D&D 5E Challenge: Invent a PHB Class List with 6 Classes

squibbles

Adventurer
Six classes?

IMHO, the key to mega-classes is to take a page out of how video games often approach class design: i.e., playstyle and theme are important. I recall that Elder Scrolls Online has a six class setup,** which actually represents a fairly good spread and distillation of the sorts of archetypes that I often find players drawn towards.

  • Martial Heavy: heavily-armored strength-based fighters, knights, warlords, barbarians, etc.
  • Martial Light: dex-based fighters, rogues, scouts, spell-less rangers, etc.
  • Arcane/High Magic: arcane mages, wizards, sorcerers, etc.
  • Holy/Divine/Psionic: paladins, priests, clerics, psions, mystics, etc.
  • Primal/Nature/Fey/Green: druids, spell rangers, wardens, animists, etc.
  • Shadowfell/Necromancy/Dark: necromancers, warlocks, edge lordy magic, etc. [...]
Curious. I have never played Elder Scrolls Online or even really read anything about it, but that's more or less the list I came up with:
Warrior = martial heavy​
Rogue = martial light​
Wizard = arcane/high magic​
Thaumaturge = holy/divine​
Enchanter ~= nature/fey/green​
Diabolist = shadow/necromancy/dark​

[...]
Witch
Witches make alliances and pacts with supernatural powers that are not divine. In both combat and exploration, they summon allies to their aid or transform themselves.
  • The druid subclass calls upon the forces of nature and can call animal allies or become a beast.
  • The warlock subclass strikes bargains with extraplanar powers. They can summon fiends, elementals, undead, and other such magical allies, and can take on aspects of those creatures themselves.
Interesting choice to put Druids and Warlocks together and to flag the forces they worship/serve as "not divine." A lot of the solutions to this challenge have novel impacts on D&D's implied setting, and this is one of the cooler ones. I like it a lot better than the FR convention that Druids serve nature gods but... somehow differently than Clerics. I wonder where this idea might lead. Makes me think of the Elric series' Beastlords, though that's not really what it implies.

Yeah, I was surprised myself. But, of course, you wind up in very different places when you pick a destination ahead of time, versus pick a starting point and a rule for wandering from there. Evolution produces stranger results than intelligent design.
Too true, just as restrictions enhance rather than detract from creativity.

That's the purpose of this challenge tbh. Adding or subtracting one or two classes is an obvious change, dropping down to the core 4 or fighter/wizard/rogue is an obvious change, going classless is an obvious change, but a good list of six classes isn't at all obvious--a lot has to be finessed or contrived to keep all the concepts in the current list but put them in six classes.

Serious question: what's the most recent poll on the most popular character classes? At least you could see what everyone likes to play. I've seen, for example, that 'evil' options like half-orcs and tieflings and warlocks ('evil' in quotes as the character of course may not be evil at all, but will be perceived to be) have become more popular. You can Google around and find a bunch, but I'm wondering if anyone has a sense of what the most recent one is.
IIRC, it's not too surprising and hasn't changed as much as the top races, where Dragonborn have been making a slow but steady rise over the course of 5e. I don't think D&D Beyond has released data since 2020, so we kinda have only that data to go on.

And from this, it would seem the top six classes are Fighter, Rogue, Warlock, Wizard, Cleric, and Barbarian. Which, curiously, means that the top six classes actually DO give us a six-attribute spread: Fighter (Str), Barbarian (Con), Rogue (Dex), Wizard (Int), Cleric (Wis), and Warlock (Cha).
The wisdom of crowds solution eh... and it actually gives us a pretty cool list.

How would the remaining classes go into those? Maybe:
Fighter (+Monk, +Paladin, +Ranger)​
Rogue (+Bard, +Monk?)​
Warlock (+Sorcerer, +Bard?)​
Wizard (+Artificer?)​
Cleric (+Druid)​
Barbarian (+Ranger?)​
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Too true, just as restrictions enhance rather than detract from creativity.

