D&D 5E Fluff & Rule, Lore & Crunch. The Interplay of Class, System, and Color in D&D

Classes, what do you think?

  • 1. Classes are designed to reflect both a certain set of rules as well as lore.

    Votes: 63 63.6%
  • 2. Classes are designed to reflect a certain set of rules, but all lore is optional.

    Votes: 26 26.3%
  • 3. I have some opinion not adequately portrayed in the two options and I will put in the comments.

    Votes: 7 7.1%
  • 4. I have no idea what this poll is about, even after reading the initial post.

    Votes: 3 3.0%

Minigiant

Legend
I see classes as examples of mechanical combinations that the base lore of the game says that would be put together by people of the world.

It's the "why do rangers ave magic?" question. It's because the game lore suggests no ranger would go out into the wildnerness alone magicless nor would they not have connections to the magical beings there.

The lore or mechanics can be changed be these packages are what the game thinks would exist.
 

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aco175

Legend
Would you let me call my Fighter/Bard a Warlord?
I would likely let you play it like a warlord and call yourself "Bob, the Warlord" when talking to NPCs, but on paper you would still need to be a fighter5/bard3 for game purposes.

Then the problem for some may be with the old warlord powers and the player wanting to use some of them since the fighter/bard mechanics do not fit his picture of a warlord. I may be cool with swapping out some powers but would need to sit down with the player.
 

Remathilis

Legend
This is going to degenerate into a long thread where people argue the merits of refluffing/reskinning with the usual tangents about mechanics/lore separation, disassociated mechanics, fighters calling themselves "wizards" with a side dip into how some archetypes used for classes and subclasses are offensive/stereotypical and should be removed and how removing x class from the game will ultimately destroy the soul of D&D.

Got my popcorn ready...
 



TwoSix

Unserious gamer
This is going to degenerate into a long thread where people argue the merits of refluffing/reskinning with the usual tangents about mechanics/lore separation, disassociated mechanics, fighters calling themselves "wizards" with a side dip into how some archetypes used for classes and subclasses are offensive/stereotypical and should be removed and how removing x class from the game will ultimately destroy the soul of D&D.

Got my popcorn ready...
Right?! I'm already giddy.
 

Democratus

Adventurer
For what it's worth, not all "rangers" (the profession) are Rangers (the class) nor are all Rangers "rangers", but MOST Rangers ARE "rangers" and vice versa.
Again, this is edition dependent.

Originally the ranger class was exactly the rangers from Lord of the Rings, including proficiency with the Palantir.
 

Even within editions, there's often a pretty wide variance in how much classes are tied to specific lore.

In 5E, for example, Warlocks are tied to pretty intensely specific lore. As are Sorcerers. But Rogues? Not really. Bards? Bizarrely also not really despite being massive spell-casters and so on. Fighters? Not really. Paladins? Extremely specific, some of the most specific in 5E. Clerics are in a weird place where they're an intensely specific concept with weird restrictions that doesn't really link well to 5E's lore about them.

Even within classes, there's huge variance. Some subclasses are vague and have little lore associated with them (Champion, Thief, etc.), whereas others are hyper-specific (Purple Dragon Knight, Bladesinger, Battlerager).

So it's not really possible to generalize effectively.

I think 4E had the most consistent level of lore specificity for it's classes, which was fairly high, despite it putting mechanics first in theory. This is partly why it had so many classes.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Again, this is edition dependent.

Originally the ranger class was exactly the rangers from Lord of the Rings, including proficiency with the Palantir.
Which is to say that a ranger is/was a specific thing in the game lore, not just the mechanics. Strider is identified as a ranger by the others; that is his "job" in the game and he has the class to back it up. Arguably, Legolas has a lot of the same skills (minus magical ones, but that is arguably because Aragorn is king and not a ranger) but isn't identified as one.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Again, this is edition dependent.

Originally the ranger class was exactly the rangers from Lord of the Rings, including proficiency with the Palantir.

I agree, and nodded to that in the OP.

That said, I think that there are two things that can be said about 5e, which is why I started the thread and put up the poll (because I was curious what other people thought):

1. Some classes in 5e are more "lore heavy" than other classes.

2. People approach 5e in different ways. For lack of a better way of putting it, some people attach meaning and "rule-like" substance to the lore of classes, and others concentrate only on the mechanical aspects. I don't think either approach is incorrect, I'm just wondering how different people handle it.
 
