Hybrid Classes fail to offer new niches, unnecessary reiterate old classes and dilute support for existing classes.


Advanced Class Guide Playtest General Discussion


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Reading the playtest, here's my initial responses- broken into 3 main topics.

Fail to Create new Niches: Other new classes in PF have offered unique niches not filled by existing classes (Bombs for the Alchemist, Summoners with their single bound unique monster, Magus combining fighting and casting into a smooth system). These new classes extrapolate on existing classes and fail to fit into their own unique spots. In a campaign, an NPC slayer won't seem too different than an npc rogue. The only class which seems to have a unique niche in the playtest is the bloodrager. This leads me into the next problem.

Unnecessarily Reiterating Old Content: A slayer doesn't seem to different than a rogue or ranger because it reprints a ton of existing material. The biggest offender though are the slightly adjusted and reprinted Bloodrager Bloodlines, Shaman Spirits and War Priest Blessings. These classes reprint a ton of existing content, in a slightly new package. Take a look at "Slayer's Finesse", Slayer's can select Weapon Finesse as a Talent. What a waste of text space! Just indicate a bonus feat list, quickly and cleanly.

Diluting Support for other Base Classes: Many of the new base classes (I'm thinking Oracle, Witch, Cavalier, Summoner) are under supported when compared to the original base classes in the Core Rule Book. There are way more Cleric Domains than Witch Patrons for example. It's a shame these new hybrid classes aren't "backwards compatible" offering new options to the classes they hybridize. More disappointing the new hybrid classes aren't "forwards compatible", meaning that if a future book publishes a new Sorcerer Bloodline, it won't be compatible with the Bloodrager, unless a special blood rager variant is also presented.


What if there was a completely different book that was all about offering support for the APG/UM classes, as well as having a few of its own? Wouldn't that be a much better idea?


What do you consider a Niche? Because there are only 4 or 5 real roles in DnD that a character can have.

Face
Skill Monkey
Utility casting/Support
DPR
Healing/Condition Removal

Of course some characters might pull double duty and run as both, but this is pretty much it.


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Conceptual niches, not just mechanical ones.
We have a warrior Cleric already, it's called... a Cleric.


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I am really getting tired of this over use of extremely vague terms like "niche" "concept" "not distinct enough" and so on without even trying to attempt to define the terms you us.

Its a common tactic used when someone is trying to push their opinion as fact and its pretty easy to see though.

You don't like it that's fine. Don't buy/use it. But trying to pretend that you not liking it makes it factually bad/wrong/poor is low brow at best.


Kaisos Erranon wrote:

Conceptual niches, not just mechanical ones.

We have a warrior Cleric already, it's called... a Cleric.

And we have Holy Warriors already with Battle Clerics. did we need a Paladin?

I could go on about how silly that statement is. You could conceptually make anything work with reflavoring and multiclassing.

The point of the ACG was to make some interesting classes with cool mechanics backing them. I haven't gotten the chance to play around with them more but they are quite cool in action.


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Stome wrote:

I am really getting tired of this over use of extremely vague terms like "niche" "concept" "not distinct enough" and so on without even trying to attempt to define the terms you us.

Its a common tactic used when someone is trying to push their opinion as fact and its pretty easy to see though.

You don't like it that's fine. Don't buy/use it. But trying to pretend that you not liking it makes it factually bad/wrong/poor is low brow at best.

Ah, that's a fair point. I work as an art critic for a newspaper and I'm in the habit of writing my subjective opinions as objective descriptions (as a matter of the newspapers' style guidelines). I tend to cut out "It's my opinion" or "I think that" or other such phrases that would indicate I understand my opinion to be subjective and not fact.

But I think my examples in regards to niches and concepts are clear enough. A rogue and slayer overlap the same niche. As a matter of design principle, I think adding fewer classes and supporting the existing classes is a better way to provide options. These classes have portions that are backwards and forwards compatible with non-hybrid classes (spell lists, most importantly!). But in the end, they will undoubtedly get less support than non-hybrid classes. A future supplement writer designing an archetpye will be way more likely to write a Rogue or Ranger archetype than a Slayer archetype.

