D&D 5E Broad vs Narrow Classes


log in or register to remove this ad

Dausuul

Legend
As in short-rest spell recovery or invocations or both???
The whole kit and caboodle. A small number of top-level spell slots, refreshing on a short rest, combined with innate powers which are (mostly) usable at will, and cantrip damage boosted to a level which is, if not on par with martials, then close to it.

It perfectly fits the flavor of the sorcerer, and it also allows the class to function as the "easy spellcaster" which it is presented as. The current sorcerer class is actually quite challenging to build effectively -- with your tiny number of spells known, you have to select each one with painstaking care, covering as many bases as possible and avoiding any spell which is even slightly sub-par.

The warlock mechanics are much simpler. As long as you pick eldritch blast and Agonizing Blast, you've got a solid basic option to fall back on, and everything else is gravy.
 
Last edited:

Vaalingrade

Legend
The version I've heard is that New Coke won in sip tests - but was too sweet to drink an entire can.
New Coke was basically Pepsi, but people had an emotional attachment to Coke thanks to the greatest ongoing marketing campaign of all time.

Perception is incredibly powerful.

Coke would later use what they learned from New Coke to Death Star Pepsi Clear out of existence by putting out Tab Clear, pushing hard that was a diet soda, thus convincing people Pepsi Clear was also diet.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I have seen a lot of people say (and I agree with them) that the warlock mechanics should have been given to the sorcerer.
To me the warlock feels perfect how it is. Warlock magic is literally your patron cheating the system to get you magic so it should not be Vancian or NeoVancian.

I think the Sorcerer should be a 4E style AEDU class. I always thought Sorcerer should have some sort of encounter/short rest magic as it's inside them. At least a "Screw This! Hadoken!" always on deck. Because that's how a lot of sorcerers at in play, in media, and as a trope.
 

Reynard

Legend
I have seen a lot of people say (and I agree with them) that the warlock mechanics should have been given to the sorcerer.
Which is ironic because the word sorcerer means what a D&D warlock is, but 3E forced the sorcerer into its current role -- which has more in common with Merlin, who has magic powers because he is half demon, not because he studied books.
 

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.
Sure. As a result, I rarely pass up an opportunity to roast it for being--explicitly and implicitly--presented as the "big tent" edition when it wasn't.

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?
Give them different playstyles; give them different mechanics; provide both with interesting alternative approaches. I can only speak in generalities for two reasons. First, the design space is enormous; second, actually doing this well requires serious and sustained testing, which is something I can't do at the drop of a hat.

how do you have a transmuter wizard if everything is built for direct combat?
To be honest? You don't. Transmuter (like conjurer and most of the spell schools) is one of the reasons why Wizard is so broken. "Transmuter" is, in and of itself, too much AND too little. It's too much because a really full-throated Transmuter can do almost anything, same with Conjurer, and the more powerful versions of Enchanters and Illusionists (especially those using shadow magic.) It's too little, because what on earth does "Transmuter" even mean? What's the archetype there? Is it some kind of alchemy specialist? Then do alchemy, that's a thing! Or perhaps be an artificer, or make heavy use of magic-item crafting rules. Is it some kind of master of altering the forms of other beings? That's something that can be implemented too, in a variety of ways. Is it someone who buffs others by changing them? Again, totally doable, especially if you're okay with reskinning stuff.

Is it someone who can do all of those things, every day, very consistently? Then it isn't balanced and should be split up.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Well part of that is Transmutation's troubled legacy over the decades. They keep picking at it in order to reduce it's power, but it's still a huge school, and even today it has a few spells that make one scratch their heads.

Simply put, Transmutation should be about buffing and debuffing, all stop. Changing the form or parameters of an object or body. Of course, even this simple definition runs into problems. Take for example, Stoneskin, a spell that transmutes someone's body into being as tough as stone.

Sounds like Transmutation to me (and for a long time, it was). But since it's a defensive spell, it's been sorted into Abjuration. So now Transmutation has this narrow niche of altering the parameters of an object or body, but not defensively. Lol wut?

Meanwhile, other schools are allowed to have defensive magic because they struggle for spell slots (mirror image, blur, false life, to name a few).

The schools of magic didn't make much sense in AD&D, yet they persist despite the fact that each edition's development team seems to have this serious problem deciding what belongs in each school.

Either we need to go back to 2e, where spells could have more than one school, or, we simply reduce the schools of magic to the following:

Physical Attack Magic
Mental Attack Magic
Debuff Magic
Buff Magic
Minion Magic
Utility Magic
Ex Miscellanea (stuff that doesn't quite fit anywhere else, like Wish)

And then Healing Magic for everyone but the Wizard.
 



Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
All classes should be broad enough to represent dozens of archetypal stories.

Paladin should not be just holy sacred knight, but also the Green Knight and Blood Knight Inquisitorius and Batman.

Bard needs to represent all performing artists / eloquence characters like courtiers and preachers and politicians etc.

Sorcerer needs an identity that's not just "the non-thinker Wizard." I think it's gotten a lot closer to that identity, but I'd recommend merging Psion into it and allow it to be instinctual caster concept regardless of core ability score.
 