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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
2. People approach 5e in different ways. For lack of a better way of putting it, some people attach meaning and "rule-like" substance to the lore of classes, and others concentrate only on the mechanical aspects. I don't think either approach is correct, I'm just wondering how different people handle it.
I think you mean that neither approach is incorrect? Or something like? It seems more in keeping with your general point. Your phrasing makes it seem as though both approaches are entirely wrong, which ... doesn't seem like you, to be honest (though I could be wrong about that).

Sorry.
 

I think you mean that neither approach is incorrect? Or something like? It seems more in keeping with your general point. Your phrasing makes it seem as though both approaches are entirely wrong, which ... doesn't seem like you, to be honest (though I could be wrong about that).

Sorry.
In English "I don't think either approach is correct" does not typically imply they are entirely wrong, though it potentially could. If you wanted "entirely wrong", you'd probably use a strengthener like "I don't think either approach is at all correct".
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I think you mean that neither approach is incorrect? Or something like? It seems more in keeping with your general point. Your phrasing makes it seem as though both approaches are entirely wrong, which ... doesn't seem like you, to be honest (though I could be wrong about that).

Sorry.

I suppose my three options in response are:
1. To gracefully acknowledge my typo; or
2. To surreptitiously edit my post and pretend it never happened, given that I am infallible; or
3. To assume it was purposeful as part of my general misanthropy and swerve hard into that.


Thinking ....

Given that other people are generally terrible, listen to Nickelback and play Bards, I would have to say that whatever they are for, I am against.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
I suppose my three options in response are:
1. To gracefully acknowledge my typo; or
2. To surreptitiously edit my post and pretend it never happened, given that I am infallible; or
3. To assume it was purposeful as part of my general misanthropy and swerve hard into that.


Thinking ....

Given that other people are generally terrible, listen to Nickelback and play Bards, I would have to say that whatever they are for, I am against.
I figure those options aren't mutually exclusive. 😉
 

Voadam

Legend
To me, classes have lore. We don't play out of the SRD for a reason.
For me that reason is because the 5e SRD is so limited in material and options. I played out of the SRD through all of 3.0., 3.5, and Pathfinder 1e. The 4e "SRD" was even worse.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
In English "I don't think either approach is correct" does not typically imply they are entirely wrong, though it potentially could. If you wanted "entirely wrong", you'd probably use a strengthener like "I don't think either approach is at all correct".
I didn't think it was the intent--as I said, it's not in keeping with what @Snarf Zagyg typically says--but why be unintentionally unclear?
 

Voadam

Legend
I am a big fan of using the mechanics to execute cool concepts and reskinning if that works.

I did a LG devout Cuthbertian warrior as a rogue in 3.5 for instance. In my current 5e campaign that I am running two of the characters are World of Darkness concept Werewolves and Werebears. Mechanically one is a human druid and the other is a shifter barbarian. It works really well.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I agree, and nodded to that in the OP.

That said, I think that there are two things that can be said about 5e, which is why I started the thread and put up the poll (because I was curious what other people thought):

1. Some classes in 5e are more "lore heavy" than other classes.
That's generally one of my bigger philosophical issues with 5E (and D&D more generally). I like games with broad classes where the flavor is assumed to be put in by the player. I like games with specific classes, where the classes map strongly onto in-game lore. I get annoyed when the game tries to split the difference, like D&D does when you contrast something like paladin with fighter.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
That's generally one of my bigger philosophical issues with 5E (and D&D more generally). I like games with broad classes where the flavor is assumed to be put in by the player. I like games with specific classes, where the classes map strongly onto in-game lore. I get annoyed when the game tries to split the difference, like D&D does when you contrast something like paladin with fighter.

That's true, but I think that's a feature, or a bug (?), that's always been with D&D to a greater or lesser extent because of the very nature of how it originated.

The original two classes (Fighting Man, Magic User) covered the entire spectrum of two archetypes.

Then, they added a third, gish, class that also happened to be weirdly lore-heavy for bizarrely specific reasons (the Cleric as a Van Helsing type).

Once you have those three (basically FIGHT, SPELL, and GISH) everything that came after it became more lore-heavy, with the possible (possible!) exception of the Thief.

Halflings, Elves, and Dwarves were Tolkien.

Rangers were Strider. Paladins were Three Hearts. Assassins, Bards, Illusionists- all weirdly specific "subclasses." The Druid was a very specific conception of Sustare's idea of proto-Romano-Celtic ideas that were around in the 70s. And the Monk was straight-up Remo Williams.

Since then, you have the same issue. You have to include the lore-light core classes (such as Fighter, Wizard) and if you want some continuity, you also have to make a place for the other classes that mostly exist because of some tie-in to traditional lore.


IMO, etc.
 

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