Life Without A Role - non-core classes in a 4-person party?

The mini-announcement from Mike Mearls on Twitter that 5e warlord won't heal got me thinking about an old issue: class roles.

They existed since the game's creation as the four "core" classes, which later got expanded through kits and sub-classes. Fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric; in MMO-speak, tank, DPS, AOE/CC, and healer; in the official 4e terminology, defender, striker, controller, and leader.

Third edition had some problems because classes outside those core four sometimes didn't fit into the party well. A 3.5e bard was a decent class, but he couldn't fill one of those main four roles, so unless your party had five or more characters he was a subpar choice.

(A proviso: this obviously wasn't a hard and fast rule. My favorite 3e characters were a monk and a barbarian. Some groups didn't even know about the "core four," others didn't care, and plenty worked around it more or less elegantly. Scrolls, wands of cure light wounds, hirelings, and other adaptations covered a miltitude of design sins.)

4e did a great job of solving this conundrum with a two-part procedure: first, they sawed off the rough edges that made certain classes absolutely necessary. Most obviously, they gave all characters out of combat (and some in combat) healing, so the party wasn't screwed if nobody wanted to play a cleric.

Second, the wedged every class into one of those four roles. So the 4e bard was a leader, meaning he could replace a cleric.

Now, 5e is rejecting that second change. Not every fighter is a defender anymore. A cleric or even rogue can have elements of a defender. Hurray for flexibility!

But where does this leave classes outside those core four? What does a monk or bard or warlord or ranger add to the party that those four core classes don't? Who do they replace?

A meta-question that should probably come first: has WOTC kept enough of the other 4e adaptations, like (soon-to-be-optional) HD healing, that those four roles aren't as rigidly required as they sometimes seemed in earlier editions?
Source on that quote that states specifically that warlords can't heal?

And if it was the one I'm thinking of, he was just off handedly mentioning some classes that can heal. That's hardly evidence that Warlords won't be one of them. 
My two copper.
Not healing, could mean not restoring hit points, but granting temporary hit points. So the specifics are important and Mike really needs to stay off of any type of instant messaging. I know I would if I was a developer.
@jenks - sorry, I'm on my phone, but google @mikemearls and check his twitter feed. Someone asked if warlords were healers too and he said they focus more on mitigation.
@jenks - sorry, I'm on my phone, but google @mikemearls and check his twitter feed. Someone asked if warlords were healers too and he said they focus more on mitigation.


Interesting. I'm actually kind of looking forward to seeing that. But it does solidify one thing, they ARE developing a Warlord class. At least that argument can be put to rest.
My two copper.
Those roles have never been a requirement, just a more-or-less standard. That reminds me of Final Fantasy I, in which the "standard" party comprised of a fighter/knight, thief/ninja, white mage/wizard, and black mage/wizard. The running joke was how pathetic the black belt/master class was, since it got no magic at all (except from items). So I decided to run a party of 4 black belts/masters. I ended up beating the game about 5 levels lower than the "standard" party. I was truly impressed on how well they survived.

My point is every group can be functional, but the tactics will need to change accordingly. 4 defenders will have staying power, but take longer to win the encounter. No leader/healer means you need to be extra cautious or extra aggressive to mitigate overall damage inflicted to the party. Etc, etc, etc.

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So I decided to run a party of 4 black belts/masters. I ended up beating the game about 5 levels lower than the "standard" party. I was truly impressed on how well they survived.

A level 21 Master can take out the endboss with a single attack. It's awesome.
@jenks - sorry, I'm on my phone, but google @mikemearls and check his twitter feed. Someone asked if warlords were healers too and he said they focus more on mitigation.



Here is the quote.  It was edited into the OP of the warlord thread.


@mikemearls: Only if you want it that way - you can include HD or such if no one wants to play a cleric/druid/bard etc.
@sleypy: Does warlord fall under etc?
@mikemearls: Warlord is looking like it will deal more in damage mitigation/prevention via defensive maneuvers.

 

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.

 

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And then we're bloating up the game because some very loud players out there have a huge mental disconnect between "take five less damage" and "gain five hitpoints" for some reason.
And then we're bloating up the game because some very loud players out there have a huge mental disconnect between "take five less damage" and "gain five hitpoints" for some reason.

Mechanical diversity, the spice of life, and ruiner of games.

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I really dislike the 4 roles of defender, striker, controller, and leader.

I much prefer the roles of healer, sneak, tank, and area of effect specialist. 
I really dislike the 4 roles of defender, striker, controller, and leader.

