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D&D: Mages Of Strixhaven – Subclasses For Spellcasters In New Unearthed Arcana

5 Minute Read
Jun 9 2021
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A new Unearthed Arcana invites you to playtest material from the upcoming Curriculum of Chaos, the D&D book set in Strixhaven. Get ready to be schooled.

As a bonus part of the ongoing Week of Legend Lore, which is a week of D&D announcements currently on day three (and who knows what we’ll see when the next update drops), a new Unearthed Arcana has surfaced, and with it, a glimpse inside the world of Strixhaven.

Strixhaven, for the unfamiliar, is a magical academy that was one of the most recent settings released for Magic: the Gathering. Strixhaven is one of the most prestigious universities of magic in the multiverse, home to five different colleges of Strixhaven that, in M:tG combine different colors of magic. To showcase the diversity of the different magic types in D&D, we’re seeing something truly unique: subclasses that are available to more than one class.

This is a first for D&D 5th Edition, as it pushes into year 7 of its run. The horizon is expanding just that much more with this new concept. Each of the Colleges of Strixhaven are designed around the idea of multiple spellcasters benefitting from them. There are five all in all:

  • Lorehold College dedicated to the pursuit of history by conversing with ancient spirits and understanding the whims of time itself
  • Prismari College which is all about visual and performing arts, bolstered with the power of the elements
  • Quandrix College whose students study and manipulate the mathematics of nature
  • Silverquill College which prides itself on understanding the magic of words
  • Witherbloom College where life and death are one and the same, and their devastating energies unlock unlimited power

And we’ll go through each of these in turn, but first we ought to look at the rules they outline for these subclasses that apply to multiple classes. Here’s the sample from Mage of Lorehold:

Essentially you pick from a list of subclass features that have different level prerequisites which you can pick to fill in whenever you have a subclass feature available to you. So if you’re a Wizard, for instance, you get a Mage of Lorehold feature at 2nd level, as well as levels 6, 10, and 14:

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Whereas bards gain features at levels 3, 6, and 14. So you’ll want to choose carefully.

Alright let’s dig through the subclasses. First up the Mages of Lorehold available to Bards, Warlocks, and Wizards

This class is all about learning lessons from the past, but mechanically, they’re all about summoning a powerful, flexible companion that can take one of three different forms (and can change whenever you finish a long rest). So on any given adventuring day, you can bond with a Healer, Sage, or Warrior, each of which gives a variety of flavors to the following statblock:

You’ll also gain some bonus spells which include some fantastic utility spells like knock as well as combat spells like spirit guardians which is arguably one of the best spells in the game for its level.

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As you level up you’ll learn Lessons of the Past which give you additional benefits depending on what kind of spirit you choose each day:

You’ll also have access to War Exhoes which gives you a reaction to cause a target to become vulnerable to an attack that’s just hit a target, and History’s Whims which gives you a selection of powerful temporal benefits that can protect you for up to 1 minute, once per day.

Next we turn to the Mage of Prismari for Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards.

This class is all about expressing yourself through the power of the elements. Mechanically speaking, Prismari Mages are fast and frenetic. They gain Creative Skills which give them extra skills, as well as Kinetic Artistry which lets them Dash as a bonus action with an extra benefit, you can pick from one of three different effects:

  • Boreal Sweep which lets you walk on water and potentially knock creatures within five feet of you prone whenever you leave a space nearby them
  • Scorching Whirl which lets you deal damage to each creature within five feet of you at some point before the end of your turn, provided they fail a save
  • Thunderlight Jaunt which lets you move through other creatures’ spaces without provoking opportunity attacks

So already you’re going to be a lot more active in combat. It’s rare to see mobility and potentially damaging effects set up like this, but this is an incredibly flexible power. At 6th level Favored Medium grants you resistance to cold, fire, or lightning damage (your choice) and lets you emit “a spectacular aura of artistry” which shares your resistance with creatures of your choice within five feet of you when you cast the spell.

At 10th level Focused Expression grants you an extra rider whenever you deal damage, depending on whether you favor Cold, Lightning, or Fire damage. And at 14th level Impeccable Physicality grants you the ability to treat a Dex save roll of 9 or lower as a 10.

We’ll be going through the next classes soon, so stay tuned for the rest of Strixhaven’s special mages

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