Expertise dice - how should they be used across classes?

Assuming that expertise dice continue to be a general mechanic rather than fighter-specific, what do you think they represent?  What classes should and shouldn't use them?

For my part, I see expertise dice as, well, expertise.  Not necessarily formal training, but nevertheless a certain conscious understanding of technique that allows the character to exert control over the ebb and flow of the fight.  This is what I see as the beating heart of the fighter class, and I can also see it on the rogue.  Paladin and ranger, maybe, if they can be combined with those class' other abilities elegantly.  But I definitely don't see it on, say, the barbarian.  This is the key distinction between the barb and the fighter.  I think if the barb has expertise, the devs are overplaying the mechanic.
I don't... think they should be used across all classes that is. 
I think they should be given to all the non-casting classes, well except for the barbarian if they bring that back. The barbarian isn't really about expertise.
I think they should be given to all the non-casting classes, well except for the barbarian if they bring that back. The barbarian isn't really about expertise.



Personally, I think they make more sense for the barbarian (wild, undisciplined) than the fighter (trained).  Should be used for the sorcerer too, for that matter. Laughing
D&D Barbarian are the experts of rage !

D&D badgers too.
I don't know if the information is really pertinent, but I'm not sure we should creating a barbarian class without caring about how the rage mechanics can conflict with the badgers.

Animals and barbarians could gain Savage Dice. 
I'm with Cyber-Dave, it was an awesome idea that they've just run rampant with. I know they can do MORE with some creativity (just look at the people on these boards and you'll find dozens and hundreds of ideas outside expertise die).

Be that as it may, if they're going to ram the feature down everyone's throat then I'd like to at least see a diverse and unique Maneuver list for ALL classes saddled with it.
Fighter, Monk, Barbarian .. Good
Rogue .. Ok

I think the ED feature shouldn't be given to spell casters. They already have spells, which is equivalent to their ED dice pools. I'd like to see the Fighter, Monk and Barbarian classes have more ED than the Rogue also. The Rogue has more skills it can call on outside of the the fight. As long as the Rogue's sneak attack gets a boost.
Fighter, Monk, Barbarian .. Good
Rogue .. Ok

I think the ED feature shouldn't be given to spell casters. They already have spells, which is equivalent to their ED dice pools. I'd like to see the Fighter, Monk and Barbarian classes have more ED than the Rogue also. The Rogue has more skills it can call on outside of the the fight. As long as the Rogue's sneak attack gets a boost.

But you're assuming that the caster would have spells and then maybe we give him expertise dice.

What if we give him expertise dice but take away spells? As I describe here in an attempt to allow a Harry-Potter-like wizard.

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I don't... think they should be used across all classes that is. 


I'd kind of prefer them to be fighter-specific myself.  But if that doesn't happen, I can still have preferences on better and worse ways that WotC does choose to use them.  Seeing them on just the fighter, the rogue, and the paladin would be better than seeing them on the wizard, to take the extreme example.
If they give ED to casters, they should give magic to martials.
I think they should be given to all the non-casting classes, well except for the barbarian if they bring that back. The barbarian isn't really about expertise.



Personally, I think they make more sense for the barbarian (wild, undisciplined) than the fighter (trained).  Should be used for the sorcerer too, for that matter. 


I'm sorry, I really don't understand you.  It seems to me that a "wild, undisciplined" style is the opposite of "expertise".  Like I said, I see expertise as a conscious understanding of technique, not necessarily trained but definitely the sort of thing that training imparts.  It's all about control, and the barb is all about losing control.
I think the ED feature shouldn't be given to spell casters. They already have spells, which is equivalent to their ED dice pools.


This is sort of my line of thinking with regards to the paladin and ranger.  Conceptually, I can definitely see them as displaying some fighter-like technique, so expertise dice would make sense.  But they're also going to get magic (the paladin definitely, the ranger probably, based on the "old school" design direction we see).  So mechanically, I'm not sure that two subsystems on one class is a good idea.  It might be unnecessarily complex.  Plus, it might also play into the long-standing perception that rangers and paladins are "fighters plus", which I think would be to the fighter's detriment.
Fighter, Monk, Barbarian .. Good
Rogue .. Ok

I think the ED feature shouldn't be given to spell casters. They already have spells, which is equivalent to their ED dice pools. I'd like to see the Fighter, Monk and Barbarian classes have more ED than the Rogue also. The Rogue has more skills it can call on outside of the the fight. As long as the Rogue's sneak attack gets a boost.

But you're assuming that the caster would have spells and then maybe we give him expertise dice.

What if we give him expertise dice but take away spells? As I describe here in an attempt to allow a Harry-Potter-like wizard.



I would prefer the casters don't use the expertise dice mechanic. That is the point I am trying to make. I can see how a martial class could use expertise dice, but a magic class already has spells and I like that mechanic is it stands.
I think the ED feature shouldn't be given to spell casters. They already have spells, which is equivalent to their ED dice pools.


