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Level Up (A5E) Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Is Coming!

Level Up is the working title for a standalone 'advanced 5E' backwards compatible tabletop RPG coming to Kickstarter in 2021 from EN Publishing.

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A crunchier, more flexible version of the 5E ruleset which you know and love. If you love 5E but would like a little more depth to the ruleset, Level Up is the game for you!

Level Up is the working codename for a standalone hardcover roleplaying game brought to you by the team which brought you EN5ider Magazine and Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters!

Sign up for news about Level Up! This mailing list is for news, surveys, feedback, and playtests. Or simply register your interest in the Kickstarter.


This is an ‘advanced’ version of the 5E ruleset, presented as a hardcover standalone game. It adds more customization and depth to the game. Basically, it’s a ‘crunchier’ version of 5th Edition. It's still the game you know and love. We love it too! All your 5E books will be compatible with this new game.

We already have a list of what we want to include in Level Up, although this list is not yet final We’ll be using surveys to adjust that list. We hope to include a fully developed exploration pillar, flexible character choices at each level, a new approach to heritage, martial maneuvers, a ‘cinematic/gritty’ toggle, spell-less ranger and warlord, and followers and strongholds, and more. Keep an eye out for the surveys!

We are also recruiting a diverse team of expert 5th Edition writers. We’ll have more news on that soon.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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EzekielRaiden

Adventurer
I feel a lot of things including Warlord/Magicless Ranger/4e style Defender(more interesting than the cavalier) can be better achieved by improving the fighter/rogue flexibility.
You may be surprised to hear that "your preference gets demoted to being a side-load addendum to someone else's preference" is distinctly unpopular among fans of Warlords, Defenders, and generally crunchy 4e-style combat/mechanics.
 

You may be surprised to hear that "your preference gets demoted to being a side-load addendum to someone else's preference" is distinctly unpopular among fans of Warlords, Defenders, and generally crunchy 4e-style combat/mechanics.
Historically, Garthanos is a prominent Warlord fan. I would look twice at any preferences he suggest.

I am surprised, he feels that a Fighter or Rogue class is workable for certain Warlord concepts.
 

I want a Knight class − for a formerly trained heavy-armored warrior, with Intelligence tactics and history and Charisma morale and politics. This is essentially the smart warrior.

Subclass archetypes for the Knight class can be:
• nonmagic: Inspirer Warlord (healing while nonzero), Tactician Warlord (lazylording), Cavalier, Samurai, Shielder bodyguard, etcetera
• magic: Paladin of various oaths, Eldritch Knight, Warden, a psionic with force armor, etcetera
 

How many do you want? I have a draft PDF with over fifty.....want to read it and offer your opinions? Some are good, some I would never use but I built them anyway.
Yes, i'd be interested in taking a look, thanks for the offer. One question - what was the incentive for writing something you wouldn't use? Unless it was part of your process.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Historically, Garthanos is a prominent Warlord fan. I would look twice at any preferences he suggest.

I am surprised, he feels that a Fighter or Rogue class is workable for certain Warlord concepts.
Garth and I have gone back and forth with ideas for a fighter warlord quite a bit.

We disagree on how many widgets it needs, but I like his ideas in general.

The main thing to me is to take each major fighter feature and make it soemthing they can use to boost an ally. Extra attack becomes Heroic Action, and gains the ability to let an ally attack as a reaction at the cost of the fighter’s attack.

Action Surge becomes “let someone else take an extra action on their next turn”.

Second Wind becomes Inspiring Word, and an ally gets HP equal to 1d10+your fighter level.

Indomitable becomes Bulwark and applies to an ally.

etc.

Then the crunch maeisters like me and Garth take Battlemaster or a new leader focused subclass.
 

We're only writing one game. :)

Fair point. To explain my thinking:
After:

  • reading 13th Age, particularly the escalation die mechanic
  • playing 5th
  • reading about Balsera-Style and Greyhawk initiative
  • planning a campaign for a single player, and two players

i thought that it would be cool if you had two or three initiative systems in the same game. To represent different states of escalation/momentum/synergy between the players.

