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 Game Balance Roles and Archetypes

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Garthanos
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PostSubject: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:08 pm

4th edition D&D is actually the first I have seen - I am uncertain it has ever occurred elsewhere
Some other games made all their elements open to every character in effect players create their own class and that honestly creates even more room for that side-kick of imbalance - incompetence. Roles as expected have their echos in other games WoD for instance Werewolf had lunar phases that subtly invoked roles .. but I cant think of any taking it seriously enough to help support balance. In HERO you could probably build a decent Striker/Leader/Defender/Controller (for the same cost another built a lame version of one)

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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Felorn Gloryaxe
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:50 am

I'm not sure. I personally would like to think role archetypes would be able to stay a thing in D&D and future RPGs. It's lets people know what type of class they are getting into before it's too late. Like me personally... Would probably have never played a cleric in 2e if it had the role: Lame Heal-bot. I feel like that's all my cleric can do especially since my DM limits the spells I can cast because my deity.

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:18 am

Class roles seem to have been one of the first things the D&DNext designers decided was Evil 4th Editionism that had to be killed with fire. It's a pity, IMO. I think the concept was the single biggest factor in making 4E reasonably balanced (and, therefore, for me, the only edition of D&D I find playable at all).

I do think the class/role linkage was far too strict and rigid at the start of 4E, though. People who wanted to play a druid as a leader, a fighter as a striker, or a barbarian as a defender had a very legitimate gripe. Post-Essentials D&D seemed to be heading in the right direction on this, but obviously didn't last long enough or get enough design resources committed to it to really get it to work properly (the 'off-role' subclasses are all strictly inferior to the 'base' classes).

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:52 am

I liked that 4e had definitions for roles and made each "role" have a mechanic tied to them. Yes, I know some people disliked it for being to "WoW" like, but it really gave combat a boost and made each player feel powerful and useful without stepping on anyone's toes. A little more freedom in each class would be nice. The "sub-class/off-role" from late Essentials was a good start, but needed to be given stronger 4e flavor. I think it would be rather easy to swap mechanics and have that give buffs to certain powers/make new powers.

Swordmage as striker? He loses Warding and his mark and gains a damage boost ala the Rogue/Ranger/Warlock. Write a few dozen powers that are more damage oriented or minor actions attacks and you've got a semi-competent striker.

Great....now I have a new project to work on.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:20 pm

cyvaris wrote:
I liked that 4e had definitions for roles and made each "role" have a mechanic tied to them. Yes, I know some people disliked it for being to "WoW" like, but it really gave combat a boost and made each player feel powerful and useful without stepping on anyone's toes. A little more freedom in each class would be nice. The "sub-class/off-role" from late Essentials was a good start, but needed to be given stronger 4e flavor. I think it would be rather easy to swap mechanics and have that give buffs to certain powers/make new powers.

Swordmage as striker? He loses Warding and his mark and gains a damage boost ala the Rogue/Ranger/Warlock. Write a few dozen powers that are more damage oriented or minor actions attacks and you've got a semi-competent striker.

Great....now I have a new project to work on.

Sounds intriguing to me... the swordmage was my first personal character for 4e.... later there was Warlords and avengers hmmm all classes left by the way side in next - guess that is a pattern

Yes having new builds! with class features and a few appropriate powers instead of branching in to incompatible new classes (they called subclasses), could be very interesting.

(always thought white lotus riposte was strikery)



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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:09 pm

I've always wanted a Striker mechanic that went "Target gains vulnerability X to all attacks you make with X keyword." Seems fitting for a Swordmage flavor wise, though it would probably have to disallow Cold because of Frostcheese.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:45 pm

Duskweaver wrote:

I do think the class/role linkage was far too strict and rigid at the start of 4E, though. People who wanted to play a druid as a leader, a fighter as a striker, or a barbarian as a defender had a very legitimate gripe. Post-Essentials D&D seemed to be heading in the right direction on this, but obviously didn't last long enough or get enough design resources committed to it to really get it to work properly (the 'off-role' subclasses are all strictly inferior to the 'base' classes).

I agree. Original PHB classes were very rigid in their design. They are still fun to play but really you could only play one type of wizard or fighter really. But with the power books adding new "subclasses" (Not sure if that's what you should call them), the original classes started to expand in good ways. But I also agree that Post-Essentials was heading in the right direction. At that point each class seemed different/balanced enough and there was no class blurring (By this I mean similar or the same mechanics across classes) like in the original PHB. I got sick of having copy and paste mechanics like Sneak Attack, and Hunter's Quarry, or Healing Word and Inspiring Word. Albeit, it was still there in Essentials just not to the extent that is was in core 4e. Essentials was mostly a good thing if you ask me.

