D&D General Vote Up A 5e-alike, Part 5: Feats (and a question of levels)

How to do feats?

  • No feats

    Votes: 3 11.5%
  • Feats every 4 levels

    Votes: 6 23.1%
  • Feats every 2 levels

    Votes: 7 26.9%
  • Feat schedule varies by class

    Votes: 8 30.8%
  • Feat at 1st level, in addition to any other feat schedule

    Votes: 18 69.2%
  • When you get a feat, you can pick from any of them

    Votes: 6 23.1%
  • When you get a feat, you're limited by type (class, skill, ancestry, etc.) a la PF2

    Votes: 10 38.5%
  • No half-feats (ability + ASI)

    Votes: 11 42.3%
  • Only half-feats

    Votes: 2 7.7%
  • Something else entirely (explain in comments)

    Votes: 4 15.4%
  • Levels: 10

    Votes: 8 30.8%
  • Levels: 20

    Votes: 9 34.6%
  • Levels: 30

    Votes: 1 3.8%
  • Levels: 36

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Levels: None. Turn this into a point-based system!

    Votes: 1 3.8%
  • Levels: Something else entirely (explain in comments)

    Votes: 2 7.7%
  • Feats: Both half and full

    Votes: 3 11.5%

  • Poll closed .

aco175

Legend
feat schedule by class
+1st level feat
feat type restrictions
I went with these as well. I have no problems with feats blocked by abilities rather than classes though. A feat may call for needing two attacks as a prerequisite, so fighters can take it at 5th level but others might need to wait until 10th or never be able to take it.

No feats. Bake some of what are now feats right into those classes where they make sense, and lose the rest. Reduces complexity, protects niches, and cuts back on jack-of-all-trades characters.
I like this too. I might want to give options of a few feats to take at places similar to 4e with powers so all 8th level thieves do not look the same and could lead to a quasi subclass depending on what feat path was taken.
 

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TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
No feats. Bake some of what are now feats right into those classes where they make sense, and lose the rest. Reduces complexity, protects niches, and cuts back on jack-of-all-trades characters.

No hard level cap, leave it open-ended. How this would look in design: you give the progression up to a certain level (could be 10th, 15th, 20th, whatever) to the point where the progressions have become linear, but nothing stops there. Instead, it's all left open-ended as "[big-number] of xp per level after [design cap]", "gain [x-number] of hit points per level after [design cap]", it would be shown how the combat and save matrices would logically continue beyond the design-cap level, and so forth.

That way, the books could deal with the design-range levels but the game wouldn't have to end once that level range had been reached or exceeded in play; the parameters would be in place for it to keep going - and keep advancing - for as long as the DM and players wanted.

Also, having it open-ended and yet consistent makes it way easier for a DM to design opponents that exceed the range of level design. In 5e as written, for example, how can a DM usefully design a 33rd-level Fighter to throw against a high-level group of curb-stompers?

Also, embrace the idea of a few "dead levels" rather than shun them completely. Why? Because if every class has to gain some tangible power or ability at every level other than more h.p. and maybe better attacks and saves, the power level of the whole game gets completely out of hand by double-digit levels.
Personally, I'd give out most of the interesting abilities by 5th level, and maybe a special capstone ability around 9th or 10th. Just make core class abilities that scale by level, and let the max level be open ended.

Rogues get 1d6 sneak attack every odd level. Fighters get an extra attack at 5th, 10th, 15th, and every 5 levels after that. Wizards get one new spell slot of 6th level at 11th, and every odd level they get a new spell slot one level higher. A 10th level slot at 19th, an 11th level slot at 21st, etc.

Class design is simple and basic, every class gets one or two core features that scale with level, and then a few ribbons at low levels to flesh them out a bit.

Each level in a class costs 1000 XP per level. (For clarity, level progression doesn't start at 0, it starts at 1000 XP. A character with less than 1000 XP is effectively a 0th level character.) You can multiclass anytime you want, as long as you spend the XP and have a story hook for it. If your 5th level fighter wants to start leveling in rogue, they spend a few weeks practicing in their downtime and spend 1000 XP.

Your proficiency bonus and max hit Die is dependent on your highest level in one class. If you're a 5th level fighter/4th level rogue, you still have a proficiency bonus of +3. Your class abilities that scale with class are dependent on the level you have in that class. Hit Die are rerolled at every level, and you take the best X dice out of the pool of dice you have. The fighter 5/rogue 4 rolls 5d10 and 4d8, and picks the best 5 dice out of that pool, since they are "5th level max".
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Personally, I'd give out most of the interesting abilities by 5th level, and maybe a special capstone ability around 9th or 10th. Just make core class abilities that scale by level, and let the max level be open ended.

