Unearthed Arcana: Sorcerer and Warlock Analysis

Let’s get a bit eldritch, shall we?

September’s Unearthed Arcana installment provides two new subclasses, one for the Sorcerer and one for the Warlock. Both have some sort of eldrtich or horror theme, as in they have a connection with higher beings that may or may not be proud owners of tentacles.

Aberrant Mind

I like the flavour of how the sorcerers of this origin got their powers. The one that got my attention was the possibility of being a failed case of ceremorphosis (the process of turning into a Mind Flayer). This could be an interesting story, having the process begin again at some point and having to fight for control over your body now that you have psionic powers to help you.

Invasive Thoughts

This level 1 feature allows you to form a telepathic link with a creature and be able to hold a conversation for 10 minutes. The prerequisites are that you can see the creature and that it can speak at least one language. With the cost of a bonus action, it’s not bad and it matches the flavour well.

Psionic Spells

This feature is a tested idea and its success is based on the collection of the spells. In this case, I believe the spell list is good, both utility and flavour wise.

Warped Being

This is the second part of the Draconic Resilience feature of the Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer. It provides a better AC for the Sorcerer, which is a good thing since they’re quite squishy. The flavour behind this is left up to you to decide, because it is connected to the way your Sorcerer got their powers.

Psionic Sorcery

At level 6 and beyond, instead of using spell slots, you can use Sorcery Points to cast your Psionic Spells. The number of points is equal to the level of the spell. This is quite good because it reduces the cost of Sorcery Points per spell level (see PHB page 101 for the conversion table). Moreover, when you use Sorcery Points to cast Psionic spells, you don’t need any components. That matches the flavour quite well. Whether it will be useful, though, depends on the play style of each group. Components aren’t something everyone actively keeps track of.

Note: I was reminded that components are more than just the material ones. This changes things a bit, because this feature allows you to cast spells in precarious situations, such as being bound or underwater. Or even both. In the latter case, being able to cast spells would be quite helpful. Keep in mind, however, this affects only your Psionic Spells.

Psychic Defenses

At 6th level we get another good defensive feature. This one grants resistance to psychic damage and advantage on saves against being charmed or frightened. A resistance at level 6 isn’t a issue, in my opinion, since psychic damage isn’t really common (yet, because I am suspecting this will change in the future, with possibly a new book whose one of its focus will be psionics) and also because Sorcerers are squishy enough to be in danger even from half damage attacks. As for the advantage, I see no issue. Finally, both fit the flavour quite nicely.

Revelation in Flesh

At level 14, we get a pretty interesting feature, both mechanics and flavour wise. It provides four different options, which can be activated by spending 1 Sorcery Point for each. The options are an increase in swimming speed and the ability to breathe underwater, the ability to fly, the ability to become covered in slime so you can squeeze through narrow paths, and the ability to sense hidden or invisible creatures.

All of the options are accompanied with a small description of how they affect your form, which is something the name of the feature hints as well. I’m not sure how useful the slime ability will be, but the others can be quite handy.

Warp Reality

At level 18, you get to mess with reality on a large scale. You can create an aura around you that is considered difficult terrain and deals damage to anyone inside. You have the option to exclude your allies from these effects. The radius of the aura is 20 feet, lasts for 1 minute, and you can choose its form.

Moreover, as a bonus action you can choose to end the aura early, which activates a secondary effect. You and any creatures you choose are teleported anywhere within 1 mile of you. However, creatures that don’t want to get teleported have the chance to avoid it by succeeding on a Charisma saving throw. You can use this feature once per long rest. This is a really cool feature. The flavour is awesome and all the effects are really good.

Overall, I am quite pleased by the Aberrant Mind Sorcerous Origin. I am happy about all the features, which feature both good utility and combat options.

Finally, I want to mention that we finally get a psionic subclass for a class that isn’t the Mystic. If my memory serves me well, it had been hinted quite a while ago that there would be psionic subclasses for other classes, when the Mystic would be released. So this could be a hint that we are somewhat close to getting a book that includes psionics, and all that could come with that.

The Lurker in the Deep

Your new friend, patron, master, or whatever you want to call the being that gives you otherworldly powers, comes from the deep seas. Now, whether these seas are located on the Material Plane, or somewhere more exotic, is left up to you to decide.

Expanded Spell List

We begin with an expanded spell list. The theme is the might of the sea, and all that it entails. We get water, frost, lightning and, of course, tentacles.

