log in or register to remove this ad

 

General Which do you prefer, character build or fixed growth?

Which do you prefer, building your character over levels or fixed development?

  • Character Building - Pick new options like feats and subclasses while leveling, pick class levels

    Votes: 56 72.7%
  • Fixed Growth - Make character choices (like multiclasses, kits, specialized classes) during creation

    Votes: 10 13.0%
  • Lemon Curry

    Votes: 11 14.3%

  • Total voters
    77

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Just kind of curious after reading a couple of different thread topics.

Do you prefer building your character as you level? Making feats and ASI choices, picking subclasses, picking powers and spells, maybe even picking what class to level up whenever you gain a new level. Basically, WotC-era D&D.

Or do you prefer having your character grow on a fixed template, like in TSR-era D&D? You might make more choices during character generation, like choosing to multiclass. There might be more class options available to pick from. You might have features like kits or Skills & Powers-like point-buy to shape your character's growth. But once you make your choices, that's how the character develops.

With the knowledge that there are some discrepancies within this model (dual-classing is a mid-game choice, characters in 5e are pretty fixed if feats and MC aren't allowed and subclass is chosen), which do you prefer? Pick the one that's closer to your preferred ideal even if there's some variance.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


The Old Crow

Explorer
Huh, I always see the term "build" used to mean planned out from level 1 as to what one will take each level for the life of the character. Which I can't stand.

I like both options as described above, though. Prefer the fixed template for quick starts and one shots, but need it to be flexible enough so leveling is interesting.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Huh, I always see the term "build" used to mean planned out from level 1 as to what one will take each level for the life of the character. Which I can't stand.

I like both options as described above, though. Prefer the fixed template for quick starts and one shots, but need it to be flexible enough so leveling is interesting.
Interesting. I always think of "build" as in you're building the character over time, like each level you attach a new piece onto the structure.

But it sounds like you prefer being able to make choices while leveling for longer games.
 

Esker

Hero
I tend to preplan my "build", but rarely stick to exactly what I plan. I like getting to make decisions about my characters' mechanical development at more than one or two points, and wish 5e had more granularity in this respect (e.g., break up feats into smaller features and pick them more often).
 

Aldarc

Legend
Probably character advancement with choices, since you can adjust your character's options alongside the campaign. Even PbtA games often include multiclass-like options for their playbooks, such as taking Advancements from other playbooks.

However, I have been pondering whether I would actually prefer advancement to be vertical (e.g., bigger numbers) or horizontal (e.g., you can do more but not necessarily better) or both, but then flatten the verticality of the curve.
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
Even in systems where I pick options each level I preplan it before I start playing so it might as well be fixed growth.
I know people do that, but I just don't see it at my table and as a DM I don't get it. What is the value to you in planning everything out from level 1?
 

The Old Crow

Explorer
Interesting. I always think of "build" as in you're building the character over time, like each level you attach a new piece onto the structure.

But it sounds like you prefer being able to make choices while leveling for longer games.
I always thought of "build" that way too, until 3e ruined it. Seemed everyone started using "build" to mean planned out leveling from 1 to 20. I never had a 3e character take a prestige class, for example, because by the time one seemed organically relevant to my character's growth, turns out I needed to take some obscure feat or skill 7 levels ago. Ugh.

I think having some options available while leveling is good, and the ability to switch class.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I know people do that, but I just don't see it at my table and as a DM I don't get it. What is the value to you in planning everything out from level 1?
For me, it's about making sure that the choices I make this level don't come back to bite me later on. Whatever concept I have for my character, I want to be sure that the PC I build can actually deliver on that concept throughout the campaign, and that takes some planning.

(Note that "throughout the campaign" does not mean "at level 20." I see a lot of builds that are designed to be OMGAMAZING at level 20 and no consideration for the other 19 levels, and I just... don't get it. Even if your campaign does run all the way to the top, which most don't, most of the campaign will take place at lower levels, so why focus exclusively on the very end? I generally want my builds to start doing their thing by level 3, and hit on all cylinders by level 6, and I don't really care what happens past level 12 or so.)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
For my own characters and the PCs at the tables I run... I always go with seeing where the PC is at level up and then selecting/offering the mechanical options that makes the most sense for where the character is in its life.

The only exception to this are PCs that are intended to multiclass from the beginning. If a player said they wanted to make a cleric/wizard multiclass... I would build a "new" class that sets the level pattern ahead of time and they would use that. So for instance, in my last campaign a player had in mind a forge cleric / bladesinger. Rather than let him select which levels of which class he would take upon level up... I created the Forgesinger "class" whose level chart gave out the abilities of the cleric and wizard in an established pattern (3 levels wizard, 2 levels cleric, 3 levels wizard, 2 levels cleric and so on.)
 

GlassJaw

Hero
Why not both?

I would like more choice earlier on to flesh out a specific character concept. At the minimum, all classes shoudll choose their path at level 1 (with maybe an option to change or divert from that later on). But there also has to be choices as you level as well.
 

dave2008

Legend
For me, it's about making sure that the choices I make this level don't come back to bite me later on. Whatever concept I have for my character, I want to be sure that the PC I build can actually deliver on that concept throughout the campaign, and that takes some planning.
I guess my players don't have that complex of a concept that it requires planning. They tend to let the character develop organically. The only concept is: do I want to fight with a sword or magic. Sword, ok I'll be a fighter. But that is just my, very limited, experience.
 

Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
I generally decide at level-up how a PC develops within the setting and campaign events. However, usually I've got a concept in mind reflecting that PC's interests and capabilities. So I stick to a "build theme" rather than a defined "build", if that makes sense. Of course, in some systems * ahem * that's not always the best course mechanically.

Fortunately, I've never been shy about letting my sub-optimal freak flag fly high and proud! ⛳
 

Dausuul

Legend
I guess my players don't have that complex of a concept that it requires planning. They tend to let the character develop organically. The only concept is: do I want to fight with a sword or magic. Sword, ok I'll be a fighter. But that is just my, very limited, experience.
If you're playing a single-class PC, you don't generally need to plan. There aren't any options that can truly cripple your PC; even the crappiest subclasses are still built on the chassis of the base class, which guarantees a basic level of capability.

Multiclassing means you can no longer count on the base class to provide that guarantee. That's where I feel like planning is really needed.
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
I prefer the character building style, mainly because it's easier for new players to not fall into traps and the difference between someone who plans the ins and outs of the character and who doesn't, while still being there, are not that big anymore.

Previous editions really heavily favored the planning style to characters, which was not great for the new players that went for the 'cool' stuff.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Hmm, I think I opened up a slightly divergent topic. I was interested in the time of decision-making as primarily a rule-driven concept (in AD&D, you had to make your choices at character creation, the option to change them later simply wasn't possible, since it impacted your XP table). But, a lot of people are viewing "planning" your character build to achieve a certain endpoint as a different playstyle as picking organically at level-up, whereas I was viewing them as the same (as sticking with your "build" is still a choice you make at level-up).

Interesting perspectives!
 

dave2008

Legend
If you're playing a single-class PC, you don't generally need to plan. There aren't any options that can truly cripple your PC; even the crappiest subclasses are still built on the chassis of the base class, which guarantees a basic level of capability.

Multiclassing means you can no longer count on the base class to provide that guarantee. That's where I feel like planning is really needed.
I guess that makes some sense. My current group doesn't have any mutliclassed characters, but a previous group had a few that they just added without planning (2nd and 4th level) and it seemed to work fine. Maybe they would be more "effective" if they planned, but neither they or I seemed to notice.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I always thought of "build" that way too, until 3e ruined it. Seemed everyone started using "build" to mean planned out leveling from 1 to 20. I never had a 3e character take a prestige class, for example, because by the time one seemed organically relevant to my character's growth, turns out I needed to take some obscure feat or skill 7 levels ago. Ugh.

I think having some options available while leveling is good, and the ability to switch class.
3E prestige classes would have been so much better if they didn't have any requirements other than "Must be X level".
 


COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top