WotC is right to avoid the word "edition."

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
The cynic in me says the call for a complex martial comes largely from those who would have their cake and eat it too; who want a character with all the capabilities of a full-on Fighter but which also has spells or other quasi-magical abilities baked in for those times when fighting isn't the best course of action. Think Gish, or Warlord, or Swordsage; that type of thing, only leaning a bit toward the warrior side.
I mean, yes, kind of?

I think the whole point is that the full-on Fighter, the "hit-it-till-it-falls-over" concept, can't by definition really match up with a spellcaster in terms of overall utility and power. But there's a hole, both in provided game mechanics and in fictional trope, for a warrior-type character who's predominantly strong and tough (or possibly agile and evasive) but also has a bag of preternatural and/or supernatural tricks to call on.

It is, essentially, a Fighter++ compared to most editions of D&D (4e is the one edition that really nailed the complex Fighter). 3.5 did it with the Warblade and Swordsage, but those classes are definitely upgrades compared to the mediocre 3e Fighter.

In AD&D or B/X terms, if Fighters took 2000 XP to get to level 2, the "complex Fighter" class would probably need to be about a 2800 to 3000 XP to level, and also have a smaller Hit Die and attack progression.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I mean, yes, kind of?

I think the whole point is that the full-on Fighter, the "hit-it-till-it-falls-over" concept, can't by definition really match up with a spellcaster in terms of overall utility and power. But there's a hole, both in provided game mechanics and in fictional trope, for a warrior-type character who's predominantly strong and tough (or possibly agile and evasive) but also has a bag of preternatural and/or supernatural tricks to call on.

It is, essentially, a Fighter++ compared to most editions of D&D (4e is the one edition that really nailed the complex Fighter). 3.5 did it with the Warblade and Swordsage, but those classes are definitely upgrades compared to the mediocre 3e Fighter.

In AD&D or B/X terms, if Fighters took 2000 XP to get to level 2, the "complex Fighter" class would probably need to be about a 2800 to 3000 XP to level, and also have a smaller Hit Die and attack progression.
So multiclass, then. If you want a warrior with tricks or spells to call upon, multiclass a Fighter with a Cleric or Mage or Bard or whatever.

Getting what amounts to the benefits of a multiclass in a single class without the drawbacks of multi-classing seems wrong somehow.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
So multiclass, then. If you want a warrior with tricks or spells to call upon, multiclass a Fighter with a Cleric or Mage or Bard or whatever.

Getting what amounts to the benefits of a multiclass in a single class without the drawbacks of multi-classing seems wrong somehow.

Why should something as complex as martial arts be relegated to simple weapon attack rolls while magic gets its own subsystem?

Or put it another way, why should complex and fun subsystems be locked behind particular flavour? And conversely, why should simple and easy one trick pony class design be locked behind a non-magical but martial flavour?

I get that in 3.5e they attempted to creat simple blaster magic users like Sorcerers and Warlocks, but both have complex and interesting subsystems now. Why should the only class who’s level up bonuses are primarily passive improvements to basic actions and rely entirely on theatre of the mind and DM-May-I - why should that be the Fighter, unless for some reason you’re an Eldritch Knight?

I think there’s room for simple and complex versions of many classes. I want Champion vs Battle Master to be a non-subclass choice, but rather a dial you can swap between as the game and player demands, with subclasses instead tied to Fighting Styles (which should be developed and made more robust with higher level features, some of which might also be accessible as feats).
 

Aldarc

Legend
So multiclass, then. If you want a warrior with tricks or spells to call upon, multiclass a Fighter with a Cleric or Mage or Bard or whatever.

Getting what amounts to the benefits of a multiclass in a single class without the drawbacks of multi-classing seems wrong somehow.
The bard is a single class that once required multiclassing to achieve, but now it's a single class. Even as far back as 1e, there are classes that were created so that single-class characters could be more flexible without multiclassing. The fighter having more flexibility in areas outside of combat is not going to break the game anymore than the wizard does, who already has tremendous flexibility and power over combat, exploration, and potentially social encounters all wrapped up in a single class.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Why should something as complex as martial arts be relegated to simple weapon attack rolls while magic gets its own subsystem?

Or put it another way, why should complex and fun subsystems be locked behind particular flavour? And conversely, why should simple and easy one trick pony class design be locked behind a non-magical but martial flavour?

I get that in 3.5e they attempted to creat simple blaster magic users like Sorcerers and Warlocks, but both have complex and interesting subsystems now. Why should the only class who’s level up bonuses are primarily passive improvements to basic actions and rely entirely on theatre of the mind and DM-May-I - why should that be the Fighter, unless for some reason you’re an Eldritch Knight?

