Classes & Levels - why?

62 posts / 0 new
Last post
I believe the whole class and level system should be thrown away and instead players should be able to buy characteristics like modules.
So you have some points and earn them instead of xp. No more levels and no more classes, everyone can buy everything. Sure there has to be a tree like system for feats so you have to buy some basic fighting feats to be able to use the better ones.

Since you know how much points you have spent monsters could be picked by points of group, not levels.

This would add a very deep experience for players and many opportunities for good roleplaying.

Sticking with classes is pressing the players in forms and sticking with levels is giving them sometimes way to much new feats and skills at once.

Sure I know, 4th Edition will stick to classes and feats. Just my thoughts after more than 10 years of playing d&d
You are looking for the GURPS system. It's a nice system. And as long as it's out there, D&D can and should remain D&D, maintaining the features that make it unique rather than aping one of its competitors.
Yes, GURPS. Or the HERO system, that's a good one too, even more flexible than GURPS if much heavier on the number-crunching.

There's also TRI-STAT, but I think the publisher went under recently.

In any case, none of that is D&D. Part of what makes D&D what it is is the class and level system. Without that, it's not D&D anymore.
I never played GURPS or Hero. So I really just postet my thoughts about what I think would be an evolution.
Of all things that can be tweaked/modified/altered. The Class/Level system would be the greatest detriment to the D&D game if lost. D&D (and its d20 hanger ons) is the only playable and fun game left on the market using the Class/Level system. All other good systems moved away from Class/Levels to be LESS like D&D.
If you want a class and levelless fantasy game play Fuzion's Fantasy plugin, Gurps, Hero or if you like anime BESM. D&D IS Class and Levels.
It would not be an evolution as it won't be D&D anymore.
(one can argue that evolution is about becomming a different species, but...)

A classless system is just no compatible with the current system. In a class & level based system you pay for thing that you might not need. Like better saves or skills. One might argue that just buying BAB and HP would be the way to go. Now this all has to be replaced to be compatible with the classless&levelless system.

HP have to be out, replaced by condition steps as in shadowrun, Ars magica or WoD. One way to go is the system in True20, where hp is replaced with a toughness save (a new save which do not increase with level, only with feats and armor).

BAB has to be a skill, but potentially a different one for each weapon category (like axes, bows, swords, etc.) so that it won't become THE skill to increase.

it won't be D&D anymore
A classless, levelless D&D might be a good idea, if you like the thought of all-factotum parties.
I don't know the systems for GURPS and other such games, but surely the problems of BAB and HP could be resolved by providing different amounts of HP and BAB with each 'purchase?' For example, buying attributes usually attributed to frail characters (arcane casting, etc.) would give a small amount of HP and a fraction of BAB, whereas taking a skill more typically martial or tough would give you more?

Not that I am actually suggesting that we get rid of the class/level system. It is a core element of D&D that makes it accessible to new players, and it's all I've ever known!
I've played a number of different RPG systems, most of them class/level free. To be honest, I like class/level systems for games along the lines of D&D. While D&D offers many avenues and styles of play, really at it's core it is a combat heavy (not combat only) system AND a party based system. It is most easy to balance a party when you clearly know who is capable of what, this is in large what the Roles being introduced are about and those stem from the class based system.

Further to that, on the DM side it is much easier to develop effective and challenging but not insurmountable challenges when you have a kind of power ranking to the players. This is, by in large, what the level part of things is for. Obviously you don't want 3 level 4 characters on 1 level 2 NPC as a challenging encounter. It's much more difficult to balance these things when systems are more open and undefined. It gives more freedom to the characters you make which can be fun but is better for a more social/political style game than the dungeon crawling conflict that is most common in D&D.
I don't know the systems for GURPS and other such games, but surely the problems of BAB and HP could be resolved by providing different amounts of HP and BAB with each 'purchase?'

The idea behind the classless/levelless system is that you purchace BAB and HP along with skills, feat, magic ability and whatnot. Thus HP/BAB is not tied to anything.
I don't know the systems for GURPS and other such games, but surely the problems of BAB and HP could be resolved by providing different amounts of HP and BAB with each 'purchase?' For example, buying attributes usually attributed to frail characters (arcane casting, etc.) would give a small amount of HP and a fraction of BAB, whereas taking a skill more typically martial or tough would give you more?

