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Blog (A5E) Class Balance In A5E: How Much Damage Should A Damage Dealer Deal?

In Level Up: Advanced Fifth Edition, we’re creating new incarnations of the 5e character classes. Before we build our new classes from the ground up, we need… a teardown of the originals to see how they work!

Our design goal is to produce characters of approximately the same power level as the ones in the Players Handbook. We’ll need to do some math to figure out the targets we’re shooting for. Before we crunch the numbers, though, let's talk about what we mean by power level.

World Power Level

First, let me say that we're quite happy to expand characters’ abilities when it comes to the social and exploration pillars of the game. Some classes need more expansion than others. Currently, the wizard has dozens of exploration spells: scrying, teleportation, Jump, Find Traps, and many more. The bard has the social pillar covered, with Friends, Glibness, charms of all kinds, and the Expertise class feature which allows her to double her proficiency bonus. The rogue has Expertise but can't compete with the bard's spell tricks. A good roleplayer can do a lot with a fighter, but the class features don't do a lot of the heavy lifting.

We aim for each character class, including the non-spellcasters, to gain unique, powerful non-combat mechanical elements that let them do things that no other class can do. Let the spellcasters be jealous for once.



Combat Power Level

When I talk in this article about preserving the game's current power level, what I really mean is that a party of Level Up characters won't overperform or underperform a standard D&D party in combat. That means that you can play any D&D adventure, official or third party, and get the level of combat challenge that its designers intended.

Most of a class's combat statistics are pretty easy to figure out: How many hit points can we expect a fighter to have at level 10? What's a monk's typical Armor Class at level 3? Harder to calculate, but no less important, is this: how much damage can a character dish out at a given level? Without that piece of information, we can't really balance the classes' combat effectiveness.

There are so many variables in calculating damage that completely answering this question may be impossible. But we've got to start somewhere.

Let’s start with some assumptions.

1. I'll benchmark each character of level X against an enemy monster of CR X. Without some sort of class-granted accuracy bonus, each character hits 60% of the time. (Character attack bonus and monster Armor Class tend to increase at roughly the same rate.) If a class feature grants extra accuracy or advantage, that needs to be factored that into their average damage per round. (A mere +1 bonus to hit can result in an 8% damage boost!)

2. I assume that every area attack hits two monsters.

3. I average a character's damage over the first three rounds of combat.

4. For my benchmarks, I built Players Handbook-only characters, and I leaned towards the simplest subclass available. When presented with a class option, I chose the bigger-damage option. For instance, I built a Great Weapon fighter instead of a Protection build. I didn’t use feats, since I’d like this test to focus on class damage, not on feat effectiveness.

Before we start crunching numbers, we have an important decision to make. Which fight shall we simulate: an easy battle in which the party is conserving their resources, or an all-out assault where the wizards are using their highest spell slots, the fighter is using Action Surge, and the paladin is smiting everything that moves?

Why not both? Some classes can go nova, throwing down a lot of damage in a big fight, and some classes do steady damage throughout multiple fights. We need to be able to account for both of these strengths. So for each of the classes I surveyed, I charted their "no-resources" damage (using only infinitely-repeatable attacks they can perform at will) and their "nova" damage (using up every spell slot and class feature in order to maximize the amount of damage that they can deal).

To start, I charted the four "basic" D&D classes: the fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue, plus two more I was interested in: the paladin, which I've heard is overpowered in combat, and the ranger, about which I've heard the reverse.

Here's my chart, on which I track average damage per round for the six classes for levels one through twenty. The solid lines represent maximum nova damage, and the dotted lines represent at-will damage. The rogue only has one damage line, because it really has no limited nova powers.

classchart1.png

The first thing that jumps out at me is that most of the classes fall into one of two categories: high-nova/low-at will, or medium-nova/medium-at-will. The evoker wizard and life cleric can really lay down a lot of damage in a boss fight, but when they're not burning spell slots they plink away with low-damage cantrips. Meanwhile, the champion fighter is right down the strike zone on every pitch. It's always producing around the same amount of damage.

