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Class Groups
Mike Mearls

O ver the past few months, we've worked with the concept of merging the various arcane caster classes into a single class: the mage. Within the mage, you could then choose whether to play a wizard, a warlock, or a sorcerer

There are a few benefits to this approach.

  • It gives a framework in which we can add new casting styles and approaches to magic that are specific to settings.
  • It makes expanding the game easier, since we can create one list of spells for those classes.
  • It simplifies magic items, since something like a staff of power can refer to the mage. We know that any future classes included under the mage can still use that item.

Having worked through the classes and looked at feedback, we're now adopting a different approach. In working on the sorcerer and warlock, it's unlikely that we want to give those classes blanket access to all mage spells.

In addition, feedback was fairly lukewarm or negative over the approach. It caused more confusion than clarity.

Grouping classes provides a useful tool for us. We saw that 2nd Edition AD&D used it. If applied correctly, grouped classes can make handling things such as magic items, feats, and other options much easier as the game expands.

We've decided on four basic categories of classes. They are tentatively called warriors, mages, priests, and tricksters.

Warriors are masters of arms. They are tougher than other characters.

Tricksters are experts in a variety of fields. A trickster might be a master infiltrator, scout, or negotiator. They excel at ability checks and are the most flexible characters.

Mages specialize in arcane magic. They rely on spells to overcome obstacles. They are the least durable characters, but, if protected by the rest of the party, they are quite potent.

Priests specialize in divine magic. Their magic can heal or protect their allies. They're more durable than mages, and they're equal to tricksters.

None of these definitions should be all that surprising. In some ways, these are similar to roles in 4th Edition but crafted with a much lighter touch. They are much less prescriptive in nature, describing classes in generalities rather than dictating what exactly a class is supposed to do.

To give you a sense of the changes this direction might cause in the design, here's our list.

  • We'll probably look at the monk's AC and boost its Hit Die to d10 if we categorize it as a warrior, or give it Expertise in a few skills if it's a trickster. The general feeling is the monk is more of a warrior, since unarmed fighting is its defining ability. This was a decision we were going to make anyway (is a monk more like a rogue or a fighter?), and it helped spur this topic.
  • The nonmage classes using a d6 Hit Die will bump up to d8, but that's a change we were going to make anyway with the mage's elevation to a d4.

Our goal with class groups is to provide an easy framework that magic items and other abilities can use to refer to classes, to give people a set of terms they can use to compare and contrast classes in broad strokes, and to make it easy for players to understand how the classes beyond the core four (cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard) relate to that basic group.

So, please tell us what you think about all this! We're interested in hearing from you.

Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
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So was the word Scoundrel taken when they thought of Trickster?

Why not...

Fighter (main class), Barbarian (subclass), Paladin (subclass)
Rogue (main class), Bard (subclass), Ranger (subclass)
Cleric (main class), Druid (subclass), Monk (subclass)
Wizard (main class), Sorcerer (subclass), Warlock (subclass)

you can give each class/sub class different tracks so that they can be even more customized.

Posted By: TopCheese (11/6/2013 10:35:27 PM)


I see a lot of people here saying to replace these categories with the 4e power sources, whilst decrying the 4e roles as too restrictive.

I don't quite follow their reasoning, if I'm honest. Power sources were always entirely flavour. Is the DnD community that opposed to reflavourable things?

And while there was a lot of room for improvement, roles were nothing more and nothing less than providing mechanics to actually SUPPORT for once the task division that has existed in DnD parties consistently since the very first edition. When the designers plotted out the things most integral to DnD, "roles" should have been up there with "the d20".
Posted By: Nalehw (10/6/2013 3:59:10 AM)


First, just so I wont feel left out, don't use trickster!
But seriously class groups as a concept for NEXT is no good.
The 4E power sourcing worked really well without pigeonholing classes. The roles were a bit too META and limited imagination just a little too much.

Also the August Specialties and Feats/ Backgrounds and Skills was the best. It allowed players to customize their characters in almost limitless ways. If there was a specialty or background not on the list they could simply run with the template set up by the existing specialties and backgrounds and use the feat/skill list to set up their background/ specialty. Such as the rogue/whore/ambusher... she was quite the communicator and very deadly! From my experience I really saw players having as much fun fleshing out their characters as getting to the hidden treasure.

Over all the sub classes are working well though and the last playtest seems to be running smooth.

So just give us t... (see all)
Posted By: Tyberious (10/5/2013 11:31:11 AM)


I agree. Specialties were awesome, because they meant you couldn't go wrong by just sticking with those feats. I mean, how cool was it that, no matter what class you had, you just picked "swashbuckler" and it worked? Or "ambusher"? But at the same time, if you were more experienced, you could just go and build your own package of feats and customize your character even further. It was simple, elegant and still gave a huge margin for customization. I believe that trying to have feats that are as good as +2 to ability scores wasn't the solution. Maybe tying them to spells/maneuvers per day would have worked better.

I don't know how I feel about class groups as they are presented. They don't give more options and don't seem to simplify things for players. It would be cool if they were the four basic classes and then by 3rd level you could pick your real class, i.e., starting as a warrior and by level 3 you could become a fighter, or a barbarian or even a ba... (see all)
Posted By: Lebreaud (10/5/2013 6:58:19 PM)


I, too, loved the idea of specialties. I enjoy anything that gives players/DMs more power to specify a character concept, and specialties/themes were expressly designed to do that. With four thematic choices — race, class, background, and specialty — you had a well-defined and frequently interesting and archetype-breaking character.

I also think that, given time, such a design paradigm would encourage interesting, chunky, synergistic feats from designers (rather than filling out the pages with sets of +1s).

And yet they didn't straightjacket, because you could always ignore themes and pick your own feats! It was great!
Posted By: Nalehw (10/6/2013 3:04:06 AM)


My archive shows a Metamagician specialty in the 060713 playtest packet that rocked, I hope they do several variations on that! The thing is, specialties set up synergies with things like the Assassin subclass that are hard to control. I'm not super-comfortable with giant feats, and hope we are moving in the direction of more level-dependent theme benefits. Couldn't you have said harlot, tart, bawd, or even trollop? Children come to this site.
Posted By: RadperT (10/12/2013 1:50:55 PM)


I would like to see a matrix sort of classification:
Class groups would be:
Characters of mind -- those who use their mental abilities (mostly INT, but could be CHA or even WIS) to cast spells. You could call it the Mage group, but allow for non-INT casters.
Characters of faith -- those who use intrinsic connection to deities or other extra-ordinary powers to cast spells. Mostly using WIS, but other stats possible. You could call it the Cleric group.
(Note: warlocks could be in either group, and I could certainly see warlock in one and some similar class, say "channeler" in the other. To my mind, warlock should probably fall under mage, since a) they usually gain their powers via a bargain, or extortion etc., and b) their spells are more "mage-like".
Characters of body -- those who use physical prowess. Mostly non-spellcasting, but could be either STR or DEX based. (Or even possibly CON-based) You could call this the Warrior group.
Char... (see all)
Posted By: Arbitrary_Aardvark (10/3/2013 4:48:17 PM)


I'm okay with this if you can keep the "Flavor" of each class.

Instead of "Trickster" what about "Scoundrel"?
Posted By: Pyrate_Jib (10/3/2013 2:24:07 PM)


I think this is a great idea, it worked fine in 2nd Edition. My only problem is with the name of the group 'trickster' , sounds pretty cheesy
Posted By: Gwathir (10/3/2013 11:11:38 AM)


So people didn't like the Mage grouping the Warlock an the Socerer. The solution is to move forward with it anyway?
Posted By: Sands666 (10/3/2013 7:02:06 AM)


So you're rephrasing the "subclass" idea to sneak it past the grognards. Got it.

I do worry about extensibility, when you define it this way as opposed to with a perfectly good role system. "Priest" has such restrictive flavour compared to "leader".

And since the decision was apparently partially based on spell lists … I REALLY hope you're giving thought to a keyword system like 4e or a school system like 3.5e Tome of Battle. Just some way to specify access quickly and easily, rather than having to go through every spell in the game one by one ruling them in or out. It's so much easier for us, and it's so much easier for you.

The same goes for martial manoeuvres.

A monk's defining ability is NOT unarmed fighting. Please refer to as recently as 3.5e where they had a range of special weapons just for them. A monk should not be tied to unarmed any more than a ranger should be tied to TWF. All classes should have acc... (see all)
Posted By: Nalehw (10/3/2013 3:26:26 AM)


The problem is the concept of class itself.
Why do you need magic items, feats or else to be used by only certain classes ?
Restriction for no reason !?

Posted By: Kendor (10/2/2013 11:27:40 PM)


Personally, I think Seeker would be a better name for the Priest group, so that that name could be used for a noncasting Seeker. I also don't think Rangers are defenders any more than Warlocks should have been strikers.
Posted By: RadperT (10/2/2013 10:23:32 PM)


I think the Ranger/Rogue superclass should be called Striker, out of deference to our friends who play Fourth Edition and have been using said term to refer to stealthy types (and others who won't make the cut) for over 4 years.

This is also an opportunity for the g-d's to create a friendly neighborhood for those who wish to explore tactics based on buffing and debuffing. If they are organized as groups, other players need not feel threatened, as DMs can easily disallow them in particular campaigns.

A Leader group could start with Bards and Warlords. The inclusion of Warlords is obvious, Bards don't exactly cry out for damaging spells, and they aren't beloved by purists. Although my Fourth Edition Druid was classified as a Controller, I don't understand the role well enough to make suggestions as to what would be included in that group. I do know that in order to ensure amity among adherents of editions as disparate as red box and 4E, simplicity has to be temp... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (10/2/2013 10:22:17 PM)


The classes and sub-classes could be as follows:

>Shaman [leader]
>Sorcerer [striker]
>Warlock [defender]
>Wizard [controller]
>Cleric [leader]
>Druid [contoller]
>Monk [striker]
>Paladin [defender]
>Barbarian [defender]
>Fighter [striker]
>Ranger [contoller]
>Warlord [leader]

>Assassin [striker]
>Bandit [defender]
>Bard [leader]
>Swindler {controller]
Posted By: drowsword (10/2/2013 3:40:55 PM)


First of all, I would like to also express my distaste for the Trickster title. Rogue, Expert, or Specialist have been both listed and defended by other people's comments. Pick one of those and ditch the Trickster. I personally like either Rogue or Expert, though the mention of calling them Martial, Technical, Arcane, and Divine had a really nice ring to it all the way around in my opinion. If necessary add Hybrid to the group. If no Hybrid Class set, then include Bard with Technical, and Paladin and Ranger with Martial. Monk could even belong to Hybrid if you consider their existing abilities, especially in the Way of the Four Elements.

