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We have 2 questions (this one and this one) that are asking for answers to homebrew up a class for them.

To me this seems like it's both very broad and entirely opinion-based. I can't see a way to judge answers objectively. Since there's 2 of them, I figured it was worth checking with meta.

Are these questions an acceptable fit for this site?

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There are three hurdles that must be passed in my mind:

  1. Is there a way for there to be a best answer to this question? I.e. are sufficient criteria given for assessing whether an answer is good or not.
  2. Is there a way for good subjective to apply? Homebrew must be tested by experience, not just made up on the spot. The question must be able to point to this requirement of experience, so we don't spend our days deleting "I'll make it up" answers.
  3. Is it possible and narrowly scoped? Campaign settings bad, individual manipulations less bad. Can this question be answered by a single, discrete, thing, that doesn't even come close to threatening our word count limit? Opposite: would this be better on a blog or a wiki?
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with your hurdles. The questions linked in the meta-question clearly don't pass these, so a big bold No on top of your answer might improve it. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Jan 20 '15 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ My answer is more of a general policy answer, rather than a specific answer. As a general policy, "no" is not it. Still, you're welcome to vote to close with reference to this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 20 '15 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mala I have to disagree with you also. 1. Yes, there is. Check the answers in the Invoker's problem question. 2. Since the DMG has the guidelines to keep balance when changing features of classes, worries are not that big. 3. It can and it can also be a little more complex. Again, check my answer in the Invoker's issue question. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 20 '15 at 0:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ We require discussion to Be Nice. Personal attacks will be deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 20 '15 at 0:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ We could also reskin a Paladin, or Barbarian, or Great Weapon Fighter, or Druid. There is no 'best' answer, see point #1. Also, there are no criteria to narrow it down, #3. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Jan 20 '15 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mala I challenge you to resking the Paladin to make it like the Invoker. I seriously do. It doesn't feel like you're even trying to understand the point here. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 20 '15 at 1:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I tried to help. Lets just agree to disagree and leave it at that. \$\endgroup\$ – Mala Jan 20 '15 at 1:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davi It's important to remember that lots of votes don't automatically mean "best". When we're trying to decide if a class of question is too opinion-based, votes can also indicate popularity of opinion, which is bad here and why opinion-based questions are off topic. The highly-voted answer there doesn't prove the question passes hurdle #1. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 20 '15 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mala The invoker one seems pretty good. The question as-it-is-now is asking for something that "feels" like an invoker which, while the non-analytic expression and required expression of internal experiences may bother e.g. Wittgensteinians, I can get behind as a valid criteria for which there is a best answer. Certainly not all 'reskins' are of equal merit. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jan 20 '15 at 8:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie No, but as long as you know the 5e DMG guidelines and you're familiar with the Invoker class, you exacly what to do or what you make the class feel like the Invoker. Just as I suggested reskinning the Sorcerer and changing the spell-list. It's a direct suggestion of the DMG. And since D&D 4e describres the Invoker as a "Intuitive Divine Spellcaster" it's a more than valid answer. Therefore, to me, considering both systems, classes and what was asked, 2 of the answers in the Invoker's issue passed the hurdle #1. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 20 '15 at 9:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ See, the thing is, I agree with the three hurdles, but I fail to see why those 2 questions wouldn't fit. Honestly. Cause it seems obvious to me that 2 of the solutions presented in the Invoker's issue are more than valid. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 20 '15 at 10:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaviBraid Both of those answers are invalid under the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jan 21 '15 at 1:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman I don't only disagree with you but I also explained exactly why they're not with all possible details in my lastest answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 21 '15 at 3:58
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I agree with @BrianBallsunStanton's answer, and believe that these two questions can be a fit for the site given those criteria.

  1. The questions are pretty specific about the exact attributes they want the resulting class to have (feels like the 4e avenger in that it uses giant sword, but can Turn Undead and isn't STR-based).

  2. There are rules/guidelines for class creation in the 5e DMG

  3. An answer doesn't have to be an entire 3 page class writeup, it's OK for answers to be more general in proportion to broadness of question (for example, questions on "in general how do I emulate a specific genre well in my game" and "how do I emulate the pirate genre in my game" are both on topic, it's just that genre-emulation 101 info is appropriate for the first as an answer and highly detailed pirate things are appropriate for the second).

Therefore these questions should be answerable by someone who has specifically tried to emulate those older classes in 5e. Now, this means that maybe they won't get answered quickly - they should not be answered by someone who just does some theory work and says "Oh, it seems to me that should play like the Avenger", it should be answered by someone who's actually played to get that "avenger feel" in 5e - but "not likely to be answered" is not a site criteria for question validity. This does mean that even the OP's answer to the Invoker question is invalid until tried in play and it results in either acceptable invoker simulation or not. If the requirements were made purely technical (class must use large weapon and turn undead and have STR < 15) then it could be answered from a rules theory perspective, if they are somewhat subjective (plays like the avenger, feels like divinely guided) then it requires play to be Good Subjective. However, given that, it's not less answerable than any technique question that's not "get my DPS to 20."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Besides the fact that I think I did answer it with more details but didn't approach the issue in the exactly same way, I have to say I couldn't agree more with you. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 21 '15 at 3:54
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I don't feel any content commission questions are appropriate for the site...

