Very odd request: Less design transparancy

While it is fun to get behind the scenes to understand what goes on behind the curtain, sometimes it's easier and better to ignore the man back there.

I'm talking about roles. Controller, striker and so on.

A huge hurdle for me when using the Character builder is the first thing asked is what role I want to play. Most people don't think in terms of "Leader" or "Controller". Especially new players. We come to the table expecting to play a barbarian like Conan. Or a Wizard like Merlin or Gandalf. We think of characters in terms of Elves, and Dwarves. I'm not interested in roles. I want to play a character, not a job. (It drives me nuts enough when playing online games some punk tries to tell my how I'm supposed to play my paladin. "You're supposed to HEAL".)

We think of Dragons and orcs, not so much as "solo" "elite" or "minion"

The next version of D&D should be much less "technical", for new players and old.
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Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
The curtain is going to have to be pulled back for two reasons. 1) It appears that this is going to be a community-driven creation. This is a good thing because in the past, the makers of D&D have made too many mistakes that a larger community could have pointed out well ahead of time. Dozens of significant errors were found in both the 3e and 4e PHBs on their first days. Greater transparency helps us help them help us all.

2) Whether the creators like it or not, individual gaming groups WILL muck about with the rules. Transparency will help them do this more smoothly without botching the core math and concepts.

As far as your more specific concerns about the roles. I think that those were brought about because the game was trying to emulate WoW. As such, those roles were specific and required. A "balanced party of 4 or 5" was necessary to play the game "correctly". The new 5e that this community seems to be envisioning will NOT be like that. We seem to be agreeing that D&D should be playable, at least partially, with any number of people under almost any configuration. So, a party of 4 fighters might actually be viable, even if they don't have variety.
I disagree. I think most experienced players saw behind the curtain and pulled it back for the new players anyway. If no one coordinated their roles, you ended up with a party that had no healers (which was far more disastrous in older editions). If no one tells the new DM what monsters are meant to stand on their own, the new DM puts a dracolich and five death knights in a room waiting to ambush the party.

Also, as Griffin points out, transparency makes it easier for homebrewers and third party publishers when designing new content. It also helps DMs make decisions when the rules are vague if they understand the intent behind the rules.

The "technical" aspect of the rules certainly isn't a joy to read, but it is every bit as important to understand as how to resolve an attack roll or what skill relates to what types of actions.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Ah, yes. Thank you bone_naga. I'll put that up as #3. It is impossible for any game to cover all possible scenerios. Almost all systems, at some point, say "Ask your GM for his ruling on this issue". A good GM will have a good enough grasp of the underworkings of the rules that he'll be able to make consistant and balanced judgements.
I think this is correct in terms of PC roles, A rogue should be sneaky, and stabby (or coshy, or shooty depending on weapon choice), and sly, but that could come across as striker (backstabbing), controller (caltrops, hamstringing, traps), or leader (distracting enemies to allow their allies to attack), or some combination of all 3, they shouldn't be pigeon holed.

On the DM side of the screen though, all the monster design choices should be presented. If this monster is designed with these skills to be effective acting like this, the DM should be told that. They should DEFINITELY be told if it's minion, standard, elite or solo, to make balancing encounters easier (though the standard at-level encounter should be harder than it was in 4e), the suggested purpose and intent of each terrain feature, dungeon design, and trap should be stated. DMs will be free to adjust this however they want, to use things outof place as much as possible, but should know what the elements were designed to do so that they can be quickly thrown together if needed (to reduce prep time, or for the inevitable mid-session off the rails encounters)
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
Tedium, what you seem to be arguing for is not "less transparency" but "greater class flexibility". Under 4e, a cleric IS a leader role, and it's generally not a good idea to make one that's trying to be something else. In 4e, a player does need to know the role.