That's the purpose of this challenge tbh. Adding or subtracting one or two classes is an obvious change, dropping down to the core 4 or fighter/wizard/rogue is an obvious change, going classless is an obvious change, but a good list of six classes isn't at all obvious--a lot has to be finessed or contrived to keep all the concepts in the current list but put them in six classes.
Though, as I said in my initial post, the critical element of achieving "less is more" is by actually doing more with less. I.e., each individual element must work harder because you are choosing to have fewer of them. If the individual elements aren't actually working any harder (or indeed are working less hard than they were before), then less is, in fact, less.

The wisdom of crowds solution eh... and it actually gives us a pretty cool list.

How would the remaining classes go into those? Maybe:
Fighter (+Monk, +Paladin, +Ranger)​
Rogue (+Bard, +Monk?)​
Warlock (+Sorcerer, +Bard?)​
Wizard (+Artificer?)​
Cleric (+Druid)​
Barbarian (+Ranger?)​
Personally, I would fold Monk into Rogue (ninja are often characterized as a subtype of Monk), and Ranger into Barbarian. That way, no class is absorbing more than two other classes.

I think I'd favor lumping Bard and Warlock together, rather than Rogue. So you might have, as Patrons, options like the Unending Chorus (music/song focus) and the First and Last Word (oratory, Vicious Mockery), while the Pact of the Harp could be a new feature to cover some of the other Bard components. Meanwhile, the Pact of the Bloodline would be all about unlocking the secret potential within you, and various bloodlines would become Patrons, e.g. Elemental Dragon or Grandmother Storm. Sadly, the Pact of the Bloodline would almost certainly need more features because the only thing Sorcerers get is metamagic.

It of course pains me greatly to see Paladin demoted to a mere subclass, but that's likely what would have to happen. Personally, I think Cleric is already a bit overstuffed with subclasses, so I might actually favor having Cleric not absorb anything and instead fold Druid into Barbarian. Rage and the Totem options already resemble transformation effects, so it's not a huge leap.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Though, as I said in my initial post, the critical element of achieving "less is more" is by actually doing more with less. I.e., each individual element must work harder because you are choosing to have fewer of them. If the individual elements aren't actually working any harder (or indeed are working less hard than they were before), then less is, in fact, less.
If one's goal is to cut down on bloat*, "less" may well be the desired result.

* - I'm not sure if that's the OP's primary goal here, but cutting down bloat is always a worthy goal.
 

If one's goal is to cut down on bloat*, "less" may well be the desired result.

* - I'm not sure if that's the OP's primary goal here, but cutting down bloat is always a worthy goal.
Well...again, that's presuming that less either accomplishes the same amount of goals, or (as "less is more" usually implies), actually accomplishes more goals than the current set of things.

Like, you can say "less may well be the desired result," but I don't think even a single person who favors cutting down on classes is straight-up saying, "You should not be allowed to play a divine warrior anymore, that archetype has been deleted from the game. If you want that archetype, look elsewhere." That's what "less is less" would mean in this context, and very few people--I'm pretty sure not even you!--actually want that.

Instead, what most advocates of "less is more" are saying is that you can accomplish either more things, the same number of things, or (if they're pushed) possibly a very very slightly reduced number of things, while using substantially fewer "moving parts" as it were. It's not that eliminating Paladin is good because not having "holy knight" as an archetype would be good; it's that eliminating "Paladin" because it is unnecessary (or so they claim) is good, but eliminating it would not eliminate the "holy knight" archetype. Instead, that archetype can either be represented extremely simply (e.g. Fighter with the Acolyte or Knight of the Order background) or less-simply (e.g. writing a new Divine equivalent of Eldritch Knight to take the Paladin's place).

Unless, that is, you truly are saying that you wish to outright eliminate archetypes from the D&D playspace? As always, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think you'll find that particular opinion will not get much traction in the vast majority of discussions.

