For my past columns about using D&D Fifth Edition sourcebooks with Freeport: The City of Adventure, see the Freeport 5E Index.
Class Feature Variants (11/4/2019): This document presents a variety of alternate class features covering all classes in the Player's Handbook. These options fall into the following categories:
- Replaced class features: The character trades away one class feature for a new one.
- Enhanced class features: The existing class feature is expanded to do a little more than before. (The following three items are specific kinds of enhancement.)
- Expanded options: Class features that require a choice from several options get new options.
- Expanded spell lists: The class's spell list adds new spells from other classes' lists.
- Retraining: The character can change one of their spells, maneuvers, or other class features more easily.
The expanded options are also fairly straightforward, as they are simply new choices for class features that a character may only choose in limited numbers: new maneuvers, fighting styles, metamagic options, and warlock invocations (and a new type of pact boon).
The expanded spell lists seem unnecessary to me. Some players will welcome more choices, while others will complain that it makes the spellcasting classes feel less distinct. (My initial take leans towards the latter.)
Several enhancements are essentially rules for making retraining character features more easy. For example, most of the spellcasting classes get Spell Versatility (allowing you to change a spell known after a long rest) or Cantrip Versatility (allowing you to change a known cantrip when you gain a level). The new Maneuver Versatility feature has a similar effect on the battle master's maneuvers. Proficiency Versatility allows a character of any class to change one skill proficiency whenever they gain an Ability Score Improvement. Many of these rules seem open to abuse, or at least to making such changes seem trivial. On the other hand, having a rule (albeit an optional one) for changing cantrips or skills at all will be a welcome addition for many players.
Other enhanced class features include: another use for bardic inspiration; another use for Channel Divinity; a Wild Companion feature for druids that expends uses of wild shape; choosing alternate weapon lists for monks, and new uses for ki; a new option for the Beast Master ranger's companion; and a new use for the rogue's Cunning Action. These changes add new abilities at no cost, but a few of them may help address some genuine issues within the core rules (such as the beast master companion's underwhelming execution).
There is very little in this installment that needs any special calling out for a Freeport campaign. However, at the very least, the new Fighting Style and Martial Versatility options, the Elemental Spell metamagic option, and several of the new warlock invocations would be very welcome additions to the electric, exotic mix that is Freeport.