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:02 am

Roles are great for combat clarity - for knowing how you fit into the team (team being something that 4e emphasized more than other editions, a glorious thing IMHO). Roles have always been part of D&D. They were just never codified. I liked them codified. I like that the class abilities emphasize the roles and make the classes good at their roles.
Roles are also great for helping new players.
The blurring/samey-ness of the early stuff doesn't bother me that much. Essential certainly moved in a direction on that. Primary+secondary role certainly opens up whole new realms of possibility. I wish they could have explored that further. 4.5 could have been a fantastic thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:47 pm

cyvaris wrote:
Swordmage as striker? He loses Warding and his mark and gains a damage boost ala the Rogue/Ranger/Warlock. Write a few dozen powers that are more damage oriented or minor actions attacks and you've got a semi-competent striker.

Great....now I have a new project to work on.

I remember folks saying that the Bladesinger was more of a striker then a controller and I always saw the Bladesinger and the Swordmage as being the same class, but two different builds.

That might be an interesting way to play with some variations.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:56 pm

Durriken wrote:
Roles are great for combat clarity - for knowing how you fit into the team (team being something that 4e emphasized more than other editions, a glorious thing IMHO).  Roles have always been part of D&D.  They were just never codified.  I liked them codified.  I like that the class abilities emphasize the roles and make the classes good at their roles.
Roles are also great for helping new players.  
The blurring/samey-ness of the early stuff doesn't bother me that much.  Essential certainly moved in a direction on that.  Primary+secondary role certainly opens up whole new realms of possibility.  I wish they could have explored that further.  4.5 could have been a fantastic thing.
TjD

Agreed.  The multi-role options in Essentials should have been there since the beginning, connected to the class builds and not the classes themselves.

I don't know about the rest of you, but as a DM, I found class roles helpful for setting up combat challenges for my players.  Also, I found my players didn't get too much into the "official" roles of their classes.  At the most, they saw it as a good suggestion on the technical aspects of character creation while they did what they wanted to do anyways.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:57 pm

thanson02 wrote:
cyvaris wrote:
Swordmage as striker? He loses Warding and his mark and gains a damage boost ala the Rogue/Ranger/Warlock. Write a few dozen powers that are more damage oriented or minor actions attacks and you've got a semi-competent striker.

Great....now I have a new project to work on.

I remember folks saying that the Bladesinger was more of a striker then a controller and I always saw the Bladesinger and the Swordmage as being the same class, but two different builds.

That might be an interesting way to play with some variations.

I would greatly have preferred Bladesinger as a Swordmage build... your offhand ability being a magical attack instead of a shield.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:20 pm

I loved the concept of Roles in 4E. And to me it seemed like the obvious progression to clarify one of the oldest ideas in D&D that everyone who had played 1e/2e knew but never had a word for.

It was quite clear in early editions that if you played a Cleric, you had the healing powers and you had the buff powers. If you played a Fighter, you had the high AC and the most hit points. If you played a Magic-User, you had the lowest hit points but all kinds of arcane spells with crazy/cool effects at your disposal. And if you played the Thief, you had lots of non-combat skills and you got the big damage from Backstab.

And so, you had your Leader, Defender, Controller, and Striker defined in the most iconic classes from the AD&D 1e/2e era. What I really liked about 4E was that they took those roles and gave options for doing them in other ways via the Power Source mechanic.

If you wanted to play the person with the healing powers but didn't want to worship a deity, you had Warlord, Bard, Ardent, Artificer, etc. If you wanted to be the high AC person but didn't like the cliche of a "sword and board" fighter, you had Swordmage, Warden, Battlemind, etc. You could do the job that the original "core" characters from early editions of D&D all did, but you could do them in unconventional ways.

I felt that it helped out beginners as well because they could understand what they were expected to do within a party. My partner started playing D&D with 4E. We built her a Ranger originally because I felt that the Striker role required the least amount of effort in worrying about the rest of the party. I told her that her job was to "get in and deal as much damage as possible". In the 3 years she's been playing, she's become quite a skilled Striker. She is playing a Pixie Vampire right now. It is frightening how happy she is flitting into combat and tearing the enemies apart.

The Essentials-style classes did "muddy the waters" a bit with some of the "dual-role" classes. But I don't think they ruined anything. I got an opportunity to play a Bladesinger for levels 1 to 5. And it most definitely was a "mini-Striker" and less of a Controller, in my opinion. But to a skilled player, the elements of Controller were there. And when compared to the Seeker, I could see how they were both "Strikerish-Controllers".

So overall, the role system was one of my favourite things about 4E. And I think the only reason that anyone compared it to WoW (which I've never played and never will) is that those people felt they were being "forced" to play a character a certain way. But back when I played 3.x, everyone that built their character clearly built it to the role that they wanted to have. For example, in the very last 3.5 campaign in which I played, the guy that built the Wizard with all the different spells with area effects and such clearly wanted to play a Controller-type. Because if he wanted to play a "damage-Wizard" he would have built a Sorcerer. And my Ranger/Wizard/Arcane Archer was very, very clearly built to be a Striker. The Dwarf Figher/Dwarven Defender was... anyone? Yes, a Defender. And the Cleric that specialized in healing magic? Well if that doesn't say Leader role to everyone, then I don't know what does! So I think we were all building characters to fill these roles long before 4E. But 4E finally put a name to what we all were doing anyway.

