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Blog (A5E) Keeping it Classy: Updated Core Classes in Level Up

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
We’ve previously emphasized how the classes in Level Up now give a lot more love to the social and exploration pillars of the game, and while they certainly do, we haven’t neglected the combat pillar, either. Several of the classes got a more extensive combat pillar overhaul than the others, though, and below we’ll be discussing both the changes and what the benefits from those changes will be for your games. Much of his information hasn’t gotten a lot of proverbial air time because it's more in-depth than what can be squeezed into an infographic, but this is also some of the most impressive design work that the team produced, so get ready for some exciting revelations!

It’s notable that even this is more of a “highlight reel” than an exhaustive breakdown; with a dozen updated classes and the new Marshal class (to say nothing of rebalanced spells, feats, and magic items) there’s much more that’s been rebalanced than just what’s in this article.


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Huh. Removing Action Surge borders on being a dealbreaker for my interest in this system's Fighter class, and the idea that it was approached as a "problem in need of solving" bodes poorly for me being on the same page as the system's design goals in general. Certainly talking at relative length about removing it with only vague allusions to unspecified cool stuff in return, as I would argue this blog post does, is probably not the best way to sell most people on the Level Up Fighter.
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
with only vague allusions to unspecified cool stuff in return,
Dude, they've been talking about combat maneuvers for months. It's the exact opposite of unspecified cool stuff. It's very specified cool stuff.

 

Faolyn

Hero
Huh. Removing Action Surge borders on being a dealbreaker for my interest in this system's Fighter class, and the idea that it was approached as a "problem in need of solving" bodes poorly for me being on the same page as the system's design goals in general. Certainly talking at relative length about removing it with only vague allusions to unspecified cool stuff in return, as I would argue this blog post does, is probably not the best way to sell most people on the Level Up Fighter.
Well, it should be noted that there are a lot of maneuvers that effectively grant extra attacks.
 


timespike

Adventurer
Huh. Removing Action Surge borders on being a dealbreaker for my interest in this system's Fighter class, and the idea that it was approached as a "problem in need of solving" bodes poorly for me being on the same page as the system's design goals in general. Certainly talking at relative length about removing it with only vague allusions to unspecified cool stuff in return, as I would argue this blog post does, is probably not the best way to sell most people on the Level Up Fighter.
I was pretty shocked when I saw Action Surge gone from the new fighter in the playtest document, too. Then I tried playing a fighter with the new rules. The maneuvers really do make it unnecessary. It's plenty effective without needing to break the action economy.
 

Dude, they've been talking about combat maneuvers for months. It's the exact opposite of unspecified cool stuff. It's very specified cool stuff.

Sure, but if someone publicizes a specific blog entry it seems like it should stand on its own, or at least try to link the reader to whatever they need for context. Maybe I'm ignorant, but presumably they want to sell books to ignorant people too.

Well, it should be noted that there are a lot of maneuvers that effectively grant extra attacks.
It's not the overall number of attacks that I like about action surge. I just like having the humble Fighter be the class that gets to break the action economy in a simple, straightforward, and powerful way.
 

timespike

Adventurer
Sure, but if someone publicizes a specific blog entry it seems like it should stand on its own, or at least try to link the reader to whatever they need for context. Maybe I'm ignorant, but presumably they want to sell books to ignorant people too.


It's not the overall number of attacks that I like about action surge. I just like having the humble Fighter be the class that gets to break the action economy in a simple, straightforward, and powerful way.
The problem is that it's not usually a "simple" fighter any more. It's a Fighter 2/Divine Soul Sorcerer X who casts fireball and then follows it up with spirit guardians.

That said, the humble fighter can still wreck their opposition with nothing but their training and a sword, the depiction of that training is just more varied and granular now.
 

HeroicVanguard

Explorer
I love all these changes, and especially the transparency about the game design.

Fighter getting more interesting options in place of "I do my attacks again" adds so much, and the early playtest documents really showed that the devs got what makes Fighter so appealing, like I was utterly in love with the Nightwatch Exploration Knack.
Warlock is the only Class that felt well designed in 5e, having non-spell choices after 3rd level, and this gives it the smaller bumps it really needed, especially turning Pact of Blade into Hexblade without the cheese. Also love them functioning off of an MP system.
Herald sounds solid overall, I love the focus on Smites should result in more than damage, since the big problem in o5e was Melee being boring even if the damage numbers were good, "I attack X times, wait for my party to make interesting dynamic choices with their spells and hey its me again I attack X times".
Druid sounds great, Wild Shape staying relevant as more than a "Have a Bigger HP pool than a whole party of Martials" gimmick is fantastic, the main thing a Druid lover pointed out being meh on in the playtest was a limited number of forms known which I don't see mentioned here, was that dropped or do you still have a small pool of chosen forms?
 

