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    Default Build your own subclass!

    SO... I stated the spoiler below in a thread very recently and thought I would bring it up here as I feel this location is more appropriate, though it is directly for 5e.

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    Quote Originally Posted by animorte View Post
    I've been working on a spreadsheet for some time that shows the parallels of each subclass (organized separately for each base class). I'll post it in GitP whenever I get it done.

    It will allow a person who chooses to play a Cleric: pick War spell list, Light feature at 1, Life feature at 2, Twilight feature at 6, and so on. I use this precise example because my brother is running this exact set-up with his Cleric in a few adventures I have run. It's his favorite character for years now.

    Where this can become a problem is if you want to choose Peace at 6, it requires you to have the Peace at 1 feature. Similar to Hexblade's level 10 and 14 features requiring you to have Hexblade's Curse from level 1. Some class features build upon each other in such a way that you would have to plan for that.
    Another example: I have a Monk with Mercy features at level 3, Shadow at 6, and planning to go with Ascendant Dragon at 11.


    I intend to post the spreadsheet on here with an update whenever I get it finished. I feel as though it is balanced, but allows each class to choose greater customization much like Warlocks with their awesome invocations. It is just modifying access to pre-existing published material. What do you think?

    ——————————

    Will continue editing for balance concerns:
    - When a martial class takes a spell-casting subclass and gains the spell-casting feature, the spell progression will level as normal.
    - After taking your first feature in one sub-class, you always take the first feature (not including additional spell progression) in a different sub-class. Just like multi-classing.
    - You always take the next feature in a subclass, not skipping any previous features (like the examples given above). Just like multi-classing.
    Last edited by animorte; 2022-07-10 at 04:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by animorte View Post
    SO... I stated this exactly in a thread very recently and thought I would bring it up here as I feel this location is more appropriate, though it is directly for 5e.

    Another example: I have a Monk with Mercy features at level 3, Shadow at 6, and planning to go with Ascendant Dragon at 11.

    I intend to post the spreadsheet on here with an update whenever I get it finished. I feel as though it is balanced, but allows each class to choose greater customization much like Warlocks with their awesome invocations. It is just modifying access to pre-existing published material. What do you think?
    What about features that build on themselves?

    Any third-caster, Battlemaster's Superiority Dice, and I'm sure there are others.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    What about features that build on themselves?

    Any third-caster, Battlemaster's Superiority Dice, and I'm sure there are others.
    Yes, those features that build on themselves later and get better. It would be a personal decision to not upgrade that for the sake of acquiring a new ability entirely.

    Like the Stars Druid would have to stick with the weaker level 2 star forms if you decided it was cooler or better to go with Dreams level 10 feature.
    Quote Originally Posted by RSP View Post
    Having fun with a playstyle > optimization.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by animorte View Post
    Yes, those features that build on themselves later and get better. It would be a personal decision to not upgrade that for the sake of acquiring a new ability entirely.

    Like the Stars Druid would have to stick with the weaker level 2 star forms if you decided it was cooler or better to go with Dreams level 10 feature.
    What if you take it later, though?

    Let's say you take Champion's Improved Critical at level 3, and Remarkable Athlete at level 7. What happens with Improved Combat Superiority at level 10?
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    What if you take it later, though?

    Let's say you take Champion's Improved Critical at level 3, and Remarkable Athlete at level 7. What happens with Improved Combat Superiority at level 10?
    I believe you wouldn’t necessarily be able to acquire that feature unless you have the superiority dice to begin with. Perhaps if you also had Martial Adept, you could improve to D10.
    Quote Originally Posted by RSP View Post
    Having fun with a playstyle > optimization.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    So if you were to play something like an eldritch knight you would get level 1 spells at level 3 but never anything more till you take another EK feature, then it "jumps" to what you would have had at that level?

    And say you get domain spes known that scale with level, do they "jump" as well - so at first level you get first level spells for that domain but skip new spells till 6th level whereupon you get the 2nd and 3rd level spells of that domain? If you were to take a different domain at 6th level would you get the scaling element you missed - I.e. the 2nd/3rd level spells of the domain you picked at 6th level?

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    So if you were to play something like an eldritch knight you would get level 1 spells at level 3 but never anything more till you take another EK feature, then it "jumps" to what you would have had at that level?

    And say you get domain spes known that scale with level, do they "jump" as well - so at first level you get first level spells for that domain but skip new spells till 6th level whereupon you get the 2nd and 3rd level spells of that domain? If you were to take a different domain at 6th level would you get the scaling element you missed - I.e. the 2nd/3rd level spells of the domain you picked at 6th level?
    I was concerned with this as well. When the entire feature of a subclass lies within its very first feature, just leveling improves it.

