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D&D 6E Change to Basic Class / Subclass design?

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
So looing at the fighter/ranger/paladin material style options, warlock invocation, and artificer infusions ... I can't help but think that subclasses might not be a thing in 6E. That sub-classes would fall away for adding level based options with prerequisites which adds more class flexibility than subclasses. You could also roll feats into a general feature list which could substitute class features. Then if an idea is found that can't be built they release more class feature options under a theme like they do subclasses now, but if your have a feature you don't like in a bundle, you just replace it with one you do want which will add to your character uniqueness.
 

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ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
It sounds almost like 4e powers.
I never played 4e, I played a lot of 5e, 3e, and 3.5e. But the selectable features are highly used in 5e and well liked. Totem Barbarians, Rune Knights, etc more and more selective features like the artificer and warlock have. I would not mind if the classes were all rebuilt under that design. Even 3e / 3.5e had a lot of feature choices which is how I ended up with duel wielding ranger I loved, while my brother had an ranger archer who also carried a katana. I heard 4e sucked, but I also know some loved it. Did they implement like artificers and warlocks? Its not new to D&D at any rate.

I like the idea of making feats general level feature selections that can replace class feature you don't like. I also like warlock invocations being specific to that class, and other invocations being restricted to the warlocks pact. I am just suggesting one step further and make the subclass features also selectable. So you could still have a "subclass category" but it would just let you choose features with the subclass as a prerequisite. This would mean you could take a "feat", warlock invocation, or "subclass category" invocation. I currently end up with features that don't fit my character concept or that I just don't like because I want the rest of the subclass bundle.
 


Raith5

Adventurer
I agree that subclasses do need a bit of a rethinking going forward.

I feel that subclasses carry a lot of a classes feel and fit too many different game design elements . In some cases it works great (cleric domains or warlock domains come to mind) but in some cases it is messy (ie in the fighter there is the basic or complicated fighter - in the PHB, the fighting style fighter, even the cultural fighter - ie samurai). I feel that fighters and melee types should be shaped more by fighting style than anything.

I am in favour of more customization - but maybe more feats may be the better way to go.
 

Dragonsbane777

Explorer
In switching from 5E to Cypher System for our fantasy games, I discovered a great feature - subclasses that have no parent class. Your focus in Cypher System is a subclass, but it can apply to any class. Rides the Lightning gives electric powers, and can be chosen by the Warrior, Adept, or any other class. It's amazing. Something to consider.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
In switching from 5E to Cypher System for our fantasy games, I discovered a great feature - subclasses that have no parent class. Your focus in Cypher System is a subclass, but it can apply to any class. Rides the Lightning gives electric powers, and can be chosen by the Warrior, Adept, or any other class. It's amazing. Something to consider.
Agreed. I often suggest something like Shadow of the Demon Lord that does essentially the same thing. For 6e, I'd have characters that go up to 20 level, but not 20 ''class levels''. The 20 steps of progression would be composed of Background/Ancestry/Class/Archetype/Skills, which would be mix-match-able.

Ex:

Lvl 0: Background Feature, Ancestry Feature
lvl 1: Class feature
lvl 2: Class feature, Archetype feature
lvl 3: Skill Utility feature (something akin to Feats for Skills from UA)
lvl 4: ASI
lvl 5: Class feature
lvl 6: Archetype feature, Skill utility feature
Lvl 7: Ancestry feature
lvl 8: ASI
Lvl 9: Class feature, Background Feature
lvl 10: Archetype feature
lvl 11: Class feature, Ancestry feature
lvl 12: ASI

and so on.

So more movable parts, but each part is smaller than in 5e.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Agreed. I often suggest something like Shadow of the Demon Lord that does essentially the same thing. For 6e, I'd have characters that go up to 20 level, but not 20 ''class levels''. The 20 steps of progression would be composed of Background/Ancestry/Class/Archetype/Skills, which would be mix-match-able.

