Few Classes Many Options

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
What I would like to see occur in the next Playtest Packet, be that there are many starting options for a few classes, that there are many level 1, and level 0 spells, that there are many options to choose for maneuvers and that there is many more specialties and backgrounds. So that there is few classes but can be altered greatly, so that over even in the begginning there are very few with your powers and abilities.


What if there was just three classes: Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics? But under each one would fall differant options such as under Fighting Men their could be Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord, what would be important is that they may all share some basic abilties but would also have narrower and more specific abilities based on what they're choices are. 


OR Maybe, you could have a magic using barbarian, where they use primitive combat magic that does primal damage? In a barbaric way, such as destructive uses and also increasing power at the loss of control over the spells they cast?

And as for Clerics, you could have a buffing class and helaing class, but also a melee variation, that would mix between fighting men (have some basic fighting characteristics) and clerics, so would be also able to heal themselves in combat or have melee advancing buff spells.
fighting men is a terrible name for a class.

i also don't get this desire for super simplification. 
beauty in simplicity, and fighting men was one of the original classes in dungeons and dragons. The original 3 part pamphlet series by Gary Gygax.
beauty in simplicity, and fighting men was one of the original classes in dungeons and dragons. The original 3 part pamphlet series by Gary Gygax.



Fighter is a much better term in that it's synonymous with the more clumsy 'fighting man', and it has the benefit of being gender neutral (not all fighters are men).

 
I don't like that idea. I like having a lot of classes and options within it like archtypes. Super simplification sounds less fun and appealin in my opinion.
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
What if there was just three classes: Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics? But under each one would fall differant options such as under Fighting Men their could be Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord, what would be important is that they may all share some basic abilties but would also have narrower and more specific abilities based on what they're choices are.

It would have been a perfectly good idea, but WotC went the other way, with fairly simple class designs so they can pack in a lot of classes with limited options per class. The end result is about the same, many/simple classes isn't quite a flexible as the few/complex class system but not by much and it is simpler to build characters in the many class system.

I'd like to see PrCs done away with. They only seem like they were made for breaking the game further than intended. It seems, if you wanted to, you could make an archtype of what ever PrC you wanted. Take Arcane Archer for example. You could make it either a Wizard or Sorcerer that fights with a bow and give it imbue arrow and other magical thingys at different levels and you don't have to worry about taking certain feats and spec'ing in the right class to achieve it. 

But back on topic.. 3 classes seems too simple.. I kinda like having the Rogue, and then you have like 20 different flavors of a Rogue to choose from.. the other classes though could use more flavoring like Wizard or Fighter.. A balance of simpleness seems to be what they're going for, and looks good. Making it too simple might harm it more than help it.
What if there was just three classes: Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics? But under each one would fall differant options such as under Fighting Men their could be Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord, what would be important is that they may all share some basic abilties but would also have narrower and more specific abilities based on what they're choices are.

I've been advocating for 3 core classes as Martial, Magical, and Mixed (aka hybrid) for some time now. The cleric is truly a mixed/hybrid class, since it has both martial and magical features. Also, many people (including myself) want to see true support for an arcane/martial hybrid class. But yes, having a small set of core classes and a solid framework to build-a-class such that you can rebuild the classes of yore as well as create new ones easily would be a "perfect" core, IMO. basic would include several prebuilt characters that fit the classic archetypes, the list expanded with standard, and advanced providing the guildlines to build your own.


Magic Dual Color Test
I am White/Green
I am White/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I am both orderly and instinctive. I value community and group identity, defining myself by the social group I am a part of. At best, I'm selfless and strong-willed; at worst, I'm unoriginal and sheepish.
I'd rather see all the classes from every edition be present or a completely classless system. I don't see why 3 is better than 60 or 0 in this regard. Design in this regard I feel should be a little more "all or nothing". If there are to be classes, embrace that and use them all.
@ Thomsnovasel: Honestly, what's stopping you from incorporating such a task at your table? Regardless if they're 4 or 40 classes, it's perfectly fine if you (assuming your the DM) to relegate the options of classes down to 3 and incorporate both Rogue and Fighter elements into the game as "options" to be bought at character creation. I mean, sure you're going to have to rename the Wizard into Magic-User and the Fighter/Rogue split into "Fighting Man" but I don't see why this isn't achieveable at a table-by-table basis? 

