DMs Guild Review – 52 New Class Options

Dozens of new subclasses for every class in Dungeons & Dragons.

dms guild review

A review copy of “52 New Class Options” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Alex Ilyinskii

Between the Player’s Handbook and Xanather’s Guide to Everything, most classes in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition have five or six different options for subclass archetypes. But players are always wanting more. “52 New Class Options” offers way more than anyone would ever need. Not everything works well and there are more than a few eyebrow-raising abilities, but with dozens of options you’ll definitely find something to like for each class.

The 52 new subclasses are not all divided evenly, with some classes getting more than others. The supplement lacks a table of contents but here is the breakdown as per the store page:

  • 5 barbarian paths
  • 5  bard colleges
  • 5 cleric domains
  • 4 druid circles
  • 4 fighter archetypes
  • 5 monk styles
  • 4 paladin oaths
  • 4 ranger paths
  • 4 rogue paths
  • 5 sorcerer bloodlines
  • 5 warlock pacts
  • 2 wizard schools

Every single archetype and subclass takes up a single page. That makes it easy to skim through and see everything a class has to offer, but some classes needed much more room. The designer makes the odd choice to stick to the one page plan, and force the more detailed and complicated classes, like the Hell Knight, into a smaller font type that bunches up the text and looks awful.

In reading through the full list of options I came away with a fairly even distribution, about 1/3 felt weird or broken, 1/3 were okay or meh, and the other 1/3 were really interesting and fun. With other supplements that kind of ratio could be cause for concern, but even liking only a third of the content means there were around 15 subclasses that were worth checking out, which is far more than most supplements can offer.

The subclasses I was less enthused with were often little more than multi-classes. To be fair, I could levy that description onto some of the official subclasses, such as Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster, but most of them don’t seem to mesh as well here, like the Path of the Shaman (adding druid spells to a Barbarian), the Divine Hand (a Rogue who can cast cleric spells) or the Pact Domain (cleric who wants warlock and wizard spells). Stay in your lane!

But there were also plenty that took a solid theme and ran with it, or filled one of the few holes among all the published archetypes.

The aforementioned Hell Knight offers a selection of fun, highly thematic hellish armaments and abilities, like summonable clawed gauntlets and armor and a radiating fiery aura. The Path of the Great Beast allows a raging barbarian to literally transform into a were-like creature with claw and bite attacks. The Ranger Wild Mimic gives an awesome new twist on choosing a favored enemy, by granting a different mutation bonus for each different enemy, such as Dragons giving the Dragon’s Breath spell twice a day. The Nature’s Arrow Ranger Archetype finally gives Rangers a bunch of cool special arrows to use that all grant different effects. And the Pact of the Primus turns Warlocks into War Machine.

dms guild review

My personal favorite was the Bard College of Art. At 3rd level the bard can sketch a picture to summon a monstrosity or abberration into battle, which reminded me of Relm from Final Fantasy VI. It still felt decently balanced, as the summoned creature requires concentration and is limited to 1/3 the CR of your bard level (and requires concentration). The bard can also draw and summon armor and weapons (scaling up to magical later on) and gain themed spells like Color Spray. A neat idea, a solid theme, and fair restrictions.

It’s difficult to comment on balancing from an at-a-glance review without the incredibly arduous task of playing all these classes through a dozen or so levels. For the most part they felt decently balanced with the official classes, which should always be a big selling point for DMs.

A few of the new subclasses still felt a bit overpowered, such as the Monk Scaled Fist being able to transform into their dragon avatar at 3rd level. Granted the level must be equal to your month level but still, that feels like it should be something you work your way toward earning. At 9th level the Rogue Shadow Stalker can Misty Step multiple times per day (DEX modifier), has 120 dark vision, and can use a bonus action to deal necrotic weapon damage with their shadow, which can also do a second sneak attack, oof.

It’s weird to say I didn’t particularly enjoy most of the classes and still remain positive about the overall product, mostly due to the sheer volume of content provided. There may be over 50 subclasses here but only a dozen or so worth checking out, and that’s perfectly fine.

Pros:

  • A ridiculous amount of subclasses for all 12 classes.
  • Over a dozen excellent, thematic, and fun subclasses, from mechanized warlocks to hellish fighters and mutating rangers.

Cons:

  • Keeping to one page per class causes some formatting issues.
  • Many classes are soft multi-classes and don’t bring anything new.

The Verdict: “52 New Class Options” is very much a quantity over quality approach, but there’s enough great subclass ideas to make it worth your while.

A review copy of “52 New Class Options” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s