Doing some thinking

Ok I know a lot of people object to codified roles for classes, because .... well I haven't heard any good reasons but it seems to be a thing anyway.

 What if each class had specific features for a role and when you take the class you choose which role features it progresses.

So for example instead of having the druid be OMFG HAX! because it has multiple class features stronger than whole classes, like in 3e, or limited to the wild-shape caster like in 4e. You pick one based on the role you wanna fill and how you  wanna fill it.

So a defender druid would get wild shape and a more limited spell list.

A striker druid would get animal companion and a more limited spell list.

A controller druid would get better spells, especially access to AoEs and such.

While a leader druid would get more healy-buffy spells.


You can do the same thing with a berserker:

Striker gets charge in and do massive damage on a single strike abilities.

Controller gets the cleave and whirlwind type stuff to clear a path through multiple foes.

Leader can induce frenzy in allies. 

Defender ...

Ok so some class-role combos are harder than others but you get the idea. 
This is basically how I play 4E. 

Still I would prefer if 5E classes had the 'ability' to perform various roles without being forced to do only that.
Clarification, I mean, classes and characters should not be locked into a role, especially not balance wise like in 4E.
Players should be able to turn their characters toward roles, or combination of roles or roles they have made up by themselves, but that should be determined by their choices, not forced by rules.

If a fighter chooses to use a shield and platemail he becomes more of a defender and less than a striker than a figher in medium armor and a two handed sword, but the rules don't force them into those categories.

In principle I think that's exactly what most folks want. 3e actually does this but it doesn't make you come out and say "I'm gonna be a tank" on your character sheet. The tank feats and spells are there; the player is free to pick them.


One of the things I like about the 5e we've got so far is they allow us to pick those roles but they don't force a class to always be one role (exactly as you're describing). A fighter can pick the fighting style to fill a specific range of roles in the group - mostly tank or striker but there's some variety in each. Clerics are all over the shop as well with domains basically determining all of their baseline proficiencies and giving spells that push them into drastically different sorts of play styles.


Rogues and wizards, I feel, have less flexibility going for them right now but maybe that'll change.



Just using 3e as an example (might be a bad idea... we'll see), the only role a wizard can't really fill is a healer. I know there were mechanical flaws and in practise the wizard wasn't as flexible but that wasn't the fault of the spells so much as it was the way monster saves scaled up. A 3e rogue isn't as flexible in practise as it was in theory either but there was potential for them to fill a wide variety of roles in the party.



I think my main complaint about roles, aside from the mistake of forcing classes to only perform one function, is that it creates a situation where people perceive that their class is only good in combat. I know the roleplaying doesn't have to depend on the mechanics but the way the mechanics are presented has an impact on how people roleplay, for better or worse.

Ok I know a lot of people object to codified roles for classes, because .... well I haven't heard any good reasons but it seems to be a thing anyway.

Because they pigionhole things.   Even if they don't actually pigionhole things, it makes people feel like they are being pigionholed.

For example, you try and have 4 different druids and beserkers.  You crowed out the idea that there could be say... a skirmishing druid/beserker too.


That said, the base idea of classes with choices is good.  Though i feel they are already doing that with sub-classes..

warlocks get different pacts,
sorcerers have different bloodlines,
fighters have different styles,
rogues have different schemes,
wizards have specialties,
clerics have domains.

Not hard to imagine druids with different circles/seasons, or beserkers with different clans.  Each covering a "sub-role".

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Well, it's something at least.  We wouldn't need to come up with a whole new "Avenger" class if a normal paladin could just choose to be either a tank or a healer or a striker.  On those grounds, the idea has merit.

It really doesn't "solve" the problem of roles, though.  You still make one decision (to be a tank or a healer or a striker or a controller) and that heavily influences every action you'll ever take for the duration of the campaign.  I hate to bring up the WoW comparison (is that like the new Godwin's Law around here?), but it is really directly analogous to how they deal with their class system over there: each class has three sub-classes, and each sub-class has one specific role, and if you try to violate that role then you are "doing it wrong".

My opinion has always been that the choices you make in combat should be "what to do" and not "how to do it"; rather than choosing between a big heal or a small heal, or choosing between a heavy strike or two light strikes, or choosing whether to entangle a foe or to blind a foe, the question should be whether to heal or to strike or to control.

