0
\$\begingroup\$

Most of the options in the Unearthed Arcana - Class Feature Variants begin with:

A [classname] has access to the following feature(s).

And then follow a general trend of referencing class names, feature names, whether it replaces or enhances, and sometimes a level requirement.

How do you interpret the requirements for class feature variants?

For example:

Sorcerer

A sorcerer has access to the following features.

...

Metamagic Options

3rd-level sorcerer feature (enhances Metamagic)

When you choose Metamagic options, you have access to the following additional options.

How is access supposed to be interpreted when using feats that allow you to pick from another class' spell lists, metamagic options, invocations, etc, when you are not the class that was given access?

  • Such as a fighter with magic initiate choosing druid and wanting to pick up acid splash from Class Feature Variants expanded spell list.

What if you are the right class but the incorrect level?

  • Such as a variant human sorcerer using metamagic adept from UA 2020 feats to access metamagic before level 3 and wanting to pick up elemental spell from Class Feature Variants 3rd-level sorcerer feature.

Do the feature enhancements/replacements from UA: Class Feature Variants only apply once you've reached the corresponding level in that class?

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri Metamagic adept and eldritch adept allow you access to metamagic and invocations at level 1 with variant humans. The actual classes get them at 3 and 2. \$\endgroup\$ – kent Aug 29 '20 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've tried to give the question a clearer title that better summarizes what you're asking about. Please check to make sure I've maintained your intent. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 29 '20 at 19:32
3
\$\begingroup\$

The UA doesn't say - but I'd rule that modified/replaced features (that your DM allows) act like errata to the original

According to the introduction to UA: Class Feature Variants:

Here you’ll find features that replace or enhance the normal features of your character’s class. The class feature variants each specify which feature they replace or enhance, as summarized in the Class Feature Variants table (see page 2). If a feature is replaced, you gain no benefit from it and don’t qualify for anything in the game that requires it. If a feature is enhanced, you continue to enjoy its benefits but now with new capabilities.

The DM decides which of these options are available to the characters in a campaign. A DM is free to prohibit these variants, allow all of them, or make a subset of them available to you.

Let's assume that all of the options from the UA are allowed for simplicity. Then if we look at any given class feature enhancement, such as Metamagic Options for the sorcerer:

Metamagic Options

3rd-level sorcerer feature (enhances Metamagic)

When you choose Metamagic options, you have access to the following additional options.

[...]

How I'd interpret this is that, effectively, the list of Metamagic options goes from the list in the PHB to [the list in the PHB + all of these extra options]. Nothing in UA: Class Feature Variants says the abilities only get enhanced/replaced once you reach those class levels - it's just that the enhancements/replacements usually don't have much effect unless you have taken levels in those classes, most of the time.

Then if we look at the Metamagic Adept feat in UA: Feats (2020):

Metamagic Adept

Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature

You’ve learned how to exert your will on your spells to alter how they function. You gain the following benefits:

  • You learn two Metamagic options of your choice from the sorcerer class. You can use only one Metamagic option on a spell when you cast it, unless the option says otherwise. Whenever you gain a level, you can replace one of your Metamagic options with another one from the sorcerer class.
  • [...]

Basically, it lets you learn 2 options from the sorcerer's Metamagic feature. It doesn't specify a list of options you can choose from, or say you're limited to the ones in the PHB; it just has you reference the sorcerer's list of Metamagic options.

Now, although the interaction of content from one UA with content from another UA isn't necessarily well-defined, then whatever things you can choose from for the sorcerer's Metamagic feature (whether from UA: Class Feature Variants or another source), you can also choose those Metamagic options for the Metamagic Adept feat. No additional restrictions exist in the content preventing you from choosing those options if they've been allowed as options for a sorcerer's Metamagic feature.

The same applies to the Magic Initiate example in picking from a druid's expanded spell list. The Druid Spells feature in UA:CFV says:

Druid Spells

1st-level druid feature (enhances Spellcasting)

The following spells expand the druid spell list.

Cantrips (0 Level)

Acid splash [...]

Here, it expands the druid's spell list.

The Magic Initiate feat says (PHB, p. 168):

Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You learn two cantrips of your choice from that class's spell list.

[...]

This lets you pick any of the listed classes, and learn 2 cantrips from that spell list (as well as a 1st-level spell that you can cast once per long rest). If the Druid Spells enhancement from UA:CFV is being used, then acid splash becomes a valid cantrip option for those who take the Magic Initiate feat and pick the druid spell list for it. (Likewise, ceremony and protection from evil and good become additional options you can pick from for the 1st-level spell that you can cast with the feat once per long rest.)

In essence, any class feature variants that enhance existing class features, if allowed by the DM, make it so that the feature then reads as if it always included the enhancement. Any class feature variants that replace existing class features make it as if the replacement is what the class gained at that level to begin with. The class feature variants, as presented in UA:CFV, don't have class level prerequisites that must be met before you're allowed to act as if they exist; those variants that your DM allows are basically treated like errata to the original feature they enhance or replace.

\$\endgroup\$
4
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the DM enhancing the feature or the player that selects it? It seems the DM says the UA or Tasha's can be used and then the player picks which enhancements/replacements they want. And that is specific to each player. There might be two players at a table with the same class and running different builds. The alternative is that player 1 chose enhancements so now player 2 has to play with them. \$\endgroup\$ – kent Aug 30 '20 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kent: As it says: "The DM decides which of these options are available to the characters in a campaign." Once the DM decides "these options are available", the player just kinda gets those benefits (assuming they want them); the vast majority of UA:CFV is enhancements rather than replacements, so for the most part all the player has to decide is "do I want this free improvement to the feature I already get?". For the few cases where there's an actual choice (i.e. replacements, like for the ranger) - well, obviously, once the DM okays it, it's up to the player to choose which option they want. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 30 '20 at 1:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unrelated but not sure where to ask this and you are also a mod. What happened to the other answer? Did the user delete it themselves? \$\endgroup\$ – kent Aug 30 '20 at 6:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kent: The user deleted it themselves. Any users with 10k reputation or more can see deleted answers. (You may also want to check out our help center if you have any questions about how the site works, and feel free to ask on Role-playing Games Meta if you're not able to find the answer yourself.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 31 '20 at 2:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.