For rolling the Fighter & Rogue into 1 selectable class, you start off by giving them both Combat Expertise. From there, they can either select one of the following: Fighting Style or Rogue Scheme. By selecting Fighting style, you now obtain Parry maneuver and have access to all the Fighting Style maneuvers (ones listed only for Fighter). If you choose Rogue Scheme, you get Skill Tricks and Skill Mastery plus Rogue Scheme maneuvers (ones listed only for Rogue).

That way you can have your simple, 3-base class system and others can enjoy a plethora of classes that span a wide range of options.     
@ Thomsnovasel: Honestly, what's stopping you from incorporating such a task at your table? Regardless if they're 4 or 40 classes, it's perfectly fine if you (assuming your the DM) to relegate the options of classes down to 3 and incorporate both Rogue and Fighter elements into the game as "options" to be bought at character creation. I mean, sure you're going to have to rename the Wizard into Magic-User and the Fighter/Rogue split into "Fighting Man" but I don't see why this isn't achieveable at a table-by-table basis? 

For rolling the Fighter & Rogue into 1 selectable class, you start off by giving them both Combat Expertise. From there, they can either select one of the following: Fighting Style or Rogue Scheme. By selecting Fighting style, you now obtain Parry maneuver and have access to all the Fighting Style maneuvers (ones listed only for Fighter). If you choose Rogue Scheme, you get Skill Tricks and Skill Mastery plus Rogue Scheme maneuvers (ones listed only for Rogue).

That way you can have your simple, 3-base class system and others can enjoy a plethora of classes that span a wide range of options.     

True, I already do this at my table, And it is safe to assume I DM. I just thought since I enjoyed it so mucha dn my players did as well, that possibly others may feel the same way?
I just don't see why it's better to say "Fighters, rogues, and barbarians are all subclasses of the Fighting Man archclass, so they get full CE, and whatever else we decide they should share in common," than to say "fighters, rogues, and barbarians are all classes who happen to get full CE and whatever else we decide they share in common."  People keep saying they want this, but nobody seems to be explaining why, what it gets them.

Unless you're taking the next step and saying that members of the fighting man subclass can mix and match between the class features we currently associate with fighters, rogues, and barbarians.  YOu can choose to have skill tricks, parry, and high HP; or maneuvers, sneak attack, and extra skills;  or rage, artful dodger, and heavy armor profficiency.  But in that case, why even have three classes?  Why not go whole hog to a classless system (not that I'm advocating classless, but it seems like if you want that then why separate the CE/spell slots choice as the only one inextricably tied to class?).    So, why?
What if there was just three classes: Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics? But under each one would fall differant options such as under Fighting Men their could be Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord, what would be important is that they may all share some basic abilties but would also have narrower and more specific abilities based on what they're choices are.

I've been advocating for 3 core classes as Martial, Magical, and Mixed (aka hybrid) for some time now. The cleric is truly a mixed/hybrid class, since it has both martial and magical features. Also, many people (including myself) want to see true support for an arcane/martial hybrid class. But yes, having a small set of core classes and a solid framework to build-a-class such that you can rebuild the classes of yore as well as create new ones easily would be a "perfect" core, IMO. basic would include several prebuilt characters that fit the classic archetypes, the list expanded with standard, and advanced providing the guildlines to build your own.


I would group them by the mechanic that is used in progression.

  1. Martial Class - martial damage die and bonuses, maneuvers, etc. Fighter, Monk, Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue

  2. Vancian Class (choose a diffent name though) - all spellcasting classes with vancian magic - cleric, wizard

  3. Powers Class (again find a new name) - all classes which use daily, encounter, and at will powers

  4. Power Pool Class - these classes would use powers based on a set amount of points they could spend each day


Hybrids - Mixes of 2 or more of the above, Paladins.  These would be multiclass character and specifically designed hybrid classes.
What if there was just three classes: Fighting Men, Magic Users, and Clerics? But under each one would fall differant options such as under Fighting Men their could be Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Warlord, what would be important is that they may all share some basic abilties but would also have narrower and more specific abilities based on what they're choices are.

