Classes: More or Less?

It seems that no matter what topic you go to, if the subject of classes are brought up, there seems to be all sorts of opinions. You get the people who think the game should have only 4 classes (Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, Cleric) and everything else is a combination of background and theme. You get the people who want as many classes as possible. And you get all sorts of opinions in between.

So it makes me wonder....what would everyone prefer, and why?

From what I understand, there was a statement somewhere that the goal was to put every class that has ever shown up in an initial PHB in the 5E initial PHB.

So let me ask you this as well: What exactly are all the classes that have ever been in an initial PHB?

From my knowledge of 3.5 and 4E, we'd have the following classes:
Fighter
Wizard
Cleric
Rogue
Barbarian
Bard
Druid
Monk
Paladin
Ranger
Sorcerer
Warlock
Warlord

Are there any classes that were in any other initial PHB that isn't on this list?

Personally, if the list I just created was all of the initial classes, I'd be happy, as it would hit a nice spread of character archetypes.

( And in case you couldn't tell, I'm in the "more classes" camp, but I do believe they shouldn't just make classes for the sake of making new classes. )
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
I'd be perfectly happy if that list was fixed, and only increased by the addition of classes desgined to use entirely novel rules from optional modules (such as psionics). Other things like being a samurai, a ninja, a jaguar warrior, a shi'ar, or a templar should be handled through themes and backgrounds. Most things don't need to be classes, but more than four core classes would be preferable.

Z.
I'd say there ought to be the core four classes and then hybrids of the various core classes, just as was traditional.  As an example, Paladins were unequivocably hybrid Fighter/Clerics initially.  Rangers were Fighter/Rogues (well, ok, they also got Magic User spells).  Bard was a literal combination of classes.

I'd be happy to have a similar system.
Off the top of my head, the only other things I'd rather see as full classes rather than being backgrounds and themes are:

Psion
Artificer
Shaman
Assassin ( This cass is for mystical assassins. Mundane assassins would work as themes. )

But that's just off the top of my head, and I don't think any of those need to be core.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
For reference, here's the complete list of PHB1 classes from every numbered edition.

Assassin (1E)
Barbarian (3E) 
Bard (1E as a a proto-prestige class, 2E, 3E) 
Cleric (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
Druid (1E, 2E as example of Priest of Specific Mythos, 3E)
Fighter (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
Illusionist (1E, 2E as example of Specialists)
Monk (1E, 3E)  
Paladin (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
Ranger (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
Rogue (1E as Thief, 2E as Thief, 3E, 4E)
Sorcerer (3E)
Warlock (4E)
Warlord (4E)    
Wizard (1E as Magic-User, 2E as Mage, 3E, 4E)

Psionics (1E as a set of powers available to all characters)

All around helpful simian

Hmm....so the Assassin was a core class then? Well then, if they can do something to differentiate it from being a rogue build, I'd be happy. My suggestion: the rogue could have some kind of scheme to represent a mundane non-magical assassin, as well as there being a similar theme that any class can have. Then the assassin class can instead be focused on some kind of dark magic using assassin.

Other than that, it seems Illusionist is the only "class" I missed. I think this is one class that a lot of people wouldn't mind being folded into a theme.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
Hmm....so the Assassin was a core class then? Well then, if they can do something to differentiate it from being a rogue build, I'd be happy. My suggestion: the rogue could have some kind of scheme to represent a mundane non-magical assassin, as well as there being a similar theme that any class can have. Then the assassin class can instead be focused on some kind of dark magic using assassin.

Other than that, it seems Illusionist is the only "class" I missed. I think this is one class that a lot of people wouldn't mind being folded into a theme.



I actually see the Assassin as being more of a Ranger build. Then again, I could see all 3 classes being a subclass/theme/whatever of each other if you just flip flop.
Hmm....so the Assassin was a core class then? Well then, if they can do something to differentiate it from being a rogue build, I'd be happy. My suggestion: the rogue could have some kind of scheme to represent a mundane non-magical assassin, as well as there being a similar theme that any class can have. Then the assassin class can instead be focused on some kind of dark magic using assassin.

Other than that, it seems Illusionist is the only "class" I missed. I think this is one class that a lot of people wouldn't mind being folded into a theme.



I actually see the Assassin as being more of a Ranger build. Then again, I could see all 3 classes being a subclass/theme/whatever of each other if you just flip flop.



Well, the way I see it is this:

There would be an "assassin" theme that any class can take. It would probably give you bonuses to stealth, damage bonuses...maybe access to poison use....stuff like that. Mundane, non-magical assassination skills.

On top of that, the rogue in particular could also have an "assassin" scheme, since schemes seem to be a class feature of a rogue. That way, if you want to make a rogue particularly good at killing people, you'd take both the "assassin" scheme and the universal "assassin" theme.

That way if you wanted to make an "assassin" ranger, you could with the theme.

And then focus the Assassin class on being a dark magic using class, something like the 4E D&DI Assassin.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
So long as the core, essential, must-have books have a decent range of actual classes, themes and backgrounds, I especially care what happens after. Now, I realize that's a bit shallow, and disregards the health of the game long term, but it sums it up.
4e has probably gone down the road of "many different classes" more so than any other addition; but the problem with that road is that it tends to have a lot of dead-ends. Look at classes like the Sentinel and the Rune Priest and compare them to the Fighter and Wizard. The Sentinel and Rune Priest just don't get the "love" that the 'core' classes seem to.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but a class gets relegated to the dust bin without the love, because over time it just doesn't have the multitides of feats, power, alternate class abilities, and so on that the other classes get.

