Do We Need More Than 5 Classes?

Just liek the title says, can D&D Next function solely based on 5 classes?

I'm talking about the Fighter/Warrior, Rogue/Thief, Wizard/Mage, Cleric/Priest, and Bard/Freelancer classes. Can the game revolve around five basic classes that differentiate with modular class features?

All suites of Class Features, like Rage and Smite Evil, would be Specialties. Unlike other Specialties, which are just groups of feats, these Specialties can't be segmented - if you want Rage, you have to take ALL the Rage abilities. Other things, like sets of Domain Spells/abilities, and Wizard Traditions, could also be Specialties.

The Fighter gets d10 hit dice, martial weapon proficiency, heavy armor proficiency, heavy shield proficiency, and two Specializations.

The Rogue gets d8 hit dice, martial weapon proficiency, light armor proficiency, light shield proficiency, three extra Skills trained, and two Specializations.

The Cleric gets d8 hit dice, simple weapon proficiency, medium armor proficiency, heavy shield proficiency, and two Specializations.

The Wizard gets d6 hit dice, no weapon proficiency, no armor proficiency, and two Specializations.

The Bard gets d8 hit dice, martial weapon proficiency, light armor proficiency, light shield proficiency, and three Specializations.

All classes would have two options - Power Slots or Expertise Dice.

Power Slots are like Vancian Casting - you assign a level 1 Power into a level 1 Slot, and you can use it once that day. Power Slot abilities are very strong, but are gone once used. You get level 1 Powers at level 1, level 2 at level 3, level 3 at level 5, etc.

Expertise Dice grants you Powers at the same rate as Power Slots, but they're Known. Youc an use them as much as you want, but their effectiveness is determined by your available Expertise Dice.

Each Class gains access to their own personal suite of Powers - only Clerics get the best Healing, only Wizards get the best crowd control, only Rogues get the best stealthy and sneak attack powers, only Fighters get the heavy damage dealing powers. Bards don't get their own Suite, but they get an extra Specialization. Bards would also get fewer Expertise Dice / Power Slots, and only access to lower level versions (level 7 by 20th level).

What do you think? Could they do it? Would it fix the debate about AEDU versus Vancian? Would it stop WotC from needing to make a dozen different classes every year, instead making specializations? Or is it doomed to failure?
Well, first off, if there were only 5 classes, I'd make the 5th Druid instead of Bard. Then make a series of multi-class classes based on a fusion of the 5. Bard would be a combo of Rogue and Wizard, Rangers are Druidic Rogues, Paladin = Fighter + Cleric, etc.

I personally have no problem with a system with a limited number of classes. However, I don't see the difference in making a dozen different classes with 1 build vs. a dozen different builds for 5 classes.  

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Well, first off, if there were only 5 classes, I'd make the 5th Druid instead of Bard. Then make a series of multi-class classes based on a fusion of the 5. Bard would be a combo of Rogue and Wizard, Rangers are Druidic Rogues, Paladin = Fighter + Cleric, etc.

I personally have no problem with a system with a limited number of classes. However, I don't see the difference in making a dozen different classes with 1 build vs. a dozen different builds for 5 classes.  



Druid, to me, is a subset of Priest/Cleric. You worship a divine source, which grants you divne spells and assocaited abilities. Plus, they both have the same hit points, armor and weapon use (with metal weapons a minor difference), and, well, the Bard NEEDS to exist. It's a huge staple of D&D, and it's a great catch-all class for players who want to do lots of different things, and don't fit within the bounds of the other classes.

The difference is huge. Consider the Bewitching Arcana Speciality (A Speciality that gives you Illusion and Enchantment spells). What do you get when you give that specailty to a Fighter? You might get a warrior that tosses figments and galmours at opponents in order to throw them off guard. What if you give it to a Rogue? You get a thief who uses mind control and invilisbility to steal what he wants and bypass any guard. What do you get if you give it to a Cleric? You might get a cult leader who beguiles and decieves his flock in order to feed them to his Elder God. What if you give it to a Wizard? You might get a master Enchantress or Illusionist, a craftsman of their art, a master of misdirection and phantasms.

You just got 4 different classes, right there, with ONE option. But classes get TWO options, or THREE for Bards.

If you had, say, 20 of these Specialities, how many class combinations would that create?

Now, double that, because you can be Power Slots or Expertise Dice.

THAT is the point of this idea - allowing for cool flexibility while still restricting characters to a narrow suite of powers.
I'm going to have to echo Alter_Boy. If there were to be five classes, I don't see Bard taking that fifth spot; it's really just halfway between Rogue and Wizard, and can be met with a combination of those two. I wouldn't say the Bard *needs* to exist as its own class anymore than the Druid, Ranger, Paladin, etc, do, in this system.

