Level Up (A5E) Classes: Winner and Losers

lichmaster

Adventurer
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.
I agree and is also an opinion I expressed during the playtest. The class is not bad per se, it just feels totally unnecessary IMO: A fighter or paladin with the right build, or eventually an archetype for either would have been enough.
I'm also not a fan of giving a stronghold and followers as a class feature for two reasons:
  • If those elements are not part of a campaign, the narrator has to either remove the class entirely or modify it quite a bit
  • Even if those elements are part of a campaign, I don't want a player to feel entitled to either just because it's listed in the features for the new level. Strongholds and followers should be a completely separate form of reward and/or progression, totally unrelated to class and level IMO
 

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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
See... I feel the exact opposite.

Marshal is a Winner in Level Up because it -exists- where it didn't in O5e.

That said, there are some disappointing aspects to it. But that's just how it goes. You design something as being less powerful and then buff from there.

Though being able to let Casters us cantrips as reactions, Rogues sneak attack, and Warlocks eldritch scythe is pretty crazy... (After all, it doesn't specify that it has to be part of an attack action -you- take, nor on your turn, though you don't get to use Extra Blast off your turn 'cause it -does- specify.)

The archetypes are a little on the "Meh" side? I really want to be able to use more of the action economy on a given turn. Like a bonus action movement-grant where someone gets to free-move up to half their speed as "Forced Movement" that doesn't provoke opportunity attacks. Or the ability to give up 2 attacks to other people on your turn.

Like a "Chessmaster" or "Nobleman" archetype that doesn't get their -own- hands dirty.
 

I just don't care for being pigeon holed into basically only giving attacks to certain classes because of those edge case interactions that are goofy powerful. My 4E Warlord could give an attack to anyone with Commander's Strike and everyone got to add my Int to their damage. I didn't hit people I picked up my allies and hit with them. There is no benefit to me giving the Fighter attacks because I can swing a sword just fine and I don't make his attacks better.

Also what maneuver are you really trying to spend Exertion on from Sanguine Knot via Combat Directives?

I actually like that the Marshal has Strongholds and Followers integrated because it helps convey that those systems aren't really supposed to be optional of course the DM can remove anything they don't want but it feels almost silly to get Level Up for it's increases to the Social and Exploration pillars and then not use them. The weird part for me is trying to figure out in the narrative how you aquire those things but some downtime and some roleplaying can cover that I suppose.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I just don't care for being pigeon holed into basically only giving attacks to certain classes because of those edge case interactions that are goofy powerful.
See... I don't get this at all. Lemme go down the list:

Adept: Uses Rapid Glint maneuvers on the attack you give to get out of danger spots, or rush into combat, or uses Mirror's Glint to inflict penalties or steal stuff.
Bard: Uses Vicious Mockery to apply disadvantage to enemy attacks off their turn or casts Message to get off a warning, or casts True Strike so when their turn comes around they can gain advantage on an enemy.
Berserker: Adamant Mountain strikes to fling some guy off a cliff, Tooth and Claw to reposition or chase down an enemy, and Critically Hit really hard when you've got even more attacks in a round.
Cleric: Spare the Dying in a clutch moment, or Sacred Flame, or Pestilence, or Guidance...
Druid: Produce Flame, Pestilence, and Shillelagh either deal immediate damage or give the Druid the chance to prepare for melee before their turn.
Fighter: Literally any type of combat maneuver which makes them super flexible for movement with attacks, knockback, imposing disadvantage, etc. etc. etc.
Herald: Divine Smite on a Combat Maneuver. And with Spirited Steed that can be a lot of free movement. Add in Resistance, which is a useless cantrip most of the time but being cast as a reaction can be pretty great, True Strike, and Altered Strike and you get some strong options.
Marshal: ... probably won't ever happen, let's be honest.
Ranger: Like the Adept, but also plenty of Pew Pew if they're an archer. And at level 9 they get free Whirlwind Strikes or Missile Volleys for an AoE reaction attack. Pretty great!
Rogue: Sneak Attack Combat Maneuvers. Or just combat maneuvers if they're not able to get a Sneak Attack Off. Still pretty useful.
Sorcerer: NOW we're getting into it! They can cast any of their cantrips and change their cantrip's damage type on a whim, making them swiss-army-knives of arcane damage. Add in stuff like Minor Illusion to create increased flexibility in what they can do.
Warlock: Eldritch Blasts of 4 different flavors, damaging cantrips, Minor Illusion, and True Strike.
Wizard: Sorcerer part 2, Electric (Pyromantic?) Boogaloo.