From that perspective, I like the idea of having 'core' classes and then expanding on them with 'builds' or 'themes' or what-have-you. Mind you, when you look at the more avant garde classes like Vampire, it makes you wonder which of the fighter-cleric-wizard-rogue core classes that would fit into. I can see it being any of them. Is a bard a type of rogue, or is he a type of wizard?

Class bloat is harmless.
4e has probably gone down the road of "many different classes" more so than any other addition; but the problem with that road is that it tends to have a lot of dead-ends. Look at classes like the Sentinel and the Rune Priest and compare them to the Fighter and Wizard. The Sentinel and Rune Priest just don't get the "love" that the 'core' classes seem to.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but a class gets relegated to the dust bin without the love, because over time it just doesn't have the multitides of feats, power, alternate class abilities, and so on that the other classes get.

From that perspective, I like the idea of having 'core' classes and then expanding on them with 'builds' or 'themes' or what-have-you. Mind you, when you look at the more avant garde classes like Vampire, it makes you wonder which of the fighter-cleric-wizard-rogue core classes that would fit into. I can see it being any of them. Is a bard a type of rogue, or is he a type of wizard?




3e had new classes in practically every splat book. Not saying that 4e didn't overdo it, either. There comes a point where you have to start looking at the existing classes and seeing if the concept doesn't fit there first. Otherwise, you end up with the Runepriest and Seeker.

As long as contrast exists in both basic concept fluff and mechanics between all classes, I'm happy with more. Although I've played it one and a half times, what the hell is a Runepriest? Same goes with Seeker and Warden. To pick on 3.5, are Wu Jen, Shugenja, Samurai, and Knight really necessary? What's a Dragon Shaman? Why do both Hex Blades and Duskblades exist?

I'm sure that people played and loved a lot of these, but really, you could clean things up a bit. When looking at a new class, the process should be like this…

> You read the name of the class, and know what's going on and can tell it's unique.
> OR, you don't know what's going on with it, but it sounds unique. Reading a bit into it, you find out that it is unique.

Vampire, Warlord, and Spelltheif all fall in the first one. You read the name and are like, "I know what this is." Spoilers, you're right.

Shaman, Wilder, and Duskblade fall in the latter one. You think, "what is that?" then you read it and see what's going on. (Wilder less so, if you don't catch that it's as much of a Psion as a Bard is a Wizard.)

What should NOT happen is you read the name, a bit into the class, and still don't really see what separates it from a branch of another class or a hybrid combo. Yes, Ranger and Paladin might fall into that category. Let's make sure they don't now WotC. ;3

Personal opinion...

Regarding assassins, I really like what 4E did with them and the flavor of the Shadow power source in general.  Semi-mystical, almost ninja-like assassins that utilize shadow "magic" differentiate them enough from the rogue that being their own class is justified, in my opinion of course.  ;) 

I think most of the supplemental outliers (vampires, rune priests, spellthieves, etc), can safely be relegated to themes or even backgrounds. 

All around helpful simian

My preferences for how to handle each interspersed
For reference, here's the complete list of PHB1 classes from every numbered edition.

Assassin (1E)
Theme 
Barbarian (3E) 
Theme
Bard (1E as a a proto-prestige class, 2E, 3E) 
Leader class similar to 4e
Cleric (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
Leader class similar to 4e
Druid (1E, 2E as example of Priest of Specific Mythos, 3E)
Leader class 
Fighter (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
Class
Illusionist (1E, 2E as example of Specialists)
theme
Monk (1E, 3E) 
Class 
Paladin (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
theme
Ranger (1E, 2E, 3E, 4E)
theme
Rogue (1E as Thief, 2E as Thief, 3E, 4E)
striker class similar to 4e
Sorcerer (3E)
theme
Warlock (4E)
theme
Warlord (4E)
Leader class similar to 4e    
Wizard (1E as Magic-User, 2E as Mage, 3E, 4E)
class

Psionics (1E as a set of powers available to all characters)
theme (at least for the 1st edition variety - i think there is room for 2nd edition variety psionic classes as well eventually



Obviously some of the "themes" I list above (like illusionist) can only be themes for one class but others (Paladin for instance) might be themes for multiple classes or multiclass combinations.  Also I could see certain of the themes listed above as simpler versions of specific class - Sorcerer for instance being a simpler version of the Arcane casting wizard/mage regular class.

I'm sure I'm not gonna get what I want though as many of the things I want as themes I know will be classes (but PLEASE PLEASE make assassin a theme not a class).




I'm fine with Wizards continuing to put out classes as long as they make all new feats/themes/backgrounds applical to all the classes.

In fact I'd LOVE it if this was the case.  More is better IMO, I just don't want a repeat of 4E's  PHB1 having way more options than the PHB3 classes.  I don't want to see feats that only work for fighter (or any select group of classes) unless they keep it evened out across the classes.- but honestly I'd rather it just be open so anyone can take any feat.

in regards to metamagic stuff- let that be class stuff, I don't really see why we need them as feats anyway... 
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What I WOULD like to see is options for bards to be non-magical.  I know that's been the norm for D&D but I've always played bards and re-skinned abilities to make them non-magical.  