If I were to list them it would be:

Martial- Barbarian, Fighter

Technical- Rogue

Arcane- Mage

Divine- Cleric, Druid, Monk

Hybrid- Bard, Paladin, Ranger

I cannot find any reason to alter the Hit Die of the Classes as they are now. I think Bards, Mages, and Rogues having a D6 is... (see all)
Posted By: Arnam (10/2/2013 8:01:27 AM)


Id have to say I'd need to see how the hybrid classes are handled first. But I like the suggestions in comments of the keyword/power source system instead. I applaud the decision to not lump all casters under different subclass of mage.
Posted By: sagechan (10/2/2013 12:00:58 AM)


I like the direction this is going. I loved class groups in 2e, and it's awesome seeing that come back. However, it seems a mistake to tie mechanics like hit dice, skills, and proficiencies directly to the class groups. That is better handled by the classes themselves. I found it artificial and dull that 4e had hit points tied to roles rather than classes, and it made it seem artificial when the vampire class was a striker with the hit points of a defender, because the rules just didn't get broken like that in 4e.

I would prefer (and I gather from reading the comments that a lot of people would prefer) class groups to function more like keywords did for monsters in 4e. Keywords allowed a variety of mechanics to key on them without actually defining any of the monster's other mechanics. So an aberration would be subject to things that affect aberrations, but none of its hit points, ability scores, or other mechanics were defined by it being an aberration.

This co... (see all)
Posted By: nedhr (10/1/2013 7:28:52 PM)


@FatherWendigo: Only one thing: I NEVER talked about melee rogue, I have talked about melee monk.
And to give to all Dexterity-based class more defensive options instead to boost their Hit Dice.

I think that expand the active defence mechanic is a way better than simple increase HD.
But, of course, if you boost the HD of mage on d6, like Pathfinder, is reasonable to increase even the HD of the adventurers/expert/rogue/callthemlikeyouwant classes.
I hope only this rallyboost end here.
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/1/2013 7:02:13 PM)


Flip-floppin'! I was criticizing Father Wendigo's choice of examples illustrating the weakness of the Rogue class. The Monk, with its new, lower unarmored Armor Class bonus, shares in this weakness but defenses are not the problem. The playtest has already oscillated wildly between damage amounts and, to a lesser extent, monster to-hit numbers as the developers try to find a balance between making opponents a threat, or an overwhelming challenge.

Not both, but all, classes need something and that something is more Hit Points. All you have to visualize is a knife-wielding killer slaying a first-level character–it's not going to happen all at once. The higher-level swordsman can pierce the heart, killing instantly, but low-level monsters do small amounts of damage, striking true only on a critical. What the model needs to balance it is additional dice of damage which most classes already get in one form or another, and more Hit Points all around, for monsters as well as ... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (10/8/2013 1:29:40 PM)


Another thinking on classes groups it's to consider the way each class develop his capacities.

If the divine powers are classified by faith (cleric) or primordial (druids), similar approach have other classes, when by one side there's the methodical and disciplinate one's, on the other side there's the classes more istinctive and natural, the same for Wizard (methodical arcanist) and Sorcerer (natural arcanist).

The methodic/disciplinate
-Wizard (methodical arcanist)
-Fighter (methodical warrior)
-Rogue (methodical infiltrator)
-Monk (disciplinated warrior/infiltrator)
-Paladin (disciplinated priest/warrior)
-Cleric (disciplinated priest)

The natural/primordial
-Sorcerer (natural arcanist)
-Druid (primordial priest)
-Barbarian (primordial warrior)
-Ranger (primordial warrior/infiltrator)
-Bard (natural arcanist/infiltrator)

Other examples: Duskblade (methodical arcanist/warrior) and Hexbl... (see all)
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/1/2013 5:22:45 PM)


-1 to class groups. +1 to key word such as 4e power sources, and the latest packets 091913 expertise/proficiency key words.
Posted By: crimsonsky5154 (10/1/2013 5:36:27 PM)


I think the big problem is that you want to use meta-categories for character types -essentially roles from 4e- but with more natural/less meta-gamey language to appease people from other editions.

This is doomed to fail. By making meta-categories using natural language you are necessarily implying certain flavour elements/judgements about that archetype.

If you're going to go META, you have the bite the bullet and just go META. That means using things like Tank, Striker, Controller, Healer, or heck, even something like ADC or something. You can't have it both ways and make it work. Just be clear that if you use the simplified options, you are going to be using some meta-gamey language... that's fine, just be clear it's not what they are referred to 'in-game.' And leave the classes as diverse as they need to be to make everyone who has been playing for YEARS or DECADES, supporting the company and the hobbey.... HAPPY.
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 4:55:11 PM)


Can I just say, I loved Power sources.

They added SO much flavour to the game and helped differentiate classes, roles, etc. much more than any other formulation that has been tried before or since.


That's my vote. Not these pseuo-roles.
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 4:42:17 PM)


Likewise, I'm completely fine with less than 15 base classes. Something around 10-12 seems right to me. That is by no means too complex for people to understand and the item idea you had could be shorn up with Power Sources. There comes a point where stream-lining and simplifying is just dumbing things down for their own sake, and this is one of those instances.
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 4:46:57 PM)


Mr. Mearls and other of Wizards, is really not necessary to boost up the HD of monk and the rogue-type classes.
Those classes basically rely their defence on high Dexterity score and speed, and I think is better expand these aspect giving more defensive options based on reaction opportunities.
They aren't good to stand raw brutal damage like that come from a high level fireball when saving throw is failed, but if they can completely avoid certain attack and all monk give capacity to recover healh, all of those classes enter in the perfect conception.


When an attack hit a PC, NPC or monster all of them have ever, by basic rule, the possibility to make a Dexterity saving throw versus the score of the attack to avoid the damage using their reaction.
And powers and capacity of classes simply extend their defensive options
or give them ... (see all)
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/1/2013 1:14:17 PM)


I see you aren't playing a lvl. 1 rogue. You literally CAN NOT play a melee rogue. You're looking at 8-9 HP with a reasonable CON score (14-17), which means you're capable of being one-shotted by anyone using crossbows or longswords with minimal STR/DEX investment. It SUCKS to play a ROGUE under the rules as written.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (10/1/2013 2:45:30 PM)


overpowered…I think you just described Evasion.

Father Wendigo, what? That is an absurd criterion. Might as well ask them to have Level 1 monsters not do more than 6 HP damage, oh wait, that sounds really familiar. There are better ways to deal with the tendency of one out of a group of low-level characters to occasionally go unconscious.
Posted By: RadperT (10/7/2013 9:47:30 PM)


Not bad. I think there should be another set of classifications like roles and/or power sources, That way you can have an Arcane Trickster (Bard), Arcane Warrior (Swordmage), Arcane Mage (Wizard), etc. archtype.
Posted By: Gunthar (10/1/2013 12:10:49 PM)


Ain't this a lot more like 4e's power sources than roles? Or, worse, a combination of the two? The way 4e separated those two components--thus making it possible to have a tough, defensive magical character or a maneuverable, damage-dealing divine characters--was pretty great.

Anyway. "Trickster" doesn't really bother me, but I agree that "expert" would probably be better.
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (10/1/2013 10:32:31 AM)


i believe it is time for us all to cancle your dndinsiders as you now get nothing for your money, no more magazines, dnd next playtests, you are now just giving them free money....terrible business model there
Posted By: HextorNilin (10/1/2013 10:02:58 AM)


First, Trickster? Really?? (please use Rogue or Expert or heaven forbid use Striker)
Second, please include power source from 4e it worked and made sense.
Third, stop playing with the Hp leave them at d10,d8,d6,d4
-- add an increased durability specialization option, that could increase the die size to make a class more durable at the expense of another specialty
-- also since standard humanoids start with a d8 for hit points just add that in (these are adventurers after all that have additional training to prepare them for adventuring. This also eliminates the "why are magic-users weaker than the local stall clerk" arguement. Thus a 1st level Wizard would have a d8 + d4. Either or both could still be maximized if desired.
Posted By: pongidae (10/1/2013 9:44:23 AM)


Why is this happening after the last playtest packet has been released?

More topically, actually this does make a lot of sense, but the "archetypes" within each overarching class need to be well defined and probably tested. Pathfinder is doing it correctly (more or less), and I liked Saga Edition and d20 Modern as far as the classes were concerned.

Good choice, Wizards. Can we have a crack at it before it goes to print?
Posted By: Figstipher (10/1/2013 9:16:09 AM)


I'm not a big fan of the "Trickster" name... Are Rangers considered Tricksters?

How about Maverick or Scoundrel? I guess they're not as fitting as Warrior or Mage either.
Posted By: LaRocaille (10/1/2013 9:10:37 AM)


I feel this is compacting the classes too much. I see why you want to do it, but I believe it's going to limit what can be done with the characters. I believe it's going to make them feel too similar to one another.

I am really happy with the most recent playtest packet. I hope you go back to that structure.
Posted By: tsf (10/1/2013 8:42:51 AM)


I very much like the idea of 4 main categories of classes. maybe the should be actual classes too. For someone who wants the minimum complexity. Why Trickster and not Rogue?
Posted By: egeorgio (10/1/2013 3:17:54 AM)


Why 'Trickster' and not 'Rogue'? Possibly because a bardic character could be subsumed under the 'Trickster' heading as well as a mage who specializes in casting illusion spells.
Posted By: arnvid2008 (10/1/2013 4:30:40 AM)


I agree that "Rogue" would be a better name for the group.
Posted By: LaRocaille (10/1/2013 9:13:50 AM)


There should be default class builds, default group builds would be super-confusing when we already have subclasses.
Posted By: RadperT (10/7/2013 9:26:48 PM)


Mike, thanks for the inside scoop on the design considerations as well as the opportunity to see how much noise you guys have to wade through on a regular basis. I'm actually surprised on the latter, and I'm rarely surprised when it comes to DnD.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (10/1/2013 3:15:40 AM)


I'm not sure I see the point of this class grouping, other than creating complexity. I would suggest sticking with: fighter, cleric, rogue and wizard. If you must group the classes try: divine, arcane, martial and skill-monkey.
Posted By: Prom (10/1/2013 1:35:06 AM)


I'm mostly fine with the idea, but I don't like the names. It's also somewhat of a straight-jacket for sub-builds, since, for instance, you could have a Warlord sub-build that basically fills the role of a Priest but has already been stated as being a Warrior/Fighter sub-build.

And it still leaves the problem of what to do with the Psion, since myself and many others do NOT want psionics to be directly conflated with Arcane Magic. Might I suggest:

Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 1:19:19 AM)


Of all of the playtest ideas so far, the best one was the Race -> Class -> Specialty -> Background presented on the April and June packets.

* It allows for the optional use of Backgrounds. If you are wanting a really simple game, you can jettison Specialty (or Backgrounds and Skills for that matter).
* Using Specialty, the player can make those odd combos (the priest of the trickster god, the ambush-expert warrior, the Wizard with religious training, etc.) without forcing a framework on them.
* Specialty options make the perfect mechanism for world-specific professions and expansions.

