I love the enforced flavor

While the thread title is meant to be a bit inflammatory, I don't mean for my post to be. I'm actually and honestly curious where the hatred for "enforced flavor" has come from. I started playing D&D during 3rd Edition (I played a few 2E video games, mostly the Infinity Engine games), and to me most, if not all, of the classes had implied flavor. It was part of what made the default setting of D&D ... well ... D&D. Paladins were paladins, rangers were rangers, monks were monks ... It allowed players to speak a common language. When the flavor didn't work, you either made a variant class (urban ranger) or an alternate class (the Oriental Adventures classes). The flavor of the Paladin didn't work for my setting, so we created the Templar (swapped out lay on hands and turn undead for domains, made lay on hands the healing domain feature and turn undead the sun domain feature).

I'd like to know, civilly, why some people don't like baked in flavor. It seems like an automatic part of a class based system to me.
I think a default flavor is acceptable so long as there are alternatives. For example, take the cleric. You can have the god-worshipper, the meditating mystic, the person who believes so strongly in some ideal or code they get power from it.

For the warlock, you can have the crazy person who seems to be possessed by alien entities or the shaman who speaks to and makes deals with spirits for the good of the tribe.

The problem comes when people think the way they like to play a class is the only good way to do so.

Now, for stuff like flavor in power descriptions, it's fine so long as we know what is pure fluff and what is an expected part of the mechanics. Take the wart on the warlock's face. Is this something meant to signal to onlookers that the warlock is a warlock? Or is it just some random bit of flavor that could be replaced with the warlock getting a tingly feeling in his skin but no one noticing anything different about him.

Someone suggested having fluff in italics and actual mechanics in plaintext. This makes sense to me. It also keeps it clear that reactions to a class are not used as a way to balance mechanics.
I don't like baked in flavor because I often think outside the "box" when creating a character. I do not often play regular archetypes. I need a system that allows me the freedom to create the character I want they way I see them. This often clashes with many mechanics of the system, especially if the fluff is tied to the crunch.

An example: in 4e I wanted to play a human warrior who was taken by wizards and used for a bizarre experiment where they bound a powerful storm elemental to his body. The aspects of this character that I wanted to come trough was the ability to channel electrics through his weapon at-will, the ability to create blasts of thunder lightning and wind, and the ability to fly at later levels. I wanted all of this without the need of magic items. I also wanted him to be based on physical combat an physical attributes as he is not a spellcaster by any means. I created this character using the battle mind in 4e, using the storm genasi race, and choosing powers that did lightning damage or sent does flying across the battlefield (refluffed as powerful winds). I reflavoured midspike to storms pike, and all my teleportation to moving as fast as lightning. It worked great and really encapsulated the concept I wanted. If I used the traditional battle mind psychic warrior fluff it would not have worked.
I can handle flavorful class or spell descriptions (whatnot).  It's something I am able to recognize as uniquely 'D&D' (rather than some other generic fantasy).

For instance, I'm willing to accept things like the fact that wizards in D&D prepare spells ahead of time.  Yeah, I actually like Vancian casting ;).  Not so much because I think it's the best magic system ever devised for a fantasy RPG (it's not, I admit that).  Mostly, it's just because it feels like D&D magic should for me.  Elminster doesn't rely on mana to cast spells; Gandalf, I dunno? ;)

If there were no assumption made in the description and flavor of the game, D&D wouldn't be nearly as compelling for me.  I'd have little interest in exploring the worlds of others, or imgagining my own.  I mean saying a dwarf gets +1 to Constitution is much less interesting than describing how he can drink like a warhorse.  Gotta have flava ;).

Some folks might prefer a super-generic approach but not me.  I much prefer a D&D Universe to making it all up myself.  I'm in no way tied to flavor though; I've always felt free to homebrew, never felt that fluff was enforced or baked-in.  I'll use flavor as written, tweak it, even make up my own sometimes.  Just depends on what I need (not necessarily what's in the books).  One way or the other, I can handle flavor; long as I gots it, I'm a happy cat.
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I've never been much of a fan of enforced flavor, especially when it's weird ass concepts that dont' have much backing in established settings. Like the weird dragon sorcerer that turns into a dragon when he's out of spells. We've never even seen this archetype before in D&D novels or worlds. How would this thing be a core class? I guess I'm just a conservative type player, where I like to see the basics in the game, and not these weird high magic things. I really don't want people turning into dragons at level 1 unless that's something special with the setting. 

I've just never been a fan of forcing new races and classes onto worlds where they don't belong. Warforged are fine in Eberron, but I don't want to see them in every world. Same thing with classes. There's plenty of established classes that can be written, why waste time with these odd fringe classes that don't fit in established worlds? 
I like the Dragon Sorceror to a very great degree but I will be using its transformation as a purely metaphysical one.