Ultimately, I think the designers wouldn't take this five-classes route because it would probably rock the boat too much. Could it work? Sure. I just think a lot of people would make a stink and it wouldn't get far.
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D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
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Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
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56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
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D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
honestly i can live with 4 base classes and make the rest prestige classes.

prestige being hybrid and unique classes (not just better classes like in 3.5)    

It would not fix "AEDU versus Vancian" because those are two different problems… Actually, the number of problems associated with either of those is anywhere from 0 to "a lot" depending on who you ask. As someone who likes Vancian and only had a problem with ALL classes using AEDU, your idea doesn't help those at all.

Why would moving some of the classes into specialties help? All that does is puts more juice into specialties then creates bloat amongst those. A crap ton of options are going to be a crap ton of options no matter what.


Also, I like the class system because it organizes abilities in a very manageable way IMO. Even with tons of multiclassing avalable, it's still a great form of organization. I had no problems with Prc bloat in 3.5 because I knew basically what each Prc was about and could work from there in figuring out how to create the character I had in my head. That was books and books worth of stuff all archived, to a manageable point at least, in my head because orginizing it all with classes worked great for me. (Not saying that Prc bloat needs to come back. But to me, limiting the number of classes like this just feels like you would be happier with GURPS or something.)

It all depends on how you want to define your classes / specialties / class choices. For example, the Legend of the Five Rings RPG (4th edition) has only three main "classes": Bushi, Courtier, and Shugenja, but each of the great clans has a number of variations of those classes, creating a whole bunch of things that could be called classes, but aren't.

The main question you have to ask yourself is what advantage does it give you to make a Druid, with the features you want to give it, a subset of a Cleric instead of its own class?
I'm going to have to echo Alter_Boy. If there were to be five classes, I don't see Bard taking that fifth spot; it's really just halfway between Rogue and Wizard, and can be met with a combination of those two. I wouldn't say the Bard *needs* to exist as its own class anymore than the Druid, Ranger, Paladin, etc, do, in this system.

Ultimately, I think the designers wouldn't take this five-classes route because it would probably rock the boat too much. Could it work? Sure. I just think a lot of people would make a stink and it wouldn't get far.



I don't know, I think the Rogue has a specific role in the group. It's not really the jack-of-all-trades class by default, it's more of a skirmisher, assassin, thief, trapfinder, acrobat.. something withing those veins. The Bard is the quintessential "I'm okay at everything" class. Look at the 3E Bard - decent fighting, decent stealth, okay arcane magic, and some pseudo-divine magic, augmented with Bardic Music for that extra boost. It sucked, yes, but it was still fun to play.

honestly i can live with 4 base classes and make the rest prestige classes.

prestige being hybrid and unique classes (not just better classes like in 3.5)    



I'd personally rather avoid Prestige Classes. They don't usually add anything than a Feat or Mutli-Classing couldn't offer. I'd even restrict Multi-classing as well - I think the game would be stronger if characters went from 1 to 20 in a single class that was versatle enough to let them experiment and expand into other, cool options over time.
So what about Psionics? What about true Jack of All Trades classes that need access to divine, arcane, martial and skill properties? A D&D 3.5 Warlock (IMO the pinnacle of the class) is Arcane in name only. How would it fit into this narrow paradigm? What about Binders or Incarnum based classes? Where are you placing the Monk?

Once you look at all the various 3.X and 4E classes, you begin to realize pigeonholing them in this kind of way simply isn't going to work. If WotC were to do this, they'd lose a significant amount of their post-2E market.

3.5 alone has right around 50 base classes, all added up (not including the DMG generic classes or Alternate Class Feature variants from Unearthed Arcana). How are you going to mirror that that kind of variety in this system, even with "magic modularity"?
I fully support the 5 class paradigm of Fighter, Mage, Rogue, Priest, Bard.

However, I feel that we do need more than 5 classes, and I hope that everyone that loves a particular class from D&D's history will get their due in the new edition. (Especially if it's ever been presented in a PHB1 previously.) 

Danny


It would not fix "AEDU versus Vancian" because those are two different problems… Actually, each one of those has a number between 0 and a lot of different problems associated to them, it depends on who you ask. As someone who likes Vancian and only had a problem with ALL classes using AEDU, your idea doesn't help those at all.

Why would moving some of the classes into specialties help? All that does is puts more juice into specialties then creates bloat amongst those. A crap ton of options are going to be a crap ton of options no matter what.


Also, I like the class system because it organizes abilities in a very manageable way IMO. Even with tons of multiclassing avalable, it's still a great form of organization. I had no problems with Prc bloat in 3.5 because I knew basically what each Prc was about and could work from there in figuring out how to create the character I had in my head. That was books and books worth of stuff all archived, to a manageable point at least, in my head because orginizing it all with classes worked great for me. (Not saying that Prc bloat needs to come back. But to me, limiting the number of classes like this just feels like you would be happier with GURPS or something.)




Some people like Vancian. Some people like AEDU. Personally, I prefer Spell Points, but Expertise Dice come close enough. Letting classes choose between both options lets you make a Tome of Battle Fighter or a 4E Fighter with the same suite of Powers.

