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Aquillion
2008-12-29, 12:00 AM
Supposing you wanted to make a class for a player who is new to D&D, and doesn't want to have to memorize a big list of spells, monsters, or anything like that -- they're not experts on the rules, and don't want to spend too much time learning them.

But they also want a very versatile and adaptable character, one with a wide variety of tricks and abilities.

They've asked you to build them an optimized character to this end -- easy to play without much learning the rules or knowing how lots of different spells and such work, but with lots of possibilities. How would you optimize their build to this end, while keeping it fairly simple to play?

Let's say that even a sorcerer is a bit much for them -- they don't want to have to keep track of lots of different spells, and know what each does.

arguskos
2008-12-29, 12:01 AM
Supposing you wanted to make a class for a player who is new to D&D, and doesn't want to have to memorize a big list of spells, monsters, or anything like that -- they're not experts on the rules, and don't want to spend too much time learning them.

But they also want a very versatile and adaptable character, one with a wide variety of tricks and abilities.

They've asked you to build them an optimized character to this end -- easy to play without much learning the rules or knowing how lots of different spells and such work, but with lots of possibilities. How would you optimize their build to this end, while keeping it fairly simple to play?
Basically, Factorum, sans Arcane Dilettante. That's my suggestion. Their powers are easy to figure out after learning the basics, and the class is fun as hell to play.

Aquillion
2008-12-29, 12:08 AM
Basically, Factorum, sans Arcane Dilettante. That's my suggestion. Their powers are easy to figure out after learning the basics, and the class is fun as hell to play.Hmm. They have to know several skills, but that's not too bad.

The real problem is when the game reaches level 19; Cunning Brilliance assumes a knowledge of the level 15 class abilities of every class ever printed to use it to its maximum effect. Of course, by that point they should have learned the rules a bit better, but still, that always struck me as odd. :smalltongue:

arguskos
2008-12-29, 12:16 AM
Hmm. They have to know several skills, but that's not too bad.

The real problem is when the game reaches level 19; Cunning Brilliance assumes a knowledge of the level 15 class abilities of every class ever printed to use it to its maximum effect. Of course, by that point they should have learned the rules a bit better, but still, that always struck me as odd. :smalltongue:
Well, let's break it down by every core non-caster

Barbarian: keep track of lots of numbers (what with rage blocks and all), but could work; is boring after awhile though
Fighter: a bajillion feats... yeah no
Rogue: maybe? Requires knowledge of the combat rules though, something that even players with experience still don't know that well
Monk: ****ty mechanically, but fun for newer players
Paladin: some interesting mechanics, better than the fighter for learning curve, could be a good choice; gets boring though
Ranger: requires decent knowledge of monster types, probably not the best choice

Looking at this, it seems that Barbarian, Monk, or Rogue are your best bets. Or, Factorum, who can do ALL of this w/o trying too hard. :smallwink:

RTGoodman
2008-12-29, 12:43 AM
For beginners, I think the easiest classes that still get a handful of things to do are probably:

1. Barbarian - You get to be a front-line fighter (which everyone loves), you've got just a couple of features that are (1) easy to remember and (2) give interesting options, and you've got the skill points to have use outside of combat (especially Survival and such).

2. Rogue - You've got to allocate a LOT of skill points, but once that's explained (along with the idea that every one of those skills AND combat stuff is basically d20 + an easy-to-find modifier) it should be pretty easy.

3. Warblade - You've got the staying power of a Barbarian or a Fighter, plus a handful of easy but decent abilities (Int bonus to various things, ability to switch weapon feats), and you've only got a few maneuvers to pick out and use (3 at first level, plus 1 stance). That gives some versatility in combat, and 4+Int skill points with varied class skills (Knowledges, Intimidate, athletic skills, etc.) makes you not useless outside of combat. Basically, there's a lot of maneuvers to look through at first, but once you pick some the actual PLAYING is really easy.

Mark Hall
2008-12-29, 01:51 AM
Actually, I would suggest bard. They don't have big spell lists, and so they're pretty easy for a newbie to get a handle on... and even work their way into a greater understanding of the system. Bards can heal, bards have a weapon that allows them to experience tripping, bards can somewhat fight... a bard, with well-chosen spells, is a fun character who is very versatile, yet easy for people to get a handle on.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-29, 03:00 AM
Make it a Monk. It's not great mechanically, but it's easy and fun to play.

PinkysBrain
2008-12-29, 03:09 AM
Is he familiar with CCGs?

If you print out a deck (the PDF with the cards is available for free) the Tome of Battle classes are easier to play than even a spontaneous caster.

