How many classes is too many?

A: Is there a such thing as too many classes?

B: How do you know when you've crossed the line?

I'm genuinely curious to hear, particularly from those of you who seem to want more and more classes, what your answers are to those two questions.  If you've read my posts then you know my aswer to A is "Yes".  "B" is harder, though.

Please avoid debating particular classes, but "illustrative examples" are fine.
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
You know you have crossed the line when they are spitting out nso many that they dont have time too playtest them.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

More than about 8. Ideally 4-8. 10 at the absolute maximium. IMHO.

 The big 4 +Bard, Druid, Paladin, Ranger or

Big 4 + Dwarf, Elf, Halfling. 
I agree. When u do not playtest them
A: No, the more the merrier.

B: there is no line crossing because you can never have enough classes.

And yes, I'm dead serious. I've seen classes that I shake my head at and say 'eww' (Samurai, 3E) but have seen people generally enjoy them as-is.
14  in the variant I am tinkering with and that should cover about every character concept.

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

A: Is there a such thing as too many classes?

I suppose there has to be.

B: How do you know when you've crossed the line?

Hard to say.  If you "run out of design space" that could be an indicator that the line if behind you somewhere.  If classes start seeming redundant or very narrow, that could be an indicator.  If your last book that contained new classes didn't generate any buzz or sell any copies, you're definitely well past it...

I'm genuinely curious to hear, particularly from those of you who seem to want more and more classes, what your answers are to those two questions.  If you've read my posts then you know my aswer to A is "Yes".  "B" is harder, though.

Please avoid debating particular classes, but "illustrative examples" are fine.

Some illustrative examples from 4e:  The Seeker was so much like a primal clone of the ranger it didn't make a lot of sense - then, the Hunter came out, which was a primal ranger sub-class, and a controller, just like the Seeker.  Classes camped on the exact same, fairly small patch of conceptual space.  That's a sign.  

OTOH, an excessively broad class, like the Cleric or Fighter, shouldn't preclude other more focused classes with their own identities, like the Druid or Barbarian.


Ultimately, I think the devs hit upon the right rule of thumb with "every class from a PH1," even if the "1" designation only served to exclude 3e & 4e classes.



Conversely, you can't have too few classes:  Classless systems can work very well indeed.

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

There is no such thing as too many choices.

My group and I are playing Radiance (it's D20) and it has 30 classes and 24 races

I just restrict what I feel has no place in my curent setting (like the gunslinger in a medieval setting) and we're done. 
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
It isn´t about number but qualty, we need a interesting archetype, a good balance of power and fun game mechanic.

But....if new classes are published only in the demicore books (Player Handbook 2, Dark Sun Player Guide...) adding new things will be easier. For example....Could the dread necromancer from "Heroes of Horror" use the list of spells from "Libris Mortis"? If wu jen is in the player handbook 2, new spells for wu jen could be in the PH 3, but if wu jen is in Orietanl Adventures... new spells for wu jen only could be published in a Oriental Adventures 2: 1001 nights?



 
 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

 Theres your problem with modern D&D- to many classes. You are no longer making D&D and are now making GURPs and sticking the D&D label on it. No wonder people went to Pathfinder which has 11 classes (1-3 to many IMHO).

 Make a game of D&D warts and all and they will come.  
Except alot of people went to Pathfinder back when 4e had fewer classes than 3e or pathfinder start with.

4e Started with 8 classes. There was no barbarian, druid, sorceror, and bard for a year, and no monk for 2.

Pathfinder has closer to 20 if you include supplements. According to the OCG, there are 11 core classes. 8 'base' classes, and 3 alternative classes.


This isnt actually a whole lot less than 4e's 24 before essentials.  
 Theres your problem with modern D&D- to many classes. You are no longer making D&D and are now making GURPs and sticking the D&D label on it. No wonder people went to Pathfinder which has 11 classes (1-3 to many IMHO).