I much prefer the roles of healer, sneak, tank, and area of effect specialist. 



the problem with "healer" is that he is useless if no one needs healing, the better the party is doing the less he has to do. so 4e decided to give the healing classes more to do then wait for someone to need enough healing to justify him useing one of his limited heals.
it also causes balance issues because if a class only heals it would almost have to do so too well to justify him being in the party rather then potions or something.

area of effect specialist has problems as well, against a single target he would be worthless, it would force the DM to add enough things in a small enough area to give the player enough things to do.

sneak is not a role, being unseen does not help the party do anything but know what is ahead, and knowing there is a dragon ahead does not help kill the dragon.

without striker there is no place for someone who only wants to do damage, the ranger cant exist, nor can a damage dealing rogue. you would have to be someone who throws fireballs, or someone who takes damage, or someone who is sneaky. that leaves a great many damage dealing archtypes out in the cold.

-----
one thing that people who dont like roles keep saying is that by not assineing them to classes the Dev's are leaving classes open to pick what they want, this is just not true.

in order for that to be true each class would have equal freedom to do each role. and I dont see anyone calling for fighters to be given equal healing ability as clerics (right out of the gate, not through a theme or feat or whatever), nor wizards the toughness (and stickynes) of fighters. that would be required to get rid of the ties between roles and classes. and if that is done there would be no reason to have classes anyway.

what those people really want is what many classes in 4e had, the ablily to be one of two roles with maybe a toe in one of the others. so a fighter can be a defender/striker (with his choice of resources and his round to round choices decided which one he is/favors) with maybe a once a encounter control power.

thinking over the classes there are very few who could justify three or four roles (palidans being the only one that comes to mind atm). just as there are few who could not justify having 2 roles.



@mikemearls: Only if you want it that way - you can include HD or such if no one wants to play a cleric/druid/bard etc.
@sleypy: Does warlord fall under etc?
@mikemearls: Warlord is looking like it will deal more in damage mitigation/prevention via defensive maneuvers.



the proble with this is that temp HP and reducing damage will not totaly replace healing unless the players have some way to heal between fights, even if the warlord stops 3/4 of all damage some will get through and need to be healed. and I hope he is not considering requiring a "optional" modual be used to have a class be funtional

and "defensive maneuvers" will amost certainly be limited, useage and maybe distance.

so a cleric can pick who needs to be healed each round, keeping the party going because whoever is not healed should be fine for a round.

if the warlord can only heal once per round he will not know who needs it most, he has to decide as damage happens rather then seeing what happend and THEN healing. (or god forbid, having to give DR on his turn then hoping they are attacked)

even if everything he can do a manuver each turn (not round) and he has a varity of powers (at-will, encounter, daily ect) he still would have to decide when damage is taken rather then looking at the party as a whole and deciding.

nor can he exspect everyone to be close enough for him to do his thing if he has a range, which if the cleric does he probaby will.


let us say that bob takes 10 damage, then another creature goes and crits and deals 25 damage to joe leaving him bleeding on the floor.

a cleric would wait until his turn and use his best heal on joe, a warlord could have used his manuver to help bob and be unable to help joe. nor would he be able to do anything on his turn, as temp hp and DR would not help him. nor is it a given he would have any encounter or daily powers to use to help joe with how WoTC is about non-casters having anything but at-wills in 5e.

the only good way of making the warlord is with real healing, it does not have to be as good as the cleric's healing nor work the same but but the warlord needs it.

I could easily see the warlord either A) sucking so hard he is all but worthless, or B) being unable to replace the cleric but being overpowered if paired with one becuase of the comination of temp hp/DR and healing the cleric gives

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If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.
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the problem with "healer" is that he is useless if no one needs healing, the better the party is doing the less he has to do. so 4e decided to give the healing classes more to do then wait for someone to need enough healing to justify him useing one of his limited heals.


Not needing healing is a good problem to have.  You could make the same argument about a fighter and fighting.  The problem with a "fighter" is that they are useless if no one needs fighting.
i
t also causes balance issues because if a class only heals it would almost have to do so too well to justify him being in the party rather then potions or something.

