The latest Unearthed Arcana article for D&D 5E has introduced new subclasses that are being considered for inclusion in the upcoming 2024 Core Rulebooks, which will consist of updated versions of the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. These new subclasses are playtest material, and you’ll have a chance to submit feedback to Wizards of the Coast based on your experiences using them in your games.
The new Unearthed Arcana for D&D 5E is called Playtest 6, and it can be found on the D&D Beyond website. This new playtest document introduces the College of Dance subclass for Bards and the Circle of the Sea subclass for Druids, both of which can be taken at level three and offers multiple benefits as the character grows stronger over the course of the campaign.
College Of Dance Bard Subclass In D&D 5E, Explained
Studying Dance at college in real life is usually the fast track to the unemployment line, but in D&D, dance lessons offer the key to mystical powers. The College of Dance for the Bard gives you all kinds of movement-based abilities, some of which can be used to buff your allies and harm your enemies.
Dazzling Footwork (Level 3): When the Bard isn’t wearing armor or using a shield, they gain the Unarmored Defense ability of the Barbarian class and can spend uses of Bardic Inspiration + a Bonus Action or Reaction to make an Unarmed Strike against an opponent. They gain Bardic Damage during this ability, where their Unarmed Strike can use their Dexterity modifier for damage, and the hit uses their Bardic Inspiration die without actually expending it.
Inspiring Movement (Level 3): This affects your allies within a 60ft range of your position. Suppose an enemy ends their turn 5ft away from an ally within your range. In that case, you can expend a Bardic Inspiration and your Reaction to be able to move half your movement, you then roll the Bardic Inspiration die, and your ally can move a number of feet equal to its result x 5. These movements don’t provoke Attacks of Opportunity.
Leading Evasion (Level 6): Not only does this grant you the Rogue’s Evasion ability, but you can give it to allies within 5ft, making it the ideal anti-fireball counter. You can’t use this if you are Incapacitated.
Tandem Footwork (Level 6): If you aren’t Incapacitated at the start of combat, you can spend a use of Bardic Inspiration when everyone rolls for Initiative. You select a number of creatures within 60ft of you, and they gain a bonus to their initiative equal to the Bardic Inspiration die’s roll.
Irresistible Dance (Level 14): You add Otto’s Irresistable Dance to your spell list and can cast it once per long rest for free. You can also cast it again by expending Bardic Inspiration.
Circle Of The Sea Druid Subclass In D&D 5E, Explained
There are some D&D campaigns that take place on the ocean waves, where ships carry the party to their next adventure. In these instances, classes with nautical-themed powers are really useful, and the Circle of the Sea Druid can help the party survive the horrors that lie in the darkest depths.
Circle Spells (Level 3): You always have these spells prepared when you hit the requisite level to acquire them.
- Level 3: Fog Cloud, Gust of Wind, Ray of Frost, Shatter, Thunderwave
- Level 5: Lightning Bolt, Sleet Storm
- Level 7: Control Water, Ice Storm
- Level 9: Conjure Elemental, Hold Monster
Wrath of the Sea (Level 3): During your turn, you can spend a Bonus Action + use of Wild Shape to create an aura of water that extends 10ft from your position. At the end of your turns, you choose a creature within 10ft, and they must pass a Constituion saving throw or take Thunder damage equal to d6 x your Wisdom modifier. If the target is Large or smaller, they’re also knocked back 15ft. You can’t use this power if Incapacitated.
Aquatic Affinity (Level 6): You gain a swim speed equal to your walking speed, and you always have the Water Breathing spell prepared.
Stormborn (Level 10): When Wrath of the Sea is active, you gain a fly speed equal to your walking speed and now have resistance to Cold, Lightning, and Thunder damage.
Oceanic Gift (Level 14): You can confer the benefits of Wrath of the Sea to an ally within 60ft. You can also manifest two Wrath of the Sea auras (one for you and one for your ally) by expending two uses of Wild Shape.
Related: Session Zero in D&D Explained
These new subclasses offer some great powers for Bard and Druid players. They also demonstrate the gradual power creep that has happened over the course of D&D 5E and how the options in the upcoming 2024 Core Rulebooks will be a lot stronger than the ones in the 2014 Player’s Handbook.