Posted By: Corum89 (10/1/2013 12:04:59 AM)


This is terrible!
Posted By: socksieboy01 (9/30/2013 11:58:52 PM)


While I understand the approach they are trying to take, it completely destroys the classic Core Classes and makes it seem less and less like the game we grew up loving. Forget all the analytical discussions regarding this! Plain and simple, every iteration from the beginning of the game in the 70's were Fighter, Wizard (or Magic user), Cleric, etc. They are trying too hard in their competition to Pathfinder! Like I said before,might as well take out the dice and make it a card based game! Bring back the Core Classes
Posted By: socksieboy01 (9/30/2013 11:59:57 PM)


Stay with the last playtest packet. You were going in the right direction.

My first impression is what about variety? This seems to restrict classes more than make them better. I want options and choices. I don't want my Fighter to feel like the monk and barbarian with "fluff" being the only major differences.
Posted By: AKBrowncoat (9/30/2013 11:55:53 PM)


The more I think about this, the less I like the idea. I don't see what these Groups really bring to the game aside from stereotyping Classes (which are already stereotyped, less we forget). It's also a jarring reversal from the rules present in the last play test, which I was just getting used to.

If the issue is largely centered about how to cover Wizardry, Sorcery and Witchcraft in the same Class (Mage), then why not scrap that idea in isolation? Simply have separate Classes. If the Sorcerer and Warlock aren't ready yet, present just the Wizard in the core rules, and save the other two (along with Psions or whatever) for a magic expansion supplement.

In my view, having 10 core Classes (Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Wizard) with sub-classes for customisation worked - and was iconic at the same time.
Posted By: TrippyHippy (9/30/2013 11:46:57 PM)


Well said.
Posted By: AKBrowncoat (9/30/2013 11:58:22 PM)


You're making a few too many entirely unnecessary design messes by trying so hard to avoid anything that smacks of 4th Edition. While it had its flaws, as did every edition of D and D, 4th Edition also got a lot of things absolutely right from a design perspective, and I think your insistence on throwing them all out is only going to weaken D and D Next. Anyone who felt that the roles in 4th Edition were straightjackets and not helpful guidance didn't play it very extensively. There were many, many classes and builds that blurred the boundaries between roles, but having the party be aware of how the roles interacted made for stronger, more cooperative parties.
Posted By: EtanMoonstar (9/30/2013 11:41:56 PM)


I was surprised when groups got taken out of the game in 3rd edition, so I'm not surprised to see them back.

My only quibble is the Trickster name. How about Expert instead? This is especially neat if those classes tend to use the Expertise mechanic.
Posted By: Aavarius (9/30/2013 11:41:23 PM)


This is worth a monumental face-palm... First, trickster is the worst name I have seen in ages. Come on ! A warrior group with the fighter as a class, a mage group with the wizard as a class... didn't anyone noticed at WotC that a ''Rogue'' group might just be the exact specific word needed here ?

This whole group idea is probably one of the worst yet. Let's talk about them, does it bring anything to the game ? And what's the thing about the equal durability of priests and rogues ? Priest have been more durable than rogues for the past 20 years... at least hit dice wise.

Helping with the design ? Seriously guys, you just need to base the design on one dice per character ''style''. Mind my words, I am all about having 4 ''core'' classes from which every other classes design are derived from. But groups ? This does nothing game-play wise.

And please please please... don't ever mention trickster as a group. It may sound a bit harsh, but it's definitely a... (see all)
Posted By: J.Trudel (9/30/2013 11:15:49 PM)


Debating the names of these groupings seems to miss the point that these groupings come across as largely unnecessary (although trickster IS pretty terrible).

What problem is this taking care of? Maybe it will help in streamlining mechanics by creating a shared class framework, but won't it also be restrictive to classes that don't neatly fit into these groups?
Posted By: BadMike (9/30/2013 10:59:05 PM)


Aside from making the game designers feel more organized, I am struggling to see what Class Grouping will actually add to the game itself. What functional use will they bring to the game table? If the Classes provide the niche choice for gamers already, and sub-classes options within - then why do we need additional categorization?
Posted By: TrippyHippy (9/30/2013 10:15:05 PM)


Don't like the Trickster moniker.
Posted By: Spykes (9/30/2013 10:11:47 PM)


It starts with: Fighter / Spellcaster

To round it out you need: Tactician / Inherent

You now have the Archetypes: Martialist / Tactician / Arcanist / Mystic
Posted By: E-Tallitnics (9/30/2013 10:04:55 PM)


WotC is so flip-floppity lately...
Posted By: LupusRegalis (9/30/2013 8:44:01 PM)


Pretend Mike just said, "We're going to make sorcerer and warlock their own classes, we're moving bards and rogues to d8s, and considering whether to give monks d10s." That's about the only actual table effect of the proposal. Everything else I about design.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (9/30/2013 8:09:34 PM)


I never liked the 2E approach for grouping classes, and I agree that trickster is not a very good name for a class group.
Posted By: Diamondfist (9/30/2013 8:08:16 PM)


"Arcanist" is better than Wizard, and Trickster is an awfull name, I suggest "Infiltrator" (for their main skills and capacity) or "Versatily" (because they have a variety of option) or "Tactical " (refering their approach to battle and roleplaying).
Grouping classes on four categories are good to have reference for characters creations, but avoid the over-simplified idea to force all magic items and feats into them!

Instead, use better the prerequisites. The church of Heironeous or Heironeous itself, for example, don't want to create all the magic items for the use of everyone, and obviously their martial instructors don't want to reveal their secrets to everyone.
Beyond that, leave the players the pleasure to use magic items and reach
the feats they want.

The approach to fighting of the monk is tactical and stylish, and even without boost his Hit Die to d10, if yours expand the capacites of defensive reactio... (see all)
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (9/30/2013 7:47:16 PM)


Tch, tch, no edition warring. I hope everybody knows by now that Mike was unaware that he didn't convey the intention to group Warlocks, Sorcerors and so forth beside the Wizard (with all its subclasses) under the heading Mage. Not his best written article, but that is the best argument for having these super-categories. Now Barbarians and Fighters can frolic together, freed of such classification conflicts, as well as Rogues and, perhaps, Assassins.

Allowing "priests" to use similar items isn't oversimplified, and doesn't rule out further restriction such as alignment and spell-based prerequisites. Letting the setting dictate the acceptibility of any sort of enhancement, including future feats and class features, is so inflexibly anachronistic that they maybe should consider it. It would guarantee that the game be limited to a five-year lifespan of playability, and that seems to have been what they were working toward with Fourth!

Somebody really l... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (10/7/2013 4:09:59 PM)


Why not call the groups Martial, Expert, Arcane, and Divine?
Posted By: aleatoric (9/30/2013 7:44:25 PM)


It's pretty wacky to have a level 1 "Expert."
Posted By: wetsail (9/30/2013 8:32:41 PM)


I prefer these suggested grouping terms over the official ones. To me Martial, Expert, Arcane, and Divine, do a better job in suggesting a broad role description which I think is what this grouping mechanism is all about. Tricksters, ick, that is bad!
Posted By: Wzzrd (9/30/2013 11:27:51 PM)


I hate this idea, and I hate that you're persisting in this sort of mindset.

One of my players who rolled up a mage summed it up best about a week ago. She claimed she was rolling up a Wizard, another player corrected her, said she was rolling up a mage, and she pointed out that, no, in fact, she was rolling up a WIZARD, and that, as Mage is a catch-all for several different distinct classes, no one actually ever rolls up a Mage. "Mage" is without flavor beyond being the most generic of arcane casters, she went on to say, and no one ever decides to roll up the most generic of possible class concepts.

No one will ever want to roll up a Mage. No one will ever want to roll up a Warrior, Trickster, or Priest, either. People will roll Fighters, Rogues, Paladins, Monks, Sorcerers, and Warlocks of various depictions, because that's the actual class they want to play. Making actual classes hide behind facades of generic archetypes just invites confusion and un... (see all)
Posted By: wetsail (9/30/2013 7:35:22 PM)


I feel you are drastically wrong about people's feelings on the names "mage" and "warrior". There's a reason you see both of those terms all over non-DnD games, after all.
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (10/2/2013 10:24:39 AM)


I'm talking about as they're presenting them, not as the term by itself.

Plenty of people would roll a Warrior, were that the name of a class, but the class is actually the Fighter.

If Monks, Fighters, Barbarians, and Rangers are all "Warriors," I'd likely say that I'm rolling a Monk, or a Fighter, or a Barbarian, or a Ranger, as any of those would be a better descriptor than saying I'm rolling a "Warrior," which means almost nothing aside from the fact that I do physical damage and don't sneak.

It's a useless categorization, is the point I'm making, and it adds another layer of frivolous complexity to a game actively trying to evade complexity.
Posted By: wetsail (10/3/2013 7:01:53 PM)


Are we still having Subclasses for Classes? If this is the case, can we seriously describe an Assassin as a "Trickster"?
Posted By: TrippyHippy (9/30/2013 7:22:33 PM)


My guess is an assassin would fall into 'warrior'. yawn much?
Posted By: NinjaPlease (9/30/2013 7:54:01 PM)


Well here's my thoughts:

1. If you are going to group things into these 4 categories the name trickster just seems to not fit and be a rushed decision. I would use the term experts or even rogue. I mean, since this game is intent on bringing elements of 2E in, 2E was Warriors, Rogues, Priests, and Wizards.

2. I think this approach is okay, but unlike some people who worry about there being too many classes I worry that there will not be enough classes. Technically every class could really be broken down into 3 groups: Warriors, Casters (both arcane and Divine) and Experts (skill based characters), but to me that is lackluster and it isn't DnD. I personally think that having subclasses is okay but that there should be a CLASS not a background for every class that has existed in DnD. I want assassin as a class not as a subclass. This is what we were told when DnD Next was being made is that if it existed as a class in previous handbooks it would exist in... (see all)
Posted By: Fallstorm (9/30/2013 6:36:14 PM)


Having already expressed my lack of objection to the idea, I'll bring up a few potential pitfalls I think need to be watched out for.
The main issue is to preserve the class and subclass focus and structure. I do not want to see a proliferation of classes that could and should be subclasses. We can use a sorcerer, warlock, and perhaps psion and artificer class. But Knight of Solamnia and Red Wizard of Thay should be firmly in the subclass category. I see little reason for the game to need more than 15-16 classes. Almost every concept (as has already be recognized) can be represented well by some subcategory of a well-defined traditional class. And should be.
In short, I'm concerned that some designers will take the group category as an excuse to make new classes rather than subclasses, and that's something I *do not* want to see.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (9/30/2013 6:00:39 PM)


I think there are many classes falling in between two or more categories: a ranger should be a warrior, a trickster or a priest? a bard should be a trickster, or a mage? and if fighter is the quintessential warrior, doesn't a swashbuckling duelist fighter seem more a trickster?
Tricky categories...
Posted By: EmmeDiEmme (9/30/2013 5:52:28 PM)


What? I thought this stuff was done? Is the mage going to be basically the same, with some extra tacked on warlock and sorcerer as sub-classes? or are those just generally grouped with spell casters, the way they are talking about grouping monk with either worrior or trickster (and for the love of god, don't call it trickster. Call it rogue. That is so much better). And what do they mean by elevating the mage's HD to "d4"? It is at a d6 so moving it to d4 would be an "elevation"! Is it a typo? Do they mean fighters are d10, "tricksters" (gag) d8, and mages d6?