5E makes healing spells as an effect that can be performed in conjunction with another action.  Potions meanwhile would require an action.  A cleric "healer" could fight and heal, allowing fighters to fight without stopping to heal in combat.
area of effect specialist has problems as well, against a single target he would be worthless, it would force the DM to add enough things in a small enough area to give the player enough things to do.
never found the potential of casting a fireball to be a problem.  Perhaps not having an area of effect specialists would force the DM to remove enough things to avoid giving the players more than they could handle.
sneak is not a role, being unseen does not help the party do anything but know what is ahead, and knowing there is a dragon ahead does not help kill the dragon.

Knowing there is a dragon ahead has always helped to kill the dragon.  Preparation and the element of surprise is the most valuable commodity there is.  The earlier that you know there is a dragon ahead, the more prepared you are.
without striker there is no place for someone who only wants to do damage, the ranger cant exist, nor can a damage dealing rogue. you would have to be someone who throws fireballs, or someone who takes damage, or someone who is sneaky. that leaves a great many damage dealing archtypes out in the cold.

Rangers and rogues should not be for someone who only wants to do damage.
Rangers are a forest dwelling trackers who often hunt evil creatures which destroy their environment, like orcs.
Rogues are individuals who work outside the law or the conventional justice system to accomplish their ends.
In my mind, neither are the right choice for someone who only wants to do damage.  This person should choose a fighter.
My problem with picking archtypes based only on combat is that I dislike a roleplaying game that is only designed to create combat type characters.  In my mind, the usefulness of rogues and wizards is actually primarily non-combat.  I want a game that involves 50% combat and 50% non-combat.  So I don't really want to have a character who only wants to do damage.  That character would be useless 50% of the time and would then have to sit around and wait until something needed damage as the other characters "roleplayed" between fights.
I don't play a "role-playing" game to roll the dice and fight monsters.  Video games do this so much better than tabletop games.  I play for the plot, the story, and "the role-playing". Many people don't feel that the "role" in role-playing only means a combat role.  Everyone plays a role whether in or out of combat.  We have fighter types who prefer to just sit out while others explore, converse, or interact with the environment,as they are waiting for the next combat.  We also have the "rogue" types who enjoy the activities outside combat and often sit out combats except for the occasional sneak attack on an unsuspecting enemy.
I don't want to create groups based entirely on their usefulness in a specific type of combat.  I want a versatile group that can handle combat and non-combat scenarios.
I also don't like the idea of having dozens of healing potions or healing wands or automatic heals.  I have never read a fantasy book where healing was as plentiful as it is in the D&D universe.  I actually prefer if adventurers don't need to be fully rested and healed for every encounter.  I am not sure why that has become the standard.
Combat roles:
Striker (focused win condition)
Controller (removal and disruption)
Leader (Application and Loss Prevention)
Tank (Hard Stall)

Exploration Roles:
Lockpick
Trapsmith
Scout
Lookout
Loremaster
Survivalist

Interaction Roles:
Soft Face (diplomacy)
Hard Face (intimidation)
False Face (misdirection)
Detective
Translator/Contact
Sage

Who lacks a role?

Granted many Exploration and Interaction roles can be handled by the same person, Combat roles are all cumulative as HP is not a pass Fail check.

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D&D always had a reliance on magic, but it must be treated as a supplment versus a fix for items like healing. As to roles they have always existed, so if they change again, then it doesn't bother me. They can change the names or even the definitions It is more important for classes to contribute to all pillars of play. What should be avoided is using roleplay as a mechanism to cover a pillar, because everyone is expected to do it through their characters. It is a non-answer.
wel even 2nd edition had it's version of roles but where named much less obvious then in 4th edition.








































GroupClass
WarriorFighter
Paladin
Ranger
WizardMage
Specialist wizard
PriestCleric
Druid
Priest of specific mythos
RogueThief
Bard