Specialties are optional, right? They're really just sets of feats. So, you make all modular class features (like Manuevers, Schemes, Domains, and Traditions) Specialties. (sarcasm) Besides, the existing Manuevers and Spells are already Bloat - who needs 'em? Just give Fighters Expertise Dice and Wizards an Eldritch Blast, that's all you need to kill stuff (/sarcasm).

Clases are very manageable. Want to play a Ranger? Take the Ranger Specialization and toss it on the Warrior for some Aragorn-style gameplay. Or, add it to Rogue and get something like the 3E Scout. Or, give it to the Cleric and they get something like a tracker Druid. It's no more complex than picking Arcane Dabbler for a Warrior, or Survivor for Wizard, and it makes as much sense.

It all depends on how you want to define your classes / specialties / class choices. For example, the Legend of the Five Rings RPG (4th edition) has only three main "classes": Bushi, Courtier, and Shugenja, but each of the great clans has a number of variations of those classes, creating a whole bunch of things that could be called classes, but aren't.

The main question you have to ask yourself is what advantage does it give you to make a Druid, with the features you want to give it, a subset of a Cleric instead of its own class?



That's sort of what I'm going for. Bushi = Fighter, Courtier = Rogue, and Shugenja = Wizard or Cleric. Think of the Specializations like Clans - give the Barbarian Specialization to any of the 4 classes and you get a Crab Clan style character. Give Assassin and you get Scorpion clan.

With Druid, you could a) Take something like the Ranger Specialization, and make a priest with wilderness training and woodland stride, b) Take the Shapeshifter Specialization and be a Wild-Shaping priest of nature, c) Take the Animal Companion Specialization and have a fearsome animal guardian, or d) Any two of the above, at your leisure.

Contrast that to a Cleric, who might instead take a Domain Specialization, maybe the Weapon Training Specialization, or even something like the Assassin Specialization if they wanted to be a murderous priest with an innocent visage. The possibilities are endless.

Ultimately, defining a "Druid" would come down to what Specializations they took, and what a typical "Druid" is like in your campaign world. 
The bard could totally be a patch applied to any class.

And with your system, no chance for an at-will based spellcaster for me. I don't like it ! 

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

So what about Psionics? What about true Jack of All Trades classes that need access to divine, arcane, martial and skill properties? A D&D 3.5 Warlock (IMO the pinnacle of the class) is Arcane in name only. How would it fit into this narrow paradigm? What about Binders or Incarnum based classes? Where are you placing the Monk? Once you look at all the various 3.X and 4E classes, you begin to realize pigeonholing them in this kind of way simply isn't going to work. If WotC were to do this, they'd lose a significant amount of their post-2E market. 3.5 alone has right around 50 base classes, all added up (not including the DMG generic classes or Alternate Class Feature variants from Unearthed Arcana). How are you going to mirror that that kind of variety in this system, even with "magic modularity"?



Psionics would be Fluff - your power source would change to Psionic, but you'd still get access to the same abilities. Kineticist is refluffed Evoker, Wilder might be a Bard with the Rage, Evocation, and Healing Specializations. Just thinking off the top of my head.

Bard can choose 3 Specializations - more than enough for some martial training, arcane spells, and divine spells. They still have skills. Note that not every character can do everything, and defnintely not well.

Warlock might be Wizard with Expertise Dice, and perhaps Evocation (eldtritch blast) and Beguiling Arcana (Invocations).

Binders and Incarnum are harder, but still Bards. They'd just take Specializations that gave more versatility and options over power.

Monk is Warrior with Brawler Specialization, and whatever feats or specializations renforce the concept.

50 classes is unacceptable. They want the game accessible to new players, they don't want to scare them off with the huge number of options. This is why good MMOs have a small number of classes (usually 5-8) and not 50.

Having a limited number of classes strengthens the core of the game, IMO.

I fully support the 5 class paradigm of Fighter, Mage, Rogue, Priest, Bard.

However, I feel that we do need more than 5 classes, and I hope that everyone that loves a particular class from D&D's history will get their due in the new edition. (Especially if it's ever been presented in a PHB1 previously.) 



Thanks for the support! Smile

I'd love for classes like the Dragonfire Adept, Warlord, and Swordsage make a return. I just wish they were addons to existing class archetypes instead of entirely new classes. It makes multiclassing weird, and I like the idea of being able to fuze some Shadow Hand manuevers and Assassin abilities into the Rogue class instead of having to multiclass 3-ways.
I'm not sure I like the "Psionics is just fluff" angle, but I can see how the Factotum from Dungeonscape (a class I rather like) could fit into your concept of a Bard. I also recognize 50 classes is a daunting thing for new players, but at that point 5 classes with 8-12 variations each isn't that much less daunting IMO.

I like the concept, and have thought of similar (my favorite D&D is 2E Skills and Powers, so I rather like mix and match/point buy D&D, and could see this as a stepping point toward that) systems. I'm just not sure they work as well in real life as they do on paper.
Yes, psionics for me are active powers, not passive with saving throws.