 Make a game of D&D warts and all and they will come.  

Pathfinder has released at least 6 extra classes in their advanced player's guide.  At least, I believe that's the number.

Hm.  I don't know what my answer to this one is.  It's better to define how big a class should be, or before that, what type of game you're even interested in making before you can start putting a hard cap on the number of classes in it.

I wouldn't mind exactly 4 classes in the initial release.  It would be kind of refreshing.  As that's not likely, I think 12 is a good number, 8 being just a little too shy of including all the fan favorites.
A: Is there a such thing as too many classes?

B: How do you know when you've crossed the line?

I'm genuinely curious to hear, particularly from those of you who seem to want more and more classes, what your answers are to those two questions.  If you've read my posts then you know my aswer to A is "Yes".  "B" is harder, though.

Please avoid debating particular classes, but "illustrative examples" are fine.



A: As production resources are limited I think there is definetly a "too manny in production at one time" limit, but taking the long view during one edition I don't think there is a too manny classes limit.

B: Taking the first view when production quality takes a serious drop, and taking the second we're aproaching when you have to add the name of the book to the name of the class so people understand, for example the Samurai in 3.5 was defined in 2 books.

For Dnd 5e I think every class which has been in the PHB appearing as a class is very doable and must be if 5e is inclusive and not exclusive and yes I'm counting Assasin and Illusionist as their own classes.

Same thing goes for races really.

 Theres your problem with modern D&D- to many classes. You are no longer making D&D and are now making GURPs and sticking the D&D label on it. No wonder people went to Pathfinder which has 11 classes (1-3 to many IMHO).

 Make a game of D&D warts and all and they will come.  

Pathfinder has released at least 6 extra classes in their advanced player's guide.  At least, I believe that's the number.

Hm.  I don't know what my answer to this one is.  It's better to define how big a class should be, or before that, what type of game you're even interested in making before you can start putting a hard cap on the number of classes in it.

I wouldn't mind exactly 4 classes in the initial release.  It would be kind of refreshing.  As that's not likely, I think 12 is a good number, 8 being just a little too shy of including all the fan favorites.



Avanced Player's Guide: 6 new classes
Ultimate Combat: 3 new classes
Ultimate Magic: 1 new class

So they added an extra 10 in those 3 books.  I think there may have been others in a couple of the companions but not 100% sure.  This also doesn't include any of the prestige classes.  

Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/


A: As production resources are limited I think there is definetly a "too manny in production at one time" limit, but taking the long view during one edition I don't think there is a too manny classes limit.

B: Taking the first view when production quality takes a serious drop, and taking the second we're aproaching when you have to add the name of the book to the name of the class so people understand, for example the Samurai in 3.5 was defined in 2 books.

For Dnd 5e I think every class which has been in the PHB appearing as a class is very doable and must be if 5e is inclusive and not exclusive and yes I'm counting Assasin and Illusionist as their own classes.

Same thing goes for races really.




Indeed. The 4e boards were full of people in the early day asking why they couldn't play XYZ classe from previous editions. Telling them to play X class but take Y options and flavour it like their previous class just didnt cut it for them.

In a single book, yes there can be too many classes.  In the game?  No.  Look at the head competitor to D&D, Pathfinder, they have somewhere in the realm of two dozen classes.

As to how you know you crossed the line?  It is impossible to tell really.

The first PHB probably won't have too many classes.  If they keep to their promise of having every PHB 1 class in the game, that gives us thirteen classes (so far they have fused the Assassin with the Rogue and Illusionist with the Wizard), hardly what I would say is too many, especially when you take into account shared spell lists and whatnot.

Now, if the interest of killing options and limiting what people can do, they want to knock that number back some, they could turn the Sorcerer and Warlock into Wizard Traditions, fuse the Paladin and Ranger together into a Crusader class (the Warden is already a friggin' Ranger anyway), combine the Druid and Cleric, turn the Warlord and Barbarian and Monk into Fighter sub-classes, write-off the Bard as a multiclass plus Specialty, they could probably bring the number down a lot.  Let's hope they aren't foolish enough to think this is a good idea.
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!


