D&D 5E Homebrew Classes (Concept Discussion)

Einlanzer0

Explorer
Swordmage, obviously (from my point of view). It's a type of warrior that would obviously exist in any high-magic setting, the job is "warrior, probably elite" and the subtypes are "any kind of weapon and/or magic" - if anything the idea os too broad for a class since the unifying mechanic is kinda game-focused rather than something people in-universe would recognize.

I could also see an "enhanced person" class, similar to a warlock and/or artificer but without spellcasting in the base class, just a lot of specific benefits. The broad idea is you have been given a number of "gifts" that each have a specific effect, and as you gain levels you gain new gifts and can expand on existing ones.

The occupation is "servant of a powerful person/entity" - one with specific tasks. You need not have originally been combat-focused, but likely have some idea how the gifts work.

There's a lot of different entities that could grant such gifts (any patron, any high-level spellcaster), each of which could have their own theme. But Subclasses would probably be "major gifts" that give you a baseline ability: weapon gifts make you a weapon-user, another gift group might be built around a cantrip, another might be all about skills. Or subclasses could be a mix.

Swordmage is one of my favorites, however, it is an example of one I consider to be a little too specific to be a full class for 5e. I think the artificer in this edition was designed in a broad enough way that sword mage works quite well as a subclass option for it.

I actually like your enhanced person thought as a way of executing the Mystic class. Having it encompass both arcane and divine themes but be built on spell-like abilities rather than actual spellcasting is something that I think would work well for the level of modularity I would want for the class, and it would also give us something of a "simple mage for beginners" template - something that only exists for martial options in the standard array of classes. I also think it neatly fits most of the core ideas for archetypes like witches, shamans, and oracles - primal wielders of magic that are abstract in nature and therefore don't fit the spellcasting paradigms leveraged by "advanced" magic-users like wizards & clerics. It's arguably what a sorcerer should have been instead of just being a minor variant of the wizard.

Incidentally, this is also why I like the warlord and will never be convinced that it doesn't have a place in 5e. In practice, it offers a ton of new design space for a more complex martial class built much more intrinsically around things like maneuvers, buffs/debuffs, sophisticated training techniques, tactics. etc. Something for people to play that's martially focused but with the tactical complexity of the wizard; i.e., a fully fully baked version of the Battlemaster. In fact, I would probably stretch the Battlemaster concept into a full class for the Warlord, and then treat the Fighter's battlemaster as a MC version of it (similar to how Eldritch Knight is a version of a Fighter/Wizard MC.)
 
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Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
I do agree that if we're sticking close to the term "missing" - I don't think anything is missing. Heck, I'd say that with the PHB + Hexblade you're able to play anything that should exist in a standard DnD setting. Artificers cover higher-tech worlds; psions can be done with a couple homebrew changes.

But that doesn't mean all of the concepts can be done well, which is where most people looking for new classes are coming from, I think. Even Blood Hunter could have been a refluffed totem Barbarian, but I don't think people would have found that to be a satisfying answer.
Honestly, I think the Blood Hunter steps all over the Ranger's toes. It's a refluffed Ranger with the Monster Slayer archetype, select feat choices, and using Int instead of Wis. And I guess the spells are reflavoured as blood maledicts.

More to the point, it fills the exact same NARRATIVE as the Monster Slayer, which is its biggest offense. The point of subclasses was to simplify and reduce classes for classes sake. In past editions, 3.5e and 4e especially, there were dozens of classes that tread the same territory but did it in slightly different mechanical ways. This is the "glut" problem that D&D has faced for decades and that 5e tried to do away with by reducing concepts down. So no, we can't build a Warden character from 4e that has the same exact powers in 5e. The main class feature was replicated as Druid spells, but they're of 6th level and thus off limits to Paladins and Ranger halfclasses that you might consider using as the Warden base. But NARRATIVELY, the Oath of the Ancients Paladin, various Rangers, and even some Barbarians serve the purposes that the Warden did in 4e. The Warden is therefore NOT NECESSARY as a class, and creating it in an officially published capacity would be more harmful than helpful.

You shouldn't be writing your your character's narratives to justify CharOps purposes, instead you should be designing the character options to tell the story that you want to tell with that character. CharOps is fine in theoretical play, but it's a peripheral audience. The main audience of D&D needs simple and few and highly distinct options that tell key archetypal narratives that they can select from. The alternative is options paralysis and options for options sake.

Now, bells and whistles may be added to the game with variant class features, variant lineage features, etc that the table can opt into if they're up for it. But these are not reasons to justify entire new classes. Every class needs to be uniquely and distinctly itself.

