D&D 5E Q&A 10/24/13 - Monsters description, Subclasses for multiclassing

Li Shenron

Legend
Read it here:

https://wizards.com/Dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dndqa/20131024

My comments:

1) & 2) Despite some of critiques about re-envisioning classic monsters, I do think that monsters descriptions are very important for the DM.

Ideally, I would like to see at least a small description about how each monster behaves in each pillar. E.g. for the combat pillar, something more than combat stats: the general combat attitude (is this monster a coward that prefers hiding or tries to avoid confrontation, how likely to surrender or flee or fights to the death...) and of course tactics (does it ambush, does it use hit-and-run tactics, does it blow his best weapon in first round or saves it for emergency, how does it combine his special abilities, does it team up with others of his kind...).

But then also how the monster fits in the world can be really useful. I am not a fan of demographics ("unique", "rare" and "common" are good enough for me, I don't need details about how many Ankhegs live in the world), but certainly the typical habitat and general placement in the food chain are good details (tell me if this monsters is a predator, and if it east humanoids, but I don't need to know more).

Generally, there is only limited space for monsters description before it gets annoying or the number of creatures in the book gets too low, so my wish is that they strive for good info rather than a lot of it.

3) Ok, we need to talk... :)

"Prestige classes" in general are going to be tough to design in 5e. The reason is that we have 2 delivery mechanics for them right now: feats and subclasses. Feats are good because they can have prerequisites that in turn require a minimum level (hence a feat can indeed be designed as "prestigious"); but feats might still be too few and too small to cover certain prestige classes archetypes of the past. Subclasses are even more problematic because: (a) while some classes have subclasses with 6-7 features, others have them with 4 features only, it's going to be hard to fit certain archetypes into such a small space; (b) subclasses start at very low level, which isn't "prestigious".

That said, today's Q&A focuses on subclasses to represent multiclassed characters which is similar to only some prestige classes of 3.5 which had this speficic purposes (and weren't in fact "prestigious").

This sounds certainly like a good idea to me. It remains to be seen how it fits with regular multiclassing...

Is this going to end up like we can tolerate "bad" multiclassing combinations (e.g. Fighter/Mage) because we have subclasses to cover the same character concept? I have to say that this will probably work for me, at least it will feel much better to "fix" by choosing a Fighter subclass or Wizard subclass, rather than the awkward 3e solution that required stacking levels in 3 classes to do so!
 
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Argyle King

Legend
I don't like the answer to #3. What's the point of a class system if you're just going to seek to subvert it?

One of the things I disliked about late 3rd Edition was the creation of feats which allowed some classes to act like other classes. In moderation, the idea wasn't too bad. However, there came a point where they made the choice of class less meaningful. Don't get me wrong, my favorite rpg doesn't have classes, so I like freedom. Though, if I'm playing a class based game, I want the choice of class to be meaningful.

I fear that creating subclasses which are designed to multiclass subverts the idea of a class system and makes the choice concerning whether or not to multiclass less meaningful. I also fear this will serve to add more system mastery to the game and widen the gap between a character built the "right" way and one built the "wrong way." It also occurs to me that the constant printing of subclasses have the potential to crush the system in the same way that PrC bloat started to crush third and make single-classed characters into a thing of the past. I don't like it.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I fear that creating subclasses which are designed to multiclass subverts the idea of a class system and makes the choice concerning whether or not to multiclass less meaningful. I also fear this will serve to add more system mastery to the game and widen the gap between a character built the "right" way and one built the "wrong way." It also occurs to me that the constant printing of subclasses have the potential to crush the system in the same way that PrC bloat started to crush third and make single-classed characters into a thing of the past. I don't like it.

A legitimate concern, but the proposed subclasses are actually targeted at making single-classed characters more common :)

Also, there is no option for not having a subclass. If one player is Fighter(Eldritch Knight), another is Fighter(Warrior). There is no Fighter without subclass, except before 3rd level. All of them however are Fighter! And they aren't multiclassed.

I just think that a lot of people are interested in playing a certain concept, and are looking for the simplest ways to get close to that. Starting as a Fighter and picking the appropriate subclass, or picking appropriate feats, is generally simpler than planning a multiclass character, also because all subclasses are supposed to be balanced with each other, while multiclass combinations (3e style i.e. you can mix any number of levels) are possibly so many that balancing all of them may not be even possible.
 

