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Level Up (A5E) Level Up Class Preview: Adept

The Kickstarter has launched and already has nearly 2000 backers! Over the next month, we have plenty of fun stuff to show you. Let’s start with a class — and we’ll start at the beginning with the Adept.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Vampersan

Villager
This is exactly the kind of crunch I'm looking for in 5e. Don't get me wrong, 5e has a fairly solid foundation, but it definitely leaves something to be desired.

I've already backed the Kickstarter, but had I not, this class preview would have been the catalyst to do so. Very excited for future previews!
 

Horwath

Hero
I will try to get a detailed read tomorrow of this.

Looks great at a glance, except:

Powerful blow: requires 5th level
You spend a Bonus action, and then when you hit 1 exertion point to deal extra Martial arts damage.
Can you use it multiple times? I 1 point for every attack that hits, or you need to spend a point to boost every attack?

Seem that you are better off using Flurry for that 1 point and Bonus action and get two attacks with ability bonus to damage?

Or is this just a option when you cannot use your Action for attack so you get something out of it on the next round?
 

aco175

Legend
I liked what I thumbed through. I really like the focus feature Shockwave and how it is spell-like but something you have seen in movies and comics and can see the PC doing. Looking forward to seeing more.

Takes a bit to not keep substituting the words monk and ki when reading.
 


timespike

Adventurer
It's really versatile, too! During our playtests, I used this to make an acrobatic fencer, and it worked beautifully. (Look at the Adept Weaponry option under Focus Feature for an easy way to do it; all you need is a rapier, though there may be an obvious choice for the second proficiency when you have the whole book in front of you. ;))
 

Stalker0

Legend
Alright lets dig in! I'm not going to do my super deep dive like I did in the playtests. What I am going to do is highlight two sections, one for things that I have immediate concerns about (aka is there a mistake here you all wish to correct), and then the other is mainly for my preference stuff (aka probably too late for this but hey got to try!)

Immediate Concern
  • Powerful Blow: This thing is just bad, really bad. Even if it cost 0 exertion.... it still wouldn't be great. Why would I give up my unarmed strike (aka my martial arts bonus action) for the chance to blow 1 exertion to add in less damage than an unarmed strike would do? This cost compares to two unarmed strikes (aka flurry)....I just cannot ever see wanted to use this over a flurry, and certainly not enough to actually consume a focus slot. While there are other focuses I think are pretty bad, I can at least imagine a use for them. For this one I can't.

  • Undefeated: Unless temporary hitpoints have changed in LU, I don't know if the mechanics of this match your intent. I feel like the idea is that when I go to 0 I get in a free attack, and manage to stay up. But temp HP doesn't do that.... I'm still unconscious (nor does the temp hp block death fails on a hit). I guess it works ok with the 17th level Brawler's relentless ability....but that's a pretty niche case.

  • Boon of Speed (Exalted Athlete): How do you move more than your speed in a round? Things like dash just increase your speed, maybe there are maneuvers that do it? Did you intend this to be base speed? It also feels a little weird that the faster I am the more effort (aka distance traveled) I have to use to get benefit out of this, but that is what it is.

  • 11th level Practiced Techniques: A number of these say 11th level requirement....but you don't get a new technique at 11th level (its 12th). Is that a multiclass thing or is this an oversight? Same thing occurs with focused speech at 15th level.

  • Share Focus: This is just a tightening of the wording. Mechanically it says you can target any creature (aka including yourself)....which is cool. However the first sentence somewhat implies its just for others.....so I'm not sure which one you intended. Personally I think it should also work on yourself, these guys are mainly about personal power so it fits their flavor much better.

  • Relentless: I would just add a "may" to this ability. I don't think the intent is for a character to not spend their last exertion because they are so low on hp that they are afraid that they may drop because of the roll.... that seems the exact opposite of the flavor this ability is supposed to entail.
General Concern
Most of my concerns I noted in my original review, and most of those are still in play. So I will only try to focus on ones I have not discussed before...well mostly, I may have one or two that I think bare repeating:)
  • Exertion Use: It still feels like this class goes through exertion so quickly you can hardly blink. My biggest issue in the playtest was I found it very difficult to choose manuevers and focuses for a character....because exertion use blew through my reserves so quickly I had to be extremely stingy with choosing things that spent exertion. I don't feel like that changed in the final product, its 2 exertion cost everywhere!

  • Weapon Skill: I don't have issue with the ability itself, its more that at 5th level I can pick up the much cooler Adept Weaponry which completely negates Weapon Skill, and so I now have a dead focus slot. Similar thought on Closed Soul/Magic Resistance....but the level gap there means its going to happen much less often.

