D&D 5E The Quest to Reduce "Sameyness" (+)

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
How specific is a niche though? Lockpicking as the example, was once a "niche" of the Thief class. Well, except for the Knock spell.

But what about, say, the fighter? The closest thing I can think was ever a niche for them was getting weapon mastery, which is really specific. In contrast, wizards had cast spells from what I can tell. Clerics was Turn Undead.
Using broad class groups only and without getting deep into subclasses etc.:

Ideally the Fighter's niche should be being the best at both giving out and taking combat damage. They're still pretty good at taking it but their give-it-out niche has been slowly annihilated. (a sub-niche for a sub-group of Fighters could be archery)

The Cleric's niche should be healing and curing, with turning undead as a sidelight; but the healing niche has been watered down enough that turn undead is really all they've got left to call their own.

The Thief's niche should be sneakery and related things, including lockpicking and particularly indoors; but ever since day one there's been spells that blow this niche up (Knock, Pass Without Trace, Silence, Invisibility, the list goes on).

The Wizard's niche should be to be able to do things the others cannot, via magic. (a sub-niche for a sub-group of Wizards is that of messing with the mind and its perceptions, for Illusionists)

The Monk's niche should be hand-to-hand combat and flippy-flips, and this one's still fairly intact I think (one of the few!).

The Bard's niche should be charming, persuasion, and magic done via manipulation of sound - but sadly, the designers have never bothered giving Bards their own branch of sonic magic and so they end up functioning just like any other caster.

Howzat? :)
 

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ECMO3

Hero
The Monk's niche should be hand-to-hand combat and flippy-flips, and this one's still fairly intact I think (one of the few!).

Not really. A 1st-level fighter with the unarmed fighting style does more damage with an unarmed strike than a level 10 Monk, in addition to doing damage with a grapple that the Monk never gets. That is without feats or subclasses. Add tavern brawler feat and battlemaster subclass and a fighter is an awesome at this kind of thing. He doesn't get stunning strike but he can get most of the rest of it.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Not really. A 1st-level fighter with the unarmed fighting style does more damage with an unarmed strike than a level 10 Monk, in addition to doing damage with a grapple that the Monk never gets. That is without feats or subclasses. Add tavern brawler feat and battlemaster subclass and a fighter is an awesome at this kind of thing. He doesn't get stunning strike but he can get most of the rest of it.
Hmmm. While great for the Fighter that's kinda sad for the Monk.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Hmmm. While great for the Fighter that's kinda sad for the Monk.
Another reason why Tasha's is the herald of the apocalypse when it comes to sameyness. One of the worst books ever in that respect. It's a pity, because a couple things in Tasha's are actually good, but the bulk of it is offensive.

Monks have their own issues, such as having d4 for unarmed strikes... it should never have been below d6 so we changed it. :D

The Monk's niche should be hand-to-hand combat and flippy-flips, and this one's still fairly intact I think (one of the few!).
So, yes, that SHOULD be the monk's thing, but hey why bother having classes be unique, just let others do what others can so it is a horrid mess. Let's just allow everyone to get fighting styles, metamagics, and other class-only features so classes become virtually meaningless.
 

Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
I think the problem with the monk is that fighting unarmed is not a terribly great niche anyway. Even in a universe where an unarmed fighting style never got made, the Monk is a class that basically uses class features to replicate a generally less damaging attack and lower ac than a fighter does with equipment. While every once in awhile that niche becomes handy(Rust Monsters, can't take weapons/armor into the royal wedding, etc), it mostly falls into what I would call too specialized to be a viable focus.

I'm working up to a thought here, and I'll probably post that up a bit later, but I wanted to comment on this specifically.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
You would need to stop the design introduced in 4E that every class must be equally good at combat and go back to 2E where there were classes which were better in combat and other which were better at something else.
If 5E can even handle "something else", considering how gutted everything besides combat is.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
You would need to stop the design introduced in 4E that every class must be equally good at combat and go back to 2E where there were classes which were better in combat and other which were better at something else.
If 5E can even handle "something else", considering how gutted everything besides combat is.

Agree with this. In early DnD, each class had a clear role in the party, and was better at certain things than others - hit stuff: fighter. Sneak around: Thief. Heal: Cleric. The push to have 4 characters in a party, and to not pigeonhole any particular class ("You're playing cleric, good, you do the healing."), and to allow anyone to do whatever they want, has created this "balance" paradigm where everyone can deal equal amounts of damage, everyone can heal themselves, and everyone can either multiclass or select backgrounds, Feats, etc. to give skills that allow for sneaking, sleight of hand, or whatever.

I get it in that it allows the party to be rounded with few members, without the Fighter/Wizard/Thief/Cleric requirement, but all the classes to then begin to feel the same.

I've just come to the conclusion that 5e is that way, and its more work for me to try to repair it or remold it, rather than go back, play an older edition, and see if it feels better. That's our plan now. Several of my players have asked to play Basic (1981) to really cut out all the chaff. We'll see how they like it :)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
@Ixal and @Cruentus

I completely agree. For people who don't want roles, IMO D&D is not the game for you. Having classes more or less is supposed to dictate what role you want to play. I am fine with some overlap. A paladin can fight and heal, an eldritch knight can fight and cast spells, a bard can do a bit of everything, but should be as good as the other classes at any of them, etc.

We played AD&D often without a dedicated healer, so even then such things weren't a requirement.

