I dunno. It's all entirely optional. It's a view in to the things people can do for themselves. I have to admit I'm somewhat biased because I did enjoy UA.

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I dunno. It's all entirely optional. It's a view in to the things people can do for themselves. I have to admit I'm somewhat biased because I did enjoy UA. I thought the pages came out for ease of reference! I have a personal beef with UA. At the time it was released I was too young to know any better. Written by GG, UA was canon. However, the quality of our games quickly took a nosedive and it took me a long time to figure out why. That book almost killed the game for me.

If it weren't for a move and finding a new gaming group, I might have abandoned the hobby in Down with Unearthed Arcana detractors! Jim called it on the binding. That said, I still hold a soft spot for the Cavalier. In that capacity I refer to it often. I had an awesome Thief Acrobat back in the day that lasted through level 15 or so. The only thing other than that extremely niche class I like are the spells. All the spellcasters got to add more variety to their lists, adn that's a good thing.

Pretty much every other point except for the one about the plate armors, where I'm in the same boat as MJS I agree with. I rather enjoyed the stat generation system Let's see, role 18d6 and keep the highest Tell ya what, flip a coin. Tails you have a 17, heads and Yeah, Binding, what binding I have a fondess for the Cavalier and Barbarian The current copy I have which is 4 or 5 all time I recently poured about an ounce of Elmer's glue down the spine, and I swear that binding will outlast anything short of severe flooding at this point.

This is odd ; I never had any problems at all with the binding of UA, only its contents. The races and classes it introduced possibly might have been balanced if you actually played with all the restrictions as written, but I'm not convinced that they would ever add anything much to the game.

I would really be interested in knowing how Gary used any of these things in his own home campaign, if indeed he did.

Has anyone ever come across anything like that? Corellon, Moradin, et al never existed before UA? I never noticed that. When I use the four racial gods, Corellon is the god of craftsmanship, Moradin is the god of the forge, Yondalla is the goddess of the hearth, and Garl is the god of cleverness, they just happen to be popular patrons for the race associated with them.

The same treatment extends to other later racial gods. In fact I tend to use something based largely around the core pantheon used in 3. I have to admit, I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to field and full plate armour.

Damage reduction mechanics. An additional damage reduction mechanic calls into question what AC means even more seriously than Dex bonuses do.

So you're saying that if you just ignore 85 of the pages, it's terrible? I said that "some" of the spells and magic items were worthwhile, not all of them. That aside, I think the other 43 pages are bad enough that they do in fact make the book too terrible to use. The chief deities of each of the demihuman pantheons come from the DDG originally, but the other members of these pantheons were created by Roger E.

Moore for a series of articles in Dragon and then included in UA , because Gary liked them so much. I think I'd have run a better and more fun game all those years in high school if I'd never heard of UA. As it was, my campaign was perenially full of Drow and Cavaliers, PCs who could slaughter the Monster Manual critters in droves.

Some of the spells and items broke down older game checks. For example, teleport without error made scry-and-teleport practical, while elixir of youth became a safe and reliable way to counteract aging. I was disappointed in UA because all the best material had been reprinted in my well-worn copy of Best of Dragon vol 3! Disagree strongly on that score, but likely a topic of its own. I seem to remember it having some Holloway art as well. Yet another strike against it. Moore for a series of articles in Dragon and then included in UA, because Gary liked them so much.

That worries me less. Between them and the dice rolling system for stats, I realised quickly that the book hadn't been adequately edited, that it was full of childish foolishness, and that I could do better writing supplements on my own. In some sense, it was probably influential on my decision that I could be a professional game designer. Barbarian class: "one part historical barbarian and one part Conan, with some additional oddities thrown in.

I recently came across Gygax's writeup of Conan in an early Dragon magazine, and was struck by how the list of abilities was very clearly the progenitor of the later Barbarian class.