 
as long as you had one from each group in your party you should be ok. 
party and class balance comes at the table roleplaying i never forced any player to play any class. there was in 1st and 2nd healing and herbalism non weapon profs you just risked more in combat
All this means is he's becoming more defender like, while still keeping a leader feel as well. I think that's fine. All requiring him to be able to replace a cleric does is further perpetuate the stereotype that you have to have a healer in order to play "correctly".
My two copper.
The mini-announcement from Mike Mearls on Twitter that 5e warlord won't heal got me thinking about an old issue: class roles. They existed since the game's creation as the four "core" classes, which later got expanded through kits and sub-classes. Fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric; in MMO-speak, tank, DPS, AOE/CC, and healer; in the official 4e terminology, defender, striker, controller, and leader. Third edition had some problems because classes outside those core four sometimes didn't fit into the party well. A 3.5e bard was a decent class, but he couldn't fill one of those main four roles, so unless your party had five or more characters he was a subpar choice. (A proviso: this obviously wasn't a hard and fast rule. My favorite 3e characters were a monk and a barbarian. Some groups didn't even know about the "core four," others didn't care, and plenty worked around it more or less elegantly. Scrolls, wands of cure light wounds, hirelings, and other adaptations covered a miltitude of design sins.) 4e did a great job of solving this conundrum with a two-part procedure: first, they sawed off the rough edges that made certain classes absolutely necessary. Most obviously, they gave all characters out of combat (and some in combat) healing, so the party wasn't screwed if nobody wanted to play a cleric. Second, the wedged every class into one of those four roles. So the 4e bard was a leader, meaning he could replace a cleric. Now, 5e is rejecting that second change. Not every fighter is a defender anymore. A cleric or even rogue can have elements of a defender. Hurray for flexibility! But where does this leave classes outside those core four? What does a monk or bard or warlord or ranger add to the party that those four core classes don't? Who do they replace? A meta-question that should probably come first: has WOTC kept enough of the other 4e adaptations, like (soon-to-be-optional) HD healing, that those four roles aren't as rigidly required as they sometimes seemed in earlier editions?



I would say a fighter was not officially a tank until 4e came out anyway.  I never played a ranger as a striker, and often I liked blaster mages despite their shortcomings.

So roles too me has been a guy to do melee, a guy to do magic, a guy that gets through the tricks, and the healer.  Often different classes would fulfill different roles depending on what the party needed.  The classification of roles in 4e's first iteration was my first turn off to the system.  I hope they leave that concept as loose as it has always been.  With that said, most of my parties throughout the years have been missing one or more.

This only ever came into play when a player joined the campaign late and asked the other players "what do you guys need."

The answer was a function of encounter experience more than what 'role' was missing. 



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If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.


And this is how it needs to be done.
We (players and DMs) are doing Adventures & telling stories. There is no right or wrong way to build a party for that. Yes, there are those of us who play D&D to replicate other gaming experiences but roles can hinder as well as help in that.
I, as a DM, do not care what the party consists of and often tailor encounters to give players a chance to shine. I also tailor other encounters to take advantage of the weaknesses of a party or individual characters. Either way I build an encounter its for the advancement of the narrative the PCs are involved in.
With the way things are going with Next a 4-person party of the same class seems entirely viable and effective. I hope it continues in that direction and leave "roles" in the department of Specialties and fighting styles/schemes/dieties/traditions. 

@mikemearls: Only if you want it that way - you can include HD or such if no one wants to play a cleric/druid/bard etc.
@sleypy: Does warlord fall under etc?
@mikemearls: Warlord is looking like it will deal more in damage mitigation/prevention via defensive maneuvers.



the proble with this is that temp HP and reducing damage will not totaly replace healing unless the players have some way to heal between fights, even if the warlord stops 3/4 of all damage some will get through and need to be healed. and I hope he is not considering requiring a "optional" modual be used to have a class be funtional

Since there are groups out there that want this playstyle (low magical healing and slow natural healing), this playstyle is funtional without the "optional" module.

let us say that bob takes 10 damage, then another creature goes and crits and deals 25 damage to joe leaving him bleeding on the floor.

a cleric would wait until his turn and use his best heal on joe, a warlord could have used his manuver to help bob and be unable to help joe. nor would he be able to do anything on his turn, as temp hp and DR would not help him. nor is it a given he would have any encounter or daily powers to use to help joe with how WoTC is about non-casters having anything but at-wills in 5e.

Why would Temp HP not help Joe?

Why wouln't an at-will feature that grants Temp HP help?

the only good way of making the warlord is with real healing, it does not have to be as good as the cleric's healing nor work the same but but the warlord needs it.

I could easily see the warlord either A) sucking so hard he is all but worthless, or B) being unable to replace the cleric but being overpowered if paired with one becuase of the comination of temp hp/DR and healing the cleric gives

Why wouldn't a Warlord, with a feature that grants Temp HP, be as good as a Cleric during an encounter?

Whether or not your group would decide to use the "optional" HD module, this type of Warlord helps the party get through the battle. Then, it is just a matter of group preference as to what comes next: use HD to heal up or call it a day to return to town for magical healing (if it isn't available within the party).

If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.


