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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Post Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Prose's Guide to Xanatar's guide to Everything
    Subclasses, Feats and Spells

    Image Copyright WotC

    With the release of Xanathar's Guide to Everything we have the finalized form of many of the sub-classes that were previously available via Unearthed Arcana. This "guide to the guide" is my take on the subclasses, feats and spells in Xanathar's from the perspective of someone who is interested in character optimization. Although I have played the UA versions of many of these subclasses, I will admit up front that I have not had first hand experience with every option presented in this guide, and this is only my subjective opinion as a player with 10+ years of roleplaying experience. Additional input and comments are always welcome!

    Color Scheme
    1. A strong option, good for most character builds.
    2. Solid! But not quite as good as sky blue.
    3. Mediocre, but not terrible.
    4. A bad option, best avoided.
    5. Special: Purple denotes a choice that can be occasionally useful, but is limited in scope or applicability.

    Table of Contents:
    1-12. Xanathar's subclass options
    13. Racial Feats
    14. New Spells

    Edit: The long overdue guide update is finally here. I've added the sub-classes I missed from the original guide (i.e. stuff that is merely reprinted from the SCAG), as well as updated my rating for a lot of stuff that I have changed my mind on after seeing it in play.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 09:26 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Barbarian Primal Paths

    Barbarians in Xanathar's get a wide spread of options, overall good, but with some paths being notably stronger than others.

    Ancestral Guardian
    The "tankbarian" option. Good at protecting allies and forcing others to attack you which, with your resistances and HP pool, is just gravy.

    Ancestral Protectors: 'Mark' a target while raging and apply disadvantage as well as resistance to its attacks to your allies? A very nice defensive tool. The only reason why this is not rated higher is that a) it requires that you hit the target with your attacks and b) the resistance only applied to attacks, not spell damage or other effects.

    Spirit Shield: -2d6 damage as a reaction? Pretty damn nice, especially since barbarians are not usually very efficient in their action economy, and this gives you a good use for your reaction that you should be able to make use of almost every turn. The only downside is that doesn't scale particularly well, 2d6 at lvl 6 is a lot more impressive than 4d6 at level 14.

    Consult the Spirits: Super flavorful, but limited in usefulness. Clairvoyance can be situationally very good for scouting, but augury seems like it's mostly there for the roleplaying opportunities. Nothing bad, but not the reason to pick this path.

    Vengeful Ancestors: Haha! Take 4d6 back in your face! Well... 4d6 isn't that much at this level. Still, passive bonuses are always strong.

    Storm Herald
    A barbarian that specializes in AOE control and damage. You'll get much more use out of this barb in a game with a defined battlemap so you can position yourself to hit as many creatures as possible with your aura.

    Storm Aura:
    • Desert: Fire damage is widely resisted, the damage amount is low and it hits your allies? Not very impressive.
    • Sea:The best damage dealing option, it's not any weaker against single targets and lightning is rarely resisted.
    • Tundra: Keep in mind temp HP doesn't stack which doesn't make this as good as it might initially appear. In a melee heavy party this might get stronger.

    Storm Soul:
    • Desert: Fire damage is widely resisted, but also a very common damage type on monsters. For the same reason that the damage aura is bad, the resistance here is good.
    • Sea: Lightning damage is rare. But a swimming speed and underwater breathing is probably the most useful of the environmental advantages.
    • Tundra: Cold damage doesn't come up as much as fire. The ice-cube making effects are fluffy, but you'll struggle to find a more practical use for it.

    Shielding Storm:
    Desert is the real winner here, as it makes the level 3 aura much better, as your allies are only taking half the damage you're dealing now. There's a lot of nasty aoe fire spells that this also helps guard against. The other damage types aren't common enough to be as useful, though it may occasionally save your skin.

    Raging Storm:
    • Desert: Better than the damaging aura, but not by much, and with the same restrictive damage type.
    • Sea: A strong ability, potentially setting up both you and your allies with advantage.
    • Tundra: Seems good at first glance, but the limited range of your aura (and the general flexibility of higher level monsters) make this less useful.

    Since you're "locked into" your abilities depending on which aura you pick at level up, each one might as well be considered a separate path in terms of power. As such, it's easier to rate each one individually than the entire path - Desert and Tundra are both underwhelming, whereas Sea is the best option here.

    Edit: This does fluctuate between levels though. You might want to start off a sea barbarian between levels 1-9, and then switch out to Desert at level 10. Then maybe back to Sea at level 14.

    By Crom this is a strong path! Mixing a good selection of damaging, defensive and utility options to make a very barbarian so good it'll make you want to find religion.

    Divine Fury: Starting strong right off the bat, the damage bonus you get at lvl 3 already puts the Storm Herald to shame and radiant is a fantastic damage type, rarely resisted and super good vs the undead. If you want to be edgy and go necrotic instead it's not quite as strong but 1d6+1/2 levels will always be relevant.

    Warrior of the Gods: No mere fluff ability this. Removing the need for material components for resurrection effects will save your party a lot of gold and will means that resurrection is always an option even when you havn't had a chance to purchase supplies. Seeing as you can get revivify as early as level 5 (cleric) or 6 (lore bard) you can leap into the fray without any fear of death right from the lower levels.

    Fanatical Focus: As a barbarian, charms and holds are more likely to take you out of a fight than raw damage. A reroll on a failed save is boring but fantastic.

    Zealous Presence: A powerful combat opener giving your entire party both a offense and defense boost. Once per long rest is the major drawback, but save this for the big climatic encounter and you can't go wrong.

    Rage Beyond Death: Between this and relentless rage how do you ever kill this guy? They actually buffed this ability compared to the UA, if you're healed before your rage ends you can cheat death once again. Makes Warrior of the Gods almost redundant. Who cares though? This ability is awesome!
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 07:57 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Bard Colleges

    Bards feel like they got a lot of specialization options in Xanathar's, with College of Swords being perhaps my favorite of the new subclasses.

    College of Glamour
    Lore bards finally get some competition for the default "caster bard" option. Sadly, I don't think Glamour quite measures up, but it has its highlights!

    Mantle of Inspiration: At lower levels this ability is nuts, essentially a better Aid spell that doesn't need a spell slot, can be cast as a bonus action, and allows your allies to reposition at will. Sadly, even with the fairly decent scaling, the temp HP will get a lot less valuable as you level up. Multiple free disengages on the other hand never go out of style, so this ability remains blue.

    Enthralling Performance: In the right situation this ability could potentially be very powerful (playing before the king perhaps?). In most games however it's going to be difficult to convince a Hobgoblin Warlord to sit still while you sing it the song of your people for 60 seconds.

    Mantle of Majesty: Whhaa? A Black rating? Free Command spells as a bonus action for one minute a day doesn't impress you? Sadly, no. This ability has a number of serious drawbacks. First it's only once per long rest, secondly it won't help you at all against enemies that are undead or can't speak your language (a depressingly large selection) but most importantly it requires concentration, very limiting for bards who have a powerful selection of concentration spells they'd rather be using. It's not terrible, since more resources are always good, but most of the time this will be reserved for those situations where you've exhausted all of your spell slots and have nothing else to concentrate on.

    Unbreakable Majesty: Take note Mantle of Majesty, this is how it's done. No concentration? Check. Comes back with a short rest? Check. Fantastically useful defensive ability that works against enemies that are immune to charm? Check and check. Even coming in at level 14 this deserves a sky blue rating.

    College of Swords
    I love the changes to this subclass compared to the UA. Melee bards will never be as powerful as their caster focused cousins, but this subclass has all the tools required to play a super fun swashbuckling type of bard without gimping yourself.

    Bonus Proficiencies: They lose shields compared to the UA, still scimitars and medium armor are pretty good additions. More importantly this allows you to use a weapon as a spellcasting focus, meaning duel wielding bards are a-go (you only need a single hand free to cast: sheath before casting, draw before attacking and you'll be fine).

    Fighting Styles:
    • Dueling: Without shield proficiency this is less powerful. If you're picking shields up from somewhere else (Hexblade?) this is as good as it usually is.
    • Two-weapon fighting: Normally the weakest option for fighting styles, the removal of bonus actions from flourish, and the loss of shield proficiency really pushes the CoS bard down this path.

    Blade Flourish:
    • Defensive Flourish: As a melee bard both your AC and HP will be relatively low. As well as reinforcing your defenses with spells, this ability will make it easier for you to hang in melee. By level 5 you're getting an avg. 4.5 AC from this ability, almost as good a shield spell!
    • Slashing Flourish: Situationally useful since it has no limit on the number of creatures you can hit. If you can hit 3 or more it may be worth it, for less than that I would prefer the other options.
    • Mobile Flourish: Again, situational. Knock a guy off a bridge. Or use it to create space for you to escape a fight without disengaging (very good with the +10 ft. movement you get). The least useful part of this is the reaction to follow up.

    Extra Attack
    : Another important change from the UA version of this subclass. Now you can make two attacks every turn without needing to use a flourish. Absolutely essential, and a very welcome change.

    Master's Flourish: Not as powerful as you might think, since by level 14 you should have 5 or more inspirations to use, and they come back on a short rest. Still, knowing that you never have to not flourish like a pleb is a decent addition.

    College of Whispers
    Just a hot mess of a subclass. Like they tried to put "assassin bard" and "spy bard" in the same package, and ended up with a class that isn't particularly good at either.

    Psychic Blades: At the level you get this ability it's quite powerful. Essentially a sneak attack that uses inspiration. Problem is threefold: the damage doesn't scale well past lvl 5, as a full caster without extra attack you have better things to do with your action than use a weapon attack, and finally it eats up your inspirations, which are already excellent, and at medium to high levels will be more useful than a few paltry d6's of damage.

    Words of Terror: I suppose the idea behind this ability is that you steal someones appearance with Mantle of Whispers, use their knowledge to get someone alone to use Words of Terror on them, and the you can have the big boss feared in preparation for the final encounter due to you telling him what a bad-ass the party fighter is. Thing is even if all the planets align, and you get the opportunity to pull off this perfect plan, it can still be a) saved against b) the fear is broken the second the enemy takes damage c) only ever relevant against humanoids. Just... awful.

    Mantle of Whispers: Finally we get something that is straight up good. It's still situational, but the ability to disguise self and gain information from the humanoid you just killed will be useful even in games that aren't heavily based around intrigue and subterfuge. It refreshes on a short rest, which is also nice.

    Shadow Lore: Ironically as a tool for subterfuge or extracting information this ability will be fairly redundant for a level 14 bard who has plenty of tools to do exactly that. More useful is the concentration-less charm ability. It can't make an enemy switch sides, but just taking them out of the fight is enough to make this ability powerful. Only once per long rest though, and if you're fighting enemies that can't understand you then you're **** outta luck.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2017-11-25 at 10:34 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Cleric Domains

    Clerics get two of the best subclass options in Xanathar's, both with fantastic flavor.

    Forge Domain
    Considering how perfect Hill Dwarf stats line up for cleric, I'm surprised something like this wasn't in PHB. Oh well! It's here now, and it's great.

    Domain Spells:
    Identify is nice to have in every party, searing smite is pretty worthless, heat metal is a great spell, magic weapon not so much, elemental weapon isn't worth your concentration, but protection from energy sometimes might be, fabricate is too situational, wall of fire in contrast is fantastic cc, animate object is one of the best summoning spells hands down, creation is in the same boat as fabricate. Overall rating for these domain spells: Solid.

