5E When do you think a character build concept reaches maturity?

At what level should a character concept/build reach fruition?

  • 1-2

  • 3-4

  • 5-6

  • 7-8

  • 9-10

  • 11-12

  • 13-14

  • 15-16

  • 17-18

  • 19-20

  • Epic levels


Results are only viewable after voting.

dnd4vr

Adventurer
A simple poll: At what level should a character concept/build reach fruition or maturity?

I know many people might say, "It depends on the build," so I am asking you in a more general sense, considering the "average" level for different builds you have thought of or tried in game.

Please vote within the ranges, and if you have a specific level in mind or would straddle two ranges, please let me know which ones and why. You can vote twice if you think a range not available, such as 4-5, would be your answer (you could vote once for 3-4 and once for 5-6).

IIRC, for example, in SWSE you took your tests to become a "jedi" at level 7 and prior to that you were a padawan learner. So, in that sense level 7 would be your choice. If you think subclass/archetype choice is it, than choose 3-4.

Thanks for voting!
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I'd say most of the concepts I have/play/come up with start hitting their stride somewhere in that 4th-6th window.

That's enough levels that you have a feat or two (or three if you're a fighter) under your belt. You have your subclass, plus maybe the next tier ability in that subclass, or you've got enough levels to have gotten an ASI and multiclassed to something else.

Also 3rd level spells are a great delineating point, where the game/characters regardless of concept really mature for me.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I think it should be level 1, ideally, that your character feels like it fits a certain archetype (basic archetypes, not something like Master Mage, High Priest, or Greatest Swordsman which are things you should strive for at later levels). By that I mean that if I want to be a fighter-mage, the current options require you to wait until later levels to really feel like you're there or to have a very specific race/class combo. Eldritch Knight means waiting until level 3 before you get magic. Unless I've gone variant human or picked up a race like high elf, I'm not going to feel like like a fighter-mage until then. Essentially, and I seem to say this whenver there is an opportunity, I wish subclasses were gained at level 1 across the board rather than just a handful of classes.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I seem to say this whenver there is an opportunity, I wish subclasses were gained at level 1 across the board rather than just a handful of classes.
I don't disagree with this sentiment per se It's always felt wonky to me that they don't but I also understand from a design stand point what their reasoning is behind it so I roll with it. And there is part of me that does think it's better to have them mature later.

To me a build concept reaching maturity should come with some "experience" in the game world both the numerical kind and just the time travelled narratively. The framework can certainly be there, so in the gish example, a fighter who trained as a sage (background), but he just hasn't quite mastered that first cantrip yet and war is afoot, or... something like that. But I think having to earn the full concept with time/experience is a bit more gratifying. Again for me.

I guess a question I have for you... since it is a combined thing in your example, why should that start at 1st level (Devil's Advocate question)? I mean you could get it at level 2 just by going Fighter 1/Wizard 1.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
Beside the obvious “depends on the built”, I’d say lvl 8.

2nd ASI or feat for single class characters, multiclass can go 5/3 for that 5th lvl threshold and archetype in secondary class, or lvl 7 in main class with 1 lvl dip.

lvl 6 in a caster class with 2 lvl in paladin or ranger gets you 4th spell lvl slots. Similarly, 6 lvl in arcane trickster or eldritch knight with 2 lvl of wizard get you 3rd level slot.

lvl 8 get quite a few builds to fruition
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I dont ho in for builds that wont be "who they are" later than 6th, 4th to 5th preferably. But most of thevtier-2 should be "it".
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I don't disagree with this sentiment per se It's always felt wonky to me that they don't but I also understand from a design stand point what their reasoning is behind it so I roll with it. And there is part of me that does think it's better to have them mature later.

To me a build concept reaching maturity should come with some "experience" in the game world both the numerical kind and just the time travelled narratively. The framework can certainly be there, so in the gish example, a fighter who trained as a sage (background), but he just hasn't quite mastered that first cantrip yet and war is afoot, or... something like that. But I think having to earn the full concept with time/experience is a bit more gratifying. Again for me.

