Unearthed Arcana: Bard and Paladin Analysis

Even more Unearthed Arcana goodies!

I smell a new supplement coming. One with new subclasses.

This Unearthed Arcana installment brings two new options, one for the Bard and one for the Paladin. But you already know that from the title so let’s check them out.

College of Eloquence

Think of a courthouse. Now imagine if the lawyers had to sing their arguments. This is the College of Eloquence.

Universal Speech (level 3)

This level 3 feature makes others understand you. You can use your bonus action and a use of your Bardic Inspiration to roll your Bardic Inspiration die. The number you roll determines how many creatures this feature affects. Choose that many within 60 feet of you that you can see and they can understand you, no matter if you don’t share a language or if they don’t speak any at all. This lasts for 10 minutes and, during that time, you have advantage on Charisma based checks that you make to influence them. So, skill wise, these means an advantage on Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion checks.

That’s not a bad feature. Keep in mind, however, that it isn’t stated anywhere that you will be able to understand the creatures you’re talking to. That could be lead to fun situations. Also, I think the wording could be changed a bit so that the feature would allow you to choose UP to a number of creatures equal to your roll. I’m nitpicking here but that’s part of the fun I can have writing these analysis articles.

Soothing Words (level 3)

Free spells! You get to cast the Calm Emotions spell without spending spell slots a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. I suppose the “minimum of 1” part is missing because it’s an Unearthed Arcana installment. Calms Emotions isn’t a bad spell and could be useful sometimes. The uses recharge with a long rest.

Undeniable Logic (level 6)

Another good looking feature, that also fits the flavour of the subclass very well. You can use your bonus action and a Bardic Inspiration die and choose between two effects; one hinders your opponents and the other helps your friends.

You can roll the Bardic Inspiration die you used and deal that much psychic damage to an enemy. They also have to roll an Intelligence saving throw or get disadvantage on their next saving throw they make before the end of your next turn.

The other option is kinda symmetrical. You roll the Bardic Inspiration die you used and give them that many temporary hit points. They also gain advantage on the next saving throw they make before the end of your next turn.

The damage is guaranteed but not a ton, and so are the temporary hit points. However, I consider those a bonus since I believe the major effect is the advantage or disadvantage. It’s important to note that this requires a bonus action so you can use it in the hopes of setting up an opponent for a big spell.

Infectious Inspiration (level 14)

This feature gives two abilities that help you with your Bardic Inspiration, because it seems this class uses it a lot. When a creature uses one of your Bardic Inspiration dice in a roll and fail it, they get to keep the die.

However, when they succeed on the roll, you can use your reaction to Inspire another creature without using an additional die. This can be used a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of once; they remembered to add it this time) and they recharge on a long rest.

Overall, I like this College. It seems fun and the flavour is intriguing. However, the features rely on Bardic Inspiration a lot and I don’t think Infectious Inspiration is enough to cover the increased demand.

Oath of Heroism

You are destined to be part of the great machinations of the divines. Gods think your role is important in their plans and you know it. This drives you forward and makes you want to improve yourself, in order to be ready when the time comes to fulfill your role.

Oath Spells (level 3)

This Oath spell list is mostly a collection of spells that enhance your abilities. There’s also a spell that allows you to communicate with your god and another one that could be flavoured as your god helping you in battle (Conjure Volley).

Channel Divinity (level 3)

The name says it all. You gain two Channel Divinity options

The first one is called Peerless Athlete and grants you advantage on Athletics and Acrobatics checks for 10 minutes. This is pretty straightforward and I can see it being used. Also, it kinda fits the theme of the subclass.

The second one is called Legendary Strike, but let’s be serious and just call it Improved Critical, which is a feature of the Champion Fighter. The difference between these two is that the one requires a limited resource, lasts a minute, and thus does not guarantee anything. The other one is a passive thing that provides a pleasant surprise when it activates. I believe you can see why I am not really happy with it.

Mighty Deed (level 7)

This feat activates when your roll a critical hit or reduce a creature to 0 hit points. You can choose a number of creatures equal to up to your Charisma modifier. Then you can choose to apply one of the two available effects.

The first one gives them 1d6 + Cha temporary hit points (minimum of 1). The second one makes them roll a wisdom saving throw against becoming frightened of you until the start of your next turn.

To be honest, I can see both options getting some use. The first one is a last minute heal to make sure your allies don’t die. Even if it’s not a lot of healing, it could help. The second one, however, can be really good, and possibly annoying, if you are lucky.

This feature can be used an unlimited amount of times. However, once you have used it you can’t use it until the start of your next turn.

Glorious Defense (level 15)

This one is quite powerful, I believe. When a creature hits you with an attack roll, you can use your reaction and add your Charisma modifier to your AC (minimum of 1). If the attack doesn’t hit versus your new AC then you also get an attack against that creature. Now that’s a good use for a reaction.

Living Myth (level 20)

I like this feature because its flavour is superb. I love that the legends told of yourself could be exaggerated. I don’t know why, but this part got me. Anyway, let’s take a look.

This feature requires a bonus action to activate and in the 10 minutes it lasts you get three benefits.

You have advantage on all Charisma checks. One time during each of your turns, you can turn a miss into a hit. And finally, if you fail a saving throw, you can use your reaction to succeed instead.

All three are simple, mechanics wise. That doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t pretty powerful, especially since you don’t have to choose among them. They’re all available during those 10 minutes of mythical fun. You can use this once per long rest, which makes a lot of sense.

Overall, I like the flavour of the subclass, but I believe it needs some work. It feels a bit overpowered. 

Compared to the previous Unearthed Arcana installment, I believe this one’s options aren’t as polished. However, I am pleased by the flavour of both subclasses, especially the College of Eloquence. 

But what do you think? Do you agree that these options aren’t that well polished? Which features should be changed? I’d love to know your opinions.  

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

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2 thoughts on “Unearthed Arcana: Bard and Paladin Analysis

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