It worries me that they're cast in the wheel between rogues and wizards though.  I don't want a bard who has sneak attack either... but if they could be a rogue scheme (without sneak attack) that would be super cool. 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
Also chemist, steampunk gadgeteer, gunslinger

I don't see these really fitting as themes/sub-classes, and I really want to play one along side the d&d classes without having to play pathfinder 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
While I hate Bards (except the 4e ones), I do see the need to keep them in game. They're too unique of a concept to be anything but their own class.



Seriously, though?:

 
Honestly, if we're paring down the classes to as little as 4, I'd take it a step further and just do 3 classes, combining the Fighter and Rogue, to make a single Badass Normal class, rather than have Fighter as the 'badass in combat' and rogue be the 'badass out of combat'. 

Anyway this question came up on another forum, so I'm just going to copy my answer from there:

Now after all that ranting, going through the core books of 3e and 4e, and picking classes I would definitely want for a base class in a core game of 3.5 I'd say:

Martial:
-Warlord
-Barbarian
-Rogue

Arcane:
-Wizard
-Bard
-Warlock

Divine:
-Cleric
-Druid
-Warlock


Reasoning for this class set up:
-Warlord is the skilled tactitian. A versatile martial class with an emphasis on leadership and tactical abilities. Has access to most martial powers. Basically the Wizard of the Martial Characters. For those who viewed Fighter as a tactically focused character, that concept has been subsumed by this class.

-Barbarian is the raging berserker. For those who have traditionally viewed Fighter as the heavy hitter, that concept is subsumed by the Barbarian. Barbarian has fewer powers relative to the Warlord, but much better self-buffing ability, passively gaining great mobility, damage, and defenses while raging.

-Rogue is the sneaky bastard. His abilities are predatory in nature, locking down and devastating the opponents he singles out. His defenses are highly reactionary. He has low defenses, but many escape style powers that can be activated as a reaction. As an example, a rogue who gets targetted for an attack may be able to resist that attack with a hide check, which if successful negates the attack and hides the rogue until the end of his next turn.

-Wizard is the same old Wizard we've always had. Possible change includes more distinctive specializations. Possibly something like Psionics specializations where only specialists get access to the highest tier of abilities. So if you want Shapechange, you're going to be a transmuter, which means you're losing out on a lot of the best defensive buffs, summons, and other stuff.

-Sorcerer Like in 3.5, this class gets the power of the Wizard, but less variety, and more longevity. Has access to powerful at will blasting, with access to some Wizard spells to supplement its utility (likely still using spontaneous casting mechanic). 

-Bard This class represents the jack of all trades who uses music to make magic. The class would remain close to how it was in 3.5, but with some of the better non-core toys moved into the core class, and likely with Inspire Damage automatically doing something to Dragonfire Inspiration (ie +d6 damage instead of +hit/damage).

-Cleric Loses heavy armor and its medium BAB, and becomes a real back line caster like the Wizard. The Cleric gets the most domains of any divine class. These domains give access to special abilities that align with that domain. Most clerics should be similar in flexibility to a specialist wizard.

-Warlock This one is kind of weird for a lot of people to consider as Divine, but the fluff of the Warlock is that he has made a pact with a greater power for his abilities. That to me screams divine. It could come from a god (good or evil), or a Demon King, but he gains his power from essentially divine beings. The Warlock picks a pact which gives him access to a couple of domains, and a bunch of passive and at will powers as he levels. 

-Druid The druid gains only the Nature Domain, and as such has a very limited source of divine powers relative to the other divine classes, but in exchange gets to keep many of the features he has in 3.5, such as the animal companion and wild shape.



Out of those, the most questionable one was Druid, as I really think that should be doable with Cleric or Warlock easily, but I wanted to keep things symetrical (3 groups of 3), and none of the other core (or even non-core) divine classes fit the bill. In fact, the lack of diversity in divine classes, and the diversity available within the Cleric class, is a large part of why I consider getting rid of divine classes altogether.

The other classes all fit a pretty solid pattern. You have the Flexible/Complex class (Warlord/Wizard/Cleric), the Simple/Strong class (Barbarian/Sorcerer/Warlock), and the jack of all trades class (Rogue/Bard). I just couldn't think of anything divine that fits that same sort of role.

ETA: Paladin, Ranger, and probably others I'm not thinking of offhand were left off because their main role traditionally is to exist as a hybrid class. Paladin is usually a Hybrid of a Fighter and a Cleric, so here it would probably be a Warlord/Cleric Prestige Class/Paragon Path. Same for Ranger wrt Barbarian/Druid or Warlord/Druid. 
Personal opinion...

As Qmark once put it, if you narrow down classes too much you end up with Violence Guy and Magic Guy.  As long as each class is distinct both mechanically and flavorfully, I think there's plenty of room for all the classes from the various PHB1s. 

All around helpful simian

Personal opinion...