Amen!
My problem with picking archtypes based only on combat is that I dislike a roleplaying game that is only designed to create combat type characters.  In my mind, the usefulness of rogues and wizards is actually primarily non-combat.  I want a game that involves 50% combat and 50% non-combat.  So I don't really want to have a character who only wants to do damage.  That character would be useless 50% of the time and would then have to sit around and wait until something needed damage as the other characters "roleplayed" between fights.
I don't play a "role-playing" game to roll the dice and fight monsters.  Video games do this so much better than tabletop games.  I play for the plot, the story, and "the role-playing". Many people don't feel that the "role" in role-playing only means a combat role.  Everyone plays a role whether in or out of combat.  We have fighter types who prefer to just sit out while others explore, converse, or interact with the environment,as they are waiting for the next combat.  We also have the "rogue" types who enjoy the activities outside combat and often sit out combats except for the occasional sneak attack on an unsuspecting enemy.
I don't want to create groups based entirely on their usefulness in a specific type of combat.  I want a versatile group that can handle combat and non-combat scenarios.
I also don't like the idea of having dozens of healing potions or healing wands or automatic heals.  I have never read a fantasy book where healing was as plentiful as it is in the D&D universe.  I actually prefer if adventurers don't need to be fully rested and healed for every encounter.  I am not sure why that has become the standard.

All this! Except the line I crossed out; I would rather fight monsters in a TTRPG than any video game.

Doubly so for the bolded sentences!
If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.

That should certainly be a goal, however there are practical limits to how far the game can go in that regards. If everybody shows up with a pacifist healer who makes no attacks at all, the party is not going to work dropped into a pregenerated adventure and even designing a custom adventure is going to be a problem.

The game should be designed so that no particular role or class is required. Even if they are not designed to do it on the fly, characters should be flexible enough in the design phase that they can be built to cover jobs other then their assumed base role. At the same time, the game has to make some assumptions about what a standard party is so that pregenerated adventures can be designed and average encounters can be setup.

What I want in Next that D&D has really lacked in the past is spelling out what those assumptions are and giving the DM advice on how to handle the situation when the party falls outside those assumptions.

All this means is he's becoming more defender like, while still keeping a leader feel as well. I think that's fine. All requiring him to be able to replace a cleric does is further perpetuate the stereotype that you have to have a healer in order to play "correctly".

Ah, finally, someone who actually understands that...and actually put it into words.

The game should be designed so that no particular role or class is required. Even if they are not designed to do it on the fly, characters should be flexible enough in the design phase that they can be built to cover jobs other then their assumed base role. At the same time, the game has to make some assumptions about what a standard party is so that pregenerated adventures can be designed and average encounters can be setup.

What I want in Next that D&D has really lacked in the past is spelling out what those assumptions are and giving the DM advice on how to handle the situation when the party falls outside those assumptions.

Well said.

The fighter is already a "healer" from being able to negate some damage on other players.
Every class could be able to negate damage during combat and leave all healing beyond stabilization as an out of combat option.

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@mikemearls: Only if you want it that way - you can include HD or such if no one wants to play a cleric/druid/bard etc.
@sleypy: Does warlord fall under etc?
@mikemearls: Warlord is looking like it will deal more in damage mitigation/prevention via defensive maneuvers.

the proble with this is that temp HP and reducing damage will not totaly replace healing unless the players have some way to heal between fights, even if the warlord stops 3/4 of all damage some will get through and need to be healed. and I hope he is not considering requiring a "optional" modual be used to have a class be funtional


Reducing damage can certainly replace magical healing, even if you can't stop all the damage.  This is because magical healing is also limited.  The cleric can't keep you healed forever, because he will run out of spells.

So a Warlord who keeps the party alive through damage mitigation/prevention would be completely functional without any optional module.
Playing 3E and 4E taught me that not having a contributing role on par with other classes is a sin against game balance. There were any number of classes in 3E that really didnt contribute on par compared to other classes, and these all lacked a clearly defined role.

All classes should have a purpose/schtick, that purpose/schtick should contribute to play more than half of the time, and that purpose/schtick should contribute at a similar level to those of other classes.

Otherwise, game balance doesn't exist.
...whatever
They existed since the game's creation as the four "core" classes, which later got expanded through kits and sub-classes. Fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric; in MMO-speak, tank, DPS, AOE/CC, and healer; in the official 4e terminology, defender, striker, controller, and leader.


Here's the thing, the 1e-3e "roles" of fighter/magic user/cleric/rogue do NOT equeate with  tank, DPS, AOE/CC, and healer. Fighters and wizards could easily take damage, clerics could tank, and rogues were often skill monkies more than DPS. The four pre-4e roles were not combat roles but adventure roles and character archetypes.

