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Classless 5e by DiBastet
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Classless 5e by DiBastet

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V2.0 is here!

It took us a long time to update these rules, but here they are. These updates are the fruit of multiple feedbacks and we playing three more campaigns with these rules. I'll admit I "kinda" completly forgot to update the rules here on the DM's Guild, but hey, better lat than never!


If you like this product, click here to check out others by the same team!


"I want to be a barbarian, but I want to trade Rage for something cool..."

There was a time that I would laugh (more) at that, but as the years passed I learned that I don't exactly like classes. You see, I understand they help new players and such, but I much prefer classes like the d20 modern ones, just a framework that you use to build your own hero.

So we created our own rules to play a classless rpg. It took us a lot of time and effort, specially playtest, going from an originally complex ruleset to something much simpler after some iterations, until we found something that we enjoyed and kept with 5e's spirit. But in the end we were pretty satisfied with the final result, so here it is for others to peruse.

Inside you'll find our rules for classless D&D 5th edition, composed of:

-Features and Quirks from all PHB classes.

-Archetypes that you can choose from any class, be it official or homebrew.

-Abilities that were changed to fit the new paradigm.

-Guidelines to allow homebrewed subclasses.

We hope these rules enrich your games as much as it did to ours.

Art by my player, LichGodlike.

 
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Reviews (2)
Discussions (12)
Customer avatar
Ron D November 12, 2017 12:15 am UTC
PURCHASER
Sup. Going through Character Creation with some of my players using this system. Questions they have asked...

1: Expertise is Rouge and Bard, if I have 13 in Dex AND Cha, can I take it twice?
2: Fighting Style, Why is it only available once? Shouldn't I be able to take it multiple times like multiclassing into Pali and Ranger?
3: Wait, So I can take Spellcasting (Arcana) 3 times at Level 1. And Cast Fireball???
4: Wouldn't Archtype choice be better to put on Level 3 as that is when I gain access to their abilities?
Customer avatar
Diego E November 24, 2017 3:50 pm UTC
CREATOR
Ok let's do this.

1: Nope. "Unless mentioned a Class Feature can't be taken multiple times."
2: The system gets a bit wonky when you consider the possibilities of multiclass. In fact it wasn't intended to simulate all you can achieve with multiclass, but I think it won't break game balance to allow your player to take it twice.
3: Nope. "You must be at least 3rd level to choose this feature a second time."
4: Some archetypes grant abilities at first level, some don't. I wish Wizards had done them all equal granting something at 1st level but alas they didn't. So we decided to go with everyone chooses at 1st. In our own games we added a small 1st level abiltiy to every non-1st-level archetype to fill in the gap.

Hope this clarifies man. And sorry for the late reply!
Customer avatar
Ron M October 31, 2017 7:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
Question (I hope its not too late to ask); in this supplement how do you handle the Paths that each class receives at third level? or did I just over look it?
Customer avatar
Diego E November 04, 2017 9:00 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Ron, you're not late, but you did overlook it. At 1st level you choose an archetype from the ones avaiable. You get the archetype features at its listed levels just like a normal character, no freeform on archetypes. So if you choose assassin you`ll get the assassin abilities at the level a rogue would gain them, and that's it, you can't pick and choose archetypes. In some sense the "static" nature of the archetypes (as opposite to freeform) is meant to represent your "class" since the class is fluid and just represents generic skills.

The archetypes requisites were left class based, i.e. all barbarian archetypes have rage as requisite, but the DM is encouraged to create his own requisites. I've had reports of people using ribbons (from our other product or expanded ones) as prerequisites as well.
Customer avatar
Ron M November 06, 2017 5:46 am UTC
PURCHASER
Cool, thanks, I re-read that and figured that's how you handled them. I have started a campaign, loosly based off of Shannara Chronicles, but decide I wanted the characters to be classless so I had them create characters, so far everything looks good.
Customer avatar
Diego E November 07, 2017 1:05 am UTC
CREATOR
One of the best things I could read today! Hope everything keeps going well! Give us a holler if you need anything else.
Customer avatar
Ron M November 08, 2017 5:25 am UTC
PURCHASER
The only thing I didn't add into my set was the use of Archetypes, made it feel to much like a class....but I will say this, The backgrounds of the characters have more pull in the way they play versus the way it seemed with an actual class involved. I also purchased 25 New Backgrounds by Richie Root and used some of the backgrounds from there.
So my group consists of a Half-Dragon Noble Princess, a Elven (wood) Monster Breeder, a Elven (high) Tomb Raider, a Shifter (razorclaw) Smuggler (another background elsewhere on the internet), a Gnome (rock) Guild Artisan, and last but not least an Elven (dark; drow) Spymaster.
Just thought I'd share.
Customer avatar
Diego E November 24, 2017 3:55 pm UTC
CREATOR
Sorry for the late reply Ron, but I wanted to tell you we found the exact same thing on classless games (be them originally so or converted to by ourselves). It seems that when you got a class system people can't think of it as just mechanics, and basically devolve their background and concept to be the class. "I'm a ranger. I came from typical ranger origins and do rangerish stuff", yea... But when they don't have that crutch their imagination flies much much farther. Experienced roleplayers don't use the crutch, obviously, but at least for novice and regular players we also found that going classless allow for much much stronger backgrounds.
Customer avatar
Ron M November 28, 2017 2:55 am UTC
PURCHASER
most definitely, so I applaud you on this project.

