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

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
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...
Paizo further patched it with archetypes and hybrid classes. The nice thing about those changes is that prestige classes went back to being flavorful items as they originally were intended.
 

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Paizo further patched it with archetypes and hybrid classes. The nice thing about those changes is that prestige classes went back to being flavorful items as they originally were intended.

Yes, that was a bit better. Still a patch, but a good one at that time. Actually one thing I liked about pathfinder.

5e in a way used that concept and added subclasses as a similar solution.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
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.
Similar experience here.

In 3e, at least if you played it by RaW, most prestige classes had to be planned pretty much from the start to get all the skill points and feats prerequisites, or else had to wait another 2-5 levels to catch up. 5e is a lot less restrictive that way; the only thing to watch for if you want to multiclass is the 13 in the class abilities in and out, and ASI are relatively easy to get by.

But I do enjoy the mini-game of building characters with a relatively focused concept. I like it more now than ever because your character doesn’t suck if you decide to opt out at any point or change halfway through, and even if you do reach your goal, you’re not stronger than single class characters grown without preconceived intentions. So the mini-game can be played for the fun of it; not because you’re falling behind if you don’t, not religiously because you’ll ruin the whole character if you don’t go all in.
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
It isn't about 'build' for me but as far as character defining features I want them at level 5.

Levels 1-4 they're an apprentice and then at level 5 they're doing the thing.

This is a problem I have with playing a paladin. For me their greatest feature is the aura of protection and they don't get it until *6.

I was thinking it was 7. What class gets their main feature at 7?
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
It isn't about 'build' for me but as far as character defining features I want them at level 5.

Levels 1-4 they're an apprentice and then at level 5 they're doing the thing.

This is a problem I have with playing a paladin. For me their greatest feature is the aura of protection and they don't get it until *6.

I was thinking it was 7. What class gets their main feature at 7?

With Paladin it's both 6 AND 7.

Level 6 gets the big +CHA bonus to all saves aura (for you and allies within 10')

Level 7 gets the big Oath feature (often but not always an aura for ex: Devotion gets cannot be charmed aura).
 

Some complex builds only seem to do their thing at mid levels. If you're going for a complicated multiclass or holding out for a specific weapon, it my be level 6 or 7 before you finally get to do your mechanical thing.

So like it says in the title: What’s the longest you’re willing to wait for a build to “turn on." Is there some particular weapon, ability, or prestige class that makes it worth the wait? Or is it better to wait for one of those "everyone starts at 10th level" campaigns to go for those builds?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)
I don't often think that far ahead. Usually, if I decide on a particular theme I want to be appropriately competent with my peers.

If I am playing a character who will be the next Stormwarden of the Pearl Tower, it would be nice to have shocking grasp at first level, levitate at 2nd, &c. If the character is Grackle the Elven Archer I would expect to be competent at the bow and be able to shape my fighter to be archery as my levels progress.

Given how 5e is designed, I guess I would expect to come into my own at 3rd level. I would be the best in the party of that theme, while obviously not amazing until later.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
My concept is my concept out of the gate. That isn't to say as it gains levels it might not be better at that concept, of course. ;)
 

"Builds" aren't much in 5e compared to 3e and 4e but my big gripe with class design is that most games don't go past level 10 and yet you have to wait until 3rd level to start getting a trickle of unique stuff. 3rd level feels late for the Eldritch Knight to start getting a drip of magic, and so on. I hope 5.5e makes a course correction and lets everyone start playing their assassin or rune knight or berserker or whatever, right at level 1.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
In play, I come up with a character and go from there. It has to pay from 1st until however far the campaign goes, lets say ending somewhere in the 7-12 range. There's never a point when I can afford for it to be "not on". And I don't work out builds ahead of time. 5e is fairly forgiving as long as you don't do a few of the big sins of multiclassing so I can pull my weight and not let down my party no matter which way I go, including staying single-classed.

In theorycrafting, it has to be viable from 1st - I have disdain for people who craft for 20th level unless it's a one-shot where you start there. In those cases I need to be able to keep up at the level 5 power bump, and basically be fully functional even if not yet "all the bonuses!" ready by say 7th or 8th. But those are more fun solo minigames of "what can I build:, I don't run those types of builds anymore. (And I admit that "anymore" - I used to build out 3.x characters 1 thru 20, though there you needed to be able to hit requisites for PrCs and such and if you missed getting a feat by a level because you didn't have prerequisites it would set everything back really far.)
 

jgsugden

Legend
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. ...
I see a lot of different approaches, but some are definitely locked in planners that do not adapt.

For example, I had a player that came to me at the start of a campaign and showed me an excel sheet that laid out his character progression from level 1 to 20. In it, for each level, he selected classes, feats, spells, and magic items he'd acquire by then. They were not highly specific, but it included things like having a strength magic item by level 5 and a magic weapon by level 6.

I remember that the strength magic item was at level 5 because when he was a level 4 PC he already had two attuned items and the group found a homebrew magic item that would be good for him - but he declined to take it because he was planning on going back to town and paying for someone to build him Gauntlets of Ogre Power to stay on plan.

I knew he was a ... rigid ... player, so I worked his plans into my games broadly to keep him happy.

Now, I made sure we worked on the role playing side of things as well and that all of those decisions fit into a character story - but this wasn't that unusual of a situation for me as a DM ... some players just want to tell their PC's story as they dreamed it up, and DMs can find ways to make that work for the game overall - even when the focus in not on the elements you'd prioritize as a DM.
 

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