Pick your schtick!

Not a new idea, but I figure I'd start a thread on class schticks. To clarify, for every class, what is the one "defining feature" that is unique to the class itself. Other features might be shared amongst similar classes, but something needs to be unique or else the class doesn't *need* to exist.

Below is my own personal list of schticks, including comments. Please feel free to list your own.

Assassin - Sneak Attack (stolen from the rogue, and not giving it back; alternately, merge with fighter and retool CS)
Barbarian - Rage Totems (and rename the class Berserker, please Rage could be one of many end results, and can include "Wardens")
Bard - Performance (this is not a stealth class; narcissism is a pre-req;))
Cleric - Domain (rename to Devoted; it's what you live for)
Druid - ??? (maybe shapechange, but another Devoted variant, IMO)
Fighter - Combat Superiority
Monk - ??? (MORE than half-tempted to merge with fighters, and just use specialties for monk styles)
Paladin - ??? (another Devoted variant, IMO)
Ranger - Favored Terrain/Enemy (and usable for all pillars, not just combat)
Rogue - Skill Mastery (rename the class to Expert)
Sorcerer - Bloodline (would still prefer it being renamed to Scion, but I doubt it will happen)
Wizard - Spellbook
Warden - ??? (another Devoted variant, IMO Make that a barbarian variant)
Warlock - Pact
(another Devoted variant, IMO)
Warlord - Inspiration/Tactics (similar to bard, but non-magical)

Note: I didn't include the psionic classes, but only because I don't know if any has a particular schtick that sets it apart other then the overall power source.

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Er...I take issue with the "fold into cleric" trend.  Many of us who really like those classes don't see them as clerics, especially not Druid and Warden.  Paladin is a bit closer, but it's still justified in being distinct.  But Warlock?!?  Are you kidding?  There is no more uncleric a class in the game.

Lack of an idea for a mechanical schtick should not justify subsuming an entire class concept.  A new idea should be generated.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Er...I take issue with the "fold into cleric" trend.  Many of us who really like those classes don't see them as clerics, especially not Druid and Warden.  Paladin is a bit closer, but it's still justified in being distinct.  But Warlock?!?  Are you kidding?  There is no more uncleric a class in the game.

Lack of an idea for a mechanical schtick should not justify subsuming an entire class concept.  A new idea should be generated.

I'm not meaning any insult to those that enjoy those class concepts. My overuse of "fold into cleric" is most likely derived from the cleric being the first real hybrid (other classes are far less evenly split between martial and magical ability). I would suggest renaming Cleric into "Devoted" (and updated the first post accordingly).

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I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
But class is more than just a mechanical construct.  There is fluff involved, as well.

If two members of the same class meet each other, they should be able to recognize that they have some commonality between them.  A cleric and a warlock have absolutely nothing in common, other than you can't really identify where they should be slotted in.

That's a failure of your imagination, not the class.  I can explain precisely why a cleric and a warlock aren't the same class, and I really have no conception on how you can come to the conclusion that they're the same class.  It's so far beyond reasonable that I can't even begin to comprehend how you could make such a conclusion.  Have you read the class descriptions of the warlock in 3.5 or 4e?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I can see where he's coming from on this.  Break it all down to their basics, and Clerics and Warlocks both make deals with more powerful entities in exchange for temporal power.  Given some of the Deities listed in many settings I don't disagree, as often the only difference between a 'Curse' and 'Prayer' is who's using it for what purpose.
Not a new idea, but I figure I'd start a thread on class schticks. To clarify, for every class, what is the one "defining feature" that is unique to the class itself. Other features might be shared amongst similar classes, but something needs to be unique or else the class doesn't *need* to exist.

Below is my own personal list of schticks, including comments. Please feel free to list your own.