It would have been a perfectly good idea, but WotC went the other way, with fairly simple class designs so they can pack in a lot of classes with limited options per class. The end result is about the same, many/simple classes isn't quite a flexible as the few/complex class system but not by much and it is simpler to build characters in the many class system.



The many class system is actually much more rigid than a system with fewer classes and greater cutomizability within a class.

The many class system is also much more cumbersome and page intensive.  When it takes 10+ pages for 1 class and you choose to have 20 classes, you have 200 pages and each class is very rigid.
If you have 4 classes with fluid design that can incorporate all the current concepts as well as a system for hybrids, you allow greater customizability in less space.

I love simplicity and efficiency. 
I love simplicity and efficiency too.  But I'm not seeing how you get that out of a 4 class system without producing samey classes, and in particular why, if you think it does, a 1 class system wouldn't do it better.  

The only pages you get to remove are the pages that are redundant.  You only get redundant pages by having your separate classes share mechanics, and even then I think I'd prefer to see the CE progression for my rogue in the rogue section rather than having to flip to the beginning of the fighting man section to find it.  As to simplicity, that I'm just not seeing any logical explanation for.  Rigidity, sure, but it's no more rigid than a full subclass system, and if you really want fluidity why not go whole hog to 1 class?  I'm not seeing what you get out of 4 classes that are so vague and amorphous as to encompass the entirety of possible archetypes, so why have class at all?
I love simplicity and efficiency too.  But I'm not seeing how you get that out of a 4 class system without producing samey classes, and in particular why, if you think it does, a 1 class system wouldn't do it better.  

The only pages you get to remove are the pages that are redundant.  You only get redundant pages by having your separate classes share mechanics, and even then I think I'd prefer to see the CE progression for my rogue in the rogue section rather than having to flip to the beginning of the fighting man section to find it.  As to simplicity, that I'm just not seeing any logical explanation for.  Rigidity, sure, but it's no more rigid than a full subclass system, and if you really want fluidity why not go whole hog to 1 class?  I'm not seeing what you get out of 4 classes that are so vague and amorphous as to encompass the entirety of possible archetypes, so why have class at all?


A 1 class system is not a class system.  Would you like a glass of water Or water that is in a glass?

If you select a Vancian spellcaster as a class then you would have a set pattern for power progression. 

Perhaps calling it a class would be bad terminology.  It would avoid the need for repeating the spell chart for dozens of different classes.  How many times did 3rd edition repeat the same spell progression charts?  Perhaps there were many minor variations but it seems like the similarities outweighed the differences.

4th edition had much the same power progressions for all of its classes in terms of dailies, encounters, and at will powers. This could be another grouping of classes.  Some people really liked this power progression template enough that 4e is their favorite edition.

Differences in hit points, armor, weapons, skills, and other abilities could then be accounted for by subclasses of the greater class.  Better yet, players could design their subclass once the larger framework of the power structure of the class was determined.  Players who wanted to specialize in one aspect of that framework could do so by sacrificing versatility in other aspects.

Vancian casters could not expect to develop some of the distinct martial advantages offered by the class with martial damage dice.
I agree that fewer classes and more options would be preferable I don't think they will do it.  They feel perhaps rightly that it's easier to control balance with limited classes.
When I said "1 class system," I was referring to a classless system, merely using the number to make the point that if you really think 4 is better than 20 than you should thing 1 is better than 4.  To my mind (and the devs have said this, although I don't recall where), what a class system gets you is an easily explainable entrypoint into the world.  When you say "cleric" the other person immediately understands, "holy man."  The class description then goes on to explain that you wield divine magic granted to you by your deity, that you heal and buff your friends, etc...  You have a starting point to understand your character's place in the world and his role in the party; the baseline fluff that acculturates a new player into the game and gives a starting point to inspire an experienced one to go further (or to completely ignore and refluff if he so chooses).  In a classless system, you forego all of that for complete freedom, allowing you to play a holy man who wields no magic or a scoundrel who does.  A classless system has it's advantages - although simplicity and efficiency are not among them, IMHO - but that's what you're giving up.  A 4 class system also gives that up.  "Vancian power structure" does not give you an entrypoint into the world.  It does not explain to someone new to the hobby, in 5 words or less, what their character is about, what it's good at... In short, it does nothing at all that I can see (relative to a classless system) besides serve as the arbitrary basis of an unnecessary taxonomy scheme.  