4e did a great job of solving this conundrum with a two-part procedure: first, they sawed off the rough edges that made certain classes absolutely necessary. Most obviously, they gave all characters out of combat (and some in combat) healing, so the party wasn't screwed if nobody wanted to play a cleric.


But the party was equally screwed if no one wanted to play a leader. In fact, it was harder to play 4e without a leader than it was to play 1e-3e without a cleric, as the game was so much more designed for the four roles. It solved it beautifully if someone was willing to play a leader, but if everyone wanted to be a striker the game hiccuped. (And if you had two leaders in your five-man party everyone became extra hard to kill.)

Second, the wedged every class into one of those four roles. So the 4e bard was a leader, meaning he could replace a cleric. Now, 5e is rejecting that second change. Not every fighter is a defender anymore. A cleric or even rogue can have elements of a defender. Hurray for flexibility! But where does this leave classes outside those core four? What does a monk or bard or warlord or ranger add to the party that those four core classes don't? Who do they replace? A meta-question that should probably come first: has WOTC kept enough of the other 4e adaptations, like (soon-to-be-optional) HD healing, that those four roles aren't as rigidly required as they sometimes seemed in earlier editions?


The four combat roles are a great idea... from a party designing perspective. It's up to players to look at their characters and prefered classes and know they should build a character to fit one of the roles. The cleric player might roll up a DPR or tanking character while the fighter might take the healer speciality and try and keep people up between fights. Or the party can reject the roles alltogether and the game won't fall apart. 


As for the warlord... healing was always the least interesting part of the class. It was this tacked on power necessitated by every leader being a healer and the symmetry of initial healing design. 
If no one gets hurt in a battle, if the warlord doesn't need to heal anyone in a fight, they still feel like a warlord. They still spend every round doing warlordy things that no other class can do. What they do with their standard actions (and minors when not wasting them on heals) is what defines a warlord. That's what's interesting.
The druid didn't stop being a druid in 4e when they took away her healing spells. 

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If no one gets hurt in a battle, if the warlord doesn't need to heal anyone in a fight, they still feel like a warlord. They still spend every round doing warlordy things that no other class can do. What they do with their standard actions (and minors when not wasting them on heals) is what defines a warlord. That's what's interesting.
The druid didn't stop being a druid in 4e when they took away her healing spells.

This is a key point. 'Healer' is a weak focus-point for the broad concept of class.

Danny

My problem with picking archtypes based only on combat is that I dislike a roleplaying game that is only designed to create combat type characters.  In my mind, the usefulness of rogues and wizards is actually primarily non-combat.  I want a game that involves 50% combat and 50% non-combat.  So I don't really want to have a character who only wants to do damage.  That character would be useless 50% of the time and would then have to sit around and wait until something needed damage as the other characters "roleplayed" between fights.
I don't play a "role-playing" game to roll the dice and fight monsters.  Video games do this so much better than tabletop games.  I play for the plot, the story, and "the role-playing". Many people don't feel that the "role" in role-playing only means a combat role.  Everyone plays a role whether in or out of combat.  We have fighter types who prefer to just sit out while others explore, converse, or interact with the environment,as they are waiting for the next combat.  We also have the "rogue" types who enjoy the activities outside combat and often sit out combats except for the occasional sneak attack on an unsuspecting enemy.
I don't want to create groups based entirely on their usefulness in a specific type of combat.  I want a versatile group that can handle combat and non-combat scenarios.
I also don't like the idea of having dozens of healing potions or healing wands or automatic heals.  I have never read a fantasy book where healing was as plentiful as it is in the D&D universe.  I actually prefer if adventurers don't need to be fully rested and healed for every encounter.  I am not sure why that has become the standard.

All this! Except the line I crossed out; I would rather fight monsters in a TTRPG than any video game.

Doubly so for the bolded sentences!


If fighting monsters is a role-playing experience with significant innovative opportunities than tabletop RPG wins.  If fighting monsters is rolling dice and counting damage than video games perform math in real time with far better audio and visual qualities.
That said, about the Druid.

We had three Druids in 4e: a controllery/strikery Wildshaper, a Nature-Wizard castery Protector, and a nature priest healer + animal-companion Sentinel.  All three were clearly in the Druid conceptual space, and thus they showed that Druids COULD be the healers, taking the place of the Cleric, or they could be the big spellcaster, taking the place of the Wizard.  Or they could be this other thing, that was like a spellcaster in that it controlled combat, but was much more melee, and thus interesting in it's own way. 