Also, "cutting down bloat" is inherently a loaded phrase. That is like saying, "It is always desirable to fight evil." Well, sure it is. But we aren't talking about whether it is desirable to fight evil. We're talking about whether it's desirable to fight werewolves. It is a (formal, for once) fallacy--specifically, I believe it is the fallacy of four terms--to invoke "cutting down bloat is always a worthy goal" unless one establishes the link between "game X supports Y/Z/W archetypes" and "game X is bloated." We have something of the form, "It is always desirable to fight bloat. Game X supports Y, Z, and W as archetypes. Therefore, it is always desirable to remove Y, Z, and W as archetypes." The two premises have no terms in common, so the conclusion does not follow. One can only make it follow by adding a middle premise, "It is bloat to support archetypes Y, Z, and W," but that is the very thing the critic of these archetypes is trying to assert in the first place, making their argument circular: it is good to remove them because they are bloat, and they are bloat because it is good to remove them.
 
Last edited:

Aldarc

Legend
Curious. I have never played Elder Scrolls Online or even really read anything about it, but that's more or less the list I came up with:
Warrior = martial heavy​
Rogue = martial light​
Wizard = arcane/high magic​
Thaumaturge = holy/divine​
Enchanter ~= nature/fey/green​
Diabolist = shadow/necromancy/dark​
That does seem pretty close. IMHO, it's a pretty good distillation of the sort of the roles, both thematically and playstyle-wise, that players are often drawn towards in other games.
 

Fighter, Rogue, and Warlock is all you really need.

Barbarians and Rangers and Monks are Fighters.
Artificers are a Rogue (skill-monkeys) sub-class who specialize in weird skills and magic (like the Arcane Trickster).
Clerics (God pact), Druids (nature pact), Sorcerers (ancestor pact), and Wizards (nerd pact) are all Warlocks.
Paladins are either Fighters who do a little magic, like Eldrich Knight, or they've just multi-classed with God pact Warlock.
Bards are clearly multi-classed, as first edition intended. ;)
 

I'd kinda go back to the basics, with Warrior, Priest, Mage, and Rogue. For the other two, I'd use half-casters, such as fighter/priest and fighter/mage.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I'd kinda go back to the basics, with Warrior, Priest, Mage, and Rogue. For the other two, I'd use half-casters, such as fighter/priest and fighter/mage.
Merge the Priest and the Mage and then you can do Warrior, Mage, Rogue but then also Fighter/Mage, Fighter/Rogue, and Mage/Rogue.
 

Undrave

Hero
I think I'd favor lumping Bard and Warlock together, rather than Rogue. So you might have, as Patrons, options like the Unending Chorus (music/song focus) and the First and Last Word (oratory, Vicious Mockery), while the Pact of the Harp could be a new feature to cover some of the other Bard components. Meanwhile, the Pact of the Bloodline would be all about unlocking the secret potential within you, and various bloodlines would become Patrons, e.g. Elemental Dragon or Grandmother Storm. Sadly, the Pact of the Bloodline would almost certainly need more features because the only thing Sorcerers get is metamagic.
Hey that's a cool idea.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I would like to see the classes as "clearly" (maybe not so much....?) role-defined:
  1. Long ranged attacker (weapon or spell, or pet ;) )
  2. Melee attacker (weapon or spell, or pet ;) )
  3. Utility character* (limited depth but wide breadth, , or pet ;) )
  4. Know-It-All (deep depth but very focused)
  5. Sneak (, or pet ;) )
  6. Jack-of-all-trades-master-at-none

For any sort of multiclassing, you would have a primary and secondary (beyond that, just choose option #6 above) and you would not choose a subclass for either class. Your secondary advances half the speed of your primary, but in a class/level system you still split XP evenly.

For example, with 48000 XP you would normally be 9th level. If you MC'ed, you would be 24000/ 12000 for your primary/ secondary classes, making you 7/5, but with no subclasses or subclass features.

