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5E Really concerned about class design

Vael

Adventurer
That's not necessarily unfair, but all base classes would have to clear that same bar.

Any bar the hot-mess of the Ranger, unfocused mundanity of the Fighter, vanished niche-protection of the Rogue, desperate forced mechanical differentiation of the Sorcerer, cultural specificity of the Druid/Monk/Barbarian, and/or the doable-with-MCing Ranger or Paladin could clear, the Psion and Warlord soar over with yards to spare, the Artificer probably clears with little difficulty, and the Shaman at least has a shot at with a good running start. Also in the running, all the various 'Gish' classes, because, damn, the 5e Ranger brings that bar down.

But, I mean, if your point is that only classes not already 'in the bag' (the PH) need to clear that bar, by all means, make a compelling case for that double-standard.
Well, for one, we're talking about 5e as is, not 6e, so the Core 12 plus Artificer have the advantage of having been already printed, we're not going back in time to kill the Ranger, this has been about what to add to 5e.

Second, a lot of the more niche classes can be expressed in relation to one of the core classes. The Gish is a Fighter and Wizard ... well, we have both of them, and they have subclasses expressing that character option. A Psychic Warrior is a Fighter that wields Psionic powers ... then haven't I just defined another Fighter Subclass?

Third, DnD is a genre unto itself, and the current suite of classes all have a history within DnD. Warlock is a term that has a slightly different meaning outside of DnD. Sure, a lot of that is built into the DnD Warlock, but so is a lot of other things, like Eldritch Blast.

And, while I remain a defender of 4e, it seems to get a bit of a bad rap in some spaces. So the classes that got attention and defining features in 4e, well, it's not necessarily good PR.

Finally, there is a lower bar when there's a lower number of classes, because you want to increase the diversity of class options. But as more and more classes are created, it does become a point of diminishing returns. The 20th class you add to the game is less interesting than the 7th.
 

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Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
A Psychic Warrior is a Fighter that wields Psionic powers ...
Psychic Warrior was a class for 3.X, it's the version I'd pick as a model. At least in regard to that version, saying that it's a fighter that wields psionic powers is as accurate as saying that a monk is a fighter that fights unarmed. I'd say that defining the paladin as a fighter that wields divine power is actually more accurate.

(And now I just remembered what a horrible take on the concept the AU version is. I hope that stuff never gets published as official psionics for 5e.)
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I think the problem psionics face in D&D is the same as guns face in D&D. The general population views psionics like sci fi, not fantasy. So outside of an outlier population of fans, it will never truly be part of core D&D. No matter how many times rules for it get published. And I think the results Jeremy was alluding to really back that up.

It doesn't mean psionics are bad, or people are badwrong for enjoying them. Just that it's generally associated with sci fi, and not high fantasy. That's the realm of magic.
I've heard the "psionics is just sci fi magic" from many, no doubt. I wonder why Mind Flayers get a pass, though? Clearly all are psionic, but only some are also magic users.

This is why I like the psionics is different division because it represents a different subset of enemies which if different than magic represent a different challenge.

The different feel for me stems back to the 1e system of paper/scissors/rock/lizard/Spock of the ego whip and intellect fortress set of 5 powers and how they interacted. Magic spells haven't had a system like that.

I'm done talking my opinions on the Psion as a class topic, though. I have been away from Enworld for awhile and have noticed a sharp change in friendliness from the past times I've been heavily invested here. It feels to me like everyone has to prove their opinion is right rather than listen and empathize....and also realize that opinions are by nature always right.
 

Psychic Warrior, saying that it's a fighter that wields psionic powers is as accurate as saying that a monk is a fighter that fights unarmed. I'd say that defining the paladin as a fighter that wields divine power is actually more accurate.
Yes.
The monk is a fighter that studies unarmed martial arts, the ranger's a woodsy fighter with nature spells, a paladin is a divinely-empowered fighter, a barbarian a tribal fighter harnessing primal rage, a bladesinger/Eldritch knight/duskblade/hexblade/magus/warmage/gish is a fighter trained in arcane magic, a rogue is a sneaky/opportunistic fighter.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
I've heard the "psionics is just sci fi magic" from many, no doubt. I wonder why Mind Flayers get a pass, though? Clearly all are psionic, but only some are also magic users.

This is why I like the psionics is different division because it represents a different subset of enemies which if different than magic represent a different challenge.