The important thing about that in 4e was that the Druid couldn't be ALL THREE AT ONCE, or at least not extremely effectively.  You could, for example, with feats, gain Wildshaping on a Protector or Sentinel, or gain Protector's Summon Nature's Ally on a Sentinel or Wildshaper; however, doing so would cost you other choices (such as a daily animal companion combine power or a daily wildshaping power).  Doing so however, would not only cost trading in one of your build's features for another build's feature, but also cost you an all-essential feat slot.  Thus, for all intents and purposes, the Druid was three different types of characters. 

And yet, all three were clearly Druids. 


And that's the important take-away.  An Arbalist, a Dragon Slayer, a Swashbuckler, and a Knight Protector are all Fighters.  They make their careers off of their martial training and their ability to fight.  They look quite different from each other, however, because they're equipped quite differently.  Similarly, a Cleric of the Storm God, a Cleric of the Sun God, a Cleric of the Trickster God, and a Cleric of the Death God all would (most likely; depends on pantheon and setting) look quite different.  Their domain spells, their favoured weapon, their equipment, how they channel divinity, all of these would shape the Clerics into looking quite distinct from one another. 

So the take-away, I guess, is that 4e had this fundamental step of creating roles so that we could first lock into them, and now move away from them.  Classes were scattered in their themes prior to 4e, I would suggest.  But in early 4e, at least, the classes were too pigeonholed.  Late 4Essentials and now moving into DDN/5e, we're seeing welcome diversity of purposes, where, within your class, you can be a variety of archetypes, occupying a variety of roles in combat and out of combat.  And that can ONLY be a good thing.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.


Amen!


Everyone can always play what they want within the design parameters.  Not sure what this sentence means.

Is the point of this statement that if the design parameters are not broad enough, a player cannot design the character that they envision (example, a player wants to play a natural born human werewolf who has grown up as a farmer but has now joined the adventuring party hoping for a divine cure for his condition. He has not been trained with weapons except for farming tools but has mastered his ability to turn into a werewolf and can do so at will and so is a primarily melee character without magic. There is no class that fits this concept.)

Or is it that players can play any player they desire without worrying about party mechanics. (Example, we all want to be wizards.  We don't want any fighters or clerics) Survival is guaranteed regardless of party mechanics.

The problem with the first is that it would be difficult to design a game that can fit everyone's imaginative concepts.

The problem with the second is that it creates a situation where players do not have strengths and weaknesses that work together in a synergistic fashion.  I prefer that teams be created with variety and variable talents.  This is how we do it in real life.  We find what we need for the group to supplement what we already have.

Everybody heals is a dumb idea in my mind.  I personally don't like that concept.
Playing 3E and 4E taught me that not having a contributing role on par with other classes is a sin against game balance. There were any number of classes in 3E that really didnt contribute on par compared to other classes, and these all lacked a clearly defined role. All classes should have a purpose/schtick, that purpose/schtick should contribute to play more than half of the time, and that purpose/schtick should contribute at a similar level to those of other classes. Otherwise, game balance doesn't exist.

In your opinion.

If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.

That's tough -- though I'd say that good DM advice would be the solution. Advice by class, for instance, on what challenges are especially difficult, which are especially easy, and how the class interacts with other classes (for instance, Warlord being an active participant as opposed to the reactive cleric).
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
My problem with picking archtypes based only on combat is that I dislike a roleplaying game that is only designed to create combat type characters.  In my mind, the usefulness of rogues and wizards is actually primarily non-combat.  I want a game that involves 50% combat and 50% non-combat.  So I don't really want to have a character who only wants to do damage.  That character would be useless 50% of the time and would then have to sit around and wait until something needed damage as the other characters "roleplayed" between fights.
I don't play a "role-playing" game to roll the dice and fight monsters.  Video games do this so much better than tabletop games.  I play for the plot, the story, and "the role-playing". Many people don't feel that the "role" in role-playing only means a combat role.  Everyone plays a role whether in or out of combat.  We have fighter types who prefer to just sit out while others explore, converse, or interact with the environment,as they are waiting for the next combat.  We also have the "rogue" types who enjoy the activities outside combat and often sit out combats except for the occasional sneak attack on an unsuspecting enemy.
I don't want to create groups based entirely on their usefulness in a specific type of combat.  I want a versatile group that can handle combat and non-combat scenarios.
I also don't like the idea of having dozens of healing potions or healing wands or automatic heals.  I have never read a fantasy book where healing was as plentiful as it is in the D&D universe.  I actually prefer if adventurers don't need to be fully rested and healed for every encounter.  I am not sure why that has become the standard.

