"Your Class is Not Your Character": Is this a real problem?

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Rules are not an Appeal to Authority. It isn't a claim that it's right because it was said by an authority without further evidence. The rules themselves are evidence that things are done that way. Now, if I had said that clerics are played a certain way, because Gary Gygax said so, that would be an Appeal to Authority.
Fair enough. To be clear, it felt as though I was appealing to authority, and I was claiming my own argument was weakened. Thanks for the fair play.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
What if I homebrewed it up by taking an existing class and simply changing all the names of the features without changing how those features actually worked?
Without snarking on someone doing this, I'd say it's "homebrew" only by ... um, I can't tell if it's the strictest definition of the word, or the loosest. Definitely at one end of the spectrum.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Sure. You can also call yourself Kool Aid, but it won't make it true. Your artificer and cleric call themselves paladins, but they are not paladins.

Only paladins are paladins, unless you home brew otherwise. If you home brew that classes aren't really classes, but rather just unattached sets of mechanics, then you can apply any name to anything
I think what @Seramus wanted to express is he plays a "Cleric " (mechanic / crunch) but in his homebrew/adaption the title is of this Cleric is Paladin (Fluff).

Do not get confused by names. A dark sun "Bard" (Fluff) is a rogue (Crunch) and uses a rogues mechanic not a bards.

@Seramus example is a difficult one, because Clerics and Paladins in their standard use have some similar mechanics (*Divine, a deity, eventually turn undead, normally medium to heavy armor etc)
(Notice I do not write : Oath of Pelor, Pelor channel Pelors light to destroy creatures of darkness, Pelors Initiates Breastplate etc. which would be names on the mechanical fluff)

There is nothing preventing Seramus to play his Cleric as a devout holy man with equal zeal than a paladin would be.

If Seramus would play an artificer calling himself paladin things would be much more complicated, but still also an Artificer could act like a paladin. He even could try to heal people with his means egg.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
What are those tenets? Never minding that paladins in no way need to be connected to any deity whatsoever, and in fact, two out of the three core paladins have no connections to a deity. Oath of Ancients paladins are specifically tied to fey and Oath of Vengeance paladins barely even mention deities and only as a single example of many.
The Oath of Ancients paladins have the exact same oath. All of them. With some simple observation, you can over a short period of time figure out which oath a paladin follows.

How am I different from a cleric?
You have paladin specific spells. A cleric doesn't. You have Divine Smite. A cleric doesn't. You have Lay on Hands. A cleric doesn't. You have Divine Sense. A cleric doesn't. You have Divine Health. A cleric doesn't. If you violate your oath, you can lose your class. A cleric can't. You have Aura of Courage. A cleric doesn't. Then there will be even more differences, depending on oath.

All of those things affect how you roleplay your PC.

So, no. You are outright wrong.
There you go with wrong = right again.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
If my character isn't my class, what's the point of playing a Bard if I can't sing a musical number during the game?

If my character isn't my class, can I be a multi class Bard/Fighter and call myself a Warlord?
You can call yourself anything. You might want to conquer and hold territory before you call yourself a Warlord, though.

Also, I have a bard character who didn't take Performance, and who has Tool Proficiencies instead of Instrument Proficiencies. The chances of his breaking into song are approximately zero. He doesn't think of himself as a Bard, but mechanically he is one.
 
Sure. You can also call yourself Kool Aid, but it won't make it true. Your artificer and cleric call themselves paladins, but they are not paladins.

Only paladins are paladins, unless you home brew otherwise. If you home brew that classes aren't really classes, but rather just unattached sets of mechanics, then you can apply any name to anything
I mean from an immersion point of view what's the difference between a cleric and a paladin if they are members of the same religion? Would any NPC treat them differently if they show up the vanquish the evil controlling their town? Tell declared wants to call himself a paladin for narrative sake who cares.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
The rules are specifically concerned with how the fluff and crunch relate to each other. The rules say that a given bit of fluff is represented by its respective bit of crunch.

