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D&D 5E What I Don't Like About Subclasses, and Potential Solutions.


I get that a 5e design goal was to make it easy for a new player to "just get started". Hence start at 1st, play a few sessions, okay, now make a new decision (subclass). Oh, and one more level (or so), get a new choice: feat or ASI (and if ASI, which one(s)?). But.... I would prefer if they had continued the idea. 6th level or 10th - like 4e's Paragon Path or 3e's PRestige Class (more 4e, you mostly can't lock yourself out of choices) - you get a new path choices. Maybe you double-down into your first subclass. Maybe you can branch into another subclass. Maybe there's an "advanced" version of the basic class (i.e. not "more Champion-y", but "more Fighter-y").

Instead - and I confess, I skipped 9 pages of text to quickly post a thought - we have Multiclassing. If you decide you wand your Rogue -> Arcane Trickster to be more magic-y... take wizard or sorcerer levels. If you want your Ranger -> Hunter to be more martial, take Fighter levels (or maybe, like a PC in my game, Barbarian levels). [Side note, martial levels should "multiclass stack" like caster levels. F*ck "worthless Extra Attack a second time", get something for it!]

This way you essentially are getting to build your own custom character class. IF you're a new player, and not handy with the rules, stay in the comfortable box of the class+subclass. Or ask the mimaxer at your table, you know the one...

Which brings me back to the only point this "idea" hasn't addressed from the OP, which is the "why are we waiting until 3rd level". To that, I just throw up my hands and say "5e design goal, oh well". There have been many good alternate suggestions in this thread for options - I liked the example of "take Champion crit range at 2nd instead of Action surge" - and I have nothing new to add to that. I will just point out that the same "benefit" multiclassing brings to the table also makes a good gatekeeper to "balance" [wherever you think that line sits] that the 1-level dip your Ranger took in Fighter for reasons, didn't also give you Runes or Fireball or Maneuvers or whatever.

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