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

d24454_modern

Explorer
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.
Doesn’t it make more sense to happen upon a prestige class rather than actively seek it out?

If you don’t have a prestige class or archetype, then it probably wasn’t that important to the children to begin with.
 

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Doesn’t it make more sense to happen upon a prestige class rather than actively seek it out?

I always went back and forth with this... and liked the idea of "anytime after X level" as the only prereq. Then if you happen to fall in with the thieves guild at level 5 your fighter and your wizard can both take "thief of the guild"
 

delericho

Legend
I strongly encourage my players to create a character they're happy to play from day 1 (which almost always means 1st level). The problem with deferring gratification is that there's a real good chance we won't get to the payoff for months, or even never.

There are, of course, some concepts that can't be played right away (the aforementioned Eldritch Knight, for instance). I'm hoping 5.5e might patch some of those holes, but the truth is that there will always be some holes - there just isn't a perfect answer to that one.
 

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.
Once play begins, you must have both a build (some kind of mechanics) and a character (personality and backstory and whatnot), unless the table ignores either all the rules or doesn't roleplay (so, straw-tables that don't count.)

Sometimes, a weird mechanical concept just intrigues me, and then I have to both figure out how to make a playable character around it (because no matter how cool your combat-combo is, it won't work in noncombat encounters) and then figure out what sort of person would learn to fight that way - which is how the build becomes a character. Trying to figure out how to shenanigan the fact that Elemental Affinity and Radiant Soul would both add to greenflame blade (and stack!) results in the Knight of Ciefid, and angelic warrior dedicated to burning the forces of darkness. Not the deepest concept but a full character (and fun to play).

Other times, the narrative concept comes first. Other times, I find a cool piece of art and turn that into a dnd character. No one process works better than the others.

I have met people who always approach character making the same way, but that would feel so restrictive to me.

As for the main question: I want some version of the core concept as soon as I start, even if the fully-realized version might take a while. Which is why the Knight of Ciefid wasn't brought to a low-level game.

Also, the comic implies that the concept requires a specific magic weapon. I never assume that's under my control, so I probably wouldn't even try to play such a concept without a discussion with the dm first.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Doesn’t it make more sense to happen upon a prestige class rather than actively seek it out?

If you don’t have a prestige class or archetype, then it probably wasn’t that important to the children to begin with.
The character never really seek anything out, but the player had to be ready by the time the DM made the option available, or even invite the player to join.

« We like you kid, how about you join our organisation? »
« Sorry, I only have 5 ranks in stealth and missing the ´sneaky’ feat. I can grab the feat in two levels but it will take three more levels until I have 8 ranks in stealth. »

But that was 3e, in which prestige classes were a good idea badly implemented. In 5e, it’s mostly getting combos of abilities from different classes and subclasses that make the build-a-character mini game. Like getting the most out of the Tempest Cleric maximized lightning and thunder damage channel divinity on a storm sorcerer for various lightning effects shenanigans. Anyhow, you probably heard of all the synergetic cross-class pollination tricks, but very few are more powerful than a straight on single class for more than a level or two, at the cost of being behind for a level or two. 5e is actually pretty well balanced for that. There are one or two combinations of front-loaded classes that stand out early on, but they wash out with other single and multiclass pretty fast.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
I don’t play 5Ed, but extrapolating form other editions- and other RPGs as well- it depends. Before 3Ed, my D&D characters generally didn’t have much of a “plan” to them…but PCs in other systems often did.

In 3.X, though, I routinely mapped out plans for the PC to grow. After all, I had plans about my future, why couldn’t they have plans for theirs. And just like me, sometimes, the plan for the future had to change because things changed in the present.

Given that, how long I would wait for my vision of a character to be realized would depend on the character and system in question.

Sometimes, the GM would matter too. There was one guy who ran good games, but he was never satisfied with the systems he was using to run them. So his campaigns would run a dozen sessions or so, then abruptly end. When he was the GM, I always played something with a front-loaded concept.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
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.
I feel this was something of a missed opportunity for 5E. IMO they should have set the default starting level to 3, with the first two levels as apprentice tier for those who want to run full "zero to hero" campaigns. Then starting characters would be fully "online" out the gate, except for multi-class characters, and by spreading out starting abilities over three levels, it would make the 1 level dip much less exciting.

A DM can already start the campaign at level 3, and I usually do for this reason. The problem is the existing tier system, as you pointed out. The actual apprentice tier is levels 1-4, with a big power boost at level 5, the heroic tier. The heroic tier is the "sweet spot" of 5E that most people enjoy, but it only goes from levels 5-10. Games tend to stop at about level 11, because a lot of DMs don't like the next tier, where player abilities start to disrupt simple adventure design. If the game was designed for level 3-10 as heroic tier, then it would optimize everyone's enjoyment.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I feel this was something of a missed opportunity for 5E. IMO they should have set the default starting level to 3, with the first two levels as apprentice tier for those who want to run full "zero to hero" campaigns. Then starting characters would be fully "online" out the gate, except for multi-class characters, and by spreading out starting abilities over three levels, it would make the 1 level dip much less exciting.

A DM can already start the campaign at level 3, and I usually do for this reason. The problem is the existing tier system, as you pointed out. The actual apprentice tier is levels 1-4, with a big power boost at level 5, the heroic tier. The heroic tier is the "sweet spot" of 5E that most people enjoy, but it only goes from levels 5-10. Games tend to stop at about level 11, because a lot of DMs don't like the next tier, where player abilities start to disrupt simple adventure design. If the game was designed for level 3-10 as heroic tier, then it would optimize everyone's enjoyment.
I sort of agree, but I know there are folks that like high level content. Probably at least six of them. After E6 in the 3E/PF1 days, I'm confident that folks can just run games indefinitely at certain points to keep whatever spot they find sweetest.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
I feel this was something of a missed opportunity for 5E. IMO they should have set the default starting level to 3, with the first two levels as apprentice tier for those who want to run full "zero to hero" campaigns. Then starting characters would be fully "online" out the gate, except for multi-class characters, and by spreading out starting abilities over three levels, it would make the 1 level dip much less exciting.

A DM can already start the campaign at level 3, and I usually do for this reason. The problem is the existing tier system, as you pointed out. The actual apprentice tier is levels 1-4, with a big power boost at level 5, the heroic tier. The heroic tier is the "sweet spot" of 5E that most people enjoy, but it only goes from levels 5-10. Games tend to stop at about level 11, because a lot of DMs don't like the next tier, where player abilities start to disrupt simple adventure design. If the game was designed for level 3-10 as heroic tier, then it would optimize everyone's enjoyment.
This would be horrible for me because I actually like high concentration games like Final Fantasy and the like and that requires levels much higher than 10.

What’s even the point of levels if the gameplay itself is static?
 

Shiroiken

Legend
I sort of agree, but I know there are folks that like high level content. Probably at least six of them. After E6 in the 3E/PF1 days, I'm confident that folks can just run games indefinitely at certain points to keep whatever spot they find sweetest.
This would be horrible for me because I actually like high concentration games like Final Fantasy and the like and that requires levels much higher than 10.

What’s even the point of levels if the gameplay itself is static?
Apparently I wasn't clear... I didn't mean for the game to end sooner, merely expanding the part most people enjoy to include levels 3-4, shortening the "apprentice tier" by two levels. I personally have no problem running past level 11, with my first campaign ending at level 18 (and I'm currently working on a one-shot to revisit those characters).
 

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