DragonChild, aka Karrius, explains my philosophy on class design well; Here are some excerpts from a conversation on a certain channel on a certain server:
<Karrius> A class SHOULD get a class feature per level.
<Karrius> If a class DOESN"T get a class feature per level, it sucks, is worthless, and needs to be rewritten.
<Karrius> Why should someone not get something every level, when other people do
<Karrius> Ghost's angle is "A class should be playable by a new person and require little optimization, but be ABLE to be optimized relatively little."
<Karrius> That's key.
<Karrius> Pre-optimized stuff is wonderful, and how stuff should be.
<mib_wts2zo> Karrius: Huh... that doesn't really sound too bad...
<Karrius> The idea is this:
<Karrius> You don't HAVE to crunch numbers with these classes.
<Karrius> There are no dozens of books you have to go digging through.
<Karrius> You just pick the class, pick a random handfull of feats, and everything takes care of itself. And that's the ultimate irony.
<Karrius> The designer who understands optmization builds the kind of game that the optimize-haters want.
<mib_wts2zo> Karrius, could you explain more what you meant about his angle-thing?
<Karrius> mib- Ok, think of it like this in a way.
<Karrius> Imagine if you're in a 3.5 game with a bunch of people who know the rules well.
<Karrius> Most of them are likely having some sort of PrC. Or multiclassing. Or using all the best spells.
<Karrius> I mean, at a certain level of expertise, if you're playing a wizard, you're just going to pick the spells you know are best.
<Karrius> You're not going to bother with Polar Ray anymore.
<mib_wts2zo> So basically optimizing/powergaming/munchkining?
<Karrius> Munchkining means "You play in a style I don't like, and I'm a bitter, angry, stupid person, so I'm going to insult you."
<Karrius> That's what that word ACTUALLY MEANS.
<Karrius> Not picking Polar Ray, and picking a different PHB spell instead, is not "munchkining"
<Karrius> Unless you think EVERY wizard has to pick Polar Ray or he's a powergamer.
<mib_wts2zo> But if they're taking the best spells and have multiclassed or PrCed...
<mib_wts2zo> Wouldn't that make them powergamers?
<Karrius> The best spells are kinda obvious.
<Karrius> My point is, if you're new to the game, you might not know how good your character is likely to be. Or maybe you're just someone who doesn't want to have to go dumpster-diving like people who expect you to play with full WOTC books expect.
<Karrius> Ghostwheel's point is this - someone should NOT be weaker because they don't know the rules. Someone should NOT be stronger because they go dumpster diving.
<Karrius> Ghostwheel is AGAINST that, as far as I can tell, and so am I. Having to dumpster dive is stupid.
<Karrius> So if you make classes that don't NEED dumpster diving, that's fine.
<Karrius> My point is, ghostwheel's design principles are anti-optimization.
<Karrius> Doing things his way is the ONLY way to prevent optimization.
<mib_wts2zo> How is his stuff the only way to prevent optimization? That seems counter-intuitive
<Karrius> mib- Define optimization for me.
<mib_wts2zo> I guess... using crunchy bits to make your character better in combat?
<Karrius> mib- Better than what?
<mib_wts2zo> Better than what you'd be without the optimization, I guess
<Karrius> mib- Ok, here is what I'm saying. Imagine, if, theoretically, we had a perfect balance chart that went from 1-10.
<Karrius> I know this doesn't exist. Pretend with me.
<Karrius> Imagine if we had a core class, the Basket Weaver, that started at a 3, which is shitty. But with a bit of work, using 4 splatbooks, you can make it a 9, which is really good.
<Karrius> Now, imagine a different class, the Pogo-Sticker, written up by Ghostwheel. This class starts at a 8. With a bit of work, using 4 splatbook, you can make it a 9, which is barely any improvement.
<Karrius> Now imagine if you had to design a new system, composed entirely of classes from one section or the other.
<Karrius> Would you prefer having clases like the Basket Weaver or the Pogo-Sticker, keeping in mind that mosnters will be designed around whatever you pick
<Karrius> Does that make sense?
<mib_wts2zo> Hmmm... I guess I'd take the Pogo-Sticker, since even if people used tons of splatbooks, everyone would be at around the same level, right? Which is a good thing, since they can keep their concepts without having to go through 20 books to make them be at the same level as other people, if I'm understanding what you're saying right
<Karrius> The idea is, just make everyone strong, but unable to get all THAT much stronger.
<December> If pogo sticker doesn't fit my conept but Basketweaver does, Guess whih I'm going with! (I'll give you a hint! It's not the Pogo-sticker)
<Karrius> December, flavor isn't being involved.
<Karrius> They BOTH could be "Fighter".
<December> Why not?
<Karrius> When you're designing a new system, they both ARE fighter.
<Karrius> The question is, how do we DESIGN the class?
<mib_wts2zo> Okay, I've see kinda what you mean what with the difference between the pogo-sticker and the basket-weaver, but I've seen some really strong fighters and paladins--why can't the toxinblade or w/e use the same tricks to get much higher power, since he started at a fairly high power already?
<Karrius> mib- What tricks, though
<mib_wts2zo> Like... I dunno, shock trooper, combat brute, leap attack, rhino's rush? Stuff like that?
<Karrius> Because those tricks are essentially a 9. You can't get bigger than 9 with those unless you have, say, bonus damage.
<Karrius> And bonus damage tha tmultiplies.
<Karrius> I mean, yeah, a lot of those are a problem, and Ghost bans a lot of those sort of things.
<Coboney> mib_wts2zo - because he doesn't have the same options available. He has less feats thena fighter, he has lessstrength then the barb and he doesn't have the save capabilities and strong mount of the paladin
<Karrius> The barb is also "better" at the charging thing than the toxin blade is. The barb gets bonus damage that multiplies. The toxinblade... doesn't. He gets more defenses, sure, but those tricks are about dealing massive damage and killing stuff before it gets you.
<Karrius> Mind you, in this case, the fighter and barbarian are more of a "2, up to 6 with optimization" , while the toxinblade is a "7, up to 8".
<Karrius> So yeah, it is stronger. But that's getting into a different point.
<Karrius> You also haev to consider the smaller that gap is, the less time you have to spend on mechanics, and the easier the system is for new players.