Talk:Character Class Design Guidelines (DnD Guideline)

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This does not seem like a stub to me at all. There is plenty of information here, and even though there could be (should be) more, I think that some of the other stubs need more help. I am removing the stub label from this page. If somebody disagrees, post in this discussion page and explain way. --Blue Dragon 12:00, 6 May 2006 (MDT)

In many ways, this will never be a finished document. It's a listing of lessons learned from various sources. Please add useful guidelines to this page. --Dmilewski 18:22, 26 September 2006 (MDT)
True. I have no idea why Blue Dragon said that about stubs... I will it add it back on... Hope it helps. --Green Dragon 19:43, 26 September 2006 (MDT)
So, does this mean a stub is any page that is not in its final form? I would think that would intrinsically apply to practically everything on a wiki. I was startled to see the label on this page. --Cúthalion 07:33, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Agreed. The "Stub" on this is a little weird, however it's using the same logic as the Wikiworld. Which is a stub. --Green Dragon 10:35, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Okay, a stub implies something is unusable. This does not apply here. This article is large, and can be used very well. Just because it can still be edited does not mean that it is a stub. — Blue Dragon (talk) 17:31, 14 May 2007 (MDT)
My original logic for using stub was to make sure that this got many eyes looking at it. Now that we've pretty much settled on it, it should lose the "stub". --Dmilewski 17:42, 14 May 2007 (MDT)
Done. --Green Dragon 22:53, 14 May 2007 (MDT)

Use the Class Template[edit]

Are these links doing what they're supposed to? They're not very helpful. --Cúthalion 07:33, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Prestige Classes[edit]

Always multiclass?[edit]

"Prestige classes should require abilities from multiple classes."

Is this what you meant to say? It sounds like you should always need to multiclass in order to qualify for a prestige class. --Cúthalion 07:33, 16 February 2007 (MST)
All of these guidelines are "in general." The lists is here to help you think about your class and what you want to do with the class. It is more authoritative than dictatorial. --Dmilewski 07:59, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Either phrase works. Since you can't use the PrC to meet its own requirements, the phrasing of either amounts to the same thing. Though, phrasing aside, I'm not sure I agree with the statement. —Sledged (talk) 08:06, 16 February 2007 (MST)
It was the sentiment that surprised me. Using the MSRD model, I would expect that there would often be one base class (or one multiclass option) that provides the most direct path to the prestige class, and various single- or multi-class options for alternate paths (e.g. Archmage, Assassin, Duelist). Unlike MSRD, I have no problem with having some prestige classes require multiclassing (e.g. Eldritch Knight, Mystic Theurge).
Bottom line, I suspect this line is meant to say something more like item #2 in Creating Prestige Classes. --Cúthalion 08:46, 16 February 2007 (MST)
I see where you are going. Reword the line. --Dmilewski 09:43, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Oh, yeah, I can do that, can't I? I also changed the minimum number of levels for a prestige class from 1 to 3. Are there single-level prestige classes out there? --Cúthalion 10:15, 16 February 2007 (MST)


Does anything link to this section? It seems like it would be helpful to have a link from (at least) DnD Prestige Classes, User Prestige Classes by Type, All Prestige Classes, and the New Prestige Class template. I'm working on my fourth prestige class, and I didn't realize this existed (although it could be there's a link and I just missed it). --Cúthalion 07:33, 16 February 2007 (MST)

I've linked it in multiple times. It's been moved out multiple times. I stopped fighting that fight. --Dmilewski 07:50, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Guess it's easy to miss the text at the top of the Add New DnD Class page. This is not the first time the subject of what places are adequate to place links to this page has come up. It seems the only way to make the page noticeable is to saturate the wiki with links to it. —Sledged (talk) 08:06, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Guess it's easy to miss the text at the top of the Add New DnD Class page. ... Sledged (talk) 08:06, 16 February 2007 (MST)
Or forget about it. I followed the link the first time I created a base class. It didn't occur to me to look again the first time I created a prestige class. Even if I had, it would have been easy to miss the Prestige Class section near the bottom. --Cúthalion 08:34, 16 February 2007 (MST)
... It seems the only way to make the page noticeable is to saturate the wiki with links to it. —Sledged (talk) 08:06, 16 February 2007 (MST)
That seems like the right policy, in general, for help pages. The link should be readily accessible wherever the user happens to be when he realizes he needs help. Indeed, it's not unreasonable to have a help link on every page. --Cúthalion 08:34, 16 February 2007 (MST)


