A Different Approach to Classes

Just an opinion, but several of my players and I would prefer to have the classes stick with the four archtypes (fighter, cleric, rogue, mage) and use Specializations and Backgrounds in an extended capacity for variety.  Instead of Monk and Barbarian being seperate classes, build them as specializations off of the fighter class.  This keeps the rules simplified and provides a great deal of flexibility in character creation.  Specializations would have to be beefed up slightly, but that shouldn't be a problem.

I'd like to hear other views and ideas on this. 
As I said in another thread, I like the idea of the Warrior class, with Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger, and maybe Paladin as subsets, i.e. different builds, much like rogue schemes or diety benefits.
i really support this i think kits and background make creating chatacters easier simplify the class system and make people be able to play character types that are off shoots of the main classes
Classless systems (and archclasses with many, highly distinct subclasses are more or less equivalent to classless) have many virtues.  Simplified rules are not one of them.  They also have many drawbacks, particularly to a gateway game where clearly defined archetypes prepackaged into classes are a great way for new players to enter the world.  I myself am ambivalent about the concept, but if I had to pin myself down on it I would say "yes, but not for D&D."  
its not a classless system to have an assassin kit for the thief class so you can play an assassin the complete class books for 2nd edition were awsome and sold great
The idea has been brought up before... a lot.  The basic consensus is that there are major issues with this idea.  Some classes don't fit under the other 4, Psionics and Primal characters.  Why isn't the theif folded into the fighter?  why isn't the cleric a type of wizard? why do we need these anoying class things?   The basic 4 classes would be at a major advantage when it comes to flexibility, a fighter could take any background or specialty but a paladin would be locked into both.  In any games without backgrounds or specialties (remeber both of those are modular) you wouldn't be able to play anything but the core four.  It doesn't really add anything to the game aside from play into the elitist grognards idea of "real D&D."

So basically this isn't a great idea 

As a starting point for class design I think pretty much this is how it's done. You can pretty much fit anything under those four now, they just don't actually come out and say "a psionicist falls under the arcane caster umbrella" or "the paladin is a fighter/cleric hybrid".


Doesn't mean it's not true.

It's not true.  Nothing we have seen makes it seem true.
The reason this does not work is this:  It penalizes characters who want to play one of those 'subclasses' by tying up their specialties.


Fighter A ('vanilla fighter') chooses a speciality that allows him to dual wield, move about the battlefield - whatever.  He has feats that make him a better fighter.


Fighter B ("barbarian') chooses a specialty that changes him into a barbarian.  He cannot now choose a feat to further customize his character.  His feats are tied up in the conversion to a barbarian.



The only way to make this work is to create a sixth dimension (along with race, class, class build, specialty and background) that defines the type of fighter (barbarian, ranger, vanilla, etc) the character is.  And at that point - why not just make it into a new class?


Carl

I really like how specialty and background can be used to create funky concepts. I'm not massive on making them the way to make subclasses because it takes that away from specialty and background. Instead, it's being used to create archetype rather than undermine it.


But I do think that classes do more or less start with the larger group. The 2e "warrior, priest, rogue, wizard" class categories are still alive and well and you can pretty much slot all classes under one or between two of those groups. I believe that it's the starting point for every D&D class going, even the ones that specifically attempt to break it because in trying to break the boundaries you define the boundaries in ways you never could by working within them.


And I don't really see that there's anything wrong with that either 'cause you've gotta start somewhere.

I like the idea of metaclasses that the various classes fall into.  It does have problems (is a Paladin a clericy fighter or a fightery cleric).  But it helps players (especially new players) to understand the classes and it can be exploited to make the game more expansion friendly (Prerequisite:  Member of 'fighter' metaclass applies to all future 'fighter' classes; Prerequisite:  Fighter, Paladin or Ranger requries errata to be applied to a future expansion class).


Of course - 4E had these, it just calleld them power sources.  If they weren't averse to 4E terminology, they could always revive that term and use it to organize the classes.


Carl   
Power source is one 4e idea that I took and ran with the moment I read it. I know folks freak out and look at the power source/role grid and all that gubbins but you don't have to use the grid. The idea that classes all draw power from something or somewhere is really useful.
It seems to  me that there are 3 ways of handling the metaclass system:

1) The metaclasses have a core theme (much like a power source) and common mechanics, and the subclasses are relatively minor variations like "extra skills," "extra maneuvers," "rage."  But one of the biggest complaints against 4e was that a common power structure made the classes too samey, so why would we want to increase the zone of shared mehanics across classes?