Acting within a role does not make for interesting choices - there is almost always a "best" answer.  Choosing which role to act upon does make every choice interesting, because the options are not directly comparable.

The metagame is not the game.

This is basically how I play 4E. 

Still I would prefer if 5E classes had the 'ability' to perform various roles without being forced to do only that.



Fighter does this, and should serve as an effective model.

Sorcerer has a chance of doing this, depending on how subsequent origins turn out.  A Dragon Sorc is a rather respectable tank, if built with that in mind.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Yes, 5E so far is quite good in this respect.
The only thing I am a bit worried about is that all classes seem to need its own 'system'. Every class uses its own rules and its own resources. I think this treathens to limit players options to compose the character they want (and get the role they want), and it will complicate multiclassing.

That some classes had their own system (Wiz, Sor, Warlock) to do similar things was one of the annoying parts of 3e..
I hope some mechanical overlap will appear when new classes are added to the playtest.. 

If the ranger is driven by Thrill of the Hunt points and the Warlord has a number of shouts per day and level... then things are going in the wrong direction.... =/
It seems this edition is leaving the Controller, Leader, Striker, Defender roles. But your point still stands.

Fighter and Cleric seem easy enough to fill every roll so I can see that happening. Between Domains and CS you can probably make any role for each class. If you want a skillful non-rogue, however, you going to need Jack of all Trades. 

For the wizard, it's harder. There are traditions we've yet to see and various spells for sure but fitting them in different roles is limited to Controler or Striker types. But Sorcerers and Warlocks can probably end up doing some healing so that'll help.

In the end though I would like it when I can have a group and they can pick any class without having to worry that "We don't have a cleric yet!" 
One of the things I loved about 4e, which I fear may be lost, is how the system really rewarded teams that worked together.  The controller set up the battlefield, the leader kept the allioes in the fray, the defender used the battlefield to hamper foes, and the striker used it to kill them

To recapture that, it's not enough that one player can build a controllery character -- if none of the others are built to synergize with them.

I fear a return to the days where it was every man for himself.
I think people don't like roles because they're something new. Another aspect, though, is that they were fundamentally applied wrong -- because even in the Player's Handbook, you could make Paladins that weren't defenders and Clerics that weren't Leaders. I think roles should have been applied to individual mechanic parcels (as a keyword), rather than whole classes -- so you can infer that a rogue is a largely-striker class if most of the powers, features and class feats have the Striker keyword, but the rogue is at no point labeled as a striker wholly, because a non-striker could be implemented.

Also, it might've presented the game the wrong way. Classes in 4e are listed first by their power source and role; so a rogue was a Martial Striker first. These roles were combat-only, so it demonstrated to people that were just learning the game that the system defines classes purely in the way they behave in combat (at least, as shorthand; again, Martial Striker told you nothing about its non-combat options).

Rather than creating a set of roles and squeezing classes into the categories, maybe D&D Next should look at the character types of the past editions and create categories for them to fit into. Categories that reflect all three pillars, rather than just one. Merely a thought; I have no example categories in mind. 
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
I used roles mostly as a DM tool - they're handy (though really inaccurate in some cases) markers for "knowing what the party's strengths are", without actually having to know the ins and outs of every class and ability as DM.
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Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Not all classes need to be able to fill all 4e roles, but preferrably more than one. I don't really like binding roles to class variants such as pacts, domains, etc. because it should be possible to create a character with a hybrid role, no role or an ambiguous strange role if so desired..

Something I am actually missing from 4E is the tactical part of movement (provoking opportunity attacks when moving within a threated area) and also marking.

I kind of disliked marking when I began playing 4e but I gradually started to like the mechanic, although we do it in a houseruled way (multiple marks can overlap from different characters/monsters).

It brings some more tactical aspects to the game.