As Qmark once put it, if you narrow down classes too much you end up with Violence Guy and Magic Guy.  As long as each class is distinct both mechanically and flavorfully, I think there's plenty of room for all the classes from the various PHB1s. 


I can go with that.

I played City of Heroes for, geez, 6 years? They had 5 Archtypes (aka AT's, basically classes). Each AT had a selection of Primary Power Pools and Secondary Power Pools to choose from. That alone gave the limited number of AT's a tremendous amount of variety. That's before you factor in what someone did and didn't take, Power Pools (optional side powers everyone can take), the ways they used Enhancements (essentially like slotting gems for their powers), etc.

The whole system was reasonably easy to make a competent character in for newbie/mechanically unsavvy players. Min/Maxers got a lot to play with, and could make some really impressive characters. When a new AT came out, it was usually a pretty significant thing, having a very different playstyle just by its defining features, and its own powersets.

It sounds like, at least to me, we might see something similar here. Maybe we won't have a million classes, but we'll have a good amount of classes, plus using the Backgrounds and Themes we'll have a lot of variety/customization. So, when new classes DO come out, they'll be something pretty unique, I think.

edit: Silly me... City of Villains had 5 ATs of their own, plus there's a total of 4 Epic AT's, for a total of 14. Regardless, there's a whole lot you can do in terms of making mechanically interesting/different characters in that game, even though the total number of AT's/classes is relatively low.
While I do agree we need to be careful of class bloat, that doesn't mean I think having only four core classes is a good idea.

In my ideal version of 5E, we would probably have these core classes:

Fighter - master of arms and all around combat specialist.

Wizard - studied master of magic, uses Vancian casting, has access to many different kinds of magic

Cleric - servant of the gods, mixes spontaneous divine casting with decent melee abilities

Rogue - skilled weapon user, sneaky and adaptable.

Barbarian - lightly armoured primal warrior, uses rage to increase strength. May or may not be mystical in nature

Bard - master of the magic of song, emboldens and supports his allies. Also a master of skills

Druid - protector of nature who channels its power. Shapeshifts into animal form and uses nature magic. Should NOT feel like a divine class.

Monk - highly mobile martial artist who enhances his attacks with his ki

Paladin - divine champion who uses divine magic to enhance him combat abilities and protect others

Ranger - skilled hunter and tracker. A warrior at home in the wilderness

Sorcerer - wielder of raw magic, simple blaster-style mage

Warlock - arcane magic user who gains his powers from a pact with a mystical being

Warlord - battlefield commander, good at leading others and increasing their combat effectiveness

Assassin - uses dark magic to stalk, then kill individuals

Then, in later splat books we could have:

Psion - wielder of psionic powers, uses power points to enhance a selection of at-will psychic powers

Artificer - tinkerer and inventor of arcane gadgets. Can enhance weapons and armour, deploy arcane devices that aid allies or hinder foes, and repair broken objects

Shaman - channels the power of spirits, both spirits of the dead and spirits of nature. Pet based class with a spirit companion

Beyond that, I'm not sure. Maybe some kind of psionic warrior as a weapon using psionic classes that enhances his combat prowess with his powers, to contrast with the psion being a psionic caster.

But yeah, other than that, a lot of other things could be rolled into themes and backgrounds. For example, the Oriental Adventures classes really don't need to be separate classes. Samurai can be a theme and a background. Ninja can be a theme and a background....it can also be a rogue scheme for the more mundane ninja as masters of disguise and assassination. As for other classes, Swordmage could probably be folded into a theme, although I'll be honest and say I wouldn't mind a full swordmage class. Favoured Soul could be a background. Illusionist could be a theme, or a specialised wizard build.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
While I do agree we need to be careful of class bloat, that doesn't mean I think having only four core classes is a good idea.

In my ideal version of 5E, we would probably have these core classes:

Fighter - master of arms and all around combat specialist.

Wizard - studied master of magic, uses Vancian casting, has access to many different kinds of magic

Cleric - servant of the gods, mixes spontaneous divine casting with decent melee abilities

Rogue - skilled weapon user, sneaky and adaptable.

Barbarian - lightly armoured primal warrior, uses rage to increase strength. May or may not be mystical in nature

Bard - master of the magic of song, emboldens and supports his allies. Also a master of skills

Druid - protector of nature who channels its power. Shapeshifts into animal form and uses nature magic. Should NOT feel like a divine class.

Monk - highly mobile martial artist who enhances his attacks with his ki

Paladin - divine champion who uses divine magic to enhance him combat abilities and protect others

Ranger - skilled hunter and tracker. A warrior at home in the wilderness

Sorcerer - wielder of raw magic, simple blaster-style mage

Warlock - arcane magic user who gains his powers from a pact with a mystical being

Warlord - battlefield commander, good at leading others and increasing their combat effectiveness

Assassin - uses dark magic to stalk, then kill individuals

Then, in later splat books we could have:

Psion - wielder of psionic powers, uses power points to enhance a selection of at-will psychic powers

Artificer - tinkerer and inventor of arcane gadgets. Can enhance weapons and armour, deploy arcane devices that aid allies or hinder foes, and repair broken objects

Shaman - channels the power of spirits, both spirits of the dead and spirits of nature. Pet based class with a spirit companion

Beyond that, I'm not sure. Maybe some kind of psionic warrior as a weapon using psionic classes that enhances his combat prowess with his powers, to contrast with the psion being a psionic caster.