Typical classless systems use a point buy system where you buy Base Stats, Skills and Powers, either from the same pool of points (BESM, Some forms of Fuzion, GURPS to some degree) or have different pools of points for each thing (like White Wolf's pseudo-classless system system... you have a class or a race and yout "level" is a summation of your other stats, not the definer of them). Either way your combat ability or magical ability is skill based. Classless systems cannot really work without an in depth skill system.
There's also TRI-STAT, but I think the publisher went under recently.

Doesn't mean TRI-STAT isn't good. You could even go one step up and get GoO's latest product, BESM 3rd (an evolution of their TRI-STAT system), which was picked up by White Wolf for publishing.
Tristat = All the crunch of BESM 2r without any of the padding or fluff.

WW did the first printing of BESM3 and then stopped. It sold like... well, I cannot use that expletive here. Regardless to say, their direct contact to their press office has said that there is no current plans to reprint the system, though te PDF is still available.
The idea behind the classless/levelless system is that you purchace BAB and HP along with skills, feat, magic ability and whatnot. Thus HP/BAB is not tied to anything.

Exact

It took us only some days of thinking and about 6 pages of new rules overall to make our own conversion to exact this point. We play this and it still feels D&D since we use most feats and spells (we use a mana system and there are no caster levels but you buy some kind of power). Its only a conversion. It would be a shame if class and level would be the core of d20 and changing that the whole system would be no more recognziable.
If memory serves, Call of C'thulu d20 has an occupation skill template but technically classless level system. Just adjust the experience system giving skill ranks, BAB, Saves and Hit Die XP costs instead of levels and it may work.
BESMd20 broke down the effective point value of everything that makes up a character. This was to make "perfect" balanced classes, but it too could be used for a point-buy class and levelless system.

edit: I am in no way supportive of this sort of thing being in my D&D, but if you want to make your own homebrew for it, I support the idea 110%.
The Fantasy genre has its set archetypes. Wizard, Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue and so on... think of any fantasy character, and you can probably fit him or her somewhere in the D&D classes scheme.

So, what your class system gives you, is a set of predefined archetypes. You want a wizard? Sure, pick choose/roll ability scores, pick a race, your starting spells, one or two feats, some skills and equipment: Done and ready to adventure!

In a point-based system, you have to think about where you put your priorities, then you have to decide how many points you want to put in abilities vs. the rest, check how much spellcasting costs, weigh it against the skills you may need, decide whether you want a strong caster or one with many spells, then you find out you have nowhere near enough points to pay for all the magic you want, so you scrap off points somewhere else or skim that disadvantages list for what might fit ... Creating a character in a point-based system just takes so much longer, especially when it is as complex as GURPS.

The second disadvantage of point-based systems is that they are harder to balance: With D&D, you can safely say that a level 5 character will have a +5 BAB at maximum, he can afford a +1 sword and maybe Str 20. So you can say how much damage 5th level melee combatants deal. It's much harder to adjucate that for a 150 points GURPS character. That guy could be anything. A wimp with mafia connections everywhere. An archmage in a wheelchair. A giant that can out-wrestle Conan. A vampire master poet. It's much harder to get a working party together, and it's much easier to overshine everyone else through simple min-maxing.

And on a historic note: point-based D&D clones have been around for a long time (google for example for The Fantasy Trip). But D&D/D20 still has more than 50% of the market share. WotC knows that.
But D&D/D20 still has more than 50% of the market share. WotC knows that.

Which has nothing to do with the class system. If so Rifts would be the second largest. also then Ravenloft would be the de facto dark setting, and not WoD.
The Fantasy genre has its set archetypes. Wizard, Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue and so on... think of any fantasy character, and you can probably fit him or her somewhere in the D&D classes scheme.

So, what your class system gives you, is a set of predefined archetypes. You want a wizard? Sure, pick choose/roll ability scores, pick a race, your starting spells, one or two feats, some skills and equipment: Done and ready to adventure!

In a point-based system, you have to think about where you put your priorities, then you have to decide how many points you want to put in abilities vs. the rest, check how much spellcasting costs, weigh it against the skills you may need, decide whether you want a strong caster or one with many spells, then you find out you have nowhere near enough points to pay for all the magic you want, so you scrap off points somewhere else or skim that disadvantages list for what might fit ... Creating a character in a point-based system just takes so much longer, especially when it is as complex as GURPS.

