Level Up (A5E) Classes: Winner and Losers

Stalker0

Legend
Continuing our series, lets look at classes. Which ones made the grade?

This is right now a pure read analysis, playtime may change my experience, but lets see how the items "feel" upon initial read.

Also note, not all items are listed here. I am only highlighting things that I think are especially good or notably bad. Items that are just solid are not noted. This is going to be doubly important for classes, as I feel they are often very "personal" depending on what fantasy motiffs are highlighted. So I am only going to pick classes I feel really standout.

Last note, I am looking at subclasses "in detail" (that's a different thread), but I am considering them to highlight what the class is generally expected to do and what they might have access to.


Winners

Adept: The monk is one of the lower rated classes at least on forums like Enworld, and so the bar is already low for this class. But the Adept does seem to be a very solid step up, not just in ability but in class design. The "ala cart" style class feature picking is very unique and allows for a ton of build options with the class....and I think the class seems to have addressed many of the perceived weaknesses with the monk class.

Cleric: The O5e is probably the most "white bread" class. Its fine, but you really have to work to bring it to life. Meanwhile I think A5e does a wonderful job of using mechanics to highlight clerical flavor. The class highlights the religious beliefs and behaviors that clerics deal with, as well as the notion that they are often the "pillars" of a society. I really "feel" the cleric when I read this class in a way I never did in O5e.

Fighter: I think you could argue that the Fighter got the most love in LU. Its now dripping with cool abilities and is the hallmark of the new maneuver system. The simple ability to specialize in a few maneuvers suddenly opens up a huge swath of different fighter builds, all distinctly different because of that small tweak.

Rogue: Though I don't think its as improved as some others on this list, in some ways this class is the most impressive to me, because the Rogue is already a really good class in O5e. And yet, I still think this class shows real improvement to the design. I think the rogue more than all of the classes was looking for ways to customize their skills, and the new expertise die system plus their "knacks" allows the rogue to really tailor their skill sets to exactly what they want to do. Combine that with some nice flexible options (the ability to choose what defensive options you have as a rogue is wonderful), and you just have a class that really knocks it out of the park.

Warlock: Another class I give credit to the designers for finding a way to take a really solid O5e class and make it even cooler. This class really got a boost to flexibility, in how you cast spells, in how you use eldritch blast, in what your casting stat is, heck even though the book gives you recommendations on your bonus spell known based on patron.....nothing requires you to take them if you work it through with your DM. I also like the fact that the Patron is cited more as a secondary character with this class, there are a lot of notes of "the patron leaves this for you in the morning" or "the patron takes that away at the end of the day"....aka better highlighting the fact that this entity is out there working its will. I also appreciated the attention in splitting Invocations into various "spheres", allowing the warlock to pick up some invocations that aren't the strongest on the power scale while not sacrificing their combat strength.

Losers

Berserker: Is the LU berserker "bad"? Not in the slightest, but for me the bar was very high with the Barbarian. I think O5e really nails the Barbarian class, I have had lots of players use it, and I have been amazed time and again how players seamlessly embrace the mechanics and just go hog wild. I think the issue here is that the standard LU treatment is actually the opposite of what the class stands for. The Berserker requires more tracking and more thought than the Barbarian....and this is a distinct "non-thinking" kind of class. Further, the generalization of reckless attack really took away a key element of what made the Barbarian special.

Sorcerer: Another class that is generally considered fairly "lame" in O5e, there was a lot of open space to make this class great. And....I think it missed the mark. Now don't get me wrong, this is still a better class than O5e...but when I compare it to the improvements made in the Wizard class and especially the Warlock one....it feels like the sorceror just gets left out in the cold once again. I feel like the new class gets "more", but its still missing the flavor of "innate magic" that makes a sorceror who they are. Honestly, I feel like the warlock is just a better sorceror.


Honorable Mention: Ranger
So I actually do think the A5e ranger is a lot better than its O5e one, and it offers a lot of the niches missing originally. However, the reason it didn't make the winner cut for me was the subclasses. I really don't like the fact that my choices are "cast spells or have a pet". I think a lot of ranger niches are the "lone warrior" concept, and the fact you can't do that with A5e subclasses I consider a big problem. Now you can argue "just use O5e subclasses", but as the books are designed to work on their own, I am judging it based on that.
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
Re the ranger, I think the big problem is that AG has the "basic classes," and all the cool classes will (hopefully) come later, either from homebrew or through Gate Pass.

