Level Up “Advanced 5th Edition”: New D20 Game Launches In November As Dungeons & Dragons 5.5 Alternate RPG
New D20 Game System launches as an “Advanced Rules” version of Dungeons & Dragons 5 which uses the same books as Dungeons & Dragons 5 with expanded rule books as an “alternate version” for Dungeons & Dragons 5.5.
This system is a new rule set from a third party D20 that replaces the core rule books for new rules on the same Dungeons & Dragons modules as a separate system.
This is not like Pathfinder which is a standalone RPG based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 but a “rule book system” game that uses the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition as it’s game books as a Dungeons & Dragon 5.5 “alternate” version by an outside third party company on the D20 system.
Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Could Be D&D 5e’s Pathfinder
Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition, a new tabletop RPG coming this November, appears poised to do with current-edition Dungeons & Dragons what Pathfinder did with its third edition. But while Pathfinder became a franchise of its own, Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition aims to supplant only the current core rulebooks of D&D 5e and be used with existing D&D settings and modules.
Level Up: A5E is based on the core framework of the Dungeons & Dragons 5e ruleset. It has d20 rolls, six ability scores, ACs, DCs, saving throws, etc. It is not, however, a supplement for D&D. It is its own, standalone game, with three original sourcebooks – Core Rulebook, Trials and Treasures, and Monstrous Menagerie – meant to replace their D&D equivalents. Level Up is essentially an unofficial D&D 5.5 (mostly developed before Wizards of the Coast announced the official D&D 5e revision), compatible with D&D supplements but building on and overwriting its basic ruleset.
This is where Level Up: Advanced 5E differs from Pathfinder. In an interview with Screen Rant, Russ Morrissey, owner of Level Up creator EN Publishing, said Level Up is distinct from Paizo’s D&D 3.5 successor because it is aiming to “remain 100% compatible” with D&D modules and supplements, now and in the future, whereas Pathfinder became its own gaming line separate from D&D, with its own adventures and supplements. The announcement of D&D’s revised, 5.5-edition rulebooks for 2024 means Level Up’s compatibility strategy could keep it relevant for years to come, though it might face a few challenges.
Level Up: Advanced 5E Is A Familiar System, But Still Has New Rules To Learn
The goal of Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition, per its designers, is adding meaningful choices at every character level, giving all character classes more options outside of combat, and addressing some of the flaws in D&D 5e’s monster design. Though it is its own game, Morrissey said it’s meant to add new layers to a system seasoned D&D players know well.
“Our target [is] people that have been playing 5e for seven years and love it. They want to carry on playing 5e – they don’t want to switch to a different game system – but they would just like maybe a little more depth.”
Still, certain changes in the work-in-progress, pre-release rulebooks provided to Screen Rant seemed at odds with making D&D 5e players feel at home. As part of Level Up: A5E’s replacement rules, there are new rules for basic mechanics like critical hit damage calculation, as well as the way armor categories work. Some D&D feats, like Polearm Master and Great Weapon Master, have also been weakened in their Level Up analogues. While players won’t need to learn an entirely new system, they will have to unlearn plenty of individual rules. Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition’s first-level adventure, Memories of Holdenshire, is designed to gradually introduce these rules to veteran D&D players, so running it could help ease users into the changes.