Classes into tiers

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
[MENTION=7175]jadrax[/MENTION]

The Rogue can stay at Tier 1. It is the iconic sneaky skill monkey and to me would be the second most common adventurer class. To me any Joe Everyman who can't fight or isn't magic is probably a rogue. It is the upgrade of the commoner or expert who doesn't get training from someone nor has image combat ability.

I left Psion at 3 because to me, it feels to similar to Sorceror. I see both classes using a spell point/powerpoint system.

[MENTION=14506]Sadrik[/MENTION]

Basically my process if I were determining which classes are classes and which are themes, I'd ask myself this:

Can I take a traditional class, add 3-6 sentences (representing the 3 feats of a theme), and get this new class.

Druid: "Lets see I'll take the cleric as the base, add wildshape. Wait! There is no way I can condense wildshape into a nonbroken or nongarbage feat. Maybe. As a spell but it would still be to strong to just hand out and be choosable. Druid goes in the Tier 2 bin."

Monk: "Okay. Fighter or Rogue base. Flurry of blows can be done as a feat. So can improved unarmed damage. Monkish backfliping and stuff. Ability checks maybe... Wisdom to AC? That is too close to broken maybe. Quivering palm. Fists hard as steel. I don't think it all can fit as a theme. Tier 2 bin"

Psion: "Okay it is like a variant wizard or sorceror. Have to change the Magic ability score and adjust the spell list. Don't think I can make it into a feat. Especially without making it broken. Tier 3 as it is vary similar to other caster classes."
 

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Tallifer

Hero
I would vote all the classes as tier 1 "strongly and mechanically unique."

Especially the Fourth Edition shewed us how to make them so. The Sorcerer and the Paladin were never so clearly defined or played more differently from Wizards, Fighters and Clerics.
 

Mallus

Legend
Here's my (current) take on Theme vs. Class.

A Theme is something that can be applied to more than one Class, while a Class is a package of mechanical abilities which occasionally veers into an archetype.

"Ranger" would be a class, because you can't apply the core concept --rugged, knowledgeable wilderness warrior-- to rogues, magicians, or clerics.

"Spy" would be a theme, because while we might think of a rogue's skill set as particularly well-suited to espionage, mages and even clerics with the right spells work just as well, if not better. Fighters capable of infiltrating enemy armies and surviving alone in the wilderness make fine wartime spies.

"Assassin" could go either way. Anyone can kill for money, only the methods vary. Me, I'd call it a Theme.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Now I think this is more helpful.

I would move Rogue down to Tier 2. The core four should be the core three, the Thief/Rogue is just a Greyhawk specific thing that got way out of control.

I was tempted to go with a flat "No." here and leave it, but it warrants some additional explanation.

I understand OD&D had the core three and thieves were added in the 2nd or 3rd supplement. However, If ANY class has earned its place, its Thief. He's been the "skill" character long before D&D cared about skills, and he's an archetype/role not easily replicated with F-M/M-U/C. D&D since 1977 (Holmes) has had Thief as the defacto fourth man, and there is needs to stay.

Hell, if you want to get REALLY technical, Cleric could probably go tier 2 also, as they're not common to much fantasy; self-justifies its own experience, is overly-world/campaign specific, and isn't even common to all D&D (Dark Sun, I'm looking at you).

Fighting Man and Magic-User, the only classes D&D NEEDs.
 

pemerton

Legend
Tier 2 are more common classes but still a bit uncommon. Many of this are complex variants of existing traditional classes (Druid, Sorcerer), hybrid of the traditional classes that are done justice by multiclassing (Paladin, Ranger), or less rare classes that require subsystems not seen in the core 4.

<snip>

Tier 2: Uncommon (Hard variants, complex hybrids, and classes with their own system)
Bard (bard songs can't be fit into a feat)
Ranger (either a class or an ugly multiclass)
Paladin (see ranger)
Druid (wildshape is too broken as a feat. trust me)
Sorcerer (literally the definition of rewriting the wizard as a non-bookish internal caster)
Warlock (uses its own magic system)
Monk (see ranger)
Based on your criteria, I don't see why wizard makes it into Tier 1 while sorcerer and warlock are in Tier 2. Sorcerers at least, are mechanically more straightforward than wizards (they don't have the complex spellbook and memorisation mechanics). And warlocks (at least in their 4e incarnation - I don't know much about 3.5 warlocks) are no more complex than a wizard.

If Wildshape becomes a spell, then the same is true of druids, which become no more complex than clerics (which have Turn Undead as a spell).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Based on your criteria, I don't see why wizard makes it into Tier 1 while sorcerer and warlock are in Tier 2. Sorcerers at least, are mechanically more straightforward than wizards (they don't have the complex spellbook and memorisation mechanics). And warlocks (at least in their 4e incarnation - I don't know much about 3.5 warlocks) are no more complex than a wizard.

If Wildshape becomes a spell, then the same is true of druids, which become no more complex than clerics (which have Turn Undead as a spell).


Because Tier 1 is only really for the core 4 classes: cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard. These classes are the most common in most D&D settings, required major story events to explain away (Dark Sun, Low/No magic, Godless worlds), and are the fundamental measure of where the other classes are.

Non-Vancian primary spell casters are automatically Tier 2 or 3. Vancian is the base and most common type of casting by default in most D&D world so they can't be Tier 1. And spell casting systems are to complex to fit in a theme as feats so they cannot be Tier 4.