The different feel for me stems back to the 1e system of paper/scissors/rock/lizard/Spock of the ego whip and intellect fortress set of 5 powers and how they interacted. Magic spells haven't had a system like that.

I'm done talking my opinions on the Psion as a class topic, though. I have been away from Enworld for awhile and have noticed a sharp change in friendliness from the past times I've been heavily invested here. It feels to me like everyone has to prove their opinion is right rather than listen and empathize....and also realize that opinions are by nature always right.
But when a creature has a spellcasting (psionics) feature, those spells can still be counter spelled or dispelled. They still function as the spells they are. That's all people mean when they say psionics is magic.

They removed the hardline distinction between Divine and Arcane magic; there's no differences like divine magic can be cast in armor and arcane magic cannot be. The only differences are the thematics of the class and which implements they can use.

All a psionic spellcaster would need is an ability that lets them ignore material components, as if they were using an implement, unless there is a cost to those components. In effect, the psionic spellcaster would be their own implement. Or maybe they could use crystals.

I do fully agree, though, that if the Psion (or Mystic) is going to be its own class, it's got to have something going for it that separates it. The druid and cleric are separated by their abilities other than their spell lists. The Psion will need solid class abilities to differentiate it (and I think slightly more than just using PP, because there is an SP variant already in the DMG). Remember how unsatisfying the Sorcerer was in 3E in the eyes of the char op builders?
 

Vael

Adventurer
Yes.
The monk is a fighter that studies unarmed martial arts, the ranger's a woodsy fighter with nature spells, a paladin is a divinely-empowered fighter, a barbarian a tribal fighter harnessing primal rage, a bladesinger/Eldritch knight/duskblade/hexblade/magus/warmage/gish is a fighter trained in arcane magic, a rogue is a sneaky/opportunistic fighter.
Cool. So it's agreed, we're going back in time and removing all classes and calling 5e GURPS. :rolleyes:

Seriously, of the gishes mentioned, we have all but three, so why do we need a Gish or a Magus or a Duskblade?
 

Cool. So it's agreed, we're going back in time
Nope, there's no going back in time: the precedent set by the Ranger, Paladin, Monk, Barbarian, and even Rogue is there. We can't just dismiss the Psychic Warrior out of hand because it seems like it could be a "Fighter with..."
OTOH, the Eldritch Knight is a precedent that leaves the door wide open to a Psychic Warrior fighter sub-class that faux-multiclasses with the Psion like the EK does with the wizard.

Seriously, of the gishes mentioned, we have all but three, so why do we need a Gish or a Magus or a Duskblade?
If MCing weren't explicitly optional, there'd be no need for even one of 'em.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
But when a creature has a spellcasting (psionics) feature, those spells can still be counter spelled or dispelled. They still function as the spells they are. That's all people mean when they say psionics is magic.
Yes, if don't play the "Psionics are different" then there really is not much difference (or need) between a Psion and a Sorcerer. Or a difference between a mind flayer using it's native mind control versus just casting Dominate Person.

As said, I enjoy having a different set of buttons for psionics on my GM console.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Cool. So it's agreed, we're going back in time and removing all classes and calling 5e GURPS. :rolleyes:

Seriously, of the gishes mentioned, we have all but three, so why do we need a Gish or a Magus or a Duskblade?
I'm going to keep leaning back on Mike Mearls's "can we make 12 subclasses with this class idea" for my opposition to a martial gish class. I don't see the fantasy archetype for it that isn't self referential. A paladin is different from a fighter/cleric, partially because it's based on something that's a more solid concept. Whether d&d popularized that concept doesn't matter at this point.

The only arcane Gish concept I've seen that I think could be the basis of a full class is the "mystical swordsman" from some anime and manga. That treads in a direction that is walked by the monk, but could be distinct enough. And there is enough design space there, as evidenced by Book of Nine Swords.
 

I'm going to keep leaning back on Mike Mearls's "can we make 12 subclasses with this class idea" for my opposition to a martial gish class. I don't see the fantasy archetype for it that isn't self referential. The only arcane Gish concept I've seen that I think could be the basis of a full class is the "mystical swordsman" from some anime and manga. That treads in a direction that is walked by the monk, but could be distinct enough. And there is enough design space there, as evidenced by Book of Nine Swords.
Quite apart from the fact that all you need to do fighter/magic-user (which "Gish" is just githynaki-speak for) is remotely functional multi-classing, which 5e went & made optional, there have been so many classes, sub-classes, PrCs, themes/PPs, going there, that you could probably come up with 12 sub-classes just by listing them all.
What've we got?

