D&D General why do we not have an armourless half caster?


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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
you know how in 5e we have barbarians and monks who have built-in armour class why has no one made a half caster with the same thing?
it seems it would an easy way to start showing how it is different and to start the process of making it iconic?
What archetype(s) will this enable that we can not build now (including with the multiclassing rules)?

This seems like wandering mechanics in search of a problem.
 



What archetype(s) will this enable that we can not build now (including with the multiclassing rules)?

This seems like wandering mechanics in search of a problem.
well it is part of trying to make the archetype people crave but can never hammer out the details
 

Redwizard007

Adventurer
We did this for the "Adventurer" class (where every thing you get is via feats), to create a generic Unarmored Defense, equal to 10 + DEX + an ability score of your choice other than Dexterity.

STR - You know how to use your power to push attacks aside and off-balance your enemies.
CON - Your stamina keeps you moving in a fight, making you hard to hit.
INT - You analyze the situation and your opponents' movements, removing yourself from harm's way.
WIS - Your insight into danger has given you a sense of how to avoid it as much as possible.
CHA - Your confidence and poise allows you to position yourself in unexpected ways, fooling your attackers.

Or something like that... 🤷‍♂️
I was seriously questioning how those stats could aid AC, but I like the way you did it.
 

So, I have a question:

Do any significant proportion of players actually like playing "half-casters" because they're half-casters?

Because my experience over the last 30-odd years suggests the answer is somewhere between "HELL NO" and "Absolutely not". My experience is that people play things like Paladins and Ranger despite the fact that they're half-casters, very much not because of it. That people would prefer they had abilities or even were full casters, but they want to play that fantasy (both are extremely popular concepts - i.e. the "holy warrior" and the "woodsman"), so just roll with it.

Half-casters seem to be this weird fixation among people who put mechanics ahead of fantasy, i.e. they want to lay out a bunch of classes to fit arbitrary, usually symmetrical mechanical patterns, without any regard for whether they're creating classes that people actually want to play, that express some kind of "fantasy", or the like.

It's profoundly bad, bass-ackwards game design, of the kind professional and successful game companies know very well to avoid. There's a reason WotC or Blizzard don't often go for this sort of thing, and instead look at the fantasy first, and the mechanics second (even if they sometimes mess up in their haste to get there). When they do take their eye off the ball, and put mechanics ahead of fantasy, we get messes like the Sorcerer, who exists for mechanical reasons, with a fantasy come up with to justify those, rather than vice-versa.
 

What archetype(s) will this enable that we can not build now (including with the multiclassing rules)?
Eldritch Knight that feels like a fighter enhancing their attacks with magic.
This seems like wandering mechanics in search of a problem.
A Half-caster class is the only guaranteed solution, thiugh frankly there’s no reason the EK couldn’t have been an answer.

It’s honestly odd to me how often WotC has missed the mark on this.
 


A Half-caster class is the only guaranteed solution, thiugh frankly there’s no reason the EK couldn’t have been an answer.

It’s honestly odd to me how often WotC has missed the mark on this.
I disagree on both points.

A half-caster isn't the solution. A half-caster would just be another missing of the mark. People who want to play a Swordmage or the like, don't just want basically a Paladin/Ranger but with Arcane spells, and INT-based AC or something. They want split into two groups, in fact, I'd say:

1) People who want an Arcane-magic-THEMED melee, but who don't give a toss about actual spells, and indeed might well dislike them. Half-caster is not a solution any more than EK was there, it's just another annoying missing of the point. This is a huge group, frankly.

2) People who want serious magical punch but also want to be flouncing around with a sword and in light or no armour. This is already solved via Bladesingers and two flavours of Bard (though exactly which two I leave to your discussion).

If we go half-caster, we just make the same dim mistake as PF1E, which had as noted by others, a bazillion of these, all of which were mechanically complex, poorly balance, and worst of all, not actually fun to play, because they didn't really express the fantasy of the "magical warrior", because they were so bloody finickity. 4E OTOH managed to nail the concept repeatedly.

And WotC don't often miss the mark here (unless you're meaning very specifically with this one archetype). They do sometimes - c.f. the Sorcerer, which exists purely to express a mechanical approach, and which nearly gained an actual identity in the DNDNext playtest, but they chickened out. If they often missed the mark we'd be flooded with dubious classes which exist more for mechanical reasons. The last time that was close to true was 3.5E, but even then most of the new classes (excluding PrCs, which were 95% trash) justified their own existence by more than "here's some mechanics!".

