New D&D Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana Introduces Stronghold Rules

A brand new batch of Unearthed Arcana for Dungeons & Dragons has gone live. This new playtest material includes changes to cantrips and a brand new Bastion system.

Published: October 5, 2023 2:40 PM /


Official artwork of Sigil, The City of Doors, from Dungeons & Dragons

A new set of Unearthed Arcana has gone live for D&D. This latest batch of playtest material for the upcoming 2024 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana, contains some rules changes, as well as new rules for player strongholds.

The D&D Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana

According to a video interview on the D&D YouTube channel, System Architect Jeremy Crawford explains the Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana is playtest material for the 2024 Dungeon Master's Guide.

The biggest draw within this new playtest material is a brand new optional subsystem known as the Bastion system. Simply put, a Bastion is a stronghold or safe haven that an adventurer can return to, invest resources, and maintain throughout a campaign.

A Bastion can be anything that is thematically appropriate to that player's heroic archetype or character. A Wizard may have a tower full of recovered magical tomes. A Cleric may have a temple honoring their holy order. A Fighter could just invest in a castle stronghold. The list goes on.

Characters gain a Bastion when they reach level 5. Every Bastion contains normal and special facilities. These range from bathrooms and kitchens to magical laboratories and workshops. Players can add more facilities as they level up and invest money into their Bastion.

Managing and maintaining a Bastion lets players accumulate Bastion Points. These points can be spent on creating magical items, ordering hirelings to perform tasks, or even bringing a character back to life.

There are even rules and charts for random events at your Bastion, including the arrival of esteemed guests and the possibility of a magical discovery by your hirelings. Alternatively, the Bastion can fall or become abandoned if it isn't maintained.

A text box showing new rules for the True Strike cantrip form the Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana playtest material
It's not useless anymore!

As for the other half of the Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana, Wizards of the Coast has changed the effects of several cantrips within this playtest.

Some of these changes are minor but welcome. Shillelagh now scales in damage based on the caster's level. The damage die of Chill Touch has gone up but is now a touch spell. Acid Splash is now an area-of-effect Evocation spell.

But the biggest glow-up goes to the much-maligned True Strike cantrip. Instead of wasting a turn to give yourself an advantage on your next attack roll, this cantrip lets you make a weapon attack but use your spellcasting modifier for both the attack and damage rolls.

In addition, True Strike provides bonus damage at higher levels. Spellsinger Wizards, Hexblade Warlocks, and College of Swords Bards are now much more viable martial fighters with this new cantrip.

This is the eighth batch of Unearthed Arcana meant to test new ideas for the newest edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Prior playtests have introduced new subclasses as well as a new weapon mastery system for martial classes.

The Bastions and Cantrips Unearthed Arcana playtest material can be downloaded on D&D Beyond. The feedback survey for these changes will go live on October 19.

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