"The theme you gain at 1st level isn’t the only theme you get. ... The first theme you choose is broadly descriptive and flexible. Think Leader, Sharpshooter, or Skirmisher. When you adopt your second theme at 6th level, you might choose another basic theme or you might choose something that grounds you a bit more in the game by selecting an advanced theme. Currently, advanced themes, in concept, resemble the prestige classes from 3rd Edition.... A Sharpshooter becomes an Arcane Archer. A Tempest becomes an Eldritch Knight. A Lurker becomes a Shadowdancer. A Mystic becomes a Necromancer or Enchanter or Abjurer. A Slayer becomes an Axe Specialist. A Guardian becomes a Dwarven Defender."
The designers just don't get it. Why should I have to wait until I'm 6th level to play a Necromacer or an Axe Specialist? No thank you WoTC! If that's the way you're going to design 5e I will not buy a single book.
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way. Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken. Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken. King Fisher Does an excellent job at keeping an enemy disabled in a few ways. Strong. Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading. Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered. Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square. Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong. Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked. Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic. Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation. Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses. Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat. Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent. Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof. Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it. Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways. Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful. The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken. Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken Unnamed Avenger|Runepriest/Hammer of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered. Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5. Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong. Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight, only far more broken. Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken. Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.
Analysis of the Problem of D&D prestige classes through the lens of famous characters:
johnny wants to play superman davie wants to play goku danny wants to play dracula and sue wants to play joan of arc
but only johnny and danny want to change their world, while davie and sue are concerned about learning what it's like to be something epic, awesome, and tragic.
So here's the problem. These characters are not scaled to each other. Goku doesn't become comparable to superman until he becomes a supersaiyajin, but superman actually wants to change the world, so his power level is going to interface with the world around him. Dracula can create an undead army or influence politics for centuries, whereas the Joan of Arc character is prefabricated tragedy and at best a reinactment for Sue, who is more interested in the details and drama.
So you have all of these characters - call them swimmers, and they are swimming in their world. If the water level is shallow, they are having an easy time. if the water level is deep, they have to struggle, if the water level is too deep, they are drowning and would have a long struggle to get to the surface. If the characters are too powerful, they are hovering above the ocean percieving everything and they aren't really swimmers any more.
Playing your character is like swimming, but if you are superman in D&D, the world is your kiddie pool. To bring the depth of the Sea of the Universe against superman, the D&D world has to become so deep and challenging that characters like Dracula and Joan of Arc don't have a chance, and Goku has to level madly to catch up.
This is only half the problem though - only the characters that want to change their worlds really should determine the depth of the pool - in other words, only the characters that want to interact with the campaign setting determine the challenge rating of the setting. The one shot characters that are only there to "be" rather than to "act', don't really matter. They are visitors, tourists, and strangers, both for the setting, and for themselves.
For some roleplayers, it's about the setting - a wish fulfillment of changing the world while empowered for other roleplayers, it's about the character - a wish fulfillment of changing who you are
These are very different approaches to character design.
For some people, playing the Necromancer or Kensai is a level 1 character, because "being" the character is the thing. For other people, these are Prestige classes in a world that is more important than the characters.
Ah, I see what you did there. I agree that "being" the character is -it-. I also think that being that character is more important from a Roleplay standpoint than a Mechanics standpoint. If you are playing a character who is facinated with undeath (like the famus Docter) then you are a Wizard who focuses on Necromancy. You don't NEED a specialty school or theme or Advanced Class to do that. If you want to play your Wizard slightly different based on, say, a Medicinal Background and a Science of Death Theme then I think the game allows that. Assuming leveling is a reflection of your character's progression, when you hit sixth level you unlock a new secret of unlife ("its alive!!!") and your focus becomes more specific. You are still playing the character you want and you advance as you progress. It is not reasonable to want to play Superman at level 1. It might be reasonable to play Clark Kent as a highschooler (another pop culture reference!) who can't fly, use lazer vision or truly impact his world... until he is level, you know, lke 1 million.
Actually, thinking about the level progression of Superman is staggering. Epic level, I'm sure. Also, I think Goku is a barbarian who rages... now I want to roll that character.... Variant Barbarian/Monk...
How can a system that purports to be attractive to players of all D&D systems force the concept of a prestige class?
I could be wrong, but isn’t 3e is the only edition to have level requirements attached to a theme/class concept? If D&D is to reunite the community then why would they chose that method for their core? It isn’t a common thread across all the editions and therefore shouldn’t even be considered for the core. Prestige classes are one of the things that many people hated about 3.5e. Even 4e removed them for a good reason and as an AD&D fan I hate them even more. Let’s not go back to that design please.
I get the impression that the designers are trying to make gaining levels more interesting. The problem is that this approach seems very contrived. The designers need to remove the level requirements from the themes just like they did with the cleric’s turn undead ability.
I just hope that the names associated with themes and classes actually mean something in 5e. I don’t want to experience re-flavor-hell all over again. The designers should pick names that actually make sense and not simply names that sound cool. Classes and themes should be named properly and carefully. I don’t want to make a level 1 wizard mystic and consider myself an apprentice enchanter for 6 levels.
Let’s not have a system with hundreds of prestige classes and variant themes that are dependant on level requirements. Let's keep the core simple and easy to remember.
Prestige Classes closely resembled Paragon Paths... which, by in large, most 4e people approve of. So 4e didn't really "do away" with them so much as re-skinned them as something else.
Not sure how I feel about 5e's use of themes. I'd need to know what mechanical benefit actually comes from choosing the level 1 and 6 themes. Can you take necromancer-type spells up until 6, and just get a specific benefit at that point? How does this interact with class? etc etc etc.
At this point, it is just a word that has no meaning, so I wouldn't get too upset. All we know is it loosely defines some aspect of your character, and you get to do it again at level 6. In what way/how much, we don't know.
... Isn’t 3e is the only edition to have level requirements attached to a theme/class concept? If D&D is to reunite the community then why would they chose that method for their core? It isn’t a common thread across all the editions and therefore shouldn’t even be considered for the core. Prestige classes are one of the things that many people hated about 3.5e. Even 4e removed them for a good reason and as an AD&D fan I hate them even more. Let’s not go back to that design please.
The answer to this is no.
Actually historially this is how things are done in D&D.
Hava a look at the AD&D player's hand book it's full of there restrictions and requirements. Ie ranger, paladin, bard, monk, etc.
My understanding of advanced themes is that they are feat packages that cannot be chosen at level 1. That's a problem if they invalidate reasonable concepts until that level, but not a problem if those concepts are playable. It's possible, for example, to make an archer without having every archery-related option at your disposal from the outset.
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.
Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?