Dragon 375 - Hybrid Characters, Round 2

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Hybrid Characters
D&D Insider Playtest


D&D Insider brings you another exclusive playtest opportunity this month with a second look at hybrid characters from Player's Handbook 3. The hybrid character rules allow you to combine elements of two character classes into a whole. Effectively, you create a brand-new class from portions of two classes. We analyzed your comments from the first round of playtesting and present the results here for a second round. Check out hybrid characters and send us your feedback at [email]dndinsider@wizards.com[/email].

* See it now! (1.6 mb PDF)

The hybrid character rules break down each class into parts. The hybrid version of a class provides a portion of the game benefits of the normal class (hit points, defenses, proficiencies, class features, and so forth). When combined with the hybrid version of another class, these two partial classes create a whole, functional class.

Discuss this article here.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
withdrawn.
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com
I got to it from the actual page (which is linked from the mainpage).
Corriver's Lantern - a D&D blog featuring the Frozen Over Campaign Setting. I am not anonymous. I am Colin B. Schaeffer.
It opened for me.

Maybe I just got to it quick enough...
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
Hmm, and now it seems to be gone again. Weird.
Corriver's Lantern - a D&D blog featuring the Frozen Over Campaign Setting. I am not anonymous. I am Colin B. Schaeffer.
The direct pdf link in mudbunny's post still works if you are already signed on to D&Di.
Extremely strange as now DDI is giving an error claiming that it is "temporarily unavailable" whenever I try to log into it, could someone have accidentally posted it on the site a day early and then turned off the login service to keep people out while they try to fix it?
Ooops, I guess I spoke too soon (after numerous attemps DDI started working again and the link worked), sorry...
Yeah, it's down now.
I got to it by first signing in to Insider, then following mudbunny's link directly. Didn't see it anywhere on the main D&D or Dragon pages. I thought the article wasn't due until Midnight tonight, so this is a bit of an early treat ;).

===

More polished than the earlier article, as far as appearances go. Good to see the PH 2 classes given the hybrid treament; adds a lot of value to this playtest I think.

I thought 'hybrid talent' as it originally appeared was a bit over the top; I'd be a bit more comfortable with the 'hybrid talent options' now.
/\ Art
They still have the wording in there that it will not be RPGA legal and will not be in the Character Builder. But were we not told that it would be in the Character Builder update on June 2nd?

And although I will be sad if it is still not going to be RPGA legal, I can live with it for now. I am using a Hybrid Character in a Home Campaign.
Well that was an interesting read. Although someone more cynical then I (alright, I'm lying. I am this cynical) could say WotC has just saved themselves an article they have to produce every month or two. Now they can just tweak the previous playtest article, perhaps include a page or two of extra content and then republish it.

[/cynical]

In all fairness WotC did wait until the last week of the month before producing this, and they don't normally have new content in this week. So there's a good chance this is extra content rather then replacing previous content.

I'm more confident in this version of the playtest. Rather then outright getting extra class features, players will instead get approved, balanced versions of the class features.
I like pretty much every change made. The product here continues to impress me with how smoothly they have tackled an incredibly difficult scenario.

That said, my main concerns remain - namely, how good certain combinations can be. A Ranger/Rogue who focused on getting in lots of attacks as minor actions can stack up both Sneak Attack and Hunter's Quarry. A Cleric/Warlord with Hybrid Talent is pretty much just a Warlord++. I see other similarly strong combinations, typically when combining roles.

It is true that there are incredibly strong builds outside of these rules as well. These combinations certainly aren't any more gamebreaking than other ones out there. If the rules were released as they are now, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

That said, here is what would make me happy:
-Make all of the abilities that only trigger on attacks of their class (Sneak Attack, Hunter's Quarry, Fighter's Mark, Sorcerous Power, Warlock's Curse) also only work on attacks require a Standard action.

That one big change would stop the only real abuse I see - the ability to have a character who spends the first half of combat doing double striker damage, or dealing striker damage while being a full tank, or so forth.