2) The metaclasses have a core theme, but the subclasses have fairly distinct mechanics.  Extra skills, skill tricks, and sneak attach or extra HP, maneuvers, and parry.  If the subclasses are going to be this different, why insist on calling them sub?  What are we gaining by not admitting that they're different classes?

3) The metaclasses have a core theme, and you mix and match from a grab bag of features.  Extra skills, maneuvers, and parry or extra HP, rage, and skill tricks.   In that case, we're pretty much playing classless.  

I'm not saying the "make everything a kit" people don't have a point, but I haven't figured out what it is yet.
The current problem with a metaclass structure, is the tiers of play. If there are three tiers of play, then there should be 3 metaclasses. Then it would be easier to mix and match abilities. Even if you consider martial versus caster as metaclasses, it still does not match the 3 tiers of play. Having 4 metaclasses in the fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard presents the same problem. I believe this is the fundamental design flaw with 5E.

4E addressed this problem with AEDU, with 5E they are going down the path of 3E and multiple sub-systems to patch it as they go.

I might be reading it wrong so please correct me if I am, but I prefer a 4th approach (maybe it's the same as #2 but with different emphasis):


The metaclass is a design construct that provides a framework for class creation, but not an overt part of the core mechanic. It would do the following:



  1. The metaclasses control core progression: hp, attack, skill selection & progression (how many, how quickly they improve with level), menu of weapons and armour, spell selection & progression.

  2. The metaclasses inform theme: warriors, mages, priests, experts (or whatever is appropriate for the game you're designing)


The metaclass in this approach provides a basis for the character in very general terms, e.g. warriors have a fast weapon attack progression, high hp, some skills but slow skill progressoin, minimal spell selection and progression.


The class would then note how exactly they use the progressions suggested by the metaclass, if they break with the core suggestions then how and why, what specific abilities it gets and so on.


The subclass would then be a fine tuning exercise - the kit. The subclass does not make any major changes to the mechanics a given class employs. It tweaks the class and shifts its focus in a small way that facilitates a concept, like the difference between a fencing master and a broadswordsman.



In my way of thinking, a specialist wizard is a subclass of wizard, which a class within the mage metaclass along with sorcerer, warmage, psion, etc.

It seems to  me that there are 3 ways of handling the metaclass system:

1) The metaclasses have a core theme (much like a power source) and common mechanics, and the subclasses are relatively minor variations like "extra skills," "extra maneuvers," "rage."  But one of the biggest complaints against 4e was that a common power structure made the classes too samey, so why would we want to increase the zone of shared mehanics across classes?




The fact that 4E took the shared mechanics to an extreme and some people objected is not necessarily equivalent to having some shared mechanics across thematically linked subsets of classes.


It was fighter with spell-like mechanics (for example) that people objected to.


In 5E we already have common mechanics for classes that share a 'power source'.

This would just recognize that fact.

All martial classes use martial damage dice/ combat expertise.
All arcane classes will most likely cast spells using the arcane spell rules.
All divine classes will most likely have some form of channel divinity power as well as spells.

Etc.

Most do not object when classes which share an origin for their power also share the mechanics behind that power.  The problem that some objected to was all classes regardless of power source having nearly identical mechanics.


Carl
I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but the "core 4" classes make for a horrible starting point as "base classes". All classes can be boiled down into only 3 categories: martial, magical, and mixed. The cleric is a mixed class, and is not balanced mechanically to the other classes, IMO.

Let's do a quick "core 4" class analysis and broad feature breakdown:

Fighters: martial; best weapon attack bonus and martial damage dice progression; best martial defense bonus*
Rogues: martial; best weapon attack bonus and martial damage dice progression; average martial defense bonus*; additional skill trainings
Wizards: magical; best magical attack bonus and spell progression; poor weapon attack bonus; poor martial defense bonus*
Clerics**: average weapon attack bonus and martial damage dice progression; average martial defense bonus*; average magical attack bonus and spell progression

* martial defense bonus is a term I'm including to categorize overall expected AC and other defenses against non-magical attacks (e.g.: maneuvers).
**This is the "traditional" cleric. Since domains now alter various categories, the actual ratings will change based on domain.

By rating each category, we can give some approximate relative worth. For example, with the above breakdown, I presume that by lowering the rogue's martial defense bonus was of equivalent value for adding more skill trainings.

This can go further by bundling various feature sets such as barbarian rage or monk's flurry of blows. This approach is borrowing heavily from 2e's Skills and Powers book, but throws all the current class features into larger pots to pick from.