In general I dont feel nailed down by flavor  
 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


Now, for stuff like flavor in power descriptions, it's fine so long as we know what is pure fluff and what is an expected part of the mechanics. Take the wart on the warlock's face. Is this something meant to signal to onlookers that the warlock is a warlock? Or is it just some random bit of flavor that could be replaced with the warlock getting a tingly feeling in his skin but no one noticing anything different about him.

Someone suggested having fluff in italics and actual mechanics in plaintext. This makes sense to me. It also keeps it clear that reactions to a class are not used as a way to balance mechanics.



I think you have a good point here. If the text read:

"Additionally, each day, after you have spent 3 willpower, your hands become claw-like and your body grows more imposing. Until you complete a long rest, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage rolls of your melee attack."
 
Then all it would be is a gishy ability with some suggested flavor text.

 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I love the design on the two new classes, but I hate the liberties they're taking with the flavor. Things like the warlock drawbacks and the sorcerer transforming should be fully up the the person playing the character. The DM has full control over the setting, why can't players have full control over their characters?

I much prefer the way 4e handled things like this, the game provided you with the mechanics and you came up with the specifics regarding flavor.
We need to keep in mind the broad range of players who will hopefully be making use of these classes. Some will be veterans, some will be novices; some have a specific out of the box concept in mind like Lawolf, others are looking for inspiration. 

I know myself that I looked at the Fae Pact Warlock and really responded to the flavor and came up with a character concept (thief unknowingly steals from Fae Lady, Fae Lady takes his soul in recompense, he has a year and a day to get it back) that I wouldn't have gotten without the enforced flavor of Warlocks as bound to compacts with otherworldly, inhuman entities. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The warlock never really made sense to me either. I mean I can see it working in some worlds where you can't freely learn arcane or divine magic and selling your soul to Asmodeus or the Fey Queen was your only option to magical power, but in a world where you can just worship a just and good god and get the power you want (without the eternal damnation), it seems kind of odd that anyone would choose the path where they sell their soul. Becasue really, being a warlock doesn't make you any stronger than you'd be if you were a wizard or cleric.
 


The warlock never really made sense to me either. I mean I can see it working in some worlds where you can't freely learn arcane or divine magic and selling your soul to Asmodeus or the Fey Queen was your only option to magical power, but in a world where you can just worship a just and good god and get the power you want (without the eternal damnation), it seems kind of odd that anyone would choose the path where they sell their soul. Becasue really, being a warlock doesn't make you any stronger than you'd be if you were a wizard or cleric.



This is why I prefer the warlock who makes pacts as a tribal shaman or [a warlock who makes pacts] with ancestors of their lineage. Elves could bond with fey as part of their culture and connection to Feywild.
While I am in general against flavor text that moves into too specific directions, as it cuts off territory to make things your own, I specifically do not want flavor text in a playtest. We need to focus on what are rules, and when you confuse what is rules with what is not rules, than you can't truely test a game product.

After we know that rules work, go ahead and fluff them out all you want. I'll object and care, but it won't be important at that point. The rules themselves are more important, and filling the Play Test Materials with fluff distracts from what we, the playtesters, should be doing. It's the whole reason that I am in a debate over if text that is in the body is really rules or not.
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I love the design on the two new classes, but I hate the liberties they're taking with the flavor. Things like the warlock drawbacks and the sorcerer transforming should be fully up the the person playing the character. The DM has full control over the setting, why can't players have full control over their characters?

I much prefer the way 4e handled things like this, the game provided you with the mechanics and you came up with the specifics regarding flavor.

Please realize that there will be players that *want* these features, like the compulsions and the transformations. I, in particular, love the idea of the transforming sorcerer to bits, but feel that it will have negative impact on some games.

It's okay that some things be out of the players control. There are many games that are built on that principle. However, when things are to be out of your control, you need more concrete rules for how to rule these situations. The rules, in this case, need to be fleshed out more.
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The warlock never really made sense to me either. I mean I can see it working in some worlds where you can't freely learn arcane or divine magic and selling your soul to Asmodeus or the Fey Queen was your only option to magical power, but in a world where you can just worship a just and good god and get the power you want (without the eternal damnation), it seems kind of odd that anyone would choose the path where they sell their soul. Becasue really, being a warlock doesn't make you any stronger than you'd be if you were a wizard or cleric.



Wizardry takes decades of literate study. Study that doesn't come with a paycheck. Study that usually involves either formal schools or master/apprenticeships.

