D&D (2024) What if you were in charge of reworking classes for 5.5?

Mercurius

Legend
This almost feels like what the Swordmage was instead of a multiclasser .. its class powers were all distinct and uniquely theirs as an amalgam of swords and magic ie what an eldritch knight really isnt, it is wielding magic in a sense distinct from casting spells but then again that is almost just flavor isn't it?
Yes, but the rules, while they don't define flavor, do guide it.

This is why a psion with spells doesn't work for many. You can't just reskin something and say it is something else.

Or to put it another way, you can get a spellcasting ranger through multiclassing, but you can't "de-magic" a ranger to get to the Aragorn archetype. Might as well start with that and then, if you want a bit of nature magic, multiclass into druid.

And better yet: Create a modular option for class-free characters that a player can build as they go along. Easier said than done, of course.
 

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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yes, but the rules, while they don't define flavor, do guide it.

This is where I elaborate what I feel is some of that flavor from the Swordmage as presented the mechanics contribution is not really heavy I think its more capability. Their blades are cutting holes through the fabric of reality and it bleeds elemental effects etc etc

I generally disagree about the power of reflavoring in part because the mechanics under the hood is arbitrary... I mean dice vs points ummm shrug neither is more fighter nor more monk some people have just been trained to think spells slots somehow relate to magic nothing in myth and legend or fiction causes those to even make sense.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
So here’s a modification I came up with recently : Take out 9th level spells from the normal progression of classes and out of the PHB.

They instead become ‘Legendary Spells’ and are treasures. Spells that you can find through your quests. Maybe you find a forbidden tome in the library of a fallen Kingdom, maybe you find the spell carved in a primordial cave, maybe a Celestial beams it directly into your mind, maybe you find it within a magical item that crumbles once its energy unleashed. Whatever the case, those big spells now become a thing the DM can better control.

Instead of using a 9th level spell slot, you need to spend at least X spell slots with a total value of Y or more to use them, so they have a big impact and can still be given out to Half-Casters! Or you use a charge of whatever item it’s hidden within, allowing the DM to give the Martial Party access to that kind of plot warping magic.

If the whole party has adventured for a specific Legendary Spell, it becomes a sort of party resource so people won’t feel like it’s just the Wizard hogging the spot light when they decide to fire it off. The firing is just the final step of a full party effort.
This is a cool idea, though I'd probably keep 9th level spells and instead use this for spells of 10th level or higher.

I'd quite like to bring epic spells back in, with all of their requirements though I doubt I'll be playing at a level where players would be able to make use of them. I have made use of rituals that anyone can use, they tend to require more set up than a typical ritual spell, and some of them probably aren't going to be used by a heroic party (I had one which required the sacrifice of a family member to rip open a permanent portal to the shadowfell), but there are rituals that allow anyone to cast control weather, for instance, and some rituals have no spell equivalent, such as the portal to the shadowfell mentioned above.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
So here’s a modification I came up with recently : Take out 9th level spells from the normal progression of classes and out of the PHB.

They instead become ‘Legendary Spells’ and are treasures. Spells that you can find through your quests. Maybe you find a forbidden tome in the library of a fallen Kingdom, maybe you find the spell carved in a primordial cave, maybe a Celestial beams it directly into your mind, maybe you find it within a magical item that crumbles once its energy unleashed. Whatever the case, those big spells now become a thing the DM can better control.

Instead of using a 9th level spell slot, you need to spend at least X spell slots with a total value of Y or more to use them, so they have a big impact and can still be given out to Half-Casters! Or you use a charge of whatever item it’s hidden within, allowing the DM to give the Martial Party access to that kind of plot warping magic.

If the whole party has adventured for a specific Legendary Spell, it becomes a sort of party resource so people won’t feel like it’s just the Wizard hogging the spot light when they decide to fire it off. The firing is just the final step of a full party effort.
Why only take out 9th Level spells? It would probably make spell casting feel more natural if all spell levels were learned that way. It would also help explain why powerful mages are so rare?
 


Undrave

Legend
This is a cool idea, though I'd probably keep 9th level spells and instead use this for spells of 10th level or higher.

I'd quite like to bring epic spells back in, with all of their requirements though I doubt I'll be playing at a level where players would be able to make use of them. I have made use of rituals that anyone can use, they tend to require more set up than a typical ritual spell, and some of them probably aren't going to be used by a heroic party (I had one which required the sacrifice of a family member to rip open a permanent portal to the shadowfell), but there are rituals that allow anyone to cast control weather, for instance, and some rituals have no spell equivalent, such as the portal to the shadowfell mentioned above.

Why only take out 9th Level spells? It would probably make spell casting feel more natural if all spell levels were learned that way. It would also help explain why powerful mages are so rare?

I picked 9th mostly arbitrarily,

I just don’t like the max spell level being odd when the max character level is even :p I could see the max level that a caster can learn be curtailed further, but I still like that some of your class features aren’t dependent on the DM’s whim. The everyday spells you need for adventuring should be provided, with only the big swings being treasures.

I could see this 'Legendary Spell' concept expended to cover almost all levels of play. I can totally see Raise Dead being a spell you'd need to find first. It could be a good way to expend the ritual system to feel more exciting, with lost rituals making up the bulk of legendary spells. Maybe have the rituals cost hit dice so that the whole party can contribute. You want those magical flying horses for the whole party? Well, somebody’s gotta bleed a little first!

Was that part of the mandate?
I wouldn't foresee a 5.5 ditching the simplicity of 5e.
 


My big change, off the cuff:
Remove spellcasting from the Ranger base class. Beef up the Fighter non-combat features to be in line with the Rangers.
Retool both Fighter and Ranger so Fighter is expressly the Martial class based on STR and Ranger for DEX.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I would take a page from superhero rpgs and create a new class, call it the warrior, that allows for superhuman/supernatural abilities without spells. Subclasses would allow for different kinds of hero-types (blasters, brawlers, skirmishes, etc.). It would allow for a psionics-type character as well. Basically, the core would be extremely modular.

Most of WotC's customers seems pretty happy with what they've got, so only minor tweaks are needed.
 

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