If they are messing with fundamental things, like how spell casting works and class HD, and general class design of something like mage/wizard, they need to open this back up for playtest. Boosting HD's sound like a real problem. No one has even dropped unconscious for the last several play test packets and I have been running Rappan Athuk: Dungeon of Graves for crying out loud! And prett... (see all)
Posted By: moes1980 (9/30/2013 5:26:51 PM)


Yes. What Knight90 said. Just reduce to Warrior, Expert, Magic-user.
Posted By: Zaruthustran (9/30/2013 5:20:14 PM)


As for the names, don't fix what isn't broken:

Defender, Striker, Controller, Leader
Posted By: Spykes (9/30/2013 4:55:06 PM)


Posted By: Spykes (9/30/2013 4:45:55 PM)


"As for the names, don't fix what isn't broken:

Defender, Striker, Controller, Leader"

I had typed up a post about how you must have forgot that they're bringing back the ridiculous "I win" spells that turned the game into THE MAGIC-USER (... and his minions the level 20 hirelings)... but then I realized that stupid things like 'Wish' and 'I have [SKILL] better than the class that's built around [SKILL]' are the spellcasters CONTROLLING the game. I guess it's me who has egg on my face!

Also, the page goes bonkers when I tried quoting your second consecutive post; this was the only way I could quote you. I guess we shouldn't double post.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (9/30/2013 7:21:30 PM)


I'm with Spykes on the autonomy of psions, nothing else. I think asking for the prescription of roles is too much. If you search my name in this page you'll see that I support a compromise position. Obviously many people love and are loyal to that way of structuring classes, but too many of us are offended by being told what our role is in a role-playing game.

I wanted to reply to Father Wendigo as well, and this is the only such link nearby which worked. It is difficult to understand why, when their spell allotment has been slashed to B/X (pre-AD'nD) levels, damage output has been carefully balanced with that of other classes, and everybody except rogues is on exactly the same footing skill-wise, people continue to express resentment of the very existence of arcane casters.
Posted By: RadperT (10/7/2013 2:44:43 PM)


I think this is good for one main reason, it allows the Psion and other psionic related classes to stand on their own. I would like to hear a little bit about how you plan to treat the Psion under this new paradigm.

Also, please don't wait until the Dark Sun before you present the Psion class. It is not specific to that setting and many of us want to play them now.
Posted By: Spykes (9/30/2013 4:44:35 PM)


If you're going to stick with classes, why not just go with Warrior, Expert, and Spellcaster? I see no reason for the Cleric to be specifically different from any other kind of mage - the only difference is their power source, and one can argue that Divine and Arcane magic are as different as Monks and Barbarians are. From there you have three distinct cores - Warriors have d10 hit dice and focus on dealing and taking damage, Experts have d8 hit dice and have skill expertise and flexible combat options, Spellcasters have d6 hit dice and one kind of spellcasting.

From there you just have characters pick one or (god forbid) two Specializations that give them intermittent abilities - taking Rage and Durability on a Warrior makes a Barbarian, taking Sneak Attack and Finesse on an Expert makes a classic Rogue, taking Armored Mage and Protection Magic along with basic Healing Magic makes a Cleric.

You could even have one (just one) of your specializations be from anothe... (see all)
Posted By: Knight90 (9/30/2013 4:36:43 PM)


I'm not in love with the HD inflation either. Those are the kind of core changes I would expect to be open to public feedback. And I believe already was. The feedback has pushed the HD to where they were. To move them now, after the playtest closes minimizes the input of the community. Why even bother asking us what "feels like DnD" with regard to HP if you're just going to change it later anyway? And this has nothing to do with "liking a character to die against a kobold" That's a sad mischaracterization of what the justifications are for a more gritty baseline. IMO:
Wizards: d4
Rogues: d6
Clerics: d8
Fighters d10
And, yes, sitting on your but reading all day and never getting exercise SHOULD make you easier to kill in armed combat (absent the presence of spells of course).
Posted By: mbeacom (9/30/2013 4:16:05 PM)


"I'm not pleased with the hit die inflation. At all. " -Oulak.

Seriously? you like it when a level 1 caster can be killed with one bad die roll, while fighting a kobold?

The base for humans/humanoids has been D8 for a long time. Why would a wizard only have D4 hit points, when a NPC commoner/village idiot/prostitute/dirt farmer has D8 hit points? Does spending a lot of time reading somehow make you supernaturally weak?

I still think it's funny that grognards want the 4 old school classes of warrior, rogue, mage, and cleric....Yet they HATE with a passion the 4e roles of defender, striker, controller, and leader.

PS: Then treat the monk like a warrior; give him or her D10 hit points. And while you're going at the monk, make improvised weapons (even with reach and range) a serious thing for the class. Jackie Chan with a horseshoe and 15 feet of rope springs to mind....
Posted By: seti (9/30/2013 4:02:34 PM)


As a software engineer this proposed organization of abilities and behaviors makes good sense. You are simply defining classes and subclasses (e.g. Fighter IsA Warrior). This allows for abstraction, polymorphism, etc., such as the stated ability to associate weapons with the parent class. So, good engineering that would make coding up DDN apps easier; but, does it make for a fun experience? I expect so. The organization is logical and, thus, easy to deal with at the table. As long as you can associate extra-class abilities across your core classes (categories), which should be straight-forward, you have a winner that should be playable and much more easily extensible than some previous editions.

I'll be buying on Day 1.
Posted By: Vruskophile (9/30/2013 4:02:27 PM)


Here's an idea: Want to make casters easy, and fun?

Delete the "i'm a level 5 wizard, so I know one level 3 spell" BS. If you are level 5, your highest spell is LEVEL 5. Get rid of that confusing, archaic gygaxian THAC0-styled garbage. Spells should be 'leveled' the same as PC classes. If you are level 1, you know a level one spell. If you are level 10, you can learn a level 10 spell; NOT a level 6 or whatever spell. Who really wants to cling to gygaxian confusion? Being level 20 should not mean you can cast a level 9 spell(s).

Also, don't list all spells by name in alphabetical order as one BIG list. List them by CLASS, level, and THEN alphabetical order by spell name. That way, a person playing a wizard doesn't have to see cleric spells mixed up in his or her list of potential spells to learn.
Posted By: seti (9/30/2013 3:49:26 PM)


I'm pleased with the meta-classes. I've seen some comments about having to choose a third class, and it's not like that. It's simply an extra classification that is used behind the scenes. I can absolutely see reasons for wanting to give some magic items that are available to all users of arcane magic, and others that are specifically dark-flavored for warlocks, or nature-flavored for druids, etc. This worked well rules-wise for 2e, and I beleive it will work well with DDN.

I'm not pleased with the hit die inflation. At all.

I also think monks would be better served in the trickster classification. Their lack of armor and weapons, along with their specialized skills historically (thief skills in 1e, more than average skill points in 3.x).
Posted By: Oulak (9/30/2013 3:37:45 PM)


I think using Class Groups is a great idea! I always liked the four class groups from 2e, and was surprised that the concept didn't show up in later editions. I agree with other posters here, though, that "trickster" is not a very good name, and "rogue" would be better.
Posted By: PrestoTheElf (9/30/2013 3:32:28 PM)


It's a decent Idea, but like a lot of other people are saying, why don't you just use a variation of the 4e power source thing? you even explictly mention your system as being similar to 4th edition, so why not just go all the way and categorize classes that way?

You could actually go even further (perhaps in a 4e module) and just flat out have players pick a source and role BEFORE picking a class that fits those choices.

For example, say I want to play a Primal Striker, well, then, I look at the table given for that source/role combination, and I can choose to be a:

Hunter Ranger
Totemist Barbarian
Dragon Sorcerer
Moon Druid
Avenger Paladin (of a nature deity)
Elemental Pact Warlock
Elementalist Wizard
Elemental Monk
and so on...

Or if I just wanted to play a Martial character, I'd choose from:

Warrior Fighter
Warlord Fighter
Weaponmaster Fighter
Duskblade Fighter*
Scout ... (see all)
Posted By: Chameleon-X (9/30/2013 3:23:23 PM)


Seems like a major, major change this late in the game.

I like the concept, but think if you go this route you should double-down and have a system with just 4 base classes: warrior, trickster, mage, priest. And then customize from there to get fighter, paladin, thief, etc. A D and D style cleric is a priest who dabbles in fighter. A paladin is a warrior who adds priest elements. A fighter is a warrior who focuses on weapons and armor, a barbarian is a warrior who focuses on rage and unarmored abilities (such as hit points).

Doing so would also solve the problem of multiclassing. No need for a multiclass system if everyone can build-their-own class.
Posted By: Zaruthustran (9/30/2013 3:21:15 PM)


Nothing says mythic and fantasy Are they like paladins, but they fall if they don't give everyone they meet their elevator speech--their skills, where they learned them, who they learned them from, and where they used them last? I guess atonement would be hiring another expert to write up a new resume for them........

Even trickster is better than that.
Posted By: Mechagamera (9/30/2013 3:11:40 PM)


I don't think I've ever seen a more obvious example of "a solution in need of a problem".

I didn't like 4e but power sources seem like a better solution than this. Suddenly I'm choosing 3 classes when I roll my character? I don't see what a "superclass" adds to the game. If you guys really need a way to say "all arcane users can use this staff" instead of calling classes out by name (as if that's too hard) then mention in the class description of the arcane classes that they have the Arcane power source?
Posted By: manaknight69@hotmail (9/30/2013 2:49:15 PM)


"Tricksters are experts..." Neat? Why didn't you call them that?
Posted By: Simonides (9/30/2013 2:44:44 PM)


"Trickster" is a bad name. "Specialist" would be better.
Posted By: mellored (9/30/2013 2:26:16 PM)


It will work just fine. It worked in 2e and there isn't really a reason it wouldn't work again. I'd prefer it if it weren't done, but I don't have significant negative feelings either. If the net gain is significant, it's worth considering.