The second disadvantage of point-based systems is that they are harder to balance: With D&D, you can safely say that a level 5 character will have a +5 BAB at maximum, he can afford a +1 sword and maybe Str 20. So you can say how much damage 5th level melee combatants deal. It's much harder to adjucate that for a 150 points GURPS character. That guy could be anything. A wimp with mafia connections everywhere. An archmage in a wheelchair. A giant that can out-wrestle Conan. A vampire master poet. It's much harder to get a working party together, and it's much easier to overshine everyone else through simple min-maxing.

And on a historic note: point-based D&D clones have been around for a long time (google for example for The Fantasy Trip). But D&D/D20 still has more than 50% of the market share. WotC knows that.

Still there is no reason that you couldn't have templates made from a classless system that represent your typical archetypes. Those people who want to play with those archetypes can just play off of those templates and character creation is easy. For those who want more flexibility and a more unique character a classless system would work wonders.
The Fantasy genre has its set archetypes. Wizard, Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue and so on... think of any fantasy character, and you can probably fit him or her somewhere in the D&D classes scheme.

Thats my problem...it is not this way.

Take some well known characters:
Conan. Barbarian with good stealth and thief capabilities.
Try this to make in D&D. Poor Fighter or poor thief. Why can not someone focus on his fighting but still develop skills like a thief?

Gandalf. Mighty Wizard with good skills in fighting, riding and animal handle.
We all know the problems in D&D with Wizards that try to fight.

Merlin. More alchemist than wizard. More diplomatic than mage.

King Arthur. A noble knight and leader which can not really be created in d20 core rules. Taking the paladin? Since when did Arthur posess heal spells?

And so on. In my opinion the well known archetypes where created by d20 since most "younger" people know fantasy worlds like D&D 1 and 2, Baldurs Gate, Neverwinternights and many other computer games, which focus on classes.

Sure, there are many prestige classes trying to overcome the limits. But the core system should be open to all combinations a player can think of. There should be no need to buy book after book just to find a class/prestige class which can do what you want.

And thats what roleplaying is all about: to play a character, an individual. Not to play a archetype, a class with some levels. And i fear, d20 4th Edition is another step away from roleplaying and another step towards hack & slay and MMORPG.
Still there is no reason that you couldn't have templates made from a classless system that represent your typical archetypes. Those people who want to play with those archetypes can just play off of those templates and character creation is easy. For those who want more flexibility and a more unique character a classless system would work wonders.

Fine said

An open system with no classes allows any hero, from archetype to allrounder.
It would probably be more worth your time to consider the suggestions of other RPGs (except of course you've already done one). I would think that even with a point-buy D&D you'd still get some things that it's not set up to do, like play monster races or design your own powers. Of course, YMMV. And if you manage to do a point-buy 4e let the rest of us know. :D

(Let me insert a plug for my favorite d20 point-buy: Mutants & Masterminds from Green Ronin. Sure, it's set up to do Silver Age superheroes, but it wouldn't take too many tweaks to give you D&D, seeing as how D&D is said to be a bit high-powered by default.)
I kind of don't like of what the op suggests.
Really
I could play gurps.. I don't want two of 'em.


I like the idea of classes. Modules freak me out.
It would probably be more worth your time to consider the suggestions of other RPGs (except of course you've already done one).

We in our group have bought so much D&D stuff, know the rules so well...we decided to use D&D so we can use all of our books and ressources.
Of all things that can be tweaked/modified/altered. The Class/Level system would be the greatest detriment to the D&D game if lost. D&D (and its d20 hanger ons) is the only playable and fun game left on the market using the Class/Level system. All other good systems moved away from Class/Levels to be LESS like D&D.
If you want a class and levelless fantasy game play Fuzion's Fantasy plugin, Gurps, Hero or if you like anime BESM. D&D IS Class and Levels.

There is always Donjon. Aside from that, yep, classes and levels are kind of out of fashion in rpg design. They are useful tools, and should see more use.

I could play gurps.. I don't want two of 'em.

You are a bit late, then. JAGS alredy exists, as does Hero and many others.
Still there is no reason that you couldn't have templates made from a classless system that represent your typical archetypes. Those people who want to play with those archetypes can just play off of those templates and character creation is easy. For those who want more flexibility and a more unique character a classless system would work wonders.

A character does not get more unique without a class. You're still bound by what's available in the game world and the genre on one side and the rules system on the other.

I am assuming here you still want to play D&D, just with a point-based character creation.

