D&D 5E Trickster/Expert/Adventurer/Rogue


For all we know, the idea of class groups are going to end up going away eventually anyway... but at least for the time being we have the big question that will be debated for quite a while:

What do we call the class group that focuses on the Exploration and Interaction pillars?

Right now... WotC is calling it the 'Trickster' group, but I think we all know that isn't going to last. So what's the alternatives? What do we think is the best option for this class group that will probably include the Ranger, the Bard, and the Rogue*?

We've got several old standbys, all of which have history in D&D. The 'Experts', the 'Adventurers', the 'Scoundrels'. And of course, some of the other options that haven't been used: 'Explorers', 'Scouts' and 'Nomads' for instance.

Given your druthers, what would you call this particular class group?

*including the possibility that the class changes its name back to 'Thief', thereby making 'Rogue' available for class group designation if so desired.

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We've got several old standbys, all of which have history in D&D. The 'Experts', the 'Adventurers', the 'Scoundrels'. And of course, some of the other options that haven't been used: 'Explorers', 'Scouts' and 'Nomads' for instance.

I actually don't mind the "trickster" designation, provided you take as meaning they're classes with a "trick" or two up their sleeves, rather than "they will trick you."

I figure "Expert" could/should also apply to wizards. "Adventurer" should apply to the whole party. "Scoundrel" sounds cool, but seems to preclude
some personality types that I think would still fit under the mechanical umbrella.

As far as other suggestions....I dunno, "Skill monkey" or "Stunt monkey" seem to put too fine a point on it. "Rogue", I think does work better as a class name (If we're keeping subclasses, anyway.) I can't think of a name that works better than "trickster", honestly.


First Post
'Specialists' is what I would choose. But, I think that they will go with 'Trickster' to match the new Neverwinter D&D computer game that WOTC is teaming with.


I presume that this is about D&D Next?

Well, I consider D&D Next to be vaporware at this point but my preferences would obviously be informed by my current solutions on this problem.

In general, I consider the adventurer/explorer archetype to be different than the detective/mastermind archetype which is in turn different than the rogue/trickster archetype. They have in common that they are skillful at mundane task to the point of eventually being superhuman, but it is not at all clear to me that Sherlock Holmes, Van Helsing, Indiana Jones, Jack Sparrow, Batman, and some cat burglar are all the same class - and that's before we mention Robin Hood or Aragorn son of Arathorn. I mean, they could be I suppose, but that would be for me an overly broad class.

In my current game I've gotten the archetypes broken into two groups:


Rogues differ from explorers in being fundamentally about stealth, trickery, deceit, evasion. Explorers on the other hand are fundamentally about endurance, movement, diplomacy, and knowledge. Explorer is a more robust fighter like class. They are tough and hardy. Rogues are nimble and quick. Of course, there is a continuum here and the two concepts have good synergy, but if the concept lies somewhere in the middle - say a Pirate - then this suggests a multiclass Explorer/Rogue.

I'm presently lacking a Detective/Mastermind type class, but I'm working on one. It's a challenging concept to create and be satisfying to both the player and the DM while useful in and out of combat situations. The ultimate class is likely to be the PC version of the NPC expert class, but as of yet I've never seen this done really well despite a lot of trying by a lot of skilled rules smiths.

As for a group, I think of all of these as belonging to the 'Skillful' group, as opposed to a 'Martial' group - Fighter, Fanatic, and Hunter - which are distinguished by the focus of their combat abilities, or the 'Mystic' group - Shaman, Cleric, Wizard, Sorcerer - which are distinguished by the source of their magical power. I also have a 'Champion' class that lies for me conceptually half way been the Martial and Mystic groups and a 'Bard' class that is halfway between the 'Skillful' and the 'Mystic' groups, and a couple other classes that I consider rather campaign specific and not generalists. I suppose you could equally argue that 'Explorer' is halfway between skillful and martial.

I'm pretty sure I don't see the 'group' framework as a really useful way to think about things. What value are you really adding?


Chaotic Looseleaf
As I said in the other thread, I'm kind of fond of "trickster" but agree that it's not a winner. I tend to think they ought to go with "expert" or "specialist;" they carry their own baggage but they are broad enough without anyone being likely to mistake them for warrior, mage, or priest.

