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UglyPanda
2008-10-18, 12:25 PM
Well, you can have any combination of classes if you want to roleplay. There have been campaigns where everyone has been the same class or everyone has been an NPC class. You don't even need more than one class, since solo campaigns work perfectly well.

Are you asking how many classes you need to have a balanced party?

Starbuck_II
2008-10-18, 12:26 PM
I came across a discussion between some long-term players online who were discussing the idea that the Thief class was unneeded in 1e (and OD&D) and that only Fighters, Clerics and Magic Users were actually useful (and clerics were getting a hard time too). To be a thief, someone said, one simply steals things; it's not a class at all.

Given that a "Fighter" can be a knight, a samurai, a barbarian, Sinbad, a bandit or almost anything given the right costume, how many classes are actually needed to "put on" a decent fantasy setting? IS anything apart from Fighter and Magic-User needed if the correct role-play is applied over the top?

3 really:
a. Strong Warriors, b. Skilled warriors , and c. Magic using warrior.
Really, that fits every class combo.

Fighter is just a.
Bard is combination of b and c, mostly b.
Druid is a, b, and c.
Wizard is just c.
Cleric is a and c.

The Two
2008-10-18, 12:29 PM
The rogue in 3.5 was next to useless next classes like druid and wizard, but fills roll b. perfectly. Also a rogue helps you out in tricky non-combat situations.

Innis Cabal
2008-10-18, 12:35 PM
I would argue that no single class is needed, only a character and a set of skills.

The Rose Dragon
2008-10-18, 12:38 PM
I would argue that no single class is needed, only a character and a set of skills.

I was gonna say "Classes? We don't need no stinkin' classes!". Which is an example of misquoting, apparently.

Erom
2008-10-18, 12:40 PM
If you're going down this line of thinking, you might try playing DnD without classes - replace class features with appropriate feats chains and skills, and give more feat and skill point per level, and away you go. Sounds like fun, actually.

If you want to maintain DnD classes, and are asking how many are really necessary to be able to play any fantasy archetype - I would argue just two, magic user and martial character, are all that are really required. Party Face and Skillmonkey have classes that fit those roles better mechanically, but if you only have Swordguy and Spellguy as classes available, people who want to play a monkey or face or whatever can probably pick either and deck them out with the appropriate skills, feats, and roleplay.

Ascension
2008-10-18, 12:45 PM
If you're going down this line of thinking, you might try playing DnD without classes - replace class features with appropriate feats chains and skills, and give more feat and skill point per level, and away you go. Sounds like fun, actually.

Congratulations! You just reinvented True20!

bosssmiley
2008-10-18, 12:46 PM
If you're going down this line of thinking, you might try playing DnD without classes - replace class features with appropriate feats chains and skills, and give more feat and skill point per level, and away you go. Sounds like fun, actually.

If you want to maintain DnD classes, and are asking how many are really necessary to be able to play any fantasy archetype - I would argue just two, magic user and martial character, are all that are really required. Party Face and Skillmonkey have classes that fit those roles better mechanically, but if you only have Swordguy and Spellguy as classes available, people who want to play a monkey or face or whatever can probably pick either and deck them out with the appropriate skills, feats, and roleplay.

+1 for this.

And classless D&D is just about possible with 4E. Just sub in alternate class features (or 'powers' as the *ahem* young hep cats call 'em) from other classes at the appropriate levels.

Tempest Fennac
2008-10-18, 12:52 PM
Erom, this isn't quite the same thing, but the Generic Classes may interrest you: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/genericClasses.htm . A friend was working on a 3.5 variant with only one class a while back.

Lady Tialait
2008-10-18, 12:59 PM
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83672

If you want you can look into this, it's just one...I've not finished it. But, ya'know it's a good start.


Edit: Temp mentioned it before I could!...

Matthew
2008-10-18, 02:05 PM
I came across a discussion between some long-term players online who were discussing the idea that the Thief class was unneeded in 1e (and OD&D) and that only Fighters, Clerics and Magic Users were actually useful (and clerics were getting a hard time too). To be a thief, someone said, one simply steals things; it's not a class at all.

Given that a "Fighter" can be a knight, a samurai, a barbarian, Sinbad, a bandit or almost anything given the right costume, how many classes are actually needed to "put on" a decent fantasy setting? IS anything apart from Fighter and Magic-User needed if the correct role-play is applied over the top?

As Erom points out, there are really only two fantasy archetypes necessary for D&D, the warrior and the wizard. Indeed, originally there were only these two classes, the cleric was introduced as the game developed (but before it was released). The idea of "a class based system" was not strictly speaking intended from the outset, and the hybrid that is AD&D is the result.

The thief and the cleric are now iconic, though, so you really need the four class model to be playing "D&D" (not OD&D, though).

Heliomance
2008-10-18, 02:16 PM
If you mean paladins, it takes two - one to climb the ladder and the other to uphold the light.

Oh, wrong thread.