A: As production resources are limited I think there is definetly a "too manny in production at one time" limit, but taking the long view during one edition I don't think there is a too manny classes limit.

B: Taking the first view when production quality takes a serious drop, and taking the second we're aproaching when you have to add the name of the book to the name of the class so people understand, for example the Samurai in 3.5 was defined in 2 books.

For Dnd 5e I think every class which has been in the PHB appearing as a class is very doable and must be if 5e is inclusive and not exclusive and yes I'm counting Assasin and Illusionist as their own classes.

Same thing goes for races really.




Indeed. The 4e boards were full of people in the early day asking why they couldn't play XYZ classe from previous editions. Telling them to play X class but take Y options and flavour it like their previous class just didnt cut it for them.




Agreed, cutting back the number was a bad idea then, and it is a bad idea now.
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!
 Theres your problem with modern D&D- to many classes. You are no longer making D&D and are now making GURPs and sticking the D&D label on it. No wonder people went to Pathfinder which has 11 classes (1-3 to many IMHO).

 Make a game of D&D warts and all and they will come.  



Why do you say modern D&D. 1st edition had tons of classes, more so than 2nd edition.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

Except alot of people went to Pathfinder back when 4e had fewer classes than 3e or pathfinder start with.

4e Started with 8 classes. There was no barbarian, druid, sorceror, and bard for a year, and no monk for 2.

Pathfinder has closer to 20 if you include supplements. According to the OCG, there are 11 core classes. 8 'base' classes, and 3 alternative classes.


This isnt actually a whole lot less than 4e's 24 before essentials.  



 Splat books are fine and that is where extra classes belong. 
Except alot of people went to Pathfinder back when 4e had fewer classes than 3e or pathfinder start with.

4e Started with 8 classes. There was no barbarian, druid, sorceror, and bard for a year, and no monk for 2.

Pathfinder has closer to 20 if you include supplements. According to the OCG, there are 11 core classes. 8 'base' classes, and 3 alternative classes.


This isnt actually a whole lot less than 4e's 24 before essentials.  



 Splat books are fine and that is where extra classes belong. 



What determines if a class is an extra or a class deserving to be in the first PHB?
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!
I don't think it serves any purpose to put a limit on number of classes in the game.  Sure, 10 or so would be fine for the core rules - but campaign books and splat books can include more. 

A campaign guide for a steam punk setting might include a gunner type of class, an artificer type of class, even a class that operates a steam punk battle suit.  Those all could work great for that world, and in some cases a DM might say it's ok to allow one of them in another campaign.  

It serves no purpose to put a limit on it overall.   
Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
Except alot of people went to Pathfinder back when 4e had fewer classes than 3e or pathfinder start with.

4e Started with 8 classes. There was no barbarian, druid, sorceror, and bard for a year, and no monk for 2.

Pathfinder has closer to 20 if you include supplements. According to the OCG, there are 11 core classes. 8 'base' classes, and 3 alternative classes.


This isnt actually a whole lot less than 4e's 24 before essentials.  



 Splat books are fine and that is where extra classes belong. 



What determines if a class is an extra or a class deserving to be in the first PHB?




 EGG.
For the first PHB, I'd like to see no less than 8 and probably top it off at 13. That's enough to cover a broad range of concepts and provide enough diversity for multiple play-styles.
Except alot of people went to Pathfinder back when 4e had fewer classes than 3e or pathfinder start with.

4e Started with 8 classes. There was no barbarian, druid, sorceror, and bard for a year, and no monk for 2.

Pathfinder has closer to 20 if you include supplements. According to the OCG, there are 11 core classes. 8 'base' classes, and 3 alternative classes.


This isnt actually a whole lot less than 4e's 24 before essentials.  



