THE TIME HAS COME! Character classes need to be thrown out the window! Disagree? Please, let me expl


There’re some great leaps and bounds with DnD next. It’s simpler. I love that skills come from background choice. This makes sense, it is logical. Background traits are also great.

But there’s still a major flaw. THERE’S NO POINT TO THE CLASS SYSTEM! Please, let me explain. Each class runs of essentially the same game mechanics: attack bonus, selectable manoeuvres, feats, skills, class features, etc. If the mechanics are so similar between them all, why separate them? Essentially it’s to define different builds within the game mechanics, except that these builds are written in stone and they overcomplicate the fundamentally simple levelling mechanics the game is structured on. The mechanics are beautiful but are robbed of their greatness by the restrictions the class system imposes upon them.
The class systems used in every DnD rule system is restrictive and overcomplicates the matter. We simply can’t play the characters we envision and are forced to stick to the classic archetypes. What if I want to play a fighter who can sneak attack? Multiclass? It’s overcomplicated. Wizards have tried to fix this by adding character class after character class or prestige class after prestige class that they end up spazzing the rule systems completely. By that I mean making the system terribly convoluted with endless expansion rules books.
With DnD next, there’s going to be countless players (myself included) who will have a character and want to have at least one small ability/manoeuvre/spell/feat from another class that would enrich their experience and complete the mental picture they envisioned for their character but would have to go through a terribly overcomplicated process to get what they want, WHEN THE FUNDAMENTAL MECHANICS OF THE LEVELING SYSTEM COULD EASILY GIVE THIS PROVISION BUT THE CLASS SYSTEM DOES NOT ALLOW IT!

Unrestrained freedom in character creation and leveling is the best thing Wizards could give the roleplaying community. It’s the very core of role-playing, we want to take on the role of the character we envision, not the substitute we are forced to adopt due to a restrictive class system. I feel that DnD next is a great leap in the right direction but what would make this version near perfect is a universal level system that all player characters follow. Each manoeuvre, training, speciality, feat and spell should be available to every character in a pool of selectable features for the characters. These features would be regulated by level.
You can keep the classic character classes as recommended builds within this system, which features/unique abilities to pick that would result in the ranger character archetype and so on. Essentially this is what the class system is except that the builds are locked with no compromise for true versatility and character creation freedom.

Could a universal levelling system result in a chaotic array of undefined characters? For one, the player will define what their character is and that’s the point! A class system FORCES every player to conform to its outline, a dictator saying NO YOU CAN’T, when a universal level system says yes you can. Will it say that you can play a laser gun wielding space alien? No, this is still dungeons and dragons. The rules will still guide character creation, just not coerce or dictate it. Just a note, coercing and dictating character creation was exactly what fourth addition did and that’s why I wanted to see it burn. There were many good intentions with fourth, but I still see it as the spawn of some type of bad juju.

With truly free character creation and levelling, countless players will still want to play the classic Elvan ranger and they will still be able to. This would give the player community such enjoyment in experimenting with different character builds. Making a character would be like making a deck in Magic the Gathering. Which abilities would work well with another? From what I have deduced, DnD next is very well balanced and defined so overpowered character builds should not be possible. What it would mean is that I could make my heavily armoured chaotic neutral cleric who is adept in using a greatsword and can sneak attack with his spells. I call him, the holy thug.

How this would work is that each level the characters would receive three features (or a number close to this) that they can select out of the pool of character features that comprise all the current manoeuvres, weapon/armor proficiencies, specialities, feat, spell, etc. First a character would expend one of their features on a specific combat training such as heavy melee combat training for heavy melee weapons, finesse melee combat training or arcane spell training, etc. They would then select features that would give them uses within that training type such as feats, manoeuvres and spells.
For instance a character who picks arcane magic would then select their spells by expending one of their character’s other unused features. Some weaker spells can be put in a small group that can be purchased with one feature. Greater spells can be purchased with two or three features, restricted by level. A character could select heavy melee weapon training and then the features they select would define the way their character fights, such as the cleave or parry manoeuvres, defining if they are a tactical melee fighter or a strength one.
Additional skills or advanced skill training can also be picked with one of the character’s features. Sneak attacks and it’s subsequent advancements. In fact any ability in the whole DnD game should be available through this system, with guidelines and restrictions of course based on level and already purchased features.

