5.5E What if you were in charge of reworking classes for 5.5?

Let's see...

Make sorcerer a sub-class of wizard.
Make barbarian a sub-class of fighter.
Re-contextualize the warlock as part binder. They don't have a single pact, but several. Balancing these pacts and the favors their patrons are owed would be an interesting complexity. Attempt to make them a "half-way point" between the spectrum of cleric to wizard.
Limit cantrips to proficiency + attribute mod times per day.

Put some serious thought into long and short rests. What would the classes look like as all long rests? All short rests? AD&D had a little table to mentioned the time required to regain spells of a given level, higher level taking longer. Maybe that would be a means for wizards to regain spells through short rests in place of or addition to arcane recovery. If we do have classes based on long and short rests, make some kind of statement of assumed number of short rests per day.

Have significantly less art. I don't want the text density of the original AD&D books (I can't read them any more), but somewhere between then and now would be nice.
 
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Rogerd1

Explorer
As they stand they make no sense at all, and there are too many of them.

Go Shadow of the Demon Lord and very few would have a stat above 15. Then make each tier of attribute more comic book - Athletic, Olympic, Peak, Superhuman etc.

Maybe even a point buy for feats, say 1-3 points.

Also each class has no access to magic unless picked as a feat, e.g. cantrips, chi, pact, training etc. These could also be scaled akin to Everway, between 1-10 (or higher if you wanted but it would add complexity).

Minor and powers could be akin to Modern Age (or Everway), on a 1-4 points. It just means that creating equivalency across classes a lot easier

This would allow a berserker to gain Warp Spasms like in Slaine

If you want classes to remain, there should only be three core classes, Magic-User, Warrior and Rogue.
 

For 5.5? As opposed to for my own game. My changes would be limited because that's part of the point.

Artificers: the Artificer is now core as are all the existing classes. The Alchemist is the default option - and gets tuned up.
Barbarian: The berserker (of course) needs a tune-up. For the semi-mundane classes (barbarian, fighter, rogue, probably monk and possibly even paladin and ranger) give a second subclass at level 12 to define just how you can hang at that level.
Bard: Minimal changes here - other than protecting Ranger/Paladin class features from their spell stealing abilities. I don't trust the skills to make a complete rework class.
Cleric: Do we have to? But War domain needs boosting - and nature and trickery need tuning up thematically.
Druid: Punt the Druid of the Land for the Druid of Spores. Far more evocative and, most importantly, gives you an option that doesn't require you to actually carry a stack of spare character sheets with you. Possibly rework the Moon Druid with stock forms.
Fighter: Replace the Champion's mechanics with the Samurai's - and add a bit more out of combat potential. Cut about half the battlemaster maneuvers and add the Tasha's skill ones. Add a Warlord fighting style that gives away your attacks - and an Inspiring Word battlemaster maneuver that lets an ally spend a hit dice for their hit dice plus your superiority dice hit points. Give a second subclass that you get at level 12.
Monk: Tune up the flabby levels 7-10. Rework Four Elements.
Paladin: If it ain't broke... Maybe a second subclass at level 12.
Ranger: Tasha's rules. Bonus spells known for the Hunter.
Rogue: Second subclass. The assassin level 7 needs a huge buff - as does most of the rest of the assassin and thief.
Sorcerer: Dump the wild sorcerer for a reworked storm sorcerer that knows as many spells as the Tasha's subclasses. (Far simpler concept). Buff the dragon sorcerer so it can actually hang in the front lines.
Warlock: Pact of the Blade should (a) allow medium armour and (b) allow Charisma to be used to wield it. Put Pact of the Talisman in there - it's quick. Throw out all the invocations that let you cast a spell 1/day at the cost of a slot (or let you cast it 1/day for free and add it to your spells known). Tune up both Archfey and GOO. Also let warlocks upcast into their high level slots.
Wizard: Transmuter needs a tune-up. Necromancer gets split into Necromancer (unchanged) and Nethermancer (the rest of the Necromancy school rather than about three spells total).

Feats: Sharpshooters powerful shot can't be used with one handed crossbows. Ditch half the feats - but add crusher, cutter, piercer, telekinetic, and Eldritch Adept (the Warlock invocations thing).

Spells: Add Greenflame and Booming Blade. Tasha's style summonings.

If going wilder:
Two weapon fighting: Needs a rework

Fighter: All fighters get superiority dice
Monk: Needs to be more focused.
Paladin: Give Paladins warlock-style casting (but at half speed) and Devotions as the equivalent to Invocations, making them much more customisable
Bard: Rework with an entirely distinct magic system that also uses their allies for extra effects.
 


