Unearthed Arcana Analysis: Wonders of the Multiverse

This UA was released quite a few days ago, but I missed it due to real life getting in the way. In this one, we get a new race, a cleric subclass, 4 backgrounds with their accompanying feats, and 5 new spells.

Let’s start with the Glitchling. These are constructs “created by forces of planar law”, usually tied to Mechanus. Their purpose is essentially to explore and record data, which are then brought back to assist with the “orderly working of the multiverse”, but they often develop free personalities and continue their travels. Certainly an interesting concept.

As for traits, they are of course Constructs instead of Humanoids, but they can be affected by healing spells. Their natural ties to order give them the ability to Balance Chaos, treating a 9 or lower on an attack roll or saving throw as a 10, a number of times equal to the proficiency modifier. Certainly a very good ability that can save your skin in a whole bunch of situations – very versatile, as long as you always keep a use or two in reserve.

As constructs, they also get Armored Plating, giving them honestly perhaps a bit too much of a boost to AC – 14 plus DEX modifier. Light armor goes up to 12+DEX, and medium armor gets only up to +2 from DEX, so that’s a huge bonus especially early on. I can see them going for both Fighter for high Dexterity AC, and Wizard for a better permanent Mage Armor. They only get outclassed in very high levels, when people run around with +3 Armors and such.

They also get Ordered Mind, having advantage on Insight checks and saving throws to avoid being charmed. I don’t know how Insight fits the theme here, and i think just the charm resistance would be enough.

Finally, Glitchlings also have Vestigial Wings that allow limited flight. You can gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed until the end of your turn, but again it is limited to a number of times equal to your proficiency modifier. Still pretty good though, for escapes, ambushes, repositioning, et cetera.

Overall, I like both the concept and the traits of Glitchlings, but i do think they are a bit overtuned.

Moving on the the cleric subclass, the Fate Domain. It is tied mostly to divination, visions, and omens, and contains a lot of dice and roll manipulation.

At level 1, you have Omens and Portents, allowing you to cast the Augury spell once per long rest without a spell slot or components. In addition, your divination is 25% more reliable for spells that have a chance to give you a random or no answer, like Commune. This is I think the first time we see a mechanic like this, and I have to say I’m all for it.

You also get Ties that Bind, an action effect that increases the damage you deal or the healing you provide to a linked creature for up to 1 hour. You also know its location. Looks like a pretty good damage boost mainly, up to 1d6 extra per turn, so you might want to stick it on a big enemy and let it stack up. On the other hand, healing is a very limited and important resource, so having additional healing on a vulnerable (or meatshield) member of your party might be even more useful.

On your second level you get your Channel Divinity, in this case Strands of Fate.You can concentrate for up to 1 minute, and you can use your reaction to give a creature advantage or disadvantage on an attack roll or ability check. Obviously a very powerful ability – you can completely cripple an enemy or get an ally to deal some massive damage consistently, and it remains useful at any level.

On level 6, you get Insightful Striking. As a bonus action, you can scope out an enemy, and you can either add a d6 to your next attack roll against them, or have them roll a d6 and subtract it from a saving throw against a spell you cast. The bonus to attack rolls is pretty good, but having a better consistency with saving throws is amazing – spells that have powerful debuffs but completely whiff if the target succeeds are made all the more appealing and powerful.

Level 8 gives you the standard Potent Spellcasting so I’m skipping it to go straight to level 17 and Visions of the Future. You gain the ability to cast Foresight, a 9th level spell, without using a spell slot once per long rest. This is probably the most powerful buff you can grant someone, so it makes sense that its duration is reduced to 1 minute from the up to 8 hours it can normally last. It’s still more than enough to be a massive asset in a fight, as all 9th level spells are. However, i will say it is a bit unimaginative as a feature, just giving you a free spellcast.

Overall the Fate Domain looks like another strong addition to the Cleric class with a lot of potential for battle manipulation.

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Now let’s see what we have in terms of Backgrounds. Each background here also comes with a bonus Feat connected to it as well. There are quite a few extra feats so we’ll take a look at them all together.

Let’s start with the Gate Warden. In my opinion the background is not really sufficiently explained – I quote “You spent a significant amount of time somewhere influenced by a portal to another plane of existence or by intense planar forces.” Calling a background a “Gate Warden” implies something like watching over a particular planar crossing or something to me, but I’m not really all that broken up about it, it just seemed a bit weird and disjointed from the description. It is further explained in the “Building a Gate Warden Character” section, but I’d still like a bit more detail. As a feat, you get Scion of the Outer Planes.

Second is the Giant Foundling, an interesting one. You grew up among giants, either on your own or just as part of a society that still remains close to them. There are a few ways listed to make such a story work, and I really like a couple of them in particular. As a feat, you get Strike of the Giants.

After that is the Planar Philosopher, a person who studies the multiverse looking to solve various mysteries about the planes – sometimes with other like-minded people. This sounds quite interesting, but again I feel we aren’t given quite enough to work with besides a very generic explanation. They also get Scion of the Outer Planes as a feat.

Finally we have the Rune Carver, someone who has learned how to use runes either directly from the giants or through some other way. You get the Rune Carver Apprentice feat.

Overall, some interesting concepts, but since they’re a bit more specific and complicated than the simple ones in the PHB, I’d like to see a longer explanation or description. However, as Feats are next, I have to mention that the document suggests that if a player selects a background without a Feat associated with it, they should get one, choosing between the Skilled, Tough, or one the Elemental Scions found in this UA.