In pretty much all fantasy settings that have premodern levels of technology, the vast majority of the population are going to be farmers who have to work to live, literacy levels aren't going to be great, and you're going to have substantial inequalities of wealth and income. What kind of people do you think have the time and money and access to get their hands on wizarding tomes, or an apprenticeship with a wizard, or admission to a school of magic, and what kind of people don't?

As for religion, well, as the Cleric class description says "In dreams and visions, you have glimpsed the sacred light of celestial realms. Overcome by the glory you witnessed, you pledged yourself to a higher power. In return, something in your soul quickened, awakening a magical blessing within you. You have been chosen as an agent of divine will in the mortal world." (emphasis mine) It's not as easy as walking into a temple and signing up with the diety of your choice - a higher power is choosing who gets the power, and it comes at a cost; not everyone is up to the standards of the celestial realms and not everyone is ready to surrender their agency to the powers that be.

So if you're a peasant who desperately doesn't want to be a peasant, and you're looking around at a world where a bunch of rich aristos get to sit on piles of books all day and get handed ultimate power as a consequence, and if the gods haven't answered your prayers for a little power of your own, you might just think about if there's a shortcut to power that's open to everyone who's willing to pay the price...
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
I like the Dragon Sorceror to a very great degree but I will be using its transformation as a purely metaphysical one.

In general I dont feel nailed down by flavor  
 


Which is the way flavor should be; in fact, that's why its called flavor.

So if you're a peasant who desperately doesn't want to be a peasant, and you're looking around at a world where a bunch of rich aristos get to sit on piles of books all day and get handed ultimate power as a consequence, and if the gods haven't answered your prayers for a little power of your own, you might just think about if there's a shortcut to power that's open to everyone who's willing to pay the price...



While one can say that money might be an issue, I still wonder why the tomes to make a pact with Asmodeus are more available than say joining a wizard school.

I could see maybe if warlocks wren't dependent on ability scores, where the warlock path was something you got sold if you weren't particularly strong, smart, willful or charismatic, but it's just as dependent on you being extraordinary as any other path.

The only time it really makes sense is if the dark powers actively seek you out. This is fine for worlds like Ravenloft, where there's some semi-omniscient darkness that can find you and wants to corrupt you, but I doubt Asmodeus or powerful Fey are going to go out of thier way to track down some level 1 commoner.
The warlock never really made sense to me either. I mean I can see it working in some worlds where you can't freely learn arcane or divine magic and selling your soul to Asmodeus or the Fey Queen was your only option to magical power, but in a world where you can just worship a just and good god and get the power you want (without the eternal damnation), it seems kind of odd that anyone would choose the path where they sell their soul. Becasue really, being a warlock doesn't make you any stronger than you'd be if you were a wizard or cleric.
 




People who believe in God and Satan choose to follow Satan.

People want to feel that they are doing things their own way, so they choose a way that differs from the norm, or the most typical, or the way they feel is the most restrictive. Its really just a matter of opinion. 
I love the design on the two new classes, but I hate the liberties they're taking with the flavor. Things like the warlock drawbacks and the sorcerer transforming should be fully up the the person playing the character. The DM has full control over the setting, why can't players have full control over their characters?

I much prefer the way 4e handled things like this, the game provided you with the mechanics and you came up with the specifics regarding flavor.

Please realize that there will be players that *want* these features, like the compulsions and the transformations. I, in particular, love the idea of the transforming sorcerer to bits, but feel that it will have negative impact on some games.

It's okay that some things be out of the players control. There are many games that are built on that principle. However, when things are to be out of your control, you need more concrete rules for how to rule these situations. The rules, in this case, need to be fleshed out more.




Then they should be an opt-in option for those specific people who like that sort of thing. D&D is a game that laudes itself on its ability to allow you to create the character you want to play. I don't need WotC to make characterization choices for me.

And as for the transformations, since when has that ever been an iconic aspect of the sorcerer? I've never read a D&D novel where sorcerers are essentially lycanthropes.

So if you're a peasant who desperately doesn't want to be a peasant, and you're looking around at a world where a bunch of rich aristos get to sit on piles of books all day and get handed ultimate power as a consequence, and if the gods haven't answered your prayers for a little power of your own, you might just think about if there's a shortcut to power that's open to everyone who's willing to pay the price...



While one can say that money might be an issue, I still wonder why the tomes to make a pact with Asmodeus are more available than say joining a wizard school.

I could see maybe if warlocks wren't dependent on ability scores, where the warlock path was something you got sold if you weren't particularly strong, smart, willful or charismatic, but it's just as dependent on you being extraordinary as any other path.

The only time it really makes sense is if the dark powers actively seek you out. This is fine for worlds like Ravenloft, where there's some semi-omniscient darkness that can find you and wants to corrupt you, but I doubt Asmodeus or powerful Fey are going to go out of thier way to track down some level 1 commoner.



