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D&D 4E [4e] A slim(er) 4e experience through class and options cutting

MoutonRustique

Explorer
I'm trying to get together a slimmer version of the game where I'll be cutting down drastically on available options - similar to what Essentials proposed, but, you know, that I won't dislike so much (most of it anyway).

In that regard, I've tried to list the different kinds of character archetypes and I'm asking you guys if you think I've missed some, or some are redundant, etc. I'll follow up tomorrow with which class(es) should be used for which archetypes.
  1. Bad A Warrior
  2. Nature Warrior
  3. Sacred Warrior
  4. Light and Agile Warrior
  5. Eldritch Warrior
  6. Sneaky Bastard
  7. Battlefield Commander
  8. Chessmaster Caster
  9. Blaster Caster
  10. Healer Caster
  11. Nature Caster
  12. Ranged Weapon User
  13. Techno User

Unarmed warrior is intentionally left out - it doesn't work with what I have in mind. Same with the psionic classes (although, I'm wondering if, when refluffed as magic, they could work as a replacement for something - I don't know them at all...)

The setting-feel is inspired by the first adventure from the Witchfire Trilogy. The focus is much more on the mystical, bayou, industrial and "dark", than on big "mechs" and tanks running around everywhere with the OP warcasters - so, you know, NOT the Iron Kingdoms.

Plus, this is not something that's going all the way to Epic tier. I've got my eyes firmly on Heroic - with possible inclusion of Paragon, but we'll have to see...

[sblock="Class choices"]
  1. Bad A Warrior (Fighter, Slayer)
  2. Nature Warrior (Barbarian, Warden?)
  3. Sacred Warrior (Paladin, Paladin|Cleric, Avenger)
  4. Light and Agile Warrior (Rogue, Avenger, Bard)
  5. Eldritch Warrior (Swordmage, Hexblade, Bard)
  6. Sneaky Bastard (Rogue, Avenger)
  7. Battlefield Commander (Warlord!, Bard)
  8. Chessmaster Caster (Wizard, Invoker)
  9. Blaster Caster (Wizard?, Invoker? Sorcerer?)
  10. Healer Caster (Cleric*)
  11. Nature Caster (Shaman, Druid?)
  12. Ranged Weapon User (Rogue, Warlord, Ranger?)
  13. Techno User
? are choices I'm not sure about - either because I'm not sure they're really all that needed, or because I'm not sure they fit
* low-armour laser cleric, probably in the form of Cleric|Invoker or something

Classes I'm most leery of adding/keeping are : Sorcerer, Ranger and Druid. I'm not sure they're needed...

I love the [bladespells], but the Bladesigner is just so... blah. Plus I highly dislike the [blade song] [wizard encounter as daily] thing, so yeah, makes it hard to like the whole thing. But the [bladespells]![/sblock]
 
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Jhaelen

First Post
I really have trouble figuring out what you consider an 'Archetype'. I don't think there are as many, e.g. all those different types of warriors could easily be condensed into one or two archetypes, imho. Almost all of the psionic classes duplicate already existing 'archetypes', imho, e.g. Psion is just a kind of 'Chessmaster Caster', etc.

Given your current list you may actually be better served by simply picking one or two sources you'd like to have in your game and associate them with the roles you consider important. That's probably easier than trying to figure out what the important archetypes are.

Regarding your 'Techno User': Isn't that just what the Artificer class is?
 

If you really, really want to slim it down, you could take it all the way down to one class & one role per Source. So the Fighter is the only Martial Class and the only Defender. The Cleric is the only Divine Class and the only Leader. The Wizard is the only Arcane Class and the only Controller. And, the Barbarian is the only Primal Class and the only Striker.

OR, you could trim sources to match your setting. Unfortunately, I know nothing about the trilogy you're emulating.
 

MoutonRustique

Explorer
The ultimate goal is to offer a "kinda" wide array of fairly narrow choices. A way of looking at it could be "builds as a classes" - again, much like Essentials proposed. The problem with just going with Essentials, is that I don't like most of the propositions they put forward (the basic ideas, yeah, some, but the implementation, not so much...)

But thank you, just having a sort of sounding board really helped. Thanks!

"archetype" was the best word I could find for : The way a character presents itself and plays.

But I think you guys are right, I can trim it down some more - especially if I build (use) a few dedicated themes to differentiate between a few of the Warrior types for instance. Shouldn't be too hard to find or create a theme that grants "Nature" to a regular warrior, or "Sacred". It's an avenue worth exploring in any case.

