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D&D 5E Hypothetical Revised PHB: What Subclasses Makes the Cut?


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People aren't particularly good at following the rules or caveats of the OP, but maybe I wasn't clear, in which case the blame lays entirely on me.


The premise is that in a revised PHB classes get at most X* + 1 number of their subclasses and what those subclasses are can be reshuffled from all the available subclasses in the PHB + Tasha's + Volo's + etc.

* X = their current number of subclasses in the PHB

So, yes, all subclasses could remain if desired.
Aldarc with no insult, when people don't follow an OP it's because the OP is overly prescriptive and makes no sense to what would actually happen in the broad scenario presented and/or mismatches the title in a serious way. The idea that we have to stick to X+1 is obviously a bit silly and doesn't really support the concept you're trying to get working. It's extremely unlikely Wizards and Clerics will once again see a much much higher number of archetypes than everyone else in a revised PHB, even if it's still 5E. More space will be made for classes who have fewer archetypes.
 

Undrave

Hero
What I think would be a good thing is dropping all the subclasses you can get for free on DnD Beyond. You don't need them in the book if you can just print them out from the website.

Barbarian: Drop Berserker, add Ancestral Guardian
Bard: Drop Lore and bring in Glamour
Cleric: Drop Life for Order
Druid: Drop Land for Shepherd?
Champion: Drop Champion for Samurai
Monk: Drop Open Hand for Kensei
Paladin: Drop Devotion... I guess invent a new one? Man, the Paladin options suck!
Ranger: Drop Hunter replaced by Monster Slayer I guess
Rogue: Thief for Mastermind is the best bet I'd say
Sorcerer: I guess we gotta drop Dragon Magic so make it Storm Magic
Warlock: Drop The Fiend for The Genie or The Celestial
Wizard: Drop School of Evocation for War Magic I guess?

I would also add the Artificer to the PHB and add some spells, like the SCAG cantrips, Toll the Dead and some Storm themed powers. Would also include all of Tasha's improvement to the Ranger, the new Fighting Styles and Battlemaster maneuvers.

And, ideally, I would also replace the following:
Trickery Domain for Twilight Domain
Eldtrich Knight for Rune Knight
Way of the Four Elements for the Sun Soul or Astral Self
Replace Assassin with Swashbuckler
Replace Wild Magic for Divine Soul
Drop the Great Old One for Fathomless
And I would cut out two more Wizards for Bladesinger and to have room for the Ranger's Horizon Walker :p

I think that would give us a more interesting load out of classes.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Aldarc with no insult, when people don't follow an OP it's because the OP is overly prescriptive and makes no sense to what would actually happen in the broad scenario presented and/or mismatches the title in a serious way. The idea that we have to stick to X+1 is obviously a bit silly and doesn't really support the concept you're trying to get working. It's extremely unlikely Wizards and Clerics will once again see a much much higher number of archetypes than everyone else in a revised PHB, even if it's still 5E. More space will be made for classes who have fewer archetypes.
When people say "with no insult," it generally precedes an insulting or condescending remark. Why then would your comment be any different in that regard?

"X + 1 max" is prescriptive, but that's because there is limited space in a PHB and not every desired subclass can be accommodated therein. So this puts an admittedly artificial limit on that to force decisions.
 

When people say "with no insult," it generally precedes an insulting or condescending remark. Why then would your comment be any different in that regard?
????

If you want to take explanations as insults, I can't really help you there mate.
"X + 1 max" is prescriptive, but that's because there is limited space in a PHB and not every desired subclass can be accommodated therein. So this puts an admittedly artificial limit on that to force decisions.
It creates an irrational maintenance of a status quo that would never be maintained if there was a reason to revise the PHB. Seriously. If WotC felt the PHB needed to be revised so badly that they were willing to do it before a new edition or half edition, they would not be just keeping stuff like the number of Wizard/Cleric subclasses intact.

A more useful/plausible decision-forcer would be to maintain the same total number of subclasses or something.
 


Stalker0

Legend
The premise is that in a revised PHB classes get at most X* + 1 number of their subclasses and what those subclasses are can be reshuffled from all the available subclasses in the PHB + Tasha's + Volo's + etc.

