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AustontheGreat1
2009-12-17, 01:17 PM
Removed due to being a dreadful idea...

truemane
2009-12-17, 01:24 PM
The first thing that comes to mind is the obvious one: you have to give up a Feat. So these heroic classes need to be balanced against the non-heroic classes + one Feat.

The best way to explain strange classes is the way D&D Explains all such things: that's just the way you rolll when you're a PC.

I don't think any further explanation is necessary. Unless you wanted to categorize all the classes and offer initial Bonus Feats and then Feat trees for each one.

The Demented One
2009-12-17, 01:26 PM
This is a bad idea. It does nothing to actually explain "weird" classes (and what do you even mean by that? Alternate magic systems? Magic at all?) and puts a feat tax on classes based on their flavor, not their mechanics. This does absolutely nothing useful.

Anonymouswizard
2009-12-17, 02:16 PM
This is a bad idea. It does nothing to actually explain "weird" classes (and what do you even mean by that? Alternate magic systems? Magic at all?) and puts a feat tax on classes based on their flavor, not their mechanics. This does absolutely nothing useful.

Agreed.<--

Lysander
2009-12-17, 02:34 PM
How does someone in real life become a trapeze artist or a professional ice sculptor or any other odd profession? They are born into it or stumble into somehow. Why shouldn't weird classes work the same way?

Obviously it depends on the class. In a world with magic there's no reason that someone else can't just happen to be using a less popular technique.

DragoonWraith
2009-12-17, 03:22 PM
I've always really appreciated home brewed classes, especially base classes; but one thing that's always bothered me was an explanation of how these characters are capable of going into such odd classes. the ones built around and odd ability or concept.
Uh... isn't that the point of the backstory? I mean, the same is true of, say, Warlocks, or Dragonfire Adepts, or Binders, or Totemists, or hell, Wizards. There are a lot of base classes that involve non-trivial access to powers that not everyone has - hence writing a backstory explaining where it came from. I see absolutely no need for a feat for such things.

Devils_Advocate
2009-12-17, 04:19 PM
one thing that's always bothered me was an explanation of how these characters are capable of going into such odd classes. the ones built around and odd ability or concept.
I'm going to go ahead and use "superpower" as a catch-all term for an ability that no human has in real life.

From an in-game perspective, a superpower may be attributable to some "power source", as 4E likes to call it. The blessing of a deity, mastery of arcane rituals, being a mutant, and being from the planet Krypton are all examples of power sources. (Note that giving a character a power source doesn't explain how her powers work. It's like saying "Light bulbs are powered by electricity"; just hearing that doesn't tell anyone what electricity is or how it powers light bulbs.)

A "mundane" D&D character may have Training From Hell (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TrainingFromHell) or preternatural talent as the power source for her Charles Atlas Superpower (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharlesAtlasSuperpower)s. In real life, training and talent don't give people superpowers, but neither do mutations, blessings, studying the occult, etc. All of this is true by definition, given that I've defined superpowers as not existing in real life.

From a metagame perspective, a character has a superpower because a player or GM gave the character that superpower. A character is capable of acquiring the superpower because the GM permits it. There really is no mystery here. "Giving a character a superpower" means giving the character the prerequisites for using that superpower.

A character who has been given a superpower can be assumed to have the associated power source. A character with Wizard levels, for example, is assumed to have mastered a variety of arcane rituals and mnemonics, because that's how wizards do their wizarding. If, in your setting, arcane spellcasters only come from specific magical bloodlines, then it can be assumed that a character with Wizard levels has one of those bloodlines. A superpower implies whatever backstory elements are deemed necessary for that superpower.

The main reason for levels in a class not to serve as the sole prerequisite for using a superpower is that a relevant power source may already have another representation in the game. For example, if a bard works special magical effects through his spectacular singing, then it makes no sense for him not to have a good Perform modifier.

But giving several classes a power source in common doesn't require a common game-mechanical element, it just requires unifying fluff. If you say that every arcane spellcaster is part of a magical bloodline, there's no need for them all to have a special Magical Bloodline feat. Similarly, there's no need to require members of non-psionic races to take the Wild Talent (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicFeats.htm#wildTalent) feat in order to take levels of psionic classes. You could, but there's no need to. Their being psionic is already explained out-of-game by the fact that they were given levels in psionic classes, and can be accounted for in-game by the same fluff that you attach to the Wild Talent feat to explain psonic powers in non-psionic races. There's no need to make that feat a requirement for that fluff.