Classless systems have all kinds of benefits, sure.  I'm not advocating for classes over classless (here, at least).  All I'm saying is that if you're going the full customizability route, saying that everyone with vancian power structure is a member of a single "class" doesn't help you one bit.  And if you weren't going the full customizability route, saying that all the "sub" classes that have a vancian power structure are members of the same "super" class doesn't help you one bit either.  The only time it helps you is if you standardize the subclasses to the point where they have enough in common that it helps you to avoid reprinting it.  And that's not a system I want to play, because then all your characters are the same.  
sigh i dont need to know what a class does in 5 words or less to play a game. if i am interested in something i do some research before getting involved. so i would go into a game with basic rule knowledge. all this talk about classless will never happen in dnd. there are many good classless games out there and to give up what makes you special to compete with others dosent make business sense at all
You are right.  A classless system would be an improvement over any class system when it came to customizability.

I dislike the pattern of multiplying classes beyond 10 but I see that this will be inevitable since each person has a personal pet favorite class that they want to see in the next edition.

I wish a limited number of classes could be customized further and further to achieve the character concept of every player.

Barbarian, Monk, Rogue, and Fighter seem fairly similar.

An arcanist cleric is remarkably similar to a wizard so these two classes are not as far apart as people might think.

We therefore have two mechanics to date.  Vancian magic and Martial damage dice.  Of course, we also have maneuvers, skill tricks, rage, ki powers, etc. but these are addons as well.

It would not be a stretch to combine all current classes in the playtest into 2 classes: Martial Warriors and Magic Users. 

I actually would like to see a power structure similar to 4E for some concepts (with daily, encounter, and at will powers) and a point pool for others (perhaps psionics).

A class system can be helpful but it is also tends to push towards stereotypes and can hurt creativity and roleplaying by doing this.
But that still doesn't answer what you get out of a 4 class system.  If you want to argue for a classless system, that's fine.  If you, like justmike, don't care about the benefits of a class system, that's fine (and I agree that experienced roleplayers probably shouldn't, as I made clear it's mostly for the benefit of new players less familiar with the D&D world).  But what are you getting by saying fighters, rogues, barbarians, and monks all belong to the 'fighting man' super-class?  The ability to avoid reprinting the CE advancement chart?  Personally, I'd like it reprinted with each subclass, so that I don't have to flip back and forth between the ki strike pages and the CE advancement pages, through all the rage, maneuver, and skill trick pages, to get all the rules for my monk.  It's certainly not shaving more than a handful of pages off the rulebook unless you homogenize all the subclasses under a given umbrella, manufacturing redundancy so that you can cut it out, in which case you've done more harm than good.  And even if that's your goal, you're still better off with classless, because not only can you avoid reprinting redundant tables, you can avoid printing a multiclass system for those who want a touch of vancian and a touch of MDD.  

I get classless, I get classes, but I really just don't get the inbetwen stage where you have classes that are so amorphous and bare bones as to provide none of the benefits of a class system, even if they also have most of the benefits of a classless system.  And everytime I ask, I get the same argument over and over again, an argument which advocates for classless not limited classes.  I am familiar with those arguments, I understand them, I even agree with them (although I also agree with the counterarguments, which I personally think have more force for D&D as the gateway game to the world of P&PRPG).  When I sat down to build my own rules system, I decided to go classless.  I get it, I really, really do.  So let me make it as clear as I possibly can:

Please explain to me what you think the benefits of a 4 class system are over a classless system.  If you don't have an answer to that question, please don't repeat the arguments I've heard a thousand times about why 4 classes are better than 20.
To create a binomial system, where one choice leads to another would be perfect for creating a character based on how you want to play, so that as you go through questions you are building a character.


As for classes above classless, if there are no classes then what is there? A completely customizable RPG in which you create a character that is a class of its own, Maybe the classes should be more of a guideline to possible player combinations. I understand the redundancy of the argument now, and always have understood one over the other. But as to why a small group of "super classes" is then expanded it would just catagorize them and share certain abilities. And as for page turning problems, the rules can be reprinted, they can be photocopied for individual personal use, you could make your own class information packet if you wanted to, and not carry the book around to each game. When I DM i use about 3 pages of resources front and back, that are scanned and arranged then copied so It is easier to recognize each aspect. 