* X = their current number of subclasses in the PHB

So, yes, all subclasses could remain if desired.
These statements contradict themselves. Almost every class has recieved at least 2 or more subclasses from the various splats. Therefore, its not possible to follow X +1 and allow all subclasses to remain.

But the X + 1 seems clear enough, so I will use that.

Bard
Creation - A really cool concept
Eloquence - To me, the only thing really going for this is the penalty to saves, which is solid...but not enough to build a subclass around.
Glamour - The top of the ones I'm dropping. Its seriously cool, but I can only have 3.
Lore - The ultimate in flexible spellcasters, there are so many combos you can do with this, it single handedly sold the bard to my party.
Spirits - Neat but overly complicated for what it is imo. I'd keep it if I could, but only 3!
Swords - Ultimately can only keep 1 "battle" bard, and I think this fits the "selfish bard" theme best, who just want to use their powers on themselves to look like a badass.
Valor - Sorry valor, there can be only 1.
Whispers - Who doesn't want to play a faceless man? Its super cool, but for only 3 subclasses I will stick with more traditional bard concepts, and this ones a bit more out there.
 

Stalker0

Legend
It creates an irrational maintenance of a status quo that would never be maintained if there was a reason to revise the PHB.
Then why are you in this thread if you don't agree with the premise?

I'm a big believer that the OP sets the tone of the thread. They are telling you the concept up for debate. If you don't like the concept, don't debate it... or start your own thread with a different take on the premise if you wish.
 


Aldarc

Legend
These statements contradict themselves. Almost every class has recieved at least 2 or more subclasses from the various splats. Therefore, its not possible to follow X +1 and allow all subclasses to remain.
I may not be explaining myself well-enough, as I don't think that these statements contradict, so I will try again using an example.

Example: Sorcerer

The Sorcerer currently has two subclasses in the PHB: i.e., Draconic and Wild. So 2 + 1 = 3 total subclasses in a revised PHB. There are currently 7 sorcerer subclasses total among the presently available books: i.e., Draconic, Wild, Storm, Shadow, Clockwork, Aberrant, and Divine Soul. In the hypothetical revised PHB, you can take any of those 7 subclasses and select them for the three available subclass slots for the Sorcerer in a revised PHB. Or you could decide that two is plenty.

But the X + 1 seems clear enough, so I will use that.

Bard
Creation - A really cool concept
Eloquence - To me, the only thing really going for this is the penalty to saves, which is solid...but not enough to build a subclass around.
Glamour - The top of the ones I'm dropping. Its seriously cool, but I can only have 3.
Lore - The ultimate in flexible spellcasters, there are so many combos you can do with this, it single handedly sold the bard to my party.
Spirits - Neat but overly complicated for what it is imo. I'd keep it if I could, but only 3!
Swords - Ultimately can only keep 1 "battle" bard, and I think this fits the "selfish bard" theme best, who just want to use their powers on themselves to look like a badass.
Valor - Sorry valor, there can be only 1.
Whispers - Who doesn't want to play a faceless man? Its super cool, but for only 3 subclasses I will stick with more traditional bard concepts, and this ones a bit more out there.
Much like this.
 

Then why are you in this thread if you don't agree with the premise?

I'm a big believer that the OP sets the tone of the thread. They are telling you the concept up for debate. If you don't like the concept, don't debate it... or start your own thread with a different take on the premise if you wish.
Almost every post didn't follow the rules Aldarc laid out, which was why he was mad. Taking issue with me giving voice to it and ignoring everyone else is weird as hell.

If this was a + thread obviously I would stick to the topic, but this isn't a + thread. Except I wouldn't have posted and nor would a bunch of other people. + threads get way less responses because of being forced to stick to what the OP wants, and unless the OP posts something extremely well-phrased, that tends to not work out.
 

Shadowedeyes

Explorer
So, going with the premise, here is what I would do if I was in charge. I'm also working under the assumption we could possibly tweak some mechanics for the weaker subclasses, so I'm choosing more on theme than power level.

