AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

Last week, Wizards of the Coast dropped its second round of playtest material for “One D&D.” This document focused on what they’re calling “Expert Classes” (ie, the Ranger, Rogue, and Bard), but there’s a lot more interesting stuff in here. Firstly, they’re grouping classes into 4 overall archetypes, the Expert,1 Warrior,2 Mage,3 and Priest.4Cleric, Druid, Paladin/footnote]. This document contains the base class features for the Bard, Ranger, and Rogue, as well as one subclass for each, the College of Lore, the Hunter, and the Thief. In addition there is an extensive (though not exhaustive) list of re-worked Feats; the full Arcane, Divine, and Primal spell lists; and updated Rules Glossary that specifically supersedes the one from the previous UA.

Because there’s so much, I thought I’d split this up into a few different headers, so this week I’m just going to focus on the changes to the Bard and the College of Lore subclass. And there are some big changes, starting Bardic Inspiration. First of all, instead of being tied to your CHA modifier, you can use Bardic Inspiration a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, recharging on a long rest at first and then switching to a short rest at level 7. Additionally, Bardic Inspiration now uses your reaction rather than your bonus action. You use your reaction when an ally fails a d20 roll to add your BI die to the roll. Or you can use it when an ally takes damage to immediately restore some of their hit points. I think using it as a reaction matches up to the way a lot of groups play anyway–someone rolls poorly and then looks at the Bard and says “Can you give me inspiration?” But it does change the way the Bard behaves in combat a bit.

Another big change is in how Spellcasting works. Bards now prepare spells every day, the same way Druids and Clerics do. They can choose a number of spells of each level equal to the number of spell slots they have, and must choose spells on the Arcane spell list and of the Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, and Transmutation schools. At higher levels, you do gain a limited number of spells from any school, or from the Divine or Primal lists, in place of Magical Secrets. And, at 2nd level the Bard’s Song of Rest has become Songs of Restoration, which give you access to Healing Word, Lesser Restoration, Mass Healing Word, Greater Restoration, and Freedom of Movement as auto-prepared spells at certain levels.

A few other abilities have been shuffled around. Jack of All Trades doesn’t come online until 5th level now, and Font of Inspiration at 7th. The Font of Inspiration ability also makes it so if you roll a 1 on the BI die, that use of Bi isn’t expended. The Expert classes all get access to the Expertise feature, which Bard gets at levels 2 and 9. They’ve homogenized subclass progression, so all classes get subclass features at the same levels. And all class capstones have been moved down to level 18, with reaching 20th level now granting you an Epic Boon feat.

The College of Lore subclass also has some major changes. You still get a few bonus skill proficiencies, though they’re limited to Arcana, History, and Nature (unless you already have those, in which case you can pick anything). Cutting Words is mostly the same, though it specifies that you use your reaction when a creature succeeds on an ability check or attack roll to reduce the roll by the number rolled on your Bardic Inspiration die. Instead of getting Additional Magical Secrets at 6th level, whenever you use Bardic Inspiration, you can roll twice and take the higher number. At level 10, your Cutting Words also deals psychic damage equal to the roll of the BI die + your CHA modifier. And at level 14 you can use Bardic Inspiration for your own ability checks, only expending the die if your check succeeds.

It should be noted that this is all still soundly in the playtest phase and nothing here is set in stone. WotC is looking for feedback, and will put out a survey about this UA in a couple weeks. In the meantime, what are your first impressions of the One D&D Bard?

Players and Characters

Wafflicious is out of town for a bit, so Otto took over to run a D6 Cliffhangers game called “The Lost Jewels of Eire.” Our players include:

  • CleverGuy as Johnny Talon, the Daredevil Pilot
  • TheHayesCode as Aleksandra Pavlovic, the Tour Guide
  • Spiny Creature as Willy van der Woodson, the Independently Wealthy Adventurer
  • The Wasp as Solange “Patience” Pacquet, the French Intelligence Agent

No game this week, as we were down too many players to continue the story.