I think there’s room for simple and complex versions of many classes. I want Champion vs Battle Master to be a non-subclass choice, but rather a dial you can swap between as the game and player demands, with subclasses instead tied to Fighting Styles (which should be developed and made more robust with higher level features, some of which might also be accessible as feats).
Largely this is down to the combat system in D&D being highly abstract.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
The bard is a single class that once required multiclassing to achieve, but now it's a single class. Even as far back as 1e, there are classes that were created so that single-class characters could be more flexible without multiclassing. The fighter having more flexibility in areas outside of combat is not going to break the game anymore than the wizard does, who already has tremendous flexibility and power over combat, exploration, and potentially social encounters all wrapped up in a single class.
This.

Also, to my understanding, most players avoid the Multiclass system like the plague. It’s got it’s narrative uses - ie, you WERE a fighter for the last 5 levels, but now became an apprentice to an Arch-Mage during this last adventure, and thus took your most recent level up as a Wizard instead.

But that’s not a replacement for “I want to be a magic knight who does sword stuff and wizardry stuff from the start.” Eldritch Knight is a subclass and Paladin is a class for a reason; these are character archetypes that are common enough that it’s worth making base class or subclass level versions of them, rather than forcing a player to go through the multiclass system as a back door to developing who they are.

5e multiclassing is not feat-based like 4e (though there’s dabbler feats), nor is it like 3e’s Gestalt or 4e’s Hybrid Classes that allowed leveling up in two classes at the same time. It’s working for a different master than the concept of build your own Lego creation by mixing the Star Wars and Day at the Zoo Lego sets.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
This was my experience too. I never saw a table say “we are only useing essentials” or “we aren’t useing essentials” although on here I do hear it happened.

If I showed up to a new game after essentials came out with my PHB 1 warlord or PHB 3 battle mind I would resnobly be able to assume I could play it.

I however not only didn’t see but can’t imagine showing up to a 3.5 or PF1 game with a 3.0 ranger and the dm just saying “okay”
In your 3e example you picked the most changed class. If you showed up to a 3.5 game with most of the other classes it wouldnt be noticable. I used my 3.0 monster books all the time for 3.5.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
So multiclass, then. If you want a warrior with tricks or spells to call upon, multiclass a Fighter with a Cleric or Mage or Bard or whatever.
Because their abilities aren't spells. That defeats the whole point of the trope.

"Magic spells" are, in D&D narratives, a very specific type of supernatural effect. There are plenty of supernatural abilities that don't make sense as spells.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Because their abilities aren't spells. That defeats the whole point of the trope.

"Magic spells" are, in D&D narratives, a very specific type of supernatural effect. There are plenty of supernatural abilities that don't make sense as spells.
And plenty of non-supernatural abilities that amount to more than “I make an attack roll with advantage, and have crit 19-20 bc of my fighting style.”

If Monk can differentiate interesting martial arts, why can’t Fighter? Martial Adepts of the 9 Swords are FUN.

Oh wait; they can. It’s called Battle Master, and it’s in the 2014 PHB. I want that as an option for all Fighters, separate from subclass, in 2024.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
And plenty of non-supernatural abilities that amount to more than “I make an attack roll with advantage, and have crit 19-20 bc of my fighting style.”

If Monk can differentiate interesting martial arts, why can’t Fighter? Martial Adepts of the 9 Swords are FUN.

Oh wait; they can. It’s called Battle Master, and it’s in the 2014 PHB. I want that as an option for all Fighters, separate from subclass, in 2024.
There's good 3pp that does it (all of Laserllama's martial classes, and Level Up), but it would be great to see in the 2024 PHB for fighters. It doesn't even impact backwards compatibility for any fighter subclass EXCEPT battle master, and that can be redone in the same book.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
There's good 3pp that does it (all of Laserllama's martial classes, and Level Up), but it would be great to see in the 2024 PHB for fighters. It doesn't even impact backwards compatibility for any fighter subclass EXCEPT battle master, and that can be redone in the same book.
Exactly. This is what Mearls and others actually wanted in hindsight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they take this opportunity to push for that dial-based approach to Fighters, where Superiority Dice isn’t locked behind a single subclass or optional feats / fighting styles. Superior Technique Style + Martial Adept feat very much feels like a work around.

I feel about as strongly towards this fix happening here as I do for them actually fixing the Ranger baseline and the Way of the Four Elements.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
The bard is a single class that once required multiclassing to achieve, but now it's a single class. Even as far back as 1e, there are classes that were created so that single-class characters could be more flexible without multiclassing. The fighter having more flexibility in areas outside of combat is not going to break the game anymore than the wizard does, who already has tremendous flexibility and power over combat, exploration, and potentially social encounters all wrapped up in a single class.