    Not that anyone plays it much but the Four Elements Monk would work exactly the same way as it’s additional elemental abilities are acquired by reaching certain levels.

    Edit: Response to your second part. In the example I have above (my brother's cleric), the spell list was chosen specifically from one domain and leveled as such, a bit easier to keep track of and strikes me as “this is the spell casting feature” anyway.
    Last edited by animorte; 2022-07-06 at 08:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    The Eldritch Knight example kinda highlights my issue with this idea — there are a handful of subclasses that concentrate most of their power in a single feature (with the rest of their features being ribbons). How are you planning to handle stuff like that?
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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    The Eldritch Knight example kinda highlights my issue with this idea — there are a handful of subclasses that concentrate most of their power in a single feature (with the rest of their features being ribbons). How are you planning to handle stuff like that?
    So with the Eldritch Knight specifically, it makes sense to me to be able to swap out those later features just as you would anything else. The spell casting feature would level up as usual, but the other features are entirely separate for the most part.

    Looking at the Echo Knight more precisely highlights the concept I believe you have an issue with. I do myself as well (working on it).

    Say if you started with the Echo Knight and branched out from that, it would be far more logical, sacrificing greater echo abilities for different fighter sub class features. But one wouldn’t as easily be able to go from a different fighter class and then borrow later Echo Knight features as they are all tied into the echo itself.
    Quote Originally Posted by RSP View Post
    Having fun with a playstyle > optimization.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by animorte View Post
    So with the Eldritch Knight specifically, it makes sense to me to be able to swap out those later features just as you would anything else. The spell casting feature would level up as usual, but the other features are entirely separate for the most part.
    You completely missed his point.

    He isn't saying "How do you handle features that refer back to older features?" (aka the Echo Knight problem). He's saying "How do you balance features that are disproportionately powerful?) (aka the Eldritch Knight problem)

    Fighters gain subclass features at five different levels (3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th and 18th). With subclasses like the Arcane Archer, Banneret, Cavalier and Champion, you could say that each feature is worth 1/5 of the subclass's power.

    1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 = 5/5, no matter which subclass you get each 1/5 from.

    But with the Eldritch Knight, spellcasting is 4/5 of the subclass's power!

    4/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 = 8/5! Being able to trade a feature like the Banneret's Rallying Cry for the Eldritch Knight's spellcasting creates a subclass almost twice as powerful as either!
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2022-07-07 at 12:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    You completely missed his point.

    He isn't saying "How do you handle features that refer back to older features?" (aka the Echo Knight problem). He's saying "How do you balance features that are disproportionately powerful?) (aka the Eldritch Knight problem)

    But with the Eldritch Knight, spellcasting is 4/5 of the subclass's power!
    Thanks for the clarification, that does make a lot more sense. The best I can answer that is by looking at all of these classes and recognizing that there is an imbalance in features no matter what you do. It doesn’t necessarily mean that’s ok, but it is a design flaw that you don’t really notice until you’ve played a lot and with many different (sub)classes.

    I agree that the spell casting is of greater value than many other features (as referenced by the many threads on the subject). Not really overpowered though considering the typical caster limitations: fewer spells, later start, slower progression, abjuration/evocation requirement.
    Quote Originally Posted by RSP View Post
    Having fun with a playstyle > optimization.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by animorte View Post
    Thanks for the clarification, that does make a lot more sense. The best I can answer that is by looking at all of these classes and recognizing that there is an imbalance in features no matter what you do. It doesn’t necessarily mean that’s ok, but it is a design flaw that you don’t really notice until you’ve played a lot and with many different (sub)classes.
    Again, I think you're misunderstanding.

    You seem to think we're saying "Some subclasses features are overpowered, and that's a design flaw". But that's not what we're saying.

    We're saying "Some subclass features are better than others. And that's perfectly fine, when other features within the same subclass are weaker than others. But by letting players mix-and-match features, they can just choose all the good ones and create a subclass twice as powerful as all the others".

    I agree that the spell casting is of greater value than many other features (as referenced by the many threads on the subject). Not really overpowered though considering the typical caster limitations: fewer spells, later start, slower progression, abjuration/evocation requirement.
    Nobody is saying that spellcasting is overpowered. See my above comment.

    The bottom line is, how do you plan to balance players take Spellcasting at 3rd level, then additional powerful features at higher levels?

