I’m not a wrestling fan myself so I’m sure many references went over my head, but regardless I thoroughly enjoyed this supplement. Each subclass boasted a unique niche for each class with plenty of new tools for players to play around with.
I walked into this review expecting everyone to be a wrestler, but there was a ton of creativity and diversity in the subclass design. You’ve got special effects experts, announcers, hype men, and a variety of other jobs that run the pro wrestling gambit.
Michael’s passion for wrestling and excellent game design make It’s Still Real To Me, Dammit! a phenomenal pick-up for $4.99, especially if you’re a wrestling fanatic.
The formatting is phenomenal. The layout, combined with E. R. F. Jordan’s expert editing, made this supplement a breeze to read while still showcasing the supplement’s unique identity.
The hyperlinks in the table of contents made it easy to navigate. It’s not a long supplement at only 21 pages long, but it’s a nice quality of life addition for when players gain a level and want to quickly find out what their new feature is.
I cannot praise the efforts described in this section enough. The editing and layout brought this supplement to another level.
The artwork is fantastic. Each subclass has a full-color example character accompanying its introduction made by Sandika Rakhim. These served as both a great way to break-up each subclass and a useful visual to help envision how this subclass would look or feel.
The interior artwork was a huge boon to someone like me who isn’t into pro wrestling. I’m sure I’d have felt a bit lost without these awesome visuals to set the tone for the subclass.
I adore the cover art that I included at the beginning of this review by Kaitlyn Leeds. A dwarf suplexing a mind flayer is the perfect way to set the tone for this wacky, creative, and most importantly, fun supplement.
A Subclass for Everyone!
“A Subclass for Everyone” has two meanings. The first is that there is literally a subclass for all thirteen official 5e classes. This is a feat in itself due to the sheer volume of classes and the time it must have taken to give each one unique flavor and mechanics.
However, the supplement goes the extra mile and gives the blood hunter a subclass as well. To me, sticking to the official classes would’ve been good enough. I’d have thought nothing of it, but it was nice to see a popular homebrew class get some additional love too.
Not to mention that there’s a wide variety of roles sprinkled throughout the fourteen new subclasses. This winds up giving some classes brand-new niche opportunities that will entice players to try out these classes in their preferred party role.
A player that’s more interested in skill challenges or support roles is probably not someone interested in playing a fighter. However, the Ring General is a fantastic subclass for such a player to try out the class while still keeping their preferred playstyle in-tact.
Unique Niches and Fun Mechanics
Designing fourteen subclasses is no easy feat to tackle, yet somehow Michael has made them all work perfectly. Each has a unique and flavorful identity. Yet, their pro wrestling identity doesn’t carry the subclasses.
The unique mechanics and niches these subclasses have can carry their weight should a player wish to take the intended flavors in a different direction.
More importantly, not every subclass revolves around dealing damage. There are plenty that do, but there are a bunch of unique ones that give the player other options in and out of combat as well.
For example, the Grave Digger Sorcerer opens up a control-centric sorcerer build. It opens up a few options for spending sorcery points or using the subclass’ unique features to inhibit a creature’s saving throws and movement. Couple these features with some control spells and you can throw a boatload of crowd control at your enemies.
I wanted to close out this review by highlighting two of my favorites from It’s Still Real To Me, Dammit! It was difficult to choose, but I managed to go with the Oath of the Mask Paladin and the Tag Team Domain Cleric. Although the School of Heat Wizard was a very close second.
While both of these subclasses explore niches that engrained into both the cleric and paladin’s respective identities, they showcase new ways for them to explore their classic roles.
For the cleric, the tag team domain gives them support in the form of buffs as well as some new positioning tools for their allies.
The paladin, however, gains some new ways to beat the hell out of their enemies. Particularly in one-on-one duels.
Tag Team Domain Cleric
Don’t get me wrong, I love dealing big damage. Yet, my true love in 5e is playing a support role. Buffing your allies and hindering your enemies is a satisfying play-style to play.
The Tag Team Domain Cleric has a ton of cool features for this niche.
The premise of the subclass is that the cleric chooses an ally to become their partner. While they’re partnered with the cleric, the ally will have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, frightened, or stunned. This is a solid feature, especially since it costs no resources and has no cooldown.
As you level-up you’ll have other ways to help your party and partner. You can use Channel Divinity to swap places with an ally before an attack hits them, you can let nearby allies reposition towards you for a bonus action (ignoring difficult terrain), and you grant bonus healing to allies when you target them with Touch spells.
This subclass is all about helping your allies. You’re the reliable one, always getting people out of a bind or giving them a quick boost if they’re on death’s door.
It’s also an interesting subclass from a mechanical perspective. Many cleric domains open up opportunities for the cleric to be in melee range, but they don’t necessarily encourage it. The Tag Team Domain’s features all encourage you to stay close to your party and move around the battlefield to attend to everyone.
Oath of the Mask Paladin
Taking the Oath of the Mask means that the paladin has become a symbol, one that inspires people or strikes fear into the hearts of their enemies. What the oath means is up to the paladin’s beliefs, but a sense of honor is a requirement for an Oath of the Mask Paladin.
It also means that the paladin wears a literal mask that they cannot remove in front of others, lest their oath is broken. I could see that being inconvenient for eating, drinking, and sleeping purposes, but on the other hand, you get +1 AC when wearing it so that’s a worthy trade-off.
This subclass is based on inspiring others and being a symbol. What that symbol is, is up to you, but you’re a symbol nonetheless. You can change your form to suit your needs, inspire allies when they make Charisma checks and saves, and seek vengeance upon foes who hurt your friends.
When words don’t work, use your fists (or weapons)! The Oath of the Mask comes equipped with spells to subdue their foes, a channel divinity to stun an enemy, and a capstone that allows you to banish a creature from your plane of existence.
Don the mask, become the hero!
Final Thoughts on It’s Still Real To Me, Dammit!
This was a fantastic supplement. There’s a ton of value in here for only $4.99.
It’s no easy feat to tackle fourteen unique subclasses in one go, but Michael Dorrill nailed it. These are all fantastic, unique, and chock-full of pro wrestling flavor! I’m not even a wrestling fan and I enjoyed the hell out of this.
There’s a healthy sampling of new tools to carve new niches into classes, as well as new avenues of playing tried-and-true class archetypes.
If you’re looking to get weird with D&D 5e this is a fantastic pick-up. If you’re looking for a new, wrestling-inspired spin on an old favorite put this one on the wish-list. It’s Still Real To Me, Dammit! has set a high bar for my reviews this year and it’s only January!