Assassin - Sneak Attack (stolen from the rogue, and not giving it back; alternately, merge with fighter and retool CS)
Barbarian - Rage (and rename the class Berserker, please)
Bard - Performance (this is not a stealth class; narcissism is a pre-req;))
Cleric - Domain (rename to Devoted; it's what you live for)
Druid - ??? (maybe shapechange, but another Devoted variant, IMO)
Fighter - Combat Superiority
Monk - ??? (MORE than half-tempted to merge with fighters, and just use specialties for monk styles)
Paladin - ??? (another Devoted variant, IMO)
Ranger - Favored Terrain/Enemy (and usable for all pillars, not just combat)
Rogue - Skill Mastery (rename the class to Expert)
Sorcerer - Bloodline (would still prefer it being renamed to Scion, but I doubt it will happen)
Wizard - Spellbook
Warden - ??? (another Devoted variant, IMO)
Warlock - Pact
(another Devoted variant, IMO)
Warlord - Inspiration/Tactics (similar to bard, but non-magical)

Note: I didn't include the psionic classes, but only because I don't know if any has a particular schtick that sets it apart other then the overall power source.



Druid == Skin Changer Specialist 
Druid == Beast Summoner Specialist 
Druid == Weather, Plant and Herbal Specialist 
  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."

 

I can see where he's coming from on this.  Break it all down to their basics, and Clerics and Warlocks both make deals with more powerful entities in exchange for temporal power.  Given some of the Deities listed in many settings I don't disagree, as often the only difference between a 'Curse' and 'Prayer' is who's using it for what purpose.


Break it down stupidly far, though, and you have "hit them with stuff guy" as your only class.

Reductionism isn't always appropriate.


But to the direct point, the fact that warlock pacts aren't made with deities and that the magic they use isn't divine, but rather arcane, is a big part of their core concept.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Assassin- Death Attack/Backstab
Barbarian- Rage
Bard- Bardic Song
Cleric- Domain Magic Spells
Druid-Shapeshifting into an animal
Fighter- Combat Superiority
Monk-Flurry of Blows
Paladin-Smite Evil
Ranger- Favored Enemy/Environment
Rogue-Sneak Attack
Sorcerer- Spontaneously Casted from a largest spell reserves
Warlock- Invocations
Warlord- Commander's Strike
Wizard- Prepared spells

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Assassin - Sneak Attack (at the beginning of combat only)
Barbarian - Rage
Bard - Performance
Cleric - Healing Spells
Druid - Nature Spells
Fighter - Better Numbers for Basic Melee and Ranged Attacks
Monk - Unarmed Fighting Equivalent to Longsword and Chain
Paladin - Smite
Ranger - Favored Enemy
Rogue - Skill Mastery
Sorcerer - No Unique Features (fold into wizard or warlock)
Wizard - Utility Spells
Warden - Never Heard of It (probably safe to drop)
Warlock - Damage Spells

Warlord - Grant Ally an Attack


The metagame is not the game.

Warden - Never Heard of It (probably safe to drop)


What a wonderfully inclusive attitude you possess.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Does a barbarian's "thing" have to be rage?  It's an obvious hook, but it seems like such a narrow funnel to stick them in.  Personally, I would be interested in at least playtesting a more general concept of legendary physical exertion.
Warden - Never Heard of It (probably safe to drop)

What a wonderfully inclusive attitude you possess.

I would be less inclined to drop it if the OP, or anyone else in this thread, could give an example of what it does that another class does not already do.  As it stands, all evidence points to it not being necessary.

Feel free to enlighten me, though.  It's entirely possible that it's filling some incredibly important niche that I never knew about before Smile

The metagame is not the game.

Does a barbarian's "thing" have to be rage?  It's an obvious hook, but it seems like such a narrow funnel to stick them in.  Personally, I would be interested in at least playtesting a more general concept of legendary physical exertion.



Are you hoping for an ancient celtic warrior instead of a spirit channeler? (not just berserks - the spirits might be ancestors and the heros of bygone days)
  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."

 

Read the 4e PHB2. 



As I said before, the lack of a specific mechanical construct that we can point to as working in Next is not grounds to eliminate a class this early.