EDIT: *I mistyped "caster" before when I meant utility character, in any sense. Added pets to some options for @jmartkdr2. :)
 
Last edited:

CreamCloud0

Explorer
Hmmm i think i'd divide them up into:
Heavy Hitter: Fighter, Monk, Druid and the Barbarian
Lots of HP, Heavy armour or high unarmoured AC, good with dealing lots of straight up basic damage with weapons and direct fighting, No magical casting abilities but various techniques: fighter maneuvers, ki techniques, wildshape, rage stuff.

Light Striker: Rogue, Ranger, (Combat Oriented)Bard, Paladin
Has mid-level HP and Medium armour, lower base damage with limited martial weapons but uses a shared core bonus dice mechanic that scales to deal extra damage in certain circumstances that is expressed differently for each: sneak attack, hunter's mark or animal companions and bardic inspiration on their own or other's attacks, smite, Some magic access but 1/3 caster at most.

Researcher: Wizard, Artificer, (Knowledge/Skill Oriented)Bard, Rogue, Ranger
Medium HP Low AC, if they have magic then not many offensive spells, various combinations of lots of skills or lots of bonuses to the skills they do have, utility party members, simple weapons mostly, Good with social mechanics/npc interactions.

Magic User: Wizard, Warlock, Sorcerer, Cleric, Bard
Low HP, Low-Med AC, Full casters lots of spells, not great in melee, simple weapons, you know the drill.

Healer and Support: Cleric, Ranger, Druid, Paladin
Medium HP and AC, Some martial weapon access, Full caster but mostly healing, buffing or support magic, not great at dealing damage by themselves but good at facilitating other people to do damage.

Magic Warriors: Paladin, Ranger, Artificer, Druid, Bard
Med HP and AC again, martial weapons, half casters, magic is mostly damage dealing or self-focused buffs
taking a second go around at this, each 'core' of the six defines how each progresses in abilities

PHYSICAL, includes: barbarian, monk
these classes progress by strengthening their body, experiencing new types of training to gain new abilities.

SKILL, includes: ranger, bard
these classes progress by practicing their abilities, the more they do them the more they develop getting better at them and discovering new applications.

EXTRAPLANAR, includes: priest, paladin, warlock
these classes progression is tied up in their relationship with their patron entity, the more they do for them the more powers they're given.

KNOWLEDGE, includes: wizard, artificer
these classes have to find new knowledge to increase their abilities or spending time studying over what they have to increase their abilities.

INSTINCT, includes: sorcerer, druid, (psion)
these classes require connecting on a spiritual level with the primal forces either inside or outside of them and learning to channel them better.

EQUIPMENT, includes: fighter, rogue
these classes improve by aquiring different or better types of equipment, the bigger their arsenal they aquire the more versatile they become.

honestly this probably isn't a good metric to structure class bases on as it's a little abstract and doesn't really give you anything to focus on what the classes abilities would be, it's more along the divine/arcane/primal designations.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well...again, that's presuming that less either accomplishes the same amount of goals, or (as "less is more" usually implies), actually accomplishes more goals than the current set of things.

Like, you can say "less may well be the desired result," but I don't think even a single person who favors cutting down on classes is straight-up saying, "You should not be allowed to play a divine warrior anymore, that archetype has been deleted from the game. If you want that archetype, look elsewhere." That's what "less is less" would mean in this context, and very few people--I'm pretty sure not even you!--actually want that.

