I’ve been thinking for a while about that way 4e ties a characters’ role to their class, and wondering: what if they weren’t linked? What if your Role was something you chose over and above the Class selection rather than being part and parcel?
Each Role could add an additional element to the Character; perhaps the Defender Role boosts your Hit Points and Defences whereas the Striker Role increases your damage and chance to hit. The Leader and Controller Roles could grant an additional Encounter Power which reinforces their style of play. Each would (in an ideal world) also grant some non-combat role-playing boon too, because we likes those. Oh yes we do.
For example, imagine that you want to play a Rogue who is a Defender. This makes him a little tougher and self-sacrificing than your average sneak-thief – perhaps he’s a Bodyguard or enforcer for the guild, and gains a bonus to Intimidate and Perception.
It would mean removing some of the elements from the existing Classes which enforce the Roles, but add the “default” Roles in and you’re back to the 4e norm. A Fighter who takes the Defender Role would be as per the 4e Core, for example.
The net result is more variety across the builds, especially if you add in the rather nice optional Backgrounds system too. And that, to my mind, is always a Good Thing.
What are your thoughts? Should Role and Class be considered separately?
Over to you.