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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

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Thank you. Those are excellent additions. Can you expand a little bit on what you mean by Explorer?
The person who scouts ahead, looks for traps, does the mapping, can go it alone if needed (i.e. has survival skills), but who mostly gets by on toughness and stealth rather than use of force - the archetype here would be a non-warrior Ranger in the wilderness or non-thiefy Rogue in urban settings.
I wanted to make Intelligence, Wizdom, Constitution and Charisma available for any magic or psychic user; literally, pick your spellcasting stat to flavour how you cast. A holy person who is a brilliant theologian (Intelligence), sure. A wise old mage, sure as Wizard means wise one. A psychic who uses their blood (Constitution) sounds cool to me.

Weapons user using Strength or Dexterity is obvious. However, I can also see a case of intelligence or constitution and possibly even wisdom.

I agree that the ideal would be to have each stat appear the same or a similar number of times. Any suggestions on how to do so are welcome.
The obvious suggestion, given what you say above, is to harshly reduce the number of caster and half-caster classes! :)

I'd suggest adding more non-casters but IMO there's already too many classes overall, so reduce rather than add.
 

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I voted few classes. I like few classes that embody a broad concept that can be specialized (or not) with options.

Worlds Without Number pretty much solved this for me.

You have 4 classes… Warrior, Expert, Mage, and Adventurer. The first 3 just do their thing… Warriors fight, Experts are the rogue/skill monkey, Mages cast spells.

You can take one of those classes and with your background skills and focus choices have a complete fully realized and effective character.

Or you can go Adventurer which can combine any two ‘partial’ classes of the above 3. Here you can have your Elemenatlist Warriors, Paladins, Druids, and so on by combining partial classes.

Gives you the best of both worlds. If you want old school simplicity, just take the full class, if you want to build out a concept, go Adventurer.

it also lets you approach concepts from different directions. Say I want to make a Ranger… I could go so many ways…

1. Full Warrior with the Survival skill and a focus Specialist: Survival . For a spell-less Ranger.
2. Full Expert with Specialist Survival and a focus that boosts execution attacks. For a spell-less ranger focusing more on skill in the wilds and ambushing.
3. Adventurer Warrior/Beastmaster for your typical Ranger with animal companion.
4. Warrior/Expert if I want to be in between options 1 and 2.
5. Warrior/Healer if I want to focus on herbs and healing skill.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Wouldn't the ideal be to have each stat appear about the same number of times, to even things up and not make one stat too powerful?
Agreed.

If the goal is to divvy things up by the classic [traditional] abilities. I'd think an even spread is best. It, at least, appears most "balanced" and fair. Ideally, there should be a caster and mundane class for each, but that may not always be possible (in a way that makes sense).

Strength: Fighter. Barbarian.
-Classes/features are dependent on hitting things, doing damage, using/relying on their physicality.
Intelligence: Mage. Illusionist.
-Classes features are dependent on the character's ability to accumulate, retain and recall knowledge, imagine, visualize, reason and critical thinking.
Wisdom: Cleric [the more martial of the two]. Psychic.
-Classes/features are dependent on ability to deduce/comprehend stimuli, judgement, empathy (perhaps spirituality), and personal connectedness -be that to an external force (clerics) or one's internal balance (psychics)
Dexterity: Thief. Monk/Martial Adept.
-Classes/features focus on the character's agility, reflexes, speed, and hand/eye coordination. The monk's choice of martial style would dictate a secondary ability dependency that can allow for the tough/strong brawler types, ninja/assassin types, and the spiritual/mental powers monks.
Constitution: Ranger. Druid.
-Classes/features focus on the character's toughness. So the ranger, if used as a warrior-type, can hold their own because they will last on the battlefield where others would fall. The druid undergoes the stresses (bodily and mental) of utilizing primordial magic and shapeshifting. Not to mention, for both, the general physical and mental endurance -if not enjoy/prefer- a largely solitary existence in the wilderness.
Charisma: Bard. Knight [Cavalier/non-magic option].
-Classes/features focus on the character's likability, personality, and ability to influence others.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I see. Well, if I must...then I guess my take is that the number of classes can be more "narrow" with the great breadth of options of other layers (skills, archetypes, feats, backgrounds, themes, prestige classes...even, perhaps, things like fighting styles and arcane specialist schools as player choice-point/options) to differentiate the various special specialists of specfic specialities. Even to a point where one ranger or thief or mage may have very little to no resemblence to another beyond their signature -class-defining- features.

Yes. Agreed. Otherwise, why is it a class? If a Barbarian is just a Fighter who can "Berserker Rage" a couple of times a day...that's not really [worthy of] a class. That's a Fighter with a special feat or martial style.