Ex:

Lvl 0: Background Feature, Ancestry Feature
lvl 1: Class feature
lvl 2: Class feature, Archetype feature
lvl 3: Skill Utility feature (something akin to Feats for Skills from UA)
lvl 4: ASI
lvl 5: Class feature
lvl 6: Archetype feature, Skill utility feature
Lvl 7: Ancestry feature
lvl 8: ASI
Lvl 9: Class feature, Background Feature
lvl 10: Archetype feature
lvl 11: Class feature, Ancestry feature
lvl 12: ASI

and so on.

So more movable parts, but each part is smaller than in 5e.
I would love a D&D that shared more DNA with SotDL.
 


I definitely hope they generally move more design space to the subclass. It would increase page count, but it would make it easier to expand options. "Pick a feature" options like invocations are also generally good.

IE: if rangers had more room in the subclass (and no casting in the core), they could do a lot more with animal companions or specialist rangers. Monks could really open up to a lot more fictional archetypes, fighters could learn differnt kinds of magic, etc.

But I would not want to see subclasses go away entirely. Being relatively easy to get into (at least, for a game with this much crunch and variety) is a major benefit of 5e. Subclasses make it simple to figure out what the most important choices are for making the character you want. I wouldn't like it if that was removed.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
I definitely hope they generally move more design space to the subclass. It would increase page count, but it would make it easier to expand options. "Pick a feature" options like invocations are also generally good.

IE: if rangers had more room in the subclass (and no casting in the core), they could do a lot more with animal companions or specialist rangers. Monks could really open up to a lot more fictional archetypes, fighters could learn differnt kinds of magic, etc.

But I would not want to see subclasses go away entirely. Being relatively easy to get into (at least, for a game with this much crunch and variety) is a major benefit of 5e. Subclasses make it simple to figure out what the most important choices are for making the character you want. I wouldn't like it if that was removed.

If I'm understanding you correctly, I kind of agree with this. To be honest I think this is something that could have been handled much better in 5e. They weren't bold enough in committing to cleaning up the base class options by reducing the # and backing out features to give more design space to subclasses, and they simultaneously want to control the number of classes and pigeonhole all new concepts as subclasses into existing classes even when it's a significant thematic stretch to do so (i.e. psion or shaman.) So we're left underexploring a lot of those class concepts and getting a lot of unclean bloat in subclass options that don't leave a ton of customization room and can't be MC'd effectively.

I arguably think that 3e's prestige classes worked better as a concept, but that they needed to do the same approach and pare back or simplify what was offered through base classes.
 


auburn2

Adventurer
So looing at the fighter/ranger/paladin material style options, warlock invocation, and artificer infusions ... I can't help but think that subclasses might not be a thing in 6E. That sub-classes would fall away for adding level based options with prerequisites which adds more class flexibility than subclasses. You could also roll feats into a general feature list which could substitute class features. Then if an idea is found that can't be built they release more class feature options under a theme like they do subclasses now, but if your have a feature you don't like in a bundle, you just replace it with one you do want which will add to your character uniqueness.
As others have said, I think this sounds a lot like 4E and i don't think wizards wants to go that direction.

I think a major problem with this is that it is difficult to make options that are good at low level and also good at high level. This means you typically have to have prerequisites, and a skill tree and it railroads your build at a very low level. I want to get feature C at 12th level so I need to take A at 4th and B at 8th because they are prerequisites to C. Once you have taken B you are locked in to C and you I can't ever take F because that requires D and E and you will never get those.

I think with Tasha's, the current system is very good at offering a mix of class features that can't be changed, subclass features that can be swapped out en masse with an entirely different subclass, and feats which are open and arbitrary.
 
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I agree that subclasses do need a bit of a rethinking going forward.

I feel that subclasses carry a lot of a classes feel and fit too many different game design elements . In some cases it works great (cleric domains or warlock domains come to mind) but in some cases it is messy (ie in the fighter there is the basic or complicated fighter - in the PHB, the fighting style fighter, even the cultural fighter - ie samurai). I feel that fighters and melee types should be shaped more by fighting style than anything.

I am in favour of more customization - but maybe more feats may be the better way to go.
I have been considering something like that for the monk but it could really work for all non-casters.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I definitely hope they generally move more design space to the subclass. It would increase page count, but it would make it easier to expand options. "Pick a feature" options like invocations are also generally good.

