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

Micah Sweet

Legend
I'm pretty sure people did. I was running (briefly) a 2e game back in college and inflicted blindness on a PC. The player immediately tried to have her character commit suicide. No attempt to fix the blindness or even see if it was permanent or not. Just "my character is blind, therefore she's useless, therefore she must die." It really wrecked the entire game.

I honestly can't remember anything else from that game, since it lasted for such a short time so long ago, but that bit always stuck with me.
I would see that as a personal problem for that player, and not something the game designers need to change the system to avoid.
 

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WarDriveWorley

Adventurer
Exactly. Nerfing the monsters makes them less scary, and tends to just lump them all together as hit point bags that look a little different. Losing a character due to a failed roll does suck, but that used to heighten suspense to crazy good levels in a game, and back in the day at least, nobody cried or had a temper tantrum and huffed off if their character died. They just spent ten minutes rolling up a new character. One of my favorite sayings at the table is: "Never get too attached to your character, and always have the next one ready in the back of your mind."

It happened back then too. I once played with a guy back in 3e that took a hammer to his dice if he rolled a 1. Another in 2e days that our DM had to kick out of our group cause he would literally throw a screaming fit if he died. Just because you didn't experience it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Toxic gamers have been present in every edition.
 


Jmarso

Adventurer
It happened back then too. I once played with a guy back in 3e that took a hammer to his dice if he rolled a 1. Another in 2e days that our DM had to kick out of our group cause he would literally throw a screaming fit if he died. Just because you didn't experience it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Toxic gamers have been present in every edition.
Well, it's an easy fix. As soon as one of those mental toddlers self-identifies themselves through their actions, you kick 'em the eff out. But again, it make it easier when rolling a new character is a 10 minute process versus a 30-40 minute one.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
Okay, checked out the wight in the monstrous compendium and am not seeing the threat. It's most dangerous attack, level drain, fixes itself after a long rest. That = no threat, nothing to be afraid of in my book.
No. You can have up to 7 levels of strife. You can only recover from strife with a long rest only if
  • you ONLY have 1 level of strife, not more
  • AND, you're having a long rest in a haven
Sleeping at a campfire will not do
Please, do not assume LU is equal to 5e
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
  • you ONLY have 1 level of strife, not more
  • AND, you're having a long rest in a haven
correction, it's if you have a long rest and:
  • you have 1 and only 1 level of strife
  • OR (not and) you are in a haven
you also recover a level of strife (and fatigue) when you're raised from the dead, i assume to prevent being instantly doomed upon being raised from death by fatigue
 

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
That's the same as regular 5E. The threat is that the players may not be able to take a long rest. Also the level of strife is a greater threat than the HP loss in the long run. That doesn't necessarily get cleared on a long rest and can create major issues later on.

You wanna make this a real threat, and make resource management a more significant part of the game again?

Use the alternate rest rules from the DMG - long rests take a week, short rests are eight hours.

That changes things a lot. (I also maintain that the long rest must be done in a "sanctuary" (to borrow a term from AiME) - a safe place where you have access to resources you need and won't be ambushed by enemies. The short rest can be done in the field/dungeon.)
 



WarDriveWorley

Adventurer
You wanna make this a real threat, and make resource management a more significant part of the game again?

Use the alternate rest rules from the DMG - long rests take a week, short rests are eight hours.

That changes things a lot. (I also maintain that the long rest must be done in a "sanctuary" (to borrow a term from AiME) - a safe place where you have access to resources you need and won't be ambushed by enemies. The short rest can be done in the field/dungeon.)
oh yes. There are a few ways to make rests more meaningful
 

CircleX

Villager
Most everyone has hit on the main points, so I'll be more brief and anecdotal.
My gaming group has played every Tuesday night for the past 26 years. We've played a ton of systems, and 5e D&D once. After that, two of us never wanted to play it again, as it was universally accepted to be "Diet D&D", and D&D was already the one of the more uninspired systems out there.

I sold the group on Level Up, and we are thoroughly enjoying the added system complexities and character build options. Especially the character building and advancement. Things you would have had to house-rule as exceptions with the DM are just a part of the game with Level Up. We have a number of really interesting and unusual characters, as everyone is flexing the build system to make unique and interesting characters that just aren't possible in vanilla 5e.
 