So, in a point based system, you first assign points to attributes, in GURPS that's around 2/3rds of the points.
In a class system, you use a point-buy method here or roll.

Then, you'd decide the race, getting either the point-buy template or the racial trait package.

Then you pick a class (class system) or decide what your major abilities are where you put the most points (magic, melee combat, thief skills...)

Then, you choose a feat (D&D) / check what advantages you can get for remaining points.

Then, you distribute your skill points / by skills with points.

Then, you use your starting gold and buy equipment / check your starting wealth and buy equipment.

Ok, now you tell me where the character point system revolutionizes character creation. Yes, it surely gives you the illusion of more freedom, but only to either min/max (bad) or create a "unique" character that either does not fit well with the other characters or has strange abilities that don't help with adventuring much.

You see, character point systems do work (GURPS does have 3% market share after all), but they don't inherently support the playing style D&D is too achieve. That is while you will never see classless/levelless/point-buy D&D. It has been done before by other gaming companies, but it was never as much fun and as successful.
You see, character point systems do work (GURPS does have 3% market share after all), but they don't inherently support the playing style D&D is too achieve. That is while you will never see classless/levelless/point-buy D&D. It has been done before by other gaming companies, but it was never as much fun and as successful.

While you've got valid arguments on the gamist environment of D&D, don't make assumptions on fun.

I find Exalted just as much fun, and with other players, more consistant fun, than D&D. It's a leveless point-buy system. Fun is inherent in the players, not the system.
Fun is inherent in the players, not the system.

Ah, okay. That is always true, of course. With the right gaming buddies, any rules system is great fun!
A character does not get more unique without a class. You're still bound by what's available in the game world and the genre on one side and the rules system on the other.

I am assuming here you still want to play D&D, just with a point-based character creation.

So, in a point based system, you first assign points to attributes, in GURPS that's around 2/3rds of the points.
In a class system, you use a point-buy method here or roll.

Then, you'd decide the race, getting either the point-buy template or the racial trait package.

Then you pick a class (class system) or decide what your major abilities are where you put the most points (magic, melee combat, thief skills...)

Then, you choose a feat (D&D) / check what advantages you can get for remaining points.

Then, you distribute your skill points / by skills with points.

Then, you use your starting gold and buy equipment / check your starting wealth and buy equipment.

Ok, now you tell me where the character point system revolutionizes character creation. Yes, it surely gives you the illusion of more freedom, but only to either min/max (bad) or create a "unique" character that either does not fit well with the other characters or has strange abilities that don't help with adventuring much.

You see, character point systems do work (GURPS does have 3% market share after all), but they don't inherently support the playing style D&D is too achieve. That is while you will never see classless/levelless/point-buy D&D. It has been done before by other gaming companies, but it was never as much fun and as successful.

What happens when I would like to play more of a ruffian type of rogue? You know one that knows how to sneak attack but also can intimidate people with the best of them. He can still pick his fair share of locks but is not the most stealthy of characters. I don't want the extra stuff that comes with playing a multi-class rogue/fighter. This character is never going to wear heavy armor so why can't I just make something that allows me to forego gaining that class bonus and get something else instead?

Maybe I want to play a character that is a cleric but not a war cleric. Sorry, I don't want to play a druid, I want to play more of a cleric that is not combat ready. How do I go about losing some of those abilities that are inherently part of the class?

You feel like playing regular classes, templates for making the archetypes could be placed in the PHB. I realize that this is not going to happen but it has potential.

It really depends on your playing style as to whether or not it is fun. But the more flexibilty that remains within a system the more fun it is for more players.
What happens when I would like to play more of a ruffian type of rogue? You know one that knows how to sneak attack but also can intimidate people with the best of them. He can still pick his fair share of locks but is not the most stealthy of characters. I don't want the extra stuff that comes with playing a multi-class rogue/fighter. This character is never going to wear heavy armor so why can't I just make something that allows me to forego gaining that class bonus and get something else instead?

#1 Unearthed Arcana. Fighter that replaces feats with Sneak attack. That's one way to do it. #2 is just to play the Fighter/Rogue, nobody says you always have to wear heavy armor just because you're proficient with it. #3 is an urban ranger. #4 you could just play a rogue and give him a high Con score, and play him as a thug. Intimidate is a rogue class skill.

Maybe I want to play a character that is a cleric but not a war cleric. Sorry, I don't want to play a druid, I want to play more of a cleric that is not combat ready. How do I go about losing some of those abilities that are inherently part of the class?

