Alternate Class Systems

I absolutely love the bounded accuracy the game is based around. I love it. I never want to go back from bounded accuracy. The classes on the other hand, are always wonky, imbalanced, weird. When 5th edition comes out, I'm most likely going to be gutting the class and feat system save for a few and then creating my own.

I'm in the process of trying to make an ability buy/package type deal class system. Instead of the traditional class based system.

What are your thoughts on class systems alternate to the leveling in a class style we've been trained into doing?
Well it's D&D... classes are its thing. There are plenty of classless systems out there that are amazing, but when I want to play D&D I expect classes.
This thread I did on Barbarians explains why I think DnD would benefit more from multiple classes:

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

Basically I think classless systems are great, but IMO with a game like DnD where you have all kinds of players each with own unique playstyle, you need the different classes to foster different approaches to the game.
I think the goal should be classes that are very broad in their scope... currently they are incredibly linear
Take a look at the Pathfinder SDR (google it) and look at the options available to barbarians and rogues.  I think the list of rage powers is upwards of 50 options and the list of Rogue Talents/Advanced Rogue Talents is upwards of 40.   Since each of those classes gets only 10 each of those options, the number of unique combinations is huge.  Couple that with the number of Archtype (similar to Kits in 2e, small varant packages that trade out abilities) and you have incredibly broad classes.

The problem with the current DDN classes is that you will need about 20 individual classes to cover just what Pathfinder is covering across 2 classes.  This is the beauty of an open class system where the class is a base that doesn't dictate everythig but gives you access to a  big list of customization options.  As long as they keep the idea of packages for players who don't want to sift through the list, there is nothing but upside.
The problem with the current DDN classes is that you will need about 20 individual classes to cover just what Pathfinder is covering across 2 classes.  This is the beauty of an open class system where the class is a base that doesn't dictate everythig but gives you access to a  big list of customization options.  As long as they keep the idea of packages for players who don't want to sift through the list, there is nothing but upside.



I don't think anyone is saying in this thread that they're against a open class system. I think the topic is more about class vs. classlite/classless

Whether we have 4 classes or 16 classes, I don't think making them all broad in scope would be a bad thing

I'd never go class-less in D&D, personally, however, I do think a Core-4 philosophy, with enough internal build options for classes, backgrounds, and specialties can accomplish what is being proposed.

Clerics have Deity choices
Wizards have Traditions
Rogues have Schemes
and Fighters have Fighting Styles

If you expand the number of these choices within each class, as well as make a few pre-fab default kits for new players, then combine them with an expanded Background and Specialty system you should be able to create just about any concept you could conceptualize. In addition, if you add in Multiclassing on top of this, you should have no troubles at all.

Want to make a Swordmage type character: Fighter/Wizard multiclass with the Wizards Tradition being Weapon-focus traditiion. Spells available are Swift spells that must be focused through a weapon attack for the most part. Those that aren't focused directly through a weapon attack are more defensive in nature or mobility type spells. Swordmage takes any Background they like (none fit better or worse right now) and can choose such specialties as Greatweapon Fighting, 2 Weapon Fighting, or Defender

Want to make a Ranger type character: Fighter class, with Hunter Fighting Style (Quarry/Preferred Enemy abilities/Maneuvers), Forest Guide or Bounty Hunter Background, and Specialties like Archery, 2 Weapon Fighting,  Mobility Fighter etc...

Want to make a Paladin type character: Fighter class with Mounted Combat Fighting Style, Knight Background, and Healer Specialty 
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I'd never go class-less in D&D, personally, however, I do think a Core-4 philosophy, with enough internal build options for classes, backgrounds, and specialties can accomplish what is being proposed.

Clerics have Deity choices
Wizards have Traditions
Rogues have Schemes
and Fighters have Fighting Styles

If you expand the number of these choices within each class, as well as make a few pre-fab default kits for new players, then combine them with an expanded Background and Specialty system you should be able to create just about any concept you could conceptualize. In addition, if you add in Multiclassing on top of this, you should have no troubles at all.