Pages are not an issue. Its openness for other players, i think a classless system would provide to many options for an already overwhelmed new player. I understand how overwhelming three books of knowledge can be when i just started out, it was incredible it seemed like every detail was important, when its not. Its about story, the rules just complement personal choices and show how to organize and decide in disputes.


A simple class system could be made where it is, Fighting Players and Magic Players, but also have crossover characters. But that would not be its own class, it would be a subcatagory shared over the two classes.  Such as a family tree with cousins being shared by a single family member.


Fighting Players versus Magic Players would be the first choice, in the binomial system. Then second question would be do you want the powers of another player class as well. To supplement your previous decision then you have a mixed class.


Having many classes for a new player may make the player feel as if there are only those options, but so may a few class system make the players mind narrower in scope of customization. 


I think classes should be taken more as guidelines to what a player can be or could be, but should still be catagorized under a super class that shows basic roots of power for the class. The only reason i really enjoy few classes is becuase then the player can see catagories, then specialize further, then they flesh out a character.                  
When I first started the playtest I was happy with the concept of core four with Themes to create bunches of interesting and fresh concepts.

Then:

1) I realized not every player wants to create the same concepts that I do. Many players just want to grab a class and play.
2) I realized WoTC was not playtesting a different mechanic for each class.
3) I saw the potential of Themes in character concept generation go out the door.

So I settled on creating my own module with 14 classes with a shared, but unique to D&D, mechanic. I will reintroduce Themes and Backgrounds that are akin to the first playtest packet at my table.

The goal is to offer classes that are interesting, easy to understand and play, easy to multiclass, easy to convert to varying playstyles, supports character concept, evens classes along the axis of power, and fits nice and neat on top of the 5E Basic rules set as an 5E AD&D Variant Module.

But yeah, I can do a lot with just four classes.

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

Maybe I want to see (to begin with) 4 main classes because my early experience with D&D was mostly 2nd edition.  I think I may have played in that edition alone even more than 3rd.  I really just liked the feel of the groupings in 2nd.

My breakdown into the 4 classes would mainly be based on weapon attack bonus progression, though there are a few other aspects which would also make the classes distinct.  IMO, the Warrior class should have the best attack progression, followed by the Rogue and Priest, though theirs might even be the same, and finally the Wizard (and I'm leaning towards this class being "Magic-User" instead), who'd almost not progress at all with weapons.  Assuming the rogue and priest had the same progression, difference between the two classes will obviously be what they do outside of (and sometimes during) weapon combat: essentially, the Priest casts spells and the Rogue uses skills.

There would, of course, be some overlap between the classes.  For instance, every character would have skills, but skill use (and tricks) would be a defining quality of the Rogue class.  Magic-users also cast spells, but theirs are thematically different from those of the Priest, for the most part.  Everyone could engage in weapon combat (including using the body as a weapon), but the Warrior's way would be unique and emphasize the fact that his (or her, of course) job is weapon combat.

I'm not sure what should be done about certain classes.  Should the Paladin be a warrior?  In the playtest, I thought that following the Warbringer would make the cleric close to a paladin, but maybe the paladin should be more fighty than that.  Or maybe the Paladin should actually be a multi-classed or something-like-prestige character.  Ditto for the Ranger.

I don't have a problem at all with there being more than those four base classes, but I think they should be distinct enough that there is little cause for argument that more classes are necessary.  A non-Vancian casting system could be enough to create another class, but more likely the Warlock itself, just one type of non-Vancian, could be its own class, when one considers the fact that there will be various pact options, as well as the uniqueness of the eldritch blast.

 So, with just a handful of classes, we'd have something in the vein of the kits in 2e to better define who this character is.  I already see some of that idea cropping up in 5e, like in the diety selection of the cleric and the rogue schemes.

I'm really not exactly sure how I'd like to see it all work, but in a nutshell they'd be grouped by flavor, with options within the class for further defining the character, without the rigidity of a plethora narrowly-defined classes, like what made me want to be able to build my own class for 3e.