D&D (2024) Subclasses should start at 1st level

They could in 4e Essentials - there were intra-class multiclassing feats that let you gain subclass features of another subclass of your class. So Protectors (summoner Druids) could take the feat for the Sentinel's animal companion or the 2008 Druid's Wild Shape, and vice versa versa.

I'd really like to see something like this come back.

That said, there ARE 5e suggestions for changing sub-classes wholecloth - it's in the 2014 DMG, and built into the example of a Paladin Oathbreaker subclass. You break your oath, and instead of losing all your abilities until you repent, your subclass is replaced with the Oathbreaker one.
For the record changing subclasses as a result of roleplaying and consequences is huge and minor at the same time.

And on thinking about it that's one thing that could be very interesting - multiclassing through subclasses. Each class offers one "multiclass version" that you take instead of an own-class subclass.
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
It seems doable to take several subclasses within the same class.

Start off as a Swashbuckler Rogue, then switch back and forth between Swashbuckler and Trickster. Or any subclass combo.

It is doable because, the first level of a subclass is a surprisingly small amount of design space. It balances when taking the small design space of a Swashbuckler then the small design space of a Trickster. Of course, to do so, delays the higher level subclass features that come later. But that is how multiclassing works.



To take an other class as a subclass is a more challenging design.

The level 1 of a class is frontloaded, with a bunch of features going on at the same time.

In order to take an other class as a subclass, one would need to decide which small feature from that class is the most salient one.

For example, suppose a Rogue took Bard as a subclass. It is a dilemma to decide if such a Bardic Rogue would want some of the spellcasting or some of the Inspiration, for the small amount of subclass design space available.
 

As you have zero objective data for the claim that multiclassing is not used as a genuine RP concept, I disagree. I think a great deal of multiclassing is done for genuine RP concepts. And my evidence is exactly as varied and deep as yours for that contention. So all we have is WOTCs surveying and playtesting on the concept - and they clearly think it's valuable as they are not even including it directly in each class.

Which means we need to account for it. Whether you personally like and use multiclassing or not.
I'm afraid you've missed my point.

I'm not saying RPing is "never used for a genuine RP concept", as you can see from what you quoted. Obviously that would be impossible to prove "objectively" in either direction.

What I'm saying is MC'ing, as per 5E/1D&D is not particularly good for the game. Again, my position is that the vast majority of MC combinations in 5E (and presumably 1D&D) fall into two categories:

1) Simple powergaming - exploiting synergies to make more powerful/effective characters.

I don't think this is a major issue as 5E is relatively well-balanced against powergaming (interestingly), but it offers no benefit to the game.

2) Picking a classes that seem cool/make sense with no regard for synergy that often ends up with a significantly weakened character.

I think this is a real problem, and actively detracts from the game experience. Sometimes this is for a "genuine RP concept", but unless there's some real guidance/sense used it's very easy to end up with a character who is just not good at anything.

So I think it's very reasonable to suggest some limits to MC'ing. You apparently do as well given you're suggesting making it so classes after the first get subclasses delayed.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I mentioned it in one of the other threads as I thought of it... but I'll mention it here too since it applies to the conversation:

I would not be surprised if only a few classes got changed such that Experts and Warriors get their subclasses at Level 3 (which all six classes already do)... while the Priests and Mages got theirs bumped up to Level 1. The Cleric, Sorcerer and Warlock are already at Level 1, the Druid and Wizard are only at Level 2 (so a 1 level bump up isn't a big deal), and it's the Paladin that is the only one that would make a grand jump from Level 3 to 1.