Preferrably I would like to se Mark as a general combat action that anyone can take. Fighters could get a CS ability that lets them do it without using any action if they spend a dice, and maybe refund two dice if the target violates the mark, or somesuch.
Preferrably I would like to se Mark as a general combat action that anyone can take. Fighters could get a CS ability that lets them do it without using any action if they spend a dice


Huh.  I actually like that quite a bit.  Though isn't that just a flavor of "aid another"?  (Wait, does 5e have an Aid Another action or equivalent?)
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Personally, I found the 4e roles to be pointless.  Characters still end up being an amalgamation of their abilities in 4e, crossing role boundaries all the time.  No skin off my teeth should roles be included in 5e, I simply have no need or desire for them as long as the underlying amalgamation of abilities that make up any particular character are fun.
Preferrably I would like to se Mark as a general combat action that anyone can take. Fighters could get a CS ability that lets them do it without using any action if they spend a dice



Huh.  I actually like that quite a bit.  Though isn't that just a flavor of "aid another"?  (Wait, does 5e have an Aid Another action or equivalent?)



Yes, if mark is just that -2 to hit someone else.

If mark is what it is for defenders in 4e: if you attack someone but me I get to hit you (maybe with advantage), or something like that, it becomes more interesting and tactical.

There is a Help action, but I don't think it applies to attacks or defenses.
Ideally I would like to see feats being used to define roles, by modifying stats/class features/abilities to be more geared towards a certain style.

So a defender might have a series of feats that in total give him +2-3 hp per level and +1-2 AC, something similar to marking, and the ability to take multiple reactions in a round.

This would be a series of feats that any class can take to become an adequate defender. Some classes may be more inclined to it by default, but anyone can pick it up. If you want a durable front line wizard, you can do it (though the current inability to use any armor at all somewhat hinders this. It works much better for all the other classes).

On the other hand, you might have a similar series that gears a character more towards strikerness, giving a slight bonus to hit, a scaling bonus to damage,  an ability or two to help pierce enemy defenses (such as DR/ER) , and you're good to go.

Do something like that for each role, give a few more feats of each role than a single character can take, and let them cherry pick/mix and match as they please.
Clarification, I mean, classes and characters should not be locked into a role, especially not balance wise like in 4E.

People keep saying that... and I don't see where 4E characters or classes are locked into roles.

Yeah, I know that PHB1 lists only one role per class... by the time they did PHB2, they knew better. Every class has a role it's best suited for, but pretty much every class that can do *that* role adequately can also do at least one other role adequately, and most can do two other roles.

(Vampire and a few others can't do anything adequately.)

On the other hand, even greater flexibility would be nice. I'd like every class to be able to be at its best in the player's choice of at least two and preferably three roles. (Not many pure classes could handle all four of the 4E-defined roles. But then I want more roles defined, primarily by subdividing those four, and to expect every character to actually be good at more than one. And then I want to give exploration and non-combat interaction the same treatment.)

If a fighter chooses to use a shield and platemail he becomes more of a defender and less than a striker than a figher in medium armor and a two handed sword, but the rules don't force them into those categories.

Hm, that matches 4E quite well. So maybe I misread what you were saying.

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Ther reason people objected to roles is that they are unnecessary and limiting. If you want to play a fighter as a damage sponge, you'll choose equipment and abilities which serve that proposed function. There's no need to codify it with a metagame term like 'tank' or 'defender.' And if you do, what do you do when a situation suddenly calls for your self-styled "defender" to suddenly act as a 'controller' by hurling the team halfling over a lava flow, or a 'striker' because he needs to crit on this dragon or we all die? What does she do, just throw up her hands and say "sorry, not my role?" That's assanine. So roles break immersion with metagamey concepts for absolutely no reason. They're crap.
It seems this edition is leaving the Controller, Leader, Striker, Defender roles. But your point still stands.

I disagree.

This edition is not leaving those roles, it's hiding them.

We've had roles at least since 1E, but they weren't called that. In 4E they were called that, and mishandled a bit to create the false impression that each class was locked into a role (which impression should die if you've read PHB2, Martial Power, or the Wizard spell list in PHB1), and that mishandling was one of several factors that cause some people to reject anything that looks even vaguely like 4E even if it happens to be a dramatic improvement in game design over prior editions. So now they are forced to go back to not having identified roles, and must also avoid those specific role-names even though the characters still have to perform the same functions.

Pretending you are not doing what you are definitely are doing, does not generally contribute to good design. And if what sort of things a class (or power, or etc.) might need to be good for is not defined, you start getting classes (etc) that aren't good for much of anything.