Barbarian: Totem Warrior, Ancestral Guardian, Storm Herald
-Going all in on the primal aspects of the barbarian. All are pretty distinct(Beast didn't make the cut because it had more overlap with Totem Warrior)

Bard: Lore, Swords, Glamour
-Think these three are the best choices. With them you can make a scholar, a warrior type or a straight charming performer.

Cleric: Knowledge, Life, Light, Tempest, Trickery, War, Grave, Order
-Gonna be honest, Cleric is not a favorite class for me. I decided to add Order, since it seemed popular and dropped Nature(Druids can handle this) to add Grave.

Druid: Land, Moon, Shepherd
-Really wish I could add a 4th for Stars, but Shepherd lets you do a Shaman style character so it gets the nod.

Fighter: Champion, Battlemaster, Rune Knight, Cavalier
-I like Rune Knight more than Eldritch Knight, and Cavalier does the protective tanky character. Battlemaster is of course great, and Champion gives a simple option for players.

Monk: Open Hand, Shadow, Four Elements, Astral Self
-No real comment for this. Think the core 3 are good ideas, and I like Astral Self.

Paladin; Devotion, Ancients, Vengeance, Conquest
-Devotion fills the classic Knight in Shining Armor, Ancients, Vengeance and Conquest fill similar Knightly archetypes as well.

Ranger: Hunter, Beastmaster, Fey Wanderer
-This was a tough one. Ultimately Gloom Stalker, Hunter and Monster Hunter all filled similar creative space, so I just choose one. Beastmaster is a cool and iconic design space, and Fey Wanderer is pretty unique as well.

Rogue: Thief, Assassin, Arcane Trickster, Swashbuckler
-A real hard one for me. I love Rogues, and pretty much all the subclasses. Thief is iconic though, and Assassin, while mechanically not great, is still a concept a lot of people like. Arcane Trickster fills the magical archetype and Swashbuckler rounds it out. Was a real hard decision though.

Sorcerer: Draconic, Storm, Abberant
-Another one that I wish I could get more slots. That said, Draconic is the traditional option, Storm is more thematic than Wild(which I am sad to lose) and Abberant if made a bit more generic can fit psychic types well.

Warlock: Archfey, Fiend, Fathomless, Undead
-Fathomless fills the Great Old One option, as it gives what I think a lot of people want when they see Great Old One. Fiend and Archfey are pretty standard. I personally would want Genie as the 4th, but Undead fits the majority of campaigns better.

Wizard: The Core 8 + Bladesinger
-If there is any class I would want to redo from scratch subclass wise, it's the Wizard. But that isn't an option, so we go with the original idea, plus Bladesinger because people like that, even if I I'm not a huge fan.
 



So, going with the premise, here is what I would do if I was in charge. I'm also working under the assumption we could possibly tweak some mechanics for the weaker subclasses, so I'm choosing more on theme than power level.

Barbarian: Totem Warrior, Ancestral Guardian, Storm Herald
-Going all in on the primal aspects of the barbarian. All are pretty distinct(Beast didn't make the cut because it had more overlap with Totem Warrior)

Bard: Lore, Swords, Glamour
-Think these three are the best choices. With them you can make a scholar, a warrior type or a straight charming performer.

Cleric: Knowledge, Life, Light, Tempest, Trickery, War, Grave, Order
-Gonna be honest, Cleric is not a favorite class for me. I decided to add Order, since it seemed popular and dropped Nature(Druids can handle this) to add Grave.

Druid: Land, Moon, Shepherd
-Really wish I could add a 4th for Stars, but Shepherd lets you do a Shaman style character so it gets the nod.

Fighter: Champion, Battlemaster, Rune Knight, Cavalier
-I like Rune Knight more than Eldritch Knight, and Cavalier does the protective tanky character. Battlemaster is of course great, and Champion gives a simple option for players.

Monk: Open Hand, Shadow, Four Elements, Astral Self
-No real comment for this. Think the core 3 are good ideas, and I like Astral Self.

Paladin; Devotion, Ancients, Vengeance, Conquest
-Devotion fills the classic Knight in Shining Armor, Ancients, Vengeance and Conquest fill similar Knightly archetypes as well.