By "narrow"...I am thinking a list for a particular system of...13 (minimum) to 24 or so. Anything beyond that can likely, or "should," be teased out through player options or "prestige class" add-ons.

So...breaking down by Warrior classes (the best at fighting), Wizard classes (the best with magic use), Rogue classes (the best at skills), and Mystic classes (the best at supporting/cross-discipline), we get a definitive class list that includes, at minimum:
  • Fighter: default warrior archetype, Strength, defining feature: Combat Expertise (bonuses to hit and damage), battle stamina, extra attacks, physical save bonuses, situational interactive bonus
    • Cavalier: specialist fighter, Str. & Cha. defining feature: Code of Honor, attack bonus, virtuous bonuses to various saves, defensive bonuses, horsemanship, battlefield attack & movement bonuses to allies
    • Dungeoneer: specialist fighter, Str. & Int., defining feature: battle stamina, exploration skill bonuses, save bonuses, special monster lore & attack bonuses, limited Roguish Tricks.
  • Barbarian: warrior archetype, Str & Con & third ability dependent on Clan chosen. defining feature: choice of Clan, damage bonus, battle stamina, Berserker Rage, Clan-dependent martial maneuvers/styles & skills.
  • Martial Adept: warrior archetype, Str & Dex & Wis, defining feature: choice of Martial Style, attack bonuses, acrobatic stunts, save bonuses, movement bonuses, Style-dependent tricks/abilities.

  • Cleric: default mystic archetype, Wisdom, defining feature: Channel [Divine] powers, Divine magic spell use, limited armor and weaponry.
    • Templar: specialist cleric, Wis & Str. defining feature: Channel [Divine] powers, limited divine spell use, Smite mechanic (use spell slots), all armors, more/sacred weapons.
    • Theurgist (Invoker): specialist cleric, Wis & Cha. defining feature: Channel [Divine] powers, Divine magic spell use, more channeling and better spell progression than other clerics, less armor & weapons
  • Druid: mystic archetype, Wis & Con & Int, defining feature: Channel [Nature] powers, Nature magic spell use, limited armor and weapons.
  • Bard: mystic archetype, Wis & Cha & Dex. defining feature: Channel [Nature] powers, limited-but-diverse spell use, roguish tricks, interactive bonuses, learned lore, limited armor and weapons.

  • Mage: default wizard archetype, Intelligence, defining feature: Arcane Magic/Spell use, best spell progression, at will cantrips, spell attack/DC bonuses, lore/research bonuses, magic item use and creation.
    • Illusionist: specialist mage, Int & Dex, defining feature: Illusion [Arcane] Magic/Spell use, Illusion magic spell list, at will cantrips, illusion/enchantment attack/DC bonuses, sneaky casting, other roguish tricks.
    • Abjurist: specialist mage, Int & Cha, defining feature: Abjuration [Arcane] Magic/Spell use, Abjuration magic spell list, at will cantrips, abjuration/conjuration attack/DC bonuses, defensive casting, counter-spelling & banishing.
  • Psychic: wizard archetype, Int & Con & third dependent on choice of Discipline, defining feature: Mental Powers, at will Talents, choice of Psychic Discipline, power point "casting"/manifestation system.
  • Sentinel: a wizard archetype, Int & Str & Cha. defining feature: Bonded (magic) weapon, limited arcane magic spell use, enhance physical attacks & defense with magic, light & medium armors, martial weapons.

  • Thief: default rogue archetype, Dexterity, defining feature: Skill Expertise, Roguish Tricks (accumulate more & quicker than other rogues), sneak attack, movement bonuses, dex/balance/reflex saves bonus.
    • Acrobat: specialist Thief, Dex & Str. defining feature: Roguish Tricks, acrobatic stunts (offensive, defensive, utilitarian), movement bonuses, reflex/balance and thrown weapon bonuses.
    • Rake: specialist thief, Dex & Cha. defining feature: Roguish Tricks, interaction and manipulation bonuses, lore, and sneak attacks.
  • Ranger: rogue archetype, Dex & Str & Int, defining feature: Wilderness Expertise (bonuses to skills & attacks in chosen terrains), Hunter's Quarry/"Favored Foes," tracking, other Roguish Tricks.
  • Alchemist: rogue archetype, Dex & Int & Wis, defining feature: Alchemy Expertise (bonuses to lore, identifying & crafting), potion/elixir making, poison/antitoxin identifying & use, enhance attacks & defense with magic concoctions, other Roguish Tricks.

Just about anything else can be handled through adding layers of options (whatever they may be).

