Since I started my series of articles on the various classes , I’ve wanted to go back and redo some to get a bit more mechanical. However I think the posts serve a purpose as they are now simply because they don’t get too mechanical.
Which is why I’m starting a new series that can get too mechanical!
Magic, Skill, Action!
As I’ve gotten more into homebrew, I’ve realized more and more that trying to classify the classes into distinct categories is a fool’s errand. Luckily for you all, I’m an absolute idiot of a fool, so here we are.
I’m not going to go too into it, to be honest. But I do want to be able to avoid doing a completely separate series covering each and every class individually. Been there, done that. Still doing that, in fact. So, instead, we’re going to cover vague descriptions.
To begin, I’m going to set three questions I’m going to ask about each class.
What is your typical Action in combat? Some classes have many choices, others do not. But even though combat is only one third of the game, this is still an important distinguishing feature.
How much are you defined by skill proficiencies? Again, some classes have a lot of skill proficiencies, and some don’t. However, different classes also tend to have different levels of proficiency – depending both on raw stats and on whether or not they have Expertise.
How much do you rely on magic and spellcasting? This is probably the most subjective one, but the idea is to figure out how much a class would use spells in combat and out of combat.
Based on these questions, I decided to split the classes into three different categories: Action, Skill, and Magic. While plenty of classes may seem to bleed over from one to the other, explaining my justifications will be just another part of the fun.
This group contains the classes who are defined primarily by one or two actions they always take in combat. Other than that, they only have a few skills, and either don’t have magic at all, or only use it to augment their central combat action.
The classes in this group are the Barbarian, the Fighter, the Monk, the Paladin, and the Ranger. Honorable mention goes to certain warlock builds, particularly bladelocks and eldritch blast spam warlocks.
This group contains the classes that have a lot of skill proficiencies and (usually) massive bonuses to nearly all of them. In combat, they generally have a lot of choices and don’t rely too heavily on any one action. And while they might have spells, those spells aren’t a major source of damage or power.
The classes in this group are the Bard, the Rogue, and – surprise upset! – the Warlock! Honorable mention goes to battlemaster fighters and that’s pretty much it.
This group contains classes that have a lot of spell slots and are almost useless inside an antimagic field. Their actions in combat are almost always spells or cantrips, and while they can have good skill bonuses, they generally don’t have many skill proficiencies to begin with.
The classes in this group are the Cleric, the Druid, the Sorcerer, and the Wizard. Honorable mention goes to the warlock, who I know everyone feels should’ve been in this group to begin with but please – just trust me.
So, we have our categorizations. What next? Well, the whole idea here is to look more into mechanics than I currently can. Because I think discussing a class, fantasy context and all, is the best way to do it… but mechanics are pretty important.
Basically, I want to talk about how to homebrew things. The general class analysis posts are about homebrew too, of course, but they’re also neat little history pieces about the classes and a general primer on how each one plays. Nothing in them is about something new.
Look forward to advice on the following topics:
- Making new subclasses for classes in each category.
- Making new classes in each category.
- Making new subclasses to push classes in other categories closer to each category
- So making an Action-focused rogue or a Skill-based wizard.
- Revising existing classes and subclasses to better fit in a certain area.
- Lookin’ at you, ranger.
- And more!
In any case, look for these articles coming next week. I might take more than one article on each category, but I think we’ll just start with one and see where it goes from there.
Thanks for reading!
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