My objection to your post is that because you've never heard of it, it's probably safe to drop?  Sheer arrogance, and completely unacceptable and contradictory to Next's entire design philosophy.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Personal opinion...

Including only PHB1 classes (all editions) for the moment as otherwise the list would be a touch long. 

Assassin - Hmm...not sure here.  I love 4E's shadow flavor for the Assassin, but I wouldn't want that to be the only "schtick" for the assassin, just an option.  I think I kind of agree with whoever said the assassin ought to steal sneak attack from the rogue.

Barbarian - Animal/Creature Totems (some of which would grant Rage, like bear).  Edit to include possibly ancestral or spirit totems as well from another post as I like that idea.

Bard - Colleges (thus including scholar-bards, musical-bards, and druid affiliated bards, amongst others).

Cleric - Domains.

Druid - Also not sure.  Druids have a few too many "schticks" in prior editions, so its a bit difficult to find a way to include them all without one character having them all.

Fighter - Combat Superiority.

Monk - Martial Arts (some including mystical abilites, some purely martial).

Paladin - Another "not sure" though a variant of Favored Enemy might work (thus making smite evil more like "smite undead" or "smite dragon")

Ranger - Favored Terrain (I prefer this option to favored enemy as it focused on the ranging).

Rogue - Skill Mastery (I'd like to see skill groupings, similar to backgrounds - or just an extra background like we have now, but more specific to Rogue characters.  So, cutpurse, burglar, acrobat, thug, thief, trapsmith, pirate, rake, spy, etc). 

Sorcerer - Bloodline/magical origin.

Warlock - Pacts.

Warlord - Yet another "not sure."  Personally, I'd like to see the Warlord become a "companion" class except instead of an animal companion or familiar, they get troops to command.  Their "schtick" could thus be the composition of their troops (cavalry, foot soldiers, unorganized horde, gang of thugs, etc).

Wizard - Tradition (and thus casting style as well).

Just a few thoughts.

All around helpful simian

Read the 4e PHB2. 

If I had access to such a book, I would probably already know what the class was.  Since I've never heard of it, I can say with absolute certainty that it is not a meaningful part of what my view of D&D includes - removing it would not negatively impact me in any way, so it is entirely safe to drop it, from my perspective. 

I would have said the same thing about the Warlord, before I heard about it and realized that it had a meaningful place in the game.
As I said before, the lack of a specific mechanical construct that we can point to as working in Next is not grounds to eliminate a class this early.

Mechanical constructs are not terribly important to the topic at hand.  The question is, does the class have its own unique defining feature that makes it different from any other class?

From everything I know about D&D, every base is already covered by one of the other classes.  There is no room for another class, unless it carves out a unique place for itself.


The metagame is not the game.


Warlord - Yet another "not sure."  Personally, I'd like to see the Warlord become a "companion" class except instead of an animal companion or familiar, they get troops to command.  Their "schtick" could thus be the composition of their troops (cavalry, foot soldiers, unorganized horde, gang of thugs, etc).



Heh isnt the other pcs the same as gang of thugs ;p
  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."

 

Read the 4e PHB2. 

If I had access to such a book, I would probably already know what the class was.  



A warden might be described as a Melee Druid and the variety that self buffs so that he is analogous to a fighter (anybody else have a better description?) The druid was in 3e so over versatile I think that they split him in to pieces for 4e... probably why he wasnt in phb1 beause they wanted to release him with all/most of his variants  at once. 
  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."

 

The Warden actually has a very strong and distinct mechanical and conceptual identity - much stronger than, say, the ranger. The warden is a weapon-using character who is overtly magical and channels primal magic in a way that enhances his own performance in the form of half-transformations into beasts or other nature-themed entities or into supernatural enhancements to his own attacks (for example, smashing the ground hard enough to create difficult terrain.) "Primal Paladin" is one way to think of the class, but that misses the heavy emphasis on personal transformation (and wardens don't have a particularly anti-X bent). You might, if you went with a sort of overtly supernatural bent for the barbarian, be able to combine those two classes, but the notion of rolling warden into cleric borders on the comic.