3rd edition psions were just spell points sorcerers, flashy spells included. After thinking, even if I didn't like the 4th edition psions at-all, they were better than the 3rd edition energyballers.

Psions would be better in your system as rogues, IMO. The profile matches, they just go supernatural.

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

Psionics would be Fluff...



I don't need to hear any more. This is a deal-breaker right here.
Yeah, pretty much...this is how i build campaing and characters

Concept > Mechanics > Fluff

I want fluff to be backed up by mechanics...hell, i prefer to create fluff/flavor out of game mechanics, some small crunch can be a bigger inspiration for me than 30  of any flavor/settings books combined for campaing, encounters and characters.
Some people like Vancian. Some people like AEDU. Personally, I prefer Spell Points, but Expertise Dice come close enough. Letting classes choose between both options lets you make a Tome of Battle Fighter or a 4E Fighter with the same suite of Powers.

Specialties are optional, right? They're really just sets of feats. So, you make all modular class features (like Manuevers, Schemes, Domains, and Traditions) Specialties. (sarcasm) Besides, the existing Manuevers and Spells are already Bloat - who needs 'em? Just give Fighters Expertise Dice and Wizards an Eldritch Blast, that's all you need to kill stuff (/sarcasm).

Clases are very manageable. Want to play a Ranger? Take the Ranger Specialization and toss it on the Warrior for some Aragorn-style gameplay. Or, add it to Rogue and get something like the 3E Scout. Or, give it to the Cleric and they get something like a tracker Druid. It's no more complex than picking Arcane Dabbler for a Warrior, or Survivor for Wizard, and it makes as much sense.

I like the part of Vancian where I have a crap ton of spell slots to manage. (Mystic Theurge level of crap ton.) Your solution doesn't provide me with the Vancian experience I want. I don't like all classes following the same base organization of mechanics. Your set up does this. If you think your idea provides a solution to "Vancian vs AEDU" then you really didn't understand what I meant by, "each of those go into different problems for different people. It is not that simple."

Your other paragraphs are kind of missing the point of what I was talking about too. I'm not looking for a way to manage classes, that's easy. Easy even with as many classes as there were in 3.5. So easy, in fact, I think it plus multiclassing is a great way to organize options. Breaking up classes into options would create a huge mess. If I wanted a mess like that, I would play a point-buy system.

I actually NEVER view my character as X class. I always multiclass enough to make my character unique. So saying "you can pick X, Y, and Z to make a Ranger" is suggesting you break apart a method of organization so that players can put it back together. Why make more work for players like that? If it's "customization beyond what multiclassing and specialties can offer" I think you should really look into a point buy game system. Those offer that kind of experience; which I DON'T want, which is why I play D&D.



...Wilder might be a Bard with the Rage, Evocation, and Healing Specializations. Just thinking off the top of my head...

Well, I'm glad you picked Bard and Rage as what you would consider a Wilder. I'll give you points for that. Not how I would want Wilder, but you're closer than 4e was.
5 Core classes with the 5th being bard? No. Bard is a type of rogue in all early versions of D&D, a subclass it was called before 3e. At the core I would prefer:


Warrrior:  Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian
Rogue; Thief, Bard
Priest: Cleric, Druid
Wizard: Mage, Sor., Warlock

There would be four basic types with several variations of classes within each type.
Yes.

If you really have to ask, you'll never understand why.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I'm not sure I like the "Psionics is just fluff" angle, but I can see how the Factotum from Dungeonscape (a class I rather like) could fit into your concept of a Bard. I also recognize 50 classes is a daunting thing for new players, but at that point 5 classes with 8-12 variations each isn't that much less daunting IMO. I like the concept, and have thought of similar (my favorite D&D is 2E Skills and Powers, so I rather like mix and match/point buy D&D, and could see this as a stepping point toward that) systems. I'm just not sure they work as well in real life as they do on paper.



It's just an idea off the top of my head. I'm just sticking with my 5-classes concept. You could argue a sixth, but I think Psionics is more of a specific set of powers (telepathy, clairsentience, metacreativity, psychoportation, psychokinesis, and psychometabolism). You could simply define a Psion as someone who only chooses to gain access to those kinds of powers.

Yes, psionics for me are active powers, not passive with saving throws.

3rd edition psions were just spell points sorcerers, flashy spells included. After thinking, even if I didn't like the 4th edition psions at-all, they were better than the 3rd edition energyballers.

Psions would be better in your system as rogues, IMO. The profile matches, they just go supernatural.



I don't understand what you mean by "active powers" and "passive saving throws". You mean that psionic powers should be attack rolls against a defense? I don't know about that. Psions could be rogues, though I think the psionic rogue is more like a Lurk or maybe a Soulknife.

Psionics would be Fluff...



I don't need to hear any more. This is a deal-breaker right here.