Rogues get 1d6 sneak attack every odd level. Fighters get an extra attack at 5th, 10th, 15th, and every 5 levels after that. Wizards get one new spell slot of 6th level at 11th, and every odd level they get a new spell slot one level higher. A 10th level slot at 19th, an 11th level slot at 21st, etc.

Class design is simple and basic, every class gets one or two core features that scale with level, and then a few ribbons at low levels to flesh them out a bit.
I like this. I don't know how archetypes will work with this system--but maybe we don't need archetypes, at least not in the way that they're currently done. I could see having "pseudo-archetypes." "if you want to play a swashbuckler, pick either Fighter or Rogue and then take these feats" or "if you want to play a brawler, pick monk, fighter, or barbarian and then take these feats."

A lot of those ribbons could actually be replaced with social-type abilities, the way that it's done in Level Up. For instance, a 2nd-level Fighter gets the "Steely Mien" ability, where they can choose from Closed Helm (your face is an emotionless mask; others have disad when using Insight on you), Heroic Flair (everyone can tell you're a Big Damn Hero and you have advantage on Persuasion to influence lower-CR friendly creatures), or Watchful Eye (you've gone paranoid and get advantage on Insight checks).

While these can be feats, of course, having them as class abilities ensures that every class has some social abilities, because you don't have to save your feats for combat purposes.

Each level in a class costs 1000 XP per level. (For clarity, level progression doesn't start at 0, it starts at 1000 XP. A character with less than 1000 XP is effectively a 0th level character.) You can multiclass anytime you want, as long as you spend the XP and have a story hook for it. If your 5th level fighter wants to start leveling in rogue, they spend a few weeks practicing in their downtime and spend 1000 XP.
I'm not 100% sure I get what you mean that 1st level starts at 1k XP. Is this to allow for 0th-level characters? Or were you thinking about bringing back level drain and didn't want PCs dying because they were drained below 1st level?

Also, I know this isn't what you meant, but when you say "spend XP" it makes me wonder if XP could be spent as a meta-currency.

Your proficiency bonus and max hit Die is dependent on your highest level in one class. If you're a 5th level fighter/4th level rogue, you still have a proficiency bonus of +3. Your class abilities that scale with class are dependent on the level you have in that class. Hit Die are rerolled at every level, and you take the best X dice out of the pool of dice you have. The fighter 5/rogue 4 rolls 5d10 and 4d8, and picks the best 5 dice out of that pool, since they are "5th level max".
So, would this hypothetical fighter 5/rogue 4 have 9 Hit DIce (5d10 + 4d8, presumably), or simply 5 Hit Dice total? Because that's going to make multiclassing unpopular to the point that it shouldn't even be a thing.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
No feats. Bake some of what are now feats right into those classes where they make sense, and lose the rest. Reduces complexity, protects niches, and cuts back on jack-of-all-trades characters.
Then here's the next question(s) for everyone: archetypes, yea or nay?

I like the idea of classes having lots of choices to them. With the right sort of choices, you barely need archetypes, and archetypes themselves tend to blur the lines between classes. Mind, choices add complexity by themselves, but I think not having archetypes would help reduce it more and would help to protect niches. Especially since there wouldn't be a huge need to produce a ton of new archetypes in supplements.

Mind you, if there are enough options in a single class, then you might not even need that many classes. Whether it's through feats or in-class abilities, you could turn your fighter into a ranger, paladin, or barbarian.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Personally, I'd give out most of the interesting abilities by 5th level, and maybe a special capstone ability around 9th or 10th. Just make core class abilities that scale by level, and let the max level be open ended.

Rogues get 1d6 sneak attack every odd level. Fighters get an extra attack at 5th, 10th, 15th, and every 5 levels after that. Wizards get one new spell slot of 6th level at 11th, and every odd level they get a new spell slot one level higher. A 10th level slot at 19th, an 11th level slot at 21st, etc.

Class design is simple and basic, every class gets one or two core features that scale with level, and then a few ribbons at low levels to flesh them out a bit.
OK...other than having all the good stuff given out by 5th level (I'd rather it be spread out over a greater range), I'm with you so far.
Each level in a class costs 1000 XP per level. (For clarity, level progression doesn't start at 0, it starts at 1000 XP. A character with less than 1000 XP is effectively a 0th level character.)
Perhaps more intuitive for 1st to start at 0 xp and then build in the concept of negative xp to account for commoners, 0th-level types, and so forth.