Magic has been done incorrectly in every rule system I have played in but this system would fix the issues. It has always been difficult to balance magic vs metal. I really feel the best way to tackle this is to treat each individual spell like a weapon a character can wield. They can attack with them every turn as a fighter can, have as many attacks as a fighter has, each spell having its own unique combat conditions, just like weapons. Fighters have no limit to the amount of times they can swing a sword (essentially they have infinite stamina), so why should wizards have a limit to the amount of times they can cast a spell. If it’s to balance overpowered magic, a simple answer is power magic down a little and make them pay for increases in spell damage as a fighter has to through feats and such. They would do this through the features they gain each level.
Restricting spells to ‘spells per day’ slows down gameplay and overcomplicates the system. By adopting this ‘feature’ system, that both fighters and wizards spend a feature to raise a spell or weapon damage by one dice tier (d4 to d6. D6 to d8 and so on), the characters would have infinite options to make any character they want and none of them would be unbalanced. Each one would have an even set of skills specifically selected by the player and their strengths and weaknesses would be balanced between them.

Having a separate attack bonus for weapon attacks and magic is silly. Throwing a fireball at a creature takes as much perception and aim as shooting an arrow or swinging an axe. It relies on a different operational proficiency (training) and this can be selected through the backgrounds or other training options through features but the base bonus as to how well a character can aim should be the same across the board

A sample model of the universal level guide is below:


Level      Untrained              Trained
           Attack bonus        attack bonus
1               +2                        +3             feature, feature, feature
2               +2                        +3             feature, feature, feature
3               +2                        +3             feature, feature, feature
4               +2                        +4             feature, feature, feature
5               +2                        +4             feature, feature, feature
6               +3                        +4             feature, feature, feature
7               +3                        +4             feature, feature, feature
8               +3                        +4             feature, feature, feature
9               +3                        +5             feature, feature, feature
10             +3                        +5             feature, feature, feature
11             +4                        +5             feature, feature, feature
12             +4                        +5             feature, feature, feature
13             +4                        +5             feature, feature, feature
14             +4                        +6             feature, feature, feature
15             +4                        +6             feature, feature, feature
16             +5                        +6             feature, feature, feature
17             +5                        +6             feature, feature, feature
18             +5                        +6             feature, feature, feature
19             +5                        +7             feature, feature, feature
20             +5                        +7             feature, feature, feature


With this system the player will literally be able to make any character class they can imagine. The downside for wizards is that no new character classes can be released in later additional rule books because they could already have been made, but what are you there for? to make a game system that satisfies and fulfils the desires of countless loyal fans, or to make a system only there to force people to spend more money on a rule system that does not satisfy. In any case, alternative character builds can be released (some even developed and tested by the player community, wouldn't that be great!), additional feats, manoeuvres, skills etc as well as limitless adventure modules. There’s plenty of money making potential with a universal system that enables players to make any character class they can think of off the bat.

This is what I want in the next edition of DnD, there are many who want this as well. Do you? Why? / Why not?

"Edit"

Just a note to my references to the classic classes becoming character builds. In my mind these builds would be given as much prominence as the current classes. Their backgrounds, style of play, interactions, etc, would be given as much attention as they already have. In fact their builds would not be too different to their current level structure and players would be encouraged to pick from these classic builds. This would be very important for new players, as newer players oft have difficulty in visualising a complete character off the bat. Picking a class/build is a defining part of character creation but as knowledge of the rules increase they will see that they have freedom to alter the established character builds and even create a completely new one.

So in my mind the classic classes would never be diminished or their place in the DnD mythos lessened.



   

   
Please expalin to me what the defining characteristics of the Dungeons & Dragons game are.  I already have GURPS.  I'm not sure why D&D should attempt to be that game.
Can I get a tl;dr?
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Can I get a tl;dr?



tl;dr:  The OP doesn't like classes or understand their usefulness in instantly expressing ideas to players.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Please expalin to me what the defining characteristics of the Dungeons & Dragons game are.  I already have GURPS.  I'm not sure why D&D should attempt to be that game.

Defining traits of D&D:


  • Implied generic fantasy setting


    • Dungeons

    • Dragons


  • Vast majority of tasks resolved with d20

  • Party members work together to cover different roles, since no one character can do everything

  • Longsword deals 1d8 damage


And the answer is, "because GURPS is nearly un-playable".

The metagame is not the game.

And the answer is, "because GURPS is nearly un-playable".


Which is all the more reason to look twice before jumping into the morass that is classless RPG.
As Mike has said, I think Classes are also a central part of D&D.

The defining characteristics of the DnD game? This question will probably come down to personal opinion. But fundamentally, perhaps: dungeons, and, dragons ^_^


DnD will always be the quintessential fantasy table top RPG. If you feel that the inseparable fantasy element or defining characteristic of DnD is the classic character classes, I would say that the classes would essentially still be there, as defined builds within a more accommodating system. DnD would still definitely be DnD, we would still have sneak attacks, cleave, magic missile and all the other defining DnD things; we would just have the added freedom that many players crave, myself included.