Moving on to the Feats, there are a grand total of 21 – so I’ll try to group them up and not talk about each one in detail.

Let’s start with Scion of the Outer Planes. You choose between Astral, the Outlands, or a plane with a specific alignment – good, evil, chaotic, or lawful. Depending on the plane, you gain resistance to a damage type and can cast a specific cantrip. This is also a precursor feat to 6 others you can take at 4th level. Depending on the plane you chose, you can pick Agent of Order, Baleful Scion, Cohort of Chaos, Righteous Heritor, or Outlands Envoy. They are all pretty similar, giving a +1 to an ability score and then some limited use ability, dealing damage or buffing/debuffing etc. I’d say they aren’t bad, especially since you get the +1; if you get the Scion feat for free from a background, you can very well consider these too; otherwise, they are definitely no worth the 2-feat investment. There is also Planar Wanderer, allowing you to choose a damage resistance between fire, cold, or acid after a long rest, and also giving you the ability to sense and temporarily close planar portals. Even though the adaptive resistance is nice, you will probably only take this is specialized campaigns where a lot of planar stuff happens.

Then we have the elemental feats, Scion of Elemental Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Those are similar too, giving access to a cantrip each as well as a limited use ability; flight for a turn, a surge of water that pushes or pulls, producing flame, or creating an area of half cover respectively. Of all of these, I would probably prefer Elemental Earth since it seems the most impactful. These are not too strong, but since they are intended to be free starter feats, it makes sense.

After than is Strike of the Giants. You pick a type of giant, and you gain a limited bonus action that deals extra damage on your melee and thrown weapon attacks, as well as some additional effects. like knocking the target down. Then for each type of giant, there is an associated feat, giving you a +1 to an ability score of your choice between 3 and another, quite strong limited ability. I won’t go over them, but some are quite interesting. Again, if you get Strike of the Giants from your background, these are pretty good.

We then have the Rune Carver Apprentice and Rune Carver Adept. The apprentice gives you access to a variety of spells, also allowing you to cast them once without using a spell slot, while the Adept allows you to grant a buff to a creature after you cast a spell given by Rune Apprentice, or one that belongs to the same school. You can choose between healing, giving advantage on an attack, or increasing their speed while ignoring attacks of opportunity.

Finally, we have the Cartomancer, for Wizards, Sorcerers and Warlocks. With this you learn to channel magic through cards, you gain a small damage buff to your spells, and the most interesting part is that you can imbue a card with a spell for free once per long rest. The spell’s level is limited by your proficiency bonus so it’s not overpowered, but it’s still a free spell per day.

Overall an interesting collection of Feats. Some of the Giants are definitely worth picking up, but I’m not so sure about many of the rest.

At the end, we have 5 new spells.

Antagonise is a 3rd level enchantment that forces a creature to make a melee attack against another creature of your choice, or if unable to have disadvantage on its next attack roll. Depending on your target, this can be some pretty good damage.

House of Cards is a 3rd level conjuration that creates, yes, a house made of large playing cards for up to 24 hours. You have some areas that provide cover in the house, but in general i’m not quite sure if this is worth it, especially since it seems kind of easy to destroy too – every time a card is destroyed, there’s a 33% chance the whole thing collapses… like a house of cards. Very funny.

Spirit of Death at 4th level summons a spectral creature that haunts and attacks a specific enemy. It scales with the level of the spell slot used to cast it, and it looks to have pretty ok stats. In addition, it is also great for tracking the target if you lose sight of them, since it always knows their location.

Spray of Cards is a pretty nice 2nd level conjuration that can deal damage or blind creatures in a 15-foot cone. The damage might not be too impressive at 2d10, but an AoE blind for a 2nd level spell is pretty good, even if it only lasts for a turn – compare it to Blindness/Deafness, a 3rd level spell for a single target with a 1 minute duration.

Finally, Summon Warrior Spirit is a 3rd level conjuration that summons, well, a warrior spirit. You can choose the spirit to be either a barbarian, a fighter, or a monk, with different bonuses for each – Barbarian has Reckless Attack and a d12 on damage, seriously upping his damage output with the advantage on attack rolls, but also making it much more vulnerable since attacks against it are also made with advantage. Fighter has less damage with a d6, but it can do ranged attacks and give temporary HP to allies, so it’s a very nice source of sustain every turn. Monk deals even less damage at a d4, but it every attack has a chance to knock enemies prone, and it also gets Flurry of Blows which adds one more attack per turn. I should note that either way, the spirit get multiattack equal to half the spell’s level, so Fighter and Monk get some serious utility. I think this spell is pretty good, and versatile. If your party is missing damage, you can summon a barbarian and buff it up, fighter as I mentioned pumps out a lot of THP per turn, and Monk can do some serious work potentially dropping multiple people prone per turn.

Overall there were a lot of things in this UA. Both Glitchlings and the new Divine Domain look good. There seems to be a tendency to create new backgrounds with feats tied to them, which to be honest at first I was apprehensive about but now I think I like it. The initial feats are kinda weak but you get them for free, and the feats that follow are often worth it, plus you get a lot of flavor for your character.

You can read the Unearthed Arcana article for Wonders of the Multiverse here, and you can download the PDF here.

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