Overall, I like the design of these classes. If it was me, I'd differentiate cleric a bit more by having it do more at-will damage and less nova damage than the wizard, but that's just a minor quibble.

The next thing I notice is that people are right about the paladin and ranger. The nova paladin puts out almost twice as much damage as the nova ranger (and my ranger is trying hard, using bonus action spells every turn and Conjure Volley when it becomes available). And the paladin doesn't give up much to the ranger in any other category to make up for all that extra damage. The paladin's at-will damage is only a hair under the ranger's. The paladin has better armor, the same hit points and better healing abilities.

I know I'm cherry-picking a bit here since I've chosen classes I know to be badly balanced against each other, and I'm compounding this by sticking to the Players Handbook ranger when I know there are higher-damage options in Xanathar's Guide. Nevertheless, it's good to get a sense of what the combat-effectiveness extremes look like.

The last class I want to talk about here is the thief rogue. Since it doesn't have any nova capabilities, you can judge it as either an at-will or a nova attacker. As an at-will user, it's among the better ones, keeping pace with the champion fighter. But judged as a nova class, it's by far the worst. It gets left in the dust by the nova champion fighter. In fact, it gains a big edge over only one nova class—the ranger—and only at levels so high that they are seldom played.

It's worth noting that so far I've only graphed one subclass for each of the classes I've examined, and subclass can make a big difference. To illustrate that, here's the battlemaster fighter graphed onto the same chart.

classchart2.png

The battlemaster is a much better nova subclass than the champion! It almost challenges the paladin for the melee damage-per-round crown. If we accept the fighter as the "right down the middle" class who always produces medium damage, this widens the strike zone a great deal.

So now that we've squinted at some charts, what conclusions can we draw for our character class redesigns?

Lesson 1: Character damage increases linearly with level.

It's a bumpy ride along the way, especially at the first level of each tier (5, 11, and 17), but on the whole, the classes I've graphed do somewhere around 5 + level damage when not using any resources, and somewhere around 5 + (3.5 x level) when they're going all out.

More work is needed here. These patterns need to be borne out with an examination of the rest of the classes and subclasses, more sets of different assumptions (what if character level doesn't equal opponent CR? What if area attacks hit 4 enemies?), and, of course, double checking the math.

Lesson 2: We should try to stay true to the AGGREGATE average damage numbers instead of maintaining each class's current Damage Per Round.

I don't think there's anything sacred about the paladin being the best nova melee class and the backstabbing rogue underperforming everybody. I'd be happy to adjust the damage outputs of the specific classes to better match peoples' story expectations.

D&D doesn't need to be perfectly balanced - it's not a pvp game - but there shouldn't be classes that are much stronger or weaker in combat. Most peoples’ D&D games feature a fair amount of combat, and everyone deserves to have fun during that chunk of their week.

Lesson 3: Damage isn’t dealt in a spreadsheet.

This isn’t something I learned from this graphing exercise, but it’s a reminder not to take it too seriously. The circumstances of every battle are different. And that’s vital to remember when we’re designing class combat features. Depending on the location and the opponents, each class should have a chance to shine.

Wizards should excel against big groups of weak foes clustered within fireball range. Clerics should wreck undead. Rogues should deal the most damage when attacking from ambush. As for the rest of the classes… that’s where you come in.

For the people who have stuck with me through this long post, I have some questions for you. I'd love it if you posted your answers in the comments.
  • For each character class (or for a few classes that you have opinions about), what are the combat circumstances in which you'd expect them to excel?

  • Am I overthinking this? Does combat damage matter to you?

Continue reading...
 
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Pail Hughes

Comments

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
In Level Up: Advanced Fifth Edition, we’re creating new incarnations of the 5e character classes. Before we build our new classes from the ground up, we need… a teardown of the originals to see how they work!

Our design goal is to produce characters of approximately the same power level as the ones in the Players Handbook. We’ll need to do some math to figure out the targets we’re shooting for. Before we crunch the numbers, though, let's talk about what we mean by power level.

