2E Kits Versus Subclasses?

Samloyal23

Adventurer
Looking back at a lot of kits, especially Wizard kits, it seems like a lot of them should have been full classes, not kits.
The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook (Al-Qadim) has numerous extremely complicated and powerful kits that radically change the way Wizards are played. To me, they always looked like subclasses to me. Just where do you draw the line between a kit and a new class?
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
Kits are subclasses. Any distinction is just an artifact of the game mechanics where they decided they didn't want to call them new classes.
 
Kits are subclasses
I agree but I can see both sides of the argument. When a player of mine asked if he could use a kit I had never seen them before and it took him quite awhile to explain (convince) me that they weren't a whole new class. After finally understanding the concept turns out they were just subclasses, although some better, more realized and powerful than others. The one thing I would like to see brought back is the 2E FR Specialty Priests in 5E.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I agree but I can see both sides of the argument. When a player of mine asked if he could use a kit I had never seen them before and it took him quite awhile to explain (convince) me that they weren't a whole new class. After finally understanding the concept turns out they were just subclasses, although some better, more realized and powerful than others. The one thing I would like to see brought back is the 2E FR Specialty Priests in 5E.
I suppose there is a pretty hefty divide between the earlier Kits such as from the Complete Thief and Complete Fighter that were basically a social role, two bonus non-weapon proficiencies, and a reaction bonus in certain situations, to the more extensive and flavorful later ones like the Bladesinger and the Bard's Blade Kit (my favorite type of Kits, actually) and then finally the ones like the Sha'ir which were full-on subclasses with altered spellcasting systems. Basically anything with actual altered class abilities I would just call a subclass. ;) The Dragonlance campaign book for 2E even did just that, taking a few things like the Cavalier Kit (and I believe the Barbarian, but I may be misremembering) from the Complete Fighter and turning it into a subclass just by giving it it's own XP table, which was identical to the Fighter.

And oh Hell yes, the 'Realms Specialty Priests were a high mark. I could see unique Cleric ability progressions for each different deity, instead of more generic Domains that all gods share. It would take more work but it would be more rewarding. We actually did something like that in our last campaign, building specialty Clerics for different gods by mixing and matching Domain abilities.
 
And oh Hell yes, the 'Realms Specialty Priests were a high mark. I could see unique Cleric ability progressions for each different deity, instead of more generic Domains that all gods share. It would take more work but it would be more rewarding. We actually did something like that in our last campaign, building specialty Clerics for different gods by mixing and matching Domain abilities.
Ever since 3E the cleric hasn't been the same and they cleric/priest lost a lot of flavor that made them unique and fun playing. I used to play a lot of them just for the backgrounds and not the mechanics of it.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
Ever since 3E the cleric hasn't been the same and they cleric/priest lost a lot of flavor that made them unique and fun playing. I used to play a lot of them just for the backgrounds and not the mechanics of it.
We used the Unearthed Arcana Favored Soul, a subclass of Sorcerer, as the Sorcerer-Priests of Rylor (the God of the Sun, Magic, and Enlightenment, a Greco-Roman style God who valued both intellectualism and physicality, magic and fighting skill; a healthy mind in a healthy body) but Rylor had two branches of His priesthood, one a bit more focused on Magic, the Sorcerer-Priests, and the other equally a bit more focused on martial skills, which we just portrayed as standard Clerics with the Sun Domain, and the combination worked perfectly, with the Sorcerer-Priests and the Clerics being visually indistinguishable from each other. I absolutely loved my Sorcerer-Priest who wore half plate armor with a muscle cuirass, fought with a spear and shield with 2 attacks per round, and could cast both healing spells and Fireballs... but by around 9th level or so he had so few hit points that his fighting ability had mostly been reduced to being theoretical and instead he usually just ended up acting as an artillery Sorcerer lobbing spells from the rear, since by that point anytime I did have him try to wade into combat as I'd been able to do at lower levels he would end up getting spanked pretty hard.

For the War-Priests of Tyr we finagled a Cleric with the War Domain but with a few things altered to give it 2 attacks per round at 8th level.

But we're generally much less concerned with perfect class balance than with verisimilitude and genre simulation, and building a world that feels both fairly realistic and fun. Balance is mostly about character spotlighting anyway, and the DM handles that. Even the most powerful PC on paper will feel useless if the DM focuses things on another character. The DM just has to make sure to give every PC a chance in the spotlight to show off and have fun.
 
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We used the Unearthed Arcana Favored Soul subclass for the Sorcerer as a Sorcerer-Priest of Rylor (the God of the Sun, Magic, and Enlightenment, a Greco-Roman style God who valued a healthy mind in a healthy body) but that diety had two priesthoods, the other just being Clerics of the Sun Domain, which worked perfectly in combination. I absolutely loved my Sorcerer-Priest who wore half plate, fought with a spear and shield with 2 attacks a round, and cast both healing spells and Fireballs... but by 9th level or so he had so few hit points his fighting ability was mostly theoretical and decorative and he usually just acted as an artillery Sorcerer, because when I did have him try to wade into combat he would get spanked pretty hard.

For Priests of Tyr we finagled a Cleric with the War Domain but altered some things to give it 2 attacks at 8th level.