But yeah, other than that, a lot of other things could be rolled into themes and backgrounds. For example, the Oriental Adventures classes really don't need to be separate classes. Samurai can be a theme and a background. Ninja can be a theme and a background....it can also be a rogue scheme for the more mundane ninja as masters of disguise and assassination. As for other classes, Swordmage could probably be folded into a theme, although I'll be honest and say I wouldn't mind a full swordmage class. Favoured Soul could be a background. Illusionist could be a theme, or a specialised wizard build.



Avenger. I don't like the idea of it as a Paladin theme. It's too thematically different. Besides holy guy with sword, they're completely different concepts. The Avenger is more of a  paladin/assassin/rogue/ranger hybrid. 
I'd say there ought to be the core four classes and then hybrids of the various core classes, just as was traditional.  As an example, Paladins were unequivocably hybrid Fighter/Clerics initially.  Rangers were Fighter/Rogues (well, ok, they also got Magic User spells).  Bard was a literal combination of classes.

I'd be happy to have a similar system.



+1

The soothing light at the end of my 5E tunnel, is just a class train coming my way

The good thing about it, there are two tracks in the tunnel and I will watch the class train go on by.

My table will find undiscovered country!

The wizard tackles obstacles with arcane spells.  I will make it have a scheme as a school or specialization.  It can take any background and any theme. 

The cleric tackles obstacles with divine spells.  Its scheme will be one domain.  It can take any background and any theme. 

The fighter will be the king of the combat round.  Instead of a scheme/school/domain the fighter gets two themes and one background.

The rogue tackles obstacles with skill mastery.  It has a scheme, a background, and theme


I want to build my character concepts from the ground up.  I don't want to be herded toward the legacy koolaid.

"Lord Vader, for every class you make, 10 Backgrounds and 10 Themes will slip through your fingers."






"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey



Avenger. I don't like the idea of it as a Paladin theme. It's too thematically different. Besides holy guy with sword, they're completely different concepts. The Avenger is more of a  paladin/assassin/rogue/ranger hybrid. 



I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I do like the Avenger's concept....maybe rename the class into "Zealot"....or keep the name....I don't think I'd mind.

But on the other hand, I can see it as a lightly armoured cleric with an assassin theme, or alternately a lightly armoured paladin with an assassin theme.
Or to approach it from the other direction, an assassin with a divine theme.


I suppose the Avenger is kind of like the Swordmage for me. While I could see it being folded into a theme, if they did it right and made it distinct, I wouldn't mind it being a class.
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I'd say there ought to be the core four classes and then hybrids of the various core classes, just as was traditional.  As an example, Paladins were unequivocably hybrid Fighter/Clerics initially.  Rangers were Fighter/Rogues (well, ok, they also got Magic User spells).  Bard was a literal combination of classes.

I'd be happy to have a similar system.



+1

The soothing light at the end of my 5E tunnel, is just a class train coming my way

The good thing about it, there are two tracks in the tunnel and I will watch the class train go on by.

My table will find undiscovered country!

The wizard tackles obstacles with arcane spells.  I will make it have a scheme as a school or specialization.  It can take any background and any theme. 

The cleric tackles obstacles with divine spells.  Its scheme will be one domain.  It can take any background and any theme. 

The fighter will be the king of the combat round.  Instead of a scheme/school/domain the fighter gets two themes and one background.

The rogue tackles obstacles with skill mastery.  It has a scheme, a background, and theme


I want to build my character concepts from the ground up.  I don't want to be herded toward the legacy koolaid.

"Lord Vader, for every class you make, 10 Backgrounds and 10 Themes will slip through your fingers."









To each their own, right?

To quote the great Mark Rosewater: "Restrictions breed creativity."

I enjoy looking at a list of multiple classes and figuring out what character concepts I can create within the confines of the system.

I sort of see Race, Class, Background, and Theme as Lego blocks. By swapping them around, I can make all kinds of stuff. Sure, I don't have as much freedom as I would with, say, clay. But part of the fun is the challenge of making meaningful things with just the basic blocks handed to me. And for stuff like that, I'd rather have more blocks than just a few to use over and over again.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
...
...I think most of the supplemental outliers (vampires, rune priests, spellthieves, etc), can safely be relegated to themes or even backgrounds. 

Hoooooooo, concept of spellthief as a theme. I'm gonna have to let that one simmer for a bit. Cleric who does not believe in adding violence to the world, and instead steals violent spells from her enemies and turns them against her foes. Telepath who not only steals mundane knowledge but also incantations existing in a wizards mind. Hmmmmmm…

As for vampire being a theme, depends on how it's set up. If someone wants to pick all their own feats, how is that going to go down with vampire? Although, vampire multiclassing worked(ish) in 4e, and that was only one feat. I guess it could work. (especially since I still don't know the amount of stuff we'll be getting from themes.) I think background would be selling vampire powers a bit short though.

Avenger. I don't like the idea of it as a Paladin theme. It's too thematically different. Besides holy guy with sword, they're completely different concepts. The Avenger is more of a  paladin/assassin/rogue/ranger hybrid. 