Ron
Customer avatar
Isabel B July 21, 2017 11:37 am UTC
PURCHASER
This is pretty awesome, and I might use it in my campaign, I'll let my players convert their existing characters. I do however miss a few things:

For one there doesn't seem to be any Paladin or Ranger spellcasting available. It should be easy enough to implement the same way as all the other spellcasting but with the limitation that you can only take these traditions 5 times.

Secondly I think the fighting style prerequisite on extra attack would be in the way for people who just want an all-rounder combat character. I don't see why it's necessary. If you want people to have invested in combat maybe make the prerequisite to be one of multiple features, like Fighting Style, Rage, Warrior Training, Martial Arts or such abilities.

Also instead of having someone use their entire array of class features at level 1 to get to d12 hit dice, how about making the default 1d8 and having Arcane and Innate spellcasting reduce your hit dice by one step?

The last thing is that...See more
Customer avatar
Diego E July 23, 2017 10:25 pm UTC
CREATOR
So Tobias, actually back then, when we created this system, we spent a good two months on playtests and eveything until we managed to break the abilities and find a smeblance of balance. After that we *tried* to break the archetypes down, find a balance to open up for players, and I believe we spent a whole month fighting it, but we found that's just not possible to break them in a balanced way. In the end we decided to keep the archetypes untouched at all, not only because it was pretty hard to balance, but also because we noticed that *if* we managed broke the PHB archetypes down, we would leave individual DMs with no option but *try* to break their own homebrew ones and face all the challenges we had... in the end we decided to keep them as is, and fit archetypes in the general progression, so you can use any archetype from any source.

Now, about the hit die and prerequisites, we always considered d12 as the outlier, and so it worked for us. But in any case, it's not much but I'm trying to get...See more
Customer avatar
Isabel B July 24, 2017 2:38 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the explanation. perhaps you could incorporate some sort of multi archetype system though, where you basically declare each level to be part of one archetype and then only count the levels you took in that archetype toward its progression. Let's say you have a level 15 character who chose 6 levels in Circle of the Moon and 9 in Battlemaster. She would have Combat Superiority with 5 dice and 5 maneuvers, Student of War, and Know Your Enemy as well as Combat Wild Shape, Circle Forms, and Primal Strike.
Customer avatar
Diego E July 24, 2017 3:28 am UTC
CREATOR
Gotta say that something similar was on the table when we talked about it at first. In the end we didn't chase it because we were dead set on freeform or nothing. That said, I think this idea can work with some more work on it. That's not a path we'll chase but tell you what, why don't you publish a free addon for our rules with your idea? Tobias R's Multiclass Archetypes for Di Bastet's classless 5e? That would be awesome, and another option for everyone that bought this product!
Customer avatar
Nathaniel S June 11, 2017 3:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Does choosing a Ranger archetype grant you the ranger spell list too?
Customer avatar
Matthew S June 11, 2017 2:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
Looked through this guide, and had a few questions...

1: As it is stated, toughness requires all 3 of your first level Class Features to get a D12 hit die, while all current archetypes require 1 specific class feature to be chosen as a prerequisite. Does this mean that you choose between a D12 hit die or an archetype? I am just wondering if I missed anything.

2: Another toughness question, Since you have the Basic Features section stating that first level health is 6+CON, does toughness change this? or do you start gaining the benefits from picking toughness starting at level 2? or should the basic features state it as ToughnessLevelx2+6+CON?

3: Extra Attack requires Fighting style to acquire, and I most likely would get fighting style when I plan to get extra attack, but only 3/5 classes who have extra attack also have fighting style.

4: An off the wall question, but have to ask, what would the Multiclassing Prerequisites (no levels in classes) and Multiclassing...See more
Customer avatar
Matt O May 03, 2017 3:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love the idea behind this ruleset, as do the other members of my group. However, there is some concern about the power levels when compared to RAW. For example, if Classless is used to create an emulation of a first level fighter, the Classless version is weaker than the RAW version. He would need one more class feature at level one to purchase all the features granted a RAW fighter.

