• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

4E Where was 4e headed before it was canned?

Aldarc

Adventurer
While I have seen quite a few full classes as well as sub classes. I think its way too easy to find ones which are not particularly good as well. Those who want something else seem quite confident in trying them out though.
There are undoubtedly a lot of full classes as well that have been made. The Gunslinger and Blood Hunter* were both part of Critical Role. Matt Colville made the "Illrigger" (a diabolic paladin) for one of his players on his campaign stream. There have been a number of Warlords, Artificers, Shamans, and other concepts (many seemingly anime-inspired) that fell through the cracks in published 5e materials.

* WTF is a Blood Hunter anyway? Was this a popular character concept that I had never noticed?
 
Last edited:

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
A sonnet is a highly adaptable set of mechanics
As compared to, say, free verse, a sonnet is a straight-jacket.

Now, I personally happen to think character classes are pretty adaptable. But, some folks may be coming at this from the perspective of someone who really prefers (or would prefer) point-buy character generation, and to them, classes may seem like straight jackets.

My point, however, is that the class is not equivalent not the character concept, so being inspired by the class does not hand you the concept outright, any more than how the meter and rhyme scheme of a sonnet hands you the concept therein. The class, at most, is a seed of inspiration, by no means the whole.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Sounds like a Vampire PrC... or a Vyrolka racial feat... ;P

...or an Elite mosquito template...
I don't know but the SHEER IMPACT of Critical Role means that the Blood Hunter is listed on DnD Beyond slightly to the side of other official classes and the UA Artificer.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
As compared to, say, free verse, a sonnet is a straight-jacket.

Now, I personally happen to think character classes are pretty adaptable.
It isn't entirely on and off though that is a false dichotomy.

Classes with choices like class features, and powers and certain kinds of feats are very adaptable within themselves. I came up with the princess/princeling build Warlord posted on here (which someone else basically simultaneously came up with calling a lazy lord and posted it on WOTC forums) It really demonstrates how adaptable classes can be. It is an example of how 5e threw away tons of adaptability in the form of power selection alone.

In theory having easy more organic multiclassing ought to bring alot of adaptability back it makes sense and maybe MCing takes more game fu with fifth edition to use well than I have. I mean it takes quite a bit to get hybrids in 4e to do their thing.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
In theory having easy more organic multiclassing ought to bring alot of adaptability back it makes sense and maybe MCing takes more game fu with fifth edition to use well than I have.
3e-style MCing is an elegant solution to the thorny problem of class straightjacketing, but to really work well, each level of each class must be balanced with every other level of every other class. That is, if you treat class-levels as building blocks, you better make 'em cubes. Which, when D&D has rarely managed to even roughly balance any two classes in any one edition, is a really, really tall order. Bottom line: 3e style MCing works great, but the only class design it actually works great /with/ is the 3e fighter.

MCing in 4e when two very odd ways. There were the MCing feats, which essentially charged you feats for the privilege of learning powers that probably didn't synergize too well with your class features, and Hybriding, which, just, well, it wasn't as bad as Gestalts - I suppose it was a fairly balanced/playable take on classic D&D MCing. 4e probably could've handled something a lot closer to feat based MCing, just without so many feat taxes to do it. After the initial MC feat, just retrain powers in from that class with some simple stricture, like only one each of your EDU powers, and never your highest level power of that sort, and it uses your retraining for that level.

Would 4e have gone there given a chance to continue developing? I can't imagine why, unless there was some sort of dramatic Feat Purge Udpate to winnow away the chaff... and that'd've been a /change/ in direction.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
My point, however, is that the class is not equivalent not the character concept, so being inspired by the class does not hand you the concept outright
Class has always been a huge component of character concept and yes it is hyperbolic to say it is the sum total. There are many things about a character the mechanics do not even express but none of those go away when the class is adaptable.

And sometimes abilities actually can express those things. My bloodwright mentioned earlier thinks of her allies as her children (certain of her powers actualy express that)

And I still think the sonnet analogy is terrible
 
Last edited:

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Class has always been a huge component of character concept and yes it is hyperbolic to say it is the sum total.
Prettymuch was in some early eds. When race was a class, for instance. ;P

There are many things about a character the mechanics do not even express but none of those go away when the class is adaptable.
They don't go away when mechanics are used to express them, either, they just gain a foundation.
And I still think the sonnet analogy is terrible
Sonnet is still a
Terrible analogy
Haiku is better
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Nods I suppose one could make a character and have them act like a Lazylord never attacking always doing an aide other in combat.
You could've done it in 1e, "just RPing it," without even Help or Aid Another or anything. Heck, Aid Another would've seemed like fantastic mechanical support for your concept, just in contrast to that - nevermind the possibility of playing a bard who never casts spells, that'd be /awesome/ by comparison.

...yeah, I guess, you have to read into any complaint of ".... can't do _________ concept..." the additional qualification of "...without being dead weight to the party..." because, technically, you can just do any concept in any system with absolutely no mechanical support for it - because it leaves you total freedom to do it exactly how you want.