And then certain actions, combinations of actions or mini goals, could alter the initiative system. If done right it could simulate the "we're up against it" vs "we're gathering momentum and going to town" feeling.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If you plan to have the “martial” classes have options for magic just like in standard 5e, I recommend figuring out a resource pool or recharge system for the base class that is as simple as possible from the start, so that mundane manuever widgets, and magical manuever widgets, can live in the same class more easily than they do in standard D&D 5e.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
If you plan to have the “martial” classes have options for magic just like in standard 5e, I recommend figuring out a resource pool or recharge system for the base class that is as simple as possible from the start, so that mundane manuever widgets, and magical manuever widgets, can live in the same class more easily than they do in standard D&D 5e.

I think spell-like maneuvers, like the Arcane Archer shots and the 4E special powers would be ideal instead of 1/3 spellcasters that never seems to get enough spells to really matters instead of spamming shield/absord elements/shadow blade...

In my own fantasy heartbreaker 5e, I refluffed the BM's maneuver as Hexes used by the Warlock instead of spells.

Warlock’s Essences

Fumbling hex: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one superiority die to attempt to disarm the target, forcing it to drop one item of your choice that it's holding. You add the essence die to the attack's damage roll, and the target must make a STR save. On a failed save, it drops the object you choose. The object lands 15 ft away from it.

Disorienting hex: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to distract the creature, giving your allies an opening. You add the essence die to the attack's damage roll. The next attack roll against the target by an attacker other than you has advantage if the attack is made before the start of your next turn.

Shadow walk: When you move, you can expend one essence die, rolling the die and adding the number rolled to your AC until you stop moving.

Hex of fury: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to attempt to goad the target into attacking you. You add the essence die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a WIS save. On a failed save, the target has disadvantage on all attack rolls against targets other than you until the end of your next turn.

Eldritch spear: When you make an attack against a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to increase your reach for that attack by 15 ft. If you hit, you add the essence die to the cantriattack’s damage roll.

Frightening hex: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to attempt to frighten the target. You add the essence die to the attack’s damage roll, and the target must make a WIS save. On a failed save, it is frightened of you until the end of your next turn.

Eldritch aim: When you make a spell attack roll with a cantrip against a creature, you can expend one essence die to add it to the roll. You can use this essence before or after making the attack roll, but before any effects of the attack are applied.

Repelling blast: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to attempt to drive the target back. You add the essence die to the attack’s damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller, it must make a STR save. On a failed save, you push the target up to 15 feet away from you.

Draining hex. When you hit a creature with with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can use a bonus action and expend one essence die to cure of one of your ally. When you do so, choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you. That creature gains temporary hit points equal to the essence die roll + your Charisma modifier.

Vengeful rebuke: When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one essence die to make a melee weapon attack against the creature. If you hit, you add the superiority die to the attack's damage roll.

Eldritch burst: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to attempt to damage another creature with the same action. All creatures of your choice within 5 feet of the original target and within your reach; it takes damage equal to the number you roll on your essence die. The damage is of the same type dealt by the original attack.

Sapping hex: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die to attempt to knock the target down. You add the essence die to the attack's damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller, it must make a STR save. On a failed save, you knock the target prone.

Darkfire step: When you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check or an initiative roll, you can expend one superiority die and add the die to the roll.

Monstrous grasp: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack with your hexed blade, you can expend one essence die and use a bonus action to grapple the target at distance. Add the superiority die to your Strength (Athletics) check. The target is also restrained while grappled in this way.

Beguiling tongue: When you make a Charisma (Deception) check or a Charisma (Persuasion) check, you can expend one essence die, and add the result to the ability check.

Eldritch sight: When you make a Wisdom (Insight) check or an Intelligence (Investigation) check, you can expend one essence die, and add the result to the ability check.


In the end, it kinda works. Now, this is just an example with already made maneuvers with a new coat of paint, but the idea still as its charm.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
You may be surprised to hear that "your preference gets demoted to being a side-load addendum to someone else's preference" is distinctly unpopular among fans of Warlords, Defenders, and generally crunchy 4e-style combat/mechanics.
Hey! Nice job articulating my feelings on the “nonmagical ranger is redundant” argument!
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Historically, Garthanos is a prominent Warlord fan. I would look twice at any preferences he suggest.

I am surprised, he feels that a Fighter or Rogue class is workable for certain Warlord concepts.
The Warlord class was so versatile you are right a limit of "certain concepts" did run through my head almost after typing it just to be more cautious

But I have been thinking of a unified martial hero class (like looking back at Chainmail and going nuts with 4e and 5e things all over it AND so in for a penny in for a pound.