... once you include combat maneuvers into those reaction-attacks the Marshal suddenly looks a heck of a lot stronger and more flexible.

If only they could also give someone else 1-2 exertion from their own pool when ordering a strike. That would make them pretty crazy. Or even just -grant- someone 1 Exertion since Cantrips don't cost the recipient anything...
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
I actually like that the Marshal has Strongholds and Followers integrated because it helps convey that those systems aren't really supposed to be optional of course the DM can remove anything they don't want but it feels almost silly to get Level Up for it's increases to the Social and Exploration pillars and then not use them. The weird part for me is trying to figure out in the narrative how you aquire those things but some downtime and some roleplaying can cover that I suppose.
I do like Strongholds and Followers a lot, and they are a great addition to Level Up. I just don't think that they should be class features.
The weird figuring out the narrative is exactly on point: the character should organically gain both strongholds and followers depending on how the plot evolved, not just as a "ping! I'm level 17 now, give me that castle!"
Also, strongholds are pretty much necessary IMO for a good sandbox style campaign, but in many published adventures there's no scope for them
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I do like Strongholds and Followers a lot, and they are a great addition to Level Up. I just don't think that they should be class features.
The weird figuring out the narrative is exactly on point: the character should organically gain both strongholds and followers depending on how the plot evolved, not just as a "ping! I'm level 17 now, give me that castle!"
Also, strongholds are pretty much necessary IMO for a good sandbox style campaign, but in many published adventures there's no scope for them
You can grant the stronghold feat without the actual stronghold if you prefer. When it comes down to it, strongholds are just fluff text surrounding a bonus feat.
 


See... I don't get this at all. Lemme go down the list:

Adept: Uses Rapid Glint maneuvers on the attack you give to get out of danger spots, or rush into combat, or uses Mirror's Glint to inflict penalties or steal stuff.
Bard: Uses Vicious Mockery to apply disadvantage to enemy attacks off their turn or casts Message to get off a warning, or casts True Strike so when their turn comes around they can gain advantage on an enemy.
Berserker: Adamant Mountain strikes to fling some guy off a cliff, Tooth and Claw to reposition or chase down an enemy, and Critically Hit really hard when you've got even more attacks in a round.
Cleric: Spare the Dying in a clutch moment, or Sacred Flame, or Pestilence, or Guidance...
Druid: Produce Flame, Pestilence, and Shillelagh either deal immediate damage or give the Druid the chance to prepare for melee before their turn.
Fighter: Literally any type of combat maneuver which makes them super flexible for movement with attacks, knockback, imposing disadvantage, etc. etc. etc.
Herald: Divine Smite on a Combat Maneuver. And with Spirited Steed that can be a lot of free movement. Add in Resistance, which is a useless cantrip most of the time but being cast as a reaction can be pretty great, True Strike, and Altered Strike and you get some strong options.
Marshal: ... probably won't ever happen, let's be honest.
Ranger: Like the Adept, but also plenty of Pew Pew if they're an archer. And at level 9 they get free Whirlwind Strikes or Missile Volleys for an AoE reaction attack. Pretty great!
Rogue: Sneak Attack Combat Maneuvers. Or just combat maneuvers if they're not able to get a Sneak Attack Off. Still pretty useful.
Sorcerer: NOW we're getting into it! They can cast any of their cantrips and change their cantrip's damage type on a whim, making them swiss-army-knives of arcane damage. Add in stuff like Minor Illusion to create increased flexibility in what they can do.
Warlock: Eldritch Blasts of 4 different flavors, damaging cantrips, Minor Illusion, and True Strike.
Wizard: Sorcerer part 2, Electric (Pyromantic?) Boogaloo.

... once you include combat maneuvers into those reaction-attacks the Marshal suddenly looks a heck of a lot stronger and more flexible.

If only they could also give someone else 1-2 exertion from their own pool when ordering a strike. That would make them pretty crazy. Or even just -grant- someone 1 Exertion since Cantrips don't cost the recipient anything...