What's the difference between a fireball a Wizard casts and an Energy Ball a Psion manifests? Basically nothing, it does fire damage and grants a reflex save for half. The difference is the "spell point system" that Psions have versus the "spell slots" that Wizards have.

Honestly, I'd be okay with three options: Expertise Dice, Power Slots, and Power Points. There's no reason you couldn't have all three as options for your classes.

One of the things I'm sort of trying to do here is to divorce a lot of the "flavor" from the classes and instead give it to the Specializations (and the final character concept). I don't like the idea of the Wizard being forced into an Intelligence-based spellbook-using arcane caster with spell slots and atwill level 0 spells.

What if I want to play a scholastic arcane magic user with intelligence-based casting and Expertise Dice for my spell use? I can't unless they make another class for it, like the Warlock or something.

What if I want to play a divine scholastic character with intelligence-based casting and a prayerbook and spell slots? I can't unless they make the Archivist.

This is a problem D&D has had since 3rd Edition - FLAVOUR and MECHANICS should be SEPERATE. I don't want to play a D&D where the only spell-point arcane caster has to be a Sorcerer, a person with a specific bizarre heritage (like being part dragon). I want to tie the flavor of my character concept DIRECTLY to my mechanics.
5 Core classes with the 5th being bard? No. Bard is a type of rogue in all early versions of D&D, a subclass it was called before 3e. At the core I would prefer:


Warrrior:  Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Barbarian
Rogue; Thief, Bard
Priest: Cleric, Druid
Wizard: Mage, Sor., Warlock

There would be four basic types with several variations of classes within each type.

The bard has never been referred to as a subclass at any point in time during its history, and it wasn't associated with the thief/rogue (as part of the 'rogue group') until 1989 and the dawn of AD&D2E, which was over a decade after it first appeared in the game.

Beyond being a member of the rogue group in 2E (which was a designation that described class progression and denied multiclassing with other group members; nothing to do with 'sublasses'), the bard has had little in common with the rogue/thief beyond general skillfulness.

Danny

Psionics would be Fluff - your power source would change to Psionic, but you'd still get access to the same abilities. Kineticist is refluffed Evoker, Wilder might be a Bard with the Rage, Evocation, and Healing Specializations. Just thinking off the top of my head.

Bard can choose 3 Specializations - more than enough for some martial training, arcane spells, and divine spells. They still have skills. Note that not every character can do everything, and defnintely not well.

Warlock might be Wizard with Expertise Dice, and perhaps Evocation (eldtritch blast) and Beguiling Arcana (Invocations).

Binders and Incarnum are harder, but still Bards. They'd just take Specializations that gave more versatility and options over power.

Monk is Warrior with Brawler Specialization, and whatever feats or specializations renforce the concept.


Those are all possible ways of creating those "classes," but they are certainly not as satisfying as a dedicated class with dedicated abilities.

50 classes is unacceptable. They want the game accessible to new players, they don't want to scare them off with the huge number of options. This is why good MMOs have a small number of classes (usually 5-8) and not 50.


You have to be careful here because there is a huge difference between a class in a MMO and a class in a traditional RPG. A typical MMO class can usually be changed far more easily between different class options and the designers have only so much time to spend on the game and when they spent it, it is generally spent on new content that is useful to most of the players (ie. new quests or zones) instead of creating new classes or new races. However, for table-top game designers, their audience has different needs and you have a lot of people that routinely start new campaigns or new adventures creating far more opportunities to play new classes and/or new races.
This is a problem D&D has had since 3rd Edition - FLAVOUR and MECHANICS should be SEPERATE. I don't want to play a D&D where the only spell-point arcane caster has to be a Sorcerer, a person with a specific bizarre heritage (like being part dragon). I want to tie the flavor of my character concept DIRECTLY to my mechanics.

This is where we both strongly agree with each other. I may not agree with all your means, but we agree on the ends.
Gah, too many comments to quote. I'll go by name then.

mexrage, I guess we agree then, unless I misunderstand your comment.

VacantPsalm... D&D Next doesn't give you lots of spell slots, even as a full caster. It's kind of unreasonable to want tons and tons of spell slots, when they would break the game. Also, multiclassing was AWFUL in 3E. Instead of making characters ferret around for the class features they want from 5 classes, why not just let them pick Specializations that will GIVE them those class features as they level up? It's a WAY better solution.

Brightmantle, I guess you could rename the 5th class Generalist, or Freelancer as I put above. I think the game should have a class for players who want to dabble in a couple of different fields, and when I think of dabblers, I think of the 3E Bard class. You could also make a Bard character wasily from the Rogue class and some Specializations, one that fits the 2E Bard better, but I have the 3E version in mind here.

Mand12, I'd really like you to clarify your statement. What exactly is your reasoning that more than 5 classes need to be made? What specific suites of abilities CAN and MUST be associated with one, and only one, class, and wny? Why can't I play a Fighter with the Rage Specialialization, and how is that radically different from playing a Barbarian?
Psionics would be Fluff - your power source would change to Psionic, but you'd still get access to the same abilities. Kineticist is refluffed Evoker, Wilder might be a Bard with the Rage, Evocation, and Healing Specializations. Just thinking off the top of my head.

