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In the later years of D&D 3.5, the Player's Handbook 2 introduced retraining and rebuilding. Retraining is the ability to swap out skill points, feats, spells, etc. for others of the same level so you're not stuck with build choices that you no longer want instead of a full character respec. Rebuilding was the more drastic option, and meant rebuilding your character from scratch: race, class, alignment, etc. Retraining was presented as something that could be seamlessly integrated into the campaign, while rebuilding often required you to undertake a dangerous quest to a place where reality was weak and where you could change yourself completely.


Retraining was made part of the main game in D&D 4e. Each time you leveled up, you could swap out a feat or power or skill that you have for another that you currently qualify for. For example, you could trade a feat with no prerequisites for a feat that you couldn't have qualified for until now. This meant that you were free to select feats that were good only at low levels, only to trade them off for more powerful feats that you had to wait until higher levels to get. There were also the various wondrous locations which allowed you, once per level, to get a free retraining (a wondrous location is a large, static, magic item, usually a room or even a building).


I'm going from memory here, but there was one retraining wondrous location per power source: the dojo (martial), the arcane lab (arcane), the chapel (divine), etc. Those aren't the real names of those wondrous locations, as I've forgotten what they were originally called.


Retraining could be integrated into the character leveling system, the stronghold system, or both. For the character leveling system, it could be as simple as being able to subtract points from a skill to add them to another skill. For example, if you haven't been sneaking around a lot, perhaps your Stealth skill has atrophied, represented by you subtracting points from it to add to, for example, Athletics (because you've had to run away from danger a lot because you didn't bother to sneak around). For the stronghold system, these could be new upgrades, or even changes to existing upgrades. Perhaps the training grounds will allow you to change your combat abilities, like Weapon Focus/Specialization/Mastery, because you took the time to train yourself in another fighting style. Or maybe the hedge maze would allow you to move points from another skill and put it into Stealth.


The retraining system would solve the problem of terrible companion autoleveling. During my second run, I picked up Kana late enough that he got the first aid talent (can't remember what it's called, but it's the one which lets him heal 47 something health points on an ally 1/rest). I mean, it makes sense for his character to be able to tend to wounds because he's been traveling all alone, but now that he has a party to back him up, he doesn't need it as much. Instead of resorting to IEMod to change companion stats, perhaps we could invest resources into our stronghold and get them retrained. From a roleplayng perspective, it would represent training as a cohesive team to better tackle the challenges ahead.


Also, it'd make character leveling less of a trial and error process for those of who are don't want to reload or are unable to reload because we're playing in Trial of Iron mode. Maybe I pick up a new spell, try it out in battle a few times, and discover that it doesn't fit my playstyle. I can then retrain it to something much more suited to my playstyle, for a nominal fee to represent the costs of research and experimentation.


What do you think?

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I support the addition of a retraining system.  It is handy for hardcore players who want to swap out things that have lost their luster, handy for casual players who want to try out different things, and handy for new players who make a build mistake because of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.  Everybody wins.


Also: A way to exchange powers

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