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5E On meaningless restrictions

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I think the difference in opinion here is that the "character creations I've laid down" are literally just "talk to me about your concept before you get invested." I don't give too many guidelines because I want them to refine their concept narratively first, and then we can start working on how best to represent it mechanically. This is important to me because I'm very liberal with homebrewing.

See my expectation is that if you really want to play something not in my allow list to talk to me about it and let's see what I can do to accommodate.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
See my expectation is that if you really want to play something not in my allow list to talk to me about it and let's see what I can do to accommodate.
And I'm coming from the standpoint where my players will use PHB options because they don't know what else is out there (or won't check) , so I want to make sure they're not settling. Like I had a player who was making a character that sort of had flavor like a 3.5 binder, and I was like "Well, I have a 3rd party option that IS a 5e version of the binder." and he got super excited, and now it's one of his favorite characters ever.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I don't disagree. I think that people have negative connotations regarding "restrictions."

It's like the word discriminating. Sure, it's usually bad the way it's used; but a discriminating palate is a good thing. It's fine to discriminate, even good, so long as you aren't doing it based on invidious characteristics.

Same with restrictions; restrictions are what defines a class. Given a class a differentiated package of abilities is also a set of limits; just like a red box is more interesting than "just" a box (but is also not a green box), the set of abilities that makes a wizard (for example) limits a wizard from being a fighter, in a class-based system.

I feel I need to push back a little here - restrictions are good so long as they are meaningful. If they are meaningful then they enhance the game. If they aren't enhancing the game then they aren't meaningful. I've yet to hear one person argue that class based skill restrictions enhance the current 5e game - to me that's the most telling evidence I could cite in my favor.

However, just because I don't see class skill restrictions enhancing the game doesn't mean I don't see the game being enhanced by having the fighter class and the wizard class themselves.
 



FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Well, I would say that the issue is twofold (going back to my original point):

1. There should be a meaningful distinction between the skills offered by various classes. For example, the skills that you get as a Wizard are (and should be) different than those you get as a Fighter, and should play into the feel of the class in a meaningful way,

I would lean toward the notion that characters should be composed of properties inherent to them - attributes, skills, traits etc. and also composed of their class abilities. I would actually argue that those systems work best when they are distinct.

2. To the extent that there isn't meaningful differentiation, that's really an issue with the "same-y" feeling that the classes often have because 5e doesn't have a strong class system.

I feel like 5e has a strong class system. Perhaps you mean something different by a class system than I?
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
I feel like 5e has a strong class system. Perhaps you mean something different by a class system than I?

I feel kinda funny about this, and @lowkey13 can correct me if I'm wrong, here, but I suspect the meaning is that 5E doesn't have sharp-enough boundaries between the classes; there isn't enough specific to one class that the other classes cannot acquire; that making one character choice does not do enough to foreclose others; that there are not enough restrictions on the characters.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
1. I maintain that DM's can restrict anything based on the setting. Therefore, if the DM would exclude such a thing for a setting based concern then I agree.

2. That leaves restricting something due to power. There's no "these skills are too powerful" argument that will hold water.

3. Which finally takes us to the idea of restricting based on spotlight balance. A legitimate concern but one that 5e's skill choice freedom already makes moot. When you can already infringe on another classes skills with your background skills then 5e isn't using class skills to balance the spotlight.

So umm, what other possible rationale would you as a DM have for disallowing a skill combination I wanted to play?

Onus
The game has a base asssumption. The side that wishes to break the base assumption therefore adds more of a responsibility or burden of proof to explain why they wish to break the assumption. TheDM has the final say but both sides have to agree or they don'tplay with each other. So..

1) The DM can resist anything. However any player can always choose not to play. A DM who have no players willing to play by their restrictions has no game to DM.

2) Part of it comes down to the game being a team game. There is a sort of heiracht of frequency that the skills are used. The designers of almost every edition more of list split them up so that a single player cannot snag all the "commonly used skills" without "sacrificing" character option to do it.

3) Again it comes down to burden of proof to break the base assumption. The fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard each have a class skill list. If someone chooses to make their wizard choose only the skills on anyther class's list that are not on the wizard's, the ball of responsibilty shifts more toward them to justify it.