I was never satisfied with the division into four roles anyway. Here's the current version of my list of combat roles:

Melee striker
Ranged striker
Area striker
Melee defender
Ranged defender
Buffer
Debuffer
Healer
Enabler
Ranged controller
Area controller
Melee controller
Battlefield arrangement

Not only would I not lock a class into one of them, I generally would make only a small number of negative recommendations ("this class is usually not good at X or Y"). I'd prefer each individual character to be good at not less than three roles. ANY three (or more) that can be made to work.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Ok I know a lot of people object to codified roles for classes, because .... well I haven't heard any good reasons but it seems to be a thing anyway.



Do people really have a problem with the labels? It's not like classes with roles is something new...

I'm not a huge fan of pigeon-holing classes into a single role though. I'd like to be able to play a wizard defender or a fighter controller. I'd also like to be able to decide my percentage of each role too.


What if each class had specific features for a role and when you take the class you choose which role features it progresses.



I'd love to see something like this. The good news is that I might get what I want! We already have combat styles, cleric domains, wizard traditions, warlock pacts, rogue schemes, sorcerer origines. I won't be able to adjust the percentage of each role with these but being able to select one would be good enough.
Preferrably I would like to se Mark as a general combat action that anyone can take. Fighters could get a CS ability that lets them do it without using any action if they spend a dice



Huh.  I actually like that quite a bit.  Though isn't that just a flavor of "aid another"?  (Wait, does 5e have an Aid Another action or equivalent?)



Yes, if mark is just that -2 to hit someone else.

If mark is what it is for defenders in 4e: if you attack someone but me I get to hit you (maybe with advantage), or something like that, it becomes more interesting and tactical.

There is a Help action, but I don't think it applies to attacks or defenses.





In an earlier version, Help action specifically worked on attacks.


It no longer says that it does - but it is still listed under "Actions in Combat".

On the other hand - it refers to "checks" rather than "attacks" - and, although an argument for an attack being a check can be made - in most cases they are not treated as such.

It did apply to attacks in an earlier iteration of the rules - so they took it out for the current version; no idea whether that was a permanent change or will be reversed.  Personally -  since it fits the general approach of "pay an action to gain advantage" - even if one person pays the action to give someone else advantage - I'd have allowed it.  Time will tell.


Carl  
   

                     

Clarification, I mean, classes and characters should not be locked into a role, especially not balance wise like in 4E.

People keep saying that... and I don't see where 4E characters or classes are locked into roles.

Yeah, I know that PHB1 lists only one role per class... by the time they did PHB2, they knew better. Every class has a role it's best suited for, but pretty much every class that can do *that* role adequately can also do at least one other role adequately, and most can do two other roles.

(Vampire and a few others can't do anything adequately.)

On the other hand, even greater flexibility would be nice. I'd like every class to be able to be at its best in the player's choice of at least two and preferably three roles. (Not many pure classes could handle all four of the 4E-defined roles. But then I want more roles defined, primarily by subdividing those four, and to expect every character to actually be good at more than one. And then I want to give exploration and non-combat interaction the same treatment.)

If a fighter chooses to use a shield and platemail he becomes more of a defender and less than a striker than a figher in medium armor and a two handed sword, but the rules don't force them into those categories.

Hm, that matches 4E quite well. So maybe I misread what you were saying.



Stripped of its features, but not the core of their powers all classes are quite similar.

A typical striker, leader, defender or striker deals the same damage on a typical at will (1[W] + mods) and the same on encounter abilities of the same level.

In 4E, the balance of roles are then constructed using class features and additons to this base.
- All strikers gain a class feature that allows them to do a similar amount of extra damage on top of the normal damage. The feature varies in exact composition but the damage is at least intended to be equal.

- All defenders gain a marking abillity and something to do when a mark is violated, or in later defenders, an aura that worked like a mark.

- All leaders gain a two-piece use a surge and get extra HP on a minor. In additon they get some trigger buffs on their attacks.

- Controllers are a bit more diverse, which makes it the easiest role to replace.

No class, except the berserker in HoF and maybe some in Essentials if you mess with them, provides the role-power of more than one role. Thus a character is locked to a role by lacking the role-defining powers of the other roles. Sure, they can pretend to fill the role without those, but a 2h-fighter will never deal damage on par with a striker, a leader will never be a defender regardless of platemail and shield, etc.
Hybrid classes allowed construction of dual role characters, but most often at either a high price that made your character useless, or by exploiting loopholes that made it feel like cheating instead.
It seems this edition is leaving the Controller, Leader, Striker, Defender roles. But your point still stands.

