Level Up (A5E) Is Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition compatible with D&D 5E?

Stalker0

Legend
The thing is, the group I’m running for would be specifically hamstrung by Level Up’s changes. It includes an Expertise as double proficiency oriented multiclass heavy skill based character who depends on double proficiency bonus, a Polearm Master+Sentinel Barbarian/Fighter defender, an abjurerer
Wizard/Fighter 1 specializing in counterspell and dispelling enemy buffs, a monk/cleric depending on Polearm master + stunning strike for personal defense, and a ranged hand crossbow pure fighter who would be least impacted since crossbow expert and sharpshooter weren’t badly impacted on Level Up.

I’ve used the monstrous menagerie which is fine, but going over some of the rules options in core went from interest to a “nope, never” quickly when I floated the idea, for reasons I’ve already noted - so apparently my group has a different mindset on how they view compatibility. The changed magic items really got to them, particularly the ones that are designed to create resources and don’t anymore, like the decanter, but the rule changes were enough that it’s a different game.

I’ve pitched a one-off short game where we just “try it” but that spun the conversation to, “if we want to play 5e we should play 5e and if we want to play something else heres my recommendation” which covered everything from 13th Age to Pathfinder 2e to The Dark Eye.

They were pretty psyched for an add-on that gives new classes and rules but not the Level Up system that changes build concepts they rely on. The monsters are fine, but the player rules aren’t exciting then and I get why, hence passing on the “notes” that these are a big deal to players who rely on those elements for their builds.
So in such a game, where the players are invested in their characters as is....I agree that just doing a wholesale change over is not the right way. Instead, you introduce things slowly and organically.

Examples:

1) A magic bastard sword that allows you to deflect attacks once a round (aka the parrying property)
2) A spell scroll for a "special version of the spell" that the party can learn (a rare spell, or at least the A5e version of it)
3) A monster that does a special kind of mental attack that leaves a mark that requires a long time to heal (aka strife)
4) A few overland encounters that require some skill checks (aka an exploration challenge).
5) Give the player inspiration, and let them know they also have the ability to spend it on X if they wish (aka a destiny power....one you feel is suitable to the character).
6) Design your encounters using the updated A5e math (without telling the players).
7) Have the TWF in the group learn from a wise sage in advanced combat, and is now able to do two attacks with their off hand.
8) The next NPC that tags along with the group....have them provide a follower type bonus.
9) Give the players a stronghold (could be a little one), maybe a reward for one of their quests. Try out the stronghold benefits that way.

This weans them into it, lets them try things out (without truly knowing they are trying it out). And then when you run your next game, maybe you ask them about some of the things you introduced and see if they like it. If they do, well then maybe you can bring in A5e more fully. If not, then you can continue to cherry pick from the system and let them play core.... as that's a key aspect of compatibility. You pick from the system what you like, and keep the rest core....and the game should work absolutely fine.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

VanguardHero

Adventurer
I disagree with the notion that Level Up characters can be ran alongside D&D characters.
They can, it's just to a5e's detriment because so much of o5e is a broken mess. Which a5e sought to fix. It's like vacuuming a room, dumping the bag out on the carpet, and then complaining when people insinuate it's not clean. Honestly your players sound like the type that loved 3.5, I'm surprised they insist on 5e which doesn't even have many interesting options. Usually I feel like 5e players would much prefer actual Rules Lite systems if they weren't attached at the hip to the Dungeons and Dragons name, interesting to see the other side of it.
 

Rant

Explorer
So in such a game, where the players are invested in their characters as is....I agree that just doing a wholesale change over is not the right way. Instead, you introduce things slowly and organically.

Examples:

1) A magic bastard sword that allows you to deflect attacks once a round (aka the parrying property)
2) A spell scroll for a "special version of the spell" that the party can learn (a rare spell, or at least the A5e version of it)
3) A monster that does a special kind of mental attack that leaves a mark that requires a long time to heal (aka strife)
4) A few overland encounters that require some skill checks (aka an exploration challenge).
5) Give the player inspiration, and let them know they also have the ability to spend it on X if they wish (aka a destiny power....one you feel is suitable to the character).
6) Design your encounters using the updated A5e math (without telling the players).

This weans them into it, lets them try things out (without truly knowing they are trying it out). And then when you run your next game, maybe you ask them about some of the things you introduced and see if they like it. If they do, well then maybe you can bring in A5e more fully. If not, then you can continue to cherry pick from the system and let them play core.... as that's a key aspect of compatibility. You pick from the system what you like, and keep the rest core....and the game should work absolutely fine.
I’m all about candor with players. We discuss the tone of the game, the expectations, if the game is a dungeon crawl or expected to include a mixture of investigations and social scenarios. There is a social contract regarding “set piece fights” that use complex terrain and challenging encounters being a part of the experience - not the only kind of battle, but part of the game - and these are “battles,” not to be avoided, as they give the players a chance to use all their combat side tools to the fullest. They know what kind of content is allowed (current game is only official, no UA), and that all of them are expected to role play and not tune out until it’s their turn in a battle. Basic table mutual understanding.

