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D&D General What kind of class design do you prefer?

What type of class design do you prefer?

  • Few classes with a lots of build choices

    Votes: 53 62.4%
  • Lots of classes with narrow build choices

    Votes: 32 37.6%

  • Total voters
    85

Undrave

Hero
This is something I've noticed a lot around here, with people complaining that we have too many classes. It got me to thinking what kind of design people prefer.

Do you prefer to have a small number of class, but that they can be designed into almost whatever you want through the uses of multiple choice class features, subclasses system, feats, and so on.

OR

Do you prefer to have lots of smaller classes with a more narrow design. Classes that can be sum up with one or two specific 'thing' they do, and that do it well.

Personally, I'm not a fan of classes like the 5e Wizard that try to do EVERYTHING. I feel like, if you pair things down to a few classes and just throw the complexity in the classes themselves, might as well go for a point build system. The fun of classes is in the restriction and siloing of ability, IMO. It's why I liked the roles in 4e and how, for exemple, the Fighter didn't need design space to be a Striker or an Archer in addition to being the front line defender, it could be an amazing defender.

But what do you guys think?
 

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payn

Legend
My favorite approach is 3E/PF. I do think there is a ton of work to do to make it more balanced and functional, but I love the endless possibilities. I like multiclassing, prestige classing, and especially archetypes. So, I guess this puts me in the lots of class bucket?
 



Part of me wants to say the first because conceptually it's a nice idea, but long experience with class-based games strongly, really, really strongly suggests more classes with narrower designs works a hell of a lot better in the long-run, and is a lot easier for designers to work with too. If you only make a few classes and screw one of them up, that's a much bigger issue as well.
Depends on what "few" means. How few we talking? I'm leaning toward the few with broad build options, but my "few" may be a little bit north of 10.
Can't speak for the OP but I suspect "north of 10" is intended to be "many".
 

Greg K

Hero
Snowflake unicorn. I want about 20 classes- each with subclases, several with customizable feature, and further optional customization via feats and skill points

edit: Regardig fullcasters, for starters, imo, the Cleric needs a much smaller general base list (and split into two or three classes) and wizards need to be broken down into more thematic classes or have more thematic spell lists based upon school/specialization
 
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Personally, I'm not a fan of classes like the 5e Wizard that try to do EVERYTHING. I feel like, if you pair things down to a few classes and just throw the complexity in the classes themselves, might as well go for a point build system. The fun of classes is in the restriction and siloing of ability, IMO. It's why I liked the roles in 4e and how, for exemple, the Fighter didn't need design space to be a Striker or an Archer in addition to being the front line defender, it could be an amazing defender.
Wizard is certainly one of the worst class designs in 5E. It almost feels like something from another edition, or a poorly-conceived fanwork.

Not that it's not powerful. It just doesn't fit well with the other classes, particularly the approach it takes to subclasses is not good.
 





Scribe

Hero
My favorite approach is 3E/PF. I do think there is a ton of work to do to make it more balanced and functional, but I love the endless possibilities. I like multiclassing, prestige classing, and especially archetypes. So, I guess this puts me in the lots of class bucket?
If this is 'lots of classes' and not 'lots of build options' then chalk me up for 'lots of classes'.

I absolutely love how 3e/PF handle this, and miss it greatly with 5th edition.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
First I need to know if classes are going to be basically generic and game mechanic-motivated... or if classes are going to have narrative, story, and fluff attributed to them.

If it's the former, then fewer classes with many choice points. We're basically looking at a version of a point build system at that point, so let me build the mechanics out however I want, and then I'll layer on the character's story after the fact.

If it's the latter, then more classes with very specific fluff, and very specific and condensed mechanics. Spell lists should be like 8 or 9 spells per level for each different class so that there's little to no overlap. The Wizard shouldn't have Mage Hand or Detect Thoughts on their spell list, because those spells would be ones that the Psion would have in order to differentiate the two. Likewise... there might be three to five different classes that make use of the Combat Superiority mechanics, but each of them would have only four or five different and specific Maneuvers available to them depending on their story.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
Wizard is certainly one of the worst class designs in 5E. It almost feels like something from another edition, or a poorly-conceived fanwork.

Not that it's not powerful. It just doesn't fit well with the other classes, particularly the approach it takes to subclasses is not good.
What would your ideal Wizard class look like?

I feel the nonvancian spellcasting mechanic of the 5e Wizard is the best of any edition.

I do complain that the Wizard needs to intrude less on the themes of other mages. On the other hand, its concept is that it studies magic, and this can explain diving into various themes.
 

Undrave

Hero
Snowflake unicorn. I want about 20 classes- each with subclases, several with customizable feature, and further optional customization via feats and skill points

edit: Regardig fullcasters, for starters, imo, the Cleric needs a much smaller general base list (and split into two or three classes) and wizards need to be broken down into more thematic classes or have more thematic spell lists based upon school/specialization
I liked that 4e separated the 'Robes and Holy Lazer' Cleric into the Invoker and kept the Cleric more focused on the 'Smash the Undead with a mace" guy. I feel like the 5e Cleric is really really boring because of how generic and wide it is. All the best options are good all the time so you have this pressure to always end up with the same spell list and the melee options are pretty terrible.
I really dislike the notion of ”builds”. So neither. Roll stats, pick a race and class, then start playing inside of 5-10 minutes. You decide what gear to buy and what magic items to keep.
What even is a 'Build'? In any case, you would prefer narrower classes without choices, then? Like, you would just pick your aesthetic and then have very few things to decide as you level up. Including spell lists. You'd "I want to play a great archer" and then BOOM, pick the Archer class. "I want to be a ninja" BOOM! Ninja class! "I want to use magic to heal people" and then BOOM there's a class for that. Then any choices are minor (think Totem Barbarian totem choice in term of complexity here).
Depends on what "few" means. How few we talking? I'm leaning toward the few with broad build options, but my "few" may be a little bit north of 10.
Think of it as a design goal, do you want to lower the number of classes as much as possible, or simplify the number of choices needed to obtain a specific aesthetic. Do you want a generic spell caster where you CAN build a Pyromancer, or would you like to have 'Pyromancer' as a pre-buildt kit with a few decision points you can just pick out and go.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If I’m playing a game like D&D where The mechanics are fairly specific, I want mechanics that are purpose built for the thing I’m playing.

Sometimes ya gotta compromise, but for stuff that is fairly common I want to just have mechanics that do that, and no mechanics that do some other thing unrelated to the thing.
 

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