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"Themes" inside more basic classes can be a good way to dry out excessive data from the core rules.
Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, etc, are all of the "Warrior" class, except they gain different bonuses at leveling, while sharing some features, like To Hit, HD, etc.
Future classes in suplements could be simply new "themes" for the base classes.
It's more or less how it was in AD&D.


It would be interesting if...........    done right.


I want to be able to "multiclass" between fighter and paladin, even if it doesn't really mean strictly multiclassing, but taking abilities from more than one Warrior theme.
I would hate to be limited to something like "you've chosen the fighter theme, now you can't ever become a paladin".

One the other hand, if it's "you can take abilities from any theme at will", it kinda defeats the purpose of having different themes in the class.


I suppose we would need to have something like "Ability Trees".
There's the Fighter ability tree and the Paladin ability tree, for example.
As you gain levels in Warrior, you either advance on the Fighter tree you're already in, or start on the Paladin tree from the base, from there choosing which to increase at each level (or at any X levels, whatever).


Anyway... I'm not sure that would work better than just having separate classes.
Just throwing some ideas here... 

"Themes" inside more basic classes can be a good way to dry out excessive data from the core rules.
Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, etc, are all of the "Warrior" class, except they gain different bonuses at leveling, while sharing some features, like To Hit, HD, etc.
Future classes in suplements could be simply new "themes" for the base classes.
It's more or less how it was in AD&D.
 

It would be interesting if...........    done right.


 
Pretty much what I was thinking.

I want to be able to "multiclass" between fighter and paladin, even if it doesn't really mean strictly multiclassing, but taking abilities from more than one Warrior theme.
I would hate to be limited to something like "you've chosen the fighter theme, now you can't ever become a paladin".

One the other hand, if it's "you can take abilities from any theme at will", it kinda defeats the purpose of having different themes in the class.


I suppose we would need to have something like "Ability Trees".
There's the Fighter ability tree and the Paladin ability tree, for example.
As you gain levels in Warrior, you either advance on the Fighter tree you're already in, or start on the Paladin tree from the base, from there choosing which to increase at each level (or at any X levels, whatever).


Anyway... I'm not sure that would work better than just having separate classes.
Just throwing some ideas here... 



The "Ability Tree" would be the way to go, like you would need the Smite Evil ability before you could get Banish Demon.
one problem is being able to multiclass a fighter and pally. they really need to controll what classes you can multiclass. what sense does it make to be a fighter/pally/barbarian/ranger/monk. you should be restricted to only being able to multiclass with classes from diffrent main classes like fighter/thief ect

"Themes" inside more basic classes can be a good way to dry out excessive data from the core rules.
Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, etc, are all of the "Warrior" class, except they gain different bonuses at leveling, while sharing some features, like To Hit, HD, etc.
Future classes in suplements could be simply new "themes" for the base classes.
It's more or less how it was in AD&D.
 

It would be interesting if...........    done right.


 
Pretty much what I was thinking.

I want to be able to "multiclass" between fighter and paladin, even if it doesn't really mean strictly multiclassing, but taking abilities from more than one Warrior theme.
I would hate to be limited to something like "you've chosen the fighter theme, now you can't ever become a paladin".

One the other hand, if it's "you can take abilities from any theme at will", it kinda defeats the purpose of having different themes in the class.


I suppose we would need to have something like "Ability Trees".
There's the Fighter ability tree and the Paladin ability tree, for example.
As you gain levels in Warrior, you either advance on the Fighter tree you're already in, or start on the Paladin tree from the base, from there choosing which to increase at each level (or at any X levels, whatever).


Anyway... I'm not sure that would work better than just having separate classes.
Just throwing some ideas here... 



The "Ability Tree" would be the way to go, like you would need the Smite Evil ability before you could get Banish Demon.



I cant say I like a ability tree idea simply because, depending on arrangement, it would force you to take some abilities you would never use. Same issue in games like Diablo 2 for instance. That seems more like a punishment to a player than anything.



*snip*

I cant say I like a ability tree idea simply because, depending on arrangement, it would force you to take some abilities you would never use. Same issue in games like Diablo 2 for instance. That seems more like a punishment to a player than anything.





But it would open up more options than building a specific class with only that ability tree.  For instance, say that a paladin is represented by chosing specific talent trees under the warrior class, rather than being a whole separate class.  In this case, if you want your character to be the more martial, less supernatural-ability type, you can chose not to take the supernatural tree, or only the beginning of the tree, but, because you decided to be more martial, your flavor integrity would be maintained because you wouldn't suddenly get the most powerful supernatural ability if you didn't take all those before it in the tree.