Gish (of course)
Eldritch Knight
Bladesinger
Bard (3.5 bard, I'm think'n, or eSkald)
Duskblade
Hexblade
Magus

bettern' halfway to 12, and I know there have been others... like, wasn't there a magical gunfighter in PF1?

A paladin is different from a fighter/cleric, partially because it's based on something that's a more solid concept. Whether d&d popularized that concept doesn't matter at this point.
Oh, the concept of the Paladin - the pious knight in shining armor along the lines of Parsifal/Galahad and Lancelot, the highest echelon of the vassals of Charlemagne, the metaphorical name adopted by the main character in Have Gun, Will Travel, the Crusaders & Templars of history, etc - was popular enough before D&D.

It's the D&D Cleric that's lacking in distinct precedent. 2e, for instance, called out Archbishop Turpin from the Song of Roland as, like, the myth/legend exemplar of the Cleric. He was literally a Paladin (one of the Peers of Charlemagne) - in the story he used sword & lance to slaughter Saracens like everyone else, and never used a bit of magic.
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
I'm going to keep leaning back on Mike Mearls's "can we make 12 subclasses with this class idea" for my opposition to a martial gish class. I don't see the fantasy archetype for it that isn't self referential. A paladin is different from a fighter/cleric, partially because it's based on something that's a more solid concept. Whether d&d popularized that concept doesn't matter at this point.
I'd argue that Gandalf is a gish more than a wizard, so, there's at least some support for the concept of a warrior-mage in popular culture.

For the need of 12 subclasses, while I think the character concept is important, I'd prefer the outlines to be traced around the need for mechanical support. I'd first ask for a subclass that supports the defender role, one that supports damage-dealing in melee and another that supports it at range. After that, a subclass that allows someone to play a gish mainly for buffing allies/debuffing enemies. So, we'd have four, at a minimal.

After that, we can think about some concepts that are hard to pull with 5e where it is today. Some, from the top of my head: the "Jedi Knight" (the UA psychic warrior is trying to do that) or a WoW-like Death Knight. In fact, the WoW Death Knight brings not one, but at least three gish concepts that are hard to pull with current official support: a disease carrier, a lord of the undead, and an expert of ice magic. There's also space for a transmutation (self) expert and a shadow warrior (Illusion/stealth/dex-based; one could argue that the Way of the Shadow monk already covers it).

Those are 10 of the top of my head. I've spent more time writing this post than trying to envision viable subclasses for gish types and almost managed to arrive at Mearls' purposed 12 subclass requisite.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
That's not necessarily unfair, but all base classes would have to clear that same bar.

Any bar the hot-mess of the Ranger, unfocused mundanity of the Fighter, vanished niche-protection of the Rogue, desperate forced mechanical differentiation of the Sorcerer, cultural specificity of the Druid/Monk/Barbarian, and/or the doable-with-MCing Ranger or Paladin could clear, the Psion and Warlord soar over with yards to spare, the Artificer probably clears with little difficulty, and the Shaman at least has a shot at with a good running start. Also in the running, all the various 'Gish' classes, because, damn, the 5e Ranger brings that bar down.

But, I mean, if your point is that only classes not already 'in the bag' (the PH) need to clear that bar, by all means, make a compelling case for that double-standard.
QFT. Which is why the "nothing but subclasses" mantra lots of people are rolling with is ill-founded - it feels arbitrary and needlessly pigeonholing. The fact that it limits multiclass concepts and causes bloat and analysis paralysis within a chosen class are just extra salt on the wound.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
Quite apart from the fact that all you need to do fighter/magic-user (which "Gish" is just githynaki-speak for) is remotely functional multi-classing, which 5e went & made optional, there have been so many classes, sub-classes, PrCs, themes/PPs, going there, that you could probably come up with 12 sub-classes just by listing them all.
What've we got?

Gish (of course)
Eldritch Knight
Bladesinger
Bard (3.5 bard, I'm think'n, or eSkald)
Duskblade
Hexblade
Magus

bettern' halfway to 12, and I know there have been others... like, wasn't there a magical gunfighter in PF1?