World Power Level

First, let me say that we're quite happy to expand characters’ abilities when it comes to the social and exploration pillars of the game. Some classes need more expansion than others. Currently, the wizard has dozens of exploration spells: scrying, teleportation, Jump, Find Traps, and many more. The bard has the social pillar covered, with Friends, Glibness, charms of all kinds, and the Expertise class feature which allows her to double her proficiency bonus. The rogue has Expertise but can't compete with the bard's spell tricks. A good roleplayer can do a lot with a fighter, but the class features don't do a lot of the heavy lifting.

We aim for each character class, including the non-spellcasters, to gain unique, powerful non-combat mechanical elements that let them do things that no other class can do. Let the spellcasters be jealous for once.



Combat Power Level

When I talk in this article about preserving the game's current power level, what I really mean is that a party of Level Up characters won't overperform or underperform a standard D&D party in combat. That means that you can play any D&D adventure, official or third party, and get the level of combat challenge that its designers intended.

Most of a class's combat statistics are pretty easy to figure out: How many hit points can we expect a fighter to have at level 10? What's a monk's typical Armor Class at level 3? Harder to calculate, but no less important, is this: how much damage can a character dish out at a given level? Without that piece of information, we can't really balance the classes' combat effectiveness.

There are so many variables in calculating damage that completely answering this question may be impossible. But we've got to start somewhere.

Let’s start with some assumptions.

1. I'll benchmark each character of level X against an enemy monster of CR X. Without some sort of class-granted accuracy bonus, each character hits 60% of the time. (Character attack bonus and monster Armor Class tend to increase at roughly the same rate.) If a class feature grants extra accuracy or advantage, that needs to be factored that into their average damage per round. (A mere +1 bonus to hit can result in an 8% damage boost!)

2. I assume that every area attack hits two monsters.

3. I average a character's damage over the first three rounds of combat.

4. For my benchmarks, I built Players Handbook-only characters, and I leaned towards the simplest subclass available. When presented with a class option, I chose the bigger-damage option. For instance, I built a Great Weapon fighter instead of a Protection build. I didn’t use feats, since I’d like this test to focus on class damage, not on feat effectiveness.

Before we start crunching numbers, we have an important decision to make. Which fight shall we simulate: an easy battle in which the party is conserving their resources, or an all-out assault where the wizards are using their highest spell slots, the fighter is using Action Surge, and the paladin is smiting everything that moves?

Why not both? Some classes can go nova, throwing down a lot of damage in a big fight, and some classes do steady damage throughout multiple fights. We need to be able to account for both of these strengths. So for each of the classes I surveyed, I charted their "no-resources" damage (using only infinitely-repeatable attacks they can perform at will) and their "nova" damage (using up every spell slot and class feature in order to maximize the amount of damage that they can deal).

To start, I charted the four "basic" D&D classes: the fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue, plus two more I was interested in: the paladin, which I've heard is overpowered in combat, and the ranger, about which I've heard the reverse.

Here's my chart, on which I track average damage per round for the six classes for levels one through twenty. The solid lines represent maximum nova damage, and the dotted lines represent at-will damage. The rogue only has one damage line, because it really has no limited nova powers.

classchart1.png

The first thing that jumps out at me is that most of the classes fall into one of two categories: high-nova/low-at will, or medium-nova/medium-at-will. The evoker wizard and life cleric can really lay down a lot of damage in a boss fight, but when they're not burning spell slots they plink away with low-damage cantrips. Meanwhile, the champion fighter is right down the strike zone on every pitch. It's always producing around the same amount of damage.

Overall, I like the design of these classes. If it was me, I'd differentiate cleric a bit more by having it do more at-will damage and less nova damage than the wizard, but that's just a minor quibble.

The next thing I notice is that people are right about the paladin and ranger. The nova paladin puts out almost twice as much damage as the nova ranger (and my ranger is trying hard, using bonus action spells every turn and Conjure Volley when it becomes available). And the paladin doesn't give up much to the ranger in any other category to make up for all that extra damage. The paladin's at-will damage is only a hair under the ranger's. The paladin has better armor, the same hit points and better healing abilities.

