Classless, Variant (5e Class)
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A child tip toes downstairs, awoken by the storm raging outside. He looks through the journal he stumbled into the other day. The arcane runes within the pages glow a sickly blue, but the kid can't make them out. Suddenly, he sees a word he can read on one of the pages, then more and more begin to make sense to him. He could read?
Eyes tearing up, a spritely young woman glances at her friends, all fighting the dragon she couldn't hope to match. The creature mocks their pitiful assault, while she desperately fumbles through her notes for a solution, until suddenly, she sees it. The monster's most prized possession, it's own wings, beating the air apart. She takes the bow left by the previous attempt on this creature's life, and prays to Bahamut that it still works.
Not daring to make a sound, the shivering man glances at the lich once again, and finally sees the phylactery. He's wearing it. All it takes is one blow, he thinks to himself. One good hit, to fell a warlord.
Not every hero is a trained fighter, an absolute powerhouse, a magical prodigy, or a world class thief. Sometimes even the normal folk of the multiverse can be thrown into the most abnormal of circumstances, and in this case, the true strength of sentience tends to come forth.
Classless characters are characters that don't have major power, but they're awfully good at pretending they do. Fake it 'til you make it is their motto, and they usually pull it off. Classless characters don't have statistical walls to hide behind, making them easy targets if they don't think ahead (Or on the fly, as the case might be). As such, it's important to the players to avoid picking this class if they aren't up to the challenge, as it serves more as a limiter than other classes, which all need to be aware, is distinctly against the grain of the game. This class exists to give an option for higher puzzle solving and attention to detail rather than the normal "your stats are higher, so it dies" push of normal fighting (Though that's REAAALLY a stretch, since most threats are actively better than the party as a whole anyway).
Classless characters fit well into parties that already have a full balanced set of classes, but take care that their underdog nature isn't mistaken for hogging the spotlight as a pseudo-main protagonist, as that's not the intention of the class. Rather, the class is more attributed to the idea that they can keep in check the things often forgotten or overlooked by parties, such as specific weaknesses and things said that could give the edge needed to win. They are environmentalists at heart, and use anything and everything to make the victory happen, and THAT, is how to play them. If there's a ledge, get to shoving.
Creating a Classless Adventurer
A campaign must have well thought out encounters with environmental hazards, boss weaknesses, etc. commonly used to get the most out of a Classless character. How creative are you? If you had no weapon, would you find one? Make one from scratch? Do something else entirely? Make sure the DM is willing to take your character's nature into question when designing encounters, and if they can't or won't, it might be a good idea to play a more conventional character. That said, don't force them into making some elaborate puzzle for everything either. Some areas are simply bound to be mundane (Probably), and it's up to YOU to figure out how to make things work.
The most important question to ask yourself about your character is why are they here? What made them adventure, and what makes them continue in spite of the odds levied against them? What drives them, and what creative outlets inspire their ideas and solutions? Keep in mind that even if you find a solution to a problem, you need to wonder if your character sees the problem the same way you do. If they don't, maybe they'd find a different solution entirely, maybe one that isn't even as good, but is still authenticate to them. One way to sideline this conflict is to make a character that's much like yourself, outright removing that guessing room, but this isn't necessary, though playing either way can create a completely different experience and is worth considering.
- Quick Build
Because of how generic the classless adventurer's abilities are, due to them being only the bare minimum needed to make a character stay somewhat viable without a class, there is no real quick build to be had. Make one stat you want to focus on your highest, and any other one stat your second highest. Try not to have an even distribution of stats, as this ultimately lowers your capabilities.
As a Classless you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: One Martial Weapon, Simple weapons, Finesse weapons, One special weapon of their choice (DM must agree that the special weapon is feasible), Improvised Weapons.
Tools: One set of Artisan's Tools of their choice, Navigator's Tools, the Poisoner's Kit, Thieves' Tools, or one type of Vehicles (Land or Water)
Saving Throws: 2 of choice
Skills: Choose 2 from the entire list that require your highest or lowest ability score to be used for them.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) A Set of 5 Alchemist's Fire in clay jars. or (b) A set of 5 Potions of Healing in glass bottles. or (c) A set of 3 flasks of Holy Water.
