Talk:Cross-Class Subclasses (5e Variant Rule)

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This is an incredibly complex idea. I'm sure you noticed, but archetypes aren't really a standardized character build component- they're a class feature. Like subraces, which are components of a racial trait, it is entirely possible to make a class without archetypes at all! By my understanding of it, the purpose behind the archetypes is to make a single class more flexible so it can cover more types of stereotypical characters from the public imagination. They did a pretty good job of it, with only a few fringe examples that are missing. (IE: Druid with an animal companion) Because of the complexity of class construction, archetypes are not made equal. They provide varying numbers of features, at varying intervals. The sub-pages here basically attempt to cram archetypes from other classes into the open spaces made for the normal archetypes. As a consequence, choosing an archetype that is bigger than your class severely limits the qualities one can obtain from the archetype, making the character less like that type, while choosing an archetype that is smaller than the class allows for clearly leaves the class underdeveloped. Another problem is the types of features provided by the archetype. Some classes have role play features from their main class features, while others receive role play features from their archetypes. If these two are paired, the character winds up gaining very few combat features, making them lopsided in balance. The same issue can occur in the other direction- pairing a combat oriented class with a combat oriented archetype makes for a great combat character who founders in exploration and socialization. --Kydo (talk) 09:27, 17 March 2016 (MDT)

Spell levels granted by an archetype taken from a full caster[edit]

I've noticed while looking at, lets say Barbarian with a Wizard school for example, it is noted that the maximum level of spell that Barbarian could learn is 1/3 of their Barbarian level. This seems like it is in line with how Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Knight seem to come across as sort of "1/3 casters" if say a Wizard was a full caster and a Paladin was a half caster. But even full casters gain a spell level every other class level. Rangers and Paladins gain a spell level every 4, and Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights gain them every 6 or so. According to this variant rule that would make an Evocation Barbarian capable of learning stronger spells than a regular Ranger or Paladin. That creates a significant balance issue. These pages should probably be edited to properly balance the sublclasses that come from casters.

For reference, regular full casters gain a spell level every odd numbered level to a cap of 9th level (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17); 1/2 casters gain a spell level when they pick up their archetype and every other odd level after (2, 5, 9, 13, 17); 1/3 casters gain a level on archetype gain and every third odd class level (3, 7, 13, 19.) Warlocks gain short rest spells every odd level to a maximum of 5th level spells, and then a once per long rest spell every odd level after; still gaining spell levels at the rate of a full caster, but the slots are doing their own Warlock-y thing.

Back to the example of the Evocation Barbarian that means they learn a max of 4th level spells instead of 6th assuming you were going for the 1/3 caster type of thing.

Regardless, thanks for comin' up with a pretty good way to give my Wizard a good and proper animal companion instead of a familiar!

-Erik, 00:45, 6/15/19 (EST)


I've noticed that this is being abandoned. I would like to make massive rework in order to fix balancing and structure this in a better format. I hope this is ok to do such a massive change.

I would love if people discuss here on how to repair and improve this idea.

--Levelnom1 (talk) 08:22, 15 April 2022 (MDT)

RE: Adopting[edit]

Honestly, the cross-class idea is such an interesting idea - I say if you're interested in trying to rework it for balance, you should go for it! I as a DM love the idea of swapping a subclass between classes to shake up player expectations, and have been referring to this page for story NPC ideas. Sadly I only just noticed this page is potentially up for deletion, else I would have been taking a shot at reworking it myself lol.

As for a balance suggestion... there really isn't as much as that other commenter makes it seem? They don't seem to understand that 1/3 casters only ever get 4th lvl spell slots MAX, and even 1/2 casters only get up to 5th - where did they get the idea that 1/3 casters get 6th level spells lol? If anything needs to be reworked, it's that Monks shouldn't get spell slots; they should either use KI points to fuel spells, or not get the spellcasting part of a subclass, as KI is pretty powerful as is. And considering how much of a failure Four Elements monk is seen as, I think dropping spellcasting is the smart move.

I think the biggest mistake that the OP of this mechanic is that the wizard's spellbook is as fundamental to the class as a barbarian's rage, and so shouldn't have been added to every cross-class like they did. Might be better to swap to a 'pact of the tome' method and give the classes a cantrip and a mini-spellbook they can only add ritual spells to. Take away the 'copy down x school of magic' feature and it gets easier to cross-class, right?

--Earthalchemyst June 11, 2022

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