Edit: I shouldn't have said "cool" as if the archetypes weren't cool. I meant cool as in the weirder ones, like Shepherd Druids and Rune Knights and stuff like that.
 
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Horwath

Hero
I agree with most,
Adepts are No.1 winners of this book, just for the huge amount of customability, IMHO all classes should have got similar treatment, looking at you Rangers with your overpowered 18th level ability that gives you swim and climb speed!!

Rogues, as class that most relied on expertise, and that was changed from extra proficiency bonus to +1d4, which is good in Tier1, but starts falling of pretty fast, seems like not so great winners. Sure, combat maneuvers bring them above O5E rating, but that was not a high bar to jump over.

Fighters are great, soldiering knacks are great(good thing ranger can steal them, even if that comes little late), No.1 in maneuvers. No one will cry over Action Surge.

Warlock: I feel that all casters should have gone with the spell point default. It's just so much better.
Also, splitting Invocations into Invocations plus arcana list is great job.

Beserkers: yeah, having all those abilities to pick that only trigger in 5% or 9,75% cases is not that great. Maybe if you would get some ability to force a crit like assassin. Also DC is CON based, why? Just the need to turn beserker into a sack of HPs?
 

niklinna

Legend
Rogues, as class that most relied on expertise, and that was changed from extra proficiency bonus to +1d4, which is good in Tier1, but starts falling of pretty fast, seems like not so great winners. Sure, combat maneuvers bring them above O5E rating, but that was not a high bar to jump over.
They can increase their expertise die size, though, above the usual limit even, right?
 


niklinna

Legend
Not being able to gain a new skill after character creation does seem like a major oversight.

Correction:

p 244, Extra Skill Training
You gain proficiency in one of the following: Acrobatics, Athletics, Investigation, Perception, Stealth, or any tool. You may choose this trick more than once.
 
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I really feel like the Herald is a vast improvement over the old Paladin class. Maneuvers, cantrips, the various exploration and social tier abilities, and a more sensible way of handling Divine Smite all add up to a really awesome class, IMHO.

And Bards getting Battle Hymns is just chef's kiss.
 

niklinna

Legend
I really feel like the Herald is a vast improvement over the old Paladin class. Maneuvers, cantrips, the various exploration and social tier abilities, and a more sensible way of handling Divine Smite all add up to a really awesome class, IMHO.
Agreed. I've never been drawn to that arche—er, hm, what the heck can I call a non-subclassy archetype now?—but the herald is way cooler than the paladin.

Having read all the classes now, I'm sad to say the ranger is back toward the bottom of my ranking, but it too is still better than the o5e version by a lot. After I get through the whole AG (so exhausting), I'm gonna give it yet another read with particular character concepts in mind.
 

kerleth

Explorer
Not being able to gain a new skill after character creation does seem like a major oversight.
I'm curious what you are refering to. A5E has the skillful feat, which can give you any combination of 3 skills/tools/languages/skill specialties. Furthermore, you can now also gain skills from downtime, which you couldn't do in O5E. There are also a number of other ways to gain additional skill specialties.
 

niklinna

Legend
I'm curious what you are refering to. A5E has the skillful feat, which can give you any combination of 3 skills/tools/languages/skill specialties. Furthermore, you can now also gain skills from downtime, which you couldn't do in O5E. There are also a number of other ways to gain additional skill specialties.
The origin of the comment chain—the rogue class, specifically—is rather distant now, but the complaint was more or less that rogues are no better than any other class now at gaining new skills. I should have been clearer, given that distance.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I really feel like the Herald is a vast improvement over the old Paladin class. Maneuvers, cantrips, the various exploration and social tier abilities, and a more sensible way of handling Divine Smite all add up to a really awesome class, IMHO.
The reason the Herald remains in my middle list (aka perfectly good, not a winner or loser) is I feel the class is more a rearrangement of the paladin than a true improvement.