I guess a question I have for you... since it is a combined thing in your example, why should that start at 1st level (Devil's Advocate question)? I mean you could get it at level 2 just by going Fighter 1/Wizard 1.
My preference is to be able to fit the basic archetype right from the beginning. Yes, you can start at level 2 to become a fighter/wizard but I don't like this for a couple of reasons: I don't want to have to feel like I need 2 levels to be at the starting career of the class/archetype I want to play, and I also don't want to have to require multiclassing to get the feel of the archetype, especially if there is a subclass that fits what I want. In this case Eldritch Knight for fighter with a bit of wizard or bladesinger for a wizard with a bit of fighter. Or technically any wizard for a mountain dwarf.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Thanks for the responses so far everyone! Excellent points and good rationales. Keep 'em coming! :)

Addressing the fighter-mage idea: I agree with your point as well. FWIW, we multiclass differently from RAW, as we follow more of a 1E/2E approach. It is a bit more complex, but not much:

Your character level is based on total XP. You get HP and feats based on character level. Everyone gets d8 for hp.

Your class levels for two or three classes is based on your total XP divided by the number of classes. You gain class features (other than feats/ASI) by class level. Fighters and Rogues get their additional ASI by class level not character level. You gain (or lose!!!) hp depending on class levels:

You gain hp based on the number of class levels you have in:
Barbarian +2 per class level.
Fighter/Paladin/Ranger +1 per class level.
Sorcerer/Wizard -1 per class level.

Example:
You have 25000 XP total, making you character level 7. You have two classes, Fighter and Wizard, which dividing 25000 by 2 gives 12500, making you Fighter 5/ Wizard 5.

You would have all the class features of a Fighter 5th level and a Wizard 5th level.
Your hit points would be 7d8 + 7 * CON modifier. Technically, you would add +5 for 5 fighter levels, but also -5 for 5 wizard levels... so they cancel out.
You could gain one feat at 4th character level.

When you reach 28000 total XP, you would be Fighter 6/ Wizard 6, and gain the ASI for fighter 6.

We've been playing this way for a while and love the extra options it gives our characters. Due to action economy, it isn't as powerful as people might think. It is definitely stronger than RAW multiclassing, but it works for our table.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I voted for the 7-10 window. I do think there's a difference between MC and single class there though. A lot of single class builds really start to pick up steam and feel heroic between 5th and 7th level. This is where the melee guys rack up their second attack and a lot of other classes pick up some powerful class abilities. Those classes still 'feel' like that concept before then, but that's where they really start to feel like they're all out of bubble gum. (always room for a Rowdy Roddy Piper reference, right?). Most MC concepts take a little longer to hit their stride. My usual example there is Assassin builds, which don't really come online until 8th or 9th. More generally for MC builds that's often 5 or 6 levels in the main class and a 2 or 3 level dip elsewhere to combine the 5-6th power bump with the 3rd level archetype from the secondary class. Single level MC dips fall somewhere in the middle.
 
I know I generally go in with a concept for the character so it starts at level one - and I know this is depends on the build basically, but some a couple have changed in concept during game play (with either my concepts or it changing/maturing? or in one case the campaign story bringing a change in the characters outlook).

I would say however but once Archetype/multi classing is chosen embeds the concept more making it harder to vary.

So I would answer 1 and 3 and probably around 8 as highlighted by Laurefindel earlier.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
For Eldritch Knight ... at level 1

New Fighting Style

Elven Chain: Instead of proficiencies with Medium Armor and Heavy Armor, you know the Mage Armor spell. You can cast it on yourself as an at-will reaction, or dispel it. The armor appears in any style you wish, including an invisible force. According to high elf decorum, the Mage Armor appears as a silk-like fine-link chain armor tunic, worn under or over a fabric tunic of a bold solid color with intricate embroidery. You gain a Wizard cantrip of your choice. Instead of the Fighter class defense proficiency, Strength, you can choose Intelligence.
 
