Level Up (A5E) What Interests You about "Level Up"?


I got the physical books a week or so ago. When I sit to read them, I see mostly "this is just 5e" and I lose interest in reading. I realize that this is a feature of the system, and it relies on compatibility with 5e. But I'm having difficulty finding the reason to get excited about running it. [This is likely due to my being tired with 5e in general, and that LU isn't bringing enough new content to the table to revitalize my interest.]
A few examples...
  • I see magic item prices and I think "that's a cool little addition," but it's just a little layer I can add from the DM/Narrator side.
  • The creatures are mostly the same as the Monster Manual entries from what I can tell. They don't have like the cool recharge abilities and auras like 4e (or Matt Colville's recent Kickstarter). A goblin seems like the 5e goblin.
  • The classes seem largely unchanged.
What's your way in? Is there something that makes you say "wow! this is a big departure from or enhancement to 5e."? In short, I'm looking for that "killer app" to excite me about Level Up.
[Note: I'm not making any of these comments to criticize the designers and writers. I'm honestly curious about the hook of the product.]

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Some classes are changed more than others. Berserker is, in my opinion, significantly different from the barbarian - improved in every way, but it still feels right. Warlock (my most-played class) is more subtly different, but those subtle differences have an enormous positive impact on the class as a whole.

That’s a pretty specific answer to your question. For me, the draw to LevelUp is twofold:
1) I want more! More classes, more archetypes, more options at every level. I’m happy when I’m drowning in features - and A5e isn’t bloated, but even just the base rules are saturated with valuable player and DM content (not just content for the sake of it)
2) I think A5e tunes the 5e experience in a way O5e couldn’t - or was afraid to. I like a better, more polished product.

It also definitely helps that I feel pretty connected to the community here, which I cannot say about O5e.


The whole character creation thing, because of all the choices.

The other day, when I got the latest Gate Pass Gazette, I found that I really liked the new ranger archetypes. I decided to make one of them, without any other idea of what sort of character I was making--it was just playing around and didn't bother come up with a background. In putting together the heritage and gift, culture, background, and destiny, plus class/archetype, I found the choices created a large chunk of the character's background and personality for me. If I were to use this character for an actual game, it would be very easy to build on what chargen helped me make to fully flesh them out.

O5e has backgrounds, which I definitely like and I find them an improvement upon earlier editions, since it helps to, well, give your character some background. Along those lines, LU improves upon backgrounds. Every time I make a decision by picking an option, whether it's picking the heritage gift or choosing a maneuver, it helped me to think about why my character is that way.


Character creation is big for me, and I’m a GM! There is so much customization available in the game! I honestly think it would be worth it for maneuvers and exploration knacks alone. I love seeing my martial players make the same kind of strategic choices that are usually reserved for casters. Even my player who insisted on playing a Human Champion Fighter (subclass imported from O5e) is really great about saying “I’d like to evaluate the threats around us right now” or even just using his insane passive perception to feel like a custodian for the other players.


I came for two main reasons:

First, I think O5e characters and level progression are very uninspiring for most classes. I'm not an expert in O5e, but the main mechanisms of distinction for most classes seem to be subclasses, which I find very limiting. This is one area where I think A5e shines. There are a lot of decisions to make at every level for every class, and most if not all of them are meaningful. Font sizes aside, the number of pages dedicated to an average class is much larger in A5e than O5e.

This does come with some complexity, of course. There are no longer any "simple" classes, and the martials' Combat Maneuvers are effectively spells in a different hierarchy with different names and applicability. And I can't say I love every single ability and choice. But overall I like it a lot, and getting rid of what I don't is probably minor surgery. (One possible exception or area of concern are followers and strongholds-- for some campaigns they'll be brilliant, but for others not so much. And that's a big thing to take away from a Warlord.)

Second, I was interested in the expansion of the Exploration Pillar and the abstracted mechanics of Supply from the outset. Here, I want to stress that my verdict is still out for a number of reasons:
  • I only had a chance to skim the rules when the PDFs came out (which was a while ago, obviously) and have not had time to read deeply, since.
  • At first glance, they seem somewhat reliant on random encounters. I am not a fan of random encounters, I'm more a GM that likes even seemingly-random encounters to be somewhere for a reason. But in retrospect, I'm not sure what else I could have expected. So this is not a condemnation, just a realization that maybe what I'm looking for cannot be found.
  • But, on the other hand, the link I thought I saw between the Rest Economy and Supply (which, if I understand it, is basically the requirement that if you want to laze the day away with an extra long rest, you need to burn a bunch of Supply... or acquire Fatigue) is interesting and thought provoking.
  • Finally, I'm a little concerned that Exploration needs to be a near-constant presence, or the classes and options that rely on it become unviable. I.e., if my campaign structure is that levels 1-2 are in a town, levels 3-4 are exploration outside, levels 5-6 are in a big city, etc, does playing a Ranger or taking any knacks that focus on exploration make sense? Maybe, maybe not, but it's a concern and potentially exerts a lot of force over how I have to think about arcs, etc.
Basically, I need to read and very carefully consider the whole ruleset for Exploration and think carefully about what options it opens up for me, what options it shuts down, and whether my ideas for games fit comfortably with it.


I haven't had a chance to read any of Level Up as yet. But I'm mostly interested in seeing what they've done with the Exploration and Interaction pillars - those were, IMO, largely uncooked in 5e, so I'm hoping for an upgrade.


Thanks for starting this thread. I've been really curious what others have to say. Level Up is a really cool idea, but ultimately went all in with Ruins of Symbaroum (5E) due to familiarity and dark tone.

I've been interested in A5E since it was announced. The playtest only added to that interest. For me that interest was stoked because I like 5e as a framework, but I wanted a bit added to that framework.

My regular group though was interested, but not overly so.

So what I've done is go through the the books and did side by side comparisons for my group. I focused on character creation, the classes, the spells, and monster. I went through them and detailed the the O5E and A5E features and changes then talked with my group. Most changes we liked. Some we didn't (irresistible dance I'm staring at you). But overall we agreed the changes, even small were worth it.

Once we did that we looked at some of the new stuff, like journey mechanics. Again most of them we liked.

So overall we're all now very excited to fully switch over (we agreed to wait till this campaign is done)

Here's the things we like the most:
  • A more granular character creation: The Heritage/Culture option makes character creation a bit more engaging.
  • Character classes that are more fleshed out: The added non-combat options really give the classes more life. My group made a test party and one of my characters made a Berserker that was the party's face and it worked. Classes don't feel like combat machines with utility options added as an afterthought.
  • Exploration/Journey Mechanics: As a DM trying to make journeys interesting in O5E has always been work. Some classes can tend to steal the limelight. The new rules give a much better framework for keeping the players interested in a long journey.
  • Magic: A5E reworked most spells. Some of them saw nerfed power (some good, some bad), some saw increased power, but most saw greater utility, especially with the addition of rare spells.
  • Combat Maneuvers: This is a big one for most of my group, giving more tactical options to melee characters is exciting.
  • Monsters: I know you mentioned that the monsters don't have certain options you liked (such as recharge abilities), but they're actually pretty different. However the differences are often in small ways that may not be readily visible. Despite not switching over yet I have used some new monsters and overall much prefer them.
  • Encounter Design: As a DM I hate the O5E encounter design mechanics and math. I've always felt like it's too different from the CR system built in 3E for it to really use that name and they should have just designed a new set of mechanics. Playing around with the rebalanced rules in A5E has walked back most of my criticisms. It's easier to use and makes way more sense than the base mechanics.

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