That you're accounting for 0th level is, however, commendable.

BUT: higher levels should take more xp to earn than lower, for a bunch of reasons:
--- if defeating bigger badder foes doesn't earn bigger badder xp numbers(1) it'll feel like you're going nowhere
--- flip side: if defeating bigger badder foes does earn bigger xp numbers, the higher levels will go by in a flash
--- lower-level characters in a mixed-level party(2) would never be able to "catch up"
--- campaign longevity.

(1) - IMO a monster or foe etc. should be worth the exact same number of xp whether you defeat it at 1st level or 20th (1e and other editions get this wrong IMO); with the J-curve making it very sub-optimal for a high-level character to advance by wading through lots of mooks (though it oculd be done).
(2) - the game has to allow for mixed-level parties!
You can multiclass anytime you want, as long as you spend the XP and have a story hook for it. If your 5th level fighter wants to start leveling in rogue, they spend a few weeks practicing in their downtime and spend 1000 XP.
I'd rather see the classes advance independently a la 2e. So, if your 5th level Fighter wants to multiclass into Rogue it spends a few [months or years!] training into the new class after which it divides earned xp between the two classes e.g. if it earns 500 xp for something, 250 go to Fighter and 250 go to Rogue.
Your proficiency bonus and max hit Die is dependent on your highest level in one class. If you're a 5th level fighter/4th level rogue, you still have a proficiency bonus of +3. Your class abilities that scale with class are dependent on the level you have in that class.
Yes. The only change I'd make is that your bonuses etc. are the better of what each class would give you. Thus, say, if you're a Ftr-5/Rge-4 but being a 4th Rogue gives you a better bonus with tools than would the 5th-Fighter, then the Rogue bonus is what you'd use.
Hit Die are rerolled at every level, and you take the best X dice out of the pool of dice you have. The fighter 5/rogue 4 rolls 5d10 and 4d8, and picks the best 5 dice out of that pool, since they are "5th level max".
Sorry, not a fan. This could easily see a character in fact lose hit points on gaining a level, e.g. if the best 5 dice on this roll add to 32 but the best 6 dice (when the Fighter bumps to 6th) only add to 25.

I'd much rather have it that your hit points are forever locked in once rolled; even to the point of if your Con score changes later your hit points don't retroactively change to suit.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Also, I know this isn't what you meant, but when you say "spend XP" it makes me wonder if XP could be spent as a meta-currency.
3e tried this. I'm not sure it was one of 3e's better ideas.
So, would this hypothetical fighter 5/rogue 4 have 9 Hit DIce (5d10 + 4d8, presumably), or simply 5 Hit Dice total? Because that's going to make multiclassing unpopular to the point that it shouldn't even be a thing.
I can certainly get behind the idea of multiclassing being somewhat sub-optimal. :)

What @TwoSix is getting at, I think, is something closer to the 2e system where classes are NOT additive; where a 5th-4th is not a 9th in any way shape or form.

As for archetypes: very much yes.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Also, embrace the idea of a few "dead levels" rather than shun them completely. Why? Because if every class has to gain some tangible power or ability at every level other than more h.p. and maybe better attacks and saves, the power level of the whole game gets completely out of hand by double-digit levels.
Hard disagree here. You can make every level interesting and impactful (otherwise why even use levels?) without a 0 to Demi-god power scale. You just don’t put huge power jumps into the rules. Like…you can just not have level6+ spells, and keep levels to roughly a feat worth of stuff every level +HP (much smaller rate of increase for hp and damage. Let 50 damage mean close to the same thing from levels 1-10.)

You also don’t have to scale math in an RPG. The accuracy and impact math can stay the same or close to the whole way, with higher levels just meaning more things you can do, and/or more reliable use of abilities. So like if the action die were 3d6 and as you level you get more d6s, but you always only count 3 of them on a check. You get more reliable, but you live in the same world as the farmer with a quarterstaff. You aren’t an untouchable or unkillable godling.

So the only traditional power scaling would be via specific investment, like taking expertise in a skill or training a save you aren’t proficient in.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I like this. I don't know how archetypes will work with this system--but maybe we don't need archetypes, at least not in the way that they're currently done. I could see having "pseudo-archetypes." "if you want to play a swashbuckler, pick either Fighter or Rogue and then take these feats" or "if you want to play a brawler, pick monk, fighter, or barbarian and then take these feats."

