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5E Really concerned about class design

Sacrosanct

Legend
5 years is early days yet, haroom-harum, no need to be hasty.
More to the point I was making, we can’t use time as an accurate comparison. Because 5e is much slower of a release schedule, EVERYTHING non core is coming out slower. Just because it might take 5 years to release a psion doesn’t mean it’s been any less of a priority than any other edition that took maybe two years. They both could be #25 on the priority list of products for all editions, but those other editions just churned out material much faster.
A much more accurate comparison is to look at how far down the product line each additional feature had come out. Because this tells you how each edition has prioritized the feature.
 

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Big J Money

Adventurer
I think that you'll have a very hard time enjoying 5e with your current opinions, though, so if you keep them, I'd encourage you to look for a game that better meets your needs.
I strongly disagree with the implication in your comment, here. One does not need to like all of a brand's line of products in order for that game to be a good fit for them, nor does a DM need to "be on board" with every product or piece of officially licensed content in order to run a fun game session. If I'm moderately happy with subclasses in the PHBook and don't wish to explore more of Wizards' subclasses in further products, that is an absolutely valid way to approach 5E or any pen and paper RPG.

I am unclear how you get to that conclusion.
I'll unpack it a little, since it was hastily made. It's actually not a controversial stance. All I'm saying is that one of the pillars of the subclass system is to add tactical combat depth to each of the classes (strategic choice), much like the levelling mechanics in a CRPG (I used the CRPG analogy since CRPGs are all game with no back and forth roleplaying between DM and players, making them a "pure" example of this design principle at work).

What is that "something else", exactly? I'm not sure I understand what you think is lost.
I was more intentionally hasty here because the OP already made this point. What's lost is control over the campaign fiction, and this is where my comparison to 3rd edition comes in. I recall the Arcane Archer. Just like regular classes, subclasses add to the fiction of the setting's world. In the era of 2E and before, typically what classes are represented in the Setting was a mix of the DMs creting their own settings or using a published Setting (ex. Forgotten Realms). In 3rd edition Wizards changed that and started putting out these prestige classes that force a DM to decide whether to allow or forbid them. What does a DM do when a player with a halfling comes to them telling them they have gained the Arcane Archer prestige class when they already have a culture in their campaign (let's say a special tribe of Wood Elves) that are reknown for casting magical effects on their arrows?

This isn't a prime example, because it could actually be worked out with planning. Perhaps the halfling lived with these wood elves for a long period earlier in their life, or completed a major quest for them and earned a reward in terms of exclusive knowledge and training. But for many DMs and players who take their campaigns seriously, when one of the players at the table wants to just "take the arcane archer prestige class" just because it's an option in their rulebook and they don't care about the fiction, this is a frustrating position to be in.

From this position I see each subclass as being more or less a problem from this perspective, but the overall problem I have with the entire system is that it encourages (in my mind) players to go out and buy books because of these new shinies, without a care for how they might fit in a campaign. Or maybe they do actually want to be one of these characters, but they don't really care that it makes no sense in the fiction already established in the campaign for their character to suddenly be a part of this new culture / organization / whatever. Or, just as bad in my opinion, to not even care that classes and subclasses have an impact on the fiction and to pretend like it doesn't matter.

I won't only be critical, here. Subclasses "done right" in my eyes would look like this:

  • Any subclasses in more generic products would only map to already existing genre conventions in D&D, or be more generic fantasy archetypes that could reasonably fit into fantasy fiction anywhere (ex. gladiator)
  • Other more specialized fictional / cultural subclasses would be found in setting books

But have you noticed how slow the release schedule is, compared to pretty much every game from 2e onwards? By comparison to prior editions, 5e is far from a flood of player-directed crunch.
Fair point. This is a case where coming into 5E from a long hiatus, I have some assumptions from the past that sound they no longer hold.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I was more intentionally hasty here because the OP already made this point. What's lost is control over the campaign fiction, and this is where my comparison to 3rd edition comes in. I recall the Arcane Archer. Just like regular classes, subclasses add to the fiction of the setting's world.
Perhaps but I argue the degree of that impact on game world fiction is often is very dependent on your DM choice. I take the thinking that heroes are generally exceptional individuals they may be the Alexander the Greats (tactical genius whose father was a strategic genius and took over the world barely coming out of his teens) and similar figures who are not necessarily anything very like anyone who ever came before them. Even the fighter class character is not necessarily the same bear as the guardsman or knight. (The fighter is literally proficient in every weapon (I mean if you said that about a real life person you would rightly go wow). I see no reason to not see pcs as across the board exceptional. The name list of inspirational characters in 2e is astounding and that list I find has become my go to goal for D&D. i want players able to play that Super Diplomat Hiawatha able to fire a barrage of a dozen arrows before the first hits the ground.