I know I'm cherry-picking a bit here since I've chosen classes I know to be badly balanced against each other, and I'm compounding this by sticking to the Players Handbook ranger when I know there are higher-damage options in Xanathar's Guide. Nevertheless, it's good to get a sense of what the combat-effectiveness extremes look like.

The last class I want to talk about here is the thief rogue. Since it doesn't have any nova capabilities, you can judge it as either an at-will or a nova attacker. As an at-will user, it's among the better ones, keeping pace with the champion fighter. But judged as a nova class, it's by far the worst. It gets left in the dust by the nova champion fighter. In fact, it gains a big edge over only one nova class—the ranger—and only at levels so high that they are seldom played.

It's worth noting that so far I've only graphed one subclass for each of the classes I've examined, and subclass can make a big difference. To illustrate that, here's the battlemaster fighter graphed onto the same chart.

classchart2.png

The battlemaster is a much better nova subclass than the champion! It almost challenges the paladin for the melee damage-per-round crown. If we accept the fighter as the "right down the middle" class who always produces medium damage, this widens the strike zone a great deal.

So now that we've squinted at some charts, what conclusions can we draw for our character class redesigns?

Lesson 1: Character damage increases linearly with level.

It's a bumpy ride along the way, especially at the first level of each tier (5, 11, and 17), but on the whole, the classes I've graphed do somewhere around 5 + level damage when not using any resources, and somewhere around 5 + (3.5 x level) when they're going all out.

More work is needed here. These patterns need to be borne out with an examination of the rest of the classes and subclasses, more sets of different assumptions (what if character level doesn't equal opponent CR? What if area attacks hit 4 enemies?), and, of course, double checking the math.

Lesson 2: We should try to stay true to the AGGREGATE average damage numbers instead of maintaining each class's current Damage Per Round.

I don't think there's anything sacred about the paladin being the best nova melee class and the backstabbing rogue underperforming everybody. I'd be happy to adjust the damage outputs of the specific classes to better match peoples' story expectations.

D&D doesn't need to be perfectly balanced - it's not a pvp game - but there shouldn't be classes that are much stronger or weaker in combat. Most peoples’ D&D games feature a fair amount of combat, and everyone deserves to have fun during that chunk of their week.

Lesson 3: Damage isn’t dealt in a spreadsheet.

This isn’t something I learned from this graphing exercise, but it’s a reminder not to take it too seriously. The circumstances of every battle are different. And that’s vital to remember when we’re designing class combat features. Depending on the location and the opponents, each class should have a chance to shine.

Wizards should excel against big groups of weak foes clustered within fireball range. Clerics should wreck undead. Rogues should deal the most damage when attacking from ambush. As for the rest of the classes… that’s where you come in.

For the people who have stuck with me through this long post, I have some questions for you. I'd love it if you posted your answers in the comments.
  • For each character class (or for a few classes that you have opinions about), what are the combat circumstances in which you'd expect them to excel?

  • Am I overthinking this? Does combat damage matter to you?

Continue reading...
First to say, I really like seeing this care in framing the design. On the subject of how much damage, you've assessed in terms of nova and sustained. Other terms that I use are
  1. Range - Range delivers safety and target selection (so more efficient damage allocation). I thus value ranged damage at 130% of melee damage, e.g. 10 ranged damage = 13 melee damage. That factor will vary for individual campaigns, likely between 110% to 200%; typically falling toward the low end, e.g. 120% to 140%.
  2. Number of targets - Single target attacks should do higher damage (to a single target) than multiple target attacks (which may do more total damage).
  3. Defence - Defence translates most profoundly into efficiency over the adventuring day (e.g. better defence means fewer resources spent in healing), and so attacks that forgo defence should deal more than those that do not (range is a kind of defence, but here I mean factors like a shield, or imposing disadvantage on attackers).
So a GWM Barbarian getting in close and giving up defence, should rightly do a lot more damage than an Agonizing Blast Warlock safely from range, and both should do more than a Wizard to each target of an AoE cantrip. That Paladin you mention likely needs to be standing next to their target, while the Ranger is working from range.

