The official D&D page for Strixhaven is up. The summary page shows just how much the supplement will add to D&D.
What Strixhaven does not add is likely to prove to be even more significant.
In June, an Unearthed Arcana playtest added subclasses for Strixhaven colleges which did something not seen before from WotC for D&D 5e. The subclasses were not unique to one class.
For example, the Lorehold subclass could be accessed by Bards, Warlocks or Wizards and the Witherbloom subclass by Druids and Warlocks.
Jeremy Crawford said that Wizards of the Coast had learned something important from the playtest; this approach doesn’t work, fans don’t like it.
The Unearthed Arcana playtest did the job we asked it to do. Occasionally, we put some very experimental things in front of D&D fans and ask them if they want to see more of it.”
In this case, the very simple answer was ‘No.’
We learned two really important things from this playtest that reinforced something we’ve been seeing from the D&D community going back to D&D Next.”
People love for D&D subclasses to speak to the distinctiveness of a particular class. 5E fans also want subclasses to be usable in as many settings as possible, since so many DMs homebrew their own settings. In this case, there was a bit of an uphill climb since the subclasses were so tied to a particular setting, that being the magical college of Strixhaven.”
Crawford helpful frankness makes it clear that Wizards of the Coast have heard this feedback. Not only are these subclasses not in Strixhaven, but the D&D publisher also seems to have no desire to test the approach again.
What will Strixhaven add to D&D?
The hardback (and digital editions at Roll20 and D&D Beyond – no mention of Fantasy Grounds, though) will include the following;
- Different character options including feats and unique backgrounds for first-year students at Strixhaven
- New spells and magic items to characters feel part of the college they join
- Four adventures suitable as standalones or threaded into one campaign from 1st-10th level
- More than 40 magical, strange creatures and NPCs
- A new PC race; the owlin, one of the owlfolk who study at the university
- Academic challenges, extracurricular activities, jobs and relationships on campus
Characters begin as first-year students who study, socialise and adventure as they progress towards graduation. While Strixhaven is a crossover with Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast have designed it so that it may be dropped into any 5E D&D world using the provided rules for adventuring as a student of magic.
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