The fact that SO MANY additional character classes and prestige classed have been released is evidence that there is a large part within the player community who scream for more versatility and options in character creation. It’s funny, many of the prestige classes and additional classes in 3.5 are simply new level builds comprising class features from multiple classes. DnD has essentially done what I’m proposing except that they have denied the ability to pick which class ability we would like from us. Yes this could be because of unfair and unbalanced character builds, but if each available ability is given level restrictions, previous requirements, and general guidelines, this would be avoided.

Please expalin to me what the defining characteristics of the Dungeons & Dragons game are.  I already have GURPS.  I'm not sure why D&D should attempt to be that game.

Defining traits of D&D:


  • Implied generic fantasy setting


    • Dungeons

    • Dragons


  • Vast majority of tasks resolved with d20

  • Party members work together to cover different roles, since no one character can do everything

  • Longsword deals 1d8 damage



I thought gurps was source materia and inspirational character design mechanics that you can ignore in favor of free form play.... 

and d8 for longsword? nyeh....for that goes in the who cares cat.... I mean the 6 stats any order (str,dex,con,cha,int,wis) ... mundane stat range 3 to 18 , ummm escalating absract hit points, levels and the BIGEE classes.
  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."

 

Can I get a tl;dr?



tl;dr:  The OP doesn't like classes or understand their usefulness in instantly expressing ideas to players.



Ah, gotchya'. Thanks, BM! I think this came up in another thread. I think the compromise was, "Classes are fundamental to D&D. But, a classless model could make a really cool module for people who want it."
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
I know that AD&D 2E, at the very least, included a point-based class-construction module in the DMG.  Of course, in those days, the "points" involved were experience points - you could have as many features as you wanted for your class, but it would end up costing more experience per level than if you'd just multi-classed with each component

Still, to say that there is no precedence for this sort of thing would be without merit.  It existed.  It was in the book.

The metagame is not the game.

I actually just posted this in the L&L expertise dice thread, but it applies here too. Excuse the part about me responding to their argument about the rogue being the king of the two other pillars.

Disclaimer: I will start this by saying I do agree that other classes need some out of combat help, and giving it only to the rogue is not the answer. But handfeeding all options to everyone is not the answer either.

I don't know how you guys play games, but I require rolls for conversation maybe 1 out of...maybe every 5? Maybe? There's a lot of talking going on that never requires skills or checks of any kind. A lot of you are making a gross generalization concerning "Fighter has to sit down when the talking starts" :P

One trend I've seen come and go on these boards is this idea that every class should be perfectly viable in every situation, and that's just silly. If every class was equally viable in all areas of play, there would be no need for classes. The point of classes is that it distinguishes each player with what they are good at and what they can do. If you take away that distinguishment, what's left? What the reason a player is playing a rogue face instead of a fighter face? or a wizard face?

I'm going to take a snippet from the packet. Here's the basic description for fighter: "Durability and unequaled weapon mastery help the fighte rdominate a battlefield." Where in that description does it mention face fighters? Nowhere, because it's not a core concept of the class. The Devs have given you the tools to make a face fighter if you really want one with feats. Take that chance if it's really bothering you.

Choosing a class is supposed to be the most meaningful decision of the character creation process. You basically are saying "This is what I want to be able to do in my party". By just giving every option to every class, you make that a much less meaningful choice. Think about the elder scrolls series. In all of them (Save Skyrim) you had to choose a class. But beyond what made you level up, did it really matter? Did being a "Nightblade" instead of an "Assassin" really change how you played? Not really. You played how you wanted to play because you could do anything. The class was really just a formality. Thus in Skyrim they nixed them completely because they realized the selection of classes actually detracted from their design goal and made the players feel more limited.

But D&D is not The Elder Scrolls. Classes and their capabilities play a huge roll in this game, and the Devs seem pretty intent on keeping that. As much as I hate using this word, classes have a "role" to play in D&D. They aren't just a collection of mechanics with a title, they actually present mechanics to help in an area in which other classes are lacking. Sometimes this gets a little lost (3e spellcasters), but that is the core design. The design of D&D is a party of classes working together to overcome challenges, each providing their own expertise. This has been the theme of every edition of D&D before, and I don't see a reason to change it now.

My two copper.

Just a note to my references to the classic classes becoming character builds. In my mind these builds would be given as much prominence as the current classes. Their backgrounds, style of play, interactions, etc, would be given as much attention as they already have. In fact their builds would not be too different to their current level structure. So in my mind the classic classes would never be diminished or their place in the DnD mythos lessened.

wel we have narrowed the amount of classes down to 2 at this point.

martial (expertise dice based) with the builds fighter,rogue and monk.
magical (vancien based) with the builds wizard and cleric.
 
wel we have narrowed the amount of classes down to 2 at this point.

martial (expertise dice based) with the builds fighter,rogue and monk.
magical (vancien based) with the builds wizard and cleric.
 




Are you talking about DnD next or my proposed classless model? My confusion is because what you have outlined is essentially what is proposed in DnD next, as it stands. If this is what you meant, I agree completely.


