D&D: Xanathar Talks Kensei, Circle of the Shepherd, and Eldritch Invocations

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Two more subclass previews–Monks and Druids, and then finally Warlocks get some sweet sweet Invocations. Take a look inside!

Just a few short weeks until Xanathar’s Guide is officially released and we’ll be able to delve into the rules and final versions of these class previews. But, in the meantime, it’s nice to get the developers’ thoughts on the subclasses. So far, I’m really liking what we’re seeing–and some of the things featured today took me by surprise. I hadn’t expected to like the idea of the Circle of the Shepherd as much add I do, but there you have it. But let’s dive on in, we’ve got three to get through today.

Way of the Kensei is first up. This had traditionally been a fighter kit in previous editions, but, it does feel like a better fit for a Monk variant. This is more the Li Mu Bai kind of martial artist who can wield usual weapons as gracefully and deftly as though they’re an extension of the monk’s body.

When last we saw Way of the Kensei, they had bows and updated melee rules. The big draw was their ability to adopt a martial weapon as a monk weapon. It adds flexibility to your fighting style, and makes sure you’re mixing it up with weapon and unarmed attacks.

At later levels the Kensei could also make their weapons magical and infuse them with Ki for a minute, making them scarily accurate, adding up to +3 to attack and damage. Essentially, when it comes time to take a boss down, Kensei can really shine, if they’ve been conservative with their Ki.

The subclass does lack the mobility or utility of the other Monk variants, though. Kensei focus on weapon attacks and that’s it.

Circle of the Shepherd is up next, and as I mentioned before, this one caught me by surprise.

The Circle of the Shepherd is a protector of nature, much like the Land Druid, but they’re a protector and friend of animals. They’re also a great party support caster–they summon totem spirits, Bear, Hawk, or Unicorn, each of which grants a different bonus to allies within its aura. They can move them around the field, they don’t take concentration, and are basically a great addition to a Druid’so arsenal. But on top of that, they’re also excellent summoners, and can buff their summoned creatures, going so far as to automatically heal them while within a spirit totem’s aura.

Finally we have a look at the Eldritch Invocations.

These are really cool. I loved the way they changed, from UA to UA. I feel like every move they’ve made has been at least one step in the right direction. If not more. The Eldritch Invocations teased here sound spot on. From not needing to sleep, to additional features for pact blades or for the familiar option, Warlocks are gaining some great new options to take, in addition to Agonizing Blast, which remains the best Invocation in the game.

I can only imagine what the final form of the other Invocations will look like, but, everything I’ve seen has me pretty hopeful.

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