IE: if rangers had more room in the subclass (and no casting in the core), they could do a lot more with animal companions or specialist rangers. Monks could really open up to a lot more fictional archetypes, fighters could learn differnt kinds of magic, etc.
And with the idea of open subclasses instead of class specific ones, we can have a "pet" subclass that's a beast for a ranger or druid, an undead thrall for a necromancer, a steed for a paladin, an elemental for an elementalist, a construct for an artificer, or whatever else makes sense.
 

And with the idea of open subclasses instead of class specific ones, we can have a "pet" subclass that's a beast for a ranger or druid, an undead thrall for a necromancer, a steed for a paladin, an elemental for an elementalist, a construct for an artificer, or whatever else makes sense.
That would be cool.

I'm not sure it would be worth the cost, but the baatezu are in the details here. It might just be easier to make a ranger pet sub, a barbarian pet sub, and a druid pet sub. Depending on how the details shake out. My biggest worry would be with full casters - they already get so much power from spells, and so much customization form spell selection, that subclasses can't add much without making the already-powerful full casters way more powerful. And trying to give the core fighter enough power to keep up with the core wizard, while allowing for fun, evocation, transformative subclasses like the Rune Knight or Echo Knight, would result in characters with so much going on they'll blow past 4e in terms of character power.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
As long as we can avoid class feature trees, I'd be okay with that.
I actually like "class feature trees" way better than static linear classes/subclasses. Then "sub classes" are build names or prerequisite limit options you select as a feature. That could mean 2 subclasses are allows but you would have to spend a feature to buy each subclass so people would generally not do it unless they needed it to fill a character concept since the more you have the less features you have so its inefficient.
 

It’s a main feature of the early 4ed.
Interchangeable power, same resting pace, same feat progression,
it has been a source of dissatisfaction, the feeling that all classes look the same.
they did the opposite in 5ed and still got whim that class don’t get feature a same level, don’t have same resting pace.
6ed if any, could bounce either side.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
I want four basic core classes like 2E (warrior, rogue, priest, wizard) and everything else be subclasses.
That is feasible with with a more modular design. I actually think you could reduce it to 3. Rogue is not necessary as its only class but as a tagged skill set. For example, you could take the "thieves guild" back ground for stealth, slight of hand, and thieves can't. Then Sneak attack could be an option you can replace one major class feature with if you have 13 Dex and Stealth proficiency. Doing it like this means you could have a rogue warrior, rogue priest, and rogue wizard. This was a complaint from many player who played before rogues were a class were annoyed that they were expected to play a specific class to be a thieving scoundrel. You can play around that in 5e and I did, but I also got flack for it until I proved my warlock worked as a thief scout, then they accursed me of being a "munchkin" stealing other classes feature. If Warlock was a subclass of wizard and rogue was a group of feature you could add to any character in place of other feature then you end up with way more options to be rogues, scouts, assassins'.

Edit: I was wrong, you need 4 Classes. Warrior (STR/DEX/CON), Cleric (WIZ) channeled from source, Wizard (INT) learned and triggered, and Sorcerer (CHA) innate or from being altered to be. Melee fighters can all be built with 3 stats and it works, but the 3 mental stats and how they gain and use magic need to be separated or you have to rebuild the base system. I personally like the base system and would go with separation.
 
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ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
And with the idea of open subclasses instead of class specific ones, we can have a "pet" subclass that's a beast for a ranger or druid, an undead thrall for a necromancer, a steed for a paladin, an elemental for an elementalist, a construct for an artificer, or whatever else makes sense.
OH YES! I would love it as an general use major feature "Pet Master" that tags your character for additional features with the same tag, but allow for other subclasses, so you could have a "rogue" tag feature and have for example a monkey pet who is your partner in crime or a Shadowfell tag and have a shadow mastiff. This would be capable with any class. All of your tags above would just open additional options of pets based on having prerequisites. That would mean both that if you want a pet you can half one as feature and that if you don't want a pet the subclass you want does not force it on you.
 

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