Skill Tree (5e Variant Rule)

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Skill Trees[edit]

This variant rule focuses on the idea of skill trees. This is to simulate video games, such as Skyrim, where you upgrade skills instead of picking a class, making your character whatever you want, offering much more versatility. The way this works is that when a character levels up, they can choose to take a skill on the skill tree instead of taking a class level. However, this means their level does not increase by 1. For example, if a 3rd-level wizard levels up and chooses to take a skill instead of a class feature, they are not considered a 4th-level character. Alternatively, the DM can award them with skill upgrades any time they deem appropriate. There are three main skill trees- combat, social, and miscellaneous. There may be prerequisites for skills, which means you have to take a different skill before you can take that skill. You may only take a skill once, unless the skill description says otherwise.

Combat Skill Tree[edit]

Fighter 1

You gain proficiency in simple weapons and light armor if you do not already have it. If you take this skill and you already have these proficiencies, then you can take an additional skill from the Combat skill tree.

Fighter 2

Prerequisite: Fighter 1

You gain proficiency in martial weapons, medium armor, heavy armor, and shields. If you take this skill and you already have these proficiencies, then you can take another skill from the Combat skill tree.

Fighter 3

Prerequisite: Fighter 2, 3rd level or higher

You gain a +1 to attack rolls with melee or ranged weapons.

Fighter 4

Prerequisite: Fighter 3, 5th level or higher

The bonus to weapon attack rolls increases to +2.

Fighter 5

Prerequisite: Fighter 4, 9th level or higher

The bonus to weapon attack rolls increases to +3.

Tank 1

Prerequisite: Fighter 2, 3rd level or higher

You gain a +1 to AC while wearing medium or heavy armor or while wielding a shield.

Tank 2

Prerequisite: Tanker 1, 5th level or higher

The bonus to AC while wearing medium or heavy armor or while wielding a shield increases to +2.

Tank 3

Prerequisite: Tanker 2, 9th level or higher

The bonus to AC while wearing medium or heavy armor or while wielding a shield increases to +3.

Slice & Dice 1

Prerequisite: Fighter 2, 3rd level or higher

You gain a +1 to damage rolls with melee or ranged weapons.

Slice & Dice 2

Prerequisite: Damage-Dealer 1, 5th level or higher

The bonus to damage rolls from weapon attacks increases to +2.

Slice & Dice 3

Prerequisite: Damage-Dealer 2, 9th level or higher

The bonus to damage rolls from weapon attacks increases to +3.

Ambusher 1

Prerequisite: Fighter 1

You have advantage on attack rolls against targets that cannot see you. Additionally, you deal an extra 1d6 damage during a surprise round.

Ambusher 2

Prerequisite: Sneak Attacker 1, 3rd level or higher

The extra damage dealt during a surprise round increases to 2d6.

Ambusher 3

Prerequisite: Sneak Attacker 2, 5th level or higher

The extra damage dealt during a surprise round increases to 3d6.

Ambusher 4

Prerequisite: Sneak Attacker 3, 9th level or higher

The extra damage dealt during a surprise round increases to 4d6. Additionally, you have advantage on all attack rolls during a surprise round.

Combat Caster 1

The ability to cast at least one spell of 1st level or higher

Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You learn one damage-dealing cantrip of your choice from that class's spell list. In addition, all your cantrips gain a +1 bonus to their damage rolls.

Combat Caster 2

Prerequisite: Combat Caster 1

You learn one damage-dealing 1st-level spell of your choice from the class you selected in Combat Caster 1's class spell list. In addition, all your 1st-level spells gain a +1 bonus to their damage rolls.

Combat Caster 3

Prerequisite: Combat Caster 2, 3rd level or higher

You learn one damage-dealing 2nd-level spell of your choice from the class you selected in Combat Caster 1's class spell list. In addition, all your 2nd-level spells gain a +1 bonus to their damage rolls.

Combat Caster 4

Prerequisite: Combat Caster 3, 5th level or higher

You learn one damage-dealing 3rd-level spell of your choice from the class you selected in Combat Caster 1's class spell list. In addition, all your 3rd-level spells gain a +1 bonus to their damage rolls.

Combat Caster 5

Prerequisite: Combat Caster 4, 9th level or higher

You gain a +1 to all damage rolls you make with your spells, regardless of the level of your spell.

Horde Breaker

Prerequisite: Fighter 4 or Damage-Dealer 2, 7th level or higher

You are a champion at breaking up hordes of adversaries. As an action, you can make a spin attack with a melee weapon that deals slashing or bludgeoning damage. Every creature within range of your weapon must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + your bonus to hit with melee attack rolls.) On a failed save, they take damage equal to the damage die of your weapon with no bonuses (AKA a spin attack with a greatsword would deal 2d6 slashing damage, a spin attack with a Warhammer would deal 1d10 bludgeoning damage, etc.).

