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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Best inter-class balanced game?

    Hello Playground,

    I've been nearly obsessed with finding a tabletop RPG that didn't suffer from the Quadratic Casters and Linear Warriors syndrome. I've not really found it yet.

    I've looked at:
    D&D 3x & 5e
    Pathfinder 1e & 2e
    Hackmaster
    Dungeon World
    Dragon Age (unfortunately no Advanced Stunts for Martials)

    On my current to look list is:
    nWod (I'm currently looking at Exalted - is there something from White Wolf that is slightly lower fantasy; ie you're not divine from the get-go, but you still got dwarves and elves)
    Warhammer Fantasy


    What are your best experiences? I'd like a game where the different classes are smoothly on par throughout the game and preferably one where the classes have options in and out of combat from an early level.
    Rule of Cool and Rules as Fun. My favourite D&D session had 3 dice rolls. I'm currently curious to any system that has a higher amount of choices in combat than 5e from the beginning of the game; especially for non-spellcasters. Please PM any recommendations.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Going by your list so far, are we to understand that you're specifically looking for action/adventure fantasy games?

    FATE and other free-er form games will of course solve your issues by placing magic in the same problem-solving matrix as anything else, but they may not be crunchy enough for your tastes.

    D&D 4E entirely avoids the linear/quadratic issue, but be advised that it's primarily a miniatures skirmishing game, with somewhat less versatility than much of what you' looked at.

    13th Age is similar to 4E some respects but with a more narrative bent. It is generally well-balanced, although there's a love of random-chance mechanics that may not appeal to everyone.

    Shadow of the Demon Lord is action/horror fantasy and might be worth glancing over - I haven't read it in enough depth that I feel comfortable discussing its balance point.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Hard as it is to believe, OD&D was arguably the most exhaustively playtested and balanced among editions for a while. It helps there were only three classes, of course.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Blades in the Dark, I guess.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    If you value class balance that highly I'd say that 4e is probably right up your alley. Subforum is here if you'd like to reach out to Playgrounders that run it more regularly.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    For the sake of clarity, are you only looking at class-based games, or anything that has both mundane and magical character options?

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    On my current to look list is:
    nWod (I'm currently looking at Exalted - is there something from White Wolf that is slightly lower fantasy; ie you're not divine from the get-go, but you still got dwarves and elves)
    Exalted is not going to do what you have intended. If anything, it will be actively worse. There is absolutely no balance concept between the Solars, the Lunars, and anything else. There isn't really much balance concept between different charms available in Exalted. World of Darkness in general doesn't tend towards balance. And to answer your question, Scion: Hero/Demigod/God (or the recent re-release, Scion: Origin/Hero from Onyx Path) is the lower-powered fantasy version of Exalted. You play as children of gods, starting out as basically tough mortals and gradually getting more god powers as you progress.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Exalted is not going to do what you have intended. If anything, it will be actively worse. There is absolutely no balance concept between the Solars, the Lunars, and anything else. There isn't really much balance concept between different charms available in Exalted. World of Darkness in general doesn't tend towards balance. And to answer your question, Scion: Hero/Demigod/God (or the recent re-release, Scion: Origin/Hero from Onyx Path) is the lower-powered fantasy version of Exalted. You play as children of gods, starting out as basically tough mortals and gradually getting more god powers as you progress.
    Agreed, do NOT go into Exalted or the NWod think its balanced at all. Solars are the intended minmax story-breaker Exalted and the most raw numbers in terms of stats. the rest of the splats are all about figuring how you can beat those guys without having the same amount of raw power and is intended to be unfair.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    Hello Playground,

    I've been nearly obsessed with finding a tabletop RPG that didn't suffer from the Quadratic Casters and Linear Warriors syndrome. I've not really found it yet.