If you feel that there’s more diversity in the proposed DnD next classes, I would say that that very same diversity would exist in the recommended character builds and those same differing abilities that give the diversity (manoeuvres, feats skills, spells, etc) would be available to any character who meets the prerequisites if the player wishes to break from the established classic character archetypes, as many do.


Just a note to my references to the classic classes becoming character builds. In my mind these builds would be given as much prominence as the current classes. Their backgrounds, style of play, interactions, etc, would be given as much attention as they already have. In fact their builds would not be too different to their current level structure. So in my mind the classic classes would never be diminished or their place in the DnD mythos lessened.



So there would still be classes. Well, thats what I take from that.
Actually, I had a thread about this subject. I was making the point that D&D is a class-based system. Which it is. Whether its two (martial and magical) or 11 classes or 16, its class-based. If you want a classless game there are plenty of those both good and bad. GURPS, White Wolf, Shadowrun are all classless games. However, with D&D we have classes and I'm pretty sure they aren't going anywhere.
wel we have narrowed the amount of classes down to 2 at this point.

martial (expertise dice based) with the builds fighter,rogue and monk.
magical (vancien based) with the builds wizard and cleric.
 



This is kind of an oversimplification :P While it seems like that in one perspective (especially with the Fighter not having anything personal atm), classes still get plenty of special class only goodness (Except the fighter, atm). Rogues get schemes, monks get their ki abilities, clerics and wizards get completely different spells, etc. There's still plenty of uniqueness left to them, and I feel it will only get better
My two copper.
Sentrix,

Your idea has merit.  It would be neat to try it out.  But, I am going to disagree, although I'm not going down the pit of "it's not D&D."  I'm going to say because it inflates the notion that players must have everything.

There are many that play D&D to overcome obstacles.  An inherent obstacle for any challenge is not having all the right tools for the job.  In real life I can't be a NBA player because I'm 5'11, have average manual dexterity, and CeeLo hands.  (Not really, but his hands are such a good illustration.)  In D&D I might have to disarm the trap via magical means because I'm not a thief and do not have their skillset.

This upsets some players and makes others happy.  It also creates things like bloat.  I know your table says it won't, but that's a naive way to look at it.  Once players find the three things to skills it takes to be an archer, many will do simply that.  I would bet, even some that don't want to will, for fear that their character will be the one that "does nothing" each round compared to his companions.  Simply look at the fighter's thread.  The second someone mentioned on there that thieves should get some extra benefit for damage, someone wanted skills and damage.  Then someone else wanted bonus damage, spiked single target damage, skills, and the ability to cause effects.  It's human nature, and a ruleset like this only exacerbates the situation.

I've mentioned it before in another thread, just because you give options does not necessarily create a better game.  You may, in fact, be ruining the game for some.  Look at it like traffic: you could make the rules of the road have many many options, and traffic would probably move faster.  But, it would also create more accidents.  And in accidents there are victims.  Many don't want to be a victim.  
The time for classes to go out the window was actually about 20 years ago.

That said, it'll never happen.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

Just a note to my references to the classic classes becoming character builds. In my mind these builds would be given as much prominence as the current classes. Their backgrounds, style of play, interactions, etc, would be given as much attention as they already have. In fact their builds would not be too different to their current level structure. So in my mind the classic classes would never be diminished or their place in the DnD mythos lessened.



So there would still be classes. Well, thats what I take from that.
Actually, I had a thread about this subject. I was making the point that D&D is a class-based system. Which it is. Whether its two (martial and magical) or 11 classes or 16, its class-based. If you want a classless game there are plenty of those both good and bad. GURPS, White Wolf, Shadowrun are all classless games. However, with D&D we have classes and I'm pretty sure they aren't going anywhere.




There’s absolutely no problem calling the classic character builds I have proposed, classes, except that is could lead to misunderstandings.


You could call what I am proposing a classless model or a class model with guided freedom. Whatever it is called does not bother me as long as the function is the same, which is to unlock the current restrictive class system and allow the player community to alter the classic character archetypes and/or build whatever character they envision within a framework of balanced guidelines. With this model, essentially there would be no classes, just different character builds. Several outlined, described and encouraged to be chosen (the classic DnD character archetypes). This is essentially what DnD next is, but without the freedom to modify the character classes or make your own. Each class is a different build based on DnD next game mechanics but with no freedom to be modified or remade. What I am proposing in not a large step away from what is already established as DnD next. In fact it’s not really a step at all, the build structure is already there, it simply unlocks the restrictive class system enabling players to modify the builds already there (currently called classes). The current classes in DnD next are not actually classes, they are different character builds within already established game mechanics with differing abilities/features but without the freedom for change.