The first time you might say D&D elaborated a concept of akin to the Warlord AD&D called it a Warrior Lord aka the Fighter iit was the weapon master but also it could be the smart tactical/strategic hero (or less mentioned yet charismatic inspiring hero) this was an abstracted presentation without any mechanics backing it but if you can allow a fighter to make use of Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma dynamically in battle and allow that to influence allies and enemies heck even the charismatic influence needn't be more than a side effect of how awesome he is. What if the maneuver set had one's for all 4e model battle roles? You might have stances that changed out your primary core mechanic (in 4e rather like if the Berserk who swapped between defender and striker had been explored further one element of the Warlord that didnt get explored in 4e was the Controller model where manipulating the enemy is totally on the table. Think of it this way a wizards spell set has always been potentially ridiculously broad I think truly versatile set of maneuvers on a class able to do morning exercises to shift their focus I think the capability of extraordinary fluid Warrior sort of naturally flows to the surface. I won't say the idea is easy just ideal and interesting to explore.

You may be surprised to hear that "your preference gets demoted to being a side-load addendum to someone else's preference" is distinctly unpopular among fans of Warlords, Defenders, and

Not sure I expected someone to throw the gauntlet so appropriately thank you. My idea may actually not be possible and should take second consideration for expressing the characters well.

There may well be elements of each which are hard to reach without isolating them into different classes for instance : The 4e defender fighter is I think one of the most well written classes : the biting damned if you do AND damned if you don't dynamic of its abilities are astounding so mayhaps more difficult to express in a more unified hero class.

generally crunchy 4e-style combat/mechanics.

Its that latter crunchiness that might help make the other viable.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Heh. I want ONE BIG THING at every level. Something equivalent to a feat at every level.
They can't really do that and stay compatible with 5e. Having the equivalent of a feat (if by feat you mean a 5e feat) every level would create characters significantly more power than "basic" 5e.
 

They can't really do that and stay compatible with 5e. Having the equivalent of a feat (if by feat you mean a 5e feat) every level would create characters significantly more power than "basic" 5e.
The fact that certain levels gain feats (ability improvements), suggests the level itself is worth a feat. Likewise, the fact that the Fighter gains extra feats at certain levels, confirms a level is a worth a feat.
 

dave2008

Legend
The fact that certain levels gain feats (ability improvements), suggests the level itself is worth a feat. Likewise, the fact that the Fighter gains extra feats at certain levels, confirms a level is a worth a feat.
The fact that some levels get nothing would suggest you are think about this incorrectly. A level is not "equal" to anything. In 5e, some levels get things and others don't. Some levels get more than others. This varies by class as well.

If conceptually all 5e feats (including Level Up feats) are the same level of power, than giving a class 20 feats versus 7 (current max - fighter) is going to create a balance issue because the other things offered in 5e at a given level don't always equal a feat. That doesn't mean Level Up can't be designed to offer significant choices at each level, I just don't think it can be a 5e feat equivalent choice at each level and still be compatible with 5e. However, offer "talents" at each level or something new could work, IMO. Then again, I could be wrong.

Personally I think the issue is less about feats and more about offering choices. Like:

1st+2Fighting Style, Second Wind
2nd+2Action Surge (one use) or Extra Reaction
3rd+2Martial Archetype (2 or more feature choices)
4th+2Ability Score Improvement
5th+3Extra Attack or Power Attack
6th+3Ability Score Improvement
7th+3Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
8th+3Ability Score Improvement
9th+4Indomitable (one use) or bonus save proficiency
10th+4Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
11th+4Extra Attack (2) or Improved Power Attack
12th+4Ability Score Improvement
13th+5Indomitable (two uses) or bonus save proficiency
14th+5Ability Score Improvement
15th+5Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
16th+5Ability Score Improvement
17th+6Action Surge (two uses), Indomitable (three uses) or bonus save proficiency
18th+6Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
19th+6Ability Score Improvement
20th+6Extra Attack (3) or Greater Power Attack

Just a rough example, but the idea is that you have a choice at each level.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The fact that some levels get nothing would suggest you are think about this incorrectly. A level is not "equal" to anything. In 5e, some levels get things and others don't. Some levels get more than others. This varies by class as well.

If conceptually all 5e feats (including Level Up feats) are the same level of power, than giving a class 20 feats versus 7 (current max - fighter) is going to create a balance issue because the other things offered in 5e at a given level don't always equal a feat. That doesn't mean Level Up can't be designed to offer significant choices at each level, I just don't think it can be a 5e feat equivalent choice at each level and still be compatible with 5e. However, offer "talents" at each level or something new could work, IMO. Then again, I could be wrong.