If you change either the fluff or the crunch, then you've changed the rule which connects them.
I think that we may be using the terms differently to each other. I was using "crunch" to represent the rules mechanics (Paladin spell list, or tenets of the Oath of Ancients subclass for example,) and "fluff" to represent the flavour (Paladins being heavily-armoured knights who stand for goodness and justice for example.)

And you'd know he had divine smite, paladin spellcasting, etc., which affect how he is roleplayed.
Personality, bonds, flaws etc have a much larger influence in how a character is roleplayed I find.

Rules are not an Appeal to Authority. It isn't a claim that it's right because it was said by an authority without further evidence. The rules themselves are evidence that things are done that way. Now, if I had said that clerics are played a certain way, because Gary Gygax said so, that would be an Appeal to Authority.
Sure. You can also call yourself Kool Aid, but it won't make it true. Your artificer and cleric call themselves paladins, but they are not paladins.

Only paladins are paladins, unless you home brew otherwise. If you home brew that classes aren't really classes, but rather just unattached sets of mechanics, then you can apply any name to anything
I think that you may be getting confused between what a character refers to themselves as, and the name of their classes on the character's character sheet.
A Rogue can absolutely call themselves a priest of Kord. The Acolyte background is practically made for that, but isn't even necessary to do so.
A Cleric can refer to themselves as a Paladin. Who is going to tell them that they aren't?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This boils down to competing ways of playing for which there is no right answer: is class a purely game mechanic way of describing a character, or is it something that is real within the fiction of the game world?
In the game of D&D as written, they are something real within the fiction of the world. If they weren't, they would just be a collection of mechanics with nothing else attached. The rules might then give you ideas of different ways to play certain sets of mechanics.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
This boils down to competing ways of playing for which there is no right answer: is class a purely game mechanic way of describing a character, or is it something that is real within the fiction of the game world?
No it does not. It boils down on some people not drawing a line between game mechanics and fluff.

The smite mechanic is a concept for paladins to dish out damage. You need some spell slots for that.
No one hinders you to put the smite mechanic to another class (crunch) and calling it differently e.g. slam
The latter being pure fluff and probably the xy class of game world z does slam opponents with spellslots akin to what a paladin does but might be different in everything else e.g. cowardly, egoistic, have no principles or measure.

I hope my last example made something clearer
 

Coroc

Adventurer
In the game of D&D as written, they are something real within the fiction of the world. If they weren't, they would just be a collection of mechanics with nothing else attached. The rules might then give you ideas of different ways to play certain sets of mechanics.
Yes, but they are not part of the mechanics but of the fluff. see my post 1 up
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I mean from an immersion point of view what's the difference between a cleric and a paladin if they are members of the same religion? Would any NPC treat them differently if they show up the vanquish the evil controlling their town? Tell declared wants to call himself a paladin for narrative sake who cares.
Depending on the rarity of PC classes, the NPC might not know the difference. That doesn't mean the difference isn't there. As for how they might be treated, that would also be dependent on the NPC in question. Perhaps an Oath of Vengeance paladin killed that NPCs father and he hates paladins. In such a situation, that NPC would indeed treat a paladin savior different than a cleric savior. He might thank the cleric and not the paladin. Give the paladin dark looks, while inviting the cleric into his home for a feast. And so on.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
This boils down to competing ways of playing for which there is no right answer: is class a purely game mechanic way of describing a character, or is it something that is real within the fiction of the game world?
I think this is something of a false dichotomy (how often do you see the word "dichotomy" without the word "false" in front of it? it's like finding an escutcheon without a blotch). Class is mechanical, in that it has mechanical effects within the game, but it also reflects roles in a party and probably roles in a broader culture/society.