Because Asmodeus has cults copying and distributing promotional material?

The alternative is that you have no money and have stolen some forbidden books.

The way I see it, the dark powers put out tendrils for people to pick up - more efficient. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Interesting that in order to think "outside the box" there needs to be a "box".

More experienced players will have their own vision of what sorcerers are and what warlocks are. They're the ones not in favour of the baked in flavour (yes, I am rapping).

Others will be looking for hooks, or exploring what might become D&D canon.

About warts on noses: We're looking at levels 1-5. Consider the possibilities. Perhaps the warlock attains so much power that the DM writes an arc of him taking all of the oak goddess' powers for himself, essentially becoming that god. Now that would be cool.

Baked in flavour will provide inspiration for many.

The feedback for the devs here is for them to provide guidance on how to separate the baked in flavour from the hard-coded rules while remaining consistent and "legitimate".
It was part of what made the default setting of D&D ... well ... D&D.

And a lot of us thing that the default setting of D&D is terrible and would prefer that D&D do what it actually promises by allowing us to craft our own fantasy stories and not just the kinds of fantasy stories that the developers think are cool. D&D is supposed to be flexible enough to play everything from Dark Sun to Eberron and beyond, and because different settings can be massively different from one another, having flavor enforced that is too narrow in what it can represent mechanically leads to problems with role-playing and world-building for settings unlike what the developers have designated the default.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
And a lot of us thing that the default setting of D&D is terrible and would prefer that D&D do what it actually promises by allowing us to craft our own fantasy stories and not just the kinds of fantasy stories that the developers think are cool. D&D is supposed to be flexible enough to play everything from Dark Sun to Eberron and beyond, and because different settings can be massively different from one another, having flavor enforced that is too narrow in what it can represent mechanically leads to problems with role-playing and world-building for settings unlike what the developers have designated the default.



Dark Sun in 4e broke so many assumptions from the start. I don't think any system of rules is safe from that degree of change without being very generic.

What bothered me about Dark Sun was that although arcane magic was taboo, there was nothing wrong with psionics, primal magic, fey magic, even divine magic if you can find it ... those are MAGIC enough for me!

The devs are writing DDN classes with Forgotton Realms first in mind. I guess they will be sanity checking it against other settings down the road, but who's to know...
While the thread title is meant to be a bit inflammatory, I don't mean for my post to be. I'm actually and honestly curious where the hatred for "enforced flavor" has come from. I started playing D&D during 3rd Edition (I played a few 2E video games, mostly the Infinity Engine games), and to me most, if not all, of the classes had implied flavor. It was part of what made the default setting of D&D ... well ... D&D. Paladins were paladins, rangers were rangers, monks were monks ... It allowed players to speak a common language. When the flavor didn't work, you either made a variant class (urban ranger) or an alternate class (the Oriental Adventures classes). The flavor of the Paladin didn't work for my setting, so we created the Templar (swapped out lay on hands and turn undead for domains, made lay on hands the healing domain feature and turn undead the sun domain feature).

I'd like to know, civilly, why some people don't like baked in flavor. It seems like an automatic part of a class based system to me.



There is nothing wrong with flavour for each class.

What is wrong is with base-splitting elements like Vancian magic being made an unalterable aspect of core classes like Wizard without any option being offered for alternatives.

This makes the baked-in mechanics of the Sorcerer and Warlock a problem because the answer the designer has given to those wanting a Spell Point or AEDU Wizard has been "play one of those other classes".

The result is opposition to baked-in flavour for the classes, because this makes swapping in a Sorcerer (for example) in place of a Wizard difficult.  All those mechanical class elements mean the Sorcerer looks, plays and (most importantly) FEELS very different from a Wizard.

Which is fine... except when you want to play a Spell Point Wizard.

Then Sorcerer fails utterly.

So, as I said, the problem isn't really the baked-in class flavour.

The problem is the lack of modularity for casting systems.               

hello all. i am a huge fan of class concepts i we call the way back in the day. the notion of focred flavor  is and should not be an issue, why all rules are guide lines in evry edition of the game and has been repeted over and over . do not let the fluff of the class dictate you cahracters acutal roll in any campaign. i hope you all know when everthing is said and done i have no doubt the way next is turning out there are gonna be a number of classes to keep everyone happy. i have to agree with the original post a paladin is a paladin a cleric a cleric but i also play in a DARK SUN purest campaing so no warlocks by gods (there are no gods ) while i enjoyed alot of 4th edition its was nice to see mmy beloved setting get an update but we had to change so much echanics had to be tweeked flavor totally rewritten and it was ok we play in a realm of imagination as long as there are clear guide line to follow there nevr is and never has been forced flavor at least in none of the games i ran.. there were def. limitation due to campaign specifics... no warlocks , no socerers, def no palidins but that was ok becasue as a gaming group if a player wanted to think out the box and came up with an idea that we could work with we did. oh did i mention no warlocks. 
I can handle flavorful class or spell descriptions (whatnot).  It's something I am able to recognize as uniquely 'D&D' (rather than some other generic fantasy).