Grasp of the Deep

As a bonus action, you can summon a tentacle friend within 60 feet of you and make an attack with it. It lasts for up to a minute and every turn you can use your bonus action to move it and attack with it. The damage itself isn’t a ton(even if it gets upgraded at later levels), but the attack is a melee spell attack, which improves the chances of hitting. Moreover, each time you attack you can choose the damage type between cold and lightning, which adds some versatility. Finally, the attack also reduces the speed of the target by 10 feet, making it more difficult to reach you, and thus increasing your survivability.

You can use it a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1) before having to have a long rest. This is a nice little trick that allows you to use your spells, while having a tentacle friend to attack for you and hinder your enemies.

Scion of the Deep

This is a fun one. It probably won’t be very handy but I like it just for its flavour. It allows you to telepathically communicate with aberrations, beast, elementals, or monstrosities that have an innate swimming speed. The radius is 120 feet.

Fathomless Soul

At level 6, we get a simple but useful feature. It grants you the ability to breathe air and water. The wording here is a bit weird. Why say that you can now breathe air and water, when usually it’s stated that “you can now breathe underwater?”. Moving on, the feature also grants a swimming speed and resistance to cold damage. Overall, I like it.

Guardian Grasp

At level 6, your tentacle friend gains the ability to defend you and your friends. When you or a creature you see takes damage within 10 feet from the tentacle, it can get in front of the attack to cut its damage in half. This works for one creature and costs you a reaction. After that, the tentacle disappears, which makes sense because it takes the damage. I like both the flavour and the actual mechanics of this. However, you will have to make sure you use your tentacle friends wisely, since they are limited in number.

Devouring Maw

At level 10, you can now summon a maw friend as well. With an action, you can summon a maw within 60 feet of you for 1 minute. Creatures within 10 feet of the maw have to make a Strength saving throw or become restrained. Creatures in the radius of the maw, restrained or not, take 3d6 cold or lightning damage.

But wait, there’s more! In order to free themselves, restrained creatures must spend their action to repeat the saving throw. This is very limiting and good placement of the maw, could cripple the enemies and turn the tides of battle. And just to add the cherry on top, if there is at least one enemy in the radius of the maw, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Warlock level. And did I mention you can use this once per short rest?

This is a really strong feature. It deals damage, provides crowd control, and grants you temporary hit points to make sure you stay alive until your maw friend finishes off your enemies.

Unleash the Depths

The final feature, granted at level 14, provides you with two options.

Transport. You can teleport yourself and up to five other creatures within 30 feet of you to a place up to 100 miles away from your current position, that you have seen in the last 24 hours. This is achieved by summoning a tentacle that grabs you and takes you, through your patron’s realm, to your destination. This must be the ride of a lifetime. You could even get a glimpse of your patron’s full form, though probably that would leave some mental scars.

Fury. You can summon tentacles and target up to 5 enemies within 30 feet of you. They have to make a Dexterity saving throw or take 6d10 damage and get knocked prone. If they succeed, they only take half damage and don’t get knocked prone. Again, you can choose between cold or lightning for the damage type.

Both options are good. The first one provides a good teleportation ability, with the chance to make things fun. I can see myself making complications during the transportation through the patron’s realm. It would be interesting to do it once. As for the second option, that’s a good chunk of damage you can deal.

Overall, The Lurker in the Deep is a really good Otherwordly Patron. Devouring Maw has the potential of breaking encounters but I don’t think it is broken enough to need a downgrade.

Mind Sliver

This is new cantrip. The target has to succeed in an Intelligence saving throw or take 1d6 psychic damage, which scales like other cantrips. Additionally, if they have to make a saving throw until the end of their next turn, they subtract a d4 from their roll. That’s good. It makes your next attack with the cantrip easier, or sets up an even bigger attack. Just make sure you remind your DM about that d4.

In general, I believe both character options are the result of a lot of work. This is really close to a finished product and I don’t think we’ll see a lot of changes in the version that will be featured in upcoming publications.

One thing I want to mention is that, right after each feature’s name, we get a subtitle stating whose subclass this feature is and at which level is gained So, for example, Psionic Sorcery gets the subtitle “6th-level Aberrant Mind feature“. I like this idea. It doesn’t really take too much space but could possibly end up being useful. I believe it’s the first time I see this, but if I’m wrong please let me know.

And that’s all for this Unearthed Arcana installment. I want to believe we will be seeing more psionic related content soon, especially psionic subclasses for various classes.

But what do you think? Do you like the new options? Are they close to a finished product or do they need more work?

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here.

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