The Blood Hunter fails that test. The Artificer passes it. There's a reason that Blood Hunter, for all its popularity, only appeared as a MONSTER in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount. WotC is committed to only letting classes get published if they can prove their identity as separate from alll the other classes.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
You shouldn't be writing your your character's narratives to justify CharOps purposes, instead you should be designing the character options to tell the story that you want to tell with that character. CharOps is fine in theoretical play, but it's a peripheral audience. The main audience of D&D needs simple and few and highly distinct options that tell key archetypal narratives that they can select from. The alternative is options paralysis and options for options sake.
There's a whole lot more than 13 archetypal narratives, if we're going to go with the idea that "one class = one story".

Plus, fundamentally you tell a story by what your character does, not what they're labeled on their character sheet. A character with the wrong set of powers is telling the wrong story,
 

Stalker0

Legend
Its always a bit hard to seperate what should be a true new "class" versus a subclass or even just feats, etc.

I think the occultist/witch concept can be done with the warlock chassis pretty well. We already have the Eldritch knight and hexblade for swordmage type concepts (though I think there is a more magic/less martial blend that could be a class).

The "scholar" class could make some sense, similar to the old factotum or archivist concepts, someone who wields knowledge as a weapon.

You could have a bonded magic item class. There is a common fantasy motiff of a person bonded with an item and the two growing stronger together.

I think you could seperate an "elementalist" from the wizard/sorc chassis. Aka is you really want to be just chucking fire or ice and nothing else, this is the class for you. That's a very common concept.

I could see a priest class, which really strips out the warrior aspects from the cleric and focuses on pure divine power.

A master of forms (3e binder) type class can be fun. The 3e version was bad, but the concept of summoning different forms of power granting you different abilities is a neat concept that you do see in fantasy.

A class focused on auras is another class concept that is untapped.
 

There's a whole lot more than 13 archetypal narratives, if we're going to go with the idea that "one class = one story".

Plus, fundamentally you tell a story by what your character does, not what they're labeled on their character sheet. A character with the wrong set of powers is telling the wrong story,
This is why Artificer isn't the definitive swordmage: you could have a great runeblade subclass that handles all but some edge cases, but instead we get battlesmith which is a robopuppy class with some weapon stuff tacked on.

Or hexblade, which is an excellent gish if you like the shadow magic flavor but otherwise isn't. Or swords bard which has all the bard baggage, or eldritich knight if you don't want to use magic to attack, or bladesinger if you don't want to get into melee range.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
This is why Artificer isn't the definitive swordmage: you could have a great runeblade subclass that handles all but some edge cases, but instead we get battlesmith which is a robopuppy class with some weapon stuff tacked on.

Or hexblade, which is an excellent gish if you like the shadow magic flavor but otherwise isn't. Or swords bard which has all the bard baggage, or eldritich knight if you don't want to use magic to attack, or bladesinger if you don't want to get into melee range.
Forge Adept says hi.

Go read Keith Baker's Exploring Eberron, and then come back and tell me why your argument is invalid.
 

Forge Adept says hi.

Go read Keith Baker's Exploring Eberron, and then come back and tell me why your argument is invalid.
Or you could make your own points.

Edit: I looked it up. Not an official subclass, so not available at all tables. Which is why it doesn't invalidate my argument - if you need to use homebrew to fix it, it's broken.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
The Poltroon, the ultimate expert at distracting opponents, evading attacks running away from melee and hiding until they’ve won
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, in my work on a hermetic mysticism and esoteric martial traditions focused swordmage, I've identified two distinct concepts. The above, and the heavy version that doesn't cast spells but is very magical, and can choose abilities similar to warlock invocations, granting things like Jump at will that upgrades to a fly speed eventually, or the ability to make your weapon call lightning with every strike for aminute once a day, or incredible strength comperable to a huge creature, etc.

Basically, Thor and characters like him. The gish himbo.

Besides those, I've identified space for a variant Bard that gets ritual casting but not spellcasting, and gains songs, curses, etc, that buff and debuff, along with the ability to taunt a creature and either make them come at you but grant advantage to attacks from your allies, or outside of combat make them stopwhat they're doing to engage in riddle or insult contest against you. (called fight or flyte, referencing the norse practice of flyting. )
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Or you could make your own points.

Edit: I looked it up. Not an official subclass, so not available at all tables. Which is why it doesn't invalidate my argument - if you need to use homebrew to fix it, it's broken.
Is it homebrew if it's in an Eberron book designed by the creator of Eberron?

Exploring Eberron might not be directly WotC published, but it's about a canon as an Eberron book can be. WotC aren't writing more Eberrron books because they know that Keith is going to keep publishing award-winning bestsellers set in his world through DMs Guild.

In any case, Forge Adept is exactly what you're asking for of a runic arcane half-caster warrior artificer without a battle pet. No need to make a new class.
 

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