D&D 5E Would you use setting-specific classes?

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
There are numerous settings, some from WotC but many more from other authors/publishers. I have a bunch of them and some are really cool.

But…standard D&D classes often feel like an awkward fit. Many of the settings include new subclasses, but since most of a class’s power is built into the base class, that doesn’t change much.

Would you like to see settings come with custom-designed classes, not as additions to the standard list but as replacements? (Two examples are Adventures in Middle-Earth from Cubicle 7 and Beowulf from Handiwork.)

And the follow-up question is whether subclasses are really needed if such classes have such a narrow intended use.

Thoughts?
 

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Corinnguard

Adventurer
Classes in 5e by themselves IMO don't have much power in their base class. They have a couple of features, but they tend to relegate their power towards their respective subclasses. And these subclasses tend to be world neutral and can be put into any setting. You also have no choice, but to pick one up.

If you don't think a class fits in a given setting, there are plenty of homebrewed classes to choose from on sites such as GM Binder or D&D WIki.

But to answer your first question, I'll stick with the standard classes until I can come across something that can catch and really hold onto my interest. ;)

Subclasses are needed for that extra bit of flavor. ;)
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Classes in 5e by themselves IMO don't have much power in their base class. They have a couple of features, but they tend to relegate their power towards their respective subclasses.

I find that to be a rather strange assertion.

Anybody else have an opinion on that? Am I being blind?
 

JoeyD473

Explorer
I have used setting specific classes and will in the future.

I think its true that some classes' have there power come from sub classes. But not true for all. For instance I find Fighter and Bard sub classes matter a lot but that Wizard and Barbarian, though sub class important, but there most important features come from base class.

One of the goals originally was to make classes more modular. Each class had its base abilities and sub classes was supposed to make it easy to modify. Unfortunately this didn't work the way prescribed for several reasons.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Would you like to see settings come with custom-designed classes, not as additions to the standard list but as replacements? (Two examples are Adventures in Middle-Earth from Cubicle 7 and Beowulf from Handiwork.)
This is my expectation from WotC. If they're not changing the 5e rules anymore, they have to change their accoutrements if they're going to sell more books.
And the follow-up question is whether subclasses are really needed if such classes have such a narrow intended use.
Needed? No. But as long as the market research groups say that subclasses will sell, there will be subclasses.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
For instance I find Fighter and Bard sub classes matter a lot

Do you mean actual power, or how it feels to play the class? In the case of the fighter for example, sure the superiority dice are impactful, but more than in the base class?

In other words, would you rather have just superiority dice (and the other Battlemaster features), or would you rather have multiple attacks, actions surge, fighting style, bonus feats, second wind, indomitable...

I know what I'd pick.
 

JoeyD473

Explorer
Do you mean actual power, or how it feels to play the class? In the case of the fighter for example, sure the superiority dice are impactful, but more than in the base class?

In other words, would you rather have just superiority dice (and the other Battlemaster features), or would you rather have multiple attacks, actions surge, fighting style, bonus feats, second wind, indomitable...

I know what I'd pick.
Not so much the superiority dice but the maneuvers of the battlemaster (Which should actually be base class feature and was in original play test) make the battlemaster fighter, the spell Casting makes the gish fighter. Yes Fighter will get more extra attacks no matter what and action surge. All important to fighter personality but in the case of Fighter the subclass makes major changes to how a person plays there fighter.

The Wizard on the other hand subclass adds, but with perhaps the exception of baldesinger, subclass doesn't change the personality of the wizard.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Ah, ok, so it’s the personality/playstyle that in some cases is more heavily weighted toward the subclasses. At least in some cases. That I believe.

And I think if you are designing a class that is not intended to have a subclass, you could bake that in.
 

Corinnguard

Adventurer
Not so much the superiority dice but the maneuvers of the battlemaster (Which should actually be base class feature and was in original play test) make the battlemaster fighter, the spell Casting makes the gish fighter. Yes Fighter will get more extra attacks no matter what and action surge. All important to fighter personality but in the case of Fighter the subclass makes major changes to how a person plays there fighter.

