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5E Best Name For A “Leader” Class?

Best name?

  • Herald

    Votes: 7 7.1%
  • Banneret

    Votes: 3 3.0%
  • Captain

    Votes: 17 17.2%
  • Warlord

    Votes: 25 25.3%
  • Marshal

    Votes: 37 37.4%
  • Mark

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other - let us know!

    Votes: 12 12.1%
  • Commander

    Votes: 18 18.2%
  • Warden

    Votes: 8 8.1%
  • Sentinel

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    99

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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Supporter
Board game puns are such a trivial pursuit. Which I point out only to show that you don't have a monopoly...
Making board game puns is just part of the game of life, but I don’t want to make the puns too parcheesi.
 



Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
I chose Captain, because while it always denotes leadership it often means a very low level of leadership (outside of a naval context). Getting picked team captain is about the highest rank of leader appropriate to a first level character. I don't like it, per se, but I've yet to hear or think of anything I dislike less.

Commander is somewhat similar to captain, but seems more strictly a matter of military rank, hence not quite as good as Captain.

Banneret implies knighthood. Good name for a level 3 subclass, but not the place to start. Still it does have a nice position of implying medievalish leadership with a lot of ambiguity as to the scale, so it would be my number two or three choice.

Warlord is a truly absurd thing to call a low level character, especially one who is not evil aligned since in real life it has an exclusively negative connotation. And yes, it is badass, but it only gets that way by being difficult to attain. I also don't want there to be a God-Emperor class.

To me Marshal primarily means either a type of police officer or the highest possible army rank. Cool things for a character to become, but not a base class. And be it law officer, uber-general, or the grand marshal of a parade, it implies authority one is appointed to. Unless the class comes with a patron lord it doesn't seem right.

Herald, Warden, and Sentinel are all cool fantasy sounding things, but none of them particularly have to do with leadership. A herald is, in fact, an implicitly subservient person.

I don't even know what this Mark business is about. The only meaning I can find in my OED that seems to jive is that it can be a rank amongst freemasons. In any case it is a word with fifty or so different meanings, so it probably is best to go for something a little more clear.
 

You just literally can’t give it a rest
This is 5e, we must push through 6-8 encounters before we can give it a long rest ...
;)
I chose Captain, because while it always denotes leadership it often means a very low level of leadership (outside of a naval context). Commander is somewhat similar to captain, but seems more strictly a matter of military rank, hence not quite as good as Captain.
Captain certainly denotes rank, though it can be civilian (captain of a ship) rather than military. Either way, that implies legitimate authority. (And how much authority is relative, in a fleet action a captain's following orders every moment, detached he's the highest authority available.)
To me Marshal primarily means either a type of police officer or the highest possible army rank.
Both of which imply a legitimate authority out of place with D&D player characters.

Banneret implies knighthood. Good name for a level 3 subclass
Good or not, it's taken, sure. PDK would've been even better as a PrC.

Warlord is a truly absurd thing to call a low level character, especially one who is not evil aligned since in real life it has an exclusively negative connotation. And yes, it is badass, but it only gets that way by being difficult to attain.
Sorcerer, Warlock, Thief, and Assassin all carry comparably negative connotations, and 'warlord,' since it doesn't imply legitimate authority is actually something anyone with a band of followers and a territory could claim, to the literal definition. But, then, few D&D classes adhere to the literal definition, in the first place.

Really, there is no expectation that any other class must justify it's name based on literal meaning or connotation.

Herald, Warden, and Sentinel are all cool fantasy sounding things, but none of them particularly have to do with leadership. A herald is, in fact, an implicitly subservient person.
In that sense, Herald wouldn't be all bad as a support class, (in 4e, "Leader" was code for 'support,' broader than the traditional band-aid cleric, but focused on helping allies, not aggrandizing itself).

Warden has been a class, before, and Sentinel has been a sub-class.
 
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Wiseblood

Adventurer
What does a “leader” class do? Leader was game jargon from 4e. IIRC it provided bonuses also called buffs. Maybe a little “battlefield control”.

It is my suspicion that the role was called leader as a placeholder.

Defining what a “leader class” does would help because it does not lead.

