Should Assassin be theme or class?

Gryph

First Post
Here's a different take on the question.

On the playtest character sheets it suggests to play without background and theme for a more old school feel. I want to be able to follow that suggestion, play the stripped down core system, and play an assassin (or paladin or ranger) all at the same time.

One of the primary design goals for Next is for groups to be able to play in a style similar to any of the earlier versions of D&D. I would like to be able to, at least sometimes, roll characters in 5 minutes and jump in. To do that the choices for character generation need to be real simple and few in number: Race, Class, Ability Scores, and equipment.
 

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IanB

First Post
Look at all the different ranger types in 4e. The two weapon guy and the archer guy and the beast guy and the essentials guys play differently than each other. Look at the billions of options for Pathfinder rangers. There are lots of ways to fit different things into the ranger "space". I'm not going to whiteboard an entire class design here, especially since it has been done before.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Look at all the different ranger types in 4e. The two weapon guy and the archer guy and the beast guy and the essentials guys play differently than each other. Look at the billions of options for Pathfinder rangers. There are lots of ways to fit different things into the ranger "space". I'm not going to whiteboard an entire class design here, especially since it has been done before.
In 4e we have "Woodland warrior who can track and uses two weapons", "Woodland warrior who can track and uses a bow", and "Woodland warrior who can track and has a pet." In Essentials, we have "Woodland warrior who can track and uses two weapons" and "Woodland warrior who can track and uses a bow". In Pathfinder (without multiclassing), I see "A woodland warrior who can track and has a pet who uses a bow" or "A woodland warrior who can track and has a pet who uses two weapons".

The 4e versions in particular are very similar with the exception of the Seeker or whatever the Essentials archer was called, and that's solely because the seeker is a Controller rather than a Striker...and since Next has gotten rid of the concept of "roles", it's a useless distinction.

Finally, I'm not asking about what other editions did to the ranger. I'm talking about Next. How can the Next version of the Ranger be different from the Next version of a fighter with a tracking-and-two-weapon or tracking-and-bow theme? Explain to me exactly what a ranger is, then show me the different variations you can have within that definition.
 


FreeTheSlaves

Adventurer
I think the assassin deserves a class.

We've got classes built around weapons, prayers, spells, deception, charm, chivalry, animism, etc... Why not the quintessential class built around the art of assassination?

It makes sense as this is a key part of stories involving political intrigue, and this can apply to the dungeon bosses too.

There is plenty of space to explore here, all the methods of delivering all the kinds of sudden death, making it appears accidental or not, getting into and out of the kill area safely - unnoticed or 'mis-noticed' as desired. Lots of equipment, gadgets, subtle magics.

Then there is the Half-Orc race, and giving them their iconic class. I love the idea of the high-str Half-Orc garrote-wielding assassin forcing a Hobgoblin guard into a sound-muffled wrestle to the death.

Nah, definitely give us the class.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The "Super Sneak attack" assassin should be a theme.

The "percentile Save or Die" assassin or the "shadow magic" assassin should be a class.
 

Abstruse

Legend
I keep thinking of a quote from RA Salvatore...apparently, he was told that he had to kill off Artemis Entrari because they were switching from 1st to 2nd Edition where there was no assassin class. All the assassins from 1st Edition were being fed to some evil god, but Entrari had become a fan favorite character so they wanted Salvatore to give him a "proper" death. He went round and round with TSR about it because he didn't want to kill Entrari.

Finally, he says, "Entrari is not an assassin! He's a fighter/thief who kills people for money!"

If the iconic NPC from arguably the most popular novel series who used to be the poster boy for a class can be so easily reclassified, it really makes me question the assassin as a class.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Hopefully we will see something like this (along with race):

Class "Build" Background Theme
Assassin Guilds Outlaw Hired Killer
Bard Troupes Entertainer Con Artist
Berzerker Rages Barbarian Slayer
Cleric Domains Priest Healer
Druid Circles Nomad Herbalist
Fighter Styles Soldier Swordsman
Paladin Vows Knight Defender
Psion Auras Outcast Dominator
Ranger I dunno Trapper Archer
Rogue Schemes Commoner Lurker
Sorcerer Elements Orphan Pyromaniac
Warlord Drills Noble Marshal
Warlock Pacts Acursed Blackheart
Wizard Schools Researcher Arcanist

Mix-n-match race, class, background, and theme as you like.

With at least a few options in each of the non-class columns.

I just slapped that together, so don't expect all of them to be brilliant, but by taking a theme or background that is "expected" to come from another class you have a form of mini-multiclassing, and the Assassin (to bring it back to the original discussion, can be BOTH (in that any class can take the "Hired Killer" theme and be an "Assassin" but the assassin with the "Hired Killer" theme is the most assassin-y assassin, if you get my drift.
 

Remathilis

Legend
In fact, with the introduction of themes into the game, my argument is that the more flexible a class, the better it is. The more themes you can put on a class and the more different characters you get, the better. If every theme I stick on a ranger ends up with me in a green cloak hanging out in the woods tracking stuff, hating goblins/orcs/giants/whatever, and having a very loyal pet that can maul someone's face off...why does it need to be a class? If you take every theme possible and stick them on a ranger and come out with something that looks, plays, and feels exactly the same with one one or two differences (my woodland fighter uses a bow, while his woodland fighter uses two swords), then why is it a class when the other classes have so many variations?

Someone else pointed out that a theme discusses HOW you do something, not WHAT you do. Yeah, any permeation of the ranger is going to put you in a green cloak, because that is what a ranger DOES. The theme describes if he's an archer, a dual-wielder, a slayer, a guardian, a lurker, etc.

A reverse example: what does a "ranger" theme look like? What does a paladin theme look like? Are we willing to make things like detect evil or lay on hands feats?
 


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