Level Up (A5E) One thing A5E could take from OneD&D: Power Sources and Class Groups

Ondath

Hero
I have professed my dislike of OneD&D and its design philosophy quite extensively in these forums. There is, however, one thing that I quite liked in the playtests: Futureproofing class and spell lists by giving them categories. I like the Arcane/Divine/Primal divisions.* I think the Warrior/Mage/Priest/Expert division is not only a nice throwback to AD&D 2E, but also fleshes out the commonalities of each class. But the primary genius of these ideas is, like I said, futureproofing: Now if they want to add a new spellcasting class, WotC will no longer need to write up an entire spell list from scratch: They can just pick one of Arcane/Divine/Primal. If they design a martial-only feat and later add a Warlord, they won't have to errata the requirements section of every feat that they want the warlord to benefit: They can simply put the Warlord in the Warrior group and the Warlord will qualify for everything that is open to that group.

I think A5E should consider retroactively making similar categorisations. This would help avoid some rules bloat which has already started: The Vigilante Synergy Feat Chain originally allowed only Adepts and Rangers, but Artificer is now retroactively allowed to replace either option. This could've been much easier if the synergy feats listed class groups and not specific classes for its prerequisites, and then the Artificer was added to that class group.

Similarly, the current Synergy Feats often leave out some conceptual niches that they could easily fill: Why is it that Bladechanters have to be Wizards when Sorcerers could also theoretically fulfil a similar role? Why can't Mystic Theurges be any divine caster coupled with any arcane caster? Granted, some of these feats currently play off of specific class features (such as the Mystic Theurge feats using sorcery points), but I think more generalised versions of these feats could be made with class groups in mind.

I can't say I have a specific opinion about how the spell lists and class groups would be divided. The Expert class group doesn't have a clear analogue in A5E, since every class gets expertise die in some way. But my point isn't really to cut the cake in a specific way, but to suggest cutting it in the first place. What do you guys think?

*: Then again, I object to the current implementation; there are some spells in 5E that punch above their weight because they were designed with half casters in mind (and so the caster would receive them at a later character level than what the spell level normally suggests), and opening all the Divine spell list to Clerics for instance, gives them access to rather broken options like Paladin Aura spells. But this is nothing that can't be fixed by putting such spells outside of the Arcane/Divine/Primal lists and making them exclusive to classes. And they already did that with some options like the Smite spells and Hunter's Mark, so there is already precedent for this.
 

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Why is it that Bladechanters have to be Wizards when Sorcerers could also theoretically fulfil a similar role?
The Bladechanter is suppose to be an A5e take on 5e's Bladesinger subclass. Only instead of making it a subclass of Wizard, it's now a Fighter/Wizard multiclass archetype that can only be picked when you advance to 3rd level as a Fighter (with the Two-Weapon Fighting style) and as a Wizard. And this is before you even figure out which Fighter archetype and which Wizard archetype will work well together. 😋

As for the Sorcerer class, the A5e Sorcerer is nothing like the Wizard. It would be suited to a Battle Sorcerer multiclass archetype that focuses on a specific manifestation. My idea: 3 levels of Fighter (Archery Fighting style)/3 levels of Sorcerer (Hurricane Manifestation)- the Storm Archer. ;)
 

Pedantic

Legend
To the spell point, I think A5E's numerous spell schools are a way more elegant solution to the problem WotC is trying to solve with spell list consolidation. The most recent playtest version of the Bard is pretty clearly showing the weakness of their model. Far better to have a bunch of tags to use, like A5E already does.

You can still reference them for future caster classes/feats and abilities, you can expand them with new spells, and you don't lose out on thematic cohesion. If anything, I'd love to see the concept taken further.
 

All in all, d&d's spellcasting system is the most outdated and the one that really needs to be radically changed IMO. Any change away from the current system is good, so having something I consider very minor as spells classified by extended "schools" is a good thing (albeit far from sufficient).