Name me a magic item that should only be usable by "tricksters" and not warriors. Without stepping on the "tool proficiency" rules.

Are you suggesting that we categorize rogues as warriors? I think the magic item proficiency issue is the least valuable aspect of the class group concept, all things considered.

Huh? You believe WotC isn't going to release it? That's an ... unusual... opinion.

Given Wizards' track record over the last couple of years, it might be more unusual that we are all convinced it will see the light of day. Remember when their entire 2011 release schedule just vanished into thin air? I'm still stinging over the loss of that Nentir Vale gazetteer.
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Huh? You believe WotC isn't going to release it? That's an ... unusual... opinion.

I suppose. I've held that opinion since at least April.

A new edition never made much economic sense from the perspective of Hasbro. What is the winning situation for a new edition? It isn't going to bring a lot players back from 3e. That ship has sailed. The SRD/OGL was designed right from the start to ensure that D&D in that form would never be killable regardless of what a company did. It belongs to the fans, and when WotC divorced their existing fans to create 4e, it was messy and most of us got over our broken hearts and fond a new partner that we are now invested in. Or maybe more to the point, we kept the old partner and just waved bye bye to WotC as it walked out the door on us.

And the 4e people, a system I felt then and now was a system designed to appeal to people who didn't like prior incarnations of D&D, they got largely what they wanted to save that that relationship was over too soon and they are feeling abandoned. But most of them aren't moving on, and if they are its in their own direction.

In point of fact, the WotC staff is just way behind the design curve on this. Competitors are getting their product to market faster and in a more innovative form. Any innovations 4e or 3e offered have been well assimilated years ago and are informing brand new designs from artists and innovators that aren't constrained by a corporate culture who don't have the costs and overheads and needed returns of a WotC product launch and who frankly are sometimes bigger names in the industry and the geek world than almost anyone WotC has left on staff. WotC has put it self in economic competition with its fans, and it's losing.

Ultimately, 5e in whatever form is just going to strike 95% of the player base or potential base as just someone's house rules and one of many many different possible very natural rule set variations to adopt. WotC no longer owns a monopoly on consensus play. There is no longer one core rule set that you can count on, and basically I don't get the impression of widespread excitement or dismay or anger or slobbering passion that existed prior to 2e, or 3e, or 4e. Frankly, I'm not sure that many people care. The EnWorld boards are like haunted empty mansions, echoing in silence, compared to the frenzied party and online convention that was hosted here in days of yore.

And I don't see a lot of evidence of a rival in interest in PnP from the younger set. No evidence of a gaming fad, and if there was going to be one, it's not at all clear it would center around 5e and that the release of a new rules set of all things is going to spark it. The biggest failure of WotC in the 3e era was the failure to realize that the value of their IP was so much greater than the value of their rules, and that the biggest investment should be focused on increasing the value of their IP. By this point though, whatever the merit of their rules smiths, the IP content creators have gone elsewhere, and in terms of roping in new players they'd be far better off creating Twlight the RPG, or the Mockingjay RPG or anything else that lets young people today play the fantacies that inspire them, rather than trying to sell young people in IP based on the works of L. Sprague de Camp, August Derleth, Abraham Merrit, Fritz Leiber, and a bunch of other musty authors your average young person has never heard of and certainly doesn't relate to.

So, the logical conclusion is that the last gasp of 5e is going to fail economically and that even before releasing it, or shortly thereafter, Hasbro is going to closet the division or project as a bad cause. I can't see any possible positive outcome for the new edition.


I'm more of a fan of expert then trickster. To me it is less of an Exploration/Interaction PC and more a grouping for all characters who are not primarily trained warriors and magic users. Assassins, thieves, acrobats, bards, scouts and gadget users feel like experts.


Name me a magic item that should only be usable by "tricksters" and not warriors. Without stepping on the "tool proficiency" rules.


Vest of Escaping, Armor of Shadows, Montebank's cape, Acrobat's Boots, Liar's Mask, Hat of Disguise, Sword of Subtlety, Instruments of the Master Bard, Songblade, Assassin's Dagger.

How's that for a start?

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