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D&D General How would YOU do "classless D&D"?

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
First: this is not a seeking advice thread. it is a discussion thread. i don't actually plan on creating classless D&D, and you probably don't either. But that doesn't mean we can muse and theorycraft on the subject.

Second: I know some people think it is impossible to do and/or that classes are fundamental to D&D. I appreciate that. But this isn't the thread to come in and argue that point.

Okay, with that out of the way, I am asking you to put your designer hat on and roleplay a little. You have been contracted by WotC to make D&D 6.pi and the single immutable mandate is "no classes." Levels remain. You have to still allow for all the fun character options that have historically be a part of D&D, up to and including 5.5.b.delta. How do you do it? What is your design philosophy?

The first thing I would do is Feat-ify everything that I reasonably could and make Feats the basic unit of structure in the system. While I would try to avoid overdoing Feat chains, some would logically have to exist (you can't have, say, improved evasion without having evasion first). Trap feats would of course have to go, and I think (not sure) I would have increasing magical capability based on continuing to devote feats into one's "caster level" -- although I would certainly readjust how "caster level" and access to more powerful magic works. i might even be inclined to get rid of different levels of spells entirely and fold similar spells into high level castings of some core spell (fire bolt ->fireball->meteor swarm like that).

How would you build a classless D&D?
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think you'd have to do something like 3e and 5e have done and rate abilities numerically and then give PCs X points at 1st level to buy abilities. So if you want heavy armor, semi-spellcasting, sneak attack, and bardic inspiration, you would spend your points on those things. You'd also gate abilities not just by point cost, but the levels(the lowest level if different among multiple classes) at which they are offered. So when you hit 3rd level, you could purchase from among the 1st-3rd level class/subclass abilities. You might also create chains in which you need a lower form of an ability before you can get the higher one. As an example, you could not buy extra attack(2) at 11th level unless you had purchased extra attack already.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I am currently working on this, building on the Adventurer ("Class"???) here: Adventurer by /u/aeyana

I started working from scratch and remembered this from a thread I posted a couple years ago, and after a deep dive into history, finally found it.

As I said, it is currently a work in progress.
 


DrunkonDuty

he/him
The first thing I would do is Feat-ify everything that I reasonably could and make Feats the basic unit of structure in the system. While I would try to avoid overdoing Feat chains, some would logically have to exist (you can't have, say, improved evasion without having evasion first). Trap feats would of course have to go, and I think (not sure) I would have increasing magical capability based on continuing to devote feats into one's "caster level" -- although I would certainly readjust how "caster level" and access to more powerful magic works. i might even be inclined to get rid of different levels of spells entirely and fold similar spells into high level castings of some core spell (fire bolt ->fireball->meteor swarm like that).

I agree with feati-fy everything. BAB, hit dice, spells, saves, stat bumps, class features. We would need to make sure that class features are balanced against not just each other but also basic things like BAB and saves. By which I mean who'd take a feat for +1 BAB if you could get Rage that grants +2 hit AND damage for the same cost? So all of the feats would have to be carefully balanced against one another.

Also agree that feat chains should be limited if used at all.

In conjunction I'd remove levels. Characters don't get "levels," they get feats.

Characters start with:
X number of feats. (Probably half a dozen.)
A standardised hit die. d10, why not?
STR, DEX etc. which should be purchased.

Spells... spells are going to require a whole lot of work. In the long ago times there was a 3rd party supplement for 3.5 that had a system for designing spells that was basically modular. A spell's level was determined by things like range, base damage die, damage cap, saving throw. Once you have a spell's level you have to work out how many feats it might be worth.
 


Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I'd do a mix of feats and items/equipment based progression. And I'd put extra features in Races and Background to carry the bulk of the mechanical side for the players.

So a Dwarf Acolyte might start with proficiency with axe, religion and stone cunning, and a access to a Magic Tradition.

Spells should be classified by Tradition (fire magic, tree magic, force magic, mind magic etc) and you gain better spells in the traditions you've unlocked based on your proficiency (and you spells effects are improved based on your proficiency, not because you ''upcast'' them''

Items could have special property mimicking class feature, like a Berserker's Axe giving you access to Rage or things like that.

Other features are transformed in feats that are tier-gated and may have some other prerequisites.
 


Stormonu

Legend
I like my D&D with class and levels, but I've played several RPGs that lack classes.

Basically making everything feats would be the way I go, though I'd also kill leveling too. Your character could still get good at things at different rates, but if I were to go classless, I'd go levelless too.
 

LadyElect

Explorer
Dividing out weapon/armor proficiencies, abilities/feats, and the total list of spells into some sort of point buy system seems like it could be an interesting attempt at more truly modular character creation (nightmare to balance, be damned).

That would also probably work well with a move to break race into a combination of ancestry/culture/background as some other games have. You could fill those options with some set of either inherent features, subsets to select from, or a combination.

And moving the spell lists away from class could instead give you the ability to make the various schools of magic a more meaningful investment. Perhaps exponential benefit as you invest your point pool more heavily into any of them—like multiclassing but crunchier.

Of course, that wouldn’t likely be something that as many people are willing to parse prior to booting up a game.
 

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