So, to me, the magic of D&D is gone. It's a predictable game of balanced combat, not a world to explore and lore to uncover. The unification of rules has made the game easier to play, but also has transferred a blandness to everything. Which is why I get more excited about games like PF2 or (potentially) Level Up.
How is PF2 any better in this regard? It is even more balanced and predicable than 5e?
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
How is PF2 any better in this regard? It is even more balanced and predicable than 5e?
...uh...the entire line is this:
Which is why I get more excited about games like PF2 or (potentially) Level Up. If the game isn't going to have that element of wonder, it should at least be tactically interesting with lots of character options - because O5e does none of it well.
i'm not sure how you missed this...?
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
As a tinkerer and designer (and now paid writer, go me!) I'll list off the things I like best about Level Up.

1) Class redesigns centered around the classes feeling distinctly different.
Yeah, an O5e Barbarian is different than an O5e Fighter, but most of the differences are hard to see in play. They both move near an enemy and hit it as many times as they can. And until at least the back-half of leveling: That's the same number of times!

But now? Fighters are built around having a ton of interesting combat maneuvers. Berserkers slam down crit after devastating crit. And while the Berserker -does- get some options for combat maneuvers, they're both limited in number and styles, which creates a wider variety of potential differences between a given fighter and berserker.

Similarly, Warlocks are now Spell Point Casters which helps to further differentiate them from Sorcerers and Wizards. Add in the floating casting attribute and now you've got an even -more- flexible and wild design that plays into different ways to gain occult powers. Worshipping powerful occult entities? Wisdom. Making a deal? Charisma. Apprentice Wizard reads the wrong book? Intelligence.

Add in the actual narrative benefits for Social and Exploration encounters of each class and they get even more wildly disparate in theme. I often wind up thinking of Druids as just "Nature Clerics" but A5e makes Clerics into Proselytizers for their religion which I both hate and also really like.

And because these classes are doing their thing in unique, or at least significantly different, ways I get to build stuff into them that is also wildly different. I can't give too much away, but the next GPG has an archetype article of mine... and it's one of the first things I ever wrote for EN Publishing coming out after later works.

2) Environments and Journey make the game way easier to run overland without just timeskipping.
The Journey System -remains- my favorite thing about A5e. It gives everyone some activities they're responsible for on their trip, it creates a real sense of adventuring being separate and unsafe from pastoral life (by making Safe Havens a thing), and it gives me lots of little hooks to play off of.

New feat that plays into making the journey safer? Awesome. New magic item to help you gather supply? No problem! New Exploration Challenges to viciously rip away your supply and make you wander across the wastelands of Athas in the hopes of finding good people to help you... or weak people to rob? Love it.

Journey plus a Hex or Square Grid map? -So- good. Fill in the spaces with the regions you want or just roll. Also: REGIONS. Conceptually it's just describing your environment as you go, but by giving it structure through Tiers and the like it makes it a lot easier to figure out where the local Fey Lord is.

3) Rare Spells
Come. On. Rare Spells? FINALLY decent loot for Wizards.

4) Combat Maneuvers
Just like Rare Spells, combat maneuvers give me fertile ground to play around. Wanna play a Spellblade fighter? Just slap together a Mystical Warrior combat maneuver set and have them pull out neat quasi-magical powers, then slap the O5e Eldritch Knight archetype onto the character. BAM. Lots of little magic and a few big magic effects.

5) Culture separated from Race
I know some people find it a waste of time, but it allows for some -truly- fantastic and simple design and I'll put it this way:

Would a High Elf Street Urchin living in Neverwinter have the same "Arcane Schooling" as if she were raised in Silverymoon? No way. Magic blood could be a way to explain it off, but wouldn't it be -cooler- to have her learn stuff that's more tied to Neverwinter itself? NEVERWINTER CULTURES. Various metropolitan cultures built around different aspects of life in Neverwinter.

You wanna play a fancy-pants hoity-toity High Elf? Cool, pick the Neverwintan Highborn culture. You wanna have your High Elf be from a disgraced family who grew up from a young age fighting for scraps on the streets? Neverwinter Street Tough culture.

VARIETY!

6) Reputation and Strongholds
FINALLY. A tangible understanding of just how famous my character is. Pairs really well with a level 4 Bard telling epic stories about the party.

And having Strongholds and Followers as part of the base game, rather than a later-released bolt-on system? Yes, please. My brand new cult whose whole goal is to collect the contracts and journals of warlocks to pore over their Books of Shadows for personal power needs to be able to build a hidden library under a Tavern on a budget.

We're not -that- high level, yet...

7) Minor Magic Items
Okay, so... there's stuff in the Trials and Treasures that you'd never find in a DMG. Like a book that helps you learn how to don and doff armor super fast. That's just -such- a minor perk... but. It fits certain characters. Like a powerful Myron warrior who oft enough finds himself at sea or ship and may need to quickly divest himself of armor if he falls overboard...