How about an example a player wanted to wanted to play an Eladrin in my game world which does not have teleporting elves... so we end up with a discussion of how their character might be integrated with my world we decide the character is a unique reincarnating hero with dreams of the fae realm who yearns to visit there and learns he can temporarily push himself between that world of his dreams and come out in different location.

But generally its possible to work out and cooperate in making background that enables them and often if it fits my game world story well enough we are designing cultures and alternate forms and the player is massively contributing to the fleshing out of my world (I have swaths of my game world which are not hyper defined to allow for this flexibility.)

And really for me letting players ideas have an impact on setting can be awesome. so yeh I may have ultimate veto but who cares I find it a much better opportunity to grow my game world and get the player thinking about what he really wants out of element X too.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Do you want why it's a trap explained to you in detail?
Or were you leading into a detailed explanation of why it balances in all instances?

I don't feel like providing the former, though I'm sure there'd be someone, but the latter might be an interesting read.
The former doesn't exist. Less optimal does not equal trap. Especially when less optimal still does very, very well in the game. Some people may dislike less optimal choices, but that still doesn't make it a trap for them. It simply makes it something they don't like.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I made this comment yesterday, but can't recall which thread it was in, and it bears repeating:

There is no such thing as a trap option unless your focus is on min/maxing (because math is impartial). for any group that isn't focused on that, there is no such thing as a trap option because none of us know what the priorities are for that gaming group or player. For example, taking the actor feat is not a trap option or "suboptimal" over sharpshooter if that group is very heavy in to role play and light on combat, or more importantly, the player likes to have their PC be like that.
It's not even always a trap if the focus is on damage optimization. Suboptimal isn't sufficient to be a trap. For something to be a trap, it has to actually make the game unplayable or significantly harder than the game's baseline.

If an option is mathematically suboptimal, but all it does is make the game go from super easy to easy, it's not a trap.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Well, that kind of glosses over the fact that some designer decided that in order to gain the actor benefits, you need to give up the Greatweapon Fighter feat (or somesuch).

In other words, you can think Actor to be a trap without devaluing its benefits or be a mere minmaxer.

You're paying a very steep price for Actor. I believe that to be a trap for everyone.
This is false. Feats are not required to play the game, therefore the baseline is to be able to play the game well feat free. Feats are simply greater and lesser bonuses to the baseline of the game. A lesser bonus is still a bonus, not a trap.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Unless of course you have a very RP heavy campaign where actor comes into play more often than GWM feat ever would.

It depends on the game. In addition, it's not a "trap". It's a choice to not optimize for combat.
Except that in this case you are optimizing the character. You are just optimizing it with different criteria than DPR. The biggest problem is that DPR optimizers seem to think that their way of optimizing is the only one there is. That causes them to make the false, blanket statement that certain things are traps just because they are suboptimal for DPR.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
This is false. Feats are not required to play the game, therefore the baseline is to be able to play the game well feat free. Feats are simply greater and lesser bonuses to the baseline of the game. A lesser bonus is still a bonus, not a trap.
Sigh.

This is what keeps the game from ever becoming mechanically interesting.

Your argument taken in absurdum means that just because one feat provides "still a bonus" (say, a +1) while another provides a greater bonus (say, a +99), "a lesser bonus is still a bonus, not a trap".

Congratulations! :sick: By arguing the opportunity cost of -98 is "still a bonus" simply by your feat still providing a "lesser" bonus you have reduced the entire argument to merely bad faith word play!

