5E Playing without Subclasses

Brix

Explorer
I want to use 5E to emulate 2E/proto 3E as close as possbile.
Are there any builts for this?
Are there rules to skip the subclasses?
Thank you guys!
 
Last edited:

ccs

39th lv DM
That'll be pretty hard to accomplish for most classes & virtually impossible for a few.

No, there are no rules for this. Likewise with builds - because you get builds via subclasses/feats/multi-classing.

If you want to play 2e? Then just play 2e. It'll be alot easier than trying to re-invent 5e.....
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
That's what the Basic Rules document is meant to support. You still have sub-classes, but instead of choosing them from a list, you just get the most iconic sub-class: every fighter is a champion, every cleric has the life domain, every rogue is a thief, and every wizard is an evoker.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
The 5e SRD also presents a single "iconic" version of each class with only one subclass for each class. It does the same for races.

Barbarian - Berserker
Bard - Lore
Cleric - Life
Druid - Land
Fighter - Champion
Monk - Open Hand
Paladin - Devotion
Ranger - Hunter
Rogue - Thief
Sorcerer - Draconic
Warlock - Fiend
Wizard - Evocation

You can't remove subclasses entirely. Certain classes completely fall apart (Ranger, Warlock) and most would lose major mechanics.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Bacon Bits has it right.

5E isn't intended to be played without subclasses, and the amount of each class which is "in" the subclass varies wildly, so removing them outright ruins some classes and is okay for others.

This the correct approach is to "remove" them by merely making it so you have no choice, you just get the default subclass. This is as restrictive as 2E without Kits, and actually more restrictive for Priests/Clerics than 2E was.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I want to use 5E to emulate 2E/proto 3E as close as possbile.
Are there any builts for this?
Are there rules to skip the subclasses?
Thank you guys!
Yes, you can remove them but either have to use default subclasses to fill in the gaps as @Bacon Bits suggests or homebrew your own. Here is a first draft I wrote months ago to accomplish just this.

Now, this IS a draft and some features are OP, lol, but maybe you can use it as a starting point?

Good luck!

EDIT: Sorry I had to zip it, for whatever reason they won't let you attach a word doc file. (Lame... :( )
 

Attachments

aco175

Adventurer
I would even think of getting rid of some of the classes that do not work. Maybe you only need 7 classes like another thread was talking about, or you want magic to work a certain way. I recall 2e having limits that caused kits to come out and was a bit of a precursor before 3e.

Like what others said about just taking the basic type of each class and making the champion fighter, just the fighter class. Do away with feats as well since they can affect large-scale things with certain feats. I would even get away with ASIs and have weaker overall PCs. Not sure if you would need to compensate with the monsters, but the characters should be able to compete.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
would even get away with ASIs and have weaker overall PCs. Not sure if you would need to compensate with the monsters, but the characters should be able to compete.
Getting rid of ASIs will have progressively more impact as levels go up, as the scaling of monster stats, saving throws, skill values and so on expects PC main stats to steadily increase and likely hit 20 by 12 or so. Skill DCs likewise reflect this. It will obviously have no impact at 1-3 but at 8+ I think it will be noticeable. Monsters will save more often than expected, get hit less and for less, hit light and medium armour wearers (and especially Monks and Barbarians) more and while each change is small, they will necessarily add up to making PCs significantly weaker. Especially with all the stat mod number of uses per day abilities, which will top out at 3 instead of 5 (unless rolled stats). On the upside it will mess with most classes equally!

It's definitely viable but you'll definitely need to use less challenging monsters at higher levels.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Agreed. ASI's are pretty integral to 5e encounter design, though not 100%. Just makes things more challenging when you hit 10% less often and deal 10% less damage, etc.
Yeah and I haven't analyzed it closely but my instinct is that the sum total reduction to capability will be more than the 10% looking at individual numbers in isolation would indicate.

Like, if you hit 10% less often and do 10% less damage that's more like 81% effectiveness than the 90% people might guess. Failing more saves, taking more damage as a percentage of total health, healing for less and possibly having less AC could really tank survivability too.
 

aco175

Adventurer
You would be able to bring back all the cool/powerful 2e/3e magic items to balance all this out though.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
You would be able to bring back all the cool/powerful 2e/3e magic items to balance all this out though.
You can just hand out 5e magic items that rarely see play too like legendary weapons/armor/staffs etc to balance this out... a bit sure. No need to delve back into the morass of 2e/3e magic items.

A 16 Str Fighter with a +3 Longsword is just as effective as a 20 Str Fighter with a +1 sword.

Depends on if you want to keep the heroes the power source (4e/5e) or their items as the source of their power (2e/3e)
 

Undrave

Adventurer
On the upside it will mess with most classes equally!
Except that the Fighter has class features that are literally "Get more ASI", which you are supposed to spend on their REAL class features that they hid in the Feat section...The Rogue also gets an extra one I believe.
 

Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Except that the Fighter has class features that are literally "Get more ASI", which you are supposed to spend on their REAL class features that they hid in the Feat section...The Rogue also gets an extra one I believe.
I was assuming they'd get the "extra" ones, but yeah.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
I was assuming they'd get the "extra" ones, but yeah.
You could always replace it by a choice of a few specific feat. There's a few that are basically "advanced fighting styles": Great Weapon Master, Heavy Armor Master, Shield Master, Polearm Master, Sharpshooter, Dual Wielder, Sentinel, Defensive Duelist... just make it so your choice of fighting style decides for you I guess?
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Most importantly, different classes use their subclasses to different degrees.

Removing a subclass from class X is different from removing it from Y.

Simply using a fixed subclass will get you most of what you want.
Very much this. I can play a fighter without a subclass pretty easily. Wizard too.

But a Ranger without a subclass? ForgetAboutIt.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
I want to use 5E to emulate 2E/proto 3E as close as possbile.
Are there any builts for this?
Are there rules to skip the subclasses?
Thank you guys!
The 5e SRD also presents a single "iconic" version of each class with only one subclass for each class. It does the same for races.

Barbarian - Berserker
Bard - Lore
Cleric - Life
Druid - Land
Fighter - Champion
Monk - Open Hand
Paladin - Devotion
Ranger - Hunter
Rogue - Thief
Sorcerer - Draconic
Warlock - Fiend
Wizard - Evocation

You can't remove subclasses entirely. Certain classes completely fall apart (Ranger, Warlock) and most would lose major mechanics.
This is what I was going to say. Simply applying a single subclass as the standard class abilities that most matches the flavor desired gets rid of subclasses. It doesn't have to follow the SRD but the idea is the same.
 

Advertisement

Top