The main purpose of Unearthed Arcana is to introduce ideas to the general public, then fine tune those ideas until they are ready to be officially released. Some ideas get scrapped (rest in piece Mystic) and some ideas get revised. In this update to Unearthed Arcana, we have revisions to three subclasses. The phantom rogue is replacing the revived rogue, the genie replacing the noble genie warlock, and the order of scribes wizard replacing the archivist subclass. How have these subclasses evolved? Let’s take a closed look at this new Unearthed Arcana.
The first subclass is the phantom rogue. This subclass replaces the old rogue subclass in both mechanics and lore. This rogue communicates with the dead, rather than coming from it. This distinction leads to a different feel for the character. It’s admittedly a little more sinister, but that seems to be due to the class features. But the features themselves are very evocative. Being able to hear the whispers of ghosts to gain a proficiency, and causing enemies to suffer the screams of ghosts are both very cool abilities to harness. It feels like a more reckless grave cleric. The next ability, tokens of the departed, is an amazing ability. Being able to have a limited version of speak with dead is super cool, but could be a bit strong since it is technically unlimited. The flavor of it is also a bit creepy, moreso than the grave cleric. This may be good with players that enjoy edgy rogues, but your mileage may vary. The phantom rogue gets the ability to assume a ghost-like form, which is so fitting and awesome.
The next subclass is the genie patron for the warlock. This is the subclass that I predict will see the most changes, though I hope they’re only numerical changes. These warlocks get to go into their patron’s object as a level 1 ability, which is absolutely insane to me. The amount of shenanigans you can get up to with this excite me as a player and horrify me as a DM. Not to mention that it gets upgraded at a later level to fit your whole party inside. These warlocks also gain abilities that are very fitting of their patron. They get the ability to fly and resist damage like their patron, and they even get access to limited wish, which is the coolest place to put it in. And, of course, these warlocks are the only ones to get the wish spell. I would consider this subclass incomplete without it.
The final revision in this Unearthed Arcana is the order of scribes. This one is a bit of an oddball in that its past life was actually as an artificer subclass. That being said, I believe its true home lies within the wizard subclass. This is easily my favorite wizard subclass. It feels the most like a wizard to me, but in a creative way. By focusing the abilities on the books, this subclass evokes a sense of study that wizards are known so well for. My second favorite ability of this subclass allows the wizard to customize the damage of their spells. This is endlessly useful, as any evocation wizard in a fire giant’s lair will tell you. What could be better than throwing out frost and acid balls? What about a self resurrection? Once the scribe wizard reaches a certain level, they can revive themselves. But what’s so awesome about this ability is its cost. That cost is losing the ability to cast some of your spells. Permanently. This can lead to so many roleplaying opportunities. What happens when someone so greedy for knowledge sacrifices some of that knowledge for the opportunity to gain more? It’s such an evocative ability; the coolest I’ve seen in a while.
Overall, I think these class revisions are huge steps in the right direction. Personally, the genie warlock went from a hot mess to a great subclass for me, and the wizard subclass is my favorite of all the options. What do you think? Are you happy with these changes? Which of these classes do you want to play first? Let me know down below!