I assume this is an intended feature of the system; fewer features overall, offset by flexibility granted by removing class barriers. I was curious though- What was the motivation behind your design regarding the number of class features granted at each level? Was there a balancing principle or method you used to decide these? Also, while we are here, what was the design philosophy behind assigning certain features as Class Features and others as Quirks?
Customer avatar
Justin H April 24, 2017 4:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
I just bought this a day ago and I have a few things I'd like clarified, though one is more a concern because I think I've figured it out.

1) The wording of the note on the toughness feature should perhaps be reversed. It confused me because it starts by saying it can be taken multiple times, which sort of implies it can be taken AT multiple times, so the second part where it said it could only be taken at first level didn't quite click in my mind at first. It might be better to switch the phrasing around to something like "It can only be taken it first level, but it can be taken multiple times at that level." or something like that.
2)I'm not 100% clear on how the archetypes work. At first, I kind of assumed they ADDED the features listed on top of what you select as features and quirks but that didn't quite make sense. I eventually read it more clearly and from what I've gathered it seems like what's listed is actually the prerequisites to take the archetype. So if I want to use...See more
Customer avatar
Diego E April 28, 2017 3:19 pm UTC
CREATOR
1) Thanks for pointing your concern man. I'll look into it.
2) At first level you *have* to choose one archetype, and it's the only time you do so. The pre-requisites are per class (with some exceptions listed), so any Monk archetype (from PHB, UA or Homebrew) has the Ki feature as pre-requisite.

Once you choose the archetype, you gain only its (the archetype's) abilities at the appropriate levels for the original archetype. You don't gain the original class' abilities, only the archetype's.

So, for example, if you have Rage at 1st level and chooses a barbarian archetype, you gain nothing from it at 1st level (because no barbarian archetype grants something at 1st level). When you reach 3rd level, besides the listed Class Feature, you would also gain te archetype's ability.

In the end what this system does is remove the predefined ability list from classes, allowing you to build your own "class", while keeping the archetypes untouched.

And thanks...See more
Customer avatar
sean S April 23, 2017 6:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I like the idea, and the implementation is simple enough as to not be entirely overwhelming for any players already familiar with the field of class options in 5E.

However...

Maybe it's a little too simple. Literally the first character I tried making ran into a pretty immediate roadblock: There's a complete absence of Shadow Monk features in here. Maybe once you have built a character, the genius of this piece emerges, but I have a hard time getting to the point of singing it's praises when very the first thing I looked for was absent.
Customer avatar
Diego E April 28, 2017 3:10 pm UTC
CREATOR
You are right, in there are no archetypes abilities on the list man, but that's because we choose not to break down archetypes, and in fact at level 1 you have to choose one archetype from any one.

So while you can mix and match basic class abilities, you can't piack and choose between archetypes, and have to choose one package.

The pre-requisite abilities for the Monk archetypes is the Ki ability, so after you build your basic level 1 char, if you have Ki you can choose a monk archetype.

Hope this helps.
Customer avatar
james F December 10, 2016 1:50 am UTC
PURCHASER
This has a good idea behind it ,but it concerns me that you have no limits on what you can take as an ability.
Im not worried about the amount of abilities but the power they grant you at a certain level.
The way I read it , you take a class feature when you want , cool so at first level , I grab Brutal Critical , which is a 9th level ability . For me this would allow serious unbalancing.

If you had grouped the features into a level based system , I would be more inclined to use it.

If there is a method , I might have misread the system , please explain.
Customer avatar
Allan R October 18, 2016 7:48 pm UTC
My friend asked me to come over and give this a look over and at the beginning i was flipping out cause i thought it was gold. Then i tried to make a char using this system. Im sorry to say this but this is Lead covered in gold. No requirements on quirks so i could get, tongues of Soon and moon lvl 1 given its more of an rp thing. Also the pitiful amount of quirks. Rip if your trying to do something with barb with 1d12 hd cause you wont have any class features till lvl 3. Its impossible to get above lvl7 casting which sacrifices all features up to character lvl 9, can also cast lvl3 spells character lvl1 if you wanted to. Forces pally to have 5 stats Str, dex, con, wis and cha which four was already taxing. And the list goes on, I absolutely adore this idea but the way it is implemented in this pdf is sadly lacking balance. I would love to see someone go through and flesh this out though and would gladly help where possible.
Customer avatar
Diego E October 22, 2016 11:20 am UTC
CREATOR
It saddens me that it wasn't your cup of tea, but at least you didn't have to purchase it, so no harm was done. Now I would like to adress the only three points that I think are relevant, the intention isn't to change your opinion, but to adress the concerns that I find valid:

"1 - One of my ideas was to try to enable a player to almost build a class from scratch. I decided that if the player couldn't build his class perfectly, but could "almost" do it, then it was enough, a small price to pay for the freedom to build your character "free-formly". The Barbarian was the Ur example of what you couldn't build perfectly."