- (a) One Martial Weapon and a Special Weapon or (b) One Martial Weapon and a Simple Weapon or (c) Two Simple Weapons and a Shield
- (a) A set of Leather Armor and a Burglar's Pack or (b) One set of Artisan's Tools of your choice and a Dungeoneer's Pack
- If you are using starting wealth, you have 3D4X10 gp in funds.
|1st||+2||Mcguffin and Attentive|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement|
"Since a young age they had this item but what they didnt know, was how useful it would become when destiny called"
Either before the game starts or promptly thereafter, you find a Uncommon to Legendary Wondrous Item, Weapon or Artifact of the DM's choice and gain proficiency with the item.
- The mcgufffin cannot be a consumable or limited use item, such as a potion, and cannot be cursed or otherwise detrimental to have.
- The item gains the Minor Property, Unbreakable.
- The item also gains the Homebrew minor property, Bound: The item cannot be left behind, returning to a space within reach of the bearer if they move more than 120 feet away from it or leave the plane. If the bearer dies, it can follow their soul to the afterlife, only losing its binding if the bearer's soul is destroyed. It becomes bound to a new owner the moment it is picked up. Items that require attunement only become bound the moment they are attuned.
- It can be a magic item that has limited use in a set period of time, but recharges after that time has passed (Usually a day).
- If the mcguffin is a weapon or tool that you don't have proficiency with or can't normally use because of class restrictions, you can use it in spite of your class, and have proficiency with it (But only your Mcguffin, not any other item of the same kind).
- If the mcguffin is an item you normally can't use because of some attunement requirement (For example class or the need to spellcast), you can attune to it anyways. The DM can use this as part of the game's story, as your character might have an ancestry or family member related to the item that allows you to attune to it. Work with the DM to determine what items you could have and how they might affect your character.
At 1st level, you have a knack for telling when something's off.
You have advantage on Perception checks for hearing abnormal noises, such as distant conversations, whispers and people muttering under their breath, footsteps in a house no one should be in and so on. If you succeed on any of these checks, you begin to feel dread if there is a threat, as if you have a "gut feeling" that something is wrong.
At 6th level, your advantage extends to all Perception checks.
Starting at 2nd level, you gain the initiative to react quickly. As a reaction:
- You can perform a Perception or Investigation check during a round where you are suprised, during a fight, when everyone is rolling initiative for a chase or right before/as a trap goes off.
- If you pass the check you may take the Dash, Disengage or Hide action or interact with an object that doesn't cause an attack roll or saving throw to another creature as part of the same reaction. If you dash, you can take one willing creature you can pull with you, though this halves your speed. If you dash from a trap or source of damage this way, you and anyone you pull don't have to save against the trap or damage if you escape the area it affects, and take no damage from it.
- Once this feature has been used once, it cannot be used again until you have completed a short or long rest.
At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that furthers your classless abilities: Adventurer, Investigator, or Generalist, all detailed at the end of the class description. Your archetype choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 9th, 13th, and 17th level.
Ability Score Increase
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Starting at 5th level, you learn to take advantage of your opponent's mistakes, and actively look for opportunities to do so. When an opponent rolls a natural 1 on a melee attack roll against you, you may use your Reaction to perform an Opportunity Attack. Additionally, you roll initiative with advantage. Finally, you can target an item (Not a weapon or set of armor) that a creature is wearing or holding with an attack. If you hit the creature's AC, you destroy the object. This can be used even on objects that aren't easy to destroy, such as a Lich's Phylactery. The only exceptions to this are items that are sentient, artifacts, or those that have the Unbreakable minor property, unless you damage them in a way that is predefined to allow them to be damaged or destroyed with the attack. You can also use a Bonus Action if you have a hand free to attempt to steal an item that could be destroyed with your attack and rip it off of the opponent (But not with clothes other than accessories). You make a Sleight of Hand Check against the opponent's contested Perception check. If you succeed, you hold the item and remove it from their inventory.
Beginning at 7th level, you begin to think deeper about the concept of enemies being like puzzles. If you can discern the weakness of an enemy, you can maximize the possible damage of the damage dice if you can use that type of damage against them on any attack you successfully hit with. This includes silvered weapons against creatures that are affected by them (Like Lycanthropes). With creatures that regenerate but have a weakness that prevents them from doing so, only that weakness (Or any like it) can be used for this, but doing so prevents them for regenerating for 1D4+1 turns instead of 1. If you discern the weakness of an enemy and have an item stowed that could be used against it, you can get the item from your inventory as a bonus action. Additionally, if you take a weapon you and your allies don't own off of the floor of from an opponent, you can use it as an improvised weapon if you don't have proficiency in it for the first attack you make with it until the end of your turn. If getting the weapon was your action, you can make an attack with it as a bonus action. You can only do this once with any given weapon, and only on the turn you get it.