    For example:
    • 3rd level, Eldritch Knight's Spellcasting
    • 7th level, Arcane Archer's Magic Arrow & Curving Shot
    • 10th level, Eldritch Knight's Eldritch Strike
    • 15th level, Samurai's Rapid Strike
    • 18th level, Eldritch Knight's Improved War Magic


    Or for example:
    • 3rd level, Eldritch Knight's Spellcasting
    • 7th level, Samurai's Elegant Courtier
    • 10th level, Cavalier's Hold the Line
    • 15th level, Cavalier's Ferocious Charger
    • 18th level, Cavalier's Vigilant Defender

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of this idea as it is right now, but maybe rethinking several subclasses it could become something interesting.

    For the Eldritch Knight problem I have a possible solution: The Fighter gains subclass features at the 3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th and 18th levels. If you decide to take the 3rd level features, your spellcasting will only advance for the next 4 levels (7 - 3), unless you also take the 7th level features when you get the opportunity, making it advance for another 3 levels (10 - 7), and so on.

    A possible problem with this solution is that, for example, if you took the first features of the EK at 7th level, you arrive at 10th level with both an advancement of the spell slots AND the choice of an additional subclass features. If in this case the player chooses at 10th a second subclass that also provides spellcasting, there would be a double spellslots advancement in a single level, that should be managed somehow.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Harry MTX View Post
    For the Eldritch Knight problem I have a possible solution: The Fighter gains subclass features at the 3rd, 7th, 10th, 15th and 18th levels. If you decide to take the 3rd level features, your spellcasting will only advance for the next 3 levels (4, 5, & 6), unless you also take the 7th level features when you get the opportunity, making it advance for another 3 levels (8, 9, & 10), and so on.

    A possible problem with this solution is that, for example, if you took the first features of the EK at 7th level, you arrive at 10th level with both an advancement of the spell slots AND the choice of an additional subclass features. If in this case the player chooses at 10th a second subclass that also provides spellcasting, there would be a double spellslots advancement in a single level, that should be managed somehow. [Edited by GalacticAxekick for clarity]
    Instead of making the spellcasting advance for a set number of levels, why not make it advance until your next subclass feature, and only continue to advance if that next subclass feature is also from the spellcasting subclass.

    That way it never stacks with another subclass feature (for example, at 10th level).
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2022-07-08 at 02:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    Instead of making the spellcasting advance for a set number of levels, why not make it advance until your next subclass feature, and only continue to advance if that next subclass feature is also from the spellcasting subclass.

    That way it never stacks with another subclass feature (for example, at 10th level).
    Yes, but this way if you take a spellcasting feature at a level far away from the next one you gain more spellslots than if you do the same at a level nearer than the next one.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Harry MTX View Post
    Yes, but this way if you take a spellcasting feature at a level far away from the next one you gain more spellslots than if you do the same at a level nearer than the next one.
    What do you mean?
    • At 3rd level you gain Eldritch Knight spellcasting. It continues to advance at 4th, 5th, and 6th level.
    • If you take an Eldritch Knight feature at 7th level, your spellcasting continues to advance at 7th, 8th, and 9th level.
    • But if you take a different feature at 7th level, your spellcasting ceases to advance. Period.
    • If you take an Eldritch Knight feature at 10th level without taking an Eldritch Knight feature at 7th level, you don't retroactively gain the 7th, 8th and 9th level advances. You don't gain any spellcasting advances at all. You broke the chain.


    EDIT: As a side note, I might need to clarify that even though you are mixing-and-matching what subclass your features come from, you aren't mixing and matching what levels they arrive at. Eldritch Knight Spellcasting is a 3rd level feature, so you can't take it at 7th level, 10th level, or whatever.
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2022-07-08 at 02:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    EDIT: As a side note, I might need to clarify that even though you are mixing-and-matching what subclass your features come from, you aren't mixing and matching what levels they arrive at. Eldritch Knight Spellcasting is a 3rd level feature, so you can't take it at 7th level, 10th level, or whatever.
    Understand, but i was thinking of something different. My idea was that the first time you reach a level with subclass features you take the first set of features of a chosen subclass, when you reach the next subclass level you can chose to take the second set of features of the previous subclass or to take the first set of a new one. Basically, anytime you chose to take another subclass you always start from the first set of features, and so on, in a way similar to multiclassing.

    You basically multiclass the Subclasses... Multisubclassing?

    Anyway, I still don't like any of these solutions very much.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by GalacticAxekick View Post
    Again, I think you're misunderstanding.