Similarly, if you want to give a variety of odd classes a common power source... then, well, you can just straight up go ahead and give them a common power source. If you want to say, e.g., that all of the characters with these classes have been touched by the mysterious forces of destiny and that this is what produces these classes' superpowers... then you can just say "All of the characters with these classes have been touched by the mysterious forces of destiny and this is what produces these classes' superpowers." It's pure flavor. No mechanical changes necessary.

Zeta Kai
2009-12-17, 05:48 PM
This is a bad idea. It does nothing to actually explain "weird" classes (and what do you even mean by that? Alternate magic systems? Magic at all?) and puts a feat tax on classes based on their flavor, not their mechanics. This does absolutely nothing useful.

Seconded (or Thirded). This is a Bad Idea. Please don't tax your players for trying something different & interesting.

erikun
2009-12-17, 05:48 PM
The first problem is obviously, "What is a Weird Class?" Limiting it to homebrew implies that classes like the sorcerer or ninja or paladin are inherently "normal" to some degree and can be entered with standard training. If a deity can grant powers to a cleric and a demon can grant powers to a warlock, then certainly a person can learn how to throw boomerangs effectively in combat.

This also seems to imply that nonhuman races are "weird" enough to qualify for such strange classes. Is that the case? Or must they give up some racial ability for entry, also? Under the first, Strongheart Halflings become the de facto race for homebrew, as they keep the feat while still accessing the class. Under the second, nobody wants to use a homebrew class because they are (unfairly) nerfed.

Temotei
2009-12-17, 05:53 PM
As the others have said, this is an awful idea. Just because a class is "weird" doesn't mean you should have to waste time with weak feats to enter it.

DracoDei
2009-12-17, 05:54 PM
Seconded (or Thirded). This is a Bad Idea. Please don't tax your players for trying something different & interesting.

Fourthed.Character padding.

magic_unlocked
2009-12-17, 06:00 PM
I do say, I must agree with Zeta Kai. I'm not sure what it is that you are trying to do or accomplish with this, but, as was mentioned in earlier posts, backstory answers where and how the PC(s) in question got their abilities. It shouldn't need to be explained away by a feat.

Zeta Kai
2009-12-17, 06:25 PM
I do say, I must agree with Zeta Kai. I'm not sure what it is that you are trying to do or accomplish with this, but, as was mentioned in earlier posts, backstory answers where and how the PC(s) in question got their abilities. It shouldn't need to be explained away by a feat.

"But, d00d, you can just replace that backstory with just one feat! Backstories are lame, man. They take too long to write, & words are hard@! I'll just burn off my human bonus feat to qualify for this wicked class! It'll be so sweet."

:smallannoyed:

magic_unlocked
2009-12-17, 06:29 PM
"But, d00d, you can just replace that backstory with just one feat! Backstories are lame, man. They take too long to write, & words are hard@! I'll just burn off my human bonus feat to qualify for this wicked class! It'll be so sweet."

:smallannoyed:

XD Well, that is true. However, if words are hard, why are you pouring through countless books to find that weird class?

And, where was that FF Compendium you were making, Mr. Kai?

Edit: Nevermind, I saw it in your sig. <_<

Random_person
2009-12-17, 06:31 PM
I must express my concrrence. Not that it wasn't worth a try, just that it wasn't a good idea.

Kallisti
2009-12-17, 06:33 PM
I do say, I must agree with Zeta Kai. I'm not sure what it is that you are trying to do or accomplish with this, but, as was mentioned in earlier posts, backstory answers where and how the PC(s) in question got their abilities. It shouldn't need to be explained away by a feat.

Fifthed, or sixthed or whatever this is on. Not to bash on the OP--it's not truly a terrible idea, and for some playstyles it'd work--but really, when you want to explain where powers come from, explain where powers come from, not take a feat.

Mulletmanalive
2009-12-17, 06:48 PM
I'm not going to bandwagon; If you want to do this in your games, then good for you.

I actually used a feat in a similar manner to allow some of my higher powered [they're about Tier 3 in a tier 4 world] Le Cirque Funeste classes to function without the afformentioned venue. Kallisti can attest, however, that the secondary feature is much less pants than yours. You'll want to look at that.

