Should Assassin be theme or class?

Serendipity

Explorer
Class. Both because they have stated they'll include every class in each PH and because of established granularity - both the combat cleric and the paladin are going to be their own class, even though both are holy warriors that cast spells, turn undead, and wear full armor in combat. The differences are one of degree and emphasis, and so far that's it. If that's the level of class distinction being shown in the core, then give me both rogues and assassins.
 

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Abstruse

Legend
Class. Both because they have stated they'll include every class in each PH and because of established granularity - both the combat cleric and the paladin are going to be their own class, even though both are holy warriors that cast spells, turn undead, and wear full armor in combat. The differences are one of degree and emphasis, and so far that's it. If that's the level of class distinction being shown in the core, then give me both rogues and assassins.
That's a lazy answer though. If they're just going to do that, why not just make AC ascending and get rid of to-hit tables and reprint the 1st Ed books? Or just buy out Basic Fantasy or one of the other OSR systems?

This is a playtest and everything's still in flux. They're working out the kinks. If there's nothing unique about the class, what's the point of having it? If the rogue is effectively the same as the assassin, why do we need both classes? It just takes up a page count that's not needed and causes decision freezing amongst new players. "I want to play someone sneaky who stabs people in the back...should I play an assassin or a rogue? They look the same except for a few tiny differences. This one has a d8 hit die, but this one gets a higher to-hit bonus, but this one gets an extra skill, but this one gets an extra bonus to hiding..." And they sit there for half an hour going back and forth and being unable to make up their mind. And once they do choose, they spend the entire game saying "I bet this wouldn't be happening to me if I'd chosen the other class instead..."

It makes for a less satisfying game, it's bad game design, and it's simply pandering to grognards. We should not encourage this by being complacent. If they can't make an assassin (or paladin or ranger or monk or barbarian or samurai or whatever) class that adds something to the game, we should call them out on it and let them know we don't like it.
 

Serendipity

Explorer
That's a lazy answer though. If they're just going to do that, why not just make AC ascending and get rid of to-hit tables and reprint the 1st Ed books? Or just buy out Basic Fantasy or one of the other OSR systems?

It may be lazy design, but it's what they're doing. (And just what is lazy design anyway?) How you are getting "reset the game to 1e" out of my remarks I'm not sure.
The other extreme of course is making everything other than Fighter/Mage/Thief/Godperson a theme, which could work but would be unsatisfying I think. It would also lead to comments like "why not just return to race as class."
 

Abstruse

Legend
It may be lazy design, but it's what they're doing. (And just what is lazy design anyway?) How you are getting "reset the game to 1e" out of my remarks I'm not sure.
The other extreme of course is making everything other than Fighter/Mage/Thief/Godperson a theme, which could work but would be unsatisfying I think. It would also lead to comments like "why not just return to race as class."
See my above post of what I think should and shouldn't be a class to answer your last question.

As far as lazy design, it's flat out lazy. If they just copy and paste the rogue class and put "Assassin" at the top then swap out a couple of numbers, that's lazy. If they put in the work to make the assassin class a unique class with a style and feel mechanically that's different from the other classes while still being versatile enough to allow for multiple build types within the archetype, then we're going to get a stronger game out of it.

This is the playtest. Everything is in flux. According to the designers, the game is only about 20% complete and they're still fine-tuning everything. What we've seen isn't even all of that 20%. They've already stated they're throwing AC and weapon damage back to the drawing board based on playtest feedback.

If we sit back and let Wizards of the Coast be lazy and just throw a class in with no work, we're going to get a crappier game. And it will be the fault of every single playtester who sat back and said "That's what they're doing anyway so might as well live with it." I've been the "bad guy" in two threads so far about the paladin (and to a lesser extent, the ranger) because I refuse to let playtesters become complacent and I'm going to be the bad guy in this one too if I have to.

We should all hold Wizards of the Coast to a high standard if we want a quality game, and I think that is something that is universal with all of us. Otherwise, we wouldn't bother with the playtest in the first place.
 


Abstruse

Legend
This cannot be objectively measured so probably should not be used as a benchmark.
I could say that about any other method you choose unless it's directly comparing numbers. It's clear and concise and easily understood. What more do you want? If all you want are math exercises, check out the local community college and they'll probably have some affordable courses you can take.
 

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
My gut response is to say that unlike ranger and paladin, assassin should not be a class. (Theme or scheme, sure.) And while WOTC has said that every PHB class will be present, we already have some indication that this includes themes (the "magic user" theme for the playtest wizard). My personal guess is that assassin will be a second-tier theme, akin to its role as a prestige class in 3e.

To be consistent with my earlier stance on rangers and paladins, I guess I should say this: if WOTC can devise specific mechanics that would differentiate the assassin's core gameplay from the rogue's, then it could be a compelling class. I just don't see how that would work.
 


steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I'd be good to go with something like this:

CLASSES

Fighter
--Paladin
--Ranger

Rogue
--Assassin (non-magic type)
--Bard (caster type)

Cleric
--Druid

Mage
--Warlock

THEMES
Acrobat
Avenger
Barbarian
Beastmaster
Blackguard
Cavalier (already know we have "Knight" background, so this might be moot)
Illusionist
Necromancer
"Shadow Assassin" (the shadowy magicky one everyone seems to love so much from 4e)
Scout
Skald
Shaman
Sorcerer
Warlord
Witch
...and ya know all of the other stuff we know about: Slayer, Guardian, Magic-user, Lurker, etc. etc.
 

Abstruse

Legend
'Unique Enough' is not clear, concise or easily understood. It is totally and utterly subjective.
Is there anything about the statement "A class should be unique enough from other classes that there is a reason for it to exist separately" that you're not understanding? The statement seems pretty clear. How should I re-word it so you can understand the meaning?

As far as being subjective, your argument is invalid. One of the clear goals of the playtest as stated by the designers is "Does this playtest feel like D&D?" That's as subjective as you can get.

If my requirements for what should and should not be a class as opposed to a theme or build, what do you think those requirements should be?

If all you're going to do is tell me that my arguments are wrong without providing anything else, you're not adding anything to the discussion. If you're not adding anything to the discussion, why are you here?
 

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