Classes provide a simplicity to the game that helps newer players and inexperienced DMs.  To deviate from this may seem like fun, but it becomes more and more difficult to regulate the game.  Oh, it is certainly more than doable, but I would not envy a first time DM trying to maintain control of a class-less D&D session.  That said, there are those that want it and DMs that can handle that.  For them, release a polished secondary book for them as soon as possible.  Keep classes for the players as core.  The best of both worlds is then met.  The power-gaming min/maxer type is in me, I understand them, and I fear what a class-less system would do to game balance.  It was easy enough to create overpowered characters in 3 and 3.5 with classes.  A lot more abuses to the system could be done without them...
Sentrix,
Your idea has merit.  It would be neat to try it out.  But, I am going to disagree, although I'm not going down the pit of "it's not D&D."  I'm going to say because it inflates the notion that players must have everything.
There are many that play D&D to overcome obstacles.  An inherent obstacle for any challenge is not having all the right tools for the job.  In real life I can't be a NBA player because I'm 5'11, have average manual dexterity, and CeeLo hands.  (Not really, but his hands are such a good illustration.)  In D&D I might have to disarm the trap via magical means because I'm not a thief and do not have their skillset.
This upsets some players and makes others happy.  It also creates things like bloat.  I know your table says it won't, but that's a naive way to look at it.  Once players find the three things to skills it takes to be an archer, many will do simply that.  I would bet, even some that don't want to will, for fear that their character will be the one that "does nothing" each round compared to his companions.  Simply look at the fighter's thread.  The second someone mentioned on there that thieves should get some extra benefit for damage, someone wanted skills and damage.  Then someone else wanted bonus damage, spiked single target damage, skills, and the ability to cause effects.  It's human nature, and a ruleset like this only exacerbates the situation.
I've mentioned it before in another thread, just because you give options does not necessarily create a better game.  You may, in fact, be ruining the game for some.  Look at it like traffic: you could make the rules of the road have many many options, and traffic would probably move faster.  But, it would also create more accidents.  And in accidents there are victims.  Many don't want to be a victim. 




Classes provide a simplicity to the game that helps newer players and inexperienced DMs.  To deviate from this may seem like fun, but it becomes more and more difficult to regulate the game.  Oh, it is certainly more than doable, but I would not envy a first time DM trying to maintain control of a class-less D&D session.  That said, there are those that want it and DMs that can handle that.  For them, release a polished secondary book for them as soon as possible.  Keep classes for the players as core.  The best of both worlds is then met.  The power-gaming min/maxer type is in me, I understand them, and I fear what a class-less system would do to game balance.  It was easy enough to create overpowered characters in 3 and 3.5 with classes.  A lot more abuses to the system could be done without them...




Hi Penandpaper2, Rs06.


 


Boy do you both mention some very pertinent points.


 


Penandpaper, what you have said is very relevant and is also, very true. It’s in overcoming difficultly that makes the victory truly satisfying.


I know what you’re saying, that giving players unrestrained freedom could ruin their game experience.


I understand what you’re saying, Rs06, as well. I’ve seen some of the most broken character builds in 3.5, were the characters were basically damage dealing unbeatable Gods. One way in which this was done was by exploiting the power attack feat. Doubling, tripling and even quadrupling it’s affect through prestige classes and then combining it with the lance’s double damage feature... messy.


From what I have deduced in DnD next, wizards is being very careful to avoid any of those loopholes, and good for them. Next has such great potential and is why I feel it’s structure could support a classless system, a big reason because the devs are focusing on keeping it balanced.


Perhaps I could sagest a few things that may resolve your concerns.


 



  1. What if the amount of features you could select were lessened? This would mean that the players would have far from every ability/feature they can give to their characters.

  2. What if all the different features the character’s could select (manoeuvres, feats skills, spells, etc) had very defined requirements such as minimum ability score, minimal level, minimum skills already known, feats first required and so on. Combat style defines a character in a big way, melee strength, melee dextrous, ranged, magic so on. What if adopting another trained combat type took a lot to do (after the character adopts their first combat style). Say it costs five features or something as expensive? Then they would need to be trained in the right weapon: axe, rapier, spell, which would cost even more features. There’s huge advantages in being adept in another combat style, it makes a character extremely versatile, but in making it cost so much to do, they lose many opportunities to specialise in their original combat style, putting them at a big disadvantage when the party needs an expert swordsman or mage.

  3. If the features were far and few between, picking a different set of features would be a big sacrifice and would mean that the character would lose the chance to specialise in whatever play style they were developing. So instead of empowering the players to be a master of everything, it would be a delicate balance, needing forethought to plan out. Would this put new players at a disadvantage in that they could make a very poor character build? Not completely because they will still have as many features as every other character and in that they would be even. Their attack bonus would be the same. Having a character who can attempt many different tasks is useful but they would not be specialised in any of them because they would have spread themselves out too much. Still useful because the character is diverse, but still hard because when they come across a lock that requires a master lock picker, he won’t be up to the task. I feel that if the features are regulated properly, the characters would still be balanced and they would definitely find many obstacles that they can’t easily overcome.


