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D&D 5E Losing Interest in Character/ Class?

6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
So, I have a Sorlock (Sorcerer 3/ Warlock 3) in our CoS game and after reaching level 6, I feel like I am disappointed where the two classes go from here--I just have no interest in them.

This got me thinking about my mindset with 5E. With the features you get, I find myself more thinking about my character, level, and what features I want next--and where might I get them. Now, I do this with the character concept/story in mind, not just to min/max them or anything.

But it is vastly different from my 1E/2E experience. Then, it was always about the next adventure, and without the choices for the character, I never had to worry about it.

This sensation makes my characters in 5E feel less valuable to me since they become more a collection of abilities and features instead of a persona.

I am curious if other players run into this? And I wonder if it is also a big part of why games sort of die out around levels 6-10?
 

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6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
I think if you’re more excited about your character’s abilities than the adventures they’ll be going on, the problem lies not with the design of the game, but with the adventures you’re playing.
No, that isn't it. I love the adventures and I'm having a lot of fun playing in CoS and our other game, where we are on the last stage of AtG.

It is definitely more about a lack of interest in where the classes go. For instance, with the Sorlock I am considering MCing into Fighter and taking EK since I have a DEX 14 and INT 13. The character has grown as a Shadow Sorcerer/ Hexblade Warlock more into a "fighter", so the progression seems natural in developing the PC. Also, I have more interest in the features from changing to a new class than sticking with either Sorcerer or Warlock (frankly speaking, the 6th level features for both subclass neither fit the character concept, nor are they appealing regardless).
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
So, I have a Sorlock (Sorcerer 3/ Warlock 3) in our CoS game and after reaching level 6, I feel like I am disappointed where the two classes go from here--I just have no interest in them.

This got me thinking about my mindset with 5E. With the features you get, I find myself more thinking about my character, level, and what features I want next--and where might I get them. Now, I do this with the character concept/story in mind, not just to min/max them or anything.

But it is vastly different from my 1E/2E experience. Then, it was always about the next adventure, and without the choices for the character, I never had to worry about it.

This sensation makes my characters in 5E feel less valuable to me since they become more a collection of abilities and features instead of a persona.

I am curious if other players run into this? And I wonder if it is also a big part of why games sort of die out around levels 6-10?

Happens to me when I only play a character to try out new mechanics or combos. The character quickly gets boring. I suggest going for quircky fun personalities on such characters - ones that will get them in trouble just enough (and thus mitigating some of your optimizing in play).
 

So, I have a Sorlock (Sorcerer 3/ Warlock 3) in our CoS game and after reaching level 6, I feel like I am disappointed where the two classes go from here--I just have no interest in them.

This got me thinking about my mindset with 5E. With the features you get, I find myself more thinking about my character, level, and what features I want next--and where might I get them. Now, I do this with the character concept/story in mind, not just to min/max them or anything.

But it is vastly different from my 1E/2E experience. Then, it was always about the next adventure, and without the choices for the character, I never had to worry about it.

This sensation makes my characters in 5E feel less valuable to me since they become more a collection of abilities and features instead of a persona.

I am curious if other players run into this? And I wonder if it is also a big part of why games sort of die out around levels 6-10?
I've seen it and I've felt it in just about every game. There does seem to be a dead area around level 6 or so.
It's one major reason why I prefer OSR games or OSR alikes like Castles and Crusades.

I do think it can be combatted however, but it takes GM finangling. (which is why I'm ok about GMing 5E but it doesn't excite me much as a player).

I think the following help:

  • no feats or limiting feats that encourage builds - keep feats such as resilient that can help react to circumstances or needs in play. (The problem with planning builds is that once they are effectively achieved, interest can wane as people start planning out the next concept).
  • multiclassing (the same - don't allow it, or only under special circumstance)
  • Important magic items - these are things gained through play - therefore they're an incentive to hold onto and keep playing the character as the next character won't have them.
  • start finangling the rules to reflect play. Give 'boon' abilities that function a bit like magic items. E.g. maybe the fighter got turned to stone in a combat and had to be revived, maybe allow him to have some kind of stoneskin ability used once a day as he's absorbed part of that magic.
  • Let characters get proficiency in things they want to spend effort in things that aren't clearly covered by existing rules eg. if a character wants to spend time improving a castle or city's defences let them have proficiency in "siegecraft" if they spend significant time at sea give them proficiency in "sailing". If the fighter spends time training a militia give him proficiency in "military training". (You can even make these half proficiency - it just helps if the character sheet tells a story).
  • things like castles, allies, a house, a growing reputation etc. When they visit the king he's heard of them by name, they visit a tavern and a bard is telling a story about them etc

Basically put lots of focus on all the cool stuff they've achieved with these particular characters, that could be built on further, but would be lost if you just started a new campaign. Encourage them to really see the characters as people who have achieved a lot and been through some sh*t.