It feels to me like attempts to roll classes into as few classes as possible are typically worse than useless, rarely meaningfully respecting the history of the class and rarely giving even an iota of thought to what any particular character should be mechanically capable of (or even what distinctions are traditionally drawn in fantasy), in favor of only looking at ultra-broad fluff-based overviews of what it very vaguely means to be a member of a class. Combining two concepts that are completely different in every single way and would never be mechanically represented similarly mechanically because they're both devoted to something makes no sense to me whatsoever; that's a supremely unpragmatic way to determine what gets to be a class. If "devoted" don't have even a single property in common across the class, then what's the point of even making it a class? If you're relying on subclasses and specialties to represent every single mechanical and thematic aspect of the class besides "devoted to something", then those are the real classes and "devoted" is just sort of a largely meaningless over-banner. (Like power source in 4e.)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
The warden is a weapon-using character who is overtly magical and channels primal magic in a way that enhances his own performance in the form of half-transformations into beasts or other nature-themed entities or into supernatural enhancements to his own attacks (for example, smashing the ground hard enough to create difficult terrain.) "Primal Paladin" is one way to think of the class, but that misses the heavy emphasis on personal transformation (and wardens don't have a particularly anti-X bent). You might, if you went with a sort of overtly supernatural bent for the barbarian, be able to combine those two classes, but the notion of rolling warden into cleric borders on the comic.

I think this is a really good breakdown, and agree with with that position almost entirely.

My take on the Wardens transformation abilities was that they had, by-in-large, stolen the non-animal shapeshifting from the 3E Druid. It's been a while since I looked, but I recall the Warden having most of the plant and elemental themed shapeshifting powers whereas the 4E druid was very animal focused.

So in that sense I think the Warden could be considered a sub-class of the old-fashioned ultra-versitile Druid. The fact that it's a weapon-weilding, shield toting, close combat monster even without using those daily transformation powers is quite a departure though. I like the Primal Paladin analogy for that reason. It seems very fitting to me.

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

Read the 4e PHB2. 





As I said before, the lack of a specific mechanical construct that we can point to as working in Next is not grounds to eliminate a class this early.

My objection to your post is that because you've never heard of it, it's probably safe to drop?  Sheer arrogance, and completely unacceptable and contradictory to Next's entire design philosophy.




Actually - yes it is.

I'm not arguing this applies to the Warden.

But the existence of a defining class mechanic is exactly what I've been saying should serve as the line between "A class" and "A variation on another class".

And regardless - the odds of the warden being in the game at start is miniscule and probably non-existent.

They stated that the would be incuding all classes which appeared in a PHB1 for any edition.  The Warden is a PHB2 class and thus may well not be in the game at release.

On the other hand - if they decided to include it - it does have powers which come to mind and which could be elaborated upon.  Three specific approaches come to mind:



Polymorph (drawback - already part of the druid's schtick).:  However, unlike the druid the Warden only transforms partially - gaining some aspect of the creature (horns and hooves of the ram). 

Treeofrm:  A limited polymorph which is different from that of the druids because the Warden becomes treelike (Willow sentinel, Oak sentinel, Rowan Sentinel) 

Elemental Form:  the abiity to personify elemental forces of nature (Winter's Herald - Ice; Stone Sentinel, Summer Fire, etc.) 

Either of these last two (and maybe the partial polymorph) can be used to create a Warden mechanic able to justify the class.  Additional powers can either control the surrounding plant life (Nature's Abudance, Thorn Burst, Warding Vines) or the elements (Winter's Grip, Burst of Earth's fury, Thundering Strike).
Note; All 4E spells are given as examples of what they could do in 4E and would no doubt require recasting into appropriate 5e mechanics.

But unless they've indicated they were going to include them despite being a PHB2 class,  I wouldn't expect it for initial release.


Carl
I would in no way expect the Warden to be present at launch. Besides having a pretty short history, it's not exactly a super resonant fantasy trope. It's cool, but it's not something that someone expects to be able to play when they sit down to play a fantasy game.