This is sort of my line of thinking with regards to the paladin and ranger.  Conceptually, I can definitely see them as displaying some fighter-like technique, so expertise dice would make sense.  But they're also going to get magic (the paladin definitely, the ranger probably, based on the "old school" design direction we see).  So mechanically, I'm not sure that two subsystems on one class is a good idea.  It might be unnecessarily complex.  Plus, it might also play into the long-standing perception that rangers and paladins are "fighters plus", which I think would be to the fighter's detriment.


I have to agree. I suppose if the game system limited the number of spell features a Ranger and Paladin could obtained, then expertise dice would take over as the main mechanic.
Seems to me like it needs to be handled the same way spell slots work.  Pretty much all the classes do is provide a list of relevant abilities, and maybe a slight implementation tweak.

The thing expertise dice do is they provide a decent means of access to a list of powers. If they're going to be used anywhere else, then that's how they should be used. If you're going to have a caster type use dice then they'll spend them to cast their spells same way a fighter spends them to use a maneuver. I don't want them to do this.


Even so, I think there's scope for more classes to use this mechanic. Basically I want them to use it when it's appropriate for a class to have an encounter based medium to access a menu of abilities, but I want it to be one of many mechanics that do this.


edit: got my words mixed up.

I think they should be given to all the non-casting classes, well except for the barbarian if they bring that back. The barbarian isn't really about expertise.



Personally, I think they make more sense for the barbarian (wild, undisciplined) than the fighter (trained).  Should be used for the sorcerer too, for that matter. 


I'm sorry, I really don't understand you.  It seems to me that a "wild, undisciplined" style is the opposite of "expertise".  Like I said, I see expertise as a conscious understanding of technique, not necessarily trained but definitely the sort of thing that training imparts.  It's all about control, and the barb is all about losing control.



I think you're getting too hung up on what the words mean and missing what the mechanic does.  Sure, "expertise" implies something that doesn't fit for the barbarian, but "expertise dice" allow you to, get this, build your own attacks on the fly.

Muscle memory being a thing, a soldier who is trained in a specific way (which is to say, a fighter) would tend to have a few fixed techniques with limited application.  A fighter is taught how to swing a sword and thus cannot improvise as well as a monkey swinging a stick to obtain a goal.  That is the difference:  regimented combat style (Tome of Battle) versus Bruce Lee (expertise dice).

On the same token, it works for sorcerers as well.  Just call their effects "seeds" instead of maneuvers and you're good to go; each turn, the sorcerer can call on different "seeds" and stick them together to create a spell.  Works much better for the idea of spontaneous spellcasting.
A fighter/mage "gish" class with ED and Maneuvers seems inevitable to me.  I really feel like ED have overriden the design goal of "Every class should have its own unique mechanic" and it bugs me a little.
I am working on a module putting XD in the hands of 14 classes both martials and casters.  In the module, casters will get a spell overhaul.

My group is anxiously awaiting the draft.

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

I don't want to see expertise dice brought into EVERY martial class. Although I can see how the maneuvers differentiate between the classes (the Fighter and the Rogue play very differently at the moment), it just seems like a bit of a pigeonhole. Well, martials get THIS, so how do we implement THIS for THIS class. Rather than, what seems to work the most naturally for the class.

Honestly, for the Rogue, I liked the Sneak Attack and Skill Expertise as class features. Then, I would have loved to have seen ten-minute based resources for their combat maneuvers - which expertise dice would work very well for. This way the Rogue would have felt VERY different to the Fighter - but would still use a similar feature.

This way our core four classes would not seem like a class either has to use spells, expertise dice, or a mixture of a two - and we could end up with very interesting mechanics for other classes.   
I think you're getting too hung up on what the words mean and missing what the mechanic does.  Sure, "expertise" implies something that doesn't fit for the barbarian, but "expertise dice" allow you to, get this, build your own attacks on the fly.


Okay, I see what you're saying now.

But I still don't think what you're saying is a good fit, and I think you're selling the fighter a bit short.  You're right that the fighter has a more disciplined and studied approach than the barbarian, and that this difference is roughly analogous to that between the wizard and the sorcerer.  But this does not mean that the fighter performs fixed, discrete techniques the way the wizard casts fixed, discrete spells.  Just by the nature of melee combat, it cannot work that way:  you're always improvising.  What the fighter does, and what I think the expertice die mechanic is really good at expressing, is exerting conscious control over every attack he makes and every attack struck against him.  That blow-by-blow level of awareness and analysis is just perfect for the disciplined and studied approach.

