and can be a barbarian, fighter or monk. Like the reaper spirit, the warrior spirit obeys verbal commands, and upcasting the spell increases various parts of the stat block such as armour class, hit points, and damage. Better yet, multiattack works based on casting level rounded down, so a normal cast gives the warrior spirit one attack, but upping it to 4th-level bumps it to 2 and so on. The different types of warrior spirits all have different attacks, and the monk version has a flurry of blows option too.
All in all, some very cool spells too.
So, I really like the direction the playtest material is going. I’m really excited to see how this turns out, and what exactly the giants are all doing in Sigil that makes them such a big part of recent Unearthed Arcana issues.
You can find the pdf file of the Uneearthed Arcana Wonders of the Multiverse here.