There's a whole lot of setting stuff to, ie building central setting mysteries and the like, but I imagine that's pretty obvious.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I think you are right that having less choice after class creation helps with what you are saying.

My favorite characters in 5e:
Cooter: Hillbilly Fighter with the hand crossbow combow that would fight very tactically with a survivalist mindset but would also do things like ride the phase spider - because "Watch this!"

Lodu: Fighter / Wizard - focused on knowledge over safety with a mad scientist vibe. Wanted to experiment on everything while taking meticulous notes. Designed him to not have consistently effective spells but to have a list that would provide an answer to most situations we encountered. Didn't last long as for some reason he defaulted to party front liner more often than not (only one with any melee class levels will do that early). But he died after having saved the party from a TPK. Silent Image of a cave collapse FTW! But one enemy stayed around and got him!

NeedsAHug: Trollkin Barbarian Rogue - very low intelligence which I play as opinionated but able to be talked out of incredibly bad decisions if the party tries hard enough. But in case he doesn't he can take a beating and or run away when he does something tooo dumb. He's also the closest thing to a tank I've played in 5e. 3d6 + Mod damage on OA from sneak attack and will scale as I get more rogue levels!
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I've played monks and sorcerers and clerics and most of them were getting boring - though I think it's mostly about the personality I assign to them.
 

Dragongrief

Explorer
What is/was the concept for your character?

For the game I'm currently in, I started off with a skills & utility concept. Basically someone who was very useful outside of combat, and left the serious fighting to others.

I went with an Entertainer (who he is) Rogue (what he does when things go south). That lead into multi-classing as a bard (lore), which put even more emphasis on being a utility character. Incredibly fun to play, but not the most useful in a fight (very good at avoiding them though).
 

This is interesting, because what you seem to be saying is that the game is more interesting when you have few class choices after initial character creation, like in 1e/2e. And you're seeing 5e as giving you too many of them.

Whereas I've seen multiple others (on different threads) give exactly the opposite opinion: that the game is more interesting when you have more class choices after character creation, and they see 5e as giving them too few.

Personally, I'm probably somewhere in the middle. I lean more towards your preferences--I'd rather choose the class that fits, and then focus on interacting with the game world rather than with the character-building rules.

In this particular situation, do you feel that using multi-classing is hurting rather than helping here? Would it work better if you just elected not to use multiclassing and feats?
 

This is interesting, because what you seem to be saying is that the game is more interesting when you have few class choices after initial character creation, like in 1e/2e. And you're seeing 5e as giving you too many of them.

Whereas I've seen multiple others (on different threads) give exactly the opposite opinion: that the game is more interesting when you have more class choices after character creation, and they see 5e as giving them too few.
I think there's a balance to be struck here. The desire to gain new features as you level up is a strong motivator and can help to keep a longer campaign going. But, it can also backfire somewhat, get players too addicted and they can become more focused on the features then things they achieve in the actual game.

Part of the fun of all WOTC games is the desire to look ahead and plan characters and think of combinations of powers (even 5E seems to encourage this is certain players even though it's vastly cut down from previous editions). From experience I have found this tendency somewhat dangerous to a good game.
 


6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
What is/was the concept for your character?

Here is his backstory:

Morcolt was the student of the Sorcerer Vendimar since adolescence. He was befriended by the Sorcerer's daughter, Christona, and the two grew up closely. Vendimar intended for Morcolt to someday continue his practice and regarded the budding relationship as a good thing.

Near the end of his studies, Morcolt made a horrendous mistake. While researching a tome on the Realm of Shadows, his barely heard chant reverberated with enormous power! As Christona walked into her father's study, a black streak tore through open the space, opening a rift before her, and a black mist reached from the nether region beyond, grasping Christona and pulling her into the Fell. She screamed for her father, struggling against the otherworldly force that held her.