Whereas the barbarian - and it sounds weird to say it this way, but it's true - is the big-picture guy.  He's not paying attention to those details of how he attacks and how his enemies attack him.  The decisions he makes are not on that tactical level of "I'm not going to spend much effort turning this attack because I really need to land a big blow next round."  That stuff all blends together for him.  For the barb, battle is about his emotional state.  In 3E, it was basically a binary decision:  to rage or not to rage.  4E gave him a variety of different rages to choose from.  Maybe in DDN he can decide how much to rage - just a bit worked up, or all-out berserk? - or maybe he picks a particular enemy to rage at.  Who knows?  But however it works, the decisions he makes cover many attacks over several rounds.  One particular attack is not important enough for him to analyze, especially since the analytical portions of his mind are shut down.

That is the difference:  regimented combat style (Tome of Battle) versus Bruce Lee (expertise dice).


I'm not sure Bruce Lee is the best example for you here.  He studied combat styles exhaustively and used his knowledge and experience to exert precise blow-by-blow control.  Emphatically not a barbarian.
Yeah, true, picked the wrong analogy there.  Point is, I liked the "studied vs. spontaneous" thing, with ED being very good to represent the latter. Tongue Out

That said, I just don't think it should be renamed between classes that do use the mechanic, just because the name doesn't fit the flavor.  So, maybe a more fluff-neutral name for the feature?  Say, "combat dice"?  Something like that.  Want to see more stuff before I get too passionate about this particular item.

But yes, sorcerers should use ED (or something painfully similar) to construct their spells.  That one, I am adamant about. Cool
That said, I just don't think it should be renamed between classes that do use the mechanic, just because the name doesn't fit the flavor.


Good point.  But in this case I think the name does fit the flavor, given the level-of-control thing I rambled on about above.

But yes, sorcerers should use ED (or something painfully similar) to construct their spells.  That one, I am adamant about. 


Hmmm... are you really constructing spells, though?  I mean, it's just "pick a 'seed', pick a number".  I could see the attraction if it was a more involved points-based spell-building system.  That wouldn't work at a D&D table, because it'd be way too slow, but I'd be intrigued by it in a full-blown tactical game.
In engineering, we would call this 'limiting our design space'. Deciding that 'expertise dice across al classes' or even 'expertise dice across martial classes' is the best solution before we have exercised alternative options would be foolish.

Expertise dice resrict what we can do mechanically. Maneuvers which cost expertice dice are limited in power and are not interesting. If we want to avoid all classes feeling the same, we should steer away from universalizing expertise dice.


Expertise dice are inappropriate for classes other than the Fighter. Defining Fighters as 'experts at fighting' maes sense when they are able to use their expertise to excute Deadly Strikes repeatedly. A Barbarian using his 'expertise at raging' doesn't make sense if he constantly peerforms maneuvers with it. A Paladin using Smite Evil every round against every enemy doesnn't have the same impact as a Paladin saving his Smite Evil for the boss fight.

We can do so much more interesting things as long as we don't constrict our ways of thinking.
I think ED are great and can be used in a lot of ways but I think classes still need unique class defining items too.  Like SA for rogues and Favored emeny for Rangers, ect.

I've been looking at D20 modern and how to use ED in that setting.  I was redesigning the classes where they still had their unqiue abilities and then ED just worked as an additional part of the game.  For example Harms Way for the Bodyguard.  Works similar to protect but the bodyguard takes damage.  It's close but different.  Flying kick could do ED damage +1 extra ED as a special for that power.  Also Martial Arts damage can go up like ED but only works unarmed vs the deadly strike that covers everything.  Ok so these may be bad ideas right now but I'm trying to find a way ED can be used but where NEXT classes also get something more defining too.
In engineering, we would call this 'limiting our design space'. Deciding that 'expertise dice across al classes' or even 'expertise dice across martial classes' is the best solution before we have exercised alternative options would be foolish.

Expertise dice resrict what we can do mechanically. Maneuvers which cost expertice dice are limited in power and are not interesting. If we want to avoid all classes feeling the same, we should steer away from universalizing expertise dice.

Expertise dice are inappropriate for classes other than the Fighter. Defining Fighters as 'experts at fighting' maes sense when they are able to use their expertise to excute Deadly Strikes repeatedly. A Barbarian using his 'expertise at raging' doesn't make sense if he constantly peerforms maneuvers with it. A Paladin using Smite Evil every round against every enemy doesnn't have the same impact as a Paladin saving his Smite Evil for the boss fight.

We can do so much more interesting things as long as we don't constrict our ways of thinking.


The current mechanics of expertise dice are restricting, I agree.  If each class gained ED differently, I think this might go a long way to making this workable for all non-casting class.  Fighter's dice are limited and they 'refresh' all of their dice at the end of their turn (as do rogues).  Barbarians ED pool could be unlimited and they could gain ED when they take damage which could be used to empower their actions.  This might mean that barbarians deal damage to themselves or get in harm's way simply to gain rage.  Paladins might gain dice when fighting evil (or some other justification).  Rangers might gain them each time they hit their target... 

I think that will go a long way to make the classes distinct because it is only the spending concept of ED that remains a constant.