For all the Martial characters you just described that would be pretty great if that's how the Marshal worked. You give a cantrip or they can "make one weapon attack" they cannot in fact use their manuvers with your granted attack.

When it comes to Combat Directives they can only use a Sanguine Knot manuver that you know. That's it. No neat combos with the other traditions or anything like that. Just the power and interesting design of Doubleteam woo!
 


Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
For all the Martial characters you just described that would be pretty great if that's how the Marshal worked. You give a cantrip or they can "make one weapon attack" they cannot in fact use their manuvers with your granted attack.

When it comes to Combat Directives they can only use a Sanguine Knot manuver that you know. That's it. No neat combos with the other traditions or anything like that. Just the power and interesting design of Doubleteam woo!
Yeah... you might be right.

I hope @Morrus and others will take a look at this thread and change it so Combat Maneuvers can be used with Marshal Commands. Otherwise I intend to houserule it that way from level 1 on. So at low-level people can Grapple or Disarm and go on from there.
 

I do also feel like the range of Commanding Presence lends itself to situations where there's one main target you want to kill, but another that you want to keep away from the party. You can get yourself right in the latter's face, use a maneuver to knock them prone or something, and then direct another character to deliver the damage to the one you care more about hurting. In that case, even directing a fighter to use a basic melee strike or something is more tactically advantageous than using that attack to hit the secondary target. That's the kind of thing I couldn't do in o5e easily and why I'm still happy having it as is (even if I'd also like it to be a bit more flexible).

That said, I am also in the camp that feels that the archetypes are underwhelming. Hopefully we'll get some more interesting ones down the road.
 

Yeah, if only there was a class feature that let you grant maneuvers from other schools at levels 10 and 15.
Most games won't reach that point. A class should do what it's going to do by 5. When you get Combat Directives should be when you're enabling your allies to use their manuvers. That way you finally get some pay off for giving up your attacks.
 

VicWeave

Villager
Most games won't reach that point. A class should do what it's going to do by 5. When you get Combat Directives should be when you're enabling your allies to use their manuvers. That way you finally get some pay off for giving up your attacks.

Setting aside you merely saying, "They can only use Sanguine Knot" with no qualifier for "before 10th level", it does what it does at level 1. Combat Directives is an upgrade of Combat Presence, not the core focus on the class. The pay off for giving you attacks is tactical versatility and the ability to exploit positioning. Damage type can matter too.

By your reasoning of "Why would I ever give the fighter my attack, I'm just as good at it" being able to grant more maneuvers doesn't change anything, because you could just use it yourself anyway. Of course, as I pointed out above, the primary benefit of giving up your attacks isn't granting maneuvers.
 

Stalker0

Legend
By your reasoning of "Why would I ever give the fighter my attack, I'm just as good at it" being able to grant more maneuvers doesn't change anything, because you could just use it yourself anyway. Of course, as I pointed out above, the primary benefit of giving up your attacks isn't granting maneuvers.
We also have to the think of the innumerable reasons a specific party at a specific time might want to use this ability. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that in this party, the fighter and the marshall do "equal damage" normally, we have these cases:

1) Fighting a wearwolf. Fighter has a silver weapon, marshall doesn't.
2) Rogue put a deadly poison on their blade, and missed with their attack. Marshall would rather see that poison get applied.
3) Fighter has pressed the attack and already has advantage, Marshall does not.
4) Marshall is in melee with someone, but Fighter is in melee with a different monster and the monster is probably 1 attack from death. Marshall would rather not move and take an OA, and so lets fighter finish the job.
5) Marshall is grappled and cannot move to the desired target in question.
6) Fighting a sword/board character. Fighter has a flail (which negates shield bonuses), Marshall does not.

and that was like 2 minutes of thinking about it. The simple truth is, you give players cool abilities, and they will figure out how to use them for optimal benefit. The benefits don't have "always be optimal", as long as there's a good amount of times when the ability will pay of, players will enjoy it.
 
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Stalker0

Legend
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.
I think this is a common debate point. At what point is an archetype worthy of its own class structure, versus just being an add on to an existing class? There is no single answer.

I think the Paladin is the OG marshall....the high charisma leader that heals and inspires his fellows. That "niche" was already covered, but just as people enjoy spell-less rangers, people like to have that leader type without holy or magical baggage.