Just as an historical note, the original Avenger really was a Paladin equivilent.

A very long time ago in the days of Basic D&D, Fighters got minions and land at level 9. If you didn't want those things, you could instead become one of three classes of "Wandering Fighter" who got extra abilites to make up for the lack of land and lackeys. Those classes were:

Paladin (for Lawful characters)
Knight (for any alignment)
Avenger (for Chaotic characters)

In those days, "Good" and "Evil" were not alignment options.

So the name "Avenger" has been used for more than one distinct style of class over the years. The avenger in those days was an armoured fighter with clerical powers.         

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/12.jpg)

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />To each their own, right?

To quote the great Mark Rosewater: "Restrictions breed creativity."

I enjoy looking at a list of multiple classes and figuring out what character concepts I can create within the confines of the system.

I sort of see Race, Class, Background, and Theme as Lego blocks. By swapping them around, I can make all kinds of stuff. Sure, I don't have as much freedom as I would with, say, clay. But part of the fun is the challenge of making meaningful things with just the basic blocks handed to me. And for stuff like that, I'd rather have more blocks than just a few to use over and over again.



Yup.

If you give 9 people their own bucket of legos and instructions to create a form and 1 person a bag of clay and the same instructions you will probably see 9 forms with maybe some slight variation but with the clay form you scratch your head and wonder, how the heck did they build a lego with clay?

As DM, I wish to create a unit of Rangers that patrol an area on the map.  I divide my unit into two patrols of 4 characters.  They look like this:

Rangers of Iskandaria
Unit one:
Ranger/Soldier/Commander (Commander theme technically doppelgangs a Warlord)
Ranger/Commoner/Slayer
Ranger/Sage/Guardian
Ranger/Priest/Shifter (think, non-spellcasting druid type)

Unit two:
Fighter/Ranger(background)/Commander and Healer (giving fighters two themes)
Rogue(Scheme:Scout)/Ranger/Magic User
Cleric(Domain: Nature)/Ranger/Guardian
Wizard(School: Enchantment)/Ranger/Lurker

Background provides you with 3-4 non combat skill boosts and a feature.  For this example, Ranger is:
Perception +3
Survival+
Ride+3
Handle Animal +3

Background feature: Track

Class provides you with you base of concept. 

Theme guides role play of concept

Effectively I have created two units of Rangers.  If your style of play includes options and diversity, which one do you choose?




"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Avenger. I don't like the idea of it as a Paladin theme. It's too thematically different. Besides holy guy with sword, they're completely different concepts. The Avenger is more of a  paladin/assassin/rogue/ranger hybrid. 

Just as an historical note, the original Avenger really was a Paladin equivilent.

A very long time ago in the days of Basic D&D, Fighters got minions and land at level 9. If you didn't want those things, you could instead become one of three classes of "Wandering Fighter" who got extra abilites to make up for the lack of land and lackeys. Those classes were:

Paladin (for Lawful characters)
Knight (for any alignment)
Avenger (for Chaotic characters)

In those days, "Good" and "Evil" were not alignment options.

So the name "Avenger" has been used for more than one distinct style of class over the years. The avenger in those days was an armoured fighter with clerical powers.         




I'm specifically referring to the 4e Avenger. The lightly armored divine assassin that almost never misses and has absolutely insane mobility. Almost no class has ever been better at getting to the enemy's rear lines and wreaking havoc on the enemy ranged strikers. They're close to my favorite 4e class. It's always a tossup between them, the rogue, and the fighter.
Class bloat is harmful for several reasons:
1.) increased printing costs.
2.) harder time finding the material you actually wanted amongst all the dross
3.) confusion for new players

For reason 3 alone, the core should be very limited in class selection.
Class bloat is harmful for several reasons: 1.) increased printing costs. 2.) harder time finding the material you actually wanted amongst all the dross 3.) confusion for new players For reason 3 alone, the core should be very limited in class selection.


None of which are actually significantly negative, compared to the positive benefits to people who don't think they way you do. 

The third one is a common misconception, people grossly underestimate new players.  Especially people who have been playing for decades.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Throw me in with the "many classes" lot, please.  More classes allow for a wider range of playstyles through more diverse mechanics.  They tend to be less broken then shoving more archetypes into the same classes (since then you end up with more options, and more potential for abusable combinations, within a given class), and they can better represent esoteric archetypes via targeted mechanics then you can by simply trying to staple those mechanics onto the side of a class that was designed to function without them (this is most apparent for pet classes).

Now, the class/background/theme distinction does allow for more concepts to be covered by individual classes naturally, so there are some archetypes that I would have wanted as classes in the past that I don't think would need to be extra classes now, but there are others that still don't fit so well that way.

Anyway, take assassins as an example.  In 4e, there were two assassins, the ossassin, a magical shadow warrior, and the executioner, a more mundane character with poison use and a touch of dark magic flair.

The executioner could work well as a rogue (provided martial types in general get a bit more attack style variety than has been seen so far) with a sneaky skills background, a poison use theme, and a 'shadow magic' advanced theme taken later.

But the Ossassin, I'd want his magic use much more tied into what he does from the beginning, and as such I'd much prefer a class for it.  Though I'd rather it weren't named "assassin", since people think more mundaney roguey when they hear that (part of why ossassin didn't get the love - along with its low power level).  Maybe "shadowblade".

