D&D 5E How Will Prestige Classes and Paragon Paths Manifest in 5e

Preliminary Dev-speak stated that they were going the route of Advanced Themes to properly represent Prestige Classes and Paragon Paths. Given that Themes have exited Stage Left and are now "Specialties". I am fine with this as the word Specialties is much more in line with the focused expectation of Feat-Trees while Theme carries other loaded expectations. Given the change though, one wonders what the plan is for delivery of these "Advanced Class" archetypes.

Any news or speculation? The obvious Speculation would be prerequisite-driven access to "more potent Specialties (feat trees)" which are given a different name (Paragon Classes!).

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I´d like to see advanced specialities. I would call them "prestige paths" however. ;)

On a more serious note: A prestige class once should allow the DM to reward players for their achievments. Maybe Prestige classes could take the form of the 4e "grand master training" A new power, maneuver, which you gain as an extra. No prerequisites, no class advancement. Just a reward. However, there may be an option, to take such a prestige path as advance speciality with a prerequsite.

I generally like the approach:

- You can take a path, with low prerequisites.
- If you want to cherry pick, your prerequisites are higher.

Until I am corrected, I interpret specialities that the grant the feet for free, like a 3e monk and other classes receive their feats circumventing all prerequisites.

One small problem with 'advanced specialties' is that the current ones apparently continue up to level 9. 10th level is a bit late to get involved with a 'prestige specialty', don't you think?

I do think that some variant on specialties is the way this will be implemented, though. I don't foresee new classes.


Didn't Wizards say that characters get more specialties at higher levels.
So I could see more advanced specialties at lvl 7 to 9 that tie in with organizations/concepts more strongly akin to the old prestige/paragon systems.

Although I really liked the idea from d20 modern of advanced classes starting at lvl 4-5..

These are "Advanced Archetypes" (going to go with that term for now) that have unique mechanics unto their build that will likely not be present within the construct of Base Classes. Further, the unique mechanics that they possess (in order to authentically produce the nuance of the Advanced Archetype) may be a bit too potent (Class Feature level of power) for the "Power Budget" of a single Feat to reproduce. Therefore, I suspect that something outside of the build resource capability of the Base Class and Feat/Specialty systems will be required to produce these Advanced Archetypes. These are just off the top of my head as many of the most popular ones (I'm sure there are others):

Arcane Archer
Arcane Trickster
Beastlord (Dependent upon Druid iteration)
Binder (Demon, Devil, etc - dependent upon full Warlock iteration/pacts)
Cavalier (Dependent upon Paladin iteration)
Demonskin Adept
Drunken Master
Dwarven Defender
Justicar (Dependent upon Cleric Domain iterations)
Shadow Dancer
Skald/Pirate (Dependent upon Rogue Scheme availability)
Slayer/Hunter (Giant, Dragon, Undead, etc - dependent upon Ranger iteration)
Specialty Mage (Dependent upon full Wizard iteration)
Thief Acrobat/Soaring Rake (Dependent upon Rogue Scheme availability)


Much of this depends on how they are going to depend how they are handle "tiers", so to speak.

In 2e, level 10 was an important benchmark. If you were a Thief, you got your gang. Fighters became lords with holdings opening up a whole new gameplay. Still, very arbitrary "this happens at 10"

In 3e, less so. But 3e had hundreds of Prestige Classes, some crazy OP, some very retarded like Pale Master. At least you were not forced to take one if you felt it did not match the flavor you wanted.

4e was a bit interesting. At 10 you got to choose one or continue on a feat taxed multiclass (which gimped you). But, I did not care for the arbitrary "this happens at level 10". I also do not think a paragon path or prestige class should be required. What happened to just being a good mid level rogue? Do I have to be something else automatically?

I think the new background/specialty is going to be the way to go instead of the hundreds of tables for 3e but with a lot more flexibility than the paragon paths of 4e. And unlike 4e, you should not be REQUIRED to take one. If I wanted a job system, i would play Final Fantasy where rogues become ninjas.

Now I want to see what they plan to do for epic :D


I think they'll keep it simple, a new Speciality every ten levels, with some Specialities having level requirements. So a wizard might take Necromancer Specialization (might become Palemaster if necro becomes a Wizard tradition), and at Ten picks Red Wizard and at 30 picks Zulkir or Lich.


I (might become Palemaster if necro becomes a Wizard tradition).

NOoooo. No Palemasters. Not only is the concept really bad, but we had this guy that never bathed always bumming cigarettes and money that came to our games back in the day that played one. Played very stupidly, at that. After a session or two, the third session only one other person showed up because he chased folks away. I had to have my second ever "you can not play with us" talk I detest doing.

But anyways, off topic is off topic :D


I hope prestige classes will go the way of the Dodo.


I agree, warder. But there will always be those that want to be a special snowflake. And, some of it is not that bad. Maybe there is a place for the rogue to become a ninja.

But, my money is on the fact that they are going to have "kits". Too much money to be made making up 100s of kits over 20 books that they will have planned. I just do not want these kits to be forced on you like 4e paragon path/ epic destiny.

I just hope they stick with this background specialty thing. It is almost like the old 3.5e templates in it's simplicity with roleplay potential to boot.

Epic Threats

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