    The bottom line is, how do you plan to balance players take Spellcasting at 3rd level, then additional powerful features at higher levels?
    Thank you for taking the time to clarify, all of you. With everyone’s help, it’s painting a much clearer picture on how to approach these concerns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Harry MTX View Post
    I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of this idea as it is right now, but maybe rethinking several subclasses it could become something interesting.
    And I appreciate your assistance in the topic, even though it has yet to encounter a greater sense of balance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Harry MTX View Post
    Basically, anytime you chose to take another subclass you always start from the first set of features, and so on, in a way similar to multiclassing.

    Anyway, I still don't like any of these solutions very much.
    This definitely occurred to me, first-set-of-features idea, but most subclasses are very front-loaded as that first subclass level intends to re-define the class. That could still mean all of the features individually would be relatively weak in the late game, but seems a bit aggressive for the first two tiers of play. Either way, if you’re never improving upon the earliest features, the power starts to balance out. So, maybe?

    ——————————

    Another rule of this is, “after having taken multi-sub within one class, multi-classing itself is not allowed into other base classes.”

    And the other way around, “after multi-classing into another base class, multi-sub itself is not allowed within any class.”

    Unreasonable?
    Last edited by animorte; 2022-07-08 at 05:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    There are a few other things that I think you need to think about before setting this up:

    1. If we look at the Rogue as an example, the Thief gets one feature at 3rd level while the Inquisitive gets a whopping three. How are you going to account for the fact that some classes get a variable number of features at a given subclass level like that?
    2. There are some subclasses that get features that are way stronger than the norm for their level — how are you going to deal with stuff like Hex Warrior or Dread Ambusher?
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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    There are a few other things that I think you need to think about before setting this up:

    1. If we look at the Rogue as an example, the Thief gets one feature at 3rd level while the Inquisitive gets a whopping three. How are you going to account for the fact that some classes get a variable number of features at a given subclass level like that?
    2. There are some subclasses that get features that are way stronger than the norm for their level — how are you going to deal with stuff like Hex Warrior or Dread Ambusher?
    I think all Rogue subclasses actually get two features at 3rd level. One of those is typically skill-based, two in the case of both Thief and Inquisitive. Is that your point, that the Thief doesn't have a combat focused feature as well, like most Rogues? That is a notable concern.

    Hexblade and Gloomstalker are both consistently referenced as top of the line for combat purposes. Overall, I don't actually think either of them really stands out that much better than their alternative subclass choices when considering personal preference or party composition.

    I do understand what you're getting at though, I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by RSP View Post
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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    OK, I misread the Thief (for whatever reason, my brain thought Second-Story Work was their 9th level feature. Also, the Thief's Quick Hands is 100% a combat feature.)... but the Inquisitive still has three features (Ear for Deceit, Eye for Detail, and Insightful Fighting).

    My main point is that subclasses can have an inconsistent number of features at a given level (another example being the Zealot, which has an extra ribbon at 3rd level). How are you planning on handling that kind of thing?
    Quote Originally Posted by segtrfyhtfgj View Post
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    Default Re: Build your own subclass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    OK, I misread the Thief (for whatever reason, my brain thought Second-Story Work was their 9th level feature. Also, the Thief's Quick Hands is 100% a combat feature.)... but the Inquisitive still has three features (Ear for Deceit, Eye for Detail, and Insightful Fighting).

    My main point is that subclasses can have an inconsistent number of features at a given level (another example being the Zealot, which has an extra ribbon at 3rd level). How are you planning on handling that kind of thing?
    Ah yes, I see. Cunning Action is strictly a combat feature, though the actions available from Fast Hands are uncommon during combat, which further proves your original point. Anyway...

    Directly answering your question before I go off on a tangent: You would gain all of the features of that subclass level when chosen.

    Now for more precise description on what that entails:
    - Based on what I've encountered thus far within this thread and outsourced conversation, it seems reasonable that when you choose to take a different subclass' features, you would gain those features in order. This would work just like multiclassing. You choose another subclass, you start over, as opposed to my original design concept.

    - This basically means that if you choose to multi-sub, just one time, you automatically lose access to any capstone subclass feature. That could ultimately mean the trade-off for having 3-4 (or more) different subclass starting features, which considering the design of Warlock and Cleric being so front-loaded, that may not be a bad thing. After all, the first feature is what defines the class.

    - Which brings me to my next point of balance. Tier 1 is going to be extremely favored toward those more front-loaded classes, over other base class' subs whose features are farther apart and take longer to get to. Keep in mind that they will likely fall off earlier considering they rarely gain later features that actually improve earlier features, and will never reach any capstone feature.


    Also, I have updated the OP to include some of these changes!
    Last edited by animorte; 2022-07-10 at 04:13 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by RSP View Post
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