3.5 had a bunch of base classes that received little to no support beyond their initial publications (Hex Blade, Dragon Shaman, Duskblade, Healer, Spirit Shaman, Marshal, etc). Because of that, many of them rarely see use (if they do, its likely a dip). If Sorcerer's and Bloodrager's select from the same set of Bloodlines, I bet the Bloodrager will see more use and therefore be a better product (in my opinion).


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Scavion wrote:


The point of the ACG was to make some interesting classes with cool mechanics backing them. I haven't gotten the chance to play around with them more but they are quite cool in action.

Yes, but, say, the Warpriest is just a Cleric with less spells and buffs that are worse than spells. I can't consider that particularly interesting or mechanically cool, why not just play a Crusader Cleric instead?


Kaisos Erranon wrote:
Scavion wrote:


The point of the ACG was to make some interesting classes with cool mechanics backing them. I haven't gotten the chance to play around with them more but they are quite cool in action.
Yes, but, say, the Warpriest is just a Cleric with less spells and buffs that are worse than spells. I can't consider that particularly interesting or mechanically cool, why not just play a Crusader Cleric instead?

Because some people(especially newcomers) don't want to bend over backwards making a concept work.

That said, Warpriests are some of the more mechanically weak classes out of the bunch with way too many resources to track.


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...I don't think that Archetypes are especially difficult to understand, you just take one class feature and replace it with another. That's not bending over backwards, that's extremely basic customization.

If a player came to me and said "I want to play a Cleric with a more martial bent" I would direct him to the Crusader archetype or, better yet, the Inquisitor. That sort of niche already exists.


They can definitely do some new things:

Example, I recently wanted to play a character who was a divine warrior using Divination (the spell) and later Commune to make their judgements and who was perhaps too blindly following said results. Inquisitor can't get these until late, and Paladin can't get these spells at all, and I couldn't make a Cleric feel combat-sturdy enough without relying on having rounds to buff myself before combat starts.

Warpriest is perfect for this! I can now be me Cleric-Spell-Caster while being good at hitting things! (And maybe grab the Knowledge blessing, because it fits great). It lets me fill a concept that I couldn't feasibly do before (I could Cleric up until level 9 then go to something else, but that left me feeling not-warrior-y-enough for the concept. And Didn't feel right).

In a higher level game and want a divine warrior that can cast Plane Shift to flow between the material plane, the plane related to their deity, and maybe even the plane of their deity's foe? BAM, Warpriest, now you don't have to do an ugly multi-classed Cleric or somethings. You just get that fighter-dude with Planeshift.

Shaman similarly fills mechanical rolls for me.

The other succeed... variable levels of success. Bloodrager: Great. Swashbuckler: Good. The other six are more questionable to me, but that might be because I've yet to build a character that needed them.

Sczarni

Kaisos Erranon wrote:

...I don't think that Archetypes are especially difficult to understand, you just take one class feature and replace it with another. That's not bending over backwards, that's extremely basic customization.

If a player came to me and said "I want to play a Cleric with a more martial bent" I would direct him to the Crusader archetype or, better yet, the Inquisitor. That sort of niche already exists.

What if they do not like those classes or archetypes? they may have already looked at those and found them to be less appealing.


If you don't find the Crusader Cleric appealing then I'm sure you won't fine the Warpriest appealing either because they are functionally the same thing. Hell, if you like Blessings I'm sure there'll be some compatible Archetype in the final book to let you gain them as well.
To me, very few of these new classes feel worth playing over the alternatives...

Lyee wrote:


Example, I recently wanted to play a character who was a divine warrior using Divination (the spell) and later Commune to make their judgements and who was perhaps too blindly following said results. Inquisitor can't get these until late, and Paladin can't get these spells at all, and I couldn't make a Cleric feel combat-sturdy enough without relying on having rounds to buff myself before combat starts.

Right, but how is the Warpriest any more combat-sturdy than the Cleric? That's my entire issue with it.


Scavion wrote:
Kaisos Erranon wrote:

Conceptual niches, not just mechanical ones.

We have a warrior Cleric already, it's called... a Cleric.

And we have Holy Warriors already with Battle Clerics. did we need a Paladin?

I could go on about how silly that statement is. You could conceptually make anything work with reflavoring and multiclassing.

I think the point is still valid, though I would state it differently. We already have a holy warrior, it's called the War Cleric (Crusader)/Paladin/Battle Oracle/Inquisitor. In other words, there's just so much support for some concepts that we don't need to retread that ground. Though to their credit, each of the classes I listed is distinct, at least.

