D&D 5E Broad vs Narrow Classes

Isn't that what we already have?
Yes and no. When I say "a few" I mean 3 (warriors, mages, and experts). And when I say subclasses I mean classes.

I may be interested in a system where warrior, mage, and expert are three different classes of features that can be mixed and matched instead of picking a class and/or subclass.

In the end I would like options and optional systems that can support different styles of play.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
One benefit to classes is that it's easy to present flavor and a role to a player, if used correctly. When I play in games without classes (and worse, without levels), players generally make one of two major mistakes.

They either make a character who is ultra specialized to do one thing well, at the expense of all other things, or they make a character with points spread randomly all over the place to the point that they are ineffectual.

A class should present the player with "this is what you do, and this is generally the kind of character you are portraying". And be it levels or some kind of benchmark mechanic, players should easily be able to gauge how good is "good enough".

Now I'm not saying there shouldn't be wiggle room; some people are competent enough to generate their own flavor, and reject mechanical boundaries. But not everyone is. Furthermore, some people seem to work better within boundaries than being told that they can truly do anything they like.

As a result, I'm much happier playing in class-and-level based systems. Are they perfect? No, but enough people have problems with not having these guidelines that I'd rather keep them.

As an aside, every so often, you see a game that presents, along with classes, a generic "non-class" that allows you to build the exact character you want; Rolemaster's Non-Profession or Earthdawn's Journeyman. While not for the new player, having this as an option seems to be the best possible compromise.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Not if you make non-casting also good.

Which is also decried as 'not D&D' just like pretty much everything good.
It's more that D&D is the most broken spell casting system in the entire TTRPG World and classes is pretty much the main way to keep it reined in.

So once you take out classes you pretty much give access to the most broken spellcasting system and gaming to anyone.
 


Aldarc

Legend
I could definitely see there being different types of wizard archetype, being analogous to the various types of researchers or academical staff,
The Specialist: further reduces capacity for learning/casting from banned spell schools than standard in exchange for bonuses to learning/casting from a specific school(s).
The Generalist: removes limitations for learning banned schools in exchange for mid-tier access across the board.
The Librarian: reduced number of spell slots in exchange for extra knowledge proficiencies and bonuses to knowledge checks.
The Researcher: low number of spells inherently known but reduced costs to transcribing new spells and creating spell scrolls.
The Pioneer: limited access to metamagics or divine/primal magics and creating new spells.
The Battlemage: focus on combat magics, armour proficiencies and war casting.
The Supporter: limited combat magics learnt but large number and access to utility, ritual and support spells.
A critical point for creating classes to me rests in understanding the class fantasy. Why are people drawn to playing certain classes or archetypes? Not just in D&D, but in all sorts of tabletop or video games, that utilitze classes. Both playstyle and theme are important aspects of creating a good class.

I do think that they got closer to this in 4e, though I think one problem was everyone expecting the wizard to be gods. That said, 4e basically said, "Hey, you enjoy blasting with arcane spells and doing big damage? Pick Sorcerer. You enjoy using spells to be the master tactician of the battlefield? Pick Wizard. Enjoy using your arcane spells to support allies? Pick Bard."

That is more akin to what I think that WotC should do with D&D classes. Make the core class fantasy and playstyle clear. Subclasses can expand and build upon those things, but the core "Play X if you like Y theme and Z playstyle" should be clear and distinct for classes.
 

Yes and no. When I say "a few" I mean 3 (warriors, mages, and experts). And when I say subclasses I mean classes.

I may be interested in a system where warrior, mage, and expert are three different classes of features that can be mixed and matched instead of picking a class and/or subclass.

In the end I would like options and optional systems that can support different styles of play.
To be clear a mix-and-match-three-classes-of-features system would be an option for grizzled veterans, and novices would be discouraged from using it.

I like the idea of a hierarchy of systems with maybe half a dozen classes for new players, an optional mix and match system for people who want that, and a plethora of subclasses that grows over time as new books are published (but is optional, meaning we wouldn't be required to choose one).
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
It's more that D&D is the most broken spell casting system in the entire TTRPG World and classes is pretty much the main way to keep it reined in.

So once you take out classes you pretty much give access to the most broken spellcasting system and gaming to anyone.
What is after removing classes, we continued using good game design and fixed that too?
 


I'm about 90% convinced that the Avenger happened specifically because of the popularity of Assassin's Creed. Given the longevity of the series, if it wasn't a direct inspiration, they absolutely struck gold by accident.

It's still a real shame you can't really make an Avenger in 5e.
no, it is just a logical extrapolation if the paladin is the crusader why not have a hashshashin with the gifts of god as well?
Not if you make non-casting also good.

Which is also decried as 'not D&D' just like pretty much everything good.
look almost everyone agrees martials need to be better but getting rid of classes takes away a mixed point of the game it is equally good as it is bad in the abstract for dnd to have classes, the manifestation and execution of them are lacking is sadly true.
A critical point for creating classes to me rests in understanding the class fantasy. Why are people drawn to playing certain classes or archetypes? Not just in D&D, but in all sorts of tabletop or video games, that utilitze classes. Both playstyle and theme are important aspects of creating a good class.

I do think that they got closer to this in 4e, though I think one problem was everyone expecting the wizard to be gods. That said, 4e basically said, "Hey, you enjoy blasting with arcane spells and doing big damage? Pick Sorcerer. You enjoy using spells to be the master tactician of the battlefield? Pick Wizard. Enjoy using your arcane spells to support allies? Pick Bard."

That is more akin to what I think that WotC should do with D&D classes. Make the core class fantasy and playstyle clear. Subclasses can expand and build upon those things, but the core "Play X if you like Y theme and Z playstyle" should be clear and distinct for classes.
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?
or fantasies that overlap but are also different.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
no, it is just a logical extrapolation if the paladin is the crusader why not have a hashshashin with the gifts of god as well?
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.

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?
or fantasies that overlap but are also different.
"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.
 

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