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I believe my campaign needs a new class entirely. As in, you can choose from barbarian, rogue, new class name, etc. I looked at the DMG and it says literally nothing about creating a new class from scratch. So I want to know if it is possible to do so.

If it is, I also want to know how to develop class features, y'know, like the barbarian's rage feature, but for a new class.

Also, does any class in 5e have a proficiency that you can't choose, like: "Your proficiencies are this and one other of your choice"?

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    \$\begingroup\$ In re: your last line, could that be restated as "does any class offer a skill proficiency without choice?" If so, I think that's distinct enough from the question of (broadly) creating a class from whole cloth that it'd be better spun off as its own question. There's no stigma against multiple, good questions around here =) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 23:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour when you have time. I'm not sure this is the kind of question we'll be able to answer--you definitely can create whatever you want for your game, including new classes, and hopefully we'll be able to point you to some tested resources for designing a class, but our Q&A format isn't great for workshopping the details of new material. I'm not sure what you mean with the last sentence, but it doesn't sound like it's really part of the main question, so it might be a better fit for a separate question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you feel the need to make an entirely new class? Why not a sub-class of an existing archetype? Why do you feel feel the need to force proficiencies instead of allowing a player to choose? This may turn out to be a X-Y problem where the solution isn't a new class but adapting something that already exists to you and your party's game style. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 0:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you expand on some of the specific things you're hoping to accomplish with this new class? I assume you want it to be roughly balanced with other classes, but information on how you want it to behave, what sorts of things you want it to be able to do, and so on will be very helpful in figuring out the new class' features. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might be looking at this the wrong way.How does the campaign require a entirely new class, particularly if the players can still choose their classes? It's quite possible that no one on will choose to play this new class you create. And where does that leave you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 1:08

1 Answer 1

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Make stuff up, but look to existing content for guidance

First, look at existing classes. They are fairly formulaic. In the first 3 levels you get your core features. At level 4 and around every 4th level after you get an ASI. The easiest way to make a new class is to find the class that is most similar to the one you want to make, then modify it from there.

If you want your new class to be balanced, you will need to compare it with existing classes, and play test it to find problems. The same is true for each feature.

That's about it.

Example

Let's try invent a new class. How about something based on the Pied Piper? He's a neat character. He can charm and control creatures. Reading into his lore a little more, he could be an allegory for child slave trade, the grim reaper guiding souls to the underworld, the inevitability of death, mass hysteria, or dark religious fanaticism.

Since music affects a large area, I want to factor that into their spell-casting:

Reverberation (level 1 feature) When casting a cantrip, you can cast the same cantrip again for no cost. When cast this way, neither cantrip deals damage. You can choose a different target for this additional cantrip.

At 5th level you can cast the same cantrip again twice, at 10th level 3 times, and at 15th level 4 times.

Melodic Propagation (level 3 feature) When casting a spell using a slot at least 1 level higher than the spell's level, you can forgo any bonuses the spell has for being cast at a higher level, and instead cast the spell an additional time. You can choose a different target for this additional spell. When cast this way, each spell's level is the level of the spell, not the level of the slot used.

At 8th level, if you use a slot at least 2 levels higher, you can forgo the spell's bonuses to cast it an additional 2 times. At 17th level, if you use a slot at least 3 levels higher, you can forgo the spell's bonuses to cast it an additional 3 times.

I selected the advancement levels based on other class features (extra attack, bardic inspiration, etc). Ok cool. Now we have to throw in the rest of the minor stuff like proficiency, and other flavorful features, select a spell list for the class, etc.

After that, play testing. I just pulled these ideas after my head after all, who knows if they are balanced. A good thing to do might be to post on this site so people can point out any flaws or unclear wording.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I will do that. I've actually just come up with something thanks to your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – BJMtheDM
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 20:30

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