Last edited:

coolAlias

Explorer
When I play, I aim to have my character feel "complete" by 3rd-6th if single class and by 6th-8th if multi-classing.

I wanted to select the entire 3rd-8th range, but alas we are allowed but two choices.

If a build takes longer than 8th to come online, then that's too long - most of the games I've played in recently don't even reach 8th, let alone go far beyond it.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Multiclassing is about what you can do at level ~7, not level 20. Level 8 is when most (single)classes get their second ASI, which means anyone who is thinking about having a feat should have one by now. A feat being the secret sauce that makes a character stand out from every other member of it's race and subclass. Those extreme builds that need two feats should also be done (though they probably used the Variant Human to do it). I couldn't imagine actually playing a character that needed 3 or more feats. That's more than half of the game sitting around playing something incomplete.

But I also honestly think a build should be functional from level 1. So I'm a bit torn on what to vote.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There's no option for "never".

A character concept is, ideally, a constantly-evolving thing such that by the time you've reached what you had in mind at the beginning a bunch of other possibilities have come up that are worth exploring; and by the time you reach those yet others have arisen; lather rinse repeat for the character's played career.

That's character concept: personality, characterization, traits, goals, background, story arc, friendships, rivalries, and everything else that goes into a fully fleshed-out character.

If you're merely asking about character "build" game-mechanics, there's no option for "whenever". :)
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
There seems to be two schools of thought.

To play a theme needs to happen at level 1, or as soon as possible.

To exploit mechanics − via a carefully planned build with selective multiclass dipping, feats, and so on − must come online by level 8.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
I'd say "Before the campaign your playing in wraps up/fizzles out".
So somewhere between lv.1 - lv.12 in most cases.
The exact concept/build also plays a part. As does the average lv you can reasonably foresee achieving.

I aim for no higher than 10 myself so that I'm still likely to have a few lvs to enjoy my "peak".
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
A simple poll: At what level should a character concept/build reach fruition or maturity?

I know many people might say, "It depends on the build," so I am asking you in a more general sense, considering the "average" level for different builds you have thought of or tried in game.

Please vote within the ranges, and if you have a specific level in mind or would straddle two ranges, please let me know which ones and why. You can vote twice if you think a range not available, such as 4-5, would be your answer (you could vote once for 3-4 and once for 5-6).

IIRC, for example, in SWSE you took your tests to become a "jedi" at level 7 and prior to that you were a padawan learner. So, in that sense level 7 would be your choice. If you think subclass/archetype choice is it, than choose 3-4.

Thanks for voting!
Anything past 6 is too late, for me. That’s too much time spent trying to dance around the fact that I’m not really playing the concept I set out to play.

That is the one major aspect of SWSE that I really, really, do not like.

Also, we never played it that you’re a Palawan until level 7. You just don’t get the mechanics until then. But I also almost never played a straight Jedi character in any Star Wars game.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
I change my answer to level 3-4 to match the OP's specific question.

The concept is usually pretty clear from the get go at level 1, or maybe level 2 if the concept really warrants a multiclass character. However, I don't think it reaches maturity until first archetype or feat - around level 3-4 - whereas the character gains the mechanical tools to fully support the intended concept.

The built however, if it can be separated from concept, takes more time to reach maturity. For that I stand with my level 8 mark, when you have enough mechanical support to say that your concept is not only represented, but complete.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I change my answer to level 3-4 to match the OP's specific question.

The concept is usually pretty clear from the get go at level 1, or maybe level 2 if the concept really warrants a multiclass character. However, I don't think it reaches maturity until first archetype or feat - around level 3-4 - whereas the character gains the mechanical tools to fully support the intended concept.

The built however, if it can be separated from concept, takes more time to reach maturity. For that I stand with my level 8 mark, when you have enough mechanical support to say that your concept is not only represented, but complete.
The question is really when SHOULD a character concept reach maturity.

For me, this means, the essential themes SHOULD be practicable at level 1.
 

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