Dausuul

Legend
To me the warlock feels perfect how it is. Warlock magic is literally your patron cheating the system to get you magic so it should not be Vancian or NeoVancian.
If by "not (neo-)Vancian" you mean "not using the standard spellcaster progression," then I agree*; but there are literally infinite ways to build a caster who doesn't use the standard progression. The way that was chosen for the warlock would fit the sorcerer much better IMO.

If it were up to me, I'd give the warlock a couple more top-level spell slots and remove the focus on at-will abilities. Then I'd give them the ability to regain spell slots by spending hit dice (or hit points if out of hit dice), supplemented with other options specific to the pact. The idea would be to center the warlock on making dangerous sacrifices for power, with the mechanics reinforcing the concept of the class.

*All spellcasters in 5E include a neo-Vancian component -- a set of spell slots, usable for any spell known/prepared, which recover after a period of rest. All of them also have non-Vancian magical abilities usable at will, including but not limited to cantrips. The warlock is the same, it just has faster recovery time, fewer spell slots, and more of its power allocated to the at-will options.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If by "not (neo-)Vancian" you mean "not using the standard spellcaster progression," then I agree*; but there are literally infinite ways to build a caster who doesn't use the standard progression. The way that was chosen for the warlock would fit the sorcerer much better IMO.

If it were up to me, I'd give the warlock a couple more top-level spell slots and remove the focus on at-will abilities. Then I'd give them the ability to regain spell slots by spending hit dice (or hit points if out of hit dice), supplemented with other options specific to the pact. The idea would be to center the warlock on making dangerous sacrifices for power, with the mechanics reinforcing the concept of the class.

*All spellcasters in 5E include a neo-Vancian component -- a set of spell slots, usable for any spell known/prepared, which recover after a period of rest. All of them also have non-Vancian magical abilities usable at will, including but not limited to cantrips. The warlock is the same, it just has faster recovery time, fewer spell slots, and more of its power allocated to the at-will options.
By NeoVancian I mean Prepared Spells + Long Rest Spell Slots + Spontaneous Casting

To me and how D&D does it, the warlock doesn't sacrifice strength for power. The premise is that their magic isn't the "correct" path. They cheated via a patron or a patron's lore to make a bastardized connection to the Weave/Aether/Force/Fade. And they their magic is not NeoVancian. The Sorcerer has a proper connection to the Weave/Aether/Force/Fade. It is just innate and tied to their blood or soul.. They have better control of the limited spells they do know.

In laymans terms: A D&D Warlock is a Marvel mutate and has a collection of unnatural unconnected magicks from an outside source. A D&D Sorcerer is closer to a Marvel mutant and has a collection of "natural" connected magicks from an internal source. A D&D Wizard is a Marvel Science/Tech Hero. They maybe gifted but that gift doesn't make magic. Basically Marvel Wakandans.

If it were up to me.
Mage ClassCasting StatSpells Prepared or KnownSpell Slots RestoredAlter CantripsAlter Spells (Metamagic)Arcane AccessGimmick
ArcanistIntSubclass onlySubclass OnlyYesNoCantrips OnlyArcanist Boosts
BloodmageConPreparedLong RestNoNoAlmost FullBloodmagic
SorcererChaKnownLong RestYesYesPartialSorcery, Sorcery Points
TruenamerIntKnownShort RestNoNoFullUtterances
WarlockChaKnownShort RestYesNoPartialInvocations
WizardIntPreparedLong RestNoYesFullSpellbook

I like broad.
 

ECMO3

Hero
When thinking about 5E in general and what you prefer and/or would like to see, do you want classes that are broad or ones that are more narrowly defined.

For the purposes of this discussion, by "broad" I mean lots of options as you create and level a character so that a single class can cover a lot of different archetypes or party roles. Note that I mean this in an ongoing way. That is, you continue to make those choices throughout character advancement and development and can always switch gears.

Conversely, by narrow I guess what I mean is "focused": fewer choices (at least after the initial ones) but a high degree of fidelity toward one particular expression of that class. Assume effectiveness and solid balance here. Presume a well designed focused archetype.

So I guess the question comes down to how much control do you want over progression? How much freedom versus focus?

This is largely a player facing question but GMs should feel free to discuss how such a choice might affect a campaign they run.

For my part, when I am a player it kind of depends on the nature of the campaign. If we are playing a canned campaign, I definitely prefer a focused character advancement track. But if it's a more open, unpredictable campaign i want the freedom to switch gears if the game goes in an unexpected direction.

As a GM I actually prefer if both options are available to players who have different preferences, and hope I can manage to juggle both.

I really like the game design in 5E and with the feats and backgrounds available I feel like you can build a really broad character or a really narrow character.

As far as broad - Want a caster that rocks in melee you can do it, want a Ranger face - mechanically a Ranger can be built to be the best face in the game bar none. Want your wizard to pick locks and slink around or wear heavy armor it is easily doable. Want a Bard that can run around using battlemaster maneuvers every 3 or 4 turns in combat and you can do that. All of those can be fully in by level 4. All of that can be fully in by level 4 and much of it in level 1.

The only real limit I see is in healing and there are 3 classes that do that well and another two that are passable, most other themes are there for the taking with the current classes, subclasses, races and feats.

As far as narrow - You can min/max dump everything into your main 2 stats and get feats like Sharpshooter, CBE, GWM-PAM-Sentinel, take a Human Bard with skilled, prodigy and skill expert (although some might call this broad). Halfling Rogue with skulker and expertise in stealth.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top