Is character class an in-world concept in your campaigns?

FaerieGodfather

Born in the Soul of Misery
Um, thing is, for 5e, exactly what they can or cannot do has not been made clear in rules. In this edition, there is no core answer to the question.
And there really shouldn't be, in the core rules, because this is practically the Platonic ideal of something that needs to be a setting question. The gods of Eberron are not the gods of Toril.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't own any of the campaign setting stuff for 4e or 5e, but let's crack open the 3.X Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

Artemis Entreri is 18th level. STR 14 DEX 20 CON 15 INT 16 WIS 16 CHA 13.

Assume he's had the benefits of ASIs at 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th level as standard for 3.X, assume best case scenario all four went to DEX, that's starting scores of STR 14 DEX 16 CON 15 INT 16 WIS 16 CHA 13.

That's 49 point buy, just under 200% the recommended 25 points for PCs or just over 150% of the highest suggested value of 32. That means that even if standard characters claw and bite their way to 18th level, they're going to be strictly inferior to the characters in the tie-in fiction, even though they're supposed to be the stars.

Drizzt is STR 13 DEX 20 CON 15 INT 17 WIS 17 CHA 14. First account for Drow mods, that's STR 13 DEX 18 CON 15 INT 15 WIS 17 CHA 12. ASIs, we're going to say that +2 DEX and +2 WIS.

STR 13 DEX 16 CON 15 WIS 15 CHA 12

Surprisingly, that is only 35 points, a mere 3 points above the most "high powered" variant, though he's sitting on a +2 Level Adjustment for his race.

It's galling when fiction based on game routinely features characters you can't actually play in the game.
Step away from point buy for a minute (better yet, forever!) and assume these guys were rolled up like PCs using 4d6 drop lowest. From that, 13-16-15-15-15-12 is not at all implausible; 14-16-15-16-16-13 is certainly a bit less likely but still not impossible by any means.

And Drizzt (yuk!), who hails originally from 2e or even late 1e, might well also have benefitted from some magical permanent stat enhancement during his career (the specific details of which I know less than nothing about); as such things were not at all unheard of in 1e-2e.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You show me someone who rolled those stats for their favorite PCs, and I'll show you someone who doesn't roll his stats in front of the DM. Especially when it's character after character after character.
Quite true; but remember you're talking about a couple of extremely successful cream-of-the-crop characters here, not just run-of-the-mill Joes.

Who knows how many schlubs were played to their conclusions before these two came along... :)
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Step away from point buy for a minute (better yet, forever!) and assume these guys were rolled up like PCs using 4d6 drop lowest. From that, 13-16-15-15-15-12 is not at all implausible; 14-16-15-16-16-13 is certainly a bit less likely but still not impossible by any means.
I think the broader point is that if every major NPC has scores like that (and in FRCS 3E, at least, they definitely do), then the PCs start to look like they're actually below average. And there's a nasty sense of unfairness beyond that: while the players honestly did roll their characters' scores, the authors likely just selected whatever they wanted for the NPCs. So it's a competition in which only one side is playing by any rules. Now, it could be said that's a description of all D&D -- the DM is the DM, after all. But when I DM, at least, I try to make it look like the PCs aren't actively disfavored by the universe.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
All magic is from the weave in 5e, IIRC, not that that matters at all to the actual topic.
Really?

I always thought the weave was something specific to the FR setting - are you saying 5e's extended it to all settings?

If so, I'm not impressed. The weave's a cool idea for FR but not cool enough to make universal.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think the broader point is that if every major NPC has scores like that (and in FRCS 3E, at least, they definitely do), then the PCs start to look like they're actually below average. And there's a nasty sense of unfairness beyond that: while the players honestly did roll their characters' scores, the authors likely just selected whatever they wanted for the NPCs. So it's a competition in which only one side is playing by any rules. Now, it could be said that's a description of all D&D -- the DM is the DM, after all. But when I DM, at least, I try to make it look like the PCs aren't actively disfavored by the universe.
I see your point if looked at from the player-first view; however there's one tenet in D&D that I think this NPC design is (maybe even intentionally?) trying to follow, which is this:

There's always a bigger fish.