Ranger: Hunter, Beastmaster, Fey Wanderer
-This was a tough one. Ultimately Gloom Stalker, Hunter and Monster Hunter all filled similar creative space, so I just choose one. Beastmaster is a cool and iconic design space, and Fey Wanderer is pretty unique as well.

Rogue: Thief, Assassin, Arcane Trickster, Swashbuckler
-A real hard one for me. I love Rogues, and pretty much all the subclasses. Thief is iconic though, and Assassin, while mechanically not great, is still a concept a lot of people like. Arcane Trickster fills the magical archetype and Swashbuckler rounds it out. Was a real hard decision though.

Sorcerer: Draconic, Storm, Abberant
-Another one that I wish I could get more slots. That said, Draconic is the traditional option, Storm is more thematic than Wild(which I am sad to lose) and Abberant if made a bit more generic can fit psychic types well.

Warlock: Archfey, Fiend, Fathomless, Undead
-Fathomless fills the Great Old One option, as it gives what I think a lot of people want when they see Great Old One. Fiend and Archfey are pretty standard. I personally would want Genie as the 4th, but Undead fits the majority of campaigns better.

Wizard: The Core 8 + Bladesinger
-If there is any class I would want to redo from scratch subclass wise, it's the Wizard. But that isn't an option, so we go with the original idea, plus Bladesinger because people like that, even if I I'm not a huge fan.
These are good suggestions for the X+1 approach. Only things I'd change would be:

1) Ditch Assassin for Mastermind. Assassin is just such a mean trap, I've see two players pick it and be dissatisfied with it IRL alone - online I've seen far more of that. If you want "Killer Rogue" Swashbuckler is better in every way. Assassin is just a lie of a name. He should be called like "Disguise-murder-failure" or something. I'd say "Hitman Codename: D&D" but he's nowhere NEAR competent enough (at any level) to model Hitman Codename 47's Hitman. Literally a bunch of other Rogue subtypes would do better 47s.

2) Totally personal but I'd drop Fey Wanderer for Beeeeeeesmaster aka Swarm Ranger. Realistically though there's no way they'd give Rangers less archetypes than Fighters or Paladins, so I'd keep your layout but add "Oh god the bees!".

3) Ditch Cavalier just because it's so badly designed and fails to achieve any of the things a person who selects as class named "Cavalier" wants, instead achieving the things a class called something like "Shieldmaster" or "Protector" might offer. I'd take Samurai and rename it to "Knight" or something instead.
 

Greg K

Hero
I am going to leave out new classes that I would like to see and ignore that I want all classes to have thier subclass at first level.

Barbarian:
Subclasses: Berserker and, maybe add Zealot
Personally, as a DM and player, I don't like the other subclasses either mechanically and/or concepually. So, I am willing to sacrifice them so that other classes can have more subclasses.

Bard
Subclasses: Lore, Valor, add: Glamour.
Personally, I would also like to see
  • a first level Martial variant that allows the bard to begin with the Valor bard's armor and weapons (with tradeoff(s). This would address an issue Mike Mearls discussed in his Happy Hour about classes should not suddenly play different when you gain your subclass.

Cleric
Subclasses: add Grave or Order to the list in the PHB (I lean to toward the former)
Personally, I think the class also needs further design changes
  • Choose an Order: At first level, add an additional class choice similar to the Warlock's Pact Choice of Blade, Chain, or Tome. The order determines the focus of the priesthood. Choices for Order might be
    • Cloistered (Scholar- simple weapons, robed bonus),
    • Itinerant/Mendicant (Travelling Priests- light armor, simple weapons),
    • Templar (Warrior Priests- medium or heavy armor, martial weapons).
    • Bonus Armor and Weapon Proficiency (and the alternative class features for these), Divine Strike, Potent Spellcasting would be moved from domain to order although specific skills or spells would be based on the domain. . At the DM's option, he or she may choose set the order choice for specific deities based upon the setting.
  • using Adept Background variants at first level to further customize domains and priesthoods similar to that done by Jame Driscoll in his 2e Complete Priest's Handbook conversion (on ENWorld forums).
  • More tailoring of spell list choices based upon a cleric's domain spells, a small shared list of spells for all Clerics (e.g. spells like Bless, Remove Curse, Commune, Planar Ally (tailored to domain/deity)), and, possibly, another small list of shared spells based on alignment.
Druid
Subclasses: Land, Moon. no additions
Note: I am not including Shepherd, because, in my opinion, it does a poor job of being a "shaman". Second, I do not like how the spirits were implemented. In some cultures, Bear is associated with healing as are other animals (e.g. Snake). Third, i want it to cover a choice of ancestral spirit, land/elemenal spirit, or totem spirit rather than just totem.