Regarding the specific multiclass feats and their requirement, there was a thread a wile ago discussing about it. Some people did prefer, like you, a more generic/freeform approach, while others preferred to design each specific combination of classes.
I see the point for both preferences: specific designs tend to be a bit more differentiating than the generic equivalent (of course), but I'm really not fond of the plethora of prestige classes and feats we had in 3.5.
This is also a relatively minor point IMO: if there's someone who prefers to design all the combinations (which do have specific class requirements) we would all have the more differentiated options, and you could simply ask your DM for those requirements to be loosened a bit so that sorcerer levels would count as wizard levels for the purpose of qualifying for the feat
 

All in all, d&d's spellcasting system is the most outdated and the one that really needs to be radically changed IMO. Any change away from the current system is good, so having something I consider very minor as spells classified by extended "schools" is a good thing (albeit far from sufficient).
I believe that something like this was done for the Wizard's Spell Compendium back in 2e. The Compendium was a series of pocketbooks that covered the 2e spells from A-Z. At the end of the very last pocketbook, there was a selection of spell schools. So if you wanted to be a Fire Elementalist Wizard, there was a list of fire spells by level. There was even a list of spells if you wanted to be a Healing Wizard and take over the Cleric's role of the party healer.
 

xiphumor

Legend
I’m in the camp who likes the subtle differences in the spell lists and wants the synergy feats flavored more specifically by class. I do see the point with future proofing, as the Artificer hasn’t gotten as many new spells as I think it deserves, but that’s not where the wheel was squeakiest. On the other hand, I certainly don’t want synergy feats having broad class requirements by default, although I’d be okay with some being grouped by class group that way. In large part, I feel that this would water down the flavor of each feat tree. E.g. If the Nightstalker tree required simply three levels of expert and three levels of martial, instead of rogue and adept specifically, that would permit a bard/berserker ninja, which just… I think the problem there is self evident.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I believe that something like this was done for the Wizard's Spell Compendium back in 2e. The Compendium was a series of pocketbooks that covered the 2e spells from A-Z. At the end of the very last pocketbook, there was a selection of spell schools. So if you wanted to be a Fire Elementalist Wizard, there was a list of fire spells by level. There was even a list of spells if you wanted to be a Healing Wizard and take over the Cleric's role of the party healer.
I love those books! Still have a place of honor on my shelf.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
The Bladechanter is suppose to be an A5e take on 5e's Bladesinger subclass. Only instead of making it a subclass of Wizard, it's now a Fighter/Wizard multiclass archetype that can only be picked when you advance to 3rd level as a Fighter (with the Two-Weapon Fighting style) and as a Wizard. And this is before you even figure out which Fighter archetype and which Wizard archetype will work well together. 😋

As for the Sorcerer class, the A5e Sorcerer is nothing like the Wizard. It would be suited to a Battle Sorcerer multiclass archetype that focuses on a specific manifestation. My idea: 3 levels of Fighter (Archery Fighting style)/3 levels of Sorcerer (Hurricane Manifestation)- the Storm Archer. ;)
I went Sorcerer/Ranger for the Spellslinger Motif Class. Felt a little 'Better' to me to spread out the martial aspect from fighter a bit.
 

Ondath

Hero
So looking to the replies in general, I agree about some points: The Synergy feats that currently exist are generally geared towards specific class combinations (for instance, the barbarian/druid combo explicitly enhances class-specific abilities), and A5E's new freeform spell schools might actually do futureproofing better than OneD&D's approach. So I'm kinda backing down on the idea that power source spell lists are needed, though I think all spells really need to get all possible alternate schools tagged on them and continue to do so for each new spell.

That said, I think Synergy feats need both approaches. Chains like Nightstalker and Untamed clearly work by combining specific class fantasies, and generalising them would lead to weird stuff. But some feat chains don't actually focus on specific class fantasies at all. Batman Vigilante chain for instance does not rely on adept or ranger class features, and in fact artificer had to be retroactively added because the Batman fantasy clearly gels with Artificer (gadgets and all), but the initial feat chain only listed two classes so they had to tack on Artificer afterwards.

So perhaps one way to do this would be not to create end-all-be-all, singular class groups (so Wizards, Sorcerers and Warlocks are not only marked by belonging in the Mage group), but create class tags, much like how A5E adds new spell schools. So Wizards could have the tags Arcane and Full Caster, while Paladin would be Divine and Half-Caster, and so on. Then some synergy feat chains would work on specific classes (like Untamed), but other feats could target class tags (such as Vigilante chain requiring a Mundane class of some sort and some sort of "Expert" class), which would futureproof those Synergy feats.
 

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