The problem is that it's not usually a "simple" fighter any more. It's a Fighter 2/Divine Soul Sorcerer X who casts fireball and then follows it up with spirit guardians.
Once per short rest at the cost of delaying progression in, you know, magic for two levels. It just never bothered me.

I guess it just never struck me as a "cheesy" multiclass. In my headcannon such multiclasses are just people who focused some of their training more on mundane things like physical endurance, functioning in armor, and fighting with weapons, which makes reasonable sense for anyone involved in the adventurer lifestyle, and as a result have the fortitude for an occasional heroic moment that other mages can't manage at the cost of being less skilled in the highest levels of magic. It's a lot less to explain than why every Paladin is selling their soul to a sentient weapon or discovering that they have a sorcerous bloodline.
 

HeroicVanguard

Explorer
The problem is that it's not usually a "simple" fighter any more. It's a Fighter 2/Divine Soul Sorcerer X who casts fireball and then follows it up with spirit guardians.

That said, the humble fighter can still wreck their opposition with nothing but their training and a sword, the depiction of that training is just more varied and granular now.
I agree with this design change regardless, but did something change in the base 5e rules at some point to change the "Can only cast two spells on one turn if one is a Cantrip" bit? I always thought that was a limiting factor for the worst of Action Surge Multiclass Cheese.
 

I agree with this design change regardless, but did something change in the base 5e rules at some point to change the "Can only cast two spells on one turn if one is a Cantrip" bit? I always thought that was a limiting factor for the worst of Action Surge Multiclass Cheese.
There was never such a rule. There is only a rule about what else you can cast if one of the spells is cast with the bonus action, and Action Surge has nothing to do with Bonus Actions.
 

timespike

Adventurer
There was never such a rule. There is only a rule about what else you can cast if one of the spells is cast with the bonus action, and Action Surge has nothing to do with Bonus Actions.
Benjamin has it right. As long as you're not trying to wedge a bonus action spell in there, you can toss a pair of the highest-level spells you can cast with Action Surge under O5E.
 


timespike

Adventurer
WOW that is some powerful RAW vs RAI, legitimately hilarious.
Yeah, I wrote a whole article about that for the site, got it wrong, was rightly corrected by the forums, rewrote it, and now have nightmares about the crazy cheese that's possible under RAW. If the build and circumstances are just right, a Rogue(Thief) 17/Fighter 2/Sorcerer 1 with the right feats can get eight spells off in a single round.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Sure, but if someone publicizes a specific blog entry it seems like it should stand on its own, or at least try to link the reader to whatever they need for context. Maybe I'm ignorant, but presumably they want to sell books to ignorant people too.
Agreed. Regardless of how you feel about the article, it should not be colored by the playtest documents. The simple fact is, we don't know how much has changed since the playtest (and those documents don't exist online anymore for new people to reference). Second, we should assume there are several people that had no interest in playtests, but now that a real product is about to be born in the world....they want to see what the fuss is all about.

And so you should expect people to read this document as a standalone.
 

timespike

Adventurer
Agreed. Regardless of how you feel about the article, it should not be colored by the playtest documents. The simple fact is, we don't know how much has changed since the playtest (and those documents don't exist online anymore for new people to reference). Second, we should assume there are several people that had no interest in playtests, but now that a real product is about to be born in the world....they want to see what the fuss is all about.

And so you should expect people to read this document as a standalone.
While the blog post could benefit from a hyperlink to the maneuvers post, the maneuvers post that Corrosive linked is from only 2 days prior and also includes laid-out sections from the books with full art. While it is not the entire maneuvers chapter, it's definitely not a playtest document, either.

EDIT: looks like someone from management agrees. The original blog post now includes a hyperlink to the maneuvers post.
 
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Sansang

Villager
This, all of this, is just perfect.
Honestly I don't mind by the slightest strange multiclass combos at my table, so some of the things these designs were aiming to address were non-issues to me, but they ended up creating feature-sets way more interesting, free, and intriguing than the O5E classes. I appreciate in particular the discussion about Pally's utility.

I haven't understood one thing though: what does the fighter have to make it special? If every martial class have special maneuvers (which is amazing), what do they do different? I mean, if they are just "better" at it, it doesn't sound interesting enough.
 


King Brad

Explorer
This, all of this, is just perfect.
Honestly I don't mind by the slightest strange multiclass combos at my table, so some of the things these designs were aiming to address were non-issues to me, but they ended up creating feature-sets way more interesting, free, and intriguing than the O5E classes. I appreciate in particular the discussion about Pally's utility.

I haven't understood one thing though: what does the fighter have to make it special? If every martial class have special maneuvers (which is amazing), what do they do different? I mean, if they are just "better" at it, it doesn't sound interesting enough.
If the playtest is any indication, certain classes can only pull from certain traditions for their maneuvers. Fighters have no such limitation and have extra exertion like the Adept does. They also get their own unique social features as well, like Steely Mien.
 
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