 Splat books are fine and that is where extra classes belong. 



What determines if a class is an extra or a class deserving to be in the first PHB?




 EGG.


How do we contact him though, do we have a big seance?  Do we dig him up and zap him back to life Frankenstein-style?
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!
Cracks open AD&D PHB. There you go. The monk can be cut though, stupid class always has been. BECM also works with 7 classes, well 4 classes and 3 races as classes. We have a Pathfinder player in our group and yesterday he just about fell over when I showed him my 1st ed PHB. It was so thin by comparison to the PFRPG.

 Less is better. Less everything- classes, races, bloat, feats, maybe some basic skill system. Make D&D again not some bloated version of power creep for pubbies.
Cracks open AD&D PHB. There you go. The monk can be cut though, stupid class always has been. BECM also works with 7 classes, well 4 classes and 3 races as classes. 

If design decisions from 35 years ago dictate what can or cannot be in the PHB, I don't think there is much hope for 5e.  That is like saying we should not put blu-ray players in computers because the 5 1/4" floppy worked just fine.

CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!
Cracks open AD&D PHB. There you go. The monk can be cut though, stupid class always has been.



You can't hold Gygax up as the holy standard of how many classes should be included and then cut one of them because you don't like it.
AD&D was in print for 23 years. They probably done something right. Adjusted for inflation AD&D and BECM was the only edition to get anywhere close to the $50 million figure that people seem to enjoy throwing around on the boards.

 Whatever version they make they have to make something that appeals to the Pathfinder players for starters. You fail to attract them and this version is DoA unless they can get new blood into the game. 

 A d20 AD&D/BECM may appeal to them as they are complaining on thier boards about the game being broken, and it will appeal to the grogs. If it is better balanced than 3rd ed (not hard) and uses modern d20 mechanics it may appeal to 4th ed players as well. Make a better retroclone and use classic D&D IP that the OGL baddies cannot touch.

 Trying to appeal to everyone is just going to annoy everyone. Spells for example in D&DN are just reflavoured dailies from 4th ed.

 Leave the monk in. I do not see the Assassin or Illusionist anywhere in D&DN. Or the Half Orc. Not everything is going to make it in D&DN. May as well start cutting stuff and be honest about it. Most grogs are not interested, the 4th ed players seem to hate it and the 3rd ed players have Pathfinder. Who is going to buy this turkey?
It depends a lot on how flexible the classes are. If Sorcerer and Wizard can be the same class, you need a lot less classes then if class mechanics are more rigid and those are two different classes. Same thing for Fighter and Monk or Druid and Cleric.

I think that really in D&D there doesn't need to be a limit. Each edition has had it's own way of making a lot of classes. ADnD had Kits, 3E had prestige classes, Pathfinder and 4E have their own stuff I'm not terribly familiar with. I think 3E might have had the most classes, at about 800 or so. Still there were plenty concepts I can think of for which there was no class.

So my conclusion: There can easily be a 1000 classes before imagination starts to run out.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

A) At launch, absolutley.  In the game overall... maybe.

b) At launch, you probaly have too many classes if you cross a dozen.  There's no hard limit: you can have more launch classes if "A class" takes up less conceptual space, and can get away with fewer if they take up more.  The real key is that to have "the right number" of classes you need to do two things: you must be able to cover the archetypes that those uninitiated to D&D but familiar with fantasy (in other words, probable new customers) are likely to want to see, while leaving decent room for expansion.  Classes that are mechanically narrow but conceptually broad (like the vancian "wizard") are very good for this because while they can cover their whole conceptual space with very little help, future classes (Name them whatever you want -- mage, sorcerer, warlock, caster, witch... all of which have different casting mechanisms) have ample room to cover parts of that space better and be distinct.

In the game as a whole, you have too many classes when there is not a good, clean answer to two questions: "What qualifies a class" and "What makes a Class X a Class X rather than a Class Y?"