I agree that the hybrid-classes might open up options that didn't exist in quite the desired configuration before. But I think it's something that could have been done better through a more substantial use of archetypes. With the Warpriest, for instance, why not instead present blessings as alternate domain abilities? It could be attached to an archetype that lets you enhance weapons and armor in place of channel energy. (though I'm aware warpriests also possess channel energy).

Dark Archive

It does get hard to make new niches after a while. I am seeing these as building blocks towards the niche I want. I may or may not select them they may not all be winners, but they are more options.

That said there is quite a bit of repetition, but that might be why they are saying they are alternate classes. AKA a peg above an archetype.

I can say there are about 3 I think I would be up for playing straight, and a couple others I think would be great before a prestige class or other classes. Others I glanced over thinking I can probably make this better elsewhere. But hey this is the playtest the point is to beat kinks out of it.


nthrun5000 wrote:


But I think my examples in regards to niches and concepts are clear enough. A rogue and slayer overlap the same niche. As a matter of design principle, I think adding fewer classes and supporting the existing classes is a better way to provide options. These classes have portions that are backwards and forwards compatible with non-hybrid classes (spell lists, most importantly!). But in the end, they will undoubtedly get less support than non-hybrid classes. A future supplement writer designing an archetpye will be way more likely to write a Rogue or Ranger archetype than a Slayer archetype.

From the beginning they been calling these hybrid classes. They are suppose to overlap with existing classes, by taking different features and combining them to better represent different concepts.

Slayer is a great example. It's basically a 20 level Assassin class, designed for and taking out individual targets. It's sneaky like the rogue, but isn't focused on trapfinding or being a jack of all trades. The class is intentionally designed for someone who mostly wants to play a sneaky killer, and not have to worry or deal with other class features that don't support that.


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MMCJawa wrote:
Slayer is a great example. It's basically a 20 level Assassin class, designed for and taking out individual targets. It's sneaky like the rogue, but isn't focused on trapfinding or being a jack of all trades. The class is intentionally designed for someone who mostly wants to play a sneaky killer, and not have to worry or deal with other class features that don't support that.

This is exactly why I love the Slayer class. Also, my players are going to be very upset to find that all the red mantis that they run into from now on are very likely to have Slayer levels... :D


nthrun5000 wrote:
If Sorcerer's and Bloodrager's select from the same set of Bloodlines, I bet the Bloodrager will see more use and therefore be a better product (in my opinion).

This is really the best take away I've seen. If the abilities are going to overlap then let them draw from the same pools unaltered. Or give a method for letting the end user make the alteration. It would seem obvious that someone may want to play a half-orc bloodrager and take the orc bloodline. Just tell us how to adapt the existing bloodlines available rather than having to depend on republishing content with slight changes.

Scarab Sages

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I think it's funny that you specifically mentioned Bloodrager, Shaman, and Warpriest, because those were the classes I saw and immediately thought: Man, I need to play one of those RIGHT NOW.

The thing about these classes is that they serve the same purpose as the Magus did: To combine two classes in an interesting way that CAN be emulated (Eldritch Knight), but not as cleanly.

You keep saying there is a place for more martial Clerics, but have you ever built a martial cleric? The synergy is all built around pre- and in-battle buffing, typically require channeling negative energy to have a decent 1-turn hit, and picking a deity with a decent weapon to deal respectable damage.

With Warpriest, not ONLY do I start off with full martial weapon & armor training, I get the ability to magically augment my weapon and armor in relevant ways, get a smattering of blessings which I can use to further augment my abilities, and even better, they STACK with existing enhancements! Oh, and the icing on the cake? Swift actions. Swift actions GALORE! I don't have to spend whole turns buffing: I just decide how I want to use my swift action for that round. Oh, AND I get bonus combat feats, just like the fighter. Eat your HEART out, crusader.

Bloodrager? Oh man: Don't get me started. Yes, you COULD theoretically do this concept with current material. Heck, Dragon Disciple was basically BUILT for it. However, it leaves out a lot of subtleties. What if I want to be an Aberrant-blooded berserker; someone who has glimpsed into the beyond and, every so often, is driven absolutely mad by it? What if I want to be an undead scourge, but without REALLY being undead? What if I just want to rage AND cast spells while continuing to rage without worrying about fatigue or exhaustion? /check & check I even get thematic bloodline barbarian abilities and spells out of the deal.

