log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Martials v Casters...I still don't *get* it.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Asisreo

Hero
Right. But, as pointed out, boons etc exist in the books. So we have that in common. Trouble is they're locked behind DM fiat. As we don't all share the same DM...that's where the problem is. It may be a technicality, but it's a distinction that makes a difference, I think.
DM fiat is the game, though.

And to be honest, I don't see how Online Discussions can truly be productive if the entire game's arbiter is left out of the discussion entirely.

Sure, we can't agree on how a DM will behave, but the DM must exist and therefore must be considered.

If the problem is because of "Guy in the Gym-ism," would it not be productive to remind the community of how to help within individual cases rather than just not speak out?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
Why are Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters unconsidered in the debates?

I always consider an Eldritch Knight.

When I do consider an Eldritch Knight, I'm forced to contemplate the fact their archetype features can't get out of the way of the base class features by level 11. This feels bad.

Further, RAW, their options for utility spells are quite limited; even if you plan to take both Fey Touched and Shadow Touched.

One could argue that a Rune Knight does nearly everything you'd want to do with an Eldritch Knight, but better.

Arcane Tricksters are great, but rogues are great, and I don't think many people think rogue first, second, or even third when they think "martial". Mundane, sure, but they don't use the word mundane.

This is not an accurate representation of the argument. Your above stated desire is somewhat niche, at least much more niche than the general martials vs casters argument. Furthermore, to be an accurate comparison, your health-sacrificing caster would have to be in the game to begin with, just perceived as being continually subpar.

Also this.
 

Asisreo

Hero
This is not an accurate representation of the argument. Your above stated desire is somewhat niche, at least much more niche than the general martials vs casters argument. Furthermore, to be an accurate comparison, your health-sacrificing caster would have to be in the game to begin with, just perceived as being continually subpar.
But the argument itself sounds kinda niche to me.

If you could understand, it isn't people that want to play martials that the problem occurs, its the people that

  • Want to play martials
  • Want versatility
  • Want to play into a high-fantasy character but
  • Doesn't want to cast spells.
I just feel like this is still a niche audience that may exist heavily in a more grognard community, but isn't so heavily needed that it is even a significant minority of the fanbase.

That's how I feel, but am I wrong?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
DM fiat is the game, though.
But that's not really quite true, though, at least for a fairly large portion of the player base. The whole point of having more detailed rules (as opposed to just running OD&D) is that they specifically grant players authority over portions of the gameplay, most especially over the portions of the game relating to the capability of their particular character.

One can argue over whether that's a good or bad thing for a game to have, but if you're arguing from the position that players having some rule-granted authority is a good thing, than it's natural to ask why some options for players (casters) have more authority granted to them than other options (martials).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
But the argument itself sounds kinda niche to me.

If you could understand, it isn't people that want to play martials that the problem occurs, its the people that

  • Want to play martials
  • Want versatility
  • Want to play into a high-fantasy character but
  • Doesn't want to cast spells.
I just feel like this is still a niche audience that may exist heavily in a more grognard community, but isn't so heavily needed that it is even a significant minority of the fanbase.

That's how I feel, but am I wrong?

Fighter has always been the most popular class. It still is in 5e.

And do you know what the most popular subclass of Fighter is? Champion.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
DM fiat is the game, though.
Sort of. If you exclude all the actual mechanics of the game.
And to be honest, I don't see how Online Discussions can truly be productive if the entire game's arbiter is left out of the discussion entirely.