Smite abilities are mostly reflavored smite spells, many of the paladin abilities are there just now chosen from lists, and you have to give up several paladin abilities that you used to get as part of the core class. I think its a very solid class, a worthy paladin....I just don't think it brings as much new to the table as some of the winners I chose.
 


kerleth

Explorer
The origin of the comment chain—the rogue class, specifically—is rather distant now, but the complaint was more or less that rogues are no better than any other class now at gaining new skills. I should have been clearer, given that distance.
Thanks for clarifying! I'm still a little confused though. I don't remember the rogue getting bonus skills in O5E at later levels either. In fact I just double checked it, and O5E rogue gets 4 skills and thieves tools. A5E gets 4 skills, thieves tools, disguise kit, and poisoner's kit and a skill trick to gain an additional skill (among all the other options). I THINK that's more starting proficiencies than any other class and more than the original rogue, with more options to gain bonus proficiencies than the original as well.

Furthermore, I read back up the thread. The origin of the comment chain was actually a general discussion of multiple classes not specifically the rogue, so without you saying anything about the rogue in your previous comment I assumed it was referring to the system in general. That's no big deal and already cleared up. The only other criticism of the rogue I saw had no mention of learning more skills, rather they were commenting on the difference between the Expertise ability (O5E) and Expertise Dice (A5E).

You had said,

Not being able to gain a new skill after character creation does seem like a major oversight.
but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. So I'm still a little confused and curious what your criticism actually is, I guess.
 

Legendweaver

Explorer
Further, the generalization of reckless attack really took away a key element of what made the Barbarian special.

Yeah, very true. I wonder if the designers considered a tiered approach: "Press the Attack" could grant advantage to Berserkers, but expertise to everyone else, and against Berserkers, maybe "Fall Back" could reduce a berserker's advantage to expertise instead of cancelling it outright.

This would also increase the incentive to flank. As it is, two attackers are better off both trying to "Press the Attack" rather than flank an enemy in situations where they have to choose... and remove a cheesy way for rogues to sneak attack without stealth or collaboration and instead just by "pressing the attack"
 

niklinna

Legend
You had said,
Not being able to gain a new skill after character creation does seem like a major oversight.

but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. So I'm still a little confused and curious what your criticism actually is, I guess.
[/QUOTE]

I've had a very sleep-deprived week (including right now). I could have sworn somebody complained upthread that rogues couldn't gain new skill proficiencies via class features, but I may well have been hallucinating or just misinterpreted something.
 


kerleth

Explorer
You had said,


but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. So I'm still a little confused and curious what your criticism actually is, I guess.

I've had a very sleep-deprived week (including right now). I could have sworn somebody complained upthread that rogues couldn't gain new skill proficiencies via class features, but I may well have been hallucinating or just misinterpreted something.
[/QUOTE]

Well that clears up my confusion. I hope you're able to get plenty of sleep soon.

Of course you could in o5e, there's specifically the "Training" downtime activity. It took 250 days and 1 gp/day
Nope. Tools and Languages, not Skills. Here's the paragraph.
"The training lasts for 250 days and costs 1 gp per day. After you spend the requisite amount of time and money, you learn the new language or gain proficiency with the new tool."
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
Nope. Tools and Languages, not Skills. Here's the paragraph.
"The training lasts for 250 days and costs 1 gp per day. After you spend the requisite amount of time and money, you learn the new language or gain proficiency with the new tool."
You're right, but at the same time it seemed such a lame and random restriction that I could really never care about it.
 


I'm surprised the Marshal did not make your losers list. All of it's measurable strength is tied up in the Social and Exploration pillars in ways that other characters should they really wish to involve themselves with Strongholds, Followers, and Being Famous can also achieve. You are dependent on having a Rogue for something to give an attack to that feels worthwhile and the Sanguine Knot manuvers just suck. So much grappling and knocking prone, or a couple of 1/round AC buffs.

The subclasses are absolutely a disappointment as well. Tactician doesn't even really feel like anything people just grab the die from you as a bonus action or they don't. Why couldn't it be something you actively gave out? Why do your attacks that you give away have no increase in accuracy or damage and annoyingly eat into the action economy by taking reactions for no actual benefit besides being a second Sneak Attack.

One of the greatest disappointments of the system to me. I cannot escape the feeling that if I made a Fighter and flavored them as a Warlord leader type grabbed the few decent Knot manuvers and just made sure to buy Followers and a Stronghold I'd be fine. Take Folk Hero to start out with a bit of fame and work to achieve more. Not like the Marshal exploration knacks are anything to really care about either. It just feels like a disappointing afterthought.
 

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