Her father stood nearby in horror, feverishly trying to dispel the errant magic to save his daughter. Morcolt reached for Christona, but in his eagerness to help he pushed the Sorcerer, ruining his spell.

The darkness laughed! A deep, rumbling laugh. Vendimar reached out to Morcolt as the dark mist cloaked him in midnight. Morcolt held the Sorcerer's hand as tightly as he could, but the power that pulled on them both was too strong. His grasp slipped, only pulling Vendimar's ring from his finger as he was claimed by the shadows.

The sinister voice echoed from the tear in space, "Served ME!"

Morcolt reached for the darkness, hoping to grasp at the Sorcerer or his daughter. But, Vendimar's last act was a completing a spell that pushed Morcolt away, throwing him over a dozen feet and slamming him into a wall. He hit is head and collapsed, his vision blurring and fading to black--as black as the darkness that had taken his best friend.

When he woke, it was night. There was no sign of them or the dark mist. Morcolt stumbled about, took a sip of warm wine that had been sitting on a nearby table for hours, picked up his chair, and fell into it. He glanced over at the tome he had been studying and placed his hand on it. "I will uncover your secrets, and I will find out what happened to my friends."

A few years have passed since that horrible day. Morcolt still wakes to Christona's screams, his brow slick with cold sweat. He turned from his studies and learned of the Shadowfell and knows some force visits his dreams and quiet meditation. It lends its power to his magic and aids the forces of shadow he summons from within himself.

His search has led him into the underworld of society, not far from the places he grew up in before Vendimar found him and lifted him from the dregs. He quests to find a way to enter the Shadowfell and discover the entity that took his adopted family from him. He hopes to find a way to bring them home.

He was taking into the lands of Straud, and now he looks for a way into the Shadowfell or back to his own world.


He started as Sorcerer (Shadow Magic) and quickly picked up Warlock (Hexblade) as well. He is quiet and brooding, lamenting his past. He fights evil and is almost vigilante-like. Now, he is very much combat-oriented, and looking ahead at the two classes, neither really fits the bill anymore. Although the 1st-level features worked well towards the concept, the Hexblade-Specter and Shadow-Hound of Ill Omen both don't fit at all. Gaining some more spells and other features aren't really important, either.

So, I am not sure what to do. I will probably go to Fighter as I said before. We play tomorrow, so we'll see.
 

6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
This is interesting, because what you seem to be saying is that the game is more interesting when you have few class choices after initial character creation, like in 1e/2e. And you're seeing 5e as giving you too many of them.

Whereas I've seen multiple others (on different threads) give exactly the opposite opinion: that the game is more interesting when you have more class choices after character creation, and they see 5e as giving them too few.

Personally, I'm probably somewhere in the middle. I lean more towards your preferences--I'd rather choose the class that fits, and then focus on interacting with the game world rather than with the character-building rules.

In this particular situation, do you feel that using multi-classing is hurting rather than helping here? Would it work better if you just elected not to use multiclassing and feats?
I know others love the options and choosing subclasses, etc. I find it interesting that much of the new UA is about trying options for super-versatility. Don't like a prior choice? Change it when you reach the next level, etc.

Oddly, if we removed feats and MCing, I don't think I would be any happier because then I would be forced into features that might not fit at all. I've looked at removing a lot of things and just making it more like 1E/2E, but without such features I do worry about balance issues.
 

6ENow!

I don't debate opinions.
I think it is.

For the people who think it is about lack of interest in the adventure, I'll recap the highlight of last week's session:

We were exploring the Ruins of Berez and eventually found Baba Lysaga's Hut. Using Invisibility, our scout managed to see inside and she was bathing in her tub of blood. Using Pass without Trace and another Invisibilty at level 3 for two targets, we moved into position and she was still in her tub. The two invisible characters (our Paladin and my character) snuck in and got into position near the tub. The Paladin attacked! Grappling her and pushing her under the blood. The scout (Ranger) came in as grappled her legs, as my PC with his hexblade weapon and the other PC killed her while she struggled to fight back.

The DM was shocked by our plan. He didn't expect this encounter to go anything like this. He was worried about putting a CR 11 foe up against a party of 5th-levels. Our normal DM and myself both told him, in a "straight-up" fight, we would have gotten our asses kicked.