2 - The quirks are in fact just the ones that are in the book. You can add more of your own or use other 'ribbon' products to enhance your experience.

3 - Please re-read your friend's copy, since you probably missed the whole "Note: This Feature may be taken multiple times, each time increasing the power of your chosen tradition....See more
Customer avatar
David W September 20, 2016 10:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm a little late to the party on this, but I'm liking most of this. There's a few things I had questions on.

1. Expertise: It's also a rogue ability, so you might want to add a "or dex 13" to it as well.
2. How does the die progression for abilities work? (examples are bardic inspiration, song of rest, martial arts)
3. I don't see the fighters maneuvers on the list that would give a character supremacy dice.

Have you considered dropping the archetypes all together? I'm pretty sure if you give an extra class feature at 1st level, and at even levels, it will balance out. I tried running some scenarios, and I think Barbarians were the only thing I couldn't get to work immediately, but would work itself out by level 2 like that.
Customer avatar
David W September 22, 2016 5:48 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Actually, looking over it now, I don't see any of the sub-classes features. There's a lot there that can be added on. I would imagine a lot of those would be quirks.
Customer avatar
David W September 25, 2016 8:45 am UTC
PURCHASER
Nevermind on #2, I missed the text in Class features text block.
Customer avatar
Diego E October 22, 2016 11:37 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi David, sorry for the late reply. College and new job have both been eating up any free time I have. Let me address whatever I can:

1 - Both bard and rogue have it, and I personally find it much more bard-y because of the old idea of bards being the jack of all trades. But you're right, I should really add 'or Dex 13'
2 - No need to adress.
3 - it's intentional. I couldn't find the balance point of archetype's abilities; some get them upfront, others only late... and mixing them was a disaster. So we went another direction: You choose one archetype and gain the whole thing at appropriate levels, just like a Classed character would. So if you chose the battlemaster you'll get all his abilities like superiority dice at appropriate levels.

There's another reason we avoided gutting the archetypes and instead chose to go vanilla with them: in the future there will be more archetypes, besides all the amazing ones you can find online and on this very site. By leaving the prerequisites...See more
Customer avatar
Scott C March 01, 2016 7:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey, just purchased this, along with a few of your other products. While I admit it's a bit jumbled, I'm liking it thusfar. That being said, however, in some aspects, I'm confused, and would like to see where your line of thought was before rating and reviewing, as this is a system you reverse engineered yourself.

1) Obviously this system is meant to encourage mixing of differant skills, and I understand that with that, in order to keep the system from being broken, there needs to be a limit on what you can and cant do. That being said, I worry about many of the characters being much less powerful than their single classed cousins. For example, A lvl 1 barbarian has unarmored defense, rage, and a d12 HD, along with the martial weapons and medium armor training.

Unarmored Defense is not available in your system, be it by possible oversight, or perhaps for balance, but that still leaves with the issue of class features- At level one, you can only get a d12 HD by using all of your features,...See more
Customer avatar
Diego E March 09, 2016 8:37 pm UTC
CREATOR
1 - One of my ideas was to try to enable a player to almost build a class from scratch. I decided that if the player couldn't build his class perfectly, but could "almost" do it, then it was enough, a small price to pay for the freedom to build your character "free-formly". The Barbarian was the Ur example of what you couldn't build perfectly.

2 - I'll take a better look at the missing features. Unarmored defense missing wasn't intended AT ALL. Please point out what's missing and I'll include them.

And about the prerequisites, I wanted to give them something similar to multiclass prerequisites of the class from where they came from.

3 - Brutal critical was a tough choice. I didn't think that the basic, 1 die ability merited being chosen only at level 11. At the time level 11 didn't sound that necessary, specially since a race has this as a racial feature; the second and third deserve being level 10+, but the first... we thought not... Maybe it should be...See more
Customer avatar
Scott C March 13, 2016 3:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I didn't find anything else, aside from a little bit with paladin archetypes, and this could just be a factor of the modified system. Paladins gain 'Channel Divinity' along with Oath Spells via their archetype, so there may be overlap between the two.

As an additional question for expansion, how would you manage the classless ranger set up? There is an article here : https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/modifying-classes

Figured I'd get your take on it.

And I know where you're coming from with barbarian. I modified the system to taste and you can make every class but the Bard. too many spell levels and utility features ^^;
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File Last Updated:
June 21, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on January 17, 2016.