As I always feel the need to point out the very earliest bard was a single class; it just wasn't official (or as much as anything there was) because it appeared in the Strategic Review. The weird sort of proto-prestige class that the AD&D bard was was pretty much otherwise unprecedented.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This.

Also, to my understanding, most players avoid the Multiclass system like the plague. It’s got it’s narrative uses - ie, you WERE a fighter for the last 5 levels, but now became an apprentice to an Arch-Mage during this last adventure, and thus took your most recent level up as a Wizard instead.
Yes, the 3e-4e-5e way of doing multiclass is crap, I agree there.

The 2e (and 1e demi-human) way, where you independently advanced both classes side-along and they weren't additive, is the way to go here.
But that’s not a replacement for “I want to be a magic knight who does sword stuff and wizardry stuff from the start.”
No, it isn't. I'm not trying to replace that, I'm trying to say either pick one or the other - or expect to be bad at both.

Not accusing you of such, but far too often it seems these requests come from players who expect or want their PCs to be (for example) as good at combat as a Fighter while also being as good at casting as a Mage, thus leaving single-class characters in the component classes behind and at the same time ending up with a character with few if any real weaknesses. (I'm thinking here of all the "Gish" attempts and similar that I've seen over the long run)

What I'm after instead - at least in the strongly-lean-toward sense - is a system where you-as-PC do the thing you do, be it fighting or casting or healing or sneaking or whatever, and you do it very well while leaving the others of those things for someone else to do. Strong niche proection. No jacks of all trades, no one-man bands, no good-at-everything characters. Mediocre at everything via multiclassing, maybe, but characters like that would ideally be secondary or support characters in a party of specialists.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Yes, the 3e-4e-5e way of doing multiclass is crap, I agree there.

The 2e (and 1e demi-human) way, where you independently advanced both classes side-along and they weren't additive, is the way to go here.

No, it isn't. I'm not trying to replace that, I'm trying to say either pick one or the other - or expect to be bad at both.

Not accusing you of such, but far too often it seems these requests come from players who expect or want their PCs to be (for example) as good at combat as a Fighter while also being as good at casting as a Mage, thus leaving single-class characters in the component classes behind and at the same time ending up with a character with few if any real weaknesses. (I'm thinking here of all the "Gish" attempts and similar that I've seen over the long run)

What I'm after instead - at least in the strongly-lean-toward sense - is a system where you-as-PC do the thing you do, be it fighting or casting or healing or sneaking or whatever, and you do it very well while leaving the others of those things for someone else to do. Strong niche proection. No jacks of all trades, no one-man bands, no good-at-everything characters. Mediocre at everything via multiclassing, maybe, but characters like that would ideally be secondary or support characters in a party of specialists.
I getcha. I think the 1e Demi-Human, 2e, 3e UA Gestalt (and special combined progress Prestige classes), and 4e Hybrid Classing method was fundamentally trying to tell a different narrative than the feat dabbler method (4e PH1 MC and 5e initiate feats) which is fundamentally trying to tell a different narrative from 3e and 5e MCing where you choose one class or the other to level up.

And I think niche protection is an ideal for many groups, but I don't think it should be the be-all and end-all for all groups, nor do I think Jack-of-Trades classes like Bards should be nerfed into oblivion like they were in 3e. Maybe less powerful than they are in 5e where they're sort of a Master-of-All-Trades, more akin to the power level balance they had in 4e where they were really good with the supportive buffer role but were reasonably good with everything else and could fill in those other roles in a pinch.

Perhaps having one major role and several secondary roles a class can take on, while highlighting the roles that they really shouldn't be attempting to take on without multiclassing or some other sort of crap-mitigation, might be a good way to emphasize all this.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Weird. I like 5e multiclassing.

I guess I look at each level as a building block.

Some characters have been for example, level 3 monk, level 1 barbarian (the rage was a state of fighting zen like whats her name in the firefly movie)

Agree that if you split levels evenly (wizard 10/cleric 10) that you are shooting yourelf in the foot, thats no where near as effective as in 2e.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I getcha. I think the 1e Demi-Human, 2e, 3e UA Gestalt (and special combined progress Prestige classes), and 4e Hybrid Classing method was fundamentally trying to tell a different narrative than the feat dabbler method (4e PH1 MC and 5e initiate feats) which is fundamentally trying to tell a different narrative from 3e and 5e MCing where you choose one class or the other to level up.