Very much agreed. UA was the primary 1e book where I saw the "one step too far" syndrome that a lot of longstanding games suffer from. It's one I plan to tackle sometime in the next week or so, assuming I can remember to do so. There is Holloway art in it, along a few others, but it's extremely sparse and it gives the book a very different look and feel from the other 1e books, which were quite lavishly illustrated overall. Actually, it's practically all Conan as Gygax saw him.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who had binding issues with this book. So are you going to tackle Oriental Adventures? That said, although I read and liked it, I never got around to running an OA game I have very mixed feelings about OA.

There's a lot of very good material in it, but it also contains many cobblestones on the road to hell, chief among them being the non-weapon proficiency system. I also lament that it was a lot more quasi-historical in its approach than I'd expected, given the original promotion of it by Gygax in Dragon.

I asked the Man himself years later and he explained that it was David Cook who was mostly responsible for the book we got and that at least some of the work he and Francois Marcela-Froideval did for it was not included. A pity. I might go so far as to say that there was nothing wrong with Oriental Adventures. It's not until the WSG and DSG that the concept is extended much past the milieu-specific idea that a samurai is expected to be a gentleman with knowledge of the arts.

Our UAs keep falling apart. We duct tape them back together. I saw one US that someone had drilled through the binding and reinforced it with strips, the whole held together with big metal bolts. To this day when I see a UA with decent binding in a used bookstore I consider picking it up. We have bought 4 copies, one of which has completely fallen apart into separate pages. We've bought three copies of the Psionics Handbook and one of them has its pages all split up and stuck in a 3-hole binder.

If UA is any indication, a Gygaxian 2e would have sold its birthright for bowl of pottage. It doesn't help matters that the book was poorly edited and riddled with errors that make many of its already bad ideas even worse. I'll grant that there are some cool spells in this book, as well as some nifty magic items.

Beyond that, though, I can't find a lot to like. What don't I like? Let's see. Comeliness: A needless new ability score that undermined the value of Charisma and gave players yet another stat in which they felt they needed to have a high score.

Fortunately, UA obliges with even more ridiculous methods for rolling up you're character. I'm come to think that level limits are a poor way to model humanocentrism, but I'm not a zealot on this point. And don't even get me started on the svirfneblin The Cavalier: I used to love this class in my foolish, younger days, but I eventually grew to hate every bit of it, from the way that it undermined the logic of the existing class system to the way it again -- see a pattern?

The Cavalier also did violence to the paladin class by claiming it as its sub-class and that's a misstep I can't easily forgive. The Barbarian: Another class that undermines the logic of the existing class system, the barbarian is worse than the cavalier because it's an incoherent class -- one part historical barbarian and one part Conan, with some additional oddities thrown in.

Thief-Acrobat: I don't hate this proto-prestige class as much as either the cavalier or babrbarian. I actually like it for the fact that its abilities are not things that an ordinary adventurer is likely to possess, thereby avoiding my issues with the thief. That said, it's a rather specialized class with limited appeal. Weapon Specialization: Just say no. Overpowered and absurd, the entire system contributes to bonus inflation and lays the groundwork for much nonsense in future editions of the game.

Field Plate and Full Plate: Their implementation here is incoherent and makes a mockery any attempts to rationalize the Armor Class system fruitless.

Social Class Tables: I love random tables, as you know, but this goes too far. Non-Human Deities: I'd like to go on record as hating this stuff shocking, I know.


Unearthed Arcana

Both were designed as supplements to the core rulebooks, containing material that expanded upon other rules. The book consisted mostly of material previously published in magazines, and included new races, classes , and other material to expand the rules in the Dungeon Masters Guide and Players Handbook. The book was notorious for its considerable number of errors, and was received negatively by the gaming press whose criticisms targeted the over-powered races and classes, among other issues. The designers did not reproduce material from the original book, but instead attempted to emulate its purpose by providing variant rules and options to change the game itself.


DnDWiki:Unearthed Arcana (1985)






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