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I saw a question recently about the Blood Hunter class, which confused me because the D&D Beyond page for it is very visually distinct from pages for Homebrew, but everything I've seen indicates that D&D 5e has been extremely reticent to introduce whole new classes, instead opting to create more varied class archetypes (e.g. Divine Soul as a Sorcerous Origin). After a little investigation, it seems to be "special" for unspecified reasons. For example, it appears in the list of Classes as neither Official nor Homebrew, but is instead the sole occupant of the "Additional" category. Thus it definitely isn't "truly official", but somebody at D&D Beyond (an official rules source) considers it substantially distinct from homebrew.

So the essence of my question is, what separates Blood Hunter from being a normal homebrew class? I can think of a few possibilities, but the actual answer might be a combination, or something else entirely.

  • Blood Hunter is actually official, but was published outside of sourcebooks so it gets weird treatment.
  • Blood Hunter is a licensed 3rd party product, so is "approved" material but not considered official for purposes like being allowed in Adventurer's League play.
  • Blood Hunter was developed by member(s) of the D&D 5e team, so is from an "official source" but only on a technicality.
  • Blood Hunter is from a highly trusted source or has been recognized as high quality by the community, but is otherwise normal homebrew.
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    \$\begingroup\$ strongly related: what are the official 5e classes/subclasses? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 7 '18 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the "official rules source" bit you referenced was meant to be interpreted as a 'source of official rules', not an 'official source of rules', if that makes sense. Anyone can make a new source for official rules (roll20 also has this, for example) and keep it up-to-date, but only the creators/officiators of a thing can say that some new site or group also counts as an 'official source of rules'. \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH Aug 8 '18 at 13:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TylerH It's true that only Wizards of the Coast could say that a site is official, but they already did call D&D Beyond "an official digital toolset" that's "built with official D&D content", so in my experience people generally think "if D&D Beyond says something is official then it is official". Obviously that's distinct from "D&D Beyond is allowed to choose whether something is official" if that's what you're saying, but it definitely "is official" rather than just "contains official information". \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Drakari Aug 8 '18 at 13:51
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Blood Hunter is unofficial third-party content by Matt Mercer, but he and Critical Role have an advertising partnership with D&D Beyond.

Nothing makes the Blood Hunter class inherently special as compared to any other homebrew class published on DMsGuild or D&D Beyond. It's not any more official or AL-legal than any other homebrew class.

The only reason it has a special placement/presentation on D&D Beyond (DDB) is that Matt Mercer and Critical Role have an advertising partnership with DDB. Apparently, as part of that partnership, DDB has agreed to provide special listings for Mercer's homebrew Blood Hunter class and his Gunslinger fighter subclass. (The same items appear on DMsGuild: Blood Hunter,1 and Gunslinger.)

DDB's character creator also lists "Critical Role Content" separately from other "Homebrew Content", presumably for the same reason.

This changelog on the D&D Beyond forum discusses the partnership:

Critical Role Partnership

We are also very happy to finally share that we have entered a long-term partnership with Critical Role!

As part of the sponsorship, we will be adding some of the custom content used at the table in the show, starting with the blood hunter class by Matt Mercer.

You can also see in the screen capture above that a new Critical Role Content category has been added. To enable CR content for your character, toggle that category "on" and you will see the blood hunter as a new option in the builder. You can also see the blood hunter under the 'Additional > Classes' section in the main navigation and classes page.

We plan to incorporate more Critical Role content over the course of the partnership, so stay tuned for that here. Also, if you aren't already a loyal viewer, now is an excellent time to jump in and experience a brand new campaign with the cast of Critical Role! Check out the first episode here.

A Twitter user also asked about the partnership and the officialness of the Blood Hunter class:

Twitter user: The Blood Hunter is listed as an additional class on D&D Beyond, under official classes, was it made official?

Jeremy Crawford: The only official classes in D&D are in the Player's Handbook. For a new class to become official in the future, it must appear in a D&D book or must be announced as official by the D&D team.

D&D Beyond: The Blood Hunter is actually categorized under 'Additional Classes' everywhere it appears in DDB. It is specifically not under 'Official Classes' and is not considered official.

Matt Mercer: This. :)

In short: it's not official. It's basically "homebrew"/third-party content, just like anyone else's, except DDB has given it a special placement/designation because of their partnership with Critical Role.


This will not change with the release of the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount book in March 2020. Though it is the first official Wizards of the Coast book about Matt Mercer's setting of Exandria (and the continent of Wildemount within it), it doesn't affect the status of any other content by Mercer.