For those who aren't familiar with 2e and may be a bit confused, this isn't a substitute or replacement for classes or subclasses. It is an additional, higher layer of classification that has little mechanical effect. While it does encourage some standardization (such as the HD changes mentioned), it is mostly a descriptive element rather than a prescriptive element.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (9/30/2013 2:20:02 PM)


The last edition I played was 2e and I remember my 'cleric' was a "priest" and kind of thought it was okay... but, I feel that "priest" should refer specifically to non-magical types of temple functunaries, and the standardized HD concerns me.
Posted By: SirCorin (9/30/2013 2:34:40 PM)


I'm definitely going home and reading on the old 2e style, as it occurs to me we have copies of the rulebooks.
Posted By: SirCorin (9/30/2013 2:35:50 PM)


I think Trickster - Rogue is backwards. Class should be Rogue and Trickster should be the path(subclass). Rogues are much more than just deceptive thieves.

Dwarven Wayfinders come to mind from the 2nd edition Dwarven handbook as a prime example. I'd also guess that Bilbo would argue with you about him being a trickster

I think the Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Druid should really maintain their own class, each with some obvious solid paths for sub classes. Barbarian on the other hand I think could easily be squeezed into a fighter path. I think the Berzerker path of the Barbarian would make a fine path for the fighter, aka the Dwarven Battlerager type subclass.

The classic Sorcerer (Charisma based caster) deserves its own class but the remaining like Wizard, Warlock, ect all should fit fine as a subclass under either mage or sorcerer.
Posted By: Dwyvyrn (9/30/2013 2:10:54 PM)


I agree with many others, why mess with the classic four classes of fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue? Can't these be the four titles in order to avoid more confusion? And I too hate the name trickster, terrible choice in my opinion.

I think many of us prefer the original four as titles and if anything maybe add a fifth category if needed? Just my two cents :-)
Posted By: tirwin (9/30/2013 1:56:27 PM)


It's been said but I'll add my voice. Trickster is a terrible name and this whole exercise makes no sense. 4e had the power sources right (for the most part) and makes it more clear for players, new and veteran like, as well as DM's. This is taking basic character development and customization options away from people using the core rules without delivering any less complexity or more value.
Posted By: Grumph (9/30/2013 2:27:08 PM)


"Trickster" carries a lot of baggage, as a term. How about "Experts"?

Though I agree with the many others saying that this feels pretty artificial, and will end up hampering more than helping. I agree that the 4E Power Sources would fit better here.
Posted By: Razorstorm (9/30/2013 1:55:12 PM)


Yeah, power sources were great. They connected directly to the fiction of the setting, and they didn't carry a bunch of mechanical baggage with them. If your power source was "Arcane", it didn't indicate what kind of hit die you had or what armor you wore; it just meant that you had arcane powers, and thus hooked you into any mechanics that interact with arcane stuff. I also liked how they didn't draw an artificial line between Fighters and Rogues.
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (10/2/2013 10:29:43 AM)


"Wizards are good at overcoming obstacles"

I like how he can't even be bothered to pretend that the Mage's spells won't overshadow both the Warrior's combat abilities and the Trickster's skill monkeying.

And they're BUFFING the monk, too! Maybe the power discrepancy between the recently neutered fighter and the board clearing Monk wasn't blatantly obvious enough.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (9/30/2013 1:40:59 PM)


I agree with Galemp

"Seriously, use the 4e Power Sources. It's all right there for you. Wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks all have access to Arcane magic and can choose feats or items with that prerequisite. You can even call out classes as drawing on multiple power sources: rangers are martial/primal, paladins are martial/divine, etc. If you want a way to group options with the flexibility for future publications, this is the way to do it."

This allows you do do interesting things like the following:
Monk can derive ki from different power source based on its Monastic Tradition:
* Primal - Four Elements
* Martial - Open Hand
* Divine - Healing Strike
* Expert - Ninja
Posted By: Rlyehable (9/30/2013 1:36:23 PM)


Ok. First, this is a better idea than the class in a class in a class in a taco idea you had before.

I mean, everyone loves tacos, but...

Classes! Look, if you also ditch the idea of subclasses being part of multiclassing, and just make all of those options part of how multiclassing works, and make the system more open and easy to use, you might have a solid system.
Posted By: DoctorBadWolf (9/30/2013 1:36:01 PM)


OK, so I completely get the design goals here: they're looking for a way to silo certain things such as magic items, feats and abilities. They want to have guidelines for balance issues and so that they don't need to reinvent the wheel every time a new class comes along, designing new things for the new classes when there are old things that are perfectly suitable. However, I feel that it just doesn't work. The second you're starting to force classes to jump through hoops, like Monks and their hit die type, to get things to fit, you know you're not doing it right. It becomes less of a useful distinction and more of a round hole that you'll be forcing square pegs into for the rest of the edition, however long that is. As much as I love 4e, it did run into this problem a bit, with Psionic Monks and how many problems people who rejected the edition had of Fighters starting off as Defenders. This runs into that problem even more. Is a Bard a Trickster or a Mage? He's defined by his arcane ... (see all)
Posted By: Drax_Hoak (9/30/2013 1:33:17 PM)


The class groups in the current playtest do seem to make a lot more sense than in previous editions. Trickster is kind of a weird name for a superclass, but Rogue was actually worse.

Part of the problem in the comments seems to be a lot of "inside the box" thinking. Just because your character is a Thief, doesn't mean you can't give him the Priest background. It's silly to want a mechanical reflection on the sheet for every aspect of the character.
Posted By: Alacryss (9/30/2013 1:23:04 PM)


Seriously, use the 4e Power Sources.

It's all right there for you. Wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks all have access to Arcane magic and can choose feats or items with that prerequisite. You can even call out classes as drawing on multiple power sources: rangers are martial/primal, paladins are martial/divine, etc. If you want a way to group options with the flexibility for future publications, this is the way to do it.

And it makes it so easy for DMs to adjust the flavor of their games and restrict options: it's so much easier to simply rule out psionics in Greyhawk or divine in Dark Sun. Trying to pigeonhole every class as either a fighter, cleric, wizard, or rogue is a major step backwards. Let the player who's building the monk decide what kind of monk they want to build.
Posted By: Galemp (9/30/2013 1:10:39 PM)


It seems like you're trying to address a matter that doesn't need to be addressed. Those "groups" feel like classes themselves, actually, and will likely garner more confusion among new players. "Wait - am I a monk or a warrior? I don't want to be a warrior, I want to be a monk." Etc.

Don't over complicate the matter. Classes are classes. It's okay to have a wizard, a sorcerer, and a warlock, each as its own class. That's simple to understand. But when you clump them all as "mages", that will invoke some head scratching.

There are ways to accomplish what you want to accomplish without adding an unnecessary layer to the cake. The game will be better if the classes are each unique, and clumping them together into "groups" will diminish their uniqueness even more.
Posted By: Sinatar (9/30/2013 1:04:12 PM)


To me, this seems like an arbitrary invention that serves no purpose whatsoever. And I actually liked the idea of having the Sorcerer and Warlock as subclasses for the Mage. In my view, this is moving in the wrong direction.
Posted By: FelisLynx (9/30/2013 1:01:43 PM)


Not "trickster". That blows chunks. Maybe "scoundrel" if you want to borrow from SW Saga. Agent? Jack? I'm sure there's lots better words than 'trickster'.
Posted By: pauldanielj2 (9/30/2013 12:55:44 PM)


"The nonmage classes using a d6 Hit Die will bump up to d8, but that's a change we were going to make anyway with the mage's elevation to a d4."
Does that mean that at some point in this process mages had a hit die that was SMALLER than a d4 and had to be ELEVATED just to get it up to a d4?
Posted By: JoeyLast (9/30/2013 12:50:25 PM)


I think it's a typo, i think he meant that it goes up to a d6 for mages/wizard?...
Posted By: tirwin (9/30/2013 1:47:55 PM)


add another no for Trickster, if you must have a generic class why not attribute base it?

Body group = warriors,characters where stregth and dexterity are needed
Skill or hand group = Rogues, thief's acrobats, scoundrels, characters where Speed and intelligence Mind are needed
Mind group = Weather spiritual or logic character types which use Intelligence, Charisma or Wisdom fit this category

Posted By: Malarky (9/30/2013 12:47:15 PM)


This change is a good one. One positive point. However there are another things that I really don't like.
Posted By: cassi_brazuca (9/30/2013 12:43:21 PM)


This really seems like a solution in search of a problem.

If playtest feedback on the combined "mage" class was negative, why go forward with something similar for the rest of the classes?

What happens when you come up with a class that doesn't conceptually fit into any of the four groupings, like the psionicist in 2nd Edition?

If class groups were a useful tool, why were they ditched in 3rd Edition? What, if anything, did they bring to 2nd Edition design that was lost in 3rd?
Posted By: wufenstein (9/30/2013 12:39:01 PM)


My thoughts exactly!
Posted By: FelisLynx (9/30/2013 12:57:23 PM)


"My thoughts exactly!"

Is that a psionic joke?
Posted By: RC-0775 (9/30/2013 2:41:57 PM)


Here's the essential point: nobody plays a "class group," they play a class. So if you're going to (re)introduce this metaconstruct to the game, it should be because it helps the classes be truer expressions of themselves. Based on the examples you've given here, I don't think it passes that test--in fact, I think it works to the detriment of the individual classes. For instance, the monk's hit die should change only if it needs to be changed for the class to do what it needs to do, not because you need to fit the monk into a "class group" and then need to rationalize why it goes into the group you chose. The very fact that you're still re-imagining this kind of metaconstruct demonstrates how unessential it is to class design. If you need categories to help organize spell lists or magic items, design them to enfold the classes as they are rather than forcing them into arbitrary divisions. I thought 4E power sources served this role nicely--they described and catego... (see all)
Posted By: Krancher (9/30/2013 12:38:01 PM)


Just me add my voice to the cacophony of "Trickster is a crap name" voices.
I don't think Expert works either though. Specialist is maybe better? But even that doesn't quite do it. Where would you put a Bard? If you want to use Rogue, for the category, that would mean not using it for a class, which I"m fine with. Rogue could be the category with classes like Thief, Bard, Swashbuckler, etc.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/30/2013 12:32:41 PM)


You all kow by now that "Trickster" is not going to work. How about "Scoundrel"? Expert is a little too general because everyone can be an expert at *something*.
Posted By: Wyckedemus (9/30/2013 12:20:48 PM)


"Adepts" seems to fit the group description better than "Tricksters"
Posted By: muherd (9/30/2013 11:59:05 AM)


Bardic_Dave wrote: Why intentionally constrain yourselves?

Because then the somewhat arbitrary system breaks down and becomes pointless. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (9/30/2013 11:51:21 AM)


Arrrggh! New system - [shakes fists]. That was supposed to be a Reply to a comment below. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (9/30/2013 11:52:04 AM)


The post and framework make sense; they stick with the traditions and are a good way to simplify the top-level organization despite a "tree structure" of classes that is complex and likely to become more complex over time.

The only negative feedback I have is "trickster" as a name is too politically correct. While "thief" may be too specific, these are all "rogue" classes. Why pick something as relatively meaningless as "trickster"? Trickster is a personality type, not a class type.
Posted By: Ithilnaur (9/30/2013 11:49:08 AM)


I have several comments about this one.