Satyr
2008-10-18, 03:06 PM
You need either no class or as many classes as characters, when the palyers are able to create an own 'class' as a special fit for their idealised character. The more defined a class is, the tighter this straightjacket becomes. The best games are those where the players are not shoehorned into certain roles and have the freedom to form their characters with at little limitations and hindrances as possible.

Vva70
2008-10-18, 03:27 PM
Really, there is no point to having a lot of classes if you don't find differentiated mechanics appealing. The point of having a large variety is because many people do like to have a variety of mechanic sets to select from. It's the "game" part of "roleplaying game."

If your group sees mechanics as only a necessary tack-on to the roleplay for the purposes of action resolution, and doesn't care one whit about mechanical variety, then you're absolutely right that such a large class selection is not necessary. In such a situation, you may well be better suited by relying on a smaller list of classes, or even switching to a more mechanics-light system. :smallsmile:

Nerd-o-rama
2008-10-18, 03:31 PM
NO CLASSES WHATSOEVER! MWAHAHAHA! (http://www.mutantsandmasterminds.com/)

Cruise control for cool!

Knaight
2008-10-18, 03:36 PM
That would be here actually. (http://www.fudgerpg.com/)

Anyways, there is no real need for more than one or two classes, or just go skill based.

Mark Hall
2008-10-18, 03:48 PM
I came across a discussion between some long-term players online who were discussing the idea that the Thief class was unneeded in 1e (and OD&D) and that only Fighters, Clerics and Magic Users were actually useful (and clerics were getting a hard time too). To be a thief, someone said, one simply steals things; it's not a class at all.

That's a slightly different argument. There's one type of argument that goes "You don't really need a thief if you've got strong fighters and clerics... just let the fighter take the hit (or chop down the door or chest), and have the cleric heal them." That's the version of the "You don't need a thief" argument that I most often hear.

Generally, I think that the classes in D&D break down best into the core three of Warrior, Rogue, and Magic-User. A traditional cleric is handled just as well by multi-classing between Magic-User and Warrior.

Tengu_temp
2008-10-18, 03:49 PM
Because the "you don't need any classes" answer was already taken several times...

The number of classes a system needs is inversely proportional to the amount of customization you can do within one class - which is why skill-based systems or ones where you can make your own powers tend not to have any classes at all, and why systems where the only mechanical difference between two characters with the same class are slightly different stats and the weapon they use require a crapload of classes to give players interesting options.

Roderick_BR
2008-10-18, 06:37 PM
If you're going down this line of thinking, you might try playing DnD without classes - replace class features with appropriate feats chains and skills, and give more feat and skill point per level, and away you go. Sounds like fun, actually.
Someone in homebrew is doing something like this: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86469

EndlessWrath
2008-10-18, 07:07 PM
I played a game using only 3.5 NPC classes...

2 commoners, 1 expert, and 1 adept.

I'm thinking you could pull a game with just commoners and adepts.

EvilElitest
2008-10-18, 07:11 PM
how ever many it takes to give you enough credit to pass. More if you want the good diplomas, but if your not interested in college you only need the basics
from
EE

Nerd-o-rama
2008-10-18, 07:22 PM
how ever many it takes to give you enough credit to pass. More if you want the good diplomas, but if your not interested in college you only need the basics
from
EE/high five

This advice applies to college itself, as well, by the way.

EvilElitest
2008-10-18, 07:41 PM
/high five

This advice applies to college itself, as well, by the way.
You can find out more at your local Guidance office:smallwink:

ironically enough that is rather true

Thanks
/high five return plus jump
from
EE

Prometheus
2008-10-18, 07:41 PM
I've argued this before, but the point of classes seems to be strategic choice between different tracks rather than a way of expanding options. The posters are right that if you were concerned with covering all the archetypes you'd define classes as broadly as possible, but if you wanted to add more rules to make strategy less simplistic than you'd create more divisions in classes. The other thing I'd like to add is for better or worse classes have their own fluff associated with them. A Druid is a nature-based spellcaster, a Cleric is a religion-based spellcaster and a Wizard is a science-based spellcaster. The difference between a bard and a paladin is not just the spell list and a couple of features, but the fact that the bardic music goes with the bard spells and that the paladin's mount goes with the paladin spells. If there is one thing D&D is known for in the subject of classes, it is these things.

If that's not what you are looking for, that's great, but you're probably better off doing something other than D&D.

Inhuman Bot
2008-10-18, 08:12 PM
Or, you may use a system where your "class" is nothing but fluff, though thats been suggested.

After all, how would a class help you agaisnt the unfathomable?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_of_Cthulhu_role-playing_game

OH RIGHT http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elminster
:smallannoyed:
For those who didn't know, Elminster has roughly twice the challenge rating of Cthulhu.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-10-18, 08:35 PM
If you gotta have a class-based system, you should have an amount of classes that approaches infinity. Failing that, as many as you can get your hands on will do.

Edge of Dreams
2008-10-18, 11:27 PM
Dunno if anyone else has really covered this, but, hey.

1) How many classes are needed depends on how you define "needed." Needed to make the game strategically interesting? RP interesting? To give a good way to represent any conceptual character? A good way to make any combat style?

