D&D 5E Spellcasters and Balance in 5e: A Poll

Should spellcasters be as effective as martial characters in combat?

  • 1. Yes, all classes should be evenly balanced for combat at each level.

    Votes: 11 5.3%
  • 2. Yes, spellcasters should be as effective as martial characters in combat, but in a different way

    Votes: 111 53.9%
  • 3. No, martial characters should be superior in combat.

    Votes: 49 23.8%
  • 4. No, spellcasters should be superior in combat.

    Votes: 8 3.9%
  • 5. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

    Votes: 27 13.1%

  • Poll closed .

loverdrive

Prophet of the profane (She/Her)
I'm certainly not opposed to playing 4e as is, but I also think it needs a minor overhaul. Not a complete one, but a tune-up and polish that cleans it up a bit. Kind of like how 3e received a tune-up, polish, and a fresh paint job through Pathfinder, I think that 4e could use a similar treatment. Nothing drastic. However, the lack of an OGL prevents retroclones or the ability of enthusiast publishers/designers/fans to pick up 4e's torch like Pathfinder did for 3e or OSR was able to do with B/X and AD&D. It would be nice, for example, to see a "New School Essentials" that did for 4e what Old School Essentials did for B/X.
Okay, dude, stop fantasizing. I'm officially putting New School Essentials on my to do list.

Try to learn Russian while I'm working on it, though.
 

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Asisreo

Patron Badass
This... is really missing a crucial element of what makes D&D go. A D&D class is a package: A fictional concept, plus mechanics that support that concept. You can sever concept from mechanics, but you are then taking on all the mental work of holding the two apart in your head and mapping the new concept onto the mechanics on the fly.

Most players don't want to do that, and much of the appeal of D&D is that it doesn't ask you to. Indeed, a well-designed D&D class has mechanics that don't just support the concept but actively evoke it in play.
I've considered the key portion of D&D as the opposite. There is no thematic bound that a player must find himself in.

And under that opinion, the playstyle and gameplay is much more important than the flavor texts on the page. If I want to play a wizard, I don't like how wizards are designed so I play a sorcerer with an intelligent mindset. The mechanics to flavor relationship has never bothered me.
 

I've considered the key portion of D&D as the opposite. There is no thematic bound that a player must find himself in.

And under that opinion, the playstyle and gameplay is much more important than the flavor texts on the page. If I want to play a wizard, I don't like how wizards are designed so I play a sorcerer with an intelligent mindset. The mechanics to flavor relationship has never bothered me.
And a warlord playstyle is almost entirely different from a 5e bard, paladin, or sorcerer. The only way you can say they do the job is by a very vague reading of the fluff - and then pretending there are no mechanical consequences of spells being spells.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Fighters aren’t better at combat than wizards. Roughly equivalent - they are just good at different aspects of combat.
I agree and don't.

Although wizards and fighter serve different roles in combat, the impact of normally built fighters over a "proper adventuring day" far exceeds that of a normally built wizard.
 

There are games that have kind of done it.

Strike! is more of a deconstruction rather than a reconstruction of 4e, but the DNA is evidently there.

MonsterPunk is focused on running games with themes like those you'd find in Shin Megami Tensei games, but aside from the change in focus it actually does feel like a nicely done overhaul of 4e.

Edit: I knew I was forgetting one.

Unity also feels like it shares a lot of DNA with 4e. It isn't a reconstruction of 4e per se, but it is the closest thing that I'm aware of.
I'll have to add Monster Punk to my to read list. The non-RPG that's explicitly 4e derived, of course, is Gloomhaven.

And I've left my 4th Trifold fallow for a while but have a homebrew retroclone intended to be played with 4e allowed at the same table even if I went Death To Ability Scores
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
From that poster that I was replying to, for combat yes. They added in a lot of skill bonuses at the expense of combat ability. I specifically asked what such a character would do in combat differently than a fighter hoping I was missing something - but there was nothing.

The Scholar mockup I currently is a weapons based skirmisher. It gets a small bonus to attack, AC, Initiative, or, damage based on its mentality.

Each subclass would key of a different Lore or Conversation skill.

The Herbalist would craft potions and poisons with herbalism kits via Nature

The Occultist would focus on Arcana and get a spells as a third caster, focusing on divination to combine wizardry, sorcery, and witchcraft.