Oh, the concept of the Paladin - the pious knight in shining armor along the lines of Parsifal/Galahad and Lancelot, the highest echelon of the vassals of Charlemagne, the metaphorical name adopted by the main character in Have Gun, Will Travel, the Crusaders & Templars of history, etc - was popular enough before D&D.

It's the D&D Cleric that's lacking in distinct precedent. 2e, for instance, called out Archbishop Turpin from the Song of Roland as, like, the myth/legend exemplar of the Cleric. He was literally a Paladin (one of the Peers of Charlemagne) - in the story he used sword & lance to slaughter Saracens like everyone else, and never used a bit of magic.
I kind of agree with this also. Even though I sometimes pick on them, in my view, the paladin has less of a design/vision problem than the cleric does.

They keep designing the cleric around the historial 1st edition idea of a cleric when, for at least 3 editions now, they've really needed to walk the concept back and design it in a way that allows for a much greater range of archetypes that are generally less martial and more oracle/priestly. They should have done this as soon as the paladin was created and they never did.
 

Aebir-Toril

Creator of the Elfgrinder Mech
QFT. Which is why the "nothing but subclasses" mantra lots of people are rolling with is ill-founded - it feels arbitrary and needlessly pigeonholing. The fact that it limits multiclass concepts and causes bloat and analysis paralysis within a chosen class are just extra salt on the wound.
I mostly agree with you, but is important to note the difficulty of balancing full classes against multiclassing.
 

I mostly agree with you, but is important to note the difficulty of balancing full classes against multiclassing.
Nod. Maybe it's ironic, but the 3e/5e take on Multi-Classing would work a lot better if class designs and progression were a lot more consistent - y'know, like the were in 4e, prior to Essentials, which, of course, used a completely different, feat-based multi-classing (which seems to work better for PF2), and class-by-class 'Hybrid' system, (which, I suspect, may have worked with 5e's inconsistent class designs better than the 3e-style system does).
 

Warpiglet

Adventurer
Quite apart from the fact that all you need to do fighter/magic-user (which "Gish" is just githynaki-speak for) is remotely functional multi-classing, which 5e went & made optional, there have been so many classes, sub-classes, PrCs, themes/PPs, going there, that you could probably come up with 12 sub-classes just by listing them all.
What've we got?

Gish (of course)
Eldritch Knight
Bladesinger
Bard (3.5 bard, I'm think'n, or eSkald)
Duskblade
Hexblade
Magus

bettern' halfway to 12, and I know there have been others... like, wasn't there a magical gunfighter in PF1?

Oh, the concept of the Paladin - the pious knight in shining armor along the lines of Parsifal/Galahad and Lancelot, the highest echelon of the vassals of Charlemagne, the metaphorical name adopted by the main character in Have Gun, Will Travel, the Crusaders & Templars of history, etc - was popular enough before D&D.

It's the D&D Cleric that's lacking in distinct precedent. 2e, for instance, called out Archbishop Turpin from the Song of Roland as, like, the myth/legend exemplar of the Cleric. He was literally a Paladin (one of the Peers of Charlemagne) - in the story he used sword & lance to slaughter Saracens like everyone else, and never used a bit of magic.

Interesting thoughts on cleric...

In fact, I think the "cleric" sort of invented the idea of an armored warrior that does miracles.

Following Gygax, or perhaps his compatriots, cleric is now an archetype unto itself.

That said there was earlier discussion about the nature of clerics vis a vis Paladins.

As I see it, much of clerical magic can be found in the Abrahamic religions. Being of the cloth, one might associate them with miracle working saints of a church. The armor and blunt weapons were added with relatively few precedents in churchmen who fought.

The paladin is no doubt more Arthurian in flavor with a bit of cleric thrown in.

I personally love clerics and the idea of a questing abbot or priest taking the field and armoring up maybe even reluctantly.

That their archetypal roots aren't exactly Jungian doesn't make me want to to exclude them. They're cooler than that. They're gygaxian.

(I hear they were mapped on van helsing too...again, no heartburn for me!).
 

In fact, I think the "cleric" sort of invented the idea of an armored warrior that does miracles.
Certainly, before D&D, 'cleric' suggested clerical work more than anything else, or maybe the country vicar in costume drama. (Today, if you're not familiar with D&Disms, it just might suggest a fatwah-issuing instigator of terrorism - thanks for that, news media.)