I disagree.

This edition is not leaving those roles, it's hiding them.

We've had roles at least since 1E, but they weren't called that. In 4E they were called that, and mishandled a bit to create the false impression that each class was locked into a role (which impression should die if you've read PHB2, Martial Power, or the Wizard spell list in PHB1), and that mishandling was one of several factors that cause some people to reject anything that looks even vaguely like 4E even if it happens to be a dramatic improvement in game design over prior editions. So now they are forced to go back to not having identified roles, and must also avoid those specific role-names even though the characters still have to perform the same functions.

Pretending you are not doing what you are definitely are doing, does not generally contribute to good design. And if what sort of things a class (or power, or etc.) might need to be good for is not defined, you start getting classes (etc) that aren't good for much of anything.

I was never satisfied with the division into four roles anyway. Here's the current version of my list of combat roles:

Melee striker
Ranged striker
Area striker
Melee defender
Ranged defender
Buffer
Debuffer
Healer
Enabler
Ranged controller
Area controller
Melee controller
Battlefield arrangement

Not only would I not lock a class into one of them, I generally would make only a small number of negative recommendations ("this class is usually not good at X or Y"). I'd prefer each individual character to be good at not less than three roles. ANY three (or more) that can be made to work.



I was considering making a post about that very thing... what are the real roles! (and ignore the negative crap of people pretending roles dont exist) The simplistic broad roles described initially in 4e were for newbies to get them in to game the classes where nowhere near just one role and the roles themselves are more elaborate... I have heard of a variant of the defender called the martyr... The Vampyre class was described as such to me.
  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
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I guess I'm in the camp that is against codified roles hardwired into the system.   I think that most players adopt a role depending on what abilities their characters choose, so in essence, it is the specialty or feat choice that helps mold PC roles.  

In addition, depending on the situation in combat or in non-combat situation, often players may want to try out different roles, or they may be forced into different roles.   If they have some ability that can be used for striking, leading, defending, controlling, in the right situation, they should step up and switch roles.  

I also like the idea that players have to communicate with each other and coordinate their tactics (or learn to play with each other) rather than having pre-scribed roles.   To me, the every man for himself feeling immerses me into the game world more completely than "I am the controller" does.

That being said, maybe WoTc, should write a section into the Character section of the rules that explains typical roles and lists some of the abilities or feats that help PCs perform those roles.      
  

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Codification is there for new players, it really helps them get up to speed of the concepts of the game.   Calling a mark a mark and a defender a defender, helps them learn to play the game.   This is no different than calling dice dice and tokens tokens, all gamist terminology that everyone now knows because of playing monopoly as a kid, but nobody questions them.  Without the simplified jargon, it becomes more confusing to use and learn.  If instead you had to say dot marked polyhedral collection then it gets confusing when yours has numbers or how about representational flat small cut out piece, when your tokens are the standup kind. 

They will outgrow the simplistic terminology and further learn the complexities that are layered in the system and buy all the players manuals and such, or they may stick to the plastic pregen labeled 'defender with mark'  they got at encounters and never change.  But you cannot make the terminology complex because it defeats the purpose of helping the new player get into the game.  Unless you are in the camp that thinks that D&D should remain a game for the old guard and you learned it decades ago and so shall the new blood.   WOTC needs to grow their audience as the old guard is not enough to keep the game off the life support it is on, they are trying by doing board and skirmish and card games to keep the D&D brand, but I don't see much overlap there for RP types.

Packaging feats and powers per role does not really work, it has to be per role and class - even though the mage may function as a controller, if they are prohibited from shields and armor all the feats/powers related to that need rewritten to say things like magical shields and magical armour.  Instead of physically pushing or commanding things around the battle field, they are throwing down ice and using their orbs force powers.  So they may behave the same in the same role, but you cannot describe them the same with common controller powers/feats unless you entirely remove flavour text and have them be incredibly boring and say 'slide 2'.  Likewise the druid may have a power where vines on the trees snake across the battlefield and control the enemy, how they control the battlefield is very different from another class.

