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


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Give us a concrete example. An archetype is a recurring character type seen in myth, novel, TV, movie, where-ever.
The long-established "Red Mage" archetype across various Final Fantasy games.

Or hey TVTropes:


The vast majority of them, despite being called "Magic Knights" actually don't wear any significant armour. Very often they don't cast D&D-style spells either. There's dozens of examples there.
 

The long-established "Red Mage" archetype across various Final Fantasy games.

Or hey TVTropes:


The vast majority of them, despite being called "Magic Knights" actually don't wear any significant armour. Very often they don't cast D&D-style spells either. There's dozens of examples there.
One thing I noticed about a lot of these that I could think of offhand: they have a cool magic weapon. That’s something the official rules seem resistant to granting. Even Pact if the Blade grants a technically nonmagical weapon, you just receive it via magic.
 
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Another thought: just making mage armor easier to get is pretty close to a fair option for unarmored magical fighters. You really shouldn’t be getting more than a 16 AC with no downsides, since that’s the best AC available through armor without a stealth penalty or maxed out dex. And mage armor with a 16 dex isn’t that big an investment.
 

One thing I noticed about a lot of these that I could think of offhand: they have a cool magic weapon. That’s something the official rules seem resistant to granting. Even Pact if the Blade Granpa s a technically nonmagical weapon, you just receive it via magic.
Yeah D&D is weird about that, and it's been a discussed and addressed problem since 2nd edition at the latest.

D&D, for some reason, which I think runs against how most groups want it, wants you to go through various magical weapons, and definitely not start with one, which becomes stronger (Pact of the Blade is closest).

But all the way back to the late '80s, you find a lot of people who would rather get one magic weapon that grows with them, and really says something about their character and so on. This is vastly more common in fiction - the number of heroes who go through multiple magic weapons is vanishingly small compared to the number who have a beloved magical weapon (often bequeathed to them as a child or teen).

And the first major-major attempt to "fix" D&D, Earthdawn (1993), marketed as a major feature the way you bonded with a magical item and it became stronger as you wove more of your spirit into it as you leveled up (sorry for run-on sentence). It's really weird that D&D doesn't "get" this. That is an actual "miss" of the kind you were discussing.
 

Another thought: just making mage armor easier to get is pretty close to a fair option for unarmored magical fighters. You really shouldn’t be getting more than a 16 AC with no downsides, since that’s the best AC available through armor without a stealth penalty or maxed out dex. And mage armor with a 16 dex isn’t that big an investment.
yeah the balance issue is weird... the warlock can get a bunch of spells at will (mage armor, speak with animals, speak with dead) if they pick a class feature that they get a bunch (5 I think) of over the levels... so why are these BOTH balanced as at will AND as useing a 1/day slot?
 

yeah the balance issue is weird... the warlock can get a bunch of spells at will (mage armor, speak with animals, speak with dead) if they pick a class feature that they get a bunch (5 I think) of over the levels... so why are these BOTH balanced as at will AND as useing a 1/day slot?
D&D editions other than 4E are just full of weird balancing hang-ups from the designers (4E had math and design issues, but fewer weird hang-ups - though not zero!). And the designers aren't even consistent with themselves about most things.

Realistically, being able to cast a first-level spell at will is not a big deal, balance-wise. There are some second and maybe even third level spells that might apply to as well, esp. anything that's not concentration but lasts a long-ish time. But sometimes 5E realizes this (as with Warlocks), and other times it's acting like it's a huge balance issue.

The only thing 5E is utterly consistent about balance-wise, is as I mentioned previously, wildly overvaluing race-derived innate weapons, even though they've gone to massive and ridiculous lengths to make them mechanically near-worthless. Just so odd and the designers have never explained it AFAIK (@Parmandur correct me if I'm wrong lol). The only explanation I can see is that WotC's own designers constantly run games where PCs have all their gear removed, which seems... unlikely...
 

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To be honest... I think to more likely get what you want, people are asking for the wrong thing.