Barbarian = not a member of civilization
Monk = a member of a religious community ( ostensibly a Shaolin Monk mythologized)
Cleric = priest
Wizard = a man who has magical powers
Fighter = one who fights

Some of the newer classes deviated from this paradigm in favor of cool sounding names. If you do that you can call it anything.
 


and the wheel turns again, and nothing new ever happens.
D&D is a game with strong traditions, yes.

Defining what a “leader class” does would help because it does not lead.
Yes, it's one of many labels chosen in D&D that does not quite match what's in the tin. ;)

I suppose 'Marshal' could be ahead because people are voting on the basis of the meaning - a high ranking military officer certainly leads, and troops who do not follow are subject to severe discipline.

Leader was game jargon from 4e. IIRC it provided bonuses also called buffs. Maybe a little “battlefield control”.
Support.
Buffing offense/defense, action-preservation/granting, hp preservation/restoration, a little de-buffing which could shade into control... the Support character is a multiplier to the party's force. It's resources and functions flow to the rest of the party, it can be a less dynamic role (back when it was the old-fashioned Cleric mostly obliged to heal, for instance) and is generally a less flashy/spotlight-grabbing one.

It is my suspicion that the role was called leader as a placeholder.
It seemed to me at the time an alternative to "Cleric" (the game's original support class, back with it was just the Fighter, Cleric, & Magic-user - and the Druid didn't become a viable alternative to it until 2e at the earliest) or "Healer" (which was often viewed as boring). The explanation of Leader made the support function clear and went out of it's way to explain that it didn't imply 'party leader' in the sense of bossing players around.
So it was an attempt to make an oft-regarded-as-lame role sound 'cool' - that they were clearly worried, from the beginning, may have overstepped.

4e was unusual in that it expanded the range of concepts and dynamics of participation that could fulfill support the needs of a party. From Cleric, and less well, Druid or Bard, or later Favored Soul, to Cleric, Warlord, Bard, Shaman, Artificer, Ardent, Rune Priest, or later, Sentinel Druid. The Warlord stands out in that list because it's unique in providing support, without boasting supernatural powers. (The Ardent was also unique in being psionic, and some prefer to treat psionics as a supernatural power distinct from spellcasting and magic in general, though 3.5 had gone there, before.)

Some of the newer classes deviated from this paradigm in favor of cool sounding names. If you do that you can call it anything.
Sure.

Paladin = Peer of Charlemagne, for instance, was newer than Fighter, Cleric & Magic-user. ;)
 
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ccooke

Adventurer
I'm amazed that I've read through this entire thread, and nobody has made the obvious "Bard" joke¹.

More seriously... "Leader" is too ambiguous a term. In many parties, there will be someone who "leads" in social aspects - the party face, if you will - and there may be someone who "leads" in terms or tactics, and there may be someone whose talents in combat fit some defined "Leader" role. I always through that the Leader role was least satisfying of the 4e meta-names. It just doesn't have enough distinctive presence - or, to put it another way, if you say "4e classes are categorised by their role in combat: Defender, Striker, Controller and Leader"... then it's much easier to understand intuitively what it is exactly that the first three do. The 4e definition of Leader fits the term - it's not a bad game term. It's just fundamentally unsatisfying in the sense that if you don't already know what 4e's Leader role is, you're less likely to be able to guess the set of abilities that a Leader is expected without some additional context. It's clear that the game design space that 4e carves out for the "Leader" role works and makes sense along with the other roles, but maybe there's too much cultural baggage to have a good name for that?

Not that I have a better idea. "Support" is both underwhelming and would be confusing if you also have "Controller", since that's also support in a way. "Healer" is accurate, of course, but also plays into one of the big anti-tropes. Maybe I just prefer the roles to be less designed-in? I find that people playing any party-based RPG very often naturally fall into playing characters that are mostly one of the 4e roles, but that a chargen system that doesn't enforce a role (and no, I'm not saying 4e did that entirely - but I do think that calling it out as an explicit feature of chargen has an impact on the decisions that people will make; it takes more effort to go against well-communicated defaults) will encourage more characters that are "Mostly X, but can Y".

This essay brought to you all by "Oh, hell, I've been debugging the network for how long? I need a break. And to leave the office."

¹ Then again, maybe I failed perception. I think at this point my WIS modifier must be in the negatives, based on how long I've rambled here.
 