Finally, you can make an Insight check as a Reaction when an opponent does something other than attacking you (Including attacking others or willingly moving) to trigger your Perceptive Action. Doing so this way looks for an opponent's motives in their next turn, usually contested by their Deception since creatures typically don't want to have their plans known. If you succeed, your Perceptive Action allows you to protect an ally from attacks by that opponent, or move at full speed while dragging an ally with you. If your Perceptive Action is triggered this way, you can't provoke opportunity attacks while you use it, and it doesn't count as using your Perceptive Action for the purposes of having to complete a Short or Long Rest to use it again. You can use your Perceptive Action this way even if you already have used it normally.
Beginning at 10th level, your experience and resolve reach new heights, allowing you to find solutions to dangerous problems on the fly. When you have a number of hit points equal to or under half your maximum hit points during initiative for a fight or a surprise round, you automatically pass any Perception and Investigation check with a DC of 12 or lower, and have advantage on Perception and Investigation checks you don't automatically pass, and cannot have an initiative below 20 (Though you can roll above it, any total below it is 20 instead).
At 14th level, the DC you automatically pass raises to 15 and you can't have an initiative below 22. At 18th level, the DC you automatically pass raises to 20 and you can't have an initiative below 25.
Starting at level 11, you finally feel confident about your abilities. Every time you complete a successful ability check you gain temporary hit points equal to your level. Additionally, you can now target special limbs (And only those) when you make an attack, for an additional effect if you hit and deal slashing or piercing damage. If you target wings, you cause the creature to plummet, and it can't fly or use wing-based abilities again until it finishes a Long Rest. If you target tentacles or tongues capable of grappling, you sever the limb. A creature with many of these limbs may not suffer any penalty at first, but if you remove enough of them, you can stop it from using the abilities of those limbs. Finally, if you target a creature with multiple heads that can survive with only one, you can roll Percentile Dice, and on a 10 or lower, you sever one of its heads, unless it only has one left. The DM can rule that other similar special limbs can be affected in some way by your Confidence feature, but they determine what effect it would have, and don't tell you if you can target a specific limb, you have to try to. If you try to use your Confidence feature to attack a special limb that it won't work on, the attack is wasted. If a creature's CR is higher than your character level, you cannot use this feature to target special limbs, even if otherwise the DM would rule it being allowed. You're not cutting off Tiamat's head, sorry.
Starting at 15th level, your senses betray your enemies and environment in ways you might not think of. You can make a Perception, Investigation, or Insight check once during your turn without taking an action to do so. Additionally, you can take an Extra Action during your turn, which can only be used to Use An Object, Disengage, or Attack (One Weapon Attack Only). Additionally, you can use your Bonus Action to make a weapon attack at disadvantage. You can pick up an improvised weapon you aren't holding as part of this Bonus Action. If you hit with this Bonus Action, you can re-roll any one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw you make before the end of your next turn. If you hit with an improvised weapon with this Bonus Action, your next attack with that weapon before the end of your next turn has advantage.
At 20th level, you have mastered your sense of reacting to the environment. You can now use your Perceptive Action an infinite number of times between rests.
Starting at 3rd level, you have advantage on the first attack roll of a Improvised or your Special Weapon in any encounter. If your opponent is a humanoid or suprised, the hit is guaranteed, and behaves as a critical.
At 9th level, you have gained an unmistakable sense of wanderlust. Whenever you are without allies, you are immune to being Surprised and automatically go first in Initiative. If you are without allies, you gain a +5 bonus to all Perception and Investigation checks, and passing one allows you to spend one of your Hit Dice and heal.
- Reckless Abandon
Beginning at 13th level, you have learned to get yourself out of trouble just as well as you get yourself into it. You have advantage on Persuasion and Intimidation checks against hostile creatures in an attempt to defuse their hostility, and advantage on Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal your actions from other hostile creatures. Additionally, you can spend one of your Hit Dice before you roll an improvised weapon attack, and when you do, the number rolled is added to your damage roll if you hit.
By level 17, your actions have made everyone turn an eye, and word of your deeds travels fast and far, regardless of if that's always a good thing. You have advantage for Persuasion checks against others of the same basic alignment as you (Ignoring Chaotic, Neutral, and Lawful), and if another feature of any class you are a part of already gives you advantage for any reason, instead you add 10 to the final result of the roll, in addition to your existing advantage.