Think of D&D like a steakhouse.

Tier 1 are Steaks. Full Stop. It is a steakhouse, that is what they promote.

Tier 2 are variants and hybrids of 1. This is other grilled meats: poultry, fish, ribs, other cuts. They are commonly ordered but not as much as steak and this is a steakhouse.

Tier 3 is every other entree. Your salads, pastas, soups, and fried foods. Every steakhouse serves some not grilled food and sometimes they do hybrids like steak on a salad or pasta.

Tier 4 is sides and drinks. These items are incomplete. People don't simply ask Ben Benson to take his spoon out the creamed spinach for a whole plate of it but a side or drink can be a major aspect of the complete meal.
 

pemerton

Legend
Because Tier 1 is only really for the core 4 classes: cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard. These classes are the most common in most D&D settings

<snip>

Vancian is the base and most common type of casting by default in most D&D world
I agree that they're the most common in modules with NPCs build around pre-4e expectations and assumptions (it could hardly be otherwise, could it!). I'm not sure that they're the most common in 4e modules, though I'll admit to not having done a count.

If by "worlds" you mean not just modules but D&D novels etc, then I have no idea - espcially as most of them are Forgotten Realms, about which I know next-to-nothing. But personally, if I was 4e-ing Greyhawk I might be inclined to make Mordenkainen a warlock (dealing perhaps with vestiges) rather than a wizard, and to make Otiluke a dragon sorcerer. These would seem to fit well with established personalities and activities, at least in the modules and setting material I'm familiar with.
 

Sadrik

First Post
Basically my process if I were determining which classes are classes and which are themes, I'd ask myself this:

Can I take a traditional class, add 3-6 sentences (representing the 3 feats of a theme), and get this new class.

Well I hope it is more than that. Basically, I want the spell list to be able to mutate depending on the theme. Lets say bard was going to be a theme. I would want the spell list limited to bard like spells, that fit their performances based powers. If you were a wizard/rogue with a bard theme, I would not want that character shooting fireballs on the strum of their loot. So someway to limit spell selection is key in the theme.

Another example if you were a cleric of Shaar/rogue with the assassin background and shadow theme. I want the spell list modified to reflect the shadow theme of the theme. That may be a tall order idk. Otherwise you will wind up with a zillion caster classes, each with a mildly different casting methodology.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I agree that they're the most common in modules with NPCs build around pre-4e expectations and assumptions (it could hardly be otherwise, could it!). I'm not sure that they're the most common in 4e modules, though I'll admit to not having done a count.

If by "worlds" you mean not just modules but D&D novels etc, then I have no idea - espcially as most of them are Forgotten Realms, about which I know next-to-nothing. But personally, if I was 4e-ing Greyhawk I might be inclined to make Mordenkainen a warlock (dealing perhaps with vestiges) rather than a wizard, and to make Otiluke a dragon sorcerer. These would seem to fit well with established personalities and activities, at least in the modules and setting material I'm familiar with.

I was going by official and homemade settings. Few DMs ban any of the "core four" unless there game is very non-traditional.

Well I hope it is more than that. Basically, I want the spell list to be able to mutate depending on the theme. Lets say bard was going to be a theme. I would want the spell list limited to bard like spells, that fit their performances based powers. If you were a wizard/rogue with a bard theme, I would not want that character shooting fireballs on the strum of their loot. So someway to limit spell selection is key in the theme.

Another example if you were a cleric of Shaar/rogue with the assassin background and shadow theme. I want the spell list modified to reflect the shadow theme of the theme. That may be a tall order idk. Otherwise you will wind up with a zillion caster classes, each with a mildly different casting methodology.

Like I said beforre. As themes are collections of feats, I doubt they will alter spell list greatly. Especially since they took out keywords from spells. You can't have a Sound Mage feat that adds all Sonic spells to your list as there is no sonic keyword like 3E and 4E.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
Bare in mind I am mainly playing devil's advocate here, although this is a view I have seen expressed.

I was tempted to go with a flat "No." here and leave it, but it warrants some additional explanation.

I understand OD&D had the core three and thieves were added in the 2nd or 3rd supplement. However, If ANY class has earned its place, its Thief. He's been the "skill" character long before D&D cared about skills, and he's an archetype/role not easily replicated with F-M/M-U/C. D&D since 1977 (Holmes) has had Thief as the defacto fourth man, and there is needs to stay.

The problem with being the skill in a game with no skills... is that its not very good. All those skills can be replicated in the core by a Fighter (or any other class) with decent Ability Scores. Which led to non-weapon proficiencies, which led to skill points, which led to the dark side.

If you go back to Ability Score primacy for 'Skill' resolution, the only thing you really *need* to make a Fighter into a Rogue is a Backstab feat.

Now bear in mind I am not saying removing the Rogue is a good idea, I am just saying I don't see that the Rogue is unique enough in an essentially Skill Free system to be at the very top table.

Hell, if you want to get REALLY technical, Cleric could probably go tier 2 also, as they're not common to much fantasy; self-justifies its own experience, is overly-world/campaign specific, and isn't even common to all D&D (Dark Sun, I'm looking at you).

Fighting Man and Magic-User, the only classes D&D NEEDs.

I can certainly see why you wouldn't need a cleric class.
 

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