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 .

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
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."
Personally, I would do them as feat chains, or simply handle them diegetically. A possible, crunchier option would be to make "mini-classes".

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.
Yes, this is absolutely meant for using XP as a spendable metacurrency.

General idea is this. Starting characters will start at 1000 XP, enough to purchase 1 level in their first class. Buying the next level always costs 1000 XP times the level you're gaining. Buying level 2 costs 2000 XP, buying level 3 costs 3000 XP, etc.

If you want to take level 1 in another class, you just have to spend the 1000 XP and justify it in story, usually with some sort of downtime.

I keep track of total earned XP for a character behind the scenes, but I've found spending XP to be easier to track for players once they get used to it.

My OSE house rules for multiclassing are pretty similar, with taking level 1 in a class costing half the amount of XP it requires to get to level 2. (So getting a fighter 1 level costs 1000 XP, a cleric 1 level 750 XP, etc). The main limiters are no more than 3 classes, and demihumans must take their demihuman class as their first class.

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've used these same general hit point rules across multiple games of 5e and OSE, and they've been pretty popular.

1) When you level, roll all your hit die. Maximize the lowest roll. (If you roll a 1 on a 1d8, make it an 8.) The maximization mimics the 5e "max at 1st level" rule, although it's slightly stronger at higher levels. And it gets rid of the "2 HP fighters" of OSE, which I don't find fun.

2) For my OSE multiclass rule, roll all your hit die, maximize, and keep a number of dice equal to your highest level class. A 5th level magic-user/2nd level fighter would roll 5d4 and 2d8, keeping the highest 5 of that pool.

This is the house rules I use for OSE, where multiclassing is more similar to AD&D style in which a 5/5 multiclass would be about equivalent to a 6th or 7th level single class.

I've come to agree with @Lanefan that I feel that style of multiclassing is generally superior to the additive style of 3e/5e. But as a fan of diegetic progression, I don't like having characters be boxed into multiclassing right at character creation, so I made my own "hybrid rules" that are closer to AD&D dualclassing without the colossal amounts of suck.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
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.
I like archetypes, but a properly designed (IMO) full class with lots of choice points will by necessity render them either less important or more specialized, but still useful. That's what I want. Again, pretty much like Level Up (it's very close to the ideal 5e for me).
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
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.
I'm strongly against that, but I'm definitely against having a bunch of character progression bound up in metagame options. The best thing about old-style gaming (I'm looking at B/X here primarily) are the classes that pretty much just advance numerically, and all the other abilities are earned in the fiction.

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!
I don't think I made it clear in my first post; earning a new level costs 1000 XP per level of the class. Level 1 fighter costs 1000 XP, level 2 costs 2000 XP, level 10 costs 10,000 XP, etc.

The reason to not start at 0 XP is to give an obvious cost to purchase your 1st level in your second, third, etc. classes.

And if you want to, you can just start them at 0th level with 0 XP. 0th level play is a blast, and starting your characters off as young kids just learning to adventure (a la Beyond the Wall) is really fun.


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.
That's how my OSE multiclass rules work, although the player can divert the XP in whatever fashion they want. The only limitation is that if your highest level class is more than 2 levels ahead of your lowest class, it suffers a -20% XP penalty to XP gained in the highest 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.
5e only has one real level based bonus, the proficiency bonus. If there were more, I would agree.


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.
I didn't mention this (sometimes things that seem obvious to me aren't actually obvious), but if your roll is lower than your current total, you can keep the old total (or old total +1, I've done it both ways).
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I'm strongly against that, but I'm definitely against having a bunch of character progression bound up in metagame options. The best thing about old-style gaming (I'm looking at B/X here primarily) are the classes that pretty much just advance numerically, and all the other abilities are earned in the fiction.


I don't think I made it clear in my first post; earning a new level costs 1000 XP per level of the class. Level 1 fighter costs 1000 XP, level 2 costs 2000 XP, level 10 costs 10,000 XP, etc.

The reason to not start at 0 XP is to give an obvious cost to purchase your 1st level in your second, third, etc. classes.

And if you want to, you can just start them at 0th level with 0 XP. 0th level play is a blast, and starting your characters off as young kids just learning to adventure (a la Beyond the Wall) is really fun.



That's how my OSE multiclass rules work, although the player can divert the XP in whatever fashion they want. The only limitation is that if your highest level class is more than 2 levels ahead of your lowest class, it suffers a -20% XP penalty to XP gained in the highest class.



5e only has one real level based bonus, the proficiency bonus. If there were more, I would agree.



I didn't mention this (sometimes things that seem obvious to me aren't actually obvious), but if your roll is lower than your current total, you can keep the old total (or old total +1, I've done it both ways).
Regarding multiclassing, I'm fond of making new classes that combine elements of others. This is done in feat form through the synergy feats in Level Up, but a sufficiently modular class creation system could allow for it, and provide a new tool for PC customization.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
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.
In the case of Level Up, the choices were (mostly) limited to two or three options (very rarely four), which I think is an ideal number--just enough to make sure that you could have two PCs of the same class who still felt quite differently.

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.
Very much agreed. There shouldn't be "greater <feat>" options because that makes <feat> pointless. Each part of the chain should be thematic in some way.

My current rogue swashbuckler character mutliclassed into fighter to get the Duelist style. I could see a "feat grouping"--not necessarily a chain--consisting of something like Defensive Duelist, Dual Wielder (perhaps with a caveat that it can be used with Duelist), and Mobile. These feats could be grouped together under the "Swashbucker" header, and may or may not have class or level prereqs. A character could take the Swashbuckler feats, if they want, or take feats from different groups if they want more of a generalist character.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm strongly against that, but I'm definitely against having a bunch of character progression bound up in metagame options. The best thing about old-style gaming (I'm looking at B/X here primarily) are the classes that pretty much just advance numerically, and all the other abilities are earned in the fiction.