Fighter
subclasses: Battlemaster, Champion. I might be open to including Samurai if they rename it
I'd also like to see them add a Light Armor variant at first level similar to the one Khaalis did and add many of the same subclasses that he did. . The Light armored fighter is an archetype that falls between fighter and the rogue. They are first and foremost fighters with maneuvers, but due to culture, time period, or training lack training in heavy and medium armor. Some may have "roguey" skills or traits as a result off their background, but their martial skill and maneuvers are first and forefront. Why a variant? Because not all DMs allow mult-classing (which I see as unnecessary hoop-jumping for a common archetype) and/or feats.

Monk
Subclasses: None. Currently, I don't like how all archetypes with unarmed fighting and mystical abillties get lumped under Monk which carries to much baggage in the class abilities. I want the class rewritten as a more general unarmed martial artist class with Monk as a subclass or the class split into two classes. I am also not a fan of how many of the subclasses and lack of customization for unarmed fighting styles.

Paladin:
Subclasses: Oath of Devotion, Oath of Ancients, Oath of Vengeance; add: Oath of the Crown
I would also like a spell-less variant at first level based off off the Crusader variant from 3e Complete Champion

Ranger:
Subclasses: Beastmaster, Hunter. add: none
I would also like to see:
  • a non-mystical/non-spellcasting variant at first level based off off the Champion of the Wilderness variant from 3e Complete Champion.
  • an urban terrain option and some options to support it
  • an urban ranger archetype (since it was in 3e) and not inspired by Batman
Rogue:
Subclasses: Thief, Assassin, Arcane Trickster, Scout.
I would also like to see the following
  • 1st level variants: Scholar Rogue, WIlderness Rogue that swap out certain skills and provide alternate equipment
  • 1st level optional choices for players to replace Thieves' Cant (e.g. Trail Signs & Signals for Wilderness Rogues & Scouts, an additonal language for Academic Rogues).
Sorcerer:
Subclasses: Draconic
Originally, I included Storm, because it was a cool idea for a subclass and could fit the idea of a child of a storm deity. However, I am not a fan of the implementation and, therefore removed it (I did not include the Divine Soul for the same reason- poor implementation, imo, for what was a good idea for a subclass).

What I really want to see are official originsArcane Bloodline, Fey Heritage Origin (and even Abyssal Fiend and Infernal Fiend ), I would choose them over Storm depending upon how I liked the implementation.

Warlock
Subclasses: Archfey, Great Old One, The Fiend. No additions as i don't like the concept and/or implementation of the other subclasses.

Wizard
No suggestions for additions.
 
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Undrave

Hero
Another one that I wish I could get more slots
Just steal slots from the Wizard, they don't need that many :p Evoker, Abjurer and Transmuter can just be taken up by the War Magic subclass, the Enchanter can be replaced by the Glamour Bard and the Necromancer would need better spells and a redo anyway. That leaves you with Illusionist and Diviner, add War Magic, Scribe and Blade Singer so you're down from 8 to 5, that's 3 more slots for the classes with only 2 subclasses in the PHB.
Wizard: The Core 8 + Bladesinger
-If there is any class I would want to redo from scratch subclass wise, it's the Wizard. But that isn't an option, so we go with the original idea, plus Bladesinger because people like that, even if I I'm not a huge fan.
Maybe we should all get together and remake it in a + thread.
 


MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Can you IMAGINE the shitstorm if a PHB went "We'll add Wizard later" lol
Yeah, but that would open up a lot of space for the other classes to get more stuff. I mean 8 subclasses + 40 or so exclusive spells nobody takes anyway...
 

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