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Level Up (A5E) Adepts, Heralds, & Berserkers

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
In Level Up, we've renamed three classes. We wanted to talk a little about why.

Each of those three classes -- the monk, paladin, and barbarian -- have names heavily linked to a particular cultural interpretation of that class' role in the game. The monk heavily implies an Eastern-themed character, or one with religious trappings; the paladin heavily implies a Charlemagne-esque mounted knight; and the barbarian heavily implies an outdoors warrior.

However, their roles are broader than those specific interpretations. A monk might instead be a giant, red-headed pit-fighter. A paladin might be a staff-wielding tiger-riding holy warrior. A barbarian might be an elven juggernaut clad in shining plate armor.

Adept_-_Júlio_Cesar_Oliveira_Rocha.jpg

An adept

So these classes are now the adept, the herald, and the berserker. You can still play an eastern-themed martial artist, a shining mounted knight, or a furious wilderness warrior -- but you can also play other takes on these classes. You could before, but we're just going right out and saying it with the name.

The reason we did it was because when we were writing Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters, we frequently had to give characters monk levels to represent their ability to punch people. But that came with a bunch of trappings which didn't suit those characters. So now, you get to choose your trappings. The class' role hasn't changed, but it fills a wider range of narrative niches.
 

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dave2008

Legend
I am all for the name change to Adept and Herald; however, I am a bit lukewarm on the Berserker at the moment. Berserker seems more niche than barbarian to me, but maybe that is what your going for. I will berserker = rage makes more sense than barbarian = rage to me.
 

Corrosive

Adventurer
I am all for the name change to Adept and Herald; however, I am a bit lukewarm on the Berserker at the moment. Berserker seems more niche than barbarian to me, but maybe that is what your going for. I will berserker = rage makes more sense than barbarian = rage to me.
It’s a class defined by the rage feature not by its loincloth. Berserker makes more sense to me than barbarian. Barbarian is a culture not a class.
 

dave2008

Legend
It’s a class defined by the rage feature not by its loincloth. Berserker makes more sense to me than barbarian. Barbarian is a culture not a class.
Yes, I agree that berserker fits the rage mechanic better, I said that. My point was the Berserker concept is, IMO, more limited than the Barbarian. But class design is not my thing. If it was me I would at most: fighter, mage, cleric, & rogue and everything else be subclasses. Hmm, what I am trying say is that genially classes are fairly broad (fighter, cleric, rogue, etc.), with specialization of an archtype. But the berseker concept feels more narrow, like a subclass, not a class.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yes, I agree that berserker fits the rage mechanic better, I said that. My point was the Berserker concept is, IMO, more limited than the Barbarian. But class design is not my thing. If it was me I would at most: fighter, mage, cleric, & rogue and everything else be subclasses. Hmm, what I am trying say is that genially classes are fairly broad (fighter, cleric, rogue, etc.), with specialization of an archtype. But the berseker concept feels more narrow, like a subclass, not a class.
There's two schools of thought (if you take things to their logical extreme):

1) You only need 2 classes. Fighty and Magicy. Every class is a mix of those two with an archetype. Druid is Nature Magicy. Rogue is Sneaky Fighty. Ranger is Nature Fighty. Cleric is Holy Magicy. And so on.

2) Delve into every concept individually as a class with tons of detail, giving it the attention it deserves. There's a full class for every idea, exploring that idea with awesome options.

In the real world, we all hold a position somewhere along that scale.
 

Faolyn

Adventurer
Yes, I agree that berserker fits the rage mechanic better, I said that. My point was the Berserker concept is, IMO, more limited than the Barbarian. But class design is not my thing. If it was me I would at most: fighter, mage, cleric, & rogue and everything else be subclasses. Hmm, what I am trying say is that genially classes are fairly broad (fighter, cleric, rogue, etc.), with specialization of an archtype. But the berseker concept feels more narrow, like a subclass, not a class.
Well, think of it this way: the point of the class is you have a warrior who fuels their fighting ability with pure emotion. Not necessarily with skill, or with precision, or with righteousness, but with emotion. But while they're not necessarily skilled or precise or righteous, they can be. Maybe there's a better word than berserk to describe it, but I can't think of one off the top of my head. But barbarian means uncouth, uneducated, stupid, low-tech, and so forth. Which berserkers don't have to be.
 

Lord Mhoram

Adventurer
I like the name changes. I've never played a barbarian because of the whole outdoor warrior thing* - but I remember reading the Berserker playtest and having something like 3 or 4 character ideas, just because that change of approach.

* with one powergaming exception for a high level game where we started high level; and even then it was more background than anything.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Well, think of it this way: the point of the class is you have a warrior who fuels their fighting ability with pure emotion. Not necessarily with skill, or with precision, or with righteousness, but with emotion. But while they're not necessarily skilled or precise or righteous, they can be. Maybe there's a better word than berserk to describe it, but I can't think of one off the top of my head. But barbarian means uncouth, uneducated, stupid, low-tech, and so forth. Which berserkers don't have to be.
doesn't need to be emotion, Morgraves misc also suggests a warlock-esque connection with a fiend along with the fruits of arcane research not unlike cyborg & captain america but with some more setting specific fluff like being warforged or hailing from the demon wastes including about a page on civilized barbarians
 