In any event I wouldn't mind more classes anyway, since I'm likely to, say, become bored of the fighter's core mechanics long before I'm bored of the warrior archetype, and a varient module or whatever system for martial arts or different fighting styles with attendant classes to utilize it would be welcome in my book.

Likewise, while 'wizard' and 'cleric' (or even just 'wizard') could theoretically cover any and all spellcasting archetype, I'd like some non-vancian variants for a more streamlined magic user experience.  Likewise, I don't want clerics to be obligatory, and would like alternate healing options in a bard or the like.  And while 'beguiler' might conceptually be very close to 'wizard/rogue', it's about as far from the mechanical results of that blend (a guy who deals sneak attack damage with lazer beams) as you can get.


So my ideal list of PHBI classes in 5e looks like this:

Show
Assassin - part of a martial arts module using discrete named maneuvers and attacks and an encounter based resource management system similar to tombe of battle and a semi-mystical flair.  Some shadowy abilities.  Focus on disorienting/isolating/taking down single targts, supplementing small weapon dice with extra damage and effects from maneuvers.  Poison use not built in, but part of its own theme available to rogues & others as well.

Barbarian - raging as a resource limited mechanic, maybe even different rages with different attacks or abilities they grant.  Bring in some of the 4e flair of not just getting angry, but being possessed by angry spirits (though maybe introduce some fluff of wizards who are skeptical that these 'spirits' are real).

Bard - focused on buffing, with some healing magic.  Weapon using, but weapon abilities left primarily to theme choice.  Non-vancian.
 
Cleric - part of the vancian magic module, included in the PHB, spells focus on healing and buffs with a minor in blowing **** up

Druid - Non-vancian, abilities focus on summoning (temporary duration & requires concentration actions to preserve action economy) and shape changing with a minor in healing

Fighter - Slightly more complex than what we've seen, maybe supplementing the default basic attack with a few weaker but situationally usefull weapon-based special attacks, similar to the executioner assassin in 4e, along with an expanded fighter's surge mechanic to provide some resource management.

Illusionist - renamed "Beguiler" and focuses on more subtle casting, illusion and enchantment effects via general magic abilities.  Non-Vancian version of a wizard with more subtle spells.

Monk - part of a semi-mystical martial arts / maneuvers module along with the assassin.  Like the assassin, supplements small weapon / unarmed fighting with extra damage and effects from maneuvers.  light/enlightenment themed (as opposed to the assasin's darkness theme).  Emphasize turning enemy's strength against them.  Many maneuvers are "counters" that react to an enemy attack, but cost the monk either an action to prepare, or the use of their next action to preserve action economy.

Paladin - Must dedicate to a deity or to a code, but doesn't have to be Lawful Good.  Spiritual companion (special steed or helper spirit) provides aid and guidance.  Physical warrior with buffing and healing abilities, like a cleric, but not vancian.  Basically, the version of the cleric archetype for games not employing the vancian magic module.

Ranger - see the favored enemy thread for some cool ideas here.  Combat styles left more to themes (rather than baking in "you must choose two weapon fighting or archery", you can pick a related theme if you want), class features focus on favored enemy and animal companion.

Rogue - slightly more complex than current - as with the fighter, maybe add executioner-style situational special attacks to varry things up while still leaving just plain old attack as their default option.

Sorcerer - specializes in blowing stuff up, but some utility abilities handled by ad-libbing general magic abilities.  Non-vancian, basically the alternative wizard archetype for games not employing the vancian magic module.

Warlock - goes through another significant re-imagining, becoming a dedicated pet class.  The warlock's pact involves sharing its soul with a foreign spirit.  Depending on the nature of their pact, the warlock manifests the daemonic, undead, or fey spirit's physical form, through which the majority of their attacks and abilities are channeled.  Their remaining abilities take the form of curses, some more nebulous and narrative and DM determined, some specifically deliniated for in combat use.  Rather than direct attacks or hard control conditions, curses are minor effects involving no dice rolling that the warlock applies in addition to their pet attacking.

Warlord - emphasizes the "help" action, able to apply it in addition to taking his normal action a scaling number of times per (day?  encounter?), and can trade the 'advantage' offered by helping for other benefits (such as 'make an attack right now' or 'spend/restore hit dice').  Can also give up actions to grant them at will (if the warlord doesn't move, he can direct an ally to move, if the warlord doesn't attack, he can direct an ally to attack).

Wizard - part of the vancian spellcasting module, specializes in blowing **** up and battleflield control, and utility effects.


The PHB would include two major system modules for characters - vancian casting and martial arts, both of which would be considerably more complicated but not intentionally more powerful than the classes that don't use those system.  In comparison the other classes would be streamlined, and rely more on ad-libbed adjudication by the DM for odd actions, but would still be more involved than the current fighter.  Also, no archetype playable via module class wouldn't also by workable without - ie, with a high dex and an unarmed combat theme a fighter or rogue could still work the monk or assassin concepts without the martial arts module, while a sorcerer or paladin could work the wizard or cleric concepts without vancian casting.
Throw me in with the "many classes" lot, please.  More classes allow for a wider range of playstyles through more diverse mechanics.  They tend to be less broken then shoving more archetypes into the same classes (since then you end up with more options, and more potential for abusable combinations, within a given class), and they can better represent esoteric archetypes via targeted mechanics then you can by simply trying to staple those mechanics onto the side of a class that was designed to function without them (this is most apparent for pet classes).