Opening the door for homebrew commission questions is asking for a whole world of trouble. As you state there is no way for the community itself to effectively vote up or down on answers submitted to these type of questions. The lenght of answers for this type of question would be long by necessity (the final version of a class usually takes up 1 -2published pages). Further this makes a foundation for letting other type of commission/submission request questions into the site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't say I agree with you, mostly because I trully don't. There's a house-rule tag and there are many questions asking for insights about how to house-rule things. Besides, those questions are about D&D5e and its own rules on DMG (which state that some class features can be changed to make new classes and even delivers some guidelines. The question is more about who can find the correct approach respecting those guidelines) \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 19 '15 at 23:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaviBraid Maybe that should be an answer? It's important to have competing viewpoints for the community to vote on so that we can find a consensus. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jan 20 '15 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see problems with homebrew, if you tested it beforehand and have some experience with tweaking it. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Jan 29 '15 at 17:34
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Let's address directly the problem that was seen here

To me this seems like it's both very broad and entirely opinion-based. I can't see a way to judge answers objectively.

I don't feel at all like they are entirely opinion based and I see many ways of how to objetively judge the questions.

Examples:

  • Is there a way to emulate/simulate the 4e Archer Ranger in 5e?

    Yes. Use the 5e fighter with Archery Style. Since the ranger in 4e is a martial class. It doesn't give you the feeling of much more than a well trained archer. You can use a background to fulfill the lore side of a nature strider.

  • Is there a way to emulate/simulate the 3.5e Arcane Archer in 5e?

    Yes. Use the 5e Eldritch Knight with Archery Style. It will allow you to be good with the bow and have a spell list

  • Is there a way to emulate/simulate the Rune Priest in D&D 5e?

    Yes. The simple way is this: go for a melee Eldritch Knight, change the spellcasting Ability to WIS and, instead of using the Wizard Spell List, use the Cleric Spell List. Being the case, you'll have enough divine power to feel like you're using rune-magic and will manage to handle yourself in close combat very well, just like a Rune Priest would

Not all the answers are going to be short, though. And it's not entirely opinion based. Besides having to know what makes the class itself tick (as in, Invokers being intuitive casters, Avengers having their swords guided by their gods, Runepriests being a tanky-battle-cleric with a limited divine power), you have to follow what the DMG considers correct when doing those changes. Check what the 5e Dungeon Master's Guide says, Page 288:

The first step is to figure out what class feature or group of class features you're going to replace. Then you need to evaluate what each feature provides to the class, so that the features you are adding don't make the class over- or underpowered. Ask yourself the following questions about a feature you're replacing:

What impact does replacing the feature have on exploration, social interaction, or combat?

Does replacing the feature affect how long the party can continue adventuring in a day?

Does the feature consume resources provided elsewhere in the class?

Does the feature work all the time, or is it regained after a short rest, a long rest, or some other length of time?

The answers in the Invoker's issue respect all of these. Including the change made in the spell-list that was suggested for when you use the Sorcerer or Wizard as a guideline. The DMG goes further:

CHANGING PROFICIENCIES (DMG 287)

Changing a class's proficiencies is a safe and simple way to modify a class to better reflect your world. Swapping out one skill or tool proficiency for another doesn't make a character any stronger or weaker, but doing so can change the flavor of a class in subtle ways. For example, a prominent guild of rogues

The designers are saying this is a good solution, and it's used in my answer when suggesting the Invoker should use Staffs and Rods as spell foci.

When it comes to changing other things in the design (like what I asked about the Avenger in one of those questions, we go here:

SUBSTITUTING CLASS FEATURES (DMG, Page 287)

If one or more features of a given class don't exactly fit the theme or tone of your campaign, you can pull them out of the class and replace them with new ones. In doing so, you should strive to make sure that the new options are just as appealing as the ones you are removing, and that the substitute class features contribute to the class's effectiveness at social interaction, exploration, or combat just as well as those being replaced.

And when it's about making a new spell list for the class (as suggested in the Runepriest example or in my answer for the Invoker's problem), here is what the DMG has to say about it:

CHANGING SPELL LISTS (DMG, page 287)

Modifying a class's spell list usually has little effect on a character's power but can change the flavor of a class significantly. In your world, paladins might not swear their oaths to ideals, but instead swear fealty to powerful sorcerers. To capture this story concept, you could build a new paladin spell list with spells meant to protect their masters, drawn from the sorcerer or wizard lists. Suddenly, the paladin feels like a different class.

As a matter of fact, checking all of this, the answer that I left for the Invoker should have been even longer, honestly. I should have mentioned that he should change the class skills and some other little things. But in the end, I'm suggesting the changes without moving away from what the Dungeon Master's Guide says and also, without moving away from what the class is. According to the Character Builder, this is the Invoker:

"You channel your god's power directly. No mere symbol can contain it, for you speak the words of creation, shaping the universe to your and your god's will"

As I was saying, an intuitive divine spell-caster.