    I've looked at:
    D&D 3x & 5e
    Pathfinder 1e & 2e
    Hackmaster
    Dungeon World
    Dragon Age (unfortunately no Advanced Stunts for Martials)

    On my current to look list is:
    nWod (I'm currently looking at Exalted - is there something from White Wolf that is slightly lower fantasy; ie you're not divine from the get-go, but you still got dwarves and elves)
    Warhammer Fantasy


    What are your best experiences? I'd like a game where the different classes are smoothly on par throughout the game and preferably one where the classes have options in and out of combat from an early level.
    As said the answer is FATE

    The simply thing is most of those you listed you have tried are d20. And d20 simply put is not a problematic system because you either have extensive whiplash.

    Try FATE
    Try Mutants and Masterminds if you seriously cannot get the group on board with FATE or are unwilling to try such a system.


    That is the other thing is that simply put wizards have utility and simply put that utility will always get the fighters hurt because they feel somehow its not fair for the wizard to just fly with his magic or something


    So look for systems that are point buy

    Where fighters can get magic gear or cool abilities, well the wizards still get there utility.

    Using FATE look at Dresden to shape reality costs 6 of probably your 8 or 10 starting refresh. That is a lot so why not then the fighters can have more options to alter the game with fate points by spending them to know people or other things.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    What are your best experiences? I'd like a game where the different classes are smoothly on par throughout the game and preferably one where the classes have options in and out of combat from an early level.
    Out of what I've tried, D&D 4e and 13th Age sound best for you, and GURPS wouldn't be awful but doesn't really have classes. In 4e, martial classes are strong in every combat role except "controller" and have every bit as much noncombat ability as any spellcaster. In 13th Age, almost everything outside combat comes down to convincing the GM that some aspect of your background is relevant, and all classes have solid combat options.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    Hello Playground,

    I've been nearly obsessed with finding a tabletop RPG that didn't suffer from the Quadratic Casters and Linear Warriors syndrome. I've not really found it yet.

    I've looked at:
    D&D 3x & 5e
    Pathfinder 1e & 2e
    Hackmaster
    Dungeon World
    Dragon Age (unfortunately no Advanced Stunts for Martials)

    On my current to look list is:
    nWod (I'm currently looking at Exalted - is there something from White Wolf that is slightly lower fantasy; ie you're not divine from the get-go, but you still got dwarves and elves)
    Warhammer Fantasy


    What are your best experiences? I'd like a game where the different classes are smoothly on par throughout the game and preferably one where the classes have options in and out of combat from an early level.
    Have you considered Zweihander? It's a sort of fantasy heartbreaker/ retro-clone of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e, with more modern design elements. One of the oft-repeated criticisms of WFRP 2e was balance issues. I'm not sure to what extent those issues have been fixed in the 4th Edition of WFRP, but Zweihander was initially written in the void between 2nd and 4th, when many fans were turned off by 3e's radically different mechanics. And Zweihander was specifically designed using a "Bounded Accuracy" model (there was a statistician involved in the development), intended to fix the balance issues of its parent game's early editions. Character advancement is pretty even and deliberate. It's low fantasy, with more down to earth characters (i.e., not overpowered) but it still has magic, fantasy races (only if you want them), gods and monsters.

    I've just started playing it (one session in) and I like it.

    Based on what you've said you're looking for, I think Zweihander ticks the following boxes:

    "a tabletop RPG that didn't suffer from the Quadratic Casters and Linear Warriors syndrome" - check, even and deliberate advancement

    "slightly lower fantasy; ie you're not divine from the get-go, but you still got dwarves and elves" - check, characters start out a little more powerful than in WFRP, but still weaker than in many elfgames

    "a game where the different classes are smoothly on par throughout the game" - check, bounded accuracy

    'preferably one where the classes have options in and out of combat from an early level" - check, it's a skill-based system

    Hope this helps!