A lot of those ribbons could actually be replaced with social-type abilities, the way that it's done in Level Up. For instance, a 2nd-level Fighter gets the "Steely Mien" ability, where they can choose from Closed Helm (your face is an emotionless mask; others have disad when using Insight on you), Heroic Flair (everyone can tell you're a Big Damn Hero and you have advantage on Persuasion to influence lower-CR friendly creatures), or Watchful Eye (you've gone paranoid and get advantage on Insight checks).

While these can be feats, of course, having them as class abilities ensures that every class has some social abilities, because you don't have to save your feats for combat purposes.


I'm not 100% sure I get what you mean that 1st level starts at 1k XP. Is this to allow for 0th-level characters? Or were you thinking about bringing back level drain and didn't want PCs dying because they were drained below 1st level?

Also, I know this isn't what you meant, but when you say "spend XP" it makes me wonder if XP could be spent as a meta-currency.


So, would this hypothetical fighter 5/rogue 4 have 9 Hit DIce (5d10 + 4d8, presumably), or simply 5 Hit Dice total? Because that's going to make multiclassing unpopular to the point that it shouldn't even be a thing.
Yeah at that point just don’t include multiclassing.

I’d do archetypes and multiclassing the same way, via feats.

I’m for large feats and you get a decent number of them, and they replace subclass basically while also still filling their existing role.

I am very against pf2 feat paradigm where every new thing is “take a XYZ feat”. I firmly believe that one thing 4e gets wrong is the idea that every level should present you with a large list of options that you need to examine and at least kinda understand in order to move forward. However, it is useful to have some feats with class or class feature prerequisites.

archetypes and multiclassing would then be fear chains, where the first feat is just as good as the next, ditching the terrible “pay your dues loser” dynamic of weak intro feats giving access to much better feats. The intro feat shouldn’t be a power sacrifice just because it allows you to take the next feat in the chain.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
I can certainly get behind the idea of multiclassing being somewhat sub-optimal. :)

What @TwoSix is getting at, I think, is something closer to the 2e system where classes are NOT additive; where a 5th-4th is not a 9th in any way shape or form.
Yea, that’s exactly what I’m getting at. It’s a variation of a house rule I used for OSE.

If anything, I worry it makes multiclassing a little too strong. You can spend 6000 XP to go from fighter 5 to fighter 6, or you can spend that same XP getting 3 levels of rogue.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Personally, I'd give out most of the interesting abilities by 5th level, and maybe a special capstone ability around 9th or 10th. Just make core class abilities that scale by level, and let the max level be open ended.

Rogues get 1d6 sneak attack every odd level. Fighters get an extra attack at 5th, 10th, 15th, and every 5 levels after that. Wizards get one new spell slot of 6th level at 11th, and every odd level they get a new spell slot one level higher. A 10th level slot at 19th, an 11th level slot at 21st, etc.

Class design is simple and basic, every class gets one or two core features that scale with level, and then a few ribbons at low levels to flesh them out a bit.

Each level in a class costs 1000 XP per level. (For clarity, level progression doesn't start at 0, it starts at 1000 XP. A character with less than 1000 XP is effectively a 0th level character.) You can multiclass anytime you want, as long as you spend the XP and have a story hook for it. If your 5th level fighter wants to start leveling in rogue, they spend a few weeks practicing in their downtime and spend 1000 XP.

Your proficiency bonus and max hit Die is dependent on your highest level in one class. If you're a 5th level fighter/4th level rogue, you still have a proficiency bonus of +3. Your class abilities that scale with class are dependent on the level you have in that class. Hit Die are rerolled at every level, and you take the best X dice out of the pool of dice you have. The fighter 5/rogue 4 rolls 5d10 and 4d8, and picks the best 5 dice out of that pool, since they are "5th level max".
i'd agree with most of this except from your bonuses/hit die only coming from your highest class, that is something i'd very much not want

it could be interesting seeing an ability progression where there are only a few core class abilities on your base class' progression at set levels but every new class level you get to pick a new ability from your class or archetype's ability list (similar to feats/eldritch invocations and all of which scale to your PB), so fighter 2/rogue 3 wouldn't be significantly weaker than a fighter 5 but the fighter 5 would just have a more combat focused ability set and the extra core fighter ability for reaching level 5, the characters could take the abilities in any order (though maybe some are gated by your level in the class) so one fighter could pick at levels 1-5:
--indomitable, +fighting style, action surge, +fighting style and arrow barrage,
while another might take:
--action surge, parry, second wind, improved critical and +fighting style
and both would get extra attack at 5th level while the fighter 2/rogue 3 might have
--action surge, improved critical, evasion, skill expertise and climb speed
but wouldn't have the extra 5th level fighter ability.
 
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