Originally Posted by Menteith
This is the crux of what we disagree on. I don't see a reason that a Rogue has to be straight-jacketed into a single role when it could instead easily be used to represent a broad range of characters. You clearly disagree. I don't understand what you see in limiting character options when an equally viable design could be used that would result in a broader range of character options. Could you explain to me why you feel that limiting what a class can represent will result in a better game, especially in light of the fact that WotC does not seem likely to create a wide enough range of base classes to cover characters I might want to play?
Should they create a wide enough range of classes that can allow me to express a range of characters, then I won't have an issue, as I said above. But currently, I don't believe they plan to introduce such a wide range of classes, and they instead intend to use few classes to represent many characters. Do you have a reason to believe that they will create a broad range of classes, rather than sticking to the limited range they've specified in earlier information releases?
I would be just as irritated if they gave Wizards an ability that forced them all to come from a wizard college, or if they gave Fighters and ability that made them all into soldiers. There is no reason that Thieves' Cant shouldn't be on a background, rather than on the class itself, unless one is seeking to specifically limit what the Rogue class can be. You seem to be seeking to limit the Rogue class in this way.
Ah, but you're only looking at one side of the issue. The more you broaden what a class can do, the more you water down what classes mean as a whole. If you took a wizard to be anyone that can cast arcane spells, then you would remove sorcerers, warlocks, and any other kind of arcane caster from the game entirely. On the other hand, if you define the rogue more, then you allow for more classes to be made that would otherwise be redundant with the rogue. As those classes become more and more well-defined, you become more and more able to give those classes unique, interesting abilities that only make sense with the reduced scope of that class.
I don't mean to say that we need to be extremely strict with how classes are defined. Using your example, you say you would be annoyed if wizards were set to all come from a wizard's college. Learning spells through long hours of study and application of logic and rigor naturally fits a background of going to a wizarding school, but it doesn't lock you into it. You could just as easily have a wizard that found some ancient tome, and spent hours learning spells from it instead of learning from a teacher. Or you could have one who discovered magic independently, or maybe you learned your craft directly from a master, or any other of many different possibilities.
However, as different as these background sound, they all agree that the Wizard picked up certain skills while he was studying. They agree that he has a spellbook, that he learns magic from study, that he can cast rituals, and so on. I would say that the Thieves' Cant falls into this category as well.