The only argument I can see that they did "miss the mark" is re: Type 1 - D&D is missing that, and it would be popular. But Pathfinder 1E-esque half-caster melee? Ugh. Fail, imho.
 

I think the point is, there is no mark.

Which fantasy are your trying to emulate? Elric? Existing rules do that. Geralt? Existing rules do that. Movie Gandalf? Existing rules do that.
Pauuuuullll you're thinking like a 40-something! I know because I'm one too.

You've forgotten about manga, anime, and videogames (esp. JRPGs). Characters who are sword-swinging melees with heavy magical abilities who wear relatively little or no armour are extremely common in all three.

It is a bit weird that D&D has absolutely no classes that mirror them, but an Arcane half-caster also wouldn't, because D&D's magic doesn't align with them at all.
 

Pauuuuullll you're thinking like a 40-something! I know because I'm one too.

You've forgotten about manga, anime, and videogames (esp. JRPGs). Characters who are sword-swinging melees with heavy magical abilities who wear relatively little or no armour are extremely common in all three.

It is a bit weird that D&D has absolutely no classes that mirror them, but an Arcane half-caster also wouldn't, because D&D's magic doesn't align with them at all.
I could make a perfectly decent Cloud Strife with an eldritch knight and a ridiculously large sword.
 

I could make a perfectly decent Cloud Strife with an eldritch knight and a ridiculously large sword.
You couldn't though, because he wears little/no armour (a single shoulder pad and gloves), and doesn't use magic to replace armour, nor indeed does he cast spells independently of materia at all (and IIRC, all characters can use materia), he just has really dramatic attacks including the dreaded "Limit Break". And if you wear little/no armour in D&D, you have a crap AC. Combine that with not using a shield, and you're going to get, as the kids used to say "pwned in the face".

You could make an obviously-inferior version of a normal Fighter by being an EK who used Armour etc. repeatedly, but you'd be nothing like the archetypes from anime/manga.

Really the most simple solution is D&D needs to stop marrying class and "how you get your AC value" as tightly as it does, and needs to make it so there are different ways to get your AC which you can opt into, all with their own merits and flaws.

5E has a weird mental problem about this, very much like the weird mental problem it has with races which have built-in weapons, where it grotesquely overvalues being able to get AC, though, so I sadly don't expect it to change soon. Not when WotC still thinks being able to do 1d6 damage unarmed (LOOK THE HELL OUT) whilst being incompatible with virtually all class abilities (and most magic) is an awesome, even borderline OP ability.
 

I think the point is, there is no mark.

Which fantasy are your trying to emulate? Elric? Existing rules do that. Geralt? Existing rules do that. Movie Gandalf? Existing rules do that.
Eula from Genshin Impact. Can’t be done well with existing rules.

Now, give me a couple hours and I’ll come up with a dozen simple homebrews that fix all the issues, but I want to play he archetype and as a player I can’t impose homebrew, I can only request it. Which is why I would love an official option, so I know it’s available (unless specifically removed by a dm) rather than hoping it will be.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I was seriously questioning how those stats could aid AC, but I like the way you did it.
LOL, thanks!

I'll be the first to admit it is a bit of a stretch for some of them... but it works if you want to offer something for other classes to benefit when not in armor. Optionally, this also works well when you are doing a game style where armor isn't often used (like a swashbuckling game or something).
 

So, I have a question:

Do any significant proportion of players actually like playing "half-casters" because they're half-casters?

Because my experience over the last 30-odd years suggests the answer is somewhere between "HELL NO" and "Absolutely not". My experience is that people play things like Paladins and Ranger despite the fact that they're half-casters, very much not because of it. That people would prefer they had abilities or even were full casters, but they want to play that fantasy (both are extremely popular concepts - i.e. the "holy warrior" and the "woodsman"), so just roll with it.

Half-casters seem to be this weird fixation among people who put mechanics ahead of fantasy, i.e. they want to lay out a bunch of classes to fit arbitrary, usually symmetrical mechanical patterns, without any regard for whether they're creating classes that people actually want to play, that express some kind of "fantasy", or the like.