And besides, I have always felt that if someone wanted to play a "big damage" Fighter, why didn't they just play a Ranger? They are both "weapon and armor users". So what is it about the class name of Fighter that is so important? Why not just play the class that does what you want and don't worry about what it is called?

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:41 pm

Garthanos wrote:
Yes having new builds! with class features and a few appropriate powers instead of branching in to incompatible new classes (they called subclasses), could be very interesting.

(always thought white lotus riposte was strikery)



Why is it when I start brain storming something, someone on this list starts a conversation about it.  Weird. Very Happy 

So, yea.  A couple days ago I was at work and I got thinking, "If I wanted to develop my own builds, what would that look like?"  WotC hasn't released any guidelines for this (not that I am aware of anyways) so I figured, why not?

The layout is interesting so far and I am still cross referencing the Power books (Divine Power, Martial Power 1 and 2, ect) to see if the formula works.  If anyone has any sources that will help me with this, I am more then happy to look at them.  Here is what I am seeing so far:

Name: Connected to corresponding class feature
Function: Goal of the Build, what do you want your character to do.
Role: I threw this in there because I thought roles and builds should be connected.  Essentials has primary and secondary roles though so you could work these concepts in here.
Ability Scores: Choose one primary score as your highest and two secondary ability scores connected to your build.
Primary Class Feature: Reflects the goal of the build.  Depending on what you are doing for your build, you might have to create something new, or reskin a preexisting feat.
Suggested Feat: Choose one Feat that reflects the goal of the build
Suggested Skill Training: Choose 4 skills that reflect your character's goals.
Suggested At-Will Powers:  Choose 2
Suggested Encounter Power: Choose one: Encounter power should have a bonus connected to your class build, but not required.
Suggested Daily Power: Choose 1

With this outline, then you need to do the following:
Create new class features for your build: usually acts like a feat in that it gives you either on-going bonuses or new abilities.  This feature is connected to your class goals and role.
Either modify existing Encounter powers or add new encounter powers: These Encounter powers should have bonuses for your build, like what feats do for bonuses.  There is only one Encounter power effected for the following levels: 1, 3, 7, 13, 17, 23, and 27.
Come up with a new At-Will Power that reflects the build: This one seems more optional.  It depends on the goal of the build.

This is my alpha guide to creating builds.  There are other factors like what to do to keep Powers balanced as you go up in level, how to get the build to express what you want the character to do, ect.  Also, once I get the detales worked out, I should be able to convert the subclasses in the Essential series into traditional builds and still keep the flexibility that came with the Essential series.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:06 pm

thanson02 wrote:
Garthanos wrote:
Yes having new builds! with class features and a few appropriate powers instead of branching in to incompatible new classes (they called subclasses), could be very interesting.

(always thought white lotus riposte was strikery)



Why is it when I start brain storming something, someone on this list starts a conversation about it.  Weird. Very Happy 
One of the reasons I post is hoping to inspire and let some ideas enter the group conciousness and see what comes of it.
thanson02 wrote:

So, yea.  A couple days ago I was at work and I got thinking, "If I wanted to develop my own builds, what would that look like?"  WotC hasn't released any guidelines for this (not that I am aware of anyways) so I figured, why not?

The layout is interesting so far and I am still cross referencing the Power books (Divine Power, Martial Power 1 and 2, ect) to see if the formula works.  If anyone has any sources that will help me with this, I am more then happy to look at them.  Here is what I am seeing so far:

Name: Connected to corresponding class feature
Function: Goal of the Build, what do you want your character to do.
Role: I threw this in there because I thought roles and builds should be connected.  Essentials has primary and secondary roles though so you could work these concepts in here.
Ability Scores: Choose one primary score as your highest and two secondary ability scores connected to your build.
Primary Class Feature: Reflects the goal of the build.  Depending on what you are doing for your build, you might have to create something new, or reskin a preexisting feat.
Suggested Feat: Choose one Feat that reflects the goal of the build
Suggested Skill Training: Choose 4 skills that reflect your character's goals.
Suggested At-Will Powers:  Choose 2
Suggested Encounter Power: Choose one: Encounter power should have a bonus connected to your class build, but not required.
Suggested Daily Power: Choose 1

With this outline, then you need to do the following:
Create new class features for your build: usually acts like a feat in that it gives you either on-going bonuses or new abilities.  This feature is connected to your class goals and role.
Either modify existing Encounter powers or add new encounter powers: These Encounter powers should have bonuses for your build, like what feats do for bonuses.  There is only one Encounter power effected for the following levels: 1, 3, 7, 13, 17, 23, and 27.
Come up with a new At-Will Power that reflects the build: This one seems more optional.  It depends on the goal of the build.