Meanwhile even a child can tell you're wrong in every sense that mean something. :cautious:
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
PSA
If you need to optimize your character sheet like a finely-tuned machine, cranking up the DPR output* at the expense of everything else, in order to have fun...do it. 5E has plenty of tools to help you do exactly that. Optional rules like feats & multiclassing, non-core races and subclasses in other books, combos and building guides on the Internet...pick and choose. Before you know it, you'll be blasting hundreds of points of damage** at every target in range like you're playing WoW at the level-cap. The game isn't "broken" for allowing you to do this. Story-driven, narrative-focused players will roll their eyes a lot, but they'll get over it.

But not everyone enjoys that style of play. Players that choose NOT to focus on min-maxing and mathematical optimization aren't "doing it wrong." They haven't fallen into "a trap," and their enjoyment of the game isn't suffering because a number on their character sheet isn't as high as it could/should be, according to Random Internet Person. Some of us prefer to take a different approach to character building, that's all. The game isn't "broken" for allowing us to do this, either. Min-maxing, DPR-focused players will roll their eyes a lot, but they'll get over it.

*or AC, or hit points, or action economy, or whatever
**or never getting hit, or never falling unconscious, or never losing actions, or whatever
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sigh.

This is what keeps the game from ever becoming mechanically interesting.
Um, no. Lots and lots of viable options that aren't all equal, but are all bonuses makes the game far more interesting.

Your argument taken in absurdum means that just because one feat provides "still a bonus" (say, a +1) while another provides a greater bonus (say, a +99), "a lesser bonus is still a bonus, not a trap".
If you have to take it to absurd lengths, you've lost the debate.

Congratulations! :sick: By arguing the opportunity cost of -98 is "still a bonus" simply by your feat still providing a "lesser" bonus you have reduced the entire argument to merely bad faith word play!
No. It doesn't work that way. Making an absurd argument does not make my argument wrong, let alone bad faith. It does however make your argument suspect in that regard.
 

So instead of making more subclasses, they should make a book full of role-playing advice like, "Motivation! How to find it," "Is Method Acting right for you?" or "Put your Backstory up front!"

I'd buy it!
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That would be good for new players, but more experienced players who have been playing and DMing for years don't need something like that. It would hold less appeal for me than a module, and I have only bought one module since 2e.
 

Except that in this case you are optimizing the character. You are just optimizing it with different criteria than DPR. The biggest problem is that DPR optimizers seem to think that their way of optimizing is the only one there is.
Actually, that's one thing that's help'n 5e out, in the passing for sorta balanced department. DPR is the easiest plausible balance criterion to check. So, run the numbers, and, hey, the overall single-target DPR of most classes is pretty comparable over one of those 6-8 encounter/2-3 short rest, 25+ rounds-of-combat, days.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Actually, that's one thing that's help'n 5e out, in the passing for sorta balanced department. DPR is the easiest plausible balance criterion to check. So, run the numbers, and, hey, the overall single-target DPR of most classes is pretty comparable over one of those 6-8 encounter/2-3 short rest, 25+ rounds-of-combat, days.
It may be the easiest to balance, but it's not the end all be all of playing D&D. If I want to optimize my PC for roleplay, you want to optimize yours for DPR, and the next guy wants to optimize for exploration, we are all optimized. Not one of the PCs is suboptimal, or really, all of them are.

People who optimize for DPR don't have the right to complain because I want to optimize for something other than damage. They should play their character and let me play mine. I guarantee you that you won't hear me complain that they do more damage.
 

If I want to optimize my PC for roleplay, you want to optimize yours for DPR, and the next guy wants to optimize for exploration, we are all optimized. Not one of the PCs is suboptimal, or really, all of them are.
Hey, I actually kinda agree with that last bit.
Optimized for one pillar is sub-optimal compared to optimized for the flexibility to be good at any of the three, as the campaign demands. Part of what makes Tier 1 classes stand out.

DPR...may be the easiest to balance, but it's not the end all be all of playing D&D.
IDK if it's the easiest to balance. It's the easiest for the fractious fanbase to check up on, which probably makes it harder to balance (get away with leaving slightly imbalanced?) - I mean, folks get all punctilious over half-point-of-damage differences among otherwise-identical weapons.
 

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