Crufty old school? I guess I see it as entirely tactical at expense of strategy new school.Which is perfectly fine, everyone has their own preferences. I sometimes find myself missing crufty old school rules systems with hidden gems and odd paths to power buried in pages and pages of text- even though I know that it's terrible game design.
I hope you didn't take that as a comment about the games you play, it was simply an example of how preferences can differ. I have a soft spot for older games with odd subsystems and are rough around the edges, with interesting things they allow for if you dig into them- your Rolemasters and GURPS and TORG's, if you will.Crufty old school? I guess I see it as entirely tactical at expense of strategy new school.
I didnt, I was just trying to be cute while also sayin it how I see it with modern design.I hope you didn't take that as a comment about the games you play, it was simply an example of how preferences can differ. I have a soft spot for older games with odd subsystems and are rough around the edges, with interesting things they allow for if you dig into them- your Rolemasters and GURPS and TORG's, if you will.
5e subclasses have some of that mojo, but not as much.The 5e way to fix this problem is to use the game element that is analogous to 4e's builds to do it - the subclass. Subclasses are basically pre-built builds, and so a CHA based Barbarian subclass (that lets you swap any CON-based bonus in the Barbarian class out for CHA) or a STR based Monk subclass would be the 5e way to solve this problem. The downside of using subclasses is that the 5e model is to tie specific flavor to subclasses and so that design space doesn't get explored in the same way that builds (which relied on the player to supply their own flavor to a large degree) did.
I think the real issue here is the racialization of the Monk class. Archetypes, in and of themselves, aren’t essentialist. But, when the nimble martial artist with mystical powers archetype is East-Asian coded, that’s not a great look.The issue here is that class, moreso than race, is completely built on archetypes. While you single out unarmored defense as an example of essentialism, you can quite easily do the same with nearly every class: rogues are always agile and nimble, priests are wiser than other people, arcane magic is reserved for the smart or the charismatic. Bards and paladins are always socially adept, etc. Further, bard, monk, barbarian, druid, even warlock and paladin all have some cultural elements dragged in from the origin of the archetype. You won't escape those tropes without losing those names. (See also: the whole debate on why druids have armor restrictions). Thus, you are looking at a symptom of the larger whole: classes being a fairly narrow archetypes that are dependent on certain ability scores.
If you want to fix the problem of class and essentialism, you must:
- Remove ability scores from having any influence on class ability. A wizard has the same magical power if he has an 8 or an 18 Int.
- Remove or rename classes that have strong cultural elements so that they no longer stand in for a specific culture.