And I think niche protection is an ideal for many groups, but I don't think it should be the be-all and end-all for all groups, nor do I think Jack-of-Trades classes like Bards should be nerfed into oblivion like they were in 3e.
I don't see Bards as a JoaT class, though - just a poorly-designed specialist class whose specialty (and niche!) should be sonic magic. Ideally, Bards would have their own system for sound-based and sound-transmitted magic that no other class could access, ever.
Perhaps having one major role and several secondary roles a class can take on, while highlighting the roles that they really shouldn't be attempting to take on without multiclassing or some other sort of crap-mitigation, might be a good way to emphasize all this.
OK; as long as the classes' main niches stay fairly well protected, sure.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Weird. I like 5e multiclassing.

I guess I look at each level as a building block.
Which is fine if you're looking at characters as being something to "build". However...
Some characters have been for example, level 3 monk, level 1 barbarian (the rage was a state of fighting zen like whats her name in the firefly movie)

Agree that if you split levels evenly (wizard 10/cleric 10) that you are shooting yourelf in the foot, thats no where near as effective as in 2e.
...that 10-10 character makes much more sense in the narrative, as somebody who does two things somewhat well but neither of them as well as a single-class character of the same experience; and more importantly IMO, whose skills at both classes get better on an evenly-progressive basis (as abstracted by the xp put into each class) rather than in fits and starts a level at a time.

The stair-step method where you have to take a level in one class then stop advancing that one while you take a level in another might be fine for character building at the meta-level but makes almost no sense in the narrative or fiction.

The 3e-4e-5e idea that classes are additive (e.g. where a Fighter-5/Wizard-3 is considered an 8th level character) is what causes problems, I think. That 10-10 character above should be considered as about equal to an 11th or 12th single-class, not to a 20th.
 

Iosue

Hero
My rank linguistic pedantry has led to a discussion on caster/martial disparity and multiclassing. This is certainly one of the D&D threads.
 


glass

(he, him)
Doesn't matter what WotC wants to call it; it's almost certainly going to end up being called 5.5e in the wild anyway, and they're stuck with that.
Exactly. They may not call it an "edition" or "5.5" or "6e", but that cannot stop us doing so. After all, they (almost?) never refer to the current edition as 5e, but that does not stop any of us!

On the other hand, WotC marketing horse hockey worked well enough that theybgotnpeople to use the garbage "3.5" to this day. Don't count them out yet.
That is not my recollection. IIRC, the online community started calling it 3.5 first, and WotC's marketting saw it and thought "That's a good idea!" (Narrator: "It was not a good idea.)

Which version of the D&D term? The original 1e - 2e version, or the 2e-3e version, or the 3e-3,5e version, or...? D&D has not been consistent on what an "edition" is.
I believe "new edition" has pretty consistently meant "new version of the gameline, inspired by but not fully compatible with its predecessors". The degree of incompatibility has varied, which has given rise to "edition families", and the numbering has been inconsistent: I started with 2e, but AFAICT the 1e => 2e changes were of the same order as 3 => 3.5, so on that basis 2e should really have been called 1.5, and the basic branch had no numbers at all.

I mean, 3.5 was not fully backwards compatible with 3e but it was a half edition rather than a full edition.
No such things as a "half edition".

Thank you, would it be fair to say PF is more compatible to 3.5 than 3.5 to 3.0?
Yes, but not by a wide margin. The biggest things is probably PF1 has the same action economy as 3.5 (with the exception of swift actions being core), whereas in 3.0 you could do roughly the same amount of things on your turn but how you arrived at that was rather different.

Is this actually true? Meaning, was 3.5 planned from the beginning, or was it the result of things learned in the first year or two of wide distribution of 3E?
According to Monte Cook, revision of the core books was planned from the beginning (although IIRC it was originally planned for 5 years out, rather than 3). But originally it was to have new art, incorporate errata, and have some extra content, but probably not the scope of changes that 3.5 ended up having.

I don't know about that.

Just pulling up the first interview I found with the creators:
Thank you for digging that up. Sadly I fear our efforts are in vain; the edition warriors have been so successful that even some 4e fans repeat their talking points as if they had some basis in reality, But I will keep trying, even if I am tilting at windmills.

So multiclass, then. If you want a warrior with tricks or spells to call upon, multiclass a Fighter with a Cleric or Mage or Bard or whatever.
"I want a complex martial". "So play a spellcaster". :(



Regarding the "D&D edition" vs "publisher's edition" thing. AIUI, the latter typically applies to individual books, while the former applies to entire gamelines. So it would be perfectly correct to call the 1995 2e PHB a new edition of that book, despite its not being new edition of D&D. (In many contexts it would probably be a mistake to call it that, if avoiding confusion is a goal, but it would not be factually wrong.)
 

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