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Regarding Exalted: it depends on what you consider the class. I'd say it's reasonably balanced if you consider each exalt type to be a different game, not a different class, and look at the subdivisions within the Exaltations as your classes. So rather than compare Solar to Dragonblood, you compare the Night Caste to the Dawn, or the Fire Aspect to the Wood Aspect. And on THAT level I think Exalted IS one of the better balanced games, if for no other reason than because the classes are more like archetypes and have relatively few abilities that the others don't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vknight View Post
    That is the other thing is that simply put wizards have utility and simply put that utility will always get the fighters hurt because they feel somehow its not fair for the wizard to just fly with his magic or something
    Is this the opportune moment to point out that older editions of D&D usually had the maybe-not-quite-quadratic utility Fighters lugging around the useless Wizards? Often for years, before the Wizard actually got to the point of being worth having along?

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Is this the opportune moment to point out that older editions of D&D usually had the maybe-not-quite-quadratic utility Fighters lugging around the useless Wizards? Often for years, before the Wizard actually got to the point of being worth having along?
    Yes because that is a solution.
    Punish both sides heavily. Make the fighter have to do an escort quest and take getting to level 5+ take years in a campaign because all of those things are good ideas.
    Make the wizards worthless until level 5+ and then at 11+ give everything anti-magic, because those are good game ideas.

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    Older does not mean better. Nor does it mean more well thought out.

    No seriously older editions having Cantrips not be at-will was awful game design.
    Same with having to actually roll for HP at level 1.
    Same with making the Wizard need more EXP to level up as it just punished the player by not only making it harder for him to level it made it easier for them to die and then it just goes and has all the powerful NPC's be those high level wizards anyways.
    Its those older editions that get us the joke about wizards will always die before becoming able to shake the cosmic forces of the universe. And its not from good game design but instead a badly implemented attempt at balance.
    Heck punishing groups by making levels take forever is also incredibly unsatisfying and boring unless you are providing some reason, or reward for it. And even then its not as tangible as a levelup in such a system(this idea continues in the shadow of the demonlord rant).
    Balance should never be at the expense of fun

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    This is such an issue Shadow of the Demonlord which can best be described is if someone made 5e using the same sensibilities as people that made 2nd Edition is awful. Gear both is completely meaningless and worth its weight in gold.
    So levels become hugely important for the stat boosts they provide to just marginally scrape by but they also make foes harder which only adds to the accumulation of issues.
    Why?
    Because if the GM is kind or a good gm they will give you the ability to get custom weapons or magic weapons or something for some added damage and/or other bonuses. Because without that you will be in trouble unless you go Fighter.
    Fighter is such a favored class it is honestly ridiculous. From gaining bonus damage that is equal to the rogues sneak attack without needing advantage its silly. Without specialized gear rogues are just worse fighters. And even with said specialized gear its barely better.

    Meanwhile the Priest and Mage classes?
    Priest can be a buff bot to an ally after they run out of spells for healing or damage if they don't got a weapon
    But the wizard? Best hope you are a race that starts with a good Agility or you are just dead wait rolling a d20 hoping for a 14+ to hit level 1 enemies. Why are you dead weight? Well you can do 1 spell that does 3d6 damage(once a day) to one target well the fighter swings a sword doing 2d6 a swing every round.

    At later levels? Yeah sure the wizard can be amazing except for the fact the wizards hp is gonna be around 30 or lower(at level 10) and most of the badguys by level 4 are dealing 3d6 or more damage.
    Because that is balance making it so the cosmic forces guy does one thing and then explodes violently to a stray hit.
    Heck half of the high level spells are traps or just play bad and that further supplements the issue.
    Or we could talk about that the best damage schools if you wanna talk damage most high level enemies are resistant, immune or they deal damage too you... let me repeat you take damage when you use the spell from your pitiful hp pool.

    Sure it removes the quadratic wizard issue by making it so no one wants to be a wizard, at which point why include the option if you are so antithetical to the idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miscast_Mage View Post
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    I'v been considering doing a Paranoia hack where friend Computer is replaced by a crazed evil wizard and Alpha Complex is replaced by a megadungeon. Obviously the PCs are minions in the dungeon and one of the recurring problems is invading adventurers. I haven't figured out what to do about the mutant powers though.