The group is all about adding on new things. I wouldn’t need to gradually add it on at all if it was designed for that. It’s existing elements being taken away and altered that’s a sore spot, and one I agree with honestly.

Using Level Up’s superior monsters alongside D&D’s rules works fine for us. There’s no strong desire to replace D&D rules with Level Up, though. Some others are talking about alternate third party “advanced” players guides with more modular rules, and if they invest in them I’ll look them over, but I’m not interested in going down the same rabbit hole.

A system add-on with new options and depth - which is what Tasha’s was - is ideal for us. Not a system “overwrite.”

Note: The “table manners” discussion was to say I’m not going to “sneak in” new content. Full transparency at our table on that kind of thing.
 

Stalker0

Legend
What this thread is claiming - that Level Up is compatible with D&D classes and is no more game changing than Tasha’s - I specifically disagree with. I disagree with the notion that Level Up characters can be ran alongside D&D characters.
So I'll agree with the first statement, LU is not some supplemental book like a Tashas.....if you use it fully there are some significant changes....some would even say a "5.5e" type change.

But I'll disagree with the second. There is no functional reason you can't run old and new classes in the same game, you just have to decide which subrules you want to use. Example: Weapon properties....its probably not fair to allow LU classes get fancy properties from weapon and not allow O5e ones too....so you would want to decide if the weapons in your game are going to be original or LU and apply to both. Same with spells, you would want to choose which version of fireball that your O5e and LU wizards are both using.

But that is small potatoes honestly, its not like you have to redesign monsters or tell your O5e players that they have to make major changes to their characters. The game for the most part does play the same.

Now whether thing are "balanced", that part I'm less sure about. I don't think it would be too noticeable if you had a LU class mixed with a different O5e class. But I do think things could get awkward if you have two characters with the same class....as players of course are going to compare with each other and in most cases I think the LU class is both mechanically stronger....but at the very least "looks" mechanically cooler. I know in the playtest I ran my herald player (who had played 5e paladins before) was laughing....saying the class was "insanely stronger than the paladin".... so at least from that perception it would likely be that having a paladin and a herald in the group would cause balance concerns.
 

Rant

Explorer
They can, it's just to a5e's detriment because so much of o5e is a broken mess. Which a5e sought to fix. It's like vacuuming a room, dumping the bag out on the carpet, and then complaining when people insinuate it's not clean. Honestly your players sound like the type that loved 3.5, I'm surprised they insist on 5e which doesn't even have many interesting options. Usually I feel like 5e players would much prefer actual Rules Lite systems if they weren't attached at the hip to the Dungeons and Dragons name, interesting to see the other side of it.
I and my players enjoyed 3.5, 4e and 5e in some cases. Some of the players are newer so they only know 5e, some are veterans of older systems who prefer 3e or 4e or Pathfinder.
It’s a big leap to say that players and DMs who prefer well built 5e characters in 5e games can’t or don’t enjoy 5e. Some have noted there are fewer truly effective builds, they’re the ones ready to move on to a different system.
A lot of us enjoy the role playing as much as the tactical aspect of tabletop which includes finding ways to build effective characters. It’s true there are a handful of those in 5e compared to other games out there, but in a way I think the newer players find that comforting. They don’t need to learn nineteen effective builds, they can learn two or three and play variants of those and feel satisfied. Either way works for me as a DM, I’m just happy to not see boring builds that can’t contribute meaningfully alongside well built characters leading to a difficult in balancing fights.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Note: The “table manners” discussion was to say I’m not going to “sneak in” new content. Full transparency at our table on that kind of thing.
Let me test that a bit. As the DM, if you are going to make a custom monster, do you need to clear it with your players first? Same with a custom magic item?

Is the table rule that everything the DM uses be completely core and nothing is adjusted?

If that's the case, then yes it would seem in poor spirit to "sneak in" LU stuff. But if there is some wiggle room and you do introduce your own custom stuff from time to time, what is the difference between granting the players a custom magic item you thought of on your own and one inspired by a LU weapon property at the end of the day?
 

Rant

Explorer
Let me test that a bit. As the DM, if you are going to make a custom monster, do you need to clear it with your players first? Same with a custom magic item?

Is the table rule that everything the DM uses be completely core and nothing is adjusted?

If that's the case, then yes it would seem in poor spirit to "sneak in" LU stuff. But if there is some wiggle room and you do introduce your own custom stuff from time to time, what is the difference between granting the players a custom magic item you thought of on your own and one inspired by a LU weapon property at the end of the day?
There are certainly “plot devices” that are stated as such, relics that defy conventional rules as part of the fiction, that sort of thing, if that’s what you mean. I run a lot of monsters with maximized hit points (max possible rolled as opposed to the averages listed in the Manual or menagerie) to account for powerful characters, or encounters beyond appropriate CR, and they’re in for the challenge, it’s all understood.
I “could” sneak in some Level Up content, certainly, my point is I avoid “sneaking in rule content” in general. “Sneaking” isn’t transparent, and it doesn’t aid us in any way.

