Here’s that list I was talking about yesterday — reorganizing the 4e character classes by something more appropriate to their thematic elements. The Monk ought to be the Martial controller. The Ranger ought to be the Primal striker. Barbarians and Bards ought to be Psionic. And so forth.

I dropped the Essentials remakes for ease of reading.

Martial
Fighter, Monk, Rogue, Warlord.

Arcane
Artificer, Sorcerer, Swordmage, Wizard.

Divine
Avenger, Cleric, Paladin, Invoker, +Runepriest.

Primal
Druid, Ranger, Shaman, Warden, +Seeker.

Psionic
Ardent, Barbarian, Bard, Battlemind, +Psion.

Shadow
Assassin, Vampire, Warlock.

Classes that are bolded have been moved from their original power source. Powers with a plus-sign are in excess of the standard four-classes-four-roles format. The reasoning is fairly straightforward in all cases. I’ve discussed the Warlock and the Monk before, so let’s talk a bit about the other classes.

Bards are clever. Bards are cunning. Bards are charming. Bards are not especially academic — despite the existence of so-called “bardic colleges.” I suspect this is a holdover from when the Bard class had a clear “heraldic” theme.

Nowadays, the Bard is more of a trickster than a performer — and when he is a performer, it’s sweeping ballads and inspiring melodies and stuff. All the sorts of things that play on the emotions of the Bard’s enemies or allies.

Which would put them squarely in the Psionic power source.

Likewise, the Barbarian cultivates an almost supernatural anger — not the anger of disturbed spirits — a primal rage that wells up from deep within the Barbarian. Again, this sort of thing makes a lot more sense coming from a Psionic character like say, the 4e Ardent or the 3e Wilder. Does anyone remember the Maenads?

Psionic heroes are masters of the mind and emotions — these are the things Bards and Barbarians use regularly to either manipulate or tap into directly for power. Not Arcane. Not Primal. Those are Psionic talents, by the 4e definition.

As with the Warlock Revelation of last month, this new understanding of the organizational mix-up has brought with it some new insights. I’m getting an even better picture of where classes and roles and power sources diverge.

Once I get farther into the real nitty-gritty mechanical bits, you can expect to see more wholly original classes like the Reanimator, the Bloodknight, and the uh, Puppeteer (still just a preview right now). Whew. I’ve made a lot of classes.