This solves a lot of issues (not all, just a lot), plus opens up the door to potential "Class group" subclasses in the future... ones that applies and can be taken by any member of a Class group now that they'd all have the same progression within each group.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I love that they seem to be standardizing subclass progression, but why start them at 3rd level instead of 1st? Even for the 2014 classes that get their subclasses after 1st level I have never actually seen a player wait until then to choose their subclass anyway. They always pick at character creation. Plus, having all subclasses start at 1st level would allow subclass to transform the base class more. Sorcerers could get access to different spell lists depending on subclass. Bards could get different options for their set of always-prepared spells depending on subclass. Rangers could have some subclasses that cast spells and some that don’t. Waiting until 3rd level makes it so that if your subclass is a significant part of the character concept, you have to spend two levels not playing that concept, at least not to its fullest extent.
Yes

Subclass doesn’t have to contribute much mechanically speaking (yet) but the concept should be more or less set at level 1. I’m fine with the subclass really kicking in at level 3 to offer a smooth(er) power progression.

My ideal would be something like the warlock; choose a subclass concept at level 1, further develop it at level 3, and gain another choice at level 5 (although the latter might conflict with extra attack, or if extra attack is one of the choices, make the level 5 choice a non-option)
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I'm afraid you've missed my point.

I'm not saying RPing is "never used for a genuine RP concept", as you can see from what you quoted. Obviously that would be impossible to prove "objectively" in either direction.

What I'm saying is MC'ing, as per 5E/1D&D is not particularly good for the game. Again, my position is that the vast majority of MC combinations in 5E (and presumably 1D&D) fall into two categories:

1) Simple powergaming - exploiting synergies to make more powerful/effective characters.

I don't think this is a major issue as 5E is relatively well-balanced against powergaming (interestingly), but it offers no benefit to the game.

2) Picking a classes that seem cool/make sense with no regard for synergy that often ends up with a significantly weakened character.

I think this is a real problem, and actively detracts from the game experience. Sometimes this is for a "genuine RP concept", but unless there's some real guidance/sense used it's very easy to end up with a character who is just not good at anything.

So I think it's very reasonable to suggest some limits to MC'ing. You apparently do as well given you're suggesting making it so classes after the first get subclasses delayed.
WOTC is including multiclassing in the 2024 edition, and increasing it's prominence by putting the rules for it directly in each class. We're just discussing the new edition, right?

Right now subclasses don't start at level 1. You guys are suggesting they should. If that were to happen, I am saying they should make sure the subclass you multiclass into doesn't grant it's subclass powers until after level 1, to prevent the issue you mentioned as #1 above: cherry picking single levels of a class to get the subclass ability.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
WOTC is including multiclassing in the 2024 edition, and increasing it's prominence by putting the rules for it directly in each class. We're just discussing the new edition, right?

Right now subclasses don't start at level 1. You guys are suggesting they should. If that were to happen, I am saying they should make sure the subclass you multiclass into doesn't grant it's subclass powers until after level 1, to prevent the issue you mentioned as #1 above: cherry picking single levels of a class to get the subclass ability.
Some classes in the 2014 PHB have subclasses that start at 1st level. Do you see this problem happening with them?
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Some classes in the 2014 PHB have subclasses that start at 1st level. Do you see this problem happening with them?
Yes, I definitely do and have for a long time. It's why I think if they're going to make that mistake again, correct it for the problem that exist with the 2014 version.

It's most of the reason you see people cherry picking a single level of Cleric, or a single level of Hexblade Warlock.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Some classes in the 2014 PHB have subclasses that start at 1st level. Do you see this problem happening with them?
I see the issue where Cleric, Warlock, and Sorcerer PCs have a lot of frontloaded choices which could lead to options paralysis.

But I still think it serves their narratives to have Lv1 Subclasses. The other classes, minus maybe Paladin, don’t really need subclass choice at 1st. But I’d rather it standardised one way or another, and it would be easier to give a ribbon to each subclass at 1st.

I still think if you want a true apprentice before specialising you could have 0th Level classes that reflect Warrior / Expert / Priest / Mage.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yes, I definitely do and have for a long time. It's why I think if they're going to make that mistake again, correct it for the problem that exist with the 2014 version.

It's most of the reason you see people cherry picking a single level of Cleric, or a single level of Hexblade Warlock.
A single level of Cleric for… what, heavy armor? Hexblade for the Hexblade’s Curse? Easy features to just not grant at 1st level.
 


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