Persuasion Check: Unearthed Arcana – Giant Soul Sorcerer

June is looking to be BIG thanks to the new Giant Soul Sorcerer subclass in this month’s Unearthed Arcana! A quick glance got me excited since I firmly believe that the Sorcerer has some of the best potential for a wide array of subclasses.

As I keep stating, I always love seeing new player options from our friends at Wizards of the Coast. For one, it gives us a chance to see some of the more outlandish or cool ideas they have brewing in their heads. And secondly, it makes it easier for me to evaluate and provide options outside of the currently published materials for my players, rather than scrounging up ideas on the wild, wild, web. But enough about why I love Unearthed Arcana in general, let’s take a dive into the Giant Soul subclass!

Jotun Resilience & Mark of the Ordning
After taking a look at quick at the Giant Soul’s abilities and flavor, it became immediately obvious that the Draconic Bloodline origin would be the perfect subclass to compare and contrast. Both are derived from ancient power being passed down through generations, and both allow the player to choose what type of dragon/giant their powers come from, giving them further choice and customization when choosing the subclass.

Jotun Resilience is directly comparable to Draconic Resilience, as both grant you +1 hit points at first level and every level gained in that class thereafter. Not bad, as giants and dragon are both hearty creatures. However, Draconic Resilience also grants the Sorcerer an unarmored AC of 13+Dexterity due to thin dragon scales that grow on them.

However, I think Mark of the Ordning makes up for that small discrepancy. While the Draconic Ancestry allows the Sorcerer to pick a color of dragon (and therefore, damage type) for use later on, it also gives them Draconic as a language and a bonus to interacting with Dragons. That’s all good, but each type of Giant grants you two bonus spells at first level (a 1st level and a cantrip) and a 2nd level spell at level three. Anything that increases the repertoire of spells known to a Sorcerer, even at low levels, is a good thing as it allows for greater utility of choice elsewhere. I would say this puts the Giant Soul ahead of Draconic Bloodline at first level by a decent margin, though not game breaking by any means. As a note, they did a great job with picking spells that accurately reflect the giant types. Fog cloud for Cloud Giants, shocking grasp for Storm Giants, and heck, shillelagh for Hill Giants! What a great couple choices with each type ultimately getting 3 thematic spells apiece!

Soul of Lost Ostoria
Level 6 brings Soul of the Lost Ostoria, further diving into the specific giant type chosen, much like Elemental Affinity from Draconic Bloodline. However, Elemental Affinity seems a lot more boring in comparison, as it simply allows the Sorcerer to add their Charisma Modifier to any spells that deal damage that corresponds to their type as well as spending a sorcery point to gain resistance to that damage. Giant Soul Sorcerers however get one of six dynamic effects of abilities that deal with their Mark of the Ordning spells. Cloud Giants allows them to teleport short distances when casting any of the three spells, Fire Giants can add their Constitution Modifier to the damage dealt by them, Frost Giants can get temporary hit points (stacking with armor of Agathys, which is neat), Hill Giants can push adjacent creatures away, Stone Giants get a temporary boost to AC equal to their Constitution Modifier, and Storm Giants deal lightning damage equal to your Constitution Modifier to up to three creatures nearby. However, while in a vacuum I would say these effects are more fun and dynamic, I do not think they are necessarily better. The Elemental Affinity trait applies to all spells of that type, not just three specific spells, meaning there may be cases where some of these bonuses are outgrown or become more situational as higher level spells take precedence. Overall, I dig it, it’s not too powerful though it is certainly a healthy boost at 6th level.

Rage of Fallen Ostoria
Ok, I am sold on this subclass with this. At level 14, Rage of the Fallen Ostoria allows the Sorcerer to, when spending a spell slot to cast a sorcerer spell, to increase their size category by one, by with specific advantages over a general increase spells such as enlarge. Briefly, current and max hit points increase by 1 per Sorcerer level, reach and speed increase by 5 feet, advantage on Strength checks and saving throws, and bonus to damage of melee weapon attacks equal to the Sorcerer’s Constitution Modifier. That’s awesome and thoroughly thematic, and allows the Sorcerer to become melee focused at a moment’s notice, making some different types of Sorcerers both viable and attractive. Oh, uh, Draconic Bloodline Sorcerers get Dragon Wins, which allow them to fly. Though likely helpful in more situations, it’s not as cool as turning turning into the Hulk.

Giant Soul Sorcerers: The New Muscle Wizards

Blessing of the All Father
And this is where it simplifies for the Giant Soul Sorcerer; Blessing of the All Father, at level 18, increases Constitution by 2 (up to 22), and allows Rage of the Fallen to be used twice between rests. Also, it can be used cumulatively (meaning you can go from Medium to Large to Huge!), with everyone stacking except the bonus melee weapon damage. Draconic Bloodline on the other hand gets Draconic Presence, tapping into the Frightful Presence abilities of their ancestors, allowing the Sorcerer to try to mass charm or frighten those around them. It’s another notch in their utility belt for sure, but so is becoming Huge and stepping on goblins.

I have to say I’m impressed by the Giant Soul Sorcerer. WotC have truly come up with another great subclass that is both thematic and unique without being game breaking by any stretch of the imagination. It squares up nicely with the Draconic Bloodline variant, and in some ways is what I wish the Draconic Bloodline origin would have been. The only time I can see things getting out of hand is then having the already Huge Sorcerer cast enlarge on themselves to become Gargantuan, but I also restate my usual case of Wizards having wish by then, so I think that is fair game.

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