    Bonus Proficiencies: Heavy armor is great.

    Blessing of the Forge: Magical weapons from level 1? Very nice little passive ability. I suggest using it on a weapon rather than armor, ideally on your best damage dealer, as +1 atk/dmg edges out +1 AC. Only in the highest magic games will this ability stop being useful, as there's always going to be someone in the party with a non magical piece of equipment. In very low magic games where magical items are rare this is even better.

    Artisan's Blessing: Don't underestimate this, having unlimited ammo as long as you have gold to craft, or being able to turn 45gp of coins and metals into a suit of studded leather armor at early levels can be pretty nice. Ultimately though the 100g cap puts a limit on it's usefulness in the long term.

    Soul of the Forge
    : Fire resistance and +1 AC as a passive bonus? It's not flashy, but it's still good.

    Divine Strike: Fire is a weak damage type, and a level 8 cleric will probably be better off using their cantrips anyway.

    Saint of Forge and Fire: Immunity to fire? Permanent stoneskin? Even as late at level 17 you'll still be glad to have this.

    Grave Domain
    The first time I messed around with this domain in the UA I thought it would be weak. Boy was I wrong. A nice defensive subclass with some interesting offensive tools thrown in.

    Domain Spells
    Bane is never worth your concentration, false life is strong at the very early levels but scales badly, gentle repose is nice to have prepared, ray of enfeeblement is pretty bad, revivify should always be prepped, vampiric touch would be better on a more melee focused cleric, blight is nothing special, death ward in contrast is a great buff, antilife shell has its uses, raise dead, well, see revivify. Overall rating: Good.

    Circle of Mortality: Healing people on 0hp is half of a cleric's job. Bonus action auto-stabilize to a range of 30' means that even when you have run out of slots your allies will still be hard to kill with you around.

    Eyes of the Grave: 60ft. range makes this a very situational ability. Fighting invisible undead? Suspect the local barmaid might be a vampire spawn? Otherwise, pretty useless.

    Path to the Grave: Although somewhat dependent on your party, swapping channel divinity for more damage is never terrible. If you have a rogue or paladin and can co-ordinate well this it becomes potentially deadly.

    Sentinel at Death's Door: A big critical hit (or a series of them) are a leading cause of both PC deaths and TPKs. For the measly cost of your reaction you can prevent that. Fantastic.

    Potent Spellcasting: Since you don't get heavy armor or martial weapon proficiencies you're probably sitting at the back casting cantrips anyway. This helps with that.

    Keeper of Souls: A nice little passive healing power. It's limitation really is that at the level you get it the healing won't keep up with the amount of damage coming your way. Still, useful to have.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2017-11-23 at 06:19 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Druid Circles

    Only two circles for the druids, but pretty good ones.

    Circle of Dreams
    The designated "healer" druid. Useful for when the party needs a healer, but you can't stomach a cleric.

    Balm of the Summer Court: 1d6+1 healing per level isn't a fantastic amount of healing, comparable to a Paladins lay on hands. The real strength of this ability is that A) It's usable a a bonus action and B) It's not a spell. These things taken together mean you can cast a spell that requires an action on the same turn that you heal an ally.

    Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow: It's Leomund's Tiny Hut as a class ability. The good news: Leomund's Tiny Hut is great! The bad news: Wizards can cast this as a ritual, making it rather obsolete if you have a wizard in your party. Overall? Meh.

    Hidden Paths: Here's something strong. A 60ft. misty step that doesn't require a spell slot, and can be used up to your wisdom modifier per long rest? Oh, and in a pinch you can teleport an ally out of (or into) danger? Yes please.

    Walker in Dreams: A ton of utility, with the standout being the teleportation circle that allows you to return to the location of your last long rest. Have the party wizard teleport you where you want to go, when you're done, teleport the party back to your grove. Honestly, at level 14 utility shouldn't be a major concern, but the sheer flexibility of this ability makes it worth a... edit: I overrated this on my original examination. Utility is nice but it's not good enough for a blue rating.

    Circle of the Shepard
    A note on this circle: Any class or subclass that relies on summons is highly game dependent. Much like moon druid, in a game with a lot of magical items and very powerful monsters your CR1 bears aren't going to feel too powerful. Circle of the Shepard isn't just summons, but in a game that tends towards high power levels Shepard won't be quite as good.

    Speech of the Woods: Why don't druids get this as a main class ability? It seems so quintessentially druidic. Anyway - it's situational but decent. Sylvan helps you communicate with your summons, and permanent beast speech would be fantastic for a wilderness campaign.

    Spirit Totem:
    • Bear: At low levels this is amazing (7 temp HP in an aoe is game breaking at level 2). As you get to higher levels the temp HP become weaker, but even at high levels the advantage on strength ability checks can be powerful. Any shield master fighter will love you.
    • Hawk: the go-to totem for most of your adventuring "career". Swapping your fairly useless reaction for giving an ally advantage is totally worth it. Make your rogue happy!
    • Unicorn: Looks good, but the healing isn't that much, and rarely will you need an aoe heal this large. Still, if your party just got rocked by a dragons breath Unicorn totem into mass cure wounds might be just what you need to stabilize. Edit: Rating upped to sky blue. This can add some incredible amounts of healing depending on how your GM judges it's interaction with abilities such as Healing Spirit.

    Excellent size of the aura, the fact that it can be moved 60ft. as a bonus action, and restoring on a short rest makes this a powerful tool even when you can't use your summons.

    Mighty Summoner: Conjure animals is already one of the best summoning spells in the game. This makes it even better. A brown bear gets an extra 8hp from this ability, and with claws that can damage magically resistant enemies the spell remains useful longer.

    Guardian Spirit: At this level our summons will likely die quickly enough that the regeneration won't be much help. Still, it synergises with two of your most powerful abilities to make them stronger, you can't complain too much.

    Faithful Summons: Although you'll never be too happy to have to use this ability, and those CR2 beasts are fairly weak for a level 14 fight, at the end of the day any summoned creatures that don't require concentration are good by default. If you have a generous DM maybe he'll let you use the bear's actions to make medicine checks to stabilize (a cave bear gets a +1 on the check)? Licking the wounds closed maybe?
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 09:10 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Fighter Martial Archetypes

    Alas, the various fighter subclasses have all been heavily nerfed (or changed in such a way that feel like a nerf) since their UA releases. At least they get the full three options.

    Arcane Archer
    Nerfed since it's UA debut the arcane archer is still one of the best fighter archetypes out there, and perhaps even the best ranged archetype (though battlemaster remains a competitive option for a ranged fighter) due to it's strong control options.

    Edit: Alright, it's still not as good as the Battlemaster, even as a dedicated archer. My original take was a tad too optimistic. I'm still keep the blue rating on this though, as it's fine archetype in it's own right.

    Arcane Archer Lore: Better than your average ribbon. Arcana is a nice skill option, and a free cantrip gives some utility.

    Arcane Shot:
    • Banishing Arrow: Charisma saves are often low, especially on unintelligent monsters, and the control here is great. A+
    • Beguiling Arrow: Wisdom saves are good to target, and the extra damage is nice. But charm is an unreliable form of cc. There are better options.
    • Bursting Arrow: The aoe damage option! But the damage is pathetic. Leave this to the casters.
    • Enfeebling Arrow: Suffers from the same weakness as the spell it's based on. The targets you'd want to have their weapon damanged nerfed tend to have good con saves.
    • Grasping Arrow: Poison is a terrible damage type, but this arrows ability to do damage round after round make it powerful. If they choose to use an action to get rid of it, that's fine with us! As long as our enemies aren't casting spells or attacking us we're happy.
    • Piercing Arrow: Could potentially do massive damage. In reality you'll struggle to line targets up, and then they get a save... pass.
    • Seeking Arrow: Good for pinpointing invisible enemies. Getting around cover is nice, but chances are you'll take the sharpshooter feat at some point anyway. Pretty situational.
    • Shadow Arrow: Here we go! Great for neutering both archers and spellcasters. A great pick!

    Between the ability to do magical weapon damage from level 3, and the control options this ability provides, overall Arcane Shot is the highlight of this archetype and it's strongest selling point.

    Magic Arrow: Comes in a little late at level 7. Most characters will have some sort of magic weapon by this point. If you don't, great! If you do this is essentially redundant.

    Curving Shot: A great ability. When combined with the sharpshooter feat it gets even better.

    Ever-Ready Shot: Since you get arcane shot back on a short rest this isn't that strong. But it's not weak either.

    I'm very disappointed with the changes to this subclass. The ability to ride around the battlefield marking targets was a large draw of the UA "knight" that this class is based on. Despite the changes this class is still decent, though it feels much more static and boring than it was.

    Born in the Saddle/Bonus Proficiency: Ribbons. Though an extra skill is always nice.

    Unwavering Mark
    : Weaker than it used to be, but still good overall. Protect your allies and gain bonus attacks, all gravy (note the 5ft. limitation makes polearm Cavalier's a non-starter).

    Warding Maneuver: Very strong. Can be used on both you and your allies, and even if you fail to block the attack entirely it still cuts the damage in half.

    Hold the Line: Simultaneously better and worse than the sentinel feat. Better because you can stop people trying to "shift" around you, worse because it doesn't stop disengages. More control is good though.

    Ferocious Charger: You'll be lucky to get more than one use of this off in a fight (maybe not even that if you're ambushed). Still, it's not bad when you can activate it.

    Vigilant Defender: Ironically one of the Cavalier's major drawbacks is that too many separate abilities compete for it's reaction in a turn. This ability solves that problem quite nicely. Pick up the sentinel feat at level 16 and when you get this ability you will become the ultimate roadblock for enemies.

    I'm sick of all this "masterwork Cavalier" bull**** going on in 5e system right now. Samurai deserve better than that. Much, much better than that. *Cough* excuse me. Samurai takes a huge knock in power compared to it's UA incarnation. It can still be powerful at higher levels, but it lacks at lower levels due to it's limited resources. Despair, and curse the roundness of your eyes weeaboos!

    Bonus Proficiency: More ribbons. Woohoo.

    Fighting Spirit: A shadow of it's UA precursor, this version of fighting spirit suffers from two drawbacks A) the temp HP is rather small and doesn't scale very well B) unlike most fighter abilities it's limited to long rests rather than short ones. This is a real killer, and means usage of this ability has to be carefully managed at lower levels. This ability gets better when combined with Great Weapon Master or Sharpshooter feats for big damage.

    Elegant Courtier: You'll never beat the bard at being the party face. Thankfully with wisdom saving throw proficiency added to it, this is no mere ribbon.

    Tireless Spirit: Slowly the Samurai improves. Getting a free use of fighting spirit at the start of combat means you have to be less reserved with your uses. Good stuff.

    Rapid Strike: Now fighting spirit essentially gives you an extra attack when you use it. If your party can set you up with advantage some other way you're making 4 attacks a round at level 15. Finally the samurai shows his steel! Shame it takes 15 levels to get there...