And yea, "Techno-guy" is an artificer. :D
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I try to guide flavor or if necessary restrict flavor instead of restricting the mechanics used to get there... I have made what I consider a very valid Dark Sun character using a hybrid of 2 divine classes for instance.

I have however enjoyed recently building 4e versions of 1e classes using core classes (the Paladin as a fighter with a boon or as a Fighter/Cleric hybrid) and so on.
 
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MoutonRustique

Explorer
Oh. I completely misread that. So you'd want as many or more classes, just with fewer more focused choices within each.

Forum at my post! TWICE! (cry! a lot!)

tl;dr - yes. I want to re-package 4e to what I really want from it for my aims.

I give up on the rest of this post. (trust me, it was awesome)
 


Well, here's a thought for 'holy warrior', though it probably requires a little work...

Saw the STR half off of the Paladin and the STR half off of the cleric, and make that one class, call it 'paladin', and glue the other two halves together and call it 'cleric'. Much clearer, covers the same ground, etc. Give the paladin the version of mark from Divine Power and ditch the one from PHB1. The cleric will be pretty much pure laser, though with a lot more CHA options and the ability to wade into battle a bit more, depending on which powers you focus on.

I'd stick with the version of the wizard from AP, although even that one has a bit too much party-friendly junk.

You COULD live without the ranger, rogues can do a decent sniper build, though rangers are fairly unique and cool!

You could use the Berserker as your nature warrior, kind of a nice little class there.

For that matter, I like HotFW a lot, go with the Witch as the controllery caster. You can then use the Sorcerer as the blaster caster, and ditch the straight up wizard.

You're missing a 'nature caster' here, so why not use the Shaman? Its a quite cool class, and you can even refluff the SC as most anything.

A hexblade or an assassin would make a decent eldritch warrior. Avenger can also fill this role pretty nicely.
 



Joshua Randall

Adventurer
I don't put as much systematic thought into it, but I routinely restrict what classes and races I allow in my games.

My current game's lists are as follows (in spoiler blocks because of how long they are). Why the restriction? Well, some was to get the feel I was going for and some was admittedly just 'cause I'm ornery after 10 years of DMing 4e.

The players occasionally complain but they have also admitted that it makes character building simpler because they are forced to be more focused. Which I consider an intended consequence.

[sblock=Classes Allowed]
Class Source Allowed? Comments
Ardent Player's Handbook 3 NO no psionics
Artificer Eberron Player's Guide NO does not fit tone of campaign (too Steampunk-y)
Assassin Dragon Magazine 379 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Assassin (Executioner) Heroes of Shadow NO does not fit tone of campaign
Avenger Player's Handbook 2 yes this class will receive extra scrutiny to prevent abuse
Barbarian Player's Handbook 2 yes
Barbarian (Berserker) Heroes of the Feywild yes unclear how effective this class is, in practice
Bard Player's Handbook 2 yes mechanics are fine, but typical effete D&D bard is not - work with me
Bard (Skald) Heroes of the Feywild yes mechanics are fine, but typical effete D&D bard is not - work with me
Battlemind Player's Handbook 3 NO no psionics
Cleric (Templar) Multiple Sources yes
Cleric (Warpriest) Heroes of the Fallen Lands yes
Druid Player's Handbook 2 yes DM and player will work together to determine place in game
Druid (Protector) Heroes of the Feywild yes DM and player will work together to determine place in game
Druid (Sentinel) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms yes DM and player will work together to determine place in game
Fighter (Knight) Heroes of the Fallen Lands yes remember that gimmick Charge builds are NOT allowed
Fighter (Slayer) Heroes of the Fallen Lands yes remember that gimmick Charge builds are NOT allowed
Fighter (Weaponmaster) Multiple Sources yes
Hybrids Player's Handbook 3, etc. NO prefer strongly archetypcal characters rather than hodgepodges
Invoker Player's Handbook 2 yes
Monk Player's Handbook 3 NO does not fit tone of campaign, and too fiddly
Paladin Player's Handbook yes
Paladin (Blackguard) Heroes of Shadow NO does not fit tone of campaign
Paladin (Cavalier) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms NO no pets
Psion Player's Handbook 3 NO no psionics
Ranger Player's Handbook yes
Ranger (Hunter) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms yes
Ranger (Scout) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms yes
Rogue (Scoundrel) Multiple Sources yes
Rogue (Thief) Heroes of the Fallen Lands yes remember that gimmick Charge builds are NOT allowed
Runepriest Player's Handbook 3 yes
Seeker Player's Handbook 3 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Shaman Player's Handbook 2 NO no pets
Sorcerer Player's Handbook 2 yes
Sorcerer (Elementalist) Heroes of the Elemental Chaos yes this class will receive extra scrutiny to prevent abuse
Swordmage Forgotten Realms Player's Guide yes
Vampire Heroes of Shadow NO does not fit tone of campaign
Warden Player's Handbook 2 yes DM and player will work together to determine place in game
Warlock Multiple Sources yes
Warlock (Binder) Heroes of Shadow NO mechanically terrible
Warlock (Hexblade) Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms NO no pets
Warlord (Marshal) Multiple Sources yes
Wizard (Arcanist) Multiple Sources yes
Wizard (Bladesinger) Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes this class will receive extra scrutiny to prevent abuse
Wizard (Mage) Heroes of the Fallen Lands yes this class will receive extra scrutiny to prevent abuse
Wizard (Sha’ir) Heroes of the Elemental Chaos NO does not fit tone of campaign, and mechanically terrible
Wizard (Witch) Heroes of the Feywild NO does not fit tone of campaign, and mechanically terrible[/sblock]

