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


Mind Mage
My impression is, 4e was designed as a classless system. But the designers found it to be "too wild". Freeform character generation rewards system mastery, allowing the experienced player to combine powerful options, and the newb to pick useless combinations. The system rewards min-maxing. The designer playtesting was volatile, fast and furious in any direction.

Even so. The attention to how much each feature is worth, was a breakthru in understanding how a gaming ecology functions. 4e ended up being the most balanced version ever.

Ironically, 4e ended up as the most mechanically stratified edition, with little mechanical flexibility. (Albeit the reflavoring of mechanics is amazing.) It was more difficult for DMs to homebrew new mechanics, and the 4e culture generally waited for new official options, dependent on the designers to innovate new balanced mechanics.

In comparison, 5e seems less balanced, but is more robust and harder to break. So it can handle the stress of DMs making up new mechanics on the fly.

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Mind Mage
The specific attention to roles and each class having a highly specialized identity suggest otherwise.
I suspect the 4e design started off truly freeform. But the design got afraid and ended up making the mechanical features extremely gated and regimented.

(Gated to a degree that noncombat powers only became available at certain levels, and so on.)

Even so, 4e design allows extreme flexibility for flavor. So one can do much with the mechanics that are available.

just a try.
You start with the commoner template.
You get 6 feats or ASI To start.
Each level you gain a ASI or a feat.

It will produce something. character will evolve, choice will be made.
Some options will be better than others.

of course after some level you won’t be a true character of that level, but you will improve and can overcome more difficult CR.

it can be a try out for a fun one shot short adventure.


Making a class-less D&D is a lot of work, but doable.

You need to put a numerical value on every ability/feature in the game.
Then you need to put level requirement on it. This is the easiest part.
Then also some pre-requirements on some abilities.

We can take value of 1 to 12 for all abilities.
1 is for language or single weapon or tool proficiency, 12 could be for extra attack or single 9th level slot.

then you do that for ALL classes in 5E, come down to average number of "feat points", and determine what number of points is given per level.
With slight increase of points given at levels: 1,3,5,11,17.


Staff member
As I’ve said before- and I see echoes above- I quickly came to the conclusion that 4Ed would have made a great classless system…and thus, a great toolbox system.

My second option was basically the Mutants & Masterminds‘ sourcebook, Warlocks & Warriors- IOW, a modified version of 3.5Ed.

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