10/20/30 felt like reasonable numbers for average damage per round at tiers 1/2/3, with about a 50% offset (so 5-15 at tier 1). Those numbers aren't far from yours, but I think the designer has to have in mind those details. You are right to consider costed and uncosted, but you must also consider range, defence, number of targets.
 

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clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I'd question the AoE damage assumption. A 10 ft cube, and a 60 ft radius effect both only striking 2 targets will have significant impact on the expected damage output comparisons.

Instead of that, perhaps it'd be possible to have an enemy population density variable applied to the Areas of effect? Maybe have a HIgh, medium, and low and average or apply some weighting to get an 'expected' density so you can get to 'expected' numbers of targets for each effect.

(A fringe benefit in all this btw, is that you can start calculating some breakeven points in AoE effects for the purposes of effect balance and encounter design)

And/or you could layer in the total number of enemy combatants for the encounter, and multiply by the density multiplier and apply to the AoEs to get some caps on potential AoE damage.

In addition, it would likely make sense to split out as incremental, damage to multiple targets vs. single target damage. So you'd likely be looking at single target nova, multi-target nova, and their at-will counterparts. (And in this analysis, you'd likely want to look at both damage per target and total damage)
I would suggest each class be characterised first, in terms of nova, at-will, high-defence, low-defence, close, range, single-target, multi-target, +CC. Examples

Barbarian = at-will, low-defence, close, single-target = X damage expectation by tier
Wizard = nova, low-defence, range, multi-target, +CC = Y damage expectation by tier
 


Gammadoodler

Explorer
I would suggest each class be characterised first, in terms of nova, at-will, high-defence, low-defence, close, range, single-target, multi-target, +CC. Examples

Barbarian = at-will, low-defence, close, single-target = X damage expectation by tier
Wizard = nova, low-defence, range, multi-target, +CC = Y damage expectation by tier
I think these are sensible design considerations. That said, I think the goal with the initial analysis here is to quantify the current state to better determine current capabilities within the existing ruleset.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
It might be valuable to make a family of graphs that track average per-round damage based off of # of short rests, # of encounters, and # of rounds.

Assume any spell that lasts 1 hour lasts between short rests, spells shorter than 1 hour last 1 encounter, spells 8+ hours last an adventuring day.

You can actually short-cut this a bit; build short rest, long rest and at-will buckets. Keep track of the action requirements to unload your short and long rest resource burn, but on a first approximation, you can assume "sufficient" rounds.

For anything except an at-will bucket, if it costs an action you subtract out the at-will bucket action damage.

That might prove illuminating; see if something like the 2-3 short rest, 6-9 encounter, 20-40 round day makes all of those nova and sustained damage characters converge at all.

Once you have that information, you don't have to follow that balance pattern. One thing LU5E could do, being aware of that, provide dials that produce something less skewed on a different encounter schedule than the default one.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I think these are sensible design considerations. That said, I think the goal with the initial analysis here is to quantify the current state to better determine current capabilities within the existing ruleset.
My thought was that in order to quantify the current state correctly, one has to factor in the form of the damage. Is it close or ranged? Does it come with other effects attached? Does it require giving up defence? At present, only cost is considered (nova, or at-will).

EDIT The conclusions in the OP are incorrect, because they only consider using resources or going all out. The Paladin:Ranger comparison is an example of that error.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
I think the decision to focus on no feats for the baseline will be problematic since feats are generally not so much optional as the norm with all the feats ithat continue being spread through more & more 5e books from wotc. Designing for featless knowing most games will have a big power jump from those feats is a big (but not completely) part of why 5e creatures are such poor matchups to a proper CR (or even wildly over CR) encounter. Consider it for what a poorly optimized pc/a party of pcs optimized for something else/a party of pcs not allowed feats could do sure but balance that consideration againt what a normal party will be doing in most games.