What you're suggesting is a system wherein a "role" is determined by build, not class. Even under this system, a "behind the curtains" sidebar would still be a good place to mention the importance of designing your character with a "role" in mind. It has been well established that an adventuring party fares far better with a healer than one without. Having a "tank" that can absorb damage, while the "striker" takes pot shots is still a good tactic, whether or not you're forced into those roles by class choice.
I would rather be able to ask a player new to RPGs "What type of person do you see your character being?" rather than one type of role do you want to play? I think a sidebar for players about roles would be fine for those players who want more info and a more in depth discussion for DMs. I don't want a player new to RPGs thinking of his character as a striker or a tank; I'd rather they think of his character being like Legolas or Conan.

The rules should fade away for players who don't care and the rules should be accessible and "pull-apart-able" to those players who want to home in and understand and modify/add to them better.
While it is fun to get behind the scenes to understand what goes on behind the curtain, sometimes it's easier and better to ignore the man back there.

I'm talking about roles. Controller, striker and so on.

A huge hurdle for me when using the Character builder is the first thing asked is what role I want to play. Most people don't think in terms of "Leader" or "Controller". Especially new players. We come to the table expecting to play a barbarian like Conan. Or a Wizard like Merlin or Gandalf. We think of characters in terms of Elves, and Dwarves. I'm not interested in roles. I want to play a character, not a job. (It drives me nuts enough when playing online games some punk tries to tell my how I'm supposed to play my paladin. "You're supposed to HEAL".)

We think of Dragons and orcs, not so much as "solo" "elite" or "minion"

The next version of D&D should be much less "technical", for new players and old.


Believe it or not, I completely and utterly agree. I think balence is the main goal of 4e, and that ends up leeching much of the fun.
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While it is fun to get behind the scenes to understand what goes on behind the curtain, sometimes it's easier and better to ignore the man back there.

I'm talking about roles. Controller, striker and so on.

A huge hurdle for me when using the Character builder is the first thing asked is what role I want to play. Most people don't think in terms of "Leader" or "Controller". Especially new players. We come to the table expecting to play a barbarian like Conan. Or a Wizard like Merlin or Gandalf. We think of characters in terms of Elves, and Dwarves. I'm not interested in roles. I want to play a character, not a job. (It drives me nuts enough when playing online games some punk tries to tell my how I'm supposed to play my paladin. "You're supposed to HEAL".)

We think of Dragons and orcs, not so much as "solo" "elite" or "minion"

The next version of D&D should be much less "technical", for new players and old.


Believe it or not, I completely and utterly agree. I think balence is the main goal of 4e, and that ends up leeching much of the fun.
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I get the request of the OP. From the start you are asked to meta game and it can be hard to get out of the role of player and into the role of character. People will do what they are comfortable with and that might not be what others call role playing. Be flexible, have fun and don't be a d**k.
Character roles existed for one thing only: to let people know how the class was expected to behave in combat.  You know what's an even better way of accomplishing that?  Tell the players how class is supposed to behave in combat... and then design the class so it actually works that way.

We didn't need four boxes of roles.  We just need to ensure that no class can do more than one team-member share of the work in combat. 

I don't need to know that warlords and clerics are both leaders because they do things so differently.  I do need to know that clerical powers tend to protect their allies with blessings that heal, boost defenses, or sometimes improve attacks.  I need to know that warlord powers grant allies extra attacks or reposition them around the battlefield.  That way I know what to expect.  And I can check with my friends to see if that will be useful to the roles they plan on facing.

Combat role was a great first step.  But while somewhat useful, it wasn't quite as specific as it needed to be.  Now that designers have a better handle on what a good class role is, we don't need the labels.  We just need a one line description.
While it is fun to get behind the scenes to understand what goes on behind the curtain, sometimes it's easier and better to ignore the man back there.

I'm talking about roles. Controller, striker and so on.

A huge hurdle for me when using the Character builder is the first thing asked is what role I want to play. Most people don't think in terms of "Leader" or "Controller". Especially new players. We come to the table expecting to play a barbarian like Conan. Or a Wizard like Merlin or Gandalf. We think of characters in terms of Elves, and Dwarves. I'm not interested in roles. I want to play a character, not a job. (It drives me nuts enough when playing online games some punk tries to tell my how I'm supposed to play my paladin. "You're supposed to HEAL".)

We think of Dragons and orcs, not so much as "solo" "elite" or "minion"

The next version of D&D should be much less "technical", for new players and old.



