When Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos hits shelves on November 16, it will be missing any trace of the shared subclasses seen in a recent Unearthed Arcana playtest. Fans apparently had a very strong reaction to the idea of subclasses that can be used by multiple different classes.
Wizards released the UA preview of Strixhaven in early June, including subclasses dedicated to magic school’s five colleges. Different spellcasting classes could follow a college and gain subclass features based on its theme. A wizard and bard would see slight differences in their features when picking the same college, but the overall theme remained the same. When D&D lead Jeremy Crawford looked at the feedback, he found that players didn’t respond well to how Strixhaven specific it all was.
During a D&D Live press event, Crawford said that the overwhelming negative reaction told designers two things: One, that players want “subclasses that speak to the distinctiveness of a class.” Two, “5e fans want subclasses to be universal to settings.” Surveys showed that Strixhaven failed on both of these counts by making classes share a limited pool of subclass abilities based on very specific lore. As such, the Dungeons & Dragons design team is nixing the idea for the time being.
Crawford did not share what will replace the shared subclasses, but did assure fans that the team has backup plans for when planned content gets scrapped in playtest. He did mention that by not going in this direction, Strixhaven opens up to content aimed at non-casters.
The college of Strixhaven itself will be designed in such a way that it can be used in any setting. New backgrounds and feats will be given for creating student characters of all classes as Strixhaven is dedicated to the study of magic, not just training wizards Harry Potter style. Four chapters of the book will be dedicated to adventures–one for each academic year. Players can use them piecemeal or combine them into a level 1-10 campaign.