Instead, what most advocates of "less is more" are saying is that you can accomplish either more things, the same number of things, or (if they're pushed) possibly a very very slightly reduced number of things, while using substantially fewer "moving parts" as it were. It's not that eliminating Paladin is good because not having "holy knight" as an archetype would be good; it's that eliminating "Paladin" because it is unnecessary (or so they claim) is good, but eliminating it would not eliminate the "holy knight" archetype. Instead, that archetype can either be represented extremely simply (e.g. Fighter with the Acolyte or Knight of the Order background) or less-simply (e.g. writing a new Divine equivalent of Eldritch Knight to take the Paladin's place).
Exactly - shoehorning more archetypes into fewer classes instead of each archetype and sub-archetype having its own bespoke class; while at the same time both making each (bigger) class more flexible within itself and preserving some niche elements that only that class gets access to.
Unless, that is, you truly are saying that you wish to outright eliminate archetypes from the D&D playspace? As always, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think you'll find that particular opinion will not get much traction in the vast majority of discussions.
Agreed.
Also, "cutting down bloat" is inherently a loaded phrase. That is like saying, "It is always desirable to fight evil." Well, sure it is. But we aren't talking about whether it is desirable to fight evil. We're talking about whether it's desirable to fight werewolves. It is a (formal, for once) fallacy--specifically, I believe it is the fallacy of four terms--to invoke "cutting down bloat is always a worthy goal" unless one establishes the link between "game X supports Y/Z/W archetypes" and "game X is bloated." We have something of the form, "It is always desirable to fight bloat. Game X supports Y, Z, and W as archetypes. Therefore, it is always desirable to remove Y, Z, and W as archetypes." The two premises have no terms in common, so the conclusion does not follow. One can only make it follow by adding a middle premise, "It is bloat to support archetypes Y, Z, and W," but that is the very thing the critic of these archetypes is trying to assert in the first place, making their argument circular: it is good to remove them because they are bloat, and they are bloat because it is good to remove them.
One clear and obvious place where 5e has become bloated is in the number of PC-playable species it supports. I don't think anything would be lost by chopping out about half of them and returning them to monster-only status. I mean, sorry, but Aarakokra-anything is not an archetype. :)
 

I would like to see the classes as "clearly" (maybe not so much....?) role-defined:
  1. Long ranged attacker (weapon or spell)
  2. Melee attacker (weapon or spell)
  3. Utility caster (limited depth but wide breadth)
  4. Know-It-All (deep depth but very focused)
  5. Sneak
  6. Jack-of-all-trades-master-at-none

For any sort of multiclassing, you would have a primary and secondary (beyond that, just choose option #6 above) and you would not choose a subclass for either class. Your secondary advances half the speed of your primary, but in a class/level system you still split XP evenly.

For example, with 48000 XP you would normally be 9th level. If you MC'ed, you would be 24000/ 12000 for your primary/ secondary classes, making you 7/5, but with no subclasses or subclass features.
I would add pet-master to that list, since that's not really a weapon.
 

One clear and obvious place where 5e has become bloated is in the number of PC-playable species it supports. I don't think anything would be lost by chopping out about half of them and returning them to monster-only status. I mean, sorry, but Aarakokra-anything is not an archetype. :)
This feels like an area where less-is-more could apply: having different rules for eagle people, crow people and owl people is definitely bloat. You could probably lump them all into a single, flexible animal people rules-thing and cover a lot of territory with minimal mechanical cruft.

Heck, let's really boil it down to human-elf-dwarf-smallfolk-planetouched-beastfolk. Then you only need new rules or genuinely new stuff like warforged and slime-people.
 

Liane the Wayfarer

Frumious Flumph
Personally, my favorite class list was from Dragon magazine #96, April 1985 (yes, an April Fool's issue). In 'It Takes All Kinds..." by "Adda Littlemore," there are ten classes mentioned at the end. Picking the six I really liked out of them we get:
  • Halberdier, a burly tactical fighter
  • Arquibusier, a high-class ranged combatant
  • Mugger, a street-level "general specialist"
  • Medic, a non-denominational healer
  • Chaplain, a guy to tend to your spiritual needs
  • Prestidigitator, a showman and illusionist
 
Last edited:

For me:

Fighter - Kill monsters, break things, lead others. (Fighter, Barbarian, some Ranger)
Wizard - Change reality to your desire. (Wizard, some Warlock)
Cleric - Protecting people through mediation with the supernatural. (Cleric, Druid, Binder)
Knave - Rogues, thieves, scouts, skirmishers. Potentially the "everyman" who's making do as best they can.
Mystic - Harnessing inner strength to endure hardship. (Sorcerer, Monk, some Ranger, Psyker)
Bard - those who solve problems through communication and deals (Bard, Binder, Warlock)
Artificer - Exploiting reality for your desire. The Lawful counterpart to the Chaotic wizard.