Every class should be either inspired (that is, reflective of common fantasy tropes) or inspiring (that is, cool enough that someone seeing it would want to play a character like that, even if they've never really thought about it before.) Both is obviously fine, too, and arguably better. The warden is much more on the "inspiring" end of things than it is on the "inspired" end. However, it makes much more sense to frontload everything that's inspired first, since it's more obviously missing if it's not there, and things that are inspiring but not inspired can join the party later. Don't get me wrong, I think the Warden is an A-1 baller, but it's not the kind of thing I expect to see leading the charge. Over time, inspiring things become inspired things as they, on the back of D&D's influence, become part of the landscape of what people think of when they think of fantasy and fantasy gaming. (I'd argue that the Druid is a good example of this.) The warden isn't there yet, though.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Read the 4e PHB2. 

If I had access to such a book, I would probably already know what the class was.  Since I've never heard of it, I can say with absolute certainty that it is not a meaningful part of what my view of D&D includes - removing it would not negatively impact me in any way, so it is entirely safe to drop it, from my perspective. 


Which only proves that your perspective is completely, 100% at odds with the design philosophy of Next, and should be disregarded.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
OK Saelorn I am going to make the case for the Warden and then sort of channel that into the case for the druid for the rest of yall.

The Warden is the primal Warrior he directly channels the power of nature through his body into incredible physical feats and localized effects.  While a Druid might be natures guide, leader and emissary the wardens are its enforcers, protectors and soldiers.

I actually have Wardens using the same special mechanic as the Druid which might mean you could fold it into the druid (I hate folding so I am against this) This ability is Primal Channeling.

Primal channeling is an ability that can be used once a day at level 1 and would probably cap out at 2 or 3 times a day.  Basicaly for an entire encounter (or the set time that wizards is replacing encounter long effects with these days) a primal channeling would change the characters nature. So a Druids shapeshifting and summoned companions would be channels as would the Wardens Guardian Forms.

This also justifies the druids as their own class. 
If barbarians schtick becomes totems, would it stand to reason that wardens could be included in that? I do agree wardens should keep their polymorph flavor, but totems can be as diverse as domains, bloodlines, traditions, etc.

My overall thought is to reduce the class list, but retain all of the previous class concepts.

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I will take a crack at it.

A class should have a couple niches

Core Classes
Fighter – Combat Superiority, Styles
Cleric – Channel Divinity, Domains
Rogue – Skill Mastery, Schemes
Wizard – Lores, Traditions

Other Classes
Assassin – Infiltration, Strikes
Avenger — Censure, Oaths
Barbarian – Superstitions, Rages
Bard – Recitations, Performance
Druid – Groves, Forms
Monk – Schools, Techniques
Paladin – Orders, Devotions
Ranger – Habitats, Quarries
Shaman - Totems, Spirit Companion 
Sorcerer – Bloodlines, Focuses
Warlock – Pacts, Boons
Warlord – Inspirations, Tactics
I really like Uchawi's list. I think it's pretty clear and description of what a class stands for in apart from one another. I think I'll add some game mechanics in similiar fashion.

Core Classes
Cleric — Channel Divinity, Domains
Fighter — Combat Superiority, Stances
Rogue — Knack, Skill Mastery
Wizard — School Specialization/tradition, Spellbook

Alternative Classes
Assassin — Poison Master, Sneak Attack/Death Attack
Avenger — Censure, Oaths
Barbarian — Feral Might, Rage
Bard — Bardic Virtue, Performance
Bladesinger/Duskblade — True Gish, specific fighting style
Druid — Animal Summoning, Wild Shape
Monk — Monastic Traditions, Flurry of Blows
Paladin — Auras, Smite, Lay on Hands
Ranger — 'same as Uchawi' + Weapon Style
Sorcerer — 'same as Uchawi'
Warden — Nature Aspect (polymorph)
Warlock — 'same as Uchawi'
Warlord — 'same as Uchawi'

Core Classes
Fighter – Combat Superiority, Styles
Cleric – Channel Divinity, Domains
Rogue – Skill Mastery, Schemes
Wizard – Lores, Traditions
 

Win.