*snip*

I cant say I like a ability tree idea simply because, depending on arrangement, it would force you to take some abilities you would never use. Same issue in games like Diablo 2 for instance. That seems more like a punishment to a player than anything.





But it would open up more options than building a specific class with only that ability tree.  For instance, say that a paladin is represented by chosing specific talent trees under the warrior class, rather than being a whole separate class.  In this case, if you want your character to be the more martial, less supernatural-ability type, you can chose not to take the supernatural tree, or only the beginning of the tree, but, because you decided to be more martial, your flavor integrity would be maintained because you wouldn't suddenly get the most powerful supernatural ability if you didn't take all those before it in the tree.



But again you still have the possibility of picking crap that doesn't mean a hill of beans to use, thus wasting whatever it is you had to use them to get to said talent your after.

If you are wanting more options under a base chassis, then the best option is to drop class names altogether, re-work the basic 4 as how monster types are as in 4e (Brute, Soldier, Skirmisher, Lurker, etc.) then have a theme, kit, or whatever to get what you want.

That way you don't have to worry about having to take talents that are useless for what you want to make and have the means to focus more on the things you want. Also you don't have to worry about having to decided what class fits under what as these are defined by the kit, theme or whatever you use that has the mechanics to clearly define them as a paladin or fighter.
one problem is being able to multiclass a fighter and pally. they really need to controll what classes you can multiclass. what sense does it make to be a fighter/pally/barbarian/ranger/monk. you should be restricted to only being able to multiclass with classes from diffrent main classes like fighter/thief ect


I don't see any reason why this is a problem now, in the past or even a potential one that might come up later. I should be free to multiclass however I choose. Nobody's going to make the character in your example 'cause it sucks. Looking at what the fighter/barb/monk (potentially) looks like in the packets, I honestly don't see it happening.
one problem is being able to multiclass a fighter and pally. they really need to controll what classes you can multiclass. what sense does it make to be a fighter/pally/barbarian/ranger/monk. you should be restricted to only being able to multiclass with classes from diffrent main classes like fighter/thief ect




Mechanics-wise?
Because you like this ability from the ranger, and that ability from the fighter.
The single-class should always have the edge on what he does against the multiclass, but giving players options to mix and find a middle ground is a good thing.


Story-wise?
For an infinite number of reasons your story can give you. But mostly because it makes sense.
Say you are a fighter, but at some point in his life your characters converts to worshiping the god of the Paladins and you decide he now wants to follow the steps of a Paladin. Or maybe your paladin has spent so much time in the wilds that he now thinks it's important to learn a bit of the ways of a ranger.
If the mechanics tell you you can't ever do that it's bad mechanics.



I see a lot of people arguing against too many multiclassing options, class-dipping, and such stuff.
But 99% of these people are only thinking in terms of game mechanics.
Remember that in an RPG the mechanics exist to serve the story, to offer players and DMs standard ways to resolve things they would like to do in the story.


I know we must also think about "power-gaming" and "mega-combos" and try to avoid such things.
If there's a sweet spot where a Fighter 3/Barbarian 1/Ranger 2/Paladin 4 (just shooting some random numbers) will make a much stronger fighting character... that's a bad thing and many players may come to do such character merely to be stronger than others.

But we should avoid such things by adjusting details in the classes and abilities, thus not allowing these "overpowered formulas" to be possible.
NOT by limiting the overall multiclassing rules, because then we'd be punishing players who like to multiclass for story reasons, and when a set of rules goes against the storytelling in an RPG that's a bad design.

I cant say I like a ability tree idea simply because, depending on arrangement, it would force you to take some abilities you would never use. Same issue in games like Diablo 2 for instance. That seems more like a punishment to a player than anything.



Agreed! 100%!

But there are ways to do something on the line of a "skill tree" without being too rigid like in video games.

You could take 1 or 2 initial abilities for each "theme" that you deem are essential to every character of that theme, a "must have" or else it wouldn't define that type of character.

For the Paladin it could be, for example, Detect Evil and Smite Evil.
You need to take those at the start of the "paladin theme" because without that your character can't really be considered a Paladin.
But then all other abilities are optional. You can take them in the order you like, or don't take them at all, or maybe "multiclass" to another theme.

