Unearthed Arcana

Posted by Andrew E. on

The Playtest Laboratory of D&D

D&D is not a dead and static game, it’s a living one that constantly changes. Wizards of the Coast is constantly brewing up new content ideas and has been since 5th edition started. But new content is a double-edged sword, it brings more options and new excitement, but it can also disrupt the game as it is. Is this new class option game breaking? Who can tell?

Rather than keep these new brews locked up, they decided that the best group of playtesters would be the community itself. Unearthed Arcanas are official D&D supplements that aren’t finished, they’re playtest material intended to gauge public reaction and to find and fix problems before they become real additions. Follow us through for just a bit and we’ll go through every current Unearthed Arcana and show you everything you need to know.

Using This Guide

We’ll be going through every single unearthed arcana article since they started 5 years ago. We won’t be going into a ton of detail, but we will provide a link, a short description, and very importantly whether the unearthed arcana is Active, Outmoded, or Implemented. 

An Active unearthed arcana is current playtesting material, it’s the most recent of its content and is still being considered for becoming part of a real book. It’s perfectly reasonable to try out Active unearthed arcanas in your home games, especially if you take the time to report some of your experiences online.

An Outmoded unearthed arcana has been considered, then thrown out to be replaced with a different version in a new unearthed arcana. Generally, you should avoid playing Outmoded unearthed arcanas, as they’ve already been removed from consideration and there is a shiny new version for testing.

Implemented unearthed arcanas are the ones that have actually been included in full releases, or at least a version of them that’s very close. Always double-check the version that was actually released before using an Implemented unearthed arcana, as there are sometimes tweaks to what made the final cut.

unearthed arcana dnd5e

#70 Subclasses Revisited

This contains 3 reworks to previous unearthed arcana subclasses. It includes the Phantom rogue subclass, a rework of the Revived rouge subclass, The Genie warlock subclass, a rework of the Noble Genie warlock subclass, and the Order of Scribes wizard subclass, which has replaced the Archivist artificer subclass. 

#69 Psionic Options Revisited

This latest attempt to introduce and balance psionic options to the game includes the Psi Knight fighter subclass, the Soulknife rogue subclass, and the Psionic Soul sorcerer subclass (Psionic Soul directly replaces the previous Aberrant Mind) It also includes 3 psionic themed spells and 5 psionic feats. 

#68 Spells and Magic Tattoos

Contains 11 new spells, focused mainly on summoning, and 11 new magic item “tattoos” and the rules for implementing them.

#67 Subclasses, Part 3

This contains 3 new subclasses, the Armorer artificer subclass, the Circle of the Stars druid subclass, and the Fey Wanderer ranger subclass.

#66 Subclasses, Part 2

This contains 3 new subclasses, the College of Creation bard subclass, the Unity Domain cleric subclass, and the Clockwork Soul sorcerer subclass.

#65 Subclasses, Part 1

  • Active / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 4 new subclasses, the Path of the Beast barbarian subclass, the Way of Mercy monk subclass, and the Oath of Watchers paladin subclass. It also contains The Noble Genie warlock subclass which has later been updated.

#64 Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard

This is actually one of their takes on psionics, and has been completely replaced by Psionic Options Revisited

#63 Class Feature Variants

This is a large proposed overhaul providing alternate class features for all of the classes. There’s a good chance this will be the basis for a massive “Advanced Class Guide” or something similar in the next year or so.

#62 Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue

  • Active / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 3 new subclasses, the Rune Knight fighter subclass and the Swarmkeeper ranger subclass are still active, but The Revived rogue subclass has since been replaced.

#61 Cleric, Druid, and Wizard

This contains 3 new subclasses, the Twilight Domain cleric subclass, the Circle of Wildfire druid subclass, and Onomancy wizard subclass.

#60 Bard and Paladin

This contains 2 new subclasses, the College of Eloquence bard subclass, the Oath of Heroism paladin subclass.

#59 Sorcerer and Warlock

  • Active / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 2 new subclasses, the Aberrant Mind sorcerer subclass which has been replaced by the later Psionic Soul subclass, and the still active The Lurker in the Deep warlock subclass.

#58 Barbarian and Monk

This contains 2 new subclasses, the Path of the Wild Soul barbarian subclass, and The Way of the Astral Self Monk subclass.

#57 The Artificer Returns

  • Implemented / Outmoded
  • Link

It didn’t make the transition completely unscathed, but this last version of the Artificer class made it most of the way into Eberron: Rising from the Last War. The Archivist subclass was cut but will later return as the Oath of Scribes wizard subclass.

#56 The Artificer Revisited

This version of the Artificer class was very quickly edited for the next version in The Artificer Returns.  

