Legends and Lore - The Genius of D&D

I think Monty got the priority of things correct, and nothing he said makes it impossible for the list to end up looking like this after a few "Advanced," "Unearthed" or "Player's Option" modules:

  1. Class
    • Sub-Class
    • Multi-Class
    • Theme
  2. Race
    • Species
    • Culture
    • Environment
  3. Ability Scores
    • Extended/Additional Ability Scores (i.e. adding Comeliness)
    • Sub-ability Scores
  4. Customizable Elements
 

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Ed_Laprade

Adventurer
The most important thing for a character *is* the theme, or rather, the vision you have in your head when you start creating them.

This means, for me at least, that customizable elements are the most important. Classes are straight-jackets for themes - multiclassing and more unusual classes came about because they were too restrictive. Races are usually crucial to a character's theme, and should offer more background choices than ongoing effects in play. Ability scores are just for numbers, but of all the things mentioned, their limitations on one's theme don't bother me: this is mostly logical, weak guys won't wield greatswords. Being a 'Human Wizard' though, should not prevent you from being an expert on the forest who knows how to fire a bow.
I absolutely, 100% agree.
 

Tallifer

Hero
As usual, Monte is right. He's got them in the correct order, and those who disagree, I feel, are probably the ones who enjoy the rules bloat and min-maxing. If the game plays fine without them, than they must be less important. You can play D&D without ability scores, feats, and skills..but without class and race..you have no role to play.

You misunderstand. Race should be an important part of your character's story. It says who he is, from whence he is, what he looks like. But race should not be a mechanic which promotes sameness: Elfin Archer Rangers, Dwarven Plateclad Fighters, Half-elven Bards, Orcish Barbarians, Gnomish Illusionists...

As for rules bloat, imagine how much slimmer the rules would be without umpteen racial variations on certain feats.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
Tying level to class seems to be propping up class in a way that is unnecessary unless it is a design decision that makes not having class at all a non-starter for the design of 5E.


My solution? Jettison class in favor of three paths: Mental, Physical, and Spiritual. Allowing creation and advancement to build on character concept and in-game narrative choices through Facets that are tied to Ability Score bonuses. Thereby Level/Path, Ability Scores and Ability Score bonuses are all subject to and justified by concept, role, and theme, as determined by the player during creation and the course of the game/campaign.
 

Odysseus

Explorer
I'm not sure what he asking.
In terms of power his order right. You shouldn't have a feat more powerful than an ability score, or a race more powerful than a class.
But in terms of importance there all about the same.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
Tying level to class seems to be propping up class in a way that is unnecessary unless it is a design decision that makes not having class at all a non-starter for the design of 5E.


My solution? Jettison class in favor of three paths: Mental, Physical, and Spiritual. Allowing creation and advancement to build on character concept and in-game narrative choices through Facets that are tied to Ability Score bonuses. Thereby Level/Path, Ability Scores and Ability Score bonuses are all subject to and justified by concept, role, and theme, as determined by the player during creation and the course of the game/campaign.
This would be horrible.

Such a game would be a bloated mess of little finnicky options that would have almost no flavor or inspiration. It would be hard to approach and would make any form of character creation a chore (which kinda goes against 5E's stated goal of reaching out to BECMI easy character creation as an option). It would be little better than a point buy game, and I vastly prefer class systems to those. Not to mention that D&D is pretty much defined by a class system, and overall I think class systems are generally far better than any alternative.
 

xechnao

First Post
I disagree with Monte Cook. Levels, classes, feats are excellent mechanics for monsters and NPCs. But, ultimately, for players not so much.

In fact history proves otherwise.
Player levels have created a lot of balance problems in every edition (except perhaps 4th) due to the new spells that casters gain, while I dare say that for every other class giving new "abilities" by level mechanics has been a bland exercise. Feats have not been that interesting while it is obvious that extra hit points and skill points add nothing really new from a design perspective.
 

Mark CMG

Creative Mountain Games
This would be horrible.

Such a game would be a bloated mess of little finnicky options that would have almost no flavor or inspiration. It would be hard to approach and would make any form of character creation a chore (which kinda goes against 5E's stated goal of reaching out to BECMI easy character creation as an option). It would be little better than a point buy game, and I vastly prefer class systems to those. Not to mention that D&D is pretty much defined by a class system, and overall I think class systems are generally far better than any alternative.


Oh, to the contrary, it's a simple, strightforward system that allows for character concept to guide the mechanics during creation and avoids the funneling nature of a class-based system. By building on Ability Score bonuses, it retains the sense of characters as individuals while, through the Paths, allows them to pursue options during gameplay that cover any role in a typical Medieval Fantasy milleau even as it maintains character individuality. Every character creation and advancement choice by the player is tied to their own narrative, built specifically on that flavor and inspiration. Because it is also a ten level system, it avoids the bonus bloat normally associated with systems that try to stretch the d20 resolution mechanic beyond what it naturally fits.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I have a few quibbles with this. I get the fantasy logic, but I think D&D only pays lip service to this concept.

1) I'd imagine that dwarven clerics of Moradin and elven clerics of the Seldarine are no less suited to their priestly roles than human clerics. I'm not sure that non-human inflexiblity can/should be generalized to class selection.

2) PCs are not average folk (that logic is used to explain all sorts of things from hit points to gender equality). So just to be consistent, just because 90% of non-humans act in a certain way doesn't necessarily mean that 90% of non-human PCs act that way.

3) It is rare for me to see non-human PCs being roleplayed as narrow-minded and inflexible compared to their human peers. You see that contrast in novels like Dragonlance, but it seems rare in average gameplay.

1) The idea is not that one race is better suited for any one class. That I DON'T WANT!.

The idea is that race will have a major effect on the character and how the PC shapes himself. An elf cleric would have access to longbows and thus an above tier ranged weapon. Not only that they are dexterous and are known for their accuracy. So elves (and halflings) would have the ranged weapon option.

2) PCs are not average folk but most are not completely divorced from their kind. PCs will still tend to be physically, mentally, and spiritually similar to their brethren, just at higher degrees and intensities. Sure there will be outcasts and anomalies, both there should be traits a player or character could fairly assume based on race.

3) Most races have traits that nudge them into certain lifestyles, themes, occupations, etc. Elves are accurate and precise (hopefully despite ability scores.) and it would be not strange to assume that elves of all classes would primarily choose and favor actions and customization options that favor accuracy.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I supposed this article is focusing on what mechanics are important to a character's design, but I'd like to point out that story/background is often an important element, and should help to define what a character can, cannot and will not do.

The article leaves me non-plussed; I hope they keep in mind story elements of the game as well as the mechanics. The initial 4E books got reamed for reading like an owner's manual, after all.
 

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