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


Level 3, because that's the latest you get your subclass. I might have an idea that requires a feat, but very few feats are actually necessary. If I want to do one that requires a feat, I'll do it out of variant human. Of course, most of my characters have very simple "builds," just a concept that I want to enjoy. What they do and how they act is more important to me than the mechanics on the sheet.

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I'm not much for builds ("no plan survives intact with contact with the enemy" and all that), I moreso do character concepts and then make selections as close as I can to create it outright (latest was a Goliath Hexblade Noble who was a sort of mystic bounty hunter - started at level 3 to get Hexblade's pact boon). I generally don't forward-look to getting spells, abilities, items or class levels.


If I can't at least simulate my concept at at the jump, there is a problem.

As for builds, I'm too lazy and not mechanically adept enough to build for combos and things, so it really is just concept. This n 5e means, I have to start at level 3 minimum, of course to clear the thinly disguised 0 levels.

That's just an example that is the farthest from my own style that I can think of. I'm just trying to say, "You go ahead and do your thing, even if it's not my thing."
in my experience (and every table is at least a little different) even most 'planers' don't plan to 20. I also have never met anyone who saw there plan 100% to the end. In 3e I had a player who used to plan his first 10 levels (feats, skill pts, ASI, spell choices) when making level 1 characters and would keep a spread sheet of it on his laptop. then every level he would go back and if he needed to change something would create a new tab, but also expand it to another level up... I asked him once what the least number of tabs (so variation from play) he ever had and he said in a game I wasn't in he made it to level 17 with only 3 tabs... in the game I was running at the time he was on tab 4 at 6th level.


Me personally, I'm also in the camp that comes up with my character completely separate from any mechanical expression. I usually do not care what the mechanics end up being and could take any number of different classes to express who the character is. And after selecting a class, how the character advances mechanically ends up just following how the character advances in the story. I never really go into any game thinking purely mechanical-- "I really want to make a heavy-weapon using character that can stop monsters from getting around me so that I can protect the squishies behind me". Instead, it's more something like "The DM has set up this protective organization in the starting town, so I'd like to be a young farmhand from outside the village who shows up on their doorstep to train because his parents have had issues with neighboring creatures coming in and stealing their animals". And none of that background specifically denotes any necessary class or any "moves" the farmhand can do... so I can pick and choose how it gets "built" later on. Usually after other players have chosen what they want to play and I can fill in a class for what we might want/need.

And thus there's no real time where the build "turns on"-- the character is the character from the get-go. And any mechanical bits that show up later are cool and all, but none of them are required or a part of the design.


I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I saw a lot more of that in the 3e days, when everything had ten prerequisites. (Slight exaggeration included.)
Just slight! I do think the idea of build in 5E is nowhere near those levels. Though, PF1 is still my fave so cant say I dont miss it.

I want it all and I want it now...

I think the eldritch knight should get a fighting style that allows a little magic at level 1, like the ranger or paladin fighting style that grants 2 cantrips. Maybe only a single one but maybe a little extra feature on top.

Right now I fix it with varian human and some cantrip giving feat or a race that gives a cantrip by default.

I hope that the background feat catches on, so there will be a apprentice background that gives some spells. Or a soldier feat that maybe gives some weapon and some armor proficiency (which can also be retrained to a proper feat, once it gets redundand by multiclassing or so).

Until then, I think level 3 is the time where a "build" should come together eventually.

I saw a lot more of that in the 3e days, when everything had ten prerequisites. (Slight exaggeration included.)

Sadly it is no exeggaration... prestige classes werw such a neat concept, but because of the prerequisites (outside class levels) basically did not allow the DM (as intended in 3.0) to give them out as an award, but had to be planned for carefully. In 3.5 they reflavoured the concept to patch holes in the multiclass rules...

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