Except for those really powerful abilities, usually reserved for higher class levels, like the Paladin's spellcasting.
For those you might require that the character has "a number of prior Paladin abilities" or something like that.


It isn't strictly a "skill tree" like that, but it works I suppose.


*snip*

I cant say I like a ability tree idea simply because, depending on arrangement, it would force you to take some abilities you would never use. Same issue in games like Diablo 2 for instance. That seems more like a punishment to a player than anything.





But it would open up more options than building a specific class with only that ability tree.  For instance, say that a paladin is represented by chosing specific talent trees under the warrior class, rather than being a whole separate class.  In this case, if you want your character to be the more martial, less supernatural-ability type, you can chose not to take the supernatural tree, or only the beginning of the tree, but, because you decided to be more martial, your flavor integrity would be maintained because you wouldn't suddenly get the most powerful supernatural ability if you didn't take all those before it in the tree.



But again you still have the possibility of picking crap that doesn't mean a hill of beans to use, thus wasting whatever it is you had to use them to get to said talent your after.

If you are wanting more options under a base chassis, then the best option is to drop class names altogether, re-work the basic 4 as how monster types are as in 4e (Brute, Soldier, Skirmisher, Lurker, etc.) then have a theme, kit, or whatever to get what you want.

That way you don't have to worry about having to take talents that are useless for what you want to make and have the means to focus more on the things you want. Also you don't have to worry about having to decided what class fits under what as these are defined by the kit, theme or whatever you use that has the mechanics to clearly define them as a paladin or fighter.



Then I guess we shouldn't have class abilities come in at specific levels, either, so that you can just get whatever abilities you want by multiclassing into the class from which you want certain abilities.  That way you won't have to waste all those levels just to get the abilities you want.

I cant say I like a ability tree idea simply because, depending on arrangement, it would force you to take some abilities you would never use. Same issue in games like Diablo 2 for instance. That seems more like a punishment to a player than anything.



Agreed! 100%!

But there are ways to do something on the line of a "skill tree" without being too rigid like in video games.

You could take 1 or 2 initial abilities for each "theme" that you deem are essential to every character of that theme, a "must have" or else it wouldn't define that type of character.

For the Paladin it could be, for example, Detect Evil and Smite Evil.
You need to take those at the start of the "paladin theme" because without that your character can't really be considered a Paladin.
But then all other abilities are optional. You can take them in the order you like, or don't take them at all, or maybe "multiclass" to another theme.

Except for those really powerful abilities, usually reserved for higher class levels, like the Paladin's spellcasting.
For those you might require that the character has "a number of prior Paladin abilities" or something like that.


It isn't strictly a "skill tree" like that, but it works I suppose.




Well, that sounds a lot like the Talent Trees from d20 Modern; for some talents, you need specific prerequisite talents, for others just a certain number of prior talents, and, of course, some talents you could take whenever you had an option to get a talent.  And this is essentially what I'm talking about.
One easy way to normalize multiclassing is through standard progression. Lets say all class features are categorized as either minor or major. Every class starts out with X major and minor features, and you must have more minor than major features. Assume the generic class progression is something like this:




























































Character Level*Major FeaturesMinor Features
123
224
334
435
545
646
756
857
967
1068

* I'm just showing up to level 10, since it seems WotC is using different progressions for 11+.

Now, if you want to "dip" into other class features, you have to start with a minor feature, then at best alternate between a minor then major in that class. Classes can come with their own prebuilt feature progressions. This also allows for complete customization (with DM/group approval).

A major feature might include MDD, +1 max spell level, evasion/mettle, major maneuvers, etc. Minor features are those with situational benefits or limited uses: minor maneuvers and more spells/spell points, skill training (probably 2 trainings per minor feature slot), etc.

I would prefer no feature be as simple "+1 WAB" or "+1 MAB", and have those be a function of MDD or spell level progression.

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I suggested something similar a while back in reference to protecting class niches when developing classes or mulitclassing, as the major abilities of the class are defined. The entire metaclass discussion should be to create design space in the game, so it does not have to be very specific. It could just offer the 10000 foot view of everything and may not necessarily define mechanics. It could just answer basic quesions like who gets spells, weapons, skills, etc. and how these effect play at the table whether you are talking about combat, out of combat, or exploration.
Fighter A ('vanilla fighter') chooses a speciality that allows him to dual wield, move about the battlefield - whatever.  He has feats that make him a better fighter.

Vanilla fighter is only about half a class anyway.
It really, really needs to be dropped, and Ranger, Pally, Barb, etc. put in its place.