    Strength Before Death: Although this is nothing like as good as some of the barbarian options, it's still pretty solid. An extra turn once per long rest is nothing to sneeze at. Remember to keep a fighting spirit or second wind at hand so you can take yourself off of 0hp. Seriously, why do all the great Samurai abilities come so late?
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 09:31 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Monastic Traditions

    Sun Soul gets reprinted in Xanathar's meaning we only see two new monastic traditions. I won't bother breaking down Sun Soul extensively since so many other guides have covered it, sufficient it's the best monk option for AOE damage and taking on the undead - a decent option.

    Edit: I will be breaking it down after-all!

    Way of the Drunken Master
    Like an improved version of Way of the Open Hand, this tradition takes what is best about monk (flurry and it's general mobility) and makes it better. A front loaded tradition that scales well. Strong in most games (with fantastic roleplaying opportunity).

    Bonus Proficiencies: Even as a ribbon this is awful. Performance? Will you really have the Charisma to use this?

    Drunken Technique: The ability that makes the tradition amazing. When you flurry you get a free disengage and +10 ft. of movement. Just fantastic! Better even than Open Hand Technique since it doesn't require you to attack a target in order to avoid it's OA. Move right past the front line and unleash hell on squishier targets, or unleash a barrage of blows at the target you are fighting and then disengage 50ft.+ away from them where they have to dash to catch you.

    Tipsy Sway: Fantastic flavor for this class, but in practice not all that good. Probably the best ability is getting off of the floor for 5ft. of movement, keeping you ultra mobile even when knocked on your ass. Ironically the power of Drunken Technique makes Tipsy Sway less effective. Ideally you should be spending your KI to position yourself in places where you can't be hit. Rarely will the stars align to set up "deflected attack" of one enemy onto another.

    Drunkard's Luck: At two KI points this ability is expensive to use. What I strongly don't suggest you do is make a lot of attacks at disadvantage and burn your KI points making them normal attacks, that is a fantastic way to waste KI. Where this ability comes into it's own is when a spell or ability or forcing you to make a save or skill check at disadvantage. In those situations this can be a strong 'panic' button to save your skin.

    Intoxicated Frenzy: Synergises amazingly well with the mobility of Drunken Technique, as long as there are enemies to hit you should be able to reach them. Even if you can't get the full three additional attacks off, if you're getting one or two additional attacks in a round that's still a lot of extra damage. Do you have any excuse not to flurry every round?

    Path of the Kensai
    Between this and the samurai WOTC seem to really not want eastern style characters taking over their system. Kensai is thematically awesome, but it's abilities are underwhelming.

    Path of the Kensai:
    • Kensai Weapons: The difference between a versatile longsword and versatile spear is only 1 damage per attack, not much to write home about. Opening up your weapon options may be useful in a more magic item heavy game. The strongest part of this feature is for non-elf monks to grab longbow proficiency, shoring up your weak ranged options.
    • Agile Parry: Give us better weapons, then reward us for not using them? +2 AC is better than +1 damage, smack with your fist then parry. This ability is good, unless you're packing some sort of amazing magical weapon you should be making use of it every round.
    • Kensai's Shot: 2.5 damage for the cost of your bonus action? It's alright.
    • Way of the Brush: Ribbon.

    A note on kensai weapons; one of the major advantages of the monk is the ability to take lesser used weapons like clubs, the quarterstaff and knives and make them useful via martial arts. The kensai's abilities sadly locks you into using weapons that are more generally useful to your more martial allies, which is a very limiting aspect of this tradition (agile parry for example is easily the best of the kensai's level 3 abilities, but can only be used with a kensai weapon).

    For weapon choices I would suggest longsword and longbow at level 3, then battleaxe and warhammer. If you find a very powerful weapon as you level up feel free to pick that; remember, a Kensai weapon doesn't have to be a martial weapon.

    One With the Blade:
    • Magic Kensai Weapons: Magical resistance no longer is a concern for you... exactly the same as any other level 6 monk. I suppose this does allow you to use the better damage dice of your main weapon, then again if you have a magical weapon it's entirely redundant.
    • Deft Strike: 1 KI point gets you 1d10 (usually) damage. That's... not that great. In a tough boss fight being able to flurry and deft strike on the same turn might be worth it, most of the time you're going to using your ki on... welll... anything but this.

    Sharpen the Blade: Suddenly, out of no-where, comes an ability to write home about. A measly 3 KI points for +3 attack and damage for a a whole minute? Activated as a bonus action? Fantastic! though admittedly very GM dependent since the bonus doesn't stack with magical weapons you already have. If you're already packing a +2 weapon then 3 KI probably isn't going to be worth it, if you have a +3 weapon this is entirely redundant, in an ultra low magic game this becomes exceptional.

    Unerring Accuracy: Another decent ability. Sadly it comes waaayyyy too late in the day to save this tradition. Keep in mind it only applies to your two monk weapon attacks, not your unarmed attacks.

    Way of the Sun Soul
    Ho hum. A reprint Way of the soul soul basically makes four elements obsolete as it does a better job at the only thing four elements does better than other paths i.e. area of effect. It also might be the best path for Curse of Strahd, or any other undead focused campaign.

    Radiant Sun Bolt: The good news is that this gives you a decent (albeit short-ranged) ranged option for monks (why are darts not classed as a monk weapon??? What an oversight!). It's also an excellent source of on demand radiant damage, a very powerful tool in the right type of campaign (read: undead focused). The downside? It doesn't actually boost your damage over that of your melee attacks, and you can't stunning blow with your holy shuriken.

    Searing Arc Strike: A decent, if restrictive, aoe option for a class that usually has nothing of the sort. Better in action efficiency than the four element monk as it only eats a bonus action as opposed to Sweeping Cinder Strike's full action (and really highlighting how very bad four elements monks are). Major downside is that you're locked into a single, commonly resisted damage type. Still, overall it's not bad.

    Searing Sunburst: An on-demand 2d6 damage radiant fireball is pretty atrocious for a level 11 ability, especially one resisted by a con save. What saves this ability is the fairly cheap KI to damage cost. 3 KI points for a fireball's worth of damage (with a better damage type) is decent even at level 11. There will, even in higher level campaigns, always be situations where you need to blast a lot of weak enemies all at once, and nothing most monks get will give you the equivalent of this versatility.

    Sun Shield: If this was actual sunlight it might be worth something for battling vampires and the like As it is it's pretty worthless. Damage is low and it eats your reaction, and the blow actually has to land on you to work. Disappointing for a level 17 ability.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-22 at 06:05 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Paladin Oaths

    Paladin gets only two oaths, which span from edge-lord Oath of Conquest to hippy dippy Oath of Redemption. Thematically I... kinda hate them both, but mechanically at least they have some bright spots.

    Oath of Conquest
    Wielding the power of fascism this paladin oath specializes in offense and control abilities but falls a little short. The natural choice to combine with the new Dragonborn racial feat.

    Edit: Bumped the rating of this class up from black to blue, because a paladin (very strong base class) who can get a "third attack" via spiritual weapon at level 5 is a very powerful combination.

    Oath Spells:
    Armor of Agathys is better on a warlock than on you, command is alright, hold person comes just about fast enough to be relevant, spiritual weapon does not require concentration, bestow curse is actually pretty good on a melee class like you, fear synergises well with your class abilities, dominate beast is a dud, stoneskin is good even at this level, cloudkill is hot garbage, dominate person comes way too late. Overall rating: An underwhelming list saved by spiritual weapon.

    Channel Divinity:
    • Conquering Presence: 30ft. is a very large radius. In the right type of fight (hordes) it's good.
    • Guided Strike: My bias makes me want to mark down abilities stolen from the PHB, but to be honest this is better on you than the war cleric. Combine with Great Weapon Master feat for results.

    Aura of Conquest: Thematically cool, practically less so. Reducing speed to 0 doesn't actually do much (enemies can't move towards you while feared anyway) and while aoe damage is nice, it's limited by the short range of the aura (when it expands this gets better). This is no aura of warding...

    Scornful Rebuke: On one hand the ability is strong, on the other it comes in a little later than is required to make this powerful.

    Invincible Conquer: An extra attack that doesn't require a bonus action and enhanced criticals? This might actually be the best of the "paladin super saiyan capstone powers" and that's saying something!

    Oath of Redemption
    I'm not sure "monster slayer and treasure hunter" would be the natural profession for a pacifist. This oath isn't just about turning the other cheek, thankfully.

    Oath of Redemption Spells:
    Sanctuary can save a life, sleep is almost obsolete at the level you get it, calm emotions is hyper situational, hold person is alright, counterspell is good on anyone, hypnotic pattern is still good even at level 9, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere is pretty bad on a melee class, stoneskin is good, hold monster is alright, wall of force even at lvl 17 is still decent. Overall rating: Meh.

    Channel Divinity:
    • Emissary of Peace: As a caveat; yes, in a pure dungeon crawl this ability is bad, but why the hell are you playing peacenik-a-din in a meat grinder? In the vast majority of games persuasion is the go-to "talk my way out of trouble" skill. With a charisma of 16, proficiency in the skill and this ability activated you can get an avg. roll on a persuasion check of 20.5 at level 3. Not bad!
    • Rebuke the Violent: Too limited to be good. Can only be used once a fight and can be saved against for half damage. Basically, use it on the first crit in a fight, or just save your CD for emissary of peace.

    Aura of the Guardian: The problem with this ability is that at lower levels your aura is fairly small and the targets you would want to use this on will usually be in the backline (i..e. the party wizard or rogue), while you will be in the front. Also, it doesn't mitigate damage at all, just shuffles it around (onto you!). Still, occasionally it will allow you to prevent an ally going down so I can't rate it lower.

    Protective Spirit: The 1/2 HP caveat is the major limiting factor here. Still, 1d6+1/2 your level is pretty nice amount of passive regen.

    Emissary of Redemption: The two abilities don't have much synergy . For the resistances alone though, it's still powerful.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 08:17 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Ranger Archetypes

    How disappointing. UA ranger doesn't get released in Xanathar's, nor does the improved beastmaster. That being said, rangers get some great options, including the official releae of deep sta- excuse me, Gloom Stalker. Both of the PHB options look increasingly redundant compared to these.

    Gloom Stalker
    The rich get richer. Or in this case the strong get stronger. The best ranger archetype is arguably buffed compared to it's UA release, sufficient to say it's still exceptional.

    Gloom Stalker Magic:
    Disguise Self is decent but you lack the charisma to really abuse it, rope trick can get you out of some sticky spots, fear is decent cc, greater invisibility is fantastic on a ranger, seeming comes in too late to be good on you. Overall rating: Good.

    Dread Ambusher: Better initiative rolls, more mobility and an extra attack, dealing additional damage, on the first (and most important) round of combat? One attack doesn't sound like a lot but when paired with stealth (for advantage) and sharpshooter (for extra damage) you can unleash a huge amount of damage in the first round of combat, and heavily tilt fights in your parties favor.

    Umbral Sight: Dear lord, they actually buffed this? "Relies on darkvision to see you in darkness" is 90% of the monster manual, making you an exceptional scout in dungeons and caves. It's a little weaker on humans and halflings than it used to be (60ft. vs 90ft. darkvision) but since they gain more from this ability than other races you have no right to complain.

    Iron Mind: Good, obviously.

    Stalker's Flurry: Not quite a third attack, but about as close as rangers get. Makes sharpshooter even better.