Shaman is just cool. It really is. You should read it again. It's like witch... and oracle... but only kinda... but not really... but it totally is. It's like if you were an oracle that could pick themed hexes instead of revelations, or if you were a witch that could get cool, individually themed revelations instead of the same old hexes, complete with all the flavor of the outlying community mystic.

In short: These are lots of ideas that were previously more difficult to execute, or required a very carefully built character with a specific goal in mind. Now you can be quite effective at a hybrid concept with less dedicated planning, all from level 1. That's a win in my book.

Dark Archive

I don't see how the OP is any sort of useful to the playtest. The hybrid classes exist, and aren't going away, so complaining that you don't like them acomplishes nothing.

If you don't like them, don't use them, and stop wasting space in the playtest forum.

Silver Crusade

I agree some of the classes seem like they would have been better archtypes than actual classes. I'm going to try them in a game. Without using them in a game it is hard to know.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
chaiboy wrote:
I agree some of the classes seem like they would have been better archtypes than actual classes. I'm going to try them in a game. Without using them in a game it is hard to know.

Yet someone else who's going to muck up discussion by providing actual data. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Davor wrote:
With Warpriest, not ONLY do I start off with full martial weapon & armor training, I get the ability to magically augment my weapon and armor in relevant ways, get a smattering of blessings which I can use to further augment my abilities, and even better, they STACK with existing enhancements! Oh, and the icing on the cake? Swift actions. Swift actions GALORE! I don't have to spend whole turns buffing: I just decide how I want to use my swift action for that round. Oh, AND I get bonus combat feats, just like the fighter. Eat your HEART out, crusader.

Only that most of this concept already exists in the Inquisitor, so I don't really understand why we need a second new class to fill the exact same concept, only slightly different. And worse than the already existing Inquisitor.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The primary problem with the hybrid classes is that they are not distinctive in and of themselves. Each class should have unique features that do not exist with the other classes. Some of the hybrid classes manage this. Many don't. And without this distinctiveness, the classes end up as second-class citizens who ultimately detract from player choice. I mean, say you're running a Skald. If you want to multiclass, you can't decide to switch in levels of Barbarian because of an arbitrary ruling. And this ruling is BECAUSE the classes are not distinctive unto themselves.

The best elements of these classes are the parts that are unique to those classes. This needs to be expanded and expounded upon.


While I don't feel as strongly about it as some of the posters here, I do think that many of the classes in the playtest could have been done as archetypes for existing classes.

There are two things at odds here though:

On the one hand several posters have commented quite loudly upfront, back when ACG was announced, that they didn't want to see rules bloat that would make it hard for GMs to do their job.

On the other hand, I - and several posters in this thread too - expect exciting and provocative new mechanics in these new classes.

It's not really possible to please both crowds.

Silver Crusade

There are two characters, ones who use magic and ones who don't.


LoreKeeper wrote:

While I don't feel as strongly about it as some of the posters here, I do think that many of the classes in the playtest could have been done as archetypes for existing classes.

There are two things at odds here though:

On the one hand several posters have commented quite loudly upfront, back when ACG was announced, that they didn't want to see rules bloat that would make it hard for GMs to do their job.

On the other hand, I - and several posters in this thread too - expect exciting and provocative new mechanics in these new classes.

It's not really possible to please both crowds.

I feel like it totally is. You can have a class that has both new mechanics and is using existing ones. I've done this as a mock-up. Yes, it's using the Archetype system as a chassis but, has both unique mechanics and tweaks on existing ones without making them incompatible with existing material.


LoreKeeper wrote:

While I don't feel as strongly about it as some of the posters here, I do think that many of the classes in the playtest could have been done as archetypes for existing classes.

There are two things at odds here though:

On the one hand several posters have commented quite loudly upfront, back when ACG was announced, that they didn't want to see rules bloat that would make it hard for GMs to do their job.

On the other hand, I - and several posters in this thread too - expect exciting and provocative new mechanics in these new classes.

It's not really possible to please both crowds.

I noticed that too.

I feel like the Class restrictions, shared spell lists and repeat class features do a lot to tone down the rules bloat but all of those things are opposed to some extent. Also when suggesting revisions nobody thinks about how this will affect third party publishers and their design space.