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)
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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.

Warden - Never Heard of It (probably safe to drop)

What a wonderfully inclusive attitude you possess.

I would be less inclined to drop it if the OP, or anyone else in this thread, could give an example of what it does that another class does not already do.  As it stands, all evidence points to it not being necessary.

Feel free to enlighten me, though.  It's entirely possible that it's filling some incredibly important niche that I never knew about before




There's nothing wrong with multiple ways to realize a character concept.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Going more with what they represent, than just mechanically.

Assassin - execution style sneak attack 
Barbarian - spirits/ancestor channeled physical power
Bard - Performance (LOOK AT ME!!!)
Cleric - Domain
Druid - infused with the power of nature's fury
Fighter - Combat Superiority
Monk - unarmed combat, but having trouble coming up with a true defining characteristic to help it make the cut for Next
Paladin - Devoted Divine Warrior, 
Psion - Reality manipulation through psionics
Ranger - Favored Target
Rogue - Skills & dirty fighting
Sorcerer - Bloodines and magic linked to that
Wizard - Spellbooks and Spell versatility 
Warden - honestly, I've read this class and I, personally, don't see any outstanding features that will cause this one to make the cut for Next
Warlock -
Pacts
Warlord - Inspiration, the Drill Sergent or General that has non-magical ways to keep the party going
It's not entirely clear to me how the warden ended up in the discussion in the first place; every other class on the list has some kind of PHB1 precedent; the warden is just a random later-book class, and like many later-book classes it represents something that's both a little more specific and a little less core to fantasy than most things that have been in PHB1s. The Warden doesn't really have significantly more or less place in the discussion than the Avenger, Swashbuckler, Ninja, Seeker, Beguiler, Ardent, Different Ardent, Artificer, etc. It might show up eventually on account of being cool, but it's not one of the things that anyone would include under "we're planning on including everything that's been in a PHB1". It's just kind of a random throw-in in the OP's list.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Does a barbarian's "thing" have to be rage?  It's an obvious hook, but it seems like such a narrow funnel to stick them in.  Personally, I would be interested in at least playtesting a more general concept of legendary physical exertion.



Are you hoping for an ancient celtic warrior instead of a spirit channeler? (not just berserks - the spirits might be ancestors and the heros of bygone days)



I'm not sure where exactly he should go, but I'm definately pushing for a viable non-magical barbarian.

I think there is design space to find a place for a non-magical barbarian, but it would take some feeling around to see what works.  As a conceptual starting point - a lightly (or unarmored) warrior that forgoes arms mastery for greater strength and toughness than other warriors, and the capacity to exceed even those limits in short bursts. (rage being one possible expression of that)

I also don't want the fighter and the rogue to be the only non-magical classes in the system, that really limits things to a distinctly high magic feel.  Magic is core, and anyone that wants to run a no-magic campaign is going to have some work to do, but I hope a low magic campaign isn't too far from core.
Assassin - Poisons
Barbarian - Rage
Bard - Performance
Cleric - Healing
Druid - Shape Changing into Animals
Fighter - Combat Superiority
Monk - Martial Arts
Paladin - The Mighty Steed
Ranger - Tracking
Rogue - Skill Mastery
Sorcerer - Bloodlines
Wizard - Spell Book
Warlock - Pact
 
Warlord - Grant Ally an Attack
The Warden doesn't really have significantly more or less place in the discussion than the Avenger, Swashbuckler, Ninja, Seeker, Beguiler, Ardent, Different Ardent, Artificer, etc. It might show up eventually on account of being cool, but it's not one of the things that anyone would include under "we're planning on including everything that's been in a PHB1". It's just kind of a random throw-in in the OP's list.