Unearthed Arcana. Cloistered Cleric.

The funny thing is that while you demand a point-based, class-less system, your way of thinking is still within the D&D archetypes, or just a little beyond it. The two examples you gave are certainly easy to do with 3.5 ed, we don't even need a 4th edition for that.

With a classless system, you have to think about characters like:

- a bar wench that's secretly a demon cultist
- an old man who's been travelling the realms as a storyteller for ages
- a fifteen-year old stableboy, who's also the heir of a great kingdom as foretold by the prophecy (he just doesn't know it yet)
- a young, rather unsuccessful wizard apprentice, who's been hit by a magic backlash. Whenever he gets angry, he starts shooting powerful white lightning, but he can't quite control that yet.

Now... these 4 are all very interesting characters that a point-buy system is much better at creating than a class system. But now try to imagine the poor DM that has to write an adventure for a party of those four.
Thats my problem...it is not this way.

Take some well known characters:
Conan. Barbarian with good stealth and thief capabilities.
Try this to make in D&D. Poor Fighter or poor thief. Why can not someone focus on his fighting but still develop skills like a thief?

Easy, either Rogue/Barbarian Barbarian/ranger Use of the Able learner feat (RoD) is beneficial here.
Gandalf. Mighty Wizard with good skills in fighting, riding and animal handle.
We all know the problems in D&D with Wizards that try to fight.

Duskblade comes to mind, also the Battle sorcerer from UA could be the ticket. A gish build may also be vaible, depending on the specifics.
Merlin. More alchemist than wizard. More diplomatic than mage.

Bardic sage comes to mind. A bard bard if your core only (just have perform oratory)
King Arthur. A noble knight and leader which can not really be created in d20 core rules. Taking the paladin? Since when did Arthur posses heal spells?

A standard fighter. Cc + skill focus and like feats.

Sure if you do these things your character won't be as good as someone who focuses on one aspect or another, but it won't be Horrible.
The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.
Just a note; Merlin's a Bard, as in the stories of Merlin (Myrddhn) all portray him as a bard. The closest historical analogue anthropologists can find is Taliesin, an Irish bard.

Conan's not a Barbarian, or a Thief; he's a Fighter with a smattering of Thief skills and Feats that comes from a Barbarian tribe.

King Arthur is a Fighter with a PrC unique to him (and it changes depending on the particular story you're reading).

If you want to see a character that lives far and away outside of the normal archetypes of Fantasy, you'll need to, well, leave Fantasy. For the most part.

Or look to the Aesir and the Kalevala. Many Finnish heroes were Fighters, Clerics, Sorcerers, and Thieves. All at once.
#1 Unearthed Arcana. Fighter that replaces feats with Sneak attack. That's one way to do it. #2 is just to play the Fighter/Rogue, nobody says you always have to wear heavy armor just because you're proficient with it. #3 is an urban ranger. #4 you could just play a rogue and give him a high Con score, and play him as a thug. Intimidate is a rogue class skill.

Why should I have to buy a million and one splatbooks to play something that is easily creatable without a class system?

Why should I have to multiclass and have things like heavy armor proficiency when it doesn't fit the characters background?

Urban Ranger? Sure I could stretch my imagination and work around what an Urban Ranger is and make him into a thug but why wouldn't I just want to make a Thug a Thug?

Why play a rogue with the trap finding ability when the Thug I want to play doesn't have trap finding ability?

Unearthed Arcana. Cloistered Cleric.

Again with addtional materials that aren't needed.

The funny thing is that while you demand a point-based, class-less system, your way of thinking is still within the D&D archetypes, or just a little beyond it. The two examples you gave are certainly easy to do with 3.5 ed, we don't even need a 4th edition for that.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I am not demanding anything. I am just saying that it is possible and something I'd like to see and makes the most sense to me. (I know in reality it will not happen but it is interesting to see how others feel). Yea, I am trying to widen the archetypes, I see no problem with this. And while you can fiddle with 3.5 to do what I was suggesting it doesn't seem to me to be a good fit and you have wasted class abilities. That is not efficient, flexible or coherant.
This conversation is moot anyway. We know that D&D is [b]not[/b] moving towards a classless. if you want a d20 Classless, make it yourself or modify M&M.
Frankly, I like the class/level system. If I wanted to play GURPS, I'd play GURPS. You will find no argument from that characte creation in GURPS, or in any skill/ability system is far more detailed and superior to D&D. Class/level is a limiting system from the standpoint of characterizations.