The players who want everything, simply won’t be able to get everything but they will end up with a diverse character that is balanced with the specialised ones.

Impossible for me to disagree more. D&D is, always has been, and always needs to be, a class-based system. WotC should feel free to create an infinite number of non-class-based games, but none of them would be D&D.

While pre-3rd wasn't PERFECTLY class-based (allowed multi-classing, had optional proficiencies, etc), it was pretty close. Third moved directly away from being class-based, and 4th moved somewhat laterally, which is one big reason why we don't play those editions much.

For 5th to win us over it must return to being HEAVILY class-based.




I personally have to disagree.


The defining thing of DnD is not the class system I’ve given my reasons for this opinion and Saelorn summed it up perfectly in a previous post. I’ve also given my reasons why a non class based system would work much better, and that essentially it’s already present in the DnD next game mechanics. The classic classes would still be essentially there in my proposition and given all the reference and credit they disserve and need to maintain the classic character archetypes of DnD.


I’d like to know why you feel the class system is so essential, could you elaborate?

As much as I don't like class based systems.....


D&D IS a class based system. No need to radically change the game. 
As much as I don't like class based systems.....


D&D IS a class based system. No need to radically change the game. 




One of the points I am making is that the current classes in DnD next are not actually classes, they are different character builds within already established game mechanics with differing abilities/features but without the freedom for change.


Each class runs of essentially the same game mechanics: attack bonus, selectable manoeuvres, feats, skills, class features, etc. Near to no change is needed to make DnD next into a classless system, the character classes are really character builds based on a common rule set. Giving the option to modify or rewrite (my levelling model is an example) those character builds will not radically change the game, it will enrich what is already there.

I won't mind if D&D went Classless, but it need to be:

-Streamlined
-Balanced
-Have Interesting Options, Features, Abilities and Traits

As much i would love for this to happend, i don't trust the current R&D team for D&DNext for something like this (and so far, not even for a class based system)
Impossible for me to disagree more. D&D is, always has been, and always needs to be, a class-based system. WotC should feel free to create an infinite number of non-class-based games, but none of them would be D&D.

While pre-3rd wasn't PERFECTLY class-based (allowed multi-classing, had optional proficiencies, etc), it was pretty close. Third moved directly away from being class-based, and 4th moved somewhat laterally, which is one big reason why we don't play those editions much.

For 5th to win us over it must return to being HEAVILY class-based.




I personally have to disagree.


The defining thing of DnD is not the class system I’ve given my reasons for this opinion and Saelorn summed it up perfectly in a previous post. I’ve also given my reasons why a non class based system would work much better, and that essentially it’s already present in the DnD next game mechanics. The classic classes would still be essentially there in my proposition and given all the reference and credit they disserve and need to maintain the classic character archetypes of DnD.


I’d like to know why you feel the class system is so essential, could you elaborate?




You can disagree all you want, but you're not right, you just have an opinion, same as everyone else.

For me, it's a class based game. Period.

For you, it isn't. Period.

Fortuantely they've already shown that it's GOING to stay at least mostly class based, so we can talk till the next Mayan apocalypse, it won't change what D&D has always been, and is going to be with 5th.

Here's a little analysis I did on classes, and what they are.

community.wizards.com/phoenix182/blog/20...

Mind you, it's not the ONLY valid system, just the only one that is valid for me for D&D. For other games I accept any number of different systems. However, since the game is D&D, and has ALWAYS been class-based, and works BEAUTIFULLY as class-based, I have no desire to see it ever change.

I think you're right, that they're straying FAR too far from being purely class based. I hope to see that change. Even if they don't, enough of it is optional to allow us to retain our class based version of the game (no skills, backgrounds, feats, themes, builds, etc).



"For 5th to win us over it must return to being HEAVILY class-based"

A more correct way to convey your point is that for fifth to win you over (not us), it must return to being a heavily class based system. As you explained in your last post, you just have an opinion, same as everyone else. Your opinion does not represent the whole of the DnD community. Mine doesn’t but it does represent a large part of it. There are many players who want more freedom in the characters they play.


"Fortuantely they've already shown that it's GOING to stay at least mostly class based, so we can talk till the next Mayan apocalypse, it won't change what D&D has always been, and is going to be with 5th."


Discussion does change opinion and has and does change the nature of the DnD game. The very fact that new versions come out is proof of that. Will it changes the class system? well I can hope.


"Here's a little analysis I did on classes, and what they are"
community.wizards.com/phoenix182/blog/20...


From what I gathered from reading your article, the core of it focusses on the functionality of the class system, not why DnD, as you say, always needs to be a class based system or why a class based system is the only valid one for DnD.