How does this look? --Cúthalion 11:12, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Prestige Classes

Guidelines for designing a prestige class:

  • A prestige class should be designed around a clear theme. Most often, this reflects a particular organization in the game world. Examples: Sherwood Bowman, Dutch Trader, Damascus Smith, Naval Officer.
  • A prestige class should be more narrowly tailored than a base class.
  • A prestige class should not just do what a base class does, only better. It should be unique.
  • A prestige class should continue for somewhere between 3 and 10 levels. Most prestige classes have 3, 5, or 10 levels.
  • A prestige class should be balanced with other prestige classes. The easiest way to ensure this is to model the new class on one or more existing classes. Then ask, "Would I choose this class over any other class?" If the answer is clearly "Yes" or clearly "No", it's probably imbalanced.
  • Class requirements should be available to multiple base classes. Example: Evasion (available to rogues, monks and others) is appropriate as a requirement, but Ki Strike (available only to monks) is not.
  • Class requirements should synergize with the class benefits. Example: Weapon Focus (longbow) and Sneak Attack +2d6 are good requirements for a Sherwood Bowman.
  • There should be no more than 3 or 4 skill requirements, central to the character conception. The required ranks will often correspond with the minimum character level required to qualify for the prestige class. Examples: The Sherwood Bowman might require: Hide 8 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks, Spot 8 ranks, mandating a 5th level character. The Dutch Trader might require: Appraise 9 ranks, Diplomacy 9 ranks, Sense Motive 9 ranks, mandating a 6th level character.
  • A prestige class should not have ability score requirements (not directly anyway). Instead, require a feat with an ability score prerequisite, or the ability to cast spells of a specific level.
  • A prestige class should, in detail, explain the consequences (if any) of losing a requirement (typically alignment) after taking levels in the class.
  • A prestige class should bring together feats and special abilities, and help them synergize with each other.
  • A prestige class should grant abilities appropriate to the class level.
  • A prestige class should grant benefits that make taking all levels in that prestige class attractive.
  • A prestige class should not give proficiencies in armor or weapons. These should be inherited from base classes, or required as prerequisites.
  • A prestige class should not grant specific bonus feats at low levels. A feat common to all members of the class should be a class requirement rather than a class benefit.
External resources

Can you tell I like hierarchy? --Cúthalion 11:12, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Looks good to me. The word "okay" is usually a substitute for a better word. In the above context, "okay" really means "appropriate". --Dmilewski 16:35, 16 February 2007 (MST)
I'm okay with changing it. ;) --Cúthalion 20:06, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Racial Levels[edit]

Are racial levels supposed to be referring to savage progressions, racial paragon classes, or something else? —Sledged (talk) 15:42, 16 February 2007 (MST)

Beuller?... —Sledged (talk) 15:09, 19 March 2007 (MDT)
I was thinking the Racial Paragon levels. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dmilewski (talkcontribs) 14:27, 19 March 2007 (MST). Please sign your posts.

How variant is Variant?[edit]

I've been dutifully naming all my homebrew base classes as variants of whatever class they're derived from. But I have to wonder, is this necessary, or even meaningful? Originally, the Paladin, Ranger, and Barbarian were all Fighter variants; the Druid was a Cleric variant; the Sorcerer is obviously a Wizard variant. Yet none of these are named as such. I daresay virtually all of the DnD Base Classes are derived from one or more other classes, yet none of them (except mine) are labeled as variants, either.

I'm thinking we need a better definition, or at least heuristic, for when a class stops being a variant and becomes an independent class in its own right. Looking at the classes I've created recently, the Exorcist is recognizably still a Druid, just with one or two powers changed. I'd call that a Variant. The Brawler is derived from a Fighter, but is barely recognizable as such: it doesn't use weapons or heavy armor, it has unarmed combat abilities like a Monk, and it has more skills. To me, that's no longer a Variant, but a class.

I'd propose the following heuristics:

  • Is this class obviously derived from an existing class, with just one or two major changes?
  • Does the name for this class most naturally include the name of another class (e.g. Exorcist)?
  • If you were playing a character of this class, would you describe it to others in terms of the original class?

If the answers to these questions is Yes, then it's a Variant. If the answers to these questions is No, then it's a full-fledged class, not a variant.