First and foremost, a lighter touch than 4e? 4e's touch was pretty light. Moreover, you're already building proscriptive frameworks for your class groups - mages rely on spells and are less durable, etc..

Second, you need to sell products. You do that by adding complexity to the game. One area in which you'll do is class groups. Not only will you add quite a few subclasses, but you'll end up at once a) using a much "heavier touch" when it comes to defining class groups and b) at once violating those divisions with special subclasses meant to cross the lines.

Third, as you're adding to this mechanical complexity, you'll violate your rules about how magic items and class groups work. In the Heward's Mystical and Mysterious Item Compendium IV, there'll be items which are set up for specific Mage subclasses and not just Mage, for example.

So, personally, I think this idea is much ado about not... (see all)
Posted By: Seanchai (9/30/2013 11:42:59 AM)


Also, I don't like the name "Tricksters." What's wrong with "Rogues"? - John
Posted By: Seanchai (9/30/2013 11:44:51 AM)


And I forgot another thing: I don't care for these unified spell lists. This is another area that you'll soon abandon. You'll do so first because you need to sell books. Second, you'll do it because players won't like it. What helps to make one subclass feel unique is its access to proprietary in-game effects such as spells. - John
Posted By: Seanchai (9/30/2013 11:59:09 AM)


I'm not a fan of "Trickster" either. I can only surmise that these are GROUP names, rather than CLASS names and they want to reserve the "Rogue" as a name of an actual class.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/30/2013 12:28:35 PM)


I have mixed feelings about this.

1) Only four classes Warrior, Mage, Priest, and tricker with subclasses sounds appealing. The question is how do you fit all the classes of the world in. For instance the Paladin who is specializes in combat and divine magic. The Swordmage who specializes in the arcane and combat. A battlemage which is similar to the sword mage and a Shaman who doesn't quite fit into any of these roles. The monk is a both a priest and a warrior. Yet an assassin/ninja could be a trickster, with magical abilities.

2) Creating the classes like this does simplify the game, but that is exactly the problem. We veteran players don't want an elementary school game, if we did we would stop and play World of Warcraft. We want options as does all of the world. Thats why you can buy a car in red, yellow, brown or black and have leather or cloth seats. We want the same customization options for our characters. The options we choose, define who our character i... (see all)
Posted By: Darkwon (9/30/2013 11:16:12 AM)


Lumping classes under one heading is a difficult road to go. As many have pointed out, there's so much overlap it's really tough to figure it out.

Druid and Monk are perhaps the most difficult to classify.

Monks should have the majority of their mechanics stem from whichever sub-class the player has selected. Want a super skill heavy Monk? Take that subclass, get the HP consistent with that sub-class, and all the special class abilities (expertise). Want a super combat heavy monk? Take that subclass, etc.

The condition for success is to deliver the platform aka class so the player can align it to their specific concept aka sub-class. Generalized Class descriptors do not necessarily have to have a baring on HD type. I put forth that Sub-Classes should prescribe HD type instead.
Posted By: StrikerGreen (9/30/2013 11:14:44 AM)


This would be my real comment, but it does not pass validation. It has no tags to close. I'm glad to see that WOTC's web design standards have not been impacted by the recent changes.
Posted By: Lizard_SF (9/30/2013 11:11:03 AM)


The direction of all inclusive bridge building edition went where?
Posted By: Valkrim (9/30/2013 11:10:09 AM)


Mearles marketing canard gets funnier every time I hear it.

Wait, did I say 'funny?' I meant 'infuriating.' Especially in light of how almost every reference to 4e since the beginning of the playtest has negative in tone.
Posted By: FatherWendigo (9/30/2013 4:15:03 PM)


I have players who favor 1E, 2E, Pathfinder and 4E in my current group. They're all enjoying 5E so far. WHatever they're doing it's working. Will there be people who don't like it? Of course. Does that mean, it's not using pieces people liked from each edition? Nope. So far, they're taking good stuff from each edition. I think we'll see even more of that in future modules as they use those to target more edition centered folks as opposed to doing that in the baseline experience.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/30/2013 4:24:31 PM)


This is a test comment.
Posted By: Lizard_SF (9/30/2013 11:09:58 AM)


I don't like this return to attempting to shoehorn classes into roles again. I was originally in favor of it in 4E, but grew disenchanted with it over time, and clearly as 4E evolved, it recognized that some classes could fit several roles. Why not just accept the fact that classes like the monk might not fit into any single role and let it be?
Posted By: choi9999 (9/30/2013 11:07:33 AM)


Also I am assuming you meant mages were "elevated to a d6"?
Posted By: LostLegolas (9/30/2013 11:03:09 AM)


I like the direction that this is going in. It makes LOGICAL sense. I would however really reconsider a few things.

Trickster is too specific for a name for that grouping of classes. I am reminded up someone like VanHelsing who was a LG Rogue in the previous 2nd ed. game. He is not really so much of a trickster. I however also do not like expert or specialist as they would then exclude the Bard class, because that class is truly a jack of all trades, but a master of none. I think the names for the groups need to be strongly evaluated before labeling them.

I also think that as far as categorizing the Monk class you do not have to give it more hit points to put it in the Warrior grouping, because then in the same token would you have to decrease the d12 of the Barbarian to make it fit the Warrior group. I DO NOT think hp should be a defining characteristic for placement. Like many others I think you can have varying hit points within each group of characters. I can... (see all)
Posted By: LostLegolas (9/30/2013 10:55:58 AM)


"Tricksters" is a terrible name for the class group, especially for characters that want to be taken seriously.

"Experts" would be much better as this simply describes characters that focus on a specific area that is not magic or fighting.
Posted By: RC-0775 (9/30/2013 10:51:19 AM)


I was thinking the same thing, but then considered classes like the Bard, or other "jack of all trades" types. In that scenario, would you make the Bard a Mage? If the unification under type is HD, that would cause problems.
Posted By: mbeacom (9/30/2013 12:30:02 PM)


As long as they don't arbitrarily try to fit round pegs into square holes, this is fine. However, comments like "We have to either give the Monk a d10 to put him in warrior, or expertise to put him in trickster" are worrying. Why can't he be a warrior with a d8? Why not embrace the exceptions? Little nuances like that can be what makes certain class designs really rich. Why intentionally constrain yourselves?
Posted By: Bardic_Dave (9/30/2013 10:45:35 AM)


It's over-generalization and -simplification that is the weakest part of the current packet, as far as I call tell at this stage... if the various classes are reduced to four boiled-down ones, the diversity of the PCs is going to be further hampered; maybe I'm missing something here, but from what I understand from the article, it'll hurt PC customization. With the already "cinematic" aspects of the playtest (for example: completely healing overnight during a 'scene change' like characters in an action film), I'm concerned that Next will become the 'kindergarten' role-playing game that loses attraction for sophisticated RPGers. While recovering full hp during a long rest is convenient for keeping PCs alive, has that cinemtaic 'rough-and-tumble' feel, and is excellent for beginning players, it lacks an essential drama and realism. So, too, will the game if there are only four types of people in the world. If you're wanting to group classes together to make handing out magic it... (see all)
Posted By: SirCorin (9/30/2013 10:28:51 AM)


I still feel like the whole concept of classes is unnecessarily restrictive. When I sit down to create a character, I should be thinking about who she or he is, and where they came from. The adventures, the game, and ultimately the campaigns experienced denote who they will become. Not some initial, and quite frankly, arbitrary choice made during character creation that ultimately locks you onto a pre-established set of rails. If you were to eliminate classes as this hard line destiny, you would simultaneously solve all of your multiclass issues as well – and they are legion.

As an idea - you could make power sources the options (if this was even necessary) – Martial, Arcane, Divine, etc. and allow players to acquire access to those power sources. Then move your class concept to something more akin to “background templates” and you have true flexibility, and expandability. Want more magic, fine – add some to the relevant power source. Want a staff involved – so be it.... (see all)
Posted By: Stash_Ravens (9/30/2013 10:26:25 AM)


Agreed, been saying so since the beginning. Unfortunately playtest results seem to show that players 'want' to be told what their character is, instead of deciding that for themselves...
Posted By: LupusRegalis (9/30/2013 8:57:30 PM)


I like the class groups. Reminds me of my ADnD and Hackmaster days still play Hackmaster tho.
Why can't a monk be both a "Warrior" and a Trickster."
As a "Warrior" he would be called a Monk, and under the "Trickster" he would be called a Ninja, heck under the "Priest" he could be called a Mystic if he focuses on the divine aspect.
That's my thought anyway.
Posted By: Nub-Shiggurath (9/30/2013 10:22:51 AM)


I am OK with Warlock and Sorcerer as part of Mage as long as their casting traditions are available at first level. For a starting gamer however, the amount of a options would be overwhelming to play a Mage.

A Trickster is a labeling that is a character type, and not an occupation like the others. I thought one of he goals was to avoid game jargon and make as much of everything in world language. I really think Mearls put it in their as a place holder, just to see our reaction.
Posted By: mykesfree (9/30/2013 10:18:05 AM)


"Trickster" straight-jackets character concepts too much.

"Rogue" would be fine with the right branding. Maybe this:

Rogues are true to their own sense of destiny, not to the destiny that others would impose upon them.

Posted By: areata (9/30/2013 10:15:18 AM)


Darn it! I really liked having sorcerers and warlocks grouped under the mage. Not quite a book throwing thing...but close.

Do me a favor though, give tricksters as good or better hit points than the priests. Swashbuckling rogues and warrior bards (who despite name would still fit more into the trickster category than the warrior one) who participate in combat are a big part of genre fiction, and they need the hit dice to stay up in the front line.

The d6 die for bards and rogues is a major weak point in the current playtest. It doesn't make sense why they're less hardy than the cleric.
Posted By: Salamandyr2000 (9/30/2013 10:01:27 AM)


I prefer Rogue because it tells us how it's class features work, through cunning rather than brute force or magic. The term Expert is not only a term for a game mechanic, but also isn't a Fighter an Expert of sorts? Or even the Mage? Trickster pigeon-holes even more than Rogue.
Posted By: strider13x (9/30/2013 9:44:25 AM)


If you are going to have the concept of "Classes" in the game then some type of restrictions will be part of the definition. If a Mage can also fight, heal and pick locks, then there's no point in even having the whole Class mechanic included in the game... you wind up with something a lot more like World of Darkness than D and D.
That stated, you could just present sub-classes as guidelines for choosing certain abilities, skills and feats to create characters that typify that 'vision'.
Posted By: Kazadvorn (9/30/2013 9:27:01 AM)


I need to let this roll around in my head for a while before I can really say whether I think this is good for the game. I do agree with others that if they go this route, Trickster is to specific and limiting. Expert is probably better.
Posted By: GilbertMDH (9/30/2013 9:17:31 AM)


I agree. Expert is the perfect name for this group. Trickster is too specific and does not accurately describe this archetype.
Posted By: Dragonklaw82 (9/30/2013 9:31:39 AM)


Trickster is a terrible name, and I don't tend to think of monk's a warriors (maybe a priest... if we have spellcasting warriors why not a non-spellcasting priest?), but over all I am extremely relived to hear this news.... the subclass mess the mage created was a train wreck.
Posted By: Osgood (9/30/2013 8:40:33 AM)


I have no problem in grouping classes like this.. makes sense. However, 'trickster' is not the term I would use.