If you had come up with, y'know, a plan as to which classes you defined as "weird," this might have been less of an onslaught; I've heard the suggestion of giving bonus feats to Tier 3 and below so, while making all of your higher powered characters samey, maybe you could get somewhere with this as a fine for playing wizards, if that's what you're after...

AustontheGreat1
2009-12-17, 08:23 PM
eh, just a thought.

Ive never liked the way people go into odd base classes. because that means someone just woke up in the morning and decided to become a fire bender or something equally silly.

and I'm perfectly ok with my players having to take an extremely dumb feat. Sort of a punishment for them taking such a silly class.

Whats wrong with being a fighter every once in a while?

I wasn't really looking for an agreement on the feat idea, I was looking for a better plan. other than just saying its in the characters back story, thats too convenient. I understand everyones hatred of the idea.

It's kind of funny how passionatly everyone disagrees.

DragoonWraith
2009-12-17, 08:46 PM
eh, just a thought.

Ive never liked the way people go into odd base classes. because that means someone just woke up in the morning and decided to become a fire bender or something equally silly.

and I'm perfectly ok with my players having to take an extremely dumb feat. Sort of a punishment for them taking such a silly class.

Whats wrong with being a fighter every once in a while?

I wasn't really looking for an agreement on the feat idea, I was looking for a better plan. other than just saying its in the characters back story, thats too convenient. I understand everyones hatred of the idea.

It's kind of funny how passionatly everyone disagrees.
...I would never play in one of your games. You feel that you ought to "punish" players for disagreeing with you? Because that's what your saying - "I don't like that class that you like, so I'm going to make your character suck" - that's just abuse of your position as DM.

People don't play Fighters because Fighters are a poorly designed class that do not function well and are boring to play, to boot. They require incredible levels of optimization just to get working at a reasonable level, and even then they're relegated to being one-trick ponies because anything short of extreme specialization will result in them not being able to do anything. In other words, your players are choosing interesting classes, and your having a problem with that is disconcerting, to say the least.

It's not that "oh, I think I'll be a warlock today" or something - that's what the backstory is for. You describe the way your father was seduced by a succubus, or your mother was raped by a pit fiend, or how your great-great-great-great grandfather made an evil pact that has corrupted your entire bloodline. You describe how it's been a curse and a burden all your life, and you're determined to force this power to be used for good - or you describe how you have embraced your heritage and plan to take what you deserve from the weak and powerless.

That is what roleplaying is about.

Tavar
2009-12-17, 09:01 PM
You know, I think everyone should have to take the feat. I mean, what your character just woke up one day and decided to be one of the best martial combatants every? Yeah right. Unless you take the feat, you're a commoner. Maybe and expert, if I'm feeling generous.


This is what you're saying.

Remember that the number of people who take any PC class is generally vanishingly rare, so every PC is unusual.

AustontheGreat1
2009-12-17, 09:12 PM
...I would never play in one of your games. You feel that you ought to "punish" players for disagreeing with you? Because that's what your saying - "I don't like that class that you like, so I'm going to make your character suck" - that's just abuse of your position as DM.

People don't play Fighters because Fighters are a poorly designed class that do not function well and are boring to play, to boot. They require incredible levels of optimization just to get working at a reasonable level, and even then they're relegated to being one-trick ponies because anything short of extreme specialization will result in them not being able to do anything. In other words, your players are choosing interesting classes, and your having a problem with that is disconcerting, to say the least.

It's not that "oh, I think I'll be a warlock today" or something - that's what the backstory is for. You describe the way your father was seduced by a succubus, or your mother was raped by a pit fiend, or how your great-great-great-great grandfather made an evil pact that has corrupted your entire bloodline. You describe how it's been a curse and a burden all your life, and you're determined to force this power to be used for good - or you describe how you have embraced your heritage and plan to take what you deserve from the weak and powerless.

That is what roleplaying is about.

Thats fair.

Vic_Sage
2009-12-17, 09:12 PM
I'm perfectly ok with my players having to take an extremely dumb feat. Sort of a punishment for them taking such a silly class.
Wow, that's is a absolutely horrid thought process for someone who DM's. Who the hell gave you the right to say whats silly and whats not and force your players to do stuff like waste a feat slot on something this stupid because you can't wrap your head on a simple concept like fun.