Looking more closely, I think you were making roughly the same point.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think that you may be getting confused between what a character refers to themselves as, and the name of their classes on the character's character sheet.
A Rogue can absolutely call themselves a priest of Kord. The Acolyte background is practically made for that, but isn't even necessary to do so.
A Cleric can refer to themselves as a Paladin. Who is going to tell them that they aren't?
I already agreed that you can call yourself whatever you like. As for who is going to tell them that they aren't. Perhaps an NPC who knows the difference between a cleric and paladin and observes the cleric using an ability that paladins don't have, but clerics do.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
In the game of D&D as written, they are something real within the fiction of the world. If they weren't, they would just be a collection of mechanics with nothing else attached. The rules might then give you ideas of different ways to play certain sets of mechanics.
"Different ways to play certain sets of mechanics" is pretty much what everyone has been referring to when they talk about "refluffing" or "reflavouring".
If this is just another case of words meaning different things to different people, then perhaps we should sort it out now. It looks like the last few hours of discussion might simply have been you having a rather heated agreement with several people.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Depending on the rarity of PC classes, the NPC might not know the difference. That doesn't mean the difference isn't there. As for how they might be treated, that would also be dependent on the NPC in question. Perhaps an Oath of Vengeance paladin killed that NPCs father and he hates paladins. In such a situation, that NPC would indeed treat a paladin savior different than a cleric savior. He might thank the cleric and not the paladin. Give the paladin dark looks, while inviting the cleric into his home for a feast. And so on.
Sure, the thing is maybe the paladins are called rose knights in this world.
If the character in question refers to himself to be a paladin the NPC would act like you described. But not because the NPC would analyse the combat or healing skills of the character.
 
Depending on the rarity of PC classes, the NPC might not know the difference. That doesn't mean the difference isn't there. As for how they might be treated, that would also be dependent on the NPC in question. Perhaps an Oath of Vengeance paladin killed that NPCs father and he hates paladins. In such a situation, that NPC would indeed treat a paladin savior different than a cleric savior. He might thank the cleric and not the paladin. Give the paladin dark looks, while inviting the cleric into his home for a feast. And so on.
I mean the PC could have been anything and killed said NPC father for zealous reasons and have the same effect. Would said NPC hate paladin's or hate anyone who calls himself a paladin and is a member of a certain sect.
so said Cleric introduces himself as a paladin the NPC would hate him the same unless the NPC has metaphysical awareness.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The smite mechanic is a concept for paladins to dish out damage. You need some spell slots for that.
No one hinders you to put the smite mechanic to another class (crunch) and calling it differently e.g. slam
The latter being pure fluff and probably the xy class of game world z does slam opponents with spellslots akin to what a paladin does but might be different in everything else e.g. cowardly, egoistic, have no principles or measure.
5e doesn't do that, though. Where more than one class has the same ability, it has the same name. Expertise is Expertise for both bards and rogues. Unarmored movement is the same for both barbarians and monks. Fast movement and unarmored movement, both movement increases, have different names due to having different mechanics.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sure, the thing is maybe the paladins are called rose knights in this world.
If the character in question refers to himself to be a paladin the NPC would act like you described. But not because the NPC would analyse the combat or healing skills of the character.
If you home brew that there are no paladins in a world, but rather that they are called rose knights, then sure. That NPC would treat the rose knight differently than a cleric, since now it's a rose knight that killed his father. And yes, that NPC could tell through analysis the difference between a rose knight and a cleric, assuming the rose knight used lay on hands or another ability unique to rose knights.
 
5e doesn't do that, though. Where more than one class has the same ability, it has the same name. Expertise is Expertise for both bards and rogues. Unarmored movement is the same for both barbarians and monks. Fast movement and unarmored movement, both movement increases, have different names due to having different mechanics.
Actually, mechanics under the same name can be different. Bards can't take thieves tools with expertise, monks can't apply shield to unarmored defense, and such. At the same time extra attack, evasion, and the like have identical text.
There's very little consistency when it comes to editorial style in 5e.
 

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