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D&D General Exclusive Subclasses for Nonhuman PC races in an Almost Old School World

Minigiant

Legend
Imagine you were going to play an older edition of D&D or use house rules and homebrew to make it feel like an older edition.
Except there was one major change to how you did race and class.

Instead of only humans having their own exclusive classes and subclasses based on characters from popular books, legends, and other media, every playable class had them.

Dwarves would have their one "I want to be Aragorn" exclusive class for a dwarf. But uses a dwarfy character or stout character as the skeleton of the class instead of Aragorn.
One might make a Incredible Hulk class for the Half Orc as both are known from their anger and colorization. "A human can be a barbarian or fighter but only half orcs and full blooded orcs can be the Hulk class."

What kinds of classes would you create for a more classical world? Which characters would match a dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling, or half orc there? Or if you want to go a bit more crazy add dragonborn and tielfing to the mix?
 

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Tiefling racial powers like Hellish rebuke would be integrated with Warlock class spells. Tieflings would be designed to be Infernal Pact Warlocks. When they make a deal with a fiend it's really just their fiendish ancestor helping them out.
Maybe only Tieflings can become Warlocks?
 

Gnomes would be built to be Artificers. Gnome racial spells and powers would be altered to fit into their class (As in Dragonlance but without the constant failures and explosions). Maybe only Gnomes can become Artificers.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Are we talking like some of the 3E prestige classes, made into a full class?

Dwarf - Dwarven Defender
Halfling - Halfling Outrider
Elf - Elvin Bladesinger
Gnome - Breachgnome (2E Kit)

Tiefling - Acolyte of the Skin
Dragonborn - Platinum Knight (3E Draconomicon Prestige)
 

Minigiant

Legend
Are we talking like some of the 3E prestige classes, made into a full class?

Dwarf - Dwarven Defender
Halfling - Halfling Outrider
Elf - Elvin Bladesinger
Gnome - Breachgnome (2E Kit)

Tiefling - Acolyte of the Skin
Dragonborn - Platinum Knight (3E Draconomicon Prestige)

Yeah. Part making kits and prestige classes into full classes and part molding fictional characters into classes.

Humans would get Bard, Druid, Monk, Paladin, and Ranger classes exclusively.

Dwarves would get Battlerager, Defender, "Fafnir", and "Gimli" and classes exclusively.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Would those classes have subclasses also? The concept behind the classes may become a little thin if each race has 2-3 classes and each of those classes have 2-3 archetypes/subclasses.

So Human would get Fighter, Wizard, Druid, Rogue, Monk, Paladin, Ranger and Bard
Dwarf: I'd go with Dwarven Defender, Tunnel Stalker and Rune Priest.
Elf: Bladesinger, Arcane Archer, Archfey Priest
Halfling: Outrider, Master thrower, Burglar

Orc: Warchanter, Storm shaman, Berserker
Tiefling: Hexblade (fighter), Dread knight, Demonologist
Dragonborn: Draconic sorcerer, Dragon Disciple, Platinium avenger
Gnome: Breachwarder, Arcane trickster, Illusionist

Half-X: pick one of the parent's classes.
 

J-H

Adventurer
I'd say elf would be a lot more likely to have druid than human would.

Monk would be a githzerai racial class with the occasional non-gith adherent.
 

Voadam

Legend
Dwarf - Runepriest. Not wizarding, not deity worshipping cleric, but magic built on runes to boost crafted metal items and to effect magic on its own.

Elf - Bladesinger/Eldritch Knight/Arcane Archer. Some sort of Elric wizard warrior.

Gnome - Weird fey illusionist. Make 1e style illusionists gnome exclusive. You lose the Blackstone/Copperfield more stagey human concept, but it is traditional to have gnomes as them and the 1e class of its own fits plus tying into the fey aspects and Garl Glittergold trickster archetype.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Would those classes have subclasses also? The concept behind the classes may become a little thin if each race has 2-3 classes and each of those classes have 2-3 archetypes/subclasses.
That depends on the edition and class really.

Like a Gnome Artificer would be Rogue subclass in older editions but could be its own class in a new edition.

Whereas a Dwarven Defender would be hardpressed to have subclasses unless you add something like Runeknights and Stone Wardens in it or combined it with Battleragers and Axedwarves.

In later editions, due to the greater demand of options, you would have to combine more sources of inspiration in order to be able to split them up afterward. You would have to combine the Gnome Artificer and Gnome Illusionist into a single Gnome Gadgeteer that creates minor magic items via infusions. Or combine the Bladesinger and Arcane Archer into a single Elven Magic Warrior class with each weapon being their own subclass.
 




What does the Halfling Sheriff do that a Halfling fighter can't?
IIRC the Sheriff kit had mild rogue feelings, while being a respected member of society, also a little bit lazy.

In core 5e, I would probably make it as a Halfling Fighter (Champion) with a Spy background
 

Stormonu

Legend
That depends on the edition and class really.

Like a Gnome Artificer would be Rogue subclass in older editions but could be its own class in a new edition.

Whereas a Dwarven Defender would be hardpressed to have subclasses unless you add something like Runeknights and Stone Wardens in it or combined it with Battleragers and Axedwarves.

In later editions, due to the greater demand of options, you would have to combine more sources of inspiration in order to be able to split them up afterward. You would have to combine the Gnome Artificer and Gnome Illusionist into a single Gnome Gadgeteer that creates minor magic items via infusions. Or combine the Bladesinger and Arcane Archer into a single Elven Magic Warrior class with each weapon being their own subclass.
Nah, it wouldn't be too hard to do subclasses for each

Dwarven Defender
  • Stalwart (damage reduction, immovibility, sentinel, weapon and shield)
  • Cavefighter (mobility, ambush, two-weapon fighting)
  • Foeslayer (heavy armor, reach, two-handed weapons)
 

Stormonu

Legend
Okay, what about reversing this - making race-only subclasses for the existing classes? I think they tried this in Sword Coast (with Bladesinger), but decided to abandon it.

Such as Fighter; subclass Dwarven Defender?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Okay, what about reversing this - making race-only subclasses for the existing classes? I think they tried this in Sword Coast (with Bladesinger), but decided to abandon it.

Such as Fighter; subclass Dwarven Defender?
I’d be more inclined to do it with subclasses than full classes. And the blade singers are excellent examples of how they can work. You just need the stamina to hold to the restrictions because nothing says wasted effort more than building a restricted option only to open it up at the first request.
 

Like so many things it would work well if it reinforces a setting but without a setting to reinforce people would complain it is needlessly restrictive.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Okay, what about reversing this - making race-only subclasses for the existing classes? I think they tried this in Sword Coast (with Bladesinger), but decided to abandon it.

Such as Fighter; subclass Dwarven Defender?
Breach Warden (gnome, paladin)
Tunnel stalker (dwarf, Rogue)
Warchanter (orc, bard)
Dragon shaman (dragonborn, druid)
 

aco175

Legend
I would be tempted to make each race a class for levels 1-2 and then the level 3 path become a more traditional class like the examples above. That would give it a more old-school feel.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Like so many things it would work well if it reinforces a setting but without a setting to reinforce people would complain it is needlessly restrictive.
That's the key

For example the human only druidic Bard, Druid, and Druidic ranger suggests a Celt like nation where the druids of the forest are the main religious power. The Celti-like nobility have the druids train a set of warriors to defend the borders and train warrior-bards to spread the war stories.

So those who want to play a dwarf ranger would see how the dwarves lack the infrastructure for rangers or bards. The dwarves would have their own infrastructure, biology, and culture to have their own classes.
 

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