View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Prestige classes, without the class part. Prestige Path? (Brainstorm)

2018-06-17, 08:23 PM
I like the concept of 3e's prestige classes. Advanced powers that require specific actions or status with in-universe organizations to attain.

I hate the implementation (as classes with mechanical entry requirements where the base concept and its surrounding fluff can be easily stripped off). I also don't think that multi-classing-based implementation works in 5e.

So what about a different approach? This is more of a thought about a possible framework for designing these "Prestige Paths"--world-builders would add the details for organizations or actions that fit the metaphysics or political/social scene of their world.

Each Prestige Path would be a sequence of linked, cumulative boons (much like the Epic boons in the DMG, except less powerful). Each one would have specific, in-universe requirements. Levels of status with X organization. Completion of Y ritual. Etc. Each Path (of which a single organization may have several) would represent powers/honors/respect granted by that organization or that school of thought. Some of these would be non-mechanical, others mechanical. Ideally, this would provide a framework for DMs to grant boons (or players to seek boons) that integrate into the world and reflect the actual events that occurred to the character.

Spit-balled examples from my world
The Scale Balancers are the paladins/clerics/organized clergy of the goddess of justice and law):

Scale Balancer Neophite
Requirement: Friendly relationship with the SB organization, a sponsor of Knight rank or higher, and a witnessed act of valor.
Benefit: Can pass judgement on minor crimes (with punishment no more than a Y sp fine) within the Council Lands. Right of immediate appeal to a Knight of the Order on your own behalf or that of another.
The Order of the Seeking Tentacle are a group of Far-Realms obsessed (mainly how to defend against incursions) arcanists.

Void Survivor
Requirement: Survived exposure to Far Realms incursion. Vouched for by member of the Order of the Seeking Tentacle.
Benefit: You are instructed in techniques to withstand mental incursion. You have advantage on saving throws made to resist charm, compulsion, or domination effects.
Does this idea make sense to anyone? Is it interesting? Is it worth developing further?

2018-06-18, 03:47 AM
I'd try to tie these more closely to membership ranks in a specific prestigious organization, for a few reasons. First, it gives the PCs more reason to actually care about these organizations and to tie themselves to the campaign world. Second, it highlights the opportunity cost that both prestige classes and paragon paths had; being a senior member of one major organization comes with responsibilities and obligations that keep you from getting heavily involved in other organizations at the same time. And third, if you could get powerful boons from just being on casually friendly terms with a group, expect PCs to try and unlock as many of these as they can.

I like the idea. I just want to encourage, say, focusing one's attention on being a high knight of the realm over being a dilettante.