Personally I think the issue is less about feats and more about offering choices. Like:

1st+2Fighting Style, Second Wind
2nd+2Action Surge (one use) or Extra Reaction
3rd+2Martial Archetype (2 or more feature choices)
4th+2Ability Score Improvement
5th+3Extra Attack or Power Attack
6th+3Ability Score Improvement
7th+3Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
8th+3Ability Score Improvement
9th+4Indomitable (one use) or bonus save proficiency
10th+4Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
11th+4Extra Attack (2) or Improved Power Attack
12th+4Ability Score Improvement
13th+5Indomitable (two uses) or bonus save proficiency
14th+5Ability Score Improvement
15th+5Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
16th+5Ability Score Improvement
17th+6Action Surge (two uses), Indomitable (three uses) or bonus save proficiency
18th+6Martial Archetype feature (2 or more feature choices)
19th+6Ability Score Improvement
20th+6Extra Attack (3) or Greater Power Attack

Just a rough example, but the idea is that you have a choice at each level.
There are no levels that get nothing in 5e.
 


EzekielRaiden

Adventurer
There are no levels that get nothing in 5e.
There is at least one that gets perilously close, however: Warlock 18. No spells, slots, cantrips, fancy arcana, proficiency score increase, or ASI. The one and only thing you get is your final invocation. While not a truly dead level, it's so close that I'm honestly surprised they left it in there. IMO there should've been a pact- or patron-specific ribbon at that level just to make it feel less empty, and to add more spice to those high levels for the people that get there.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
There is at least one that gets perilously close, however: Warlock 18. No spells, slots, cantrips, fancy arcana, proficiency score increase, or ASI. The one and only thing you get is your final invocation. While not a truly dead level, it's so close that I'm honestly surprised they left it in there. IMO there should've been a pact- or patron-specific ribbon at that level just to make it feel less empty, and to add more spice to those high levels for the people that get there.
Huh. That terrible.

Choose a 1-5 level spell with a casting time of one Action or longer. If it’s casting time is an Action, you can cast it as a bonus action. If it’s casting time is 1 Minute, you can cast it as an action. Otherwise, you can cast it in half the normal time. Once you have done so, you cannot do so again until you have completed a long or short rest.
 

ThatGuySteve

Explorer
There is at least one that gets perilously close, however: Warlock 18. No spells, slots, cantrips, fancy arcana, proficiency score increase, or ASI. The one and only thing you get is your final invocation. While not a truly dead level, it's so close that I'm honestly surprised they left it in there. IMO there should've been a pact- or patron-specific ribbon at that level just to make it feel less empty, and to add more spice to those high levels for the people that get there.
I see closest thing to dead levels as ones where you just get an extra use of an existing ability, eg Fighter 13 only gives a 2nd use of Indomitable.
 

EzekielRaiden

Adventurer
Huh. That terrible.

Choose a 1-5 level spell with a casting time of one Action or longer. If it’s casting time is an Action, you can cast it as a bonus action. If it’s casting time is 1 Minute, you can cast it as an action. Otherwise, you can cast it in half the normal time. Once you have done so, you cannot do so again until you have completed a long or short rest.
Interesting. Not the direction I'd go--like I said, I'd prefer something more ribbon-y rather than mechanical--but not a bad direction to go if mechanical is what you're looking for.

I have a 5e translation of the Summoner I've been chewing on for a while. At that level, it gets a transdimensional pocket space, big enough to fit 5 people and a pile of stuff comfortably. Accessible via a simple ritual to create a doorway into it. Something that could be really useful in narrowly specific contexts, but is mostly just nice to have.

I see closest thing to dead levels as ones where you just get an extra use of an existing ability, eg Fighter 13 only gives a 2nd use of Indomitable.
This is fair, though technically (at least for a pure Fighter 13) Proficiency bonus also goes up. My main issue with the Warlock "just an Invocation" thing is...well, it's sort of like getting a single extra maneuver as a Battlemaster after you already have a bunch. High-level invocations are mostly crap, and when you already have 7 previous invocations, an 8th is in that "well I can't call it bad but are there really 8 invocations that I was really hoping to get?" Even a Blade Pact warlock is going to be scraping the barrel at that point. By comparison, two daily uses of Indomitable per day...I mean, you had no choices, you just got saddled with that thing, but it's a thing you'll almost certainly like having.
 

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