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Supposed I wanted to design a class that uses nothing but at-will powers. For those who are familiar with the numbers behind D&D 4e is this possible and still be competitive with the other classes of the same role (Striker, Controller, etc)?

The would be applied to making more realistic classes like a warrior instead of a fighter, a thief instead of rogue. The powers would be equivalent to combat maneuvers or skill techniques.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

More or less, yes. This is pretty similar to what Essentials does for fighters or rogues, although it doesn't completely remove the encounter power options. However, their encounter powers are addons to existing powers -- i.e., instead of making an encounter attack, you boost an at-will attack with one of the encounter powers.

(It is not terribly clear how this works if you've just looked at the new red box Starter Set. Heroes of the Fallen Lands is much clearer.)

The model used by psionic classes might also work. Rename power points to, say, effort points or exertion points or something. They only get at-will powers, but they can augment them by spending effort points for larger/better effects. Effort points recharge every encounter. If I were using this for a more realistic martial class, I would generalize the model to a certain degree. I.e., instead of writing a separate set of augments for each at-will power, I'd say that it costs 1 effort point to add a push effect to any at-will, 2 effort points to add a daze effect, and so on.

I am now rather excited about that idea and may need to write it up myself if you don't.

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Yeah, the biggest difference between this proposed setup and the Psionic classes is that the Psionic classes still get dailies. Coming up with an appropriate (not underpowered or, more likely overpowered) alternative to dailies would be the trickiest part. –  heathenJesus Jun 13 at 20:52

Here's a vote for no, its pretty easy to see why.

If you play 4th edition, simply get your group not to use an at-will powers for fight.

What happens, the fight is long, boring, and grindy and takes up an disproportionate ammount of resources.

Essentials hasn't gotten rid of encounter and daily powers so much as cleverly hidden them. Stances and all those fancy maneuvers exist to help add damage and effects to make up the slack that at-wills have.

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Interesting. If I was asked to design such a class I would focus on action types. A 1[w]+stat isn't exciting as a standard action but becomes encounter power worthy if its an immediate interrupt and daily power worth if its a free action. In this regard, you have a decent number of action types to work with. Here's a breakdown of heroic tier balanced powers for at-wills:

Standard - 1[w]+Stat plus bonus (push, slide, 2nd stat dmg, daze, etc), 1[w]+stat to area, ongoing effects like stances, polymorphs or auras

Move - shift, switch places, jump, fly, etc... (look to monk full disciplines for balance)

Minor - +tohit, 1[w] or stat dmg to next attack for striker; increased area or effect to next attack for controller; heal or buff to next attack for leader; mark or +def for defender, etc.

Immediate Reaction - shift when hit, mark when hit, minor effect when move adjacent, etc

Immediate Interrupt - stat dmg when hit, defender style reaction to ally dmg, minor amount of movement in response to enemy moving near

Obviously, these are just examples. I think the first class I would try to build this way would be a striker as they are easiest to balance. You're going to have to build a power replacement system similar to psionics so the number of powers doesn't get too unwieldy. I'd go for at least 3 attack powers, 2 minors, 2 movements and an Immediate at first and not add more than 3-4 to that total number.

Keep in mind that someone is going to have to play this class, so don't forget to make it fun. Since most of their turns will be less spectacular than other classes, you're going to have to add enough flexibility to keep them exciting.

I like the idea though. What a great super tactical character class. Like a super monk.

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