    Shadowy Dodge: A nice little defensive ability, even if it comes in a tad late.

    Horizon Walker
    I love the flavor of this path. Great for Aasimar or Tiefling rangers. It's also pretty strong too, winner-winner!

    Horizon Walker Magic:
    Protection from evil is always nice to have prepared, misty step is great, haste is awesome, banishment is decent even at level 13, you are not the character to be using teleportation circle. Overall rating: fantastic.

    Detect Portal: "Situational" is an understatement here.

    Planar Warrior: Let's start with the positives. 1d8 is good damage, this ability can be used every turn without requiring resources spent and force is an excellent damage type resisted by almost nothing, and since it makes the entire weapon damage the same type, in the early game this is a great way to get around monsters who are resistant to nonmagic weapons. The downsides? The range is limited to 30ft. (making this less useful for archer rangers) and it eats your bonus action (TWF rangers need not apply) which means that it's competing against hunter's mark for your "bonus action damage boost". Overall though, since it can be combined with hunters mark, and even archer rangers often shoot at targets close to them, despite all the drawbacks, it's still a good ability.

    Ethereal Step: I'm a fan of panic buttons. This one is limited to one round, and the slower moment in the ethereal plane is a pain, but situationally this will still be nice to have. Comes back on a short rest too.

    Distant Strike: *Teleports behind you* Psshh... nothing personal kid. Mobility and a fairly reliable way to get a third attack all bundled into one ability. Great for melee rangers, even better for archer rangers who can use their range to reliably strike two targets more-or-less every round (and get a free disengage thrown in with it).

    Spectral Defense
    : Uncanny dodge? Even at level 15 this ability is still powerful, and a welcome addition.

    Monster Slayer
    Is that you Geralt? There's some false advertising going on here as this archetype really feels more anti-mage than anti-monster. Some highlights, but still easily the weakest of the three.

    Monster Slayer Magic:
    Protection from evil is situationally nice, zone of truth is underwhelming, magic circle is too limited in it's use, banishment is good even at level 13, hold monster comes in way too late to be good. Overall rating: Bad.

    Hunter's Sense: Very GM dependent. If your GM is fond of using custom monsters this can be a life saver, identifying their weaknesses and resistances. Knowledge is power and all that. If your GM isn't fond of using monster with resistances/weaknesses or just heavily borrows from the MM (where metagaming is probably inevitable) then it's not as good. The range is also somewhat limiting (60ft.).

    Slayer's Prey: Edit: I misinterpreted this ability in my original guide. This is better than I thought it was since it can be reused over and over. Levels 1-6 you still want to open with hunter's mark and then tag them with Slayer's Pray. Post level 7 (and Supernatural Defense) you'll often want to apply them in the opposite order.

    Supernatural Defense: This makes slayer's prey a very good ability indeed. Better even than Hunter's mark against any enemy that might be forcing you to make saves. A single d6 averages out to +3.5, that's almost like having a personal paladin aura. I would rate it sky blue, except that there's plenty of deadly enemies in DnD who will never require you to make a saving throw at all (giants et. al).

    Magic-Users Nemesis: See what I mean? Why is this class not a "Mage Slayer"? The downsides: your wisdom DC is likely low, and enemies that cast spells usually have good wisdom saves. The upside: it only costs your reaction, and refreshes on a short rest, so you're losing nothing. Decent.

    Slayer's Counter: Free attack as a reaction, that causes you to automatically make a save if you hit? Fantastic (and yet another ability that seems designed to slay mages rather than monsters).
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-10 at 08:10 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Roguish Archetypes

    Rogues get a little shortchanged in Xanathar's with two reprints and one of the most boringly straightforward archetypes in the book. I won't rehash Swashbuckler or Mastermind which were originally published in SCAG and have been covered in other guides.

    Edit: Finally got off my ass and added the two "missing classes".

    A strange archetype that will vary in power heavily depending on the game in which you play. Heavy in intrigue and subterfuge? It's decent. Dungeon crawling all day? Pass on this.

    Ear for Deceit: In most games that aren't pure meat grinders you'll find at least some use for this ability, I feel like I'll be saying this a lot about this subclass but it's very game dependent how much mileage you'll get out this.

    Eye for Detail: This on the other hand just feels like a gyp. Perception checks as a bonus action! Oh boy!

    Insightful Fighting: Assuming you took specialization in insight (which is probably required for Inquisitive) this ability will be reliable enough to allow you to succeed the check a majority of the time. Of course, as a rogue you have a ton of tools for setting up a sneak attack without this...

    Steady Eye: Automatic advantage on perception checks while scouting make you a trap and ambush detecting machine. Any rogue would be glad to have this.

    Unerring Eye
    : I'm temped to rate this as bad due to the fact that it eats an action and thus isn't very good in combat. Situationally though, this could come on handy so i'll be generous and give it a purple rating.

    Eye for Weakness: For a level 17 ability 3d6 isn't all that great and this only applies to insightful fighting sneak attacks. If you're looking for damage you'd be better off multi classing into fighter for a 2nd attack and an action surge. Underwhelming.

    Much like inquisitive, this style of rogue fits a specific type of campaign better than others. Overall though I think it's actually a better path, even in a combat heavy game, as Master of Tactics is a much better 'bread and butter' combat option than Insightful Fighting.

    Master of Intrigue: Better than the average ribbon ability but, and stop me if you're tired of hearing this, heavily game/GM dependent. Courtly intrigue? You're golden. Fighting undead hordes? Might wish you'd taken something else...

    Master of Tactics: Very solid ability assuming someone in your party can capitalize on it. Another rogue, or a Great Weapon Master/Sharpshooter user will love you. Even certain wizard spells benefit from the advantage to the spell attack roll. Party co-ordination is key (as is fitting for a class called 'Mastermind').

    Insightful Manipulator: In most games this will be strait up bad, and won't do you much good to know that the Orc shaman doesn't have good intelligence to go with his wisdom. In very specific circumstances knowing that the legendary warrior is a fraud, and doesn't actually have any have any class levels might pay off... like the majority of this class it's purple all the way.

    Misdirection: Hide from arrows behind your allies, shift the attack to them if you get tagged. Occasionally lightning will strike and you'll be able to shuffle an attack onto an enemy. Mostly this will be redundant.

    Soul of Deceit: This ability makes Mastermind rogues excellent big-bads for campaigns, leading your seemingly canny players astray with his mental tricks. Is it as good for players? Say it with me now, heavily game dependent.

    I'm not a fan of this archetype because I think it's ultra-boring and it really blurs the lines between ranger and rogue. Still, it's undeniable effective at what it does.

    Skirmisher: Free disengages as a reaction? Good for any rogue, fantastic for archers (which you probably are).

    Survivalist: I was temped to rate this as a purple skill, but let's be honest, if you're picking scout at all it's likely in a game where nature and survival will be useful. In which case what is the value of two additional skills with expertise in both? A lot.

    Superior Mobility: +10 speed is just a nice solid boost. It also applies to swiming speed and climbing speed, so the more exotic races don't get shortchanged.

    Ambush Master: Scout in a nutshell is just a lot of very solid abilities piled up on top of each other, and here is yet another. Advantage on initiative rolls? Free advantages on the creature you 'mark'? All good.

    Sudden Strike: Two sneak attacks in one turn? Yeah it eats your bonus action but if you can pull it off you will be smiling. Only reason it's not sky blue is that it requires you sink 17 levels into rogue and pass up the opportunity to gain extra attack via multiclassing.

    As a disclaimer - I think melee rogues are bad. A light crossbow does just as much damage as a rapier, and being able to hide as a bonus action makes setting up free advantage (and sneak attacks to go with it) so much easier when you stay at range. That being said, if you're committed to being an Errol Flynn type, then this subclass is about everything you could have wanted. I just can't rate any melee focused rogue build better than blue.

    Fancy Footwork: The crux of this class. Waltz through enemies as you attack them, or attack one enemy a single time then use your bonus action dash to zip away from them. This is a subclass that benefits from speed (Wood elf or mobility feat a plus).

    Rakish Audacity: Again, almost required to pull off this class's particular fighting style.

    Panache: Borders on abuse-able, since you can just keep kiting 'taunted' enemies around with bonus action dashes and the auto disengage on your attacks. The 'language barrier' is the only real downside.

    Elegant Maneuver: The swashbuckler goes downhill pretty fast after level 9. Might very well be worth multi-classing into fighter around that point (two weapon fighting style is obviously a big plus). This ability is fun, but not really worth setting 13 levels into. If you do go this 'deep' make sure you abuse it though; expertise in acrobatics and a 20+ dexterity will allow you to hit some insane DC's.

    Master Duelist: A decent ability, but being limited to once per short rest, and the 17 level investment required doesn't make it good enough imo. Contrast this with say, Sudden Strike, and tell me it's worth it.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-07-29 at 06:11 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Sorcerous Origin

    Another SCAG reprint with the Storm Sorcery origin which is still an alright pick. The origins we get in Xanathar's are both strong, and Divine Soul especially opens up some very interesting build options.

    Edit: Storm sorc is now included.

    Divine Soul
    The ability to mix and match clerical magic with arcane magic opens up the possibility for a really insane spell-list options and meta-magic combos. Despite that this path has it's limitations. Sorcerers are already low on spells known which puts a cap of their flexibility with clerical spells.

    Divine Magic:
    You gain one "innate" cleric spell to expand your known spells, pretty nice since even a single extra spell helps sorcerers a lot early game. I could rank the starting spells in terms of power but since you can swap it out for another cleric option as soon as you level it really doesn't matter which one you start with.

    Notes on divine magic:
    As a general rule of thumb arcane magic tends to be better than clerical magic. Most of the sorcerer spell list has a lot more flash and punch than the cleric list. The wrong way to play divine soul is basically as a sorcerer-cleric who fills out their list with cleric spells and generally plays like a weaker, unarmored cleric with a smaller number of prepped spells and no channel divinity. The right way to play divine soul is to take the cream of the cleric list and use to fill out your spell list with the absolute best options from both classes. As such I'll suggest what I consider to be the absolutely best spells to consider "poaching".

    • Guidance: The best cantrip in the game?
    • Toll the Dead: The best (non-Warlock) damaging cantrip in the game?
    • Bless: The best low level concentration spell? Can be swapped out at higher levels.
    • Healing Word: Bonus action, ranged. The healing is small but 1hp is all you need to get someone up off the floor. Can be twinned also.
    • Guiding Bolt: The damage is lower than chromatic orb, but giving advantage makes it slightly better IMO. Good candidate for twin-spell.
    • Spiritual Weapon: Why the hell doesn't this require concentration??? Auto-pick.
    • Revivify: If no-one else can take this you may eventually have to.
    • Spirit Guardians: Insane aoe damage. Better on the cleric than you, but still good.
    • Mass Cure Wounds: I'm trying to avoid the healing spells, but this is one of the best, more so when quickened.

    A sorcerer has to be level 19 before getting more than a single 6th+ level slot, for that reason I suggest sticking with the more powerful arcane options in the higher levels. Just to reiterate: you are not a cleric, don't fill your known spells with healing garbage, it's not what you're good for.

    Favored by the Gods: 2d4 is more powerful than you think, an avg. of +5 is usually more than enough to pass that failed save. That it refreshes on short rest makes this a very nice ability.