It's profoundly bad, bass-ackwards game design, of the kind professional and successful game companies know very well to avoid. There's a reason WotC or Blizzard don't often go for this sort of thing, and instead look at the fantasy first, and the mechanics second (even if they sometimes mess up in their haste to get there). When they do take their eye off the ball, and put mechanics ahead of fantasy, we get messes like the Sorcerer, who exists for mechanical reasons, with a fantasy come up with to justify those, rather than vice-versa.
yes, I enjoy them myself as I find most casters rather flimsy myself and I like how they feel in combat the themes are just gravy as noble knights and hunter of beasts are good themes.
the fantasy has been there for years it has just never been codified, no icon made as without dnd both the paladin and the ranger would not exist at all most likely and you would just end up with other strains of nebulous mixed combat and casting.
the sorcerer could do with people going over what it is, a decent niche still standing would be easy caster as one that is fast and simple to learn would fit with both the fantasy born magical and would benefit the game instead of just lesser wizards.
I disagree on both points.

A half-caster isn't the solution. A half-caster would just be another missing of the mark. People who want to play a Swordmage or the like, don't just want basically a Paladin/Ranger but with Arcane spells, and INT-based AC or something. They want split into two groups, in fact, I'd say:

1) People who want an Arcane-magic-THEMED melee, but who don't give a toss about actual spells, and indeed might well dislike them. Half-caster is not a solution any more than EK was there, it's just another annoying missing of the point. This is a huge group, frankly.

2) People who want serious magical punch but also want to be flouncing around with a sword and in light or no armour. This is already solved via Bladesingers and two flavours of Bard (though exactly which two I leave to your discussion).

If we go half-caster, we just make the same dim mistake as PF1E, which had as noted by others, a bazillion of these, all of which were mechanically complex, poorly balance, and worst of all, not actually fun to play, because they didn't really express the fantasy of the "magical warrior", because they were so bloody finickity. 4E OTOH managed to nail the concept repeatedly.

And WotC don't often miss the mark here (unless you're meaning very specifically with this one archetype). They do sometimes - c.f. the Sorcerer, which exists purely to express a mechanical approach, and which nearly gained an actual identity in the DNDNext playtest, but they chickened out. If they often missed the mark we'd be flooded with dubious classes which exist more for mechanical reasons. The last time that was close to true was 3.5E, but even then most of the new classes (excluding PrCs, which were 95% trash) justified their own existence by more than "here's some mechanics!".

The only argument I can see that they did "miss the mark" is re: Type 1 - D&D is missing that, and it would be popular. But Pathfinder 1E-esque half-caster melee? Ugh. Fail, imho.
1) would more likely be solved with say an arcane barbarian.
2) you assume a mage with all the passive defence of wet cardboard or the bard who I have seen bad for being flat disruptive solve the problem the desire is to also be able to take a hit and bards honestly barely fit in dnd on a good day what people want is a bad ass not so singing nut.
I think the point is, there is no mark.

Which fantasy are your trying to emulate? Elric? Existing rules do that. Geralt? Existing rules do that. Movie Gandalf? Existing rules do that.
who the hell is Elric?
Pauuuuullll you're thinking like a 40-something! I know because I'm one too.

You've forgotten about manga, anime, and videogames (esp. JRPGs). Characters who are sword-swinging melees with heavy magical abilities who wear relatively little or no armour are extremely common in all three.

It is a bit weird that D&D has absolutely no classes that mirror them, but an Arcane half-caster also wouldn't, because D&D's magic doesn't align with them at all.
whilst it is true the magic is nothing like a video game or manga/anime magic why not make something that fills as close to the thing without having to scrap every rule made?
You couldn't though, because he wears little/no armour (a single shoulder pad and gloves), and doesn't use magic to replace armour, nor indeed does he cast spells independently of materia at all (and IIRC, all characters can use materia), he just has really dramatic attacks including the dreaded "Limit Break". And if you wear little/no armour in D&D, you have a crap AC. Combine that with not using a shield, and you're going to get, as the kids used to say "pwned in the face".

You could make an obviously-inferior version of a normal Fighter by being an EK who used Armour etc. repeatedly, but you'd be nothing like the archetypes from anime/manga.

Really the most simple solution is D&D needs to stop marrying class and "how you get your AC value" as tightly as it does, and needs to make it so there are different ways to get your AC which you can opt into, all with their own merits and flaws.