Bard can choose 3 Specializations - more than enough for some martial training, arcane spells, and divine spells. They still have skills. Note that not every character can do everything, and defnintely not well.

Warlock might be Wizard with Expertise Dice, and perhaps Evocation (eldtritch blast) and Beguiling Arcana (Invocations).

Binders and Incarnum are harder, but still Bards. They'd just take Specializations that gave more versatility and options over power.

Monk is Warrior with Brawler Specialization, and whatever feats or specializations renforce the concept.


Those are all possible ways of creating those "classes," but they are certainly not as satisfying as a dedicated class with dedicated abilities.

50 classes is unacceptable. They want the game accessible to new players, they don't want to scare them off with the huge number of options. This is why good MMOs have a small number of classes (usually 5-8) and not 50.


You have to be careful here because there is a huge difference between a class in a MMO and a class in a traditional RPG. A typical MMO class can usually be changed far more easily between different class options and the designers have only so much time to spend on the game and when they spent it, it is generally spent on new content that is useful to most of the players (ie. new quests or zones) instead of creating new classes or new races. However, for table-top game designers, their audience has different needs and you have a lot of people that routinely start new campaigns or new adventures creating far more opportunities to play new classes and/or new races.



I'd be totally fine with the D&D Next book having dozens different permutations of classes, everything from Beguilers to Warblades. I don't mind making the classes straightwforward for newbie players to get into the game. What I'd like is for each of them to be composed of easily recognizable chunks, so that veteran players can say "I want to make a Truenamer, a mage who heals and harms with their mastery of True Names." and then go "So I'll take the Rogue class for a baseline set of abilities, and I'll take the Healing and Evocation Specializations. Truename magic should be weak, but reusable, so I'll go with Expertise Dice. So, I have a skilled character with some nice Linguistics, and a nice suite of healing and attack spells I can use when my physical skills fail me". Bam. Done. No need for a whole new class.

This is a problem D&D has had since 3rd Edition - FLAVOUR and MECHANICS should be SEPERATE. I don't want to play a D&D where the only spell-point arcane caster has to be a Sorcerer, a person with a specific bizarre heritage (like being part dragon). I want to tie the flavor of my character concept DIRECTLY to my mechanics.

This is where we both strongly agree with each other. I may not agree with all your means, but we agree on the ends.



I'm glad we agree on that. It's my #1 most important requirement of D&D Next - they need to let players fill in the flavor of their character, and not have it filled in for them with preset fluff associated with their class.


mexrage, I guess we agree then, unless I misunderstand your comment.




You misunderstood...i want more character options and mechanics, because thru those character options and mechanics i create fluff/flavor/stories/backstories, etc... 
The bard could totally be a patch applied to any class.

And with your system, no chance for an at-will based spellcaster for me. I don't like it ! 


So Bard = class + spoony patch.  Just watch out for irate mystic theurges ;P.
-1 to the OP. 
The bard could totally be a patch applied to any class.

And with your system, no chance for an at-will based spellcaster for me. I don't like it ! 


So Bard = class + spoony patch.  Just watch out for irate mystic theurges ;P.

Mystic Theurges and the like would still be possible, you'd just have to declare one casting side slightly more strongly than the other. Are you an Arcane class that also casts divine spells, or are you a Divine class that also casts arcane spells?

I can see how some people would still think this wasn't enough, but I think it would work for most players.
What I'd like is for each [class] to be composed of easily recognizable chunks, so that veteran players can say "I want to make a Truenamer, a mage who heals and harms with their mastery of True Names." and then go "So I'll take the Rogue class for a baseline set of abilities, and I'll take the Healing and Evocation Specializations. Truename magic should be weak, but reusable, so I'll go with Expertise Dice. So, I have a skilled character with some nice Linguistics, and a nice suite of healing and attack spells I can use when my physical skills fail me". Bam. Done. No need for a whole new class.


I think you just exposed the biggest problem with the approach you are leaning towards. If you are going to go as far as you are discribing, what advantages do you keep by not going all the way to an almost class-less system where players build their class with some kind of point-buy system (something like Gurps or even something like Skyrim)?
What I'd like is for each [class] to be composed of easily recognizable chunks, so that veteran players can say "I want to make a Truenamer, a mage who heals and harms with their mastery of True Names." and then go "So I'll take the Rogue class for a baseline set of abilities, and I'll take the Healing and Evocation Specializations. Truename magic should be weak, but reusable, so I'll go with Expertise Dice. So, I have a skilled character with some nice Linguistics, and a nice suite of healing and attack spells I can use when my physical skills fail me". Bam. Done. No need for a whole new class.


I think you just exposed the biggest problem with the approach you are leaning towards. If you are going to go as far as you are discribing, what advantages do you keep by not going all the way to an almost class-less system where players build their class with some kind of point-buy system (something like Gurps or even something like Skyrim)?