    Empowered Healing
    : It's a trap! Don't let this ability fool you into thinking divine soul is a dedicated healing subclass, if you take cure wounds to get mileage out of this ability you've been fooled.. The ability isn't even that good anyway, you're better off twinning healing spells with your sorcery points.

    Otherworldly Wings: Concentration free flying speed? Now you too can be as good as a level 1 Aarakocra! Jokes aside, this is great.

    Unearthly Recovery: It's a decent ability, but is it worth going past level 17 in sorcerer? I would say... probably not.

    Shadow Magic
    Crawling in my skin, these wounds, they will not heal! Almost unchanged from the UA version, this subclass in my experience plays a little worse that it looks on paper. Nothing about is it under powered, it just suffers from having too many abilities competing for limited sorcery points.

    Eyes of the Dark: On everyone except underdark races this is a nice little boost. It also essentially gives you a free spell. Even better on races that lack darkvision naturally (variant humans really needed a boost).

    Strength of the Grave: Unreliable and comes with some limitations, nevertheless a nice addition. All D6 classes are only one high damage roll away from eating flagstone, more so for sorcerers with their more limited defensive options.

    Hound of Ill Omen: At the level you get this is amazing. A buffed CR1 creature that you can summon as a bonus action and makes your spells harder to resist is pretty good value for 3 sorcery points. The weaknesses of this ability is that the hound can only attack a single target and that the temp HP the hound gains from your levels do not scale well enough to make it survivable at higher levels. Eventually this ability may become a one turn wonder - but hey, even in the worse case scenario it's not worse than heighten spell!

    Shadow Walk: While it's annoying to see them recycle the shadow monk's abilities, a bonus action Teleport via dim light is a great, if unoriginal, power even coming in at level 14.

    Umbral Form: 6 sorcery points is a lot to blow on one ability, even at level 18, and the way sorcerers gain spells means that there's a great temptation to to multi class as soon as you hit level 17. On the other hand the duration is good, and the resistances are fantastic. A tough choice.

    Storm Sorcery
    I hate reprints. This subclass is pretty underwhelming outside of a single, incredible feature (that comes too late to matter in most games).

    Wind Speaker: Cool, but weak even as ribbons go.

    Tempestuous Magic: A nice free disengage when you cast spells. The 'flying' aspect of this movement won't come up often due to the limited range, but if it can position you above your enemy then, go ahead.

    Heart of the Storm: Marginally better than the War Mage Wizard's ability due to the resistances, but not much better... don't be baited into using bad spells for this mediocre ability.

    Storm guide: Thematically awesome, and... occasionally useful? Anyone running pirates in 5e?

    Storm's Fury: Sadly, a lot of high level enemies have pretty amazing strength saving throws. Also this ability requires that you have taken the hit (which means odds are you're down anyway). The far better option is just to use your arsenal of spells not to get into melee range (you are level 14 after all). Still, it might save your life.

    Wind Soul: Up there with Create Thrall as one of the best abilities in the game. Frankly amazing, almost worth the 17 levels of mediocrity required to get here...
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 09:47 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Warlock Patrons

    I honestly think warlocks got the best treatment out of Xanathar's. Celestial is somewhat dull, but the Hexblade almost feels like a new class, and all those new evocations? Delicious.

    What kind of self-respecting Warlock player picks this? Working for an unicorn? That's not edgy at all! All in all a mediocre subclass that suffers from being too "back loaded" (i.e. it's best abilities come at the high levels).

    Expended Spells:
    You have a better natural healing ability than cure wounds, guiding bolt scales too poorly for a warlock, flaming sphere actually might be worth using over hex in the earlier levels, never take lesser restoration or daylight, revivify is a spell someone has to take, guardian of faith is too situational, wall of fire is decent, as is flame strike, greater restoration is a pass.

    A note on Warlock spell lists: Since you don't gain any of these automatically it's rather pointless to give them an "overall rating" as I do with other lists. Each spell might as well be an individual, optional class feature.

    Bonus Cantrips: If you desperately need to cancel a vampire's regeneration sacred flame might be handy. Ultimately there's only one cantrip warlocks care about and it's not either of these ones (rhymes with "Meldrich Last").

    Healing Light: Hold still while I copy paste what I wrote for circle of dreams druid. Actually this is a little more limited since you can't spend more than your charisma score in healing dice. Still good for all the same reasons Balm of the Summer Court is good.

    Radiant Soul: Resistance to radiant will almost never come up. Adding charisma to damage rolls is what warlocks already do better than anyone. This is a sorcerer ability on a class that doesn't have the slots to be a true caster. If you like aoe fire damage I suggest fiend patron over this.

    Edit: As people have noted, this ability is pretty awesome when combined with the Aasimar's racial abilities (both radiant soul for single target DPR and radiant consumption for aoe). The Aasimar celestial warlock may be the best way to get mileage out of this patron.

    Celestial Radiance: I want to whine "it scales poorly" but how well should an an ability that gives a decent chunk of temp hp to up to 6 allies (including you) and activates on a short rest scale? If this were any better it would be broken.

    Searing Vengeance: Get half your hp back, deal some damage, and blind everyone around you in an aoe with no save allowed!? This might be the best panic button ability in DnD 5e.

    It's been a long wait fellow gith lovers, but finally we reach the day when the words "melee warlock" aren't automatically followed by gales of laughter. This is, hands down, the best patron for pact of the blade warlocks. There's really no reason to consider anything else (at least from a mechanical standpoint). The bad news? It's still not as good as say; a boring blaster fiend warlock.

    Edit: Changed to a duel rating to reflect the two distinct playstyles. When used as a strait blaster or as a 1 level multi-class dip, this class is truly top tier. When played as I imagine WotC intended (i.e. as the patron for pact of the blade warlocks) it's merely good.

    Expanded Spells:
    It doesn't scale at all with spell levels but shield is still probably worth the pick, wrathful smite is has the same problem but isn't as good, blur is a decent defensive option, branding smite is in the same boat as wrathful, blink is random but good, elemental weapon is not worth concentrating on, phantasmal killer is a dud, staggering smite I'd pass on, banishing smite in contrast is strong control, cone of cold is a nice aoe damage option.

    More notes on Warlock spells: You do not get the same number of spell slots as other classes, but all of your spells at always cast at the highest level of magic your warlock level allows. Because of this scaling is important in warlock spell selection in a way that it isn't for other classes. A spell like Shield might be better than Armor of Agathys at level 1 or 2 when +5 AC is undoubtedly better than 5 temp hp/5 cold damage, but the same comparison made at say, level 7, is +5 AC vs 20 temp hp and 20 cold damage. That is no-where near as clear-cut. IMO a well played Hexblade will swap out spells often as they becomes obsolete (e.g. shield 1-2, blur 3-4, hex at level 5 to go with your 2nd attack etc.).

    Hexblade's Curse: The healing isn't much but the extra damage and crits are nothing to sneeze at. Comes back on a short rest too (and you will be making a lot of short rests).

    Hex Warrior: Everything you need to be an effective melee combatant. Shields, medium armor, charisma as a main attack stat, and since you will be taking pact of the blade at level 3, don't worry too much if you wanted to do a two handed or even duel wielding Hexblade since the bonuses apply to to both your pact blade and the weapon you touch in the morning (you'll still need a fighting style if you want this to work though, and I wouldn't recommend it).

    Edit: As Malisteen pointed out in the comments below, you don't actually have to go pact of the blade on Hexblade. The extra damage and crits both apply to ranged attacks (i.e. Eldritch Blast) so Hexblades make perfecly good blaster warlocks (better in AC and single target DPS, generally worse in cc and aoe options).

    A note on Hex Warrior: Requiring only a one level investment this ability seems to scream "multiclass" and I'm not the first person to note how perfectly these abilities seem to synergize with, say, college of swords or valor bard (it also gives access to the shield spell which is far better when you have more slots to burn).

    Accused Specter: The downsides? This requires you have humanoids to kill, the CR 1 monster you summon won't scale well, it's only once per long rest, and the summon has sunlight sensitivity. The upsides? It's a summon that doesn't require concentration. So, yeah, edit: black (after play-testing this it's really not that great).

    Armor of Hexes: Seen a lot of people hating on this and I really don't know why. Your reaction for a 50% chance to negate a hit? IMO a very solid tool for tough fights.

    Master of Hexes: Giving up the healing is no big deal. Thankfully this ability applies "when the creature dies" not "when you kill the creature" so there's no danger of your allies breaking your hex. It also doesn't require so much as a reaction to swap targets. Very good.

    Note: As strong as Master of Hex's is, there's a very strong temptation to multiclass as soon as you get the lifedrinker invocation at level 12 - probably into bard or sorcerer. Which is better, a Hexblade 14 or a Hexblade 12/Sorcerer 2? Hard to say, both will have their advantages.

    Spoiler: Eldritch Invocations

    A little disappointing - a lot more duds than studs in this selection. Still, the best invocations here are competitive with the many of the better ones from the PHB, and frankly, it's just nice to finally have more published options.

    Aspect of the Moon: I'd rather just play an elf than invest an invocation in this.

    Edit: As people have pointed out, coffee-lock shenanigans make this broken, but seriously, what GM allows this stupidity?

    Cloak of Flies: Fairly underwhelming for blaster warlocks, the obvious beneficiary of this would be the Hexblade. Obviously don't pick it over thirsting blade, but since you have three invocations at level 5 this might make the cut for one. Despite it's limitations (poison damage, effects allies) an always on aoe damage aura is strong (nice bonus to intimidation too).

    Eldritch Smite: Who needs Hexblade/Paladin multiclassing? Smite with unholy power! Well... the good news is it scales with spell level, and the auto-knockdown is strong. The bad news is 1d8 per spell level isn't that much damage (this invocation was far more powerful in the original UA). When you have more slots and more invocations I would eventually take this if for no other reason than it can be used as part of a full attack action. Early on there are better options.

    Ghostly Gaze: See into a room without opening the door? See inside a chest without opening it? Look for traps built into the masonry? 30ft. Might be far enough to see from one corridor of a dungeon to another. It's hardly top-flight invocation material, but I'd say it's competitive with most of the utility options.

    Gift of the Depths: Planning a trip to the elemental plane of water? No? Then don't take this!

    Gift of the Ever-Living Ones: The only warlock that should be regularly taking hits is the Hexblade. Pass.

    Grasp of Hadar: Let's start off by talking about what this isn't. This is not a tool to get ranged enemies into melee with a Hexblade - you do not have enough invocations to waste on something so frivolous. What this might be good for is additional control options for a blaster warlock who've already invested in all the other, better EB invocations. Pull an enemy into range of your tank? Or off a cliff? Flexibility is power.

    Improved Pact Weapon: Do you have a +1 weapon? If no - this is good. If yes - swap this out. Longbow warlock you say? We have eldritch blast, we don't need to fire bits of wood like a pleb!

    Lance of Lethargy: It's not quite as good as repelling blast since it only activates once per round. Still, it's close enough. Combine them and you have insane control synergy.

    Maddening Hex: I'll admit this is a good invocation, but I'll dissent from those saying it's auto-pick. The range is limited (30ft.), it eats a bonus action (so it can't be used on the same turn as you apply your hex or curse), and the damage is not that great. I'd probably pick cloak of flies before this on a Hexblade. That being said, anything that improves your hex is pretty good.