    Anyways, classless is where classes are the most balanced.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    D&D 4e does fit the bill for your request. I know it's been said, but as someone who ran 4e for nearly the entirety of it's 6-year run, I want to back up that claim.

    In fact, inter-class balance was one of the key design points for 4e (source: 4e preview book Races&Classes). Keeping the Defender/Striker/Leader/Controller dynamic the same from level 1 all the way to 30 works. The advancement milestones (when new Encounter/Daily/Utility powers are gained) means that everyone is improving at the same rate at the same time. A PC who takes vastly inferior options is going to feel a power disparity, but those can always be re-trained. At level 3, everyone gets a new Encounter Power, and level 5, everyone gets a new Daily power.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    D&D 4E entirely avoids the linear/quadratic issue, but be advised that it's primarily a miniatures skirmishing game, with somewhat less versatility than much of what you' looked at.
    The bolded part here is untrue, and not and objective assessment of 4e.

    COMBAT in 4e much more closely resembles a miniatures skirmish game, yes. Movement and Attack Powers use "squares" to measure distance and area (and so it presumes you use miniatures or tokens on a grid, rather than Theater of the Mind. But the edition (despite what some detractors claim) was about more than just combat.
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    Honestly, in many ways, my experience* with 4e was that it was much MORE versatile than, say, 3e. During my tenure as a 4e DM, I even managed to convert a few "h4ters" whose intial stance was "this game is not D&D". My players never felt like it was a "tabletop MMO", or "just about combat". True, Attack Powers fill the largest portion of the PHB, but that's because every class had multiple options at most levels, and they had to give options that scaled all the way to 30. So 4-5 options for each level at which an Encounter/Daily/Utility was gained, times 8 classes. not to mention 4 Paragaon Path Options for each Class. Less combat-focused rules were general, and for everybody, so they only needed to be printed once. There were a lot of things left out of 4e (rules for crafting items, a specific skill to operate a ship, etc), but it's fallacious to imply that those things somehow "could not" be included in the game. The intent (again, source cited is the 4e preview books which discussed the design goals) was for a lot of it to be free-form roleplaying, and to not make skills that were not related to fantasy adventuring (in a game about fantasy adventuring) somehow have to "compete" with those more useful skill when it came to allocating Trained Skills or Skill points. And that is exactly why it was not "less versatile". Let's say the party obtained a small ship, and they have to operate it to get where they're going. in 3.xe, this would be Profession (Sailor) checks. What if no one in the party had ranks in it? Well, then it's a lot of untrained skill checks, maybe with the Aid Another action, basically rolling Wisdom checks until someone finally hits the required DC a set number of times. How is that fun or exciting? Even if one party member DID have ranks in that skill, he'd be just rolling a bunch of the same check over and over while the rest of the party twiddled their thumbs or rolled to assist. 4e meanwhile, could make it a Skill Challenge for the whole party. Let's see...Primary Skills could be Nature or Perception to Navigate, Athletics for hauling the ropes, and Acrobatics for climbing around the rigging. Secondary skills would be Endurance (have everyone make a low-DC check at the top of each "round", failure doesn't count as a failure for the challenge, but imposes a -2 on next primary check) to withstand the weather, a Thievery check to tie an especially good knot (gives the next person using Athletics a +2 bonus), Heal (success undoes one person's Endurance failure), and History to read maps and charts (give a +2 bonus to the next person making a navigation check). Each 'round' of the skill challenge representing one day's worth of work, until the party gets the required number of successes to reach their destination. That's something that can reasonably get the whole group involved (even the bookish spellcaster types), and it uses the skills they've already taken as Trained Skills because they're useful in fantasy adventuring (like Athletics, Nature, History, etc).