I would suggest each class be characterised first, in terms of nova, at-will, high-defence, low-defence, close, range, single-target, multi-target, +CC. Examples

Barbarian = at-will, low-defence, close, single-target = X damage expectation by tier
Wizard = nova, low-defence, range, multi-target, +CC = Y damage expectation by tier
While it's probably a good thing to consider those, how do you figure a barbarian is "low-defense" with rage based resist, unarmored defense, & danger sense? "defense" is more than just AC. Personally I think 5e arcane casters are too crunchy & giv up too much for that crunch, but a lot of that comes down to it being nearly impossible to be killed through attrition rather than stupidity in 5e.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I think the decision to focus on no feats for the baseline will be problematic since feats are generally not so much optional as the norm with all the feats ithat continue being spread through more & more 5e books from wotc. Designing for featless knowing most games will have a big power jump from those feats is a big (but not completely) part of why 5e creatures are such poor matchups to a proper CR (or even wildly over CR) encounter. Consider it for what a poorly optimized pc/a party of pcs optimized for something else/a party of pcs not allowed feats could do sure but balance that consideration againt what a normal party will be doing in most games.


While it's probably a good thing to consider those, how do you figure a barbarian is "low-defense" with rage based resist, unarmored defense, & danger sense? "defense" is more than just AC. Personally I think 5e arcane casters are too crunchy & giv up too much for that crunch, but a lot of that comes down to it being nearly impossible to be killed through attrition rather than stupidity in 5e.
I agree with you about counting feats, and that was what was on my mind. A Barbarian who uses GWM gives up the shield that a Barbarian who does not use GWM can take.
 

akr71

Adventurer
Round one: As a bonus action, cast Spiritual Weapon (not a concentration spell) at level 5: 13.5 (3d8) each turn for 3 turns, for 40 damage overall. Then cast Spirit Guardians at level 4 (concentration), 18 (4d8) damage for 3 turns against 2 targets. 108 damage - or 72, if you assume that the cleric's concentration gets ended one turn early.
How does the cleric cast a 5th level spell as a bonus action, followed by a 4th level spell as an action on the same turn? Doesn't casting two spells in the same turn require one of them to be no higher than a cantrip?
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
How does the cleric cast a 5th level spell as a bonus action, followed by a 4th level spell as an action on the same turn? Doesn't casting two spells in the same turn require one of them to be no higher than a cantrip?
yes
1599769258470.png

but spirit guardians has a 10 min duration & is one of the few damage dealing spells that justify being concentration by moviing with the caster & allowing the caster to exempt creatures they chose from the effect. It's commonly paired with spiritual weapon for cleric "nova" type stuff because spiritual weapon lasts 10 rounds & lets you attack with it as a bonus action each round without needing concentration. The fact that they are both on the same page just lowers the hurdle to notice the combo down to "looked at the other spell when seeing how one worked" rather than some obscure combo or something like arcane archer>bard lots>swift quiver>wtfpwn
1599769677354.png
 

I get that the opening poster excluded feats to get a class baseline, but I think think leads to underestimating Fighter and Thief at will damage. Those classes get more ability score boosts to spend on DPR boosting feats the sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master. Extra Feats are integral to those classes. Personally, I would add damage improving feats at 4Th and 12th level in the baseline math for those classes to simulate the extra feats they get.
This will improve atwill and nova damage significantly and show how the base line classes perform.
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
I get that the opening poster excluded feats to get a class baseline, but I think think leads to underestimating Fighter and Thief at will damage. Those classes get more ability score boosts to spend on DPR boosting feats the sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master. Extra Feats are integral to those classes. Personally, I would add damage improving feats at 4Th and 12th level in the baseline math for those classes to simulate the extra feats they get.
This will improve atwill and nova damage significantly and show how the base line classes perform.
I disagree. The focus here isn't for any particular class to 'win' the damage contest. It is to try and better nail down what the core competencies provide for. Feats are options intended to be usable across classes, and so could be expected to get their own analyses for capabilities as contemplated in freshly re-designed classes.

