At first level, characters may chose to train in one of the following classes: Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, or Wizard. There are no racial restrictions but there are ability and skill requirements as follows:

Fighter13 Str5 Athletics
Cleric13 Wis5 Religion
Rogue13 Dex5 Thievery
Wizard13 Int5 Arcana

I use an ability generation system and a skill system that guarantees that every character can meet the requirements for any class they want at first level.

At each level thereafter, characters again choose what class they want to train in. They do not need to train in the same class each time but they must meet the requirements in whatever class they choose.

Fighters receive +2 to Fortitude and gain 10 + Con Bonus HP per level.

Clerics receive +2 to Armor Class and gain 8 + Con Bonus HP per level.

Rogues receive +2 Reflex and gain 6 + Con Bonus HP per level.

Wizards receive +2 Will Power and gain 4 + Con Bonus HP per level.

* The defense bonus may be gained only once per class. For instance a 7th level Fighter/3rd level Cleric would receive +2 Fortitude for being a Fighter and +2 AC for being a Cleric.

Class Skills

Choosing a class does not automatically gain you any skills nor does it restrict your skill choice. Characters must, however, meet the skill requirement to train in a class.

Armor and Weapon Proficiencies by Class

Choosing the Fighter class doesn’t give you any additional ability to use weapons or armor. Choosing the Wizard class doesn’t limit your ability to use weapons or wear armor either.

Instead each character starts out with just a basic understanding of all armor and weapons. Growing up around them naturally gives you a certain familiarity. All characters can use all weapons and wear all armor equally well. That is to say badly. There are armor proficiencies that teach you to wear the different armor types effectively. There are weapon proficiencies that teach you how to use a particular weapon more effectively. Any character, regardless of class, may chose any armor or weapon proficiency. Class choices have no impact.

But Wizards Can’t Wear Armor

I disagree. I have removed the prohibition that wizards can only wear cloth. It is nothing but an arbitrary rule to make Wizards squishy in an attempt at balance. I’m all for balance but it must be accomplished without arbitrary rules. There is no reason, that I can accept, that metal armor should interfere with the energy used in spell casting. The only other argument is that armor restricts the movements necessary to cast a spell. If that were true, fighters couldn’t wield their weapons effectively either so that argument just doesn’t hold water. The ability to wear and use armor effectively is, imo, a function of the character, not the class, and of training represented by feats.

Certainly Not Rogues

Just as with Wizards, I see any armor restrictions on Rogues as being purely arbitrary. There is no reason a Rogue can’t don armor, grab a weapon and go toe-to-toe with the bad guys if she wants to. However, moving silently may be difficult if you can’t manage to keep your metal armor from clanking. Hiding in shadows may not be as easy if your metal armor is glinting at your opponent. These issues should, imo, be dealt with by imposing penalties to skills when wearing certain armor not by restricting armor choices entirely.

Isn’t This Just Multi-Classing

Not quite. As you will see from changes in other systems, there are now some advantages to class diversification, and the disincentives of traditional multiclassing have been removed.

Why Just Four Classes?

Since the inception of D&D there have been these four core classes. Any others are merely offshoots of these. By combining training, or specializing through feats and powers, it is possible to recreate any other class and do so without imposing as many limitations.

What About Paladins?

Paladins are a special case. They are no longer a class but instead are a title although they do receive certain benefits. There will be more about paladins in a future article.