When I became the editor for EN5ider my first objective (aside from keeping the high level of quality D&D 5E articles coming!) was a new suite of classes to follow up on the original A Touch of Class. In this series I’m going to explore the 9 new entries in A Touch More Class, reveal some of the development process behind them, and consider the obstacles in getting these from ideas to fully finished concepts. Get a quick fix on them all here and sign up for the mailing list so you know when the Kickstarter launches next month!
Over a year ago while doing the rounds on Reddit I came across this Leuku fellow with a fantastic (and largely fleshed out already!) concept for a technological class, and when all the job bits came through developing his content was first thing on my list for A Touch More Class. It seems only right that we start this delve into the upcoming Kickstarter with THE TINKERER.
There are several different scales upon which this class balances: crafting or improving items (both mundane things and more interesting objects called Power Appliances, fueled using elemental Affect-Engines), limited magic (maxing out at 5th-level spells), a version of elemental smiting, and then the extremely diverse class archetypes. The latter vary from martial steam knights to ranged bombardiers and then probably the coolest option, the mechanic and their awesome megarobo companions (albeit at 10th level).
- Crafting Items If you’re looking to mass-produce objects or create really cool tools, the tinkerer meets the demand for both! Using Affect-Engines on regular items–carts, barding, rope, even torches–make them far more useful and fill out the innovative roleplaying aspect that any artificer class should be embracing. You can read some extra content Leuku has prepared for Power Appliances here.
- Limited Magic & Affect Discharge To make sure all tinkerers can have a reasonable impact on the battlefield the class offers some choice spell selection and an elemental smite that gives them some versatility that paladin’s don’t have access too. Combat utility in action!
- Bombardiers feel a bit like an echo of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game‘s alchemist class, making their Affect-Engines into area attacks and using them to turn a standard ranged weapon into an elemental powerhouse.
- Mechanics When you think of the bespectacled engineer or grease-covered technician you’re thinking of a mechanic. Up until they get that awesome megarobo companion (which feels a lot like a D&D 3e’s techsmith’s Gondsman) it’s all about being even better at constructing things. Getting the robot companion is the real sweet spot though and oh how sweet it is. 😀
- Steam Knights immediately make me think of Lord Iron from Marvel 1602 and I have my suspicions that Leuku might’ve been shooting for this. Even if he wasn’t though, it’s super cool and depending on the campaign I might choose this subclass over the mechanic just to get that medieval machine-armored warrior kick going on earlier in the game than the mechanic allows for.
DESIGN HURDLE: Word Counts
The biggest obstacle with classes released through EN5ider was word counts. In order to maintain the level of quality expected by our 1,000+ patrons there has to be a certain number of illustrations every so many pages, and I need compensated for my work as a developer and editor, and of course the designer needs paid along with the layout artist! I simply couldn’t get an allotment of more than 3,000 words a class article–and you need a minimum of 4,000 or so. If you go through the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook and look at even the simplest classes, the lowest numbers you’ll see are 4,000 words or so (I know, I counted). And those are the most basic concepts! What we landed on doing was splitting class articles into two different pieces, one Basic and one Advanced, thus allowing for all the room needed to get things done.
The Tinkerer of course demanded more (as did the Bloodweaver :3) but it was space and money well spent I say! In the end it’s one of longest classes at 15 pages (second only to the aforementioned sanguine mage) and I’m extremely happy with how well it bridges the divide between magical, fantastical, and technological–you could play a tinkerer in Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms, Golarion, Hypercorps 2099, or even Star Wars and it’d be able to fit in everywhere.
If this sounds awesome to you then please check out the A Touch More Class Kickstarter and if you can’t wait for the PDF/book (which deliver as soon as the project funding period ends) consider joining the EN5ider Patreon! It can be as affordable as $1 a month and as soon as you join you get instant access to Tinkerer Basic, Tinkerer Advanced, and the rest of the 270+ article archive!