Anyway, one thing I've added to 5E to help "define" roles is a focus bonus equal to (roughly) half your proficiency bonus (so +1 to +3). You can choose to focus in:

Abilities. Add bonus to ability checks, including Initiative.
Combat. Add bonus to attack rolls and armor class.
Spells. Add bonus to spell attack rolls and spell save DC.

Obviously, often players choose the "logical" choice for their class, but you can choose any, such as a Fighter choose spells so when get becomes an Eldritch Knight, or a Ranger choose Abilities to be better at skills than combat, etc.

Finally, I have been debating about going more "basic" with redoing four core classes (inspired by 5TD):

Expert (subclasses Bard, Monk, Rogue)
Magus (subclasses Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard)
Warrior (subclasses Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger)
Zealot (subclasses Cleric, Paladin, Warlock)

I plan to group the features from all the subclasses for each class into the new subclasses, and instead of a character always getting the same features in the same order, they get to choose from about a dozen or more. It is a new project so it will take some time. Hopefully anyone looking for something more basic or defined will find it interesting.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
I liked the 5TD approach to the 5e classes - 4 basics, then having to select your class abilities depending on which direction you wanted to go, but you didn't get all of them. I also liked their Zealot base class.

I do like your focus bonus idea, and I'm rolling that around in my documents o' ideas.

I'm hoping to, the next time I get to be a player, see if we can't swing some kind of 'skewed' party where we all play fighters or fighter types, or play with some obvious gaps in the party.

But that'd probably require me to find a group who wanted to play old school, more role-play, since my current group (playing together for 40 years off and on) still plays the way they did back then. :giggle:
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I liked the 5TD approach to the 5e classes - 4 basics, then having to select your class abilities depending on which direction you wanted to go, but you didn't get all of them. I also liked their Zealot base class.
I discussed the 4-basics idea with a player today, and he liked it, so I might work on developing it on the side.

I do like your focus bonus idea, and I'm rolling that around in my documents o' ideas.
Thanks, I think it is working out well.

I'm hoping to, the next time I get to be a player, see if we can't swing some kind of 'skewed' party where we all play fighters or fighter types, or play with some obvious gaps in the party.
We did an all-monk game last Spring for a while, it worked out pretty well.
 

ECMO3

Hero
You would need to stop the design introduced in 4E that every class must be equally good at combat and go back to 2E where there were classes which were better in combat and other which were better at something else.
If 5E can even handle "something else", considering how gutted everything besides combat is.

5E does not have this. In terms of classes Rogues and Monks are behind the others in combat and if you choose the wrong subclass you are way behind.

Rogues and Monks are not as far behind fighters/warriers than they were in 1E/2E, but they are still behind.

I disagree completely about "something else" being gutted in 5E. With backgrounds, tool proficiencies and a variety of skills I find the mechanics in 5E to have the most "something else" of any edition, with Rogues as a class also being the best at this "something else" to make up for their below average combat abilities (Monks have no such save).

Some tables don't use those mechanics and on you tube and message boards combat dominates posts, but the designers did include it in the game, and they include it in their published adventures too. The WBW campaign can actually be completed without any combat at all ..... which must suck if you chose to play a blaster mage or a battlemaster.
 

How’s that been working out?
I think this change should make sorceres a real force to be reckoned with.

In our games sorcerers already went for con over charisma. If you specialize in twinned concentration buff or debuff spells, con is the actual main stat as you really want to never lose concentration.

With only con as casting stat, you are all in one caster and have spare points for dexterity too.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Nothing wrong with playing Basic Rules Core Four if that's what you and your players are into. That's why WotC produced it.

But there's also nothing wrong with opening up options and subclasses to do or allow for several different roles, so that any party can cover most roles regardless of what classes players end up wanting to play. That way no one is forced to be a Cleric healer (for example) if they do not want to.

It just means that the DM and players who believe there is too much sameyness have to agree on which books / sections / classes / subclasses they are going to allow to be used. Hopefully there can be.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
But there's also nothing wrong with opening up options and subclasses to do or allow for several different roles, so that any party can cover most roles regardless of what classes players end up wanting to play. That way no one is forced to be a Cleric healer (for example) if they do not want to.
(bold added)

See, this is one thing I just never understood or agreed with. I don't feel there is really any role that HAS to be filled by the party. Even in AD&D, we played different games with all wizards, all thieves, and all fighters. With easy/fast healing in 5E, this is even less of an issue IMO.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
(bold added)

See, this is one thing I just never understood or agreed with. I don't feel there is really any role that HAS to be filled by the party. Even in AD&D, we played different games with all wizards, all thieves, and all fighters. With easy/fast healing in 5E, this is even less of an issue IMO.
Of course! If you don't experience it, then it's not going to be an issue for you. But I would suspect the people who are pushing back against your opinions on the state and the needs of the game are people who had the Cleric Heal-bot issue, which is why your desires for the 5E game would be unwanted by them.

Just because we don't experience an issue doesn't mean there isn't one. And thus any claims we might make to say that possible "corrections" to these unperceived issues are unnecessary or outright bad are of course going to be met with resistance.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Of course! If you don't experience it, then it's not going to be an issue for you.
I didn't mean I didn't experience it, more so that I meant if the party doesn't have a cleric, they need to change their tactics, etc. to play to their strengths and make up for their weaknesses. Sorry if that came across otherwise.

Even with what I am doing, reducing sameyness, there is still enough overlap that most parties can use subclasses to fill any gaps they perceive.
 

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