And even if it's -not- useful, it's still -neat-. Because it's a book you have to read over the course of 3 days to benefit off of and that Myron is SO EXCITED to be able to increase his list of books read to 2.

8) Press the Attack and other Baseline Combat Options
Tactical Combat is a ton of fun. It's also a major hassle. So having clear, simple, easily shaped in a theatre of the mind version of 3.5's various bloated maneuvers, and Pathfinder's even more bloated list of lightly streamlined individual maneuvers, with new very simple stuff on top? Freaking -Mint-.

Press the Attack, on it's own, could shape an entire character identity just as well, if not moreso, than Reckless Attack... because your target falls back, pressed, to negate your advantage by giving ground. Stumbling away until their fancy footwork falls flat. I LOVE IT.

9) Expertise.
Advantage was O5e's big game-changing design, bar none. Finally moving away from stacking endlessly larger bonuses against comically larger DCs. Expertise kind of brings back the bonus-boosting, but does so with a single growing dice that feels more fun to play with than trying to remember how many +1s your god-kobold has before he reaches infinite power.

Summary or TL/DR:
In addition to a few specific big systems, there's tons of little hooks and levers that -beg- for someone to come in and pull them all. To design new material that plays with them in interesting ways. And that shape a slightly different,

7 am Edit:
I was writing this while dog-tired from a long day... I have no idea what that last sentence was trying to be. I think I might've dropped off mid TL:DR and woke back up, hit 'post' and gone to bed.

I think maybe it was...

And that shape a slightly different, but very layered, structure of gameplay design.
 
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lichmaster

Adventurer
correction, it's if you have a long rest and:
  • you have 1 and only 1 level of strife
  • OR (not and) you are in a haven
you also recover a level of strife (and fatigue) when you're raised from the dead, i assume to prevent being instantly doomed upon being raised from death by fatigue
Yep, that's right, I misremembered it. My point was that in a fight with a wight there's good chance of ending with more than 1 point of strife, thus sleeping it out is not a viable solution to the drain life ability
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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.]
I disagree with you about the creatures. Many of them have new and interesting abilities, making them more than just bags of hit points that deal damage like the vast majority of the MM. I just got my hard copy yesterday and I'm thrilled to finally have it in my hands. I showed just two creatures to my D&D group today and they were excited to know that interesting monsters were in their future.
 

AnotherGuy

Adventurer
I've only skimmed the material I've purchased and I'm happy with it.
The monster design is great- in that they have come from a far more insightful place than O5e. For instance a giant successfully hitting their opponent has the possibility of knocking their opponent down if they fail their save. Like 50 years and D&D designers never thought of that - so disappointing!

The only extra rule I created is when a creature of one size large misses their opponent, the opponent is forced to shift (5' foot of movement). If the opponent cannot shift then they talk half damage.

On the rest of the stuff I like what I have read so far and will work to start incorporating things in little by little.
 

...uh...the entire line is this:

i'm not sure how you missed this...?
I didn't miss it, I just understood them as separate thoughts. Given that @Retreater rejected A5e, and the 2nd line clearly applies to A5e, I assumed that it must not really be a determining factor. So I went back to the proceeding line, and assumed that was they more important one and PF2 must be providing something on that front that I missed. I could be wrong, buy Retreater hasn't responded, so I don't know. Maybe they somehow completely missed all of the interesting character options in A5e and your interpretation is 100% correct.
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
I didn't miss it, I just understood them as separate thoughts. Given that @Retreater rejected A5e, and the 2nd line clearly applies to A5e, I assumed that it must not really be a determining factor. So I went back to the proceeding line, and assumed that was they more important one and PF2 must be providing something on that front that I missed. I could be wrong, buy Retreater hasn't responded, so I don't know. Maybe they somehow completely missed all of the interesting character options in A5e and your interpretation is 100% correct.
given that he is expressing disappointment in newer games BECAUSE THEY ARE balanced and predictable, i don't understand why that'd be a factor for why he'd enjoy a game? it's rather clear he's expressing interest in pf2 and a5e because of the potential character options over o5e. i just assumed he knew pf2 better then he did level up and that was the factor causing him to prefer pf2.

...also, i just realized he liked my comment, so there is that.
 

Jahydin

Adventurer
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.
Well Ruins of Symbaroum (5E) was a disappointment. Every class HD is a d8...?

Anyway, finally picked up the Level Up Player's book (700 pages! Wow!) and it is completely packed with new mechanics, player options, and equipment. "This is just 5e?" Did we get the same book, haha?

Looking forward to getting the rest!
 

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