IMC, I think I'll be adding the "sub-classes" as choices once a character has the XP to reach 6th level. The idea is that these sub-classes wouldn't necessarily change the character's base abilities -- they would continue to level up on their "class chart." The sub-class just adds a couple of unique abilities -- assassination, monk fighting, nature skills, personality-based performance skills, holy smite, and the like.
Thus a 5th level fighter could become:
- Assassin - pretty much anyone can be an assassin...it just means you kill for money.
- Paladin - This would necessitate character development throughout the Fighter's career -- conversion to a religion (maybe bodyguard to the cleric), beginning (and struggling) with adherence to a deity's code, etc.
- Ranger - same here. The fighter's origin and career would have to be taken into account.
- Monk - Historically, warlords retired to "monk-dom" but couldn't resist remaining "in the world." This was especially true in medieval Japan. That's the direction I'd go here. The fighter "takes the robe" and then emerges as a wandering martial monk of some sort.
- Knight -- similar to the paladin... maybe the Fighter has been a squire, man-at-arms, etc to a knight throughout his career. Adherence to a political code differentiates the knight from the paladin.
5th level Thief:
- Assassin - This has been the traditional linkage as far as classes, and DCC already has a very direct link in the Chaotic thief.
- Bard -- Some character development here throughout the thief's career. Acting, music, swindling, etc.
- Monk -- This was a traditional linkage in AD&D, but I'm thinking anyone can "retire" to the Monk class.
- Illusionist/Necromancer/Pyromancer/Demonologist -- This already has support in DCC. Maybe needs formalization...probably not.
- Assassin - anyone.
- Monk -- anyone, maybe.
- Alchemist -- This is a class I developed for our C&C game based off of the video game darklands. Uses "recipes" instead of spells, but similar functionality. Wizard would have some character development (instead of a patron, they'd need to be sponsored into the secret order of the alchemists or something). The C&C class is here: http://mysticbull.pbworks.com/w/page/34890177/alchemist
- Paladin -- natural progression.
- Monk -- natural progression
- Assassin -- harder connection to make than the others.
- Druid -- would need character development before the cleric could become a true "priest of nature." But, likely, this class is not needed... powers from gods could make "druids" easily enough.
Anyway. I'll likely do something like this with additional classes. The demi-human races could likewise take any of these, including the base human classes (stripped down a bit). So, you could get a halfling with a full set of thieves' skills, or an elf that can invoke the elven gods...etc.