D&D 5th Edition Prestige Classes Manifesto

D&D LogoOn Monday this week, in the latest Unearthed Arcana on the Dungeons & Dragons side of WotC website, they released the first ever prestige class (PrC) for 5th Edition.  Many hated this, as they far preferred the Archetype mechanics instead of 5e.  Personally, we at Icygeek have been wishing to see PrCs added to the 5e game.

However, the Rune Scribe is a horrible first example of a 5e Prestige Class, what with all its new mechanics.  It is taking a lot of reading between the lines to figure out how to create more prestige classes.  These are the rules we at Icygeek are working with.  Some of this just repeats what was said in the original article, but it doesn’t hurt to list the specifics.

The link to the article about prestige classes is at http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/prestige-classes-and-rune-magic

#1  Only 5 levels

With the hard limit of 20 levels in 5e, there isn’t room for a Prestige Class to take up 10 levels.

#2  Must be available to more than one class

If only one class could be expected to gain (for example, requiring a Favored Enemy), then it needs to be an archetype for that class, not a prestige class

#3  Require minimum ability scores

Each prestige class should have at least one, preferably two, ability scores that are more important than the rest, and having a minimum of at least 13 ensures that only the best apply.

#4  Require proficiency in at least one skill.

In a game built more around combat like D&D is (compared to the classic White WOld storytelling system), there is a need to make skills matter

#5  Try not to totally replace the original class.

The first prestige class we are offering is the vampire hunter, debuting tomorrow.  We want there to be a difference between vampire hunter clerics, vampire hunter paladins, and so on.  Most of the prestige classes we have will replace the abilities the PC would gain in their base class, but allow them to keep their progress in their archetype and spellcaster level.

#6  Something significant must happen to enroll in the prestige class

In the example given by the official first prestige class, the would-be rune scribe must first find a rune somewhere, and then find someone who is already a rune scribe to teach them the craft.

#7  Make sure there is a reason to take all 5 levels

Too many classes and prestige classes in 3e and 3.5 made in desirable to just take one level in the new class, and then forget about it.  No more of this cherry-picking.  If you start into the class, you will want to get all five levels.


The manifesto may be amended as needed as future prestige classes are written, both on this site, other fan sites, and in official sources.  The purpose of this article is to have a reference article so we at Icygeek are not writing the same stuff again and again.  As always, we love feedback, which can be best done by replying to “palaguin” at both Twitter and Tumblr.

Tomorrow, to have our first prestige class and continue the Halloween theme is month, we will present…the Vampire Hunter.

Quoth the penguin, evermore.

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