- Sharp Mind
Starting at level 3, you have a knack for finding out things that are not meant to be found out. You have advantage on Investigation and Insight checks. In addition, you can attempt a knowledge based skill check again 1D8 hours or longer after your first attempt (DM rolls for the length of time after you fail and tells you when you can attempt the check again) or any time new information about the subject of the original check is revealed. You can only do this once for any given knowledge based skill check.
- Private Eye
At 9th level, your base knowledge of how the world works provides a good backing to your basic instincts. Any Investigation, Insight, or knowledge based skill check in which the D20 roll was 9 or less can be treated as a 10.
At 13th level, you've finally figured out how to implement your deductive reasoning in a fight. You gain the following abilities, all used as a Bonus Action:
Defend against melee: If an enemy would melee you this round, they must roll 3 higher than your AC to hit you. This lasts until the beginning of your next turn.
Defend against ranged: If an enemy would make a ranged attack that isn't a spell against you this round, they must roll 3 higher than your AC to hit you. This lasts until the beginning of your next turn.
Defend against spell shots: If an enemy would make a ranged attack that is a spell against you this round, they must roll 3 higher than your AC to hit you. This lasts until the beginning of your next turn.
Defend against spell saves: If an enemy would cast a spell that requires you to make a save to lessen or avoid its effects this round, you add 3 to the final total of your save, and if you succeed on the save you take no damage or harmful effects, except for level 9 spells. This lasts until the beginning of your next turn.
You cannot use any of these abilities if you have any Exhaustion Points, are afflicted with a Disease, or are under the effects of a Feeblemind spell, or any similar spell that lowers your Intelligence or Wisdom score.
- Hardcore Defense
Beginning at level 17, you can use one of your abilities granted by the Intuition feature once without using a Bonus Action. You can also use them while afflicted with any of the afflictions that previously prevented use of those abilities, except for Feeblemind.
The term generalist is often given to mages that aren't studious enough to be Wizards, aren't powerful enough to be Sorcerers, aren't dedicated enough to be Warlocks, etc. They are often called so because they use a small amount of spells, and therefore try to get the most out of what spells they can learn.
Starting at 3rd level, magic has piqued your interest in ways it hadn't before. You learn the mage hand, minor illusion, green-flame blade, ray of frost, and presitidigitation cantrips. At this level, you choose whether to use your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifiers for spells. You only choose one and cannot change this choice at a later date. Your spell save DC is 8+the modifier of the ability score of choice plus your proficiency bonus. Your spell attack modifier adds your ability score modifier of choice to the attack, plus your proficiency bonus.
In addition, you can attempt to use any spell scroll, but at disadvantage.
Beginning at 9th level, you have gotten a bit better about spellcasting. You learn the chaos bolt, wrathful smite, thunderous smite, faerie fire, and ensnaring strike spells. For each spell, once you have cast the spell, you cannot cast it again until you have completed a Long Rest.
In addition, you no longer have disadvantage to using spell scrolls.
By 13th level, you finally understand the basic principles of magic. You learn one additional Cantrip and 1st level spell of your choice from the Wizard spell list. You also learn alter self, gust of wind, enhance ability, and moonbeam spells. For each 2nd level spell, once you have cast the spell, you cannot cast it again until you have completed a Long Rest.
In addition, you can now cast one of your first level spells twice before not being able to cast it again without completing a Long Rest. You can decide which spell to cast a second time at any time.
At 17th level, you have harnessed magic like a true Wizard, at least in your mind. You learn an additional 1st level and 2nd level spell of your choice from the Wizard spell list. You also learn the blinding smite, counterspell, tidal wave, fireball, elemental weapon, and lightning bolt spells. For each 3rd level spell, once you have cast the spell, you cannot cast it again until you have completed a Long Rest.
In addition, you can now cast one of your first level spells three times (Or two spells twice) before not being able to cast it again without completing a Long Rest. You can decide which spell(s) to cast additional times at any time. You can also cast one of your second level spells twice before not being able to cast it again without completing a Long Rest. You can decide which spell to cast a second time at any time.
Finally, you can learn one spell from the Wizard spell list that is 7th level or lower. If you have not cast any spells since your last Long Rest, you can cast this spell. If you cast this spell, you cannot cast other spells until you finish a Long Rest, not including Cantrips.
The nature of this class is that the character doesn't have what it takes to be part of another class. If you decide to do it anyway, fine, but it kinda breaks the role-play aspects of D&D.
The prerequisite to multiclass into and out of this class is 13 Dexterity. If you multiclass into this class, you gain 1 skill proficiency of your choice, and the Improvised Weapons proficiencies.