D&D 5E Broad vs Narrow Classes

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
And, as stated, making a cloth-wearing heavy weapon user who focuses on dex and has crazy high AC is basically impossible in 5e. Allowing a Zealot Barbarian to use Dex with a greatsword would come relatively close, but every time I've suggested that it's gotten a hugely negative reaction, so I've just accepted that the Avenger is not part of 5e's alleged big tent.
I would clarify only that it's impossible to replicate with the officially published extant classes of 5e; it would be trivial to design a class within 5e's chassis that hits the "Dex based heavy weapon user with good AC" standard. Replicating the oath mechanic that made avengers want to attack isolated targets, and replicating the amount of movement abilities they had, would be somewhat more challenging.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I would clarify only that it's impossible to replicate with the officially published extant classes of 5e; it would be trivial to design a class within 5e's chassis that hits the "Dex based heavy weapon user with good AC" standard. Replicating the oath mechanic that made avengers want to attack isolated targets, and replicating the amount of movement abilities they had, would be somewhat more challenging.
Hm. I imagine you could just say "you have advantage on attacks against enemies who have none of your allies within 5' of them" would be fine for Pursuit Avengers.

Retribution could be "you have advantage on attacks against an enemy who has attacked you this combat".

Unity would be the hard one, I think. "You have advantage on attacks against an enemy who has 2 or more of your allies within 5' of it" sounds too hard to gain reliably. And if it was 1 or more, that'd be too easy.
 

I would clarify only that it's impossible to replicate with the officially published extant classes of 5e; it would be trivial to design a class within 5e's chassis that hits the "Dex based heavy weapon user with good AC" standard. Replicating the oath mechanic that made avengers want to attack isolated targets, and replicating the amount of movement abilities they had, would be somewhat more challenging.
Ah, yeah you're right. That was sloppy wording on my part. The Oaths of Enmity would be tricky but not impossible to homebrew, the rest is totally feasible. It just doesn't exist as an implemented thing and is, sadly, unlikely to be.

Shows one of the ways in which the "class, subclass, à la carte multiclass" model can stumble. If your idea requires blending bits from at most two classes, you're fine. If it requires three you're kind of screwed in official 5e. Paladin+Rogue+Barb is rough. Or the "more than just a jack of all trades" Bard, who really wants levels in Cleric, Rogue, and Warlock. Or my "storyteller Paladin" concept from 4e, that would require Bard and probably Sorcerer levels to work in 5e.

The irony being, this sort of thing is what à la carte mutliclassing is supposed to be great at, but because it means sinking more than half the usual levels of a game (e.g. level 6+ out of no more than 11 for most games) into just unlocking the features, the strengths of the tool become weaknesses.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
The problem classless systems have is that no matter how you handle it there will only be a very major choices that will be close to optimal thanks to internal synergies. With a class based system you can have a few optimal subgroups per class.
I would like to introduce you to HERO, BESM, Mutants and Masterminds, Shadowrun, World of Darkness, and probably a lot of games I haven't played that roundhouse kick that idea across town and directly into a suspiciously well placed outhouse.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I would like to introduce you to HERO, BESM, Mutants and Masterminds, Shadowrun, World of Darkness, and probably a lot of games I haven't played that roundhouse kick that idea across town and directly into a suspiciously well placed outhouse.
Wait, hold on. World of Darkness absolutely has traits that are superior to other traits. I've never once been asked to roll Expression, but Alertness comes up all the time. And if you're playing Vampire, well, Celerity vs. Fortitude; the two Disciplines aren't even close to being equal.
 

Aldarc

Legend
a fair point but what of clearly non-combat features or things so situational they are not normally combat in nature how does that stack up?
A lot of that tends to be baked into the theme: e.g., ranger as "wilderness warrior" or monk as "mystical martial artist" (or whatever).

or fantasies that overlap but are also different.
Do you have something in mind here? This is a bit vague for me to parse.
 

Staffan

Legend
The big advantage of class-based systems is that you can give a class a Big Defining Trait, and do so at an early stage, and not having to worry about how it works with other Big Defining Traits. In point-based systems you either don't get BDTs at all, or they're either highly expensive or hidden behind a bunch of prerequisites.