Shield Master

Prerequisites: Fighter 4 or Tank 2, 7th level or higher

As a bonus action, you may enter a special shield stance, using your shield as cover for those around you. All creatures of your choice within 5 feet of you gain the AC bonus from your shield while this stance is activated, but your movement speed is halved for the duration. You may exit this stance as a bonus action.

Evasive Figher

Prerequisites: Figher 4 or Sneak Attacker 3, 7th level or higher

You are a master at eluding others in combat. If you hit a creature with a weapon attack on this turn, your movement does not provoke opportunity attacks against you for the rest of your turn.

Flurry of Blades

Prerequisites: Fighter 4, Dual Wielder feat, 7th level or higher

Your blades become a whirlwind around you. When you are dual-wielding, you may make two attacks with your off-hand weapon as a bonus action instead of one.

Mystic Soldier

Prerequisites: Combat Caster 4, 7th level or higher

You have earned how to use magic to bolster not just your spells, but your armor and weapon attacks as well. As an action, you may expend a spell slot of 5th level or lower. For the next minute, either your weapon attack and damage rolls or your armor class (your choice) gains a bonus equal to half the level (rounded up) of the spell slot you just expended.

Social Skill Tree[edit]

Charming 1

You gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill if you don't already have it. If you already have proficiency in this skill, you can add double your proficiency bonus to all ability checks made with this skill.

Charming 2

Prerequisite: Charming 1

You gain a +1 bonus to all ability checks you make with the Persuasion skill.

Charming 3

Prerequisite: Charming 2, 3rd level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Persuasion skill increases to +2.

Charming 4

Prerequisite: Charming 3, 5th level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Persuasion skill increases to +3.

Deceptive 1

You gain proficiency with the Deception skill if you don't already have it. If you take this skill and you already have this proficiency, then you can take an additional skill from the Social skill tree.

Deceptive 2

Prerequisite: Deceptive 1

you gain a +1 bonus to all ability checks you make with the Deception skill.

Deceptive 3

Prerequisite: Deceptive 2, 3rd level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Deception skill increases to +2.

Deceptive 4

Prerequisite: Deceptive 3, 5th level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Deception skill increases to +3.

Intimidating 1

You gain proficiency with the Intimidation skill if you don't already have it. If you take this skill and you already have this proficiency, then you can take an additional skill from the Social skill tree.

Intimidating 2

Prerequisite: Intimidating 1

You gain a +1 bonus to all ability checks you make with the Intimidation skill.

Intimidating 3

Prerequisite: Intimidating 2

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Intimidation skill increases to +2.

Intimidating 4

Prerequisite: Intimidating 3, 5th level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Intimidation skill increases to +3.

Performer 1

You gain proficiency with the Performance skill if you don't already have it. If you take this skill and you already have this proficiency, then you can take an additional skill from the Social skill tree.

Performer 2

Prerequisite: Performer 1

You gain a +1 bonus to all ability checks you make with the Performance skill.

Performer 3

Prerequisite: Performer 2, 3rd level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Performance skill increases to +2.

Performer 4

Prerequisite: Performer 3, 5th level or higher

The bonus to all ability checks you make with the Performance skill increases to +3.

Artisan 1

You gain proficiency with one type of artisan's tools of your choice. You make take this skill multiple times, gaining a new tool proficiency of your choice each time you take it.

Artisan 2

Prerequisite: Artisan 1

You gain a +1 to ability checks made with artisan's tools you are proficient in.

Artisan 3

Prerequisite: Artisan 2, 3rd level or higher

The bonus to ability checks made with artisan's tools you are proficient in increases to +2.

Artisan 4

Prerequisite: Artisan 3, 5th level or higher

The bonus to ability checks made with artisan's tools you are proficient in increases to +3.

Detective

Prerequisite: An Intelligence score of 13 or higher

You gain proficiency in Investigation or Perception, your choice. In addition, you gain a +1 bonus to checks involving understanding the purpose of an item, following a clue, or telling if someone is lying.

Mimic

Prerequisites: Deceptive 2 or Performer 2, 5th level or higher

You gain a +1 bonus to Performance or Deception ability checks designed to mimic the vocal patterns or mannerisms of someone. This bonus increases to a +2 if you have spent at least one hour near the person, or a +3 if you have spent at least 12 hours near the person.

Musician

Prerequisites: Performer 2, 5th level or higher

You gain proficiency with two types of musical instruments of your choice. In addition, you gain a +1 bonus to ability checks to play a musical tune or recognize a song or any part of a song.

Tracker

Prerequisites: Wisdom 13 or higher

You gain proficiency in Perception or Survival, your choice. In addition, you gain a +1 bonus to ability checks to identify what creature made a set of tracks, track a creature, or locate a creature in any way.

Miscellaneous Skill Tree[edit]


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