Faolyn

Adventurer
doesn't need to be emotion, Morgraves misc also suggests a warlock-esque connection with a fiend along with the fruits of arcane research not unlike cyborg & captain america but with some more setting specific fluff like being warforged or hailing from the demon wastes including about a page on civilized barbarians
True, but you could consider them exceptions rather than the norm. Or a play on the norm by saying that being beholden to a fiend means the rage is coming from the fiend rather than yourself.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
True, but you could consider them exceptions rather than the norm. Or a play on the norm by saying that being beholden to a fiend means the rage is coming from the fiend rather than yourself.
It could & talks about things like "what is your relationship your your people and your demons"/ It's also worth noting that eberron lumps all fiends under the title "demons" with them being very different from most settings in ways that puts them closer to forces of nature & the not completely free willed dresden files fey. Taken to an extreme, the Demon Overlords show just how different it can get
That's not an exhaustive list* & only about a dozen of 30ish are even defined, but two of those are the embodiment of a certain type of secret & certain types of knowledge...

* I only pulled a couple from the wiki
 




Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
It’s a class defined by the rage feature not by its loincloth. Berserker makes more sense to me than barbarian. Barbarian is a culture not a class.
"Barbarian" isn't a culture . . . . it's what you call someone else's culture. And that's the major problem with the term, for me. To the ancient Roman Empire, all the Celtic, Gaulic, Germanic, and other cultures of Europe were "barbarians", people without civilized culture like the Romans . . . . of course this was not only dehumanizing, but untrue . . .

The only reason why the D&D class has that name is that it originally embodied Conan the Barbarian (of course) from Robert E. Howard's pulp stories . . . but it's long since outgrown Conan, although he still sits on his throne at the center of this class . . . .
 

Faolyn

Adventurer
"Barbarian" isn't a culture . . . . it's what you call someone else's culture. And that's the major problem with the term, for me. To the ancient Roman Empire, all the Celtic, Gaulic, Germanic, and other cultures of Europe were "barbarians", people without civilized culture like the Romans . . . . of course this was not only dehumanizing, but untrue . . .
I actually met a guy (well, spoke to on reddit) who seemed to legitimately believe that the abovementioned people were literally subhuman people incapable of emotions such as love, and therefore it was good when they were killed and/or forcibly converted.
 


Horwath

Hero
1: Adept, I am all for reflavoring Monk class to be something else than martial artist closed in a temple. I only played one monk in 5E and it was completely removed from the stereotype. I played Monk as a High elven guardian of Evereska. As elves are very agile, I felt it was kind of stupid to play fighter and having heavy armor training in the first place and I wanted a warrior that is always ready to face danger without any preparations. Monk class was perfect for my idea.

But the name of the class could get some more work. Adept? It was an NPC spellcastin class before, and it means just someone who has attained knowledge, or earlier in latin, knowledge of transmuting metals. Not much room for martial arts.

Also as you describe a pit fighter, or a modern version would be a MMA fighter, there is nothing mystical about it. No ki or chi or some other name for "internal energy" of "life force", no reason for slow fall or water walk or similar stuff. Also you have picture of a guy in pretty substantial armor. Breastplate I would guess? So that is going from no armor at all to medium armor.

A pit fighter is nothing more than A FIGHTER, most probably a battlemaster for some grappling/tripping maneuvers with Tavern brawler feat and/or unarmed fighting style.

But then again, I don't know how your take on Adept/Monk/Martial artist will look in the end. Maybe you will get rid of most of the ki/chi powers and have the class more grounded in that way...

Or maybe just axe the whole idea of an martial artist class. As you do not bring a knife to a gun fight, do not bring your fists to a sword fight.

remove the class, remove unarmed fighting style, and rework tavern brawler feat as:

Martial artist: requires 14+ str or dex
  • your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 damage or 1d10 damage if you have both hands free, not grappling and not being in difficult terrain or climbing or swimming(without speed for those movements).
  • you can use STR or DEX for your unarmed attacks
  • when you are grappling someone, you have advantage to unarmed attack rolls and deal automatic 1d6 damage to anyone you are grappling at the start of your turn
  • as a bonus action you can make one unarmed attack, one grappling(need one hand free) or shove attack.
  • you are proficient with improvised weapons.


2: Herald,
yeah, names for this class all have some historical/religious baggage or are just lame. Maybe just cut your losses and stay with Paladin.

They are fictional knights in the 8th century, so... who cares. Yes, they were defending christian faith, but just describe them as militant branch of the faith(any faith).

Templar is nice name, but again we go into 11th century, this time REAL order of christian knight, so that is a bigger issue than paladin.

Zealot(but also a subclass) could be fine, "paladins" could all be played as religious fanatics(most of the time, they are).
We had real Zealots but some political movement in the 1st century could be far enough in history so we could ignore those implications.

Champion is taken as a subclass, but is one of the best candidates, Defender is to niche,

Now for Herald: either an office or arms or more narrowly it can be royal messenger. Pretty lame for such strong class :p
any class can be a herald, it's mostly profession, an official duty.


3: Beserker:
Now, I love the barbarian archetype, but it IS narrow.
You can justify the range abilities and animalistic traits as someone that HAS to remain mostly uncivilized and being in wilderness. As wild nature itself fuel the primal instinct of a barbarian. Barbarian can come to town and be there for a while, but never feel at home there. As I said very narrow RP range, but I like that idea.

maybe barbarian can be a subclass of beserker. Animal totem barbarian seems like a prime candidate to keep the candle burning.

Beserker is a good name, juggernaut could be a close second, but that is used in Battle defense, so unless you change your mind...



ah...end rant... ;)
 



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