Undrave

Hero
Bard - make it more like warlock than just "wizard that sings". I like the idea from OP of songs that you refresh from round to round, but I don't know if that's fun to play (waiting for your turn and then "i keep singing"). remove auto rapier proficiency, if you want the one perfect weapon for your not-really-martial character, you have to spend something to get it or live with simple weapons
I hadn't thought of the player experience... well, maybe you get to pick the target of your buff whenever you maintain your song? Maybe you can stack additional buffs to make your song unique? Like, you start the song and it's d4 to attack rolls to a specific ally, but then on the second you can spend a ressource to throw in a d4 to saving throws or bump the bonus to d6 and then you can decide to give it to someone else... the longer the song goes on, the more powerful it becomes?
 

Undrave

Hero
How do we make this so that the player feels they are participating? In other words, every 10 minutes when it comes back to your action in combat "I maintain my song and move. Next." is a non-starter. How do you envision these so that they are interesting to the player?

We already have Concentration spells which are powerful and ongoing, but allow full use of action. Much more powerful than them, to be equal to a Concentration spell plus a full action, might be balanced, but would probably still be boring. How do you envision these to be both balanced and fun to play?
Good question, see my reply to Aeffkay above for my answer to that one.
Maybe something more involved. Like you need to increase or decrease the intensity by using accords (mini cantrips) you keep a bigger picture benefit going and these effects increase or release the intensity. Some might need a certain intensity to be used. If you release too much intensity, the song ends? You could use a die to keep track.
Hmm... that could be a place to reuse the old Psi Die mechanic where if you roll high it 'burns out' and goes down in dice size?
 

I hadn't thought of the player experience... well, maybe you get to pick the target of your buff whenever you maintain your song? Maybe you can stack additional buffs to make your song unique? Like, you start the song and it's d4 to attack rolls to a specific ally, but then on the second you can spend a ressource to throw in a d4 to saving throws or bump the bonus to d6 and then you can decide to give it to someone else... the longer the song goes on, the more powerful it becomes?
I'm now picturing bard buffs that don't just get stronger the longer they go on, but the more bonus actions are spent. The bard starts the buff but the more PCs that join in the more powerful the buff gets.
 

The problem with this is that it boxes the sorcerer as a combat class and doesn't address the fact tha a sorcerer doesn't have enough spells known, and it means each subclass needs a lot of space to dedicate to each spell it modifies. It also reduces the already strained choice of spells. If you get a spell that your bloodline doesn't modify, you have lost the equivalent of a full spell known. Sorcerers need more room to choose spells, not less.
I disagree with all of this. First, adding a bunch of spells just diminishes the difference between sorcerers and wizards, especially since you are drawing them from essentially the same pool of spells.

Second, it doesn’t box the sorcerer as a combat class. Some of the modifications may be useful in combat, but not all of them have to be.

Third, you are missing the point of the bloodline modifications. The modifications are tied to the bloodlines, not the spells. So, if you are a draconic sorcerer, maybe you can increase your AC for a round when you cast one of your spells, or maybe you add a dragonfear rider out of combat when casting a spell in a ballroom.

You get fewer spells, but you do more with them. It’s what distinguishes you from wizards.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Good question, see my reply to Aeffkay above for my answer to that one.

Hmm... that could be a place to reuse the old Psi Die mechanic where if you roll high it 'burns out' and goes down in dice size?
I was inspired by the way planeswalkers work in MTG, but the psychic dice was also part of it.
 

I disagree with all of this. First, adding a bunch of spells just diminishes the difference between sorcerers and wizards, especially since you are drawing them from essentially the same pool of spells.

Second, it doesn’t box the sorcerer as a combat class. Some of the modifications may be useful in combat, but not all of them have to be.

Third, you are missing the point of the bloodline modifications. The modifications are tied to the bloodlines, not the spells. So, if you are a draconic sorcerer, maybe you can increase your AC for a round when you cast one of your spells, or maybe you add a dragonfear rider out of combat when casting a spell in a ballroom.

You get fewer spells, but you do more with them. It’s what distinguishes you from wizards.
I disagree with the fundamental idea that sorcerers aren't crippled right now with a lack of spells. And with the idea that in order to make wizards feel special we need to keep sorcerers crippled. The idea that a wizard should be able to prepare more spells than a sorcerer has known, and the idea that a sorcerer should know fewer spells than a ranger (as is currently the case for the classic sorcerers) are to me both ridiculous. And it's not as if the wizard doesn't have e.g. the ability to learn a lot more spells, and ritual casting.

If there are bloodline modifications done well then I'll look at them. But the dragonfear rider out of combat sounds like a complete liability. Increasing your AC for a round isn't that great.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I disagree with all of this. First, adding a bunch of spells just diminishes the difference between sorcerers and wizards, especially since you are drawing them from essentially the same pool of spells.
It is a difference, but it isn't a fun difference. A crippled spell selection makes the sorcerer harder to play and less fun to play. Two more spells known across the levels would really help to make sorcerer more accessible. As it is now, you don't have enough to fill a single niche and still do thematical stuff.

One reason Divine soul is leagues better than the three subclasses that preceded it.
 

It is a difference, but it isn't a fun difference. A crippled spell selection makes the sorcerer harder to play and less fun to play. Two more spells known across the levels would really help to make sorcerer more accessible. As it is now, you don't have enough to fill a single niche and still do thematical stuff.

One reason Divine soul is leagues better than the three subclasses that preceded it.
Band aids don't fix bullet holes. The divine soul sorcerer has fixed the spell selection problem - but you can still only know level+2 spells total (up to level 11)- or about two spells per spell level. You also need to actually know more spells, which takes the Aberrant Mind or Clockwork Soul. Both of which know extra spells and have a spell list that's not just a crippled version of the wizard spell list.

And one thing having powerful subclasses and a weak base class allows is more variety between subclasses (an issue with the wizard class). I'd love to see a dragon soul sorcerer that, instead of giving more spells known, was actually formidable in melee, for example almost continually breathing.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Band aids don't fix bullet holes. The divine soul sorcerer has fixed the spell selection problem - but you can still only know level+2 spells total (up to level 11)- or about two spells per spell level. You also need to actually know more spells, which takes the Aberrant Mind or Clockwork Soul. Both of which know extra spells and have a spell list that's not just a crippled version of the wizard spell list.

And one thing having powerful subclasses and a weak base class allows is more variety between subclasses (an issue with the wizard class). I'd love to see a dragon soul sorcerer that, instead of giving more spells known, was actually formidable in melee, for example almost continually breathing.
It is a self-perpetuating problem. Favored Soul and Draft Storm Magic where basically balanced with what you'd get from Cleric Subclasses. But because Dragon Magic was bad (ok it was good, until the designers pointed out we were playing it wrong and patched it back into sucking) and Wild Magic was unplayable, they were deemed too strong and weren't allowed to stand.

Divine Soul doesn't solve the issue, but the extra spell known + Mage initiate gives you two extra spells known which is some breathing room.
 

Clint_L

Villager
I would give the monk d10 hit dice, bump up their damage dice by one dice type (so d6, d8, d10, d12), maybe add their wisdom bonus to ki points to fix how boring they are until level 5 or so, and definitely limit stunning strike to one attempt per round.

I would drastically simplify weapons. For melee there would be small weapons (+damage type) D6, single handed weapons (+ damage type) D8 and two handed weapons (+damage type) D12. The range would be the same for all of them.

For ranged there would be light (D6) and heavy (D10), with different ranges attached.
 
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Horwath

Hero
Everyone is proficient with all weapons.
All weapons are at martial "power level" with a bump in damage die for all non-finesse weapons:
Longsword/warhamme/battleaxe from 1d8 to 1d10
greataxe/greatsword/maul from 1d12/2d6 to 2d8
etc...

no armor proficiency, all armors have min str score:
from padded at STR 8 to full plate at STR 18
 

It is a self-perpetuating problem. Favored Soul and Draft Storm Magic where basically balanced with what you'd get from Cleric Subclasses. But because Dragon Magic was bad (ok it was good, until the designers pointed out we were playing it wrong and patched it back into sucking) and Wild Magic was unplayable, they were deemed too strong and weren't allowed to stand.

Divine Soul doesn't solve the issue, but the extra spell known + Mage initiate gives you two extra spells known which is some breathing room.
Not entirely self-perpetuating. As mentioned the Tasha's subclasses realised it was a problem and dealt with it - as did the UA moon sorcerer in the Dragonlance Unearthed Arcana.

Tasha's of course also boosted the cleric subclasses. I think they needed it although not as much as the sorcerer.
 

the base fighter would look a lot like the Knight background/bonus feat from new UA. You get a few Superiority dice and some preset choice A/B as you level... subclasses would then open up more options. The battle master could take any.
 

kapars

Explorer
I’ve started reading OSE and I love that at level 9 ish it is written into the rules that you get a keep, stronghold, school etc. I know the DM could just do this but having it written into the class features gives it more prominence. Right now I think only high level full casters get this kind of thing via spells. I’d like this to be added to all classes even if just as an optional feature and a nod to older editions for the anniversary.
 


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