For instance, I'm willing to accept things like the fact that wizards in D&D prepare spells ahead of time.  Yeah, I actually like Vancian casting ;).  Not so much because I think it's the best magic system ever devised for a fantasy RPG (it's not, I admit that).  Mostly, it's just because it feels like D&D magic should for me.  Elminster doesn't rely on mana to cast spells; Gandalf, I dunno? ;)

If there were no assumption made in the description and flavor of the game, D&D wouldn't be nearly as compelling for me.  I'd have little interest in exploring the worlds of others, or imgagining my own.  I mean saying a dwarf gets +1 to Constitution is much less interesting than describing how he can drink like a warhorse.  Gotta have flava ;).

Some folks might prefer a super-generic approach but not me.  I much prefer a D&D Universe to making it all up myself.  I'm in no way tied to flavor though; I've always felt free to homebrew, never felt that fluff was enforced or baked-in.  I'll use flavor as written, tweak it, even make up my own sometimes.  Just depends on what I need (not necessarily what's in the books).  One way or the other, I can handle flavor; long as I gots it, I'm a happy cat.



This is exactly how I feel. If I want generic, I play GURPS. I'm more and more convinced that D&D was as successful as it was because of the built-in flavor. It's the "entry level" RPG where you don't have to think. You just pick a race, pick a class and you're good to go. That's one of the things I like the most about D&D.
I don't think any system of rules is safe from that degree of change without being very generic.

The most basic concepts that they give us to begin with should be very generic.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
But the problem isn't simply fluff vs. no fluff.

The biggest problem is making sure what is rules and what is fluff are separate. The wart on the Warlock - is that a rule? Or is it just fluff? Like another poster said, put it in italics to make it clear what can be changed. If it has no rules effect, honestly don't put it in or say "a few ways to describe the +2 bonus to damage are X, Y, Z."

After that, fluff should be open. There should be a default, but the default should be relatively open. Saying a cleric worships gods as the default is pretty much okay so long as other options are presented.

Describe the two-souled sorcerer as an option, but not the default one. The point of the class is primarily to give us a spontaneous caster, not to develop some werewolf type story.

The Warlock should be about a dude who uses AEDU powers, the default being pact magic. But pact magic should be expected in some cultures, and would not be frowned upon. Not only are there real life cultures that work this way, by making pacts with spirits, but in the game there would likely be vassals of the fey, celestial, shadow and elemental lords who draw power from pacts with their lords.
Keep in mind that they have listed in the sorcer to see your sourcerous origon. This means that they have an option to add many different origons and flavors via those origons. What if one origon is for an ogremagi or a vampire or a werewolf ...

be patient guys test what they give you comment on what works and does not work. Provide examples of other things they could add like a different sourcerous origon.  

As a part of your bargain, the Oak Princess takes some aspect of your beauty and binds it to herself, increasing her own splendor. In exchange for your sacrifice, Verenestra gifts you with powers of illusion and deception.

Level 1: Through your pact with Verenestra, you channel some of her ability to manipulate others with her words. When you gain this boon, a small wart appears on your face, as Verenestra claims a piece of your beauty for herself.

= = =

I believe this is some of the fluff that is in contention.

I can't say I see the problem myself.  For instance, as a DM, I might decide there is no Oak Princess archfey within the setting.  Instead, I have an idea for a charming rake as a patron.  I'll call him D'fey ;).  In old-school D&D terms, he's what's known as a quasi-deity (not quite god, not quite mortal).  Anyway, he's beautiful, powerful and influential; a perfect 'fey' patron for a Warlock PC.

There ya go, I've taken the flavor of the Warlock class and tied it into the setting.  I wanna take it just a few steps further though.  I'm imagining D'fey doesn't care for the sound of his own voice.  So, he claims the voice of the PC instead (everytime the Level 1 favor is spent); the PC's voice becomes raspy and rough in the meantime.  Hey, that works ;).

Or, you know what?  Hell with it.  Verenestra, the ol' Oak Princess, will work fine after all.  Still, I really don't like the wart part.

"Hey, DM!  Can I just say that my PC gets halitosis when I call in a favor?"

"Sure . . . wait . . . halitosis is a modern disease ain't it?  No, sorry.  We only play by RAW at this table." 

= = =

I say loosen up, have some fun.  I mean flavor can be an issue, no doubt, but is it really as insurmountable as some believe?