Sure, we can't agree on how a DM will behave, but the DM must exist and therefore must be considered.
Discussion, yes. But no amount of online discussion will change my DM who says "no" into a DM who says "yes". I'm not saying we don't discuss DM fiat, I'm saying DM fiat isn't a good solution to game balance. Every DM is different, so every DM rules differently (within a given set of variables, outcomes, etc). So the solution to unbalanced game mechanics really can't be DM fiat. DMs are as likely to make the game even more unbalanced as they are to make the game more balanced.
If the problem is because of "Guy in the Gym-ism," would it not be productive to remind the community of how to help within individual cases rather than just not speak out?
I don't see how. Players nagging their DMs about getting special powers and abilities doesn't make for a fun and welcoming table. It adds a lot of pressure to the DM who's already doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting re: running the game. Setting up a feedback loop of peer pressure does not sound like a great idea. Far better that the game itself is mostly balanced. Unfortunately it is not. So here we are.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Fighter has always been the most popular class. It still is in 5e.

And do you know what the most popular subclass of Fighter is? Champion.
Because --often--if someone wants to play a Fighter they want to do what they think of as Fighter-things. If they want to play a Rogue, they want to do what they think of as Rogue-things. They're not playing a Fighter or a Rogue to do Wizard s[tuff]. If they wanted to do Wizard s[tuff] they'd play a Wizard.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
But the argument itself sounds kinda niche to me.

If you could understand, it isn't people that want to play martials that the problem occurs, its the people that

  • Want to play martials
  • Want versatility
  • Want to play into a high-fantasy character but
  • Doesn't want to cast spells.
I just feel like this is still a niche audience that may exist heavily in a more grognard community, but isn't so heavily needed that it is even a significant minority of the fanbase.

That's how I feel, but am I wrong?
Given the length of time the argument has been a part of the D&D community (i.e. almost since the beginning, so 40+ years) it must have some traction. Though of course I cannot produce hard numbers to back this up. How you "feel" about the numbers is not something I can judge, but I'd like to see what data leads you to such 'feelings.' Dismissing it as something that is grognard thing may be accurate for all I know, but I'd hesitate to proclaim it as small a group as claimed above.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Yeah, if caster are more powerful than martials, making martials to be casters too is an unsatisfying solution.

However, I feel that one big issue that prevents fixing the problem(if you believe there to be an problem,) is that a large part of playerbase wants martials to be explicitly non-magical in 'they're normal people' sense and I really don't think this can work. If one person can do all sorts of supernatural stuff whilst another can do just things normal people in real life could do you can never balance that. I feel it would be best if it was explicitly stated that past certain level (tenish) martials are mythical heroes and do not need to conform to what is 'realistic' and can do all sort of superheroic and unreal stuff.
...being exposed repeatedly to magic, the essence of magic suffuses the physical being of martial characters, empowering their ability to perform increasingly more mythic martial feats despite their inability to cast spells or other forms of magic.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
But the argument itself sounds kinda niche to me.

If you could understand, it isn't people that want to play martials that the problem occurs, its the people that

  • Want to play martials
  • Want versatility
  • Want to play into a high-fantasy character but
  • Doesn't want to cast spells.
I just feel like this is still a niche audience that may exist heavily in a more grognard community, but isn't so heavily needed that it is even a significant minority of the fanbase.

That's how I feel, but am I wrong?
Yes, you're wrong.

I want to play martials. I also don't want to be so utterly overshadowed by casters that my character is all but useless after around 10th level. That's not a problem with grognards, that's a problem with game design.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Discussion, yes. But no amount of online discussion will change my DM who says "no" into a DM who says "yes". I'm not saying we don't discuss DM fiat, I'm saying DM fiat isn't a good solution to game balance. Every DM is different, so every DM rules differently (within a given set of variables, outcomes, etc). So the solution to unbalanced game mechanics really can't be DM fiat. DMs are as likely to make the game even more unbalanced as they are to make the game more balanced.
I would push back here and say the issue isn't purely one of balance, it's also an issue of gameplay. It's easy to assume it's a balance issue because casters have been stronger than martials for most of D&D's run, but it's not hard to see how balance can be achieved without changing the system of spells as "granted authority" and martial tricks as "ask the DM". Look how much more balanced 5e is than 3.5 to see how that can be accomplished. (Not that 5e is perfectly balanced, but it's much better than 3.5!)