It keeps it slightly easier for new players to enter the hobby. I'm not sure how much easier, but that is one of the OP's listed goals.

Personally, I'd love classless, levelless D&D. But I can see how that level of system mastery would be daunting for many.


mexrage, I guess we agree then, unless I misunderstand your comment.




You misunderstood...i want more character options and mechanics, because thru those character options and mechanics i create fluff/flavor/stories/backstories, etc... 



That's funny, because the entire POINT of what I'm detailing in this thread is a system that INCREASES character options WITHOUT needing to make new classes, so that you CAN create more interesting fluff/flavor/story/backstories, etc. Did you read what I've written? You can combine multiple Specializations in order to create DOZEN and HUNDREDS of ocmbinations, even with only 20 different Specializations. WotC can then release MORE Specializations with their new books - and they cen be integrated into the game in a way that doesn't involve having to add an entirely different class to the mix.

I'm totally fine with Vancian slots, expertise dice, AEDU, spell points, even things like spirit binding and essentia investment, so long as the MECHANICS and FLAVOR are SEPERATE. I don't want to be told that only Rogues and Fighters can have Expertise Dice - what if I want an arcane caster whose spell damage and effectiveness is built around a recharging pool of dice each round that I can divide between multiple actions? The game should support that for advanced players, as a module, as all class features should be.

The bard could totally be a patch applied to any class.

And with your system, no chance for an at-will based spellcaster for me. I don't like it ! 


So Bard = class + spoony patch.  Just watch out for irate mystic theurges ;P.



The DM doesn't have to allow anything he doesn't want in his game, in the same way that he can veto a player who wants to play an Elder Dragon in a low-fantasy, level 2 campaign. The social contract is always there. The point is to create a rules system that is flexible enough to include existng alternate rules, as well as future alternate rules, without having to make entirely different classes to support the mechanics. It's not about whether or not you'd allow an AEDu caster in your game, it's about whether the rules let the player MAKE one that fits his character concept. You can always ban it, but the basic rules have to be there first.
The bard could totally be a patch applied to any class.

And with your system, no chance for an at-will based spellcaster for me. I don't like it ! 


So Bard = class + spoony patch.  Just watch out for irate mystic theurges ;P.

Mystic Theurges and the like would still be possible, you'd just have to declare one casting side slightly more strongly than the other. Are you an Arcane class that also casts divine spells, or are you a Divine class that also casts arcane spells? I can see how some people would still think this wasn't enough, but I think it would work for most players.


I agree with your statements concerning the Mystic Theurges, it could work as you suggest.  Thanks for the input, I was really just making a silly Final Fantasy 4 bard reference though ;P.
This is a problem D&D has had since 3rd Edition - FLAVOUR and MECHANICS should be SEPERATE.



Without mechanics there is no flavor. The mechanics determine everything that happens in the real world. If psionics is magic under another name, then it doesn't really mean anything. No, they should absolutely not be separate. Your whole major premise is where you're wrong on this one. If you don't believe mechanics determine flavor, then play a freeform D&D game, with no rules, then play one with rules, and tell me how it went. If that is the standpoint you are dedicated to and won't waver from, then you and I will never agree on a single thing about how to design this game.
Cyber-Dave, if you have a more detailed reason for disagreeing with me, I'd love to hear it. I know my idea isn't perfect, but I think it's pretty solid. What's your position, and could you explain how you would handle things differently?


What I'd like is for each [class] to be composed of easily recognizable chunks, so that veteran players can say "I want to make a Truenamer, a mage who heals and harms with their mastery of True Names." and then go "So I'll take the Rogue class for a baseline set of abilities, and I'll take the Healing and Evocation Specializations. Truename magic should be weak, but reusable, so I'll go with Expertise Dice. So, I have a skilled character with some nice Linguistics, and a nice suite of healing and attack spells I can use when my physical skills fail me". Bam. Done. No need for a whole new class.


I think you just exposed the biggest problem with the approach you are leaning towards. If you are going to go as far as you are discribing, what advantages do you keep by not going all the way to an almost class-less system where players build their class with some kind of point-buy system (something like Gurps or even something like Skyrim)?

It keeps it slightly easier for new players to enter the hobby. I'm not sure how much easier, but that is one of the OP's listed goals. Personally, I'd love classless, levelless D&D. But I can see how that level of system mastery would be daunting for many.



cheethorne, this is D&D, I want to stay roughly within the bounds of the Fighter.Rogue/Cleric/Wizard/Bard dynamic here. It's not a point-buy system any more than you could argue that attributes, feats, and skill bonuses are purchased with "points" you get at certain levels. Besides, the best race and class creation system's I've ever seen involve making them with a point-buy system... but that isn't the point, if you'll forgive the pun. I'm not going all the way here, and a slipperly slope argument won't convince me of that.