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When I discuss enforced flavor, it means you know what to expect from flavor. Basically, flavor was not enforced in previous editions, as you often found plenty of spells or other sub-systems that are hard to interpret. For example a fire spell stating is ignites any combustable objects. If you don't have a rule or guidance on what types of objects are combustable, then were do you go from there? Then you get into arguments with the player and DM because by RAW you can't ignore it.

With 4E they seperated the flavor from the mechanic,  I prefer this approach as a starting point, because you can always have better descriptions for the flavor to include all the idiosyncrancies of previous editions. But at least there is a clear dividing line to ignore it if you want. Plus you can morph it to something new. Then all the energy can be focused on the actual mechanics (damage, scope, effect, etc.).
The problem with not having flavor is it negates references.

If people want their own flavor, fine.  But the creator (DM) had better already baked into the brains of his/her players the lore, mythos, and common traits of that flavor.  The problem is many don't.  They come to the table wanting to create their own setting, and then are not consistent and do not create the lore needed for players to read.  You want your own flavor - you had better written down that somewhere that your vampires sparkle and are not effected by the sun.  And better yet, there should be stories or lore associated with it.  Laughing

So I'm all for people creating their own flavor, but D&D should be working hard at creating their own as well.  This way people have a template and something to follow, because most DM's I know don't do the work needed to truly make their own world. 
I think the base needs a set of default flavour for all the classes.    With that said, I fully expect the various campaign settings to alter that flavour when needed.      For example, I doubt very much that the current setup of the arcane classes will be acceptable for a Dragonlance campaign, but I now know that 5e will be far more welcoming to Dragonlance than 4e can ever hope to be.   

I also think that new players need well established flavour.   It helps them understand the game alot more when they are not expected to look at their character from the perspective of the mechanics.  When the classes are packed with default flavour, it really helps new players visualize their characters and understand how their class fits into the game world.     Flavourless classes give you nothing to start with except mechanics.    





Or, you know what?  Hell with it.  Verenestra, the ol' Oak Princess, will work fine after all.  Still, I really don't like the wart part.

"Hey, DM!  Can I just say that my PC gets halitosis when I call in a favor?"

"Sure . . . wait . . . halitosis is a modern disease ain't it?  No, sorry.  We only play by RAW at this table." 

= = =

I say loosen up, have some fun.  I mean flavor can be an issue, no doubt, but is it really as insurmountable as some believe?





What if they want to have wrinkles across their chest or a bit of a gut? That way no one can see they are manifesting this power. Or what if it just makes your teeth loose?

Is the intent of the wart to signal the warlock is using a power or to just have some flavor?

eta:

 "Flavourless classes give you nothing to start with except mechanics."

But flavor doesn't have to mean a crazy story that sets your non-wizard up as the loony casters. If you want to make the game more appealing to more people, IMO the description in the classes should be as open as possible.

Starting off the with basic stuff about bloodlines and pacts does this. From there, you might go into the dual souled thing or how your bloodline means you are the heir of a now shattered but rising empire that stretches across planes.   
As the OP [in that role reversal thread] states, perhaps it is Wizards who seek to manipulate forces they, unlike the sorcerer and warlock, simply weren't chosen for by either their bloodline or their patronage by a higher power.

I love the design on the two new classes, but I hate the liberties they're taking with the flavor. Things like the warlock drawbacks and the sorcerer transforming should be fully up the the person playing the character. The DM has full control over the setting, why can't players have full control over their characters?

I much prefer the way 4e handled things like this, the game provided you with the mechanics and you came up with the specifics regarding flavor.

Please realize that there will be players that *want* these features, like the compulsions and the transformations. I, in particular, love the idea of the transforming sorcerer to bits, but feel that it will have negative impact on some games.

It's okay that some things be out of the players control. There are many games that are built on that principle. However, when things are to be out of your control, you need more concrete rules for how to rule these situations. The rules, in this case, need to be fleshed out more.




Then they should be an opt-in option for those specific people who like that sort of thing. D&D is a game that laudes itself on its ability to allow you to create the character you want to play. I don't need WotC to make characterization choices for me.

And as for the transformations, since when has that ever been an iconic aspect of the sorcerer? I've never read a D&D novel where sorcerers are essentially lycanthropes.

It's not. However, the sorcerer class for next isn't the sorcerer as before. It's something different. It's a spellcasting Lycanthrope. It should be viewed as such. It shouldn't be viewed as a Wizardly spellcaster.