Random_person
2009-12-17, 09:16 PM
To be fair, it might work for his group. For all we know, his group might love his DMing. They might not, but we can't say "This is bad", just "We've never seen this work", which is a much weaker statement.

AustontheGreat1
2009-12-17, 09:39 PM
To be fair, it might work for his group. For all we know, his group might love his DMing. They might not, but we can't say "This is bad", just "We've never seen this work", which is a much weaker statement.

nah, don't give me too much credit. I'm not a very good DM, (this is my second game) I'll own up to that.
But I was created by my environment and my players are just as awful as I am. The reason I'm trying to find some type of appropriate penalty is because my players aren't a very interested in role-playing.

most of them play these classes and offer no more explanation to the source of their power than "Eh, It's magic." despite my urgings to try and develop a more complex and involved back story. So, I was thinking, of trying to encourage them by threatening them with a useless feat.

How would you do this?

Random_person
2009-12-17, 09:44 PM
I have always found positive rather than negative reinforcement to be ideal. Give them bonuses for good backstories and roleplaying, and tell them that you will do so, but don't give them a number. Then give them boosts (nothing gamebreaking, about +4 to a stat or a +1 sword or +4 to a skill or thereabouts works well for me, and the DM chooses the stat or skill or whatever) based on how well you think they are buying into it. If they pay lip service, then instead give them a +1 to a stat or a bonus skill rank in a skill, but make sure that when you do so you make it clear that you will reward actual investment better.

Temotei
2009-12-17, 11:41 PM
I have always found positive rather than negative reinforcement to be ideal. Give them bonuses for good backstories and roleplaying, and tell them that you will do so, but don't give them a number. Then give them boosts (nothing gamebreaking, about +4 to a stat or a +1 sword or +4 to a skill or thereabouts works well for me, and the DM chooses the stat or skill or whatever) based on how well you think they are buying into it. If they pay lip service, then instead give them a +1 to a stat or a bonus skill rank in a skill, but make sure that when you do so you make it clear that you will reward actual investment better.

+4 might be a little strong, but I agree that positive reinforcement is the way to go. Instead of threatening punishment, offer some small bonuses based on their background. If the character was a thief all their life they might get a bonus to move silently, hide, sleight of hand, open lock, climb (cat burglar-type), jump (rooftop hopping)...etc.

Tavar
2009-12-17, 11:51 PM
+4 to a stat is way to much, but to a skill, it would be reasonable. And if your main problem is that no one is justifying their classes, the feat wouldn't really change anything. In fact, it'd probably just make them pick more normal classes, but keep the same amount of backstory.

The Demented One
2009-12-18, 01:15 AM
Ive never liked the way people go into odd base classes. because that means someone just woke up in the morning and decided to become a fire bender or something equally silly.
What makes say, "Firebender" any weirder than "Wizard" or "Druid," or hell, the aberration that is the Bard? Legislating your personal idiosyncracies is generally bad form.


and I'm perfectly ok with my players having to take an extremely dumb feat. Sort of a punishment for them taking such a silly class.
This is toxic to players enjoying the game.


I wasn't really looking for an agreement on the feat idea, I was looking for a better plan. other than just saying its in the characters back story, thats too convenient. I understand everyones hatred of the idea.
Better plan: let players make a reason. As a DM, take it, roll with it, use it to make plot and plot hooks.


It's kind of funny how passionatly everyone disagrees.
That may have to do with how bad of an idea this is.



But I was created by my environment and my players are just as awful as I am. The reason I'm trying to find some type of appropriate penalty is because my players aren't a very interested in role-playing.
Incentives are always more fun than penalties.


How would you do this?
Make sure every player's backstory has a justification. Even a feeble one, that's cool, you can run with feeble stuff. Flesh it out and develop it in the course of play, because that's what matters.

DragoonWraith
2009-12-18, 03:48 AM
Definitely. A weak character can be developed. Maybe start with young characters - young characters, after all, have less life to account for.

And bonus XP for roleplaying is always a good idea. Small amounts, but when you're doling out XP and you say "and Peter gets 50 XP for that awesome dialogue with Joe the Shopkeep", your players will notice.

Do the same for backstory. Tell people to draw up the crunch as is effective - and then give them like, full ranks in Profession (Sailor) if their character is a pirate, or I dunno, a DM decided to give us all +4 to Bluff because we were a bunch of teenagers in an academy and hey, teenagers lie a lot (I guess? I dunno, that was weird reasoning, but it was still kinda cool to get the bonus). Another DM gave me Spell Focus (Conjuration) when I took a bunch of Kobold racial feats on my Kobold conjurer/mafia boss. Stuff like that is pretty cool, and totally worth doing.