Yeh I like the Avenger mor than a little ... a striker class unarmored divine paladin/assassin who generally speaking gains advantage every round by singling out and focusing on an enemy.
  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."

 

I just hope they keep the class bloat down, 3rd Ed started to get crazy, and 4th was following.

Sticking with every class in a PHB 1 is a good base, though I personally think Barbarian should be a background/cultural status (like Samurai), not a class, you can have a barbaric party of several classes, and the Warlord is just a Fighter that yells at his friends, to me.

Oh, and Sorcerer and Warlock are basically synonyms for wizard.
I appreciate the responses. IMO, continuing the class bloat is a bad design approach, as long as the concepts are preserved. I went from memory when I compiled the first list, and I wasn't trying to be totally exhaustive in any case (how I remembered wardens and not avengers I have no clue). I personally love avengers for the flavor, and they are nichey enough that I might add it to my list (it really is an assassin variant, though).

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Fighter — Combat superiority
Rogue — combat disruptive tricks
Wizard — Spellbook
Healer — support, default party face (supernatural power source chosen at creation)



Psion — Psychic trickster
Cleric — daily and encounter divine interventions
Assassin — infiltration, sneak attack
Barbarian — Rages, unarmored two-weapon combat masters
Bard — Colleges (from Crazy_monkey’s idea)
Druid — aspects of Nature (normal living beings or themed specialists fey forms)
Monk — light acrobatic fighter, unarmed combat master
Paladin — Inspiring supernatural auras
Ranger — Beast master
Sorcerer — Instinctive magic channeler
Warlock — Pact to turn into a supernatural beings
Warlord — morale based support and debuff charismatic leader

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I appreciate the responses. IMO, continuing the class bloat is a bad design approach, as long as the concepts are preserved. I went from memory when I compiled the first list, and I wasn't trying to be totally exhaustive in any case (how I remembered wardens and not avengers I have no clue). I personally love avengers for the flavor, and they are nichey enough that I might add it to my list (it really is an assassin variant, though).



Could be if your assassin bursts out with super strength and super jumps and undead turning and similar things... and instead of metal covering his ribs he shines with divine shielding... and if he avoids poisons and generally doesnt use much sneaking but rather run in to there faces.

An interesting oddity I would build David of david and goliath as one. (Avengers have enough ranged tricks that a sling works fair). 
  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."

 

I personally love avengers for the flavor, and they are nichey enough that I might add it to my list (it really is an assassin variant, though).




I think of the Avenger as an un-armoured Paladin on meth.
I can see where he's coming from on this.  Break it all down to their basics, and Clerics and Warlocks both make deals with more powerful entities in exchange for temporal power.  Given some of the Deities listed in many settings I don't disagree, as often the only difference between a 'Curse' and 'Prayer' is who's using it for what purpose.

Break it down stupidly far, though, and you have "hit them with stuff guy" as your only class.

Reductionism isn't always appropriate.

But to the direct point, the fact that warlock pacts aren't made with deities and that the magic they use isn't divine, but rather arcane, is a big part of their core concept.

I hear what your saying Mand, but to me classes are mechanics first, fluff second. As such, they should have a mechanical need to exist, and should not if you can refluff an existing class without needing to change any mechanics.

Case of the warlock: as I suggested, there should be a class called Devoted. I'm REALLY tired of the mechanical separation between arcane and divine magic. If I want a wizard that can heal, I shouldn't need to houserule that. If I want a cleric/devoted that can fling fireballs because they serve a fire entity, then have at it. I would rather see all classes have more mechanics, especially the caster ones. Caster classes need more stuff then "I cast spells, wheee!" Warlocks and clerics both get their powers through an external entity, with the "cost" being mostly fluff. Warlocks could be martial-heavy, magic-heavy, or mixed depending on the nature of the pact. For that reason I could see making them a separate class, but pacts and domains as a mechanic are very similar to me.

Magic Dual Color Test
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I am White/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
but pacts and domains as a mechanic are very similar to me.




Not to me, Pact Magic is totally different, dig the Binder.
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