    Relentless Hex: Is this controversial? You can't use this ability on the same turn you curse someone (competing bonus actions) and if you can't get within 30ft. of them it's unusable. What madman would take this over, say, Sculptor of Flesh? Gets a lot better for a level 14 Hexblade.

    Shroud of Shadow: Not much to say. Just a good, solid utility option, useful even at level 15.

    Tomb of Levistus: Ice block comes to DnD 5e. As panic buttons go, it's alright - 10hp/level is a lot, but it comes with major drawbacks. I honestly can't see myself taking this over a myriad of better options, but you're not exactly hurting yourself if you do (it does have fantastic flavor).

    Tricksters Escape
    : Freedom of movement is a great, concentration free, buff especially for Hexblades. This doesn't even expend a spell slot to use, so you can auto escape a grapple in combat and still have slots to burn. This invocation also comes under the banner of "better than Relentless Hex".
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-10 at 08:31 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Wizard Arcane Traditions

    Wizard players may complain that they got only one tradition in this book, but seeing as they already have 9 potential options in printed publications alone, and that the spell selection in Xanathar's contains so many wizard spells I think they did just fine.

    War Mage
    Thematically I really hate this option. It seems to be half way between "defense mage" (abjurer?) and "blaster mage" (evoker?) without being committed to either. It's main "gimmick" power-surge is poorly designed too. I have my issues with bladesinger but at least it was unique. The good news is that at least mechanically there's a lot to like here.

    Arcane Deflection: Shield is strictly better in terms of giving you AC for your reaction and the drawback for using this is very debilitating. So this ability sucks right? Well, no, not really. Saving yourself a spell slot rather than using shield may be worth resigning yourself to a cantrip at lower levels where slots are limited (and you weren't planning to cast anyway), and there's no level 1 spell that gives you +4(!) to a saving throw. Which is worse: not being able to cast because you used arcane deflection, or not being able to cast because the medusa turned you to stone/beholder disintegrated you/vampire charmed you etc. etc.

    Tactical Wit: Initiative is great for wizards. Going first means often ending the fight before it starts with the right aoe cc or damage spell. By level 8 most wizards will be getting a +5 bonus from this, very significant!

    Note: Combine this with the alert feat and you'll have a wizard that will almost always get the drop on enemies. Very powerful.

    Power Surge: What is the point of this? A huge spiel about how to gather power surges and then the ability is a paltry 1/2 wizard level damage to one target. I'm very disappointed in this, it seems like it could have been a really interesting mechanic at the core of the tradition. Instead it's a pile of meh (especially compared to how fantastic the level 2 abilities are).

    Durable Magic: By level 10 this might as well read "gain +2 to AC and saves" which is, of course, really good.

    Deflecting Shroud: Power surge times three when you use your arcane deflection. What's three times garbage? Still garbage.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-10 at 08:35 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Racial Feats

    Image Copyright WotC

    New Feat options are long overdue for 5e, and I like the way that these have been tied into variant races. The fact that only variant humans get to start with a feat, and overwhelming power of certain popular feats (Sharpshooter, GWM, Warcaster etc.) means that unfortunately many of these options may never see the light of day. More options are never unwelcome though.

    A note on optimizing racial feats: The best use of most of these feats is "fix" odd stats. E.g. say I am using standard 27 point buy. I start with a 15 in strength on my Dragonborn paladin, gain +2 from my racial bonus, and when I hit level 4 I take Dragon Fear and gain an extra +1 bumping me up to 18. This way you can gain the advantage of the racial feats without "falling behind" in terms of stat progression. In almost all of my assessments of these feats I'll be using the assumption that you're using this method (since none of these abilities are better than a boost to your main attack/spellcasting stat).

    Bountiful Luck (Halfling)
    : Not off to a good start. This eats your reaction, has limited range, and unlike some of the better feats on this list gives you no stat bumps. If this gave you a +1 dexterity or charisma it might be worth picking, as written it's not worth it,

    Dragon Fear (Dragonborn): The limited range and being tied to your Charisma really make this a paladin only ability. Even then, it's not that great, but it will be better than your crappy 3d6 dragon's breath, and it does give you a stat bump. Did I mention I really wish they hadn't changed the conquest paladin aura from the UA?

    Dragon Hide (Dragonborn): The claws are hot garbage. The one redeeming feature here is that a non-Dragon sorc can get a free mage armor while upping their charisma. I wouldn't bother personally. For everything else it's bad.

    Drow High Magic (Drow Elf): I wouldn't take this over a bonus to my main stat, but once that is maxed out, this is pretty good. Detect magic at will? Dispel Magic? Nice stuff.

    Dwarven Fortitude (Dwarf): It isn't terrible, but it's not good either. Having to take a dodge action to gain 1HD of healing? Is this worth a precious feat? Could hypothetically be good on a Dwarven monk (patient defense) maybe? Still think I'd rather have more dex/wis.

    Elven Accuracy (Elf/Half-Elf): Honestly the "super advantage" is a little redundant, normal advantage usually gets the job done. It's still an extra edge though, and since this gives you a stat bump you can work it into your build without making sacrifices. Might be more attractive to UA Rangers or assassins (e.g. anyone who can reliably gain advantage).

    Fade Away (Gnome): Gnomish master race does it again. A fantastic panic button for both gnome wizards and rogues. Comes back on a short rest too.

    Fey Teleportation (High Elf): *sigh* It's good. It does kinda highlights one of the major oversights in 5e, which is that if your GM allows DMG Eldarin, they are a strictly "better" version of high elf. This is a feat that basically does nothing but turn a high elf into an Eldarin, and I still have to rate this ****er blue.

    Flames of Phlegethos (Tiefling): Love the 4e callbacks on these names. Long story short - Draconic sorcerers obviously get the most use out of this, which is annoying, since they get the least use out of the damage aura. Overall though, like any racial feat with a stat bump, it's hard to be too critical, you can easily slip this into your build without losing much.

    Infernal Constitution (Tiefling) : Giving +con doesn't help most builds very much, but... two resistances in one feat? With advantage on poison saves thrown in? This is strong enough to merit serious consideration. It may get even better when the UA tiefling options get finalized.

    Orcish Fury (Half-Orc): The weapon damage isn't much, but attack as a reaction is nice. Since this gives +1 str I can't rate it lower...

    Prodigy (Human/Halfbreeds): Skill? Meh. Language? Meh. Tool? Double meh. Expertise??? Now we're talking! Grab athletics expertise on a shield master fighter? Or stealth expertise on a ranger? Lots of potential.

    Second Chance (Halflings): Ugh! This would be fantastic for halfling rogues, especially swashbucklers. Sadly you already have a great use of your reaction in uncanny dodge. Dex based fighters or warlocks may still get some mileage out of this.

    Squat Nimbleness (Shorties): Well, halfling rogues don't have to be too sad that they can't benefit much from second chance, since this is another feat with a bunch of pretty good(tm) abilities and +dex thrown on. Blue all over.

    Wood Elf Magic (Wood Elf): Some crappy cantrip, and longstrider are not why we pick this. Pass without trace is an awesome spell even only once a day. If you're not a ranger or druid this is a nice way to get it - this feats seems almost custom made for wood elves playing the new Scout rogue archetype.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-08 at 03:53 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Dwarf in the Playground

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    New Spells

    The good news is that Xanathar's adds dozens of new spells to 5e casters, and (discounting SCAG which only gave us a few cantrips) this is the first book to do so since Princes of the Apocalypse. The bad news is that almost all of the EE spells have been reprinted here, the list of truly original spells isn't actually that large. Since some of the EE have been changed slightly since their original publication, I will just bite the bullet and do the entire list.

    Spoiler: A

    Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting: It was bad in EE, it's still bad! Con save, necrotic damage, and only does 1d8 more than a lvl 8 cone of cold. Don't use this!

    Absorb Elements: It was amazing in EE and it's still amazing! "Shield for spells". Just remeber this *does* require a hand free (somatic) to cast.

    Aganazzar's Scorcher: Somewhat underwhelming. It does less damage than a chromatic orb of the same level. It's value is highly related to how much use you think a line aoe will be to you.

    Spoiler: B

    Beast Bond: Very selective in it's use. Beastmaster rangers who don't use wolves (who already gain advantage) will find this useful. Otherwise it's not good enough. This assumes you're playing UA beastmaster btw, friends don't let friends play PHB beastmaster.

    Bones of the Earth: Lots to say about this spell. First of all it's flexible, it can be used to provide your ranged allies with safe firing platforms, or isolate enemy melee combatants (yeah they can jump off, but they take 3d6 and are knocked prone). More powerfully it any area where there is a ceiling within 30ft. of the floor (i.e. every dungeon) it can deal decent damage and potentially restrain 6 enemies without concentration! Oh and finally, for them to escape the "pin" they need to make str/dex checks not saves vs your DC, so good luck getting out. This spell is crazy good.

    Spoiler: C

    Catapult: A bit worse than chromatic orb since you can't target elemental weaknesses. If the enemies you're fighting have high AC and low dex saves (rare) this might be worth using.

    Catnap: A short rest in 10 minutes? Only in a very specific situations will you have enough time for a 10 minutes rest, but not enough for a 60 minute one.

    Cause Fear: This isn't bad as a disabler at low levels. Scales pretty well too.

    : Oh my god! This spell is fantastically flavorful! So many options, so many fun things to throw into your games, many with potent mechanical benifits. Potentially abusable also, does dying and being resurrected count as being 'widowed'?

    Chaos Bolt: Thematically I love this to death, but in practice the slim chance of a second attack probably isn't worth the random damage type (and less of that damage) compared to chromatic orb. A roleplay option for wild mages.

    Charm Monster: Somehow I feel this will be less useful than a charm person. Monstrous enemies aren't known for sitting around passively waiting for you to cast this spell on them. It's also a hell of an investment compared to charm person (lvl 4 vs lvl 1).

    Control Flames: This cantrip, like many others like it, comes under the umbrella of "non-combat utility" i.e. it has little to no combat effectiveness, but can be used for other things. Some of these (e.g. minor illusion) can be fantastic. Control flames, however, is among the worst of these options, everything is does is limited only to fire and it's most useful quality (on demand flames) are done by better, damaging cantrips (e.g. create bonfire).

    Control Winds: You essentially gain gust of wind, and windwall in a single level five spell. A lot of "additional cost" for the versatility of picking between them. If I felt I needed both I think I'd rather just memorize the lower levels spells. The ulta-situational ability to aoe down a large number of flying enemies is the standout feature.

    Create Bonfire: Decent damage cantrip with a bit of utility thrown in. Good for druids.

    Create Homunculus
    : So, the stats of the monster you create are terrible, the cost is high (1000gp!), and the ability to swap your max HP to the monster will never be worth it. On the other hand: it's a concentration free perma-summon, and as a level 11 Wizard money is a non-issue for you. Create one as soon as you have some downtime, then send it off to spy on your enemies/clean your linens/feed your Pegasus etc.

    Crown of Stars: A decent use for your level 7 slot, mostly due to to the ability to use each star as a bonus action, and the lack of concentration. Compared to the power of other level 7 spells, I'm not sure if damage alone is enough to justify taking this.

