D&D Next Classes by Complexity and Power Source

I've heard complaints that the fighter in the playtest is currently too complex. I've also heard people say that it is just right. It seems like there is a mix of players that want complex characters and players that want simple characters. As such, I came up with a model for organizing classes that would allow any player to get just the character they want. Here is the chart I designed:

                           Martial                In-between                Spellcaster

Complex            Fighter                        Monk                            Cleric

Medium        Rogue, Warlord     Ranger, Bladesinger          Wizard, Warlock

Simple            Barbarian                  Duskblade                       Sorceror

In this scenario, the Barbarian, Duskblade, and Sorceror would have simple, easy-to-memorize abilities and few class features. The barbarian would get MDD and Rage, the Duskblade would get some arcane abilities (I don't know much about the class), and the Sorceror would get a simple spell slot system and ritual casting for more complex spells. This layout means that a player who wants to be a "simple fighter" could play as a barbarian, a "simple wizard" would be the sorceror, and so on. Someone who wanted a few options, but not too many, could play as a Warlord, a Ranger, a Warlock, etc.

So, what do you think?


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That's very opinion-based. I hardly see the fighter as a complex class. And the cleric certainly isn't any harder to play than the wizard.
I think the current fighter is simple to moderate.  Not at all what i would call complex.


Also, you need to consider "complex to play" and "complex to build".  Though the pre-packaged fighting styles work well for fixing the build issue.

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

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

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

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The designers have implied in the past that they want to see character complexity as a dial within each class. In this way, you could start as a simple fighter (for example) and as you want more complexity, you could turn that dial up as you level. I do not know if this is still their strategy.

I think any given class should have a range of complexity, and I think that's the design they're aiming for.

I suspect we'll see an option that allows for a very simple fighter, probably by letting you swap out your maneuvers for a straight damage bonus.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

The designers have implied in the past that they want to see character complexity as a dial within each class. In this way, you could start as a simple fighter (for example) and as you want more complexity, you could turn that dial up as you level. I do not know if this is still their strategy.

It's an admeral good goal, but it's not neccicaraly achiveable.

I think any given class should have a range of complexity, and I think that's the design they're aiming for.

I suspect we'll see an option that allows for a very simple fighter, probably by letting you swap out your maneuvers for a straight damage bonus.

That already happens....

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

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

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

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My purpose in creating this chart is to suggest a possible way to make a class for every player. I know it would probably need some tweaking, but I think there is definitely room for a class that is simpler than the current fighter. There are enough complaints about having no way to play a "simple fighter", and many people have stated that the simpler game in the first playtest was their favorite version of the playtest. I think that if WotC added a simpler class or two, they could get many people who have given up on DNDN to reconsider abandoning the edition.
My purpose in creating this chart is to suggest a possible way to make a class for every player. I know it would probably need some tweaking, but I think there is definitely room for a class that is simpler than the current fighter. There are enough complaints about having no way to play a "simple fighter", and many people have stated that the simpler game in the first playtest was their favorite version of the playtest. I think that if WotC added a simpler class or two, they could get many people who have given up on DNDN to reconsider abandoning the edition.



The fighter is really the simplest clas. If you are playing the most basic version of a fighter you basically do these things:

-Run up to the target
-Do attack rolls
-Add martial damage dice to your damage

And the fighter will still be a good striker in combat. The rest of the maneuvers and feats simply give you more complexity to work work.
I really hope that they have enough modularity that each player can play a simple or complex fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue.

If a ten year old wants to play a wizard, there should be a switch that can simplify the wizard to just the very basics.

More spells should scale with spell level.  We don't need a different spell with similar themes for every level.
There could easily be just one healing spell that scales.
Taken even farther, there could be one area of effect damaging spell that could be memorized as either fire, poison, lightning, thunder, or cold.  It could be memorized as a cone, line, or sphere.
There could be one illusion spell with greater effects at higher levels.
Right now the cantrips scale but many other spells don't.  More should.

Let's simplify where possible.

This idea is very old skool D&D and I don't think that's a bad thing, in itself.


As others have pointed out, you're walking a fine line here as what class should be complex or simple is something of a battleground issue in the forum (I don't think it's as much of a problem for the whole community, but it certainly is here). I have no doubt in my mind that the designers have a similar chart somewhere in their office - probably more than one. If it's not a big one for all to see, it's a thumnail scratched out on a notepad somewhere. This stuff is really useful for writing a game, even if you don't end up being faithful to the chart in the end.


For me the major issue with all classes being simple or complex depending on what you want is it makes character creation and advancement really complicated. Since my recent (inadvertant) move back to 2e AD&D from 3e, I've noticed that the really simple character creation and advancement process in AD&D is helpful on many levels. For a start, it reduces the players' attachment to the mechanics of the game and focus more on things I like, such as personality, background and overall concepts. That, in turn, allows me to mess around with the mechanics more freely as a DM because they're not as bothered about it. It's a nice arrangement.


WOTC era D&D has layers of complexity beyond what TSR D&D has and that's fine too, but the more players are having to think about the nuts and bolts of the system, the harder it is for the DM to make changes on the fly because those changes can impact how the players plan their characters and, in many cases, cause a player to observe that they'd have not made the character at all had they known that whatever new element was coming.


For me, that's the crux of the matter when it comes to many of the issues that people get hot under the collar over here. DM/player entitlement, fiat, the notion that what's written in the core books is somehow sacred - the list goes on and on. The fact is all of these issues are part of the same bit of string we're unravelling every time they get brought up: the more players have to consider the game mechanics when making and levelling a character, the harder it is to change the system once the game begins because both the players and the DM become invested in how the numbers work.


For some people, the added layers of complexity is worth the trade of being less able to improvise, introduce, and rewrite mechanics in game. I need to stress that people who feel that way are totally entitled to their opinion and there is no right or wrong position to have.



But I digress. Back to the OP: this is a good idea and I'm sure it's being used in some form or another by the game designers, but as a method of delineating complexity in game it's probably not gonna fly. I personally think that we should use this strategy alongside the "internal dialing" method, so classes are written as simple or complex by default and then you're able to dial a simple class up or a complex class back during character creation and advancement. That way, they would provide a variety of strategies for players to find the class that's right for them.

I don't think that this will work. Names are important and classes like fighter and wizard are popular classes. It isn't going to go over well for someone who wants to be a fighter to have to settle for a barbarian because they also want simple. For many no matter how much sorcerer might fit perfectly to their playstyle, it isn't a wizard and there is no getting passed it.
 

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

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