The Theologian would focus on Religion and would get some cleric like spells to blast the enemies of the gods using hidden or rare religious lore.

The Historian of course focuses on History and gets bonus weapon, armor, and tool proficiencies as well as maneuvers as they utilize the knowledge of the past battles.

The Diplomat uses Persuasion to broker better deals for their party, garner better reactions from strangers, and convince allies to fight harder.

etc etc
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
There are games that have kind of done it.

Strike! is more of a deconstruction rather than a reconstruction of 4e, but the DNA is evidently there.

MonsterPunk is focused on running games with themes like those you'd find in Shin Megami Tensei games, but aside from the change in focus it actually does feel like a nicely done overhaul of 4e.

Edit: I knew I was forgetting one.

Unity also feels like it shares a lot of DNA with 4e. It isn't a reconstruction of 4e per se, but it is the closest thing that I'm aware of.
My WoE system is probably too far removed. I kept the action economy, rituals, variant healing surges, competent monster design, etc, but I also went ham murdering every per-day ability, rolled back to the 3e skill point system, and made feats both more robust and numerous with and eye to make feats/class features and magic items roughly on par so that a low magi game can award feats as rewards. Also, a lot of explicit sidebars to prevent lies about how things work (eg, no the Inspiring leader isn't shouting wounds closed, they're inspiring people to suck it up for the good of the team, and AoEs are squares on a grid, not in-universe).
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
And a warlord playstyle is almost entirely different from a 5e bard, paladin, or sorcerer. The only way you can say they do the job is by a very vague reading of the fluff - and then pretending there are no mechanical consequences of spells being spells.
The fundamental problem with this specific assertion is that the warlord doesn't exist.

Again, this isn't 4e , this is 5e. Aside from a 1-to-1 translation of warlord being clunky and overbearing in 5e, the warlord's abilities have, indeed, been displaced about the various different classes and would suffer from lack of identity.

Bards inspire on the battlefield, heal from a distance, augment other character's attacks, and have some shared martial aspects.

Paladins incentivizes cooperative play through their auras, stand resilient when faced in melee, and are able to protect others from a distance

Sorcerers remain in the backline while controlling the battlefield but are more resilient than most other fullcasters. They can do great damage from a distance while also providing some of the best support abilities in the game.

What is Warlord doing that's unique to any of these three classes? While being a mix might sound okay since paladins are considered a mix between cleric and fighter, the reality is that its actual gameplay differs wildly from either two.


Also, it should be noted that I am not against Warlord actually being in the game. I've never been. But I am opposed to bloating the system with classes that have no mechanical design space to exist. Its fine that people want to marry theme and mechanics, that's just good design, but I don't want the theme of the class to be so unoriginal and unnecessary as "Better Battlemaster" or "nonmagical paladin" that the design turns from something fun to play into something that's just there as fanservice.

Ive never played a class for its theme, ever. To be quite honest, I don't like the overall theme of D&D as a whole. But I enjoy D&D for the mechanics that it has and how they are structured, even if it has a few hiccups.

For one, if it wasn't for Font of Magic, I wouldn't play Sorcerer at all. If Wizards had FoM, I'd play them rather than sorcerer. If it wasn't for cleric's spell list and specifically the Life domain, I wouldn't play clerics at all regardless of the themes. If it wasn't for Bardic Inspiration, I would have enjoyed Bards.

And this is the meat-and-potatoes of my argument:
As of now, there's no spotlight that the Warlord isn't trying to take away from other classes. There's nothing in this proposed Warlord class that makes me say "Wow, they'd play very differently from any other class, maybe I'll try them out."

This Warlord class has yet to show anything else but the bitter feeling of players who wanted a class they enjoyed from a previous edition brought back into the current edition. There's emotion but there's no tangible essence involved. Instead of making a Warlord, we're making arguments about its identity and what we really saw in it. But a modern Warlord that works successfully probably won't be the 4e warlord, unfortunately.
 

Yeah, not a fan of being shackled to the designers' flavor text and I don't like when flavor overdictates to mechanics.
Yeah. Let's just have a game with classes called Defender, Close Distance Striker, Ranged, Striker, Support, etc. Then they could have abilities like Single Target Attack 1, Single Target Attack 2, Area Attack 1, HP Replenishment 2 and so forth, that they could use to defeat foes such as Fast Enemy 4 and Elite 2. :rolleyes:
 

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