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Just continuing a line of discussion from another thread I think is worth discussing but not in that thread.
So I've given it a fair go and it looks really compelling if you simply go with the stamina rules on top of everything else you get something that looks pretty nice. I'll share one of the results when its done.
also, I'd never suggest a new player try a fighter.
Paladin or Ranger definitely.
This i don't understand...
A core fighter is effective at combat with no book keeping. No pet stat blocks, no lay on hands or spell lists .
In other words it teaches nothing about playing the game beyond being a fighter.
Consider the difference between a human fighter and a human paladin or ranger at 1st level.
The human fighter has to select not one, not two, but three feats.
Now an experienced player would probably grab power attack, weapon focus, and some other feat that goes towards a build down the line.
A new player might grab combat expertise, exotic weapon proficiency gnome hooked hammer, and toughness because more hp, defense, and double weapons is good right?
Immediately you run into this issue where you have to teach the new player how to pick feats. Some feats are good, many are not, and since there are so many feats to pick from the issue itself is daunting.
Regardless of what feats they select they will be stuck into that option until they can get a chance to change one of them later.
Overall, however the first part of the class doesn't teach them any mechanics. they don't learn about utilizing actions since the fighter at this level has no means to make their economy more efficient or a way to use swift/immediate actions. It doesn't teach them roleplaying since it provides no flavor or roleplay restrictions upon which the player can use as a guide for how they act in character to represent their class. Since the fighter has few skill points to work they don't get a chance to play around wiht skills as often either.
More over since the class is so generic and is basically all about picking the right options it's extremely easy to find one self in a corner when it comes to character building.
Lastly as the class goes on it introduces no new concepts for the player to draw on past the first level. They gain some static bonuses but their overall number of things they can do remains roughly the same.
So the idea of the fighter being new player friendly is bunk. It's far better in the hands of older players who understand how to work around those limitations without getting caught in a number of traps.
So what would I propose?
the Argument for the Paladin
The paladin is usually either loved or hated by experienced players due to the excesses of its code of conduct.
However this code of conduct has its uses when teaching new players in that it gives a guideline on how a paladin acts. It gives them clear inspiration, and just as importantly clear mechanical effects should they fail to meet that criteria.
this last part is important as it teaches players to consider that even though dice are not being rolled their actions have clear consequences that can manifest mechanically. If they treat a commoner cruelly they may be forced into combat with the guards. If they disregard the portents of a crazed old woman they might be unprepared for the ambush down the road. Having it clearly spelled out helps build an understanding that roleplay is not merely a function of paly acting but has real consequences upon the actual crunch of the game.
Next are the two mechanical abilities that the paladin possesses; detect evil and smite evil.
Smite evil is a clearly written ability whose benefits are immediately recognizable. It tells the player "Activate me and you will be better equipped to vanquish this one monster."
It gives bonuses to offense and defense with some further additions against certain enemy types giving the player a clue as to what enemies this will typically work on. However because it's limitation is normally invisible that leads us to our second ability.
Detect evil works in synergy with smite evil in that it allows the paladin to identify those targets his smite evil ability will work on most readily. This teaches the player that some abilities work well together within the same class. This also gives the paladin player a clear indication about what the paladin is about; seeking evil and then vanquishing it.
Both abilities also offer something the fighter at that level cannot. It teaches the player about activated abilities and resource management. A player will see the once per day limitation upon the smite evil ability and intuitively understand that this ability is best saved for moments when it's very much needed. Detect evil has no use limitation adn can be activated as often as needed in order to help the player assess roleplay and combat options and to determine whether or not their smite evil will be wasted on an opponent that is not obviously evil.
As the class progresses it goes on to teach them about party support, immunities, divine spellcasting, and the player's choice of weapon enhancement or animal companions. It does this slowly, opver the course of many levels with each ability up until around 5th offering new concepts for the player to explore and understand. at that point it gives the player
Just as important as all of this is that the class makes it very difficult for itself to do poorly. A paladin will remain effective regardless if the player wants to go heavily armored, two handed, polearm, archery, whatever. If a player picks their mercy's poorly they have not made nor broken the character. If they choose the mount without mounted combat feats they still receive an overall bonus to their abilities. Any poorly picked spells can be remedied the very next in-game day.
Overall the class would be my first choice to give to a new player who is completely new to the concept of roleplaying.
The Argument for the Ranger
But, let's say the player has played other roleplaying games before. Maybe they've run around in videogames or they've played party rpg's like paranoia, fiasco or what not.
So that means that a roleplaying guideline from the paladin might not be appreciated. They already know how they want or should act.
So that brings us to Rangers.
Design wise rangers and paladins are very similar. The exceptions being that where the paladin emphasizes support and a theme. The slayer emphasizes utility and awareness.
What does awareness mean? Well it means paying attention to the state of the game. Is this guy a favored enemy? Am I in favored terrain?
In terms of utility that means the large number of skills and the number of bonuses to skills they can get from other class abilities. The class draws players towards actively participating in parts of the game that the class is good at, tracking, outdoor survival, and scouting. It allows the player to get used to the skill system by having more opportunities to roll well on them.
Like the paladin it introduces the players to divine spellcasting at a level where they've likely grasped the basics of their class.
Unlike the paladin it gives a clear indication of what combat styles the class favors and gives a short list of feats for each one.
This lets the player explore their options within a style without enamoring them in a large number of extraneous options or hefty planning. They want archery? Archery feats are there for them to use. They want two weapon fighting? All set up. No prerequisites need to be met letting the player determine in the future whether the feat is worthy of the investment in the future.
As the class continues it gives progressive upgrades to the class's abilities that are not complex and allow the player to feel as if they're getting stronger in a fairly clear way.
Ultimately my conclusion is that just because something is simple doesn't make it a good teaching tool. Which, is ultimately what giving a new player a class choice is about. Fighters can teach you how to play fighters, but paladins can teach you how to play clerics, bards, and other classes that can expand on the themes and mechanics the paladin introduces. Likewise the ranger helps you get into druids, slayers, alchemists, and other skill heavy classes.