The only point I gleaned from your article as to why DnD should be a class based game was because it was a class based game it its first iteration. Not to discredit your article, it took an extremely in-depth look into the class system and its interpretation. I enjoyed it and in the context of how a class system could work more efficiently it was very insightful, it just didn’t relate directly to what this thread is talking about. The question my proposal creates is, does DnD need a class based system? Why?


 


I’d love to know why you feel so strongly that DnD must have a class bases system. Thus far the only reason you have given is that DnD has worked beautifully as a class based system. That’s your subjective opinion. I disagree for the many reasons I have explained, to which you havn't addressed.


Essentially, I feel that a class system is fundamentally restrictive (though this is by far not the only reason I have mentioned). Go play another game? What if I like sneak attack? Feats, the DnD dynamic and everything about it apart from the class system? The answer is to encourage that the game accommodates the thing that I would like to see in it and I’m not the only one who wants this.


If your answer is too big to post, please post a link and please bear in mind the point’s I have already made that may answer some of your concerns.


If you think there’s no point to discussing the pro’s and con’s (there’s definitely no point in arguing them or if you’re not going to logically consider the points I am making), then I thankyou for the input you have given thus far.




There’s plenty of money making potential with a universal system that enables players to make any character class they can think of off the bat.


Purely anecdotal, but I have never seen a player sit down to the table with a strong idea for their character prior to thumbing through the options for character creation.  Every player I've ever known looks through the options first, then forms their ideas for a character when the come across something that piques their interest.

In my experience, there simply is no need to be able to create any possible character concept imaginable because the character concepts imagined are almost always from those available.
Another threat of class-less system:

The threat of homogenization:  The powergamer will always try to select the best abilities available, the abilities available that work best together in synergy, or a combination of both.  Feats, spells, skills, and abilities would have to be incredibly balanced.  If not, prerequisite abilities would be analyzed in great detail and selected merely on the basis of getting access to the best combination of abilities. 

...and what is the end result?  Players are going to have many of the same abilities and there will be likely a large pool of untouched abilities. 

The more delicate situation in balance:  Restrict the prerequisites of abilities too little and game balance goes pretty much out the window. Restrict the prerequisites too much and all you really have is a disguised class system  

Another threat of class-less system:

The threat of homogenization:  The powergamer will always try to select the best abilities available, the abilities available that work best together in synergy, or a combination of both.  Feats, spells, skills, and abilities would have to be incredibly balanced.  If not, prerequisite abilities would be analyzed in great detail and selected merely on the basis of getting access to the best combination of abilities. 

...and what is the end result?  Players are going to have many of the same abilities and there will be likely a large pool of untouched abilities. 

The more delicate situation in balance:  Restrict the prerequisites of abilities too little and game balance goes pretty much out the window. Restrict the prerequisites too much and all you really have is a disguised class system  




Or you can actually make the system balanced so most if not all options are considered even by power gamers...thought because of how D&DNext is now right now...everything is damage output per round as of now...
Or you can actually make the system balanced so most if not all options are considered even by power gamers...thought because of how D&DNext is now right now...everything is damage output per round as of now...


Care to take a crack at figuring out what it even means to balance a Monk's immunity to disease against a Fighter's parry?
Another threat of class-less system:

The threat of homogenization:  The powergamer will always try to select the best abilities available, the abilities available that work best together in synergy, or a combination of both.  Feats, spells, skills, and abilities would have to be incredibly balanced.  If not, prerequisite abilities would be analyzed in great detail and selected merely on the basis of getting access to the best combination of abilities. 

...and what is the end result?  Players are going to have many of the same abilities and there will be likely a large pool of untouched abilities. 

The more delicate situation in balance:  Restrict the prerequisites of abilities too little and game balance goes pretty much out the window. Restrict the prerequisites too much and all you really have is a disguised class system  




Or you can actually make the system balanced so most if not all options are considered even by power gamers...thought because of how D&DNext is now right now...everything is damage output per round as of now...



Ideally, yes.  Ideals are difficult to put into practice optimally though.  There are always unforseen consequences, as the ability to create something "perfect" is next to impossible. If one could, you'd have the edition to end all editions.  Easier said than done... 

While I love me some Savage worlds, personally I cant really pictures playing fantasy without clear cut classes. 

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

And the answer is, "because GURPS is nearly un-playable".


Which is all the more reason to look twice before jumping into the morass that is classless RPG.



I've not played GURPS, but I have played quite a few games that don't have classes, and I would say they are far from a "morass." Have you had some not-good experiences or something?

For those confused on how DDN's modular rules might work, this may provide some insight: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/the-world-of-darkness-shines-when-it-abandons-canon

@mikemearls: Uhhh... do you really not see all the 3e/4e that's basically the entire core system?