Assassin? Anyone can be an assassin. Pick a class take appropriate feats, prestige class, special skills or theme package.
Spell-casting Ranger? Take appropriate feats, special skills or theme package.
Paladin? Take Fighter, Cleric, Templar or Cavalier (or, heck, maybe even Bard or Ranger or Sentinel). Take a simple 3-5 level Paladin "prestige class."
Swashbuckler? Take Fighter, Thief, Acrobat, Dungeoneer (or, heck, maybe even Bard or Sentinel). Take a simple 3-5 level Swashbuckler "prestige class."
Necromancer? Take Mage or Cleric or Aburist or Theurgist annnnd...Yup. Necromancer prestige class.
...and so on, ad nauseum.
How about the sorcerer?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Sorcerer has long been a lost soul of a class.

Started as a wizard with a less annoying spells system, then was the damage dealing arcanist that got outshone by the warlock, now is the multitool arcanist.

Sorcerer needs a solid identity.

And this from the guy who doesn't like class identities to be very binding at all.
 

Sorcerer has long been a lost soul of a class.

Started as a wizard with a less annoying spells system, then was the damage dealing arcanist that got outshone by the warlock, now is the multitool arcanist.

Sorcerer needs a solid identity.

And this from the guy who doesn't like class identities to be very binding at all.
Sorcerer just needs to be retired. Give warlock subclasses for those sorcerer subclasses that already don't overlap, and we have a better sorcerer than the actual sorcerer.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I think there's really a few systemic questions you need to ask about character creation and growth before making this kind of decision; every system weights these questions a bit differently.

1) How much differentiation between characters, mechanically, should there be at character creation? [Assuming everyone wants characters with different personalities, so just focusing on mechanical differentiation.]
2. How much customization should there be at character creation? [A different question than 1; a large number of inflexible classes can allow high differentiation but low customization.]
3. How much customization should be allowed post-character creation, during the campaign? [3e and 4e allowed a ton (feats, powers, MCing, etc), 5e still has quite a bit, older versions fairly little to none.]
4. How much differentiation and change to the character should occur during the character leveling process? [Contrast a 5e fighter to a OD&D fighter, one gets a number of bespoke abilities, the other gets HPs and attack bonuses.]

Classes are really a means to an end for these questions; the real benefits to classes over point-buy is trope protection and dispersion of special abilities.

Personally, for D&D, I favor high amounts of 1, am flexible on 2, and actually prefer low amounts of 3 and 4. (I prefer D&D character growth to be through acquisition and gameplay rather than the player making bespoke choices from a menu. More magic items, less feats.)
 

payn

Legend
Personally, for D&D, I favor high amounts of 1, am flexible on 2, and actually prefer low amounts of 3 and 4.
1. high
2. High
3. Super high
4. high
(I prefer D&D character growth to be through acquisition and gameplay rather than the player making bespoke choices from a menu. More magic items, less feats.)
Mark me as the opposite. I cant stand having magic items make the character. I'd rather that all built into progression so magic items can be their own thing.
 



TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Mark me as the opposite. I cant stand having magic items make the character. I'd rather that all built into progression so magic items can be their own thing.
I don't necessarily need the powers attached to the magic items, but I prefer the character growth to be a function of the core delve for loot-get loot-spend cycle that's the core of D&D. You learn fireball because you found a scroll with fireball, not because you get free spells at level up. You learn a fighting style because you befriended and trained with a weapon master, not because you got a fighting style feat.

I have no problem with more story-path driven game play with bespoke choices in other games, but I don't think it's ideal for D&D.
 

payn

Legend
I don't necessarily need the powers attached to the magic items, but I prefer the character growth to be a function of the core delve for loot-get loot-spend cycle that's the core of D&D. You learn fireball because you found a scroll with fireball, not because you get free spells at level up. You learn a fighting style because you befriended and trained with a weapon master, not because you got a fighting style feat.

I have no problem with more story-path driven game play with bespoke choices in other games, but I don't think it's ideal for D&D.
I'm kind of with you, but Ive played under enough stingy GMs that think the game works fine if the PCs never have more than a handful of coppers in their pocket. I prefer those mechanics in the hands of the PCs. I fully appreciate wanting their progress to be represented in the setting, but after all these years ive come to just prefer leaving all mechanics under the hood.
 

Undrave

Hero
(I prefer D&D character growth to be through acquisition and gameplay rather than the player making bespoke choices from a menu. More magic items, less feats.)

I don't necessarily need the powers attached to the magic items, but I prefer the character growth to be a function of the core delve for loot-get loot-spend cycle that's the core of D&D. You learn fireball because you found a scroll with fireball, not because you get free spells at level up. You learn a fighting style because you befriended and trained with a weapon master, not because you got a fighting style feat.