To use an example from World of Warcraft: one of the shaman specializations is Enhancement, which focuses on dual-wielding as well as mixing physical and elemental attacks. In old-school WOW, up through Wrath of the Lich King, specialization was handled by choosing abilities from a series of talent trees. So as they advanced, a wannabe enhancement shaman would pick talents that reduced the penalty for dual-wielding, added the ability to parry, culminating in the abilities Windfury (which sometimes granted extra attacks) and Stormstrike (a powerful strike mixing physical and nature/lightning damage. You wouldn't really get the abilities cementing you as a proper Enhancement shaman until level 40 or so, after playing for a couple of days, and leveling up before then was a slog. Then, in the Cataclysm expansion, they changed things so you chose a whole subclass at level 10. This let you play an Enhancement shaman pretty much from the get-go (getting to level 10 takes like an hour or so), which was made possible by locking you into a whole kit instead of letting you choose abilities á la carte.
 


But that wasn't really the core of the Avenger idea. Yes, there is some connection to it, as I said with Ezio. But the core 4e idea was that the Avengers were not the gods' assassins, but rather their internal police. Less CIA and more FBI: policing heresy, ending subversive infiltration, and keeping the empowered accountable.

And, as stated, making a cloth-wearing heavy weapon user who focuses on dex and has crazy high AC is basically impossible in 5e. Allowing a Zealot Barbarian to use Dex with a greatsword would come relatively close, but every time I've suggested that it's gotten a hugely negative reaction, so I've just accepted that the Avenger is not part of 5e's alleged big tent.


"Clearly non-combat features" are covered by:
  • Various baseline class features (e.g. Bards being able to infinitely multiclass, Wizards getting controls)
  • The broad utility and applicability of 4e skills (seriously, skills in 4e are mighty, at least if used as intended)
  • Utility powers
  • Rituals (and "Martial Practices" which are basically mundane things in the same wheelhouse as rituals)
  • Item powers and consumables
  • Boons and other forms of magical "reward" that aren't treasures proper
As for "fantasies that overlap," I'll need you to be more specific. E.g. the Wizard being able to do everything is out, because that's not good class design. But (for instance) the Wizard and Invoker do overlap in many ways, with the former being somewhat more reckless and scholarly, while the latter is much more party-friendly and very "Moses calling down the plagues," heavy on intuition and proselytizing.
true I also saw a lot of inquisitor in it but that is its formulation, I equally feel 5e is not truly a big tent but that is beyond what I can do.

my point is take the psion and the more tricker type wizards how given they play in the same ballpark do you make them distinct?

how do you have a transmuter wizard if everything is built for direct combat?
A lot of that tends to be baked into the theme: e.g., ranger as "wilderness warrior" or monk as "mystical martial artist" (or whatever).


Do you have something in mind here? This is a bit vague for me to parse.
most of the casters have a lot of sub categories to them how do you make them all feel different, how do you break up the do everything wizard whilst not just making 50 classes?
I don’t think the problem is spellcasting. The Avenger wore no armor and couldn’t lay on hands, which makes it tough to fit on the paladin chassis.
the avenger is the hashshashin merge with an inquisitor why would a god need them to heal they are a silent blade, not a warrior or herald?
 

Aldarc

Legend
most of the casters have a lot of sub categories to them how do you make them all feel different, how do you break up the do everything wizard whilst not just making 50 classes?
I think you have it backwards if you are starting from the position of trying to break up the wizard rather than looking more broadly at, for example, magical archetypes and building around those.
 

I think you have it backwards if you are starting from the position of trying to break up the wizard rather than looking more broadly at, for example, magical archetypes and building around those.
I am working from the perspective of changing what we have into something else yours is top down mine is not.
 


And you still aren't the one to get to decide if it's Coca Cola or not, only whether you say the words or not.

I can call the Sun 'Ol Burny Pants, that doesn't make it so.