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

Follow me to No Goblins Allowed

A M:tG/D&D message board with a good community and usable software

 


THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

 Theres your problem with modern D&D- to many classes. You are no longer making D&D and are now making GURPs and sticking the D&D label on it. No wonder people went to Pathfinder which has 11 classes (1-3 to many IMHO).

 Make a game of D&D warts and all and they will come.  

Lots of classes is the opposite of GURPS's design. Gurps has basically one huge silo with everything in it. If you have a certain amount of material, putting it into fewer, broader classes makes things more like GURPS, not less. That's not necessarily bad, but if you're afraid of making something more like GURPS, you should be in favor of increased siloing, not decreased siloing.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
 Theres your problem with modern D&D- to many classes. You are no longer making D&D and are now making GURPs and sticking the D&D label on it. No wonder people went to Pathfinder which has 11 classes (1-3 to many IMHO).

 Make a game of D&D warts and all and they will come.  

Lots of classes is the opposite of GURPS's design. Gurps has basically one huge silo with everything in it. If you have a certain amount of material, putting it into fewer, broader classes makes things more like GURPS, not less. That's not necessarily bad, but if you're afraid of making something more like GURPS, you should be in favor of increased siloing, not decreased siloing.


Exactly. That's why D&D can have a thousand classes, where a system like GURPS would represent that as different options within a single "class".

The GURPS system is more flexible, but the D&D system is better at allowing you to keep printing books with new classes and might have more flavour come from the class choice where in a system like GURPS the player has to do more of the flavouring.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

Books with moar classes is what is wrong with modern D&D. All it does is introduce bloat and power creep and crashes your edition early as it collapses under the wieght of its own rules aka the WoTC editions- 4 sets of core rules in 10 years fueled by bloat. 
I love classes. Give me as many of them as you can, and I'm happy. Classes are great because if they're no good, they're easy to ignore. If they're good, they can make your game dramatically better.

I would also much rather bloat classes than bloat something like feats. Feats are pickable by everyone, and as the list gets bigger you end up with enormous option overload. Classes are a choice you just make once, and it's okay to spend some time going over it, so why not have a good number of option available? Better to have a lot of options for one really substantive choice than a lot of options for a bunch of minor choices.
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
 Options are bad. Its like people have learned nothing from D&D the Gathering WoTC have inflicted on the D&D playerbase. You cannot sustain that level of bloat. 
 Options are bad. Its like people have learned nothing from D&D the Gathering WoTC have inflicted on the D&D playerbase. You cannot sustain that level of bloat. 



Its a wound some are willing...and asking...to bear.


And all you will do is create another short lived edition that will be gone in 3-5 years. 
More than about 8. Ideally 4-8. 10 at the absolute maximium. IMHO.

 The big 4 +Bard, Druid, Paladin, Ranger or

Big 4 + Dwarf, Elf, Halfling. 



Ok, but why 8?  What happens when you go past 8 that doesn't happen when you go past, say, 6?

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
8 is a nice round number and includes the strongest archtypes. Beyond 10 the universe starts to unravel. True story.
Except alot of people went to Pathfinder back when 4e had fewer classes than 3e or pathfinder start with.

4e Started with 8 classes. There was no barbarian, druid, sorceror, and bard for a year, and no monk for 2.

Pathfinder has closer to 20 if you include supplements. According to the OCG, there are 11 core classes. 8 'base' classes, and 3 alternative classes.


This isnt actually a whole lot less than 4e's 24 before essentials.  



 Splat books are fine and that is where extra classes belong. 



I prefer splat books when they are designed to go hand-in-hand with a specific campaign flavor (e.g. oriental, psionics, evil characters, monster characters, etc.).  Otherwise it's like, "Oh, I have to get this book in order to play because otherwise my character will be lacking."  Which, of course, is what they want 15 year olds with disposable income to think.

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
Like Mr Gygax said one day we were all listening something else : "If you are not me, you utterly suck and should just try to become like me."