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5E Options past 3rd level

Reynard

Legend
I have noticed that while 5E has accumulated quite a number of player facing options in the form of races and archetypes, all of those options are built for character creation rather than advancement. In 5e, after 3rd level PCs are pretty much on a linear track as it relates to mechanical development (with the usual caveat that casters have a little more versatility as they go).

Does 5E need more meaningful choices as characters move through the mid to high levels? Should there be a 5E equivalent of Prestige classes, or should archetypes have more choices available as they level? Could or should 5E embrace a model more like PF2 where class and race abilities are represented by an ongoing buffet of ability choices?
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I agree that 5E is quite front-loaded but they achieved an important goal by doing that. The first couple of levels are "training wheels" to figure out how your PC works mechanically and to get a better understanding of what their role in the party is. Then you become a "real" class at third.

The benefit of this as a player is that you don't have the overwhelming number of options and system mastery you had in 3.5. From a game design standpoint it's easier to balance and develop themes.

Yes, it's a trade-off that may not work for everyone. No, I don't think we need more options the game works fine as it is. Part of me misses it but I can always multi-class or take feats but I'm okay with it.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I have noticed that while 5E has accumulated quite a number of player facing options in the form of races and archetypes, all of those options are built for character creation rather than advancement. In 5e, after 3rd level PCs are pretty much on a linear track as it relates to mechanical development (with the usual caveat that casters have a little more versatility as they go).

Does 5E need more meaningful choices as characters move through the mid to high levels? Should there be a 5E equivalent of Prestige classes, or should archetypes have more choices available as they level? Could or should 5E embrace a model more like PF2 where class and race abilities are represented by an ongoing buffet of ability choices?
I think it's definitely good to have choices at various levels, and some classes and archetypes actually do! And then there is also feats of course.

The Totem Warrior Barbarian, Hunter Ranger, Battlemaster Fighter, and Four Elements Monk all offer several choices. I think there are some also in XGtE like the Arcane Archer.

It's obviously a bigger task for the designers to create versatile or multiple-choice archetypes, since they have to test all the options, but can only "sell" each one as a single archetype. For instance the Hunter Ranger was originally 3 separate archetypes during 5e playtests, when they decided to combine it into one they had to come up with another archetype so that the Ranger wouldn't be left with a single subclass, and the result was the most criticized subclass of the PHB. But the game is better with the Hunter being flexible rather than having 3 separate rigid subclasses.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
DMs just need to have more confidence in themselves and realize they are more than capable of creating/giving out new abilities to their players while simultaneously balancing them against each other and the enemies they will put up against them. They need to stop relying and waiting on WotC to do all the heavy lifting for them if they have things they feel their game needs.

Figure out and learn how D&D balanced design works, see what other people have done in their own created game mechanics, and then make what you want for your players to be able to take. WotC is never going to be able to give you exactly what you feel you need... so don't sit on your hands waiting for it. Make it yourself and start playtesting it with your players right now.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I like the streamlined advancement of 5E. There's still plenty of chances for customization (feats, multiclass, range of abilities), but the somewhat linear track keeps away from the 20-level-build antics that annoyed the heck out of me in 3E.

Personally, I think the crowd who wants the deeper customization should turn their attention to Pathfinder - that is the system that thrives on per level customization.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I would not be adverse to Prestige Classes - classes that require 10 character levels and have abilities on par with higher tier class abilities of other classes, but perhaps with a focus. I built a basic prestige class that allows a PC to take on multiple subclasses within the same class - you slow the development of both, but get the basic abilities to be an arcane trickster/assassin so that you do not have to multiclass to wizard.
 

I like how 5E does things. It focuses on making characters different through roleplaying rather than through mechanics. While I do like having lots of options sometimes, the danger with that is accidentally choosing poor or useless options. It's much harder to make a useless character by not picking the correct things in 5E.
I think PF/PF2 are great systems if you are looking for more mechanical choices for character development. I don't have a lot of play experience with them, but I like the systems. I think it's good to have the options between multiple systems depending on the complexity you want.
That said, I wouldn't be opposed to prestige classes or something like that in 5E.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I'm gearing up to start running Pathfinder 2, and one thing I noticed from reading the classes is that they don't excited me. Somehow, Subclasses with prepackaged thematic abilities excite me far more than a giant pool of feat options. There's something about the storytelling of Subclasses over "moar options!!!!1!" that has a lot of appeal.

Now, I will say that noncasters need something along the line of spells to make them feel like they're still learning and customizing. And I do think an "advanced" module could exist for more fest options. But, the subclass by 3rd level (and I start at 3rd minimum for my advanced groups) model really works well for giving classes and Subclasses character.
 