People say they get bored of 4e because the mechanics are all the same, but watch a game where the DM/PC read the flavour line on their power cards every attack, it makes for a huge difference in RP.  If you try to boil the game down to mechanics like you have the push feat means you are a defender or you have the slide feat means you are a controller, it does indeed get incredibly boring.


The problem I've always seen is that if you design without some sort of role in mind (whether this role 'defender' or 'guy who hands out the heals when he attacks', a purpose role vs. an ability role) you end up with classes like the wizard and swashbuckler, one is massively op because he can do anything better than anyone else (until the erudite and the artificer come along anyways), the other is massively up because he doesn't really do anything well.


Sesdun, not quite correct, some classes such as the barbarian or many controllers like the wizard relied on their powers to perform their role, this is why their powers are some of the best to powerswap in for. Furthermore they weren't as stuck as you make them out to be, for example I can easily make a standard great weapon fighter who outdamages a slayer, all ai have to do is play a dwarf, use an axe, and abuse my marking mechanics to generate extra attacks. If you want out of your assigned role you gotta use the abilities they give you to do it.
Yes I know, for some classes these things were baked into the powers, but that's an exception to the basic structure. That's part of what I meant when I said you could use loopholes and exploits that felt like cheating to create some hybrids.

There is no reason for why the barbarian striker ability would be more easily obtainable to other classes than some of the other role abilities...  the entire system feel bugged and poorly thought through. =(
Ok I know a lot of people object to codified roles for classes, because .... well I haven't heard any good reasons but it seems to be a thing anyway.

What if each class had specific features for a role and when you take the class you choose which role features it progresses.


Not a bad idea... if you think of a class/character entirely by their combat role. Not everyone wants to design a character thinking of that, or have the design based around that one aspect of the game. The four roles are great in a combat game, but have no place with the story or exploration. And they're really only good for a tactical combat, having little use in a strategic combat or ambush combat. They're very narrow.

It's also fairly limited. Beacause it's tied to single class features, it's hard to multi-role to fill gaps in smaller groups. And people who don't want a role have to pick one.
It leads to role-filling in party design, where the group is expected to have all the roles filled. So the game assumed that, which means if someone deviates from the baseline (no defender, no healer, etc) the game does not function as well. Conversely, if roles are dedicated but the game is not balanced around filling roles, a party with a solid member of each role will find the game too easy.  

It also leads the design of the game down one direction. Classes are designed not around what the class should do or what best represents that class, but into one of the four roles. And with your design, there's this implication that most classes need to fill multiple roles. There has to be a rogue that's not a striker, or that class feels lacking, so there's a forced attempt to make a rogue controller or something.

So for example instead of having the druid be OMFG HAX! because it has multiple class features stronger than whole classes, like in 3e, or limited to the wild-shape caster like in 4e. You pick one based on the role you wanna fill and how you  wanna fill it.

So a defender druid would get wild shape and a more limited spell list.

A striker druid would get animal companion and a more limited spell list.

A controller druid would get better spells, especially access to AoEs and such.

While a leader druid would get more healy-buffy spells.


But does that feel like a druid? Would a 1e or 2e or 3e player new to the game look at that class and say, "Yes. This does everything I want a druid to do. I can remake my druid from older editions and it will work fine albeit more balanced."

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

@rampant
I doubt that would outdamage an elven slayer that just dumps everything into dex and uses a bow.
I think I reached a flat bonus of over +20 damage on my slayer on any basic ranged attack at lvl 5, and that was as a human, not an elf, and he got a swift ranged weapon...  _-_
But does that feel like a druid? Would a 1e or 2e or 3e player new to the game look at that class and say, "Yes. This does everything I want a druid to do. I can remake my druid from older editions and it will work fine albeit more balanced."



You're never going to get a druid that did everything a druid in older editions did, and it be balanced. The druid was simply capable of too many different things.  People aren't joking when they talk about the Druid having individual class features stronger than many other entire classes.

I mean yes, you can produce a druid who can only wildshape into bunnies and rats, and who only casts 1-4th level divine spells, and gets a half level animal companion, and he would technically have all of the features of the old druid... but people would be just as disappointed in this, if not moreso, than picking one of these features to focus on and be really good at it.


I fear a return to the days where it was every man for himself.

Not me. I look forward to it.

To clarify, I look forward to each character being able to decide for themselves how they will help during combat.
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

I fear a return to the days where it was every man for himself.