    Part of the disparity, I think, was in the people who were reading through all the rules, and looked at how mechanics like building encounters, traps, and Skill Challenges worked from the DM's perspective. See, back when I ran 3e, I had ideas about how certain game elements -like Random Encounter Generation, for example- worked. The were tables with terrain-appropriate encounters that I rolled d% on, you rolled the dice and the players had that encounter. XP for encounters was entirely based on number of creatures, CR of creatures, and also a factor of the party members' levels. 4e made it clear that there was no need for that. The DM can decide "random" encounters in advance, encounters are built using an "XP budget" (because each monster is worth a set value of XP) that one builds to thresholds set by party's level, number of PCs, and desired threshold of difficulty. Now, from the player's persepctive, there is no difference between these two styles. But 4e encouraged DMs to not be confined to think about the game world in the same way players do.

    What it boils down to, really, is that the DM is privvy to all the "behind the scenes" meta-factors, and even during play, they are incredibly apparent to the DM. So a DM has built an encounter using creatures of the Soldier/Brute type, a few Artillery type, an Elite Controller(Leader) type, and a handful of Minion types, of a level close to the party's own, to make a difficult (but not "Deadly") encounter for his level 5 PCs. The players, OTOH, see an orc war band of about 10 orcs, mostly melee, with 2 archers and a spellcaster in the back. And while being aware of things like "XP budgets", being mindful of "creature types", and even tracking success/failures in Skill Challenges may have made the DM feel more consistently aware of 4e as a math and numbers balancing game, to the players it could still feel just like a D&D game of other editions.

    All that said, I know it may seem like a downer to DM. I assure you it was not. It may sound odd, but 4th edition was an absolute dream to DM. Way easier than 3.0, 3.5, or 5e by comparison. To this day, I maintain that 4th Edition was the easiest to DM by far, even though as a player I would rather play 5e. And I have no problems running 5e. But 4e was leaps and bounds simpler, more streamlined, and less stressful to make when you're writing your own home campaign stuff.

    *I absolutely understand that I am sharing anecdotal experience, which is not the same as objective fact. I think it's relevant, however. And it certainly shows that the idea that it's "less versatile" or "just a miniatures skirmish game" is also not an objective fact.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    If you are not married to the idea of classes, Anima was a really cool system. It uses archetypes instead of classes. The system seemed mostly balanced to me when i played it (did half a campaign a few years ago). Martial characters can use magic if they want to invest in it, but they mostly get by with techniques and even build-your-own special moves. The only downside (subjective) is it feels very anime and is akin to using the tome of battle in D&D 3.5; neither of which bother me. Also, some of the artwork is kinda cringy.

    But, i'll second Mutants & Masterminds. It's a classless point-buy system for superheroes. It's very easy to repurpose the game for fantasy. I ran a whole 1-1/2 year long campaign with it. If you really want some extras, Grod the Giant (im pretty sure it was Grod) remade the base D&D classes with the system. I also wrote up over 30 fantasy races using the system over just a few days.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Oh right, forgot to also weigh in with my own opinions. Going to second everything RedMage had to say about 4e. 4e generally gets the floor of every class high enough to contribute. Different classes have different ceilings, yes, but a lot of the time that comes down a lot more to the age of the class. The older classes (fighter, warlord, cleric, rogue, pretty much PHB1 and 2) got a MASSIVE amount of support because they were around for ages. The weaker classes tend to either be the later ones (runepriest and seeker) which just didn't get as much published material or the essentials classes, which were built on an entirely different design philosophy that wasn't really compatible with where 4e had gone. And frankly most of the eclasses can still be made to do silly powerful things, they just take a lot more finagling.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Does it have to be fantasy? Because Shadowrun and Dark Heresy kinda work.

    Shadowrun is a broken mess for other reasons, but mages are by no means all powerful. Of course you need some form of protection from mana spells - but then the same can be applied to sniper rifles.