Ditto
2008-12-29, 03:13 AM
I'd go Rogue. You have several different ways to play a rogue, as a thief or a con man or a mercenary or a dashing swordsman or or or... The mechanics can be summarized as:

-Sneak Attack & flank
-Reflex Save for teh dodge
-Find things (Spot/Listen/Search)
-Thieve things (DD/Open lock/Sleight of hand)
-Fast-talk people (Diplomacy/Bluff/Disguise/Forgery)
-Sneak behind people (Hide/MS)

Tons of versatility, but minimal mechanical customization (give them a few skill points in everything and let 'im RP what he wants), and something more than hitting things with a stick.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-29, 03:28 AM
I'd go Rogue.
...
Tons of versatility, but minimal mechanical customization (give them a few skill points in everything and let 'im RP what he wants), and something more than hitting things with a stick. It's not that simple. Some skills just don't work if you have "a few skill points in everything". Tumble is the obvious example: if you don't make DC 15, you're screwed. And I wouldn't recommend using Hide and Move Silently without keeping those maxed out. Opposed skills are either good enough, or you've wasted all the skill points you invested.

Given the large number of skill points, the importance of spending them wisely, and the required knowledge of what's reasonable to try to do based on particular skill modifiers, I'd characterize Rogue as anything but simple to play. After all, they don't have high AC or HP, so screwing up is likely to get the Rogue killed. That's no fun. :smallfrown:

Arcane_Snowman
2008-12-29, 03:39 AM
I remember what we did with one of my friends who isn't very rules savvy, we gave him a Master of Many Forms, Wildshape Variant Ranger 5/Master of Many Forms/Warshaper 5 was somewhat the idea, we gave him some shapes which were fully statblocked, then told him that if he got bored of these ones, there were more.

JeminiZero
2008-12-29, 06:49 AM
Here are a few suggestions:

Anything from ToB: He gets a tank, but with a variety of tactical options from stance and maneuvers, and unlocks more of these as he progresses. Only problem is that he has to pick maneuvers when he levels up, and if he botches his choice, he is stuck with it, short of DM retcon generosity.

Binder: If you start at low levels, this might work, as he only has a limited list of vestiges to choose from. As you progress, he can figure out the newer vestiges as he gains access to them. Unlike the above, he can switch vestiges easily enough, giving him more room for error.

Spirit Shaman: Again, at low levels, the limited spell list should make his life easier. Also, the spontaneous/prepared nature of this class might make for an easier introduction to spellcasting. He gets spontaneous spellcasting for easier spell slot tracking, but prepared spell list, so that if he botched spell selection, he can simply change it the next day, giving him room for error. As long as he has summons and/or cures prepared on several spell levels, he should always be useful.

Beguilers: Skill monkey with spells. Since the Beguiler automatically knows all spells from a limited list, he doesn't have the headache of choosing which spells to prepare, only what to cast at the moment.

Dread Necromancer: As above, but Undead legion with spells instead.

bosssmiley
2008-12-29, 07:46 AM
Supposing you wanted to make a class for a player who is new to D&D, and doesn't want to have to memorize a big list of spells, monsters, or anything like that -- they're not experts on the rules, and don't want to spend too much time learning them.

But they also want a very versatile and adaptable character, one with a wide variety of tricks and abilities.

D&D emphasises skill mastery - you have to know the sneaky little sub-systems to get the most out of versatile/adaptable characters. Just look at combat options (Trip, Disarm, Bull Rush, etc.); you *have* to know the rules to gainfully exploit those. If your players aren't keen on learning all those fiddly rules then you might want to use a mechanically simpler game engine.

Adaptable characters who don't require system mastery; that's a toughie. In Core I'd say Rogue, Bard, Ranger, Cleric and Wizard. The other classes are either too mono-focused (Barbarian: "I hit it...with my axe.") or require a lot of system knowledge to get the most out of (the Sorcerer's limited spell list especially!).

Thurbane
2008-12-29, 05:12 PM
2. Rogue - You've got to allocate a LOT of skill points, but once that's explained (along with the idea that every one of those skills AND combat stuff is basically d20 + an easy-to-find modifier) it should be pretty easy.
I would go with Rogue as well.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2008-12-29, 05:36 PM
What about Warlock? Only a few invocations, covering a wide range of possibilities, no uses to keep track of, and a handy, easy to use ranged attack.

Also a decent skill set. Makes you feel powerful (Invisibility and flight, etc) while still being incredibly straightforward.

Prometheus
2008-12-29, 05:45 PM
I have to second the Rogue. If the player focuses, than they will have a couple of things that the know that they can succeed at all the time; if the player generalizes, than they will find a way to contribute in creative ways (such as Appraise, Decipher Script, Forgery, or Profession). The player will get the ability to engage in combat, but will have no expectation of doing so and will only get his or her hands dirty when the opponents are either surprised or there is another PC to back the Rogue up. It encourage mechanics, problem-solving, & RP.

Temp.
2008-12-29, 05:49 PM
I'd second Warlock

The ability list is short and straightforward, there aren't many skill points to deal with and there's a pretty reasonable skill list, there're no complex mechanics hidden anywhere, UMD provides a handy introduction to the other casting classes.

AslanCross
2008-12-29, 06:04 PM
1. Rogue, for the skills, and abilities are relatively straightforward.
2. Warlock, because there's no frustration (running out of weapons) and there aren't that many abilities to choose from.
3. Warblade. As long as you have maneuver cards printed out and help him out with selection. The maneuver recovery's pretty straightforward too.