I'm with you 100%, homie.  I hope they listen.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

While it is fun to get behind the scenes to understand what goes on behind the curtain, sometimes it's easier and better to ignore the man back there.

I'm talking about roles. Controller, striker and so on.

A huge hurdle for me when using the Character builder is the first thing asked is what role I want to play. Most people don't think in terms of "Leader" or "Controller". Especially new players. We come to the table expecting to play a barbarian like Conan. Or a Wizard like Merlin or Gandalf. We think of characters in terms of Elves, and Dwarves. I'm not interested in roles. I want to play a character, not a job. (It drives me nuts enough when playing online games some punk tries to tell my how I'm supposed to play my paladin. "You're supposed to HEAL".)

We think of Dragons and orcs, not so much as "solo" "elite" or "minion"

The next version of D&D should be much less "technical", for new players and old.


Totally agree, 100%.

I want to roleplay a person, not get shunted into a narrow, highly defined role per 4E.

My role should be what I decide to do in a given situation, as I roleplay what seems to be the best action of the moment.

I utterly loathe situations when some other player tells me I "should be doing X Y or Z" like I'm locked into some MMO class spec.  If I wanted to play an MMO class spec, and poke my keyboard in a specified rotation like a bot, I'd be playing an MMO!


I disagree. Explicitly mentioning class combat roles is a handy thing; I seem to recall people being quite happy when WotC started mentioning secondary roles. It's like alignment, a one-word descriptor that tells you a lot about what to expect.

I seem to recall in Arcana Evolved a page was devoted to 'character archetypes' for people new to the system; it might be a handy idea for 5e. "You want to play an archer? These classes and feat combinations make good archers. You want to play a swashbuckler? Try these classes and feats." So on and so forth.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Meh, giving people the idea that X is supposed to do Y kills an important part of the game, IMO: individuality within character concepts.  When I last played D&D, my character was a Hybrid WizLord.  A combination of Controller and Leader.  Guess how I designed and played her.  Yup, a Striker.  And she was better at it than many Strikers, too.  Anyhoo, were I not playing with people I knew for over twenty years at the most and over ten at the least, I may have encountered some issues with this because it'd be easy to perceive my character as something I never intended her to be - and to feel like I was stepping on toes, too.  That's just not good for the game.  And if a description fails to describe, it's a waste of time. 
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I agree with the OP that much transparency - specifically class roles - was pushing a bit far. 
I'm not saying they shouldn't exist, they should, but I think we don't need to see the exact functions a class must perform. That information can be very constraining for players.

In my opinion, just like before, encounters, monsters and classes should be designed so that each acts differently and has a different function to perform in the group. But you don't need to specifically tell us. Let us fight the monsters to find out what is the fight going to be like. Let us try out the classes and make our opinions on what they do best. In this way, we wouldn't see a group of 5 strikers and 1 leader coming at us. We would see 5 incoming kobolds with a chieftain. We'd have to fight and adapt both to our enemies and to our peers.

So: yes for class roles and a solid design! No for telling us what the system wants us to do.
Character roles existed for one thing only: to let people know how the class was expected to behave in combat.  You know what's an even better way of accomplishing that?  Tell the players how class is supposed to behave in combat... and then design the class so it actually works that way.

We didn't need four boxes of roles.  We just need to ensure that no class can do more than one team-member share of the work in combat. 

I don't need to know that warlords and clerics are both leaders because they do things so differently.  I do need to know that clerical powers tend to protect their allies with blessings that heal, boost defenses, or sometimes improve attacks.  I need to know that warlord powers grant allies extra attacks or reposition them around the battlefield.  That way I know what to expect.  And I can check with my friends to see if that will be useful to the roles they plan on facing.

Combat role was a great first step.  But while somewhat useful, it wasn't quite as specific as it needed to be.  Now that designers have a better handle on what a good class role is, we don't need the labels.  We just need a one line description.

That works too. I don't care how they explain it, whether it's a generic one-word description or a text block describing the intent of the class, just so long as players aren't supposed to guess anymore or rely on the veterans to bring the noobs up to speed.

Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
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