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%

Vaalingrade

Legend
I'd really prefer classes to be the mechanical chassis onto which you build the concept and lore. I don't want classes that limit themselves because of lore be this from rogues only getting SA with certain weapons or Paladins being required to be awful people by their code of conduct or monks turning into Lawful Outsider... things at cap level.
 

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I'd really prefer classes to be the mechanical chassis onto which you build the concept and lore. I don't want classes that limit themselves because of lore be this from rogues only getting SA with certain weapons or Paladins being required to be awful people by their code of conduct or monks turning into Lawful Outsider... things at cap level.
to restrictive lore would be a bad idea but something to give a basic perspective/view helps the new or unfamiliar by giving a place to stand/work from.
 





Vaalingrade

Legend
do you want to make on for each sub class? plus I tend to want at least a basic understanding of where magic kind of stuff comes from so I have a default to work with.
I don't want subclasses at all!

My ideal class would be a broad outline with a lot of customizable addons to flesh out that outline, often with feat trees being how you pursue a theme or lore.

So I'd have a build for a Backstabber Rogue, a Skill Specialist Rogue, a Face Rogue, etc, but nothing locking you into any of them.
Actually, now that I think of it, just Rogues. Core One, baby!
 

I don't want subclasses at all!

My ideal class would be a broad outline with a lot of customizable addons to flesh out that outline, often with feat trees being how you pursue a theme or lore.

So I'd have a build for a Backstabber Rogue, a Skill Specialist Rogue, a Face Rogue, etc, but nothing locking you into any of them.
Actually, now that I think of it, just Rogues. Core One, baby!
so let me rephrase it do you want to make example characters for all of that customization systems?
 

Remathilis

Legend
I don't want subclasses at all!

My ideal class would be a broad outline with a lot of customizable addons to flesh out that outline, often with feat trees being how you pursue a theme or lore.

So I'd have a build for a Backstabber Rogue, a Skill Specialist Rogue, a Face Rogue, etc, but nothing locking you into any of them.
Actually, now that I think of it, just Rogues. Core One, baby!
You're sooo close. Just remove the broad classes and assign each feature a point value, followed by giving each player a pool of points to spend on buying them.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
You're sooo close. Just remove the broad classes and assign each feature a point value, followed by giving each player a pool of points to spend on buying them.
I have found the making fun spellcasters breaks this.

Typing spells to feats alone ends up giving the spellcasters too few spells to really have fun with them unless you do something like HERO's frameworks. And if D&D players were crying over +2 circumstance modifiers, HERO Frameworks would blow a new hole in this tiny moon.
 

Scribe

Hero
I love 3.5 for all its busted combos, the prestige classes and the feats, but I'm increasingly more on board with the simplicity of 5e.

A classless system where you build out your character completely on the fly, would just be way too much a departure.

Do you want to order off the menu, or are you pulling up to the buffet?

Both are totally valid options, but I think you lose something if you lack the lore or setting hooks for actual codified classes.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
But you can put the lore elsewhere instead of locking down entire classes to it.

Or in fact, some classes only exist because of lore.

Rangers are fighters if fighters were allowed to have skills. Paladins are clerics if clerics could fight. They don't really deserve to exist on their own except tradition.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
For the opposite effect, look at the monk where martial artist and bare-knuckled brawler got eaten by this weird take on fantasy martial arts that doesn't really match up to anything. We could have instead gotten a Punchy Dude class with adders to be all three.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I think classes should be archetypes to re-skin on the individually played level. So for some versions of D&D that "re-skinning" is just "how I play and describe my character" and in other versions it means "I choose these specific class abilities and feats, etc. . ."

Personally, part of the appeal to running BECMI someday is that elf, dwarf, and halfling are classes.
 

I always want the rules and lore to be closely connected and in a class based system even more so. Classes are weirdly specific packages of stuff, and to justify their existence to me I need them to represent specific things in the setting. In my current setting I actually first read though all the classes and subclasses, decided which I wanted to include, and then came up with cultural context for them. For example the setting has societies that worship animal and other nature spirits, so that totem barbarians and certain druid and ranger subclasses have a home. Similarly there is a magical city ruled by council of mages in which arcane magic is so widespread that even many thieves and warriors practice it, justifying arcane tricksters and eldritch knights. Various monk subclasses are actual differnt martial arts schools that exist in the setting etc.
 

Gorg

Explorer
It depends. Some classes need more fluff than others. Other times, the heavy handed lore is just a complete turnoff. (5th ed Sorcerors, Warlocks, and paladins. for example.) As is some of the fluffy stuff presented in the class introduction. (like you MUST come up with some major event to justify your choice to become a wizard...) That's the sort of stuff I find irritating.

I'm just getting into 5th ed, having skipped 4th ed altogether, and mostly skipped 3.5. Thus, all I have is the 3 core rulebooks, and the 5th ed Keep on the Borderlands book. So far, I've created exactly 3 characters- just to see how things work: a fighter, a Cleric, and a wizard. Those were essentially my favorites from all the past editions, too.

The fighter obviously requires little fluff to explain it, or to tie it into ANY campaign setting- it's self explanitory, and fits everywhere. The extra goodies 5th ed tacked onto it DO make them a tad less bland- but they're still mainly crunch.

Clerics have always been a bit fluffier, as the manifestation presented by the game is a purely fantasy construct. The concept is still pretty straitforward, though: A person chosen by a deity, or someone devoted enough to that deity to be akin to a mortal representative. Someone who is imbued with the ability to use or call on a bit of divine power. TBH, the vast bulk of the fluff should be left up to the player; DM; and campaign. The 5th ed crunch is just a further evolution away from "cookie cutter" clerics, ala B/X or AD&D. I'm still getting a handle on the new iteration of domains- I really like what they did with them, but also liked the 3rd ed version. (esp the larger number of options) The channel divinity ability is also way cool, the way it keeps adding more options as you go up in level. Both of those game mechanics are , imo 50/50 crunch to fluff. And more or less need to be that way.

Wizards are likewise pure fantasy, and thus some fluff is intrinsic. But, again, beyond the concept of what a wizard is- a student of magic, who learns to harness it's might to do all manner of fantastic things- the fluffy bits are best left to the players, DM's and individual games.

The Sorcerer class, is, imo TOO specific in the fluff department. I liked the OG 3rd ed concept better: wild talents who manifested the ability to cast spells organically- without training or study. From there, it was up to the player to flesh it out- as much or as little as they saw fit.

I can, however, see WHY they felt the need to do it. The new magic system almost completely blurs the line between sorcerer and wizard.
 


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