The larger issue, to me, is that certain kinds of gameplay (having a large menu of options to choose from that can change regularly) is restricted to certain tropes (casters), which limits player choice as to what kind of gameplay they like. It certainly impacts me, personally, the only times I've played "martial types" is when they've had a larger amount of options to use (3.5 swordsage, 4e fighter and warlord).
 

Undrave

Hero
DM fiat is the game, though.

And to be honest, I don't see how Online Discussions can truly be productive if the entire game's arbiter is left out of the discussion entirely.

Sure, we can't agree on how a DM will behave, but the DM must exist and therefore must be considered.

If the problem is because of "Guy in the Gym-ism," would it not be productive to remind the community of how to help within individual cases rather than just not speak out?
DM fiat can also affect all character equally. DM fiat is dependant on people-to-people interaction, and not from the interplay of the rules themselves.

If the Fighter can get a Boon then so does the Wizard, so it doesn't matter.

DM Fiat is a wash. It's always best to discuss thing as if the DM was stingy as a baseline than assume a genius generous DM willing to put in the work to balance their players. Heck, the structure or story of the game itself might skew in favour of mundane characters (like one where Magic is outlawed, for exemple), doesn't meant the problems went away, it just means the circumstances made them not a problem.
 

Undrave

Hero
The larger issue, to me, is that certain kinds of gameplay (having a large menu of options to choose from that can change regularly) is restricted to certain tropes (casters), which limits player choice as to what kind of gameplay they like. It certainly impacts me, personally, the only times I've played "martial types" is when they've had a larger amount of options to use (3.5 swordsage, 4e fighter and warlord).
The inverse is also true! If you want to play a Caster you absolutely need to deal with spell slots, maybe spell prep, and Concentration, and action types... I played a Cleric and a Bard and a Druid and I'm honestly tired of full casters mechanics. Next time I want to be magical I'll play a Warlock and Pew Pew my way to victory with Eldritch beat.

Archetypes shouldn't be so wedded to mechanics.

Not all Martial characters need to be Champions, not all Caster character need to be Illusionists.
 


ECMO3

Explorer
The inverse is also true! If you want to play a Caster you absolutely need to deal with spell slots, maybe spell prep, and Concentration, and action types... I played a Cleric and a Bard and a Druid and I'm honestly tired of full casters mechanics. Next time I want to be magical I'll play a Warlock and Pew Pew my way to victory with Eldritch beat.
You should try bladesinger.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
The inverse is also true! If you want to play a Caster you absolutely need to deal with spell slots, maybe spell prep, and Concentration, and action types... I played a Cleric and a Bard and a Druid and I'm honestly tired of full casters mechanics. Next time I want to be magical I'll play a Warlock and Pew Pew my way to victory with Eldritch beat.

Archetypes shouldn't be so wedded to mechanics.

Not all Martial characters need to be Champions, not all Caster character need to be Illusionists.
One hundred percent agree. There should be simple casters (like a Warlock with no spell slots but some extra invocations) and complex warriors (look at the Level Up combat maneuvers for examples) to go along with what we have now.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The inverse is also true! If you want to play a Caster you absolutely need to deal with spell slots, maybe spell prep, and Concentration, and action types... I played a Cleric and a Bard and a Druid and I'm honestly tired of full casters mechanics. Next time I want to be magical I'll play a Warlock and Pew Pew my way to victory with Eldritch beat.

Archetypes shouldn't be so wedded to mechanics.

Not all Martial characters need to be Champions, not all Caster character need to be Illusionists.
And not all players who want to play a mechanically straightforward character want to play weak characters. That link needs to die in fire. Playing a simple martial character should not mean playing a mechanically weak character. Though it is interesting that the game has basically always rewarded system mastery with greater direct power in game. Maybe that should stop, too.
 



Status
Not open for further replies.

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top