Outside of that, it is simply tweaking specifics (like trying to find a way to tone down Cleric/Warlord), but no other big changes really leap out at me. On the whole, this effort continues to do nothing but impress.
I like pretty much every change made. The product here continues to impress me with how smoothly they have tackled an incredibly difficult scenario.

That said, my main concerns remain - namely, how good certain combinations can be. A Ranger/Rogue who focused on getting in lots of attacks as minor actions can stack up both Sneak Attack and Hunter's Quarry. A Cleric/Warlord with Hybrid Talent is pretty much just a Warlord++. I see other similarly strong combinations, typically when combining roles.

It is true that there are incredibly strong builds outside of these rules as well. These combinations certainly aren't any more gamebreaking than other ones out there. If the rules were released as they are now, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

That said, here is what would make me happy:
-Make all of the abilities that only trigger on attacks of their class (Sneak Attack, Hunter's Quarry, Fighter's Mark, Sorcerous Power, Warlock's Curse) also only work on attacks require a Standard action.

That one big change would stop the only real abuse I see - the ability to have a character who spends the first half of combat doing double striker damage, or dealing striker damage while being a full tank, or so forth.

Outside of that, it is simply tweaking specifics (like trying to find a way to tone down Cleric/Warlord), but no other big changes really leap out at me. On the whole, this effort continues to do nothing but impress.

I don't think the Cleric/Warlord thing is that bad. You lose 1 feat and you lose 1 use of a heal per an encounter at level 16+. You also have to deal with worse MAD than if you were just a Warlord. You do gain the versatility of having the two classes and healing word (which is only good if you feed into the MAD). Its not a bad combo, but its not OPed at all.
I just want to start by saying how amazingly AWESOME the new hybrid classes are, both ph1 and 2.

I will get to work on breaking these asap to find if anything else is needed; though it looks as if everything has been addressed.

--
Quick note, in the final issue, the wizard needs a title for his hybrid class and you may want to consider allowing the spellbook hybrid option which would work for only wizard daily and utility spells.

*EDIT* Aha, just read the Design article, I understand now why there's no spellbook.
I have a fear or two still...like the paragon hybrid swordmage/avenger who at level 11 takes the hybrid fro one AC up, and has had the other, plus the feats that up both...

at level 11 in cloth 5 level 5 or 6 stat, 5 avenger 4 swordmage +3 magic 31 AC...and that is without even trying...I think this will stack to unhitable way to easyly

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

A good point; maybe only allow one "armor" talent or make the talent options a named bonus?
There are other defenses than ac, as it do not matter how high your ac is if you are dominated, dazed, asleep etc...
There are other defenses than ac, as it do not matter how high your ac is if you are dominated, dazed, asleep etc...

and none of those condtions mean jack when fighting soliders, brutes, or weapon users...


and with just magic bonus level app only the fort def is anything near low...

check out the build that took me 10 mins to in max...

master of def



Deva puts 16 in both Int and Wis +2 both…18/18 12 in str 12 in con 8 in cha 10 in dex

Armor of Faith
The favor of your deity wards you from harm. While
you are neither wearing heavy armor nor using a
shield, you gain a +3 bonus to AC.

Improved Armor of Faith
Prerequisite: Avenger, armor of faith power
Benefit: While you are neither wearing heavy
armor nor using a shield, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
The bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at
21st level.



Swordmage Warding
While you are conscious and wielding either a light
blade or a heavy blade, you maintain a field of magical
force around you.
This field provides a +1 bonus to AC, or a +3 bonus
if you are wielding a blade in one hand and have your
other hand free (not carrying a shield, an off-hand
weapon, a two-handed weapon, or anything else).

GREATER SWORDMAGE WARDING
Prerequisite: lIth level, Str l3, Con l3, swordmage,
Swordmage Warding class feature
Benefit: While your Swordmage Warding is
active, you gain a +1 feat bonus to all defenses.
At 21st level, this bonus increases to +2.

Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Prerequisites: Str 13, Con 13, training with
leather armor
Benefit: You gain training with hide armor.
Armor Proficiency (Leather)
Benefit: You gain training with leather armor.



Base def +1 will +1 Fort
11th level (+3 hide)+6 (Int 21)+5 (1/2 level) +5 (Class and feat)+9= 35 AC
20 Fort 24 Ref 25 Will HP 87 #hs 8
21st level (+5 hide) +9 (Int 24)+7 (1/2 level)+10 (Class and feat) +11= 47 AC
29 Fort 34 Ref 35 Will HP 148 #hs 9
30th level (+6 hide) +11 (Int 26)+8 (1/2 level)+15 (Class and feat) +11= 55 AC
33 Fort 41 Ref 42 Will HP 202 #hs 9


edit: that is three feats...

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

check out the build that took me 10 mins to in max...

master of def



Deva puts 16 in both Int and Wis +2 both…18/18 12 in str 12 in con 8 in cha 10 in dex

Armor of Faith
The favor of your deity wards you from harm. While
you are neither wearing heavy armor nor using a
shield, you gain a +3 bonus to AC.

Improved Armor of Faith
Prerequisite: Avenger, armor of faith power
Benefit: While you are neither wearing heavy
armor nor using a shield, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
The bonus increases to +2 at 11th level and +3 at
21st level.



Swordmage Warding
While you are conscious and wielding either a light
blade or a heavy blade, you maintain a field of magical
force around you.
This field provides a +1 bonus to AC, or a +3 bonus
if you are wielding a blade in one hand and have your
other hand free (not carrying a shield, an off-hand
weapon, a two-handed weapon, or anything else).

GREATER SWORDMAGE WARDING
Prerequisite: lIth level, Str l3, Con l3, swordmage,
Swordmage Warding class feature
Benefit: While your Swordmage Warding is
active, you gain a +1 feat bonus to all defenses.
At 21st level, this bonus increases to +2.

Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Prerequisites: Str 13, Con 13, training with
leather armor
Benefit: You gain training with hide armor.
Armor Proficiency (Leather)
Benefit: You gain training with leather armor.



Base def +1 will +1 Fort
11th level (+3 hide)+6 (Int 21)+5 (1/2 level) +5 (Class and feat)+9= 35 AC
20 Fort 24 Ref 25 Will HP 87 #hs 8
21st level (+5 hide) +9 (Int 24)+7 (1/2 level)+10 (Class and feat) +11= 47 AC
29 Fort 34 Ref 35 Will HP 148 #hs 9
30th level (+6 hide) +11 (Int 26)+8 (1/2 level)+15 (Class and feat) +11= 55 AC
33 Fort 41 Ref 42 Will HP 202 #hs 9


edit: that is three feats...

That is somewhat worrying. Can anyone achieve something comparable to this with a pure Swordmage or a pure Avenger? Or can someone explain why this Avenger/Swordmage isn't anywhere near as good as a pure Swordmage or a pure Avenger?

I'll give it a try on my own, but I came to D&D with 4th ed so building characters using D&D rules is new for me. And trying to build a min-maxed/optimised character is still a foreign concept. So even if its possible, there's a good chance I won't see how to.
Avenger|Barbarian PP Hybrid Paragorn can reach very high AC+Reflex IMHO, and it's not a defender...
Actually Play'ng: Nothing. My old party is full of short-sighted racists and sexists (on their own admission), so I left.
Actually you need AP: Leather as you only get the APs both classes have, and Avenger is a bit short on APs.

The main issue with the Hybrid classes is the base class features, the powers pretty much don't matter, as long as they keep the balance of the base class features sorted this all works.

Pre the release of the Hybrid rules, we achieved this by restricting characters to the one class for base features, but allowing power picks from any class.

As the above super defence build above demonstrates stacking these sorts of base features causes problems.
As the above super defence build above demonstrates stacking these sorts of base features causes problems.