According to the product listing on critrole.com, the book will contain several new official character options, including 3 subclasses (the Echo Knight for fighters, and the Chronurgist and Graviturgist for wizards) and a number of new spells from Mercer's new dunamancy type of magic, among other new content. However, it will not reprint the content Mercer published on DMsGuild or in Green Ronin's Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, or make that content any more official.


1 Mercer did release an updated/rebalanced version of his Blood Hunter class in January 2020, but the older version is still available as a separate listing on DMsGuild. He also mentions in this Twitter thread that the version on D&D Beyond will be updated as well.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note: Crawford's tweet is now inaccurate as of the release of Eberron: Rising from the Last War and the updated Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, both of which contain the artificer class. (The latter contains just 1 subclass, whereas the former contains all 3 subclasses so far.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 13 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ While all the above is correct I will say that Matt Mercer did state in a Critical Role episode around the time of making the class that one of the 5E game designers At WOTC had helped him balance the class and improve it with some suggestions. So while it isn’t official it is as close as you can get. \$\endgroup\$ – Richard C Jul 24 at 21:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RichardC: That doesn't make it official or even "close to" official (whatever that means). If Chris Perkins commented on a homebrew thing I made, that wouldn't affect its status as homebrew. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 24 at 22:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you read I said it didn’t make it official. Most DM’s issues with home brew classes is that they can be unbalanced throwing a party or campaign. Or untested meaning that issues arise the dm has to resolve without having designed the class. I am pretty sure it was actually Chris Perkins who gave Matt the help, and as he knows him pretty well I imagine that help was a bit more involved then a few comments on a board. Matt has also said the character was play tested and improved based on that feedback. As a DM that to me means it is as close to being balanced like an official class as possible \$\endgroup\$ – Richard C Jul 25 at 0:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RichardC: I appreciate your opinion, but I fail to see what it has to do with my answer then. The Q&A is solely about whether (or to what degree) the class is official, not whether it's balanced or playtested. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 25 at 1:19
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Critical Role is a Non-Official Source Category on par with Homebrew and Playtest Content.

Critical Role is its own non-official source category. It is alongside homebrew and playtest material. Details are in this change log.

Critical Role Partnership

We are also very happy to finally share that we have entered a long-term partnership with Critical Role!

As part of the sponsorship, we will be adding some of the custom content used at the table in the show, starting with the blood hunter class by Matt Mercer.

You can also see in the screen capture above that a new Critical Role Content category has been added. To enable CR content for your character, toggle that category "on" and you will see the blood hunter as a new option in the builder. You can also see the blood hunter under the 'Additional > Classes' section in the main navigation and classes page.

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Matt Mercer explained on Twitter that the class isn't something he wants to tackle for now in official content releases. It hasn't been published in any official WotC material; not even Explorer's Guide to Wildemount which was written by Matt Mercer.

Q: Hey about the Bloodhunter class...is it or is it not in [Explorer's Guide to Wildemount]?

@chem_psycho on Twitter; January 16, 2020

A: Introducing an entire new CLASS into DnD “officially” is a painstaking, delicate process. The Blood Hunter is still in development for me, so not yet. However, I’ve taken my lessons over the years, and after much tinkering, I should have something cool for folks soon... ;) 🩸

@matthewmercer on Twitter; January 16, 2020

Therefore it isn't an official class even if it is on the home page of D&D Beyond with whom he has a partnership and where he updates the class, as confirmed by D&D Beyond and by Matt Mercer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For future reference, please don't repost to get around deletion. There should be a button on the post where you can flag it for moderator attention; explain in text why it should be undeleted. However, since it's been fully rewritten I think we can move forward with this one. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 25 at 10:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ You should quote the relevant text and do note that despite the name of the website it is not Sage Advice, merely a 3rd party collection of (in this case not even) developer tweets. You might also want to be careful with abbreviations as many things share the same, and I assume the Monster Manual didn't write this one (and not M. Mearls either)? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 25 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure sorry for that didn't know the proper procedure tried to rewrite and then pressed undelete but it didn't work. I understand that Sage Advice is a 3rd party collection now a day but this is from the author of the class and of the book therefore I thought it was accurate enough to answer the question since the author in said article mention that it wasn't introduced officially to DnD. I will quote more precisely in future posts. Thanks for your patience! \$\endgroup\$ – Pierre-François Casanova Aug 25 at 12:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've quoted the tweets, and directed to the primary source (the tweets themselves) rather than Sage Advice, since we can do that. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 25 at 13:31

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