I'm not saying you have to like it, and by all means complain and object that this is not a sorcerer! I will say as much when I get a chance to give feed back. However, I don't think the class itself is bad, and I do feel that it needs to exist as a different 3E class moved forward. I want to see this class kept mostly intact and renamed. I feel there is a place for it in D&D.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
I love the design on the two new classes, but I hate the liberties they're taking with the flavor. Things like the warlock drawbacks and the sorcerer transforming should be fully up the the person playing the character. The DM has full control over the setting, why can't players have full control over their characters?

I much prefer the way 4e handled things like this, the game provided you with the mechanics and you came up with the specifics regarding flavor.

Please realize that there will be players that *want* these features, like the compulsions and the transformations. I, in particular, love the idea of the transforming sorcerer to bits, but feel that it will have negative impact on some games.

It's okay that some things be out of the players control. There are many games that are built on that principle. However, when things are to be out of your control, you need more concrete rules for how to rule these situations. The rules, in this case, need to be fleshed out more.




Then they should be an opt-in option for those specific people who like that sort of thing. D&D is a game that laudes itself on its ability to allow you to create the character you want to play. I don't need WotC to make characterization choices for me.

And as for the transformations, since when has that ever been an iconic aspect of the sorcerer? I've never read a D&D novel where sorcerers are essentially lycanthropes.

It's not. However, the sorcerer class for next isn't the sorcerer as before. It's something different. It's a spellcasting Lycanthrope. It should be viewed as such. It shouldn't be viewed as a Wizardly spellcaster.

I'm not saying you have to like it, and by all means complain and object that this is not a sorcerer! I will say as much when I get a chance to give feed back. However, I don't think the class itself is bad, and I do feel that it needs to exist as a different 3E class moved forward. I want to see this class kept mostly intact and renamed. I feel there is a place for it in D&D.



While I agree with yuo Kensan, if Wizards is going to change the class history and/or status quo, they need to back it up with a why.  This should be done via character description, lore, novels, and settings' reinforcement.  Notice that's an "and."  All of those need to be done before you just change something based on a whim.  When a character has a embedded iconic feel, the way to change it is not - we felt like mixing it up.
Or, you know what?  Hell with it.  Verenestra, the ol' Oak Princess, will work fine after all.  Still, I really don't like the wart part.

"Hey, DM!  Can I just say that my PC gets halitosis when I call in a favor?"

"Sure . . . wait . . . halitosis is a modern disease ain't it?  No, sorry.  We only play by RAW at this table." 

= = =

I say loosen up, have some fun.  I mean flavor can be an issue, no doubt, but is it really as insurmountable as some believe?




What if they want to have wrinkles across their chest or a bit of a gut? That way no one can see they are manifesting this power. Or what if it just makes your teeth loose?

Is the intent of the wart to signal the warlock is using a power or to just have some flavor?

Myself, I'd say it's just some flavor.  I'd be cool with the idea however that the wart is a signal (of sorts) that the warlock is using a power.  The DM and Player will need to compromise a bit I think.  I'd personally keep it within the realm of fluff.

DM:  "Okay, your PC gains an obvious physical blemish (not necessarily a wart).  We agree the blemish acts as a sort of signal to others that he's casting.  Let's keep it fluffy though (no mechanical implications).  So, whatever the blemish is,  it shouldn't be disguised or hidden away." 

Player: "So my PC gains 20 pounds.  I like that.  Promise I wont try 'n' bury my PC in baggy clothes to try and cover it up"

= = =

It isn't a perfect 'fiendish' ;) contract but if both parties agree, then I can see allowing for a physical blemish to act as a sort of signal.  Fluff is easiest to work with of course, but if the DM and Player are up to it, a minor mechanical implication isn't outta the question either.  I say just have fun with the idea.  It isn't insurmountable-- and if something this minor is, there be bigger problems at the table.
/\ Art
While I agree with yuo Kensan, if Wizards is going to change the class history and/or status quo, they need to back it up with a why.  This should be done via character description, lore, novels, and settings' reinforcement.  Notice that's an "and."  All of those need to be done before you just change something based on a whim.  When a character has a embedded iconic feel, the way to change it is not - we felt like mixing it up.



I quite agee. I also have a perfect canidate for what this version of the Sorcerer can become. This needs to become the new Dragonfire Adept Class. (Ref: Dragon Magic, 3.5 supplement) It fits perfectly. You gain features of a dragon, and it expands to cast spells. Replace spells with various Magical Breaths that you need to expend willpower for, and you're good to go.

However, it should also be noted, that when you are in the middle of developing a game, you aren't exactly having time to develop the Narrative Expression of all this flavor change. You are testing the design, and then are working on getting it accepted through lore. We can give them a little room here, but I think we agree that this is just the wrong direction to take the Sorcerer in.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/0a90721d221e50e5755af156c179fe51.jpg?v=90000)
Oh I agree I wouldn't have a personal problem with changing the fluff, but in the event that you are with a DM you don't know the issue might come up.