#55 Sidekicks

This introduces special Sidekick Classes, the Warrior, Expert, and Spellcaster, to be used for helpful and recurring NPCs.

#54 Of Ships and the Sea

This version of ship mechanics made it into Ghosts of Saltmarsh with only minor changes, to the point that you can grab these for essentially the same style of water vehicle systems.

#53 Magic Items of Eberron

This set of magic items was implemented in Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron and then were carried over into Eberron: Rising from the Last War.

#52 Dragonmarks

This set of “Dragonmarks” work essentially as alternate subraces for the core races, they were technically implemented but the final version in Eberron: Rising from the Last War is different enough that I’ve categorized this as outmoded.

#51 Races of Ravnica

They went through a few major changes, but 3 of these races can be found in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, including the Loxodon, Simic Hybrids, and Vedalken. Sadly, the 4th race Viashano got left on the cutting room floor. 

#50 Giant Soul Sorcerer

This single sorcerer subclass had a lot of influence from Storm King’s Thunder but never ended up in anything official.

#49 Centaurs and Minotaurs

Slightly streamlined versions of this Centaur and Minotaur race were implemented in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica.

#48 Order Domain

This cleric subclass was implemented in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica.

#47 Into the Wild

These general wilderness exploration rules have yet to be implemented or revisited.

#46 Three Subclasses

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 3 new subclasses, the Brute fighter subclass and the School of Invention wizard subclass are still active but The Circle of Spores druid subclass was implemented in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica.

#45 Elf Subraces

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 4 new subraces for elves, the winged Avriel, and the xenophobic Grugach are still active, but the aquatic Sea Elves, and the shadowy Shadar-kai, were implemented in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

#44 Fiendish Options

This contains 8 new subrace options for tieflings, and options for specific fiendish cults. The cult mechanics didn’t make it over, but the subraces were all implemented in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

#43 Race Options: Eladrin and Gith

The elf subrace Eladrin and the Gith races were all implemented in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes.

#42 Three-Pillar Experience

More of a DM philosophy and advice article than actual rules, these concepts have yet to be placed in any official book.

#41 Greyhawk Initiative

This alternate rules system for determining initiative order adds significant complexity to normal combat but also allows for more depth and variety.

#40 Revised Class Options

This contains 4 subclasses in their last incarnation before being implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. It includes the Circle of the Shepherd druid subclass, the Cavalier fighter subclass, the Oath of Conquest paladin subclass, and The Celestial warlock subclass.

#39 Revised Subclasses

This contains 5 subclasses in their last incarnation before being implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. It includes the Path of the Ancestral Guardian barbarian subclass, the College of Swords bard subclass, the Arcane Archer fighter subclass, and The Way of the Kensi monk subclass, and the Favored Soul (later renamed Divine Soul) sorcerer subclass.

#38 Feats for Races

This contains feats that can only be chosen by specific core races. Most of these were implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything but a few were left behind or redone.

#37 Feats for Skills

This contains feats that provide proficiency in each skill along with a small side benefit.

#36 Downtime

These rules and concepts for downtime activities were implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

#35 Starter Spells

Most (but not all) of these low level spells were implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

#34 A Trio of Subclasses

This contains 3 subclasses in their last incarnation before being implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. It includes the Way of the Drunken Master monk subclass, the Oath of Redemption paladin subclass, and the Monster Slayer Ranger subclass.

#33 Wizard Revisited

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 2 subclasses for wizards. War Magic, which was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Theurgy, which seems to have been left behind.

#32 The Mystic Class

This contains the last incarnation of the Mystic class before they seem to have abandoned it. It was decidedly too complex and unbalanced, and has been replaced in later unearthed arcana as multiple psionic subclasses.

#31 Traps Revisited

This set of systems and rules for traps was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything alongside several example traps.

#30 Mass Combat

This contains rules for organizing mass combat for full-scale warfare and similar engagements.

#29 Warlock and Wizard

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 3 subclasses, 1 of which was The Hexblade warlock subclass, which was implemented alongside numerous new eldritch invocations in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. The Raven Queen warlock subclass and the Lore Mastery wizard subclass were sadly left behind. 

#28 Sorcerer

This contains 4 sorcerer subclasses, Favored Soul which was replaced later with Divine Soul, Phoenix Sorcery which was overpowered and abandoned, along with Sea Sorcery and Stone Sorcery which were both later replaced with Storm Sorcery.

#27 Ranger and Rogue

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 3 subclasses, the Horizon Walker ranger subclass and the Scout rogue subclass were implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. The Primeval Guardian ranger subclass however remains unused and active. 

#26 Artificer

This is one of the earlier incarnations of the Artificer class that has since been replaced.

#25 Paladin: Sacred Oaths

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 2 subclasses for paladins. The Oath of Conquest, which was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and The Oath of Treachery, which seems to have been left behind.