Argyle King

Legend
In the answer given, it is stated that there will be subclasses which are intentionally created to be make multiclassing easier. I take that as meaning there will be subclasses designed around gaining more (and/or losing less) from multiclassing.


"While we can’t yet talk about which specific subclasses we’re going to end up with, we’re looking into “multiclass friendly” subclasses to help blend the spellcasting classes with those that are not spellcasting classes. This goes in both directions; while we might have a subclass for, say, the fighter that makes it easier for that class to multiclass with a spellcasting class, we’re also considering subclasses for spellcasting classes, like the druid or sorcerer, that make them friendlier for weapon use. For the classes that already mix weapon use and magic, like the bard, cleric, paladin, and ranger, we are less likely to look for subclasses for that purpose. For any concepts not quite rich enough to support an entire subclass, we’re also looking into feats as a potential way to deliver some class-blending aspects, much like what you would expect from the multiclass feats from 4th Edition, especially since the feat design we have right now packs a lot of punch into a single feat."
 

Li Shenron

Legend
In the answer given, it is stated that there will be subclasses which are intentionally created to be make multiclassing easier. I take that as meaning there will be subclasses designed around gaining more (and/or losing less) from multiclassing.

Ah, that's different! I kept reading multiclassing as a concept, but they really mean as a mechanic...

Well then I don't like it. I think it's wasted design time. It's a large effort for a small benefit, and it will indeed make for a very clunky result.

When they said "blend" I really thought they were doing e.g. a Fighter subclass that granted Wizard spellcasting, and carefully balance it against both other core Fighter subclasses and the Wizard class. This for example could have meant a subclass that granted spells with the same spell level rate of a Wizard (or close) but smaller in quantity (daily slots, known spells, prepared spells) and with possibly additional limitations. This would allow such character to reach e.g. 3rd level Wizard spells at level 5, 5th level Wizard spells at level 7 etc. (just like the Wizard), which is something completely unaccessible via multiclassing.

Maybe they will do that anyway by having such Fighter subclass say "you can count all your Fighter levels for determining your spells on the multiclassing spellcasting table". That would work, but it is such an unhygenic idea... It means that you would need to create a multiclass PC, then to reference a table that has a unique spell progression instead of looking at your class progression, then to modify how you actually address that table...

Not to mention that the other example i.e. subclasses for spellcasters to "make them friendlier for weapon use" is truly a piece of cake: just make a subclass of Druid or Wizard or Cleric that grants them additional weapon and armor proficiencies! The proficiency bonus system takes care of everything then! Thinking about multiclassing here, and then creating a subclass that improves multiclassing, is total nonsense.
 



Kinak

First Post
1 & 2) I really don't like how 5e has been presenting monsters thus far. But both of these are sort of non-answers, so I can't speak to whether we're looking at an improvement, a worsening, or just more of the same.

In my perfect world, I'd like to see extremely condensed monster stat blocks with only a few, easy-to-use special abilities where appropriate. And then plenty of discussion about the monster after that.

Basically, if the 4e stat block and the BECMI stat block had a baby, that would be what I'm looking for. Then follow it with a 2nd or 3rd edition amount of description.

3) This just seems like a mess.

What I don't get is: they've carefully laid out how spellcaster-spellcaster combinations work in the multiclass rules, but martial classes need special subclassses to join with spellcasters? If we're going to load up the multiclass rules with spellcaster special cases, we really might as well just put it there.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Argyle King

Legend
To me, this marks a return of having to plan a character instead of letting it grow organically. I'm not impressed.

This is the impression I walked away from the playtest with.

I'm planning to stick with it. I want more hands on experience so as to develop a more educated opinion born of playing the game, but my impression thus far is that system mastery is alive and well in 5th Edition.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
1 & 2) I really don't like how 5e has been presenting monsters thus far.

...

Basically, if the 4e stat block and the BECMI stat block had a baby, that would be what I'm looking for. Then follow it with a 2nd or 3rd edition amount of description.

Well we have only seen the playtest version of monsters, and I suppose they were mostly concerned with the stats, so we have no idea yet of how an entry in the 5e MM would really look like.

But I certainly like the sound of your suggestion!
 

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