If the archetype people want is this unarmored, magical, swinging a big weapon type of character... you might be better off asking for the campaign setting that would warrant having this type of class in it. The same way they didn't make an artificer until they released Eberron, and probably won't make a Psion until they release Dark Sun or a Warlord until they release Nentir Vale... this unarmored archetype wouldn't get added just to the base generic game, they'd wait for the right story of the right setting to possibly insert it-- an anime-type setting for which this agile, unarmored weapon-fighting aesthetic could shine.

Get them to create a setting like that, and the archetype would probably have a better chance to follow.
 

To be honest... I think to more likely get what you want, people are asking for the wrong thing.

If the archetype people want is this unarmored, magical, swinging a big weapon type of character... you might be better off asking for the campaign setting that would warrant having this type of class in it. The same way they didn't make an artificer until they released Eberron, and probably won't make a Psion until they release Dark Sun or a Warlord until they release Nentir Vale... this unarmored archetype wouldn't get added just to the base generic game, they'd wait for the right story of the right setting to possibly insert it-- an anime-type setting for which this agile, unarmored weapon-fighting aesthetic could shine.

Get them to create a setting like that, and the archetype would probably have a better chance to follow.
That’s a fair point - I’d love to play in the Granblue Fantasy setting, and it needs very little in the way of new rules to be totally doable (new races but they’re just remixes, a couple new subclasses, jrpg summon spells, airship rules)
 

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".
Ginormous sword500 gp2d8 slashing30 lbsTwo-Handed, Finesse
Sorted. High dex, good AC without wearing full plate. Or just rule that a futuristic Shoulder pad gives as much protection as medieval full plate. It's not like armour matters much in 5e anyway. In our current party the wizard has the highest AC.

Materia = material component.
 

One thing I noticed about a lot of these that I could think of offhand: they have a cool magic weapon. That’s something the official rules seem resistant to granting. Even Pact if the Blade grants a technically nonmagical weapon, you just receive it via magic.
There are plenty of cool magic weapons allowed by the rules. It's the DM's job to deal them out.

Or play an artificer. You could make a good approximation of an anime character with a battlemaster artificer. I've seen enough anime to know cute pets are a thing.
 

There are plenty of cool magic weapons allowed by the rules. It's the DM's job to deal them out.
Relying on the dm to opt in to giving you the thing that makes your entire concept possible is asking the player to hope they get to play their concept at some point while everyone else is guaranteed to be able to play their concept from the beginning. As you might guess, many players aren’t satisfied by that.
Or play an artificer. You could make a good approximation of an anime character with a battlemaster artificer. I've seen enough anime to know cute pets are a thing.
Mandatory pets really are a dealbreaker here. It’s way to much to just ignore.
 

What do you think the Monk is...?

Ki points are just the Spellpoint variant from the DMG, mathematically, based on a Short Rest. If you triple the Ki point total by Level, and reverse the math to get Spell Slots, Monks have the same progression of Slots as Paladins, Rangers, and Artificers.

Ki abilities are mathematically just Spells.
so in theory.... ki points could be a half caster warlock?
 

Ginormous sword500 gp2d8 slashing30 lbsTwo-Handed, Finesse
Sorted. High dex, good AC without wearing full plate. Or just rule that a futuristic Shoulder pad gives as much protection as medieval full plate. It's not like armour matters much in 5e anyway. In our current party the wizard has the highest AC.

Materia = material component.
I mean, I wish D&D official stuff worked that way, I have to admit. For a brief while in 3.XE it kind of did.
 





Do it as setting specific stuff if you wanted to do a jrpg campaign. You could give everyone a limit break ability as well.
As an individual DM, sure, that works, but my point is there's a broad desire among players (I would assert, without hard evidence, I admit) for an archetype, which 5E does not currently support, but which D&D has, previously, supported (and which Pathfinder supports, albeit imperfectly - I suspect 2E does a better job, I haven't checked though). As @jmartkdr2 pointed out, 5E has sort of danced around it, making hyperspecific stuff that isn't quite right, rather than going for it.
 


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