On May 23, 2022, Wizards of the Coast released the Giant Options Unearthed Arcana (UA), with new subclasses and feats. The Runecrafter Wizard, which D&D Principal Rules Designer Jeremy Crawford describes as “the sibling of the Rune Knight,” features new resource tech for 5th Edition.
Back in early 2020, D&D started testing proficiency scaling. Under this system, features receive a number of uses per long rest equal to the character’s proficiency bonus. This marked a design shift away from features that: (a) reset on short rests, and (b) give a number of uses based on an ability score modifier.
The Runecrafter introduces a new resource paradigm by blending these two concepts. At level 2, Runic Empowerment grants the wizard subclass a number of runes they can append when casting a leveled spell. The rune tech relies on proficiency scaling, giving you a number of runes equal to your proficiency bonus per long rest. At level 10, Rune Maven also allows the wizard to recover runes on a short rest, by keying to the wizard’s Arcane Recovery feature. When the wizard uses Arcane Recovery, they also regain a number of runes equal to ½ INT modifier, rounded up:
Arcane Recovery has some interesting language. While it’s technically a short rest feature, it also carries language limiting its use to once per day. This can cause disparities for tables using the Gritty Realism resting variant, which makes short rests take 8 hours and long rests take 7 days. For Gritty Realism’s sake, we can take the assumptions from the Dungeon Master’s Guide’s guidance on The Adventuring Day, and assume two short rests per long rest. Here’s how those look:
Wow, that is a big jump once Rune Maven comes online (+75%). Even larger if you’re using the Gritty Realism resting variant (+150%!).
Notably, Arcane Recovery comes on at level 1. So, this type of scaling would be theoretically available at level 1 (though wizards don’t get subclasses until level 2). Designing in this way would establish a smoother progression as characters add levels (proficiency bonus) and invest in ability scores. Here’s how it would look if those features were built from the ground up:
D&D has established an interesting new paradigm for class feature resources. However, it could benefit from bringing the entire paradigm online at earlier levels, in order to smooth out the scaling and let the player have full use of their character’s cool features at the lower levels where most characters dwell.
If you have better suggestions for what to call this scaling than PB/LR+½ASB/SR, please drop it in the comments below. The acronyms have gone algebraic. If you liked what you read, you can support us on the ThinkDM Patreon.