If the PCs ever get to the point of being the biggest fish in the pond then that campaign is, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted. Now one might argue that deities and so forth can always represent bigger fish than the PCs, but there's nothing wrong with having some great big mortal fish as well.

And I don't see the concept of "there's always a bigger fish" as being the least bit unfair to the players.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think the broader point is that if every major NPC has scores like that (and in FRCS 3E, at least, they definitely do), then the PCs start to look like they're actually below average. And there's a nasty sense of unfairness beyond that: while the players honestly did roll their characters' scores, the authors likely just selected whatever they wanted for the NPCs. So it's a competition in which only one side is playing by any rules. Now, it could be said that's a description of all D&D -- the DM is the DM, after all. But when I DM, at least, I try to make it look like the PCs aren't actively disfavored by the universe.
That's just not true. I've played 3e.........a lot. By the time you hit 20th, actually epic levels, since pretty much all the major NPCs are epic, you've had multiple wishes, stat enhancing books, and have encountered other creatures that have granted stat bonuses as rewards. PCs stats rival those of the major NPCs and depending on how generous the DM is, may even exceed them. I guess if you have a stingy DM who keeps stat enhancing things way, you'd be below them, but at par or better in items/rewards, you and the major NPCs are about the same.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Really?

I always thought the weave was something specific to the FR setting - are you saying 5e's extended it to all settings?

If so, I'm not impressed. The weave's a cool idea for FR but not cool enough to make universal.
Yes and no. There's a universal magic constant or something that exists in every setting. It's just called the weave in the FR. So yes, the Weave is specific to FR, but the concept is no longer unique.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I see your point if looked at from the player-first view; however there's one tenet in D&D that I think this NPC design is (maybe even intentionally?) trying to follow, which is this:

There's always a bigger fish.

If the PCs ever get to the point of being the biggest fish in the pond then that campaign is, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted. Now one might argue that deities and so forth can always represent bigger fish than the PCs, but there's nothing wrong with having some great big mortal fish as well.

And I don't see the concept of "there's always a bigger fish" as being the least bit unfair to the players.
It's also being looked it from the point of "The PC right in front of me." rather than compared against all PCs you've ever rolled up. I've rolled up and played some stinkers stat wise. I've also had some that were comparable to these NPCs. These NPCs represent those few that the DM gets. I mean think about it. The DM has millions of NPCs with millions of stat blocks, but only a small handful that have these great numbers.

Low stats vs high stats, the players actually have a much higher percentage of high stat characters than the DM does!
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And there really shouldn't be, in the core rules, because this is practically the Platonic ideal of something that needs to be a setting question. The gods of Eberron are not the gods of Toril.
To be honest, I personally take all D&D "rules" about the nature of deific power as entirely optional. For the purposes of this discussion, whether their should or shouldn't be such rules in the core is less important than the fact that they aren't there in all editions.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
We don't know specifically what they can do, but we do know that they are still highly limited.
No. We know that they WERE highly limited in prior editions, if you even used those rules, since stats for the gods were not in the core. Your concept of limitations does not hold for any games but your own.

5e has this "rulings not rules" thing going. And 5e has no rules about such powers to begin with. So, really, in a 5e game, they can and will be whatever the folks in the game want. And they are not somehow wrong for doing so just because you say otherwise.

The real question is: Will it be fun for your group if Entity Type X can do this?
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Really?

I always thought the weave was something specific to the FR setting - are you saying 5e's extended it to all settings?

If so, I'm not impressed. The weave's a cool idea for FR but not cool enough to make universal.
It's mentioned in some throwaway fluff text in the PHB as a possible source of magic. It's not a big deal.