But in every other aspect of running the game, class/level is a superior mechanic. Templates/archetypes are far more cumbersom than simply saying 5th level sorceror, and thus NPCs need a lot more work in GURPS than they do in DnD. What this means is that running the game on the fly, creating adversaries and balanced encounters is a lot easier in DnD.

If the players are going to stick to my preprepared storylines, and not deviate from the modlues, then I am all for dumping the class system. But as long as the PC's are going to wander off on tangents inspired by the moment, then I want the class level system because it is easier on me as a GM.
What this means is that running the game on the fly, creating adversaries and balanced encounters is a lot easier in DnD.

If you memorize all the rules you can do this with any system. In D&D, however, you have more to memorize than some other systems. In M&M I can actually create the basics of an NPC in seconds because I can just give it the appropriate levels in the needed traits without worrying about whether or not it's a legal build.
If you memorize all the rules you can do this with any system. In D&D, however, you have more to memorize than some other systems. In M&M I can actually create the basics of an NPC in seconds because I can just give it the appropriate levels in the needed traits without worrying about whether or not it's a legal build.

Such are the benefits of a system derived from a class/level system; that ease of gauging power levels is a little more...abstract in my prefered systems (World of Darkness/Mage and Exalted).

D&D's CRs and levels make it easy to guage power levels but more difficult to make a strong bad guy stay important. In Exalted, though, my badguy isn't as distant from the players, both at the begining and at the end of the story.
And thats what roleplaying is all about: to play a character, an individual. Not to play a archetype, a class with some levels.

Actually, I think that's what stage acting is all about. And doing it in a manner that is entertaining to those that paid to watch you do it.

Roleplaying is about trying on a different personality and set of abilities and improvising (usually within rule constraints) your responces to various situations.

If you mean that this is your opinion on the matter, my opinion would not match yours. I don't think that roleplaying is necessarily imporved by jumping away from classes. In fact, I had a great time roleplaying in highschool when there were only five classes (and no PrCs).
Easy, either Rogue/Barbarian Barbarian/ranger Use of the Able learner feat (RoD) is beneficial here....

I talk about CORE rules. Sure you can build anything with this much supplementals around. But I want to be able to build any character from core rules. And thats not possible. So we have to buy book after book to get feats or classes to get near the character we want to play. That is what we all wish? I dont think so.
With a classless system, you have to think about characters like:

- a bar wench that's secretly a demon cultist
- an old man who's been travelling the realms as a storyteller for ages
- a fifteen-year old stableboy, who's also the heir of a great kingdom as foretold by the prophecy (he just doesn't know it yet)
- a young, rather unsuccessful wizard apprentice, who's been hit by a magic backlash. Whenever he gets angry, he starts shooting powerful white lightning, but he can't quite control that yet.

Now... these 4 are all very interesting characters that a point-buy system is much better at creating than a class system. But now try to imagine the poor DM that has to write an adventure for a party of those four.

I'd take those over a standard party any day.
Gandalf wasn't a Wizard, he was a Maiar; in D&D terms, a Deva.
Conan was a Barbarian with a couple Thief or Ranger levels, and Conan was pretty darn smart (int 14 at the least, possibly 16).
Merlin wasn't a Wizard, he was a Druid.
King Arthur was a Fighter, not a Paladin. Lancelot was a Paladin, as were Sir Perceval and Sir Galahad. Most of the Round Table were just Fighters (or Knights or Cavaliers if you use those classes.)
Why should I have to buy a million and one splatbooks to play something that is easily creatable without a class system?
Why should I have to multiclass and have things like heavy armor proficiency when it doesn't fit the characters background?

Urban Ranger? Sure I could stretch my imagination and work around what an Urban Ranger is and make him into a thug but why wouldn't I just want to make a Thug a Thug?

Why play a rogue with the trap finding ability when the Thug I want to play doesn't have trap finding ability?

ECT... ECT...

If you ever find your self in a situation where you can't have exactly what you want out of a class you can (gasp) ask your dm to change a few things!!! You want a thug? no med or heav armor? extchange that for skills. BOOM instant what you want. Granted, you do have to house rule, and put some work into maintaining balance, but it's well worth it and can be alot of fun.
Granted, for all of the examples you listed and the solutions you have received, it seems to me that your being too nitpicky.
The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.