Not me. I look forward to it.

To clarify, I look forward to each character being able to decide for themselves how they will help during combat.



So you are looking forward to something totally different from what he said. 
Preferrably I would like to se Mark as a general combat action that anyone can take. Fighters could get a CS ability that lets them do it without using any action if they spend a dice



Huh.  I actually like that quite a bit.  Though isn't that just a flavor of "aid another"?  (Wait, does 5e have an Aid Another action or equivalent?)



Yes, if mark is just that -2 to hit someone else.

If mark is what it is for defenders in 4e: if you attack someone but me I get to hit you (maybe with advantage), or something like that, it becomes more interesting and tactical.

There is a Help action, but I don't think it applies to attacks or defenses.



Well they really need to do it as an aura that has a range of the weapon they use and allow it to come into play once per turn...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I fear a return to the days where it was every man for himself.

Not me. I look forward to it.

To clarify, I look forward to each character being able to decide for themselves how they will help during combat.



So you are looking forward to something totally different from what he said. 



But closer to how it actually was 'back in the day'.

Carl
But the classes in the playtest are already combat oriented, most of the non-combat abilities come from backgrounds anyway.

I think it's a good idea to split these things up, have your combat role determined by one thing, and your non-com role by another instead of trying to fuse them. 
I suppose the question is less "should characters have explicit combat roles or not?" and more of "how much better should a specialist be when acting within his or her pre-selected role relative to actions taken outside of that specialty?"

Imagine that everyone could perform either as a tank or a striker or a healer or a controller, and that you could somehow measure their capabilities on a completely objective scale from 1 to 10.  (Imagine it as the amount of damage you could prevent, or deal, or heal; it's hard to quantify the controller, but imagine we can do so for the purposes of this example.)

I have no problem with anyone focusing on one role over another; I just want a tank to look more like (7/5/3/5) than (10/3/1/3).  Even if the numerical performance gap was only 2 points between best and worst, it would still be the optimal solution for everyone to act within that mild specialty; the only difference is that it wouldn't be out of the question to break role when you needed to, the way it would in... say, late 3E, for example.

The metagame is not the game.

No class, except the berserker in HoF and maybe some in Essentials if you mess with them, provides the role-power of more than one role. Thus a character is locked to a role by lacking the role-defining powers of the other roles. Sure, they can pretend to fill the role without those, but a 2h-fighter will never deal damage on par with a striker, a leader will never be a defender regardless of platemail and shield, etc.

A greatweapon fighter is not the best melee striker, but he's a quite adequate melee striker. A blaster wizard is about as good an area striker as a sorcerer, typically with less damage per target but able to hit larger areas at greater range. A skirmishing bowlord is a mixed ranged-and-melee striker with the best (although party-dependent) striker extra-damage mechanic in 4e; a taclord is about as good a striker although usually much more heavily tilted toward melee and toward primary damage rather than the extra-damage mechanic. Clerics make excellent controllers. Druids are adequate strikers in beastform (except swarm druids), and some of them are so-so defenders. Beastmaster rangers often function as controllers or defenders. Most shamans are defenders. Some bards are strikers, others are controllers. Need I go on?

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Ever since the advent of computer games or D&D, you have the classic trinity of roles - tank, striker, healer. 4E did a very good job of maintaining the trinity, but also made each class diverse and not limited to the roles they were intended for like leader, defender, striker, etc. 5E design still incorporates these, but unfortuntely it is not well defined. I don't understand how you can do this from a design standpoint, since the benefits outweigh the risks.
I actually liked that 4E broke the trinity /tank/healer/damage by introducing healing surges and second winds.
This was a good step in the right direction. The meatshield/hp-battery/progress division have destroyed gaming of all kinds for way too long.
One of the things I loved about 4e, which I fear may be lost, is how the system really rewarded teams that worked together.  The controller set up the battlefield, the leader kept the allioes in the fray, the defender used the battlefield to hamper foes, and the striker used it to kill them

To recapture that, it's not enough that one player can build a controllery character -- if none of the others are built to synergize with them.

I fear a return to the days where it was every man for himself.




I honest have never experienced this in any edition of Dungeons and Dragons.  I have always in every edition seen the benefits of teamwork and seen destruction of teams that could not work together.  In every edition I have experienced this.