If the PCs ever get to the point of being the biggest fish in the pond then that campaign is, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted.
Why? This is seldom true in heroic stories. One might even say that heroes (in the classic sense) are definitionally the biggest fish in the pond. For most, like Achilles and Arthur, becoming the biggest fish in the pond is only the beginning of their story. For some, like Gilgamesh and Superman, being the biggest fish in the pond and figuring out what to do with that status is the entire underlying theme of the tale.
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
That's just not true. I've played 3e.........a lot. By the time you hit 20th, actually epic levels, since pretty much all the major NPCs are epic, you've had multiple wishes, stat enhancing books, and have encountered other creatures that have granted stat bonuses as rewards. PCs stats rival those of the major NPCs and depending on how generous the DM is, may even exceed them. I guess if you have a stingy DM who keeps stat enhancing things way, you'd be below them, but at par or better in items/rewards, you and the major NPCs are about the same.
Most NPCs in the Forgotten Realms are not epic level. Drizzt and Artemis Entreri and the like are purportedly in the normal scope of PC characters. Drizzt, for example, is 16th level. But he has an ability score array of Str 13, Dex 20, Con 15, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 14. If you want to explain those scores with wishes and stat books, well, that's a lot of wishes and stat books.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Really?

I always thought the weave was something specific to the FR setting - are you saying 5e's extended it to all settings?

If so, I'm not impressed. The weave's a cool idea for FR but not cool enough to make universal.
IIRC the PHB describes magic as coming from the Weave. Not just “the weave by any other name”, but specifically, “The Weave”.

Could be wrong, but I’m at work so I’m not gonna check right now.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Most NPCs in the Forgotten Realms are not epic level. Drizzt and Artemis Entreri and the like are purportedly in the normal scope of PC characters. Drizzt, for example, is 16th level. But he has an ability score array of Str 13, Dex 20, Con 15, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 14. If you want to explain those scores with wishes and stat books, well, that's a lot of wishes and stat books.
Not sure how NPC stats came up in this discussion but they change and shift from edition to edition. Whatever Drizzt’s were in previous editions, in 5e they are well within the creation scope of PC’s in 5e.

Str 10, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 11
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
IIRC the PHB describes magic as coming from the Weave. Not just “the weave by any other name”, but specifically, “The Weave”.

Could be wrong, but I’m at work so I’m not gonna check right now.
It's only called "The Weave" in the FR.

"Mortals can’t directly shape this raw magic. Instead, they make use of a fabric of magic, a kind of interface between the will of a spellcaster and the stuff of raw magic. The spellcasters of the Forgotten Realms call it the Weave and recognize its essence as the goddess Mystra, but casters have varied ways of naming and visualizing this interface. By any name, without the Weave, raw magic is locked away and inaccessible; the most powerful archmage can't light a candle with magic in an area where the Weave has been torn."
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I like to think that the weave in the Dragonlance setting is what the gods of magic created, not because people can't tap into raw magic, but because they can and it's dangerous so the gods of magic created a controlled way for mortals to tap into magic.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
I actually kind of like the way they describe the magical interface thing, because most settings already have something of that sort anyway.

It inspired me to envision how magic works in my own setting. Since we have a great world dragon that carries the disc shaped planet in its claws as it flies through the crystal sphere, and that dragon is a Power of magic, I decided that the magical interface is the "breathes of the Dragon".

I like to think that the weave in the Dragonlance setting is what the gods of magic created, not because people can't tap into raw magic, but because they can and it's dangerous so the gods of magic created a controlled way for mortals to tap into magic.
You could even say that there was always a basic interface that the gods of magic were in charge of, but they created a sort of advanced interface when they set up Krynn wizardry. So the basic Weave-analogue is still what allows non-wizardly magic.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It inspired me to envision how magic works in my own setting. Since we have a great world dragon that carries the disc shaped planet in its claws as it flies through the crystal sphere, and that dragon is a Power of magic, I decided that the magical interface is the "breathes of the Dragon".
That's really cool.
 

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