(I hear they were mapped on van helsing too...again, no heartburn for me!).
Yep, thus the undead-turning niche.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
Interesting thoughts on cleric...

In fact, I think the "cleric" sort of invented the idea of an armored warrior that does miracles.

Following Gygax, or perhaps his compatriots, cleric is now an archetype unto itself.

That said there was earlier discussion about the nature of clerics vis a vis Paladins.

As I see it, much of clerical magic can be found in the Abrahamic religions. Being of the cloth, one might associate them with miracle working saints of a church. The armor and blunt weapons were added with relatively few precedents in churchmen who fought.

The paladin is no doubt more Arthurian in flavor with a bit of cleric thrown in.

I personally love clerics and the idea of a questing abbot or priest taking the field and armoring up maybe even reluctantly.

That their archetypal roots aren't exactly Jungian doesn't make me want to to exclude them. They're cooler than that. They're gygaxian.

(I hear they were mapped on van helsing too...again, no heartburn for me!).
I think my issue with this is that vision could easily be accomplished by a MC cleric or a paladin, but a less gygaxian (or even conceptually broader) priest can't be accomplished through any official means - it requires heavy reflavoring or a homebrew class, and I find that to be a weakness within the core class roster.
 

Aebir-Toril

Creator of the Elfgrinder Mech
I think my issue with this is that vision could easily be accomplished by a MC cleric or a paladin, but a less gygaxian (or even conceptually broader) priest can't be accomplished through any official means - it requires heavy reflavoring or a homebrew class, and I find that to be a weakness within the core class roster.
I made a Cultist class (wip) for this purpose. It is a cleric with a allocating focus, weak weaponry, and traditionally Priest-like attributes.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
So.... I've been feeling this for a while. While, granted, we got the Artificer in the Eberron book, there's been a long term dearth of new classes for 5e. Especially in light of the new UA, it really worries me that it appears to be because WotC thinks they can/should simply turn every new class concept into a subclass for one of the existing classes.

I love subclasses, but I think that's a terrible approach, and it really needs to get called out as a problem IMO.

First, it attempts to solve the (hypothetical) problem of class bloat by adding clutter within classes, which really doesn't make much sense. 5e already addresses class bloat as a potential problem by having subclasses at all, but when the theme or fantasy represented within a class starts to take you all over the place with subclass options, that's an indicator we've departed from "elegant" and landed at "sloppy". As a practical concern, this makes it more difficult for players to digest what their options really are. They have to reverse engineer a concept or go through a layered path-choosing process.

Second, subclasses aren't multi-class friendly, so tying more and more class options to them inhibits the leveraging of multi-class rules to create a unique class concept. In other words, they result in less customization, not more.

Third, there are numerous areas where it just doesn't really make thematic sense, either in terms of edition history/lore or in terms of verisimilitude. I can easily get on board with Psychic Warrior being a subclass for Fighter - because it's a perfect use of the subclass system to expand options without class bloat. I cannot get on board with the base Psion being a "Wizarding tradition" because it is not. One of many reasons for this is the thematic need for psionics to exist as a full-enough system to potentially replace traditional magic in a more sci-fi setting based on precedents established in previous editions.

Fourth, it just feels like a lazy way to develop the system that players have weirdly adopted as a good approach when it isn't (sort of a rationalizing-the-status-quo bias). If they had started with only 4 or 5 classes, this approach might have made the most sense, but they didn't & that ship has sailed. So drawing a line now and de-emphasizing classes in favor of subclasses is starting to make the whole edition feel sloppily executed.

The bottom line is that if the concept that you're imagining is a.) very interesting, and b.) broad enough that you can easily mentally conjure many different subtypes within that class, there is no reason to not take the time to develop it into a full class instead of band-aiding it as a nonsensical subclass tacked on to an arbitrarily chosen class. My personal favorite examples of this are the witch and the shaman, but there are tons of others.
Yes, this is what I mean by breadth based design, not depth based.

Basically, you can have many characters, but you can't have complex characters.

5E isn't crunchy enough for many of us.

Most subclasses just rehash the same bonuses anyway, just handing them out in different combinations: such as getting advantage to one skill or special case. There has been little to no real invention when it comes to new mechanisms.

Basically, the success of 5E has meant WotC is treading water. They aren't going to add substantial new content for fear of disrupting their cash cow.
 

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