[sblock=Races Allowed]
Race Source Allowed? Comments
Bladeling Dragon Magazine 419, Manual of the Planes yes
Bozak Draconian Dragon Magazine 421 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Bugbear Monster Manual NO oversized weapons create too many rules problems
Bullywug Monster Manual 2 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Changeling Eberron Player's Guide NO rules and role-playing nightmare
Deva Player's Handbook 2 yes
Dragonborn Player's Handbook yes Dragonfear racial power is NOT allowed
Drow Forgotten Realms Player's Guide yes
Duergar Monster Manual 2 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Dwarf Player's Handbook yes
Eladrin Player's Handbook yes
Elf Player's Handbook yes
Genasi Forgotten Realms Player's Guide yes
Githyanki Monster Manual yes have a specific niche within the story - work with me
Githzerai Player's Handbook 3 yes
Gnoll Dragon Magazine 367 NO prefer to avoid monstrous races
Gnome Player's Handbook 2 NO DM intensely dislikes this race
Goblin Monster Manual, Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook NO does not fit tone of campaign
Gold Dwarf Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes
Goliath Player's Handbook 2 yes
Half-Elf Player's Handbook yes
Halfling Player's Handbook NO DM intensely dislikes this race
Half-Orc Player's Handbook 2 yes remember that gimmick Charge builds are NOT allowed
Hamadryad Heroes of the Feywild NO does not fit tone of campaign (too twee)
Hengeyokai Dragon Magazine 404 NO does not fit tone of campaign (too twee)
Hobgoblin Dragon Magazine 419, Monster Manual yes this race will receive extra scrutiny to prevent abuse
Human Player's Handbook yes
Kalashtar Eberron Player's Guide NO does not fit tone of campaign
Kapak Draconian Dragon Magazine 421 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Kenku Dragon Magazine 411, Monster Manual 2 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Kobold Monster Manual, Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook NO does not fit tone of campaign
Llewyrr Elf Dragon Magazine 405 yes
Longtooth Shifter Player's Handbook 2 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Minotaur Player's Handbook 3 yes
Moon Elf (Eladrin) Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes
Mul Dark Sun Campaign Setting yes this race will receive extra scrutiny to prevent abuse
Orc Monster Manual yes remember that gimmick Charge builds are NOT allowed
Pixie Heroes of the Feywild NO DM intensely dislikes this race
Razorclaw Shifter Player's Handbook 2 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Revenant Multiple Sources NO does not fit tone of campaign
Satyr Heroes of the Feywild NO does not fit tone of campaign
Shadar-kai Dragon Magazine 372 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Shade Heroes of Shadow NO does not fit tone of campaign
Shardmind Player's Handbook 3 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Shield Dwarf Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes
Sun Elf (Eladrin) Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes
Svirfneblin Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook NO DM intensely dislikes this race
Thri-Kreen Dark Sun Campaign Setting NO prefer to avoid monstrous races (and Russ isn't playing)
Tiefling Player's Handbook yes don't make me regret this, again
Tinker Gnome Dragon Magazine 422 NO DM intensely dislikes this race
Vryloka Heroes of Shadow NO does not fit tone of campaign
Warforged Eberron Player's Guide NO does not fit tone of campaign
Wild Elf Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes
Wilden Player's Handbook 3 NO does not fit tone of campaign
Wood Elf Neverwinter Campaign Setting yes [/sblock]
 