The Wizard on the other hand subclass adds, but with perhaps the exception of baldesinger, subclass doesn't change the personality of the wizard.
The Fighter in Advanced 5th Edition as well as all of the other martial classes make use of combat maneuvers. Unlike 5e's Battlemaster subclass, A5e allows you to become proficient in the maneuvers from at least two of the eleven combat traditions (the fighter gains an additional combat tradition proficiency at 3rd level), and instead of Superiority Dice, you spend Exertion points.
 

I'm not opposed to the idea. But I have rarely if ever found the class/setting link to be compelling enough for me to completely buy-in and enjoy. For instance, the DragonLance knights and Red/White/Black mages. They are good ideas, but I've found them to be too limited to play a specific story for me to be compelled to play them. But, Darksun on the other hand with defilers and preservers does a better job, but still is hard for me. I don't play mages in DS because well, the mechanics are just... ugg.

So, if a setting were written really well, AND the class/sub-class specifics fit really well AND maintained balance for my play style, then I would be all in. But I just haven't seen it yet.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Yeah DnD is a strange beast with the way its classes are constructed so that they already carry some setting assumptions. so that none of the standard classes fit anything other than DnD.

Strixhaven with its College backgrounds is on a rightist track and we have seen other attempts like the MTG plane shifts recently, but yeah I agree with @LordEntrails, to make them compelling would need redesign of the setting assumptions and not just themed classes and backgrounds

So, if a setting were written really well, AND the class/sub-class specifics fit really well AND maintained balance for my play style, then I would be all in. But I just haven't seen it yet.
 
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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I find that to be a rather strange assertion.

Anybody else have an opinion on that? Am I being blind?
Well, it depends on the class. Bards, Paladins, Monks, and Rogues are all pretty strong with core class only. Barbarian, Ranger (maybe), Warlock are decently strong in core class only. The rest really rely on subclasses for more power (if any) as well as flavor IMO.

*Wizards are pretty strong core class only, but that is due to their wide variety of spells, etc. not class features.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
There are numerous settings, some from WotC but many more from other authors/publishers. I have a bunch of them and some are really cool.

But…standard D&D classes often feel like an awkward fit. Many of the settings include new subclasses, but since most of a class’s power is built into the base class, that doesn’t change much.

Would you like to see settings come with custom-designed classes, not as additions to the standard list but as replacements? (Two examples are Adventures in Middle-Earth from Cubicle 7 and Beowulf from Handiwork.)

And the follow-up question is whether subclasses are really needed if such classes have such a narrow intended use.

Thoughts?
It depends on the overall design & intent of the product.

Where AiME succeeds is (a) they did the substantial playtesting required to publish a new class, (b) there's a substantial well of lore they're writing from, and (c) the existing classes would not quite fit the tone of Middle Earth.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
It depends on the overall design & intent of the product.

Where AiME succeeds is (a) they did the substantial playtesting required to publish a new class, (b) there's a substantial well of lore they're writing from, and (c) the existing classes would not quite fit the tone of Middle Earth.
I don’t know how extensive the play testing was (Scholar?) but I think your second point is important: it should only be done if existing classes just don’t work/fit with the setting. If it’s a gratuitous vanity project (“While I’m at it I’ll redesign the classes the way they should have been! Mwuhahahaha!”) it will be obvious.
 

It really depends on the necessity. For example, a psion class would be pretty important for Dark Sun, just like a shugenja class would be pretty important for Rokugan. There's no existing class that would be workable for either of those, yet they're pretty important to the setting. The courtier class for Rokugan can be done using the rogue or bard, so it would be best as sub-class.
 


Andvari

Explorer
Different classes and races are ways to immediately make a setting feel different to players as they create their characters. So, yes.
 

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