Fighter, Knave would have skills, preternaturally so at advanced level. Artificer, Bard, Mystic would have abilities. Wizard, Cleric would have spells.

Also, "skill-monkey" is a mechanic, not an archetype.
 
Last edited:


steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
If we're going to do six (lots of people seem to missing that part of the challenge/discussion -by both too few and up to "much too" many) then it would behoove us to take some semblance of "balance" into account.

The easiest way to do that has, already, been mentioned in the building them up around the six character abilities. Makes sense. Already known/well ingrained in the game and culture. But what if -keeping the abilities in mind, but not the controlling/sole variable- instead, we build them up around their function. Not their (4e styled) "roles," or how they play. You could have multiple types of roles within each class heading. But what type of character they are supposed to portray.

What does the magical world of fantasy need for adventurers?

You get six options. Everything else you might want has to (and can) fit into one of those six "classes" as a subclass option or choices of feats or backgrounds or add-on "prestige class" levels at various points of play. But the bulk of what we think of as "classes" (and the most popular subclasses) will be...How about we call them, "self-contained subclass" options of the base class.

You have six. For that semblance of balance I mentioned earlier, to make things fair, you need those without magic and those with. A three/three split seems pretty obvious.

SO you need the three non-magic dependent types (which does not preclude some minor magic use or supernatural powers/effects, but the core/root of the type is not dependent on magic use):
1. those that are all about combat. They fight up close. They fight from afar. They fight with or without weapons, with or without armor, with or without special training, but they fight. That's what their purpose in this game of adventure, primarily, is.
2. those that are all about skills/experts of a non-combat nature. They know information or tricks or some otherwise special or secret ways of getting things done without having to fight/use weapons or, necessarily, using magic.
...seems the obvious third would be those that are a combination of the two. But that doesn't seem accurate or fair...Plenty of warrior archetypes have non-combat skills/specialities. Plenty of skill-monkeys can hold their own in combat..., And the magical types wouldn't be separated that way... so, how about...
3. those that are all about combining all skills, fighting ability, and with or without a little magic in whatever combinations to make for a useful adventurer. If they have magic-use, these characters/role is not dependent or defined by it. It is just one more tool in their toolkit.

Magic-dependent types are (almost more easily) separated off by their...let's call it "access" or "how they use magic" rather than the simplistic and ill-defined "arcane/divine" split. So we get:
1. those that can USE magic. Whether it's incantations, items, glyphs, words, rites, gestures, the classes abilities to harness and direct magic is -mostly- external forces being shaped and "cast" through some medium.
2. those that can MAKE magic. Your magic might be internal connection to a magical force or it might be something to gather and mold the aether through various means, but the product of your efforts is some magic effect that is not a really a "spell" or, necessarily, your power...but it is still magical/supernatural.
3. those that ARE magic. Those classes that are innate in their capacity to harness and direct magics and/or those with 'inner" magic that needn't rely on external items or training in special words or weird materials.

This gives us...
Fighter
--Barbarian - the wild/untrained fighter, rage fighter, berserker
--Cavalier - the trained/learned fighter, honor-bound fighter, knight
--Martial Adept - the unarmed super-disciplined/tough fighter, brawler
--Swordmage/Eldritch Knight/something better - the uses arcane magic in their fighting fighter

Rogue
--Acrobat - the maneuverability specialist/expert, mobile combatant, cat burglar, entertainer
--Rake/Cad - the interactive specialist/expert, negotiator, courtesan, spy, mastermind
--Thief - the stealth & trickery specialist/expert
--Trickster - the stealth & trickery with magic specialist/expert, could be a jester, could be a ninja, could be extra-rogue/thiefy bard, minor arcane magic (predominantly illusion and spells for infiltration and deception)

Explorer
--Bard - the loremaster, chronicler, entertainer, the semi-thief, semi-fighter, semi-spell-user, nature magic (the music of the universe) channeler, support- and inspiration-meister.
--Crusader - the holy/religious fighter, minor divine magic, paladin-lite (make Paladin a prestige class)
--Ranger - the wilderness specialist/expert, outdoorsman, borderlands warrior, options for adding animal companions, adding nature magic, adding special monster-hunter, etc...
--Swashbuckler - the acrobatic/mobility fighter, expert sailor/mariner, interactive charms and combat panache.