:|
 
I do want to emphasize I am not talking about freedom to reflavor not certain any edition except 3e tried to take that away. I was earlier giving Hussar an example of how i sometimes very much drive how I use the system to fulfill a concept exploiting the abilities

The Bloodwright is probably a better example of the freedom to build. But so is adjusting my Cleave with a feat to make it so that if he only has 1 enemy to attack he can do ongoing damage to the target. Or adjustments to make the rangers abilities more interesting to someone wanting arrows to do something other than kill fast.
A/E/D/U and the general way powers work (and feats too really), plus the very spelled out structure of keywords and how things can build off that, is 4e's great strength here. Lets be clear, I am all in favor of the way 4e does it in the sense that it WORKS. It is just putting a large burden on a lot of casual players to engage with that. Excepting, partially, things like the Slayer there's no getting around working on your build. Heck, I would argue that the simplified e-classes actually made it HARDER in the long run (sure, creating a level 1 Slayer is easy, but just try to make an EFFECTIVE level 15 Slayer, not so easy...).
 
If you have the clear expectation going in that certain archetypes will be 'simple.' It doesn't seem too much of a stretch to expect a wizard to be complicated and a barbarian to be simple, but after decades with the game, the idea that anyone using a weapon must be simplistic and anyone using magic complicated is drilled into us a little too hard, and it's difficult to say with certainty what a new player - one coming from playing video games and, IDK, reading/watching Harry Potter and Twighlight and the like, might 'reasonably' expect. But, if you step out of the D&D paradigm for a sec, does it really seem unreasonable to expect a magic-using character who 'just' blasts things with fire, say, being fairly simple? Or, conversely, to expect a duelist & spy sort of character to have more to it than the above barbarian? I don't think those're unreasonable expectations, but in D&D, you'll have learn that if you want some interest/engagement/options, you simply must take up magic.
I wasn't really trying to engage with any discussion of the 'simple fighters, complex wizards' thing. I would argue that every PC in 4e was 'complex' in that sense, from a build standpoint, and requiring attention at every decision point to insure you got what you wanted. OTOH 5e wizard is in my sense 'simple', you ARE a wizard, and you're gonna be pretty effective as such. I certainly concede that there ARE more choices involved in casters, and probably more ways to not make your caster be 'up to snuff' than with 5e non-casters. Still, both are more 'direct' in their build strategies than 4e.

I mean, you really need to know that in 4e there are going to be certain 'anti-suck' feats (could be weapon expertise for a fighter, implement expertise for a wizard) for instance. This kind of awareness is simply not required in 5e, not even from a wizard. You might be less effective in some sense if you pick the wrong spells, but even that is mitigated a lot by the slot system.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
MCing in 4e when two very odd ways. There were the MCing feats, which essentially charged you feats for the privilege of learning powers that probably didn't synergize too well with your class features, and Hybriding, which, just, well, it wasn't as bad as Gestalts - I suppose it was a fairly balanced/playable take on classic D&D MCing. 4e probably could've handled something a lot closer to feat based MCing, just without so many feat taxes to do it. After the initial MC feat, just retrain powers in from that class with some simple stricture, like only one each of your EDU powers, and never your highest level power of that sort, and it uses your retraining for that level.
They were potentially too tight fisted on Multiclassing like they didnt trust themselves. This may have been a reaction to 3e.

Hybriding works as it stands but feats to allow melding of class features actually give Hybriding the final zing. It was something I definitely wanted more of. For instance there was presented in the Dragon Mag some which merged paladin and warlock very nicely. Crimson Legionnaire and Crimson Fire. You could go even deeper and pull in the Tiefling extras (very flavorful) but to me the hybriding glue was the good stuff.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I mean, you really need to know that in 4e there are going to be certain 'anti-suck' feats (could be weapon expertise for a fighter, implement expertise for a wizard) for instance.
Bah the tacked on over the top feats that the game can do without...
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Heck, I would argue that the simplified e-classes actually made it HARDER in the long run (sure, creating a level 1 Slayer is easy, but just try to make an EFFECTIVE level 15 Slayer, not so easy...).
Some would say mechanics perhaps feats to enable that might have come along if 4e development lasted longer paragon and epic ones which were must haves for slayers probably.
 
D&D's place in the market is unique. It's the only RPG with name recognition outside the hobby, so it's where virtually all of us start. If you like D&D, or at least tolerate it long enough see some potential with the concept of RPGs, you probably, eventually, become aware that there are other RPGs out there. If you try D&D once and don't care for it - say because you wanted to play a certain character from genre, and just couldn't or were frustrated by the way it was modeled (but potentially for a /lot/ of pretty good reasons) - well, you likely decide the hobby's just not for you, and you never encounter anything you might like better.