#24 Monk: Monastic Traditions

This contains 2 subclasses for monks. The Way of the Kensi and The Way of Tranquility, both of which have been replaced by new versions in later Unearthed Arcana. 

#23 Fighter: Martial Archetypes

  • Active / Implemented / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 4 subclasses for fighters. Samurai was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything almost unchanged. The Arcane Archer and Knight subclasses were revised in later unearthed arcana before being implemented, and the Sharpshooter subclass seems to have been abandoned due to power balance issues. 

#22 Druid Circles and Wild Shape

  • Active / Implemented / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 3 subclasses for druids. Circle of Dreams was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything almost unchanged. Circle of the Shepherd would be revisited in another unearthed arcana before implementation. Finally, the Circle of Twilight seems to have been abandoned due to power balance issues. 

#21 Cleric: Divine Domains

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains 3 subclasses for clerics. The Forge Domain and the Grave Domain were both implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Twilight Domain however has been left behind and remains active. 

#20 Bard: Bard Colleges

This contains 2 subclasses for bards. The College of Glamor and the College of Whispers which were both implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

#19 Barbarian Primal Paths

  • Implemented / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 3 subclasses for barbarians. The Path of the Ancestral Guardian received another version in an unearthed arcana before being implemented. Path of the Storm Herald and the Path of the Zealot were both implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

#18 Encounter Building

This contains new advice and guidelines for building new encounters as a DM, they were implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

#17 The Ranger, Revised

The ranger has often been criticized as the weakest class, this commonly used revision hasn’t yet been implemented but greatly strengthens the ranger’s capabilities.

#16 The Faithful

  • Active / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains The Seeker warlock subclass that remains unused and active, and the Theurgy wizard subclass that would be later tried again in another unearthed arcana.

#15 Quick Characters

This contains tables for randomly creating a new character out of the core classes and races, it remains unused.

#14 Feats

This contains a set of feats centered around specific weapon mastery and tool mastery, they have yet to appear in any publication.

#13 Gothic Heroes

  • Active / Implemented
  • Link

This contains the undead subrace Revenants, which can be applied to any race, and the fighter subclass Monster Hunter, both of which have yet to be implemented. It also contains the rogue subclass Inquisitive which was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. 

#12 Kits of Old

  • Active / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains 4 subclasses, 3 of which, including the bard’s College of Swords and the fighter’s Cavalier and Scout would be replaced with later versions, and Scout even switches from a fighter subclass to a rogue subclass. The bard’s College of Satire however, remains active and unused.

#11 That Old Black Magic

This contains the tiefling subraces and abyssal spells that have been replaced in later unearthed arcana.

#10 Light, Dark, Underdark!

  • Active / Implemented / Outmoded
  • Link

This contains alternate “fighting styles” for classes that can gain them, these alternate fighting styles remain active and unused. It also contains 2 subclasses that have since been replaced with newer versions, the Deep Stalker ranger subclass and the Undying Light warlock subclass (later renamed The Celestial). It also contains the Shadow sorcerer subclass that was implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

#9 Prestige Classes and Rune Magic

This contains optional rules for “prestige classes”, secondary classes that can be worked into if an existing character meets the requirements. It then gives the Rune Scribe prestige class as an example. Some of the “runes” have been retooled into simple magic items, but it otherwise remains active and unused.

#8 Ranger

This was one of the now outmoded early attempts to “fix” the ranger class.

#7 Modern Magic

This contains new rules and spells for playing 5e in a modern or futuristic setting. It also includes 3 technology themed subclasses, the City Domain cleric, the Ghost in the Machine warlock, and the Technomancy wizard.

#6 Awakened Mystic

One of the many failed and outmoded mystic reworks.

#5 Variant Rules

This contains several alternate rules for some of the fundamentals of the system, such as saving throws and hit points.

#4 Waterborne Adventures

  • Active / Outmoded / Implemented
  • Link

The only active portion of this article is the alternate “fighting style” mariner which remains unused. It also contains the minotaur race which would later be replaced, and the Swashbuckler rogue subclass and the Storm Sorcery sorcerer subclass which would both be later implemented in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

#3 Modifying Classes

This contains alternate rules for creating your own subclasses, it uses a variant of the outmoded Favored Soul as an example of a finished new subclass, but the rules themselves remain active.

#2 When Armies Clash

This contains an earlier version of what would become the mass combat rules.

#1 Eberron

This contains racial rules for shifters, warforged, and dragonmarks, as well as rules for the artificer wizard subclass, all of which would be completely replaced in later revisions.

 

WANT TO SEE UNEARTHED ARCANA ORGANIZED BY CLASS? CLICK HERE!

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