2) How many classes are needed also depends on how versatile each class is. I would say 4e needs to have way more classes because each class is so limited in the scope of it's concept. 3.5 on the other hand, had a few classes sufficient to make anything at all (Generic classes from Unearthed Arcana for example - Warrior, Expert, and Magic User - not the same as the NPC classes ). Just from the PHB, Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, and Wizard would be enough to represent almost any concept or strategy, if you're creative enough. It also, unfortunately, included too many classes that were specific to the point of making them difficult to RP in any non-cliche way (Monk, Paladin, Ninja, etc.)

Pronounceable
2008-10-19, 06:22 AM
I was expecting a lightbulb joke...

As for original question, one magic guy and one nonmagic guy plus fluff would be enough to stimulate traditional fantasy. And monsters (which includes elves and whatnot).

StoryKeeper
2008-10-20, 12:25 AM
What I'm getting at is that the D&D druid (especially the broken 3e one you've based your comment on) has no basis in fantasy or legend outside of D&D itself.

Sorry if I'm misunderstanding you, but are you saying their are no mentions of druids in mythology? If you are, I suggest reading a few celtic myths. That's where you'll find druids in legend.

Or maybe you meant something else entirely and I am just derailing this thread.

celestialkin
2008-10-20, 12:39 AM
I came across a discussion between some long-term players online who were discussing the idea that the Thief class was unneeded in 1e (and OD&D) and that only Fighters, Clerics and Magic Users were actually useful (and clerics were getting a hard time too). To be a thief, someone said, one simply steals things; it's not a class at all.

Given that a "Fighter" can be a knight, a samurai, a barbarian, Sinbad, a bandit or almost anything given the right costume, how many classes are actually needed to "put on" a decent fantasy setting? IS anything apart from Fighter and Magic-User needed if the correct role-play is applied over the top?

This is one of the things I feel is wrong with 4.0.

I personally feel that you don't "need" anything but a fighter/warrior to role-play, and I also believe that the role-playing is far more important than the mechanics, but if everyone has the exact same mechanics then everything besides the role-playing gets boring. And I feel it also limits the potential for role-playing.

For example, I am a psionics fan, and it has lead to tons of role-playing fun. With a few players (one in particular comes to mind for a number of campaigns) who were arcane magic fans I was able to form fun friendly rivalries, which were sort of like the elf and dwarf from Lord of the Rings. I would outdo them at times during battles or other times our powers/spells were needed, and we'd brag and rub it in each others' noses. One time, a player (the same mentioned above) kept talking about the Arcane Order, so one day my PC decided to create a Psionic Order himself. Now a branch of the Psionic Order is in every major city of my games. We did different things, and in very different ways, although we could possibly replace each other in the same "role" if needed.

Ravens_cry
2008-10-20, 01:35 AM
Needs can differ.
As a beginning player, I find classes nice, because they give me a workable character, I can then add my own fluff to, while making certain important decisions mechanics wise without (for me) overloading on options. Sure, if you have been playing for years, and you have built good instincts on what works and what doesn't, classless could certainly be the way to go. On the other hand, your talking to a corvus who agonized for about half an hour on whether too but a +2 shield or hammer. (I went with the shield.) As a newbie, I need that help.

Tempest Fennac
2008-10-20, 01:41 AM
I think he was refering to the Druid's abilities, StoryKeeper. I tend to think that a lot of variety is good due to liking freedom of choice. I agree with celestialkin as far as RPing goes as well.

Devils_Advocate
2008-10-20, 03:34 PM
Having had a sleep on it, I think classes are a bit like fonts: you want to have as many as possible to choose from, but you shouldn't use too many in one place.

I think a DM should strictly limit the number of classes that PCs can use in any particular part of the campaign - eg, obvious examples are some countries might have paladins and cavaliers while others have never heard of them but do have barbarians and rangers. Aside from anything else, if the players meet different classes based on where they are it gives them a better feel of the world being real and varied.

As to the original point - yes, I think two classes could cover almost all of fantasy but more classes gives the players a "leg up" on their role (their real role). It's absolutely true that the Riders of Rohan and the Knights of Gondor can be played using the OD&D Fighter for both (as well as for Bard and the Men of Dale), but a bit of colour in the class is a help to players who aren't Tolkien obsessives who can simply roleplay the differences from day 1.
I see you saying a bunch of things in support of giving players roleplaying guidelines, but none in support of using classes at all or in any particular way -- save for your odd implication that character flavor ought to be tied to character class.

You don't need to give them different classes to say that those warriors over there are a bunch of mounted, heavy-armor-wearing, sword-wielding dudes who uphold the ideals of traditional chivalry, and these warriors over here are stealthy, woods-dwelling archers who patrol the wilderness and protect civilization from its enemies. They could share a single, highly flexible class, or have no class, but have very different builds.

And that principle works in both directions: Just because a group has its own particular style doesn't mean that it has to have its own class, and a given class doesn't have to reflect one highly specific type of background and training.

You can use classes that way, but I don't see how it's needed, or best.