This is my alpha guide to creating builds.  There are other factors like what to do to keep Powers balanced as you go up in level, how to get the build to express what you want the character to do, ect.  Also, once I get the detales worked out, I should be able to convert the subclasses in the Essential series into traditional builds and still keep the flexibility that came with the Essential series.
Cool
Hmmm just remembered there was on the old WOTC wiki atleast one posts which did some translating of one Essentials class to a proper build. Wonder If I can find that poster and see if he has the content stored

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:03 pm

One thing about that template. The "one" encounter power really needs to be balanced well. 4e Strikers are mostly good if they can get a few off/minor action attacks. Having only an encounter power or two that gets modified that is not a minor action or a immediate attack hurts the class.

Also, been playing around with my Swordmage-striker a bit. Figured the best way to do it would be to give them a new Aegis.

So.
Aegis of Destruction-Minor Action At-Will to place. Target gains Vulnerability to all your attacks equal to (Stat Modifier-thinking Wisdom actually). This power is refreshed and can be used as a free action when the target upon which you placed it drops to zero hit points or fewer. This vulnerability increases to Mod+X at level 5/10/15/20/25 or some similar scaling.

Slap a feat on there that adds something like "gains vulnerability to X damage type" for a bit of cheese/damage boost.

Then I would also give the option of "Swordmage weapon training" which would replace "Swordmage Warding" and let the player gain free proficiency in any one weapon and be able to use that weapon as both a weapon/implement. Maybe add some small mechanical bonus to damage or Combat Advantage to make it a slightly more appealing option for strikers wanting to crank out more damage.

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:40 am

Garthanos wrote:
Cool
Hmmm just remembered there was on the old WOTC wiki atleast one posts which did some translating of one Essentials class to a proper build. Wonder If I can find that poster and see if he has the content stored

If you find it, please post it. Myself as well as others, I'm sure, would love to see it.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:46 am

cyvaris wrote:
One thing about that template. The "one" encounter power really needs to be balanced well. 4e Strikers are mostly good if they can get a few off/minor action attacks. Having only an encounter power or two that gets modified that is not a minor action or a immediate attack hurts the class.

Good advice.  Thanks for the pointer.  Smile

cyvaris wrote:
Also, been playing around with my Swordmage-striker a bit. Figured the best way to do it would be to give them a new Aegis.

So.
Aegis of Destruction-Minor Action At-Will to place. Target gains Vulnerability to all your attacks equal to (Stat Modifier-thinking Wisdom actually). This power is refreshed and can be used as a free action when the target upon which you placed it drops to zero hit points or fewer. This vulnerability increases to Mod+X at level 5/10/15/20/25 or some similar scaling.

Slap a feat on there that adds something like "gains vulnerability to X damage type" for a bit of cheese/damage boost.

Then I would also give the option of "Swordmage weapon training" which would replace "Swordmage Warding" and let the player gain free proficiency in any one weapon and be able to use that weapon as both a weapon/implement. Maybe add some small mechanical bonus to damage or Combat Advantage to make it a slightly more appealing option for strikers wanting to crank out more damage.


Cool idea.  So would the weapons training open up the weapon options for the Bwordmage/Bladesinger and allow variations to the class like the arcane archer to be brought into the fold?
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:35 am

thanson02 wrote:
Cool idea.  So would the weapons training open up the weapon options for the Bwordmage/Bladesinger and allow variations to the class like the arcane archer to be brought into the fold?

I actually never really considered the "Arcane Archer" part of it, but that would be rather cool. Maybe as part of that add "if you choose proficiency in a Ranged weapon you can make any attack with the melee keyword at range" or....something.

What's nice is this is a quick, simple rules swap, that if I wasn't entirely lazy and busy I could totally program into the CBloader.

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:12 am

Well we have some support for Divine Archery (Zen Archer Cleric or Avenger) and Primal Archery (Seeker) and Martial Archery... so I suppose Arcane ought to be a possibility.

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“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:45 pm

Yeah it's just not something I ever really considered. I like that such a simple tweak would open up the Swordmage so much.
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PostSubject: Re: Game Balance Roles and Archetypes   Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:26 pm

I added a Versatile weapon build to the ranger.. by allowing one to take a class feature which allowed them to treat a versatile weapon as a double weapon when used twohanded. instead of getting the normal bonuse... I called it Flashing Blade.

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Born To Be Kings and Heros -- From the Ashes Phoenix
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” - Lazarus Long via Robert Heinlein.

One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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4ENCLAVE :: 4th Edition :: 4e General Discussion-
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