    Dark Heresy actually is ... well balanced.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    D&D (at least original, Basic, Advanced 1e and 2e, and 3.5e) works best at the lower levels.

    So the best answer is to play from first level to about tenth or eleventh. The problems only develop above that level.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    D&D (at least original, Basic, Advanced 1e and 2e, and 3.5e) works best at the lower levels.

    So the best answer is to play from first level to about tenth or eleventh. The problems only develop above that level.
    This is commonly known as E6/E8 (6th or 8th level respectively) to make finding games for it easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    This is commonly known as E6/E8 (6th or 8th level respectively) to make finding games for it easier.
    For original D&D, it's called "playing the game as written". Once a PC reaches "name level" (9th for a Fighting Man1, 8th for a Cleric) he1 was supposed to settle down, build a stronghold, and then let encounters come to him1, in the form of invading armies or hordes of monsters.

    Wizards at name level (11th) could start making magic items. Presumably, he1 would build a lab at another PC's stronghold.

    This is mostly theoretical with me. Most campaigns I played in lasted fell apart at or before that level. I had a paladin2 who built a fortress once. He had two adventures there before I graduated, but that's all.

    1 Yes, I know. But that's what the rules said in 1974.

    2 Paladins and Thieves were introduced in the first supplement.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    The d20 base classes were fairly balanced. The advanced and prestige classes are where imbalance creeps in, but if you're looking for a fantasy feel, you could use the base classes, some Urban Arcana/d20 Past occupations, then the Shadow Chasers advanced classes (including the Mesmerist and Spiritualist from d20 Past). This will net you some low-power fantasy and you can just ignore the horror aspects of the Shadow Chasers narrative. So long as the Spiritualist and Occultist are able to research/acquire new scrolls and magic items, you basically get a Paladin/Ranger* class, a Priest, a Magic User, and the Mesmerist works for those who want built-in magic powers. There are closer equivalents to D&D classes in some of the material, but it presents the same imbalance when one player takes the Mage class and another takes Bodyguard or Infiltrator, so I'd keep to the low-power magic classes and adjust some of the mundane advanced classes to suit the setting. Some of the non-spell casting advanced classes from Urban Arcana might work as well.

    *Edit: The Shadow Slayer would also require adjustment, but one could restrict what counts for its anti-Shadow abilities as is campaign appropriate. Just be careful not to nerf them into uselessness.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    For original D&D, it's called "playing the game as written". Once a PC reaches "name level" (9th for a Fighting Man1, 8th for a Cleric) he1 was supposed to settle down, build a stronghold, and then let encounters come to him1, in the form of invading armies or hordes of monsters.
    Yeah, was speaking more to 3.5 than the older stuff, sorry for not specifying.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    What are your best experiences? I'd like a game where the different classes are smoothly on par throughout the game and preferably one where the classes have options in and out of combat from an early level.
    1) On one level, the LFQW is an artefact of post-LBB OD&D (problems started showing once magic users got level 7-9 spells, making them continue as adventurers into post-name-level, while fighting men were still rewarded with the ability to become post-name-level non-adventurers) through 5e D&D/AD&D*. Most other class**-based games have some level of imbalance, as it's really hard to give out differing sets of choices and have them all come back with the same effective value, unless those choices aren't actually meaningful. However, they rarely show the exact same issues --the primary distinction being between 'fighters' and 'wizards,' and the primary complaint being that one advances pseudo-linearly and the other in some vaguely geometric rate (itself being somewhat tied to D&D's levelling mechanic). So once you step out of D&D and what I will call 'D&D-alikes,' you've probably gotten rid of that specific problem, although often you've traded it for another balance issue.
    *4e is an exception to this sub-point. It does have balance problems, but pertaining to the point raised in my second point.
    **Within this context, I am using 'class' as any initial character creation selection which gates you into certain build choices and out of others. So Clans in Vampire: the Masquerade, careers in Traveller, and so forth.