That's why it's better to state what the mechanical effect is, then state two fluffy options about what might happen. If it's a charisma bonus with an understanding that nearby folk are aware you are using magic, fine. But the assumption that people see weird stuff on your face shouldn't be used to balance the power.

The other thing I don't like is the negative aspects of the descriptions. If there is no actual detriment, I hope future pacts don't make it seem like warlocks are doing something immoral b/c the shaman in real life cultures is basically a warlock.
While I agree with yuo Kensan, if Wizards is going to change the class history and/or status quo, they need to back it up with a why.  This should be done via character description, lore, novels, and settings' reinforcement.  Notice that's an "and."  All of those need to be done before you just change something based on a whim.  When a character has a embedded iconic feel, the way to change it is not - we felt like mixing it up.



I quite agee. I also have a perfect canidate for what this version of the Sorcerer can become. This needs to become the new Dragonfire Adept Class. (Ref: Dragon Magic, 3.5 supplement) It fits perfectly. You gain features of a dragon, and it expands to cast spells. Replace spells with various Magical Breaths that you need to expend willpower for, and you're good to go.

However, it should also be noted, that when you are in the middle of developing a game, you aren't exactly having time to develop the Narrative Expression of all this flavor change. You are testing the design, and then are working on getting it accepted through lore. We can give them a little room here, but I think we agree that this is just the wrong direction to take the Sorcerer in.



I like the sorcerer idea.  I disagree with the bolded statement.  While the lore may not yet be published, it should be written and edited and thoroughly nit-picked before coming up with a paradigm.  At least that's how I feel.  In the end, I suppose it's like musicians: some write the lyrics first then base the music around it, while others write the music then the lyrics.  I guess I'm just too entrenched in my way of thinking to think otherwise, even though I know both can be correct.  Frown  Curse this brain/gut of mine.
DM:  "Okay, your PC gains an obvious physical blemish (not necessarily a wart).  We agree the blemish acts as a sort of signal to others that he's casting.  Let's keep it fluffy though (no mechanical implications).  So, whatever the blemish is,  it shouldn't be disguised or hidden away." 

Player: "So my PC gains 20 pounds.  I like that.  Promise I wont try 'n' bury my PC in baggy clothes to try and cover it up"

I laughed out loud imagining a scene using the Warlock fey pact.  

When using the Level 1 fey pact boon, the PC is speaking to someone face-to-face, basically charming them.  The idea is, when the boon is actually used, a small wart appears on the PCs face (or as I've described it above, the PC gains 20 pounds).  Imagine trying to mitigate that in the middle of trying to charm someone ;):

[PC uses boon]

PC:  "Braap!!  Oh!  Pardon me.  Must be all the Mountain Dew I've imbibed this evening."

NPC:  "Uh, how many drinks have you had exactly?  You fit through the door coming in .  . . " 

In the middle of trying to charm someone, suddenly gaining any kind of obvious physical blemish, even an itsy-bitsy wart, is gonna stick out like a sore thumb.  No? ;)
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Or, you know what?  Hell with it.  Verenestra, the ol' Oak Princess, will work fine after all.  Still, I really don't like the wart part.

"Hey, DM!  Can I just say that my PC gets halitosis when I call in a favor?"

"Sure . . . wait . . . halitosis is a modern disease ain't it?  No, sorry.  We only play by RAW at this table." 

= = =

I say loosen up, have some fun.  I mean flavor can be an issue, no doubt, but is it really as insurmountable as some believe?





What if they want to have wrinkles across their chest or a bit of a gut? That way no one can see they are manifesting this power. Or what if it just makes your teeth loose?

Is the intent of the wart to signal the warlock is using a power or to just have some flavor?

eta:

 "Flavourless classes give you nothing to start with except mechanics."

But flavor doesn't have to mean a crazy story that sets your non-wizard up as the loony casters. If you want to make the game more appealing to more people, IMO the description in the classes should be as open as possible.

Starting off the with basic stuff about bloodlines and pacts does this. From there, you might go into the dual souled thing or how your bloodline means you are the heir of a now shattered but rising empire that stretches across planes.   
As the OP [in that role reversal thread] states, perhaps it is Wizards who seek to manipulate forces they, unlike the sorcerer and warlock, simply weren't chosen for by either their bloodline or their patronage by a higher power.




I find that I tend to agree with you a lot, Flavor needs to be balanced, to much (or flavor invading rules) and it ruins a class to little and you have the same problem.  I do think both the warlock and the sorcerer have excess flavor.  Especially considering that fighter, wizard, rogue and cleric are pretty flavourless.  I would like to see that side of them toned down to a similar level to these other classes, or at least to Paladin, or druid level.