I have no problem with more story-path driven game play with bespoke choices in other games, but I don't think it's ideal for D&D.
I'd be fine with that if the game system is honest about that being an expected part of character growth, on BOTH side of the screen. Proper guidance for the DM on how to dole these out, and an actual list of purchasable items in the PHB so players can plan what they are saving all that gold for, for exemple. We don't need a stingy DM who thinks magic items will break the game and are a superfluous bonus.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I'd be fine with that if the game system is honest about that being an expected part of character growth, on BOTH side of the screen. Proper guidance for the DM on how to dole these out, and an actual list of purchasable items in the PHB so players can plan what they are saving all that gold for, for exemple. We don't need a stingy DM who thinks magic items will break the game and are a superfluous bonus.
Yea, character growth needs to be baked in as an expectation. A few things should be general purpose items visible to the player, but I like having some surprises as well. I like the idea of a character who started as a warrior type becoming a mage type because they found certain items or achieved certain training during play, and changed their focus.
 

payn

Legend
Yea, character growth needs to be baked in as an expectation. A few things should be general purpose items visible to the player, but I like having some surprises as well. I like the idea of a character who started as a warrior type becoming a mage type because they found certain items or achieved certain training during play, and changed their focus.
Now that I think about it, this would make an excellent GM supplement. There are always players guides coming out, but after the DMG, its usually just setting stuff for GMs. How to incorporate the PCs lives and story into the setting is something that could be very useful to GMs. Also, it can help combat some prior ideas of GMs about character options and magic items being entirely optional.
 

Undrave

Hero
Yea, character growth needs to be baked in as an expectation. A few things should be general purpose items visible to the player, but I like having some surprises as well. I like the idea of a character who started as a warrior type becoming a mage type because they found certain items or achieved certain training during play, and changed their focus.
Yeah... I think SOME items and mundane stuff should be there in the PHB, for every level a play. The players then have a sort of baseline for what is available and can, as a default, decide to save money for X, Y, Z, but then the DM can surprise them with A,B,C, and they can better decide what to pursue.

This would finally properly put gold and XP on more equal footing as a type of character advancement currency.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Yeah... I think SOME items and mundane stuff should be there in the PHB, for every level a play. The players then have a sort of baseline for what is available and can, as a default, decide to save money for X, Y, Z, but then the DM can surprise them with A,B,C, and they can better decide what to pursue.

This would finally properly put gold and XP on more equal footing as a type of character advancement currency.
Yea, I've run a few playtests with a system where characters can craft items using found reagents, and can also learn certain abilities from magic items by spending time and XP. (Like learning how to cast burning hands 2/day from practicing with a staff of fire.) Works pretty well.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'd be fine with that if the game system is honest about that being an expected part of character growth, on BOTH side of the screen. Proper guidance for the DM on how to dole these out, and an actual list of purchasable items in the PHB so players can plan what they are saving all that gold for, for exemple.
To me this makes it all seem too pre-packaged somehow. 3e made this mistake.

Yes, magic items should be part of character growth - and shrinkage, too: items should be much easier to destroy than 5e has it, meaning a DM has less reason to be stingy with treasure in adventures. But what's available to buy at any given time? Random all the way, and only a tiny fraction of the whole list.
We don't need a stingy DM who thinks magic items will break the game and are a superfluous bonus.
Agreed.
 

Undrave

Hero
To me this makes it all seem too pre-packaged somehow. 3e made this mistake.

Yes, magic items should be part of character growth - and shrinkage, too: items should be much easier to destroy than 5e has it, meaning a DM has less reason to be stingy with treasure in adventures. But what's available to buy at any given time? Random all the way, and only a tiny fraction of the whole list.

Agreed.
I was thinking of a limited selection generic items/training/boons in the PHB, as a sort of "here's the kind of stuff you could get your hands on and what they might cost", but the DM has the more extensive listing with the crazy stuff. Just so players can have an idea what the growth of their character MIGHT look like.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Sorcerer just needs to be retired. Give warlock subclasses for those sorcerer subclasses that already don't overlap, and we have a better sorcerer than the actual sorcerer.

The sorcerer idea is fine. We just need to get the community to not see it as a discount wizard.

The 5e playtest had an idea where the sorcerer had spell like abilities similar to invocations based on their bloodline. The community didn't buy into the idea high enough to get over the very very high bar of acceptance needed to make the PHB.

I mean in 5e's dragon book, the one class with an OG dragon subclass gets no exclusive spells. It ties with the favorite Marcia: wizard.

/Rant
 

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