Level Up (A5E) Motif Classes: Huntsman and Runespell Rager


I really liked the idea @Steampunkette had with regards to motif classes. (Original post here.) In addition to general concept really appealing to me, it already fit in with a few projects I had already worked on and was already planning on working on, so I converted them over.

Skip past the following section to get to the motif classes if that's all you care about.

Design Philosophy Stuff
I did not follow Steampunkette's design philosophy exactly. I went into this with the following rules and principles for my motif classes:
  • Characters may take levels in no more than one motif class.
  • Motif classes should have no more than two "base" classes (two classes whose features or ideas are combined, blended, or used as inspiration to create something new that is not currently represented by the classes or synergy feats of A5e, or prestige classes of Zeitgeist, or at least not available from level 1.)
  • Characters may multiclass into and out of motif classes with regular classes (or prestige classes) following the normal rules, with the following limits:
    • After taking levels in a motif class, a character may not take any further levels in either of the motif class's base classes until she had taken at least 5 levels in the motif class.
    • A character does not gain new skills or tool, weapon, or armor proficiencies when mutliclassing into one of the base classes for a motif class.
    • A character multiclassing out of a base class into its motif class, or the reverse, does not need to meet multiclassing prerequisites for those classes. For any other classes, multiclassing prerequisites must be met if played with.
    • A character may take levels in a base class and then multiclass into a motif class, but she is then must follow the above rules.
  • Motif classes do not have archetypes of their own, but may take inspiration or borrow abilities from archetypes (in addition to other features from the base classes).
  • The final feature for motif classes should provide a choice of abilities related to the base classes in some way. In addition, the multiclassing rules for each motif class should provide guidance on how the abilities of the base classes and the motif class mesh. The intent for both of these is to make the motif class feel like an extension of the base classes rather than an entirely separate class.
  • Motif classes count as both base classes for the purpose of meeting class-based prerequisites. (For example, if Steampunkette's Lancer wanted to use a magic item that required the character to be an Adept, the Lancer could use it no problem.)
  • Motif classes count half of the levels in the motif class toward prerequisites that require a specific number of levels in either of the motif class's base classes. (For example, if Steampunkette's Lancer wanted to take a synergy feat that required 3 levels of Adept, she would need to have 6 levels of Lancer to qualify.)
  • However, for the two above points, a motif class may never count as both classes simultaneously to meet the prerequisites for any one thing. (For example, if Steampunkette's Lancer wanted take an Adept/Fighter Synergy Feat, she would need at least 6 levels in Lancer and at least 3 levels in either Fighter or Adept. I know that allow motif classes with Synergy Feats might create unintended problems, but this is a proposed creation space that hasn't been fully explored yet, so for my motif classes I'm leaving the idea open.)
As a side note, I just want to say that I get the idea of using multiclassing, synergy feats, and prestige classes to open up playing character concepts that, narratively and mechanically, aren't represented by the main classes, but being able to play the concept you actually want to play from level 1 just feels so much better. The features that you will use most often, the features that will make the biggest difference across the course of your adventure, are the earliest features that you get, so I think reverse prestige classes (which motif classes kind of are) are functionally more fun.

First Motif Class: The Huntsman
People who look at my posts know that I like classes that grant you dedicated pets/minions, preferably long-term ones that you can invest in (emotionally or otherwise) and want to keep alive. You also may know that I really prefer how A5e handles pets/minions compared to 5th edition, but I still wish that A5e went slightly further (such as allowing pets/minions to improve skills and maneuver DCs rather than just existing to run around and deal a little damage). I iterated on that idea here with the Huntsman.
If you've read John Gwynne's The Faithful and the Fallen, this motif class is directly inspired by the huntsmen of that world: Braith, Camlin, Rathe, and other characters. The Huntsman steals a little from the rogue, being sneaky and skillsy, preferring to hit once and hard rather than multiple times, while also borrowing outdoor survival and tracking strength from the ranger. I also wanted to focus the pet features on things that strongly encourage the huntsman and the pet to work directly together, making it more of a need than a good idea. My biggest struggle with this was choosing which of my ideas to use—rangers and rogues have many levels where they get three features, particularly early on! Blending these two classes while not providing too many features at any given level was a challenge.

Second Motif Class: The Runespell Rager
People who look at my posts have seen versions of this before, as I've made an archetype and a synergy feat tree around this concept. While I liked the synergy feat tree more, neither quite fit my vision properly, and I like how this works out as a motif class much more.
The Runespell Rager is a Berserker/Warlock motif class. My goal is to create a punchy, tanky frontline fighter with powerful concentration spells that also excels at maintaining concentration. This is a really unique gish that I don't think has been represented yet.
Honestly, my biggest struggle with this was deciding on the hit dice. 1d8 feels too low for a frontline fighter, but with the rage resistance to damage and the focus on Constitution as a primary ability score, I was concerned that 1d10 would be too much. If nothing else, let me know what you think there:

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