Wizard (the Int. magic-users)
--Druid - nature magic caster
--Illusionist - illusion/enchantment magic specialist caster
--Invoker/Oracle - divine magic caster
--Mage - arcane magic caster

Channeler (the Wis. magic-users)
--Alchemist - the alchemy magic-maker
--Artificer - the item/augmenting magic-maker
--Cleric - the divine magic channeler
--Warlock - the arcane magic channeler

Sorcerer (the Cha. magic-users)
--Elementalist -wielder of innate element-based magic
--Psychic - wielder of innate mental powers
--Shadowcaster - wielder of shadow magic
--Witch - wielder of innate diverse magic powers
 

Heck, let's really boil it down to human-elf-dwarf-smallfolk-planetouched-beastfolk. Then you only need new rules or genuinely new stuff like warforged and slime-people.
I don't just say this because I'm a diehard fan, though that is a reason I say it: probably want to fork out either "dragonborn" specifically or a "scalefolk" generality, because their rising popularity means demoting them to "one obscure branch of some other race" is unlikely to be well received, and because they really pretty well do cover an archetype, even if it's one some folks don't like. Not necessarily wise to dummy out the fourth most popular race in general (after "humans collectively," half-elves, and "elves collectively") or possibly fifth (if tieflings have regained some ground since the last time we were given user data; there's little danger of any other race overtaking these five).

But, as stated, I personally see an awful lot of "bloat" as still useful, just specialized; being specialized is not a design sin. I do think there are some arguably redundant races, but it is a lost cause to try to consolidate them. WotC is explicitly rejecting the "race with subraces" way of doing things, and instead forking out each subrace as a distinct (albeit sometimes intimately related) ancestry now. That's not a battle you're going to win, even if I grant you that there's some proliferation there.
 

Undrave

Hero
This feels like an area where less-is-more could apply: having different rules for eagle people, crow people and owl people is definitely bloat. You could probably lump them all into a single, flexible animal people rules-thing and cover a lot of territory with minimal mechanical cruft.

Heck, let's really boil it down to human-elf-dwarf-smallfolk-planetouched-beastfolk. Then you only need new rules or genuinely new stuff like warforged and slime-people.

Don't forget plant people. Would Thri-Kreen fit into Beastfolks? Otherwise you need an Insect classification.

I don't just say this because I'm a diehard fan, though that is a reason I say it: probably want to fork out either "dragonborn" specifically or a "scalefolk" generality, because their rising popularity means demoting them to "one obscure branch of some other race" is unlikely to be well received, and because they really pretty well do cover an archetype, even if it's one some folks don't like. Not necessarily wise to dummy out the fourth most popular race in general (after "humans collectively," half-elves, and "elves collectively") or possibly fifth (if tieflings have regained some ground since the last time we were given user data; there's little danger of any other race overtaking these five).

But, as stated, I personally see an awful lot of "bloat" as still useful, just specialized; being specialized is not a design sin. I do think there are some arguably redundant races, but it is a lost cause to try to consolidate them. WotC is explicitly rejecting the "race with subraces" way of doing things, and instead forking out each subrace as a distinct (albeit sometimes intimately related) ancestry now. That's not a battle you're going to win, even if I grant you that there's some proliferation there.

WotC is also highly interested in races they can trademark. It's part of the reason why Dragonborns and Tieflings got such a push in 4e. Anybody can put Human/Elves/Half-elves/Dwarf/Orc/Goblin in their game, only WotC gets Dragonborn, Tieflings, Aarackroka, Eladrin, etc. Having unique races is important to The Brand. It's also the kind of content that's relatively easy to pump out so that helps.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top