    When it comes to overall balance, you might want to leave the class and level systems behind. Games like Fate or Savage World, or straight-up point buy games like GURPS and HERO System get rid of classes, so any person can have any specific mechanical bits and bobs, and everything advances at about the same rate. Mind you, there are still strictly-best combos (any time you can mix anything-with-anything, you run into optimal combinations), and you'll run into the case where the character you specifically want to build simply doesn't contribute at the same rate as someone else built with the same number of points, but the amount it comes up will be significantly reduced (and probably won't be along a magic-non-magic split).

    2) Fundamentally, when one character 'class' is constrained to 'abiding by the laws of physics' (or perhaps the Hollywood version thereof) and another class is not so constrained, it's neigh impossible to have those two options be truly balanced. You can make what the 'magic' side be able to do still quite limited (and the constraints of physical possibility for the 'non-magic' types really lax). You can make there be a really high cost to these magical abilities (in terms of build points, or ability to contribute outside of one's magic). However, actual 'balance' is going to be a really tenuous one, and based on having a really good idea on exactly what everyone's definition of balance is, what a gaming session will look like, and what combinations are possible.

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy (and the related Iron Kingdoms Unleashed, which has the same rules but different classes, and is intended to be used to support characters with a different background) has balance between characters who use magic and those who don't (with the exception of Warcasters from IKFMF and Warlocks from IKU, but they're mostly better in combat, and its due to being the best at supporting pets, and they can get pets that are equivalent to other PCs at fighting).

    The balance between magic and non-magic is done by limiting most of what magic can do to combat (with a few cases where spells can make certain skills much better), and lowering the combat power of spells (but making them usable at-will, just like non-magic combat).

    The balance between classes is done by the character creation system (choose an archetype, race, and two classes) and the advancement system (at a given XP total, you get to pick a new [ability/spell from you classes, skill, or ability from your archetype], and everyone gets to choose the same type of advancement at each point, sort of like 4e).

    Where there is imbalance, it comes in some characters being able to get so much Defense that they can't be hit by most adversaries (except for explosives or giant magical robots / monsters) or other characters who get so much armor that they can't be damaged by most adversaries (except by enemies built like PCs or giant magical robots / monsters).

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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    2) Fundamentally, when one character 'class' is constrained to 'abiding by the laws of physics' (or perhaps the Hollywood version thereof) and another class is not so constrained, it's neigh impossible to have those two options be truly balanced. You can make what the 'magic' side be able to do still quite limited (and the constraints of physical possibility for the 'non-magic' types really lax). You can make there be a really high cost to these magical abilities (in terms of build points, or ability to contribute outside of one's magic). However, actual 'balance' is going to be a really tenuous one, and based on having a really good idea on exactly what everyone's definition of balance is, what a gaming session will look like, and what combinations are possible.
    Willie, you said earlier in your post that 4e DID have balance issues pursuant to the second point, but I fail to see said problems.

    Even Martial classes in 4e start violating the laws of physics, less frequently in Heroic Tier, but they do all the same. Warlords can shout and "inspire" dying allies back to their feet. A Rogue can throw daggers accurately enough to strike the eyes and blind an enemy in a "close burst 3" (read as: 3x3 square), so...up to 9 enemies. With daggers (or a single dagger, if it's magical). At level 1. I remember a Paragon-Tier Fighter power that actually forces all enemies within 2 squares of the Fighter to step 2 squares closer...and then he gets a swing at all of them.

    Yeah, okay, they're not slinging actual fire/ice/radiant energy at enemies, but they're also using the same comic-book-physics (even more ludicrous than Hollywood) that permit "I wiggle my fingers and flick a booger of bat poo and make an explosion".