We would use Level Up rules if the group as a whole wanted to. The group doesn’t. When we’re ready for a new system we will play a new system, maybe as early as the next campaign, as 13-17 is drawing to a close, to try out 17-20-Epic Boons, as a “last hurrah” for the system. Beyond that there are a lot of other systems the group is leaning towards over Level Up, including those I’ve named before like Pathfinder 2, 13th Age, and Dark Eye, and others distanced from D&D further like the new Shadowrun or Vampire 5e.

What we play and how we play it is a discussion and something everyone at the table needs to be onboard for. I wouldn’t “sneak” a series of court intrigues into a game I pitched as a Dungeon Crawl (or sneak a Dungeon Crawl into a game advertised as focused on investigation and social skills - which would probably best off as something other than D&D anyway) anymore than I would sneak Level Up content into D&D after the group said “no thanks.”
 

Rant

Explorer
So I'll agree with the first statement, LU is not some supplemental book like a Tashas.....if you use it fully there are some significant changes....some would even say a "5.5e" type change.

But I'll disagree with the second. There is no functional reason you can't run old and new classes in the same game, you just have to decide which subrules you want to use. Example: Weapon properties....its probably not fair to allow LU classes get fancy properties from weapon and not allow O5e ones too....so you would want to decide if the weapons in your game are going to be original or LU and apply to both. Same with spells, you would want to choose which version of fireball that your O5e and LU wizards are both using.

But that is small potatoes honestly, its not like you have to redesign monsters or tell your O5e players that they have to make major changes to their characters. The game for the most part does play the same.

Now whether thing are "balanced", that part I'm less sure about. I don't think it would be too noticeable if you had a LU class mixed with a different O5e class. But I do think things could get awkward if you have two characters with the same class....as players of course are going to compare with each other and in most cases I think the LU class is both mechanically stronger....but at the very least "looks" mechanically cooler. I know in the playtest I ran my herald player (who had played 5e paladins before) was laughing....saying the class was "insanely stronger than the paladin".... so at least from that perception it would likely be that having a paladin and a herald in the group would cause balance concerns.
Forgot to address this. And on this I can’t speak to the Level Up example but what’s “cool” to a player is subjective but contributing is more clear cut. The guy playing the rogue 11/cleric2/bard1 is much more into the role play side of things and having the skills to back that up with I think 9 expertise skills, probably 11 by the end at level 17, reliable talent, and the knowledge domain power to learn anything he doesn’t know already, it lets him feel good out of combat. He still has sharpshooter and crossbow expert but knows the fighter is more geared to ranged damage and that doesn’t bother him.
The girl playing the pure fighter 14 is a “5e only” player who enjoys big damage numbers and makes them happen. She doesn’t have as much to do out of combat - something I like conceptually about Level Up - but in her case doesn’t care as much. She’s less interested in engaging meaningfully with the character interactions and world like some others.
Both are able to play characters they like. I was hoping Level Up could fix the “nothing to do” issue for some classes, and it seems to, but at the expense of not being D&D compatible. It’s fine by me, and even if that player did have more social abilities she likely wouldn’t care to use them.
I remember playing in 3.5e games where someone playing a Warblade was “flashier” and I was happy to play a fighter with the spring attack/rapid blitz chain that was just as effective. Balance does matter, especially in combat, and the goal of adding out of combat options is a great idea in Level Up. It just didn’t add them to D&D, since it’s not a D&D add on, but a new game, a rule replacement.
 
Last edited:

Faolyn

(she/her)
Just for fun, I decided to "convert" one of my current characters to A5e (I have no expectations of actually bringing her into the game, since the DM doesn't have any of the A5e books). She's completely different now--she had been a Swashbuckler Rogue 6/Fighter 1 but she's only barely a rogue (her concept is a professional duelist) so I made her a straight-up Duelist Fighter. Her damage is lower now because of the loss of sneak attack but she has so many cool options due to maneuvers that I don't think I'll care, if I ever actually do get to play this version. The only things that I really wanted to make sure I had were her high Sleight of Hand and Insight skills, and fortunately her culture gave her a free skill so she was able to take SoH, and her skill specialties let her bump those two up a bit.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I don't really want to get into this discussion, but I've noticed that you could play O5E and A5E at the same time (say, with an O5E character using exclusively O5E rules and an A5E character using all the A5E rules) with the DM/Narrator having to do no extra work whatsoever. (Beyond knowing both sets of rules). I don't even think it would be at all confusing.

I might do this with any player who is resistant to learning new rules. "Fine, don't bother then, you'll keep playing O5E".

That alone makes it pretty compatible.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top