  • Great Reputation: So I love that you all are putting more social pillar stuff into your classes. And as always the question is....where is the line between believable boosts and unbelievable, and we just hit my line with this one. Battlefield Ettiquette is fine to me, I get a bonus because of my connection to those people...but it doesn't force anything....perfectly fine. But this one....so my personal nemesis from the other martial arts school....he's cool with me when we meet? Every fighter that wants to attack the party....is going to stop and hang with this guy first? I personally rather this was like: "you roll a 20 on any charisma check to persuade, etc etc", that at least involves a little time and effort, and the DM can handwave that when its cinematically appropriate (um....you killed this guys parents in front of him, sorry persuasion is not going to work right now).

  • Perfection Achieved: So this takes me from a 5.5 average to a 7.08 average (roughly), for 1 exertion. This is awfully expensive. Now if this was all martial arts die rolled in the round....sign me up, that feels like a cool capstone. Or if I could see the result of the martial arts die and then choose to replace it with a d12 roll...ok maybe. But as it....just feels very lukewarm. I still feel like people underestimate how fast adepts can burn through exertion, all exertion is precious even at high levels.

  • Way of the Fist (Warrior Monk): So I actually playtested a homebrew monk that got back 1 ki every time they crited, so I have first hand experience into this kind of ability. And the ability....is really really good, and that's just at 1 ki. The fact here is at higher levels you could recover 2 or 3 exertion on every crit, I am a bit worried that this one ability is going to overshadow some of the other subclasses (especially since you all have various manuevers that help crit). Now granted these subclasses all look pretty cool, so maybe it balances in the long run (and you are using unarmed strikes when other adepts get to run around with greatswords). I will say it blows the pants out of all monk subclasses save maybe the Monk of Mercy (probably even then).

  • Greatsword Adepts: This is not a true balance concern more just uniqueness. I feel that every 5th level adept is going to want a greatsword for their Adept Weapon (maybe 6th level if they really want stunning strike). That's a full extra 1d6 damage on two attacks, I can't see anything that is better than that.... everything else that would come close requires exertion. Of course there are those that will choose fun options to fit their flavor, there always are....but it doesn't change the fact that picking up a nice big weapon seems the clear choice here. And I don't think the dances really change that. Only the warrior monk seems to have cool enough unarmed strikes to avoid the temptation.

  • Jump Distance Math: I have no issue with adepts being crazy anime jumpers. Its just more how does that math actually work? Example, an Exalted Athlete with Gale Walk and using Long Step gets double + double + triple their normal jump distance. Is that x7, is it like old school crit math and its actually x5. It it a true exponential where each one enhances the next, aka 30 foot jump x2 -> 60 x2 -> 120 x 3 = 360 feet?

  • Unorthodox Arsenal: I have no issue with an improvised weapon prof and use, that's cool. But, why do I only get to do cool things with improvised weapons? I could see a gladiator motiff for this class, but the flavor of the class doesn't really push that....this guy is meant to be a more "fighter" adept. But this mechanic is asking me to trade in good unarmed strikes or real weapons to use improvised stuff in order to get any benefit from my subclass...it feels off to me.
Highlights
  • Knacks to Practiced Technique: Good change
  • Total Combat / Unlikely Weild: Nice additions
  • Vengeful Spirit: Wait, a really flavorful and cool ability that doesn't completely gobble up all exertion? Nice! This one is really neat even if it is niche.
  • Death Blow is a fun capstone
  • I like the new Practiced Techniques: Instant Step is fun (and one I actually consider worth the exertion cost), Sixth Sense is really solid, Shadow Walk is just different enough from Instant Step that they both have a place (I could even see a monk take both)
  • Exalted Athlete and Warrior Monk both seem like really nice subclasses, I feel the mechanics highlight the flavor very well.
 
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Gandalf970

Explorer
I am assuming that the Deflect spell damage criteria is after you have made your saving throw. Example fireball 10d6, does 35 damage, you save for half call it 18 then you can deflect spell for 2d10 +Dex+Adept level. The other part of this, does the person who now gets this spell deflected on to, get a saving throw for half?

Funny thought, four Adepts in a room all hate each other and a mage throws fireball in the room at one and they all play hot potato with it!
 

DeviousQuail

Adventurer
Very cool. I can't wait to try this class out. Some of the abilities do seem a bit wonky but Stalker0 covered that better than I could. I wonder if access to the combat maneuvers would make some of the focus features better than they read right now. Overall I love the changes and freedom that comes with them.
 

niklinna

Looking for group
It's so refreshing to read a class description where every other feature isn't hedged or overly specific.