Chakrasavant, it would make it easier to enter the hobby. I believe that bood characters are made when the player starts with their core character concept, and the mechanics taht best fit that concepts are then molded around that core. I've seen too many novice players get turned off by D&D when they realized that their Thief couldn't trade his Sneak Attack in for a cool Eldritch Blast. If you make a few dozen modular Specializations, you get tons of flexibility in character creation and advancement, plus you make sure that the game is better balanced (if that's possible). 
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That's funny, because the entire POINT of what I'm detailing in this thread is a system that INCREASES character options WITHOUT needing to make new classes, so that you CAN create more interesting fluff/flavor/story/backstories, etc. Did you read what I've written? You can combine multiple Specializations in order to create DOZEN and HUNDREDS of ocmbinations, even with only 20 different Specializations. WotC can then release MORE Specializations with their new books - and they cen be integrated into the game in a way that doesn't involve having to add an entirely different class to the mix.

I'm totally fine with Vancian slots, expertise dice, AEDU, spell points, even things like spirit binding and essentia investment, so long as the MECHANICS and FLAVOR are SEPERATE. I don't want to be told that only Rogues and Fighters can have Expertise Dice - what if I want an arcane caster whose spell damage and effectiveness is built around a recharging pool of dice each round that I can divide between multiple actions? The game should support that for advanced players, as a module, as all class features should be.



The problem is...specialization doesn't really have enough impact on a character from the mechanical point of view...it's just feat package, hell, in my opinion, taking a specialization over taking your own feats is a trap option...I want more layers of character customization, that's why i want more classes, because more classes means more class features options.  I have already got used to a system where i have Class>Subclass>Race>Background>Theme>Feats>Powers>Equipment from level 1 as customization layer options...why should i decide to switch to a system that have fewer layers with fewer options between those? 
I understand the appeal of pulling things down to 4/5 classes, but I feel like you just end up putting a massive amount of the burden on specialties. I think that specialties should be cool, powerful and high-impact, but unless they're significantly redesigned, they're much smaller than what a class can do -- and if you do make specialty as high-impact as class (or more), then you haven't really reduced the number of classes, just made a situation where your class/specialty combination is your "real" class. If two members of the same class have almost nothing in common, the class doesn't really mean a whole lot.
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.
This is a problem D&D has had since 3rd Edition - FLAVOUR and MECHANICS should be SEPERATE.



Without mechanics there is no flavor. The mechanics determine everything that happens in the real world. If psionics is magic under another name, then it doesn't really mean anything. No, they should absolutely not be separate. Your whole major premise is where you're wrong on this one. If you don't believe mechanics determine flavor, then play a freeform D&D game, with no rules, then play one with rules, and tell me how it went.



Flavor is imposed by the setting, the NPCs, the players, the way they describe themselves, the way they describe their actions... 2d6 Expertise Dice adds nothing to flavor. The Parry manuever adds nothing to Flavor - it's a mechanic with a simple result. Flavor is when the player says "I twist around and deflect the hobgoblin's axe, shouting "Not today, goblin!".

Flavor is not leveling up and gaining spell slots. Flavor is making a Cleric, and role-playing him as a god who fell from power, became mortal once more, and is seeking to re-establish his church in order to ascend to god-hood once more. Flavor is describing each new spell learned, each new level gained, as your character regaining more of his original divine strength as worhip floods into you from the townsfolk you saved from that dragon attack.

Mechanics are NOT flavor. The way you describe them IS. 
I understand the appeal of pulling things down to 4/5 classes, but I feel like you just end up putting a massive amount of the burden on specialties. I think that specialties should be cool, powerful and high-impact, but unless they're significantly redesigned, they're much smaller than what a class can do -- and if you do make specialty as high-impact as class (or more), then you haven't really reduced the number of classes, just made a situation where your class/specialty combination is your "real" class. If two members of the same class have almost nothing in common, the class doesn't really mean a whole lot.

Pretty much this.

Danny

It keeps it slightly easier for new players to enter the hobby. I'm not sure how much easier, but that is one of the OP's listed goals.


Maybe....? But I'm not fully convinced of this though.

If I want to play a Druid and I understand what a "Druid" generally entails, then wouldn't it be easier for me to open a book and see the Druid class instead of having to go to the "Cleric" class and building the class I want from building components. Now, I can certainly believe that the end result of building a class by combining elements would have the same general end result, but a name and a background can be evocative too and can inspire people and can present optoins that they might not have thought of.

Personally, I'd love classless, levelless D&D. But I can see how that level of system mastery would be daunting for many.


System mastery only really comes into play when you tie it to very difficult retraining conditions. If I choose the wrong set of feats for my 3.5ed Fighter, I'm basically stuck with my choices for quite a while. Even in 4e, if I went by the rules, I could only change one feat each time I went up a level. So it could months of real time and many game sessions because I fix those early mistakes. By contrast, a game like World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings online allows you to spend in-game money to change a bunch of character options and choices (at least within your class).
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