    4e does not suffer from "Linear Warriors/Quadratic Casters" at all. No one's usefulness ever takes a dip (unless you literally intentionally choose to build a terrible character). Strikers have higher damage output against a single target than anyone else, but that's literally their job. A Controller, like a wizard, might be able to keep up with Striker numbers for total damage if he exclusively uses AoEs and always gets 3+ enemies in them. But in my experience, that was rarely ever the case with wizards (or other Controllers like Invokers), not when other powers were things like "wall off enemies" or "inflict lock-down status effects" that just worked so much better with party abilities. But damage output isn't the sole factor of contribution. In 4e, wizards ALWAYS need their Defender to help protect them, even in Epic Tier. Neither Wizards, Clerics, nor Druids ever get abilties that "completely make other classes obsolete". In fact, during 4e's tenure, the Class Role that most people thought was the most superfluous was Controller (wizards, druids, invokers, psions...and seekers, but they barely count ).

    The classes are well-balanced among each other by Class Roles. That is, each Role contributes to the particular idiom of that role for all levels of play. And Classes are well-balanced among other classes of their same role. A Warden (Primal Defender) and a Fighter (Martial Defender) have similar damage output. And while a Warden may have abilites that are magical and transformative, the Fighter remains one of the "stickiest" defenders, simply because it gets a free hit -as an INTERRUPT- on any creature that tries to violate the mark. Rogues do more damage with their "striker mechanic" than Warlocks, but require Combat Advantage, Avengers (Divine Strikers) use big weapons, but instead of a damage-boosting mechanic, they get to roll the d20 twice and take the better result making them more accurate with their big weapons, meanwhile Barbarians have their "striker mechanic" folded into the attack powers themselves as extra damage, but also have defender-esque hit points. So it all comes down to the Class that someone wants to play being chosen for either aesthetics and flavor, or because the secondary features of the class being more desirable. You're playing the Leader (healer) Class? Cool, would you prefer to grant more bonuses to allies, sometimes including bonus attacks (Warlord), inflict more penalties and statuses on enemies (Bard), have a pet and do more damage than other Leaders (Shaman), or provide even more healing while being slightly tankier (Cleric)?
    Last edited by RedMage125; 2019-08-07 at 01:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    I remember a Paragon-Tier Fighter power that actually forces all enemies within 2 squares of the Fighter to step 2 squares closer...and then he gets a swing at all of them.
    Heroic, actually. Level 7 Fighter Encounter power, Come And Get It, a staple of the class.
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    Default Re: Best inter-class balanced game?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    Willie, you said earlier in your post that 4e DID have balance issues pursuant to the second point, but I fail to see said problems.
    Even Martial classes in 4e start violating the laws of physics, less frequently in Heroic Tier, but they do all the same. Warlords can shout and "inspire" dying allies back to their feet. A Rogue can throw daggers accurately enough to strike the eyes and blind an enemy in a "close burst 3" (read as: 3x3 square), so...up to 9 enemies. With daggers (or a single dagger, if it's magical). At level 1. I remember a Paragon-Tier Fighter power that actually forces all enemies within 2 squares of the Fighter to step 2 squares closer...and then he gets a swing at all of them.

    Yeah, okay, they're not slinging actual fire/ice/radiant energy at enemies, but they're also using the same comic-book-physics (even more ludicrous than Hollywood) that permit "I wiggle my fingers and flick a booger of bat poo and make an explosion".

    4e does not suffer from "Linear Warriors/Quadratic Casters" at all. [/quote]

    I’m having a hard time understanding where the disagreement is. You seem to be literally making the same points. 4e does not suffer from ‘Linear Warriors/Quadratic Casters,’ as I stated in my point one (and stipulated that 4e was the exception). 4e, and all other games, still have problems when the magic guy can do things that the non-magic guy can’t (fly, plane shift, and so forth, which 4e cuts back on significantly), and as I said, you can mute the effect of that by ‘mak[ing] what the 'magic' side be able to do still quite limited, and the constraints of physical possibility for the 'non-magic' types really lax’ which is what you just described.

    Do you understand why it seems like you say you disagree with me, then say the exact same thing?

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