    Spoiler: D

    Dance Macabre: DM's will love this spell, but for players it has some major drawbacks. You need 5 corpses to be in once place, the range you can command your undead is limited to 60ft. and most importantly it requires concentration. For these reasons I think PC necromancers will be better off sticking with Animate Dead.

    Dawn: Against most enemies 4d10 with a con save is a joke, and this spell will not be worth using. Against certain undead (and underdark races) being able to create specifically sunlight can be a powerful weapon. Situational, but potentially encounter ending.

    Dragon's Breath: Burning hands might be a bad spell, but burning hands as an action, with flexible damage types, every round for a minute is a very efficient use of a single level 2 slot. If you're looking for a single concentration spell to drop at the start of a fight to conserve your better spells for later encounters, I think Dragon's Breath is comparable with spells like flaming sphere and spiritual weapon in terms of the damage you'll get out it in during an average length fight.

    Druid Grove: Another spell that comes under the banner of "better for DM's than PC's". Though if you have a year's worth of downtime, then yeah set up your druid real estate, why the hell not?

    Dust Devil: It's been changed slightly since EE giving you the option to produce a mobile cloud of obfuscation. Is that good enough to make it usable? No.

    Spoiler: E

    Earthbind: Don't use this against dragons, or other large flyers with good strength scores (Roc's etc.). Against anything else that flies this can be a death sentence.

    Earth Tremor: Typo here, range is self - 10ft. radius. Low damage, low range, hits allies. Not good enough.

    Elemental Bane: Low damage, gives a con save and eats your concentration. Even on the classes that this should be ideal for (i.e. dragon sorc) you have better options.

    Enemies Abound: Edit: One of the spells I really misjudged. This is very good. Use it on the Orc boss and watch him slit up his underlings.

    Enervation: The damage is low, and the healing is situational for a caster (better to not get hit), but it has potential when combined with quickened spell for a sorcerer. 4d8 as a bonus action isn't bad for a 5th lvl spell.

    Erupting Earth: Worse damage than fireball but with a control aspect and better scaling. I think fireball is the better spell overall (and especially at lvl 5-6) but for those who are sick of the same spell-lists this is an acceptable replacement.

    Spoiler: F

    Far Step: On demand misty steps... are.. not very good, since unlike the original (or the dream druid ability, hidden paths) this requires concentration.

    Find Greater Steed: If you don't already have a loyal flying mount there's no reason not to use this. The Pegasus is probably your best option, but just imagine the roleplay opportunities for the paladin who rides a rhinoceros!

    Flame Arrows: Underwhelming damage, but on demand fire damage can situationally be useful (trolls, hydra's etc.).

    Frostbite: It's alright. Con saves are usually fairly good on monster who want to smack you with things. I prefer both frostbolt and firebolt to this, but it is usable.

    Spoiler: G

    Guardian of Nature: The effects are so cool, however sadly druids will struggle to get use out of this. It's better on rangers (especially the rare strength ranger) but comes very late for them. Note - even if your GM allows you to use this with moon druid forms, I still think you'd be better off with bark/stoneskin for your concentration.

    : Another utility cantrip that underwhelmes. Stick to druidcraft.

    Spoiler: H

    Healing Spirit: A lot of discussion over this spell. I'll echo those who say as a spell to use in combat, it's alright. 1d6 in a combat round isn't fantastic and it eats you concentration, but even a single hp is enough to get an ally off the floor and reset their death saves. It's real strength is it's out of combat healing, where a lvl 2 slot will give you an avg. of 35hp, which you can very accurately apply to your party in d6 'chunks'. For comparison a prayer of healing spell on three people will do about 39 points of healing (assuming 18 wisdom and that the players got the full benefit of the heal - which they often don't). with the same slot. Sufficient to say that this spell altogether is very, very good.

    Holy Weapon: The duration is good, the damage is decent, the typing is strong and it has extra cc thrown in. Paladins get this too late to be useful (you should be packing an actual holy avenger by level 17), but clerics (especially those with fighter buddies who can action surge) will find this a great tool for maximizing the value of your lvl 5 slot, especially vs the undead.

    Spoiler: I

    Ice Knife: As good as it was in EE. Nice low level aoe.

    Illusory Dragon: Super fun and pretty damn strong. Aoe fear combined with bonus action aoe damage. Yes to all of that. It's not necessarily the best choice to take on a small group of very tough enemies (especially ones you suspect could see through the illusion) but if you need to a spell to single-handedly take on an army this is it.

    Immolation: Pathetic damage for a spell of this level. Barely better than a fireball, across multiple turns, and requiring you to concentrate. It might not be the worst spell in DnD 5e but it's the worst spell in Xanathar's.

    Infernal Calling: This spell is similar to conjure elemental, in that while the creature you summon is strong the potential downsides are massive. Given that, I would suggest going for the more reliable elementals when you have the choice. Warlocks may wish to risk it, especially if they have a talisman - but for god's sake, watch your concentration!

    A note on Devils: All this assumes you're summoning a CR 5 barbed devil with a level 5 slot. Weaker devils aren't worth a 5th level slot, and this spell doesn't scale well enough to imo to justify for of the higher CR devils (is a CR 8 chain devil that might turn on you really worth a lvl 7 slot?).

    Infestation: Con save, poison damage, low damage. The movement effect isn't worth these drawbacks.

    Investiture of Flame: The investiture spells follow a pattern of giving you a) immunity to a damage type b) an aoe damage aura and c) on demand damage of the same type. Generally speaking I think these spells are not good. Against an enemy where immunity to fire could be useful (say, a red dragon), the damage aura and line damage are going to be worthless. Seeing as this is a high level spell that requires concentration, I expect more. If the duration was longer I might be temped to rate it higher, but at 10 minutes it's too limiting.

    Investiture of Ice: See above.

    Investiture of Stone: Better, due to being a stoneskin effect without the material cost. It's "attack" function is weak, but at least doesn't lock you into a damage type. The most usable of the four, though the duration remains hugely limiting.

    Investiture of Wind: Fly is nice, disadvantage on ranged attacks is nice. Using a level 6 slot for what is essentially a fly spell is less nice. 10 minute limit is not nice at all.

    : Being invincible is overrated. Level 17 wizards have plenty of defensive options, and your precious level 9 slot should ideally be used for something more impactful than this. Even in games where wish is banned you'll find better uses for your big gun than this.

    Spoiler: L

    Life Transference: Take an avg. of 18 damage, heal an avg. of 36. The heal is almost too big to be used efficiently, and the penalty is significant. Remember resistance to necrotic can't let you "cheat" the effect since the healing is based on damage taken. A life cleric with blessed healer may find this spell more appealing (take 13, heal for a ridiculous 41!).

    Spoiler: M

    Maddening Darkness: Yes the radius is undeniably huge (60ft.!), and yes this spell will wreck hordes to pieces with both cc and damage. Doesn't it feel a bit... redundant though? Illusory dragon will wreck a large group of enemies just as well as maddening darkness can, a how many options does a level 15 spellcaster need to deal with, say, an orcish warband?

    Maelstrom: 6d6 isn't impressive, but the ability to create a large (30ft.) area of difficult terrain that can suck enemies in while damaging them? Good control option (and for contrast - three spell levels lower than maddening darkness).

    Magic Stone: 1d6+ability modifier will be good for caster druids at levels 1-4 (almost making shillelagh obsolete) then will quickly drop off. That being said, druids lack for ranged damage cantrips, so it might be worth keeping. For Hexblade warlocks that don't want to take the agonizing blast invocation, this is a better ranged option lvl 1-4 than eldritch blast.

    Mass Polymorph: It would be skyblue if not for the existence of the wish spell making virtually every other level 9 spell look bad in comparison. If wish is barred, this is a great option.

    Maximilian's Earthen Grasp: Restrained and damaged, requiring a strength check to break out. Assuming you're not fighting giants or their equivalents this is a nice level two spells, comparable to flaming sphere in it's usefulness.

    Melf's Minute Meteors
    : The situation where this spell would be more useful than a fireball spell is hard to imagine. Yes it's more damage overall (12d6 vs 8d6) but it eats concentration and is spread out over so many turns. Perhaps when fighting trolls? Or masses of weak enemies? It does scale rather well...

    Mental Prison: Why is this spell not on the bard list? So yeah, this spell is good; cc if they don't move massive damage if they do. Is it better than phantasmal force for a single target cc though? Especially as PF comes in 4 spell levels lower than this...

    Mighty Fortress: Forget your mansion Mordenkainen, real mages summon a 120ft. square fortress to hole up in. This spell has some seriously limitations though, it only lasts 7 days, and the walls aren't actually that durable (AC 15, 30hp). If you're trying to hold a pass from an invading army, throwing a fortress in their path that they didn't expect to be there is worth a lvl 8 slot.

    Mind Spike: This is a damaging spell with a tracking function, so it isn't as subtle as say, a hunter's mark or scrying spell, but the actual damage it does is underwhelming (3d8 w/ save). Pass, pass, pass.

    Mold Earth: It's a bit better than some of the other 'red rated elemental utility cantrips' like control flames, but not good enough. You'd never take this over more flexible utility cantrips.

    Spoiler: N

    Negative Energy Flood: Like a mini-finger as death, but worse since 5d12 on a failed con save is some underwhelming damage for a level 5 spell. The zombie you get doesn't even follow your orders... ew.

    Spoiler: P

    Power Word Pain: Alimony? A powerful disabler, unfortunately the con saves at the end of turn make this a little less impactful than I would wish. And this all assuming you don't flub the spell by using it too early (i.e over 100hp). Not worth your precious lvl 7 slot.

    Primal Savagery: Levels 1-4 shillelagh is better level 5 and higher this is the most damaging melee druid cantrip. Personally I still wouldn't take it, I prefer my caster druids to stay at range, and even if you want a melee cantrip thorn whip is more flexible, but if you do find yourself in melee a lot this is a decent option.

    Primordial Ward: A super version of protection from energy, protecting you from multiple damage types and giving you a 'panic button' ability to gain total immunity (e.g. use this when the dragon uses it's breath weapon on you). Is this worth a level 6 slot? I would say yes, assuming you know you're fighting enemies with a lot of elemental damage.

    Psychic Scream: Haha, head explosion as a core mechanic? What is this, SotDL? Funky SFX aside, this is a good spell, the damage is garbage, but an intelligence based stun, long range and large number of effected enemies (with 0 concentration) will end most encounters you use it on. What a shame wish exists and makes all other level 9 spells redundant.

    Pyrotechnics: This spell has been changed to "non-magical flame". There goes the combo with flaming sphere, and your major reason to want to take this spell.

    Spoiler: S

    Scatter: "On the ground or the floor" is the killer here. Otherwise this spell would be sky blue. Despite that, there's plenty of situations where this ability could be encounter ending, it just requires either some sort of debilitating terrain feature or perhaps an aoe cc for you to teleport them into.

    Shadow Blade: My major complaint is that I wish the weapon counted as pact weapon, since it seems thematically perfect for hexblades. The real winner here is the arcane trickster since this weapon is both an illusion spell and a light, finesse-able (and throwable!) weapon. A serious contender for your first lvl 2 trickster spell. Edit: Eldritch Knight Fighters and even Valor or College of Swords bards can all get some real mileage out of this spell. Remember: just because a weapon can be used with dexterity doesn't mean it has to be. This spell is just as good for beefy types.