I'd like to focus on this for a second, particularly the bolded part.

One of the reasons I don't like a theoretical "four base classes only, everything else in a theme or a background or a result of multiclassing" is that a LOT of archetypes are going to be shoved into the fighter. After all, the fighter is already a fairly broad archetype of "weapon using guy."

Under the four class system, the wizard would probably be given access to a "sorcerer" theme, a "warlock" theme, maybe an "artificer" theme, the bard may be folded into the wizard or rogue, and the psion could even wind up folded into the wizard as a theme. Oh, and the swordmage theme, but that would probably either a Wizard/Fighter multiclass, or if its a theme, it would probably be usable by the fighter just as easily.

The cleric....well, the cleric would be the druid, even though I don't want the druid to be a divine caster again. And other than that....well, there's the paladin, but yeah, once again that archetype could be grabbed by the fighter. I suppose we could allow the archetype the Avenger covered, but that would probably also be usable by the fighter or the rogue.

And the rogue would be the hardest one to give exclusive archetypes to. I mean....sure, it could be an assassin, ranger, or swashbuckler, but so could the fighter. He could share the bard with the wizard...maybe get spellthief as well, but that would also probably have some overlap of some kind with the wizard. Ninja would want to be a rogue, but once again there's no reason a fighter can't make a more combat oriented ninja.

So when we reach the fighter, what archetypes can he fit? Well, there's the already discussed swordmage, paladin, assassin, ranger, and swashbuckler. On top of the, he would cover the Barbarian/Beserker, Knight, Archer, Samurai, Monk, etc.

See why I don't like the idea of only four classes? Because for about half the archetypes I would want to play, I'd probably have to go with a fighter.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
Valid point.

And some additional thoughts...

The Rogue has an additional factor and I don't know all the particulars.  But schemes could account for concept perpetuation.  For an assassin, the set up is part of the thrill.  And the Rogue should be king of the set up.  Assasins are mechanics.  No doubt, a ruthless one hit fighter could take that role.

A Cleric of Gaiea(sp), the mother earth domain, would/should be allowed in the druids grove.

Fighter archetypes have to be carefully considered because 5E fighters are the kings of battle actions.  If an archetype can do that better, then who wants to role a king of war when you have the option to be the god of war.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Class bloat is harmful for several reasons:
1.) increased printing costs.
2.) harder time finding the material you actually wanted amongst all the dross
3.) confusion for new players

For reason 3 alone, the core should be very limited in class selection.

It doesn't really matter how many options there are for a class for  new player.  As long as you can describe each class in 1 sentence it's not a big deal.

What becomes a big deal is when you say, "ok you've chosen the assassin class, now, do you want to be part of the red hand guild, the black hand guild, the snake guild, or the fox guild... Ok you picked one, now, which of these 5 powers would you like to use for your default strike?... ok now... etc etc..

If you just say, "Ok, you've picked assassin... now tell me, where did your assassin come from? Was he a commoner, blackmisth, (30 more options).. Ok, now, What type of Fisherman assassin do you want to become, a guardian, shifter, etc.. (30 more options).

I think the second option is much simpler for a new player. As long as they don't have to learn what guilds mean in this game, or what a power is specifically... the  choices aren't too bad. 
Valid point.

And some additional thoughts...

The Rogue has an additional factor and I don't know all the particulars.  But schemes could account for concept perpetuation.  For an assassin, the set up is part of the thrill.  And the Rogue should be king of the set up.  Assasins are mechanics.  No doubt, a ruthless one hit fighter could take that role.

A Cleric of Gaiea(sp), the mother earth domain, would/should be allowed in the druids grove.

Fighter archetypes have to be carefully considered because 5E fighters are the kings of battle actions.  If an archetype can do that better, then who wants to role a king of war when you have the option to be the god of war.



Well, it's like what someone else and I both said: for a mundane assassin that relies entirely on weapon skills, you'd take an assassin theme that any class could take. For the mystical assassin that uses dark shadowy magic, there's an Assassin class. Perhaps the rogue also gets an assassin scheme to help encourage assassin rogues, but it shouldn't be exclusive to them.

I don't mind druids that work together with clerics of nature deities, but I do not want the druid itself to be divine.

*nods head* Fighter archetypes are going to be hard to do right....if for no other reason than the fact that the vague archetype of "weapon user guy" that the fighter already covers is so broad it can include dozens of archetypes.
D&D Experience Level: Relatively new First Edition: 4th Known Editions: 4th, 3.5 --- Magic Experience Level: Fairly skilled First Expansion: 7th Edition Play Style: Very Casual
Class bloat is harmful for several reasons:
1.) increased printing costs.
2.) harder time finding the material you actually wanted amongst all the dross
3.) confusion for new players

That's how they sell more books.
It's also a decent barometer for gauging when any given edition is on its last days.  Chronomancer, really?

I would buy a phb that just had the core four.  And then buy a book with legacy classes called..."Children of the Core"

Laughing

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey