D&D 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%

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Classes help in character building by giving you a baseline from which to customize. Instead of making your build totally from scratch, you can say “I’m a wizard” with your build choices being what makes you stand out from every other wizard.
I think that's part of it, but not all of it. If it was the entire point, then templates for character building in point-buy games would be a perfectly acceptable stand-in for classes, and I don't think most people feel they are.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Lemon curry.

I prefer a system where once you've chosen your class at initial roll-up pretty much everything else just comes as locked-in class abilities as you level up: you get what you get, either as a function of your class (e.g. Druids gain shapeshift at x-level) or of random roll (the new spell a Wizard gets).

No feats, very limited multi-classing, all characters have significant strengths and significant weaknesses. And yes, there'll be some concepts that'll be difficult or even impossible to achieve, but I'm alright with that as the alternative - freeform choice, or close - is nothing but a recipe for broken builds and massive advantage for system mastery.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Lemon curry.

I prefer a system where once you've chosen your class at initial roll-up pretty much everything else just comes as locked-in class abilities as you level up: you get what you get, either as a function of your class (e.g. Druids gain shapeshift at x-level) or of random roll (the new spell a Wizard gets).

No feats, very limited multi-classing, all characters have significant strengths and significant weaknesses. And yes, there'll be some concepts that'll be difficult or even impossible to achieve, but I'm alright with that as the alternative - freeform choice, or close - is nothing but a recipe for broken builds and massive advantage for system mastery.
That's literally the fixed growth option. AD&D style.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I like fixed growth but I'm okay with a few options gained during leveling the class. Something like a fighting style on a Paladin would be an example.
 

dave2008

Legend
I really wish there was a game where you could level up and make an interesting choice or two, but realistically, if you have advanced knowledge of the options then your choices are all made at level one.

Like, I wish I could play a fighter for three or four levels, and then choose to pick up a little arcane or divine magic as the campaign evolves; but if I really wanted to do that, then I should have been planning for it all along, or else I probably don't have the right stats or synergy. It's hypothetically an option (if it's allowed in the game), but in practice, any option that severely hinders your efficacy is not really an option.
That is one reason I have been thinkimg about the return of boxed sets like BECMI. You just the class 5 levels at time. I realize it will not happen, but I think it is an interesting idea.
 
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I think it's possible, but I don't know if it's possible to do so while assimilating all of D&D's tropes. Like, you could do it by magic being purely an external focus, it's something you acquire as opposed to something you develop skill at. Like you learn fire magic by doing a ritual that binds a fire elemental to your soul, and the elemental actually casts the magic. Then your ability at magic isn't gated by your stats at all, it's simply a function of how much effort you spend to master its abilities (which is represented by level or character resources spent on the skill).
The traditional route is to use magic items. In earlier editions, planning was virtually pointless, because you could never account for which magic items you happened to find. You might not imagine your fighter as gaining fire magic, but if you trip over the sword and necklace, then I guess you're Talon Flamebrand.

I'm imagining something similar for class levels. Instead of experience, maybe you need material reagents to unlock the next level in each class, and those aren't available on the open market. If you end up finding enough level one rubies, then somebody in the party can gain their first level of pyromancer, and there's no good reason for them not to do so.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
And, to answer the OP question - I have the same issue as others, in that I have also gathered that "character build" has the connotation of a much-considered plan ahead.

I tend to grow my characters fairly organically over time, rather then plan them in advance. I'm currently playign an artificer - I had not decided on this specialization when I started. The character could easily have become an Alchemist or Battle Smith - what he saw in action led to the latter.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
What is the value to you in planning everything out from level 1?

Well, if your goal is mechanical optimization, then in some games planning is required. 3E feat trees and presitge classes are good examples here- in order to reach the top of the tree, you have to meet prerequsites, and if you don't do things in the right order, you may miss out on reaching the desired end.
 
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