The 'not D&D argument is not just a bad one, it's an active poison to the game.
One small quibble with this analogy: Actually, the consumers did decide that New Coke wasn't Coca-Cola, so much so that the company had to change things around and give us Coca-Cola Classic (which isn't quite original, as it replaces the sugar with high fructose corn syrup). There was such a backlash that you still can't get New Coke in the US, though my understanding is that it is sold overseas, much like original Coca-Cola, which is known in the eastern US as "Mexican Coke", as it's imported from Mexico.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
One small quibble with this analogy: Actually, the consumers did decide that New Coke wasn't Coca-Cola, so much so that the company had to change things around and give us Coca-Cola Classic (which isn't quite original, as it replaces the sugar with high fructose corn syrup). There was such a backlash that you still can't get New Coke in the US, though my understanding is that it is sold overseas, much like original Coca-Cola, which is known in the eastern US as "Mexican Coke", as it's imported from Mexico.
It's actually the perfect analogy as time and time again people liked New Coke more right up until it ran into the nostalgia goggles and exploded on the mountain side.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
We did it once! You have to believe me! Before the timeline was destroyed, there was something... something beautiful! I seen it! I seen it!
Well that timeline was destroyed, buddy.

5e is probably close to as nerfed a D&D spell casting system would get and it's just too powerful to go classless.
Pathfinder only got to drill down lower by catering fully to customization fiends and tactics nerds. And even it still uses classes.
 

I mean, if you liked that kind of challenge, by all means. But what bothered me was that other Striker classes, like the Ranger, didn't need to jump through those kinds of hoops to deal their damage. The Rogue either relied on allies to get their damage through, or had to take utility powers that gave them combat advantage when needed (when I'd vastly prefer to take their mobility options).

Having endured playing Rogues in 3e, where needing allies' assistance to use sneak attack in combat was sometimes necessary, I rather liked the freedom some of the other striker classes had in this regard.

But maybe this is just a me thing. I don't mind playing less than optimal characters, but I do feel a sense of apprehension if I'm not pulling my weight relative to the other party members. The sensation that I'm struggling to keep up, or that my choices have caused me to become the weak link in my team often drives me to optimize more than I would if left to my own devices.
It's not just a you thing. But the issue is one of degree. My two favourite 4e strikers were the warlock and the rogue, partly because I needed to put some work in to get them to really effective. But there's a huge difference between a 4e rogue and a 3.X monk - or even a 3.X rogue in an undead heavy campaign. And in Pathfinder I really enjoyed my summoner ... until I had it figured out and properly prepared, at which point the game got too easy.

I think the basic analogy I'd give is to 4e monster roles. In 4e (most) monsters (other than lurkers, type 1 skirmishers, and controllers) tend to have a low damage condition of 25% below the baseline and a high damage condition of 25% above the baseline. For example artillery are archers and do 25% above baseline damage at range - and 25% below baseline in melee. Meanwhile brutes are normally the other way round.

What I think you want to play is either a normal monster or a type 1 skirmisher (who does 100% of damage both in range and melee with few modifiers). What I want to play is a Type 2 skirmisher who does 25% below normal damage when they aren't able to do their thing that takes thought or effort to set up and 25% above when they are (with the most obvious "thing" being Sneak Attack).

But this has bounds and I want the impact this way to not be overwhelming. If you're (pulling numbers out of thin air) at less than half the baseline or more than twice something's gone wrong. This doesn't mean zero is my ideal.
The downside to options is when some are just better than others. You join a game with a wacky fun build, and everyone else is playing something more optimal, that bothers me on both sides of the DM screen, because I hate watching others struggle just as much as struggling myself.
The gap should carefully be kept under control. I'm recalling my Summoner with a player who thought he was good at optimisation at the table. (Short version: we reliably lost a party member every time I couldn't make it - and the only party member we ever lost when I could was the most experienced Pathfinder player at the table). I don't think any of that was right.
Like anytime a player said "oh boy, I'll play a Monk!", I sighed, knowing nothing I would say would deter them. They were going to have to find out the hard way, more's the pity.
Definitely agreed.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I think warlock is a better fit for "does one thing increasingly well." You could easily build a suite of invocations around animating, enthralling and communicating with the undead, along with a very focused spell list.
I have seen a lot of people say (and I agree with them) that the warlock mechanics should have been given to the sorcerer.
 

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