Want to make a Swordmage type character: Fighter/Wizard multiclass with the Wizards Tradition being Weapon-focus traditiion. Spells available are Swift spells that must be focused through a weapon attack for the most part. Those that aren't focused directly through a weapon attack are more defensive in nature or mobility type spells. Swordmage takes any Background they like (none fit better or worse right now) and can choose such specialties as Greatweapon Fighting, 2 Weapon Fighting, or Defender

Want to make a Ranger type character: Fighter class, with Hunter Fighting Style (Quarry/Preferred Enemy abilities/Maneuvers), Forest Guide or Bounty Hunter Background, and Specialties like Archery, 2 Weapon Fighting,  Mobility Fighter etc...

Want to make a Paladin type character: Fighter class with Mounted Combat Fighting Style, Knight Background, and Healer Specialty 



This.

I have always been a fan of core class archetypes that separate the different mechanical play styles. I loved the system from Unearthed Arcana where they split the game into Warrior, Expert, and Spellcaster, and everything else was made into Feats. That's a little simplistic, but I love the way you described four core classes, with everything else as variants on those classes.

I feel that D&D gets a little too bogged down in the idea of class. Classes are useful when they are generic, but when you have a class for every available concept I think you make the system overly complex. (Pathfinder's sheer number of classes are mind boggling and take so much away from the conceptal parts of the game by overdeveloping it.) Why do we need a Fighter and then 3 or 4 more classes that are really could just be variant fighters? Why not just make them into styles? I like that idea very much.

One of my favorite things about D&DNext has been the way Specialties and Backgrounds work. They add so much flavor to your class that it has become this sort of four-fold system of class, specialty, background, and then class choices that come together to make your character. I would love to see the other core classes folded into these main 4 ideas as highly developed traditions/styles/schemes/etc. instead of filling up the pages with a ton of extra classes. It keeps the rules simple and abstract enough that it leaves so much more up to the players' imaginations.
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with them producing alternate classes for those who want them. There are enough out there that will nerdragequit if they don't see their FAVORITE class as a Class, not a sub-class or build. Specific ones I've seen the most rage over are the Warlord, The Ranger, the Paladin, and the Swordmage.

Personally, like I said above, I'm a Core-4 man all the way. Give me a rich enough selection of Builds, Backgrounds, Specialties, and Multi-classing, and I'm happy (shoot, I probably won't do much in the regard to multiclassing at all, prefer the dipping of MC Feats from 4e, or the Hybrid system)

There is an infinite number of ways you can add to the Build, Background, and Specialty options in order to help concepts come alive. There are Ala Carte feats if nothing else, or DM designed Builds and Specialties.

Right now, the Fighter's new Expertise Dice mechanic is giving it a lot of the stuff I'd envision a Warlord might get. I could also quite easily build a Ranger or Paladin out of the current packet's material. My players will testify in court to this day that the first packet's Cleric was a Paladin in all but name.

This won't work for everyone, some people are set in their ways. Some think using all their Build Choices creates a Feat-Tax to make their favorite character, forgetting that their favorite character class gives them MORE abilities than the Core-4 start with, so a Feat-Tax to get those extras isn't really a Tax, they want extras, they should have to give up other optimization options to get them. No class should marginalize another class, and these nitch classes do exactly that. Why play a Fighter, a Barbarian gets a d12 HD, Rage, and a bunch of Nature based Exploration type abilities. how about a Monk, with Ki Powers, and the ability to do as much damage as the Fighter with his bare hands? What about a Ranger, again, Nature based abilities, plus Favored Enemy bonuses and Spells

I like the Core-4 because they are your basic building blocks to any concept you can imagine. Will you fit it exactly, at level 1? No, probably not, but everyone's idea of what a Ranger might be won't fit exactly at level 1 either. Same is true for the Monk, the Druid, the Paladin. Shoot, its hard enough to get 2 gamers to agree on the basic concept for the Core-4 without nitpicking 
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