Considering how things are supposed to work in Stackexchange

There's a guideline for great subjetive questions (which includes this meta-question)

  • Great subjective questions inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.

    The DMG in 5e inspire those two answers, being implicit in the question, since it is for the D&D 5e system.

  • Great subjective questions tend to have long, not short, answers

    Then again, check my answer in the Invoker's issue

  • Great subjective questions have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.

    When you manage to give two solutions, being one you like and one you dislike but also solves the problem, I believe the answer more than passed it.

  • Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions

    I have much experience with D&D 4e and a few with D&D 5e (which comes from quite a few oneshots, but not a campaign). Experient D&D 4e players are well aware of how balance works towards numbers, probabilities, "powers" and other mechanics. We can see how they masked and changed things in 5e, but we can also see what is left there. Using the same logic I'd use in 4e, plus using the 5e DMG guideline, I could create a Invoker that is quite balanced and feels like an intuitive caster (both solutions suggested by me do, in fact, from that matter. Since sorcery points are the main mechanism to make it feel like you can do more than a wizard. Besides, having a number of spells known and not having to prepare any, plus having more cantrips is enough to make someone have the same intuitive feeling. The Wizard based Invoker won't be versitile but balance wise, it is compensated by the other features the wizard provides). About the Avenger, I didn't come up with a decent solution. Or at least not one that convinced myself or my player that likes playing as an Avenger and therefore, that's why I asked the question. PS: I edited this for recently running a oneshot to test the Invoker.

  • Great subjective questions insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.

    As in, again, the DMG guidelines.

  • Great subjective questions are more than just mindless social fun.


In fact, those questions might serve as a guide for anyone else who comes asking the same sort of conversion. And if they don't find it good enough, they might add some dept to the issue by creating a new question and explaining why it doesn't work. I see nothing bad about it at all.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want everyone to stick to the topic, a good start would be not bringing up the post you want everyone to forget about. A complete fresh start with a post that stands alone would be more effective. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 21 '15 at 3:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I thought I should apologize, but okay. I'll edit it. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 21 '15 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Writing a calm post that cooperates with community behaviour goes a very long way to making amends, if any need making. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 21 '15 at 3:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Besides that, I still think I have I a strong argument. Downvoting my answer without explaining me why isn't helpful at all. I don't feel like my argument is a weak one, honestly. Specially when Mxyvplk has a similar answer with less details. I get it, people think I'm a prick, but it doesn't mean my answer isn't valid. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 21 '15 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Downvotes aren't always explained on meta. Because voting is used to gauge community consensus on policy issues, and because voting here doesn't affect rep, people vote up and down much more freely than on the main site and for many more reasons. Most likely, not leaving a comment actually means that whatever the reason was, it wasn't a strong objection. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 21 '15 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie well, I'm glad to know that, but still, it doesn't help when they don't explain me why. Which makes me think they didn't even read it. Honestly, that kind of arbitrary thinking (and downvoting) is one of the things that disappoint me around here. But thanks for the info. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 21 '15 at 3:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unlike on main, there's no motive on meta to help fix posts by pointing out issues using comments. People submit competing views, and most of the time others only vote. Sometimes arguments or discussions start in the comments, but those are the exception and tend to happen around the more contentious issues. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 21 '15 at 5:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ On meta, downvotes are less than on the main site - on the main site you generally upvote things you like but only downvote things you think actively suck, but for policy questions on meta it's more vote up if you concur and vote down if you disagree. The only main flaw I see in this answer myself is not hitting the "experience" rubric - these aren't quite rules-y enough to avoid that requirement. So until you actually try your solutions, they're not valid answers. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 22 '15 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I firmly believe that with those guidelines and experience in 4e, one can make something balanced. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 22 '15 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can "make something balanced" but does it play like an Avenger? You may hope it does but that's not an answer to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 22 '15 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk the question about the Avenger was mine because I was having trouble with it. But the one about the Invoker I did answer and it does play like an Invoker. I tested yesterday with a oneshot. We tested a Avenger too, but there was something missing. We even tested the Rune-Priest and it also worked pretty well but it might need a tweak or two. \$\endgroup\$ – Davi Braid Jan 22 '15 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaviBraid he meant into your answer on main, not here on meta. (Answers on meta don't require Good Subjective.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 23 '15 at 2:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let me restate my point. If you incorporate your actual play experience into your answers to the Avenger and Invoker questions then they become valid answers to those questions. Your edit to this answer, however, still misses the point. Everyone thinks they're a D&D expert and thus their answers are valid for something they haven't done because 'they can just tell.' We don't want that kind of speculation here. Good Subjective (go read it, blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective) means you have to "back it up" having tried it or seen someone try it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 23 '15 at 14:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Which "it" are you talking about? I don't see any details on having tried it in your Invoker answer (though that question's been deleted by owner), no answer on Avenger, and your answer here above is waffly on its guidance under "experience over opinion." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 23 '15 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ What mxyplk is saying is that if you have experience with using your Invoker homebrew, you should say so in your answer there, not here. It's not important here; but it's super-important there. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 24 '15 at 0:57

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