    Shadow of Moil
    : It's not quite as good as greater invisibility, but it's still good enough to be usable. Warlocks (especially Hexblades) who want a powerful defensive concentration spell, but who don't have access to greater invis. could do worse.

    Shape Water: Yet another EE utility cantrip that you won't take for any other reason than roleplay flavor.

    Sickening Radiance: Exhaustion is crazy and if you have some way to keep enemies in the aura for more than two rounds it's basically a death sentence. It also some nice utility an an anti-invisibility tool. Pretty good.

    Skill Empowerment: Edit: As Tesla Dragon noted in the comments you can't use this on a skill that already benefits from expertise making it absolute trash.

    Skywrite: The effect is so-so, but hey, it's a ritual! If you need something to fill out your prepared spells it's good enough.

    : Even a crappy hunting trap can be surprisingly effective at low levels when setting up an ambush. This is a several degrees better than that. Situational, but strong.

    Snilloc's Snowball Swarm: Much worse than shatter at the same level. Cool effect, rubbish in practice. They couldn't have buffed this?

    Soul Cage: Feels more like a spell for the villains, but it's not without it's uses for PC's. Advantage on a save (powerful!)? Six question that must be answered truthfully (forget messing around trying to take enemies alive)? Is this worth a 6th level slot though? Usually you're going to want something more direct. But this spell is unique enough that it can fill a roll in your spellbook that no other spell can.

    Steel Wind Strike: *Teleports behi- Damn, I already did that joke. It's a good spell, limited by it's availability. Melee rangers will love this - except that they don't get it till level 17. Wizards won't love this, even though they get it at level 9. Hexblades get shafted yet again since this isn't on the warlock list.

    Edit: Now that i think about it this is an contender for college of valor/sword bards when they get their lvl 10 magical secrets.

    Storm Sphere: Difficult terrain is good, the damage is meh, the bonus damage action is meh. Is this better than just a fireball? In certain situations where you need a hold a certain arena, perhaps.

    Summon Greater Demon: This is what dealing with fiends should be like. High risk high reward (unlike the infernal version which is high risk, ok reward). A CR 5 summon out of a lvl 4 slot is way above curve, and the Barlgura specifically is a very strong for a CR 5 monster (with a weak charisma save, perfect for this spell). Of course if the spell goes awry it could be disastrous, which is why you make sure that you're the member of your group standing in the circle!

    Summon Lesser Demons: Ehhh strictly weaker than the greater version. The lower CR demons are fairly weak compared to their larger cousins, and you have no option at all to control them. Hypothetically they could be used to tie up a group of enemies chasing you, but this doesn't feel like a spell I'm going to have prepared just for that eventuality.

    Synaptic Static: Damage wise it's a level 5 fireball which would be bad but the concentration-less aoe debuff that works off intelligence (usually fairly weak stat), makes this a fairly awesome spell. Target it against the right type of enemies (beefy idiots) and it's an encounter ending spell.

    Spoiler: T

    Temple of the Gods: Another fun downtime option for high levels PC's. Build a scrying proof, undead and fiend repellent temple that boost your healing, decorated however you like. Is this any good in a dungeon? Absolutely not!

    Tenser's Transformation: Here's the good news - if you seriously want your wizard to mix it up in the melee, this gives you everything you need. Temp hp, two attacks and a ton of bonus damage. The downside is... is this seriously better than just blasting them with [insert powerful level 6 spell here]? The potential for exhaustion after casting is also a pain.

    : The potential for aoe doesn't make up for the crappy damage and targetting con saves. Bad.

    Thunder Step: I prefer misty step but this ain't bad. The damage isn't much, but being able to whisk a buddy out of harms way is worth your action. It's not a replacement for, say, fireball but at higher levels when you have more 3rd level slots this could certainly warrant a spot in your prepared spells.

    Tidal Wave: I was quite excited for this spell the first time I tried it, but in my experience it's area is too small and it's damage is too low. Strength saves (like con saves) are often fairly good on unintelligent monsters. I do not recommend this.

    Tiny Servant: As a combat summon it's beyond terrible. As a utility option to spy on someone, I think I'd rather just use my familiar. This spell needed to be a ritual.

    Toll the Dead: What to say? With both a D12 damage dice (usually) and the targeting of wisdom saves (rather than dex for sacred flame) this is the best damaging cantrip that isn't called "Eldritch Blast". In the majority of games this will be a cleric's go-to option for an offensive cantrip.

    Transmute Rock: Transmuting an area of the floor to mud will be the ability you're most likely to use, and although the ability is hardly the most powerful cc ability on your list, the size of the area and -most importantly- the lack of concentration make this potent. At higher levels you can 'double up' by casting this to create an area of mud, then casting again to trap enemies in stone, very potent!

    Spoiler: V

    Vitriolic Sphere: Barely better than a fireball cast at the same level, with the damage split across two turns. Is acid a better damage type than fire? Probably. Is that enough to justify preparing this spell? Probably not.

    Spoiler: W

    Wall of Light: It's not bad, even though the damage and blindness target con. The "laser" effect might be better for sorcerers who can quicken spell. Is it better than wall of force in the same slot, doing largely the same thing? No.

    Wall of Sand: If you want to block sight, why not just use an illusion? Yes this spell provides a sort of physical barrier, but not much of one.

    Wall of Water: Better than wall of sand, but not by much. The key to making this useful is to follow it up with an ally using some sort of cold spell directly afterwards. Is the effect worth the effort and co-ordination required? Ehhhh...

    Warding Wind: The best ability is the disadvantage vs ranged attacks, and for that I think I'd rather just use blur. There's 'situational' and then there's 'redundant'. This is feels like the latter.

    Watery Sphere: One of the best EE spells remains unchanged. Tie up multiple enemies, drop them off cliffs. Endless fun.

    Whirlwind: Fairly good cc, even at the high level required to cast it. You have to pick your targets carefully, since plenty of enemies have excellent strength scores, but I still don't feel like I can rate an aoe damaging, restraining effect that can be re-positioned as an action any lower than blue.

    Word of Radiance: Edit: Better than the wizard cantrip this is based on since it does the useful radiant damage type, and also heavily armored clerics are much more likely to be in the melee.

    Wrath of Nature: Prepare for long, involved debates on the number of rocks in any area of a forest. Long story short - if you're in a heavily forested area with lots of fauna this is a fairly devastating crowd control ability, with multiple effects each turn to make your enemies suffer. If not then swap it out.

    Spoiler: Z

    Zephyr Strike: If this was just disengage as a bonus action as a level 1 spell that would be good enough to potentially warrant taking this. Add in extra damage and free advantage and we have an excellent spell. This only requires a verbal component so useful for TWF rangers too.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2018-05-10 at 08:51 AM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Response goes here

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    Quote Originally Posted by polymphus View Post
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    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    Disagreement with your response that implies negative characteristics about you goes here.
    Verbose response to your disagreement that proves how intelligent I am while implying you are a troll goes here.
    Last edited by lunaticfringe; 2017-11-14 at 05:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
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    Question about whether a guide to everything contains a guide to itself goes here.
    Always look for white text. Always.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    You don't win people over by beating them with facts until they surrender; at best all you've got is a conversion under duress, and at worst you've actively made an enemy of your position.

    You don't convince by proving someone wrong. You convince by showing them a better way to be right. The difference may seem subtle or semantic, but I assure you it matters a lot.

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    Five joke replies...

    So, thanks for making this. Who knows if anyone is going to update their class guides, so this is a useful resource. As a DM I like having players that are at least a bit informed about their new abilities when they come in with them, and guides like this help. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

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    Ettin in the Playground

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    A few thoughts...

    inquisitive rogue being called out as not great in a dungeon crawl game seems a bit off to me. It is specifically the environment where trap detection, passive perception, invisible monsters, etc come into play. While I donít think it makes inquisitive much better than your analysis, I think inquisitive as a dungeon-crawling specialist is one area it shines

    Divine Soul and Empowered Healing: note it also helps Healing spells cast by people other than yourself... not stellar for you, perhaps, but potential teamwork when you are Sorcerer Jesus and you have Cleric Paul backing you up

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    Note on the kensai, I believe it gets real damn good with a whip since you get range and up its pitiful damage with matial art... Was that considered?

    Props otherwise

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    I'm not sure the Desert Storm barb aura should be red. Yes it is weak damage and highly resisted, but it has a hidden benefit.

    When facing regenerating characters such as trolls/hydra. You are guaranteed to cancel out their regeneration EVERY turn in an aura.

    The ability is still weak, but I'd argue for purple as it is a niche benefit.
    Last edited by Provo; 2017-11-17 at 09:49 AM.

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    I'm pretty sure you cannot both seath a weapon and draw it again as a free action, so I don't think what you mentioned for the Bard work.

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    Default Re: Prose's Guide to Xanathar's Guide to Everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    I'm pretty sure you cannot both seath a weapon and draw it again as a free action, so I don't think what you mentioned for the Bard work.
    Sheath it no, but you could drop it for free and pick it up.
    Or you could sheath on the round you cast the spell, then next round when you go for the attack draw it again.

    Once you get haste later it makes things even better.

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    Ettin in the Playground

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    Since the weapon counts as your focus, most spells you donít even need a free hand right? Only those with expensive material componants, or somatic componants without material ones?

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    Ogre in the Playground

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    Good summary.

    I think it's important to note your wording/interpretation on Kensei ignores the potential to add the +3 to hit and damage onto a magical weapon that does not have a bonus to attack and damage. That means the Kensei could take his flametongue and turn it into a +3 flametongue, or for that matter make better use of any of the less powerful magic weapons that exist in the DMG without any +1-3 bonuses.

    Also I think your judgement of the class is a bit harsh. +2 AC for the difference of what is usually 1 point of damage, no ki cost, is a huge buff to any class. Note that anyone can MC into it, and get that benefit regardless of their armor and fighting style. This could be worth it for a S&B fighter that also has a racial damage boost to their unarmed strike, such as lizardfolk, tortle, tabaxi, etc.
    Want to Multiclass? I wrote the book on it:
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    I am an avid optimizer and love to give fire to the people... So long as they are restrained first so they have disadvantage on their dex saves.
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    Thus far everything's pretty agreeable. I expect you'll have a to of people yelling about how arcane archer should be red because it only gets two shots per rest, but I recommend you keep it where it is. The shots can be really powerful, and 2 per rest is already super good.
    Spoiler: bad tactics

    I look at the lich and smirk a bit, as I bring myself back to my feet

    "What are you smiling about?" it says

    "hehe, it looks like you've made... a grave mistake :D"

    the bard, actively bleeding out on the ground *ba-dum-tss*

    "Ha! Nice try. Telling a bad joke to try to make your opponent drop their guard. Oldest trick in the book. Trust me, I was there."

    *barbarian falling, sword in hands, from the top of the castle wall directly above the lich*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxhound438 View Post
    Thus far everything's pretty agreeable. I expect you'll have a to of people yelling about how arcane archer should be red because it only gets two shots per rest, but I recommend you keep it where it is. The shots can be really powerful, and 2 per rest is already super good.
    I totally agree. I think the thing that does suck about the class is that the arrow damage upgrade could have easily been split to give a minor bump at like level 7.

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