But we're generally much less concerned with perfect class balance than with verisimilitude and genre simulation, and building a world that feels both fairly realistic and fun. Balance is mostly about character spotlighting anyway, and the DM handles that. Even the most powerful PC on paper will feel useless if the DM focuses things on another character. The DM just has to make sure to give every PC a chance in the spotlight to show off and have fun.
Im going to go out on a limb here and say (at least as far as FR is concerned), and 2E seemed to come pretty close, I think that do the clergy of any particular deity proper service in 5E you almost have to merge a few classes into one to get it right. Dual or multiclassing is probably too much while a single class isn't enough.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
While there may be some similarity, I definitely saw (and see) the kits as distinct from sub-classes. They asserted a step from the weird sub-class association baggage. The old hierarchy could be useful - at least for pointing out which combat or saving throw table you used - but for the most part was unnecessary.

The paladin shift from fighter sub-class to cavalier sub-class in Unearthed Arcana back in 1e also kind of indicated that the whole class/sub-class thing was poorly conceived. Why wasn't the cavalier also a sub-class of fighter? No idea. But moving the paladin over sure gave it a boost. It was a mess. Second edition was right to start moving away from that.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
In 2e, I always considered kits as being more a guide of "how to" RP a certain type of class.

I always viewed a sub-class more like a class that shares alot of tables from the main class, but is different enough to warrant its own description, etc.
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
So, can we have a solid list of "kits" that really need to be redefined as classes? Or is it just to fuzzy to draw a line?
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
The one thing I would like to see brought back is the 2E FR Specialty Priests in 5E.
I would like that too. Especially ALL the titles such as Silverstars of Selune, Demarches of Mask, Deathbringer of Bhaal, Watcher of Helm, etc etc.

Sidenote: every time I try to look up the info, I either get half completed lists or not that much. Wish there was a better link for said info.
 

Perun

Mushroom
Ever since 3E the cleric hasn't been the same and they cleric/priest lost a lot of flavor that made them unique and fun playing. I used to play a lot of them just for the backgrounds and not the mechanics of it.
This. AD&D 2e Specialty priests from Faiths & Avatars, Powers & Pantheons and Demihuman Deities were the peak of subclass design in 2e. The books also introduced Crusaders and Monks "generic" cleric subclasses. And it wasn't only the mechanics, the sheer amount of information in those books was amazing. Even though I dislike the FR, those three books remain among my favourite accessories ever.
 
What all the specialty priests are in DND so I have em for when I play clerics in 5E.
Im gonna guess that information is out there throughout the various previous edition of D&D but doubt its compiled in one place. Even if it is, its probably incomplete at best and most likely be a very extensive list.
 

dave2008

Legend
What all the specialty priests are in DND so I have em for when I play clerics in 5E.
I could not find one list, but from what I gather they can be found in the following 2e books:
  • The Complete Priests Handbook
  • Faith and Avatars
  • Demihuman Deities
  • Monster Mythology
  • Powers & Pantheons
  • Legends & Lore
My suggestion would be to start a thread or wiki thread and get help listing the specialty priest. There are definitely to many for me to want to do it alone.

EDIT: Also, isn't a specialty priest just a priest of specific god? Are you looking for a list of which gods got a specialty priest write-up?
 
EDIT: Also, isn't a specialty priest just a priest of specific god? Are you looking for a list of which gods got a specialty priest write-up?
I think that that's Cleric, they travel the world spreading the word of their god, recruiting, and adventuring. The specialty priests built temples, oversaw them, held mass, looked over acolytes and lay priests, or went on specific missions for their deity, waged holy wars etc. At least that's how I saw them in the Forgotten Realms. There is some overlap between the SP and Cleric duties.
 
I would like that too. Especially ALL the titles such as Silverstars of Selune, Demarches of Mask, Deathbringer of Bhaal, Watcher of Helm, etc etc.
This. AD&D 2e Specialty priests from Faiths & Avatars, Powers & Pantheons and Demihuman Deities were the peak of subclass design in 2e. The books also introduced Crusaders and Monks "generic" cleric subclasses. And it wasn't only the mechanics, the sheer amount of information in those books was amazing. Even though I dislike the FR, those three books remain among my favourite accessories ever.
Those three FR books (Faiths & Avatars, Powers & Pantheon sand Demihuman Deities added so much flavor to both the cleric and the specialty priest. You could flip to any page, point read a paragraph or two and have an adventure idea that's how in depth they were. There was a time when no one wanted to play a cleric in our game so that was all I played for years when I got the chance to run a PC. One that sticks out the most was a 3E cleric of Ilmater, Melrig Davidian, who took the vow of poverty and the saint prestige class but I used all the non mechanical stuff from the Ilmater entry in F&A. Probably one of the funnest characters I ever played. I made the character around the time the movie the Passion of the Christ came out, the character wasn't based on the movie or Jesus but definitely inspired the concept for the character. After one adventure we came back to Waterdeep and I had my share of treasure to "spend". I was building a small church in Dock Ward so a portion of the money went to that and the rest went to feeding the homeless. I bought so many carts of food that I inadvertently drove up the price in the ward drastically. If a bushel of apples was a cp the first day, the next day it was 1 gp, that's if you could even get them. No good deed goes unpunished.
 

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