Yea but part of the problem on that is the avenger was already broken on AC. He could get higher AC then any other class in the game before Hybrid. The hybrid allows him to keep all that armor gaining ability and stack on another class's AC bonuses.

WoTC could fix this bonus stacking by saying these are "Class bonuses" and just like other type bonuses such as feat, item, and etc they do not stack. If they did that the hybrid would only be able to reach the avengers high AC.

Also WoTC needs to errata the Avenger to change his +3 bonus to when unarmed or in cloth armor which will bring his AC back down to where defenders are in AC :P.

Those 2 changes would solve a lot of problems and not require a bunch of errata or rules changes for other areas.
The AC combo's were always going to be a problem, but you do have to be a Racial PP to get double bonuses. Anyone who gets a bonus to AC and can stack it with others is going to be trouble. A Warlock/Warden who gets Bonus AC from Con and Int is going to be trouble, among other options.

What they lack are class features.

Your Avenger/SM is missing out on damage from his class feature (important damage that supliments his playstyle) and he's using a 1h weapon, further impeding him.

You say he's good, but what at, he's clearly able to avoid damage but what is he actually good at?

In regards to the actual article:

Its a lot better, but I feel the skills are still underwhelming and we still don't know what happens if we take a PMC, we'd clearly loose an at-will which would upset our balance of at-wills.
That said, my main concerns remain - namely, how good certain combinations can be. A Ranger/Rogue who focused on getting in lots of attacks as minor actions can stack up both Sneak Attack and Hunter's Quarry.

That said, here is what would make me happy:
-Make all of the abilities that only trigger on attacks of their class (Sneak Attack, Hunter's Quarry, Fighter's Mark, Sorcerous Power, Warlock's Curse) also only work on attacks require a Standard action.

I actually have my own rather radical idea on that.

[INDENT]REMOVE ALL ROLE DEFINING CLASS FEATURES FROM THE DEFAULT HYBRID BUILDS, adding them instead to the list of hybrid talent options (removing the hybrid restrictions) and make the various build defining class features (Brutal Scoundrel/Artful Dodger; Archery Style/Two-Weapon Style) into the default feature all classes get instead.

ADVANTAGES: This mostly stops any ability stacking, such as doubling up on striker damage, though with the new paragon rules it would become possible at lv.11, but as that costs the ability to select a paragon path it might balance it out (paths such as pit fighter already grant striker like benefits anyway). It also means that such attack dependent features would properly function on basic attacks. It would also allow hybrids to take advantage of build based rider effects on their powers from both classes. For me the best part of hybridizing is getting powers from two classes and I would like to see it possible to make the most of those powers. Lastly, it means that hybrid characters mostly only have one role (just like normal characters)

DISADVANTAGES: Players can no longer make dual-role characters, though in truth hybrids were often more like alternating role characters than true dual-roles. That restrictive nature of how hybrids alternate roles under the currently presented system makes it an easy sacrifice for me, though I'm sure there are some who enjoyed being able to create dual-role characters in spite of the restrictions. Perhaps the greater concern is that without selecting the Hybrid Talent feat a character would have no role defining class feature at all.

Taking that into account, perhaps a better solution would be for each hybrid class to dived up its class features into two lists; major talents and minor talents. Role defining features (striker damage, basic leader heal, defenders mark) would always be major talents, while most other class features would be minor talents. At character creation players would chose a major talent from one class and a minor talent from the other class. The Hybrid Talent would allow players to choose an additional minor talent from either class.[/INDENT]

Having gotten that hypothetical out of the way, I would like to move onto the current playtest as presented. Most notably my concerns over hybrid rangers.

[INDENT]ISSUE #1: With the exception of qualifying for perquisites, archery style doesn't really do anything other than grant a feat. My suggestion is to combine prime shot and archery style together into a single talent option. They go together thematically and the resulting fused talent would be more competitive with two-weapon style.

ISSUE #2: Don't nerf the hybrid beast companion. The companion is naturaly the single most defining aspect of the beast masters, nerfing it is a serious penalty for any powers were the companion is the primary attacker. Granted having an extra body in the form of a beast companion is a boon in and of it self, but what kind of boon is it? Its greatest benefits are; A) flanking partner, but an extra flanker benefits the whole party; B) an extra body to control if the ranger drops, a boon no doubt, but one that keeps the player involved in the action while waiting for the leader to pick them back up. If it is necessary to nerf the beast companion than remove its ability to move simultaneously with its master (though if doing so it would probably be a good idea allow it to move once per turn as a minor action instead). PLEASE DO NOT NERF ITS ATTACK AND DEFENSE.[/INDENT]
Your Avenger/SM is missing out on damage from his class feature (important damage that supliments his playstyle) and he's using a 1h weapon, further impeding him.

You say he's good, but what at, he's clearly able to avoid damage but what is he actually good at?

The problem is it unbalances things because you have a player who can't be hit except on practically a nature 20 most of the time. Monsters on average get 5 + level to hit. So let's look at those numbers again.

11th level = 35 AC
Average 11th level NPC +16 to hit needs 19
21st level = 47 AC
Average 21st level NPC +26 to hit needs 20
30th level = 55 AC
Average 30th level NPC +35 to hit needs 20

Now to see how this unbalances things make a standard encounter and give one of the monsters an AC where the majority of the players need at least a 19 to hit. And then see if that encounter nearly kills the party.

The reason it unbalances things is because the players will waste attacks on that monster they could of used to hurt other monsters thus weaken the NPC side. They will also have trouble hurting the monster so he could potentially kill them via "Death by a thousand cuts".

If you can't kill a creature it doesn't matter that it does very low comparable damage. That creature will still win because you can't kill it.

Another way to look at it is like this. Let's say the monster hits on 19 so that's 10% of the time. Even if the monster did 100 damage per hit which is just crazy it would have a DPR of 10 which is horrible. Now let's say your facing lvl 30 with 3d8+10 attacks even if you assume they always do full damage of 34 but only hit 10% of the time that is 3.4 DPR. With around 200 HP the Avenger/SwordMage could easily last 50 rounds against 1 monster. He should be able to do enough damage to kill that monster by then even with lower DPR setup.

Or he could go 10 rounds taking on 5 by himself but that is not likely to happen and the point is what other class could last several rounds soloing 5 monsters?
30th level = 55 AC
Average 30th level NPC +35 to hit needs 20

The problem isn't with the hybrid rules, but rather with the avenger class itself (or more specifically
with the armor of faith class feature). I several weeks back as an intellectual exercise I decided to build a max-defense avenger and got up to 54 AC.

Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&DI Character Builder
Elven Avenger, level 30
Elf, Avenger, Pit Fighter, Demigod
Avenger's Censure: Censure of Pursuit
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Dexterity
Divine Spark: Divine Spark Wisdom

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 14, Con 16, Dex 28, Int 12, Wis 26, Cha 10.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 12, Con 13, Dex 17, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.


AC: 54 Fort: 45 Reflex: 50 Will: 48
HP: 204 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 51

TRAINED SKILLS
Religion +21

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +24, Arcana +16, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +23, Endurance +18, Heal +23, History +16, Insight +23, Intimidate +15, Nature +25, Perception +25, Stealth +24, Streetwise +15, Thievery +24, Athletics +17

FEATS
Level 1: Armor Proficiency (Leather)
Level 2: Improved Armor of Faith (retrained to Two-Weapon Defense at Level 6)
Level 4: Weapon Proficiency (Urgrosh)
Level 6: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 8: Improved Armor of Faith
Level 10: Weapon Expertise (Axe)
Level 11: Battle Awareness
Level 12: Armor Proficiency (Hide)
Level 14: Combat Anticipation (retrained to Armor Specialization (Hide) at Level 21)
Level 16: Melee Training (Dexterity)
Level 18: Evasion
Level 20: Mettle
Level 21: Epic Fortitude
Level 22: Epic Will
Level 24: Epic Reflexes
Level 26: Robust Defenses

POWERS

ITEMS
Amulet of Protection +6, Circlet of Indomitability (paragon tier), Belt of Vim (paragon tier), Boots of Quickness (paragon tier), Magic Voidhide +6, Magic Urgrosh +6
I could have even pushed the AC up to 56, by using elderhide instead of voidhide and by sacrificing WIS for more DEX.
The reason it unbalances things is because the players will waste attacks on that monster they could of used to hurt other monsters thus weaken the NPC side. They will also have trouble hurting the monster so he could potentially kill them via "Death by a thousand cuts".

I think you'll mean the enemy will waste time hitting the Avenger/Swordmage, but you can't say why they'd waste time hitting the Avenger over anyone else in particular.

Its still only his AC defence that's high, and you're worried about 30ths that can't hit him?

Its potent, and the problem is more with Avenger's and their high AC's, if the hybrid bonus was reduced it'd be fairer, and make a lot more sense, but its not a major threat to game balance.

However, Tharag Bocc's suggestion is quite good and would go a long way to solving this issue.

However his Avenger build is still a bit lame, high defences but pathetic otherwise, i'm not sure you'd make it all the way to 30 or even be that useful.
I actually have my own rather radical idea on that.

[INDENT]REMOVE ALL ROLE DEFINING CLASS FEATURES FROM THE DEFAULT HYBRID BUILDS, adding them instead to the list of hybrid talent options (removing the hybrid restrictions) and make the various build defining class features (Brutal Scoundrel/Artful Dodger; Archery Style/Two-Weapon Style) into the default feature all classes get instead.

I have to say, I'd pretty much be 100% against this! As you mention, the main disadvantage is that it shuts down dual-role hybrids - which defeats the entire point of making hybrid classes in the first place! The success at creating a hybrid option which lets characters switch from one role to another throughout the combat, without being the best at either at any given time, is really what makes these rules so amazing! Taking that away would be a terrible idea, in my opinion.

The hybrids need their 'major talents' to make them an actual exercise in having a character capable of functioning as two seperate classes. The key is not to remove that capability - which, again, defeats the entire point of the hybrid design. The key is simply to put measures into place to ensure that can only function as one of those two classes at a given time. Or, as with Paladin, to let them have one class capability always available, but weakened in actual effect.
Yea but part of the problem on that is the avenger was already broken on AC. He could get higher AC then any other class in the game before Hybrid. The hybrid allows him to keep all that armor gaining ability and stack on another class's AC bonuses.

WoTC could fix this bonus stacking by saying these are "Class bonuses" and just like other type bonuses such as feat, item, and etc they do not stack. If they did that the hybrid would only be able to reach the avengers high AC.

Also WoTC needs to errata the Avenger to change his +3 bonus to when unarmed or in cloth armor which will bring his AC back down to where defenders are in AC :P.

Those 2 changes would solve a lot of problems and not require a bunch of errata or rules changes for other areas.

Got to basically agree here. The issue is not so much with the hybrid avenger as the avenger in the first place. Improved Armor of Faith should be a named bonus (armor or feat, really), or simply only work in cloth armor or no armor.
The AC combo's were always going to be a problem, but you do have to be a Racial PP to get double bonuses. Anyone who gets a bonus to AC and can stack it with others is going to be trouble. A Warlock/Warden who gets Bonus AC from Con and Int is going to be trouble, among other options.

I don't think that is actually an issue - all of the classes that let you use a different stat for your AC let you use it *instead* of Dex or Int, not in addition to.

Your Avenger/SM is missing out on damage from his class feature (important damage that supliments his playstyle) and he's using a 1h weapon, further impeding him.

You say he's good, but what at, he's clearly able to avoid damage but what is he actually good at?

Don't look at him as an Avenger with crappy damage. Look at him as a Swordmage with pretty much all the important Swordmage abilities and a nigh-untouchable defense. It costs some feats and your paragon path, but you can still be a pretty incredible defender, with enemies having the option of attacking you and missing, or attacking an ally and dealing no damage.
I don't think the Cleric/Warlord thing is that bad. You lose 1 feat and you lose 1 use of a heal per an encounter at level 16+. You also have to deal with worse MAD than if you were just a Warlord. You do gain the versatility of having the two classes and healing word (which is only good if you feed into the MAD). Its not a bad combo, but its not OPed at all.

Yeah, it actually looks like they did bring it into line - Hybrid Talent of Commanding Presence is only once an encounter, which I think is enough to keep the hybrid class strong, but no longer getting pretty much everything a warlord gets plus some extra options.
The hybrids need their 'major talents' to make them an actual exercise in having a character capable of functioning as two seperate classes. The key is not to remove that capability - which, again, defeats the entire point of the hybrid design. The key is simply to put measures into place to ensure that can only function as one of those two classes at a given time. Or, as with Paladin, to let them have one class capability always available, but weakened in actual effect.

We have different views on what he primary function of hybrid should be. For me hybrid is more about being able to play "mixed character" (gaining class features and power from both classes) than actually filling to roles.

In my experience, a character who tries to split time between performing two roles usually just ends up failing at both. For me a character should be focused on a single role (best to leave the other class as a secondary role).
We have different views on what he primary function of hybrid should be. For me hybrid is more about being able to play "mixed character" (gaining class features and power from both classes) than actually filling to roles.

In my experience, a character who tries to split time between performing two roles usually just ends up failing at both. For me a character should be focused on a single role (best to leave the other class as a secondary role).

Except that is the amazing thing about the Hybrid classes - they are able to actually fill each role. They can just only do so for a limited amount of a time. They don't get all the 'perks' of their classes, but they get the core abilities that really define them.

If all you want is powers from different classes, multiclassing gets you there (albeit slowly). And getting lots of little powers for each class seems like a very easy way to end up with someone that has trouble filling any role.

Right now, in general, multiclassing lets you play one class with a smattering of ability of a second class. Eventually, by paragon to epic levels you can have a more even split, but you will almost always be a Cleric with some Fighter ability, or a Fighter with some Cleric ability. Whatever your classes, the multiclassing rules will mean one will typically be primary and one secondary.

Hybrid lets you truly have a character who is both at once. But if you say that my hybrid Cleric/Fighter can either have the ability to heal (Healing Word) or have the ability to mark and defend (Combat Challenge), then suddenly we're right back to being one class with a sprinkle of another.

And that would be an incredible waste of the potential inherent in the hybrid rules.
Its a lot better, but I feel the skills are still underwhelming and we still don't know what happens if we take a PMC, we'd clearly loose an at-will which would upset our balance of at-wills.

You're not restricted (edited below) to one at-will from each class; it just says to pick one from each at first level. So, PMC is fine to switch either one.

The only restriction is placed on encounter/daily powers.
However, if you have at least two powers from the
same category (at-will attack, encounter attack, daily
attack, and utility), at least one of those powers must
come from each of your hybrid classes

I stand corrected. Hmm, good question. Maybe if they remove at-will from that sentence, it'd be fine.
Except that is the amazing thing about the Hybrid classes - they are able to actually fill each role. They can just only do so for a limited amount of a time. They don't get all the 'perks' of their classes, but they get the core abilities that really define them.

That's not been my experience. Playtested them with my friends and no one really managed to get a character that could effectively fill two roles. The best anyone managed was to focus on trying to fill one of the two roles. I've not read anything on these boards that convinces me other wise.

If all you want is powers from different classes, multiclassing gets you there (albeit slowly). And getting lots of little powers for each class seems like a very easy way to end up with someone that has trouble filling any role.

Right now, in general, multiclassing lets you play one class with a smattering of ability of a second class. Eventually, by paragon to epic levels you can have a more even split, but you will almost always be a Cleric with some Fighter ability, or a Fighter with some Cleric ability. Whatever your classes, the multiclassing rules will mean one will typically be primary and one secondary.

As you said, multi classing is slower. Hybrid makes a mixed character possible from lv.1 and with out eating up 4+ feats and ones paragon path. Careless power selection can of course lead to a bad character, but that's true of hybrid as it stands now, or even normal single class characters.

Hybrid lets you truly have a character who is both at once. But if you say that my hybrid Cleric/Fighter can either have the ability to heal (Healing Word) or have the ability to mark and defend (Combat Challenge), then suddenly we're right back to being one class with a sprinkle of another.

Even under my variant a hybrid fighter|cleric would have options to optimize their sub-role. If they took combat challenge as their major talent, they could still take select mostly healing powers for thier cleric slts. If they took healing word as their major talent, they could still have combat supremacy and fighter powers that immobilize or knock prone.

Also it seems to me that the currant system is designed far more to prevent shared role hybrids from being superior to to single class characters. Hybrids are prevented from stacking striker damage, or from doubling up on basic healing features (healing/inspiring word). This however results in an awkward design.

It mostly doesn't stop characters from being two different roles at once. A rogue|cleric can sneak attack and still use healing word in the same turn. A rogue|paladin can engage to maintain their divine challenge while still using a rogue power to sneak attack.

Also, It hurts any attempts to stack multiclassing on top of hybrid to create a triple class character. A true rogue can sneak attack with any multiclass power, so long as he uses the appropriate weapon. A hybrid rogue, however, cannot and is instead restricted to sneaking only with rogue powers, mostly to prevent them from stacking the damage with other striker features like warlock's curse or hunter quarry. Even discounting trippleclassing, the inability to sneak attack while charging or making opportunity attacks is still a flaw.
I can see people wanting a way to get full access to hybrid class features. Perhaps a feat that "upgrades" them?

Improved Hybrid Talent
Prerequisite: Hybrid class character
Benefit: Choose a class feature of one of your classes which you have a hybrid version of. You now have the complete version of that class feature.

Also, as I recall, you can only ever take a particular feat once, no? Therefore, Hybrid Talent (and the hypothetical feat above) should have the following;

Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat, choose a new hybrid talent.
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Also, as I recall, you can only ever take a particular feat once, no? Therefore, Hybrid Talent (and the hypothetical feat above) should have the following;

Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat, choose a new hybrid talent.

Hybrid Talent is intended to be taken only once.

I do get that people really want to have access to lots of things from both halves (many Hybrid Talent, the full class features, etc.) But keep in mind that the goal isn't to create better characters than the base classes - if you give them the ability to have everything the base classes have, plus extra stuff from another class, they just become too strong. Even with the feat cost - class features tend to be stronger than feats, and can be combined to especially good effect.
Yeah, it actually looks like they did bring it into line - Hybrid Talent of Commanding Presence is only once an encounter, which I think is enough to keep the hybrid class strong, but no longer getting pretty much everything a warlord gets plus some extra options.

They said that it was a mistake the first time through and that it was supposed to not upgrade all along. I agree that it seems more in line with everything else.

Hybrid Talent is intended to be taken only once.

Unless you hybrid PP
Unless you hybrid PP

But even then you only get it twice, and you've sacrificed the features you would have gotten from a regular PP.
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They really need to do something so that attacks gained from something other than one of your two hybrid classes (basic attacks, racial attacks, PP powers from PPs you qualified for based on race or multiclassing) can benefit from things like striker bonus damage or fighter marking. There needs to be a "focused" keyword or the like added to those abilities; abilities with the focused keyword would only apply to powers from that class or PP based on the class. In the event that the power was not from either hybrid class or a PP based on either hybrid class, one focused ability could apply to each use of the power. That way a fighter/ranger could still use its breath weapon to mark or apply quarry damage with an OA.