D&D 5E How long are you willing to wait for a build to "turn on?"

Not in 5E...not yet, anyway. It hasn't happened since they got rid of stat prerequisites for classes (in BECM) and for certain prestige classes (in 3E).
that would do it.

Yeah I have not rolled since the end of 3.5, but back in 2e I had a string of "I want to play X, but rolled Y" and even in 3e when things were more relaxed I had some issues...

my go to example is both funny and NOT what you would expect though. I had an idea to play a nerdy little weak wizard/cleric (homebrew god mix of mystra and vecna) that was going for mystic theurge... all I wanted was 1 stat above 14 and not too many below 10 and I could do it... we rolled 4d6 drop lowest 6 times place where you want... I rolled 2 18's 3 16s and a 15... I still played a wiz/cle but boy was I buff and healthy and likeable now instead of pale sickly and weak like I imagined...
 

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I don't mean to sound snarky, but I make characters, not builds. A build comes only as the character evolves and gains experience, and I rarely have even a subclass in mind when I start play (except when that comes at first level, of course).
Come on man. We both know that a character and a build do not have to be mutually exclusive. I play "characters" too before I come up with concepts, and then I look at how to mechanically make those characters interesting. I don't settle on an exact build, but I also don't pretend like there aren't features or spells that I want to paly with that I think will be fun and effective.

Like, its 2022. Still taking the high horse you did is just tacky at this point.
 

Amrûnril

Adventurer
It's worth noting that this question can apply to single class characters as well. Plenty of iconic abilities that a player may regard as character defining don't show up until after a significant fraction of the game. Consider:

A Lore Bard can't choose their first magical secrets until level 6.
A Rogue gets Uncanny Dodge at level 5 and evasion at level 7.
A Paladin's aura of protection first appears at level 6.
A Druid can't change into a bird until level 8.

The key question, I'd argue isn't whether you have to wait for abilities- this is pretty much inevitable in a level-based game, even if you can quibble about some of the details. Instead, the question is whether the abilities you're working with in the mean time are engaging and effective. Multiclass builds require more effort to avoid falling short in this regard than single class builds, but they certainly can work well in these intermediate levels if you choose your distribution/order of levels with these stages of the game in mind.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
When you create a build, wouldn't you be fully aware of when it should turn on? "This ability starts at 3rd level, and that ability stars at 5th level, at which time I'll be able to activate an incredible combo" etc.

I personally don't multiclass, as it feels like cheating and cheesy. It is essentially a way to gumball abilities that may have no relation to each other
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Come on man. We both know that a character and a build do not have to be mutually exclusive. I play "characters" too before I come up with concepts, and then I look at how to mechanically make those characters interesting. I don't settle on an exact build, but I also don't pretend like there aren't features or spells that I want to paly with that I think will be fun and effective.

Like, its 2022. Still taking the high horse you did is just tacky at this point.
I don't think it's tacky at all. There's a difference at work here between making a character and making a build, particularly with how you look at them and the perspective you deploy. You can certainly do both and that works fine, but the idea that the Jester is getting at is that he's making a character that might happen to have a build when viewed through that perspective - but since it's a character first and foremost, because that's the perspective he's using, he's not going to be disappointed waiting for an anticipated build to come into full force.
 

the Jester

Legend
While i understand what you mean, making-a-character-not-built is a false dichotomy. One can make and play a character with an objective in mind or let it advance "organically" or, in most cases, somewhere in between. One character is not less valid than another.
Oh, I'm not passing judgment about the validity of planning your build all the way to level 20 before you start making your character. It's just not my style.

And obviously build vs. character is not a dichotomy. But you can absolutely have a character without a build, but except in terms of theorycrafting, not a build without a character.
 

the Jester

Legend
Same here. By the time I start rolling stats, my character is more or less "built" already. I've got the backstory written, the background, race, and class already selected, and I've probably already started working on the character sketch and mini over at HeroForge. I know their personality, my DM and I have already talked about where they came from, where they live, and whether or not they have any NPC friends/enemies/family in the world. Filling out the character sheet is my last step.
That's very different from how I do it. I roll stats in order, see what looks interesting, and add character traits, alignment, and the like as I go along with filling in the character sheet, depending on when inspiration strikes me. My newest pc, for instance, didn't get his ideal, bond, and flaw until after I chose his deity near the very end of the process.
 

I don't think it's tacky at all. There's a difference at work here between making a character and making a build, particularly with how you look at them and the perspective you deploy. You can certainly do both and that works fine, but the idea that the Jester is getting at is that he's making a character that might happen to have a build when viewed through that perspective - but since it's a character first and foremost, because that's the perspective he's using, he's not going to be disappointed waiting for an anticipated build to come into full force.
if I sit down wanting to play a wise old monk and find out monk is a prestige class you need to be 5th level to play, it doesn't matter what came first mechanic or story/character... if I have to fight as a fighter with a sword for 4 levels then at level 5 I get to attack unarmed... that is waiting 5 levels.

more realistic is someone wanting to play what I call a Gish (bladsinger, eldritch knight, swordmage and magus are all other names) if you have to play out being a fighter for 2 levels then take eldritch knight, or play a wizard that has no weapon prof then at level 2 can pick up the shortsword... those are still waiting.

now 3.5 had it the worst, but there always are and always will be ideas you have to jump through hoops to make
 


jgsugden

Legend
I'm in the camp that does not wait. If your build doesn't make sense throughout the entire life of the character, it shouldn't be played. We're not building abilities, we're building characters.

However, there are few builds that don't make sense throughout. You just need to make sure the PC's story aligns to the features.

I play something that looks like a monstrosity of multiclassing:

Glasya Tiefling Courtier Gloom Stalker 5, Cleric of Order 1, Divine Soul 5, Assassin 3, Battlemaster 3, Divine Soul 3 more.

She began as a bodyguard to a Tiefling negotiator that was tasked with dealing with the Underdark neighbors. That diplomat was slain, and she was expelled, forcing her to become a hunter / adventurer. She bought the company line that Asmodeus was the savior of all - as it is his leadership that prevents Demons from winning the Blood War - and Asmodeus does whatever is allowed, without ever breaking his word, to fight that war. As she progressed in power she embrces her dedication deeper - becoming a divine warrior of Asmodeus (Cleric of Order and Divine Soul). As she hit mid-levels she progressed further from her diplomatic side and more into her hunter side, so she enhanced her hunting/archery skills and focused on meting out the 'Justice' of Asmodeus. So, all of it is in service of the character concept: A (Un)Holy Hunter for Asmodeus. The evolution made sense for the story being told.
 

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