The other thing is... I mean, ultimately, the game is played between friends, and like any relationship, you need to determine what you're expecting of each other. Maybe all they want is basic dungeon crawls with minimal RP and backstory. Maybe that's not something that you want to DM, so you need to compromise. Or maybe you just accept that this is what the group enjoys, so it's what you do. Or even, someone else decides they'd be willing to DM something like that, and you can get to play, if you'd prefer. Whatever.

But punishing players for making choices that you deem "silly" is not the right play. The right play is to encourage them to justify it and make it make sense. I once made a build that was a single level of 20 different classes - and while some of it was a stretch, I nonetheless wrote up a pretty reasonable (I thought) backstory for him, explaining why he was in each of those classes. Is a 20 class build "silly"? Many DMs would say yes - just look at how many games in the Recruiting Forums say "no dipping" or whatever. Personally, I disagree that it is inherently so, quite vehemently in fact - and I wrote up the backstory to prove it. Were all 20 classes necessary for it to happen? No, I did that to see if I could make it work. Was the character horrendously scatterbrained and inconsistent? No, there was definitely a very clear theme going on, and I could have played the character 1-20 and justified each step along the way.

Zeta Kai
2009-12-18, 06:33 AM
Thats fair.

That's refreshingly civil.


Wow, that's is a absolutely horrid thought process for someone who DM's. Who the hell gave you the right to say whats silly and whats not and force your players to do stuff like waste a feat slot on something this stupid because you can't wrap your head on a simple concept like fun.

Eh, he's the DM. I've heard of much worse abuses of gaming power. If you read enough threads around here, you'll eventually burn with hatred for DM-based tyranny.

DragoonWraith
2009-12-18, 06:43 AM
Heh, and I chafe when a DM says "no dipping" or "only one prestige class".

Latronis
2009-12-18, 07:13 AM
I have a simple rule

break my campaign I break you

Works out well

Devils_Advocate
2009-12-21, 07:12 PM
most of them play these classes and offer no more explanation to the source of their power than "Eh, It's magic." despite my urgings to try and develop a more complex and involved back story. So, I was thinking, of trying to encourage them by threatening them with a useless feat.

How would you do this?
You could say "Each character's backstory must include an explanation of how he acquired his abilities. A character without such a backstory will not be approved for play."

Honestly, though, "My character's powers spontaneously appeared for no clear reason" is perfectly reasonable in D&D, since that's already the official fluff for sorcerers and psions. And it's still significantly less vague than the backstory that every character shares: "He gained his abilities sometime in the past".

Do your players specify their characters' motivations, or are they unwilling to even do that?

Perhaps it would help if you thought of missing details as things that you simply don't know about the main characters of the story. That makes the game into an opportunity to learn more about these mysterious protagonists. Exciting!

Owrtho
2009-12-21, 08:02 PM
You could also take the stand that anything they don't specify is up to you to decide. They might start working a little harder on backstories if you start making up all sorts of weird and embarasing pasts that they find out about from NPCs and their reactions.

Owrtho

Knaight
2009-12-21, 08:48 PM
nah, don't give me too much credit. I'm not a very good DM, (this is my second game) I'll own up to that.
But I was created by my environment and my players are just as awful as I am. The reason I'm trying to find some type of appropriate penalty is because my players aren't a very interested in role-playing.

most of them play these classes and offer no more explanation to the source of their power than "Eh, It's magic." despite my urgings to try and develop a more complex and involved back story. So, I was thinking, of trying to encourage them by threatening them with a useless feat.

How would you do this?

Roleplaying is essentially its own reward. People who disagree with this statement won't enjoy roleplaying. Mechanical bait for roleplaying will get people to do it, but it will be shallow, a facade done to avoid having to actually do anything. You want to encourage roleplaying? Open up all sorts of classes, let the players create any character they want, from a pure capabilities perspective. Run stuff for them for a while, but run a rich, vibrant world, full of interesting NPCs. Let them interact with these characters, and flesh them out. Then slowly phase out the dungeon entirely, until they see why roleplaying is fun and desirable. Then just let things follow their natural course.