Take the Thug, a combination of two UA Fighter variants. Taken separately, either of these variants is minor enough to be considered a Variant. But once they're put together, the class is no more recognizable as a Fighter than the Brawler is -- as much a Rogue as a Fighter. My judgment would be that it is no longer a Variant, but a distinct class.

What do you think? --Cúthalion 10:18, 18 February 2007 (MST)

In my mind, all classes are distinct unless they claim that they are variants. Variants are intended to replace an iconic class within any particular campaign. Variants usually take pains to claim that they are variants, while stand-alone classes usually do not take this effort. --Dmilewski 11:47, 18 February 2007 (MST)
Wow. That's an even narrower definition than I suggested -- I wouldn't necessarily recommend replacing all Druids with Druid Exorcists. --Cúthalion 12:32, 18 February 2007 (MST)
I'm going to go ahead and un-Variant most of my classes. --Cúthalion 12:32, 18 February 2007 (MST)


One thing this doesn't cover is names for classes. For example, I'm thinking of modifying a class I've thought about submitting, but I would have it under the name of "assassin", taking up the page Assassin (DnD Class). If I were to do this, would I be within rights to change the redirect page Assassin so that it's a disambiguation page? Or would I do better to spend the next few hours thinking of new name for it? Armond 14:40, 19 March 2007 (MDT)

I'd say since this is a base class, call it Base Assassin (3.5e Class). The UA gives variants of the bard, ranger, and paladin classes as prestige classes instead of base classes. They're referred to as "prestige bard," "prestige ranger," and "prestige paladin." —Sledged (talk) 15:14, 19 March 2007 (MDT)
Thanks. That also gives me sufficient excuse to call it the "assassin" in the description (saves a lot of thinking :P). Armond 15:55, 19 March 2007 (MDT)


This page (and other style guideline pages) are nearly invisible on the wiki. Maybe these style guides should be made more visible. --Othtim 19:14, 20 March 2008 (MDT)

Unfortunately, there are so many things that need more visibility that it becomes challenging to actually make all those things visible.--Dmilewski 13:37, 21 March 2008 (MDT)
Captain Wiki to the rescue! We should probably put them on the "please feel free to edit constructively" page :). From the edits I've seen after we put that up, I can tell that a lot of people reading content on the site have probably read that. --Aarnott 14:27, 21 March 2008 (MDT)
That's good spot. Additionally, I'd recommend putting a link in the infobox templates; "Constructive edits welcome (class design guidelines)." —Sledged (talk) 14:36, 21 March 2008 (MDT)

Some Bad Advice[edit]

The following lines are dumb and should be removed:

  • The class should not be able to do something unreasonably better than an iconic class which was designed to do the same task at the same level. (This one is obviously stupid.)
  • Martial classes should rely on the ability scores that that open up feats appropriate to their class or have those feats written into the class. (This is just puzzling. There's such a thing as lateral versatility, and it's extremely important for the fighter types because the casters get it automatically.)
  • Martial classes should be able to tank against monsters. They must be able to withstand the attack of the monsters, do damage to the monsters, and keep the monsters away from the weaker party members. (Not all martial classes need to be tanks.)
  • Support classes are less strong in combat than fighters, but better at melee than wizards and sorcerers. (Not true in any sourcebook I've seen.)
  • (Arcane spellcasters) Are expected to stay away from melee. (Except this doesn't actually happen, and they're better in melee than core fighting classes.)
  • Prestige classes should require abilities available to multiple classes. e.g. Evasion (available to rogues, monks and others) is okay as a requirement, but Ki Strike (available only to monks) is not. (Obviously stupid.)

Speaking of which, I don't even think the idea of a "support class" is well-defined. Surgo 16:23, 18 March 2009 (MDT)

Assuming the archetypes that were supposed to be present in D&D (and really were never well represented until 4th edition) actually existed, most of these points would actually make sense. The old Fighter/Rogue/Wizard/Cleric party is supposed to cover Tanking/Skillmonkey (or support)/BAM/Healing respectively. Of course, we all know this doesn't actually happen in practice and that there are plenty of parties that can do fine without one or more of those roles and definitely don't need a dedicated class to do that.
In any case, this design does not work at all in practice. Go ahead and edit it. It is a wiki after all. If anyone has any problems with it, I'm sure you'll hear from them here. --Aarnott 08:14, 19 March 2009 (MDT)

Class Preload Links[edit]

These currently lead to blank edit pages, rather than the actual preloads. Frmgn (talk) 21:55, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

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