I'm amazed that I've read through this entire thread, and nobody has made the obvious "Bard" joke¹.
Then again, the Bard is in no way a leader, in concept.

if you say "4e classes are categorised by their role in combat: Defender, Striker, Controller and Leader"... then it's much easier to understand intuitively what it is exactly that the first three do.
Honestly, I've always found 'Controller' the most ambiguous, least-clearly-supported, and simultaneously most-potent, yet most-dispensable role, because it's power doesn't always synergize or even 'play well' with the rest of the party.

"Leader" though, does outright feel like a euphemism. Like they're struggling to make the Role sound appealing. It's no coincidence, I think, that in 3e, when the Fighter was Class Tier 5, it's fluff text was redolent with suggestions it made a "natural party leader" in spite of 0 mechanical support for the concept.

The 4e definition of Leader fits the term - it's not a bad game term. It's just fundamentally unsatisfying in the sense that if you don't already know what 4e's Leader role is, you're less likely to be able to guess the set of abilities that a Leader is expected without some additional context. It's clear that the game design space that 4e carves out for the "Leader" role works and makes sense along with the other roles, but maybe there's too much cultural baggage to have a good name for that? Not that I have a better idea. "Support" is both underwhelming and would be confusing if you also have "Controller", since that's also support in a way. "Healer" is accurate, of course, but also plays into one of the big anti-tropes.
"Healer" is decidedly narrow, and, in the long-time RPGer and MMO communities, really carries something of a negative connotation.

'Support' strikes me as the most accurate.
 



ccooke

Adventurer
There's no way I'm replying to this. I have clearly escaped the office by now. Anything else would imply that I'm an idiot.

Honestly, I've always found 'Controller' the most ambiguous, least-clearly-supported, and simultaneously most-potent, yet most-dispensable role, because it's power doesn't always synergize or even 'play well' with the rest of the party.

"Leader" though, does outright feel like a euphemism. Like they're struggling to make the Role sound appealing. It's no coincidence, I think, that in 3e, when the Fighter was Class Tier 5, it's fluff text was redolent with suggestions it made a "natural party leader" in spite of 0 mechanical support for the concept.
Your issues with the Controller role are with the powers and game balance it had, though - not the fit of the name. That's an entirely different argument, and let's not have it here :).

"Healer" is decidedly narrow, and, in the long-time RPGer and MMO communities, really carries something of a negative connotation.

'Support' strikes me as the most accurate.
Here's a problem: Healer sounds more important and exciting (at least, it seems to for a lot of new players. "Can I play a healer?" is a thing I have heard quite a bit - at least in the same order as other "Can I ..." from newbies, even if it's not the most common). But Healer also evokes the spectre of the poor benighted healbot in older players.

Support is accurate, and works well for what they do, but also sounds less essential (which is amusing, given just how much a support class played well makes the game better for everyone).

I think both names have problems. Then again, maybe the best thing to tell people is: Use the names that will best work with the players you have. If you played a lot of 4e and want to call characters Leaders... just do. Unless someone manages to square the circle here and come up with something amazing, I don't think there's going to be an obviously right answer. Maybe someone will come up with a homebrew class or subclass that gets adopted by a lot of people, and we all find ourselves calling the role by whatever name that has in a few years. Maybe not.
 


Your issues with the Controller role are with the powers and game balance it had, though - not the fit of the name. That's an entirely different argument, and let's not have it here :).
Oh, there was ambiguity in the name, too. Controllers in 4e were mainly implied to inflict conditions, but also expected to sweep minions with AEs, even if they carried no 'control' riders, so there as a 'blasting' aspect to it.

Here's a problem: Healer sounds more important and exciting
It may sound a bit prestigious - associations with doctors and medical dramas and EMTs and the like, I suppose.
(at least, it seems to for a lot of new players. "Can I play a healer?" is a thing I have heard quite a bit - at least in the same order as other "Can I ..." from newbies, even if it's not the most common). But Healer also evokes the spectre of the poor benighted healbot in older players.
And younger players exposed to the concept/role via MMOs. So it's really kinda out. Also, it's narrower than the actual role even in 4e (when roles were at their most tightly-defined).

Support is accurate, and works well for what they do, but also sounds less essential (which is amusing, given just how much a support class played well makes the game better for everyone).
Agreed.

I think both names have problems. Then again, maybe the best thing to tell people is: Use the names that will best work with the players you have.
Sure. Like a regional dialect. :)
 


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