If you really want to go the extra mile with DnD next you have to think long and hard about naming and terms that sound right, feel right, and are accurate.

For example: Beholder>>Ball of Eyes and Rogue>Trickster ect ect
Posted By: patch101 (9/30/2013 8:34:05 AM)


I can certainly understand the objective of guiding new class (or subclass?) creation and keying magic items. It does seem, though, that MM's proposed classification is combining power source and combat role, which might create difficulties (I echo other's "what about sword-mage"-related sentiments; why can't my "trickster" bard use arcane magic items, or my "mage" bard trickster items, or my "warrior" ranger "trickster" items related to nature?).

IMHO, a return to 4e-style role and power source wouldn't be out of line, as long as its footprint on individual class design was light.
Posted By: aoirorentsu (9/30/2013 8:32:04 AM)


"The nonmage classes using a d6 Hit Die will bump up to d8, but that's a change we were going to make anyway with the mage's elevation to a d4."

I take it that D4 would be a D6? Otherwise, that would be suggesting the Mage had a D3 or something.
Posted By: the_Horc (9/30/2013 8:20:59 AM)


Call the 'Trickster' a 'Rogue' and look where we are?

In terms of the Monk, it's a good time to establish what the Class is once and for all. You could argue it's a Warrior, but to me it's more the equivalent of the Cleric and Druid - the major stat is Wisdom and it's own version of spiritual connection. If we were to group them:

Warriors: Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin, Ranger
Rogues: Thief, Assassin, Bard?
Mage: Wizard, Sorcerer, Witch
Priest: Cleric, Druid, Monk

You could, alternatively, name Rogues 'Experts', instead.

My problem with all this is the need to categorise Classes, and the relationship these groupings will have to Sub-Classes. It all seems a bit too much like classifying in excess.
Posted By: TrippyHippy (9/30/2013 8:08:12 AM)


I also do not like the term "trickster". I prefer "specialist". My 2c.
Posted By: bruce_paris (9/30/2013 7:50:01 AM)


Also not a big fan of the term 'Trickster'. I'd assume that class might include Bards, Thieves, Assassins, Duelists, Specialist Archers. Any type of 'fighter' that relies more on Dex, Skill and Wits than Strength, Hit Points and raw power.

In general, I like the concept of fewer 'Classes' and more options within the class to create 'Iconic Types'. The 'Big Four' sounds right to me, and then just have 'Paths?" within the Class that allow the player to customize the character to fit a certain vision. So you want to play a 'Barbarian' - well start with a Warrior and then create the Character with the characteristics that you see as being 'barbaric'. Some would say that a Mongol Horse Soldier was an Iconic Barbarian type. That would be a completely different build than a 'Conan the Barbarian' type. Or a 'Norse Berserker' type. Start with basic Abilities - that would favor certain fighting styles and weapons - add in a basic Background, that would provide 'Skills' and then ... (see all)
Posted By: Kazadvorn (9/30/2013 7:34:20 AM)


While I love the notion of flexibility in what you are saying - I didn't get that feeling from this article. Did I miss something? What you are saying sounds multiple times more flexible than simply grouping classes. You describe choosing warrior and shaping your character into a barbarian, while I thought they were basically saying I would still just create a barbarian, oh, and by the way - those rules are found under the "Warrior" section.

Did I misread that?
Posted By: Stash_Ravens (9/30/2013 10:34:00 AM)


It's nice, and broad and easy, as long as you don't get too caught up on these "roles" mechanically. For example, you don't have to standardize all Warrior Hit Dice to a d10. Maybe a d12 fits the Barbarian better, and so does a D8 for the Monk. Don't restrict unnecessarily in class design.
Another example for this would be giving a "Mage" spell list, and then restricting the sorcerer from gaining access to parts of it. If a class should feel unique, give it it's own things. Maybe a warlock works better with Boons, Curses, Eldritch Blasts, Pacts and Summonings. These could be AEDU, with stances or whatever.

I like that rangers and paladins get their own unique spells (and Smites!) now. Don't give that up, please.

Posted By: Ashtoret (9/30/2013 7:04:02 AM)


To me the crux of the issue is simplification and backwards compatibility. I never liked balancing a class by spell list, because inevitably new books would come out to either undercut or overpower that class, because they didn't take it into account-- because how could you, there were so many classes in 3e-- and it would be a fault line.

It seems far easier to have say, "arcane" spells and "divine" spells (or heck, just one big pool), but gate the access by spell level, or by a tag like school or sphere? That way later classes are built on the same underlying level of balance?

Which is a long way around to saying that this logic holds true for classes as well. Obviously someone is going to want hybrid classes, like a fighty mage or a holy trickster, for instance, and where do things like Psionics go when they get reintroduced (new class grouping? Or one type for each of the old groupings, or...) or yes! Yes, I like this idea, be... (see all)
Posted By: mordicai (9/30/2013 6:53:58 AM)


I guess all this does is save some ink in the magic items section of the books. Where it may have said "The Staff of Ultimate Power can only be used by wizards, sorcerers or warlocks of 2nd level or higher" it will now say, "The Staff of Ultimate Power can only be used by mages of 2nd level or higher". Not a big deal. As long as each class still feels distinct and meaningful, I'm all on board.
Posted By: Mr.Tromboneman (9/30/2013 6:33:12 AM)


I liked the categorisation ever since 2e and really hoped it would find its way back to DDN. From what I've seen, it is extremely useful to new players. Most newbies get confused along the presentation of 10+ classes, getting lost in all the options. I always found it easier to explain the four basic archetypes and go from there.

These categories of course are more 'medieval social stereotypes' with a bundle of mechanical conotations rather what 4e roles were - explicit place of a character in a party. And as with all 'Platonic' categories you can't fit everything in. There are bound to be classes that can be more thoroughly expressed as combinations or maybe don't truly fit the model. The question then is what do you do with that? You add new categories or try to cram the new classes to the model even if it would sound strange?
Posted By: man.of.tomorrow (9/30/2013 6:32:02 AM)


I'll pile on to say Trickster is not a good name. Specialist or Expert are much better.
Posted By: Narl (9/30/2013 6:20:21 AM)


I you want to get the complexity down, this seems like a bad move. I already am a Fighter, Weaponmaster and Soldier, now I am going to be a Warrior too - how many titles do I need? I don't think these categories will make the game better.
Posted By: Roeverklubb (9/30/2013 5:25:23 AM)


I like the idea, but I started in 2e, so it seems logical to me.

I would rather see the groups be called Warrior, Preist, Rogue, and Mage, and see the current rogue class' name changed to "trickster" or "scoundrel," but that's just a matter of taste.

I assume I wouldn't be out of line to assume the groups are warrior (barbarian, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger), priest (cleric, druid), trickster (bard, rogue), and mage (sorcerer, warlock, wizard), but I'm curious why you didn't just come out and say that.
Posted By: bengilmer (9/30/2013 4:13:42 AM)


My big concern is spell lists, how will that be handled with new "Mage" or "Priest" classes that show up in some future supplement, and then later forgotten or rarely addressed in any other future supplements. Will we go back to the Wizard getting everything, and this new class 3 years into the edition, hardly getting anything in the way of expansions?
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (9/30/2013 3:29:14 AM)


Also, I'm with Yan Lacharite aka Plaguescarred and more people, in that I'd name the Trickster group Expert, and the Priest group Mystic, so as to make them more general and inclusive. Arcane spellcasters should not always be weak: Sorcerers not needing to study magic and having it inside their veins would probably match the Cleric's group better, but you wouldn't name them "Priests"...
Posted By: LordArchaon (9/30/2013 3:24:33 AM)


These sound more like power sources than roles, if their purpose is to tie classes together thematically for the purposes of feats and magic items and such.
Posted By: TheCosmicKid (9/30/2013 3:10:38 AM)


I'm really, really happy about the change of mind on the Mage including Wizard, Sorcerer and Warlock! I had blogged about it here: (if link doesn't work, search LordArchaon final playtest on Google) and I feel like my feedback has finally been listened to. I've been very vocal about this because really, putting those classes under Mage would have inevitably and permanently reduced their uniqueness especially in terms of mechanics. As you say, blanket access to a spell-list is bad! And that would have been only one of the drawbacks. THANKS!
Posted By: LordArchaon (9/30/2013 3:09:23 AM)


I like it. Not sure why you want to tue Magic Items to groups though. Sounds a bit too MMO-loot stylelike. Also use "Specialist" instead of "Trickster". And please the more generic "Healer" than priest. I might want to play in settings without gods, too.
Posted By: Cypher2009 (9/30/2013 2:27:07 AM)


Trickster is a bad name for any group. Ranger should be a subclass of fighter. Maybe expanding past four 'Roles is the solution'. trying to mix a broad class of skills under one roof (for example diplomacy, thievery, and tracking) all under one title is awkward and does a gross injustice to the system and players-imo.
Posted By: Jamonster (9/30/2013 2:19:14 AM)


Why not just call them what they claim to be. Martial, Technique, Arcane and Divine. However the bigger question is where is this going really. I agree that there is not enough information to make any real sort of judgement here. What it sounds like is Group Class - Class - Sub-Class - Path. If that is true then that would open up huge character customization options. In that aspect you would be able to design any type of Monk whether they be a sage or diplomat(technique), weapon and hand to hand(martial), mystical hermit (arcane), benevolent healer (divine). I guess it comes down to the 3 basic objectives here - Balance, Customization, and Compatibility.
Posted By: lookatmeiamabug (9/30/2013 2:04:19 AM)


^^ 100% this on the names, I made myself log in just to reinforce these names.
Posted By: Killwalla (9/30/2013 2:23:08 AM)


I too would prefer this kind of naming convention, i.e. Martial, Technique, Arcane, Divine. These are words that have been used in the past and are reasonably familiar to people (well, maybe not "Technique" - I prefer "Specialist"!)