If classes underperform without feats, and the conclusion is that they truly are 'integral' a reasonable solution would be to actually integrate them such that they are class features or options. But before you get there, it makes sense to look at the what the existing capabilities the classes provide.
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
My thought was that in order to quantify the current state correctly, one has to factor in the form of the damage. Is it close or ranged? Does it come with other effects attached? Does it require giving up defence? At present, only cost is considered (nova, or at-will).

EDIT The conclusions in the OP are incorrect, because they only consider using resources or going all out. The Paladin:Ranger comparison is an example of that error.
Agreed. There is room for more granularity in the analysis, as I've also posted. Just making sure we don't muddy the waters with a discussion of what damage classes 'should' do before we've finished with what they 'actually' do.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
I disagree. The focus here isn't for any particular class to 'win' the damage contest. It is to try and better nail down what the core competencies provide for. Feats are options intended to be usable across classes, and so could be expected to get their own analyses for capabilities as contemplated in freshly re-designed classes.

If classes underperform without feats, and the conclusion is that they truly are 'integral' a reasonable solution would be to actually integrate them such that they are class features or options. But before you get there, it makes sense to look at the what the existing capabilities the classes provide.
I think you miss what @Growing Brains is saying. Both classes get extra ASI as class features. not using those would be like not using smite & rage
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
I think you miss what @Growing Brains is saying. Both classes get extra ASI as class features. not using those would be like not using smite & rage
No I understood that fine..and disagree. There are no rage-less barbarians, and there are no smite-less paladins(past level 1). In addition, both paladins and barbarians can and do get access to feats.

For the sake of symmetry in class analysis, it's best to just treat the ASIs as ASIs for all classes.

If the result is that the fighter is underpowered at that point, then it makes sense to design class features and/or feats to compensate.
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
No I understood that fine..and disagree. There are no rage-less barbarians, and there are no smite-less paladins(past level 1). In addition, both paladins and barbarians can and do get access to feats.

For the sake of symmetry in class analysis, it's best to just treat the ASIs as ASIs for all classes.

If the result is that the fighter is underpowered at that point, then it makes sense to design class features and/or feats to compensate.
No I don't believe there is any barbarian archtype that gives up rage & the same holds true with paladin archtypes from wotc. Both classes split at three & get rage/smite at 1/2. "They might not use their stuff" is an irrelevant distraction that can be applied to any class
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
No I don't believe there is any barbarian archtype that gives up rage & the same holds true with paladin archtypes from wotc. Both classes split at three & get rage/smite at 1/2. "They might not use their stuff" is an irrelevant distraction that can be applied to any class
Think I might have neglected to make my point of comparison. Meant to point out as a distinction that there are plenty of feat-less fighters, whether as a result of DM rules preference, or PC build/leveling decisions.

That and ASIs do not vary in functionality across classes. Giving the asymmetrical utility to fighters/rogues unnecessarily muddies the waters.

Internet discussion being what it is, I'm not sure if we're agreeing or disagreeing here 😅. Just wanted to clarify what I meant.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
No I don't believe there is any barbarian archtype that gives up rage & the same holds true with paladin archtypes from wotc. Both classes split at three & get rage/smite at 1/2. "They might not use their stuff" is an irrelevant distraction that can be applied to any class
I agree that it is reasonable to evaluate them without feats, but then one should at least include the ASI in the model. Roughly +5% / +1 damage per tier and double that for Fighters.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
I agree that it is reasonable to evaluate them without feats, but then one should at least include the ASI in the model. Roughly +5% / +1 damage per tier and double that for Fighters.
Fighters hit 20 in their attack stat at level 6 instead of 8.

Everyone has 20 in their attack/main spellcasting DC stat at 8.

Few other stats impact DPR to a significant degree (hybrids who use both saves and attacks are an exception). But my Paladin, for example, roughly 90% of its damage was weapon based; I don't think there are many classes who split their damage evenly between save-based and attack-based.

Fighter extra ASIs mainly boost defence without feats (AC, HP). Rogue extra ASIs mainly boost utility and defence (HP, cha/int/wis).
 


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