View Full Version : Foundational Layers for 4e

Matt James
04-07-2011, 07:20 AM
I recently wrote an article that discusses a design method that would apply layers of templates/themes on top of a character, rather than creating new systemic changes to the core game. This type of design philosophy has been well received and I feel would help to stabilize the game in a meaningful way. If you are familiar with Dungeons & Dragons 4e, please consider taking a look.


05-25-2011, 11:28 PM
Themes are much better than multi-classing or hybrid characters any day. In fact, I think they should have just done themes instead of Essentials classes, but that is just my take. IMO 4e has some pretty serious flaws that cannot be addressed simply by adding an additional layer or two, though I can see how it would help add in more flexibility.

Themes help break out of the rigid archetypes set forth by the game. I for one would love to play a dual wielding fighter that has charisma based attacks, but the game doesn't support this type of character.

05-26-2011, 06:51 AM
I like the concept of having additional templates or themes that can extend the character in new and interesting ways, I just shudder at the possible amount of bookkeeping that might be necessary from it.

Mixing your examples if you had your Half-Orc Paladin of Tempus with a theme of Gladiator and multi-classed to Cleric what you'd end up with is: Orc base race, Human template, Paladin base class, Gladiator theme, Cleric multi-class. If that character gets bitten by a vampire you could add in the vampire template as well, or any other conceivable role playing achieved template such as joining guilds or something. The number of modifiers and bonuses would take quite a while to sift through. Theoretically the WotC character builder could handle all of that for you, but right now it can't even handle the new themes they've released.

That sort of system offers a lot of freedom and easy ways to add mechanics to match in game choices and events. I just think a little restraint might be needed, particularly during character generation. I'd prefer that character generation stay more or less as it is, this way everyone starts out fairly mundane. Then these templates could be layered on as needed as the character progresses. The idea being that they could be a reward for taking part in the world, rather than something to fret over when writing back stories.

Anyway, thats my opinion on it.