A few comments on this forum suggest some find this approach to be confusing and redundant, but I think its definitely a much better approach then trying to dump sorcerers and warlocks into the same class as wizards (which, to me, failed both mechanically and thematically). At least this way you can say things like "this item can be used by any arcane class" without needing to explain further or worry about new arcane classes being added in the future; and yet wizards and sorcerers can both be described as 'arcane' and still use thematically different approaches to the way they use magic.
Posted By: RJP (9/30/2013 5:06:39 AM)


I like this train of thought a lot!
Posted By: hobson1975 (9/30/2013 12:56:06 PM)


Where are psionics in this mix? Are they treated as a mage? Why when divine is different?
If you are going for this then it should be an archetype. Realistically there are only really four types: spell slinger, martial prowess, skill expertise and social graces. It could be argued that the last two could be merged together.
There would be three power ratings in each: primary, split, diluted.
If you are focussed on slinging spells, you would be a wizard or psion for example. If split between spell slinger and martial prowess you would be a cleric or druid. If diluted between SS, MP and skill then a bard suits.
I'd prefer something like this. Items can be based on either archetype or the power rating (or both).
Posted By: Rartemass (9/30/2013 1:58:29 AM)


I don’t understand this line: “The nonmage classes using a d6 Hit Die will bump up to d8, but that's a change we were going to make anyway with the mage's elevation to a d4.” Mages are currently at a d6 for Hit Dice, as of the 09-13 playtest packet. Did you mean to write “elevation to a d6”? Because going from a d6 to a d4 is not “elevation.”
Posted By: CHeard (9/30/2013 1:34:08 AM)


Mike Mearls clarified on Twitter that he meant mages had already been elevated to a d6.
Posted By: RadperT (10/2/2013 9:58:38 PM)


I find this to be an unnecessary level of organization. It's useful in the design process, but not something that belongs in the books.

Magic items shouldn't care what class you are. If you want something useful to all classes that cast arcane magic, then tie the benefit to arcane casting.
Posted By: Trillinon (9/30/2013 1:10:36 AM)


Please, someone, listen to this man.
Posted By: AmbiguousAkira (9/30/2013 1:32:04 AM)


I think it would be more creative to make the Monk the Divine Specialist/Trickster – it doesn't NEED to spellcast, but it fits in well with them, thematically), and add in an Arcane Warrior (Bladesinger, Hexblade, Spellsword, Eldritch Knight, etc).

Then you could get rid of the mage/priest dichotomy and recognise that divine/arcane are not as important a distinction as gishiness is. Besides, we've been operating under Druid being it's own thing all playtest; now we're going to lop Primal back into Divine?

Fighter - Martial Warrior
Rogue - Martial Trickster
Cleric - Divine Caster
Paladin - Divine Warrior
Monk - Divine Trickster
Wizard - Arcane Caster (Wizardry)
Sorcerer - Arcane Caster (Sorcerery)
Warlock - Arcane Caster (Witchcraft)
Spellsword - Arcane Trickster (Wizardry)
Bladesinger - Arcane Warrior (Sorcery)
Hexblade - Arcane Warrior (Witchcraft)
Bard - Arcane Trickster (Sorcery)
Artificer - Arc... (see all)
Posted By: Marandahir (9/30/2013 12:57:20 AM)


I'm reminded of Numenera's "Gaive, Jack, and Nano" which in DND terms would be "Fighter, Rogue, and Spellcaster" or "Warrior, Trickster, and Mage" in Mike's parlance.

I think if it's going to be four, rather than three, I'd like to see something like "Warrior, Rogue, Mystic, and Mage"
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (9/30/2013 1:20:40 AM)


Remember that Monte was a part of the early development of Next. It's entirely possible that, despite whatever happened to cause Monte to leave, some of his ideas stayed. I can see a few things similar to Numenera in the latest/last packet. To my mind, this is not a bad thing.
Posted By: Tulloch (9/30/2013 3:25:55 AM)


I think you're on to something, but for simplicity's sake, I would collapse the arcane into just three classes and make the other traditions into option sets under that. For example, the arcane trio could be Wizard (arcane caster), Spellsword (arcane warrior), and Trickster (arcane expert/agent/specialist whatever). Then, you could have your sorcery and witchcraft as options under those classes to tinker with, so that the DM can rule whether such things exist, are taboo, or whatever. For one game, the Hexblade is the default arcane warrior, but for another, it's the bladesinger.
Posted By: throneworld (9/30/2013 9:27:40 AM)


Don't care for the name trickster. Also, I suspect that rather than being a category, more of a tag based system might make more sense. An arcane knight is both an arcanist (better group name than mage IMHO) and a warrior for example, in the same way I feel like the paladin straddles the two categories. If magic items and other things are keyed off these, can't you think of plenty of items that would make more sense for cleric + paladin than cleric + druid (assuming the druid would also end up in the priest category)?
Posted By: fzaaq (9/30/2013 12:54:45 AM)


I'm currently having difficulty seeing the purpose/benefit of such categorizations. From a class design and development point of view it could offer some nice guidelines for approaching new classes, but I suspect that SJS70's allusion to a straitjacket might be apt, and given how it is described, could result in a sense of sameness between grouped classes. From the player point of view it could assist in pointing them in the right direction when seeking out a class, but I mostly see it as just another layer of names and descriptions to work through before reaching something useful.

Out of the benefits mentioned, I do see potential for spell lists and magic items, but I'm not convinced that these two areas are enough to apply the system whole-sale. The first benefit of providing a framework, thus far, seems unconvincing to me as I fail to see how the lack of said framework hinders the application of new casting styles and approaches.

This system could be very benef... (see all)
Posted By: Crimson_red (9/30/2013 12:49:15 AM)


"darkle: Yeah after 18 months of pretending that 4th ed never existed maybe there is some realisation that it is not an awful starting point."

Posted By: DocRyder (9/30/2013 12:44:23 AM)


Trickster is a bad name for the group. It should be "Specialist" since they seem to excel in certain narrowly defined fields.
Posted By: akaddk (9/30/2013 12:44:13 AM)


I agree with Specialist.
I am a little puzzled as to where Bards will fit?
Posted By: VinceP (9/30/2013 9:09:59 AM)


The four-way split makes sense, but I would consider changing the name from warrior to fighter. Fighter feels broader to me than warrior. Also trickster needs to go. I tend to like the term scoundrel or even just adventurer. The later is awfully broad though. It does seem like it's the catchall.

Also great to hear on the mage wizard sub-type. I think the wizard needs to stand on his own and that sorcerer and warlock can have some design and development put behind them to make them stand on their own.
Posted By: hobson1975 (9/30/2013 12:41:55 AM)


I liked class groups in 2e, I like them here.
Posted By: Dragonhelm (9/30/2013 12:41:12 AM)


Absolutely agree.

Warrior / Wizard / Prieset / Rogue
Posted By: hobson1975 (9/30/2013 12:43:29 AM)


Using class groups seems like a very effective method of handling the magic item problem (or other prerequisite problems), although I think the "trickster" label is pretty lousy.

But the examples at the bottom of the article are silly and seem like remnants of prescriptive "role" design from 4e. Sure, maybe it makes sense for the Monk to have a d10 hit dice because the class is just a little too fragile. But the class group shouldn't define aspects of the class design. A class that combines aspects of the different groups is fine. Why isn't the Monk a warrior and a trickster? Surely, any feat, magic item or prestige-ability that is appropriate for warriors or tricksters would be appropriate for Monks. Likewise, Bards should have access to magic items that are usable by mages or rogues.
Posted By: KidSnide (9/30/2013 12:36:50 AM)


In the same way, I buy into this idea that a class has to act as an adequate substitute for one of the big four. Yeah, Monks don't have the tanking capability of fighters. So what? They are pretty goods sneaks, have excellent defenses against magic and have funky magic powers to compensate. So long as it all seems balanced in the end, the other monk abilities can compensate for the fact that a monk is a slightly second rate fighter. (I'm not saying that every other edition succeeded in this balance, just that the balance is the goal, not fitting the class into a specific box.)
Posted By: KidSnide (9/30/2013 12:37:36 AM)


"It makes expanding the game easier, since we can create one list of spells for those classes."

This part makes me cringe a bit.
Posted By: thecasualoblivion (9/30/2013 12:33:45 AM)


I know what you mean, but I think it would work if they make a limited only-the-spells-they-really-share list for the Mage, and separate exclusive lists for the classes that fall under the Mage heading.
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (9/30/2013 1:10:34 AM)


Did you miss the part where they said they weren't using that anymore?
Posted By: Kageshinju (9/30/2013 1:18:35 AM)


And just imagine, Monsters are going to have a mix of BOTH SPELL LISTS for their abilities! Good luck guessing the right spell sublist, chump!
Posted By: FatherWendigo (10/1/2013 2:55:31 PM)


Very reminiscent of how 3ed divvied up their class splat books: Complete Warrior, Complete Arcane, Complete Divine, and Complete Adventurer. It's not my first choice: it doesn't have the utility that 4ed's roles have, and it limits more than expands what kind of characters can be made. However, it is an improvement over Mage being every arcane class.
Posted By: Alter_Boy (9/30/2013 12:27:51 AM)


Seems almost too obvious. While I have a lot of respect for the playtest and the developers, it feels like they often take the longest, hardest route to arrive at the simplest solution.

Class groups was something that I liked in 2E, although I liked it better when Fighters were called Warriors and Warriors were Fighters.

Despite what Mearls says, this doesn't feel like 4E, since Next doesn't put much mechanically behind role or power source.

Glad to hear they're moving away from the mage uber class, as I don't think sorcerers and warlocks are expressed well as subclasses.

Overall, this feels like a positive development.
Posted By: THEMNGMNT (9/30/2013 12:26:32 AM)


Seems a lot like many of us have been suggesting since they first announced the Mage uber-class. I don't know about the term "trickster", though. It's a little too descriptive of a personality type that not even all Rogues possess, far or less other classes that ought to fall under that umbrella. Like in 2nd edition, "Rogue" actually works better, with "Thief" being the class that we've grown to know as the Rogue. Or better yet, something that evokes "skill-monkey" (which I'm assuming is the shared link of the "trickster" group. Expert? I'm reminded of Numenera's "Jack".
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (9/30/2013 12:10:41 AM)


I too do not like the term 'Trickster'. I would also go with Expert or as someone else suugests latter on, Specialist.
Posted By: VinceP (9/30/2013 9:04:53 AM)


darkle: Yeah after 18 months of pretending that 4th ed never existed maybe there is some realisation that it is not an awful starting point.
Posted By: SJS70 (9/30/2013 12:10:18 AM)


Honestly, this is more of straightjacket than 4E's power sources and roles were. What about a warrior that can inspire and heal? Or a priest who is a stealthy enforcer of his church's values? Or a mage who uses blade and spell to protect his allies? Oh, I guess subclasses will do that.
Posted By: Clansmansix (9/30/2013 12:10:03 AM)


Huh, I would post more put apparently some words "do not pass validation" like "martial healing."
Posted By: Clansmansix (9/30/2013 12:22:36 AM)


My ampersands don't go through "and" so I always have to go back "and" rewrite my words. See, I just had to to do it twice here.
Posted By: mordicai (9/30/2013 6:57:42 AM)


So what you're saying here is that you've divided up the classes according to the role they play in the party? INCREDIBLE.
Posted By: darkle (9/30/2013 12:02:23 AM)



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