Also, for those who haven't been feverishly following A5E since forever, this may help you understand exertion and such: Let's Look At Combat Maneuvers. (Keep in mind that's an early preview.) I was wondering why "bonus exertion" was even a thing because at first I thought it was just the replacement for ki—it isn't.
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
  • Exertion Use: It still feels like this class goes through exertion so quickly you can hardly blink. My biggest issue in the playtest was I found it very difficult to choose manuevers and focuses for a character....because exertion use blew through my reserves so quickly I had to be extremely stingy with choosing things that spent exertion. I don't feel like that changed in the final product, its 2 exertion cost everywhere!

  • Way of the Fist (Warrior Monk): So I actually playtested a homebrew monk that got back 1 ki every time they crited, so I have first hand experience into this kind of ability. And the ability....is really really good, and that's just at 1 ki. The fact here is at higher levels you could recover 2 or 3 exertion on every crit, I am a bit worried that this one ability is going to overshadow some of the other subclasses
Choose one, man! Does it have too much exertion or not enough?
 



Faolyn

Hero
For probably the first time, I'm actually interested in making a monk Adept. I don't know what exactly I'd make, but looking over the Focus Features, I kept going wow, that's awesome. Distant Death Dance seems pretty strong, though. 60 feet!

One question, though. The warrior monk says that you can pick a tradition you're not proficient in. Does this mean any tradition, or only one from Mirror's Glint, Rapid Current, Razor's Edge, or Unending Wheel?

As Stalker0 noted, you turned the Adept's knacks into Practiced Techniques. But when you shared the Fighter class (in the 8 Days thread), that had knacks as a separate thing. Are you using knacks for some classes and renaming them for others?
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Minor quibble from a very brief read....

The Light Armor benefit you get at 1sr level should have a "may" in the rule. You should be given the option to use STR instead of DEX but not forced to as the RAW states.
 

I agree entirely with what Stalker0 wrote - especially the point about Temporary Hit Points not keeping you from falling unconscious is something I noticed myself.

I'm loving this more polished version, even compared to the early preview which I already liked a lot.

One note: there's a typo in the Sixth Sense Practiced Technique. It says you gain "advantage in initiative checks", not "on."
 


Faolyn

Hero
Exertion Use: It still feels like this class goes through exertion so quickly you can hardly blink. My biggest issue in the playtest was I found it very difficult to choose manuevers and focuses for a character....because exertion use blew through my reserves so quickly I had to be extremely stingy with choosing things that spent exertion. I don't feel like that changed in the final product, its 2 exertion cost everywhere!
I've never played a monk: how fast do regular monks go through ki in comparison?

Also according to the playtest, you can spend HD to regain exertion (although it takes a minute), which will help between fights even if there's no time for a short rest.

ETA:

As per the Great Reputation thing, I'd read the "initial reaction" meaning when you first meet someone. If you already have a rival, they're not going to suddenly be friendly to you. If you meet someone for the first time, they are friendly, and subsequent meetings will depend on how you treat them.
 
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AllOlive

Villager
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to fix the Monk class, including playtesting a "Martial Artist" from 3rd-8th level. I found even one special technique per level from the base class to be a lot; add in subclass features, racial features, feats, and there's a lot of opportunities to forget about something you can do at the one time it comes up. And that was for me, who'd designed the class in the first place. So I'd suggest that this class, with over 2 goodies per level all told, is gonna be more than most can handle.

Also, I find in play that defensive reactions just "feel right" for a class like this. I think there should be defensive reactions available not just for missiles, but for melee attacks and saving throws, and there should be reasons to take them. After all, 1d8 for a largely-close-range martial character, with only-middling AC and several other ability scores besides Constitution to worry about, is not that great.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I've never played a monk: how fast do regular monks go through ki in comparison?

Also according to the playtest, you can spend HD to regain exertion (although it takes a minute), which will help between fights even if there's no time for a short rest.

ETA:

As per the Great Reputation thing, I'd read the "initial reaction" meaning when you first meet someone. If you already have a rival, they're not going to suddenly be friendly to you. If you meet someone for the first time, they are friendly, and subsequent meetings will depend on how you treat them.
When I was playing a monk (1st through 9ish level) I never got to a point where I was totally out of ki and needed some. I also tend to end the day with spells available or end videogames with 300 unused potions so I am on the conservative user side of the equation.

They replenish on a short rest so at a worst case if I needed my points back we would call for one.
 

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