Of course we had some lucky breaks and such in the d20 rolls, but it was a lot of good planning and careful management. It was fun, so it isn't the adventures. I am really looking forward to playing tomorrow, just not on keeping my PC on his current course. :)
 

Oddly, if we removed feats and MCing, I don't think I would be any happier because then I would be forced into features that might not fit at all. I've looked at removing a lot of things and just making it more like 1E/2E, but without such features I do worry about balance issues.
I think I get what you mean. A Fighter in an older edition may not have had much in the way of say, mechanical specificity, but there was a great deal of freedom in that too. Within the bounds of, "guy who fights things with weapons", you had a lot of scope to go in any direction you want.

Whereas in 5E you have to choose things like subclasses and that can be less than inspiring if they don't really fit what you want to do.
 

Whereas in 5E you have to choose things like subclasses and that can be less than inspiring if they don't really fit what you want to do.

Maybe the solution would actually be some simpler, more generic subclasses, so that none of the features they granted would clash with basically any character concept. Mike Mearls isn’t a fan of the Champion or Battle Master because they are generic and lack a place in the world, but they can fulfill this sort of need perfectly. The Battle Master does give you a tool proficiency which might not fit well, but other than that you can choose maneuvers that are pretty generic “I fight better”, like precision attack, if you don’t like any of the more specific ones. And all of the Champion features are generic “I fight better” (though Champion is a bit on the weaker side for a subclass).

If similar subclasses were made for the other classes, that would actually be pretty cool.
 

There also something weird that I think happens when you have to choose between the Champion and Battlemaster. Rather than covering all Fighters (which they can) they come to represent a certain style of Fighter (which may not appeal if neither style actually appeals all that much).
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
So, I have a Sorlock (Sorcerer 3/ Warlock 3) in our CoS game and after reaching level 6, I feel like I am disappointed where the two classes go from here--I just have no interest in them.

This got me thinking about my mindset with 5E. With the features you get, I find myself more thinking about my character, level, and what features I want next--and where might I get them. Now, I do this with the character concept/story in mind, not just to min/max them or anything.

But it is vastly different from my 1E/2E experience. Then, it was always about the next adventure, and without the choices for the character, I never had to worry about it.

This sensation makes my characters in 5E feel less valuable to me since they become more a collection of abilities and features instead of a persona.

I am curious if other players run into this?

I can't say that I have, but this is probably just one of those personal experience things. I tend to only really get invested in or remember characters by the whackiest adventures/stories attached to them, not by abilities, etc. I haven't noticed that that is particularly affected by the amount of fiddly bits in the mechanics. If anything, my experiences tend in the other direction, with earlier edition characters only differentiated by which magic items they had picked up (outside of whatever hilarious incidents had occurred).

And I wonder if it is also a big part of why games sort of die out around levels 6-10?

hmmm....at least IME, the 10th level campaign cap seems edition independent. My personal guess is that that tends to have more to do with increasing HP and tons of effects overlapping and making combat a pain to run.
 

Dragongrief

Explorer
Great back story. If it were me, I would base the decision around this:

"I will uncover your secrets, and I will find out what happened to my friends."

If it is still a driving force, how does he intend to do it? Resume studying the shadows (sorcerer)? Pursue the whispers (warlock)? Focus on skill at arms, and try to find a sage that knows more (fighter)?

All of them would make good stories.
 

But it is vastly different from my 1E/2E experience. Then, it was always about the next adventure, and without the choices for the character, I never had to worry about it.

This sensation makes my characters in 5E feel less valuable to me since they become more a collection of abilities and features instead of a persona.
Earlier editions were much simpler in design, because once created, there were few choices to be made at each level, except which spells to select. If you play without feats and multiclassing, this helps with this issue tremendously.

As for the experience of the game between AD&D and 5E, part of this is the common focus on "builds" vs. "experiences." When we used to talk about characters, it was "hey, check out my dwarf cleric. He cut down the high priest of the cult of chaos, helped recover Whelm and Blackrazor from White Plume Mountain, then survived a crazy expedition into the Barrier Peaks!"

Currently players tend to focus more on the character's abilities (build), rather than what they've done. Even I suffer from it, but I try to keep things in perspective as much as I can. For example, my current character is Dain, the gold dwarf cleric. While his deeds aren't quite as notable, he's become Dain the Durable, since he's taken more punishment than most of the party combined (have to exclude the barbarian, but Dain's taken more than she has). Despite a high AC, his attitude gets him into extra scrapes and routinely draws enemy fire. This wasn't really the "build" of the character, but simply the experience he's become.
 

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