 

It is entirely unnecessary to denigrate someone else's approach to gaming in order to validate your own.

To the OP;

D&D is the wrong game for you.  Please go play GURPS.  Or the Champions/Hero System. 
Those two systems already exist & offer you exactly what you want.  And you can plug all your favorite D&D fluff into them.... 
This OPs post lengths are a class unto themselves.

Personally when I want to play a classless game there's dozens out there.  Basic System from Chaosium, Savage Worlds, Hero System, GURPS...okay maybe not dozens.  But I don't always want to play a classless system.  Sometimes I want to know what level I am.  
Please expalin to me what the defining characteristics of the Dungeons & Dragons game are.  I already have GURPS.  I'm not sure why D&D should attempt to be that game.

Defining traits of D&D:


  • Implied generic fantasy setting


    • Dungeons

    • Dragons


  • Vast majority of tasks resolved with d20

  • Party members work together to cover different roles, since no one character can do everything

  • Longsword deals 1d8 damage



I thought gurps was source materia and inspirational character design mechanics that you can ignore in favor of free form play.... 

and d8 for longsword? nyeh....for that goes in the who cares cat.... I mean the 6 stats any order (str,dex,con,cha,int,wis) ... mundane stat range 3 to 18 , ummm escalating absract hit points, levels and the BIGEE classes.


+1
Class systems have one major advantage that is undeniable, ease of play.  This is why D&D has and continues to be the most popular game in the hobby of role-playing.  You pick your race, pick your class, some basic abilities and you are ready to go.  Classes allow the rest of the system to be simple and above all else classes requiere considerably less preperation as a GM through their simplicity.

Now that said I am a big advocate for classless system, but as that applies to D&D, I would say I'm more an advocate for a defined skill point system that covers the class system of D&D.  Another words, I would like to know how the classes are balanced and have a value for each skill, ability, power, etc... of the classess so that when I roll up my sleeves and make a change, I have a foundation on how that class system was built and I have the core system for how to build classes.  I do believe however D&D should remain a class system simply for the very obvious reason that this is what people want.  I think if you polled D&D players and asked them whether D&D should remain a class system or not, the large majority would say it should remain a class system.


I will say this though, despite that, GURPS remains my go to game system for one reason that D&D will never be able to compete with.  Flexibility.  With GURPS there is absolutly no campaign world you can conceive, no action a player can take, no genre you could think of and no style of play that exist that isn't firmly covered in obsessive detail in the core system or one of the hundreds of excelent modules written for it.  From Mass Combat, to the Wild West Genre, From Science Fiction Fantasy to Science Reality, from World of Darkness to Dungeons Crawls... You name it and I can find a 200 page source book that covers in great detail.  As a GM this is an invaluable aspect of the game because it allows you complete freedom without ever having to worry about coverage both in terms of mechanics and advice.  I mean recenetly my ongoing GURPS campaign resulted in the players getting into a position to lead an army into battle, 9.99 later I have the Mass Combat source book in my hand that covers every conceivable angle and style to run that combat, I pick my rules, and I'm running a great battle in my games.  GURPS never disapoints in this way and this is one of the reasons for it, its the perfect system.


The draw back however of open classless systems like GURPS is that as a GM you have to be considerably more dedicated to preperation and reading than what you would need to in a D&D game, in particular more recent game systems like 4th edition.  I would concede that GURPS is definitily not for your average every day GM, it requires a far larger commitment and far more attention to detail to get it right.        

"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

@OP: You say that the class system has no point, but then you describe its point, to enforce archetypes on the players, and then rail against it.  Please not that I'm not attacking your position.  I often chafe against the strictures of the rules myself.  However, I think the best option is the BESM d20 option.

For those who are unaware, BESM d20 was a version of the Big Eyes Small Mouth anime rpg that was made to be compatible with D&D 3e, and then 3.5e.  In making itself compatible with 3e, they also ended up creating a classless version where you gain character points when you levelled and could then purchase any boosts in BAB, Saves, HD, Skill Points, etc.  This is the solution that seems to work best for D&D.  Preserve the traditional (though try not to bee to rigid about it) through the class system, but also offer freedom through a fully compatible classless system.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Build the classes out of a classless framework.
It's that simple.

Classes then become simple prepackaged collections of abilities, with the root system underneath for anyone who wants to dink around in it.  Such a model makes traditional classes, BECMI race-classes, Skills & Powers, 3E multiclassing, 4E multiclassing, and 4E hybriding all emulatable fairly accurately.  1E/2E dual- and multi-classing probably wouldn't be emulated as cleanly, but can be half-assed together reasonably well enough.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true">And the answer is, "because GURPS is nearly un-playable".



You're doing it wrong.


OP: Class based RPG design has a place. DnD is the primary class based game. I've plenty of other games to chose from if I want to go without classes.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome