I think each class should 2-3 roles you can specialize in. You can balance out or take feats and powers that make you stick out! I think 5e should give you more option to make your character unique, but still effective in combat. Here what I think....
Barbarian: Strong Brute: A brute that take feats and powers to deal tons of damage.
Tough Brute: Can eat a lot and I mean a lot of damage. Just hard to kill.
Raging Brute: Specialize in his raging to make it longer and stronger.
Druid: Elementist: Specialize in element attacks depending where she was raise in her land.
Shape Shifter: Can transform into a powerful animal and can do it longer and more often.
Summoner: Can create, charm, or summon more animals and plants under her command.
Cleric: Undead Specialist: Either you control or destroy. The undead fears you.
Healer: Hitpoints just rain from him. No joke, rain that can heal.
Summoner: Can summon more powerful outsiders under his control.
Fighter: Two-handed Damage Dealer: Good old fashion solid damage. All day, everyday.
Shielder Wielder: Maybe you want tank and kick butt with shield?
Weapon Specialist: You specialize with a weapon so much it's retarded. Don't lose it!
Paladin: Damage Dealer: You specialist can doing a lot of damage in short time.
Tank: Toughest Tank in the game, but couldn't dps to save his life.
Rogue: Trap Specialist: You can use traps before, during, and after battle.
Assassin: Death strikes that sneak attack on fail. Can create and use posion effectively.
Magic Device Specialist: A rogue that can use magic? Scary, just scary.
Wizard: Artillery: Design to hit hard but have few rounds so use wisely.
Support: "The whole party have flying, haste, and immune to what?" -DM
Summoner: Summon more powerful monster under your command.
I'm a 3.5e user and I say forget about balance. With enough time, gold, and feats, two summoners can have an army under their command. A rogue and a wizard can arm a stronghold with fireball traps. Two fighters can turn a warrrior naked with sunder. In the end, it's all about having fun.
I really don't understand the balance issue. If the DM wants them dead, they will be dead. If the party is really strong for it's level then all the DM need to do is up the encounters. If the party is getting their ass handed to them then the DM will tone it down. Simple.
What you think how the classes in 5e should be?
There aren't going to be any 'roles' in 5e. Your specialization comes from your background and theme.
They are close to something I like, which letting classes have competencies, and then letting your backround and theme decide what your 'role' is. The fighter is the master of weaponry, that's his competency, but it's not a 'role'. We already see that it can be focused into a high damage death machine or, via the Guardian theme, something like a 4e Defender.
Clerics have divine magic, but we already see that the focus could be healer, protector or with the Reaper theme damage dealer.
Of course some classes will still be the best at some things, like I don't see how any other class will outdo the cleric as healer, but there's no reason my rogue or mu can't take herbalist, if I'd like to try that.
It's a definite improvement on the class=role approach of 4e
Your "role" in DDN - and arguably all iterations of D&D, 4e included - is whatever you decide to make it. You can have a fighter who is a martial defender, sure...or one who is a selfish, backstabbing coward, a frustrated would-have-been mage, a reluctant gladiator, a drunken ex-paladin, a cranky old guardsman hauled out of retirement, a paranoid manic deppressive, a cagey professional street fighter, a secret serial-killer, a fop, a paranoid schizophrenic, a pirate, a loner, a casanova, a penitent, or a savage.
Why be limited by someone else's idea of your role?
I don't like this, not one bit... well maybe a little bit. But I don't want this many classes and variations in the core. I want fighter, mage, theif, cleric and maybe a nature based. The variations of these should expanded from these and introduced as modules for the most part. If this becomes too taxing then a limited selection of hybrid classes like ranger, paladin, druid, barbarian, bard could emerge, but I would like to see these classes simple, fun, balanced and dynamic. Get them straight then move on to the roles and so forth.
Classes having multiple potential roles would be cool. This was pretty much already the case in 4e. You could make a Warlock into a Controller, an Avenger into a Defender or a Fighter into a Striker.
I do want them to keep niches.
I'm hoping that we get really far away from labeling our classes by their combat roles, and instead get back to thinking of them in relationship to their profession and or backgrounds.
I would like to see the four main character classes Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue. With a dozen other subclasses like Druid, Palidin, Ranger, Illusionist, Assasin, Monk, and Bard, and a few others.
Then ontop of that I would like to see some mechanism available for creating the other couple dozen less common subclasses like swashbuckler, ninja, beastlord and so forth.
Each class and subclass should have something unique to them rather than only a mismatch of backgrounds, theme, and schemes.
So for example, the Druid would be a subclass of the Cleric with a couple unique features that no other class or subclass in the game gets, such as changing into animal form. However the Beastloard or say the Ranger might be able to achieve a very similar result to that of the Druid by take a background, theme, or scheme which imparted some of the characteristics of the class. Possibly even a reduced or gimped ability to change form, such as only being able to change form once per day, or only into a single type of creature.
One of the problems of earlier editions, 1E - 3.5E is that the classes were not matrixed very well and so each one was very unique and each additional subclass that was added required a complete new set of rules. 5E looks to be bringing a very customizable approach to classes while keeping them manageable.
The problem I have with the "four classes plus dozens of subclasses" theory is that there are game concepts that deserve the focus of an entire class, or even require the focus of an entire class if they are to be both balanced and satisfyingly implemented. Shapeshifting is one such concept. Pet classes are another.
Adding a pet to an existing class and it either needs to be a very minor thing, like a familiar, or it will unbalance the game by breaking action economy and basically giving the player two characters. Make a new pet class, and the existance of the pet can be worked into everything the class does, maintaining a balanced and streamlined game, and letting the pet be incorporated into everything the character does, into how the character participates with the party and interacts with the game which is the experience that players of pet classes want, rather than it just being something that stands there while you do the same thing you would have been doing if you didn't have a pet.
Or, let's say, you want to be something like a beguiler. How is that going to work when you're a subclass of wizard? The default wizard spells - fireball and such - aren't spells that you should be casting! And if the default wizard has access to illusions and enchantments powerful and varied enough to build a whole character off them as well as access to blasting spells similarly powerful and varied and conjurations and so on similarly powerful and varied, how does the default wizard not have just way too much scope? And if these spells are restricted such that only the given subclass has access to them, why are they all subclasses of the same class, anyway? And where are you getting your skills and roguish abilities from? Multiclassing?
A wizard/rogue multiclass isn't a sneaky spellcaster who plays tricks on your mind. That may be how the concepts overlap, but it's not how the mechanics overlap. A wizard rogue mechanically is a guy who deals sneak attack damage with scorching ray.
Mixing rogue and paladin may give you an avenger conceptually, but mixing rogue and paladin mechanically doesn't give you the desired result at all. There are all sorts of hybrid and nuanced concepts that can be well represented by mixing the mechanics of two of the four typical classes, but there are also many that can't be represented well in that fashion.
Next may be able to get a lot of mileadge out of theme and background design. Several concepts that might have wanted separate classes in the past might not want such classes now. Between finesse weapons using dex by default, light armor being as good or better than heavy armor anyway, and theme and background choice letting you have the skill suite and some distinctive abilities as you desire, the fighter class in next seems more than able to cover the 'swashbuckler' archetype. But I don't think every archetype will fill in so easily, and if you try and cram every spellcasting or magic using archetype available in fantasy under the same two classes, then wizard and cleric are just inevitably going to have way too broad a scope to function in the same game as the fighter and rogue.
I'd much rather see various spellcasting archetypes and specialties as completely separate classes, and make 'wizard' a combination of an academic skills background and a theme granting basic cantrips like 'detect magic' and a spellbook mechanic that can be applied to any of those classes if the player wants to play a "necromancer" or "pyromancer" or whatever who developed his arcane abilities at an academy or as an apprentice to a sage. After all, since "wizards" in D&D can do anything, there's nothing they can do specifically that defines them as a class. What defines wizards is instead how they do things (with magic) - ie a thematic issue, and how they learned their abilities (taught to them in an academic context) - ie a background issue.
Of course, getting rid of 'wizard' as a class is sacriledge, and would have far too many people reject the game as "not D&D", so that idea, good as I think it is, is terrible, but whatev's. They'll do what they do, and I'll like it or not.
The role of DPS, Tank, Controller, and Leader sound more like jobs then roles. In the party, somebody have to focus their action to deal damage, somebody got to be between the big dragon and the party, somebody got to control how the battle flows, and somebody got to represent the face of the party.
Depending on how you build your character, you can really be good at doing one certain job or balance out between the two.
But this is not what this thread about. It's about how many ways you can build your character in a certain class. Some class can only be build offensive and densive while other can be build offensive, densive, and suppport. Some class only can be build offensive(Barbarian), but have many ways to be offensive.
The reason why I haven't did Bard, because bards are spoony.
So when a class is made, there should be ways to make it offensive, defensive, or supportive. An idea did hit me. What is a supportive barbarian? Lead a horde under his command or inspire rage to his comrades? Interesting...
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