5E has a weird mental problem about this, very much like the weird mental problem it has with races which have built-in weapons, where it grotesquely overvalues being able to get AC, though, so I sadly don't expect it to change soon. Not when WotC still thinks being able to do 1d6 damage unarmed (LOOK THE HELL OUT) whilst being incompatible with virtually all class abilities (and most magic) is an awesome, even borderline OP ability.
you do realise all most no tables use casting material anymore it is just logistics which most people do not play role-playing games for.
 

I disagree on both points.

A half-caster isn't the solution. A half-caster would just be another missing of the mark. People who want to play a Swordmage or the like, don't just want basically a Paladin/Ranger but with Arcane spells, and INT-based AC or something. They want split into two groups, in fact, I'd say:

1) People who want an Arcane-magic-THEMED melee, but who don't give a toss about actual spells, and indeed might well dislike them. Half-caster is not a solution any more than EK was there, it's just another annoying missing of the point. This is a huge group, frankly.

2) People who want serious magical punch but also want to be flouncing around with a sword and in light or no armour. This is already solved via Bladesingers and two flavours of Bard (though exactly which two I leave to your discussion).

If we go half-caster, we just make the same dim mistake as PF1E, which had as noted by others, a bazillion of these, all of which were mechanically complex, poorly balance, and worst of all, not actually fun to play, because they didn't really express the fantasy of the "magical warrior", because they were so bloody finickity. 4E OTOH managed to nail the concept repeatedly.

And WotC don't often miss the mark here (unless you're meaning very specifically with this one archetype). They do sometimes - c.f. the Sorcerer, which exists purely to express a mechanical approach, and which nearly gained an actual identity in the DNDNext playtest, but they chickened out. If they often missed the mark we'd be flooded with dubious classes which exist more for mechanical reasons. The last time that was close to true was 3.5E, but even then most of the new classes (excluding PrCs, which were 95% trash) justified their own existence by more than "here's some mechanics!".

The only argument
I disagree on both points.

A half-caster isn't the solution. A half-caster would just be another missing of the mark. People who want to play a Swordmage or the like, don't just want basically a Paladin/Ranger but with Arcane spells, and INT-based AC or something. They want split into two groups, in fact, I'd say:

1) People who want an Arcane-magic-THEMED melee, but who don't give a toss about actual spells, and indeed might well dislike them. Half-caster is not a solution any more than EK was there, it's just another annoying missing of the point. This is a huge group, frankly.

2) People who want serious magical punch but also want to be flouncing around with a sword and in light or no armour. This is already solved via Bladesingers and two flavours of Bard (though exactly which two I leave to your discussion).

If we go half-caster, we just make the same dim mistake as PF1E, which had as noted by others, a bazillion of these, all of which were mechanically complex, poorly balance, and worst of all, not actually fun to play, because they didn't really express the fantasy of the "magical warrior", because they were so bloody finickity. 4E OTOH managed to nail the concept repeatedly.

And WotC don't often miss the mark here (unless you're meaning very specifically with this one archetype). They do sometimes - c.f. the Sorcerer, which exists purely to express a mechanical approach, and which nearly gained an actual identity in the DNDNext playtest, but they chickened out. If they often missed the mark we'd be flooded with dubious classes which exist more for mechanical reasons. The last time that was close to true was 3.5E, but even then most of the new classes (excluding PrCs, which were 95% trash) justified their own existence by more than "here's some mechanics!".

The only argument I can see that they did "miss the mark" is re: Type 1 - D&D is missing that, and it would be popular. But Pathfinder 1E-esque half-caster melee? Ugh. Fail, imho.
I’d say they’ve danced around the idea quite a bit: EK, bladesinger, ranger, battlesmith, bladelock, hexblade, paladin, swords bard, rune knight, echo knight, psi knight, stone sorcerer, spores druid…

Most of them either have a really specific flavor that limits how they can be played rp-wise (the issue with hexblade and the more recent fighter options), have better options than using weapons which totally misses the fantasy (bladesinger, swords bard) or don’t have enough magic to feel like magic is actually central (EK).

Battlesmith is soooooooo close but comes with a free puppy that’s totally tangential to the fantasy and eats up your power budget.

Anywho, artificer is already a half caster so my preferred answer is a weapon-focused subclass of that. The only argument for a new class is it would force a new spell list into existence, and the fact that they needed to make a nw spell list is why the 4e swordmage worked so well.
 




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