I would agree with the front loaded nature of 5e....which I think extends to about 5th maybe 6th level.

Players are on a strong treadmill of new benefits and bonuses until about 5th, and then the power increases go down quite a bit level to level at that point.

5e's assumption is that players get their "cool fix" from doing cool things in the game as opposed to get more and more "cool stuff".


I think the right answer still lies somewhere in the middle. I think 3e took the crunch a bit too far, but sometimes 5e could do with some more options and a greater feeling of progression.

I actually had a great example of this recently. I play in both a 5e and a Pathfinder 1e game at the moment. Both of our party's happen to level at a reasonably similar time (within 2 weeks of each other, the 5e group to 7th and the Pathfinder group to 8th).

The 5e party was .... interested. They got some new things, the spellcasters got a few spells to look at. Most everyone was done leveling in a few minutes. The Pathfinder party was ecstatic. People were talking about ideas and choices for days on a message thread.

So yeah sometimes I think 5e is missing a bit of the "metagame fun" that often happens away from the table, the fun of creating the character as much as playing them. Not saying that 5e has none of that, but a bit more would be appreciated.
 

Reynard

Legend
I wonder if 5E's method leads to more abandoned or retired characters as certain players seek new options by completely changing characters.
 


dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I find multiclassing, feat selection, and multipathing (if you use it) open up plenty of options or choices.

I wouldn't mind seeing prestige classes, but not until tier 3.
 

Nebulous

Legend
I've started using the book of Talents. It's pretty great, each one is roughly a half feat, and covers a wide range of alternatives. Many of them at higher level replicate 3e prestige classes.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I like the streamlined advancement of 5E. There's still plenty of chances for customization (feats, multiclass, range of abilities), but the somewhat linear track keeps away from the 20-level-build antics that annoyed the heck out of me in 3E.
5e classes have more level choices than 3e classes so they are actually less linear, except on skills advancing automatically rather than having the 3e freedom of skill points but that was not really much of a focus in character building.

3e gave out more feats than 5e, smaller power per feat but bigger emphasis on combining them together. But the biggest part of character building was stacking base and prestige classes.

So I don't think the 5e PHB character classes are more linear than 3e PHB classes, it was the availability of hundreds of feats and prestige classes (and people systematically ignoring both the philosophy and the restrictions of multiclassing) which turned linearity into something in the shape of fractals :D If we had similar amounts of feats and PrCls in 5e we would have the same problems.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I have noticed that while 5E has accumulated quite a number of player facing options in the form of races and archetypes, all of those options are built for character creation rather than advancement. In 5e, after 3rd level PCs are pretty much on a linear track as it relates to mechanical development (with the usual caveat that casters have a little more versatility as they go).

Does 5E need more meaningful choices as characters move through the mid to high levels? Should there be a 5E equivalent of Prestige classes, or should archetypes have more choices available as they level? Could or should 5E embrace a model more like PF2 where class and race abilities are represented by an ongoing buffet of ability choices?
5e desperately needs more choices beyond 5th level (except the Warlock, Warlock hits the sweet spot for me). I don’t think prestige classes or PF2/4e style powers every level is the right way to go. Instead, I’d do something very much like, well, the 5e Warlock. Invocations are fantastic, other classes should have similar options.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Personally, I think the crowd who wants the deeper customization should turn their attention to Pathfinder - that is the system that thrives on per level customization.
I turned my attention to it when they announced PF2. Followed its development pretty closely. Then in turned out it was still a cumbersome, fiddly, user-unfriendly system. Is a game with streamlined math and interesting character build options really so much to ask??
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I wonder if 5E's method leads to more abandoned or retired characters as certain players seek new options by completely changing characters.
I think that's a consequence of every character build focused version of D&D, starting with 3E. (And maybe Skills&Powers 2E?)

Realisitically, games focused on character building should front-load options and prioritize shorter campaigns.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I turned my attention to it when they announced PF2. Followed its development pretty closely. Then in turned out it was still a cumbersome, fiddly, user-unfriendly system. Is a game with streamlined math and interesting character build options really so much to ask??
It's difficult to produce a broad menu of options without using some sort of numerical and situational template (gain +X bonus in Y situation or when using Z type of ability), which then complicates the math.

The only other way to do it is to grant additional abilities that provide a broader range of abilities, and are dependent on granting permissions based on language, not math. And it's difficult to generate enough of those options for broad customization.

So yes, if it was easy, someone would have done it already. :)
 


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