FATE is one of many games that does a lot of things a lot better than D&D, sure. But, most people, even those who might like it a lot more than D&D, just don't know it exists and, by the time they've been in the hobby long enough to maybe hear about it, they've gotten /used/ to D&D, have effort sunk in learning it, and probably find it easier to play a d20 game in some genre that FATE covers, instead.

D&D's not just a gateway to the hobby, but a gatekeeper. And it's been that way for 40 years. You can't deduce much about an RPG from it's popularity relative to D&D, other than that it's not D&D (or, in the case of PF1, that it /was/ D&D).
It is worth putting a codicil on this by saying that what D&D (classic D&D and 3.x at least) did WELL was to give you a pretty 'canned' character experience (you could make ONE choice, your class, and then just choose an equipment list and that was it in core 1e for example). Once that was established the game gave you a challenging but steep and pretty much pre-ordained power curve, you adventured your way up to name level (and maybe beyond). What you were expected to do, how your character related to the game, and the 'build' choices you could make, was all pretty highly circumscribed.

3e did open this up a lot (2e did too in later books if you used them) but it still left you with the option to just go with the defaults, in which case it works a lot like AD&D. You could go gonzo in 3e, and there was VERY much possible 'mastery', but it is really 4e that MAKES you pay attention, or else your concept may not really work (IE your axe dwarf will basically suck if you don't take DWT, Weapon Expertise - Mordenkrad, Weapon Specialization (axes), etc.). It just isn't optional at all.

5e doesn't go all the way back to 1e levels of straightforward character building, but it certainly is short of the wide-open later 3.x, and you CAN nail it down to closer to 1e.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
. You could go gonzo in 3e, and there was VERY much possible 'mastery', but it is really 4e that MAKES you pay attention, or else your concept may not really work (IE your axe dwarf will basically suck if you don't take DWT, Weapon Expertise - Mordenkrad, Weapon Specialization (axes), etc.). It just isn't optional at all.
I do not even allow the Expertise feats and this is hog swallow.

There you go with more Char OP is the only way to play thinking in a game where char op is so under control it isnt funny. 3e HAD to char op if you wanted your fighter to be relevant and you push that as "very much possible" and 4e as "MAKES" .... really?
 
I feel like the 5e design team decided to remove the warlord and instead spread its kit around the various classes. It enables people to play a bard, rogue, cleric, fighter, paladin, or even a barbarian and get some of the benefits of the warlord support skills. There might be other classes that also have some of the warlord style support abilities and there are at least a couple of feats that help with that style of character as well (in one case gaining access to battlemaster manoeuvres that can be spent on the warlordy skills). Although I liked the warlord in 4e and it would probably be my go to class (or maybe a hybrid warlord-wizard) if I had an opportunity to play 4e, I actually like the 5e method of spreading the kit around better.
But you can see how it seems to 4e fans that the ONE THING IN 4E that is really clearly a new element, at least an element spelled out in a new and interesting way, and that was hugely popular, MM absolutely refused to recreate in 5e, adamantly. It comes across as a slap in the face, almost a deliberate calculated act of negation. There really is no solid justification for it at all. People can rationalize and come up with 'reasons' for it and 'game design considerations', but it will never feel like anything other than a thinly-veiled attempt to obliterate what came before.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I wasn't really trying to engage with any discussion of the 'simple fighters, complex wizards' thing. I would argue that every PC in 4e was 'complex' in that sense, from a build standpoint, and requiring attention at every decision point to insure you got what you wanted. .
Or allowing you opportunities to fine tune what you wanted.
 
Then they pretend "concept first" when it actually means concept handed to you. \\

Which to me is only supposed to be a starting point.
Again, lets go back to the origins of D&D. Class is a bit confused in terms of if it is meant to be a broad concept (fighter) or a very specific type cast (Paladin or Assassin). In practice classic D&D tended to (officially or tacitly depending on exact version) work with 4 'base classes' (2e calling them warrior, rogue, wizard, and priest) and then potentially very numerous subclasses. Since there wasn't much like options you could pick post-rollup in most cases (aside from spell list and equipment) if you wanted some different concept, you needed a new class.

You can see how this was handled in the early days. LBBs + Greyhawk supplied the core 4, plus a few specials, and then The Dragon and other publications provided variations you could use or adapt to produce more specialist (sub) classes.

So, originally classes were BOTH broad starting points AND narrow pre-defined concepts. You got to choose one or the other, and then it was expected the character would change and evolve with 'lived experience' (which was generally a much more significant thing in early play).

4e was interesting in the sense that its dense grid of options meant that lived experience could be subsumed within the system. That is you could simply use the build rules to basically reflect the things that happened to your character or that he accomplished. In some sense it is a complete realization of this early scheme.

Notice, when I designed my own game I took this to the logical extreme. There is a dense 4e like set of options, but you literally always acquire them through narrative play, there is no advancement as a separate concept where you pick things. ALL of your character is acquired through acquisition of stuff/experience/revelation. It is the whole essence of the class concept, welded with treasure/experience/items into a seamless and highly directed whole.
 

Advertisement

Top