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[5E] A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition $14.99 $12.99
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[5E] A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition
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[5E] A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Jeff H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2018 06:31:53

The Noble (a 5E Warlord, basically) is by far the best thing here. If a smallish writeup that basically takes that idea and does it reasonably well is worth the price to you, buy it. Otherwise, don't, because the rest ranges from nothing to write home about to actively bad.

It's dubious whether some of these concepts - particularly the Feywalker and the (somewhat misleadingly named) Occultist - are interesting and archetypal enough to support their own classes. Several of them could be done more satisfyingly as archetypes for classes that already exist.

But even the good ideas are not, in general, executed well, especially from a balance standpoint. The Alchemist - the one I was most looking forward to conceptually - can get Cure Wounds as a ritual starting at second level (and eventually, at 20th level, as a cantrip), which dramatically alters the game's balance, basically flipping a huge middle finger at several of the game's underlying assumptions, not least the entire concept of hit dice. A party with a competently built alchemist is almost not playing the same game anyone else is. On the other end of the scale, the Occultist appears laughably weak, so obviously inferior to all the other melee classes that, even if a player really liked the concept, the only thing I could do in good conscience is steer him or her toward reskinning a fighter or barbarian to incorporate that concept, rather than using this class as written. With these two examples in mind, I don't know why I'd trust anything else in the book enough to let it into a game.

The formatting is also kind of dodgy. The back cover promises that the classes have been revised and expanded, and this was also strongly implied in the Kickstarter campaign that resulted in this book. That's kind of hard to credit. I haven't got the relevant EN5ider issues that would let me say for sure, but it sure looks like they've just directly copy-pasted a bunch of magazine articles (what these classes started as) together into a book, with at most superficial changes to use a unified trade dress. The Alchemist, for example, is still broken into three separate articles. Even dirt-simple things that would have taken literally seconds to fix (the Noble's chapter using a completely different naming convention from the others, for instance) haven't been changed. There are feats (some of them of potential interest to more than just characters of these new classes) scattered all over the book instead of sensibly compiled together into their own appendix. (Also, one of the feat names hits a pet peeve of mine - while I'm reliably told both forms are correct, I will never not wince when people say "Cardshark" instead of "Cardsharp".) All of this could probably have been fixed in an afternoon of InDesign work by a minimally competent layout person, preferably one who was also (or was working closely with) a good editor. Overall this aspect of the book feels very lazy.

One other thing that makes this project feel a bit of a Frankenstein's monster is the art style - or rather, the many art styles. Many different artists have been used, as well as what look like a few public-domain historical pieces, and the overall result feels every inch the stitched-together mishmash it is. If there's a unifying thread to the art here, it's that most (not all) of the art styles used are a bit too cartoony for my tastes, though even that manifests in varying ways. But that bit is admittedly very subjective.

Don't let this review turn you off EN Publishing altogether - many of their adventures are just excellent. But this particular product was very disappointing to me.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
[5E] A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Jordan B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2018 07:33:50

I went in with high hopes for this book ($15 for homebrew content with only a couple reviews, but neat ideas) and was hoping the authors would "wow" me with good mechanics to match some of the cool ideas put forth in the description (was especially excited about the Diabolist, Feywalker, Noble). Unfortunately, I can not recommend this to anyone looking to expand their table's class selection.

An overarching issue is that most of the classes thematically (and some, mechanically) appear as though they easily could have been (and due to a variety of reoccuring balance issues, perhaps should have been) created within the framework of existing classes. Diabolist stands out especially in this regard for both, the class description presents no real difference between it and the Warlock and the core mechanics (Necro debuffs, summons) could easily have been a Patron and/or Pact Boon combination with these simply giving access to summoning spells/abilities and a Debuff effect for certain spells (with the addition of some Invocations, if that would be easier to streamline). I simply do not understand some of the mechanical choices made to represent some of the ideas, which themselves take unnecessary steps to distance themselves from existing classes (and sometimes in flat out poor ways, such as elevating the class in its description text above existing classes).

There's is a correlation within this document that the more an ability deviates from existing framework/class abilities the more mechanical and balance issues it tends to have. Some abilities (The Noble's Expertise comes to mind, which grants expertise to 3 skills rather than 2 like every other Expertise ability in the 5e) are blatantly overpowered compared against their counterparts. The Cardcaster (as fond as I may be of its inspiration) is perhaps the most unique class produced in the document and, unsurprisingly, suffers the most in terms of balance, unnecessary complexity (read: fat could have been trimmed to produce the same desired effect) and poor design. This correlation is entirely consistent throughout the document.

While not as critical as the mechanics, the flavor text is often poorly written in that it references mechanical concepts rather than taking the opportunity to highlight what such a character of this class might be like, might believe. Referring to "lawful slavers" and "chaotic" characters does not accomplish this at all. Combined with how the classes fail to differentiate themselves effectively from their core class counterparts, I get the feeling the concepts did not successfully transition from bundles of custom-tailored mechanics to fully realized and rich classes: skill kits from which different sorts of believably rounded people might grow and develop. That might not bother you if you're looking for a new class to tinker with, but for some it is a pretty big let down.

I did find the Alchemist class to have some of the more creative ideas but it too suffers from horrible balance issues that should have been very apparent during playtesting (scaling at 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th, 17th levels instead of 1st, 5th, 11th, 17th like every other spell effect in the game? And throwing multiple of them as well?). I also thought the formatting and art was very well done and the quality for these was consistent through the document. Unfortunately, the design problems were too great to ignore. That's perhaps the best way to describe this document as a whole: "Poorly Executed Design".

I am a huge fan and supporter of homebrew developers and love seeing the community produce new and exciting content to try at my table, but the problems here are simply far too much for a normal 5e table to incorporate without immense revision which might as well be an overhaul. When you charge professional prices ($15 for 70~ pages of content) you need to take the time to ensure your work can at least approach existing professional standards in the field. This does not even begin to approach that qualifying level of quality.

I would recommend you spend your money elsewhere.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
[5E] A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Thony D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/26/2017 19:30:06

I was part of the kickstarter that brought this product to fruition, and have been using this for a while. The classes inside are, for the most part, fun and interesting to play with. There are a couple balance issues. The carcaster's YuGiOh archetype is a bit of a mess and requires what feels like a fair amount of DM fiat to be playable in a long term scenario. The Moorph suffers a fair amont, as well. The saving throws disobey the 'strong and weak' rule that some homebrwers might be aware of. But aside from that, there aren't a lot of beasts to actually transform into, making it's greatest strength, the ability to turn into higher CR monsters than a druid, difficult to work with. I've allowed the use of monstrocities, which are basically beasts with elemental powers, and this has worked well, though may be too powerful like that without some serious planning on the DM's part.

I haven't playtested with every class, yet, but for the most part these are spectaular and I do not regret my purchase in the least.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[5E] A Touch of Class: 7 New Classes for 5th Edition
Publisher: EN Publishing
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2017 12:28:51

This is a great product. I have been looking for a solid alchemist class that I could convert and use for many years. There are no dead classes (well you know what I mean) in his product and many useful variations to help adapt to your narrative.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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