Could the fighter have taken on this role?.... honestly, yes I agree they could. Give them a Marshall subclass to handle some of the bigger stuff, and I think the rest of the class could absolutely cover it. Frankly I also think the flavor of that makes more sense than the Marshall class. Having a "general" at 1st level doesn't really make sense....leadership is not something you just have its something you grow into. Having it be a fighter subclass better mirrors the "got some military experience and then took on a leader role".

Should that have been the case? I think tradition is why it didn't happen. A lot of people enjoy the 4e Warlord concept. Just as the ranger and paladin before them....you could do those classes as fighters....but tradition gave those ideas their own class, and once done, its hard to go back. So I think the momentum of the people's desire is what crystallized the Marshall class.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think this is a common debate point. At what point is an archetype worthy of its own class structure, versus just being an add on to an existing class? There is no single answer.

I think the Paladin is the OG marshall....the high charisma leader that heals and inspires his fellows. That "niche" was already covered, but just as people enjoy spell-less rangers, people like to have that leader type without holy or magical baggage.

Could the fighter have taken on this role?.... honestly, yes I agree they could. Give them a Marshall subclass to handle some of the bigger stuff, and I think the rest of the class could absolutely cover it. Frankly I also think the flavor of that makes more sense than the Marshall class. Having a "general" at 1st level doesn't really make sense....leadership is not something you just have its something you grow into. Having it be a fighter subclass better mirrors the "got some military experience and then took on a leader role".

Should that have been the case? I think tradition is why it didn't happen. A lot of people enjoy the 4e Warlord concept. Just as the ranger and paladin before them....you could do those classes as fighters....but tradition gave those ideas their own class, and once done, its hard to go back. So I think the momentum of the people's desire is what crystallized the Marshall class.
It's all a matter of taste.

At one end of the scale you can have two classes -- Fighty and Magicy, and everything is a point between those two things with an archetype. A cleric is a fighty/magicy with a holy archetype. A bard is a fighty/magicy with a music archetype. A rogue is a fighty with a sneaking archetype while a warlock is a magicy with a patron archetype.

At the other end of the scale you can have infinite classes, with every possible concept explored in the glorious detail and nuance that only a full class can.

Most people fall between those two points. I lean more towards the latter, personally, but that's just me. Plenty of people would disagree.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Having a "general" at 1st level doesn't really make sense....leadership is not something you just have its something you grow into. Having it be a fighter subclass better mirrors the "got some military experience and then took on a leader role".
Eh, leaders call themselves all sorts if things, even the incompetent ones. It's just a word describing an activity, not a judgement of capability. I'm sure there were lots of incompetent 1st-level generals throughout history. At least in an RPG they'll grow into a competent 20th general one day!
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
One of my players is quite possibly the most unrepentant munchkin I've seen in the o5e era & would be right at home with those nineteen splatbook builds from 3.5. When he started gushing with excitement over the idea of making a marshal I was scratching my head but didn't want to jinx it. I've been kind of eyeing this thread for a few days because of that & don't think people are giving it a fair shake. Marshal has a lot of good things going for it
  • Commanding presence(ag212) works with dual wielding's extra attack so a 1d8+stat longsword & 1d4+null/1d6+nulll offhand shifts the offhand to the rogue/berserker/etc much larger beatstick. That's nothing to sneeze at, especially before level 5
  • Rallying surge is a pretty sizable heal at 1d8+marshal level per rest & at 3rd/7th it jumps to letting the marshal bump two & three allies respectively
  • The lessons of war are definitely hit & miss if you don't pick ones relevant to the campaign style but team tactics & teamwork can have a pretty sizable impact on out of combat things the party is trying to do as a group.
  • Mark foe... give everyone an expertise die to gank a bad guy of your choice for a bonus action? Sure it costs you the same bonus action as your second attack commanding presence for two more levels, but against crunchy targets this is basically a groupwide one round bless or better.
 

Stalker0

Legend
  • Commanding presence(ag212) works with dual wielding's extra attack so a 1d8+stat longsword & 1d4+null/1d6+nulll offhand shifts the offhand to the rogue/berserker/etc much larger beatstick. That's nothing to sneeze at, especially before level 5
It actually does not. Commanding Prescence works on the attack action, not the bonus action. The attacks from TWF are not the same as attacks from the attack action.
 

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