So it's less why should restiction exist and more where the line of justification truly starts. For DM or player.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I feel kinda funny about this, and @lowkey13 can correct me if I'm wrong, here, but I suspect the meaning is that 5E doesn't have sharp-enough boundaries between the classes; there isn't enough specific to one class that the other classes cannot acquire; that making one character choice does not do enough to foreclose others; that there are not enough restrictions on the characters.

That to me would be a particular kind of class based system - one with no overlap between what characters of different classes can do well. There's probably a good name for that kind of class based system, but I'm not sure what it would be.
 



jmartkdr2

Adventurer
Well, I would say that the issue is twofold (going back to my original point):

1. There should be a meaningful distinction between the skills offered by various classes. For example, the skills that you get as a Wizard are (and should be) different than those you get as a Fighter, and should play into the feel of the class in a meaningful way,

2. To the extent that there isn't meaningful differentiation, that's really an issue with the "same-y" feeling that the classes often have because 5e doesn't have a strong class system.

There's really isn't such a distinction in the current game - because backgrounds eliminate any such limit. Aside form edge cases like you want a fighter who only has knowledge skills. Since you'd be limited to only three out of four (unless you get a bonus skill from race or something) you'd have to pick which broad area of knowledge you fighter skipped in favor of whatever skill you didn't actually want.

This is the main argument against the rule as a rule - it's a fine guideline, but there's no strong reason to say "fighters cannot have four knowledge skills," even if there would be a valid reason to say "fighters can't take knowledge skills." Which would require getting rid of skills from backgrounds, at least.

(Which I for one would find overly restricting in an un-fun way, since I'm personally tired of fantasy cliches while still wanting fantasy.)
 



FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Well, that depends on how you look at it. I mean, one person might say that "Gish" is a role.

But while there is always overlap (all classes, to a greater or lesser extent, can swing some sort of melee weapon) there was a large degree of niche protection that doesn't really exist.

I'm not making a normative judgment, just saying that this is the origin of the "strong" class system. 5e has the trappings, but it's not really a strong class system.

Best name for your "strong" class system is "niche protected class system"
 

HarbingerX

Rob Of The North
Well, that depends on how you look at it. I mean, one person might say that "Gish" is a role.

But while there is always overlap (all classes, to a greater or lesser extent, can swing some sort of melee weapon) there was a large degree of niche protection that doesn't really exist.

I'm not making a normative judgment, just saying that this is the origin of the "strong" class system. 5e has the trappings, but it's not really a strong class system.

I totally agree. My preferred game is actually Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue. Everyone else is trying to be some mix of those. And I'd not mind just going Fighter, Wizard as fighters can be sneaky and Wizards could have the clerics divine spells if you wanted. Turn undead could become a spell.

It's very difficult in a class-based system to support all the different archetypes people can envision. So you get martial classes with a bit of magic and magic classes with a bit of martial which can all start to seems similar.

Of course, fully flexible character build systems have their own problems.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Well, that depends on how you look at it. I mean, one person might say that "Gish" is a role.

But while there is always overlap (all classes, to a greater or lesser extent, can swing some sort of melee weapon) there was a large degree of niche protection that doesn't really exist.

I'm not making a normative judgment, just saying that this is the origin of the "strong" class system. 5e has the trappings, but it's not really a strong class system.

While I'm fully in favor of a class based system I am fully against niche protected class systems.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Onus
The game has a base asssumption. The side that wishes to break the base assumption therefore adds more of a responsibility or burden of proof to explain why they wish to break the assumption. TheDM has the final say but both sides have to agree or they don'tplay with each other. So..

1) The DM can resist anything. However any player can always choose not to play. A DM who have no players willing to play by their restrictions has no game to DM.

2) Part of it comes down to the game being a team game. There is a sort of heiracht of frequency that the skills are used. The designers of almost every edition more of list split them up so that a single player cannot snag all the "commonly used skills" without "sacrificing" character option to do it.

3) Again it comes down to burden of proof to break the base assumption. The fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard each have a class skill list. If someone chooses to make their wizard choose only the skills on anyther class's list that are not on the wizard's, the ball of responsibilty shifts more toward them to justify it.

So it's less why should restiction exist and more where the line of justification truly starts. For DM or player.

So let's say I give my justification. What might cause you deny it other than one of the reasons I listed?
 

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