All this! Except the line I crossed out; I would rather fight monsters in a TTRPG than any video game.

Doubly so for the bolded sentences!


If fighting monsters is a role-playing experience with significant innovative opportunities than tabletop RPG wins.  If fighting monsters is rolling dice and counting damage than video games perform math in real time with far better audio and visual qualities.

Actually, my imagination outperforms the video quality of most games as well.

If the game is properly designed, no class will be required, and everybody can simply play what they want.


Amen!


Everyone can always play what they want within the design parameters.  Not sure what this sentence means.

Is the point of this statement that if the design parameters are not broad enough, a player cannot design the character that they envision (example, a player wants to play a natural born human werewolf who has grown up as a farmer but has now joined the adventuring party hoping for a divine cure for his condition. He has not been trained with weapons except for farming tools but has mastered his ability to turn into a werewolf and can do so at will and so is a primarily melee character without magic. There is no class that fits this concept.)

Or is it that players can play any player they desire without worrying about party mechanics. (Example, we all want to be wizards.  We don't want any fighters or clerics) Survival is guaranteed regardless of party mechanics.

I interpretted it closer to your second example; but, I never want survival to be guaranteed, ever.

The problem with the first is that it would be difficult to design a game that can fit everyone's imaginative concepts.

The problem with the second is that it creates a situation where players do not have strengths and weaknesses that work together in a synergistic fashion.  I prefer that teams be created with variety and variable talents.  This is how we do it in real life.  We find what we need for the group to supplement what we already have.

Everybody heals is a dumb idea in my mind.  I personally don't like that concept.

That is not what is being suggested at all; only that the game shouldn't completely break down if one or more of those strengths is missing.

Exactly. You try to build a party with member features/skills that compliments each other; but, the game is still playable, and enjoyable, without all the expected features/skills being present.

My problem with picking archtypes based only on combat is that I dislike a roleplaying game that is only designed to create combat type characters.  In my mind, the usefulness of rogues and wizards is actually primarily non-combat.  I want a game that involves 50% combat and 50% non-combat.  So I don't really want to have a character who only wants to do damage.  That character would be useless 50% of the time and would then have to sit around and wait until something needed damage as the other characters "roleplayed" between fights.
I don't play a "role-playing" game to roll the dice and fight monsters.  Video games do this so much better than tabletop games.  I play for the plot, the story, and "the role-playing". Many people don't feel that the "role" in role-playing only means a combat role.  Everyone plays a role whether in or out of combat.  We have fighter types who prefer to just sit out while others explore, converse, or interact with the environment,as they are waiting for the next combat.  We also have the "rogue" types who enjoy the activities outside combat and often sit out combats except for the occasional sneak attack on an unsuspecting enemy.
I don't want to create groups based entirely on their usefulness in a specific type of combat.  I want a versatile group that can handle combat and non-combat scenarios.
I also don't like the idea of having dozens of healing potions or healing wands or automatic heals.  I have never read a fantasy book where healing was as plentiful as it is in the D&D universe.  I actually prefer if adventurers don't need to be fully rested and healed for every encounter.  I am not sure why that has become the standard.

All this! Except the line I crossed out; I would rather fight monsters in a TTRPG than any video game.

Doubly so for the bolded sentences!


If fighting monsters is a role-playing experience with significant innovative opportunities than tabletop RPG wins.  If fighting monsters is rolling dice and counting damage than video games perform math in real time with far better audio and visual qualities.

Actually, my imagination outperforms the video quality of most games as well.


but the lag time in a tabletop is so much worse than a video game that the video quality of a video game would win.  Would you rather watch a seamless movie in standard 2D or a high quality High Def 3D but could only watch in in 15 second intervals with 45 seconds of lagtime between each.

 but the lag time in a tabletop is so much worse than a video game that the video quality of a video game would win.  Would you rather watch a seamless movie in standard 2D or a high quality High Def 3D but could only watch in in 15 second intervals with 45 seconds of lagtime between each.


I can picture the scene in my mind without the lag time. I don't focus on it, it isn't there in the "story".

EDIT: Edited to remove most of the quoted posts; and to add...

Besides, many video games have lag issues too (well, unless you have a fiberoptic backbone to the internet).
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