Shadow Lodge

Should an Archaeologist bard be considered a hybrid bard/rogue?


The hybrid classes are an attempt to give people who want to make a character that could normally only be built by multiclassing a workable option.

Don't look at it as trying to make new niches. It's actually just trying to make certain concepts that have always been poor mechanical choices into something viable.

That being said, most of the new classes need a lot of work.

Liberty's Edge

I am not amongst those thrilled with the classes, but I think it is better to go to the class discussions and focus on how we can make each class unique and strong. Most of the concepts are worth a base class, so we just have to encourage the design to be stronger on its own. I have already gone class by class in the threads and you can find a consolidated list here.

They are making the book, but the changes coming to the Arcanist show they are listening to criticisms and still open to reworking thenclasses conceptually, not just mechanically.


The first point to keep in mind is that these classes are deliberately mixing existing classes. So much so that they are considered Alternate Classes of the two they mix. Right away there is going to be some toe stepping. It's basically a new approach to Gestalt classes from 3.5, a way to Multiclass without crippling yourself.

The second Point is that the Books are Tools for Both Players and DMs. To be used where and when they fit or barred when they don't fit.

For Players it's a new batch of options to do character concepts that needed to you Multiclass to get the right feel for. There is an Idea I had for Reign of Winter that was going to be a Sorcerer + a bit of Fighter or Barbarian because I didn't have a way of really doing him without multiclassing. Now the Bloodrager White Dragon Bloodline is flat out perfect to represent him.

For DMs it comes down to World Building. Creating an extra Sect of your church that is made up of Warpriests intend on Conversion by the Sword, An Assassin Guild of low level Slayers instead of Fighters and Rogues. I've seen plenty of people who Don't like the normal Vancian Spellcasting and now intend for the Arcanist to flat out replace the Wizard in their games.

It comes down to how you use them

With all the 3rd party stuff I have, I have 4 classes that are fill the role of the Magus; Magus, Vangard, Spellblade and Archon.
I can use all four simply by spending time to figure out how each of them fits in my world. One is an ancient order protecting the Great Library of Mage's University, one is the Elite soldiers of a Kingdom of Evil Wizards, One is trained as Bodyguards for an Order of Priests and the last are the Knights of the Elven Kingdom. (and to avoid multiclassing issues they are all considered Alternate Classes of the Magus)

Scarab Sages

magnuskn wrote:
Davor wrote:
With Warpriest, not ONLY do I start off with full martial weapon & armor training, I get the ability to magically augment my weapon and armor in relevant ways, get a smattering of blessings which I can use to further augment my abilities, and even better, they STACK with existing enhancements! Oh, and the icing on the cake? Swift actions. Swift actions GALORE! I don't have to spend whole turns buffing: I just decide how I want to use my swift action for that round. Oh, AND I get bonus combat feats, just like the fighter. Eat your HEART out, crusader.
Only that most of this concept already exists in the Inquisitor, so I don't really understand why we need a second new class to fill the exact same concept, only slightly different. And worse than the already existing Inquisitor.

When you say "Concept", what do you mean? The Inquisitor lacks the weapon proficiencies, and so is more confined in his interpretation, and is more dependent on his deity choice. He can't channel, has personal divine bonuses rather than armor augmentation in the form of Judgments, and is more skill-oriented than straight combat-oriented than the Warpriest.

That, to me, sounds like a very different character. If the warpriest risks stepping on ANYONE'S toes, it's probably the Paladin, but now we have a martial divine warrior who can be of any alignment, wield any weapon he wants, and still manage to feel more like a blessed warrior than a devout worshipper.

Now, you could BUILD an Inquisitor who plays much like a warpriest would (and, in fact, I have done it before), but you have to move counter to some of the tools given to you to achieve this result, and the Warpriest does it more easily, and with greater potential diversity thanks to the bonus feats and spontaneous enchantments.


Victor Zajic wrote:

I don't see how the OP is any sort of useful to the playtest. The hybrid classes exist, and aren't going away, so complaining that you don't like them acomplishes nothing.

If you don't like them, don't use them, and stop wasting space in the playtest forum.

Or... it being a playtest it is a chance for the developers to see that hybrid classes are also a chance to bolster previously released classes, and that there is a section of the buying public would like to see this. Try not to be too dismissive of other peoples opinions.

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