Fighter A ('vanilla fighter') chooses a speciality that allows him to dual wield, move about the battlefield - whatever.  He has feats that make him a better fighter.

Vanilla fighter is only about half a class anyway.
It really, really needs to be dropped, and Ranger, Pally, Barb, etc. put in its place.

Or the reverse, and have a Martial class that can be built into a classic rogue, ranger, barbarian, footsolider, archer, warlord, et al.

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Or the reverse, and have a Martial class that can be built into a classic rogue, ranger, barbarian, footsolider, archer, warlord, et al.

That's even less likely to sneak past the "OMFG! TRADITION!!!" grognards.

Or the reverse, and have a Martial class that can be built into a classic rogue, ranger, barbarian, footsolider, archer, warlord, et al.

That's even less likely to sneak past the "OMFG! TRADITION!!!" grognards.




Uh....not really, since in 2E Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers were classes under the Warrior heading, IIRC.  I would keep the rogue out of it, however, making a Rogue class, under which would possibly be Thief, Assassin, Bard, etc.
Uh....not really, since in 2E Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers were classes under the Warrior heading, IIRC.  I would keep the rogue out of it, however, making a Rogue class, under which would possibly be Thief, Assassin, Bard, etc.

I'm not seeing the value in keeping both rogue and fighter as base classes. A Martial base class covers all concepts that employ zero magical features. "Rogues" take a hit in combat effectiveness to gain more skill trainings/skill mastery. A Magical base class covers the "only magic" concepts such as wizards, white wizards (cloth healers), etc. The Mixed base class allows for a blending of martial and magical features, so you can end up with a martial-primary type concept such as the paladin, or a more evenly mixed traditional cleric class (but more balanced than in the past).

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Uh....not really, since in 2E Fighters, Paladins, and Rangers were classes under the Warrior heading, IIRC.  I would keep the rogue out of it, however, making a Rogue class, under which would possibly be Thief, Assassin, Bard, etc.

I'm not seeing the value in keeping both rogue and fighter as base classes. A Martial base class covers all concepts that employ zero magical features. "Rogues" take a hit in combat effectiveness to gain more skill trainings/skill mastery. A Magical base class covers the "only magic" concepts such as wizards, white wizards (cloth healers), etc. The Mixed base class allows for a blending of martial and magical features, so you can end up with a martial-primary type concept such as the paladin, or a more evenly mixed traditional cleric class (but more balanced than in the past).



Two reasons:

1. I'm a grognard, and think there should be Warrior, Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue.

2. I think there should be enough of a distinction between the mechanics of the Warrior types and the Rogue types for them to be kept separate.  For the most part, the warriors should have more combat oriented abilities, maneuvers, better attack and damage modifiers, etc.  The rogues, on the other hand, should be mostly skill oriented, i.e., more skills, more things to do with their skills, skill tricks, etc.  That's not saying that fighters can't also be good with skills, nor that rogues can't do well in combat (I've even tweaked the rogue schemes for my game, and three of them now have maneuvers), but the classes themselves should be oriented differently, and the subclasses of each would have such similarity to each other that they would easily be identifiable as belonging to that major class.

As a side note, I think Paladins should probably fall under the Cleric class, but I still haven't made up my mind about that.
As long as you split the metaclass structure between martial and caster, then it doesn't matter how much the martial side is divided, i.e. a large warrior class, or subdivide it to fighter, barbarian, rogue, etc.. As the class features can be expressed using either. The same applies to casters. The third structure would be the hybrid between martial and caster, such as the bard, paladin, or ranger.

What is important is how each class uses skills and ability checks, and weigh that against the class features such as maneuvers, spells, etc. to determine what a class can do during combat, exploration and interaction.   

     
As long as you split the metaclass structure between martial and caster, then it doesn't matter how much the martial side is divided, i.e. a large warrior class, or subdivide it to fighter, barbarian, rogue, etc.. As the class features can be expressed using either. The same applies to casters. The third structure would be the hybrid between martial and caster, such as the bard, paladin, or ranger.

What is important is how each class uses skills and ability checks, and weigh that against the class features such as maneuvers, spells, etc. to determine what a class can do during combat, exploration and interaction.   

     

Well, I would also divide Wizard and Cleric, because their creation and spellcasting systems would be different enough to me to warrant that separation.  And bard, paladin and ranger may be better expressed by multi-classing because of their spell ability, but of that I am unsure.

Besides that, I guess all I can do is refer you to my reason #1.
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