I don't think I made it clear in my first post; earning a new level costs 1000 XP per level of the class. Level 1 fighter costs 1000 XP, level 2 costs 2000 XP, level 10 costs 10,000 XP, etc.
Ah. That makes a bit more sense. :)
The reason to not start at 0 XP is to give an obvious cost to purchase your 1st level in your second, third, etc. classes.
Perhaps a dumb question, but why use a purchase model when you can just count up, and bump once you hit the target number (and train, if one has training rules)?
And if you want to, you can just start them at 0th level with 0 XP. 0th level play is a blast, and starting your characters off as young kids just learning to adventure (a la Beyond the Wall) is really fun.
Agreed.
That's how my OSE multiclass rules work, although the player can divert the XP in whatever fashion they want. The only limitation is that if your highest level class is more than 2 levels ahead of your lowest class, it suffers a -20% XP penalty to XP gained in the highest class.
I don't have the latter limit, and I also allow them to split xp however they want (minimum of 10% going to each class) with two provisos:

--- the split must be declared before the start of each adventure and then stuck to for that adventure; you can reset it during downtime between adventures
--- occasionally (as in fairly rarely, these days) I-as-DM will override the split and force a batch of xp to one class or the other. Our usual example for this is if a 25% Fighter/75% Magic User defeats an opponent purely by physical combat, the xp for that fight will all go to the Fighter side.

So, it's quite possible to have a 90% Fighter 10% Magic User, with the levels eventually getting widely separated e.g. 8/3. I'm fine with that.
I didn't mention this (sometimes things that seem obvious to me aren't actually obvious), but if your roll is lower than your current total, you can keep the old total (or old total +1, I've done it both ways).
Ah, OK. Still prefer hit points be forever locked in, but that's just me. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
In the case of Level Up, the choices were (mostly) limited to two or three options (very rarely four), which I think is an ideal number--just enough to make sure that you could have two PCs of the same class who still felt quite differently.


Very much agreed. There shouldn't be "greater <feat>" options because that makes <feat> pointless. Each part of the chain should be thematic in some way.

My current rogue swashbuckler character mutliclassed into fighter to get the Duelist style. I could see a "feat grouping"--not necessarily a chain--consisting of something like Defensive Duelist, Dual Wielder (perhaps with a caveat that it can be used with Duelist), and Mobile. These feats could be grouped together under the "Swashbucker" header, and may or may not have class or level prereqs. A character could take the Swashbuckler feats, if they want, or take feats from different groups if they want more of a generalist character.
Actually, ability or feat "chains" where one is a pre-req. for the next can be a decent way of making two characters of the same root class feel and play quite differently...provided the class has enough built-in variety to make it work.

My Bards and Monks both work this way. I rebuilt them from the ground up for our 1e variant: they all start out with some basic abilities then at each level (including 0th, i.e. during char-gen) they pick a few abilities from a list, where said list gets longer as levels advance and more abilities potentially come online. There's a bunch of these chains, any one character can usually follow about half of them. The abilities come online faster than a character can choose them, until about 15th level where they slow right down and a character can start going back to pick up things not taken earlier.

Some of the abilities are standalone, but most either have a pre-req., or are a pre-req. for something else, or both. For example, one Bardic progression goes Charm Person(0) => Enthrall(3) => Charm Monster(6) => [etc.] => Dominate Person(14): you can't get Dominate Person unless you're at least 14th level AND already have all the pre-req's.

I thought about redesigning all the classes this way, but the only ones that have enough abilities to make it work are these two. Ranger's kinda close, but that's pretty much it.

Results so far, after a few lengthy run-outs: the Monk works fairly well, the Bard needs a bit of dialling back.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In the case of Level Up, the choices were (mostly) limited to two or three options (very rarely four), which I think is an ideal number--just enough to make sure that you could have two PCs of the same class who still felt quite differently.
2-3 choices is good, for sure.
Very much agreed. There shouldn't be "greater <feat>" options because that makes <feat> pointless. Each part of the chain should be thematic in some way.

My current rogue swashbuckler character mutliclassed into fighter to get the Duelist style. I could see a "feat grouping"--not necessarily a chain--consisting of something like Defensive Duelist, Dual Wielder (perhaps with a caveat that it can be used with Duelist), and Mobile. These feats could be grouped together under the "Swashbucker" header, and may or may not have class or level prereqs. A character could take the Swashbuckler feats, if they want, or take feats from different groups if they want more of a generalist character.
Yes! If we look at the beast master ranger, there can be a feat that gives you a pet with its rules and level scaling, and the ability to spend spell slots or some other resource to empower the pet. Another feat that requires that feat give you and the pet new features, and another, but every Beast Master Archetype feat only requires the first Beast Master feat.

Like some feats in a tree could require more than the intro feat, but tbh I prefer the simplicity of just “req: Level X, Beast Master Archetype feat”.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I like feats since 3e, but for a 5e-alike I'd rather go back to the original premise of 5e which was supposed to be that feats are a big deal, therefore I voted "no half-feats".

Everything else, I have no preference.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I like feats since 3e, but for a 5e-alike I'd rather go back to the original premise of 5e which was supposed to be that feats are a big deal, therefore I voted "no half-feats".
I thought the original premise of 5e was that feats were optional, and therefore not a big deal.
 

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