Dungeons & Dragons newest Unearthed Arcana is meaty for Wizards and Warriors

Wizards and warriors get the spotlight in the newest Unearthed Arcana playtest material for the upcoming revised Dungeons & Dragons 5E.

The Loot Drop

If you're looking for updates on the newest D&D Unearthed Arcana playtest content, expect new rules on Weapon Mastery, changes to spells and spell lists, and upgrades to Barbarian, Fighter, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard classes.

In what is so far the biggest Unearthed Arcana playtest release, weapons, wizards and warriors are highlighted for the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition updates.

Wizards and warriors get the spotlight in the newest Unearthed Arcana playtest material for the upcoming revised Dungeons & Dragons 5E. (Images: Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro)

Previously marketed as One D&D, Wizards of the Coast has switched gears and is now referring to the new version of the Dungeons and Dragons ruleset as a revised Fifth Edition. This decision likely comes as a way to distance from the Open Gaming License controversies that erupted from fans and third party creators opposing the changes from the now-defunct OGL 1.1 and OGL 1.2. But with the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, mainstream attention to the world's most popular tabletop roleplaying game remains at an all-time high.

What new playtest content was revealed in the newest D&D Unearthed Arcana? Check out the details below.

Released on April 27, the new Unearthed Arcana provides playtest material intended for Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying games for its new edition planned for 2024.

The description on D&D Beyond for the Player’s Handbook Playtest 5 reads as follows:

In this new Unearthed Arcana document for the 2024 Core Rulebooks, we explore material designed for the next version of the Player’s Handbook. This playtest document presents the rules on the Weapon Mastery property, updates to weapons, new and revised spells, several new feats, and five classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard. You will also find an updated rules glossary that supercedes the glossary of any previous playtest documents.

The previous playtest D&D materials released highlighted the Character Origins, the Expert Classes (i.e. Rogue, Bard, Ranger), the Cleric and the Revised Species intended to address the racism issues, and the changes to the Druid and Paladin classes.

The fifth playtest content release for the revised Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules centers on Player's Guide details such as weapons and Weapon Mastery, as well as updates to the Arcane and Martial classes.

The first notable updates with the newest Unearthed Arcana material is the weapons. While weapons in D&D were fairly straightforward, the rules in the new edition will add Weapon Mastery properties. This adds a layer of tactical options intended to make characters more unique and effective in combat. Weapons in Dungeons & Dragons can now have features like Cleave, Flex, Graze, Nick, Push, Topple, Slow, Sap, and Vex.

For example, a character with Weapon Mastery of the Battleaxe can Topple the enemy, forcing it to make a CON save vs. DC equal to 8 + your Proficiency Bonus + Ability Modifier or be knocked prone to the ground. Meanwhile, a character that masters the Sling can cause a Slow effect on its target, reducing its Speed by 10 feet until the attacker’s next turn.

Another key update with the new Unearthed Arcana is changes to spells. Now, there will be significant differences to the spell lists of different Arcane spellcasters such as the Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard classes. These Arcane spellcasters will also have unique abilities that coincide with the very nature of their magical abilities.

Sorcerers will have Innate Sorcery which means they always have Sorcerous Burst and Chaos Bolt spells prepared. Plus, a sorcerer gets Sorcery Points that can be used to create Spell Slots as a Bonus Action, thus giving them access to spells when they need it. At 2nd level, they also get Metamagic options, which can be used to enhance spell effects such as duration, range, and more.

Warlocks will be getting more Spell Slots and new Eldritch Invocations. Could these new features be ported to the Warlock class in video games such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and Neverwinter?

Meanwhile, Warlocks will have actual Spell Slots. Compared to other Arcane spellcasters, Warlocks have had fewer spell slots via Pact Magic in the past. Instead, Warlocks will now have more spell slots (up to 15 instead of the previous 4). Moreover, Warlocks will always have Eldritch Blast and Hex prepared at first level. At 2nd Level, the Warlock begins gaining Eldritch Invocations which add bonus effects to spells. And Warlocks are now trained in wearing both Light and Medium Armor at Level 1.

Finally, Wizards receive new abilities that tie-in with their scholarly pursuit of magic. The new edition will introduce abilities such as Wizard’s Spellbook, Academic, Memorize Spell, and Create Spell. For instance, Academic lets a Wizard take the Study Action to gain Advantage on any INT check. Another example is Arcane Recovery which allows the Wizard to choose expended Spell Slots to recover with just a Short Rest.

While it seems like the spellcasters are getting the most out of the newest D&D Unearthed Arcana, warriors are getting some love, too. Specifically, the Barbarian and the Fighter classes are getting some much-needed upgrades.

Barbarians will have a longer Rage that can last 10 minutes, as well as the ability to extend it with a Bonus Action. Meanwhile, Fighters can use Second Wind more than once (only requiring a Short Rest instead of a Long Rest), as well as gaining the Unconquerable ability at Level 17 that allows another use of Indomitable by expending a Second Wind (which still heals the Fighter in the same action). With both classes gaining Weapon Mastery options at 1st level, these new and updated abilities provide a better edge in battle for these Martial character classes.

The Dungeons & Dragons Unearthed Arcana playtest can be downloaded as a PDF from the D&D Beyond app and website. The feedback survey will open on May 17, 2023.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.