Jhaelen

First Post
I don't put as much systematic thought into it, but I routinely restrict what classes and races I allow in my games.
Now that you mention it, so do I!
If I'm designing a homebrew setting, I typically try to focus on just a few key races, ideally some that are often under-represented in other settings. E.g. in my D&D 3e Blackmoor campaign, I took some inspiration from the Werewolf RPG and used different types of lycanthropes as the mainstay. I also assigned a preferred class to each changing breed. I also banned the small standard races (halflings, gnomes), although that was mostly for mechanical reasons.

I opened up the game as the campaign continued, though. Part of the reason being that I figured players joining the campaign at high levels could have characters from different planes of existence.
 

Huh, I might PROPOSE lists of what I consider appropriate builds for specific milieu (IE if you want to do Arthurian Knights for instance). I wouldn't consider it to be my business to TELL the players what they MUST play.
 

pemerton

Legend
Saw the STR half off of the Paladin and the STR half off of the cleric, and make that one class, call it 'paladin', and glue the other two halves together and call it 'cleric'. Much clearer, covers the same ground, etc.
I don't really agree with this vis-a-vis the WIS cleric and CHA paladin - I understand the CHA paladin (its Galahad) but not the WIS cleric (it's an invoker variant, which is in turn a wizard variant).

But I fully agree about STR paladin and STR cleric. Just like the cleric and paladin back in AD&D, they're the same archetype (heavily armed and armoured holy warrior) just with slightly different mechanical implementations. The difference between Healing Word and Lay on Hands matters a lot in the minutiae of play, but isn't any sort of archetypical difference.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I don't really agree with this vis-a-vis the WIS cleric and CHA paladin - I understand the CHA paladin (its Galahad) but not the WIS cleric (it's an invoker variant, which is in turn a wizard variant).

But I fully agree about STR paladin and STR cleric. Just like the cleric and paladin back in AD&D, they're the same archetype (heavily armed and armoured holy warrior) just with slightly different mechanical implementations. The difference between Healing Word and Lay on Hands matters a lot in the minutiae of play, but isn't any sort of archetypical difference.

There was a role difference both in play and in story between the Cleric and Paladin...

In story the oath bound champion had actual legend and myth backing it from multiple sources (although the myth of course also had with various style miraculous effects which werent always even healing. ). In function his role was still primarily as a fighter/defender or even striker.

Where as the Cleric was given the full miracle set of the unarmored primarily healer priesthood also from a specific mythology. That role you must be a healer was strong with this one.
 
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MoutonRustique

Explorer
To make the [hexblade] more "fighter-mage", I was thinking of giving it the [bladesigner's] bladespells - would simply removing the "striker damage buff" from the [hexblade] keep things ~kinda even ?

I mean the damage amount is basically the same, there is some important gains in terms of control... Perhaps with a small re-tooling of the stronger bladespells :

knock prone = pull 3
slide 3 = push 2
-2 to attack rolls = -2 to attack you
damage if move = if they hit you before eont, they take the damage again
slow = suffer extra damage when next hit before eont

I'm also wondering what I could trade for the [pact boon] - I'm looking to see if I can take the class away from the [pact] aspect, and that power is fairly evocative. It could always be refluffed as energy draining of some kind, but that doesn't feel very "fighter-mage" to me...
 

I don't really agree with this vis-a-vis the WIS cleric and CHA paladin - I understand the CHA paladin (its Galahad) but not the WIS cleric (it's an invoker variant, which is in turn a wizard variant).

But I fully agree about STR paladin and STR cleric. Just like the cleric and paladin back in AD&D, they're the same archetype (heavily armed and armoured holy warrior) just with slightly different mechanical implementations. The difference between Healing Word and Lay on Hands matters a lot in the minutiae of play, but isn't any sort of archetypical difference.

I see the WIS cleric as a sort of 'holy man' type. He's not a warrior, per-se. Maybe he's 'Van Helsing', or he could just be the village priest waving his holy symbol while he stands on the steps of the temple shielding his men from the attacks of a horde of monsters. The CHA paladin, yeah, Galahad, but Galahad was still a bad-ass. I'd have to go back and dig through the CHALADIN powers and whatnot, but I think there's a lot there which would work fine on a guy who resists blows with "May Lir be my armor and shield!" while dishing out debuffs and minor action heals.
 

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